Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.

Added by radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,352
Ratings:
6,582
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,076
Gots:
2,085
For Trade:
92
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,352 | Ratings: 6,582
Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date

Look - Pour pitch black with a frothy cappuccino colored head. Decent retention, okay bubble distribution. 4 paws.

Smell - Great nose full of chocolate and coffee aromas. The vanilla blends well to create a milk chocolate scent. Hints of bell pepper and chili pepper. Very nice. 4.75 paws.

Taste - Bitter coffee flavors up front. The vanilla is a bit hidden, but lingers after the finish. Bell pepper, bitter hops, creamy cappuccino, bit of smoke. Alcohol is well hidden. 4.25 paws.

Feel - Medium-full bodied, a bit creamy. Low-medium carbonation, tingle on sides of tongue, sting from alcohol. 4.5 paws.

Overall - Had many times before, always a lovely beer. I wish the taste was as pronounced as the nose, the more nuanced flavors are covered a bit by the bitterness, but still, a great beer. 4.5 paws.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Victory At Sea (Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter version)

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. The darkest of browns with a light brown head. No peering through this beer, its about as dark as night. Attractive lacing that looks very ornate.

Aroma of coffee and faint vanilla sweetness.

Vanilla up front which gives way to a lingering coffee flavor. This beer also has some chocolate notes. Very decadant and full flavors. The aftertaste of coffee, cocoa and vanilla is truly remarkable. There are even some hints of oak in this beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied with a lingering coffee/bitter chocolate finish. A little syrupy in nature.

Drinkability requires some respect for this sipper. It wasn't hot with alcohol at all. Overall, this beer is just great.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black body, big lasting mocha head with carbonation that looks like it's a nitro. Sheets of lace, cool.

S: Vanilla and caramel malt. Coffee lingers.

T: Great balance between coffee, vanilla (both real, not artificial, nice), toasted malt that comes through with coffee and a little nuttiness. Surprised to find the vanilla and coffee play so nicely together. Not much coffee acidity, which is appreciated. Perfect sweetness for me, so probably a little much for most people. No alcohol.

M: Love that fluffy head. The body is a little thin for a porter (read: medium).

O: This needs a much more arrogant label for such a wonderful brew. The coffee and vanilla are up front and don't require 'searching' for them, but there are still beer-y things happening. The persistence of this head is right up there with the best IPA's. Such a great, warming, tasty beer that is dangerously drinkable (and affordable- HOT DAMN!).

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Photo of Murrhey
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap in a mug at Hollingshead's in Orange, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Two finger mocha head. Great retention and lacing. Dark brown color, very little light goes through.

S- Chocolaty, vanilla, oak, brandy smell.

T- Vanilla and roast malts. Very bitter and some sourness. Boozy. Quite nice.

M- Very thick and smooth. Dry linger.

O- This beer isn't even one of my favorite styles and I admit it is phenomenal.

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Photo of turboedtwo
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Toronado in North Park.

A - DARK! Lighting wasn't the best but it looked pretty close to black.

S - Smelled of coffee to me.

T - Had a bit of a chocolate / coffee taste.

M - Your typical porter. Had a smooth but thick feel to it.

D - I could drink this all night assuming I had a nice meal before. Not something you want to do on an empty stomach.

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Photo of hawgdude
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A deep, rich, almost caramely porter. Definitely not a sweaty-summer-afternoon post-lawn-mowing beer. I slugged one down and got half snockered-- 10% ABV needs to go down slower than that. The remaing five will have to wait for chilly autumn nights.

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Photo of myveryown
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Dark brown/black with a tan head that stayed through the beer.

Nose-Coffee and chocolate with some light spice notes from hops

Taste-Very reminiscent of a chocolate covered espresso bean. Great balance between sweet and bitter with coffee being the main note and vanilla chocolate flavors supporting.

Mouthfeel-Creamy smooth and rich

Overall-Very good, too rich to have multiple in one go-but that just spreads out the enjoyment of several bottles. It is a very coffee flavored beer, don't expect anything else!

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Photo of nodder
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown..almost black with a two finger dark tan head. Sticky lacing remains on the glass.

S- Strong coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts. Slightly boozy.

T- Sweet espresso and dark chocolate. The vanilla is there but def. in the background. The strong coffee flavor dominates here, and thats fine. Alcohol burn is there but well masked.

M- Medium mouthfeel with average carbonation. Quite smooth. Somewhat bitter finish but nothing big.

O- Love it! Recommended. Gonna grab another bottle to age a bit.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter comes out of the bottle looking dark and brooding. The beer itself pours a dark obsidian color. The head starts as a dark tan foam, bubbling up through the beer and rising up the glass. The foam eventually rises a few inches to reach the top of the glass. A slow recession leaves plenty of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma provides a blast of roasted malt notes and deep, full coffee. There is a little bit of bitter dark chocolate in the back, but the aroma is mainly a blast of roasted malt and bitter coffee.

My first impression is that this beer is big, bold, and makes no apologies for being so. Dark roasted malt has hints of smoke and dark chocolate. A jolt of vanilla breaks up the bitter transition from fully roasted malt to intense coffee. The coffee starts strong, with the bitterness coming after. With each sip the cumulative bitterness grows, reminding me of just how intense of a beer this is.

Perhaps it is some kind of magic trick, but this beer does not drink like it has 10% alcohol. There is almost no alcohol present in the taste; it is only noticeable in a slight tingle on my tongue and gums. There is a great creamy nature to the carbonation, more so that the beer. If anything, the flaw with this beer is how light the body feels compared to the robustness of the flavor and carbonation. There is a little bit of bitter and sweet sticky residue left on my lips.

This is truly a great beer and may be the best porter I have had so far. The combination of flavors and level of intensity really do it for me.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Seriously?!? I haven't reviewed this after 3-4 bottles? Best intentions and all...
Bottle that was sitting in fridge for about another, no date:

Dark beer-I'd say black with confidence even though it is late when I am reviewing, and lighting is poor. Not a stretch given the brown head-foamy in nature upon settling. This our's lacing fairly substantial on a rinsed glass.

This revue I would perhaps drop the smell a notch, but given that this is a coffee stout and I still get a large coffee nose after at least a month, not touching my initial rating. Coffee, vanilla, cocoa not surprising int their makeup, but the strength is impressive. Some whiffs give me a marshmallow cocoa like impression. Upon further analysis, a 5 is the right rating.

Taste gets all the coffee notes from the smell. This is not to say it is the only flavor, but definitely the predominate taste, which is nice. When I dig beneath the coffee, it does get back to a porter with a lightly astringent roasted malt taste that just outlasts the coffee flavor. But the the beer counters with a sweet, vanilla flavor to extend my enjoyment. This flavor is somewhat fleeting, and I am left with a somewhat nutty, slightly oily slick taste and feel. In general, carbonation is a bit more than I want from this style.

I increased rating score slightly on this review, taste and overall. This is a culmination of a few times with this beer combined into this particular review. Definitely glad to see it available more regularly in my area.

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Photo of veinless
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured oily jet black, with brown only visible in the liquid while pouring. Head seemed minimal at first, but then sprung to life with bubbles coming from the woodwork to bring out a healthy one-finger light tan head. Extremely foamy and incredibly soft, cloudy head that leaves a ridiculous amount of lacing. One of the finest looking beers I've ever laid eyes on.

Aroma on first smell is lots of roasted coffee, and after a couple more sniffs the chocolate begins to come out a bit more. Coffee is fresh grounds, and very raw.

Taste then proceeds to blow the aroma out of the water, as the coffee from the nose is definitely the main actor in the show, but vanilla packs a big punch at the beginning and mid-sip. Chocolate is less pronounced but definitely semi-sweet and present, and the vanilla combines with the coffee to create an awesome meld of bittersweet flavor. Finish is 50/50 sweet/bitter, leaving you with a very neutral palate for all the strong flavors that were going on.

Mouthfeel is phenomenally creamy and full, and backs up the coffee very well, preventing it from tasting watered down in any way. Drinkability is great, as the finish is neutral but leaves you with a bit of everything, and nothing is offensively strong. After a while the coffee begins to build up on the palate, but really this is just nitpicking. Abv is 10% but could have been 0% for all I knew. For 9.99/22oz of this, I may have to stock up on this in the next couple of days.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz-er, enjoyed at a recent tasting. Thanks again daryk77!

Poured into a nonic glass. Black, with a generous inch of tan head that settles into a thick ring with a thin layer of foam. Icicles and sheets of lacing. Great looking brew.

The nose on this is a bit one dimensional, but damn its a fine smelling dimension to be in. Sweet vanilla coffee and plenty of it. The coffee is particularly dark, bordering on espresso, and there's a sweetness to it which probably speaks to the brew's booze strength.

Wow, is this a bitter coffee porter. Holy mother that is some good roasted coffee. The vanilla and cream provides an excellent counterpoint to the bitterness of the coffee, which helps this brew go down incredibly well.

Great thickness to the brew, nice carbonation. Creamy and damn easy to drink.

Awesome coffee porter, highly recommend.

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Photo of Omisco
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Forgo the typical review as I did not write this one down during consumption but have enjoyed it several times over. This beer is a fantastic beer if you like the things it is supposed to represent. Which is coffee, porter/stout flavors, and a shitload of vanilla. The aroma is slight vanilla, with loads of coffee, bakers chocolate, and roasted malt. When I first taste this beer, there is an intense vanilla taste which is extremely pleasant if you enjoy vanilla. I do feel this taste fades into the background as it warms which is contrary to most vanilla brews. Their is a huge coffee note that is very similar to an intense dark roasted artisan coffee. It is not acrid though it is quite bitter. To me the vanilla and coffee seem to dominate the palate, with the bakers chocolate and slight overall stout/porter flavors following through afterwards. This is one of my favorite coffee beers, and probably the best representation I've had of vanilla in a beer yet. The alcohol is very well masked but this beer will put you on your ass! Try this beer if you love coffee, stouts, and vanilla!

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Photo of flayedandskinned
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage
Poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours a pitch black with a thick and creamy 2.5 finger tall, dark tan head. The head has fantastic retention and leaves a multitude of sticky lacing behind as it recedes.

Aroma: (4.25)
As soon as you raise the glass to your lips, you're struck by waves and waves freshly roasted coffee beans and rich milk chocolate. As the beer warms, some aromas of marshmallow cream and sweet vanilla emerge alongside notes of baker's chocolate and roasted malts. For 10% the alcohol is very masked.

Taste: (4.5)
Just like in the nose, right away you're greeted by intense coffee and rich, creamy milk chocolate. These milk chocolate tones are overtaken by bittersweet dark roasted grains and a herbal hop edge. As the beer finishes dry, you're left notes of bitter baker's chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla and a toasted nuttiness left lingering on your palate. Just as in the nose, the alcohol is very well masked.

Mouthfeel:(4.5)
Heavy and creamy body with moderate to high carbonation. Very velvety and drinkable for 10%

Overall: (4.5)
Ballast Point does a fantastic job with this beer by delicately balancing the acidic, bitter tones of fresh coffee with the sweet notes of chocolate malt and vanilla, while still adhering to the structure of an "Imperial" Porter. This beer has garnered a cult-like following over the years and it is well deserved. Highly recommended.

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Photo of theghost3
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a 3-finger fallow-colored head. A ring stays throughout with moderate lacing.

The smell is robust coffee and vanilla with toasted malts & slightly boozy scent. The taste is bitter, quality coffee with some caramel and burnt malts. Coffee gets more intense as the temperature rises. Mouthfeel is carbonated, medium-bodied. Just below a stout in terms of thickness.

This is a drinkable imperial porter. Expect an intense coffee character and an ABV that wields quite a punch. I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 - Pours a very dark brown to black color with a huge three finger tannish head. There is quite a bit of lacing. The aroma is huge, coffee, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, vanilla, nutty, creamy, cinnamon, nutmeg. The taste up front is creamy vanilla, coffee, toffee, bitter chocolate, roasted malts, bitter dry on the back end.

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Photo of Eman17
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark black with tints of brown when held up to light. A solid finger head with a nice tan color that dissipated pretty quickly.

S: Beautiful, reminded me a lot of the '14 BCBCS, tons of coffee, chocolate, malts, very roasty. Not too much vanilla going on.

T: It didn't hold up as well as I thought it would considering the aromas but still very good. Obviously very malty, tons of coffee with some chocolate. Not getting much vanilla at all but hints came as it warmed. Also, a slight bitterness with the finish.

M: Very nice, not too heavy or too light, with light carbonation.

O: Very nice porter, the aromas are fantastic but had me overly ecstatic for the beer. Great coffee flavors despite not getting too much vanilla. Overall a very good coffee porter.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't had too much bad luck with Ballast Point stuff so let's give this Porter stuff a go. Seems like this bomber's a good candidate for the Portsmouth snifter, so that's what we'll do once I give it a few minutes to warm up.

Pours a slightly translucent Coke/espresso brown. Head is peanut colored but fades very quickly. Lacing is sparse, carbonation is...well, this is more opaque than I thought, so I can't really see squat for carbonation in the body. Not exceptionally viscous.

First thought of comparables? Founder's Breakfast Stout or Porter. This has a great coffee component here. The vanilla element is thankfully a little understated but it works very nicely - a little bitter alcoholic sting to it which is good. Copious, HUGE quantities of smooth roasted malt with little evidence of patent tannins. Hops seem to make a nice complement in their grassiness with maybe a dash of pine. This shows a hell of a lot of promise.

BOOM! The coffee is powerful as the smell at Starbucks. Malt is huge; patent tannins come about but only sparingly; the mellow dark-roasted malts carry the day. Vanilla is understated but shows up more on the slightly boozy finish. Slight dryness - not so much slate but maybe a hint of charcoal dust. Did I mention this was powerful? Slightly peanutty taste, too. Grassy hops cut the alcohol and coffee just enough to balance this and dry it out a bit. This still has warming to do but it's rich and borderline incredible.

Maybe it's the sweetness of the vanilla, the alcohol and the non-tannic dark malts imparting more of a bittersweet chocolate flavor, but this is a very smooth porter. None of that clamminess and slight metal that I get from so many porters that have a real "stout envy" complex. This is the real deal. Rolls smooth on the palate and down the hatch with a slight peanut saltiness and finishes strong and very creamy...especially for something lacking a huge viscosity. There is balance in abundance, which is some of my favorite kinds of balance. As it warms, the saltiness, booze and dark slate give it an additional kick that's not unpleasant but gives a not-so-gentle reminder of the strength of this beast.

Wow - this is a great example of both the style and the imperial nature of a big beer. It's strong enough to show all its colors but not so over-the-top that it hits like a sledgehammer. Having said that, it's a big pour and I will probably savor it over a couple of hours in a self-preservation move, 'cause this horse kicks wicked hard (Edit: I changed my mind. Warm this up and it drinks wayyy too quickly for its weight class.). Very well-constructed effort from the crew that brought us Sculpin.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a chalice. No freshness dating.

Looks great. Jet black body, oatmeal colored head, excellent lacing

Aroma is dominantly coffee. and more coffee.

Solid roasted malt taste. Good coffee flavor, only a hint of vanilla. Alcohol very well hidden, only a faint burn at the back of the throat. Roasted aftertaste.

Good honest full mouth on this one.

Overall, a very tasty beer to enjoy slowly.

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Photo of m_hall
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz longneck into a nonic pint. Black with just the faintest of brown highlighting around the very edge of the glass under illumination. Topped with a dense two-finger tall light brown head that falls away slowly. Lacing is very good.

Nose has very big notes of vanilla beans, with coffee and a hint of caramel. Barely smells like beer, but smells great anyway.

Flavor is much as the nose would suggest right up front- vanilla and black coffee tones, that progress into dark roasted malts, toffee and bittersweet chocolate. These sweet-er notes come much more to the fore as the beer warms. The finish is long and dry, with a pleasing espresso-like bitterness.

Mouth-feel is big, sticky, and chewy, on the girth-y side for a Porter. This is definitely a 'sipping' beer, even with the big flavors doing a pretty good job limiting the 10% ABV hit to just a gentle warmth.

Victory at sea is a great beer for fans of "big" beers... The sheer size of this beer rivals quite a few Stouts. The flavor profile here isn't necessarily complex, opting instead for a focused set of huge notes, well balanced with each other and delivered with tremendous feel in the mouth.

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Photo of CosmoHopHead
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured black as night with almost no head at all.

S: smells wonderful. like yummy vanilla coffee from your favorite coffee shop. BIG aroma!

T: tastes like smells actually. Coffee comes through a little more when drinking but you can still sense the vanilla.

M: silky smooth and velvety. A little heavy with good carbonation.

D: A sipper but drinkable for 10% abv. As it warms up in the glass it tasted even better. Would love to get another bottle for the winter time.

Would definitely buy again and very much recommend.

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Photo of DrewskiWhit
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A deep brown/black pour. 1/4 finger head which dissipated to a thin ring. Lots of legs. Really nice looking porter

S coffee notes right away with lots of roasty notes and tons of chocolate characters. Smells excellent.

T basically a chocolate and vanilla milk shake with coffee. The chocolate taste and bitterness is more of a hersheys milk chocolate. A bit of smokiness. Really good. long lingering chocolate coffee aftertaste.

M for a porter I thought this mouth feel was perfect. Not hugely thick like a stout but just right for what it is.

O a really really good porter. This thing has huge milk chocolate and cocoa flavors. The coffee balances it out nicely. The alcohol is detectable but still a very nice beer.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into handblown tulip glasses.
Pours a very nice dark chocolate with a minimal roasted molasses colored head.
Smell was nice, coffee, some sweet vanilla notes, dankness, roasted malts.
Taste was intense, delicious. A very nice combination of coffee, vanilla, alcohol forward.
Mouthfeel was really nice. Not too think, just enough to chew on with minimal carb.
Ballast Point continues to impress me with incredibly high quality beers that are readily available nation wide.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at Meridian Point on a cool and rainy afternoon.

Don’t let the big vanilla/chocolate nose drive you away from this well balanced imperial porter. An immediate favorite. It will interesting to see how this one holds up to the competition over time.

A – Pours black with a small brown head that quickly dissipates. A good swirl brings it back. Better lacing than expected based on the low head retention.

S – A big nose of chocolate/vanilla. Swirl this beer to find the other aromas of complex alcohols and coffee.

T – A rich beer of coffee, some black licorice, low vanilla/chocolate compared to aroma, with a medium roasty bitterness that balances the richness. Hides its high ABV very well.

MF – Medium bodied, slightly sharp, thinner than expected based on the richness of taste. Some silky smoothness if you get a gulp of foam.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Weibull for sending this as a kicker.

A: Just about black with some brown around the edges. Minimal white head.

S: Coffee and vanilla right up front. No surprises there. Tons of roast as well. A touch of chocolate as it warmed up.

T: Coffee and vanilla. The chocolate is right behind though. Tons of vanilla in the middle. Very complex.

M: Light bodied for the style.

D: Amazingly drinkable for a beer this big. Very nice all around.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,352 ratings.
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