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:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,075
Gots:
2,086
For Trade:
92
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,352 | Ratings: 6,582
Photo of bobhits
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

With big dark beers I l like to hold them up to the sun or in this case a white screen on my computer monitor (poor sun light coming into this room). IMO a great stout should be even from the bottle near to jet black. A porter however you expect a bit more ruby hues coming through and this one nails it. A nice tan head with a surprising amount of lacing just to finish things off. I shoulda read more before buying this one....10% isn't really what I was looking for at 4 pm but heck it's final 4 time in about 2 hours, just pre gaming.

There's a certain sweet and soft nature that porters almost always create. Given the difference in a porter and a stout is often just the whimsy of a brewer i find this interesting. Vanilla really comes through as does chocolate and coffee. There malt isn't overly roasted or toasted and the vanilla helps give it this nice soft finish.

Rich, complex, just a wonderful beer. I'm not even sure where to start. The soft notes of malt and hints of vanilla hit the tongue first giving an almost caramel and light roast effect. The beer then quickly turns dark to chocolate and and vanilla bean sweetness. The finish is bitter coffee with enhancement form coffee. This roast coffee lingers in the mouth for what seems like forever after a sip if complete.

The mouth feel is velvety and dense. Imperial for sure.

This is just great beer. I'm not sure I like the vanilla as much as others. It just seems out of place and to be honest it has never been a good thing when a beer mentions vanilla on the label. Still world class and up there with the best of the best.

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

Pours very black, but has a tinge of coffee color against the light. takes some effort to produce head and what's there dissipates to leave very little on top of the drink. Aroma starts out with lots of caramel and a hint o licorice/anise. The Porter malt is strong with this one. Some chocolate and vanilla notes with a hint of oak. Sweet vanilla flavor fades quickly to bitter dark roast coffee. Dark chocolate follows and finishes bitter. Vanilla is in there the whole while, lingering. I got some tobacco in there too. Amazingly smooth for the ABV, the finish is dry.

This is one of my favorite porters. Complex and flavorful, I thought this was surely barrel aged at first. Adding chocolate and vanilla is a delicate process, which is why I like BA beers more. All this is to say that the flavors blend well together and are not overbearing. The ABV is very deceiving, too. You notice it when you stand up, not when you drink it.

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Photo of warnerry
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a impenetrable deep brown/black with over two fingers of creamy tan head with great retention. The glass is covered with lacing.

S - Strong coffee aroma with lots of vanilla and cocoa. Also a hint of cola and a bit of cream in the aroma.

T - Taste starts out creamy and slightly sweet, quickly transitioning to slightly acidic coffee, with cocoa and vanilla. Finish is dry, somewhat earthy and bitter with some noticeable alcohol. Overall coffee is the most prominent flavor.

M - Medium/full creamy mouthfeel that turns bitter midway through and stays bitter through the finish.

O - Excellent imperial porter. Huge coffee presence with nice cocoa and vanilla. Bitterness comes close to being too much, but doesn't cross that line. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As black a porter as I've ever seen, or at least extreme dark brown. Head isn't huge but it's remarkably fluffy and creamy while it lasts. All kinds of tan lace hangs onto the glass.

Aroma on par with Southern Tier's Jahva in terms of pure coffee-laden malt explosion. Vanilla tones do sneak through but it's really more about the coffee balancing (very nicely, I have to add) with the bold malt presence.

The taste, oh yes, the taste. What I probably like most about this beer is that despite being an adulterated porter, it never loses its porter-ness. The roasty tones and easy drinking quality of a good porter are here in full, and only enhanced by the gourmet coffee character embedded in every fiber of the beer. A quick snap of hoppy brightness in each sip betrays the brewery's San Diego home base; vanilla is here but merely supportive. Probably would have given this a perfect "5" for taste if the vanilla were just a smidgen more assertive.

Finish leaves that wonderful taste of very high-quality coffee in your mouth, nearly indistinguishable from having actually just had a sip of ultra-good joe; texturally it's smooth and somewhere between light- and medium-bodied; carbonation is minimal; 10% alcohol is...really, this is 10% alcohol? It's hardly noticeable.

Ballast Point comes up with another winner. No wonder this is so highly rated. Hugely pleasurable and drinkable, but I can't help wonder how a stout version of Victory At Sea might pan out...

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Photo of puboflyons
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 17, 2015.

The pour is a deep mahogany brown with reddish-brown hues around the edges and a modest tan head that fades.

Rich aroma of coffee and vanilla beans as promised but I also pick up some kind of cherry fruit character lurking beneath it all. Low to no hops on the nose.

Medium but soft and smooth body.

Caramel sweetness and coffee grinds in the flavor but the bitterness is quite forward toward the end.

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Photo of nataku00
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber shared with a friend, poured into a shaker pint. Very dark brown, bordering on black, with some lighter shades of brown at the edges when held up to the light. Finger of dark brown frothy head that leaves a lot of nice lacing as the head dissipated to a collar around the edges of the surface. Looks to be well carbonated as it is very easy to swirl and reform a finger's worth of head.

Nose is dark roasted malt, black coffee, and a little caramel malt. I don't get too much vanilla on the nose, but the rest of the aromas are nice and strong and smells great.

Taking a sip, dark roasted malt and bitter coffee right away, melting away into sweeter malts, caramel, wheat bread. A slight hint of vanilla on the back of the tongue, so perhaps that component has faded somewhat.

Light to medium body, smooth small bubble carbonation that's pretty common for a porter. For a 10% abv beer, the alcohol is very well hidden by smooth and balanced flavors.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Been trying to get this beer for ages! Thank you NYC!

A great dark coffee brown head forms so nicely and evenly foamy, rich looking, and dense. Body color is a classic dark brown walnut and doesn't even look like light gets through this thing at all. Aggressive looking, big. Looks wonderful.

Nose is coffee and cream with a nice balance. Some dark rolling malts and a hint of piped smoke. Smells like a great coffee beer is coming.

Palate hits with the wonder of the nose, but there's a catch. Rolling coffee notes mix with a nice light body and dark malts, but even a catch of fizz. Vanilla comes in a bit, but it comes off as a bit acidic and even slightly sour vanilla. Finish leaves a nice mix of all flavors, very VERY well balanced and not even hot or boozy for 10%.

Overall the palate is quite good, with just a slight minor flaw. But it drinks so well, great brew.

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received in a trade with Jophish. Thanks Joe!

A: Black with brown highlights and a thick white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Thick roasted malts, with some coffee and a little chocolate showing through. Nice dark chocolate cake effect. Not as sweet or vanilla-heavy as expected.

T: Roasted coffee, light chocolate, and vanilla. As it warms, vanilla becomes more prominent with a little sweetness, bringing chocolate tort to mind. There's a slight alcohol bite, but for the most part, it's pretty well covered. Finishes with a lengthy coffee bitterness and roasted malt combination.

M: Medium to thick with moderate carbonation. Finishes quite dry.

I received this beer late 2009, so am guessing that it has dried out a bit from what it started as. But as far as I can tell, time hasn't hurt it much as the coffee and vanilla are still very evident. This is a great beer and I'll definitely jump at the chance to grab it should I come across it in the future.

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Photo of Ninjabrew
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black one of the darkest I've had. Honestly one of the best looking beers I've had but I can't rate black a 5.

S: Dark semi-sweet chocolate with something else I can't place.

T: Very good with a lot going on. Bittersweet start and a herbal hop finish. Too much going on here for me to pick everything out.

M: TOP NOTCH! I don't normally notice the mouthfeel too much but this beer nailed it. I has carbonation but the bubbles seam smaller than other beers making it feel like there is more liquid than others.

O: Very good!

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass, dark brown almost black with a large tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: huge coffee and vanilla, dark toasty malts, slightly sweet, imagine a French vanilla cappuccino

T: very sweet up front with big flavors of vanilla, flavor profile moves towards bitter coffee, nice hop bitterness at the end mixes with warming alcohol

M: thick and oily, lower carbonation

O: an excellent beer that is on the sweet side, nice for dessert

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Photo of grub
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viggo shared this treat. thanks eric!

22oz bottle. sampled july 1/09.

pours deep dark brown, not quite black, with a few pale brown highlights around the edges. the layer of dense brown head drops slowly and always seems to maintain at least a ring around the glass. spotty lace.

aroma is great. dark and milk chocolate. coffee. vanilla. caramel and toffee. bit of butterscotch. toasted whole wheat bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. light alcohol. nice light sweetness. bit of earthy character too.

taste is great. black coffee. dark and milk chocolate. vanilla. warming alcohol. caramel and toffee. nice light sweetness. just a touch of roast, but it comes across more as coffee and chocolate. dark toasted whole wheat bread. biscuit. bit of cracker. just under medium bitterness level, again more coffee and chocolate than hoppy.

mouthfeel is good. fairly big body. just under medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. excellent balance. the alcohol feels a bit warm at first, but it mellows out as it warms. nice depth and complexity. love the coffee and vanilla, really complimenting the base beer. vanilla is often overdone, but this one is just right to me. great stuff.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bomber served in a snifter glass.

pours an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy khaki toned head that slowly recedes into a collar around the glass; nice walls of lacing. all around great looking imperial st- ah, porter.

nose opens with an unmistakable coffee presence, followed by roasted malts and chocolate, some vanilla. reminds me a little of founders breakfast stout. aroma characters largely pull through in the taste with plenty of coffee and roasted malts, but the vanilla is a bigger player here... coffee and a touch of caramel... slight bitterness to the finish. overall, a really tasty, dare i say delicious brew. well done.

smooth, velvety moutfeel... medium bodied, though a bit lighter than most similar-styled beers; appropriate carbonation. 10% ABV but it drinks so smooth, makes this one dangerously good.

originally reviewed: 11-26-2010

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, no date, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours black with some brown tinges, topped with a finger and a half of creamy tan head, leaves good lacing.

S- Huge roasted coffee aroma, burnt grains, some vanilla sweetness, but the roasted aroma is dominant.

T- Damn, loads of coffee flavor and absolutely charred, like burnt-to-a-crisp malt. Caramel and vanilla sweetness become prominent towards the finish. Roastedness actually produces a pretty considerable bitterness. Has a bit of cream flavor that lingers on the palate.

M- Medium-bodied, creamy, smooth feel, roastedness provides slight astringency.

O- A really nice beer, it's very drinkable, the 10% ABV doesn't make itself felt at all, definitely try this if you like real roasted beers.

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Photo of Rizalini
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a very deep, dark black color. No light can be seen thru this one. Nice creamy 2 finger, light brown head that slowly disipates leaving a beautiful lacing.

S - great vanilla aroma, big and rich! Can't wait to taste this one

T - the coffee really comes thru on the front, and the vanilla really rounds this one out very nicely. maybe even some slight chocolate note as well. a little alcohol taste in the end, but not overpowering.

M - medium-heavy mouthfeel. perfect amount of carbonation.

D - extremely drinkable for 10%! Im actually kinda glad I have this bomber to myself, so I can have 2 glasses.

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Photo of Jaysauras
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark, velvety, like a pepsi or coke look. Head is thick and creamy looking. As you would expect from a porter. Very sharp looking beer. Excellent head/lace.

S: Smells of rich coffee flavor, a hint of sweetness that accompanies a bowl of cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal. Also the distinct smell of oak or bourbon.

T: This is where the Victory at Sea really separates itself from other porters. Most are simplistic in a way. You get your coffee, your chocolate, and then you go about your business. Ballast Point has done a very strong job here in incorporating some more complex flavors. It is a touch boozy, but the way it works isn't overpowering. You get your typical and advertised flavors of Chocolate, Coffee, and Vanilla, but there is a wonderful rich undertone of nutmeg and cinnamon. It also has a hint of bourbon or whiskey. The best part is the finish, which blends a nice strong hoppy flavor of an IPA with a roasted malt and coffee bit. An undertone of vanilla still lingers. It is like S'mores meets alcohol meets Hershey's kisses. From beginning to end it takes you from sweet, to rich, to hoppy. An excellent combination from start to finish.

F: Chewy, sticky, but also crisp and boozy. A nice balance. For a 10%-er the booze is evident but not overpowering.

O: Tremendous. One of the best porters I've ever tasted. It goes above and beyond your standard porter. With rich tastes and textures it is a must try for those who appreciate a good solid stout, porter, or Imperial stout. It takes the standard flavor of a porter, which can be lazily applied to a plethora of brews, and expands upon them. It adds an element of complexity to the style while maintaining a lovely simplicity and loyalty to the popular style of American Porter.

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Photo of JamisonM
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2009

A: the body is black as night no light getting through with a tan head

S: Coffee with roasted notes and vanilla. Smells slightly sweet but not over the the top.

T: Great tasting beer! Big time coffee notes come though followed up with vanilla and some roasted notes. slightly sweet and finish a bit acidic. I think the vanilla really smooths the beer out. Alcohol is very well masked.

M: med mouth with med carbonation and very drinkable

O: Overall this is a very enjoyable beer and has aged very nicely a really well made craft beer.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark, almost black, tan head dissolves to ring. Light, somewhat clingy, soapy lacing.

S - Coffee and chocolate dominate, vanilla is muted. Roasted malt evident.

T - Yeah baby. An assault of coffee chocolate and vanilla, all corraled by a bitterness that leaves it near neutral. Wow.

M - Big, heavy, perfect carb, great balance.

D - It will F@#k you up, but you might be tempted anyway.

Great stuff!

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Photo of dank203
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

a top BA beer. pours dark brown to black with a khaki colored head. fresh coffee bean is attributed in the aroma as well as subtle vanilla. in the flavor, the vanilla is more present, its a sweet beer of vanilla, with bitter/roasty coffee notes. big dark beer

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear and oily black with a light brown mocha head. Very little lacing as the head fades, however the surface takes on the appearance of an artful latte presentation at a bistro.

Very pleasant aroma of freshly roasted coffee with some noticeable vanilla.

Semi-sweet chocolate is tamed by some light roasted malts. Caramel malt and some smoke flavors are also present. A dash of fresh brewed coffee is then followed up by vanilla sweetness that rounds out the taste. Alcohol is artfully masked, and hop bitterness builds to a level that is just shy of balancing out this malty brew. Bittersweet aftertaste. As far as I am concerned, this is a winning combination for imbibers who enjoy coffee and have a sweet tooth.

Creamy, medium/high carbonation with a medium body; slightly viscous and velvety smooth.

Very drinkable; dangerously so. Bittersweet aftertaste and mix of flavors that mesh very well make this a very palate enticing beer.

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Photo of AirBob
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Notes from 1/24/15

A - About 1 cm of coffee-milk brown head which settles to barely a collar. Deep black body even around the edges of the glass. Good legs but retention is weak.

S - Deep dark roasted coffee bean. Touch of vanilla and cocoa. Coffee is very dominant. Vanilla becomes more pronounced as it warms.

T - Follows the nose. Maybe some brown sugar. Boozy vanilla comes through. Coffee leaves a bitter finish.

M - Medium carb. Full bodied (oily). Bitter finish from the coffee. Tingly.

O - Vanilla does its best to balance out the coffee bitterness but its still a litter too bitter for my liking.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my CBS snifter

Thanks to Jebus3513 for the gift

Pours a deep chestnut, near black, with a frothy dark mocha cap. Great staying power with some prominent sip lines. Oily body as it sticks to the glass when swirled.

Vanilla knocks you back first. Roasted coffee, rolled oats, and some milk chocolate round out the nose. Sweetness overall with some bitterness from the roast. Pleasing.

The flavor profile follows the nose. Prominent vanilla with roast coffee and dry, flaky oats. The chocolate flavor mixes with everything else and gives a fudge-like flavor.

Fill body with low carbonation. This guy is smooth and drinks really easy. Little mixture of sweet and roast that lingers.

This is a damn fine porter. Full, well-realized flavor without being overly bold. One of the best I have had. Seek this out.

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Photo of Totalpackage411
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a great beer. As good as any porter I've had. A nice hint of vanilla with a rich coffee flavor. Highly recommend for anyone who likes porters or stouts.

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Photo of RedChrome
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pure onyx body. Thick and foamy toffee colored head held over and inch for about three minutes before slowly receding. To dark to note carbonation.

Roasted barley hits strong up front and brings a nice coating of vanilla with it. Coffee aroma is quite strong and bursts forth after a second on the nostrils.

Strong bitter coffee taste up front. Vanilla background to the overall flavor. A very nice balance between malt and vanilla sweetness and coffee bitter.

Thick feel on all mouth surfaces and flavor clings to the tongue. Carbonation is a nice light burst.

A great brew. Works well as a dessert beer. A true treat worth finding. Coffee lovers will enjoy this one twice as much.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of the generous trader known as russpowell. Thanks Russ!

This pours a near pitch black with about an inch of tan foam. The foam is receding fairly quickly and at this point there's some lacing.

The smell is very big vanilla! Vanilla and caramel malt sweetness. I can't say I smell any coffee at all...maybe that will change during the session.

The taste doesn't hide the coffee at all. Big flavourful notes of coffee and vanilla dominate and dominate in a very nice way. Very tasty. I get a light chocolate flavour as well with some caramel malt sweetness. Overall, the taste is ruled by bitterness but the malt and vanilla hang in there big time. Oh, there's the alcohol now, not so much in the taste but definitely gives a nice warming after the swallow.

It has a pretty thich chewy mouthfeel to it and the carbonation is on the light side but perfectly suited. At this point, the foam and lacing gone.

Drinkability? I'm not going to kid anyone and say I could drink this all night long but hell, it *is* damn drinkable for the strength of this monster and I think the collaberation between the vanilla and coffee works oh so well. A real treat to drink and one I'd look forward to trying again. Wonderful brew!

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Photo of feylure
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in from California last week and been wanting to try it.

Pours dark... like death dark with barely any brown around the edges.

Smell is intense; there's a lot going on here. Tons of lavish mocha and sweet, roasty malt everywhere.

Taste is a whiplash of flavor. Upfront, there are small notes of vanilla and sweetness, then during the middle is a rush of dark mocha + chocolate flavors. The tail leaves with the darkest and most intense of flavor. I love how this beer fades from light sweetness to extreme dark flavor.

Mouthfeel is full throughout.

This is a superb beer, and I wish it was more readily available up here.

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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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