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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:
1,347
Ratings:
6,552
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,072
Gots:
2,074
For Trade:
94
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,347 | Ratings: 6,552
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cbeer88 for this one. Poured in to Founder's tulip glass.

A - Poured dark black with one finger of bubbly espresso coloured head that quickly disappeared.

S - Bitter dark roasted coffee up front that dominates the nose. A touch of sweetness in the background but the vanilla is not specifically evident in the nose. Somewhat one dimensional nose.

T - Dark roasted coffee, brown sugar, roasted malts and a touch of vanilla. As the beer warms the coffee becomes less dominant and the the roasted malts and vanilla become more evident but the coffee remains the predominant flavour.

M - Medium body, light carbonation.

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Photo of Sideswipe
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barley and Hops.

Victory at Sea arrives in a pint glass. The beer is pitch black with a finger of tan head. The foam recedes leaving wisps of beige bubbles atop the beer and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma of fresh ground coffee beans wafts up from the glass. A closer whiff reveals hints of roasted malt, but the coffee overpowers it for the most part. Flavors of coffee and a huge vanilla presence dominate the palate. Sweet, roasted malt is detectable in the background, but the emphasis clearly is on the coffee and vanilla. The finish is semi-sweet wih a lingering aftertaste of... Yep.... Coffee and vanilla. VaS is full bodied, especially for a porter, with a nice, medium level of carbonation. The 10% ABV is quite well hidden by the exquisite melding of coffee vanilla and roasted malt flavors. Overall, a very tasty offering from Ballast Point. Reminiscent of a drink one might order at Starbuck's, but with bubbles and a bit of a kick to it . I enjoy this one every time I have it. Recommended.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Split a bomber with beer buddy Phil. Live review.

Pours dark with ruby hues showing through when place infront of a light. Nice dark mocha colored head. Not a lot of lacing.

Cold vanilla and a blast of coffee on the nose. This is exciting.

Lots of coffee up front. As the coffee dissipates, the vanilla emerges tentatively. Roasted malts, bitter chocolate round this masterpiece out. Hint of alcohol in there as well.

Really smooth mouthfeel. Not heavy by any means, and certainly does not feel anywhere near 10%. Incredibly well crafted beer.

Overall I'd climb over your mother to get this beer. This beer has been sitting in my fridge for maybe 2 years? Absolutely incredible beer. It was a stretch not to give it full 5s.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea pours black into the glass with a small off white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a ring around the surface leaving behind a few spots of lace on the glass.

The rich malty aroma is full of coffee, chocolate, toffee and roasted malt.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is smooth, creamy with a moderate carbonated fizz. The flavor is sweet with rich notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee, roasted malt, nuts and pine. It finishes dry with a lingering chocolate flavor.

This is a very tasty beer that hides it's 10% abv well. The bottle I opened has been in my refrigerator for a year and it aged very well.

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Photo of samie85
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep dark black color with a few fingers of dark brown head.

S-Smells of fresh roasted coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of vanilla, and a bit of cocoa.

T-Roasted, dark coffee with some vanilla robust dark chocolate with lots of roast on the finish.

M-Rich, smooth body with ample carbonation that cuts through some of the richness of this one and a bit of alcohol warmth on the finish.

D-Pretty drinkable for 10%, that being said, there is an alcohol presence to this one that isn't entirely unwelcome.

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Photo of aasher
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of thagr81us in a recent massive trade. Thanks Calton! I've been wanting to try this forever.

It pours a dark, dark, dark brown in color, medium in body, with a light beige lacing around my snifter. The aromas are an array of soft chocolates, toffee, lightly roasted malts, vanilla, coffee with cream, with a subtle sweetness. Surprisingly there is no bitterness on the nose at all. The flavors consist of sweet milk chocolate, lightly creamed coffee, dark chocolate, light vanilla bean, chocolate milk, and it finishes with a slight coffee bitterness. It's really smooth and moderately rich. It's sweet but not too sweet. Overall it's a very, very nice beer and a hell of a porter. The alcohol isn't overly present and it's a fine beer to sip on. This is another well made beer from Ballast point and worth your while.

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Photo of mltobin
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this over in Westchester NY.

Appearance is dark black with a short tan head. The nose of this imperial porter contains chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Vanilla really came out more than I expected in the aroma. For the taste, a fair amount of roasted malts are present, coffee and vanilla. Mouthfeel on this offering from Victory leans towards full with a velvet texture. If you have had some of Ballast Point`s ipas but not this one, you need to check it out, solid quality.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the cellar for almost a year but couldn't take him staring back at me each time I passed him over for another. Pours a beautiful black ale with a brown fluffy head. Stays for awhile and then turns to a thin layer. Great vanilla in the smell. Simply awesome with a background of milk chocolate and Hershey's syrup. I could smell this all day. It's that good. Nice roasty flavor with some bitter chocolate, espresso hints and some smokiness on the swallow. Not getting much vanilla in the taste but the coffee charachter really comes out as it warms. I thought the mouthfeel was a little too carbonated for my liking but that was only a slight "problem" with this amazing brew. Overall I am a forever fan of this brew and look forward to his release again. And the 10% must be a misprint. Much too easy to consume and sharing may be difficult. Great job!

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Photo of Spider889
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to bobertkuekn for allowing me to cross this want off my list. Hope we can meet up at a future Jackie O's Release!

2010 vintage.

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. The beer was thick and black, and at first a head seemed to be merely a wish... so I upped the ante (and the height of my pour) by about 6 inches and suddenly, whooosh! Up rose a tall head. It lasted a couple minutes then receded, leaving an amazing blanket of lace on the glass, and a very short cap of foam which resembled sushi roe on the edge of the glass the way the bubbles stacked up.

Smells awesome. From the aroma at least, the coffee hasn't faded at all. Deep, rich cold coffee mingles with the wonderful sweet chocolate aromas of the porter. The base porter is a great beer in its own right. Vanilla is subtle, but I can certainly pick it out.

Smooth and decadent. Really folks, this is all that needs to be said. The beer is sumptuous and unctuous... seriously, all I can think about are foodie terms to describe this beer. The coffee is the forerunner in the flavor department - it is silky and robust. Very potent despite the age on this bottle, I can only imagine what this beer is like fresh. Layers and layers of chocolate fudge, truffle powder, coffee, vanilla, and dark sweet chocolate rush at your palate like the waves of an advancing army... an army that knows it has already won. The aftertaste is quite bitter. This guy is pretty well hopped up. Not a bad thing, but just another surprise given the age of the bottle.

The mouthfeel is extremely sensual as well. Smooth and velvety, the beer is thick and chewy. All the while, this one is simultaneously delicate and clean.

Overall worth every bit of the hype. I saw on the Ballast Point website that they must have done some one-off casks of barrel-aged and rum-aged Victory at Sea. Guys, bottle the stuff. It must have been amazing!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Central PA crew for sending this as part of the Gang Bang BIF.

A: pours a deep dark brown, dark brown head, creamy appearance, opaque

S: vanilla comes on strong followed by sturdy roasted profile, coffee is faint...seems to have faded a bit

T: well never mind about the coffee fading... that is the first thing I taste. This is countered with delicate notes of vanilla and roasted barley. Things get a little sweet at the end.

MF: medium body, medium carbonation

O: I can't think of a much better combo then coffee, vanilla, and stout. This brew pulls it off nicely, would love to try it fresh.

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Photo of beerdweeb
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed many times with dessert and at the end of the night. My favorite Imperial Porter by far.

A: Dark with chocolate milk head

S: Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and delicious vanilla

T: This is where it's at for me in this beer. Coffee and chocolate up front with a lingering vanilla finish. Perfect.

M: Silky and smooth. Coats the tongue a little and lets the flavors soak in.

O: Love this beer. Could drink it every day.

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Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour yields a smallish head with dissipates rapidly, leaving a thin creamy band behind. Lacing is thin and not very clingy. Beer is black and totally opaque. Smell is muted, with roast notes, subtle vanilla, and mostly, fresh coffee. Vanilla is faint in the tasting, with coffee coming in stronger and appealing roasty, burnt notes dominating.

Mouthfeel is nice, with just a little syrupy cling, medium carbonation, and medium to thin body. Finish is moderately long with some bitterness; doesn't stick around too long. Dryer than expected.

Nice dessert beer, although the flavors seem a bit muted. No bottle dating makes this one a toss up; although I'm certain it's at least a few months old. Would like to try a fresher bottle. Won't be dropping another 10 bucks for an undated bomber, however. BP beers are awesome, but lack of bottle dating and high prices make them a bit of a crapshoot on the east coast.

I will be visiting the brewery in December and look forward to trying all of their beers at their freshest!

EDIT: Have returned to this beer a few times and gotten much fresher bottles; this one is really delicious when the vanilla and coffee are bright and vivid.

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Photo of amphion1065
2.99/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bomber purchased in 2011, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A really fantastic-looking beer. Pour is very dark brown, almost black. A two-finger mocha head (that is, appropriately enough, reminiscent of cappuccino foam) just won't go away. Very tight bubbles, great retention. Awesome lacing, too.

Tons of of roast coffee in the nose. Those roasted malts are very, very strong. There's a pretty clear alcohol element in the nose as well. Just a very slight hint of vanilla. Nice, if one-dimensional.

Unsurprisingly, the taste is basically all coffee. There's a persistent, acrid bitterness that really lingers. Thought there's not a lot of vanilla at work here, there is definitely a pronounced boozy taste. Some dark fruits, but that burnt coffee quality is overpowering.

The mouthfeel is too thin, with overactive carbonation. This really needs to settle down.

I remember loving the first bottle of Victory at Sea I tasted - a friend had brought one back to Boston from San Francisco back in February, and I can still recall both smelling and tasting caramel in this beer. This was just average, and I'm not sure that age is to blame given the fact that the coffee was so strong. A let down for me.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap (2010)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

(Aged 1 year)

Jet black, shiny, with a thin light brown cap. Sheets of lacing down the glass. Thick and menacing.

Roasted malt, lots and lots of rich coffee, and some faint vanilla round out the nose. Complete and decadent aroma.

The flavors are a wrestling match between the rich, creamy, yet bitter coffee, and sweet, earthy vanilla. It's a wonderful wrestling match I'm happy to referee. Delicious, and in my opinion, better than the barrel aged nitro version.

Medium to thick bodied.

A vibrant, delicious, balanced, big, big stout. Lots of vanilla, coffee, and roast battle it out big time--good thing they're all delicious.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.59/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Victory At Sea, vintage '08 or '09

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with modest light brown head that leaves little in the way of lacing. 

S: Milk chocolate and dry roasted maltiness. Earth, honey, vanilla and coffee bring up rear. Honestly, Ballast Point Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter smells like one of those iced coffee drinks from Starbuck's that has a ridiculously long name. 

T: Sweet milk chocolate and roasted malts mingle on palate before vanilla joins in. The vanilla tastes extracted. Coffee has faded and reminds me of the last cup after dwelling over the Sunday newspaper a little too long. Medium- high bitterness. Finish is bitter chocolate and coffee. 

M: Relatively big body and medium-light carbonation. Somewhat oily and mouthcoating. 

O: BPVASCVIP was one of the first beers for which I traded and that I loved. I'm sure this beer has lost a step or two after a couple years in my cellar, but it wasn't bad by any means. Recommended, but consume it within 18 months of bottling. 

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 0z bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- One finger tan head dissipates quickly decent lacing, dark black, when held up to the light you cannot see through it.
S- Big coffee/espresso aroma, nice chocolate aroma as well, nice roasted notes, roasted malts.
T- Every sip is really smooth, the coffee flavor is delicious with hints of chocolate and vanilla, very balanced.
M- Medium/big, perfect amount of carbonation for this beer, a bit sticky, really smooth velvety finish.
O- Really impressed with this beer, huge coffee presence that goes down very smooth. This is a very tasty easy drinking brew, really impressed.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured my last bottle of the most recent batch that made it up to the Bay Area probably 7-8 months ago. Poured into a tulip at about 50 degrees.

Poured with a good two fingers of tan, espresso like head, super fine, can't even really see the bubbles in the head at all. The body of the beer itself is completely opaque, even when held to a light source. The retention is not great, but the small ring of head does maintain itself rather nicely. Lacing is a lot better than when I've had it on tap.

Wow, the aromas wafting out of the glass are completely ridiculous. Hardcore coffee with some vanilla and a whole lot of dark chocolate. There's quite a lot of roast too. Undeniably amazing smell here. Every time I revisit this beer I expect it to underwhelm for some reason and every single time it impresses instead, especially in this department.

Tastes great too, everything from the smell, and aging this bottle a good number of months seems to have balanced out the normally rather heavy hand of vanilla into a nice balance with the coffee. This beer should theoretically be sweeter than I like, but there's such a good amount of roast that counterbalances the somewhat faded vanilla to make a delicious treat. Little to no alcohol flavor at all, little to no hop presence.

The mouthfeel is as good as it gets, a perfect consistency. The carbonation level is pretty mellow and just perfect for the style. Feels full in body and velvety in the mouth, can't be improved.

Overall this is just such a foreign experience from beginning to end. It's hard to explain because other breweries have used these types of ingredients in their beers, but nothing quite tastes like this one. The vanilla and coffee are at the forefront, but in a very nice balance, especially when aged for a little bit. I don't know how a company that can make such fantastic IPAs can also score such a success with a malt-dominant beer, but they do. Hats off to Ballast Point.

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Photo of SkiBum22
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very opaque, can't see any light through it. One finger light brown, mocha colored head. Decent head for such a strong beer.

S - Big coffee, vanilla and roasted malt notes off the bat. A little caramel too. I get a little of the alcohol but not too much.

T - Up front some very nice caramel notes, some breadiness, and some dark fruits. On the back end big roasted coffee notes and a lot of vanilla. The vanilla and the coffee play very well of each other.

M - Very creamy and smooth. A tiny alcohol burn. But overall a great mouthfeel for a porter.

O - This is my favorite porter by far. I wish Ballast Point released it more often.

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Photo of stxSS07
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. Split with lookitsmp

A- Pours a near-black with a 1 finger espresso-colored head that hangs around forever. Leaves great lacing and nice alcohol legs.

S- Sweet vanilla notes and a huge coffee background. Some roasted malts in there as well with a hint of booze.

T- Starts with huge waves of vanilla and coffee followed up by a roasted malt note and a small tinge a booze at the end. Fantastic.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation that lets the flavors linger just long enough.

O- The second best porter I've had behind Black Butte XXI. Amazing depth of flavors made possible by the contrasting vanilla/chocolate/coffee.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to cbeer88 and Gushue3 for hooking me up!

This pours black as night, with a rich, foamy dark tan head of a finger +. Lacing is great and retention is very good. The aroma is intense! Raw coffee beans/black coffee is a huge contributor, along with big vanilla notes and and equally large roasted malt character. There's a slight char on the nose, some small contributions from chocolate and molasses. Tastes more like espresso, big woody vanilla notes, dark chocolate, huge roasted notes, slightly bittersweet to balance out the sweetness. Body is full, creamy and finishes clean, with only a bit of bittersweet linger. No alcohol to note in the aroma or taste, which adds to this already dangerously drinkable brew!

Fantastic. I've bought, traded for, eventually traded and extra'd each one of these that has crossed my path...absolutely wonderful to have finally cracked one for myself!

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Photo of AdamBear
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-black with a thick tan head with good lacing

S-smells strong of creamy coffee. great smell.

T-oh boy oh boy...this comes in with a strong and unmistakable taste of vanilla and coffee. its a great full flavored taste that lasts and becomes an after-taste almost as strong as the initial hit...and it lasts for a long time. this beer is beautiful. i'm really impressed that the vanilla really comes through in this one. most beers i've experienced that claim to have vanilla don't have a lot of vanilla taste to them.

M-creamy medium carbonation with a good heavy finish

O-few beers do i want to savor as much as i wanted to savor this. i found myself so excited every time i went to take a sip....10% ??? i think not...it drinks more like 5%...this beer is just about everything you could ever want in your porter. i can't wait to find this again some day.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the generous BA Soonami. This one was allowed to warm a good bit before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Victory at Sea pours a solid black, with a tan head that comes up to between two and three fingers in height. There's a decent amount of lacing left behind, and the foam takes its time in inching down the side of the glass. The nose is almost perfectly balanced. There's some sweet milk chocolate that's neck and neck with strong coffee in terms of flavors standing out. I think a lot of porters and stouts sometimes overdo it on roasty grain notes, but this beer is notable for it's pretty much complete lack of any. I actually wish there was a little bit of roast to give the nose more of an edge, but that's really nitpicking. That superior balance isn't found in the flavor, for the most part. Coffee jumps out and dominates any chocolaty notes on my palate. As the beer finishes approaching room temperature, the coffee and vanilla bean influences finally begin to even out again, but it's a bit too late to make this a truly great beer. The carbonation is appropriately subdued, but I expect a rich and full body from a 10% porter, and this one just doesn't deliver on that front. Victory at Sea is a very good beer, and one that I would gladly come back to, but it's just a step below true greatness.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got this awesome beer from Beerdy. Thanks Brien! can't wait to try this beer!

Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Dark black beer with a dark mocha brown head. Super thick lacing sticks on side of the glass and a thick cap of tiny yet dense bubbles remains on top this awesome looking brew.

Smell: Roasty malts and massive coffee aromas. The vanilla is still pretty easy to find, but is not a strong as the coffee.

Taste: Upfront you get a strong coffee taste that has a bite to it. The bitterness recedes about mid taste and vanilla takes over; it is subtle yet still has a nice sweetness to balance the coffee. Milk chocolate, mild booze, and a mild bitterness returning in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This is a huge porter! Medium bodied beer with a silky feel to it. I am really amazed at just how well this beer has held up the carbonation is spot on for a porter! The vanilla accents the booze in the beer and the beers has a slightly boozey bite. I wonder what this beer was like fresh. It is a well made beer!

Overall: This is without a doubt the best Ballast Point beer that I have had! This is the only bottle of this beer that I have; looks like I will be trading to get more! Everything is really nice in this porter; great balance without any ingredients overpowering the other and I still has a bite. Which shows me this beers is still a bad ass!

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a thick black looking brew. I was pretty surprised because I would have said this was a stout just by looking at it. The smell of the beer was roasted with a few faint notes of vanilla. The taste of the beer was full of coffee flavors with a subtle aftertaste of vanilla dryness. The mouthfeel is lighter than I thought it'd be judging by the look of the beer. Overall though, I think this beer is quite good. I would drink this one again if I happen to stumble upon it.

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Photo of thedindaniel
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this beer many times now but recently snatched up a bottle since it's been months from the last time I've seen it. Beer is a very dark brown, almost black with off white lacing, good amount of head but not very foamy. Scent is strong coffee beans with a hint of vanilla sweetness. Taste is very similar to scent but is dominated by a combo ofthe coffee, hop bitterness and the roasted malts, vanilla is present and tho not overwhelming seems to shine in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel has a nice amount of carbonation and the beer has a medium body, could be heavier for my tastes but doesn't hurt the beer, probably helps with the drinkability.

Overall, this beer is a great after dinner sipper. I can see myself drinking this by the fireplace around the holidays. Wish it was cheaper but understand why it isn't what with Ballast Point using coffee from a reputable local cafe and real vanilla. Seek it out if you haven't had it and hold on to a few when u need a break from the loved ones in the winter.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,347 ratings.
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