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

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 1,405 | Ratings: 6,807
Photo of Benjolovesbeer
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Tastes just like it describes on the bottle: vanilla and coffee yet delivers some extra flavoring such as roasted malts, hints of toasted marshamellow, slightly smoked macadamia nuts, chocolate, and light boozy alcohol notes that warm the throat. For 10% abv it is very smooth, can barely taste the alcohol. It is more a breakfast stout than Founder's Breakfast stout. Also tastes more like a stout than a porter, but delicious nevertheless.
Poured into a goblet color is pitch black like a cold coffee with a creamy head that quickly diminished into a thin white line.
Aroma is of coffee and vanilla.
Body is medium filled with sweet sensations.
Perfect for Christmas morning, afternoon, or evening. Perfect for a snowy winter's day. Perfect beer on a day to stay home from work and enjoy before breakfast.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On-tap served in a pint glass at Wishbeer, Bangkok.

Very deep brown to almost black in color, it tops with very thick silky tan head that stands with great strength of retention. The head just slowly dissipates to an eternal foamy sheet on the surface and leaves plenty of refined lacing patch and spot along the way.

Coffee hits first through a nose then cocoa, dark chocolate, and very slight astringency. Malt with its big roasted, vanilla, biscuit, caramel, and some smokiness. Suggestion of slight citric hop too.

The taste is quite like the aroma with big malty sweetness of vanilla, bread, biscuit, and caramel but it is not too overwhelming since it is counterbalanced by solid roasted, smoky, and coffee profile as well as citric hop and bitterness.

Full body and super smooth mouthfeel throughout the palate with proper level of crispness and carbonation, finish is dry. Oh this Porter is truly a kill, it will never go wrong, very rich and luscious.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into Ocelot glass.

L: Completely dark, zero brightness even near edges when held up to light. 2F head, good retention, leaves lots of fluffy lacing and a cap and ring.

S: To no great surprise, a lot of coffee, some roasted and caramel malts, and a tiny bit of vanilla on the back end.

T: A lot of black coffee, roasted and caramel malts, but not enough to balance the bitterness and acidity. Just a hint of vanilla on the back end. No alcohol presence, which is pretty impressive.

F: Medium to a little bit more in the body, a bit chewy but not overthick. Light to medium carbonation, more than you would expect, but it keeps it from being syrupy and cloying. Balance a bit off as it finishes a bit too bitter. Construction good. Good job of controlling alcohol.

O: A solid coffee porter with good value, but I definitely am not with the world-class crowd on this one, especially if I compare it with something like Morning Bell by Kane.

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Photo of AustinWadkins
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with a thick brown head.
Smells of roasted coffee and vanilla
Taste includes lots of coffee with hints of vanilla to even it out. Finished off with a medium alcohol taste
I really love this beer! Deffinetly something I'll get again

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Photo of gbhilmerson
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer has been in the bottle for a little over seven months. Pours medium bodied with coffee colored head. Coffee and alcohol and some sweet dark fruit come through on the nose. On the palate, the coffee and the vanilla come through clearly on the front with a nice roasted malt/dark chocolate profile on the back. Dark fruit in the mix somewhere, plus a mild alcoholic heat.

Always a tasty beer.

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

Ballast Point Brewing "Victory At Sea"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, packaged on 4 OCT 2016 (via the Julian date on the bottom of the bottle) and sampled 13 DEC 2016
$2.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: This is not the first time I've had Victory At Sea. I had it on tap in San Diego a few years back. Or did I? I don't recall the alcohol being so clear. Hmm? I do remember thinking, however, that it was much more coffee-like (like opening a fresh bag of oily beans) than it was vanilla, and that remains. The vanilla is just a secondary note that helps to balance it, because let's face it, it is a pretty aggressive beer. It's strong, and it's completely saturated with coffee (one of the best coffee flavors I've ever had in a beer). There's an edge of dark roasted acidity to it, that along with the bitterness and alcohol brings it to an almost raspy finish. Note that I said almost. It's not quite there, but there's clearly enough that you'll know within the first quarter of the glass that this is not a beer to mess with. So is that good or bad? Depends on how you call it. Personally I think there's a time and place for every beer, and this one fits right in. But let's take a step back and cover the basics. Typical appearance. Opaque black-brown body with a thin edge of dark mahogany at the base of the glass. Creamy dark tan head. Decent head retention and lacing. Aroma of oily coffee beans. Roasty and nutty with a touch of pine but not much else. The flavor follows but adds some vanilla and coconut and heat from the alcohol, which brings us full circle. I'm actually finding a bit of heat at the back of the throat, but I don't recall that - I must have been asleep at the time! Haahaa! So where do I stand on this? Intense and aggressive beer, but not completely overdone... brilliant! The coffee and vanilla work together with the malt and hops and it all comes together in the end. Is it heavy handed? Yes, but that's part of the charm - if it was any less feisty it wouldn't have (no pun intended) the fire that it has, and it would just fall into a clump of similar vanilla/coffee porters. So what to do with it? Normally I might suggest this beer as a sipper after dinner, but I think it demands more than that. It's too full throttle to be a nightcap (unless you want to pass out ;), or just sit idly by in a snifter while you work through chapter 23 of Moby Dick. No, this is something else. Pair it up with a raunchy comedy-concert vid or action adventure flick. Or make it your one strong beer with a back yard BBQ (should go well with saucy ribs or a more refined steak). I think you get the idea.

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

Giant head- 3 inches or more- with visible carbonation flying up to replenish. Great retention. Thick and tan on top of a beautiful deep brown liquid. Great lacing too. Checks all the boxes for sure!

Delectable roast up front- not too dark, just perfect. Then a soft, herbal quality, a pleasant and light surprise, accompanied by what might even be the faintest touch of citrus. It works, trust me. Wondrous vanilla, bread, coffee again, and then some non-coffee roast flavors. Little chocolate. But the beautiful is in the name- some of the freshest coffee aromas I've ever encountered in beer, and the lovely, homely vanilla. I don't know which one makes me want a sip more. Together, I find myself willing to plunge my entire face into the glass. Injuries be damned.

First to the tongue is strong roast coffee- slightly acrid, even slightlier smoky, altogether wonderful. Quickly followed by the sweet and incredibly concentrated, but elegant, flavors of the vanilla. Herbal notes tickle, prickly coffee tones titillate mid-way. So damn fresh. Finish is the ubiquitous roast with some mellow bread. Mellow wasn't a way I would describe the beer until the exact moment I'm gulping down (and those malty tones coat the back of my throat and tongue). But now it's official. This beer has it all. Everything you could want- especially if you're a coffee junkie, or one of those people who takes a sip of the vanilla extract every time they bake a cake. Mid bitterness, mostly present on the finish. After is roast and vanilla, with chocolate building.

Mid-full body. Big and creamy but with prickly acidity as counterpoint. Kicks up and smacks the back of the mouth with every sip. And there's a touch of alcohol warmth, too!

Absolutely wonderful. Absolutely delicious!

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

Poured from a tap at a local restaurant into a flute glass.

A: Dark brown with a peanut-butter head.
S: Coffee
T: Coffee and vanilla.
F: Harsh
O: My wife was in a hurry to go and wanted me to chug it, I gave her a look that said "whachu talkin bout, Willis?"

This is one delicious beer.

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Photo of Leoherrmann9
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: very dark with a thick light brown head. Head of bubbles turned into more of a bubble less foam.
Smell: not to strong, hint of caramel and vanilla malt.
Taste: very tasty, but contrary to other reviews I don't believe the flavor is overdone. Subtle hints of vanilla, coffee bean that are followed by nice alcohol finish. Very pleasant Coffee bean like after taste that lingers between sips.
Feel: although the head didn't last, it added to the feel. Broke up the thick porter with the slight carbonation. Very heavy feeling on the tongue like you have had a cup of coffee and need to brush your teeth, this stays throughout the beer while every drink is followed by a heavy but mostly smooth sense of alcohol.
Overall: this was an exceptional beer, probably my favorite porter to date. The coffee sets it apart from other beers, ballast point has come up with a perfect combination while most other brands tend to overload when using coffee flavors.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got a 12oz pour today in a small snifter at The Nashua Garden ($3.00) during Happy Hour...

Pours a very dark, opaque brown. Has minimal head save for a few fine, beige bubbles at the rim. Despite this, there is some nice lacing. Nose is not overly strong but still has some enticing coffee notes. It's quite smooth, with a medium/medium-plus body.

Tastes lovely, with a hint of caramel along with some malty, choco sweetness. Coffee is quite pronounced though never harsh or bitter. The dark chocolate and roasty coffee blend nicely, with subtle vanilla lurking on the perimeter. Has a bit of florality in the finish, which is a tad on the dry side. Quite pleasant, overall. Prosit!

4.19/5 rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


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Photo of Journeyman
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great froth, delightful smell and nice presentation. You immediately smell the vanilla and coffee. I let it sit for about 2 minute and took my first taste. No bitterness, excellent, that is what I expected. The caramel was just right. I will sit and enjoy this beer for a while.

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Photo of jaketaz
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Top notch strong porter at a bargain price. Since it's Ballast Point, it's gonna enjoy pretty wide availability even though it's one of the less accessible beer styles. But this bad boy achieves a level of smoothness and blend that I think a lot of smaller craft brewers would kill for in their strong coffee ales. It would be a session beer if not for the high alcohol content which, by the way, is totally masked by the level of flavor balance. I know this is sacrilege but I might choose this over Founders Breakfast Stout... it's very similar but a step up in terms of smoothness. I've had a few and they're ultra uniform, always smooth and never bitter or unbalanced. If you don't like heavy vanilla or sweet ales I'd avoid it, personally I dig that type of thing. Not as glamorous as some baltic/imperial beers but outstanding craftsmanship.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What I love about this beer is how well balanced the coffee notes are with the hops and the other wonderful things in here. I like that it's not as dry as some porters tend to be. This beer has a great aroma as well. I think I prefer this to Founder's Breakfast stout.
This is an amazing beer. I am currently drinking it with a year of age on it, and it hasn't suffered in the slightest; as a matter of fact, it's been awhile since I had this beer last, and yet I think it improved with age. I had it in a side-by-side with Ska's Ten Pin Imperial Porter; the Victory at Sea was not only more complex but it was clearly more flavorful. This is a beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of GreatHammerhead
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Look: Black as night with a 1.5 finger dark tan head. Very good head retention.

Smell: Coffee with undertones of malts, very faint vanilla, and finishes with warming alcohol.

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and alcohol. The alcohol is a bit harsh and has a tendency to overpower everything else.

Feel: Slightly thick mouthful,moderate carbonation, and finishes on the dry side.

Overall: Well crafted but the harshness of the alcohol overwhelms this beer.

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

A 12 fl oz bottle with a Julian bottled on date of 16044, meaning it was bottled on 13th February 2016. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: It poured an almost black colour with a just over one finger tanned head that had decent retention and left sparse lacing.

Aroma: Roasted coffee bean, milk chocolate with hints of vanilla plus caramel.

Taste: Starts with roasty malt and bittersweet chocolate, followed by light caramel sweetness and a hint of vanilla. Finishes with strong espresso bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall: Not getting as much vanilla as I would have hoped for, but still has nice roasty and bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavours.

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a glistening, deep black with three inviting fingers of dark, sudsy eggshell head. I can't ask for much more when it comes to making a beer pretty.

The nose. Forgoing the cloying flavours of vanilla essence, genuine vanilla pods fill the nostrils, swirling with creamy coffee to grant the impression of a quality tiramisu. Yes, this is a fabulous desert beer.

Having had Victory at Sea a good few times, I would note that, on the tongue, some batches lean substantially more toward coffee than vanilla, and vice versa. I sampled one from a friend's six-pack that was so packed with sweet vanilla that it gave me 20 year-old deja vu of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate. Likewise, some batches have much more roasty bitterness than others, occasionally masking the vanilla.

This temperamentality doesn't carry over to the feel, however. This always brilliantly masks the ABV as pleasant warmth in the throat, and goes down with a thick, creamy finish, and a smile. This is a welcome mainstay in my fridge.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Whoa. Vanilla.

I really wanted to like this beer. The nose is amazing. It looks perfect. But...

It tastes like vanilla extract to me. Perhaps I am over sensitive to vanilla, but that is the only note I got. And it was STRONG.

So, if you like vanilla, you'll love this beer.

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Photo of JayQue
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An outstanding Porter even though I am not a big fan of vanilla in my Porters or Stouts. Pours a dense dark brown color from a12 oz bottle into a pint glass. No light gets through the glass. Big dark tan head with excellent retention and thick bands of lacing on the glass. Aroma is a malty Porter with a good amount of coffee and some vanilla. Flavor is more of the same, very rich and creamy. Mouthfeel is smooth, rich and creamy with no hint ofthe10.% abv. An excellent brew, well worth having again.

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Photo of MeanMotaScootah
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big coffee and vanilla notes on the pour - almost a bourbon aroma is present too. Color is a deep red opaque black - 1/2 finger head. The taste is a smokey smooth, sweet deep malty coffee/toffee flavors, balanced with hops on the finish. A big sticky but still very drinkable. Medium carbonation and creamy mouth feel with a some slight alcohol heat. This baby clocks in at 10% ABV but the alcohol is barely detectable. It doesn't taste like a 10% ABV which can be dangerous - i.e. it will put you on your donkey pretty quick if you're not paying attention. Probably works best as a "sipper" with a premium cigar. Overall this is a great beer - could have been a coffee/vanilla stout IMO but they chose to call it a porter but so be it - it's definitely worth a try for sure.

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

my wonderful Niece brought me this when I went back home to CALIFORNIA to visit my dying brother:

A dark cola on the pour - nearly Zero head

S Deep, Tart coffee

T thick and sweet

M again , thick, HUGE body

D Super good elixir

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

Beautiful pour, deep blackish brown with nice long-lasting tan head. Big aromas and flavors of roast malt, dark coffee, and vanilla, with a silky mouthfeel and a bitter finish. World class!

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Photo of JonCorbett
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Black with scarlet and burgundy hues, pours with a syrupy like body, a good couple fingers of cafe au lait coloured foam that does settle fairly moderately leaving a panoramic valley of lacing all the way around the glass with some well kept topographical surface interests.

Aromatics: Dark sweetness and finely roasted coffee, and that sweet vanilla showing through very nicely. There is subtle dark cacao and with plums and dates there as well

Taste: Big Bold Beautifully Dark and Rich. You almost get the impression you are sitting down to enjoy a morning iced coffee until you get a bit of that little breath of the 10%… but still it really is no different than pouring a little liquor into your coffee. The blended flavours are very well formulated into a nice cohesive concoction. The coffee and vanilla are on equally playing field with the malts.

Feel: Exquisite full bodied and creamy soft with little pips of crispness here and there from the carbonation that though it is muted, is still active enough to fizz up the palate. It also has a fairly juicy quality that makes me want to consume in mouthfuls rather than sips. That 10% giving up a bit of warmth and a slight vapourness, and the cacao/coffee bitter tends to lazily wander about after the mostly dry finish.

Overall: If I had a massive oversized teddy bear I could snuggle into to binge watch my old childhood favourites (Voltron, Mazinger, and the animated D&D); in an empty house; on a long weekend; before I started my 2 weeks of holidays; this is a beer I will shortlist for that journey. I don’t mind porters, but I love stouts, and this one really encroaches on stouts property. Now I wonder what would happen if you get this on a nitro tap?

Pairing : I love the nautical theme of Ballast Point in general, and the Jack Skellington character currently on the Victory at Sea label wants be to thrown on Jaws or the first Pirates of the Caribbean DVD. While that is starting up, I’m going to go to my pub fare cook book and land on page (roll my d20 a couple times) p 34… Cheeseburger Meatball Stew! Now I should note that I make mini (half inch) meatballs from an 80/20 (beef/pork) mixture of 2 to 3 lbs - sometimes I add cheddar to the meatballs before I bake them at 350 for about 30 min until they are crispy and cooked throughout, then I cool them and throw them into half-pound ziploc freezer bags just for occasions like this! Your basic beef stew with diced potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and I like spice so a dice jalapeño our two will make it in there too. Ideally I would prep this ahead of time and make it in a slow cooker - Throw in all the ingredients and my meat balls and simmer on high for a good 4 to 5 hours. But today, it’s into the stove-top pot not Medium-high for the first hour of the movie at least. once the basic stew is ready to serve (potatoes are done) I scoop a bowl and throw-in a half dozen cubes of fresh cheddar or cheese curds… with a brad for dipping and beer at the ready, it should all work out quite wonderfully.

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Photo of mkh012
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

Near-black with hints of red. A short-lived head and minimal lacing.

Nose is coconut, chocolate, and a touch of heat. Really nice. Rich and inviting.

Baker's chocolate, coffee, oak, and pine. Intense but smooth. Definitely an Imperial. Roasty, warming, and big.

Mouthfeel is medium, could be a bit fuller.

Overall, definitely a great porter. A little strong for my tastes, but to be expected at 10% alcohol.

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

Service: Bottle
Bottled on: Jan-19-2016

Pours a thick looking ebony with a billowing three fingers of frothy mocha head that eventually settles as a glob with some patches, cloud-like lacing. (4.25)

Maple whipped cream with a shot of espresso, cinammon, chocolate milk. (4.25)

Smooth band of sweetness that progressively gets roastier and roastier, some astringency, baker's chocolate, coffee, vanilla, toasted bark, boozy twang at the end that almost seems like a barrel. (4.25)

Thick, active carbonation, stickyish, vague astringent charry afterburn, some detectable alcohol. (4.25)

Nice beer.
It's really sweet (to me at least) but the flavors go well together. Thick black beer with a decent head. The aroma and flavor are both that of spiced coffee with chocolate and vanilla. It is fairly drinkable, the alcohol is not well-hidden, a touch hot. Would be a great beer in the winter, no doubt about it.
Would have again. I am not much on random ingredients beyond the standards, but beers like this are good ones to shut me up. (4.25)

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a classic beer. Love that it is in 6 packs now, so worth it. Pours robust as fuck like you just popped the top on an imperial stout. Good 1/2" tan head. Aroma drops significant coffee, respectable roast malt, and a hint of vanilla.

Taste is world class. Very easy to drink, all the roasted malt, vanilla and coffee really cover up the 10% abv. Not overly acidic or acrid either, somehow manages to pull off being smooth. Coffee, chocolate malt, vanilla beans, not a small run, that they can pull this off in large batches and big distribution gets even more points in my book.

World class.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,807 ratings.
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