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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
ballastpoint.com

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:
1,366
Ratings:
6,672
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,079
Gots:
2,130
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,366 | Ratings: 6,672
Photo of Resuin
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Bomber into a Chimay chalice. This year's edition, so not much age on this one.

Appearance: Pours a pitch-black and leaves maybe half a finger of light brown head. I'm a fan of the darkness of this pour, and it looks to have a very nice consistency to it.

Smell: A light coffee and vanilla scent dominates the initial smell. Some hints of chocolate accompany; definitely a pleasant smell.

Taste: The taste matches the smell pretty well - a very well balanced flavor of coffee, vanilla and malts. This beer is absolutely delicious and the alcohol is extremely well balanced within the beer, this feels substantially lighter than a 10% ABV brew. This is a great sipper.

Mouth-feel: I would call this a perfect balance for a stout/porter. Definitely not too thin, but not thick or syrupy - the perfect balance. Still a good level of carbonation too - this beer has a lovely feel to it.

Overall: This is a porter to judge all porters by. Absolutely delicious and extremely well balanced. Neither the coffee or vanilla are overpowering, but they both add terrific aspects to this beer. I highly recommend this beer to everyone.

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Photo of KingEdward
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is great! Look is dark brown with nice lacing. Smell is of sugar cookie , milk chocolate, and vanilla. Taste is of milk chocolate, vanilla, and wow! I want this on nitro! Feel is velvet and creme! Awesome. Ballast point rocks! Can'!!!t wait to try more of there beers!

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

Pours dark black with tan head and slight lacing. Smells of vanilla and coffee. Tastes of burnt coffee, cream and artificial sweetener. It is bitter throughout. I used to love this beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really excited for this one; I reviewed this on-draught last year and fell in love with it. Saw it on the shelf and had to revisit it. Enjoy by 11/08/13. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Cost was $7.99; I also saw it tonight at Sunset Beer Co. for $8.99 10% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge but allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Presentation: I dig the label, which bears a skeleton manning the wheel of a ship. Cool art, and more inventive than Ballast Point's usual uninspired fish.

A: Pours a one finger rich tan colour head of gorgeous cream and thickness, and good retention for the high ABV (~2 minutes). Lacing is decent. Body colour is a solid jet black. Nontransparent and opaque. Looks precisely as it should for the style. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Complex and subtle vanilla notes are unquestionable dominant. Heavy coffee/java also comes through alongside a delightful roasted character - both from the coffee itself as well as from the barley. Cocoa powder on the backend. Coffee emerges more and more as it warms. Some clean malty sweetness. The vanilla has depth, as though from vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract or some of the artificial crap they use in poorer vanilla beers (see Tanilla). No yeast or alcohol is detectable. A moderately strong aroma, and certainly an inviting one.

T: Heavy vanilla throughout, coalescing with the malty sweetness right on the finish. The coffee is more buried in the body, layered between dark malts, but it lends a pleasant character that helps balance the vanilla. What's sorely missing is the roasted barley character from the nose. God, the ABV is nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, I get a somewhat metallic note about the climax that rings artificial next to the vanilla. I don't remember that being a problem with the draught version. No yeast character at all.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with adequate body. Not too thick. Carbonation is good, if slightly high - though I imagine this'll suit it well for aging. Good presence on the palate. She slides down easy enough.

Dr: Extremely drinkable for the high ABV. I'll have no trouble killing this bomber by myself. I think fresh maybe the vanilla is a bit too sweet; I'd give this a good three weeks to mellow out a bit. I've got a bottle aging from last year in my cellar and will post notes on that as soon as I get around to it. Another great beer from Ballast Point. One of my favourite porters, and quite possibly my favourite vanilla beer so far. A great dessert treat.

Low B+

Please, serve it slightly chilled. It's best once as it warms to room temperature.

Would pair well with sweets.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 2012 Bomber into a snifter glass. Second time having this awesome beer.

A: Pours extremely dark brown, very opaque. Very little light getting through this. Almost non exist dark khaki head. Does provide some nice lacing and alcohol legs.

S: This is where this beer shines the most IMO. Air freshener. Could smell this all day, esp once it warms up. Getting strong vanilla and coffee aromas along coco powder. Some of the roasted malts shinning through as well. Great aroma, really opens once it warms up a bit.

T: Taste strong in the categories advertised. Vanilla Coffee with a hint of what I can only describe as chalky chocolate (in a good way). Smooth as hell and delicious. Some slight alcohol taste pokes through.

M: Full bodied, and sweet on the tongue. Bit of a alcohol burn on the finish.

O: Fantastic beer. Loving every sip and a must try for any stout/coffee fan.

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Photo of gr0g
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out pitch black, topped with a one finger head of dark tan foam. Some spotty lacing. Aroma is top-notch provided that you're a fan of coffee. Vanilla soaked fresh ground coffee hits at first, followed by rich, dark cocoa. There's a hint of alcohol that isn't out of place in a 10% ABV brew.

Somewhat astringent and coffee-forward at first taste, giving way to a rich, bittersweet mocha. A noticeable infusion of vanilla complements the flavor excellently. A bit of a fusel alcohol note on the finish is only a slight negative. I'm compelled to take sip after sip until the bomber is finished. Mouthfeel is silky and as rich as a porter can get without getting into stout territory. Carbonation is soft and not all that abundant but still has good longevity. This is an elite beer that has few rivals as a after-dinner treat.

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Photo of JohnnyJam
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pint glass and got 1 1/2 finger of head.

A: Pours black and opaque with 1 1/2 finger of tan head that dissipates at a moderate rate and leaves only a thin covering on the top of the beer that is just around the edge of the glass toward the end. Only a minimal amount of lacing with this one.

S: Coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate and some alcohol. There is more vanilla and a milk chocolate aroma as the beer is drained along with less alcohol smell.

T: Coffee, dark chocolate and some charcoal upfront with a bitterness following it up and dark coffee aftertaste.

M: This beer is very smooth, especially for the high alcohol content. The carbonation is kind of low. It came from a new keg (I saw them change it for the guy with a growler before me) and is only two hours from the store. It does, at any rate, go down good.

O: A very nice beer that could be dessert. It goes down good which could be dangerous because this beer should be sipped. It gets better as it warms. It leaves me warm.

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Photo of CA_Infidel2o9
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a sam adams cup

A- jet black, 1 1/2" brown head

S- dark chocolate, coffee beans, vanilla, alcohol

T- bitter dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, booze, cream

M- velvety, silky, creamy, low carbonation, alcohol heat

O- She's a sipper! Be warned, fresh out of the fridge, the booze is almost overwhelming. Allow it to get close to room temp, once there the booze subsides and this brew becomes almost dangerously drinkable. It's amazingly creamy, making every sip a joy. It's boozy liquid dark chocolate, with a supporting cast of dark roasted coffee and vanilla beans. Sip responsibly, this thing is dangerous, i've never really been a fan of imperial stouts/porters. Frankly, i feel you can have a more enjoyable experience with a lower abv brew of the same style. This one has me second guessing.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super deep brown color, cant tell on the clarity but looks a little hazy. about 2 inches of tan sticky head. Smells alot like coffee and asphalt. Herbal woody hop nose. Burnt malt as well. Coffee really comes through as the beer airs.

Wow, tastes as if a delicious big ol black beer had a baby with an amazingly rich coffee. Bitter black chocolate on the tip of the tongue with a sweet creamy vanilla twang . Huge coffee flavor along the mid palate. Finishes with burnt sugar and underlying hop bitterness, much like a straight black coffee. Almost no detectable alcohol. Quite a brew. Could easily work as a breakfast brew with it's sweet vanilla start and bitter coffee finish. Loving it. Hope it doesnt give me the jitters though, coffee burns often do :-(

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Photo of hctap00
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, per usual. Decent head the color of creamed coffee. Fades to a thin lacing that lingers.

Not surprisingly, coffee dominates the nose. Reminds me of a medium roast, with hazelnut tones. Second whiff reminds me of french vanilla hot chocolate of my youth. Sweet, but not overly so.

An assault on the senses that pushes the "American Porter" classification to the limit. And I love it. A blend of delicate coffee and hazelnut/vanilla sweetness. When I think one flavor is going to assert itself, the other shows up. The coffee is not very bitter, but just enough. Vanilla gives a bit of an edge. A bit of warming alcohol as it goes down. Little hop bitterness.

Smooth and creamy on the palate. Not too much carbonation, which I like

Overall, a real treat. Would make a great dessert beer. Share it with a friend and sip it slow.

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Photo of Googs
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, dark brown. Not seeing through this one. Looks almost like a cola. About 3/4 of an inch head when poured which faded quickly into a small layer of bubbles. Alcohol legs lingering on this, and not surprising at all for the the !0% ABV. A very nice lookin' imperial porter.

S: Not a very strong aroma on this one. Dark chocolate roasted malts upfront. A bit of coffee and vanilla. Not an intense smelling brew but pleasant.

T: Malty sweetness that is quickly covered up by the roasted coffee, hops and a touch of vanilla. Very good imperial coffee porter.

M: Perfect mouthfeel for this style of beer. Smooth and just the right amount of carbonation. 10%? this one goes down easy. It's creeping up on me.

O: Pretty awesome Imperial Coffee Porter and one of the best I've had. If you like that roasted coffee flavor and your Imperial porters on the bitter side, you'll love this. I've heard they last years batch was a bit sweet. This year's is fairly bitter when fresh. I'd prefer a little bit more sweetness in it so I'm going to grab a bottle to age for a year and re-visit. Delicious brew, I'd get this if you can.

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Photo of rodlavers
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into a chalice.

Pours black with a beautiful tan head, good retention, nice lacing.

Smell is rather muted, but I do get hints of what's to come in flavor. Smells more like a stout, with roasted malts.

Tastes great. Coffee chocolate and vanilla, up front and very nice. A little bitter and hoppy.

Mouthfeel is more like a stout, with bitter aftertaste, but smooth and dangerously drinkable at 10% ABV.

Overall very good. Try it of you can.

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

Beer pours a thick black with a thin tan head - looks kinda imposingly dark. Smell is all roast and coffee, smells like it's going to be heavy on the roast. Fortunately the taste isn't nearly as roast-heavy as the smell would indicate. There's certainly a good amount of roast and coffee here, but it's balanced out nicely by a little bit of sweetness and vanilla. It manages to keep from being too sweet or too roasty - honestly the flavor is more of a 4.25 than a 4.5, but I'm balancing it out by giving it a 4 overall. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, but with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a really tasty beer that I'm excited to have access to regularly now that Ballast Point is distributing to DC. It's extremely drinkable despite the higher ABV.

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Photo of InstinctDecay
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this at Hamilton's Tavern during San Diego Beer Week, poured into a tulip glass.

Poured black with a small residual head, tan.

Aroma was phenomenal. Vanilla character, strong roasted malts, coffee. Much more refined and pungent than from the bottle.

Taste followed aroma rather closely. A near-perfect blend of coffee, toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, with a warming but smooth presence brought on by the alcohol. Sweetness done right.

Mouthfeel was creamy, sticky, warming, with moderate carbonation. Compliments the taste well.

Overall: I've had this beer several times, and it is undoubtedly my favorite Porter. I couldn't pass down the opportunity to try it from the cask. This was a real treasure to try out.

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Photo of larryi86
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Black with a two finger light tan head.

S- Roasted coffee, vanilla, some dark chocolate.

T- Roasted coffee, bitter finish, some dark chocolate, vanilla adds a nice sweetness, kind of boozy.

M- Smooth, light to medium body.

O- A tasty coffee beer, but a little boozy. Vanilla adds a nice touch to the beer. Good, but not sure if I would pick it up again. Gets better as it warms.

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Photo of Gregfalone
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an Allagash goblet.

Pours black-black with no light showing through anywhere, and a two fingered light brown head (about the color of brown egges) that dwindles down to a thin cap. This is the blackest beer I've ever seen

The smell is robust dark roasted coffee, with a mild vanilla and faint dark chocolate. Smells fantastic

The taste starts with dark chocolate and vanilla beans, then strong dark coffee in the middle ending with more vanilla and some alcohol burn. A little more alcohol burn than I like, and less vanilla than I expected. Still great none the less.

Consistency is heavy with moderate carbonation and a nice juicy finish.

This is a huge beer with tons of flavor and character. If you love dark and heavy, this beer is for you

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Photo of harrymel
3.42/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with light tan foam. Smells of coffee and vanilla, very strong and decadent. Flavor is overpowering coffee and burnt malts. Full bodied with moderate carb and an off dry finish. Decent beer, nose>flavor

Original review on 19FEB11: 3/2.5/2.5/3.5/3- 2.73
A: Pours a dark, brown ale. single finger latte head falls quickly leaving a fine velvet sheet. Little lacing.
S: Plenty of coffee. Sharp alcoholic nose. A little overbearing with the coffee and alcohol.
T: Once the beer hits the mouth, it's all vanilla. Such a severe transition from coffee to vanilla, man I don't really dig this. Okay, a little bit later and the coffee is starting to balance out the vanilla sweetness a bit. Roasty background.
M: Thick with low carbonation. Sticky.
D: This is a big beer. I will finish the bottle, but I will never seek this out again.

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Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last year's batch.

A: Black as night pour. Big, dense mocha-colored head. Fades at a moderate pace. Nice spiderwebs of lacing left behind.

S: Lots of coffee (naturally). A bit of sharp alcohol. Get a touch of vanilla and... cherry, oddly enough.

T: Coffee and a bit of char up front, but not overpowering. It's mellow and sweet with hints of dark fruit. Nice wave of vanilla follows that into the middle with some milk chocolate. More char and coffee (bitter now instead of smooth like up front) in the finish. Long lingering bitter coffee and baker's chocolate in the aftertaste.

M: Full bodied, fairly heavy. Smooth and creamy vanilla coats the mouth.

O: A nice heavy imperial porter with some big coffee notes and just enough vanilla to smooth it out. Tasty with a really nice mouthfeel that helps it go down easily despite the 10% ABV. I'm normally not a fan of coffee beers but this is one of the best.

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Photo of Hopstuff
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good lord Mary Joseph, this one strikes the knickers like a lacy momma ready to pounce on a unborn tadpole. I am dripping with amazement. Ballast Point's best effort to date. Something tells me I might OD on greatness. But seriously this beer hits home for me. A Porter born to sail the night, without fear, without wavering from the very foundation of why I love the west coast set. Its like surfing in a sea of mocha foam born from the depths of a dark sea, married to the sky. I can't imagine a darker sailor to share the night with. It like two passionate mates are meeting in my mouth to shag!

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Photo of tut2528
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

had this one on 2 separate occasions, and I feel that this brew is extremely time sensitive because there was such drastic differences. I condensed both reviews. My review is based off the first time I tried this brew.

thanks to matttyce for helping me get my hands on these!

1st Review

A: poured into a GI tulip, it is jet black with about 2 fingers worth of mocha colored head. phenomenal lacing that is long lasting

S: big sweet vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits that are terrifically balanced. I also pick up on coffee and roasted malt.

T: similar to the nose, big chocolate and dark fruits up front, coffee and slight roasted malt in the middle with a terrific vanilla finish. alcohol is slightly present but is felt more during the mouthfeel than in the taste

M: perfect for this brew IMO. full bodied, leaves a nice light roasted coffee and dark chocolate character with a slight touch of alcohol heat

O: just a damn good all around brew. very well balanced and all the characters intermingle nicely together

2nd Review

S: huge coffee, dark chocolat,e dark fruits and roasted malt have come forward, and the vanilla is lying way in the back (4.0)

T: big coffee up front with a roasted malt backbone. dark fruits are present along with dark chocolate. the vanilla has really fallen off from what I remember. (4.0) No alcohol whatsoever

M: mostly the same as before, but a bit lighter than I remember and the alcohol is nowhere to be found. It has a more roasted malt character as well. (4.0)

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 11/13. Poured into Ballast Point tulip.

Appearance: This poured as black as night with three fingers of head that is light brown in color. Lacing is all over the place and I'm still waiting for the head to recede. Rocky head mixed with large bubbles too.

Smell: Big time bitter coffee in this with notes of vanilla and dark chocolate. Heavy roast and some char.

Taste: Again coffee takes center stage with some vanilla and dark chocolate in the background. The roast is a fairly dominating aspect in the taste. Coffee is quite bitter and alcohol leaves a slight burn.

Mouthfeel: From the appearance I would think this would have been a more full feel. It is surprisingly thin for the look but one that seems to fit the beer very well. I am not picking up much carbonation and this has a creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol does burn the gums some.

Overall: If you are a coffee drinker this would be up your alley. A big beer that is one that is best shared.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a bomber poured into a snifter

A: 4.5 deep rich pour into my snifter with a deep dark rich head that dissipated quickly
S: 4.0 slight hop smell and then roasted malts
T: 4.5 such a warm pallet pleasing taste that turns into chocolate and coffee
MF: 4.5 good on the carbonation and very full body
O: 4.5 great beer that I would recommend to anyone. This brewery is really stepping up in my book and I want to try anything that they make in the imperial format.

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark black, has a nice 2 finger off white head that leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

S: Strong roasty notes up front, hints of coffee, and strong smell of dark chocolate and some cherries.

T: The vanillas presence is obvious with both the nose and taste on this brew, very roasty and nice subtleness.

M: Heavy mouthfeel, and sticky, perfect amount of carbonation.

O: This was a very good beer, I felt as if the warmer it got the better it tasted. Nice warming effect to this beer as well, Great job!

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

Poured from bomber bottle into hf tulip. Ive been sitting/aging this beer for about 9 months or so.
Pours a deep black chocolate with aggressive tan head and sticky lacing. This just looks fantastic. Smell is crazy good coffee and chocolate with slight booze. Taste is sweet chocolate with bitter coffee. There is a slight vanilla finish and nicely bitter.
Wow super easy to drink and full of intense flavors. An amazing brew.

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

Review No. 550

22oz bomber split into tulips with the brother. Wow did this beer blow me away...

A: Viscous opaque pour with plenty of dark khaki head that retains well and laces the glass quite decently...

S: Great nose, impressive balance between coffee notes and vanilla sweetness...these aromas really pop to the front with notes of roasty bitterness and subtle creamy sweetness.

T: Smooth, moderate vanilla balanced with a great coffee presence, medium to light roast, with notes of chocolate and mocha interwoven throughout...as it warms there is an impression of dark caramel and hints of espresso.

The vanilla in this beer is amazing, better than any other vanilla beer I've tasted...its sweet, but not overly so (i.e. ST Creme Brulee) but is a creamy smooth sweetness and not an off flavor (Stone Vanilla Smoked Porter) and this beer is not boozy at all (any vanilla-forward BA beer). Just fantastic balance of aroma/flavor profiles.

MF: Creamy smooth with just a touch of alcohol on the back of the throat. Moderate-to-full body with a semi-viscous feel and a light dryness.

O: Awesome. Will be searching this one out the rest of my beer drinking life I think. Will, thanks so much! Cheers!

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,672 ratings.
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