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:
6,577
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,076
Gots:
2,082
For Trade:
92
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,352 | Ratings: 6,577
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 ajm5108
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Lots of dark chocolate & cacao riding the wave of toasted coffee, but evened out by the semi-sweet vanilla bean. Finishes pretty bitter, but in a good way. Velvety smooth and creamy feel. Reminiscent of Founder's Breakfast Stout, whuch is to say an excellent coffee 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 kzoobrew
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to SpdKilz for hooking me up with this bottle. Cheers Carleton!

Poured into unbranded 12oz snifter. Deep walnut color from the bottle though settles into the glass an opaque black. One finger Cafe Au Lait head works its way back in short order. A nice ring is left around the perimeter, heavy lacing clings to the glass.

There are some beers that you find yourself admiring the aroma to a point that you have to remind yourself to take a sip, this is one of them. Medium roasted coffee bean with a bit of cinnamon up front. Fudgy dark chocolate wedges itself smack dab in the middle. Caramel vanilla cream lays underneath be delicately weaves its way into each sniff.

The aroma is an excellent indicator of things to come. The flavor is very reminiscent of the aroma but much more even. The java flavor is very clean, providing a nearly perfect level of roastiness. Molten chocolate is intertwined with the bean though moves towards a dry cocoa flavor towards the back of the palate. Sweet caramel creme provides a lighter sweetness to compliment the darker flavors. The vanilla is not overly obvious, the flavor smooths and blends the other flavors together.

Full bodied porter. The carbonation is a bit too lively, so far that is the only fault I can find in this beer. Very smooth and nearly creamy texture. The finish is moderately long, the flavors do not dig in to the tongue as much as I expected.

Quite the impressive beer. Flavors are very well integrated and smooth. Remarkably easy to drink for a 10% beer. Alcohol is well hidden. Drinking several servings may not be the best idea though it would be remarkably easy to accomplish. Well done Ballast Point!

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Photo of MacMalt
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on draft so it was colder than I would serve it at home. Very dark brown with creamy head. I was disappointed by the lack of smell (perhaps due to the temperature) but this is a delicious porter. Coffee forward but with enough vanilla to justify its reputation. Nice medium body. Overall, an excellent beer. I wish it were easier to find in bottles here in New Jersey.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance:
Dark brown body, almost black and sealed with a dark tan head that’s three fingers thick, foamy and just looks like a nice place to rest on. Thick lacing marks every sip you take.
Smell:
Dark roasted malts and coffee and a mild semi sweet odor of dark chocolate, brown sugar and butter with a touch of caramel.
Taste:
Strong roasted malts and coffee at first followed by the bitterness of dark chocolate. The aftertaste is a milder version of the taste itself minus the bitterness.
Mouthfeel:
Light bodied.
Overall:
This is a great tasting porter with plenty of malts to go around.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a deep dark cola with a big tan head that fades leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has tons of coffee aromas with a creamy vanilla and malty smell there as well.

T: The taste starts with coffee but soon after the vanilla and roasty malt flavors take over and leave a wonderful finish on the tongue.

M: The feel is creamy from the carbonation but it's a bit thin for an "Imperial" porter.

D: High ABV yet tasty profile puts this on the medium end of drinkability.

Very tasty and I wish I had access to this without having to trade for it. This along with Terrapin Wake N Bake are the best coffee beers I've ever had.

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Photo of jpro
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had at 10oz draft at Closed for Business...

A: Black. Dark brown, dense head is formed on the pour; rings and sheets of lace get left on the sides of the glass.

S: Piney hops??! Not expecting that to be the first thing I noticed... Coffee and roasted malt; a dark chocolate sweetness; vanilla.

T: Starts with a short blast of vanilla; then transitions to roasted malts and a hoppy bitter; surprisingly bitter finish given the sweetness from the vanilla and chocolate malt.

M: Near full; creamy and slightly viscous; higher carbonation than expected.

D: Fairly drinkable considering the 10% abv (I had no idea... wow!); a lot of flavor going on (especially the sweetness) might wear out the ol' taste buds.

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Photo of vacax
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black as coffee with a creamy mocha head. Looks well carbonated for a big beer, head calms down but retains a nice skin of foam that leaves some lacing.

S: Cookie, marshmallows, coffee, vanilla syrup. Nose is quite on the sweet side, no doubt that coffee and vanilla combo drive it.

T: Bittersweet chocolatey malts with a healthy dose of cold coffee. Not as cloying as the nose came across, but quite sweet with the vanilla/marshmallow. Some alcohol flavors in the middle. Roasted and coffee in a long finish. Despite a clear abundance of flavors it is not terribly complex

M: Medium to thick and silky with moderate-low carbonation. With the intense coffee and vanilla flavors I think I would appreciate this more with more body and less carbonation. This beer is intense.

D: Definitely a night cap type of beer here, a bomber is plenty and probably best shared. Could be a nice dessert beer, perhaps with something to help match its cloying coffee and vanilla. Interesting porter worth checking out.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer that closely approaches black. There are some ruby highlights that barely give away the actual color. The head is a sponge of bubbles, sticking to everything it touches and is the color of espresso crema with a hint of cherry wood red. Impressive start.

Mmmmm there are loads of chocolate malts and coffee punch in the nose. And I mean punch! The coffee notes all but dominate with charred malts coming in way behind the thick cloud of cafe musk. All of those heavy scents have a bit of an acidic tart smell to them but in my experience that can be masked in flavor.

Speaking of which this is a huge flavor bomb. The coffee and chocolate carry over but not the tartness. The coffee is diminished and replaced by the vanilla roasted caramel malt and a baked nuttiness. Heavy duty with waves and layers of big porter flavor. Super delicious.

The mouthfeel is full bodied like you'd guess from a beer of this nature. The acrid notes perk up here and seem to wash off a layer of enamel from your teeth and leaves you with a chocolate bile aftertaste. Not my favorite finish but not so bad to make me rate it below a 4. So even with that negative this is still a bad ass brew.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love coffee beers. I think it is because of that then that I don't rank some of them very high because I have such big expectations.

After Ballast Point started showing up in Wisconsin, I found myself liking them a little more after each new beer I had. Victory at Sea helped raise my love for Ballast Point as this was one of the better coffee beers I have ever had.

The coffee was very strong and front and center without being overpowering. The vanilla added a nice sweet compliment as sometimes coffee beers will taste like nothing but coffee. The booze was noticeable but smooth. I look forward to drinking this again.

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Photo of Beric
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Bottle into a tulip
Served: 5 August 2015

Appearance: Pours a thick, deep black color with a minimal tan head that quickly collapses to a sheen of bubbles under influence from the high alcohol content. Looks like your average imperial stout/porter.

Smell: Huge coffee notes, with a nice assertion of dark chocolate or cocoa notes as well. I wasn't able to pick up on much of the vanilla in the nose, but the beer smells absolutely fantastic.

Taste: Like the nose, big notes of coffee, though the vanilla is now evident as well. The roasted malt provides a nice, sharp roastiness- almost burnt- like French roast coffee. No one aspect of this beer is overdone, and the major flavor elements play well together, which is brilliant.

Mouthfeel: Big body, medium-low carbonation.

Overall: One of the best coffee beers I've had. Right up there with FBS, and quite possibly even better.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance; color is a medium/ dark brown, but not not quite opaque, it has a hint of brightness to it. but no carbonation is visible in the beer. The beer pours a finger of tan head that settles to a stubborn layer of thin, creamy foam that retains well and tightly clings the glass.
Aroma; Aroma is comprised in equal parts of Espresso, vanilla, and Booze. an excellent, rich combination. Taste is nearly identical to smell, which i think is always a plus.The vanilla is there, along with hints of dark chocolate, and the overall effect is somewhat dominated by espresso bitterness, but the general experience is rich and warming,
overall. this is an outstanding representative of the style, and i will probably buy at least once more this season.

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Photo of nhindian
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber split with russwbeck and poured into a Great Lakes snifter.

A - Pours a pitch black body culminating in a finger's worth of khaki-colored head. Retention is moderately poor and when it leaves it doesn't leave much lacing in it's wake, just the occaisonal wisp here and there.

S - Smell is huge, huge coffee. Not sure I've gotten this much espresso in a beer before, especially not from a porter. A bit of vanilla, but the thing I'm also picking up is a lot of thick chocolate, reminding me of freshly-baked fudge and Southern Tier's 'Choklat'. Definitely a sweet smelling beer that also has a nice, hop finish to it as well. Delicious smelling.

T - As in the nose, this beer has a ton of coffee and chocolate up front in this beer, mixing together with silky smooth malts to make the taste utterly creamy and smooth. Again, drawing lots of comparison to 'Choklat' here without being overboard on the fudge and without much of the alcohol heat as well. The vanilla starts to come in around mid-taste and follows the coffee and chocolate nicely and provides a nice segue to the surprisingly hoppy finish. Not 'Storm King' or 'Yeti' hop, but still noticeable. Very little alcohol comes through here.

M - Mouthfeel is a lot thicker than Porters of the past, but still noticeably thinner than most Stouts I had. Rich and creamy the entire way. I feel the increased body really helps with such rich flavors in this beer and it leaves a nice coating on the palate. Pretty sweet throughout without being cloying. Big, long finish.

D - Drinkability is high. Especially following Infinium, this beer is just fantastic. The smell, taste, and mouthfeel are incredible and I could easily drink a bomber of this and come back for more. Only downside to this beer is the relatively weak appearance, but the rest more than make up for it. One of my favorites.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.48/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Victory at Sea pours close to pitch black with about to 3 fingers of head. This beer definitely qualifies as opaque in the glass. Retention and lacing are great.

Smell: This beer smells of roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla. The coffee and vanilla components seem to be a bit out whack for me. Just a little out of balance, but still not bad at all.

Taste: I definitely get a bunch roasted malts and coffee on the front end, with vanilla and some acridness on the back end and finish. I'm really not a fan at all of the coffee component in this beer. It's just too acrid and seems artificial to me. After having a fair number of coffee-infused beers, I find that I'm pretty picky about how it is incorporated. It doesn't work in this beer for me.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Just a bit under full bodied and very smooth on the palate. Very nice. Overall I just don't find this beer overly drinkable due to how the coffee flavor fits in with the profile of this beer. Other components of the review are going to help carry the score on this beer for me, but I definitely feel like it's overrated.

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

P: Pitch black body with a cappuccino jiggly cream top. Delicate lace on edges.

S: Robust columbian coffee, vanilla potpourri, near burnt dark malt, pumpernickel bread, no bake cookies and astringent booze.

T/M: Huge vanilla extract presence hits the palate first then the coffee and chocolate cookies take over. Hints of smoke and charred molasses mingle with the velvety feel. Finishes semi dry with lingering espresso. Nice warming sensation.

O: Love it. A great impy porter that showcases both the vanilla and coffee in a circus of flavors for your mouth. It's like having a cold triple shot if espresso with vanilla added. Highly recommended.

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Photo of horshack7
4.99/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: I'm not sure if this one could be any darker it might very well absorb light it's an abyss crossed with a black hole in space. The head is dark beige quite thick and leaves good lacing behind.

Aroma: Massive amounts of vanilla bean. Chocolate malts with traces of milk sugar. The hops are roasted quite dark but quite a ways from being burnt. Dark roasted coffee with some espresso mixed in. Traces of ripe banana towards the back.

Taste: An absolute tidal wave of chocolate malts. Vanilla bean is borderline astronomical. Dark fruits roam all over. There are traces of bourbon. Although this an American porter milk sugar is all through it. The mouthfeel is better than smooth it's like drinking fresh heavy cream. It makes silk look like sand paper.

Notes: This one is an absolute beast but what a gentile giant. It's great for a cool night anytime of year. Great for an after dinner beer. An amazing sipper dangerously drinkable and utter perfection for the coldest of winter nights. My fellow beer advocates this one is an absolute masterpiece. Cheers to all.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This has got to be one of my favorite beers. Very tasty. It has an awesome head that stays the whole time and is super creamy and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. It smells of wonderful roasted malty sweet goodness. You can smell the coffee a little bit. Taste is very intense. Lots of flavors going on such as slot of roast and good light vanilla flavor with a smooth coffee roast to it. Mouthfeel is great with great carbonation. Overall it is a sipper because of how intense it is but with a year or more of age on this I can see this beer being even better. Very good

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at tha joint - Ballast Point Brewery in San Diego, CA.

Just crushed a sample of this bad boi and it got Raul thinking like he was a Seahawk and cruzin with Errol Flynn. Luscious vanilla coffee notes with a sweet delicate after balance. If you want to get loose, pop a bottle with ur grl n git at it.

Holla!

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Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a creamy mocha head, fading to a silky lacing.
Smell is sweet with vanilla and coffee.
Taste is of quality coffee beans complimented by notes of vanilla and chocolate. The vanilla lingers for a while.
Mouth feel is creamy, easy sipping.
Overall this is a very flavorful and easy drinking imperial porter. The coffee, vanilla and chocolate is bold and in your face.

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

Thinnish tan head. Deep brown body.

Deep roasty coffee nose. Rather remarkable, some wood even.

Flavor is interesting-- oscillates between bitter coffee and dry milk chocolate and ample vanilla.

Smooth, almost nitro-smooth.

A good beer if not living up with the hype. Interesting but not something that hasn't been done before.

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Photo of Urk1127
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black as hell, cant see through it even with light, tan head lasts throughout.
Cocoa, black coffee, malty, dark chocolate
Dark chocolate, slight vanilla, roasty, black coffee, slight cream, malty dark beer flavors underneath
I cant believe this has an ABV let alone 10% absolutely no alcohol present. No burn. Slighty sticky, heavier feel

This beer is incredible. All around such a great beer. I didnt believe the hype but i cant deny it. My only complaint woukd be a sticky feel on your mouth but come on. This beer is great. Its big and your face but does not over do it.

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Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love this beer, so I was very pleased to see this back again.
Poured into a snifter this beer comes out a very thick black and builds a tan head that sticks to the glass.
The nose is great, rich coffee, roastiness, vanilla and sugar sweetness.
The taste is fantastic altough I am picking up a little less vanilla then I did in last years, I love vanilla and wouldn't mind a bit more. Tons of coffee and malts.
Its medium bodied and a bit thicker then most porters which I enjoy, has lasting flavors and just a bit of alcohol heat.
Always look forward to this beer.

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

Big thanks to Scott for the opportunity. Label on the cap of the growler states 10% abv. Pours black with a nice large creamy tan head that slowly recedes. Aroma is a nice roastiness, very earthy and slightly nutty, a bit of chocolate sweetness, and a tangy porter acidity. Taste follows with a nice coffee and cream flavor, earthy roasted malts, some cola and root beer like sweetness and a touch of vanilla, just a hint of alcohol in the drying hoppy finish as well. Mouthfeel improves greatly as the beer warms, becomes much more creamy which suits the flavor well. Body is medium in weight, some pepperiness and a drying finish. A very good beer, really hard to believe the 10 or 12% as it is very well hidden/balanced. The flavor and mouthfeel were also considerably better nearer to room temp. Earthiness was nice and any sweetness was subtle which helped the drinkability. Thanks Scott!

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Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22-oz bomber to tulip, shared on 1-11-2014. Kept at room temperature for approximately 5 hours before consumption. Best by date of 1-3-2014.

dark appearance, but not opaque. there is an obvious red tint at the edges. large, very pleasant tan head, eventually settling to nothing in my glass, although there was spotty lacing in the other glass.

there is a lot going on in the aroma. at first, the roasted malts / coffee dominates, despite the year of aging. there is milk chocolate as well. with time, i got a vanilla creme scent, but only when placing my nose a few inches away. with deep inhalation, i continue to get the coffee scent.

less complex taste - there is a vegetal hop bitterness at first, a roast coffee bitterness in the back half. more alcohol burn (but not astringent or metallic) as the beer opens up. i would not drink this too cold or too warm.

thin body at first, yet fairly high carbonation. more slick residual

Hard to compare this one to more standard porters, due to the high ABV, but it is complex and solid.

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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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