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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:
6,673
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,079
Gots:
2,132
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,366 | Ratings: 6,673
Photo of Zorro
3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lightproof black colored beer with a small brown colored head.

Smell is coffee and chocolate with patent malt. Vanilla is there but the scent is more spiced rum than vanilla. Toffee and something else spicy, maybe allspice berry.

Starts out bitter chocolate with vanilla in the after taste, fairly bitter. Not a sweet beer. Chocolate and vanilla with a trace of ash in the taste. An OK Stout but they went overboard with the patent malt. Alcohol is quite detectable.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall it is at best OK. Too bad they didn't balance out the patent malt better.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip. Looking forward to this one!

Appearance: entirely black body -- not much else to be said here! Head pours a thick finger of rich, frothy, dark-tan foam. Retention is decent, and a nice lace is left on the glass. Bam!

Smell: rich, sweet coffee and roasty aroma. Very light and subtle hints of vanilla are indeed coming through. In general, there is not a lot of complexity to the aroma; however, it seems extremely clean and well-crafted. I like it a lot.

Taste: rich and heavy porter taste. Lots of roastiness with plenty of coffee thrown in; the coffee is nice but definitely adds its share of bitterness. Hop bitterness is also high; unfortunately, though, there is a quite a bit of vegetal hop character which detracts from the overall flavor in my book. Still a tasty beer, though.

Mouthfeel: big body with a rich, smooth and creamy texture. I like it a lot, but I feel like maybe there is a bit of missed opportunity here -- the beer is not a super silky and sleek as I feel it could be.

Overall: this is a great-looking and great-smelling beer; tasty, too, but I feel like the cleanliness of the flavor and the smoothness of the texture could be dialed in just a little bit more.

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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 GreesyFizeek
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A 10% imperial porter. Tell me again why this isn't a stout? It's stronger and more intensely flavored than 90% of thestouts I've drank. Guess the line between porter and stout is invisible, especially in Ballast Point's case.

8 oz pour at "Extreme Beer Night" at the Old Toad during Rochester Beer Week.

Thick, tar-like black pour, with a generous head.

Smells and tastes basically the same. Sweet creamy vanilla, mild roastiness, intense, bitter coffee flavor, and Hershey's syrup. Incredibly sweet, almost to the point of cloying-ness. The almost cloying sweetness is the only thing keeping this taste score from a 5. The vanilla is far from fake though- like a rich vanilla bean ice cream from Stewart's back home.

Full, sludgy mouthfeel. The Exxon Valdez has nothing on this guy. Low carbonation, full body.

One of the best porters you can buy, but don't go into it expecting a traditional porter. Go into it expecting a good beer, and you'll be happy more than happy.

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Photo of fredmugs
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With the possible exception of Marshall Zhukov this is the best non barrel aged stout I've ever had. Huge coffee and vanilla. The only thing missing is toffee notes.

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

A wonderful beer- hits all the right notes without overdoing it. Luscious and balanced, it really satisfies the sweet tooth without being too sweet. It's the nice vanilla richness that does it for me. The coffee flavor is wonderful. Obviously high quality coffee is used, and the fact that it's cold brewed undoubtedly helps create its smooth, clean flavor. Nicely balanced overall , with the coffee taking the lead, followed by a long slightly sweet vanilla note, some roastiness and a bitter finish. A nice package.

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

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

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

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

Medium but soft and smooth body.

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

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Photo of HopHead84
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Ballast Point's Old Grove location. It's black with a nice light brown head...good retention....good...lacing.

The aroma smells a lot like a breakfast stout with vanilla. Oatmeal and bitter coffee notes are pretty strong, along with a nice vanilla bean aroma. It smells sweet. The taste reminds me a lot of Founders Breakfast Stout. It's sweet, with oatmeal and a moderate bitterness, which I attribute to the strong coffee presence, but which probably has more to do with the hops that I can't taste. Vanilla is strong here as well.

Victory at Sea is full bodied with medium carbonation, and a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

I'm not a big fan of the style, but this is well done. The coffee was strong, but nicely balanced with oatmeal and vanilla so it wasn't overwhelming.

*edit*

Looks like there are two entries for the same beer. The other one has the word Vanilla in the name, though they're the same beer. That's too bad.

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Photo of dar482
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a black color with a frothy brown head.

The aroma has a French vanilla coffee, including a nutty hazelnut. A medium roasted coffee. In general, it’s very syrupy sweet like Starbucks syrups.

The front attacks of vanilla sweetness along with a roasted malt of a porter. Then the beer attacks of heavy roasted notes of deeply roasted black coffee. On the mid palate, this is balanced with a sweet caramel or butterscotch. On the back, you follow on with that bitter espresso bean and 80% cacao chocolate or cacao nib with lingering vanilla notes.

The mouthfeel is full and silky.

An absolutely delicious coffee brew.

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Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Josh for this one...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with a dark tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, coffee, cream, and warmed barbados sugar.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a coffe and sugary whipped cream mixed together as the main focus of flavors.
Mouthfeel is viscuous, heavy, chewy, with mild bitterness found in the swallow.

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

Picked up a bottle of this at Austin Liquors. Been wanting to try this one for a few years, glad to have finally come across it.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip an excellent oily almost black pour with a big, rocky two finger mocha head that faded to a thick mocha cloud/blanket and nice halo.

S - Wow, this smells nice. The coffee isnt too overwhelming, it is instead in great balance between chocolate and vanilla beans. Super harmonious.

T - Again, wow. Some porters/stouts that have coffee in them are just WHAM in your face coffee. Not this. Nice light, rich, powerful coffee upfront that is a perfect combination of chocolate and vanilla. Almost like a good mocha coffee. Really good, even combination of flavours with that nice vanilla there to just make this pop. The end is a bit of a battle between the nice vanilla and bitterness of the coffee, with a great lingering of the both. ABV isnt noticeable in the mouth.

M - Yeah, this is a damn good porter. Stuff is dangerously drinkable. at 10% I really dont pick up any of that at all. Very smooth, rich, creamy and what I do is hidden wonderfully by that bitter coffeesharp (there is a light, carbonation to it). Not thin, chewy, lots of bitterness from coffee and a nice sweetness of vanilla.

O - Overall This is an awesome beer. Vanilla really jumps out of this beer. Great flowing of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Waited so long to try this and it was SO worth it!

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

220oz brown bomber purchased from Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam and Rich.

Pours a decent brown-black colour, with a relatively light body that doesn't hold carbonation. Head forms a decent filmy crest of golden-crispened brown and the lacing is excellent. I'm a bit surprised at the body, but otherwise it looks pretty decent.

Nose is wonderful, and delivering on everything I expected. Lovely oaky vanilla characters, cut with a crisp, fruity coffee aroma and underpinned with rich dark chocolate and malts that give sweetness but nothing in the way of grassy graininess. It's sweet and luscious and impressive—I don't care if it's also something of a gimmick. Gimme gimme gimme.

Relatively smooth and light entry on the palate just peppered with a little coffee spiciness. Big rounded, slightly empty vanilla characters come through in the mid palate. The back palate is where the richness is: dark chocolate and red mole pricked with more of that coffee bite and everywhere fresh and vibrant from supple vanilla. It's very pleasant once you get here: a little bit lacklustre beforehand.

Feel is very good: light enough to remind you it's a porter, but with heft to remind you it's 10% ABV.

Overall, it's a lovely brew, but perhaps one that was always going to be lovely. The flavours are pronounced and are quite well balanced. It's drinkable and very tasty. Something perhaps stops me from gushing wholeheartedly about it, but there's no doubt that it's a very fine brew.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

A - This is the most viscous porter I have come across. Poured an oily, syrupy, and mesmerizing black. Thick, fluffy, brown head with intricate lacing.

S - The aroma released full of smoked/burnt malt with a robust coffee flavor. Vanilla and other spices are supporting with subtle notes.

T - Amazing! Coffee dominates but it isn't overpowering. During the end of the tasting, vanilla notes come through leaving a refreshing and satisfying finish.

M - Lusciously thick and full.

D - Without Question. This is executed with care and precision. Delicious!

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Photo of corby112
3.67/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep dark brown while pouring out of the bottle but looks pitch black and completely opaque in the glass with only the slightest hint of mahogany edges when held to a light source. Foamy one finger light tan head that has decent retention, only slowly settling into a lasting cap and ring that leaves sheets of lacing in it's path.

Sweet chocolate malty aroma with a very nice roasty character and subtle vanilla. These combined aroma produce a tootsie roll like chocolate coffee scent that is mouthwatering. The roasted coffee bean presence becomes more prominent when it warms. Subtle hops become evident beneath the lactic, silky chocolate notes. Very complex aroma, hopefully the flavor lives up to it.

Chewy silky malt dominated full body with a huge roasted coffee bean presence. Lots of silky chocolate malt and some subtle mellow vanilla notes but the flavor is a bit overpowered by the very intensely strong deep roasted coffee, espresso bean. Hints of oatmeal, toffee, very burnt toast and licorice with a nice dry bitter hop character in the finish. I can't overemphasize how much of a strong burnt/roasted coffee presence there is. It's a bit too harsh for me and extremely bitter, taking away from the silky chocolate and vanilla notes that I liked so much. Alcohol heat mid-palate that becomes stronger at the end of the swallow and produces some warmth in the finish. Pretty complex but a bit one dimensional for me. Recommended for fans of roasted coffee and big coffee beers.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with two finger tan head that dies slow with no lace. Aroma ranges from coffee, vanilla, espresso, milk/lactic qualities, hints of milk chocolate. For a heavy beer the alcohol is hidden and the beer is rather light and smooth. More sweet than dry as the roasted coffee notes are easily noticed but the beer seems to slightly dominated by milk/vanilla sweetness. An enjoyable beer on its own or as dessert.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark heresy chocolate pour becomes coffee black in the tulip glass with a substantial and sturdy cinnamon colored head that refused to budge much. A thin spongy coating lines the interior for lace. Simple deep coloring, and a very nice head both color and structure wise gives this some lasting appeal.

S: Smooth roasty coffee for aroma, along with some dry bitter chocolate intermingles with a medium sense of strength. Freshly burnt firewood rounds things out.

T: The flavor is hearty and thick, creamy with substantial body highlighted with a dark coffee roast, dry vanilla bean, and freshly burnt timber. Dark roasted chocolate malts combine with a smooth, dry earthy bitterness of espresso beans providing a dark and heavenly coffee flavor that may make you forget your are drinking a beer and more like a fancy $10 cup of specialty coffee, especially when with a well concealed alcohol content of 10%abv drinking much lower like a 7% at best.

M: luscious, hearty and thick with a creaminess that adds both weight and resistance upon a swirl. Big burnt bitterness and dark roast coffee lingers long after the swallow, staying for quite a bit.

D: Wow, is there really 10%abv in this, with the heavenly dark coffee roast you wont even notice. Robust, hearty this is a big drink full of substance and flavor that will dare you to have more then one.

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

On tap at Port Carlsbad
Poured a deep, deep brown with a tannish head. Nose is sweet, lots of vanilla and chocolate but the coffee plays a backseat and it worked well. Taste is vanilla, cocoa, roasted malt, chewy, a tad nutty with coffee in the background. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich in the mouth. Tasty, well balanced, the ABV is well hidden and this is a great brew in every area. Ballast Point is becoming one of my fav breweries for great beers like this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to jleblanc for this 650 mL bomber.

A: The porter is dark and black, a murky and mysterious color. Completely opaque, the ale carries a finger and a half of coffee-and-cream colored head that slowly dissolves and laces as it goes.

S: The nose is is pungent, laiden with vanilla beans. The porter's aromas pair nicely, adding chocolate and coffee into the mix. Lots of vanilla though.

T: Man, that's a lot of vanilla. Luckily it pairs nicely with the darker porter flavors. Vanilla beans are strong, setting the stage with a mildly sweet presence. The porter offers coffee, chocolate and burnt toast. All the darker flavors struggle against the vanilla, trying to make themselves known. Roasted coffee, coming out as the ale warms, is a nice pairing with the vanilla. Dark malts, roasted and toasted, drive a long porter finish.

M: The porter is heavy-handed, full of coffee and vanilla. A pairing that works even though I don't like flavored syrup in my coffee. The vanilla leaves a long finish.

D: Another whopper that doesn't reveal its strength until it is too late. A nice pairing that doesn't skimp on the coffee or the vanilla.

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Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

650ml bomber poured into pint glass 2/4/14

A not as dark as expected, dark cola and I could actually see the light on the other side, loose mocha foam takes a few sips to fall to a thin film leaving a few rings along the way

S dark roasted coffee grinds, bakers chocolate, lots of char, a hint of booze but its fairly well hidden, vanilla, coco, powder and more coffee, kind of smells like something I'd drink to start my day without the cream

T the coffees more like a strong espresso in the mouth, very intense dark coffee, heavy charred wood, vanilla, dark chocolate and slightly more booze then the nose

M light bodied for a 10% porter, crazy bitter, foams up a little then ends up flat, a little boozy, super intense dark roast on the finish, not the best feeling big dark brew I've had recently

O it is what it claims, I can feel the caffeine and booze at the same time, she's a big intense brew that I wouldn't recommend as a night cap

a little dead in the mouth with some booze popping up every so often, almost to much coffee and I love my coffee, its still great beer but I wouldn't place it in the top 100 in the world where it sits today

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Looks and pours more like a Stout than a Porter. Very deep black with only a slight hint of brown on the edges. I can see bubbles rising along the glass up to the fluffy head. Nice lacing and retention.

S-Very roasty and chocolatey with hints of vanilla. This beer's scent is big and bold and nice.

T-Complex flavor assault on the tongue. Delicious mixture of tastes hit the palate. You get the coffee and chocolate. So very roasty, and the vanilla comes into play very well. Booze is there but muted and doesn't take away from the awesome flavors.

M-Surprisingly quite light. I guess thats why this is a Porter and not a Stout. Still pretty creamy however. I enjoy the lighter body on this beer. The mouthfeel I find to be more Porter-like than the other aspects of the brew (which are very Stout-like).

D-Booze is masked excellently. This lighter body of the beer also increases its drinkability. Quite happy.

Here I was thinking Ballast Point's only great beer was the Sculpin. Foolish, this one is amazing too. Christ, I may like this better than Sculpin.

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Photo of barczar
3.94/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big coffee and vanilla in aroma, with a bit of that fresh bean character that I find offputting. I'm sensitive to vanilla, and this is over the top, for me. Not a huge coffee fan, either.

Flavor is similar, with that bean character and roast malt emerging initially, and vanilla overtaking the finish. There's a slightly acrid coffee character in the bitter, roasty finish. Malt sweetness and notes of chocolate complement the vanilla fairly well.

Not my favorite flavor profile, but it's a decent beer. Smooth mouthfeel and rich, but more bitter in the finish than I'd prefer.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, stamp says enjoy by 11/26/13. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head that sticked around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate. The taste is pretty much just like the aroma, it tastes like coffee, roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of caramel. It starts off bitter, and then the sweet flavors catch up to balance things out. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit creamy and has moderate carbonation. The 10% ABV is well hidden. I have to say this is a pretty good overall brew. As soon as I heard Ballast Point was coming to Ohio, this was the beer from them that I was wanting to try the most, and it hasn't disappointed! $8.99 a bomber, I know I'll be buying this again.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a black color that's completely opaque with a 3/4 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before coming to an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass and streaks of solid lacing following behind. Plentiful surface foam.

S- Lovely scents of milk chocolate intertwined with mocha in a sweet context.

T- Roasty, yet not bitter, notes of cocoa and some peanut butter. Coffee's definitely there and just as prevalent, but with a softer connotation than a full-on coffee beer. Alcohol is a bit on the imposing side, but its 10% ABV makes it justified.

M- Creamy and decadent. Especially pleasant at a lower serving temperature. Medium carbonation and a nice thick, chewy body.

O- Every time I have this, I love it more and more. I don't even seek out darker beers, but this is crazy good.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at my local beer nutz for 9.99. Score!

A - Pours as black as a porter can get. Even if you try and hold it to it the light doesn't seem to come through. A very smooth coca colored head greets me.

S - Mostly of dark roasted malts with a small twang of vanilla in the nose. Smells kind of like a cappuccino.

T - Ow man this stuff is great! It gave off a great vibe of coffee and cream right to the tee. Too bad as it warms the coffee malt flavor takes full hold and it ABV is noticeable toward the end or I really would have loved it.

M - Medium to heavy bodied with full flavor.

D - Well at that price is truly was great to try it. Maybe it's just me but like Creme Brulee, I can't seem to focus on the extreme vanilla that everyone says is in there. A very drinkable coffee porter but would kind of work better at a lower ABV since it comes off kind of cloying.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,673 ratings.
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