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:
6,582
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,074
Gots:
2,087
For Trade:
92
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,352 | Ratings: 6,582
Photo of JWU
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle, poured into a snifter.

A-deep, dark brown/black, with a nice dense, tight tan head. Head dissipates quick due to the high alcohol content.

S- coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and white pepper with some boozy notes.

T- some dark chocolate and smooth coffee, transition to a nice roasty middle, with vanilla coming into the mix, and a warming booze on the finish. The bitterness of the coffee is also very apparent middle to end. Very nice.

M- Pretty thick for a porter, but it's a big beer. The taste doesn't linger too long on the finish as well. Carbonation is spot on, as in light.

O- certainly a sipper, but a delicious sipper at that. Really like the dominating coffee presence, so if that is your thing, this should tickle your fancy.

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Photo of Auracom
2.87/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Extra from John, thanks man! 22 oz. bottle poured into a Jester King snifter on April 21st, 2012.

A - Deep brown coloring, a bit thin for a large porter. Medium khaki head with quick reduction and marginal lacing.

S - Big coffee bean and espresso as anticipated. Touches of roasted malts and vanilla underneath. Definitely more in the realm of an RIS than a porter in terms of aroma size and intensity.

T - Lots front palate carbonation followed by vanilla bean sweetness and honey. Mid to rear palate of stale coffee beans with cocoa bitterness. Some brown sugar sweetness blended into the mix, but it doesn't offset the poor coffee character.

M - Bizarre, and unfortunately lacking, for a porter. High carbonation, not at all smooth, medium body, dry bitter finish with a hefty espresso aftertaste.

D - I can't really forgive the taste and mouthfeel here. Huge disappointment. Bottle variation? I don't know that I'd revisit, but the hype on this one suggests I need to try it again.

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Photo of thatche2
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is deep black in color with moderate yet creamy tan head.

Smell is roasted malt/coffee with some vanilla (very little alcohol coming through).

Taste follows the nose but packs a bigger punch with a lot of roasted coffee. There is some good sweetness up front with a fairly dry finish.

Mouth feel is medium-full in body and creamy (a little syrupy). The carbonation is fairly low/flat but works well throughout.

Overall this is a very good coffee porter. It is relatively easy to drink but has a lot of roasted malt and coffee flavors.

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Photo of bulletrain76
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Black with a medium tan head that leaves moderate foam and a touch of lace. Not inky though with some mahogany around the edges, which I guess is an argument for it being a porter (whatever that means). The aroma is great, with lots of coffee and maybe even more vanilla; almost like a mocha with a shot of vanilla syrup. I'm having Starbucks flashbacks, and I like it. Plenty of milk chocolate as well, and the vanilla aids in the impression of an immense sweetness. Did I already mention the vanilla? I got more coffee at first, but the vanilla is really coming out over time. Forty-five minutes in the glass, and this begins to resemble vanilla extract. I love that stuff. The flavor is sweet, but not thick or sticky (wait, that's a mouthfeel). Coffee, poser dark chocolate, and lots of vanilla. Fresh coffee, which is always a nice touch. Just enough bitterness to balance the sweet, and no astringency or discomfort. Medium-full body with carbonation that falls somewhere between medium and low. Just a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish, but very integrated and smooth for a ten percent beer. Leans more heavily on the coffee, and especially the vanilla, than I was expecting, but this is fantastic stuff. A true dessert drink, (or morning depending on how you roll, and I do have a slight caffein buzz) but one that is not overly sweet or thick. I could drink a fair bit of this, with alcohol being a welcome limiting factor before any abrasive flavor characteristics. Ballast Point just nailed in on this one: full of flavor, yet balanced and super drinkable. The vanilla is almost silly at times, but I love the stuff and it really works with the rest of the beer.

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

L: black with 2 fingers of off white head.
S: big coffee, dark and toasty. A little bitter
T: big bitter coffee, no vanilla. Below is a review from last year, this must be a bad batch.....
F: fairly thin, doesn't coat well.

Big coffee with vanilla, just like the bottle says. It comes in a 6 pack too, what a complete joke that most 12oz beers are in 4 packs now, but I digress. This is fantastic! I'll seek this out again.

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

Appearance - pours about 2 fingers of medium cinnamon colored head, body is an opaque dark burnt sienna, lots of carb rising along the sides of the glass, retains a full rocky cap throughout with chunky lace rings left in its wake

Smell - sweet deep roast, slightly astringent dark coffee, dark chocolate, very light black licorice, and warm vanilla infused toffee

Taste - wow, so much like the nose, so deep rich and complex - starts with semi-sweet rich dark coffee with dark chocolate, some coffee ground and black licorice astringency, there is a ribbon of vanilla bean flavored dark toffee in the back that balances the roast and astringency perfectly - a touch of almost unsweetened molasses is there too. The vanilla bean is way at the back of the tongue and is more prominent in the sinuses than on the palate, like drinking a full bodied Porter that's been steeped with a vanilla bean - great flavors here

Mouthfeel - silky smooth medium creamy mouthfeel, carb is on the lower side lending the softer mouthfeel and allows the flavors to develop and assert. The boldness of flavor lingers long after each quaff, becoming slightly bitter and dry long into the finish, requiring you to repeat..

Overall - all of the greatest things you want in a porter. Some of my descriptors lend themselves to an impy stout, but the perfect amount of roastiness and astringency keep this distinctly Porter in flavor and transition. A must try, and one that I will purchase much more of - Love the 6pak format, wish they came in 12vers, and so will you when you try this.

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

Saw this by the counter of my local beer spot, asked the cashier what he thought of it, he said it was "Fucking Awesome", had to get some.
Looks like chocolate syrup as it is poured, smells like a typical porter. Great taste as it goes down, you really get the hint of vanilla at the end, very good. Could not believe it was 10%.
Ballast Point strikes again....

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Photo of Qbdoo
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A beautiful looking black with a frothy gray head. Smell is a mixture of coffee, roasted malt, and a bit of chocolate. Taste is similar but not overwhelming with the coffee and chocolate. I don't really taste the vanilla. Mouthfeel is big for a porter. This is a really good beer, nicely understated with the coffee. But it's not quite the amazing beer the ratings here suggest it is.

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Photo of muletrane
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date :(

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a jet black colour with no light shining through. Huge three fingered creamy light tan head. Tight bubbles with great retention and lacing.

S: Coffee notes dominate the nose here. Some vanilla notes on the back end. Some alcohol as it warms.

T: Very nice balance between the coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. There is lingering bitterness and roastiness in the finish. Some warming alcohol.

M: Moderate body with light carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall this a very nice and unique porter. Nicely balanced and tasty. Very glad I got a chance to try this.

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Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thick silky body, smells a like pure malt. Coffee and vanilla assualt your tastes bus immediately, then theres bitter dark chocolate, malts, and hops. This is definitely worth getting if you find it.

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Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, absolutely no light coming through when put up to the light, and a creamy one to two finger light brown head

Smell: Coffee, roasted malts, with a undertone of vanilla. Its all there, and from first whiff you can tell its of very high quality

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts upfront with subtle notes of vanilla, and caramel sweetness mid palate which carries throughout the aftertaste. Some bittering hops on the finish as well

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium body id say; Goes down smooth with a bitter, coffee-like finish

Overall: First class coffee porter without a doubt. Had this on tap a couple years back and still remember how much i enjoyed it. Well, i think i enjoyed it today as much as i did back then. The balance of coffee, vanilla, roasted malts, and bittering hops is fantastic. I get more roasted malt in the taste than nose which i really appreciate. It really rounds the beer out. This holds up to some of the better coffee stouts iv had. Get it while you can! Cheers!!

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Photo of ljbonadonna92
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black with a thick off white head that doesn't dissappear at all. A strong coffee and hot pepper like aroma wafts out of my glass. Flavors of sweet vanilla and strong coffee coat my mouth with a moderatly chewy mouthfeel. Overall an excellent beer that dear to my heart.

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

Received 2011 Vintage in a recent trade.
Poured from 22oz bottle into Bordeaux glass.
Couldn't wait to try this one!

Aroma: Rich mocha plus a soft vanilla note work extremely well together. Molasses underneath, plus powdered cocoa. The vanilla comes through more and more over time.

Appearance: Pours like a porter with a dark, dark brown body. 1/2 finger light tan head thins to a layer of fine, splotchy patches of bubbles.

Flavor: Strong, yet smooth vanilla flavor up front. Sweet, roasty mocha maltiness with a touch of peppery alcohol. A slightly-acidic coffee note followed by a robust, bitter, espresso finish. Bitterness lingers, and vanilla then returns.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation, and light pepper in the mouth and throat afterward.

Overall: The combination of vanilla and coffee work exceptionally with what would be a delicious porter on its own. The only improvement I could see for this brew would be barrel aging. Give this one a try!

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A – Black as night, and pours with the appearance of used motor oil. An outstanding thick, three finger, brown head that lasted a VERY long time. Patchy lacing.

S – Medium strength aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, and vanilla.

T – Taste definitely matches the smell here, with coffee, vanilla, and milk chocolate being the predominant flavors. Intense in its flavor presentation. Some alcohol warming in the finish, but overall the 10% abv is remarkably well hidden. Very sweet upfront, but just when it would have a tendency to become cloying, a little bittering hops kick in bringing balance, and leaving an aftertaste closer to dark/bittersweet chocolate. Maybe lacking complexity, but it sure delivers what’s advertised with gusto.

M – Thick and creamy, like a chocolate malt. Carbonation is extremely minimal and suits the flavors well, lending to a very “heavy feel” in the mouth. Sort of coats and hangs there. Just a tiny bit syrupy. Clearly a sipper.

O – I found this brew to be delicious, although with such strong coffee/roast flavors is closer to a stout than a porter. In fact, this rivals many a coffee stout that I have sampled!

As much as I enjoyed it, I could not have more than one of these in an evening. Took me the better part of an hour to finish it, and had me not even wanting another beer afterwards, it's flavors were that strong. Would be a fantastic dessert beer. Would be interested to try the barrel aged/oaked versions to see if they bring a little more depth and complexity.

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

L- Jet black body, creamy and fluffy tan head with eternal retention, very long. Looks amazing. Leaves a thin crown of head.
S- Freshly poured espresso, cream, vanilla.
T- Espresso, craeamy vanilla, dark chocolate, hazelnuts. Bitter resinous hops and booze at the end.
F- Medium silky body.
O- Great porter, I could do with less booze at the taste but I cant count it as a flaw knowing this is a 10% brew. Amazing.

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Photo of BigBarley
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, like an imperial stout, with a respectable thick khaki foam head, with a hint of brown. Smells like a bourbon barrel painted with vanilla extract. Hints of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, roasted chocolate, french coffee. Tastes damn near like the perfect porter, smooth chocolate, bitter dark coffee, vanilla and bourbon, and just the slightest hint of coconut. This flavor can stand up to many BA imperial stouts out there. Amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, relative to a foreign stout but the sweetness could ave you believing you were drinking an imperial stout. An all around beautifully brewed beer that touches on a wide range of flavors that many beer geeks go nuts for. A must-have brew in the craft community.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.94/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everything about this beer intrigued me and beer trading allowed me to get one of these. I was very pleased with this imperial porter.

A - Deep dark brown, that basically black but is very clear. It pours great with light brown creamy head and very strong lacing. Very much like a mocha-chino.

S - Initially the signature dark, black malt "porter" smell is the most predominant. After the beer warms to room temperature the rich dark roasted coffee and the deep vanilla tones come through beautifully. No discernible hops but the elixir sucks you in.

T - The first sip there is a very smooth but full flavored taste with all of the flavors that you would expect: dark roasted coffee, natural vanilla bean, chocolate, black malt, and sweet malt. No discernible alcohol or hops with the full flavor and smooth character that represents this great beer. The roasted bitterness is strong too allowing the balance of vanilla/cocoa sweetness. Complex and roasty but very smooth and flavorful.

M - High mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. A thick beer with much to offer. Not as thick as some but basically perfect in terms of the ABV and style.

Overall, this is one of the best beers that I've ever tasted. Great flavor with tremendous smoothness and full flavor. Definitely a porter with a distinct black malt flavor with less of the traditional burnt, roasted character of roasted malt stouts. I love the great coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavor that comes through. Really a perfect example of taking a vanilla mocha and blending it with a full flavored porter. I strongly recommend this flavored imperial porter especially since it is less bitter, less harsh, and less alcoholic than many RIS's.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of blakelive784
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pt 6 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live (2011 Vintage):

A - Pours a deep shade of brown/black with a thin, tan, one finger head. Retention is awful, though forgivable for the high ABV. Pretty standard.

S - Strong vanilla notes and cream. Strong roast throughout. Nicely roasted coffee. Moderate strength aroma. Very inviting given the heavy vanilla.

T - Malts are layered extremely well. Roasted, toasted, and sweet base malts all present. Muted coffee present throughout. The roasted malts are the star in this beer. A bit sweet. Delicious.

M - A bit too slick and smooth. Medium bodied. Could be more coarse.

D - A tasty beverage. I've not had it fresh, but it's definitely still highly drinkable. I'd definitely have it again.

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

2013 Vintage
Poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours a pitch black with a thick and creamy 2.5 finger tall, dark tan head. The head has fantastic retention and leaves a multitude of sticky lacing behind as it recedes.

Aroma: (4.25)
As soon as you raise the glass to your lips, you're struck by waves and waves freshly roasted coffee beans and rich milk chocolate. As the beer warms, some aromas of marshmallow cream and sweet vanilla emerge alongside notes of baker's chocolate and roasted malts. For 10% the alcohol is very masked.

Taste: (4.5)
Just like in the nose, right away you're greeted by intense coffee and rich, creamy milk chocolate. These milk chocolate tones are overtaken by bittersweet dark roasted grains and a herbal hop edge. As the beer finishes dry, you're left notes of bitter baker's chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla and a toasted nuttiness left lingering on your palate. Just as in the nose, the alcohol is very well masked.

Mouthfeel:(4.5)
Heavy and creamy body with moderate to high carbonation. Very velvety and drinkable for 10%

Overall: (4.5)
Ballast Point does a fantastic job with this beer by delicately balancing the acidic, bitter tones of fresh coffee with the sweet notes of chocolate malt and vanilla, while still adhering to the structure of an "Imperial" Porter. This beer has garnered a cult-like following over the years and it is well deserved. Highly recommended.

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Photo of krisandajt
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A gentle pour from the bottle, the beer is black, dark and viscous. There is virtually no head atop this brew, only a thin ring of coffee colored foam where the beer meets the glass.

Smell: Nice roasted quality with some chocolate and coffee mixed in. I've been sitting on this one for a while, I get the impression the coffee has faded somewhat. Still, smells very good.

Taste: Some nice hints of vanilla, I really didn't get much of it in the nose so it's a bit of a surprise. The roasted quality isn't as pronounced as it was in the nose. Sweet, milk chocolate. Everything is pretty well balanced. Not getting much coffee, but again I think that's the result of the beer sitting down in my cellar.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body, good carbonation. Very easy drinking beer given its potency.

Drinkability: A fine drinking porter perfect for a cold night like tonight. My one gripe is that I should have opened this one up sooner. I'd like to try it fresher and see if the coffee comes through more. Still, I'm enjoying it and I would recommend it to anybody.

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Photo of rrock44
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler. This is tasty. Creamy, chocolaty, with a nice finish of vanilla. Goes down real smooth. Alcohol is well hidden. Just screams dessert to me. May have to pick up a German chocolate cake or some vanilla bean ice cream. Definitely would buy a case of the sixers if they ever came to town.

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

I had this one last night for the first time for what will hopefully be a new annual Christmas tradition. Thanks to Jimmy for getting me one of these.

So, no formal review for me, but I liked this one so much that I need to at least review it and say something. It looked awesome in the glass and tasted delicious. Definitely a complex , quality beer. when it was all gone I wish I had more.

I am not even a really fan of porters, but both my brother-in-law and loved this beer. Well done Ballast Point!

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

22oz bomber poured into tulip

Pours a nice black with a tan head around an inch high. Smell dark chocolate at first mixed with coffee. Taste starts with a nice roasty flavor with a bitter background. Chocolate sits on the tongue when you let your mouth sit empty a few seconds. Nice and smooth in the mouth.

All around I think a very nice smooth beer with a bit of bite for the price. Would buy again.

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Photo of Jmikepow
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THe sweet smell of vanilla beans and the wonderful taste of this makes this one of the best porters out there! Try it in a beer float and you will not be disappointed!

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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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