Ballast Point–Victory At Sea
Victory At Sea comes in as my favorite style of beer–an imperial Porter. Porters are generally sweeter than stouts and with this being an imperial version, the ABV is high at 10%. What makes the beer really sing is the addition of vanilla and locally sourced, cold brewed coffee from San Diego.
Yes, the appearance is magnificent. A dark, thick pour and that fascination that is a cascading head produces a body as dark as the night and a foamy head that contrasts nicely with dark khaki colored bubbles. Retention is strong and the thick lacing left behind will require scrubbing.
While the coffee dominates the nose, those with good olfactories will pick up hints of caramel as well. Honestly though, I can’t find the vanilla as the roastiness of the coffee gets top billing.
After a sip, you’ll pick up the vanilla taste, though again, the coffee plays the lead role. I thought I might pick up some chocolate notes, but unless it’s of the bittersweet variety, it’s not there. I have no idea what type of hops went into the brewing process.
Victory At Sea fools you with an extreme amount of smoothness up front, but then the bitterness takes over quickly. Only the vanilla in the finish helps rein in the bitterness from the alcohol, the coffee, and the hops. That said, it does register 60 IBUs even if it feels like more. A bit of carbonation likely makes the finish more bitter and dryer than it probably is. Full-bodied, it’s a small meal by itself.
This is a good beer, even if I find it a bit bitter for the style. There is good flavor and I like the high level of alcohol. The snack factor for this beer is a bit higher than I would have originall guessed so it would be a good idea to have a few chips or something else salty to snack on while drinking this beer.