Review: Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter

Review of Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego, CA.

Beer Type: Porter  ABV: 10%  IBUs: 60  Tried from bottle.

Their 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 vanilla 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.”

The Reality: This beer starts with a rich sweet vanilla and coffee scent that is quite pleasant. The flavor is dominated by a strong sweet vanilla caramel flavor with coffee notes. The background does have the slightest bitter roasted character. It does drink smooth and creamy, and finishes sweet with a spiced rum aftertaste that hangs on your palate. They say it has “just the right amount of sweetness”, which I believe is an accurate statement if the person drinking it is 10 years old.

Final Verdict: The sweet notes of vanilla, spiced rum, caramel, etc. overwhelm any of the bitter notes like roasted malt or coffee, and leave this beer unbalanced. It also does an inadequate job of masking its high ABV, which when combined with the sweetness, leaves the impression of cough syrup on your taste buds. Its best points are the smooth creamy mouth-feel and the scent, which is actually quite lovely. This beer features sweet components so heavily that the skeleton on the label probably died from acute diabetes. Wilford Brimley and his celebrity walrus impersonator would not approve of this beer.