Beer review: Ballast Point Victory at Sea

Before even starting, I want to put forth my most sincere apologies for not posting anything in… well, far too long. My passion for beer hadn’t withered, but documenting each beverage and posting reviews and such kind of got lost in the cluttered mess of life and fell to the back burner.

With that said, I’m hoping to begin consistently posting on here again, beginning with this post.

Often, I’ll gush about how wonderful a beer is. There’s no real objective way to quantify the greatness of any given beverage, so it comes down to a matter of personal taste.

Ballast Point Victory at Sea, photo courtesy of

Ballast Point Victory at Sea, photo courtesy of

So when during a recent visit to the marvelous Armsby Abbey in Worcester, the other three members of my party — one of whom doesn’t often enjoy darker beers — all shared my opinion on the Ballast Point Victory at Sea, I had the feeling we had stumbled upon something quite special.

Labeled a “Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter,” the Victory at Sea exceeded any expectations I could have possibly had for it.I’m a fan of porters to begin with, but I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted any as smooth and sweet as the Victory at Sea. Especially one carrying a 10 percent ABV with it.

As the photo shows, the brew is almost chocolate syrup dark, with a creamy head that doesn’t last too long. The Victory at Sea brings with it a smell very heavy on roasty coffee notes, with little bits of chocolate and vanilla. It smells like dessert.

The smell certainly wasn’t misleading. A rich, velvety mouthfeel brings plenty of coffee flavor, which gives way to chocolate and vanilla sweetness. It’s a dangerous concept: a delicious and rich beer that goes down so easy. It’s not until the beer begins to warm a little that the alcohol is detectable. And even then, it’s certainly not overwhelming.

A beer like this can go a long way to change a drinker’s mindset on porters in general. Whether a fan of the style or not, the Victory at Sea is definitely a beer that’s tough to turn away.

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