Monday, March 5, 2012

Ballast Point Victory at Sea

Another "big deal" beer sent to me from all the way in San Diego. I actually wasn't familiar with this beer, but Jay of was and REALLY wanted to try it. In fact, he gave me a bottle of a special beer as a thanks for letting him in on this review. The "Victory at Sea" is ranked very highly on Rate Beer, which doesn't matter much to me, but it's definitely all the more appealling. So will this beer live up to the hype?

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (625) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 5, 2012
A lot of beer nerds, myself included, hate how imperial beers tend to be the highest rated brews across the board. Well, the fact is beers can do so much more with more energy and Ballast Point Victory at Sea is proof positive of that. A regular porter tends to be a very direct, mild beer - but what happens when you crank up the voltage? You get a very flavor, complex, robust beer that’s really a fun and interesting drinking experience.

I received a 22oz bottle from a friend in San Diego (thanks, Ryan!). I split it with a friend. We each poured it into tulip glasses.

Appearance: Pitch black body with no other colors showing at all. Forms a fairly large, dark khaki creamy/foamy head which retains and laces very well for such a big beer.

Smell: Huge vanilla, chocolate, and coffee notes. Very sweet aroma to be sure, buy with traditional porter notes at the base.

Taste: I love it when beers not only taste great but keep changing up their palate throughout the drinking process. Ballast Point Victory at Sea starts out with a prominent, slightly dry bitterness. Then it turns on a dime into a melange of sweet, syrupy flavors. Iced coffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon and dark chocolate all show up in various stages of the second half. The beer finishes with a strong coffee and slightly roasted malt finale. It’s a perfect balance of confectionary sweetness and coffee and hop bitterness.

As I drink on the palate continues to evolve. Coffee actually takes a back seat to the vanilla and woody flavors. It’s not too far removed from rum. These flavors eventually are then superseded by a strong dark chocolate sweetness with slight coffee bitterness. It’s all very delectable, especially as a liquid dessert (which is how we drank it).

Drinkability: Since Ballast Point Victory at Sea is a porter it’s not surprising it has a smooth, velvety texture and a body that’s not quite as sticky and syrupy as its 10% ABV composure might have you believe. There is no alcohol presence in this brew at all, not even a gentle warmth (although it might explain the rum and woody bourbon cask-like flavors). The only problem? It actually finishes a little too clean! No residual drying effect despite the prominent coffee and dark chocolate bitterness. That’s a flaw I can easily tolerate, though.
Grade: 10/10

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