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Ballast Point Brew Could Change Your Mind About Coffee

January 17, 2018 GMT

I know this is going to be unimaginable for many people, but I generally don’t drink coffee.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being more awake than any person has a right to be. Sadly, my stomach doesn’t much care for it. It also seems that the cost of being awake for me is the inability to go to sleep. I miss it and will on occasion go back to its hot, roasted, steamy embrace, but I know each time that it is a mistake.

What does this have to do with beer? If you don’t know the answer to that, drink more stouts and porters. Those dark beers gain their color and flavor from roasted malt. The roasting process turns the malt black and gives it a slightly enjoyable burnt taste. The process is much like the affair coffee beans go through to prepare them for brewing. Coffee beans don’t start out as that dark color you know them by.


Coffee beans right off the plant are green. If you were to make coffee from them at this point, your coffee would be disgusting, and you would be sad. There is a certain amount of sourness that the roasting tempers. Applying heat to the beans until they turn black brings out the flavors many of you are familiar with. The longer they roast, the darker the bean gets. You’ll notice many coffees have different sorts of “roasts,” such as Viennese or French. That largely has to do with how roasted the bean becomes.

With their complimentary flavors, it was only a matter of time before someone mixed together coffee and beer. Coffee stouts and porters are the same basic idea as chocolate stouts: take different roasted things and put them together. All these additions lead to delightful, full-bodied brews.

Because of my aforementioned coffee issues, it’s a beer style I tend to stay away from. I’m glad I’m making an exception tonight, however.

Ballast Point Victory at Sea is an imperial porter with coffee and vanilla aged in bourbon and rye barrels. It poured like any other porter, dark with a slight tan head that never really went away. It seemed too thick to produce any large amount of foam. This all seemed normal for a porter of this strength.

The scent was a good blast of caramel and vanilla right up front. That sweetness would have been a bit much if the delightful roasted notes from the malt and coffee had not immediately tempered it. There was even a bit of chocolate in there. The sweetness really takes the trophy, though.

The taste was like a cappuccino mixed with a milkshake and then mixed with beer. It’s like a sophisticated iced coffee, but boozy. The wood shows up at the tail end to make every little bit of savory, roasted goodness linger on the tongue until sweetness washes it over in the next sip. The vanilla and caramel are very much welcomed as well.

This beer is so incredibly tasty. Its 12-percent ABV pairs quite nicely with the slight coffee buzz it also provides. If you’re a coffee lover, grab this. If not, grab it anyway. This brew might change your mind.