Ballast Point Victory At Sea – High West Barrel-Aged

I couldn’t wait to open this beer. It’s gotten some really good reviews, so let’s see how it was.

ABV: 12%

Style: American Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “IMPERIAL PORTER WITH COFFEE AND VANILLA FLAVORS AGED IN HIGH WEST BOURBON AND RYE BARRELS. We partnered with our friends at High West® Distillery to create a barrel-aged version of Ballast Point Victory at Sea, our award-winning Imperial Porter with cold-steeped coffee and vanilla. From a blend of Ballast Point Victory at Sea aged in High West’s own bourbon & rye whiskey oak casks, new layers of complexity emerge with notes of soft caramel and smoky oak over a dark chocolate and roasted almond body. High West crafts delicious and distinctive whiskeys to honor the American West, making it the perfect pairing with our signature San Diego-born porter.”

Random: I’ve been avoiding Ballast Point beers since they got bought out, but I couldn’t walk past this one.

This beer poured with a finger and a half of tan head that dissipated slowly, but left very little lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown that was almost black with no carbonation visible. The nose was filled with dark coffee that bordered on espresso. Vanilla came through next, along with some warm bourbon and oak. The taste was intense. The booze was apparent up front, but was quickly countered by bourbon and vanilla and oak. It went into smoke and roasted malts with a touch of black licorice. The body was thick with light carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with bourbon. A bottle of this was $5.79, which came to $.48 per ounce. This beer was pricey but the bourbon barrel aging made it very impressive.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Ballast Point Orange Vanilla Fathom

Tonight’s selection is another one of the flavor variants of a Ballast Point beer. I’ll be honest, I’m not sold on the idea. I’ve had a lot of them so far and they’ve been big misses. Let’s see how this one was.


ABV: 7%

Style: American Pale Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A sweeter take on an award-winning IPL. Our Orange Vanilla Fathom India Pale Lager continues our quest for exploration. The piney and citrus hop aromas of our Fathom IPL combines with sweet orange and creamy vanilla – while staying true to classic lagering techniques. Brewed with a touch of nostalgia, it may remind you of a childhood treat, but this one is just for adults.”

Random: My favorite orange soda is Stewart’s Orange and Cream.

The beer poured with a three finger, white head that dissipated slowly. It left a decent amount of lacing on the glass. The body was clear and bright orange. There was some carbonation visible in the body. The nose was filled with orange soda, but no vanilla. There wasn’t much else to it. The taste had the same orange soda note and again, very little vanilla. There was also old grass and grain. It had a heavy body with moderate carbonation. It had a quick finish with old orange soda. A bomber of this was $5.99, which came to $.27 per ounce. I was not a big fan of this beer. It seemed a bit gimmicky and the flavors just didn’t work out for me. I won’t be having this one again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Ballast Point Mango Even Keel

I find it interesting when a brewery takes one of their core beers and adds an adjunct. In this case, they took their session IPA, Even Keel, which I already reviewed and added some mango to it. They’ve done this with a number of their beers and I’ve heard some really negative reviews on them. I didn’t go into this one with the highest hopes.


ABV: 3.8%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Mango Even Keel is the ideal beer for easy drinking. This hoppy, session ale gets a flavor boost from mango, which perfectly plays off the citrusy hop bouquet. With fruit, hops, and a low ABV, this beer truly is on another level.”

Random: This comes in at 40 IBUs.

The beer poured with a two finger, light brown, almost orange head. It dissipated quickly and didn’t leave much lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, warm orange color with a lot of carbonation visible. I didn’t even have to put my face all that close to the glass to get the main note in the nose: artificial mango. It was like an overly sweet mango juice. After a few sniffs, there was some grapefruit too, but mango dominated everything subtle that may have been in this beer. The taste was equally abrasive with mango juice. I don’t think I’ve ever called a session IPA abrasive, but this one was. There were background notes of grapefruit and orange, but any malt that may have been in this beer was overtaken. The body was light with high carbonation. It had a sticky and long finish with mango. This was $1.83 a can, which came to $.15 per ounce. I disliked this beer so much that I wouldn’t take it if it was free. If you really, really like mango, maybe you’ll like it.

Untappd Rating: 1.5/5.0

Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado

Sometimes I will get a beer, despite having heard from multiple reputable podcasts about how bad it is. This was one of those beers. I thought that it couldn’t possibly be as bad as everyone was saying. I was wrong…very wrong.


ABV: 10%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Watermelon Dorado Double IPA is not one to back down from big flavors. Mash, kettle, and dry hopping blend to create a huge hop profile that is balanced with a blast of watermelon. The result is a refreshing brew that is all summer and no seeds.”

Random: The older I get, the more that artificial flavoring bothers me.

The beer poured with a one finger, pure white head that dissipated quickly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was clear and dusky orange with lots of carbonation visible. The nose was liquid watermelon-flavored Jolly Ranchers. I left it for a few minutes, trying to pick something else up, but that was the only note that I got and man, was it strong. The taste was just terrible. It was a combination of the same watermelon Jolly Ranchers and strong, astringent booze. It reminded me of when I was in my early twenties and drinking watermelon martinis seemed like a good idea (there was also a significant amount of watermelon schnapps in there, which was equally gross in retrospect). There was some piney bitterness that didn’t complement the watermelon and came off as borderline medicinal. The body was thick and chewy with a lot of carbonation, but it couldn’t cut the strong, off-putting flavors. The finish was quick with pine and the same artificial watermelon note. A bottle of this was $2.50, which came to $.21 per ounce. This is a beer that I would avoid, even if it was free.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Ballast Point Thai Chili Wahoo

This is a beer that I was really excited to pop open when Val and I got sushi. I thought the flavors would pair really well and I’m always excited about a chili beer.


ABV: 4.5%

Style: Witbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our Wahoo Wheat is brewed with unfiltered, un-malted wheat and oats that give it a distinctive cloudy complexity.True to the Belgian tradition, this Witbier boasts a refreshing, citrusy flavor thanks to the orange peel and coriander we add to the boil. This makes Wahoo an ideal beer for year-round beach weather.”

Random: Getting up early for work during the week translates to me not being able to sleep past 7 AM on weekends.

This beer poured with a quarter finger of white head that dissipated instantly. There was no lacing left on the glass. The body was very hazy and light yellow in color with minimal carbonation visible. The nose had a hot pepper note with orange peel and wheat. There wasn’t any other spice and the dominant scent was hot pepper. The taste was flat-out disappointing. It was all capsaicin heat, to the point that it burned the back of my throat. I couldn’t pick up lime, citrus or wheat because the heat was so intense. What annoyed me was the fact that the spice didn’t add flavor, but seemed to just steamroll every other aspect of the beer, which made it a bit gimmicky. The body was light and the carbonation was more significant than I would have guessed based on what I saw. The taste was all capsaicin heat. It burned the back of my throat. There was really not wheat characteristic because the heat was so overwhelming. The body was light with moderate carbonation. The finish was long and hot. This beer just wasn’t one I enjoyed. I felt that it was a bit gimmicky, and although the bomber was affordable at $6.99 ($.32 per ounce), I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Ballast Point The Commodore

While watching the latest season of Top Chef, I couldn’t help but notice that Ballast Point beer made a bunch of appearances at their “pop-up” restaurants. I don’t think they were a sponsor, nor do I think it had anything to do with Ballast Point’s acquired status. But, it’s interesting nonetheless.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The Commodore came out of our search for a medium-bodied American Stout. The recipe began at our R&D pilot brewery, but quickly became a favorite of our crew. Strong flavors of roast coffee and bittersweet chocolate balance with light citrusy hop aromas, highlighted by a crisp, bitter finish. One sip of this gold medal-winning stout will have you ready to take command of your own fleet.”

Random: This is a year-round offering from Ballast Point in twelve-ounce bottles and on draft.

This beer poured with a three finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was an inky, black color with no carbonation visible due to the color. The nose had roasted malts, hot chocolate powder and smoke. The taste started with some bitterness, which was nice. It had roasted malts, cocoa nibs and smoke. It had some sweetness as well that was like the remnants of molasses, but the bitterness held strong throughout the sip. It had peat at the back of the sip. Coffee came through as well, but wasn’t a dominant flavor. The body was on the thinner side of the style with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with cocoa nibs and peat and light bitterness. A single of this was $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. I really enjoyed this beer. I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Ballast Point Even Keel Session IPA

I’m really digging the amount of beers that Ballast Point is canning. I’ve talked about cans before, but since I have a house now, if I’m drinking more beers in cans, it makes the recycling much lighter to take out. This is their session IPA offering and I’ve read a few other blogs that enjoy it. Time to crack it open.


ABV: 3.8%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A flavorful ale that keeps you balanced. Our Even Keel is a hoppy ale designed for smooth sailing. A full-flavored beer with a silky malt backbone and a bright hop profile of herbs and citrus, it packs all the taste of an IPA in a sessionable alcohol content. This ale is perfect for leisurely days on the water, when all you want are a few beers and a level ride.”

Random: The Ballast Point logos are very simple, but I like how clean they look.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head. It dissipated quickly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, light orange color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of grapefruit and grapefruit zest. The taste was much of the same. It had a lot of grapefruit, grapefruit zest and lemon. There was very little malt. It had a thick body, especially for a session beer. The high carbonation made this go down very easily. It had a long finish with grapefruit pith. This was $1.99 a can ($.17 per ounce). I enjoyed this beer, but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing. I would have it again, but there are other better selections out there.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0