Victory at Sea is a coffee vanilla imperial porter with a dreadlocked skeletal helmsman (complete with skeletal parrot) adorning its label. As a lifelong fan of undead pirates, I had to pick one up. But does the beer live up to the pure awesomeness of the artwork?

Pours black-brown with a quickly collapsing coffee-colored head. Very little lacing; what’s there falls quickly. I expect to finish with a clean glass. Coffee and vanilla on the nose–even non-beer-drinker Jennifer remarked on its pleasant toasted sugar odor. Sweet on the tip of the tongue. Robust coffee flavor, fresh roasted, is the soul of your first sip. Like a cold-brewed Columbian coffee with cream, sugar, and a dash of vanilla (or a shot of vanilla liqueur). Medium bodied with just a touch of carbonation. Smooth as cream. Bittersweet throughout. Subtle chocolate flavors emerge as it warms to room temperature. One to roll around inside your mouth and savor. Lasting bittersweet finish. A perfect dessert beer.