Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm

Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm

Brewed by: Name Brewing Company

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: Cream Ale
  • Variation: Coffee, Vanilla
  • Limited: Yes
  • ABV: 5.5%
  • IBU: 15

Notes: Won Honorable Mention at 2015 Los Angeles International Beer Competition.

Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients

Calm Before the Storm came from a quest for a warm weather alternative to our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. Like its more robust cousin, we infuse a punch of flavor using cold brewed Caffé Calabria coffee and a hint of vanilla. But this time, we added it to a lighter-bodied golden cream ale. The end result is a surprisingly bright, coffee-forward beer that’s perfectly refreshing.

Hops: N/A

Malts: N/A

Additional: Cold brewed Caffé Calabria coffee and a hint of vanilla.

More Calm Before the Storm Images

First Impressions

Artwork: A skeleton pirate and his equally dead parrot at the helm of their ship.

Color: Crystal clear copperish tone.

Aroma: Prominently sweetened coffee / espresso.

The Tasting

Arrived in: 12oz. Bottle

Served in: Commemorative Victory at Sea Day 2014 Goblet

Welcome to Ballast Point’s latest bottled offering, Calm Before the Storm “Cream Ale with Coffee and Vanilla.” A little sister to their Victory at Sea Imperial Porter (all seafaring objects are female, you know).

Besides the Sculpin(s), Victory at Sea is our other favorite Ballast Point — one of the best porters on the market today. But we really don’t go out of our way to drink Victory at Sea unless the calendar shows Oct-Feb.

Like the brewer’s notes above say, Calm Before the Storm addressed that problem (if there truly was one) with Victory at Sea perfectly. Just dial down the body and robustness, and you get an ale that congeals to our warmer San Diego climate.

Calm Before the Storm was very calm indeed, with a minimal amount of head after it was poured. The thin off-white froth died off almost instantly, with multiple trails of tiny effervescence moving through the translucent coppery liquid.

Its mild carbonation delivered a — drumroll, please — creamy mouthfeel. Actually, it flared up a bit at the end of each sip. But once our palates were buttered up by this medium-bodied ale, Calm Before the Storm’s delicious flavor kicked in.

At first the coffee shined through nicely, followed by sweet vanilla. This cream ale was a delicate blend of sweet and roast, like an iced latte. A touch of coffee bitterness washed back over for the finish.

Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm lived up to its name and tagline in every way possible: it was calm, creamy, coffee, and vanilla. We now refer to this delicious cream ale as “Victory at Sea Light.”

Final Score: 4/5

4 Stars

Nothing tops the deep richness of Victory at Sea, but this lighter iteration delivered similar levels of coffee and vanilla, which can be be enjoyed in all seasons. Calm Before the Storm works as a refreshing ale, or satisfying dessert beer.

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