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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

5,224 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,224
Reviews: 1,166
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 907
Gots: 1,384 | FT: 105
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,224 | Reviews: 1,166
Reviews by vtbeerandbud:
More User Reviews:
Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off this is an exceptional beer. I had wanted to try it since it came out by missed all the bottles on sale, needless to say when I was able to trade for some it made my day. Served at a nice 55 degrees and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/04/2009.

The pour was fantastic. Huge dark beer here, black as night as it pours out. A big cascading brown head comes up and over the top and then settles down into a half inch layer that hung around for the entire rest of the session. The aroma was vanilla, huge vanilla beer and light cafe like coffee notes. Some hints of roasted malts, but vanilla in a beer like I have never come across before. Not terribly sweet and fake, this was like whiffing good vanilla ice cream. As I take the first sip, wow. This beer is suprising the crap out of me. First off where is my 12 percent? This is soo smooth I really got caught off guard by my second glass. The vanilla explosion followed through on the taste, rich and creamy with light and sweet coffee notes following through on them as well. Really tight flavor here, smooth with a long drawn out finish that was sweet, delicate and drying enough to make me want another in a minute.

Overall this was a very unique beer, that falls squarely into the dessert category. I was very happy, and very suprised with how big this was and how good it was as well. A winner here for sure!

Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coffee? Vanilla? What's there not to love in a larger than life Porter? Throw in a completely intimidating label and we have ourselves an instant winner!

The beer pours a thick, viscous, nearly black color with a creamy lace of carbonation that retains well and clings to the sides of the glass in moderate fashion. Legging shows barley-stained liquids crawling just beyond the lace. Complete opaqueness makes this beer rival the biggest of Stouts.

Strongly Porter-like in aroma: not as roasty as a Stout, but heavy toast, dry toffee, bitter cocoa, and deep espresso notes peppered all over the scent. Vanilla softness helps to temper the aggression from coffee and toast but it leaves me wanting much more.

Even stronger flavors of heavy, heavy toast, espresso, and a charred flavor that makes me think ash. Still, the toffee and vanilla do little to balance the stronger darker flavors. They have some melding together to do.

Very bitter and strong bite from the roasted grains create a harsh feel that the sweetness cannot round out. Bitterness is aggrevated by high grassy hops, coffee oils, and alcohols making the beer a bit of a chore late.

The beer seems to have a lot of 'young' characteristics that may come together better with age. Regardless, a heavier vanilla taste and feel could improve the beer.

Thanks kmurray8621!

Photo of BradMacMullin
4.59/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Salty Pig. This was such a big tasting bomb of a porter - amazing stuff. Enjoyed it while I listened to my buddy John talked about his match.com dates as of late. Made me wonder why someone doesn't order a 12 pack of these for a 1st date. 6 each of these bad guys, and everyone will be in love. Anyways.....great beer. Wonder why Beer Advocate doesn't offer a dating website on the side. This could not fail...

Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shared with Mike - thanks to GetMeAnIPA for sending this one my way. Pours a deep and dark obsidian-like color; very, very little brown on the edges with a solid, fine-bubbled tan head that fades much too fast. A quick swirl of the glass can coax it back, but only for a few moments.

The aroma on this one is very tantalizing; heavy, HEAVY roasted coffee beans - I'm talking burnt, scorched, charred, ashy. These beans smell super roasted and super bitter. This plays off of a delicate sweetness induced from the vanilla aromas that hang in the balance. Might be a tiny bit of cocoa somewhere deep in the abyss, but any attempt to further sniff it out is just met with more and more heaps of coffee beans, roasted malts, and light vanilla. I've always been partial to bitter porters rather than overly sweet ones. The nose on this beer tells me that my bias may be in effect.

...and right I was - the aroma is a perfect indication of the malt assessment in Victory At Sea. From the moment the beer hits your tongue, your palate is pile-driven with an enormous roasted, charred, and borderline burnt flavor. Coffee beans, coffee beans, coffee beans. Imaging taking a hand full of French Roast coffee beans, scorching them in a skillet, then shoving them in your face. A little overboard? Maybe.... but you get the idea. The alcohol is also noticeable from the first sip to the last, but at 10% ABV, I have no complaints. Some lightly sweet vanilla coats each and every sip also, providing a tiny bit of balance to the bitter-roasted brigade. Some chocolate definitely comes out more upon warming, although it was nearly absent in the aroma. The aftertaste is a compilation of mild charcoal flavors with some ashy and dry bitterness - a "balls to the walls", unadulterated coffee bean roast. Medium-thick body with a decent amount of carbonation; mildly creamy and smooth.

Hell yes. Victory at Sea gives the roasty bitterness lovers more of what they crave. Such a roasted, charred, and bitter stout with lovely little sweetness interruptions to keep things interesting. Very pleasantly surprised by this one - great way to end the night.

Photo of Roguer
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, dark tan head atop a very dark ebony brew. Good retention, and as the head slides down the glass, it leaves spiderweb lacing behind.

Huge roasted barley and coffee aroma, with vanilla fighting for elbow space at the table. Smells very much like a big strong coffee stout - which is what it is, after all.

Flavor matches deliciously, with a ton of vanilla coming through in the 1st and final thirds - far more than hinted at by the aroma. Coffee, roasted barley, and chocolate malts all blend together in lovely fashion, allowing the vanilla to be the highlight on top of a very solid, slightly sweet base.

Quite bitter and balanced; aftertaste definitely teases an earthy, vegetal hop presence.

Silky mouthfeel, big bodied, full mouthfeel. Lively; minor sting; growing alcohol heat on the back-end (but not during the sip). Moderately dry finish, with a lingering bitterness. Very clean. Exceptionally easy to drink.

This is a lovely coffee-vanilla stout-porter. All the praise it receives is well-deserved. A great breakfast beer, but I could just as easily see this being a nightcap.

Photo of Treb0R
4.17/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Alcohol content too high for a porter. Drinkability suffers because of this. The vanilla is lost; I didn't sense much if it here at all because it was full of roasty coffee and bitter hops. High IBUs are not necessary when you also have bitter coffee presence that is not tamed by a balancing sweetness. Needs less alcohol, more body, less hops, more vanilla, and some sort of balance so you don't just get a blast of bitterness from the coffee and hops.

I'm picky as hell so take the above advice with a grain of salt. I enjoyed this beer. A lot. Just being brutally honest with this review. The only reason it will not be a repeat buy is the cost at $15 for a sixer. It was truly one of the best porters I've ever had. I just wish the flaws mentioned were worked on.

Photo of sendsilk
2.29/5  rDev -48%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Okay,
Just found one of these down here in good old FL, a rarity I can assure you. Read alot about this bad boy and am super excited to try it. Here goes the play by play as I drink it.

A- Poured dark, I mean really dark, burnt brown color. Nice 3/4" head but quickly recedes and not much lacing.

S- Holy Coffee! That's not a good sign for me. I like coffee for breakfast and beer for dinner and I likes 'em separate. I was hoping to be overpowered with vanilla but it is definitely coffee. Dammit, I hope this doesn't taste like some Kona Pipeline Porter which I bought a case of and can barely stomach the swill.

T- Coffee and beer dammit to hell. Where the hell is the vanilla guys? It DEFINITELY says vanilla porter on the label. How about labeling it V@S Coffee porter **Now without vanilla!!** I could have had a Cigar City Cubano Espresso which tastes very similar, BUT, I did not want a coffee beer. I'm sure many people out there love this (as witnessed by the rating) but this is not the "vanilla porter" I signed up for.

M- It does have a nice thick and creamy mouthfeel even though the coffee is overpowering.

Well, at least I can say I have tried it. I have another one of these that someone might want to trade for. I don't know, maybe as it gets older it will get better but this is definitely not for me.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.74/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with a 2 inch chocolate milk colored head that lasts. Good rings of lace on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of bitter cocoa powder, coffee grounds after the coffee has been brewed, and raw vanilla beans. I keep sniffing this beer over and over - it smells so damn good. Taste is of dark chocolate syrup, bitter coffee, vanilla extract, and an earthy mineral taste. Only slight bitterness on the palate after each sip. Absolutely amazing. Beer is thick and creamy in the mouth. A bit of alcohol warming in the throat. Overall, this is a very tasty hard to find beer. There is a distinct smell and taste of Hershey's chocolate syrup in this beer that makes me very happy. I am glad I found a bottle to enjoy. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on one.

Photo of CA_Jim
2.25/5  rDev -48.9%

Woah, this is a huge beer. Bitter, lots of coffee. Thick and heavy. The vanilla flavor seems lost at sea. Tasty in small amounts, but hard to finish a pint.

Photo of MasterSki
4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to srandycarter for sending a bottle of this my way. Served in my brand-new Red Hook pint glass.

A - Tar black, with a two-finger mocha foam that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice cap, but minimal lacing. A small amount of reddish-brown coloration is visible at the fringes of the glass.

S - Coffee! Vanilla! Ridiculously potent - even cold I can smell it a good foot away from the glass. The coffee is bitter and roasty, and there is also quite a bit of burnt malt, cream, and cocoa mixed with the vanilla. It's slightly reminiscent of Southern Tier's Crème brûlèe, but nowhere near as cloyingly sweet.

T - The coffee is nowhere near as bitter on the palate - it's more roast and slightly smokey. There's also plenty of milk chocolate, vanilla, and sweet malts. There's a tiny bit of alcohol that peeks out from amongst the flavors, but it's not particularly offensive. Roasty aftertaste - not very bitter at all, which is nice for such a coffee-infused brew

M - It's medium bodied, but on the thinner side, and seems a little watery for such a big beer. Carbonation is lively, with lots of tingle on the upper lip and top of the palate. Finishes with loads of sticky sweetness.

D - I'd have no problems with a bomber of this one, although it is mildly palate-busting and a little too high gravity for sessions.

We've started to get the regular Ballast Point line in Illinois, but I'm anxiously awaiting the day that we can get the special limited releases (Sculpin, Sea Monster, etc.).

Photo of changdulla
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This might be my favorite non barrel aged porter/stout. So effin good.

Photo of Ian_B
4.16/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black as the ocean's void at nighttime. Billowing, rocky brown head; large bubbles like swiss cheese. Great retention and lacing.

Smells strongly of chocolate malt and just enough coffee, with the vanilla fairly forward but blending beautifully into the roasty sweetness.

Taste is very well-balanced. Sweet, with vanilla-laced chocolate up front, followed by coffee and roasted malt with a perfect amount of acidity/bitterness to balance the (unknowably deep) sweetness. Long, lingering, and evolving flavour profile.

Overall, this is a fantastic "Imperial Porter." Thick and deliciously syrupy, this has the flavour of a stout. The chocolate and vanilla seems like they may be too sweet at the beginning of each sip, but are so wonderfully balanced by coffee and roasted malt acidity/salinity that you would have a hard time pinning this beer at 10% ABV.

Photo of dcmchew
4.59/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black pour with a really small tan head, pretty short-lasting, leaving a sticky lacing.
Roasted coffee bean on the nose, raw vanilla bean, cocoa powder and rich roasted malt. Simple, but intense.
Tons of coffee in the taste, the black kind, very lightly sugared, deeply roasted. A rich vanilla edge to it, too, not creamy, but raw vanilla extract. A bit of dark licorice, toffee, actually more like marshmallow. Dark chocolate and rich roasted malts, a bit smokey, turning really burnt and ashy in the finish, feeling amplified by some bitter hop.
Medium body, smooth carbonation. Aftertaste has coffee dregs, vanilla, roasted dark bread, some caramel and a nice more than mild bitterness stuck in the throat, but not the bad kind.
This will not surprise you, it's exactly what it says on the label, "porter with coffee and vanilla". But it's incredibly rich and balanced, one element compensating the other. So it seems that Ballast Point don't make just great IPAs, but also one of the best porters out there. Especially considering it's quite easy to get.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell."

--Buddha

Impenetrable onyx with the faintest hint of lightening along the bottom edge of the glass. A large chunk of caramel milkshake colored foam was created on the pour and looks to be in it for the long haul. When the crown finally starts to melt, barely broken sheets of lace appear on all available surfaces.

The aroma is an enjoyable mixture of roasted dark malts and roasted java beans. Vanilla gets lost in the shuffle, which is a shame and is the main reason why the score isn't one notch higher. Even so, I could just as easily have gone with the 4.5.

The flavor leaves no room for that sort of wishy-washiness. VASCVIP is outfreakinstanding beer from the very first mouthful. If warming makes things even bolder and deeper... look out! One of my initial impressions is how expertly the alcohol is buried. This beauty drinks like the ABV is 7.0%. No lie.

There are so many coffee-added stouts (and a few porters) out there in craft beer land that they tend to run together. This one stands out for its sheer quality and because the brewers decided to add vanilla to the mix. I'm happy to report that all ingredients listed in the name are now present and accounted for. As expected, time and warming are turning a great beer into... an even greater beer.

The balance between bittersweet chocolate, black coffee and vanilla beans is pretty much perfect. Although little hop flavor is appreciated (which is probably a good thing), there's a modest amount of bitterness that closes each mouthful (make that 'eager gulp') in tighter than expected fashion. This bottle isn't even history yet and I'm already thinking about how to get more.

The mouthfeel is a little lighter than it should be, especially considering the ABV. The beer is smooth enough, but it isn't crushed velvet plush and heavily creamy. This characteristic might be something for the brewer(s) to work on in future releases. Please tell me that there will be future releases.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter is my second favorite Ballast Point offering, behind the outrageously delicious hop bomb known as Sculpin IPA. I will do whatever it takes to acquire additional bombers. When I do, they won't be taken away from me by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. Highly recommended.

Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I hald this for a little while but the urge got to me to much last night.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark chocolate brown with a thin dark beige head that didnt last long,a great mix of heavy coffee roast and vanilla imparted sweetness,a bit of sweet alcohol and dark fruit shows thru as it warmed.Roasty and sweetish upfront with the dark roast coffee flavors prevelent,a vanilla/carmel flavor lends some hefty sweetness,there is a drying earthy almost resiny note in the finish that is drying just enough.A great beer it is a one and done though because the alcohol is potent and can give off some big sweetness,a rich well made beer.

Photo of don1481
4.31/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz poured into pint.

Pours a dark jet black with a mocha head that leaves a nice amount of lacing on the glass. Smells like a strong coffee with a hint of vanilla. Tastes like a strong coffee with a bit more vanilla. Mouthfeel is a bitter coffee taste, but not over the top. Alcohol is well hidden. I'll get more of this.

Photo of stewfnrocker
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got myself a growler of Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. I poured the beer from the growler into a pint glass. It poured a dark dark brownish maybe black and has a very nice tan head. The smell is of roasted coffee, toffee, maybe caramel and a little vanilla. Lots of sweet smells. When I got that first mouthful you got the taste of the roasted coffee and some malts and is rounded off with that vanilla and a bit of alcohol at the end. Its hard to hide 10% but it really isn't overpowering. There is about an average carbonation, and it has a medium to thick body beer. This beer is a great beer to have with something sweet or after dinner. It has all those sweet flavors of coffee and vanilla and toffee.

Photo of MadScientist
4.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: A black beer that lets just a bit of light through a deep garnet beer. The creamy head is a deep espresso color with good retention.

S: Strong coffee and a rich dark chocolate pumped up with vanilla and a light roast aroma. A sweet, light alcohol note.

A: Rich, smooth vanilla, coffee and chocolate with a depth of flavors that just goes on. Some roast, caramel and a little burnt sugar. There is a high amount of malt sweetness but it's countered by a moderately strong hops bitterness giving a balance that is somewhat sweet. This beer doesn't dry out and finish about medium. There is lingering chocolate and vanilla flavors mixed with some hops bitterness.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with a lot of creaminess and a moderate carbonation. There is a noticeable amount of alcohol but it isn't boozy.

O: Well this outstanding beer sets a high water mark for Porters in my book. There's more going on here than in a lot of stouts

Photo of hbensinger
4.37/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a bomber of this with a friend on brew day. Poured into tulip glass.
Who says you can’t drink at 8am? That’s why it has coffee in it, right?

This beer pours as you might expect a porter to. Dark and rich. Just enough off white head to let you know it is well conditioned. The aromas are all there of the coffee and roast malt. Great mouth feel. I am not usually a big fan of porters but this one was exceptionally smooth and well balanced. The coffee was noticeably present but in fantastic balance with the malt sweetness and vanilla creaminess. Im glad we only had the one bomber of this or we would have been drunk by 10am.
This is one of those beers that you have to get your hands on and try with some friends.

Photo of Kimberly_48
4.59/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Needs more vanilla mixed with the coffee

Photo of daveg36
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Good beer. Definitely a dessert beer. Very chocolately and a little vanilla latte in there. Not sessionable, not recommended on a warm day, and not recommended on a really full stomach. A heavy beer, but delicious.

Photo of weatherdog
4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

It pours a deep rich brown high a large 3 finger head that settles with a nice thick layer of bubbles that leave thick lacing down the side.

The smell is heavy on the roasted coffee with just a hint of the vanilla. No detection of alcohol at all.

The taste very heavy on the roasty coffee. The coffee is not too bitter which can be a common problem in these coffee porters and stouts. Even though I know this isn't an oak aged beer I'm picking up some subtle oak with the vanilla at the end. Once again no hint of the alcohol. The finish is just a little too sweet for me and that is my only complaint.

This is just a silky smooth beer and drinks easily and quickly. I really enjoyed this beer and glad I was able to get a bottle.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very opaque, can't see any light through it. One finger light brown, mocha colored head. Decent head for such a strong beer.

S - Big coffee, vanilla and roasted malt notes off the bat. A little caramel too. I get a little of the alcohol but not too much.

T - Up front some very nice caramel notes, some breadiness, and some dark fruits. On the back end big roasted coffee notes and a lot of vanilla. The vanilla and the coffee play very well of each other.

M - Very creamy and smooth. A tiny alcohol burn. But overall a great mouthfeel for a porter.

O - This is my favorite porter by far. I wish Ballast Point released it more often.

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle

A: its like a cascade of molasses ,rich and dark.

S:obvious smell of coffee,toasted malts and a hint of chocalate.

T:a beautiful balance of coffee and vanilla.although not a strong taste of vanilla you can taste it if you wait for it.A bitter finish but not overwhelming.

M:very smooth.

O:Best porter I've had till now.A balance of quality flavors that you can expect from your favorite coffee house with the added bonus of alcohol.Need I say more.Highly recommend for 7.99$ for a 22oz.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.55/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep, dark black pour with no light getting through at all. A quarter inch of deep tan head sits atop the brew. Aromas of huge, bold fresh brewed coffee, caramel and vanilla. Roasted malts and chocolate weave in and out underneath. Smells a bit sweet.

First sip brings dark, somewhat roasted malts swimming in bold, nearly abrasive coffee along with big vanilla extract. Chocolate and caramel come through with a bit too much sweetness. The bitter coffee kicks in on the way down but it still doesn't overtake the sweetness I get from the malts and vanilla here. A bit too much of everything going on for me here.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy and smooth but with big alcohol puffs too. This is a bold brew and a bit too sweet for me, but it's a good bomber to share with a friend or two as drinking the whole thing to yourself would be a bit too much. Thanks to emerge for this one.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,224 ratings.