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

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,158 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,158
Hads: 5,634
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 949
Gots: 1,578 | FT: 108
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,158 | Hads: 5,634
Photo of yemenmocha
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely opaque black with khaki brown head. Nose is luxurious with layers of vanilla, chocolate ice cream, and a smoky/roasty quality. On the palate the vanilla is really in your face with a smooth roasty character that brings the malt forward, and an espresso/coffee like quality towards the finish and aftertaste. (314 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Pours pitch black with a two finger light brown head. The head retreated to the sides of the glass but left excellent lacing on the sides.

From the aroma it's very east to tell this is a coffee beer. There is a strong presence of coffee along with a decent amount of roastedness to it. There is a slight vanilla sweetness that helps balance it out nicely.

The bitter coffee is the first thing that you notice in the flavor, but the real draw for me is the subtle complex vanilla sweetness it has in it. There is some roasted grains and bittersweet chocolate to go along with the coffee and vanilla in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side with moderate to low carbonation. I really enjoyed drinking this one and would definitely buy it again. The vanilla sweetness really helped balance out the bitter coffee and roast flavor making this one stand out from other coffee stouts. (946 characters)

Photo of ChadQuest
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this rather vigorously into my Smuttynose snifter, and the head has the staying power, and the aromas are lofting strongly around the area. vanilla is by far the strongest airborne scent, even more so then the coffee. digging your nose into it just screams vanilla. The flavors are more balanced then the aromas and meld very very nicely. Chocolate is introduced here to support the coffee and vanilla. For some reason im getting some oaky notes and there is also alcohol notes too. Overall i have to say this is a very impressive Coffee beer, and this is a harshly graded class for me. mouthfeel is creamy and semi-dense, just a joy to drink all around. (663 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (2,139 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 4 - Good looking dark brown-black beer with a nice dark tan head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Bottle is classic Ballast Point.
S - 4.25 - The smell is very heavy on the coffee with maybe some hints of vanilla and dark fruits? Definitely roasted malts in there.
T - 4.5 - Super good coffee, vanilla, creamy flavor to it. Roasted malts. A slight taste of alcohol but it's good. Tastes like Breckinridge Vanilla Porter but better.
M - 4.25 - Medium mouthfeel. Lighter given that it's an imperial porter rather than a stout. Roasty coffee aftertaste. Alc is really well covered.
O - 4.25 - This is a good beer. It's what it says it is (a coffee vanilla porter), and it's good, but I don't know if I'd give it the 98 rating it has. I'd like to see a little thicker body on it and some more complexity. (813 characters)

Photo of schoolboy
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Victory is a winner! A huge, roasty, porter that makes me want to go down to the sea side (we are eating at a marina later) ... Ok, I'll stop.

It pours almost black - very dark brown. The head comes up and then craters beautifully, like the surface of the moon. The aroma is of sweetness, vanilla and a hint of coffee.

The taste is wonderful - a mix of roasty coffee and vanilla at just the right levels. It is less sweet than many porters. It is a great balance. The aftertaste is a little harsh and bitter (compared to the smoothness of the rest of the experience). It all works well.

This is highly recommended.

Also (later) had this on tap/growler and it was, of course, quite good. The aftertaste was nicer for some reason. The finish was bitter with vanilla. Luscious. (780 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours darkdark brown to blak with a very small mocha colored head. Earthy peppery coffe on the nose, some roast with a tad of vanilla and molasses. Biye up front that soothes into lots of chocolate on the palate. Second sip is a bit more earthy coffee. Don’t get a lot of vanilla, but it lingers in the aftertaste just a hint. Pretty prickly carbonation, but not too much. Medium mouthfeel but very drinkable (one of the lighter imperial porters i have had). Very nice beer. (476 characters)

Photo of Furlinator
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with ¼ inch of khaki head and nice lacing.

Smell is of spent dark roast coffee grounds up front with vanilla and faint cocoa on the back end.

Taste is black coffee at first, then some bitter hops, followed by faint vanilla. There is a slight alcohol bite. The flavor of coffee and vanilla begin to intensify as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy allowing the flavors to linger on the tongue. Medium carbonation.

Impressive, although the vanilla flavor is a bit weak. (495 characters)

Photo of far333
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inky black and opaque with an inch high head of light brown dimpled and uneven foam that lingers long and rises up the sides of the glass.

Aroma of coffee and cocoa, some roasty malt and marshmallow.

Rich flavor of bitter chocolate and light cocoa, molasses and dark coffee. The coffee doesn't take over, it melds well with the other flavors. Vanilla is very subtle, almost hidden. Notes of licorice and leather, some grainy brown sugar, and firm bitterness in the background. Well hidden alcohol.

Firm and rich mouthfeel, slightly tangy, crisp and tingly. Very flavorful and rich, with high drinkability for such a bold beer. (629 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thick mountain of brown head. The head has great retention. The nose has very strong notes of coffee and hints of cocoa. The taste is heavy coffee and light chocolatey, roasty notes followed by some faint vanilla. There is a faint hop bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is rich, smooth, full bodied though a little heavily carbonated.

Wow! This is well balanced, complex, and insanely drinkable. The ABV is hardly noticeable which made this bomber a dangerous one. (495 characters)

Photo of mdvatab
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received 2011 Vintage in a recent trade.
Poured from 22oz bottle into Bordeaux glass.
Couldn't wait to try this one!

Aroma: Rich mocha plus a soft vanilla note work extremely well together. Molasses underneath, plus powdered cocoa. The vanilla comes through more and more over time.

Appearance: Pours like a porter with a dark, dark brown body. 1/2 finger light tan head thins to a layer of fine, splotchy patches of bubbles.

Flavor: Strong, yet smooth vanilla flavor up front. Sweet, roasty mocha maltiness with a touch of peppery alcohol. A slightly-acidic coffee note followed by a robust, bitter, espresso finish. Bitterness lingers, and vanilla then returns.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation, and light pepper in the mouth and throat afterward.

Overall: The combination of vanilla and coffee work exceptionally with what would be a delicious porter on its own. The only improvement I could see for this brew would be barrel aging. Give this one a try! (972 characters)

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Love the bitter coffee, vanilla, and tar tastes and smells. You can't tell the alcohol at first, but it does warm up and start to kick in later. With just a tad more sweetness, it would be phenomenal. Delicious anyway. (218 characters)

Photo of mbudner
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into a snifter.

A- Pours black with a 1-finger tan to mocha colored head, 1-finger, dissipated very quickly leaving little to no lacing, but a syrupy resin.

S- The vanilla is unmistakable whether or not I knew this was a coffee vanilla porter. It is a very sweet vanilla akin to vanilla extract. The only negative to the vanilla is that it is slightly artificial/chemical-like. Some grassiness, burnt coffee, roasted malts

T- The coffee and bitterness of the malts hits the tip of my tongue as a very sweet vanilla (though not over-done in my opinion) envelops my entire palate. Creme brulee/caramelized sugar, some semi-sweet chocolate, macadamia nuts. There is some bitterness combined with some heat (but not much) in the finish.

M- Very well done. It has just the right amount of thickness and is very creamy initially. For the first second of a sip, I almost feel as if there is no carbonation, but then the bubbles pop on the middle and back of my tongue really rounding out the finish. I find the only thing separating this (and many other "imperial" porters) from an RIS is the prickly carbonation, but the chewiness is definitely there. Really outstanding job on the mouthfeel, a true gold standard.

D- The sweetness combined with full body and high abv makes this a beer that is not extremely drinkable, but it is definitely good. Overall, a great beer and I had no problem finishing a bomber of. I really liked how it evolved and some of the flavors that came out as it warmed (true of most/all beers, but especially true of this one.) (1,572 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great ring lace on the glass from the substantive tan head. Dark, dark brown color where no lace passes.

Lots of coffee and a little bit of cream. Basically, mocha in aroma. Low level of sweetness...reminiscent of good cocoa.

Lots of powdered chocolate in the flavor. Sweet and bitter from the malt. Rich body with a relatively low level of carbonation. Almost chewy. The aftertaste is complicated: Notable hop bitterness with some dark chocolate malt and sweet milky flavor. Deceptively high in alcohol. (506 characters)

Photo of PhxHorn
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one by mail order and couldn't wait to try it. This is the 10% version, part of the Robust series. It pours a dark dark brown, almost black, with two fingers of light brown lumpy head. Plenty of tan lacing. Smells strongly of coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a touch of vanilla. Tastes pretty much as it smells: coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a hint of vanilla. A bit more smoke than vanilla, actually, but that's not a criticism. This is a damn tasty porter with a lot of complexity going on. Carbonation was just a touch low for my tastes, but it was silky smooth and that's not a bad thing, either. Really, there's nothing to complain about and lots to praise with this beer. A real keeper. (726 characters)

Photo of stxSS07
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. Split with lookitsmp

A- Pours a near-black with a 1 finger espresso-colored head that hangs around forever. Leaves great lacing and nice alcohol legs.

S- Sweet vanilla notes and a huge coffee background. Some roasted malts in there as well with a hint of booze.

T- Starts with huge waves of vanilla and coffee followed up by a roasted malt note and a small tinge a booze at the end. Fantastic.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation that lets the flavors linger just long enough.

O- The second best porter I've had behind Black Butte XXI. Amazing depth of flavors made possible by the contrasting vanilla/chocolate/coffee. (672 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Honestly a porter or many stouts for that matter don't look better than this. Viscous deep mahagonny bordering on black with an awesome thick molten mocha colored head of 2 fingers. Thick and chunky with very good retention and when it finally fades the lace is thick sticky and quite sexy.

Great nose. Vanilla stands out and wafts from the glass and is noticable in a three foot circumfrence. Fresh ground coffee and espresso aromas lead into dark chocolate and cocoa. Some dark fruit esters linger at the back.

Damn fine monster beer here. Could really be considered a dessert beer with a slightly cloying sweetness on the long finish and very tannic from the coffee and acidic as well. Rich vanilla and bitter cocoa, dark chocolate, espresso, more vanilla, black berry, plum and a good amount of earthy hops and hop bitterness. Finish is long. Mouth spudders slightly hence the sweet tannic end. Otherwise a very worthy beer. (931 characters)

Photo of brureview
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured in a Stone Imperial Pint glass. Dark coffee color with a 2F head.

Coffee, vanilla, and lemon wafting from the head.

The mouth feel is moderate.

The balance of coffee-vanilla-lemon in the taste is impressive. The
coffee and vanilla don't overwhelm as in other beers- they are blended well
into the taste profile.

Overall an excellent Imperial Porter: fresh with an Enjoy By Date
1/15/14. (397 characters)

Photo of Thingus
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live tasting, bomber into Duvel tulip...

Appearance; pours black with two fingers of bubbly mocha colored head... Retention is decent with the head hanging around for a couple minutes before falling to a thin film... Lacing is good, with blotches and spiderwebs all over the glass.

Smell; coffee and vanilla!! And not much else... Try as I might, I can't get any more aroma from this brew...

Taste; holy moly, this is a vanilla latte lovers dream brew!! Tons of coffee and vanilla... Smoothly roasted and not overly bitter or burnt tasting, great flavors of vanilla bean... As the coffee and vanilla fades out with hints of malt and chocolate sneaking in...

Mouthfeel; on lighter side of full bodied, with good carbonation... Slightly bitter finish..

Overall; a damn good beer all around, the vanilla and coffee work exceptionally well together!! I'll definitely track this one down again, absolutely worth the effort to obtain! (934 characters)

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black, with a thick tan head that settles to about a finger thick. Lacong is excellent.

S: Smell consists of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruits. Hops are noticeable in the backround, but not much of a factor.

T: Coffee is most noticeable at first, followed by vanilla, dark chocolate, and some caramel. There is only a slight booziness to this beer. The finish is relatively dry, with some floral hop tones.

M: Full bodied, but the silkiness of this beer is short lived, as the finish doesn't last as long as I would have expected.

D: Excellent beer, although it's a sipper. For it's intense flavor and high ABV, it's very easy to drink. It does not need age, as it is showing brilliantly right now. (729 characters)

Photo of Bendurgin
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Alec. Thanks homey! Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with a thick cap of beige foam that leaves some thick gobs of lace.

The aroma has a heavy vanilla aroma right up front with a robust coffee aroma lingering in the background. Seems to have notes of bitter chocolate in the background.n The pallet gives more of what the the aroma indicates. A little more subtle on the vanilla with more of an emphasis on the coffee. This one is rich and delicious.

The body is full and smooth with soft carbonation. A little bit of a lingering finish would I attribute to the coffee. Overall this one is real solid. Would love to end up with more of these guys anytime. (685 characters)

Photo of ckeegan04
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Black as night with a medium brown tight foamy cap, about two fingers thick. Slowly fades to about an inch of foam and lingers through most of the drink. Thick rings of foam left on the glass.

S - Lot sof fresh roasted coffee bean in the nose with a faint hint of vanilla. Big bitter roasty malt aroma as well.

T - Strong bitter roasted cofee bean taste initially. A light sweetness with a hint of fresh vanilla bean lingers in the background but this is very much a coffee intensive beer. Roasted malts provide the backbone. Almost no hops whatsoever other than a faint floralness in the finish.

M/D - Full bodied and very creamy. Lively carbonation carries the beer through your mouth. Very easy drinking. One of the better coffee beers I have had in a long time and the vanilla provides a very nice sweet match. (821 characters)

Photo of uturn
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz capped bomber poured into a Petrus glass.

A: Beer poured a very dark brown to black with a nice 1 finger fluffy dark tan head.

S: The nose is just about all iced coffee and a damn good iced coffee, with hints of vanilla and maybe some cocoa.

T: The taste is coffee and chocolate (mocha), I didn't get much of the vanilla, it was there, but only mildly for me and some roasted malts. Not to sweet, not to bitter, just right.

M: The mouthfeel was big and very smooth.

D: The 10% was very well hidden. This is one heck of an amazing porter. (551 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours black with a medium tan head. There is nice carbonation as it rises about 3 fingers of creamy head. It lasts a couple minutes and has great lacing that sticks from the top of the glass to the beer.

The aroma is medium, mostly roasted coffee, but not overpowering. In the middle you get the glimpse of vanilla, lake a cappucino. Wish it was a little more dominant.

The taste is good, but way to overpowered with coffee from start to finish with a bitter roast finish. I want the vanilla to come out to play more, along with some other complexity please?

The feel is good, very lasting, but limited drinkability because of the overwhelming coffee.

Overall, this is pretty good but if they toned down the coffee a bit it could be world class. (819 characters)

Photo of tmoneyba
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by alexsdad06.

Poured dark brown color with an average frothy brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate roasted malty, vanilla and chocolate aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy dark roasted coffee sweet flavor with medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration.

Solid complex beer. (380 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,158 ratings.