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

5,533 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,533
Reviews: 1,229
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 938
Gots: 1,525 | FT: 103
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: 5,533 | Reviews: 1,229
Photo of gthornton
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was at the brewery for some of their special releases when they started pulling these straight from the bottling line to fill their coolers, so I had to grab a few and drink them as soo as possible.

This pours a dark, thick black with a creamy vanilla colored head that lingers throughout the whole drink, and leaves plenty of sticky lacing on the glass.

The rich vanilla, coffee, and chocolate are present in the smell and the taste. A lingering booziness on the tongue, but it is accompanied by so much coffee and chocolate that I do not mind at all.

This is a thick and creamy beer through and through, the mouthfeel is a bit sticky, and it certainly leaves its mark on the palate. Try it with a steak, or something similar, but I would avoid spices of any kind really, because this beer demands your full attention.

At 10% one of these is great for a very effective nightcap, but I would not want to waste the experience by having any more than two in one night, before moving on to other choices.

Photo of RoninTK3
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Jet black with half a finger of mocha head.

S - Sweet with lots of vanilla and chocolate. Roasted malts and coffee are also heavy in the smell.

T - Heavy coffee on this one with a surprisingly bitter finish. Sweet chocolate and vanilla hints, but they don't come through the coffee flavor as much as others have said. A lot of roasted malts as the smell suggested.

M - Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Smooth finish.

A surprisingly bitter, coffee forward porter. Others have mentioned a ton of vanilla in this one, but I didn't get it. Would have liked a bit more vanilla and chocolate, but a great beer nonetheless.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 1 finger coffee colored head. Laces out evenly across the top and clinging to the sides.

Smells like I just brewed a cup of joe and tossed in a white chocolate bar. A little nutty like candied roasted nuts.

Tastes of roasted french vanilla. A lot of deep malty undertones. A slight bitterness of chocolate. Also the malts have a faint smokey character.

The 10% is not that noticeable but you can tell there is a good amount of alcohol in this one.

Split a bomber with a friend and was satisfied with my half.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as a surprise in a "just send me some good stuff" box from my buddy Sideswipe.
Poured into a standard pint glass.

This is deep black and viscous. This looks like a big old impy stout, not any kind of porter. The toffee colored head rose up two fingers and had amazing retention. The lacing is thicker than a girl in a rap video!

This is such a great smelling bouquet of sweet darkness that I actually went to blow my nose to further enjoy it. Dark fresh roasted coffee with some definite chocolate from the malts mixes it up with a boozy bourbon bite. The vanilla is not to be out done though, like Jimmy Page cranking it to 10, all the flavors come forth to have their turn in the spotlight. They each get their excessive 8 minutes solo and return to jamming out the kickass goodness we all have come to expect.

The chocolate and toffee malt backbone is John Bonham-- just keeping the time and keeping it level. The coffee is screaming and wailing about some sort of breakdown in communication like Robert Plant in tight jeans while the vanilla wants your attention just as much with it's intricate and delicate strumming of your tastebuds. Plucking each one with such furiosity and at the same time, such tenderness, that you don't know if you should shed a tear or put your lighter up the air. Let's not forget John Paul Jones assisting with the steady and well timed boozey sting that, let's face it, isn't the most important part in terms of your personal enjoyment, and yet, without it, something incredible would be lacking. It's hard to put your finger right on it, but all things coming together to jam out 180 decibels of flavor on the private stage of your palate, is just goddamn awesome.

What just happened there... I kinda blacked out.

This has a an amazingly full body and a little grittiness that suits the intense flavors. Great amount of carbonation that helps the whole thing along-- like a good guitar tech.

The bottle depicts a skeleton clutching the helm of a seemingly sunken ship... Yet the name is in stark contrast-- "Victory at Sea." I think this is best visual description of "Stairway to Heaven" I've ever seen. You can't always get what you want, and sometimes you don't always want what you get... And just sometimes, well, sometimes, you just might get what you need. I need another one of these!

Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev -2%
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 thedoubler55
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark black, has a nice 2 finger off white head that leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

S: Strong roasty notes up front, hints of coffee, and strong smell of dark chocolate and some cherries.

T: The vanillas presence is obvious with both the nose and taste on this brew, very roasty and nice subtleness.

M: Heavy mouthfeel, and sticky, perfect amount of carbonation.

O: This was a very good beer, I felt as if the warmer it got the better it tasted. Nice warming effect to this beer as well, Great job!

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 12/10/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big vanilla, cream, milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, light roasted malt, and dark bread. Incredible aromas with great balance and complexity of dark malt and sweet vanilla notes. Taste of milk chocolate, vanilla, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, floral, and light pine. Lingering notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, dark bread, floral, and light pine on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted and sweet creamy vanilla malty flavor; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic imperial vanilla porter! Great balance and complexity of roasted and sweet malty flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on for 10%. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of Zach136
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pitch black, deep brown head, excellent lacing.

Aroma: Blend of sharp coffee and specialty malt roast.

Flavor: Smooth coffee bean flavor, vanilla comes across as almost cake like. Coffee cake and a sip of black coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, coffee finish is a little bitter. Also a bit fuller bodied and velvety than a porter should be IMO.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a large snifter, it easily produces a half inch head. Body is jet black, with a tan foamy head that quickly dissipates to a ring, leaving small soap clouds of lace on the glass.

Rich aroma of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, and alcohol.

Tastes of charred malt and dark chocolate up front, with coffee and vanilla mid-palate, and ends with a burning dry finish on the tongue, mostly of bitter char and roasted coffee, and just a hint of smoke. Overall, it is a pleasant and well-balanced Porter.

Body is on the lighter side for a Porter, and carbonation is low, but it is enough to give this a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

This is a nice version of an Imperial Porter, very flavorful, and quite drinkable. The alcohol is slightly warming, but is matched by the great flavors.

Photo of Cylinsier
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22

Pours jet black with an inch of coffee-and-cream head, pretty decent retention.

Smells of roasted coffee, smokey flavors, caramel and vanilla.

Tastes bitterly smokey with roasted coffee at the forefront, followed by hints of vanilla and caramel.

Feels full and creamy with smooth carbonation on the back of the tongue.

Delicious, avoids the sometimes too-acidic flavor of some coffee porters and remains smooth and mellow. The smoked notes are a nice touch. Hides its abv pretty well though there may be a hint of warmth at the end. All in all, a really enjoyable brew.

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark chocolate brown with a half finger of brown head that left good sticky lacing on the glass. Roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla dominate the nose which also had chocolate slight nutty, and a little sweet lacto notes. Like the nose the roasted malts seem to pop more but the chocolate is a bit stonger on taste that had vanilla and coffee accents. There is was also a little underlying booze and nutty flavors. The beer was medium body with a good amount of carbonation that had a sweet roasty creamy finish. Overall it drank very good and was even better when paired with chocolate brownies. I will definitely try to get more of this tasty brew.

Photo of cavedave
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The resin left on glass from this thick, darkest brown, opaque elixir is worthy of a stout. A thin, dark beige head relaxes gradually to a skim that swirls as if upon syrup.

What an aroma, full of vanilla, with a less roasty coffee flavor, really smooth notes of fine dark caramel, but it's the vanilla that takes it here, sweet, and inviting.

Not a stout at all, perfectly described, this baby is all porter on the palate, BIGtime. Talk about delicious, the vanilla and sweet caramel start, then some chocolate into a medium roast coffee flavor. A lot going on here, but alcohol is absent (this can't be 10%). It seems a simple, winning combination, but there are subtle roasty notes, really clean and tasty, some floral hints, some fruitiness (cherry?) in there. None of these flavors want to dominate the taste, and at times all of them do. Quite sweet, but there's enough going on to make it an asset, and the finish has an edge of herbal bitter and roast to balance.
Wonderful taste!

Mouthfeel is on the stout side of modern porter sensibility, quite viscous, lasting resins, low carb., a slow sipper, wonderful finish. Too thick for style? I just don't know.

Drinkability is good for a big beer. It's one to sip and savor.

Impression: Another Stellar beer from BP. Thank you to them. Get this if you see it, it's a must try.

Photo of birchstick
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color with a nice one finger mocha head on it. Nose is freshly pressed coffee with loads of vanilla. Taste is similar. Lots of coffee and chocolates dominate the front and back. A lot of vanilla is in th middle. Pretty solid, really enjoys the taste profile on this. Solid mouthfeel taboot. Really good vanilla coffee porter here. Loved it and will seek out again.

Photo of drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated bottle served in a goblet. Beer is black and forms a thin brown head. Carbonation is low and so is lacing.

There is a nice coffee aroma with a slight hint of vanilla. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the aroma develops more and there is more of a vanilla character to it, also more sweetness.

There is a strong coffee flavor and bitterness in the back palate. The front palate detects a mild sweetness. The beer is smooth, no carbonation on the palate. Beer is lighter in body than expected overall. The bitterness lingers but there is no aftertaste, just a flavor that holds on. Overall, pretty enjoyable and a good porter for sure.

Photo of meatyard
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-A very dark brown with a milk chocolate, one finger head that fades fast leaving little spots of lacing.
S-The roasted coffee comes on strong and I also get a bit of licorice. As it warms there is a release of alcohol that isn't there in the initial pour.
T-This has a powerful punch right from the beginning. The coffee flavor is most intense followed later by a smaller amount of the vanilla. I still get some licorice flavor hanging around at the end. There was a little bitterness in the beginning but that isn't noticeable as it warms.
M-Not thick, more medium in feel but still full and smooth.
D- It's tasty and drinkable, the bomber is the right size fo those who enjoy this beer.

This is no standard Am. Porter. It's intense and interesting. Maybe a little overpowering but very good.

Photo of mrstevens
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been wanting to try this beer for awhile and my good buddy gtreid hooked me up last night.

P: Very dark pour with a thick caramel colored head.

S: Coffee was the strongest smell I got from this beer, along with the hints of vanilla, caramel and licorice maybe.

T: I really enjoyed the taste of this beer, big coffee, very creamy with the vanilla and caramel mixing in perfectly.

M: Great carbonation, very silky creamy thick and smooth in the mouth.

D: Drinkability is good, not too much of an alcohol presence, but maybe a little too creamy to drink too much of it.

Photo of 100floods
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fizzy pitch black, you can't see through it when put up to light. It's followed by a thick yet bubbly mocha head that after the first sip goes away.

Smells of vanilla, espresso creme, and dark chocolate covered coffee beans. You can almost taste the texture of the beans, but that's more memory than anything.

Thick and full bodied texture.

That's espresso bean flavor comes strong, before the beer fully touches your lips, then it's mostly sweet and gentle roasted notes with a roasted strong finish that lingers in your mouth. Definitely a few things going on, yet nothing is hidden. This beer has sweet notes to it, but not the kind that make this beer too sweet. This beer provides a lot of balance for what it has to offer. Yes, it's that good.

Photo of slasher007
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mora2000 for sharing this bottle.

Pours a very dark brown color with medium tan head and pretty good lace. Smells of coffee, vanilla, and some creamy malts. Taste is more balanced with flavors of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and somewhat espresso. Nice creamy mouthfeel with low carbonation. I was very suprised with how big this was and how good it was as well. Excellent beer from Ballast Point Brewing Company

Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a snifter, pretty dark. slight ruby hues, but more or less black with a tan head. decent lacing and head retention.

roasted coffee, mocha, caramel, touch of dark fruit in the nose.

big coffee flavor upfront, fades into a creme brulee like richness, burnt sugar, just a hint of acidity in the finish. not overly sweet, just enough to balance out the roasted malt/coffee flavor.

mouthfeel is a tough thin, but this is a porter so i find that fairly acceptable. overall this is way too drinkable. not overly boozy and deceptively smooth,

Photo of CliffBrake
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow - like drinking a chocolate mocha creme pie! A great dessert to linger over on Christmas Eve.

It pours with a light tan colored head with modest lacing. Coffee and vanilla are both very prominent on the nose. The flavor combines these notes with chocolate and bread from the malts. Throughout, the coffee is very prominent and tastes about as rich and fresh as any coffee I have had in a beer (and better than you'd get with most coffee in this country). The vanilla is well integrated and doesn't stand out as much as it seems to holds things together.

A very tasty, sweet libation for slow sipping.

Photo of jooler
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells like a prairie Bomb. It tastes pretty damn good. Smooth like a porter but the burn of an imperial stout with a hint of vanilla. Only issue is that the carbonation is low

Photo of kzoobrew
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to SpdKilz for hooking me up with this bottle. Cheers Carleton!

Poured into unbranded 12oz snifter. Deep walnut color from the bottle though settles into the glass an opaque black. One finger Cafe Au Lait head works its way back in short order. A nice ring is left around the perimeter, heavy lacing clings to the glass.

There are some beers that you find yourself admiring the aroma to a point that you have to remind yourself to take a sip, this is one of them. Medium roasted coffee bean with a bit of cinnamon up front. Fudgy dark chocolate wedges itself smack dab in the middle. Caramel vanilla cream lays underneath be delicately weaves its way into each sniff.

The aroma is an excellent indicator of things to come. The flavor is very reminiscent of the aroma but much more even. The java flavor is very clean, providing a nearly perfect level of roastiness. Molten chocolate is intertwined with the bean though moves towards a dry cocoa flavor towards the back of the palate. Sweet caramel creme provides a lighter sweetness to compliment the darker flavors. The vanilla is not overly obvious, the flavor smooths and blends the other flavors together.

Full bodied porter. The carbonation is a bit too lively, so far that is the only fault I can find in this beer. Very smooth and nearly creamy texture. The finish is moderately long, the flavors do not dig in to the tongue as much as I expected.

Quite the impressive beer. Flavors are very well integrated and smooth. Remarkably easy to drink for a 10% beer. Alcohol is well hidden. Drinking several servings may not be the best idea though it would be remarkably easy to accomplish. Well done Ballast Point!

Photo of garuda
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick, black, oily pour that only gets a tiny tan head with little retention and spotty lacing down the glass.

S/T - Rich, smooth roasted coffee in the forefront with touches of vanilla and chocolate creating a sweet underlying tone.

M - Full body, great low carbonation, creamy across the palate, with a little residual oiliness in the finish.

D - Wow, abv is hidden extremely well, with only a hint coming through as it warms. This is such a smooth easy drinker, I only wish the vanilla was a bit more prominent.

Photo of don1481
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
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 PeprSprYoFace
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This has got to be one of my favorite beers. Very tasty. It has an awesome head that stays the whole time and is super creamy and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. It smells of wonderful roasted malty sweet goodness. You can smell the coffee a little bit. Taste is very intense. Lots of flavors going on such as slot of roast and good light vanilla flavor with a smooth coffee roast to it. Mouthfeel is great with great carbonation. Overall it is a sipper because of how intense it is but with a year or more of age on this I can see this beer being even better. Very good

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,533 ratings.