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

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1,195 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,195
Hads: 5,810
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 980
Gots: 1,654 | FT: 98
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.
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Reviews: 1,195 | Hads: 5,810
Photo of DrDemento456
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at my local beer nutz for 9.99. Score!

A - Pours as black as a porter can get. Even if you try and hold it to it the light doesn't seem to come through. A very smooth coca colored head greets me.

S - Mostly of dark roasted malts with a small twang of vanilla in the nose. Smells kind of like a cappuccino.

T - Ow man this stuff is great! It gave off a great vibe of coffee and cream right to the tee. Too bad as it warms the coffee malt flavor takes full hold and it ABV is noticeable toward the end or I really would have loved it.

M - Medium to heavy bodied with full flavor.

D - Well at that price is truly was great to try it. Maybe it's just me but like Creme Brulee, I can't seem to focus on the extreme vanilla that everyone says is in there. A very drinkable coffee porter but would kind of work better at a lower ABV since it comes off kind of cloying.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Ginger Man. Pours a pitch black color with a thin layer of light brown head. Some lacing. Smells great. The aroma is sweet coffee and vanilla with some smokey roasted malts and chocolate. The taste is a nice boozey mix of the coffee and sweet vanilla. Dark chocolate and roasted malts. More of the coffee and vanilla comes out at the end along with a nice warming alcohol presence. There's a lot going on here but it all blends well together. Slick mouthfeel. Overall, fantastic Imperial Porter that I need to have again.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a few in PA and boy, is it worth it!

This beer pours black with reddish brown highlights, capped by an 1/2" thick brown head. Retention is excellent, as is the lacework it leaves. On the nose, it's pretty awesome. Fresh coffee (somewhere between an espresso and a regular cuppa joe), an awesome vanilla note, as well as a great rich chocolate aroma. The palate replicates the nose, with the balance between the flavors being fantastic. Opens up with chocolate, followed by coffee and then vanilla before a beautifully bitter finish with flavors of dark chocolate and coffee. The palate is great too, with a medium body, soft and rich carbonation and a great finish. A nice slickness as well. Drinkability? I drank a bottle and could have gone for another

**Edit Jan 2011**
Drinking the 2010 winter release, I can say that my review is the same, but I have to dial down my scores a bit to reflect how I feel about this beer.

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Photo of draheim
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a rich brown w/ a thick mocha head.

Aroma is rich chocolate, coffee, caramel, cocoa nibs. Smells great, like dessert.

Taste is good strong coffee up front, softened by the vanilla. A solid backbone of dark roasted malt holds it all together.

Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, balanced and moderately dry.

Overall this is about exactly what I was expecting/hoping for, and it's now one of my favorite porters.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

taste- chocolate, subtle dark roasted coffee flavors, caramel undertones

color- dark chestnut brown

clarity- clear

smell- cocoa, roasted malt, biscuits

body- sweet/tangy chocolate hop bite at the front and sides of the palette, soft, medium-heavy weight mouthfeel, smooth, medium-long finish

appearance- mocha-colored head, nice heavy lace, slight carbonation

overall impression- nice beer, almost a little too sweet but would pair well with desserts. the brewer says this is an imperial porter...i think it departs slightly from the style and tends to be a little "showy" with the vanilla imprint

notes and comments- the aroma is very one note...i may be mistaking the smell of vanilla for cocoa but it is very pronounced and delightful. killer label

glassware: tulip

song: my brother esau - 10/3/87

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I've been trying to find this since it's been out. I managed to try the ba version and now on to the regular, On-Tap at Capone's in a tulip.

A- Victory at sea is black, there's no doubt about it, I might as well say it looks like a stout. Usually my porters have a dark brown look, this is a step above that. Not much head, or even a cap, but once i get some room in my glass a few swirls brings forth a coffee colored head. Scattered loose lace.

S- This beer name does not lie, this is a big (imperial) smelling beer. Pretty much a porter done to the max. Up front the coffee and the chocolate make a cute couple giving off a huge roast and a bit less sweetness when put together. A nice blast of cream and vanilla beans when the temp rises. Alot of roasted malt. The roast is probably the biggest scent from this.

T- And more roast in the taste. I'm finding that the coffee and the vanilla are perfectly balanced while the chocolate is a little less in your mouth which im digging. Nice fair trade coffee with vanilla beans and more roasted malt. The roast in this makes me smile. With warming I get some chocolate syrup taste in the end. Just a touch of hop bitterness and a little bourbon which i thought would be a bit bigger, im not complaining though.

M- This one is smooth, I can't stress enough that this is one of the easiest feeling porters considering it's size. Just a small trace of alcohol after I gulp some down but not hot. A bit of a syrupy feel after 6oz or so. Above medium bodied with light carbonation and a smooth finish, bliss.

D- If this was not so high in alcohol I would of had a bunch more. If the bottles were not so damn hard to come by I would have alot of them in my cellar as I type this. One of the best [porter's that i've ever had and quite a feat for Ballast Point to come up with this recipe. Hey guys, brew some more and send it to the east, we need more for the winter.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown chocolate, not quite black with a mocha head that leaves lots of lacing.

Smell of roasted coffee, vanilla , roasted malts, and sweet sugar.

Taste of not surprisingly, Coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. There is a bitterness that is slightly different, but could also be perceived as licorice mixed with dark burnt malt. Not a whole lot of ashy flavors, but Charred flavor seems to be pretty strong. In other words, burnt, but sweet mixed with vanilla flavored sugars. If you let this warm in your mouth a little bit, the vanilla really becomes more prevalent and tasty.

Mediated carbonation levels with a nice mouthfeel that is not too thick but definitely not thin. All in all, a very drinkable coffee Vanilla Porter.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a good amount of head. Smells strongly of coffee with a bit of vanilla. A bit of vanilla as well... Tastes strongly of coffee and vanilla with a fairly thin background. Clean and smooth and a very light. Vry drinkable especially for 10%...

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Photo of xnicknj
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into glass - 2009 vintage

Pours an inky black with a thinner tanned head. Fades out almost completely with sine spotty lacing and film.

A strong scent of cocoa with espresso, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of alcohol.

Plenty of chocolate and cocoa up front with a nice splash of vanilla flavor. Lighter tones of coffee and mocha mix in with an almost truffle- like sweetness. Roasted dark malts with caramel and some lingering warmth. Finishes toasty with a hint of booze.

Fuller medium body, mild carbonation, a little creamy and smooth. Really nice drinking, and some age helped mellow out the alcohol although some of the coffee and vanilla flavors faded.

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Photo of Holland
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to CheapBeerBuzz for giving me this one as an extra!

A: the beer is deep and thick looking with a one finger brownish head that clings to the glass.

S: dominated by rich coffee smell with some roasted malt and sweetness, but it blends so well with the mocha smell.

T: coffee, then roasted notes, then a huge flavor of chocolate comes through. Some decent bitterness to balance the slight sweetness. Flavor hangs around in my mouth forever.

M: seems pretty thick, but the carbonation cuts that pretty well.

O: didn't really blow me away, but it's still incredible for a well distributed beer. Not too much vanilla, but that's good. Seems well balanced and fairly drinkable.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a deep dark cola with a big tan head that fades leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has tons of coffee aromas with a creamy vanilla and malty smell there as well.

T: The taste starts with coffee but soon after the vanilla and roasty malt flavors take over and leave a wonderful finish on the tongue.

M: The feel is creamy from the carbonation but it's a bit thin for an "Imperial" porter.

D: High ABV yet tasty profile puts this on the medium end of drinkability.

Very tasty and I wish I had access to this without having to trade for it. This along with Terrapin Wake N Bake are the best coffee beers I've ever had.

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Photo of fastsrt
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, tan head diminished quickly.

S: coffee, vanilla in the back, malts mingled with subtle coffee.

T: first taste thought was "this reminds me of founders CBS" all the flavors are balanced making a wonderfully flavored beer

M: mild carbonation, dry bitter finish with lingering vanilla.

D: at 10% one bottle is good, and reasonably priced, high quality have paid twice this much for beer not at good.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Hop City, Birmingham

A: Tar black. A 2 finger tan head that took its time getting squared away. Sticky lacing.

S: Coffee strong with vanilla and chocolate bringing up the rear.

T: Huzzah! Strong coffee notes, followed by a faint essense of vanilla and a decent chocolate and malt backing. Take your time and enjoy.

M: Medium to heavy with creamy carbonation.

O: An outstanding porter. Would be great with a chocolate chip cookie. Wish I'd bought a bomber. Recommended. Love the label artwork, too.

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Photo of JamesStreet
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- thin-looking ink-black with a wispy beige head that leaves nice lace on the glass.
S- blasts of strong bitter coffee roast dominate. Lovely aroma! Small hint if vanilla bean comes through as well.
T- coffee subsides a bit but is still the dominate character in this one. Sweet molasses flavor on the back that cuts the coffee nicely.
M- velvety medium feel with moderate carbonation.
O- this brew is a delight to quaff if you're like me and love big, coffee aromas. The taste falls off a tad from the nose but is still high quality. Lovely beer!

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Photo of breadwinner
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Coffee lover's delight here, along with a healthy dollop of vanilla. I thought it got perhaps a touch heavy with the vanilla, but and it's definitely a sipper, but I think it'll probably right in a lot of people's wheelhouses.

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Photo of do_ob
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pretty well black in appearance. Wonderful aroma of roasted coffee, roasted malt, vanilla, and cocoa on the nose. Very dense, this one is. One of the heaviest porters I've had. Lots of coffee throughout the taste, with the vanilla shining through a little more as it warmed. For me, this beer seemed to get super hot towards the end, after it had warmed up a little. Still good, but made for a slightly sharp finish.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A wonderful beer- hits all the right notes without overdoing it. Luscious and balanced, it really satisfies the sweet tooth without being too sweet. It's the nice vanilla richness that does it for me. The coffee flavor is wonderful. Obviously high quality coffee is used, and the fact that it's cold brewed undoubtedly helps create its smooth, clean flavor. Nicely balanced overall , with the coffee taking the lead, followed by a long slightly sweet vanilla note, some roastiness and a bitter finish. A nice package.

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Photo of korguy123
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to silverX for this one.
Bomber into CBS snifter.

A- Completely opaque black pour, heavy but not oily pouring. I got no head on this pour, that made me a little sad. Lacing is non-existent.

S- Huge dark roasted coffee. Subtle molasses but that is about it. I don't get any vanilla or sweetness. Maybe a little chocolate.

T- Monster amounts of coffee with brown sugar and molasses. Vanilla is there but really taking a back seat to everything else. Dark chocolate with hints of alcohol in the back end.

M- Medium to full bodied, chewy with a creamy start that quickly transitions to lively from the carbonation.

O- Other than how this looks (lack of head) This is a world class porter. The coffee is perfect, the vanilla is subtle.

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Photo of xseanprimex
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This dark, dark brew poured an awesome tan head that held some serious retention. The complexity to the flavors were apparent in the aroma. The smoky vanilla taste did a good job of hiding the 10% ABV. As good as can be expected. Looked as good as it tasted. 10/10 would drink again.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased at Bruisin Ales. Poured into a 22 oz Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours a extremely dark brown with ruby highlights around the edges. Nice looking cocoa colored head that didnt last very long before settling to a ring. That ring leaves a little bit of lacing.

S: This beer smells incredible. Huge vanilla aroma that is mixed with a huge coffee aroma. There is a bit of roasted malt aroma in the background as well.

T: Coffee seems a bit more prominent in the flavor but the vanilla is still the star of the show. There was a bit of a boozy kick that seemed to become less aggressive as it warmed up.

M: Unbelievably smooth and creamy in the mouth. Perfect carbonation level. Medium to thick body.

D: After letting it warm just a bit more, it was much easier to drink because the alcohol edge seemed to mellow. For a 10% big flavored beer like this, it still disappears faster than you would expect.

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Photo of Jazzcrop
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tastes are, well, here ya go: vanilla extract (from the bottlem of course), darkly-roasted coffee beans, dark and white chocolates, dust, musty hops, roasted barley, green tea, real boozy goodness, marmalade, inverted sugars, saffron, some funk and spice.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle as an extra from a great trader - many thanks! Poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: A deep cocoa charcoal bodied brew capped by a finger of tan, almost grayish head that has somewhat poor retention (though that could have been the pour - I didn't do this one). Minimal lacing and surface markings, though a nice amount of zippy carbonation races up around the edges of the glass towards the (marginally lifeless) surface.

Aroma: Fantastic. A subtle, approachable aroma, full of vibrant but smooth and soft aromatics. Bright and springy, green espresso coffee dominates initially, but sweet, earthy, estery vanilla bean soon springs forth, decadent and inviting, mingling nicely with toast, cocoa bean, dark toffee, and faint tinges of char.

Taste: A robust and heavily roasted porter with tons of lighter flourishes. The malt backbone on this one is rough, intense, severe, with tons of flashes of astringent obsidian barley, dark, glossy, and spicy. It's dry, puckering at points, almost, with hints of char but with no smoke at all, revealing a nice amount of underlying mineral notes. The dryness provides a wide open palette for french roast espresso, hints of bitter, dark chocolate, freshly plucked, stripped, and scraped Madagascar vanilla bean. This one's nice, reasonably complex and varied.

Mouthfeel: Thicker, but not syrupy or cloying by virtue of its relative dryness (which, as mentioned above, doesn't come across as too terribly dry due to the variety of flavors here). A mild amount of carbonation keeps things aloft nicely, though.

Drinkability: A solid beer, with a great array of flavors and aromas, even if the process notes were a little off. I could see this paring fantastically well with German chocolate cake or some other such rich dessert, and though the alcohol was present both in the feel and in the taste, I think it was on the whole well-tempered, all things considered. Recommended.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Deep brown with average tan head that settles to a nicely retained film and bubbles with some lacing
Smell: medium to dark roast coffee, dark fruit, boozy
Taste: Coffee and dark chocolate (mocha) blend with vanilla, brown sugar and dark fruit. a fair amount of sweetness up front with moderate bitterness in the finish. maybe some herbal hops presence.

Overall: A pretty delicious brew - the coffee is really well integrated with the beer and adds an earthiness to the otherwise sweet malty body. Hops is just enough to balance in the finish. Great balance and nice presentation.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point Victory at Sea

Ahoy matey

Poured into 10oz snifter

A: Black like a stout, like the bottom of the ocean floor

S: Smell is just solid . . . roasted malts, coffee beans, vanilla bean ice cream. Seriously one of the best smelling porters out there.

T: Taste does not disappoint either. Same as whats on the nose but the taste is really where it's at isn't it ? Tastes like a rich luxurious liquid desert.

M: Smooth and creamy. Full to medium-sized body.

O: Perfect stout . . . Uh, I mean porter . . . perfect porter for this cold, windy, snowy march evening on the high seas. Well done Ballast Point !

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Photo of dowen17
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an almost pitch black with a nice two finger head.

Smell is heavy bitter coffee. Dark malts and vanilla take the back seat.

Taste mirrors the nose. Bitter coffee up front with a wave of vanilla and dark malts after.

Nice mouthfeel and more carbonation than expected.

Excellent beer. Would definitely drink again.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,195 ratings.