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
98
world-class

5,535 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,535
Reviews: 1,229
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 940
Gots: 1,528 | 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: 5,535 | Reviews: 1,229
Photo of sjccmd
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is strong coffee. Some peppery notes. Cinnamon and spices, and a good dose of vanilla. Dark chocolate, some fruity esters and citrusy hops, but those are kept to a minimum. Vanilla comes out more and more.

Pours black with a dark tan/brown head. Medium sized head recedes leaving a good amount of lacing. Clarity is pretty good.

Taste is again big on coffee. Filled in with roasty malts and a hint of citrusy hops. Vanilla comes in on the finish with cinnamon and clove. Coffee is balanced nicely with robust dark malts, burnt toast, and some caramel. Very rich, but the coffee seems to keep it from being cloying. Vanilla adds a hint of sweetness.

Full bodied with medium low carbonation. Vanilla seems to add to the body. Some residual sweetness balanced with roasty bitterness.

Big and luscious. Coffee balanced nicely with the rich porter character. Heavy for the style.

Photo of KBS
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big coffee taste and then finishes with vanilla to take the edge off the bitterness of the coffee. Great coffee stout, right there with FBS.

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black, not too thick. Nice looking head, but again, not particularly thick. Over all good looking.

Vanilla is heavy, roasted coffee. The vanilla is quite heavy. As it warms, some malty sweet aromas appear.

Taste follows the nose. Vanilla sweetness, coffee, sweet malt sugars, mild malt roasts. Finishes with a healthy dose of coffee bitterness. The alcohol... wait what alcohol. Very well hidden.

Mouthfeel comes across as much lighter than the 10 percent ABV.

Great beer here, no doubt about it. I have been excited to try this beer for a long time and am glad to try it finally.

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

On tap at the brewery during RBSG 08. Darkest brown with a creamy cocoa head that leaves a bunch of lacing. Nice roasty nose with milk chocolate and vanilla. Intense iced coffee with a roasty bitterness, some earthy herbal hops, chocolate sweetness. Excellent beer.

Photo of Googs
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, dark brown. Not seeing through this one. Looks almost like a cola. About 3/4 of an inch head when poured which faded quickly into a small layer of bubbles. Alcohol legs lingering on this, and not surprising at all for the the !0% ABV. A very nice lookin' imperial porter.

S: Not a very strong aroma on this one. Dark chocolate roasted malts upfront. A bit of coffee and vanilla. Not an intense smelling brew but pleasant.

T: Malty sweetness that is quickly covered up by the roasted coffee, hops and a touch of vanilla. Very good imperial coffee porter.

M: Perfect mouthfeel for this style of beer. Smooth and just the right amount of carbonation. 10%? this one goes down easy. It's creeping up on me.

O: Pretty awesome Imperial Coffee Porter and one of the best I've had. If you like that roasted coffee flavor and your Imperial porters on the bitter side, you'll love this. I've heard they last years batch was a bit sweet. This year's is fairly bitter when fresh. I'd prefer a little bit more sweetness in it so I'm going to grab a bottle to age for a year and re-visit. Delicious brew, I'd get this if you can.

Photo of hoppytobehere
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, bottled October 28th

A: Just as you would expect. Dark as hell. Nice sticky tan lacing.

S: Coffee heavy, but for a guy that drinks 4 cups a day, this is great. Dark chocolate as well, not getting much vanilla yet. Fair amount of hops.

T: Keeps getting better as it warms up. Roasted coffee, raisins, dark chocolate. Slight bitterness from hops and coffee. Pretty dry actually for what it is.

M: Smooth, creamy, chewy. Everything you want a porter to be. 10% ABV and it feels much lower.

O: $7.49 bombers, perfect beer for winter. Might be even better with a little age on it.

Photo of argock
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bornw bottle into a clear glass snifter. No obvious born on/bottle on date, indecipherable code stamped on the front of the label and something unreadable on the bottom. Purchased in allocation from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Black with soft dark brown opaque edges with 1/2-finger of beige head that has good retention for the ABV and leaves a lot of small dots of lacing.

S: Great aroma with heavy black coffee aroma, but dark fruit, cocoa, and roast malts plow through as well. The vanilla is more of a hint. Alcohol singes the nostrils barely. Maybe the fruity aromas are low-level yeast esters, maybe they are date and plum from the malts.

T: The flavor is good but the coffee could be ratcheted back by 10-20% to let more of the porter through. If I could get another bottle, I would hold onto it for about 3-4 more months and let the coffee fade more and let more porter come through. THat being said, it is still delicious and the coffee works very well with the no, more apparent vanilla component. The porter base is supplying some nutty flavors, roast for sure, and a light touch of caramel. THe alcohol is well hidden and mainly is a warmth in the throat and belly. Any yeast component is some very mild stone fruitiness like cherry or plum. A very good beer that I think would be a bit better with a lighter coffee hand. Bitterness is moderate, mainly from coffee and roast, not from hops which are hard even to detect.

M: I think thefeel could be a bit more lush, but the lighter body helps with the drinkability, which I am not sure is a good thing in a 10% beer. Carbonation is moderate.

O: BP Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla IMperial Porter is a stellar beer that I think has a few small fixes that could turn this into a very top-tier beer. I am very glad to have had the chance to try it, and do not overlook this beer -- it is special and still has potential.

Photo of Jas45678
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice black with a small mocha head that fades fairly quickly. Smell is vanilla, coffee, mocha and a little carmel. Taste is coffee and vanilla with some mocha and carmel. Nice bitter finish. A little light bodied with medium amount of carbonation. Overall a great porter especially if you like coffee and vanilla.

Photo of snaotheus
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. My bottle doesn't look like the one in this listing's picture, and it doesn't specifically say the name in this listing. It says:
Victory At Sea
Porter with Coffee & Vanilla
Imperial Porter
I'm not sure, but I think a bottle code is printed in a weird location on the bottle (in the blue strip front and center, just to the left of the "Porter with Coffee & Vanilla"): S 35 13297. If I understand it correctly, it's a couple months old (assuming it's a bottled on date, not a best by date)

Pours barely translucent ruby-black-brown. Poured gently, starts out with no head, which surprisingly springs up out of nowhere, but then dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma is powerful. A slightly jostling of the beer sends up a cloud of delicious coffee aroma. They must use a shit-ton of coffee in this, but it smells great. But, the coffee smell nearly obscures everything else. I can detect some vague fruitiness, maybe cherry or plum, a little yeast, maybe a little of the vanilla that's mentioned on the bottle (but I probably wouldn't detect it if it wasn't listed on the bottle).

Taste is coffee bitter, sweet/sour cherry or plum slightly up front, more coffee bitter, some caramel and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is rich, gritty, nice. This is really a nice beer.

Photo of darthvohn
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Glass Used: Tulip

Appearance: Black with a thick tan head. Head descends into a nice thin cap.

Smell: Vanilla, strong coffee, waifs of toffee and chocolate swirl around along with a light singe of alcohol.

Taste: Coffee, heavy roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate and a bit of the alcohol.

Mouthfeel:Mild carbonation, smooth and slick. Pleasant finish with a bit of burnt bitterness.

Overall: Pretty damn good porter. The aroma and finish hooked me for this one. Would definitely recommend if you are a fan of the style.

Photo of babaracas
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nearly opaque very dark brown with two finger thick fluffy medium brown head, settles to a half inch that stays, with rings down the glass for a few inches. Smell: big espresso with roast, caramel and earth; vanilla, dark chocolate. Taste: vanilla pop upfront, then high cocoa chocolate atop dark brown sugar and buttered toasted brown bread, thins out into earthy espresso with prune note and more chocolate, earthy hopping and re-emergence of the vanilla. Medium-light bodied, creamy feel, sticky finish. Delicious.

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$9.99 for the bomber at DeCicco's, Ardsley, NY.

Pours straight up black, dark mocha head, thats rich, dense and staying around. Thick sheeting and nice looking and well developed lacing left behind.

Nose resonates with coffee and more coffee. Also some dark grains, mocha, light chocolate.

Full flavor porter, lucious waves of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and dark malty goodness. Rich, dense, boldly amped up and thoroughly tasty stuff. Heavy and viscious on the tongue and coating the mouth.

Over the top and highly worthy of seeking out.

Photo of Soonami
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Victory at Sea is a beer I've been hearing and reading about for almost as long as I've been a BA. This is a beer that lives up to the expectations. A coffee vanilla imperial porter, it has lost of the things I like in a beer. The beer is almost motor oil black, with a thin layer of lacy bubbles and sticky clingy scuzz on the glass.

The beer smells deeply of coffee, although it doesn't smell like the freshest coffee with a bit of acridity. The sweet chocolate and malt flavors carry through to give VaS a distinctly beery aroma. The hops provide only bitterness, but the coffee is very assertive up front with syrupy caramel flavors and a warming vanilla sweetness in the finish.

Tasty beer with a great integration of ingredients that match well.

Photo of Stigs
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, loved this on tap...thank Jim for another shot at this. served in a 12oz tulip

A - pours with a very thin layer of loose, dark khaki colored foam. the beer is pretty much pitch black throughout the whole glass. only a couple random spots of lacing left behind.

S - strong, fresh and cold steeped coffee, lightly creamed. some sweetness fights through with vanilla beans, and milk chocolate. roasted malts are present yet stay mostly in the background until the end, more present as the beer warms.

T - strong, yet bitter fresh roast coffee. cut into sharply near the end by vanilla coffee creamer, the vanilla beans come through strong in the end and linger for a bit. toasted nuts and roasted malts, caramel add balance. cocoa powder is very present in the lingering sweet aftertaste. yum.

M - mediud to thickish body, quite syrupy yet cut into sharply by some tight and crispy carbonation. very sticky finish, with lingering roasty bitterness and vanilla sweetness.

D - coffee has died down a bit here but the slack is taken up by a more pronounced vanilla and toasted nutty sweetness. hides is 10% ABV dangerously well, with nary a spat of alcohol taste or burn present.

Photo of prototypic
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea pours a dark chocolate fudge color. It's nearly opaque, save for a few burgundy highlights at the outermost edges. A very light mocha head covers the top. It recedes to a surface covering quickly. Lacing was spotty and light.

The nose is good. Chocolate malts are noted early. Smells like dark chocolate fudge. A relatively strong vanilla bean scent follows. It's a nice touch. Roasted coffee is in the mix and works very well with the other elements. The more I smell it, the stronger vanilla seems to come through. It definitely has a sweet, sugary vibe. Alcohol isn't noticeable. Pretty good all in all. Maybe a tad heavy on the vanilla for me.

The flavor is a step up. Bittersweet, dark chocolate is apparent throughout. It's very tasty and gives it and excellent base. Roasted coffee is much stronger in flavor. I like that. It works extremely well with the chocolate. As a coffee lover, I'm a big fan. It's not coffee overload though. Non-coffee fans shouldn't be discouraged. Vanilla is more subdued in flavor. That actually works well. It's a nice complementary flavor, and works better in a more subtle role. That's a good thing. Alcohol is slightly noticeable, but is blended very well overall. It's not overbearing in the least. Finishes with a blast of coffee and chocolate.

Victory at Sea has a medium body that grows more substantial with warming. Carbonation is light, and it has a nice smooth feel. It needs just a little more girth to get that creamy feel a beer this big needs. Drinkability is very high. This is a damn tasty beer that goes down far too easily. It never feels as big as it is. Tough to keep from chugging it.

Ballast Point generally brews good beer. Occasionally they brew something special. Victory at Sea falls somewhere in between the two. It's damn good, but isn't quite special. Frankly, a bigger body might be all it needs to get there. Without question, it's damn solid all-around and is well worth your attention. Easy recommendation.

Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super deep brown color, cant tell on the clarity but looks a little hazy. about 2 inches of tan sticky head. Smells alot like coffee and asphalt. Herbal woody hop nose. Burnt malt as well. Coffee really comes through as the beer airs.

Wow, tastes as if a delicious big ol black beer had a baby with an amazingly rich coffee. Bitter black chocolate on the tip of the tongue with a sweet creamy vanilla twang . Huge coffee flavor along the mid palate. Finishes with burnt sugar and underlying hop bitterness, much like a straight black coffee. Almost no detectable alcohol. Quite a brew. Could easily work as a breakfast brew with it's sweet vanilla start and bitter coffee finish. Loving it. Hope it doesnt give me the jitters though, coffee burns often do :-(

Photo of vandemonian
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter is a big complex beer. Flavours of coffee and biiter dark chocolate. The finish is dry and bitter.

A: Black colour and a nice 1 cm head that lasts really well. 4.5

S: I can smell the roasty malt from 3 feet away. Up close... it's weirdly not that much stronger. Charcoal. Bitter dark chocolate. 4.5

T: Malty with big flavours of coffee and bitter, dark chocolate. Some slight sweetness and a dry-ish bitter finish. A big, complex beer. The finish is too harsh for my taste. 4.25

M: Foamy. 4.5

O: 4

Photo of DearthVader
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz poured into a Delirium snifter.

Poured a dark black which let no light shine through at all. It left a half finger of tan head on top that left a fair amount of lacing.

I pick up mostly coffee in the smell, but you do get some vanilla at the end of your sniff. A very pleasant smelling brew.

This is a very good tasting Porter. Heavy on the coffee with a slight trace of alcohol presence, and a balancing sweetness with the vanilla

Relatively thick mouthfeel, but that could just be because I had spent my previous 3 weeks drinking nothing but IPA's and DIPA's.

A good sipper. I actually paired this with some ice cream and a couple bites of a brownie. My girlfriend was craving dessert and I told her "only if I get to have my beer with it." She can never say no to me.

Go ahead and try and pick one of these up. A great brew crafted from a very talented brewery.

Cheers!

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours pitch black with a thin medium brown head that dissipates to a thin film and thick ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma dominated by roasted coffee and vanilla with a bit of alcohol, reminiscent of a coffee liqueur, light toasted malt. Flavor of espresso coffee, vanilla, toasted malt, light oak; finishes with charred, rich coffee and long lasting hop bitterness with a hint of chili pepper hotness. Medium bodied with some creaminess. A very nice, complex porter, rich enough to pass as a stout. Flavors a very complex and rather unusual for a porter, with the ambigous nature of the final pepperiness and bitterness especially interesting. A hyped beer that lives up to its reputation.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of PicoPapa
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of draheim
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of NorCalYeti
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
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

Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,535 ratings.