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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,343 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,343
Ratings:
6,526
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,071
Gots:
2,074
For Trade:
92
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,343 | Ratings: 6,526
Photo of inlimbo77
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, 2012 vintage
Riedel tulip

A: Pours a deep dark black color. No light getting through. Initially two fingers of tight bubbled medium tan head. Like marshmallow sitting on top. Sticky lacing.

S: Smelled it as soon as I opened it. Delicious mocha. Coffee and vanilla. Dark coffee character is still ever present even after a year. Char.

T: Wow. Ages extremely well. Coffee is still present amazingly. Deep dark chocolate up front, mixing with dark roast coffee. The vanilla is slight, but as it warms it comes out more. Just delicious stuff. Finish is fairly dry because if the coffee and dark chocolate but LONG. Stick with you.

M: Full bodied brew. Vicious.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bomber of this with a friend. Pours a rich, dark black. Smells of roastiness and coffee. Taste is full bodied, great mouthfeel. The vanilla adds a great taste and complexity to this overall delicious tasting brew. Smooth and well hidden alcohol, this was a fantastic beer with the sips going down way too quickly and easily. Highly recommended, this brewery has yet to let me down in the least bit.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Poured into a Ballast Point shaker pint glass.

Look: Pitch black body with brown coming through the fringes. Dark cream colored head that recedes to a collar and fine film. Light spots of lacing.

Aroma: Charred grains and roasted malts blend with sweet vanilla and cinnamon spiciness. Dark roasted coffee on the back end.

Taste: Tons of roasted malts and rich dark coffee flavor covered in a perfect touch of vanilla. The finish has more of a sharp hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, pretty smooth for 10% ABV.

Overall: This goes down way too easy for 10% ABV. Perfect amount of vanilla, and tons of roast.

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

12 oz bottle into a stout glass.
I wasn't expecting too much when I cracked this open. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised with this beer. The aroma was a very nice meld of vanilla, roasted malt and coffee. The taste was even better..and I think I told my wife so, about 10 times. Very smooth, with no complaints at all.. I'm really looking forward to another round of this top-notch beer.

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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.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a red-brown head. Smells of roasted coffee sweetened with vanilla. Tastes like a cold brewed black coffee with vanilla. The colder it is the more robust the coffee flavor. Closer to room temperature the coffee becomes slightly tamed and the more chocolate-like flavors settle in. At 10% it can feel a little strong, but the bittersweet roasted coffee flavors help cover up the booze. It is pretty thin and goes down easy with mild carbonation. Overall a nice imperial porter for coffee lovers.

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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.

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

Not as much vanilla as I was hoping, but still a beautiful imp porter. Coffee, bakers' chocolate and a nice hoppy earthy note. The mouthfeel is what made this one for me. A bit heavier than other porters of its strength which appeals to me a lot as a lover of big, syrupy stouts.

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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.

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

Looks. Dark, dark, dark,with a frothy head.
Smell. Not my strong point, but lots of caramel, coffee, vanilla, sweet fruits and earthiness. Very nice.
Taste. A whole mouthful almost simultaneously; sweet malts up front to a smoky dry finish.
Feel. Full bodied, almost creamy, and sparkley.
Overall. A tad dry in the finish for me, but very small complaint, my newest favorite beer. Have one in the cellar, waiting for next year.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Pours an opaque oily black with a two finger mocha color head. Aroma is just like cold brewed black coffee with some roast and vanilla coming through as well. Taste follows with coffee, chocolate, vanilla, roast, and robust dark malts with a little bit of almost rye bread and dark chocolate on the fringes. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth, a little harsh when the beer is cold, but smooth as it warms. Overall, a very nice coffee brew that holds up with the porter backbone making it easy to drink and all the flavors coming through.

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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!

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,343 ratings.