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

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

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

1,178 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,178
Hads: 5,730
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 967
Gots: 1,618 | FT: 100
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,178 | Hads: 5,730
Photo of JamesStreet
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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! (553 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (226 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (517 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (751 characters)

Photo of xseanprimex
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (283 characters)

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (918 characters)

Photo of Jazzcrop
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (255 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (1,936 characters)

Photo of maedhros09
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (587 characters)

Photo of GOBLIN
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
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 ! (619 characters)

Photo of dowen17
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (326 characters)

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks go out to SuzyGreenberg for sending me this bottle.

Pours a deep deadly black with a nice light tan head that lingers for some time and leaves pretty good super sticky lacing.

Nose is mostly roasted malt and coffee, with a little chocolate like presence peeking out from behind the corner.

Wow. An excellent concoction (as most from ballast point are). Right off the bat cream and coffee infiltrate the palate and nostrils. I really like the amount of coffee presence in this one, nice and noticeable without raping you in the face. Not getting a whole lot of vanilla, but im thankful for that. Although, it does come out a bit more as it gets warmed up a bit. The thickness and creaminess sure are there though. The finish has a suprising amount of bitterness, given the adjunct bill on this one, but i like that about it. Coffee and dry roasted malt linger in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is a real beauty on this one. Nice chewy viscosity and a well maintained dose of dryness despite the adjuncts involved. Carbonation is right where it should be.

Drinkability is great for the abv. Really doesn't seem hot at all, and the coffee isn't too abrasive, nor is the vanilla, so for something with so much going on, the drinkability is still pretty solid.

Overall, this is yet another winner from Ballast point. These guys are slowly but surely becoming my favorite San Diego brewers. Their IPAs get all the love and trading attention, but i encourage everyone to branch out and try some of their other offerings, as they are all quite solid, and this one is no exception. For a beer that it would be easy to make a mess of, they have made a gem out of it. Great brew. (1,686 characters)

Photo of bonbini26
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours, a dark, oily black color with about a 2-finger white head. The smell was sweet of roasted coffee and vanilla oak. It was sweet with a roasting bitter finish. It started silky smooth and then finished bitter, Felt more like a stout than a porter. Drank pretty easily for a 10% ABV beer. An excellent beer from Ballast Point (329 characters)

Photo of rallison
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a great, thick black with a creamy tan head that lasts for quite a while.

Huge vanilla on the nose with notes of chocolate syrup and childhood sweets.

Very smooth chocolate, espresso and vanilla in the taste. The coffee has minimal astringency (huge pet peeve for me) and the taste is nicely backed up by a tootsie roll chocolate sweetness. The coffee/espresso notes nicely balance the sweetness. This beer is over the top in many ways, but so very well put together.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and appropriately carbonated.

Drinkability is very good.

Highly recommended. Great on its own, great barrel aged, etc. (627 characters)

Photo of MCain04
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz from the Beer Temple, dated 12/20/12, poured into a FFF Teku at around 40F.

Dark dark body almost black with thin khaki head, some retention, some lacing.

Smell is a pungent vanilla. They did not shy away from this ingredient. The coffee follows suit and is a nice roast, even 6 months after this was brewed. The roasted malts are also apparent, with some chocolatey, caramel notes. A little overpowering on the vanilla but the nose is anything but subdued.

Flavor profile follows the nose well. A lot of vanilla, with dark chocolate, bitter coffee, roasted malts, and caramel toffee rounding this out. The flavor profile almost makes it taste like it's been in a barrel, which it has not. That's actually the major thing missing from this beer, is the 10% ABV punch. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Probably by the overwhelming sweetness of vanilla, but still a complex and diverse flavor profile, if not the best balance.

The mouthfeel has a higher than expected carbonation given the head size, but it doesn't detract. A full body with some dryness on the finish and a sticky malty residue on the tongue.

On of the better imperial porters I've had. I haven't tried the base beer but assume it would be very good as well. I like the coffee addition, the vanilla could have been better integrated and balanced though. Overall very nice beer that worth drinking more than once. (1,388 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra from Plenum. Thanks for the brew!

22oz bomber poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a deep black color with a thick brown head that leaves great lacing. Nice rings of foam form all the way down.

S- Coffee leads the way in the nose with some roasted aromas and some bittersweet chocolate. The vanilla is there but the dark roasted coffee and malt aromas muscle it to the backseat.

T- Man, this baby throws it's weight around right from the start! Huge rush of roasted chocolate coffee beans and alcohol initially with some sweet vanilla and caramel flavors in the finish. Some light bitterness from the coffee helps to balance the sweetness throughout. As it warms, all of the flavors become more pronounced and the vanilla begins to shine.

M- Full bodied with creamy smooth carbonation. Very well integrated.

O- Really tasty stuff. I don't see a bottling date on this one, but I'm guessing it is relatively fresh considering the alcohol heat and sharp coffee flavor. This would probably age well enough, but I'm not sure that anyone should want to considering how nice the flavors come together fresh. (1,120 characters)

Photo of tigernipples
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber, no date on bottle.

A: Jet black, nice finger head,very impressive looking porter, almost looks like a stout.

S: Big Big Coffee beans, molasses,malts, expresso notes, vanilla notes slightly in the bachground of the nose.

T: Chocolate notes, lots of coffee(not the usual burnt coffee you find in most beers, nice fresh coffee),little bits of dark fruits, i don't detect alot of vanilia and i heard that this batch had strong vanilla noted within.some bitterness. alcohol is just not there (its a 10% abv and you wouldn't know it).

M: creamy, i feel like i can chew it.

D & overall: So far, best porter I've had. my favorite was Smuttynose Robust porter but this has taken over. High drinkability since alcohol is completely hidden. I think I will buy more to age. thinking that some of the edges will mellow and it may bring out the vanilla. (852 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Texture was heavy but very much like a traditional porter. Dark brown head formed to about a finger but dissipated quickly. Very dark color and enjoyed out of a goblet shaped glass.

Smell: The coffee aromas take over here. Accents of dark chocolate and burnt oak play along very well. There is also some vanilla sweetness begging to burst through the other heavier players in the smell. Aroma is subdued, have to dig for it a little bit.

Taste: Best part right here. A roasted coffee taste greets the palette which then becomes a bold vanilla bean flavor. The vanilla goes along very well with the malt/caramel flavor of the porter. The coffee accents come back at the end with a heavier roasted flavor then on the front end. 10% abv is no where to be found.

Mouthfeel: A surprisingly clean smooth mouthfeel. I thought there would be a thicker mouthfeel similar to an imperial stout but I was wrong. The coffee flavors don't really stick around either. I just wish there was a little more going on here.

Overall: Awesome brew. Drank so much like a regular porter but with a few extra levels of complexity. Coffee and vanilla play their role without totally taking over this beer. Feels like a porter the whole way. (1,231 characters)

Photo of Pinknuggets
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

bottle to HFS sniffer

A: very dark but not quite black though completely opaque with a thick mocha head that dissipates into a thick lacing.

S: So the first thing that hits you in the face is massive vanilla scent it is nice and roasty, but almost overpowering all the other smells. I can definitely detect the coffee and a few hints of malt but thats about it. Good, but not great.

T: follows the nose with the vanilla but not as strong as in the nose there is definitely a lot more coffee flavor i can almost taste the ground beans great combination of flavors very strong and extremely robust RIS taste in a porter.

M: Very thick but also extremely smooth and creamy which seems to be caused by the vanilla. Milkshake status for sure and the alcohol is well hidden

O: This is probably second only to everett in terms of porters for me this is smooth with tons of strong coffee and vanilla flavor exactly what I want from a porter especially an imperial one I highly recommend this beer (996 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Purplish-tinged dark brown hue. Head is ochre, pretty dense but thinned out to a rim. Interesting, and head revives well.

Smells spiky and pungent. Vanilla, cinnamon, plums, mostly. Spice, sweet and a massive amount of coffee roast. No other word, it's intense.

Taste is less intense, but carries on the same notes. Huge vanilla sweetness with caramel drops, a touch of coffee roast, but yeah, creme brulee kind of sweetness as well. Could be off-putting but that roasty bitterness just tacks up the sweetness to make it not just palatable, but drinkable and enjoyable.

Little bit of booze pull, but stands up OK thanks to a sizeable and smooth body.

Everything about this beer made me recoil at first, but with every subsequent sip I fell more and more under its spell. Sweet, desserty, and quite amazingly balanced, with its most intense notes intricately counterbalanced. This is a far, far better beer than I initially gave it credit for. (946 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andewk for the exceptional trade and the hookup on this bonus beer.

Tall, thick, and dark tan head with a cluster of slowly popping bubbles at the top of the jet black brew. Staying power is excellent. In other words, this head don't need no Viagra. A tiered and multi-hued lace is left when the froth is spent.

Sweet and bitter chocolates to the nose initially, with an undercurrent of black coffee and furtive vanilla bean at the very end. Taste is complex with rich caramel malts, pine, espresso, vanilla, milk chocolate and oaken notes.

Creamy goodness going down with an unbroken but never overwhelming alcohol heat.

A stud of a perfectly balanced bittersweet brew that I find finishes off way to quick no matter how you cut it. (751 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Tan finely bubbled head. Fantastic retention and lace. Bowling ball black with cola highlights.

S - Mocha, coffee, soft vanilla, and fantastic roast.

T - Soft balance on a profile loaded with flavor. Vanilla and coffee into dry roast and warm booze. Rich mocha finish.

M - Smooth, full bodied frame.

O - Thick profile, almost more stout than porter, but still delicious. (378 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-nice dark color with a tan head that disapates with time
S-a nice mixture of coffee and vanilla. Who would have guessed?
T-vanilla upfront with a cofee aftertaste. Very smooth with the carbonation.
M-medium bodied and smooth
D-no way I would have guessed this to be a 10% beer. Wow. (284 characters)

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bomber into a pint glass

This beer pour jet black with a very large frothy head that lingers for some time

The aromas coming from my glass were of strong coffee and sweet vanilla

The taste is mostly coffee with a little bitterness followed by smooth sweet vanilla finish. not much bitterness really just the right amount

This beer is big and has a fairly heavy feel to it, but that does not take away from its drinkability, could have had a second if it weren't so damn strong (494 characters)

Photo of kawilliams81
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 8 oz snifter.

A- Pours black with a 1 finger mocha head. Big trails and small blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- chocolate with very nice coffee aroma and some vanilla.

T- chocolate, roasted malts, big coffee blast with the vanilla shortly behind, with some bitter roast at the finish.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very smooth and lighter but in a good way. No clue this was/is 10%

O- great porter. Coffee and vanilla really make this beer and drinks very well for a 10% beer. (540 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,178 ratings.