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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

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,737
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 968
Gots: 1,621 | 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: 1,180 | Hads: 5,737
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this awesome beer from Beerdy. Thanks Brien! can't wait to try this beer!

Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Dark black beer with a dark mocha brown head. Super thick lacing sticks on side of the glass and a thick cap of tiny yet dense bubbles remains on top this awesome looking brew.

Smell: Roasty malts and massive coffee aromas. The vanilla is still pretty easy to find, but is not a strong as the coffee.

Taste: Upfront you get a strong coffee taste that has a bite to it. The bitterness recedes about mid taste and vanilla takes over; it is subtle yet still has a nice sweetness to balance the coffee. Milk chocolate, mild booze, and a mild bitterness returning in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This is a huge porter! Medium bodied beer with a silky feel to it. I am really amazed at just how well this beer has held up the carbonation is spot on for a porter! The vanilla accents the booze in the beer and the beers has a slightly boozey bite. I wonder what this beer was like fresh. It is a well made beer!

Overall: This is without a doubt the best Ballast Point beer that I have had! This is the only bottle of this beer that I have; looks like I will be trading to get more! Everything is really nice in this porter; great balance without any ingredients overpowering the other and I still has a bite. Which shows me this beers is still a bad ass! (1,361 characters)

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

Bomber poured into snifter

Black liquid with brown two finger foam cap, decent lacings

Aroma of coffee and chocolate


Taste of chocolate, roast coffee, vanilla, licorice

Good beer,mrepeatable (195 characters)

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

On-tap at Ginger Man.

Beer is black with a small tan head,

Vanilla is the strongest smell. it is actually somewhat overpowering, though nice. Some chocolate as well.

Tonnes of vanilla and chocolate in the taste. Roast malt and a bit of anise. The coffee is quite muted in comparison to the vanilla, which is very strong. Quite balanced, with a notable bitterness despite the inherent sweetness of some of the flavours. Very nice- truly a dessert beer.

Full bodied, moderately carbonated. Fairly thick. A bit creamy.

Overall, very enjoyable indeed. Reminiscent of DDC's Aphrodite, which I suppose is not surprising. (620 characters)

Photo of jminsc76
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Simmzy's in Manhattan Beach, California.

Pours a decently sized espresso head atop a black body. Very little lacing or legs at first, that is until I let it warm, then agitate, and then bam! out comes the head with thick legs as I tilt the glass.

Strong aromas of coffee, oak, and sweet vanilla beans, the last of which is the most prevalent in the bouquet. Wonderful smells.

Bitter coffee and vanilla on the front end, with bananas and darker fruits exhibiting toward the finish. Also accompanying those fruits is a slight quantity of booziness, which detracts slightly from the richness of all the other flavors. Grrr...

An incredibly thick mouthfeel as I swish, very full-bodied and pillowy. Love that feeling.

Overall, I was a little offset by the heat, as I have had this both from the bottle and from the cask and both consist of heaven on earth in deliciousness without the booziness. However, this is still a masterpiece of an imperial porter, and remains among my top five favorite beers of all time. (1,029 characters)

Photo of arlo19
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

I had this beer out of town so brought 2 bottles home on the plane. Finally drinking and reviewing a year later.

Great dark pour, healthy carbonation and lastling head.

Aroma is mostly coffee, with some cocoa as it warms.

Taste is chocolate covered espresso beans (thanks, Tim). Drinking it cold, I was overwhelmed with a dry and bitter aftertaste. Like the aroma, it tastes more balanced warmer.

Solid beer, it would be great to do a side by side with this, breakfast stout and roebling imperial robust porter. (519 characters)

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

Bomber bottle picked up and poured into a Dogfish Snifter glass.

A - Black pour with a tan mocha head that finishes with small lacing on glass.

S - Lots of coffee, some chocolate, some wood, and a nice roasted malt smell. I did not smell any of the vanilla on the pour.

T - Velet smooth taste. I would compare this favorably to the Devil over a Barrel without the bourbon profile. I got lots of coffee and espresso taste with a bit of wood as well. Again, not much if any vanilla even after letting it warm somewhat. Lots of roasted malt as well. Great taste.

M - Probably my favorite aspect of the beer. Really smooth and velvety. Outstanding.

D - If you like a coffee or porter, put them together and you will really like this.

I loved this beer. I am going to pick up a couple of more bottles to enjoy it before it is gone. (833 characters)

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

Pours almost black with a huge head which settled quickly. Good lacing remained throughout. The nose was milkshake - chocolate and vanilla, caramel, with a noticeable roasted malt and coffee. The mouthfeel was creamy and a perfect thickness for a porter. Taste was carmel, coffee, vanilla. The finish contained some bitterness, smoke and a mild and pleasant alcohol warming. i would not be able to sip at this all night but will definitely seek it out again - an excellent porter. (480 characters)

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

Had this on-tap at O'Brien's pub in a pint glass. Tapped a new keg today and bailed on class so I could try this one that has been on my list for quite some time. And it's a full pint too! Huzzah O'Briens!

Appearance: Black. Dark. Like coffee. I have a feeling I'll be saying that a lot, but it's really dark, almost no light escapes. The tap was a little headless though, and so that's the only knock on the otherwise splendid appearance.

Smell: Big nose of huge malty texture, slight bitterness and, oh yeah, coffee. Slight tinge of vanilla in the nose, but really muted and less than I expected from a coffee vanilla porter. Aromatic, big, and pleasing.

Taste: Coffee, burnt malty flavors, and stout, porter back end. I tried hard to get the vanilla here, but it's not too big. Definitely very little boozy quality though, and less than the Stone 12th, which was my comparison beer for this one. Really, really coffee-y though, and reminded me of a more porter-take on the Speedway Stout from Alesmith. Pleasant, but not mind-blowing either. Don't get me wrong, loved the taste, just not exactly as complex as I'd hoped.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and full, and not watery while not boozy either, which is a tough line to walk for big, dark beers.

Drinkability: I knock it slightly as I couldn't imagine drinking much more than I did of it as far as a pint goes, it's simply a little too filling. On the enjoyability, however, fantastic, and well worth seeking out. Looking forward to having this in the future aged in the bottle as well and see how it matures. (1,561 characters)

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

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine in late February for $7.49. Coffee meets beer, my two favorite beverages!

Beer poured black with a bubbly tan head. Nose is good, heavy roasted coffee dominates. Taste is roasted malts, coffee, slightly sweet from the underlying vanilla. There is a nice smooth hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth. Overall drinkability is good. Initial sips were hot. I would love to try this beer with a year of aging! Glad to have had the opportunity to try! (498 characters)

Photo of malloyca
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Opaque brown appearance with a reddish-to-coffee tint around the edge. Nice lacing. Coffee and vanilla aromas leap out of the glass. This initially smells like something to pour over vanilla ice cream; there is no residual aroma of malt, just the coffee and vanilla. Mouth feel is exceptional because it combines a nice viscosity with some carbonation and a finishing bite. This is not a flabby vanilla porter. The flavors are initially of vanilla, but that sweetness is balanced by bitter coffee and roasted malt. The 10 % abv is well concealed. (546 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle thanks chase2634. Poured into Founders snifter, bottle split 3 ways. No date visible on bottle, but I believe it's a 2010.

A- Pours a dark black with a very thin mocha brown head that quickly recedes and leaves very nice lacing that clings to the side of the glass. About average carbonation.

S- Coffee, vanilla, some roasted malts, a little bit of booze. A little bit above average aroma strength.

T- Coffee, quite a bit of vanilla (even more then the aroma), some booze that's nicely hidden by the coffee/vanilla, finishes with a nice vanilla taste that lingers. If this is a '10 then the vanilla and coffee held up very well. A lot more vanilla then I was expecting.

M- Smooth, lightly creamy that supports the vanilla taste very well, goes down easily, nice carbonation.

O- This was a very nice porter. A very nice vanilla coffee flavor that is very well balanced and hides the 10% abv very well. I'm pretty sure chase2634 told me this was an '10 however I'm not sure if that's definitely true due to the date. If it is true I'm very impressed by how well the vanilla and coffee held up. I definitely recommend trying this beer out. (1,153 characters)

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks Thickfreakness for the bottle!

A: A dark brown, almost black body, with a tan head and great lacing.

S: A nice and smooth nose of coffee & vanilla with a roasted malt background. Slightly boozy too.

T: Bitter coffee is the first flavor I taste, followed by some roasted dark chocolate malts and sweet vanilla. Very creamy with some caramel in there.

M: Although very smooth and creamy, the mouthfeel is a bit heavy like a stout; medium to full body; medium carbonation.

O: Really glad I got a bottle of this. Really good beer that I would love to get another one of. Definitely worth a try if you like coffee flavor brews. (634 characters)

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

A: Pours a deep opaque black or near-black brown, with a fair amount of dense foamy head. What's there retains pretty well, and leaves very nice webs of lacing.

S: A huge, rich, and decadent mix of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt, with a touch of cherry. Smells like a freshly baked dessert pastry.

T: Quite sweet, with a nice roasted malt body. Finish has a light coffee bitterness. It's like your dessert with coffee, all in one!

M: Rich and full bodied, with medium carbonation.

Overall it's extremely well done. It's very rich, but nicely put together, rather than just a straight up malt bomb. (615 characters)

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

Coffee drinkers unite. Very strong coffee flavor that finishes with sweetness and an alcohol kick-- like a Starbucks with a vanilla extract chaser. If you like your morning Joe be sure to check this one out! (209 characters)

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

A - Very Dark(lika a stout), half finger light tan head.

S - Coffee, Vanilla sweetness, Bourbon and Chocolate. Very even smells.

T - Tastes very close to the smell only stronger. Tastes of Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla with some smoky bitterness. Very light on sweetness(unexpected) and the alcohol. A slight metal taste in the finish also quite high in tannins.

M - Heavy in the mouthfeel with light carbonation.

D - Very drinkable but the 10% could hurt the good time.

Very much a stout in most characteristics. (519 characters)

Photo of mr-jj
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap served in a snifter.

Color is dark brown and opaque with a thin tan head. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and some espresso. Flavor is similar to the nose - kind of like a chocolate mocha milkshake with a bitter coffee finish. Body is medium with a nice creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a very tasty beer that I really enjoyed. (345 characters)

Photo of rodlavers
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into a chalice.

Pours black with a beautiful tan head, good retention, nice lacing.

Smell is rather muted, but I do get hints of what's to come in flavor. Smells more like a stout, with roasted malts.

Tastes great. Coffee chocolate and vanilla, up front and very nice. A little bitter and hoppy.

Mouthfeel is more like a stout, with bitter aftertaste, but smooth and dangerously drinkable at 10% ABV.

Overall very good. Try it of you can. (458 characters)

Photo of vince4953529
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally scored a bottle of this elusive brew after months of searching...

Poured pitch black with medium head and decent lacing.

Drank this with near-room temperature. Tastes incredible with hints of vanilla, it's a bit sweeter than other stouts I've had, but it's perfectly balanced.

A very hearty and warming brew. It goes down very quick and very flavorful. This is an excellent beer and I would love to have it again. (427 characters)

Photo of Brew_42
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours cola black with a nice tan head that leaves lacing.

Smell- strong coffee notes with some definite sweetness to it. Vanilla, maybe even some maple notes.

Taste-Follows the nose and then some. Great job of balancing out the sweetness with the coffee taste.

MF- Heavy body, normally I don't like beers like this in the summer, but I'm in Korea so I will drink any beer that isn't Hite or Cass. More of a cold weather beer for sure though in that is full bodies and a bit chewy.

Overall- Great beer from a great brewery. (526 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black, with a full-finger light brown head.

S: Great smell of roasted coffee beans, one of the best smelling beers I have had in a while, I just want to keep smelling it until the volatiles dissapate.

T: The mix of coffee and roasted malt is real nice here, but is not as good as Speedway. Still it's a nice brew, and has excellent dark chocolate notes.

M: Smooth and full-bodied, it hides it's 10% very well, but you'll feel it by the end.

D: A nice finish to my BP round, 2nd best of the 5 IMO, it's nice to be able to try this stuff, though it sucks I may never have them again.

Edit - 2/8/10 - Got to have this again, yum. (666 characters)

Photo of jbphoto88
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer that closely approaches black. There are some ruby highlights that barely give away the actual color. The head is a sponge of bubbles, sticking to everything it touches and is the color of espresso crema with a hint of cherry wood red. Impressive start.

Mmmmm there are loads of chocolate malts and coffee punch in the nose. And I mean punch! The coffee notes all but dominate with charred malts coming in way behind the thick cloud of cafe musk. All of those heavy scents have a bit of an acidic tart smell to them but in my experience that can be masked in flavor.

Speaking of which this is a huge flavor bomb. The coffee and chocolate carry over but not the tartness. The coffee is diminished and replaced by the vanilla roasted caramel malt and a baked nuttiness. Heavy duty with waves and layers of big porter flavor. Super delicious.

The mouthfeel is full bodied like you'd guess from a beer of this nature. The acrid notes perk up here and seem to wash off a layer of enamel from your teeth and leaves you with a chocolate bile aftertaste. Not my favorite finish but not so bad to make me rate it below a 4. So even with that negative this is still a bad ass brew. (1,192 characters)

Photo of dbossman
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Quite black with a thin brown head that holds quite well; lacing is great

S: Lots of alcohol, coffee, and sweet malts--roasted chocolate, vanilla and a touch of toffee

T: Lots of coffee and chocolate aromas but boy is this boozy--though as the glass airs out it becomes less hot; the vanilla and coffee really do take over toward the middle and then there is quite a bit of sweet chocolate toward the end

F: Creamy and sticky; nice overall mouth feel--good texture for a full-bodied brew

O: This is a delicious coffee beer but boy is it boozy--it gets better with time obviously but the alcohol makes its presence known and distracts slightly from the overall quality of the brew (686 characters)

Photo of Gmann
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour a thick used motor oil black color with a smallish dense tan head that left a wall of clingly lacing.

The aroma is of a nice milk chocolate with some vanilla, caramel and light coffee notes. Kind of smells like a tootsie roll.

The taste starts off with a nice shot of vanilla and then is followed by a smooth caramel, milk chocolate and fudge flavors. I pick up some standard coffee notes but the brew seems to have more chocolate notes than coffee. There is a bit of a sour berry flavor that adds some balance to the porter.

Full body, chewy and a bit sticky. Soft to tingly carbonation adds a touch of bite. Fairly sweet on the palate but has a good roasted offset. At times I get a bit of a ABV belly burn, though you don't pick up the alcohol in the flavor.

This is a very robust and flavorful porter. The body and high abv limit the drinkability but if you are looking to try a damn tasty porter (stout), try this one. (932 characters)

Photo of philbe311
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial review on 11/28/09 (tap):

A - Dark shiny midnight black color... Just the tiniest bit of riuby highlights leak in at the top when the glass is tilted... A slight medium tan head quickly fades leaving an minimal but inviting lace... No carbonation can be seen... Leaves rings one the glass on the way down...

S - The nose is fairly subdued given the size and boldness of this brew... Present are roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a bit of licorice... Very little in the way of vanilla...

T - Equal part coffee, chocolate, and hearty roasted malt... The alcohol's warmth is present, but well hidden in the background... Absent are the vanilla and balance I enjoyed so much in draft form...

M - Slightly more than medium bodied, but still extremely delicate... Ever so slightly chewy... Goes down very easy considering the 10% ABV would lead you to believe... Not quite a sipper, but close... The bottle version proves to be a little more fizzy and a little less creamy...

D - A world class offering in draft form... Still a very formidable offering in bottle form... The vanilla and balance are MIA... Also the mouthfeel suffers from increased fizziness... (1,173 characters)

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Bevmo I think.

Appearance- black color, nice size tan head, nice lacing

Smell- coffee, roasted malt, chocolate

Taste- coffee, chocolate

Mouthfeel- full bodied

Drinkability- This was very good. It was definitely what I want when I drink an imperial porter. Excellent beer! (296 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.