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

Not Rated.
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,560 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,560
Reviews: 916
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 622
Gots: 673 | FT: 53
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,560 | Reviews: 916 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AApparel


4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Aggressively poured into a  snifter. Head poured to a two-fingered thickness with a very creamy head that resembled a coffee with cream. Looked amazing to begin, but subsided quickly. Had good lacing down the side. The color is a deep stark black, even when held to sunlight.

Smell: The aroma is powerful. A friend about 5 feet from me immediately could smell the coffee aroma.  Smells like a rich coffee, with some sweet vanilla notes. The coffee hits first and then vanilla, with roasted chocolate underneath. As the brew warms, it opens so much, it's shocking. 

Taste: First sip is beyond what I even thought it would be. I could taste chocolatey vanilla at the start. Roasty flavor comes throughout, with bitterness at the end from the coffee, but not a heavy alcohol burn, which I like. So glad that the porter taste is throughout and not lost in all the flavors. Definitely get a constantly changing flavor throughout. What lingers is the roast coffee and chocolatey malts.

Mouthfeel: Really creamy, with little to no carbonation. Definitely makes you think your drinking a great coffee. Coats the mouth very well, and does not have an overwhelming alcohol feel or burn. So subtle, I couldn't believe it was 10% abv.

Overall: I had very high hopes for this, and not only did it live up to it, it exceeded it by far. I went out and bought another 6 to enjoy for the coming months. Lately brews have been falling short in expectations. It's good to see this exceed it and surprise me in how complex and wonderful a brew could be. 

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 18:29:24 | More by AApparel
Photo of Cooker_stp

New York

4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - dark coffee like pour with a small 1/2" head. Granted this was in a plastic cup. But a plastic cup is better than not all at.

Smell - excellent coffee aroma comes through with hints of vanilla.

Taste - amazingly smooth taste as the coffee continue with hints of vanilla.

Mouthfeel - at 10% abv this leaves a slight alcohol mouthfeel and I prefer my beer to hide the alcohol.

Overall - amazing beer even in a plastic cup. Would have loved to get a growler fill but totally didn't expect this type of beer where we stopped for dinner.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2013 22:49:05 | More by Cooker_stp
Photo of Rau71


4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz Bomber into a tumbler Pint Glass.

Pour a creamy Black with a 2 finger tan head.

Smell to me is mild and muted, some coffee and that is about it.

Taste and mouthfeel are what set this apart. The feel in your mouth is velvety smooth, and the taste is a fantastic mix of vanilla, coffee, and malt. This is now the Porter that I will gauge others by. At 10% ABV I couldn't detect any hotness, or boozyness which is fantastic. This beer is a must buy for me from now on.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2012 01:58:53 | More by Rau71
Photo of Immortale25

North Carolina

4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a black color that's completely opaque with a 3/4 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before coming to an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass and streaks of solid lacing following behind. Plentiful surface foam.

S- Lovely scents of milk chocolate intertwined with mocha in a sweet context.

T- Roasty, yet not bitter, notes of cocoa and some peanut butter. Coffee's definitely there and just as prevalent, but with a softer connotation than a full-on coffee beer. Alcohol is a bit on the imposing side, but its 10% ABV makes it justified.

M- Creamy and decadent. Especially pleasant at a lower serving temperature. Medium carbonation and a nice thick, chewy body.

O- Every time I have this, I love it more and more. I don't even seek out darker beers, but this is crazy good.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 02:55:38 | More by Immortale25
Photo of Raven3464


4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: It pours a black body with foamy caramel head, about two fingers. Lacing and retention are both great.

Smell: Freshly brewed coffee permeates the air as soon as the beer is poured. There is a sweet malt aroma with some vanilla undertones as well.

Taste: Wow! The first sip is pure coffee. This transitions into hints of vanilla, smokey malts, and crackers. There is just enough bitterness at the end to let you know there are some hops mixed in. A bitter coffee punch blended with malts lingers in the aftertaste with a slight burn from the alcohol.

Mouth feel: Thick and buttery, just like a good porter should be. There is little carbonation and it goes down quite smooth for a beer with an ABV of 10%.

Overall: The balance of this brew is amazing. Other than maybe the initial coffee notes, nothing is ever overpowering. Hop bitterness, smokey malts, and vanilla all come to together to invite sip after delicious sip.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2013 12:40:22 | More by Raven3464
Photo of mtstatebeer

West Virginia

4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle. Pours a pitch black with a frothy brown head, good lacing. Aroma is roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Flavor is the same with a bit of hoppy bitterness to match. Mouthfeel is full, syrupy and proper carbonation. This is a wonderful beer, my favorite right now.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 05:29:43 | More by mtstatebeer
Photo of jmarsh123


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with a minimal tan head that fades into non-existence.

Vanilla dominates the palate, but a bit of coffee and roasted malts stick as well.

Starts off with rich roasted chocolate notes and a bit of coffee. Vanilla peaks in a bit, but is very subdued compared to the nose. There's a roasty bitterness throughout and a vanilla sweetness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium-high becoming better as it warmed. Medium-Low carbonation.

Very tasty beer. This one's been on my radar for while and it lived up to expectations. Good complexity throughout the flavor profile with a very solid mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2011 21:19:51 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of levineju


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My wife and I both enjoy this style, and I have been wanting to try more from BP. Poured into his-and-hers nonic pint glasses from a 1pt. 6oz. bomber, about $8.50 retail.

A - pours an appealing cola-brown, almost black color that translates little light. Two fingers of frothy mocha head that, while pleasing to the eye, dissipates fairly quickly.

S - the label boasts locally sourced coffee beans utilized in the brewing process, and they're not kidding. It's all roast coffee on the nose, malty and rich. Not picking up the vanilla as much.

T - now THAT'S a coffee IP! Great coffee up front, roasted nut shells, a little bit of that cola again - likely the vanilla coming through - mid sip. Finishes with strong, bittersweet cocoa powder.

M - very creamy, but not cloying.

O - Ballast Point does it again with this sweet treat.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 00:59:06 | More by levineju
Photo of TheBrewViking


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a big tan head and delicate lacing on the glass

S- I smell vanilla first then coffee and roasted malts. I'm excited

T- Follows the nose. Sooo smooth and delicious. A roasty porter with vanilla and coffee that just balance this out perfectly.

M- Not exceptionally thick but nice and easy to drink

O- This beer is so well balanced and it has one of the best coffee flavors i've ever had in a beer. Very impressed, I want one for breakfast tomorrow

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 04:19:46 | More by TheBrewViking
Photo of titty_mcbitty


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: black as oil with a super thin dark tan head. Looks sexy.

S: man oh man this smells delicious. Vanilla and chocolate first off. Also some caramel. Roasted malts as well.

T: so good... vanilla soaked chocolate, espresso and cream, toast, bread crust, burnt caramel, toffee, cooked cherries, and deep roasted malts. It's got a bitter kick in the end.
M: thick. Creamy and delicious. It has a hint of booze though on the back end.

O: very very good brew by Ballast Point. Love the flavors of this. The only thing that is disappointing, but not even a big deal, is that boozy kick in the back end. This beer is awesome and worth the money. (EDIT: just had it on tap, and it blew my mind even further- more of a burnt marshmallow taste and a lot more cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in with that wonderful vanilla. Simply amazing. Also, none of that booziness mentioned above.)

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 03:32:26 | More by titty_mcbitty
Photo of suspect

New York

4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A: Pitch black color. Center glug-glug pour leads to a slowly rising chocolate colored head the builds for about 10 seconds after I finished pouring. Head dissipates ever so slowly and leaves sticky slug-trail like lacing on down the glass.

S: Big time smells of coffee, toasted malts, cocoa, vanilla and at the end a touch of the alcohol. This is a big boy porter and it lets you know right away in the nose.

T: Toasted chocolate malts come through first with the coffee hitting hard just after. Faint flavors of bakers chocolate, vanilla, toasted oak and dark fruits come next. The fruits shine at the end of the sip with figs and dates being the most prevalent. What a flavor.

M: Big creamy finish. No alcohol burn. Perfectly carbonated.

O: This bad ass beer drinks like an Imperial Stout and it's tough to tell the difference. Regardless, this is a phenomenal beer. One that I would gladly buy in quantity.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 03:39:05 | More by suspect
Photo of drgonzo3705


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Nice deep black. Head dies out to a thin light tan colored ring around the edge.

S: Very good nose. Roasted vanilla bean coffee. Very pleasant and not too overpowering.

T: A bit more coffee upfront with just a touch of the vanilla. Good roasted malts follow behind leaving a nice aftertaste.

M: Full medium body with good carbonation. Leaves a nice coating in your mouth.

D: I would love to get another bottle of this and enjoy it over an hour or two

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2009 00:42:56 | More by drgonzo3705
Photo of VelvetExtract


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Looks and pours more like a Stout than a Porter. Very deep black with only a slight hint of brown on the edges. I can see bubbles rising along the glass up to the fluffy head. Nice lacing and retention.

S-Very roasty and chocolatey with hints of vanilla. This beer's scent is big and bold and nice.

T-Complex flavor assault on the tongue. Delicious mixture of tastes hit the palate. You get the coffee and chocolate. So very roasty, and the vanilla comes into play very well. Booze is there but muted and doesn't take away from the awesome flavors.

M-Surprisingly quite light. I guess thats why this is a Porter and not a Stout. Still pretty creamy however. I enjoy the lighter body on this beer. The mouthfeel I find to be more Porter-like than the other aspects of the brew (which are very Stout-like).

D-Booze is masked excellently. This lighter body of the beer also increases its drinkability. Quite happy.

Here I was thinking Ballast Point's only great beer was the Sculpin. Foolish, this one is amazing too. Christ, I may like this better than Sculpin.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 23:25:53 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of jera1350


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Carter for sharing a bottle and then sending one home for me! Much appreciated.

A solid cola black color with a tan cap of foam and a bit of lacing.

Getting roasted coffee and vanilla in the nose. Some toasty notes as well.

The taste is outstanding and robust. Coffee? Check. Vanilla? Check. Imperial Porter? Oh yeah. What outstanding and full flavor this provides. The coffee is fresh and roasty and the vanilla is there big time in all its glory. Some cocoa nibs and dark chocolate notes perhaps. Not overly sweet like an IS would be. The blend is exceptional and the overall flavor sublime.

The mouthfeel is nice, but it does feel a tad thin for a ten percent beer. It is however smooth.

This puppy lives up to the hype. The flavor is the star here and it lives up to it's name. I will have to hold on to my other bottle for a while, but I may not be able to. Awesome brew!

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 15:51:40 | More by jera1350
Photo of drewba


4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

New (2010?) batch poured into a coffee cup FFF HBI style.

A - opaque black with brown tints onthe edges. Looks deep, mildly menacing as a giant perfect mocha, two finger head pops up. The retention is far better than I would have expected; the lacing sticks like glue and she has legs fer days!

S - loads of bitter coffee grounds, milk chocolate, a healthy amount of roast, tobacco and a incredibly tiny amount of dark fruit.

T - The star of the show is this delicious Caffe Calabria (product placement!) coffee that offers up a nice bitter coffee ground flavor that maintains through the course of the taste, but at the same time there is a nice freshly roasted and very mild coffee flavor that rides under the bitterness. A lot of milk chocolate and vanilla combos nicely with some great roastiness and leather. Though coffee and chocolate are the predominant flavors, this isn't reminding me much of mocha; each flavor stands on it's own really making this complex with a great progression of flavors. Unbelievably, the hop profile can still stand against all the malt action with a low level of lemon zest and marijuana in the finish. Finishes with those coffee grounds and cocoa.

M - Smooth, creamy, with a silky carbonation that pops. The finish is a tad dry.

O - Ballast Point really found a nice mix here, with flavors that tend to dominate. None of the flavors are overpowering another (maybe the coffee is on the heavier side), instead they really compliment each other. I don't mean to geek out too hard, but it's as if there are four stages to V@S: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, cocoa (and hops). Each flavor stands on it's own, but is an experience all together. If you couldn't tell, I have a pretty massive hard on for this beer. Though I'll say I do prefer the first batch with some age on it.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 05:02:17 | More by drewba
Photo of cullen0013

South Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer twice now. Purchased my first growler at the Charleston Beer Exchange several months ago and immediately decided that it was the best beer I'd ever had. A second growler purchased roughly a week ago reaffirmed my first impression. This is a high gravity porter with a complex flavor. The nose is heavy on the vanilla with a strong presence of alcohol. The taste is pure coffee initially, it's only after your tongue is coated that the vanilla kicks in. Deep, dark black with a khaki head, wonderful aroma, excellent taste, velvety mouthfeel. As far as drinkability goes, this beer is as rich as it is delicious and should be enjoyed slowly and sparingly.

Serving type: growler

07-21-2009 19:49:03 | More by cullen0013
Photo of bsp77


4.66/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with large, sustained, tan head and impressive lacing.

Smell: Pressed coffee, dried out char, chocolate, molasses and vanilla.

Taste: Good God, that's a shock. Very dry onslaught of coffee, char, smoke and vanilla. Some of the semi-sweet chocolate and molasses underneath that I expect from an Imperial Porter, but that initial taste was much stronger and drier than expected. Some burnt molasses aftertaste but not too much of an issue.

Feel: More medium bodied than I expected, with low carbonation. Fairly smooth, but not as creamy as some. Very dry, especially for the style.

Overall: I can see why this is so well reviewed. Just an impressive beer all around.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2013 21:47:30 | More by bsp77
Photo of Oakenator


4.66/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark - mostly black with a decent head. Head lingers a bit and some lacing. Smell is clearly vanilla and darker malts - prefect mix like chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Taste is sweet with coffee flavors coming through along with a sweetner like toffee or other brown sugar like sweetner. From front to back this is an enjoyable brew.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2013 22:11:19 | More by Oakenator
Photo of gregshead


4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A:Pours a thin black w/ a chocolate ice cream colored head, a good finger thick of it.

S: Roasted grain w/ hints of vanilla and coffee bean aromas stick in my nose. What a great smell

T: Thick of a nice consistent/mellow porter with vanilla following the roasted grains. Then deep roasted coffee bean taste to finish. Coffee bean after taste as well as the lush grain taste.

M: Very smooth with a light to medium carbonation. This is the my ideal mouthfeel for a porter.

D: Although huge abv, easy to drink. My favorite porter so far. The flavors go together so well. I am going to have a hard time aging a couple of these because I'm always going to want one. So good.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 06:35:23 | More by gregshead
Photo of buschbeer


4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter
Enjoy by: 12/10/13

A - It is black as night with an inch or two of mocha head.

S - I get a snoot full of coffee. It basically smells like iced coffee.

T - It starts out with vanilla. Then the taste is rich, flavorful, fresh roasted coffee. It don't get no better!

M - Full, smooth, and creamy.

O - This is just an awesome beer. I love it. The only way I could improve it would be to have it on tap on nitro again. That is perfection.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 17:54:07 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Xul


4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost perfect black with a two finger tan head that slowly recedes, leaving behind solid lacing on top of both the beer and down the glass.

S: Predominant coffee notes backed by a strong vanilla presence and roasted malts with some hints of oakiness in back.

T: The vanilla really shines through on the taste along with strong coffee taste. Sweet without being cloying, toffee and caramel aspects come through behind the coffee, leaving behind a well integrated blend of coffee, vanilla, and caramel. Amazing.

M: Mildly carbonated with a solid viscosity. Leaves a solid coating on the tongue and throat as it goes down, helping to prolong the aforementioned sweet aftertaste.

D: The ABV is well hidden, the sweetness is well balaned, and it goes down smooth - it's certainly not sessionable like a berliner weisse, but I could definitely put a couple bottles of this down without even blinking.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 01:36:17 | More by Xul
Photo of beerdweeb


4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed many times with dessert and at the end of the night. My favorite Imperial Porter by far.

A: Dark with chocolate milk head

S: Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and delicious vanilla

T: This is where it's at for me in this beer. Coffee and chocolate up front with a lingering vanilla finish. Perfect.

M: Silky and smooth. Coats the tongue a little and lets the flavors soak in.

O: Love this beer. Could drink it every day.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2011 04:30:22 | More by beerdweeb
Photo of evanforbeer


4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


Smell: wow. Vanilla, oily coffee bean, caramel,

Taste: wow. Follows with lots of rich fresh coffee bean and vanilla bean. A little caramel and some earthy/citrusy hops. Cocoa, a touch of cola, and finishes with some coffee and hop bitterness. Almost a subdued peach note from the hops under the layering of robust roasty coffee flavors. A real nice hop bite throughout underneath the fantastic coffee/vanilla.

Mouthfeel: thick, lightly syrupy with some carbonation and bite, very nice. A nice sipper but not a meal. Lighter than an imperial stout.

Overall: this is a phenomenal beer. Gotta have it.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2013 02:37:44 | More by evanforbeer
Photo of lackenhauser


4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Somewhat murky brown in color. Small tan head on top. Very, very pleasant aroma of rich coffee and faint vanilla. Great, great flavor-actually tastes like a porter before the rich coffee comes thru. Nice balance of vanilla against the coffee. Dark chocolate hints as well. Some hop bitterness and flavor. Pleasant roasted grain flavors. Nice body-not overly full or syrupy. LOVE this-going to be a permanent want for me. I love the way it comes thru as an actual porter, not some amped up, big, bad ass flavored something. A lot of flavor-well balanced and true to style for me. Yummo!!!

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2011 01:11:29 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of AgentMunky


4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Supplemented by a review from notes on 4 February 2012.

A: A nice finger or two of mocha head fades quickly. Black-dark with excellent lacing.

S: One of the most excellent scents in beerdom. Strong coffee. Vanilla beans. A touch of cream. Powerful and amazing.

T: Sweet, creamy, and very substantial. Loads of vanilla, matched only by coffee beans. Slight bitterness on the endtaste (to which hops contribute). Coffee is prominent on the aftertaste, which is not quite dry, but clean superlative, with just a trace of vanilla. Rich, enticing, and excellent. Damned tasty.

M: Creamy-full with balancing and astringent hops.

O: A truly fantastic beer. Most highly recommended! I would (and will) drink again. Balanced and excellent with significant vanilla/coffee notes -- it lives up to its self-styled genre of a 'Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter.'

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 07:14:12 | More by AgentMunky
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,560 ratings.