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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

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,738
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 968
Gots: 1,623 | 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: 5,738
Photo of hopdog
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (thanks Josh for sharing).

Poured a dark black color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and some nuttiness. Tastes of vanilla/vanill beans, chocolate, coffee, and some roastiness. Alcohol content overall well hidden. Body was thick and oily. (293 characters)

Photo of charlzm
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed August 6th, 2010 in a Triple Petrus tulip/snifter.

Beer is opaque black. Modest little tan head comes and goes, leaving behind a sticky ring of foam.

Aromas of coffee and vanilla (surprise!).

Flavor is full of bitter rich coffee and dark roasted malt. Vanilla is only a fraction of the overall flavor, but it can be picked out. Bitterness is all up front, as finish is fairly mild. A moderate caramel sweetness helps balance out the bitter. Warming alcohol is apparent after a few sips as are faint citric hops.

Mouthfeel is chewy and smooth.

Overall, it is exactly as advertised; nothing out of kilter and no surprises. Very impressive execution. (661 characters)

Photo of lcdumchus
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good coffee flavor with hint of vanilla and nuts. Short lived tan head. Dark brown in color. You can taste the hops, but they are not overpowering. The alcohol flavor is there, but not overwhelming. Very good porter, but it would probably improve with age. (256 characters)

Photo of Aleks_P
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black except where light penetrates on the perimeter. Pours with a very thin light brown head.

Smell: Coffee and vanilla are very apparent, smells great.

Taste: First reaction was that it tasted fantastic. Coffee and vanilla tastes, exceptional initial taste. High ABV though and noticed the alcohol in the aftertaste - not overwhelming but definitely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, dry. Low carbonation.

Overall: Really enjoyed this beer overall, thought the flavors worked well together. Noticed the alcohol a bit in the aftertaste but would certainly have this again. This was my first Ballast Point beer and I am encouraged to see what else they can do. (697 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a thinnish mocha head that sticks around for a bit. Smells of coffee right off, layers of vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted grain hidden in there as well. Taste is like a half and half milkshake. Lots of milk chocolate and vanilla mix up front followed by some coffee and a lingering roasted coffee and chocolate finish. Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and light carbonation. Great Porter, maybe a bit on the sweet side, but certainly very tasty. Call it a desert porter. (503 characters)

Photo of Specules
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one of few beers where I feel the taste is overpowering. The aftertaste is more like coffee and not enough like beer. Regardless, this is one I recommend from Ballast Point even though I probably won't be buying it anymore. (230 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Central PA crew for sending this as part of the Gang Bang BIF.

A: pours a deep dark brown, dark brown head, creamy appearance, opaque

S: vanilla comes on strong followed by sturdy roasted profile, coffee is faint...seems to have faded a bit

T: well never mind about the coffee fading... that is the first thing I taste. This is countered with delicate notes of vanilla and roasted barley. Things get a little sweet at the end.

MF: medium body, medium carbonation

O: I can't think of a much better combo then coffee, vanilla, and stout. This brew pulls it off nicely, would love to try it fresh. (613 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to maximumu13 for bringing this along as an extra for our IP trade. Cheers, my friend! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into an Upland pint glass.

A: Very dark brown to black, opaque, with a thin tan head, and low visible carbonation.

S: Dark black bitter coffee, sweet malt, some vanilla and a bit of dark cacao.

T: Coffee, some vanilla, with a touch of very dark cacao near the end. There is some hop bitterness as well.

M: Thick mouthfeel for porter, heavy-bodied, but a good amount of carbonation sensation, and a moderate alcohol presence.

O: This was pretty good, but I'm not sure it quite stands out among its peers. I expected more vanilla, but what was there was overshadowed by the coffee. (718 characters)

Photo of CMB2012
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go to Soonami for this one! Been sitting in the cellar for a few months. Poured into two stemless snifters at just above cellar temp. and shared with the lady.

A- Close to pitch black, you really have to search for any light coming through. Very nice and rich beige head that dissipates slowly. So far we are looking good.

S- Rich sweet malts with coffee in the background. I don't know for sure but I think this beer is around a year old. I've had it aging for at least 7 months and some of the coffee has faded. What is there smells good though, even if it is subtle. This mixes with a sweet vanilla and oat character, kinda like a sugar coated cereal. Finishes with that chocolate malted milk character I've come to love in a good porter.

T- Vanilla and roasted malts blend with some alcohol into coffee bitterness. Not as balanced as I would have hoped with the age and based on the aroma. I'm thinking either drinking fresh or waiting even longer might be the right decision here. Still it is good.

M- The mouth is great. Thick, creamy, somewhat viscous. Tight carbonation amounts to a fairly dry finish with some lingering sweetness. Slight alcohol burn on the end, but I expect this.

O- I would definitely like to try this beer fresh considering some of the flavors and aromas were muted. However, seeing as I only got one, I wanted to wait for the right time to drink it. I just finished my first semester of graduate school so I thought it was appropriate. It's a good porter and among the best I have had. I say try it if you can. (1,552 characters)

Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one was really good and the nose was really nice. I got nice notes of vanilla and chocolate, but I think this is best when aged. It didn't see very balanced today with the bitterness on the backend. I have a few more to age a little longer, and I think it will be spectacular with more time. (296 characters)

Photo of joe1510
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

Here is yet another beer in a long line of beers off my "wants" courtesy of Mr. Kegatron, thanks again Heath! Victory at Sea has the look of black coffee pouring from the pot as it enters this snifter. When the glass is full the body is black as night with a dense two finger mocha head that has some impressive staying power. Not only does the head show a stick-to-it-tiveness but it leaves behind some impressive jagged lacing as well.

Damn, this beer has an interesting nose on it! When the label says vanilla, it MEANS vanilla. Coffee leaps from the glass first but the vanilla is planted directly on its coattails. There's a handful of dark berries in here as well that actually play a big role, I didn't expect that. The vanilla has a tendency to smell a little artificial at times but it's rich and plays nicely with the coffee and berry undercurrents. Creaminess in the form of heavy cream and sugar make appearances too. A light roast pulls up the rear. The nose really comes into its own when this brew warms. This is an interesting smelling beer to say the least.

This porter is like some sort of delicious, eye opening breakfast concoction. A steaming hot cuppa joe complete with a cube of sugar and a dash of cream comes across the tongue and leads the way from start to finish. The vanilla is pure and clean in the flavor and adds a deep richness to the coffee overtones. A light roast snuggles up toward the finish. This beer is 100% smooth and enjoyable.

The body is lighter than I expected and actually works very well for this coffee-infused brew. The weight is moderately heavy with a carbonation that keeps things moving. There's not even a hint of coffee bitterness like in so many other coffee infused brews.

The first glass goes down incredibly fast. The second glass I slow down slightly and after that this bomber is gone. Two glasses of this brew is plenty for me, I don't think I could do another. The vanilla is so rich it slows me down on my second but it's still immensely enjoyable.

Ballast Point makes some incredible beer and Victory at Sea is no slouch either. The coffee, roast and vanilla make for a luscious libation. I'd love another couple bottles. Thanks for the hook up Heath! (2,235 characters)

Photo of csmiley
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to prototypic for the chance to try this one out.

A - Pours a dark brown and borders on black in some areas. The bottom of the glass shows some ruby highlights that turn a cola brown towards the top. Tan head comes to almost one finger and disappears after a minute or two. Ends up a cap that nearly covers the top of the brew. Lacing starts out pretty sticky and ends on an average note.

S - Comes through big with a dry roasted malt aroma. Some bittersweet chocolate quickly follows. A nice espresso layer comes in around midway mixed with a little vanilla. The vanilla is much lighter than expected. Still not bad though. Alcohol is always present yet always under control.

T - The taste in this one is powerful. Loads of chocolate and cocoa stand at the forefront. Alcohol is more noticeable in the flavor but still easily managed. It comes across as warm an spicy but still feels under 10%. Fresh ground coffee and vanilla pretty much dominate the middle. Vanilla is light in the flavor just like the aroma. This beer could pass for a stout any day in my book.

M - Fuller bodied with a light carbonation of fine bubbles. Finish is bone-dry and smokey. Like chewing on a charcoal briquette.

D - Drinkability is good. It's pretty big for a porter, even an imperial. The 10% makes it go down slow. That's not a bad thing for this beer though. Tons of flavor makes you wnat to sip and savor every bit. Might be tough to dink 22 ounces so splitting this works will for me. I could have used a touch more vanilla but that is a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things. (1,586 characters)

Photo of jamex
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Russian River tulip. Paid $7.99 at the brewery for a 22 oz. The beer was bottled within days.

Poured an amazing dark - very opaque. Nice 1-2 finger head.

Smell is phenomenal; coffee, mocha, vanilla, kahlua, coffee cake...the aroma is outstanding. Perhaps the best porter I've ever sniffed.

This beer is simply delicious. Slight let down from that A+ aroma but minimal. Tastes like the smell but with some malt and roasty notes. There is some sweetness but it is balanced with the other tastes. The 10% ABV is hidden behind the other characters nicely.

Feels great in the mouth - maybe a LITTLE thin, but nothing to get worried about. Carbonation about right for a porter - they nailed it.

Before I knew it the 22oz was dust. Very drinkable. (759 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow. This is everything that I wanted the Southern Tier Creme Brulee to be. Pours very dark brown in color with a nice half inch of tan head. Smell is wonderful. Perfect amount of vanilla, working with the roasted coffee notes. Smells decadent. Taste follows up with the nose. Perfectly balanced vanilla and roasted coffee beans. A wonderful porter underneath supporting these flavors. I would like the mouthfeel a tad thicker, but I'm not going to complain about this one at all. Don't think I could drink an entire bomber of this, but it's damn tasty. Very good beer. (569 characters)

Photo of Braz
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black in appearance. Frothy white head. Smells like a beer ashtray, didn't care for that. Tastes is full and very good. Vanilla notes and a nice roasted coffee backbone. Texture like a silk pie. (198 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

220oz brown bomber purchased from Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam and Rich.

Pours a decent brown-black colour, with a relatively light body that doesn't hold carbonation. Head forms a decent filmy crest of golden-crispened brown and the lacing is excellent. I'm a bit surprised at the body, but otherwise it looks pretty decent.

Nose is wonderful, and delivering on everything I expected. Lovely oaky vanilla characters, cut with a crisp, fruity coffee aroma and underpinned with rich dark chocolate and malts that give sweetness but nothing in the way of grassy graininess. It's sweet and luscious and impressive—I don't care if it's also something of a gimmick. Gimme gimme gimme.

Relatively smooth and light entry on the palate just peppered with a little coffee spiciness. Big rounded, slightly empty vanilla characters come through in the mid palate. The back palate is where the richness is: dark chocolate and red mole pricked with more of that coffee bite and everywhere fresh and vibrant from supple vanilla. It's very pleasant once you get here: a little bit lacklustre beforehand.

Feel is very good: light enough to remind you it's a porter, but with heft to remind you it's 10% ABV.

Overall, it's a lovely brew, but perhaps one that was always going to be lovely. The flavours are pronounced and are quite well balanced. It's drinkable and very tasty. Something perhaps stops me from gushing wholeheartedly about it, but there's no doubt that it's a very fine brew. (1,528 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, best by October 17, 2013. Served at around 45F and allowed to warm.

Pours thick black with a small light brown head that leaves some spotty lacing behind and recedes to a light cap and ring.

Aroma is big and bold vanilla and coffee, in fact those two are so strong I’m having a hard time picking up much else, maybe some underlying notes of roasted malts, chocolate and caramel. Excellent strength.

Flavor starts with a big wave of vanilla, moving towards some dark baker’s chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, a little dark fruit, very little hop presence, moderate sweetness, some alcohol but well integrated at this level of ABV. Really tasty.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, creamy, somewhat sticky, good carbonation.

Man, this stuff is delicious! A vanilla bomb! Such a treat to get to try this. One of my customers brought me a bottle after a trip to the West Coast, so a big shout-out to Mark for this one! (932 characters)

Photo of captaincoffee
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Near black with full tan head and lots of staying power. Nose is complex with various malts and burnt malts, and plenty of coffee and vanilla. Taste is a bit much...tons of flavor, but somewhat muddled and overdone. Finish leaves a bit too much bitterness over the coffee and dark malt notes. Definitely a good big beer. Definitely not a quick or quaffable. Need to spend some time with it, and one is probably plenty. Overall very good. (440 characters)

Photo of SLOTHLIFE
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just had this for the first time...Thoroughly enjoyed it but every single sip I would get hit with the sensation of Vanilla Coke. I haven't drank or even thought about that stuff in like 12 years but seriously through the whole glass I was reminded of my junior high cafeteria and that dude from A Bronx Tale...
It was kind of distracting.

Will revisit. (356 characters)

Photo of r0nyn
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Otter Creek nonic.

Pours big, dark and thick with a half-inch tan head that recedes slowly. There's a ton of sticky, stringy lacing that just completely coats the inside of the glass. Really a rather pretty beer. Smell is full of coffee beans, coffee beans, coffee beans. You've really got to whiff it good to detect the other nuanced scents in there. After a few deep sniffs, I get the titular vanilla along with some dark chocolate, berries and caramel.. Definitely one of the more complex-smelling beers I've ever sampled.

I thought I knew what to expect tastewise, but this beer totally surprises me. Tons of roasted malts dominate the flavor profile, along with the substantial coffee character. Not too much astringency. Can't really detect the vanilla, which is slightly disappointing, but not dealbreaking. There are notes of sweet, dark and bitter chocolate towards the end with maybe just a hint of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is really quite nice, with a medium body and smooth finish. Carbonation is pretty non-existent. Not really chewy, but has a nice amount of oomph that makes the drinking experience quite pleasant.

Drinkability is great with this beer. It looks great, smells and tastes very good and goes down easy. If you love coffee, you'll love this beer, because fresh, it tastes almost like an iced coffee. You'll just need to be careful, because unlike an iced coffee, this porter carries a very well-hidden 10% ABV that can be very dangerous. On the whole, a great beer to crack open with a few friends. (1,559 characters)

Photo of Double06
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decided to crack this one as a reward after finishing law school exams.... 22oz bottle from Fa10 poured into snifter.

A: The darkest brown, just a shade short of black fading along the edges to an almost reddish color. 1/4 inch light brown head with enough viscosity to lightly coat the edge of my glass.

S: Not as strong as I would expect but very nuanced and well-balanced between the coffee and sweet vanilla notes.

T: Changing swallow by swallow but I'm getting a hint of the alcohol heat to start, then the vanilla and sweetness, followed up by the deliciousness of the coffee . Very well balanced and tasty!

M: Solid amount of carbonation allows the flavors to fill the mouth and tongue. Leaves enough coating in the mouth to let you keep tasting it but not so much that it's thick.

D: Very high... the coffee finish makes you want to keep drinking more to balance with the initial sweetness. The non-heavy mouthfeel contributes as well. I could easily drink 2 of these in a sitting but at 10%, it'd hit me hard.

Went out of my way to order this one to Georgia and I'm glad I did. Another well done offering by the folks at Ballast Point. (1,151 characters)

Photo of BuccoFan
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter from 22 oz. bottle. Very impressive head and lacing. Body of this imperial porter stands up against, and is even more robust than, some imperial stouts. Vanilla is the first taste, with the coffee bitterness detectable on the way down. I'm not too crazy about vanilla porters/stouts, but this is objectively a high quality beer, and if you like vanilla, you'll no doubt like this. (401 characters)

Photo of Hopstuff
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good lord Mary Joseph, this one strikes the knickers like a lacy momma ready to pounce on a unborn tadpole. I am dripping with amazement. Ballast Point's best effort to date. Something tells me I might OD on greatness. But seriously this beer hits home for me. A Porter born to sail the night, without fear, without wavering from the very foundation of why I love the west coast set. Its like surfing in a sea of mocha foam born from the depths of a dark sea, married to the sky. I can't imagine a darker sailor to share the night with. It like two passionate mates are meeting in my mouth to shag! (598 characters)

Photo of raiderob
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber into das boot.dark coffee color with brownish foamy head.vanilla bean.caramel coffee taste with slight hint of 10%.....sweet&tasty...Prost (152 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last year's batch.

A: Black as night pour. Big, dense mocha-colored head. Fades at a moderate pace. Nice spiderwebs of lacing left behind.

S: Lots of coffee (naturally). A bit of sharp alcohol. Get a touch of vanilla and... cherry, oddly enough.

T: Coffee and a bit of char up front, but not overpowering. It's mellow and sweet with hints of dark fruit. Nice wave of vanilla follows that into the middle with some milk chocolate. More char and coffee (bitter now instead of smooth like up front) in the finish. Long lingering bitter coffee and baker's chocolate in the aftertaste.

M: Full bodied, fairly heavy. Smooth and creamy vanilla coats the mouth.

O: A nice heavy imperial porter with some big coffee notes and just enough vanilla to smooth it out. Tasty with a really nice mouthfeel that helps it go down easily despite the 10% ABV. I'm normally not a fan of coffee beers but this is one of the best. (914 characters)

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