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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,280 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,280
Hads: 6,206
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 19.77%
Wants: 1,031
Gots: 1,874 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,280 | Hads: 6,206
Photo of marieli
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Dark in color, close to black, with dark tan head. Vanilla was lead aroma followed by some coffee, but coffee was the more dominant taste. The vanilla showed up more in taste as the beer warmed, but this is first and foremost a coffee porter, with a slight manageable bitterness. Smooth, some creaminess, closer to medium than thin. Started this at 48 degrees, maybe we should have started warmer given the alcohol content? A good beer, but honestly, my expectations were higher based on BA and RB ratings. Given the flavor profile, I think I'd rather have a stout. If I want a big alcohol porter, I'd go with something along the line of Black Butte XXV.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm pretty sure this is from the most recent release. Best before 18 June 2012. One of my more wanted beers, pretty excited to try it.

Pours very dark brown, nearly black, and opaque except at the very edges. One finger of medium-tan head, good retention, some okay lacing. Looks like a stout. Or a very dark porter.

Smell is a cacophony of roast, vanilla, coffee, and more vanilla. It smells more like the additives than it does like beer. Very heavy on the vanilla - wish it were toned down so that I could enjoy some of the other smells I suspect are hidden behind it. Warm and fuzzy, but I want beer with my vanilla.

Same thing goes here. Holy vanilla, batman. I like the taste better than the smell, as there's more porter flavor in there to complement it. But I still think it's overdone. I get minimal coffee flavor, and I have to work to find the characteristics of the malts (a little char, a little nutty). Finishes roasty bitter. Good, but I think it could be a lot better. I will say, though, that it drinks well below its ABV. I can't even find the alcohol behind that bludgeoning of flavor.

Mouthfeel is really smooth. Body is surprisingly light, lifted up by a foamy mouth-filling expansion. It's like cotton candy in reverse - starts out relatively flat, but buoys up as it moves through my mouth. Long-lasting finish.

Drinkable, yes. Amazing, no. I think it would be a whole lot better with 1/2 the vanilla. It's unbalanced, with the vanilla enjoying the only spotlight, rather than sharing the stage with the rest of the cast. All that said, it's pretty tasty, and I'm liking it more as the bottle gets more empty.

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Photo of Givemebeer
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Good beer but I'm not as high on it as others. The vanilla tastes a bit fake and syrupy and the beer is a tad too sweet for my liking. That being said, it does a remarkable job of hiding its 10% and there is just enough coffee to balance out the vanilla. I'm not complaining, good beer to be drinking on a cold winters day in Vermont.

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Photo of punkrkr27
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black pour with brown highlights and a small loose white head. The aroma has loads of vanilla and coffee with some faint dark fruit. Thew flavor is smooth milk chocolate, vanilla, candied figs, smoke, wood and lots of alcohol. Thinnish body, oily, soft carbonation and some alcohol warming.

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Photo of Qbdoo
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A beautiful looking black with a frothy gray head. Smell is a mixture of coffee, roasted malt, and a bit of chocolate. Taste is similar but not overwhelming with the coffee and chocolate. I don't really taste the vanilla. Mouthfeel is big for a porter. This is a really good beer, nicely understated with the coffee. But it's not quite the amazing beer the ratings here suggest it is.

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Photo of vacax
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black as coffee with a creamy mocha head. Looks well carbonated for a big beer, head calms down but retains a nice skin of foam that leaves some lacing.

S: Cookie, marshmallows, coffee, vanilla syrup. Nose is quite on the sweet side, no doubt that coffee and vanilla combo drive it.

T: Bittersweet chocolatey malts with a healthy dose of cold coffee. Not as cloying as the nose came across, but quite sweet with the vanilla/marshmallow. Some alcohol flavors in the middle. Roasted and coffee in a long finish. Despite a clear abundance of flavors it is not terribly complex

M: Medium to thick and silky with moderate-low carbonation. With the intense coffee and vanilla flavors I think I would appreciate this more with more body and less carbonation. This beer is intense.

D: Definitely a night cap type of beer here, a bomber is plenty and probably best shared. Could be a nice dessert beer, perhaps with something to help match its cloying coffee and vanilla. Interesting porter worth checking out.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

660ml bottle bought from Brewdog online

Poured almost completely black even when held up to the light. Dirty brown head poured fairly thick and foamy then faded slowly to one finger coating.... some good rings of sticky lacing...

Aroma - Lovely toasted and roasted malts mixed with a good dose of dark chocolate, dried coffee beans, vanilla, faint smoky notes, burnt butter, black treacle and dark brown sugar, alcohol notes coming through, sooty, leathery and earthy, plum and raisin fruitiness, faint pepperiness...

Taste -– Dark chocolate and bitter espresso coffee, dark fruits - mainly plum, dark cherry and dates, vanilla, light smoke traces, liquorice, lots of toasted / burnt bread notes, some milkiness, nice warming alcohol, light oaky notes, some faint piney hop notes...

Mouth-feel was a bit of a let down... quite thin, sharp and fizzy. Not what i was expecting from a 10% beer

Overall - a pretty good beer and certainly worth a try but the mouth-feel definitely lets this down. I was expecting a big, thick chewy porter but it was just a bit on the thin side...

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Photo of itsromy
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really do not enjoy porters too much, but to be perfectly honest, I thoroughly enjoyed this particular one. Ballast Point has crafted a fine porter with the Coffee Vanilla Imperial here.

It poured out of the bottle a dark dark hazy brown with nice foam forming at the top. It smelled more like coffee than vanilla... The taste was better than I expected. Being able to taste the coffee and hints of vanilla which balanced it out perfectly. Neither of the flavors were too overpowering. Although the beer went down relatively easily, I could not see myself putting down more than a pint.

All in all... A great porter! Highly recommended!

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark brown with reddish tint. Small, one finger, mocha head.

S - Full roasted coffee, dark chocolate malt, a hint of a burnt vanilla cigar.

T - Prominent vanilla in the taste. It hits pretty hard, bitter coffee follows up before finishing with some baker's chocolate notes.

M - Smooth and creamy, very nice.

Overall - It's good, but it feels a little unbalanced. Almost too much vanilla to the point of masking other good flavors.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - opaque pour, a scant finger of mocha foam leaves snaky lengths of lace as the head falls back to a partial cover.

Aroma - hints of vanilla upon opening. That fades pretty quickly after pouring, some coffee essence taking its place. As the beer settles, a nice roasty malt smell prevails. Some return of the vanilla after set up.

Taste - big charred malts, huge roast going on there. Intense coffee flavors, bitterness pairing up with the char and maybe some hops. The coffee is extreme and takes a little getting used to. Vanilla only makes its way in at certain times, but its a welcome bit of balance to the huge flavors. Some alcohol vapors after a bit of warming, it doesn't take long, though. The beer has started off kind of rough but has steadily improved as it sits. The aftertaste is rich with espresso and lingering char. Ends very dry with some light abv heat.

Mouthfeel - lots of carbonation, the body is about average, not especially heavy.

Drinkability - thanks to amietaj1 for a bottle of this, traded at DLD09. A smooth sipper worth trying fresh and aged if you can get a few bottles.

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Photo of tarheels86
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber brought to a tasting in Dec 2009. Pours pitch black with a thin, deep brown head. Good retention. Good lacing. Aroma is coffee, roasted malt, ehh I can’t get too much else out of it. Taste is still too hot. Very boozy. Lots of warming. Hard to get much out of it at this point. Bubbly, biting on the palate. Good definitely take kindly to some barrel aging or cellaring for 1-2 years. Disappointing. Need to retry this when my other bottles start to peak. 6/5/7/3/12=3.3

Tap at the brewery. Doesn’t look as beautiful with scant lacing. Aroma is wonderful tropical, green coffee beans. Taste is less spicy as the booziness is cut by lots of sappy, resinous wood, dry oak. Still biting, bubbly on the palate. 8/4/7/3/13=3.5

22oz 2009 ed from 7/2010. Pours a beautiful deep brown to black with a healthy, dense, rocky, deep brown head that has excellent retention and lace. Booziness is gone. Still very cedar, wood resin heavy, relatively dry, a bit spicy, excellent rich coffee character and raw cacao. Much more refined with 6+ months sitting in the bottle. So definitely hold onto your bottles for a little bit once they are released because this beer definitely gains from it. 8/4/7/4/14=3.7

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Photo of CoolJosh
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

generously shared by Treyrab.

Poured into a pint glass. Very small light brown khaki head. Some lacing drapes the inner glass. The body is a very dark brown head with some "TRANSLUCENCY" around the sides.

The smell is very good. Molasses, tons of roasted coffee beans, vanilla, licorice. There is a creaminess that is slightly bothering me. Tons of sweet chocolate and a little bit of caramel.

The taste is really nice and very robust. Huge roasted malts, primarily chocolate. A nice vanilla accent really plays a nice supporting role. Fairly creamy for a porter, which is a little bit discerning. Very sweet, some licorice flavors prevail on the end of this beer. Again, the roasted malts are absolutely phenomenal, but the sweetness is really bugging me out a little bit and is taking away from my appreciation. I'm very glad I got to try this beer, but don't know how regularly I could drink it.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a pitch black color, barely letting any light through, maybe some highlights of dark brown. The head is huge, 2-3cm, brown with tight, dense bubbles that continue popping from the top of the head, lslowly leaving a little ring of bubbles around the edge which leaves some lacing on the glass. The smell is primarily coffee, with some vanilla notes. There's also some very strong dry, fruity esters coming to my nose, nice but not quite as robust as I expected. Wow, the tastes comes through in so many ways. Upfront I notice the coffee, not bitter, but full of flavor, also quite a bit of chocolate underneath the coffee. The vanilla shines through with a bit of a the esters, reminds me of dark plums, a little tart and dry with the taste of the flesh as well. I can sense some caramel sweetness underneath the dryness, and they seem to compete, making this one very interesting. I can't really detect the alcohol, but it slowly warms, making the experience better. Really a great tasting beer. The beer is pretty full, but it oscillates between a kind of slick estery feel and a thick syrupy feel, and I'm really not sure how I feel about the dryness once I get quite a way through this. The carbonation is spot on for the style, I'm a fan. The alcohol will slow you down, but the whole drink is enjoyable, and I'd recommend buying it if you see it. I'm kind of torn, I really love the flavors, but something about the dryness kept me from being in love with it.

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Photo of bbeane
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a snifter... starts with a finger thick brown head on top of a pitch black beer. Leaves a fair amount of lacing stuck to the glass after receding

S- A nice blend of coffee and sweet malts... don't get any more than a hint of the vanilla in the nose

T- Very opposite from what I smelled. More vanilla than coffee in taste... combined with sweet malt and bitterness

M- Full bodied with a light carbonation

D- Very tasty, though theres better out there IMO

CHEERS!!

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.86/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark black color, inspires confidence. Dense tan foam.

Smell is not intense, a bit sweet, nothing off.

Taste is deeply bitter - in terms of flavor profile, this reads much more as a stout than a porter. Very nicely balanced, no single flavor stands out. Malty for sure. Coffee. More cocoa than vanilla, it seems to me.

Mouthfeel is rich, not as dense as a stout but surely richer than a porter ought ideally to be.

Finish is stout-like, bitter, lots of coffee grounds on the finish.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.87/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish snifter

A- pours black with a one finger light tan head that fades quickly to leave a whispy, paper thin head with some lacing. Nice

S- coffee, and vanilla. Well, it delivers where it needs to there

T- nice punch of bitter coffee with a hint of booze. Not much vanilla coming out, though I do get a hint of it in the finish

M- viscous as all hell. That's what's up!

O- it's not bad by any means, but I just feel a little disappointed overall. Maybe I had my expectations set a little high

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Photo of augustgarage
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. I've had a few barrel aged versions of this but never the original strangely enough:

Seal brown liquid, thoroughly opaque, with an active fluffy three finger raft of tan up top. Sticky soapy lacing, obscure whatever legs that might be beneath.

Roast malt (and barley?) in the nose - perhaps a couple specialty malts as well, along with a touch of vanilla and over-roasted espresso beans.

Vanilla comes on strong on the palate followed rapidly by a variety of bittersweet roast flavors (scalded coffee, cocoa nibs, malt, barley, etc) and a powerful kick of alcohol. Fruit pits, moderate earthy hop notes (with low bitterness however), and an almost cedar-like woodsy flavor emerge in the finish. A very distinctive profile that I find difficult to pinpoint.

Moderately astringent (more from the coffee perhaps than the beer), well carbonated, velvety, full-bodied, and warming.

A sipper for sure - you can easily split a bomber thanks to the potency. An immense beer, but arguably over-done.

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Photo of joshbhs04
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Jet Black with 1/4 in of nice creamy head
S- Roast, can def smell the Vanilla.
T- Lots of Coffee with just a hint of the Vanilla. Lots of roasted malt flavors.
M- Med-Heavy Body with a slightly lingering mouthfeel.
O- Was looking forward to more Vanilla but was still a great Coffee porter. Might bring out some more Vanilla with age.

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Photo of KeefD
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes:

Black, thick, nice look for a porter, definitely bordering on stout, small tan head, decent lacing.

Aroma is coffee and vanilla, mostly on the vanilla side, and so much so that it almost makes it seem artificial.

Here's where things got weird. My friend that i shared this bottle with had a weird boogery substance floating about in the top of her beer. I asked her what the hell it was and she said "Meh, it's just foam." A few minutes later and she was gagging it out, as it seemed to be some slimy, disgusting substance. We examined it and couldn't figure what the heck it was to no avail. Kinda killed the enjoyment of the beer, despite it tasting good.

Taste was loaded with vanilla, while coffee took secnd place. Really liking how the vanilla paired with the chocolaty roasty malts, but got a bit cloying after awhile. Good, but became artificial after awhile, reminiscent of ST Creme Brulee. I kept drinking it after loogie incident because it just tasted so good! Nice bitterness on the finish, very sweet, but yummy.

Good stuff, but hard to finish a lot. Would make for an excellent desert drink, but only at about 8-10oz at a time. Would still like to know what the hell was in that beer, but it didn't seem to diminish the flavor.

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Photo of Buddha22
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a delirium tremens glass.

When poured great head retention two finger light tan head, but the dark color of the beer looks great underneath the fluffy tan head. Great lacing in this beer. Chocolate roast definitely in the nose with slight hint of vanilla. Now the taste of this porter is somewhat average. There is a decent amount of hotness in the taste and the alcohol is not hidden as well as I would like. As it warms the alcohol taste definitely decreases a little. Mouthfeel is full bodied and nice and creamy smooth. Drinkability is decent the hotness of the alcohol makes it less drinkable, but for 10% abv, works pretty well.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrives very,dark brown with a small, dark tan head of sorts, mostly just a ring in the snifter. No light penetration.
Smell is, not surprisingly, vanilla and coffee with roast malt and weak hops floating around back. Decent balance.
Taste is malty, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and a little rum note. Good balance and good complexity.
Mostly full-bodied with a light effervescence. Slightly drying finish. Warming throughout. Very nice brew.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: 22-oz. bomber
Glass: Oversized wine glass
From: Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, Calif.
Price: $9.99
Purchased: Dec. 27, 2012
Consumed: Jan. 23, 2013
Misc.: Enjoy by 12/10/13

Poured a black color with two fingers of bubbly tan head. Lots of thick, sporadic, foamy lacing on the sides. Good retention on the top.

Smelled very bitter coffee malts up front. Also strong notes of toffee, caramel and dark chocolate, and a light whiff of vanilla.

Tasted a smoother, milder version of the smell. Got bitter coffee malts, dark chocolate, Oreo cookie, smoky fire, roasty malts and burnt toast. Alcohol is well hidden. Nowhere near as good as the smell.

Full body. Slick-to-thick texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. Got better as it went down. Toffee and caramel really come through, and even got some light vanilla notes late.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I saved this beer for the longest out of any of the others I purchased on Dec. 27. Good, but not great.

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Photo of JohnP
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a diminishing tan head and heavy lace. Big aromas of coffee and dark roasted malt. Light sweet start leading to coffee/espresso. Mild vanilla and hint of oak. Light lactose in the finish. Linger is fairly dry with a hint of bitterness. If you like strong coffee you should really like this one. Fairly smooth and a bit sticky at times.

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Photo of blankenhoney
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with no discernible bottle date, enjoyed from a snifter

A: Pours a light black with a light beige head

S: Very bright aroma of roasted espresso bean dominates the nose, followed by rich baker's chocolate and cocoa. Vanilla is there, but unfortunately only faintly and in the background. Love the coffee aroma, but would like a bit more vanilla; after all, it's a porter with vanilla.

T: Rich, bitter chocolate on the front end, followed by strong flavors of roast and spent coffee grounds, and ending with a hint of vanilla. Vanilla is a bit on the artificial/extract side of things.

M: Very nice lighter side of medium-bodied

O: One of my old favorites that I guess I don't enjoy as much as I used to. First few sips are great, as I really savored the rich coffee-forward aroma and the hint of vanilla that emerged. But after awhile the vanilla aroma and flavors disappear into a solid, but pretty standard, roasty-chocolatey-coffee porter.

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Photo of DudMan
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with tan head and slight lacing. Smells of vanilla and coffee. Tastes of burnt coffee, cream and artificial sweetener. It is bitter throughout. I used to love this beer.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,280 ratings.