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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,341 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,341
Ratings:
6,491
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.54%
 
 
Wants:
1,063
Gots:
2,059
For Trade:
92
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,341 | Ratings: 6,491
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.61/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle at 50 degrees into goblet
Head small (1.5 cm), creamy with some froth, light brown, mostly diminishing into a surface skin of bubbles
Lacing OK – continuous rings and clots covering most of the surface
Body dark brown/black with no light penetration
Aroma roasted malt, slightly burnt; hint of vanilla
Flavor begins as slightly burnt malt with a slight alcohol aftertaste mixed with coffee bitterness; no hops, no diacetyl, no vanilla
Palate medium to full, slightly creamy, soft carbonation

It succeeds in being a coffee flavored beer; unfortunately I could get the same effect cheaply by dumping some alcohol into a cup of stale coffee

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Photo of tone77
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of strong black coffee. Taste is strong black coffee, slightly bitter at the finish. Not getting any vanilla in the aroma or flavor. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall a good beer, but I was expecting much more.

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Photo of Bfarr
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep chestnut brown and frothy brown head with good retention. Coffee and roasted aroma and faint hint of vanilla. Coffee and very bitter burnt nut upfront gradually give way to a light sweetness and the slightest hint of vanilla in the finish. Smooth, full bodied feel with a slight tack.

Roasted burnt coffee is a little too forward and overwhelming right off the bat. Unfortunately it continues in such a way that only hint of sweetness and vanilla break through at the end. Not a bad overall flavor but not completely as promised and just a little heavy handed on the roasted flavors.

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Photo of ADZA
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another beer I never thought I'd see locally so glad I was proven wrong and it pours a black coffee short black hue with a creamy two finger head and lacing everywhere,the smell is strong and I mean strong vanilla mixed with strong expresso and also massive hints of milk chocolate,the feel is full bodied with moderate carbonation and has tastes of strong vanilla,strong dark coffee,ripe berries and finished with a milk chocolate bittersweetness and overall it's nice but a little too sweet for sessionability and I feel the vanilla dominates a little too much cheers.

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Photo of shleepy
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Handles in Pleasanton on 1/25/2012.

A: Black, with a creamy, tan-colored head.

S: Very pungent; heavy coffee smell, with roastiness, vanilla, and gingerbread in the mix.

T: Immediate but quickly fading alcohol notes up front, followed by the aforementioned vanilla/gingerbread/roastiness. An interesting balance of flavors. Surprisingly clean finish.

M: Fairly full-bodied, but not as heavy as an imperial stout.

O: Pretty unique for a coffee porter, but maybe just a little too boozy and unsubtle.

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Photo of Christoffer91
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours nice, super dark with a small tan head. Smell for me is overwhelmingly coffee, a tad sweetish. Taste: coffee coffee coffee. I love coffee, roast at home and drink every day, but that is all I taste in this beer. I would have loved more dark malt taste, for a balance. But perhaps that is why this is classified as a porter rather than a stout. Mouthfeel is great, nice carb, a bit on the thin side but not in a bad way. Overall, I can see why people like this beer but just not my cup of joe for the reasons stated.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.63/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a mug.

Dark, dark black pour. About a finger of mocha-colored foam retains pretty well and sticks nicely.

Very, very coffee nose. Light sweetness up front keeps it porter-y, with a light roasty bitter finish.

This is definitely a coffee beer. I'm not really tasting much of anything else. There's a little bit of boozy heat in the finish. Certainly an imperial porter. The vanilla doesn't come through right away, which is a bit of a bummer.

Body is maybe a little heavier than medium, just a step below what I'd expect from an imperial stout, so that seems right on the money. Low carbonation. Slick and chewy.

ABV is apparent, but never a bother. Definitely a sipper. Very nice beer.

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Photo of modidia
3.64/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A bit too heavy and a bit too sharp on the finish. I don't love supporters generally but this one got such great ratings I have to try it. I think it needs a bit more sweetness to balance out the sharpness.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I somehow keep missing this beer. It's time to finally give it a try. Ran into it when purchasing some celebratory fruit for good friends.

Appearance- Black? Possibly very, very dark brown. It looks black. Two inches of mocha head settle down and laces somewhat. Only a thin cap remains.

Smell- Like a cup of coffee. Lots of roast. Deep, rich coffee notes. Some licorice. Not getting a lot of the vanilla bean. Roasty. A hint of cherries.

Taste- Comes forward with some nice chocolate covered cherry. That licorice. Then the roast comes in for real. Lots of bittersweet chocolate. The burnt aspect lingers. And lingers. Downright charred. I want more vanilla. It comes through at the start. But then it's burnt caramel and roast, and more roast. The vanilla comes out a touch better as it warms.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation. Seems a tad light.

Drinkability- No hint of the booze. So nice. Plenty of hints of burnt coffee.

Probably not meant to be. Not a huge coffee fan. Sometimes I find a coffee beer that does it for me (Speedway Stout comes to mind). This is not one of them. I was hoping the vanilla would balance things out, but it didn't seem to come through.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black as night, with a low brown head.

Smell: A little bit of whiskey and caramel. Not too strong.

Taste: Very sweet all the way through. Caramel and whiskey, a bit woody. Roasted malts, although not as strong as the appearance would suggest. Reminds me of a Scotch ale. Plenty of vanilla in there. Some alcohol heat at the end; about what you would expect at 10% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Very thick, moderate carbonation.

Overall: Enjoyable, but too sweet for me. Maybe it would improve with a year of age; I had it fresh on tap so I don't know. Definitely lots of different flavors in here. Look and feel fit well with a big beer.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.67/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours as black and mysterious as the bottom of the sea with a small tan head that sticks around, leaves decent lacing. Not picking up much coffee in the smell, but great scents of vanilla and caramel, and later on some chocolate. Unfortunately the taste is a little lackluster. Mostly a decent coffee taste, a little sweetness, but not much vanilla. A little roasty. But the thing that really kills the taste is the alcohol, it's there up front with every sip, 10% is too high for a porter in my opinion. A little vanilla and caramel is detectable in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is fine for the style. It would be alot better if the alcohol was more hidden. I've had plenty of 10% beers and coffee beers that do it well.

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Photo of corby112
3.67/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep dark brown while pouring out of the bottle but looks pitch black and completely opaque in the glass with only the slightest hint of mahogany edges when held to a light source. Foamy one finger light tan head that has decent retention, only slowly settling into a lasting cap and ring that leaves sheets of lacing in it's path.

Sweet chocolate malty aroma with a very nice roasty character and subtle vanilla. These combined aroma produce a tootsie roll like chocolate coffee scent that is mouthwatering. The roasted coffee bean presence becomes more prominent when it warms. Subtle hops become evident beneath the lactic, silky chocolate notes. Very complex aroma, hopefully the flavor lives up to it.

Chewy silky malt dominated full body with a huge roasted coffee bean presence. Lots of silky chocolate malt and some subtle mellow vanilla notes but the flavor is a bit overpowered by the very intensely strong deep roasted coffee, espresso bean. Hints of oatmeal, toffee, very burnt toast and licorice with a nice dry bitter hop character in the finish. I can't overemphasize how much of a strong burnt/roasted coffee presence there is. It's a bit too harsh for me and extremely bitter, taking away from the silky chocolate and vanilla notes that I liked so much. Alcohol heat mid-palate that becomes stronger at the end of the swallow and produces some warmth in the finish. Pretty complex but a bit one dimensional for me. Recommended for fans of roasted coffee and big coffee beers.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.67/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Go Ducks! Since I'm a CAL alum, I gotta pull for the PAC-10!!!

This beer is crazy already. Pours an inky black, with a dark tan head that basically fills the glass. It's a slowly billowing thing, too. Kinda like watching the Titanic sink in that lame movie starring that girl's boobs. It just keeps expanding until it reaches the pinnacle and then, ever more slowly, crumbles into a finger of marshmallow like beauty. Lacing is coating the galss like toffee. Amazing so far. Some nice, albeit not super robust aromas in here. Some coffee for sure, some vanilla, like a vanilla cappuccino in a way. Some sweetness, but it's really subdued. Something else I can't quite place. Like cinnamon roll...Holy mackerel, the flavor is crazy. It's certainly a porter, and it's certainly robust. The vanilla lends a bizarre character - it makes the middle and finish taste like burned coffee. Or, mayhaps, coffee w/Baileys, but unsweetened...The coffee notes don't really dominate until the end, where it blasts into you a little too forcefully. The finish is super bitter, and I'm not sure they wanted that. It's a mixture of hop bitterness and that coffee flavor. This beer is expensive at $7.49/bomber, 10% ABV so it's a sipping beer. The flavors get less punchy as it warms, but this is still really a beer for Imperial Stout lovers and their ilk...

What I like most: The crazy beautiful (like Kirsten's chest in that movie) pour

What I like least: The overpowering bitterness and price point...

Verdict: Good, albeit not fantastic, and unique. Worth trying if you see it but probably too crazy for most folks to enjoy..

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Photo of beerad666
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a rich thick black with a heavy brown head. The aroma is sweet, lots of vanilla and chocolate. As for the coffee I feel like it is somewhat missing, just slightly there. I feel the same way about the taste. The chocolate and coffee were fighting it out and the chocolate is winning. They just weren't working together like they should. Very creamy and rich in the mouth. Good flavors and complex but I don't think it completely worked. I had to pass my glass onto someone else it just was too sweet for me, maybe would have been better after a meal.

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Photo of WJVII
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/23/11 review session hosted by Cdkrenz reviewed from notes- cdkrenz sample:
Poured into a pint glass this brew has a thick oil like black color with a nice 3 finger chocolate head. There is a strong aroma of burnt malts, coffee and caramel. The flavor is more mild than expected and not until a few sips do you notice the subtle but delicious vanilla that matches perfectly with the chocolate flavor. The coffee that is advertised is not very noticeable. This had a smooth milky body and was good but not the best we had that night. Strong brew and definitely recommend.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a shade from pitch black with three fingers of thick tan head. The head slowly subsides with nice lacing and a thick film atop the beer.

S: Lots of smooth earthy coffee in here with some dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla and caramel sweetness - kind of like coffee and cream. Fairly straight-forward, but nice.

T: The coffee is still very present, but now dark chocolate comes out quite strong along with nice roast. The roast and coffee meet somewhere that almost makes them indistinguishable between the two, though the coffee remains very obviously there. Vanilla comes in fairly strong as well, but there is an acidic twang in the aftertaste. Without this acidity, this beer would be very good.

M: Medium thickness with fairly strong carbonation.

O: The coffee is very, very strong with this one, though it goes well with the beer. The beer remains fairly dry, though the vanilla sweetness is a nice touch. A bit acidic. A good coffee porter.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black, with a chocolate brown head. In the aroma, a light roast, chocolate and vanilla hints. In the taste, quite roasty, dry chocolate, and a dry coffee note. A small bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee aftertaste. Faint nose, not much vanilla, hides the alcohol, but just about average.

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Photo of beagle75
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.
2009 batch.

A: Opaque black color--turning clear, dark brown where light is allowed to penetrate around the edges of the less-full glass--with over one finger of diminishing beige foam head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Rich chocolate forms the backbone of the smell, also with brown sugar, Irish cream, pipe tobacco, and spirituous vanilla. The combined effects of these smells are all-encompassing with endless depth--and make it hard to believe it didn't see the inside of a wooden barrel.

T: Begins sweet, briefly figgy, with roasted malt and an acidic burst of the tobacco from the smell. As acidity fades toward the middle, coffee emerges, eventually welcoming the drying bitter finish. Also featured in the finish are earth, herbaceous green stems, and a lingering whiff of vanilla. This beer presents restrained booziness throughout, but less than is expected.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, leaving the palate burning either from acidity or alcohol, with surprisingly brisk carbonation.

D: Opening the bottle is made worthwhile just by the smell of this over-rated beer. While flavors generally match the intensity of the smells, the sharpness of early acidity is off-putting and difficult to ignore. Definitely a sipper--it's sensory qualities tower over other bottled imperial porters, such as Flying Dog's Gonzo.

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Photo of TwoPack
3.7/5  rDev -14.9%

A: Deep, Deep brown. Nice light brown head that dissipates but thin layer remains. A swirl easily produces another layer.
S: A hint of milk chocalate upfront that quickly turns to espresso. Short of a burnt coffee/espresso. A hint of vanilla extract.
T: Big hit of vanilla, especially at the very beginning and then also sharply lingering on the aftertaste. But most of the flavor is dominated by bitter coffee. Quite bitter. Also decently boozy. I don't smell the alcohol but I taste it.
M: Mouthfeel is nice, full and creamy. Not so rich that you feel like chewing but the right amount of body for a beer of this kind.
O: 3.7. It's very good, but I wanted to enjoy it more. I enjoy the slight chocolate, vanilla and coffee flavors, but it comes off a little too harsh and the bitterness lingers too long in a not so pleasant way.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Way too ash/roasty for me. No sweetness at all. Just ashy and bitter finish. Ok, but not my style preference for a big porter/stout. I really don't understand the high ratings for this one at all.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber opened on 1-22-12.

A - Pours a dark brown with a dark tan head. Great retention with good lacing.

S - Nutty and lots or roasted malts.

T - Chocolate milk and roasted malts, lots of vanilla.

D - Good carbonation and medium body.

O - Bitter chocolate and lots of coffee and vanilla. Not quite what I was hoping for.

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Photo of dfillius
3.72/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed in a 5 oz. taster at Stone Bistro.
A: Very dark brown with 1/2 finger of head.
S: Kahlua! Reminiscent of walking down the coffee aisle at the supermarket.
T: Bitter from coffee flavor maybe more than hops. Alcohol, and a bit of Kahlua.
M: Heat definitely
D: Meh. Delicious, but not too much due to the strength of the alcohol.

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Photo of Tele
3.73/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: 4.25 Looks nice and viscous out of the bottle. Super dark brown, almost black with an off-white head that dissipates quickly.

S: 3.75 Roasted coffee and malt dominate the nose with strong vanilla coming right behind. Coffee smells pretty earthy (maybe I let this one go a bit too long; perhaps better fresh?).

T: 3.5 Bitter coffee and roasted malt. Vanilla sweetness is in the middle with more bitterness at the end.

M: 4.25 Really nice carbonation and pretty rich and thick. Well done here.

O: 3.75 Probably need to revisit this one fresh (or even age it longer to see if the bitterness of the coffee mellows out a bit). It’s pretty good, but fresh it might be more balanced and interesting.

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Photo of Michael_D
3.73/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a minimal khaki head. Smells heavy on coffee and roasted malts. Vanilla and booze in the background. Tastes sweet up front, some hops to balance, and lots of coffee. Vanilla isn’t as heavy in the flavor as I’d hope it was going to be, but it’s there. A little bitter in the aftertaste, where most of the vanilla is. Thick, mouth coating. Good stuff.

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Photo of BeerAficionadoMCMXC
3.74/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- color is dark brown. Tilt of glass reveals some brown but still maintains the dark brown color.
S-100% vanilla, slightly overpowering.
T- I got roast, vanilla, coffee, and a bitter finish. Chocolate is also very present.
M- chewy, thick, dark, stout.
O- imperial porter?! This is a stout.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,341 ratings.