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
98
world-class

5,533 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,533
Reviews: 1,229
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 938
Gots: 1,526 | FT: 103
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,533 | Reviews: 1,229
Photo of brother_kenneth
4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely delicious beer. It is very flavorful and tastes exactly as advertised. One definitely doesn't have to look for the coffee and vanilla. Both are huge in the nose AND the taste. If this was a limited bottle, people would line up for it.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very opaque, can't see any light through it. One finger light brown, mocha colored head. Decent head for such a strong beer.

S - Big coffee, vanilla and roasted malt notes off the bat. A little caramel too. I get a little of the alcohol but not too much.

T - Up front some very nice caramel notes, some breadiness, and some dark fruits. On the back end big roasted coffee notes and a lot of vanilla. The vanilla and the coffee play very well of each other.

M - Very creamy and smooth. A tiny alcohol burn. But overall a great mouthfeel for a porter.

O - This is my favorite porter by far. I wish Ballast Point released it more often.

Photo of timontheroad
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a very dark opaque almost black color. Nice half inch head with great retention and lacing.
Smell: Aroma has a lot of coffee, with some slight dark roast malt and chocolate notes.
Taste: Very coffee forward, with great vanilla punch on the back end. Some slight roasty malt flavors also.
Mouthfeel: Nice thick and chewy, very full bodied for a porter.
Overall: Just an outstanding brew, really like the coffee and vanilla combination.

Photo of GetMeAnIPA
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I really loved this beer. It takes a style I've had many times and makes just enough twists to make it both unique and awesome.

A - black as night with a cappuccino color head. The head disapates fairly quickly but does leave some brown foam bubbles on the glass as I drink.

S - smell is dominated by coffee, a rich roasted coffee. Very little vanilla on the smell. However, as the beer warm the vanilla becomes more present.

T - as soon as it hit my palate I was in love. Rich roasted coffee flavor followed by a touch of vanilla sweetness. The beer finishes with a nice warming sensation. There is more vanilla on the taste than smell which surprised me, as I wasn't expecting it. The bitter coffee notes and warming alcohol keeps the sweetness at bay. As the beer warms more vanilla and coffee bitterness comes forward. The beer changed like three times as I was drinking it. From coffee forward to vanilla forward, Back to coffee.

M - this beer is incredibly smooth. The vanilla adds a smoothness to it. Medium body with minimal carbonation. This beer was crazy smooth.

O - this beer was great. It's definitely a big beer with big bold burnt bitter coffee flavors, but the vanilla balances it out great. It's like when the coffee or the vanilla become too much the other flavor comes in.

It's like drinking a coffee beer dessert but not too sweet. I've had DIPAs sweeter than this beer.

Photo of frozyn
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours very dark black, purplish tint at the top with light overhead.
S - Coffee scent is strong, with a sweet something to go with it. Maybe the vanilla, but I didn't pick it up distinctly.
T - Wonderful coffee flavor, very similar to eating a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Vanilla comes through nicely, subtly. The alcohol is similarly subtle, although you know it's there. The warmer the beer got, the more I tasted everything beyond the coffee, especially what others have called the toasted malts (not something I've learned to distinguish yet, perhaps it starts now).
MF - Very smooth -- as many have said -- velvety feel.
O - Great nuanced flavor, very smooth to drink. You can't go wrong with this!

Photo of wedge
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

@ Woody's

Pitch black color with a small head on top. Nice speckled lacing on the glass all the way down. Smells like a delicious coffee latte. Rich vanilla and chocolate mixed with a huge helping of espresso roast. Sweetened coffee and chocolate syrup flavor carries over to the flavor...huge, smooth, and somehow not over the top in terms of sweetness. I am struck with the intense urge to eat a glazed doughnut. Vanilla bean works with everything, but never screams to be heard. Not a hint of booziness to be found. Big, thick, and full. Certainly a dessert beer, though it could work just as well as a breakfast beer. Delicious...

Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A gift I received from TheBrewViking. I was looking forward to this all week as I decided to drink this on a Friday night after work> TGIF. Thanks Brooks.

Poured into a snifter (and little bit into a de Molen tasting glass for the mrs)

I'm looking at a deep dark black brew. Nice mocha colored head and a decent amount of lacing.

The aromas are bold. Coffee upfront with the vanilla, something to be expected from a coffee vanilla porter. The is a lot more going on. A sweet milk chocolate malty scent...

Flavors are just like the nose at the beginning. Yeas there is coffee vanilla and that milky chocolate but it's followed by a very nice bitterness.

It's a failry thick and heavy porter. Carbonation is medium and the finish is dry to neutral. The mouth gets coated leaving all the wonderful flavors for a while.

This is a world class brew. The coffee and vanilla flavors taste natural as opposed to some artificial flavoring. The looks, nose, taste, and feel make this a near perfect after dinner beer. Highly recomended.

Thanks againg Brooks for sending this my way. Amie and I enjoyed this quite a bit and I'll be looking for this on my next trip to AZ!

Photo of gloriousglo2
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

That's right, on freakin' tap, here in PA, into one of those effete snifer glasses..smelled like a dark roasted coffee, deep brown color, no head by the time the bartender got it to me, which took about 20 seconds after he poured it. Very rich, thick, tasted like chocolate with only a hint of vanilla. A little boozy, but a nice balance overall. At 10% ABV, thought this was more like an imperial stout, but not complaining. The wife even thought it was good, which says a lot...

Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with lots of dark brown and red creepin from the edges towards the middle. This keg is a year old now so the coffee has somewhat dropped out but is still present. The vanilla on the otherhand has really developed nicely. It smells exacty like fresh vanilla beans. Not exract. Fresh beans. The taste is the same but with a nice roast character from the malt. Great mouthfeel. The bitterness and carbonation go well the smoothness. Awesome beer.

Photo of Hopswagger
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: Pitch black body with a cappuccino jiggly cream top. Delicate lace on edges.

S: Robust columbian coffee, vanilla potpourri, near burnt dark malt, pumpernickel bread, no bake cookies and astringent booze.

T/M: Huge vanilla extract presence hits the palate first then the coffee and chocolate cookies take over. Hints of smoke and charred molasses mingle with the velvety feel. Finishes semi dry with lingering espresso. Nice warming sensation.

O: Love it. A great impy porter that showcases both the vanilla and coffee in a circus of flavors for your mouth. It's like having a cold triple shot if espresso with vanilla added. Highly recommended.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a Bruery glass, not overly cold.

Off-black, deep reddish-brown meniscus, small dark tan head, looks good.

Smells delicious, the vanilla and coffee are each quite distinct but at the same time the aroma is totally cohesive. The vanilla almost makes it seem barrel aged, like maybe rum barrel. Deep chocolatey roasty malt, too. NICE.

Tastes deep and roasty, well balanced with a good dose of sweetness. Lingering bittersweet coffee, cocoa, vanilla, quite a long finish. Very tasty.

Good medium-full texture, fine cushy carbonation makes it almost creamy, this and the balance make it very easy to drink.

Excellent beer, nice to finally review it.

Photo of RCM505
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally had the 12oz bottle. Always loved this beer....new label too :-)

Nice....Black and black! Nose is all vanilla. taste is mad vanilla with coffee and chocolate; body is sexy; nice and wholesome...Renaissance

All fun aside...this is one of the best out there.

Photo of majorbase2
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a huge, uneven brown head. Dissipates after a bit, leaving a ring of lacing around the edge and quite a bit on the glass as well.

Aroma is heavy on dark, burnt coffee and vanilla bean. Some sweet, almost bitter caramel malts.

Taste mostly follows the nose to a point. Vanilla bean comes on strong, along with more of the burnt coffee. A small amount of sweetness. There are a small amount of hops that become evident as it warms. Not the most complex taste, but the execution might the best I've ever seen taste wise. Simple, but done masterfully. And for a 10%er, little to no bite from the alcohol. Just incredible.

Mouthfeel is heavy. Little carbonation. One of the smoother 10% beers you'll find.

Overall, just an incredible beer.

Photo of russwbeck
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to nhindian for sharing this one! After we popped the bottle I think he wished he had the whole thing for himself...I know I sure did.

A: Dark pour, small beige head, that doesn't stay around for too long, but laces decently.

S: The smell is sweeter than I would expect. Coffee tones and roasted malts. Sweetness must be from the vanilla.

T: Taste is coffee forward, with the vanilla coming up after. Dry aftertaste, the coffee sticks around for a while.

MF: Full bodied and creamy, which I didn't expect. My last Vanilla porter was way too watery for me, this really surprised me in a good way.

D: I didn't want to put this down. Really, really good. I want another one already.

Photo of beer2day
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black pour, 1-fingeer of dense rich chocolate head. Not much in the way of retention. Decent, but sparse, lace.

Rich, decadent nose. Strong with roast coffee, vanilla bean, chocolate syrup, and cream. Really invites you in.

The taste doesn't fail the nose. Lots of roast coffee, but really strong vanilla flavor. Coffee bitters in the finish are very strong for a porter. Pretty nice chocolate malt balance, too, with roast flavors.

Feel is lighter than the rich flavor suggests, but this is porter not stout so that is quite welcome.

I'd get this again ... and again ...

Photo of Blakaeris
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thick, creamy tan head that hangs around awhile.

Aroma is smokey with burnt malt and dark grain. Big and roasty, plenty of espresso and rich chocolate. Only upon inspection does the vanilla aspect become readily apparent along with an underlying creamy sweetness.

Taste is rich and full of roasted notes as the nose suggested. Initially dominated by chocolate and dark fruit. Then the smokey dark grain and hearty coffee bitterness takes over. Dry oak woodiness. The finish brings out vanilla and milk sugar sweetness. Alcohol has a bourbon character, and lingers throughout.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, with a slight syrupy slickness that coats the tongue.

Without a doubt this is the best vanilla porter I have had to date. The vanilla is present, but is secondary to the rich smokey flavor of an intense porter. Big, but balanced sweetness and coffee bitterness. Alcohol comes on a little hot and boozy, but for me that adds to character. This is one to try.

Photo of kirok1999
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy crap, what a damn fine porter. If you can tell this from a stout you're better than I am.
Pours black with a quickly fading head. Still as night with no apparent carbonation.
Smells of so damn much, vanilla, coffee, chocolate and roasty malts.
Taste is the same as the smell but better. Lots of vanilla to back up the coffee. Sweet as hell in a great way, dense and rich and creamy. Smooth, almost like an oatmeal stout; I'm still amazed this is a porter. A damn fine beer soon to be added to my wants list.

Photo of pdoran10
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a mild black color with half a finger of tan head that fades pretty quickly and leaves decent lacing.

Smell is Reeces Peanut Butter Cup if it were made with delicious dark chocolate. Some roasty black coffee comes through as well.

Taste is big roasted malt. Slightly bitter coffee and hops come through with mild dark chocolate. Think Reeces Peanut butter cup, but more roasted than the smell indicated balanced out by bittness. The vanilla noted on the label is mostly lost on my palette, but perhaps lends some sweetness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is dry and substantial at the same time. Moderate carbonation. Really smooth and biting.

Overall a really unique and tasty flavor profile, with a biting dryness and just enough bitterness. An excellent porter. Will have to trade for more.

Photo of nimrod979
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a pretty sweet label I might add. Pours a thick syrupy brown that looks near black when its all said and done. Massive two finger tan foamy head. Perfect looking porter.

Aroma is big on the coffee and vanilla notes. Rich and malty. Even picking up some maple syrup aromas.

Taste is on point here. Strong vanilla and coffee flavors here. Lots of roasted malts. Some chocholate. Great balance of coffee bitterness and vanilla sweetness.

It's medium bodied. A little thinner than I would have expected. Light carbonation. Lingering coffee finish. ABV hidden VERY well. Not even a trace.

I'm really enjoying this. Not a beer you can easily find in the area. But I'd def. seek out again. One of my favorite porters now.

Photo of djeucalyptus
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a rich, dark, oily rich brown. as with the style, not quite black. an intensely rich reddish caramel brown colored head is frothy and has impressive retention. ample dotted lacing is about as good as anything else near this viscosity. looks stunning.

rich dark malt sweetness and earthiness, lactose sweetness (maybe that's the vanilla?) and definite coffee on the nose. rich milk chocolate, hazelnuts, and more earthy espresso. aroma near turkish coffee. wow.

taste, not surprisingly, is stunning. smokey peat with a touch of sea salt up front. then rich dark roasty malts, caramel sweetness, roasted coffee. espresso and mocha. some fairly strong alcohol notes with an interesting sweetness not far from a sweet scotch. interesting. boozy and hot for me, but I'm really impressed by this one. the finish lingers with clean roasted coffee beans.

mouth is smooth, creamy, full. touch viscous, although also a touch slick. a lingering roasted cocoa bitterness in the finish.

given the abv, the style, and the unique flavors, this one is crazy drinkable. not quite as much vanilla as I'd hoped, or remember from past version, but I won't hold it much against this brew. It's stellar, and I personally would take one of these to an abyss, darklord, or the like any day of the week. I know it's a different ball game, but still... this one really impresses.

Photo of kell50
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on draft many times at Duckworth's in Charlotte, NC. Time for a review!

A: Very dark black with a nice 2 finger off white creamy head that seems to completely attach itself to the glass. Looks similar to a Guinness as it flows from the tap.

S: MMMM. There's so much going on here. I first detect some roasted coffee notes up front; followed by hints tobacco, vanilla beans, caramel, and dark chocolate.

T: Tastes just like it smells. Fresh brewed coffee, vanilla, chocolaty sweetness and with a touch of a smoke as well. Probably the most full flavored porter I've ever had. Victory at Sea clocks in at 10% abv, but drinks more like 5%. Scary.

M: This beer definitely has a heavier, full-bodied mouthfeel. It's sticky, viscous, and has a low amount of carbonation.

O: Very impressed by this beer! It's an excellent pairing with cold temperatures. The beer's flavors and richness became more pronounced as the beer reached room temperature.

Photo of coldriver
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours an opaque black with slow forming fantastic looking cascading tannish head. Aroma is as advertised - coffee and vanilla, dark roast malt, a little bacon, and a hint of the 10% alcohol. The taste is the same - smokey coffee and vanilla with great hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh (really my only quibble with this wonderful brew) but creamy and dry finish. Great beer, the vanilla and coffee flavors fit in well with the traditional (but extra strong) porter flavors. Would easily put this up with some of the better imperial stouts.

Photo of kevanb
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is always a treat to enjoy and could be my favorite offering from Ballast Point. It pours a viscous jet black color, minimal browns appear when held to the light. A nice thick caramel colored head sits atop the glass, that has great retention and yields some fantastic lacing. The aroma is exceptionally complex, roasted coffee with toasted malts make a big impression right off the bat. Coconut and vanilla add some sweetness with something almost like dairy cream lending a hand to cut down the stronger burnt and roasty elements to soften the nose. Big robust flavors, roasted coffee is again a big player, some dark fruits come in, perhaps plum or cherry sweeten the beer a bit, some toasted coconut is also present. Some dark chocolate elements are also present, that play well with the malty flavors, but the most prominent flavor is the vanilla, it really takes the beer to the next level, it blends so well with many of the other qualities of the beer and sort of draws them all together in a really nice harmony, the only drawback is that is does have a bit of acidic astringency to it. The body is nice, big, full, silky at first with a nice bitter finish, again, a bit astringent at the finale.

Verdict: Masterful porter from Ballast Point. The flavor profile is wonderfully complex with a fantastic aroma, perfect for a meal or for desert that can be quaffed or sipped.

Photo of MacMalt
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on draft so it was colder than I would serve it at home. Very dark brown with creamy head. I was disappointed by the lack of smell (perhaps due to the temperature) but this is a delicious porter. Coffee forward but with enough vanilla to justify its reputation. Nice medium body. Overall, an excellent beer. I wish it were easier to find in bottles here in New Jersey.

Photo of elNopalero
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This poured the color of midnight at a bottom of a well, with an espresso-crema cap of foam.
The aroma held layers of dark chocolate and roasted coffee, roasted malts, a hint of vanilla. It’s a sipper, with a smoothly warming flavor of a sweetly bitter espresso with cacao and vanilla, and just a touch of booziness at the end. This is a big beer but so enjoyable!

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,533 ratings.