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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.

1,220 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,220
Hads: 5,934
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,009
Gots: 1,729 | FT: 91
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: 1,220 | Hads: 5,934
Photo of Ynot2
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 version

Poured from 22 oz bottle into a snifter, nice three finger mocha colored head with a nice toffee colored lacing as the beer is consumed. A deep dark brown color to the glass.

Smell of lots of vanilla and chocolate, the coffee is there but it is the lessor of the aromas? Think of a chocolat mocha.

The taste of vanilla and chocolate are up front from the first sip. Very little alcohol for a 10% beer. The coffee bite follows the smell, at the end and more subtle? There is a lingering coffee taste as the beer warms, but it is not overpowering. Really nice flavors.

Mouthfeel is just about perfect for the style. Like a malted drink, very little carbonation as I would expect. Thick and creamy, full body sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Overall a great example of the style. The pour, aroma and flavors make for a delicious beer. I will have more if these in the future. Wish it was available in a 12 oz bottle, 22 is a bit much for one person.

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Photo of morebeergood
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a bomber at Bauer for $9.99. Poured into a stemmed crystal glass. Dark brown color, bordering on black. Large leather brown head. Significant lacing. Thick body, not a lot of carbonation noticed. Smell was a wonderful combo of coffee and chocolate. Taste was a knock out. Borderline perfect. Had that chocolate and roasted barley flavor of a nice porter, but the addition of the high end coffee was killer. Then, the vanilla was just enough in the background to lend a bit of flavor, but didn't overwhelm at all. A great compliment to the intended flavor profile. Outstanding flavor. Mouthfeel was stout-like, very heavy and hearty. Much more than a porter. Not a beer to session with, but a beautiful beer to have with dessert or have as a sweet treat by itself. A bit more expensive than what I spend normally on a bomber, but well worth it. Puts Ballast Point up there with the big boys in my mind.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Label says enjoy by 01/15/14.

Appearance: Pours an oily pitch black with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Solid two finger deep tan head that slowly fades into a thinner creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A rich, sweet, and roasty dark aroma with a big presence of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Upfront dark roasted barley malts with big hints of dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, burnt toast, vanilla, and cream. Also some hints of burnt caramel, toffee, grains, biscuit, and smoked malt. Some sweet molasses and burnt brown sugar hints. Subtle background hints of raisin and fig. Very laid back hops. Huge on the roasty coffee. A pretty good aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints at, a big roasty and rich stout taste with a big taste of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla notes. Roasty dark malts with a huge upfront taste of coffee beans, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Malt notes of burnt caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, grains, and some char and smoked malt. Sweet notes of burnt molasses and brown sugar. Subtle undertones of dark fruit with notes of fig, raisin, and prune. Light earthy hops in the background. A very good coffee forward stout taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very creamy, silky, and somewhat syrupy. Very smooth with a well hidden alcohol presence.

Overall: A very good imperial porter. Great taste of coffee beans and chocolate with a nice silky smooth body.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. The pour is very dark, but not quite opaque. When held to the light it appears clear and shows a tiny bit of ruby highlight. The head is mammoth, brown, rocky, and quite long-lasting. The nose is slightly astringent, not too assertive, and gives off some nice roasty notes and promises both coffee and vanilla.

The beer has a medium-full body and a complex, superbly balanced flavor. Lots of roasty notes up front as well as a hint of toffee-like malt. Around mid-palate, the roastiness gives way to coffee and the toffee gives way to vanilla, still maintaining a balance. Some of the roastiness comes back on the back of the palate and really lingers on the finish. Is this beer really 10% ABV? No way I would ever guess that. The feel seems thin given the ABV, but I think it's the roastiness playing tricks on me.

I can see why this is a ``Beer of Fame''. It's a tasty, incredibly well-balanced porter that is a near perfect example of the style description and therefore I must rate it very highly. Still, I think I prefer Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald and its slight, woody sweetness to this. I like to taste a little more malt and a little less roastiness. It's a personal preference, nothing more (darn sweet tooth). This is a terrific beer and I think it's a better example of the style than EF, but if I could only have one porter, I'd still take EF.

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Photo of jhartley
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Cuvee tulip glass from a 12 oz. bottle with I believe a May 29th date.
Deep dark black with a tan head, which hangs around briefly and then leaves. Only a small trace amount is left along the top. Minimal to no lacing.
Tons of espresso coffee and sweet vanilla on the nose along with a nice malty roast.
Taste is delicious, just the right amount of coffee and vanilla balance.
A nice full mouth feel, starts out sweet and ends with a nice minimal bitterness.
Overall, a delicious beer that I am happy they started bottling in 12 ouncers! A perfect size for drinking especially with the 10% abv. Definitely a winner worthy of the hype.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The allergy meds mute my sense of smell but this was magnificent while pouring , especially the vanilla

Black hole dark with tan head that dissipates fairly quickly

Malt, coffee on the from of my mouth and vanilla on the back , how can you go wrong .Delicious!

The slightly thin mouthfeel may explain the difference between an imperial porter and a stout better than any example I can think of?

This is about the wonderful taste WOW!

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Photo of thecheapies
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 5

Bomber dated 'Enjoy By 11/06/13'.

Pours extremely dark, like a brown-black. I elevated the bottle during the pouring and it produces about an inch and a half of cappuccino-like foam. Retention is superb. Lacing is plus-plus.

Rich coffee porter scents boosted with a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract. Liqueury, but not entirely sweet. Robust roasty grain notes mesh in, and well. The vanilla really brings out the mocha character in this beer with notes of chocolate syrup and marzipan. Some hazelnut, too. Hints of Fig Newton and citrus/pine hops. Truly phenomenal.

Impressive! Great 'cup of joe' flavor. Tastes like a coffee (black) with a teaspoon of sugar and a half-teaspoon of vanilla extract just as I depicted in the nose description. Big time vanilla presence and it almost intensifies the already slightly unruly alcohol note. Still, it's stiff and burly with hefty amounts of hop and roast bitterness. Lots of kilned grain char and earthiness and dark roast coffee, but there's a sweeter butterscotch note in the middle that can't be left out of my evaluation. Char, too, like burnt popcorn. Hops play a few cards, citrus and pine, but these are all small hands. Very minor fruit notes recall fig and cherry. Has flavor you want to write about all day.

Drinks with a medium-plus body. Heady booze and striking carbonation; I mean, this beer is alive and ready. Just a little too amped-up.

Ha! I'd rate this very high as an Imperial Stout. American Porter, you say? Fuhgeddaboudit!!

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Photo of brother_kenneth
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of SkiBum22
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of GetMeAnIPA
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of frozyn
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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!

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Photo of wedge
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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...

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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!

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Photo of gloriousglo2
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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...

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Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of RCM505
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of majorbase2
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Jadorko
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very forward on the coffee flavor and super tasty. Very typical, heavy, dark beer but you can still enjoy it as a cold beer on a hot night (in moderation).

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Photo of russwbeck
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of beer2day
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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 ...

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,220 ratings.