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

1,163 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,163
Hads: 5,654
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 949
Gots: 1,587 | FT: 108
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: 1,163 | Hads: 5,654
Photo of Mdog
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black, huge head.

Smell: Strong coffee aroma.

Taste: Big coffee and vanilla up front, then continues with lots of vanilla. Nice and sweet but not cloying.

Overall: I could swear this beer is bourbon barrel aged, but according to the description, it is the infused vanilla beans that give that impression. Big and bold, sweet and tasty. Very good! (368 characters)

Photo of BeerLover99
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: dark brown/black, finger khaki head, awesome lacing

S: dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, nutty, toffee, malt, coffee

T: dark chocolate, roasted malt, toffee, mild roasted coffee, nutty

M: med/heavy, chewy, smooth mouth

O: OH MY! Ballast has hit a HR.
PORTER/STOUT fans should seek this gem out.

AMAZING; GET THIS TREAT! (325 characters)

Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, absolutely no light coming through when put up to the light, and a creamy one to two finger light brown head

Smell: Coffee, roasted malts, with a undertone of vanilla. Its all there, and from first whiff you can tell its of very high quality

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts upfront with subtle notes of vanilla, and caramel sweetness mid palate which carries throughout the aftertaste. Some bittering hops on the finish as well

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium body id say; Goes down smooth with a bitter, coffee-like finish

Overall: First class coffee porter without a doubt. Had this on tap a couple years back and still remember how much i enjoyed it. Well, i think i enjoyed it today as much as i did back then. The balance of coffee, vanilla, roasted malts, and bittering hops is fantastic. I get more roasted malt in the taste than nose which i really appreciate. It really rounds the beer out. This holds up to some of the better coffee stouts iv had. Get it while you can! Cheers!! (1,011 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle was poured into a Palm snifter.

Appearance: A two finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a puffy layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Roasted coffee, sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, no alcohol detected,

Taste: Same as above with some boozy alcohol in the rear. Smooth and tasty. Very balanced too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, vanilla sweetness, a little bitterness, medium carbonation, and medium bodied.

Overall: I can finally see why people rave about this beer. Well worth it and reasonably priced too. I will drink more of these in the future. (658 characters)

Photo of Jimmys
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

bomber into tulip. best before 11/06/13.

A: pours a very dark brown. very opaque. head is tightly bubbly, but nothing massive. retention is average. tons of thick lacing.

S: a lot of chocolate and coffee on the nose. dry and bitter. smells like black chocolate powder. maybe some caramel as well. if there is vanilla in there, which I believe there is, there is enough caramel and chocolate to make it more of a blended aroma.

T: tastes like something I would buy from Dunkin Dounuts. there is ton of caramel, chocolate, and coffee. seriously first sip is just like a chocolate caramel something-or-other from DD. a little bit of alcohol heat towards the finish, but certainly manageable. the roast makes its presence known at the finish. lingers.

M: pretty silky carb. maybe its the body, which is massive, but definitely a velvety drink.

D: wow, this is a lot of beer. big time porter flavors combine with even more chocolate. throw coffee and vanilla into the mix and you have a very tasty, very complex brew. im sure if you let the heat chill for another 4 months this could get even better. very tasty and if you are a fan of coffee stouts, porters, get your paws on this thing. (1,191 characters)

Photo of ElSid
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Beers of California

#59

Freshness Date: 11/8/13

A: Black opaqueness with a thin layer of light brown head which fades to a faint cling to the glass.

S: Freshly roasted coffee beans and vanilla sweetness. Essentially a whiff of Coffee Bean's Vanilla Cappuccino. Dried leaves and toasted bread in the background.

T: The roasted coffee and smoke comes first which transitions to an alcohol warmth. Through the alcohol there are glimpses of vanilla sweetness. The bitterness is earthy and slightly floral. The malt is strongly toasted with a nice caramel twang. The finish is somewhat dry with a warming alcohol finish.

M: Smooth with bourbon warmth. The feel rocks and carbonation is exactly where it needs to be.

O: The vanilla and coffee combine with the toasted backbone of this Imperial Porter resulting in a flavorful and wonderful brew. The flavor combination works and adds some variety to the Imperial Stout dominated market. (941 characters)

Photo of socon67
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Good Life, Massapequa NY

A - Dark brown pour with a brown foam. Lacing on this is very nice streaks along the glass. Foam retention is pretty solid. This appears to be a thick beer.

S - Okay I love vanilla scents so this was simply awesome. The vanilla aroma was promounced, consistent, and gave a sweet, bakery cake smell. There is also a distinct smell of ground coffee. The malt profile on this smells sweet. This is a dessert beer.

T - A very sweet flavor that has sugar and vanilla frosting flavor. The is a slight bitterness of coffee that has an ever so slight anisette flavor of licorice. The complexity of sweet malts and these flavors makes this an enticing beer.

M - A bit heavier than most porters. Has a syrupy thickness as this hits the mouth. While I throughly loved this beer, it is not sessionable and I'd say it certianbly reuqires resetting your palate to taste more beer, or other foods for that matter.

O - A well crafted big porter that once again blurs the porterstout lines. For vanilla beer lovers this is a must try. Easily my favorite from Ballast Point and that includes Sculpin. (1,126 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- slides out of the glass with a thick and hearty look. Near black with a khaki head of a half finger that quickly dissipates into a soft ring around the edge.

S- Espresso and cocoa nibs come out strong from the get go. Vanilla comes in late. Roasted and toasted.

T- Big, bold flavors here. Intense roast without becoming obnoxious. Huge cocoa that is almost milky, coffee beans and hints of vanilla. Smooth and complex.

M- Simply amazing. Right there with Everett as the best feel on any porter I have had. Thick, viscous, creamy. Full body. Coating and timely bitterness. Alcohol well hid.

O- This thing is outstanding. I expected so much and yet it found a way to blow away my expectations still. (706 characters)

Photo of FickleBeast
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into an Ommegang snifter

Pours pitch black with a finger of mocha foam. Aroma is strong with coffee - roast bitter black coffee flavors.

First sip is viscous, with a sweet strong vanilla flavor that fades into a roasted coffee bitterness. Delectable. There is a nice, sweet chewy moutfeel, and strong bitter finish. But the flavor of the beer is almost dessert-like in its sweet vanilla flavor. Excellent all around.

I first tried this beer at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival - it was my favorite beer of the festival. Excited to have found this in my bottle shop. (595 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an impenetrable obsidian with massive tan head; stickage galore with speckles of lace all around the pint glass

Smell: Not sure which jumps out more - the coffee or the vanilla; underneath, there is a nutty character that lends a nougat depth to the brew

Taste: Nutty toffee, up front, with the coffee and vanilla developing; in the mid-palate a bittersweet chocolate aspect arrives and, after the swallow, the hops lend a hand with a piney bitterness; some dark fruit appears as well but this beer is about the malt, the coffee and the vanilla right through to the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Normally, I am not a big fan of vanilla but this beer is so unique, with so many other elements going on, that the vanilla, though dominant, really is additive (819 characters)

Photo of dwilson01
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber (2010 release) into my new belgium tulip glass, dark mocha head tops the brew, a thin layer that dissipates quickly. The body the dark, when held up to light a brown tint appears around the edges.

The scent is one of the best I have ever had, dark roasted barley hits the nostrils giving a delicious coffee smell which is cooling instead of hot like a fresh cup of joe. Sweeter molasses and chocolate malt undertones give a soothing smell after the roasty one. No hop smells to speak of.

The flavor is amazing, one of the first things that strikes me is the vanilla, in the bottle this flavor really comes to maturity and I distinctly am able to pick it out. The roasted coffee and small amount of chocolate flavors combine into a nice balance which lends to the perfect naming of this beer.

The mouthfeel is great, creamy like a milkshake made of coffee and chocolate, not precisely cappuccino but very close to it. The drinkability is solid, it's a sipping beer but the nonexistent alcohol esters make it hard to believe this isn't an iced coffee. (1,074 characters)

Photo of rangerred
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter out of a 22oz bomber.

Pours pitch black and reminds me of used motor oil. Not much in the way of a head but the wisps of lacing left on the sides of the glass is truly impressive considering the abv.

The aroma is extremely pleasant and soft. Dark roast coffee and some light hints of caramel. The vanilla is there but it is very subtle, much more so than any other vanilla flavored beer I have had before. Dark chocolate is also mixed in. Sort of reminds me of a mocha coffee drink.

The flavor is even more impressive and substantial than the aroma. The vanilla is extremely subtle and well-integrated becoming most apparent immediately after the sip. Dark roast coffee and vanilla quickly followed by a shot of caramel. Bitterness reminiscent of dark chocolate and espresso followed then by more vanilla and moderate sweetness. Mouthfeeel is on the sticky side and there is a little bit of tannic bitterness on the roof of the mouth.

Overall, an extremely well done coffee vanilla porter. For once the vanilla is not overdone and is perfectly integrated. A sipper for sure but perfect for the cold winter months and one to savor over the course of an evening. (1,186 characters)

Photo of daveg36
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Good beer. Definitely a dessert beer. Very chocolately and a little vanilla latte in there. Not sessionable, not recommended on a warm day, and not recommended on a really full stomach. A heavy beer, but delicious. (214 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap (2010)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

(Aged 1 year)

Jet black, shiny, with a thin light brown cap. Sheets of lacing down the glass. Thick and menacing.

Roasted malt, lots and lots of rich coffee, and some faint vanilla round out the nose. Complete and decadent aroma.

The flavors are a wrestling match between the rich, creamy, yet bitter coffee, and sweet, earthy vanilla. It's a wonderful wrestling match I'm happy to referee. Delicious, and in my opinion, better than the barrel aged nitro version.

Medium to thick bodied.

A vibrant, delicious, balanced, big, big stout. Lots of vanilla, coffee, and roast battle it out big time--good thing they're all delicious. (689 characters)

Photo of lnashsig
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to try this. This was an extra in a recent package from him- he consistently amazes me with his selection and generosity.

Poured into my DFH snifter, pours a dark brown/black color, with a tan/off white head that fills the top of the glass, and then slowly recedes. Excellent retention. Smell- dark chocolate, dark coffee, big hops on the nose. This one has it all! Taste- biting hops, followed by a roasty dark chocolate flavor, finished with a big almost espresso roasted coffee flavor. This beer reminds me of Founders Breakfast Stout, but beats it in a big way. This is a luscious, decadent beer that is well balanced, and exciting on all levels. Mouthfeel- I'm honestly surprised this is categorized as a porter- it has the rich syrupy thick mouthfeel of a stout, with perfect carbonation. Drinkabilty- as with most beers I get from AugustGarage, I'm saddened by the fact that I can't buy this easily again. It's an amazing beer and I will be looking for anything close to it that I can buy in Houston (but will probably come up short).

Thanks again- this one was the highlight of my night last night. (1,151 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point- Victory at Sea

A- Dark mahagony brown almost black with a thick whipped tan head. Great head retension and lacing.
S- Sweet sugary black coffee and creamy vanilla.
T- Dark roast black coffee with vanilla cream added. Smooth chocolate malt.
M- Very thick and sweet. No bitterness. Smooth and creamy with a light touch of alc. in the end.

Overall- A great replacement for coffee at 9am. (401 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Fresh bomber served slightly chilled into a goblet.

Victory at Sea is nearly black in color with good clarity seen on the pour. Head is thick at first but settles in about a minute. Some spoty lacing is left behind.

Aroma is immediately evident with both coffee and vanilla coming through in balance.

Flavor is also well balanced with vanilla sweetness, mild coffee bitterness, and assertive hops. Dark chocolate and roasted malts also add to the depth of flavors.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and appropriately carbonated. Balanced towards the bitter but drinkable. The alcohol is well hidden for being 10% ABV.

Overall an excellent double stout. The coffee and vanilla just enhance the experience. (700 characters)

Photo of CoffeePorter
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pitch black pour with a decent amount of head
S: smells very sweet with strong notes of coffee and vanilla
T: tastes very creamy with vanilla and coffee flavors mixed in
M: very smooth with mild carbonation, syrupy like
O: well balanced among the flavor profiles and has a superb aroma, very good porter! (307 characters)

Photo of Roguer
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge, dark tan head atop a very dark ebony brew. Good retention, and as the head slides down the glass, it leaves spiderweb lacing behind.

Huge roasted barley and coffee aroma, with vanilla fighting for elbow space at the table. Smells very much like a big strong coffee stout - which is what it is, after all.

Flavor matches deliciously, with a ton of vanilla coming through in the 1st and final thirds - far more than hinted at by the aroma. Coffee, roasted barley, and chocolate malts all blend together in lovely fashion, allowing the vanilla to be the highlight on top of a very solid, slightly sweet base.

Quite bitter and balanced; aftertaste definitely teases an earthy, vegetal hop presence.

Silky mouthfeel, big bodied, full mouthfeel. Lively; minor sting; growing alcohol heat on the back-end (but not during the sip). Moderately dry finish, with a lingering bitterness. Very clean. Exceptionally easy to drink.

This is a lovely coffee-vanilla stout-porter. All the praise it receives is well-deserved. A great breakfast beer, but I could just as easily see this being a nightcap. (1,097 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1 finger dark mocha head with moderate retention. Beer is opaque and pitch black. Lacing is thick and webbed but sticks close to the head. Solid.

Nose is roasted malt, coffee beans, chocolate, fudge, and cocoa. Moderately aromatic and real deep.

Opens sweet chocolate, molasses, and espresso. Cocoa powder, dark chocolate and just a slight touch of sweet vanilla lingers in the background. Sweet prunes mixes with more cocoa power, roast and coffee at the end. Sweet finish and aftertaste. Very good.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and silky in the mouth and goes down slick with just a little bite. Finishes messy with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Awesome!

The flavor and body are near perfect here and overall this is just a very nicely put together beer. Certainly a must try. (871 characters)

Photo of MiScusi
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Stone Bistro, served in an 8oz snifter. Poured a pitch black with a thick tan sticky head. The aroma was the most coffee I've ever smelled in a beer and that is compared to Kona Pipeline Porter and Founders Breakfast Stout. It's just a pure roasted coffee aroma. The taste is the same, cold rich coffee and a dark malt backing which is overshadowed by the coffee. (373 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a dense black in the glass, with several tight foamy fingers of rich burnt mocha colored head. Retains with a sturdy 1/2 finger that throws a big cascade of lacing on the sides of the glass, which eventually settles into some equally large frothy spotting. The aroma is just DRENCHED with sticky sweet notes of chocolate, toffee, and smooth vanilla. This all just mingles in effortlessly with robust smelling high quality roasted coffee. The bouquet is just so rich and dense in the nose, I could sit here with my nose in the glass for a while.

The taste is deep and tangy in the mouth, wih a chewy sweetness to it full of chocolate, caramel, and citric hops. A deep burnt and crunchy flush of roast, hops, and coffee spreads out across the back of the palate. Not astringency at all to the coffee here (which speaks to it's quality), leaving nothing but straight up flavor and lingering roast back that just STICKS in the throat. The mouthfeel is full bodied and huge feeling in the mouth, with a massive chewy softness to the carbonation that keeps this easy in the mouth. That 10% ABV is mostly only felt in the body, and that's mostly on towards the swallow, with any kind of actual alcohol flavor being marvelously hidden.

Man, I love this beer. While not too overly complex, it's just so RICH with flavor, with it feeling like you just had an after dinner dessert AND coffee in your glass. Just really fantastic stuff that will get you buzzed in more ways than one. (1,516 characters)

Photo of 14erFan
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a treat - I had never heard of this one and just got a bomber off the shelf because the description sounded intriguing. Such a great, big flavor with rich vanilla and a refined porter finish. Liked it so much I got a six-pack the other day. (247 characters)

Photo of SpdKilz
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark viscosity into a Bell's Tulip. About two fingers of head that dissipates slowly leaving amazing looking lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Oh my gosh. Seriously, I freaking love the smell. I had this at Black Tuesday 2010 and have been trying to get my hands on this since. Amazing vanilla, fresh coffee, caramel, chocolate. Amazing.

Taste - Oh my gosh again. The flavor is on par with the aroma. An amazing fresh coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavor. Slight fruits, flora, and hops. I can drink this all night.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, lower carbonation, great Mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Unbelievably so. For the ABV, I can't get over how easy this beer drinks. So glad I have multiples of this. An amazing beer. (752 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, stamp says enjoy by 11/26/13. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head that sticked around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate. The taste is pretty much just like the aroma, it tastes like coffee, roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of caramel. It starts off bitter, and then the sweet flavors catch up to balance things out. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit creamy and has moderate carbonation. The 10% ABV is well hidden. I have to say this is a pretty good overall brew. As soon as I heard Ballast Point was coming to Ohio, this was the beer from them that I was wanting to try the most, and it hasn't disappointed! $8.99 a bomber, I know I'll be buying this again. (884 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,163 ratings.