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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,342 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,342
Ratings:
6,518
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,072
Gots:
2,069
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: 1,342 | Ratings: 6,518
Photo of willjschmidt
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours jet black with a dark tan head.

S: Coffee, roasted malt, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Dark roasted malt with a very strong coffee flavor. The vanilla notes are extremely subtle, if it wasn't on the bottle, I probably wouldn't have picked it out. It's very smooth and the flavors meld together very well. A bit of a bite from the alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and very delicious. Doesn't drink like a 10% beer at all. One of the better coffee beers I've had.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a solid black color, somewhat glossy, with a dark tan film with some lacing at the edges.

Smell: Deep roasted malt aroma - a little nutty - with some coffee hints coming in after a bit. There's some sweetness, but it is my no means strong.

Taste: Tons of roasted malt up-front. But it, and the coffee and hazelnut flavors that come in, get balanced out by a nice taste of vanilla underneath. There's definitely some alcohol warmness in the finish and aftertaste, but no actual flavor of it. The flavors are all nicely balanced, so nothing takes over.

Mouthfeel: Quite smooth, but with a bit of alcohol burn at the finish. Medium- to heavy-bodied with very mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Not unusual for this high ABV you do feel the alcohol a bit and feel a bit of burn, but the flavor and everything makes it perfect for drinking slowly (though attentively), so it works great.

An excellent limited release from Ballast Point! Strong, for sure, but really great tasting!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, almost black, with a nice thick rocky tan head. Nice lace and retention.

Big coffee nose, with good hints of vanilla, but not overdone in this factor. Dark roasted malt, some dark chocolate round this out. A whiff of booze.

Nice balance between the roasted malt, carbonized bits, and coffee. There is some sweetness in here to bring some balance, but is not fruit. Vanilla extract (as there is an alcohol note), some wood, charred bits, bitterness, and a long coffee finish. Wonderfully complex.

Fuller bodied, appropriate carbonation.

Liked this a lot. Glad I found it. Nice complex porter.

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Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tasting glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a thin layer but leaves lots of splattered lace. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Nice coffee/espresso flavors with chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. It is balanced out by grassy hops.

Taste: Lots of coffee and espresso again. Then the caramel and chocolate roll in. Followed by a nice amount of vanilla. Lots of roasted flavors with some grassy hops and a hint of citrus to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a little rich. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted, but relatively clean.

Overall, a very solid beer. I really enjoyed this porter. A big beer and none of the 10% abv showed. Very drinkable for how big it is.

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Photo of Shallow_Gravy
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to BT whiskey snifter

A- Pours opaque black. When held up to light it'd got the slightest hint of cola red color. Nice 1 finger kakhi head sits on top. Some spotty lacing.

S - Good God. Huge coffee, slight vanilla, roasted malt. Can't get over just how much coffee there is. Could use some more vanilla, but that's a small gripe.

T - Starts smooth with vanilla and slightly woody notes, and then the coffee comes in mid-palate. Coffee and vanilla on the finish. Very delicious.

M - Creamy, with enough carbonation to leave the mouth coated. A bit thin, but again a small gripe. Makes it that much more drinkable.

O - Damn fine beer. A coffee beer if I've ever had one. I could drink this all day.

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Photo of Beersmuggler
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This Porter by ballast point is unreal. The vanilla is not overpowering but rather has a really good balance. If you are in California definitely give this a try if you like porters.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Top Hops in New York, having never had this before. I like Porters and have been on a Ballast Point kick as of late in addition to that. Hoped that this would be another winner and sure enough, it was. While not a light beer, the range of flavors and ease of enjoyment of this was a winning combination and as this warmed up, the smoothness of this became much more impressive to me!

Loved the pour to this, as the dark coffee hue had just a hint of garnet around the edges to it to let a hint of light through. Easily the best head I've ever seen on a Porter as the massive, tan foam quickly filled up the remainder of my pint glass and did its best impression of a loaf of bread that a beer could do. Tall and yeasty, the bubbles in it were massive and as they rose to the surface, it left and impression both on the side of my pint glass and on me. The lacing that was left over was extensive and solid as this beer settled into it's liquid state. Nice coffee and bitter chocolate aroma to this, reinforced by a massive vanilla extract presence, with an espresso base underneath that. Thin, carbonated, and strong, this beer packed a punch both in the range of flavors it had and the booze that tied everything together. Certainly bitter, there were hints of cherry, current,and licorice in here as well and for all of the complexity present, I was amazed how well this went down!

Weak, this was not but when you're celebrating a "victory at sea", weak won't cut it. The bread in this beer's head was repeated in the aftertaste as hints of pumpernickel could be found after the liquid went down, owing to the strength of this beer's body and subtle spice. Porters don't come around like this that often so if you can find it, get it. It's not for the faint of heart but there's enough out there that is and who are you kidding - you know you want to find something this well-crafted and savor every last drop of it. On par with the Sculpin IPA's, Ballast Point has a winner here that deserves the lofty rating it has received here on Beeradvocate.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to GallowsThief for the trade!

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Maudite snifter

Pours a black color with 2 fingers of a mocha colored head.

The nose is sweet and malty. Chocolate, molasses, and vanilla stand out the most here. A bit of coffee lingers behind the rich cocoa and vanilla beans. It smells like a damn fine dessert, waiting for me to devour. Roasty beast for sure. The taste is much the same as the nose but a bit stronger. The chocolate stands out the most and is followed by vanilla and a bit of coffee that wasnt so easily discovered in the nose. A nice mixture of the flavors that play off each other quite nicely. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and beastly to say the least. A nice smooth oily liquid feels great on my palate and I cant put down my glass. Overall, this is a great brew here that creates pretty good balance throughout and has a bad-ass flavor profile. Boom!

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep black with one full finger of dark khaki colored head. The foam settles fairly quickly, leaving a frothy ring of bubbles along the edges of the glass. Minimum lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roast, and burnt toast. I'm not picking up a ton of vanilla in the nose, but this beer smells delicious.

T: It starts off sweet and smooth with milk chocolate and vanilla flavors. The bitter roast and toast start to really come through in the middle. It mixes with coffee flavors and finishes pretty bitter. It's like dark chocolate, burnt toast, and coffee grinds in the back end.

M: Full bodied beer. Smooth, and coating to start, almost milky. The flavors envelop the palate but transition nicely without much cloying. Smooth to finish with lingering bitters on the back end.

O: Really great beer. One of my go-to porters/stouts when I am in the mood. Can't believe it took me this long to write a review. Delicious. I will definitely be drinking this again.

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Photo of Getalegup
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Quite good. Definite coffee flavor and smell, some vanilla flavor, mild carbonation, it might improve with 1-3 months cellaring to blend it a bit.
Glad to be able to buy this in my ditro. This will set the bar for a solid barrel aged stout with vanilla.

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Photo of benjamminjones24
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as night. Light lacing around the edges of the glass.
The smell, oh my....roasted coffee aroma right away. hints of vanilla & chocolate. Smells delicious
Taste follows the nose. Get lots of coffee and chocolate. Decadent.
Feel is a little thin for me, would like it to have a heavier mouthfeel.
Great beer that is def. worth a go!

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Photo of THECPJ
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes 1/12/2011

A: vanilla is predominant, coffee, a hint of white chocolate

Ap: black with a 2 finger mocha colored head, very frothy, extreme lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, very smooth, medium body, slightly heavy

Af: chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, very sweet

O: makes an excellent after dinner beer, a perfect nightcap

Cheers!
The CPJ

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Photo of hosehead83
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Opaque black in color with a thick cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark roast coffee, subtle vanilla note;
Taste-Black patent malt, roasted coffee, vanilla ice cream, tobacco, black coffee/charred meat finish. Well-balanced, full of character, and very flavorfull. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Notacraftdrinker
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look- jet black nice thick tall brown head
Smell- more vanilla with suddle coffee and almost truffle notes
Taste- great coffee bitterness with a sweet slight vanilla finish
Feel- thick and creamy. Full body brew
Overall- very very well balanced. Taste more coffee than you smell. Nice warming alcohol on the finish. A must try porter

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Photo of ksimons
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-a very dark brown with maybe just a hint of a ruby highlight, but not much. Two fingers worth of a tan head

S-Very sweet smelling at first, but then gives way to the roasted malt, coffee, and a light vanilla.

T-Similar to the nose with roasted malts, roasted black coffee, chocolate, but then finishes with a vanilla milkshake like taste. A light hops presence helps balance things out. Alcohol is well hidden.

M-full body, light to medium carbonation, a dry smooth finish

Overall I like this one a lot. Great smell with the vanilla, nice complex taste, and a good mouthfeel. So good!

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Photo of Slack
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black, opaque, and a small light brown head. Significant lacing.

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee accented by bittersweet dark chocolate. No vanilla discernible.

Roast coffee and chocolate up front with vanilla and some oak in the middle.

Mouthful is medium and smooth with low carbonation. Finish is a little bitter but dry.

This is a big coffee porter. Aroma is there. Taste is there. The minor criticism is the somewhat bitter finish but don’t let that dissuade you. Give it a try.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and black into my Founders snifter. A small, 1 finger head forms with the pour and retains well, dwindling down to a moderately thin film on the top. Lacing is tremendous as expected. Looks like a big stout in the glass.

S- Lots of dark, dark coffee here. Coffee is strong and slightly bitter on the nose. Sweet notes of the vanilla are also present, but definitely secondary to the coffee. Also maybe a hint of dark chocolate in there.

T- Wow. Dark, bitter coffee right off the bat. Probably the strongest coffee flavor I've had, whether in a beer or cup of joe. Coffee is dominant and bitter throughout, drowning out most to all of the sweeter vanilla flavor. As it warms, the coffee become more balanced with the dark malts. Ends with a coffee bitterness bite and aftertaste.

M- Thick and smooth going down. No detectable alcohol. Kinda heavy across the palate. Sits heavy in the stomach. Definitely a sipping beer.

Overall, this is a coffee bomb. A very good beer, but I find the coffee to be a little overpowering. Between the alcohol and heavy flavor profile, sipping is a must for this beer. Not as good as I had hoped, but still a very good beer.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Poured near-black with a light brown head that left decent lacing on the glass. Aromas were of bold coffee, roasted grains, vanilla, chocolate, and maybe some oak. Mouth-feel was medium bodied. Tastes were bold up-front coffee and roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate and vanilla. Also some hints of fruity esters - maybe some ripe dark fruits, although fairly faint. Alcohol was present, but balanced well with the flavors. Finished sweet with a lingering of sweet cocoa and espresso. Basically, this was a good interpretation of going with something different and thinking outside of the box. Worth the try if you can find it.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light chestnut in color with a rocky head that reaches one-quarter inch before dissipating to form rings of lace in a Dogfish Head snifter. SRM 31-34 with dark brown highlights and a viscous film.

Strong, sweet espresso with vanilla is no surprise here. Deep roasted malt with pumpernickel and Jewish rye is also present. Warming accentuates the vanilla and adds a light baker’s chocolate note. Some wood ash is also discernible. The aroma from this glass fills the room.

Luscious with a mix of sweet and bitterness. Espresso bitterness wins hands down while smoked peat and burnt molasses are also present. Very dark chocolate lingers throughout middle to finish.

The body is fuller than expected of a Porter, with silky smoothness and alcohol as anticipated.

This beer fits squarely within the expectations one would have for a sipping or contemplative beer.

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Photo of JohnCassillo
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into pint glass

A: Almost black and completely opaque with zero head whatsoever. This is what a porter should look like.

S: The coffee and vanilla notes are immediate and pungent, with an underlying bit of chocolate as well.

T: Dark chocolate appears at both the front and back end of each sip, taking on different characteristics in each instance. First is sweet, the second almost comes off bitter (in a good way). Vanilla and coffee are top of mind at all times.

M: Warm, crisp and thick. It's got a decent amount of carbonation and ends up quite filling.

O: If you're looking for a quality porter with a boatload of flavor depth, this is your choice. Wouldn't call it a "dessert beer" necessarily, but a much easier drink post-dinner.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a midnight black with a one finger foamy tan head. The head recedes quickly leaving tons of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma of strong black coffee and

T - The flavor follows the aroma. Strong black coffee throughout with roasted malts. The vanilla appears very faintly in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Smooth creamy mouthfeel. Sticky dry finish.

O - This is an awesome coffee Porter. The ABV is well hidden and not noticeable. A definite winner.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night with a thick coffee colored head - good retention.

Smells heavy of chocolate, coffee, vanilla and roasted malt.

Taste is big coffee espresso notes up front followed by bitter dark chocolate and rounded by some sweet vanilla notes. There is also some bitter burnt malt flavor to keep the sweetness at bay as dark fruits (rum, fig, and raisin) come through. Big flavor from a big beer - definitely a slow sipper.

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Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date

Look - Pour pitch black with a frothy cappuccino colored head. Decent retention, okay bubble distribution. 4 paws.

Smell - Great nose full of chocolate and coffee aromas. The vanilla blends well to create a milk chocolate scent. Hints of bell pepper and chili pepper. Very nice. 4.75 paws.

Taste - Bitter coffee flavors up front. The vanilla is a bit hidden, but lingers after the finish. Bell pepper, bitter hops, creamy cappuccino, bit of smoke. Alcohol is well hidden. 4.25 paws.

Feel - Medium-full bodied, a bit creamy. Low-medium carbonation, tingle on sides of tongue, sting from alcohol. 4.5 paws.

Overall - Had many times before, always a lovely beer. I wish the taste was as pronounced as the nose, the more nuanced flavors are covered a bit by the bitterness, but still, a great beer. 4.5 paws.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Victory At Sea (Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter version)

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. The darkest of browns with a light brown head. No peering through this beer, its about as dark as night. Attractive lacing that looks very ornate.

Aroma of coffee and faint vanilla sweetness.

Vanilla up front which gives way to a lingering coffee flavor. This beer also has some chocolate notes. Very decadant and full flavors. The aftertaste of coffee, cocoa and vanilla is truly remarkable. There are even some hints of oak in this beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied with a lingering coffee/bitter chocolate finish. A little syrupy in nature.

Drinkability requires some respect for this sipper. It wasn't hot with alcohol at all. Overall, this beer is just great.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black body, big lasting mocha head with carbonation that looks like it's a nitro. Sheets of lace, cool.

S: Vanilla and caramel malt. Coffee lingers.

T: Great balance between coffee, vanilla (both real, not artificial, nice), toasted malt that comes through with coffee and a little nuttiness. Surprised to find the vanilla and coffee play so nicely together. Not much coffee acidity, which is appreciated. Perfect sweetness for me, so probably a little much for most people. No alcohol.

M: Love that fluffy head. The body is a little thin for a porter (read: medium).

O: This needs a much more arrogant label for such a wonderful brew. The coffee and vanilla are up front and don't require 'searching' for them, but there are still beer-y things happening. The persistence of this head is right up there with the best IPA's. Such a great, warming, tasty beer that is dangerously drinkable (and affordable- HOT DAMN!).

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,342 ratings.