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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

4,075 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,075
Reviews: 953
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 754
Gots: 802 | FT: 63
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,075 | Reviews: 953 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tom10101
4/5  rDev -8.9%

tom10101, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of roblund
4/5  rDev -8.9%

roblund, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of vutoq
4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

vutoq, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of polloenfuego
4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Froma 22 oz bottle to a pint glass.

A: deep dark brown with a thumb sized root beer head. The head breaks down giving way to thick lacing.

S: vanilla is the premier smell, followed by coffee, roasted malts and some caramel.

T: roast and coffee but the the vanilla taste really comes through here. I found this to be almost a little overpowering.

M: good carbonation and a chewyness that was nice. The finish was a bit bitter however.

O: a good porter, though the vanilla did at times seem too strong. I also found that as this beer moved up in temperature it became a little less flavorful and a little boozier.

polloenfuego, Nov 08, 2013
Photo of magictrokini
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with brown edges, and a short, bubbly tan head. Spotty lacing. Fresh-brewed strong coffee aroma with roasted (and slightly burnt) chocolate malt. Some vanilla and cream as well. Big coffee taste. Strong and black, wtih the malt taking just a little off the edge. Creamy middle, with the vanilla and some caramel poking through, giving it a melted milkshake taste. Reverts to a bitter coffee finish. The mouthfeel is deceiving. Its appropriate for the style, but the taste makes you want something a little thicker.

magictrokini, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of BZero007
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles from Vendome in Cali.
No dating is shown on the bottle anywhere.

Pours a very black tar color with a brown chocolate head forming with ease. The aroma is light but strong with sweet dark malt and a hint of vanilla in the background. The flavor has the sweet dark malt in the front showing strong as porter should, with the vanilla pushing it through. Body was a bit heavier then the baltic porters that I am used to. Very tasty brew with no taste of the alcohol at all in the brew.
Very enjoyable may pick up another some time in the future.

BZero007, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of iadler
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger dark mocha head that dissipates into a nice cap. Webs of lacing are left behind.

S- Roasted malt is prominent upfront with coffee beans, dark chocolate, black cherry, vanilla and caramel malt.

T- Dark chocolate covered espresso beans, heavy dose of roasted malt, char, burnt caramel, light cream, and a hint of dark fruit.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a dry roasted finish.

O- While the coffee was quite upfront and robust, I didn't get too much vanilla in the taste. The heavy roast presence got a bit too overwhelming, but certainly a nice offering from Ballast Point and one I would like to try fresh.

iadler, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory At Sea, finally got to buy a bottle at, huh, don't remember? Either Wegman's in Princeton or Oak Tree in South Plainfield, both in New Jersey.

Appearance: Served in my Sierra snifter, Victory At Sea pours thick and creamy, producing an exuberant mocha-colored head that dies soon. Bubbles, a rim around the glass and some of the grandest lacing I've ever seen remain throughout, though.

Smell: Coffee, some bourbon and/or barreled liquor. Lots of vanilla, but sort of a fake vanilla scent, like liquid Mexican vanilla. Not bad but could be better (like Goose Island Bourbon Vanilla- pure vanilla pods). Some wood too.

Taste: More vanilla, again sort of fake but pleasant anyway. Gourmet coffee at the end, and liquid sugar. Some wood and smoke. Nice, but not terribly complex. And that "fake" vanilla buggers me a bit. Nice dry hoppiness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy overall. VERY smooth indeed. Medium-to-full body, full flavor, medium (and very appropriate) carbonation. Dry woodsy finish. Elements of bourbon.

Overall: For a porter, this is superb. If it were an Imperial Stout (which, at 10%, it kind of should), then it might not be so great. Drinkable, smooth, balanced, never boozy. Not terribly interesting but very pleasant. The fake vanilla aroma/taste bothers me a little, but it doesn't hurt this overall good brew. Would love to try on tap and/or cask.

DoubleSimcoe, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 bomber I purchased fresh that year it was released and completely forgot about it until today. Poured into a snifter, it appears dark brown in color with more than a finger of dark tan head. The cap recedes to a thin film across the top. A light swirl brings back a finger of dark khaki head. When held to the light, it shows some dark brown clarity around the edges with some indication of red through the body.

The smell includes everything you would expect based off of the aroma. Coffee, vanilla, roasty grain, chocolate and a bit of a citrus element that comes from a combination of hops and the citrus component of strong coffee. A little bit of mineral inclusion is present as well as a musty grain/coffee and sulfur inclusion towards the back. The more I smell this brew, the more it comes across like cocoa.

The taste of this brew is roasty initially that blends into a flavor of vanilla and coffee. The coffee is lightly musty and contains a bit of a citrus element. The roast is bitter and produces some unsweetened chocolate flavors. There is a bit of a mineral element present that blends into the citrus element of the hops and coffee. Each flavor is individually identifiable but collective comes together to make a fairly good brew.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The 10% abv is felt with both flavor and warmth but it blends nicely with the character displayed throughout. Overall not a bad brew, this is something I wouldn't mind revisiting immediately after it's release to see how that coffee is while it is fresh.

stakem, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of Onenote81
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to steve8robin for this bottle recently!

Poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a very dark black with a thin tan head on top. Spotty lace rings stick to the glass. The nose is full of ground coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, cream, chocolate. Coffee is the obvious main-player here.

The mouth is full and creamy. Alcohol definitely smooths this one out. The coffee comes through in the flavor with a punch. Nice dark roasted bitterness to start things off. But the vanilla commands a presence as well. Plenty of creamy sweetness to balance this one out well. Sweet finish with a melding of alcohol, vanilla, and milk chocolate. I've had this one on my wants for quite some time, so I'm glad to finally knock this one off. Excellent Porter.

Onenote81, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of July2Nov
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a very dark brown (almost black) color with an ever so slight glimmer of light around the edges (ruby like in color). Had a nice two-finger, creamy head on it that soon went down to a half-finger.

Smell: Very coffee like with a big amount of chocolate and a tad bit of vanilla. Also has a syrupy hint. This smells very intoxicating.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Very robust! Big on flavor! Everything mentioned in the smell category is doubled - tripled in taste. Begins with a smooth, chalky coco/vanilla taste, then milds down with the syrup flavor...ends with mild to stronger bit of alcohol bite. The aftertaste is pure coffee.

Drinkabilty: For a 10.00% abv this is drinkable, but not to the point of having another one. Very good American Porter by a respectable brewing team. Ballast Point always tends to put out quality brews and for that, I salute you, Captain.

July2Nov, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Floydster
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glass at O'Briens in San Diego a few weeks back, also tasted at the Alesmith release courtesy of Dr. Bill and once before at the Stone Bistro, so this is the third time I have tasted this brew on tap, reviewed from notes on two occasions

A-Black as it can possibly be, cannot see through it a bit, 3/4 inch mocha colored head that stuck around for two to three minutes, decent retention, nice lacing

S-Coffee and I mean tons of it, probably the strongest espresso aroma I have smelled in a beer, roasted malt, dark chocolate, some vanilla, caramel, toffee, and burned accents

T-Starts off with a big dry coffe taste, then some vanilla and chewy roasted malt in the middle, finish is very dry and slightly sweet from some chocolate accents, later on this one started to taste like a White Russian with milk, sweet cream, and a big Kahlua flavor like some of the other reviews mentioned, it was not overly sweeet but rather toasty, very well balanced and even though the coffee was strong, it did not seem overpowering, chocolate and caramel came out more in the flavor towards the end, very enjoyable from start to finish

M-Dry and roasted mouthfeel, good level of carbonation, maybe too much carbonation, taste lingered for quite some time, coffee provides unparalleled dry and crisp sensation

D-Could not drink much more than a pint of this stuff, its ABV is high and the alcohol is not fully hidden, smooth for the most part but strong, not too heavy on the stomach but coffee can be tiresome

Did not like it as much as the syrah barrel version I tasted at the anniversary party but it was still very good, one of the better coffee porters out there mainly because of its balance in flavor, would definitely drink more in the future, certainly recommended

Floydster, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of KevinBrewer
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep brown around the edges, bordering on black in the center. Tall tan head that dissipates to a small covering, leaving patchy lacing in its wake.

N- Earthy, mildly roasty coffee tones dominate the nose with soft milk chocolate malt underneath. Vanilla is about equal with the coffee, and the bean characters of both ingredients blend really well here. Also has an unexpected "Fruity Pebbles" character as it warms. Alcoholic fumes are noticeable but not distracting.

T- Lots of vanilla bean goodness on the palate. Soft roasted coffee blends nicely with roasty, chocolatey malt. As the beer warms, there's an odd fruity character which I've never noticed before. Firm leafy, tannic bitterness with an alcoholic kick that becomes a bit biting. This is definitely the hottest batch I've had. Long bitter, roasty finish with some lingering vanilla and a pleasant peppery alcohol to warm the soul on a cold California night.

M- Medium-light body, slightly slick, moderate carbonation, with a long, bitter, dry, tannic finish.

O- A nice treat for the winter season. I like the dry complexity of this brew. The high level of tannins from the coffee and roasted malt work beautifully with the vanilla. I imagine the barrel-aged version of this beer would be ridiculous.

KevinBrewer, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of Lunch
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle acquired in a trade with volatilesther (Thanks!) into my Brooklyn Brewery snifter at cellar temperature (02/13/10).

A: Pours very dark shade of brown, nearing black with a one finger cap of an espresso colored head that has some retention and leaves bits of thick lace.

S: The smell is dominated by coffee and vanilla, as one would expect, along with notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and bitter dark chocolate.

T: As with the smell, the flavor profile is made up of primarily coffee and vanilla. Rather fresh tasting with layers of bitter, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Perhaps just a hint of alcohol comes into play as well.

M: Medium-bodied with a with a low-moderate carbonation and some creaminess.

D: Quite drinkable and very flavorful with the 10% abv. hidden extremely well.

Overall this a great take on the Imperial Coffee Porter and another solid offering from Ballast Point. Thanks again Esther! Recommended.

Lunch, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a complete black. Very nice brown head and it amazingly thickens up and stays with the brew considering its at 10% abv.

The smell is of fresh ground coffee, chocolate, and slight vanilla.

I cant pick any vanilla up in the taste. The taste is mostly of coffee and to me it overpowers the aftertaste just a tad.

The mouthfeel is very thick so this isnt a beer you could drink a lot of, and at 10% thats not always a bad thing.

A great beer overall but personally not my favorite. Worth trying for sure though.

Eriktheipaman, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served from Bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pour a nice thick head that dissipates into a nice cap that remains through tasting.

Smell: This is where I pick up most of the character of this beer. Vanilla and Coffee are first to meet the senses, with a slight hint of booze. Chocolate comes in as well, but only to a minimum.

Taste: Somewhat looses it here. Noticed a majority of the vanilla in the mid palate, with a coffee finish, but neither to an extreme. Was expecting more of a wow factor here, but both flavors match each other nicely. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body feel to it, with appropriate carbonation. The only problem comes in as the glass warms, you get a definite sense of the 10%. Was expecting a little smoother warmth from Ballast Point.

Overall: A good imperial porter, but for the money, I was expecting a little more wow factor. This is one that I will definitely recommend, and it is a good effort, but I think that it could have come across a little more aggressively on some of the flavors.Still though, another very good beer by Ballast Point

bhyndthebottle, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of snpub540
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours such a dark brown that its almost black. Light brown head that leaves the slightest amount of lacing but I didn't expect much.

Aroma is of coffee and the slightest hint of vanilla or oak.

Taste is definitely reminiscent of a light RIS. Coffee and roasted flavors make up the bulk of the flavor. Alcohol fruitiness is definitely in the finish.

Mouthfeel is spot of for a porter. Smooth and silky with the flavor of a stout. This is for sure the biggest porter I have ever drank.

snpub540, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into snifter. Tasting notes from 45 degrees and up.

Pours pitch black, almost no brown showing through anywhere other than the very edges, a nice , dense one-finger light-brown head. Nice stickage, impressive lacing. After the head disappears, a few swirls are all that's needed to resurrect it.

Nose is big on espresso; robust, rich, and full, with an underlying vanilla/smooth dark chocolate sweetness. Not a bit of acidity. Wow, really nice.

Taste is pretty unique. It pretty much throws everything at you right from the beginning - big roasty espresso, loads of vanilla, and some dark, dark chocolate underneath. There's definitely a dichotomy hear between the fairly sharp, roasty bitterness and the big sweet vanilla note, with the vanilla pulling ahead around mid-palate and the espresso roaring back to dominate the long, dry, moderately bitter roasty finish. Bit boozey.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied, with a crisp but reserved carbonation.

Drinkability is ok. This is definitely an "extreme" beer, in that all the flavor notes are really huge and kind of battle it out for dominance instead of syncing up and trying to work with each other. A hair less vanilla and a bit less on the bitterness scale and this one would work quite a bit better. As it is now, it's a nice beer, but it really takes no prisoners.

JohnQVegas, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. no date found. poured into tulip. tasted in mid/late april 2009

opaque black, with some red-brown tints under the light or when tilting glass. light brown, 1.5-finger head, slowly recedes to wispy layer and ring. multiple, though sometimes thin, rings of lace.

aroma: lots of vanilla and coffee, with cocoa hint, caramel and lightly roasted malts give faint earthy note underneath, along with hint of hops. a bit simple, but bold and fragrant.

taste: bold coffee and roast, with vanilla to back up the caramel, though it can be slightly over-assertive. bitterness is almost quite bold. acidic coffee flash before bitter coffee finish, with more vanilla tones.

medium body, ever so slightly thin, with syrupy smoothness at first, then lots of acidity and some astringent texture. moderate carbonation gives tingle upfront, then back off to help give body.

tai4ji2x, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of nickfl
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of medium tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - Coffee, chocolate, dark sugar, and some vaguely spicy notes of pepper and chicory.

T - Sweet malt and dark sugar up front with notes of caramel, nutty toffee, and dark bread. Smoky coffee and chocolate in the middle with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla really comes out in the finish with more smoky coffee and spicy notes of clove and cinnamon.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Thick and sweet, there is a lot going on here. The vanilla works well with the dark sugar and coffee flavors though it becomes a bit excessive in the finish. The finish is a bit too sweet for my taste and that, combined with the vanilla, puts it in the same category as Southern Tier's sweet stouts; it is a dessert beer and works well for one glass, but finishing a full bottle is a bit of a challenge.

nickfl, May 21, 2012
Photo of whatthehull
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tulip

A - deep brown/ black, one finger very tan head and some nice sticky lacing

S - Coffee, vanilla, hop, wood, chocolate and tons of roastiness

T - tons of vanilla up front, tons of coffee, chocolate, very roasty, tons of malts, earth, wood, a funk (maybe yeast?), a big hop note and just tons of coffee. It even has the coffee acidity!

M - medium plus body, lots of acidity, not much complexity, not very balanced and a very long finish

D/O - this is a big beer and tons of coffee, if you don't like coffe this one, you will not be a fan of! Very enjoyable, love the flavor profiles and fun to drink from cold to room temp. Not refreshing at all, just a fun enjoyable imperial beer

Final thought - I really like ballast point and I have yet to try this beer, not a big porter fan, but this one is nice. $8 a pop and 10% is nice. Hope it ages well

whatthehull, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of doldham
4.04/5  rDev -8%

doldham, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of DeanPoudrier
4.04/5  rDev -8%

DeanPoudrier, Nov 08, 2014
Photo of MaximalC
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours seal brown with the barest of ruby highlights, topped by a modest head of mocha foam that settles shortly into a thin veil. A persistent sheet of lacing clings to the glass as the beer descends. The aroma features HUGE roasted coffee notes with traces of dark chocolate and vanilla. The flavor matches the nose, with a massive kick of roasted coffee that lingers indefinitely. This is not the watered down coffee adjunct that so commonly passes for "coffee flavor" in beer--this is the real deal. There's also a noticeable alcoholic burn on the front end, which is unorthodox but not shocking considering the ABV, though it's tolerable for the style. Some dark chocolate can be found lurking beneath the charred, roasted foreground, but vanilla doesn't feature as prominently as the label would suggest. A slightly peppery hop bite accentuates the bitterness of the roasted malt on the back end. I can't wait for this to warm up and really see what it can do*. The body is medium and complements the flavor profile well, while the carbonation is appropriately modest.

This is not an especially nuanced brew, but if you're looking for something bold with an authentic, deluxe coffee character, you've come to the right place.

*Warming does indeed reveal some subtle dark fruit that was close to invisible at cooler temperatures.

MaximalC, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of Bradaplast
4.04/5  rDev -8%

Bradaplast, Aug 23, 2014
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 4,075 ratings.