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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1,195 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,195
Hads: 5,810
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 980
Gots: 1,654 | FT: 98
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.
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Reviews: 1,195 | Hads: 5,810
Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.49/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of FickleBeast
4.49/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.49/5  rDev +3%
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

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Photo of dwilson01
4.49/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of rangerred
4.49/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of daveg36
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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.

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Photo of CoffeePorter
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

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Photo of Roguer
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of 14erFan
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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

Big thanks to cbeer88 and Gushue3 for hooking me up!

This pours black as night, with a rich, foamy dark tan head of a finger +. Lacing is great and retention is very good. The aroma is intense! Raw coffee beans/black coffee is a huge contributor, along with big vanilla notes and and equally large roasted malt character. There's a slight char on the nose, some small contributions from chocolate and molasses. Tastes more like espresso, big woody vanilla notes, dark chocolate, huge roasted notes, slightly bittersweet to balance out the sweetness. Body is full, creamy and finishes clean, with only a bit of bittersweet linger. No alcohol to note in the aroma or taste, which adds to this already dangerously drinkable brew!

Fantastic. I've bought, traded for, eventually traded and extra'd each one of these that has crossed my path...absolutely wonderful to have finally cracked one for myself!

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Photo of JulioH
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Good beer and not too boozy.

For an Imperial porter, this beer is not so offensive when it comes to alcohol presence. Pours a dark beer. Nice foam. Smells like vanilla and coffee. Little alcohol present on the nose. Taste is pretty good. Not a very bitter beer, lots of vanilla and sweets, coffee is present. I like it because it is not boozy.

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

Near black with a thin finger of a espresso-colored head, but the lacing is obviously great off the bat here.
Smells milky dark chocolate with a rich roasted coffee flavor, nice vanilla hint, malt.
Wow this is a big tasting brew, like the nose but enhanced and ongoing with a dank coffee effect. Pleasant coffee-grinds type of burn, also a licorice aspect for me here (but without resembling strong anise or anything approaching that). Not as sweet as I thought it'd be, but not dry-finishing either. A lively dark beer indeed, not as thick-bodied in appearance as I expected either, although a bit sticky in the mouth. As this sipper warms...roasted coffee, chocolate, cherry-anise, all encapsulated by vanilla. Excellent.

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

Poured from bomber bottle into hf tulip. Ive been sitting/aging this beer for about 9 months or so.
Pours a deep black chocolate with aggressive tan head and sticky lacing. This just looks fantastic. Smell is crazy good coffee and chocolate with slight booze. Taste is sweet chocolate with bitter coffee. There is a slight vanilla finish and nicely bitter.
Wow super easy to drink and full of intense flavors. An amazing brew.

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

Fresh bottle.
-Pours like oil (a good thing)
-Pitch black appearance with chocolate milk head.
-Aroma of coffee, a bit of toast and chocolate, and a lingering presence of vanilla.
-Drinks a pretty full mouth feel with well done carbonation.
-Tastes of coffee, roast chocolate body, and a good hint of vanilla in there to round it out. Almost creamy-like.
One of my go-to American porters.

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

This review is typed up from notes in my notebook. Growler from Greens in Piney Grove.

A - Black with a nice off white head

S - Coffee really stands out. Nice roasted malt with maybe a hint of vanilla.

T - Wow, what a great coffee flavor with hints of vanilla. Really reminds me of something from Starbucks. More sweet than bitter. Really a great coffee beer.

M - Heavy creamy body. Lightly carbonated.

D - Really easy to drink. Awesome coffee beer. Probably the best coffee flavored beer I've had. I really enjoyed this one and will grab it again if I ever see it.

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

Thick dark molasses and motor oil black body with a leather brown rocky head. The nose is very coffee malted with a hint of vanilla. The palate is very rich with a nice blend, in this order, coffee, vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, oak and another kind of creaminess i can't quite pick up on. There's no detection of alcohol whatsoever. Rich thick full-bodied mouth feel with the desirability to devour more.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,195 ratings.