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

1,160 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,160
Hads: 5,639
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 948
Gots: 1,578 | 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: 1,160 | Hads: 5,639
Photo of WTFWLD
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Had it on tap at The Fridge, Lancaster PA. Top note is full of vanilla and coffee aromas. Full bodied and creamy with moderate carbonation. Goes down smoothly with a relatively significant bitterness at the end, but not so much as to detract from the overall enjoyable drinking experience. Not a Black Note Stout but a fine alternative. A desert beer to be slowly savored alone or in the company of close friends. (413 characters)

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

Poured from a bomber into my Founders snifter. Split the bottle with my old man during the Homerun Derby.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a wonderful bubble dark brown head. Leaves some wonderful sheet lace behind with some bubbles trying to to keep the head afloat.

S: Big dark coffee beans. Roasted to the point where it's almost slighty burnt and bitter, but in a good way. Some slight dark chocolate notes are present as well.

T: Big coffee right up front. That same REALLY toasted flavor is even more present, but after the initial assault on the taste buds it makes way for some light sweet chocolate and vanilla. I'm also picking up a burnt sugar/caramel flavoring as well.

M: Medium to heavy bodied, almost chewy in nature. Leaves a great roasted coffee bean flavor with a mild sweetness on the tongue. Leaves an oily feeling on the palate which is highly enjoyable as it allows the taste to linger LONG after I've swallowed this black gold.

O: I'm becoming more and more a fan of brews with heavy coffee flavorings and this might be one of favorites. It's not as balanced as others I've had, but it's still a wonderfully crafted brew and I would LOVE to try this on draft. (1,200 characters)

Photo of Retail1LO
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a CBS snifter. Let me start by saying I generally despise porters. Ok....GO!

This pours the darkest brown imaginable with a three finger espresso shaded crown that is simply beautiful. The head fades fairly quickly with minimal lacing. The nose is just fucking brilliant. It's all the coffee and vanilla it claims to be, with a nice rich roastiness and lush, sweet vanilla galore. The taste reinforces the nose. This is no fraud. What you smell is what you get. The coffee is perfect. It has a nice roastiness to it, but doesn't come across as burnt. The vanilla is subtle but present, making this a near perfect experience on the palate. The mouthfeel is glorious. Typically porters are entirely too thin and carbonated for my liking. This is thick, lush, and rich on the tongue with an aftertaste that isn't acrid like many coffee beers. Overall, this is a world championship caliber beer. I want. Lots. (932 characters)

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

I socked away a number of these bottles since the release, and decided today was a good day to try one. As I discovered, this beer benefits as much from age as any I've ever had before.

Pours pitch black as night. Lacing and head retention are good. Leaves little wisps of light brown lacing all over the inside of my glass, similar to many world-class stouts. Smells like a bar of really expensive melted dark chocolate.

Tastes like a harmonious infusion of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate. When I first tried this beer back at release I knew the flavors were unbalanced, it was way heavy on the vanilla. That's when I decided this could be a monster with some age, and I hit the lottery with this beer. The vanilla is still the strongest flavor in this beer, but it has settled considerably and works with the coffee and the chocolate notes from the malt to produce a taste that coats your mouth in liquid sex.

Carbonation is dialed in just right, with the complexity level in this brew it might be a wee smidge heavy on the mouthbubbles, but personally I'd rather have more carbonation than less. Outstanding drinkability, this is an incredible beer. I hope to age my remaining bottles another 3-6 months and see what happens to this beer with even more time. (1,264 characters)

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

Toronado in SD
too much beer is good for me

Drinking, horseshoes, in the back
man this stuffs like liquid crack!

Deepest black with mocha foam
smells like yoohoo, and a scone!

Taste is chocolate milky delight
If this was around I'd drink it every night!

Mouthfeel is perfect, drinkability too
come and get your YOOHOO! (322 characters)

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

pours thick and dark. no head. very little clings to the sides. 2nd pour of the bomber resulted in some beautiful dark brown chocolatey foam....
smells like roasted espresso, roasted malt. some vanilla.
taste is closely the same. some bitterness and taste of alcohol. very well balanced, regardless. very nice. very good for 10% entering the system.
overall, very good. sweet and filling. bitter, yet tasty. very substantial across the board. (442 characters)

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

poured at Homebrew mart.

into a 4 oz taster glass, so minimal head but do to glass size not beer. there was a nice dense dark brown head the stayed around for awhile.

the nose is smooth medium bodied coffee followed by an even smoother vanilla trail through the nose.

the taste is the same... in the fron you get a nice medium roast coffee hit followed my a nice slightly heavier roasted malt character. then finishes with a light creamy vanilla across the palate!

the only thing i wish this beer had was a slightly thicker mouthfeel. other then that this is one of my favorite beers made in SD! (599 characters)

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

Pour - dark as 4pm in Iceland in January. This is jet black with an oily, thick head of tan. A potent looking little beauty.

Aroma - a wave of fresh dark roasted coffee hits the senses a good foot or so from the glass. This is followed by vanilla beans, coffee ice cream, cocoa and bitter dark chocolate. Its all coming back to me! What an intensely aromatic brew.

Taste - one sip and I am transported back to that first time I tasted this beer and made an entire table of friends try it. It was that good. Super smooth vanilla and chocolate soft serve mixed with real chocolate milk and super dark roasted coffee should give an idea of some of the flavors that this beer imparts. However, it truly is a beer that you'd need to drink yourself to truly appreciate. The texture, or mouthfeel, is almost creamy and the vanilla and coffee flavors are absolutely incredible. 10% abv is merely a stat as its hidden so deeply in the layers of flavors. I love this beer.

Overall - an amazing offering from Ballast Point. This is the type of strong beer that I could sip slowly and enjoy for hours (although that never seems to happen). This beer delivers exactly what it promises and if you've heard any hype it lives up to that as well.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely positively. (1,289 characters)

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

This beer does everything well. black with a resilient tan head. Lacing all up and down the glass. Aromas of chocolate and coffee. Vanilla comes into play with the flavor along with the coffee and chocolate notes. Terrific mouthfeel, rich and full bodied. Alcohol is well hidden. Very drinkable, complex flavors. Worth the price tag. I will definitely pick this up whenever possible. (383 characters)

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

Pours a dark, dark black with a 3/4" tan head. Smells of dark roast coffee and a little bit of sweet vanilla. Taste is heavy on the bitter coffee with a bit of smooth vanilla, round sweetness, and just a smooth, smooth enveloping finish. The coffee may be the best I've ever had in a beer - most coffee in beers have an oxidized metalic taste like it's been on the warmer in the break room too long. Not here, this is smooth velvety coffee and a round long, though quite bitter flavor, but with a little bit of a fizzy carbonation that accentuates the bitterness on the very back of the outside of the tongue and a little round vanilla/chocolate smoothness. The carbonation and medium, slightly viscous feel is perfect for the beer. This is the best porter?!?! I've ever had. I don't know if I'd really call it a porter due to the heavier mouthfeel and coffee - it's kinda stoutlike. Whatever it is it's a supreem beer and one that I'll be seeking more of. (956 characters)

Photo of dukedevil0
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a recent trade from cpferris, thanks man!

A: Pours a dark pitch black with a finger of mocha colored head that laces a little bit on the way down as it settles down to a light film on the top and a rim around the edge.

S: Smells delicious - roasted malts, dark coffee, chocolate, vanilla, latte like

T: Just like the scent - starts off with mainly roasted malts, then transitions into coffee, vanilla, chocolatey type flavors and finishes with a black coffee like bitterness

M: Super creamy almost imperial stout thickness, but just below that. It's a really nice smooth finish with

D: Pretty highly drinkable, really the only thing that takes it down for me is the bitterness of the dark coffee in the finish and it's a little too roasty at some points. There isn't really any alcohol flavor and overall it's very tasty.

I'm not really a porter guy from the ones I've had in the past, but this one is just a great beer and I would love to get my hands on some more. (985 characters)

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

Pours a pitch black with a medium brownish tan head that goes down slowly. Scent is very nice with a good amount of vanilla and coffee. Some roasty aromas with a bit of chocolate. Taste is WOW! They weren't kidding when they put VANILLA in the name of this beer. I get vanilla right up front that lingers throughout the whole taste. Nice blend of coffee and chocolate with the vanilla, along with a hint of dark licorice. The alcohol is well hidden, but it pops up to say hi sometimes. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick, but not syrupy. Drinkability is high. Outstanding porter! Bravo Ballast Point! (595 characters)

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

$8.33 bomber fro Liquor Outlet, Boonton.

Blackest body as can be, with a sliver of ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass. Big billowing dark tan foam. Very good inviting lacing.

Big alluring coffee aroma, with vanilla and hints of chocolate.

Rich roast coffee, deep chocolate, with a vanilla splash at the swallow. Earthy hops provide a tasty background.

Rich full mouthfeel coats the tongue, then the whole mouth.

Great overall package, rich, smooth, deep, with the alcohol completely buried.

Extremely recommended. Enjoy. (534 characters)

Photo of spacebear09
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Appearance- As dark as the depths of the briny sea... yargggggg. A tan head with good retention sits atop this beer.

Smell- Espresso and chocolate

Taste- Dark chocolate, java, vanilla, tobacco spiciness, caramel. This stuff has some outrageously roasty malt notes going on.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation. At one point I could have sworn I felt some grittiness from coffee grinds in there...

Overall- Very good. Not as much sweetness as I was expecting given some of the other reviews. I usually don't like porters as much as stouts, but this is a quality buy at $10 a bomber. (608 characters)

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

Poured into my large tulip. Not quite black, but extremely dark brown. A few hints of highlight around the edges. Gorgeous two fingers of cappuccino foam head. Lace is almost a solid sheet.

Smells like roasted coffee and vanilla with light notes of chocolate. A little bit of roasted barley. Not a whiff of booze, which is hard to believe at 10% ABV.

Tastes like coffee. I should have cracked this one at about 7AM and enjoyed it with some eggs benedict. There is definitely a lot of vanilla, and some sweet brown sugar. The roasted malts serve as a nice backbone, and really say that this is a porter. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy and way closer to a stout or even an imperial stout than a porter. The ABV is well masked. There is a slight dryness at the end.

Overall, this must be the 7th or 8th one I have had this year. I cracked it because there have been some posts saying that the flavors are fading. I have to say they have a bit, but not to the point that I had to drink it before it turned into Black Butte. I can't wait for the next release to compare this to what I remember, and I might even age one for a year or more. (1,158 characters)

Photo of bulletrain76
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Black with a medium tan head that leaves moderate foam and a touch of lace. Not inky though with some mahogany around the edges, which I guess is an argument for it being a porter (whatever that means). The aroma is great, with lots of coffee and maybe even more vanilla; almost like a mocha with a shot of vanilla syrup. I'm having Starbucks flashbacks, and I like it. Plenty of milk chocolate as well, and the vanilla aids in the impression of an immense sweetness. Did I already mention the vanilla? I got more coffee at first, but the vanilla is really coming out over time. Forty-five minutes in the glass, and this begins to resemble vanilla extract. I love that stuff. The flavor is sweet, but not thick or sticky (wait, that's a mouthfeel). Coffee, poser dark chocolate, and lots of vanilla. Fresh coffee, which is always a nice touch. Just enough bitterness to balance the sweet, and no astringency or discomfort. Medium-full body with carbonation that falls somewhere between medium and low. Just a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish, but very integrated and smooth for a ten percent beer. Leans more heavily on the coffee, and especially the vanilla, than I was expecting, but this is fantastic stuff. A true dessert drink, (or morning depending on how you roll, and I do have a slight caffein buzz) but one that is not overly sweet or thick. I could drink a fair bit of this, with alcohol being a welcome limiting factor before any abrasive flavor characteristics. Ballast Point just nailed in on this one: full of flavor, yet balanced and super drinkable. The vanilla is almost silly at times, but I love the stuff and it really works with the rest of the beer. (1,689 characters)

Photo of Popp24
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just picked this up at the brewery last weekend. I really enjoyed this porter.

A - Dark; almost black with about a 1 finger khaki head.

S - I get a lot of vanilla and some coffee and cocoa.

T - What I got from the nose transfered over to the taste. Nice vanilla favors with some mild cocoa as well. The coffee is there but not too much which I like. The porter is so easy to drink for 10 percent; the alcohol is barley their at the finish.

M - Nice and creamy.

O - I really enjoyed this porter and it really had a lot of nice flavors to it. The vanilla and cocoa flavors give it sweetness and the coffee kinda balances that out so it's not too sweet. Was sad when my bomber was empty. (692 characters)

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

at the Hulmeville Inn:
A: dark chocolate with a beautiful, 2-fingered, dark head that shrunk to a nice ring of foam at about the half-way mark

S: yummy vanilla, perfectly-roasted-but-NOT-burnt coffee, dark and sweet maltyness, perfect not-over-the-top boozyness

T: same as the smell, but with a mild, but never bitter hoppyness that shows up a few seconds after swallowing

M: appropriately thick and carbonated for an Imperial

D: I want another. About as drinkable as a 10% ABV can get. Could be a dessert in a glass.

My only other review was also a coffee beer (stout), which I hated. I have since tried other coffee beers and some have been so-so, but this one was really very drinkable. Really delicious. Again, it's 10% ABV, so watch out! (749 characters)

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

Review No. 550

22oz bomber split into tulips with the brother. Wow did this beer blow me away...

A: Viscous opaque pour with plenty of dark khaki head that retains well and laces the glass quite decently...

S: Great nose, impressive balance between coffee notes and vanilla sweetness...these aromas really pop to the front with notes of roasty bitterness and subtle creamy sweetness.

T: Smooth, moderate vanilla balanced with a great coffee presence, medium to light roast, with notes of chocolate and mocha interwoven throughout...as it warms there is an impression of dark caramel and hints of espresso.

The vanilla in this beer is amazing, better than any other vanilla beer I've tasted...its sweet, but not overly so (i.e. ST Creme Brulee) but is a creamy smooth sweetness and not an off flavor (Stone Vanilla Smoked Porter) and this beer is not boozy at all (any vanilla-forward BA beer). Just fantastic balance of aroma/flavor profiles.

MF: Creamy smooth with just a touch of alcohol on the back of the throat. Moderate-to-full body with a semi-viscous feel and a light dryness.

O: Awesome. Will be searching this one out the rest of my beer drinking life I think. Will, thanks so much! Cheers! (1,207 characters)

Photo of mattwjones
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Recently did a side-by-side of VaS 2011 and 2012. I thought I loved this beer fresh, but drinking it a bit more than a year old really lets it shine. Definitely worth grabbing a few bottles of this and putting them in the back of the fridge or in your closet somewhere for a year or two.

a - met all expectations for a high gravity porter

t - a bit acrid and harsh when fresh, but mellows much after a year.

m - here's where its at. this beer is viscous and I love it. Low carb is perfect for a heavy hiring porter like this. (529 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown black pour kicking up a creamy mocha colored foam that levels off to a thinnish but persistent cap. Lacing coats the edge of the glass. This smells fantastic. A bold, dark and quality French roasted coffee is the prominent feature, interwoven with subtle vanilla, roasted caramel, toasted grain. Taste..dark roasted coffee. Nice French roast coffee bitterness plays well with roasted and toasted malts, lightly charred toffee and the vanilla. This may be lightly sweet, but the bitterness of the coffee and hop are very dominant. Body is medium, this of course being an impy porter in weight but carrying imperial stout ABV and flavor so one may expect a more weighty body. Finish is a long lingering coffee bitterness with very subtle hints of vanilla and toffee. If you enjoy high quality coffee and delicious beer you must give this a try. (853 characters)

Photo of atsprings
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #900! 22oz bottle into a Duvel snifter pours a nearly opaque black with a nice lasting frothy light tan head that leaves great lacing on the glass. Aroma is fresh ground coffee up-front with plenty of brown malts, cocoa and a hint of vanilla. The taste is a nice blend of fresh coffee and brown malts and chocolate, quite intriguing as many coffee porter's don't tend to pull the balance off like most coffee stouts, this one is certainly an exception! The beer is medium bodied with the 10% ABV very well hidden. This is a truly special beer, I'm very glad to have Ballast Point available in this area and look forward to trying more of their beers! (657 characters)

Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a creamy mocha head, fading to a silky lacing.
Smell is sweet with vanilla and coffee.
Taste is of quality coffee beans complimented by notes of vanilla and chocolate. The vanilla lingers for a while.
Mouth feel is creamy, easy sipping.
Overall this is a very flavorful and easy drinking imperial porter. The coffee, vanilla and chocolate is bold and in your face. (380 characters)

Photo of greenmonstah
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into tulip

A - Solid black with a solid finger of tan-brown head that sticks to the glass beautifully and lingers for ages. Really impressive.

S - Massive vanilla and coffee, plus a beautiful roasted malt base. Tiny hint of booze that doesn't detract. Some sweetness.

T - Oh my. The vanilla is magnificent. The coffee is dark and bitter but slightly sweet. There is a serious dark chocolate component that adds complexity. The deeply roasted coffee and the roasted malts work well together and are balanced by the sweetness and cocoa bean.

M - Medium-full body, smooth and fulfilling and with a slightly drying finish.

O - Overall a wonderful experience and one of the best beers I have had in a while. From teh first whiff I knew I'd love it, and it didn't let me down one bit. (796 characters)

Photo of gopens44
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a a mocha colored foamy explosion, nesting on top a beautiful opaque beast of a porter. Lacing? Yep, it's real and it's fantastic also.

Nose most reminiscent of cola more so than almost anything else I can pickup at first. A little warmth and agitation brings out some chocolate.

Tastes right there with the nose. I get a lot of cola at first, than a bitter chocolate retreat that is faintly sweet. Like unsweetened dark chocolate. I'm going to guess that the vanilla is manifesting itself as the cola I am getting? Finish is bitter chocolate and very little else. I guess I am getting a tad bit of heat? It's there just warming the innards I guess, but masked better than most anything I have ever had at 10%

This blurs the line between RIS and porter IMO. Such a great tasting beverage. (807 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,160 ratings.