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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
97
world-class

3,863 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,863
Reviews: 927
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 724
Gots: 732 | FT: 55
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: 3,863 | Reviews: 927 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brydeen
4.11/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a jet black with a very thin khaki colored head. Looks creamy.

S: Dark roast coffee, espresso, with a very light toasted marshmallow scent.

T: Light toasty coffee flavor, with a graham cracker hint. Definite sweetness from the vanilla. Surprisingly lacking in the roasty flavor, especially after the strong aroma. Extremely tasty though.

M: Full bodied, rich and creamy. Very heavy.

O: Really tasty, but a bit sweet. Wish it had a bit more roast in the taste to counteract the vanilla. Tasty, but about 8oz is about the max I'd want in a sitting.

brydeen, May 25, 2013
Photo of itsscience
4.11/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black with a finger and a half of tan head that retains well. The nose is ground coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, dark cherries, and booze. Tasting it, I'm hit with chocolate with a generous addition of vanilla, then I get roasted coffee beans that add bitterness. This is diminished somewhat by a sweet malt characteristic and a taste of caramel on the finish. Medium mouthfeel. It's slow going because the whole thing is quite heavy and the alcohol is evident. A big, flavorful porter.

itsscience, Mar 25, 2014
Photo of beerfan99
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle consumed on 5/21/2011

A: Dark black in color and appears pretty thick. Standard pour created a lasting tall dark brown head.

S: Heavy coffee aroma at first, followed by the vanilla. Great combination. I kept trying to detect chocolate, but it did not happen.

T: Coffee and vanilla flavors mix well together. Balanced pretty well and masks the 10% alcohol. I liked the smell of the coffee and vanilla slightly better than it tasted.

M: A little thicker than medium bodied, but not as thick as an IRS. Alcohol is difficult to detect and is very easy to drink. Very smooth finish.

O: A solid coffee porter offering from Ballast Point and SoCal. This tasting review was for a bottle I picked up in San Francisco during beer week. Too bad this beer is not distributed to VA. Definitely a porter worth trying, if you have the chance.

beerfan99, May 21, 2011
Photo of greenmtn1111
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip style glass.

Thick and black out of the bottle like crude oil. The top of it is capped with a small head, tan in color. I get lots of sweet coffee on the nose, then vanilla and lots of chocolate malt. I love the combination of these smells. On the palate theses same three prominent flavors emerge in the same pattern. First the coffee - strong and bitter on the front, like a good espresso. Then the vanilla makes a quick presence but disappears as the bitter roasted malts kick in at the end. It finished moderately sweet with a mouthfeel that could be bit thicker, but doesn't disappoint. I wish there was more vanilla in it as the coffee comes on a little bit too strong, but overall it's quite enjoyable.

greenmtn1111, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of WeisGuy
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Rose & Crown in Palo Alto with Sculpin right next to it.

a - pours deep dark black, one-finger mocha colored head, retention around the edges and decent lacing

s - vanilla extract and dark chocolate dominate, dark fruits and deep roasted coffee add a nice depth

t - fairly sweet with semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla up front, mid-palate is dominated by dark roasted bitter coffee, finish has lots of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla extract and some boozy notes

m - medium-to-full bodied, medium carbonation, pretty dry finish, strong alcohol warming

d - definitely a sipper and not overly drinkable, the coffee bitterness is fairly hard on the palate, that said, the flavors are interesting and I'd have no problem polishing off a few snifters or a bomber

WeisGuy, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of samie85
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep dark black color with a few fingers of dark brown head.

S-Smells of fresh roasted coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of vanilla, and a bit of cocoa.

T-Roasted, dark coffee with some vanilla robust dark chocolate with lots of roast on the finish.

M-Rich, smooth body with ample carbonation that cuts through some of the richness of this one and a bit of alcohol warmth on the finish.

D-Pretty drinkable for 10%, that being said, there is an alcohol presence to this one that isn't entirely unwelcome.

samie85, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of coati858
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If you love the bouquet of vanilla with an assertive taste of coffee in your beer, this is a great one.

I don't know if I could drink this one all night, but one sipped/savored pint is delicious (okay, maybe two in extreme circumstances) if not pairing it with some appropriate dessert, so if you have a bottle it's probably best if you share or love the style.

If you don't like coffee (or vanilla ... or porter), you should steer clear.

I'm gonna buy more.

coati858, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of cosmicevan
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - poured into my oversized snifter a silky black with a very thin tan creamy head with slippery lacing.

s - Nice sweet malts. Vanilla and caramel, some subtle roastiness, but not much coffee at all. If anything, perhaps a sweetened flavored coffee...definitely not in your face.

t - Chocolate and coffee really jump out. Nice vanilla mix and again caramel rounding things out. Really like a dessert coffee that you would get a coffee shop with a nice not overly watered down roasty porter in the background. Nicely flavored. Vanilla is definitely present.

m - Rich and cooling. Not overly watery at all. A bit of an alcohol tingle.

d - A bit filling for me. A bomber of this seems like a bit much to drink, but I'm up for the challenge.

cosmicevan, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Leaving for Florida in a few hours, and I wanted to start the trip strong by drinking a good solid beer...

Poured from bomber into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head. Head retention is decent and there is alot of sexy lacing to be had...

S - The name says it all. Coffee and vanilla dominate...

T - Once again, I remember why I keep coming back to this one. One word sums it up best: delicious. Dark roasted malts, and dark chocolates followed by a smooth vanilla insurgence. Ends on slight coffee bitterness with next to no alcohol to be tasted...

M - Nice and creamy, but not thick. This is one of those beers that can get you into trouble with because it is so smooth. While I won't go as far to call this a session beer, my financial disposition wouldn't allow it to be even if it was, this one is smooth and light enough to put a couple back in one sitting...

D - Was looking foward to this release, and I wasn't disippointed. Have already put about 5 of these bad boys down in the last month or two, and I am bummed I only have one more left. If you see one of these on the shelf definitely give a try...

Cheers...

comfortablynumb1, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of bcostner1
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker than some porters I have had; borders on black but does transmit at least a little bit of light. Nice tan head.

S: Some char, wood, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. Coffee and vanilla do not come through as much as I would have thought/liked but still presents a decent aroma.

T: Very tasty. Everything blends together pretty well. Not quite as coffee-forward or vanilla-forward as I thought it would be but both elements are still evident. Almost has a kind of "malted milkshake" or "frappuccino" quality to it from the blending of the coffee and vanilla which I like. The finish is pretty dry and is predominantly bitter dark chocolate and/or bitter cocoa. All in all, this is a fairly complex beer. As I sit and sip it, I keep picking different subtleties.

M: Pretty easy drinker surprisingly. ABV is hidden very well. I would say that it is actually a little on the thick/viscous side for a porter but not so much so as an extremely viscous impy stout would be for example. I'm enjoying the body in this one.

Overall, I was very excited to try this one. It did live up to expectations but I do wish that the coffee and vanilla elements (in particular the coffee) were just a little bit more pronounced. I would definitely drink this again though. Recommended.

bcostner1, Feb 14, 2012
Photo of PatrickSwayze
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Obviously deep black in color with a thin lightly dark head that creeps its way to the edges leaving a decent trail on the glass as you drink.

S: I love the smell of this beer even though i don't even care for coffee. The rich chocolate malts are complemented so well by the coffee.

T:  A pretty rich beer that at times can come off a little sweet. The coffee, chocolate, and slight roast are presented exquisitely in this brew. Depending in how fresh you obtain this beast, you could get a good amount of heat from it.

M: A sweet offering that offers plenty of body and moderate to low carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this beer though i could only take down no more then one bomber to myself. Even that is pushing it. Great but wish it was a tad bit mor dry.

PatrickSwayze, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of bmwats
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a footed tulip.

A: Very dark brown. Pours about a 1/2 finger, foamy, brown-white head. Settles pretty quickly, leaving a smattering of bubbles on the surface. Very nice spider web lacing.

S: Bold oaky, roasted espresso, plenty of dark chocolate, and just a touch of vanilla, balanced with a little peatiness.

T: Char roasted malt. Coffee is prominent. Bitter pecan shells. Very woody oak. Unsweetened dark chocolate and a little black licorice. Only a slight sweetness from the vanilla... really just an accentuate.

M: Thick and hearty and heavy. Very slightly hints at sweetness in the front. Bitter finish. High alcohol not really apparent until the finish. Leaves something of a whiskey-ish feel hanging on the palate.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is great. Dark and intimidating, accentuated by a nice head, and some persistent lacing. Nose is bold roasted coffee and oak with dark chocolate and a little vanilla for balance. Charred malt flavor. Prominent is coffee and wood, some bitter dark chocolate and black licorice, and a slight sweet tease. Thick, hearty and robust. Overall, this is a great quaff.

bmwats, Jun 14, 2013
Photo of anteater
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle

A: rich super dark brown, almost entirely black with medium tan head and relatively high carbonation

S: vanilla hits the nose first followed by hints of coffee, the sweetness of the malt is rich and chocolately

T: the balance between vanilla and chocolate comes first and is the most striking aspect of this beer. the coffee flavor combined with slight bitterness and a tiny yet appropriate burn of alcohol takes over as the initial sweetness fades.

M: medium-high thickness, but offset by higher than average carbonation in this type of beer. i really like the mouthfeel

O: an excellent imperial porter, would recommend to anyone with the opportunity to try. it would be comparable to other imperial porters of this caliber without the addition of vanilla but i think the vanilla is what sets it apart.

anteater, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of clayrock81
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with two finger tan head that dies slow with no lace. Aroma ranges from coffee, vanilla, espresso, milk/lactic qualities, hints of milk chocolate. For a heavy beer the alcohol is hidden and the beer is rather light and smooth. More sweet than dry as the roasted coffee notes are easily noticed but the beer seems to slightly dominated by milk/vanilla sweetness. An enjoyable beer on its own or as dessert.

clayrock81, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of Fatehunter
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a thin tan head on a black body.
The aroma is all coffee with a little chocolate and vanilla. I am smelling a coffee.
It tastes like coffee, then it moves to a little sweet and quickly to bitter chocolate. Quite enjoyable and interesting.
The texture is almost perfect. It's thick with low carbonation.

Fatehunter, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to corby112 & tendermorssel for sending this! Cheers Craig & Mike!

Pours a brown tinged ebony with a finger of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Much coffee & coffee grounds

T: Mocha, charred coffee, & a touch of vanilla, plus dryness up front, plus a tinge of booze. Smooths out a bit a it warms, vanilla, oaky dryness & a touch of toffee as this warms; the coffee fades to more pleasing level once warm. Finishes slightly astringent, with nice coffee bitterness, a wisp of vanilla, dryness & wet charred grain. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Very smooth up front, slightly chewy with low carbonation

Drinks very easy for the style & ABV, not the best coffee beer I've ever had, but probably top 3. Worth seeking out, nice brunch beer!

russpowell, May 19, 2009
Photo of jamex
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Russian River tulip. Paid $7.99 at the brewery for a 22 oz. The beer was bottled within days.

Poured an amazing dark - very opaque. Nice 1-2 finger head.

Smell is phenomenal; coffee, mocha, vanilla, kahlua, coffee cake...the aroma is outstanding. Perhaps the best porter I've ever sniffed.

This beer is simply delicious. Slight let down from that A+ aroma but minimal. Tastes like the smell but with some malt and roasty notes. There is some sweetness but it is balanced with the other tastes. The 10% ABV is hidden behind the other characters nicely.

Feels great in the mouth - maybe a LITTLE thin, but nothing to get worried about. Carbonation about right for a porter - they nailed it.

Before I knew it the 22oz was dust. Very drinkable.

jamex, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of EliotRosewater
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - absolutely pitch black. Pours a single finger mocha- brown head.

S - tons of chocolate right up front. Some coffee, roasted malt, bread. Looking for the vanilla and not finding it.

T - roasted malts, dark chocolate / cacao, coffee, bourbon. Again, not much vanilla. Little but of sweetness. Alcohol is well integrated.

M - not as viscous or syrupy as one might think. Relatively nice finish but not as much of a lingering aftertaste.

O- one of my favorites given the price and availability. Nothing mind blowing but a really solid late night dessert beer.

EliotRosewater, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of oline73
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown color with a little light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell: Definitely getting the coffee along with some vanilla. There are some dark fruit notes along with a roast. I'm getting the alcohol burn as well.

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts dominate the flavor right off the bat. I'm getting some dark fruit and vanilla notes as well. As the sip progresses, you get some bitterness along with a burn from the alcohol. The finish is roasty and a bit boozy. Not overly sweet, especially considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thicker side with lots of carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: A very good coffee beer. The flavor was quite full and there was a lot going on. I actually wish this beer was a bit sweeter, but I still enjoyed it.

oline73, Jul 26, 2012
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow. This is everything that I wanted the Southern Tier Creme Brulee to be. Pours very dark brown in color with a nice half inch of tan head. Smell is wonderful. Perfect amount of vanilla, working with the roasted coffee notes. Smells decadent. Taste follows up with the nose. Perfectly balanced vanilla and roasted coffee beans. A wonderful porter underneath supporting these flavors. I would like the mouthfeel a tad thicker, but I'm not going to complain about this one at all. Don't think I could drink an entire bomber of this, but it's damn tasty. Very good beer.

FtownThrowDown, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of aasher
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of thagr81us in a recent massive trade. Thanks Calton! I've been wanting to try this forever.

It pours a dark, dark, dark brown in color, medium in body, with a light beige lacing around my snifter. The aromas are an array of soft chocolates, toffee, lightly roasted malts, vanilla, coffee with cream, with a subtle sweetness. Surprisingly there is no bitterness on the nose at all. The flavors consist of sweet milk chocolate, lightly creamed coffee, dark chocolate, light vanilla bean, chocolate milk, and it finishes with a slight coffee bitterness. It's really smooth and moderately rich. It's sweet but not too sweet. Overall it's a very, very nice beer and a hell of a porter. The alcohol isn't overly present and it's a fine beer to sip on. This is another well made beer from Ballast point and worth your while.

aasher, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of Nugganooch
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory At Sea - 2011
Bomber w/ 10oz Nonic Taster glass

A: Pours a super dark brown which looks jet black in the glass really. Completely opaque. A fantastic two to three fingers of dark tan suds formed. Exhibits some great retention skills. Subsides to a crown and leaves curtains of lace with each sip.

S: Smells like a straight up caramel mocha. Aromas are caramel, toasted malts, dry roast coffee with a sort of earthiness to it and alcohol. Not a whole lot of vanilla in the nose.

T: Taste is quite the treat. Like having German chocolate cake in a glass. Roasted grains that depict some real dark chocolate notes. Fresh brewed coffee and vanilla. A caramel candied sweetness overall. Toasted coconut. Green earthy woods and a nice hoppy bitter bite towards back palate. Just layers and layers of flavor here. A real step up from the nose. A good amount of warming alcohol heat but does not impact the beer in a negative manner. Coffee is so fresh and the vanilla really comes alive as this brew warms up. More reminiscent of a French Vanilla Cafe.

M: Heavier in body and a little syrupy. Not too thick or viscous and not really thin for that matter. Overall a somewhat creamy texture with a touch of oily sleekness.

D: A delectable drink that should be savored. Complex with lots of layered flavors. All of which play their own part yet work really nicely together. Slightly sweet and boozy it's definitely an Imperial. Enjoyed better after temp warms up a bit.

Highly recommend. I always seek this one out at time of release. Hands down my favorite beer label too!

Nugganooch, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tumbler pint, the beer is a near black, with a thick, densely packed, tight bubbled, frothy tan head that sits a solid half an inch on the surface of this brew. Aromas are subtle and very well blended, with hints of day old coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, and some earthy notes. Flavors are rich and bold, with a blast of bitter dark chocolate and subtle coffee backbone blasting away on the front of the tongue, and quickly covering the palate. Highlights of vanilla and woody characteristics abound, with an earthy overtone throughout, and some boozey profiles as well. The beer's flavors ride a creamy and light body that leaves a great many rings around the glass as you drink. The aftertaste is a bit of the booze, a touch of the vanilla, and a hint of the chocolate and coffee blend, giving highlights of everything that just danced across the palate. The finish is rather quick, with only a slight bitter linger at the very end. The alcohol and bitterness do a good job cleaning everything up and helping the beer to avoid the cloying or overpowering realm of flavor profiles. This is a heavy hitter, and definitely a sipper for the evening. Delicious beer.

GarthDanielson, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of DSlim71
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Bomber pours pitch black with a dark tan head that hangs around for a few minutes. Some nice, spotty lacing is left behind after the head is gone.

S - Coffee right away with vanilla coming through pretty strongly. A little char, roastiness, and dark chocolate.

T - Same thing with the taste, you get the coffee up front but the vanilla takes over, maybe a little too much. The dark chocolate is there, and it's a little boozy, especially as it warms. Finishes with a roasted bitterness.

M - Creamy, medium bodied with a low to mid level of carbonation.

I picked this up in a bottle shop in PA, and I'm glad I did. It was a nice sipper to finish off the weekend, but the heavy vanilla kept it from being great in my opinion.

DSlim71, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of dank203
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a top BA beer. pours dark brown to black with a khaki colored head. fresh coffee bean is attributed in the aroma as well as subtle vanilla. in the flavor, the vanilla is more present, its a sweet beer of vanilla, with bitter/roasty coffee notes. big dark beer

dank203, Apr 23, 2014
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,863 ratings.