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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,738
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 968
Gots: 1,624 | FT: 100
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: 1,180 | Hads: 5,738
Photo of FosterJM
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

189th review on BA
bottle to pint

App- A very robust brown with lighter brown edges. A one finger light tan head on this developed quickly and left just as quick.

Smell- Big coffee with the sweetness of the vanilla . Arome is very subtle.

Taste- The flavor of this beer is amazing. The flavors are so layered and beautiful. The vanilla and the coffee are both not that overpowering and play off of eachother. Very well balanced and tasteful.

Mouth- Almost a light body to me but its a medium body with a medium carb level. No one flavor over powers the other.

Drink- An outstanding porter. So flavorful, rich and robust and very drinkable. "See my post about your glass and saying damn" (692 characters)

Photo of JDOHare
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Very nice aroma and pours well. The vanilla and coffee aren't hidden at all in this beer they are the two primary stars. I was hesitant to buy this at first as I thought it might be over powered by these two favors but it was a "just right" blend of the two. This beer is as black as the night and was very pleasing. The label indicates its 10% ABV and quite frankly it doesn't taste that strong at all so this beer can definitely sneak up on you after a couple. Well balanced beer with great flavor, consistency, and the right amount of complexity, this is a sensory overload as it will please your sense of smell, sight and taste. I'll definitely drink this beer again. (671 characters)

Photo of ms11781
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a very dark brown color with lighter, reddish brown hues at the edges of the glass. A nice, dense, tan/light brown foam head develops and has nice retention. Excellent lacing is left on the glass. Really nice looking beer.

The nose is really nice. Great roasted and coffee notes come across first and are followed up by some light chocolate notes. The vanilla comes out more as the beer warms a bit and once it does it goes excellent with the coffee and some chocolate that shows up.

Each sip starts with a well balanced mix of both roasted coffee and some nice, sweet vanilla. Both are really potent but very pleasant and not overwhelming. Towards the finish there is a hint of chocolate before some bitter roast comes through at the very end. There is also some warming from some alcohol.

The beer has a fairly good sized body, not huge, probably somewhere between medium and full. The carbonation is on the lower end but is somewhat lively. The combination allows it to feel like a bigger beer without actually being one.

This is an excellent beer. As advertised it is full of great coffee and vanilla flavor and aroma. There is a nice balance between some bitter roast and almost sugary sweetness. Everything pulls together nicely and makes for a great beer. (1,315 characters)

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

Saw this by the counter of my local beer spot, asked the cashier what he thought of it, he said it was "Fucking Awesome", had to get some.
Looks like chocolate syrup as it is poured, smells like a typical porter. Great taste as it goes down, you really get the hint of vanilla at the end, very good. Could not believe it was 10%.
Ballast Point strikes again.... (362 characters)

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

Served at a mini tasting.

Pours a ridiculous black. Tan almost coffee colored head. Smell is a full on coffee punch to the nostrils. If there is vanilla it gives way. Incredibly inviting. What a smooth robust coffee flavor. This brew is incredible. It envelops your tongue. Damn. I really dig this beer. The roasty coffee is superb. The carbonation is perfect. A beer I felt good sharing. Everyone enjoyed its splendor. (420 characters)

Photo of GJ40
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in a DHF snifter. Purchased at Sam's in Durham and aged for several months.

A - Deep black with very little light coming through even around the edges. A somewhat sturdy tan head. This beer has a real ominous look.

S - Coffee jumped out at the start but then the vanilla seemed to take the lead from there on; especially as it warmed. There's also some chocolate in there.

T - The flavor is coffee, vanilla and chocolate. I got a lot of coffee at the start but then I adjusted and the vanilla seemed to lead. But there's a lot to balance it off. This beer has some nice complexity and a hint of sweetness. In fact, the 10% alcohol was well hidden.

M - Creamy and silky with a nice low carbonation.

D - I was a bit worried about this one after I bought it as I'm not a coffee drinker. But this beer is about a lot more than coffee and the coffee it does have works well. This is a very good beer. (927 characters)

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

Two reasons I cracked this tonight. One, I've already had two from the box I recieved this morning from kmurray8621 so why stop there? And two, I'm watching Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Mans Chest so it kind of fits (specifically the label).

Pours a deep black color with a generous light brown head sitting on top. Retention is great, and it leaves excellent lacing, sometimes milimeters thick.

The nose starts out smokey, with coffee and milk chocolate notes, along with vanilla. A soft roasted malt character rounds it out. Pretty much just as advertised, with a more prominant roasted malt/smoked malt character.

The taste starts out with a strong smoked malt flavor, with coffee overtones. I also get a sweet chocolate and vanilla taste about mid-palate. It's pretty complex and definitely tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, with a creamy and smooth texture. Low carbonation adds to the creamyness. Drinkability is dangerous. This doesn't taste 10% at all, and I will easily finish this bomber myself.

Overall, Ballast Point doesn't disappoint. Excellent brew I wish I had regular access too. Thanks Kevin for the chance to try this! (1,148 characters)

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

An exceptional brew that blew my mind... it was an unexpected treat that involved me asking the bartender "what the hell style is that beer" to which she responded "i have no idea, let check it out" ... poured to sampler glasses... i took one swig and said "yeah, uhh... i'll take a full glass please"

A: Dark brown/black body.. moderate khaki head.. nice coating on the glass.

S: Bam! Vanilla. Bourbon. Chocalate. Roasted Coffee. Rich caramel. Slight oak. Booze. Cola.

T: Yeah it tasted like the nose! A frigging smörgåsbord of incredible flavors. Blended to perfection. Each flavor popped yet didn't drown out the others. At 12+ the booze was present in a way which accentuated the flavors rather that killing the tastebuds.

M: Medium-heavy on the palate. Good finish. Nice carbonation. Delicate for such a big beer.

D: Something about porters make me struggle... but this one was rather remarkable... (910 characters)

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

Poured into a duvel glass.

A- pours slick and black, with a nice two finger mocha colored head, looks so derrricious

S- VANILLA, then chocolate then coffee, the coffee becomes more and more pronounced as the beer warms, smells so derrricious!

T- the vanilla seems to be, as in the nose, to be the most pronounced, blending in deliciously with the coffe and roasty chocolate flavors, finishes like a ice mocha, almost a caramely taste where all the flavors meet.... It tastes so derrricious!

M- low carbonation, drinks creamy and smooth, almost a touch syrupy, but in a good way

O- a truley awesome brew, deffinatley my favorite ballast point brew I have tried to date. I feel like it may be a little heavy for an IMP porter, probably would have figured it for a stout, however the alcohol content is hidin incredible, I would have guessed 8.5 not 10,
I'm sorry Kyle.... But victory @ sea is tooo derrricious! (915 characters)

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

Bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA.

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off coffee scents along with vanilla and as it warms the vanilla gets stronger

T - Starts off with some roastiness and coffee upfront then the vanilla comes out and sweetens things up a bit there's a little bit of alcohol that comes out in the finish

M - This beer has a fuller body with medium carbonation to it

O - This is one of the best tasting beers that I've had in a while now the coffee and vanilla flavors blend perfectly the mouthfeel is wonderful I'm not going to have any problem finishing this bomber while to me its no longer a porter and more of a double stout I'll let that slide and say this is one of those must try beers (792 characters)

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

12 oz bottle poured in a snifter. 10% very subtle, and smooth. Lingering coffee aftertaste. A unique beer, very enjoyable. Glad I finally got to try it. (156 characters)

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

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a tan head that thinned out some but still left nice rings and trails of lacing.

S - French Vanilla Coffee.

T - French Vanilla Coffee.

F - medium/full bodied with a creamy/smooth feel.

O - very nice. (252 characters)

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

Very dark brown, opaque. Minimal carbonation fades to a leather brown around the edges. Smells of vanilla, chocolate, pecans, roasted nuts, caramel, coffee and toast. A viscous, velvety mouthfeel that coats the mouth. Loads of bakers chocolate, coffee, vanilla, Brown sugar and pecans. Intensified roast bitterness that meshes quite perfectly with residual sugars. Mighty fine work Ballast Point. (397 characters)

Photo of falc0n2600
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very very dark in appearance with a smooth brown head. A nice coffee smell with much less of a coffee taste, which is my favorite kind of coffee beer. In fact, you are immediately shocked at how smooth an imperial porter can be before you're overwhelmed by perfectly sweet vanilla. I had this along with Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Porter and this was definitely the winner, although the Double Gonzo was the second-best imperial porter I've had. A lot of carbonation that makes the thickness of the beer stand out, with the sweetness balancing the thickness nicely. As the beer warmed up I really began to notice the hops, more so than any other porter I've had. As I finished all I could think of was the brilliant hoppiness. (728 characters)

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)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.