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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

3,634 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,634
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 636
Gots: 687 | FT: 52
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,634 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark heresy chocolate pour becomes coffee black in the tulip glass with a substantial and sturdy cinnamon colored head that refused to budge much. A thin spongy coating lines the interior for lace. Simple deep coloring, and a very nice head both color and structure wise gives this some lasting appeal.

S: Smooth roasty coffee for aroma, along with some dry bitter chocolate intermingles with a medium sense of strength. Freshly burnt firewood rounds things out.

T: The flavor is hearty and thick, creamy with substantial body highlighted with a dark coffee roast, dry vanilla bean, and freshly burnt timber. Dark roasted chocolate malts combine with a smooth, dry earthy bitterness of espresso beans providing a dark and heavenly coffee flavor that may make you forget your are drinking a beer and more like a fancy $10 cup of specialty coffee, especially when with a well concealed alcohol content of 10%abv drinking much lower like a 7% at best.

M: luscious, hearty and thick with a creaminess that adds both weight and resistance upon a swirl. Big burnt bitterness and dark roast coffee lingers long after the swallow, staying for quite a bit.

D: Wow, is there really 10%abv in this, with the heavenly dark coffee roast you wont even notice. Robust, hearty this is a big drink full of substance and flavor that will dare you to have more then one.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 22:41:58 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Hopstuff
Hopstuff

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good lord Mary Joseph, this one strikes the knickers like a lacy momma ready to pounce on a unborn tadpole. I am dripping with amazement. Ballast Point's best effort to date. Something tells me I might OD on greatness. But seriously this beer hits home for me. A Porter born to sail the night, without fear, without wavering from the very foundation of why I love the west coast set. Its like surfing in a sea of mocha foam born from the depths of a dark sea, married to the sky. I can't imagine a darker sailor to share the night with. It like two passionate mates are meeting in my mouth to shag!

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2012 05:09:28 | More by Hopstuff
Photo of JamesMN
JamesMN

Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by 12/19/13. Bought it about a year ago and its been sitting in the fridge ever since.

Appearance: Black and opaque with carbonation bubbles stuck to the bottom of the glass. One finger tan head of froth.

Aroma: Dark roasted malts with a hint of vanilla. Some black coffee just detectable. Smells like a run-of-the-mill imperial stout with added sweetness.

Taste: Based on the aroma I was not prepared for how delicious this would be. The coffee and vanilla may not be very aromatic but they are definitely pulling no punches when it comes to flavor. Interestingly it starts off kind of mundane. Just clean dark malt with a touch of sweetness to balance things out. Then, right before the finish, the coffee lends a good flavor and bitterness that is evened out by the vanilla and a touch of confectionary sweetness. For a beautiful moment the flavor is reminiscent of a vanilla frapuccino. The finish is smooth and well-rounded. A combination of dark malt, roast coffee, and hop bitterness lingers in the aftertaste, making it quite dry. The 10% ABV is completely believable due to the depth of flavor but the actual alcohol never shows itself apart from a slight warmth in the throat after several sips. Really well done.

Mouthfeel: Upper medium to full in body with a lot of small effervescent bubbles that somehow don't interfere with the chocolate milk-like softness of the beer. Good drinkability but definitely not a session option due to the big ABV. Great size to split a with a like-minded friend though.

Final Thoughts: I love it when a beer blows past my expectations like this. I've never been a huge fan of porters and an imperial version of any style I'm not fond of is usually a bad bet for my palate. However, Ballast Point Victory at Sea imperial porter is off the charts. Although it walks a fine line between porter and stout, the flavor speaks for itself. If you're a stout fan or even a hop head (like myself) who enjoys full flavored beers, definitely pick this one up if you're in the mood for a robust brew. Would I drink it again? Yes, I will be seeking out a nitro-tap version...

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2014 22:39:14 | More by JamesMN
Photo of infi
infi

New York

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 release, 22 oz. bomber. Shared with BAs brun and NYManc.

Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

A beautiful deep dark-brown color with a thin tan head of short retention. Barely translucent throughout. Smell is incredibly full of dark-roasted coffee bean, as it's the first thing to immediately hit the nose. After all that coffee, were some nice milk chocolate and vanilla bean sweetness notes that really amplified the drink experience. There were some small hints of toasted malt throughout too.

Taste was incredibly roasty with the coffee dictating most of this porter's flavors. The coffee beans were nicely roasted with no points of astringency found at all, which is a nice plus. There was a good amount of maltiness to the taste, as well as some smooth cocoa/chocolate aspects. Not much of a vanilla flavor as I hoped it to have, but the beer was substantial as is.

Mouthfeel felt silky all the way through with low amounts of carbonation. Medium in body and weight. Drinkability is incredible on this beer. One bomber was definitely not enough for us three. Very flavorful and smooth-drinking. The 10% ABV isn't found in the taste at all, but it'll keep you at bay in the long run. Another damn delicious gem from BP.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 05:15:04 | More by infi
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Joe at Walnut Liquorette got this from the back for me. Thanks! On to the beer:

It is black. Very black. The head forms rocky on top, holds up well, and is tanned. Nice roasted coffee bean aroma....almost like Also a little smoke. Behind all that is a whisper of citrus hops. Now there's the addition of chocolate. It really changes are you keep inhaling.

Black Marlin Porter remains one of my all-time favorite porters, and the same folks who make that beer make this one as well. There are vanilla notes, but you need to squint hard enough to taste it. From the get-go, roasted, bitter coffee dominates. Bitter chocolate sits underneath the coffee. Astringent coffee and ash linger in the aftertaste. Alcohol is hidden incredibly well in this beer. There are the hops again, which squirt a little of its juice into the nectar (and a little hop bitterness). As for the liquid, it is smooth with a medium feel. It doesn't feel like its listed 10% ABV.

The aftertaste is the chink in this beer's armor. Otherwise, a good creation by Ballast Point, with the possibility of being wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2010 05:30:28 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of jpro
jpro

South Carolina

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had at 10oz draft at Closed for Business...

A: Black. Dark brown, dense head is formed on the pour; rings and sheets of lace get left on the sides of the glass.

S: Piney hops??! Not expecting that to be the first thing I noticed... Coffee and roasted malt; a dark chocolate sweetness; vanilla.

T: Starts with a short blast of vanilla; then transitions to roasted malts and a hoppy bitter; surprisingly bitter finish given the sweetness from the vanilla and chocolate malt.

M: Near full; creamy and slightly viscous; higher carbonation than expected.

D: Fairly drinkable considering the 10% abv (I had no idea... wow!); a lot of flavor going on (especially the sweetness) might wear out the ol' taste buds.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2011 22:27:46 | More by jpro
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kiefdog for this treat.

A: Pours a nice dark black hue with a small fizzy head. No retention or lace noted.

S: Lots of artificial vanilla with bold notes of dark chocolate and fresh coffee.

T: Bold vanilla right from the start, a bit artifical in taste though. Bold coffee takes over the middle with mild bitter chocolate playing off the vanilla in the finish. I like this one.... would be great if the vanilla was more vanilla bean like.

M: Medium in body, smooth, tasty.

D: Good, I rather enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2009 16:48:24 | More by tpd975
Photo of JohnnyHopps
JohnnyHopps

Indiana

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - The beer poured a murky black color with a modest mocha colored head.

Smell - The aroma was a pleasant vanilla malty aroma. The aroma is not overly sweet, but certainly seems to suggest a dessert beer.

Taste - My first impression on drinking the beer was to think of vanilla coke. Notes of malt, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a little dark fruit was present. The chocolate evolved to be more dry in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - For the style, I thought the beer was a little thin. Taking into consideration all the extras in this porter, the thinness is a little surprising.

Overall - I enjoyed the beer and would certainly drink it again. I am not certain that I would seek the beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2014 16:31:42 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of Vdubb86
Vdubb86

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 3 Floyds pint glass

Thanks to Mages64 for this want

This beer pours a gorgeous dark black chocolate color with a tan foam residing on the surface. The aromatics are rather pleasant they remind of all of the smells listed in the name of this beer. Coffee, check. Vanilla, check. Imperial Porter...well that translates to dark chocolate for me, so we're good. I wanted to rate this beer higher than I did. The first couple of sips were heavenly nectar, but the sips after that were acidic and astringent to my palate. I must say that the mouthfeel when warmed up to nearly room temperature was solid, but at suggested temps was merely good. This beer was pretty darn tasty and easy to drink to boot. I would crack open my other bomber of it, but at 10% that would spell disaster. I really enjoyed drinking this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 06:03:24 | More by Vdubb86
Photo of matttttYCE
matttttYCE

Arizona

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into my Deschutes snifter glass. I've had this for a little while but I don't know why I haven't drank/reviewed it yet.

Appearance - Aggressive pour yields a tan, creamy smooth looking 2 finger head that diminishes but not very quickly. Leaves some lace but not much. Color is pretty much thick black (maybe a little bit lighter than that) and opaque.

Smell - At first I'm getting mostly a soft pleasant coffee smell with vanilla like someone made me a cup of coffee that wasn't really strong at all and put some nice vanilla creamer in there. After that is some nice malt and that typical porter smell (not quite deep dark roasted malt like a stout but it's there). Also getting some toasty nutty smell in there a bit and some chocolate as it warms. It's a nice complex smell. Not really overpowering or overwhelming at all and I'm not sure whether I'd rather have more vanilla in it or not. But this one may be a bit old and the vanilla may have faded some.

Taste - It's sweet. It's got the other tastes like you would expect too. Lots of coffee, roasted malts and light vanilla and a bit of alcohol noticeable on the way down. Also feel like I'm getting some of the chocolate in the taste as well since I'm smelling it more in the nose as it warms. I could drink this so much more often if it was more available. A little bit of a bitter coffee note finishes off the taste on this one.

Mouthfeel - Mouthfeel is actually really good. Not thick and chewy like a big imperial stout, but more rich with a nice medium body. I guess this is bordering on a stout, but who cares. It's a damn good beer. Carbonation is probably light or creamy on par with a nice imperial stout. Finish is more wet and lasting but it doesn't last too long.

Overall - This is a very good beer. Of course, I feel like I'm on a roll with big flavorful beers that I'm reviewing. Maybe I've got a thing for vanilla or coffee flavored beers, I don't know. What I do know is this: If you think coffee or vanilla (or both) sound interesting in a beer, DO NOT hesitate to pick this one up if you see it. I doubt it will disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2011 06:14:55 | More by matttttYCE
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was a gift from drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

A: A flawless appearance. The beer is jet black and completely opaque. There is a dense, thick, foamy head of a dark tan color. The head retention is great and the glass is coated in lacing.

S: Fresh coffee beans. I am a coffee drinker, and I appreciate the aroma of fresh coffee. We are off to a great start with this beer. Also noted are scents of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, and alcohol.

T: The beer tastes great. The coffee is more present than the vanilla. The beer leads off with coffee and segues to vanilla and chocolate intertwined in roasted malt. Very impressive. As good as it is, I wish Ballast Point would use authentic vanilla instead of natural flavors. This beer is so close to being amazing. It's the little things that often make the biggest difference.

M: The beer is very flavorful and smooth. The 10% alcohol is disguised very well. It's creamy and thick, with the perfect carbonation level.

D: It's so good, I'm drinking it too fast, but not as fast as last time (see notes). This stuff can catch up to you quickly. I thoroughly enjoy this beer. I'm taking down the bomber by myself tonight, as I have been really looking forward to a good night to enjoy it, but honestly, it's probably best shared a few ways.

Note: Chugging this beer midway through an epic tasting can lead to immediate and irreversible intoxication (even if your friend grills you chicken in the middle of the night) and palate wrecking, causing the imbiber to not be able to differentiate Kate the Great from Alpha Kong. Seriously.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 03:38:35 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black, with a full-finger light brown head.

S: Great smell of roasted coffee beans, one of the best smelling beers I have had in a while, I just want to keep smelling it until the volatiles dissapate.

T: The mix of coffee and roasted malt is real nice here, but is not as good as Speedway. Still it's a nice brew, and has excellent dark chocolate notes.

M: Smooth and full-bodied, it hides it's 10% very well, but you'll feel it by the end.

D: A nice finish to my BP round, 2nd best of the 5 IMO, it's nice to be able to try this stuff, though it sucks I may never have them again.

Edit - 2/8/10 - Got to have this again, yum.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2009 16:51:01 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of kiddynamite920
kiddynamite920

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at the Blue Dog pub in Lansdale.

A: Poured a pitch black, wasn't too surprised here. The bar was a bit dark but not much light was going to get through this one anyway. About a fingers worth of tan head slumped down to a thin ring around the glass.

S: Huge roasty aroma, heavy on the coffee and a bit bitter smelling. Had a very nice sweet aroma as well of a sweetened coffee. The vanilla was noticeable but not overwhelming. Very nice. Good sweet malt profile.

T: Chocolate and coffee mingling well, mocha. The coffee tastes like a very dark roast and adds a very mild astringency. Good bitter flavors balanced with some sweet malts. One big, bad porter for sure.

M: Went down very smoothly with no burn from the alcohol content noticed at all. Good full bodied porter.

D: This one falls into the dangerous category. May be hard for some to stomach more than one of these, but I'm a fan of huge dark beers. Very drinkable and glad I had the opportunity to taste this on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

04-19-2010 20:56:37 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of BobZ
BobZ

Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz Bottle poured into a Pint glass.

Appearance: Almost black with a small 1/4" tan head that quickly recedes to only a cap, nice lacing.

Smell: Big coffee with a hint of sweetness.

Taste: Rich dark roast coffee is the dominant flavor there is some vanilla on the finish but it is subtle. This is done in a good way the coffee bitterness up front with just the hint of vanilla sweetness on the finish. Very little chocolate flavor as again the roasted malt supports the coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very well bodied for a porter, smooth and drinkable.

Overall: An excellent coffee porter, full and very flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2013 15:48:55 | More by BobZ
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I hald this for a little while but the urge got to me to much last night.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark chocolate brown with a thin dark beige head that didnt last long,a great mix of heavy coffee roast and vanilla imparted sweetness,a bit of sweet alcohol and dark fruit shows thru as it warmed.Roasty and sweetish upfront with the dark roast coffee flavors prevelent,a vanilla/carmel flavor lends some hefty sweetness,there is a drying earthy almost resiny note in the finish that is drying just enough.A great beer it is a one and done though because the alcohol is potent and can give off some big sweetness,a rich well made beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2011 13:18:36 | More by oberon
Photo of Double06
Double06

Georgia

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decided to crack this one as a reward after finishing law school exams.... 22oz bottle from Fa10 poured into snifter.

A: The darkest brown, just a shade short of black fading along the edges to an almost reddish color. 1/4 inch light brown head with enough viscosity to lightly coat the edge of my glass.

S: Not as strong as I would expect but very nuanced and well-balanced between the coffee and sweet vanilla notes.

T: Changing swallow by swallow but I'm getting a hint of the alcohol heat to start, then the vanilla and sweetness, followed up by the deliciousness of the coffee . Very well balanced and tasty!

M: Solid amount of carbonation allows the flavors to fill the mouth and tongue. Leaves enough coating in the mouth to let you keep tasting it but not so much that it's thick.

D: Very high... the coffee finish makes you want to keep drinking more to balance with the initial sweetness. The non-heavy mouthfeel contributes as well. I could easily drink 2 of these in a sitting but at 10%, it'd hit me hard.

Went out of my way to order this one to Georgia and I'm glad I did. Another well done offering by the folks at Ballast Point.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2010 00:38:11 | More by Double06
Photo of jcnd9803
jcnd9803

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired this as part of a trade with mroberts1204
. Thanks!....

A - Pitch black with a small tan head that leaves moderate sticky lacing behind.

S - The vanilla really shines through first, with a finish of coffee on the nose. Very different. There's also some underlying hops in there.

T - Actually starts off bitter. This time the coffee comes first. Vanilla plays in the background and brings home the finish.

M - Nicely carbonated, but not as dry as a typical porter. Very nice.

D - This was a solid beer. I will definitely be looking to score more.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2010 03:16:22 | More by jcnd9803
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (thanks Josh for sharing).

Poured a dark black color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and some nuttiness. Tastes of vanilla/vanill beans, chocolate, coffee, and some roastiness. Alcohol content overall well hidden. Body was thick and oily.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 14:39:24 | More by hopdog
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed August 6th, 2010 in a Triple Petrus tulip/snifter.

Beer is opaque black. Modest little tan head comes and goes, leaving behind a sticky ring of foam.

Aromas of coffee and vanilla (surprise!).

Flavor is full of bitter rich coffee and dark roasted malt. Vanilla is only a fraction of the overall flavor, but it can be picked out. Bitterness is all up front, as finish is fairly mild. A moderate caramel sweetness helps balance out the bitter. Warming alcohol is apparent after a few sips as are faint citric hops.

Mouthfeel is chewy and smooth.

Overall, it is exactly as advertised; nothing out of kilter and no surprises. Very impressive execution.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2010 03:34:41 | More by charlzm
Photo of lcdumchus
lcdumchus

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good coffee flavor with hint of vanilla and nuts. Short lived tan head. Dark brown in color. You can taste the hops, but they are not overpowering. The alcohol flavor is there, but not overwhelming. Very good porter, but it would probably improve with age.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 20:16:53 | More by lcdumchus
Photo of Damian
Damian

Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 22 fl. oz./1 pint 6 fluid ounces/650 ml bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westbooro, MA
Served in a snifter

The liquid poured a deep brown/black with a frothy, one-finger, cocoa-colored crown that faded to a lasting ring. A substantial amount of drippy lacing cascaded down the glass with every sip.

Super smooth, freshly brewed coffee dominated the aroma. The coffee was potent yet well balanced by a milky sweetness. Strong vanilla notes came through as well. Caramel malts trailed in the background. Although the aroma was not terribly complex, it was really pleasant and inviting.

The flavor profile was interesting (perhaps more so than the aroma) but lacked the intensity and smoothness of the nose. Deep and malty up front. French roast coffee beans appeared in the center. Some bakers chocolate notes came through as well. The finish was a bit more harsh than I anticipated it to be. Quite roasty and ashy (almost a touch acrid) with a generous dose of piney, bitter hops.

The mouthfeel was pillowy soft and frothy. Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation. For a 10% ABV brew, I was hoping for a bit more heft however.

Drinkability was notable. This beer buried its alcohol quite well.

Victory at Sea has its strong points (aroma and flavor profile on the font end) as well as its shortcomings (finish and mouthfeel). This is a very good imperial porter (which is incorrectly categorized as an "American porter" here on BeerAdvocate) but there are a number of coffee infused beers out there which are better.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2011 04:38:13 | More by Damian
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a thinnish mocha head that sticks around for a bit. Smells of coffee right off, layers of vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted grain hidden in there as well. Taste is like a half and half milkshake. Lots of milk chocolate and vanilla mix up front followed by some coffee and a lingering roasted coffee and chocolate finish. Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and light carbonation. Great Porter, maybe a bit on the sweet side, but certainly very tasty. Call it a desert porter.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 03:13:33 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of jminsc76
jminsc76

Texas

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Simmzy's in Manhattan Beach, California.

Pours a decently sized espresso head atop a black body. Very little lacing or legs at first, that is until I let it warm, then agitate, and then bam! out comes the head with thick legs as I tilt the glass.

Strong aromas of coffee, oak, and sweet vanilla beans, the last of which is the most prevalent in the bouquet. Wonderful smells.

Bitter coffee and vanilla on the front end, with bananas and darker fruits exhibiting toward the finish. Also accompanying those fruits is a slight quantity of booziness, which detracts slightly from the richness of all the other flavors. Grrr...

An incredibly thick mouthfeel as I swish, very full-bodied and pillowy. Love that feeling.

Overall, I was a little offset by the heat, as I have had this both from the bottle and from the cask and both consist of heaven on earth in deliciousness without the booziness. However, this is still a masterpiece of an imperial porter, and remains among my top five favorite beers of all time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2010 00:26:36 | More by jminsc76
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Central PA crew for sending this as part of the Gang Bang BIF.

A: pours a deep dark brown, dark brown head, creamy appearance, opaque

S: vanilla comes on strong followed by sturdy roasted profile, coffee is faint...seems to have faded a bit

T: well never mind about the coffee fading... that is the first thing I taste. This is countered with delicate notes of vanilla and roasted barley. Things get a little sweet at the end.

MF: medium body, medium carbonation

O: I can't think of a much better combo then coffee, vanilla, and stout. This brew pulls it off nicely, would love to try it fresh.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2011 06:04:53 | More by homebrew311
Photo of joe1510
joe1510

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

Here is yet another beer in a long line of beers off my "wants" courtesy of Mr. Kegatron, thanks again Heath! Victory at Sea has the look of black coffee pouring from the pot as it enters this snifter. When the glass is full the body is black as night with a dense two finger mocha head that has some impressive staying power. Not only does the head show a stick-to-it-tiveness but it leaves behind some impressive jagged lacing as well.

Damn, this beer has an interesting nose on it! When the label says vanilla, it MEANS vanilla. Coffee leaps from the glass first but the vanilla is planted directly on its coattails. There's a handful of dark berries in here as well that actually play a big role, I didn't expect that. The vanilla has a tendency to smell a little artificial at times but it's rich and plays nicely with the coffee and berry undercurrents. Creaminess in the form of heavy cream and sugar make appearances too. A light roast pulls up the rear. The nose really comes into its own when this brew warms. This is an interesting smelling beer to say the least.

This porter is like some sort of delicious, eye opening breakfast concoction. A steaming hot cuppa joe complete with a cube of sugar and a dash of cream comes across the tongue and leads the way from start to finish. The vanilla is pure and clean in the flavor and adds a deep richness to the coffee overtones. A light roast snuggles up toward the finish. This beer is 100% smooth and enjoyable.

The body is lighter than I expected and actually works very well for this coffee-infused brew. The weight is moderately heavy with a carbonation that keeps things moving. There's not even a hint of coffee bitterness like in so many other coffee infused brews.

The first glass goes down incredibly fast. The second glass I slow down slightly and after that this bomber is gone. Two glasses of this brew is plenty for me, I don't think I could do another. The vanilla is so rich it slows me down on my second but it's still immensely enjoyable.

Ballast Point makes some incredible beer and Victory at Sea is no slouch either. The coffee, roast and vanilla make for a luscious libation. I'd love another couple bottles. Thanks for the hook up Heath!

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 04:18:28 | More by joe1510
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,634 ratings.