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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
98
world-class

4,303 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,303
Reviews: 977
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 773
Gots: 879 | FT: 71
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
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Ratings: 4,303 | Reviews: 977 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a complete black. Very nice brown head and it amazingly thickens up and stays with the brew considering its at 10% abv.

The smell is of fresh ground coffee, chocolate, and slight vanilla.

I cant pick any vanilla up in the taste. The taste is mostly of coffee and to me it overpowers the aftertaste just a tad.

The mouthfeel is very thick so this isnt a beer you could drink a lot of, and at 10% thats not always a bad thing.

A great beer overall but personally not my favorite. Worth trying for sure though.

Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served from Bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Pour a nice thick head that dissipates into a nice cap that remains through tasting.

Smell: This is where I pick up most of the character of this beer. Vanilla and Coffee are first to meet the senses, with a slight hint of booze. Chocolate comes in as well, but only to a minimum.

Taste: Somewhat looses it here. Noticed a majority of the vanilla in the mid palate, with a coffee finish, but neither to an extreme. Was expecting more of a wow factor here, but both flavors match each other nicely. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body feel to it, with appropriate carbonation. The only problem comes in as the glass warms, you get a definite sense of the 10%. Was expecting a little smoother warmth from Ballast Point.

Overall: A good imperial porter, but for the money, I was expecting a little more wow factor. This is one that I will definitely recommend, and it is a good effort, but I think that it could have come across a little more aggressively on some of the flavors.Still though, another very good beer by Ballast Point

Photo of snpub540
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours such a dark brown that its almost black. Light brown head that leaves the slightest amount of lacing but I didn't expect much.

Aroma is of coffee and the slightest hint of vanilla or oak.

Taste is definitely reminiscent of a light RIS. Coffee and roasted flavors make up the bulk of the flavor. Alcohol fruitiness is definitely in the finish.

Mouthfeel is spot of for a porter. Smooth and silky with the flavor of a stout. This is for sure the biggest porter I have ever drank.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into snifter. Tasting notes from 45 degrees and up.

Pours pitch black, almost no brown showing through anywhere other than the very edges, a nice , dense one-finger light-brown head. Nice stickage, impressive lacing. After the head disappears, a few swirls are all that's needed to resurrect it.

Nose is big on espresso; robust, rich, and full, with an underlying vanilla/smooth dark chocolate sweetness. Not a bit of acidity. Wow, really nice.

Taste is pretty unique. It pretty much throws everything at you right from the beginning - big roasty espresso, loads of vanilla, and some dark, dark chocolate underneath. There's definitely a dichotomy hear between the fairly sharp, roasty bitterness and the big sweet vanilla note, with the vanilla pulling ahead around mid-palate and the espresso roaring back to dominate the long, dry, moderately bitter roasty finish. Bit boozey.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied, with a crisp but reserved carbonation.

Drinkability is ok. This is definitely an "extreme" beer, in that all the flavor notes are really huge and kind of battle it out for dominance instead of syncing up and trying to work with each other. A hair less vanilla and a bit less on the bitterness scale and this one would work quite a bit better. As it is now, it's a nice beer, but it really takes no prisoners.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. no date found. poured into tulip. tasted in mid/late april 2009

opaque black, with some red-brown tints under the light or when tilting glass. light brown, 1.5-finger head, slowly recedes to wispy layer and ring. multiple, though sometimes thin, rings of lace.

aroma: lots of vanilla and coffee, with cocoa hint, caramel and lightly roasted malts give faint earthy note underneath, along with hint of hops. a bit simple, but bold and fragrant.

taste: bold coffee and roast, with vanilla to back up the caramel, though it can be slightly over-assertive. bitterness is almost quite bold. acidic coffee flash before bitter coffee finish, with more vanilla tones.

medium body, ever so slightly thin, with syrupy smoothness at first, then lots of acidity and some astringent texture. moderate carbonation gives tingle upfront, then back off to help give body.

Photo of nickfl
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one and a half fingers of medium tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - Coffee, chocolate, dark sugar, and some vaguely spicy notes of pepper and chicory.

T - Sweet malt and dark sugar up front with notes of caramel, nutty toffee, and dark bread. Smoky coffee and chocolate in the middle with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla really comes out in the finish with more smoky coffee and spicy notes of clove and cinnamon.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Thick and sweet, there is a lot going on here. The vanilla works well with the dark sugar and coffee flavors though it becomes a bit excessive in the finish. The finish is a bit too sweet for my taste and that, combined with the vanilla, puts it in the same category as Southern Tier's sweet stouts; it is a dessert beer and works well for one glass, but finishing a full bottle is a bit of a challenge.

Photo of whatthehull
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tulip

A - deep brown/ black, one finger very tan head and some nice sticky lacing

S - Coffee, vanilla, hop, wood, chocolate and tons of roastiness

T - tons of vanilla up front, tons of coffee, chocolate, very roasty, tons of malts, earth, wood, a funk (maybe yeast?), a big hop note and just tons of coffee. It even has the coffee acidity!

M - medium plus body, lots of acidity, not much complexity, not very balanced and a very long finish

D/O - this is a big beer and tons of coffee, if you don't like coffe this one, you will not be a fan of! Very enjoyable, love the flavor profiles and fun to drink from cold to room temp. Not refreshing at all, just a fun enjoyable imperial beer

Final thought - I really like ballast point and I have yet to try this beer, not a big porter fan, but this one is nice. $8 a pop and 10% is nice. Hope it ages well

Photo of Bearman13
4.04/5  rDev -8%

Photo of Northtexan
4.04/5  rDev -8%

Photo of doldham
4.04/5  rDev -8%

Photo of DeanPoudrier
4.04/5  rDev -8%

Photo of MaximalC
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours seal brown with the barest of ruby highlights, topped by a modest head of mocha foam that settles shortly into a thin veil. A persistent sheet of lacing clings to the glass as the beer descends. The aroma features HUGE roasted coffee notes with traces of dark chocolate and vanilla. The flavor matches the nose, with a massive kick of roasted coffee that lingers indefinitely. This is not the watered down coffee adjunct that so commonly passes for "coffee flavor" in beer--this is the real deal. There's also a noticeable alcoholic burn on the front end, which is unorthodox but not shocking considering the ABV, though it's tolerable for the style. Some dark chocolate can be found lurking beneath the charred, roasted foreground, but vanilla doesn't feature as prominently as the label would suggest. A slightly peppery hop bite accentuates the bitterness of the roasted malt on the back end. I can't wait for this to warm up and really see what it can do*. The body is medium and complements the flavor profile well, while the carbonation is appropriately modest.

This is not an especially nuanced brew, but if you're looking for something bold with an authentic, deluxe coffee character, you've come to the right place.

*Warming does indeed reveal some subtle dark fruit that was close to invisible at cooler temperatures.

Photo of Bradaplast
4.04/5  rDev -8%

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a jet black with 1/2 an inch of a creamy tan head that laces and dissipates into a thin chocolate covering. the nose is chocolatey with bits of vanilla sweetness. the taste is rich & full bodied, malty & roasty with great chocolate sweetness. Initially it's very sweet and slightly warming, but finishes with a heavy burnt roasty and bitterness. this is a really tasty beer, great price and availability in wny, drinks more like a stout though

Photo of aleckpa
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a soapy, mocha head. About a finger's head on the pour, it goes away for the most part but some lingers. Bubbly mocha rims the glass. Great lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Coffee followed by vanilla. Some roasted malts as well. Smells sweet but not overpowering.

T: Similar to the nose. Coffee front of the tongue and vanilla on the back. There is a good balance between the two flavors. In my opinion, you can taste both distinctly and separately yet they balance out. I don't taste any alcohol which could be dangerous.

M: Smooth and creamy. Not thick like a stout. Medium bodied.

O: This is an excellent beer. I personally don't like vanilla in beers, but with the coffee it balances it out. At 10% ABV, the alcohol is masked pretty well, so it will sneak up on you. For the flavors and ABV in this beer, it's worth the price.

Photo of Scipio3
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I would say this beer would be perfect first beer on a Saturday or Sunday morning tailgating.
Pours a dark dark brown, almost black. Off tan head is medium in size, looks a touch soapy.

Aroma is what makes me think of mornings. Coffee and roasted malt, like dark toast. Hints of vanilla smooth it out and calm down the roastiness.

Yum. Good flavors. Vanilla and coffee blend nicely with the coffee taking the upper hand. Dark roast and rich. Sweetness is halted by the warming alcohol, which would make drinking two or these a chore, but fun.
Smooth feel to it. Gimmie some pork and beans, grilled on an open flame with this stuff.
very nice.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a tan head. Nose is tight vanilla and coffee. But mostly coffee. Flavor is sweet coffee tones. Almost like you added that faux creamer to your coffee. A bit too sweet IMO, but it does still work quite nicely. Feel has a biting carbonation on the mouth and the liquid is thicker on the body. Overall a good stout. Robust and ripe with character. Though I feel the vanilla is coming on just a bit too much. It'll be interesting to see how this reacts as it warms up.

Photo of Retsinis
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass.

Pours a deep, rich black, with brown highlights when held to the light. Less than an inch of head, that fades to a light lacing that sits on top, and sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell is of vanilla, roasted coffee, burnt brown sugar, and a tinge of bitter hops, but comes across more as bitter coffee.

Taste follows the nose, coffee, vanilla, some tobacco, dark chocolate ( like 70% dark chocolate)

Mouth feel is a bit creamy, but doesn't linger on the palate. Heat of the 10% is well masked, but comes through more once it warms up.

Overall, one of the top coffee porters. The 2010 seems a bit too balanced in contrast to previous years, with the flavors melding to a point of masking what is a complex beer. Having sampled various variety's, the barrel aged tap version is delicious, as was last year's fresh, (Also aged last years for a year, vanialla comes through a lot, coffee fades quite a bit, was still present though) but last years cask version with Rum chips takes the prize.

Recommended in any variant though, great seasonal.

Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one finger of tan head. Light carbonation and lacing evident.

s - Smells of milk chocolate, roasted malts, cofee, and a hint of alcohol.Some vanilla too. Very nice.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, hops, roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol.

m - High carbonation and medium body. Some alcohol warmth.

d - A pretty good porter. Smells amazing with lots going on, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the bitterness in the taste; it was a bit too much. I didn't get any vanilla from the taste which I would have liked, and also thought the high carbonation hurt it a bit. None the less, it is still a very good porter worth checking out. Would have again.

Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been hoping for this since Texas finally got Ballast Point this summer.

It pours out dark with a creamy fluffy cloud of a lightly browned head.

The aroma definitely tells you that there is coffee in this. Sweet milk chocolate and vanilla. Light roast and dark fruit notes. Everything is under the prevalent coffee aroma.

Coffee, roast, and alcohol are balanced a bit by the sweeter vanilla and chocolate flavors. The roasty coffee profile of the beer again exerts its dominance on this beer in the flavor department.

Has a big creamy silky smooth mouthfeel.

Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at 'The Hopping Pig' in San Diego.
Pitch black with half a fingers worth of dark tan colored head that dissipated to a thin film.
Lots of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla and some cocoa notes coming through.
Aroma is translated almost completely to the taste. Lots of roasted malt, coffee notes. However, the vanilla comes through more in the taste than the aroma. There is a very good balance between the coffee and vanilla.
Very good mouthfeel and damn tasty beer.
Definitely worth a try and comes highly recommended.

Photo of axeman9182
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the generous BA Soonami. This one was allowed to warm a good bit before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Victory at Sea pours a solid black, with a tan head that comes up to between two and three fingers in height. There's a decent amount of lacing left behind, and the foam takes its time in inching down the side of the glass. The nose is almost perfectly balanced. There's some sweet milk chocolate that's neck and neck with strong coffee in terms of flavors standing out. I think a lot of porters and stouts sometimes overdo it on roasty grain notes, but this beer is notable for it's pretty much complete lack of any. I actually wish there was a little bit of roast to give the nose more of an edge, but that's really nitpicking. That superior balance isn't found in the flavor, for the most part. Coffee jumps out and dominates any chocolaty notes on my palate. As the beer finishes approaching room temperature, the coffee and vanilla bean influences finally begin to even out again, but it's a bit too late to make this a truly great beer. The carbonation is appropriately subdued, but I expect a rich and full body from a 10% porter, and this one just doesn't deliver on that front. Victory at Sea is a very good beer, and one that I would gladly come back to, but it's just a step below true greatness.

Photo of chaz410
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black body, light has no chance in this viscous black hole of shadows. A light kakhi head sits atop this solid black brick of fluid.
Smells of coffee, vanilla hints, caramel and toasted malt.
The taste is amazing. There's a huge amount of roasted mocha and coffee. Laced across this robust backbone is subtle caramel and a nice vanilla sweetness with a very bright toasted character toward the end. There is a slightly charred coffee-like bitterness at the end.
Very thick and silky mouthfeel.
A very drinkable but assertive Imperial porter!

Photo of krisandajt
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A gentle pour from the bottle, the beer is black, dark and viscous. There is virtually no head atop this brew, only a thin ring of coffee colored foam where the beer meets the glass.

Smell: Nice roasted quality with some chocolate and coffee mixed in. I've been sitting on this one for a while, I get the impression the coffee has faded somewhat. Still, smells very good.

Taste: Some nice hints of vanilla, I really didn't get much of it in the nose so it's a bit of a surprise. The roasted quality isn't as pronounced as it was in the nose. Sweet, milk chocolate. Everything is pretty well balanced. Not getting much coffee, but again I think that's the result of the beer sitting down in my cellar.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body, good carbonation. Very easy drinking beer given its potency.

Drinkability: A fine drinking porter perfect for a cold night like tonight. My one gripe is that I should have opened this one up sooner. I'd like to try it fresher and see if the coffee comes through more. Still, I'm enjoying it and I would recommend it to anybody.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 4,303 ratings.