1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

4,571 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,571
Reviews: 1,024
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 838
Gots: 1,034 | FT: 78
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

Imperial Porter with Coffee & Vanilla.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,571 | Reviews: 1,024 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Respirologist
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of pzymali
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of tom10101
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of roblund
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of JoeBloe
4.01/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i tried this earlier today with friends, bottles were nicely chilled -
everybody loved this, and there were more remarks about chocolate flavor than coffee or vanilla - now i'm having a glass at home, served a little warmer -
pours a deep chestnut brown, nearly opaque
the 1 finger head recedes to form a 1/4 inch collar around the glass with spotty lacing on the sides and a swirly 'crema' on the surface -
not much aroma from this -
taste is complex and smoooothe - yes, i can taste the vanilla notes and the coffee, with a little choco/toffee on the finish -very well balanced - i cannot taste the alcohol in this 10% brew - damn! is this smooth!
mouthfeel is quite good with a creaminess that begs for the next sip - not sticky - medium/full bodied
drinks waaay too easy for the abv
great stuff!

Photo of Floydster
4.01/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glass at O'Briens in San Diego a few weeks back, also tasted at the Alesmith release courtesy of Dr. Bill and once before at the Stone Bistro, so this is the third time I have tasted this brew on tap, reviewed from notes on two occasions

A-Black as it can possibly be, cannot see through it a bit, 3/4 inch mocha colored head that stuck around for two to three minutes, decent retention, nice lacing

S-Coffee and I mean tons of it, probably the strongest espresso aroma I have smelled in a beer, roasted malt, dark chocolate, some vanilla, caramel, toffee, and burned accents

T-Starts off with a big dry coffe taste, then some vanilla and chewy roasted malt in the middle, finish is very dry and slightly sweet from some chocolate accents, later on this one started to taste like a White Russian with milk, sweet cream, and a big Kahlua flavor like some of the other reviews mentioned, it was not overly sweeet but rather toasty, very well balanced and even though the coffee was strong, it did not seem overpowering, chocolate and caramel came out more in the flavor towards the end, very enjoyable from start to finish

M-Dry and roasted mouthfeel, good level of carbonation, maybe too much carbonation, taste lingered for quite some time, coffee provides unparalleled dry and crisp sensation

D-Could not drink much more than a pint of this stuff, its ABV is high and the alcohol is not fully hidden, smooth for the most part but strong, not too heavy on the stomach but coffee can be tiresome

Did not like it as much as the syrah barrel version I tasted at the anniversary party but it was still very good, one of the better coffee porters out there mainly because of its balance in flavor, would definitely drink more in the future, certainly recommended

Photo of chaz410
4.01/5  rDev -8.9%
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 turbotype
4.01/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of largadeer
4.02/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Gourmet Haus Staudt.

Appearance: Black as pitch, almost opaque even in the pour. The cream colored head is small but surprisingly persistent.

Smell: Coffee - check. Lots of it. Vanilla - check. Kind of smells like one of those syrupy coffee drinks you'd get at Starbucks, only incredibly alcoholic. The coffee character is dark, heavily roasted. There's plenty of dark malt, too; almost burnt, but not quite there. It's a necessary element, keeping the sweetness in check and providing a foundation for the adjunct ingredients.

The first few sips pretty much taste like spiked coffee. It's ridiculously dominant at colder temperatures, but once the beer has a chance to warm up it reveals a bit more depth. Vanilla appears at a comfortable level, present but not overwhelming. It's amplified by chocolatey sweetness, though the flavor goes right back to bitter black coffee in the finish.

It's a full-bodied beer, certainly potent, but not terribly sweet or syrupy given the 10% ABV. It could be argued that the coffee and vanilla are overbearing, but it really does work - in small quantities at least.

Photo of owenbrau
4.02/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mattgreger
4.02/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this brew from a 22oz bomber. It poured a very dark, creamy black. It had a very thick, 2 inch head that had some great retention. It also had some very nice lacing as well. The head retention was very impressive, based on how high of an ABV this brew is.

The aroma on this brew is pretty good. Its got a nice rich smell of vanilla up front, that blends into a nice roasted coffee aroma. There is a bunch of milk chocolate aromas that come forth in the middle, then it all finishes with a bit of a hops aroma. It smells very good. I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells.

The flavor on this brew is very creamy, the front is a great rush of smooth milk chocolate flavors, a rich vanilla, and a great rush of fresh coffee. Its a great flavor that mixes well with hops and give this brew a nice powerful punch. It does have a bit of a boozy hit a the end. But the creaminess of the brew makes it work.

Mouthful was great. It was thick and very creamy. It went down very easy, but had a nice alcohol bite at the end, that gaves you a nice warming feeling.

The drink on this brew was great. It had great roasted flavors, along with some good bitterness. It balances out this brew very well. Great brew by Ballast Point.

Photo of polloenfuego
4.02/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Froma 22 oz bottle to a pint glass.

A: deep dark brown with a thumb sized root beer head. The head breaks down giving way to thick lacing.

S: vanilla is the premier smell, followed by coffee, roasted malts and some caramel.

T: roast and coffee but the the vanilla taste really comes through here. I found this to be almost a little overpowering.

M: good carbonation and a chewyness that was nice. The finish was a bit bitter however.

O: a good porter, though the vanilla did at times seem too strong. I also found that as this beer moved up in temperature it became a little less flavorful and a little boozier.

Photo of afksports
4.02/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my buddy Matt for shipping me these from San Diego, days after their recent October release. Perfect to drink on a fantasy football day. Also perfect because there's a skeleton on the bottle and it's Halloween.

The appearance is dark brown with hints of amber, and a nice finger of tan head that diminishes fairly quickly to just rimming the drink. The smell is excellent. Coffee, vanilla, like the name suggests, but then also malts, chocolate, and a little carbon.

The taste is also big on coffee. Starts like an espresso, then finishes with some caramel, mocha, and vanilla. In the mouth it's a little bit less creamy than I'm accustomed to with an imperial, but nothing terrible. It's definitely drinkable, although the alcohol is definitely present as it warms. Happy Halloween!

Photo of magictrokini
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with brown edges, and a short, bubbly tan head. Spotty lacing. Fresh-brewed strong coffee aroma with roasted (and slightly burnt) chocolate malt. Some vanilla and cream as well. Big coffee taste. Strong and black, wtih the malt taking just a little off the edge. Creamy middle, with the vanilla and some caramel poking through, giving it a melted milkshake taste. Reverts to a bitter coffee finish. The mouthfeel is deceiving. Its appropriate for the style, but the taste makes you want something a little thicker.

Photo of BZero007
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles from Vendome in Cali.
No dating is shown on the bottle anywhere.

Pours a very black tar color with a brown chocolate head forming with ease. The aroma is light but strong with sweet dark malt and a hint of vanilla in the background. The flavor has the sweet dark malt in the front showing strong as porter should, with the vanilla pushing it through. Body was a bit heavier then the baltic porters that I am used to. Very tasty brew with no taste of the alcohol at all in the brew.
Very enjoyable may pick up another some time in the future.

Photo of iadler
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger dark mocha head that dissipates into a nice cap. Webs of lacing are left behind.

S- Roasted malt is prominent upfront with coffee beans, dark chocolate, black cherry, vanilla and caramel malt.

T- Dark chocolate covered espresso beans, heavy dose of roasted malt, char, burnt caramel, light cream, and a hint of dark fruit.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a dry roasted finish.

O- While the coffee was quite upfront and robust, I didn't get too much vanilla in the taste. The heavy roast presence got a bit too overwhelming, but certainly a nice offering from Ballast Point and one I would like to try fresh.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory At Sea, finally got to buy a bottle at, huh, don't remember? Either Wegman's in Princeton or Oak Tree in South Plainfield, both in New Jersey.

Appearance: Served in my Sierra snifter, Victory At Sea pours thick and creamy, producing an exuberant mocha-colored head that dies soon. Bubbles, a rim around the glass and some of the grandest lacing I've ever seen remain throughout, though.

Smell: Coffee, some bourbon and/or barreled liquor. Lots of vanilla, but sort of a fake vanilla scent, like liquid Mexican vanilla. Not bad but could be better (like Goose Island Bourbon Vanilla- pure vanilla pods). Some wood too.

Taste: More vanilla, again sort of fake but pleasant anyway. Gourmet coffee at the end, and liquid sugar. Some wood and smoke. Nice, but not terribly complex. And that "fake" vanilla buggers me a bit. Nice dry hoppiness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy overall. VERY smooth indeed. Medium-to-full body, full flavor, medium (and very appropriate) carbonation. Dry woodsy finish. Elements of bourbon.

Overall: For a porter, this is superb. If it were an Imperial Stout (which, at 10%, it kind of should), then it might not be so great. Drinkable, smooth, balanced, never boozy. Not terribly interesting but very pleasant. The fake vanilla aroma/taste bothers me a little, but it doesn't hurt this overall good brew. Would love to try on tap and/or cask.

Photo of jabo134
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 bomber I purchased fresh that year it was released and completely forgot about it until today. Poured into a snifter, it appears dark brown in color with more than a finger of dark tan head. The cap recedes to a thin film across the top. A light swirl brings back a finger of dark khaki head. When held to the light, it shows some dark brown clarity around the edges with some indication of red through the body.

The smell includes everything you would expect based off of the aroma. Coffee, vanilla, roasty grain, chocolate and a bit of a citrus element that comes from a combination of hops and the citrus component of strong coffee. A little bit of mineral inclusion is present as well as a musty grain/coffee and sulfur inclusion towards the back. The more I smell this brew, the more it comes across like cocoa.

The taste of this brew is roasty initially that blends into a flavor of vanilla and coffee. The coffee is lightly musty and contains a bit of a citrus element. The roast is bitter and produces some unsweetened chocolate flavors. There is a bit of a mineral element present that blends into the citrus element of the hops and coffee. Each flavor is individually identifiable but collective comes together to make a fairly good brew.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The 10% abv is felt with both flavor and warmth but it blends nicely with the character displayed throughout. Overall not a bad brew, this is something I wouldn't mind revisiting immediately after it's release to see how that coffee is while it is fresh.

Photo of July2Nov
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a very dark brown (almost black) color with an ever so slight glimmer of light around the edges (ruby like in color). Had a nice two-finger, creamy head on it that soon went down to a half-finger.

Smell: Very coffee like with a big amount of chocolate and a tad bit of vanilla. Also has a syrupy hint. This smells very intoxicating.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Very robust! Big on flavor! Everything mentioned in the smell category is doubled - tripled in taste. Begins with a smooth, chalky coco/vanilla taste, then milds down with the syrup flavor...ends with mild to stronger bit of alcohol bite. The aftertaste is pure coffee.

Drinkabilty: For a 10.00% abv this is drinkable, but not to the point of having another one. Very good American Porter by a respectable brewing team. Ballast Point always tends to put out quality brews and for that, I salute you, Captain.

Photo of KevinBrewer
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep brown around the edges, bordering on black in the center. Tall tan head that dissipates to a small covering, leaving patchy lacing in its wake.

N- Earthy, mildly roasty coffee tones dominate the nose with soft milk chocolate malt underneath. Vanilla is about equal with the coffee, and the bean characters of both ingredients blend really well here. Also has an unexpected "Fruity Pebbles" character as it warms. Alcoholic fumes are noticeable but not distracting.

T- Lots of vanilla bean goodness on the palate. Soft roasted coffee blends nicely with roasty, chocolatey malt. As the beer warms, there's an odd fruity character which I've never noticed before. Firm leafy, tannic bitterness with an alcoholic kick that becomes a bit biting. This is definitely the hottest batch I've had. Long bitter, roasty finish with some lingering vanilla and a pleasant peppery alcohol to warm the soul on a cold California night.

M- Medium-light body, slightly slick, moderate carbonation, with a long, bitter, dry, tannic finish.

O- A nice treat for the winter season. I like the dry complexity of this brew. The high level of tannins from the coffee and roasted malt work beautifully with the vanilla. I imagine the barrel-aged version of this beer would be ridiculous.

Photo of Lunch
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle acquired in a trade with volatilesther (Thanks!) into my Brooklyn Brewery snifter at cellar temperature (02/13/10).

A: Pours very dark shade of brown, nearing black with a one finger cap of an espresso colored head that has some retention and leaves bits of thick lace.

S: The smell is dominated by coffee and vanilla, as one would expect, along with notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and bitter dark chocolate.

T: As with the smell, the flavor profile is made up of primarily coffee and vanilla. Rather fresh tasting with layers of bitter, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Perhaps just a hint of alcohol comes into play as well.

M: Medium-bodied with a with a low-moderate carbonation and some creaminess.

D: Quite drinkable and very flavorful with the 10% abv. hidden extremely well.

Overall this a great take on the Imperial Coffee Porter and another solid offering from Ballast Point. Thanks again Esther! Recommended.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
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 -8.4%
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.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 4,571 ratings.