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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

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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: 967
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 DovaliHops
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with a medium brownish tan head that goes down slowly. Scent is very nice with a good amount of vanilla and coffee. Some roasty aromas with a bit of chocolate. Taste is WOW! They weren't kidding when they put VANILLA in the name of this beer. I get vanilla right up front that lingers throughout the whole taste. Nice blend of coffee and chocolate with the vanilla, along with a hint of dark licorice. The alcohol is well hidden, but it pops up to say hi sometimes. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick, but not syrupy. Drinkability is high. Outstanding porter! Bravo Ballast Point! (595 characters)

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

$8.33 bomber fro Liquor Outlet, Boonton.

Blackest body as can be, with a sliver of ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass. Big billowing dark tan foam. Very good inviting lacing.

Big alluring coffee aroma, with vanilla and hints of chocolate.

Rich roast coffee, deep chocolate, with a vanilla splash at the swallow. Earthy hops provide a tasty background.

Rich full mouthfeel coats the tongue, then the whole mouth.

Great overall package, rich, smooth, deep, with the alcohol completely buried.

Extremely recommended. Enjoy. (534 characters)

Photo of spacebear09
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Appearance- As dark as the depths of the briny sea... yargggggg. A tan head with good retention sits atop this beer.

Smell- Espresso and chocolate

Taste- Dark chocolate, java, vanilla, tobacco spiciness, caramel. This stuff has some outrageously roasty malt notes going on.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation. At one point I could have sworn I felt some grittiness from coffee grinds in there...

Overall- Very good. Not as much sweetness as I was expecting given some of the other reviews. I usually don't like porters as much as stouts, but this is a quality buy at $10 a bomber. (608 characters)

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

Poured into my large tulip. Not quite black, but extremely dark brown. A few hints of highlight around the edges. Gorgeous two fingers of cappuccino foam head. Lace is almost a solid sheet.

Smells like roasted coffee and vanilla with light notes of chocolate. A little bit of roasted barley. Not a whiff of booze, which is hard to believe at 10% ABV.

Tastes like coffee. I should have cracked this one at about 7AM and enjoyed it with some eggs benedict. There is definitely a lot of vanilla, and some sweet brown sugar. The roasted malts serve as a nice backbone, and really say that this is a porter. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy and way closer to a stout or even an imperial stout than a porter. The ABV is well masked. There is a slight dryness at the end.

Overall, this must be the 7th or 8th one I have had this year. I cracked it because there have been some posts saying that the flavors are fading. I have to say they have a bit, but not to the point that I had to drink it before it turned into Black Butte. I can't wait for the next release to compare this to what I remember, and I might even age one for a year or more. (1,158 characters)

Photo of bulletrain76
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Black with a medium tan head that leaves moderate foam and a touch of lace. Not inky though with some mahogany around the edges, which I guess is an argument for it being a porter (whatever that means). The aroma is great, with lots of coffee and maybe even more vanilla; almost like a mocha with a shot of vanilla syrup. I'm having Starbucks flashbacks, and I like it. Plenty of milk chocolate as well, and the vanilla aids in the impression of an immense sweetness. Did I already mention the vanilla? I got more coffee at first, but the vanilla is really coming out over time. Forty-five minutes in the glass, and this begins to resemble vanilla extract. I love that stuff. The flavor is sweet, but not thick or sticky (wait, that's a mouthfeel). Coffee, poser dark chocolate, and lots of vanilla. Fresh coffee, which is always a nice touch. Just enough bitterness to balance the sweet, and no astringency or discomfort. Medium-full body with carbonation that falls somewhere between medium and low. Just a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish, but very integrated and smooth for a ten percent beer. Leans more heavily on the coffee, and especially the vanilla, than I was expecting, but this is fantastic stuff. A true dessert drink, (or morning depending on how you roll, and I do have a slight caffein buzz) but one that is not overly sweet or thick. I could drink a fair bit of this, with alcohol being a welcome limiting factor before any abrasive flavor characteristics. Ballast Point just nailed in on this one: full of flavor, yet balanced and super drinkable. The vanilla is almost silly at times, but I love the stuff and it really works with the rest of the beer. (1,689 characters)

Photo of Popp24
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just picked this up at the brewery last weekend. I really enjoyed this porter.

A - Dark; almost black with about a 1 finger khaki head.

S - I get a lot of vanilla and some coffee and cocoa.

T - What I got from the nose transfered over to the taste. Nice vanilla favors with some mild cocoa as well. The coffee is there but not too much which I like. The porter is so easy to drink for 10 percent; the alcohol is barley their at the finish.

M - Nice and creamy.

O - I really enjoyed this porter and it really had a lot of nice flavors to it. The vanilla and cocoa flavors give it sweetness and the coffee kinda balances that out so it's not too sweet. Was sad when my bomber was empty. (692 characters)

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

at the Hulmeville Inn:
A: dark chocolate with a beautiful, 2-fingered, dark head that shrunk to a nice ring of foam at about the half-way mark

S: yummy vanilla, perfectly-roasted-but-NOT-burnt coffee, dark and sweet maltyness, perfect not-over-the-top boozyness

T: same as the smell, but with a mild, but never bitter hoppyness that shows up a few seconds after swallowing

M: appropriately thick and carbonated for an Imperial

D: I want another. About as drinkable as a 10% ABV can get. Could be a dessert in a glass.

My only other review was also a coffee beer (stout), which I hated. I have since tried other coffee beers and some have been so-so, but this one was really very drinkable. Really delicious. Again, it's 10% ABV, so watch out! (749 characters)

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

Review No. 550

22oz bomber split into tulips with the brother. Wow did this beer blow me away...

A: Viscous opaque pour with plenty of dark khaki head that retains well and laces the glass quite decently...

S: Great nose, impressive balance between coffee notes and vanilla sweetness...these aromas really pop to the front with notes of roasty bitterness and subtle creamy sweetness.

T: Smooth, moderate vanilla balanced with a great coffee presence, medium to light roast, with notes of chocolate and mocha interwoven throughout...as it warms there is an impression of dark caramel and hints of espresso.

The vanilla in this beer is amazing, better than any other vanilla beer I've tasted...its sweet, but not overly so (i.e. ST Creme Brulee) but is a creamy smooth sweetness and not an off flavor (Stone Vanilla Smoked Porter) and this beer is not boozy at all (any vanilla-forward BA beer). Just fantastic balance of aroma/flavor profiles.

MF: Creamy smooth with just a touch of alcohol on the back of the throat. Moderate-to-full body with a semi-viscous feel and a light dryness.

O: Awesome. Will be searching this one out the rest of my beer drinking life I think. Will, thanks so much! Cheers! (1,207 characters)

Photo of mattwjones
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Recently did a side-by-side of VaS 2011 and 2012. I thought I loved this beer fresh, but drinking it a bit more than a year old really lets it shine. Definitely worth grabbing a few bottles of this and putting them in the back of the fridge or in your closet somewhere for a year or two.

a - met all expectations for a high gravity porter

t - a bit acrid and harsh when fresh, but mellows much after a year.

m - here's where its at. this beer is viscous and I love it. Low carb is perfect for a heavy hiring porter like this. (529 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown black pour kicking up a creamy mocha colored foam that levels off to a thinnish but persistent cap. Lacing coats the edge of the glass. This smells fantastic. A bold, dark and quality French roasted coffee is the prominent feature, interwoven with subtle vanilla, roasted caramel, toasted grain. Taste..dark roasted coffee. Nice French roast coffee bitterness plays well with roasted and toasted malts, lightly charred toffee and the vanilla. This may be lightly sweet, but the bitterness of the coffee and hop are very dominant. Body is medium, this of course being an impy porter in weight but carrying imperial stout ABV and flavor so one may expect a more weighty body. Finish is a long lingering coffee bitterness with very subtle hints of vanilla and toffee. If you enjoy high quality coffee and delicious beer you must give this a try. (853 characters)

Photo of atsprings
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #900! 22oz bottle into a Duvel snifter pours a nearly opaque black with a nice lasting frothy light tan head that leaves great lacing on the glass. Aroma is fresh ground coffee up-front with plenty of brown malts, cocoa and a hint of vanilla. The taste is a nice blend of fresh coffee and brown malts and chocolate, quite intriguing as many coffee porter's don't tend to pull the balance off like most coffee stouts, this one is certainly an exception! The beer is medium bodied with the 10% ABV very well hidden. This is a truly special beer, I'm very glad to have Ballast Point available in this area and look forward to trying more of their beers! (657 characters)

Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a creamy mocha head, fading to a silky lacing.
Smell is sweet with vanilla and coffee.
Taste is of quality coffee beans complimented by notes of vanilla and chocolate. The vanilla lingers for a while.
Mouth feel is creamy, easy sipping.
Overall this is a very flavorful and easy drinking imperial porter. The coffee, vanilla and chocolate is bold and in your face. (380 characters)

Photo of greenmonstah
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into tulip

A - Solid black with a solid finger of tan-brown head that sticks to the glass beautifully and lingers for ages. Really impressive.

S - Massive vanilla and coffee, plus a beautiful roasted malt base. Tiny hint of booze that doesn't detract. Some sweetness.

T - Oh my. The vanilla is magnificent. The coffee is dark and bitter but slightly sweet. There is a serious dark chocolate component that adds complexity. The deeply roasted coffee and the roasted malts work well together and are balanced by the sweetness and cocoa bean.

M - Medium-full body, smooth and fulfilling and with a slightly drying finish.

O - Overall a wonderful experience and one of the best beers I have had in a while. From teh first whiff I knew I'd love it, and it didn't let me down one bit. (796 characters)

Photo of gopens44
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a a mocha colored foamy explosion, nesting on top a beautiful opaque beast of a porter. Lacing? Yep, it's real and it's fantastic also.

Nose most reminiscent of cola more so than almost anything else I can pickup at first. A little warmth and agitation brings out some chocolate.

Tastes right there with the nose. I get a lot of cola at first, than a bitter chocolate retreat that is faintly sweet. Like unsweetened dark chocolate. I'm going to guess that the vanilla is manifesting itself as the cola I am getting? Finish is bitter chocolate and very little else. I guess I am getting a tad bit of heat? It's there just warming the innards I guess, but masked better than most anything I have ever had at 10%

This blurs the line between RIS and porter IMO. Such a great tasting beverage. (807 characters)

Photo of Dynobolt
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not a big stout or porter drinker.. Lots of flavors going on and as it got warmer(took me awhile to drink it) it got easier to drink.. Definitely try it agian. (159 characters)

Photo of bassboneman
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love this porter...
I am drinking it from the bottle...I know...bad me!
This is such a delicious beer!
It is sweet and savory and so full of beery wonderful-ness...
I will comment futher once I can get this beer into the proper vessel...
If you can find this brew - get it!
Up yours!

Sam (290 characters)

Photo of Morey
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into an over-sized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours black in color, although you can definitely see some brownish highlights when you hold your glass to the light. There was initially about two fingers of light-brown foam sitting on top of the beer, but it's settled to a thin spotty layer covering only parts of the beer.

Aroma: BIG BAD VANILLA up front. Oh yeah, and there's also suggestions of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, and faint butterscotch underneath.

Taste: I'm getting the vanilla up front for sure. There's a nice sweetness that follows it up balance by some roasted flavors towards the middle. I'm definitely picking up some chocolate notes as this beer nears room temperature. There's some sweetness and bitterness on the back end making for a balanced and flavorful finish.

Mouthfeel: 5 out of 5. Extremely creamy and full bodied with huge vanilla flavor exploding on the palate. Carbonation is pretty low, but just right for the style.

Morey's Bottom Line: Hands down the BEST non-barrel aged coffee beer that I've had. I'd reach for this over Breakfast Stout, Beer Geek Breakfast, and Wake & Bake...and that's saying something! Cheers. (1,184 characters)

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours pitch black with a delicious espresso creme head, about 2-3 fingers thick that lasts for a several minutes, leaving partial lacing that clings to the glass

S: this is where the true triumph and talents of the beer shine through. After the beer has sat and opened up for a minute or two, the coffee notes permeate through your nose with every sniff, with hints of the vanilla trailing quietly behind. Another interesting smell is a faint hint of soy sauce, acting as a type of umami on the nose. The fact that the coffee plays at the forefront and not the vanilla is a truely amazing feat; the way it should be. Despite the high ABV, the alcohol does not burn or singe the nose. It is actually quite pleasant and invigorating.

T: malt, malt and more malt is all I can say. The coffee is rich and the malt is thick, with notes of mocha, caramel, soy sauce and toffee with the finish lasting for several minutes.

M: rich, thick and creamy with the sharpness of the alcohol awakening the taste buds.

O: this beer definitely deserves the high marks everyone gives it, including myself. Porters and imperial porters are my favorite styles of beer, and this beer definitely has implanted itself into my all time favorites. A triumph ballast point, keep them coming! (1,271 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

____________

Edit: 07/24/15 - Have had this a ton of times over the years and I think it has gotten much better. One of my favorite porters ever to be honest. (892 characters)

Photo of khiasmus
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

We achieved victory. It was hard fought, the ships grinding together and the ropes straining at the anchors as the furled sails flapped in the wind. They were unaware and unarmed, and we stormed their decks with gusto at night, the sea all black, pitch black with a big layer of foam at the crest of every wave, until it went calm, until it sank to just the black.
The aromas, aside from the gunpowder and bodies... it smelled of coffee and vanilla, cinnamon, some chocolate and carob, as we careen up on the upper decks, the swordplay of footwork, one wrong step and you will be lost. Some raspberry chocolate, and the oatmeal we had for breakfast on the high seas...
Still, it's unbelievably easy to quaff, though the footwork is madness, though the clanging in the night only reminds you to disarm, disarm, then the only battle is to force him off of the edge... Davy Jones' locker, a long, easy dark drink... you were a decent fighter my friend, but no match for us...
As to the thickness, the body, it's rather nice, but a little thin for the rumored power, just a hint light, but it adds to the effect, to the easy drink, it's easy, Just trust us. Give up.
And of course, the flavours... who could forget? Oatmeal with cream, the same chocolate and perhaps some carob, some black bread toast, lightly burnt, can't ask for much more in this world, anyway... and the faint lingering of the alcohol, the whiskey we sing our songs to every night, raise your flagons, ye dogs! Raise 'em high! We have won another Victory at Sea, me gents!Never Surrender, and take everything! Hahaha! Here's to another Victory at Sea! (1,619 characters)

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Glad to have Ballast Point here in the Badger State. Enjoyed this brew at cellar temp. Served in a FFF Teku glass. A dark brown color with a mocha head that settles quickly to a collar. The aroma is a huge blast of fresh ground coffee. It was reminiscent of Big Bad Baptist. If you enjoy coffee, you will love this beer. The flavor is also very coffee forward. A wonderful blend of bitterness, with a kiss of of vanilla bean and caramel sweetness. The 10% ABV is amazingly well hidden. The mouthfeel is that of an easy drinking medium bodied brew. Slightly dry coffee ground finish. Overall, this is a world class Porter. I'd gladly recommend this brew. (653 characters)

Photo of Kelly88
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Popping a special brew for my 25th review.Victory at Sea received as an extra in a trade, thanks billshmeinke. Poured multiple times into my Arrogant Bastard pint glass.
A- Pours a dark brown into the glass and ends up looking pitch black with ruby edges and a light brown fizzy head that quickly succumbs to a spotty cap. Beer is trying to hold onto the glass with each sip.

S- this beer has a rich smell of creamy milk chocolate and it smells great. Vanilla is there and adds to the great milk chocolate smell.The smallest amount of alchohol comes through and really creates an enticing smell.

T- Great tastes of chocolate and vanilla. I only taste the coffee at the very finish which creates a nice balancing act of oh so sweet and tasty and the bitterness of the coffee bringing it back to a tasty balance.

M- Nice and thick that delivers the flavor oh so well. Nice viscosity for a porter and really makes it feel more like an imperial stout. Mild carbonation. I really like the feel.

D- Ive only had 12 ounces of the bomber and Im feeling the effects. No barriers in drinking this beer except for the alcohol. Not to sweet and it only gets easier to drink the more I drink. (1,183 characters)

Photo of JohnnyMc
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a deep black with 2 fingers of mocha/tan head.

The aroma is dominated by vanilla bean, coffee, roasted malt notes and dark chocolate.

The taste is also mainly vanilla bean and coffee flavors along with notes of roasted malt and bittersweet dark chocolate. A slight hint of caramel towards the back of the beer, but mainly coffee and vanilla. No alcohol taste or smell apparent.

The mouthfeel is rich, creamy and smooth and the body is on the full side of medium. Extremely balanced between sweet and bitter and is very easy to drink.

Overall, this is a great beer that is very easy to drink and it has a lot of flavor and would be great as a desert beer. (672 characters)

Photo of twillingthenoz
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass. Frothy tan head. Diminishes into a one finger height head that stays as you drink. Thick fluffy lacing. Opaque dark brown.

Smells of roasted coffee beans. Some vanilla scent coming through.

Might very well be my new favorite coffee stout. mmmm coffee taste up front. Nice sweetness... then a well balanced bitterness at the end.

Very smooth and creamy. Light carbonation. Coats your mouth and sticks around for a while after you swallow.

This one gives you everything you want in a coffee porter. Not too thick, not too sweet, nice hoppy coffee bitterness. (591 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Scott for this bottle!

This is probably my favorite "imperial" American porter I have ever had. The only thing is I am not sure what makes this a "porter" as opposed to a stout. Regardless, it's awesome.

A: Black body with half a finger of mocha tan head. Not much lacing.

S: Roasty malt, coffee, some sweetness. To be honest, it smells pretty straightforward. Coffee, dark chocolate. Not much vanilla noted.

T: Starts off bitter espresso, dark chocolate, some toasted nuts, some hops. Again not much vanilla. It's bold, lingering.

M: Thick. Perhaps it's even thicker than most imperial stouts.

O: I would described this as an imperial coffee/dark chocolate stout that is on the drier side. It's quite awesome. Highly recommended if you like espresso coffee. (775 characters)

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