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

1,161 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,161
Hads: 5,643
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 949
Gots: 1,582 | FT: 108
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: 1,161 | Hads: 5,643
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)

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

22oz bottle pour. Phenomenal - from the first sniff to the last sip. Big notes of roasted chocolate and huge swathes of vanilla pervade the nose and the taste. Beautiful tan foam head on the pour, with a medium body and mouthfeel. This is stellar. The coffee notes are not acrid at all - but provide a good dose of body and kick to this imperial porter. Booze is hidden at 10% - goes down almost too well here. This is a beer I have had my eye on for a while and it was worth the wait. (485 characters)

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

Thanks to claspada for the trade!

A: sexy black with tons of tan head and excellent retention. Copious lace on my glass. Gorgeous!

S: everything here is big and bold. Milk chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, sweet malts, booze.

T: wow, where to start? Everything described above shines through perfectly, with the vanilla and caramel finally showing up right in the middle of it all. Doesn't lean too hard in any direction, however, and its initial sweetness is balanced nicely by a dry, bitter coffee finish. Perfect amount of alcohol to bring these flavors together and provide mild warmth as it goes down.

M: big and hearty, perfectly carbonated, but still holding out for a nitro version. :)

A superb brew overall. I'm texting my friend in SD right now to pick up a few bottles next time he's out. (804 characters)

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

Picked up one of these on a beer run down to MA. Poured into our large tulip snifter, revealing rich midnight brown body and an appealing thick tanned head. Good lacing, too. For a porter, it's awesome looking. Smells like the taste of coffee vanilla ice cream with nice roasty porter black malt-type notes.

Tastes smooth and quite sweet, with omnipresent roasted flavors laced with vanilla and burnt caramel. I always get a little more raw woody character to porters than other dark beers and here is no exception. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with carbonation adding volumes without being too tingly. That said, it is quite acidic. A nice coffee/hoppy bitterness rounds out each sip. Detectable alcohol presence. Medium to heavy-bodied. With all its acidity, it drinks like a well-done dark roast but the sweetness does ease that. I'd love to see this one with a year or two on it to catch the coffee mellowing.

For an imperial porter, it's excellent. (956 characters)

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

A- Hard pour puts up a towering, dense ash/light brown colored head. Lasts for quite some time and settles at about 2 1/2 fingers. Lacing all over the glass on this. Brew is a very dark brown, no light getting through.

S- Strong, delicious brown roast coffee up front. Blends with a good bit of regular mocha actually. The vanilla is there underneath the coffee, and the coffee comes in again in aftertaste. The malts are dark but take a backseat to the wonderful smelling coffee and vanilla, it's almost like an iced coffee with creamer. So good.

T- The taste is this amazing coffee, you San Diegan's are lucky for this "Caffe Colabria". Taste is much like the nose really. Mocha follows the coffee, then followed by vanilla beans. My only complaint is the 10% is felt on the backend with heat and some boozy taste.

M- Mouth is fully bodied, silky smooth with mid to high carbonation. As coffee does this appears to coat your mouth and teeth.

O- So often does a coffee stout/porter overpower you with burnt bitter roasted malt, this does not. This is a world class brew. This profiles the coffee and vanilla without killing you with roast. This is my favorite coffee stout/porter thus far. I will look for this always. (1,224 characters)

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

Oh my god. Thats all I have to say about this world class beer.... Aroma full of roasted coffee and vanilla, nice lacing, great creamy mouthfeel, with a robust dark heavy stout flavor, notes of vanilla bean and coffee, HEAVY roast flavor... soooo good. I hope to find this in my local TEXAS beer haberdasher for times to come. Maybe my new favorite. (349 characters)

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

A: Pours a deep dark brown almost black color with no light coming through. Provides a thick brown foam head with excellent retention. Lots of lacing down the sides.

S: Ample amounts of sweet vanilla, chocolate, sugar with a small undertone of roasted coffee. Scents are quite potent.

T: Starts of rich and creamy and smooth. Lots of vanilla and chocolate blended nicely and not overly sweet. In the middle some mild undertones of roasted coffee that balance out the sweetness. The back end finishes with a rich deep roasted black coffee taste with some burnt wood and alcohol. The alcohol is not hot but slightly noticeable.

M: A nice rich full bodied beer. Nice amount carbonation. Leaves a roasted coffee taste on the palate that lingers for a long time.

O: This is a fantastic porter. Very complex with a lot going on but it is quite balanced. There is just a tad hint of alcohol but it is no means hot. Definitely a beer you must try if you enjoy imperial porters. (975 characters)

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

Pours a dark pitch-black viscous liquid. There is a thin light tan head.

Aroma is of awesome coffee notes, espresso with hint of vanilla. Definitely some cocoa is present as well. The nose is pretty big on the vanilla with the coffee roast balancing it a bit.

Flavor on the other hand is so much more balanced. There is a strong espresso and coffee-ground roast with a smooth and silky vanilla note. The roast comes up quick and aggressive coating the palate with bitter coffee notes and some deep dark bitter/sweet cocoa. Then the sweet vanilla comes in trying to mellow out the coffee and adding a nice second dimension. There are some nice burnt notes and cocoa sweetness that mingle with the vanilla and the delicious coffee as well near the middle-end of the sip that really make this brew delicious. Mouthfeel seems just right with a nice silky and oily and full feel.

Overall this is a great brew. Top notch Porter as well. The vanilla notes and coffee notes are delicious together and independently are well crafted. The more cocoa like Porter notes also ad a great dimension. (1,088 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Big fluffy mocha head with pretty good stay. Eventually it recedes but not with out throwing tons of lacing in the form of rings around the glass. The beer its self is a coffee colored deep brown that collects in the glass and becomes opaque black.

S- Coffee is dominate. Some hops are detectable underneath the roasted coffee soft vanilla and caramel. Its pretty nice. Let this one warm and use a glass thats easy to swirl. The nose will then come alive.

T- Coffee lovers unite! This is pretty heavy on the bitter, roasted, black coffee. Under that is the vanilla. Its like adding vanilla to a cup of coffee. There is a suggestion of hops towards the end. They add a juiciness and pine to the finish. The aftertaste is like milk chocolate and vanilla. This is a really roasty and bitter porter.

M- Fairly thick. Lots of carbonation that fluffs up the mouthfeel a lot.

D- Very robust and delicious. The alcohol isnt too noticeable, not with the in your face coffee characteristics of this beer. (1,002 characters)

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

Revisited this one last night. Rich, of course, but also way more drinkable than I remember. Excellent coffee, chocolate. The vanilla is nice at first, but turns a touch too sweet towards the end.

Been a standby since the first time I had it. Even so, I'm looking forward to trying an even fresher bottle of this when it rolls into town again.

22oz (Enjoy by: 11/07/13) into tumbler (384 characters)

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

A- Thick black pour, foamy tan head that fades pretty quickly, but leaves some lacing and a ring of bubbles.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate malt, bitter coffee, hints of vanilla and caramel.

T- Wow. Roasty malts, with hints of chocolate and coffee at the beginning and through the middle. Finish is a huge amount of vanilla with coffee mixed in. Finish is like a vanilla flavored coffee.

M- Full bodied, velvety and smooth. Medium carbonation with a very good feel.

O- Was not expecting this amount of vanilla and coffee in this beer. While it says "vanilla coffee porter" on the label, I was still pleasantly surprised with the flavor. As advertised and very tasty. (668 characters)

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

Pours pitch black with a two finger dark brown head and little lacing that disippates quickly.

The scent is of coffee, mocha, a toasty malt presence, and a tinge of vanilla.

I found that for myself when I sipped it in such a way where it first hit the tip of my tongue, I got the sweetness and vanilla taste up front, which is the part of the taste I like the best. The vanilla presence in this is just incredibly delicious. There is also a strong coffee presence, some caramel, and a bit of a hop presence. Although I mostly prefer drinking bigger beers somewhat close to room temperature, I prefer this one a bit colder as the sweetness is more present as opposed to the coffee taste - it's great either way though. The alcohol taste is masked very well for a 10% brew, whether cold or close to room temperature.

This has a medium-heavy mouthfeel which is very smooth and complements the beer so well. I can't imagine a better mouthfeel for the style.

Although I drink this slow and savor the flavor, I could drink this all night, it's just an amazing beer - something I'll make sure to buy every time Ballast Point releases it. (1,134 characters)

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

From a bomber, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pitch black, with a two-finger tan frothy head. Head aerates slightly, leaving nice spiderweb lacing.

S - Coffee and vanilla dominate with a sugary sweetness that masks any booze or bitterness.

T - The rich vanilla really rises to the top, leaving the coffee-malt body to follow. There's a sharp espresso bitterness the subsides nice and gentle. Behind all of it is a tangy alcohol, almost like dark cherry intermingling with caramel.

M - Mealy, oil mouthfeel. Substantial and heavy, a perfect desert-course unto itself.

O - One of the better coffee-focused beers I've had. The sweetness and bitterness are perfectly balanced, and it's full and quietly boozy. A great dessert beer.

***

Politics, Art, Beer. A Compendium of Worldly Facts
The Curiograph
www.thecuriograph.com
Twitter: @TheCuriograph (850 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours pitch black with a small creamy light-tan head that retains long after the pour, leaving behind some short rings of lace

S- big fresh coffee espresso notes melds with melted dark chocolate, toasted vanilla biscotti, fudge brownie, dried dark cherry and fruit bread

T- fresh dark roast coffee up front, highlighted by sweet vanilla, chocolaty malt, and toasted almond. Dark fruit notes of prune, fig and raisin on the finish with a sweet cherry juice finish

M- medium body and carbonation with a light-yet-creamy mouthfeel, leads to a smooth and velvety finish. Loaded with flavor, but still keeping a light enough mouthfeel for a porter, ABV is hidden very well

O- the vanilla meshes almost perfectly to an already solid base coffee porter. Drinkability is on point, solid beer! (792 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,161 ratings.