Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe 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.

1,195 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,195
Hads: 5,816
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 984
Gots: 1,664 | FT: 97
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,195 | Hads: 5,816
Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, absolutely no light coming through when put up to the light, and a creamy one to two finger light brown head

Smell: Coffee, roasted malts, with a undertone of vanilla. Its all there, and from first whiff you can tell its of very high quality

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts upfront with subtle notes of vanilla, and caramel sweetness mid palate which carries throughout the aftertaste. Some bittering hops on the finish as well

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium body id say; Goes down smooth with a bitter, coffee-like finish

Overall: First class coffee porter without a doubt. Had this on tap a couple years back and still remember how much i enjoyed it. Well, i think i enjoyed it today as much as i did back then. The balance of coffee, vanilla, roasted malts, and bittering hops is fantastic. I get more roasted malt in the taste than nose which i really appreciate. It really rounds the beer out. This holds up to some of the better coffee stouts iv had. Get it while you can! Cheers!!

 1,011 characters

Photo of hawgdude
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A deep, rich, almost caramely porter. Definitely not a sweaty-summer-afternoon post-lawn-mowing beer. I slugged one down and got half snockered-- 10% ABV needs to go down slower than that. The remaing five will have to wait for chilly autumn nights.

 253 characters

Photo of BryanReed
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sooooo good. Vanilla and coffee aroma, tastes like a nice dark roast coffee with vanilla creamer. Nice solid body. I could drink this every friggin day.

 152 characters

Photo of frozyn
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours very dark black, purplish tint at the top with light overhead.
S - Coffee scent is strong, with a sweet something to go with it. Maybe the vanilla, but I didn't pick it up distinctly.
T - Wonderful coffee flavor, very similar to eating a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Vanilla comes through nicely, subtly. The alcohol is similarly subtle, although you know it's there. The warmer the beer got, the more I tasted everything beyond the coffee, especially what others have called the toasted malts (not something I've learned to distinguish yet, perhaps it starts now).
MF - Very smooth -- as many have said -- velvety feel.
O - Great nuanced flavor, very smooth to drink. You can't go wrong with this!

 716 characters

Photo of LloydDobler
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

An awesome extra from Mike out east!
Traditional pint
Poured midnight black with a gigantic 2-1/2" head. The nose was major coffee with sweet malt sugars. Taste is a sharp pop of coffee(love it!) with a hint of vanilla peeking out. Light velvet mouth to it, with a slightly lingering bitter coffee feel. Just a dynamite brew! Will be looking for this in the future.

 368 characters

Photo of mlockman
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Definitely not overpowered by the coffee and vanilla flavors, it reminded me of some an imperial stout with just barely more roast flavor. Deceptively smooth, it was easy drinking; no perceived alcohol presence.

 212 characters

Photo of ELS
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As I opened the bottle I immediately smelled coffee. Poured a nice tannish head of foam. The taste was nearly perfect with a great balance of malt, coffee, hint of vanilla and just a little alcohol burn to let you know it's a high abv porter. Honestly, I thought I was drinking a stout until I looked it up on this site. I should have realized it was a porter since the mouthfeel wasn't overly viscous like some stouts that drink like motor oil. This beer was really smooth and I enjoyed every ounce as it started to warm. Still, I've never had a porter with that high abv burn before. Overall, it's a great beer whatever style you put it in.

 648 characters

Photo of drmeto
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

-pours a dark brown with reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllly faint ruby tinges with a medium,creamy,khaki head
-medium carbonation visible
-medium-full body,medium carbonation
-alcohol scary well hidden
-Absolute Beast of a Beer

 344 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black body, big lasting mocha head with carbonation that looks like it's a nitro. Sheets of lace, cool.

S: Vanilla and caramel malt. Coffee lingers.

T: Great balance between coffee, vanilla (both real, not artificial, nice), toasted malt that comes through with coffee and a little nuttiness. Surprised to find the vanilla and coffee play so nicely together. Not much coffee acidity, which is appreciated. Perfect sweetness for me, so probably a little much for most people. No alcohol.

M: Love that fluffy head. The body is a little thin for a porter (read: medium).

O: This needs a much more arrogant label for such a wonderful brew. The coffee and vanilla are up front and don't require 'searching' for them, but there are still beer-y things happening. The persistence of this head is right up there with the best IPA's. Such a great, warming, tasty beer that is dangerously drinkable (and affordable- HOT DAMN!).

 924 characters

Photo of anon
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, wow, wow!

Pours velvety black, beautiful beer on the pour. A full finger of a coffee colored head, with sticky lacing throughout.

Coffee hits big on the nose, and for a coffee lover, draws you in big time. Mouth watering already. Notes of vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, roasty toasty.

Taste and mouth feel are where this brew owns a gold star. Coffee up front. Big, beautiful roasted, creamy coffee; the bitterness of the dark roast hitting instantly, with the sweetness of vanilla lashing at your taste buds, light caramel and toffee way in the back. A beautiful tangency of bitterness and sweetness.

My favorite Ballast Point beer and my current favorite porter. What an excellent brew. Highly recommended.

 720 characters

Photo of Mikus
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tasted at the BP Tasting Room in Little Italy, and brought home a bottle for the wife. An absolute monster of a porter, and completely solid base beer. Poured a black viscous void, with just a small ring of coffee-tinged bubbles. Nose and tastes were very similar, and exactly as advertised. A bit heavier in the coffee than vanilla on both aromas and taste (to my delight). I am normally very picky about the adjuncts in these kinds of brews (particularly vanilla), but this was so well done, balanced, and spot on that I can't say enough. About as close to perfect as I have found in taste and mouthfeel (while still leaving a little bit of wiggle room). If the idea of coffee vanilla porter appeals to you, what are you waiting for!

 735 characters

Photo of Brew_42
4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours cola black with a nice tan head that leaves lacing.

Smell- strong coffee notes with some definite sweetness to it. Vanilla, maybe even some maple notes.

Taste-Follows the nose and then some. Great job of balancing out the sweetness with the coffee taste.

MF- Heavy body, normally I don't like beers like this in the summer, but I'm in Korea so I will drink any beer that isn't Hite or Cass. More of a cold weather beer for sure though in that is full bodies and a bit chewy.

Overall- Great beer from a great brewery.

 526 characters

Photo of TruePerception
3.34/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Ballast Point's Victory At Sea, porter brewed with coffee and vanilla. 10% ABV.

A: Almost two fingers of lighter chocolate milk colored head. Pitch black in the glass. Very dark brown in the dimple. A good amount of multi-layered lacing. Slight sheeting.

S: Deep roasted coffee up front. Vanilla is hard to make out against the coffee. Slight powdered cocoa.

T/MF: Very dark coffee, mixed with a bunch of char! And a heavy dose of hops. Quite heavy for a porter, all told.

Hmm. I'd heard good things about this one, but it is quite disappointing. I'll see how it warms up.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

 634 characters

Photo of Jaysauras
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark, velvety, like a pepsi or coke look. Head is thick and creamy looking. As you would expect from a porter. Very sharp looking beer. Excellent head/lace.

S: Smells of rich coffee flavor, a hint of sweetness that accompanies a bowl of cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal. Also the distinct smell of oak or bourbon.

T: This is where the Victory at Sea really separates itself from other porters. Most are simplistic in a way. You get your coffee, your chocolate, and then you go about your business. Ballast Point has done a very strong job here in incorporating some more complex flavors. It is a touch boozy, but the way it works isn't overpowering. You get your typical and advertised flavors of Chocolate, Coffee, and Vanilla, but there is a wonderful rich undertone of nutmeg and cinnamon. It also has a hint of bourbon or whiskey. The best part is the finish, which blends a nice strong hoppy flavor of an IPA with a roasted malt and coffee bit. An undertone of vanilla still lingers. It is like S'mores meets alcohol meets Hershey's kisses. From beginning to end it takes you from sweet, to rich, to hoppy. An excellent combination from start to finish.

F: Chewy, sticky, but also crisp and boozy. A nice balance. For a 10%-er the booze is evident but not overpowering.

O: Tremendous. One of the best porters I've ever tasted. It goes above and beyond your standard porter. With rich tastes and textures it is a must try for those who appreciate a good solid stout, porter, or Imperial stout. It takes the standard flavor of a porter, which can be lazily applied to a plethora of brews, and expands upon them. It adds an element of complexity to the style while maintaining a lovely simplicity and loyalty to the popular style of American Porter.

 1,762 characters

Photo of everyman
4.71/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I'm impressed, but maybe this beer is not really a porter at all. ? Well..ok, it is, but Only according to popular belief that a porter is malty - slightly sweet. Actually, if wasn't for the nice sticky lacing on the glass, I would say its a lot more stout-ish. It's dark. It's dense and full bodied. Also, it's full of roastiness and there is some lightly-bitter coffee taste. Maybe its malt character is something that only a brewer can know and define. It's great. It's a bad ass porter that's stout-like.

 508 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.93/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Victory at sea pours a black color with a nice size lacing head. There is a big roasted malty and coffee aroma. The taste has a big roasted flavor, big hints of coffee, then finishes with a subtle sweet vanilla flavor. Great body great flavors. Overall, its big, complex, and enjoyable.

 290 characters

Photo of buckslayer50
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very good brew, extremely coffee forward but I like that. Wish I had gotten a little more vanilla, the coffee kind of overpowered everything else, but overall this was damn good and I will buy it again whenever I see it.

 221 characters

Photo of MA_hops
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely ludicrous beer! The rich coffee notes combined with chocolate, vanilla and caramel make this one of the best beers known to man!! It's a classic!

 159 characters

Photo of RossiDaMan
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Coffee drinkers unite. Very strong coffee flavor that finishes with sweetness and an alcohol kick-- like a Starbucks with a vanilla extract chaser. If you like your morning Joe be sure to check this one out!

 209 characters

Photo of sjccmd
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is strong coffee. Some peppery notes. Cinnamon and spices, and a good dose of vanilla. Dark chocolate, some fruity esters and citrusy hops, but those are kept to a minimum. Vanilla comes out more and more.

Pours black with a dark tan/brown head. Medium sized head recedes leaving a good amount of lacing. Clarity is pretty good.

Taste is again big on coffee. Filled in with roasty malts and a hint of citrusy hops. Vanilla comes in on the finish with cinnamon and clove. Coffee is balanced nicely with robust dark malts, burnt toast, and some caramel. Very rich, but the coffee seems to keep it from being cloying. Vanilla adds a hint of sweetness.

Full bodied with medium low carbonation. Vanilla seems to add to the body. Some residual sweetness balanced with roasty bitterness.

Big and luscious. Coffee balanced nicely with the rich porter character. Heavy for the style.

 884 characters

Photo of OldGriz
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I've had. I typically don't like dark beer, but this made me a believer. It felt like chocolate milk and tasted like espresso. I had it on draft, but will definitely pick up a six pack next time I can find it.

 231 characters

Photo of virginia_lurker
4.84/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have to admit, that I do go a little bit crazy when this one is not available to my tastebuds.

What an amazing coffee vanilla roasted delight this one is. An absolute necessity to your fridge/cellar whenever you can keep it available.

 238 characters

Photo of Reema
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh baby. This stuff here is excellent. Aromatic as fuck, super roasted coffee/chocolate scents. The taste is excellent, the coffee is very forward and tapers down to a light vanilla aftertaste. The ABV is extremely well hidden (careful, it creeps up on you). Rejoice as this is now in 6ers.

I may have a slight bias as I drink my coffee black but Victory at Sea is excellent porter and it does not disappoint. Goes well with brunch or a small light lunch on a weekend.

 469 characters

Photo of raiderob
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber into das boot.dark coffee color with brownish foamy head.vanilla bean.caramel coffee taste with slight hint of 10%.....sweet&tasty...Prost

 152 characters

Photo of citizencane
4.71/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A touch on the boozy side as apparent on mouthfeel, but this is delicious nonetheless. Coffee, vanilla, and beer flavors all blend together without getting lost or overpowering one another. If you like coffee and vanilla, try this.

 233 characters

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,195 ratings.