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

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

5,561 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,561
Reviews: 1,235
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 947
Gots: 1,532 | FT: 104
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,561 | Reviews: 1,235
Photo of Auracom
2.87/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Extra from John, thanks man! 22 oz. bottle poured into a Jester King snifter on April 21st, 2012.

A - Deep brown coloring, a bit thin for a large porter. Medium khaki head with quick reduction and marginal lacing.

S - Big coffee bean and espresso as anticipated. Touches of roasted malts and vanilla underneath. Definitely more in the realm of an RIS than a porter in terms of aroma size and intensity.

T - Lots front palate carbonation followed by vanilla bean sweetness and honey. Mid to rear palate of stale coffee beans with cocoa bitterness. Some brown sugar sweetness blended into the mix, but it doesn't offset the poor coffee character.

M - Bizarre, and unfortunately lacking, for a porter. High carbonation, not at all smooth, medium body, dry bitter finish with a hefty espresso aftertaste.

D - I can't really forgive the taste and mouthfeel here. Huge disappointment. Bottle variation? I don't know that I'd revisit, but the hype on this one suggests I need to try it again.

Photo of pigc
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with three finger brown sugar colored head with good retention.

S - Toasted malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, vanilla.

T - Starts out with smooth, rich, dark coffee followed by a wave of chocolate, vanilla and iced coffee bitterness with a touch of the alcohol heat in the end.

M - Medium body with plenty of carbonation to go around.

O - Definitely a world class imperial porter here. Very complex with all the notes. Just a tad bit hot on the alcohol. This one could benefit to be put away for a year or so and would certainly smooth out even more with age.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: stout black, rich full head that leaves lotsa lace

S: roasted malt, espresso, some mocha and vanilla

T: very nice roasted malt with a vanilla syrupiness through it; burnt bitter back to the creamy sweetness gave it nice depth

M: crisp for a beer this rich; viscous body masks the abv

O: I was not as floored by this beer as some others - the beer started off with sweet vanilla flavors, and then dried into roasted espresso notes - a well-crafted beer for sure

Photo of TheDinger
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The awaited review of VaS. Finally able to locate 2 bombers and have been waiting to crack this for quite some time. Poured from bomber into DFH snifter. Beautiful motor oil black pour with a bit of light making it through. Nice 2 finger mocca head, with excellent retention and great lacing throughout. Smell was spectacular. Vanilla with chocolate and coffee. Some burnt fruits notes and dark malts. Complex and inviting. Couldn't stop smelling it! Taste followed the nose with huge coffee on the front that fades to subtle bitter and vanilla finish. A great blend that is almost perfect. Hides the 10% well, but a definite sipper. Feel is very strong. Full bodied and great carbonation. Creamy and smooth. Overall- One of the best beers I have ever had. A great blend of coffee, dark fruits, hops and a touch of vanilla. Smell is outstanding and mouthfeel is spectacular. Top notch effort from Ballast Point. In my top 10 for sure-

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – A super dark brown or black color that lets no light through. A thick, creamy head that sticks around for quite some time. Lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell – A wonderful sweet chocolate malt scent with coffee. Also some smokiness and a touch of vanilla.

Taste – Coffee, roasted chocolate malt, with a touch of hops.

Mouthfeel – Smooth, and creamy; fairly light on the carbonation in spite of its massive head.

Drinkability – Very nice; just a slightly bitter bite to an otherwise exceptional porter.

Photo of beer2day
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black pour, 1-fingeer of dense rich chocolate head. Not much in the way of retention. Decent, but sparse, lace.

Rich, decadent nose. Strong with roast coffee, vanilla bean, chocolate syrup, and cream. Really invites you in.

The taste doesn't fail the nose. Lots of roast coffee, but really strong vanilla flavor. Coffee bitters in the finish are very strong for a porter. Pretty nice chocolate malt balance, too, with roast flavors.

Feel is lighter than the rich flavor suggests, but this is porter not stout so that is quite welcome.

I'd get this again ... and again ...

Photo of Ruds
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz/650ml bottle into a growler, thanks to Deeblo for packing this in his case and shifting it 6,000 miles for me!!!

Looks a real treat - pours a rich black with a decent beige/tan head after a straight glass/vigourous pour into a Belgian snifter. Head thins after a minute but retains. Lots of lacing above the beer line.

Served at room temperature.

Great smelling beer - coffee hits you immediately and when you withdraw your nose and savour the full spectrum you get the vanilla breaching through, sweet chocolate and malts.

Everything I want from an Imperial Porter in the taste! Chocolate, coffee, sweet and roasted malts and a decent hunk of vanilla in there. I've had a few vanilla porters where you just don't get that 'V' hit, but here you have no choice !!! A well balanced beer packing flavours and strength but disguising them all well.

The mouthfeel is perfection for a beer of this ilk. Full bodied with a little carbonation, every mouthful makes you return.

Overall - this beer is right up there for me, one of the best I've had !!!

Photo of DSlim71
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Bomber pours pitch black with a dark tan head that hangs around for a few minutes. Some nice, spotty lacing is left behind after the head is gone.

S - Coffee right away with vanilla coming through pretty strongly. A little char, roastiness, and dark chocolate.

T - Same thing with the taste, you get the coffee up front but the vanilla takes over, maybe a little too much. The dark chocolate is there, and it's a little boozy, especially as it warms. Finishes with a roasted bitterness.

M - Creamy, medium bodied with a low to mid level of carbonation.

I picked this up in a bottle shop in PA, and I'm glad I did. It was a nice sipper to finish off the weekend, but the heavy vanilla kept it from being great in my opinion.

Photo of CTBeerPope
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this a while back

Pours black chocolate. 2 finger dense fluffy head that sticks around for a little bit great lacing. Really nice looking porter.

Smells a lot like a good RIS with coffee, vanilla and dark fruits standing out.

Very smooth for a 10% abv. Nice natural vanilla flavor upfront followed by a combination of coffee and chocolate with the coffee riding all the way thru to the back.

Full mouthfeel with modest carbonation

Have to travel to get this one but well worth the trip. One of the best, if not the best, porter's I've had.

Photo of zeledonia
3.83/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm pretty sure this is from the most recent release. Best before 18 June 2012. One of my more wanted beers, pretty excited to try it.

Pours very dark brown, nearly black, and opaque except at the very edges. One finger of medium-tan head, good retention, some okay lacing. Looks like a stout. Or a very dark porter.

Smell is a cacophony of roast, vanilla, coffee, and more vanilla. It smells more like the additives than it does like beer. Very heavy on the vanilla - wish it were toned down so that I could enjoy some of the other smells I suspect are hidden behind it. Warm and fuzzy, but I want beer with my vanilla.

Same thing goes here. Holy vanilla, batman. I like the taste better than the smell, as there's more porter flavor in there to complement it. But I still think it's overdone. I get minimal coffee flavor, and I have to work to find the characteristics of the malts (a little char, a little nutty). Finishes roasty bitter. Good, but I think it could be a lot better. I will say, though, that it drinks well below its ABV. I can't even find the alcohol behind that bludgeoning of flavor.

Mouthfeel is really smooth. Body is surprisingly light, lifted up by a foamy mouth-filling expansion. It's like cotton candy in reverse - starts out relatively flat, but buoys up as it moves through my mouth. Long-lasting finish.

Drinkable, yes. Amazing, no. I think it would be a whole lot better with 1/2 the vanilla. It's unbalanced, with the vanilla enjoying the only spotlight, rather than sharing the stage with the rest of the cast. All that said, it's pretty tasty, and I'm liking it more as the bottle gets more empty.

Photo of cvm4
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter

A - 2 finger tan head with a black body. Some lacing once drank down.

S - Picking up some huge notes of malt, dark chocolate and coffee.

T - Wow! A lot of coffee and dark bitter chocolate is coming through! There is a sweeter side of vanilla on the finish.

M - On the full side of medium. Very creamy!

O - What a porter! In everyday life, this could be a stout!

Photo of dcloeren
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to my brother for sharing this bottle with me.

Pours pitch black with nothing but a cream colored ring around the edges.

The aroma is very nice and inviting. Rich notes of cocoa, coffee, caramel and vanilla.

The taste is dominated by coffee and cocoa... almost reminds me of dark chocolate covered coffee beans. Caramel and roasted/charred are present in the middle with vanilla beans rounding of this beer. Very tasty!

Medium to full in body with an appropriate amount of carbonation. Without this level of carbonation it could have taken this from a top notch brew to a sub par one in a hurry.

Overall, this was an excellent treat. Perfect after dinner beer for sure. I'm very happy I got to try this beer and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo of shleepy
3.62/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Handles in Pleasanton on 1/25/2012.

A: Black, with a creamy, tan-colored head.

S: Very pungent; heavy coffee smell, with roastiness, vanilla, and gingerbread in the mix.

T: Immediate but quickly fading alcohol notes up front, followed by the aforementioned vanilla/gingerbread/roastiness. An interesting balance of flavors. Surprisingly clean finish.

M: Fairly full-bodied, but not as heavy as an imperial stout.

O: Pretty unique for a coffee porter, but maybe just a little too boozy and unsubtle.

Photo of Retail1LO
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a CBS snifter. Let me start by saying I generally despise porters. Ok....GO!

This pours the darkest brown imaginable with a three finger espresso shaded crown that is simply beautiful. The head fades fairly quickly with minimal lacing. The nose is just fucking brilliant. It's all the coffee and vanilla it claims to be, with a nice rich roastiness and lush, sweet vanilla galore. The taste reinforces the nose. This is no fraud. What you smell is what you get. The coffee is perfect. It has a nice roastiness to it, but doesn't come across as burnt. The vanilla is subtle but present, making this a near perfect experience on the palate. The mouthfeel is glorious. Typically porters are entirely too thin and carbonated for my liking. This is thick, lush, and rich on the tongue with an aftertaste that isn't acrid like many coffee beers. Overall, this is a world championship caliber beer. I want. Lots.

Photo of Teleweizen2
3.38/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours pitch black with a bubbly mocha head of foam. Two fingers worth. It dissipated rather quickly. Leaves streaks of lacing.

S - lots of oily espresso on first sniff along with varying degrees of roasted malt and a bit of milk chocolate. Some mild spice notes along with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut.

T - vaguely sweet on the front of the tongue. The roasty bitter flavors enter mid palate to balance the sweetness. There are hints of vanilla as well but it seems to be providing a counter notand e to the strong esprosso bean roasty flavors.

M - full bodied. medium carbonation. Creamy texture.

O - an interesting ale. I was expecting a little more desert beer
from this with the vanilla playing a larger role. But still flavorful and well produced.

Photo of birchstick
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color with a nice one finger mocha head on it. Nose is freshly pressed coffee with loads of vanilla. Taste is similar. Lots of coffee and chocolates dominate the front and back. A lot of vanilla is in th middle. Pretty solid, really enjoys the taste profile on this. Solid mouthfeel taboot. Really good vanilla coffee porter here. Loved it and will seek out again.

Photo of natemort13
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A heavy pour into my sculpin pint glass yields a slightly frothy mocha colored head that fades into a solid ring with a pocked uneven cap. The beer is viscous, nearly opaque with just the slightest highlights of ruby. The nose is smooth coffee with sweet vanilla tones. I also get milk chocolate and cocoa with the slightest hint of tobacco. The first taste brings a somewhat more abrasive coffee taste than the nose suggested that soon is mellowed out by chocolate milk and a finish with hints of cherry. The vanilla bean totally smooths the coffee out. The mouthfeel is carbonated chocolate milk, super smooth and just slightly oily.

Overall this is a massive coffee porter that somehow holds onto enough balance. The coffee is huge but palatable and not cloying at all. There is not any lingering old coffee finish like a lot of coffee porters/stouts. A real treat, great dessert/breakfast stout. Glad I have another bottle.

Photo of warnerry
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a impenetrable deep brown/black with over two fingers of creamy tan head with great retention. The glass is covered with lacing.

S - Strong coffee aroma with lots of vanilla and cocoa. Also a hint of cola and a bit of cream in the aroma.

T - Taste starts out creamy and slightly sweet, quickly transitioning to slightly acidic coffee, with cocoa and vanilla. Finish is dry, somewhat earthy and bitter with some noticeable alcohol. Overall coffee is the most prominent flavor.

M - Medium/full creamy mouthfeel that turns bitter midway through and stays bitter through the finish.

O - Excellent imperial porter. Huge coffee presence with nice cocoa and vanilla. Bitterness comes close to being too much, but doesn't cross that line. Very enjoyable.

Photo of nimrod979
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a pretty sweet label I might add. Pours a thick syrupy brown that looks near black when its all said and done. Massive two finger tan foamy head. Perfect looking porter.

Aroma is big on the coffee and vanilla notes. Rich and malty. Even picking up some maple syrup aromas.

Taste is on point here. Strong vanilla and coffee flavors here. Lots of roasted malts. Some chocholate. Great balance of coffee bitterness and vanilla sweetness.

It's medium bodied. A little thinner than I would have expected. Light carbonation. Lingering coffee finish. ABV hidden VERY well. Not even a trace.

I'm really enjoying this. Not a beer you can easily find in the area. But I'd def. seek out again. One of my favorite porters now.

Photo of BoatsSinkBro
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle.
-Pours like oil (a good thing)
-Pitch black appearance with chocolate milk head.
-Aroma of coffee, a bit of toast and chocolate, and a lingering presence of vanilla.
-Drinks a pretty full mouth feel with well done carbonation.
-Tastes of coffee, roast chocolate body, and a good hint of vanilla in there to round it out. Almost creamy-like.
One of my go-to American porters.

Photo of unclejazz
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Manny in Chander,AZ for turning me on to this. Talk about meeting and exceeding expectations, check out this review!

A-a nice pour with a 1 finger head that slowly dissipated leaving a thin foam that laced a bit.

S-yum, the vanilla and coffee combine with the roasted malt to create a wonderful bouquet. This smell really jumps up and attacks your nose, with pleasure.

T-spot on, vanilla hits first follow by roasted malts, cocoa, and coffee. You can barely taste the alcohol. As I take a sip, I savor it like its the last, until its all gone. Now I am sad.

M-just heavy enough for not be watery, and a pleasant pop of carbonation I was not expecting by really enjoyed.

O-damn that is one tasty beverage, I wish I would have popped this one sooner, so I would have known how delicious it is. Founders Porter has some competition. Look out!

Photo of zac16125
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea Imperial Porter
22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass
no born on date or other identifying numbers
written from notes taken months ago

A: Pours a thick very dark brown, almost but not quite black, with just over 2 fingers of dense mocha colored head that takes a good while to dissipate down. Leaves some mild patchy lacing.

S: Heaviest aromas are roasted malt and chocolate, along with some coffee and a significant vanilla character as well. Really quite an awesome aroma.

T: Initial it is tons of chocolate from the first sip all the way through to the aftertaste. The chocolate character is mostly milk chocolate but also some more subtle dark/bakers chocolate characters as well. As it warms other flavors start to come out including a significant vanilla presence, and a more subdued coffee flavor. There is also a slight roasted character and a touch of hop bitterness. This is really a damn good beer. Complex, well balanced, and very tasty.

M/D: Smooth with a low amount of carbonation. Full bodied with a sticky mouthfeel and a well masked ABV. Decent drinkability but definitely a sipper.

O: Overall, a very good beer. Complex and delicious flavor profile, awesome aroma, and a good smooth mouthfeel. Very well done and a beer I highly recommend.

Photo of Etan
3.97/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Brooklyn tulip.

A: Pours an opaque black with a light tan head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Sweet coffee with hints of vanilla. Notes of marshmallow, lactic sugar, cinnamon, some chocolate. So good.

T: Big coffee hits the palate. Like the nose, the coffee starts out sweet and milky, with lots of vanilla. Slight alcohol in the back with a quick wave of roasty burnt coffee bitterness in the finish. A little sweetness and coffee lingering. As the glass is drained, the coffee bitterness coats the palate and doesn't go away.

M: Moderately thick. Could be a little thicker.

O: The alcohol is very well-hidden, but I'm missing the sweetness that usually comes from the alcohol and malt because of the coffee's dominance. If you love coffee, this is nice, but I think it causes a bit of an unbalance between the porter elements and the flavors from the beans.

Photo of draheim
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a rich brown w/ a thick mocha head.

Aroma is rich chocolate, coffee, caramel, cocoa nibs. Smells great, like dessert.

Taste is good strong coffee up front, softened by the vanilla. A solid backbone of dark roasted malt holds it all together.

Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, balanced and moderately dry.

Overall this is about exactly what I was expecting/hoping for, and it's now one of my favorite porters.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.71/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber opened on 1-22-12.

A - Pours a dark brown with a dark tan head. Great retention with good lacing.

S - Nutty and lots or roasted malts.

T - Chocolate milk and roasted malts, lots of vanilla.

D - Good carbonation and medium body.

O - Bitter chocolate and lots of coffee and vanilla. Not quite what I was hoping for.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,561 ratings.