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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.

1,220 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,220
Hads: 5,933
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,008
Gots: 1,725 | FT: 91
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: 1,220 | Hads: 5,933
Photo of SerialTicker
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

...I've been wanting to try this beer for a few years now. Now that Ballast Point is finally here (in Michigan), I CAN TRY IT. $3 12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Evidently bottled November 18th ... holy hell. 11 days ago. Can't get too much fresher than that, no?

Appearance: Looks stouty -- pitch black. There's about two fingers of a brown head with a soapy consistency. Quite a bit of thick lacing. Very nice looking beer.

Smell: Dark coffee, roasty malt, and then just a little bit of vanilla on the "aftersmell." Nothing else to it, but I don't think there needs to be.

Taste/feel: Bitter black coffee when it's straight out of the fridge -- like really, cold, bitter black coffee, just with a little more depth of flavor and a slightly thicker mouthfeel. Almost like coffee grounds, but not in an unpleasant way, fortunately. There's only a very subtle vanilla flavor in the aftertaste. The feel is very porter-ish -- that is to say not very thick, too drinkable (especially at 10%), and pretty well carbonated.

Very good stuff -- doesn't taste like I imagined it would though. I pictured a thicker feel (despite being labeled a porter), a little more sweetness and vanilla, and a bit less coffee. That isn't to say I'm disappointed -- I'm definitely not. This is one of the best coffee beers I've had, and it comes at a fabulous value. This beer really becomes special once it warms up, so make sure to enjoy it after it's been out of the fridge awhile. Everything seems to come together even better at that point: the vanilla comes out more, it's a little less bitter... it's just a treat. Seek this one out and try it as soon as you can if you haven't already. Very good, dangerously easy drinking stuff.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color. Has an aroma of coffee and chocolate with notes of sweetness and a little booziness. Flavor is smooth with coffee upfront a some vanilla sweetness on the backend. Leaves a bit of a bitter coffee aftertaste. Overall a really nice beer. Drinks more like a stout than a porter.

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Photo of daledeee
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The new beer to Iowa pours an absolutely black body with a medium head and intensive lace. Then you get to the nose. It smells like a bonfire. The beer must be fairly warm and allow to breath a bit. Then you get a somewhat dry but very creamy mouth feel with vanilla and intense coffee in the taste. This beer is loaded with flavor. Also is up there on the alcohol count. Could use a little more body to be the best.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Nov. 18, 2015. Served in a snifter.

L- Dark brown, some light on the edges, one finger of light brown head.

S- Coffee, some green pepper, vanilla, little bit of dark fruits.

T- Coffee, light bitter roast, bitter chocolate, some vanilla, finishes with bitter chocolate, some warming alcohol on the tongue.

F- Lighter side of a full mouthfeel.

O- Very nice beer with huge coffee notes and a nice medium amount of vanilla. Great price for a 6 pack of 10% beer as well.

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Photo of K-Dog
3.78/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

With ballast point new to michigan just this week I was so excited for this with all the great reviews. Let me tell u I was highly dissapointed. Smell is of bitter coffee and not enough vanilla. Just way to bitter. It's not bad but highly over rated. If you ask me evil twins little b is by far a much better imperial porter. Maybe with some age the bitter coffee flavor will mellow out and more of the vanilla will come though. Will be interested to try again in about a year. Not bad but over hyped.

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Photo of KevCan
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bought a 6-pack of 12 oz. bottles from Whole Foods in Arlington, VA. Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. No visible bottling date; I suppose this could be aged. Paired with homemade tacos.

Look: Very dark brown, almost black. Healthy dark brown head. Lots of frothy carbonation and lacing. Looks thick and creamy. Amazing, I can't wait to try it!

Smell: First impression is the strong coffee notes, almost like burnt coffee. Strong roasted malts. I can sense a little of the vanilla. I also get a little bit of butterscotch hard candy.

Taste: Tastes like a killer mixture of porter, scotch whiskey, and coffee. If I didn't know better, I'd guess that this beer had been aged in a whiskey barrel. Incredible flavor! A little sweet at first, but fades into slightly bitter roasted malts and burnt coffee. The bitter roasted notes in the aftertaste pull up a chair and refuse to leave. The 10% ABV is expertly hidden by all the strong flavors.
As it warms up, the strong bitter coffee flavor gives way to something more like dark chocolate with cherries. Definitely recommend serving this only slightly cool.

Feel: Highly carbonated and creamy. Thick and almost syrupy.

Overall: A really awesome beer. Incredible depth and complexity of flavor.

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Photo of CayseyW
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Espresso poured into a snifter
S: The coffee aroma is so on point. I'm a huge coffee geek, I even roast my own, so I feel somewhat qualified to say that this beer has the best coffee aromas you will find in a beer. It really blows me away. It's very earthy, and somewhat roasty.
T: The coffee is there in the taste too, and subtle hints of vanilla, especially in the finish, strike a nice balance. The flavors are pretty earthy for a porter, I would have love a little fruitiness.
F: A little sharp initially, but you ease into the beer quickly. Body is nice, but could be a teeny bit fuller. Great carb.
O: I almost passed on this one when my beer guy put it aside for me... Really glad I didn't! This is a world-class beer for sure. Not my favorite porter ever, but pretty damn close to it.

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Photo of W_Des
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with big coffee aromas from the glass. A little bit of cocoa comes through on the nose and a tinge of vanilla sweetness. The body is full of coffee with a slight acidity. Roasty flavors come out as well although I want some more vanilla in the body. Seems like it is masked by the coffee.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 17, 2015.

The pour is a deep mahogany brown with reddish-brown hues around the edges and a modest tan head that fades.

Rich aroma of coffee and vanilla beans as promised but I also pick up some kind of cherry fruit character lurking beneath it all. Low to no hops on the nose.

Medium but soft and smooth body.

Caramel sweetness and coffee grinds in the flavor but the bitterness is quite forward toward the end.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful brew from Ballast Point. Pours dark with nice foamy head. Excellent flavor with just a hint of vanilla, very subtle. Looks heavy but drink fairly light. You def get the booze in this but still drinks easy for a high ABV.

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Photo of E_Schaaf
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: 12oz poured into a snifter - a deep brownish-black, consistency and appearance reminds of cold brewed coffee. One finger head, a mid-toned sepia. Dissipates quickly.

S: Medium roasted coffee, subtle vanilla bean, faint butterscotch? Very malty with some cocoa notes too.

T: Follows the nose in breadth, but coffee and vanilla dominate with a malt backbone. I'm surprised at the subtlety of the alcohol considering the ABV. Tastes best possibly slightly above cellar temperature. Not too warm, but not too cold either. Not as bitter as expected on the front, but crescendos over a few seconds. Aftertaste leaves one wanting another sip.

F: Much fuller than other porters that come to mind (Black Butte, Anchor, Smog City Coffee Porter). Medium body, present but temperate acidity, moderate carbonation (persists for a while, a pleasant surprise). Goes down easy but is very rich. Best savored slowly.

O: A delightfully bold porter. Easily a favorite in this style, and I love the forwardness of the coffee. Despite my moderate caffeine tolerance, I definitely feel a kick from this one. Lovely on a cool evening like tonight 11/15/15.

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Photo of Pranqfan
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer really needs to warm up a bit. I would advise against drinking this one very cold. At first when cold the bitterness was off-putting. After warming the hop and coffee bitterness faded and the smooth sweet maltiness and vanilla came through.

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Photo of tregan_20
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Upon pouring, the color was black with a finger of caramel-colored head.Aroma was that of coffee, vanilla and tobacco. The taste is somewhat roasted/burnt coffee with tobacco and vanilla notes. The aftertaste is that of strong alcohol and malts. Overall the beer is tasty and a solid offering from Ballast Point. Cheers!

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Photo of drew42e
4.66/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured near black with tan head from bottle. Aroma of vanilla and coffee, some cocoa. This bottle I'm getting more vanilla than I recall prior tastings, less on coffee but some chocolate. Gets better and better as it warms, not too boozy but a little heat. One of my favorite porters.

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Photo of allezvousen
2.95/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The first couple of sips give you a big hit of coffee and vanilla then the alcohol takes over on the palate. And by the last few sips you wonder if there is any coffee/vanilla in there at all.

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Photo of mchegash
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Pitch squid-ink black. A small around of moderately dark tan head which quickly dissipates.

S: Strong coffee and vanilla aromas. Smells like a nice cold-brewed coffee with vanilla. Hints of chocolate and roasted malts.

T: Vanilla, coffee, sweet lactose. Again, also some chocolate and roasted malts.

F: Medium-light carbonation, medium body. Mild acidity, relatively smooth.

O: Not as good as I'd hoped (nothing ever lives up to the hype), but still a good brew.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a red-brown head. Smells of roasted coffee sweetened with vanilla. Tastes like a cold brewed black coffee with vanilla. The colder it is the more robust the coffee flavor. Closer to room temperature the coffee becomes slightly tamed and the more chocolate-like flavors settle in. At 10% it can feel a little strong, but the bittersweet roasted coffee flavors help cover up the booze. It is pretty thin and goes down easy with mild carbonation. Overall a nice imperial porter for coffee lovers.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

660ml bottle bought from Brewdog online

Poured almost completely black even when held up to the light. Dirty brown head poured fairly thick and foamy then faded slowly to one finger coating.... some good rings of sticky lacing...

Aroma - Lovely toasted and roasted malts mixed with a good dose of dark chocolate, dried coffee beans, vanilla, faint smoky notes, burnt butter, black treacle and dark brown sugar, alcohol notes coming through, sooty, leathery and earthy, plum and raisin fruitiness, faint pepperiness...

Taste -– Dark chocolate and bitter espresso coffee, dark fruits - mainly plum, dark cherry and dates, vanilla, light smoke traces, liquorice, lots of toasted / burnt bread notes, some milkiness, nice warming alcohol, light oaky notes, some faint piney hop notes...

Mouth-feel was a bit of a let down... quite thin, sharp and fizzy. Not what i was expecting from a 10% beer

Overall - a pretty good beer and certainly worth a try but the mouth-feel definitely lets this down. I was expecting a big, thick chewy porter but it was just a bit on the thin side...

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Photo of hardysf
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good beer. May be a touch thinner than expected and have a slightly smaller nose too. Lots of delicious coffee and chocolate flavors. Would buy again.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark opaque porter with a light brown head the leaves a nice lacing as well as a small mound of head in the middle of the glass staying atop this beer. Lighter aroma than taste of coffee with a nice accent of vanilla, just seems to be proportioned just right for my taste buds. Another good reason to like Ballast Point BC.

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

Probably one of the best beers I've ever had. I tried the yeti oatmeal and the big bad Baptist against this beer and I think this is hands down the best out of them.

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Photo of IronLover
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black in color. Poured with a short, light beige that slowly reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet milk chocolate, light roasted coffee, light roasted malt and vanilla aromas. No hop aromas. Medium bodied with a creamy smooth feel and rich, medium light carbonation. Dark roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors up front followed by roasted coffee, milk chocolate, and vanilla into the middle. No hop flavors but medium high bitterness through the middle. Flavors transition from bitter hops to dark chocolate, to dark roasted coffee. Finished with a vanilla sweetness followed by chocolate malt and a lingering hop bitterness. Intense malt flavors and vanilla sweetness are nicely balanced by the hop bitterness. Smooth and flavorful with very little alcohol presence for the 10% abv.

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Photo of modidia
3.64/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A bit too heavy and a bit too sharp on the finish. I don't love supporters generally but this one got such great ratings I have to try it. I think it needs a bit more sweetness to balance out the sharpness.

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Photo of do_ob
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pretty well black in appearance. Wonderful aroma of roasted coffee, roasted malt, vanilla, and cocoa on the nose. Very dense, this one is. One of the heaviest porters I've had. Lots of coffee throughout the taste, with the vanilla shining through a little more as it warmed. For me, this beer seemed to get super hot towards the end, after it had warmed up a little. Still good, but made for a slightly sharp finish.

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Photo of bound4er
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as a night's sky with a two finger tan head. Smells of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla and dark roasted coffee. Taste follows the nose quite nicely which is a good thing - vanilla, dark roasted coffee, toffee and just enough hop bitterness to keep any sweetness in check. Finishes with nice roasty persistence. Creamy, full bodied mouthfeel. This is a really well made beer that tastes great and is very easy to drink given its 10% ABV and large frame.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,220 ratings.