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: 5,810
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 980
Gots: 1,654 | FT: 98
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: 5,810
Photo of rudzud
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a bottle of this at Austin Liquors. Been wanting to try this one for a few years, glad to have finally come across it.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip an excellent oily almost black pour with a big, rocky two finger mocha head that faded to a thick mocha cloud/blanket and nice halo.

S - Wow, this smells nice. The coffee isnt too overwhelming, it is instead in great balance between chocolate and vanilla beans. Super harmonious.

T - Again, wow. Some porters/stouts that have coffee in them are just WHAM in your face coffee. Not this. Nice light, rich, powerful coffee upfront that is a perfect combination of chocolate and vanilla. Almost like a good mocha coffee. Really good, even combination of flavours with that nice vanilla there to just make this pop. The end is a bit of a battle between the nice vanilla and bitterness of the coffee, with a great lingering of the both. ABV isnt noticeable in the mouth.

M - Yeah, this is a damn good porter. Stuff is dangerously drinkable. at 10% I really dont pick up any of that at all. Very smooth, rich, creamy and what I do is hidden wonderfully by that bitter coffeesharp (there is a light, carbonation to it). Not thin, chewy, lots of bitterness from coffee and a nice sweetness of vanilla.

O - Overall This is an awesome beer. Vanilla really jumps out of this beer. Great flowing of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Waited so long to try this and it was SO worth it!

 1,433 characters

Photo of ms11781
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a very dark brown color with lighter, reddish brown hues at the edges of the glass. A nice, dense, tan/light brown foam head develops and has nice retention. Excellent lacing is left on the glass. Really nice looking beer.

The nose is really nice. Great roasted and coffee notes come across first and are followed up by some light chocolate notes. The vanilla comes out more as the beer warms a bit and once it does it goes excellent with the coffee and some chocolate that shows up.

Each sip starts with a well balanced mix of both roasted coffee and some nice, sweet vanilla. Both are really potent but very pleasant and not overwhelming. Towards the finish there is a hint of chocolate before some bitter roast comes through at the very end. There is also some warming from some alcohol.

The beer has a fairly good sized body, not huge, probably somewhere between medium and full. The carbonation is on the lower end but is somewhat lively. The combination allows it to feel like a bigger beer without actually being one.

This is an excellent beer. As advertised it is full of great coffee and vanilla flavor and aroma. There is a nice balance between some bitter roast and almost sugary sweetness. Everything pulls together nicely and makes for a great beer.

 1,315 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.88/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrives very,dark brown with a small, dark tan head of sorts, mostly just a ring in the snifter. No light penetration.
Smell is, not surprisingly, vanilla and coffee with roast malt and weak hops floating around back. Decent balance.
Taste is malty, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and a little rum note. Good balance and good complexity.
Mostly full-bodied with a light effervescence. Slightly drying finish. Warming throughout. Very nice brew.

 445 characters

Photo of jbphoto88
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer that closely approaches black. There are some ruby highlights that barely give away the actual color. The head is a sponge of bubbles, sticking to everything it touches and is the color of espresso crema with a hint of cherry wood red. Impressive start.

Mmmmm there are loads of chocolate malts and coffee punch in the nose. And I mean punch! The coffee notes all but dominate with charred malts coming in way behind the thick cloud of cafe musk. All of those heavy scents have a bit of an acidic tart smell to them but in my experience that can be masked in flavor.

Speaking of which this is a huge flavor bomb. The coffee and chocolate carry over but not the tartness. The coffee is diminished and replaced by the vanilla roasted caramel malt and a baked nuttiness. Heavy duty with waves and layers of big porter flavor. Super delicious.

The mouthfeel is full bodied like you'd guess from a beer of this nature. The acrid notes perk up here and seem to wash off a layer of enamel from your teeth and leaves you with a chocolate bile aftertaste. Not my favorite finish but not so bad to make me rate it below a 4. So even with that negative this is still a bad ass brew.

 1,192 characters

Photo of SHODriver
4.92/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a deep black with a half finger of tan head. It looks the part and pours a little thick
S: Espresso, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and maybe some hints of vanilla but the coffee notes dominate
T: Chocolate to start with some coffee notes, a bit of vanilla, roast malt, burnt sugar, dark roast coffee for sure. aftertaste is straight coffee and black malt
M: full bodied with solid carbonation, a little prickly which helps keep things light and moving. Not heavy or chewy.
O: ABV and flavor profile of an imperial stout with the easy drinking of a porter. My goodness is this stuff good. Get it if you can, I'm very happy that I have another bottle of this to look forward to.

 685 characters

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

Black with solid fluffy 1 finger+ tan head with excellent retention and lace.

Big bright nose. Big roast character. Bright rich vanilla. Bright robust coffee. Amazing nose.

Flavor is perfect with perfect balance and harmony. Just lovely and bright vanilla balanced so well with robust roasted buttery coffee and a touch of cocoa. a touch of bourbon too.

Medium bodies with creamy medium carbonation.

IMHO. A perfect Imperial Porter!

 440 characters

Photo of bcostner1
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker than some porters I have had; borders on black but does transmit at least a little bit of light. Nice tan head.

S: Some char, wood, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. Coffee and vanilla do not come through as much as I would have thought/liked but still presents a decent aroma.

T: Very tasty. Everything blends together pretty well. Not quite as coffee-forward or vanilla-forward as I thought it would be but both elements are still evident. Almost has a kind of "malted milkshake" or "frappuccino" quality to it from the blending of the coffee and vanilla which I like. The finish is pretty dry and is predominantly bitter dark chocolate and/or bitter cocoa. All in all, this is a fairly complex beer. As I sit and sip it, I keep picking different subtleties.

M: Pretty easy drinker surprisingly. ABV is hidden very well. I would say that it is actually a little on the thick/viscous side for a porter but not so much so as an extremely viscous impy stout would be for example. I'm enjoying the body in this one.

Overall, I was very excited to try this one. It did live up to expectations but I do wish that the coffee and vanilla elements (in particular the coffee) were just a little bit more pronounced. I would definitely drink this again though. Recommended.

 1,280 characters

Photo of wedge
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

@ Woody's

Pitch black color with a small head on top. Nice speckled lacing on the glass all the way down. Smells like a delicious coffee latte. Rich vanilla and chocolate mixed with a huge helping of espresso roast. Sweetened coffee and chocolate syrup flavor carries over to the flavor...huge, smooth, and somehow not over the top in terms of sweetness. I am struck with the intense urge to eat a glazed doughnut. Vanilla bean works with everything, but never screams to be heard. Not a hint of booziness to be found. Big, thick, and full. Certainly a dessert beer, though it could work just as well as a breakfast beer. Delicious...

 635 characters

Photo of zrab11
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle opened on 1/12/12

A-Pours a dark black color with a nice 1 1/2 finger tan head. Lacing on the glass as well

S-This has a very nice Vanilla smell up front followed by some roasted coffee notes and some more vanilla and chocolate as well

T- HAs a nice coffee flavor in the beginning and then followed by a nice chocolate flavor in the middle and then finishes with an almost cappuccino flavor at the end

M-Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Alittle syrupy and thin for my taste

D-Overall this beer was a very solid Coffer porter but to call it a Vanilla coffee porter it was a let down.. Yes i got a lot of vanilla in the nose but the beer has virtually no vanilla taste which i would of loved to have. I feel like the vanilla flavor would of made this a memorable beer. I will have to revisit this beer through since i had a year old bottle the vanilla may of faded.

 886 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to petesuphi for sharing the rest of his bottle with me. One of my all time favorite porters.

A - Pours jet black with a fluffy two finger tall tan head leaving light streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of rich coffee, sweet vanilla and chocolate and the ever present dark roasted malt. This ones nose is absolutely intoxicating.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roasted coffee slowly giving way to a nice mix of vanilla and milk chocolate sweetness. The smooth feel really makes this one easy to drink. Finish is a mix of sweetness and dark roast, lignering on the pallet for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Smooth feel with a sweet / roasty finish that clings to the pallet. Goes a bit flat at the end of the glass otherwise pretty good.

O - I could drink this every day no problem. The flavors are spot on and the alcohol is all but undetectable. I am glad I picked up a few of these to last the the rest of the year.

 977 characters

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

The perfect coffee porter. Let me elaborate: I had this on my wants for long time, almost a personal whale if you will. I spied a bottle at Whole Foods in NYC (Tribeca) and my eyes popp'd from my head. I purchased the bottle and opened it for my friend's 30th birthday. It was amazing. The coffee and vanilla were decadent and rich with a delicacy that can't be beat.

 367 characters

Photo of zaphodchak
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thinnish tan head. Deep brown body.

Deep roasty coffee nose. Rather remarkable, some wood even.

Flavor is interesting-- oscillates between bitter coffee and dry milk chocolate and ample vanilla.

Smooth, almost nitro-smooth.

A good beer if not living up with the hype. Interesting but not something that hasn't been done before.

 332 characters

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Ted!

Pours is black. Off white head. Looks good to me.

Smell is exactly what the name implies, which is odd anymore. Upfront coffee bitterness fights with a strong vanilla flavor. Roasted malts really take a backseat.

The coffee comes in first, assaulting your mouth and winning, then the vanilla comes in just a half second later taking over and showing you how a brewer should use vanilla. It feels like whole bean vanilla.

The pervading bitterness from the coffee and roasted malt try to stick around for the aftertaste, but the vanilla leaves a subtle sweet notes of vanilla.

Theres some serious and delicate flavors that mix very well here. Very well done Ballast Point.

 688 characters

Photo of PatrickSwayze
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Obviously deep black in color with a thin lightly dark head that creeps its way to the edges leaving a decent trail on the glass as you drink.

S: I love the smell of this beer even though i don't even care for coffee. The rich chocolate malts are complemented so well by the coffee.

T:  A pretty rich beer that at times can come off a little sweet. The coffee, chocolate, and slight roast are presented exquisitely in this brew. Depending in how fresh you obtain this beast, you could get a good amount of heat from it.

M: A sweet offering that offers plenty of body and moderate to low carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this beer though i could only take down no more then one bomber to myself. Even that is pushing it. Great but wish it was a tad bit mor dry.

 809 characters

Photo of Popp24
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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 jmdrpi
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, code of "VA513 05112", which is unclear of dating.

appears black, nice thick dark tan head. good lacing and retention. aroma is amazingly appetizing, bold vanilla, and sweet coffee with cream and sugar.

taste is a nice balance of roastiness and sweetness. not cloying at all. improves and gets more complex as it warms. medium body, moderate carbonation. nice and smooth drinking.

overall - a great beer. I guess called a porter because it's a bit thinner in body than most imperial stouts.

 510 characters

Photo of keanex
4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from a 22 ounce bottle un-dated.

A: Beautiful pitch black body with a dense tan head that compliments this perfectly. This beer simply looks amazing.

S: This smells absolutely wonderful, there's a perfect balance of vanilla and fresh roasted coffee here, reminds me a lot of vanilla cake actually with coffee. This is wonderful, my only complaint is wishing it were a tad stronger.

T: Absolutely wonderful, there's bready vanilla flavor into a silky rich cocoa coffee flavor. It's as if I'm sipping on a mocha cappuccino with some vanilla flavoring. This is complex, intense, and very easy to drink.

M: Thick and syrupy with light carbonation, this is filling and feels great.

O: This is hands down the best porter I've ever had, I have no complaint with this and will be buying one every time I find one.

 832 characters

Photo of fullthrottle77
4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a snifter glass

A- Very dark brown/black appearance. About a fingers worth of a rust brown colored head.

S- The coffee dominates the nose of this beer. Lots of roasted characters and maybe a slight bit of vanilla. Reminds me of the smell of a coffee shop in the morning.

T- Massive coffee notes blend beautifully with the vanilla. No taste of the 10% abv at all, making this dangerously drinkable.

Overall this is an impressive imperial porter. I'm not really a fan of porters, and prefer stouts, but this beer was excellent. Highly recommend giving it a try. In my opinion at 6.99 this is a bargain for such a top notch brew. Don't hesitate to pick up a bottle.

 691 characters

Photo of mrelizabeth
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Wonderfully dark. Moves in the glass like thick coffee. Tan foam, doesn't last quite as long as I would have liked.

S: Inviting. No alcohol notes. Coffee blends nicely with vanilla, roasted malts.

T: Really great balance of flavors. I got the malts first, followed quickly by the vanilla, then coffee, then a bit of porter at the finish. Smooth with nothing left on your tongue but coffee and vanilla.

M: Clean. Memorable thick and creamy texture.

O: If you are looking for an impressive coffee stout, this one balances more nicely than most. The vanilla shouldn't dissuade you; it adds to the complexity of the beer, but neither it nor the espresso completely overpower the beer. Keep a few bottles of this around for after dinner on a cold night.
*three months and three bottles later, I had to revise my original numbers. this beer only gets better, and is one of the best i've ever had.

 897 characters

Photo of BilbosNuts
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark black with a mocha colored head that has great retention, lasting throughout the drink. It leaves behind rings of lacing.

S: Where to begin? It starts off with a strong ground coffee bean aroma that gives way to sweet vanilla and a sort of woody scent. Chocolate and roasted malts then begin to make an appearance.

T: Quite similar to the aroma with strong coffee and sweet vanilla. The alcohol is very subtle but has a light presence.

M: Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth to drink. I could drink this all day.

O: This may be one of my favorite beers I've ever had. The smell is orgasmic and the taste isn't far off. I wish this were available year round.

 754 characters

Photo of hopfacebrew
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Got this in a trade from Heymanivxx - thanks man! Great label too, I love it.

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

A - The beer pours jet black with huge 3 finger dark tan/brown head with great retention and gobs of lacing.

S - Nice aroma of vanilla beans with roasted malt character: coffee, chocolate, almost creamy on the nose.

T/M - A nice vanilla flavor right up front which quickly is joined with a nice coffee/chocolate flavor. The middle is so creamy it's like a milk chocolate shake! Mild bitterness with a huge creamy mouthfeel. The beer ends with a nice coffee roast on the palate that lasts forever. Full bodied and delicious.

D - The beer is strong but hides it's strength well. Very drinkable.

Overall, this is an outstanding beer. I was really impressed and an thankful for the hook up. Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-02-2011 01:49:16

 1,017 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.43/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours black with a two-inch tan head. The head dies down after a few minutes, but never quite goes away. Lacing clings to the glass in rings.

S: Whole, roasted coffee beans with hints of vanilla bean and a roasted malt base. Malted milk balls. Faint dark chocolate. Not the most complex nose, but it still smells quite good.

T: Bitter and acidic coffee flavors kick things off. Darkfruit lingers underneath with almost a tart edge. Vanilla bean barely breaks through now and then. Kick of citric hops. More bitter coffee. Dark chocolate before the finish. Nutty and coffee tastes finish, along with some lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied. Creamy. Low carbonation. Good enough to get the job done, but it seems to be lacking some intangible dimension.

O: Too bitter, in my opinion, with a double dose coming from both the coffee and the ample hopping. Hop tastes were also very distracting and felt out of place. Good but not great, don't see what all the fuss is about.

Notes: This beer disappears from the shelves very quickly around here, and has quite a reputation. Not sure why. I can readily think of several similar and easier to find options at this price point or lower that I would rather have.

 1,265 characters

Photo of Nugganooch
4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory At Sea - 2011
Bomber w/ 10oz Nonic Taster glass

A: Pours a super dark brown which looks jet black in the glass really. Completely opaque. A fantastic two to three fingers of dark tan suds formed. Exhibits some great retention skills. Subsides to a crown and leaves curtains of lace with each sip.

S: Smells like a straight up caramel mocha. Aromas are caramel, toasted malts, dry roast coffee with a sort of earthiness to it and alcohol. Not a whole lot of vanilla in the nose.

T: Taste is quite the treat. Like having German chocolate cake in a glass. Roasted grains that depict some real dark chocolate notes. Fresh brewed coffee and vanilla. A caramel candied sweetness overall. Toasted coconut. Green earthy woods and a nice hoppy bitter bite towards back palate. Just layers and layers of flavor here. A real step up from the nose. A good amount of warming alcohol heat but does not impact the beer in a negative manner. Coffee is so fresh and the vanilla really comes alive as this brew warms up. More reminiscent of a French Vanilla Cafe.

M: Heavier in body and a little syrupy. Not too thick or viscous and not really thin for that matter. Overall a somewhat creamy texture with a touch of oily sleekness.

D: A delectable drink that should be savored. Complex with lots of layered flavors. All of which play their own part yet work really nicely together. Slightly sweet and boozy it's definitely an Imperial. Enjoyed better after temp warms up a bit.

Highly recommend. I always seek this one out at time of release. Hands down my favorite beer label too!

 1,579 characters

Photo of fwiz
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, beer pours a jet black with a tan/chocolate brown one and a half finger head that lingers to a lot of nice lace down the glass at every sip.

Appearance: Dark black with tan/chocolate brown head.

Smell: Up front is dark chocolate with a lot of smoke, vanilla, coffee, oak and caramel sweetness. Hops very far in the back but you can pick them up.

Taste: Vanilla up front, tons of coffee, tons of chocolate, roast, lots of sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy silk with medium carbonation. Great finish of alcohol warmth. Very nice.

Overall: A very good beer. This one was recommended by the craft beer shop I go to and I was not disappointed at all. Will be putting this one on the list for the next shopping trip.

 739 characters

Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Coffee colored with an off white foam head. It has a nice lacing as well.

S: Subtle vanilla with notes of dark chocolate and coffee.

T: Lots of Dark Chocolate, some coffee, and subtle notes of vanilla.

M: medium-low carbonation. It also has a nice rich, creamy silkiness.

O: Very good. I have been waiting to try this for awhile and I definitely wasn't disappointed. Its aroma leads you to believe there will be a lot of rich vanilla, but the opposite is true. You actually end up getting some nice subtle vanilla with lots of rich dark chocolate. I was very impressed, this was definitely a great beer.

 614 characters

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