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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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1,195 Reviews
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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
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Reviews: 1,195 | Hads: 5,816
Photo of jooler
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells like a prairie Bomb. It tastes pretty damn good. Smooth like a porter but the burn of an imperial stout with a hint of vanilla. Only issue is that the carbonation is low

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

S: vanilla, coffee, cocoa. F: strong vanilla, cocoa nibs, coffee. F: medium heavy, but not syrupy. Light sweetness to start, pleasant bitter finish with vanilla as the strongest flavor. Could drink this as a house beer.

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Photo of bgold86
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So much coffee and vanilla I find that no beers can stand up to this mighty example. Will ruin your taste buds though to other coffee stouts, it will spoil you silly (my only complaint).

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Photo of Stebbimacdaddy
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A thoroughly enjoyable beer
Dark opaque pour with a lovely caramel foam head that lingers with steps of lacing all the way down.
Nose is coffee and chocolate.
Taste is chocolate and coffee following nose. Smooth and clean taste lingering coffee bitterness, chocolate flavors are smooth and sweet. Well balanced. A truly lovely experience.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that fairly quickly fade down to a cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Roasted malts and coffee up front, with the vanilla lingering a bit in the back. Some dark chocolate also comes through, providing a light bitterness to counteract the sweetness of the vanilla

T: Follows the nose. Roast, vanilla, and coffee all come through first which provides a nice mix of bitterness and sweetness. Dark chocolate in the back again. Finishes with more of the vanilla and hints of the roast and coffee

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Could definitely be a little smoother

O: A great porter that highlights both coffee and vanilla. All components go very well together (roast, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate) and really make this a nice treat. Alcohol goes completely under the radar, which is impressive for 10%. Definitely worth picking some up if you're a fan of either coffee or vanilla beers

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Photo of Jaskeller
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just found a six pack of Victory At Sea and jumped on it. Typically in Somerville I only find the single bottle so have six servings really made my day.

The coffee flavor in the beer is on the dark roast side; floral but definitely bitter. The vanilla does a really good job of balancing out the beer but it definitely is not sweet. I really like the richness of the beer; it is very dark color but not too viscous.

If you like a porter with a bit of a spicy bite and a ton of balance, pick this sucker up and enjoy it!

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Salty Pig. This was such a big tasting bomb of a porter - amazing stuff. Enjoyed it while I listened to my buddy John talked about his match.com dates as of late. Made me wonder why someone doesn't order a 12 pack of these for a 1st date. 6 each of these bad guys, and everyone will be in love. Anyways.....great beer. Wonder why Beer Advocate doesn't offer a dating website on the side. This could not fail...

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Photo of teromous
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black bodied beer with a creamy dark tan head. The head fades shortly and leaves some spots of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: There is a very strong coffee-shop aroma to the beer accompanied by a woody oak-like aroma. I don't pick up any vanilla aroma.

Taste: It has a very nice dark chocolate flavor with some bitter roasted presence and a strong dark coffee flavor. I don't pick up any vanilla flavor. There is a notable lack of alcohol flavor which is nice.

Mouthfeel: It is extremely smooth and thick and velvety. The aftertaste gives a good bite of bitterness.

Overall: It's an excellent porter. I didn't get any vanilla presence in this beer at all which was disappointing, but ignoring the lack of vanilla still makes it a great coffee porter. I would recommend it and I would pick it up again.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-black body with big tan head leaves heavy lacing.
S-overwhelming cocoa and vanilla. Roasted malts.
T-layer and layers of coffee and vanilla. Chocolate and roast. Bitterness of coffee is offset by malty sweetness and vanilla. No detectable alcohol burn.
M-thick body low carb oily mouth feel.
O-i knew this was going to be a good brew based on reputation and I wasn't disappointed. Seek it out!

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Top Hops in New York, having never had this before. I like Porters and have been on a Ballast Point kick as of late in addition to that. Hoped that this would be another winner and sure enough, it was. While not a light beer, the range of flavors and ease of enjoyment of this was a winning combination and as this warmed up, the smoothness of this became much more impressive to me!

Loved the pour to this, as the dark coffee hue had just a hint of garnet around the edges to it to let a hint of light through. Easily the best head I've ever seen on a Porter as the massive, tan foam quickly filled up the remainder of my pint glass and did its best impression of a loaf of bread that a beer could do. Tall and yeasty, the bubbles in it were massive and as they rose to the surface, it left and impression both on the side of my pint glass and on me. The lacing that was left over was extensive and solid as this beer settled into it's liquid state. Nice coffee and bitter chocolate aroma to this, reinforced by a massive vanilla extract presence, with an espresso base underneath that. Thin, carbonated, and strong, this beer packed a punch both in the range of flavors it had and the booze that tied everything together. Certainly bitter, there were hints of cherry, current,and licorice in here as well and for all of the complexity present, I was amazed how well this went down!

Weak, this was not but when you're celebrating a "victory at sea", weak won't cut it. The bread in this beer's head was repeated in the aftertaste as hints of pumpernickel could be found after the liquid went down, owing to the strength of this beer's body and subtle spice. Porters don't come around like this that often so if you can find it, get it. It's not for the faint of heart but there's enough out there that is and who are you kidding - you know you want to find something this well-crafted and savor every last drop of it. On par with the Sculpin IPA's, Ballast Point has a winner here that deserves the lofty rating it has received here on Beeradvocate.

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Photo of Dynobolt
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Deep brown with average tan head that settles to a nicely retained film and bubbles with some lacing
Smell: medium to dark roast coffee, dark fruit, boozy
Taste: Coffee and dark chocolate (mocha) blend with vanilla, brown sugar and dark fruit. a fair amount of sweetness up front with moderate bitterness in the finish. maybe some herbal hops presence.

Overall: A pretty delicious brew - the coffee is really well integrated with the beer and adds an earthiness to the otherwise sweet malty body. Hops is just enough to balance in the finish. Great balance and nice presentation.

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Photo of sa93
3.14/5  rDev -28%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I feel this beer is somewhat overrated. It's all coffee, all the time. It doesn't have any balance. It completely drowns out the more interesting notes, and doesn't even really taste like beer. A small taste might be enjoyable from time to time, but that's it.

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Photo of Notacraftdrinker
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look- jet black nice thick tall brown head
Smell- more vanilla with suddle coffee and almost truffle notes
Taste- great coffee bitterness with a sweet slight vanilla finish
Feel- thick and creamy. Full body brew
Overall- very very well balanced. Taste more coffee than you smell. Nice warming alcohol on the finish. A must try porter

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Photo of nsg_beer_doc
4.91/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A big beer that is easy to drink (assuming you like coffee, which, let's face it, if you ordered this one up knowing you didn't like coffee you might not be the smartest person in the world). It's smell is intoxicating and its notes of coffee and vanilla are strong but not overpowering. You'll never forget this is a beer at its base, but it's one that is unique in its genre.

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Photo of WyethBednar
4.99/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A beautiful opaque black porter with a nice dense head.

Smell: Great. Roasty notes of malt balanced with the subtle sweetness of vanilla beans and bitter coffee

Taste: Incredible. Highly complex, yet easy to drink. The high ABV forces you to slow down, which is a blessing as it allows you to really get the full effect of the beer. A sipping beer, but in a good way.

Feel: Lightly carbonated and creamy.

This is definitely one of my favorite beers of all time. In my opinion, it's the best example of an Imperial Vanilla Porter I've ever had. It balances all the elements just right, so it's never too roasty, too sweet, or too bitter, but rather is all things at once. A delicious, interesting beer that any dark beer fan should love

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Photo of rjs246
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

So first of all, this beer looks amazing. The fact that it isn't a stout is shocking because, well it looks like a stout. Smells great too, but once again when I get to the tasting a vanilla porter has let me down. A big chocolatey porter with coffee and a hint of vanilla sounds incredible but the end result is merely good, not great. It didn't leave me with the same feeling of meh that the Breckenridge variety does, but it also isn't anything I'll find myself craving any time soon.

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Photo of colingaiser
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass...

L: A gorgeous deep, dark brown with a thick and creamy tan, 3-finger head. It takes a while to disappear and leaves some nice, elegant lacing.

S: Definitely a unique aroma ... there's coffee (more like used coffee grounds), molasses and black licorice, some surprisingly earthy (perhaps some oak?) notes, and undertones of vanilla. A very intriguing scent to say the least.

T: WOW, there is a lot going on here. The robust coffee flavor pervades -- like a bite of espresso -- but it's followed by notes of sweet caramel, bitter baking chocolate, a little black licorice spice, all followed by a sweet, boozy finish. It's hard not to gulp this down it's so well-balanced and delicious.

F: It's chewy but not heavy, and there's a delectable creamy mouthfeel. It's fairly light on carbonation but that serves to highlight the immense palate of flavors. Perfect.

O: This is an absolutely beautiful beer. The flavors are so well-balanced and are highlighted by a decadent mouthfeel that keeps you salivating for more. The coffee notes aren't overwhelming, but provide an essential bitterness that cuts through the vanilla and malty sweetness. An absolute must-have if you find yourself in Ballast Point's distribution area.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Black as night, bright light through it shows a ruby glow and clarity. Sticky tan head laces the glass and lasts.

Smell: Coffee, dark malt, coffee, rum, coffee, vanilla, hint of black bread, roasted grain, and coffee. A slight charred barrel note goes a bit ash and overdone knocking a few points off.

Taste: Sweet burnt sugar toffee, coffee, mild bitter lime peel lost in leather, malt, tobacco, and gravitas.

Feel: Heavy body, chewy, slick and hot. Lip numbing.

Overall: Big Wow factor, big flavor, heady alcohol, brute strength meets complexity with vanilla, coffee, malt, hops, and alcohol all taking turns crushing it. Big yum, seek, buy, ... more.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.06/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is obviously really good. But, like too many porters, Baltic-strength or not, it suffers from one-and-done syndrome -- as in, first-sip awesomeness, but then a steep, steep dropoff in quality in every subsequent sip.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Purchased in North Providence, RI.

Pours a deep brown, nearly black body with a light mocha colored head that reduces slowly to leave a layer of foam.

Aromas of heavy coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla come through. Very potent smelling and inviting. On the tongue is bitter coffee, really high cocoa percent dark chocolate, finish is vanilla and caramel, aftertaste is chocolatey and roasty. Very very nice. Thick and rich, low carbonation, little alcohol detected.

For a highly available imperial porter, this is a great option if you're in the distro range. Definitely would buy again. Prefer over FBS.

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

Lovely monster. Appearance is a large tan, slow to settle, thick head with lots of lace and and opaque black brown color. Aroma is coffee, vanilla, roast malt, leather, black earth, dank forest, cement. Flavor's similar to nose, fairly dry, just enough tang and bitter to balance and then a hint of sweet in the finish. Body is just right. Long finish. Nary a hint of strength.

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Photo of Csikic93
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a black with a thick brown head. Immediately smell the coffee and chocolate. The taste is coffee initially with a smooth finish. I could only have about one of these a night but enjoy every single second of it. Really glad I bought it before they sold out.

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Photo of brother_rebus
3.54/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

maybe i was tricked about this beer due to the fan hype, and notoriety. The first sip was virtually off-putting. I must admin it got better from there. They claim it has "just the right amount of sweetness". Thats my major problem with it. Its a malt pit. Not cool. Love porters. Love imperials. Not this one.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a large tan head.
Aroma of vanilla, roasted malt and very soft coffee.
Flavours include more vanilla and a fair bit of sweet malt. A fair whack of coffee too.

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