1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

3,624 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,624
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 635
Gots: 688 | FT: 52
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,624 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bendurgin
Bendurgin

Maine

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Alec. Thanks homey! Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with a thick cap of beige foam that leaves some thick gobs of lace.

The aroma has a heavy vanilla aroma right up front with a robust coffee aroma lingering in the background. Seems to have notes of bitter chocolate in the background.n The pallet gives more of what the the aroma indicates. A little more subtle on the vanilla with more of an emphasis on the coffee. This one is rich and delicious.

The body is full and smooth with soft carbonation. A little bit of a lingering finish would I attribute to the coffee. Overall this one is real solid. Would love to end up with more of these guys anytime.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2012 01:13:11 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of lovindahops
lovindahops

New York

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

03-31-2013 21:08:55 | More by lovindahops
Photo of jaymo18
jaymo18

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

02-17-2014 19:58:45 | More by jaymo18
Photo of ocelot2500
ocelot2500

Arizona

4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, black color with a fading tan head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells of delicious roasted coffee.

Tastes of the delicious roasted notes. Notes of coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar. Vanilla notes come in the end and add a flair to the coffee. Everything is really well balanced. Alcohol is hardly noticeable at 10% and makes this brew a little dangerous.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 03:06:05 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of LambicPentameter
LambicPentameter

Kansas

4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes after enjoying on 1/18/14. Served out of a 22 oz brown bomber with an enjoy by date of 01/03/14, although this style should be fine with some age. Poured into a large 22 oz. snifter that looks sort of like a Teku glass without the flared lip.

Appearance - Body is midnight black--no light getting through capped with a half-finger mocha-tan head of predominantly tiny bubbles with a few medium-sized suds interspersed. Retention is moderate, with the foam fading to a line around the edge of the glass and a thin sparse film across the top of the glass. No lacing whatsoever.

Smell - At first, I was disappointed, thinking that I had left this in the back of my fridge a tad too long. Initially, there was very little coffee or vanilla, with the predominant notes being dark chocolate and dark-roasted malt and buckwheat. However, upon letting it warm a bit, the coffee and vanilla became a bit more present on the nose, even if subdued. The coffee element evokes roasted beans, before any grinding or brewing, just waiting to be unleashed.

Taste - I'm happy to report that the the marquee elements of the porter held up much better on the tongue than they did on the nose. Big, french roast coffee and bold bitterness that finishes with a pleasant vanilla sweetness, like the wonderful innards of a freshly-scored dried vanilla bean. Bittersweet, burnt caramel and waffle cone all add their voices to the mix as well in a complimentary role. It's situations like this where the advantages of a larger format bottle become clear. The first glass was good, but the second glass was great due to some patience and increased temperature.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied (which is a surprise for a non-BA porter with coffee and vanilla that clocks in at 10% abv), with low carbonation on this just-past-the-best-by-date bottle. In spite of the body being a bit lighter than expected, there is a viscous element that leaves a lingering bittersweet finish that is wonderfully complex.

Overall, a great offering from Ballast Point, and even though I've had a limited number of brews from them, this one is a clear favorite of mine. I have one more bottle that I will likely be opening sooner than later, to see just how much difference that best by date really makes.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 07:45:50 | More by LambicPentameter
Photo of DaftCaskBC
DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

07-21-2013 06:20:29 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of cfrances33
cfrances33

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

09-22-2013 23:22:07 | More by cfrances33
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
ThreeWiseMen

California

3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

EDIT (10-25-2010): Just split an 8-month old bottle (same batch as in the review below) with JustinA1. The vanilla had mellowed out a bit, but not as much as I had hoped. Still, the balance was much better, so I boosted the drinkability score from 3.5 to 4.0.

Split amongst Wisemen Nick, Zach, and Jorge. Poured into three standard pint glasses.

Appearance: Poured out dark and thick, producing an ample amount of brown foam atop each 7oz. sample. Head looks beautiful: fluffy and brown with great retention. Body is completely opaque. Nice lacing. Looks great!

Smell: Strong coffee and vanilla from the get-go. Damn! I've never encountered this much vanilla before. Mocha, dark chocolate, and blueberries also contribute, but to a much lesser extent. Pretty incredible. I initially thought the vanilla and coffee aromas were too strong, but as I sit here I can't help but be blown away by this nose. Very nicely done.

Taste: Vanilla, charred grains, black coffee, and (blue)berry-like esters. Very interesting and unique, but I find a good deal of astringency in this one. The alcohol (I'm guessing) does some pretty odd things to the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full-bodied, and very, very creamy. This seriously feels like a milkshake. Carbonation is very light and velvety. Victory at Sea finishes dry (showing the 10% ABV) and leaves a bit of a medicinal taste that quickly dissipates. Not a big fan of the finish, but the milky/creamy feel is top notch!

Drinkability: This is a very cool beer that's certainly worthy of all the praise. I personally find it to be over-the-top and a bit medicinal, but I'd be happy to try it again. I think splitting this two ways will be your best bet.

NOTE: Zach and Jorge both found this beer to be over-the-top and thought it would be much better if it were toned down a bit. Reminiscent of ST Creme Brulee.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2010 03:57:30 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of VonZipper
VonZipper

New York

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

05-25-2012 21:29:26 | More by VonZipper
Photo of jmccraney
jmccraney

Washington

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

05-10-2012 20:44:03 | More by jmccraney
Photo of vande
vande

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

11-21-2012 04:15:00 | More by vande
Photo of dertyd
dertyd

California

3/5  rDev -31.7%

06-17-2013 05:46:36 | More by dertyd
Photo of oso
oso

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

12-23-2013 02:26:02 | More by oso
Photo of ldhughes3
ldhughes3

Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

01-23-2013 04:46:59 | More by ldhughes3
Photo of kell50
kell50

North Carolina

4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on draft many times at Duckworth's in Charlotte, NC. Time for a review!

A: Very dark black with a nice 2 finger off white creamy head that seems to completely attach itself to the glass. Looks similar to a Guinness as it flows from the tap.

S: MMMM. There's so much going on here. I first detect some roasted coffee notes up front; followed by hints tobacco, vanilla beans, caramel, and punch of dark chocolate.

T: Tastes just like it smells. Fresh brewed coffee, vanilla, chocolaty sweetness and with a touch of a smoke as well. Probably the most full flavored porter I've ever had. Victory at Sea clocks in at 10% abv, but drinks more like 5%. Scary.

M: This beer definitely has a heavier, full-bodied mouthfeel. It's sticky, viscous, and has a low amount of carbonation.

O: Very impressed by this beer! It's an excellent pairing with cold temperatures. The beer's flavors and richness became more pronounced as the beer reached room temperature.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2013 20:38:09 | More by kell50
Photo of PaBeerLover
PaBeerLover

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

12-30-2011 17:15:40 | More by PaBeerLover
Photo of valkyre65
valkyre65

Texas

5/5  rDev +13.9%

03-23-2013 01:08:46 | More by valkyre65
Photo of jtierney89
jtierney89

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super deep brown color, cant tell on the clarity but looks a little hazy. about 2 inches of tan sticky head. Smells alot like coffee and asphalt. Herbal woody hop nose. Burnt malt as well. Coffee really comes through as the beer airs.

Wow, tastes as if a delicious big ol black beer had a baby with an amazingly rich coffee. Bitter black chocolate on the tip of the tongue with a sweet creamy vanilla twang . Huge coffee flavor along the mid palate. Finishes with burnt sugar and underlying hop bitterness, much like a straight black coffee. Almost no detectable alcohol. Quite a brew. Could easily work as a breakfast brew with it's sweet vanilla start and bitter coffee finish. Loving it. Hope it doesnt give me the jitters though, coffee burns often do :-(

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 05:29:32 | More by jtierney89
Photo of KeefD
KeefD

Minnesota

3.88/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes:

Black, thick, nice look for a porter, definitely bordering on stout, small tan head, decent lacing.

Aroma is coffee and vanilla, mostly on the vanilla side, and so much so that it almost makes it seem artificial.

Here's where things got weird. My friend that i shared this bottle with had a weird boogery substance floating about in the top of her beer. I asked her what the hell it was and she said "Meh, it's just foam." A few minutes later and she was gagging it out, as it seemed to be some slimy, disgusting substance. We examined it and couldn't figure what the heck it was to no avail. Kinda killed the enjoyment of the beer, despite it tasting good.

Taste was loaded with vanilla, while coffee took secnd place. Really liking how the vanilla paired with the chocolaty roasty malts, but got a bit cloying after awhile. Good, but became artificial after awhile, reminiscent of ST Creme Brulee. I kept drinking it after loogie incident because it just tasted so good! Nice bitterness on the finish, very sweet, but yummy.

Good stuff, but hard to finish a lot. Would make for an excellent desert drink, but only at about 8-10oz at a time. Would still like to know what the hell was in that beer, but it didn't seem to diminish the flavor.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2010 21:57:27 | More by KeefD
Photo of kbrown
kbrown

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

10-12-2013 22:17:54 | More by kbrown
Photo of ritzkiss
ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

04-29-2012 02:17:37 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of facesnorth
facesnorth

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

07-17-2013 01:30:40 | More by facesnorth
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

06-27-2014 01:09:51 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
Rand_ale_Thor

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -8.9%

02-23-2013 06:44:59 | More by Rand_ale_Thor
Photo of MN_Beerticker
MN_Beerticker

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

05-09-2014 20:24:16 | More by MN_Beerticker
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,624 ratings.