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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

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

3,866 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,866
Reviews: 927
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 727
Gots: 734 | FT: 56
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,866 | Reviews: 927 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of memphischas
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

memphischas, Oct 05, 2014
Photo of Phillyz
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Phillyz, Mar 01, 2013
Photo of coldmeat23
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

coldmeat23, May 12, 2013
Photo of doucmehu
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

doucmehu, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of stephens101
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andewk for the exceptional trade and the hookup on this bonus beer.

Tall, thick, and dark tan head with a cluster of slowly popping bubbles at the top of the jet black brew. Staying power is excellent. In other words, this head don't need no Viagra. A tiered and multi-hued lace is left when the froth is spent.

Sweet and bitter chocolates to the nose initially, with an undercurrent of black coffee and furtive vanilla bean at the very end. Taste is complex with rich caramel malts, pine, espresso, vanilla, milk chocolate and oaken notes.

Creamy goodness going down with an unbroken but never overwhelming alcohol heat.

A stud of a perfectly balanced bittersweet brew that I find finishes off way to quick no matter how you cut it.

stephens101, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into snifter. Tasting notes from 45 degrees and up.

Pours pitch black, almost no brown showing through anywhere other than the very edges, a nice , dense one-finger light-brown head. Nice stickage, impressive lacing. After the head disappears, a few swirls are all that's needed to resurrect it.

Nose is big on espresso; robust, rich, and full, with an underlying vanilla/smooth dark chocolate sweetness. Not a bit of acidity. Wow, really nice.

Taste is pretty unique. It pretty much throws everything at you right from the beginning - big roasty espresso, loads of vanilla, and some dark, dark chocolate underneath. There's definitely a dichotomy hear between the fairly sharp, roasty bitterness and the big sweet vanilla note, with the vanilla pulling ahead around mid-palate and the espresso roaring back to dominate the long, dry, moderately bitter roasty finish. Bit boozey.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied, with a crisp but reserved carbonation.

Drinkability is ok. This is definitely an "extreme" beer, in that all the flavor notes are really huge and kind of battle it out for dominance instead of syncing up and trying to work with each other. A hair less vanilla and a bit less on the bitterness scale and this one would work quite a bit better. As it is now, it's a nice beer, but it really takes no prisoners.

JohnQVegas, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of Bartos
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Bartos, Feb 22, 2014
Photo of paco1029384756
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to Kegatron.

Pours black with one finger of smooth light tan head.

Scent of roasted malts, bitter hops, chocolate, vanilla, sugars, oatmeal, and some dark fruit. Not quite amazing, but balanced supremely well with no hint of alcohol.

Taste of sweet creamy vanilla, chocolate, oatmeal, roasted malts, coffee, some bitter hops, and burnt wood. Very tasty, and balanced similarly as the scent. This brewery can balance the hell out of some very strong beer.

Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and smooth with a slowly biting carbonation; wonderful.

paco1029384756, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into St. Bernardus Chalice. 2010 bottle.

A: Awesome look, very dark brown-black body with epic brown head and super lacing on the glass. Awesome start.

S: This is nice- a huge fudge note, some roast, vanilla type sweetness with an oaked tinge to it. Some coffee in there. Not as strong as I'd like but very nice

T: Much more going on here. The vanilla and coffee flavors are well highlighted over a base of roasty chocolate. A sweet front and a bitter chocolate dry finish, huge charred malt characters and a bit of smoke, and some alcohol burn and sweetness as well. Barley and cereal notes add in to beef up the overall body and flavor of the beer. Supremely balanced and amazing, some definite creamy almost milk shake malt qualities to it. Probably the tastiest imperial porter there is.

M: Smooth and creamy, very viscous. Great carbonation level and no heat, just amazing over the palate.

D: Great beer. I love it and will continue to buy it if I see it, also I'm curious to see how it ages and if the vanilla and coffee fade away.

Dreadnaught33, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of erialbill
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

erialbill, Apr 24, 2013
Photo of plumcrazyfx
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, dark black with a 3/4" tan head. Smells of dark roast coffee and a little bit of sweet vanilla. Taste is heavy on the bitter coffee with a bit of smooth vanilla, round sweetness, and just a smooth, smooth enveloping finish. The coffee may be the best I've ever had in a beer - most coffee in beers have an oxidized metalic taste like it's been on the warmer in the break room too long. Not here, this is smooth velvety coffee and a round long, though quite bitter flavor, but with a little bit of a fizzy carbonation that accentuates the bitterness on the very back of the outside of the tongue and a little round vanilla/chocolate smoothness. The carbonation and medium, slightly viscous feel is perfect for the beer. This is the best porter?!?! I've ever had. I don't know if I'd really call it a porter due to the heavier mouthfeel and coffee - it's kinda stoutlike. Whatever it is it's a supreem beer and one that I'll be seeking more of.

plumcrazyfx, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of russwbeck
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to nhindian for sharing this one! After we popped the bottle I think he wished he had the whole thing for himself...I know I sure did.

A: Dark pour, small beige head, that doesn't stay around for too long, but laces decently.

S: The smell is sweeter than I would expect. Coffee tones and roasted malts. Sweetness must be from the vanilla.

T: Taste is coffee forward, with the vanilla coming up after. Dry aftertaste, the coffee sticks around for a while.

MF: Full bodied and creamy, which I didn't expect. My last Vanilla porter was way too watery for me, this really surprised me in a good way.

D: I didn't want to put this down. Really, really good. I want another one already.

russwbeck, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of AdamP
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

AdamP, Aug 25, 2013
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter comes out of the bottle looking dark and brooding. The beer itself pours a dark obsidian color. The head starts as a dark tan foam, bubbling up through the beer and rising up the glass. The foam eventually rises a few inches to reach the top of the glass. A slow recession leaves plenty of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma provides a blast of roasted malt notes and deep, full coffee. There is a little bit of bitter dark chocolate in the back, but the aroma is mainly a blast of roasted malt and bitter coffee.

My first impression is that this beer is big, bold, and makes no apologies for being so. Dark roasted malt has hints of smoke and dark chocolate. A jolt of vanilla breaks up the bitter transition from fully roasted malt to intense coffee. The coffee starts strong, with the bitterness coming after. With each sip the cumulative bitterness grows, reminding me of just how intense of a beer this is.

Perhaps it is some kind of magic trick, but this beer does not drink like it has 10% alcohol. There is almost no alcohol present in the taste; it is only noticeable in a slight tingle on my tongue and gums. There is a great creamy nature to the carbonation, more so that the beer. If anything, the flaw with this beer is how light the body feels compared to the robustness of the flavor and carbonation. There is a little bit of bitter and sweet sticky residue left on my lips.

This is truly a great beer and may be the best porter I have had so far. The combination of flavors and level of intensity really do it for me.

KickInTheChalice, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of avaldivia
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

avaldivia, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Kramerbarthomer, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of dfillius
3.65/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed in a 5 oz. taster at Stone Bistro.
A: Very dark brown with 1/2 finger of head.
S: Kahlua! Reminiscent of walking down the coffee aisle at the supermarket.
T: Bitter from coffee flavor maybe more than hops. Alcohol, and a bit of Kahlua.
M: Heat definitely
D: Meh. Delicious, but not too much due to the strength of the alcohol.

dfillius, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of Treyliff
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours pitch black with a small creamy light-tan head that retains long after the pour, leaving behind some short rings of lace

S- big fresh coffee espresso notes melds with melted dark chocolate, toasted vanilla biscotti, fudge brownie, dried dark cherry and fruit bread

T- fresh dark roast coffee up front, highlighted by sweet vanilla, chocolaty malt, and toasted almond. Dark fruit notes of prune, fig and raisin on the finish with a sweet cherry juice finish

M- medium body and carbonation with a light-yet-creamy mouthfeel, leads to a smooth and velvety finish. Loaded with flavor, but still keeping a light enough mouthfeel for a porter, ABV is hidden very well

O- the vanilla meshes almost perfectly to an already solid base coffee porter. Drinkability is on point, solid beer!

Treyliff, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of MN_Beerticker
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

MN_Beerticker, May 09, 2014
Photo of RochefortChris
4/5  rDev -8.9%

RochefortChris, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of Scotchboy
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review No. 550

22oz bomber split into tulips with the brother. Wow did this beer blow me away...

A: Viscous opaque pour with plenty of dark khaki head that retains well and laces the glass quite decently...

S: Great nose, impressive balance between coffee notes and vanilla sweetness...these aromas really pop to the front with notes of roasty bitterness and subtle creamy sweetness.

T: Smooth, moderate vanilla balanced with a great coffee presence, medium to light roast, with notes of chocolate and mocha interwoven throughout...as it warms there is an impression of dark caramel and hints of espresso.

The vanilla in this beer is amazing, better than any other vanilla beer I've tasted...its sweet, but not overly so (i.e. ST Creme Brulee) but is a creamy smooth sweetness and not an off flavor (Stone Vanilla Smoked Porter) and this beer is not boozy at all (any vanilla-forward BA beer). Just fantastic balance of aroma/flavor profiles.

MF: Creamy smooth with just a touch of alcohol on the back of the throat. Moderate-to-full body with a semi-viscous feel and a light dryness.

O: Awesome. Will be searching this one out the rest of my beer drinking life I think. Will, thanks so much! Cheers!

Scotchboy, Nov 07, 2012
Photo of stortore
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

stortore, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of JoeMans
5/5  rDev +13.9%

JoeMans, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of LambicPentameter
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.

LambicPentameter, Jan 28, 2014
Photo of jwps214
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

jwps214, Apr 11, 2014
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,866 ratings.