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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,342 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,342
Ratings:
6,523
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,071
Gots:
2,072
For Trade:
92
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,342 | Ratings: 6,523
Photo of Popp24
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as I can get it with a continual amount of mocha frothiness.

Aromas of of dark cocoa, coffee, hops, roasty grain and milk sweetness.

Straight forward in your face-no doubt about it-Hello coffee! May I have some dark cocoa, vanilla bean, piney hop and alcohol put in there please.

Medium to heavy on the mouthfeel with alcohol resonating in the cranium with bitter coffee on the tongue and vanilla ringing on the palate.

Delivers as advertised with no frills or artificial ingredients. Pleasure to have tried and will get better with some time on it. Buyer beware, there is strong black coffee here in the mix. Plain outstanding!

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Photo of CayseyW
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
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 TheCuriograph
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pitch black, with a two-finger tan frothy head. Head aerates slightly, leaving nice spiderweb lacing.

S - Coffee and vanilla dominate with a sugary sweetness that masks any booze or bitterness.

T - The rich vanilla really rises to the top, leaving the coffee-malt body to follow. There's a sharp espresso bitterness the subsides nice and gentle. Behind all of it is a tangy alcohol, almost like dark cherry intermingling with caramel.

M - Mealy, oil mouthfeel. Substantial and heavy, a perfect desert-course unto itself.

O - One of the better coffee-focused beers I've had. The sweetness and bitterness are perfectly balanced, and it's full and quietly boozy. A great dessert beer.

***

Politics, Art, Beer. A Compendium of Worldly Facts
The Curiograph
www.thecuriograph.com
Twitter: @TheCuriograph

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Photo of whatthehull
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tulip

A - deep brown/ black, one finger very tan head and some nice sticky lacing

S - Coffee, vanilla, hop, wood, chocolate and tons of roastiness

T - tons of vanilla up front, tons of coffee, chocolate, very roasty, tons of malts, earth, wood, a funk (maybe yeast?), a big hop note and just tons of coffee. It even has the coffee acidity!

M - medium plus body, lots of acidity, not much complexity, not very balanced and a very long finish

D/O - this is a big beer and tons of coffee, if you don't like coffe this one, you will not be a fan of! Very enjoyable, love the flavor profiles and fun to drink from cold to room temp. Not refreshing at all, just a fun enjoyable imperial beer

Final thought - I really like ballast point and I have yet to try this beer, not a big porter fan, but this one is nice. $8 a pop and 10% is nice. Hope it ages well

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Near black with full tan head and lots of staying power. Nose is complex with various malts and burnt malts, and plenty of coffee and vanilla. Taste is a bit much...tons of flavor, but somewhat muddled and overdone. Finish leaves a bit too much bitterness over the coffee and dark malt notes. Definitely a good big beer. Definitely not a quick or quaffable. Need to spend some time with it, and one is probably plenty. Overall very good.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.38/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours pitch black with a bubbly mocha head of foam. Two fingers worth. It dissipated rather quickly. Leaves streaks of lacing.

S - lots of oily espresso on first sniff along with varying degrees of roasted malt and a bit of milk chocolate. Some mild spice notes along with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut.

T - vaguely sweet on the front of the tongue. The roasty bitter flavors enter mid palate to balance the sweetness. There are hints of vanilla as well but it seems to be providing a counter notand e to the strong esprosso bean roasty flavors.

M - full bodied. medium carbonation. Creamy texture.

O - an interesting ale. I was expecting a little more desert beer
from this with the vanilla playing a larger role. But still flavorful and well produced.

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Photo of Axic10
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with two fingers of mocha foam that settles after a few minutes.

Smell: Bold coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and some boozy notes at the end.

Taste: Coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla. Tasty!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Probably a neck and neck tie for my favorite beer from Ballast Point (Sculpin being the other). I've had this beer on tap and out of the bottle and it is really really good. Definitely one I order whenever I see it.

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Photo of bifrost17
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a CBS snifter

A: Pretty much what you'd expect. Very dark, but I can't quite decide if I'd say it's black, or just a very dark brown...maybe like mahogany, or ebony. Nice light brown, cinnamon colored head that sticks around. Moderate lacing.

S: Smells like dessert. Vanilla, and coffee obviously, but also chocolate, cherries, and maybe like a woody...earthiness....? Smells amazing.

T: Tastes even better than it smells! Wow, so much going on, bitter coffee up front, followed by a chocolate/vanilla sweetness, and then finishes with a lingering coffee espresso type of bitterness. Really amazing how sweet the beer tastes but how bitter it finishes. Props to the brewers, this is crazy. Almost tastes like multiple different beers all rolled into one. The 10% abv is totally hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation, suuuper creamy. Feels nice. My only complaint is it's a tad thin, but I guess maybe that's how you can differentiate between an "imperial stout" and an "imperial porter." This is definitely not thick enough to be confused with an imperial stout.

O: Easily my favorite Ballast Point beer. I've had Sculpin numerous times, and I enjoy it, but I really don't understand the hype behind it. Victory at Sea on the other hand...A W E S O M E. Seek this beer out. I've always been skeptical of the "Imperial Porter" style, but this beer clearly defines it. Not as heavy and robust as an Imperial Stout...almost hard to describe, but if you want to know what an Impy Porter is just drink this and you'll know. Thank you Ballast Point.

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Photo of Retsinis
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass.

Pours a deep, rich black, with brown highlights when held to the light. Less than an inch of head, that fades to a light lacing that sits on top, and sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell is of vanilla, roasted coffee, burnt brown sugar, and a tinge of bitter hops, but comes across more as bitter coffee.

Taste follows the nose, coffee, vanilla, some tobacco, dark chocolate ( like 70% dark chocolate)

Mouth feel is a bit creamy, but doesn't linger on the palate. Heat of the 10% is well masked, but comes through more once it warms up.

Overall, one of the top coffee porters. The 2010 seems a bit too balanced in contrast to previous years, with the flavors melding to a point of masking what is a complex beer. Having sampled various variety's, the barrel aged tap version is delicious, as was last year's fresh, (Also aged last years for a year, vanialla comes through a lot, coffee fades quite a bit, was still present though) but last years cask version with Rum chips takes the prize.

Recommended in any variant though, great seasonal.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic imperial porter. Big and black with a good head. Coffee bean add to the porter style in a rich dark way. Not harsh coffee bean like some stouts. Very smooth. Vanilla adds some depth to the sweetness and blends well with the infused coffee beans. Out of this world aroma. Flavor is top class as well, but the aroma is maybe the best I've seen in a porter. Great original style from Ballast Point. It's nice to finally get my hands on a Victory at Sea.

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Photo of do_ob
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into a Madtree snifter. Dark brown pour, and a coal black in the glass. About 1 finger of brown foam on top that fizzed down to a spotty lacing fairly quickly. Looks very carbonated. 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 a little 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 bushbeer75
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle

Ballast Point Victory at Sea filled my tulip glass with an opaque very dark brown almost black hue. Atop sat a milkshake like 1-1/2 finger tan that held well. The nose is dominated by coffee and roasted malts. Coffee and roasted malts are the first flavors detected followed by dark fruit, caramel, and chocolate. The coffee and roasted flavor seem to overpower the vanilla as only very little is noted. I was hoping for a stronger vanilla taste to come through. The mouth feel is rather full bodied, thick and creamy with a light bitter finish.

My first brew from Ballast Point and I am a fan. Good representation of the style. Remember, do not drink this Ale too cold as the flavor really comes out when it is warmer.

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Photo of Philousa
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very black, but has a tinge of coffee color against the light. takes some effort to produce head and what's there dissipates to leave very little on top of the drink. Aroma starts out with lots of caramel and a hint o licorice/anise. The Porter malt is strong with this one. Some chocolate and vanilla notes with a hint of oak. Sweet vanilla flavor fades quickly to bitter dark roast coffee. Dark chocolate follows and finishes bitter. Vanilla is in there the whole while, lingering. I got some tobacco in there too. Amazingly smooth for the ABV, the finish is dry.

This is one of my favorite porters. Complex and flavorful, I thought this was surely barrel aged at first. Adding chocolate and vanilla is a delicate process, which is why I like BA beers more. All this is to say that the flavors blend well together and are not overbearing. The ABV is very deceiving, too. You notice it when you stand up, not when you drink it.

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black with a towering coffee colored head and great lacing. Notes of heavy coffee, caramel, toffee and light vanilla in the nose. Big coffee flavor, some toffee and vanilla working in the background smooth the flavor profile. Nice feel as it warmed, creamy, fuller side of medium body and very drinkable at 10%. This was one of, if not the most coffee forward beers I've ever had. Really fantastic.

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Photo of tpaetow
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip

A- dark dark dark with a nice creamy tan head

S- tons of coffee, bitter chocolate, less vanilla than expected, little caramel sweetness

T- toasty delicious coffee up front, biter chocolate and more vanilla around the middle, caramelly, light sweetness in the back

M- medium bodied, decent carbonation, this one is creamy and smooth

O- this is one tasty porter, if you're a fan of the style this is worth seeking out

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Photo of oldn00b
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks about perfect, nice tan head forms and sticks.

Nose is big on coffee and vanilla, exactly as expected.

Something about this doesn't live up for me - I feel like the vanilla and sweet combine for a bit of a cloying effect that gives the flavor a bit of an artificial tinge.

Feel is great, nice viscosity for a porter without being syrupy.

Overall, really great beer, but not sure I like it as much as most.

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Photo of mobrado
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A delicious coffee-vanilla bomb that hides 10% dangerously well. Only drawback, if you even want to call it that, is a fairly thin mouth feel, but if it was any thicker, they'd call it a stout and charge twice the price, so I'm okay with it.

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Photo of jmalex
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ballast Point has really exploded onto the scene in the past 6 months or so and I was excited for the chance to buy this limited release bomber of my favorite style.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip a deep black with a one-finger, tan head. It's tightly-bubbled and eventually shrinks to a full coating of foam covering the surface of the beer. Lacing is spotty and abundant the full height of the glass.

SMELL: I haven't even picked up the glass yet and I can smell the intense aroma of coffee. It really dominates the nose and doesn't let much else through. Some roasted malt and a strong hint of vanilla show through, but that's about it. Not that it's entirely a bad thing because what's here smells awesome, if just a bit overwhelming. As the beer warms though, some distinct hop aroma adds some much-needed complexity to the beer.

TASTE: The coffee gives way much more in the taste but still dominates. Chocolate and caramel make their way through initially with the coffee coming up to meet it then passing it by. A roast barley flavor comes on toward the finish giving the beer a very stout-like quality. The roastiness continues on through the finish and takes on a bittering role in conjunction with the coffee. Again as the beer warms, hops show themselves and aid in both bittering and depth of flavor.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body with a lower than average carbonation. Seems just about right for style with a minor syrupiness.

DRINKABILITY: The flavors individually are all really nice, but rather than creating depth, they seem to just muddle each other up. That coupled with the fact that it's impossible to get past the coffee flavor no matter how good it is makes this more of an amalgam of tastes rather than a finely-tuned, interconnected blend. It is worth noting however that the 10% ABV is really hard to find.

I like this beer. I really did. It's really all over the place though, and I feel like I can find much more cohesive restrained examples of the style that drink much better. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Near black with a thin finger of a espresso-colored head, but the lacing is obviously great off the bat here.
Smells milky dark chocolate with a rich roasted coffee flavor, nice vanilla hint, malt.
Wow this is a big tasting brew, like the nose but enhanced and ongoing with a dank coffee effect. Pleasant coffee-grinds type of burn, also a licorice aspect for me here (but without resembling strong anise or anything approaching that). Not as sweet as I thought it'd be, but not dry-finishing either. A lively dark beer indeed, not as thick-bodied in appearance as I expected either, although a bit sticky in the mouth. As this sipper warms...roasted coffee, chocolate, cherry-anise, all encapsulated by vanilla. Excellent.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Super dark brown porter. Nice creamy foam head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and sweet raisin and vanilla notes.

T - Great coffee flavor up front with a sweet vanilla finish.

M - Smooth, creamy, and just the right amount of carbonation.

O - Only my second Ballast Point beer and I'm very impressed so far. I definitely will have this porter again and look forward to trying more of their beers. Prost!

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Photo of suspect
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A: Pitch black color. Center glug-glug pour leads to a slowly rising chocolate colored head the builds for about 10 seconds after I finished pouring. Head dissipates ever so slowly and leaves sticky slug-trail like lacing on down the glass.

S: Big time smells of coffee, toasted malts, cocoa, vanilla and at the end a touch of the alcohol. This is a big boy porter and it lets you know right away in the nose.

T: Toasted chocolate malts come through first with the coffee hitting hard just after. Faint flavors of bakers chocolate, vanilla, toasted oak and dark fruits come next. The fruits shine at the end of the sip with figs and dates being the most prevalent. What a flavor.

M: Big creamy finish. No alcohol burn. Perfectly carbonated.

O: This bad ass beer drinks like an Imperial Stout and it's tough to tell the difference. Regardless, this is a phenomenal beer. One that I would gladly buy in quantity.

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Photo of RedChrome
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pure onyx body. Thick and foamy toffee colored head held over and inch for about three minutes before slowly receding. To dark to note carbonation.

Roasted barley hits strong up front and brings a nice coating of vanilla with it. Coffee aroma is quite strong and bursts forth after a second on the nostrils.

Strong bitter coffee taste up front. Vanilla background to the overall flavor. A very nice balance between malt and vanilla sweetness and coffee bitter.

Thick feel on all mouth surfaces and flavor clings to the tongue. Carbonation is a nice light burst.

A great brew. Works well as a dessert beer. A true treat worth finding. Coffee lovers will enjoy this one twice as much.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 ml poured into a snifter and a tulip. I ordered two of these bottles from Holiday Wine Cellar, excellent selection; they will definitely get my business again when I need certain California brews.

A - very black, very little brown on the periphery. Huge head recedes very slowly. I'm reminded starkly of Guiness.

S - Definitely the worst aspect of the beer, but it's still pretty good. The alcohol content is a little overwhelming in the snifter, but the coffee plays a role.

T - very tasty. Chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and only a slight hint of vanilla. This reminds me quite a bit of ST's imperial stouts, like Choklat and Mokah. It isn't quite as up front and personal with its flavors, but that might be a good thing. A little too carbonated and a little too much alcohol are the only points off it gets.

M - very good, the alcohol and carbonation hug the mouth in a good way. Very drinkable.

O - excellent beer. I don't want to pay for shipping from California every time I buy this beer, so it may be a while before I get it again. I certainly will next time I'm on the west coast.

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Photo of NRo
3.29/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: beautiful black body with a nice light tan head

Smell: Like fresh coffee grounds

Taste: Seriously, all I can taste is coffee. This is marginally better than drinking cold coffee cause at least it's beer.

Mouth feel: nice and thick, smooth

Overall: I'd let it age and hope that the coffee dies down and let's other flavors come through.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,342 ratings.