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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,179 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,179
Hads: 5,732
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 968
Gots: 1,618 | FT: 100
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: 1,179 | Hads: 5,732
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. (725 characters)

Photo of pants678
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown with a surprisingly thin head, perhaps due to my pour.

Alcohol creeps in with the malty smell of chocolate and sweet like caramel or fruit.

Despite being a rich genre, doesn't quite mask the booze on it but still a full bodied chocolate beer with less of a coffee edge than I'd figure. Very up-front brew as you'd imagine, vanilla is perfect compliment to this. Toasty and warm, not too much hop bite.

Heavy, carbonation is welcomed as a porter and not a stout making it easier to handle. (507 characters)

Photo of beerandcycling88
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A Pours a dark brown that borders on black. Topped off with a mocha head.

S A bit of roast and coffee

T Very strong vanilla notes that are followed with some coffee and a bit of roast. Tastes like some sort of sweet coffee drink from Starbucks or something with the vanilla masking much of the coffee.

M Decent body about right for a porter I suppose.

Overall this is quite an enjoyable beer that I would gladly pick up again. (471 characters)

Photo of Jmikepow
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THe sweet smell of vanilla beans and the wonderful taste of this makes this one of the best porters out there! Try it in a beer float and you will not be disappointed! (167 characters)

Photo of r0nyn
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Otter Creek nonic.

Pours big, dark and thick with a half-inch tan head that recedes slowly. There's a ton of sticky, stringy lacing that just completely coats the inside of the glass. Really a rather pretty beer. Smell is full of coffee beans, coffee beans, coffee beans. You've really got to whiff it good to detect the other nuanced scents in there. After a few deep sniffs, I get the titular vanilla along with some dark chocolate, berries and caramel.. Definitely one of the more complex-smelling beers I've ever sampled.

I thought I knew what to expect tastewise, but this beer totally surprises me. Tons of roasted malts dominate the flavor profile, along with the substantial coffee character. Not too much astringency. Can't really detect the vanilla, which is slightly disappointing, but not dealbreaking. There are notes of sweet, dark and bitter chocolate towards the end with maybe just a hint of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is really quite nice, with a medium body and smooth finish. Carbonation is pretty non-existent. Not really chewy, but has a nice amount of oomph that makes the drinking experience quite pleasant.

Drinkability is great with this beer. It looks great, smells and tastes very good and goes down easy. If you love coffee, you'll love this beer, because fresh, it tastes almost like an iced coffee. You'll just need to be careful, because unlike an iced coffee, this porter carries a very well-hidden 10% ABV that can be very dangerous. On the whole, a great beer to crack open with a few friends. (1,559 characters)

Photo of Ranz
4.84/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Obsidian-black, this porter has it going on. In my stemless wine glass, it didn't create too much head, but the bubbles cling to the sides like the skeleton clutching its heart on the bottle. Speaking of which: great design.

S: Vanilla and Guatemalan coffee beans, both roasted, hit first. There's a slight alcohol pungency here, too. Spicy malt is just present enough as well. This thing is a winner.

T: My God this thing is fantastic. The roasted malt and coffee beans invite the alcohol singe which follows, and it ends so smoothly with the vanilla bean and caramel profile. If I didn't read the label, I would this this were a stout, maybe even imperial.

M: Creamy, lush, decadent; the syrupy quality still has some nice carbonation to balance it out.

O: It's so good that I can't decide to sip and enjoy or pound it and go buy another. I will certainly make another trip to the store and buy a few for storage. This has easily placed itself as a new all-time favorite. (984 characters)

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into handblown tulip glasses.
Pours a very nice dark chocolate with a minimal roasted molasses colored head.
Smell was nice, coffee, some sweet vanilla notes, dankness, roasted malts.
Taste was intense, delicious. A very nice combination of coffee, vanilla, alcohol forward.
Mouthfeel was really nice. Not too think, just enough to chew on with minimal carb.
Ballast Point continues to impress me with incredibly high quality beers that are readily available nation wide. (497 characters)

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

A - pours a very deep, dark black color. No light can be seen thru this one. Nice creamy 2 finger, light brown head that slowly disipates leaving a beautiful lacing.

S - great vanilla aroma, big and rich! Can't wait to taste this one

T - the coffee really comes thru on the front, and the vanilla really rounds this one out very nicely. maybe even some slight chocolate note as well. a little alcohol taste in the end, but not overpowering.

M - medium-heavy mouthfeel. perfect amount of carbonation.

D - extremely drinkable for 10%! Im actually kinda glad I have this bomber to myself, so I can have 2 glasses. (614 characters)

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. (241 characters)

Photo of spacecake9
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%

Very happy so see this at my local liquor store.
A - Pours almost black with a nice foamy head.
S - All I can smell is coffee. Smells just like one of those big tins of ground coffee where you'd rip off the lid and all that coffee aroma would hit you in the face.
T - Coffee and vanilla flavors dominate.
M - Another reviewer thought this was thin but it strikes me as a solid medium body beer.
O - I'm not a huge fan of porters - I prefer stouts - but this one tastes great. Probably helps that I really like coffee. And the vanilla lends a little sweetness that rounds off the bitterness of the coffee (or the porter for that matter). I really like this beer and look forward to getting my hands on another bomber. (721 characters)

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

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger dark mocha head that dissipates into a nice cap. Webs of lacing are left behind.

S- Roasted malt is prominent upfront with coffee beans, dark chocolate, black cherry, vanilla and caramel malt.

T- Dark chocolate covered espresso beans, heavy dose of roasted malt, char, burnt caramel, light cream, and a hint of dark fruit.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a dry roasted finish.

O- While the coffee was quite upfront and robust, I didn't get too much vanilla in the taste. The heavy roast presence got a bit too overwhelming, but certainly a nice offering from Ballast Point and one I would like to try fresh. (656 characters)

Photo of rrock44
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler. This is tasty. Creamy, chocolaty, with a nice finish of vanilla. Goes down real smooth. Alcohol is well hidden. Just screams dessert to me. May have to pick up a German chocolate cake or some vanilla bean ice cream. Definitely would buy a case of the sixers if they ever came to town. (307 characters)

Photo of hoppytobehere
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, bottled October 28th

A: Just as you would expect. Dark as hell. Nice sticky tan lacing.

S: Coffee heavy, but for a guy that drinks 4 cups a day, this is great. Dark chocolate as well, not getting much vanilla yet. Fair amount of hops.

T: Keeps getting better as it warms up. Roasted coffee, raisins, dark chocolate. Slight bitterness from hops and coffee. Pretty dry actually for what it is.

M: Smooth, creamy, chewy. Everything you want a porter to be. 10% ABV and it feels much lower.

O: $7.49 bombers, perfect beer for winter. Might be even better with a little age on it. (603 characters)

Photo of LancetherealLeader
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow! This is my first time drinking this and it blows every other porter I've had out of the water! It looks like a stout and has an unbelievably rich taste. The coffee and vanilla really compliment each other in this one. I will definitely have to try this one again. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a tulip glass. (320 characters)

Photo of CoolJosh
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

generously shared by Treyrab.

Poured into a pint glass. Very small light brown khaki head. Some lacing drapes the inner glass. The body is a very dark brown head with some "TRANSLUCENCY" around the sides.

The smell is very good. Molasses, tons of roasted coffee beans, vanilla, licorice. There is a creaminess that is slightly bothering me. Tons of sweet chocolate and a little bit of caramel.

The taste is really nice and very robust. Huge roasted malts, primarily chocolate. A nice vanilla accent really plays a nice supporting role. Fairly creamy for a porter, which is a little bit discerning. Very sweet, some licorice flavors prevail on the end of this beer. Again, the roasted malts are absolutely phenomenal, but the sweetness is really bugging me out a little bit and is taking away from my appreciation. I'm very glad I got to try this beer, but don't know how regularly I could drink it. (901 characters)

Photo of twillingthenoz
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass. Frothy tan head. Diminishes into a one finger height head that stays as you drink. Thick fluffy lacing. Opaque dark brown.

Smells of roasted coffee beans. Some vanilla scent coming through.

Might very well be my new favorite coffee stout. mmmm coffee taste up front. Nice sweetness... then a well balanced bitterness at the end.

Very smooth and creamy. Light carbonation. Coats your mouth and sticks around for a while after you swallow.

This one gives you everything you want in a coffee porter. Not too thick, not too sweet, nice hoppy coffee bitterness. (591 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black body, big lasting mocha head with carbonation that looks like it's a nitro. Sheets of lace, cool.

S: Vanilla and caramel malt. Coffee lingers.

T: Great balance between coffee, vanilla (both real, not artificial, nice), toasted malt that comes through with coffee and a little nuttiness. Surprised to find the vanilla and coffee play so nicely together. Not much coffee acidity, which is appreciated. Perfect sweetness for me, so probably a little much for most people. No alcohol.

M: Love that fluffy head. The body is a little thin for a porter (read: medium).

O: This needs a much more arrogant label for such a wonderful brew. The coffee and vanilla are up front and don't require 'searching' for them, but there are still beer-y things happening. The persistence of this head is right up there with the best IPA's. Such a great, warming, tasty beer that is dangerously drinkable (and affordable- HOT DAMN!). (924 characters)

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

Many thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to try this. This was an extra in a recent package from him- he consistently amazes me with his selection and generosity.

Poured into my DFH snifter, pours a dark brown/black color, with a tan/off white head that fills the top of the glass, and then slowly recedes. Excellent retention. Smell- dark chocolate, dark coffee, big hops on the nose. This one has it all! Taste- biting hops, followed by a roasty dark chocolate flavor, finished with a big almost espresso roasted coffee flavor. This beer reminds me of Founders Breakfast Stout, but beats it in a big way. This is a luscious, decadent beer that is well balanced, and exciting on all levels. Mouthfeel- I'm honestly surprised this is categorized as a porter- it has the rich syrupy thick mouthfeel of a stout, with perfect carbonation. Drinkabilty- as with most beers I get from AugustGarage, I'm saddened by the fact that I can't buy this easily again. It's an amazing beer and I will be looking for anything close to it that I can buy in Houston (but will probably come up short).

Thanks again- this one was the highlight of my night last night. (1,151 characters)

Photo of OneEye78
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a wide mouth pint glass. Black body with a hint of light brown at the edges and a 1.4 inch white/brown head. The nose was true to its name with heavy coffee and vanilla scents, and a bit of tart fruitiness, maybe cranberry. Taste was very complex, with a blast of coffee up front, followed by a soft caramel, vanilla flavor and fruit that fades into a bit of bitterness. This is a substantial beer that coats the mouth and leaves behind a lingering flavor,. It really drinks more like a stout than a traditional porter. Overall, I would say that this is a very strong beer, definitely one of my favorites. (631 characters)

Photo of rjs246
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
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. (487 characters)

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

On tap at Barley and Hops.

Victory at Sea arrives in a pint glass. The beer is pitch black with a finger of tan head. The foam recedes leaving wisps of beige bubbles atop the beer and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma of fresh ground coffee beans wafts up from the glass. A closer whiff reveals hints of roasted malt, but the coffee overpowers it for the most part. Flavors of coffee and a huge vanilla presence dominate the palate. Sweet, roasted malt is detectable in the background, but the emphasis clearly is on the coffee and vanilla. The finish is semi-sweet wih a lingering aftertaste of... Yep.... Coffee and vanilla. VaS is full bodied, especially for a porter, with a nice, medium level of carbonation. The 10% ABV is quite well hidden by the exquisite melding of coffee vanilla and roasted malt flavors. Overall, a very tasty offering from Ballast Point. Reminiscent of a drink one might order at Starbuck's, but with bubbles and a bit of a kick to it . I enjoy this one every time I have it. Recommended. (1,036 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 4 - Good looking dark brown-black beer with a nice dark tan head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Bottle is classic Ballast Point.
S - 4.25 - The smell is very heavy on the coffee with maybe some hints of vanilla and dark fruits? Definitely roasted malts in there.
T - 4.5 - Super good coffee, vanilla, creamy flavor to it. Roasted malts. A slight taste of alcohol but it's good. Tastes like Breckinridge Vanilla Porter but better.
M - 4.25 - Medium mouthfeel. Lighter given that it's an imperial porter rather than a stout. Roasty coffee aftertaste. Alc is really well covered.
O - 4.25 - This is a good beer. It's what it says it is (a coffee vanilla porter), and it's good, but I don't know if I'd give it the 98 rating it has. I'd like to see a little thicker body on it and some more complexity. (813 characters)

Photo of veinless
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured oily jet black, with brown only visible in the liquid while pouring. Head seemed minimal at first, but then sprung to life with bubbles coming from the woodwork to bring out a healthy one-finger light tan head. Extremely foamy and incredibly soft, cloudy head that leaves a ridiculous amount of lacing. One of the finest looking beers I've ever laid eyes on.

Aroma on first smell is lots of roasted coffee, and after a couple more sniffs the chocolate begins to come out a bit more. Coffee is fresh grounds, and very raw.

Taste then proceeds to blow the aroma out of the water, as the coffee from the nose is definitely the main actor in the show, but vanilla packs a big punch at the beginning and mid-sip. Chocolate is less pronounced but definitely semi-sweet and present, and the vanilla combines with the coffee to create an awesome meld of bittersweet flavor. Finish is 50/50 sweet/bitter, leaving you with a very neutral palate for all the strong flavors that were going on.

Mouthfeel is phenomenally creamy and full, and backs up the coffee very well, preventing it from tasting watered down in any way. Drinkability is great, as the finish is neutral but leaves you with a bit of everything, and nothing is offensively strong. After a while the coffee begins to build up on the palate, but really this is just nitpicking. Abv is 10% but could have been 0% for all I knew. For 9.99/22oz of this, I may have to stock up on this in the next couple of days. (1,475 characters)

Photo of mtstatebeer
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle. Pours a pitch black with a frothy brown head, good lacing. Aroma is roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Flavor is the same with a bit of hoppy bitterness to match. Mouthfeel is full, syrupy and proper carbonation. This is a wonderful beer, my favorite right now. (287 characters)

Photo of ZeroSignal
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark pour with streaks of light brown; vigorous mocha colored head that settles quickly to a thin skim, edges lace nicely

S - Big roasted coffee aroma (Breakfast Blend), bits of milky chocolate and lots of roasted malts. Hints of espresso and vanilla, and a light hint of alcohol.

T&M - Extremely smooth and creamy...very decadent. Lot's of roasted coffee flavor, baker's chocolate and a woodsy vanilla. There is a somewhat ashy, malty presence, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness at all. The alcohol is extremely well hidden with just the slightest hint in the finish. Has a lot in common (flavor and feel wise) with Founders Breakfast Stout.

D - A very impressive beer. Delicious from start to finish and dangerously drinkable. (750 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,179 ratings.