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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,341 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,341
Ratings:
6,492
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.54%
 
 
Wants:
1,066
Gots:
2,060
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: 1,341 | Ratings: 6,492
Photo of majorbase2
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a huge, uneven brown head. Dissipates after a bit, leaving a ring of lacing around the edge and quite a bit on the glass as well.

Aroma is heavy on dark, burnt coffee and vanilla bean. Some sweet, almost bitter caramel malts.

Taste mostly follows the nose to a point. Vanilla bean comes on strong, along with more of the burnt coffee. A small amount of sweetness. There are a small amount of hops that become evident as it warms. Not the most complex taste, but the execution might the best I've ever seen taste wise. Simple, but done masterfully. And for a 10%er, little to no bite from the alcohol. Just incredible.

Mouthfeel is heavy. Little carbonation. One of the smoother 10% beers you'll find.

Overall, just an incredible beer.

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Photo of MaximalC
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours seal brown with the barest of ruby highlights, topped by a modest head of mocha foam that settles shortly into a thin veil. A persistent sheet of lacing clings to the glass as the beer descends. The aroma features HUGE roasted coffee notes with traces of dark chocolate and vanilla. The flavor matches the nose, with a massive kick of roasted coffee that lingers indefinitely. This is not the watered down coffee adjunct that so commonly passes for "coffee flavor" in beer--this is the real deal. There's also a noticeable alcoholic burn on the front end, which is unorthodox but not shocking considering the ABV, though it's tolerable for the style. Some dark chocolate can be found lurking beneath the charred, roasted foreground, but vanilla doesn't feature as prominently as the label would suggest. A slightly peppery hop bite accentuates the bitterness of the roasted malt on the back end. I can't wait for this to warm up and really see what it can do*. The body is medium and complements the flavor profile well, while the carbonation is appropriately modest.

This is not an especially nuanced brew, but if you're looking for something bold with an authentic, deluxe coffee character, you've come to the right place.

*Warming does indeed reveal some subtle dark fruit that was close to invisible at cooler temperatures.

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Photo of Jesse13713
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to AwYeh for this bottle.

Appearance - The most chocolaty looking beer I've ever seen. Pours a very rich chocolate brown head that looks like chocolate whipped cream. A creamy vanilla froth rests at the top. It honestly looks like a galaxy of chocolate stars. Absolutely phenomenal lacing.

Smell - All chocolate and vanilla here. Quite a strong alcoholic smell with hints of dark spices as well. The vanilla outweighs much of the smell but is very pleasant.

Taste - One word. WOW. The absolute best porter I have ever tasted. Vanilla and chocolate swirl together in perfect bliss and harmony to create this dessert beer. The finishing taste on this is a bitter sweet treat. The alcohol is subtle and blends in perfectly with the sweet concoction. Perfectly blended hints of coffee, vanilla and chocolate. A good malty taste as well.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - Absolutely perfect to sip any time of the year at night. The label art on this is one of the coolest I have ever seen. Absolutely delicious to sip. I am overwhelmed with flavors in every sip I take. A sweet and delicious harmony in your mouth.

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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 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 jpmclaug
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is typed up from notes in my notebook. Growler from Greens in Piney Grove.

A - Black with a nice off white head

S - Coffee really stands out. Nice roasted malt with maybe a hint of vanilla.

T - Wow, what a great coffee flavor with hints of vanilla. Really reminds me of something from Starbucks. More sweet than bitter. Really a great coffee beer.

M - Heavy creamy body. Lightly carbonated.

D - Really easy to drink. Awesome coffee beer. Probably the best coffee flavored beer I've had. I really enjoyed this one and will grab it again if I ever see it.

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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 BrewCrew2010
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks Thickfreakness for the bottle!

A: A dark brown, almost black body, with a tan head and great lacing.

S: A nice and smooth nose of coffee & vanilla with a roasted malt background. Slightly boozy too.

T: Bitter coffee is the first flavor I taste, followed by some roasted dark chocolate malts and sweet vanilla. Very creamy with some caramel in there.

M: Although very smooth and creamy, the mouthfeel is a bit heavy like a stout; medium to full body; medium carbonation.

O: Really glad I got a bottle of this. Really good beer that I would love to get another one of. Definitely worth a try if you like coffee flavor brews.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Black with ruby highlights. Thin mocha head that settles into a lace cap that remains throughout.

Aroma - Coffee, can't smell anything past all that coffee.

Taste - Coffee, with a hint of vanilla. Bitter, but in a coffee way, not hops.

Mouthfeel - Full body with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry.

Overall - Well crafted porter, seek this one out!

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Photo of beerman207
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark - nice chocolate looking beer with a ruby reddish hue to it. Nice head and skim that remains for a while.

S: Nose is coffee, some vanilla, some bourbon, chocolate malt

T: Nice cocoa and vanilla profile with bitter dark chocolate

M: Carbonation is mild, smooth

D: A bit of a sipper. Could go for another but it's definately a bit boozy.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter. Thanks for this one jodan

A - Black, very slight dark brown edging. Mocha coloured head, 2 fingers, excellent. Lacing was sticky and very nice

S - Strong vanilla, lesser coffee. Slight 'chemical' smell but very faint. Did not pick up very much bitterness but mostly just roast

T - smell followed the nose. Very strong, chemically vanilla, but not in too bad of a way. You do get the bold roasty coffee but it is more in the background. The vanilla is very dominant. I would have preferred the coffee to be the star of the show but it was a tasty brew

M - Medium to light heavy. Semi-sweet and slightly tacky

D - This beer is quite a bit of work to finish an entire bomber. I would not be able to have another. Tasty, just the vanilla was a bit much at time.

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Photo of biglite351
3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am re-reviewing this brew, and leaving my old review for reference. I emailed the brewer to let them not that I got a super-skunked bottle. To their extreme credit, a few days later a replacement bottle arrived at my house. Kudos to Ballast Point for very solid customer service.

L - nice and dark. Full long lasting foam.

S - mild but nice. Vanilla and coffee.

T - rich and deep. Certainly has coffee and vanilla. No real bitterness. Mild after taste.

M - tingle at the front of the tongue to start. The tingle then flows back into the throat for the after taste. Slight alcohol feel late.

D - this might be a little too much for an all nighter, but you could certainly have one or two during the evening.

I am not going to do my usual full review on this one. The brew looked great when I poured it. Very dark brew with a lasting full dark foam. The smell seemed a little off bit wasn't something rusting could place. The taste was the kicker. It actually took me back. It reminded me of a cheese that had been sitting out a a party for a bit too long. I really didn't get any coffee flavor at all. I truly hope that this was just an off bottle. It tasted nothing pike I expected. I actually did not finish it, I dumped it. Maybe in tje future I will try another bottle and re-review it. This was NOT a good bottle to grab though.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 11/13. Poured into Ballast Point tulip.

Appearance: This poured as black as night with three fingers of head that is light brown in color. Lacing is all over the place and I'm still waiting for the head to recede. Rocky head mixed with large bubbles too.

Smell: Big time bitter coffee in this with notes of vanilla and dark chocolate. Heavy roast and some char.

Taste: Again coffee takes center stage with some vanilla and dark chocolate in the background. The roast is a fairly dominating aspect in the taste. Coffee is quite bitter and alcohol leaves a slight burn.

Mouthfeel: From the appearance I would think this would have been a more full feel. It is surprisingly thin for the look but one that seems to fit the beer very well. I am not picking up much carbonation and this has a creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol does burn the gums some.

Overall: If you are a coffee drinker this would be up your alley. A big beer that is one that is best shared.

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Photo of xseanprimex
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This dark, dark brew poured an awesome tan head that held some serious retention. The complexity to the flavors were apparent in the aroma. The smoky vanilla taste did a good job of hiding the 10% ABV. As good as can be expected. Looked as good as it tasted. 10/10 would drink again.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a Bruery glass, not overly cold.

Off-black, deep reddish-brown meniscus, small dark tan head, looks good.

Smells delicious, the vanilla and coffee are each quite distinct but at the same time the aroma is totally cohesive. The vanilla almost makes it seem barrel aged, like maybe rum barrel. Deep chocolatey roasty malt, too. NICE.

Tastes deep and roasty, well balanced with a good dose of sweetness. Lingering bittersweet coffee, cocoa, vanilla, quite a long finish. Very tasty.

Good medium-full texture, fine cushy carbonation makes it almost creamy, this and the balance make it very easy to drink.

Excellent beer, nice to finally review it.

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Photo of bound4er
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as a night's sky with a two finger tan head. Smells of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla and dark roasted coffee. Taste follows the nose quite nicely which is a good thing - vanilla, dark roasted coffee, toffee and just enough hop bitterness to keep any sweetness in check. Finishes with nice roasty persistence. Creamy, full bodied mouthfeel. This is a really well made beer that tastes great and is very easy to drink given its 10% ABV and large frame.

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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.

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Photo of dank203
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

a top BA beer. pours dark brown to black with a khaki colored head. fresh coffee bean is attributed in the aroma as well as subtle vanilla. in the flavor, the vanilla is more present, its a sweet beer of vanilla, with bitter/roasty coffee notes. big dark beer

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

Revisited this one last night. Rich, of course, but also way more drinkable than I remember. Excellent coffee, chocolate. The vanilla is nice at first, but turns a touch too sweet towards the end.

Been a standby since the first time I had it. Even so, I'm looking forward to trying an even fresher bottle of this when it rolls into town again.

22oz (Enjoy by: 11/07/13) into tumbler

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.76/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured a dark bronwnish red. Almost opaque until you hold it up to the light. Rocky dark tan head, which leaves clingy lace after each sup.

Big smell of roasted espresso on the nose. Followed by vanilla and roasted malts.

Tastes like a fresh brewed espresso. Bitter espresso gives way to vanilla, which lends to a milk chocolate or chocolate milk effect. Sweet lactic flavors, and roasted malts follow, with a slightly hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is thinner than expected, medium to full bodied. Slight biting carbonation.

Overall an outstanding Porter. Without a doubt one of the best uses of coffee in beer I've tasted. This beer just works.

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Photo of Lerxst
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to beernerd81 for this one

A-Pours black with a nice one finger mocha colored head that has good retention and leaves nice lacing.

S-I am loving this nose. My nose is telling me this is an RIS. Strong vanilla and coffee aromas, roasty malt, chocolate. With apologies to Campbell's soup, this is mmmm, mmmm good.

T-Slightly sweet and a bit bitter at the same time. Follows the nose with vanilla, coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, along with a slightly bitter hoppy twist at the back end and a bit of booze. Man, this is REALLY good!

M-Medium bodied, but has a rich, lush mouthfeel. Slightly stinging carb bite works well.

D-This is a big beer make no mistake, but it is absolutely delicious making it almost dangerously easy to pound a bomber.

I really loved this beer. If I had ready access to it, I'd buy a case. A truly GREAT job by Ballast Point.

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Photo of greenmonstah
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into tulip

A - Solid black with a solid finger of tan-brown head that sticks to the glass beautifully and lingers for ages. Really impressive.

S - Massive vanilla and coffee, plus a beautiful roasted malt base. Tiny hint of booze that doesn't detract. Some sweetness.

T - Oh my. The vanilla is magnificent. The coffee is dark and bitter but slightly sweet. There is a serious dark chocolate component that adds complexity. The deeply roasted coffee and the roasted malts work well together and are balanced by the sweetness and cocoa bean.

M - Medium-full body, smooth and fulfilling and with a slightly drying finish.

O - Overall a wonderful experience and one of the best beers I have had in a while. From teh first whiff I knew I'd love it, and it didn't let me down one bit.

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Photo of dikebrewery
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I had Calm Before The Storm before Victory at Sea and I wasn't really feeling it but this is different because obviously it's a porter so not as awkward for me. Darker than I expected, almost imperial stout like but without the heaviness. Smells of roasted malt and coffee. Taste of roasted mealtimes/wood with coffee. Vanilla is definitely there but more in the aftertaste to me. A overall good beer.

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Photo of tut2528
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

had this one on 2 separate occasions, and I feel that this brew is extremely time sensitive because there was such drastic differences. I condensed both reviews. My review is based off the first time I tried this brew.

thanks to matttyce for helping me get my hands on these!

1st Review

A: poured into a GI tulip, it is jet black with about 2 fingers worth of mocha colored head. phenomenal lacing that is long lasting

S: big sweet vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits that are terrifically balanced. I also pick up on coffee and roasted malt.

T: similar to the nose, big chocolate and dark fruits up front, coffee and slight roasted malt in the middle with a terrific vanilla finish. alcohol is slightly present but is felt more during the mouthfeel than in the taste

M: perfect for this brew IMO. full bodied, leaves a nice light roasted coffee and dark chocolate character with a slight touch of alcohol heat

O: just a damn good all around brew. very well balanced and all the characters intermingle nicely together

2nd Review

S: huge coffee, dark chocolat,e dark fruits and roasted malt have come forward, and the vanilla is lying way in the back (4.0)

T: big coffee up front with a roasted malt backbone. dark fruits are present along with dark chocolate. the vanilla has really fallen off from what I remember. (4.0) No alcohol whatsoever

M: mostly the same as before, but a bit lighter than I remember and the alcohol is nowhere to be found. It has a more roasted malt character as well. (4.0)

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Photo of mchegash
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Pitch squid-ink black. A small around of moderately dark tan head which quickly dissipates.

S: Strong coffee and vanilla aromas. Smells like a nice cold-brewed coffee with vanilla. Hints of chocolate and roasted malts.

T: Vanilla, coffee, sweet lactose. Again, also some chocolate and roasted malts.

F: Medium-light carbonation, medium body. Mild acidity, relatively smooth.

O: Not as good as I'd hoped (nothing ever lives up to the hype), but still a good brew.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,341 ratings.