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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,280 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,280
Hads: 6,206
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 19.77%
Wants: 1,032
Gots: 1,874 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,280 | Hads: 6,206
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 johlac66
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown with a light beige head that stayed in port for a short visit, leaving a few dots and streaks of lacing.
Roasted cocoa vanilla up my nostrils. Taste follows. Hint of dark fruit.
Nicely carbonated. A bit more than medium mouthfeel. Slightly bitter roasty finish.
The coffee and malt are wonderfully balanced.

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Photo of RAlmeida77
3.41/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wasn't blow away by this beer. Thought it was pretty good. HInts of vanilla and coffee in the nose but definitely wanted more of a vanilla presence in the flavor.

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

No bottle date :(

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a jet black colour with no light shining through. Huge three fingered creamy light tan head. Tight bubbles with great retention and lacing.

S: Coffee notes dominate the nose here. Some vanilla notes on the back end. Some alcohol as it warms.

T: Very nice balance between the coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. There is lingering bitterness and roastiness in the finish. Some warming alcohol.

M: Moderate body with light carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall this a very nice and unique porter. Nicely balanced and tasty. Very glad I got a chance to try this.

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

22oz. bottle, poured into a snifter.

A-deep, dark brown/black, with a nice dense, tight tan head. Head dissipates quick due to the high alcohol content.

S- coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and white pepper with some boozy notes.

T- some dark chocolate and smooth coffee, transition to a nice roasty middle, with vanilla coming into the mix, and a warming booze on the finish. The bitterness of the coffee is also very apparent middle to end. Very nice.

M- Pretty thick for a porter, but it's a big beer. The taste doesn't linger too long on the finish as well. Carbonation is spot on, as in light.

O- certainly a sipper, but a delicious sipper at that. Really like the dominating coffee presence, so if that is your thing, this should tickle your fancy.

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Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, absolutely no light coming through when put up to the light, and a creamy one to two finger light brown head

Smell: Coffee, roasted malts, with a undertone of vanilla. Its all there, and from first whiff you can tell its of very high quality

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts upfront with subtle notes of vanilla, and caramel sweetness mid palate which carries throughout the aftertaste. Some bittering hops on the finish as well

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium body id say; Goes down smooth with a bitter, coffee-like finish

Overall: First class coffee porter without a doubt. Had this on tap a couple years back and still remember how much i enjoyed it. Well, i think i enjoyed it today as much as i did back then. The balance of coffee, vanilla, roasted malts, and bittering hops is fantastic. I get more roasted malt in the taste than nose which i really appreciate. It really rounds the beer out. This holds up to some of the better coffee stouts iv had. Get it while you can! Cheers!!

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Photo of blackcompg
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - pours about 2 fingers of medium cinnamon colored head, body is an opaque dark burnt sienna, lots of carb rising along the sides of the glass, retains a full rocky cap throughout with chunky lace rings left in its wake

Smell - sweet deep roast, slightly astringent dark coffee, dark chocolate, very light black licorice, and warm vanilla infused toffee

Taste - wow, so much like the nose, so deep rich and complex - starts with semi-sweet rich dark coffee with dark chocolate, some coffee ground and black licorice astringency, there is a ribbon of vanilla bean flavored dark toffee in the back that balances the roast and astringency perfectly - a touch of almost unsweetened molasses is there too. The vanilla bean is way at the back of the tongue and is more prominent in the sinuses than on the palate, like drinking a full bodied Porter that's been steeped with a vanilla bean - great flavors here

Mouthfeel - silky smooth medium creamy mouthfeel, carb is on the lower side lending the softer mouthfeel and allows the flavors to develop and assert. The boldness of flavor lingers long after each quaff, becoming slightly bitter and dry long into the finish, requiring you to repeat..

Overall - all of the greatest things you want in a porter. Some of my descriptors lend themselves to an impy stout, but the perfect amount of roastiness and astringency keep this distinctly Porter in flavor and transition. A must try, and one that I will purchase much more of - Love the 6pak format, wish they came in 12vers, and so will you when you try this.

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Photo of mdvatab
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received 2011 Vintage in a recent trade.
Poured from 22oz bottle into Bordeaux glass.
Couldn't wait to try this one!

Aroma: Rich mocha plus a soft vanilla note work extremely well together. Molasses underneath, plus powdered cocoa. The vanilla comes through more and more over time.

Appearance: Pours like a porter with a dark, dark brown body. 1/2 finger light tan head thins to a layer of fine, splotchy patches of bubbles.

Flavor: Strong, yet smooth vanilla flavor up front. Sweet, roasty mocha maltiness with a touch of peppery alcohol. A slightly-acidic coffee note followed by a robust, bitter, espresso finish. Bitterness lingers, and vanilla then returns.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation, and light pepper in the mouth and throat afterward.

Overall: The combination of vanilla and coffee work exceptionally with what would be a delicious porter on its own. The only improvement I could see for this brew would be barrel aging. Give this one a try!

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A – Black as night, and pours with the appearance of used motor oil. An outstanding thick, three finger, brown head that lasted a VERY long time. Patchy lacing.

S – Medium strength aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, and vanilla.

T – Taste definitely matches the smell here, with coffee, vanilla, and milk chocolate being the predominant flavors. Intense in its flavor presentation. Some alcohol warming in the finish, but overall the 10% abv is remarkably well hidden. Very sweet upfront, but just when it would have a tendency to become cloying, a little bittering hops kick in bringing balance, and leaving an aftertaste closer to dark/bittersweet chocolate. Maybe lacking complexity, but it sure delivers what’s advertised with gusto.

M – Thick and creamy, like a chocolate malt. Carbonation is extremely minimal and suits the flavors well, lending to a very “heavy feel” in the mouth. Sort of coats and hangs there. Just a tiny bit syrupy. Clearly a sipper.

O – I found this brew to be delicious, although with such strong coffee/roast flavors is closer to a stout than a porter. In fact, this rivals many a coffee stout that I have sampled!

As much as I enjoyed it, I could not have more than one of these in an evening. Took me the better part of an hour to finish it, and had me not even wanting another beer afterwards, it's flavors were that strong. Would be a fantastic dessert beer. Would be interested to try the barrel aged/oaked versions to see if they bring a little more depth and complexity.

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

Saw this by the counter of my local beer spot, asked the cashier what he thought of it, he said it was "Fucking Awesome", had to get some.
Looks like chocolate syrup as it is poured, smells like a typical porter. Great taste as it goes down, you really get the hint of vanilla at the end, very good. Could not believe it was 10%.
Ballast Point strikes again....

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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 dmgeng
4.94/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everything about this beer intrigued me and beer trading allowed me to get one of these. I was very pleased with this imperial porter.

A - Deep dark brown, that basically black but is very clear. It pours great with light brown creamy head and very strong lacing. Very much like a mocha-chino.

S - Initially the signature dark, black malt "porter" smell is the most predominant. After the beer warms to room temperature the rich dark roasted coffee and the deep vanilla tones come through beautifully. No discernible hops but the elixir sucks you in.

T - The first sip there is a very smooth but full flavored taste with all of the flavors that you would expect: dark roasted coffee, natural vanilla bean, chocolate, black malt, and sweet malt. No discernible alcohol or hops with the full flavor and smooth character that represents this great beer. The roasted bitterness is strong too allowing the balance of vanilla/cocoa sweetness. Complex and roasty but very smooth and flavorful.

M - High mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. A thick beer with much to offer. Not as thick as some but basically perfect in terms of the ABV and style.

Overall, this is one of the best beers that I've ever tasted. Great flavor with tremendous smoothness and full flavor. Definitely a porter with a distinct black malt flavor with less of the traditional burnt, roasted character of roasted malt stouts. I love the great coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavor that comes through. Really a perfect example of taking a vanilla mocha and blending it with a full flavored porter. I strongly recommend this flavored imperial porter especially since it is less bitter, less harsh, and less alcoholic than many RIS's.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of Stevem68
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color. Has an aroma of coffee and chocolate with notes of sweetness and a little booziness. Flavor is smooth with coffee upfront a some vanilla sweetness on the backend. Leaves a bit of a bitter coffee aftertaste. Overall a really nice beer. Drinks more like a stout than a porter.

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Photo of BigBarley
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, like an imperial stout, with a respectable thick khaki foam head, with a hint of brown. Smells like a bourbon barrel painted with vanilla extract. Hints of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, roasted chocolate, french coffee. Tastes damn near like the perfect porter, smooth chocolate, bitter dark coffee, vanilla and bourbon, and just the slightest hint of coconut. This flavor can stand up to many BA imperial stouts out there. Amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, relative to a foreign stout but the sweetness could ave you believing you were drinking an imperial stout. An all around beautifully brewed beer that touches on a wide range of flavors that many beer geeks go nuts for. A must-have brew in the craft community.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pt 6 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live (2011 Vintage):

A - Pours a deep shade of brown/black with a thin, tan, one finger head. Retention is awful, though forgivable for the high ABV. Pretty standard.

S - Strong vanilla notes and cream. Strong roast throughout. Nicely roasted coffee. Moderate strength aroma. Very inviting given the heavy vanilla.

T - Malts are layered extremely well. Roasted, toasted, and sweet base malts all present. Muted coffee present throughout. The roasted malts are the star in this beer. A bit sweet. Delicious.

M - A bit too slick and smooth. Medium bodied. Could be more coarse.

D - A tasty beverage. I've not had it fresh, but it's definitely still highly drinkable. I'd definitely have it again.

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

2013 Vintage
Poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours a pitch black with a thick and creamy 2.5 finger tall, dark tan head. The head has fantastic retention and leaves a multitude of sticky lacing behind as it recedes.

Aroma: (4.25)
As soon as you raise the glass to your lips, you're struck by waves and waves freshly roasted coffee beans and rich milk chocolate. As the beer warms, some aromas of marshmallow cream and sweet vanilla emerge alongside notes of baker's chocolate and roasted malts. For 10% the alcohol is very masked.

Taste: (4.5)
Just like in the nose, right away you're greeted by intense coffee and rich, creamy milk chocolate. These milk chocolate tones are overtaken by bittersweet dark roasted grains and a herbal hop edge. As the beer finishes dry, you're left notes of bitter baker's chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla and a toasted nuttiness left lingering on your palate. Just as in the nose, the alcohol is very well masked.

Mouthfeel:(4.5)
Heavy and creamy body with moderate to high carbonation. Very velvety and drinkable for 10%

Overall: (4.5)
Ballast Point does a fantastic job with this beer by delicately balancing the acidic, bitter tones of fresh coffee with the sweet notes of chocolate malt and vanilla, while still adhering to the structure of an "Imperial" Porter. This beer has garnered a cult-like following over the years and it is well deserved. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Antg8989
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Thick Mocha Creamy Head with considerable lacing. Deep brown in color.
Smell: Malty - smells like a cappuccino and the pleasant smell of an ice cream parlor. Tiny hints of alcohol detected.
Taste: A pleasant, yet bold and roasted coffee with sweet vanilla.
Feel: Smooth, creamy and medium balanced.
Overall: Breakfast Stout lovers, this could be the competition. While not an oatmeal stout, this beer has numerous comparisons to Breakfast Stout, with the addition of vanilla. Although I'm not a vanilla lover, this Porter was delightfully balanced in flavor. Ballast Point is becoming my go-to for stouts/porters. Grab some before the season is over!

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

Appearance: A gentle pour from the bottle, the beer is black, dark and viscous. There is virtually no head atop this brew, only a thin ring of coffee colored foam where the beer meets the glass.

Smell: Nice roasted quality with some chocolate and coffee mixed in. I've been sitting on this one for a while, I get the impression the coffee has faded somewhat. Still, smells very good.

Taste: Some nice hints of vanilla, I really didn't get much of it in the nose so it's a bit of a surprise. The roasted quality isn't as pronounced as it was in the nose. Sweet, milk chocolate. Everything is pretty well balanced. Not getting much coffee, but again I think that's the result of the beer sitting down in my cellar.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body, good carbonation. Very easy drinking beer given its potency.

Drinkability: A fine drinking porter perfect for a cold night like tonight. My one gripe is that I should have opened this one up sooner. I'd like to try it fresher and see if the coffee comes through more. Still, I'm enjoying it and I would recommend it to anybody.

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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.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 2012 Bomber into a snifter glass. Second time having this awesome beer.

A: Pours extremely dark brown, very opaque. Very little light getting through this. Almost non exist dark khaki head. Does provide some nice lacing and alcohol legs.

S: This is where this beer shines the most IMO. Air freshener. Could smell this all day, esp once it warms up. Getting strong vanilla and coffee aromas along coco powder. Some of the roasted malts shinning through as well. Great aroma, really opens once it warms up a bit.

T: Taste strong in the categories advertised. Vanilla Coffee with a hint of what I can only describe as chalky chocolate (in a good way). Smooth as hell and delicious. Some slight alcohol taste pokes through.

M: Full bodied, and sweet on the tongue. Bit of a alcohol burn on the finish.

O: Fantastic beer. Loving every sip and a must try for any stout/coffee fan.

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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 MacMalt
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on draft so it was colder than I would serve it at home. Very dark brown with creamy head. I was disappointed by the lack of smell (perhaps due to the temperature) but this is a delicious porter. Coffee forward but with enough vanilla to justify its reputation. Nice medium body. Overall, an excellent beer. I wish it were easier to find in bottles here in New Jersey.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,280 ratings.