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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

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,739
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 965
Gots: 1,624 | 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: 1,180 | Hads: 5,739
Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with lots of dark brown and red creepin from the edges towards the middle. This keg is a year old now so the coffee has somewhat dropped out but is still present. The vanilla on the otherhand has really developed nicely. It smells exacty like fresh vanilla beans. Not exract. Fresh beans. The taste is the same but with a nice roast character from the malt. Great mouthfeel. The bitterness and carbonation go well the smoothness. Awesome beer. (455 characters)

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. (403 characters)

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

Picked up one of these on a beer run down to MA. Poured into our large tulip snifter, revealing rich midnight brown body and an appealing thick tanned head. Good lacing, too. For a porter, it's awesome looking. Smells like the taste of coffee vanilla ice cream with nice roasty porter black malt-type notes.

Tastes smooth and quite sweet, with omnipresent roasted flavors laced with vanilla and burnt caramel. I always get a little more raw woody character to porters than other dark beers and here is no exception. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with carbonation adding volumes without being too tingly. That said, it is quite acidic. A nice coffee/hoppy bitterness rounds out each sip. Detectable alcohol presence. Medium to heavy-bodied. With all its acidity, it drinks like a well-done dark roast but the sweetness does ease that. I'd love to see this one with a year or two on it to catch the coffee mellowing.

For an imperial porter, it's excellent. (956 characters)

Photo of nimrod979
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a pretty sweet label I might add. Pours a thick syrupy brown that looks near black when its all said and done. Massive two finger tan foamy head. Perfect looking porter.

Aroma is big on the coffee and vanilla notes. Rich and malty. Even picking up some maple syrup aromas.

Taste is on point here. Strong vanilla and coffee flavors here. Lots of roasted malts. Some chocholate. Great balance of coffee bitterness and vanilla sweetness.

It's medium bodied. A little thinner than I would have expected. Light carbonation. Lingering coffee finish. ABV hidden VERY well. Not even a trace.

I'm really enjoying this. Not a beer you can easily find in the area. But I'd def. seek out again. One of my favorite porters now. (730 characters)

Photo of bens0n
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a nice dark black, but theres not too much head or lacing going on, looks pretty flat, tiny bit of medium tan head.

On the nose I pick up on a slight trace of vanilla and coffee and another smell that I can only describe as a soggy wood deck, its really interesting, not really what I was expecting though.

Flavor wise its got a nice smokey backbone, slight hint of vanilla comes in thats kind of sweet. Not picking up on too much roast/coffee at all, smoked vanilla is what I can pick out. Definitely well masked ABV though, not boozy at all. Has a funky woody/smokey flavor that lingers around

Mouthfeel is nice and slick, not too thick, but a decent viscosity.

Overall, not really what I was expecting, especially given the fact that has additional flavor additives in it. Its not a bad imperial porter by any means, but really did not live up to my expectations of a coffee vanilla porter. (913 characters)

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

This is one of the best beers I've ever had. It should be in top10 in my opinion. Super delicious porter. You can taste the vanilla, coffee, but everything is super balanced, does not overpower each other. Alcohol is barely there, it's a great tasting beer and easy to drink for the ABV (286 characters)

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

22 oz bottle purchased at Bruisin Ales. Poured into a 22 oz Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours a extremely dark brown with ruby highlights around the edges. Nice looking cocoa colored head that didnt last very long before settling to a ring. That ring leaves a little bit of lacing.

S: This beer smells incredible. Huge vanilla aroma that is mixed with a huge coffee aroma. There is a bit of roasted malt aroma in the background as well.

T: Coffee seems a bit more prominent in the flavor but the vanilla is still the star of the show. There was a bit of a boozy kick that seemed to become less aggressive as it warmed up.

M: Unbelievably smooth and creamy in the mouth. Perfect carbonation level. Medium to thick body.

D: After letting it warm just a bit more, it was much easier to drink because the alcohol edge seemed to mellow. For a 10% big flavored beer like this, it still disappears faster than you would expect. (918 characters)

Photo of kbeals
3.51/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Nesued for this one!

A- Pours a deep black with a finger of brown, creamy head. Head sticks around nicely and forms nice lacing on the glass.

S- Lots of sweet caramel malts, bitter roasted coffee, dark chocolate and vanilla. It's all there, but it doesn't seem to work very well together. It's a tad cloying and bitter at the same time.

T- Resembles the smell flawlessly. The bitterness seems to show up more than anything however. The vanilla is a little too much also. Vanilla is one mf my favorite flavors in the world, but this almost tastes medicinal. Very average flavors, not at my expectations by any means.

M- A bit thin and a little too carbonated IMO. Still a good mouthfeel however, very smooth.

D- The smell and taste aren't the greatest, but it was still relatively easy to drink this beer. I'll probably be splitting my other bomber however. Thanks again Dan! (894 characters)

Photo of 01001111
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Deep black oil with a healthy espresso creama colored head.

S: Roasted wood, vanilla, and a subtle spice.

T: Starts with a strong vanilla flavor then gives way to a wave of thick coffee. After that comes the coffee bitterness which then yields to the hop bitterness. The finishing note is roasted malts more reminiscent of a stout than a typical porter.

M: Quite thick, almost espresso-like.

O: Far more impressive than I anticipated. The vanilla is a touch strong but the rest is near perfect for the style. I'd love to try this again after some aging. (560 characters)

Photo of GehenHerzog
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A- Pours a dark black with not much head at all

S- Smells of straight up vanilla. A slight hint of chocolate and coffee in the back end but the vanilla dominates the smell.

T- Again, vanilla dominates it but the chocolate and coffee come in nicely in the end to balance this brew out very nicely.

M- Medium to full bodied. Decent carbonation.

D- Doesn't drink anywhere close to a 10% beer. The alcohol isn't noticeable and it it goes down smooth.

I had it both on draft and out of the bottle and they both tasted identical (from my experience). (602 characters)

Photo of Dwtucker90
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10 oz. pour enjoyed at The Dancing Bear Pub in Waco, TX.

Appearance: espresso black body. Poured with a 1 inch deep brown head which dissipates into a nice thin brown foam after a couple minutes. Pretty heavy lacing all the way around the glass.

Smell: dark roasty black malt with a very forward cappuccino smell with some thick cream sweetness. Brown sugar as well paired with some faint booze. Imagine a dark coffee marshmallow. Delicious.

Taste: black malt, super creamy and sweet. Very much a sweet coffee beer, which probably comes from the vanilla. Tastes like a cappuccino and has an excellent boozy aftertaste that burns well after each sip.

Mouthfeel: super super thick and creamy. Absolutely delicious. Taste the carbonation and coffee texture.

Overall: this is one of the best coffee porters/stouts I've ever had. (829 characters)

Photo of Xul
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost perfect black with a two finger tan head that slowly recedes, leaving behind solid lacing on top of both the beer and down the glass.

S: Predominant coffee notes backed by a strong vanilla presence and roasted malts with some hints of oakiness in back.

T: The vanilla really shines through on the taste along with strong coffee taste. Sweet without being cloying, toffee and caramel aspects come through behind the coffee, leaving behind a well integrated blend of coffee, vanilla, and caramel. Amazing.

M: Mildly carbonated with a solid viscosity. Leaves a solid coating on the tongue and throat as it goes down, helping to prolong the aforementioned sweet aftertaste.

D: The ABV is well hidden, the sweetness is well balaned, and it goes down smooth - it's certainly not sessionable like a berliner weisse, but I could definitely put a couple bottles of this down without even blinking. (902 characters)

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

Pours a clear and oily black with a light brown mocha head. Very little lacing as the head fades, however the surface takes on the appearance of an artful latte presentation at a bistro.

Very pleasant aroma of freshly roasted coffee with some noticeable vanilla.

Semi-sweet chocolate is tamed by some light roasted malts. Caramel malt and some smoke flavors are also present. A dash of fresh brewed coffee is then followed up by vanilla sweetness that rounds out the taste. Alcohol is artfully masked, and hop bitterness builds to a level that is just shy of balancing out this malty brew. Bittersweet aftertaste. As far as I am concerned, this is a winning combination for imbibers who enjoy coffee and have a sweet tooth.

Creamy, medium/high carbonation with a medium body; slightly viscous and velvety smooth.

Very drinkable; dangerously so. Bittersweet aftertaste and mix of flavors that mesh very well make this a very palate enticing beer. (950 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.29/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours blackish, strong frothy head, sticky lacing, red hues in the light, pretty.

Sweet rich coffee, not much else.

Lots of luscious coffee, not gonna lie - can't find much of any vanilla. Detecting a bit of hops.

Lots of heat and sharp carbonation. Smooth density contrasts the alcohol bite and carbonation AND coffee bitterness too much. Could use some time in the cellar.

Not a bad beer, great coffee quality, rich and creamy. (434 characters)

Photo of NewGlarusFan
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured into a pint glass

A) black, but light comes through not like motor oil as i was expecting, with a light chocolate colored head which faded in leaving lace around the glass.

S) Very fragrant, cappuccino, vanilla bean ice cream, milk chocolate, roasted oat

T) Interesting because I simply tasted cappuccino, vanilla and a fusel alcohol burn at the end. I did not expect that at all.

M) Medium thickness, burns the mouth not a fan of that.

O) I am a little disappointed in this one. I expected something more. I'd like to try fresh on tap, but i doubt I'll buy it again. I still enjoy Sculpin better. (614 characters)

Photo of mschantz
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful opaque black pour with a rich fluffy dark tan head that holds up well. Coffee, milk chocolate and little else on the nose. The flavor brings milk chocolate covered roast coffee beans to mind. Just a hint of alcohol on the finish. Mouth feel is chewy. Great beer. (277 characters)

Photo of CMUbrew
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Of course this is an inky black beer. Looked somewhat viscous on the pour. Small dark khaki head formed on top before receding to some foam.

S: Very coffee forward on the nose. Alcohol is definitely present. I don't really smell vanilla.

T: Huge coffee flavor. Not astringent at all, fantastic coffee addition here. Chocolate of the dark variety also. Not a ton of vanilla, but I think the huge coffee presence is simply overpowering it. It is there, however. Alcohol rears it's head, making the 10% abv believable.

M: Pretty damn smooth. Slick and almost creamy.

O: I wanted a little more vanilla, but that's the only real complaint I can muster. This is a fantastic beer, and I am so glad I finally got my hands on some. (732 characters)

Photo of marvin213
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I don't really know how a porter could look better. Black as the pitch, it's the frothy, teeny-tiny bubbled tan froth that makes this liquid concoction appear so scintillating. The froth layers the glass each swirl, and it beckons. This beer looks like it came from Starbucks!

Served warm, I do indeed get the coffee, the vanilla, and the oh-so-lovely roasted malt presence on the nose. Wonder what this one would be like thru a vanilla bean randall. Oh how I'd love to try some of the crazy variations listed here on BA!

Served warm, that initial sip (gulp, really) comes through a little hot...I love it, and it tastes imperial! Not sure about the coffee--it should shine through a little better. Some original Dunkin Donuts or some Jittery Joe's (Terrapin WnB) would be a marked improvement. With a flavor like vanilla, I'm like always wanting more. What if they went tequila-style and replaced the worm w/ a big ol fat vanilla bean? I'd eat the bean for sure...especially sine the beer would cost $10 more! Really, though, this is an exemplary American Porter and a sure winner with any beer lover!

The feel is smooth, but more viscosity wouldn't hurt. What about a creamy Victory at Sea on a nitro pour? Thru a vanilla bean
randall? This beer is a medium/additive for all things good. It would be delicious as a substitue for gravy on my morning biscuits. :-0 Overall, it's just great! This is a classic brew that's always worth grabbing, and it represents some of the wonderfulness that is American craft beer!

Editor's note: I have never used so many exclamation points in a single beer review...! (1,609 characters)

Photo of Pete_IV
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber poured into tulip

Pours a nice black with a tan head around an inch high. Smell dark chocolate at first mixed with coffee. Taste starts with a nice roasty flavor with a bitter background. Chocolate sits on the tongue when you let your mouth sit empty a few seconds. Nice and smooth in the mouth.

All around I think a very nice smooth beer with a bit of bite for the price. Would buy again. (404 characters)

Photo of Bubba83
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured my last bottle of the most recent batch that made it up to the Bay Area probably 7-8 months ago. Poured into a tulip at about 50 degrees.

Poured with a good two fingers of tan, espresso like head, super fine, can't even really see the bubbles in the head at all. The body of the beer itself is completely opaque, even when held to a light source. The retention is not great, but the small ring of head does maintain itself rather nicely. Lacing is a lot better than when I've had it on tap.

Wow, the aromas wafting out of the glass are completely ridiculous. Hardcore coffee with some vanilla and a whole lot of dark chocolate. There's quite a lot of roast too. Undeniably amazing smell here. Every time I revisit this beer I expect it to underwhelm for some reason and every single time it impresses instead, especially in this department.

Tastes great too, everything from the smell, and aging this bottle a good number of months seems to have balanced out the normally rather heavy hand of vanilla into a nice balance with the coffee. This beer should theoretically be sweeter than I like, but there's such a good amount of roast that counterbalances the somewhat faded vanilla to make a delicious treat. Little to no alcohol flavor at all, little to no hop presence.

The mouthfeel is as good as it gets, a perfect consistency. The carbonation level is pretty mellow and just perfect for the style. Feels full in body and velvety in the mouth, can't be improved.

Overall this is just such a foreign experience from beginning to end. It's hard to explain because other breweries have used these types of ingredients in their beers, but nothing quite tastes like this one. The vanilla and coffee are at the forefront, but in a very nice balance, especially when aged for a little bit. I don't know how a company that can make such fantastic IPAs can also score such a success with a malt-dominant beer, but they do. Hats off to Ballast Point. (1,956 characters)

Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a snifter, pretty dark. slight ruby hues, but more or less black with a tan head. decent lacing and head retention.

roasted coffee, mocha, caramel, touch of dark fruit in the nose.

big coffee flavor upfront, fades into a creme brulee like richness, burnt sugar, just a hint of acidity in the finish. not overly sweet, just enough to balance out the roasted malt/coffee flavor.

mouthfeel is a tough thin, but this is a porter so i find that fairly acceptable. overall this is way too drinkable. not overly boozy and deceptively smooth, (549 characters)

Photo of digita7693
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A typical deep dark black, nice inch of mocha head, little lacing.

S coffee, but not overwhelmingly so with a nice bit of sweet vanilla and some roasted notes

T following the nose, good bit of coffee, a bit bitter chocolate and and a good amount of vanilla (ive heard many people complain about the lack of vanilla smell and taste, while it wasnt overwhelming it is definitely there and very tasty)

M/D nice carbonation, very smooth and creamy, very drinkable, but I couldnt have more than a bomber as it is a bit heavy. But split between 2 people it was perfect. (566 characters)

Photo of shleepy
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Handles in Pleasanton on 1/25/2012.

A: Black, with a creamy, tan-colored head.

S: Very pungent; heavy coffee smell, with roastiness, vanilla, and gingerbread in the mix.

T: Immediate but quickly fading alcohol notes up front, followed by the aforementioned vanilla/gingerbread/roastiness. An interesting balance of flavors. Surprisingly clean finish.

M: Fairly full-bodied, but not as heavy as an imperial stout.

O: Pretty unique for a coffee porter, but maybe just a little too boozy and unsubtle. (514 characters)

Photo of stonermouse
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber into an oversized mug (single 22 oz. pour).

Pours a dark chocolate brown with a light brown head that sits for a minute, then dissipates into a small film.

Aroma is actually pretty chocolately; moreso than I expected. Almost like a plain Hershey bar. A bit of coffee in the back as well.

The flavor of this beer is phenomenal, and totally as advertised. The chocolate from the nose is third banana to the coffee, and the vanilla accent. They are perfect compliments to one another. This is a perfect dessert brew; a slow sipper for sure. The flavors were a little milder and cleaner when the beer was cool. When it warmed up a bit, the coffee took over, which was nice, but the profile certainly changed.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this brew. From the color and aroma, I suspected this would come off with stout density and bitterness, but it was perfect.

Drinkability is superb. I wish this beer was a sandwich garnish, a steak sauce, a pancake syrup, or a pie filling. This flavor profile is awesome. Merry Christmas to me. (1,042 characters)

Photo of weatherdog
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 tulip glass

It pours a deep rich brown high a large 3 finger head that settles with a nice thick layer of bubbles that leave thick lacing down the side.

The smell is heavy on the roasted coffee with just a hint of the vanilla. No detection of alcohol at all.

The taste very heavy on the roasty coffee. The coffee is not too bitter which can be a common problem in these coffee porters and stouts. Even though I know this isn't an oak aged beer I'm picking up some subtle oak with the vanilla at the end. Once again no hint of the alcohol. The finish is just a little too sweet for me and that is my only complaint.

This is just a silky smooth beer and drinks easily and quickly. I really enjoyed this beer and glad I was able to get a bottle. (773 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.