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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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1,195 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,195
Hads: 5,819
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 984
Gots: 1,663 | FT: 96
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: 1,195 | Hads: 5,819
Photo of scottg
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

thanks to choprite for this one.
22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark black with a one finger tan head with light retention and thin patchy lacing. Sweet vanilla, roasted malt, and freshly brewed coffee in the aroma, all very clean. Coffee, vanilla and brown sugar up front flavors with some alcohol warmth in the middle with a lemon/espresso bitter finish that fades to little aftertaste. Medium body and carbonation, this has a creamy mouth coating feel-excellent. Good drinkability, you know the alcohol is present but the clean flavors are the key.
A very well balanced porter, solid all the way through.

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Photo of lordofstarside
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber to snifter, enjoy by 11/16/13

Pours jet black with a finger of khaki foam that's started receding. No visible carbonation, alright lacing- pretty run of the mill. Smells of dark roast coffee, cherry, fig, vanilla, caramel, some hops, alcohol, toasted malts, chocolate, and a mass of other dark fruity esters. Some definite complexity, not the most but stands out. Taste follows the nose, strong up front coffee and vanilla, a slight hop profile, toasted malt, cherry and other fruits, creme, caramel, and a touch of alcohol. Feel is full bodied and thick. Very creamy and rich, goes down easily. Overall this stuff is pretty good, despite not having much taste for coffee, which by far dominates the taste. Well crafted, must try if you're big on coffee

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Photo of vic21234
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. Enjoy by date on the bottle reads 12/20/13.

A- Pours a very dark brown/ black with some very slight red hues if held to the light. A small amount of off white head quickly fades to the sides of the glass. Some lacing is noted too.

S- Awesome smelling beer. Tons of coffee notes immediately upon popping the cap. The coffee dominates the aroma and nothing more is really noted.

T- Starts off smooth with notes of vanilla and chocolate. Then comes the huge coffee flavor which takes over the rest of the taste. A heavy coffee bitterness is at the back of each taste.

M- Smooth, medium bodied, coffee forward, bitter aftertaste.

This is a great Porter, by far the best I've had. The coffee notes are fantastic. I'm glad BP is distributing to Illinois now.

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Photo of PhxHorn
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one by mail order and couldn't wait to try it. This is the 10% version, part of the Robust series. It pours a dark dark brown, almost black, with two fingers of light brown lumpy head. Plenty of tan lacing. Smells strongly of coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a touch of vanilla. Tastes pretty much as it smells: coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a hint of vanilla. A bit more smoke than vanilla, actually, but that's not a criticism. This is a damn tasty porter with a lot of complexity going on. Carbonation was just a touch low for my tastes, but it was silky smooth and that's not a bad thing, either. Really, there's nothing to complain about and lots to praise with this beer. A real keeper.

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Photo of IKR
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown, initially appears black but held towards a light you see it as dark brown. Has a modest medium beige head.

Smell: The coffee is upfront , with the vanilla following. As it warms the vanilla steps more towards the forefront.

Taste: Coffee, vanilla, and some roasted malt notes.
The beer finishes fairly dry with some slight hop and roasted malt notes. The alcohol presence is very subtle for the ABV.

Mouth-feel: Fairly thin bodied for an Imperial Porter with a generous level of carbonation for the style.

Overall: In the past I would have said the Deschutes Imperial Black Buttes were my favorite for the style, but I feel I would choose this over the latest incarnation (XXIII). Very tasty porter.

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Photo of SShelly
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Cask at Surly Goat.

Pours black with low offwhite head, even a sparkler barley kicks up any foam on this.

Aroma is vanilla with low coffe undertones, roast comes through pretty strong as well.

Flavor follows the aroma pretty close, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, woody/nutty finish.

Always enjoy this beer, and out of the cask is no exception, the alcohol has a way of sneaking up on you in this, no real warming in the mouth, but my chest and stomach start feeling it a few sips in.

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Photo of smonice
3.91/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler.

A- Black with a nice tan head and a little lacing

S- Mostly coffee and little vanilla

T- Great taste, the coffee comes through strong and the subtle vanilla evens it out. Slight booze burn but not bad.

M- Creamy in mouth, not too light and not too heavy

O- Really like this beer. Going to finish this growler and then age a bottle I have for a little bit and try it again to see if the burn minimizes a bit.

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Photo of Pete_IV
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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Photo of gregshead
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A:Pours a thin black w/ a chocolate ice cream colored head, a good finger thick of it.

S: Roasted grain w/ hints of vanilla and coffee bean aromas stick in my nose. What a great smell

T: Thick of a nice consistent/mellow porter with vanilla following the roasted grains. Then deep roasted coffee bean taste to finish. Coffee bean after taste as well as the lush grain taste.

M: Very smooth with a light to medium carbonation. This is the my ideal mouthfeel for a porter.

D: Although huge abv, easy to drink. My favorite porter so far. The flavors go together so well. I am going to have a hard time aging a couple of these because I'm always going to want one. So good.

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Photo of chaz410
4.01/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black body, light has no chance in this viscous black hole of shadows. A light kakhi head sits atop this solid black brick of fluid.
Smells of coffee, vanilla hints, caramel and toasted malt.
The taste is amazing. There's a huge amount of roasted mocha and coffee. Laced across this robust backbone is subtle caramel and a nice vanilla sweetness with a very bright toasted character toward the end. There is a slightly charred coffee-like bitterness at the end.
Very thick and silky mouthfeel.
A very drinkable but assertive Imperial porter!

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Photo of TheDudeRules
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at a mini tasting.

Pours a ridiculous black. Tan almost coffee colored head. Smell is a full on coffee punch to the nostrils. If there is vanilla it gives way. Incredibly inviting. What a smooth robust coffee flavor. This brew is incredible. It envelops your tongue. Damn. I really dig this beer. The roasty coffee is superb. The carbonation is perfect. A beer I felt good sharing. Everyone enjoyed its splendor.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of mschantz
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of nimrod979
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of grze
5/5  rDev +14.7%
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

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Photo of bens0n
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of kbeals
3.51/5  rDev -19.5%
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!

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.29/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

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Photo of 01001111
4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of GehenHerzog
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
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).

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Photo of Dwtucker90
5/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

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Photo of Xul
4.62/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,195 ratings.