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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,343 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,343
Ratings:
6,527
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,071
Gots:
2,074
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: 1,343 | Ratings: 6,527
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 tekstr1der
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Didn't care much for the peppermint seasonal version this past winter - too much going on. And, getting burned out on coffee flavored stouts and porters. But... this is pretty good stuff. Pours very dark with minimal tan head. Aroma is that of an espresso bean wrapped in a vanilla pod. Flavor is similar with more sweet vanilla both complementing the roasty toastedness This is extremely smooth mouthfeel and slightly sweet finish.

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Photo of puck1225
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like strong coffee, and this beer delivers this. Poured from a bottle into a snifter, very dark brown with a light brown head and lacing. Pronounced coffee smell and taste. It was great with cheese and crackers!

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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 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 callmescraps
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I somehow keep missing this beer. It's time to finally give it a try. Ran into it when purchasing some celebratory fruit for good friends.

Appearance- Black? Possibly very, very dark brown. It looks black. Two inches of mocha head settle down and laces somewhat. Only a thin cap remains.

Smell- Like a cup of coffee. Lots of roast. Deep, rich coffee notes. Some licorice. Not getting a lot of the vanilla bean. Roasty. A hint of cherries.

Taste- Comes forward with some nice chocolate covered cherry. That licorice. Then the roast comes in for real. Lots of bittersweet chocolate. The burnt aspect lingers. And lingers. Downright charred. I want more vanilla. It comes through at the start. But then it's burnt caramel and roast, and more roast. The vanilla comes out a touch better as it warms.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation. Seems a tad light.

Drinkability- No hint of the booze. So nice. Plenty of hints of burnt coffee.

Probably not meant to be. Not a huge coffee fan. Sometimes I find a coffee beer that does it for me (Speedway Stout comes to mind). This is not one of them. I was hoping the vanilla would balance things out, but it didn't seem to come through.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour jet black with thick tan head that stays around for several minutes, a quick swish of the glass bring it back. Great lacing.

Smell - Right off the bat I get plenty of coffee it is amazing smells just like a cup of joe.

Taste - Amazing coffee flavors also getting the smooth vanilla and roasted flavors.

Feel - full bodied very creamy and smooth excellent feel.

Overall - One of the best beers I have had i will continue to buy this!!

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Photo of troegaarden
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was poured from a Pizza Boy Brewing Co. 1L Growler into a snifter.

A: Pours a beautiful and creamy tan head, reminiscent of Founders Breakfast Stout. The beer itself is definitely a motor oil-consistency.

S: The coffee doesn't jump out at you with this brew, but it's certainly there. I get some dark fruits in there as well.

T: Up front, I definitely get the vanilla and slight hint of coffee. The finish is dry and contains the dark malt backbone of this beer. Excellent and smooth! Not hardly boozy which is weird considering this beer is 10% abv.

M: Creamy mouthfeel during each sip. It seems rather dry after, however.

O: Overall this beer kicks ass. Definitely my new favorite porter. I think this beer most likely better represents the Baltic Porters of long ago.

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Photo of Auracom
2.87/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Extra from John, thanks man! 22 oz. bottle poured into a Jester King snifter on April 21st, 2012.

A - Deep brown coloring, a bit thin for a large porter. Medium khaki head with quick reduction and marginal lacing.

S - Big coffee bean and espresso as anticipated. Touches of roasted malts and vanilla underneath. Definitely more in the realm of an RIS than a porter in terms of aroma size and intensity.

T - Lots front palate carbonation followed by vanilla bean sweetness and honey. Mid to rear palate of stale coffee beans with cocoa bitterness. Some brown sugar sweetness blended into the mix, but it doesn't offset the poor coffee character.

M - Bizarre, and unfortunately lacking, for a porter. High carbonation, not at all smooth, medium body, dry bitter finish with a hefty espresso aftertaste.

D - I can't really forgive the taste and mouthfeel here. Huge disappointment. Bottle variation? I don't know that I'd revisit, but the hype on this one suggests I need to try it again.

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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 bulletrain76
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Black with a medium tan head that leaves moderate foam and a touch of lace. Not inky though with some mahogany around the edges, which I guess is an argument for it being a porter (whatever that means). The aroma is great, with lots of coffee and maybe even more vanilla; almost like a mocha with a shot of vanilla syrup. I'm having Starbucks flashbacks, and I like it. Plenty of milk chocolate as well, and the vanilla aids in the impression of an immense sweetness. Did I already mention the vanilla? I got more coffee at first, but the vanilla is really coming out over time. Forty-five minutes in the glass, and this begins to resemble vanilla extract. I love that stuff. The flavor is sweet, but not thick or sticky (wait, that's a mouthfeel). Coffee, poser dark chocolate, and lots of vanilla. Fresh coffee, which is always a nice touch. Just enough bitterness to balance the sweet, and no astringency or discomfort. Medium-full body with carbonation that falls somewhere between medium and low. Just a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish, but very integrated and smooth for a ten percent beer. Leans more heavily on the coffee, and especially the vanilla, than I was expecting, but this is fantastic stuff. A true dessert drink, (or morning depending on how you roll, and I do have a slight caffein buzz) but one that is not overly sweet or thick. I could drink a fair bit of this, with alcohol being a welcome limiting factor before any abrasive flavor characteristics. Ballast Point just nailed in on this one: full of flavor, yet balanced and super drinkable. The vanilla is almost silly at times, but I love the stuff and it really works with the rest of the beer.

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Photo of jcoleMA66
4.91/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a spectacular porter - enjoyed at Armsby Abbey. It is as good as it gets. Color is mahogany to black with a thick tan head. Lots of lacing. Initial smell is strong cocoa, coffee and caramel. Taste follows the nose with strong chocolate and coffee roast with some vanilla in the finish. Mouth feel is creamy. This beer is 10% but is in no way boozy, which ireally surprised me. This is an amazing beer.

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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 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 tregan_20
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Upon pouring, the color was black with a finger of caramel-colored head.Aroma was that of coffee, vanilla and tobacco. The taste is somewhat roasted/burnt coffee with tobacco and vanilla notes. The aftertaste is that of strong alcohol and malts. Overall the beer is tasty and a solid offering from Ballast Point. Cheers!

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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 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.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a red-brown head. Smells of roasted coffee sweetened with vanilla. Tastes like a cold brewed black coffee with vanilla. The colder it is the more robust the coffee flavor. Closer to room temperature the coffee becomes slightly tamed and the more chocolate-like flavors settle in. At 10% it can feel a little strong, but the bittersweet roasted coffee flavors help cover up the booze. It is pretty thin and goes down easy with mild carbonation. Overall a nice imperial porter for coffee lovers.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Dark, light impervious beer with a thin cafe creme colored head. Leaves behind a little lace.

Smell: Opens up with coffee. Not an overwhelming sense of coffee, but it certainly lands and hits home.

Taste: Opens up with coffee, leading way to a vanilla flavor before disappearing. Great coffee flavor. Feels robust in its flavors.

Feel: Exceptional mouth feel. Really robust beer, and yet it's smooth and creamy. It certainly answers in this regard.

Overall: This is a great beer! I'm so glad I got to pick some up. It's so good, I'm tempted to buy some more. Highly recommended for those who like coffee beers, or want a more robust porter.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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

Aroma filled with notes of roasted coffee, toffee and vanilla. Pours a deep black with a moderate tan head that dissipates. Taste matches the smell - coffee, oats, chocolate, vanilla with a hint of dried cherries. ABV is unnoticeable and, like most good stouts, the flavor profile subtly changes as the brew warms. Great beer.

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Photo of thebeers
3.42/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle date 15058; batch 62.

Near black with two fingers of thick, lasting mocha-colored head that leave impressive lacing. Heavy malts, along with hints of coffee and vanilla on the nose, combine into a chocolate milk / YooHoo smell. The taste, however, doesn't live up to the presentation. The malt flavors expected from a high-quality porter just aren't there. Neither roasty nor creamy, there are hints from the solid nose present in the taste, but then an unpleasant, acerbic aftertaste I attribute to the coffee, although hop bitterness may also play a role. Glad I didn't buy a six pack.

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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 ljbonadonna92
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black with a thick off white head that doesn't dissappear at all. A strong coffee and hot pepper like aroma wafts out of my glass. Flavors of sweet vanilla and strong coffee coat my mouth with a moderatly chewy mouthfeel. Overall an excellent beer that dear to my heart.

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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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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,343 ratings.