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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.

1,220 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,220
Hads: 5,933
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,008
Gots: 1,725 | FT: 91
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: 1,220 | Hads: 5,933
Photo of veinless
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured oily jet black, with brown only visible in the liquid while pouring. Head seemed minimal at first, but then sprung to life with bubbles coming from the woodwork to bring out a healthy one-finger light tan head. Extremely foamy and incredibly soft, cloudy head that leaves a ridiculous amount of lacing. One of the finest looking beers I've ever laid eyes on.

Aroma on first smell is lots of roasted coffee, and after a couple more sniffs the chocolate begins to come out a bit more. Coffee is fresh grounds, and very raw.

Taste then proceeds to blow the aroma out of the water, as the coffee from the nose is definitely the main actor in the show, but vanilla packs a big punch at the beginning and mid-sip. Chocolate is less pronounced but definitely semi-sweet and present, and the vanilla combines with the coffee to create an awesome meld of bittersweet flavor. Finish is 50/50 sweet/bitter, leaving you with a very neutral palate for all the strong flavors that were going on.

Mouthfeel is phenomenally creamy and full, and backs up the coffee very well, preventing it from tasting watered down in any way. Drinkability is great, as the finish is neutral but leaves you with a bit of everything, and nothing is offensively strong. After a while the coffee begins to build up on the palate, but really this is just nitpicking. Abv is 10% but could have been 0% for all I knew. For 9.99/22oz of this, I may have to stock up on this in the next couple of days.

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Photo of mtstatebeer
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle. Pours a pitch black with a frothy brown head, good lacing. Aroma is roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Flavor is the same with a bit of hoppy bitterness to match. Mouthfeel is full, syrupy and proper carbonation. This is a wonderful beer, my favorite right now.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark pour with streaks of light brown; vigorous mocha colored head that settles quickly to a thin skim, edges lace nicely

S - Big roasted coffee aroma (Breakfast Blend), bits of milky chocolate and lots of roasted malts. Hints of espresso and vanilla, and a light hint of alcohol.

T&M - Extremely smooth and creamy...very decadent. Lot's of roasted coffee flavor, baker's chocolate and a woodsy vanilla. There is a somewhat ashy, malty presence, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness at all. The alcohol is extremely well hidden with just the slightest hint in the finish. Has a lot in common (flavor and feel wise) with Founders Breakfast Stout.

D - A very impressive beer. Delicious from start to finish and dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a bomber poured into a snifter

A: 4.5 deep rich pour into my snifter with a deep dark rich head that dissipated quickly
S: 4.0 slight hop smell and then roasted malts
T: 4.5 such a warm pallet pleasing taste that turns into chocolate and coffee
MF: 4.5 good on the carbonation and very full body
O: 4.5 great beer that I would recommend to anyone. This brewery is really stepping up in my book and I want to try anything that they make in the imperial format.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

An awesome extra from Mike out east!
Traditional pint
Poured midnight black with a gigantic 2-1/2" head. The nose was major coffee with sweet malt sugars. Taste is a sharp pop of coffee(love it!) with a hint of vanilla peeking out. Light velvet mouth to it, with a slightly lingering bitter coffee feel. Just a dynamite brew! Will be looking for this in the future.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Leaving for Florida in a few hours, and I wanted to start the trip strong by drinking a good solid beer...

Poured from bomber into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head. Head retention is decent and there is alot of sexy lacing to be had...

S - The name says it all. Coffee and vanilla dominate...

T - Once again, I remember why I keep coming back to this one. One word sums it up best: delicious. Dark roasted malts, and dark chocolates followed by a smooth vanilla insurgence. Ends on slight coffee bitterness with next to no alcohol to be tasted...

M - Nice and creamy, but not thick. This is one of those beers that can get you into trouble with because it is so smooth. While I won't go as far to call this a session beer, my financial disposition wouldn't allow it to be even if it was, this one is smooth and light enough to put a couple back in one sitting...

D - Was looking foward to this release, and I wasn't disippointed. Have already put about 5 of these bad boys down in the last month or two, and I am bummed I only have one more left. If you see one of these on the shelf definitely give a try...


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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

taste- chocolate, subtle dark roasted coffee flavors, caramel undertones

color- dark chestnut brown

clarity- clear

smell- cocoa, roasted malt, biscuits

body- sweet/tangy chocolate hop bite at the front and sides of the palette, soft, medium-heavy weight mouthfeel, smooth, medium-long finish

appearance- mocha-colored head, nice heavy lace, slight carbonation

overall impression- nice beer, almost a little too sweet but would pair well with desserts. the brewer says this is an imperial porter...i think it departs slightly from the style and tends to be a little "showy" with the vanilla imprint

notes and comments- the aroma is very one note...i may be mistaking the smell of vanilla for cocoa but it is very pronounced and delightful. killer label

glassware: tulip

song: my brother esau - 10/3/87

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Review from written notes.

A: Color is black with just a faint ruby color right along the edges. Pours with a 1-inch creamy tan head that dissipates slowly, leaving some good lacing.

S: Strong coffee and vanilla flavors dominate the smell. The smell is smooth and creamy. Solid cocoa backbone with a faint roasted coffee bitterness.

T: Smooth is the first impression. The roasted bitter coffee flavors are subdued, with just a nice coffee and chocolate malt flavor that is accompanied by some vanilla. Get a little warmth on the finish. Finish is long with a pleasant coffee flavor.

M: Big, full bodied, almost oily. Low carbonation and very smooth. Super easy to drink.

D: This was excellent. The flavors were well integrated and the beer very drinkable. I will definitely hunt this out again and wish I could score some of the special blends of this solid beer.

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Photo of snpub540
3.98/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours such a dark brown that its almost black. Light brown head that leaves the slightest amount of lacing but I didn't expect much.

Aroma is of coffee and the slightest hint of vanilla or oak.

Taste is definitely reminiscent of a light RIS. Coffee and roasted flavors make up the bulk of the flavor. Alcohol fruitiness is definitely in the finish.

Mouthfeel is spot of for a porter. Smooth and silky with the flavor of a stout. This is for sure the biggest porter I have ever drank.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First of all, just wanted to say thanks to Gabe for putting together this phenomenal lineup of Ballast Point beers at his restaurant (Beachwood BBQ). Enjoyed this beverage on 3/24/09 and reviewed from notes taken that night.

A: Wow! The head retention from this beer is incredible! This dark beverage gave a very appealing appearance that enticed me even further.

S: Robust coffee, vanilla, and chocolate aroma; slightly boozy.

T: The vanilla and coffee reveal themselves a bit more in the flavor profile, while the chocolate seems to take a back seat. There also is a slight burnt finish that was tad too harsh and something I didn't enjoy too much.

M: Heavy carbonation, full-body, and very viscous.

D: The best way to describe this beer...easy to drink, but very potent in flavor! Yummy!

Overall: I absolutely loved this beer and was probably my favorite of the night. This is a can't miss beer that every beer lover should try. Cheers!

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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 bcostner1
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker than some porters I have had; borders on black but does transmit at least a little bit of light. Nice tan head.

S: Some char, wood, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. Coffee and vanilla do not come through as much as I would have thought/liked but still presents a decent aroma.

T: Very tasty. Everything blends together pretty well. Not quite as coffee-forward or vanilla-forward as I thought it would be but both elements are still evident. Almost has a kind of "malted milkshake" or "frappuccino" quality to it from the blending of the coffee and vanilla which I like. The finish is pretty dry and is predominantly bitter dark chocolate and/or bitter cocoa. All in all, this is a fairly complex beer. As I sit and sip it, I keep picking different subtleties.

M: Pretty easy drinker surprisingly. ABV is hidden very well. I would say that it is actually a little on the thick/viscous side for a porter but not so much so as an extremely viscous impy stout would be for example. I'm enjoying the body in this one.

Overall, I was very excited to try this one. It did live up to expectations but I do wish that the coffee and vanilla elements (in particular the coffee) were just a little bit more pronounced. I would definitely drink this again though. Recommended.

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Photo of Elprico
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep black with a great, tan colored head. Mild carbonation can be seen.

S-Almost pure coffee for me. The vanilla is there, but takes a definite back seat to the coffee and chocolate flavors.

T-Tons of coffee right up front. Bitter, dark chocolate followed by a mellow and sweet vanilla aftertaste. This beer has one of the most perfect balances of coffee flavors in a beer that I've ever had. It tastes balanced and like quite a bit of work went into it.

M-Light to medium carbonation. Given the flavors I thought it would have a slightly heavier mouthfeel. I definitely would not call it watery, but would have appreciated a thicker body to this.

O-A beer that should not be passed up. The coffee in this beer makes it exceptional and although I wish it had a thicker body, I'd be hard pressed to insult this beer.

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Photo of mocktm
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have wanted to try this for quite a while; was finally able to score one in Ocean Beach, San Diego. Big shout out to Mike at Olive Tree Marketplace for hooking me up with some Pliny while I was there as well.

Enormous khaki colored head off the pour, resting atop a espresso colored brew. Complete sheet of lacing as the head dyes down, while still prominently retaining.

There's some massive vanilla notes on this, like that of vanilla creamer I put in my coffee every morning. To be honest, I can't get enough of it; awesome! Plenty of dark roasted malts as well, providing the usual coffee, chocolate background.

Tastes just as I had hoped, serious vanilla upfront that lingers throughout rather brilliantly. Some coffee like bitterness on the back end as well. But again, love the vanilla forward flavor on this.

Medium in body with plenty of carbonation. Slick, creamy and delicious.

Hands down, my favorite porter I've ever had. Can't even imagine how good the bourbon aged version is. I'm gonna need to homebrew a clone asap.

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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 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 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 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 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 do_ob
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pretty well black in appearance. 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 super 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 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 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 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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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,220 ratings.