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
98
world-class

5,563 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,563
Reviews: 1,235
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 948
Gots: 1,533 | FT: 105
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,563 | Reviews: 1,235
Photo of nimrod979
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of brother_rebus
3.54/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

maybe i was tricked about this beer due to the fan hype, and notoriety. The first sip was virtually off-putting. I must admin it got better from there. They claim it has "just the right amount of sweetness". Thats my major problem with it. Its a malt pit. Not cool. Love porters. Love imperials. Not this one.

Photo of vic21234
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of bens0n
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this at a beer fest in Rock Island Illinois. A phenomenal imperial porter, then put the complex smell and taste of the Vanilla Bean. Awesome.

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of kbeals
3.51/5  rDev -20.4%
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!

Photo of jrnyc
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had this one last night for the first time for what will hopefully be a new annual Christmas tradition. Thanks to Jimmy for getting me one of these.

So, no formal review for me, but I liked this one so much that I need to at least review it and say something. It looked awesome in the glass and tasted delicious. Definitely a complex , quality beer. when it was all gone I wish I had more.

I am not even a really fan of porters, but both my brother-in-law and loved this beer. Well done Ballast Point!

Photo of 01001111
4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Photo of GehenHerzog
4.39/5  rDev -0.5%
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).

Photo of zander4dawin
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%

Thick murky coffee beer with a fatty porter body and ice cream, vallina hints.

Photo of Dwtucker90
5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Photo of Xul
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of TheJollyHop
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of ptykozoon
3.29/5  rDev -25.4%
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.

Photo of grze
5/5  rDev +13.4%
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

Photo of NewGlarusFan
3.76/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

Photo of Gator_Nation
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible. I'm in love with this beer.

Photo of CraigP83
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Mocha frappucino smell . Tastes rich malty, creamy coffee with vanilla, go figure... Awesome porter

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.

Photo of marvin213
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%
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...!

Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.32/5  rDev -2%
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,

Photo of digita7693
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of OneEye78
4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a wide mouth pint glass. Black body with a hint of light brown at the edges and a 1.4 inch white/brown head. The nose was true to its name with heavy coffee and vanilla scents, and a bit of tart fruitiness, maybe cranberry. Taste was very complex, with a blast of coffee up front, followed by a soft caramel, vanilla flavor and fruit that fades into a bit of bitterness. This is a substantial beer that coats the mouth and leaves behind a lingering flavor,. It really drinks more like a stout than a traditional porter. Overall, I would say that this is a very strong beer, definitely one of my favorites.

Photo of HunterSBeerson
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Dark, malty, coffee beer. The hints of vanilla shine through. This is a world class porter.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,563 ratings.