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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: 5,816
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 984
Gots: 1,663 | FT: 97
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: 5,816
Photo of fastsrt
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, tan head diminished quickly.

S: coffee, vanilla in the back, malts mingled with subtle coffee.

T: first taste thought was "this reminds me of founders CBS" all the flavors are balanced making a wonderfully flavored beer

M: mild carbonation, dry bitter finish with lingering vanilla.

D: at 10% one bottle is good, and reasonably priced, high quality have paid twice this much for beer not at good.

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Photo of regspeir
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours almost black with a huge head which settled quickly. Good lacing remained throughout. The nose was milkshake - chocolate and vanilla, caramel, with a noticeable roasted malt and coffee. The mouthfeel was creamy and a perfect thickness for a porter. Taste was carmel, coffee, vanilla. The finish contained some bitterness, smoke and a mild and pleasant alcohol warming. i would not be able to sip at this all night but will definitely seek it out again - an excellent porter.

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

A: Deep black, very little light coming through. One finger mocha colored head, a little thick looking for a porter.

S: Got the coffee upfront, mostly. Really roasty, malty characteristics, vanilla is pretty small on the nose.

T: A lot more vanilla then on the nose, got a lot of coffee, kind of a roasted espresso flavor. Got some caramel type flavors in there as well.

M: Thick, medium carbonation. A bit dry as well.

Overall I like this one a lot. I would love to get some more bottles if it was more readily available. One of the best porters out there.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottle enjoy by date of December 2013. Poured deep brown with a thick fluffy brown head. Big nose of vanilla. Coffee aromas after agitation. Sweet taste with good vanilla flavor. Bitter finish. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. No alcohol burn whatsoever. Overall I really enjoyed this beer and will revisit. Would be a good one to lay down to see how it ages.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark black with a mocha colored head that has great retention, lasting throughout the drink. It leaves behind rings of lacing.

S: Where to begin? It starts off with a strong ground coffee bean aroma that gives way to sweet vanilla and a sort of woody scent. Chocolate and roasted malts then begin to make an appearance.

T: Quite similar to the aroma with strong coffee and sweet vanilla. The alcohol is very subtle but has a light presence.

M: Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth to drink. I could drink this all day.

O: This may be one of my favorite beers I've ever had. The smell is orgasmic and the taste isn't far off. I wish this were available year round.

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Photo of docoman
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Was lucky enough to visit Ballast Point tasting room in Little Italy and had this along with 2 BA versions, all excellent beers. Liked it enough to include in my SD beers to be shipped home package, definitely recommend trying.

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Photo of jminsc76
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Simmzy's in Manhattan Beach, California.

Pours a decently sized espresso head atop a black body. Very little lacing or legs at first, that is until I let it warm, then agitate, and then bam! out comes the head with thick legs as I tilt the glass.

Strong aromas of coffee, oak, and sweet vanilla beans, the last of which is the most prevalent in the bouquet. Wonderful smells.

Bitter coffee and vanilla on the front end, with bananas and darker fruits exhibiting toward the finish. Also accompanying those fruits is a slight quantity of booziness, which detracts slightly from the richness of all the other flavors. Grrr...

An incredibly thick mouthfeel as I swish, very full-bodied and pillowy. Love that feeling.

Overall, I was a little offset by the heat, as I have had this both from the bottle and from the cask and both consist of heaven on earth in deliciousness without the booziness. However, this is still a masterpiece of an imperial porter, and remains among my top five favorite beers of all time.

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Photo of CA_Infidel2o9
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a sam adams cup

A- jet black, 1 1/2" brown head

S- dark chocolate, coffee beans, vanilla, alcohol

T- bitter dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, booze, cream

M- velvety, silky, creamy, low carbonation, alcohol heat

O- She's a sipper! Be warned, fresh out of the fridge, the booze is almost overwhelming. Allow it to get close to room temp, once there the booze subsides and this brew becomes almost dangerously drinkable. It's amazingly creamy, making every sip a joy. It's boozy liquid dark chocolate, with a supporting cast of dark roasted coffee and vanilla beans. Sip responsibly, this thing is dangerous, i've never really been a fan of imperial stouts/porters. Frankly, i feel you can have a more enjoyable experience with a lower abv brew of the same style. This one has me second guessing.

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Photo of WhiteOak
3.76/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark coffee brown color with a cola edge. The expansive, foamy head is light brown.

S- From a bottle, there was a short-lived but wonderfully seductive initial aroma of espresso layer cake with caramel and creme brulee´, but unfortunately this aroma blew-off within mere minutes of the first pour. After this, the nose became muted and offered only a whiff of one-dimensional roasted malt. There were hints of some very nice aromatic notes here, but since they were so fragile, I had to score accordingly.

T- Flavors of roasted, slightly chocolatey malt attack the palate first, followed by a mid palate of bitter dark roasted coffee. The lingering finish is dominated by a bit too much coffee bitterness, but it is not unpleasant. A moderate amount of smokiness is present as well. The hops are restrained, as they should be with these added flavors.

M- The feel is creamy and moderately viscous; very pleasant.

D- ABV is masked behind its richness and structure, with only a warming touch. Certainly quite drinkable, and a nice interpretaion of a Porter.

Comment: Nice brew, and might have made a great candidate to spend some time in oak.

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Photo of Merkur
4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Tiger Tiger in San Diego.

Beer poured into a snifter glass.

Beer pours a very dark brown with a bit of light brown head.

Beer smells wonderful. First notes is that of vanilla, followed by a nice rich coffee smell.

Beer tastes even better than it smells. The vanilla sweetness at the front end of the sip give way to a nice malty chocolate, followed by some robust coffee flavors. This is hands down the best beer I have ever tasted.

Beer has a good mouthfeel and is not too thick and just the right smoothness.

Probably the best beer I have ever had. The richness of the coffee taste and how the vanilla adds the right amount of sweetness at the right time makes this beer excellent.

Highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Split a bomber with beer buddy Phil. Live review.

Pours dark with ruby hues showing through when place infront of a light. Nice dark mocha colored head. Not a lot of lacing.

Cold vanilla and a blast of coffee on the nose. This is exciting.

Lots of coffee up front. As the coffee dissipates, the vanilla emerges tentatively. Roasted malts, bitter chocolate round this masterpiece out. Hint of alcohol in there as well.

Really smooth mouthfeel. Not heavy by any means, and certainly does not feel anywhere near 10%. Incredibly well crafted beer.

Overall I'd climb over your mother to get this beer. This beer has been sitting in my fridge for maybe 2 years? Absolutely incredible beer. It was a stretch not to give it full 5s.

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

Color- pure black. Slight head.

Aroma- vanilla espresso.

Taste- Starts rich and roasty with vanilla and coffee notes from start to middle,. The finish has some hoppy dryness complimented by bitter coffee tones. Excellent brew! The high ABV is well masked.

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted on 10/14/2013.

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.01/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i tried this earlier today with friends, bottles were nicely chilled -
everybody loved this, and there were more remarks about chocolate flavor than coffee or vanilla - now i'm having a glass at home, served a little warmer -
pours a deep chestnut brown, nearly opaque
the 1 finger head recedes to form a 1/4 inch collar around the glass with spotty lacing on the sides and a swirly 'crema' on the surface -
not much aroma from this -
taste is complex and smoooothe - yes, i can taste the vanilla notes and the coffee, with a little choco/toffee on the finish -very well balanced - i cannot taste the alcohol in this 10% brew - damn! is this smooth!
mouthfeel is quite good with a creaminess that begs for the next sip - not sticky - medium/full bodied
drinks waaay too easy for the abv
great stuff!

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Very dark, but still some glints of red around the edges, soapy mocha head, moderate lacing.

A: Big coffee and vanilla notes, as to be expected, as well as dark chocolate, dark fruit, cherry and a sweet caramel backdrop. Some noticeable alcohol, slightly spicy, perhaps from hops.

T/M: Smooth bitterness upfront, moves into a velvety mixture of coffee and chocolate notes, a sweet caramel middle, and a finish with more dark roasted coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and a big dose of vanilla. Smooth, but fairly thin, with a fairly drying finish from the roasted malt.

Overall, a delicious and complex brew, very drinkable for the abv. I have a few more and look forward to cracking one open for desert on occasion. It is not as viscous as many Imperial Stouts, but the flavor is all there. One of the best coffee infused beers I have had.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is strong coffee. Some peppery notes. Cinnamon and spices, and a good dose of vanilla. Dark chocolate, some fruity esters and citrusy hops, but those are kept to a minimum. Vanilla comes out more and more.

Pours black with a dark tan/brown head. Medium sized head recedes leaving a good amount of lacing. Clarity is pretty good.

Taste is again big on coffee. Filled in with roasty malts and a hint of citrusy hops. Vanilla comes in on the finish with cinnamon and clove. Coffee is balanced nicely with robust dark malts, burnt toast, and some caramel. Very rich, but the coffee seems to keep it from being cloying. Vanilla adds a hint of sweetness.

Full bodied with medium low carbonation. Vanilla seems to add to the body. Some residual sweetness balanced with roasty bitterness.

Big and luscious. Coffee balanced nicely with the rich porter character. Heavy for the style.

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Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very Dark(lika a stout), half finger light tan head.

S - Coffee, Vanilla sweetness, Bourbon and Chocolate. Very even smells.

T - Tastes very close to the smell only stronger. Tastes of Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla with some smoky bitterness. Very light on sweetness(unexpected) and the alcohol. A slight metal taste in the finish also quite high in tannins.

M - Heavy in the mouthfeel with light carbonation.

D - Very drinkable but the 10% could hurt the good time.

Very much a stout in most characteristics.

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Photo of Trifecta1
4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely insane coffee-forward porter. World-class, nigh perfection, end of story. Buy it.
PS: Porters are supposed to be medium-bodied. Don't understand everyone else sh*tting on this for "thin mouthfeel, it's only medium-bodied!"

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Photo of ljbonadonna92
4.71/5  rDev +8%
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 stoutfiend27
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bomber split in two...slightly chilled..

a-black...khaki colored frothy head...fades away quickly leaving some nice lacing...thick collar hangs around

s-coffee up front of the deep roasted kind...leads into some nice roasted barley and vanilla...vanilla then gets a little head strong in the middle before leaving a faint sweet smell lingering

t-sweet vanilla up front but the coffee rushes in to take over...roasty and grainy ....a little bitter in the mid palate..some nice piney hops break through towards the end to balance this out before it finishes dry and bitter..a slight bit tannic as well..

m-creamy and smooth as silk...lingers around for a while...the bitterness dries the mouth out between sips...not harsh at all...a tad oily but over bearing..the carbonation really does this one justice.

d-will absolutely have no problem putting awary a bomber of this...the complexities that present themselves as the beer warms really make this a great sipper

ive really been looking forward to this beer and glad i got to try it...i will pick up a couple more bottle to see how it progresses...a winner in my book

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

A: A fairly dark, chocolately brown body with a one-finger light mocha head. I find the colors of the head and body to go together very well. The head is smooth and stays around for a few minutes until I begin to sip.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee, oats, and a little bit of heat. Can't really smell any vanilla.

T: The chocolate comes in first. There there is a bit of coffee with the chocolate, and then out comes the vanilla. I find this vanilla better than what I've had in other porters, mostly because it does not carry an artificial aftertaste with it. The coffee then comes in, a rich, roasty kind, and pervades through the aftertaste.

M: Silky and smooth and not too heavy.

D: Quite drinkable. The coffee is rich, but not as intense as in the Founders brews, and it is balanced out by the chocolate and vanilla.

Quite tasty, indeed.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Deep brown with average tan head that settles to a nicely retained film and bubbles with some lacing
Smell: medium to dark roast coffee, dark fruit, boozy
Taste: Coffee and dark chocolate (mocha) blend with vanilla, brown sugar and dark fruit. a fair amount of sweetness up front with moderate bitterness in the finish. maybe some herbal hops presence.

Overall: A pretty delicious brew - the coffee is really well integrated with the beer and adds an earthiness to the otherwise sweet malty body. Hops is just enough to balance in the finish. Great balance and nice presentation.

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Photo of RoninTK3
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Jet black with half a finger of mocha head.

S - Sweet with lots of vanilla and chocolate. Roasted malts and coffee are also heavy in the smell.

T - Heavy coffee on this one with a surprisingly bitter finish. Sweet chocolate and vanilla hints, but they don't come through the coffee flavor as much as others have said. A lot of roasted malts as the smell suggested.

M - Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Smooth finish.

A surprisingly bitter, coffee forward porter. Others have mentioned a ton of vanilla in this one, but I didn't get it. Would have liked a bit more vanilla and chocolate, but a great beer nonetheless.

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Photo of NCBeernut
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So many of these beer using adjuncts like vanilla don't get it right. This is simply perfect. The porter itself is outstanding, and you can actually tell despite the additions of coffee and vanilla which are just subtle enough but prevalent enough to be noticed an enjoyed, contributing rather than subtracting from the complexity. I got a sixer on Friday to savor over the next few weeks and could stop drinking them - gone by the end of the weekend.

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Photo of Shumista
4.06/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle shared three ways. From notes.

Pours black with a brown head, no surprises there. The smell is roasted coffee (the cheap stuff though, folgers maybe), chocolate and some vanilla. I was pretty taken aback by the flavor, I expected roasted coffee to dominate but this is an absolute vanilla bomb. Coffee, chocolate and a nuttiness are all underlying flavors as well. Everything combines to make a beer that reminds me more of a mocha vanilla milk shake than a porter. Creamy mouthfeel, very sweet but not to the point that drinkability suffers. Definitely some delicious stuff.

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Photo of amphion1065
2.99/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bomber purchased in 2011, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A really fantastic-looking beer. Pour is very dark brown, almost black. A two-finger mocha head (that is, appropriately enough, reminiscent of cappuccino foam) just won't go away. Very tight bubbles, great retention. Awesome lacing, too.

Tons of of roast coffee in the nose. Those roasted malts are very, very strong. There's a pretty clear alcohol element in the nose as well. Just a very slight hint of vanilla. Nice, if one-dimensional.

Unsurprisingly, the taste is basically all coffee. There's a persistent, acrid bitterness that really lingers. Thought there's not a lot of vanilla at work here, there is definitely a pronounced boozy taste. Some dark fruits, but that burnt coffee quality is overpowering.

The mouthfeel is too thin, with overactive carbonation. This really needs to settle down.

I remember loving the first bottle of Victory at Sea I tasted - a friend had brought one back to Boston from San Francisco back in February, and I can still recall both smelling and tasting caramel in this beer. This was just average, and I'm not sure that age is to blame given the fact that the coffee was so strong. A let down for me.

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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.