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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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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,737
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 968
Gots: 1,621 | FT: 100
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: 1,180 | Hads: 5,737
Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (729 characters)

Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
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. (843 characters)

Photo of JoeBloe
4.01/5  rDev -7.8%
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! (801 characters)

Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of Trifecta1
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
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!" (233 characters)

Photo of SensorySupernova
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black as night, with a low brown head.

Smell: A little bit of whiskey and caramel. Not too strong.

Taste: Very sweet all the way through. Caramel and whiskey, a bit woody. Roasted malts, although not as strong as the appearance would suggest. Reminds me of a Scotch ale. Plenty of vanilla in there. Some alcohol heat at the end; about what you would expect at 10% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Very thick, moderate carbonation.

Overall: Enjoyable, but too sweet for me. Maybe it would improve with a year of age; I had it fresh on tap so I don't know. Definitely lots of different flavors in here. Look and feel fit well with a big beer. (639 characters)

Photo of sjccmd
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (884 characters)

Photo of stoutfiend27
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
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 (1,123 characters)

Photo of WorldWideStout
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (842 characters)

Photo of RoninTK3
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (633 characters)

Photo of NCBeernut
5/5  rDev +14.9%
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. (451 characters)

Photo of Shumista
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
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. (589 characters)

Photo of amphion1065
2.99/5  rDev -31.3%
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. (1,201 characters)

Photo of matttttYCE
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into my Deschutes snifter glass. I've had this for a little while but I don't know why I haven't drank/reviewed it yet.

Appearance - Aggressive pour yields a tan, creamy smooth looking 2 finger head that diminishes but not very quickly. Leaves some lace but not much. Color is pretty much thick black (maybe a little bit lighter than that) and opaque.

Smell - At first I'm getting mostly a soft pleasant coffee smell with vanilla like someone made me a cup of coffee that wasn't really strong at all and put some nice vanilla creamer in there. After that is some nice malt and that typical porter smell (not quite deep dark roasted malt like a stout but it's there). Also getting some toasty nutty smell in there a bit and some chocolate as it warms. It's a nice complex smell. Not really overpowering or overwhelming at all and I'm not sure whether I'd rather have more vanilla in it or not. But this one may be a bit old and the vanilla may have faded some.

Taste - It's sweet. It's got the other tastes like you would expect too. Lots of coffee, roasted malts and light vanilla and a bit of alcohol noticeable on the way down. Also feel like I'm getting some of the chocolate in the taste as well since I'm smelling it more in the nose as it warms. I could drink this so much more often if it was more available. A little bit of a bitter coffee note finishes off the taste on this one.

Mouthfeel - Mouthfeel is actually really good. Not thick and chewy like a big imperial stout, but more rich with a nice medium body. I guess this is bordering on a stout, but who cares. It's a damn good beer. Carbonation is probably light or creamy on par with a nice imperial stout. Finish is more wet and lasting but it doesn't last too long.

Overall - This is a very good beer. Of course, I feel like I'm on a roll with big flavorful beers that I'm reviewing. Maybe I've got a thing for vanilla or coffee flavored beers, I don't know. What I do know is this: If you think coffee or vanilla (or both) sound interesting in a beer, DO NOT hesitate to pick this one up if you see it. I doubt it will disappoint. (2,124 characters)

Photo of RyFikes
4.96/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Unbelievably amount of flavor. The vanilla really stands out and the coffee compliments is perfectly. This beer could easily stand toe-to-toe with Founder's Breakfast Stout. (173 characters)

Photo of ryrust5301
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Everything is here for a great porter. Brownish black color with a thin tan head. Almost looks like an imperial stout after it sat in my glass for awhile. Strong vanilla notes in the nose, mixed with a bitter roast and soft chocolate. Taste is a bitter coffee at first with a little coco, but a little past halfway through, the vanilla consumes everything all the way to the finish. A real pleasure to sip on, and is a great addition to their big beer bottle series. (466 characters)

Photo of Trueant1
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say? This one pours perfect! Thick head with gobs of lacing stuck on the sides of the glass. The aroma whiffs through the air as you pour this brew into your favorite glass.

Smells of fresh coffee up front. Many in this style have a "stale" coffee smell. This one is fresh and clean. Sweet chocolate and almost a red wine smell. Alcohol and a hint of "bong water" smells. Fresh wheat grass as well.

MMM! WOW! BLISS! Huge brew. Tastes of creamy chocolate liquid mouse. My BA friend in the room tastes milky way candy bars...and so do I. Bitter/burnt chocolate flavors. Alcoholic and very sugary sweet.

This brew is so thick, so creamy, so bitter, and so smooth. Every thing seems to blend together. The only thing that really stands out is the bitterness, and not in a bad way. One of the best brews I have ever had!
Drink this one warm from the start to get the full flavor profile. (897 characters)

Photo of pdoran10
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a mild black color with half a finger of tan head that fades pretty quickly and leaves decent lacing.

Smell is Reeces Peanut Butter Cup if it were made with delicious dark chocolate. Some roasty black coffee comes through as well.

Taste is big roasted malt. Slightly bitter coffee and hops come through with mild dark chocolate. Think Reeces Peanut butter cup, but more roasted than the smell indicated balanced out by bittness. The vanilla noted on the label is mostly lost on my palette, but perhaps lends some sweetness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is dry and substantial at the same time. Moderate carbonation. Really smooth and biting.

Overall a really unique and tasty flavor profile, with a biting dryness and just enough bitterness. An excellent porter. Will have to trade for more. (802 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber shared with my roomate. 2010 bottle out of my Harpoon LE glass.

A- Dark black, almost stout like. Nice light mocha head, with good lacing.

S- Malt and coffee mostly. Little big of Vanilla too. A nice blend, and a strong smelling porter.

T- Very nice and smooth up front, transitions to dark coffee flavor. The aftertaste is coffee grounds and vanilla, little bit of chocolate too. Some malt, but the coffee is pretty overpowering.

M- Very nice, good for the style. Nice aftertaste, and smooth body.

D- Very drinkable, and quite tasty. The coffee is a little strong, but it's not too bad.

All in all one of the better Porters I've had recently, and nice complex beer all around. For the price, this one is a great buy (734 characters)

Photo of JamisonM
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2009

A: the body is black as night no light getting through with a tan head

S: Coffee with roasted notes and vanilla. Smells slightly sweet but not over the the top.

T: Great tasting beer! Big time coffee notes come though followed up with vanilla and some roasted notes. slightly sweet and finish a bit acidic. I think the vanilla really smooths the beer out. Alcohol is very well masked.

M: med mouth with med carbonation and very drinkable

O: Overall this is a very enjoyable beer and has aged very nicely a really well made craft beer. (554 characters)

Photo of 05Harley
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 11/16/13
Estimated calories - 300/12oz

Purchased through Let's pour

Price - $15.00/bomber

Pours midnight black with a two fingered creamy tan head, damn this is frothy. Pretty clingy too with thick lacing all around. A sexy looking beer which is easy on the eyes.

The smell is a full on assault of sweet vanilla followed by coffee beans, caramel and roasted malt. The vanilla is definitely dominant in this example and reminds me of a fine liquor scent.

The taste is boozy to say the least. Flavors of coffee, nuts and unsweetened chocolate are all but muted by the rich vanilla and alcohol aftertaste. A disappointment in this category.

The body is medium to thick with a slight syrupy feel. Starts off smooth and quickly changes hot due to the alcohol. The finish is bitter and dry. Usually I'm not bothered by this but here it seems more bitter and dry due to alcohol rather than fresh hops.

Overall the taste was a bit of a let down. The vanilla and alcohol just overpowered this for me. The nose however was awesome and the appearance led the way. I know it's high in octane but in the end it's just too hot for me. (1,137 characters)

Photo of keanex
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from a 22 ounce bottle un-dated.

A: Beautiful pitch black body with a dense tan head that compliments this perfectly. This beer simply looks amazing.

S: This smells absolutely wonderful, there's a perfect balance of vanilla and fresh roasted coffee here, reminds me a lot of vanilla cake actually with coffee. This is wonderful, my only complaint is wishing it were a tad stronger.

T: Absolutely wonderful, there's bready vanilla flavor into a silky rich cocoa coffee flavor. It's as if I'm sipping on a mocha cappuccino with some vanilla flavoring. This is complex, intense, and very easy to drink.

M: Thick and syrupy with light carbonation, this is filling and feels great.

O: This is hands down the best porter I've ever had, I have no complaint with this and will be buying one every time I find one. (832 characters)

Photo of arfenhouse
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with brown head. Head can get too large with a vigorous pour. Good retention.

S: Overwhelming vanilla bean aroma with a bit of cafe mocha hiding behind it. Enjoyable to smell and keep on smelling.

T: First taste is a semi-sweet chocolate followed by black coffee that keeps this beer from being too sweet. Bitterness comes from the roasted grain, kind of like the charred part of toast. Vanilla in the aftertaste. Virtually no hop flavor.

M: Semi creamy with medium carbonation. Starts to feel too thick and syrupy as it warms. A little less carbonation and some more silkiness would've been better in my opinion.

O: Very tasty and strong imperial porter. Gonna get some more of these if I can. Definitely a must try if you like the style. (753 characters)

Photo of Wadsey
3.59/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Victory At Sea, vintage '08 or '09

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with modest light brown head that leaves little in the way of lacing. 

S: Milk chocolate and dry roasted maltiness. Earth, honey, vanilla and coffee bring up rear. Honestly, Ballast Point Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter smells like one of those iced coffee drinks from Starbuck's that has a ridiculously long name. 

T: Sweet milk chocolate and roasted malts mingle on palate before vanilla joins in. The vanilla tastes extracted. Coffee has faded and reminds me of the last cup after dwelling over the Sunday newspaper a little too long. Medium- high bitterness. Finish is bitter chocolate and coffee. 

M: Relatively big body and medium-light carbonation. Somewhat oily and mouthcoating. 

O: BPVASCVIP was one of the first beers for which I traded and that I loved. I'm sure this beer has lost a step or two after a couple years in my cellar, but it wasn't bad by any means. Recommended, but consume it within 18 months of bottling.  (1,038 characters)

Photo of captaincoffee
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Near black with full tan head and lots of staying power. Nose is complex with various malts and burnt malts, and plenty of coffee and vanilla. Taste is a bit much...tons of flavor, but somewhat muddled and overdone. Finish leaves a bit too much bitterness over the coffee and dark malt notes. Definitely a good big beer. Definitely not a quick or quaffable. Need to spend some time with it, and one is probably plenty. Overall very good. (440 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.