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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,327 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,327
Ratings:
6,443
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,055
Gots:
2,021
For Trade:
91
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: 1,327 | Ratings: 6,443
Photo of haazer
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Hard pour puts up a towering, dense ash/light brown colored head. Lasts for quite some time and settles at about 2 1/2 fingers. Lacing all over the glass on this. Brew is a very dark brown, no light getting through.

S- Strong, delicious brown roast coffee up front. Blends with a good bit of regular mocha actually. The vanilla is there underneath the coffee, and the coffee comes in again in aftertaste. The malts are dark but take a backseat to the wonderful smelling coffee and vanilla, it's almost like an iced coffee with creamer. So good.

T- The taste is this amazing coffee, you San Diegan's are lucky for this "Caffe Colabria". Taste is much like the nose really. Mocha follows the coffee, then followed by vanilla beans. My only complaint is the 10% is felt on the backend with heat and some boozy taste.

M- Mouth is fully bodied, silky smooth with mid to high carbonation. As coffee does this appears to coat your mouth and teeth.

O- So often does a coffee stout/porter overpower you with burnt bitter roasted malt, this does not. This is a world class brew. This profiles the coffee and vanilla without killing you with roast. This is my favorite coffee stout/porter thus far. I will look for this always.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to try this. This was an extra in a recent package from him- he consistently amazes me with his selection and generosity.

Poured into my DFH snifter, pours a dark brown/black color, with a tan/off white head that fills the top of the glass, and then slowly recedes. Excellent retention. Smell- dark chocolate, dark coffee, big hops on the nose. This one has it all! Taste- biting hops, followed by a roasty dark chocolate flavor, finished with a big almost espresso roasted coffee flavor. This beer reminds me of Founders Breakfast Stout, but beats it in a big way. This is a luscious, decadent beer that is well balanced, and exciting on all levels. Mouthfeel- I'm honestly surprised this is categorized as a porter- it has the rich syrupy thick mouthfeel of a stout, with perfect carbonation. Drinkabilty- as with most beers I get from AugustGarage, I'm saddened by the fact that I can't buy this easily again. It's an amazing beer and I will be looking for anything close to it that I can buy in Houston (but will probably come up short).

Thanks again- this one was the highlight of my night last night.

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Photo of Sideswipe
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barley and Hops.

Victory at Sea arrives in a pint glass. The beer is pitch black with a finger of tan head. The foam recedes leaving wisps of beige bubbles atop the beer and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma of fresh ground coffee beans wafts up from the glass. A closer whiff reveals hints of roasted malt, but the coffee overpowers it for the most part. Flavors of coffee and a huge vanilla presence dominate the palate. Sweet, roasted malt is detectable in the background, but the emphasis clearly is on the coffee and vanilla. The finish is semi-sweet wih a lingering aftertaste of... Yep.... Coffee and vanilla. VaS is full bodied, especially for a porter, with a nice, medium level of carbonation. The 10% ABV is quite well hidden by the exquisite melding of coffee vanilla and roasted malt flavors. Overall, a very tasty offering from Ballast Point. Reminiscent of a drink one might order at Starbuck's, but with bubbles and a bit of a kick to it . I enjoy this one every time I have it. Recommended.

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Photo of IKR
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
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 ISmith87
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 4 - Good looking dark brown-black beer with a nice dark tan head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Bottle is classic Ballast Point.
S - 4.25 - The smell is very heavy on the coffee with maybe some hints of vanilla and dark fruits? Definitely roasted malts in there.
T - 4.5 - Super good coffee, vanilla, creamy flavor to it. Roasted malts. A slight taste of alcohol but it's good. Tastes like Breckinridge Vanilla Porter but better.
M - 4.25 - Medium mouthfeel. Lighter given that it's an imperial porter rather than a stout. Roasty coffee aftertaste. Alc is really well covered.
O - 4.25 - This is a good beer. It's what it says it is (a coffee vanilla porter), and it's good, but I don't know if I'd give it the 98 rating it has. I'd like to see a little thicker body on it and some more complexity.

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Photo of Vogie
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A massive porter with all the great flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. The finish is extremely bitter and hoppy. Definitely packs a good punch on those taste buds.

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Photo of Totalpackage411
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a great beer. As good as any porter I've had. A nice hint of vanilla with a rich coffee flavor. Highly recommend for anyone who likes porters or stouts.

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Photo of toolbrew
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
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 veinless
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
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 +7.4%
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 +8.5%
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 hardysf
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good beer. May be a touch thinner than expected and have a slightly smaller nose too. Lots of delicious coffee and chocolate flavors. Would buy again.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
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 mschantz
4.74/5  rDev +9%
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 comfortablynumb1
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
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...

Cheers...

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.29/5  rDev -24.4%
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.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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 +3.4%
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 -8.5%
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 +8.5%
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 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 bcostner1
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
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 +1.6%
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 UrbanCaveman
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at approximately 45 degrees F.

A: Pours a deep, dark brown, verging on black. Once in the glass, no light whatsoever filters through the brew - it almost seems as though light rays that stray too close are sucked in and absorbed. A thick, fluffy dark tan head forms and hangs around for a while, slowly dying down to a cap and ring which leave clumps of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma opens with dark, dark, dark roasted grain, not unlike burned bread, wreathed through with black coffee-espresso to form a miasma of the color black. Underlying that is a sort of earthen bitterness.

T: Oh, that thick, heavy, blunt, blackened roasted grain! The flavor opens with a veritable club of blackened, burned bread and grain, with traces of smoke and char. Unfiltered dark roast coffee takes not merely center stage, but also left, right, and the orchestral pit at times. There are notes to the flavor quite reminiscent of burnt firewood or campfire ashes, mixed with the scorched earth from the bottom of a firepit dug in the deep woods. Vanilla is hinted at, bringing no sweetness along with it whatsoever, not unlike sipping extract right from the bottle. Alcohol heat comes in during the bitter, slightly astringent finish.

M: Thin, far thinner than one might expect for a brew this heavy, dark, flavorful, and high ABV. It verges on watery at times as it moves across the palate.

O: While I'd have preferred a little more malt sweetness to come through the blackened flavorstorm, and a little more body and heft to the feel, this is definitely a tasty example of an imperial porter!

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Photo of mocktm
4.7/5  rDev +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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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,327 ratings.