Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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
96
world-class

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,738
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 3.91%
Wants: 965
Gots: 1,624 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,180 | Hads: 5,738
Photo of VikingBeer
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point "Victory At Sea." Thanks to NordBier for these! 12 oz. bottle, served in a Dark Horse tulip at fridge temp but allowed to warm to 58-60 degrees.

Too cold, but pretty and coal-black as it sits warming up. Head is gone after three or four minutes, but a stubborn lacing persists nicely.

Smell is coffee and vanilla upfront, unsurprisingly, followed by a carob-esque bitter scent, a rummy hint of booze. The aroma really doesn't open up unless the beer is served at cellar temp, naturally.

Also unsurprisingly, the first sip gives a blast of vanilla and espresso-roast coffee, hints of cinnamony spice, and a notable whiff of Dutch cocoa. I cannot emphasize enough how bracingly assertive and surprisingly dry that first vanilla-espresso hit is, either, as I get little hint of sweetness until the mid-palate, when more chocolate-cocoa flavors roll in, along with hints of black walnut, rummy booze, dark fruit (especially currants), spices, especially cinnamon and mace, and a touch of oakiness. This one has a bit of age on it, but the hops are still a detectable presence, bringing hints of grass and herbs, especially mint, and a ghost of juniper berries. Finish is still medium-dry, with more currants, a heavier spice presence, and a touch of maduro cigars. Medium-full bodied, lighter than one expects from 10% abv, but not watery or disappointing, just sufficiently lighter than a conparable imperial stour to justify the name. This is truly an excellent flavored imperial porter, surprisingly complex and rewarding. (1,539 characters)

Photo of Beersmuggler
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This Porter by ballast point is unreal. The vanilla is not overpowering but rather has a really good balance. If you are in California definitely give this a try if you like porters. (184 characters)

Photo of rjd722
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Ommegang wide flute glass, a beautiful black coloring with big, frothy brown head which dissipates slowly and laces the entire way down. A burst of vanilla greets you and is accompanied by some nice roasted chocolate notes. Smoked toffee and chocolate (with hints of vanilla) dominate the experience and overall this brew has a bitterness slightly more intense then coffee. Considering it's a 10% ABV, it has a pleasant texture and is easy to drink. Really great weekend beer, what else can I say about another exceptional Ballast Point offering? (561 characters)

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

Very dark brown, opaque. Minimal carbonation fades to a leather brown around the edges. Smells of vanilla, chocolate, pecans, roasted nuts, caramel, coffee and toast. A viscous, velvety mouthfeel that coats the mouth. Loads of bakers chocolate, coffee, vanilla, Brown sugar and pecans. Intensified roast bitterness that meshes quite perfectly with residual sugars. Mighty fine work Ballast Point. (397 characters)

Photo of TheItalianStallion
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip.

A: Pour is black as night with a thick, creamy cap of brown foam. The head eventually settles to a thin film dotting the glass with lacing all the way down.

S: Aromas of fresh brewed coffee and roasted malts with a brown sugar sweetness. Vanilla barely detectable as the beer warms.

T: Big flavors of coffee and molasses on a solid base of roasted malts. The roastiness is obviously there, but definitely isn't as strong as the coffee. There is the PERFECT amount of vanilla sweetness on the finish. Not underwhelming, but not overwhelming, it is just the right amount.

M: Creamy mouthfeel that isn't overly viscous with a low amount of carbonation. Medium bodied and semi dry on the finish.

O: Overall I thought this was an excellent beer that has robust flavors of coffee and the ideal amount of vanilla sweetness. It is my go to dessert beer, and I will be drinking it for years to come. (933 characters)

Photo of woemad
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber purchased at Total Wine in Spokane, Valley, WA, for $8.49. Not even bothering with deciphering the bottled-on stamp.

Poured into my trusty Iron Goat snifter, this was a totally opaque dark brown color with a big, creamy tan colored head. Said head took its sweet time dropping and left lots of lace on the sides of the glass.

Vanilla and coffee are the dominant scents, in that order, though it must be said that the vanilla is not overpowering. I picked up some milk chocolate notes as well.

The coffee stands out a little more in the taste than in the nose, but it’s well balanced with the vanilla. Definitely an alcohol taste in the background that is most noticeable at the fadeout. It’s just a teeny bit too alcoholically “hot” for my tastes.

A little thinner in the body than I expected, but not to a deal-breaking degree. Sticky, coating mouthfeel.

I’m generally of the opinion vanilla should be used sparingly when it makes an appearance in beer. This one could be an example of how it should be done. It’s a little too sweet and WAY too boozy for repeated glasses, but this works well as an after-breakfast beer and could work as a nightcap or dessert beer as well. I’m thinking of getting another couple of bottles and laying them down for a bit to see if the alcohol heat mellows a bit. (1,330 characters)

Photo of Alequine
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An amazing beer that drinks real smooth and tasty for the ABV. Nice balance sweetness and bitterness from the coffee. Color is mahogany to black with a thick tan head. Nice lacing. Initial smell is strong cocoa, coffee and caramel. Taste follows the nose with strong chocolate and coffee roast with some vanilla in the finish. Mouth feel is creamy. My favorite Porter and one of my favorite beers. (400 characters)

Photo of jcoleMA66
4.91/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a spectacular porter - enjoyed at Armsby Abbey. It is as good as it gets. Color is mahogany to black with a thick tan head. Lots of lacing. Initial smell is strong cocoa, coffee and caramel. Taste follows the nose with strong chocolate and coffee roast with some vanilla in the finish. Mouth feel is creamy. This beer is 10% but is in no way boozy, which ireally surprised me. This is an amazing beer. (409 characters)

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with a scant amount of ruby on edge when held up to the light; thick tan to light brown head; great lace, cap, and carbonation. Roasted coffee and caramel malt nose with some oak notes too. Flavors of roasted coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate and a little wood; a little vanilla on the finish as the liquid warms. Dry medium lite mouthfeel, yet creamy tongue coating. Overall, I like how the vanilla comes out along with the roasted coffee, however, the linger is a bit wooden. (484 characters)

Photo of HopBomb515
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black with a towering coffee colored head and great lacing. Notes of heavy coffee, caramel, toffee and light vanilla in the nose. Big coffee flavor, some toffee and vanilla working in the background smooth the flavor profile. Nice feel as it warmed, creamy, fuller side of medium body and very drinkable at 10%. This was one of, if not the most coffee forward beers I've ever had. Really fantastic. (403 characters)

Photo of trygelski1
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber poured into tulip glass

Look: Dark black with a small amount of head

Smell: Tons of coffee notes evident and either some chocolate or toffee notes also, don't get any of the vanilla here

Taste: Tons of coffee notes again but also the vanilla comes into play but it is in the background of things when compared to the coffee notes, also some hints of chocolate/toffee notes

Feel: Full bodied and smooth

Overall: This is probably the best coffee porter I have ever tasted. This beer is right up there with the Founders Breakfast Stout. Another great offering from Ballast Point! (595 characters)

Photo of Beric
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Bottle into a tulip
Served: 5 August 2015

Appearance: Pours a thick, deep black color with a minimal tan head that quickly collapses to a sheen of bubbles under influence from the high alcohol content. Looks like your average imperial stout/porter.

Smell: Huge coffee notes, with a nice assertion of dark chocolate or cocoa notes as well. I wasn't able to pick up on much of the vanilla in the nose, but the beer smells absolutely fantastic.

Taste: Like the nose, big notes of coffee, though the vanilla is now evident as well. The roasted malt provides a nice, sharp roastiness- almost burnt- like French roast coffee. No one aspect of this beer is overdone, and the major flavor elements play well together, which is brilliant.

Mouthfeel: Big body, medium-low carbonation.

Overall: One of the best coffee beers I've had. Right up there with FBS, and quite possibly even better. (893 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black and with an unfathomable depth. Tan head that did not last in the tasting glass but left sheets of lace to surprise you with it's tenacity. The strong scent of vanilla, cool and forward is wafting from the glass. It smells like elixir with strong coffee. Before you can dive in too quickly you notice chocolate.

The taste is smooth but hearty roast. Uncompromising malt. A full body that shows off caramel, bitter coffee, fudgy chocolate and bold vanilla. No alcohol on the palate until a touch of warmth finishes the swallow. Sweet finish and dark fruit faintly on the back palate and in the aftertaste. Earthy robust malt. Strong, rich taste. (657 characters)

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The allergy meds mute my sense of smell but this was magnificent while pouring , especially the vanilla

Black hole dark with tan head that dissipates fairly quickly

Malt, coffee on the from of my mouth and vanilla on the back , how can you go wrong .Delicious!

The slightly thin mouthfeel may explain the difference between an imperial porter and a stout better than any example I can think of?

This is about the wonderful taste WOW! (442 characters)

Photo of ljjpowers
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Let’s keep this short and sweet… I know you craft beer fanboys and fangirls only have so much time to take your eyes off of the delicious brew in front of you. Have you ever sampled Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Porter? I can tell you that this beer is darker than Bill Buckner letting that ball go through his legs and then drawing consecutive blanks on Russian Roulette for two straight hours. At a certain point, you just give up. And at a certain point, you are tricked into thinking that VAS is harshly dark in flavor as well. Wrong! Yes, it smells of coffee and chocolate (more like dark chocolate), but these scents also give way to vanilla and gingerbread cookie. The taste is more chocolate-centric and bitter than expected from the nose, but the overall experience is a nice contrast to what your brain and taste buds anticipate after looking at the bottle (and reading the label). This is a very solid porter from Ballast Point, but we prefer their beautiful IPAs to their porters and a number of other breweries’ porters to their porters. Make no mistake, though, Ballast Point is still an absolute favorite. (1,144 characters)

Photo of dazedman
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Coffee, vanilla what's not to like? I love this beer. Rarely will I rate a porter over a Imperial Stout but this brew beats most of them hands down in my book. If you like Imperial Stouts and you have a chance to try this get it right then don't wait don't think about it! Pay the man and enjoy. (296 characters)

Photo of Jeffsta1
3.86/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark black color, inspires confidence. Dense tan foam.

Smell is not intense, a bit sweet, nothing off.

Taste is deeply bitter - in terms of flavor profile, this reads much more as a stout than a porter. Very nicely balanced, no single flavor stands out. Malty for sure. Coffee. More cocoa than vanilla, it seems to me.

Mouthfeel is rich, not as dense as a stout but surely richer than a porter ought ideally to be.

Finish is stout-like, bitter, lots of coffee grounds on the finish. (486 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)

Photo of vickersspitfire
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance:
Dark brown body, almost black and sealed with a dark tan head that’s three fingers thick, foamy and just looks like a nice place to rest on. Thick lacing marks every sip you take.
Smell:
Dark roasted malts and coffee and a mild semi sweet odor of dark chocolate, brown sugar and butter with a touch of caramel.
Taste:
Strong roasted malts and coffee at first followed by the bitterness of dark chocolate. The aftertaste is a milder version of the taste itself minus the bitterness.
Mouthfeel:
Light bodied.
Overall:
This is a great tasting porter with plenty of malts to go around. (595 characters)

Photo of mtvolkens
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely delicious. Poured into CCB snifter. It poured absolutely beautifully. Slow pour that developed a nice 2in head that retained well. The most lacking part for me was honestly the aroma. I had faint smells of vanilla and light coffee, but not as much as I was expecting. A tad dull. However, I then tasted it. Boom. Normally a dull aroma leads to a dull beer. Not this one. Packed with delicious aroma. Super wonderfully complex yet drinkable. Tastes delicious vanilla bean up front, with a nice caramelly malt, followed up with the cold brew bite on the end. Super drinkable yet complex. Hides the 10% very well. (635 characters)

Photo of Zonk
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Deep brown color. Nice aroma of coffee and really significant vanilla. Mouthfeel was fairly rich and creamy. My problem with this beer was that the vanilla came off as really artificial which kind of ruined it for me. (220 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 Budlum
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black color with a tan head. Aromas of strong dark-roasted coffee dominate. Caramel overshadowed by strong flavors of fresh coffee blend with faint vanilla. The flavors remain long after giving way to a pleasant coffee bitterness. Excellent. (250 characters)

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

A-Pours black, almost deep purple, with a milk chocolate light brown head
S-Vanilla, coffee, caramel toffee and a hint of butterscotch which is really nice
T-The taste is predominantly coffee, with a smooth bitterness that lingers ever so slightly, it is sweet and sugary while balancing all flavours with an alcohol backbone that is soothing like a Cadillac on cruise control on a newly paved highway.
M-Full body wi nice medium carbonation that helps to cleanse the palat
O-I am not a fan of stout or porter type beers. This one, however, I really enjoy, it is silky smooth and pleasant (590 characters)

Photo of 2ellas
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: beautifully dark, no light can pass through! With a thin tan head and minimal lacing
smell: amazing roasty, maybe a bit of the coffee. I don't think I get any vanilla but I might not be sure what vanilla smells like
taste: opens up as it warms. I get what I believe to be vanilla, a bit of coffee and even chocolate. Though it seems a bit muddled and didn't follow the roasty smell that I got from the nose.
mf: coats the tongue nicely, just about average for the style
overall: a good beer. Not sure I'd seek it out but if it were readily available, I'd definitely drink it often. (593 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.