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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: 5,736
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: 5,736
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)

Photo of Duhast500
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea

Poured from a 22fl. Oz. bomber into a Dogfish Head pint glass.

The color is a dark black with some slight maroon highlights that are just barely making a presence here.

The smell is dark chocolate, and cocoa that jumps in the nose. There is some slight graham cracker here in the aroma that is tease the combo of s’mores but the marshmallow does not appear. Coffee grounds aroma comes out here and gives off a preview of breakfast in the morning.

The taste is big coffee at first with a pushy dry cocoa flavor that hangs and hangs in the background giving off more coffee bean flavor than expected. There is dark malt flavor that comes up to make an appearance and give a slight black licorice flavor with some brown bread finishing things.

The feel of this beer is of a big beer that packs a large flavor profile. The extra kick of the ABV brings a bigger push into the darker malt character and makes for a complex body. There are a lot to this beer and it brings a whole title fight to your door with left jabs of dark malts and rights of some interesting sweetness that keeps this beer interesting till the last drop (1,142 characters)

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big coffee with vanilla, just like the bottle says. It comes in a 6 pack too, what a complete joke that most 12oz beers are in 4 packs now, but I digress. This is fantastic! I'll seek this out again. (202 characters)

Photo of FBGordon
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from draft into a room temperature pub.

A: Pours a dark, chocolate brown with a tinge of red around the edges and a foamy, high head that quickly dissipates, leaving creamy lacing.

S: Lots of chocolate, coffee and vanilla, nicely melded together makes it an inviting porter.

T: All flavors of coffee, chocolate and toast are nicely evident in this porter, with a subtle coffee and toast flavor lingering on the palate.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and chocolately.

O: This is a fantastic porter, one of my favorites. It drinks well and has amazing flavor. (561 characters)

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

Really enjoyed this but a bomber all by myself was too much, this is a very hearty beer recommend a pint or less, or find a friend to share the bomber. (151 characters)

Photo of ThaneMcC
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pour from 12oz bottle into tulip class, solid inky brown with light brown foamy head which resolves to solid residual foam and lacing.
S: Strong coffee, unsweetened cocoa, soy sauce with hint of roasted malts – a pleasant blend of dark fruits.
T: first note of strong expresso with transition to a dark malty, unsweetened cocoa, piney mid to end note and a mild residual bitterness and slightly sticky finish
M: Medium bodied with minimal carbonation and a bitter, coffee/cocoa finish.
Overall this is a complex, tasty beer for savoring/sipping. I’m a dark beer fan – and this beer incorporates some a good mix of flavors without being overwhelming. As it warms, becomes even more enjoyable.
I would definitely pick this gem up again – and the price point is great for this quality beer. (801 characters)

Photo of Jadorko
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very forward on the coffee flavor and super tasty. Very typical, heavy, dark beer but you can still enjoy it as a cold beer on a hot night (in moderation). (155 characters)

Photo of fmccormi
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 12oz pry-off bottle to an oversized wineglass (Jester King stemware); there’s some date information printed in white ink near the bottom of the front label (“VAS6715148”), but who the hell knows what that’s supposed to indicate. Either way, given the style, I’m not too worried about freshness.

Appearance (4.75): About one and a half fingers of rocky, dark tan foam rise off of the pour, capping a nearly pitch-black body. As the head dissipates, it leaves close-knit lacing and tightly spaced collars all around the end edge of the glass. It also shows some ruddy, mahogany highlights around the edge. This is gorgeous.

Smell (4.25): Mocha icing, chocolate syrup, deeply caramelized malts, and sweet cream fill out the nose—rich and sweet-smelling, but balanced with a modest amount of lightly acrid roast and cocoa powder. Well-structured and rich, while avoiding the tendency of these big stouts to try to muscle out every single note and component.

Taste (4.25): In contrast to the smooth, full, balanced set of aromas, the palate throws a quick jab right out of the gate, with a mid-level shot of mocha-like bitterness, followed by a smooth, malty body (some of the chocolate syrup from the nose mixed with instant espresso) . . . and then a sharp right hook of deeply bitter roast—espresso, unsweetened baker’s chocolate, and herbal bitterness. The beer leaves a more modest, drying bitterness in the aftertaste characterized more by dark cocoa powder than coffee or any other bittering agent. A healthy, boozy heat pops up halfway back on the palate, and carries on through the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Definitely full-feeling and heavier than medium-weight, the beer’s big but not massive or syrupy. The booze in particular, mixed with coffee and cococa bitterness, lightens up the big body and lets the beer to finish surprisingly dry. Too punchy and bitter to drink lightly or with ease . . . this beer’s not for the novice stout/porter drinker, but the dryness really does improve drinkability.

Overall (4.25): This is a really, really solid beer, and considering its price point in six-packs, it’s a real bargain in the world of imperial stouts/porters/huge dark beers, whatever you want to call it. I like that this beer’s got a dynamic character, with multiple dimensions in every area, from the nose to the body. It’s an awesome drink, and one I’ll definitely keep in mind in the future. (2,462 characters)

Photo of Jmikepow
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THe sweet smell of vanilla beans and the wonderful taste of this makes this one of the best porters out there! Try it in a beer float and you will not be disappointed! (167 characters)

Photo of DaverCS
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with a finger of off white, Carmel colored head.

Aroma yields smokey malts, burnt coffee, and tobacco.

Taste is a big burst of smoke in beginning, followed by the roasted almost burnt coffee. Tobacco notes are woven through the smokiness, but primarily present up front. I don't get any vanilla. I get unsweetened cocoa powder followed by a twang of bitterness. The end of the sip is a strong kick/hit of alcohol. Not just warmth but also flavor.

Overall the beer is pleasant,but the lack of vanilla flavor and slight boo ones drops it down for me. Still this is an excellent porter. I could see it paired with a braised lamb shank in a rich Demi glace sauce. It gets a 91.2/100. (695 characters)

Photo of StevenMilligan
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pitch black motor oil, with a miniscule and dissipating dark khaki head.

Smell: Coffee, Coffee, Coffee. Dark chocolate notes and a hint of vanilla. The wife says, "Ehh...it smells like wood."

Taste: First notes reminds me of a strong black coffee in a paper cup. Monday mornings. Vanilla quickly sets it and it gives it an espresso or even cappuccino taste. Like if you were to sip sweet milk after a shot of espresso. The coffee quickly fades back in with bitterness. This is key, it's sweet in the middle, but doesn't last. Almost my favorite quality about this brew.

Feel: This is my favorite quality of this brew. It is velvety smooth, but without being frothy. Low carbonation.

Overall: An exceptional porter. My favorite to date. Vanilla bean is present, but the coffee steals the show. Would get again, especially at $2.50 a bottle. (849 characters)

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