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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.

1,220 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,220
Hads: 5,929
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,006
Gots: 1,723 | FT: 91
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: 1,220 | Hads: 5,929
Photo of E_Schaaf
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: 12oz poured into a snifter - a deep brownish-black, consistency and appearance reminds of cold brewed coffee. One finger head, a mid-toned sepia. Dissipates quickly.

S: Medium roasted coffee, subtle vanilla bean, faint butterscotch? Very malty with some cocoa notes too.

T: Follows the nose in breadth, but coffee and vanilla dominate with a malt backbone. I'm surprised at the subtlety of the alcohol considering the ABV. Tastes best possibly slightly above cellar temperature. Not too warm, but not too cold either. Not as bitter as expected on the front, but crescendos over a few seconds. Aftertaste leaves one wanting another sip.

F: Much fuller than other porters that come to mind (Black Butte, Anchor, Smog City Coffee Porter). Medium body, present but temperate acidity, moderate carbonation (persists for a while, a pleasant surprise). Goes down easy but is very rich. Best savored slowly.

O: A delightfully bold porter. Easily a favorite in this style, and I love the forwardness of the coffee. Despite my moderate caffeine tolerance, I definitely feel a kick from this one. Lovely on a cool evening like tonight 11/15/15.

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Photo of Pranqfan
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer really needs to warm up a bit. I would advise against drinking this one very cold. At first when cold the bitterness was off-putting. After warming the hop and coffee bitterness faded and the smooth sweet maltiness and vanilla came through.

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Photo of tregan_20
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Upon pouring, the color was black with a finger of caramel-colored head.Aroma was that of coffee, vanilla and tobacco. The taste is somewhat roasted/burnt coffee with tobacco and vanilla notes. The aftertaste is that of strong alcohol and malts. Overall the beer is tasty and a solid offering from Ballast Point. Cheers!

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Photo of drew42e
4.66/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured near black with tan head from bottle. Aroma of vanilla and coffee, some cocoa. This bottle I'm getting more vanilla than I recall prior tastings, less on coffee but some chocolate. Gets better and better as it warms, not too boozy but a little heat. One of my favorite porters.

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Photo of allezvousen
2.95/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The first couple of sips give you a big hit of coffee and vanilla then the alcohol takes over on the palate. And by the last few sips you wonder if there is any coffee/vanilla in there at all.

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Photo of mchegash
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Pitch squid-ink black. A small around of moderately dark tan head which quickly dissipates.

S: Strong coffee and vanilla aromas. Smells like a nice cold-brewed coffee with vanilla. Hints of chocolate and roasted malts.

T: Vanilla, coffee, sweet lactose. Again, also some chocolate and roasted malts.

F: Medium-light carbonation, medium body. Mild acidity, relatively smooth.

O: Not as good as I'd hoped (nothing ever lives up to the hype), but still a good brew.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a red-brown head. Smells of roasted coffee sweetened with vanilla. Tastes like a cold brewed black coffee with vanilla. The colder it is the more robust the coffee flavor. Closer to room temperature the coffee becomes slightly tamed and the more chocolate-like flavors settle in. At 10% it can feel a little strong, but the bittersweet roasted coffee flavors help cover up the booze. It is pretty thin and goes down easy with mild carbonation. Overall a nice imperial porter for coffee lovers.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

660ml bottle bought from Brewdog online

Poured almost completely black even when held up to the light. Dirty brown head poured fairly thick and foamy then faded slowly to one finger coating.... some good rings of sticky lacing...

Aroma - Lovely toasted and roasted malts mixed with a good dose of dark chocolate, dried coffee beans, vanilla, faint smoky notes, burnt butter, black treacle and dark brown sugar, alcohol notes coming through, sooty, leathery and earthy, plum and raisin fruitiness, faint pepperiness...

Taste -– Dark chocolate and bitter espresso coffee, dark fruits - mainly plum, dark cherry and dates, vanilla, light smoke traces, liquorice, lots of toasted / burnt bread notes, some milkiness, nice warming alcohol, light oaky notes, some faint piney hop notes...

Mouth-feel was a bit of a let down... quite thin, sharp and fizzy. Not what i was expecting from a 10% beer

Overall - a pretty good beer and certainly worth a try but the mouth-feel definitely lets this down. I was expecting a big, thick chewy porter but it was just a bit on the thin side...

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Photo of hardysf
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
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 LXIXME
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark opaque porter with a light brown head the leaves a nice lacing as well as a small mound of head in the middle of the glass staying atop this beer. Lighter aroma than taste of coffee with a nice accent of vanilla, just seems to be proportioned just right for my taste buds. Another good reason to like Ballast Point BC.

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Photo of Partyoso
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Probably one of the best beers I've ever had. I tried the yeti oatmeal and the big bad Baptist against this beer and I think this is hands down the best out of them.

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Photo of IronLover
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black in color. Poured with a short, light beige that slowly reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet milk chocolate, light roasted coffee, light roasted malt and vanilla aromas. No hop aromas. Medium bodied with a creamy smooth feel and rich, medium light carbonation. Dark roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors up front followed by roasted coffee, milk chocolate, and vanilla into the middle. No hop flavors but medium high bitterness through the middle. Flavors transition from bitter hops to dark chocolate, to dark roasted coffee. Finished with a vanilla sweetness followed by chocolate malt and a lingering hop bitterness. Intense malt flavors and vanilla sweetness are nicely balanced by the hop bitterness. Smooth and flavorful with very little alcohol presence for the 10% abv.

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Photo of modidia
3.64/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A bit too heavy and a bit too sharp on the finish. I don't love supporters generally but this one got such great ratings I have to try it. I think it needs a bit more sweetness to balance out the sharpness.

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Photo of do_ob
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pretty well black in appearance. Wonderful aroma of roasted coffee, roasted malt, vanilla, and cocoa on the nose. Very dense, this one is. One of the heaviest porters I've had. Lots of coffee throughout the taste, with the vanilla shining through a little more as it warmed. For me, this beer seemed to get super hot towards the end, after it had warmed up a little. Still good, but made for a slightly sharp finish.

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Photo of bound4er
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as a night's sky with a two finger tan head. Smells of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla and dark roasted coffee. Taste follows the nose quite nicely which is a good thing - vanilla, dark roasted coffee, toffee and just enough hop bitterness to keep any sweetness in check. Finishes with nice roasty persistence. Creamy, full bodied mouthfeel. This is a really well made beer that tastes great and is very easy to drink given its 10% ABV and large frame.

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

The coffee is strong in this one, both in smell and taste. There's a hint of vanilla, chocolate and dark fruit as well, with a semi bitter finish. You do smell and taste the vanilla more as it warms up a bit. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Overall, I love it.

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Photo of Keystrokegraffiti
2.87/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Looks great, but the taste was a bit off putting. At first the flavor is good, strong coffee and mild vanilla, but when it hits the back of the throat it's very dry and bitter. Was really looking for a smooth porter with this one. Disappointed.

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had last night out of the 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass, pours black with a small tan head that fades, spotty lacing left. Nice aroma of coffee beans, chocolate, mild sweetness. Taste was not as good, still tasty. Starts sweet with a big chocolate note, coffee in the middle, very bitter. Finishses sweet and a bit too sticky, small note of vanilla. Big porter with a big body, took awhile to drink this. Overall a tasty beer, but I was a bit disappointed. It gets a 97 on here but I wouldn't put it that high.

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Photo of horshack7
4.99/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: I'm not sure if this one could be any darker it might very well absorb light it's an abyss crossed with a black hole in space. The head is dark beige quite thick and leaves good lacing behind.

Aroma: Massive amounts of vanilla bean. Chocolate malts with traces of milk sugar. The hops are roasted quite dark but quite a ways from being burnt. Dark roasted coffee with some espresso mixed in. Traces of ripe banana towards the back.

Taste: An absolute tidal wave of chocolate malts. Vanilla bean is borderline astronomical. Dark fruits roam all over. There are traces of bourbon. Although this an American porter milk sugar is all through it. The mouthfeel is better than smooth it's like drinking fresh heavy cream. It makes silk look like sand paper.

Notes: This one is an absolute beast but what a gentile giant. It's great for a cool night anytime of year. Great for an after dinner beer. An amazing sipper dangerously drinkable and utter perfection for the coldest of winter nights. My fellow beer advocates this one is an absolute masterpiece. Cheers to all.

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Photo of FaradayUncaged
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours deep brown with a nice half inch plus of tan head. Head dissipates to light ring around the glass with very little lacing, but some present.
Smells nicely of coffee, roasted malt, hint of cocoa, and vanilla. Taste follows with a fantastic base Porter with coffee, cocoa, and light vanilla on the finish.
Mouth feel is much more Porter than stout as expected. Every so slightly watery but not too thin with medium body and a nice level of carbonation.
Overall the ten percent ABV is really well hidden. A fantastic non-barrel aged Porter. If you can find this one, it's worth picking up several.

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

22 oz bottle poured into Breckenridge 471 Small Batch snifter.

Look: Deep brown to black, almost fresh asphalt in color. Tan head that lingers. Lacing all around the snifter.
Smell: Roasted coffee, sweet vanilla beans. Toasted grains.
Taste: Cold brewed coffee, caramel, a sweetness added to finish. Only opens up more as it warms.
Feel: Creamy, hearty, balanced carbonation.
Overall: I apologize to Ballast Point for taking too long to try this amazing porter. It's the perfect beer for any day, but especially a fall/winter morning with nowhere to go. Because, you just want to savor each sip.

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Photo of ASDFhydra
4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L : Typical Porter Color. Very Dark. Head is Normal or Short.
S : Coffee Than Vanilla. Deep Incense.
T : Fantastic. First, The Moderately Sweetness of Vanilla. Second, Tartness of Espresso coffee.
Last. Bitter taste of Thick coffee and alcohol.
F : Smooth. Moderately Heavy. Bitter was Linger an Aftereffect.
O : "Perfect Beer." -0.12 ? i don't know.....

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Photo of jhartley
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Cuvee tulip glass from a 12 oz. bottle with I believe a May 29th date.
Deep dark black with a tan head, which hangs around briefly and then leaves. Only a small trace amount is left along the top. Minimal to no lacing.
Tons of espresso coffee and sweet vanilla on the nose along with a nice malty roast.
Taste is delicious, just the right amount of coffee and vanilla balance.
A nice full mouth feel, starts out sweet and ends with a nice minimal bitterness.
Overall, a delicious beer that I am happy they started bottling in 12 ouncers! A perfect size for drinking especially with the 10% abv. Definitely a winner worthy of the hype.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Motor oil black. Two inch head that holds well, lots of lacing.

S Vanilla and coffee.

T - Vanilla, coffee, with a mild bitterness.

M - Very thick

O - Fantastic, very pleasant smell and taste.

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,220 ratings.