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.

1,156 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,156
Hads: 5,632
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 950
Gots: 1,574 | FT: 108
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
Reviews: 1,156 | Hads: 5,632
Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured in a snifter. 10% very subtle, and smooth. Lingering coffee aftertaste. A unique beer, very enjoyable. Glad I finally got to try it. (156 characters)

Photo of Zraly
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful dark mocha head sits on black. Fantastic coffee note. Flavor-wise, this is smooth, flavorful, and robust. Creme brulee undertone.The coffee note is not acidic and the body is creamy and full. Sweet but not cloying. Amazing. (233 characters)

Photo of DIM
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goddamn it took me too long to try this one!

The aroma was fairly mild to me, I found a pleasant balance of vanilla, roasty malt, caramel, and a hint of coffee. This tastes leaps and bounds better than it smells. Sweet up front with vanilla and caramel playing nicely off of one another; a big roasted note come comes in mid-palate before a massive coffee finish. Just phenomenal! I especially appreciate how subtle the vanilla is. Vanilla is not my favorite ingredient in beer but it absolutely adds something special here.

Sign me up for a case in the not too distant future. This may well be my breakfast stout substitute. (628 characters)

Photo of Antg8989
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Thick Mocha Creamy Head with considerable lacing. Deep brown in color.
Smell: Malty - smells like a cappuccino and the pleasant smell of an ice cream parlor. Tiny hints of alcohol detected.
Taste: A pleasant, yet bold and roasted coffee with sweet vanilla.
Feel: Smooth, creamy and medium balanced.
Overall: Breakfast Stout lovers, this could be the competition. While not an oatmeal stout, this beer has numerous comparisons to Breakfast Stout, with the addition of vanilla. Although I'm not a vanilla lover, this Porter was delightfully balanced in flavor. Ballast Point is becoming my go-to for stouts/porters. Grab some before the season is over! (656 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 craftbeersweden
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Dark, dark brown almoust black with just a little beige head.
Not much lacing on the glass.

Nose: Vanilla, milk chocolate, cream, yoghurt, chili, fudge, coffee and sweet licoriche.
Taste: Coffee, roasted malt, dark chocolate, licoriche, soy sauce, wood, brown sugar, raisin and just a little bit of booze.
A full body with almoust no carbonation and so complex taste!

I just LOVE this! (387 characters)

Photo of BuccoFan
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter from 22 oz. bottle. Very impressive head and lacing. Body of this imperial porter stands up against, and is even more robust than, some imperial stouts. Vanilla is the first taste, with the coffee bitterness detectable on the way down. I'm not too crazy about vanilla porters/stouts, but this is objectively a high quality beer, and if you like vanilla, you'll no doubt like this. (401 characters)

Photo of Christoffer91
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours nice, super dark with a small tan head. Smell for me is overwhelmingly coffee, a tad sweetish. Taste: coffee coffee coffee. I love coffee, roast at home and drink every day, but that is all I taste in this beer. I would have loved more dark malt taste, for a balance. But perhaps that is why this is classified as a porter rather than a stout. Mouthfeel is great, nice carb, a bit on the thin side but not in a bad way. Overall, I can see why people like this beer but just not my cup of joe for the reasons stated. (521 characters)

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

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a wine goblet.

Pours an almost pitch black with a half finger of brown head that lingers for a few minutes and leaves a decent patchwork of lacing.
Smells rich and sweet, the coffee being most prominent to me, with the vanilla beans just behind it lending some creamy and spicy sweetness. Like dessert. Delicious.
The taste is of the same. Perhaps not as complex as I thought, but that doesn't matter when this nails what it has. Sweet, rich, and roasty; delicious coffee and vanilla, like a vanilla latte.
The mouthfeel is the heavier side of medium, borderline full-bodied. The roast and sweetness lend it plenty of character, and the carbonation level is about perfect.
Overall, this is a great beer, and it damn near lives up to the expectations I had for it. I will definitely not miss an opportunity to buy it again in the future! (876 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch 52. Bottled on Dec 30, 2014.

Opaque black pour with a light brown head that's small but hangs around. Spotty lacing and some serious legs if you swirl it around. The aroma is fantastic. Coffee, espresso, dark chocolate, espresso, and more espresso. The flavor is espresso all the way. Total espresso bomb here. If there's any vanilla in here I can't find it. Full bodied and long lasting flavor. A touch of booze in the finish

If I have one complaint about this beer it's that it's a bit one note. Coffee really isn't my thing but I still found this enjoyable. If there was any vanilla flavor at all, it would really set this over the top.

Cheers to Ballast Point for moving this from the 22 oz. format to six-packs. Hopefully more breweries will follow suit! (768 characters)

Photo of DagenhamDavis
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An excellent beer, but a mote too sweet for my liking. Saying anything negative goes against the grain, but the punch I look for with an imperial porter/stout is a little bit hidden here. Full of flavor with notes of caramelized sugar and of course vanilla and sweetened coffee. Very thick and creamy in the mouthfeel, and a wet, astringent finish. Becomes more bitter as it warms, and loses some of the too sweet notes. Try it!
Great for the price (or almost twice the price) at 2.72/ bottle. (496 characters)

Photo of ClemsonMike
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I could get all technical with my rating. There is a fine line between porters and stouts. This is one of them. All I can say is this beer is absolutely fantastic. (163 characters)

Photo of RenzoD
3.43/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Kind of disappointed with this one. It was good but not as incredible as I was lead to believe. Extremely boozy taste. Covered up all the other flavors for me. Judging by the aroma I was expecting to love this stuff. Smells heavenly and looks dynamite. Maybe it was something I had eaten before that had paired wrong, but I really tasted too much alcohol. I will try it again some day and maybe have a different opinion. (420 characters)

Photo of ryanmextorf
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Phenomenal porter. A tad on the toasty side but the coffee and vanilla really really shine in this one, especially in the aftertaste. Perfect for a snow day! (157 characters)

Photo of bubseymour
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Way too ash/roasty for me. No sweetness at all. Just ashy and bitter finish. Ok, but not my style preference for a big porter/stout. I really don't understand the high ratings for this one at all. (200 characters)

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

Absolutely delicious beer. It is very flavorful and tastes exactly as advertised. One definitely doesn't have to look for the coffee and vanilla. Both are huge in the nose AND the taste. If this was a limited bottle, people would line up for it. (245 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
3.91/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a bit rough for me.....very strong on the coffee and I really do not get a lot of vanilla. The look is very nice...dark, ecru head that is lacing. Scent and taste are dominated by coffee. The mouthfeel is not as creamy or full as I would prefer. Overall its decent....but no where near the best porter I have had. (325 characters)

Photo of marieli
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Dark in color, close to black, with dark tan head. Vanilla was lead aroma followed by some coffee, but coffee was the more dominant taste. The vanilla showed up more in taste as the beer warmed, but this is first and foremost a coffee porter, with a slight manageable bitterness. Smooth, some creaminess, closer to medium than thin. Started this at 48 degrees, maybe we should have started warmer given the alcohol content? A good beer, but honestly, my expectations were higher based on BA and RB ratings. Given the flavor profile, I think I'd rather have a stout. If I want a big alcohol porter, I'd go with something along the line of Black Butte XXV. (670 characters)

Photo of ranger7
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: Terrific. Black body, tan head with good retention. Great lacing.
S: Sweet vanilla and coffee beans.
T: Coffee. Vanilla. Roasted chocolate aftertaste. Nice.
F: Medium to light. Good for a Porter.
O: This packs a punch! 10 ABV is no joke and this brew hides it well. Great coffee and vanilla flavors. One of my new favorite Porters. (334 characters)

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

Wow! This is my first time drinking this and it blows every other porter I've had out of the water! It looks like a stout and has an unbelievably rich taste. The coffee and vanilla really compliment each other in this one. I will definitely have to try this one again. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a tulip glass. (320 characters)

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

A: pitch black pour with a decent amount of head
S: smells very sweet with strong notes of coffee and vanilla
T: tastes very creamy with vanilla and coffee flavors mixed in
M: very smooth with mild carbonation, syrupy like
O: well balanced among the flavor profiles and has a superb aroma, very good porter! (307 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Re-review! 12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a pitch-black color. The head is two fingers high and tan in shade. While the retention isn't stunningly long, it features a great texture. Decent amounts of lacing stick to my glass. (4)

Smell: The coffee notes are great - and so are the vanilla notes. These two elements combine together beautifully, and that's before I mention the aromas of chocolate, gingerbread, and graham cracker coming through. It's like the best damn latte in the world... (4.5)

Taste: Vanilla is stronger on the taste, especially on the initial flavors. Coffee gently crescendos on the finish. I also get a lot of chocolate, cream, and gingerbread in particular (I'd even call this brew a little spicy.)10%? Not here. Not at all. The vanilla is a touch strong for me, but the craftsmanship of this brew is spectacular. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: Fairly light on the palate, but also rich as well. Its residual sweetness is concealed extremely well. Just like the flavor profile (didn't) reveal, there isn't a hint of booze anywhere. Carbonation helps it go down far more easily than it should. (4.5)

Overall: When I first tried this, I liked it, but I never fully 'got' it. It's a great beer, but it's close to what I remembered - it has a bit too much vanilla for my tastes. This isn't a dismissal of this offering, just a subjective bugaboo. Objectively, this is a top-caliber imperial porter. A must have beer, especially now that's it in 6 packs. (4.25)

4.12/5: A vanilla lover's delight (1,521 characters)

Photo of Gregaroo
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Hello! TRIA Rittenhouse has this on tap. Great pour with 1/2 inch head in the tall stem tulip glass. Quick swirl and the head reappears. Close your eyes and remember when your Grandma put an extra drop or two of vanilla in whatever she was baking. That is this porter. I love you, Grandma. (290 characters)

Photo of Ian_B
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black as the ocean's void at nighttime. Billowing, rocky brown head; large bubbles like swiss cheese. Great retention and lacing.

Smells strongly of chocolate malt and just enough coffee, with the vanilla fairly forward but blending beautifully into the roasty sweetness.

Taste is very well-balanced. Sweet, with vanilla-laced chocolate up front, followed by coffee and roasted malt with a perfect amount of acidity/bitterness to balance the (unknowably deep) sweetness. Long, lingering, and evolving flavour profile.

Overall, this is a fantastic "Imperial Porter." Thick and deliciously syrupy, this has the flavour of a stout. The chocolate and vanilla seems like they may be too sweet at the beginning of each sip, but are so wonderfully balanced by coffee and roasted malt acidity/salinity that you would have a hard time pinning this beer at 10% ABV. (858 characters)

Photo of mjpolzin
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love coffee beers. I think it is because of that then that I don't rank some of them very high because I have such big expectations.

After Ballast Point started showing up in Wisconsin, I found myself liking them a little more after each new beer I had. Victory at Sea helped raise my love for Ballast Point as this was one of the better coffee beers I have ever had.

The coffee was very strong and front and center without being overpowering. The vanilla added a nice sweet compliment as sometimes coffee beers will taste like nothing but coffee. The booze was noticeable but smooth. I look forward to drinking this again. (628 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,156 ratings.