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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,343 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,343
Ratings:
6,526
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,071
Gots:
2,074
For Trade:
92
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: 1,343 | Ratings: 6,526
Photo of phrimplepoot
3.82/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is good. But not $13.49 a six pack good. The Big Eye IPA was is so very, very good (and cheaper here in Kansas) I was disappointed with this. The vanilla is subtle as any non-hops/malt flavor in a beer should be. It's quite pleasing. I was just put off with the value.

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Photo of HopasaursRex08
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a very nice porter. Being a hop head, I appreciate the amount of beautiful hoppy bitterness. The beer doesn't taste very boozy despite the high abv (which could be dangerous). Probably the second best porter I've ever tried. Founders Porter is slightly better, but cheers to this brew. I buy it whenever I can find it.

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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 Drk93TT
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black w a nice khaki head. Lacing throughout. The smell is wonderful. Baked cookies, chocolate, maple syrupy-sugar, light vanilla bean. Taste follows wonderfully at first... but has a little too much back-end astringency with the typical roast/chocolate malt... that leads to a lackluster mouthfeel.

Overall its awesome.... A top notch/excellent porter! Glad its here to stay for a heavy porter in the winter.

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Photo of HoneyLamb
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got it for $12 a six pack of 12 ounce bottles from Meijer in Stephenville, Michigan on 12/12/15. Saw a few other reviews and besides the obvious flavors referenced, I tasted subtle smoke and pepper notes. Outstanding porter. So glad Ballast Point came to Michigan a couple weeks ago.

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Photo of oldn00b
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks about perfect, nice tan head forms and sticks.

Nose is big on coffee and vanilla, exactly as expected.

Something about this doesn't live up for me - I feel like the vanilla and sweet combine for a bit of a cloying effect that gives the flavor a bit of an artificial tinge.

Feel is great, nice viscosity for a porter without being syrupy.

Overall, really great beer, but not sure I like it as much as most.

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Photo of gandres
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured to wine glass, enjoyed with cheese, mixed nuts, crackes
Appearance: dark brown to black appearance in wine glass, deep brownish red color is viewed against the light, minimal head
Aroma: strong green coffee bean smell, not like brewing coffee, vanilla is not noticeable
Taste: Toasted malt taste, with hint of coffee, dominant lingering alcohol afterwards
Overall: Excellent beer, one of the best porters i have had

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Ballast Point's Victory At sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter last week for $2.49 at The Lager Mill. I've been wanting to try this beer for awhile and I'm interested to see how it turns out, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's got a nice design, it goes well with the name and it's eye catching. It poured a nice dark black color that didn't let any light come through and it had a little over two fingers worth of fluffy and creamy dark tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice patchy lacing behind. This is a very nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the coffee being the first to show up and it imparts a big black coffee aroma which is the aspects that sticks out the most in this beer and it's followed by some roasted and slightly sweet malts showing up in the background. Up next comes just a little bit of fruit yeast and it leads into the vanilla which is nice and noticeable, but not too overpowering. This beer has a very good aroma that lives up to it's name.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the coffee still being the first to show up and it imparts that same big black coffee aspect that it did in the aroma and the roasted malts show up nicely in the background. Up next comes just a slight bit of that fruity yeast which leads into vanilla which is a lighter than it was in the aroma and on the finish there's a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness with with a little bit of noticeable alcohol and lots of coffee flavors coming through in the aftertaste. This is a pretty nice tasting beer, but I wish it had a little less bitterness with some more vanilla flavors.

M- Fairly smooth, a little crisp, a little creamy, the alcohol could be hidden just a little better, on the light side of being full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is good, but I wish it was a little smoother.

Overall I thought this was very nice and I thought it was a very nice example of the style, it had all the aspects that I was looking for, but when it came do it I wish it had a little better balance and I think a little more vanilla and a lees booze could have helped that. This beer had ok drinkability, one would be enough for me, it would get to be too much if I have more than that. What I like the most about this beer is the aroma and it's very nice and along with the coffee flavor it was the highlight of this beer. What I like the least about this beer is the mouthfeel and that the vanilla didn't show up more along with a little less booze. I would buy this beer again and I would be interested to see how it ages. I would recommend this beer, especially if you like strong coffee beers. All in all I was happy with this beer, given what I heard about it I thought it might be mind blowing and I think it would have been if the vanilla was a little more present with a little less booze, but it still turned out to be a very nice beer, it's just those aspects hold it back from being world class. It's up there with sculpin as my favorite beer from this brewery and it's a very nice example of the style. Good job guys, this is a pretty tasty beer.

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

Appearance - pours about 2 fingers of medium cinnamon colored head, body is an opaque dark burnt sienna, lots of carb rising along the sides of the glass, retains a full rocky cap throughout with chunky lace rings left in its wake

Smell - sweet deep roast, slightly astringent dark coffee, dark chocolate, very light black licorice, and warm vanilla infused toffee

Taste - wow, so much like the nose, so deep rich and complex - starts with semi-sweet rich dark coffee with dark chocolate, some coffee ground and black licorice astringency, there is a ribbon of vanilla bean flavored dark toffee in the back that balances the roast and astringency perfectly - a touch of almost unsweetened molasses is there too. The vanilla bean is way at the back of the tongue and is more prominent in the sinuses than on the palate, like drinking a full bodied Porter that's been steeped with a vanilla bean - great flavors here

Mouthfeel - silky smooth medium creamy mouthfeel, carb is on the lower side lending the softer mouthfeel and allows the flavors to develop and assert. The boldness of flavor lingers long after each quaff, becoming slightly bitter and dry long into the finish, requiring you to repeat..

Overall - all of the greatest things you want in a porter. Some of my descriptors lend themselves to an impy stout, but the perfect amount of roastiness and astringency keep this distinctly Porter in flavor and transition. A must try, and one that I will purchase much more of - Love the 6pak format, wish they came in 12vers, and so will you when you try this.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

When I went to Washington state, one of my main goals was to pick up this beer. Touted on the forums, I figured I had to try it. Apparently it was out of season because all I could find were the giant bottles, no six packs. So, poured out of a giant bottle into a snifter...

Dark coffee black; 100% opaque; 2 fingers of beige head; hills and splashes of generous lace.

Smell is mostly of coffee grounds and black pepper, trailing with vanilla, rum, nuts, malts. Overall it comes across a bit burnt.

For a porter this one sure packs a punch. Taste is of roast coffee, alcohol, coffee beans, cream, vanilla, a touch of banana, and a burnt finish. The burnt flavor sort of takes away from the overall profile, but it is complex and full.

Definitely thicker in body, in fact I've had more watery stouts. I love it, though. Dry parch on the finish. I get a bit of heartburn from the alcohol as well.

Overall impressions : I can see why people go nuts over this beer. It's huge, robust, and delivers buzz quickly. After half a snifter I'm done with it, though. A super exhausting porter that makes you beg for mercy after just a handful of slow sips. Get your money's worth? Sure. That coffee is like a wall of destruction. I'd much rather take it in 8 oz portions though.

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Photo of Tone
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. 3/4 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong coffee, vanilla, strong sweet malt, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of an American Porter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong coffee, vanilla, strong sweet malt, and slight roasted malt, hint of caramel malt, and a hint of hop. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of JackieKu
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

A: Opaque black. Poured with 4 fingers high head, the foam is quite dense, and it persists.
S: Roasted coffee mixed with elegant vanilla. Somewhat woody.
T: Roasted coffee. Slightly caramel. Moderate bitterness. Low sweetness. Dry finish.
M: Creamy. Full bodied.
O: Aromatic strong porter. Unfortunately the vanilla flavor is not as obvious as the aroma.

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Photo of 71CrazyOtto
3.15/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

New arrival in Michigan.
First off I will state I am more partial to Baltic Porters and kinda expected this one to be similar because of it's high ABV I suppose.
Taste was way to burnt and bitter for my taste and the word "smooth belongs nowhere in it's description imo.
SoCal brewers I notice tend to go very hoppy or other extreme in bitter levels and perhaps that is the way they like it. To each his own but not one I'll revisit.

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Photo of Prager62
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single to try while visiting Michigan recently. Nice to see Ballast Point there as it's not available in Indiana. Not sure of the bottle date, but I see a 15 3 22 on the bottom right of the label. Poured into a twelve ounce snifter.

Look- Pours a dark thin brown with a generous finger of mocha colored foam.

Smell- Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. A bit of roast/smoke. Not picking up any vanilla.

Taste- Dark roast coffee forward with the slightest hint of vanilla trying to work its way through in the end.

Feel- Thin and bitter.

Overall- A pretty robust coffee beer. Perhaps too robust in that it tastes like espresso and not much else? The heavy coffee and roast just buries any vanilla flavor in this for me. While I like it, I was hoping for more vanilla flavor with my coffee.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - dark black beer with nice mocha he ad that leaves nice lacing
S - hardcore coffee, cocoa, vanilla, roasty malts
T - same as aroma, coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla
M - medium to thick mouthfeel. Alc covered aftertaste bitter coffee/cocoa/roastiness
O - another great coffee beer

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Photo of SometimesIfart
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Ballast Pojnt Victory At Sea.

This right here was the one I wanted more than anything outta Ballast Point. Found a single for 2.99 at my local craft store and if this shit doesn't blow my dick off I'll be racking BP up to a higher level good although not great brewery and likely only buy their stuff from time to time. Going in with exceptional expectations, so let's see what the fuck we fucking get.

Look - Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass. Pours a deep and dark as the blackest black man you have ever seen with a big ass thick frothy and bubbly head, thought not as densely compact as some others I have seen tonight. Carbonation is completely unreadable due to the depth of the brew. Lacing is sticky and long lasting.

Smell - Pure vanilla and coffee. I understand that it is kind of the point here but it smells virtually exactly the same as the calm before the store cream ale minus the buterscotch with just a touch of chocolate on the back end. Nothing else to say, smells like pure vanilla bean extracts. From the nose I would never guess this beer to be 10%.

Taste - Yeah once again as I have already stated this is the most vanilla forward beer I have ever had. I really don't get much of the coffee or anything else for that matter. Mind you this is not sweet vanilla or white chocolate esque it tastes exactly like drinking some kind of vanilla bean concoction. It is unique to me thus far, and the alcohol isn't noticeable despite the higher range on ABV so it wins a quarter outta that one.

Feel - The body was very thick and highly creamy, almost milk like in nature in terms of the two. The flavor profiles remain mostly the same and the beer does swallow with a lower level of alcohol presence. This is the best feel I have ever encountered in a beer without a doubt.

Overall - I do like this beer but I do not belive it deserves the insane amount of hype it gets. The flavors are all there if you like pure vanilla bean without the aftermarket sweetness which in my opinion makes it more drinkable. The body is the best I have ever had but everything else was very solid without being mind blowing. Overall, I can safely safe ballast point is a good brewery not worth the insane hype. As always try it for yourself and come to your own conclusion...

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Photo of twloco
1.91/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.5

This has always been amazing in past years. I've only had it in bombers and on tap. I just bought fresh six pack and it's horrid. Just has a bitter cheap coffee flavor. Sadly no redeeming qualities. This is nasty, not sure what went wrong, but I'm going to try returning it. Undrinkable swill. This the 2015 in 6-pack bottled in November. Something is wrong with it, this was a favorite prior to this.
It's never had a bitter coffee flavor before and the vanilla was clearly there which seems missing, it even smells like cheap coffee.

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark oilesque color, with a moderately large two-finger sized head with a dirty, yet appealing white color.

Emanates a delightful vanilla, and roasted coffee bean aroma.

Besides the vanilla, and coffee present in the smell, this beer has quite a noticeable bitter flavor as well. Feel is relatively light, which is hardly surprising as it is after all a porter. Carbonation is slightly to heavy for my preference, but I am also quite conservative when it comes to carbonation in my beer.

Overall, a delightful brew, which does not disappoint.

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Photo of dd43
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black with a substantial amount of head which faded pretty quickly to a lace ring which leaves a trail down the glass as you drink. Aromas of vanilla bean and coffee, go figure. Also some bakers chocolate but just a touch. Flavor is quite roasty, definitely some acrid coffee bitterness. Malt sweetness is largely held in check as a result. Pretty easy to drink despite some apparent booze notes. Mouthfeel is on the thin side, appropriate for a porter. Ballast nails another style.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

...I've been wanting to try this beer for a few years now. Now that Ballast Point is finally here (in Michigan), I CAN TRY IT. $3 12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Evidently bottled November 18th ... holy hell. 11 days ago. Can't get too much fresher than that, no?

Appearance: Looks stouty -- pitch black. There's about two fingers of a brown head with a soapy consistency. Quite a bit of thick lacing. Very nice looking beer.

Smell: Dark coffee, roasty malt, and then just a little bit of vanilla on the "aftersmell." Nothing else to it, but I don't think there needs to be.

Taste/feel: Bitter black coffee when it's straight out of the fridge -- like really, cold, bitter black coffee, just with a little more depth of flavor and a slightly thicker mouthfeel. Almost like coffee grounds, but not in an unpleasant way, fortunately. There's only a very subtle vanilla flavor in the aftertaste. The feel is very porter-ish -- that is to say not very thick, too drinkable (especially at 10%), and pretty well carbonated.

Very good stuff -- doesn't taste like I imagined it would though. I pictured a thicker feel (despite being labeled a porter), a little more sweetness and vanilla, and a bit less coffee. That isn't to say I'm disappointed -- I'm definitely not. This is one of the best coffee beers I've had, and it comes at a fabulous value. This beer really becomes special once it warms up, so make sure to enjoy it after it's been out of the fridge awhile. Everything seems to come together even better at that point: the vanilla comes out more, it's a little less bitter... it's just a treat. Seek this one out and try it as soon as you can if you haven't already. Very good, dangerously easy drinking stuff.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color. Has an aroma of coffee and chocolate with notes of sweetness and a little booziness. Flavor is smooth with coffee upfront a some vanilla sweetness on the backend. Leaves a bit of a bitter coffee aftertaste. Overall a really nice beer. Drinks more like a stout than a porter.

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Photo of daledeee
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The new beer to Iowa pours an absolutely black body with a medium head and intensive lace. Then you get to the nose. It smells like a bonfire. The beer must be fairly warm and allow to breath a bit. Then you get a somewhat dry but very creamy mouth feel with vanilla and intense coffee in the taste. This beer is loaded with flavor. Also is up there on the alcohol count. Could use a little more body to be the best.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

**FEB 22, 2015
On Tap at blend. Appearance: Dark black color, tan head. Taste: heavy coffee. Toasted malt. Aroma is coffee vanilla. Good, but strong. Sipping beer.
**02/23/16:
A Year and a day later, trying this from a Bottle. 22oz. bomber to tulip glass. Cellar Temperature. Much of the same. Not sure why I rated aroma 6/10. It will be higher this time, except that I have switched from RB to BA which is a different scale. Aroma has lots of coffee, with some barley and vanilla. taste is bitter coffee, some raisin. Malty. Feel is a touch acidic.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled Nov. 18, 2015. Served in a snifter.

L- Dark brown, some light on the edges, one finger of light brown head.

S- Coffee, some green pepper, vanilla, little bit of dark fruits.

T- Coffee, light bitter roast, bitter chocolate, some vanilla, finishes with bitter chocolate, some warming alcohol on the tongue.

F- Lighter side of a full mouthfeel.

O- Very nice beer with huge coffee notes and a nice medium amount of vanilla. Great price for a 6 pack of 10% beer as well.

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Photo of K-Dog
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

With ballast point new to michigan just this week I was so excited for this with all the great reviews. Let me tell u I was highly dissapointed. Smell is of bitter coffee and not enough vanilla. Just way to bitter. It's not bad but highly over rated. If you ask me evil twins little b is by far a much better imperial porter. Maybe with some age the bitter coffee flavor will mellow out and more of the vanilla will come though. Will be interested to try again in about a year. Not bad but over hyped.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,343 ratings.