1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

3,768 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,768
Reviews: 920
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 686
Gots: 703 | FT: 54
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,768 | Reviews: 920 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of azdback
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my large tulip. Not quite black, but extremely dark brown. A few hints of highlight around the edges. Gorgeous two fingers of cappuccino foam head. Lace is almost a solid sheet.

Smells like roasted coffee and vanilla with light notes of chocolate. A little bit of roasted barley. Not a whiff of booze, which is hard to believe at 10% ABV.

Tastes like coffee. I should have cracked this one at about 7AM and enjoyed it with some eggs benedict. There is definitely a lot of vanilla, and some sweet brown sugar. The roasted malts serve as a nice backbone, and really say that this is a porter. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy and way closer to a stout or even an imperial stout than a porter. The ABV is well masked. There is a slight dryness at the end.

Overall, this must be the 7th or 8th one I have had this year. I cracked it because there have been some posts saying that the flavors are fading. I have to say they have a bit, but not to the point that I had to drink it before it turned into Black Butte. I can't wait for the next release to compare this to what I remember, and I might even age one for a year or more.

azdback, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of pmarlowe
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottling. Tulip glass.

Some days, you just need a victory... at sea. Pours a viscous very dark coffee brown with about a half finger of dark khaki foam. No lacing; retention is about as good as to be expected. Smell is a melange of vanilla and creamy caramel, cream, roasted malt, and I'm getting a distinct aroma of french toast (cinnamon and a crisp, burnt toasty note). Taste is a rich caramel, vanilla, kind of a spicy chocolate, roasted/smoked malt, and slight coffee bitter finish. Dry. Coffee has mostly faded by this point, but the remaining flavors are still delicious. The flavors are well balanced here, and for better or worse the vanilla is on the subtle end. Carbonation is soft and on the medium-light end; perfect. Overall, this is a super tasty porter, balanced, subtle, and very drinkable. It's a different beast aged than fresh, when the coffee is still prominent.

I think Ballast Point should be commended for the awesome name and artwork. A real contrast to their year-round offerings. They should replace the fish motif with more pirate themes.

pmarlowe, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of Treebs
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Founders snifter. Split the bottle with my old man during the Homerun Derby.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a wonderful bubble dark brown head. Leaves some wonderful sheet lace behind with some bubbles trying to to keep the head afloat.

S: Big dark coffee beans. Roasted to the point where it's almost slighty burnt and bitter, but in a good way. Some slight dark chocolate notes are present as well.

T: Big coffee right up front. That same REALLY toasted flavor is even more present, but after the initial assault on the taste buds it makes way for some light sweet chocolate and vanilla. I'm also picking up a burnt sugar/caramel flavoring as well.

M: Medium to heavy bodied, almost chewy in nature. Leaves a great roasted coffee bean flavor with a mild sweetness on the tongue. Leaves an oily feeling on the palate which is highly enjoyable as it allows the taste to linger LONG after I've swallowed this black gold.

O: I'm becoming more and more a fan of brews with heavy coffee flavorings and this might be one of favorites. It's not as balanced as others I've had, but it's still a wonderfully crafted brew and I would LOVE to try this on draft.

Treebs, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to GallowsThief for the trade!

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Maudite snifter

Pours a black color with 2 fingers of a mocha colored head.

The nose is sweet and malty. Chocolate, molasses, and vanilla stand out the most here. A bit of coffee lingers behind the rich cocoa and vanilla beans. It smells like a damn fine dessert, waiting for me to devour. Roasty beast for sure. The taste is much the same as the nose but a bit stronger. The chocolate stands out the most and is followed by vanilla and a bit of coffee that wasnt so easily discovered in the nose. A nice mixture of the flavors that play off each other quite nicely. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and beastly to say the least. A nice smooth oily liquid feels great on my palate and I cant put down my glass. Overall, this is a great brew here that creates pretty good balance throughout and has a bad-ass flavor profile. Boom!

ChugginOil, Jul 11, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so very different ingredients have led to this masterful creation. The coffee, however, undoubtedly, looks the most prominent. Victory At Sea is black and no light, no matter how bright, can change that fact. The head, once it casts its net, holds on to the glass forever.

Coffee, roasted malt and vanilla are all equally proportioned in the aroma and, I have to admit, I love them all equally - now I know how difficult a question it is for a parent to choose their favourite child. A scent like this makes you wonder why anyone bothers to barrel-age their stouts when they could achieve better results just adding coffee and vanilla.

Victory At Sea has the kind of profound, enduring, distinguished flavour that is so rich and intense it can be summoned days later. It is monumental. Not an aspect overlooked: lush vanilla bean, decadent chocolate cake, strong coffee, nuttiness, zesty hops and roasted malts. Starbucks could sell just this and be equally as popular and successful.

There are some things about this beer that cannot be overstated, one being how decadently, gratifyingly delicious it is. Another is how well the charred coffee is integrated with lusciously sweet vanilla. From a technical standpoint, the beer is near flawlessly engineered: bitter balances sweet and clean drinkability compensates for over-the-top richness.

One thing is for sure: my mouth and stomach are having a much more enjoyable time with this than my liver probably is. At 10% alcohol, this is surely one of the silkiest, most sensual double-digit strength beer I've had the pleasure of drinking. You'd never catch on if you weren't told. Calorie-counters would know better, but even they'd agree it's worth it.

Ballast Point is as constant as the North Star when it comes to putting out well-crafted, full-character, premier beers but this is not only arguably their greatest offering, but perhaps one of the best America has to offer up as well. Few beers this dark, this big and this rich could be this agreeably delicious and easily enjoyed. I'd swim across the sea if that's what it took to get another bottle. A special thanks to Ultraman9000 for this one!

biegaman, Jul 07, 2011
Photo of rlee1390
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a beer trade, poured into a snifter.

A-Dark motor oil black, creamy brown heady that leaves some lacing.

S-Coffee and Roasted malt, not picking up the vanilla though.

T-Mainly coffee and roasted malt. Some vanilla is in there as well. However it really needs just a tad bit more vanilla to be perfect. Some bitterness in the finish but not much.

M-Heavy, syrupy with some carbonation.

O-A solid beer, but when Vanilla is in the title, I would like to see a tad bit more for my tastes. Still a great beer that I'm glad was included in the trade.

rlee1390, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of drewba
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

New (2010?) batch poured into a coffee cup FFF HBI style.

A - opaque black with brown tints onthe edges. Looks deep, mildly menacing as a giant perfect mocha, two finger head pops up. The retention is far better than I would have expected; the lacing sticks like glue and she has legs fer days!

S - loads of bitter coffee grounds, milk chocolate, a healthy amount of roast, tobacco and a incredibly tiny amount of dark fruit.

T - The star of the show is this delicious Caffe Calabria (product placement!) coffee that offers up a nice bitter coffee ground flavor that maintains through the course of the taste, but at the same time there is a nice freshly roasted and very mild coffee flavor that rides under the bitterness. A lot of milk chocolate and vanilla combos nicely with some great roastiness and leather. Though coffee and chocolate are the predominant flavors, this isn't reminding me much of mocha; each flavor stands on it's own really making this complex with a great progression of flavors. Unbelievably, the hop profile can still stand against all the malt action with a low level of lemon zest and marijuana in the finish. Finishes with those coffee grounds and cocoa.

M - Smooth, creamy, with a silky carbonation that pops. The finish is a tad dry.

O - Ballast Point really found a nice mix here, with flavors that tend to dominate. None of the flavors are overpowering another (maybe the coffee is on the heavier side), instead they really compliment each other. I don't mean to geek out too hard, but it's as if there are four stages to V@S: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, cocoa (and hops). Each flavor stands on it's own, but is an experience all together. If you couldn't tell, I have a pretty massive hard on for this beer. Though I'll say I do prefer the first batch with some age on it.

drewba, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of marvin213
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I don't really know how a porter could look better. Black as the pitch, it's the frothy, teeny-tiny bubbled tan froth that makes this liquid concoction appear so scintillating. The froth layers the glass each swirl, and it beckons. This beer looks like it came from Starbucks!

Served warm, I do indeed get the coffee, the vanilla, and the oh-so-lovely roasted malt presence on the nose. Wonder what this one would be like thru a vanilla bean randall. Oh how I'd love to try some of the crazy variations listed here on BA!

Served warm, that initial sip (gulp, really) comes through a little hot...I love it, and it tastes imperial! Not sure about the coffee--it should shine through a little better. Some original Dunkin Donuts or some Jittery Joe's (Terrapin WnB) would be a marked improvement. With a flavor like vanilla, I'm like always wanting more. What if they went tequila-style and replaced the worm w/ a big ol fat vanilla bean? I'd eat the bean for sure...especially sine the beer would cost $10 more! Really, though, this is an exemplary American Porter and a sure winner with any beer lover!

The feel is smooth, but more viscosity wouldn't hurt. What about a creamy Victory at Sea on a nitro pour? Thru a vanilla bean
randall? This beer is a medium/additive for all things good. It would be delicious as a substitue for gravy on my morning biscuits. :-0 Overall, it's just great! This is a classic brew that's always worth grabbing, and it represents some of the wonderfulness that is American craft beer!

Editor's note: I have never used so many exclamation points in a single beer review...!

marvin213, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of clegolfski
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fun Tasting at Jay's

Super black black with creamed coffee head, not great retention.

Big time carmelly vanilla really good coffee with a flavor shot

Acrid coffee up front and fades into Vanilla deliciousness

smooth and sexy with a nice warming at the end

clegolfski, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of armock
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA.

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off coffee scents along with vanilla and as it warms the vanilla gets stronger

T - Starts off with some roastiness and coffee upfront then the vanilla comes out and sweetens things up a bit there's a little bit of alcohol that comes out in the finish

M - This beer has a fuller body with medium carbonation to it

O - This is one of the best tasting beers that I've had in a while now the coffee and vanilla flavors blend perfectly the mouthfeel is wonderful I'm not going to have any problem finishing this bomber while to me its no longer a porter and more of a double stout I'll let that slide and say this is one of those must try beers

armock, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of Pahn
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch, frothy light tan head that sticks around a long time and leaves a tight arch of lacing when it goes. Pours solid black and leaves spots, lines, and large swatches of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: black coffee. In the glass: same coffee, with some biscuity, bready aromas. Vanilla there too, though possibly imagined.

With warmth, a definite vanilla note emerges, along with a strong mocha coffee smell. Gets much more pastry like. Booziness heightens the smell... after awhile, the smell sort of settles into a constant mix of coffee/pastry/vanilla/liqueur goodness. Smells excellent.

Taste: Whoa, there's vanilla in there alright. First sip gives a strong hit of vanilla, leading to a tempering black coffee bitterness then roasted malt through the middle and finish. Long, hot aftertaste.

I'm not sold on the combination of coffee and vanilla here (and there's a smokiness there that hinders them both), but the proportion of coffee, vanilla, and porter flavors is perfect. Some great chocolate and cake notes come out in the long aftertaste.

The 4.0 I'm going to give this for taste feels a bit high. For me, this beer has several big flaws: the heat is too high and interferes with the flavor, the smoke/coffee/vanilla notes in the front don't compliment each other, and all of the non-aftertaste flavors are kind of garish. Still, the way each ingredient shines while still letting the strong, roasty porter underneath have a large role is very impressive, and some of the flavors in the aftertaste are excellent. I was going to give it a 3.5, but as I get deeper in the bottle the main flavors (which still don't *quite* work) are growing on me, so I'll give the 4.0.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. A bit watery and sticky at the same time. Well carbonated, approaching over-carbonated. Very hot.

Overall: This beer is a bit of a conundrum for me. On the one hand, it's a major example of my main beer pet peeve: smelling better than it tastes. On the other, this beer smells so damn good I want to add overall points out of happiness that I get to smell it at all.

The flavor itself is a little confused, and I'm really not sold on it. Still, it's enjoyable as it goes, and it's a well-crafted beer. I think the flaws I find in the mouthfeel might be pretty subjective, me-oriented preference things as well. All this apologist stuff said, I still won't be very tempted to buy this again, which is a clear indicator that the overall score needs to drop a bit.

Pahn, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of Cylinsier
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22

Pours jet black with an inch of coffee-and-cream head, pretty decent retention.

Smells of roasted coffee, smokey flavors, caramel and vanilla.

Tastes bitterly smokey with roasted coffee at the forefront, followed by hints of vanilla and caramel.

Feels full and creamy with smooth carbonation on the back of the tongue.

Delicious, avoids the sometimes too-acidic flavor of some coffee porters and remains smooth and mellow. The smoked notes are a nice touch. Hides its abv pretty well though there may be a hint of warmth at the end. All in all, a really enjoyable brew.

Cylinsier, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of teamizm
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with minimal head that quickly recedes.

S - Roasted coffee, burnt chocolate, rummy, and a shitload of vanilla

T - Vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roasted malts.

M - More thinner and carbonated than i expected.

O - Great porter. I say great PR/marketing by the Ballast Point team not to call this a RIS because as a RIS this beer would be just ok. Don't you love the BJCP categories??

teamizm, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of feylure
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in from California last week and been wanting to try it.

Pours dark... like death dark with barely any brown around the edges.

Smell is intense; there's a lot going on here. Tons of lavish mocha and sweet, roasty malt everywhere.

Taste is a whiplash of flavor. Upfront, there are small notes of vanilla and sweetness, then during the middle is a rush of dark mocha + chocolate flavors. The tail leaves with the darkest and most intense of flavor. I love how this beer fades from light sweetness to extreme dark flavor.

Mouthfeel is full throughout.

This is a superb beer, and I wish it was more readily available up here.

feylure, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of IronCitySteve
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep dark brown almost black color with no light coming through. Provides a thick brown foam head with excellent retention. Lots of lacing down the sides.

S: Ample amounts of sweet vanilla, chocolate, sugar with a small undertone of roasted coffee. Scents are quite potent.

T: Starts of rich and creamy and smooth. Lots of vanilla and chocolate blended nicely and not overly sweet. In the middle some mild undertones of roasted coffee that balance out the sweetness. The back end finishes with a rich deep roasted black coffee taste with some burnt wood and alcohol. The alcohol is not hot but slightly noticeable.

M: A nice rich full bodied beer. Nice amount carbonation. Leaves a roasted coffee taste on the palate that lingers for a long time.

O: This is a fantastic porter. Very complex with a lot going on but it is quite balanced. There is just a tad hint of alcohol but it is no means hot. Definitely a beer you must try if you enjoy imperial porters.

IronCitySteve, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of Jazzcrop
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tastes are, well, here ya go: vanilla extract (from the bottlem of course), darkly-roasted coffee beans, dark and white chocolates, dust, musty hops, roasted barley, green tea, real boozy goodness, marmalade, inverted sugars, saffron, some funk and spice.

Jazzcrop, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of Duff27
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dark brown with an inch tall mocha head. Great lacing and head retention, especially given the style. I received the second half of this bomber and it contained a chocolate worm-like protein creature...I'm going to have nightmares for days.

S- Vanilla whiffs.

T- The vanilla is abundant, not quite cloyingly though. Very sweet. Nice chocolate and coffee notes as well.

M- Thick(!) and creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

D/O- Overall this was a pleasure to try. For fans of huge vanilla/chocolate flavors. Over the top...but in a good way. Would seek out again. Thanks to the guy who traded me for this at Dark Lord Day!

Duff27, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of ummswimmin
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It was kind of weird opening an imperial porter, but I read on BA that this is not a cellaring beer. I picked this up a few weeks ago as a "find" in a great store an hour away from home.

I really like Ballast Point, as I used to live three blocks from their brew maker store. Since then I moved a little bit... to New Jersey. Every time I see a Ballast Point, I have to pick up a bottle.

I never had this beer before... so this should be a nice adventure.

I poured a bomber into a pint glass. There was a nice, brown two finger head. The beer is a very dark color, and I can not see through it (as you would expect from an imperial porter). The foam had a creamy consistency.

Off the pour I got the coffee and vanilla coming off the top. It was nice to get the vanilla scent from the beer.

The taste is luxurious. The vanilla and coffee balance really well. The coffee is not overwhelming, and I can taste the vanilla in each drink. The backend of each drink brings in the porter flavor. The aftertaste keeps the same flavors, and neither comes through.

This is an excellent beer. I thoroughly recommend it for anybody.

ummswimmin, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.98/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of a good trader....thank you Ryan. Also shared with the father-in-law over the weekend. I am happy with his progress :)

Pours black with crimson highlights and a sparse white webbing along the surface and a thin white collar. She looks the part.

Rich and sweet with the vanilla displayed prominently, though extract-ily. Dark chocolate and cola follow suit with some medium roast coffee lurking behind the curtains.

Thankfully, the coffee is far more dominant in the taste. Strong bitter roast envelops much of what follows. Vanilla and dark chocolate cloaked by coffee that hammers the palate. Roast is heavy with vanilla playing a twangy metallic along the way.

Heavy and lightly carbonated, this carries itself well.

In the end, this is a nice treat but not a beer to enjoy is quantity. Vanilla is tricky to pull off and when overdone tastes too metallic and, at times, fake. This beer plays with that line and borders on cloying after a few ounces. A great share with a group, but not an ever day drinker for this guy.

BarrytheBear, May 30, 2011
Photo of matttttYCE
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into my Deschutes snifter glass. I've had this for a little while but I don't know why I haven't drank/reviewed it yet.

Appearance - Aggressive pour yields a tan, creamy smooth looking 2 finger head that diminishes but not very quickly. Leaves some lace but not much. Color is pretty much thick black (maybe a little bit lighter than that) and opaque.

Smell - At first I'm getting mostly a soft pleasant coffee smell with vanilla like someone made me a cup of coffee that wasn't really strong at all and put some nice vanilla creamer in there. After that is some nice malt and that typical porter smell (not quite deep dark roasted malt like a stout but it's there). Also getting some toasty nutty smell in there a bit and some chocolate as it warms. It's a nice complex smell. Not really overpowering or overwhelming at all and I'm not sure whether I'd rather have more vanilla in it or not. But this one may be a bit old and the vanilla may have faded some.

Taste - It's sweet. It's got the other tastes like you would expect too. Lots of coffee, roasted malts and light vanilla and a bit of alcohol noticeable on the way down. Also feel like I'm getting some of the chocolate in the taste as well since I'm smelling it more in the nose as it warms. I could drink this so much more often if it was more available. A little bit of a bitter coffee note finishes off the taste on this one.

Mouthfeel - Mouthfeel is actually really good. Not thick and chewy like a big imperial stout, but more rich with a nice medium body. I guess this is bordering on a stout, but who cares. It's a damn good beer. Carbonation is probably light or creamy on par with a nice imperial stout. Finish is more wet and lasting but it doesn't last too long.

Overall - This is a very good beer. Of course, I feel like I'm on a roll with big flavorful beers that I'm reviewing. Maybe I've got a thing for vanilla or coffee flavored beers, I don't know. What I do know is this: If you think coffee or vanilla (or both) sound interesting in a beer, DO NOT hesitate to pick this one up if you see it. I doubt it will disappoint.

matttttYCE, May 30, 2011
Photo of ratedz
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to MrTopher for sending this my way...I have been wanting to try this for a long time. Thanks again, Chris!

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with about an inch of light brown head. The head retention was fairly impressive and as it did subside, it left a lot of lacing on the glass.

S - Nose is full of coffee followed by some roasted malts and a little vanilla.

T - Some bitter coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and hints of vanilla. A little alcohol burn on the finish.

M - Fairly thick body, very creamy and smooth. Light carbonation, which feels perfect for this beer.

O - An excellent porter. Very smooth and easy to drink despite the 10% ABV. I would buy this fairly often if Ballast Point decided to send it the KS or MO.

ratedz, May 28, 2011
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks Thickfreakness for the bottle!

A: A dark brown, almost black body, with a tan head and great lacing.

S: A nice and smooth nose of coffee & vanilla with a roasted malt background. Slightly boozy too.

T: Bitter coffee is the first flavor I taste, followed by some roasted dark chocolate malts and sweet vanilla. Very creamy with some caramel in there.

M: Although very smooth and creamy, the mouthfeel is a bit heavy like a stout; medium to full body; medium carbonation.

O: Really glad I got a bottle of this. Really good beer that I would love to get another one of. Definitely worth a try if you like coffee flavor brews.

BrewCrew2010, May 22, 2011
Photo of beerfan99
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle consumed on 5/21/2011

A: Dark black in color and appears pretty thick. Standard pour created a lasting tall dark brown head.

S: Heavy coffee aroma at first, followed by the vanilla. Great combination. I kept trying to detect chocolate, but it did not happen.

T: Coffee and vanilla flavors mix well together. Balanced pretty well and masks the 10% alcohol. I liked the smell of the coffee and vanilla slightly better than it tasted.

M: A little thicker than medium bodied, but not as thick as an IRS. Alcohol is difficult to detect and is very easy to drink. Very smooth finish.

O: A solid coffee porter offering from Ballast Point and SoCal. This tasting review was for a bottle I picked up in San Francisco during beer week. Too bad this beer is not distributed to VA. Definitely a porter worth trying, if you have the chance.

beerfan99, May 21, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into a tulip glass. Pours black with a minimal khaki crown that shows little retention throughout the session. Aroma picks up loads of coffee and vanilla over a nicely roasted malt. Some chocolate makes an appearance but it’s more of a supporting role. Dry coffee and roasted malts flavors kick in along with some chocolate, leading the way to a bitter finish of roasted malts, coffee and vanilla. Medium to Thick bodied, good carbonation throughout and creamy! Great bold flavors!

CuriousMonk, May 20, 2011
Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Darkness tulip on 6/10/11.

Poured like a can of oil leaving a frothy brown head that dissipates leaving a moderate to heavy lacing. Great color and nice head retention and lacing.

Smells of tons of coffee and vanilla and a bit of roasted malts. This is a great smelling brew I just want to put my nose in it.

Taste is a mocha blend coffee at first and then the coffee flavor gives over to the vanilla shortly after. Tastes like a chocolate cake as it warms, very delicious.

Mouthfeel is moderate in weight. Almost no bite at all and the 10% ABV is unnoticeable. Resin coats the mouth and I continue to taste chocolate cake.

Overall this is one hell of a porter. Perfect balance of coffee and vanilla, and a total lack of ETOH burn is just awesome. This beer is awesome, go get it.

UMNbeerhunter, May 11, 2011
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,768 ratings.