Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,713 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
4.4/5 rDev +0.2%
22 oz bomber poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.
A- Pours a dark black with not much head at all
S- Smells of straight up vanilla. A slight hint of chocolate and coffee in the back end but the vanilla dominates the smell.
T- Again, vanilla dominates it but the chocolate and coffee come in nicely in the end to balance this brew out very nicely.
M- Medium to full bodied. Decent carbonation.
D- Doesn't drink anywhere close to a 10% beer. The alcohol isn't noticeable and it it goes down smooth.
I had it both on draft and out of the bottle and they both tasted identical (from my experience).
02-14-2011 04:03:52 | More by GehenHerzog
4.38/5 rDev -0.2%
Ballast Point really has a knack for the dark beers, and this monster is no exception. With a name that's as much of a mouthful as the brew itself, their Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter takes no prisoners and is an excellent closer to an evening of quality tippling.
Pouring as black as the bottom of the ocean, Victory at Sea develops a tight, mocha-colored head that's so dense, it appears almost nitro-driven. A complex nose of vanilla, cocoa, coffee, and roasted malts draws you in to its rich depths. Upon first sip, you're sunk.
The cereal bill alone is heavy enough to take you straight to the bottom--but the American Two-Row Malt, Victory Toasted, Crystal, and Chocolate Malts, and Rolled Oats combine to provide a sturdy keel and keep this brew upright.
For an Imperial Porter at a whopping 10%, the mouthfeel is as smooth as the ass of a wee bonny lass with a nice, velvety finish. For such a high-powered brew, they have balanced it out just right, and if it wasn't so rich, you could quaff a few of these no problem-o.
The coffee taste is predominant and Ballast Point has partnered up with a San Diego roastery, Caffé CaLabria, to get it just right. Their website mentions a 24-hour cold extraction process that leaves a lot of the bitterness behind; whatever they are doing, the java really shines through.
A guest taster at Camp Larsen thought the vanilla was a bit over-stated, and personally, I don't think they really need it. There is already a lot going on with this brew, and if anything, the extract lends a syrupy note to an otherwise beautiful finish. I would love to cellar one of these babies and see what it becomes in a year or so--but it's so tasty now, I seriously don't think that's going to happen.
02-13-2011 05:44:12 | More by monkeylovebeer
4/5 rDev -8.9%
Second time on this beer, this is a fresh review. My first experience I had aged the bottle for a year plus (which I recommend, this beer is a B fresh and an A aged). Anyway...
Aroma begins with a boat ton of coffee and dark roasted malts. As you further investigate you get notes of toffee sweetness, vanilla and a slight alcohol presence.
The taste directly follows the nose; roasted malts assault the taste buds followed by coffee bitterness and slight toffee sweetness. Just like the smell, the hints of vanilla, chocolate and alcohol become more prevalent as you get to glass #2 (this was a 22 oz. bottle). The roasted maltiness/coffee is slightly overpowering to be completely honest and if you don't like dark roasted coffee you probably won't like this beer. Medium bodied with average carbonation; luckily enough to balance the ABV. Flavors were much better integrated in the cellared version I had last year. The alcohol and roastiness are overpowering midway through glass #2.
Overall this fresh bottle of Imperial Porter was good but no where as good as the cellared version, so I definitely recommend this beer 100% but not fresh, buy it and hide it from yourself for at least a year, you will be rewarded if you do.
02-12-2011 14:04:22 | More by claspada
4.13/5 rDev -5.9%
a - poured into my oversized snifter a silky black with a very thin tan creamy head with slippery lacing.
s - Nice sweet malts. Vanilla and caramel, some subtle roastiness, but not much coffee at all. If anything, perhaps a sweetened flavored coffee...definitely not in your face.
t - Chocolate and coffee really jump out. Nice vanilla mix and again caramel rounding things out. Really like a dessert coffee that you would get a coffee shop with a nice not overly watered down roasty porter in the background. Nicely flavored. Vanilla is definitely present.
m - Rich and cooling. Not overly watery at all. A bit of an alcohol tingle.
d - A bit filling for me. A bomber of this seems like a bit much to drink, but I'm up for the challenge.
02-12-2011 04:23:36 | More by cosmicevan
4/5 rDev -8.9%
On tap at Gourmet Haus Staudt.
Appearance: Black as pitch, almost opaque even in the pour. The cream colored head is small but surprisingly persistent.
Smell: Coffee - check. Lots of it. Vanilla - check. Kind of smells like one of those syrupy coffee drinks you'd get at Starbucks, only incredibly alcoholic. The coffee character is dark, heavily roasted. There's plenty of dark malt, too; almost burnt, but not quite there. It's a necessary element, keeping the sweetness in check and providing a foundation for the adjunct ingredients.
The first few sips pretty much taste like spiked coffee. It's ridiculously dominant at colder temperatures, but once the beer has a chance to warm up it reveals a bit more depth. Vanilla appears at a comfortable level, present but not overwhelming. It's amplified by chocolatey sweetness, though the flavor goes right back to bitter black coffee in the finish.
It's a full-bodied beer, certainly potent, but not terribly sweet or syrupy given the 10% ABV. It could be argued that the coffee and vanilla are overbearing, but it really does work - in small quantities at least.
02-12-2011 04:03:58 | More by largadeer
4.08/5 rDev -7.1%
On tap at Smith's 2-10-11
A- Dark black body with a thick two finger mocha brown head. Leaves nice legs.
S- Not a huge nose but very nice notes rising up. A bit of light coffee, roasted malts, a little sweet vanilla and dark fruit.
T- Wow. Lots of good stuff going on here. Starts out with dark bittersweet chocolate note, roasted/toasted grains, coagulated sticky molasses, a bit of smoke and understated coffee grounds on the sides. A bit of dark cherries and vanilla ride underneath. Earthy, resiny hops punch through just a bit along with a touch of alcohol spiciness. Finishes back where it started but with a lingering smooth espresso flavor.
M D- Nice creamy, velvety coating with minimal but lively carbonation. Yummy indeed. After my first I had to order another.
02-11-2011 16:43:06 | More by sentomaster
3.73/5 rDev -15%
Pours jet black, with a chocolate brown head. In the aroma, a light roast, chocolate and vanilla hints. In the taste, quite roasty, dry chocolate, and a dry coffee note. A small bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee aftertaste. Faint nose, not much vanilla, hides the alcohol, but just about average.
02-11-2011 01:32:59 | More by OWSLEY069
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.
A: Pours jet black with a dark tan head.
S: Coffee, roasted malt, and a hint of vanilla.
T: Dark roasted malt with a very strong coffee flavor. The vanilla notes are extremely subtle, if it wasn't on the bottle, I probably wouldn't have picked it out. It's very smooth and the flavors meld together very well. A bit of a bite from the alcohol in the finish.
M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.
D: Very drinkable and very delicious. Doesn't drink like a 10% beer at all. One of the better coffee beers I've had.
02-10-2011 04:28:08 | More by willjschmidt
4.38/5 rDev -0.2%
Extra special thanks to beerman207 for hooking me up with a sample of this one at the Superbowl party he and his wife hosted. Game came out all wrong, but this beer definitely came out all right. Review is from notes taken on 2/6/2011 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.
Appearance: Pour is dark brown/near black; starts with a nice 1 and 1/2 finger dark tan head; body is dark and entirely opaque; head fades to a full cap and leaves a full curtain of lacing on the back of the glass that holds throughout most of the drink.
Smell: Creamy and milky chocolate and coffee/espresso roastiness; touch of smoke and sweet vanilla; slight bit of alcohol in the nose -- this beer comes across as very robust and it smells like a creamy Jamocha shake from Arby's.
Taste: Jesus, it doesn't just smell like a Jamocha shake, it really tastes like one with friend ground coffee and ample vanilla; lots of chocolate that is bittersweet combined with just a touch of a sweeter milk chocolate; lots of ground and burnt coffee and espresso that creates a nice earthy and nutty bitterness; definite presence of alcohol that's a little bourbony, but the heavy chocolate and coffee flavors remind me even more of Kahlua.
Mouthfeel: Mouth is thick and creamy, with spot on carbonation that provides just the right amount of liveliness to keep it interesting; a thick semi-dry coating and grittiness is left on the palate and teeth; does sit a little heavy, but it's super tasty and I'd be willing to have it sit in my tummy.
Drinkability: This is definitely a worthy offering -- great scents and flavors and a super creamy mouthfeel; ABV and weight do slow it down a bit, but this one is pretty tough to come around in these parts so ABV be damned, drink it while you can.
02-10-2011 02:52:48 | More by bamadog
4.33/5 rDev -1.4%
Bomber bottle poured into a wine glass. The 2010 Victory returns to its former glory from my view. The pour is dark and velvety, and offers a resilient cap of foam and light dapples of lace.
Chocolate notes initiate, followed by an abundance of coffee and some roasted malts, and with a pleasantly subtle(read, not fake) vanilla influence. Not being a big coffee fan, I nonetheless find this brew intriguing, and well balanced with some dried fruit notes as well. Robust hop notes reveal themselves with warming AND some agitation.
Taste is equally complex, with coffee up front and followed by a bit of cherry and alcohol. Vanilla is less evident here as coffee and chocolate lead the way and continue through the finish, yet every sip is enjoyable and elicits a rather enjoyable reflex. Feel might be construed as a bit thin at times but this is well an illusion. A rather profound brew.. I offer a rare recommendation for this seaborne chaos..
02-09-2011 05:21:54 | More by HalfFull
4.63/5 rDev +5.5%
Poured from a 22 into a snifter. Pours black with a 3/4 inch tan head. The lace is minimal. The smell is light, even after being swirled around in the snifter. I did make out roasted coffee and vanilla right out front. There are some notes of lemon rind.
The taste steps it up.a bunch. Dark roasted coffee with bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, slight lemon zest, earthy hops and a touch of alcohol, but well hidden. Very smooth on the way down. Perfect porter feel.
This would get a 5 but I'm not even halfway through my second glass and I'm wobbely. I wish I could drink four or five with no consequenses though.
02-09-2011 01:27:26 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
District of Columbia
4.6/5 rDev +4.8%
Poured into St. Bernardus Chalice. 2010 bottle.
A: Awesome look, very dark brown-black body with epic brown head and super lacing on the glass. Awesome start.
S: This is nice- a huge fudge note, some roast, vanilla type sweetness with an oaked tinge to it. Some coffee in there. Not as strong as I'd like but very nice
T: Much more going on here. The vanilla and coffee flavors are well highlighted over a base of roasty chocolate. A sweet front and a bitter chocolate dry finish, huge charred malt characters and a bit of smoke, and some alcohol burn and sweetness as well. Barley and cereal notes add in to beef up the overall body and flavor of the beer. Supremely balanced and amazing, some definite creamy almost milk shake malt qualities to it. Probably the tastiest imperial porter there is.
M: Smooth and creamy, very viscous. Great carbonation level and no heat, just amazing over the palate.
D: Great beer. I love it and will continue to buy it if I see it, also I'm curious to see how it ages and if the vanilla and coffee fade away.
02-08-2011 01:20:38 | More by Dreadnaught33
4.3/5 rDev -2.1%
Pours, a dark, oily black color with about a 2-finger white head. The smell was sweet of roasted coffee and vanilla oak. It was sweet with a roasting bitter finish. It started silky smooth and then finished bitter, Felt more like a stout than a porter. Drank pretty easily for a 10% ABV beer. An excellent beer from Ballast Point
02-07-2011 16:37:08 | More by bonbini26
2.28/5 rDev -48.1%
Just found one of these down here in good old FL, a rarity I can assure you. Read alot about this bad boy and am super excited to try it. Here goes the play by play as I drink it.
A- Poured dark, I mean really dark, burnt brown color. Nice 3/4" head but quickly recedes and not much lacing.
S- Holy Coffee! That's not a good sign for me. I like coffee for breakfast and beer for dinner and I likes 'em separate. I was hoping to be overpowered with vanilla but it is definitely coffee. Dammit, I hope this doesn't taste like some Kona Pipeline Porter which I bought a case of and can barely stomach the swill.
T- Coffee and beer dammit to hell. Where the hell is the vanilla guys? It DEFINITELY says vanilla porter on the label. How about labeling it V@S Coffee porter **Now without vanilla!!** I could have had a Cigar City Cubano Espresso which tastes very similar, BUT, I did not want a coffee beer. I'm sure many people out there love this (as witnessed by the rating) but this is not the "vanilla porter" I signed up for.
M- It does have a nice thick and creamy mouthfeel even though the coffee is overpowering.
Well, at least I can say I have tried it. I have another one of these that someone might want to trade for. I don't know, maybe as it gets older it will get better but this is definitely not for me.
02-07-2011 03:53:31 | More by sendsilk
4.15/5 rDev -5.5%
A: Dark - nice chocolate looking beer with a ruby reddish hue to it. Nice head and skim that remains for a while.
S: Nose is coffee, some vanilla, some bourbon, chocolate malt
T: Nice cocoa and vanilla profile with bitter dark chocolate
M: Carbonation is mild, smooth
D: A bit of a sipper. Could go for another but it's definately a bit boozy.
02-07-2011 00:34:04 | More by beerman207
3.95/5 rDev -10%
On tap at Devil's Den
A - Black. Black. Black. Frothy tan head that lingered for ages. This thick brew left legs as I slowly drank.
S - Like triple shot vanilla latte. Huge coffee notes as well as a sort of milk-like subtlety. Great huge vanilla and rich molasses.
T - Super rich and my latte impressions are confirmed. Big rich vanilla notes and a fantastic coffee finish. This doesn't have too bitter of a finish, yet it's not overly sweet either. Balanced well.
M - Incredibly full-bodied. A bit hot near the back of the throat. Light carbonation is perfect for the style.
D - Drinkable, yes. Very drinkable? no. Fantastic brew, but this here's a sipper, even for the style.
02-06-2011 13:48:45 | More by ChrisPro
3.43/5 rDev -21.9%
Appearance: Victory at Sea pours close to pitch black with about to 3 fingers of head. This beer definitely qualifies as opaque in the glass. Retention and lacing are great.
Smell: This beer smells of roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla. The coffee and vanilla components seem to be a bit out whack for me. Just a little out of balance, but still not bad at all.
Taste: I definitely get a bunch roasted malts and coffee on the front end, with vanilla and some acridness on the back end and finish. I'm really not a fan at all of the coffee component in this beer. It's just too acrid and seems artificial to me. After having a fair number of coffee-infused beers, I find that I'm pretty picky about how it is incorporated. It doesn't work in this beer for me.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Just a bit under full bodied and very smooth on the palate. Very nice. Overall I just don't find this beer overly drinkable due to how the coffee flavor fits in with the profile of this beer. Other components of the review are going to help carry the score on this beer for me, but I definitely feel like it's overrated.
02-06-2011 05:00:11 | More by zhanson88
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
Poured stout black into my tulip glass with a dark khaki head with a thin lacing. The smell is amazing, up front loads of coffee, chocolate roasted malts, and a subtle vanilla. Can't stop inhaling it to the point some almost went up my nose. I'd like to chop it up and take one Steve-o style but my better judgement got the best of me this time. It's a sneaky beer in my eyes it tastes exactly how it smells and in that order. It's a silky smooth texture with great after taste with a slight hint of alcohol (but barely). Definitely not sludge like a stout but delightful feel for a porter. This is an awesome beer and only wish they would they would release one with real vanilla bean and not just flavoring and set it in bourbon barrels for a few months. Then it would be the perfect imperial porter in my eyes. I might have marked it a bit high on the points but I attribute that to the skeleton parrot on the label ;)
02-04-2011 09:23:29 | More by HopMasterFlex
4.33/5 rDev -1.4%
22 ounce bottle in snifter
A: black, tan head diminished quickly.
S: coffee, vanilla in the back, malts mingled with subtle coffee.
T: first taste thought was "this reminds me of founders CBS" all the flavors are balanced making a wonderfully flavored beer
M: mild carbonation, dry bitter finish with lingering vanilla.
D: at 10% one bottle is good, and reasonably priced, high quality have paid twice this much for beer not at good.
02-04-2011 06:31:32 | More by fastsrt
4.33/5 rDev -1.4%
Poured into a large snifter, it easily produces a half inch head. Body is jet black, with a tan foamy head that quickly dissipates to a ring, leaving small soap clouds of lace on the glass.
Rich aroma of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, and alcohol.
Tastes of charred malt and dark chocolate up front, with coffee and vanilla mid-palate, and ends with a burning dry finish on the tongue, mostly of bitter char and roasted coffee, and just a hint of smoke. Overall, it is a pleasant and well-balanced Porter.
Body is on the lighter side for a Porter, and carbonation is low, but it is enough to give this a slightly creamy mouthfeel.
This is a nice version of an Imperial Porter, very flavorful, and quite drinkable. The alcohol is slightly warming, but is matched by the great flavors.
02-04-2011 05:02:15 | More by Beerenauslese
4/5 rDev -8.9%
Poured this brew from a 22oz bomber. It poured a very dark, creamy black. It had a very thick, 2 inch head that had some great retention. It also had some very nice lacing as well. The head retention was very impressive, based on how high of an ABV this brew is.
The aroma on this brew is pretty good. Its got a nice rich smell of vanilla up front, that blends into a nice roasted coffee aroma. There is a bunch of milk chocolate aromas that come forth in the middle, then it all finishes with a bit of a hops aroma. It smells very good. I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells.
The flavor on this brew is very creamy, the front is a great rush of smooth milk chocolate flavors, a rich vanilla, and a great rush of fresh coffee. Its a great flavor that mixes well with hops and give this brew a nice powerful punch. It does have a bit of a boozy hit a the end. But the creaminess of the brew makes it work.
Mouthful was great. It was thick and very creamy. It went down very easy, but had a nice alcohol bite at the end, that gaves you a nice warming feeling.
The drink on this brew was great. It had great roasted flavors, along with some good bitterness. It balances out this brew very well. Great brew by Ballast Point.
02-01-2011 23:15:41 | More by mattgreger
4.75/5 rDev +8.2%
A - Very dark pour with streaks of light brown; vigorous mocha colored head that settles quickly to a thin skim, edges lace nicely
S - Big roasted coffee aroma (Breakfast Blend), bits of milky chocolate and lots of roasted malts. Hints of espresso and vanilla, and a light hint of alcohol.
T&M - Extremely smooth and creamy...very decadent. Lot's of roasted coffee flavor, baker's chocolate and a woodsy vanilla. There is a somewhat ashy, malty presence, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness at all. The alcohol is extremely well hidden with just the slightest hint in the finish. Has a lot in common (flavor and feel wise) with Founders Breakfast Stout.
D - A very impressive beer. Delicious from start to finish and dangerously drinkable.
02-01-2011 04:04:37 | More by ZeroSignal
4.38/5 rDev -0.2%
Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip...
A - Poured a dark, creamy, opaque black. A nice tan color head, about 1.5 fingers thick, forms and sticks around for a bit. Nice head retention for such a big ABV beer.
S - Lots of vanilla right up front mixed with some delicious smelling coffee. Creamy milk chocolate mixes in there too. I think I get a bit of hops in there too.
T - Creamy, smooth milk chocolate, vanilla, and some great fresh coffee. Starts nice and sweet and then transitions to a nice bitter coffee taste. Very milk shake like and very nicely done.
M - Creamy, milkshake like, thick and hearty. Really nice feel. A little bit of alcohol heat at the end of the palate.
D - Nice and creamy, but the roasty/bitterness really cuts down a bit; especially since its a 22 oz. bottle. But it's really a great and well balanced beer.
02-01-2011 03:44:10 | More by KAP1356
4.38/5 rDev -0.2%
a- Dark body with a huge caramel head that lasts for a long time. great looking beer.
s-tons of vanilla, tons of piny hops, definately boozy and definately smells good, I really cant wait to taste this.
t- Tons and tons and tons of vanilla. There is a mollasses tone in there. You can barely taste any of the booze, which I think that the coffee flavor is covering up.
m- This beer is smooth. I really think that the carbonation is perfect and the beer is almost thick without being to thick. Bravo!
d- This beer is an overall stunner. I really really really am impressed and happy to see that I have about four more of these in my cellar. The vanilla in this beer is making me want to try more beers that have vanilla because i feel it is such a great ingredient with this style.
02-01-2011 02:02:35 | More by leakyfaucet12
5/5 rDev +13.9%
I love this beer, its appearance, smell, taste, and even the cool bottle. it also has some nice carbonation. you get some nice smoke coming out of the bottle when you open it.
You smell and taste the vanilla, but not extreme at all, to me its more of a blend it softens the strong coffee flavor. I do agree that it is a bit acidic from all the coffee, witch to me its the dominant flavor in the beer, but it blends real nice with the vanilla. you can taste the alcohol but I don't get the burning that some talk about at all. maybe it's just me.
just wanted to add that this beer taste better and better as you drink more. as you know the taste of a beer changes by the time you get to the middle of the glass, and then to the bottom. it also changes even more with some beers, as you drink the second one. I din't get some of the flavors until I got to the middle, where their was a nice taste of chocolate that came into the blend.
you must drink the whole beer to get the best experience out of it. It wont be hard to do, with Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter!
01-29-2011 21:33:35 | More by JeffSpicoli
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,713 ratings.