Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,703 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -8.9%
On tap at Small Bar, San Diego.
A: Black pour, light tan head, good lacing.
S: Roasty, chocolate, coffee.
T: Chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, malty, hint of alcohol, nicely bitter finish.
M: Medium-full satisfying mouthfeel.
D: Excellent, very flavorful, good depth, lots of character.
01-20-2011 23:48:34 | More by Ambiorix
4.5/5 rDev +2.5%
Appearance - Pours a dark viscosity into a Bell's Tulip. About two fingers of head that dissipates slowly leaving amazing looking lacing on the sides of the glass.
Smell - Oh my gosh. Seriously, I freaking love the smell. I had this at Black Tuesday 2010 and have been trying to get my hands on this since. Amazing vanilla, fresh coffee, caramel, chocolate. Amazing.
Taste - Oh my gosh again. The flavor is on par with the aroma. An amazing fresh coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavor. Slight fruits, flora, and hops. I can drink this all night.
Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, lower carbonation, great Mouthfeel.
Drinkability - Unbelievably so. For the ABV, I can't get over how easy this beer drinks. So glad I have multiples of this. An amazing beer.
01-17-2011 04:24:51 | More by SpdKilz
4.55/5 rDev +3.6%
189th review on BA
bottle to pint
App- A very robust brown with lighter brown edges. A one finger light tan head on this developed quickly and left just as quick.
Smell- Big coffee with the sweetness of the vanilla . Arome is very subtle.
Taste- The flavor of this beer is amazing. The flavors are so layered and beautiful. The vanilla and the coffee are both not that overpowering and play off of eachother. Very well balanced and tasteful.
Mouth- Almost a light body to me but its a medium body with a medium carb level. No one flavor over powers the other.
Drink- An outstanding porter. So flavorful, rich and robust and very drinkable. "See my post about your glass and saying damn"
01-16-2011 03:40:26 | More by FosterJM
4/5 rDev -8.9%
A-Pours jet black with nearly 2 inches of coffee colored head. Leaves intermittent streaks of soapy lacing.
S-Nose is phenolic at first. After letting it sit for a minute or two, deep, lush aromas of roasted coffee bean and caramel/toffee malt sweetness become apparent.
T/M-This is a big, roasty, complex beer. Big flavors of vanilla bean up front. The roasted flavor of the coffee adds a pleasant bitterness that butts up against the otherwise smooth body towards the finish. It's pretty boozy, but I don't mind it so much. The warming quality grew on me after a few sips.
D-One that I look forward to every year. If you can find it, grab it! And cellar it.
01-16-2011 03:37:43 | More by DaveHS
4.25/5 rDev -3.2%
Thick black with a nice creamy mocha colored head with good retention. Mocha and chocolate aroma with a hint of vanilla. Flavor is very similar to the aroma with more vanilla. Dark chocolate with rich roasted coffee flavors and strong vanilla. The flavor just sits in the mouth and lingers for awhile. I love it. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of heavy and coats the mouth. As drinkable as a 10% beer can be.
01-16-2011 03:36:43 | More by wcudwight
4.72/5 rDev +7.5%
22oz bomber split with russwbeck and poured into a Great Lakes snifter.
A - Pours a pitch black body culminating in a finger's worth of khaki-colored head. Retention is moderately poor and when it leaves it doesn't leave much lacing in it's wake, just the occaisonal wisp here and there.
S - Smell is huge, huge coffee. Not sure I've gotten this much espresso in a beer before, especially not from a porter. A bit of vanilla, but the thing I'm also picking up is a lot of thick chocolate, reminding me of freshly-baked fudge and Southern Tier's 'Choklat'. Definitely a sweet smelling beer that also has a nice, hop finish to it as well. Delicious smelling.
T - As in the nose, this beer has a ton of coffee and chocolate up front in this beer, mixing together with silky smooth malts to make the taste utterly creamy and smooth. Again, drawing lots of comparison to 'Choklat' here without being overboard on the fudge and without much of the alcohol heat as well. The vanilla starts to come in around mid-taste and follows the coffee and chocolate nicely and provides a nice segue to the surprisingly hoppy finish. Not 'Storm King' or 'Yeti' hop, but still noticeable. Very little alcohol comes through here.
M - Mouthfeel is a lot thicker than Porters of the past, but still noticeably thinner than most Stouts I had. Rich and creamy the entire way. I feel the increased body really helps with such rich flavors in this beer and it leaves a nice coating on the palate. Pretty sweet throughout without being cloying. Big, long finish.
D - Drinkability is high. Especially following Infinium, this beer is just fantastic. The smell, taste, and mouthfeel are incredible and I could easily drink a bomber of this and come back for more. Only downside to this beer is the relatively weak appearance, but the rest more than make up for it. One of my favorites.
01-14-2011 03:22:04 | More by nhindian
4.22/5 rDev -3.9%
Drank from a 22 fl. oz./1 pint 6 fluid ounces/650 ml bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westbooro, MA
Served in a snifter
The liquid poured a deep brown/black with a frothy, one-finger, cocoa-colored crown that faded to a lasting ring. A substantial amount of drippy lacing cascaded down the glass with every sip.
Super smooth, freshly brewed coffee dominated the aroma. The coffee was potent yet well balanced by a milky sweetness. Strong vanilla notes came through as well. Caramel malts trailed in the background. Although the aroma was not terribly complex, it was really pleasant and inviting.
The flavor profile was interesting (perhaps more so than the aroma) but lacked the intensity and smoothness of the nose. Deep and malty up front. French roast coffee beans appeared in the center. Some bakers chocolate notes came through as well. The finish was a bit more harsh than I anticipated it to be. Quite roasty and ashy (almost a touch acrid) with a generous dose of piney, bitter hops.
The mouthfeel was pillowy soft and frothy. Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation. For a 10% ABV brew, I was hoping for a bit more heft however.
Drinkability was notable. This beer buried its alcohol quite well.
Victory at Sea has its strong points (aroma and flavor profile on the font end) as well as its shortcomings (finish and mouthfeel). This is a very good imperial porter (which is incorrectly categorized as an "American porter" here on BeerAdvocate) but there are a number of coffee infused beers out there which are better.
01-13-2011 04:38:13 | More by Damian
4.47/5 rDev +1.8%
Thanks to nhindian for sharing this one! After we popped the bottle I think he wished he had the whole thing for himself...I know I sure did.
A: Dark pour, small beige head, that doesn't stay around for too long, but laces decently.
S: The smell is sweeter than I would expect. Coffee tones and roasted malts. Sweetness must be from the vanilla.
T: Taste is coffee forward, with the vanilla coming up after. Dry aftertaste, the coffee sticks around for a while.
MF: Full bodied and creamy, which I didn't expect. My last Vanilla porter was way too watery for me, this really surprised me in a good way.
D: I didn't want to put this down. Really, really good. I want another one already.
01-13-2011 04:03:17 | More by russwbeck
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
Reviewed from notes 1/12/2011
A: vanilla is predominant, coffee, a hint of white chocolate
Ap: black with a 2 finger mocha colored head, very frothy, extreme lacing
B/T: mild carbonation, very smooth, medium body, slightly heavy
Af: chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, very sweet
O: makes an excellent after dinner beer, a perfect nightcap
01-13-2011 03:13:22 | More by THECPJ
3.7/5 rDev -15.7%
Go Ducks! Since I'm a CAL alum, I gotta pull for the PAC-10!!!
This beer is crazy already. Pours an inky black, with a dark tan head that basically fills the glass. It's a slowly billowing thing, too. Kinda like watching the Titanic sink in that lame movie starring that girl's boobs. It just keeps expanding until it reaches the pinnacle and then, ever more slowly, crumbles into a finger of marshmallow like beauty. Lacing is coating the galss like toffee. Amazing so far. Some nice, albeit not super robust aromas in here. Some coffee for sure, some vanilla, like a vanilla cappuccino in a way. Some sweetness, but it's really subdued. Something else I can't quite place. Like cinnamon roll...Holy mackerel, the flavor is crazy. It's certainly a porter, and it's certainly robust. The vanilla lends a bizarre character - it makes the middle and finish taste like burned coffee. Or, mayhaps, coffee w/Baileys, but unsweetened...The coffee notes don't really dominate until the end, where it blasts into you a little too forcefully. The finish is super bitter, and I'm not sure they wanted that. It's a mixture of hop bitterness and that coffee flavor. This beer is expensive at $7.49/bomber, 10% ABV so it's a sipping beer. The flavors get less punchy as it warms, but this is still really a beer for Imperial Stout lovers and their ilk...
What I like most: The crazy beautiful (like Kirsten's chest in that movie) pour
What I like least: The overpowering bitterness and price point...
Verdict: Good, albeit not fantastic, and unique. Worth trying if you see it but probably too crazy for most folks to enjoy..
01-11-2011 02:06:37 | More by SolomonGrundy
4.47/5 rDev +1.8%
pours a rich, dark, oily rich brown. as with the style, not quite black. an intensely rich reddish caramel brown colored head is frothy and has impressive retention. ample dotted lacing is about as good as anything else near this viscosity. looks stunning.
rich dark malt sweetness and earthiness, lactose sweetness (maybe that's the vanilla?) and definite coffee on the nose. rich milk chocolate, hazelnuts, and more earthy espresso. aroma near turkish coffee. wow.
taste, not surprisingly, is stunning. smokey peat with a touch of sea salt up front. then rich dark roasty malts, caramel sweetness, roasted coffee. espresso and mocha. some fairly strong alcohol notes with an interesting sweetness not far from a sweet scotch. interesting. boozy and hot for me, but I'm really impressed by this one. the finish lingers with clean roasted coffee beans.
mouth is smooth, creamy, full. touch viscous, although also a touch slick. a lingering roasted cocoa bitterness in the finish.
given the abv, the style, and the unique flavors, this one is crazy drinkable. not quite as much vanilla as I'd hoped, or remember from past version, but I won't hold it much against this brew. It's stellar, and I personally would take one of these to an abyss, darklord, or the like any day of the week. I know it's a different ball game, but still... this one really impresses.
01-10-2011 23:31:07 | More by djeucalyptus
4.35/5 rDev -0.9%
A - Thick, black, oily pour that only gets a tiny tan head with little retention and spotty lacing down the glass.
S/T - Rich, smooth roasted coffee in the forefront with touches of vanilla and chocolate creating a sweet underlying tone.
M - Full body, great low carbonation, creamy across the palate, with a little residual oiliness in the finish.
D - Wow, abv is hidden extremely well, with only a hint coming through as it warms. This is such a smooth easy drinker, I only wish the vanilla was a bit more prominent.
01-09-2011 23:23:14 | More by garuda
4.33/5 rDev -1.4%
The resin left on glass from this thick, darkest brown, opaque elixir is worthy of a stout. A thin, dark beige head relaxes gradually to a skim that swirls as if upon syrup.
What an aroma, full of vanilla, with a less roasty coffee flavor, really smooth notes of fine dark caramel, but it's the vanilla that takes it here, sweet, and inviting.
Not a stout at all, perfectly described, this baby is all porter on the palate, BIGtime. Talk about delicious, the vanilla and sweet caramel start, then some chocolate into a medium roast coffee flavor. A lot going on here, but alcohol is absent (this can't be 10%). It seems a simple, winning combination, but there are subtle roasty notes, really clean and tasty, some floral hints, some fruitiness (cherry?) in there. None of these flavors want to dominate the taste, and at times all of them do. Quite sweet, but there's enough going on to make it an asset, and the finish has an edge of herbal bitter and roast to balance.
Mouthfeel is on the stout side of modern porter sensibility, quite viscous, lasting resins, low carb., a slow sipper, wonderful finish. Too thick for style? I just don't know.
Drinkability is good for a big beer. It's one to sip and savor.
Impression: Another Stellar beer from BP. Thank you to them. Get this if you see it, it's a must try.
01-08-2011 23:36:47 | More by cavedave
4.28/5 rDev -2.5%
Appearance: pours a dark brown almost black color with a thick 3" milk chocolate colored head. Moderate lace paints the glass.
Smell: loads of vanilla, roasted malt, and chocolate is easy to detect.
Taste: big roasted malt flavors with a load of vanilla, some coffee tones, moderate amount of bitter chocolate, and some moderate bitterness. Alcohol is barely noticeable here.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit creamy at the finish. Aftertaste is long lasting.
Drinkability: this is a slow sipping beer, but the flavors keeps it interesting throughout. Definitely worth seeking out.
01-08-2011 22:16:20 | More by Gavage
3.88/5 rDev -11.6%
the glass feels heavy....
cocoa head raises up 2 fingers and gurgles down at a reasonable rate, not pitch black but darn close, finally the head resides as a nice blanket of microbubble gauze leaving nice sheets down the side of the glass as I go. good looking brew.
hot cocoa powder with a vanilla side, coffee notes are punching me all upside the noggin, damn, this smells like a frappuccino on acid, one minute milky way bar, one minute some nice grind coffee, and underneath some dark european bitter chocolate.. jeebus ! nearly perfect here, I would like just a hint more coffee in the nose, but man that might be a bit picky.
nice and thick, the coffee flavor comes and goes in waves, at times there is a sweetness though that gets a little too sweet, I think it might have to do with the added vanilla. this tracks more towards chocolate milk with a bitter aftertaste than many porters, something about this just doesn't thrill me, it's good, but not blended enough, too many flavors are fighting each other. I gotta also report that the ABV is very well hidden here.
this is a tough call, I think some people will love this beer if it hits their flavour profile, it has character in spades, they just didn't all line up for me. definitely worth checking out if you dig big/interesting porters.
01-08-2011 04:30:06 | More by Ego
4.78/5 rDev +8.9%
A - A day later and the lacing is still apparent in my glass. Looked very similar to FBS.
S - The vanilla was barely there. Just a hint. Smelled mostly like Chocolate with small hints of coffee. I was surprised how little I got from the smell, but who cares when it tastes this good.
T - Outstanding. It was like a melted candy bar mixed with coffee. 10% tasted like 5%. I even had a sip left the next day and it still tasted fantastic.
M - Lighter than you'd expect. Just the right amount of thickness, which I loved.
D - I paid 13 for this bomber, and it was worth every penny. Smooth, creamy, chocolate, coffee with subtle hints of vanilla. Possibly my new favorite Porter.
01-08-2011 01:40:53 | More by ultimatedub
4.25/5 rDev -3.2%
Thanks much to plenum for this bottle! (from my cellar to yours LIF) From notes, 1-6-2011
A - Very dark brown, not cloudy though, medium light brown head which dissipates to a thin layer just on the surface of the beer.
S - I smell wood, which seems mostly to be my confusion about the bitter and dry coffee in the nose. Theres some warming alcohol, and the vanilla comes out as it warms.
T - Very well in keeping with the nose, bitter coffee, very big flavor, with the vanilla coming out more as it warms.
M - big and robust, a bit drying.
D - this is a sipper, but I do like it quite a bit, so drinking it isn't bad at all.
01-07-2011 12:17:52 | More by ColdPoncho
4.3/5 rDev -2.1%
Pours pitch black with a good amount of head. Smells strongly of coffee with a bit of vanilla. A bit of vanilla as well... Tastes strongly of coffee and vanilla with a fairly thin background. Clean and smooth and a very light. Vry drinkable especially for 10%...
01-07-2011 01:02:28 | More by Urbancaver
3.85/5 rDev -12.3%
Black pour with brown highlights and a small loose white head. The aroma has loads of vanilla and coffee with some faint dark fruit. Thew flavor is smooth milk chocolate, vanilla, candied figs, smoke, wood and lots of alcohol. Thinnish body, oily, soft carbonation and some alcohol warming.
01-05-2011 20:11:10 | More by punkrkr27
4.9/5 rDev +11.6%
From a 22 oz bomber into my Chimay glass...shared with a friend.
A - Chocolate milk and pancake batter soup...looks so damn delicious my mouth is watering....tons of nice lacing too.
S - Nestles Quik, malted milk, caramel, oats, roasted coffee beans...wow this smells perfect...
T - Coffee upfront, Milky-way candy bar, Nestles Crunch bar, tasting the vanilla now, milk....this is heaven....delicious!
M - Perfect on the tongue...low carb, thick and yummy.
D - One of the smoothest beers not just Porters I have ever had...I will be getting a few more bottles of this tomorrow.
01-05-2011 06:25:37 | More by LevitatedEep
5/5 rDev +13.9%
What can I say? This one pours perfect! Thick head with gobs of lacing stuck on the sides of the glass. The aroma whiffs through the air as you pour this brew into your favorite glass.
Smells of fresh coffee up front. Many in this style have a "stale" coffee smell. This one is fresh and clean. Sweet chocolate and almost a red wine smell. Alcohol and a hint of "bong water" smells. Fresh wheat grass as well.
MMM! WOW! BLISS! Huge brew. Tastes of creamy chocolate liquid mouse. My BA friend in the room tastes milky way candy bars...and so do I. Bitter/burnt chocolate flavors. Alcoholic and very sugary sweet.
This brew is so thick, so creamy, so bitter, and so smooth. Every thing seems to blend together. The only thing that really stands out is the bitterness, and not in a bad way. One of the best brews I have ever had!
Drink this one warm from the start to get the full flavor profile.
01-05-2011 06:23:27 | More by Trueant1
4.5/5 rDev +2.5%
This beer does everything well. black with a resilient tan head. Lacing all up and down the glass. Aromas of chocolate and coffee. Vanilla comes into play with the flavor along with the coffee and chocolate notes. Terrific mouthfeel, rich and full bodied. Alcohol is well hidden. Very drinkable, complex flavors. Worth the price tag. I will definitely pick this up whenever possible.
01-02-2011 22:11:10 | More by chrisgn
4.33/5 rDev -1.4%
Pours black with a 1 finger coffee colored head. Laces out evenly across the top and clinging to the sides.
Smells like I just brewed a cup of joe and tossed in a white chocolate bar. A little nutty like candied roasted nuts.
Tastes of roasted french vanilla. A lot of deep malty undertones. A slight bitterness of chocolate. Also the malts have a faint smokey character.
The 10% is not that noticeable but you can tell there is a good amount of alcohol in this one.
Split a bomber with a friend and was satisfied with my half.
01-02-2011 17:27:32 | More by DrinkingDrake
4.33/5 rDev -1.4%
22oz bottle poured into glass - 2009 vintage
Pours an inky black with a thinner tanned head. Fades out almost completely with sine spotty lacing and film.
A strong scent of cocoa with espresso, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of alcohol.
Plenty of chocolate and cocoa up front with a nice splash of vanilla flavor. Lighter tones of coffee and mocha mix in with an almost truffle- like sweetness. Roasted dark malts with caramel and some lingering warmth. Finishes toasty with a hint of booze.
Fuller medium body, mild carbonation, a little creamy and smooth. Really nice drinking, and some age helped mellow out the alcohol although some of the coffee and vanilla flavors faded.
01-02-2011 03:30:12 | More by xnicknj
4.25/5 rDev -3.2%
poured from a bomber into a pint glass
This beer pour jet black with a very large frothy head that lingers for some time
The aromas coming from my glass were of strong coffee and sweet vanilla
The taste is mostly coffee with a little bitterness followed by smooth sweet vanilla finish. not much bitterness really just the right amount
This beer is big and has a fairly heavy feel to it, but that does not take away from its drinkability, could have had a second if it weren't so damn strong
01-01-2011 21:47:44 | More by rowingbrewer
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,703 ratings.