1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

3,696 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,696
Reviews: 917
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 655
Gots: 696 | 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: 3,696 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of homebrewhawk
homebrewhawk

Kansas

3.95/5  rDev -10%

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown with a finger of tan head. Coffee, chocolate malt along with a bit of hops in the aroma. Lots of chocolate in the flavor. Rich and smooth, medium to full bodied. Some piney hops in the middle. Vanilla in the finish. Finish lingers fairly long. Also some drying from the hops in the finish. Solid beer, but the coffee stout/porter thing just doesn't do it for me.

04-25-2010 14:38:37 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of arizcards
arizcards

Arizona

4.28/5  rDev -2.5%

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine in late February for $7.49. Coffee meets beer, my two favorite beverages!

Beer poured black with a bubbly tan head. Nose is good, heavy roasted coffee dominates. Taste is roasted malts, coffee, slightly sweet from the underlying vanilla. There is a nice smooth hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth. Overall drinkability is good. Initial sips were hot. I would love to try this beer with a year of aging! Glad to have had the opportunity to try!

04-24-2010 23:15:30 | More by arizcards
Photo of regspeir
regspeir

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev -2.5%

Pours almost black with a huge head which settled quickly. Good lacing remained throughout. The nose was milkshake - chocolate and vanilla, caramel, with a noticeable roasted malt and coffee. The mouthfeel was creamy and a perfect thickness for a porter. Taste was carmel, coffee, vanilla. The finish contained some bitterness, smoke and a mild and pleasant alcohol warming. i would not be able to sip at this all night but will definitely seek it out again - an excellent porter.

04-23-2010 23:13:28 | More by regspeir
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

A: It was poured into a snifter glass and was dark black in appearance with a thin mocha-colored head.
S: The aroma is filled with coffee flavors and some hints of vanilla.
T: The initial taste is of dark, roasted malts and chocolate after which the coffee flavors begin to intensify and continue through the finish. There is a bit of sweetness in the overall taste.
M: It feels very rich and medium-bodied on the palate. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: This is a beer that definitely needs to be sipped given the high alcohol content.

04-23-2010 00:02:23 | More by metter98
Photo of bsidemix
bsidemix

California

4.95/5  rDev +12.8%

A: This beer looks like it should look. A nice dark brown with a tan foamy top. Looks delicious.

S: If you take some time to really let your nose sit on top of the pour, you'll get the full smell of a rich coffee with overtones of vanilla and bitter chocolate.

T: Amazing. On the front palate - a sweet, pleasing taste. On the back palate - the full richness of the coffee and malts. Aftertaste - a great mixture of both the sweet and the bitter immediately begging you to take another sip.

M: Exactly what a rich porter should be. Smooth, creamy and clean.

D: I can drink this beer all night and not get tired of the complexity and versatility of the flavor. At 10%, it can sneak up on you if you aren't keeping tabs on your tab.

04-22-2010 18:28:00 | More by bsidemix
Photo of AleWatcher
AleWatcher

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

Got this as a surprise in a "just send me some good stuff" box from my buddy Sideswipe.
Poured into a standard pint glass.

This is deep black and viscous. This looks like a big old impy stout, not any kind of porter. The toffee colored head rose up two fingers and had amazing retention. The lacing is thicker than a girl in a rap video!

This is such a great smelling bouquet of sweet darkness that I actually went to blow my nose to further enjoy it. Dark fresh roasted coffee with some definite chocolate from the malts mixes it up with a boozy bourbon bite. The vanilla is not to be out done though, like Jimmy Page cranking it to 10, all the flavors come forth to have their turn in the spotlight. They each get their excessive 8 minutes solo and return to jamming out the kickass goodness we all have come to expect.

The chocolate and toffee malt backbone is John Bonham-- just keeping the time and keeping it level. The coffee is screaming and wailing about some sort of breakdown in communication like Robert Plant in tight jeans while the vanilla wants your attention just as much with it's intricate and delicate strumming of your tastebuds. Plucking each one with such furiosity and at the same time, such tenderness, that you don't know if you should shed a tear or put your lighter up the air. Let's not forget John Paul Jones assisting with the steady and well timed boozey sting that, let's face it, isn't the most important part in terms of your personal enjoyment, and yet, without it, something incredible would be lacking. It's hard to put your finger right on it, but all things coming together to jam out 180 decibels of flavor on the private stage of your palate, is just goddamn awesome.

What just happened there... I kinda blacked out.

This has a an amazingly full body and a little grittiness that suits the intense flavors. Great amount of carbonation that helps the whole thing along-- like a good guitar tech.

The bottle depicts a skeleton clutching the helm of a seemingly sunken ship... Yet the name is in stark contrast-- "Victory at Sea." I think this is best visual description of "Stairway to Heaven" I've ever seen. You can't always get what you want, and sometimes you don't always want what you get... And just sometimes, well, sometimes, you just might get what you need. I need another one of these!

04-21-2010 02:27:39 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of ericwgbeer
ericwgbeer

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

at the Hulmeville Inn:
A: dark chocolate with a beautiful, 2-fingered, dark head that shrunk to a nice ring of foam at about the half-way mark

S: yummy vanilla, perfectly-roasted-but-NOT-burnt coffee, dark and sweet maltyness, perfect not-over-the-top boozyness

T: same as the smell, but with a mild, but never bitter hoppyness that shows up a few seconds after swallowing

M: appropriately thick and carbonated for an Imperial

D: I want another. About as drinkable as a 10% ABV can get. Could be a dessert in a glass.

My only other review was also a coffee beer (stout), which I hated. I have since tried other coffee beers and some have been so-so, but this one was really very drinkable. Really delicious. Again, it's 10% ABV, so watch out!

04-20-2010 04:21:46 | More by ericwgbeer
Photo of kiddynamite920
kiddynamite920

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%

Had this one on tap at the Blue Dog pub in Lansdale.

A: Poured a pitch black, wasn't too surprised here. The bar was a bit dark but not much light was going to get through this one anyway. About a fingers worth of tan head slumped down to a thin ring around the glass.

S: Huge roasty aroma, heavy on the coffee and a bit bitter smelling. Had a very nice sweet aroma as well of a sweetened coffee. The vanilla was noticeable but not overwhelming. Very nice. Good sweet malt profile.

T: Chocolate and coffee mingling well, mocha. The coffee tastes like a very dark roast and adds a very mild astringency. Good bitter flavors balanced with some sweet malts. One big, bad porter for sure.

M: Went down very smoothly with no burn from the alcohol content noticed at all. Good full bodied porter.

D: This one falls into the dangerous category. May be hard for some to stomach more than one of these, but I'm a fan of huge dark beers. Very drinkable and glad I had the opportunity to taste this on tap.

04-19-2010 20:56:37 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of SourBatchKid
SourBatchKid

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

A- dark and cloudy, I can't even see the light of day through my glass. There's little to no lacing but this is thick and rich when it came out of the tap.

S- it smells of toffee and breakfast coffe.It smells just like the dark malt it looks like ,I am smelling anise with just a bit of hybiscus.

T-creamy and sweet at first then big notes of dark coffee and chocolate. After aeration,you get the true thickness of this beer. I could have this as a meal.

M- there's no getting around the thickness of this big beer. I went right into the head as soon as it was poured and oh how the texture becomes so much more complex.

D- this is big so big I think I can only enjoy one right now. Man is this great.

04-18-2010 00:26:39 | More by SourBatchKid
Photo of mrstevens
mrstevens

Florida

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

I've been wanting to try this beer for awhile and my good buddy gtreid hooked me up last night.

P: Very dark pour with a thick caramel colored head.

S: Coffee was the strongest smell I got from this beer, along with the hints of vanilla, caramel and licorice maybe.

T: I really enjoyed the taste of this beer, big coffee, very creamy with the vanilla and caramel mixing in perfectly.

M: Great carbonation, very silky creamy thick and smooth in the mouth.

D: Drinkability is good, not too much of an alcohol presence, but maybe a little too creamy to drink too much of it.

04-17-2010 19:58:47 | More by mrstevens
Photo of callmescraps
callmescraps

Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -17.3%

I somehow keep missing this beer. It's time to finally give it a try. Ran into it when purchasing some celebratory fruit for good friends.

Appearance- Black? Possibly very, very dark brown. It looks black. Two inches of mocha head settle down and laces somewhat. Only a thin cap remains.

Smell- Like a cup of coffee. Lots of roast. Deep, rich coffee notes. Some licorice. Not getting a lot of the vanilla bean. Roasty. A hint of cherries.

Taste- Comes forward with some nice chocolate covered cherry. That licorice. Then the roast comes in for real. Lots of bittersweet chocolate. The burnt aspect lingers. And lingers. Downright charred. I want more vanilla. It comes through at the start. But then it's burnt caramel and roast, and more roast. The vanilla comes out a touch better as it warms.

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation. Seems a tad light.

Drinkability- No hint of the booze. So nice. Plenty of hints of burnt coffee.

Probably not meant to be. Not a huge coffee fan. Sometimes I find a coffee beer that does it for me (Speedway Stout comes to mind). This is not one of them. I was hoping the vanilla would balance things out, but it didn't seem to come through.

04-17-2010 06:14:34 | More by callmescraps
Photo of GJ40
GJ40

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in a DHF snifter. Purchased at Sam's in Durham and aged for several months.

A - Deep black with very little light coming through even around the edges. A somewhat sturdy tan head. This beer has a real ominous look.

S - Coffee jumped out at the start but then the vanilla seemed to take the lead from there on; especially as it warmed. There's also some chocolate in there.

T - The flavor is coffee, vanilla and chocolate. I got a lot of coffee at the start but then I adjusted and the vanilla seemed to lead. But there's a lot to balance it off. This beer has some nice complexity and a hint of sweetness. In fact, the 10% alcohol was well hidden.

M - Creamy and silky with a nice low carbonation.

D - I was a bit worried about this one after I bought it as I'm not a coffee drinker. But this beer is about a lot more than coffee and the coffee it does have works well. This is a very good beer.

04-11-2010 20:52:25 | More by GJ40
Photo of ShogoKawada
ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

2.4/5  rDev -45.3%

22oz into Portsmouth tulip. Been meaning to try this one for a long time.

A- Dark roast coffee... 5 finger head after an aggressive pour. Great formation/retention. Khaki in color, even and thick lacing. One of the better 10% pours I've seen in a while.

S- Kind of buttery toffee caramel. Mild heavily creamed coffee. Not really appealing.. there's something off in the nose here. .

T- The buttery caramel toffee is here but doesn't turn me off like it does in the nose. Vanilla is here but comes across more like artificial sweetener than vanilla bean. Tastes like a chocolate butterscotch sundae with some coffee ice cream. Sweet, but not in the realm of ST's creme brulee. Mild acidity, but the coffee is playing too much of a subdued role and the caramel vanilla sweetness is a bit too much.

M- Flavorful.. a bit too sweet. Stealth ABV, very lush body, great carbonation.

D- Low. I'm very 'meh' on this beer. For the price, I can't see myself buying this again.

04-09-2010 02:41:36 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of thisisxxmyIPA
thisisxxmyIPA

New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

A- Dark brown/black color with a tan head which pours thin and dissipates quickly. Only thin film is left chilling on top. Ruby highlights around the beer.

S- Heavy roasted coffee bean flavor dominate the aroma, hard to find much else than that in the aroma. I'm not a big coffee fan, but I do enjoy coffee beers, oddly enough.

T- GOOD LORD! This is amazing! I was not expecting this! Sweet creamy caramel undertones, layered with some dark chocolate, fresh roasted coffee beans, and a big kick of vanilla that adds such a beautiful sweetness to this beer. Seems like there is a decent portion of bittering hops in addition, but it's always hard to tell will rich roasty coffee beers.

M- Full bodied, creamy, thick luscious mouthfeel.

D- Not incredibly drinkable, at least for me. Bitterness that comes with coffee definitely slows my ability to drink, it's also a very heavy beer. The alcohol also impedes speed. However, this is still a great beer worth the try.

04-09-2010 01:33:59 | More by thisisxxmyIPA
Photo of gloriousglo2
gloriousglo2

Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +1.4%

That's right, on freakin' tap, here in PA, into one of those effete snifer glasses..smelled like a dark roasted coffee, deep brown color, no head by the time the bartender got it to me, which took about 20 seconds after he poured it. Very rich, thick, tasted like chocolate with only a hint of vanilla. A little boozy, but a nice balance overall. At 10% ABV, thought this was more like an imperial stout, but not complaining. The wife even thought it was good, which says a lot...

04-03-2010 19:24:11 | More by gloriousglo2
Photo of csmiley
csmiley

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%

Thanks to prototypic for the chance to try this one out.

A - Pours a dark brown and borders on black in some areas. The bottom of the glass shows some ruby highlights that turn a cola brown towards the top. Tan head comes to almost one finger and disappears after a minute or two. Ends up a cap that nearly covers the top of the brew. Lacing starts out pretty sticky and ends on an average note.

S - Comes through big with a dry roasted malt aroma. Some bittersweet chocolate quickly follows. A nice espresso layer comes in around midway mixed with a little vanilla. The vanilla is much lighter than expected. Still not bad though. Alcohol is always present yet always under control.

T - The taste in this one is powerful. Loads of chocolate and cocoa stand at the forefront. Alcohol is more noticeable in the flavor but still easily managed. It comes across as warm an spicy but still feels under 10%. Fresh ground coffee and vanilla pretty much dominate the middle. Vanilla is light in the flavor just like the aroma. This beer could pass for a stout any day in my book.

M - Fuller bodied with a light carbonation of fine bubbles. Finish is bone-dry and smokey. Like chewing on a charcoal briquette.

D - Drinkability is good. It's pretty big for a porter, even an imperial. The 10% makes it go down slow. That's not a bad thing for this beer though. Tons of flavor makes you wnat to sip and savor every bit. Might be tough to dink 22 ounces so splitting this works will for me. I could have used a touch more vanilla but that is a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

03-31-2010 03:46:27 | More by csmiley
Photo of dondeez21
dondeez21

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -20.7%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Deep dark, black, Thin Tan head that disappeared rather fast
S: Smell is of coffee. This beer smells like a cool cup of joe.
T: Initial taste is of coffee. Not much is noticed of the vanilla that was used in the breweing
M: My main gripe with porters is the lack of body. It is prob mind over matter but I see black beer and I assume thick chewy body but this beer falls short.
D: Tasty beer. Not much is to be said of the Vanilla. Not sure Id want to drink more than a 22oz bottle in 1 sitting.

03-28-2010 02:34:23 | More by dondeez21
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

Victory at Sea pours a dark chocolate fudge color. It's nearly opaque, save for a few burgundy highlights at the outermost edges. A very light mocha head covers the top. It recedes to a surface covering quickly. Lacing was spotty and light.

The nose is good. Chocolate malts are noted early. Smells like dark chocolate fudge. A relatively strong vanilla bean scent follows. It's a nice touch. Roasted coffee is in the mix and works very well with the other elements. The more I smell it, the stronger vanilla seems to come through. It definitely has a sweet, sugary vibe. Alcohol isn't noticeable. Pretty good all in all. Maybe a tad heavy on the vanilla for me.

The flavor is a step up. Bittersweet, dark chocolate is apparent throughout. It's very tasty and gives it and excellent base. Roasted coffee is much stronger in flavor. I like that. It works extremely well with the chocolate. As a coffee lover, I'm a big fan. It's not coffee overload though. Non-coffee fans shouldn't be discouraged. Vanilla is more subdued in flavor. That actually works well. It's a nice complementary flavor, and works better in a more subtle role. That's a good thing. Alcohol is slightly noticeable, but is blended very well overall. It's not overbearing in the least. Finishes with a blast of coffee and chocolate.

Victory at Sea has a medium body that grows more substantial with warming. Carbonation is light, and it has a nice smooth feel. It needs just a little more girth to get that creamy feel a beer this big needs. Drinkability is very high. This is a damn tasty beer that goes down far too easily. It never feels as big as it is. Tough to keep from chugging it.

Ballast Point generally brews good beer. Occasionally they brew something special. Victory at Sea falls somewhere in between the two. It's damn good, but isn't quite special. Frankly, a bigger body might be all it needs to get there. Without question, it's damn solid all-around and is well worth your attention. Easy recommendation.

03-28-2010 01:31:45 | More by prototypic
Photo of kbeals
kbeals

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -20.7%

Big thanks to Nesued for this one!

A- Pours a deep black with a finger of brown, creamy head. Head sticks around nicely and forms nice lacing on the glass.

S- Lots of sweet caramel malts, bitter roasted coffee, dark chocolate and vanilla. It's all there, but it doesn't seem to work very well together. It's a tad cloying and bitter at the same time.

T- Resembles the smell flawlessly. The bitterness seems to show up more than anything however. The vanilla is a little too much also. Vanilla is one mf my favorite flavors in the world, but this almost tastes medicinal. Very average flavors, not at my expectations by any means.

M- A bit thin and a little too carbonated IMO. Still a good mouthfeel however, very smooth.

D- The smell and taste aren't the greatest, but it was still relatively easy to drink this beer. I'll probably be splitting my other bomber however. Thanks again Dan!

03-26-2010 15:07:16 | More by kbeals
Photo of jcnd9803
jcnd9803

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%

Acquired this as part of a trade with mroberts1204
. Thanks!....

A - Pitch black with a small tan head that leaves moderate sticky lacing behind.

S - The vanilla really shines through first, with a finish of coffee on the nose. Very different. There's also some underlying hops in there.

T - Actually starts off bitter. This time the coffee comes first. Vanilla plays in the background and brings home the finish.

M - Nicely carbonated, but not as dry as a typical porter. Very nice.

D - This was a solid beer. I will definitely be looking to score more.

03-25-2010 03:16:22 | More by jcnd9803
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +5.5%

Bottle poured into a duvel tulip.
A- three fingers of head comes forth from a steady pour slowly fades to a slight froth. Very dark almost black with brown edges. Bit of lace stickage.
S- lots of vanilla and coffee, I guess that would make sense, but underneath caramel and dark bread. Hints of molasses and gram cracker. Super nice nose that just gets better as it warms.
T- bang this is some killer stuff. I've had it on tap and the barrel version this beer is good all around. Deep roasted coffee and sweet bourbon vanilla. Whole grain honey wheat bread, caramel and a touch of chocolate malt. I get a bit of char deep in there and it really helps balance out the sweetness. Yea its sweet big woop wana fight about it, but never to much. Lingers softly with a coffee and cream touch.
M- lightly carbed and super creamy. Maybe a bit thick a chewy but I like a full bodied porter and this is one rubenesque body.
D- for 10 abv and as big on flavor as this brew its rather drinkable. I could drink a bomber to myself and I am as I write this review.
I have to say ballast point is on the fing ball. They have yet to show me a product I did not enjoy. Keep up the good work and thanks for bring it to philly.

03-25-2010 02:32:09 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of ShadesOfGray
ShadesOfGray

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +5.5%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass. Pours an almost solid black and fills the glass completely night black! Looks pretty thick for a porter, closer to a RIS by appearance. Head is decent size of a toffee color...VERY frothy/creamy. Tons of sticky non-sliding lacing, lasts nearly the entirety of the drink. Wonderful looking beer.

Aroma is pleasant, and strong. Tons of coffee, slight(very slight) bitter mid...and a very sweet vanilla backbone. Due to the HUGE coffee smell, booze doesn't really hit the nose...even though it's 10%...so...well hidden.

Wow, outstanding. Hits you quick with a slight kick/bitter hop...very creamy semi-thick mouthfeel and follows with tons of sweetness. Carbonation is strong, but no where near noticable to distract from the huge flavor of this beer! Again, booze is well hidden. Lot's of coffee and vanilla flavors mixing great together. The aftertaste is also outstanding. A few minutes after each mouthful, there's a great vanilla aroma still attacking the nostrils and coffee penetrating the taste buds. What a great tasting beer! Again though, this is a porter!? haha.

03-24-2010 23:34:09 | More by ShadesOfGray
Photo of prg1976
prg1976

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

Pours black as night with a small amount of brownish head. Some head retention, slight lacing.

Smells lots of vanilla, a little alcohol, only slight coffee smell.

Taste is a lot of coffee, slight vanilla, some alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, not much carbonation. Very smooth.

Very drinkable, the alcohol is sneaky. About halfway through you realize that it's 10%.

03-20-2010 23:15:59 | More by prg1976
Photo of GregSVT
GregSVT

Texas

4.3/5  rDev -2.1%

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a deep dark cola with a big tan head that fades leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has tons of coffee aromas with a creamy vanilla and malty smell there as well.

T: The taste starts with coffee but soon after the vanilla and roasty malt flavors take over and leave a wonderful finish on the tongue.

M: The feel is creamy from the carbonation but it's a bit thin for an "Imperial" porter.

D: High ABV yet tasty profile puts this on the medium end of drinkability.

Very tasty and I wish I had access to this without having to trade for it. This along with Terrapin Wake N Bake are the best coffee beers I've ever had.

03-20-2010 03:43:06 | More by GregSVT
Photo of bonkers
bonkers

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

I got this in a BIF, thanks Dunt. I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. It pours a deep, jet black, no highlights. The head is wa sticky, little white thing that sticks around for a while. It smells like a Frapacino infused beer, which is not a bad thing. Bitter coffee hits up front and is mellowed by the very obvious vanilla. The roasted coffee follows you to the lingering finish. This brew is creamy and smooooth. The carbonation is on tap and the alcohol is hidden. This drinks like a much smaller beer. Highly recomended.

03-16-2010 23:04:09 | More by bonkers
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,696 ratings.