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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

3,690 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,690
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 651
Gots: 697 | FT: 53
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
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Ratings: 3,690 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SaCkErZ9
SaCkErZ9

Florida

4.65/5  rDev +5.9%

Pours from a 22oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Emerges pitch black with a light brown colored head. Plenty of lacing as the head remains around one finger and stays fluffy and frothy.

Aroma is beautifully filled with coffee. Some vanilla is present as the beer warms a bit but the coffee remains throughout. A bit of fruitiness up front. A touch of roasty malts which dont go out of style too much. Typically, the roastiness is kept to a minimum in the porter style and the roasty is kept in check here as well but borders on a robust porter.

The flavor is much more stout like. There is significant coffee and roasty flavors in this beer. The vanilla is more obvious in the flavor as compared to the nose, which suits me just fine. The coffee flavor is outstanding. Tastes like fresh brewed coffee was added to this and flavors of Founders Breakfast Stout or Bells Java Stout quickly cloud my mind.

A very stellar beer. I had a growler of this from Charleston Beer Exchange in Charleston, SC, but I much prefer the bottled version; typically, it is the opposite for me. Very easy to drink and full bodied with a coffee bite. Simply fantastic!

02-07-2010 22:54:33 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of PittBeerGirl
PittBeerGirl

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

22 oz bottle poured into my snifter.

A- Opaque nearly black body that pours with a nice 2-3 finger tan head. Head fades eventually to a thick collar but leaves plenty of lacing behind in the glass.

S- Nose is very sweet and vanilla is certainly the main character. Coffee beans are definitely present as well and make up the background of the nose.

T-The initial flavor is subtle and offers a subtle vanilla sweetness with a touch of dark malt backbone. The finish is full of vanilla sweetness with some coffee undertones-but then just as the sweetness almost becomes too much a moderate roasted malt bitterness comes through to balance all the flavors. The slightest alcohol heat can be detected as well.

M-Medium to high carbonation and medium weight-silky smooth body.

D- This is 10%???? Really??? I thought I was drinking atwater vanilla java porter until the finish. This is a well rounded balanced coffee porter with ABV nearly undetectable.

02-06-2010 02:20:17 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Pours pitch black with a two finger light brown head. The head retreated to the sides of the glass but left excellent lacing on the sides.

From the aroma it's very east to tell this is a coffee beer. There is a strong presence of coffee along with a decent amount of roastedness to it. There is a slight vanilla sweetness that helps balance it out nicely.

The bitter coffee is the first thing that you notice in the flavor, but the real draw for me is the subtle complex vanilla sweetness it has in it. There is some roasted grains and bittersweet chocolate to go along with the coffee and vanilla in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side with moderate to low carbonation. I really enjoyed drinking this one and would definitely buy it again. The vanilla sweetness really helped balance out the bitter coffee and roast flavor making this one stand out from other coffee stouts.

02-05-2010 01:10:25 | More by billab914
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

4.2/5  rDev -4.3%

Joe at Walnut Liquorette got this from the back for me. Thanks! On to the beer:

It is black. Very black. The head forms rocky on top, holds up well, and is tanned. Nice roasted coffee bean aroma....almost like Also a little smoke. Behind all that is a whisper of citrus hops. Now there's the addition of chocolate. It really changes are you keep inhaling.

Black Marlin Porter remains one of my all-time favorite porters, and the same folks who make that beer make this one as well. There are vanilla notes, but you need to squint hard enough to taste it. From the get-go, roasted, bitter coffee dominates. Bitter chocolate sits underneath the coffee. Astringent coffee and ash linger in the aftertaste. Alcohol is hidden incredibly well in this beer. There are the hops again, which squirt a little of its juice into the nectar (and a little hop bitterness). As for the liquid, it is smooth with a medium feel. It doesn't feel like its listed 10% ABV.

The aftertaste is the chink in this beer's armor. Otherwise, a good creation by Ballast Point, with the possibility of being wonderful.

02-04-2010 05:30:28 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
PeprSprYoFace

California

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

This has got to be one of my favorite beers. Very tasty. It has an awesome head that stays the whole time and is super creamy and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. It smells of wonderful roasted malty sweet goodness. You can smell the coffee a little bit. Taste is very intense. Lots of flavors going on such as slot of roast and good light vanilla flavor with a smooth coffee roast to it. Mouthfeel is great with great carbonation. Overall it is a sipper because of how intense it is but with a year or more of age on this I can see this beer being even better. Very good

02-02-2010 04:14:50 | More by PeprSprYoFace
Photo of Gyle41386
Gyle41386

South Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -17.3%

Poured from a bomber into a mug.

Dark, dark black pour. About a finger of mocha-colored foam retains pretty well and sticks nicely.

Very, very coffee nose. Light sweetness up front keeps it porter-y, with a light roasty bitter finish.

This is definitely a coffee beer. I'm not really tasting much of anything else. There's a little bit of boozy heat in the finish. Certainly an imperial porter. The vanilla doesn't come through right away, which is a bit of a bummer.

Body is maybe a little heavier than medium, just a step below what I'd expect from an imperial stout, so that seems right on the money. Low carbonation. Slick and chewy.

ABV is apparent, but never a bother. Definitely a sipper. Very nice beer.

01-30-2010 21:47:45 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of vince4953529
vince4953529

California

4.3/5  rDev -2.1%

Finally scored a bottle of this elusive brew after months of searching...

Poured pitch black with medium head and decent lacing.

Drank this with near-room temperature. Tastes incredible with hints of vanilla, it's a bit sweeter than other stouts I've had, but it's perfectly balanced.

A very hearty and warming brew. It goes down very quick and very flavorful. This is an excellent beer and I would love to have it again.

01-30-2010 05:55:09 | More by vince4953529
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

Served in a tasting glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a thin layer but leaves lots of splattered lace. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Nice coffee/espresso flavors with chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. It is balanced out by grassy hops.

Taste: Lots of coffee and espresso again. Then the caramel and chocolate roll in. Followed by a nice amount of vanilla. Lots of roasted flavors with some grassy hops and a hint of citrus to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a little rich. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted, but relatively clean.

Overall, a very solid beer. I really enjoyed this porter. A big beer and none of the 10% abv showed. Very drinkable for how big it is.

01-27-2010 23:11:54 | More by mothman
Photo of BretSikkink
BretSikkink

Mexico

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Dark dark black in color with a good-looking head of two fingers, beige in color, with large bubbly pock-markings. The nose is quite large, especially once the head settles and the thick lace starts to form. Notes of heavily roasted barley and plenty of coffee, with I suppose a hint of vanillin in the sweetness.

Solid flavor all around, with a good dosage of what you would expect from a Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter. Espresso notes are present, and mix with the clear vanilla hints to give a white bittersweet chocolate impression. Hops are earthy, and melt into the roasted coffee notes to add a pepper edge - not to mention the zing provided by the alcohol.

Great drinkability, as the booze is masked by the preponderance of quality flavors. It comes off as fairly sweet overall, however, which hurts the drink score for me personally. I wouldn't mind if the mouthfeel were thinned a bit by a heavier hand of hops. No matter - this is a solid brew all around.

01-27-2010 03:42:38 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of NorCalYeti
NorCalYeti

California

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

taste- chocolate, subtle dark roasted coffee flavors, caramel undertones

color- dark chestnut brown

clarity- clear

smell- cocoa, roasted malt, biscuits

body- sweet/tangy chocolate hop bite at the front and sides of the palette, soft, medium-heavy weight mouthfeel, smooth, medium-long finish

appearance- mocha-colored head, nice heavy lace, slight carbonation

overall impression- nice beer, almost a little too sweet but would pair well with desserts. the brewer says this is an imperial porter...i think it departs slightly from the style and tends to be a little "showy" with the vanilla imprint

notes and comments- the aroma is very one note...i may be mistaking the smell of vanilla for cocoa but it is very pronounced and delightful. killer label

glassware: tulip

song: my brother esau - 10/3/87

01-26-2010 05:20:46 | More by NorCalYeti
Photo of weatherdog
weatherdog

Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +0.2%

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

It pours a deep rich brown high a large 3 finger head that settles with a nice thick layer of bubbles that leave thick lacing down the side.

The smell is heavy on the roasted coffee with just a hint of the vanilla. No detection of alcohol at all.

The taste very heavy on the roasty coffee. The coffee is not too bitter which can be a common problem in these coffee porters and stouts. Even though I know this isn't an oak aged beer I'm picking up some subtle oak with the vanilla at the end. Once again no hint of the alcohol. The finish is just a little too sweet for me and that is my only complaint.

This is just a silky smooth beer and drinks easily and quickly. I really enjoyed this beer and glad I was able to get a bottle.

01-25-2010 01:23:51 | More by weatherdog
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

4.58/5  rDev +4.3%

Pours an opaque darkness with a loose full finger tan head that fades quickly, leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing. The smell is really nice rich aggressive moderately roasted malt and high quality coffee...as it warms I sense a barrel aged vanilla sweetness. Full flavored, the high quality java notes are the bomb, second only to GI Coffee Stout that I recently had. The toasted malt and classy roast coffee lingers nicely in the after taste like i wish every cup of coffee would. Light-medium body from a lighter carbonation creamy smooth is a classic example of the style...I still really prefer the texture of a stout. This one is going down WAY TOO EASY...no way would I have guessed that this was even half the 10% ABV!! This one is drinking CRAZY!! Perfect accompaniment to the playoffs. Cheers!

01-24-2010 22:06:58 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -7.1%

Glugs into a half liter mug, jet black with a crisply defined line of mocha foam on top. The foam is sticky and leaves tan concentric rings around the edges. As it warms up, the aroma is very chocolate/vanilla like a milkshake. The flavor is also heavy on these notes, seeming like a melted kahlua milkshake on first impression. Some char and bitter coffee elements. Fairly dry and bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. Pretty beefy, one to sip for sure. Luckily there's no hint of 10% in here.

01-24-2010 01:15:40 | More by emerge077
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

3.08/5  rDev -29.8%

22oz bottle, trade with beerman4. Dark brown with a thin tan head. A very strong smell, roasted malts, sweet vanilla, maybe just a little coffee. Almost cloyingly sweet from the vanilla, also too bitter in the aftertaste. Could use more malt presence and less extra flavoring. The body is a tad thin for a robust porter style, didn't match well.

I'm a little disappointed overall, the taste is too sweet, the vanilla is more prominent than I'd like, and the coffee is too bitter. The bottle states this is an artisinal masterpiece but I disagree. Their IPA's are solid though.

01-23-2010 02:35:20 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of yemenmocha
yemenmocha

Arizona

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Lovely opaque black with khaki brown head. Nose is luxurious with layers of vanilla, chocolate ice cream, and a smoky/roasty quality. On the palate the vanilla is really in your face with a smooth roasty character that brings the malt forward, and an espresso/coffee like quality towards the finish and aftertaste.

01-21-2010 03:06:39 | More by yemenmocha
Photo of slasher007
slasher007

Texas

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

Thanks to Mora2000 for sharing this bottle.

Pours a very dark brown color with medium tan head and pretty good lace. Smells of coffee, vanilla, and some creamy malts. Taste is more balanced with flavors of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and somewhat espresso. Nice creamy mouthfeel with low carbonation. I was very suprised with how big this was and how good it was as well. Excellent beer from Ballast Point Brewing Company

01-20-2010 20:40:06 | More by slasher007
Photo of indiapaleale
indiapaleale

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Pour - dark as 4pm in Iceland in January. This is jet black with an oily, thick head of tan. A potent looking little beauty.

Aroma - a wave of fresh dark roasted coffee hits the senses a good foot or so from the glass. This is followed by vanilla beans, coffee ice cream, cocoa and bitter dark chocolate. Its all coming back to me! What an intensely aromatic brew.

Taste - one sip and I am transported back to that first time I tasted this beer and made an entire table of friends try it. It was that good. Super smooth vanilla and chocolate soft serve mixed with real chocolate milk and super dark roasted coffee should give an idea of some of the flavors that this beer imparts. However, it truly is a beer that you'd need to drink yourself to truly appreciate. The texture, or mouthfeel, is almost creamy and the vanilla and coffee flavors are absolutely incredible. 10% abv is merely a stat as its hidden so deeply in the layers of flavors. I love this beer.

Overall - an amazing offering from Ballast Point. This is the type of strong beer that I could sip slowly and enjoy for hours (although that never seems to happen). This beer delivers exactly what it promises and if you've heard any hype it lives up to that as well.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely positively.

01-20-2010 03:12:39 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

Thanks to kaiser81 for sending me this bottle.

Pours dark brown with a khaki head. The aroma is a mix of strong black coffee with hints of chocolate. The flavor is black coffee with vanilla and some chocolate. The coffee and vanilla merge together very well to make a very good beer. The mouthfeel is very creamy and the carbonation is low.

01-19-2010 21:41:56 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -8.9%

Bottle from Boston trip. This is big coffee, and definately flavoured vanilla. The coffee is good, I am not a coffee drinker or fan, but it was done well for what it is. So yes, big in flavour. Above average mouthfeel. Big coffee aroma. Still most quaffable.Black with retaining off-white head.

01-17-2010 01:46:52 | More by Sammy
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours black with a medium tan head. There is nice carbonation as it rises about 3 fingers of creamy head. It lasts a couple minutes and has great lacing that sticks from the top of the glass to the beer.

The aroma is medium, mostly roasted coffee, but not overpowering. In the middle you get the glimpse of vanilla, lake a cappucino. Wish it was a little more dominant.

The taste is good, but way to overpowered with coffee from start to finish with a bitter roast finish. I want the vanilla to come out to play more, along with some other complexity please?

The feel is good, very lasting, but limited drinkability because of the overwhelming coffee.

Overall, this is pretty good but if they toned down the coffee a bit it could be world class.

01-16-2010 01:37:14 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

4.9/5  rDev +11.6%

Big thanks to FooFaa for sharing a growler of this delicious nectar.

A-Deep, dark brown liquid with mahogany highlights. A thick, creamy tan head reduced to a thin cap and left attractive ringing lace.

S-Intoxicating vanilla, espresso, dark chocolate combination is well supported by rich roasted malt and an underlying earthy hop bitterness.

T-Like a vanilla and cocoa infused espresso drink from some high end coffee shop. A bitter hit of roasted malt and earthy hops keep this from becoming too sweet. Ends with an interesting toffee like swirl.

M-Medium-full bodied, very creamy and luscious with long lasting flavours and a bite of earthy bitterness.

D-One of the most amazing beers out there. I am amazed time and time again how great this beer is after each highly enjoyable encounter with it. Without question, one of my most favorite of brews on the planet!

01-14-2010 16:59:27 | More by Deuane
Photo of ffejherb
ffejherb

Pennsylvania

4.88/5  rDev +11.2%

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing a growler on 1/12/10.

A - Emerged from the growler as a deep brown liquid with hazelnut hues and a thick, creamy tan head that retained very well and deposited thick swatches of lace down the sides of the glass.

S - Wonderful blend of sweet vanilla, chocolate, coffee and an underlying toasted marshmallow presence. There is a slight hint of roast and earthy bitterness in the midst of all the sweetness.

T - Lush cocoa presence with equal parts vanilla and coffee as well as a hint of butterscotch. Finishes with a bit of roasted malt and earthy bitter notes, although Victory at Sea still retains its core sweetness.

M - Medium to full bodied with an extremely creamy texture and moderate carbonation. Finishes with a pleasant bittersweet aspect on the palate.

D - One of the best porters ever. Period. Not much more to say about this stellar offering from Ballast Point. If I had to pick between this and Sculpin as the only Ballast Point beer I'd drink for the rest of my life, I'd have a very difficult time choosing. This beer is simply phenomenal.

01-14-2010 00:24:21 | More by ffejherb
Photo of sinstaineddemon
sinstaineddemon

Connecticut

3.78/5  rDev -13.9%

A - this beer pours a typical porter dark with two full fingers of caramel colored head

S - coffee, big and upfront, no surprise there, the coffee aroma is tempered by a sweeter aroma, cant distinguish it as vanilla, but its that type of sweet, had i not known this was a coffee/vanilla porter, i wouldve said toffee/vanilla/lactic type sweetness

T - coffee is big and upfront in the taste as well, big and alone, the aftertaste is where the vanilla sweetness comes out and becomes distinguishable as vanilla beans, not modified/candy vanilla, the gap between the front and back has a bit of a metallic twang, there, but not big enough to be offputting

M&D - the sweetness lends a decent smoothness, its an easily drinkable beer, hides a double digit ABV as well, nice brew

01-12-2010 20:11:29 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of Chico1985
Chico1985

Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -17.3%

Pours as black and mysterious as the bottom of the sea with a small tan head that sticks around, leaves decent lacing. Not picking up much coffee in the smell, but great scents of vanilla and caramel, and later on some chocolate. Unfortunately the taste is a little lackluster. Mostly a decent coffee taste, a little sweetness, but not much vanilla. A little roasty. But the thing that really kills the taste is the alcohol, it's there up front with every sip, 10% is too high for a porter in my opinion. A little vanilla and caramel is detectable in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is fine for the style. It would be alot better if the alcohol was more hidden. I've had plenty of 10% beers and coffee beers that do it well.

01-10-2010 23:31:34 | More by Chico1985
Photo of khiasmus
khiasmus

South Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +3.2%

We achieved victory. It was hard fought, the ships grinding together and the ropes straining at the anchors as the furled sails flapped in the wind. They were unaware and unarmed, and we stormed their decks with gusto at night, the sea all black, pitch black with a big layer of foam at the crest of every wave, until it went calm, until it sank to just the black.
The aromas, aside from the gunpowder and bodies... it smelled of coffee and vanilla, cinnamon, some chocolate and carob, as we careen up on the upper decks, the swordplay of footwork, one wrong step and you will be lost. Some raspberry chocolate, and the oatmeal we had for breakfast on the high seas...
Still, it's unbelievably easy to quaff, though the footwork is madness, though the clanging in the night only reminds you to disarm, disarm, then the only battle is to force him off of the edge... Davy Jones' locker, a long, easy dark drink... you were a decent fighter my friend, but no match for us...
As to the thickness, the body, it's rather nice, but a little thin for the rumored power, just a hint light, but it adds to the effect, to the easy drink, it's easy, Just trust us. Give up.
And of course, the flavours... who could forget? Oatmeal with cream, the same chocolate and perhaps some carob, some black bread toast, lightly burnt, can't ask for much more in this world, anyway... and the faint lingering of the alcohol, the whiskey we sing our songs to every night, raise your flagons, ye dogs! Raise 'em high! We have won another Victory at Sea, me gents!Never Surrender, and take everything! Hahaha! Here's to another Victory at Sea!

01-10-2010 01:41:27 | More by khiasmus
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,690 ratings.