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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

3,753 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,753
Reviews: 919
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 673
Gots: 702 | 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: 3,753 | Reviews: 919 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of csmiley
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.

csmiley, Mar 31, 2010
Photo of dondeez21
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.

dondeez21, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of prototypic
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.

prototypic, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of kbeals
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!

kbeals, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of jcnd9803
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.

jcnd9803, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of oglmcdgl
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.

oglmcdgl, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
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.

ShadesOfGray, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of prg1976
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%.

prg1976, Mar 20, 2010
Photo of GregSVT
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.

GregSVT, Mar 20, 2010
Photo of bonkers
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.

bonkers, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

Undated bottle served in a goblet. Beer is black and forms a thin brown head. Carbonation is low and so is lacing.

There is a nice coffee aroma with a slight hint of vanilla. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the aroma develops more and there is more of a vanilla character to it, also more sweetness.

There is a strong coffee flavor and bitterness in the back palate. The front palate detects a mild sweetness. The beer is smooth, no carbonation on the palate. Beer is lighter in body than expected overall. The bitterness lingers but there is no aftertaste, just a flavor that holds on. Overall, pretty enjoyable and a good porter for sure.

drabmuh, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a dense black in the glass, with several tight foamy fingers of rich burnt mocha colored head. Retains with a sturdy 1/2 finger that throws a big cascade of lacing on the sides of the glass, which eventually settles into some equally large frothy spotting. The aroma is just DRENCHED with sticky sweet notes of chocolate, toffee, and smooth vanilla. This all just mingles in effortlessly with robust smelling high quality roasted coffee. The bouquet is just so rich and dense in the nose, I could sit here with my nose in the glass for a while.

The taste is deep and tangy in the mouth, wih a chewy sweetness to it full of chocolate, caramel, and citric hops. A deep burnt and crunchy flush of roast, hops, and coffee spreads out across the back of the palate. Not astringency at all to the coffee here (which speaks to it's quality), leaving nothing but straight up flavor and lingering roast back that just STICKS in the throat. The mouthfeel is full bodied and huge feeling in the mouth, with a massive chewy softness to the carbonation that keeps this easy in the mouth. That 10% ABV is mostly only felt in the body, and that's mostly on towards the swallow, with any kind of actual alcohol flavor being marvelously hidden.

Man, I love this beer. While not too overly complex, it's just so RICH with flavor, with it feeling like you just had an after dinner dessert AND coffee in your glass. Just really fantastic stuff that will get you buzzed in more ways than one.

Kegatron, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of bbeane
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%

A- Poured into a snifter... starts with a finger thick brown head on top of a pitch black beer. Leaves a fair amount of lacing stuck to the glass after receding

S- A nice blend of coffee and sweet malts... don't get any more than a hint of the vanilla in the nose

T- Very opposite from what I smelled. More vanilla than coffee in taste... combined with sweet malt and bitterness

M- Full bodied with a light carbonation

D- Very tasty, though theres better out there IMO

CHEERS!!

bbeane, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of snpub540
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%

Pours such a dark brown that its almost black. Light brown head that leaves the slightest amount of lacing but I didn't expect much.

Aroma is of coffee and the slightest hint of vanilla or oak.

Taste is definitely reminiscent of a light RIS. Coffee and roasted flavors make up the bulk of the flavor. Alcohol fruitiness is definitely in the finish.

Mouthfeel is spot of for a porter. Smooth and silky with the flavor of a stout. This is for sure the biggest porter I have ever drank.

snpub540, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of WYVYRN527
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

A: Pours pitch black, with a thick tan head that settles to about a finger thick. Lacong is excellent.

S: Smell consists of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruits. Hops are noticeable in the backround, but not much of a factor.

T: Coffee is most noticeable at first, followed by vanilla, dark chocolate, and some caramel. There is only a slight booziness to this beer. The finish is relatively dry, with some floral hop tones.

M: Full bodied, but the silkiness of this beer is short lived, as the finish doesn't last as long as I would have expected.

D: Excellent beer, although it's a sipper. For it's intense flavor and high ABV, it's very easy to drink. It does not need age, as it is showing brilliantly right now.

WYVYRN527, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of jminsc76
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%

On tap at Simmzy's in Manhattan Beach, California.

Pours a decently sized espresso head atop a black body. Very little lacing or legs at first, that is until I let it warm, then agitate, and then bam! out comes the head with thick legs as I tilt the glass.

Strong aromas of coffee, oak, and sweet vanilla beans, the last of which is the most prevalent in the bouquet. Wonderful smells.

Bitter coffee and vanilla on the front end, with bananas and darker fruits exhibiting toward the finish. Also accompanying those fruits is a slight quantity of booziness, which detracts slightly from the richness of all the other flavors. Grrr...

An incredibly thick mouthfeel as I swish, very full-bodied and pillowy. Love that feeling.

Overall, I was a little offset by the heat, as I have had this both from the bottle and from the cask and both consist of heaven on earth in deliciousness without the booziness. However, this is still a masterpiece of an imperial porter, and remains among my top five favorite beers of all time.

jminsc76, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of Casey10
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%

Wow a great beer given to me as a "extra" from SwillinBrew thanks Gil this one is really nice.

Wow what flavor this one really stands out for what it is shooting for the coffee flavor really stands out and is so nice.

A - Dark, wispy mocha head.

S - chocolate is prominate I can not really tell about the vanilla but this smells nice.

T - Lovely, so good smooth similar to southern tier chokolat but yet different. Not able to pick up the vanilla but most likely there whatever I like this.

M - smooth again leaves almost a feel after you have had just drunk a chocolate milk and the contents are slipping down the back of your throught.

D - I want another I gave a lower score because of the ABV and if I quickly drank another well lets just say I might not enjoy this beer the way I have.

A must try well done !!!

Casey10, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of biglite351
3.58/5  rDev -18.5%

I am re-reviewing this brew, and leaving my old review for reference. I emailed the brewer to let them not that I got a super-skunked bottle. To their extreme credit, a few days later a replacement bottle arrived at my house. Kudos to Ballast Point for very solid customer service.

L - nice and dark. Full long lasting foam.

S - mild but nice. Vanilla and coffee.

T - rich and deep. Certainly has coffee and vanilla. No real bitterness. Mild after taste.

M - tingle at the front of the tongue to start. The tingle then flows back into the throat for the after taste. Slight alcohol feel late.

D - this might be a little too much for an all nighter, but you could certainly have one or two during the evening.

I am not going to do my usual full review on this one. The brew looked great when I poured it. Very dark brew with a lasting full dark foam. The smell seemed a little off bit wasn't something rusting could place. The taste was the kicker. It actually took me back. It reminded me of a cheese that had been sitting out a a party for a bit too long. I really didn't get any coffee flavor at all. I truly hope that this was just an off bottle. It tasted nothing pike I expected. I actually did not finish it, I dumped it. Maybe in tje future I will try another bottle and re-review it. This was NOT a good bottle to grab though.

biglite351, Mar 13, 2010
Photo of WhiteOak
3.8/5  rDev -13.4%

A- Dark coffee brown color with a cola edge. The expansive, foamy head is light brown.

S- From a bottle, there was a short-lived but wonderfully seductive initial aroma of espresso layer cake with caramel and creme brulee┬┤, but unfortunately this aroma blew-off within mere minutes of the first pour. After this, the nose became muted and offered only a whiff of one-dimensional roasted malt. There were hints of some very nice aromatic notes here, but since they were so fragile, I had to score accordingly.

T- Flavors of roasted, slightly chocolatey malt attack the palate first, followed by a mid palate of bitter dark roasted coffee. The lingering finish is dominated by a bit too much coffee bitterness, but it is not unpleasant. A moderate amount of smokiness is present as well. The hops are restrained, as they should be with these added flavors.

M- The feel is creamy and moderately viscous; very pleasant.

D- ABV is masked behind its richness and structure, with only a warming touch. Certainly quite drinkable, and a nice interpretaion of a Porter.

Comment: Nice brew, and might have made a great candidate to spend some time in oak.

WhiteOak, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of itsromy
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%

I really do not enjoy porters too much, but to be perfectly honest, I thoroughly enjoyed this particular one. Ballast Point has crafted a fine porter with the Coffee Vanilla Imperial here.

It poured out of the bottle a dark dark hazy brown with nice foam forming at the top. It smelled more like coffee than vanilla... The taste was better than I expected. Being able to taste the coffee and hints of vanilla which balanced it out perfectly. Neither of the flavors were too overpowering. Although the beer went down relatively easily, I could not see myself putting down more than a pint.

All in all... A great porter! Highly recommended!

itsromy, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of TheJollyHop
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%

Pours a clear and oily black with a light brown mocha head. Very little lacing as the head fades, however the surface takes on the appearance of an artful latte presentation at a bistro.

Very pleasant aroma of freshly roasted coffee with some noticeable vanilla.

Semi-sweet chocolate is tamed by some light roasted malts. Caramel malt and some smoke flavors are also present. A dash of fresh brewed coffee is then followed up by vanilla sweetness that rounds out the taste. Alcohol is artfully masked, and hop bitterness builds to a level that is just shy of balancing out this malty brew. Bittersweet aftertaste. As far as I am concerned, this is a winning combination for imbibers who enjoy coffee and have a sweet tooth.

Creamy, medium/high carbonation with a medium body; slightly viscous and velvety smooth.

Very drinkable; dangerously so. Bittersweet aftertaste and mix of flavors that mesh very well make this a very palate enticing beer.

TheJollyHop, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of Bajasith
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured into a pilsner glass to get the full effect of a dark porter.

A: So dark almost black with no sign of color around the edges of glass... thick
S: You could definitnetly smell the roadted malts, coffee and a hint of vanilla... Alcohol blends them well.
T: Very creamy as the roasted coffee hits the palate with a slight sweet caramel undertone to erase the bitterness.
M: Medium to heavy, with a creamy and smooth texture. Low carbonation adds to the creamyness. Drinkability is dangerous. This doesn't taste 10% at all, and I will easily finish this bomber myself.
D: Very drinkable as none of the robust flavors tire the palate, but the 10* ABV can creep up on you...

Bajasith, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%

On tap beside the Sculpin IPA, I guess Bocktown just had a tasting for Ballast Point. A newcomer to the beer scene in the Burgh. This one pour black as night no ruby highlights seen when held toward the light. Mocha brown head fine speckled lacing forms as it dwindles. Aroma offered up strong coffee dark roasted malts dark chocolate hints of soft vanilla and mild caramel tones, and a bit of booziness is detectable as well. Flavor was a big roasted porter a bit of dark fruit plums soaked in alcohol with nice rounded vanilla and caramel sweetness. Very much a dessert beer, balanced with herbal hops and dark roasted coffee bitterness. The alcohol level didn't offend the palate or get in the way of drinkability. Full bodied slight alcohol burn, carbonated moderately finishes velvet smooth. Drinkability is way too easy for a 10 percent brew, I enjoyed this and I'm sure they're still pulling this one get there while it lasts great world class brew out of San Diego, wow SoCal is spoiled.

WVbeergeek, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of billshmeinke
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

22 oz. poured into a pint glass.

Black as midnight. Finger and a half pillowy khaki head with a couple larger bubbles in there. Resides to a nice thin layer of foam on top that leaves plenty of lacing that vehemently adheres to the glass.

Tons of coffee, roasted and smokey scents. A nice vanilla and caramel sweetness.

The taste burst with smokey, roasted coffee flavors. Tons of caramel, chocolate and vanilla flavor comes in there too. A subtle hint of dark fruits as well (raisins). Very bitter and smoky from the coffee, not much hop presence to speak of. It is balanced with tons of sweetness from the vanilla and the chocolate and caramel maltiness.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly only medium bodied, but slightly sticky at the same time (not exactly viscous but sticky, probably due to the vanilla). Medium carbonation, not incredibly bubbly. A nice velvety creaminess as well. I read another review that the body of the mouthfeel makes this beer true to its roots as a porter and keeps it from being confused with a stout which I totally agree with.

Good drinkability. There's a lot going on here that keeps you coming back for more, but the coffee starts to interfere a bit with the other flavors about half way through. Still the alcohol is very well hidden, and it's a very drinkable brew.

billshmeinke, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of Mistofminn
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Two reasons I cracked this tonight. One, I've already had two from the box I recieved this morning from kmurray8621 so why stop there? And two, I'm watching Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Mans Chest so it kind of fits (specifically the label).

Pours a deep black color with a generous light brown head sitting on top. Retention is great, and it leaves excellent lacing, sometimes milimeters thick.

The nose starts out smokey, with coffee and milk chocolate notes, along with vanilla. A soft roasted malt character rounds it out. Pretty much just as advertised, with a more prominant roasted malt/smoked malt character.

The taste starts out with a strong smoked malt flavor, with coffee overtones. I also get a sweet chocolate and vanilla taste about mid-palate. It's pretty complex and definitely tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, with a creamy and smooth texture. Low carbonation adds to the creamyness. Drinkability is dangerous. This doesn't taste 10% at all, and I will easily finish this bomber myself.

Overall, Ballast Point doesn't disappoint. Excellent brew I wish I had regular access too. Thanks Kevin for the chance to try this!

Mistofminn, Mar 04, 2010
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,753 ratings.