Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,690 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
4.65/5 rDev +5.9%
A: Almost perfect black with a two finger tan head that slowly recedes, leaving behind solid lacing on top of both the beer and down the glass.
S: Predominant coffee notes backed by a strong vanilla presence and roasted malts with some hints of oakiness in back.
T: The vanilla really shines through on the taste along with strong coffee taste. Sweet without being cloying, toffee and caramel aspects come through behind the coffee, leaving behind a well integrated blend of coffee, vanilla, and caramel. Amazing.
M: Mildly carbonated with a solid viscosity. Leaves a solid coating on the tongue and throat as it goes down, helping to prolong the aforementioned sweet aftertaste.
D: The ABV is well hidden, the sweetness is well balaned, and it goes down smooth - it's certainly not sessionable like a berliner weisse, but I could definitely put a couple bottles of this down without even blinking.
01-10-2010 01:36:17 | More by Xul
4.4/5 rDev +0.2%
Poured into a tulip glass. Deep, dark color with a decently sized, frothy, tan head. Nice lacing.
Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. The chocolate and sweet malts are more dominant than the coffee smell, but the coffee beans are definitely there, along with some vanilla notes as well. Smells delicious.
Caramel, vanilla and chocolate come rushing through on the first sip, followed by a healthy addition of roasted, somewhat bitter, coffee bean. Warming alcohol lurks beneath, never interfering with the flavor, but letting you know this is a big beer. The overall flavor profile is quite sweet at first, but the bitterness from the coffee helps even things out. Behind all these flavors there seems to be just a little bit of bit of peppery hoppiness as well.
Mouthfeel is very smooth, rich and warming. Feels a little spicy at times from the hops, but overall it is quite smooth.
Drinkability is also very good. I'm really enjoying the glass I'm sipping from, but I probably wouldn't drink an entire 22oz by myself due to the richness and 10% ABV. A normal sized glass serving is just about right.
Overall, this beer is awesome. Lots of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a good addition of coffee beans. This is probably more of a dessert beer, but a very good one. More than surpassed my expectations. If you can find this, I highly recommend you pick it up. I'm already wishing I had another to drink this week and another two to cellar.
01-10-2010 00:39:31 | More by sisuspeed
4.53/5 rDev +3.2%
Picked up one of these on a beer run down to MA. Poured into our large tulip snifter, revealing rich midnight brown body and an appealing thick tanned head. Good lacing, too. For a porter, it's awesome looking. Smells like the taste of coffee vanilla ice cream with nice roasty porter black malt-type notes.
Tastes smooth and quite sweet, with omnipresent roasted flavors laced with vanilla and burnt caramel. I always get a little more raw woody character to porters than other dark beers and here is no exception. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with carbonation adding volumes without being too tingly. That said, it is quite acidic. A nice coffee/hoppy bitterness rounds out each sip. Detectable alcohol presence. Medium to heavy-bodied. With all its acidity, it drinks like a well-done dark roast but the sweetness does ease that. I'd love to see this one with a year or two on it to catch the coffee mellowing.
For an imperial porter, it's excellent.
01-10-2010 00:31:01 | More by abuliarose
District of Columbia
3.43/5 rDev -21.9%
Bit of a letdown.
Appearance: Decent head and lacing; pour is of course near-black with some ruby/mahogany to it
Smell: Lots of dark, roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, and coffee grounds. Hint of vanilla, but not much
Taste: Roasted malts, burnt coffee and espresso, dark chocolate, hint of vanilla. Title is fitting. A bit more bitter / acidic than I would have liked.
Mouthfeel: Smooth enough, but the coffee ground taste makes it feel a bit chewy.
Drinkability: Bitter / accidic element of the coffee and roast limits drinkability unless you are big on those elements.
01-09-2010 21:43:05 | More by craytonic
4.35/5 rDev -0.9%
Inky black and opaque with an inch high head of light brown dimpled and uneven foam that lingers long and rises up the sides of the glass.
Aroma of coffee and cocoa, some roasty malt and marshmallow.
Rich flavor of bitter chocolate and light cocoa, molasses and dark coffee. The coffee doesn't take over, it melds well with the other flavors. Vanilla is very subtle, almost hidden. Notes of licorice and leather, some grainy brown sugar, and firm bitterness in the background. Well hidden alcohol.
Firm and rich mouthfeel, slightly tangy, crisp and tingly. Very flavorful and rich, with high drinkability for such a bold beer.
01-09-2010 04:22:28 | More by far333
4.6/5 rDev +4.8%
Huge thanks to dgb3 for a brew I have been wanting to try for quite some time. 22 oz. bomber poured into my Stone RIS tulip.
A: Deep, dark, brown color, just a touch of light around the edge. The pour creates a big two finger fluffy, mocha head that retains well and leaves tons of thick lace.
A: I get the coffee and espresso notes before I even pour it into the glass. These aromas just burst out of the bottle. The roasted coffee is very prominate, and I get a good dose of the vanilla as well.
T: Man this might be the most coffee forward beer I have ever had. Great espresso roastiness and chocolate are the dominate flavors, but the vanilla most definately makes an appearance on the back end. The brew finishes very dry with almost no hint of the alcohol.
M: Heavy body, creamy, and velvety smooth. The carbonation delivers the flavors nicely.
D and overall impression: Drinkability is dangerously high with this one. Overall, I really dig coffee forward beers, and this one might be the best I have ever had. I loved this beer from the moment I opened it. As far as American Porters go, I have yet to find one better. Outstading! Must try! Skal.
01-08-2010 23:41:43 | More by Gtreid
4.55/5 rDev +3.6%
A- Big fluffy mocha head with pretty good stay. Eventually it recedes but not with out throwing tons of lacing in the form of rings around the glass. The beer its self is a coffee colored deep brown that collects in the glass and becomes opaque black.
S- Coffee is dominate. Some hops are detectable underneath the roasted coffee soft vanilla and caramel. Its pretty nice. Let this one warm and use a glass thats easy to swirl. The nose will then come alive.
T- Coffee lovers unite! This is pretty heavy on the bitter, roasted, black coffee. Under that is the vanilla. Its like adding vanilla to a cup of coffee. There is a suggestion of hops towards the end. They add a juiciness and pine to the finish. The aftertaste is like milk chocolate and vanilla. This is a really roasty and bitter porter.
M- Fairly thick. Lots of carbonation that fluffs up the mouthfeel a lot.
D- Very robust and delicious. The alcohol isnt too noticeable, not with the in your face coffee characteristics of this beer.
01-08-2010 04:31:59 | More by MbpBugeye
4.15/5 rDev -5.5%
22oz bottle from Mymrngjckt, thanks for the trade! Drank in October with friends watching the Browns play another pathetic game. Just found my notes, so why not post them :)
Pours a dark black with tan head. Looks very nice.
So, I don't know if this was just due to the bottle being almost a year old, but I didn't get these amazing scents of vanilla and coffee others seem to be raving about. A bit of coffee for sure. Vanilla seems to have left the building. This has NOTHING on Aphrodite in the vanilla nose department.
Taste is also good. Coffee is the obvious flavor. But to me, this wasn't anywhere near Speedway, FBS, Central Waters Peruvian, or Shorts Cup of Joe in it's intensity. Caramel malt seems lonely. Vanilla? Wherefore art thou?
Mouthfeel is nice - good amount of carb and a feel that's significant without being too dense.
Drinkability was good as well, mostly because this really didn't taste too significantly strong to me.
Gotta re-rate with a super freshie bottle someday...I'll buy another bottle if I'm ever in a shop that has some, but I won't be mail ordering or trading for more. Kind of a dissapointment after expecting something world class.
01-07-2010 15:24:36 | More by jampics2
5/5 rDev +13.9%
Had a buddy ship me this direct from the brewery on release day - many thanks Milt! Poured from a 650ml bomber into a pint glass. Awesome artwork on the label. Dec 2009 release date. It was pitch black in color even against the light. It had a good sized tan head that settled into a thin wispy cap with good collar. Much lacing. For a porter it's as good as it gets on appearance.
The aroma is exceptional. Roasted and chocolate malts with lots of great smelling coffee (several recent coffee beers had a weak coffee base but this one nails it). A touch of vanilla in the back. A constant sniffer. The taste was also perfect. Rich, chocolaty base with coffee and vanilla highlights. Finishes with a slight bitterness smoothed out by the vanilla. Amazing flavor. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with good carb and good aftertaste.
Overall, this is perfection for a porter and a coffee beer. 5's all around and wishing I had gotten more than one. Time to re-order. I could drink this anytime and anywhere. Highest recommendation and definitely worthy of the hype. Rotation: not avail here in TX so had shipped by Milt. Will get more immediately!
01-07-2010 03:26:25 | More by TexIndy
4.45/5 rDev +1.4%
Bomber into a Mad Elf tulip.
A: Pours a solid midnight black body underneath a lofty 3-finger head of creamy, frothy, dark tan foam. Strong retention and nice chunky lace. Great looking beer.
S: Bold coffee jumps out of the glass, followed by a delicate blend of vanilla, caramel, and faintly citric, bitter hops. Rich, balanced, and complex.
T: Follows the nose almost precisely, with roasted coffee up front, smooth vanilla and sweet caramel malt in the middle, and highly acidic, orange-flavored hops on the tail end. Big, bitter finish, with just the lightest dash of warming alcohol. Delicious.
M: Medium body with moderate, roiling carbonation.
D: Does a great job delivering a huge array of robust flavor without being overwhelming with sweetness or heat. Great.
Notes: Special thanks to my wife for giving me this as a Christmas gift (and for the salesman at New England Beverage Co. who picked it out for her). It was the perfect complement to the day's candy, company, and cheer, and far tastier (I presume) than the Tiffany necklace I got her. I'd rather have beer than jewelry any day.
01-06-2010 22:26:55 | More by woosterbill
4.75/5 rDev +8.2%
A: Poured from a bottle to an imperial pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was an inch of foamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head and excellent lacing. A great-looking beer.
S: Smelled of coffee, vanilla, roasted malt and a little hops. A big, bold, enticing aroma.
T: Tastes like it smells. roasted coffee, roasted malt, and vanilla and a slight hoppiness in the finish. Very flavorful and bold.
M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. A full-bodied beer.
D: An excellent example of an American Porter. Exceedingly drinkable.
01-05-2010 13:28:35 | More by avalon07
4.63/5 rDev +5.5%
shared with Drink1121
A - poured in a duvel tulip, color is dark dark purple with a reddish purple boarder when held up to the light. A slight mocha colored head.
S - vanilla coffee
T - multiple flavors going on, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, carmel and bourbon or whiskey flavor at the end. It taste like a beer milk shake, Kinda boozy when it warms up.
M - like the texture or milk
D - Kinda boozy but i could drink a few cause it tastes so good
01-05-2010 03:02:14 | More by kfsv034
4.8/5 rDev +9.3%
Shared bottle with kfvs034.
A-Pours black with a light brown small head. The little head quickly fades but never completely.
S-Big vanilla up front then I get coffee with some caramel in the middle and light bourbon at the end.
T- Different than the smell. Coffee at first, then some roasted malts . Bourbon and vanilla come to towards the end.
M- Smooth as ever. Some hop bitterness on the tongue. I can feel the hops, but cant really smell or taste them.
D- Wow. 10% thats crazy drinkable for that. I would have never known. I bought 4 of these in Illinois and am glad I did.
01-05-2010 02:54:34 | More by drink1121
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
Glad I found this one at the local beer store...
A: Perfect. Black with no light shining through. Thick 1 and 1/2" mocha colored head that slowly thins, but never completely fades.
S: Smells of heavy vanilla with hints of coffee and an oaky / matly backend. Smells good. Not an extremely strong scent, but not hidden either.
T: Very hoppy upfront with vanilla notes followed by subtle coffee. I like this one. Very tasty. The more I drink it, the more the coffee takes front and center and the vanilla takes a back seat.
M: Very good carbonation with a nice smoothness that lingers on the tastebuds.
D: Goes down exceptionally easy. Very easy to drink despite the ABV %.
All in all, this is a porter that is on the stout borderline, which most good porters are anyways. This is a great brew if you're looking for a good blend of flavor, hoppiness, and smooth drinkability. Awesome brew!
01-02-2010 02:24:07 | More by steve8robin
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
Received in a trade with bmanning and consumed in the summer of 2009.
A: Poured a very dark brown, nearly black, with a short tan head.
S: Lots of roasted malt paired with coffee, vanilla, and a bit of chocolate.
T: The vanilla comes through quite a bit and in comes the chocolate with a bit of sweetness, followed by a dry coffee/espresso and plenty of roasted malt.
M: Fairly full-bodied with moderate carbonation.
D: Very, very drinkable. Quite complex and added yet another tally to the number of amazing vanilla-infused beers that I've had.
01-01-2010 17:04:06 | More by Thorpe429
4.45/5 rDev +1.4%
Pure onyx body. Thick and foamy toffee colored head held over and inch for about three minutes before slowly receding. To dark to note carbonation.
Roasted barley hits strong up front and brings a nice coating of vanilla with it. Coffee aroma is quite strong and bursts forth after a second on the nostrils.
Strong bitter coffee taste up front. Vanilla background to the overall flavor. A very nice balance between malt and vanilla sweetness and coffee bitter.
Thick feel on all mouth surfaces and flavor clings to the tongue. Carbonation is a nice light burst.
A great brew. Works well as a dessert beer. A true treat worth finding. Coffee lovers will enjoy this one twice as much.
01-01-2010 07:53:13 | More by RedChrome
4.22/5 rDev -3.9%
A - Very Dark(lika a stout), half finger light tan head.
S - Coffee, Vanilla sweetness, Bourbon and Chocolate. Very even smells.
T - Tastes very close to the smell only stronger. Tastes of Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla with some smoky bitterness. Very light on sweetness(unexpected) and the alcohol. A slight metal taste in the finish also quite high in tannins.
M - Heavy in the mouthfeel with light carbonation.
D - Very drinkable but the 10% could hurt the good time.
Very much a stout in most characteristics.
12-31-2009 05:33:04 | More by SanDiegoBeerLove
4.25/5 rDev -3.2%
(Where is the fish on the label? These skeletons freak me out.)
Pour is black, wet, with a gentle, brown head. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and caramelized sugar, bringing to mind a pastry. Taste is vanilla with a kiss of sweetness. Coffee on the finish rounds it out. Lingering coffee bitterness. More vanilla on the exhale. Feel is thinner than a normal stout but has a stickiness to it; coats the mouth with a bitter, burnt aftertaste. Where is the 10% alcohol hiding?
12-31-2009 00:15:07 | More by gyllstromk
4.4/5 rDev +0.2%
bomber split in two...slightly chilled..
a-black...khaki colored frothy head...fades away quickly leaving some nice lacing...thick collar hangs around
s-coffee up front of the deep roasted kind...leads into some nice roasted barley and vanilla...vanilla then gets a little head strong in the middle before leaving a faint sweet smell lingering
t-sweet vanilla up front but the coffee rushes in to take over...roasty and grainy ....a little bitter in the mid palate..some nice piney hops break through towards the end to balance this out before it finishes dry and bitter..a slight bit tannic as well..
m-creamy and smooth as silk...lingers around for a while...the bitterness dries the mouth out between sips...not harsh at all...a tad oily but over bearing..the carbonation really does this one justice.
d-will absolutely have no problem putting awary a bomber of this...the complexities that present themselves as the beer warms really make this a great sipper
ive really been looking forward to this beer and glad i got to try it...i will pick up a couple more bottle to see how it progresses...a winner in my book
12-29-2009 03:43:50 | More by stoutfiend27
4.35/5 rDev -0.9%
A: Dark black, more stout like than porter like. Mocha colored head that was fluffy, retained well and left great lacing
S: Coffee, vanilla smokiness, gram cracker and burnt caramel. No flavor overwhelms and all are very present individually but also as a whole
T: Very much the same as the smell. The coffee is present and prvoides some bitterness, the creates a balance betweent the sweetness and bitterness, the smokiness provides more complexity and the gram cracker provides some chewiness.
M: A bit light in body but there is only a minimal amount of head and a nice creamy feel.
D: I think i could have this one everyday and a bomber would go down way to easy
12-29-2009 00:47:49 | More by mikey711
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
Bottle thanks to Kegatron.
Pours black with one finger of smooth light tan head.
Scent of roasted malts, bitter hops, chocolate, vanilla, sugars, oatmeal, and some dark fruit. Not quite amazing, but balanced supremely well with no hint of alcohol.
Taste of sweet creamy vanilla, chocolate, oatmeal, roasted malts, coffee, some bitter hops, and burnt wood. Very tasty, and balanced similarly as the scent. This brewery can balance the hell out of some very strong beer.
Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and smooth with a slowly biting carbonation; wonderful.
12-26-2009 02:57:28 | More by paco1029384756
4.5/5 rDev +2.5%
22oz bottle. Black with a medium tan head that leaves moderate foam and a touch of lace. Not inky though with some mahogany around the edges, which I guess is an argument for it being a porter (whatever that means). The aroma is great, with lots of coffee and maybe even more vanilla; almost like a mocha with a shot of vanilla syrup. I'm having Starbucks flashbacks, and I like it. Plenty of milk chocolate as well, and the vanilla aids in the impression of an immense sweetness. Did I already mention the vanilla? I got more coffee at first, but the vanilla is really coming out over time. Forty-five minutes in the glass, and this begins to resemble vanilla extract. I love that stuff. The flavor is sweet, but not thick or sticky (wait, that's a mouthfeel). Coffee, poser dark chocolate, and lots of vanilla. Fresh coffee, which is always a nice touch. Just enough bitterness to balance the sweet, and no astringency or discomfort. Medium-full body with carbonation that falls somewhere between medium and low. Just a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish, but very integrated and smooth for a ten percent beer. Leans more heavily on the coffee, and especially the vanilla, than I was expecting, but this is fantastic stuff. A true dessert drink, (or morning depending on how you roll, and I do have a slight caffein buzz) but one that is not overly sweet or thick. I could drink a fair bit of this, with alcohol being a welcome limiting factor before any abrasive flavor characteristics. Ballast Point just nailed in on this one: full of flavor, yet balanced and super drinkable. The vanilla is almost silly at times, but I love the stuff and it really works with the rest of the beer.
12-23-2009 06:35:50 | More by bulletrain76
4.6/5 rDev +4.8%
Pours near black with a silky tan head. Nice lace and retention.
Nose has vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and dark fruits.
Taste also has a big vanilla presence that is well balanced by cocoa, espresso, molasses and dark malts.
Medium to full body is well carbonated. Tasty stuff, should age well.
12-22-2009 06:14:09 | More by rye726
4.63/5 rDev +5.5%
22oz bottle, brawleys - charlotte. split during MNF
appearance: pours into a standard pint - dark ebony body with a creamy chocolate crest. very nice
smell: holy batmobile, rich roasty chocolate cap, strong roasted espresso, french roast, vanilla, alcohol
taste: awesome beer - robust and full bodied, huge espresso notes, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. epic coffee beer - glad to see this one around
mouthfeel: huge body, creamy, robust - full flavor
12-22-2009 02:05:48 | More by dirtylou
4.58/5 rDev +4.3%
Wow, so impressive. Only other vanilla porter I've had was from Breckenridge, also good, but more pedestrian than this. Pours black like a stout, always a good sign. Smell, just gives a hint of the vanilla, but there's more of that to come.
The taste if phenomenal. Delic. The vanilla must absorb some alcohol, because I was shocked after having a few sips to find out this is 10%. I was guessing in the 7% range. Love when that happens. So smooth, went so good with the pork tenderloin tonight, which usually you don't pair with a stout.
Subsequent batches haven't seemed all that world class, but always very good. But they keep selling out very quickly, so they must be doing something right.
12-21-2009 02:38:56 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,690 ratings.