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

3,705 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,705
Reviews: 917
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 657
Gots: 698 | FT: 56
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: 3,705 | Reviews: 917 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

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
Photo of kfsv034
kfsv034

Florida

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
Photo of drink1121
drink1121

California

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
Photo of steve8robin
steve8robin

Massachusetts

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
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

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
Photo of RedChrome
RedChrome

Connecticut

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
Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
SanDiegoBeerLove

California

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
Photo of gyllstromk
gyllstromk

Belgium

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
Photo of stoutfiend27
stoutfiend27

North Carolina

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
Photo of mikey711
mikey711

New Jersey

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
Photo of paco1029384756
paco1029384756

Illinois

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
Photo of bulletrain76
bulletrain76

California

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
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

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
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

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

drinkability: nice

12-22-2009 02:05:48 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

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
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.7/5  rDev +7.1%

On tap at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

A: The pour is a beautiful black color with a rather nice layer of mocha colored foam, but no lacing to speak of.

S: The aroma is full of coffee and vanilla, as one might expect from the name of the beer. There are also a lot of roasted malt and chocolate.

T: While the nose was spectacular, the flavor is just as good (maybe even a little better). The coffee and vanilla flavors really come out as the beer warms up a little, as does a great chocolate flavor. The roasted malts are present throughout as well.

M: A rather full body and smooth mouthfeel. The carbonation is low to moderate, which helps out the aforementioned feel on the tongue.

D: This is a dangerously drinkable beer. I didn't really detect any alcohol and it's just such a solid beer that you can't help but keeping going back to it.

12-18-2009 21:19:26 | More by womencantsail
Photo of scottg
scottg

Vermont

4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

thanks to choprite for this one.
22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark black with a one finger tan head with light retention and thin patchy lacing. Sweet vanilla, roasted malt, and freshly brewed coffee in the aroma, all very clean. Coffee, vanilla and brown sugar up front flavors with some alcohol warmth in the middle with a lemon/espresso bitter finish that fades to little aftertaste. Medium body and carbonation, this has a creamy mouth coating feel-excellent. Good drinkability, you know the alcohol is present but the clean flavors are the key.
A very well balanced porter, solid all the way through.

12-17-2009 06:34:47 | More by scottg
Photo of dannyhipps
dannyhipps

California

4.85/5  rDev +10.5%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my beloved Trpile Karmeliet lage chalice.

A- Looks like a flat cola(deep dark brown body with crimson tinges on the edges as light hits) as it pours from the bottle, forms an enticing cocoa head that disappears quickly. Heavenly brown-sugar snowdrifts of lacing remain.

S- Coffee hits then gives way to a pleasant sweetness that reminds me of a half-eaten chocolate donut left behind in a delicate brown paper bag. Whiffs of carob and dark fruits/raisins faintly appear in the background as the beer warms.

T- Phenomenal. Deep, delicious, and yes, sweet coffee/vanilla/tootsie-roll up front. A wonderful coffee bitterness kicks in mid-palate followed by a sweet milk chocolate/candi sugar blossom on the finish. A real treat!

Mouthfeel is perfect. Silky, creamy deliciousness. Just enough tingly bite on the palate thanks to the just-right carbonation level. The mouthfeel really saves this beer IMHO, which otherwise could've been a mess since the flavors are so rich on their own in this heavenly brew.

D- This is a rich beer, no doubt. But with the decadent flavors and sublime mouthfeel, probability of gluttony is high!

12-17-2009 05:03:32 | More by dannyhipps
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

4.1/5  rDev -6.6%

On tap at the Rose & Crown.

A: Pours an initial pitch black that lightens to a translucent, very dark brown (with ruby highlights) as the brew recedes in the glass. It's capped by a surprisingly long-lived mocha-colored head that falls in rocky patches. But it doesn't leave a collar or any lacing down the glass, which is odd. I am able to excite fresh carbonation with a swirl, but it doesn't last.

S: Vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malt which lends quite the flavorful aroma of espresso. I kept expecting more, then I realized it's my "extreme beer nerd" acting up. This has a few primary components, and they are delivered well for a solid bouquet. That's that.

T: Vanilla up front -- I'm told this was made with vanilla beans, as opposed to extract -- and dark chocolate make for a supple, sweet introduction that make me beg for more. The mid-taste is coffee that carries into the finish. The aftertaste resurrects vanilla and chocolate for a supremely satisfying close.

M: Full-bodied; it's quite viscous to swirl in the mouth. Low carbonation that gives it a nearly creamy mouthfeel. Quite good. No trace of the ABV. It drank like something much, much lighter.

D: Hell yes. I had two glasses of this and I'm tempted to go back for more before the keg kicks. This is a good one. The price point is the only thing keeping me away from drinking myself silly on it.

12-14-2009 07:41:30 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of WeisGuy
WeisGuy

New York

4.13/5  rDev -5.9%

On-tap at the Rose & Crown in Palo Alto with Sculpin right next to it.

a - pours deep dark black, one-finger mocha colored head, retention around the edges and decent lacing

s - vanilla extract and dark chocolate dominate, dark fruits and deep roasted coffee add a nice depth

t - fairly sweet with semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla up front, mid-palate is dominated by dark roasted bitter coffee, finish has lots of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla extract and some boozy notes

m - medium-to-full bodied, medium carbonation, pretty dry finish, strong alcohol warming

d - definitely a sipper and not overly drinkable, the coffee bitterness is fairly hard on the palate, that said, the flavors are interesting and I'd have no problem polishing off a few snifters or a bomber

12-14-2009 01:29:23 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of OStrungT
OStrungT

California

5/5  rDev +13.9%

This beer pours a brown so dark that it looks black in the glass. It boasts a thick brown head that fades very slowly, leaving a great lacing.

This beer smells of fresh vanila beens. Some coffee mixes in. Sweet malt as well. You know what, it kind of smells like Kaluah.

This beer tastes like it smells. Kaluah. Some coffee and some smooth vanila. Maybe a little chocolate. Some toffee also. Great!

This beer is very smooth. The alcohol is well hidden during the entire experience. It leaves a Kaluah aftertaste.

This beer would make a good session beer, but beware of the ABV!

Overall: This beer is great. So complex and good. One of the best I can remember. Ever.

12-14-2009 01:04:03 | More by OStrungT
Photo of ArtofBrewing
ArtofBrewing

California

4.9/5  rDev +11.6%

12/12/09
A: Extremely dark beer, light barely passes through, thick head (coffee w/ cream color) that falls slowly.
S: Rich scent of coffee and vanilla. Slight hints of cocoa and dark chocolate.
T: Perfectly balanced notes of bitter and sweet coffee. Vanilla adds a hint of sweetness for additional complexity.
M: Medium body, perfect carbonation and a smooth.
D: Possibly the best porter I have ever had. Highly recommended.

12-13-2009 04:21:01 | More by ArtofBrewing
Photo of rhinos00
rhinos00

Colorado

4.1/5  rDev -6.6%

Big thanks to Shane for sending this one my way. Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark, chocolate brownie color. Zero clarity. Produced a fingers width of off-white colored head. Reduced to a ring around the glass. Minimal lacing.

S- I really had to let this beer warm up to get the full effect. The vanilla and coffee aromas in this beer were equally dominant. Also noticed a subtle sweetness from dark chocolates. Great blend of aromas!

T- Very much like the aroma, which I was happy about. The coffee does come on a little stronger and provides a great base flavor for the beer. Raw coffee bean upfront, then mellows out with the addition of vanilla flavors. Leaves a pleasant sweetness on the palate along with bitter cocoa nibs.

M- Medium bodied and good carbonation. Semi-dry on the finish.

D- Very easy drinking with great flavors. Alcohol not too noticeable.

Overall, really glad to have finally tried this beer. I'm not too big into coffee beers, but this was an exception. Definitely recommended!

12-13-2009 02:06:37 | More by rhinos00
Photo of mbudner
mbudner

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Poured from bomber into a snifter.

A- Pours black with a 1-finger tan to mocha colored head, 1-finger, dissipated very quickly leaving little to no lacing, but a syrupy resin.

S- The vanilla is unmistakable whether or not I knew this was a coffee vanilla porter. It is a very sweet vanilla akin to vanilla extract. The only negative to the vanilla is that it is slightly artificial/chemical-like. Some grassiness, burnt coffee, roasted malts

T- The coffee and bitterness of the malts hits the tip of my tongue as a very sweet vanilla (though not over-done in my opinion) envelops my entire palate. Creme brulee/caramelized sugar, some semi-sweet chocolate, macadamia nuts. There is some bitterness combined with some heat (but not much) in the finish.

M- Very well done. It has just the right amount of thickness and is very creamy initially. For the first second of a sip, I almost feel as if there is no carbonation, but then the bubbles pop on the middle and back of my tongue really rounding out the finish. I find the only thing separating this (and many other "imperial" porters) from an RIS is the prickly carbonation, but the chewiness is definitely there. Really outstanding job on the mouthfeel, a true gold standard.

D- The sweetness combined with full body and high abv makes this a beer that is not extremely drinkable, but it is definitely good. Overall, a great beer and I had no problem finishing a bomber of. I really liked how it evolved and some of the flavors that came out as it warmed (true of most/all beers, but especially true of this one.)

12-11-2009 03:41:33 | More by mbudner
Photo of portia99
portia99

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev -2.5%

22oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours an opaque dark, dark brown (about as dark as you can get without being black). A thin half finger of dark tan head appears briefly. It falls away to a loose collar and few straggling islands of bubbles on the surface.

S - A touch boozy in the aroma with alcohol up front. Lots of coffee and dark roasty flavors. Vanilla appears as a sweet creaminess and blends with some other sweet, fruity aroma in there.

T - Lots of coffee up front in flavor, a bit of astringency coming from the amount of coffee there. Lots of other roasty flavors too from dark grains, also gives a hint of caramel, a sweet and somewhat fruity flavor. Vanilla adds some more sweetness and definitely a smoothness to the flavors.

M - Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin and on the watery side - almost like carbonated black coffee. I think this keeps the vanilla from having more of an impact. I thought it would be fuller and creamier in feel. Carbonation is adequate, but on the light side...also contributes to the thin feel. Probably my least favorite aspect of this beer, but only a minor distraction.

D - Rather high in alcohol at 10% and the alcohol is noticeable in the nose, but not as much in the flavor. Somewhere in the middle of a sipper and a moderately drinkable beer overall. For what it is, it is pretty smooth. A bomber is plenty in one sesson though.

12-05-2009 21:30:26 | More by portia99
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,705 ratings.