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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

3,858 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,858
Reviews: 927
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 723
Gots: 730 | 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: 3,858 | Reviews: 927 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oregonskibum
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Review from written notes.

A: Color is black with just a faint ruby color right along the edges. Pours with a 1-inch creamy tan head that dissipates slowly, leaving some good lacing.

S: Strong coffee and vanilla flavors dominate the smell. The smell is smooth and creamy. Solid cocoa backbone with a faint roasted coffee bitterness.

T: Smooth is the first impression. The roasted bitter coffee flavors are subdued, with just a nice coffee and chocolate malt flavor that is accompanied by some vanilla. Get a little warmth on the finish. Finish is long with a pleasant coffee flavor.

M: Big, full bodied, almost oily. Low carbonation and very smooth. Super easy to drink.

D: This was excellent. The flavors were well integrated and the beer very drinkable. I will definitely hunt this out again and wish I could score some of the special blends of this solid beer.

oregonskibum, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of philbe311
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial review on 11/28/09 (tap):

A - Dark shiny midnight black color... Just the tiniest bit of riuby highlights leak in at the top when the glass is tilted... A slight medium tan head quickly fades leaving an minimal but inviting lace... No carbonation can be seen... Leaves rings one the glass on the way down...

S - The nose is fairly subdued given the size and boldness of this brew... Present are roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a bit of licorice... Very little in the way of vanilla...

T - Equal part coffee, chocolate, and hearty roasted malt... The alcohol's warmth is present, but well hidden in the background... Absent are the vanilla and balance I enjoyed so much in draft form...

M - Slightly more than medium bodied, but still extremely delicate... Ever so slightly chewy... Goes down very easy considering the 10% ABV would lead you to believe... Not quite a sipper, but close... The bottle version proves to be a little more fizzy and a little less creamy...

D - A world class offering in draft form... Still a very formidable offering in bottle form... The vanilla and balance are MIA... Also the mouthfeel suffers from increased fizziness...

philbe311, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of Phelps
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks: like breakfast. An overriding and abundant black liquid fills the glass while a powerful-looking head the color of brown sugar and the consistency of pancake batter slowly retreats to a thin but stubborn blanket. Sweet, sticky spatters of lace pepper the glass as it goes.

Smells: like Cappuccino gelato. Medium roast coffee, with milk. Sweet, dessert like. Subtle vanilla notes in the back, with some roasty delights. Bit of sourdough, brown sugar. More coffee than vanilla.

Tastes: like tiramisu. An excellent balance of bitter and sweet. Bitter medium roast coffee flavors play at the sides of the tongue, while a sweet vanilla and irish cream character builds at the front. Toast. Molasses. Alcohol heat rolls down the throat, noticeable but not overpowering. Sweet finish. Loving the play of coffee bitterness and sweet vanilla. Really comes together as it warms. The vanilla becomes more pronounced, making the overall drink sweeter.

Feels: creamy, smooth and luxurious over the tongue. At first I thought the body could be a touch more full, and the medium carbonation just a bit too heavy, but the beer again improves dramatically as it warms. The mouthfeel expands to a creamy delight.

Drinks: like dessert. Victory at sea is a treat that, while not terribly complex, is utterly drinkable. I foresee the flavors mingling even better with time; I look forward to revisiting an aged bottle in a year or so.

Phelps, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of WorldWideStout
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A fairly dark, chocolately brown body with a one-finger light mocha head. I find the colors of the head and body to go together very well. The head is smooth and stays around for a few minutes until I begin to sip.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee, oats, and a little bit of heat. Can't really smell any vanilla.

T: The chocolate comes in first. There there is a bit of coffee with the chocolate, and then out comes the vanilla. I find this vanilla better than what I've had in other porters, mostly because it does not carry an artificial aftertaste with it. The coffee then comes in, a rich, roasty kind, and pervades through the aftertaste.

M: Silky and smooth and not too heavy.

D: Quite drinkable. The coffee is rich, but not as intense as in the Founders brews, and it is balanced out by the chocolate and vanilla.

Quite tasty, indeed.

WorldWideStout, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of thain709
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A deep, black body with no light getting through...a thin, tan head formed and showed little retention...a little bit of lacing

S - The nose was very, very sweet smelling...vanilla and cream (lactose) dominated the nose...hints of coffee were apparent

T - The flavors flipped from the aroma with the coffe and espresso flavors standing out...the coffee in this beer is like a fresh cup of iced coffee with a hint of cream...the vanilla and cream notes were subdued over the roasted and bitter coffee flavors...I was actually picking up a bright hop presence at first sip

M - Full bodied...smooth and creamy...great coffee finish

D - This porter is 10% so watch out...but you can not taste any alcohol...great coffee flavor with hints of cream...make sure you like coffee before having this one

thain709, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an impenetrable obsidian with massive tan head; stickage galore with speckles of lace all around the pint glass

Smell: Not sure which jumps out more - the coffee or the vanilla; underneath, there is a nutty character that lends a nougat depth to the brew

Taste: Nutty toffee, up front, with the coffee and vanilla developing strongly by mid-palate alongwith a bittersweet chocolate aspect; after the swallow, the hops lend a hand mometarily with a hint of pine; some dark fruit appears as well but this beer is about the malt, the coffee and the vanilla right through to the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Normally, I am not a big fan of vanilla but this beer is so unique, with so many other elements going on, that the vanilla, though dominant, really is additive

brentk56, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of digita7693
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A typical deep dark black, nice inch of mocha head, little lacing.

S coffee, but not overwhelmingly so with a nice bit of sweet vanilla and some roasted notes

T following the nose, good bit of coffee, a bit bitter chocolate and and a good amount of vanilla (ive heard many people complain about the lack of vanilla smell and taste, while it wasnt overwhelming it is definitely there and very tasty)

M/D nice carbonation, very smooth and creamy, very drinkable, but I couldnt have more than a bomber as it is a bit heavy. But split between 2 people it was perfect.

digita7693, May 30, 2010
Photo of chaz410
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black body, light has no chance in this viscous black hole of shadows. A light kakhi head sits atop this solid black brick of fluid.
Smells of coffee, vanilla hints, caramel and toasted malt.
The taste is amazing. There's a huge amount of roasted mocha and coffee. Laced across this robust backbone is subtle caramel and a nice vanilla sweetness with a very bright toasted character toward the end. There is a slightly charred coffee-like bitterness at the end.
Very thick and silky mouthfeel.
A very drinkable but assertive Imperial porter!

chaz410, May 25, 2010
Photo of Lerxst
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to beernerd81 for this one

A-Pours black with a nice one finger mocha colored head that has good retention and leaves nice lacing.

S-I am loving this nose. My nose is telling me this is an RIS. Strong vanilla and coffee aromas, roasty malt, chocolate. With apologies to Campbell's soup, this is mmmm, mmmm good.

T-Slightly sweet and a bit bitter at the same time. Follows the nose with vanilla, coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, along with a slightly bitter hoppy twist at the back end and a bit of booze. Man, this is REALLY good!

M-Medium bodied, but has a rich, lush mouthfeel. Slightly stinging carb bite works well.

D-This is a big beer make no mistake, but it is absolutely delicious making it almost dangerously easy to pound a bomber.

I really loved this beer. If I had ready access to it, I'd buy a case. A truly GREAT job by Ballast Point.

Lerxst, May 24, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black color, little brown on the edges, nice tan head that popped up and left some decent lace.

S - Someone told me the vanilla on this is not that big, but I found it to be huge. Nice coffee flavor and roasted malt smells, just slightly bitter. Little bit of chocolate in there as well.

T - Really like this one. Vanilla is very nice and rich, hints of chocolate, decent coffee taste, and a roasty malt backbone that doesn't get bitter like a big stout.

M - Full bodied, creamy. Pretty much perfecct.

D - A bit heavy, so it's not like it's a session beer, but pretty good for the style. Didn't have a problem getting through the bomber of this.

AgentZero, May 23, 2010
Photo of deuschbag
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. poured into a snifter. pours a dark ruby brown color with a good light tan head.

the nose starts off with a slight roasted coffee, chocolate, vanilla smell. but once it gets around room temperature, it's almost like waking up with folgers in your cup. glorious.

taste starts with a nice coffee flavor witch leads to a silky smooth piney hop vanilla heaven.

mouthfeel is soft and smooth.

drinkability is insane. such rich strong aroma and flavors masked behind that 10% alcohol. totally worth the mula.

deuschbag, May 19, 2010
Photo of CaptinRedBeard
3.98/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip. A nice dark brown almost black color with a large and tight two finger mocha colored head.

S-Vanilla dominates the nose. With hints of coffee and carmel malts.

T-Somehow fairly sweet and bitter at the same time. The vanilla for the most part overwelms the coffee flavor. But still the coffee does come through enought to keep the vanilla from being too overpowering. Sweet up front followed by a fair amount of hop bitterness in the finish.

M-Perfectly carbonated and fairly smooth. Thick enough to coat your entire palate.

D-At ten percent ABV and being as sweet as it is one bomber is more than enough with this beer. I would certainly drink it again if given the chance but for the price there are better beers for the style.

CaptinRedBeard, May 14, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one finger of tan head. Light carbonation and lacing evident.

s - Smells of milk chocolate, roasted malts, cofee, and a hint of alcohol.Some vanilla too. Very nice.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, hops, roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol.

m - High carbonation and medium body. Some alcohol warmth.

d - A pretty good porter. Smells amazing with lots going on, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the bitterness in the taste; it was a bit too much. I didn't get any vanilla from the taste which I would have liked, and also thought the high carbonation hurt it a bit. None the less, it is still a very good porter worth checking out. Would have again.

mdfb79, May 12, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.6/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If you want to get the best flavor out of this brew, drink it straight from the bottle. Or let it air out for a day.

A - Dark as night, with a solid amount of tan froth that lasts and lasts, some sticky lace.

S - Whoa, someone went WAY overboard with the vanilla. That just about overwhelms all of the other strengths of the nose. The richly roasted malt and the cold-brewed coffee would be quite impactful, if they weren't drowning in vanilla. I had to let this air out for at least an hour.

T - The taste is a bit hot. And again, it is overly laden with vanilla. It is not very good as it pours out of the bottle. Once it airs out for several hours (I actually let it rest overnight) it tastes quite sublime; as the coffee and roasted malt show interesting flavors and dynamics, and the booze element settles down. Even on the second day, it drinks a bit hot. A beer should not have to rest for 24 hours in order to deliver optimum flavor, bottom line.

M - Pretty nice, except for just a little too 'hot'.

D - Very close to being a drain pour; instead I corked it and drank it the next day, when it was finally enjoyable.

ktrillionaire, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

homebrewhawk, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of arizcards
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

arizcards, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of regspeir
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

regspeir, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

metter98, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of bsidemix
4.95/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

bsidemix, Apr 22, 2010
Photo of AleWatcher
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AleWatcher, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of ericwgbeer
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

M: appropriately thick and carbonated for an Imperial

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

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

ericwgbeer, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of kiddynamite920
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

kiddynamite920, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of SourBatchKid
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

SourBatchKid, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of mrstevens
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

mrstevens, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of callmescraps
3.63/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel- Nice carbonation. Seems a tad light.

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

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

callmescraps, Apr 17, 2010
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,858 ratings.