1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

3,858 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 Bajasith
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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
Photo of RedBrewer83
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aggressively poured into tulip...

A: Pours a dark chocolate black, not jet black, has some nice roasted coffee chocolate brown on the edges. Big frothy two finger mocha head, nice staying power.

S: Big aroma of roasted coffee, vanilla, dark fruit, roasted malt, caramel. This is very complex and the flavors all seem very well balanced, not over competing.

T: Follows the nose, starts with the coffee which falls into the vanilla and almost creme brulee caramel malt with some bittersweet chocolate and just a hint of smoke like molasses. A little dark fruit mixed in as well, some raisin, and some date.

M: Incredibly smooth and creamy, a little bit lighter than I expected which is nice as it seems to fit the style. Rather than being a stout named a porter they truly crafted a porter mouthfeel and weight despite the 10%.

D: Incredibly drinkable for this big of a beer. Very delicious, would love to have this one again!

RedBrewer83, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of younger35
3.58/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a couple bombers of this from Friar Tucks in Bloomington IL probably a year-ish ago. I've had a couple bombers so far but haven't reviewed it now. This is my last bottle unfortunately. Drank from my Darkness snifter.

Appearance- Pours a pitch ass black with a nice one finger dark tan fizzy head. Not much of a cap remains but there is a nice thick collar and some random lacing that sticks around.
Smell- Not the most intense or overly complicated nose which is weird considering all stuff thrown in. The vanilla is noticeable right from the start but its light and somewhat artificial smelling. The coffee isn't real noticeable as there is just a deep roast in the beer. A bit of dark chocolate and caramel top everything off.
Taste- Starts with a sneaky little bite of alcohol and a bit of smooth vanilla goodness. The vanilla tastes much better than it smells and honestly it's much more subdued and incorporated than it was last time I had it (which has to be summer of '09). Plenty of milk chocolate remains along with some slightly sweet caramel and brown sugar. There is an underlying roastiness in the beer that's lightly acidic and almost harsh as it mixes with the alcohol. A bit of vanilla lingers and lingers.
Mouthfeel- Fairly nice and on the heavy side of medium with a nice crisp bite of carbonation. Despite the fact that the bubbles are fairly aggressive there is still a nice light creaminess to the mouthfeel.
Drinkability- Uggghhh... Not bad I suppose. I really love the concept of this beer and I think they are on the right path but something about this just isn't drinkable. The vanilla can get to be a bit much and there is a underlying sweetness that isn't necessarily cloying, but it's a bit much. Also, 10% for this beer is entirely too much. You can taste and feel every bit of it. A fun beer that I'm glad to have been able to try a couple times but make sure you have a friend around because a full bomber is too much.

younger35, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of Tilley4
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to the crew over at Bruisin Ales in Asheville for the chance to try this brew! Gotta pimp their store since it's so awesome...

Poured into a Yazoo Hop Project tulip pint glass..

Pours a magnificent jet black with a thick 1 inch head that stays virtually the entire time I'm enjoying this one... I mean, this one is ridiculously black.. It's RIS black to say the least... Probably the best looking porter I've ever laid eyes on...

Wow, 2 for 2 so far on this one.. A ridiculously tasty aroma of dark bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee and loads of roasted malts.. There's almost a smokiness here that really makes this one a joy to just stop and smell over and over...

Well, I'm probably enjoying the best porter that I've ever had the privilege to have.. Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes used to be the best I've ever had but this one has just surpassed it.. It's undescribably delicious with its loads of rich dark roasted malts, crushed up roasted dark coffee beans, subtle hints of vanilla, and bitter dark chocolate influences... I almost got emotional while drinking this one... I'm not sure I could ask for much more out of an American Porter than this one offers... At 10%, this one could hammer you quickly but I can't detect a single tinge of booze out of this one.. It's masterfully crafted....The thick creaminess of this one makes it a real pleasure to enjoy as well.. It's thick and rich but not in a cloying way at all... World class in my opinion..

My ratings say it all.. Obviously, others didn't like this one as much as I have, but I really don't care about that... At this point in time, at this moment, this was the perfect beer to me.. I couldn't ask for anything more out of a beer than what this one provided... I will definitely be getting this one again and again... It's terrific..

Tilley4, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of Hojaminbag
2.98/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ballast Point Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Porter (wow, that's a long one) has a black, opaque body with a large crown of off-white head that is composed of rather large bubbles. Retention is pretty good, and the beer laces the glass nicely.

Lots of coffee in the aroma, with hints of chocolate and vanilla.

This beer is a little bit puzzling for me. How does this beer sound so good to me, (coffee, vanilla, porter, I like ALL of these things!), smell so good, but taste so off? The flavors are there, they are strong, but they are a little bit cloying and I just don't feel like they come together well. Up front there is a ton of coffee and roasted malts followed by a large blast of bittersweet chocolate. The vanilla flavor is huge, reminding me of vanilla extract. A bite of bitter hops rounds out the finish, adding a bit of a citrus character.

The mouthfeel could use a little more punch, it is fine but would be better if it were bigger and a bit creamier.

One thing I will say for Victory at Sea is that it hides that 10% ABV really well, no alcohol flavor or even warming pops up, and I would not have guessed that this bad boy was this strong. Overall, however, this beer just did not work work for me. Ballast Point is great, and everyone else seems to love this one, but I thought it was a bit over-done.

Hojaminbag, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of mgbickel
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Formed a thick, two finger, sandy colored head. The foam had great lasting power...the slow recession left large tufts behind, clinging to the glass. The body is brown/black. You can get light through the edges if you force it.

Strong aromas...roasted malts and cocoa up front. You can detect a sweet background...a mix of vanilla and caramel (read the label after I wrote this...I swear!).

A sweet caramel flavor comes out first. This fades into a strong roasted coffee taste that digs deep and burns into your palate. Very complex, but missing the sweetness the nose teased you with. Slightly boozy at the finish, but not unpleasant.

Awesome mouth feel. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation for the style.

A great drinking beer. As it warms, the 10% ABV starts to come out stronger so it becomes a great sipping beer!

mgbickel, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of Kadonny
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: A deep dark black color that does not allow any light to pass through. A small thin light brown head leaves bubble lacing throughout the glass.

S: Roasted smells with coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and some oak.

T: The porter roastiness comes through first with a large dose of coffee and espresso followed by flavors of milk chocolate and some caramel sweetness with the vanilla and woody oaky flavors near the end. A earthy hops bitterness leaves the tongue tingling a bit with the finish. Great beer, lots of flavors and very complex.

M: Full coating, creamy, and the alcohol is really well hidden.

D: Very good for a 10% beer. This beer is very drinkable and enjoyable for the entire bomber.

Overall a superb Impy porter that deserves the hype. Another award winner for Ballast Point. Well done.

Kadonny, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of gthornton
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was at the brewery for some of their special releases when they started pulling these straight from the bottling line to fill their coolers, so I had to grab a few and drink them as soo as possible.

This pours a dark, thick black with a creamy vanilla colored head that lingers throughout the whole drink, and leaves plenty of sticky lacing on the glass.

The rich vanilla, coffee, and chocolate are present in the smell and the taste. A lingering booziness on the tongue, but it is accompanied by so much coffee and chocolate that I do not mind at all.

This is a thick and creamy beer through and through, the mouthfeel is a bit sticky, and it certainly leaves its mark on the palate. Try it with a steak, or something similar, but I would avoid spices of any kind really, because this beer demands your full attention.

At 10% one of these is great for a very effective nightcap, but I would not want to waste the experience by having any more than two in one night, before moving on to other choices.

gthornton, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of Lunch
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle acquired in a trade with volatilesther (Thanks!) into my Brooklyn Brewery snifter at cellar temperature (02/13/10).

A: Pours very dark shade of brown, nearing black with a one finger cap of an espresso colored head that has some retention and leaves bits of thick lace.

S: The smell is dominated by coffee and vanilla, as one would expect, along with notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and bitter dark chocolate.

T: As with the smell, the flavor profile is made up of primarily coffee and vanilla. Rather fresh tasting with layers of bitter, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Perhaps just a hint of alcohol comes into play as well.

M: Medium-bodied with a with a low-moderate carbonation and some creaminess.

D: Quite drinkable and very flavorful with the 10% abv. hidden extremely well.

Overall this a great take on the Imperial Coffee Porter and another solid offering from Ballast Point. Thanks again Esther! Recommended.

Lunch, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Victory At Sea (Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter version)

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. The darkest of browns with a light brown head. No peering through this beer, its about as dark as night. Attractive lacing that looks very ornate.

Aroma of coffee and faint vanilla sweetness.

Vanilla up front which gives way to a lingering coffee flavor. This beer also has some chocolate notes. Very decadant and full flavors. The aftertaste of coffee, cocoa and vanilla is truly remarkable. There are even some hints of oak in this beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied with a lingering coffee/bitter chocolate finish. A little syrupy in nature.

Drinkability requires some respect for this sipper. It wasn't hot with alcohol at all. Overall, this beer is just great.

Stinkypuss, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

EDIT (10-25-2010): Just split an 8-month old bottle (same batch as in the review below) with JustinA1. The vanilla had mellowed out a bit, but not as much as I had hoped. Still, the balance was much better, so I boosted the drinkability score from 3.5 to 4.0.

Split amongst Wisemen Nick, Zach, and Jorge. Poured into three standard pint glasses.

Appearance: Poured out dark and thick, producing an ample amount of brown foam atop each 7oz. sample. Head looks beautiful: fluffy and brown with great retention. Body is completely opaque. Nice lacing. Looks great!

Smell: Strong coffee and vanilla from the get-go. Damn! I've never encountered this much vanilla before. Mocha, dark chocolate, and blueberries also contribute, but to a much lesser extent. Pretty incredible. I initially thought the vanilla and coffee aromas were too strong, but as I sit here I can't help but be blown away by this nose. Very nicely done.

Taste: Vanilla, charred grains, black coffee, and (blue)berry-like esters. Very interesting and unique, but I find a good deal of astringency in this one. The alcohol (I'm guessing) does some pretty odd things to the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full-bodied, and very, very creamy. This seriously feels like a milkshake. Carbonation is very light and velvety. Victory at Sea finishes dry (showing the 10% ABV) and leaves a bit of a medicinal taste that quickly dissipates. Not a big fan of the finish, but the milky/creamy feel is top notch!

Drinkability: This is a very cool beer that's certainly worthy of all the praise. I personally find it to be over-the-top and a bit medicinal, but I'd be happy to try it again. I think splitting this two ways will be your best bet.

NOTE: Zach and Jorge both found this beer to be over-the-top and thought it would be much better if it were toned down a bit. Reminiscent of ST Creme Brulee.

ThreeWiseMen, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ooooh, I've been waiting to try this beer for a while, and I finally found a good time to do it, a nice snowy day.

A: A heavy pour gives a biiig 3 finger head, which is dark, rich, creamy, and fades slowly. The color is almost pitch black, but not quite.

N: Nose is loaded with roasted malts, coffee, dark rich malts, vanilla and oak. A touch of chocolate graces its presence.

T: Wow, tons of rich thick goodness. Lots of milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla roasted goodness, and dark malts. A ton of vanilla. Some more rich milk chocolate, and bitter bakers chocolate. Then a little oak to go with it. more coffee and roast. A little sweetness, but it hides the abv very well!

M: Thick, luscious, and creamy milky, good carbonation.

F: Finishes a little bitter, with lots of creamy richness and milk chocolate lingering. The vanilla never seems to go away either. Coffee and oak also linger a bit, with some dark malts. The bitterness of both stout like quality and hints of hops seem to build more and more as I drink more. Overall it delivers just as it promises too, lots of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roast, creamy goodness, and just overall luscious deliciousness, and hides the abv well with all that.

jlindros, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of yourefragile
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle shared with 321Jeff

I was fairly excited to try this but I'll cut to the chase and say I found this a little too sweet, rich and artificial tasting so I was happy this was being shared. Pours a dark, sludgy near black chocolate with a tan head which barely moves and covers the inside of the glass in sheets. Aroma is actually very pleasant, with little vanilla presence. Primarily a roasted malt, typical porter aroma with a pleasant punch of coffee beans. Unlike the aroma, the flavor begins with a potent vanilla sweetness. Body is very creamy and smooth, low carbonation and chewy finish. The vanilla slowly blends into a strong roast coffee flavor which lingers into a slightly bitter, hoppy burnt finish. Not much porter presence here, or alcohol presence. Not a bad beer, certainly unique, but too sweet and artificial for me to rate this much higher.

yourefragile, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of constahoogan
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick dark molasses and motor oil black body with a leather brown rocky head. The nose is very coffee malted with a hint of vanilla. The palate is very rich with a nice blend, in this order, coffee, vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, oak and another kind of creaminess i can't quite pick up on. There's no detection of alcohol whatsoever. Rich thick full-bodied mouth feel with the desirability to devour more.

constahoogan, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-very dark brown liquid that lets just a little bit of light shine through giving off a red hue. The head is dark tan, thick and creamy with solid retention, well over a minute, and leaves a thick lacing on the glass. Borderline perfect appearance.

S-huge nose that brings roasted malts with a nice touch of vanilla leading into the roasted java, this is begging me to drink it!

T/M huge body!!! This is so thick it is chewy! The texture is very smooth and creamy. The taste brings huge roasted malts, some nice roasted java comes in next with a hint of vanilla. There is some nice dark chocolate and the finish is slightly bitter and brings a crisp bite

D- this beer is absolutely delicious, I really enjoy all of Ballast Point's offerings that I have had so far. This beer follows suit and is absolutely huge! I love the big coffee flavors and the vanilla is very light but mixes in well with the roasted malts.

cpetrone84, Feb 09, 2010
Photo of JeremyinUtah
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bought this with many other Imperials over the weekend. I was really looking forward to trying this, as the Sea Monster was awesome.

A- dark dark color with nice little bubbles of mocha colored foam

S- smell is great, however, maybe a bit too much coffee. as it warms up, the porter/vanilla comes through

T- overall disappointed because of the hype i gave it. I love coffee, but this one is overpowered with coffee. a bit bitter, lots of chocolate and sweetness, but a bit too bitter and coffee flavored for me. the alcohol is not too hot, which is nice.

m- smooth and good. coffee-like
overall- as i said, a great brew, but a bit too much coffee for me. i believe Sea Monster is much better, however, sea monster is a different style, so not a fair comparison.

JeremyinUtah, Feb 09, 2010
Photo of rfgetz
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich brown, almost black. Minimal ring of brown head, leaving some lacing. Smell is of medium roast malts with hints of coffee, vanilla, dark fruit and an underlying sweetness. Vanilla scent improves as it warms. Taste is of fresh roasted coffee with a creamy, milky sweetness backed by a nice presence of vanilla. Hints of fruit, chocolate and oak present. As the drink warms, the taste takes on a somewhat vanilla extract type taste, which is one of my few knocks. Nice full body for a porter, encroaching on stout territory with its creamyness and smoothness. Excellent beer which changes drastically as is approaches room temperature. To experience is, I recomended serving below recommended temp and tasting as it warms up.

rfgetz, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

SaCkErZ9, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into my snifter.

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

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

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

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

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

PittBeerGirl, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

billab914, Feb 05, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

DoubleJ, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

PeprSprYoFace, Feb 02, 2010
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,858 ratings.