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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.

4,094 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,094
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 755
Gots: 811 | FT: 62
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: 4,094 | Reviews: 956 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stephens101
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andewk for the exceptional trade and the hookup on this bonus beer.

Tall, thick, and dark tan head with a cluster of slowly popping bubbles at the top of the jet black brew. Staying power is excellent. In other words, this head don't need no Viagra. A tiered and multi-hued lace is left when the froth is spent.

Sweet and bitter chocolates to the nose initially, with an undercurrent of black coffee and furtive vanilla bean at the very end. Taste is complex with rich caramel malts, pine, espresso, vanilla, milk chocolate and oaken notes.

Creamy goodness going down with an unbroken but never overwhelming alcohol heat.

A stud of a perfectly balanced bittersweet brew that I find finishes off way to quick no matter how you cut it.

stephens101, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of July2Nov
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a very dark brown (almost black) color with an ever so slight glimmer of light around the edges (ruby like in color). Had a nice two-finger, creamy head on it that soon went down to a half-finger.

Smell: Very coffee like with a big amount of chocolate and a tad bit of vanilla. Also has a syrupy hint. This smells very intoxicating.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Very robust! Big on flavor! Everything mentioned in the smell category is doubled - tripled in taste. Begins with a smooth, chalky coco/vanilla taste, then milds down with the syrup flavor...ends with mild to stronger bit of alcohol bite. The aftertaste is pure coffee.

Drinkabilty: For a 10.00% abv this is drinkable, but not to the point of having another one. Very good American Porter by a respectable brewing team. Ballast Point always tends to put out quality brews and for that, I salute you, Captain.

July2Nov, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of TheDudeRules
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at a mini tasting.

Pours a ridiculous black. Tan almost coffee colored head. Smell is a full on coffee punch to the nostrils. If there is vanilla it gives way. Incredibly inviting. What a smooth robust coffee flavor. This brew is incredible. It envelops your tongue. Damn. I really dig this beer. The roasty coffee is superb. The carbonation is perfect. A beer I felt good sharing. Everyone enjoyed its splendor.

TheDudeRules, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes 2/6/11. Thanks to THECPJ for pulling this one out at the end of the night!

A: Pours a deep black with a thick two finger, mocha colored head. Decent lacing. Beer appears to be a bit syrupy.

S: Lots of chocolate and vanilla. A little bit of alcohol presence and a touch of coffee.

T: Really intense chocolate and vanilla flavors, they blind very nicely. There is a little bit of alcohol and a note of coffee, but the chocolate and vanilla dominate in a big way.

M/D: Medium bodied with light carbonation, but sort of heavy. Extremely enjoyable, a nice after dinner sipper, or would go great with most desserts. I was really happy (and surprised) that there wasn't as much coffee in this one, but it works for me.

mdaschaf, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-nice dark color with a tan head that disapates with time
S-a nice mixture of coffee and vanilla. Who would have guessed?
T-vanilla upfront with a cofee aftertaste. Very smooth with the carbonation.
M-medium bodied and smooth
D-no way I would have guessed this to be a 10% beer. Wow.

brew3crew, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of Gunslinger711
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Group tasting notes from 2-18-11
Poured out of a bottle.
Served in a goblet.

A- Pours out like motor oil with a beautiful tan head, at least 2 fingers. Lacing apparent through the entire drinking of the beer.

S- It smells like a coffee liqour, like a coffee/vanilla flavored vodka.

M- Heavy mouthfeel as you expect, coats the mouth like motor oil.

T- Coffee on the front end, slight hint of vanilla in the middle, then a heavy malty burn on the back end.

Food: The Chocolate Bacon Brownie calmed down the back end of this beer alot.

Overall: This beer fresh is a little bit hot, it's got a lot going on. It'd like to get another and age it a year or two, I feel like that would calm everything down and hopefully bring out that vanilla a little more.

Gunslinger711, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of ChadQuest
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this rather vigorously into my Smuttynose snifter, and the head has the staying power, and the aromas are lofting strongly around the area. vanilla is by far the strongest airborne scent, even more so then the coffee. digging your nose into it just screams vanilla. The flavors are more balanced then the aromas and meld very very nicely. Chocolate is introduced here to support the coffee and vanilla. For some reason im getting some oaky notes and there is also alcohol notes too. Overall i have to say this is a very impressive Coffee beer, and this is a harshly graded class for me. mouthfeel is creamy and semi-dense, just a joy to drink all around.

ChadQuest, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of Nesued
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained locally yesterday. Was thinking of storing it for a bit but the weather has turned back to the chilly side so I thought I'd crack this open.

Appearance - Big dark pour from this 22oz bottle. The lush tan head formed with a mix of large and small bubbles forming the landscape. Lacing is present as the head retracts to a thin tan ring around the edge of my Chimay chalice. Very inviting.

Smell - Robust coffee and vanilla are the first aromas that hit your nose. A very rich coffee aroma, unlike some other coffee beers where the coffee almost seems to be added for namesake rather than as a contribution to the overall flavor. Some caramel and a hit of alcohol as well.

Taste - Bittersweet chocolate, malty initial presentation with a nice vanilla presence as well. Just as advertized, so it delivers. A drying finish from the ample hop presence does a nice job finishing the current sip as you anticipate the next. As you finish you do notice the 10% ABV coming through at the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. One of the few down-ticks for this offering. Was expecting a more. Perhaps the carbonation could use to be brought up a bit. Regardless these is a chewy quality to this beer with a nice presence.

Drinkability - One of the best in the style. The coffee presence is excellent. Not overdone nor a fake over-processed taste. My only down ticks is the medium body and the finishing alcohol burn. I would love to taste the BA version to see how it rounds out the corners of this beer. Well done.

Nesued, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of Vdubb86
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 3 Floyds pint glass

Thanks to Mages64 for this want

This beer pours a gorgeous dark black chocolate color with a tan foam residing on the surface. The aromatics are rather pleasant they remind of all of the smells listed in the name of this beer. Coffee, check. Vanilla, check. Imperial Porter...well that translates to dark chocolate for me, so we're good. I wanted to rate this beer higher than I did. The first couple of sips were heavenly nectar, but the sips after that were acidic and astringent to my palate. I must say that the mouthfeel when warmed up to nearly room temperature was solid, but at suggested temps was merely good. This beer was pretty darn tasty and easy to drink to boot. I would crack open my other bomber of it, but at 10% that would spell disaster. I really enjoyed drinking this beer.

Vdubb86, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
3.88/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. I've had a few barrel aged versions of this but never the original strangely enough:

Seal brown liquid, thoroughly opaque, with an active fluffy three finger raft of tan up top. Sticky soapy lacing, obscure whatever legs that might be beneath.

Roast malt (and barley?) in the nose - perhaps a couple specialty malts as well, along with a touch of vanilla and over-roasted espresso beans.

Vanilla comes on strong on the palate followed rapidly by a variety of bittersweet roast flavors (scalded coffee, cocoa nibs, malt, barley, etc) and a powerful kick of alcohol. Fruit pits, moderate earthy hop notes (with low bitterness however), and an almost cedar-like woodsy flavor emerge in the finish. A very distinctive profile that I find difficult to pinpoint.

Moderately astringent (more from the coffee perhaps than the beer), well carbonated, velvety, full-bodied, and warming.

A sipper for sure - you can easily split a bomber thanks to the potency. An immense beer, but arguably over-done.

augustgarage, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of stewfnrocker
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got myself a growler of Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. I poured the beer from the growler into a pint glass. It poured a dark dark brownish maybe black and has a very nice tan head. The smell is of roasted coffee, toffee, maybe caramel and a little vanilla. Lots of sweet smells. When I got that first mouthful you got the taste of the roasted coffee and some malts and is rounded off with that vanilla and a bit of alcohol at the end. Its hard to hide 10% but it really isn't overpowering. There is about an average carbonation, and it has a medium to thick body beer. This beer is a great beer to have with something sweet or after dinner. It has all those sweet flavors of coffee and vanilla and toffee.

stewfnrocker, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of IdrinkGas
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.
A: Pours pitch black with two fingers of head from a rough pour. Small amount of lacing.
S: The smell is dominated by vanilla beans with some chotolate and coffee also in the mix.
T:Mostly vanilla, slight bitter dark chocolate taste, some coffee and alcohol in the end. Very nice.
D: Quite drinkable for the ABV.

This is my goto beer right now. I've drank like 6 of these in the past couple weeks. Great beer!

IdrinkGas, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of badboyrsl84
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite porters of all time. I've had this a ton of times but have yet to review it so here it goes

Look - pours a dark caramel almost black color with a 2 inch thick tan head.

Smell. Sweet coffee and vanilla

Taste- this is one of the few beers best when its warm all the time. I get some carbonation tons of long lasting coffee with a touch of vanillia. Some chocolate and little alcohol taste. Its the most perfect combination of coffee and beer. I love it.

This beer never lets me down. I cherish when its here and miss it when its gone.

badboyrsl84, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of Buddha22
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a delirium tremens glass.

When poured great head retention two finger light tan head, but the dark color of the beer looks great underneath the fluffy tan head. Great lacing in this beer. Chocolate roast definitely in the nose with slight hint of vanilla. Now the taste of this porter is somewhat average. There is a decent amount of hotness in the taste and the alcohol is not hidden as well as I would like. As it warms the alcohol taste definitely decreases a little. Mouthfeel is full bodied and nice and creamy smooth. Drinkability is decent the hotness of the alcohol makes it less drinkable, but for 10% abv, works pretty well.

Buddha22, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of nataku00
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber shared with a friend, poured into a shaker pint. Very dark brown, bordering on black, with some lighter shades of brown at the edges when held up to the light. Finger of dark brown frothy head that leaves a lot of nice lacing as the head dissipated to a collar around the edges of the surface. Looks to be well carbonated as it is very easy to swirl and reform a finger's worth of head.

Nose is dark roasted malt, black coffee, and a little caramel malt. I don't get too much vanilla on the nose, but the rest of the aromas are nice and strong and smells great.

Taking a sip, dark roasted malt and bitter coffee right away, melting away into sweeter malts, caramel, wheat bread. A slight hint of vanilla on the back of the tongue, so perhaps that component has faded somewhat.

Light to medium body, smooth small bubble carbonation that's pretty common for a porter. For a 10% abv beer, the alcohol is very well hidden by smooth and balanced flavors.

nataku00, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of Rizalini
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a very deep, dark black color. No light can be seen thru this one. Nice creamy 2 finger, light brown head that slowly disipates leaving a beautiful lacing.

S - great vanilla aroma, big and rich! Can't wait to taste this one

T - the coffee really comes thru on the front, and the vanilla really rounds this one out very nicely. maybe even some slight chocolate note as well. a little alcohol taste in the end, but not overpowering.

M - medium-heavy mouthfeel. perfect amount of carbonation.

D - extremely drinkable for 10%! Im actually kinda glad I have this bomber to myself, so I can have 2 glasses.

Rizalini, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of 100floods
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fizzy pitch black, you can't see through it when put up to light. It's followed by a thick yet bubbly mocha head that after the first sip goes away.

Smells of vanilla, espresso creme, and dark chocolate covered coffee beans. You can almost taste the texture of the beans, but that's more memory than anything.

Thick and full bodied texture.

That's espresso bean flavor comes strong, before the beer fully touches your lips, then it's mostly sweet and gentle roasted notes with a roasted strong finish that lingers in your mouth. Definitely a few things going on, yet nothing is hidden. This beer has sweet notes to it, but not the kind that make this beer too sweet. This beer provides a lot of balance for what it has to offer. Yes, it's that good.

100floods, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of WJVII
3.68/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/23/11 review session hosted by Cdkrenz reviewed from notes- cdkrenz sample:
Poured into a pint glass this brew has a thick oil like black color with a nice 3 finger chocolate head. There is a strong aroma of burnt malts, coffee and caramel. The flavor is more mild than expected and not until a few sips do you notice the subtle but delicious vanilla that matches perfectly with the chocolate flavor. The coffee that is advertised is not very noticeable. This had a smooth milky body and was good but not the best we had that night. Strong brew and definitely recommend.

WJVII, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

50th review and a biggie.

A: Obsidian black with a thin mocha colored head. Looks bomb.

S: A ton of the freshest coffee I've ever smelled. Last year's was great, but this year, the coffee smells even better. Incredible.

T: Lots and lots of coffee and roasted malt with a little vanilla sweetness that smooths things out. Bitter coffee finish. This is such an incredible beer. I saved one and can't wait to try it in a year.

notchucknorris, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of cdkrenz
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black to dark black body up in the 30 to 35 SRM range. This is about as black as they come. The head is a medium to dark tan color with decent stamina.

S - Aroma is that of coffee with accents of anise and chocolate.

T - Coffee, rich rich coffee with a vanilla steadfast. This is a tasty beer. One of the best, if not the best tasting porter I've ever had.

M - Thick and slightly coarse.

~ This makes for a perfect desert beer. I mentioned above that this is probably the best porter I've ever had and I truely believe that. You must get your hands on a bottle or two of this big time porter.

cdkrenz, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of Kelly88
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Popping a special brew for my 25th review.Victory at Sea received as an extra in a trade, thanks billshmeinke. Poured multiple times into my Arrogant Bastard pint glass.
A- Pours a dark brown into the glass and ends up looking pitch black with ruby edges and a light brown fizzy head that quickly succumbs to a spotty cap. Beer is trying to hold onto the glass with each sip.

S- this beer has a rich smell of creamy milk chocolate and it smells great. Vanilla is there and adds to the great milk chocolate smell.The smallest amount of alchohol comes through and really creates an enticing smell.

T- Great tastes of chocolate and vanilla. I only taste the coffee at the very finish which creates a nice balancing act of oh so sweet and tasty and the bitterness of the coffee bringing it back to a tasty balance.

M- Nice and thick that delivers the flavor oh so well. Nice viscosity for a porter and really makes it feel more like an imperial stout. Mild carbonation. I really like the feel.

D- Ive only had 12 ounces of the bomber and Im feeling the effects. No barriers in drinking this beer except for the alcohol. Not to sweet and it only gets easier to drink the more I drink.

Kelly88, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of Reagan1984
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours like a milk shake. Really thick tan head forms and rises like an Imp Stout. Really looks and acts line a big Imp Stout in the glass. Very creamy head that has great structure. Extremely dark brown in color with really no light getting through even at the edges. Clumps of lacing line the inside of the glass.

The aroma is fantastic. Wow, that's pretty awesome. A wonderful creamy coffee aroma with a hint of vanilla extract behind. Can an aroma be creamy? If so, then this one is. If Not, then this one still is!

OK, so now I see why this beer resides in the top 100. I figured it would be good, but this is really great. The balance between the components is really amazing. Again I use the term vanilla extract vs bean or just plain vanilla. I think this is the melding of the vanilla with some of the abv. The coffee flavor is great. Creamy, sweet and with a nice dark roast. There is a nice hop finish that is almost lost in everything else. Is it roasted coffee or hop bitterness? Who cares, the complexity is wonderful. How did I only pick up one bottle of this? I'll get more, probably tomorrow.

The mouth feel here is close to perfect. Creamy with a prickle of carbonation. So creamy.

This drinks like a wonderful milkshake and goes down so smoothly. While it's a big flavor it doesn't really drink like a 10% abv. Goes down a little scary smooth.

Wonderful beer.

Reagan1984, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of Onenote81
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to steve8robin for this bottle recently!

Poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a very dark black with a thin tan head on top. Spotty lace rings stick to the glass. The nose is full of ground coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, cream, chocolate. Coffee is the obvious main-player here.

The mouth is full and creamy. Alcohol definitely smooths this one out. The coffee comes through in the flavor with a punch. Nice dark roasted bitterness to start things off. But the vanilla commands a presence as well. Plenty of creamy sweetness to balance this one out well. Sweet finish with a melding of alcohol, vanilla, and milk chocolate. I've had this one on my wants for quite some time, so I'm glad to finally knock this one off. Excellent Porter.

Onenote81, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I hald this for a little while but the urge got to me to much last night.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark chocolate brown with a thin dark beige head that didnt last long,a great mix of heavy coffee roast and vanilla imparted sweetness,a bit of sweet alcohol and dark fruit shows thru as it warmed.Roasty and sweetish upfront with the dark roast coffee flavors prevelent,a vanilla/carmel flavor lends some hefty sweetness,there is a drying earthy almost resiny note in the finish that is drying just enough.A great beer it is a one and done though because the alcohol is potent and can give off some big sweetness,a rich well made beer.

oberon, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a snifter, pretty dark. slight ruby hues, but more or less black with a tan head. decent lacing and head retention.

roasted coffee, mocha, caramel, touch of dark fruit in the nose.

big coffee flavor upfront, fades into a creme brulee like richness, burnt sugar, just a hint of acidity in the finish. not overly sweet, just enough to balance out the roasted malt/coffee flavor.

mouthfeel is a tough thin, but this is a porter so i find that fairly acceptable. overall this is way too drinkable. not overly boozy and deceptively smooth,

wyattshotmaker, Feb 20, 2011
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 4,094 ratings.