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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

3,855 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,855
Reviews: 927
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 722
Gots: 727 | 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: 3,855 | Reviews: 927 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BretSikkink
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark dark black in color with a good-looking head of two fingers, beige in color, with large bubbly pock-markings. The nose is quite large, especially once the head settles and the thick lace starts to form. Notes of heavily roasted barley and plenty of coffee, with I suppose a hint of vanillin in the sweetness.

Solid flavor all around, with a good dosage of what you would expect from a Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter. Espresso notes are present, and mix with the clear vanilla hints to give a white bittersweet chocolate impression. Hops are earthy, and melt into the roasted coffee notes to add a pepper edge - not to mention the zing provided by the alcohol.

Great drinkability, as the booze is masked by the preponderance of quality flavors. It comes off as fairly sweet overall, however, which hurts the drink score for me personally. I wouldn't mind if the mouthfeel were thinned a bit by a heavier hand of hops. No matter - this is a solid brew all around.

BretSikkink, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of NorCalYeti
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

taste- chocolate, subtle dark roasted coffee flavors, caramel undertones

color- dark chestnut brown

clarity- clear

smell- cocoa, roasted malt, biscuits

body- sweet/tangy chocolate hop bite at the front and sides of the palette, soft, medium-heavy weight mouthfeel, smooth, medium-long finish

appearance- mocha-colored head, nice heavy lace, slight carbonation

overall impression- nice beer, almost a little too sweet but would pair well with desserts. the brewer says this is an imperial porter...i think it departs slightly from the style and tends to be a little "showy" with the vanilla imprint

notes and comments- the aroma is very one note...i may be mistaking the smell of vanilla for cocoa but it is very pronounced and delightful. killer label

glassware: tulip

song: my brother esau - 10/3/87

NorCalYeti, Jan 26, 2010
Photo of weatherdog
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

It pours a deep rich brown high a large 3 finger head that settles with a nice thick layer of bubbles that leave thick lacing down the side.

The smell is heavy on the roasted coffee with just a hint of the vanilla. No detection of alcohol at all.

The taste very heavy on the roasty coffee. The coffee is not too bitter which can be a common problem in these coffee porters and stouts. Even though I know this isn't an oak aged beer I'm picking up some subtle oak with the vanilla at the end. Once again no hint of the alcohol. The finish is just a little too sweet for me and that is my only complaint.

This is just a silky smooth beer and drinks easily and quickly. I really enjoyed this beer and glad I was able to get a bottle.

weatherdog, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of jjayjaye
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque darkness with a loose full finger tan head that fades quickly, leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing. The smell is really nice rich aggressive moderately roasted malt and high quality coffee...as it warms I sense a barrel aged vanilla sweetness. Full flavored, the high quality java notes are the bomb, second only to GI Coffee Stout that I recently had. The toasted malt and classy roast coffee lingers nicely in the after taste like i wish every cup of coffee would. Light-medium body from a lighter carbonation creamy smooth is a classic example of the style...I still really prefer the texture of a stout. This one is going down WAY TOO EASY...no way would I have guessed that this was even half the 10% ABV!! This one is drinking CRAZY!! Perfect accompaniment to the playoffs. Cheers!

jjayjaye, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glugs into a half liter mug, jet black with a crisply defined line of mocha foam on top. The foam is sticky and leaves tan concentric rings around the edges. As it warms up, the aroma is very chocolate/vanilla like a milkshake. The flavor is also heavy on these notes, seeming like a melted kahlua milkshake on first impression. Some char and bitter coffee elements. Fairly dry and bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. Pretty beefy, one to sip for sure. Luckily there's no hint of 10% in here.

emerge077, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.08/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, trade with beerman4. Dark brown with a thin tan head. A very strong smell, roasted malts, sweet vanilla, maybe just a little coffee. Almost cloyingly sweet from the vanilla, also too bitter in the aftertaste. Could use more malt presence and less extra flavoring. The body is a tad thin for a robust porter style, didn't match well.

I'm a little disappointed overall, the taste is too sweet, the vanilla is more prominent than I'd like, and the coffee is too bitter. The bottle states this is an artisinal masterpiece but I disagree. Their IPA's are solid though.

TurdFurgison, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of yemenmocha
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely opaque black with khaki brown head. Nose is luxurious with layers of vanilla, chocolate ice cream, and a smoky/roasty quality. On the palate the vanilla is really in your face with a smooth roasty character that brings the malt forward, and an espresso/coffee like quality towards the finish and aftertaste.

yemenmocha, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of slasher007
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mora2000 for sharing this bottle.

Pours a very dark brown color with medium tan head and pretty good lace. Smells of coffee, vanilla, and some creamy malts. Taste is more balanced with flavors of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and somewhat espresso. Nice creamy mouthfeel with low carbonation. I was very suprised with how big this was and how good it was as well. Excellent beer from Ballast Point Brewing Company

slasher007, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - dark as 4pm in Iceland in January. This is jet black with an oily, thick head of tan. A potent looking little beauty.

Aroma - a wave of fresh dark roasted coffee hits the senses a good foot or so from the glass. This is followed by vanilla beans, coffee ice cream, cocoa and bitter dark chocolate. Its all coming back to me! What an intensely aromatic brew.

Taste - one sip and I am transported back to that first time I tasted this beer and made an entire table of friends try it. It was that good. Super smooth vanilla and chocolate soft serve mixed with real chocolate milk and super dark roasted coffee should give an idea of some of the flavors that this beer imparts. However, it truly is a beer that you'd need to drink yourself to truly appreciate. The texture, or mouthfeel, is almost creamy and the vanilla and coffee flavors are absolutely incredible. 10% abv is merely a stat as its hidden so deeply in the layers of flavors. I love this beer.

Overall - an amazing offering from Ballast Point. This is the type of strong beer that I could sip slowly and enjoy for hours (although that never seems to happen). This beer delivers exactly what it promises and if you've heard any hype it lives up to that as well.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely positively.

indiapaleale, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kaiser81 for sending me this bottle.

Pours dark brown with a khaki head. The aroma is a mix of strong black coffee with hints of chocolate. The flavor is black coffee with vanilla and some chocolate. The coffee and vanilla merge together very well to make a very good beer. The mouthfeel is very creamy and the carbonation is low.

Mora2000, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Boston trip. This is big coffee, and definately flavoured vanilla. The coffee is good, I am not a coffee drinker or fan, but it was done well for what it is. So yes, big in flavour. Above average mouthfeel. Big coffee aroma. Still most quaffable.Black with retaining off-white head.

Sammy, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours black with a medium tan head. There is nice carbonation as it rises about 3 fingers of creamy head. It lasts a couple minutes and has great lacing that sticks from the top of the glass to the beer.

The aroma is medium, mostly roasted coffee, but not overpowering. In the middle you get the glimpse of vanilla, lake a cappucino. Wish it was a little more dominant.

The taste is good, but way to overpowered with coffee from start to finish with a bitter roast finish. I want the vanilla to come out to play more, along with some other complexity please?

The feel is good, very lasting, but limited drinkability because of the overwhelming coffee.

Overall, this is pretty good but if they toned down the coffee a bit it could be world class.

jrallen34, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Deuane
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to FooFaa for sharing a growler of this delicious nectar.

A-Deep, dark brown liquid with mahogany highlights. A thick, creamy tan head reduced to a thin cap and left attractive ringing lace.

S-Intoxicating vanilla, espresso, dark chocolate combination is well supported by rich roasted malt and an underlying earthy hop bitterness.

T-Like a vanilla and cocoa infused espresso drink from some high end coffee shop. A bitter hit of roasted malt and earthy hops keep this from becoming too sweet. Ends with an interesting toffee like swirl.

M-Medium-full bodied, very creamy and luscious with long lasting flavours and a bite of earthy bitterness.

D-One of the most amazing beers out there. I am amazed time and time again how great this beer is after each highly enjoyable encounter with it. Without question, one of my most favorite of brews on the planet!

Deuane, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of ffejherb
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing a growler on 1/12/10.

A - Emerged from the growler as a deep brown liquid with hazelnut hues and a thick, creamy tan head that retained very well and deposited thick swatches of lace down the sides of the glass.

S - Wonderful blend of sweet vanilla, chocolate, coffee and an underlying toasted marshmallow presence. There is a slight hint of roast and earthy bitterness in the midst of all the sweetness.

T - Lush cocoa presence with equal parts vanilla and coffee as well as a hint of butterscotch. Finishes with a bit of roasted malt and earthy bitter notes, although Victory at Sea still retains its core sweetness.

M - Medium to full bodied with an extremely creamy texture and moderate carbonation. Finishes with a pleasant bittersweet aspect on the palate.

D - One of the best porters ever. Period. Not much more to say about this stellar offering from Ballast Point. If I had to pick between this and Sculpin as the only Ballast Point beer I'd drink for the rest of my life, I'd have a very difficult time choosing. This beer is simply phenomenal.

ffejherb, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - this beer pours a typical porter dark with two full fingers of caramel colored head

S - coffee, big and upfront, no surprise there, the coffee aroma is tempered by a sweeter aroma, cant distinguish it as vanilla, but its that type of sweet, had i not known this was a coffee/vanilla porter, i wouldve said toffee/vanilla/lactic type sweetness

T - coffee is big and upfront in the taste as well, big and alone, the aftertaste is where the vanilla sweetness comes out and becomes distinguishable as vanilla beans, not modified/candy vanilla, the gap between the front and back has a bit of a metallic twang, there, but not big enough to be offputting

M&D - the sweetness lends a decent smoothness, its an easily drinkable beer, hides a double digit ABV as well, nice brew

sinstaineddemon, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of Chico1985
3.63/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours as black and mysterious as the bottom of the sea with a small tan head that sticks around, leaves decent lacing. Not picking up much coffee in the smell, but great scents of vanilla and caramel, and later on some chocolate. Unfortunately the taste is a little lackluster. Mostly a decent coffee taste, a little sweetness, but not much vanilla. A little roasty. But the thing that really kills the taste is the alcohol, it's there up front with every sip, 10% is too high for a porter in my opinion. A little vanilla and caramel is detectable in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is fine for the style. It would be alot better if the alcohol was more hidden. I've had plenty of 10% beers and coffee beers that do it well.

Chico1985, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of khiasmus
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

We achieved victory. It was hard fought, the ships grinding together and the ropes straining at the anchors as the furled sails flapped in the wind. They were unaware and unarmed, and we stormed their decks with gusto at night, the sea all black, pitch black with a big layer of foam at the crest of every wave, until it went calm, until it sank to just the black.
The aromas, aside from the gunpowder and bodies... it smelled of coffee and vanilla, cinnamon, some chocolate and carob, as we careen up on the upper decks, the swordplay of footwork, one wrong step and you will be lost. Some raspberry chocolate, and the oatmeal we had for breakfast on the high seas...
Still, it's unbelievably easy to quaff, though the footwork is madness, though the clanging in the night only reminds you to disarm, disarm, then the only battle is to force him off of the edge... Davy Jones' locker, a long, easy dark drink... you were a decent fighter my friend, but no match for us...
As to the thickness, the body, it's rather nice, but a little thin for the rumored power, just a hint light, but it adds to the effect, to the easy drink, it's easy, Just trust us. Give up.
And of course, the flavours... who could forget? Oatmeal with cream, the same chocolate and perhaps some carob, some black bread toast, lightly burnt, can't ask for much more in this world, anyway... and the faint lingering of the alcohol, the whiskey we sing our songs to every night, raise your flagons, ye dogs! Raise 'em high! We have won another Victory at Sea, me gents!Never Surrender, and take everything! Hahaha! Here's to another Victory at Sea!

khiasmus, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of Xul
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost perfect black with a two finger tan head that slowly recedes, leaving behind solid lacing on top of both the beer and down the glass.

S: Predominant coffee notes backed by a strong vanilla presence and roasted malts with some hints of oakiness in back.

T: The vanilla really shines through on the taste along with strong coffee taste. Sweet without being cloying, toffee and caramel aspects come through behind the coffee, leaving behind a well integrated blend of coffee, vanilla, and caramel. Amazing.

M: Mildly carbonated with a solid viscosity. Leaves a solid coating on the tongue and throat as it goes down, helping to prolong the aforementioned sweet aftertaste.

D: The ABV is well hidden, the sweetness is well balaned, and it goes down smooth - it's certainly not sessionable like a berliner weisse, but I could definitely put a couple bottles of this down without even blinking.

Xul, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of sisuspeed
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Deep, dark color with a decently sized, frothy, tan head. Nice lacing.

Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. The chocolate and sweet malts are more dominant than the coffee smell, but the coffee beans are definitely there, along with some vanilla notes as well. Smells delicious.

Caramel, vanilla and chocolate come rushing through on the first sip, followed by a healthy addition of roasted, somewhat bitter, coffee bean. Warming alcohol lurks beneath, never interfering with the flavor, but letting you know this is a big beer. The overall flavor profile is quite sweet at first, but the bitterness from the coffee helps even things out. Behind all these flavors there seems to be just a little bit of bit of peppery hoppiness as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, rich and warming. Feels a little spicy at times from the hops, but overall it is quite smooth.

Drinkability is also very good. I'm really enjoying the glass I'm sipping from, but I probably wouldn't drink an entire 22oz by myself due to the richness and 10% ABV. A normal sized glass serving is just about right.

Overall, this beer is awesome. Lots of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a good addition of coffee beans. This is probably more of a dessert beer, but a very good one. More than surpassed my expectations. If you can find this, I highly recommend you pick it up. I'm already wishing I had another to drink this week and another two to cellar.

sisuspeed, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of abuliarose
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up one of these on a beer run down to MA. Poured into our large tulip snifter, revealing rich midnight brown body and an appealing thick tanned head. Good lacing, too. For a porter, it's awesome looking. Smells like the taste of coffee vanilla ice cream with nice roasty porter black malt-type notes.

Tastes smooth and quite sweet, with omnipresent roasted flavors laced with vanilla and burnt caramel. I always get a little more raw woody character to porters than other dark beers and here is no exception. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with carbonation adding volumes without being too tingly. That said, it is quite acidic. A nice coffee/hoppy bitterness rounds out each sip. Detectable alcohol presence. Medium to heavy-bodied. With all its acidity, it drinks like a well-done dark roast but the sweetness does ease that. I'd love to see this one with a year or two on it to catch the coffee mellowing.

For an imperial porter, it's excellent.

abuliarose, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of craytonic
3.43/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bit of a letdown.

Appearance: Decent head and lacing; pour is of course near-black with some ruby/mahogany to it

Smell: Lots of dark, roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, and coffee grounds. Hint of vanilla, but not much

Taste: Roasted malts, burnt coffee and espresso, dark chocolate, hint of vanilla. Title is fitting. A bit more bitter / acidic than I would have liked.

Mouthfeel: Smooth enough, but the coffee ground taste makes it feel a bit chewy.

Drinkability: Bitter / accidic element of the coffee and roast limits drinkability unless you are big on those elements.

craytonic, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of far333
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inky black and opaque with an inch high head of light brown dimpled and uneven foam that lingers long and rises up the sides of the glass.

Aroma of coffee and cocoa, some roasty malt and marshmallow.

Rich flavor of bitter chocolate and light cocoa, molasses and dark coffee. The coffee doesn't take over, it melds well with the other flavors. Vanilla is very subtle, almost hidden. Notes of licorice and leather, some grainy brown sugar, and firm bitterness in the background. Well hidden alcohol.

Firm and rich mouthfeel, slightly tangy, crisp and tingly. Very flavorful and rich, with high drinkability for such a bold beer.

far333, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of Gtreid
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to dgb3 for a brew I have been wanting to try for quite some time. 22 oz. bomber poured into my Stone RIS tulip.

A: Deep, dark, brown color, just a touch of light around the edge. The pour creates a big two finger fluffy, mocha head that retains well and leaves tons of thick lace.

A: I get the coffee and espresso notes before I even pour it into the glass. These aromas just burst out of the bottle. The roasted coffee is very prominate, and I get a good dose of the vanilla as well.

T: Man this might be the most coffee forward beer I have ever had. Great espresso roastiness and chocolate are the dominate flavors, but the vanilla most definately makes an appearance on the back end. The brew finishes very dry with almost no hint of the alcohol.

M: Heavy body, creamy, and velvety smooth. The carbonation delivers the flavors nicely.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is dangerously high with this one. Overall, I really dig coffee forward beers, and this one might be the best I have ever had. I loved this beer from the moment I opened it. As far as American Porters go, I have yet to find one better. Outstading! Must try! Skal.

Gtreid, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Big fluffy mocha head with pretty good stay. Eventually it recedes but not with out throwing tons of lacing in the form of rings around the glass. The beer its self is a coffee colored deep brown that collects in the glass and becomes opaque black.

S- Coffee is dominate. Some hops are detectable underneath the roasted coffee soft vanilla and caramel. Its pretty nice. Let this one warm and use a glass thats easy to swirl. The nose will then come alive.

T- Coffee lovers unite! This is pretty heavy on the bitter, roasted, black coffee. Under that is the vanilla. Its like adding vanilla to a cup of coffee. There is a suggestion of hops towards the end. They add a juiciness and pine to the finish. The aftertaste is like milk chocolate and vanilla. This is a really roasty and bitter porter.

M- Fairly thick. Lots of carbonation that fluffs up the mouthfeel a lot.

D- Very robust and delicious. The alcohol isnt too noticeable, not with the in your face coffee characteristics of this beer.

MbpBugeye, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Mymrngjckt, thanks for the trade! Drank in October with friends watching the Browns play another pathetic game. Just found my notes, so why not post them :)

Pours a dark black with tan head. Looks very nice.

So, I don't know if this was just due to the bottle being almost a year old, but I didn't get these amazing scents of vanilla and coffee others seem to be raving about. A bit of coffee for sure. Vanilla seems to have left the building. This has NOTHING on Aphrodite in the vanilla nose department.

Taste is also good. Coffee is the obvious flavor. But to me, this wasn't anywhere near Speedway, FBS, Central Waters Peruvian, or Shorts Cup of Joe in it's intensity. Caramel malt seems lonely. Vanilla? Wherefore art thou?

Mouthfeel is nice - good amount of carb and a feel that's significant without being too dense.

Drinkability was good as well, mostly because this really didn't taste too significantly strong to me.

Gotta re-rate with a super freshie bottle someday...I'll buy another bottle if I'm ever in a shop that has some, but I won't be mail ordering or trading for more. Kind of a dissapointment after expecting something world class.

jampics2, Jan 07, 2010
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,855 ratings.