Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,155 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,155
Hads: 5,630
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 950
Gots: 1,570 | FT: 108
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,155 | Hads: 5,630
Photo of beerthulhu
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark heresy chocolate pour becomes coffee black in the tulip glass with a substantial and sturdy cinnamon colored head that refused to budge much. A thin spongy coating lines the interior for lace. Simple deep coloring, and a very nice head both color and structure wise gives this some lasting appeal.

S: Smooth roasty coffee for aroma, along with some dry bitter chocolate intermingles with a medium sense of strength. Freshly burnt firewood rounds things out.

T: The flavor is hearty and thick, creamy with substantial body highlighted with a dark coffee roast, dry vanilla bean, and freshly burnt timber. Dark roasted chocolate malts combine with a smooth, dry earthy bitterness of espresso beans providing a dark and heavenly coffee flavor that may make you forget your are drinking a beer and more like a fancy $10 cup of specialty coffee, especially when with a well concealed alcohol content of 10%abv drinking much lower like a 7% at best.

M: luscious, hearty and thick with a creaminess that adds both weight and resistance upon a swirl. Big burnt bitterness and dark roast coffee lingers long after the swallow, staying for quite a bit.

D: Wow, is there really 10%abv in this, with the heavenly dark coffee roast you wont even notice. Robust, hearty this is a big drink full of substance and flavor that will dare you to have more then one. (1,362 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with a medium brownish tan head that goes down slowly. Scent is very nice with a good amount of vanilla and coffee. Some roasty aromas with a bit of chocolate. Taste is WOW! They weren't kidding when they put VANILLA in the name of this beer. I get vanilla right up front that lingers throughout the whole taste. Nice blend of coffee and chocolate with the vanilla, along with a hint of dark licorice. The alcohol is well hidden, but it pops up to say hi sometimes. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick, but not syrupy. Drinkability is high. Outstanding porter! Bravo Ballast Point! (595 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours black with a couple fingers of creamy dense dark brown head that slowly faded into thick frothy layer that left rings of fine lacing down the glass.
S: Big notes of coffee with a hint of alcohol vapor and bitter chocolate.
T: Rich blast of coffee and dark chocolate assault the palate first with a touch of roasted malt, vanilla and marshmallow in the finish. Flavors are very bold yet well integrated. There is a bitterness to the aftertaste that lingers on the palate in a potent sort of way.
M: Thick full body with a slightly sharp mouthfeel from the bitter-sweet dark chocolate and acidic coffee. Alcohol pokes through with some spiciness, but for the most part this beer goes down smooth.
O: Overall this is one heck of a beer and definitely one worth seeking out. I'm not a huge coffee drinker but I can appreciate it when a brew like this integrates it so well. The vanilla adds a wonderful balance. Recommended. (964 characters)

Photo of lnashsig
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to try this. This was an extra in a recent package from him- he consistently amazes me with his selection and generosity.

Poured into my DFH snifter, pours a dark brown/black color, with a tan/off white head that fills the top of the glass, and then slowly recedes. Excellent retention. Smell- dark chocolate, dark coffee, big hops on the nose. This one has it all! Taste- biting hops, followed by a roasty dark chocolate flavor, finished with a big almost espresso roasted coffee flavor. This beer reminds me of Founders Breakfast Stout, but beats it in a big way. This is a luscious, decadent beer that is well balanced, and exciting on all levels. Mouthfeel- I'm honestly surprised this is categorized as a porter- it has the rich syrupy thick mouthfeel of a stout, with perfect carbonation. Drinkabilty- as with most beers I get from AugustGarage, I'm saddened by the fact that I can't buy this easily again. It's an amazing beer and I will be looking for anything close to it that I can buy in Houston (but will probably come up short).

Thanks again- this one was the highlight of my night last night. (1,151 characters)

Photo of BZero007
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles from Vendome in Cali.
No dating is shown on the bottle anywhere.

Pours a very black tar color with a brown chocolate head forming with ease. The aroma is light but strong with sweet dark malt and a hint of vanilla in the background. The flavor has the sweet dark malt in the front showing strong as porter should, with the vanilla pushing it through. Body was a bit heavier then the baltic porters that I am used to. Very tasty brew with no taste of the alcohol at all in the brew.
Very enjoyable may pick up another some time in the future. (569 characters)

Photo of shand
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a chalice.

This brew pours a thick black color with brown highlights. It has a finger of mocha head that goes away quickly. Lacing is nice. The smell is awesome. Roasted coffee and malts on the nose, with some nice vanilla and chocolate aspects too. The nose did nothing to prepare me for the taste though. This hits the tongue super-creamy, with the vanilla, chocolate and coffee working in tandem for a great flavor. The vanilla and chocolate fade to roasted malts, which don't stay for too long, leaving a great coffee aftertaste. This is seriously good.

The mouthfeel is very creamy with a pretty high level of carbonation for the style. 10% alcohol? No way. I don't taste a hint of the alcohol here. This is dangerously drinkable. This is seriously a good brew. I saw the tag of "imperial porter" and shrugged it out, but I can surely see the difference between this and an imperial stout. Highly recommended, especially if you love coffee beers like I do. This is seriously good. (1,019 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Lodge in Hilton Head, SC on 3/4/11. Glad to finally be able to try this, it's eluded me for some time.

A - Inky black with a thin, creamy head of mocha-colored foam. Great retention, leaves a ton of sticky lacing.
S - Dark roasted malt, coffee-and-cream, vanilla beans, and caramel. Wow, what and amazing nose!
T - Dark malt and a lots of coffee dominate, along with more vanilla bean, dark chocolate malt, and caramel. Tastes like a Mocha Milkshake in the best possible way, so good!
M - Incredibly full, creamy and velvety, with low carbonation.
D - Really amazing, wish I could have had more but the keg kicked. Worth the wait! (645 characters)

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter. Thanks for this one jodan

A - Black, very slight dark brown edging. Mocha coloured head, 2 fingers, excellent. Lacing was sticky and very nice

S - Strong vanilla, lesser coffee. Slight 'chemical' smell but very faint. Did not pick up very much bitterness but mostly just roast

T - smell followed the nose. Very strong, chemically vanilla, but not in too bad of a way. You do get the bold roasty coffee but it is more in the background. The vanilla is very dominant. I would have preferred the coffee to be the star of the show but it was a tasty brew

M - Medium to light heavy. Semi-sweet and slightly tacky

D - This beer is quite a bit of work to finish an entire bomber. I would not be able to have another. Tasty, just the vanilla was a bit much at time. (795 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (751 characters)

Photo of July2Nov
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
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. (883 characters)

Photo of TheDudeRules
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (420 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (736 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (284 characters)

Photo of Gunslinger711
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (757 characters)

Photo of ChadQuest
4.35/5  rDev 0%
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. (663 characters)

Photo of Nesued
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (1,522 characters)

Photo of Vdubb86
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (828 characters)

Photo of augustgarage
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
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. (1,063 characters)

Photo of stewfnrocker
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (723 characters)

Photo of IdrinkGas
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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! (451 characters)

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
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. (556 characters)

Photo of Buddha22
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
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. (647 characters)

Photo of nataku00
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (961 characters)

Photo of Rizalini
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (614 characters)

Photo of 100floods
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (760 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,155 ratings.