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

1,160 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,160
Hads: 5,641
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 949
Gots: 1,580 | 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: 1,160 | Hads: 5,641
Photo of punkrkr27
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black pour with brown highlights and a small loose white head. The aroma has loads of vanilla and coffee with some faint dark fruit. Thew flavor is smooth milk chocolate, vanilla, candied figs, smoke, wood and lots of alcohol. Thinnish body, oily, soft carbonation and some alcohol warming. (290 characters)

Photo of LevitatedEep
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz bomber into my Chimay glass...shared with a friend.

A - Chocolate milk and pancake batter soup...looks so damn delicious my mouth is watering....tons of nice lacing too.

S - Nestles Quik, malted milk, caramel, oats, roasted coffee beans...wow this smells perfect...

T - Coffee upfront, Milky-way candy bar, Nestles Crunch bar, tasting the vanilla now, milk....this is heaven....delicious!

M - Perfect on the tongue...low carb, thick and yummy.

D - One of the smoothest beers not just Porters I have ever had...I will be getting a few more bottles of this tomorrow. (582 characters)

Photo of Trueant1
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say? This one pours perfect! Thick head with gobs of lacing stuck on the sides of the glass. The aroma whiffs through the air as you pour this brew into your favorite glass.

Smells of fresh coffee up front. Many in this style have a "stale" coffee smell. This one is fresh and clean. Sweet chocolate and almost a red wine smell. Alcohol and a hint of "bong water" smells. Fresh wheat grass as well.

MMM! WOW! BLISS! Huge brew. Tastes of creamy chocolate liquid mouse. My BA friend in the room tastes milky way candy bars...and so do I. Bitter/burnt chocolate flavors. Alcoholic and very sugary sweet.

This brew is so thick, so creamy, so bitter, and so smooth. Every thing seems to blend together. The only thing that really stands out is the bitterness, and not in a bad way. One of the best brews I have ever had!
Drink this one warm from the start to get the full flavor profile. (897 characters)

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

This beer does everything well. black with a resilient tan head. Lacing all up and down the glass. Aromas of chocolate and coffee. Vanilla comes into play with the flavor along with the coffee and chocolate notes. Terrific mouthfeel, rich and full bodied. Alcohol is well hidden. Very drinkable, complex flavors. Worth the price tag. I will definitely pick this up whenever possible. (383 characters)

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 1 finger coffee colored head. Laces out evenly across the top and clinging to the sides.

Smells like I just brewed a cup of joe and tossed in a white chocolate bar. A little nutty like candied roasted nuts.

Tastes of roasted french vanilla. A lot of deep malty undertones. A slight bitterness of chocolate. Also the malts have a faint smokey character.

The 10% is not that noticeable but you can tell there is a good amount of alcohol in this one.

Split a bomber with a friend and was satisfied with my half. (535 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into glass - 2009 vintage

Pours an inky black with a thinner tanned head. Fades out almost completely with sine spotty lacing and film.

A strong scent of cocoa with espresso, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of alcohol.

Plenty of chocolate and cocoa up front with a nice splash of vanilla flavor. Lighter tones of coffee and mocha mix in with an almost truffle- like sweetness. Roasted dark malts with caramel and some lingering warmth. Finishes toasty with a hint of booze.

Fuller medium body, mild carbonation, a little creamy and smooth. Really nice drinking, and some age helped mellow out the alcohol although some of the coffee and vanilla flavors faded. (688 characters)

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bomber into a pint glass

This beer pour jet black with a very large frothy head that lingers for some time

The aromas coming from my glass were of strong coffee and sweet vanilla

The taste is mostly coffee with a little bitterness followed by smooth sweet vanilla finish. not much bitterness really just the right amount

This beer is big and has a fairly heavy feel to it, but that does not take away from its drinkability, could have had a second if it weren't so damn strong (494 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Big thanks to Khazadum for this.

4.0 A: Pours a black color. Two fingers of light brown creamy/frothy hybrid head. Average retention and some lacing. Good enough.

4.5 S: Not surprisingly the strongest aromas are coffee and vanilla. Sweetness gives the illusion of coffee with cream. Plenty of toastiness, with some roastiness as well, some grainy malts, semisweet chocolate, and caramel. Very nice.

4.5 T: Tastes a lot like the nose which is a cup of strong coffee with vanilla cream. The bitterness seems to come from mostly the coffee and it's moderate strength at best. Again, roasty and toasty, grainy, caramel and toffee, and quite tasty. Booze is hidden well.

4.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Super creamy and smooth. Nearly perfect.

5.0 D: This one drinks well from start to finish. Flavor is great as is the mouthfeel and this doens't seem like it's 10%. Good beer overall and easily the best I've had from BP. Sculpin doesn't even come close. (1,006 characters)

Photo of GallowsThief
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel.

A - Coffee black pour with about a 3 inch head that is a nice creamy brown.

S - Wonderful coffee smell with just enough hint of vanilla. Smell comes across with just enough sweetness in it.

T - Big roasty taste. Great hints of vanilla as well. Comes cross the palate with just a touch of sweetness and caramel. Mocha along for the ride. The warmnesss of the ABV is very subtle on this. Cant help but getting a bit too much of a burnt wood out of it. Odd.

M - Medium bodied with a creamy feel. Coats the tongue in a velvety goodness.

D - High ABV but still pretty damn drinkable. (624 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 22oz Bottle

Appearance - Black as night, creamy tan 1 inch head, tons of lacing

SMell - Lots of coffee, smoke, vanilla, chocolate, malts, barley, spices, man they put alot of everything in this

Taste - Is this a porter or stout? Man its sweet. Lots of vanilla and malts. Tons of coffee mixed with smoked bitterness. Very strong, very sweet, intense in the flavor department.

Mouthfeel - Bold, sweet, intense. Mouth is all messed up over the flavors. Tounge gets a huge sugar kick , then palette gets some sugar and burn from alcohol. No way would i drink anything ipa or pale after this monster. Still i ask, is this a porter?

Drinkabilty - This 22oz was enough. This was very strong and high on flavor. Was fun to drink, alot going on. Wasnt expecting it to be so strong and sweet. Its really good,I want to age one and i need to drink another one cause it was good, and next time i will expect the flavors more. (934 characters)

Photo of atremains
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautifully black with a strong dark head. Sweet lacing. Awesome looking beer. Very roasty nose with cocoa/vanilla highlights. Smells like an ice cream cake. Coffee is there as well.  Roooast in the taste. Vanilla is awesome and the coffee is right their with it. Feel is bulky, just what I was hoping for. Creamy and delicious. Very drinkable beer. Great flavors. Haven't had this in a year and judging from my buddy's notes it's a good thing we revisited it.  (463 characters)

Photo of cbutova
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review, drank this one almost exactly one year ago and my old review is below.

A- Amazing pour with an intensely creamy and foamy dark mocha head that has amazing retention. Can take chunks off the top like ice cream, still perfect. Lace pretty much sucks away 2oz of the beer.

S- Intensely dark roast coffee, malt and cocoa up front. Vanilla comes in big time behind these rounding it out very nicely. Don't know what I was smelling last year. Nice strength.

T- Monstrous vanilla atop very nice roast coffee beans/grounds, dark roast malts and milk chocolate notes. The balance of these flavors is pretty much a very good dessert. Some earthy hops.

MF- Thick and creamy, pretty much where I would want an "Imperial Porter" to be. Carbonation is moderate and silky smooth. Bitterness from cocoa.

DB- Alcohol hidden amazingly in a beer that rivals all dessert-oriented beers. The vanilla, coffee and cocoa combine to make this taste like a twist ice cream cone, don't know why the bottle I had last winter was underwhelming, first A+ in a long time.

Last year:
5 3.5 4 4 4 = 4.1
Pours amazingly with a pitch black body and a nice two finger dark tan coffee colored head that has great retention. Insanely thick lacing is left on my entire pint glass as I drink this one down. Smell is a bit weak on this one, in strength and complexity. Smells of lots of malts, cocoa and some vanilla. I pick up a pinch of alcohol too. The malt profile of this beer is gigantic. Taste is basically a strong version of the smell, like many beers. Lots of cocoa and some vanilla among the huge malts. There is just nothing too amazing sticking out on this one. Mouthfeel is moderate bodied and pretty oily with low carbonation and some good warming. Drinkability is alright, the taste is good, the price is not too bad for such a big beer, not sure if I would get this one again, probably on tap. (1,886 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.
2009 batch.

A: Opaque black color--turning clear, dark brown where light is allowed to penetrate around the edges of the less-full glass--with over one finger of diminishing beige foam head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Rich chocolate forms the backbone of the smell, also with brown sugar, Irish cream, pipe tobacco, and spirituous vanilla. The combined effects of these smells are all-encompassing with endless depth--and make it hard to believe it didn't see the inside of a wooden barrel.

T: Begins sweet, briefly figgy, with roasted malt and an acidic burst of the tobacco from the smell. As acidity fades toward the middle, coffee emerges, eventually welcoming the drying bitter finish. Also featured in the finish are earth, herbaceous green stems, and a lingering whiff of vanilla. This beer presents restrained booziness throughout, but less than is expected.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, leaving the palate burning either from acidity or alcohol, with surprisingly brisk carbonation.

D: Opening the bottle is made worthwhile just by the smell of this over-rated beer. While flavors generally match the intensity of the smells, the sharpness of early acidity is off-putting and difficult to ignore. Definitely a sipper--it's sensory qualities tower over other bottled imperial porters, such as Flying Dog's Gonzo. (1,374 characters)

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

I really wanted to toss up straight fives. that is, the 2009 vintage aged, is a five star treat.

pours dark black with a nutty tan head that is almost nonexistent.I love the smell. the aged version has a heavier chocolate presence than the young version. I love the blend of vanilla and chocolate in the aged bottle. I highly recommend aging this and drinking it around sixty.

great beer. I love the thick viscous mouthfeel and the drinkability. (448 characters)

Photo of mrmiles
3.37/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One of my all time favorites. First time review. First bottle of the 2010 batch. Poured into my St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Pour is a dark brown. Very dark, almost black when held to the light. Slight foaming at edge of glass, but no real head to speak of. Small groupings of bubbles ride the surface.

S: Coffee first. Followed by vanilla and some chocolate notes. Some chocolate malt presence as well.

T: The vanilla comes first mixed with some roast coffee. Chocolate malt follows and then aftertaste picks up the coffee again. Boozy, but well hidden. Some bitterness present, most likely from the coffee.

M: Solid carbonation makes this beer feel lighter than it really is. Very deceptive. A bit viscous for a porter however.

D: Extremely drinkable. Even better after a year or 2 when alcohol mellows. Be careful though as the abv will catch up quickly.

Overall I love this beer. Like I said, one of my all time favorites and without a doubt my favorite porter. That being said, it very often doesn't feel like a porter. I will drink this beer again, and again, and again... (1,080 characters)

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

From a bomber into an oversized mug (single 22 oz. pour).

Pours a dark chocolate brown with a light brown head that sits for a minute, then dissipates into a small film.

Aroma is actually pretty chocolately; moreso than I expected. Almost like a plain Hershey bar. A bit of coffee in the back as well.

The flavor of this beer is phenomenal, and totally as advertised. The chocolate from the nose is third banana to the coffee, and the vanilla accent. They are perfect compliments to one another. This is a perfect dessert brew; a slow sipper for sure. The flavors were a little milder and cleaner when the beer was cool. When it warmed up a bit, the coffee took over, which was nice, but the profile certainly changed.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this brew. From the color and aroma, I suspected this would come off with stout density and bitterness, but it was perfect.

Drinkability is superb. I wish this beer was a sandwich garnish, a steak sauce, a pancake syrup, or a pie filling. This flavor profile is awesome. Merry Christmas to me. (1,042 characters)

Photo of CliffBrake
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow - like drinking a chocolate mocha creme pie! A great dessert to linger over on Christmas Eve.

It pours with a light tan colored head with modest lacing. Coffee and vanilla are both very prominent on the nose. The flavor combines these notes with chocolate and bread from the malts. Throughout, the coffee is very prominent and tastes about as rich and fresh as any coffee I have had in a beer (and better than you'd get with most coffee in this country). The vanilla is well integrated and doesn't stand out as much as it seems to holds things together.

A very tasty, sweet libation for slow sipping. (606 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, some chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with strong creamy flavors of vanilla and coffee up front. Then a very hearty roasted malt character comes in along with some background flavors of chocolate, dark fruit and a little smokiness. The hops presence is very mild but complementary and strong enough to bring a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, slightly filling, strong but disguised kick, very good representation of style, this is a very flavorful porter that is worth drinking for a long time if you're in the mood for the style. (949 characters)

Photo of r0nyn
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Otter Creek nonic.

Pours big, dark and thick with a half-inch tan head that recedes slowly. There's a ton of sticky, stringy lacing that just completely coats the inside of the glass. Really a rather pretty beer. Smell is full of coffee beans, coffee beans, coffee beans. You've really got to whiff it good to detect the other nuanced scents in there. After a few deep sniffs, I get the titular vanilla along with some dark chocolate, berries and caramel.. Definitely one of the more complex-smelling beers I've ever sampled.

I thought I knew what to expect tastewise, but this beer totally surprises me. Tons of roasted malts dominate the flavor profile, along with the substantial coffee character. Not too much astringency. Can't really detect the vanilla, which is slightly disappointing, but not dealbreaking. There are notes of sweet, dark and bitter chocolate towards the end with maybe just a hint of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is really quite nice, with a medium body and smooth finish. Carbonation is pretty non-existent. Not really chewy, but has a nice amount of oomph that makes the drinking experience quite pleasant.

Drinkability is great with this beer. It looks great, smells and tastes very good and goes down easy. If you love coffee, you'll love this beer, because fresh, it tastes almost like an iced coffee. You'll just need to be careful, because unlike an iced coffee, this porter carries a very well-hidden 10% ABV that can be very dangerous. On the whole, a great beer to crack open with a few friends. (1,559 characters)

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a complete black. Very nice brown head and it amazingly thickens up and stays with the brew considering its at 10% abv.

The smell is of fresh ground coffee, chocolate, and slight vanilla.

I cant pick any vanilla up in the taste. The taste is mostly of coffee and to me it overpowers the aftertaste just a tad.

The mouthfeel is very thick so this isnt a beer you could drink a lot of, and at 10% thats not always a bad thing.

A great beer overall but personally not my favorite. Worth trying for sure though. (518 characters)

Photo of beersensei305
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live Review from a bottle:

Appearance: Pours a pitch black with a sliky texture like oil. The head is a dark toffee colo with nice retention and lacing around the glass.

Aroma: Is coffee with a vanilla softness. Some nice roasted malts pop up too.

Taste: Like the bottle says and the way it pours this beer is silky/velvety. Nice smooth coffee flavor up front not as over powering as most similar beers brewed with coffee. Subtly vanilla sweetness. Chocolate undertones, with a nice roasted malt character.

Mouthfeel: Silky and smooth. Nicely balanced and does not dry out the palate no bitterness.

Dinkability: I would have this bad boy again however I am not a big fan of coffee drinks, I have to be in the mood for them. But I would reach for this one... Nice balance of flavors- some coffee brews are too intense. (823 characters)

Photo of seeswo
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The title of this beer is quite the mouthful! I recently came across a forum discussion about the difference between an imperial stout and an imperial porter. The short answer: little if anything. With that question answered, I dove in.

This beer smells really good. I am partial to the flavors of vanilla and coffee and how just the smell of them affect me physically being a coffee drinker. I perked up immediately and figured I was in for a treat.

The taste was very good. Robust, with a solid texture, mostly balanced and not overdone vanilla and coffee. Actually, I could have gone for a tad bit more on those flavors, but this bottle is a year old, so I don't know whether they faded a bit or what. A great choice for a cool fall evening, I just wish I still had a fireplace to enjoy it next to. A lot more low key than some of the crazy RIS's like Darklord, Darkness, etc. - and I say this as a good thing. Not a flavor bomb or chewy, thick, sweet cloying mess like the above beers can be (they are still delicious, just not as a whole bomber on a regular evening).

Really good beer. Did not slay me, but definitely worth efforting to try. One of those beers you wish you had gotten more of... (1,205 characters)

Photo of Double06
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decided to crack this one as a reward after finishing law school exams.... 22oz bottle from Fa10 poured into snifter.

A: The darkest brown, just a shade short of black fading along the edges to an almost reddish color. 1/4 inch light brown head with enough viscosity to lightly coat the edge of my glass.

S: Not as strong as I would expect but very nuanced and well-balanced between the coffee and sweet vanilla notes.

T: Changing swallow by swallow but I'm getting a hint of the alcohol heat to start, then the vanilla and sweetness, followed up by the deliciousness of the coffee . Very well balanced and tasty!

M: Solid amount of carbonation allows the flavors to fill the mouth and tongue. Leaves enough coating in the mouth to let you keep tasting it but not so much that it's thick.

D: Very high... the coffee finish makes you want to keep drinking more to balance with the initial sweetness. The non-heavy mouthfeel contributes as well. I could easily drink 2 of these in a sitting but at 10%, it'd hit me hard.

Went out of my way to order this one to Georgia and I'm glad I did. Another well done offering by the folks at Ballast Point. (1,151 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Poured into a Red Oak globe glass

A-- Poured black with tints of red. Settled black. One finger dark mocha colored head. Very fluffy, very good head retention. On swirling some noticeable alcohol.

S-- Coffee. Not really overpowering but there. Roasted malts and some hints of vanilla as well.

T-- Coffee, vanilla and carmel. The carmel really stood out. Reminded me more of an iced coffee. Quite nice.

M-- Medium light body and a bit velvety. Carmel and vanilla in the front and roasted malts and coffee finish. Was a little bitter in the end with a vanilla finish.

D-- Well balanced. Sometimes coffee, sometimes vanilla and sometimes carmel. No taste able alcohol to this. Was a bit light in spots but very, very good, Easily could have had a second bomber of it and been happy and not had an issue with it. Very happy to have had one of the beers I have been wanting for a while. Did not disappoint one bit. (926 characters)

Photo of NYManc
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared with BA infi and brun. Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

A: Poured motor oil black with a small light mocha head. The head retreated within a short period of time. When swirled the head the would reappear with a slightly more tan head.

S: First smells bring dark coffee. Smells of mouth-watering sweet vanilla and chocolate after multiple smells. Roasted malts were also found in this mix. Very very good smell.

T: Tastes follow the nose. First sips bring upon a taste of dark coffee. Vanilla initially in there too. After that I tasted the roasted taste of the malts mixed with dark chocolate. No taste of alcohol here, very well hidden. A very delicious brew.

M: Medium to heavy bodied. Mildly carbonated and goes smooth going down.

D: Even though its 10% ABV, its very easy to drink and I could drink many glasses. I would recommend this to everyone. (864 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,160 ratings.