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

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

5,535 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,535
Reviews: 1,229
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 940
Gots: 1,528 | FT: 103
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,535 | Reviews: 1,229
Photo of HalfFull
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle poured into a wine glass. The 2010 Victory returns to its former glory from my view. The pour is dark and velvety, and offers a resilient cap of foam and light dapples of lace.

Chocolate notes initiate, followed by an abundance of coffee and some roasted malts, and with a pleasantly subtle(read, not fake) vanilla influence. Not being a big coffee fan, I nonetheless find this brew intriguing, and well balanced with some dried fruit notes as well. Robust hop notes reveal themselves with warming AND some agitation.

Taste is equally complex, with coffee up front and followed by a bit of cherry and alcohol. Vanilla is less evident here as coffee and chocolate lead the way and continue through the finish, yet every sip is enjoyable and elicits a rather enjoyable reflex. Feel might be construed as a bit thin at times but this is well an illusion. A rather profound brew.. I offer a rare recommendation for this seaborne chaos..

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 into a snifter. Pours black with a 3/4 inch tan head. The lace is minimal. The smell is light, even after being swirled around in the snifter. I did make out roasted coffee and vanilla right out front. There are some notes of lemon rind.
The taste steps it up.a bunch. Dark roasted coffee with bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, slight lemon zest, earthy hops and a touch of alcohol, but well hidden. Very smooth on the way down. Perfect porter feel.
This would get a 5 but I'm not even halfway through my second glass and I'm wobbely. I wish I could drink four or five with no consequenses though.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into St. Bernardus Chalice. 2010 bottle.

A: Awesome look, very dark brown-black body with epic brown head and super lacing on the glass. Awesome start.

S: This is nice- a huge fudge note, some roast, vanilla type sweetness with an oaked tinge to it. Some coffee in there. Not as strong as I'd like but very nice

T: Much more going on here. The vanilla and coffee flavors are well highlighted over a base of roasty chocolate. A sweet front and a bitter chocolate dry finish, huge charred malt characters and a bit of smoke, and some alcohol burn and sweetness as well. Barley and cereal notes add in to beef up the overall body and flavor of the beer. Supremely balanced and amazing, some definite creamy almost milk shake malt qualities to it. Probably the tastiest imperial porter there is.

M: Smooth and creamy, very viscous. Great carbonation level and no heat, just amazing over the palate.

D: Great beer. I love it and will continue to buy it if I see it, also I'm curious to see how it ages and if the vanilla and coffee fade away.

Photo of bonbini26
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours, a dark, oily black color with about a 2-finger white head. The smell was sweet of roasted coffee and vanilla oak. It was sweet with a roasting bitter finish. It started silky smooth and then finished bitter, Felt more like a stout than a porter. Drank pretty easily for a 10% ABV beer. An excellent beer from Ballast Point

Photo of sendsilk
2.29/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Okay,
Just found one of these down here in good old FL, a rarity I can assure you. Read alot about this bad boy and am super excited to try it. Here goes the play by play as I drink it.

A- Poured dark, I mean really dark, burnt brown color. Nice 3/4" head but quickly recedes and not much lacing.

S- Holy Coffee! That's not a good sign for me. I like coffee for breakfast and beer for dinner and I likes 'em separate. I was hoping to be overpowered with vanilla but it is definitely coffee. Dammit, I hope this doesn't taste like some Kona Pipeline Porter which I bought a case of and can barely stomach the swill.

T- Coffee and beer dammit to hell. Where the hell is the vanilla guys? It DEFINITELY says vanilla porter on the label. How about labeling it V@S Coffee porter **Now without vanilla!!** I could have had a Cigar City Cubano Espresso which tastes very similar, BUT, I did not want a coffee beer. I'm sure many people out there love this (as witnessed by the rating) but this is not the "vanilla porter" I signed up for.

M- It does have a nice thick and creamy mouthfeel even though the coffee is overpowering.

Well, at least I can say I have tried it. I have another one of these that someone might want to trade for. I don't know, maybe as it gets older it will get better but this is definitely not for me.

Photo of beerman207
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark - nice chocolate looking beer with a ruby reddish hue to it. Nice head and skim that remains for a while.

S: Nose is coffee, some vanilla, some bourbon, chocolate malt

T: Nice cocoa and vanilla profile with bitter dark chocolate

M: Carbonation is mild, smooth

D: A bit of a sipper. Could go for another but it's definately a bit boozy.

Photo of ChrisPro
3.99/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Devil's Den

A - Black. Black. Black. Frothy tan head that lingered for ages. This thick brew left legs as I slowly drank.

S - Like triple shot vanilla latte. Huge coffee notes as well as a sort of milk-like subtlety. Great huge vanilla and rich molasses.

T - Super rich and my latte impressions are confirmed. Big rich vanilla notes and a fantastic coffee finish. This doesn't have too bitter of a finish, yet it's not overly sweet either. Balanced well.

M - Incredibly full-bodied. A bit hot near the back of the throat. Light carbonation is perfect for the style.

D - Drinkable, yes. Very drinkable? no. Fantastic brew, but this here's a sipper, even for the style.

Photo of zhanson88
3.48/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Victory at Sea pours close to pitch black with about to 3 fingers of head. This beer definitely qualifies as opaque in the glass. Retention and lacing are great.

Smell: This beer smells of roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla. The coffee and vanilla components seem to be a bit out whack for me. Just a little out of balance, but still not bad at all.

Taste: I definitely get a bunch roasted malts and coffee on the front end, with vanilla and some acridness on the back end and finish. I'm really not a fan at all of the coffee component in this beer. It's just too acrid and seems artificial to me. After having a fair number of coffee-infused beers, I find that I'm pretty picky about how it is incorporated. It doesn't work in this beer for me.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Just a bit under full bodied and very smooth on the palate. Very nice. Overall I just don't find this beer overly drinkable due to how the coffee flavor fits in with the profile of this beer. Other components of the review are going to help carry the score on this beer for me, but I definitely feel like it's overrated.

Photo of HopMasterFlex
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured stout black into my tulip glass with a dark khaki head with a thin lacing. The smell is amazing, up front loads of coffee, chocolate roasted malts, and a subtle vanilla. Can't stop inhaling it to the point some almost went up my nose. I'd like to chop it up and take one Steve-o style but my better judgement got the best of me this time. It's a sneaky beer in my eyes it tastes exactly how it smells and in that order. It's a silky smooth texture with great after taste with a slight hint of alcohol (but barely). Definitely not sludge like a stout but delightful feel for a porter. This is an awesome beer and only wish they would they would release one with real vanilla bean and not just flavoring and set it in bourbon barrels for a few months. Then it would be the perfect imperial porter in my eyes. I might have marked it a bit high on the points but I attribute that to the skeleton parrot on the label ;)

Photo of fastsrt
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, tan head diminished quickly.

S: coffee, vanilla in the back, malts mingled with subtle coffee.

T: first taste thought was "this reminds me of founders CBS" all the flavors are balanced making a wonderfully flavored beer

M: mild carbonation, dry bitter finish with lingering vanilla.

D: at 10% one bottle is good, and reasonably priced, high quality have paid twice this much for beer not at good.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a large snifter, it easily produces a half inch head. Body is jet black, with a tan foamy head that quickly dissipates to a ring, leaving small soap clouds of lace on the glass.

Rich aroma of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, and alcohol.

Tastes of charred malt and dark chocolate up front, with coffee and vanilla mid-palate, and ends with a burning dry finish on the tongue, mostly of bitter char and roasted coffee, and just a hint of smoke. Overall, it is a pleasant and well-balanced Porter.

Body is on the lighter side for a Porter, and carbonation is low, but it is enough to give this a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

This is a nice version of an Imperial Porter, very flavorful, and quite drinkable. The alcohol is slightly warming, but is matched by the great flavors.

Photo of mattgreger
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this brew from a 22oz bomber. It poured a very dark, creamy black. It had a very thick, 2 inch head that had some great retention. It also had some very nice lacing as well. The head retention was very impressive, based on how high of an ABV this brew is.

The aroma on this brew is pretty good. Its got a nice rich smell of vanilla up front, that blends into a nice roasted coffee aroma. There is a bunch of milk chocolate aromas that come forth in the middle, then it all finishes with a bit of a hops aroma. It smells very good. I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells.

The flavor on this brew is very creamy, the front is a great rush of smooth milk chocolate flavors, a rich vanilla, and a great rush of fresh coffee. Its a great flavor that mixes well with hops and give this brew a nice powerful punch. It does have a bit of a boozy hit a the end. But the creaminess of the brew makes it work.

Mouthful was great. It was thick and very creamy. It went down very easy, but had a nice alcohol bite at the end, that gaves you a nice warming feeling.

The drink on this brew was great. It had great roasted flavors, along with some good bitterness. It balances out this brew very well. Great brew by Ballast Point.

Photo of ZeroSignal
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark pour with streaks of light brown; vigorous mocha colored head that settles quickly to a thin skim, edges lace nicely

S - Big roasted coffee aroma (Breakfast Blend), bits of milky chocolate and lots of roasted malts. Hints of espresso and vanilla, and a light hint of alcohol.

T&M - Extremely smooth and creamy...very decadent. Lot's of roasted coffee flavor, baker's chocolate and a woodsy vanilla. There is a somewhat ashy, malty presence, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness at all. The alcohol is extremely well hidden with just the slightest hint in the finish. Has a lot in common (flavor and feel wise) with Founders Breakfast Stout.

D - A very impressive beer. Delicious from start to finish and dangerously drinkable.

Photo of KAP1356
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip...

A - Poured a dark, creamy, opaque black. A nice tan color head, about 1.5 fingers thick, forms and sticks around for a bit. Nice head retention for such a big ABV beer.

S - Lots of vanilla right up front mixed with some delicious smelling coffee. Creamy milk chocolate mixes in there too. I think I get a bit of hops in there too.

T - Creamy, smooth milk chocolate, vanilla, and some great fresh coffee. Starts nice and sweet and then transitions to a nice bitter coffee taste. Very milk shake like and very nicely done.

M - Creamy, milkshake like, thick and hearty. Really nice feel. A little bit of alcohol heat at the end of the palate.

D - Nice and creamy, but the roasty/bitterness really cuts down a bit; especially since its a 22 oz. bottle. But it's really a great and well balanced beer.

Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- Dark body with a huge caramel head that lasts for a long time. great looking beer.

s-tons of vanilla, tons of piny hops, definately boozy and definately smells good, I really cant wait to taste this.

t- Tons and tons and tons of vanilla. There is a mollasses tone in there. You can barely taste any of the booze, which I think that the coffee flavor is covering up.

m- This beer is smooth. I really think that the carbonation is perfect and the beer is almost thick without being to thick. Bravo!

d- This beer is an overall stunner. I really really really am impressed and happy to see that I have about four more of these in my cellar. The vanilla in this beer is making me want to try more beers that have vanilla because i feel it is such a great ingredient with this style.

Photo of JeffSpicoli
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer, its appearance, smell, taste, and even the cool bottle. it also has some nice carbonation. you get some nice smoke coming out of the bottle when you open it.

You smell and taste the vanilla, but not extreme at all, to me its more of a blend it softens the strong coffee flavor. I do agree that it is a bit acidic from all the coffee, witch to me its the dominant flavor in the beer, but it blends real nice with the vanilla. you can taste the alcohol but I don't get the burning that some talk about at all. maybe it's just me.

just wanted to add that this beer taste better and better as you drink more. as you know the taste of a beer changes by the time you get to the middle of the glass, and then to the bottom. it also changes even more with some beers, as you drink the second one. I din't get some of the flavors until I got to the middle, where their was a nice taste of chocolate that came into the blend.

you must drink the whole beer to get the best experience out of it. It wont be hard to do, with Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter!

Photo of BigB415
4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good thing I like vanilla because this beer is all about the vanilla. Labeled at an imperial vanilla porter, the label doesn't lie. It's been a while since I had a porter since I'm a stout guy but I figured I'd give it a try since Ballast Point makes great beers. Pours a pitch black with light lacing. Smells heavily of vanilla and I think I smell some alcohol which is expectant with this beer weighing in at 10% first sip I get more vanilla and some burn from the alcohol which doesn't over power. Very nice beer, I can see why it's on the top 100 and why it was sold out of most places that I went to.

Photo of tigernipples
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber, no date on bottle.

A: Jet black, nice finger head,very impressive looking porter, almost looks like a stout.

S: Big Big Coffee beans, molasses,malts, expresso notes, vanilla notes slightly in the bachground of the nose.

T: Chocolate notes, lots of coffee(not the usual burnt coffee you find in most beers, nice fresh coffee),little bits of dark fruits, i don't detect alot of vanilia and i heard that this batch had strong vanilla noted within.some bitterness. alcohol is just not there (its a 10% abv and you wouldn't know it).

M: creamy, i feel like i can chew it.

D & overall: So far, best porter I've had. my favorite was Smuttynose Robust porter but this has taken over. High drinkability since alcohol is completely hidden. I think I will buy more to age. thinking that some of the edges will mellow and it may bring out the vanilla.

Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: wall-to-wall black with a creamy beige head. Some coffee black shades show up on the edges when swirled in the glass. Some lacing.

Smell: vanilla beans, creamy chocolate, roasted malt and fruity coffee. There's a lot of good stuff going on. Some booze heat in this fresh bottle.

Taste: starts sweet like a chocolate milkshake and transitions to a bitter note combining roast and coffee. The finish is nicely bitter and sticks with you for awhile.

Mouthfeel: creamy, thick and wonderful. Some booze burn in the finish.

Drinkability: All of that roast, coffee and booze cuts down on the drinkability, but, given those qualities, it's pretty easy to drink. The soft feel helps a lot.

Photo of Retsinis
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass.

Pours a deep, rich black, with brown highlights when held to the light. Less than an inch of head, that fades to a light lacing that sits on top, and sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell is of vanilla, roasted coffee, burnt brown sugar, and a tinge of bitter hops, but comes across more as bitter coffee.

Taste follows the nose, coffee, vanilla, some tobacco, dark chocolate ( like 70% dark chocolate)

Mouth feel is a bit creamy, but doesn't linger on the palate. Heat of the 10% is well masked, but comes through more once it warms up.

Overall, one of the top coffee porters. The 2010 seems a bit too balanced in contrast to previous years, with the flavors melding to a point of masking what is a complex beer. Having sampled various variety's, the barrel aged tap version is delicious, as was last year's fresh, (Also aged last years for a year, vanialla comes through a lot, coffee fades quite a bit, was still present though) but last years cask version with Rum chips takes the prize.

Recommended in any variant though, great seasonal.

Photo of n2185
3.6/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a deep viscous black with about a finger of coffee-colored frothy head that quickly recedes into a thin film. Very little lacing.

S: Smoked malt at first, but then a sweet vanilla smell overtakes it. Only a little coffee smell at the end.

T: Smoked peat up front followed by a strong, bitter coffee and bitter chocolate flavors somewhat sweetened with vanilla. There's a very apparent alcohol burn along with the bitterness in the aftertaste. As the beer warms, the vanilla begins to shine through in both the taste and aftertaste, though it doesn't mesh well with the bitterness or alcohol burn.

M: Surprisingly medium-bodied for such a dark beer with medium carbonation. It's not nearly as thick and creamy as it initially looks.

D: Very much a sipper--goes down bitter with a fairly strong alcohol burn. Not something I would want to drink multiples of.

Photo of dwilson01
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber (2010 release) into my new belgium tulip glass, dark mocha head tops the brew, a thin layer that dissipates quickly. The body the dark, when held up to light a brown tint appears around the edges.

The scent is one of the best I have ever had, dark roasted barley hits the nostrils giving a delicious coffee smell which is cooling instead of hot like a fresh cup of joe. Sweeter molasses and chocolate malt undertones give a soothing smell after the roasty one. No hop smells to speak of.

The flavor is amazing, one of the first things that strikes me is the vanilla, in the bottle this flavor really comes to maturity and I distinctly am able to pick it out. The roasted coffee and small amount of chocolate flavors combine into a nice balance which lends to the perfect naming of this beer.

The mouthfeel is great, creamy like a milkshake made of coffee and chocolate, not precisely cappuccino but very close to it. The drinkability is solid, it's a sipping beer but the nonexistent alcohol esters make it hard to believe this isn't an iced coffee.

Photo of jpro
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had at 10oz draft at Closed for Business...

A: Black. Dark brown, dense head is formed on the pour; rings and sheets of lace get left on the sides of the glass.

S: Piney hops??! Not expecting that to be the first thing I noticed... Coffee and roasted malt; a dark chocolate sweetness; vanilla.

T: Starts with a short blast of vanilla; then transitions to roasted malts and a hoppy bitter; surprisingly bitter finish given the sweetness from the vanilla and chocolate malt.

M: Near full; creamy and slightly viscous; higher carbonation than expected.

D: Fairly drinkable considering the 10% abv (I had no idea... wow!); a lot of flavor going on (especially the sweetness) might wear out the ol' taste buds.

Photo of kzoobrew
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to SpdKilz for hooking me up with this bottle. Cheers Carleton!

Poured into unbranded 12oz snifter. Deep walnut color from the bottle though settles into the glass an opaque black. One finger Cafe Au Lait head works its way back in short order. A nice ring is left around the perimeter, heavy lacing clings to the glass.

There are some beers that you find yourself admiring the aroma to a point that you have to remind yourself to take a sip, this is one of them. Medium roasted coffee bean with a bit of cinnamon up front. Fudgy dark chocolate wedges itself smack dab in the middle. Caramel vanilla cream lays underneath be delicately weaves its way into each sniff.

The aroma is an excellent indicator of things to come. The flavor is very reminiscent of the aroma but much more even. The java flavor is very clean, providing a nearly perfect level of roastiness. Molten chocolate is intertwined with the bean though moves towards a dry cocoa flavor towards the back of the palate. Sweet caramel creme provides a lighter sweetness to compliment the darker flavors. The vanilla is not overly obvious, the flavor smooths and blends the other flavors together.

Full bodied porter. The carbonation is a bit too lively, so far that is the only fault I can find in this beer. Very smooth and nearly creamy texture. The finish is moderately long, the flavors do not dig in to the tongue as much as I expected.

Quite the impressive beer. Flavors are very well integrated and smooth. Remarkably easy to drink for a 10% beer. Alcohol is well hidden. Drinking several servings may not be the best idea though it would be remarkably easy to accomplish. Well done Ballast Point!

Photo of Gosox8787
3.61/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bottle poured into a Portsmouth Brewery tulip at room temperature.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color with a two finger, caramel mocha head and impressive retention.

Aroma: Vanilla, roasted malt and a little bit of a burn. Definitely pick up a good deal of the alcohol heat. Definitely some coffee notes hidden behind the vanilla.

Taste: Coffee and vanilla are definitely present in the first sip. The vanilla really becomes more notciable as this sits. The coffee is a bit muddled by the baltic porter notes here. Definitely not as clean a taste as I imagined. I find this almost rotates between smooth, overly sweet vanilla, and overly bitter coffee. I wish they were better fused together as a whole.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and syrupy. Definitely a creamy undertone as well.

Drinkability: I definitely pick up the alcohol in the nose and taste, but I had no problem finishing a bomber of this.

Overall, I finmd the balance of sweetness of the vanilla and coffee bitterness a bit of a disppointment. Not a bad beer, but I don't think it lives up to the hype.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,535 ratings.