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

1,164 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,164
Hads: 5,657
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 950
Gots: 1,589 | FT: 107
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: 1,164 | Hads: 5,657
Photo of slasher007
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
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 (422 characters)

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

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

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

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

mouthfeel is a tough thin, but this is a porter so i find that fairly acceptable. overall this is way too drinkable. not overly boozy and deceptively smooth, (549 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 jooler
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells like a prairie Bomb. It tastes pretty damn good. Smooth like a porter but the burn of an imperial stout with a hint of vanilla. Only issue is that the carbonation is low (176 characters)

Photo of kzoobrew
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
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! (1,683 characters)

Photo of garuda
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick, black, oily pour that only gets a tiny tan head with little retention and spotty lacing down the glass.

S/T - Rich, smooth roasted coffee in the forefront with touches of vanilla and chocolate creating a sweet underlying tone.

M - Full body, great low carbonation, creamy across the palate, with a little residual oiliness in the finish.

D - Wow, abv is hidden extremely well, with only a hint coming through as it warms. This is such a smooth easy drinker, I only wish the vanilla was a bit more prominent. (521 characters)

Photo of don1481
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz poured into pint.

Pours a dark jet black with a mocha head that leaves a nice amount of lacing on the glass. Smells like a strong coffee with a hint of vanilla. Tastes like a strong coffee with a bit more vanilla. Mouthfeel is a bitter coffee taste, but not over the top. Alcohol is well hidden. I'll get more of this. (328 characters)

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This has got to be one of my favorite beers. Very tasty. It has an awesome head that stays the whole time and is super creamy and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. It smells of wonderful roasted malty sweet goodness. You can smell the coffee a little bit. Taste is very intense. Lots of flavors going on such as slot of roast and good light vanilla flavor with a smooth coffee roast to it. Mouthfeel is great with great carbonation. Overall it is a sipper because of how intense it is but with a year or more of age on this I can see this beer being even better. Very good (575 characters)

Photo of sjccmd
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is strong coffee. Some peppery notes. Cinnamon and spices, and a good dose of vanilla. Dark chocolate, some fruity esters and citrusy hops, but those are kept to a minimum. Vanilla comes out more and more.

Pours black with a dark tan/brown head. Medium sized head recedes leaving a good amount of lacing. Clarity is pretty good.

Taste is again big on coffee. Filled in with roasty malts and a hint of citrusy hops. Vanilla comes in on the finish with cinnamon and clove. Coffee is balanced nicely with robust dark malts, burnt toast, and some caramel. Very rich, but the coffee seems to keep it from being cloying. Vanilla adds a hint of sweetness.

Full bodied with medium low carbonation. Vanilla seems to add to the body. Some residual sweetness balanced with roasty bitterness.

Big and luscious. Coffee balanced nicely with the rich porter character. Heavy for the style. (884 characters)

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black, not too thick. Nice looking head, but again, not particularly thick. Over all good looking.

Vanilla is heavy, roasted coffee. The vanilla is quite heavy. As it warms, some malty sweet aromas appear.

Taste follows the nose. Vanilla sweetness, coffee, sweet malt sugars, mild malt roasts. Finishes with a healthy dose of coffee bitterness. The alcohol... wait what alcohol. Very well hidden.

Mouthfeel comes across as much lighter than the 10 percent ABV.

Great beer here, no doubt about it. I have been excited to try this beer for a long time and am glad to try it finally. (594 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery during RBSG 08. Darkest brown with a creamy cocoa head that leaves a bunch of lacing. Nice roasty nose with milk chocolate and vanilla. Intense iced coffee with a roasty bitterness, some earthy herbal hops, chocolate sweetness. Excellent beer. (265 characters)

Photo of Googs
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, dark brown. Not seeing through this one. Looks almost like a cola. About 3/4 of an inch head when poured which faded quickly into a small layer of bubbles. Alcohol legs lingering on this, and not surprising at all for the the !0% ABV. A very nice lookin' imperial porter.

S: Not a very strong aroma on this one. Dark chocolate roasted malts upfront. A bit of coffee and vanilla. Not an intense smelling brew but pleasant.

T: Malty sweetness that is quickly covered up by the roasted coffee, hops and a touch of vanilla. Very good imperial coffee porter.

M: Perfect mouthfeel for this style of beer. Smooth and just the right amount of carbonation. 10%? this one goes down easy. It's creeping up on me.

O: Pretty awesome Imperial Coffee Porter and one of the best I've had. If you like that roasted coffee flavor and your Imperial porters on the bitter side, you'll love this. I've heard they last years batch was a bit sweet. This year's is fairly bitter when fresh. I'd prefer a little bit more sweetness in it so I'm going to grab a bottle to age for a year and re-visit. Delicious brew, I'd get this if you can. (1,129 characters)

Photo of hoppytobehere
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, bottled October 28th

A: Just as you would expect. Dark as hell. Nice sticky tan lacing.

S: Coffee heavy, but for a guy that drinks 4 cups a day, this is great. Dark chocolate as well, not getting much vanilla yet. Fair amount of hops.

T: Keeps getting better as it warms up. Roasted coffee, raisins, dark chocolate. Slight bitterness from hops and coffee. Pretty dry actually for what it is.

M: Smooth, creamy, chewy. Everything you want a porter to be. 10% ABV and it feels much lower.

O: $7.49 bombers, perfect beer for winter. Might be even better with a little age on it. (603 characters)

Photo of argock
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bornw bottle into a clear glass snifter. No obvious born on/bottle on date, indecipherable code stamped on the front of the label and something unreadable on the bottom. Purchased in allocation from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Black with soft dark brown opaque edges with 1/2-finger of beige head that has good retention for the ABV and leaves a lot of small dots of lacing.

S: Great aroma with heavy black coffee aroma, but dark fruit, cocoa, and roast malts plow through as well. The vanilla is more of a hint. Alcohol singes the nostrils barely. Maybe the fruity aromas are low-level yeast esters, maybe they are date and plum from the malts.

T: The flavor is good but the coffee could be ratcheted back by 10-20% to let more of the porter through. If I could get another bottle, I would hold onto it for about 3-4 more months and let the coffee fade more and let more porter come through. THat being said, it is still delicious and the coffee works very well with the no, more apparent vanilla component. The porter base is supplying some nutty flavors, roast for sure, and a light touch of caramel. THe alcohol is well hidden and mainly is a warmth in the throat and belly. Any yeast component is some very mild stone fruitiness like cherry or plum. A very good beer that I think would be a bit better with a lighter coffee hand. Bitterness is moderate, mainly from coffee and roast, not from hops which are hard even to detect.

M: I think thefeel could be a bit more lush, but the lighter body helps with the drinkability, which I am not sure is a good thing in a 10% beer. Carbonation is moderate.

O: BP Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla IMperial Porter is a stellar beer that I think has a few small fixes that could turn this into a very top-tier beer. I am very glad to have had the chance to try it, and do not overlook this beer -- it is special and still has potential. (1,919 characters)

Photo of Jas45678
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice black with a small mocha head that fades fairly quickly. Smell is vanilla, coffee, mocha and a little carmel. Taste is coffee and vanilla with some mocha and carmel. Nice bitter finish. A little light bodied with medium amount of carbonation. Overall a great porter especially if you like coffee and vanilla. (321 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. My bottle doesn't look like the one in this listing's picture, and it doesn't specifically say the name in this listing. It says:
Victory At Sea
Porter with Coffee & Vanilla
Imperial Porter
I'm not sure, but I think a bottle code is printed in a weird location on the bottle (in the blue strip front and center, just to the left of the "Porter with Coffee & Vanilla"): S 35 13297. If I understand it correctly, it's a couple months old (assuming it's a bottled on date, not a best by date)

Pours barely translucent ruby-black-brown. Poured gently, starts out with no head, which surprisingly springs up out of nowhere, but then dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma is powerful. A slightly jostling of the beer sends up a cloud of delicious coffee aroma. They must use a shit-ton of coffee in this, but it smells great. But, the coffee smell nearly obscures everything else. I can detect some vague fruitiness, maybe cherry or plum, a little yeast, maybe a little of the vanilla that's mentioned on the bottle (but I probably wouldn't detect it if it wasn't listed on the bottle).

Taste is coffee bitter, sweet/sour cherry or plum slightly up front, more coffee bitter, some caramel and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is rich, gritty, nice. This is really a nice beer. (1,295 characters)

Photo of darthvohn
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Glass Used: Tulip

Appearance: Black with a thick tan head. Head descends into a nice thin cap.

Smell: Vanilla, strong coffee, waifs of toffee and chocolate swirl around along with a light singe of alcohol.

Taste: Coffee, heavy roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate and a bit of the alcohol.

Mouthfeel:Mild carbonation, smooth and slick. Pleasant finish with a bit of burnt bitterness.

Overall: Pretty damn good porter. The aroma and finish hooked me for this one. Would definitely recommend if you are a fan of the style. (524 characters)

Photo of babaracas
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nearly opaque very dark brown with two finger thick fluffy medium brown head, settles to a half inch that stays, with rings down the glass for a few inches. Smell: big espresso with roast, caramel and earth; vanilla, dark chocolate. Taste: vanilla pop upfront, then high cocoa chocolate atop dark brown sugar and buttered toasted brown bread, thins out into earthy espresso with prune note and more chocolate, earthy hopping and re-emergence of the vanilla. Medium-light bodied, creamy feel, sticky finish. Delicious. (525 characters)

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

$9.99 for the bomber at DeCicco's, Ardsley, NY.

Pours straight up black, dark mocha head, thats rich, dense and staying around. Thick sheeting and nice looking and well developed lacing left behind.

Nose resonates with coffee and more coffee. Also some dark grains, mocha, light chocolate.

Full flavor porter, lucious waves of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and dark malty goodness. Rich, dense, boldly amped up and thoroughly tasty stuff. Heavy and viscious on the tongue and coating the mouth.

Over the top and highly worthy of seeking out. (543 characters)

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

Ballast Point Victory at Sea is a beer I've been hearing and reading about for almost as long as I've been a BA. This is a beer that lives up to the expectations. A coffee vanilla imperial porter, it has lost of the things I like in a beer. The beer is almost motor oil black, with a thin layer of lacy bubbles and sticky clingy scuzz on the glass.

The beer smells deeply of coffee, although it doesn't smell like the freshest coffee with a bit of acridity. The sweet chocolate and malt flavors carry through to give VaS a distinctly beery aroma. The hops provide only bitterness, but the coffee is very assertive up front with syrupy caramel flavors and a warming vanilla sweetness in the finish.

Tasty beer with a great integration of ingredients that match well. (767 characters)

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

22oz bomber, loved this on tap...thank Jim for another shot at this. served in a 12oz tulip

A - pours with a very thin layer of loose, dark khaki colored foam. the beer is pretty much pitch black throughout the whole glass. only a couple random spots of lacing left behind.

S - strong, fresh and cold steeped coffee, lightly creamed. some sweetness fights through with vanilla beans, and milk chocolate. roasted malts are present yet stay mostly in the background until the end, more present as the beer warms.

T - strong, yet bitter fresh roast coffee. cut into sharply near the end by vanilla coffee creamer, the vanilla beans come through strong in the end and linger for a bit. toasted nuts and roasted malts, caramel add balance. cocoa powder is very present in the lingering sweet aftertaste. yum.

M - mediud to thickish body, quite syrupy yet cut into sharply by some tight and crispy carbonation. very sticky finish, with lingering roasty bitterness and vanilla sweetness.

D - coffee has died down a bit here but the slack is taken up by a more pronounced vanilla and toasted nutty sweetness. hides is 10% ABV dangerously well, with nary a spat of alcohol taste or burn present. (1,192 characters)

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

Victory at Sea pours a dark chocolate fudge color. It's nearly opaque, save for a few burgundy highlights at the outermost edges. A very light mocha head covers the top. It recedes to a surface covering quickly. Lacing was spotty and light.

The nose is good. Chocolate malts are noted early. Smells like dark chocolate fudge. A relatively strong vanilla bean scent follows. It's a nice touch. Roasted coffee is in the mix and works very well with the other elements. The more I smell it, the stronger vanilla seems to come through. It definitely has a sweet, sugary vibe. Alcohol isn't noticeable. Pretty good all in all. Maybe a tad heavy on the vanilla for me.

The flavor is a step up. Bittersweet, dark chocolate is apparent throughout. It's very tasty and gives it and excellent base. Roasted coffee is much stronger in flavor. I like that. It works extremely well with the chocolate. As a coffee lover, I'm a big fan. It's not coffee overload though. Non-coffee fans shouldn't be discouraged. Vanilla is more subdued in flavor. That actually works well. It's a nice complementary flavor, and works better in a more subtle role. That's a good thing. Alcohol is slightly noticeable, but is blended very well overall. It's not overbearing in the least. Finishes with a blast of coffee and chocolate.

Victory at Sea has a medium body that grows more substantial with warming. Carbonation is light, and it has a nice smooth feel. It needs just a little more girth to get that creamy feel a beer this big needs. Drinkability is very high. This is a damn tasty beer that goes down far too easily. It never feels as big as it is. Tough to keep from chugging it.

Ballast Point generally brews good beer. Occasionally they brew something special. Victory at Sea falls somewhere in between the two. It's damn good, but isn't quite special. Frankly, a bigger body might be all it needs to get there. Without question, it's damn solid all-around and is well worth your attention. Easy recommendation. (1,998 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super deep brown color, cant tell on the clarity but looks a little hazy. about 2 inches of tan sticky head. Smells alot like coffee and asphalt. Herbal woody hop nose. Burnt malt as well. Coffee really comes through as the beer airs.

Wow, tastes as if a delicious big ol black beer had a baby with an amazingly rich coffee. Bitter black chocolate on the tip of the tongue with a sweet creamy vanilla twang . Huge coffee flavor along the mid palate. Finishes with burnt sugar and underlying hop bitterness, much like a straight black coffee. Almost no detectable alcohol. Quite a brew. Could easily work as a breakfast brew with it's sweet vanilla start and bitter coffee finish. Loving it. Hope it doesnt give me the jitters though, coffee burns often do :-( (761 characters)

Photo of vandemonian
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter is a big complex beer. Flavours of coffee and biiter dark chocolate. The finish is dry and bitter.

A: Black colour and a nice 1 cm head that lasts really well. 4.5

S: I can smell the roasty malt from 3 feet away. Up close... it's weirdly not that much stronger. Charcoal. Bitter dark chocolate. 4.5

T: Malty with big flavours of coffee and bitter, dark chocolate. Some slight sweetness and a dry-ish bitter finish. A big, complex beer. The finish is too harsh for my taste. 4.25

M: Foamy. 4.5

O: 4 (549 characters)

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

22 oz poured into a Delirium snifter.

Poured a dark black which let no light shine through at all. It left a half finger of tan head on top that left a fair amount of lacing.

I pick up mostly coffee in the smell, but you do get some vanilla at the end of your sniff. A very pleasant smelling brew.

This is a very good tasting Porter. Heavy on the coffee with a slight trace of alcohol presence, and a balancing sweetness with the vanilla

Relatively thick mouthfeel, but that could just be because I had spent my previous 3 weeks drinking nothing but IPA's and DIPA's.

A good sipper. I actually paired this with some ice cream and a couple bites of a brownie. My girlfriend was craving dessert and I told her "only if I get to have my beer with it." She can never say no to me.

Go ahead and try and pick one of these up. A great brew crafted from a very talented brewery.

Cheers! (885 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,164 ratings.