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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

5,541 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,541
Reviews: 1,230
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 942
Gots: 1,531 | 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: 5,541 | Reviews: 1,230
Photo of Teleweizen2
3.38/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours pitch black with a bubbly mocha head of foam. Two fingers worth. It dissipated rather quickly. Leaves streaks of lacing.

S - lots of oily espresso on first sniff along with varying degrees of roasted malt and a bit of milk chocolate. Some mild spice notes along with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut.

T - vaguely sweet on the front of the tongue. The roasty bitter flavors enter mid palate to balance the sweetness. There are hints of vanilla as well but it seems to be providing a counter notand e to the strong esprosso bean roasty flavors.

M - full bodied. medium carbonation. Creamy texture.

O - an interesting ale. I was expecting a little more desert beer
from this with the vanilla playing a larger role. But still flavorful and well produced.

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.4/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an Ikea Snifter

Appearance is black, with an impressively large cafe-au-lait-colored head for the snifter. The head fades quickly, and leaves some scattered tendrils of lace.

Smell is majorly coffee, with a slight lactic tartness. Really smells like some kind of creamy iced mocha drink.

Flavor was a little disappointing to me. Lots of coffee and chocolate. But it's so roasty that it comes across as burnt. There's some nice off-setting sweetness on the palate from the vanilla, but the swallow ends up being overly bitter and charred to me.

Mouthfeel is nice, thick, and creamy, as I'd expect.

Overall, it's definitely good, but there are many coffee beers I'd choose over this one... Not sure what I missed here - maybe my expectations were too high?

Photo of RAlmeida77
3.41/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wasn't blow away by this beer. Thought it was pretty good. HInts of vanilla and coffee in the nose but definitely wanted more of a vanilla presence in the flavor.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.42/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a velvety black with a very small light brown head that quickly dies down. Nose is coffee, a bit of sweet vanilla and chocolate malts.

Taste is rich and sweet, the coffee bitterness is quite strong and present, a bit astringent and harsh. The vanilla isn't very apparent but I think it's toning down the bitterness of the coffee a bit. It's pretty good but a bit harsh for drinking a lot of.

Photo of harrymel
3.42/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with light tan foam. Smells of coffee and vanilla, very strong and decadent. Flavor is overpowering coffee and burnt malts. Full bodied with moderate carb and an off dry finish. Decent beer, nose>flavor

Original review on 19FEB11: 3/2.5/2.5/3.5/3- 2.73
A: Pours a dark, brown ale. single finger latte head falls quickly leaving a fine velvet sheet. Little lacing.
S: Plenty of coffee. Sharp alcoholic nose. A little overbearing with the coffee and alcohol.
T: Once the beer hits the mouth, it's all vanilla. Such a severe transition from coffee to vanilla, man I don't really dig this. Okay, a little bit later and the coffee is starting to balance out the vanilla sweetness a bit. Roasty background.
M: Thick with low carbonation. Sticky.
D: This is a big beer. I will finish the bottle, but I will never seek this out again.

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.42/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours near black. Hints of dark rich browns at the edge. Head is dark khaki and starts off big and rocky. Drops to a smaller cap and clumpy collar. Some small notches of lacing. Moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Loaded with fresh vanilla bean and straight up roasted coffee bean. A slight twinge of coffee acidity as well. Nicely roasted with a touch of burnt malt. Nicely caramelized with a measured sweetness. A touch of herbal hops with a ton of cocoa. Bitter baker's chocolate with some milder dark chocolate thrown in the mix. A touch of brownie as well. Vanilla adds a touch of sweetness as well.

Taste: Holy vanilla batman. Slightly bitter over extracted vanilla bean. Roasted coffee beans lend a bit of an acrid edge as well. Deeply roasted with some charred and burnt edges. Some cooked and caramelized malts, but it's more and more burnt with each sip. Sweet. Milk chocolate, bitter cocoa, straight nibs and then some overextracted clespresso. Very chocolatey. Did I mention chocolate and coffee and vanilla because seriously. It's borderline candy.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy up front. Finishes clean with a medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: Edward Kenway sank this ship.

Sweet and burnt. It hits on all the promised flavors, but it's just not all there. So very heavy on the vanilla and chocolate. A dessert beer yes.

Photo of thebeers
3.42/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle date 15058; batch 62.

Near black with two fingers of thick, lasting mocha-colored head that leave impressive lacing. Heavy malts, along with hints of coffee and vanilla on the nose, combine into a chocolate milk / YooHoo smell. The taste, however, doesn't live up to the presentation. The malt flavors expected from a high-quality porter just aren't there. Neither roasty nor creamy, there are hints from the solid nose present in the taste, but then an unpleasant, acerbic aftertaste I attribute to the coffee, although hop bitterness may also play a role. Glad I didn't buy a six pack.

Photo of RenzoD
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Kind of disappointed with this one. It was good but not as incredible as I was lead to believe. Extremely boozy taste. Covered up all the other flavors for me. Judging by the aroma I was expecting to love this stuff. Smells heavenly and looks dynamite. Maybe it was something I had eaten before that had paired wrong, but I really tasted too much alcohol. I will try it again some day and maybe have a different opinion.

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours black with a two-inch tan head. The head dies down after a few minutes, but never quite goes away. Lacing clings to the glass in rings.

S: Whole, roasted coffee beans with hints of vanilla bean and a roasted malt base. Malted milk balls. Faint dark chocolate. Not the most complex nose, but it still smells quite good.

T: Bitter and acidic coffee flavors kick things off. Darkfruit lingers underneath with almost a tart edge. Vanilla bean barely breaks through now and then. Kick of citric hops. More bitter coffee. Dark chocolate before the finish. Nutty and coffee tastes finish, along with some lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied. Creamy. Low carbonation. Good enough to get the job done, but it seems to be lacking some intangible dimension.

O: Too bitter, in my opinion, with a double dose coming from both the coffee and the ample hopping. Hop tastes were also very distracting and felt out of place. Good but not great, don't see what all the fuss is about.

Notes: This beer disappears from the shelves very quickly around here, and has quite a reputation. Not sure why. I can readily think of several similar and easier to find options at this price point or lower that I would rather have.

Photo of craytonic
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bit of a letdown.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of VaporDome
3.44/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, notes of coffee and chocolate. Viscous in the bleachers mouth

Photo of founddrama
3.45/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Coffee flavor is strong; vanilla less so. That's a porter for you. (I guess the vanilla takes the edge off the coffee a bit.)

Photo of dondeez21
3.48/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Deep dark, black, Thin Tan head that disappeared rather fast
S: Smell is of coffee. This beer smells like a cool cup of joe.
T: Initial taste is of coffee. Not much is noticed of the vanilla that was used in the breweing
M: My main gripe with porters is the lack of body. It is prob mind over matter but I see black beer and I assume thick chewy body but this beer falls short.
D: Tasty beer. Not much is to be said of the Vanilla. Not sure Id want to drink more than a 22oz bottle in 1 sitting.

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 jaswilson2
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Why do I have to justify a 3.5

Photo of kbeals
3.51/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Nesued for this one!

A- Pours a deep black with a finger of brown, creamy head. Head sticks around nicely and forms nice lacing on the glass.

S- Lots of sweet caramel malts, bitter roasted coffee, dark chocolate and vanilla. It's all there, but it doesn't seem to work very well together. It's a tad cloying and bitter at the same time.

T- Resembles the smell flawlessly. The bitterness seems to show up more than anything however. The vanilla is a little too much also. Vanilla is one mf my favorite flavors in the world, but this almost tastes medicinal. Very average flavors, not at my expectations by any means.

M- A bit thin and a little too carbonated IMO. Still a good mouthfeel however, very smooth.

D- The smell and taste aren't the greatest, but it was still relatively easy to drink this beer. I'll probably be splitting my other bomber however. Thanks again Dan!

Photo of jessb_55
3.52/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very good flavor but very strong, a bit more than I expected even with its alcohol content

Photo of Zorro
3.52/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lightproof black colored beer with a small brown colored head.

Smell is coffee and chocolate with patent malt. Vanilla is there but the scent is more spiced rum than vanilla. Toffee and something else spicy, maybe allspice berry.

Starts out bitter chocolate with vanilla in the after taste, fairly bitter. Not a sweet beer. Chocolate and vanilla with a trace of ash in the taste. An OK Stout but they went overboard with the patent malt. Alcohol is quite detectable.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall it is at best OK. Too bad they didn't balance out the patent malt better.

Photo of maximum12
3.52/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to mrbubbler for shipping a bottle of this across the country, always happy to have Ballast Point in the house. Cut open to celebrate with my wife after returning from a short trip to Fabulous Las Vegas...where I was surprised to find good beer pretty available.

Poured into our new Devil's Backbone snifters (thanks Vickster & sholland119!!) this beer is a rather unsurprising black. Smell conforms with truth in advertising strictures: hard malts, bold coffee, liberal scoops of vanilla. That doesn't quite do it justice, very nicely medled bunch of aromas.

Victory at Sea brings the vanilla funk. Strangely, the taste isn't as tight as the smell. Vanilla is overriding & seems less honest than really good vanilla beers, a touch artificial. The coffee is good, serving the sweetness, understated. The base beer appears to be good, but it's buried beneath a mudslide of vanilla. A dropperful of chocolate causes this to veer towards what my wife calls "Tootsie Roll" territory.

Ultimately, this doesn't quite do it for me. Pretty good beer, but it taste like a candy whipped up in a big factory with robots vs. a confection whipped up by hand in the back of a local shop. Close for me.

Photo of brother_rebus
3.54/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

maybe i was tricked about this beer due to the fan hype, and notoriety. The first sip was virtually off-putting. I must admin it got better from there. They claim it has "just the right amount of sweetness". Thats my major problem with it. Its a malt pit. Not cool. Love porters. Love imperials. Not this one.

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.54/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If you want to get the best flavor out of this brew, drink it straight from the bottle. Or let it air out for a day.

A - Dark as night, with a solid amount of tan froth that lasts and lasts, some sticky lace.

S - Whoa, someone went WAY overboard with the vanilla. That just about overwhelms all of the other strengths of the nose. The richly roasted malt and the cold-brewed coffee would be quite impactful, if they weren't drowning in vanilla. I had to let this air out for at least an hour.

T - The taste is a bit hot. And again, it is overly laden with vanilla. It is not very good as it pours out of the bottle. Once it airs out for several hours (I actually let it rest overnight) it tastes quite sublime; as the coffee and roasted malt show interesting flavors and dynamics, and the booze element settles down. Even on the second day, it drinks a bit hot. A beer should not have to rest for 24 hours in order to deliver optimum flavor, bottom line.

M - Pretty nice, except for just a little too 'hot'.

D - Very close to being a drain pour; instead I corked it and drank it the next day, when it was finally enjoyable.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.55/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep, dark black pour with no light getting through at all. A quarter inch of deep tan head sits atop the brew. Aromas of huge, bold fresh brewed coffee, caramel and vanilla. Roasted malts and chocolate weave in and out underneath. Smells a bit sweet.

First sip brings dark, somewhat roasted malts swimming in bold, nearly abrasive coffee along with big vanilla extract. Chocolate and caramel come through with a bit too much sweetness. The bitter coffee kicks in on the way down but it still doesn't overtake the sweetness I get from the malts and vanilla here. A bit too much of everything going on for me here.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy and smooth but with big alcohol puffs too. This is a bold brew and a bit too sweet for me, but it's a good bomber to share with a friend or two as drinking the whole thing to yourself would be a bit too much. Thanks to emerge for this one.

Photo of VTR
3.55/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells of coffee, slight vanilla, faint caramel. Taste is where this gets good. Coffee hits you hard right off the bat but mellows as the malts start to take over with some sweetness, followed with some slight vanilla. The bitterness was not too bad and carbonation was just right. It is expensive but I will pick this up again!

Photo of digitalflood
3.57/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Summary: Too sweet... more candy than beer.

Pours a thick black color. Excellent tan head reducing to very good lacing. Perfect tan ring around the edge. Carbonation hard to see. The body is near solid black even when held up to light. Smells of vanilla ice cream shake, African coffee, caramel, and chocolate. On the nose, very sweet. Lots of sugars. Strong vanilla bean ice cream taste. Some chocolate and minor bitters. Overwhelming vanilla dilutes barley and biscuit notes inhibiting the overall flavor profile. This continues mid-palate where there is a bit more heavy cream coffee, but not enough to overwhelm the sweetness. I would like to see more porter notes. Maybe some bitter cocoa or malt. More balance to the coffee and less half & half. Instead the back palate and after taste are all vanilla milkshake with some coffee ice cream. It's almost sickening to the stomach. No real alcohol notes, but that's just because everything is overwhelmed by vanilla. I really think if they dialed back the vanilla the flavor profile would be extremely good, but as it is-- I cannot get beyond all that sweetness. It is just too much and really kills what could be an otherwise excellent porter if they'd let the rest of the flavors come through. I tried it cold. I drank it slightly chilled. I tried it near room temp. No difference. No change. Disappointing. 3.5 out of 5.

Photo of Moose90
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle Served Into 16oz Tulip

A – Pours a deep rich black with a thin and cream colored head, really nice lacing for a beer of this style.

S – Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, sugar, very very sweet.

T – Sweet notes of vanilla, cocoa, coffee, toffee, caramel, exceedingly sweet.

M – Medium bodied, moderately lasting finish.

O – Good overall, especially if you have a sweet tooth, this is borderline artificially sweet, but has a solid base.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,541 ratings.