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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
97
world-class

1,281 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,281
Hads: 6,221
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 19.77%
Wants: 1,033
Gots: 1,888 | FT: 92
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,281 | Hads: 6,221
Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tasting glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a thin layer but leaves lots of splattered lace. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Nice coffee/espresso flavors with chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. It is balanced out by grassy hops.

Taste: Lots of coffee and espresso again. Then the caramel and chocolate roll in. Followed by a nice amount of vanilla. Lots of roasted flavors with some grassy hops and a hint of citrus to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a little rich. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted, but relatively clean.

Overall, a very solid beer. I really enjoyed this porter. A big beer and none of the 10% abv showed. Very drinkable for how big it is.

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

Bottle to BT whiskey snifter

A- Pours opaque black. When held up to light it'd got the slightest hint of cola red color. Nice 1 finger kakhi head sits on top. Some spotty lacing.

S - Good God. Huge coffee, slight vanilla, roasted malt. Can't get over just how much coffee there is. Could use some more vanilla, but that's a small gripe.

T - Starts smooth with vanilla and slightly woody notes, and then the coffee comes in mid-palate. Coffee and vanilla on the finish. Very delicious.

M - Creamy, with enough carbonation to leave the mouth coated. A bit thin, but again a small gripe. Makes it that much more drinkable.

O - Damn fine beer. A coffee beer if I've ever had one. I could drink this all day.

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Photo of Beersmuggler
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This Porter by ballast point is unreal. The vanilla is not overpowering but rather has a really good balance. If you are in California definitely give this a try if you like porters.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Top Hops in New York, having never had this before. I like Porters and have been on a Ballast Point kick as of late in addition to that. Hoped that this would be another winner and sure enough, it was. While not a light beer, the range of flavors and ease of enjoyment of this was a winning combination and as this warmed up, the smoothness of this became much more impressive to me!

Loved the pour to this, as the dark coffee hue had just a hint of garnet around the edges to it to let a hint of light through. Easily the best head I've ever seen on a Porter as the massive, tan foam quickly filled up the remainder of my pint glass and did its best impression of a loaf of bread that a beer could do. Tall and yeasty, the bubbles in it were massive and as they rose to the surface, it left and impression both on the side of my pint glass and on me. The lacing that was left over was extensive and solid as this beer settled into it's liquid state. Nice coffee and bitter chocolate aroma to this, reinforced by a massive vanilla extract presence, with an espresso base underneath that. Thin, carbonated, and strong, this beer packed a punch both in the range of flavors it had and the booze that tied everything together. Certainly bitter, there were hints of cherry, current,and licorice in here as well and for all of the complexity present, I was amazed how well this went down!

Weak, this was not but when you're celebrating a "victory at sea", weak won't cut it. The bread in this beer's head was repeated in the aftertaste as hints of pumpernickel could be found after the liquid went down, owing to the strength of this beer's body and subtle spice. Porters don't come around like this that often so if you can find it, get it. It's not for the faint of heart but there's enough out there that is and who are you kidding - you know you want to find something this well-crafted and savor every last drop of it. On par with the Sculpin IPA's, Ballast Point has a winner here that deserves the lofty rating it has received here on Beeradvocate.

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

Thanks to GallowsThief for the trade!

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Maudite snifter

Pours a black color with 2 fingers of a mocha colored head.

The nose is sweet and malty. Chocolate, molasses, and vanilla stand out the most here. A bit of coffee lingers behind the rich cocoa and vanilla beans. It smells like a damn fine dessert, waiting for me to devour. Roasty beast for sure. The taste is much the same as the nose but a bit stronger. The chocolate stands out the most and is followed by vanilla and a bit of coffee that wasnt so easily discovered in the nose. A nice mixture of the flavors that play off each other quite nicely. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and beastly to say the least. A nice smooth oily liquid feels great on my palate and I cant put down my glass. Overall, this is a great brew here that creates pretty good balance throughout and has a bad-ass flavor profile. Boom!

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep black with one full finger of dark khaki colored head. The foam settles fairly quickly, leaving a frothy ring of bubbles along the edges of the glass. Minimum lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roast, and burnt toast. I'm not picking up a ton of vanilla in the nose, but this beer smells delicious.

T: It starts off sweet and smooth with milk chocolate and vanilla flavors. The bitter roast and toast start to really come through in the middle. It mixes with coffee flavors and finishes pretty bitter. It's like dark chocolate, burnt toast, and coffee grinds in the back end.

M: Full bodied beer. Smooth, and coating to start, almost milky. The flavors envelop the palate but transition nicely without much cloying. Smooth to finish with lingering bitters on the back end.

O: Really great beer. One of my go-to porters/stouts when I am in the mood. Can't believe it took me this long to write a review. Delicious. I will definitely be drinking this again.

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Photo of Getalegup
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Quite good. Definite coffee flavor and smell, some vanilla flavor, mild carbonation, it might improve with 1-3 months cellaring to blend it a bit.
Glad to be able to buy this in my ditro. This will set the bar for a solid barrel aged stout with vanilla.

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

Reviewed from notes 1/12/2011

A: vanilla is predominant, coffee, a hint of white chocolate

Ap: black with a 2 finger mocha colored head, very frothy, extreme lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, very smooth, medium body, slightly heavy

Af: chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, very sweet

O: makes an excellent after dinner beer, a perfect nightcap

Cheers!
The CPJ

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Photo of hosehead83
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Opaque black in color with a thick cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark roast coffee, subtle vanilla note;
Taste-Black patent malt, roasted coffee, vanilla ice cream, tobacco, black coffee/charred meat finish. Well-balanced, full of character, and very flavorfull. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Notacraftdrinker
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look- jet black nice thick tall brown head
Smell- more vanilla with suddle coffee and almost truffle notes
Taste- great coffee bitterness with a sweet slight vanilla finish
Feel- thick and creamy. Full body brew
Overall- very very well balanced. Taste more coffee than you smell. Nice warming alcohol on the finish. A must try porter

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

A-a very dark brown with maybe just a hint of a ruby highlight, but not much. Two fingers worth of a tan head

S-Very sweet smelling at first, but then gives way to the roasted malt, coffee, and a light vanilla.

T-Similar to the nose with roasted malts, roasted black coffee, chocolate, but then finishes with a vanilla milkshake like taste. A light hops presence helps balance things out. Alcohol is well hidden.

M-full body, light to medium carbonation, a dry smooth finish

Overall I like this one a lot. Great smell with the vanilla, nice complex taste, and a good mouthfeel. So good!

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Photo of Slack
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black, opaque, and a small light brown head. Significant lacing.

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee accented by bittersweet dark chocolate. No vanilla discernible.

Roast coffee and chocolate up front with vanilla and some oak in the middle.

Mouthful is medium and smooth with low carbonation. Finish is a little bitter but dry.

This is a big coffee porter. Aroma is there. Taste is there. The minor criticism is the somewhat bitter finish but don’t let that dissuade you. Give it a try.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and black into my Founders snifter. A small, 1 finger head forms with the pour and retains well, dwindling down to a moderately thin film on the top. Lacing is tremendous as expected. Looks like a big stout in the glass.

S- Lots of dark, dark coffee here. Coffee is strong and slightly bitter on the nose. Sweet notes of the vanilla are also present, but definitely secondary to the coffee. Also maybe a hint of dark chocolate in there.

T- Wow. Dark, bitter coffee right off the bat. Probably the strongest coffee flavor I've had, whether in a beer or cup of joe. Coffee is dominant and bitter throughout, drowning out most to all of the sweeter vanilla flavor. As it warms, the coffee become more balanced with the dark malts. Ends with a coffee bitterness bite and aftertaste.

M- Thick and smooth going down. No detectable alcohol. Kinda heavy across the palate. Sits heavy in the stomach. Definitely a sipping beer.

Overall, this is a coffee bomb. A very good beer, but I find the coffee to be a little overpowering. Between the alcohol and heavy flavor profile, sipping is a must for this beer. Not as good as I had hoped, but still a very good beer.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Poured near-black with a light brown head that left decent lacing on the glass. Aromas were of bold coffee, roasted grains, vanilla, chocolate, and maybe some oak. Mouth-feel was medium bodied. Tastes were bold up-front coffee and roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate and vanilla. Also some hints of fruity esters - maybe some ripe dark fruits, although fairly faint. Alcohol was present, but balanced well with the flavors. Finished sweet with a lingering of sweet cocoa and espresso. Basically, this was a good interpretation of going with something different and thinking outside of the box. Worth the try if you can find it.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light chestnut in color with a rocky head that reaches one-quarter inch before dissipating to form rings of lace in a Dogfish Head snifter. SRM 31-34 with dark brown highlights and a viscous film.

Strong, sweet espresso with vanilla is no surprise here. Deep roasted malt with pumpernickel and Jewish rye is also present. Warming accentuates the vanilla and adds a light baker’s chocolate note. Some wood ash is also discernible. The aroma from this glass fills the room.

Luscious with a mix of sweet and bitterness. Espresso bitterness wins hands down while smoked peat and burnt molasses are also present. Very dark chocolate lingers throughout middle to finish.

The body is fuller than expected of a Porter, with silky smoothness and alcohol as anticipated.

This beer fits squarely within the expectations one would have for a sipping or contemplative beer.

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Photo of JohnCassillo
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into pint glass

A: Almost black and completely opaque with zero head whatsoever. This is what a porter should look like.

S: The coffee and vanilla notes are immediate and pungent, with an underlying bit of chocolate as well.

T: Dark chocolate appears at both the front and back end of each sip, taking on different characteristics in each instance. First is sweet, the second almost comes off bitter (in a good way). Vanilla and coffee are top of mind at all times.

M: Warm, crisp and thick. It's got a decent amount of carbonation and ends up quite filling.

O: If you're looking for a quality porter with a boatload of flavor depth, this is your choice. Wouldn't call it a "dessert beer" necessarily, but a much easier drink post-dinner.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night with a thick coffee colored head - good retention.

Smells heavy of chocolate, coffee, vanilla and roasted malt.

Taste is big coffee espresso notes up front followed by bitter dark chocolate and rounded by some sweet vanilla notes. There is also some bitter burnt malt flavor to keep the sweetness at bay as dark fruits (rum, fig, and raisin) come through. Big flavor from a big beer - definitely a slow sipper.

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Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date

Look - Pour pitch black with a frothy cappuccino colored head. Decent retention, okay bubble distribution. 4 paws.

Smell - Great nose full of chocolate and coffee aromas. The vanilla blends well to create a milk chocolate scent. Hints of bell pepper and chili pepper. Very nice. 4.75 paws.

Taste - Bitter coffee flavors up front. The vanilla is a bit hidden, but lingers after the finish. Bell pepper, bitter hops, creamy cappuccino, bit of smoke. Alcohol is well hidden. 4.25 paws.

Feel - Medium-full bodied, a bit creamy. Low-medium carbonation, tingle on sides of tongue, sting from alcohol. 4.5 paws.

Overall - Had many times before, always a lovely beer. I wish the taste was as pronounced as the nose, the more nuanced flavors are covered a bit by the bitterness, but still, a great beer. 4.5 paws.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Victory At Sea (Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter version)

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. The darkest of browns with a light brown head. No peering through this beer, its about as dark as night. Attractive lacing that looks very ornate.

Aroma of coffee and faint vanilla sweetness.

Vanilla up front which gives way to a lingering coffee flavor. This beer also has some chocolate notes. Very decadant and full flavors. The aftertaste of coffee, cocoa and vanilla is truly remarkable. There are even some hints of oak in this beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied with a lingering coffee/bitter chocolate finish. A little syrupy in nature.

Drinkability requires some respect for this sipper. It wasn't hot with alcohol at all. Overall, this beer is just great.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black body, big lasting mocha head with carbonation that looks like it's a nitro. Sheets of lace, cool.

S: Vanilla and caramel malt. Coffee lingers.

T: Great balance between coffee, vanilla (both real, not artificial, nice), toasted malt that comes through with coffee and a little nuttiness. Surprised to find the vanilla and coffee play so nicely together. Not much coffee acidity, which is appreciated. Perfect sweetness for me, so probably a little much for most people. No alcohol.

M: Love that fluffy head. The body is a little thin for a porter (read: medium).

O: This needs a much more arrogant label for such a wonderful brew. The coffee and vanilla are up front and don't require 'searching' for them, but there are still beer-y things happening. The persistence of this head is right up there with the best IPA's. Such a great, warming, tasty beer that is dangerously drinkable (and affordable- HOT DAMN!).

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Photo of Murrhey
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap in a mug at Hollingshead's in Orange, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Two finger mocha head. Great retention and lacing. Dark brown color, very little light goes through.

S- Chocolaty, vanilla, oak, brandy smell.

T- Vanilla and roast malts. Very bitter and some sourness. Boozy. Quite nice.

M- Very thick and smooth. Dry linger.

O- This beer isn't even one of my favorite styles and I admit it is phenomenal.

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Photo of turboedtwo
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Toronado in North Park.

A - DARK! Lighting wasn't the best but it looked pretty close to black.

S - Smelled of coffee to me.

T - Had a bit of a chocolate / coffee taste.

M - Your typical porter. Had a smooth but thick feel to it.

D - I could drink this all night assuming I had a nice meal before. Not something you want to do on an empty stomach.

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Photo of hawgdude
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A deep, rich, almost caramely porter. Definitely not a sweaty-summer-afternoon post-lawn-mowing beer. I slugged one down and got half snockered-- 10% ABV needs to go down slower than that. The remaing five will have to wait for chilly autumn nights.

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Photo of myveryown
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Dark brown/black with a tan head that stayed through the beer.

Nose-Coffee and chocolate with some light spice notes from hops

Taste-Very reminiscent of a chocolate covered espresso bean. Great balance between sweet and bitter with coffee being the main note and vanilla chocolate flavors supporting.

Mouthfeel-Creamy smooth and rich

Overall-Very good, too rich to have multiple in one go-but that just spreads out the enjoyment of several bottles. It is a very coffee flavored beer, don't expect anything else!

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Photo of nodder
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown..almost black with a two finger dark tan head. Sticky lacing remains on the glass.

S- Strong coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts. Slightly boozy.

T- Sweet espresso and dark chocolate. The vanilla is there but def. in the background. The strong coffee flavor dominates here, and thats fine. Alcohol burn is there but well masked.

M- Medium mouthfeel with average carbonation. Quite smooth. Somewhat bitter finish but nothing big.

O- Love it! Recommended. Gonna grab another bottle to age a bit.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,281 ratings.