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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

3,565 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,565
Reviews: 915
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 623
Gots: 677 | FT: 53
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,565 | Reviews: 915 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed August 6th, 2010 in a Triple Petrus tulip/snifter.

Beer is opaque black. Modest little tan head comes and goes, leaving behind a sticky ring of foam.

Aromas of coffee and vanilla (surprise!).

Flavor is full of bitter rich coffee and dark roasted malt. Vanilla is only a fraction of the overall flavor, but it can be picked out. Bitterness is all up front, as finish is fairly mild. A moderate caramel sweetness helps balance out the bitter. Warming alcohol is apparent after a few sips as are faint citric hops.

Mouthfeel is chewy and smooth.

Overall, it is exactly as advertised; nothing out of kilter and no surprises. Very impressive execution.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2010 03:34:41 | More by charlzm
Photo of lcdumchus
lcdumchus

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good coffee flavor with hint of vanilla and nuts. Short lived tan head. Dark brown in color. You can taste the hops, but they are not overpowering. The alcohol flavor is there, but not overwhelming. Very good porter, but it would probably improve with age.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 20:16:53 | More by lcdumchus
Photo of Damian
Damian

Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 22 fl. oz./1 pint 6 fluid ounces/650 ml bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westbooro, MA
Served in a snifter

The liquid poured a deep brown/black with a frothy, one-finger, cocoa-colored crown that faded to a lasting ring. A substantial amount of drippy lacing cascaded down the glass with every sip.

Super smooth, freshly brewed coffee dominated the aroma. The coffee was potent yet well balanced by a milky sweetness. Strong vanilla notes came through as well. Caramel malts trailed in the background. Although the aroma was not terribly complex, it was really pleasant and inviting.

The flavor profile was interesting (perhaps more so than the aroma) but lacked the intensity and smoothness of the nose. Deep and malty up front. French roast coffee beans appeared in the center. Some bakers chocolate notes came through as well. The finish was a bit more harsh than I anticipated it to be. Quite roasty and ashy (almost a touch acrid) with a generous dose of piney, bitter hops.

The mouthfeel was pillowy soft and frothy. Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation. For a 10% ABV brew, I was hoping for a bit more heft however.

Drinkability was notable. This beer buried its alcohol quite well.

Victory at Sea has its strong points (aroma and flavor profile on the font end) as well as its shortcomings (finish and mouthfeel). This is a very good imperial porter (which is incorrectly categorized as an "American porter" here on BeerAdvocate) but there are a number of coffee infused beers out there which are better.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2011 04:38:13 | More by Damian
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a thinnish mocha head that sticks around for a bit. Smells of coffee right off, layers of vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted grain hidden in there as well. Taste is like a half and half milkshake. Lots of milk chocolate and vanilla mix up front followed by some coffee and a lingering roasted coffee and chocolate finish. Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and light carbonation. Great Porter, maybe a bit on the sweet side, but certainly very tasty. Call it a desert porter.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 03:13:33 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of jminsc76
jminsc76

Texas

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Simmzy's in Manhattan Beach, California.

Pours a decently sized espresso head atop a black body. Very little lacing or legs at first, that is until I let it warm, then agitate, and then bam! out comes the head with thick legs as I tilt the glass.

Strong aromas of coffee, oak, and sweet vanilla beans, the last of which is the most prevalent in the bouquet. Wonderful smells.

Bitter coffee and vanilla on the front end, with bananas and darker fruits exhibiting toward the finish. Also accompanying those fruits is a slight quantity of booziness, which detracts slightly from the richness of all the other flavors. Grrr...

An incredibly thick mouthfeel as I swish, very full-bodied and pillowy. Love that feeling.

Overall, I was a little offset by the heat, as I have had this both from the bottle and from the cask and both consist of heaven on earth in deliciousness without the booziness. However, this is still a masterpiece of an imperial porter, and remains among my top five favorite beers of all time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2010 00:26:36 | More by jminsc76
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Central PA crew for sending this as part of the Gang Bang BIF.

A: pours a deep dark brown, dark brown head, creamy appearance, opaque

S: vanilla comes on strong followed by sturdy roasted profile, coffee is faint...seems to have faded a bit

T: well never mind about the coffee fading... that is the first thing I taste. This is countered with delicate notes of vanilla and roasted barley. Things get a little sweet at the end.

MF: medium body, medium carbonation

O: I can't think of a much better combo then coffee, vanilla, and stout. This brew pulls it off nicely, would love to try it fresh.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2011 06:04:53 | More by homebrew311
Photo of joe1510
joe1510

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

Here is yet another beer in a long line of beers off my "wants" courtesy of Mr. Kegatron, thanks again Heath! Victory at Sea has the look of black coffee pouring from the pot as it enters this snifter. When the glass is full the body is black as night with a dense two finger mocha head that has some impressive staying power. Not only does the head show a stick-to-it-tiveness but it leaves behind some impressive jagged lacing as well.

Damn, this beer has an interesting nose on it! When the label says vanilla, it MEANS vanilla. Coffee leaps from the glass first but the vanilla is planted directly on its coattails. There's a handful of dark berries in here as well that actually play a big role, I didn't expect that. The vanilla has a tendency to smell a little artificial at times but it's rich and plays nicely with the coffee and berry undercurrents. Creaminess in the form of heavy cream and sugar make appearances too. A light roast pulls up the rear. The nose really comes into its own when this brew warms. This is an interesting smelling beer to say the least.

This porter is like some sort of delicious, eye opening breakfast concoction. A steaming hot cuppa joe complete with a cube of sugar and a dash of cream comes across the tongue and leads the way from start to finish. The vanilla is pure and clean in the flavor and adds a deep richness to the coffee overtones. A light roast snuggles up toward the finish. This beer is 100% smooth and enjoyable.

The body is lighter than I expected and actually works very well for this coffee-infused brew. The weight is moderately heavy with a carbonation that keeps things moving. There's not even a hint of coffee bitterness like in so many other coffee infused brews.

The first glass goes down incredibly fast. The second glass I slow down slightly and after that this bomber is gone. Two glasses of this brew is plenty for me, I don't think I could do another. The vanilla is so rich it slows me down on my second but it's still immensely enjoyable.

Ballast Point makes some incredible beer and Victory at Sea is no slouch either. The coffee, roast and vanilla make for a luscious libation. I'd love another couple bottles. Thanks for the hook up Heath!

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 04:18:28 | More by joe1510
Photo of nomomentwasted
nomomentwasted

Oregon

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at O'Brien's pub in a pint glass. Tapped a new keg today and bailed on class so I could try this one that has been on my list for quite some time. And it's a full pint too! Huzzah O'Briens!

Appearance: Black. Dark. Like coffee. I have a feeling I'll be saying that a lot, but it's really dark, almost no light escapes. The tap was a little headless though, and so that's the only knock on the otherwise splendid appearance.

Smell: Big nose of huge malty texture, slight bitterness and, oh yeah, coffee. Slight tinge of vanilla in the nose, but really muted and less than I expected from a coffee vanilla porter. Aromatic, big, and pleasing.

Taste: Coffee, burnt malty flavors, and stout, porter back end. I tried hard to get the vanilla here, but it's not too big. Definitely very little boozy quality though, and less than the Stone 12th, which was my comparison beer for this one. Really, really coffee-y though, and reminded me of a more porter-take on the Speedway Stout from Alesmith. Pleasant, but not mind-blowing either. Don't get me wrong, loved the taste, just not exactly as complex as I'd hoped.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and full, and not watery while not boozy either, which is a tough line to walk for big, dark beers.

Drinkability: I knock it slightly as I couldn't imagine drinking much more than I did of it as far as a pint goes, it's simply a little too filling. On the enjoyability, however, fantastic, and well worth seeking out. Looking forward to having this in the future aged in the bottle as well and see how it matures.

Serving type: on-tap

08-13-2009 03:47:58 | More by nomomentwasted
Photo of csmiley
csmiley

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to prototypic for the chance to try this one out.

A - Pours a dark brown and borders on black in some areas. The bottom of the glass shows some ruby highlights that turn a cola brown towards the top. Tan head comes to almost one finger and disappears after a minute or two. Ends up a cap that nearly covers the top of the brew. Lacing starts out pretty sticky and ends on an average note.

S - Comes through big with a dry roasted malt aroma. Some bittersweet chocolate quickly follows. A nice espresso layer comes in around midway mixed with a little vanilla. The vanilla is much lighter than expected. Still not bad though. Alcohol is always present yet always under control.

T - The taste in this one is powerful. Loads of chocolate and cocoa stand at the forefront. Alcohol is more noticeable in the flavor but still easily managed. It comes across as warm an spicy but still feels under 10%. Fresh ground coffee and vanilla pretty much dominate the middle. Vanilla is light in the flavor just like the aroma. This beer could pass for a stout any day in my book.

M - Fuller bodied with a light carbonation of fine bubbles. Finish is bone-dry and smokey. Like chewing on a charcoal briquette.

D - Drinkability is good. It's pretty big for a porter, even an imperial. The 10% makes it go down slow. That's not a bad thing for this beer though. Tons of flavor makes you wnat to sip and savor every bit. Might be tough to dink 22 ounces so splitting this works will for me. I could have used a touch more vanilla but that is a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 03:46:27 | More by csmiley
Photo of seand
seand

California

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep opaque black or near-black brown, with a fair amount of dense foamy head. What's there retains pretty well, and leaves very nice webs of lacing.

S: A huge, rich, and decadent mix of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt, with a touch of cherry. Smells like a freshly baked dessert pastry.

T: Quite sweet, with a nice roasted malt body. Finish has a light coffee bitterness. It's like your dessert with coffee, all in one!

M: Rich and full bodied, with medium carbonation.

Overall it's extremely well done. It's very rich, but nicely put together, rather than just a straight up malt bomb.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2011 04:48:58 | More by seand
Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
SanDiegoBeerLove

California

4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very Dark(lika a stout), half finger light tan head.

S - Coffee, Vanilla sweetness, Bourbon and Chocolate. Very even smells.

T - Tastes very close to the smell only stronger. Tastes of Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla with some smoky bitterness. Very light on sweetness(unexpected) and the alcohol. A slight metal taste in the finish also quite high in tannins.

M - Heavy in the mouthfeel with light carbonation.

D - Very drinkable but the 10% could hurt the good time.

Very much a stout in most characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 05:33:04 | More by SanDiegoBeerLove
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a CBS snifter.

Appearance - Slight transparency to the pour, but it's black once it's in the glass. Nice khaki head that settles and even seems to change to a lighter color. Probably just my foolishness there. Clings to the inside of the glass. Doesn't look particularly viscous.

Smell - Coffee most apparent, but it's pretty fudgy as well. Vanilla is faint in the nose. Every once in a while I get a hint of a metallic note.

Taste - Very chocolatey. Rich fudge. Coffee more subdued. It comes out in the finish where some of those roasted malts give it a bitter coffee finish. No metallic notes. Vanilla is much more prevalent here.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Not quite as chewy as I'd like. Smooth carbonation. No real heat from the alcohol.

Overall - It's a pretty stellar beer. I don't know about the whole "porter" thing. It drinks like a thin stout, but the flavors are great.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 01:33:54 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of Justin_Neff
Justin_Neff

Ohio

4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours dark black, with a tan, 2-finger head that fades quickly but has a beautiful full-glass lacing that hangs around for a while.

S- Whiff is mostly strong, black coffee. At the finish there is a subtle vanilla, which dulls out the coffee and compliments great.

T- Vanilla comes in stronger than the smell would suggest, but it's balances the coffee amazingly well. I dig it - a lot. What is amazing to me is how there isn't an overwhelming malt or booze taste for the high abv.

M- Full body, but a nice creamy feel. I love that it isn't so full that it's chewy, but not too thin at all.

O- Very pleased with this one. Glad I tried fresh, but definitely going to throw one in the cellar for a year or so, just to see what happens. The coffee will certainly fade, but thinking the vanilla will dominate, rather than compliment. Odds are that a year in the cellar will completely change this one - although I could argue that there needs to be no changes. I really like it.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2013 00:27:13 | More by Justin_Neff
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured oily black with a small tannish head that receded quite a bit and left little to no lacing. Aroma of roasted dark malts, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. The aroma carried over well in to the taste, with practically all the same elements in a good balance; flavors came out more as the beer was allowed to get closer to room temperature. On the fuller side of medium-bodied, smooth, lower carbonation, and a bit of alcohol warmth that really didn't affect the flavor. Very good overall.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2012 15:13:00 | More by Rifugium
Photo of macrosmatic
macrosmatic

Florida

4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to maximumu13 for bringing this along as an extra for our IP trade. Cheers, my friend! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into an Upland pint glass.

A: Very dark brown to black, opaque, with a thin tan head, and low visible carbonation.

S: Dark black bitter coffee, sweet malt, some vanilla and a bit of dark cacao.

T: Coffee, some vanilla, with a touch of very dark cacao near the end. There is some hop bitterness as well.

M: Thick mouthfeel for porter, heavy-bodied, but a good amount of carbonation sensation, and a moderate alcohol presence.

O: This was pretty good, but I'm not sure it quite stands out among its peers. I expected more vanilla, but what was there was overshadowed by the coffee.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2013 06:15:58 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of emyers
emyers

Illinois

4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours near black with a 1-finger medium brown head. Leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Very multidimensional. Coffee takes the forefront, but strong vanilla and dark chocolate take over at times, only to fade out and be replaced by another aroma, creating a layered bouquet.

Taste: The base beer comes through a lot more here with a very strong roasted malt base. Coffee and dark chocolate build off of this foundation. The vanilla is much more subtle here than in the aroma, but provides added complexity. Caramel malt and some earthy hops come through on the finish along with a nice bitterness and a slight acidity from the coffee.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, medium carbonation. Hint of acidity from the coffee.

Overall: Great beer. This would be above average even before the addition of the coffee, chocolate, and vanilla, but they really bring it over the top. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 04:18:00 | More by emyers
Photo of beerandcycling88
beerandcycling88

Washington

4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A Pours a dark brown that borders on black. Topped off with a mocha head.

S A bit of roast and coffee

T Very strong vanilla notes that are followed with some coffee and a bit of roast. Tastes like some sort of sweet coffee drink from Starbucks or something with the vanilla masking much of the coffee.

M Decent body about right for a porter I suppose.

Overall this is quite an enjoyable beer that I would gladly pick up again.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2013 05:31:24 | More by beerandcycling88
Photo of aszatk01
aszatk01

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

06-08-2012 20:05:35 | More by aszatk01
Photo of DanGeo
DanGeo

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

06-12-2013 04:00:04 | More by DanGeo
Photo of OhioBobcat
OhioBobcat

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

04-13-2014 19:57:31 | More by OhioBobcat
Photo of Dabeel
Dabeel

California

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

06-05-2013 19:50:36 | More by Dabeel
Photo of AshlandNacho
AshlandNacho

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

03-15-2014 01:51:34 | More by AshlandNacho
Photo of Callmecoon
Callmecoon

California

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

01-20-2013 00:33:50 | More by Callmecoon
Photo of Beerswag
Beerswag

California

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

04-11-2013 15:02:40 | More by Beerswag
Photo of megamass
megamass

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

05-26-2013 02:52:07 | More by megamass
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,565 ratings.