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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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1,195 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,195
Hads: 5,816
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 984
Gots: 1,663 | FT: 97
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: 1,195 | Hads: 5,816
Photo of Dwkasper
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

A: Dark, black with 2 fingers of thick tab head

S: Fresh coffee, dark chocolate, smoke, light wood

T: chocolate up front with creamy and coffee finish

M: light carbonation with creamy mouth feel

O: Tasty and smooth. Great fall and winter beer

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Photo of utfiero
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color- pure black. Slight head.

Aroma- vanilla espresso.

Taste- Starts rich and roasty with vanilla and coffee notes from start to middle,. The finish has some hoppy dryness complimented by bitter coffee tones. Excellent brew! The high ABV is well masked.

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted on 10/14/2013.

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Photo of SSS
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours black, almost deep purple, with a milk chocolate light brown head
S-Vanilla, coffee, caramel toffee and a hint of butterscotch which is really nice
T-The taste is predominantly coffee, with a smooth bitterness that lingers ever so slightly, it is sweet and sugary while balancing all flavours with an alcohol backbone that is soothing like a Cadillac on cruise control on a newly paved highway.
M-Full body wi nice medium carbonation that helps to cleanse the palat
O-I am not a fan of stout or porter type beers. This one, however, I really enjoy, it is silky smooth and pleasant

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Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ooooh, I've been waiting to try this beer for a while, and I finally found a good time to do it, a nice snowy day.

A: A heavy pour gives a biiig 3 finger head, which is dark, rich, creamy, and fades slowly. The color is almost pitch black, but not quite.

N: Nose is loaded with roasted malts, coffee, dark rich malts, vanilla and oak. A touch of chocolate graces its presence.

T: Wow, tons of rich thick goodness. Lots of milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla roasted goodness, and dark malts. A ton of vanilla. Some more rich milk chocolate, and bitter bakers chocolate. Then a little oak to go with it. more coffee and roast. A little sweetness, but it hides the abv very well!

M: Thick, luscious, and creamy milky, good carbonation.

F: Finishes a little bitter, with lots of creamy richness and milk chocolate lingering. The vanilla never seems to go away either. Coffee and oak also linger a bit, with some dark malts. The bitterness of both stout like quality and hints of hops seem to build more and more as I drink more. Overall it delivers just as it promises too, lots of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roast, creamy goodness, and just overall luscious deliciousness, and hides the abv well with all that.

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Photo of Jsenay
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Russian River goblet

A - Pours black ink in color with an inch of foam that lingers for the entire time. Heavy lacing.

S - Smells of rich vanilla, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, warm alcohol and coffee.

T - Coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, rummy raisins, dark chocolate

M - Very smooth. Very subtle carbonation in terms of mouth feel. Ends dry with a subtle vanilla/coffee sweetness.

O - Delicious beer. This is the second time I have had this beer. I had one of these several months ago and it has taken me some time to find it again. Definitely worth the wait. Excellent balance of flavors. This would make an excellent float with vanilla ice cream.

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Photo of SgunnarW
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep, jet black with a 2 finger khaki head that settles quickly into a ring of carbonation bubbles. Nice legs and beautiful lacing streaks the glass.

Sm: Lots of roasty sweetness upfront, cut through by a strong vanilla presence. Coffee and dark cherries follow towards the mid, with a finish of chocolate.

T: The vanilla comes through the most in this beer, almost exactly like the smell. There's just enough roasted/burnt bitterness to break up the sweetness of the malts and vanilla. Some slight burnt toffee/caramel in the finish. The alcohol is warming on the way down.

Mf: Full bodied with the right amount of carbonation.

O: I haven't had too many porters (or imperial porters for that matter), but this thing is delicious. The burnt qualities are paired perfectly with the vanilla for an overall outstanding porter. Top of my list for sure.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Review from written notes.

A: Color is black with just a faint ruby color right along the edges. Pours with a 1-inch creamy tan head that dissipates slowly, leaving some good lacing.

S: Strong coffee and vanilla flavors dominate the smell. The smell is smooth and creamy. Solid cocoa backbone with a faint roasted coffee bitterness.

T: Smooth is the first impression. The roasted bitter coffee flavors are subdued, with just a nice coffee and chocolate malt flavor that is accompanied by some vanilla. Get a little warmth on the finish. Finish is long with a pleasant coffee flavor.

M: Big, full bodied, almost oily. Low carbonation and very smooth. Super easy to drink.

D: This was excellent. The flavors were well integrated and the beer very drinkable. I will definitely hunt this out again and wish I could score some of the special blends of this solid beer.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

189th review on BA
bottle to pint

App- A very robust brown with lighter brown edges. A one finger light tan head on this developed quickly and left just as quick.

Smell- Big coffee with the sweetness of the vanilla . Arome is very subtle.

Taste- The flavor of this beer is amazing. The flavors are so layered and beautiful. The vanilla and the coffee are both not that overpowering and play off of eachother. Very well balanced and tasteful.

Mouth- Almost a light body to me but its a medium body with a medium carb level. No one flavor over powers the other.

Drink- An outstanding porter. So flavorful, rich and robust and very drinkable. "See my post about your glass and saying damn"

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Photo of JDOHare
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Very nice aroma and pours well. The vanilla and coffee aren't hidden at all in this beer they are the two primary stars. I was hesitant to buy this at first as I thought it might be over powered by these two favors but it was a "just right" blend of the two. This beer is as black as the night and was very pleasing. The label indicates its 10% ABV and quite frankly it doesn't taste that strong at all so this beer can definitely sneak up on you after a couple. Well balanced beer with great flavor, consistency, and the right amount of complexity, this is a sensory overload as it will please your sense of smell, sight and taste. I'll definitely drink this beer again.

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Photo of ms11781
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a very dark brown color with lighter, reddish brown hues at the edges of the glass. A nice, dense, tan/light brown foam head develops and has nice retention. Excellent lacing is left on the glass. Really nice looking beer.

The nose is really nice. Great roasted and coffee notes come across first and are followed up by some light chocolate notes. The vanilla comes out more as the beer warms a bit and once it does it goes excellent with the coffee and some chocolate that shows up.

Each sip starts with a well balanced mix of both roasted coffee and some nice, sweet vanilla. Both are really potent but very pleasant and not overwhelming. Towards the finish there is a hint of chocolate before some bitter roast comes through at the very end. There is also some warming from some alcohol.

The beer has a fairly good sized body, not huge, probably somewhere between medium and full. The carbonation is on the lower end but is somewhat lively. The combination allows it to feel like a bigger beer without actually being one.

This is an excellent beer. As advertised it is full of great coffee and vanilla flavor and aroma. There is a nice balance between some bitter roast and almost sugary sweetness. Everything pulls together nicely and makes for a great beer.

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Photo of AndrewSmith
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw this by the counter of my local beer spot, asked the cashier what he thought of it, he said it was "Fucking Awesome", had to get some.
Looks like chocolate syrup as it is poured, smells like a typical porter. Great taste as it goes down, you really get the hint of vanilla at the end, very good. Could not believe it was 10%.
Ballast Point strikes again....

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Photo of TheDudeRules
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at a mini tasting.

Pours a ridiculous black. Tan almost coffee colored head. Smell is a full on coffee punch to the nostrils. If there is vanilla it gives way. Incredibly inviting. What a smooth robust coffee flavor. This brew is incredible. It envelops your tongue. Damn. I really dig this beer. The roasty coffee is superb. The carbonation is perfect. A beer I felt good sharing. Everyone enjoyed its splendor.

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Photo of GJ40
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in a DHF snifter. Purchased at Sam's in Durham and aged for several months.

A - Deep black with very little light coming through even around the edges. A somewhat sturdy tan head. This beer has a real ominous look.

S - Coffee jumped out at the start but then the vanilla seemed to take the lead from there on; especially as it warmed. There's also some chocolate in there.

T - The flavor is coffee, vanilla and chocolate. I got a lot of coffee at the start but then I adjusted and the vanilla seemed to lead. But there's a lot to balance it off. This beer has some nice complexity and a hint of sweetness. In fact, the 10% alcohol was well hidden.

M - Creamy and silky with a nice low carbonation.

D - I was a bit worried about this one after I bought it as I'm not a coffee drinker. But this beer is about a lot more than coffee and the coffee it does have works well. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two reasons I cracked this tonight. One, I've already had two from the box I recieved this morning from kmurray8621 so why stop there? And two, I'm watching Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Mans Chest so it kind of fits (specifically the label).

Pours a deep black color with a generous light brown head sitting on top. Retention is great, and it leaves excellent lacing, sometimes milimeters thick.

The nose starts out smokey, with coffee and milk chocolate notes, along with vanilla. A soft roasted malt character rounds it out. Pretty much just as advertised, with a more prominant roasted malt/smoked malt character.

The taste starts out with a strong smoked malt flavor, with coffee overtones. I also get a sweet chocolate and vanilla taste about mid-palate. It's pretty complex and definitely tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, with a creamy and smooth texture. Low carbonation adds to the creamyness. Drinkability is dangerous. This doesn't taste 10% at all, and I will easily finish this bomber myself.

Overall, Ballast Point doesn't disappoint. Excellent brew I wish I had regular access too. Thanks Kevin for the chance to try this!

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Photo of callmemickey
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional brew that blew my mind... it was an unexpected treat that involved me asking the bartender "what the hell style is that beer" to which she responded "i have no idea, let check it out" ... poured to sampler glasses... i took one swig and said "yeah, uhh... i'll take a full glass please"

A: Dark brown/black body.. moderate khaki head.. nice coating on the glass.

S: Bam! Vanilla. Bourbon. Chocalate. Roasted Coffee. Rich caramel. Slight oak. Booze. Cola.

T: Yeah it tasted like the nose! A frigging smörgåsbord of incredible flavors. Blended to perfection. Each flavor popped yet didn't drown out the others. At 12+ the booze was present in a way which accentuated the flavors rather that killing the tastebuds.

M: Medium-heavy on the palate. Good finish. Nice carbonation. Delicate for such a big beer.

D: Something about porters make me struggle... but this one was rather remarkable...

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a duvel glass.

A- pours slick and black, with a nice two finger mocha colored head, looks so derrricious

S- VANILLA, then chocolate then coffee, the coffee becomes more and more pronounced as the beer warms, smells so derrricious!

T- the vanilla seems to be, as in the nose, to be the most pronounced, blending in deliciously with the coffe and roasty chocolate flavors, finishes like a ice mocha, almost a caramely taste where all the flavors meet.... It tastes so derrricious!

M- low carbonation, drinks creamy and smooth, almost a touch syrupy, but in a good way

O- a truley awesome brew, deffinatley my favorite ballast point brew I have tried to date. I feel like it may be a little heavy for an IMP porter, probably would have figured it for a stout, however the alcohol content is hidin incredible, I would have guessed 8.5 not 10,
I'm sorry Kyle.... But victory @ sea is tooo derrricious!

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Photo of armock
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA.

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malt that gives off coffee scents along with vanilla and as it warms the vanilla gets stronger

T - Starts off with some roastiness and coffee upfront then the vanilla comes out and sweetens things up a bit there's a little bit of alcohol that comes out in the finish

M - This beer has a fuller body with medium carbonation to it

O - This is one of the best tasting beers that I've had in a while now the coffee and vanilla flavors blend perfectly the mouthfeel is wonderful I'm not going to have any problem finishing this bomber while to me its no longer a porter and more of a double stout I'll let that slide and say this is one of those must try beers

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Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured in a snifter. 10% very subtle, and smooth. Lingering coffee aftertaste. A unique beer, very enjoyable. Glad I finally got to try it.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a tan head that thinned out some but still left nice rings and trails of lacing.

S - French Vanilla Coffee.

T - French Vanilla Coffee.

F - medium/full bodied with a creamy/smooth feel.

O - very nice.

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Photo of Dirtyhands
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, opaque. Minimal carbonation fades to a leather brown around the edges. Smells of vanilla, chocolate, pecans, roasted nuts, caramel, coffee and toast. A viscous, velvety mouthfeel that coats the mouth. Loads of bakers chocolate, coffee, vanilla, Brown sugar and pecans. Intensified roast bitterness that meshes quite perfectly with residual sugars. Mighty fine work Ballast Point.

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Photo of falc0n2600
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very very dark in appearance with a smooth brown head. A nice coffee smell with much less of a coffee taste, which is my favorite kind of coffee beer. In fact, you are immediately shocked at how smooth an imperial porter can be before you're overwhelmed by perfectly sweet vanilla. I had this along with Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Gonzo Porter and this was definitely the winner, although the Double Gonzo was the second-best imperial porter I've had. A lot of carbonation that makes the thickness of the beer stand out, with the sweetness balancing the thickness nicely. As the beer warmed up I really began to notice the hops, more so than any other porter I've had. As I finished all I could think of was the brilliant hoppiness.

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Photo of WTFWLD
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Had it on tap at The Fridge, Lancaster PA. Top note is full of vanilla and coffee aromas. Full bodied and creamy with moderate carbonation. Goes down smoothly with a relatively significant bitterness at the end, but not so much as to detract from the overall enjoyable drinking experience. Not a Black Note Stout but a fine alternative. A desert beer to be slowly savored alone or in the company of close friends.

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Photo of Treebs
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Founders snifter. Split the bottle with my old man during the Homerun Derby.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a wonderful bubble dark brown head. Leaves some wonderful sheet lace behind with some bubbles trying to to keep the head afloat.

S: Big dark coffee beans. Roasted to the point where it's almost slighty burnt and bitter, but in a good way. Some slight dark chocolate notes are present as well.

T: Big coffee right up front. That same REALLY toasted flavor is even more present, but after the initial assault on the taste buds it makes way for some light sweet chocolate and vanilla. I'm also picking up a burnt sugar/caramel flavoring as well.

M: Medium to heavy bodied, almost chewy in nature. Leaves a great roasted coffee bean flavor with a mild sweetness on the tongue. Leaves an oily feeling on the palate which is highly enjoyable as it allows the taste to linger LONG after I've swallowed this black gold.

O: I'm becoming more and more a fan of brews with heavy coffee flavorings and this might be one of favorites. It's not as balanced as others I've had, but it's still a wonderfully crafted brew and I would LOVE to try this on draft.

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Photo of Retail1LO
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a CBS snifter. Let me start by saying I generally despise porters. Ok....GO!

This pours the darkest brown imaginable with a three finger espresso shaded crown that is simply beautiful. The head fades fairly quickly with minimal lacing. The nose is just fucking brilliant. It's all the coffee and vanilla it claims to be, with a nice rich roastiness and lush, sweet vanilla galore. The taste reinforces the nose. This is no fraud. What you smell is what you get. The coffee is perfect. It has a nice roastiness to it, but doesn't come across as burnt. The vanilla is subtle but present, making this a near perfect experience on the palate. The mouthfeel is glorious. Typically porters are entirely too thin and carbonated for my liking. This is thick, lush, and rich on the tongue with an aftertaste that isn't acrid like many coffee beers. Overall, this is a world championship caliber beer. I want. Lots.

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Photo of torchednoodle
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I socked away a number of these bottles since the release, and decided today was a good day to try one. As I discovered, this beer benefits as much from age as any I've ever had before.

Pours pitch black as night. Lacing and head retention are good. Leaves little wisps of light brown lacing all over the inside of my glass, similar to many world-class stouts. Smells like a bar of really expensive melted dark chocolate.

Tastes like a harmonious infusion of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate. When I first tried this beer back at release I knew the flavors were unbalanced, it was way heavy on the vanilla. That's when I decided this could be a monster with some age, and I hit the lottery with this beer. The vanilla is still the strongest flavor in this beer, but it has settled considerably and works with the coffee and the chocolate notes from the malt to produce a taste that coats your mouth in liquid sex.

Carbonation is dialed in just right, with the complexity level in this brew it might be a wee smidge heavy on the mouthbubbles, but personally I'd rather have more carbonation than less. Outstanding drinkability, this is an incredible beer. I hope to age my remaining bottles another 3-6 months and see what happens to this beer with even more time.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,195 ratings.