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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.

1,215 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,215
Hads: 5,906
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,005
Gots: 1,715 | FT: 92
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,215 | Hads: 5,906
Photo of CoffeePorter
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pitch black pour with a decent amount of head
S: smells very sweet with strong notes of coffee and vanilla
T: tastes very creamy with vanilla and coffee flavors mixed in
M: very smooth with mild carbonation, syrupy like
O: well balanced among the flavor profiles and has a superb aroma, very good porter!

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

Huge, dark tan head atop a very dark ebony brew. Good retention, and as the head slides down the glass, it leaves spiderweb lacing behind.

Huge roasted barley and coffee aroma, with vanilla fighting for elbow space at the table. Smells very much like a big strong coffee stout - which is what it is, after all.

Flavor matches deliciously, with a ton of vanilla coming through in the 1st and final thirds - far more than hinted at by the aroma. Coffee, roasted barley, and chocolate malts all blend together in lovely fashion, allowing the vanilla to be the highlight on top of a very solid, slightly sweet base.

Quite bitter and balanced; aftertaste definitely teases an earthy, vegetal hop presence.

Silky mouthfeel, big bodied, full mouthfeel. Lively; minor sting; growing alcohol heat on the back-end (but not during the sip). Moderately dry finish, with a lingering bitterness. Very clean. Exceptionally easy to drink.

This is a lovely coffee-vanilla stout-porter. All the praise it receives is well-deserved. A great breakfast beer, but I could just as easily see this being a nightcap.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1 finger dark mocha head with moderate retention. Beer is opaque and pitch black. Lacing is thick and webbed but sticks close to the head. Solid.

Nose is roasted malt, coffee beans, chocolate, fudge, and cocoa. Moderately aromatic and real deep.

Opens sweet chocolate, molasses, and espresso. Cocoa powder, dark chocolate and just a slight touch of sweet vanilla lingers in the background. Sweet prunes mixes with more cocoa power, roast and coffee at the end. Sweet finish and aftertaste. Very good.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and silky in the mouth and goes down slick with just a little bite. Finishes messy with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Awesome!

The flavor and body are near perfect here and overall this is just a very nicely put together beer. Certainly a must try.

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

On tap at Stone Bistro, served in an 8oz snifter. Poured a pitch black with a thick tan sticky head. The aroma was the most coffee I've ever smelled in a beer and that is compared to Kona Pipeline Porter and Founders Breakfast Stout. It's just a pure roasted coffee aroma. The taste is the same, cold rich coffee and a dark malt backing which is overshadowed by the coffee.

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

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a dense black in the glass, with several tight foamy fingers of rich burnt mocha colored head. Retains with a sturdy 1/2 finger that throws a big cascade of lacing on the sides of the glass, which eventually settles into some equally large frothy spotting. The aroma is just DRENCHED with sticky sweet notes of chocolate, toffee, and smooth vanilla. This all just mingles in effortlessly with robust smelling high quality roasted coffee. The bouquet is just so rich and dense in the nose, I could sit here with my nose in the glass for a while.

The taste is deep and tangy in the mouth, wih a chewy sweetness to it full of chocolate, caramel, and citric hops. A deep burnt and crunchy flush of roast, hops, and coffee spreads out across the back of the palate. Not astringency at all to the coffee here (which speaks to it's quality), leaving nothing but straight up flavor and lingering roast back that just STICKS in the throat. The mouthfeel is full bodied and huge feeling in the mouth, with a massive chewy softness to the carbonation that keeps this easy in the mouth. That 10% ABV is mostly only felt in the body, and that's mostly on towards the swallow, with any kind of actual alcohol flavor being marvelously hidden.

Man, I love this beer. While not too overly complex, it's just so RICH with flavor, with it feeling like you just had an after dinner dessert AND coffee in your glass. Just really fantastic stuff that will get you buzzed in more ways than one.

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Photo of 14erFan
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a treat - I had never heard of this one and just got a bomber off the shelf because the description sounded intriguing. Such a great, big flavor with rich vanilla and a refined porter finish. Liked it so much I got a six-pack the other day.

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

Appearance - Pours a dark viscosity into a Bell's Tulip. About two fingers of head that dissipates slowly leaving amazing looking lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Oh my gosh. Seriously, I freaking love the smell. I had this at Black Tuesday 2010 and have been trying to get my hands on this since. Amazing vanilla, fresh coffee, caramel, chocolate. Amazing.

Taste - Oh my gosh again. The flavor is on par with the aroma. An amazing fresh coffee, vanilla, and chocolate flavor. Slight fruits, flora, and hops. I can drink this all night.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, lower carbonation, great Mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Unbelievably so. For the ABV, I can't get over how easy this beer drinks. So glad I have multiples of this. An amazing beer.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, stamp says enjoy by 11/26/13. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head that sticked around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate. The taste is pretty much just like the aroma, it tastes like coffee, roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of caramel. It starts off bitter, and then the sweet flavors catch up to balance things out. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit creamy and has moderate carbonation. The 10% ABV is well hidden. I have to say this is a pretty good overall brew. As soon as I heard Ballast Point was coming to Ohio, this was the beer from them that I was wanting to try the most, and it hasn't disappointed! $8.99 a bomber, I know I'll be buying this again.

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

Big thanks to cbeer88 and Gushue3 for hooking me up!

This pours black as night, with a rich, foamy dark tan head of a finger +. Lacing is great and retention is very good. The aroma is intense! Raw coffee beans/black coffee is a huge contributor, along with big vanilla notes and and equally large roasted malt character. There's a slight char on the nose, some small contributions from chocolate and molasses. Tastes more like espresso, big woody vanilla notes, dark chocolate, huge roasted notes, slightly bittersweet to balance out the sweetness. Body is full, creamy and finishes clean, with only a bit of bittersweet linger. No alcohol to note in the aroma or taste, which adds to this already dangerously drinkable brew!

Fantastic. I've bought, traded for, eventually traded and extra'd each one of these that has crossed my path...absolutely wonderful to have finally cracked one for myself!

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Photo of JulioH
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Good beer and not too boozy.

For an Imperial porter, this beer is not so offensive when it comes to alcohol presence. Pours a dark beer. Nice foam. Smells like vanilla and coffee. Little alcohol present on the nose. Taste is pretty good. Not a very bitter beer, lots of vanilla and sweets, coffee is present. I like it because it is not boozy.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Near black with a thin finger of a espresso-colored head, but the lacing is obviously great off the bat here.
Smells milky dark chocolate with a rich roasted coffee flavor, nice vanilla hint, malt.
Wow this is a big tasting brew, like the nose but enhanced and ongoing with a dank coffee effect. Pleasant coffee-grinds type of burn, also a licorice aspect for me here (but without resembling strong anise or anything approaching that). Not as sweet as I thought it'd be, but not dry-finishing either. A lively dark beer indeed, not as thick-bodied in appearance as I expected either, although a bit sticky in the mouth. As this sipper warms...roasted coffee, chocolate, cherry-anise, all encapsulated by vanilla. Excellent.

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

Poured from bomber bottle into hf tulip. Ive been sitting/aging this beer for about 9 months or so.
Pours a deep black chocolate with aggressive tan head and sticky lacing. This just looks fantastic. Smell is crazy good coffee and chocolate with slight booze. Taste is sweet chocolate with bitter coffee. There is a slight vanilla finish and nicely bitter.
Wow super easy to drink and full of intense flavors. An amazing brew.

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

Fresh bottle.
-Pours like oil (a good thing)
-Pitch black appearance with chocolate milk head.
-Aroma of coffee, a bit of toast and chocolate, and a lingering presence of vanilla.
-Drinks a pretty full mouth feel with well done carbonation.
-Tastes of coffee, roast chocolate body, and a good hint of vanilla in there to round it out. Almost creamy-like.
One of my go-to American porters.

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

This review is typed up from notes in my notebook. Growler from Greens in Piney Grove.

A - Black with a nice off white head

S - Coffee really stands out. Nice roasted malt with maybe a hint of vanilla.

T - Wow, what a great coffee flavor with hints of vanilla. Really reminds me of something from Starbucks. More sweet than bitter. Really a great coffee beer.

M - Heavy creamy body. Lightly carbonated.

D - Really easy to drink. Awesome coffee beer. Probably the best coffee flavored beer I've had. I really enjoyed this one and will grab it again if I ever see it.

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

Thick dark molasses and motor oil black body with a leather brown rocky head. The nose is very coffee malted with a hint of vanilla. The palate is very rich with a nice blend, in this order, coffee, vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, oak and another kind of creaminess i can't quite pick up on. There's no detection of alcohol whatsoever. Rich thick full-bodied mouth feel with the desirability to devour more.

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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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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,215 ratings.