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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.

1,220 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,220
Hads: 5,934
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,009
Gots: 1,727 | FT: 91
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: 1,220 | Hads: 5,934
Photo of jmdrpi
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, code of "VA513 05112", which is unclear of dating.

appears black, nice thick dark tan head. good lacing and retention. aroma is amazingly appetizing, bold vanilla, and sweet coffee with cream and sugar.

taste is a nice balance of roastiness and sweetness. not cloying at all. improves and gets more complex as it warms. medium body, moderate carbonation. nice and smooth drinking.

overall - a great beer. I guess called a porter because it's a bit thinner in body than most imperial stouts.

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Photo of ZebraCakez
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on 2/8/15 from 12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a deep black color with a one finger khaki colored head that stays for the entire experience.

S: The aroma is somewhat subtle, but still inviting. Rich coffee and dark malt notes reign supreme here.

T: If you like coffee notes, this is an absolute must try. Fresh dark coffee, espresso, and vanilla all work together splendidly. There's some dark chocolate in the background, and it hides it's relatively high ABV beautifully. This is simply fantastic.

F: Thick and creamy, sticks to the mouth with pleasant carbonation. Nice.

O: I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to try this one, I'm hooked after my first bottle.

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Photo of rawla
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

**Finally got around to typing the notes for this review***

Purchased a bomber from Vendome Wine and Liquor on Olympic Blvd on 12/17/2011 after Miguel, the gentleman who runs the beer section, recommended it due to it's limited availability.

Poured into a 6 oz snifter.

A: Pours with a rich, caramel head. About a finger of head. Surprising for a beer of this high ABV. Dark as night, but some range of color with some brown towards the head. A creamy toffee lacing on the sides. Awesome.

S: Vanilla Latte. The coffee is present, but the vanilla really PUNCHES through!. Very little alcohol presence in the nose. Impressive character.

T: Cafe con Leche notes, vanilla, espresso. Full semi-sweet presence throughout, without overbearing on the coffee and toasted profile. Well balanced. Again, you can't really taste the alcohol in this. Finishes off like coffee and vanilla bean, too. I want to say this is a straight-forward Imperial Porter, but that would be a disservice. It wants you to taste vanilla, coffee, espresso, and damn if it doesn't execute it flawlessly. Mmmm

M: Lighter than I expected. Goes down smooth, without really sticking through the roof of the mouth.

O: A stunningly well balanced Imperial Porter. Some bitterness i the end to keep the palate on it's toes, but overall an amazing beer. Will drink again.. A

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Photo of djjacobsen
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, night shade with a one finger tan head, small-carbed head. Nose is of freshly roasted coffee beans. Not much vanilla on the nose. Taste a bit smoky/roasted getting much more of the fresh coffee note that Ballast has added. Vanilla beans show up on the back end of the drink, staying for a while and almost becoming gourmand. Mouthfeel is creamy and enjoyable. It is a bit heavy but is a nice after dinner, dessert beer in the winter. This is more reminiscent if a stout than an imperial porter. Definately a fun change of pace as far as normal smoky porters/stouts go. Pick one up and give it a try. Very much enjoyed by a true hop-head who normally doesn't deviate from IPA land.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to Kegatron.

Pours near black with one finger of smooth tan head.

Scent of coffee upfront with sweet vanilla right after. Brown sugar, chocolate and earth with a touch of alcohol heat and sweet hops make this a very inviting scent.

Taste of sweet, creamy vanilla, rich chocolate, fresh bitter coffee, burnt wood and a touch of fruity hops. Very tasty, and balanced similarly as the scent. The brewers at Ballast Point can balance the hell out of some strong beer.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 into a snifter. Pours black with a 3/4 inch tan head. The lace is minimal. The smell is light, even after being swirled around in the snifter. I did make out roasted coffee and vanilla right out front. There are some notes of lemon rind.
The taste steps it up.a bunch. Dark roasted coffee with bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, slight lemon zest, earthy hops and a touch of alcohol, but well hidden. Very smooth on the way down. Perfect porter feel.
This would get a 5 but I'm not even halfway through my second glass and I'm wobbely. I wish I could drink four or five with no consequenses though.

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Photo of BigBarley
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, like an imperial stout, with a respectable thick khaki foam head, with a hint of brown. Smells like a bourbon barrel painted with vanilla extract. Hints of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, roasted chocolate, french coffee. Tastes damn near like the perfect porter, smooth chocolate, bitter dark coffee, vanilla and bourbon, and just the slightest hint of coconut. This flavor can stand up to many BA imperial stouts out there. Amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, relative to a foreign stout but the sweetness could ave you believing you were drinking an imperial stout. An all around beautifully brewed beer that touches on a wide range of flavors that many beer geeks go nuts for. A must-have brew in the craft community.

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Photo of TotallyHosed
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you dimce for the bottles.

Aggressively poured into a large Cheers mug. The head starts at a two-fingered thickness with a very attractive creamy head that's the color of coffee with cream. The head disappears within a minute and lingers around the edge. The color is completely opaque black, even when held to sunlight.

The aroma is delicious. I pick up what smells like a mocha vanilla coffee drink. There is primarily chocolate and vanilla smell, with roasted coffee underneath. As the brew warms, more of the roasty aroma is coming through.

First sip is so nice! I'm tasting chocolatey vanilla at the start. What follows is some bitterness, probably from the coffee, and a little bit of alcohol burn. Finally, tasting a lingering roast coffee and chocolatey malts.

The feel is completely creamy. Not feeling any carbonation which I think fits this brew perfectly. In other words, it would be strange to feel any carbonation in a chocolatey coffee drink. My mouth is coated with creamy deliciousness.

Overall, I am very impressed with this brew. This has a great balance among the various flavors. I don't consider my palate to be well trained, so it's a nice surprise to be able to pick out the primary flavors intended by the brewer. This is what makes this porter a big winner. If this sounds good to you, then I highly recommend. I'm very happy to have received this in a trade.

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Photo of ChrisMyhre
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemmed wine glass from the 22 oz. bottle. Enjoy by January 15, 2014.

a: Dark black, not sure if there's variation from batch to batch but I see no brown at all. Solid looking dark tan head, but not tall. Not much lacing.

s: Very vanilla forward, a little coffee, malt, and yeast though too.

t: Much less vanilla taste (I hate vanilla coffee so this is a very good thing to me), nice roasty, somewhat with lots of good coffee flavor .

m: Drinkable, just slightly on the drinkable side(for a 10.0 abv Imperial Stout at least), lower carbonation but still a very full feeling beer..

o: Excellent, the most balanced coffee stout/porter I've had, very subtle vanilla taste with nice scent, which is very rare. I will pick this up anytime I have extra dough lying around, would love to see in 12 oz bottles.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 2012 Bomber into a snifter glass. Second time having this awesome beer.

A: Pours extremely dark brown, very opaque. Very little light getting through this. Almost non exist dark khaki head. Does provide some nice lacing and alcohol legs.

S: This is where this beer shines the most IMO. Air freshener. Could smell this all day, esp once it warms up. Getting strong vanilla and coffee aromas along coco powder. Some of the roasted malts shinning through as well. Great aroma, really opens once it warms up a bit.

T: Taste strong in the categories advertised. Vanilla Coffee with a hint of what I can only describe as chalky chocolate (in a good way). Smooth as hell and delicious. Some slight alcohol taste pokes through.

M: Full bodied, and sweet on the tongue. Bit of a alcohol burn on the finish.

O: Fantastic beer. Loving every sip and a must try for any stout/coffee fan.

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Photo of WheelsPSU
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Brought a bomber for Thanksgiving. It poured a dark syrup color bordering on black. It had a khaki head that did not last very long. The smell was of fresh morning coffee with hints of dark chocolate. Not overwhelming.
The taste followed the smell. The coffee hits first followed by unsweetened chocolate and vanilla on the finish. It's velvety, smooth and delicious. The alcohol is well hidden and not detectable until the beer really started to warm.

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Photo of clegolfski
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fun Tasting at Jay's

Super black black with creamed coffee head, not great retention.

Big time carmelly vanilla really good coffee with a flavor shot

Acrid coffee up front and fades into Vanilla deliciousness

smooth and sexy with a nice warming at the end

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Super dark brown porter. Nice creamy foam head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and sweet raisin and vanilla notes.

T - Great coffee flavor up front with a sweet vanilla finish.

M - Smooth, creamy, and just the right amount of carbonation.

O - Only my second Ballast Point beer and I'm very impressed so far. I definitely will have this porter again and look forward to trying more of their beers. Prost!

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Photo of marvin213
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I don't really know how a porter could look better. Black as the pitch, it's the frothy, teeny-tiny bubbled tan froth that makes this liquid concoction appear so scintillating. The froth layers the glass each swirl, and it beckons. This beer looks like it came from Starbucks!

Served warm, I do indeed get the coffee, the vanilla, and the oh-so-lovely roasted malt presence on the nose. Wonder what this one would be like thru a vanilla bean randall. Oh how I'd love to try some of the crazy variations listed here on BA!

Served warm, that initial sip (gulp, really) comes through a little hot...I love it, and it tastes imperial! Not sure about the coffee--it should shine through a little better. Some original Dunkin Donuts or some Jittery Joe's (Terrapin WnB) would be a marked improvement. With a flavor like vanilla, I'm like always wanting more. What if they went tequila-style and replaced the worm w/ a big ol fat vanilla bean? I'd eat the bean for sure...especially sine the beer would cost $10 more! Really, though, this is an exemplary American Porter and a sure winner with any beer lover!

The feel is smooth, but more viscosity wouldn't hurt. What about a creamy Victory at Sea on a nitro pour? Thru a vanilla bean
randall? This beer is a medium/additive for all things good. It would be delicious as a substitue for gravy on my morning biscuits. :-0 Overall, it's just great! This is a classic brew that's always worth grabbing, and it represents some of the wonderfulness that is American craft beer!

Editor's note: I have never used so many exclamation points in a single beer review...!

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Photo of kfsv034
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

shared with Drink1121

A - poured in a duvel tulip, color is dark dark purple with a reddish purple boarder when held up to the light. A slight mocha colored head.

S - vanilla coffee

T - multiple flavors going on, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, carmel and bourbon or whiskey flavor at the end. It taste like a beer milk shake, Kinda boozy when it warms up.

M - like the texture or milk

D - Kinda boozy but i could drink a few cause it tastes so good

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Photo of MA_hops
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely ludicrous beer! The rich coffee notes combined with chocolate, vanilla and caramel make this one of the best beers known to man!! It's a classic!

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Photo of Spider889
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to bobertkuekn for allowing me to cross this want off my list. Hope we can meet up at a future Jackie O's Release!

2010 vintage.

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. The beer was thick and black, and at first a head seemed to be merely a wish... so I upped the ante (and the height of my pour) by about 6 inches and suddenly, whooosh! Up rose a tall head. It lasted a couple minutes then receded, leaving an amazing blanket of lace on the glass, and a very short cap of foam which resembled sushi roe on the edge of the glass the way the bubbles stacked up.

Smells awesome. From the aroma at least, the coffee hasn't faded at all. Deep, rich cold coffee mingles with the wonderful sweet chocolate aromas of the porter. The base porter is a great beer in its own right. Vanilla is subtle, but I can certainly pick it out.

Smooth and decadent. Really folks, this is all that needs to be said. The beer is sumptuous and unctuous... seriously, all I can think about are foodie terms to describe this beer. The coffee is the forerunner in the flavor department - it is silky and robust. Very potent despite the age on this bottle, I can only imagine what this beer is like fresh. Layers and layers of chocolate fudge, truffle powder, coffee, vanilla, and dark sweet chocolate rush at your palate like the waves of an advancing army... an army that knows it has already won. The aftertaste is quite bitter. This guy is pretty well hopped up. Not a bad thing, but just another surprise given the age of the bottle.

The mouthfeel is extremely sensual as well. Smooth and velvety, the beer is thick and chewy. All the while, this one is simultaneously delicate and clean.

Overall worth every bit of the hype. I saw on the Ballast Point website that they must have done some one-off casks of barrel-aged and rum-aged Victory at Sea. Guys, bottle the stuff. It must have been amazing!

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Photo of rjd722
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Ommegang wide flute glass, a beautiful black coloring with big, frothy brown head which dissipates slowly and laces the entire way down. A burst of vanilla greets you and is accompanied by some nice roasted chocolate notes. Smoked toffee and chocolate (with hints of vanilla) dominate the experience and overall this brew has a bitterness slightly more intense then coffee. Considering it's a 10% ABV, it has a pleasant texture and is easy to drink. Really great weekend beer, what else can I say about another exceptional Ballast Point offering?

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Photo of ELS
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As I opened the bottle I immediately smelled coffee. Poured a nice tannish head of foam. The taste was nearly perfect with a great balance of malt, coffee, hint of vanilla and just a little alcohol burn to let you know it's a high abv porter. Honestly, I thought I was drinking a stout until I looked it up on this site. I should have realized it was a porter since the mouthfeel wasn't overly viscous like some stouts that drink like motor oil. This beer was really smooth and I enjoyed every ounce as it started to warm. Still, I've never had a porter with that high abv burn before. Overall, it's a great beer whatever style you put it in.

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Photo of colingaiser
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass...

L: A gorgeous deep, dark brown with a thick and creamy tan, 3-finger head. It takes a while to disappear and leaves some nice, elegant lacing.

S: Definitely a unique aroma ... there's coffee (more like used coffee grounds), molasses and black licorice, some surprisingly earthy (perhaps some oak?) notes, and undertones of vanilla. A very intriguing scent to say the least.

T: WOW, there is a lot going on here. The robust coffee flavor pervades -- like a bite of espresso -- but it's followed by notes of sweet caramel, bitter baking chocolate, a little black licorice spice, all followed by a sweet, boozy finish. It's hard not to gulp this down it's so well-balanced and delicious.

F: It's chewy but not heavy, and there's a delectable creamy mouthfeel. It's fairly light on carbonation but that serves to highlight the immense palate of flavors. Perfect.

O: This is an absolutely beautiful beer. The flavors are so well-balanced and are highlighted by a decadent mouthfeel that keeps you salivating for more. The coffee notes aren't overwhelming, but provide an essential bitterness that cuts through the vanilla and malty sweetness. An absolute must-have if you find yourself in Ballast Point's distribution area.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich looking dark brown with a massive creamy light brown head that spilled over. (My bad. I poured a little too fast) Thick foamy lacing persists. Great complex aroma of dark sugars, roasted malts, coffee, caramel, raisins and nut cake. Taste of sweet roasted malts with a slightly dry bitter sweet and slight alcohol finish. As the bottle indicates, other strong flavors are coffee and vanilla extract. Feel is full bodied, hearty and robust. Minimal carbonation helps keep the flavors intact and makes this a great brew to warm you in the winter and/or drink with dessert. A thoroughly enjoyable brew and one of my favorite examples of porter!

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Photo of Jconradt
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really enjoyed this but a bomber all by myself was too much, this is a very hearty beer recommend a pint or less, or find a friend to share the bomber.

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Photo of buckslayer50
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very good brew, extremely coffee forward but I like that. Wish I had gotten a little more vanilla, the coffee kind of overpowered everything else, but overall this was damn good and I will buy it again whenever I see it.

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Photo of atremains
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautifully black with a strong dark head. Sweet lacing. Awesome looking beer. Very roasty nose with cocoa/vanilla highlights. Smells like an ice cream cake. Coffee is there as well.  Roooast in the taste. Vanilla is awesome and the coffee is right their with it. Feel is bulky, just what I was hoping for. Creamy and delicious. Very drinkable beer. Great flavors. Haven't had this in a year and judging from my buddy's notes it's a good thing we revisited it. 

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split and poured into a snifter. Best by 11/26/13.

A: Glugs out of the glass a thick dark brew and a 2 finger light khaki head develops. Leaves a fair amount of lacing. Light barely gets through the edge when its held up to a bulb.

S: Nice blend of coffee and roasted malt with a touch of vanilla. Also a bit of milkiness that reminds me of an iced coffee. Really top notch, quite pure in aroma and very well balanced.

T: Amazing taste, nails you with a very craftily blended vanilla and coffee mix. Hops certainly come through on the backend, however again the coffee overtakes the flavor and lingers in the aftertaste.

M: Smooth and velvety, the body is great for a porter. Doesnt have any watery aspects or complaints of being thin. ABV provides some warmth but goes great with the taste.

Overall I am floored, this is a seriously good beer. Very well refined the recipe is extremely balanced but still provides a boatload of flavor. Highly recommended to anyone.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,220 ratings.