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.

1,195 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,195
Hads: 5,810
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 980
Gots: 1,654 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,195 | Hads: 5,810
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!

 654 characters

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.

 151 characters

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.

 221 characters

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. 

 463 characters

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.

 987 characters

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

Ballast Point Victory at Sea

Look 9/10
Smell 19/20
Taste 40/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 96/100

Everything about this is excellent, its the best porter on the market. The fact that its really more of a stout helps it. Such massive Chocolate, Vanilla and Coffee... It finishes extremely smooth and drinkable smooth at 10.5. One of my all time fave beers ever, top 10 for sure~

 495 characters

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

$14.99 -6pack

I had this beer a while back. Must have been old because the coffee and vanilla were way underneath. Today I know I have a fresh bottle thanks to them doing 6-packs now.

This is insane. One of the best coffee beers I've ever had.

 245 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Somewhat murky brown in color. Small tan head on top. Very, very pleasant aroma of rich coffee and faint vanilla. Great, great flavor-actually tastes like a porter before the rich coffee comes thru. Nice balance of vanilla against the coffee. Dark chocolate hints as well. Some hop bitterness and flavor. Pleasant roasted grain flavors. Nice body-not overly full or syrupy. LOVE this-going to be a permanent want for me. I love the way it comes thru as an actual porter, not some amped up, big, bad ass flavored something. A lot of flavor-well balanced and true to style for me. Yummo!!!

 587 characters

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

There is a slight brownish-cream colored head on the jet black beer. The scent changes from coffee to vanilla with each smell. The coffee taste is light, but the vanilla shines. The flavor hides the alcohol well. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light but certainly not watery. This beer offers everything you want in a porter, then takes it to another level with the additional flavors. Highly recommend.

 402 characters

Photo of gr0g
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out pitch black, topped with a one finger head of dark tan foam. Some spotty lacing. Aroma is top-notch provided that you're a fan of coffee. Vanilla soaked fresh ground coffee hits at first, followed by rich, dark cocoa. There's a hint of alcohol that isn't out of place in a 10% ABV brew.

Somewhat astringent and coffee-forward at first taste, giving way to a rich, bittersweet mocha. A noticeable infusion of vanilla complements the flavor excellently. A bit of a fusel alcohol note on the finish is only a slight negative. I'm compelled to take sip after sip until the bomber is finished. Mouthfeel is silky and as rich as a porter can get without getting into stout territory. Carbonation is soft and not all that abundant but still has good longevity. This is an elite beer that has few rivals as a after-dinner treat.

 831 characters

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

wow! this one floored me, and its been awhile since a beer has blown me away! on tap at bangers and lace in Chicago. it pours a molten black color, hints of brown, but entirely impenetrable to light. there is an obvious weight to this, and a half inch of mocha colored head on top that slowly fades out. the nose is intensely vanilla, sweet and fresh above the deep dark abyssal malts, which are raw chocolate, burnt coffee, and very bitter aromatically. the coffee to me is more pronounced in the flavor than the nose, and the vanilla is strong on both fronts. this doesn't need to be barrel aged, its got all the complexity one could ever imagine already. I taste everything from whole wheat chex cereal to velvety milk chocolate, bakers cocoa, and vanilla frosting. it remains fairly unsweet, given its ingredients are so desserty. huge body, but intimidating. sips like silk, and the alcohol content is barely noticeable. easily one of the best beers ive had in a long time, and ballast point has now impressed me three times out of three, hard. this is a beer not to be missed, and I hope to be lucky enough to encounter it again. like nothing else around, and a real masterpiece.

 1,185 characters

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

Black pour with a really small tan head, pretty short-lasting, leaving a sticky lacing.
Roasted coffee bean on the nose, raw vanilla bean, cocoa powder and rich roasted malt. Simple, but intense.
Tons of coffee in the taste, the black kind, very lightly sugared, deeply roasted. A rich vanilla edge to it, too, not creamy, but raw vanilla extract. A bit of dark licorice, toffee, actually more like marshmallow. Dark chocolate and rich roasted malts, a bit smokey, turning really burnt and ashy in the finish, feeling amplified by some bitter hop.
Medium body, smooth carbonation. Aftertaste has coffee dregs, vanilla, roasted dark bread, some caramel and a nice more than mild bitterness stuck in the throat, but not the bad kind.
This will not surprise you, it's exactly what it says on the label, "porter with coffee and vanilla". But it's incredibly rich and balanced, one element compensating the other. So it seems that Ballast Point don't make just great IPAs, but also one of the best porters out there. Especially considering it's quite easy to get.

 1,058 characters

Photo of jjayjaye
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque darkness with a loose full finger tan head that fades quickly, leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing. The smell is really nice rich aggressive moderately roasted malt and high quality it warms I sense a barrel aged vanilla sweetness. Full flavored, the high quality java notes are the bomb, second only to GI Coffee Stout that I recently had. The toasted malt and classy roast coffee lingers nicely in the after taste like i wish every cup of coffee would. Light-medium body from a lighter carbonation creamy smooth is a classic example of the style...I still really prefer the texture of a stout. This one is going down WAY TOO way would I have guessed that this was even half the 10% ABV!! This one is drinking CRAZY!! Perfect accompaniment to the playoffs. Cheers!

 809 characters

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

On tap at the Salty Pig. This was such a big tasting bomb of a porter - amazing stuff. Enjoyed it while I listened to my buddy John talked about his dates as of late. Made me wonder why someone doesn't order a 12 pack of these for a 1st date. 6 each of these bad guys, and everyone will be in love. Anyways.....great beer. Wonder why Beer Advocate doesn't offer a dating website on the side. This could not fail...

 431 characters

Photo of Marius
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark crimson pour with generous head and visible carbonation. Huge vanilla smell, together with coffee, chocolate, cocoa and caramel. The taste is quite complex and perfectly balanced, with vanilla up front, followed by coffee, alcohol spiciness and malt sweetness blended together with a soft bitterness. The soft carbonation makes for a very nice mouth-feel. Medium-dry finish with a strong vanilla feel that lasts on the palate. One of the best porters around, and I am quite picky about my porters.

 504 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, brawleys - charlotte. split during MNF

appearance: pours into a standard pint - dark ebony body with a creamy chocolate crest. very nice

smell: holy batmobile, rich roasty chocolate cap, strong roasted espresso, french roast, vanilla, alcohol

taste: awesome beer - robust and full bodied, huge espresso notes, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. epic coffee beer - glad to see this one around

mouthfeel: huge body, creamy, robust - full flavor

drinkability: nice

 489 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, black color with a fading tan head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells of delicious roasted coffee.

Tastes of the delicious roasted notes. Notes of coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar. Vanilla notes come in the end and add a flair to the coffee. Everything is really well balanced. Alcohol is hardly noticeable at 10% and makes this brew a little dangerous.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

 429 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off this is an exceptional beer. I had wanted to try it since it came out by missed all the bottles on sale, needless to say when I was able to trade for some it made my day. Served at a nice 55 degrees and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/04/2009.

The pour was fantastic. Huge dark beer here, black as night as it pours out. A big cascading brown head comes up and over the top and then settles down into a half inch layer that hung around for the entire rest of the session. The aroma was vanilla, huge vanilla beer and light cafe like coffee notes. Some hints of roasted malts, but vanilla in a beer like I have never come across before. Not terribly sweet and fake, this was like whiffing good vanilla ice cream. As I take the first sip, wow. This beer is suprising the crap out of me. First off where is my 12 percent? This is soo smooth I really got caught off guard by my second glass. The vanilla explosion followed through on the taste, rich and creamy with light and sweet coffee notes following through on them as well. Really tight flavor here, smooth with a long drawn out finish that was sweet, delicate and drying enough to make me want another in a minute.

Overall this was a very unique beer, that falls squarely into the dessert category. I was very happy, and very suprised with how big this was and how good it was as well. A winner here for sure!

 1,396 characters

Photo of BilbosNuts
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark black with a mocha colored head that has great retention, lasting throughout the drink. It leaves behind rings of lacing.

S: Where to begin? It starts off with a strong ground coffee bean aroma that gives way to sweet vanilla and a sort of woody scent. Chocolate and roasted malts then begin to make an appearance.

T: Quite similar to the aroma with strong coffee and sweet vanilla. The alcohol is very subtle but has a light presence.

M: Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth to drink. I could drink this all day.

O: This may be one of my favorite beers I've ever had. The smell is orgasmic and the taste isn't far off. I wish this were available year round.

 754 characters

Photo of Thoroughbred88
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Head lingers at first then trails off as it's sipped. Smells like a typical coffee beer. Very pronounced Coffee at first hitting the palate then smooth vanilla for the finish. The finish was surprising, in fact. Smooth would be a good way to describe it again.

 260 characters

Photo of ryrust5301
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Everything is here for a great porter. Brownish black color with a thin tan head. Almost looks like an imperial stout after it sat in my glass for awhile. Strong vanilla notes in the nose, mixed with a bitter roast and soft chocolate. Taste is a bitter coffee at first with a little coco, but a little past halfway through, the vanilla consumes everything all the way to the finish. A real pleasure to sip on, and is a great addition to their big beer bottle series.

 466 characters

Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Very dark, but still some glints of red around the edges, soapy mocha head, moderate lacing.

A: Big coffee and vanilla notes, as to be expected, as well as dark chocolate, dark fruit, cherry and a sweet caramel backdrop. Some noticeable alcohol, slightly spicy, perhaps from hops.

T/M: Smooth bitterness upfront, moves into a velvety mixture of coffee and chocolate notes, a sweet caramel middle, and a finish with more dark roasted coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and a big dose of vanilla. Smooth, but fairly thin, with a fairly drying finish from the roasted malt.

Overall, a delicious and complex brew, very drinkable for the abv. I have a few more and look forward to cracking one open for desert on occasion. It is not as viscous as many Imperial Stouts, but the flavor is all there. One of the best coffee infused beers I have had.

 843 characters

Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours near black with a silky tan head. Nice lace and retention.

Nose has vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and dark fruits.

Taste also has a big vanilla presence that is well balanced by cocoa, espresso, molasses and dark malts.

Medium to full body is well carbonated. Tasty stuff, should age well.

 310 characters

Photo of AltBock
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber bottle with one cool slick black label. This black label has a sweet ass drawing of a pirate skeleton at the ship's wheel trying to steer his ghostly ship out of a hurricane. You can tell he's a pirate because he has the pirate standard long hair, a tri cornered hat, and he has his skeleton parrot on his shoulder. Above and below the pirate is the name of beer and brewery in bold blood red letters. To the far left of the label is where you can find all the mandatory US information and a picture of a ballast. To the far right of the label is the name of the coffee company and a long description of the beer. The only thing missing on this label is a brewed on date or vintage year.

Appearance: Pouring this beer into a Snifter would have been nice, but I decided to pour this Imperial Porter into my Sly Fox Imperial pint glass. This Ballast Point poured a bone chilling black as heavely coffee beans and as thick as crude oil. This beer is so black that you have to careful raising this glass up against any kind light source. This beer was so damn black that when I held it into my lamp, light bounced right off the beer and back into the light bulb almost causing the light bulb to explode it into a million pieces. Not only was the color impressive, but the head of foam as well. The initial head of foam was a good 2 inches in height and dark mocha in color. This dark mocha head of foam had excellent super slow retention that left behind an everlasting ¾ of mocha skim of foam and an insane amount of sticky streaks of lace around the glass. If you want to stare into utter darkness and you don't want to get up off the couch to flip off the light switch, then pour a glass of Victory At Sea.

Smell: If you ever visited a coffee shop before and smelled their finest most expensive coffee beans, then you already know what this Coffee Porter is going to smell like. This Porter was just bursting at the seams with fine heavily roasted coffee beans! This scent of coffee beans was so strong that there wasn't much of anything else backing up all of the coffee beans. The only thing my nose was able to pick was a subtle and I mean subtle whiff of French vanilla. I love the scent of coffee as much as the next coffee fan, but more of variety in the nose would have been nice.

Taste: If you think that the aroma put the word "coffee" into "Imperial Coffee Stout," then wait till you wrap your lips around this beer. If can't tell what this beer is going to taste like from the thick roasted coffee aroma, then let me tell you. The taste was thick, dry, and heavily roasted with some fine and expensive roasted coffee beans, a gentle touch of bitter dark chocolate, and a tiny little speck of French vanilla at the roasted coffee finish line. It was great where this beer stood, but a little more French vanilla would have made this beer even better, if that's possible. If you love the taste of coffee, then put down your cup of coffee and pour this Coffee Stout into your beer glass immediately!

Mouthfeel: This beer wasn't going to mask anything. This was a clearly a full bodied Imperial Porter with a low level of carbonation, and a full flavored roasted aftertaste. This long lasting aftertaste contained a ton of dry roasted coffee beans, a pinch of bitter dark chocolate, and a subtle hint of French vanilla. This aftertaste was so thick that it was take at least 2 liters of water to wash away the aftertaste. I could feel a little bit of the 10% ABV, but not enough where you could actually tell that it was a high ABV% beer.

Drinkability: Imperial Porter? You know it! Filled with coffee? You bet your ass it is! Vanilla? Sure, I'll give them that one. Delicious? Yep! This beer is a must have for all of you coffee drinkers or the type of people who enjoy a delicious craft beer. I wish I had bought more than one bottle of this great beer. Well, live and learn.

 3,904 characters

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass. Pours an almost solid black and fills the glass completely night black! Looks pretty thick for a porter, closer to a RIS by appearance. Head is decent size of a toffee color...VERY frothy/creamy. Tons of sticky non-sliding lacing, lasts nearly the entirety of the drink. Wonderful looking beer.

Aroma is pleasant, and strong. Tons of coffee, slight(very slight) bitter mid...and a very sweet vanilla backbone. Due to the HUGE coffee smell, booze doesn't really hit the nose...even though it's hidden.

Wow, outstanding. Hits you quick with a slight kick/bitter hop...very creamy semi-thick mouthfeel and follows with tons of sweetness. Carbonation is strong, but no where near noticable to distract from the huge flavor of this beer! Again, booze is well hidden. Lot's of coffee and vanilla flavors mixing great together. The aftertaste is also outstanding. A few minutes after each mouthful, there's a great vanilla aroma still attacking the nostrils and coffee penetrating the taste buds. What a great tasting beer! Again though, this is a porter!? haha.

 1,139 characters

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