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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.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

5,033 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,033
Reviews: 1,131
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 903
Gots: 1,270 | FT: 96
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,033 | Reviews: 1,131
Photo of JC333
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am re reviewing this because I thought maybe I was a bit to hard on it the first time.

I think I feel the same, coffee aroma overpowers and I am not getting vanilla. I do think it feels way too thin.

Photo of tappangordo
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Bierleichen
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of aleckpa
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a soapy, mocha head. About a finger's head on the pour, it goes away for the most part but some lingers. Bubbly mocha rims the glass. Great lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Coffee followed by vanilla. Some roasted malts as well. Smells sweet but not overpowering.

T: Similar to the nose. Coffee front of the tongue and vanilla on the back. There is a good balance between the two flavors. In my opinion, you can taste both distinctly and separately yet they balance out. I don't taste any alcohol which could be dangerous.

M: Smooth and creamy. Not thick like a stout. Medium bodied.

O: This is an excellent beer. I personally don't like vanilla in beers, but with the coffee it balances it out. At 10% ABV, the alcohol is masked pretty well, so it will sneak up on you. For the flavors and ABV in this beer, it's worth the price.

Photo of Shumista
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle shared three ways. From notes.

Pours black with a brown head, no surprises there. The smell is roasted coffee (the cheap stuff though, folgers maybe), chocolate and some vanilla. I was pretty taken aback by the flavor, I expected roasted coffee to dominate but this is an absolute vanilla bomb. Coffee, chocolate and a nuttiness are all underlying flavors as well. Everything combines to make a beer that reminds me more of a mocha vanilla milk shake than a porter. Creamy mouthfeel, very sweet but not to the point that drinkability suffers. Definitely some delicious stuff.

Photo of TooGood
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of johnbpark
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Scipio3
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of martyl1000
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is obviously really good. But, like too many porters, Baltic-strength or not, it suffers from one-and-done syndrome -- as in, first-sip awesomeness, but then a steep, steep dropoff in quality in every subsequent sip.

Photo of scottfrie
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours black with a couple fingers of creamy dense dark brown head that slowly faded into thick frothy layer that left rings of fine lacing down the glass.
S: Big notes of coffee with a hint of alcohol vapor and bitter chocolate.
T: Rich blast of coffee and dark chocolate assault the palate first with a touch of roasted malt, vanilla and marshmallow in the finish. Flavors are very bold yet well integrated. There is a bitterness to the aftertaste that lingers on the palate in a potent sort of way.
M: Thick full body with a slightly sharp mouthfeel from the bitter-sweet dark chocolate and acidic coffee. Alcohol pokes through with some spiciness, but for the most part this beer goes down smooth.
O: Overall this is one heck of a beer and definitely one worth seeking out. I'm not a huge coffee drinker but I can appreciate it when a brew like this integrates it so well. The vanilla adds a wonderful balance. Recommended.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a tan head. Nose is tight vanilla and coffee. But mostly coffee. Flavor is sweet coffee tones. Almost like you added that faux creamer to your coffee. A bit too sweet IMO, but it does still work quite nicely. Feel has a biting carbonation on the mouth and the liquid is thicker on the body. Overall a good stout. Robust and ripe with character. Though I feel the vanilla is coming on just a bit too much. It'll be interesting to see how this reacts as it warms up.

Photo of controlfate
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Geoff2me
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of sleuthdog
4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 11/13. Poured into Ballast Point tulip.

Appearance: This poured as black as night with three fingers of head that is light brown in color. Lacing is all over the place and I'm still waiting for the head to recede. Rocky head mixed with large bubbles too.

Smell: Big time bitter coffee in this with notes of vanilla and dark chocolate. Heavy roast and some char.

Taste: Again coffee takes center stage with some vanilla and dark chocolate in the background. The roast is a fairly dominating aspect in the taste. Coffee is quite bitter and alcohol leaves a slight burn.

Mouthfeel: From the appearance I would think this would have been a more full feel. It is surprisingly thin for the look but one that seems to fit the beer very well. I am not picking up much carbonation and this has a creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol does burn the gums some.

Overall: If you are a coffee drinker this would be up your alley. A big beer that is one that is best shared.

Photo of tylerbrowe
4.07/5  rDev -7.5%

Photo of Blanco
4.07/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color with light brown/tan colored head. Very strong excellent lacing. Huge coffee aroma immediately upon pouring, along with a little roasted malt. Coffee is upfront in the taste as well, however, it has more of an artificial taste to it. A bit of sweetness comes through as well, with hints of chocolate and some roasted malt. Sadly, the vanilla is hard to pick up at first.
Medium bodied. 

This was a decent beer, but was somewhat of a disappointment in the taste, after such an amazing smell. In the end the beer was good but I wish the flavor had more of a coffee punch.

Photo of beeragent
4.07/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 22 oz bomber.

A - Pours a deep brown with ruby hues. Appears black in the glass. Very small mocha head with light lace.

S - Strong roasted coffee with a hint of vanilla and alcohol.

T - The coffee flavor coats the palate with a bitter cocoa presence. Slight hint of vanilla and bitter hops in the finish. Alcohol is well hidden considering the abv.

M - Thick bodied with low carbonation. Very smooth finish.

O - Definetly what comes to mind when thinking of an imperial coffee porter. I would have liked a more noticeable vanilla presence, but overall it is what it says it is. This will be an awesome beer to have during the winter!

Photo of mdfb79
4.07/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one finger of tan head. Light carbonation and lacing evident.

s - Smells of milk chocolate, roasted malts, cofee, and a hint of alcohol.Some vanilla too. Very nice.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, hops, roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol.

m - High carbonation and medium body. Some alcohol warmth.

d - A pretty good porter. Smells amazing with lots going on, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the bitterness in the taste; it was a bit too much. I didn't get any vanilla from the taste which I would have liked, and also thought the high carbonation hurt it a bit. None the less, it is still a very good porter worth checking out. Would have again.

Photo of axeman9182
4.07/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the generous BA Soonami. This one was allowed to warm a good bit before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Victory at Sea pours a solid black, with a tan head that comes up to between two and three fingers in height. There's a decent amount of lacing left behind, and the foam takes its time in inching down the side of the glass. The nose is almost perfectly balanced. There's some sweet milk chocolate that's neck and neck with strong coffee in terms of flavors standing out. I think a lot of porters and stouts sometimes overdo it on roasty grain notes, but this beer is notable for it's pretty much complete lack of any. I actually wish there was a little bit of roast to give the nose more of an edge, but that's really nitpicking. That superior balance isn't found in the flavor, for the most part. Coffee jumps out and dominates any chocolaty notes on my palate. As the beer finishes approaching room temperature, the coffee and vanilla bean influences finally begin to even out again, but it's a bit too late to make this a truly great beer. The carbonation is appropriately subdued, but I expect a rich and full body from a 10% porter, and this one just doesn't deliver on that front. Victory at Sea is a very good beer, and one that I would gladly come back to, but it's just a step below true greatness.

Photo of Beaver13
4.08/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Pours dark brown black with a big creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is huge roast coffee with fudgy malts and a little vanilla.

The flavor is a little more subdued than expected. Lots of roast coffee, chocolate malt and vanilla with a big bitter roast finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly watery.

Overall, a very nice coffee porter with nice chocolate and vanilla notes.

Photo of Stebow1289
4.08/5  rDev -7.3%

Photo of hreb
4.08/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in pint glass. Oh, *Imperial* porter? Oh my. Beer pours pitch black with a massive pillowy brown head on top. Big coffee aroma dominates everything else. A hint of caramel sweetness -- I guess I could believe vanilla in there. Flavor starts out coffee forward, with a caramelly, oaky (vanilla) sweetness up front, which progressively works its way back across the palate and ends up respectably bitter. There's not zero hops in here, but the real aftertaste is the earthy bitterness of black coffee, which leaves its residue on the lips. I think the vanilla provides caramel and oak flavors, neither of which are president, but the result is pretty complex, without bringing the harshness of oak, nor the sticky sweetness of adjunct sugars.

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glugs into a half liter mug, jet black with a crisply defined line of mocha foam on top. The foam is sticky and leaves tan concentric rings around the edges. As it warms up, the aroma is very chocolate/vanilla like a milkshake. The flavor is also heavy on these notes, seeming like a melted kahlua milkshake on first impression. Some char and bitter coffee elements. Fairly dry and bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. Pretty beefy, one to sip for sure. Luckily there's no hint of 10% in here.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.08/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this. I've been meaning to review this for quite some time.

Consumed 2/18/14

Appearance: Surprisingly dark, I would legitimately call this jet black - pours with a large, rocky, beige head - keeps a solid cap - leaves webs of lacing

Smell: Big, bold coffee - roasty coffee beans and coffee grounds - tons of vanilla bean and vanilla - cooked, roasty, burnt malts - chocolate malts, dark chocolate, baker's chocolate - nutty in the finish

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla - decidedly reminiscent of chocolate-covered coffee beans - espresso and some drip coffee - dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, and a touch of cocoa - the vanilla is definitely big, with some vanilla beans and vanilla extract, but I think it's a bit overshadowed by the coffee... or maybe I can't quite discern the two flavors since I add French vanilla to my coffee on a daily basis - whatever - nice level of sweetness balanced with some roast - finishes dry and roasty

Mouthfeel: On the heavy side of medium, definitely big for the style, nice carbonation, smooth

Overall: Yup, worth a try

This isn't the best porter I've had, and it's not the best application of coffee. But it is very good. It's fairly easy to find, so I'd say it's definitely worth a try.

Photo of mayxday
4.08/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,033 ratings.