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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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1,180 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,739
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 965
Gots: 1,624 | FT: 100
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: 1,180 | Hads: 5,739
Photo of Duhast500
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea

Poured from a 22fl. Oz. bomber into a Dogfish Head pint glass.

The color is a dark black with some slight maroon highlights that are just barely making a presence here.

The smell is dark chocolate, and cocoa that jumps in the nose. There is some slight graham cracker here in the aroma that is tease the combo of s’mores but the marshmallow does not appear. Coffee grounds aroma comes out here and gives off a preview of breakfast in the morning.

The taste is big coffee at first with a pushy dry cocoa flavor that hangs and hangs in the background giving off more coffee bean flavor than expected. There is dark malt flavor that comes up to make an appearance and give a slight black licorice flavor with some brown bread finishing things.

The feel of this beer is of a big beer that packs a large flavor profile. The extra kick of the ABV brings a bigger push into the darker malt character and makes for a complex body. There are a lot to this beer and it brings a whole title fight to your door with left jabs of dark malts and rights of some interesting sweetness that keeps this beer interesting till the last drop (1,142 characters)

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big coffee with vanilla, just like the bottle says. It comes in a 6 pack too, what a complete joke that most 12oz beers are in 4 packs now, but I digress. This is fantastic! I'll seek this out again. (202 characters)

Photo of FBGordon
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from draft into a room temperature pub.

A: Pours a dark, chocolate brown with a tinge of red around the edges and a foamy, high head that quickly dissipates, leaving creamy lacing.

S: Lots of chocolate, coffee and vanilla, nicely melded together makes it an inviting porter.

T: All flavors of coffee, chocolate and toast are nicely evident in this porter, with a subtle coffee and toast flavor lingering on the palate.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth and chocolately.

O: This is a fantastic porter, one of my favorites. It drinks well and has amazing flavor. (561 characters)

Photo of Jconradt
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
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 ThaneMcC
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pour from 12oz bottle into tulip class, solid inky brown with light brown foamy head which resolves to solid residual foam and lacing.
S: Strong coffee, unsweetened cocoa, soy sauce with hint of roasted malts – a pleasant blend of dark fruits.
T: first note of strong expresso with transition to a dark malty, unsweetened cocoa, piney mid to end note and a mild residual bitterness and slightly sticky finish
M: Medium bodied with minimal carbonation and a bitter, coffee/cocoa finish.
Overall this is a complex, tasty beer for savoring/sipping. I’m a dark beer fan – and this beer incorporates some a good mix of flavors without being overwhelming. As it warms, becomes even more enjoyable.
I would definitely pick this gem up again – and the price point is great for this quality beer. (801 characters)

Photo of Jadorko
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very forward on the coffee flavor and super tasty. Very typical, heavy, dark beer but you can still enjoy it as a cold beer on a hot night (in moderation). (155 characters)

Photo of fmccormi
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 12oz pry-off bottle to an oversized wineglass (Jester King stemware); there’s some date information printed in white ink near the bottom of the front label (“VAS6715148”), but who the hell knows what that’s supposed to indicate. Either way, given the style, I’m not too worried about freshness.

Appearance (4.75): About one and a half fingers of rocky, dark tan foam rise off of the pour, capping a nearly pitch-black body. As the head dissipates, it leaves close-knit lacing and tightly spaced collars all around the end edge of the glass. It also shows some ruddy, mahogany highlights around the edge. This is gorgeous.

Smell (4.25): Mocha icing, chocolate syrup, deeply caramelized malts, and sweet cream fill out the nose—rich and sweet-smelling, but balanced with a modest amount of lightly acrid roast and cocoa powder. Well-structured and rich, while avoiding the tendency of these big stouts to try to muscle out every single note and component.

Taste (4.25): In contrast to the smooth, full, balanced set of aromas, the palate throws a quick jab right out of the gate, with a mid-level shot of mocha-like bitterness, followed by a smooth, malty body (some of the chocolate syrup from the nose mixed with instant espresso) . . . and then a sharp right hook of deeply bitter roast—espresso, unsweetened baker’s chocolate, and herbal bitterness. The beer leaves a more modest, drying bitterness in the aftertaste characterized more by dark cocoa powder than coffee or any other bittering agent. A healthy, boozy heat pops up halfway back on the palate, and carries on through the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Definitely full-feeling and heavier than medium-weight, the beer’s big but not massive or syrupy. The booze in particular, mixed with coffee and cococa bitterness, lightens up the big body and lets the beer to finish surprisingly dry. Too punchy and bitter to drink lightly or with ease . . . this beer’s not for the novice stout/porter drinker, but the dryness really does improve drinkability.

Overall (4.25): This is a really, really solid beer, and considering its price point in six-packs, it’s a real bargain in the world of imperial stouts/porters/huge dark beers, whatever you want to call it. I like that this beer’s got a dynamic character, with multiple dimensions in every area, from the nose to the body. It’s an awesome drink, and one I’ll definitely keep in mind in the future. (2,462 characters)

Photo of Jmikepow
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

THe sweet smell of vanilla beans and the wonderful taste of this makes this one of the best porters out there! Try it in a beer float and you will not be disappointed! (167 characters)

Photo of DaverCS
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with a finger of off white, Carmel colored head.

Aroma yields smokey malts, burnt coffee, and tobacco.

Taste is a big burst of smoke in beginning, followed by the roasted almost burnt coffee. Tobacco notes are woven through the smokiness, but primarily present up front. I don't get any vanilla. I get unsweetened cocoa powder followed by a twang of bitterness. The end of the sip is a strong kick/hit of alcohol. Not just warmth but also flavor.

Overall the beer is pleasant,but the lack of vanilla flavor and slight boo ones drops it down for me. Still this is an excellent porter. I could see it paired with a braised lamb shank in a rich Demi glace sauce. It gets a 91.2/100. (695 characters)

Photo of StevenMilligan
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pitch black motor oil, with a miniscule and dissipating dark khaki head.

Smell: Coffee, Coffee, Coffee. Dark chocolate notes and a hint of vanilla. The wife says, "Ehh...it smells like wood."

Taste: First notes reminds me of a strong black coffee in a paper cup. Monday mornings. Vanilla quickly sets it and it gives it an espresso or even cappuccino taste. Like if you were to sip sweet milk after a shot of espresso. The coffee quickly fades back in with bitterness. This is key, it's sweet in the middle, but doesn't last. Almost my favorite quality about this brew.

Feel: This is my favorite quality of this brew. It is velvety smooth, but without being frothy. Low carbonation.

Overall: An exceptional porter. My favorite to date. Vanilla bean is present, but the coffee steals the show. Would get again, especially at $2.50 a bottle. (849 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Deep brown/black with ruby highlightsa lot of coffee grounds on the aroma...not much vanilla...full bodied....nice smooth creamy body....a lot of coffee on the taste as well...not getting much vanilla...some roasted malts...

The velvety texture is probably the high point along with the coffee notes. It's good to very good and I will rate it that way but nothing extraordinary that I would buy it again at its price point. (426 characters)

Photo of Andymac28
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Wowzerz! Pitch black. Dark tan slim head. Smells like burnt dark chocolate and slight vanilla! If you want lacing clean your f-in glass correctly and it will be fine. Taste- black coffee slight vanilla bean, just like it says on the label..incredibly well done BP (264 characters)

Photo of jlharman
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wonderful aroma of coffee with a hint of vanilla. Bitter at first but becomes smoother leaving a hint of coffee aftertaste. I wish I could find an espresso this good. Best Porter I've tasted. (194 characters)

Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black, absolutely no light coming through when put up to the light, and a creamy one to two finger light brown head

Smell: Coffee, roasted malts, with a undertone of vanilla. Its all there, and from first whiff you can tell its of very high quality

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts upfront with subtle notes of vanilla, and caramel sweetness mid palate which carries throughout the aftertaste. Some bittering hops on the finish as well

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium body id say; Goes down smooth with a bitter, coffee-like finish

Overall: First class coffee porter without a doubt. Had this on tap a couple years back and still remember how much i enjoyed it. Well, i think i enjoyed it today as much as i did back then. The balance of coffee, vanilla, roasted malts, and bittering hops is fantastic. I get more roasted malt in the taste than nose which i really appreciate. It really rounds the beer out. This holds up to some of the better coffee stouts iv had. Get it while you can! Cheers!! (1,011 characters)

Photo of hawgdude
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A deep, rich, almost caramely porter. Definitely not a sweaty-summer-afternoon post-lawn-mowing beer. I slugged one down and got half snockered-- 10% ABV needs to go down slower than that. The remaing five will have to wait for chilly autumn nights. (253 characters)

Photo of BryanReed
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sooooo good. Vanilla and coffee aroma, tastes like a nice dark roast coffee with vanilla creamer. Nice solid body. I could drink this every friggin day. (152 characters)

Photo of frozyn
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours very dark black, purplish tint at the top with light overhead.
S - Coffee scent is strong, with a sweet something to go with it. Maybe the vanilla, but I didn't pick it up distinctly.
T - Wonderful coffee flavor, very similar to eating a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Vanilla comes through nicely, subtly. The alcohol is similarly subtle, although you know it's there. The warmer the beer got, the more I tasted everything beyond the coffee, especially what others have called the toasted malts (not something I've learned to distinguish yet, perhaps it starts now).
MF - Very smooth -- as many have said -- velvety feel.
O - Great nuanced flavor, very smooth to drink. You can't go wrong with this! (716 characters)

Photo of LloydDobler
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

An awesome extra from Mike out east!
Traditional pint
Poured midnight black with a gigantic 2-1/2" head. The nose was major coffee with sweet malt sugars. Taste is a sharp pop of coffee(love it!) with a hint of vanilla peeking out. Light velvet mouth to it, with a slightly lingering bitter coffee feel. Just a dynamite brew! Will be looking for this in the future. (368 characters)

Photo of mlockman
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Definitely not overpowered by the coffee and vanilla flavors, it reminded me of some an imperial stout with just barely more roast flavor. Deceptively smooth, it was easy drinking; no perceived alcohol presence. (212 characters)

Photo of ELS
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (648 characters)

Photo of drmeto
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

-pours a dark brown with reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllly faint ruby tinges with a medium,creamy,khaki head
-medium carbonation visible
-medium-full body,medium carbonation
-alcohol scary well hidden
-Absolute Beast of a Beer (344 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black body, big lasting mocha head with carbonation that looks like it's a nitro. Sheets of lace, cool.

S: Vanilla and caramel malt. Coffee lingers.

T: Great balance between coffee, vanilla (both real, not artificial, nice), toasted malt that comes through with coffee and a little nuttiness. Surprised to find the vanilla and coffee play so nicely together. Not much coffee acidity, which is appreciated. Perfect sweetness for me, so probably a little much for most people. No alcohol.

M: Love that fluffy head. The body is a little thin for a porter (read: medium).

O: This needs a much more arrogant label for such a wonderful brew. The coffee and vanilla are up front and don't require 'searching' for them, but there are still beer-y things happening. The persistence of this head is right up there with the best IPA's. Such a great, warming, tasty beer that is dangerously drinkable (and affordable- HOT DAMN!). (924 characters)

Photo of anon
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, wow, wow!

Pours velvety black, beautiful beer on the pour. A full finger of a coffee colored head, with sticky lacing throughout.

Coffee hits big on the nose, and for a coffee lover, draws you in big time. Mouth watering already. Notes of vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, roasty toasty.

Taste and mouth feel are where this brew owns a gold star. Coffee up front. Big, beautiful roasted, creamy coffee; the bitterness of the dark roast hitting instantly, with the sweetness of vanilla lashing at your taste buds, light caramel and toffee way in the back. A beautiful tangency of bitterness and sweetness.

My favorite Ballast Point beer and my current favorite porter. What an excellent brew. Highly recommended. (720 characters)

Photo of Mikus
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tasted at the BP Tasting Room in Little Italy, and brought home a bottle for the wife. An absolute monster of a porter, and completely solid base beer. Poured a black viscous void, with just a small ring of coffee-tinged bubbles. Nose and tastes were very similar, and exactly as advertised. A bit heavier in the coffee than vanilla on both aromas and taste (to my delight). I am normally very picky about the adjuncts in these kinds of brews (particularly vanilla), but this was so well done, balanced, and spot on that I can't say enough. About as close to perfect as I have found in taste and mouthfeel (while still leaving a little bit of wiggle room). If the idea of coffee vanilla porter appeals to you, what are you waiting for! (735 characters)

Photo of Brew_42
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours cola black with a nice tan head that leaves lacing.

Smell- strong coffee notes with some definite sweetness to it. Vanilla, maybe even some maple notes.

Taste-Follows the nose and then some. Great job of balancing out the sweetness with the coffee taste.

MF- Heavy body, normally I don't like beers like this in the summer, but I'm in Korea so I will drink any beer that isn't Hite or Cass. More of a cold weather beer for sure though in that is full bodies and a bit chewy.

Overall- Great beer from a great brewery. (526 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.