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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

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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 Jeffsta1
3.86/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark black color, inspires confidence. Dense tan foam.

Smell is not intense, a bit sweet, nothing off.

Taste is deeply bitter - in terms of flavor profile, this reads much more as a stout than a porter. Very nicely balanced, no single flavor stands out. Malty for sure. Coffee. More cocoa than vanilla, it seems to me.

Mouthfeel is rich, not as dense as a stout but surely richer than a porter ought ideally to be.

Finish is stout-like, bitter, lots of coffee grounds on the finish.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.19/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Near black with full tan head and lots of staying power. Nose is complex with various malts and burnt malts, and plenty of coffee and vanilla. Taste is a bit much...tons of flavor, but somewhat muddled and overdone. Finish leaves a bit too much bitterness over the coffee and dark malt notes. Definitely a good big beer. Definitely not a quick or quaffable. Need to spend some time with it, and one is probably plenty. Overall very good.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown body, almost black and sealed with a dark tan head that’s three fingers thick, foamy and just looks like a nice place to rest on. Thick lacing marks every sip you take.
Dark roasted malts and coffee and a mild semi sweet odor of dark chocolate, brown sugar and butter with a touch of caramel.
Strong roasted malts and coffee at first followed by the bitterness of dark chocolate. The aftertaste is a milder version of the taste itself minus the bitterness.
Light bodied.
This is a great tasting porter with plenty of malts to go around.

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Photo of mtvolkens
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely delicious. Poured into CCB snifter. It poured absolutely beautifully. Slow pour that developed a nice 2in head that retained well. The most lacking part for me was honestly the aroma. I had faint smells of vanilla and light coffee, but not as much as I was expecting. A tad dull. However, I then tasted it. Boom. Normally a dull aroma leads to a dull beer. Not this one. Packed with delicious aroma. Super wonderfully complex yet drinkable. Tastes delicious vanilla bean up front, with a nice caramelly malt, followed up with the cold brew bite on the end. Super drinkable yet complex. Hides the 10% very well.

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Photo of Zonk
3.75/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Deep brown color. Nice aroma of coffee and really significant vanilla. Mouthfeel was fairly rich and creamy. My problem with this beer was that the vanilla came off as really artificial which kind of ruined it for me.

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Photo of NCBeernut
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So many of these beer using adjuncts like vanilla don't get it right. This is simply perfect. The porter itself is outstanding, and you can actually tell despite the additions of coffee and vanilla which are just subtle enough but prevalent enough to be noticed an enjoyed, contributing rather than subtracting from the complexity. I got a sixer on Friday to savor over the next few weeks and could stop drinking them - gone by the end of the weekend.

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Photo of Budlum
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black color with a tan head. Aromas of strong dark-roasted coffee dominate. Caramel overshadowed by strong flavors of fresh coffee blend with faint vanilla. The flavors remain long after giving way to a pleasant coffee bitterness. Excellent.

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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 2ellas
3.79/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: beautifully dark, no light can pass through! With a thin tan head and minimal lacing
smell: amazing roasty, maybe a bit of the coffee. I don't think I get any vanilla but I might not be sure what vanilla smells like
taste: opens up as it warms. I get what I believe to be vanilla, a bit of coffee and even chocolate. Though it seems a bit muddled and didn't follow the roasty smell that I got from the nose.
mf: coats the tongue nicely, just about average for the style
overall: a good beer. Not sure I'd seek it out but if it were readily available, I'd definitely drink it often.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
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

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.62/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of FBGordon
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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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 ThaneMcC
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of Jadorko
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
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).

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Photo of fmccormi
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of Jmikepow
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
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!

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Photo of DaverCS
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of StevenMilligan
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

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Photo of ZAP
4.09/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of Andymac28
4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
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

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Photo of jlharman
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
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!!

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Photo of hawgdude
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of BryanReed
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

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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.