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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

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,341 | Ratings: 6,492
Photo of cagler
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this on draft at Thurmans Cafe. Man this is good beer. Very rich and creamy. Jet black with nice head. You would never think this was a 10% brew- most with high a.b.v. aren't this smooth.

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Photo of portwood
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

BIG nose: mega coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Taste: sweet, creamy coffee, roasted caramel, molasses. Finish: bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, dusty cinnamon. There's no mistaking this is a high ABV beer, but it doesn't feel like 10%.

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

I really poor this one with some oomph to try and generate some head. And I may have overdid it a little bit as I easily generated over three fingers of fluffy, brown head. The body is a gorgeous, perfect to style jet blackness. Lots of lace is left behind as the head slowly turns rocky and recedes. The nose is very vibrant and full of coffee that tingles the nose it is so bright. The aroma also includes soft Coco and vanilla notes. With first sip I quickly think of a jamocha milkshake. Flavors include tons of chocolate and rich creamy coffee and just so pleasant to enjoy. This beer is very dessert like and in all the right ways. It is bold and dynamic and flavor yet approachable and not offputting in anyway. All the flavors come together in gel so well. The vanilla plays as the perfect coffee creamer and overall balancer to the brew. The alcohol is very well hidden in this beer but I think it has the legs to age for probably 2 to 3 years.

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, and thickly with a nice head. The smell is very nicely vanilla with malt overtones. Taste is very strong and good - this one has some punch. Body is quite full - a very pleasant feel to the mouth as you drink. One of the best I have had.

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Photo of thatche2
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is deep black in color with moderate yet creamy tan head.

Smell is roasted malt/coffee with some vanilla (very little alcohol coming through).

Taste follows the nose but packs a bigger punch with a lot of roasted coffee. There is some good sweetness up front with a fairly dry finish.

Mouth feel is medium-full in body and creamy (a little syrupy). The carbonation is fairly low/flat but works well throughout.

Overall this is a very good coffee porter. It is relatively easy to drink but has a lot of roasted malt and coffee flavors.

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Photo of EMH73
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown with a poorly retained one and a half inch head. Smells of coffee and more coffee with a hint of vanilla. Taste is that of slightly sweetened coffee, vanilla, chocolate, molasses and a little bit of bitterness on the finish. Light to moderate carbonation, smooth and silky on the palate. Outstanding beer.

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Photo of 11-52_4hops
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bomber bottle. Classic stout/porter look. Beautiful dark brown color, fluffy tan head, lacing to spare (or a really dirty glass, but I will give B. Point the benefit of the doubt). Nose has a little coffee, with the vanilla coming out as it warms --could be more inviting. Taste is dominated by bitter black coffee -- a little too much lingering coffee bitterness more my taste (and I like my coffee black and strong) - vanilla on the side of the tongue, but I was hoping for more. Not getting much of the sweetness others describe. Mouth feel a little thin. Could be smoother. I was looking forward to this porter, fully expecting to love it, but it just didn't do it for me. Maybe I got an off batch?

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Photo of anteatr23
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark and cloudy with a one finger brown head. Has a boozy aroma with coffee and sweet dark chocolate. The flavor of chocolate and coffee are a punch in the face, fading into more vanilla and sweetness, leaving behind some bitterness and more roasty coffee. 10% alcohol is somewhat hidden, but not entirely as this doesn't go down without any notice. Flavor is great, but the feel and character are a bit toned down as it's somewhat light and a little bit watery. For a mass produced porter, this is certainly exceptional.

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Photo of bin31z
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pour dark but not quite oily. Nose has tons of vanilla, chocolate and creamy coffee. Palate is a little bit of a let down, a little thin and taste is not as good as the nose, sweetened coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate. Higher ABV but doesn't have a similar thickness to the palate.

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Photo of HappyGuy12345
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Another great beer sampled from a tulip glass at the Ballast Point Tasting Room in San Diego
Appearance: Very dark brown with about 1 finger of head
Smell: Vanilla and coffee
Taste: Impressive mixture of the sweetness of caramel and vanilla and with the bitterness of coffee and hops. The 10% ABV is not detected at all. No bitter aftertaste. Delicious!
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied beer that is smooth as silk. Light amount of carbonation.
Overall: I have not sampled many porters, but after trying this amazing beer, I think I will have to try many more.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a little dark caramel head on it that goes away quick. Can smell roasted malt and coffee. Coffee goes away as it warms up and vanilla takes over. Very delicious.

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Photo of Trosevear
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: dark black with a nice amount of brown head that leaves some nice looking lacing down the side and a head throughout the full beer.

S: Dark espresso beans and cocoa chocolate, with a slight vanilla smell added to it. Very settle and nice smelling.

T: Dark espresso, slight vanilla tones to it. And a cocoa chocolate taste to it as well.

F: A fair amount of carbination with a full body mouth feel.

O: A really good beer, would defiantly buy this beer again. And I was disappointed in all the other SN beers but this one was actually pretty good!!!

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Love the artwork of the label! The brew is more of a heavy dark brown than the traditional blackish tones I'm used to seeing....and it appears to be thick in nature. The head is meringue like a creamy espresso foam like color...the retention is most excellent, and eventullly looks like sponge toffee! The carbonation is much too hard to see and lacing is superb! A lovely looking porter!!

S- Super heavy cocoa power aromas upfront, with background smells of high cocoa content dark chocolate, very fresh dark roast coffee, vanilla sweetness, charred black malts, burnt nuttiness and Earth...super balanced and smooth aromas...Wow!!

T- This is awesome!!! Highly regulated smooth balancing flavors such as cocoa bean, blended dark chocolate, cold press espresso, burnt almond nuttiness, fresh vanilla bean to sweeten things up slightly, hints of toffee/caramel/molasses and the finish is dry, robust and bold, with mellow hopped bitterness....simply amazing!!

M/O- This is one of the most delicate beers I've ever experienced on the palate....the body gently tickles the tongue with wee tight bubbles that explode with a smooth vigor....enhancing the overall flavors/character. I refuse to believe that this is 10% alcohol...that's how well hidden the booze is within this brew! A very highly drinkable porter that is spot on for the style and I am afraid of what will happen the next time I purchase this, as it will be more than one bottle!! OUTSTANDING!!

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Photo of njnolan1
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I first had this beer in early 2015. Had I known it would have been the first and only one for nearly a year I would have bought more. 10%. Dark. Coffee. I loved it. I didn't think much of it other than it was cheap enough for a 10% porter.

It pours well. Little dark head. The smell hit me hard. The vanilla really works with the strong coffee smell. Almost a touch skunky. I loved it!

Then after trying to get my hands on some for nearly a year they finally released some. The first batch I tried wasn't as I remembered. The vanilla was way too strong. It wasn't terrible but not what I fell in love with. Then about a month later another batch was delivered in my area. This was what I was missing.

One of my favorite beers. Most wont agree but I like this better than KBS or Goose Island's Bourbon County. That's just me though.

Strong coffee smell mixed with vanilla. Goes down smooth. I love to pair it with some Trader Joe's 72% dark chocolate. Can't wait to have another soon!

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Photo of FBarber
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a jet black with a thick two finger brown head. Head slowly dissipates leaving sticky tan lacing along the glass and a half finger film along the top of the beer.

Smell is full of aromas of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and undertones of vanilla.

Taste follows the nose with lots of coffee flavor up front. Notes of sweet vanilla and chocolate come through giving way to a pleasant bitter finish.

Feel is a bit thin, with mild carbonation.

Overall a really enjoyable and flavorful porter from ballast point. If you enjoy coffee and vanilla you'll love this one. I know I certainly do.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Ballast Point shaker pint glass.

Look: Pitch black body with brown coming through the fringes. Dark cream colored head that recedes to a collar and fine film. Light spots of lacing.

Aroma: Charred grains and roasted malts blend with sweet vanilla and cinnamon spiciness. Dark roasted coffee on the back end.

Taste: Tons of roasted malts and rich dark coffee flavor covered in a perfect touch of vanilla. The finish has more of a sharp hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, pretty smooth for 10% ABV.

Overall: This goes down way too easy for 10% ABV. Perfect amount of vanilla, and tons of roast.

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Photo of Lunchboxhead
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was a very good porter but I must say I was a little disappointed. Reading the reviews, I thought this would be unbelievable but it was merely very good. I felt the tasted a bit too much like burnt coffee and the vanilla took a bit too much of a back seat to the coffee. that being said I might be splitting hairs. It was still very good. A nice nightcap after a long day in early March.

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Photo of dmgallag
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Great balance here. A little coffee. Check. Vanilla...check. Nothing overpowering and everything in balance....check. Awesome brew that goes down easy at 10%. My only want would be a thicker mouthfeel, but that may be my own bias because I like chewy.

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Photo of vienna_mantrap
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


That's the impression I instantly got when I took a sip of this. Ooops. I've wasted the first third of my life. I should have been drinking this the whole time. If I split the next 60 years evenly between this and one of my favorite lighter beers (a nice tripel maybe?), I will die a happy man.

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Photo of dikebrewery
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I had Calm Before The Storm before Victory at Sea and I wasn't really feeling it but this is different because obviously it's a porter so not as awkward for me. Darker than I expected, almost imperial stout like but without the heaviness. Smells of roasted malt and coffee. Taste of roasted mealtimes/wood with coffee. Vanilla is definitely there but more in the aftertaste to me. A overall good beer.

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Photo of leantom
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer you don't find every day. Thank God BP starting distributing in Indiana! Here goes!

A: Splendid. Pours a thick black with a nice head. The head is thick and fluffy, and the lacing sticks to the glass like honey. Some red hue, the beer is nearly pitch black.

S: Remarkable. Among the best-scented stouts/porters ever! Tons of chocolate and coffee - some vanilla as well, but the dark malts dominate. Exquisite.

T: Great. Nice burnt coffee malt with lingering cocoa. Also a lot of vanilla to balance out the dark malt. Great.

F: Little lighter than expected. Pretty easy drinking.

O: A great beer. So glad BP started distro in Indiana. Maybe I'll get to try all the Sculpin varieties, too.

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Photo of Kratman
4.89/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing taste and smell to this great Vaniila / coffee porter from BP. Mouthfeel is perfect, hoping someday they BA this. And if they do ohh boy. Take my $$ now

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Photo of benjamminjones24
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as night. Light lacing around the edges of the glass.
The smell, oh my....roasted coffee aroma right away. hints of vanilla & chocolate. Smells delicious
Taste follows the nose. Get lots of coffee and chocolate. Decadent.
Feel is a little thin for me, would like it to have a heavier mouthfeel.
Great beer that is def. worth a go!

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a stout glass.

L - Intense head, actually lost control of it despite a standard pour. Settled down nicely to a fluffy tan mound on top of the beer, almost looking like a rootbeer float. A lot of thick lacing the whole way down the glass. Beer is very dark brown, almost black.

S - Strong up-front aroma of dark malts gives way to rich vanilla, then finally coffee. Not the aroma-canon of some sweet stouts, but very complex. Not only does it look like a rootbeer float, it smells like one, too.

T - A great example of the blurred line between stouts and porters. They call this a porter, but it's everything people usually think of when the talk about stouts. Rich, complex flavor. Probably the smoothest beer I've ever had in the 10% range, as the alcohol is practically invisible. Dark caramel malt flavors are backed up by coffee flavor. Much lighter roast than some other coffee beer, but that fits the style well. Vanilla is more present in aroma than it is in flavor, but it's there at a distance. Faint hop spice for good balance. Alcohol warms as it goes down, with no unpleasant aftertaste.

F - Rich, creamy mouthfeel. Very full, and almost chewy. Absolutely what I want in a porter.

It's understandable why this has the reputation it does. An excellent experience the whole way through. Not quite as drinkable as a typical porter, but with enough body that you probably don't want to finish it quickly, anyway.

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

L: The pour is opaque and dark. The head is thin and brown.

S: The smell of coffee is overpowering.

T: At the front of the palette the taste of coffee and malts has a nice blend that works well with each other. As the beer moves to the back of the palette the vanilla kicks in giving it a somewhat sweet finish. The flavors are very well balanced and compliment each other.

F: It coats the mouth nicely and leaves a nice coating when you are finished. It is a medium body beer, not to thick, not to thin, just right.

O: I think this is a great brew. All the parts compliment each other beautifully. The coffee flavor isn't overpowering except for the smell and the vanillas finish is a nice touch.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,341 ratings.