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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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,155 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,155
Hads: 5,630
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 950
Gots: 1,570 | FT: 108
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: 1,155 | Hads: 5,630
Photo of Premo88
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber poured into "stout glass" -- tall tulip

L: black as it rests on the table with a thick tan head of sticky foam ... head is a solid inch tall and the sticking is incredible, looks like leftover milkshake; the lacing is unbelievable ... it's like a coat of paint; needless to say, keeps a solid tan collar of foam and about a half a skin (you can't see them, but clearly bubbles are flying up the column in that inner darkness); up to light the beer looks clear, dark orange/amber/brown

S: sweet chocolate, vanilla ... like a yummy ice cream desert, so very sweet (and this is almost ice cold);

T: wow ... uhhhh ... wow -- an instant 5. super sweet chocolate and vanilla with the dark malt giving it a fantastic burnt/bitter finish that's still very smooth because of all the up front sweetness; man, it is packed full of sweet chocolate and burnt dark malt bitterness, both ends just spilling over full of flavor, and the way they're balancing out the swallow is amazing; there's some alcohol flavor in it, but it's not bothering me one bit with all the other flavor; the coffee flavor is nicely sweetened out, so it's much more like a latte than raw coffee/espresso

F: a ton of carbonation really crisps it up; weighty feel

O: big everything ... big sweet, big bitter/burnt notes, big ABV that instantly makes its presence felt, even big carbonation with a big look with all the sticking and lacing and perfect black/tan color combo. as good a beer as I've come across and completely worth the money (about $10.50 for the bomber) (1,558 characters)

Photo of AirBob
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Notes from 1/24/15

A - About 1 cm of coffee-milk brown head which settles to barely a collar. Deep black body even around the edges of the glass. Good legs but retention is weak.

S - Deep dark roasted coffee bean. Touch of vanilla and cocoa. Coffee is very dominant. Vanilla becomes more pronounced as it warms.

T - Follows the nose. Maybe some brown sugar. Boozy vanilla comes through. Coffee leaves a bitter finish.

M - Medium carb. Full bodied (oily). Bitter finish from the coffee. Tingly.

O - Vanilla does its best to balance out the coffee bitterness but its still a litter too bitter for my liking. (622 characters)

Photo of SensorySupernova
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black as night, with a low brown head.

Smell: A little bit of whiskey and caramel. Not too strong.

Taste: Very sweet all the way through. Caramel and whiskey, a bit woody. Roasted malts, although not as strong as the appearance would suggest. Reminds me of a Scotch ale. Plenty of vanilla in there. Some alcohol heat at the end; about what you would expect at 10% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Very thick, moderate carbonation.

Overall: Enjoyable, but too sweet for me. Maybe it would improve with a year of age; I had it fresh on tap so I don't know. Definitely lots of different flavors in here. Look and feel fit well with a big beer. (639 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black in color and impenetrable to light. There's a fingernail of khaki colored head sitting on top. Heavy Brussels lacing. The aroma is comprised solely of dark bitter coffee. The flavor is absolutely dominated by the bitter dark roasted coffee. I get a slight bit of vanilla in the end to help things from getting too oppressive. The mouth is creamy and viscous. (370 characters)

Photo of JamesStreet
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- thin-looking ink-black with a wispy beige head that leaves nice lace on the glass.
S- blasts of strong bitter coffee roast dominate. Lovely aroma! Small hint if vanilla bean comes through as well.
T- coffee subsides a bit but is still the dominate character in this one. Sweet molasses flavor on the back that cuts the coffee nicely.
M- velvety medium feel with moderate carbonation.
O- this brew is a delight to quaff if you're like me and love big, coffee aromas. The taste falls off a tad from the nose but is still high quality. Lovely beer! (553 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a super-dark brown with just a hair of light creeping around the edges as it rests in my pint glass. The head is a frothy and delicious lumpy tan that leaves some good lace.

Smells of metal with hints of maple syrup and vanilla. I think this will smell better as it warms.

There's a lot going on in the flavor as everything seems to pounce out at the same time. There's a smooth, solid porter base here that's a little on the thin and dry side, but that's OK as it makes for a subtle foundation for the coffee and vanilla. This would have been a disaster had this not been the case. Finishes surprisingly clean with little hints of coffee and a touch of sticky barley. Edit: I did a double take when I caught the abv. 10%? I never would have guessed.

Feels big and present without being too much to handle. Leaves a bit of a film in the mouth though.

A bomber shared with friends seems like a good call. I'm not too excited about finishing this one solo though. Not sure what's going on with the smell, but the metallic twang kinda wrecks things a bit. (1,080 characters)

Photo of MacMalt
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on draft so it was colder than I would serve it at home. Very dark brown with creamy head. I was disappointed by the lack of smell (perhaps due to the temperature) but this is a delicious porter. Coffee forward but with enough vanilla to justify its reputation. Nice medium body. Overall, an excellent beer. I wish it were easier to find in bottles here in New Jersey. (385 characters)

Photo of Kodama78
4.81/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'm not the biggest fan of porters. I tend to think that if I want a dark beer I might as well get a stout. That being said, the taste of Victory at Sea is ridiculous. I have never tasted another beer with such a perfect blend of coffee and vanilla. One of my favorites any time I can get it (291 characters)

Photo of Specules
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one of few beers where I feel the taste is overpowering. The aftertaste is more like coffee and not enough like beer. Regardless, this is one I recommend from Ballast Point even though I probably won't be buying it anymore. (230 characters)

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

On tap served in a snifter.

Color is dark brown and opaque with a thin tan head. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and some espresso. Flavor is similar to the nose - kind of like a chocolate mocha milkshake with a bitter coffee finish. Body is medium with a nice creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a very tasty beer that I really enjoyed. (345 characters)

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

Served in a snifter from a 22oz bomber at ~45F.

A: Black, small amounts of light at the edges. Half a finger of light brown head.
S: Coffee and cocoa smack you in the face. Some vanilla in the background, but it smells like a vat of dark chocolate and coffee. Plain awesome.
T: Taste follows the nose well. Big dark chocolate and coffee upfront, chased by vanilla in the aftertaste. I detect a bit of spiciness in the background as well.
M: Full mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Coats your mouth and lingers between each sip.
O: Probably my favorite porter I've had. Tons of dark chocolate and coffee, just the way I like my dark beers. (635 characters)

Photo of thebeers
3.42/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle date 15058; batch 62.

Near black with two fingers of thick, lasting mocha-colored head that leave impressive lacing. Heavy malts, along with hints of coffee and vanilla on the nose, combine into a chocolate milk / YooHoo smell. The taste, however, doesn't live up to the presentation. The malt flavors expected from a high-quality porter just aren't there. Neither roasty nor creamy, there are hints from the solid nose present in the taste, but then an unpleasant, acerbic aftertaste I attribute to the coffee, although hop bitterness may also play a role. Glad I didn't buy a six pack. (600 characters)

Photo of gopens44
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a a mocha colored foamy explosion, nesting on top a beautiful opaque beast of a porter. Lacing? Yep, it's real and it's fantastic also.

Nose most reminiscent of cola more so than almost anything else I can pickup at first. A little warmth and agitation brings out some chocolate.

Tastes right there with the nose. I get a lot of cola at first, than a bitter chocolate retreat that is faintly sweet. Like unsweetened dark chocolate. I'm going to guess that the vanilla is manifesting itself as the cola I am getting? Finish is bitter chocolate and very little else. I guess I am getting a tad bit of heat? It's there just warming the innards I guess, but masked better than most anything I have ever had at 10%

This blurs the line between RIS and porter IMO. Such a great tasting beverage. (807 characters)

Photo of 14erFan
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a treat - I had never heard of this one and just got a bomber off the shelf because the description sounded intriguing. Such a great, big flavor with rich vanilla and a refined porter finish. Liked it so much I got a six-pack the other day. (247 characters)

Photo of ljbonadonna92
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pitch black with a thick off white head that doesn't dissappear at all. A strong coffee and hot pepper like aroma wafts out of my glass. Flavors of sweet vanilla and strong coffee coat my mouth with a moderatly chewy mouthfeel. Overall an excellent beer that dear to my heart. (276 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.75] Pours a pitch black. Forms a 2 finger head of dense khaki bubbles. The head is really rich and creamy looking. The head leaves nice lacing on the glass and does not dissipate quickly. The bottle lists the ABV (10.0%) and date code for born on 2/20/15.

S: [4.00] Very coffee forward. That is the prominent feature of the nose.

T: [4.00] The taste is roasted malts and chocolate. It is bitter chocolate. As I continue to drink I get more of the coffee taste in each sip. The finish is also coffee with roasted malts.

M: [3.50] There is a little more tingle feel than I expected. The body wasn't as thic as I expected either (given the rich looking head). There is a long lingering coffee and roasted malt taste at the end.

O: [3.75] I know the distinction between porter and stout can be academic - but I agree that this is a 10% porter. It didn't have the thick body I'd expect in a stout. Visually it is a great beer. The nose is also really nice. It has a good taste and is well balanced. The mouthfeel was a little weak - but like I said maybe that is more of a porter experience. Overall this is a good beer that I would drink again. It is not my favorite coffee porter/stout. (1,212 characters)

Photo of jooler
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells like a prairie Bomb. It tastes pretty damn good. Smooth like a porter but the burn of an imperial stout with a hint of vanilla. Only issue is that the carbonation is low (176 characters)

Photo of MissSmisje
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

S: vanilla, coffee, cocoa. F: strong vanilla, cocoa nibs, coffee. F: medium heavy, but not syrupy. Light sweetness to start, pleasant bitter finish with vanilla as the strongest flavor. Could drink this as a house beer. (219 characters)

Photo of bgold86
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So much coffee and vanilla I find that no beers can stand up to this mighty example. Will ruin your taste buds though to other coffee stouts, it will spoil you silly (my only complaint). (186 characters)

Photo of Stebbimacdaddy
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A thoroughly enjoyable beer
Dark opaque pour with a lovely caramel foam head that lingers with steps of lacing all the way down.
Nose is coffee and chocolate.
Taste is chocolate and coffee following nose. Smooth and clean taste lingering coffee bitterness, chocolate flavors are smooth and sweet. Well balanced. A truly lovely experience. (340 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that fairly quickly fade down to a cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Roasted malts and coffee up front, with the vanilla lingering a bit in the back. Some dark chocolate also comes through, providing a light bitterness to counteract the sweetness of the vanilla

T: Follows the nose. Roast, vanilla, and coffee all come through first which provides a nice mix of bitterness and sweetness. Dark chocolate in the back again. Finishes with more of the vanilla and hints of the roast and coffee

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Could definitely be a little smoother

O: A great porter that highlights both coffee and vanilla. All components go very well together (roast, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate) and really make this a nice treat. Alcohol goes completely under the radar, which is impressive for 10%. Definitely worth picking some up if you're a fan of either coffee or vanilla beers (951 characters)

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

Just found a six pack of Victory At Sea and jumped on it. Typically in Somerville I only find the single bottle so have six servings really made my day.

The coffee flavor in the beer is on the dark roast side; floral but definitely bitter. The vanilla does a really good job of balancing out the beer but it definitely is not sweet. I really like the richness of the beer; it is very dark color but not too viscous.

If you like a porter with a bit of a spicy bite and a ton of balance, pick this sucker up and enjoy it! (523 characters)

Photo of BradMacMullin
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
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 match.com 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 teromous
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black bodied beer with a creamy dark tan head. The head fades shortly and leaves some spots of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: There is a very strong coffee-shop aroma to the beer accompanied by a woody oak-like aroma. I don't pick up any vanilla aroma.

Taste: It has a very nice dark chocolate flavor with some bitter roasted presence and a strong dark coffee flavor. I don't pick up any vanilla flavor. There is a notable lack of alcohol flavor which is nice.

Mouthfeel: It is extremely smooth and thick and velvety. The aftertaste gives a good bite of bitterness.

Overall: It's an excellent porter. I didn't get any vanilla presence in this beer at all which was disappointing, but ignoring the lack of vanilla still makes it a great coffee porter. I would recommend it and I would pick it up again. (814 characters)

Photo of ColdOneKev
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-black body with big tan head leaves heavy lacing.
S-overwhelming cocoa and vanilla. Roasted malts.
T-layer and layers of coffee and vanilla. Chocolate and roast. Bitterness of coffee is offset by malty sweetness and vanilla. No detectable alcohol burn.
M-thick body low carb oily mouth feel.
O-i knew this was going to be a good brew based on reputation and I wasn't disappointed. Seek it out! (395 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,155 ratings.