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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

5,558 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,558
Reviews: 1,233
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 8.84%
Wants: 947
Gots: 1,533 | FT: 104
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: 5,558 | Reviews: 1,233
Photo of jgagne
4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- very dark, almost opaque body with a huge chocalate milk looking head.

S-huge chocalate and vanilla notes come woffing off this beer. With mild roasty coffee notes.

T-wow, this beer has a wonderful blend of coffee, dark chocalate and vanilla. The chocalate hits you at first then the vanilla really smoothes out the beer. And you end with nice roasty finish.

M-nice heavy body with low carbonation. Sits almost like an imperial stout.

O-what a truly wonderful beer. Great balance and flavor. Highly recommended.

Photo of tjkinate
4.36/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a great Imperial Porter!

A: Massive, light brown, frothy head that displayed great retention and loads of lacing that completely surrounds the glass above this black bodied brew.

S: Milk chocolate, coffee, subtle hints of vanilla and cocoa nibs. Far from being the most complex of beers, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

T: Cocoa nibs followed by bitter coffee flavors that mix perfectly with the sweet vanilla undertones. Reminded me of drinking hot chocolate on a cold winter evening.

M: Well carbonated, heavy bodied, yet slightly chalky.

O: Fantastic, best beer you can get for the price. Enough said!

Photo of dogfishandi
3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to LaChupacabra for this awesome extra!

22oz bottle at about fridge temp poured into my darkness snifter. "VAS12" stamped on the neck?

pours out pretty much opaque black with a huge 2-3 fingers worth of light mocha/ biege colored head off the pour. settles to a thick frothy layer with tons thick sticky lacing.

lots of a creamy vanilla bean aroma. then comes a blend of deep roasted coffee and roasted, burnt malts. nothing really espresso like. bits of dark fruits and maybe a little fruity esters. as it warms some dark chocolate is noticable and smells just slightly warming.

the taste is a little more enjoyable than the aroma. the vanilla bean is again at the forefront. but close behind is some nice roasted coffee, a little more expresso like than in the aroma, and roasted malts. dark chocolate and some mild dark fruits. a bit sweet and the slightest bit of sweet toasted malt. warming going down, but no real taste of alcohol.

comes off just a touch thin and a bit overcarbonated for the style. maybe even the slightest bit acidic from the coffee. becomes more warming as the beer warms up which makes the body feel a bit bigger.

a very enjoyable beer, my only compliants are it could use a touch more body and a little more coffee character. i understand its an imperial porter, but the line between impy porter and impy stout is a little blurred IMO. still a stand up beer as is, but not something i would trade for again. definatly glad i got a chance to try it and id definatly drink again if readily available.

Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured oily black with a small tannish head that receded quite a bit and left little to no lacing. Aroma of roasted dark malts, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. The aroma carried over well in to the taste, with practically all the same elements in a good balance; flavors came out more as the beer was allowed to get closer to room temperature. On the fuller side of medium-bodied, smooth, lower carbonation, and a bit of alcohol warmth that really didn't affect the flavor. Very good overall.

Photo of coldriver
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber pours an opaque black with slow forming fantastic looking cascading tannish head. Aroma is as advertised - coffee and vanilla, dark roast malt, a little bacon, and a hint of the 10% alcohol. The taste is the same - smokey coffee and vanilla with great hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh (really my only quibble with this wonderful brew) but creamy and dry finish. Great beer, the vanilla and coffee flavors fit in well with the traditional (but extra strong) porter flavors. Would easily put this up with some of the better imperial stouts.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, no date, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours black with some brown tinges, topped with a finger and a half of creamy tan head, leaves good lacing.

S- Huge roasted coffee aroma, burnt grains, some vanilla sweetness, but the roasted aroma is dominant.

T- Damn, loads of coffee flavor and absolutely charred, like burnt-to-a-crisp malt. Caramel and vanilla sweetness become prominent towards the finish. Roastedness actually produces a pretty considerable bitterness. Has a bit of cream flavor that lingers on the palate.

M- Medium-bodied, creamy, smooth feel, roastedness provides slight astringency.

O- A really nice beer, it's very drinkable, the 10% ABV doesn't make itself felt at all, definitely try this if you like real roasted beers.

Photo of kevanb
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is always a treat to enjoy and could be my favorite offering from Ballast Point. It pours a viscous jet black color, minimal browns appear when held to the light. A nice thick caramel colored head sits atop the glass, that has great retention and yields some fantastic lacing. The aroma is exceptionally complex, roasted coffee with toasted malts make a big impression right off the bat. Coconut and vanilla add some sweetness with something almost like dairy cream lending a hand to cut down the stronger burnt and roasty elements to soften the nose. Big robust flavors, roasted coffee is again a big player, some dark fruits come in, perhaps plum or cherry sweeten the beer a bit, some toasted coconut is also present. Some dark chocolate elements are also present, that play well with the malty flavors, but the most prominent flavor is the vanilla, it really takes the beer to the next level, it blends so well with many of the other qualities of the beer and sort of draws them all together in a really nice harmony, the only drawback is that is does have a bit of acidic astringency to it. The body is nice, big, full, silky at first with a nice bitter finish, again, a bit astringent at the finale.

Verdict: Masterful porter from Ballast Point. The flavor profile is wonderfully complex with a fantastic aroma, perfect for a meal or for desert that can be quaffed or sipped.

Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Been trying to get this beer for ages! Thank you NYC!

A great dark coffee brown head forms so nicely and evenly foamy, rich looking, and dense. Body color is a classic dark brown walnut and doesn't even look like light gets through this thing at all. Aggressive looking, big. Looks wonderful.

Nose is coffee and cream with a nice balance. Some dark rolling malts and a hint of piped smoke. Smells like a great coffee beer is coming.

Palate hits with the wonder of the nose, but there's a catch. Rolling coffee notes mix with a nice light body and dark malts, but even a catch of fizz. Vanilla comes in a bit, but it comes off as a bit acidic and even slightly sour vanilla. Finish leaves a nice mix of all flavors, very VERY well balanced and not even hot or boozy for 10%.

Overall the palate is quite good, with just a slight minor flaw. But it drinks so well, great brew.

Photo of iadler
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger dark mocha head that dissipates into a nice cap. Webs of lacing are left behind.

S- Roasted malt is prominent upfront with coffee beans, dark chocolate, black cherry, vanilla and caramel malt.

T- Dark chocolate covered espresso beans, heavy dose of roasted malt, char, burnt caramel, light cream, and a hint of dark fruit.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a dry roasted finish.

O- While the coffee was quite upfront and robust, I didn't get too much vanilla in the taste. The heavy roast presence got a bit too overwhelming, but certainly a nice offering from Ballast Point and one I would like to try fresh.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my CBS snifter

Thanks to Jebus3513 for the gift

Pours a deep chestnut, near black, with a frothy dark mocha cap. Great staying power with some prominent sip lines. Oily body as it sticks to the glass when swirled.

Vanilla knocks you back first. Roasted coffee, rolled oats, and some milk chocolate round out the nose. Sweetness overall with some bitterness from the roast. Pleasing.

The flavor profile follows the nose. Prominent vanilla with roast coffee and dry, flaky oats. The chocolate flavor mixes with everything else and gives a fudge-like flavor.

Fill body with low carbonation. This guy is smooth and drinks really easy. Little mixture of sweet and roast that lingers.

This is a damn fine porter. Full, well-realized flavor without being overly bold. One of the best I have had. Seek this out.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Supplemented by a review from notes on 4 February 2012.

A: A nice finger or two of mocha head fades quickly. Black-dark with excellent lacing.

S: One of the most excellent scents in beerdom. Strong coffee. Vanilla beans. A touch of cream. Powerful and amazing.

T: Sweet, creamy, and very substantial. Loads of vanilla, matched only by coffee beans. Slight bitterness on the endtaste (to which hops contribute). Coffee is prominent on the aftertaste, which is not quite dry, but clean superlative, with just a trace of vanilla. Rich, enticing, and excellent. Damned tasty.

M: Creamy-full with balancing and astringent hops.

O: A truly fantastic beer. Most highly recommended! I would (and will) drink again. Balanced and excellent with significant vanilla/coffee notes -- it lives up to its self-styled genre of a 'Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter.'

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours as black as beer gets. I went so far as to hold a 150-watt reflector bulb to it... no light came through. The head is a creamy tan, about a finger width, before dying into a fine lace.

Smell - Earthy aromas. Very earthy. Coffee comes through, also a bit of vanilla, but it's buried. A bit of alcohol tinges the nostril.

Taste - Intense coffee, then vanilla notes and chocolate dance on the tongue. The tail end of the aftertaste is reminiscent of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup. Again, a bit of alcohol comes through, but not more than expected for a 10 percenter.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, medium body. Decent carbonation. Goes down easy enough.

Overall - This is a great beer. I'll certainly be on the lookout for other Ballast Point offerings in the near future.

Photo of Thingus
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live tasting, bomber into Duvel tulip...

Appearance; pours black with two fingers of bubbly mocha colored head... Retention is decent with the head hanging around for a couple minutes before falling to a thin film... Lacing is good, with blotches and spiderwebs all over the glass.

Smell; coffee and vanilla!! And not much else... Try as I might, I can't get any more aroma from this brew...

Taste; holy moly, this is a vanilla latte lovers dream brew!! Tons of coffee and vanilla... Smoothly roasted and not overly bitter or burnt tasting, great flavors of vanilla bean... As the coffee and vanilla fades out with hints of malt and chocolate sneaking in...

Mouthfeel; on lighter side of full bodied, with good carbonation... Slightly bitter finish..

Overall; a damn good beer all around, the vanilla and coffee work exceptionally well together!! I'll definitely track this one down again, absolutely worth the effort to obtain!

Photo of rudzud
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a bottle of this at Austin Liquors. Been wanting to try this one for a few years, glad to have finally come across it.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip an excellent oily almost black pour with a big, rocky two finger mocha head that faded to a thick mocha cloud/blanket and nice halo.

S - Wow, this smells nice. The coffee isnt too overwhelming, it is instead in great balance between chocolate and vanilla beans. Super harmonious.

T - Again, wow. Some porters/stouts that have coffee in them are just WHAM in your face coffee. Not this. Nice light, rich, powerful coffee upfront that is a perfect combination of chocolate and vanilla. Almost like a good mocha coffee. Really good, even combination of flavours with that nice vanilla there to just make this pop. The end is a bit of a battle between the nice vanilla and bitterness of the coffee, with a great lingering of the both. ABV isnt noticeable in the mouth.

M - Yeah, this is a damn good porter. Stuff is dangerously drinkable. at 10% I really dont pick up any of that at all. Very smooth, rich, creamy and what I do is hidden wonderfully by that bitter coffeesharp (there is a light, carbonation to it). Not thin, chewy, lots of bitterness from coffee and a nice sweetness of vanilla.

O - Overall This is an awesome beer. Vanilla really jumps out of this beer. Great flowing of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Waited so long to try this and it was SO worth it!

Photo of ms11781
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a very dark brown color with lighter, reddish brown hues at the edges of the glass. A nice, dense, tan/light brown foam head develops and has nice retention. Excellent lacing is left on the glass. Really nice looking beer.

The nose is really nice. Great roasted and coffee notes come across first and are followed up by some light chocolate notes. The vanilla comes out more as the beer warms a bit and once it does it goes excellent with the coffee and some chocolate that shows up.

Each sip starts with a well balanced mix of both roasted coffee and some nice, sweet vanilla. Both are really potent but very pleasant and not overwhelming. Towards the finish there is a hint of chocolate before some bitter roast comes through at the very end. There is also some warming from some alcohol.

The beer has a fairly good sized body, not huge, probably somewhere between medium and full. The carbonation is on the lower end but is somewhat lively. The combination allows it to feel like a bigger beer without actually being one.

This is an excellent beer. As advertised it is full of great coffee and vanilla flavor and aroma. There is a nice balance between some bitter roast and almost sugary sweetness. Everything pulls together nicely and makes for a great beer.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.88/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrives very,dark brown with a small, dark tan head of sorts, mostly just a ring in the snifter. No light penetration.
Smell is, not surprisingly, vanilla and coffee with roast malt and weak hops floating around back. Decent balance.
Taste is malty, dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and a little rum note. Good balance and good complexity.
Mostly full-bodied with a light effervescence. Slightly drying finish. Warming throughout. Very nice brew.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer that closely approaches black. There are some ruby highlights that barely give away the actual color. The head is a sponge of bubbles, sticking to everything it touches and is the color of espresso crema with a hint of cherry wood red. Impressive start.

Mmmmm there are loads of chocolate malts and coffee punch in the nose. And I mean punch! The coffee notes all but dominate with charred malts coming in way behind the thick cloud of cafe musk. All of those heavy scents have a bit of an acidic tart smell to them but in my experience that can be masked in flavor.

Speaking of which this is a huge flavor bomb. The coffee and chocolate carry over but not the tartness. The coffee is diminished and replaced by the vanilla roasted caramel malt and a baked nuttiness. Heavy duty with waves and layers of big porter flavor. Super delicious.

The mouthfeel is full bodied like you'd guess from a beer of this nature. The acrid notes perk up here and seem to wash off a layer of enamel from your teeth and leaves you with a chocolate bile aftertaste. Not my favorite finish but not so bad to make me rate it below a 4. So even with that negative this is still a bad ass brew.

Photo of SHODriver
4.92/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a deep black with a half finger of tan head. It looks the part and pours a little thick
S: Espresso, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and maybe some hints of vanilla but the coffee notes dominate
T: Chocolate to start with some coffee notes, a bit of vanilla, roast malt, burnt sugar, dark roast coffee for sure. aftertaste is straight coffee and black malt
M: full bodied with solid carbonation, a little prickly which helps keep things light and moving. Not heavy or chewy.
O: ABV and flavor profile of an imperial stout with the easy drinking of a porter. My goodness is this stuff good. Get it if you can, I'm very happy that I have another bottle of this to look forward to.

Photo of MrVonzipper
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black with solid fluffy 1 finger+ tan head with excellent retention and lace.

Big bright nose. Big roast character. Bright rich vanilla. Bright robust coffee. Amazing nose.

Flavor is perfect with perfect balance and harmony. Just lovely and bright vanilla balanced so well with robust roasted buttery coffee and a touch of cocoa. a touch of bourbon too.

Medium bodies with creamy medium carbonation.

IMHO. A perfect Imperial Porter!

Photo of bcostner1
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker than some porters I have had; borders on black but does transmit at least a little bit of light. Nice tan head.

S: Some char, wood, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. Coffee and vanilla do not come through as much as I would have thought/liked but still presents a decent aroma.

T: Very tasty. Everything blends together pretty well. Not quite as coffee-forward or vanilla-forward as I thought it would be but both elements are still evident. Almost has a kind of "malted milkshake" or "frappuccino" quality to it from the blending of the coffee and vanilla which I like. The finish is pretty dry and is predominantly bitter dark chocolate and/or bitter cocoa. All in all, this is a fairly complex beer. As I sit and sip it, I keep picking different subtleties.

M: Pretty easy drinker surprisingly. ABV is hidden very well. I would say that it is actually a little on the thick/viscous side for a porter but not so much so as an extremely viscous impy stout would be for example. I'm enjoying the body in this one.

Overall, I was very excited to try this one. It did live up to expectations but I do wish that the coffee and vanilla elements (in particular the coffee) were just a little bit more pronounced. I would definitely drink this again though. Recommended.

Photo of wedge
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

@ Woody's

Pitch black color with a small head on top. Nice speckled lacing on the glass all the way down. Smells like a delicious coffee latte. Rich vanilla and chocolate mixed with a huge helping of espresso roast. Sweetened coffee and chocolate syrup flavor carries over to the flavor...huge, smooth, and somehow not over the top in terms of sweetness. I am struck with the intense urge to eat a glazed doughnut. Vanilla bean works with everything, but never screams to be heard. Not a hint of booziness to be found. Big, thick, and full. Certainly a dessert beer, though it could work just as well as a breakfast beer. Delicious...

Photo of zrab11
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle opened on 1/12/12

A-Pours a dark black color with a nice 1 1/2 finger tan head. Lacing on the glass as well

S-This has a very nice Vanilla smell up front followed by some roasted coffee notes and some more vanilla and chocolate as well

T- HAs a nice coffee flavor in the beginning and then followed by a nice chocolate flavor in the middle and then finishes with an almost cappuccino flavor at the end

M-Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Alittle syrupy and thin for my taste

D-Overall this beer was a very solid Coffer porter but to call it a Vanilla coffee porter it was a let down.. Yes i got a lot of vanilla in the nose but the beer has virtually no vanilla taste which i would of loved to have. I feel like the vanilla flavor would of made this a memorable beer. I will have to revisit this beer through since i had a year old bottle the vanilla may of faded.

Photo of orangesol
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to petesuphi for sharing the rest of his bottle with me. One of my all time favorite porters.

A - Pours jet black with a fluffy two finger tall tan head leaving light streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of rich coffee, sweet vanilla and chocolate and the ever present dark roasted malt. This ones nose is absolutely intoxicating.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roasted coffee slowly giving way to a nice mix of vanilla and milk chocolate sweetness. The smooth feel really makes this one easy to drink. Finish is a mix of sweetness and dark roast, lignering on the pallet for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Smooth feel with a sweet / roasty finish that clings to the pallet. Goes a bit flat at the end of the glass otherwise pretty good.

O - I could drink this every day no problem. The flavors are spot on and the alcohol is all but undetectable. I am glad I picked up a few of these to last the the rest of the year.

Photo of sacrelicio
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The perfect coffee porter. Let me elaborate: I had this on my wants for long time, almost a personal whale if you will. I spied a bottle at Whole Foods in NYC (Tribeca) and my eyes popp'd from my head. I purchased the bottle and opened it for my friend's 30th birthday. It was amazing. The coffee and vanilla were decadent and rich with a delicacy that can't be beat.

Photo of zaphodchak
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thinnish tan head. Deep brown body.

Deep roasty coffee nose. Rather remarkable, some wood even.

Flavor is interesting-- oscillates between bitter coffee and dry milk chocolate and ample vanilla.

Smooth, almost nitro-smooth.

A good beer if not living up with the hype. Interesting but not something that hasn't been done before.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,558 ratings.