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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.

1,215 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,215
Hads: 5,910
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,006
Gots: 1,717 | FT: 92
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: 1,215 | Hads: 5,910
Photo of kaseydad
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the cellar for almost a year but couldn't take him staring back at me each time I passed him over for another. Pours a beautiful black ale with a brown fluffy head. Stays for awhile and then turns to a thin layer. Great vanilla in the smell. Simply awesome with a background of milk chocolate and Hershey's syrup. I could smell this all day. It's that good. Nice roasty flavor with some bitter chocolate, espresso hints and some smokiness on the swallow. Not getting much vanilla in the taste but the coffee charachter really comes out as it warms. I thought the mouthfeel was a little too carbonated for my liking but that was only a slight "problem" with this amazing brew. Overall I am a forever fan of this brew and look forward to his release again. And the 10% must be a misprint. Much too easy to consume and sharing may be difficult. Great job!

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Photo of Spider889
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to bobertkuekn for allowing me to cross this want off my list. Hope we can meet up at a future Jackie O's Release!

2010 vintage.

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. The beer was thick and black, and at first a head seemed to be merely a wish... so I upped the ante (and the height of my pour) by about 6 inches and suddenly, whooosh! Up rose a tall head. It lasted a couple minutes then receded, leaving an amazing blanket of lace on the glass, and a very short cap of foam which resembled sushi roe on the edge of the glass the way the bubbles stacked up.

Smells awesome. From the aroma at least, the coffee hasn't faded at all. Deep, rich cold coffee mingles with the wonderful sweet chocolate aromas of the porter. The base porter is a great beer in its own right. Vanilla is subtle, but I can certainly pick it out.

Smooth and decadent. Really folks, this is all that needs to be said. The beer is sumptuous and unctuous... seriously, all I can think about are foodie terms to describe this beer. The coffee is the forerunner in the flavor department - it is silky and robust. Very potent despite the age on this bottle, I can only imagine what this beer is like fresh. Layers and layers of chocolate fudge, truffle powder, coffee, vanilla, and dark sweet chocolate rush at your palate like the waves of an advancing army... an army that knows it has already won. The aftertaste is quite bitter. This guy is pretty well hopped up. Not a bad thing, but just another surprise given the age of the bottle.

The mouthfeel is extremely sensual as well. Smooth and velvety, the beer is thick and chewy. All the while, this one is simultaneously delicate and clean.

Overall worth every bit of the hype. I saw on the Ballast Point website that they must have done some one-off casks of barrel-aged and rum-aged Victory at Sea. Guys, bottle the stuff. It must have been amazing!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Central PA crew for sending this as part of the Gang Bang BIF.

A: pours a deep dark brown, dark brown head, creamy appearance, opaque

S: vanilla comes on strong followed by sturdy roasted profile, coffee is faint...seems to have faded a bit

T: well never mind about the coffee fading... that is the first thing I taste. This is countered with delicate notes of vanilla and roasted barley. Things get a little sweet at the end.

MF: medium body, medium carbonation

O: I can't think of a much better combo then coffee, vanilla, and stout. This brew pulls it off nicely, would love to try it fresh.

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Photo of beerdweeb
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed many times with dessert and at the end of the night. My favorite Imperial Porter by far.

A: Dark with chocolate milk head

S: Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and delicious vanilla

T: This is where it's at for me in this beer. Coffee and chocolate up front with a lingering vanilla finish. Perfect.

M: Silky and smooth. Coats the tongue a little and lets the flavors soak in.

O: Love this beer. Could drink it every day.

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Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour yields a smallish head with dissipates rapidly, leaving a thin creamy band behind. Lacing is thin and not very clingy. Beer is black and totally opaque. Smell is muted, with roast notes, subtle vanilla, and mostly, fresh coffee. Vanilla is faint in the tasting, with coffee coming in stronger and appealing roasty, burnt notes dominating.

Mouthfeel is nice, with just a little syrupy cling, medium carbonation, and medium to thin body. Finish is moderately long with some bitterness; doesn't stick around too long. Dryer than expected.

Nice dessert beer, although the flavors seem a bit muted. No bottle dating makes this one a toss up; although I'm certain it's at least a few months old. Would like to try a fresher bottle. Won't be dropping another 10 bucks for an undated bomber, however. BP beers are awesome, but lack of bottle dating and high prices make them a bit of a crapshoot on the east coast.

I will be visiting the brewery in December and look forward to trying all of their beers at their freshest!

EDIT: Have returned to this beer a few times and gotten much fresher bottles; this one is really delicious when the vanilla and coffee are bright and vivid.

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Photo of amphion1065
2.99/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bomber purchased in 2011, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A really fantastic-looking beer. Pour is very dark brown, almost black. A two-finger mocha head (that is, appropriately enough, reminiscent of cappuccino foam) just won't go away. Very tight bubbles, great retention. Awesome lacing, too.

Tons of of roast coffee in the nose. Those roasted malts are very, very strong. There's a pretty clear alcohol element in the nose as well. Just a very slight hint of vanilla. Nice, if one-dimensional.

Unsurprisingly, the taste is basically all coffee. There's a persistent, acrid bitterness that really lingers. Thought there's not a lot of vanilla at work here, there is definitely a pronounced boozy taste. Some dark fruits, but that burnt coffee quality is overpowering.

The mouthfeel is too thin, with overactive carbonation. This really needs to settle down.

I remember loving the first bottle of Victory at Sea I tasted - a friend had brought one back to Boston from San Francisco back in February, and I can still recall both smelling and tasting caramel in this beer. This was just average, and I'm not sure that age is to blame given the fact that the coffee was so strong. A let down for me.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap (2010)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

(Aged 1 year)

Jet black, shiny, with a thin light brown cap. Sheets of lacing down the glass. Thick and menacing.

Roasted malt, lots and lots of rich coffee, and some faint vanilla round out the nose. Complete and decadent aroma.

The flavors are a wrestling match between the rich, creamy, yet bitter coffee, and sweet, earthy vanilla. It's a wonderful wrestling match I'm happy to referee. Delicious, and in my opinion, better than the barrel aged nitro version.

Medium to thick bodied.

A vibrant, delicious, balanced, big, big stout. Lots of vanilla, coffee, and roast battle it out big time--good thing they're all delicious.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.59/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Victory At Sea, vintage '08 or '09

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with modest light brown head that leaves little in the way of lacing. 

S: Milk chocolate and dry roasted maltiness. Earth, honey, vanilla and coffee bring up rear. Honestly, Ballast Point Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter smells like one of those iced coffee drinks from Starbuck's that has a ridiculously long name. 

T: Sweet milk chocolate and roasted malts mingle on palate before vanilla joins in. The vanilla tastes extracted. Coffee has faded and reminds me of the last cup after dwelling over the Sunday newspaper a little too long. Medium- high bitterness. Finish is bitter chocolate and coffee. 

M: Relatively big body and medium-light carbonation. Somewhat oily and mouthcoating. 

O: BPVASCVIP was one of the first beers for which I traded and that I loved. I'm sure this beer has lost a step or two after a couple years in my cellar, but it wasn't bad by any means. Recommended, but consume it within 18 months of bottling. 

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 0z bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- One finger tan head dissipates quickly decent lacing, dark black, when held up to the light you cannot see through it.
S- Big coffee/espresso aroma, nice chocolate aroma as well, nice roasted notes, roasted malts.
T- Every sip is really smooth, the coffee flavor is delicious with hints of chocolate and vanilla, very balanced.
M- Medium/big, perfect amount of carbonation for this beer, a bit sticky, really smooth velvety finish.
O- Really impressed with this beer, huge coffee presence that goes down very smooth. This is a very tasty easy drinking brew, really impressed.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured my last bottle of the most recent batch that made it up to the Bay Area probably 7-8 months ago. Poured into a tulip at about 50 degrees.

Poured with a good two fingers of tan, espresso like head, super fine, can't even really see the bubbles in the head at all. The body of the beer itself is completely opaque, even when held to a light source. The retention is not great, but the small ring of head does maintain itself rather nicely. Lacing is a lot better than when I've had it on tap.

Wow, the aromas wafting out of the glass are completely ridiculous. Hardcore coffee with some vanilla and a whole lot of dark chocolate. There's quite a lot of roast too. Undeniably amazing smell here. Every time I revisit this beer I expect it to underwhelm for some reason and every single time it impresses instead, especially in this department.

Tastes great too, everything from the smell, and aging this bottle a good number of months seems to have balanced out the normally rather heavy hand of vanilla into a nice balance with the coffee. This beer should theoretically be sweeter than I like, but there's such a good amount of roast that counterbalances the somewhat faded vanilla to make a delicious treat. Little to no alcohol flavor at all, little to no hop presence.

The mouthfeel is as good as it gets, a perfect consistency. The carbonation level is pretty mellow and just perfect for the style. Feels full in body and velvety in the mouth, can't be improved.

Overall this is just such a foreign experience from beginning to end. It's hard to explain because other breweries have used these types of ingredients in their beers, but nothing quite tastes like this one. The vanilla and coffee are at the forefront, but in a very nice balance, especially when aged for a little bit. I don't know how a company that can make such fantastic IPAs can also score such a success with a malt-dominant beer, but they do. Hats off to Ballast Point.

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Photo of SkiBum22
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very opaque, can't see any light through it. One finger light brown, mocha colored head. Decent head for such a strong beer.

S - Big coffee, vanilla and roasted malt notes off the bat. A little caramel too. I get a little of the alcohol but not too much.

T - Up front some very nice caramel notes, some breadiness, and some dark fruits. On the back end big roasted coffee notes and a lot of vanilla. The vanilla and the coffee play very well of each other.

M - Very creamy and smooth. A tiny alcohol burn. But overall a great mouthfeel for a porter.

O - This is my favorite porter by far. I wish Ballast Point released it more often.

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Photo of stxSS07
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. Split with lookitsmp

A- Pours a near-black with a 1 finger espresso-colored head that hangs around forever. Leaves great lacing and nice alcohol legs.

S- Sweet vanilla notes and a huge coffee background. Some roasted malts in there as well with a hint of booze.

T- Starts with huge waves of vanilla and coffee followed up by a roasted malt note and a small tinge a booze at the end. Fantastic.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation that lets the flavors linger just long enough.

O- The second best porter I've had behind Black Butte XXI. Amazing depth of flavors made possible by the contrasting vanilla/chocolate/coffee.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to cbeer88 and Gushue3 for hooking me up!

This pours black as night, with a rich, foamy dark tan head of a finger +. Lacing is great and retention is very good. The aroma is intense! Raw coffee beans/black coffee is a huge contributor, along with big vanilla notes and and equally large roasted malt character. There's a slight char on the nose, some small contributions from chocolate and molasses. Tastes more like espresso, big woody vanilla notes, dark chocolate, huge roasted notes, slightly bittersweet to balance out the sweetness. Body is full, creamy and finishes clean, with only a bit of bittersweet linger. No alcohol to note in the aroma or taste, which adds to this already dangerously drinkable brew!

Fantastic. I've bought, traded for, eventually traded and extra'd each one of these that has crossed my path...absolutely wonderful to have finally cracked one for myself!

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Photo of AdamBear
4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-black with a thick tan head with good lacing

S-smells strong of creamy coffee. great smell.

T-oh boy oh boy...this comes in with a strong and unmistakable taste of vanilla and coffee. its a great full flavored taste that lasts and becomes an after-taste almost as strong as the initial hit...and it lasts for a long time. this beer is beautiful. i'm really impressed that the vanilla really comes through in this one. most beers i've experienced that claim to have vanilla don't have a lot of vanilla taste to them.

M-creamy medium carbonation with a good heavy finish

O-few beers do i want to savor as much as i wanted to savor this. i found myself so excited every time i went to take a sip....10% ??? i think not...it drinks more like 5%...this beer is just about everything you could ever want in your porter. i can't wait to find this again some day.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.07/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the generous BA Soonami. This one was allowed to warm a good bit before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Victory at Sea pours a solid black, with a tan head that comes up to between two and three fingers in height. There's a decent amount of lacing left behind, and the foam takes its time in inching down the side of the glass. The nose is almost perfectly balanced. There's some sweet milk chocolate that's neck and neck with strong coffee in terms of flavors standing out. I think a lot of porters and stouts sometimes overdo it on roasty grain notes, but this beer is notable for it's pretty much complete lack of any. I actually wish there was a little bit of roast to give the nose more of an edge, but that's really nitpicking. That superior balance isn't found in the flavor, for the most part. Coffee jumps out and dominates any chocolaty notes on my palate. As the beer finishes approaching room temperature, the coffee and vanilla bean influences finally begin to even out again, but it's a bit too late to make this a truly great beer. The carbonation is appropriately subdued, but I expect a rich and full body from a 10% porter, and this one just doesn't deliver on that front. Victory at Sea is a very good beer, and one that I would gladly come back to, but it's just a step below true greatness.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this awesome beer from Beerdy. Thanks Brien! can't wait to try this beer!

Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Dark black beer with a dark mocha brown head. Super thick lacing sticks on side of the glass and a thick cap of tiny yet dense bubbles remains on top this awesome looking brew.

Smell: Roasty malts and massive coffee aromas. The vanilla is still pretty easy to find, but is not a strong as the coffee.

Taste: Upfront you get a strong coffee taste that has a bite to it. The bitterness recedes about mid taste and vanilla takes over; it is subtle yet still has a nice sweetness to balance the coffee. Milk chocolate, mild booze, and a mild bitterness returning in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This is a huge porter! Medium bodied beer with a silky feel to it. I am really amazed at just how well this beer has held up the carbonation is spot on for a porter! The vanilla accents the booze in the beer and the beers has a slightly boozey bite. I wonder what this beer was like fresh. It is a well made beer!

Overall: This is without a doubt the best Ballast Point beer that I have had! This is the only bottle of this beer that I have; looks like I will be trading to get more! Everything is really nice in this porter; great balance without any ingredients overpowering the other and I still has a bite. Which shows me this beers is still a bad ass!

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a thick black looking brew. I was pretty surprised because I would have said this was a stout just by looking at it. The smell of the beer was roasted with a few faint notes of vanilla. The taste of the beer was full of coffee flavors with a subtle aftertaste of vanilla dryness. The mouthfeel is lighter than I thought it'd be judging by the look of the beer. Overall though, I think this beer is quite good. I would drink this one again if I happen to stumble upon it.

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Photo of thedindaniel
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this beer many times now but recently snatched up a bottle since it's been months from the last time I've seen it. Beer is a very dark brown, almost black with off white lacing, good amount of head but not very foamy. Scent is strong coffee beans with a hint of vanilla sweetness. Taste is very similar to scent but is dominated by a combo ofthe coffee, hop bitterness and the roasted malts, vanilla is present and tho not overwhelming seems to shine in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel has a nice amount of carbonation and the beer has a medium body, could be heavier for my tastes but doesn't hurt the beer, probably helps with the drinkability.

Overall, this beer is a great after dinner sipper. I can see myself drinking this by the fireplace around the holidays. Wish it was cheaper but understand why it isn't what with Ballast Point using coffee from a reputable local cafe and real vanilla. Seek it out if you haven't had it and hold on to a few when u need a break from the loved ones in the winter.

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Photo of azdback
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my large tulip. Not quite black, but extremely dark brown. A few hints of highlight around the edges. Gorgeous two fingers of cappuccino foam head. Lace is almost a solid sheet.

Smells like roasted coffee and vanilla with light notes of chocolate. A little bit of roasted barley. Not a whiff of booze, which is hard to believe at 10% ABV.

Tastes like coffee. I should have cracked this one at about 7AM and enjoyed it with some eggs benedict. There is definitely a lot of vanilla, and some sweet brown sugar. The roasted malts serve as a nice backbone, and really say that this is a porter. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy and way closer to a stout or even an imperial stout than a porter. The ABV is well masked. There is a slight dryness at the end.

Overall, this must be the 7th or 8th one I have had this year. I cracked it because there have been some posts saying that the flavors are fading. I have to say they have a bit, but not to the point that I had to drink it before it turned into Black Butte. I can't wait for the next release to compare this to what I remember, and I might even age one for a year or more.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottling. Tulip glass.

Some days, you just need a victory... at sea. Pours a viscous very dark coffee brown with about a half finger of dark khaki foam. No lacing; retention is about as good as to be expected. Smell is a melange of vanilla and creamy caramel, cream, roasted malt, and I'm getting a distinct aroma of french toast (cinnamon and a crisp, burnt toasty note). Taste is a rich caramel, vanilla, kind of a spicy chocolate, roasted/smoked malt, and slight coffee bitter finish. Dry. Coffee has mostly faded by this point, but the remaining flavors are still delicious. The flavors are well balanced here, and for better or worse the vanilla is on the subtle end. Carbonation is soft and on the medium-light end; perfect. Overall, this is a super tasty porter, balanced, subtle, and very drinkable. It's a different beast aged than fresh, when the coffee is still prominent.

I think Ballast Point should be commended for the awesome name and artwork. A real contrast to their year-round offerings. They should replace the fish motif with more pirate themes.

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Photo of Treebs
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my Founders snifter. Split the bottle with my old man during the Homerun Derby.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a wonderful bubble dark brown head. Leaves some wonderful sheet lace behind with some bubbles trying to to keep the head afloat.

S: Big dark coffee beans. Roasted to the point where it's almost slighty burnt and bitter, but in a good way. Some slight dark chocolate notes are present as well.

T: Big coffee right up front. That same REALLY toasted flavor is even more present, but after the initial assault on the taste buds it makes way for some light sweet chocolate and vanilla. I'm also picking up a burnt sugar/caramel flavoring as well.

M: Medium to heavy bodied, almost chewy in nature. Leaves a great roasted coffee bean flavor with a mild sweetness on the tongue. Leaves an oily feeling on the palate which is highly enjoyable as it allows the taste to linger LONG after I've swallowed this black gold.

O: I'm becoming more and more a fan of brews with heavy coffee flavorings and this might be one of favorites. It's not as balanced as others I've had, but it's still a wonderfully crafted brew and I would LOVE to try this on draft.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to GallowsThief for the trade!

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Maudite snifter

Pours a black color with 2 fingers of a mocha colored head.

The nose is sweet and malty. Chocolate, molasses, and vanilla stand out the most here. A bit of coffee lingers behind the rich cocoa and vanilla beans. It smells like a damn fine dessert, waiting for me to devour. Roasty beast for sure. The taste is much the same as the nose but a bit stronger. The chocolate stands out the most and is followed by vanilla and a bit of coffee that wasnt so easily discovered in the nose. A nice mixture of the flavors that play off each other quite nicely. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and beastly to say the least. A nice smooth oily liquid feels great on my palate and I cant put down my glass. Overall, this is a great brew here that creates pretty good balance throughout and has a bad-ass flavor profile. Boom!

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Photo of biegaman
4.92/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so very different ingredients have led to this masterful creation. The coffee, however, undoubtedly, looks the most prominent. Victory At Sea is black and no light, no matter how bright, can change that fact. The head, once it casts its net, holds on to the glass forever.

Coffee, roasted malt and vanilla are all equally proportioned in the aroma and, I have to admit, I love them all equally - now I know how difficult a question it is for a parent to choose their favourite child. A scent like this makes you wonder why anyone bothers to barrel-age their stouts when they could achieve better results just adding coffee and vanilla.

Victory At Sea has the kind of profound, enduring, distinguished flavour that is so rich and intense it can be summoned days later. It is monumental. Not an aspect overlooked: lush vanilla bean, decadent chocolate cake, strong coffee, nuttiness, zesty hops and roasted malts. Starbucks could sell just this and be equally as popular and successful.

There are some things about this beer that cannot be overstated, one being how decadently, gratifyingly delicious it is. Another is how well the charred coffee is integrated with lusciously sweet vanilla. From a technical standpoint, the beer is near flawlessly engineered: bitter balances sweet and clean drinkability compensates for over-the-top richness.

One thing is for sure: my mouth and stomach are having a much more enjoyable time with this than my liver probably is. At 10% alcohol, this is surely one of the silkiest, most sensual double-digit strength beer I've had the pleasure of drinking. You'd never catch on if you weren't told. Calorie-counters would know better, but even they'd agree it's worth it.

Ballast Point is as constant as the North Star when it comes to putting out well-crafted, full-character, premier beers but this is not only arguably their greatest offering, but perhaps one of the best America has to offer up as well. Few beers this dark, this big and this rich could be this agreeably delicious and easily enjoyed. I'd swim across the sea if that's what it took to get another bottle. A special thanks to Ultraman9000 for this one!

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Photo of rlee1390
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a beer trade, poured into a snifter.

A-Dark motor oil black, creamy brown heady that leaves some lacing.

S-Coffee and Roasted malt, not picking up the vanilla though.

T-Mainly coffee and roasted malt. Some vanilla is in there as well. However it really needs just a tad bit more vanilla to be perfect. Some bitterness in the finish but not much.

M-Heavy, syrupy with some carbonation.

O-A solid beer, but when Vanilla is in the title, I would like to see a tad bit more for my tastes. Still a great beer that I'm glad was included in the trade.

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Photo of drewba
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

New (2010?) batch poured into a coffee cup FFF HBI style.

A - opaque black with brown tints onthe edges. Looks deep, mildly menacing as a giant perfect mocha, two finger head pops up. The retention is far better than I would have expected; the lacing sticks like glue and she has legs fer days!

S - loads of bitter coffee grounds, milk chocolate, a healthy amount of roast, tobacco and a incredibly tiny amount of dark fruit.

T - The star of the show is this delicious Caffe Calabria (product placement!) coffee that offers up a nice bitter coffee ground flavor that maintains through the course of the taste, but at the same time there is a nice freshly roasted and very mild coffee flavor that rides under the bitterness. A lot of milk chocolate and vanilla combos nicely with some great roastiness and leather. Though coffee and chocolate are the predominant flavors, this isn't reminding me much of mocha; each flavor stands on it's own really making this complex with a great progression of flavors. Unbelievably, the hop profile can still stand against all the malt action with a low level of lemon zest and marijuana in the finish. Finishes with those coffee grounds and cocoa.

M - Smooth, creamy, with a silky carbonation that pops. The finish is a tad dry.

O - Ballast Point really found a nice mix here, with flavors that tend to dominate. None of the flavors are overpowering another (maybe the coffee is on the heavier side), instead they really compliment each other. I don't mean to geek out too hard, but it's as if there are four stages to V@S: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, cocoa (and hops). Each flavor stands on it's own, but is an experience all together. If you couldn't tell, I have a pretty massive hard on for this beer. Though I'll say I do prefer the first batch with some age on it.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,215 ratings.