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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,180 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,180
Hads: 5,740
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 965
Gots: 1,624 | FT: 100
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: 1,180 | Hads: 5,740
Photo of garbercury
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super stoked to try this one, one of my top wants, always eluded me...

A--Plenty of lacing, nice opaque hue.

S--Coffee and chocolate really come through in the nose along with touch of vanilla, very nice.

T--I really can taste both the dark chocolate/mocha in this guy, not really a lot of vanilla which I was hoping for, but still very tasty...

M--nice silky mouthfeel.

D--I am really happy to get my hands on this, and look forward to more of it in an upcoming trade. Definitely an excellent brew, highly recommended... (526 characters)

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

2010 release, 22 oz. bomber. Shared with BAs brun and NYManc.

Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

A beautiful deep dark-brown color with a thin tan head of short retention. Barely translucent throughout. Smell is incredibly full of dark-roasted coffee bean, as it's the first thing to immediately hit the nose. After all that coffee, were some nice milk chocolate and vanilla bean sweetness notes that really amplified the drink experience. There were some small hints of toasted malt throughout too.

Taste was incredibly roasty with the coffee dictating most of this porter's flavors. The coffee beans were nicely roasted with no points of astringency found at all, which is a nice plus. There was a good amount of maltiness to the taste, as well as some smooth cocoa/chocolate aspects. Not much of a vanilla flavor as I hoped it to have, but the beer was substantial as is.

Mouthfeel felt silky all the way through with low amounts of carbonation. Medium in body and weight. Drinkability is incredible on this beer. One bomber was definitely not enough for us three. Very flavorful and smooth-drinking. The 10% ABV isn't found in the taste at all, but it'll keep you at bay in the long run. Another damn delicious gem from BP. (1,228 characters)

Photo of JamesMcPolin
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

poured from the very first bomber I aquired upon this year's release. Have had four or five others by now but this is the first I've allowed to properly cellar for a little while, so decided to review.

looks beautiful. pours black as motor oil with a cafe' mocha colored head. poured ever so softly and still rendered nearly a 3/4 finger head. excellent head retention, sticky in the best sense of the word.

Smells heavenly. no frontin, just as the label reads, COFFEE and vanilla. but what's really interesting, as it warms and the 10% begins to become slightly noticable you also almost get the notes of a smoked porter that you love to smell but sometimes taste unbalanced.

but the nose misleads in this one aspect,the smoked roastyness of these malts are perfectly balanced with the vanilla. wonderful mouthfeel as you take a balanced journey between a nice bitter coffee finish, a sort of barrel-aged sweet vanilla type taste toward the front. it's just so tasty. exceptional really. world class imperial porter, as good as some of the best out there.

Makes me wanna crack open a 21st Anniversary Deschutes imperial porter ive been aging for over a year and compare. maybe tomorrow

the drinkability of this masterful brew comes down to one simple fact. Though it is one of the most enjoyable brews, $50 for myself and my craft loving lady to have partaken just 100fl, well it's just bad economy of scale. wish more people appreciated the majesty of IMPERIAL Porter. increased demand would finance a boost in supply.

Cheers! (1,537 characters)

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

A:Pours a thin black w/ a chocolate ice cream colored head, a good finger thick of it.

S: Roasted grain w/ hints of vanilla and coffee bean aromas stick in my nose. What a great smell

T: Thick of a nice consistent/mellow porter with vanilla following the roasted grains. Then deep roasted coffee bean taste to finish. Coffee bean after taste as well as the lush grain taste.

M: Very smooth with a light to medium carbonation. This is the my ideal mouthfeel for a porter.

D: Although huge abv, easy to drink. My favorite porter so far. The flavors go together so well. I am going to have a hard time aging a couple of these because I'm always going to want one. So good. (673 characters)

Photo of JoeBloe
4.01/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i tried this earlier today with friends, bottles were nicely chilled -
everybody loved this, and there were more remarks about chocolate flavor than coffee or vanilla - now i'm having a glass at home, served a little warmer -
pours a deep chestnut brown, nearly opaque
the 1 finger head recedes to form a 1/4 inch collar around the glass with spotty lacing on the sides and a swirly 'crema' on the surface -
not much aroma from this -
taste is complex and smoooothe - yes, i can taste the vanilla notes and the coffee, with a little choco/toffee on the finish -very well balanced - i cannot taste the alcohol in this 10% brew - damn! is this smooth!
mouthfeel is quite good with a creaminess that begs for the next sip - not sticky - medium/full bodied
drinks waaay too easy for the abv
great stuff! (801 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber shared with my roomate. 2010 bottle out of my Harpoon LE glass.

A- Dark black, almost stout like. Nice light mocha head, with good lacing.

S- Malt and coffee mostly. Little big of Vanilla too. A nice blend, and a strong smelling porter.

T- Very nice and smooth up front, transitions to dark coffee flavor. The aftertaste is coffee grounds and vanilla, little bit of chocolate too. Some malt, but the coffee is pretty overpowering.

M- Very nice, good for the style. Nice aftertaste, and smooth body.

D- Very drinkable, and quite tasty. The coffee is a little strong, but it's not too bad.

All in all one of the better Porters I've had recently, and nice complex beer all around. For the price, this one is a great buy (734 characters)

Photo of krisandajt
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A gentle pour from the bottle, the beer is black, dark and viscous. There is virtually no head atop this brew, only a thin ring of coffee colored foam where the beer meets the glass.

Smell: Nice roasted quality with some chocolate and coffee mixed in. I've been sitting on this one for a while, I get the impression the coffee has faded somewhat. Still, smells very good.

Taste: Some nice hints of vanilla, I really didn't get much of it in the nose so it's a bit of a surprise. The roasted quality isn't as pronounced as it was in the nose. Sweet, milk chocolate. Everything is pretty well balanced. Not getting much coffee, but again I think that's the result of the beer sitting down in my cellar.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body, good carbonation. Very easy drinking beer given its potency.

Drinkability: A fine drinking porter perfect for a cold night like tonight. My one gripe is that I should have opened this one up sooner. I'd like to try it fresher and see if the coffee comes through more. Still, I'm enjoying it and I would recommend it to anybody. (1,073 characters)

Photo of ebin6
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black color with a chocolate head which dissipates very slowly

S - I can smell the coffee from several feet away! Upon closer inspection it is indeed one of the most intense coffee noses I've smelled mixed with hints of vanilla and chocolate

T - True to form, it delivers a superb coffee & vanilla taste (I'm not even that fond of coffee). A bit suspicious of the "natural flavors"noted on the bottle, but....wow. I want more.

M - Rather dull considering the style, but it is obviously not the point of this beer

D - Hides the alcohol superbly and the coffee & vanilla taste does not wear, always leaving me wanting more (634 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$9.99 for the bomber at DeCicco's, Ardsley, NY.

Pours straight up black, dark mocha head, thats rich, dense and staying around. Thick sheeting and nice looking and well developed lacing left behind.

Nose resonates with coffee and more coffee. Also some dark grains, mocha, light chocolate.

Full flavor porter, lucious waves of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and dark malty goodness. Rich, dense, boldly amped up and thoroughly tasty stuff. Heavy and viscious on the tongue and coating the mouth.

Over the top and highly worthy of seeking out. (543 characters)

Photo of perrymarcus
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bomber served in a snifter glass.

pours an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy khaki toned head that slowly recedes into a collar around the glass; nice walls of lacing. all around great looking beer. exactly what i look for.

nose opens with an unmistakable coffee presence, followed by roasted malts and chocolate. reminds me somewhat of founders breakfast stout.

aroma characters largely pull through in the taste with plenty of coffee and roasted malts, but there's a vanilla note i missed in the nose, albeit a muted one... some bitterness to the finish, with vanilla showing up a bit more in the aftetaste. overall, a really tasty, dare i say delicious beer. well done.

smooth, velvety moutfeel... medium bodied, though a bit lighter than most similar-styled beers; appropriate carbonation. 10% ABV makes its high drinkability rather dangerous. (855 characters)

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

Bottle received in a trade with Jophish. Thanks Joe!

A: Black with brown highlights and a thick white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Thick roasted malts, with some coffee and a little chocolate showing through. Nice dark chocolate cake effect. Not as sweet or vanilla-heavy as expected.

T: Roasted coffee, light chocolate, and vanilla. As it warms, vanilla becomes more prominent with a little sweetness, bringing chocolate tort to mind. There's a slight alcohol bite, but for the most part, it's pretty well covered. Finishes with a lengthy coffee bitterness and roasted malt combination.

M: Medium to thick with moderate carbonation. Finishes quite dry.

I received this beer late 2009, so am guessing that it has dried out a bit from what it started as. But as far as I can tell, time hasn't hurt it much as the coffee and vanilla are still very evident. This is a great beer and I'll definitely jump at the chance to grab it should I come across it in the future. (975 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was a gift from drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

A: A flawless appearance. The beer is jet black and completely opaque. There is a dense, thick, foamy head of a dark tan color. The head retention is great and the glass is coated in lacing.

S: Fresh coffee beans. I am a coffee drinker, and I appreciate the aroma of fresh coffee. We are off to a great start with this beer. Also noted are scents of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, and alcohol.

T: The beer tastes great. The coffee is more present than the vanilla. The beer leads off with coffee and segues to vanilla and chocolate intertwined in roasted malt. Very impressive. As good as it is, I wish Ballast Point would use authentic vanilla instead of natural flavors. This beer is so close to being amazing. It's the little things that often make the biggest difference.

M: The beer is very flavorful and smooth. The 10% alcohol is disguised very well. It's creamy and thick, with the perfect carbonation level.

D: It's so good, I'm drinking it too fast, but not as fast as last time (see notes). This stuff can catch up to you quickly. I thoroughly enjoy this beer. I'm taking down the bomber by myself tonight, as I have been really looking forward to a good night to enjoy it, but honestly, it's probably best shared a few ways.

Note: Chugging this beer midway through an epic tasting can lead to immediate and irreversible intoxication (even if your friend grills you chicken in the middle of the night) and palate wrecking, causing the imbiber to not be able to differentiate Kate the Great from Alpha Kong. Seriously. (1,587 characters)

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

Good coffee flavor with hint of vanilla and nuts. Short lived tan head. Dark brown in color. You can taste the hops, but they are not overpowering. The alcohol flavor is there, but not overwhelming. Very good porter, but it would probably improve with age. (256 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.29/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours blackish, strong frothy head, sticky lacing, red hues in the light, pretty.

Sweet rich coffee, not much else.

Lots of luscious coffee, not gonna lie - can't find much of any vanilla. Detecting a bit of hops.

Lots of heat and sharp carbonation. Smooth density contrasts the alcohol bite and carbonation AND coffee bitterness too much. Could use some time in the cellar.

Not a bad beer, great coffee quality, rich and creamy. (434 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
3.42/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a velvety black with a very small light brown head that quickly dies down. Nose is coffee, a bit of sweet vanilla and chocolate malts.

Taste is rich and sweet, the coffee bitterness is quite strong and present, a bit astringent and harsh. The vanilla isn't very apparent but I think it's toning down the bitterness of the coffee a bit. It's pretty good but a bit harsh for drinking a lot of. (438 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown chocolate, not quite black with a mocha head that leaves lots of lacing.

Smell of roasted coffee, vanilla , roasted malts, and sweet sugar.

Taste of not surprisingly, Coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. There is a bitterness that is slightly different, but could also be perceived as licorice mixed with dark burnt malt. Not a whole lot of ashy flavors, but Charred flavor seems to be pretty strong. In other words, burnt, but sweet mixed with vanilla flavored sugars. If you let this warm in your mouth a little bit, the vanilla really becomes more prevalent and tasty.

Mediated carbonation levels with a nice mouthfeel that is not too thick but definitely not thin. All in all, a very drinkable coffee Vanilla Porter. (739 characters)

Photo of strangefate
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a two finger dark brown head and little lacing that disippates quickly.

The scent is of coffee, mocha, a toasty malt presence, and a tinge of vanilla.

I found that for myself when I sipped it in such a way where it first hit the tip of my tongue, I got the sweetness and vanilla taste up front, which is the part of the taste I like the best. The vanilla presence in this is just incredibly delicious. There is also a strong coffee presence, some caramel, and a bit of a hop presence. Although I mostly prefer drinking bigger beers somewhat close to room temperature, I prefer this one a bit colder as the sweetness is more present as opposed to the coffee taste - it's great either way though. The alcohol taste is masked very well for a 10% brew, whether cold or close to room temperature.

This has a medium-heavy mouthfeel which is very smooth and complements the beer so well. I can't imagine a better mouthfeel for the style.

Although I drink this slow and savor the flavor, I could drink this all night, it's just an amazing beer - something I'll make sure to buy every time Ballast Point releases it. (1,134 characters)

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle from the late release in 2010.

A-Pitch black with a small dark tan head of tight bubbles that settles to a ring around the glass. A little bit of lacing.

S-Lots of vanilla, chocolate, bitter roasted coffee. Almost a spicy kick from the coffee.

T-Rich roasted coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate. Bitter coffee on the finish.

M-Light to medium body, nicely carbonated. A little harshness from the coffee

D-Wow. The vanill and coffee flavors are HUGE in this. I can't wait to take another sip. I find my self chugging the glass! (534 characters)

Photo of Stigs
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, loved this on tap...thank Jim for another shot at this. served in a 12oz tulip

A - pours with a very thin layer of loose, dark khaki colored foam. the beer is pretty much pitch black throughout the whole glass. only a couple random spots of lacing left behind.

S - strong, fresh and cold steeped coffee, lightly creamed. some sweetness fights through with vanilla beans, and milk chocolate. roasted malts are present yet stay mostly in the background until the end, more present as the beer warms.

T - strong, yet bitter fresh roast coffee. cut into sharply near the end by vanilla coffee creamer, the vanilla beans come through strong in the end and linger for a bit. toasted nuts and roasted malts, caramel add balance. cocoa powder is very present in the lingering sweet aftertaste. yum.

M - mediud to thickish body, quite syrupy yet cut into sharply by some tight and crispy carbonation. very sticky finish, with lingering roasty bitterness and vanilla sweetness.

D - coffee has died down a bit here but the slack is taken up by a more pronounced vanilla and toasted nutty sweetness. hides is 10% ABV dangerously well, with nary a spat of alcohol taste or burn present. (1,192 characters)

Photo of Axic10
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with two fingers of mocha foam that settles after a few minutes.

Smell: Bold coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and some boozy notes at the end.

Taste: Coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla. Tasty!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Probably a neck and neck tie for my favorite beer from Ballast Point (Sculpin being the other). I've had this beer on tap and out of the bottle and it is really really good. Definitely one I order whenever I see it. (552 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: Not sure what batch this is, but it's definitely not the most recent. Late '09, early '10?

Appearance -- Pours an impenetrable dark brown, black in the glass, with two fingers of chocolate tan head. Wide bands of lace and fair head retention.

Smell -- Espresso, leather, pipe tobacco, cocoa powder, burnt bread crust, molasses, and vanilla. Not especially aromatic, but what is there is nice.

Taste -- Rich and roasty almost to the point of burnt. Cafe macchiato, tobacco, leather, vanilla bean, bittersweet coffee, minty hops and pine sap. Malt sweetness crescendoes toward the finish with caramel and vanilla ice cream. Lingering flavors vanilla, espresso, and gentle pine resin.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body, a bit chewy, with moderate prickly carbonation. A little extra body and this would be a 5 for certain.

Drinkability -- Quite good. Passed my expectations, nearly made it to my hopes. Rich, roasty, great balance, good feel. The flavor opens up considerably as it warms. Must get more. (1,005 characters)

Photo of afksports
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my buddy Matt for shipping me these from San Diego, days after their recent October release. Perfect to drink on a fantasy football day. Also perfect because there's a skeleton on the bottle and it's Halloween.

The appearance is dark brown with hints of amber, and a nice finger of tan head that diminishes fairly quickly to just rimming the drink. The smell is excellent. Coffee, vanilla, like the name suggests, but then also malts, chocolate, and a little carbon.

The taste is also big on coffee. Starts like an espresso, then finishes with some caramel, mocha, and vanilla. In the mouth it's a little bit less creamy than I'm accustomed to with an imperial, but nothing terrible. It's definitely drinkable, although the alcohol is definitely present as it warms. Happy Halloween! (797 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage courtesy of cmurren25, thanks Chad! Pours a black-as-night color with awesome retention and great lacing.

Nose has lots of coffee on it and a light vanilla twist. Plenty of roasty malts and a decent amount of sweetness.

Ohhhh, this is way smoother than it should be. Vanilla and coconut-infused chocolate malt flavor. Smooth yet robust. One of those "wow" beers, no doubt about it. This review has officially been cut short due to the extreme enjoyment I get from every single sip. Amazing beer. (510 characters)

Photo of jamex
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Russian River tulip. Paid $7.99 at the brewery for a 22 oz. The beer was bottled within days.

Poured an amazing dark - very opaque. Nice 1-2 finger head.

Smell is phenomenal; coffee, mocha, vanilla, kahlua, coffee cake...the aroma is outstanding. Perhaps the best porter I've ever sniffed.

This beer is simply delicious. Slight let down from that A+ aroma but minimal. Tastes like the smell but with some malt and roasty notes. There is some sweetness but it is balanced with the other tastes. The 10% ABV is hidden behind the other characters nicely.

Feels great in the mouth - maybe a LITTLE thin, but nothing to get worried about. Carbonation about right for a porter - they nailed it.

Before I knew it the 22oz was dust. Very drinkable. (759 characters)

Photo of pastradul
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

poured at Homebrew mart.

into a 4 oz taster glass, so minimal head but do to glass size not beer. there was a nice dense dark brown head the stayed around for awhile.

the nose is smooth medium bodied coffee followed by an even smoother vanilla trail through the nose.

the taste is the same... in the fron you get a nice medium roast coffee hit followed my a nice slightly heavier roasted malt character. then finishes with a light creamy vanilla across the palate!

the only thing i wish this beer had was a slightly thicker mouthfeel. other then that this is one of my favorite beers made in SD! (599 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.