Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,688 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
4.08/5 rDev -7.1%
Glugs into a half liter mug, jet black with a crisply defined line of mocha foam on top. The foam is sticky and leaves tan concentric rings around the edges. As it warms up, the aroma is very chocolate/vanilla like a milkshake. The flavor is also heavy on these notes, seeming like a melted kahlua milkshake on first impression. Some char and bitter coffee elements. Fairly dry and bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. Pretty beefy, one to sip for sure. Luckily there's no hint of 10% in here.
01-24-2010 01:15:40 | More by emerge077
4/5 rDev -8.9%
On tap at Gourmet Haus Staudt.
Appearance: Black as pitch, almost opaque even in the pour. The cream colored head is small but surprisingly persistent.
Smell: Coffee - check. Lots of it. Vanilla - check. Kind of smells like one of those syrupy coffee drinks you'd get at Starbucks, only incredibly alcoholic. The coffee character is dark, heavily roasted. There's plenty of dark malt, too; almost burnt, but not quite there. It's a necessary element, keeping the sweetness in check and providing a foundation for the adjunct ingredients.
The first few sips pretty much taste like spiked coffee. It's ridiculously dominant at colder temperatures, but once the beer has a chance to warm up it reveals a bit more depth. Vanilla appears at a comfortable level, present but not overwhelming. It's amplified by chocolatey sweetness, though the flavor goes right back to bitter black coffee in the finish.
It's a full-bodied beer, certainly potent, but not terribly sweet or syrupy given the 10% ABV. It could be argued that the coffee and vanilla are overbearing, but it really does work - in small quantities at least.
02-12-2011 04:03:58 | More by largadeer
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
22oz bottle, thanks anew to doktorzee for garnering this, among others, from a Total Wine store in Las Vegas. I've watched the WWII naval battle documentary 'Victory at Sea', so I guess I'm qualified to tuck into this one.
This beer pours a rather solid, abyssal black, with the barest of basal cherry cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, shiny, and thickly foamy tan head, which leaves some decent patchy Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.
It smells of acrid dry-roast coffee, dried vanilla pods, once they've been infused in a bottle of vodka (been there, I have), bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of toasted white bread. The taste is a better blend of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla cream, chocolate-ensconced caramel, roasted, but not quite charred or ashy wood, a threatening, but too timid to follow through boozy warmth, and some faint earthy, herbal hops.
The carbonation is understated, but still well supportive of all that stuff going on above it, the body a decent medium-full weight for the style, actually rather smooth, and a bit creamy, even with that anvil with the frayed rope (here played by the equally slick 20-proof alcohol) hanging over it. The finish is on the sweet side, sure, but with more than enough moderating coffee and hop notes to keep things as sane as they can be.
Wow - I'm sort of vacillating on this one, in the vein of one Stephen Colbert - is this a great vanilla coffee imperial porter, or the greatest vanilla coffee imperial porter? Hard to say, as I've not yet had them all, but up to now, this one might fall into the latter's singular camp, what with the well integrated bitter coffee (not usually my favourite thing), pleasant vanilla-prodded creaminess, and yes, nearly masked big ABV. Get your hands on this particular Victory (at all Costs)!
04-06-2014 04:44:45 | More by biboergosum
4.05/5 rDev -7.7%
Pours black with a tan head. Nose is tight vanilla and coffee. But mostly coffee. Flavor is sweet coffee tones. Almost like you added that faux creamer to your coffee. A bit too sweet IMO, but it does still work quite nicely. Feel has a biting carbonation on the mouth and the liquid is thicker on the body. Overall a good stout. Robust and ripe with character. Though I feel the vanilla is coming on just a bit too much. It'll be interesting to see how this reacts as it warms up.
04-17-2009 02:23:52 | More by RblWthACoz
4.43/5 rDev +0.9%
Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.
A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.
S: The aroma is full of coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, some chocolate and a touch of hops.
T: The taste starts out sweet with strong creamy flavors of vanilla and coffee up front. Then a very hearty roasted malt character comes in along with some background flavors of chocolate, dark fruit and a little smokiness. The hops presence is very mild but complementary and strong enough to bring a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.
M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.
D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, slightly filling, strong but disguised kick, very good representation of style, this is a very flavorful porter that is worth drinking for a long time if you're in the mood for the style.
12-22-2010 05:22:51 | More by TheManiacalOne
4.03/5 rDev -8.2%
A - Pours with one and a half fingers of medium tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.
S - Coffee, chocolate, dark sugar, and some vaguely spicy notes of pepper and chicory.
T - Sweet malt and dark sugar up front with notes of caramel, nutty toffee, and dark bread. Smoky coffee and chocolate in the middle with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla really comes out in the finish with more smoky coffee and spicy notes of clove and cinnamon.
M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.
D - Thick and sweet, there is a lot going on here. The vanilla works well with the dark sugar and coffee flavors though it becomes a bit excessive in the finish. The finish is a bit too sweet for my taste and that, combined with the vanilla, puts it in the same category as Southern Tier's sweet stouts; it is a dessert beer and works well for one glass, but finishing a full bottle is a bit of a challenge.
05-21-2012 05:39:51 | More by nickfl
4.4/5 rDev +0.2%
On tap beside the Sculpin IPA, I guess Bocktown just had a tasting for Ballast Point. A newcomer to the beer scene in the Burgh. This one pour black as night no ruby highlights seen when held toward the light. Mocha brown head fine speckled lacing forms as it dwindles. Aroma offered up strong coffee dark roasted malts dark chocolate hints of soft vanilla and mild caramel tones, and a bit of booziness is detectable as well. Flavor was a big roasted porter a bit of dark fruit plums soaked in alcohol with nice rounded vanilla and caramel sweetness. Very much a dessert beer, balanced with herbal hops and dark roasted coffee bitterness. The alcohol level didn't offend the palate or get in the way of drinkability. Full bodied slight alcohol burn, carbonated moderately finishes velvet smooth. Drinkability is way too easy for a 10 percent brew, I enjoyed this and I'm sure they're still pulling this one get there while it lasts great world class brew out of San Diego, wow SoCal is spoiled.
03-06-2010 10:40:56 | More by WVbeergeek
4.15/5 rDev -5.5%
Thanks to corby112 & tendermorssel for sending this! Cheers Craig & Mike!
Pours a brown tinged ebony with a finger of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing
S: Much coffee & coffee grounds
T: Mocha, charred coffee, & a touch of vanilla, plus dryness up front, plus a tinge of booze. Smooths out a bit a it warms, vanilla, oaky dryness & a touch of toffee as this warms; the coffee fades to more pleasing level once warm. Finishes slightly astringent, with nice coffee bitterness, a wisp of vanilla, dryness & wet charred grain. Almost pulled a 4.5
MF: Very smooth up front, slightly chewy with low carbonation
Drinks very easy for the style & ABV, not the best coffee beer I've ever had, but probably top 3. Worth seeking out, nice brunch beer!
05-19-2009 04:08:22 | More by russpowell
4.45/5 rDev +1.4%
Thanks to srandycarter for sending a bottle of this my way. Served in my brand-new Red Hook pint glass.
A - Tar black, with a two-finger mocha foam that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice cap, but minimal lacing. A small amount of reddish-brown coloration is visible at the fringes of the glass.
S - Coffee! Vanilla! Ridiculously potent - even cold I can smell it a good foot away from the glass. The coffee is bitter and roasty, and there is also quite a bit of burnt malt, cream, and cocoa mixed with the vanilla. It's slightly reminiscent of Southern Tier's Crème brûlèe, but nowhere near as cloyingly sweet.
T - The coffee is nowhere near as bitter on the palate - it's more roast and slightly smokey. There's also plenty of milk chocolate, vanilla, and sweet malts. There's a tiny bit of alcohol that peeks out from amongst the flavors, but it's not particularly offensive. Roasty aftertaste - not very bitter at all, which is nice for such a coffee-infused brew
M - It's medium bodied, but on the thinner side, and seems a little watery for such a big beer. Carbonation is lively, with lots of tingle on the upper lip and top of the palate. Finishes with loads of sticky sweetness.
D - I'd have no problems with a bomber of this one, although it is mildly palate-busting and a little too high gravity for sessions.
We've started to get the regular Ballast Point line in Illinois, but I'm anxiously awaiting the day that we can get the special limited releases (Sculpin, Sea Monster, etc.).
04-09-2009 02:58:29 | More by MasterSki
4.5/5 rDev +2.5%
22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Pours a dense black in the glass, with several tight foamy fingers of rich burnt mocha colored head. Retains with a sturdy 1/2 finger that throws a big cascade of lacing on the sides of the glass, which eventually settles into some equally large frothy spotting. The aroma is just DRENCHED with sticky sweet notes of chocolate, toffee, and smooth vanilla. This all just mingles in effortlessly with robust smelling high quality roasted coffee. The bouquet is just so rich and dense in the nose, I could sit here with my nose in the glass for a while.
The taste is deep and tangy in the mouth, wih a chewy sweetness to it full of chocolate, caramel, and citric hops. A deep burnt and crunchy flush of roast, hops, and coffee spreads out across the back of the palate. Not astringency at all to the coffee here (which speaks to it's quality), leaving nothing but straight up flavor and lingering roast back that just STICKS in the throat. The mouthfeel is full bodied and huge feeling in the mouth, with a massive chewy softness to the carbonation that keeps this easy in the mouth. That 10% ABV is mostly only felt in the body, and that's mostly on towards the swallow, with any kind of actual alcohol flavor being marvelously hidden.
Man, I love this beer. While not too overly complex, it's just so RICH with flavor, with it feeling like you just had an after dinner dessert AND coffee in your glass. Just really fantastic stuff that will get you buzzed in more ways than one.
03-16-2010 12:15:00 | More by Kegatron
4.33/5 rDev -1.4%
Undated bottle served in a goblet. Beer is black and forms a thin brown head. Carbonation is low and so is lacing.
There is a nice coffee aroma with a slight hint of vanilla. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the aroma develops more and there is more of a vanilla character to it, also more sweetness.
There is a strong coffee flavor and bitterness in the back palate. The front palate detects a mild sweetness. The beer is smooth, no carbonation on the palate. Beer is lighter in body than expected overall. The bitterness lingers but there is no aftertaste, just a flavor that holds on. Overall, pretty enjoyable and a good porter for sure.
03-16-2010 14:03:15 | More by drabmuh
4.7/5 rDev +7.1%
I had this on tap at brass rail deli in campbelltown - served chilled in a snifter allowed to warm gradually.
A - An ebony liquid, no light passing through. The porter is augmented by a thick rocky cream cap which sticks securely to the glass as it settles, the bead is very fine
S -The smell is intensely aromatic w/ sweet notes of caramel and vanilla floral aspects shining through, mild coffee elements provide a sturdy scent for the vanilla bean and the aroma of alcohol is very mild, yet sligthly noticeable. I get a subtle bittersweet cocoa note in addition to the strong vanilla qualities
M - The feel is creamy, smooth and highly carbonated for the strength, yet it does not detract from the overall texture which has a sweet edge and moderately high bitterness quotient to balance the malt body with a light alcohol note in the semi-dry finish
T - The flavor is a complex array of earthy and sweet notes, both beans are noticeable, yet not overdone in the flavor. The vanilla is the standout adding an almost silky cocoa quality to the caramel notes of the malt. The coffee is almost bordering on citrus with its gentle sweet accents and mild roasted notes. The porter itself is smooth, mild roasted flavors with lots of caramel undertones which are balanced by a slightly spiced flavor from the hops which are bitter and add to the complexity bringing you back for some more vanilla goodness into the last sip
D - Wow, a truly unique Porter calling anything other than Imperial would be wrong -it has so many attributes, though. The masterful use of the spices improves the overall beer rather than detract from it which is why it gets the '5' it really never lingers in one flavor realm too long, it is a progressively subtle yet intense and balanced experience. The 10% is not apparent until after you've downed a snifter - so deceptive and yet so luxurious.
07-27-2010 14:05:48 | More by Slatetank
4.5/5 rDev +2.5%
Ooooh, I've been waiting to try this beer for a while, and I finally found a good time to do it, a nice snowy day.
A: A heavy pour gives a biiig 3 finger head, which is dark, rich, creamy, and fades slowly. The color is almost pitch black, but not quite.
N: Nose is loaded with roasted malts, coffee, dark rich malts, vanilla and oak. A touch of chocolate graces its presence.
T: Wow, tons of rich thick goodness. Lots of milk chocolate, coffee, vanilla roasted goodness, and dark malts. A ton of vanilla. Some more rich milk chocolate, and bitter bakers chocolate. Then a little oak to go with it. more coffee and roast. A little sweetness, but it hides the abv very well!
M: Thick, luscious, and creamy milky, good carbonation.
F: Finishes a little bitter, with lots of creamy richness and milk chocolate lingering. The vanilla never seems to go away either. Coffee and oak also linger a bit, with some dark malts. The bitterness of both stout like quality and hints of hops seem to build more and more as I drink more. Overall it delivers just as it promises too, lots of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, roast, creamy goodness, and just overall luscious deliciousness, and hides the abv well with all that.
02-17-2010 00:04:09 | More by jlindros
4.6/5 rDev +4.8%
wow! this one floored me, and its been awhile since a beer has blown me away! on tap at bangers and lace in Chicago. it pours a molten black color, hints of brown, but entirely impenetrable to light. there is an obvious weight to this, and a half inch of mocha colored head on top that slowly fades out. the nose is intensely vanilla, sweet and fresh above the deep dark abyssal malts, which are raw chocolate, burnt coffee, and very bitter aromatically. the coffee to me is more pronounced in the flavor than the nose, and the vanilla is strong on both fronts. this doesn't need to be barrel aged, its got all the complexity one could ever imagine already. I taste everything from whole wheat chex cereal to velvety milk chocolate, bakers cocoa, and vanilla frosting. it remains fairly unsweet, given its ingredients are so desserty. huge body, but intimidating. sips like silk, and the alcohol content is barely noticeable. easily one of the best beers ive had in a long time, and ballast point has now impressed me three times out of three, hard. this is a beer not to be missed, and I hope to be lucky enough to encounter it again. like nothing else around, and a real masterpiece.
07-21-2013 15:10:58 | More by StonedTrippin
4.23/5 rDev -3.6%
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.
03-03-2012 15:13:00 | More by Rifugium
4.38/5 rDev -0.2%
Thanks to kaiser81 for sending me this bottle.
Pours dark brown with a khaki head. The aroma is a mix of strong black coffee with hints of chocolate. The flavor is black coffee with vanilla and some chocolate. The coffee and vanilla merge together very well to make a very good beer. The mouthfeel is very creamy and the carbonation is low.
01-19-2010 21:41:56 | More by Mora2000
4.15/5 rDev -5.5%
Poured from a bomber into a snifter.
Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown color with a little light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.
Smell: Definitely getting the coffee along with some vanilla. There are some dark fruit notes along with a roast. I'm getting the alcohol burn as well.
Taste: Coffee and roasted malts dominate the flavor right off the bat. I'm getting some dark fruit and vanilla notes as well. As the sip progresses, you get some bitterness along with a burn from the alcohol. The finish is roasty and a bit boozy. Not overly sweet, especially considering the ABV.
Mouthfeel: The body is on the thicker side with lots of carbonation and a dry finish.
Overall: A very good coffee beer. The flavor was quite full and there was a lot going on. I actually wish this beer was a bit sweeter, but I still enjoyed it.
07-25-2012 23:53:19 | More by oline73
3.35/5 rDev -23.7%
A black liqueur of a beer.
Nice to look at, with a topping of beige-tinted foam. Pleasant enough carbonation. Intense flavors. Hot with alcohol and tastes like rum, with a dollop of Bailey's Cream. Hops are a good touch and cut the sweet maltiness, leaving a bitter aftertaste. I just keep thinking of those flavored instant coffees.
I guess this boils down to whether you like coffee and ice cream in your beer. Maybe for dessert with a piece of angel food cake.
05-05-2011 03:23:19 | More by mactrail
4.05/5 rDev -7.7%
Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
a - Pours a dark brown color with one finger of tan head. Light carbonation and lacing evident.
s - Smells of milk chocolate, roasted malts, cofee, and a hint of alcohol.Some vanilla too. Very nice.
t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, hops, roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol.
m - High carbonation and medium body. Some alcohol warmth.
d - A pretty good porter. Smells amazing with lots going on, but I wasn't the biggest fan of the bitterness in the taste; it was a bit too much. I didn't get any vanilla from the taste which I would have liked, and also thought the high carbonation hurt it a bit. None the less, it is still a very good porter worth checking out. Would have again.
05-11-2010 23:43:05 | More by mdfb79
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,688 ratings.