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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
98
world-class

4,788 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,788
Reviews: 1,071
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 881
Gots: 1,150 | FT: 88
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: 4,788 | Reviews: 1,071 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
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 drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of mdfb79
4.07/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bomber of this with a friend. Pours a rich, dark black. Smells of roastiness and coffee. Taste is full bodied, great mouthfeel. The vanilla adds a great taste and complexity to this overall delicious tasting brew. Smooth and well hidden alcohol, this was a fantastic beer with the sips going down way too quickly and easily. Highly recommended, this brewery has yet to let me down in the least bit.

Photo of kojevergas
3.8/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really excited for this one; I reviewed this on-draught last year and fell in love with it. Saw it on the shelf and had to revisit it. Enjoy by 11/08/13. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Cost was $7.99; I also saw it tonight at Sunset Beer Co. for $8.99 10% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge but allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Presentation: I dig the label, which bears a skeleton manning the wheel of a ship. Cool art, and more inventive than Ballast Point's usual uninspired fish.

A: Pours a one finger rich tan colour head of gorgeous cream and thickness, and good retention for the high ABV (~2 minutes). Lacing is decent. Body colour is a solid jet black. Nontransparent and opaque. Looks precisely as it should for the style. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Complex and subtle vanilla notes are unquestionable dominant. Heavy coffee/java also comes through alongside a delightful roasted character - both from the coffee itself as well as from the barley. Cocoa powder on the backend. Coffee emerges more and more as it warms. Some clean malty sweetness. The vanilla has depth, as though from vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract or some of the artificial crap they use in poorer vanilla beers (see Tanilla). No yeast or alcohol is detectable. A moderately strong aroma, and certainly an inviting one.

T: Heavy vanilla throughout, coalescing with the malty sweetness right on the finish. The coffee is more buried in the body, layered between dark malts, but it lends a pleasant character that helps balance the vanilla. What's sorely missing is the roasted barley character from the nose. God, the ABV is nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, I get a somewhat metallic note about the climax that rings artificial next to the vanilla. I don't remember that being a problem with the draught version. No yeast character at all.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with adequate body. Not too thick. Carbonation is good, if slightly high - though I imagine this'll suit it well for aging. Good presence on the palate. She slides down easy enough.

Dr: Extremely drinkable for the high ABV. I'll have no trouble killing this bomber by myself. I think fresh maybe the vanilla is a bit too sweet; I'd give this a good three weeks to mellow out a bit. I've got a bottle aging from last year in my cellar and will post notes on that as soon as I get around to it. Another great beer from Ballast Point. One of my favourite porters, and quite possibly my favourite vanilla beer so far. A great dessert treat.

Low B+

Please, serve it slightly chilled. It's best once as it warms to room temperature.

Would pair well with sweets.

Photo of smcolw
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great ring lace on the glass from the substantive tan head. Dark, dark brown color where no lace passes.

Lots of coffee and a little bit of cream. Basically, mocha in aroma. Low level of sweetness...reminiscent of good cocoa.

Lots of powdered chocolate in the flavor. Sweet and bitter from the malt. Rich body with a relatively low level of carbonation. Almost chewy. The aftertaste is complicated: Notable hop bitterness with some dark chocolate malt and sweet milky flavor. Deceptively high in alcohol.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Mora2000
4.37/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled April 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a dense, creamy, darkly browned crown of froth that rises three fingers in height. The head leaves copious amounts of dense lace on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides. The beer is almost pure black in color, but does have a touch of brown to it. When held up to the light the beer shows just a touch of an amber hue to it around the edges, but I wouldn't really say that it is passing any light through. The aroma has the coffee leading off along with roasted malt notes, but it has a soft backdrop of vanilla that becomes more noticeable the longer I spend smelling the aroma (though it never goes beyond subtle). The vanilla accentuates a solid dark chocolate aromatic note here and it also helps to soften the sharp, roasted grain and coffee notes. The nose has quite a rich, satisfying, even satiating quality to it.

As the beer hits my tongue I notice that it has a rich, satisfying heft to it, though it is not quite as heavy as the nose might have suggested; it is still a sipping beer though. Vanilla flavors accentuate a malt sweetness as well as a dark chocolate flavor. Bitter, roasted coffee flavors are found in the finish and can get a touch acrid at times. The bitterness from the dark malt and coffee flavors really lingers on in the finish.

This beer has a nice balance to it, between the vanilla notes and sweetness up front and the roasted, biting notes towards the finish, but it can seem a little simplistic at times. The vanilla really helps this beer shine; the roast malt and coffee notes would be too aggressive, too acrid and too bitter without the vanilla. This is definitely a nice after dinner sipping brew and I find that I am quite enjoying it.

Photo of wrightst
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of duceswild
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of orangesol
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
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 Gavage
4.26/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown almost black color with a thick 3" milk chocolate colored head. Moderate lace paints the glass.

Smell: loads of vanilla, roasted malt, and chocolate is easy to detect.

Taste: big roasted malt flavors with a load of vanilla, some coffee tones, moderate amount of bitter chocolate, and some moderate bitterness. Alcohol is barely noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit creamy at the finish. Aftertaste is long lasting.

Drinkability: this is a slow sipping beer, but the flavors keeps it interesting throughout. Definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.24/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black, with a full-finger light brown head.

S: Great smell of roasted coffee beans, one of the best smelling beers I have had in a while, I just want to keep smelling it until the volatiles dissapate.

T: The mix of coffee and roasted malt is real nice here, but is not as good as Speedway. Still it's a nice brew, and has excellent dark chocolate notes.

M: Smooth and full-bodied, it hides it's 10% very well, but you'll feel it by the end.

D: A nice finish to my BP round, 2nd best of the 5 IMO, it's nice to be able to try this stuff, though it sucks I may never have them again.

Edit - 2/8/10 - Got to have this again, yum.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.57/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black with a two finger mocha head with large bubbles in it. The beer has very good head retention and significant lacing.
S: Roasty malts with hints of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate.
T: Starts with the taste of the vanilla, followed by coffee, then a little chocolatey, and finishes with a nice roasty maltiness... has a little bit of the bitter acidity that one would normally associate with coffee. The taste of the alcohol is hidden.
M: Very full bodied with very little carbonation, nicely coats the inside of your mouth while drinking it.
O: Wonderful example of the porter style and something I could definitely have over and over again.

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 12/10/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big vanilla, cream, milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, light roasted malt, and dark bread. Incredible aromas with great balance and complexity of dark malt and sweet vanilla notes. Taste of milk chocolate, vanilla, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, floral, and light pine. Lingering notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, dark bread, floral, and light pine on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted and sweet creamy vanilla malty flavor; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic imperial vanilla porter! Great balance and complexity of roasted and sweet malty flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on for 10%. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 bomber I purchased fresh that year it was released and completely forgot about it until today. Poured into a snifter, it appears dark brown in color with more than a finger of dark tan head. The cap recedes to a thin film across the top. A light swirl brings back a finger of dark khaki head. When held to the light, it shows some dark brown clarity around the edges with some indication of red through the body.

The smell includes everything you would expect based off of the aroma. Coffee, vanilla, roasty grain, chocolate and a bit of a citrus element that comes from a combination of hops and the citrus component of strong coffee. A little bit of mineral inclusion is present as well as a musty grain/coffee and sulfur inclusion towards the back. The more I smell this brew, the more it comes across like cocoa.

The taste of this brew is roasty initially that blends into a flavor of vanilla and coffee. The coffee is lightly musty and contains a bit of a citrus element. The roast is bitter and produces some unsweetened chocolate flavors. There is a bit of a mineral element present that blends into the citrus element of the hops and coffee. Each flavor is individually identifiable but collective comes together to make a fairly good brew.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The 10% abv is felt with both flavor and warmth but it blends nicely with the character displayed throughout. Overall not a bad brew, this is something I wouldn't mind revisiting immediately after it's release to see how that coffee is while it is fresh.

Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of yourefragile
3.8/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle shared with 321Jeff

I was fairly excited to try this but I'll cut to the chase and say I found this a little too sweet, rich and artificial tasting so I was happy this was being shared. Pours a dark, sludgy near black chocolate with a tan head which barely moves and covers the inside of the glass in sheets. Aroma is actually very pleasant, with little vanilla presence. Primarily a roasted malt, typical porter aroma with a pleasant punch of coffee beans. Unlike the aroma, the flavor begins with a potent vanilla sweetness. Body is very creamy and smooth, low carbonation and chewy finish. The vanilla slowly blends into a strong roast coffee flavor which lingers into a slightly bitter, hoppy burnt finish. Not much porter presence here, or alcohol presence. Not a bad beer, certainly unique, but too sweet and artificial for me to rate this much higher.

Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tasting glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a thin layer but leaves lots of splattered lace. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Nice coffee/espresso flavors with chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. It is balanced out by grassy hops.

Taste: Lots of coffee and espresso again. Then the caramel and chocolate roll in. Followed by a nice amount of vanilla. Lots of roasted flavors with some grassy hops and a hint of citrus to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a little rich. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted, but relatively clean.

Overall, a very solid beer. I really enjoyed this porter. A big beer and none of the 10% abv showed. Very drinkable for how big it is.

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 4,788 ratings.