1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

4,819 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,819
Reviews: 1,075
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 885
Gots: 1,164 | FT: 91
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,819 | Reviews: 1,075 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MaseFace
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of facesnorth
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of bump8628
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.53/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Big fluffy mocha head with pretty good stay. Eventually it recedes but not with out throwing tons of lacing in the form of rings around the glass. The beer its self is a coffee colored deep brown that collects in the glass and becomes opaque black.

S- Coffee is dominate. Some hops are detectable underneath the roasted coffee soft vanilla and caramel. Its pretty nice. Let this one warm and use a glass thats easy to swirl. The nose will then come alive.

T- Coffee lovers unite! This is pretty heavy on the bitter, roasted, black coffee. Under that is the vanilla. Its like adding vanilla to a cup of coffee. There is a suggestion of hops towards the end. They add a juiciness and pine to the finish. The aftertaste is like milk chocolate and vanilla. This is a really roasty and bitter porter.

M- Fairly thick. Lots of carbonation that fluffs up the mouthfeel a lot.

D- Very robust and delicious. The alcohol isnt too noticeable, not with the in your face coffee characteristics of this beer.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.98/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of a good trader....thank you Ryan. Also shared with the father-in-law over the weekend. I am happy with his progress :)

Pours black with crimson highlights and a sparse white webbing along the surface and a thin white collar. She looks the part.

Rich and sweet with the vanilla displayed prominently, though extract-ily. Dark chocolate and cola follow suit with some medium roast coffee lurking behind the curtains.

Thankfully, the coffee is far more dominant in the taste. Strong bitter roast envelops much of what follows. Vanilla and dark chocolate cloaked by coffee that hammers the palate. Roast is heavy with vanilla playing a twangy metallic along the way.

Heavy and lightly carbonated, this carries itself well.

In the end, this is a nice treat but not a beer to enjoy is quantity. Vanilla is tricky to pull off and when overdone tastes too metallic and, at times, fake. This beer plays with that line and borders on cloying after a few ounces. A great share with a group, but not an ever day drinker for this guy.

Photo of shehateme
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of rangerred
4.49/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter out of a 22oz bomber.

Pours pitch black and reminds me of used motor oil. Not much in the way of a head but the wisps of lacing left on the sides of the glass is truly impressive considering the abv.

The aroma is extremely pleasant and soft. Dark roast coffee and some light hints of caramel. The vanilla is there but it is very subtle, much more so than any other vanilla flavored beer I have had before. Dark chocolate is also mixed in. Sort of reminds me of a mocha coffee drink.

The flavor is even more impressive and substantial than the aroma. The vanilla is extremely subtle and well-integrated becoming most apparent immediately after the sip. Dark roast coffee and vanilla quickly followed by a shot of caramel. Bitterness reminiscent of dark chocolate and espresso followed then by more vanilla and moderate sweetness. Mouthfeeel is on the sticky side and there is a little bit of tannic bitterness on the roof of the mouth.

Overall, an extremely well done coffee vanilla porter. For once the vanilla is not overdone and is perfectly integrated. A sipper for sure but perfect for the cold winter months and one to savor over the course of an evening.

Photo of brother_kenneth
4.46/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely delicious beer. It is very flavorful and tastes exactly as advertised. One definitely doesn't have to look for the coffee and vanilla. Both are huge in the nose AND the taste. If this was a limited bottle, people would line up for it.

Photo of GeoffreyM
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of sharpski
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of gratefulbeerhead
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of ckeegan04
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Black as night with a medium brown tight foamy cap, about two fingers thick. Slowly fades to about an inch of foam and lingers through most of the drink. Thick rings of foam left on the glass.

S - Lot sof fresh roasted coffee bean in the nose with a faint hint of vanilla. Big bitter roasty malt aroma as well.

T - Strong bitter roasted cofee bean taste initially. A light sweetness with a hint of fresh vanilla bean lingers in the background but this is very much a coffee intensive beer. Roasted malts provide the backbone. Almost no hops whatsoever other than a faint floralness in the finish.

M/D - Full bodied and very creamy. Lively carbonation carries the beer through your mouth. Very easy drinking. One of the better coffee beers I have had in a long time and the vanilla provides a very nice sweet match.

Photo of nrs207
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Damian
4.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 22 fl. oz./1 pint 6 fluid ounces/650 ml bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westbooro, MA
Served in a snifter

The liquid poured a deep brown/black with a frothy, one-finger, cocoa-colored crown that faded to a lasting ring. A substantial amount of drippy lacing cascaded down the glass with every sip.

Super smooth, freshly brewed coffee dominated the aroma. The coffee was potent yet well balanced by a milky sweetness. Strong vanilla notes came through as well. Caramel malts trailed in the background. Although the aroma was not terribly complex, it was really pleasant and inviting.

The flavor profile was interesting (perhaps more so than the aroma) but lacked the intensity and smoothness of the nose. Deep and malty up front. French roast coffee beans appeared in the center. Some bakers chocolate notes came through as well. The finish was a bit more harsh than I anticipated it to be. Quite roasty and ashy (almost a touch acrid) with a generous dose of piney, bitter hops.

The mouthfeel was pillowy soft and frothy. Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation. For a 10% ABV brew, I was hoping for a bit more heft however.

Drinkability was notable. This beer buried its alcohol quite well.

Victory at Sea has its strong points (aroma and flavor profile on the font end) as well as its shortcomings (finish and mouthfeel). This is a very good imperial porter (which is incorrectly categorized as an "American porter" here on BeerAdvocate) but there are a number of coffee infused beers out there which are better.

Photo of mctizzz
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of bmur112
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of klipper
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of falloutsnow
4.16/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From: Urbana Co-op, Urbana, IL
Best by: 2013-11-26
Glass: Tulip

Despite being a few months past its expiration date, this bottle of Victory at Sea tastes exceptionally good, balanced, though a bit too ethanol-forward in taste presentation. That being said, the roasted malt and coffee characters have good interplay, leading to a pleasant and complex overall taste. This is a good-tasting beer, one that given the high ABV, I wish Ballast Point would put in four-packs instead of 22oz bombers. One I would pick up again if in the mood.

Pours a 2cm tall head of dark tan colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles on bottom, larger on top, yielding a fairly frothy, somewhat soapy appearance. Retention is average, the head lasting for about one minute, eventually fading to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass and a large island of foam atop the body of the beer. Lacing is excellent, with complex, thin patterns and large dots clinging to the walls of the glass. Body is a dark brown to black color, with light revealing no differences in the beer. Carbonation not visible anywhere throughout the opaque body.

Aroma of somewhat acrid roasted malt mixed with smooth vanilla, coffee grounds, and light chocolate.

Overall flavor is of roasted malt contributing cocoa and burnt toast, base malt contributing sweetness, moderate coffee, mild vanilla, and ethanol. Front of palate tastes sweet milk chocolate, coffee, burnt toast, vanilla, cinnamon, and ethanol. Mid-palate tastes roasted, slightly acrid malt that balances between just the right amount of sweetness and too much roasted character, varying between the two depending on sip. There are attendant flavors of coffee, ethanol, anise, vanilla, and cinnamon. Back of palate tastes charred toast, ethanol, bitter chocolate and coffee, and mild vanilla. Aftertaste of fairly bitter, acrid roasted malt with bitter chocolate and coffee ground flavor.

Beer is medium-heavy to heavy in body, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a bit of light foaminess in the background. This is good for the beer, as at 10% ABV it needs to be a slow, sipping beverage. Closes dry, with moderate stickiness clinging to the palate.

Photo of kell50
4.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on draft many times at Duckworth's in Charlotte, NC. Time for a review!

A: Very dark black with a nice 2 finger off white creamy head that seems to completely attach itself to the glass. Looks similar to a Guinness as it flows from the tap.

S: MMMM. There's so much going on here. I first detect some roasted coffee notes up front; followed by hints tobacco, vanilla beans, caramel, and dark chocolate.

T: Tastes just like it smells. Fresh brewed coffee, vanilla, chocolaty sweetness and with a touch of a smoke as well. Probably the most full flavored porter I've ever had. Victory at Sea clocks in at 10% abv, but drinks more like 5%. Scary.

M: This beer definitely has a heavier, full-bodied mouthfeel. It's sticky, viscous, and has a low amount of carbonation.

O: Very impressed by this beer! It's an excellent pairing with cold temperatures. The beer's flavors and richness became more pronounced as the beer reached room temperature.

Photo of cjgiant
4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.43/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours black with a two-inch tan head. The head dies down after a few minutes, but never quite goes away. Lacing clings to the glass in rings.

S: Whole, roasted coffee beans with hints of vanilla bean and a roasted malt base. Malted milk balls. Faint dark chocolate. Not the most complex nose, but it still smells quite good.

T: Bitter and acidic coffee flavors kick things off. Darkfruit lingers underneath with almost a tart edge. Vanilla bean barely breaks through now and then. Kick of citric hops. More bitter coffee. Dark chocolate before the finish. Nutty and coffee tastes finish, along with some lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied. Creamy. Low carbonation. Good enough to get the job done, but it seems to be lacking some intangible dimension.

O: Too bitter, in my opinion, with a double dose coming from both the coffee and the ample hopping. Hop tastes were also very distracting and felt out of place. Good but not great, don't see what all the fuss is about.

Notes: This beer disappears from the shelves very quickly around here, and has quite a reputation. Not sure why. I can readily think of several similar and easier to find options at this price point or lower that I would rather have.

Photo of dertyd
3/5  rDev -31.8%

Photo of snaotheus
4.31/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. My bottle doesn't look like the one in this listing's picture, and it doesn't specifically say the name in this listing. It says:
Victory At Sea
Porter with Coffee & Vanilla
Imperial Porter
I'm not sure, but I think a bottle code is printed in a weird location on the bottle (in the blue strip front and center, just to the left of the "Porter with Coffee & Vanilla"): S 35 13297. If I understand it correctly, it's a couple months old (assuming it's a bottled on date, not a best by date)

Pours barely translucent ruby-black-brown. Poured gently, starts out with no head, which surprisingly springs up out of nowhere, but then dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma is powerful. A slightly jostling of the beer sends up a cloud of delicious coffee aroma. They must use a shit-ton of coffee in this, but it smells great. But, the coffee smell nearly obscures everything else. I can detect some vague fruitiness, maybe cherry or plum, a little yeast, maybe a little of the vanilla that's mentioned on the bottle (but I probably wouldn't detect it if it wasn't listed on the bottle).

Taste is coffee bitter, sweet/sour cherry or plum slightly up front, more coffee bitter, some caramel and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is rich, gritty, nice. This is really a nice beer.

Photo of Hugonaut13
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 4,819 ratings.