Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,158 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,158
Hads: 5,635
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.51%
Wants: 949
Gots: 1,578 | FT: 108
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: 1,158 | Hads: 5,635
Photo of aasher
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of thagr81us in a recent massive trade. Thanks Calton! I've been wanting to try this forever.

It pours a dark, dark, dark brown in color, medium in body, with a light beige lacing around my snifter. The aromas are an array of soft chocolates, toffee, lightly roasted malts, vanilla, coffee with cream, with a subtle sweetness. Surprisingly there is no bitterness on the nose at all. The flavors consist of sweet milk chocolate, lightly creamed coffee, dark chocolate, light vanilla bean, chocolate milk, and it finishes with a slight coffee bitterness. It's really smooth and moderately rich. It's sweet but not too sweet. Overall it's a very, very nice beer and a hell of a porter. The alcohol isn't overly present and it's a fine beer to sip on. This is another well made beer from Ballast point and worth your while. (845 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours pitch black with a thin medium brown head that dissipates to a thin film and thick ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma dominated by roasted coffee and vanilla with a bit of alcohol, reminiscent of a coffee liqueur, light toasted malt. Flavor of espresso coffee, vanilla, toasted malt, light oak; finishes with charred, rich coffee and long lasting hop bitterness with a hint of chili pepper hotness. Medium bodied with some creaminess. A very nice, complex porter, rich enough to pass as a stout. Flavors a very complex and rather unusual for a porter, with the ambigous nature of the final pepperiness and bitterness especially interesting. A hyped beer that lives up to its reputation. (736 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev -8%
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. (1,190 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dark brown with an inch tall mocha head. Great lacing and head retention, especially given the style. I received the second half of this bomber and it contained a chocolate worm-like protein creature...I'm going to have nightmares for days.

S- Vanilla whiffs.

T- The vanilla is abundant, not quite cloyingly though. Very sweet. Nice chocolate and coffee notes as well.

M- Thick(!) and creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

D/O- Overall this was a pleasure to try. For fans of huge vanilla/chocolate flavors. Over the top...but in a good way. Would seek out again. Thanks to the guy who traded me for this at Dark Lord Day! (633 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark heresy chocolate pour becomes coffee black in the tulip glass with a substantial and sturdy cinnamon colored head that refused to budge much. A thin spongy coating lines the interior for lace. Simple deep coloring, and a very nice head both color and structure wise gives this some lasting appeal.

S: Smooth roasty coffee for aroma, along with some dry bitter chocolate intermingles with a medium sense of strength. Freshly burnt firewood rounds things out.

T: The flavor is hearty and thick, creamy with substantial body highlighted with a dark coffee roast, dry vanilla bean, and freshly burnt timber. Dark roasted chocolate malts combine with a smooth, dry earthy bitterness of espresso beans providing a dark and heavenly coffee flavor that may make you forget your are drinking a beer and more like a fancy $10 cup of specialty coffee, especially when with a well concealed alcohol content of 10%abv drinking much lower like a 7% at best.

M: luscious, hearty and thick with a creaminess that adds both weight and resistance upon a swirl. Big burnt bitterness and dark roast coffee lingers long after the swallow, staying for quite a bit.

D: Wow, is there really 10%abv in this, with the heavenly dark coffee roast you wont even notice. Robust, hearty this is a big drink full of substance and flavor that will dare you to have more then one. (1,362 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Tan finely bubbled head. Fantastic retention and lace. Bowling ball black with cola highlights.

S - Mocha, coffee, soft vanilla, and fantastic roast.

T - Soft balance on a profile loaded with flavor. Vanilla and coffee into dry roast and warm booze. Rich mocha finish.

M - Smooth, full bodied frame.

O - Thick profile, almost more stout than porter, but still delicious. (378 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip. Looking forward to this one!

Appearance: entirely black body -- not much else to be said here! Head pours a thick finger of rich, frothy, dark-tan foam. Retention is decent, and a nice lace is left on the glass. Bam!

Smell: rich, sweet coffee and roasty aroma. Very light and subtle hints of vanilla are indeed coming through. In general, there is not a lot of complexity to the aroma; however, it seems extremely clean and well-crafted. I like it a lot.

Taste: rich and heavy porter taste. Lots of roastiness with plenty of coffee thrown in; the coffee is nice but definitely adds its share of bitterness. Hop bitterness is also high; unfortunately, though, there is a quite a bit of vegetal hop character which detracts from the overall flavor in my book. Still a tasty beer, though.

Mouthfeel: big body with a rich, smooth and creamy texture. I like it a lot, but I feel like maybe there is a bit of missed opportunity here -- the beer is not a super silky and sleek as I feel it could be.

Overall: this is a great-looking and great-smelling beer; tasty, too, but I feel like the cleanliness of the flavor and the smoothness of the texture could be dialed in just a little bit more. (1,228 characters)

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark chocolate brown with a half finger of brown head that left good sticky lacing on the glass. Roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla dominate the nose which also had chocolate slight nutty, and a little sweet lacto notes. Like the nose the roasted malts seem to pop more but the chocolate is a bit stonger on taste that had vanilla and coffee accents. There is was also a little underlying booze and nutty flavors. The beer was medium body with a good amount of carbonation that had a sweet roasty creamy finish. Overall it drank very good and was even better when paired with chocolate brownies. I will definitely try to get more of this tasty brew. (658 characters)

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Virtually black, with a sticky, thin layer of irregular bubbles on top. Looks strong.

S - Apple skin to black chocolate with cane sugar. Notes of alcohol and dark, rich sweetness. Maybe some steamed milk.

T - An assertive flavor profile with heavy coffee presence. Not much in the way of vanilla. There is a sweetness in the middle, but the strength of the coffee takes over. The 10% ABV is present; too strong for the rich flavors to mask.

M - Rich and strong, like a cappuccino. This beer is very sturdy and dry.

O - A hearty brew, but not sure this is a porter. This one seems like a coffee stout more or less. (621 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, big thanks to dyan and DRINKNDRIVE for the hookup.

Pours a deep and opaque black, some ruby red highlights, thick tan head forms, drops down to a thin ring around the glass, some lacing sticks, and great retention. Smell is real nice, vanilla and chocolate, caramel, burnt sugar, dark fruit, milk, lactose sweetness, honey/nougat, touch of coffee roast, really rich. Taste is similar, very nice, vanilla up front, toffee, lactose sweetness, burnt brown sugar, chocolate and some coffee roast, dark fruit/raisins, very malty, nougat finish, touch more roast in the back. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down but ABV is well hidden. Awesome beer, reminds me of an imperial version of Aphrodisiaque from DDC. Thanks guys! (782 characters)

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

Bottle courtesy of the generous trader known as russpowell. Thanks Russ!

This pours a near pitch black with about an inch of tan foam. The foam is receding fairly quickly and at this point there's some lacing.

The smell is very big vanilla! Vanilla and caramel malt sweetness. I can't say I smell any coffee at all...maybe that will change during the session.

The taste doesn't hide the coffee at all. Big flavourful notes of coffee and vanilla dominate and dominate in a very nice way. Very tasty. I get a light chocolate flavour as well with some caramel malt sweetness. Overall, the taste is ruled by bitterness but the malt and vanilla hang in there big time. Oh, there's the alcohol now, not so much in the taste but definitely gives a nice warming after the swallow.

It has a pretty thich chewy mouthfeel to it and the carbonation is on the light side but perfectly suited. At this point, the foam and lacing gone.

Drinkability? I'm not going to kid anyone and say I could drink this all night long but hell, it *is* damn drinkable for the strength of this monster and I think the collaberation between the vanilla and coffee works oh so well. A real treat to drink and one I'd look forward to trying again. Wonderful brew! (1,234 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Wow, so impressive. Only other vanilla porter I've had was from Breckenridge, also good, but more pedestrian than this. Pours black like a stout, always a good sign. Smell, just gives a hint of the vanilla, but there's more of that to come.

The taste if phenomenal. Delic. The vanilla must absorb some alcohol, because I was shocked after having a few sips to find out this is 10%. I was guessing in the 7% range. Love when that happens. So smooth, went so good with the pork tenderloin tonight, which usually you don't pair with a stout.

Subsequent batches haven't seemed all that world class, but always very good. But they keep selling out very quickly, so they must be doing something right. (697 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber opened on 1-22-12.

A - Pours a dark brown with a dark tan head. Great retention with good lacing.

S - Nutty and lots or roasted malts.

T - Chocolate milk and roasted malts, lots of vanilla.

D - Good carbonation and medium body.

O - Bitter chocolate and lots of coffee and vanilla. Not quite what I was hoping for. (331 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

650ml bomber poured into pint glass 2/4/14

A not as dark as expected, dark cola and I could actually see the light on the other side, loose mocha foam takes a few sips to fall to a thin film leaving a few rings along the way

S dark roasted coffee grinds, bakers chocolate, lots of char, a hint of booze but its fairly well hidden, vanilla, coco, powder and more coffee, kind of smells like something I'd drink to start my day without the cream

T the coffees more like a strong espresso in the mouth, very intense dark coffee, heavy charred wood, vanilla, dark chocolate and slightly more booze then the nose

M light bodied for a 10% porter, crazy bitter, foams up a little then ends up flat, a little boozy, super intense dark roast on the finish, not the best feeling big dark brew I've had recently

O it is what it claims, I can feel the caffeine and booze at the same time, she's a big intense brew that I wouldn't recommend as a night cap

a little dead in the mouth with some booze popping up every so often, almost to much coffee and I love my coffee, its still great beer but I wouldn't place it in the top 100 in the world where it sits today (1,157 characters)

Photo of Brad007
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

She pours a pitch black, reminiscent 'o dark nights on a foamin' mad sea. thar's no woe fer them seekin' th' light here.

Vanilla bean, cream 'n cocoa greet th' nose. As it warms up, th' flavors increase in intensity. Mmm.

Vanilla compliments th' cocoa 'n coffee notes apparent here.

Despite bein' a baltic porter, it beats out a few imperial stouts bin had latel. extra spit shine finish. Lin'erin' vanilla, cream 'n cocoa flavors. It rivals Stone's Vanilla Porter in strength 'n despite th' fact that it has more alcohol, it never hits ye over th' head wit' it.

Easily one 'o me favorite baltic porters. th' use 'o vanilla adds to th' complexity. (655 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.09/5  rDev -29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, trade with beerman4. Dark brown with a thin tan head. A very strong smell, roasted malts, sweet vanilla, maybe just a little coffee. Almost cloyingly sweet from the vanilla, also too bitter in the aftertaste. Could use more malt presence and less extra flavoring. The body is a tad thin for a robust porter style, didn't match well.

I'm a little disappointed overall, the taste is too sweet, the vanilla is more prominent than I'd like, and the coffee is too bitter. The bottle states this is an artisinal masterpiece but I disagree. Their IPA's are solid though. (577 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, stamp says enjoy by 11/26/13. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head that sticked around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate. The taste is pretty much just like the aroma, it tastes like coffee, roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of caramel. It starts off bitter, and then the sweet flavors catch up to balance things out. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit creamy and has moderate carbonation. The 10% ABV is well hidden. I have to say this is a pretty good overall brew. As soon as I heard Ballast Point was coming to Ohio, this was the beer from them that I was wanting to try the most, and it hasn't disappointed! $8.99 a bomber, I know I'll be buying this again. (884 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap.

Pours black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with good amounts of semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malt flavors up front are joined by semi-sweet chocolate almost immediately. Midway through the sip smooth vanilla flavors join the fray and carry through until a bitter chocolate ending. The vanilla flavors manage to linger for a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. The thickness is very nice with soft carbonation. As it warms it becomes smoother.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass rather quickly and could have a few more.

Overall this was a very good Imperial Porter. I have to say I didn't get a whole lot of coffee flavors out of this, but the beer did just fine without them. Worth a shot. (836 characters)

Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second time on this beer, this is a fresh review. My first experience I had aged the bottle for a year plus (which I recommend, this beer is a B fresh and an A aged). Anyway...

Aroma begins with a boat ton of coffee and dark roasted malts. As you further investigate you get notes of toffee sweetness, vanilla and a slight alcohol presence.

The taste directly follows the nose; roasted malts assault the taste buds followed by coffee bitterness and slight toffee sweetness. Just like the smell, the hints of vanilla, chocolate and alcohol become more prevalent as you get to glass #2 (this was a 22 oz. bottle). The roasted maltiness/coffee is slightly overpowering to be completely honest and if you don't like dark roasted coffee you probably won't like this beer. Medium bodied with average carbonation; luckily enough to balance the ABV. Flavors were much better integrated in the cellared version I had last year. The alcohol and roastiness are overpowering midway through glass #2.

Overall this fresh bottle of Imperial Porter was good but no where as good as the cellared version, so I definitely recommend this beer 100% but not fresh, buy it and hide it from yourself for at least a year, you will be rewarded if you do. (1,233 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at my local beer nutz for 9.99. Score!

A - Pours as black as a porter can get. Even if you try and hold it to it the light doesn't seem to come through. A very smooth coca colored head greets me.

S - Mostly of dark roasted malts with a small twang of vanilla in the nose. Smells kind of like a cappuccino.

T - Ow man this stuff is great! It gave off a great vibe of coffee and cream right to the tee. Too bad as it warms the coffee malt flavor takes full hold and it ABV is noticeable toward the end or I really would have loved it.

M - Medium to heavy bodied with full flavor.

D - Well at that price is truly was great to try it. Maybe it's just me but like Creme Brulee, I can't seem to focus on the extreme vanilla that everyone says is in there. A very drinkable coffee porter but would kind of work better at a lower ABV since it comes off kind of cloying. (893 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours black with a medium tan head. There is nice carbonation as it rises about 3 fingers of creamy head. It lasts a couple minutes and has great lacing that sticks from the top of the glass to the beer.

The aroma is medium, mostly roasted coffee, but not overpowering. In the middle you get the glimpse of vanilla, lake a cappucino. Wish it was a little more dominant.

The taste is good, but way to overpowered with coffee from start to finish with a bitter roast finish. I want the vanilla to come out to play more, along with some other complexity please?

The feel is good, very lasting, but limited drinkability because of the overwhelming coffee.

Overall, this is pretty good but if they toned down the coffee a bit it could be world class. (819 characters)

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

Reviewed from notes 1/12/2011

A: vanilla is predominant, coffee, a hint of white chocolate

Ap: black with a 2 finger mocha colored head, very frothy, extreme lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, very smooth, medium body, slightly heavy

Af: chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, very sweet

O: makes an excellent after dinner beer, a perfect nightcap

Cheers!
The CPJ (357 characters)

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

Picked up a bottle of this at Austin Liquors. Been wanting to try this one for a few years, glad to have finally come across it.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip an excellent oily almost black pour with a big, rocky two finger mocha head that faded to a thick mocha cloud/blanket and nice halo.

S - Wow, this smells nice. The coffee isnt too overwhelming, it is instead in great balance between chocolate and vanilla beans. Super harmonious.

T - Again, wow. Some porters/stouts that have coffee in them are just WHAM in your face coffee. Not this. Nice light, rich, powerful coffee upfront that is a perfect combination of chocolate and vanilla. Almost like a good mocha coffee. Really good, even combination of flavours with that nice vanilla there to just make this pop. The end is a bit of a battle between the nice vanilla and bitterness of the coffee, with a great lingering of the both. ABV isnt noticeable in the mouth.

M - Yeah, this is a damn good porter. Stuff is dangerously drinkable. at 10% I really dont pick up any of that at all. Very smooth, rich, creamy and what I do is hidden wonderfully by that bitter coffeesharp (there is a light, carbonation to it). Not thin, chewy, lots of bitterness from coffee and a nice sweetness of vanilla.

O - Overall This is an awesome beer. Vanilla really jumps out of this beer. Great flowing of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Waited so long to try this and it was SO worth it! (1,433 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured from a bottle to an imperial pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was an inch of foamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head and excellent lacing. A great-looking beer.

S: Smelled of coffee, vanilla, roasted malt and a little hops. A big, bold, enticing aroma.

T: Tastes like it smells. roasted coffee, roasted malt, and vanilla and a slight hoppiness in the finish. Very flavorful and bold.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. A full-bodied beer.

D: An excellent example of an American Porter. Exceedingly drinkable. (576 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, brawleys - charlotte. split during MNF

appearance: pours into a standard pint - dark ebony body with a creamy chocolate crest. very nice

smell: holy batmobile, rich roasty chocolate cap, strong roasted espresso, french roast, vanilla, alcohol

taste: awesome beer - robust and full bodied, huge espresso notes, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. epic coffee beer - glad to see this one around

mouthfeel: huge body, creamy, robust - full flavor

drinkability: nice (489 characters)

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,158 ratings.