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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

3,754 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,754
Reviews: 919
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 676
Gots: 701 | FT: 54
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,754 | Reviews: 919 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DoubleJ
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%

Joe at Walnut Liquorette got this from the back for me. Thanks! On to the beer:

It is black. Very black. The head forms rocky on top, holds up well, and is tanned. Nice roasted coffee bean aroma....almost like Also a little smoke. Behind all that is a whisper of citrus hops. Now there's the addition of chocolate. It really changes are you keep inhaling.

Black Marlin Porter remains one of my all-time favorite porters, and the same folks who make that beer make this one as well. There are vanilla notes, but you need to squint hard enough to taste it. From the get-go, roasted, bitter coffee dominates. Bitter chocolate sits underneath the coffee. Astringent coffee and ash linger in the aftertaste. Alcohol is hidden incredibly well in this beer. There are the hops again, which squirt a little of its juice into the nectar (and a little hop bitterness). As for the liquid, it is smooth with a medium feel. It doesn't feel like its listed 10% ABV.

The aftertaste is the chink in this beer's armor. Otherwise, a good creation by Ballast Point, with the possibility of being wonderful.

DoubleJ, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of Zorro
3.45/5  rDev -21.4%

Lightproof black colored beer with a small brown colored head.

Smell is coffee and chocolate with patent malt. Vanilla is there but the scent is more spiced rum than vanilla. Toffee and something else spicy, maybe allspice berry.

Starts out bitter chocolate with vanilla in the after taste, fairly bitter. Not a sweet beer. Chocolate and vanilla with a trace of ash in the taste. An OK Stout but they went overboard with the patent malt. Alcohol is quite detectable.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall it is at best OK. Too bad they didn't balance out the patent malt better.

Zorro, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of mothman
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

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.

mothman, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

afsdan, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of BARFLYB
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

I've been trying to find this since it's been out. I managed to try the ba version and now on to the regular, On-Tap at Capone's in a tulip.

A- Victory at sea is black, there's no doubt about it, I might as well say it looks like a stout. Usually my porters have a dark brown look, this is a step above that. Not much head, or even a cap, but once i get some room in my glass a few swirls brings forth a coffee colored head. Scattered loose lace.

S- This beer name does not lie, this is a big (imperial) smelling beer. Pretty much a porter done to the max. Up front the coffee and the chocolate make a cute couple giving off a huge roast and a bit less sweetness when put together. A nice blast of cream and vanilla beans when the temp rises. Alot of roasted malt. The roast is probably the biggest scent from this.

T- And more roast in the taste. I'm finding that the coffee and the vanilla are perfectly balanced while the chocolate is a little less in your mouth which im digging. Nice fair trade coffee with vanilla beans and more roasted malt. The roast in this makes me smile. With warming I get some chocolate syrup taste in the end. Just a touch of hop bitterness and a little bourbon which i thought would be a bit bigger, im not complaining though.

M- This one is smooth, I can't stress enough that this is one of the easiest feeling porters considering it's size. Just a small trace of alcohol after I gulp some down but not hot. A bit of a syrupy feel after 6oz or so. Above medium bodied with light carbonation and a smooth finish, bliss.

D- If this was not so high in alcohol I would of had a bunch more. If the bottles were not so damn hard to come by I would have alot of them in my cellar as I type this. One of the best [porter's that i've ever had and quite a feat for Ballast Point to come up with this recipe. Hey guys, brew some more and send it to the east, we need more for the winter.

BARFLYB, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%

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.

superspak, Apr 10, 2013
Photo of Wasatch
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, lots of coffee/chocolate/toffee, sweet vanilla. The taste is sweet, malty, nice touch of vanilla, and lots of coffee/chocolate/toffee. Medium body, the ABV is hidden pretty well with this brew. Very drinkable, this one is very tasty. Thanks Bill.

Wasatch, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

Huhzubendah, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%

Ballast Point Victory At Sea (Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter version)

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter. The darkest of browns with a light brown head. No peering through this beer, its about as dark as night. Attractive lacing that looks very ornate.

Aroma of coffee and faint vanilla sweetness.

Vanilla up front which gives way to a lingering coffee flavor. This beer also has some chocolate notes. Very decadant and full flavors. The aftertaste of coffee, cocoa and vanilla is truly remarkable. There are even some hints of oak in this beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied with a lingering coffee/bitter chocolate finish. A little syrupy in nature.

Drinkability requires some respect for this sipper. It wasn't hot with alcohol at all. Overall, this beer is just great.

Stinkypuss, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of wrightst
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

wrightst, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of BillRoth
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

BillRoth, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%

I would say this beer would be perfect first beer on a Saturday or Sunday morning tailgating.
Pours a dark dark brown, almost black. Off tan head is medium in size, looks a touch soapy.

Aroma is what makes me think of mornings. Coffee and roasted malt, like dark toast. Hints of vanilla smooth it out and calm down the roastiness.

Yum. Good flavors. Vanilla and coffee blend nicely with the coffee taking the upper hand. Dark roast and rich. Sweetness is halted by the warming alcohol, which would make drinking two or these a chore, but fun.
Smooth feel to it. Gimmie some pork and beans, grilled on an open flame with this stuff.
very nice.

Mebuzzard, Oct 12, 2010
Photo of mdaschaf
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%

Review from notes 2/6/11. Thanks to THECPJ for pulling this one out at the end of the night!

A: Pours a deep black with a thick two finger, mocha colored head. Decent lacing. Beer appears to be a bit syrupy.

S: Lots of chocolate and vanilla. A little bit of alcohol presence and a touch of coffee.

T: Really intense chocolate and vanilla flavors, they blind very nicely. There is a little bit of alcohol and a note of coffee, but the chocolate and vanilla dominate in a big way.

M/D: Medium bodied with light carbonation, but sort of heavy. Extremely enjoyable, a nice after dinner sipper, or would go great with most desserts. I was really happy (and surprised) that there wasn't as much coffee in this one, but it works for me.

mdaschaf, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

brandoman63, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.93/5  rDev +12.3%

As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so very different ingredients have led to this masterful creation. The coffee, however, undoubtedly, looks the most prominent. Victory At Sea is black and no light, no matter how bright, can change that fact. The head, once it casts its net, holds on to the glass forever.

Coffee, roasted malt and vanilla are all equally proportioned in the aroma and, I have to admit, I love them all equally - now I know how difficult a question it is for a parent to choose their favourite child. A scent like this makes you wonder why anyone bothers to barrel-age their stouts when they could achieve better results just adding coffee and vanilla.

Victory At Sea has the kind of profound, enduring, distinguished flavour that is so rich and intense it can be summoned days later. It is monumental. Not an aspect overlooked: lush vanilla bean, decadent chocolate cake, strong coffee, nuttiness, zesty hops and roasted malts. Starbucks could sell just this and be equally as popular and successful.

There are some things about this beer that cannot be overstated, one being how decadently, gratifyingly delicious it is. Another is how well the charred coffee is integrated with lusciously sweet vanilla. From a technical standpoint, the beer is near flawlessly engineered: bitter balances sweet and clean drinkability compensates for over-the-top richness.

One thing is for sure: my mouth and stomach are having a much more enjoyable time with this than my liver probably is. At 10% alcohol, this is surely one of the silkiest, most sensual double-digit strength beer I've had the pleasure of drinking. You'd never catch on if you weren't told. Calorie-counters would know better, but even they'd agree it's worth it.

Ballast Point is as constant as the North Star when it comes to putting out well-crafted, full-character, premier beers but this is not only arguably their greatest offering, but perhaps one of the best America has to offer up as well. Few beers this dark, this big and this rich could be this agreeably delicious and easily enjoyed. I'd swim across the sea if that's what it took to get another bottle. A special thanks to Ultraman9000 for this one!

biegaman, Jul 07, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Been trying to get this beer for ages! Thank you NYC!

A great dark coffee brown head forms so nicely and evenly foamy, rich looking, and dense. Body color is a classic dark brown walnut and doesn't even look like light gets through this thing at all. Aggressive looking, big. Looks wonderful.

Nose is coffee and cream with a nice balance. Some dark rolling malts and a hint of piped smoke. Smells like a great coffee beer is coming.

Palate hits with the wonder of the nose, but there's a catch. Rolling coffee notes mix with a nice light body and dark malts, but even a catch of fizz. Vanilla comes in a bit, but it comes off as a bit acidic and even slightly sour vanilla. Finish leaves a nice mix of all flavors, very VERY well balanced and not even hot or boozy for 10%.

Overall the palate is quite good, with just a slight minor flaw. But it drinks so well, great brew.

smakawhat, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of rab53
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

rab53, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Latarnik
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Latarnik, May 24, 2014
Photo of beerthulhu
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

beerthulhu, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of tdm168
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Pours pitch black with a thick mountain of brown head. The head has great retention. The nose has very strong notes of coffee and hints of cocoa. The taste is heavy coffee and light chocolatey, roasty notes followed by some faint vanilla. There is a faint hop bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is rich, smooth, full bodied though a little heavily carbonated.

Wow! This is well balanced, complex, and insanely drinkable. The ABV is hardly noticeable which made this bomber a dangerous one.

tdm168, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of Kelp
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Kelp, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of Viggo
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%

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!

Viggo, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of sendbeer
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

sendbeer, Oct 22, 2012
Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Pours pitch black with a two finger light brown head. The head retreated to the sides of the glass but left excellent lacing on the sides.

From the aroma it's very east to tell this is a coffee beer. There is a strong presence of coffee along with a decent amount of roastedness to it. There is a slight vanilla sweetness that helps balance it out nicely.

The bitter coffee is the first thing that you notice in the flavor, but the real draw for me is the subtle complex vanilla sweetness it has in it. There is some roasted grains and bittersweet chocolate to go along with the coffee and vanilla in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side with moderate to low carbonation. I really enjoyed drinking this one and would definitely buy it again. The vanilla sweetness really helped balance out the bitter coffee and roast flavor making this one stand out from other coffee stouts.

billab914, Feb 05, 2010
Photo of chinchill
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

chinchill, Nov 17, 2013
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,754 ratings.