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

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

3,314 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3314
Reviews: 904
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%


Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Imperial Porter"

(Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,314 | Reviews: 904 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JamesMcPolin
JamesMcPolin

California

4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

poured from the very first bomber I aquired upon this year's release. Have had four or five others by now but this is the first I've allowed to properly cellar for a little while, so decided to review.

looks beautiful. pours black as motor oil with a cafe' mocha colored head. poured ever so softly and still rendered nearly a 3/4 finger head. excellent head retention, sticky in the best sense of the word.

Smells heavenly. no frontin, just as the label reads, COFFEE and vanilla. but what's really interesting, as it warms and the 10% begins to become slightly noticable you also almost get the notes of a smoked porter that you love to smell but sometimes taste unbalanced.

but the nose misleads in this one aspect,the smoked roastyness of these malts are perfectly balanced with the vanilla. wonderful mouthfeel as you take a balanced journey between a nice bitter coffee finish, a sort of barrel-aged sweet vanilla type taste toward the front. it's just so tasty. exceptional really. world class imperial porter, as good as some of the best out there.

Makes me wanna crack open a 21st Anniversary Deschutes imperial porter ive been aging for over a year and compare. maybe tomorrow

the drinkability of this masterful brew comes down to one simple fact. Though it is one of the most enjoyable brews, $50 for myself and my craft loving lady to have partaken just 100fl, well it's just bad economy of scale. wish more people appreciated the majesty of IMPERIAL Porter. increased demand would finance a boost in supply.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 10:42:42 | More by JamesMcPolin
Photo of Ynot2
Ynot2

California

4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 version

Poured from 22 oz bottle into a snifter, nice three finger mocha colored head with a nice toffee colored lacing as the beer is consumed. A deep dark brown color to the glass.

Smell of lots of vanilla and chocolate, the coffee is there but it is the lessor of the aromas? Think of a chocolat mocha.

The taste of vanilla and chocolate are up front from the first sip. Very little alcohol for a 10% beer. The coffee bite follows the smell, at the end and more subtle? There is a lingering coffee taste as the beer warms, but it is not overpowering. Really nice flavors.

Mouthfeel is just about perfect for the style. Like a malted drink, very little carbonation as I would expect. Thick and creamy, full body sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Overall a great example of the style. The pour, aroma and flavors make for a delicious beer. I will have more if these in the future. Wish it was available in a 12 oz bottle, 22 is a bit much for one person.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 06:49:16 | More by Ynot2
Photo of ilikebeer03
ilikebeer03

Texas

4.94/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a 2012 bottle into a snifter to share with my girlfriend. Right away the nose is amazing. The vanilla and coffee are very forward and delicious smelling. Pour is fairly dark, not quite opaque like a stout. A finger or two worth of head. Leaves a nice lacing. Taste is, obviously, the best part of this beer. It follows the nose well. Everything is blended perfectly. The 10% alcohol is completely masked. I wish this beer wasn't a four hour drive from me. I should have gotten more.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2013 14:03:24 | More by ilikebeer03
Photo of thedindaniel
thedindaniel

California

4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this beer many times now but recently snatched up a bottle since it's been months from the last time I've seen it. Beer is a very dark brown, almost black with off white lacing, good amount of head but not very foamy. Scent is strong coffee beans with a hint of vanilla sweetness. Taste is very similar to scent but is dominated by a combo ofthe coffee, hop bitterness and the roasted malts, vanilla is present and tho not overwhelming seems to shine in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel has a nice amount of carbonation and the beer has a medium body, could be heavier for my tastes but doesn't hurt the beer, probably helps with the drinkability.

Overall, this beer is a great after dinner sipper. I can see myself drinking this by the fireplace around the holidays. Wish it was cheaper but understand why it isn't what with Ballast Point using coffee from a reputable local cafe and real vanilla. Seek it out if you haven't had it and hold on to a few when u need a break from the loved ones in the winter.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 05:27:20 | More by thedindaniel
Photo of bifrost17
bifrost17

Washington

4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a CBS snifter

A: Pretty much what you'd expect. Very dark, but I can't quite decide if I'd say it's black, or just a very dark brown...maybe like mahogany, or ebony. Nice light brown, cinnamon colored head that sticks around. Moderate lacing.

S: Smells like dessert. Vanilla, and coffee obviously, but also chocolate, cherries, and maybe like a woody...earthiness....? Smells amazing.

T: Tastes even better than it smells! Wow, so much going on, bitter coffee up front, followed by a chocolate/vanilla sweetness, and then finishes with a lingering coffee espresso type of bitterness. Really amazing how sweet the beer tastes but how bitter it finishes. Props to the brewers, this is crazy. Almost tastes like multiple different beers all rolled into one. The 10% abv is totally hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation, suuuper creamy. Feels nice. My only complaint is it's a tad thin, but I guess maybe that's how you can differentiate between an "imperial stout" and an "imperial porter." This is definitely not thick enough to be confused with an imperial stout.

O: Easily my favorite Ballast Point beer. I've had Sculpin numerous times, and I enjoy it, but I really don't understand the hype behind it. Victory at Sea on the other hand...A W E S O M E. Seek this beer out. I've always been skeptical of the "Imperial Porter" style, but this beer clearly defines it. Not as heavy and robust as an Imperial Stout...almost hard to describe, but if you want to know what an Impy Porter is just drink this and you'll know. Thank you Ballast Point.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 02:50:21 | More by bifrost17
Photo of aleckpa
aleckpa

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a soapy, mocha head. About a finger's head on the pour, it goes away for the most part but some lingers. Bubbly mocha rims the glass. Great lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Coffee followed by vanilla. Some roasted malts as well. Smells sweet but not overpowering.

T: Similar to the nose. Coffee front of the tongue and vanilla on the back. There is a good balance between the two flavors. In my opinion, you can taste both distinctly and separately yet they balance out. I don't taste any alcohol which could be dangerous.

M: Smooth and creamy. Not thick like a stout. Medium bodied.

O: This is an excellent beer. I personally don't like vanilla in beers, but with the coffee it balances it out. At 10% ABV, the alcohol is masked pretty well, so it will sneak up on you. For the flavors and ABV in this beer, it's worth the price.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 20:30:30 | More by aleckpa
Photo of Goliveidaho
Goliveidaho

Idaho

4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is the art of brewing. Complex and intriguing. Poured dark, very dark, into a 16 oz. glass. Head full and bye.. lying as near the wind as possible yet moving forward. The sails on this porter never stall. Coffee smashes into the bow, yet crafted in a way the chocolate and vanilla survive the flavor waves which pound the senses. Do I smell coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate. If you have a chance to drink this brew….stop and smell, the aroma is as much as the taste. This is truly a victory at sea, pour full from a growler. Cheers

Serving type: growler

12-29-2013 22:18:24 | More by Goliveidaho
Photo of wogreen
wogreen

Texas

4.84/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - dark black, brown head dissipates quickly
S - malty and coffee grounds
T - potent coffee flavor. the sweetness of the vanilla has a nice undertone...not overpowering like many vanilla flavored beers
M - thick almost like a milkshake
O - a very fine porter, and nearly like a stout

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2013 00:51:54 | More by wogreen
Photo of Buddha22
Buddha22

Vermont

3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a delirium tremens glass.

When poured great head retention two finger light tan head, but the dark color of the beer looks great underneath the fluffy tan head. Great lacing in this beer. Chocolate roast definitely in the nose with slight hint of vanilla. Now the taste of this porter is somewhat average. There is a decent amount of hotness in the taste and the alcohol is not hidden as well as I would like. As it warms the alcohol taste definitely decreases a little. Mouthfeel is full bodied and nice and creamy smooth. Drinkability is decent the hotness of the alcohol makes it less drinkable, but for 10% abv, works pretty well.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 01:23:11 | More by Buddha22
Photo of mattwjones
mattwjones

California

4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Recently did a side-by-side of VaS 2011 and 2012. I thought I loved this beer fresh, but drinking it a bit more than a year old really lets it shine. Definitely worth grabbing a few bottles of this and putting them in the back of the fridge or in your closet somewhere for a year or two.

a - met all expectations for a high gravity porter

t - a bit acrid and harsh when fresh, but mellows much after a year.

m - here's where its at. this beer is viscous and I love it. Low carb is perfect for a heavy hiring porter like this.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2013 05:38:27 | More by mattwjones
Photo of JohnCassillo
JohnCassillo

California

4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into pint glass

A: Almost black and completely opaque with zero head whatsoever. This is what a porter should look like.

S: The coffee and vanilla notes are immediate and pungent, with an underlying bit of chocolate as well.

T: Dark chocolate appears at both the front and back end of each sip, taking on different characteristics in each instance. First is sweet, the second almost comes off bitter (in a good way). Vanilla and coffee are top of mind at all times.

M: Warm, crisp and thick. It's got a decent amount of carbonation and ends up quite filling.

O: If you're looking for a quality porter with a boatload of flavor depth, this is your choice. Wouldn't call it a "dessert beer" necessarily, but a much easier drink post-dinner.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 05:16:31 | More by JohnCassillo
Photo of NYManc
NYManc

New York

4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared with BA infi and brun. Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

A: Poured motor oil black with a small light mocha head. The head retreated within a short period of time. When swirled the head the would reappear with a slightly more tan head.

S: First smells bring dark coffee. Smells of mouth-watering sweet vanilla and chocolate after multiple smells. Roasted malts were also found in this mix. Very very good smell.

T: Tastes follow the nose. First sips bring upon a taste of dark coffee. Vanilla initially in there too. After that I tasted the roasted taste of the malts mixed with dark chocolate. No taste of alcohol here, very well hidden. A very delicious brew.

M: Medium to heavy bodied. Mildly carbonated and goes smooth going down.

D: Even though its 10% ABV, its very easy to drink and I could drink many glasses. I would recommend this to everyone.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 21:42:45 | More by NYManc
Photo of LegalBrew87
LegalBrew87

California

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I found this bottle at Costco for something like $6.50, which is the cheapest I've seen it. Pours deep black with a negligible dark tan head. Smell is tons of coffee and vanilla, roasted malt, some sweetness, some dark chocolate. Taste is much the same, sweet vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate, some charred bitterness. Mouthfeel is a little thin and carbonated; probably the "worst" aspect of this beer. This drinks exceptionally well and tends to lose its coffee bitterness and sweetens up as it sits. I've got one in a wine chiller and am going to drink it just after the best by date to see how she does. Really great beer.

EDIT: this beer gets even better with age. The coffee had died down and the vanilla and chocolate have really come out. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 01:35:15 | More by LegalBrew87
Photo of GetMeAnIPA
GetMeAnIPA

California

4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I really loved this beer. It takes a style I've had many times and makes just enough twists to make it both unique and awesome.

A - black as night with a cappuccino color head. The head disapates fairly quickly but does leave some brown foam bubbles on the glass as I drink.

S - smell is dominated by coffee, a rich roasted coffee. Very little vanilla on the smell. However, as the beer warm the vanilla becomes more present.

T - as soon as it hit my palate I was in love. Rich roasted coffee flavor followed by a touch of vanilla sweetness. The beer finishes with a nice warming sensation. There is more vanilla on the taste than smell which surprised me, as I wasn't expecting it. The bitter coffee notes and warming alcohol keeps the sweetness at bay. As the beer warms more vanilla and coffee bitterness comes forward. The beer changed like three times as I was drinking it. From coffee forward to vanilla forward, Back to coffee.

M - this beer is incredibly smooth. The vanilla adds a smoothness to it. Medium body with minimal carbonation. This beer was crazy smooth.

O - this beer was great. It's definitely a big beer with big bold burnt bitter coffee flavors, but the vanilla balances it out great. It's like when the coffee or the vanilla become too much the other flavor comes in.

It's like drinking a coffee beer dessert but not too sweet. I've had DIPAs sweeter than this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 05:44:48 | More by GetMeAnIPA
Photo of buck1futter
buck1futter

Illinois

4.74/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A- typical dark porter, darkest porter around.

s- Vanilla, milk choco, coffee, all mellows together really well, closer to vanilla bean than just plain vanilla. some roast characters coming through, syrup. man could sniff on this all day.

T-Coffee Vanilla. Coco on the back end and the vanilla on the side, creamy, more coffee, maybe slight alcohol on the top of the nose, really mouth watering and very tasty.

m-really smooth, acid from the coffee kinda makes it tingle a little more than i want.

ages really well if you can resist.

An elite coffee porter/stout. In the top three of coffee beers all time. must seek out.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2013 06:00:49 | More by buck1futter
Photo of usechopstix4soup
usechopstix4soup

New York

4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very black body with a thick foamy caramel head.

Smell is really what makes this beer wonderful. Smells of dark roasted coffee, vanilla, and caramel infused together dancing around the top of the brim into your nose. This is something you must try. There are bits and pieces of bread and other carby smells that give it depth.

The taste reminds me of a dark, black coffee with a shot of espresso and vanilla. It is bitter but porter lovers will be instantly drawn.

The porter has a watery body, lighter than most but this isn't something that I particular mind.

Great beer, definite recommend.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2013 18:34:25 | More by usechopstix4soup
Photo of IAmAPenguin
IAmAPenguin

California

3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma: distinct coffee bean, chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla and brownie. Smells fantastic, literally like a chocolate vanilla cake. Appearance: black as night with a really nice lacing against the glass. Taste: sweet coffee, frappucino, cocoa powder, chalky chocolate, faint vanilla and constant cocoa. Overall, really really nice, sweet flavors with impressive complexity.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 09:25:38 | More by IAmAPenguin
Photo of constahoogan
constahoogan

California

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick dark molasses and motor oil black body with a leather brown rocky head. The nose is very coffee malted with a hint of vanilla. The palate is very rich with a nice blend, in this order, coffee, vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, oak and another kind of creaminess i can't quite pick up on. There's no detection of alcohol whatsoever. Rich thick full-bodied mouth feel with the desirability to devour more.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 00:13:44 | More by constahoogan
Photo of xseanprimex
xseanprimex

South Carolina

4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This dark, dark brew poured an awesome tan head that held some serious retention. The complexity to the flavors were apparent in the aroma. The smoky vanilla taste did a good job of hiding the 10% ABV. As good as can be expected. Looked as good as it tasted. 10/10 would drink again.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 13:55:21 | More by xseanprimex
Photo of TheBrewViking
TheBrewViking

Alaska

4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a big tan head and delicate lacing on the glass

S- I smell vanilla first then coffee and roasted malts. I'm excited

T- Follows the nose. Sooo smooth and delicious. A roasty porter with vanilla and coffee that just balance this out perfectly.

M- Not exceptionally thick but nice and easy to drink

O- This beer is so well balanced and it has one of the best coffee flavors i've ever had in a beer. Very impressed, I want one for breakfast tomorrow

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 04:19:46 | More by TheBrewViking
Photo of BoatsSinkBro
BoatsSinkBro


4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle.
-Pours like oil (a good thing)
-Pitch black appearance with chocolate milk head.
-Aroma of coffee, a bit of toast and chocolate, and a lingering presence of vanilla.
-Drinks a pretty full mouth feel with well done carbonation.
-Tastes of coffee, roast chocolate body, and a good hint of vanilla in there to round it out. Almost creamy-like.
One of my go-to American porters.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2012 10:35:49 | More by BoatsSinkBro
Photo of BEERZILLA
BEERZILLA

Texas

4.71/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours very little head and is a jet black in color looks great.

the smell is coffee with a slight hint of vanilla.strong smell stings the nose.

now the taste is where its at with this beer,to call it complex is a huge understatement.first its the coffee then the vanilla hits but only slightly,while all the long tasting like a porter.outstanding taste,top notch.

the mouthfeel is kinda thick but not too much as to turn you off from your next drink.i would call it drinkable for what it is.

overall this is my first time drinking an imperial porter of any type and i am highly impressed with it.i like porters and imperial stouts to begin with but ballast point has got a true world class beer here,complex and rich yet drinkable,its what an imperial porter should taste like imo,.cant wait to try more from ballast point.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2013 04:51:10 | More by BEERZILLA
Photo of ChrisMyhre
ChrisMyhre

Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemmed wine glass from the 22 oz. bottle. Enjoy by January 15, 2014.

a: Dark black, not sure if there's variation from batch to batch but I see no brown at all. Solid looking dark tan head, but not tall. Not much lacing.

s: Very vanilla forward, a little coffee, malt, and yeast though too.

t: Much less vanilla taste (I hate vanilla coffee so this is a very good thing to me), nice roasty, somewhat with lots of good coffee flavor .

m: Drinkable, just slightly on the drinkable side(for a 10.0 abv Imperial Stout at least), lower carbonation but still a very full feeling beer..

o: Excellent, the most balanced coffee stout/porter I've had, very subtle vanilla taste with nice scent, which is very rare. I will pick this up anytime I have extra dough lying around, would love to see in 12 oz bottles.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 23:07:30 | More by ChrisMyhre
Photo of thisisxxmyIPA
thisisxxmyIPA

New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A- Dark brown/black color with a tan head which pours thin and dissipates quickly. Only thin film is left chilling on top. Ruby highlights around the beer.

S- Heavy roasted coffee bean flavor dominate the aroma, hard to find much else than that in the aroma. I'm not a big coffee fan, but I do enjoy coffee beers, oddly enough.

T- GOOD LORD! This is amazing! I was not expecting this! Sweet creamy caramel undertones, layered with some dark chocolate, fresh roasted coffee beans, and a big kick of vanilla that adds such a beautiful sweetness to this beer. Seems like there is a decent portion of bittering hops in addition, but it's always hard to tell will rich roasty coffee beers.

M- Full bodied, creamy, thick luscious mouthfeel.

D- Not incredibly drinkable, at least for me. Bitterness that comes with coffee definitely slows my ability to drink, it's also a very heavy beer. The alcohol also impedes speed. However, this is still a great beer worth the try.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2010 01:33:59 | More by thisisxxmyIPA
Photo of djjacobsen
djjacobsen

California

4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, night shade with a one finger tan head, small-carbed head. Nose is of freshly roasted coffee beans. Not much vanilla on the nose. Taste a bit smoky/roasted getting much more of the fresh coffee note that Ballast has added. Vanilla beans show up on the back end of the drink, staying for a while and almost becoming gourmand. Mouthfeel is creamy and enjoyable. It is a bit heavy but is a nice after dinner, dessert beer in the winter. This is more reminiscent if a stout than an imperial porter. Definately a fun change of pace as far as normal smoky porters/stouts go. Pick one up and give it a try. Very much enjoyed by a true hop-head who normally doesn't deviate from IPA land.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 22:35:27 | More by djjacobsen
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 3,314 ratings.