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

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BA SCORE
96.1%
Liked This Beer
4.39 w/ 6,876 ratings
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
ballastpoint.com

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#257
Reviews:
1,428
Ratings:
6,876
Liked:
6,611
Avg:
4.39/5
pDev:
8.88%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,097
Gots:
2,224
Trade:
85
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 6,876 |  Reviews: 1,428
Photo of woosterbill
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Mad Elf tulip.

A: Pours a solid midnight black body underneath a lofty 3-finger head of creamy, frothy, dark tan foam. Strong retention and nice chunky lace. Great looking beer.

S: Bold coffee jumps out of the glass, followed by a delicate blend of vanilla, caramel, and faintly citric, bitter hops. Rich, balanced, and complex.

T: Follows the nose almost precisely, with roasted coffee up front, smooth vanilla and sweet caramel malt in the middle, and highly acidic, orange-flavored hops on the tail end. Big, bitter finish, with just the lightest dash of warming alcohol. Delicious.

M: Medium body with moderate, roiling carbonation.

D: Does a great job delivering a huge array of robust flavor without being overwhelming with sweetness or heat. Great.

Notes: Special thanks to my wife for giving me this as a Christmas gift (and for the salesman at New England Beverage Co. who picked it out for her). It was the perfect complement to the day's candy, company, and cheer, and far tastier (I presume) than the Tiffany necklace I got her. I'd rather have beer than jewelry any day.

Cheers!

 1,112 characters

Photo of Ynot2
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.

 965 characters

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

Photo of qchic
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Purchased a bomber at Bauer for $9.99. Poured into a stemmed crystal glass. Dark brown color, bordering on black. Large leather brown head. Significant lacing. Thick body, not a lot of carbonation noticed. Smell was a wonderful combo of coffee and chocolate. Taste was a knock out. Borderline perfect. Had that chocolate and roasted barley flavor of a nice porter, but the addition of the high end coffee was killer. Then, the vanilla was just enough in the background to lend a bit of flavor, but didn't overwhelm at all. A great compliment to the intended flavor profile. Outstanding flavor. Mouthfeel was stout-like, very heavy and hearty. Much more than a porter. Not a beer to session with, but a beautiful beer to have with dessert or have as a sweet treat by itself. A bit more expensive than what I spend normally on a bomber, but well worth it. Puts Ballast Point up there with the big boys in my mind.

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

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

22oz-er, enjoyed at a recent tasting. Thanks again daryk77!

Poured into a nonic glass. Black, with a generous inch of tan head that settles into a thick ring with a thin layer of foam. Icicles and sheets of lacing. Great looking brew.

The nose on this is a bit one dimensional, but damn its a fine smelling dimension to be in. Sweet vanilla coffee and plenty of it. The coffee is particularly dark, bordering on espresso, and there's a sweetness to it which probably speaks to the brew's booze strength.

Wow, is this a bitter coffee porter. Holy mother that is some good roasted coffee. The vanilla and cream provides an excellent counterpoint to the bitterness of the coffee, which helps this brew go down incredibly well.

Great thickness to the brew, nice carbonation. Creamy and damn easy to drink.

Awesome coffee porter, highly recommend.

 849 characters

Photo of joeyjoey104
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Omisco
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Forgo the typical review as I did not write this one down during consumption but have enjoyed it several times over. This beer is a fantastic beer if you like the things it is supposed to represent. Which is coffee, porter/stout flavors, and a shitload of vanilla. The aroma is slight vanilla, with loads of coffee, bakers chocolate, and roasted malt. When I first taste this beer, there is an intense vanilla taste which is extremely pleasant if you enjoy vanilla. I do feel this taste fades into the background as it warms which is contrary to most vanilla brews. Their is a huge coffee note that is very similar to an intense dark roasted artisan coffee. It is not acrid though it is quite bitter. To me the vanilla and coffee seem to dominate the palate, with the bakers chocolate and slight overall stout/porter flavors following through afterwards. This is one of my favorite coffee beers, and probably the best representation I've had of vanilla in a beer yet. The alcohol is very well masked but this beer will put you on your ass! Try this beer if you love coffee, stouts, and vanilla!

 1,094 characters

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

2013 Vintage
Poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours a pitch black with a thick and creamy 2.5 finger tall, dark tan head. The head has fantastic retention and leaves a multitude of sticky lacing behind as it recedes.

Aroma: (4.25)
As soon as you raise the glass to your lips, you're struck by waves and waves freshly roasted coffee beans and rich milk chocolate. As the beer warms, some aromas of marshmallow cream and sweet vanilla emerge alongside notes of baker's chocolate and roasted malts. For 10% the alcohol is very masked.

Taste: (4.5)
Just like in the nose, right away you're greeted by intense coffee and rich, creamy milk chocolate. These milk chocolate tones are overtaken by bittersweet dark roasted grains and a herbal hop edge. As the beer finishes dry, you're left notes of bitter baker's chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla and a toasted nuttiness left lingering on your palate. Just as in the nose, the alcohol is very well masked.

Mouthfeel:(4.5)
Heavy and creamy body with moderate to high carbonation. Very velvety and drinkable for 10%

Overall: (4.5)
Ballast Point does a fantastic job with this beer by delicately balancing the acidic, bitter tones of fresh coffee with the sweet notes of chocolate malt and vanilla, while still adhering to the structure of an "Imperial" Porter. This beer has garnered a cult-like following over the years and it is well deserved. Highly recommended.

 1,427 characters

Photo of Tbub18
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of hophead7117
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of grimholm
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of theghost3
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a 3-finger fallow-colored head. A ring stays throughout with moderate lacing.

The smell is robust coffee and vanilla with toasted malts & slightly boozy scent. The taste is bitter, quality coffee with some caramel and burnt malts. Coffee gets more intense as the temperature rises. Mouthfeel is carbonated, medium-bodied. Just below a stout in terms of thickness.

This is a drinkable imperial porter. Expect an intense coffee character and an ABV that wields quite a punch. I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Gator_Chomp
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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

Beautiful pour, deep blackish brown with nice long-lasting tan head. Big aromas and flavors of roast malt, dark coffee, and vanilla, with a silky mouthfeel and a bitter finish. World class!

 189 characters

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

2015 - Pours a very dark brown to black color with a huge three finger tannish head. There is quite a bit of lacing. The aroma is huge, coffee, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, vanilla, nutty, creamy, cinnamon, nutmeg. The taste up front is creamy vanilla, coffee, toffee, bitter chocolate, roasted malts, bitter dry on the back end.

 336 characters

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

Giant head- 3 inches or more- with visible carbonation flying up to replenish. Great retention. Thick and tan on top of a beautiful deep brown liquid. Great lacing too. Checks all the boxes for sure!

Delectable roast up front- not too dark, just perfect. Then a soft, herbal quality, a pleasant and light surprise, accompanied by what might even be the faintest touch of citrus. It works, trust me. Wondrous vanilla, bread, coffee again, and then some non-coffee roast flavors. Little chocolate. But the beautiful is in the name- some of the freshest coffee aromas I've ever encountered in beer, and the lovely, homely vanilla. I don't know which one makes me want a sip more. Together, I find myself willing to plunge my entire face into the glass. Injuries be damned.

First to the tongue is strong roast coffee- slightly acrid, even slightlier smoky, altogether wonderful. Quickly followed by the sweet and incredibly concentrated, but elegant, flavors of the vanilla. Herbal notes tickle, prickly coffee tones titillate mid-way. So damn fresh. Finish is the ubiquitous roast with some mellow bread. Mellow wasn't a way I would describe the beer until the exact moment I'm gulping down (and those malty tones coat the back of my throat and tongue). But now it's official. This beer has it all. Everything you could want- especially if you're a coffee junkie, or one of those people who takes a sip of the vanilla extract every time they bake a cake. Mid bitterness, mostly present on the finish. After is roast and vanilla, with chocolate building.

Mid-full body. Big and creamy but with prickly acidity as counterpoint. Kicks up and smacks the back of the mouth with every sip. And there's a touch of alcohol warmth, too!

Absolutely wonderful. Absolutely delicious!

 1,774 characters

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

Photo of Yellolab2010
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Aaron_Kerkvliet
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of Eman17
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark black with tints of brown when held up to light. A solid finger head with a nice tan color that dissipated pretty quickly.

S: Beautiful, reminded me a lot of the '14 BCBCS, tons of coffee, chocolate, malts, very roasty. Not too much vanilla going on.

T: It didn't hold up as well as I thought it would considering the aromas but still very good. Obviously very malty, tons of coffee with some chocolate. Not getting much vanilla at all but hints came as it warmed. Also, a slight bitterness with the finish.

M: Very nice, not too heavy or too light, with light carbonation.

O: Very nice porter, the aromas are fantastic but had me overly ecstatic for the beer. Great coffee flavors despite not getting too much vanilla. Overall a very good coffee porter.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't had too much bad luck with Ballast Point stuff so let's give this Porter stuff a go. Seems like this bomber's a good candidate for the Portsmouth snifter, so that's what we'll do once I give it a few minutes to warm up.

Pours a slightly translucent Coke/espresso brown. Head is peanut colored but fades very quickly. Lacing is sparse, carbonation is...well, this is more opaque than I thought, so I can't really see squat for carbonation in the body. Not exceptionally viscous.

First thought of comparables? Founder's Breakfast Stout or Porter. This has a great coffee component here. The vanilla element is thankfully a little understated but it works very nicely - a little bitter alcoholic sting to it which is good. Copious, HUGE quantities of smooth roasted malt with little evidence of patent tannins. Hops seem to make a nice complement in their grassiness with maybe a dash of pine. This shows a hell of a lot of promise.

BOOM! The coffee is powerful as the smell at Starbucks. Malt is huge; patent tannins come about but only sparingly; the mellow dark-roasted malts carry the day. Vanilla is understated but shows up more on the slightly boozy finish. Slight dryness - not so much slate but maybe a hint of charcoal dust. Did I mention this was powerful? Slightly peanutty taste, too. Grassy hops cut the alcohol and coffee just enough to balance this and dry it out a bit. This still has warming to do but it's rich and borderline incredible.

Maybe it's the sweetness of the vanilla, the alcohol and the non-tannic dark malts imparting more of a bittersweet chocolate flavor, but this is a very smooth porter. None of that clamminess and slight metal that I get from so many porters that have a real "stout envy" complex. This is the real deal. Rolls smooth on the palate and down the hatch with a slight peanut saltiness and finishes strong and very creamy...especially for something lacking a huge viscosity. There is balance in abundance, which is some of my favorite kinds of balance. As it warms, the saltiness, booze and dark slate give it an additional kick that's not unpleasant but gives a not-so-gentle reminder of the strength of this beast.

Wow - this is a great example of both the style and the imperial nature of a big beer. It's strong enough to show all its colors but not so over-the-top that it hits like a sledgehammer. Having said that, it's a big pour and I will probably savor it over a couple of hours in a self-preservation move, 'cause this horse kicks wicked hard (Edit: I changed my mind. Warm this up and it drinks wayyy too quickly for its weight class.). Very well-constructed effort from the crew that brought us Sculpin.

 2,679 characters

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

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96.1% out of 100 with 6,876 ratings
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