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
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
Reviews:
1,411
Ratings:
6,819
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,088
Gots:
2,197
For Trade:
89
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,411 | Ratings: 6,819
Photo of willjschmidt
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours jet black with a dark tan head.

S: Coffee, roasted malt, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Dark roasted malt with a very strong coffee flavor. The vanilla notes are extremely subtle, if it wasn't on the bottle, I probably wouldn't have picked it out. It's very smooth and the flavors meld together very well. A bit of a bite from the alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and very delicious. Doesn't drink like a 10% beer at all. One of the better coffee beers I've had.

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

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a solid black color, somewhat glossy, with a dark tan film with some lacing at the edges.

Smell: Deep roasted malt aroma - a little nutty - with some coffee hints coming in after a bit. There's some sweetness, but it is my no means strong.

Taste: Tons of roasted malt up-front. But it, and the coffee and hazelnut flavors that come in, get balanced out by a nice taste of vanilla underneath. There's definitely some alcohol warmness in the finish and aftertaste, but no actual flavor of it. The flavors are all nicely balanced, so nothing takes over.

Mouthfeel: Quite smooth, but with a bit of alcohol burn at the finish. Medium- to heavy-bodied with very mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Not unusual for this high ABV you do feel the alcohol a bit and feel a bit of burn, but the flavor and everything makes it perfect for drinking slowly (though attentively), so it works great.

An excellent limited release from Ballast Point! Strong, for sure, but really great tasting!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, almost black, with a nice thick rocky tan head. Nice lace and retention.

Big coffee nose, with good hints of vanilla, but not overdone in this factor. Dark roasted malt, some dark chocolate round this out. A whiff of booze.

Nice balance between the roasted malt, carbonized bits, and coffee. There is some sweetness in here to bring some balance, but is not fruit. Vanilla extract (as there is an alcohol note), some wood, charred bits, bitterness, and a long coffee finish. Wonderfully complex.

Fuller bodied, appropriate carbonation.

Liked this a lot. Glad I found it. Nice complex porter.

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

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.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: 4.25
Dark dark, and very black. 1 + finger head. A nice deep tan foam.

Smell: 4.0
Slight plumb and grape scent. Caramel and slight fruitiness. Coffee and chocolate are very apparent.

Taste: 4.75
There is a huge bite upfront. The hops are quite powerful. Strong flavors of coffee, tobacco, and chocolate take turns on the palette.

Feel: 4.0
This one is very thick and creamy. Definitely a Full-Bodied brew.

Overall: 4.5
Great beer. Not just a gimmicky coffee stout. There are enough other flavors to keep it interesting. Flavorful.

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

Bottle to BT whiskey snifter

A- Pours opaque black. When held up to light it'd got the slightest hint of cola red color. Nice 1 finger kakhi head sits on top. Some spotty lacing.

S - Good God. Huge coffee, slight vanilla, roasted malt. Can't get over just how much coffee there is. Could use some more vanilla, but that's a small gripe.

T - Starts smooth with vanilla and slightly woody notes, and then the coffee comes in mid-palate. Coffee and vanilla on the finish. Very delicious.

M - Creamy, with enough carbonation to leave the mouth coated. A bit thin, but again a small gripe. Makes it that much more drinkable.

O - Damn fine beer. A coffee beer if I've ever had one. I could drink this all day.

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Photo of Beersmuggler
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This Porter by ballast point is unreal. The vanilla is not overpowering but rather has a really good balance. If you are in California definitely give this a try if you like porters.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Top Hops in New York, having never had this before. I like Porters and have been on a Ballast Point kick as of late in addition to that. Hoped that this would be another winner and sure enough, it was. While not a light beer, the range of flavors and ease of enjoyment of this was a winning combination and as this warmed up, the smoothness of this became much more impressive to me!

Loved the pour to this, as the dark coffee hue had just a hint of garnet around the edges to it to let a hint of light through. Easily the best head I've ever seen on a Porter as the massive, tan foam quickly filled up the remainder of my pint glass and did its best impression of a loaf of bread that a beer could do. Tall and yeasty, the bubbles in it were massive and as they rose to the surface, it left and impression both on the side of my pint glass and on me. The lacing that was left over was extensive and solid as this beer settled into it's liquid state. Nice coffee and bitter chocolate aroma to this, reinforced by a massive vanilla extract presence, with an espresso base underneath that. Thin, carbonated, and strong, this beer packed a punch both in the range of flavors it had and the booze that tied everything together. Certainly bitter, there were hints of cherry, current,and licorice in here as well and for all of the complexity present, I was amazed how well this went down!

Weak, this was not but when you're celebrating a "victory at sea", weak won't cut it. The bread in this beer's head was repeated in the aftertaste as hints of pumpernickel could be found after the liquid went down, owing to the strength of this beer's body and subtle spice. Porters don't come around like this that often so if you can find it, get it. It's not for the faint of heart but there's enough out there that is and who are you kidding - you know you want to find something this well-crafted and savor every last drop of it. On par with the Sculpin IPA's, Ballast Point has a winner here that deserves the lofty rating it has received here on Beeradvocate.

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

Thanks to GallowsThief for the trade!

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Maudite snifter

Pours a black color with 2 fingers of a mocha colored head.

The nose is sweet and malty. Chocolate, molasses, and vanilla stand out the most here. A bit of coffee lingers behind the rich cocoa and vanilla beans. It smells like a damn fine dessert, waiting for me to devour. Roasty beast for sure. The taste is much the same as the nose but a bit stronger. The chocolate stands out the most and is followed by vanilla and a bit of coffee that wasnt so easily discovered in the nose. A nice mixture of the flavors that play off each other quite nicely. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and beastly to say the least. A nice smooth oily liquid feels great on my palate and I cant put down my glass. Overall, this is a great brew here that creates pretty good balance throughout and has a bad-ass flavor profile. Boom!

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep black with one full finger of dark khaki colored head. The foam settles fairly quickly, leaving a frothy ring of bubbles along the edges of the glass. Minimum lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roast, and burnt toast. I'm not picking up a ton of vanilla in the nose, but this beer smells delicious.

T: It starts off sweet and smooth with milk chocolate and vanilla flavors. The bitter roast and toast start to really come through in the middle. It mixes with coffee flavors and finishes pretty bitter. It's like dark chocolate, burnt toast, and coffee grinds in the back end.

M: Full bodied beer. Smooth, and coating to start, almost milky. The flavors envelop the palate but transition nicely without much cloying. Smooth to finish with lingering bitters on the back end.

O: Really great beer. One of my go-to porters/stouts when I am in the mood. Can't believe it took me this long to write a review. Delicious. I will definitely be drinking this again.

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Photo of Getalegup
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Quite good. Definite coffee flavor and smell, some vanilla flavor, mild carbonation, it might improve with 1-3 months cellaring to blend it a bit.
Glad to be able to buy this in my ditro. This will set the bar for a solid barrel aged stout with vanilla.

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Photo of benjamminjones24
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as night. Light lacing around the edges of the glass.
The smell, oh my....roasted coffee aroma right away. hints of vanilla & chocolate. Smells delicious
Taste follows the nose. Get lots of coffee and chocolate. Decadent.
Feel is a little thin for me, would like it to have a heavier mouthfeel.
Great beer that is def. worth a go!

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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

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Photo of hosehead83
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Opaque black in color with a thick cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark roast coffee, subtle vanilla note;
Taste-Black patent malt, roasted coffee, vanilla ice cream, tobacco, black coffee/charred meat finish. Well-balanced, full of character, and very flavorfull. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Notacraftdrinker
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look- jet black nice thick tall brown head
Smell- more vanilla with suddle coffee and almost truffle notes
Taste- great coffee bitterness with a sweet slight vanilla finish
Feel- thick and creamy. Full body brew
Overall- very very well balanced. Taste more coffee than you smell. Nice warming alcohol on the finish. A must try porter

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

A-a very dark brown with maybe just a hint of a ruby highlight, but not much. Two fingers worth of a tan head

S-Very sweet smelling at first, but then gives way to the roasted malt, coffee, and a light vanilla.

T-Similar to the nose with roasted malts, roasted black coffee, chocolate, but then finishes with a vanilla milkshake like taste. A light hops presence helps balance things out. Alcohol is well hidden.

M-full body, light to medium carbonation, a dry smooth finish

Overall I like this one a lot. Great smell with the vanilla, nice complex taste, and a good mouthfeel. So good!

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Photo of Slack
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black, opaque, and a small light brown head. Significant lacing.

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee accented by bittersweet dark chocolate. No vanilla discernible.

Roast coffee and chocolate up front with vanilla and some oak in the middle.

Mouthful is medium and smooth with low carbonation. Finish is a little bitter but dry.

This is a big coffee porter. Aroma is there. Taste is there. The minor criticism is the somewhat bitter finish but don’t let that dissuade you. Give it a try.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and black into my Founders snifter. A small, 1 finger head forms with the pour and retains well, dwindling down to a moderately thin film on the top. Lacing is tremendous as expected. Looks like a big stout in the glass.

S- Lots of dark, dark coffee here. Coffee is strong and slightly bitter on the nose. Sweet notes of the vanilla are also present, but definitely secondary to the coffee. Also maybe a hint of dark chocolate in there.

T- Wow. Dark, bitter coffee right off the bat. Probably the strongest coffee flavor I've had, whether in a beer or cup of joe. Coffee is dominant and bitter throughout, drowning out most to all of the sweeter vanilla flavor. As it warms, the coffee become more balanced with the dark malts. Ends with a coffee bitterness bite and aftertaste.

M- Thick and smooth going down. No detectable alcohol. Kinda heavy across the palate. Sits heavy in the stomach. Definitely a sipping beer.

Overall, this is a coffee bomb. A very good beer, but I find the coffee to be a little overpowering. Between the alcohol and heavy flavor profile, sipping is a must for this beer. Not as good as I had hoped, but still a very good beer.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. Poured near-black with a light brown head that left decent lacing on the glass. Aromas were of bold coffee, roasted grains, vanilla, chocolate, and maybe some oak. Mouth-feel was medium bodied. Tastes were bold up-front coffee and roasted malts with notes of dark chocolate and vanilla. Also some hints of fruity esters - maybe some ripe dark fruits, although fairly faint. Alcohol was present, but balanced well with the flavors. Finished sweet with a lingering of sweet cocoa and espresso. Basically, this was a good interpretation of going with something different and thinking outside of the box. Worth the try if you can find it.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light chestnut in color with a rocky head that reaches one-quarter inch before dissipating to form rings of lace in a Dogfish Head snifter. SRM 31-34 with dark brown highlights and a viscous film.

Strong, sweet espresso with vanilla is no surprise here. Deep roasted malt with pumpernickel and Jewish rye is also present. Warming accentuates the vanilla and adds a light baker’s chocolate note. Some wood ash is also discernible. The aroma from this glass fills the room.

Luscious with a mix of sweet and bitterness. Espresso bitterness wins hands down while smoked peat and burnt molasses are also present. Very dark chocolate lingers throughout middle to finish.

The body is fuller than expected of a Porter, with silky smoothness and alcohol as anticipated.

This beer fits squarely within the expectations one would have for a sipping or contemplative beer.

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a glistening, deep black with three inviting fingers of dark, sudsy eggshell head. I can't ask for much more when it comes to making a beer pretty.

The nose. Forgoing the cloying flavours of vanilla essence, genuine vanilla pods fill the nostrils, swirling with creamy coffee to grant the impression of a quality tiramisu. Yes, this is a fabulous desert beer.

Having had Victory at Sea a good few times, I would note that, on the tongue, some batches lean substantially more toward coffee than vanilla, and vice versa. I sampled one from a friend's six-pack that was so packed with sweet vanilla that it gave me 20 year-old deja vu of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate. Likewise, some batches have much more roasty bitterness than others, occasionally masking the vanilla.

This temperamentality doesn't carry over to the feel, however. This always brilliantly masks the ABV as pleasant warmth in the throat, and goes down with a thick, creamy finish, and a smile. This is a welcome mainstay in my fridge.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle, thanks anew to doktorzee for garnering this, among others, from a Total Wine store in Las Vegas. I've watched the WWII naval battle documentary 'Victory at Sea', so I guess I'm qualified to tuck into this one.

This beer pours a rather solid, abyssal black, with the barest of basal cherry cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, shiny, and thickly foamy tan head, which leaves some decent patchy Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of acrid dry-roast coffee, dried vanilla pods, once they've been infused in a bottle of vodka (been there, I have), bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of toasted white bread. The taste is a better blend of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla cream, chocolate-ensconced caramel, roasted, but not quite charred or ashy wood, a threatening, but too timid to follow through boozy warmth, and some faint earthy, herbal hops.

The carbonation is understated, but still well supportive of all that stuff going on above it, the body a decent medium-full weight for the style, actually rather smooth, and a bit creamy, even with that anvil with the frayed rope (here played by the equally slick 20-proof alcohol) hanging over it. The finish is on the sweet side, sure, but with more than enough moderating coffee and hop notes to keep things as sane as they can be.

Wow - I'm sort of vacillating on this one, in the vein of one Stephen Colbert - is this a great vanilla coffee imperial porter, or the greatest vanilla coffee imperial porter? Hard to say, as I've not yet had them all, but up to now, this one might fall into the latter's singular camp, what with the well integrated bitter coffee (not usually my favourite thing), pleasant vanilla-prodded creaminess, and yes, nearly masked big ABV. Get your hands on this particular Victory (at all Costs)!

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Photo of mtvolkens
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely delicious. Poured into CCB snifter. It poured absolutely beautifully. Slow pour that developed a nice 2in head that retained well. The most lacking part for me was honestly the aroma. I had faint smells of vanilla and light coffee, but not as much as I was expecting. A tad dull. However, I then tasted it. Boom. Normally a dull aroma leads to a dull beer. Not this one. Packed with delicious aroma. Super wonderfully complex yet drinkable. Tastes delicious vanilla bean up front, with a nice caramelly malt, followed up with the cold brew bite on the end. Super drinkable yet complex. Hides the 10% very well.

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Photo of ajramirez1
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tried on tap at brewery was really good. Stoked that Ballast Point entered pdx market. Picked up in WA...

beer is pretty solid. Has good taste. Decent try. Smelt great, pretty good flavor to beer. Wasnt overpowering pretty balanced.

worth the rank where its at on BA.

A-

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Photo of Glanzman
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a jet black color with 1 finger tan head. Nice lacing.

Smells of dark roasted (burnt really, but in a good way) malts and STRONG coffee aroma.

Taste like a bold, dark roasted coffee with beer bitterness from the hops, a bit of chocolate malt and vanilla bean to boot.

If you like dark roasted coffee, this is your beer! Not awesome but well done.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,819 ratings.
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