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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

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 1,361 | Ratings: 6,627
Photo of mulder1010
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Poured into a Red Oak globe glass

A-- Poured black with tints of red. Settled black. One finger dark mocha colored head. Very fluffy, very good head retention. On swirling some noticeable alcohol.

S-- Coffee. Not really overpowering but there. Roasted malts and some hints of vanilla as well.

T-- Coffee, vanilla and carmel. The carmel really stood out. Reminded me more of an iced coffee. Quite nice.

M-- Medium light body and a bit velvety. Carmel and vanilla in the front and roasted malts and coffee finish. Was a little bitter in the end with a vanilla finish.

D-- Well balanced. Sometimes coffee, sometimes vanilla and sometimes carmel. No taste able alcohol to this. Was a bit light in spots but very, very good, Easily could have had a second bomber of it and been happy and not had an issue with it. Very happy to have had one of the beers I have been wanting for a while. Did not disappoint one bit.

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Photo of champ103
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an impenetrable opaque black color. A thick, rocky tan head rises to over two fingers. Excellent retention and rings of sticky spiderweb looking lace.
S: Vanilla beans and roasted coffee intermingle. Roasted malt, chocolate. Very nice.
T: This is excellent. Big vanilla and chocolate flavors right up front. Roasted malt and coffee. Though the coffee always takes a back seat to the vanilla. Fairly simple, but excellent.
M/D: A big full body. Medium carbonation that is perfect for a big beer. Velvety smooth and silky texture. So easy and enjoyable to drink. A great sipper, and warmer on.

I have had this several times, but finally got a bottle for my own. This is even better than I remember. Excellent, and highly recommended.

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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!

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

22oz. bottle, poured into a snifter.

A-deep, dark brown/black, with a nice dense, tight tan head. Head dissipates quick due to the high alcohol content.

S- coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and white pepper with some boozy notes.

T- some dark chocolate and smooth coffee, transition to a nice roasty middle, with vanilla coming into the mix, and a warming booze on the finish. The bitterness of the coffee is also very apparent middle to end. Very nice.

M- Pretty thick for a porter, but it's a big beer. The taste doesn't linger too long on the finish as well. Carbonation is spot on, as in light.

O- certainly a sipper, but a delicious sipper at that. Really like the dominating coffee presence, so if that is your thing, this should tickle your fancy.

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aroma filled with notes of roasted coffee, toffee and vanilla. Pours a deep black with a moderate tan head that dissipates. Taste matches the smell - coffee, oats, chocolate, vanilla with a hint of dried cherries. ABV is unnoticeable and, like most good stouts, the flavor profile subtly changes as the brew warms. Great beer.

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Photo of match1112
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: pitch black body, two finger thick and sticky mocha colored head, tons of patchy lacing.

s: vanilla, roasted coffee, chocolate.

t: big vanilla and chocolate up front, like chocolate milk. then it turns to roasted malts and coffee.

m: big full body, creamy, sticky, great carbonation, coffee bitter on the end.

o: one of the best uses of vanilla in a beer i have had.

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

On tap at Port Carlsbad
Poured a deep, deep brown with a tannish head. Nose is sweet, lots of vanilla and chocolate but the coffee plays a backseat and it worked well. Taste is vanilla, cocoa, roasted malt, chewy, a tad nutty with coffee in the background. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich in the mouth. Tasty, well balanced, the ABV is well hidden and this is a great brew in every area. Ballast Point is becoming one of my fav breweries for great beers like this.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a bomber poured into a snifter

A: 4.5 deep rich pour into my snifter with a deep dark rich head that dissipated quickly
S: 4.0 slight hop smell and then roasted malts
T: 4.5 such a warm pallet pleasing taste that turns into chocolate and coffee
MF: 4.5 good on the carbonation and very full body
O: 4.5 great beer that I would recommend to anyone. This brewery is really stepping up in my book and I want to try anything that they make in the imperial format.

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

A: A fairly dark, chocolately brown body with a one-finger light mocha head. I find the colors of the head and body to go together very well. The head is smooth and stays around for a few minutes until I begin to sip.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee, oats, and a little bit of heat. Can't really smell any vanilla.

T: The chocolate comes in first. There there is a bit of coffee with the chocolate, and then out comes the vanilla. I find this vanilla better than what I've had in other porters, mostly because it does not carry an artificial aftertaste with it. The coffee then comes in, a rich, roasty kind, and pervades through the aftertaste.

M: Silky and smooth and not too heavy.

D: Quite drinkable. The coffee is rich, but not as intense as in the Founders brews, and it is balanced out by the chocolate and vanilla.

Quite tasty, indeed.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black with a nice tan head and decent lacing

S-vanilla, dark malt, coffee, chocolate, hint of sweetness

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, light caramel, mild bitterness in the finish

F-medium to full body with mild to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-a great sipping beer, would make a great dessert beer, the flavors blend very well together

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Photo of hbensinger
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a bomber of this with a friend on brew day. Poured into tulip glass.
Who says you can’t drink at 8am? That’s why it has coffee in it, right?

This beer pours as you might expect a porter to. Dark and rich. Just enough off white head to let you know it is well conditioned. The aromas are all there of the coffee and roast malt. Great mouth feel. I am not usually a big fan of porters but this one was exceptionally smooth and well balanced. The coffee was noticeably present but in fantastic balance with the malt sweetness and vanilla creaminess. Im glad we only had the one bomber of this or we would have been drunk by 10am.
This is one of those beers that you have to get your hands on and try with some friends.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kaiser81 for sending me this bottle.

Pours dark brown with a khaki head. The aroma is a mix of strong black coffee with hints of chocolate. The flavor is black coffee with vanilla and some chocolate. The coffee and vanilla merge together very well to make a very good beer. The mouthfeel is very creamy and the carbonation is low.

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Photo of nickd717
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at GABF several times over and also at Boonville. This was one of my favorites at both fests. Just so you don't pull out the "Don't review from beer fests!" crap, I also had it on tap at Rose & Crown Palo Alto.

A - Pours black with a small creamy tan head.

S - Aroma is coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and roast. Smells great.

T - Flavor is incredible with fresh, creamy, chocolatey mocha, vanilla, and some caramel and roasted malt. Great balance. This is pretty much to imperial porters what Sculpin is to IPAs, i.e. it's awesome. Ballast Point is becoming one of my favorites.

M - Medium-full body with a smooth palate, somewhat low carbonation, and only mild coffee astringency.

D - Very high for an imperial porter at 10% ABV. Overall this is an amazing beer.

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Photo of bashiba
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer had a nice dark brown color with light mahogany highlights coming through in the light. The head was small to nonexistent with nothing but a small soap ring.

Initially there is a big blast of vanilla coffee in the nose, as it settles a bit it becomes more porter like with mild dark malts and chocolate coming through as well.

The flavor is very good with a nice balance between the slightly sweet vanilla and bourbon alcohol notes that even out nicely with a touch of smokey burnt bitterness and dark coffee.

The mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a good bit of warmth and a bit of resiny oilyness making it linger in your mouth for a bit.

Very drinkable big porter, love the great vanilla and coffee balance. I think this is the first really good vanilla flavored beer I have come across, of course with ballast points quality this is of no surprise.

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Photo of richj1970
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pitch black with two finger mocha head. Decent retention and heavy 360 degree lacing.

S: Roasted coffee and fresh vanilla beans. Subtle hints of dark chocolate.

T: Vanilla and coffee dominate the flavors, but rich chocolate notes underneath.

M: Full bodied but not heavy with a creamy milk shake like texture.

O: Excellent coffee stout. It's billed as a porter but at 10% ABV, it's a stout, and a good one.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with a scant amount of ruby on edge when held up to the light; thick tan to light brown head; great lace, cap, and carbonation. Roasted coffee and caramel malt nose with some oak notes too. Flavors of roasted coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate and a little wood; a little vanilla on the finish as the liquid warms. Dry medium lite mouthfeel, yet creamy tongue coating. Overall, I like how the vanilla comes out along with the roasted coffee, however, the linger is a bit wooden.

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Photo of liamt07
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Premier Gourmet, 650ml into a tulip. Best by November 26, 2013.

Black body, lofty mocha head. Great retention and lacing. Beautiful vanilla, brown sugar and medium-dark coffee roast on the nose. A creamy quality to this as well. Heavy roast and dark chocolate on the palate, a creamy vanilla quality contributes a moderate amount of balance. Carbonation a tad high to begin with, but this is easily remedied. Medium full feel. Delicious, might have wet dreams thinking about this on nitro or hand pump.

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Photo of monkeylovebeer
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ballast Point really has a knack for the dark beers, and this monster is no exception. With a name that's as much of a mouthful as the brew itself, their Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter takes no prisoners and is an excellent closer to an evening of quality tippling.

Pouring as black as the bottom of the ocean, Victory at Sea develops a tight, mocha-colored head that's so dense, it appears almost nitro-driven. A complex nose of vanilla, cocoa, coffee, and roasted malts draws you in to its rich depths. Upon first sip, you're sunk.

The cereal bill alone is heavy enough to take you straight to the bottom--but the American Two-Row Malt, Victory Toasted, Crystal, and Chocolate Malts, and Rolled Oats combine to provide a sturdy keel and keep this brew upright.

For an Imperial Porter at a whopping 10%, the mouthfeel is as smooth as the ass of a wee bonny lass with a nice, velvety finish. For such a high-powered brew, they have balanced it out just right, and if it wasn't so rich, you could quaff a few of these no problem-o.

The coffee taste is predominant and Ballast Point has partnered up with a San Diego roastery, Caffé CaLabria, to get it just right. Their website mentions a 24-hour cold extraction process that leaves a lot of the bitterness behind; whatever they are doing, the java really shines through.

A guest taster at Camp Larsen thought the vanilla was a bit over-stated, and personally, I don't think they really need it. There is already a lot going on with this brew, and if anything, the extract lends a syrupy note to an otherwise beautiful finish. I would love to cellar one of these babies and see what it becomes in a year or so--but it's so tasty now, I seriously don't think that's going to happen.

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Photo of KAP1356
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip...

A - Poured a dark, creamy, opaque black. A nice tan color head, about 1.5 fingers thick, forms and sticks around for a bit. Nice head retention for such a big ABV beer.

S - Lots of vanilla right up front mixed with some delicious smelling coffee. Creamy milk chocolate mixes in there too. I think I get a bit of hops in there too.

T - Creamy, smooth milk chocolate, vanilla, and some great fresh coffee. Starts nice and sweet and then transitions to a nice bitter coffee taste. Very milk shake like and very nicely done.

M - Creamy, milkshake like, thick and hearty. Really nice feel. A little bit of alcohol heat at the end of the palate.

D - Nice and creamy, but the roasty/bitterness really cuts down a bit; especially since its a 22 oz. bottle. But it's really a great and well balanced beer.

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Photo of bamadog
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Extra special thanks to beerman207 for hooking me up with a sample of this one at the Superbowl party he and his wife hosted. Game came out all wrong, but this beer definitely came out all right. Review is from notes taken on 2/6/2011 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is dark brown/near black; starts with a nice 1 and 1/2 finger dark tan head; body is dark and entirely opaque; head fades to a full cap and leaves a full curtain of lacing on the back of the glass that holds throughout most of the drink.

Smell: Creamy and milky chocolate and coffee/espresso roastiness; touch of smoke and sweet vanilla; slight bit of alcohol in the nose -- this beer comes across as very robust and it smells like a creamy Jamocha shake from Arby's.

Taste: Jesus, it doesn't just smell like a Jamocha shake, it really tastes like one with friend ground coffee and ample vanilla; lots of chocolate that is bittersweet combined with just a touch of a sweeter milk chocolate; lots of ground and burnt coffee and espresso that creates a nice earthy and nutty bitterness; definite presence of alcohol that's a little bourbony, but the heavy chocolate and coffee flavors remind me even more of Kahlua.

Mouthfeel: Mouth is thick and creamy, with spot on carbonation that provides just the right amount of liveliness to keep it interesting; a thick semi-dry coating and grittiness is left on the palate and teeth; does sit a little heavy, but it's super tasty and I'd be willing to have it sit in my tummy.

Drinkability: This is definitely a worthy offering -- great scents and flavors and a super creamy mouthfeel; ABV and weight do slow it down a bit, but this one is pretty tough to come around in these parts so ABV be damned, drink it while you can.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Formed a thick, two finger, sandy colored head. The foam had great lasting power...the slow recession left large tufts behind, clinging to the glass. The body is brown/black. You can get light through the edges if you force it.

Strong aromas...roasted malts and cocoa up front. You can detect a sweet background...a mix of vanilla and caramel (read the label after I wrote this...I swear!).

A sweet caramel flavor comes out first. This fades into a strong roasted coffee taste that digs deep and burns into your palate. Very complex, but missing the sweetness the nose teased you with. Slightly boozy at the finish, but not unpleasant.

Awesome mouth feel. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation for the style.

A great drinking beer. As it warms, the 10% ABV starts to come out stronger so it becomes a great sipping beer!

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Photo of IronLover
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black in color. Poured with a short, light beige that slowly reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet milk chocolate, light roasted coffee, light roasted malt and vanilla aromas. No hop aromas. Medium bodied with a creamy smooth feel and rich, medium light carbonation. Dark roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors up front followed by roasted coffee, milk chocolate, and vanilla into the middle. No hop flavors but medium high bitterness through the middle. Flavors transition from bitter hops to dark chocolate, to dark roasted coffee. Finished with a vanilla sweetness followed by chocolate malt and a lingering hop bitterness. Intense malt flavors and vanilla sweetness are nicely balanced by the hop bitterness. Smooth and flavorful with very little alcohol presence for the 10% abv.

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Photo of delta490
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The body is an incredibly dark brown, nearly black, with a nice light brown head that has good retention and leaves nice tight sticky lacing. The aroma is rich with coffee and just a hint of the vanilla adding some counterbalance. The taste is a little dialed back from the aroma but with the same characteristics. The body is nicely weighted on the palate with a nice full smooth finish.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 0z bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- One finger tan head dissipates quickly decent lacing, dark black, when held up to the light you cannot see through it.
S- Big coffee/espresso aroma, nice chocolate aroma as well, nice roasted notes, roasted malts.
T- Every sip is really smooth, the coffee flavor is delicious with hints of chocolate and vanilla, very balanced.
M- Medium/big, perfect amount of carbonation for this beer, a bit sticky, really smooth velvety finish.
O- Really impressed with this beer, huge coffee presence that goes down very smooth. This is a very tasty easy drinking brew, really impressed.

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Photo of Beric
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Bottle into a tulip
Served: 5 August 2015

Appearance: Pours a thick, deep black color with a minimal tan head that quickly collapses to a sheen of bubbles under influence from the high alcohol content. Looks like your average imperial stout/porter.

Smell: Huge coffee notes, with a nice assertion of dark chocolate or cocoa notes as well. I wasn't able to pick up on much of the vanilla in the nose, but the beer smells absolutely fantastic.

Taste: Like the nose, big notes of coffee, though the vanilla is now evident as well. The roasted malt provides a nice, sharp roastiness- almost burnt- like French roast coffee. No one aspect of this beer is overdone, and the major flavor elements play well together, which is brilliant.

Mouthfeel: Big body, medium-low carbonation.

Overall: One of the best coffee beers I've had. Right up there with FBS, and quite possibly even better.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,627 ratings.
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