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

BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,405 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
1,405
Ratings:
6,807
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,091
Gots:
2,192
For Trade:
91
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,405 | Ratings: 6,807
Photo of SourBatchKid
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- dark and cloudy, I can't even see the light of day through my glass. There's little to no lacing but this is thick and rich when it came out of the tap.

S- it smells of toffee and breakfast coffe.It smells just like the dark malt it looks like ,I am smelling anise with just a bit of hybiscus.

T-creamy and sweet at first then big notes of dark coffee and chocolate. After aeration,you get the true thickness of this beer. I could have this as a meal.

M- there's no getting around the thickness of this big beer. I went right into the head as soon as it was poured and oh how the texture becomes so much more complex.

D- this is big so big I think I can only enjoy one right now. Man is this great.

 709 characters

Photo of pants678
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown with a surprisingly thin head, perhaps due to my pour.

Alcohol creeps in with the malty smell of chocolate and sweet like caramel or fruit.

Despite being a rich genre, doesn't quite mask the booze on it but still a full bodied chocolate beer with less of a coffee edge than I'd figure. Very up-front brew as you'd imagine, vanilla is perfect compliment to this. Toasty and warm, not too much hop bite.

Heavy, carbonation is welcomed as a porter and not a stout making it easier to handle.

 507 characters

Photo of gford217
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a tulip.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle and settles in black in the glass underneath a big tan head that leaves good lacing and hangs on as a cap for a while.

The aroma is really nice and big on this one with the subtle sweetness of the vanilla balancing perfectly with the massive roasted coffee smell. Lots of dark malts underlying the other aromas.

The taste is a bit sweeter than the aroma. The initial tastes are of big roasted coffee and dark malts. The vanilla is subtle to start but really comes on strong in the finish and leaves a very sweet finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth with good carbonation. The finish is sweet but slightly dry with the roasted coffee character.

This is a very good porter with some very bold flavors and aromas, dominated by the coffee but with the vanilla reallyl coming through in the taste. Great beer.

 896 characters

Photo of VikingBeer
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point "Victory At Sea." Thanks to NordBier for these! 12 oz. bottle, served in a Dark Horse tulip at fridge temp but allowed to warm to 58-60 degrees.

Too cold, but pretty and coal-black as it sits warming up. Head is gone after three or four minutes, but a stubborn lacing persists nicely.

Smell is coffee and vanilla upfront, unsurprisingly, followed by a carob-esque bitter scent, a rummy hint of booze. The aroma really doesn't open up unless the beer is served at cellar temp, naturally.

Also unsurprisingly, the first sip gives a blast of vanilla and espresso-roast coffee, hints of cinnamony spice, and a notable whiff of Dutch cocoa. I cannot emphasize enough how bracingly assertive and surprisingly dry that first vanilla-espresso hit is, either, as I get little hint of sweetness until the mid-palate, when more chocolate-cocoa flavors roll in, along with hints of black walnut, rummy booze, dark fruit (especially currants), spices, especially cinnamon and mace, and a touch of oakiness. This one has a bit of age on it, but the hops are still a detectable presence, bringing hints of grass and herbs, especially mint, and a ghost of juniper berries. Finish is still medium-dry, with more currants, a heavier spice presence, and a touch of maduro cigars. Medium-full bodied, lighter than one expects from 10% abv, but not watery or disappointing, just sufficiently lighter than a conparable imperial stour to justify the name. This is truly an excellent flavored imperial porter, surprisingly complex and rewarding.

 1,539 characters

Photo of bonkers
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this in a BIF, thanks Dunt. I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. It pours a deep, jet black, no highlights. The head is wa sticky, little white thing that sticks around for a while. It smells like a Frapacino infused beer, which is not a bad thing. Bitter coffee hits up front and is mellowed by the very obvious vanilla. The roasted coffee follows you to the lingering finish. This brew is creamy and smooooth. The carbonation is on tap and the alcohol is hidden. This drinks like a much smaller beer. Highly recomended.

 538 characters

Photo of larryi86
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Black with a two finger light tan head.

S- Roasted coffee, vanilla, some dark chocolate.

T- Roasted coffee, bitter finish, some dark chocolate, vanilla adds a nice sweetness, kind of boozy.

M- Smooth, light to medium body.

O- A tasty coffee beer, but a little boozy. Vanilla adds a nice touch to the beer. Good, but not sure if I would pick it up again. Gets better as it warms.

 419 characters

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into my snifter.

A- Opaque nearly black body that pours with a nice 2-3 finger tan head. Head fades eventually to a thick collar but leaves plenty of lacing behind in the glass.

S- Nose is very sweet and vanilla is certainly the main character. Coffee beans are definitely present as well and make up the background of the nose.

T-The initial flavor is subtle and offers a subtle vanilla sweetness with a touch of dark malt backbone. The finish is full of vanilla sweetness with some coffee undertones-but then just as the sweetness almost becomes too much a moderate roasted malt bitterness comes through to balance all the flavors. The slightest alcohol heat can be detected as well.

M-Medium to high carbonation and medium weight-silky smooth body.

D- This is 10%???? Really??? I thought I was drinking atwater vanilla java porter until the finish. This is a well rounded balanced coffee porter with ABV nearly undetectable.

 953 characters

Photo of CTBeerPope
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this a while back

Pours black chocolate. 2 finger dense fluffy head that sticks around for a little bit great lacing. Really nice looking porter.

Smells a lot like a good RIS with coffee, vanilla and dark fruits standing out.

Very smooth for a 10% abv. Nice natural vanilla flavor upfront followed by a combination of coffee and chocolate with the coffee riding all the way thru to the back.

Full mouthfeel with modest carbonation

Have to travel to get this one but well worth the trip. One of the best, if not the best, porter's I've had.

 548 characters

Photo of thatche2
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is deep black in color with moderate yet creamy tan head.

Smell is roasted malt/coffee with some vanilla (very little alcohol coming through).

Taste follows the nose but packs a bigger punch with a lot of roasted coffee. There is some good sweetness up front with a fairly dry finish.

Mouth feel is medium-full in body and creamy (a little syrupy). The carbonation is fairly low/flat but works well throughout.

Overall this is a very good coffee porter. It is relatively easy to drink but has a lot of roasted malt and coffee flavors.

 599 characters

Photo of Damasen
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark with a mocha head with nice retention. Smell is straight brewed coffee. I personally don't get much vanilla but I don't mind because the coffee alone is great. First thing i noticed is the nice chewy mouth feel that only enhances the flavors of the porter. Flavor is straight coffee. Overall I still really enjoyed this even though i didn't get much vanilla.

 369 characters

Photo of danh53
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wish they made this in 12oz bottles. This is fantastic. Big chocolate, lots of coffee and some dark fruits. Coffee is the dominant note here, but its not overpowering and everything blends together well. The mouth feel is big for a porter and big soapy bubbles look great in the glass and improve the mouth feel. Next time I see this on draft., I won't hesitate.

 362 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, 2012 vintage
Riedel tulip

A: Pours a deep dark black color. No light getting through. Initially two fingers of tight bubbled medium tan head. Like marshmallow sitting on top. Sticky lacing.

S: Smelled it as soon as I opened it. Delicious mocha. Coffee and vanilla. Dark coffee character is still ever present even after a year. Char.

T: Wow. Ages extremely well. Coffee is still present amazingly. Deep dark chocolate up front, mixing with dark roast coffee. The vanilla is slight, but as it warms it comes out more. Just delicious stuff. Finish is fairly dry because if the coffee and dark chocolate but LONG. Stick with you.

M: Full bodied brew. Vicious.

 666 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bomber of this with a friend. Pours a rich, dark black. Smells of roastiness and coffee. Taste is full bodied, great mouthfeel. The vanilla adds a great taste and complexity to this overall delicious tasting brew. Smooth and well hidden alcohol, this was a fantastic beer with the sips going down way too quickly and easily. Highly recommended, this brewery has yet to let me down in the least bit.

 407 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely opaque black with khaki brown head. Nose is luxurious with layers of vanilla, chocolate ice cream, and a smoky/roasty quality. On the palate the vanilla is really in your face with a smooth roasty character that brings the malt forward, and an espresso/coffee like quality towards the finish and aftertaste.

 314 characters

Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 946 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this rather vigorously into my Smuttynose snifter, and the head has the staying power, and the aromas are lofting strongly around the area. vanilla is by far the strongest airborne scent, even more so then the coffee. digging your nose into it just screams vanilla. The flavors are more balanced then the aromas and meld very very nicely. Chocolate is introduced here to support the coffee and vanilla. For some reason im getting some oaky notes and there is also alcohol notes too. Overall i have to say this is a very impressive Coffee beer, and this is a harshly graded class for me. mouthfeel is creamy and semi-dense, just a joy to drink all around.

 663 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Shared with Mike - thanks to GetMeAnIPA for sending this one my way. Pours a deep and dark obsidian-like color; very, very little brown on the edges with a solid, fine-bubbled tan head that fades much too fast. A quick swirl of the glass can coax it back, but only for a few moments.

The aroma on this one is very tantalizing; heavy, HEAVY roasted coffee beans - I'm talking burnt, scorched, charred, ashy. These beans smell super roasted and super bitter. This plays off of a delicate sweetness induced from the vanilla aromas that hang in the balance. Might be a tiny bit of cocoa somewhere deep in the abyss, but any attempt to further sniff it out is just met with more and more heaps of coffee beans, roasted malts, and light vanilla. I've always been partial to bitter porters rather than overly sweet ones. The nose on this beer tells me that my bias may be in effect.

...and right I was - the aroma is a perfect indication of the malt assessment in Victory At Sea. From the moment the beer hits your tongue, your palate is pile-driven with an enormous roasted, charred, and borderline burnt flavor. Coffee beans, coffee beans, coffee beans. Imaging taking a hand full of French Roast coffee beans, scorching them in a skillet, then shoving them in your face. A little overboard? Maybe.... but you get the idea. The alcohol is also noticeable from the first sip to the last, but at 10% ABV, I have no complaints. Some lightly sweet vanilla coats each and every sip also, providing a tiny bit of balance to the bitter-roasted brigade. Some chocolate definitely comes out more upon warming, although it was nearly absent in the aroma. The aftertaste is a compilation of mild charcoal flavors with some ashy and dry bitterness - a "balls to the walls", unadulterated coffee bean roast. Medium-thick body with a decent amount of carbonation; mildly creamy and smooth.

Hell yes. Victory at Sea gives the roasty bitterness lovers more of what they crave. Such a roasted, charred, and bitter stout with lovely little sweetness interruptions to keep things interesting. Very pleasantly surprised by this one - great way to end the night.

 2,139 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm glad this finally made it to Louisiana. This is a great beer to go with dessert because it's sweet but also retains some of the bitterness from the coffee to complement the sweet vanilla and malt.

 200 characters

Photo of Leoherrmann9
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: very dark with a thick light brown head. Head of bubbles turned into more of a bubble less foam.
Smell: not to strong, hint of caramel and vanilla malt.
Taste: very tasty, but contrary to other reviews I don't believe the flavor is overdone. Subtle hints of vanilla, coffee bean that are followed by nice alcohol finish. Very pleasant Coffee bean like after taste that lingers between sips.
Feel: although the head didn't last, it added to the feel. Broke up the thick porter with the slight carbonation. Very heavy feeling on the tongue like you have had a cup of coffee and need to brush your teeth, this stays throughout the beer while every drink is followed by a heavy but mostly smooth sense of alcohol.
Overall: this was an exceptional beer, probably my favorite porter to date. The coffee sets it apart from other beers, ballast point has come up with a perfect combination while most other brands tend to overload when using coffee flavors.

 958 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Ballast Point shaker pint glass.

Look: Pitch black body with brown coming through the fringes. Dark cream colored head that recedes to a collar and fine film. Light spots of lacing.

Aroma: Charred grains and roasted malts blend with sweet vanilla and cinnamon spiciness. Dark roasted coffee on the back end.

Taste: Tons of roasted malts and rich dark coffee flavor covered in a perfect touch of vanilla. The finish has more of a sharp hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, pretty smooth for 10% ABV.

Overall: This goes down way too easy for 10% ABV. Perfect amount of vanilla, and tons of roast.

 619 characters

Photo of spelingchampeon
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into a stout glass.
I wasn't expecting too much when I cracked this open. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised with this beer. The aroma was a very nice meld of vanilla, roasted malt and coffee. The taste was even better..and I think I told my wife so, about 10 times. Very smooth, with no complaints at all.. I'm really looking forward to another round of this top-notch beer.

 387 characters

Photo of SHDoyle
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Description: Black with only a small amount of khaki head and lacing. Coffee, chocolate, vanilla and roasty flavors are all readily apparent in the smell and each is distinct; they don't get muddled up. On the taste however, the coffee clearly dominates with dark chocolate flavors riding shotgun. Vanilla is also present but is more subdued. Feel is medium to heavy as is expected from a porter with a smooth, velvety texture.

Suggested food pairing: Dark chocolate

If you like this beer then you should also try: Founders Porter

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely drink it again) If you're a fan of porters then this is a certainly one to try. It's a classic, well-done brew that's worthy of its reputation. I don't know that it's really 'elite' but there's nothing no to like. It'd probably be pretty fantastic out of a bourbon barrel but is darn good just the way it is.

 904 characters

Photo of NastyNorseman
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This delicious porter is thick, rich, with beautifully roasted malt and a nice, heavy coffee and vanilla notes that interweave nicely. Pours dark brown with a frothy, tannish head with good lacing. Flavors really come out with brew warms. Aroma and taste are spot on. This is a great showing for a pure porter.

 310 characters

Photo of ISmith87
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 4 - Good looking dark brown-black beer with a nice dark tan head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Bottle is classic Ballast Point.
S - 4.25 - The smell is very heavy on the coffee with maybe some hints of vanilla and dark fruits? Definitely roasted malts in there.
T - 4.5 - Super good coffee, vanilla, creamy flavor to it. Roasted malts. A slight taste of alcohol but it's good. Tastes like Breckinridge Vanilla Porter but better.
M - 4.25 - Medium mouthfeel. Lighter given that it's an imperial porter rather than a stout. Roasty coffee aftertaste. Alc is really well covered.
O - 4.25 - This is a good beer. It's what it says it is (a coffee vanilla porter), and it's good, but I don't know if I'd give it the 98 rating it has. I'd like to see a little thicker body on it and some more complexity.

 813 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Victory is a winner! A huge, roasty, porter that makes me want to go down to the sea side (we are eating at a marina later) ... Ok, I'll stop.

It pours almost black - very dark brown. The head comes up and then craters beautifully, like the surface of the moon. The aroma is of sweetness, vanilla and a hint of coffee.

The taste is wonderful - a mix of roasty coffee and vanilla at just the right levels. It is less sweet than many porters. It is a great balance. The aftertaste is a little harsh and bitter (compared to the smoothness of the rest of the experience). It all works well.

This is highly recommended.

Also (later) had this on tap/growler and it was, of course, quite good. The aftertaste was nicer for some reason. The finish was bitter with vanilla. Luscious.

 780 characters

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,807 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe