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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
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:
1,368
Ratings:
6,679
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,078
Gots:
2,137
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,368 | Ratings: 6,679
Photo of StoutHunter
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Ballast Point's Victory At sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter last week for $2.49 at The Lager Mill. I've been wanting to try this beer for awhile and I'm interested to see how it turns out, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's got a nice design, it goes well with the name and it's eye catching. It poured a nice dark black color that didn't let any light come through and it had a little over two fingers worth of fluffy and creamy dark tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice patchy lacing behind. This is a very nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the coffee being the first to show up and it imparts a big black coffee aroma which is the aspects that sticks out the most in this beer and it's followed by some roasted and slightly sweet malts showing up in the background. Up next comes just a little bit of fruit yeast and it leads into the vanilla which is nice and noticeable, but not too overpowering. This beer has a very good aroma that lives up to it's name.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the coffee still being the first to show up and it imparts that same big black coffee aspect that it did in the aroma and the roasted malts show up nicely in the background. Up next comes just a slight bit of that fruity yeast which leads into vanilla which is a lighter than it was in the aroma and on the finish there's a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness with with a little bit of noticeable alcohol and lots of coffee flavors coming through in the aftertaste. This is a pretty nice tasting beer, but I wish it had a little less bitterness with some more vanilla flavors.

M- Fairly smooth, a little crisp, a little creamy, the alcohol could be hidden just a little better, on the light side of being full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is good, but I wish it was a little smoother.

Overall I thought this was very nice and I thought it was a very nice example of the style, it had all the aspects that I was looking for, but when it came do it I wish it had a little better balance and I think a little more vanilla and a lees booze could have helped that. This beer had ok drinkability, one would be enough for me, it would get to be too much if I have more than that. What I like the most about this beer is the aroma and it's very nice and along with the coffee flavor it was the highlight of this beer. What I like the least about this beer is the mouthfeel and that the vanilla didn't show up more along with a little less booze. I would buy this beer again and I would be interested to see how it ages. I would recommend this beer, especially if you like strong coffee beers. All in all I was happy with this beer, given what I heard about it I thought it might be mind blowing and I think it would have been if the vanilla was a little more present with a little less booze, but it still turned out to be a very nice beer, it's just those aspects hold it back from being world class. It's up there with sculpin as my favorite beer from this brewery and it's a very nice example of the style. Good job guys, this is a pretty tasty beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at my local beer nutz for 9.99. Score!

A - Pours as black as a porter can get. Even if you try and hold it to it the light doesn't seem to come through. A very smooth coca colored head greets me.

S - Mostly of dark roasted malts with a small twang of vanilla in the nose. Smells kind of like a cappuccino.

T - Ow man this stuff is great! It gave off a great vibe of coffee and cream right to the tee. Too bad as it warms the coffee malt flavor takes full hold and it ABV is noticeable toward the end or I really would have loved it.

M - Medium to heavy bodied with full flavor.

D - Well at that price is truly was great to try it. Maybe it's just me but like Creme Brulee, I can't seem to focus on the extreme vanilla that everyone says is in there. A very drinkable coffee porter but would kind of work better at a lower ABV since it comes off kind of cloying.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Ginger Man. Pours a pitch black color with a thin layer of light brown head. Some lacing. Smells great. The aroma is sweet coffee and vanilla with some smokey roasted malts and chocolate. The taste is a nice boozey mix of the coffee and sweet vanilla. Dark chocolate and roasted malts. More of the coffee and vanilla comes out at the end along with a nice warming alcohol presence. There's a lot going on here but it all blends well together. Slick mouthfeel. Overall, fantastic Imperial Porter that I need to have again.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a six-pack of 12 oz bottles at the Trig's Cellar 70 in Minocqua. The bottling code suggests this one is good for another four months. Poured at cellar temperature into my Samuel Smith pint glass.

L: Pours a deep cola brown--caramel colored at the edges where the light strikes through--with a good three fingers of frothy, dense khaki head that sticks around for a very long time and leaves substantial even lacing on the glass. A beautiful-looking beer.

S: Big, robust coffee and sweet vanilla notes in the bouquet, as advertised. A touch of cinnamon and dark drinking chocolate in the mix. Maybe a bit of earthiness. Just the slightest amount of clear alcohol, which actually is a pleasant addition to whole show.

T: Dark malts--roasty, sweet, and chocolaty--very assertive right out of the gates. Quite a bit more chocolate flavor than the nose forecasts. There's an instant astringency felt as the coffee and vanilla flavors kick in. The middle is really dominated by the coffee--very roasty and robust--with just enough of that sweet vanilla to keep things in check. The middle also brings out a bit of cinnamon and clear alcohol. The back end has that coffee and vanilla continuing atop the dark malts, with a more pronounced clear alcohol and earthy bitterness. The close is significantly bitter, with a healthy amount of alcohol flavor accompany the coffee and vanilla in the aftertaste.

F: Medium-bodied. Extremely smooth. While it isn't syrupy, it does have a good deal of bitter stick to it's close. Nice level of carbonation at the start, though it does feel a bit flat by the end of the glass.

O: This is one impressive porter. Huge coffee and vanilla notes and big ABV make it drink almost like a barrel-aged stout. Perhaps most impressive to me is how well-balanced the flavors are in this one: the malt bill plays extremely well with the other additions, and it yields a beer that is very flavorful and engaging. I definitely recommend giving this a try if you haven't already.

 2,008 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a few in PA and boy, is it worth it!

This beer pours black with reddish brown highlights, capped by an 1/2" thick brown head. Retention is excellent, as is the lacework it leaves. On the nose, it's pretty awesome. Fresh coffee (somewhere between an espresso and a regular cuppa joe), an awesome vanilla note, as well as a great rich chocolate aroma. The palate replicates the nose, with the balance between the flavors being fantastic. Opens up with chocolate, followed by coffee and then vanilla before a beautifully bitter finish with flavors of dark chocolate and coffee. The palate is great too, with a medium body, soft and rich carbonation and a great finish. A nice slickness as well. Drinkability? I drank a bottle and could have gone for another

**Edit Jan 2011**
Drinking the 2010 winter release, I can say that my review is the same, but I have to dial down my scores a bit to reflect how I feel about this beer.

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Photo of draheim
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a rich brown w/ a thick mocha head.

Aroma is rich chocolate, coffee, caramel, cocoa nibs. Smells great, like dessert.

Taste is good strong coffee up front, softened by the vanilla. A solid backbone of dark roasted malt holds it all together.

Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, balanced and moderately dry.

Overall this is about exactly what I was expecting/hoping for, and it's now one of my favorite porters.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

taste- chocolate, subtle dark roasted coffee flavors, caramel undertones

color- dark chestnut brown

clarity- clear

smell- cocoa, roasted malt, biscuits

body- sweet/tangy chocolate hop bite at the front and sides of the palette, soft, medium-heavy weight mouthfeel, smooth, medium-long finish

appearance- mocha-colored head, nice heavy lace, slight carbonation

overall impression- nice beer, almost a little too sweet but would pair well with desserts. the brewer says this is an imperial porter...i think it departs slightly from the style and tends to be a little "showy" with the vanilla imprint

notes and comments- the aroma is very one note...i may be mistaking the smell of vanilla for cocoa but it is very pronounced and delightful. killer label

glassware: tulip

song: my brother esau - 10/3/87

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I've been trying to find this since it's been out. I managed to try the ba version and now on to the regular, On-Tap at Capone's in a tulip.

A- Victory at sea is black, there's no doubt about it, I might as well say it looks like a stout. Usually my porters have a dark brown look, this is a step above that. Not much head, or even a cap, but once i get some room in my glass a few swirls brings forth a coffee colored head. Scattered loose lace.

S- This beer name does not lie, this is a big (imperial) smelling beer. Pretty much a porter done to the max. Up front the coffee and the chocolate make a cute couple giving off a huge roast and a bit less sweetness when put together. A nice blast of cream and vanilla beans when the temp rises. Alot of roasted malt. The roast is probably the biggest scent from this.

T- And more roast in the taste. I'm finding that the coffee and the vanilla are perfectly balanced while the chocolate is a little less in your mouth which im digging. Nice fair trade coffee with vanilla beans and more roasted malt. The roast in this makes me smile. With warming I get some chocolate syrup taste in the end. Just a touch of hop bitterness and a little bourbon which i thought would be a bit bigger, im not complaining though.

M- This one is smooth, I can't stress enough that this is one of the easiest feeling porters considering it's size. Just a small trace of alcohol after I gulp some down but not hot. A bit of a syrupy feel after 6oz or so. Above medium bodied with light carbonation and a smooth finish, bliss.

D- If this was not so high in alcohol I would of had a bunch more. If the bottles were not so damn hard to come by I would have alot of them in my cellar as I type this. One of the best [porter's that i've ever had and quite a feat for Ballast Point to come up with this recipe. Hey guys, brew some more and send it to the east, we need more for the winter.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown chocolate, not quite black with a mocha head that leaves lots of lacing.

Smell of roasted coffee, vanilla , roasted malts, and sweet sugar.

Taste of not surprisingly, Coffee, vanilla and roasted malts. There is a bitterness that is slightly different, but could also be perceived as licorice mixed with dark burnt malt. Not a whole lot of ashy flavors, but Charred flavor seems to be pretty strong. In other words, burnt, but sweet mixed with vanilla flavored sugars. If you let this warm in your mouth a little bit, the vanilla really becomes more prevalent and tasty.

Mediated carbonation levels with a nice mouthfeel that is not too thick but definitely not thin. All in all, a very drinkable coffee Vanilla Porter.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a good amount of head. Smells strongly of coffee with a bit of vanilla. A bit of vanilla as well... Tastes strongly of coffee and vanilla with a fairly thin background. Clean and smooth and a very light. Vry drinkable especially for 10%...

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Photo of anteatr23
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark and cloudy with a one finger brown head. Has a boozy aroma with coffee and sweet dark chocolate. The flavor of chocolate and coffee are a punch in the face, fading into more vanilla and sweetness, leaving behind some bitterness and more roasty coffee. 10% alcohol is somewhat hidden, but not entirely as this doesn't go down without any notice. Flavor is great, but the feel and character are a bit toned down as it's somewhat light and a little bit watery. For a mass produced porter, this is certainly exceptional.

 532 characters

Photo of xnicknj
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into glass - 2009 vintage

Pours an inky black with a thinner tanned head. Fades out almost completely with sine spotty lacing and film.

A strong scent of cocoa with espresso, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of alcohol.

Plenty of chocolate and cocoa up front with a nice splash of vanilla flavor. Lighter tones of coffee and mocha mix in with an almost truffle- like sweetness. Roasted dark malts with caramel and some lingering warmth. Finishes toasty with a hint of booze.

Fuller medium body, mild carbonation, a little creamy and smooth. Really nice drinking, and some age helped mellow out the alcohol although some of the coffee and vanilla flavors faded.

 688 characters

Photo of Holland
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to CheapBeerBuzz for giving me this one as an extra!

A: the beer is deep and thick looking with a one finger brownish head that clings to the glass.

S: dominated by rich coffee smell with some roasted malt and sweetness, but it blends so well with the mocha smell.

T: coffee, then roasted notes, then a huge flavor of chocolate comes through. Some decent bitterness to balance the slight sweetness. Flavor hangs around in my mouth forever.

M: seems pretty thick, but the carbonation cuts that pretty well.

O: didn't really blow me away, but it's still incredible for a well distributed beer. Not too much vanilla, but that's good. Seems well balanced and fairly drinkable.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a deep dark cola with a big tan head that fades leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has tons of coffee aromas with a creamy vanilla and malty smell there as well.

T: The taste starts with coffee but soon after the vanilla and roasty malt flavors take over and leave a wonderful finish on the tongue.

M: The feel is creamy from the carbonation but it's a bit thin for an "Imperial" porter.

D: High ABV yet tasty profile puts this on the medium end of drinkability.

Very tasty and I wish I had access to this without having to trade for it. This along with Terrapin Wake N Bake are the best coffee beers I've ever had.

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Photo of fastsrt
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, tan head diminished quickly.

S: coffee, vanilla in the back, malts mingled with subtle coffee.

T: first taste thought was "this reminds me of founders CBS" all the flavors are balanced making a wonderfully flavored beer

M: mild carbonation, dry bitter finish with lingering vanilla.

D: at 10% one bottle is good, and reasonably priced, high quality have paid twice this much for beer not at good.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful brew from Ballast Point. Pours dark with nice foamy head. Excellent flavor with just a hint of vanilla, very subtle. Looks heavy but drink fairly light. You def get the booze in this but still drinks easy for a high ABV.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Hop City, Birmingham

A: Tar black. A 2 finger tan head that took its time getting squared away. Sticky lacing.

S: Coffee strong with vanilla and chocolate bringing up the rear.

T: Huzzah! Strong coffee notes, followed by a faint essense of vanilla and a decent chocolate and malt backing. Take your time and enjoy.

M: Medium to heavy with creamy carbonation.

O: An outstanding porter. Would be great with a chocolate chip cookie. Wish I'd bought a bomber. Recommended. Love the label artwork, too.

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Photo of itsmarkalbert
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

If "the norm" was a port(er) I found myself harbored in, this beer takes me departing on my next liquid adventure. Victory at Sea from @ballastpointbrewing shivers your timbers like being boarded by Captain Barbosa and his crew of curs'ed souls. The aroma is black coffee backed with notes of caramel. The body, rich and strong, bringing in more coffee with a hint of vanilla. As you sip the lace clings to the glass like barnacles as it coats your palate like the spray from a winter swell. Balanced perfectly by a finishing of hop bitterness to complete the voyage of this nautical libation.

 593 characters

Photo of JamesStreet
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- thin-looking ink-black with a wispy beige head that leaves nice lace on the glass.
S- blasts of strong bitter coffee roast dominate. Lovely aroma! Small hint if vanilla bean comes through as well.
T- coffee subsides a bit but is still the dominate character in this one. Sweet molasses flavor on the back that cuts the coffee nicely.
M- velvety medium feel with moderate carbonation.
O- this brew is a delight to quaff if you're like me and love big, coffee aromas. The taste falls off a tad from the nose but is still high quality. Lovely beer!

 553 characters

Photo of breadwinner
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Coffee lover's delight here, along with a healthy dollop of vanilla. I thought it got perhaps a touch heavy with the vanilla, but and it's definitely a sipper, but I think it'll probably right in a lot of people's wheelhouses.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle

Ballast Point Victory at Sea filled my tulip glass with an opaque very dark brown almost black hue. Atop sat a milkshake like 1-1/2 finger tan that held well. The nose is dominated by coffee and roasted malts. Coffee and roasted malts are the first flavors detected followed by dark fruit, caramel, and chocolate. The coffee and roasted flavor seem to overpower the vanilla as only very little is noted. I was hoping for a stronger vanilla taste to come through. The mouth feel is rather full bodied, thick and creamy with a light bitter finish.

My first brew from Ballast Point and I am a fan. Good representation of the style. Remember, do not drink this Ale too cold as the flavor really comes out when it is warmer.

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Photo of Suds
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The appearance is nearly black, with an espresso crema head. The smell is amazing...coffee and vanilla, wood and grain, roasted grain and malt....and a little smoke. Great. The taste is balanced, with a roasted espresso bean bitterness. Full, thick,and luxurious in body. Warmth and slightly boozy. His is a wonderful beer for a cold winter night.

 354 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A wonderful beer- hits all the right notes without overdoing it. Luscious and balanced, it really satisfies the sweet tooth without being too sweet. It's the nice vanilla richness that does it for me. The coffee flavor is wonderful. Obviously high quality coffee is used, and the fact that it's cold brewed undoubtedly helps create its smooth, clean flavor. Nicely balanced overall , with the coffee taking the lead, followed by a long slightly sweet vanilla note, some roastiness and a bitter finish. A nice package.

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Photo of korguy123
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to silverX for this one.
Bomber into CBS snifter.

A- Completely opaque black pour, heavy but not oily pouring. I got no head on this pour, that made me a little sad. Lacing is non-existent.

S- Huge dark roasted coffee. Subtle molasses but that is about it. I don't get any vanilla or sweetness. Maybe a little chocolate.

T- Monster amounts of coffee with brown sugar and molasses. Vanilla is there but really taking a back seat to everything else. Dark chocolate with hints of alcohol in the back end.

M- Medium to full bodied, chewy with a creamy start that quickly transitions to lively from the carbonation.

O- Other than how this looks (lack of head) This is a world class porter. The coffee is perfect, the vanilla is subtle.

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Photo of mkh012
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

Near-black with hints of red. A short-lived head and minimal lacing.

Nose is coconut, chocolate, and a touch of heat. Really nice. Rich and inviting.

Baker's chocolate, coffee, oak, and pine. Intense but smooth. Definitely an Imperial. Roasty, warming, and big.

Mouthfeel is medium, could be a bit fuller.

Overall, definitely a great porter. A little strong for my tastes, but to be expected at 10% alcohol.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,679 ratings.
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