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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: 1,360 | Ratings: 6,623
Photo of weatherdog
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 tulip glass

It pours a deep rich brown high a large 3 finger head that settles with a nice thick layer of bubbles that leave thick lacing down the side.

The smell is heavy on the roasted coffee with just a hint of the vanilla. No detection of alcohol at all.

The taste very heavy on the roasty coffee. The coffee is not too bitter which can be a common problem in these coffee porters and stouts. Even though I know this isn't an oak aged beer I'm picking up some subtle oak with the vanilla at the end. Once again no hint of the alcohol. The finish is just a little too sweet for me and that is my only complaint.

This is just a silky smooth beer and drinks easily and quickly. I really enjoyed this beer and glad I was able to get a bottle.

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

On tap beside the Sculpin IPA, I guess Bocktown just had a tasting for Ballast Point. A newcomer to the beer scene in the Burgh. This one pour black as night no ruby highlights seen when held toward the light. Mocha brown head fine speckled lacing forms as it dwindles. Aroma offered up strong coffee dark roasted malts dark chocolate hints of soft vanilla and mild caramel tones, and a bit of booziness is detectable as well. Flavor was a big roasted porter a bit of dark fruit plums soaked in alcohol with nice rounded vanilla and caramel sweetness. Very much a dessert beer, balanced with herbal hops and dark roasted coffee bitterness. The alcohol level didn't offend the palate or get in the way of drinkability. Full bodied slight alcohol burn, carbonated moderately finishes velvet smooth. Drinkability is way too easy for a 10 percent brew, I enjoyed this and I'm sure they're still pulling this one get there while it lasts great world class brew out of San Diego, wow SoCal is spoiled.

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Photo of hctap00
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, per usual. Decent head the color of creamed coffee. Fades to a thin lacing that lingers.

Not surprisingly, coffee dominates the nose. Reminds me of a medium roast, with hazelnut tones. Second whiff reminds me of french vanilla hot chocolate of my youth. Sweet, but not overly so.

An assault on the senses that pushes the "American Porter" classification to the limit. And I love it. A blend of delicate coffee and hazelnut/vanilla sweetness. When I think one flavor is going to assert itself, the other shows up. The coffee is not very bitter, but just enough. Vanilla gives a bit of an edge. A bit of warming alcohol as it goes down. Little hop bitterness.

Smooth and creamy on the palate. Not too much carbonation, which I like

Overall, a real treat. Would make a great dessert beer. Share it with a friend and sip it slow.

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

Very dark opaque porter with a light brown head the leaves a nice lacing as well as a small mound of head in the middle of the glass staying atop this beer. Lighter aroma than taste of coffee with a nice accent of vanilla, just seems to be proportioned just right for my taste buds. Another good reason to like Ballast Point BC.

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

A: Of course this is an inky black beer. Looked somewhat viscous on the pour. Small dark khaki head formed on top before receding to some foam.

S: Very coffee forward on the nose. Alcohol is definitely present. I don't really smell vanilla.

T: Huge coffee flavor. Not astringent at all, fantastic coffee addition here. Chocolate of the dark variety also. Not a ton of vanilla, but I think the huge coffee presence is simply overpowering it. It is there, however. Alcohol rears it's head, making the 10% abv believable.

M: Pretty damn smooth. Slick and almost creamy.

O: I wanted a little more vanilla, but that's the only real complaint I can muster. This is a fantastic beer, and I am so glad I finally got my hands on some.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Boulevard tulip.

A: What a fantastic looking porter! Pitch black and not watery in the least (in fact it sported legs when swirled). Sitting on top was three mocha fingers of creamy/pillowy foam that featured amazing retention and left a lacey mess on the inside of the glass. Lovely!

S: Initial waft was pure espresso. As it warmed, out came aromas of vanilla, cocoa, fudge brownies, toasty caramel, and dark chocolate. There was an ever so slight hint of alcohol.

T: Just like the smell, the taste was dominated by espresso at first. Vanilla, dark chocolate covered cherries, caramel, and fudge. Alcohol merely lurks in the background. Not intrusive in the least.

M: Thick and full with a heaping helping of spicyness. From the alcohol? The hops? The fresh espresso? Who knows... Whatever it is, it's very good.

D: The coffee, chocolate, and vanilla kept me coming back for more, but the 10% finally reared it's head by the very end of the bottle. Excellent coffee porter to share with a friend!

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

650 ml poured into a snifter and a tulip. I ordered two of these bottles from Holiday Wine Cellar, excellent selection; they will definitely get my business again when I need certain California brews.

A - very black, very little brown on the periphery. Huge head recedes very slowly. I'm reminded starkly of Guiness.

S - Definitely the worst aspect of the beer, but it's still pretty good. The alcohol content is a little overwhelming in the snifter, but the coffee plays a role.

T - very tasty. Chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and only a slight hint of vanilla. This reminds me quite a bit of ST's imperial stouts, like Choklat and Mokah. It isn't quite as up front and personal with its flavors, but that might be a good thing. A little too carbonated and a little too much alcohol are the only points off it gets.

M - very good, the alcohol and carbonation hug the mouth in a good way. Very drinkable.

O - excellent beer. I don't want to pay for shipping from California every time I buy this beer, so it may be a while before I get it again. I certainly will next time I'm on the west coast.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A beautiful beer, with a tan head, lacing throughout and a black color. Smells include malt, coffee and caramel. Taste is strong on the coffee with a nice dark roast bitter finish. Great body, with a nice combination of sweet and bitter on the finish.

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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 KYGunner
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy hell this is pretty with a deep ebony glow and a thick crown of dense brown foam that laced so well.

The nose is so nice and varied. I catch a smoke and tobacco out front by than it settles in with a dry chocolate, coffee and vanilla.

The flavors are smoky and spicy with a pepper and chili pepper like body. The complexities continue with smoke, tobacco, cocoa, vanilla and roasted coffee. This becomes even more interesting as a strong of vanilla ties through all phases but never intrudes.

The feel is dry but silky, dry with a touch of warmth.

This was a touch hyped before I tried it but it lived up to that pomp. This has superb taste and tremendous variance.

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Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into Sam Adams pint glass.

Pours nearly perfect black with faint red-brown edges and three towering fingers of creamy brown head that leaves spooky haunted forest lace as it recedes.

Smells of coffee grounds, vanilla beans, dark fudge, dried berries, brown sugar and faint leafy hops.

Tastes of creamy coffee with a shot of vanilla, more rich fudge, chocolate covered raisins, toasted brown sugar and more mild hops.

Feels big, soft and smooth. Full bodied with creamy carbonation. Finishes dry.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. A monster of a beer.

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Photo of Ri0
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured 22oz bottle into snifter

A - A beautiful deep, dark coffee fudge color with an impressive 2 finger mocha colored head. A nice collar stays on my glass and there is a plethora of lacing.

S - Tons of roasted coffee and bakers chocolate. Nice smooth hints of French Vanilla and dabs of milk chocolate.

T - I get a wave of bitterness and coffee right away that gives way to a creamy dark chocolate and mild vanilla flavor. Even some sweet caramel in the middle. Very roasty and bitter on the finish. This is like a hopped up RIS!

M - Big, rich, and smooth body and very nice carbonation. It's a sipper, but goes down so easy with a linger of bitterness.

O - Very nice Porter that reminds of Espresso Oak Aged Yeti and Stone Espresso RIS, but with subtle vanilla and caramel. One of the best Imperial Porters I have had. And I've had some nice ones from Tyranena.

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Photo of cjoc83
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No bottled on date to be found, just an enjoy by 11/06/13 (which I found a little strange, I would think this beer would be good for aging?). $9.99 at Wegmans in Downingtown, PA. Pours motor oil black and quite viscous into a tulip with chestnut hues at the edges of the glass when held up to the light. An aggressive pour leaves a little over 2 fingers of tan head that hangs around for a little while before receding to a cap. Leaves a patch of lace here and there.

Smell is a wonderful amalgamation of fresh coffee, vanilla, and roasted malts with just a touch of earthy hops and a little sweetness.

Starts out with some bitter espresso in the front, then segues nicely into roasted malts, sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, and black coffee. Some earthy hops come in mid-palette and into the finish, along with some roasted malts, coffee and a touch of vanilla bean to cut the bitter/roasted flavors. A little alcohol warmth in the chest as well. Really nice stuff.

Rich and slightly chewy with low carbonation. Smooth, but a bit of a sipper that packs a little heat. The vanilla really pops as the beer warms and adds great complexity and sweetness, especially in the finish.

Truly a remarkable imperial porter. Big roasted malts and bold coffee with just the right amount of vanilla sweetness to balance it out. Quite possibly my favorite porter. Definitely recommended!

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Photo of mobrado
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A delicious coffee-vanilla bomb that hides 10% dangerously well. Only drawback, if you even want to call it that, is a fairly thin mouth feel, but if it was any thicker, they'd call it a stout and charge twice the price, so I'm okay with it.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point – Victory At Sea: Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter, from the bottle. Enjoy by: 12/10/13, drank: 01/17/14.

A – Charcoal-brown body with an evenly distributed and smooth head. You could shine a laser through this thing and it wouldn’t come out the other side.

S – Strong. Picking up a bracing hit of roasted malts. Milky coffee with a sweetness to it which you realise is the vanilla once you taste it. Much more pronounced than on Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil which is the last porter I tasted (and which incidentally I loved.) Reassured me that my nose still functions. Three quarters of the way through this beer the nose continues to improve, to the point where it may be my favourite thing about this beer, excepting the first sip. This demands particular attention for, as a rule, most beer loses fragrance as it sits, whereas here it continues to emanate.

T- This just tastes absolutely phenomenal. I mean seriously, seriously good. The way the vanilla mellows out all the roasty-toasty flavours is literally something I’ve never tasted before. And it is so, so good. Few things are more annoying than using sounds and adjectives - so I’ve edited my original entries - but I was quite literally left wondering aloud as this washed over my tongue for the first time. Particularly as having read the reviews, it seemed I ought to be in for something a little bit special. Perhaps tellingly, prolific reviewer UCLABrewN84 reviews this in his top 20 beers out of 5052 beers. That first sip has left me reeling as is reflected in my scattered entry. This is great stuff.

M – Nice and creamy. If the mouthfeel here is whole milk, personally I’d love to see this as jersey milk; nevertheless it’s silky as a silk spider. Excellent.

O – Still have almost all the most highly-rated dark, potent and mythic-status beers ahead of me (Abyss, Marshall Zhukov, Dark Lord, Abraxas, BCBCS, Parabola, Darkness, Founder’s, etc.) but this offering only intensifies the excitement tenfold. As I sample more of the finest offerings perhaps this will downgrade but you can only go off what you know. The nose is so wonderfully balanced. The taste follows suit. I’d have sworn this was at 8%; that it’s actually one of the more boozy beers I have had (at 10%) takes me clean by surprise. Want to give it more than a 4.5 but my second sampling leaves me seeking a sweeter finish. Can conceive a creamier and more intensely flavoured beer but this is still glorious. I want that second bottle.

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Photo of GehenHerzog
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A- Pours a dark black with not much head at all

S- Smells of straight up vanilla. A slight hint of chocolate and coffee in the back end but the vanilla dominates the smell.

T- Again, vanilla dominates it but the chocolate and coffee come in nicely in the end to balance this brew out very nicely.

M- Medium to full bodied. Decent carbonation.

D- Doesn't drink anywhere close to a 10% beer. The alcohol isn't noticeable and it it goes down smooth.

I had it both on draft and out of the bottle and they both tasted identical (from my experience).

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,623 ratings.
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