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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 KingEdward
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is great! Look is dark brown with nice lacing. Smell is of sugar cookie , milk chocolate, and vanilla. Taste is of milk chocolate, vanilla, and wow! I want this on nitro! Feel is velvet and creme! Awesome. Ballast point rocks! Can'!!!t wait to try more of there beers!

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Photo of jjboesen
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ballast Point is your typical brewery; that is, if the typical brewery produces superb beers. I fell in love with these guys during my recent trip to San Diego (San Diego Beer Week 2012). Excellent stuff to say the least. This one, the Victory at Sea Vanilla Porter (there is the regular "Victory at Sea", of course) is endowed with vanilla.

Any way, here is how it goes: we have at the start, a spongy beige head accompanied by massive gobs of gummy lacing. We see a body that is tar black. Take a whiff; we smell freshly ground coffee. Taste it: there is an intense hit of the aforementioned coffee - supplemented by caramel undertones with bits of dark chocolate arbitrarily strewn about for effect. That said, I did not get much vanilla, but then it is somewhat bland and unaccustomed to standing out - vanilla, that is.

The mouthfeel is very creamy, very silky; this is an extraordinarily balanced beer to belie the 9% alchohol level. Really, it does. A superb dessert beer from a superb brewer.

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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.

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel.

A - Coffee black pour with about a 3 inch head that is a nice creamy brown.

S - Wonderful coffee smell with just enough hint of vanilla. Smell comes across with just enough sweetness in it.

T - Big roasty taste. Great hints of vanilla as well. Comes cross the palate with just a touch of sweetness and caramel. Mocha along for the ride. The warmnesss of the ABV is very subtle on this. Cant help but getting a bit too much of a burnt wood out of it. Odd.

M - Medium bodied with a creamy feel. Coats the tongue in a velvety goodness.

D - High ABV but still pretty damn drinkable.

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Photo of mjl21
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #200

Acquired via trade...thanks Dan. 22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. No bottling info is given. Comes in at 10%.

A-A fairly aggressive pour results in black beer with a tiny sand colored head that collapses into a filmy ring in the center of the glass. The ring slowly expands as each sip goes down and results in a layer that looks like the top of a capuccino. Lots of bubbles are visible along the side of the glass and a tad bit of lace is left on the glass.

S-When it is first poured into the glass, a subtle sniff results in vanilla flavors and a light roast character. When I bring it up to my nose and inhale deeper, the coffee becomes quite apparent. After about 20 minutes in the glass, the vanilla starts to become more pronounced. After about 40 minutes the coffee and vanilla really gel together nicely. This one really deserves a 4.25; a 4.50 is a tad too high.

T-On the first sip, the coffee is very upfront. The sweetness from the vanilla hits in the middle and back of my mouth. Before it goes down, the roast flavor comes out. It finishes with some nice bitterness and some roasted flavor in the back. As it starts to warm, the vanilla jumps out quicker and overtakes the coffee. The aftertaste becomes more like a marshmallow dipped in bittersweet chocolate that has been placed into a cup of good coffee.

M-Considering it is an Imperial Porter with vanilla, it's mouthfeel is a lot lighter than I was expecting. It is quite smooth and creamy. It is lightly carbonated.

D-I would never guess this is a 10% beer. It took about an hour and a half to finish this one. A great sipper that only gets better as it warms.

This was another winner from Ballast Point. I would love to try the BA version of this one. Well worth seeking out if you can still find it.

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Photo of cavemanlawyer1999
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into pint glass, black-brown liquid with large and delicious looking cappuccino brown head. Smells heavily of mocha and vanilla. Taste is very vanilla and coffee, very nice but odd finish i couldn't quite place. Very good beer though, would drink again and recommend.

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Photo of MCain04
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz from the Beer Temple, dated 12/20/12, poured into a FFF Teku at around 40F.

Dark dark body almost black with thin khaki head, some retention, some lacing.

Smell is a pungent vanilla. They did not shy away from this ingredient. The coffee follows suit and is a nice roast, even 6 months after this was brewed. The roasted malts are also apparent, with some chocolatey, caramel notes. A little overpowering on the vanilla but the nose is anything but subdued.

Flavor profile follows the nose well. A lot of vanilla, with dark chocolate, bitter coffee, roasted malts, and caramel toffee rounding this out. The flavor profile almost makes it taste like it's been in a barrel, which it has not. That's actually the major thing missing from this beer, is the 10% ABV punch. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Probably by the overwhelming sweetness of vanilla, but still a complex and diverse flavor profile, if not the best balance.

The mouthfeel has a higher than expected carbonation given the head size, but it doesn't detract. A full body with some dryness on the finish and a sticky malty residue on the tongue.

On of the better imperial porters I've had. I haven't tried the base beer but assume it would be very good as well. I like the coffee addition, the vanilla could have been better integrated and balanced though. Overall very nice beer that worth drinking more than once.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown with a finger of tan head. Coffee, chocolate malt along with a bit of hops in the aroma. Lots of chocolate in the flavor. Rich and smooth, medium to full bodied. Some piney hops in the middle. Vanilla in the finish. Finish lingers fairly long. Also some drying from the hops in the finish. Solid beer, but the coffee stout/porter thing just doesn't do it for me.

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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 sisuspeed
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Deep, dark color with a decently sized, frothy, tan head. Nice lacing.

Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. The chocolate and sweet malts are more dominant than the coffee smell, but the coffee beans are definitely there, along with some vanilla notes as well. Smells delicious.

Caramel, vanilla and chocolate come rushing through on the first sip, followed by a healthy addition of roasted, somewhat bitter, coffee bean. Warming alcohol lurks beneath, never interfering with the flavor, but letting you know this is a big beer. The overall flavor profile is quite sweet at first, but the bitterness from the coffee helps even things out. Behind all these flavors there seems to be just a little bit of bit of peppery hoppiness as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, rich and warming. Feels a little spicy at times from the hops, but overall it is quite smooth.

Drinkability is also very good. I'm really enjoying the glass I'm sipping from, but I probably wouldn't drink an entire 22oz by myself due to the richness and 10% ABV. A normal sized glass serving is just about right.

Overall, this beer is awesome. Lots of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a good addition of coffee beans. This is probably more of a dessert beer, but a very good one. More than surpassed my expectations. If you can find this, I highly recommend you pick it up. I'm already wishing I had another to drink this week and another two to cellar.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a rich, dark, oily rich brown. as with the style, not quite black. an intensely rich reddish caramel brown colored head is frothy and has impressive retention. ample dotted lacing is about as good as anything else near this viscosity. looks stunning.

rich dark malt sweetness and earthiness, lactose sweetness (maybe that's the vanilla?) and definite coffee on the nose. rich milk chocolate, hazelnuts, and more earthy espresso. aroma near turkish coffee. wow.

taste, not surprisingly, is stunning. smokey peat with a touch of sea salt up front. then rich dark roasty malts, caramel sweetness, roasted coffee. espresso and mocha. some fairly strong alcohol notes with an interesting sweetness not far from a sweet scotch. interesting. boozy and hot for me, but I'm really impressed by this one. the finish lingers with clean roasted coffee beans.

mouth is smooth, creamy, full. touch viscous, although also a touch slick. a lingering roasted cocoa bitterness in the finish.

given the abv, the style, and the unique flavors, this one is crazy drinkable. not quite as much vanilla as I'd hoped, or remember from past version, but I won't hold it much against this brew. It's stellar, and I personally would take one of these to an abyss, darklord, or the like any day of the week. I know it's a different ball game, but still... this one really impresses.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.75] Pours a pitch black. Forms a 2 finger head of dense khaki bubbles. The head is really rich and creamy looking. The head leaves nice lacing on the glass and does not dissipate quickly. The bottle lists the ABV (10.0%) and date code for born on 2/20/15.

S: [4.00] Very coffee forward. That is the prominent feature of the nose.

T: [4.00] The taste is roasted malts and chocolate. It is bitter chocolate. As I continue to drink I get more of the coffee taste in each sip. The finish is also coffee with roasted malts.

M: [3.50] There is a little more tingle feel than I expected. The body wasn't as thic as I expected either (given the rich looking head). There is a long lingering coffee and roasted malt taste at the end.

O: [3.75] I know the distinction between porter and stout can be academic - but I agree that this is a 10% porter. It didn't have the thick body I'd expect in a stout. Visually it is a great beer. The nose is also really nice. It has a good taste and is well balanced. The mouthfeel was a little weak - but like I said maybe that is more of a porter experience. Overall this is a good beer that I would drink again. It is not my favorite coffee porter/stout.

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

bomber served in a snifter glass.

pours an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy khaki toned head that slowly recedes into a collar around the glass; nice walls of lacing. all around great looking beer. exactly what i look for.

nose opens with an unmistakable coffee presence, followed by roasted malts and chocolate. reminds me somewhat of founders breakfast stout.

aroma characters largely pull through in the taste with plenty of coffee and roasted malts, but there's a vanilla note i missed in the nose, albeit a muted one... some bitterness to the finish, with vanilla showing up a bit more in the aftetaste. overall, a really tasty, dare i say delicious beer. well done.

smooth, velvety moutfeel... medium bodied, though a bit lighter than most similar-styled beers; appropriate carbonation. 10% ABV makes its high drinkability rather dangerous.

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Photo of seand
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep opaque black or near-black brown, with a fair amount of dense foamy head. What's there retains pretty well, and leaves very nice webs of lacing.

S: A huge, rich, and decadent mix of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt, with a touch of cherry. Smells like a freshly baked dessert pastry.

T: Quite sweet, with a nice roasted malt body. Finish has a light coffee bitterness. It's like your dessert with coffee, all in one!

M: Rich and full bodied, with medium carbonation.

Overall it's extremely well done. It's very rich, but nicely put together, rather than just a straight up malt bomb.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

We achieved victory. It was hard fought, the ships grinding together and the ropes straining at the anchors as the furled sails flapped in the wind. They were unaware and unarmed, and we stormed their decks with gusto at night, the sea all black, pitch black with a big layer of foam at the crest of every wave, until it went calm, until it sank to just the black.
The aromas, aside from the gunpowder and bodies... it smelled of coffee and vanilla, cinnamon, some chocolate and carob, as we careen up on the upper decks, the swordplay of footwork, one wrong step and you will be lost. Some raspberry chocolate, and the oatmeal we had for breakfast on the high seas...
Still, it's unbelievably easy to quaff, though the footwork is madness, though the clanging in the night only reminds you to disarm, disarm, then the only battle is to force him off of the edge... Davy Jones' locker, a long, easy dark drink... you were a decent fighter my friend, but no match for us...
As to the thickness, the body, it's rather nice, but a little thin for the rumored power, just a hint light, but it adds to the effect, to the easy drink, it's easy, Just trust us. Give up.
And of course, the flavours... who could forget? Oatmeal with cream, the same chocolate and perhaps some carob, some black bread toast, lightly burnt, can't ask for much more in this world, anyway... and the faint lingering of the alcohol, the whiskey we sing our songs to every night, raise your flagons, ye dogs! Raise 'em high! We have won another Victory at Sea, me gents!Never Surrender, and take everything! Hahaha! Here's to another Victory at Sea!

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Near black with full tan head and lots of staying power. Nose is complex with various malts and burnt malts, and plenty of coffee and vanilla. Taste is a bit much...tons of flavor, but somewhat muddled and overdone. Finish leaves a bit too much bitterness over the coffee and dark malt notes. Definitely a good big beer. Definitely not a quick or quaffable. Need to spend some time with it, and one is probably plenty. Overall very good.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Phenomenal beer. Jet black and thick with a big mocha head that laced beautifully. Smell is big and rich with strong notes of roasted coffee, soft vanilla, maple syrup, and bakers chocolate. Taste follows suit with big and rich flavors of dark roast coffee, toasted almond, molasses, caramel, dark chocolate, light licorice, and a wonderful sweet vanilla that appears late in the sip but lingers wonderfully. Feel is medium-bodied and silky, with just the right weight. Hard to imagine a better, more well-rounded porter.

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

Not as much vanilla as I was hoping, but still a beautiful imp porter. Coffee, bakers' chocolate and a nice hoppy earthy note. The mouthfeel is what made this one for me. A bit heavier than other porters of its strength which appeals to me a lot as a lover of big, syrupy stouts.

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Photo of CayseyW
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Espresso poured into a snifter
S: The coffee aroma is so on point. I'm a huge coffee geek, I even roast my own, so I feel somewhat qualified to say that this beer has the best coffee aromas you will find in a beer. It really blows me away. It's very earthy, and somewhat roasty.
T: The coffee is there in the taste too, and subtle hints of vanilla, especially in the finish, strike a nice balance. The flavors are pretty earthy for a porter, I would have love a little fruitiness.
F: A little sharp initially, but you ease into the beer quickly. Body is nice, but could be a teeny bit fuller. Great carb.
O: I almost passed on this one when my beer guy put it aside for me... Really glad I didn't! This is a world-class beer for sure. Not my favorite porter ever, but pretty damn close to it.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.34/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Ballast Point's Victory At Sea, porter brewed with coffee and vanilla. 10% ABV.

A: Almost two fingers of lighter chocolate milk colored head. Pitch black in the glass. Very dark brown in the dimple. A good amount of multi-layered lacing. Slight sheeting.

S: Deep roasted coffee up front. Vanilla is hard to make out against the coffee. Slight powdered cocoa.

T/MF: Very dark coffee, mixed with a bunch of char! And a heavy dose of hops. Quite heavy for a porter, all told.

Hmm. I'd heard good things about this one, but it is quite disappointing. I'll see how it warms up.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of twillingthenoz
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass. Frothy tan head. Diminishes into a one finger height head that stays as you drink. Thick fluffy lacing. Opaque dark brown.

Smells of roasted coffee beans. Some vanilla scent coming through.

Might very well be my new favorite coffee stout. mmmm coffee taste up front. Nice sweetness... then a well balanced bitterness at the end.

Very smooth and creamy. Light carbonation. Coats your mouth and sticks around for a while after you swallow.

This one gives you everything you want in a coffee porter. Not too thick, not too sweet, nice hoppy coffee bitterness.

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Photo of BobZ
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz Bottle poured into a Pint glass.

Appearance: Almost black with a small 1/4" tan head that quickly recedes to only a cap, nice lacing.

Smell: Big coffee with a hint of sweetness.

Taste: Rich dark roast coffee is the dominant flavor there is some vanilla on the finish but it is subtle. This is done in a good way the coffee bitterness up front with just the hint of vanilla sweetness on the finish. Very little chocolate flavor as again the roasted malt supports the coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very well bodied for a porter, smooth and drinkable.

Overall: An excellent coffee porter, full and very flavorful.

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Photo of HoneyLamb
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got it for $12 a six pack of 12 ounce bottles from Meijer in Stephenville, Michigan on 12/12/15. Saw a few other reviews and besides the obvious flavors referenced, I tasted subtle smoke and pepper notes. Outstanding porter. So glad Ballast Point came to Michigan a couple weeks ago.

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Photo of RAlmeida77
3.41/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wasn't blow away by this beer. Thought it was pretty good. HInts of vanilla and coffee in the nose but definitely wanted more of a vanilla presence in the flavor.

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black with a towering coffee colored head and great lacing. Notes of heavy coffee, caramel, toffee and light vanilla in the nose. Big coffee flavor, some toffee and vanilla working in the background smooth the flavor profile. Nice feel as it warmed, creamy, fuller side of medium body and very drinkable at 10%. This was one of, if not the most coffee forward beers I've ever had. Really fantastic.

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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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