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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
BA SCORE
4.39/5
Outstanding
6,906 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#249
Reviews:
1,437
Ratings:
6,906
pDev:
8.88%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,098
Gots:
2,234
Trade:
85
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 6,906 |  Reviews: 1,437
Photo of MNBeerGeek
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of kristougher
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of oldp0rt
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of cryptichead
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Magery
4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AndyEdgar
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of CJNAPS
4.71/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of bsp77
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with large, sustained, tan head and impressive lacing.

Smell: Pressed coffee, dried out char, chocolate, molasses and vanilla.

Taste: Good God, that's a shock. Very dry onslaught of coffee, char, smoke and vanilla. Some of the semi-sweet chocolate and molasses underneath that I expect from an Imperial Porter, but that initial taste was much stronger and drier than expected. Some burnt molasses aftertaste but not too much of an issue.

Feel: More medium bodied than I expected, with low carbonation. Fairly smooth, but not as creamy as some. Very dry, especially for the style.

Overall: I can see why this is so well reviewed. Just an impressive beer all around.

 739 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nitro on tap;

A: opaque; very dark brown in color; 1 finger creamy light brown head that receded to a thin cap; sheets of lacing;

S: coffee and vanilla;

T: bittersweet chocolate for a moment, then coffee with cream through the finish; didn't really detect the vanilla, although it could have been a factor in how I perceived the coffee;

M: medium to full bodied; light to moderate creamy carbonation; lightly dry finish; ABV is well hidden - lightly warming;

O: drinks very easily for the ABV;

 498 characters

Photo of SFC21
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of einman
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of NickMunford
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours thick and black. With a small head, with little retention or lacing.

S: Definite roastiness, with a lot of coffee and a little vanilla thrown in for good measure.

T: Tastes of espresso and dark chocolate, with a little vanilla in the background.

M: Thick, silky and smooth.

D: Easily drinkable, has some bitterness that lingers a bit as an aftertaste, but overall, very drinkable. Almost dangerously so.

 416 characters

Photo of TheBigBoy
2.75/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

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

Photo of Damian
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 22 fl. oz./1 pint 6 fluid ounces/650 ml bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westbooro, MA
Served in a snifter

The liquid poured a deep brown/black with a frothy, one-finger, cocoa-colored crown that faded to a lasting ring. A substantial amount of drippy lacing cascaded down the glass with every sip.

Super smooth, freshly brewed coffee dominated the aroma. The coffee was potent yet well balanced by a milky sweetness. Strong vanilla notes came through as well. Caramel malts trailed in the background. Although the aroma was not terribly complex, it was really pleasant and inviting.

The flavor profile was interesting (perhaps more so than the aroma) but lacked the intensity and smoothness of the nose. Deep and malty up front. French roast coffee beans appeared in the center. Some bakers chocolate notes came through as well. The finish was a bit more harsh than I anticipated it to be. Quite roasty and ashy (almost a touch acrid) with a generous dose of piney, bitter hops.

The mouthfeel was pillowy soft and frothy. Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation. For a 10% ABV brew, I was hoping for a bit more heft however.

Drinkability was notable. This beer buried its alcohol quite well.

Victory at Sea has its strong points (aroma and flavor profile on the font end) as well as its shortcomings (finish and mouthfeel). This is a very good imperial porter (which is incorrectly categorized as an "American porter" here on BeerAdvocate) but there are a number of coffee infused beers out there which are better.

 1,550 characters

Photo of cliff1066
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
4.76/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of sgregory
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DRBiser
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of woemad
4.16/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber purchased at Total Wine in Spokane, Valley, WA, for $8.49. Not even bothering with deciphering the bottled-on stamp.

Poured into my trusty Iron Goat snifter, this was a totally opaque dark brown color with a big, creamy tan colored head. Said head took its sweet time dropping and left lots of lace on the sides of the glass.

Vanilla and coffee are the dominant scents, in that order, though it must be said that the vanilla is not overpowering. I picked up some milk chocolate notes as well.

The coffee stands out a little more in the taste than in the nose, but it’s well balanced with the vanilla. Definitely an alcohol taste in the background that is most noticeable at the fadeout. It’s just a teeny bit too alcoholically “hot” for my tastes.

A little thinner in the body than I expected, but not to a deal-breaking degree. Sticky, coating mouthfeel.

I’m generally of the opinion vanilla should be used sparingly when it makes an appearance in beer. This one could be an example of how it should be done. It’s a little too sweet and WAY too boozy for repeated glasses, but this works well as an after-breakfast beer and could work as a nightcap or dessert beer as well. I’m thinking of getting another couple of bottles and laying them down for a bit to see if the alcohol heat mellows a bit.

 1,330 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.03/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ballast Point Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Porter (wow, that's a long one) has a black, opaque body with a large crown of off-white head that is composed of rather large bubbles. Retention is pretty good, and the beer laces the glass nicely.

Lots of coffee in the aroma, with hints of chocolate and vanilla.

This beer is a little bit puzzling for me. How does this beer sound so good to me, (coffee, vanilla, porter, I like ALL of these things!), smell so good, but taste so off? The flavors are there, they are strong, but they are a little bit cloying and I just don't feel like they come together well. Up front there is a ton of coffee and roasted malts followed by a large blast of bittersweet chocolate. The vanilla flavor is huge, reminding me of vanilla extract. A bite of bitter hops rounds out the finish, adding a bit of a citrus character.

The mouthfeel could use a little more punch, it is fine but would be better if it were bigger and a bit creamier.

One thing I will say for Victory at Sea is that it hides that 10% ABV really well, no alcohol flavor or even warming pops up, and I would not have guessed that this bad boy was this strong. Overall, however, this beer just did not work work for me. Ballast Point is great, and everyone else seems to love this one, but I thought it was a bit over-done.

 1,323 characters

Photo of GABrew
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of rangerred
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter out of a 22oz bomber.

Pours pitch black and reminds me of used motor oil. Not much in the way of a head but the wisps of lacing left on the sides of the glass is truly impressive considering the abv.

The aroma is extremely pleasant and soft. Dark roast coffee and some light hints of caramel. The vanilla is there but it is very subtle, much more so than any other vanilla flavored beer I have had before. Dark chocolate is also mixed in. Sort of reminds me of a mocha coffee drink.

The flavor is even more impressive and substantial than the aroma. The vanilla is extremely subtle and well-integrated becoming most apparent immediately after the sip. Dark roast coffee and vanilla quickly followed by a shot of caramel. Bitterness reminiscent of dark chocolate and espresso followed then by more vanilla and moderate sweetness. Mouthfeeel is on the sticky side and there is a little bit of tannic bitterness on the roof of the mouth.

Overall, an extremely well done coffee vanilla porter. For once the vanilla is not overdone and is perfectly integrated. A sipper for sure but perfect for the cold winter months and one to savor over the course of an evening.

 1,186 characters

Photo of Overlord
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off, what's with the proliferation of names for this brew? Are they really different styles? In any event, this is a bottle that reads the exact name listed above, so I hope this is the right listing.

Thanks to Hophead 84 for grabbing a few of these for me.

Pours a dark black with a dark tan head. Two or three inches, surprisingly big for the ABV. Smells like coffee. Not roasted malt, not vanilla, just coffee. Okay, maybe a whiff of vanilla.

Taste is, thankfully, more balanced. Still, this beer is shockingly coffee-esque. Not a big coffee fan myself, it is a bit offputting, but I can appreciate what they accomplished here. The flavor does add in some chocolate and vanilla notes. Still, it's bracingly dark, cold coffee.

Nice creamy mouthfeel. One 22 oz'er will be enough for a while. I am going to let this age for a year ... or two ... and let the coffee mellow a bit.

 889 characters

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 6,906 ratings
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