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:
1,092
Gots:
2,192
For Trade:
91
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,405 | Ratings: 6,807
Photo of oldn00b
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks about perfect, nice tan head forms and sticks.

Nose is big on coffee and vanilla, exactly as expected.

Something about this doesn't live up for me - I feel like the vanilla and sweet combine for a bit of a cloying effect that gives the flavor a bit of an artificial tinge.

Feel is great, nice viscosity for a porter without being syrupy.

Overall, really great beer, but not sure I like it as much as most.

 417 characters

Photo of sacrelicio
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The perfect coffee porter. Let me elaborate: I had this on my wants for long time, almost a personal whale if you will. I spied a bottle at Whole Foods in NYC (Tribeca) and my eyes popp'd from my head. I purchased the bottle and opened it for my friend's 30th birthday. It was amazing. The coffee and vanilla were decadent and rich with a delicacy that can't be beat.

 367 characters

Photo of thedoubler55
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark black, has a nice 2 finger off white head that leaves a nice lacing around the glass.

S: Strong roasty notes up front, hints of coffee, and strong smell of dark chocolate and some cherries.

T: The vanillas presence is obvious with both the nose and taste on this brew, very roasty and nice subtleness.

M: Heavy mouthfeel, and sticky, perfect amount of carbonation.

O: This was a very good beer, I felt as if the warmer it got the better it tasted. Nice warming effect to this beer as well, Great job!

 529 characters

Photo of EliotRosewater
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - absolutely pitch black. Pours a single finger mocha- brown head.

S - tons of chocolate right up front. Some coffee, roasted malt, bread. Looking for the vanilla and not finding it.

T - roasted malts, dark chocolate / cacao, coffee, bourbon. Again, not much vanilla. Little but of sweetness. Alcohol is well integrated.

M - not as viscous or syrupy as one might think. Relatively nice finish but not as much of a lingering aftertaste.

O- one of my favorites given the price and availability. Nothing mind blowing but a really solid late night dessert beer.

 567 characters

Photo of tregan_20
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Upon pouring, the color was black with a finger of caramel-colored head.Aroma was that of coffee, vanilla and tobacco. The taste is somewhat roasted/burnt coffee with tobacco and vanilla notes. The aftertaste is that of strong alcohol and malts. Overall the beer is tasty and a solid offering from Ballast Point. Cheers!

 343 characters

Photo of Skrumpy
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is superb. Poured 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass. Very dark in color, with a brown, bubbly head. I could smell the coffee when I opened the bottle. After it was poured the vanilla aroma becomes more present. The flavors are very well balanced, and the beer is like a delicious desert with a cup of coffee. The mouthfeel is smooth, rich, and warm. If you like these types of beers, do not pass this one up!

 430 characters

Photo of Gyle41386
3.63/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a mug.

Dark, dark black pour. About a finger of mocha-colored foam retains pretty well and sticks nicely.

Very, very coffee nose. Light sweetness up front keeps it porter-y, with a light roasty bitter finish.

This is definitely a coffee beer. I'm not really tasting much of anything else. There's a little bit of boozy heat in the finish. Certainly an imperial porter. The vanilla doesn't come through right away, which is a bit of a bummer.

Body is maybe a little heavier than medium, just a step below what I'd expect from an imperial stout, so that seems right on the money. Low carbonation. Slick and chewy.

ABV is apparent, but never a bother. Definitely a sipper. Very nice beer.

 717 characters

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

Appearance - black in color, with a foamy brown head. Smell - mostly coffee and something else I can't put my finger on. Taste - blast of coffee with a subtle vanilla to smooth out the bitterness. Overall - this is good, can't wait to see as it warms a bit.

 257 characters

Photo of Dwkasper
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

A: Dark, black with 2 fingers of thick tab head

S: Fresh coffee, dark chocolate, smoke, light wood

T: chocolate up front with creamy and coffee finish

M: light carbonation with creamy mouth feel

O: Tasty and smooth. Great fall and winter beer

 248 characters

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

22 oz bomber pours an opaque black with slow forming fantastic looking cascading tannish head. Aroma is as advertised - coffee and vanilla, dark roast malt, a little bacon, and a hint of the 10% alcohol. The taste is the same - smokey coffee and vanilla with great hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh (really my only quibble with this wonderful brew) but creamy and dry finish. Great beer, the vanilla and coffee flavors fit in well with the traditional (but extra strong) porter flavors. Would easily put this up with some of the better imperial stouts.

 559 characters

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle

A: its like a cascade of molasses ,rich and dark.

S:obvious smell of coffee,toasted malts and a hint of chocalate.

T:a beautiful balance of coffee and vanilla.although not a strong taste of vanilla you can taste it if you wait for it.A bitter finish but not overwhelming.

M:very smooth.

O:Best porter I've had till now.A balance of quality flavors that you can expect from your favorite coffee house with the added bonus of alcohol.Need I say more.Highly recommend for 7.99$ for a 22oz.

 517 characters

Photo of CliffBrake
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow - like drinking a chocolate mocha creme pie! A great dessert to linger over on Christmas Eve.

It pours with a light tan colored head with modest lacing. Coffee and vanilla are both very prominent on the nose. The flavor combines these notes with chocolate and bread from the malts. Throughout, the coffee is very prominent and tastes about as rich and fresh as any coffee I have had in a beer (and better than you'd get with most coffee in this country). The vanilla is well integrated and doesn't stand out as much as it seems to holds things together.

A very tasty, sweet libation for slow sipping.

 606 characters

Photo of Sarlacc83
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, split. Thrilled that Ballast Point is delivering beers to Oregon

A: Lightless mahogany with a rim of cappuccino head. Not much in the way of legs, surprisingly, but I’ll manage.

N: The vanilla strikes first, but it’s soft and almost supple. coffee and dark chocolate firm up the base, and there’s a hint of molasses and similar flavors to oak. I get a whiff of charcoal, too.

T: Very bitter like fresh-pressed espresso mixed with some smoked wood. Malty sweetness and vanilla do a good job of rounding this out so that it’s not one-dimensional. Hop greenness also rears its head. Hits multiple parts of the tongue.

M: Oily with a medium-heavy mouthfeel. Alcohol is well-hidden.

O: A really well-built Imperial Porter that never allows any one of its elements to overwhelm the others. I’ll be buying this one on a regular basis.

 860 characters

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Super dark brown porter. Nice creamy foam head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and sweet raisin and vanilla notes.

T - Great coffee flavor up front with a sweet vanilla finish.

M - Smooth, creamy, and just the right amount of carbonation.

O - Only my second Ballast Point beer and I'm very impressed so far. I definitely will have this porter again and look forward to trying more of their beers. Prost!

 407 characters

Photo of Seanniek91
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bomber into a Grey Sail pint. Put in the fridge for an hour prior to consumption.

Appearance- Pitch black with thin mocha head that didn't last long. Mocha ring remains around the top of the beer.

Smell- Strong. Coffee, sweet chocolate, burnt vanilla aromas, some licorice, heavy sweet chocolate malts. The booze is relatively hidden in smell.

Taste- Wow heavy coffee with mild lingering vanilla notes. Dark bitter chocolate rounds out the coffee nicely and smooth malts balance with the bitter chocolate. Very well balanced beer. Booze is also not forward, which for 10% is incredible.

Mouthfeel- Very drinkable and smooth with moderate carbonation. Too drinkable actually.

Overall- This is an awesome beer. Great, well balanced flavors and smooth body in this one.

 786 characters

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - Black in the glass, tan head
Smell - COFFEE. Roasted malts, hints of chocolate/mocha, smoke
Taste - Coffee, espresso, bitter chocolate, char/smoke, the vanilla pokes thru a tad once the beers warms

Overall - a good porter but there's better out there, that's easier to get.

 283 characters

Photo of csmiley
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to prototypic for the chance to try this one out.

A - Pours a dark brown and borders on black in some areas. The bottom of the glass shows some ruby highlights that turn a cola brown towards the top. Tan head comes to almost one finger and disappears after a minute or two. Ends up a cap that nearly covers the top of the brew. Lacing starts out pretty sticky and ends on an average note.

S - Comes through big with a dry roasted malt aroma. Some bittersweet chocolate quickly follows. A nice espresso layer comes in around midway mixed with a little vanilla. The vanilla is much lighter than expected. Still not bad though. Alcohol is always present yet always under control.

T - The taste in this one is powerful. Loads of chocolate and cocoa stand at the forefront. Alcohol is more noticeable in the flavor but still easily managed. It comes across as warm an spicy but still feels under 10%. Fresh ground coffee and vanilla pretty much dominate the middle. Vanilla is light in the flavor just like the aroma. This beer could pass for a stout any day in my book.

M - Fuller bodied with a light carbonation of fine bubbles. Finish is bone-dry and smokey. Like chewing on a charcoal briquette.

D - Drinkability is good. It's pretty big for a porter, even an imperial. The 10% makes it go down slow. That's not a bad thing for this beer though. Tons of flavor makes you wnat to sip and savor every bit. Might be tough to dink 22 ounces so splitting this works will for me. I could have used a touch more vanilla but that is a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

 1,586 characters

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic imperial porter. Big and black with a good head. Coffee bean add to the porter style in a rich dark way. Not harsh coffee bean like some stouts. Very smooth. Vanilla adds some depth to the sweetness and blends well with the infused coffee beans. Out of this world aroma. Flavor is top class as well, but the aroma is maybe the best I've seen in a porter. Great original style from Ballast Point. It's nice to finally get my hands on a Victory at Sea.

 460 characters

Photo of erushing
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this fairly fresh and I've aged it to about 9 months to tone down the coffee. Fresh, it's a really above average porter that is very coffee forward. This review is more for the one that was about 9 months old where I thought it was incredibly complex and the coffee didn't dominate everything so much (for me). With a bit of age on it, it became one of best porter/stouts I've had.

 393 characters

Photo of MadCat
3/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a nice dark black color with dark tan head, leaves good lacing

Smell: Strong medium roast coffee, some hints of roasted malts and earthy hops

Taste: Strong medium roast coffee dominates the taste. The faintest hints of vanilla, along with a little stronger hints of roasted malts and earthy hops. Good bitterness

Mouthfeel: Full body, good level of carbonation for the style

Overall: Disappointing. Severely. Even without all the hype it gets, picking up a bottle from a good brewery that says "Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter" you would expect something different. This tastes like you brewed a batch of beer replacing the water purely with coffee, and not a coffee with the kind of notes I prefer. If this didn't say vanilla on the label, I would have no idea it was there. And, you have to really know what you're looking for to tell that it is based on a porter. Now, maybe I had it too fresh? Maybe a little age will tone the coffee down? But still, where's the vanilla? I know its there, but it is so over powered by the coffee. I haven't had a ton of coffee beers, but what I have had is a bit more balance, a bit more toned down, and a bit more enjoyable. At $10 a bottle, I'm not going to try to figure out if I got a bad bottle. Still, this isn't a drain pour, but I can think of plenty of 4 pack or 6 pack beers I would rather have.

 1,364 characters

Photo of TheCuriograph
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pitch black, with a two-finger tan frothy head. Head aerates slightly, leaving nice spiderweb lacing.

S - Coffee and vanilla dominate with a sugary sweetness that masks any booze or bitterness.

T - The rich vanilla really rises to the top, leaving the coffee-malt body to follow. There's a sharp espresso bitterness the subsides nice and gentle. Behind all of it is a tangy alcohol, almost like dark cherry intermingling with caramel.

M - Mealy, oil mouthfeel. Substantial and heavy, a perfect desert-course unto itself.

O - One of the better coffee-focused beers I've had. The sweetness and bitterness are perfectly balanced, and it's full and quietly boozy. A great dessert beer.

***

Politics, Art, Beer. A Compendium of Worldly Facts
The Curiograph
www.thecuriograph.com
Twitter: @TheCuriograph

 850 characters

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.

 751 characters

Photo of theghost3
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a 3-finger fallow-colored head. A ring stays throughout with moderate lacing.

The smell is robust coffee and vanilla with toasted malts & slightly boozy scent. The taste is bitter, quality coffee with some caramel and burnt malts. Coffee gets more intense as the temperature rises. Mouthfeel is carbonated, medium-bodied. Just below a stout in terms of thickness.

This is a drinkable imperial porter. Expect an intense coffee character and an ABV that wields quite a punch. I really enjoyed it.

 524 characters

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.

 241 characters

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass. Pours an almost solid black and fills the glass completely night black! Looks pretty thick for a porter, closer to a RIS by appearance. Head is decent size of a toffee color...VERY frothy/creamy. Tons of sticky non-sliding lacing, lasts nearly the entirety of the drink. Wonderful looking beer.

Aroma is pleasant, and strong. Tons of coffee, slight(very slight) bitter mid...and a very sweet vanilla backbone. Due to the HUGE coffee smell, booze doesn't really hit the nose...even though it's 10%...so...well hidden.

Wow, outstanding. Hits you quick with a slight kick/bitter hop...very creamy semi-thick mouthfeel and follows with tons of sweetness. Carbonation is strong, but no where near noticable to distract from the huge flavor of this beer! Again, booze is well hidden. Lot's of coffee and vanilla flavors mixing great together. The aftertaste is also outstanding. A few minutes after each mouthful, there's a great vanilla aroma still attacking the nostrils and coffee penetrating the taste buds. What a great tasting beer! Again though, this is a porter!? haha.

 1,139 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