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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 dikebrewery
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I had Calm Before The Storm before Victory at Sea and I wasn't really feeling it but this is different because obviously it's a porter so not as awkward for me. Darker than I expected, almost imperial stout like but without the heaviness. Smells of roasted malt and coffee. Taste of roasted mealtimes/wood with coffee. Vanilla is definitely there but more in the aftertaste to me. A overall good beer.

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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.

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Photo of Ford
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Nobi Public House in Webster, Texas.. served in a 9oz snifter.

First.. thanks Ballast Point for finally coming to Texas... howdy and welcome.

I love porters and stouts... I especially love them with big coffee smells and flavors.. I also like vanilla...

This one stands with the best I have had... so good... lots of coffee flavor.. a touch of vanilla is there also.. smells so dang good.

I don't know if this is year round.. the website doesn't show it, so I'm guessing it is seasonal.. I would love to see this year round...it's a great beer.

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Photo of Antg8989
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Thick Mocha Creamy Head with considerable lacing. Deep brown in color.
Smell: Malty - smells like a cappuccino and the pleasant smell of an ice cream parlor. Tiny hints of alcohol detected.
Taste: A pleasant, yet bold and roasted coffee with sweet vanilla.
Feel: Smooth, creamy and medium balanced.
Overall: Breakfast Stout lovers, this could be the competition. While not an oatmeal stout, this beer has numerous comparisons to Breakfast Stout, with the addition of vanilla. Although I'm not a vanilla lover, this Porter was delightfully balanced in flavor. Ballast Point is becoming my go-to for stouts/porters. Grab some before the season is over!

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Photo of WJVII
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/23/11 review session hosted by Cdkrenz reviewed from notes- cdkrenz sample:
Poured into a pint glass this brew has a thick oil like black color with a nice 3 finger chocolate head. There is a strong aroma of burnt malts, coffee and caramel. The flavor is more mild than expected and not until a few sips do you notice the subtle but delicious vanilla that matches perfectly with the chocolate flavor. The coffee that is advertised is not very noticeable. This had a smooth milky body and was good but not the best we had that night. Strong brew and definitely recommend.

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Photo of Popp24
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just picked this up at the brewery last weekend. I really enjoyed this porter.

A - Dark; almost black with about a 1 finger khaki head.

S - I get a lot of vanilla and some coffee and cocoa.

T - What I got from the nose transfered over to the taste. Nice vanilla favors with some mild cocoa as well. The coffee is there but not too much which I like. The porter is so easy to drink for 10 percent; the alcohol is barley their at the finish.

M - Nice and creamy.

O - I really enjoyed this porter and it really had a lot of nice flavors to it. The vanilla and cocoa flavors give it sweetness and the coffee kinda balances that out so it's not too sweet. Was sad when my bomber was empty.

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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 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!

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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.

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Photo of Axic10
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with two fingers of mocha foam that settles after a few minutes.

Smell: Bold coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and some boozy notes at the end.

Taste: Coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla. Tasty!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Probably a neck and neck tie for my favorite beer from Ballast Point (Sculpin being the other). I've had this beer on tap and out of the bottle and it is really really good. Definitely one I order whenever I see it.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.38/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours pitch black with a bubbly mocha head of foam. Two fingers worth. It dissipated rather quickly. Leaves streaks of lacing.

S - lots of oily espresso on first sniff along with varying degrees of roasted malt and a bit of milk chocolate. Some mild spice notes along with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut.

T - vaguely sweet on the front of the tongue. The roasty bitter flavors enter mid palate to balance the sweetness. There are hints of vanilla as well but it seems to be providing a counter notand e to the strong esprosso bean roasty flavors.

M - full bodied. medium carbonation. Creamy texture.

O - an interesting ale. I was expecting a little more desert beer
from this with the vanilla playing a larger role. But still flavorful and well produced.

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Photo of bifrost17
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a CBS snifter

A: Pretty much what you'd expect. Very dark, but I can't quite decide if I'd say it's black, or just a very dark brown...maybe like mahogany, or ebony. Nice light brown, cinnamon colored head that sticks around. Moderate lacing.

S: Smells like dessert. Vanilla, and coffee obviously, but also chocolate, cherries, and maybe like a woody...earthiness....? Smells amazing.

T: Tastes even better than it smells! Wow, so much going on, bitter coffee up front, followed by a chocolate/vanilla sweetness, and then finishes with a lingering coffee espresso type of bitterness. Really amazing how sweet the beer tastes but how bitter it finishes. Props to the brewers, this is crazy. Almost tastes like multiple different beers all rolled into one. The 10% abv is totally hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation, suuuper creamy. Feels nice. My only complaint is it's a tad thin, but I guess maybe that's how you can differentiate between an "imperial stout" and an "imperial porter." This is definitely not thick enough to be confused with an imperial stout.

O: Easily my favorite Ballast Point beer. I've had Sculpin numerous times, and I enjoy it, but I really don't understand the hype behind it. Victory at Sea on the other hand...A W E S O M E. Seek this beer out. I've always been skeptical of the "Imperial Porter" style, but this beer clearly defines it. Not as heavy and robust as an Imperial Stout...almost hard to describe, but if you want to know what an Impy Porter is just drink this and you'll know. Thank you Ballast Point.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Didn't care much for the peppermint seasonal version this past winter - too much going on. And, getting burned out on coffee flavored stouts and porters. But... this is pretty good stuff. Pours very dark with minimal tan head. Aroma is that of an espresso bean wrapped in a vanilla pod. Flavor is similar with more sweet vanilla both complementing the roasty toastedness This is extremely smooth mouthfeel and slightly sweet finish.

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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 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 Retsinis
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass.

Pours a deep, rich black, with brown highlights when held to the light. Less than an inch of head, that fades to a light lacing that sits on top, and sticks to the side of the glass.

Smell is of vanilla, roasted coffee, burnt brown sugar, and a tinge of bitter hops, but comes across more as bitter coffee.

Taste follows the nose, coffee, vanilla, some tobacco, dark chocolate ( like 70% dark chocolate)

Mouth feel is a bit creamy, but doesn't linger on the palate. Heat of the 10% is well masked, but comes through more once it warms up.

Overall, one of the top coffee porters. The 2010 seems a bit too balanced in contrast to previous years, with the flavors melding to a point of masking what is a complex beer. Having sampled various variety's, the barrel aged tap version is delicious, as was last year's fresh, (Also aged last years for a year, vanialla comes through a lot, coffee fades quite a bit, was still present though) but last years cask version with Rum chips takes the prize.

Recommended in any variant though, great seasonal.

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

12 oz bottle poured to wine glass, enjoyed with cheese, mixed nuts, crackes
Appearance: dark brown to black appearance in wine glass, deep brownish red color is viewed against the light, minimal head
Aroma: strong green coffee bean smell, not like brewing coffee, vanilla is not noticeable
Taste: Toasted malt taste, with hint of coffee, dominant lingering alcohol afterwards
Overall: Excellent beer, one of the best porters i have had

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Photo of Philousa
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very black, but has a tinge of coffee color against the light. takes some effort to produce head and what's there dissipates to leave very little on top of the drink. Aroma starts out with lots of caramel and a hint o licorice/anise. The Porter malt is strong with this one. Some chocolate and vanilla notes with a hint of oak. Sweet vanilla flavor fades quickly to bitter dark roast coffee. Dark chocolate follows and finishes bitter. Vanilla is in there the whole while, lingering. I got some tobacco in there too. Amazingly smooth for the ABV, the finish is dry.

This is one of my favorite porters. Complex and flavorful, I thought this was surely barrel aged at first. Adding chocolate and vanilla is a delicate process, which is why I like BA beers more. All this is to say that the flavors blend well together and are not overbearing. The ABV is very deceiving, too. You notice it when you stand up, not when you drink it.

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Photo of MaximalC
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours seal brown with the barest of ruby highlights, topped by a modest head of mocha foam that settles shortly into a thin veil. A persistent sheet of lacing clings to the glass as the beer descends. The aroma features HUGE roasted coffee notes with traces of dark chocolate and vanilla. The flavor matches the nose, with a massive kick of roasted coffee that lingers indefinitely. This is not the watered down coffee adjunct that so commonly passes for "coffee flavor" in beer--this is the real deal. There's also a noticeable alcoholic burn on the front end, which is unorthodox but not shocking considering the ABV, though it's tolerable for the style. Some dark chocolate can be found lurking beneath the charred, roasted foreground, but vanilla doesn't feature as prominently as the label would suggest. A slightly peppery hop bite accentuates the bitterness of the roasted malt on the back end. I can't wait for this to warm up and really see what it can do*. The body is medium and complements the flavor profile well, while the carbonation is appropriately modest.

This is not an especially nuanced brew, but if you're looking for something bold with an authentic, deluxe coffee character, you've come to the right place.

*Warming does indeed reveal some subtle dark fruit that was close to invisible at cooler temperatures.

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Photo of majorbase2
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a huge, uneven brown head. Dissipates after a bit, leaving a ring of lacing around the edge and quite a bit on the glass as well.

Aroma is heavy on dark, burnt coffee and vanilla bean. Some sweet, almost bitter caramel malts.

Taste mostly follows the nose to a point. Vanilla bean comes on strong, along with more of the burnt coffee. A small amount of sweetness. There are a small amount of hops that become evident as it warms. Not the most complex taste, but the execution might the best I've ever seen taste wise. Simple, but done masterfully. And for a 10%er, little to no bite from the alcohol. Just incredible.

Mouthfeel is heavy. Little carbonation. One of the smoother 10% beers you'll find.

Overall, just an incredible beer.

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Photo of tpaetow
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip

A- dark dark dark with a nice creamy tan head

S- tons of coffee, bitter chocolate, less vanilla than expected, little caramel sweetness

T- toasty delicious coffee up front, biter chocolate and more vanilla around the middle, caramelly, light sweetness in the back

M- medium bodied, decent carbonation, this one is creamy and smooth

O- this is one tasty porter, if you're a fan of the style this is worth seeking out

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Photo of jmalex
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ballast Point has really exploded onto the scene in the past 6 months or so and I was excited for the chance to buy this limited release bomber of my favorite style.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip a deep black with a one-finger, tan head. It's tightly-bubbled and eventually shrinks to a full coating of foam covering the surface of the beer. Lacing is spotty and abundant the full height of the glass.

SMELL: I haven't even picked up the glass yet and I can smell the intense aroma of coffee. It really dominates the nose and doesn't let much else through. Some roasted malt and a strong hint of vanilla show through, but that's about it. Not that it's entirely a bad thing because what's here smells awesome, if just a bit overwhelming. As the beer warms though, some distinct hop aroma adds some much-needed complexity to the beer.

TASTE: The coffee gives way much more in the taste but still dominates. Chocolate and caramel make their way through initially with the coffee coming up to meet it then passing it by. A roast barley flavor comes on toward the finish giving the beer a very stout-like quality. The roastiness continues on through the finish and takes on a bittering role in conjunction with the coffee. Again as the beer warms, hops show themselves and aid in both bittering and depth of flavor.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body with a lower than average carbonation. Seems just about right for style with a minor syrupiness.

DRINKABILITY: The flavors individually are all really nice, but rather than creating depth, they seem to just muddle each other up. That coupled with the fact that it's impossible to get past the coffee flavor no matter how good it is makes this more of an amalgam of tastes rather than a finely-tuned, interconnected blend. It is worth noting however that the 10% ABV is really hard to find.

I like this beer. I really did. It's really all over the place though, and I feel like I can find much more cohesive restrained examples of the style that drink much better. Worth trying for sure.

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

L: black with 2 fingers of off white head.
S: big coffee, dark and toasty. A little bitter
T: big bitter coffee, no vanilla. Below is a review from last year, this must be a bad batch.....
F: fairly thin, doesn't coat well.

Big coffee with vanilla, just like the bottle says. It comes in a 6 pack too, what a complete joke that most 12oz beers are in 4 packs now, but I digress. This is fantastic! I'll seek this out again.

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Photo of suspect
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

A: Pitch black color. Center glug-glug pour leads to a slowly rising chocolate colored head the builds for about 10 seconds after I finished pouring. Head dissipates ever so slowly and leaves sticky slug-trail like lacing on down the glass.

S: Big time smells of coffee, toasted malts, cocoa, vanilla and at the end a touch of the alcohol. This is a big boy porter and it lets you know right away in the nose.

T: Toasted chocolate malts come through first with the coffee hitting hard just after. Faint flavors of bakers chocolate, vanilla, toasted oak and dark fruits come next. The fruits shine at the end of the sip with figs and dates being the most prevalent. What a flavor.

M: Big creamy finish. No alcohol burn. Perfectly carbonated.

O: This bad ass beer drinks like an Imperial Stout and it's tough to tell the difference. Regardless, this is a phenomenal beer. One that I would gladly buy in quantity.

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Photo of RedChrome
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pure onyx body. Thick and foamy toffee colored head held over and inch for about three minutes before slowly receding. To dark to note carbonation.

Roasted barley hits strong up front and brings a nice coating of vanilla with it. Coffee aroma is quite strong and bursts forth after a second on the nostrils.

Strong bitter coffee taste up front. Vanilla background to the overall flavor. A very nice balance between malt and vanilla sweetness and coffee bitter.

Thick feel on all mouth surfaces and flavor clings to the tongue. Carbonation is a nice light burst.

A great brew. Works well as a dessert beer. A true treat worth finding. Coffee lovers will enjoy this one twice as much.

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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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