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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: 1,359 | Ratings: 6,620
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

When I went to Washington state, one of my main goals was to pick up this beer. Touted on the forums, I figured I had to try it. Apparently it was out of season because all I could find were the giant bottles, no six packs. So, poured out of a giant bottle into a snifter...

Dark coffee black; 100% opaque; 2 fingers of beige head; hills and splashes of generous lace.

Smell is mostly of coffee grounds and black pepper, trailing with vanilla, rum, nuts, malts. Overall it comes across a bit burnt.

For a porter this one sure packs a punch. Taste is of roast coffee, alcohol, coffee beans, cream, vanilla, a touch of banana, and a burnt finish. The burnt flavor sort of takes away from the overall profile, but it is complex and full.

Definitely thicker in body, in fact I've had more watery stouts. I love it, though. Dry parch on the finish. I get a bit of heartburn from the alcohol as well.

Overall impressions : I can see why people go nuts over this beer. It's huge, robust, and delivers buzz quickly. After half a snifter I'm done with it, though. A super exhausting porter that makes you beg for mercy after just a handful of slow sips. Get your money's worth? Sure. That coffee is like a wall of destruction. I'd much rather take it in 8 oz portions though.

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Photo of Tone
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. 3/4 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong coffee, vanilla, strong sweet malt, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of an American Porter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong coffee, vanilla, strong sweet malt, and slight roasted malt, hint of caramel malt, and a hint of hop. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of JackieKu
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

A: Opaque black. Poured with 4 fingers high head, the foam is quite dense, and it persists.
S: Roasted coffee mixed with elegant vanilla. Somewhat woody.
T: Roasted coffee. Slightly caramel. Moderate bitterness. Low sweetness. Dry finish.
M: Creamy. Full bodied.
O: Aromatic strong porter. Unfortunately the vanilla flavor is not as obvious as the aroma.

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Photo of 71CrazyOtto
3.15/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

New arrival in Michigan.
First off I will state I am more partial to Baltic Porters and kinda expected this one to be similar because of it's high ABV I suppose.
Taste was way to burnt and bitter for my taste and the word "smooth belongs nowhere in it's description imo.
SoCal brewers I notice tend to go very hoppy or other extreme in bitter levels and perhaps that is the way they like it. To each his own but not one I'll revisit.

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Photo of Prager62
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single to try while visiting Michigan recently. Nice to see Ballast Point there as it's not available in Indiana. Not sure of the bottle date, but I see a 15 3 22 on the bottom right of the label. Poured into a twelve ounce snifter.

Look- Pours a dark thin brown with a generous finger of mocha colored foam.

Smell- Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. A bit of roast/smoke. Not picking up any vanilla.

Taste- Dark roast coffee forward with the slightest hint of vanilla trying to work its way through in the end.

Feel- Thin and bitter.

Overall- A pretty robust coffee beer. Perhaps too robust in that it tastes like espresso and not much else? The heavy coffee and roast just buries any vanilla flavor in this for me. While I like it, I was hoping for more vanilla flavor with my coffee.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - dark black beer with nice mocha he ad that leaves nice lacing
S - hardcore coffee, cocoa, vanilla, roasty malts
T - same as aroma, coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla
M - medium to thick mouthfeel. Alc covered aftertaste bitter coffee/cocoa/roastiness
O - another great coffee beer

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Photo of SometimesIfart
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Ballast Pojnt Victory At Sea.

This right here was the one I wanted more than anything outta Ballast Point. Found a single for 2.99 at my local craft store and if this shit doesn't blow my dick off I'll be racking BP up to a higher level good although not great brewery and likely only buy their stuff from time to time. Going in with exceptional expectations, so let's see what the fuck we fucking get.

Look - Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass. Pours a deep and dark as the blackest black man you have ever seen with a big ass thick frothy and bubbly head, thought not as densely compact as some others I have seen tonight. Carbonation is completely unreadable due to the depth of the brew. Lacing is sticky and long lasting.

Smell - Pure vanilla and coffee. I understand that it is kind of the point here but it smells virtually exactly the same as the calm before the store cream ale minus the buterscotch with just a touch of chocolate on the back end. Nothing else to say, smells like pure vanilla bean extracts. From the nose I would never guess this beer to be 10%.

Taste - Yeah once again as I have already stated this is the most vanilla forward beer I have ever had. I really don't get much of the coffee or anything else for that matter. Mind you this is not sweet vanilla or white chocolate esque it tastes exactly like drinking some kind of vanilla bean concoction. It is unique to me thus far, and the alcohol isn't noticeable despite the higher range on ABV so it wins a quarter outta that one.

Feel - The body was very thick and highly creamy, almost milk like in nature in terms of the two. The flavor profiles remain mostly the same and the beer does swallow with a lower level of alcohol presence. This is the best feel I have ever encountered in a beer without a doubt.

Overall - I do like this beer but I do not belive it deserves the insane amount of hype it gets. The flavors are all there if you like pure vanilla bean without the aftermarket sweetness which in my opinion makes it more drinkable. The body is the best I have ever had but everything else was very solid without being mind blowing. Overall, I can safely safe ballast point is a good brewery not worth the insane hype. As always try it for yourself and come to your own conclusion...

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Photo of twloco
1.91/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.5

This has always been amazing in past years. I've only had it in bombers and on tap. I just bought fresh six pack and it's horrid. Just has a bitter cheap coffee flavor. Sadly no redeeming qualities. This is nasty, not sure what went wrong, but I'm going to try returning it. Undrinkable swill. This the 2015 in 6-pack bottled in November. Something is wrong with it, this was a favorite prior to this.
It's never had a bitter coffee flavor before and the vanilla was clearly there which seems missing, it even smells like cheap coffee.

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark oilesque color, with a moderately large two-finger sized head with a dirty, yet appealing white color.

Emanates a delightful vanilla, and roasted coffee bean aroma.

Besides the vanilla, and coffee present in the smell, this beer has quite a noticeable bitter flavor as well. Feel is relatively light, which is hardly surprising as it is after all a porter. Carbonation is slightly to heavy for my preference, but I am also quite conservative when it comes to carbonation in my beer.

Overall, a delightful brew, which does not disappoint.

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Photo of dd43
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black with a substantial amount of head which faded pretty quickly to a lace ring which leaves a trail down the glass as you drink. Aromas of vanilla bean and coffee, go figure. Also some bakers chocolate but just a touch. Flavor is quite roasty, definitely some acrid coffee bitterness. Malt sweetness is largely held in check as a result. Pretty easy to drink despite some apparent booze notes. Mouthfeel is on the thin side, appropriate for a porter. Ballast nails another style.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

...I've been wanting to try this beer for a few years now. Now that Ballast Point is finally here (in Michigan), I CAN TRY IT. $3 12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Evidently bottled November 18th ... holy hell. 11 days ago. Can't get too much fresher than that, no?

Appearance: Looks stouty -- pitch black. There's about two fingers of a brown head with a soapy consistency. Quite a bit of thick lacing. Very nice looking beer.

Smell: Dark coffee, roasty malt, and then just a little bit of vanilla on the "aftersmell." Nothing else to it, but I don't think there needs to be.

Taste/feel: Bitter black coffee when it's straight out of the fridge -- like really, cold, bitter black coffee, just with a little more depth of flavor and a slightly thicker mouthfeel. Almost like coffee grounds, but not in an unpleasant way, fortunately. There's only a very subtle vanilla flavor in the aftertaste. The feel is very porter-ish -- that is to say not very thick, too drinkable (especially at 10%), and pretty well carbonated.

Very good stuff -- doesn't taste like I imagined it would though. I pictured a thicker feel (despite being labeled a porter), a little more sweetness and vanilla, and a bit less coffee. That isn't to say I'm disappointed -- I'm definitely not. This is one of the best coffee beers I've had, and it comes at a fabulous value. This beer really becomes special once it warms up, so make sure to enjoy it after it's been out of the fridge awhile. Everything seems to come together even better at that point: the vanilla comes out more, it's a little less bitter... it's just a treat. Seek this one out and try it as soon as you can if you haven't already. Very good, dangerously easy drinking stuff.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color. Has an aroma of coffee and chocolate with notes of sweetness and a little booziness. Flavor is smooth with coffee upfront a some vanilla sweetness on the backend. Leaves a bit of a bitter coffee aftertaste. Overall a really nice beer. Drinks more like a stout than a porter.

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

The new beer to Iowa pours an absolutely black body with a medium head and intensive lace. Then you get to the nose. It smells like a bonfire. The beer must be fairly warm and allow to breath a bit. Then you get a somewhat dry but very creamy mouth feel with vanilla and intense coffee in the taste. This beer is loaded with flavor. Also is up there on the alcohol count. Could use a little more body to be the best.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

**FEB 22, 2015
On Tap at blend. Appearance: Dark black color, tan head. Taste: heavy coffee. Toasted malt. Aroma is coffee vanilla. Good, but strong. Sipping beer.
A Year and a day later, trying this from a Bottle. 22oz. bomber to tulip glass. Cellar Temperature. Much of the same. Not sure why I rated aroma 6/10. It will be higher this time, except that I have switched from RB to BA which is a different scale. Aroma has lots of coffee, with some barley and vanilla. taste is bitter coffee, some raisin. Malty. Feel is a touch acidic.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled Nov. 18, 2015. Served in a snifter.

L- Dark brown, some light on the edges, one finger of light brown head.

S- Coffee, some green pepper, vanilla, little bit of dark fruits.

T- Coffee, light bitter roast, bitter chocolate, some vanilla, finishes with bitter chocolate, some warming alcohol on the tongue.

F- Lighter side of a full mouthfeel.

O- Very nice beer with huge coffee notes and a nice medium amount of vanilla. Great price for a 6 pack of 10% beer as well.

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Photo of K-Dog
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

With ballast point new to michigan just this week I was so excited for this with all the great reviews. Let me tell u I was highly dissapointed. Smell is of bitter coffee and not enough vanilla. Just way to bitter. It's not bad but highly over rated. If you ask me evil twins little b is by far a much better imperial porter. Maybe with some age the bitter coffee flavor will mellow out and more of the vanilla will come though. Will be interested to try again in about a year. Not bad but over hyped.

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Photo of ordybill
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is pitch black with a thick tan head. The aroma is full of vanilla, coffee and malt. The flavor is an excellent blend of malt and vanilla with distinct coffee mixed in. This is a really good porter, a must try for any beer fan.

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Photo of KevCan
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bought a 6-pack of 12 oz. bottles from Whole Foods in Arlington, VA. Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. No visible bottling date; I suppose this could be aged. Paired with homemade tacos.

Look: Very dark brown, almost black. Healthy dark brown head. Lots of frothy carbonation and lacing. Looks thick and creamy. Amazing, I can't wait to try it!

Smell: First impression is the strong coffee notes, almost like burnt coffee. Strong roasted malts. I can sense a little of the vanilla. I also get a little bit of butterscotch hard candy.

Taste: Tastes like a killer mixture of porter, scotch whiskey, and coffee. If I didn't know better, I'd guess that this beer had been aged in a whiskey barrel. Incredible flavor! A little sweet at first, but fades into slightly bitter roasted malts and burnt coffee. The bitter roasted notes in the aftertaste pull up a chair and refuse to leave. The 10% ABV is expertly hidden by all the strong flavors.
As it warms up, the strong bitter coffee flavor gives way to something more like dark chocolate with cherries. Definitely recommend serving this only slightly cool.

Feel: Highly carbonated and creamy. Thick and almost syrupy.

Overall: A really awesome beer. Incredible depth and complexity of flavor.

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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 W_Des
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with big coffee aromas from the glass. A little bit of cocoa comes through on the nose and a tinge of vanilla sweetness. The body is full of coffee with a slight acidity. Roasty flavors come out as well although I want some more vanilla in the body. Seems like it is masked by the coffee.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 17, 2015.

The pour is a deep mahogany brown with reddish-brown hues around the edges and a modest tan head that fades.

Rich aroma of coffee and vanilla beans as promised but I also pick up some kind of cherry fruit character lurking beneath it all. Low to no hops on the nose.

Medium but soft and smooth body.

Caramel sweetness and coffee grinds in the flavor but the bitterness is quite forward toward the end.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful brew from Ballast Point. Pours dark with nice foamy head. Excellent flavor with just a hint of vanilla, very subtle. Looks heavy but drink fairly light. You def get the booze in this but still drinks easy for a high ABV.

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Photo of E_Schaaf
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: 12oz poured into a snifter - a deep brownish-black, consistency and appearance reminds of cold brewed coffee. One finger head, a mid-toned sepia. Dissipates quickly.

S: Medium roasted coffee, subtle vanilla bean, faint butterscotch? Very malty with some cocoa notes too.

T: Follows the nose in breadth, but coffee and vanilla dominate with a malt backbone. I'm surprised at the subtlety of the alcohol considering the ABV. Tastes best possibly slightly above cellar temperature. Not too warm, but not too cold either. Not as bitter as expected on the front, but crescendos over a few seconds. Aftertaste leaves one wanting another sip.

F: Much fuller than other porters that come to mind (Black Butte, Anchor, Smog City Coffee Porter). Medium body, present but temperate acidity, moderate carbonation (persists for a while, a pleasant surprise). Goes down easy but is very rich. Best savored slowly.

O: A delightfully bold porter. Easily a favorite in this style, and I love the forwardness of the coffee. Despite my moderate caffeine tolerance, I definitely feel a kick from this one. Lovely on a cool evening like tonight 11/15/15.

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Photo of Pranqfan
4.04/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer really needs to warm up a bit. I would advise against drinking this one very cold. At first when cold the bitterness was off-putting. After warming the hop and coffee bitterness faded and the smooth sweet maltiness and vanilla came through.

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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!

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,620 ratings.
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