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
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:
1,402
Ratings:
6,797
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,090
Gots:
2,185
For Trade:
91
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,402 | Ratings: 6,797
Photo of bashiba
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer had a nice dark brown color with light mahogany highlights coming through in the light. The head was small to nonexistent with nothing but a small soap ring.

Initially there is a big blast of vanilla coffee in the nose, as it settles a bit it becomes more porter like with mild dark malts and chocolate coming through as well.

The flavor is very good with a nice balance between the slightly sweet vanilla and bourbon alcohol notes that even out nicely with a touch of smokey burnt bitterness and dark coffee.

The mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a good bit of warmth and a bit of resiny oilyness making it linger in your mouth for a bit.

Very drinkable big porter, love the great vanilla and coffee balance. I think this is the first really good vanilla flavored beer I have come across, of course with ballast points quality this is of no surprise.

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

22oz bottle (thanks Josh for sharing).

Poured a dark black color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and some nuttiness. Tastes of vanilla/vanill beans, chocolate, coffee, and some roastiness. Alcohol content overall well hidden. Body was thick and oily.

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Photo of coati858
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If you love the bouquet of vanilla with an assertive taste of coffee in your beer, this is a great one.

I don't know if I could drink this one all night, but one sipped/savored pint is delicious (okay, maybe two in extreme circumstances) if not pairing it with some appropriate dessert, so if you have a bottle it's probably best if you share or love the style.

If you don't like coffee (or vanilla ... or porter), you should steer clear.

I'm gonna buy more.

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

Pours a great, thick black with a creamy tan head that lasts for quite a while.

Huge vanilla on the nose with notes of chocolate syrup and childhood sweets.

Very smooth chocolate, espresso and vanilla in the taste. The coffee has minimal astringency (huge pet peeve for me) and the taste is nicely backed up by a tootsie roll chocolate sweetness. The coffee/espresso notes nicely balance the sweetness. This beer is over the top in many ways, but so very well put together.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and appropriately carbonated.

Drinkability is very good.

Highly recommended. Great on its own, great barrel aged, etc.

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

Bomber bottle picked up and poured into a Dogfish Snifter glass.

A - Black pour with a tan mocha head that finishes with small lacing on glass.

S - Lots of coffee, some chocolate, some wood, and a nice roasted malt smell. I did not smell any of the vanilla on the pour.

T - Velet smooth taste. I would compare this favorably to the Devil over a Barrel without the bourbon profile. I got lots of coffee and espresso taste with a bit of wood as well. Again, not much if any vanilla even after letting it warm somewhat. Lots of roasted malt as well. Great taste.

M - Probably my favorite aspect of the beer. Really smooth and velvety. Outstanding.

D - If you like a coffee or porter, put them together and you will really like this.

I loved this beer. I am going to pick up a couple of more bottles to enjoy it before it is gone.

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

22 oz. Nearly black pour, cream colored head with a small amount of bubbly lacing. Aromas roast malt, hints of woody vanilla. Tastes similarly with much more assertive vanilla, coffee and some caramel. A little bourbon like booziness, but not bad at all. Definetely a sipper right now. Close to creamy mouthfeel. I bet this will age very nicely. Been very impressed with Ballast Point, this one did not disappoint.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a pitch black color, barely letting any light through, maybe some highlights of dark brown. The head is huge, 2-3cm, brown with tight, dense bubbles that continue popping from the top of the head, lslowly leaving a little ring of bubbles around the edge which leaves some lacing on the glass. The smell is primarily coffee, with some vanilla notes. There's also some very strong dry, fruity esters coming to my nose, nice but not quite as robust as I expected. Wow, the tastes comes through in so many ways. Upfront I notice the coffee, not bitter, but full of flavor, also quite a bit of chocolate underneath the coffee. The vanilla shines through with a bit of a the esters, reminds me of dark plums, a little tart and dry with the taste of the flesh as well. I can sense some caramel sweetness underneath the dryness, and they seem to compete, making this one very interesting. I can't really detect the alcohol, but it slowly warms, making the experience better. Really a great tasting beer. The beer is pretty full, but it oscillates between a kind of slick estery feel and a thick syrupy feel, and I'm really not sure how I feel about the dryness once I get quite a way through this. The carbonation is spot on for the style, I'm a fan. The alcohol will slow you down, but the whole drink is enjoyable, and I'd recommend buying it if you see it. I'm kind of torn, I really love the flavors, but something about the dryness kept me from being in love with it.

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

A - Dark, almost black, tan head dissolves to ring. Light, somewhat clingy, soapy lacing.

S - Coffee and chocolate dominate, vanilla is muted. Roasted malt evident.

T - Yeah baby. An assault of coffee chocolate and vanilla, all corraled by a bitterness that leaves it near neutral. Wow.

M - Big, heavy, perfect carb, great balance.

D - It will F@#k you up, but you might be tempted anyway.

Great stuff!

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First of all, just wanted to say thanks to Gabe for putting together this phenomenal lineup of Ballast Point beers at his restaurant (Beachwood BBQ). Enjoyed this beverage on 3/24/09 and reviewed from notes taken that night.

A: Wow! The head retention from this beer is incredible! This dark beverage gave a very appealing appearance that enticed me even further.

S: Robust coffee, vanilla, and chocolate aroma; slightly boozy.

T: The vanilla and coffee reveal themselves a bit more in the flavor profile, while the chocolate seems to take a back seat. There also is a slight burnt finish that was tad too harsh and something I didn't enjoy too much.

M: Heavy carbonation, full-body, and very viscous.

D: The best way to describe this beer...easy to drink, but very potent in flavor! Yummy!

Overall: I absolutely loved this beer and was probably my favorite of the night. This is a can't miss beer that every beer lover should try. Cheers!

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

Got this one by mail order and couldn't wait to try it. This is the 10% version, part of the Robust series. It pours a dark dark brown, almost black, with two fingers of light brown lumpy head. Plenty of tan lacing. Smells strongly of coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a touch of vanilla. Tastes pretty much as it smells: coffee, roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and a hint of vanilla. A bit more smoke than vanilla, actually, but that's not a criticism. This is a damn tasty porter with a lot of complexity going on. Carbonation was just a touch low for my tastes, but it was silky smooth and that's not a bad thing, either. Really, there's nothing to complain about and lots to praise with this beer. A real keeper.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black, with a full-finger light brown head.

S: Great smell of roasted coffee beans, one of the best smelling beers I have had in a while, I just want to keep smelling it until the volatiles dissapate.

T: The mix of coffee and roasted malt is real nice here, but is not as good as Speedway. Still it's a nice brew, and has excellent dark chocolate notes.

M: Smooth and full-bodied, it hides it's 10% very well, but you'll feel it by the end.

D: A nice finish to my BP round, 2nd best of the 5 IMO, it's nice to be able to try this stuff, though it sucks I may never have them again.

Edit - 2/8/10 - Got to have this again, yum.

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Photo of NickMunford
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are two profiles for this beer but I'm putting this one with the most accurate alc %.

Coke colored with an inch of foam, good rention and lacing.

Coffee burst at first with notes of vanilla, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some alcohol heat in the background. Espresso and nutty malt notes. Coffee, sugar cookie....seems to go good with chips ahoy. Black patent malt and caramel aromas. More soft sugar cookie aroma as it warms up.

Coffee and espresso with dark chocolate and roasted malts. Hints of vanilla, brown sugar, and slightly burnt malts. Strong alcohol presence in the background.

Low carbonation at first and a bit syrupy in the finish.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks again to stevemcqueenjr for sharing this rare treat. The label on this bottle is awesome (a skeleton at the helm). 22oz. bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Poured one shade shy of black. No head, just a few bubbles and a thin, bubbly band wound around the bowl of the glass. Reddish-brown highlights were revealed at the base when held up to the light. Nose is roasted coffee/espresso upfront with a hint of vanilla in the back. Taste is char, roast and coffee followed by some vanilla and toffee/butterscotch. Some bitterness lingers between quaffs. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and lightly effervescent. Nice complexity with a slightly burnt quality. This is a really nice offering from Ballast Point, but there's just a little too much char and bitterness in the mix that impacts the drinkability.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Ballast Point's Old Grove location. It's black with a nice light brown head...good retention....good...lacing.

The aroma smells a lot like a breakfast stout with vanilla. Oatmeal and bitter coffee notes are pretty strong, along with a nice vanilla bean aroma. It smells sweet. The taste reminds me a lot of Founders Breakfast Stout. It's sweet, with oatmeal and a moderate bitterness, which I attribute to the strong coffee presence, but which probably has more to do with the hops that I can't taste. Vanilla is strong here as well.

Victory at Sea is full bodied with medium carbonation, and a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

I'm not a big fan of the style, but this is well done. The coffee was strong, but nicely balanced with oatmeal and vanilla so it wasn't overwhelming.

*edit*

Looks like there are two entries for the same beer. The other one has the word Vanilla in the name, though they're the same beer. That's too bad.

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Photo of vacax
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black as coffee with a creamy mocha head. Looks well carbonated for a big beer, head calms down but retains a nice skin of foam that leaves some lacing.

S: Cookie, marshmallows, coffee, vanilla syrup. Nose is quite on the sweet side, no doubt that coffee and vanilla combo drive it.

T: Bittersweet chocolatey malts with a healthy dose of cold coffee. Not as cloying as the nose came across, but quite sweet with the vanilla/marshmallow. Some alcohol flavors in the middle. Roasted and coffee in a long finish. Despite a clear abundance of flavors it is not terribly complex

M: Medium to thick and silky with moderate-low carbonation. With the intense coffee and vanilla flavors I think I would appreciate this more with more body and less carbonation. This beer is intense.

D: Definitely a night cap type of beer here, a bomber is plenty and probably best shared. Could be a nice dessert beer, perhaps with something to help match its cloying coffee and vanilla. Interesting porter worth checking out.

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Photo of Overlord
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of radshoesbro
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first and foremost, it is very important that i mention that this beer needs to open up to really get the full flavor. don't be fooled into thinking this is just average, cause the further into the bottle you get, the bigger the grin on your face will be!

it pours the typical charred black with the medium tan head and some pretty good lace. there was a good deal of carbonation after pouring, which was a bit surprising.

smells of creamy malts and some coffee. there's a slight fudge smell to it.

initial taste, i'm thinking i've had better, and the normal victory at sea is better (especially on tap). the more i'm drinking it it's just getting really good. i'm patting myself on the back for buying two bottles!

i seriously could drink this all night, it goes down uber smooth! this is really a fantastic beer! i keep having to remind myself this is a porter too, i keep expecting that big stout finish, but i'm very happy with this!

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Photo of turboedtwo
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Toronado in North Park.

A - DARK! Lighting wasn't the best but it looked pretty close to black.

S - Smelled of coffee to me.

T - Had a bit of a chocolate / coffee taste.

M - Your typical porter. Had a smooth but thick feel to it.

D - I could drink this all night assuming I had a nice meal before. Not something you want to do on an empty stomach.

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

Big thanks to Scott for the opportunity. Label on the cap of the growler states 10% abv. Pours black with a nice large creamy tan head that slowly recedes. Aroma is a nice roastiness, very earthy and slightly nutty, a bit of chocolate sweetness, and a tangy porter acidity. Taste follows with a nice coffee and cream flavor, earthy roasted malts, some cola and root beer like sweetness and a touch of vanilla, just a hint of alcohol in the drying hoppy finish as well. Mouthfeel improves greatly as the beer warms, becomes much more creamy which suits the flavor well. Body is medium in weight, some pepperiness and a drying finish. A very good beer, really hard to believe the 10 or 12% as it is very well hidden/balanced. The flavor and mouthfeel were also considerably better nearer to room temp. Earthiness was nice and any sweetness was subtle which helped the drinkability. Thanks Scott!

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Photo of mikedashg
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at at Downtown Johnny Browns on 02/15/09
http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/13600/?view=beerfly

Appearance: Very black, can't see through it, but with a brown tint and a good brown/tan fluffy head.

Smell: Huge nose of toasted malt and toasted sesame

Taste: Similar to nose. Huge over the top complex flavors of creamy coffee/expresso and toasted malts with hints of toffee. A little faint syrupy sugar. Alcohol is well hidden in this one. Doesn't taste like 12% at all.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation and mouthfeel. It's a perfect balance. Not too thin, not to heavy and not overly carbonated

Drinkability: Due to the high ABV, and the over the top expresso and toasty flavors. One pint would plenty.

Overall: This one of the best coffee porters I've ever had. I would compare this porter to abyss is a stout.

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

Pours black with brown edges, and a short, bubbly tan head. Spotty lacing. Fresh-brewed strong coffee aroma with roasted (and slightly burnt) chocolate malt. Some vanilla and cream as well. Big coffee taste. Strong and black, wtih the malt taking just a little off the edge. Creamy middle, with the vanilla and some caramel poking through, giving it a melted milkshake taste. Reverts to a bitter coffee finish. The mouthfeel is deceiving. Its appropriate for the style, but the taste makes you want something a little thicker.

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Photo of illidurit
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery during RBSG 08. Darkest brown with a creamy cocoa head that leaves a bunch of lacing. Nice roasty nose with milk chocolate and vanilla. Intense iced coffee with a roasty bitterness, some earthy herbal hops, chocolate sweetness. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Floydster
4.01/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glass at O'Briens in San Diego a few weeks back, also tasted at the Alesmith release courtesy of Dr. Bill and once before at the Stone Bistro, so this is the third time I have tasted this brew on tap, reviewed from notes on two occasions

A-Black as it can possibly be, cannot see through it a bit, 3/4 inch mocha colored head that stuck around for two to three minutes, decent retention, nice lacing

S-Coffee and I mean tons of it, probably the strongest espresso aroma I have smelled in a beer, roasted malt, dark chocolate, some vanilla, caramel, toffee, and burned accents

T-Starts off with a big dry coffe taste, then some vanilla and chewy roasted malt in the middle, finish is very dry and slightly sweet from some chocolate accents, later on this one started to taste like a White Russian with milk, sweet cream, and a big Kahlua flavor like some of the other reviews mentioned, it was not overly sweeet but rather toasty, very well balanced and even though the coffee was strong, it did not seem overpowering, chocolate and caramel came out more in the flavor towards the end, very enjoyable from start to finish

M-Dry and roasted mouthfeel, good level of carbonation, maybe too much carbonation, taste lingered for quite some time, coffee provides unparalleled dry and crisp sensation

D-Could not drink much more than a pint of this stuff, its ABV is high and the alcohol is not fully hidden, smooth for the most part but strong, not too heavy on the stomach but coffee can be tiresome

Did not like it as much as the syrah barrel version I tasted at the anniversary party but it was still very good, one of the better coffee porters out there mainly because of its balance in flavor, would definitely drink more in the future, certainly recommended

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Photo of m1ked
4.89/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one was a gift from my wife on Valentine's day....quite a pleasant surprise!

A- Pitch freaking black. There is absolutely no light getting through this guy. Created a healthy tan head. Looks like a black and tan almost, or like a cafe au lait. Foam eventually fades creating a beautiful sticky lacing along the sides of the glass.

S- A super rich oily coffee, dark chocolate with a barely detectable bitter tartness.

T- Mmmm, an obvious black coffee flavor, coffee bite/bitterness up front. Followed by the rich bittersweet chocolate.

M- Thick, chewy, oily

D- I imagine this warming up the soul by a fireplace, while it snowing outside. Luckily I live in San Diego, so I can drink this one on a 70 degree "winter" day. I love this beer. My favorite coffee porter by far.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,797 ratings.
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