Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter | Ballast Point Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,360 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,360 | Ratings: 6,623
Photo of LennyOvies
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L- Jet black body, creamy and fluffy tan head with eternal retention, very long. Looks amazing. Leaves a thin crown of head.
S- Freshly poured espresso, cream, vanilla.
T- Espresso, craeamy vanilla, dark chocolate, hazelnuts. Bitter resinous hops and booze at the end.
F- Medium silky body.
O- Great porter, I could do with less booze at the taste but I cant count it as a flaw knowing this is a 10% brew. Amazing.

 414 characters

Photo of nerdboy19
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appear : Dark, dark black. - 4/5
Aroma : Vanilla & Coffee bomb. Nothing else. - 10/10
Mouthfeel : Medium-full body, medium carbonation. - 4/5
Taste : Lots of coffee, vanilla, some roasted, burnt flavor with some alcohol warmth. - 9/10
Overall : Great showcase of flavored imperial stout/porter. Very easy to get but tops the style. - 18/20

 339 characters

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

L: Pours a pitch black color with a khaki head that leaves intricate webs of lacing down the glass.

S: Smells like freshly made espresso and cream with vanilla, dark chocolate malt, sweet tobacco, roasted hazelnut and cacao.

T: Tastes like freshly made creamy iced coffee, rich gourmet dark chocolate italian ice, sweet hazelnut, mocha, vanilla beans and dry, mild tobacco. Has a resinous, hoppy finish. It's so delicious it's hard to put down and stop drinking

F: It's slightly sticky and syrupy, but thats the only thing I can find wrong with the beer. Rich, powerful and flavorful. Starts of sweet, finishes dry. You can tell it's got some alcohol in it, but it doesn't feel like a 10 percenter.

O: If they sold this in six packs, this would be a go to beer I would keep in the fridge all year round. It's superb. If you like vanilla, chocolate, coffee and dark beer this will flip your lid. Without a doubt world class beer.

 933 characters

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

When poured, the color was a very dark brown with a good amount of tan foam. The smell of coffee and vanilla, along with roasted grains. The taste of was the same as the aroma. Roasted Malts, Vanilla and coffee, with a little tartness for a porter. But, the flavor out weight's the tartness. An exceptional flavored porter.

 327 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 NolaHopHead
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Pours near black with finger off-white head, great retention and coating bubbly lace. Coffee stout aroma, deep n rich. Taste was more coffee and bitter chocolate, liked the bitter dark chocolate finish with just touch of vanilla and char. Medium soft mouthfeel. Excellent coffee stout.

 304 characters

Photo of verdot
4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Victory At Sea is a fantastic porter. I haven't yet encountered a better interpretation of the style. Pours a deep black red garnet. There is a wonderful aroma of fresh vanilla bean that dominates the nose with undertones of rich, roasted coffee and smooth caramel and toffee. The alcohol lingers behind a full bodied mouthfeel that finishes smoothly and lingers on the tounge.

 377 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 secondtooth
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black, with a small tan head and very little lace.

Aroma: Coffee, mocha, chocolate, vanilla. Pretty damned nice.

Taste: Heavy and rich on the tongue, with a thick body. Tons of flavor here, mostly coffee alongside tangy, chewy vanilla and a charred cocoa. Really an impressive and complex imperial porter.

 325 characters

Photo of OldSwampy
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a cream and caramel head - both colors interwoven. Head not too thick, moderately durable. Nose - tomatoes? Sweet chocolate and/or vanilla. Vegetable notes. Also fudgy. Dense. Taste: big luscious thick vanilla fudge and coffee. A few hops in there somewhere in the sweet swirls. Like the nose also some vegetable notes, including a moment where I thought it tasted like green beans. Ends with a bit of tingle. Mouthfeel tingly and thick. Impressive, but I am not sure that I'd like too many repeats; it would be like eating box chocolates every night for dinner.

Bottle poured into nonic. Stamp on bottom included "16037" which I interpret as 6 Feb 2016 (day 37 of 2016).

 688 characters

Photo of Omisco
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Forgo the typical review as I did not write this one down during consumption but have enjoyed it several times over. This beer is a fantastic beer if you like the things it is supposed to represent. Which is coffee, porter/stout flavors, and a shitload of vanilla. The aroma is slight vanilla, with loads of coffee, bakers chocolate, and roasted malt. When I first taste this beer, there is an intense vanilla taste which is extremely pleasant if you enjoy vanilla. I do feel this taste fades into the background as it warms which is contrary to most vanilla brews. Their is a huge coffee note that is very similar to an intense dark roasted artisan coffee. It is not acrid though it is quite bitter. To me the vanilla and coffee seem to dominate the palate, with the bakers chocolate and slight overall stout/porter flavors following through afterwards. This is one of my favorite coffee beers, and probably the best representation I've had of vanilla in a beer yet. The alcohol is very well masked but this beer will put you on your ass! Try this beer if you love coffee, stouts, and vanilla!

 1,094 characters

Photo of puck1225
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like strong coffee, and this beer delivers this. Poured from a bottle into a snifter, very dark brown with a light brown head and lacing. Pronounced coffee smell and taste. It was great with cheese and crackers!

 213 characters

Photo of basaywhat
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Pours black with a full bubbly natural tan head. Aromas of coffee, minerals, and roasted malts. Flavors of chocolate, dark caramel , acidic coffee, and mild roasted malts. Nicely balanced. Smooth and very good!

 224 characters

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.

 433 characters

Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great smokey vanilla porter leaning on the bitter side.
love the dark (almostblack) color,
smoked peat, vanilla, bourbon, coffee... everything that makes a porter a great porter.

 191 characters

Photo of tone77
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of strong black coffee. Taste is strong black coffee, slightly bitter at the finish. Not getting any vanilla in the aroma or flavor. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall a good beer, but I was expecting much more.

 310 characters

Photo of senglish7
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On initial pour and first taste out of the wine fridge , I got coffee smell and coffee taste. As the beer warmed, I still got coffee on the nose, however as the beer warms I get a sweeter coffee taste with a vanilla hint. Definitely a beer that improves as it warms up.

 269 characters

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with red highlights. Huge tan head, substantial lacing.

Smells of roasting coffee. caramel, toffee.

Coffee bean flavors are pronounced, and nicely balances the porter sugar sweetness. The vanilla flavor lags and is less pronounced. This is more of a cappuccino than a latte. Creamy smooth bitter finish and hardly a trace of the alcohol. There is a sweet toffee feel in the long finish, It's amazing how they built something with such pronounced flavor without making it over the top. All flavors are welcomed.

I like coffee, I like beer, I like vanilla, I like this.

 594 characters

Photo of Dravin
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. The bottled on date of 16028 (Jan 28th 2016).

It's a beautiful beer, an aggressive pour gave two fingers of thick tan foam that left wonderful rings on the glass as it settled down to a protective skiff covering an opaque black body. The nose is dark roasted grain, coffee, and sweetness, with some hints of vanilla, and no booziness. The taste is the same except the vanilla becomes more prominent, it gains a fair amount of bitterness, and some chocolate notes peak through. The body reads porter to me, substantial but not imperial stout levels of chewiness. All in all a delightful vanilla and coffee imperial porter that goes down dangerously smooth given it's ABV.

 718 characters

Photo of cagler
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this on draft at Thurmans Cafe. Man this is good beer. Very rich and creamy. Jet black with nice head. You would never think this was a 10% brew- most with high a.b.v. aren't this smooth.

 191 characters

Photo of portwood
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

BIG nose: mega coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Taste: sweet, creamy coffee, roasted caramel, molasses. Finish: bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, dusty cinnamon. There's no mistaking this is a high ABV beer, but it doesn't feel like 10%.

 234 characters

4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I really poor this one with some oomph to try and generate some head. And I may have overdid it a little bit as I easily generated over three fingers of fluffy, brown head. The body is a gorgeous, perfect to style jet blackness. Lots of lace is left behind as the head slowly turns rocky and recedes. The nose is very vibrant and full of coffee that tingles the nose it is so bright. The aroma also includes soft Coco and vanilla notes. With first sip I quickly think of a jamocha milkshake. Flavors include tons of chocolate and rich creamy coffee and just so pleasant to enjoy. This beer is very dessert like and in all the right ways. It is bold and dynamic and flavor yet approachable and not offputting in anyway. All the flavors come together in gel so well. The vanilla plays as the perfect coffee creamer and overall balancer to the brew. The alcohol is very well hidden in this beer but I think it has the legs to age for probably 2 to 3 years.

 965 characters

Photo of jaypaul522
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, and thickly with a nice head. The smell is very nicely vanilla with malt overtones. Taste is very strong and good - this one has some punch. Body is quite full - a very pleasant feel to the mouth as you drink. One of the best I have had.

 254 characters

Photo of thatche2
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is deep black in color with moderate yet creamy tan head.

Smell is roasted malt/coffee with some vanilla (very little alcohol coming through).

Taste follows the nose but packs a bigger punch with a lot of roasted coffee. There is some good sweetness up front with a fairly dry finish.

Mouth feel is medium-full in body and creamy (a little syrupy). The carbonation is fairly low/flat but works well throughout.

Overall this is a very good coffee porter. It is relatively easy to drink but has a lot of roasted malt and coffee flavors.

 599 characters

Photo of EMH73
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown with a poorly retained one and a half inch head. Smells of coffee and more coffee with a hint of vanilla. Taste is that of slightly sweetened coffee, vanilla, chocolate, molasses and a little bit of bitterness on the finish. Light to moderate carbonation, smooth and silky on the palate. Outstanding beer.

 332 characters

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,623 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!