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:
1,405
Ratings:
6,807
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,091
Gots:
2,193
For Trade:
91
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,405 | Ratings: 6,807
Photo of dowen17
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an almost pitch black with a nice two finger head.

Smell is heavy bitter coffee. Dark malts and vanilla take the back seat.

Taste mirrors the nose. Bitter coffee up front with a wave of vanilla and dark malts after.

Nice mouthfeel and more carbonation than expected.

Excellent beer. Would definitely drink again.

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Photo of bsp77
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with large, sustained, tan head and impressive lacing.

Smell: Pressed coffee, dried out char, chocolate, molasses and vanilla.

Taste: Good God, that's a shock. Very dry onslaught of coffee, char, smoke and vanilla. Some of the semi-sweet chocolate and molasses underneath that I expect from an Imperial Porter, but that initial taste was much stronger and drier than expected. Some burnt molasses aftertaste but not too much of an issue.

Feel: More medium bodied than I expected, with low carbonation. Fairly smooth, but not as creamy as some. Very dry, especially for the style.

Overall: I can see why this is so well reviewed. Just an impressive beer all around.

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Photo of MickeyBeer
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a bomber from the local grocery store for $7.99. The label on the bottle first caught my eye and after reading the description I knew I had to try it.

A- Poured out vigorously, this one is so viscous that is makes a "lug, lug, lug" sound as it comes out of the bottle. It had a minimal head of about half a finger and left some nice lacing on the pint glass. Color is is an opaque black. I held this one up to light, but no light made it through.

S- Coffee smell is what comes out first. Smells like a dark roast, but also has hints of chocolate, vanilla, and a pretty good amount of hops. At 90 IBUs it smells well balanced and full of flavor.

T- This beer is full of sweet malty flavors but I am also impressed by the amount of hop flavor. It adds balance to the coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and roasted flavors. This beer is certainly not lacking in flavor.

M- This beer has a really sensational balance. It is lightly carbonated, full bodied, and has a nice chewiness to it. The combination and balance of delicious flavors cover up the ABV wonderfully and make this a really enjoyable beer.

O- This was a fantastic porter. The price is reasonable and it has nice amount of hops to balance everything out. I will have to have it again.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Hop City, Birmingham

A: Tar black. A 2 finger tan head that took its time getting squared away. Sticky lacing.

S: Coffee strong with vanilla and chocolate bringing up the rear.

T: Huzzah! Strong coffee notes, followed by a faint essense of vanilla and a decent chocolate and malt backing. Take your time and enjoy.

M: Medium to heavy with creamy carbonation.

O: An outstanding porter. Would be great with a chocolate chip cookie. Wish I'd bought a bomber. Recommended. Love the label artwork, too.

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Photo of Cooker_stp
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - dark coffee like pour with a small 1/2" head. Granted this was in a plastic cup. But a plastic cup is better than not all at.

Smell - excellent coffee aroma comes through with hints of vanilla.

Taste - amazingly smooth taste as the coffee continue with hints of vanilla.

Mouthfeel - at 10% abv this leaves a slight alcohol mouthfeel and I prefer my beer to hide the alcohol.

Overall - amazing beer even in a plastic cup. Would have loved to get a growler fill but totally didn't expect this type of beer where we stopped for dinner.

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Photo of Zach136
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pitch black, deep brown head, excellent lacing.

Aroma: Blend of sharp coffee and specialty malt roast.

Flavor: Smooth coffee bean flavor, vanilla comes across as almost cake like. Coffee cake and a sip of black coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, coffee finish is a little bitter. Also a bit fuller bodied and velvety than a porter should be IMO.

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Photo of greenmtn1111
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip style glass.

Thick and black out of the bottle like crude oil. The top of it is capped with a small head, tan in color. I get lots of sweet coffee on the nose, then vanilla and lots of chocolate malt. I love the combination of these smells. On the palate theses same three prominent flavors emerge in the same pattern. First the coffee - strong and bitter on the front, like a good espresso. Then the vanilla makes a quick presence but disappears as the bitter roasted malts kick in at the end. It finished moderately sweet with a mouthfeel that could be bit thicker, but doesn't disappoint. I wish there was more vanilla in it as the coffee comes on a little bit too strong, but overall it's quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Brenden
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours pretty thick, looking like a stout but with a slight opacity very barely in the edges if you tip the glass just so. Yes, it's thick. It's pretty close to black. Somehow, though thick and dark, it doesn't look too heavy. On the pour, a strong, dense cocoa colored head emerges and rests at a full finger, with little to no settling over the entire course of the drinking session. Along with the strong form it's got some stick, too, as it manages to leave strong, heavy lacing in large patches down the glass.
The aroma is big and rich in this one, and there's no doubt this is a strong, robust and very American-style porter. Roast is the main element in here, lots of big malts for a very strong foundation to build on. There's no acrid edge, no harshness found in malt-heavy beers with lots of roasty character. There is a light note of charred woods that, with the sweetness, come together rather than fighting for dominance. The sweetness is creamy, lots of vanilla and toffee, with just a hint of currants or dark cherry. The roasted coffee lies over it all without overpowering it, but lending itself to the overall character.
I've had a couple people who have tried it tell me this beer must have been barrel-aged, and, while it isn't, I understand what they're getting. Along with the underlying fresh coffee, the sweet creamy vanilla and toffee (and maybe something like a touch of molasses), the hint of dark fruits, and the big roast, there's something like a woody character to it. Honestly, it adds a a bit of balance to the flavor if nothing else. Not only that, but the alcohol has a noticeable warming affect but doesn't get too hot. The woody notes come out even more into the finish.
Big, thick, rich and robust, this is a full-bodied beer. It definitely breaks from tradition to follow the path of Americanization. It's deep, not just big for the sake of being big. Carbonation is enough to keep it lively while maintaining the character, crispness is light and works similarly. It has a nice creaminess to it from beginning to end.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip. Looking forward to this one!

Appearance: entirely black body -- not much else to be said here! Head pours a thick finger of rich, frothy, dark-tan foam. Retention is decent, and a nice lace is left on the glass. Bam!

Smell: rich, sweet coffee and roasty aroma. Very light and subtle hints of vanilla are indeed coming through. In general, there is not a lot of complexity to the aroma; however, it seems extremely clean and well-crafted. I like it a lot.

Taste: rich and heavy porter taste. Lots of roastiness with plenty of coffee thrown in; the coffee is nice but definitely adds its share of bitterness. Hop bitterness is also high; unfortunately, though, there is a quite a bit of vegetal hop character which detracts from the overall flavor in my book. Still a tasty beer, though.

Mouthfeel: big body with a rich, smooth and creamy texture. I like it a lot, but I feel like maybe there is a bit of missed opportunity here -- the beer is not a super silky and sleek as I feel it could be.

Overall: this is a great-looking and great-smelling beer; tasty, too, but I feel like the cleanliness of the flavor and the smoothness of the texture could be dialed in just a little bit more.

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Photo of CarverMG
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, soft head. Poured 1 finger settled to top of the glass. Looks like a brand new black car.. Can see the reflection of the glass perfectly off the black background.

S: Vanilla and Coffee together. Chocolate following. A stronger espresso hit than vanilla but still balances out.

T: Espresso, Vanilla, Small hit of the ABV. A small Initial aftertaste of roasted espresso beans. Small tastes of Chocolate. Noticeably enough The vanilla pairs well with the espresso.

M: Really Smooth, Mild Carbonation, ABV kicks, Coffee (in a good way) filling the mouth.

O: Very Good Porter.. I would recommend stout lovers or even non dark beer lovers to try this.. Its a good good beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours pitch black with a thin medium brown head that dissipates to a thin film and thick ring around the glass with light lacing. Aroma dominated by roasted coffee and vanilla with a bit of alcohol, reminiscent of a coffee liqueur, light toasted malt. Flavor of espresso coffee, vanilla, toasted malt, light oak; finishes with charred, rich coffee and long lasting hop bitterness with a hint of chili pepper hotness. Medium bodied with some creaminess. A very nice, complex porter, rich enough to pass as a stout. Flavors a very complex and rather unusual for a porter, with the ambigous nature of the final pepperiness and bitterness especially interesting. A hyped beer that lives up to its reputation.

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

Ballast Point has outdone themselves on this one. A mind-bogglingly good Imperial Porter that has pronounced vanilla flavor. One of the smoothest imperial porters you are likely to find. A definite coffee and vanilla taste and a wonderful aroma. This beer is incredibly smooth for 10% abv. Search it out, in bottle, on tap, anywhere this is simply put the finest porter I've ever tasted.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Near black with a thin finger of a espresso-colored head, but the lacing is obviously great off the bat here.
Smells milky dark chocolate with a rich roasted coffee flavor, nice vanilla hint, malt.
Wow this is a big tasting brew, like the nose but enhanced and ongoing with a dank coffee effect. Pleasant coffee-grinds type of burn, also a licorice aspect for me here (but without resembling strong anise or anything approaching that). Not as sweet as I thought it'd be, but not dry-finishing either. A lively dark beer indeed, not as thick-bodied in appearance as I expected either, although a bit sticky in the mouth. As this sipper warms...roasted coffee, chocolate, cherry-anise, all encapsulated by vanilla. Excellent.

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

A: Black as sin and twice as sexy, a beautiful look to my glass.

S: I smell vanilla and chocolate, some coffee, and oh so heavenly .

T: All I'm getting is a beautiful mellow chocolate. Some coffee, and perhaps my bottle has aged, but if it has it's all good as it goes to heaven..

M: So drinkable it's a sin, sweet, round, tasty, and down.

O: Is beergasm an accepted descriptive term? This will put a smile on your face if you have any love for stouts or porters. Simply beautiful, loved it.

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Photo of bnes09
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dense viscous-looking motor oil colored liquid with a finger of whole wheat colored head on the pour. Head retreats to a ring around the glass and forms many small lace spots.

Rich, warm and inviting aroma of dark chocolate, bold coffee, vanilla and oak. Just a hint of bourbon. Extremely well balanced.

Dense, wheaty malt backbone with hints of cooked corn. Roasted malt boasts complex coffee, chocolate, toast and licorice qualities. Toffee and molasses sweetness in the perfect quantities to balance the roasted bitterness. Hop character starts as a non-specific, underlying, herbal bitterness allowing the malt character to shine through. The hops then morph into an aggresssive pinesol, garlic and nutmeg spice which maintains a good balance with the malty character and adds a spicy aftertaste. HInt of vanilla extract. Great balance for such a complex flavor.

Full bodied and bordering on a syrupy texture. Smooth and slick throughout from the dense malt then changes to ultra-dry from the aggressive hops. One of the more dynamic feels I've experienced in a beer.

Overall, this beer is outstanding. Deeply complex and delicious.

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Photo of Bills453
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Dark chocolatey brown color. Tan brown head, two fingers. Last for quite a bit. A lot of lacing on the glass.

Smell - man this is complex and amazing. Roasted malt obviously. Can smell a strong vanilla hint.

Taste - wow. Really haven't had a beer like this before. Really quite amazing. The coffee-vanilla blend is fantastic.

Mouthfeel - smooth and creamy

Overall - an amazing porter. One of my favorites for this style now.

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Photo of CMUbrew
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Of course this is an inky black beer. Looked somewhat viscous on the pour. Small dark khaki head formed on top before receding to some foam.

S: Very coffee forward on the nose. Alcohol is definitely present. I don't really smell vanilla.

T: Huge coffee flavor. Not astringent at all, fantastic coffee addition here. Chocolate of the dark variety also. Not a ton of vanilla, but I think the huge coffee presence is simply overpowering it. It is there, however. Alcohol rears it's head, making the 10% abv believable.

M: Pretty damn smooth. Slick and almost creamy.

O: I wanted a little more vanilla, but that's the only real complaint I can muster. This is a fantastic beer, and I am so glad I finally got my hands on some.

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Photo of BEERZILLA
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours very little head and is a jet black in color looks great.

the smell is coffee with a slight hint of vanilla.strong smell stings the nose.

now the taste is where its at with this beer,to call it complex is a huge understatement.first its the coffee then the vanilla hits but only slightly,while all the long tasting like a porter.outstanding taste,top notch.

the mouthfeel is kinda thick but not too much as to turn you off from your next drink.i would call it drinkable for what it is.

overall this is my first time drinking an imperial porter of any type and i am highly impressed with it.i like porters and imperial stouts to begin with but ballast point has got a true world class beer here,complex and rich yet drinkable,its what an imperial porter should taste like imo,.cant wait to try more from ballast point.

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Photo of aquazr1
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a tulip. Pours a chocolate brown with a khaki head. Taste is chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Taste is even better with the coffee, chocolate and vanilla joined with some toffee and a bit of hops.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Bevmo I think.

Appearance- black color, nice size tan head, nice lacing

Smell- coffee, roasted malt, chocolate

Taste- coffee, chocolate

Mouthfeel- full bodied

Drinkability- This was very good. It was definitely what I want when I drink an imperial porter. Excellent beer!

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, 2012 vintage
Riedel tulip

A: Pours a deep dark black color. No light getting through. Initially two fingers of tight bubbled medium tan head. Like marshmallow sitting on top. Sticky lacing.

S: Smelled it as soon as I opened it. Delicious mocha. Coffee and vanilla. Dark coffee character is still ever present even after a year. Char.

T: Wow. Ages extremely well. Coffee is still present amazingly. Deep dark chocolate up front, mixing with dark roast coffee. The vanilla is slight, but as it warms it comes out more. Just delicious stuff. Finish is fairly dry because if the coffee and dark chocolate but LONG. Stick with you.

M: Full bodied brew. Vicious.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A Pours a dark brown that borders on black. Topped off with a mocha head.

S A bit of roast and coffee

T Very strong vanilla notes that are followed with some coffee and a bit of roast. Tastes like some sort of sweet coffee drink from Starbucks or something with the vanilla masking much of the coffee.

M Decent body about right for a porter I suppose.

Overall this is quite an enjoyable beer that I would gladly pick up again.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured into a pint glass

A) black, but light comes through not like motor oil as i was expecting, with a light chocolate colored head which faded in leaving lace around the glass.

S) Very fragrant, cappuccino, vanilla bean ice cream, milk chocolate, roasted oat

T) Interesting because I simply tasted cappuccino, vanilla and a fusel alcohol burn at the end. I did not expect that at all.

M) Medium thickness, burns the mouth not a fan of that.

O) I am a little disappointed in this one. I expected something more. I'd like to try fresh on tap, but i doubt I'll buy it again. I still enjoy Sculpin better.

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

wow! this one floored me, and its been awhile since a beer has blown me away! on tap at bangers and lace in Chicago. it pours a molten black color, hints of brown, but entirely impenetrable to light. there is an obvious weight to this, and a half inch of mocha colored head on top that slowly fades out. the nose is intensely vanilla, sweet and fresh above the deep dark abyssal malts, which are raw chocolate, burnt coffee, and very bitter aromatically. the coffee to me is more pronounced in the flavor than the nose, and the vanilla is strong on both fronts. this doesn't need to be barrel aged, its got all the complexity one could ever imagine already. I taste everything from whole wheat chex cereal to velvety milk chocolate, bakers cocoa, and vanilla frosting. it remains fairly unsweet, given its ingredients are so desserty. huge body, but intimidating. sips like silk, and the alcohol content is barely noticeable. easily one of the best beers ive had in a long time, and ballast point has now impressed me three times out of three, hard. this is a beer not to be missed, and I hope to be lucky enough to encounter it again. like nothing else around, and a real masterpiece.

 1,185 characters

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Thick black pour, foamy tan head that fades pretty quickly, but leaves some lacing and a ring of bubbles.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate malt, bitter coffee, hints of vanilla and caramel.

T- Wow. Roasty malts, with hints of chocolate and coffee at the beginning and through the middle. Finish is a huge amount of vanilla with coffee mixed in. Finish is like a vanilla flavored coffee.

M- Full bodied, velvety and smooth. Medium carbonation with a very good feel.

O- Was not expecting this amount of vanilla and coffee in this beer. While it says "vanilla coffee porter" on the label, I was still pleasantly surprised with the flavor. As advertised and very tasty.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,807 ratings.
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