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: 1,358 | Ratings: 6,619
Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 12/10/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big vanilla, cream, milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, light roasted malt, and dark bread. Incredible aromas with great balance and complexity of dark malt and sweet vanilla notes. Taste of milk chocolate, vanilla, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, floral, and light pine. Lingering notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, cream, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light char, toast, dark bread, floral, and light pine on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted and sweet creamy vanilla malty flavor; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic imperial vanilla porter! Great balance and complexity of roasted and sweet malty flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on for 10%. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Metatron6
4.94/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tried for the first time in late January and tried again and agaiin. If you only try one beer this month, make it this one.

Bought the big man bottle at Hair of the Dog in Easton. I wish they sold this beer in growlers.

Poured into Sam Adams iconic pint glass.

Its appearance is pitch black, middle of the night. Tunnel dark. Close up to the light rich dark browns are hghlighted. A little head, but quickly recedes. A narrow band continues to rim the glass as you go.

Smell is very pleasing. The coffee and vanilla mixes exceptionally well. It isnt overpowering, but a welcoming scent egging you to deeper. Its that all-too familiar scent of deliciousness that arrests and sends you impulsively in search of its origination.

Taste is as advertised. Hits your lips, buds, tonsils, and gums. Very enveloping. Even better on the way down. Im not a heavy coffee drinker, but you get a satisfyingly warming sensation in your stomach. Even though at 10% its fairly strong, there isnt much of a hint with the alcohol. Its provides a very relaxing buuz

Overall, this beer is ice cream. This is what you want women to taste like. Never a dull moment with beer. Its a take your time and enjoy beer. I can imagine certain cheeses being outstanding with this beverage. Donut pass this one up!

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

With big dark beers I l like to hold them up to the sun or in this case a white screen on my computer monitor (poor sun light coming into this room). IMO a great stout should be even from the bottle near to jet black. A porter however you expect a bit more ruby hues coming through and this one nails it. A nice tan head with a surprising amount of lacing just to finish things off. I shoulda read more before buying this one....10% isn't really what I was looking for at 4 pm but heck it's final 4 time in about 2 hours, just pre gaming.

There's a certain sweet and soft nature that porters almost always create. Given the difference in a porter and a stout is often just the whimsy of a brewer i find this interesting. Vanilla really comes through as does chocolate and coffee. There malt isn't overly roasted or toasted and the vanilla helps give it this nice soft finish.

Rich, complex, just a wonderful beer. I'm not even sure where to start. The soft notes of malt and hints of vanilla hit the tongue first giving an almost caramel and light roast effect. The beer then quickly turns dark to chocolate and and vanilla bean sweetness. The finish is bitter coffee with enhancement form coffee. This roast coffee lingers in the mouth for what seems like forever after a sip if complete.

The mouth feel is velvety and dense. Imperial for sure.

This is just great beer. I'm not sure I like the vanilla as much as others. It just seems out of place and to be honest it has never been a good thing when a beer mentions vanilla on the label. Still world class and up there with the best of the best.

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

From a bomber, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pitch black, with a two-finger tan frothy head. Head aerates slightly, leaving nice spiderweb lacing.

S - Coffee and vanilla dominate with a sugary sweetness that masks any booze or bitterness.

T - The rich vanilla really rises to the top, leaving the coffee-malt body to follow. There's a sharp espresso bitterness the subsides nice and gentle. Behind all of it is a tangy alcohol, almost like dark cherry intermingling with caramel.

M - Mealy, oil mouthfeel. Substantial and heavy, a perfect desert-course unto itself.

O - One of the better coffee-focused beers I've had. The sweetness and bitterness are perfectly balanced, and it's full and quietly boozy. A great dessert beer.


Politics, Art, Beer. A Compendium of Worldly Facts
The Curiograph
Twitter: @TheCuriograph

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

A - Virtually black, with a sticky, thin layer of irregular bubbles on top. Looks strong.

S - Apple skin to black chocolate with cane sugar. Notes of alcohol and dark, rich sweetness. Maybe some steamed milk.

T - An assertive flavor profile with heavy coffee presence. Not much in the way of vanilla. There is a sweetness in the middle, but the strength of the coffee takes over. The 10% ABV is present; too strong for the rich flavors to mask.

M - Rich and strong, like a cappuccino. This beer is very sturdy and dry.

O - A hearty brew, but not sure this is a porter. This one seems like a coffee stout more or less.

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Photo of BigBarley
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, like an imperial stout, with a respectable thick khaki foam head, with a hint of brown. Smells like a bourbon barrel painted with vanilla extract. Hints of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, roasted chocolate, french coffee. Tastes damn near like the perfect porter, smooth chocolate, bitter dark coffee, vanilla and bourbon, and just the slightest hint of coconut. This flavor can stand up to many BA imperial stouts out there. Amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, relative to a foreign stout but the sweetness could ave you believing you were drinking an imperial stout. An all around beautifully brewed beer that touches on a wide range of flavors that many beer geeks go nuts for. A must-have brew in the craft community.

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

There is a slight brownish-cream colored head on the jet black beer. The scent changes from coffee to vanilla with each smell. The coffee taste is light, but the vanilla shines. The flavor hides the alcohol well. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light but certainly not watery. This beer offers everything you want in a porter, then takes it to another level with the additional flavors. Highly recommend.

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Photo of joshbhs04
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Jet Black with 1/4 in of nice creamy head
S- Roast, can def smell the Vanilla.
T- Lots of Coffee with just a hint of the Vanilla. Lots of roasted malt flavors.
M- Med-Heavy Body with a slightly lingering mouthfeel.
O- Was looking forward to more Vanilla but was still a great Coffee porter. Might bring out some more Vanilla with age.

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Photo of RoninTK3
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Jet black with half a finger of mocha head.

S - Sweet with lots of vanilla and chocolate. Roasted malts and coffee are also heavy in the smell.

T - Heavy coffee on this one with a surprisingly bitter finish. Sweet chocolate and vanilla hints, but they don't come through the coffee flavor as much as others have said. A lot of roasted malts as the smell suggested.

M - Medium body with medium-high carbonation. Smooth finish.

A surprisingly bitter, coffee forward porter. Others have mentioned a ton of vanilla in this one, but I didn't get it. Would have liked a bit more vanilla and chocolate, but a great beer nonetheless.

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Photo of 05Harley
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 11/16/13
Estimated calories - 300/12oz

Purchased through Let's pour

Price - $15.00/bomber

Pours midnight black with a two fingered creamy tan head, damn this is frothy. Pretty clingy too with thick lacing all around. A sexy looking beer which is easy on the eyes.

The smell is a full on assault of sweet vanilla followed by coffee beans, caramel and roasted malt. The vanilla is definitely dominant in this example and reminds me of a fine liquor scent.

The taste is boozy to say the least. Flavors of coffee, nuts and unsweetened chocolate are all but muted by the rich vanilla and alcohol aftertaste. A disappointment in this category.

The body is medium to thick with a slight syrupy feel. Starts off smooth and quickly changes hot due to the alcohol. The finish is bitter and dry. Usually I'm not bothered by this but here it seems more bitter and dry due to alcohol rather than fresh hops.

Overall the taste was a bit of a let down. The vanilla and alcohol just overpowered this for me. The nose however was awesome and the appearance led the way. I know it's high in octane but in the end it's just too hot for me.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a shade from pitch black with three fingers of thick tan head. The head slowly subsides with nice lacing and a thick film atop the beer.

S: Lots of smooth earthy coffee in here with some dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla and caramel sweetness - kind of like coffee and cream. Fairly straight-forward, but nice.

T: The coffee is still very present, but now dark chocolate comes out quite strong along with nice roast. The roast and coffee meet somewhere that almost makes them indistinguishable between the two, though the coffee remains very obviously there. Vanilla comes in fairly strong as well, but there is an acidic twang in the aftertaste. Without this acidity, this beer would be very good.

M: Medium thickness with fairly strong carbonation.

O: The coffee is very, very strong with this one, though it goes well with the beer. The beer remains fairly dry, though the vanilla sweetness is a nice touch. A bit acidic. A good coffee porter.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black with a nice tan head and decent lacing

S-vanilla, dark malt, coffee, chocolate, hint of sweetness

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, light caramel, mild bitterness in the finish

F-medium to full body with mild to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-a great sipping beer, would make a great dessert beer, the flavors blend very well together

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

On-tap at Ginger Man.

Beer is black with a small tan head,

Vanilla is the strongest smell. it is actually somewhat overpowering, though nice. Some chocolate as well.

Tonnes of vanilla and chocolate in the taste. Roast malt and a bit of anise. The coffee is quite muted in comparison to the vanilla, which is very strong. Quite balanced, with a notable bitterness despite the inherent sweetness of some of the flavours. Very nice- truly a dessert beer.

Full bodied, moderately carbonated. Fairly thick. A bit creamy.

Overall, very enjoyable indeed. Reminiscent of DDC's Aphrodite, which I suppose is not surprising.

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Photo of socon67
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Good Life, Massapequa NY

A - Dark brown pour with a brown foam. Lacing on this is very nice streaks along the glass. Foam retention is pretty solid. This appears to be a thick beer.

S - Okay I love vanilla scents so this was simply awesome. The vanilla aroma was promounced, consistent, and gave a sweet, bakery cake smell. There is also a distinct smell of ground coffee. The malt profile on this smells sweet. This is a dessert beer.

T - A very sweet flavor that has sugar and vanilla frosting flavor. The is a slight bitterness of coffee that has an ever so slight anisette flavor of licorice. The complexity of sweet malts and these flavors makes this an enticing beer.

M - A bit heavier than most porters. Has a syrupy thickness as this hits the mouth. While I throughly loved this beer, it is not sessionable and I'd say it certianbly reuqires resetting your palate to taste more beer, or other foods for that matter.

O - A well crafted big porter that once again blurs the porterstout lines. For vanilla beer lovers this is a must try. Easily my favorite from Ballast Point and that includes Sculpin.

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Photo of anteater
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle

A: rich super dark brown, almost entirely black with medium tan head and relatively high carbonation

S: vanilla hits the nose first followed by hints of coffee, the sweetness of the malt is rich and chocolately

T: the balance between vanilla and chocolate comes first and is the most striking aspect of this beer. the coffee flavor combined with slight bitterness and a tiny yet appropriate burn of alcohol takes over as the initial sweetness fades.

M: medium-high thickness, but offset by higher than average carbonation in this type of beer. i really like the mouthfeel

O: an excellent imperial porter, would recommend to anyone with the opportunity to try. it would be comparable to other imperial porters of this caliber without the addition of vanilla but i think the vanilla is what sets it apart.

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Photo of Qwest_35
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My first Victory! Pours a dark brown, almost black. The vanilla aroma on this beer is right up front, with a dark roasted cappuccino notes close behind. The flavor and mouthfeel of this beer is insane! Rich coffee with a sweet vanilla backbone, light hint of caramel, the hops are definitely present on the tongue as well, a really great porter! I can't say enough good things about this stuff! the alcohol is really well hidden and I am getting no bad aftertaste to boot. Overall a supremely tasty brew from Ballast Point, a bit pricey for a bomber, but I am not disappointed at all!

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Photo of yamar68
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been looking to try this beer forever, just never actively sought it out. But guess what? Hessian257 sent one my way in a mystery box recently!

Dark, dark, dark... nice half finger of creamy pale brown head. Great slick lace and cloudy beading beneath. Good looking stuff for sure.

Aroma doesn't wait for me to find it... mocha, oily coffee bean and bitter chocolate, mellow vanilla, some hazelnut and other nutty aromas. Loves it.

Big, bold blend of coffee, caramel, smooth vanilla, fudge... a bit sticky, bittersweet, maybe some berry notes buried in here somewhere. Delicious in every way.

Thanks Dave! Permanently ISO.

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

On tap at The Ginger Man. Pours a pitch black color with a thin layer of light brown head. Some lacing. Smells great. The aroma is sweet coffee and vanilla with some smokey roasted malts and chocolate. The taste is a nice boozey mix of the coffee and sweet vanilla. Dark chocolate and roasted malts. More of the coffee and vanilla comes out at the end along with a nice warming alcohol presence. There's a lot going on here but it all blends well together. Slick mouthfeel. Overall, fantastic Imperial Porter that I need to have again.

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Photo of DM1293
4.79/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Let's be real here; this is essentially a stout. It might SAY Porter, and it might be BREWED like a Porter...but this beer is pretty darn thick in mouthfeel, more than any other porter I've had.

The taste is phenomenal. It's very prominently sweet chocolate, hints of dark fruit, balanced out by a firm but unimposing coffee bitterness. It's like drinking dark chocolate really, with even hints of vanilla coming through. Fairly thick, but this is an Imperial-style so I expect it to be so.

For all the praise I give it, I'd probably still just drink it just as a "Dessert Beer" due to its 10% ABV. Regardless, it's definitely worth tracking down while you can.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a thick, but damn near black into my over sized goblet glass with a solid finger of molasses colored head that dissipates within a few minutes to only a thin layer across the entire surface of the beer. Strong lacing.

S - Lots of sweet vanilla and roasty chocolate. Enough bitterness to balance out the sweet armoa.

T - Bitter sweet chocolate and quite roasty up front, which relatively quickly transitions into plentiful sweet vanilla and lots of bitter dark chocolate. Finish is mostly sweet chocolate and roasty/bitter coffee and slightly spicy hops. Fairly dry/boozy, hoppy bitter aftertaste.

ONCE I ALLOW IT TO WARM UP to 55-60 its much smoother, and has less roasty/bitter astringency.

M - Medium-full bodied, the bitterness makes this very drinkable for me, not overly syrupy sweet. On the more carbonated end of the spectrum for the style. The carb+bitter make its fairly easy to throw back.

O - Big combination of sweet vanilla and bitter chocolate/coffee flavors, wonderful balance of the two

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Photo of BB1313
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoy by 11/26/13. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours pitch black with a khaki-mocha head that sticks out and leaves nice lacing. The aromas are solid and full of roasted black coffee and caramel malts. The vanilla seems to take a backseat in the aromas, but are in full force in the flavor department. Flavors are extremely bold and robust. The bitterness from the coffee dominates. There's a sweet cream like quality which really gives this beer a nice complexity. Chocolate syrup and coconut is in the mix. Hops are present, but subtle. There are hints of grapefruit every now and then in the nose and flavors. Bitter and there's a kiss of heat, but not boozy one bit. Mouthfeel is very creamy and fluffy, but extremely thick. It really works for the style and makes for an easy drinking beer. This is dangerously drinkable, it's very easy to drink and has enough complexity to keep you interested. It also gets better the more you get into it and as it warms up. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

Impressive beer right here. Second time having it. It has enough qualities that remind me of a porter, but stout lovers would obviously love this beer. Well crafted beer. Recommended.

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Photo of liamt07
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Premier Gourmet, 650ml into a tulip. Best by November 26, 2013.

Black body, lofty mocha head. Great retention and lacing. Beautiful vanilla, brown sugar and medium-dark coffee roast on the nose. A creamy quality to this as well. Heavy roast and dark chocolate on the palate, a creamy vanilla quality contributes a moderate amount of balance. Carbonation a tad high to begin with, but this is easily remedied. Medium full feel. Delicious, might have wet dreams thinking about this on nitro or hand pump.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Opaque black in color with a thick cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark roast coffee, subtle vanilla note;
Taste-Black patent malt, roasted coffee, vanilla ice cream, tobacco, black coffee/charred meat finish. Well-balanced, full of character, and very flavorfull. Highly recommended.

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Photo of fredmugs
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With the possible exception of Marshall Zhukov this is the best non barrel aged stout I've ever had. Huge coffee and vanilla. The only thing missing is toffee notes.

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

I had been holding off on this beer, as porters are usually a bit light and thin for my tastes. Big mistake. This is, by far, the best porter I've ever had. The coffee is definitely the predominant flavor/aroma, but the subtle hints of vanilla perfectly compliment the beer. And, it has a thicker mouthfeel than I was expecting from a porter. This is a phenomenal example of the style, and simply a wonderful overall beer.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,619 ratings.
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