Victory At Sea - Coffee And Vanilla | Ballast Point Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Victory At Sea - Coffee And VanillaVictory At Sea - Coffee And Vanilla
BA SCORE
4.39/5
Outstanding
7,060 Ratings
Victory At Sea - Coffee And VanillaVictory At Sea - Coffee And Vanilla
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
ballastpoint.com

Style: American Imperial 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
Ranking:
#410
Reviews:
1,476
Ratings:
7,060
pDev:
8.66%
 
 
Wants:
1,126
Gots:
2,311
Trade:
83
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 7,060 |  Reviews: 1,476
Photo of morebeergood
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a bomber at Bauer for $9.99. Poured into a stemmed crystal glass. Dark brown color, bordering on black. Large leather brown head. Significant lacing. Thick body, not a lot of carbonation noticed. Smell was a wonderful combo of coffee and chocolate. Taste was a knock out. Borderline perfect. Had that chocolate and roasted barley flavor of a nice porter, but the addition of the high end coffee was killer. Then, the vanilla was just enough in the background to lend a bit of flavor, but didn't overwhelm at all. A great compliment to the intended flavor profile. Outstanding flavor. Mouthfeel was stout-like, very heavy and hearty. Much more than a porter. Not a beer to session with, but a beautiful beer to have with dessert or have as a sweet treat by itself. A bit more expensive than what I spend normally on a bomber, but well worth it. Puts Ballast Point up there with the big boys in my mind.

 911 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thick, creamy tan head that hangs around awhile.

Aroma is smokey with burnt malt and dark grain. Big and roasty, plenty of espresso and rich chocolate. Only upon inspection does the vanilla aspect become readily apparent along with an underlying creamy sweetness.

Taste is rich and full of roasted notes as the nose suggested. Initially dominated by chocolate and dark fruit. Then the smokey dark grain and hearty coffee bitterness takes over. Dry oak woodiness. The finish brings out vanilla and milk sugar sweetness. Alcohol has a bourbon character, and lingers throughout.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, with a slight syrupy slickness that coats the tongue.

Without a doubt this is the best vanilla porter I have had to date. The vanilla is present, but is secondary to the rich smokey flavor of an intense porter. Big, but balanced sweetness and coffee bitterness. Alcohol comes on a little hot and boozy, but for me that adds to character. This is one to try.

 987 characters

Photo of BigMike
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 220z bomber into a pint glass.
Pitch black. No light gets through this one. 3 fingers worth of thick creamy tan head.

Some great aromas going on here.Of the bat i smell coffee(which is expected) chocolate, vanilla, raosted malts, caramel, chocolate milk.

WOW! nice mixture of flavors. I taste a strong chocolate flavor of the bat. Tastes like chocolate milk made with dark sweet chocolate. Then the coffee hits your palate and the warmth from the 10%abv.
In all honesty. This is one of the best, if not THE best tasting porter i've ever had the pleasure of drinking.

Mouth feel is light and frothy and silky smooth.

This is a must try for anyone.

 666 characters

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow. This is everything that I wanted the Southern Tier Creme Brulee to be. Pours very dark brown in color with a nice half inch of tan head. Smell is wonderful. Perfect amount of vanilla, working with the roasted coffee notes. Smells decadent. Taste follows up with the nose. Perfectly balanced vanilla and roasted coffee beans. A wonderful porter underneath supporting these flavors. I would like the mouthfeel a tad thicker, but I'm not going to complain about this one at all. Don't think I could drink an entire bomber of this, but it's damn tasty. Very good beer.

 569 characters

Photo of kirok1999
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy crap, what a damn fine porter. If you can tell this from a stout you're better than I am.
Pours black with a quickly fading head. Still as night with no apparent carbonation.
Smells of so damn much, vanilla, coffee, chocolate and roasty malts.
Taste is the same as the smell but better. Lots of vanilla to back up the coffee. Sweet as hell in a great way, dense and rich and creamy. Smooth, almost like an oatmeal stout; I'm still amazed this is a porter. A damn fine beer soon to be added to my wants list.

 512 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to srandycarter for sending a bottle of this my way. Served in my brand-new Red Hook pint glass.

A - Tar black, with a two-finger mocha foam that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice cap, but minimal lacing. A small amount of reddish-brown coloration is visible at the fringes of the glass.

S - Coffee! Vanilla! Ridiculously potent - even cold I can smell it a good foot away from the glass. The coffee is bitter and roasty, and there is also quite a bit of burnt malt, cream, and cocoa mixed with the vanilla. It's slightly reminiscent of Southern Tier's Crème brûlèe, but nowhere near as cloyingly sweet.

T - The coffee is nowhere near as bitter on the palate - it's more roast and slightly smokey. There's also plenty of milk chocolate, vanilla, and sweet malts. There's a tiny bit of alcohol that peeks out from amongst the flavors, but it's not particularly offensive. Roasty aftertaste - not very bitter at all, which is nice for such a coffee-infused brew

M - It's medium bodied, but on the thinner side, and seems a little watery for such a big beer. Carbonation is lively, with lots of tingle on the upper lip and top of the palate. Finishes with loads of sticky sweetness.

D - I'd have no problems with a bomber of this one, although it is mildly palate-busting and a little too high gravity for sessions.

We've started to get the regular Ballast Point line in Illinois, but I'm anxiously awaiting the day that we can get the special limited releases (Sculpin, Sea Monster, etc.).

 1,505 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a thinnish mocha head that sticks around for a bit. Smells of coffee right off, layers of vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted grain hidden in there as well. Taste is like a half and half milkshake. Lots of milk chocolate and vanilla mix up front followed by some coffee and a lingering roasted coffee and chocolate finish. Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and light carbonation. Great Porter, maybe a bit on the sweet side, but certainly very tasty. Call it a desert porter.

 503 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off this is an exceptional beer. I had wanted to try it since it came out by missed all the bottles on sale, needless to say when I was able to trade for some it made my day. Served at a nice 55 degrees and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/04/2009.

The pour was fantastic. Huge dark beer here, black as night as it pours out. A big cascading brown head comes up and over the top and then settles down into a half inch layer that hung around for the entire rest of the session. The aroma was vanilla, huge vanilla beer and light cafe like coffee notes. Some hints of roasted malts, but vanilla in a beer like I have never come across before. Not terribly sweet and fake, this was like whiffing good vanilla ice cream. As I take the first sip, wow. This beer is suprising the crap out of me. First off where is my 12 percent? This is soo smooth I really got caught off guard by my second glass. The vanilla explosion followed through on the taste, rich and creamy with light and sweet coffee notes following through on them as well. Really tight flavor here, smooth with a long drawn out finish that was sweet, delicate and drying enough to make me want another in a minute.

Overall this was a very unique beer, that falls squarely into the dessert category. I was very happy, and very suprised with how big this was and how good it was as well. A winner here for sure!

 1,396 characters

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.

 865 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

 293 characters

Photo of coati858
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

 462 characters

Photo of rallison
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 627 characters

Photo of Beerisheaven
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

 833 characters

Photo of Bung
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

 414 characters

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

 1,474 characters

Photo of srandycarter
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
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 [email protected]#k you up, but you might be tempted anyway.

Great stuff!

 407 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
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!

 945 characters

Photo of PhxHorn
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 726 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

 666 characters

Photo of NickMunford
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

 416 characters

Photo of seaoflament
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

 661 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.97/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

 814 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 946 characters

Photo of vacax
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

 1,008 characters

Photo of Overlord
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

 889 characters

Victory At Sea - Coffee And Vanilla from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 7,060 ratings