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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: 1,361 | Ratings: 6,627
Photo of orangesol
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to petesuphi for sharing the rest of his bottle with me. One of my all time favorite porters.

A - Pours jet black with a fluffy two finger tall tan head leaving light streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of rich coffee, sweet vanilla and chocolate and the ever present dark roasted malt. This ones nose is absolutely intoxicating.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roasted coffee slowly giving way to a nice mix of vanilla and milk chocolate sweetness. The smooth feel really makes this one easy to drink. Finish is a mix of sweetness and dark roast, lignering on the pallet for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Smooth feel with a sweet / roasty finish that clings to the pallet. Goes a bit flat at the end of the glass otherwise pretty good.

O - I could drink this every day no problem. The flavors are spot on and the alcohol is all but undetectable. I am glad I picked up a few of these to last the the rest of the year.

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

The perfect coffee porter. Let me elaborate: I had this on my wants for long time, almost a personal whale if you will. I spied a bottle at Whole Foods in NYC (Tribeca) and my eyes popp'd from my head. I purchased the bottle and opened it for my friend's 30th birthday. It was amazing. The coffee and vanilla were decadent and rich with a delicacy that can't be beat.

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

Thinnish tan head. Deep brown body.

Deep roasty coffee nose. Rather remarkable, some wood even.

Flavor is interesting-- oscillates between bitter coffee and dry milk chocolate and ample vanilla.

Smooth, almost nitro-smooth.

A good beer if not living up with the hype. Interesting but not something that hasn't been done before.

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

Thanks Ted!

Pours is black. Off white head. Looks good to me.

Smell is exactly what the name implies, which is odd anymore. Upfront coffee bitterness fights with a strong vanilla flavor. Roasted malts really take a backseat.

The coffee comes in first, assaulting your mouth and winning, then the vanilla comes in just a half second later taking over and showing you how a brewer should use vanilla. It feels like whole bean vanilla.

The pervading bitterness from the coffee and roasted malt try to stick around for the aftertaste, but the vanilla leaves a subtle sweet notes of vanilla.

Theres some serious and delicate flavors that mix very well here. Very well done Ballast Point.

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

A: Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Obviously deep black in color with a thin lightly dark head that creeps its way to the edges leaving a decent trail on the glass as you drink.

S: I love the smell of this beer even though i don't even care for coffee. The rich chocolate malts are complemented so well by the coffee.

T:  A pretty rich beer that at times can come off a little sweet. The coffee, chocolate, and slight roast are presented exquisitely in this brew. Depending in how fresh you obtain this beast, you could get a good amount of heat from it.

M: A sweet offering that offers plenty of body and moderate to low carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this beer though i could only take down no more then one bomber to myself. Even that is pushing it. Great but wish it was a tad bit mor dry.

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Photo of Popp24
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just picked this up at the brewery last weekend. I really enjoyed this porter.

A - Dark; almost black with about a 1 finger khaki head.

S - I get a lot of vanilla and some coffee and cocoa.

T - What I got from the nose transfered over to the taste. Nice vanilla favors with some mild cocoa as well. The coffee is there but not too much which I like. The porter is so easy to drink for 10 percent; the alcohol is barley their at the finish.

M - Nice and creamy.

O - I really enjoyed this porter and it really had a lot of nice flavors to it. The vanilla and cocoa flavors give it sweetness and the coffee kinda balances that out so it's not too sweet. Was sad when my bomber was empty.

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

22 oz bottle, code of "VA513 05112", which is unclear of dating.

appears black, nice thick dark tan head. good lacing and retention. aroma is amazingly appetizing, bold vanilla, and sweet coffee with cream and sugar.

taste is a nice balance of roastiness and sweetness. not cloying at all. improves and gets more complex as it warms. medium body, moderate carbonation. nice and smooth drinking.

overall - a great beer. I guess called a porter because it's a bit thinner in body than most imperial stouts.

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Photo of keanex
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from a 22 ounce bottle un-dated.

A: Beautiful pitch black body with a dense tan head that compliments this perfectly. This beer simply looks amazing.

S: This smells absolutely wonderful, there's a perfect balance of vanilla and fresh roasted coffee here, reminds me a lot of vanilla cake actually with coffee. This is wonderful, my only complaint is wishing it were a tad stronger.

T: Absolutely wonderful, there's bready vanilla flavor into a silky rich cocoa coffee flavor. It's as if I'm sipping on a mocha cappuccino with some vanilla flavoring. This is complex, intense, and very easy to drink.

M: Thick and syrupy with light carbonation, this is filling and feels great.

O: This is hands down the best porter I've ever had, I have no complaint with this and will be buying one every time I find one.

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Photo of fullthrottle77
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a snifter glass

A- Very dark brown/black appearance. About a fingers worth of a rust brown colored head.

S- The coffee dominates the nose of this beer. Lots of roasted characters and maybe a slight bit of vanilla. Reminds me of the smell of a coffee shop in the morning.

T- Massive coffee notes blend beautifully with the vanilla. No taste of the 10% abv at all, making this dangerously drinkable.

Overall this is an impressive imperial porter. I'm not really a fan of porters, and prefer stouts, but this beer was excellent. Highly recommend giving it a try. In my opinion at 6.99 this is a bargain for such a top notch brew. Don't hesitate to pick up a bottle.

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Photo of mrelizabeth
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Wonderfully dark. Moves in the glass like thick coffee. Tan foam, doesn't last quite as long as I would have liked.

S: Inviting. No alcohol notes. Coffee blends nicely with vanilla, roasted malts.

T: Really great balance of flavors. I got the malts first, followed quickly by the vanilla, then coffee, then a bit of porter at the finish. Smooth with nothing left on your tongue but coffee and vanilla.

M: Clean. Memorable thick and creamy texture.

O: If you are looking for an impressive coffee stout, this one balances more nicely than most. The vanilla shouldn't dissuade you; it adds to the complexity of the beer, but neither it nor the espresso completely overpower the beer. Keep a few bottles of this around for after dinner on a cold night.
*three months and three bottles later, I had to revise my original numbers. this beer only gets better, and is one of the best i've ever had.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark black with a mocha colored head that has great retention, lasting throughout the drink. It leaves behind rings of lacing.

S: Where to begin? It starts off with a strong ground coffee bean aroma that gives way to sweet vanilla and a sort of woody scent. Chocolate and roasted malts then begin to make an appearance.

T: Quite similar to the aroma with strong coffee and sweet vanilla. The alcohol is very subtle but has a light presence.

M: Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth to drink. I could drink this all day.

O: This may be one of my favorite beers I've ever had. The smell is orgasmic and the taste isn't far off. I wish this were available year round.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Got this in a trade from Heymanivxx - thanks man! Great label too, I love it.

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

A - The beer pours jet black with huge 3 finger dark tan/brown head with great retention and gobs of lacing.

S - Nice aroma of vanilla beans with roasted malt character: coffee, chocolate, almost creamy on the nose.

T/M - A nice vanilla flavor right up front which quickly is joined with a nice coffee/chocolate flavor. The middle is so creamy it's like a milk chocolate shake! Mild bitterness with a huge creamy mouthfeel. The beer ends with a nice coffee roast on the palate that lasts forever. Full bodied and delicious.

D - The beer is strong but hides it's strength well. Very drinkable.

Overall, this is an outstanding beer. I was really impressed and an thankful for the hook up. Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-02-2011 01:49:16

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours black with a two-inch tan head. The head dies down after a few minutes, but never quite goes away. Lacing clings to the glass in rings.

S: Whole dark roasted coffee beans with hints of vanilla bean and a roasted malt base. Malted milk balls. Faint dark chocolate. Not the most complex nose, but it still smells quite good.

T: Bitter coffee flavors kick things off. French roast, smokey. Vanilla bean breaks out from behind the coffee eventually. Kick of citric hops. More bitter coffee. Whisper of dark caramel and blackstrap molasses. Dark chocolate before the finish. Alcohol spikes a bit toward the back. Nutty and coffee tastes finish, along with some lingering bitterness.

M: Full and creamy body. Low carbonation. Silky and decadent.

O: Very coffee-forward and bitter, but a solid sipper if you're into that.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Victory At Sea - 2011
Bomber w/ 10oz Nonic Taster glass

A: Pours a super dark brown which looks jet black in the glass really. Completely opaque. A fantastic two to three fingers of dark tan suds formed. Exhibits some great retention skills. Subsides to a crown and leaves curtains of lace with each sip.

S: Smells like a straight up caramel mocha. Aromas are caramel, toasted malts, dry roast coffee with a sort of earthiness to it and alcohol. Not a whole lot of vanilla in the nose.

T: Taste is quite the treat. Like having German chocolate cake in a glass. Roasted grains that depict some real dark chocolate notes. Fresh brewed coffee and vanilla. A caramel candied sweetness overall. Toasted coconut. Green earthy woods and a nice hoppy bitter bite towards back palate. Just layers and layers of flavor here. A real step up from the nose. A good amount of warming alcohol heat but does not impact the beer in a negative manner. Coffee is so fresh and the vanilla really comes alive as this brew warms up. More reminiscent of a French Vanilla Cafe.

M: Heavier in body and a little syrupy. Not too thick or viscous and not really thin for that matter. Overall a somewhat creamy texture with a touch of oily sleekness.

D: A delectable drink that should be savored. Complex with lots of layered flavors. All of which play their own part yet work really nicely together. Slightly sweet and boozy it's definitely an Imperial. Enjoyed better after temp warms up a bit.

Highly recommend. I always seek this one out at time of release. Hands down my favorite beer label too!

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

Poured into a tulip, beer pours a jet black with a tan/chocolate brown one and a half finger head that lingers to a lot of nice lace down the glass at every sip.

Appearance: Dark black with tan/chocolate brown head.

Smell: Up front is dark chocolate with a lot of smoke, vanilla, coffee, oak and caramel sweetness. Hops very far in the back but you can pick them up.

Taste: Vanilla up front, tons of coffee, tons of chocolate, roast, lots of sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy silk with medium carbonation. Great finish of alcohol warmth. Very nice.

Overall: A very good beer. This one was recommended by the craft beer shop I go to and I was not disappointed at all. Will be putting this one on the list for the next shopping trip.

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Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Coffee colored with an off white foam head. It has a nice lacing as well.

S: Subtle vanilla with notes of dark chocolate and coffee.

T: Lots of Dark Chocolate, some coffee, and subtle notes of vanilla.

M: medium-low carbonation. It also has a nice rich, creamy silkiness.

O: Very good. I have been waiting to try this for awhile and I definitely wasn't disappointed. Its aroma leads you to believe there will be a lot of rich vanilla, but the opposite is true. You actually end up getting some nice subtle vanilla with lots of rich dark chocolate. I was very impressed, this was definitely a great beer.

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Photo of rtaps
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mrvonzipper for saving this bottle to share with me.

pours a pitch black with a nice 1 finger light tan head. very nice retention leaving lacing all over the glass. looks oily and viscous.

great nose, has alot of roasted notes but no to overpowering that you can't pick out what else is in there. coffee and vanilla

Wow i love to taste. vanilla some caramel and coffee all accompanied but a powerful roasted flavor that hangs around in the mouth making you want more.

full bodied, light-medium carbonation smooth and viscous

overall this was a nice little treat that i am glad was shared with me. the roasted element to this was a highlight for me. it was powerful but didn't steal the show, and the vanilla was good touch.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tumbler pint, the beer is a near black, with a thick, densely packed, tight bubbled, frothy tan head that sits a solid half an inch on the surface of this brew. Aromas are subtle and very well blended, with hints of day old coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, and some earthy notes. Flavors are rich and bold, with a blast of bitter dark chocolate and subtle coffee backbone blasting away on the front of the tongue, and quickly covering the palate. Highlights of vanilla and woody characteristics abound, with an earthy overtone throughout, and some boozey profiles as well. The beer's flavors ride a creamy and light body that leaves a great many rings around the glass as you drink. The aftertaste is a bit of the booze, a touch of the vanilla, and a hint of the chocolate and coffee blend, giving highlights of everything that just danced across the palate. The finish is rather quick, with only a slight bitter linger at the very end. The alcohol and bitterness do a good job cleaning everything up and helping the beer to avoid the cloying or overpowering realm of flavor profiles. This is a heavy hitter, and definitely a sipper for the evening. Delicious beer.

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

A: Pours jet black with a two finger mocha head with large bubbles in it. The beer has very good head retention and significant lacing.
S: Roasty malts with hints of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate.
T: Starts with the taste of the vanilla, followed by coffee, then a little chocolatey, and finishes with a nice roasty maltiness... has a little bit of the bitter acidity that one would normally associate with coffee. The taste of the alcohol is hidden.
M: Very full bodied with very little carbonation, nicely coats the inside of your mouth while drinking it.
O: Wonderful example of the porter style and something I could definitely have over and over again.

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Photo of mindspin315
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Massive milk chocolate colored head, black body with brown hues on the sides/bottom, and thick lacing all over the glass. Long head retention. Swirling the glass produces huge amount of head as well.

Right away a huge dose of roasted coffee and espresso beans. Followed by vanilla bean, milk chocolate, chocolate milk, and faint caramel aromas. Everything here is so big and in your face. Absolutely fantastic!

Sweet chocolate, lots of vanilla, and dry roasted coffee. Hops play a big part in the mouthfeel. I didn't pick up much of them in the aroma, but they add bitterness right at the middle which carries through into the aftertaste. Mild carbonation and smooth creamy like velvet mouthfeel. The vanilla bean flavor is very strong and makes for a great smooth flavor that hits the tastebuds and the roof of the mouth. Drinks a lot like an irish dry stout on the back end. Roasted notes come out in the aftertaste. The dry aspect goes across the tongue.

One damn good beer! (thanks Amstel Light commercial) A bit more chocolate flavor that was given off in the aroma would've been highly welcomed. The hops are pretty strong not in flavor but in feel and they slightly mask some of the flavors here. Victory at Sea is an incredible beer. Doesn't drink at all like an imperial beer...goes down way to easily.


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Photo of RandyV
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a tasty beer! It has pronounced coffee and dark chocolate flavors with the vanilla really coming through in the finish. It is nicely balanced with malt and molasses sweetness countered by hops and espresso bitterness. It has earthy undertones and finishes slightly on the dry side.

This is an impressive porter, and what I look for in this class. Well done, Ballast Point. Well done!

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


A - deep brown/ black, one finger very tan head and some nice sticky lacing

S - Coffee, vanilla, hop, wood, chocolate and tons of roastiness

T - tons of vanilla up front, tons of coffee, chocolate, very roasty, tons of malts, earth, wood, a funk (maybe yeast?), a big hop note and just tons of coffee. It even has the coffee acidity!

M - medium plus body, lots of acidity, not much complexity, not very balanced and a very long finish

D/O - this is a big beer and tons of coffee, if you don't like coffe this one, you will not be a fan of! Very enjoyable, love the flavor profiles and fun to drink from cold to room temp. Not refreshing at all, just a fun enjoyable imperial beer

Final thought - I really like ballast point and I have yet to try this beer, not a big porter fan, but this one is nice. $8 a pop and 10% is nice. Hope it ages well

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

A: Deep black, very little light coming through. One finger mocha colored head, a little thick looking for a porter.

S: Got the coffee upfront, mostly. Really roasty, malty characteristics, vanilla is pretty small on the nose.

T: A lot more vanilla then on the nose, got a lot of coffee, kind of a roasted espresso flavor. Got some caramel type flavors in there as well.

M: Thick, medium carbonation. A bit dry as well.

Overall I like this one a lot. I would love to get some more bottles if it was more readily available. One of the best porters out there.

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Photo of Merkur
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Tiger Tiger in San Diego.

Beer poured into a snifter glass.

Beer pours a very dark brown with a bit of light brown head.

Beer smells wonderful. First notes is that of vanilla, followed by a nice rich coffee smell.

Beer tastes even better than it smells. The vanilla sweetness at the front end of the sip give way to a nice malty chocolate, followed by some robust coffee flavors. This is hands down the best beer I have ever tasted.

Beer has a good mouthfeel and is not too thick and just the right smoothness.

Probably the best beer I have ever had. The richness of the coffee taste and how the vanilla adds the right amount of sweetness at the right time makes this beer excellent.

Highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of IKR
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown, initially appears black but held towards a light you see it as dark brown. Has a modest medium beige head.

Smell: The coffee is upfront , with the vanilla following. As it warms the vanilla steps more towards the forefront.

Taste: Coffee, vanilla, and some roasted malt notes.
The beer finishes fairly dry with some slight hop and roasted malt notes. The alcohol presence is very subtle for the ABV.

Mouth-feel: Fairly thin bodied for an Imperial Porter with a generous level of carbonation for the style.

Overall: In the past I would have said the Deschutes Imperial Black Buttes were my favorite for the style, but I feel I would choose this over the latest incarnation (XXIII). Very tasty porter.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,627 ratings.
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