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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
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:
1,368
Ratings:
6,681
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
19.77%
 
 
Wants:
1,078
Gots:
2,136
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,368 | Ratings: 6,681
Photo of zac16125
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea Imperial Porter
22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass
no born on date or other identifying numbers
written from notes taken months ago

A: Pours a thick very dark brown, almost but not quite black, with just over 2 fingers of dense mocha colored head that takes a good while to dissipate down. Leaves some mild patchy lacing.

S: Heaviest aromas are roasted malt and chocolate, along with some coffee and a significant vanilla character as well. Really quite an awesome aroma.

T: Initial it is tons of chocolate from the first sip all the way through to the aftertaste. The chocolate character is mostly milk chocolate but also some more subtle dark/bakers chocolate characters as well. As it warms other flavors start to come out including a significant vanilla presence, and a more subdued coffee flavor. There is also a slight roasted character and a touch of hop bitterness. This is really a damn good beer. Complex, well balanced, and very tasty.

M/D: Smooth with a low amount of carbonation. Full bodied with a sticky mouthfeel and a well masked ABV. Decent drinkability but definitely a sipper.

O: Overall, a very good beer. Complex and delicious flavor profile, awesome aroma, and a good smooth mouthfeel. Very well done and a beer I highly recommend.

 1,281 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade with bmanning and consumed in the summer of 2009.

A: Poured a very dark brown, nearly black, with a short tan head.

S: Lots of roasted malt paired with coffee, vanilla, and a bit of chocolate.

T: The vanilla comes through quite a bit and in comes the chocolate with a bit of sweetness, followed by a dry coffee/espresso and plenty of roasted malt.

M: Fairly full-bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Very, very drinkable. Quite complex and added yet another tally to the number of amazing vanilla-infused beers that I've had.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours jet black with a thick dark cream colored head. nice looking beer!

smell is full of vanilla and coffee, as expected. maybe a little too sweet of an aroma for me.

taste is creamy and full of vanilla/coffee spice flavor. creamy full body, nice sipper.

overall this is pretty good. maybe a little too much vanilla/chocolate spice in this for me. still a great taste, very good beer. would definitely drink this again.

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

Victory at Sea pours black into the glass with a small off white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a ring around the surface leaving behind a few spots of lace on the glass.

The rich malty aroma is full of coffee, chocolate, toffee and roasted malt.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is smooth, creamy with a moderate carbonated fizz. The flavor is sweet with rich notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee, roasted malt, nuts and pine. It finishes dry with a lingering chocolate flavor.

This is a very tasty beer that hides it's 10% abv well. The bottle I opened has been in my refrigerator for a year and it aged very well.

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Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- Dark body with a huge caramel head that lasts for a long time. great looking beer.

s-tons of vanilla, tons of piny hops, definately boozy and definately smells good, I really cant wait to taste this.

t- Tons and tons and tons of vanilla. There is a mollasses tone in there. You can barely taste any of the booze, which I think that the coffee flavor is covering up.

m- This beer is smooth. I really think that the carbonation is perfect and the beer is almost thick without being to thick. Bravo!

d- This beer is an overall stunner. I really really really am impressed and happy to see that I have about four more of these in my cellar. The vanilla in this beer is making me want to try more beers that have vanilla because i feel it is such a great ingredient with this style.

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

Big thanks to my brother for sharing this bottle with me.

Pours pitch black with nothing but a cream colored ring around the edges.

The aroma is very nice and inviting. Rich notes of cocoa, coffee, caramel and vanilla.

The taste is dominated by coffee and cocoa... almost reminds me of dark chocolate covered coffee beans. Caramel and roasted/charred are present in the middle with vanilla beans rounding of this beer. Very tasty!

Medium to full in body with an appropriate amount of carbonation. Without this level of carbonation it could have taken this from a top notch brew to a sub par one in a hurry.

Overall, this was an excellent treat. Perfect after dinner beer for sure. I'm very happy I got to try this beer and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Photo of prg1976
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with a small amount of brownish head. Some head retention, slight lacing.

Smells lots of vanilla, a little alcohol, only slight coffee smell.

Taste is a lot of coffee, slight vanilla, some alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, not much carbonation. Very smooth.

Very drinkable, the alcohol is sneaky. About halfway through you realize that it's 10%.

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

A-Deep black with a great, tan colored head. Mild carbonation can be seen.

S-Almost pure coffee for me. The vanilla is there, but takes a definite back seat to the coffee and chocolate flavors.

T-Tons of coffee right up front. Bitter, dark chocolate followed by a mellow and sweet vanilla aftertaste. This beer has one of the most perfect balances of coffee flavors in a beer that I've ever had. It tastes balanced and like quite a bit of work went into it.

M-Light to medium carbonation. Given the flavors I thought it would have a slightly heavier mouthfeel. I definitely would not call it watery, but would have appreciated a thicker body to this.

O-A beer that should not be passed up. The coffee in this beer makes it exceptional and although I wish it had a thicker body, I'd be hard pressed to insult this beer.

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

On tap at Barley and Hops.

Victory at Sea arrives in a pint glass. The beer is pitch black with a finger of tan head. The foam recedes leaving wisps of beige bubbles atop the beer and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma of fresh ground coffee beans wafts up from the glass. A closer whiff reveals hints of roasted malt, but the coffee overpowers it for the most part. Flavors of coffee and a huge vanilla presence dominate the palate. Sweet, roasted malt is detectable in the background, but the emphasis clearly is on the coffee and vanilla. The finish is semi-sweet wih a lingering aftertaste of... Yep.... Coffee and vanilla. VaS is full bodied, especially for a porter, with a nice, medium level of carbonation. The 10% ABV is quite well hidden by the exquisite melding of coffee vanilla and roasted malt flavors. Overall, a very tasty offering from Ballast Point. Reminiscent of a drink one might order at Starbuck's, but with bubbles and a bit of a kick to it . I enjoy this one every time I have it. Recommended.

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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 Wer34truh
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark oilesque color, with a moderately large two-finger sized head with a dirty, yet appealing white color.

Emanates a delightful vanilla, and roasted coffee bean aroma.

Besides the vanilla, and coffee present in the smell, this beer has quite a noticeable bitter flavor as well. Feel is relatively light, which is hardly surprising as it is after all a porter. Carbonation is slightly to heavy for my preference, but I am also quite conservative when it comes to carbonation in my beer.

Overall, a delightful brew, which does not disappoint.

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

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with some very nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, lots of coffee/chocolate/toffee, sweet vanilla. The taste is sweet, malty, nice touch of vanilla, and lots of coffee/chocolate/toffee. Medium body, the ABV is hidden pretty well with this brew. Very drinkable, this one is very tasty. Thanks Bill.

 457 characters

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

Poured stout black into my tulip glass with a dark khaki head with a thin lacing. The smell is amazing, up front loads of coffee, chocolate roasted malts, and a subtle vanilla. Can't stop inhaling it to the point some almost went up my nose. I'd like to chop it up and take one Steve-o style but my better judgement got the best of me this time. It's a sneaky beer in my eyes it tastes exactly how it smells and in that order. It's a silky smooth texture with great after taste with a slight hint of alcohol (but barely). Definitely not sludge like a stout but delightful feel for a porter. This is an awesome beer and only wish they would they would release one with real vanilla bean and not just flavoring and set it in bourbon barrels for a few months. Then it would be the perfect imperial porter in my eyes. I might have marked it a bit high on the points but I attribute that to the skeleton parrot on the label ;)

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours jet black with a dark tan head.

S: Coffee, roasted malt, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Dark roasted malt with a very strong coffee flavor. The vanilla notes are extremely subtle, if it wasn't on the bottle, I probably wouldn't have picked it out. It's very smooth and the flavors meld together very well. A bit of a bite from the alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and very delicious. Doesn't drink like a 10% beer at all. One of the better coffee beers I've had.

 590 characters

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

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a solid black color, somewhat glossy, with a dark tan film with some lacing at the edges.

Smell: Deep roasted malt aroma - a little nutty - with some coffee hints coming in after a bit. There's some sweetness, but it is my no means strong.

Taste: Tons of roasted malt up-front. But it, and the coffee and hazelnut flavors that come in, get balanced out by a nice taste of vanilla underneath. There's definitely some alcohol warmness in the finish and aftertaste, but no actual flavor of it. The flavors are all nicely balanced, so nothing takes over.

Mouthfeel: Quite smooth, but with a bit of alcohol burn at the finish. Medium- to heavy-bodied with very mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Not unusual for this high ABV you do feel the alcohol a bit and feel a bit of burn, but the flavor and everything makes it perfect for drinking slowly (though attentively), so it works great.

An excellent limited release from Ballast Point! Strong, for sure, but really great tasting!

 1,033 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, almost black, with a nice thick rocky tan head. Nice lace and retention.

Big coffee nose, with good hints of vanilla, but not overdone in this factor. Dark roasted malt, some dark chocolate round this out. A whiff of booze.

Nice balance between the roasted malt, carbonized bits, and coffee. There is some sweetness in here to bring some balance, but is not fruit. Vanilla extract (as there is an alcohol note), some wood, charred bits, bitterness, and a long coffee finish. Wonderfully complex.

Fuller bodied, appropriate carbonation.

Liked this a lot. Glad I found it. Nice complex porter.

 613 characters

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

Served in a tasting glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a thin layer but leaves lots of splattered lace. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Nice coffee/espresso flavors with chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. It is balanced out by grassy hops.

Taste: Lots of coffee and espresso again. Then the caramel and chocolate roll in. Followed by a nice amount of vanilla. Lots of roasted flavors with some grassy hops and a hint of citrus to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a little rich. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted, but relatively clean.

Overall, a very solid beer. I really enjoyed this porter. A big beer and none of the 10% abv showed. Very drinkable for how big it is.

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

Bottle to BT whiskey snifter

A- Pours opaque black. When held up to light it'd got the slightest hint of cola red color. Nice 1 finger kakhi head sits on top. Some spotty lacing.

S - Good God. Huge coffee, slight vanilla, roasted malt. Can't get over just how much coffee there is. Could use some more vanilla, but that's a small gripe.

T - Starts smooth with vanilla and slightly woody notes, and then the coffee comes in mid-palate. Coffee and vanilla on the finish. Very delicious.

M - Creamy, with enough carbonation to leave the mouth coated. A bit thin, but again a small gripe. Makes it that much more drinkable.

O - Damn fine beer. A coffee beer if I've ever had one. I could drink this all day.

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

This Porter by ballast point is unreal. The vanilla is not overpowering but rather has a really good balance. If you are in California definitely give this a try if you like porters.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Top Hops in New York, having never had this before. I like Porters and have been on a Ballast Point kick as of late in addition to that. Hoped that this would be another winner and sure enough, it was. While not a light beer, the range of flavors and ease of enjoyment of this was a winning combination and as this warmed up, the smoothness of this became much more impressive to me!

Loved the pour to this, as the dark coffee hue had just a hint of garnet around the edges to it to let a hint of light through. Easily the best head I've ever seen on a Porter as the massive, tan foam quickly filled up the remainder of my pint glass and did its best impression of a loaf of bread that a beer could do. Tall and yeasty, the bubbles in it were massive and as they rose to the surface, it left and impression both on the side of my pint glass and on me. The lacing that was left over was extensive and solid as this beer settled into it's liquid state. Nice coffee and bitter chocolate aroma to this, reinforced by a massive vanilla extract presence, with an espresso base underneath that. Thin, carbonated, and strong, this beer packed a punch both in the range of flavors it had and the booze that tied everything together. Certainly bitter, there were hints of cherry, current,and licorice in here as well and for all of the complexity present, I was amazed how well this went down!

Weak, this was not but when you're celebrating a "victory at sea", weak won't cut it. The bread in this beer's head was repeated in the aftertaste as hints of pumpernickel could be found after the liquid went down, owing to the strength of this beer's body and subtle spice. Porters don't come around like this that often so if you can find it, get it. It's not for the faint of heart but there's enough out there that is and who are you kidding - you know you want to find something this well-crafted and savor every last drop of it. On par with the Sculpin IPA's, Ballast Point has a winner here that deserves the lofty rating it has received here on Beeradvocate.

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

Thanks to GallowsThief for the trade!

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Maudite snifter

Pours a black color with 2 fingers of a mocha colored head.

The nose is sweet and malty. Chocolate, molasses, and vanilla stand out the most here. A bit of coffee lingers behind the rich cocoa and vanilla beans. It smells like a damn fine dessert, waiting for me to devour. Roasty beast for sure. The taste is much the same as the nose but a bit stronger. The chocolate stands out the most and is followed by vanilla and a bit of coffee that wasnt so easily discovered in the nose. A nice mixture of the flavors that play off each other quite nicely. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and beastly to say the least. A nice smooth oily liquid feels great on my palate and I cant put down my glass. Overall, this is a great brew here that creates pretty good balance throughout and has a bad-ass flavor profile. Boom!

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

A: Pours a deep black with one full finger of dark khaki colored head. The foam settles fairly quickly, leaving a frothy ring of bubbles along the edges of the glass. Minimum lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roast, and burnt toast. I'm not picking up a ton of vanilla in the nose, but this beer smells delicious.

T: It starts off sweet and smooth with milk chocolate and vanilla flavors. The bitter roast and toast start to really come through in the middle. It mixes with coffee flavors and finishes pretty bitter. It's like dark chocolate, burnt toast, and coffee grinds in the back end.

M: Full bodied beer. Smooth, and coating to start, almost milky. The flavors envelop the palate but transition nicely without much cloying. Smooth to finish with lingering bitters on the back end.

O: Really great beer. One of my go-to porters/stouts when I am in the mood. Can't believe it took me this long to write a review. Delicious. I will definitely be drinking this again.

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

Quite good. Definite coffee flavor and smell, some vanilla flavor, mild carbonation, it might improve with 1-3 months cellaring to blend it a bit.
Glad to be able to buy this in my ditro. This will set the bar for a solid barrel aged stout with vanilla.

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Photo of benjamminjones24
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as night. Light lacing around the edges of the glass.
The smell, oh my....roasted coffee aroma right away. hints of vanilla & chocolate. Smells delicious
Taste follows the nose. Get lots of coffee and chocolate. Decadent.
Feel is a little thin for me, would like it to have a heavier mouthfeel.
Great beer that is def. worth a go!

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

Reviewed from notes 1/12/2011

A: vanilla is predominant, coffee, a hint of white chocolate

Ap: black with a 2 finger mocha colored head, very frothy, extreme lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, very smooth, medium body, slightly heavy

Af: chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, very sweet

O: makes an excellent after dinner beer, a perfect nightcap

Cheers!
The CPJ

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,681 ratings.
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