Victory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & Vanilla | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & VanillaVictory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & Vanilla
7,004 Ratings
Victory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & VanillaVictory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & Vanilla

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,004 |  Reviews: 1,461
Photo of Benjo87
3.32/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look - jet black in the glass with a nice and fluffy 2 finger tan coloured head.

Smell - coffee is the dominant smell here. I'm getting a touch of the vanilla, roasted and malt and slight alcohol.

Taste - coffee coffee coffee. It's quite bitter. I was hoping for a bit more sweetness. Its that type of bitterness you get from an espresso with no sugar. Alcohol slightly present. I was expecting more.

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Photo of aknalley
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of NateTP38
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Briken
3.62/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep chestnut brown and frothy brown head with good retention. Coffee and roasted aroma and faint hint of vanilla. Coffee and very bitter burnt nut upfront gradually give way to a light sweetness and the slightest hint of vanilla in the finish. Smooth, full bodied feel with a slight tack.

Roasted burnt coffee is a little too forward and overwhelming right off the bat. Unfortunately it continues in such a way that only hint of sweetness and vanilla break through at the end. Not a bad overall flavor but not completely as promised and just a little heavy handed on the roasted flavors.

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Photo of drews240
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ZombiesAteMyDog
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DrAnnaNemis
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of coolforcats
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of gwguest
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no bottle date to be found; I think it's fair to assume that it's fresh as Ballast Point is making a return to my area after a long hiatus.

Look - Pours a deep dark brown with minimal foam. Even a heavy pour seems to yield little foam.

Smell - For a beer labeled "Coffee Vanilla" I smell surprisingly little of either. It's a well-crafted beer with notes of a typical porter roast and chocolate, but with time (and a little warmth) the sweetness and distinct coffee notes are there.

Taste - Again, like the smell, I really expect more coffee and vanilla from a beer labeled this way. However, it's a fantastic beer. Victory at Sea skews very bitter for the style. It's actually a blessing that Ballast Point was delicate with the coffee and vanilla; it's very much in balance with the expected porter roast and just makes this beer a little rounder with more depth. Any more of either and it would be a gimmick or dessert beer. This beer is intensely bitter, almost to the point of being some sort of Black DIPA. Almost. This beer is an imperial porter through and through.

Feel - Right on target for a beer like this. It has more body and feel than a porter, but they didn't bump up the viscosity for the sake of being chewy or heavy. It finishes remarkably without really coating the palette.

This beer would pair excellently with tomato and brown sugar beef-based BBQ from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas. Victory at Sea with beef burnt ends might be a good last meal.

It took me several beers (over several days) to really understand Victory at Sea; It's an Imperial Porter with a distinct west coast slant. It's not a beer for everyone, nor a beer that I want every day. However, I enjoy this beer more every time I drink it, and that's quite rare. Outstanding.

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Photo of Omniwar
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of invaderzim
4.74/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JKasten988
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PeterPGH
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dmandrick
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Biggtriksta
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This has become a go-to beer for me. It was one of the initial high-ABV, robust beers that got me into dark, heavy stouts and porters. It's accessible and a great beer to persuade anyone who's looking to get into craft beer with. Lots of coffee and vanilla, dark and ominous, and perfect for breakfast!

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Photo of bheckman13
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque oily black with a two finger mocha color head. Aroma is just like cold brewed black coffee with some roast and vanilla coming through as well. Taste follows with coffee, chocolate, vanilla, roast, and robust dark malts with a little bit of almost rye bread and dark chocolate on the fringes. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth, a little harsh when the beer is cold, but smooth as it warms. Overall, a very nice coffee brew that holds up with the porter backbone making it easy to drink and all the flavors coming through.

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Photo of gruss004
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of morrissette1
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point Brewing Company - Victory At Sea. 10% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Look: Settles a viscous pitch black, with some caramel highlights, albeit very minor. Non aggressive pour caused a small mocha colored head, which settles into lacing after a little.

Smell: Incredibly strong coffee grounds, very overpowering if you don't expect it. I assume it the particular blend of coffee used in it, which gives it a very earthy aroma with the coffee, almost like a fresh green pepper. Very strange smelling.

Feel: Thick, heavy body, but also very creamy and smooth at the same time. Has some decent amount of carbonation accompanying it.

Taste: Very strong and bitter coffee grounds immediately, but mellows out about midway through, allowing some caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and dark malts to show up. Nice blend into the back end, but soon the rich coffee shows back up, accompanied by some dark chocolate into the aftertaste.

Overall: Been wanting to try this for a while, because it sounds amazing, and to see if it lives up to its high reputation. I was expecting a lot of coffee, and this still caught me off guard. Extreme amounts of robust bold coffee on the palate, but is balanced extremely well by the other flavors. The only thing I don't care for is the odd aroma of earthy green pepper in my nose every time I take a drink, but since it comes from the coffee that gives such an amazing taste, I would rather not change a thing.

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Photo of Oldejoe
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks. Dark, dark, dark,with a frothy head.
Smell. Not my strong point, but lots of caramel, coffee, vanilla, sweet fruits and earthiness. Very nice.
Taste. A whole mouthful almost simultaneously; sweet malts up front to a smoky dry finish.
Feel. Full bodied, almost creamy, and sparkley.
Overall. A tad dry in the finish for me, but very small complaint, my newest favorite beer. Have one in the cellar, waiting for next year.

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Photo of hopflyer
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 15329, November 25, 2015.

Pours dark brown with ruby and orangish highlights. Frothy light tan one finger head. Retains pretty well.

Wet, used coffee grounds heavy in the nose at first and then recedes to smooth vanilla undertones. But this screams coffee out of the gates.

And the first sip does just that. A lot of medium roast coffee backed with some semi sweet chocolate and toffee. More sweetness as it warms up and releases some creamy vanilla flavors. Slight coffee bitterness rounds it out, but this is all coffee through and through. I was hoping for something else to develop more than it did, light the vanilla or cocoa or caramel or roastiness.

Lights side of medium body, low to medium carbonation. Not sticky, but maybe a light mouth coating. Fits the porter style vs. a coffee stout.

This is for coffee beer lovers. A lot of medium roasted coffee dominates. The vanilla does show up, but not nearly enough to stand up to the coffee. It's an excellent coffee porter for sure. Maybe too much coffee thigh for my liking.

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Photo of Beersilio
3.84/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Craphtbeer
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Shippy
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle. Pours black with a tan head. Smell is great and develops as the beer warms. Started with mostly roasty coffee aromas, followed by vanilla sweetness and some warmth, then more smokiness. Flavor has coffee notes throughout with some light sweetness that border on vanilla. Finish has some dark chocolatey bitterness. The ABV doesn't come through in the flavor. Mouth feel is lighter than I thought, but medium-heavy with low carbonation. Overall an excellent porter that develops nicely as it warms.

Update: 5/2016 - Doing a vertical tasting with 7 and 15 month old bottles. The younger has more of a chocolate, coffee, mocha aroma; while the older hits more of the vanilla and oaky notes. The younger has a little brighter flavor and has a lighter feel. Flavors of coffee and chocolate are prevalent. The older one has more depth of feel, is a little heavier, and the tastes of vanilla and wood come through much more, like in the aroma.

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Victory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & Vanilla from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 7,004 ratings