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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: 1,366 | Ratings: 6,673
Photo of Journeyman
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great froth, delightful smell and nice presentation. You immediately smell the vanilla and coffee. I let it sit for about 2 minute and took my first taste. No bitterness, excellent, that is what I expected. The caramel was just right. I will sit and enjoy this beer for a while.

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

What I love about this beer is how well balanced the coffee notes are with the hops and the other wonderful things in here. I like that it's not as dry as some porters tend to be. This beer has a great aroma as well. I think I prefer this to Founder's Breakfast stout.
This is an amazing beer. I am currently drinking it with a year of age on it, and it hasn't suffered in the slightest; as a matter of fact, it's been awhile since I had this beer last, and yet I think it improved with age. I had it in a side-by-side with Ska's Ten Pin Imperial Porter; the Victory at Sea was not only more complex but it was clearly more flavorful. This is a beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of GreatHammerhead
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Look: Black as night with a 1.5 finger dark tan head. Very good head retention.

Smell: Coffee with undertones of malts, very faint vanilla, and finishes with warming alcohol.

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and alcohol. The alcohol is a bit harsh and has a tendency to overpower everything else.

Feel: Slightly thick mouthful,moderate carbonation, and finishes on the dry side.

Overall: Well crafted but the harshness of the alcohol overwhelms this beer.

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

A 12 fl oz bottle with a Julian bottled on date of 16044, meaning it was bottled on 13th February 2016. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: It poured an almost black colour with a just over one finger tanned head that had decent retention and left sparse lacing.

Aroma: Roasted coffee bean, milk chocolate with hints of vanilla plus caramel.

Taste: Starts with roasty malt and bittersweet chocolate, followed by light caramel sweetness and a hint of vanilla. Finishes with strong espresso bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall: Not getting as much vanilla as I would have hoped for, but still has nice roasty and bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavours.

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

Pours a glistening, deep black with three inviting fingers of dark, sudsy eggshell head. I can't ask for much more when it comes to making a beer pretty.

The nose. Forgoing the cloying flavours of vanilla essence, genuine vanilla pods fill the nostrils, swirling with creamy coffee to grant the impression of a quality tiramisu. Yes, this is a fabulous desert beer.

Having had Victory at Sea a good few times, I would note that, on the tongue, some batches lean substantially more toward coffee than vanilla, and vice versa. I sampled one from a friend's six-pack that was so packed with sweet vanilla that it gave me 20 year-old deja vu of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate. Likewise, some batches have much more roasty bitterness than others, occasionally masking the vanilla.

This temperamentality doesn't carry over to the feel, however. This always brilliantly masks the ABV as pleasant warmth in the throat, and goes down with a thick, creamy finish, and a smile. This is a welcome mainstay in my fridge.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Whoa. Vanilla.

I really wanted to like this beer. The nose is amazing. It looks perfect. But...

It tastes like vanilla extract to me. Perhaps I am over sensitive to vanilla, but that is the only note I got. And it was STRONG.

So, if you like vanilla, you'll love this beer.

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Photo of JayQue
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An outstanding Porter even though I am not a big fan of vanilla in my Porters or Stouts. Pours a dense dark brown color from a12 oz bottle into a pint glass. No light gets through the glass. Big dark tan head with excellent retention and thick bands of lacing on the glass. Aroma is a malty Porter with a good amount of coffee and some vanilla. Flavor is more of the same, very rich and creamy. Mouthfeel is smooth, rich and creamy with no hint ofthe10.% abv. An excellent brew, well worth having again.

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

Big coffee and vanilla notes on the pour - almost a bourbon aroma is present too. Color is a deep red opaque black - 1/2 finger head. The taste is a smokey smooth, sweet deep malty coffee/toffee flavors, balanced with hops on the finish. A big sticky but still very drinkable. Medium carbonation and creamy mouth feel with a some slight alcohol heat. This baby clocks in at 10% ABV but the alcohol is barely detectable. It doesn't taste like a 10% ABV which can be dangerous - i.e. it will put you on your donkey pretty quick if you're not paying attention. Probably works best as a "sipper" with a premium cigar. Overall this is a great beer - could have been a coffee/vanilla stout IMO but they chose to call it a porter but so be it - it's definitely worth a try for sure.

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

my wonderful Niece brought me this when I went back home to CALIFORNIA to visit my dying brother:

A dark cola on the pour - nearly Zero head

S Deep, Tart coffee

T thick and sweet

M again , thick, HUGE body

D Super good elixir

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Photo of dcotom
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful pour, deep blackish brown with nice long-lasting tan head. Big aromas and flavors of roast malt, dark coffee, and vanilla, with a silky mouthfeel and a bitter finish. World class!

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

Appearance: Black with scarlet and burgundy hues, pours with a syrupy like body, a good couple fingers of cafe au lait coloured foam that does settle fairly moderately leaving a panoramic valley of lacing all the way around the glass with some well kept topographical surface interests.

Aromatics: Dark sweetness and finely roasted coffee, and that sweet vanilla showing through very nicely. There is subtle dark cacao and with plums and dates there as well

Taste: Big Bold Beautifully Dark and Rich. You almost get the impression you are sitting down to enjoy a morning iced coffee until you get a bit of that little breath of the 10%… but still it really is no different than pouring a little liquor into your coffee. The blended flavours are very well formulated into a nice cohesive concoction. The coffee and vanilla are on equally playing field with the malts.

Feel: Exquisite full bodied and creamy soft with little pips of crispness here and there from the carbonation that though it is muted, is still active enough to fizz up the palate. It also has a fairly juicy quality that makes me want to consume in mouthfuls rather than sips. That 10% giving up a bit of warmth and a slight vapourness, and the cacao/coffee bitter tends to lazily wander about after the mostly dry finish.

Overall: If I had a massive oversized teddy bear I could snuggle into to binge watch my old childhood favourites (Voltron, Mazinger, and the animated D&D); in an empty house; on a long weekend; before I started my 2 weeks of holidays; this is a beer I will shortlist for that journey. I don’t mind porters, but I love stouts, and this one really encroaches on stouts property. Now I wonder what would happen if you get this on a nitro tap?

Pairing : I love the nautical theme of Ballast Point in general, and the Jack Skellington character currently on the Victory at Sea label wants be to thrown on Jaws or the first Pirates of the Caribbean DVD. While that is starting up, I’m going to go to my pub fare cook book and land on page (roll my d20 a couple times) p 34… Cheeseburger Meatball Stew! Now I should note that I make mini (half inch) meatballs from an 80/20 (beef/pork) mixture of 2 to 3 lbs - sometimes I add cheddar to the meatballs before I bake them at 350 for about 30 min until they are crispy and cooked throughout, then I cool them and throw them into half-pound ziploc freezer bags just for occasions like this! Your basic beef stew with diced potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and I like spice so a dice jalapeño our two will make it in there too. Ideally I would prep this ahead of time and make it in a slow cooker - Throw in all the ingredients and my meat balls and simmer on high for a good 4 to 5 hours. But today, it’s into the stove-top pot not Medium-high for the first hour of the movie at least. once the basic stew is ready to serve (potatoes are done) I scoop a bowl and throw-in a half dozen cubes of fresh cheddar or cheese curds… with a brad for dipping and beer at the ready, it should all work out quite wonderfully.

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Photo of mkh012
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

Near-black with hints of red. A short-lived head and minimal lacing.

Nose is coconut, chocolate, and a touch of heat. Really nice. Rich and inviting.

Baker's chocolate, coffee, oak, and pine. Intense but smooth. Definitely an Imperial. Roasty, warming, and big.

Mouthfeel is medium, could be a bit fuller.

Overall, definitely a great porter. A little strong for my tastes, but to be expected at 10% alcohol.

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

Service: Bottle
Bottled on: Jan-19-2016

Pours a thick looking ebony with a billowing three fingers of frothy mocha head that eventually settles as a glob with some patches, cloud-like lacing. (4.25)

Maple whipped cream with a shot of espresso, cinammon, chocolate milk. (4.25)

Smooth band of sweetness that progressively gets roastier and roastier, some astringency, baker's chocolate, coffee, vanilla, toasted bark, boozy twang at the end that almost seems like a barrel. (4.25)

Thick, active carbonation, stickyish, vague astringent charry afterburn, some detectable alcohol. (4.25)

Nice beer.
It's really sweet (to me at least) but the flavors go well together. Thick black beer with a decent head. The aroma and flavor are both that of spiced coffee with chocolate and vanilla. It is fairly drinkable, the alcohol is not well-hidden, a touch hot. Would be a great beer in the winter, no doubt about it.
Would have again. I am not much on random ingredients beyond the standards, but beers like this are good ones to shut me up. (4.25)

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

This is a classic beer. Love that it is in 6 packs now, so worth it. Pours robust as fuck like you just popped the top on an imperial stout. Good 1/2" tan head. Aroma drops significant coffee, respectable roast malt, and a hint of vanilla.

Taste is world class. Very easy to drink, all the roasted malt, vanilla and coffee really cover up the 10% abv. Not overly acidic or acrid either, somehow manages to pull off being smooth. Coffee, chocolate malt, vanilla beans, not a small run, that they can pull this off in large batches and big distribution gets even more points in my book.

World class.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black in color. Not much head retention at all. Smells of roasted malts and coffee. It's flavor is chock full of vanilla. Strange that I didn't notice any in the smell, but its flavor is loaded with vanilla. It's a warm, boozy vanilla, sweet, with lots of roasted malts. Very good tasting beer. It could use more carbonation, but otherwise I like it.

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

Phenomenal beer. Jet black and thick with a big mocha head that laced beautifully. Smell is big and rich with strong notes of roasted coffee, soft vanilla, maple syrup, and bakers chocolate. Taste follows suit with big and rich flavors of dark roast coffee, toasted almond, molasses, caramel, dark chocolate, light licorice, and a wonderful sweet vanilla that appears late in the sip but lingers wonderfully. Feel is medium-bodied and silky, with just the right weight. Hard to imagine a better, more well-rounded porter.

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Photo of m_hall
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz longneck into a nonic pint. Black with just the faintest of brown highlighting around the very edge of the glass under illumination. Topped with a dense two-finger tall light brown head that falls away slowly. Lacing is very good.

Nose has very big notes of vanilla beans, with coffee and a hint of caramel. Barely smells like beer, but smells great anyway.

Flavor is much as the nose would suggest right up front- vanilla and black coffee tones, that progress into dark roasted malts, toffee and bittersweet chocolate. These sweet-er notes come much more to the fore as the beer warms. The finish is long and dry, with a pleasing espresso-like bitterness.

Mouth-feel is big, sticky, and chewy, on the girth-y side for a Porter. This is definitely a 'sipping' beer, even with the big flavors doing a pretty good job limiting the 10% ABV hit to just a gentle warmth.

Victory at sea is a great beer for fans of "big" beers... The sheer size of this beer rivals quite a few Stouts. The flavor profile here isn't necessarily complex, opting instead for a focused set of huge notes, well balanced with each other and delivered with tremendous feel in the mouth.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a chalice. No freshness dating.

Looks great. Jet black body, oatmeal colored head, excellent lacing

Aroma is dominantly coffee. and more coffee.

Solid roasted malt taste. Good coffee flavor, only a hint of vanilla. Alcohol very well hidden, only a faint burn at the back of the throat. Roasted aftertaste.

Good honest full mouth on this one.

Overall, a very tasty beer to enjoy slowly.

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Photo of Urk1127
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black as hell, cant see through it even with light, tan head lasts throughout.
Cocoa, black coffee, malty, dark chocolate
Dark chocolate, slight vanilla, roasty, black coffee, slight cream, malty dark beer flavors underneath
I cant believe this has an ABV let alone 10% absolutely no alcohol present. No burn. Slighty sticky, heavier feel

This beer is incredible. All around such a great beer. I didnt believe the hype but i cant deny it. My only complaint woukd be a sticky feel on your mouth but come on. This beer is great. Its big and your face but does not over do it.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle, pours a black colour with a huge beige coloured head that disapates to small patches. Aroma vanilla, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, sweet. Taste vanilla, chocolate, coffee, fudge. Very nice.

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Photo of NEdward
3.74/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

three finger beige head that honeycombs eventually into patchy islands, body is dark but some light getting through. very distinct smell combining coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, a hint of alcohol. not heavy on the palate; general malt character, definite vanilla notes, an almost granular coffee/dark chocolate bitterness on the middle/back of the tongue that seems to extend into the sinuses. vague syrupy, bitter finish. definitely more potent the fresher it is.

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Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into Sam Adams pint glass.

Pours nearly perfect black with faint red-brown edges and three towering fingers of creamy brown head that leaves spooky haunted forest lace as it recedes.

Smells of coffee grounds, vanilla beans, dark fudge, dried berries, brown sugar and faint leafy hops.

Tastes of creamy coffee with a shot of vanilla, more rich fudge, chocolate covered raisins, toasted brown sugar and more mild hops.

Feels big, soft and smooth. Full bodied with creamy carbonation. Finishes dry.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. A monster of a beer.

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Photo of lbloom
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black in most lighting. Looks very dark crimson up against a strong light source. Not much head. Two inches on a strong pour into a tulip glass, but it receded quickly leaving medium lacing.

S: Fresh roasted coffee smell is nearly overpowering. Some vanilla on the nose, but nothing compared to the coffee. Hints of booze, but less than you would expect from a beer packing a 10% punch.

T: Fresh roasted oily coffee beans hit you immediately. Vanilla starts out soft and then strengthens to become the dominant aftertaste. Bakers chocolate and roasted malts sit behind the coffee. Aftertaste is vanilla, coffee, and subdued booze.

F: Great. Smooth and well carbonated without being excessive. Full bodied yet soft.

O: A great beer for anyone who enjoys stouts and porters with dominant coffee notes. I appreciate the total absence of dark fruit. Not a complex beer, but a very flavorful one. Definitely will drink again.

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Photo of jrsqc7
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Never ending head secretly alcoholic fruits up front with a great big shapely caramel malt ass legs linger lacing glass thick emotionally complex in a relatable way not a cheap date definite wife material

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a six-pack of 12 oz bottles at the Trig's Cellar 70 in Minocqua. The bottling code suggests this one is good for another four months. Poured at cellar temperature into my Samuel Smith pint glass.

L: Pours a deep cola brown--caramel colored at the edges where the light strikes through--with a good three fingers of frothy, dense khaki head that sticks around for a very long time and leaves substantial even lacing on the glass. A beautiful-looking beer.

S: Big, robust coffee and sweet vanilla notes in the bouquet, as advertised. A touch of cinnamon and dark drinking chocolate in the mix. Maybe a bit of earthiness. Just the slightest amount of clear alcohol, which actually is a pleasant addition to whole show.

T: Dark malts--roasty, sweet, and chocolaty--very assertive right out of the gates. Quite a bit more chocolate flavor than the nose forecasts. There's an instant astringency felt as the coffee and vanilla flavors kick in. The middle is really dominated by the coffee--very roasty and robust--with just enough of that sweet vanilla to keep things in check. The middle also brings out a bit of cinnamon and clear alcohol. The back end has that coffee and vanilla continuing atop the dark malts, with a more pronounced clear alcohol and earthy bitterness. The close is significantly bitter, with a healthy amount of alcohol flavor accompany the coffee and vanilla in the aftertaste.

F: Medium-bodied. Extremely smooth. While it isn't syrupy, it does have a good deal of bitter stick to it's close. Nice level of carbonation at the start, though it does feel a bit flat by the end of the glass.

O: This is one impressive porter. Huge coffee and vanilla notes and big ABV make it drink almost like a barrel-aged stout. Perhaps most impressive to me is how well-balanced the flavors are in this one: the malt bill plays extremely well with the other additions, and it yields a beer that is very flavorful and engaging. I definitely recommend giving this a try if you haven't already.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,673 ratings.
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