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:
1,411
Ratings:
6,819
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,088
Gots:
2,197
For Trade:
89
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,411 | Ratings: 6,819
Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Super dark brown porter. Nice creamy foam head.

S - Coffee, chocolate, and sweet raisin and vanilla notes.

T - Great coffee flavor up front with a sweet vanilla finish.

M - Smooth, creamy, and just the right amount of carbonation.

O - Only my second Ballast Point beer and I'm very impressed so far. I definitely will have this porter again and look forward to trying more of their beers. Prost!

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Photo of SebD
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice practically jet black color to it. It has a nice dark tan head that dies down moderately fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: Wow, the aromas definitely give out hints of sweet roasted malts, lots of dark chocolate, coffee/espresso, vanilla and caramel.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet roasted malts, coffee/espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a great overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of bmwats
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a footed tulip.

A: Very dark brown. Pours about a 1/2 finger, foamy, brown-white head. Settles pretty quickly, leaving a smattering of bubbles on the surface. Very nice spider web lacing.

S: Bold oaky, roasted espresso, plenty of dark chocolate, and just a touch of vanilla, balanced with a little peatiness.

T: Char roasted malt. Coffee is prominent. Bitter pecan shells. Very woody oak. Unsweetened dark chocolate and a little black licorice. Only a slight sweetness from the vanilla... really just an accentuate.

M: Thick and hearty and heavy. Very slightly hints at sweetness in the front. Bitter finish. High alcohol not really apparent until the finish. Leaves something of a whiskey-ish feel hanging on the palate.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is great. Dark and intimidating, accentuated by a nice head, and some persistent lacing. Nose is bold roasted coffee and oak with dark chocolate and a little vanilla for balance. Charred malt flavor. Prominent is coffee and wood, some bitter dark chocolate and black licorice, and a slight sweet tease. Thick, hearty and robust. Overall, this is a great quaff.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: Pitch black body with a cappuccino jiggly cream top. Delicate lace on edges.

S: Robust columbian coffee, vanilla potpourri, near burnt dark malt, pumpernickel bread, no bake cookies and astringent booze.

T/M: Huge vanilla extract presence hits the palate first then the coffee and chocolate cookies take over. Hints of smoke and charred molasses mingle with the velvety feel. Finishes semi dry with lingering espresso. Nice warming sensation.

O: Love it. A great impy porter that showcases both the vanilla and coffee in a circus of flavors for your mouth. It's like having a cold triple shot if espresso with vanilla added. Highly recommended.

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Photo of BobZ
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz Bottle poured into a Pint glass.

Appearance: Almost black with a small 1/4" tan head that quickly recedes to only a cap, nice lacing.

Smell: Big coffee with a hint of sweetness.

Taste: Rich dark roast coffee is the dominant flavor there is some vanilla on the finish but it is subtle. This is done in a good way the coffee bitterness up front with just the hint of vanilla sweetness on the finish. Very little chocolate flavor as again the roasted malt supports the coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very well bodied for a porter, smooth and drinkable.

Overall: An excellent coffee porter, full and very flavorful.

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

pours thick and dark. no head. very little clings to the sides. 2nd pour of the bomber resulted in some beautiful dark brown chocolatey foam....
smells like roasted espresso, roasted malt. some vanilla.
taste is closely the same. some bitterness and taste of alcohol. very well balanced, regardless. very nice. very good for 10% entering the system.
overall, very good. sweet and filling. bitter, yet tasty. very substantial across the board.

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

A wonderful beer- hits all the right notes without overdoing it. Luscious and balanced, it really satisfies the sweet tooth without being too sweet. It's the nice vanilla richness that does it for me. The coffee flavor is wonderful. Obviously high quality coffee is used, and the fact that it's cold brewed undoubtedly helps create its smooth, clean flavor. Nicely balanced overall , with the coffee taking the lead, followed by a long slightly sweet vanilla note, some roastiness and a bitter finish. A nice package.

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Photo of Florida9
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Fully opaque black in color. Forms a moderate sized, very dark tan, almost-mocha colored head. Decent retention. Some lighter lacing.

S: Aroma is coffee and heavily roasted malts. Chocolate, cocoa, espresso, char, and just the faintest hint of vanilla.

T: Taste is more of the same. Full of flavor. Dark, bitter, chocolate and cocoa seem to dominate, but there are also flavors of coffee and nearly burnt malt. Very mild sweetness. Cola. Hint of smoke. And some light vanilla notes.

M: Full bodied, lower carbonation, mild chalkiness, mild bitterness.

O: Yes, a very nice beer indeed.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: A black beer that lets just a bit of light through a deep garnet beer. The creamy head is a deep espresso color with good retention.

S: Strong coffee and a rich dark chocolate pumped up with vanilla and a light roast aroma. A sweet, light alcohol note.

A: Rich, smooth vanilla, coffee and chocolate with a depth of flavors that just goes on. Some roast, caramel and a little burnt sugar. There is a high amount of malt sweetness but it's countered by a moderately strong hops bitterness giving a balance that is somewhat sweet. This beer doesn't dry out and finish about medium. There is lingering chocolate and vanilla flavors mixed with some hops bitterness.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with a lot of creaminess and a moderate carbonation. There is a noticeable amount of alcohol but it isn't boozy.

O: Well this outstanding beer sets a high water mark for Porters in my book. There's more going on here than in a lot of stouts

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

A: Opaque black with a tan, thin ring up top.

S: Fresh black coffee, vanilla bean ice cream, dark fruit, caramel, malt, dessert.

T: Bitter cocoa, black coffee, vanilla sweetness, hint of caramel, bitter dark fruits.

F: Heavy, not too much carbonation.

O: Grapefruit what? Sculpin huh? This is the best thing Ballast Point makes hands down. And actually worth the price they sell it for (at least in 6-packs). This is my go-to stout/porter.

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Photo of bifrost17
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a CBS snifter

A: Pretty much what you'd expect. Very dark, but I can't quite decide if I'd say it's black, or just a very dark brown...maybe like mahogany, or ebony. Nice light brown, cinnamon colored head that sticks around. Moderate lacing.

S: Smells like dessert. Vanilla, and coffee obviously, but also chocolate, cherries, and maybe like a woody...earthiness....? Smells amazing.

T: Tastes even better than it smells! Wow, so much going on, bitter coffee up front, followed by a chocolate/vanilla sweetness, and then finishes with a lingering coffee espresso type of bitterness. Really amazing how sweet the beer tastes but how bitter it finishes. Props to the brewers, this is crazy. Almost tastes like multiple different beers all rolled into one. The 10% abv is totally hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation, suuuper creamy. Feels nice. My only complaint is it's a tad thin, but I guess maybe that's how you can differentiate between an "imperial stout" and an "imperial porter." This is definitely not thick enough to be confused with an imperial stout.

O: Easily my favorite Ballast Point beer. I've had Sculpin numerous times, and I enjoy it, but I really don't understand the hype behind it. Victory at Sea on the other hand...A W E S O M E. Seek this beer out. I've always been skeptical of the "Imperial Porter" style, but this beer clearly defines it. Not as heavy and robust as an Imperial Stout...almost hard to describe, but if you want to know what an Impy Porter is just drink this and you'll know. Thank you Ballast Point.

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Photo of RobertColianni
3.08/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

24oz. Bottle
10oz. Pours into XL Duvel Tulip

A: Victory at Sea pours black as night with a brown, creamy head that dissipates into islands of patchiness after about ten minutes. A very pretty pour.

S: The scent from this Porter is very straight and to the point: charred barley. There was no pretending or beating around the bush on this one. Very boring.

T: The flavor profile of Victory at Sea unveiled a creamy, frothy, hot chocolate, black coffee, and caramel once warm. Enjoyable, but still very standard or typical.

M: Once the head of the Porter dissipates, the creaminess sort of does as well. Once the body warms up for about fifteen minutes on this sipper, the malts viscosity drops off largely. Not that there was a ton of maltiness beforehand, but this beer really turns into a thin bodied mess of carbonation. Thumbs way down from me!

OVERALL: Victory at Sea is tastefully enjoyable, but not very balanced at all. To be blunt, it's all over the place. We agreed collectively that the chocolate taste was bitter and dry, the black coffee or espresso was very forward, and the vanilla was just a tingly and grainy mess that basically turned into a thin chalkiness after twenty minutes or sipping.
Victory at Sea didn't open up at all or gain a thing from temperature rise. Infact, it died completely, and fell apart. I've had much better.

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Photo of wogreen
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - dark black, brown head dissipates quickly
S - malty and coffee grounds
T - potent coffee flavor. the sweetness of the vanilla has a nice undertone...not overpowering like many vanilla flavored beers
M - thick almost like a milkshake
O - a very fine porter, and nearly like a stout

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Photo of Rutager
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to willandperry for this long time want! Enjoying this while making brunch.

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, black in the glass with half a finger of tan head.

Smell. Big coffee, some roasty malts and vanilla and just a touch of semi-sweet chocolate. Pretty much as advertised.

Taste. Big coffee again with more pronounced vanilla bean than the smell, some dark roasty malts, and a little almond.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body, smooth medium-low carbonation.

Overall. A very nice porter with huge coffee flavours. Thanks again willandperry!

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Photo of brydeen
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a jet black with a very thin khaki colored head. Looks creamy.

S: Dark roast coffee, espresso, with a very light toasted marshmallow scent.

T: Light toasty coffee flavor, with a graham cracker hint. Definite sweetness from the vanilla. Surprisingly lacking in the roasty flavor, especially after the strong aroma. Extremely tasty though.

M: Full bodied, rich and creamy. Very heavy.

O: Really tasty, but a bit sweet. Wish it had a bit more roast in the taste to counteract the vanilla. Tasty, but about 8oz is about the max I'd want in a sitting.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ballast Point is your typical brewery; that is, if the typical brewery produces superb beers. I fell in love with these guys during my recent trip to San Diego (San Diego Beer Week 2012). Excellent stuff to say the least. This one, the Victory at Sea Vanilla Porter (there is the regular "Victory at Sea", of course) is endowed with vanilla.

Any way, here is how it goes: we have at the start, a spongy beige head accompanied by massive gobs of gummy lacing. We see a body that is tar black. Take a whiff; we smell freshly ground coffee. Taste it: there is an intense hit of the aforementioned coffee - supplemented by caramel undertones with bits of dark chocolate arbitrarily strewn about for effect. That said, I did not get much vanilla, but then it is somewhat bland and unaccustomed to standing out - vanilla, that is.

The mouthfeel is very creamy, very silky; this is an extraordinarily balanced beer to belie the 9% alchohol level. Really, it does. A superb dessert beer from a superb brewer.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black, not too thick. Nice looking head, but again, not particularly thick. Over all good looking.

Vanilla is heavy, roasted coffee. The vanilla is quite heavy. As it warms, some malty sweet aromas appear.

Taste follows the nose. Vanilla sweetness, coffee, sweet malt sugars, mild malt roasts. Finishes with a healthy dose of coffee bitterness. The alcohol... wait what alcohol. Very well hidden.

Mouthfeel comes across as much lighter than the 10 percent ABV.

Great beer here, no doubt about it. I have been excited to try this beer for a long time and am glad to try it finally.

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Photo of vinny21bal
4.81/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best Porter around. I have not had any of the variants but this one is amazing. Chocolate, vanilla, and not bland like a lot of the other porters can be. It is like the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter with a lot more flavor and balls. I am very excited to see it in Illinois and can't wait to drink my case of it. Mouth feel is very rich as well but not to big like a bourbon county wear you can only have a little.

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Very dark, but still some glints of red around the edges, soapy mocha head, moderate lacing.

A: Big coffee and vanilla notes, as to be expected, as well as dark chocolate, dark fruit, cherry and a sweet caramel backdrop. Some noticeable alcohol, slightly spicy, perhaps from hops.

T/M: Smooth bitterness upfront, moves into a velvety mixture of coffee and chocolate notes, a sweet caramel middle, and a finish with more dark roasted coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and a big dose of vanilla. Smooth, but fairly thin, with a fairly drying finish from the roasted malt.

Overall, a delicious and complex brew, very drinkable for the abv. I have a few more and look forward to cracking one open for desert on occasion. It is not as viscous as many Imperial Stouts, but the flavor is all there. One of the best coffee infused beers I have had.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bomber into a Grey Sail pint. Put in the fridge for an hour prior to consumption.

Appearance- Pitch black with thin mocha head that didn't last long. Mocha ring remains around the top of the beer.

Smell- Strong. Coffee, sweet chocolate, burnt vanilla aromas, some licorice, heavy sweet chocolate malts. The booze is relatively hidden in smell.

Taste- Wow heavy coffee with mild lingering vanilla notes. Dark bitter chocolate rounds out the coffee nicely and smooth malts balance with the bitter chocolate. Very well balanced beer. Booze is also not forward, which for 10% is incredible.

Mouthfeel- Very drinkable and smooth with moderate carbonation. Too drinkable actually.

Overall- This is an awesome beer. Great, well balanced flavors and smooth body in this one.

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Photo of mattwjones
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Recently did a side-by-side of VaS 2011 and 2012. I thought I loved this beer fresh, but drinking it a bit more than a year old really lets it shine. Definitely worth grabbing a few bottles of this and putting them in the back of the fridge or in your closet somewhere for a year or two.

a - met all expectations for a high gravity porter

t - a bit acrid and harsh when fresh, but mellows much after a year.

m - here's where its at. this beer is viscous and I love it. Low carb is perfect for a heavy hiring porter like this.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark pitch-black viscous liquid. There is a thin light tan head.

Aroma is of awesome coffee notes, espresso with hint of vanilla. Definitely some cocoa is present as well. The nose is pretty big on the vanilla with the coffee roast balancing it a bit.

Flavor on the other hand is so much more balanced. There is a strong espresso and coffee-ground roast with a smooth and silky vanilla note. The roast comes up quick and aggressive coating the palate with bitter coffee notes and some deep dark bitter/sweet cocoa. Then the sweet vanilla comes in trying to mellow out the coffee and adding a nice second dimension. There are some nice burnt notes and cocoa sweetness that mingle with the vanilla and the delicious coffee as well near the middle-end of the sip that really make this brew delicious. Mouthfeel seems just right with a nice silky and oily and full feel.

Overall this is a great brew. Top notch Porter as well. The vanilla notes and coffee notes are delicious together and independently are well crafted. The more cocoa like Porter notes also ad a great dimension.

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Photo of buck1futter
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A- typical dark porter, darkest porter around.

s- Vanilla, milk choco, coffee, all mellows together really well, closer to vanilla bean than just plain vanilla. some roast characters coming through, syrup. man could sniff on this all day.

T-Coffee Vanilla. Coco on the back end and the vanilla on the side, creamy, more coffee, maybe slight alcohol on the top of the nose, really mouth watering and very tasty.

m-really smooth, acid from the coffee kinda makes it tingle a little more than i want.

ages really well if you can resist.

An elite coffee porter/stout. In the top three of coffee beers all time. must seek out.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a totally opaque black body beneath the rich, thick, mocha head which is very patient to dissolve and leaves a scattered, sticky lacing about the glass.

Massive aromas of coffee, roasted malt, and vanilla bean waft from the glass and backhand you in the face. It’s unreal. So far I have sat and smelled this for about three minutes before I even took a sip.

Abundant flavors of coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted malt all mesh perfectly in the palate. As it warms the roasted malt and vanilla only become more pronounced with perhaps a touch of a cocoa after taste.

Medium carbonation with a thick, chewy body and a semi-sweet, yet roasted finish.

This beer is incredible, one of the best I’ve had in a while. The various flavors and aromas are fantastic and none overwhelms the others. Simply great.

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Photo of lordofstarside
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber to snifter, enjoy by 11/16/13

Pours jet black with a finger of khaki foam that's started receding. No visible carbonation, alright lacing- pretty run of the mill. Smells of dark roast coffee, cherry, fig, vanilla, caramel, some hops, alcohol, toasted malts, chocolate, and a mass of other dark fruity esters. Some definite complexity, not the most but stands out. Taste follows the nose, strong up front coffee and vanilla, a slight hop profile, toasted malt, cherry and other fruits, creme, caramel, and a touch of alcohol. Feel is full bodied and thick. Very creamy and rich, goes down easily. Overall this stuff is pretty good, despite not having much taste for coffee, which by far dominates the taste. Well crafted, must try if you're big on coffee

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 6,819 ratings.
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