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

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
BA SCORE
96.1%
Liked This Beer
4.39 w/ 6,876 ratings
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
Ranking:
#257
Reviews:
1,428
Ratings:
6,876
Liked:
6,611
Avg:
4.39/5
pDev:
8.88%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,097
Gots:
2,224
Trade:
85
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,876 |  Reviews: 1,428
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Boston trip. This is big coffee, and definately flavoured vanilla. The coffee is good, I am not a coffee drinker or fan, but it was done well for what it is. So yes, big in flavour. Above average mouthfeel. Big coffee aroma. Still most quaffable.Black with retaining off-white head.

 294 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

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

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.74/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with a 2 inch chocolate milk colored head that lasts. Good rings of lace on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of bitter cocoa powder, coffee grounds after the coffee has been brewed, and raw vanilla beans. I keep sniffing this beer over and over - it smells so damn good. Taste is of dark chocolate syrup, bitter coffee, vanilla extract, and an earthy mineral taste. Only slight bitterness on the palate after each sip. Absolutely amazing. Beer is thick and creamy in the mouth. A bit of alcohol warming in the throat. Overall, this is a very tasty hard to find beer. There is a distinct smell and taste of Hershey's chocolate syrup in this beer that makes me very happy. I am glad I found a bottle to enjoy. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on one.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow! this one floored me, and its been awhile since a beer has blown me away! on tap at bangers and lace in Chicago. it pours a molten black color, hints of brown, but entirely impenetrable to light. there is an obvious weight to this, and a half inch of mocha colored head on top that slowly fades out. the nose is intensely vanilla, sweet and fresh above the deep dark abyssal malts, which are raw chocolate, burnt coffee, and very bitter aromatically. the coffee to me is more pronounced in the flavor than the nose, and the vanilla is strong on both fronts. this doesn't need to be barrel aged, its got all the complexity one could ever imagine already. I taste everything from whole wheat chex cereal to velvety milk chocolate, bakers cocoa, and vanilla frosting. it remains fairly unsweet, given its ingredients are so desserty. huge body, but intimidating. sips like silk, and the alcohol content is barely noticeable. easily one of the best beers ive had in a long time, and ballast point has now impressed me three times out of three, hard. this is a beer not to be missed, and I hope to be lucky enough to encounter it again. like nothing else around, and a real masterpiece.

 1,185 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a thick black looking brew. I was pretty surprised because I would have said this was a stout just by looking at it. The smell of the beer was roasted with a few faint notes of vanilla. The taste of the beer was full of coffee flavors with a subtle aftertaste of vanilla dryness. The mouthfeel is lighter than I thought it'd be judging by the look of the beer. Overall though, I think this beer is quite good. I would drink this one again if I happen to stumble upon it.

 494 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bomber of this with a friend. Pours a rich, dark black. Smells of roastiness and coffee. Taste is full bodied, great mouthfeel. The vanilla adds a great taste and complexity to this overall delicious tasting brew. Smooth and well hidden alcohol, this was a fantastic beer with the sips going down way too quickly and easily. Highly recommended, this brewery has yet to let me down in the least bit.

 407 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: It was poured into a snifter glass and was dark black in appearance with a thin mocha-colored head.
S: The aroma is filled with coffee flavors and some hints of vanilla.
T: The initial taste is of dark, roasted malts and chocolate after which the coffee flavors begin to intensify and continue through the finish. There is a bit of sweetness in the overall taste.
M: It feels very rich and medium-bodied on the palate. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: This is a beer that definitely needs to be sipped given the high alcohol content.

 543 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coffee? Vanilla? What's there not to love in a larger than life Porter? Throw in a completely intimidating label and we have ourselves an instant winner!

The beer pours a thick, viscous, nearly black color with a creamy lace of carbonation that retains well and clings to the sides of the glass in moderate fashion. Legging shows barley-stained liquids crawling just beyond the lace. Complete opaqueness makes this beer rival the biggest of Stouts.

Strongly Porter-like in aroma: not as roasty as a Stout, but heavy toast, dry toffee, bitter cocoa, and deep espresso notes peppered all over the scent. Vanilla softness helps to temper the aggression from coffee and toast but it leaves me wanting much more.

Even stronger flavors of heavy, heavy toast, espresso, and a charred flavor that makes me think ash. Still, the toffee and vanilla do little to balance the stronger darker flavors. They have some melding together to do.

Very bitter and strong bite from the roasted grains create a harsh feel that the sweetness cannot round out. Bitterness is aggrevated by high grassy hops, coffee oils, and alcohols making the beer a bit of a chore late.

The beer seems to have a lot of 'young' characteristics that may come together better with age. Regardless, a heavier vanilla taste and feel could improve the beer.

Thanks kmurray8621!

 1,338 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle, thanks anew to doktorzee for garnering this, among others, from a Total Wine store in Las Vegas. I've watched the WWII naval battle documentary 'Victory at Sea', so I guess I'm qualified to tuck into this one.

This beer pours a rather solid, abyssal black, with the barest of basal cherry cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, shiny, and thickly foamy tan head, which leaves some decent patchy Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of acrid dry-roast coffee, dried vanilla pods, once they've been infused in a bottle of vodka (been there, I have), bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of toasted white bread. The taste is a better blend of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla cream, chocolate-ensconced caramel, roasted, but not quite charred or ashy wood, a threatening, but too timid to follow through boozy warmth, and some faint earthy, herbal hops.

The carbonation is understated, but still well supportive of all that stuff going on above it, the body a decent medium-full weight for the style, actually rather smooth, and a bit creamy, even with that anvil with the frayed rope (here played by the equally slick 20-proof alcohol) hanging over it. The finish is on the sweet side, sure, but with more than enough moderating coffee and hop notes to keep things as sane as they can be.

Wow - I'm sort of vacillating on this one, in the vein of one Stephen Colbert - is this a great vanilla coffee imperial porter, or the greatest vanilla coffee imperial porter? Hard to say, as I've not yet had them all, but up to now, this one might fall into the latter's singular camp, what with the well integrated bitter coffee (not usually my favourite thing), pleasant vanilla-prodded creaminess, and yes, nearly masked big ABV. Get your hands on this particular Victory (at all Costs)!

 1,827 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.8/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really excited for this one; I reviewed this on-draught last year and fell in love with it. Saw it on the shelf and had to revisit it. Enjoy by 11/08/13. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Cost was $7.99; I also saw it tonight at Sunset Beer Co. for $8.99 10% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge but allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Presentation: I dig the label, which bears a skeleton manning the wheel of a ship. Cool art, and more inventive than Ballast Point's usual uninspired fish.

A: Pours a one finger rich tan colour head of gorgeous cream and thickness, and good retention for the high ABV (~2 minutes). Lacing is decent. Body colour is a solid jet black. Nontransparent and opaque. Looks precisely as it should for the style. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Complex and subtle vanilla notes are unquestionable dominant. Heavy coffee/java also comes through alongside a delightful roasted character - both from the coffee itself as well as from the barley. Cocoa powder on the backend. Coffee emerges more and more as it warms. Some clean malty sweetness. The vanilla has depth, as though from vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract or some of the artificial crap they use in poorer vanilla beers (see Tanilla). No yeast or alcohol is detectable. A moderately strong aroma, and certainly an inviting one.

T: Heavy vanilla throughout, coalescing with the malty sweetness right on the finish. The coffee is more buried in the body, layered between dark malts, but it lends a pleasant character that helps balance the vanilla. What's sorely missing is the roasted barley character from the nose. God, the ABV is nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, I get a somewhat metallic note about the climax that rings artificial next to the vanilla. I don't remember that being a problem with the draught version. No yeast character at all.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with adequate body. Not too thick. Carbonation is good, if slightly high - though I imagine this'll suit it well for aging. Good presence on the palate. She slides down easy enough.

Dr: Extremely drinkable for the high ABV. I'll have no trouble killing this bomber by myself. I think fresh maybe the vanilla is a bit too sweet; I'd give this a good three weeks to mellow out a bit. I've got a bottle aging from last year in my cellar and will post notes on that as soon as I get around to it. Another great beer from Ballast Point. One of my favourite porters, and quite possibly my favourite vanilla beer so far. A great dessert treat.

Low B+

Please, serve it slightly chilled. It's best once as it warms to room temperature.

Would pair well with sweets.

 2,899 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glugs into a half liter mug, jet black with a crisply defined line of mocha foam on top. The foam is sticky and leaves tan concentric rings around the edges. As it warms up, the aroma is very chocolate/vanilla like a milkshake. The flavor is also heavy on these notes, seeming like a melted kahlua milkshake on first impression. Some char and bitter coffee elements. Fairly dry and bitter dark chocolate aftertaste. Pretty beefy, one to sip for sure. Luckily there's no hint of 10% in here.

 490 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of brentk56
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an impenetrable obsidian with massive tan head; stickage galore with speckles of lace all around the pint glass

Smell: Not sure which jumps out more - the coffee or the vanilla; underneath, there is a nutty character that lends a nougat depth to the brew

Taste: Nutty toffee, up front, with the coffee and vanilla developing; in the mid-palate a bittersweet chocolate aspect arrives and, after the swallow, the hops lend a hand with a piney bitterness; some dark fruit appears as well but this beer is about the malt, the coffee and the vanilla right through to the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Normally, I am not a big fan of vanilla but this beer is so unique, with so many other elements going on, that the vanilla, though dominant, really is additive

 819 characters

Photo of oline73
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown color with a little light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell: Definitely getting the coffee along with some vanilla. There are some dark fruit notes along with a roast. I'm getting the alcohol burn as well.

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts dominate the flavor right off the bat. I'm getting some dark fruit and vanilla notes as well. As the sip progresses, you get some bitterness along with a burn from the alcohol. The finish is roasty and a bit boozy. Not overly sweet, especially considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thicker side with lots of carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: A very good coffee beer. The flavor was quite full and there was a lot going on. I actually wish this beer was a bit sweeter, but I still enjoyed it.

 896 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -8.9%

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96.1% out of 100 with 6,876 ratings
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