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
BA SCORE
4.39/5
Outstanding
6,992 Ratings
Victory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & VanillaVictory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & Vanilla
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:
#255
Reviews:
1,457
Ratings:
6,992
pDev:
8.66%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,109
Gots:
2,274
Trade:
84
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,992 |  Reviews: 1,457
Photo of dcmchew
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black pour with a really small tan head, pretty short-lasting, leaving a sticky lacing.
Roasted coffee bean on the nose, raw vanilla bean, cocoa powder and rich roasted malt. Simple, but intense.
Tons of coffee in the taste, the black kind, very lightly sugared, deeply roasted. A rich vanilla edge to it, too, not creamy, but raw vanilla extract. A bit of dark licorice, toffee, actually more like marshmallow. Dark chocolate and rich roasted malts, a bit smokey, turning really burnt and ashy in the finish, feeling amplified by some bitter hop.
Medium body, smooth carbonation. Aftertaste has coffee dregs, vanilla, roasted dark bread, some caramel and a nice more than mild bitterness stuck in the throat, but not the bad kind.
This will not surprise you, it's exactly what it says on the label, "porter with coffee and vanilla". But it's incredibly rich and balanced, one element compensating the other. So it seems that Ballast Point don't make just great IPAs, but also one of the best porters out there. Especially considering it's quite easy to get.

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Photo of mactrail
3.38/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A black liqueur of a beer.

Nice to look at, with a topping of beige-tinted foam. Pleasant enough carbonation. Intense flavors. Hot with alcohol and tastes like rum, with a dollop of Bailey's Cream. Hops are a good touch and cut the sweet maltiness, leaving a bitter aftertaste. I just keep thinking of those flavored instant coffees.

I guess this boils down to whether you like coffee and ice cream in your beer. Maybe for dessert with a piece of angel food cake.

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Photo of paulish
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Pours pitch black with a two finger light brown head. The head retreated to the sides of the glass but left excellent lacing on the sides.

From the aroma it's very east to tell this is a coffee beer. There is a strong presence of coffee along with a decent amount of roastedness to it. There is a slight vanilla sweetness that helps balance it out nicely.

The bitter coffee is the first thing that you notice in the flavor, but the real draw for me is the subtle complex vanilla sweetness it has in it. There is some roasted grains and bittersweet chocolate to go along with the coffee and vanilla in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side with moderate to low carbonation. I really enjoyed drinking this one and would definitely buy it again. The vanilla sweetness really helped balance out the bitter coffee and roast flavor making this one stand out from other coffee stouts.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured oily black with a small tannish head that receded quite a bit and left little to no lacing. Aroma of roasted dark malts, vanilla, chocolate, coffee. The aroma carried over well in to the taste, with practically all the same elements in a good balance; flavors came out more as the beer was allowed to get closer to room temperature. On the fuller side of medium-bodied, smooth, lower carbonation, and a bit of alcohol warmth that really didn't affect the flavor. Very good overall.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a dense black in the glass, with several tight foamy fingers of rich burnt mocha colored head. Retains with a sturdy 1/2 finger that throws a big cascade of lacing on the sides of the glass, which eventually settles into some equally large frothy spotting. The aroma is just DRENCHED with sticky sweet notes of chocolate, toffee, and smooth vanilla. This all just mingles in effortlessly with robust smelling high quality roasted coffee. The bouquet is just so rich and dense in the nose, I could sit here with my nose in the glass for a while.

The taste is deep and tangy in the mouth, wih a chewy sweetness to it full of chocolate, caramel, and citric hops. A deep burnt and crunchy flush of roast, hops, and coffee spreads out across the back of the palate. Not astringency at all to the coffee here (which speaks to it's quality), leaving nothing but straight up flavor and lingering roast back that just STICKS in the throat. The mouthfeel is full bodied and huge feeling in the mouth, with a massive chewy softness to the carbonation that keeps this easy in the mouth. That 10% ABV is mostly only felt in the body, and that's mostly on towards the swallow, with any kind of actual alcohol flavor being marvelously hidden.

Man, I love this beer. While not too overly complex, it's just so RICH with flavor, with it feeling like you just had an after dinner dessert AND coffee in your glass. Just really fantastic stuff that will get you buzzed in more ways than one.

 1,516 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -8.9%

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

Great ring lace on the glass from the substantive tan head. Dark, dark brown color where no lace passes.

Lots of coffee and a little bit of cream. Basically, mocha in aroma. Low level of sweetness...reminiscent of good cocoa.

Lots of powdered chocolate in the flavor. Sweet and bitter from the malt. Rich body with a relatively low level of carbonation. Almost chewy. The aftertaste is complicated: Notable hop bitterness with some dark chocolate malt and sweet milky flavor. Deceptively high in alcohol.

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Photo of ZEB89
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to corby112 & tendermorssel for sending this! Cheers Craig & Mike!

Pours a brown tinged ebony with a finger of mocha colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Much coffee & coffee grounds

T: Mocha, charred coffee, & a touch of vanilla, plus dryness up front, plus a tinge of booze. Smooths out a bit a it warms, vanilla, oaky dryness & a touch of toffee as this warms; the coffee fades to more pleasing level once warm. Finishes slightly astringent, with nice coffee bitterness, a wisp of vanilla, dryness & wet charred grain. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Very smooth up front, slightly chewy with low carbonation

Drinks very easy for the style & ABV, not the best coffee beer I've ever had, but probably top 3. Worth seeking out, nice brunch beer!

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

I keep bragging about it, but it never gets old. My westie cousin, Colby Chandler, is now VP of BP, having started out as the manager of the original Homebrew Mart. I was privileged enough to taste Sculpin in Beta in early-2002, one of the last times that I saw his dad, my Uncle Rick, alive. 8=( My Pops had passed the previous summer & both of them were terribly long-lived, which may not bode well for my longevity. C'est la vie.

From the bottle: "Dedicated to the Craft".

I Pop!ped the cap & went with a (slightly) uncharacteristic aggro pour. My specious reasoning was that it being a dark beer, I might get to see a pseudo-cascade as a result. I am happy to report that my efforts were highly successful! Not only that, but it puffed up with just under three fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head with good retention that left behind some nice lacing. Nose was redolent with coffee! Mmm. I love coffee, especially in the morning since old habits die hard as a retired U.S. Navy sailor. Color was Very Dark Brown to Black/Opaque (SRM = > 34, < 44) with mahogany highlights. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but big for an American Porter, certainly. This base version had a solid roastiness, definitely coffee, some smoke & even some chocolate, but I was not getting the vanilla. The vanilla became assertive on the finish, lending the beer a sweetness that it did not initially have. Finish was dry, more roasty than the sweetness could overcome, but it was fine by me. This is the base beer for many variants, so I would encourage you to have this one first & then try some of the others.

 1,634 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of jgunther71
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a wispy, fairly small-sized, beige head.

Smell: Deeply roasty nose with some possible perceived hints of added black patent malt as well as eager, oh-so inviting notes of everyone's favorite: coffee, vanilla, and chocolate.

Taste: Dark, roasted malt flavor with a double shot of espresso, chocolate, and reasonably strong, smooth accents of vanilla beans. Subtly sweet. Earthy, predominately roasty bitterness present, particularly as it begins to grow in charred malt qualities upon slight warming. Drying, roasty finish with one last, final departing touch of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this one. It's about as smooth as a man with a pencil-thin mustache. The listed ABV% was never an issue at all.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes 2/6/11. Thanks to THECPJ for pulling this one out at the end of the night!

A: Pours a deep black with a thick two finger, mocha colored head. Decent lacing. Beer appears to be a bit syrupy.

S: Lots of chocolate and vanilla. A little bit of alcohol presence and a touch of coffee.

T: Really intense chocolate and vanilla flavors, they blind very nicely. There is a little bit of alcohol and a note of coffee, but the chocolate and vanilla dominate in a big way.

M/D: Medium bodied with light carbonation, but sort of heavy. Extremely enjoyable, a nice after dinner sipper, or would go great with most desserts. I was really happy (and surprised) that there wasn't as much coffee in this one, but it works for me.

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Photo of duceswild
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell."

--Buddha

Impenetrable onyx with the faintest hint of lightening along the bottom edge of the glass. A large chunk of caramel milkshake colored foam was created on the pour and looks to be in it for the long haul. When the crown finally starts to melt, barely broken sheets of lace appear on all available surfaces.

The aroma is an enjoyable mixture of roasted dark malts and roasted java beans. Vanilla gets lost in the shuffle, which is a shame and is the main reason why the score isn't one notch higher. Even so, I could just as easily have gone with the 4.5.

The flavor leaves no room for that sort of wishy-washiness. VASCVIP is outfreakinstanding beer from the very first mouthful. If warming makes things even bolder and deeper... look out! One of my initial impressions is how expertly the alcohol is buried. This beauty drinks like the ABV is 7.0%. No lie.

There are so many coffee-added stouts (and a few porters) out there in craft beer land that they tend to run together. This one stands out for its sheer quality and because the brewers decided to add vanilla to the mix. I'm happy to report that all ingredients listed in the name are now present and accounted for. As expected, time and warming are turning a great beer into... an even greater beer.

The balance between bittersweet chocolate, black coffee and vanilla beans is pretty much perfect. Although little hop flavor is appreciated (which is probably a good thing), there's a modest amount of bitterness that closes each mouthful (make that 'eager gulp') in tighter than expected fashion. This bottle isn't even history yet and I'm already thinking about how to get more.

The mouthfeel is a little lighter than it should be, especially considering the ABV. The beer is smooth enough, but it isn't crushed velvet plush and heavily creamy. This characteristic might be something for the brewer(s) to work on in future releases. Please tell me that there will be future releases.

Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter is my second favorite Ballast Point offering, behind the outrageously delicious hop bomb known as Sculpin IPA. I will do whatever it takes to acquire additional bombers. When I do, they won't be taken away from me by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. Highly recommended.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.91/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a bit rough for me.....very strong on the coffee and I really do not get a lot of vanilla. The look is very nice...dark, ecru head that is lacing. Scent and taste are dominated by coffee. The mouthfeel is not as creamy or full as I would prefer. Overall its decent....but no where near the best porter I have had.

 325 characters

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Victory At Sea Imperial Porter with Coffee & Vanilla from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 6,992 ratings