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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,347 Reviews
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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 | website

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:
1,347
Ratings:
6,551
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,071
Gots:
2,074
For Trade:
94
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,347 | Ratings: 6,551
Photo of willjschmidt
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours jet black with a dark tan head.

S: Coffee, roasted malt, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Dark roasted malt with a very strong coffee flavor. The vanilla notes are extremely subtle, if it wasn't on the bottle, I probably wouldn't have picked it out. It's very smooth and the flavors meld together very well. A bit of a bite from the alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and very delicious. Doesn't drink like a 10% beer at all. One of the better coffee beers I've had.

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Photo of JackieKu
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

A: Opaque black. Poured with 4 fingers high head, the foam is quite dense, and it persists.
S: Roasted coffee mixed with elegant vanilla. Somewhat woody.
T: Roasted coffee. Slightly caramel. Moderate bitterness. Low sweetness. Dry finish.
M: Creamy. Full bodied.
O: Aromatic strong porter. Unfortunately the vanilla flavor is not as obvious as the aroma.

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Photo of SFNC
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Good God Almighty, ths is one good brew! I'd held Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Fuller's and Founder's Porter to bethe standard bearers for the Porter style, but no more. A great complexities of smells and flavors, coffee, mild chocolate, vanilla, malt, and more coffee. The alchohol does have a bit of a burn, but at 10% it probably should. This a killer!

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Photo of Premo88
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber poured into "stout glass" -- tall tulip

L: black as it rests on the table with a thick tan head of sticky foam ... head is a solid inch tall and the sticking is incredible, looks like leftover milkshake; the lacing is unbelievable ... it's like a coat of paint; needless to say, keeps a solid tan collar of foam and about a half a skin (you can't see them, but clearly bubbles are flying up the column in that inner darkness); up to light the beer looks clear, dark orange/amber/brown

S: sweet chocolate, vanilla ... like a yummy ice cream desert, so very sweet (and this is almost ice cold);

T: wow ... uhhhh ... wow -- an instant 5. super sweet chocolate and vanilla with the dark malt giving it a fantastic burnt/bitter finish that's still very smooth because of all the up front sweetness; man, it is packed full of sweet chocolate and burnt dark malt bitterness, both ends just spilling over full of flavor, and the way they're balancing out the swallow is amazing; there's some alcohol flavor in it, but it's not bothering me one bit with all the other flavor; the coffee flavor is nicely sweetened out, so it's much more like a latte than raw coffee/espresso

F: a ton of carbonation really crisps it up; weighty feel

O: big everything ... big sweet, big bitter/burnt notes, big ABV that instantly makes its presence felt, even big carbonation with a big look with all the sticking and lacing and perfect black/tan color combo. as good a beer as I've come across and completely worth the money (about $10.50 for the bomber)

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Photo of mikey711
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black, more stout like than porter like. Mocha colored head that was fluffy, retained well and left great lacing

S: Coffee, vanilla smokiness, gram cracker and burnt caramel. No flavor overwhelms and all are very present individually but also as a whole

T: Very much the same as the smell. The coffee is present and prvoides some bitterness, the creates a balance betweent the sweetness and bitterness, the smokiness provides more complexity and the gram cracker provides some chewiness.

M: A bit light in body but there is only a minimal amount of head and a nice creamy feel.

D: I think i could have this one everyday and a bomber would go down way to easy

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

This beer is great! Look is dark brown with nice lacing. Smell is of sugar cookie , milk chocolate, and vanilla. Taste is of milk chocolate, vanilla, and wow! I want this on nitro! Feel is velvet and creme! Awesome. Ballast point rocks! Can'!!!t wait to try more of there beers!

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Dark, dark brown almoust black with just a little beige head.
Not much lacing on the glass.

Nose: Vanilla, milk chocolate, cream, yoghurt, chili, fudge, coffee and sweet licoriche.
Taste: Coffee, roasted malt, dark chocolate, licoriche, soy sauce, wood, brown sugar, raisin and just a little bit of booze.
A full body with almoust no carbonation and so complex taste!

I just LOVE this!

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Photo of Vlaminck
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A little to sweet on the vanilla for me. I want my porter malty, toasty but dry with a slight hop character. Good base. I Would love to try this without vanilla in it

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Photo of ChadQuest
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this rather vigorously into my Smuttynose snifter, and the head has the staying power, and the aromas are lofting strongly around the area. vanilla is by far the strongest airborne scent, even more so then the coffee. digging your nose into it just screams vanilla. The flavors are more balanced then the aromas and meld very very nicely. Chocolate is introduced here to support the coffee and vanilla. For some reason im getting some oaky notes and there is also alcohol notes too. Overall i have to say this is a very impressive Coffee beer, and this is a harshly graded class for me. mouthfeel is creamy and semi-dense, just a joy to drink all around.

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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 mjl21
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #200

Acquired via trade...thanks Dan. 22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. No bottling info is given. Comes in at 10%.

A-A fairly aggressive pour results in black beer with a tiny sand colored head that collapses into a filmy ring in the center of the glass. The ring slowly expands as each sip goes down and results in a layer that looks like the top of a capuccino. Lots of bubbles are visible along the side of the glass and a tad bit of lace is left on the glass.

S-When it is first poured into the glass, a subtle sniff results in vanilla flavors and a light roast character. When I bring it up to my nose and inhale deeper, the coffee becomes quite apparent. After about 20 minutes in the glass, the vanilla starts to become more pronounced. After about 40 minutes the coffee and vanilla really gel together nicely. This one really deserves a 4.25; a 4.50 is a tad too high.

T-On the first sip, the coffee is very upfront. The sweetness from the vanilla hits in the middle and back of my mouth. Before it goes down, the roast flavor comes out. It finishes with some nice bitterness and some roasted flavor in the back. As it starts to warm, the vanilla jumps out quicker and overtakes the coffee. The aftertaste becomes more like a marshmallow dipped in bittersweet chocolate that has been placed into a cup of good coffee.

M-Considering it is an Imperial Porter with vanilla, it's mouthfeel is a lot lighter than I was expecting. It is quite smooth and creamy. It is lightly carbonated.

D-I would never guess this is a 10% beer. It took about an hour and a half to finish this one. A great sipper that only gets better as it warms.

This was another winner from Ballast Point. I would love to try the BA version of this one. Well worth seeking out if you can still find it.

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel.

A - Coffee black pour with about a 3 inch head that is a nice creamy brown.

S - Wonderful coffee smell with just enough hint of vanilla. Smell comes across with just enough sweetness in it.

T - Big roasty taste. Great hints of vanilla as well. Comes cross the palate with just a touch of sweetness and caramel. Mocha along for the ride. The warmnesss of the ABV is very subtle on this. Cant help but getting a bit too much of a burnt wood out of it. Odd.

M - Medium bodied with a creamy feel. Coats the tongue in a velvety goodness.

D - High ABV but still pretty damn drinkable.

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Photo of cavemanlawyer1999
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into pint glass, black-brown liquid with large and delicious looking cappuccino brown head. Smells heavily of mocha and vanilla. Taste is very vanilla and coffee, very nice but odd finish i couldn't quite place. Very good beer though, would drink again and recommend.

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Photo of MCain04
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz from the Beer Temple, dated 12/20/12, poured into a FFF Teku at around 40F.

Dark dark body almost black with thin khaki head, some retention, some lacing.

Smell is a pungent vanilla. They did not shy away from this ingredient. The coffee follows suit and is a nice roast, even 6 months after this was brewed. The roasted malts are also apparent, with some chocolatey, caramel notes. A little overpowering on the vanilla but the nose is anything but subdued.

Flavor profile follows the nose well. A lot of vanilla, with dark chocolate, bitter coffee, roasted malts, and caramel toffee rounding this out. The flavor profile almost makes it taste like it's been in a barrel, which it has not. That's actually the major thing missing from this beer, is the 10% ABV punch. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Probably by the overwhelming sweetness of vanilla, but still a complex and diverse flavor profile, if not the best balance.

The mouthfeel has a higher than expected carbonation given the head size, but it doesn't detract. A full body with some dryness on the finish and a sticky malty residue on the tongue.

On of the better imperial porters I've had. I haven't tried the base beer but assume it would be very good as well. I like the coffee addition, the vanilla could have been better integrated and balanced though. Overall very nice beer that worth drinking more than once.

 1,388 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown with a finger of tan head. Coffee, chocolate malt along with a bit of hops in the aroma. Lots of chocolate in the flavor. Rich and smooth, medium to full bodied. Some piney hops in the middle. Vanilla in the finish. Finish lingers fairly long. Also some drying from the hops in the finish. Solid beer, but the coffee stout/porter thing just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Formed a thick, two finger, sandy colored head. The foam had great lasting power...the slow recession left large tufts behind, clinging to the glass. The body is brown/black. You can get light through the edges if you force it.

Strong aromas...roasted malts and cocoa up front. You can detect a sweet background...a mix of vanilla and caramel (read the label after I wrote this...I swear!).

A sweet caramel flavor comes out first. This fades into a strong roasted coffee taste that digs deep and burns into your palate. Very complex, but missing the sweetness the nose teased you with. Slightly boozy at the finish, but not unpleasant.

Awesome mouth feel. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation for the style.

A great drinking beer. As it warms, the 10% ABV starts to come out stronger so it becomes a great sipping beer!

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

Smell: vanilla and roast
Taste: vanilla at the forefront, followed by roasted coffee with a nice bitterness to it
Feel: really smooth, lightly carbed, a little tingly from the hop bitterness, abv is hidden very well.

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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 sisuspeed
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Deep, dark color with a decently sized, frothy, tan head. Nice lacing.

Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose. The chocolate and sweet malts are more dominant than the coffee smell, but the coffee beans are definitely there, along with some vanilla notes as well. Smells delicious.

Caramel, vanilla and chocolate come rushing through on the first sip, followed by a healthy addition of roasted, somewhat bitter, coffee bean. Warming alcohol lurks beneath, never interfering with the flavor, but letting you know this is a big beer. The overall flavor profile is quite sweet at first, but the bitterness from the coffee helps even things out. Behind all these flavors there seems to be just a little bit of bit of peppery hoppiness as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, rich and warming. Feels a little spicy at times from the hops, but overall it is quite smooth.

Drinkability is also very good. I'm really enjoying the glass I'm sipping from, but I probably wouldn't drink an entire 22oz by myself due to the richness and 10% ABV. A normal sized glass serving is just about right.

Overall, this beer is awesome. Lots of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a good addition of coffee beans. This is probably more of a dessert beer, but a very good one. More than surpassed my expectations. If you can find this, I highly recommend you pick it up. I'm already wishing I had another to drink this week and another two to cellar.

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Photo of gr0g
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out pitch black, topped with a one finger head of dark tan foam. Some spotty lacing. Aroma is top-notch provided that you're a fan of coffee. Vanilla soaked fresh ground coffee hits at first, followed by rich, dark cocoa. There's a hint of alcohol that isn't out of place in a 10% ABV brew.

Somewhat astringent and coffee-forward at first taste, giving way to a rich, bittersweet mocha. A noticeable infusion of vanilla complements the flavor excellently. A bit of a fusel alcohol note on the finish is only a slight negative. I'm compelled to take sip after sip until the bomber is finished. Mouthfeel is silky and as rich as a porter can get without getting into stout territory. Carbonation is soft and not all that abundant but still has good longevity. This is an elite beer that has few rivals as a after-dinner treat.

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

Look: Pitch black motor oil, with a miniscule and dissipating dark khaki head.

Smell: Coffee, Coffee, Coffee. Dark chocolate notes and a hint of vanilla. The wife says, "Ehh...it smells like wood."

Taste: First notes reminds me of a strong black coffee in a paper cup. Monday mornings. Vanilla quickly sets it and it gives it an espresso or even cappuccino taste. Like if you were to sip sweet milk after a shot of espresso. The coffee quickly fades back in with bitterness. This is key, it's sweet in the middle, but doesn't last. Almost my favorite quality about this brew.

Feel: This is my favorite quality of this brew. It is velvety smooth, but without being frothy. Low carbonation.

Overall: An exceptional porter. My favorite to date. Vanilla bean is present, but the coffee steals the show. Would get again, especially at $2.50 a bottle.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a rich, dark, oily rich brown. as with the style, not quite black. an intensely rich reddish caramel brown colored head is frothy and has impressive retention. ample dotted lacing is about as good as anything else near this viscosity. looks stunning.

rich dark malt sweetness and earthiness, lactose sweetness (maybe that's the vanilla?) and definite coffee on the nose. rich milk chocolate, hazelnuts, and more earthy espresso. aroma near turkish coffee. wow.

taste, not surprisingly, is stunning. smokey peat with a touch of sea salt up front. then rich dark roasty malts, caramel sweetness, roasted coffee. espresso and mocha. some fairly strong alcohol notes with an interesting sweetness not far from a sweet scotch. interesting. boozy and hot for me, but I'm really impressed by this one. the finish lingers with clean roasted coffee beans.

mouth is smooth, creamy, full. touch viscous, although also a touch slick. a lingering roasted cocoa bitterness in the finish.

given the abv, the style, and the unique flavors, this one is crazy drinkable. not quite as much vanilla as I'd hoped, or remember from past version, but I won't hold it much against this brew. It's stellar, and I personally would take one of these to an abyss, darklord, or the like any day of the week. I know it's a different ball game, but still... this one really impresses.

 1,364 characters

Photo of perrymarcus
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bomber served in a snifter glass.

pours an opaque, motor oil black with a creamy khaki toned head that slowly recedes into a collar around the glass; nice walls of lacing. all around great looking beer. exactly what i look for.

nose opens with an unmistakable coffee presence, followed by roasted malts and chocolate. reminds me somewhat of founders breakfast stout.

aroma characters largely pull through in the taste with plenty of coffee and roasted malts, but there's a vanilla note i missed in the nose, albeit a muted one... some bitterness to the finish, with vanilla showing up a bit more in the aftetaste. overall, a really tasty, dare i say delicious beer. well done.

smooth, velvety moutfeel... medium bodied, though a bit lighter than most similar-styled beers; appropriate carbonation. 10% ABV makes its high drinkability rather dangerous.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%

Very happy so see this at my local liquor store.
A - Pours almost black with a nice foamy head.
S - All I can smell is coffee. Smells just like one of those big tins of ground coffee where you'd rip off the lid and all that coffee aroma would hit you in the face.
T - Coffee and vanilla flavors dominate.
M - Another reviewer thought this was thin but it strikes me as a solid medium body beer.
O - I'm not a huge fan of porters - I prefer stouts - but this one tastes great. Probably helps that I really like coffee. And the vanilla lends a little sweetness that rounds off the bitterness of the coffee (or the porter for that matter). I really like this beer and look forward to getting my hands on another bomber.

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Photo of seand
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep opaque black or near-black brown, with a fair amount of dense foamy head. What's there retains pretty well, and leaves very nice webs of lacing.

S: A huge, rich, and decadent mix of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt, with a touch of cherry. Smells like a freshly baked dessert pastry.

T: Quite sweet, with a nice roasted malt body. Finish has a light coffee bitterness. It's like your dessert with coffee, all in one!

M: Rich and full bodied, with medium carbonation.

Overall it's extremely well done. It's very rich, but nicely put together, rather than just a straight up malt bomb.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,347 ratings.
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