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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,346 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:
1,346
Ratings:
6,547
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
1,069
Gots:
2,072
For Trade:
94
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,346 | Ratings: 6,547
Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as night with a thick coffee colored head - good retention.

Smells heavy of chocolate, coffee, vanilla and roasted malt.

Taste is big coffee espresso notes up front followed by bitter dark chocolate and rounded by some sweet vanilla notes. There is also some bitter burnt malt flavor to keep the sweetness at bay as dark fruits (rum, fig, and raisin) come through. Big flavor from a big beer - definitely a slow sipper.

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Photo of Sathanas
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Not as much vanilla as I was hoping, but still a beautiful imp porter. Coffee, bakers' chocolate and a nice hoppy earthy note. The mouthfeel is what made this one for me. A bit heavier than other porters of its strength which appeals to me a lot as a lover of big, syrupy stouts.

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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 bbeane
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a snifter... starts with a finger thick brown head on top of a pitch black beer. Leaves a fair amount of lacing stuck to the glass after receding

S- A nice blend of coffee and sweet malts... don't get any more than a hint of the vanilla in the nose

T- Very opposite from what I smelled. More vanilla than coffee in taste... combined with sweet malt and bitterness

M- Full bodied with a light carbonation

D- Very tasty, though theres better out there IMO

CHEERS!!

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Photo of rjd722
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Ommegang wide flute glass, a beautiful black coloring with big, frothy brown head which dissipates slowly and laces the entire way down. A burst of vanilla greets you and is accompanied by some nice roasted chocolate notes. Smoked toffee and chocolate (with hints of vanilla) dominate the experience and overall this brew has a bitterness slightly more intense then coffee. Considering it's a 10% ABV, it has a pleasant texture and is easy to drink. Really great weekend beer, what else can I say about another exceptional Ballast Point offering?

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Salty Pig. This was such a big tasting bomb of a porter - amazing stuff. Enjoyed it while I listened to my buddy John talked about his match.com dates as of late. Made me wonder why someone doesn't order a 12 pack of these for a 1st date. 6 each of these bad guys, and everyone will be in love. Anyways.....great beer. Wonder why Beer Advocate doesn't offer a dating website on the side. This could not fail...

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Photo of fscottkey
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.75] Pours a pitch black. Forms a 2 finger head of dense khaki bubbles. The head is really rich and creamy looking. The head leaves nice lacing on the glass and does not dissipate quickly. The bottle lists the ABV (10.0%) and date code for born on 2/20/15.

S: [4.00] Very coffee forward. That is the prominent feature of the nose.

T: [4.00] The taste is roasted malts and chocolate. It is bitter chocolate. As I continue to drink I get more of the coffee taste in each sip. The finish is also coffee with roasted malts.

M: [3.50] There is a little more tingle feel than I expected. The body wasn't as thic as I expected either (given the rich looking head). There is a long lingering coffee and roasted malt taste at the end.

O: [3.75] I know the distinction between porter and stout can be academic - but I agree that this is a 10% porter. It didn't have the thick body I'd expect in a stout. Visually it is a great beer. The nose is also really nice. It has a good taste and is well balanced. The mouthfeel was a little weak - but like I said maybe that is more of a porter experience. Overall this is a good beer that I would drink again. It is not my favorite coffee porter/stout.

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Photo of twillingthenoz
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass. Frothy tan head. Diminishes into a one finger height head that stays as you drink. Thick fluffy lacing. Opaque dark brown.

Smells of roasted coffee beans. Some vanilla scent coming through.

Might very well be my new favorite coffee stout. mmmm coffee taste up front. Nice sweetness... then a well balanced bitterness at the end.

Very smooth and creamy. Light carbonation. Coats your mouth and sticks around for a while after you swallow.

This one gives you everything you want in a coffee porter. Not too thick, not too sweet, nice hoppy coffee bitterness.

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Photo of LouZ
4.76/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had first out of 22oz bomber; most recently on draft. I'm not generally a big porter fan, but this one was great - and even better on draft. Poured black with finger of creamy head. Scent was pronounced coffee and vanilla with chocolate, and taste was same with an interesting, smoky finish. I would compare to a chocolate-covered coffee bean. Delicious. Bottled version finished a lot dryer than I would have preferred, but draft version was smooth and pleasant.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Shane for sending this one my way. Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark, chocolate brownie color. Zero clarity. Produced a fingers width of off-white colored head. Reduced to a ring around the glass. Minimal lacing.

S- I really had to let this beer warm up to get the full effect. The vanilla and coffee aromas in this beer were equally dominant. Also noticed a subtle sweetness from dark chocolates. Great blend of aromas!

T- Very much like the aroma, which I was happy about. The coffee does come on a little stronger and provides a great base flavor for the beer. Raw coffee bean upfront, then mellows out with the addition of vanilla flavors. Leaves a pleasant sweetness on the palate along with bitter cocoa nibs.

M- Medium bodied and good carbonation. Semi-dry on the finish.

D- Very easy drinking with great flavors. Alcohol not too noticeable.

Overall, really glad to have finally tried this beer. I'm not too big into coffee beers, but this was an exception. Definitely recommended!

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Photo of TruePerception
3.34/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Ballast Point's Victory At Sea, porter brewed with coffee and vanilla. 10% ABV.

A: Almost two fingers of lighter chocolate milk colored head. Pitch black in the glass. Very dark brown in the dimple. A good amount of multi-layered lacing. Slight sheeting.

S: Deep roasted coffee up front. Vanilla is hard to make out against the coffee. Slight powdered cocoa.

T/MF: Very dark coffee, mixed with a bunch of char! And a heavy dose of hops. Quite heavy for a porter, all told.

Hmm. I'd heard good things about this one, but it is quite disappointing. I'll see how it warms up.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of HoneyLamb
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got it for $12 a six pack of 12 ounce bottles from Meijer in Stephenville, Michigan on 12/12/15. Saw a few other reviews and besides the obvious flavors referenced, I tasted subtle smoke and pepper notes. Outstanding porter. So glad Ballast Point came to Michigan a couple weeks ago.

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Photo of azorie
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Its a black strong stout /porter, with some lacing, and a tan tall head.

Its very strong boozy coffee vanilla, as you figured it would be. it basically takes over any hops or malt taste. Since this is one of my favorite ways to make my own porter I have to say well done here.

taste is pure pleasure, malty, no hops, strong booze flavor, strong coffee, and vanilla bean but it blends so nice together its very good combo.

strong body of course, med carb. thick but not so much its like a shake.

its a stout of course, if your into history any. great coffee stout.
10% is nice but its not to bad in 1 bomber.

only thing I hate is the price. 9.99 is too much for this beer IMHO period. So while I love it its one and done for me.

I bet its 8oz at the brewery for 6 to 7 bucks, rip off land.

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Photo of osant37
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Poured from a 12oz. Bottle into a dogfish head sniffter glass at fridge temp.
A - pours a jet black with just slight hints of brown around the edges. . Massive 3 finger pancake colored head. That sucks around for a while. Leaving substantial . Lacing with very present alcohol legs.

S - intense roasted Coffee grinds. French vanilla syrup. Hints of caramel candy. This beer smells unbelievably good. Very similar to southern tier creme Brulee in smell.

T - bitter roasted malts with a slight char. Tons of roasted coffee.middle of the mouth it becomes a vanilla bomb.finished with a strong caramel note with the alcohol present on the way down.

M - full bodied and creamy. Very slick and smooth.almost oatmeal stout feel to it.

O - another strong and solid offering from ballast point.these guys know beer. The best porter I have ever had. From the pour to the last drop in the glass. I'm so glad I picked up a few of these.The place I got them from is all sold out. 5 star good!

CHEERS!

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Photo of mr-jj
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap served in a snifter.

Color is dark brown and opaque with a thin tan head. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and some espresso. Flavor is similar to the nose - kind of like a chocolate mocha milkshake with a bitter coffee finish. Body is medium with a nice creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a very tasty beer that I really enjoyed.

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Photo of Casey10
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow a great beer given to me as a "extra" from SwillinBrew thanks Gil this one is really nice.

Wow what flavor this one really stands out for what it is shooting for the coffee flavor really stands out and is so nice.

A - Dark, wispy mocha head.

S - chocolate is prominate I can not really tell about the vanilla but this smells nice.

T - Lovely, so good smooth similar to southern tier chokolat but yet different. Not able to pick up the vanilla but most likely there whatever I like this.

M - smooth again leaves almost a feel after you have had just drunk a chocolate milk and the contents are slipping down the back of your throught.

D - I want another I gave a lower score because of the ABV and if I quickly drank another well lets just say I might not enjoy this beer the way I have.

A must try well done !!!

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Photo of BrewUSA
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Victory at Sea

Look 9/10
Smell 19/20
Taste 40/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 96/100


Everything about this is excellent, its the best porter on the market. The fact that its really more of a stout helps it. Such massive Chocolate, Vanilla and Coffee... It finishes extremely smooth and drinkable smooth at 10.5. One of my all time fave beers ever, top 10 for sure~

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Photo of JBogan
3.74/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very dark brown, in fact if you don't look closely it might even appear black. A one finger tan head caps it off, which soon turns into a thin film which remains and leaves moderate lacing. Nice looking but nothing extraordinary for this style beer.

Smells like a whole lot of coffee dashed with a hint of chocolate. Not very complex but pleasing nonetheless.

Taste is of roasted coffee, a hint of vanilla, and more coffee. No sign of the caramel that is supposed to be in there, and no sign of alcohol despite it's high ABV. Oh, and more coffee. Once again, not especially complex.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Very slick and smooth, almost oily in fact, with a medium/thick body.

When all is said and done, if you like coffee you'll like this one. I would have preferred a lot less coffee and a lot more of the caramel and vanilla which are supposedly in there. You've heard of hop bombs? This one's a coffee bomb.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 0z bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- One finger tan head dissipates quickly decent lacing, dark black, when held up to the light you cannot see through it.
S- Big coffee/espresso aroma, nice chocolate aroma as well, nice roasted notes, roasted malts.
T- Every sip is really smooth, the coffee flavor is delicious with hints of chocolate and vanilla, very balanced.
M- Medium/big, perfect amount of carbonation for this beer, a bit sticky, really smooth velvety finish.
O- Really impressed with this beer, huge coffee presence that goes down very smooth. This is a very tasty easy drinking brew, really impressed.

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Photo of Soonami
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Victory at Sea is a beer I've been hearing and reading about for almost as long as I've been a BA. This is a beer that lives up to the expectations. A coffee vanilla imperial porter, it has lost of the things I like in a beer. The beer is almost motor oil black, with a thin layer of lacy bubbles and sticky clingy scuzz on the glass.

The beer smells deeply of coffee, although it doesn't smell like the freshest coffee with a bit of acridity. The sweet chocolate and malt flavors carry through to give VaS a distinctly beery aroma. The hops provide only bitterness, but the coffee is very assertive up front with syrupy caramel flavors and a warming vanilla sweetness in the finish.

Tasty beer with a great integration of ingredients that match well.

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Photo of johlac66
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown with a light beige head that stayed in port for a short visit, leaving a few dots and streaks of lacing.
Roasted cocoa vanilla up my nostrils. Taste follows. Hint of dark fruit.
Nicely carbonated. A bit more than medium mouthfeel. Slightly bitter roasty finish.
The coffee and malt are wonderfully balanced.

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Photo of Treb0R
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Alcohol content too high for a porter. Drinkability suffers because of this. The vanilla is lost; I didn't sense much if it here at all because it was full of roasty coffee and bitter hops. High IBUs are not necessary when you also have bitter coffee presence that is not tamed by a balancing sweetness. Needs less alcohol, more body, less hops, more vanilla, and some sort of balance so you don't just get a blast of bitterness from the coffee and hops.

I'm picky as hell so take the above advice with a grain of salt. I enjoyed this beer. A lot. Just being brutally honest with this review. The only reason it will not be a repeat buy is the cost at $15 for a sixer. It was truly one of the best porters I've ever had. I just wish the flaws mentioned were worked on.

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Photo of TubaManJack
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%

22oz bomber 10 days after bottling poured into a sniffer and enjoyed over a period of 2 hours.

Appearance - A traditional black bodied porter with a bit of milk chocolate head. There is precious little carbonation or head retention.

Smell - Wet damp coffee grounds with some harsh roasted notes. However as the beer comes up in temperature this gives way to the world class beer I expected. Deep medium roast coffee crashes against milk chocolate and heavy unsweetened vanilla. It is amazing and the roasted notes fade into the background. Very pleasant and worth the time to bring down and subsequently wash my sniffer glass.

Taste - A stronger and deeper version of nose, The deep medium roast coffee crashes against milk chocolate and heavy unsweetened vanilla which are quite chewy. But you need to let this beer warm up a little more than you would expect.

Mouthfeel - Thinner than I expected for an Imperial Porter in part to the balanced warmth of the ABV and lacking an oily feel from the coffee chocolate interplay. I liked it given the nice amount of carbonation.

Overall Impressions -
Wow, it was quite impressive, despite the hype and mystique, the beer lives up to most of its reputation. This beer really needs to warm up and time to unfold. Much like the sails of a clipper ship, you can't expect to unfurl the sail instantly. The beer in its first hour or so wasn't as impressive as the initial damp roasted coffee with vanilla extract, however once it came up to just below room temp, there wasn't any stopping to it. I would seek it out.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in one of my first trades last year... thought it was about time I opened it.

A- Pours near pitch black into my DFH glass. Nice creamy, thin dark tan head with a nice amount of oily residue clinging to the glass.

S- Nice roasted malt and coffee is the first thing that hits the nose. Cocoa, vanilla bean, and a subtle touch of citrusy hop lies beneath.

T- Fresh pressed black coffee, beautiful roasted chocolate malts! Very nice vanilla notes than open up aas it warms. Tastes like real vanilla beans... not extract. Nice bitterness, probably from both the roasted malt and the citrusy hops.

M- Creamy and chalky at the same time. Rich vanilla and chocolate flavors mingle with the citrus from the hops. Really thick and creamy on the tongue without being sticky. No real sence of the 10% which is nice.

O- This is a fantastic porter! Wishing I had drank this fresher, but hopefully I get another bottle this year. Incredibly drinkable and delicious. The vanilla really shines thru as it warms up.

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Photo of CayseyW
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Espresso poured into a snifter
S: The coffee aroma is so on point. I'm a huge coffee geek, I even roast my own, so I feel somewhat qualified to say that this beer has the best coffee aromas you will find in a beer. It really blows me away. It's very earthy, and somewhat roasty.
T: The coffee is there in the taste too, and subtle hints of vanilla, especially in the finish, strike a nice balance. The flavors are pretty earthy for a porter, I would have love a little fruitiness.
F: A little sharp initially, but you ease into the beer quickly. Body is nice, but could be a teeny bit fuller. Great carb.
O: I almost passed on this one when my beer guy put it aside for me... Really glad I didn't! This is a world-class beer for sure. Not my favorite porter ever, but pretty damn close to it.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,346 ratings.
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