Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

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1,620 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,620
Reviews: 477
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 142
Gots: 343 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OlieIPA on 11-28-2008

Our Sea Monster Imperial Stout explores the darkest reaches of the traditional oatmeal stout. This bold, rich brew first lures you in with roasted coffee notes, then grabs hold with hints of bittersweet chocolate and currant. Backed with a perfect hop balance, you’ll soon discover this is one monster of mythic proportions.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,620 | Reviews: 477
Reviews by lukulele:
More User Reviews:
Photo of mobrado
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very good fresh, but absolutely divine when aged for a year or two. Criminally underrated.

Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour to this Imperial stout was not nearly as dark as most of the style in my opinion,poured more of a cola color with ruby tint from bottem to top of the imperial nonic,a 1/2 finger beige head atop.Aromas are charred with heavy darkk roast coffee and dark fruit,solid but it doesnt make a big splash.Flavors of spiced rum,dark chocolate,dark roast coffee,and dark fruits,again all come together well but it isnt anything that makes you say wow.This is a real good impy stout but it doesnt really bring a big game to the table,but again it is good.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass.

P: Pours out of the bottle a thick, very dark brown color and sits in the glass a nearly opaque, jet-black colored liquid aside from the glimmer of rosy-brown light on the very edges of the glass. The hot cocoa colored head fades fairly quickly, not leaving much in the way of lace.

A: Huge, robust nose made up of baker's chocolate, a big dose of roasted coffee, sweet molasses, some oats, and black currant. Aromatics are very good with this one.

T: Starts sweet with chocolate malts heading the charge, reinforced by some slightly vanilla-flavored roasted coffee, molasses, and just the right amount of hop bitterness to keep this see-saw of flavors level. Bourbon alcohol pops in half-way through but doesn't rear its ugly head , rather it stays pretty subdued and lends a great contribution in the flavor department without overwhelming or being too harsh. Finishes dry, riding the gentle wave of Bourbon, coffee, chocolate, and a more pronounced oatmeal presence that leaves a very pleasant aftertaste. Mighty tasty!

M: The body of this Sea Monster seems like it gains some heft with each and every sip. Velvety smooth, rich, and creamy for sure. A sheer delight on the tongue.

D: Oh, hell yeah! It's probably a good thing that this is a seasonal offering, or else I'd go broke drinking this all the time.

Notes: This is one hell of an Imperial Stout. Deep, complex, very flavorful, dangerously smooth, and incredibly easy to drink. Don't miss out on this one, it's a must-have for sure! Highly recommended for all stout lovers.

Photo of MadScientist
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 02/08/2014 printed on the label

A: A black beer showing some deep garnet highlights on the edge. The head looks like the crema on a freshly brewed, well made expresso with deep rich browns and creamy, compact bubbles. The head fades to a ring around the glass after a minute and leave a light lacing.

S: Licorice, roast and lots of dark fruit with a medium alcohol sweetness. Some chocolate with a moderate malt sweetness.

T: Roast and caramel malt sweetness at moderately-high levels. There is a slight charcoal to burnt sugar note with some roasted malt bitterness as well. A medium-high malt bitterness and some alcohol countering the malt sweetness but balance the beer is tilted slightly towards the sweet side of things. The finish is off-sweet with a lingering roast flavor.

M: Full bodied and warm from the alcohol with a medium level of carbonations.

O: The taste is right up there with so of the best Stouts I've had with rich, layers of dark flavors. This will definitely help one shake of a chill on a cold March's night. The alcohol is a bit propionate in the flavor profile but it's in balance with the other strong flavors and not out of place for the style.

Photo of daveg36
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Just an awesome stout. Awesome. Incredibly smooth, and no hint of alcohol at 10.2% which is an amazing feat. Please pick this up if you can find it. It will be well worth it to you.

Photo of blitz134
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First review in quite some time...Pretty awesome fish on the label...Angler Fish, I believe...

Poured pitch black into my snifter with a thin and fleeting tan head that left only a ring around the edge of the glass. Not really any lacing.

Nice subdued roasty aromas that give way to coffee and expresso. Some sweeter dark caramel comes through. A touch of citric hop, orange peel presence rounds it out with the slightest addition from some esters. Alcohol shows itself as it warms. Only downfall is that it just doesn't do the upcoming flavor any justice.

Flavor starts out with just a touch of fruitiness as soon as it hits the tongue, but then there is an explosion of dark roasted grains, coffee, and char to finish things up. Warming alcohol whisps trickle down afterwards and warm the stomach, especially as it comes closer to room temp. Dark chocolate and ashy flavors linger for a long while.

Nice full bodied beer, oily slickness from the oatmeal works well. Not the heaviest stout I've had, but this is nice. Coats the mouth well and the flavors really linger.

Supremely drinkable when chilled given its size, but its obviously an alcoholic drink after some time. This is a robust beer that big beer drinkers should love. Good, to figure out how to brew something like this myself!

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A two-year-old bomber poured into a snifter.
Pours opaque black with a thin, medium-tan head and some spotty lacing.
The aroma is very nice, lots of coffee, licorice, dark fruit and perhaps, even a hint of berry.
What a great tasting stout. Lots of big roast coffee flavor with molasses and chocolate. Some raisin and fruitiness as it warmed a bit and even a touch of bitter hops. And, there is a little warming booziness as well.
Mouthfeel is wonderful, smooth and creamy and still a touch of carbonation.
Overall, a really top-notch stout.

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle about a year old.

A - Pours deep brown, borderline black, with one finger of brown head. Head doesn't stick around very long, nor does it stick to the glass very much.

S - Quite a bit of dark fruit aroma on a big chocolate base. Decent amount of roasted. Aroma has some sweetness as well, but not overwhelming.

T - Roasted malt comes through more in the taste, while the chocolate isn't quite as strong as in the aroma. Still plenty of dark fruits, some cherry, coffee and a lingering light char taste. A bit of booze in the taste as well.

M - Medium/full mouthfeel with some bitterness throughout. Pretty smooth.

O - A solid stout, but doesn't really stand out in any particular way except for the very reasonable price. I'd have it again, but wouldn't seek it out.

Photo of marvin213
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark, as in black, contrasts with an almost white, kinda marshmellowy head. Its got a hop bite for so dark a stout, and the coffee's like the end of a long-sitting pot of coffee. It's tough for me to juxtapose this--a kind of creamy, burnt coffee stout with a hop linger--against the super delish (but outstandingly vanilla-ey) Victory at Sea. Perhaps it's not fair, but this one doesn't hold a candle to that one. It's okay, but a relative letdown.

Photo of generallee
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 10%. It also has a freshness date and short description.

Appearance: The Sea Monster pours slow, thick and black as night. A tall tan head forms over the opaque brew. It's head quickly settles down and forms a ring of lacing that hangs on the edge of the glass.

Smell: This one found my nose as soon as I opened the bottle. In the glass I get big roasted notes, burnt toast, heavy malt, coffee, caramel and toffee.

Taste / Palate: The Monster brings big lingering roasted and heavily toasted, almost burnt maltiness. The middle adds some caramel and raison like dark fruity sweetness. This fades back into pleasing roasted malt and hop bitterness.

Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber for $9.99 from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. No freshness/vintage info to be had. Pours black-suprise- frothy and rich mocha head, leaves low hanging extensive sheeting and plenty of bits and spots of fine lacing. Bold nose of burnt grains, pleasantly ripe dark fruit and rich stout goodness. Full flavor and complex, over the top stout. Ample dark malts and depth of flavor here, notes of dark coffee, smoky dark chocolate, moe dark grains, some shalkyness and a moderatly dry hop filled finish. Large and tasty, nice night capper or, of course, with a fudgy, chocolaty piece of cake. Well done BP.

Photo of Motleydrunk56
2.84/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sea Monster is a Imperial Stout and is my second beer i have tried from Ballast Brewing with Sculpin being the first.Poured it into my 20 oz Firestone glass and its very Jet black in color.I gotta tell you this was not one of my Favorite stouts.At 10.0 ABV it is very respectible but the taste just did not get it for me.When you compare this to Stones Imperial Russion Stout it`s not even close.It is truely a very odd flavor.The reason I tried this was because of the rating on Beer Advocate.Just goes to show everyone has different taste buds.Keep on Rockin from the Motley Drunk.

Photo of bsp77
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Almost pitch black with initial foamy brown head that settles to a thin line with spotty lacing.

Smell: Molasses, caramel, chocolate and licorice.

Taste: Chocolate, molasses and oats immediately hit the taste buds, with some coffee rounding out the taste. The finish has a strong anise component, as well as bitter, roasted notes.

Feel: Very thick, smooth, creamy and silky. Finish is semi-dry. Very warming.

Overall: While not quite as incredible as Victory at Sea, this is another great luxuriant brew from Ballast Point. They are obviously good at these types of beers.

Photo of magictrokini
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Little did I know that there were two Sea Monsters. Pours jet black with brown edges. Small, thick tan head only one finger high. Minimal lacing, though it could have been the glass. Roasty, grainy aroma with burnt coffee, sour mash, leather, and wood. Acerbic taste initially, more of a black coffee bite when the beer warmed. Lots of coffee in this one. Baker's chocolate and cocoa, along with hints of vanilla, caramel, and cream. Periodicaly, there was a sour/metallic tang. Kind of like a Goldings hop bite with a twist of sour milk. It wasn't necessarily unpleasant, but I could have done without it. Like the non-Imperial version, this was a bit loose and watery in the mouthfeel, more so in this version given the style. Despite its warts, this was easily drinkable and I'll be sure to revisit it.

Photo of pat61
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%

Nose: fruit – prune, raisins, some roast and a hint of chocolate at the attack.
Pours deep, deep brilliant brown, under a 1/2" tan head
A big roast coffee palate up with an initial sweetness front backed by bittersweet chocolate highlighted by creamy smoothness. In the finish there is some hop bitterness hiding behind the roast and bittersweet chocolate. Lingering roast and bittersweet chocolate.
Very creamy, chewy, fine carbonation. Warming.

Photo of ehammond1
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Liquor Stop
San Marcos, CA

A breathtaking beer to behold. A midnight black pour with a huge inch and a half head that bubbles down just a bit before sticking around for a very, very long time. The head is thick and creamy with a gorgeous tan color. Sticky lacing down the glass. Hard to get better than this.

An appealing aroma of espresso coffee, some chocolate, and roasted malt. There is the fainest smell of warm alcohol hidden underneath. A relatively balanced and somewhat unaggressive nose, but certainly pleasing and inviting. While certainly enjoyable, it doesn't do anything to separate itself from other good to great American Imperial Stouts.

The taste falls in line right behind the nose. A balanced combination of bitter coffee and sweet chocolate with a backbone of bitterness from the hops. The coffee aftertaste really stays on the palette long after the last sip. Uncomplicated but delicious.

A medium mouthfeel with the appropriate creaminess I like in my big stouts.

This is a big, delicious, uncomplicated stout. It does everything it sets out to do well enough. Although perhaps a tad unambitious, a delicious and particularly drinkable beer.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Label says enjoy by 02/22/14.

Appearance: Pours an oily pitch black with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Solid two fingers of deep tan head that fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A rich, sweet, and roasty dark malt driven aroma with big hints of chocolate, coffee, and roasted caramel malt. Dark roasted barley malts with big upfront hints of cocoa, dark chocolate, coffee beans, toast, burnt caramel, toffee, oats, biscuit, and yeast. Also some hints of creamy milk and smoke. Big sweet hints of molasses. Slight hints of anise spicing. Dark fruit hints of raisin, currants, plum, prune, dark cherry, and fig. Hints of earthy hops linger in the background. A very good roasty aroma.

Taste: As big and rich as the aroma, a roasty dark malt driven taste with notes of bitter chocolate, coffee, caramel, and dark fruit. Dark roasted malts with a big taste of bitter dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee beans, burnt toast, caramel, oats, toffee, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Sweet taste of molasses and some creamy milk notes. Some licorice anise spicing. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of raisins, plum, currants, cherry, prune, and fig. Solid backing of earthy hops help balance out the sweetness. A very good roasty and sweet stout taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a medium/high level of carbonation. Very creamy and silky with a nice bittersweet feel. Alcohol heat is felt somewhat but its far from too hot.

Overall: A very good imperial stout. Has the big chocolate and coffee flavors you expect from the style with a nice balance of bitterness and sweetness.

Photo of far333
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a crystal snifter. Inky black and opaque with a thick and frothy head of uneven bubbles that rise up to a full two inch head, and then slowly drop back leaving a rim of lace and fine bubbles along the sides of the glass.

Rich aroma of dark malt, cocoa, hoppy bitterness, raisin, and a cherry tang.

Complex flavors of bitter chocolate, espresso, cocoa, hints of smoke and charred oak, raisin, and currant. A balanced bitterness rides along, tar and chocolate linger. The ABV strength is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, with rigid carbonation, hints of powder, finishes with tannens. Really good beer, good sipper. Somebody pass me a maduro cigar.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big black brown and foamy. Maybe a little red in there too. Thick. The ol motor oil cliche.
Aroma is burnt choco.

Taste, massive. Big ass heft, even a substantial amount of hopping. Everything about this beer is big. There is nothing left as a nuance. Gets a little puckering. Has that almost cabernet feel to it, big, bold, bitter maybe even some kind of fruit dallop from something like blackberries or dark grapes?

Expensive, but it is a mammoth beer.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 7/5/12, Appears a pitch black color with deep tan head, forms thick and abundant like it will never run out of fuel. I hope that's the case, it's a wonderful beer, imperial stout at that. Aroma has dark coffee notes with hints of dark hazelnut toffee aromatics...dark fruit, big roasted malt notes. Flavor has dark cola notes, dark fruit, roasted malts, with ample hops and bitter dark roasts. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation a big beer with dark fruit. Overall I can't hate it like most who are after the big Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point.

Photo of rudylaw
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to HawekeyeDaz for the share!

Beautiful looking stout with a 2-3 finger, brown head.

Very sweet in the nose. Roasty, chocolate goodness.

First few sips I get a crack of booze. Some bourbon? Then, it mellows out into a very tasty RIS. It mellows out into a delicious, creamy, chewy finish. It's nothing that I haven't had before, and it isn't breaking any new ground, but it's still fantastic stuff! Glad for the opportunity to try more from Ballast Point.

Photo of OStrungT
4.97/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours an inky black color, with a very thin brown head. The head fades quickly, leaving no lace.

This beer smells of chocolate. I can detect some coffee also. Very sweet caramel malt is present in the aroma. It has a nice roasted malt aroma as well.

This beer tastes like it smells. Great. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. There is very little hop flavor presnet. Just a healthy dose of hops.

This beer is full bodied. It goes down smooth, leaving a chocolate aftertaste. Carbonation is pretty low.

This beer would make a decent session beer. The alcohol content is a little high, but the flavor is great and would be good to drink all night long.

Overall: This beer is great. It may be the best thing I have ever had from Balast Point. Its almost perfect.

Photo of daveytheformer
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

into a snifter

Pours brownish black with a bubbly tan head that turns into some solid lacing.

Smells like roasted malts, light chocolate, vanilla and some earthiness.

Tastes are similar with coffee, strong malt presence, and a pretty noticeable bitter hop aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is full and well carbonated.

Overall is really good and I would buy another one given the chance.

Photo of beenitty
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

32oz growler from Decicco's Ardsley, shopping for trades and figured this one was worth it.

A: Pours murky brown, dark, but not as much as you'd expect, I've seen darker depths than this sea monster. White head stays for a while, nice lacing

S: Whew, alot happening here. Dark chocolate, molasses and booze. Not really picking up some of the nuances of vanilla, etc other reviewers smell but its nice.

T: Syrupy Chocolate Cough Syrup. Thats my best explanation. None of the components really shine through to bring the taste up to par for me.

M: Thick, chewy, possbily the biggest beer I've tasted. Super heavy. Maybe this one would be more enjoyable in the winter.

O: This beer was a bit of a let down for me, I really like big roasty, chocolatey beers but this one was too one dimensional for me.

I've had other big beers like Mephistopheles and really liked it, this one left me hanging. Worth trying for sure, and would like to try the barrel aged versions but would likely pass on this one in the future.


2 days after reviewing, had more of this beer.

Getting alot more vanilla in the taste and less heaviness overall. Much more enjoyable and complex. Getting a bit more flat helped somehow, not really sure. Very Nice, though. Definitely not a let down and more of a B+, A- beer.

Photo of lanamj
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a foothills pilsner glass.

A- Pours an obsidian black with a nice thick tan head that holds nicely. Lacing holds well to the glass and seems to never fade. Appears to be a little thin based on look

S- Lots of coffee and roasted malt are present at first. Some chocolate and dark fruit are found towards the end of the aroma. No booze smell at all on this one, its nicely hidden.

T- Taste follows the nose. Lots of coffee and roasted malts, chocolate and some alcohol are present as well.

M- Very nice, has a smooth clean feel. Not as thin as it appears and the carbonation is very mild but accommodating for the style

O- A good non barrel aged stout. All the necessary components for a good imperial stout. Defiantly want to enjoy this one again

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,620 ratings.