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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

472 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 472
Hads: 1,646
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.55%
Wants: 147
Gots: 348 | FT: 16
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 472 | Hads: 1,646
Photo of CubsJedi
2.15/5  rDev -46%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Taking votes to rename this the "Granny Apple Porter". Taste of Apple and pear throughout... Maybe just me. Just being honest. Nice color and initial scent. Drinkable, but not what I was expecting, which was a top shelf traditional imperial stout, from a top shelf brewery. Disappointing. (288 characters)

Photo of Pinknuggets
2.19/5  rDev -45%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from bomber into a mug

A: Very dark brown with a 2cm mocha/tan head that thins but lingers in a ring for awhile, id like it to be darker though.

S: I really can't smell that much the aroma is very weak. I can smell some malt, which surprises me as the one thing that stands out not much else to say.

T: okay idk if i got a flat bottle or what (the bottle says best by 07/07/12) but this follows the nose with the malt thats pretty much all I can taste. This tastes like a super dark red to me nothing like any IS i have ever tasted. Its not bad but its not to style at all.

M: Really light for an IS esp with this high of an abv. It goes down easy but i wouldn't describe it as smooth at all.

O: So id be willing to try this again fresher just to give it a fair shot, but straight up this bottle was pretty bad and I was throughly disappointed. (857 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.58/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by PWoods. Thanks PimpP!

Pours a very dark brown, we'll just call it black in color. There's a huge coffee colored head that forms on the pour. The kind of head that I've experienced in infected bottles.
Smell is charred cocoa, some dark malts. But there's also a scent of "off-ness" that I just can't put into words.
The taste follows up my instincts. There's something not right about this bottle. Don't know if it was stored wrong or something happened during production, but there's a very noticeable off flavor. What lay underneath seems to be interesting. Will seek out and try again. (605 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
2.68/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bomber into a glass. Purchased from Perry's in Livermore.

A: Pours an opaque black with brown tint at the edges. Develops a thick mocha head that dissolves rather readily into light filming and the dreaded donut ring. Doesn't have much lacing.

S: A fairly mild aroma. Has the right ingredients: dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and some grass.

T: Dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt lay the groundwork in the initial and mid-tastes. In the finish, they scale back a bit and introduce some dark fruit sweetness -- it tastes like grapes and raspberries. Some booziness and coffee bitterness in the aftertaste. The fruits are an interesting idea, but they give the flavor a tart inflection that I don't enjoy.

M: Medium-to-full bodied, with low-to-medium carbonation. Could stand to be fuller. Some stickiness and warmth. Has a lightly bitter and dry finish. ABV is pretty well hidden.

D: It's not bad, but nothing really makes this stand out. I could get a local (Drake's Imperial Stout) for a similar flavor profile and lower cost. I doubt I'd seek this out again. (1,091 characters)

Photo of gr0g
2.73/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle marked "SM 19 enjoy by 02/08/14."

Jet black in color with a head about one finger tall, fading pretty quickly with hardly a trace. Heavy aroma of fusel alcohol. A solvent note is dominant and hides most everything else. Licorice, molasses, and brown sugar are detectable.

Alcohol sting weighs heavily upon the flavor as well. Any chocolate or coffee notes are hidden. Texture is thin and fizzy, and it doesn't help at all to bring this back from the brink. Having had Sculpin and Victory At Sea, I had high expectations for this. Sea Monster is a hot mess, though, and a borderline drain pour. Maybe age will mellow it out and unveil a good stout, but I won't be picking up another bottle to find out. (715 characters)

Photo of HawkFalco
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%

Tasted: Dec 14, 2014
Purchased: Dec. 10 2014
22 oz. bottle shared

Poured room temperature into a half pint glass. Shared bottle.

Poured black, little light to be seen about the edges. Formed a lovely mocha colored head which lingered.

Tastes: Smooth roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, turns to nice hoppy bite at rear sides of tongue but then succumbs to harsh burnt, bitter coffee that lasts and lasts. As the beer warmed the flavors opened up nicely but the dry after taste continued.

Feels smooth, not much body. Finish is a lasting bitter desert dry. Is this the high alcohol ?

The overly strong lingering burnt bitterness in the mouth killed it for me. If I was poured this as a guest I wouldn’t rudely turn it away but I’d make sure there was food handy for mouth relief. My friend loved it. I won’t buy it again. (835 characters)

Photo of bobhits
2.76/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

The pour is a touch thin for an imperial russian but still big black dark beer with a tan cap of foam. Nice lacing and given the short time the head is retained I'm a bit surprised.

Light and subtle nose that brings out the dark malts with some coco nibs. Hard to really discuss with much detail as it is faint.

The flavor starts out very dark and over roasted fading into dark chocolate and then we get to a tart sharp alcohol and something else bite and then the after taste is lingering coffee. I'm seeing others getting fruits and perhaps that's what I'm getting in the middle of this beer, but the end result is this beer comes off hot and hard to drink...and I like my scotch neat and smokey as hell.

This is a big stout but it doesn't really take on any of the desirable elements some can bring on. It's carbonated and has body but the carbonation isn't right for the style and the body somewhat suffers from this. Add in my complains above and I find it a bit difficult to enjoy drinking it.

The more I drink the less impressed with this one I am. It's not awful but this is a pretty competitive style and when there are beers like Narwal that per oz are about half this one in price I think Ballast Point might have to consider upping their game or dropping their price. (1,286 characters)

Photo of Motleydrunk56
2.84/5  rDev -28.6%
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. (583 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 fl oz/650 ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a narrow-mouthed Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Acquired at Wally's Wine in Westwood, California. Expectations are high given the brewery, whose Victory At Sea I was rather impressed with. I also quite like their Sculpin IPA.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of nice tan colour, good cream, good thickness, and above average retention for the high ABV. Colour is a predictable solid nontransparent black. No yeast particles are visible - either because there really aren't any or because of the nontransparency. Opaque. It's standard fare for the style, but I'm looking forward to drinking it.

Sm: Coffee, mocha, cream, chocolate (not very rich at all), dark malts, and caramelized malts. A mild to moderate strength aroma. Not horribly complex or subtle, but generally inviting. No yeast is detectable.

T: Chocolate (not rich or exquisite), coffee (the dominant note), cream, and a dark malt foundation. No mocha comes through in the taste. Tame caramelized malts. Has a troublesome balance that never feels quite right. Full-bodied. Not subtle or complex. Some layering. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Kind of simple for an imperial stout. I expect complexity, subtlety, and richness from a good imperial stout. This is somewhat disappointing - especially from Ballast Point. That said, it's not bad. It's pleasant to drink and enjoyable. Of course, it isn't refreshing.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some cream (but not enough). A touch too thin, actually. The rolling smoothness is pleasant across the palate and suits the flavours nicely. All things considered, I'd prefer it more dry and coarse. Adequately carbonated.

Dr: Most of Ballast Point's beers are named after a specific fish. Like the taste, this one's title is generic and bland instead. A disappointment from Ballast Point, but a minor one. I wouldn't get this one again, even to age it. I'll be sticking to Victory At Sea in the future. Drinkable for the well concealed ABV, but lackluster for the style and something of a sipper.

A poor candidate for aging given that its starting quality is limited.

Drank just fine out of me Guinness goblet, but I'd recommend a snifter as the ideal vessel for this beer.

Would pair well with chocolate, full flavoured nuts, or toast.

(2,516 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 4/3/2010. Bottle. Pours black with a small light tan head. Aroma of roasted malt, Parmesean cheese, and mild coffee. Flavor of roasted malt, charred malt. This was just a boring beer for me and not very "imperial" in terms of robustness in the palate. Not impressed. (278 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.04/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours black with two fingers of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Roasted malts and sweet, creamy chocolate up front followed by some roasted coffee aromas. Simple, but nice.

T: Lots and lots of roasted malts here. There are some bitter chocolate flavors in there as well followed by a roasted bitter coffee flavor. There are strong char notes on the finish as well as a strong alcohol burn.

M: Medium-thick body with lowish carbonation, the bitterness, char, and relatively light body keep it from being thick and creamy.

O: A mediocre imperial stout that is much too bitter for my tastes. The aroma promises a nice mix of roasted malts with sweet chocolate flavors and then it tastes like coffee that's been sitting on a burner for about 6 hours. (779 characters)

Photo of JoshVandy
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

650mL bottle shared with Emmaus217 on April 24, 2011.

A- Poured vigorously into a Bruery snifter. A thin dark brown body that turns to a black in the glass with a 2 fingered light tan head. Decent lacing.

S- Hops and alcohol find my nose first, followed closely by a nice chocolate and roasted malt undertone.

T- Hops make their presence known here as well, with a chocolate and roasted malt mid section, followed by dark fruits and a touch of alcohol heat at the end. Tastes a lot like a more mellow Night Stalker, which isn't a bad thing, just different.

M- A little thin in the mouth with a decent amount of carbonation. Surprisingly creamy given the thin body.

O- A decent, hoppy imperial stout from Ballast Point, though a bit one dimensional from a taste a smell perspective. The alcohol is more noticeable than I like in my stouts as well. (852 characters)

Photo of TheCorkStopsHere
3.07/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A fairly limited release here on the east coast, I grabbed a bottle as soon as I saw it. Looks good, nice and dark. Plenty of roasted malts, but nothing too bold or intense. For lack of a better term, it's just kinda thin I think.

I'll give it another try in the future, but for now my review is just "meh" (308 characters)

Photo of irs
3.09/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just not what I would expect from this FANTASTIC brewer, especially when Victory at Sea was so amazing. You'd think their imperial porter would be the imperial stout's little brother, but its hard to believe these two even came from the same mother. Maybe this bottle just didn't get treated right?
It starts off right, head is nice, thick. There is no color, just light absorbing blackness. But there isn't much nose, its ok, but not what I would expect, boozy, dark chocolate and coffee, but thinner than I would expect. Same for the mouthfeel and taste. And there is a bitter astringency in the aftertaste that I don't like, nor expect in a big impy. Not that this feels as big as it should either. Overall, I would say this was a good accomplishment if it came from a less accomplished brewer, but this is among the weaker of Ballast Point's offerings. (856 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.12/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Liberty Tap House. Review from notes.

A: The beer was dark brown/black with a very small tan head on top with decent retention. Not much lacing though.

S: Surprisingly hoppy, lots of pine and a bit of citrus. Underneath there was a little bit of chocolate and roast, but the hops dominated the aroma.

T: Again, very hoppy. Too much so for my taste in an imperial stout. They dominate the flavor profile and mask anything else present. Was able to detect a bit of roast and chocolate, but very faint in comparison.

M: Medium bodied, but slightly thin for an imperial. Moderate carbonation.

O: A bit of a let down, too hoppy for my liking, but I guess that isn't entirely surprisingly looking at Ballast's other offerings. (743 characters)

Photo of dmbsteve
3.12/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours black with a thin light brown head that dissipates quickly. Not much lacing to speak of.
S-smells of dark fruits and sweet malts. Some roasty notes too.
T-alcohol up front. Bittersweet chocolate. Not very complex tasting.
M-low carbonation. Sticky and syrupy, but not super thick body.
O-Dissapointing. A couple other Ballast Point brews I've had gave me high hopes for this one. I would not buy this again. Bummer. (423 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.14/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap at Uno's Chicago Grill during a Bella Vista Event.

Sea Monster pours out your average stout black with a deep black space look with a creamy mocha shaded cap that left some sticks here and there. Upon smelling this I am reminded of Dragon Stout from Jamacia, that is rotted fruit, although this is less offensive. Extreme warmingh brang out light chocolate, earthy hops, licorice and rotting fruit. a whiff of alcohol, not a great smeller. The taste is not to far off from that. That rotting smell seeps into taste, old dark fruit. Dragon stout light with some chocolate with warming. Vanilla bean, light hops, alcohol, this is a bit disjointed. Feel is there, a bit chewy, approaching full bodied, I just cant get past that rot gut. Carbed up but smooth with a nasty aftertaste. Im glad I did not buy a bottle of this, I'll stick with the Ballast Point IPA's, they know how to do them.

I had the barrel aged version of this on tap two years ago and that was significantly better. A monster indeed. (1,007 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.15/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a dark-ish brown color with some red highlights and a short lived tan head.

S: Roasted malts make up the bulk of the aromas of this beer. A slight coffee note, licorice, some burnt sugar, and a slight acidity.

T: The burnt sugar and roasted malt dominate the flavor of this one. There is a touch of chocolate and coffee, along with a fair amount of licorice. Somehow, it doesn't really come together and is on the astringent side.

M: The body is medium, a bit on the thin side for an imperial stout, with a medium level of carbonation.

D: This is a really disappointing effort from Ballast Point. I'd stay away from this one and stick with a Victory at Sea or any of their other beers. (704 characters)

Photo of nhindian
3.21/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a Cantillon wine glass. Bottle generously provided as an extra by thagr81us in the 'Nice Piece of Glass CIF', thanks a lot Calton!

A - A very fitting name for this beer, as this beer is darker than the depths of the ocean and I can imagine some blind creatures swimming around in this, much like what is depicted on the label. A contrasting light tan head floats effortlessly on top of the liquid, about 2 finger's in height and with pretty good retention. Lacing is also decent as well, with some generous silk lace coating the glass.

S - The smell is interesting, acrid coffee roast and bitter chocolate make up the bulk of the nose, with some alcohol hiding in back as well. This beer is pure malt from beginning to end, and it definitely warns of its presence. There's some charred ash as well.

T - Well, the taste definitely continues where the nose leaves off, with a ton of burnt espresso and bitter baker's chocolate. There's some darker fruits here as well, and the alcohol coats them heavily. The char lingers here as well. It ends with a lot of bitter roastiness and alcohol. There's a noticeable woodiness in the finish, as if some earthy nuts are coming through. Unlike the nose, there are some hops in the finish, which could be contributing to that earthiness.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with good carbonation. Honestly it feels pretty good in the mouth, until the aftertaste comes along and deposits the burnt and char notes. Those combined with the alcohol really do a number on the palate.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. This is a beer that takes some getting used to and it will definitely snag you if you aren't careful. The chocolate flavor in this is really well done, but the burnt notes are a distraction to me. Compound that with an almost solvent alcohol taste and it hurts this beer. (1,854 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.21/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest hint of lighter color when held to a light source. Frothy 1.5 finger chocolate coffee colored head that quickly settles into a lasting ring.

Roasted malty aroma with hints of bitter sweet dark chocolate, toffee, roasted coffee, oatmeal, alcohol and subtle hops. Slightly toasty with some subtle dark fruit notes.

Pretty carbonated up front with a chewy viscous mouthfeel. Very roasty with lots of silky chocolate malts, roasted coffee bean, oatmeal, licorice, toffee and alcohol. A bit too hoppy for my preference with a very strong alcohol warmth. This beer is kind of all over the place and the high ABV is not very well masked. Decent but not what I was expecting. (736 characters)

Photo of slackattack
3.21/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber down the middle to nonic. Black, initial 1/2 inch head that dwindled to a film that hung around and left some wet spotty lacing. Nose is unspectacular. Some toasty malts and alcohol. Please don't disappoint me beloved Ballast Point. First taste is alcohol in your face. Actually tastes like much more than the 10% that it is. There's dark chocolate and toasted malts that are definitely there, but the alcohol is way more there. Good hop bitterness, but the alcohol, did I say the alcohol. Damn. Letting this warm.... As it warms it opens up a little but the alcohol is still dominant. Probably won't go here again... (636 characters)

Photo of marvin213
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
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. (449 characters)

Photo of Co1911lt
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I have enjoyed many different stouts and I would even say I am a stout connoisseur. Ballast Point has taken a new swing at stouts on this one. Not to bad. (154 characters)

Photo of bamadog
3.26/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up about a year and a half ago while on a trip to Boone, NC. Review is from notes taken on 8/17/2012 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour, looks a touch thin on the pour; color is deep and dark coffee brown, near black; starts with a full one finger, dark tan and creamy looking head that fades to a thin, uneven and nearly; body is dark, pretty much opaque;

Smell: A tad weak, not what I would expect from an "Imperial Stout..." It's got some nice roastiness going on in there and bit of a bitter, piny hoppiness, just not big and robust with a lot of warm chocolate malts -- smells more like a porter.

Taste: Taste is better than the smell lets on, so that's positive; has a nice earthy and roasty bitterness, like expresso beans, and there is; piny hoppiness is in there as well, with perhaps a touch of citric acid; the nice bonus is that there is some chocolate in there; overall, if it was a porter, I'd probably give it a better score. Alas, it's posing as an Imperial Stout.... so that's going to bring that down a little bit.

Mouthfeel: This beer has some ups and downs to it, but mouth is solid -- pretty creamy, body leaves a little weight to be desired; a moderate; there is a nice coating left behind, it's semi dry and a bit sticky on the teeth.

Overall: I give it a B, but it's a generous B. (1,344 characters)

Photo of Chaney
3.26/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Special thanks to SamuelJackson45 for sending this one to me in an awesome trade!

I split this with my wife because I thought it would be right up here wheelhouse.

A: Black as night, with a slightly whiter than I expected slight head that retained itself throughout the session.

S: Mild puffs of coffee and cotton. The bittersweet chocolate came through once I really started to search for it.

T: Hoppy! Hell, was there a DIPA buried in there somewhere! Seriously, this thing was pretty bitter.... almost like biting into unsweetened baker's chocolate. This was one roasty, charred mama jama! Bone-suckingly dry on the finish and with a massive ABV wallop!

M: Thick, thick, thick! The lacing was ridiculous and the booze was definitely detectable and then some. The carbonation was fine and prickly for this style.

O: I'm not sure if I will be able to endure another session of this one again, however, I'm glad I got to try it. The second hoppiest IS I've ever tasted... right behind Storm King. (1,002 characters)

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 472 ratings.