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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,186 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1186
Reviews: 429
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%

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:
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 added by: OlieIPA on 11-28-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,186 | Reviews: 429 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Ballast Point in little Italy.

Served alongside Victory at Sea.

The beer is near black with a small beige cap. Aromas of dark chocolate, bread, roasted malt, hints of coffee. A touch of dark fruit with a rich, robust malt body. Bold and flavorful. While I did prefer Victory at Sea, most notably the addition of vanilla, I rather enjoyed this one. I'd certainly have it again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2013 16:44:01 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of bewley


4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this delectable brew on tap at the Tin Bucket in North Portland, OR.

It was nice. I had to share it with my wife, who was sharing her dry hopped ale. But I didn't want to pass this over to her. I wanted to keep it for myself.

It's incredibly good, almost too good. I'm going back tomorrow to fill my growler.

OK, good night!

Serving type: on-tap

10-01-2013 04:04:23 | More by bewley
Photo of beertunes


3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in 12oz tulip. Poured a solid black color with 1-1/2 (+) of light brown head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma was fairly typical for the style, but very well-focused and defined. Nice base grains, and a very slight malt sweetness. On the tongue, a sharp alcohol flavor dominated at first but after 15-20 seconds, the burn faded and left a nice blend of grain and malt, with a very slight roast note.

The body was solid, but not quite as full as I like for the style. Drinkability was good, once you got by the alcohol taste. Overall, a very good beer, almost a must try, but certainly worth your time.

Serving type: on-tap

09-15-2013 18:55:01 | More by beertunes
Photo of cjgator3


4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Oblivion in Orlando. Poured into a snifter, pours a dark black color with a tan colored head. The taste and aroma is dark and roasty with a substantial amount of hops to balance things out. Very similar to a Victory Storm King in my opinion. Very tasty and definitely recommended! Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2013 23:45:20 | More by cjgator3
Photo of elNopalero


4.73/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This pours from the tap a thick black cocoa color with a great aroma dominated by cocoa nib notes. So tasty too, with this essence of cocoa mixing and playing nice with the roasty notes. Smooth and thick, this flavor can last for days. This is a tasty one.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2013 21:58:28 | More by elNopalero
Photo of Murrhey


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap in a 7oz glass at Playground in Santa Ana, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Half a finger tan head. Medium retention, nice fluffy lacing.

S- Chocolate and toffee, but subtle. Nice roasted smell.

T- Extremely strong flavor. Booze and coffee with heavily roasted malts and barley. Hides the alcohol very well.

M- Heavy bodied, almost chunky it is so thick.

O- Very stong. This beats the hell out of my tongue.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2012 01:19:07 | More by Murrhey
Photo of sweetLew


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

There's all kinds of mystery lurking in the deep, use caution before the Sea Monster pulls you beyond the limits of exploration. Strong and sultry, this imperial stout is one well-crafted monster that is dangerously sippable. Numerous shades of black, a moderate tan head, and an understated aroma of chocolate, coffee grounds, and shelled nuts give way to a beguiling flavor. The brewery's skill bursts across the palate; swirls of chocolate, in an array of flavors, are complemented and boosted by mild hints of coffee, nuts, and hop bitterness. The lack of alcohol is what allows all these flavors to succeed, a statement of quality. But alas, Davy Jones' locker calls for those that tangle with the Sea Monster at too great a depth...

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2012 16:13:43 | More by sweetLew
Photo of mdaschaf


3.1/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-23-2012 01:33:18 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of CaptDavyJones

New York

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at The Hopping Pig in San Diego.
Pitch black color with absolutely no penetration of light whatsoever.
One finger off-white/cream colored head that dissipated fairly quickly.
Lots of coffee upfront on the nose, with notes of cocoa/chocolate, roasty notes.
Taste likewise is predominantly of coffee, right from the beginning all the way to the finish. Some chocolate notes towards the middle along with a nice roasty bitterness that balances the sweetness. A very well-balanced imperial stout in terms of taste. Very flavorful and easy to drink.
Wish it were a bit more full-bodied.
Overall, this is a really good imperial stout.
Definitely worth a try and comes recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2012 17:33:48 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of mltobin


4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this on-tap at The Sidecar in Philadelphia.

Appearance is black with short tan head to it. Taking a whiff and I smell coffee, vanilla, chocolate and roasted malts. Its` taste has more of the coffee and roasted malts, well balanced, some more chocolate. Really, the balance is very well executed, not over-powering in any aspects of the flavor. Mouthfeel is full, a clean finish. I waited too long to try this, an excellent imperial stout.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2012 01:31:33 | More by mltobin
Photo of woosterbill


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Cask Republic into an oversized snifter.

A: Opaque black body with a finger of creamy light brown head. Great retention and lacing. Excellent.

S: Chocolate malt, spicy alcohol, and some dark fruits. Solid.

T: Roasty dark chocolate, some coffee, plenty of dark fruit, and some vanilla. Char, booze, and dark chocolate on the finish. Nice.

M: Medium body, lively carbonation. Good.

O: This one was intense and enjoyable, but didn't quite get beyond "good" into truly "great." I'd gladly drink it again, but I won't be buying bottles.


Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2012 03:10:22 | More by woosterbill
Photo of jtierney89

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black Color brown highlights. Faint nose of chocolate and coffee. Mild charcoal and licorice. Faint nail polish.

Much lighter than expected and highly carbonated. Lots of chocolate sweetness throughout especially upfront. Faint caramel as well as a very subdued smokiness. Dark fruits come out as the beer warms. Black coffee and hop bitterness provide good balance. Mildly tannic. Medium body.

Well crafted and a good beer but doesn't stand out amongst the crowd. Could benefit from a bigger and creamier body. Liking the tanning quality though.

Serving type: on-tap

04-25-2012 01:15:46 | More by jtierney89
Photo of Rhynes2


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at 101 Bottles. Pours a dark black with a thick dark head to match. The aroma is of dark malts, chocolate, and coffee. The complexity here is great and the coffee like flavors are ones i really enjoy in stouts. There is little hop bitterness here but it works well in this beer. It's well balanced and the alcohol is masked pretty well too. This is my first beer from Ballast Point and certainly won't be my last.

Serving type: on-tap

04-13-2012 13:57:30 | More by Rhynes2
Photo of DrinkSlurm


4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at the Lazy Boy, White PLains, NY. Poured a thick foamy tannish head on top of a deep rich black. Nice roasted malt and coffe aroma, slight sweet notes. Taste is immediately very hoppy for a stout...really surprising but delicious. The hops meet a mellow roasted coffee and sweet malt flavor; almost a bit of dried fruit. Really well balanced and unique, and deff worth picking one up!

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2012 12:22:34 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of Chico1985


3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Dirty Truth.

Pours into a tulip, black as the deepest depths of the sea. Small creamy tan head retains for a bit eventually becoming a ring.

Lots of roasted malt, some cocoa, dark fruit, and quite a bit of alcohol in the nose.

Taste is also definitely roast forward, bitter dark chocolate, raisin/dark fruit, some earthy and piny hop action back there too. Some licorice and alcohol.

Lowish carbonation, quite a bitter feel to it, noticeable alcohol.

A little too abrasive with the roasted malt but a good stout, definitely a bit of a sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2012 15:08:44 | More by Chico1985
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces


4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Sea monster

A: Sleek, ink black, with a little transparency. Not an exceptional amount of carbonation, just a menacing lacing sitting on top of the rim, warning the latent power lurking below. Nice lacing, sticky and antagonistic.

S: There is a toffee/sour finish with an incredible amount of coffee and wood notes. There is a whiskey and bourbon note that wafts above the thick head like an ice cube sitting upon a glass of gin.

T: There is a noteworthy chocolate and anise/licorice profile. This beer is as black as Satan’s magic, a thick chocolate milk head imparts its flavor, then oak jumps into the fray with its drying effects. Nice coffee notes resound and add drying effects. Its effect remains throughout

M: The mouthfeel coats in a huge way. There is a oily thick particulate effect to the stout. The coffee and burnt raisins just coat and linger, making up a remarkable base camp with occasional visits from smokiness and chocolate. Strangely the body isn’t exceptionally thick but it has sticky coating. Which is unusual given the strange balance.

D: Despite the crazy nature of this beer, it remains exceptionally drinkable for the style. While it coats in a huge way and certainly wouldn’t feel at home in a 6 pack, it has a great disposition that makes you want to take another sip. Most people would shy away due to an unfamiliarity with style or an aversion to the menacing black character, however, for those tried and true, this is certainly worth the outing, maybe even 2 bombers.

Narrative: Skip was born jet black, without a white belly. His inky black eyes showed permeable anger, the other Emperor Penguins mocking him. His beak clenched watching the others feed upon cephalopods. “Look at them, their proud plumage, mocking me like sneetches without stars upon thars, I will show them.” Skip was advanced for his age and, despite his lack of opposable thumbs, has fashioned an ice shiv from the shearing of an errant glacier. “I will show them the true darkness of their ways.” No one would mate with Skip and rumored his jet black eggs that would result. He had a sweet core and a lighthearted personality, but no one would give him the benefit of the doubt. Skip burned with the rage of a Patagonia summer. We will see whose cold is imparted this winter, that of my black coat, or that of black death. He gripped his shiv knowingly, awaiting the grip of the winter.

Serving type: on-tap

05-31-2011 06:36:20 | More by SubpoenaDeuces
Photo of AdamBear


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pitch black, thin cream colored head.

S-smells like creamy mocha. smells like almost like a powder. good but not a strong scent.

T-comes in with a taste of bitter coffee powder. its not complex, but it is a very stable flavor. its a chalky taste that seems to form the after-taste. its a good full flavored stout.

M-very thick and heavy with a light carbonation and a dry finish

O-this is a very decent full flavored stout. i'd say for not being a limited release or anything, this is one of the best that you can go out and buy. it goes down quite easily and smoothly for the ABV. its definitely something i'd recommend and i wouldn't mind getting a few for my fridge.

Serving type: on-tap

05-30-2011 21:23:29 | More by AdamBear
Photo of robinsmv


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: very dark, almost black. Half inch tan head that leaves good lacing
S: coffee and chocolate notes. Hints of alcohol and dark fruits.
T: bold roasted malts. There is a touch of fruitiness that I can't quite put my finger on. It starts with a raisiny hint and quickly turns to almost a orange chocolate flavor. Finishes with a touch of coffee and slight alcohol burn.
M: medium carbonation, not too thick
O: a very drinkable imperial stout. The alcohol is present but nicely hidden

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2011 01:45:34 | More by robinsmv
Photo of farlieonfootie


3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sea Monster pours a hearty black, like the depths of the ocean, with a thick head that leaves behind generous lacing. I get mellow fruits on the nose, and maybe a little subtle hoppiness. It's boozy, full of dark fruits and chocolate, with just a little touch of Belgian candy sweetness. Sea Monster has a much thinner mouthfeel than some other RIS's (Old Rasputin, for example). It's better than good, but not great.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2011 14:23:43 | More by farlieonfootie
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 4/16/2011 at Armsby Abbey in Worcester served in an over-sized wine glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and touches of dark fruit and hops.

T: The taste starts out with a creamy hearty roasted malt character and sweet flavors of milk chocolate and dark fruit. There’s a mild touch of hops that creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice big stout that is worth drinking for a long time.

Serving type: on-tap

04-25-2011 20:45:39 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of fastsrt

New York

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce pour in a tulip

A: deep brown, almost black, creamy beige head, sticky lace.

S: roasted malts, hops,

T: roasted malts, fresh hops result in quite a bitter bite. Good beer I like the balance between hops and malts,

M: lighter feeling than ballast points imperial porter good carbonation, lingering bitterness.

O: unique stout not as rich and thick as most, but more refreshing, I like this beer, if your looking for a hoppy stout try this fresh.

Serving type: on-tap

04-22-2011 16:18:20 | More by fastsrt
Photo of xnicknj


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at khyber pass in philly

Pours an inky black color with a full, frothy beige head, which retains pretty well with a layer of film and spotty lacing on the glass.

Strong scents of dark chocolate with bitter sweet hops and toffee. Roasted malts and slight boozy warmth.

An edge of hoppiness with pine, before the heavily roasted malts take over the profile. Baker's chocolate and bittersweetness run through. Some coffee bean and toffee add to the flavors. A distinct boozy warmth finishes it off.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, dry and chewy. This is a pretty solid imp stout, nice flavor, and the alcohol is masked well.

Serving type: on-tap

03-30-2011 03:45:09 | More by xnicknj
Photo of BARFLYB


3.13/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2011 04:00:28 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of Ambiorix


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Small Bar, San Diego.

A: Black pour, nice tan head, good lacing.

S: Yeasty, roasty malt nose, slightly fruity.

T: Roasty malt, alcohol, yeasty, coffee.

M: Medium-full, satisfying, robust.

D: Excellent. Not as chocolate as the Victory at Sea. Very nice stuff, indeed.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2011 23:52:50 | More by Ambiorix
Photo of Rifugium


3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown and opaque, but not cloudy.

S: Roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol.

T: Flavorful dark malts, a little bitterness towards the end.

M: Medium body, a little bit of thickness, and moderate cabronation.

D: Decent overall, with just a bit of harshness from the alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2010 20:41:58 | More by Rifugium
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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,186 ratings.