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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

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1,183 Ratings
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Ratings: 1183
Reviews: 428
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)
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Ratings: 1,183 | Reviews: 428 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of rand


3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a cask at The Linkery SD, into a tulip

A:  Dark brown to black with a frothy, 1-inch head that never really recedes.  Lacing everywhere.

S:  Rich unsweetened chocolate and espresso dominate the bouquet, strong alcohol volatiles warm the nose. 

T:   Espresso jumps out in front, nicely matched by bittersweet chocolate.   Dark roasted malts lend a fruity, almost raisiny aspect.   Hops meet strong alcohol to dry, but the sweet malts dominate the long finish.

D: A sipper.  Like lightly sweetened espresso with alcohol, this goes down nicely but should be savored. Paired nicely with cheesecake. 

Serving type: cask

03-04-2012 07:59:39 | More by rand
Photo of HopHead84


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


On cask at Ballast Point Old Grove.

A: Black with a creamy light brown cask head that lingers for a while.

S: Strong roasted malt profile with prominent unsweetened dark chocolate. Coffee is pronounced. Chocolate takes over as the beer warms. Faintly earthy.

T: Rich chocolate is balanced by a strong roasted malt profile and a moderate coffee presence. Moderately bitter with an earthy quality. Some blackstrap molasses is noticeable. Finish is a blast of chocolate and dry roast. Booze is slightly noticeable in the flavor but it's pretty well hidden. 

M: Full in body with a low level of carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Overall: A pretty aggressive Imperial Stout but well made and good if that's your thing. 4-8 ounces of this beer is enough for me. 

Serving type: cask

02-25-2011 00:17:06 | More by HopHead84
Photo of NittanyBeerFan


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

Poured into a snifter out of a firkin perched on the bar at TJs on 6 March 2010.

A: The beer poured into my glass is an opaque obsidian black that is impregnated with tiny white bubbles that churn and dart towards the surface. When they find their way through the viscous medium, they create a full finger thickness of creamy light brown head. No lacing, but aside from the agitation, there doesn't seem to be much carbonation in this one.

S: Smoked barley - almost burned, even - is the dominant aroma. I am excited to see such a bold character take control up front. It mixes with some bitter chocolate and roasted coffee aromas. Everything about this beer so far screams, "IMPRESSIVE"

T: The roasted barely comes back nice and strong in the taste, but that was to be expected. However, it is balanced better by the chocolate and coffee aromas here than it was in the aroma profile. These big imperial flavors do everything they can to steal the show, but somehow some Amarillo hops manage to squeeze their way in and take a bit of the spotlight as they add aroma and a touch of bitterness to the finish. I also make out some pecan nuttiness as the beer warms and approaches room temperature.

M/D: Smooth and extremely creamy, this beer borders on being able to be classified as silky. The consistency is right in the middle of the spectrum, which along with the alcohol content makes this one imperial stout that is easy to consume a few of. This one could get to be dangerous, but even at 7%, I feel like the alcohol makes itself known, but not in the flavor or on the palate, but more in my equilibrium.

Serving type: cask

03-12-2010 04:54:34 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of garuda


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Thin head with little retention, some lacing clings to the glass. Aroma is full of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and some alcohol about mid palate. Taste is similar, also has some earthy, pine resin hops in the aftertaste but gets over powered by the alcohol a bit too much toward the end. Because of the alcohol presence in aroma and taste, its not very drinkable for me.

Serving type: cask

03-07-2010 12:55:49 | More by garuda
Photo of weeare138


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

On cask at TJ's...
Appears a near black with dark brown edges when held to the light. The tan foam leaves scattered bits of lacing around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, vanilla, Espresso, caramel, and toffee.
Taste is of the aromas with more of a coffee flavor that is perfect for a digestif.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet, syrupy, and chewy.

Serving type: cask

03-06-2010 21:36:05 | More by weeare138
Photo of Stoneman78


4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On CASK at O'Brien's
A- Dark red to deep brown hue, 1/2 finger of tan smooth head, mild lacing
S- Sweet espresso aroma, earthy/floral hops, tones of dark chocolate
T- Initial taste is espresso coffee malts, roast malts, nice mix of sweet and bitterness, hops, fruits and berries come through midway, finishes bitter coffee
M- Light/medium-bodied, watery texture, minimal carbonation
D- Smooth and easy-drinking imperial stout, nice balance of roast coffee malts and bitter hops, this is one great stout and I am looking forward to picking up some bottles very soon!

Serving type: cask

12-12-2007 05:16:08 | More by Stoneman78
Photo of itsscience


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black in color with no reddening around the edges and a finger of coffee colored head. The nose has a roasted malt character that takes on coffee and burnt toast notes, plus strong alcohol and a hint of dark fruit. It has a dark chocolate taste with char, coffee, berries, grapes, and bitter hops on the back end. There's a burning sensation from the alcohol, which is 10% by volume and very much apparent in the beer. It may not sound like it all works together, but it does. Goes down silky with a medium body.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 02:29:50 | More by itsscience
Photo of jzeilinger


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

In review is a 2011 vintage.

A - Pitch black pour with a roasted toffee colored head that's thick, creamy, and sticky.

S - Dark roasted chocolate, light toffee notes, some char, faint alcohol, and coffee cream.

T - Dark chocolate/roasted dark chocolate, dark fruit, bitter molasses, some black licorice, coffee cream, and alcohol - the alcohol, presence isn't as noticeable in the nose as it is on the palate. Nice lingering roasted dark chocolate bitterness on the finish.

M - Medium body with borderline velvet texture on the tongue.

O - Held up incredibly well for a 2011, would be interesting to compare to a more recent bottle to compare the two. Overall, nicely done!

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 22:51:07 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of kdahnke123


4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottling poured into a snifter.
A - Dark brown pour with a 2F head that very slowly dissipates to a cream colored lacing.
S - A rich malty smell a balanced amount of hops and hints of chocolate.
T - A balanced integrated flavor of roasted malt and medium hops.
M - Very smooth, with medium carbonation.
O - A very nice creamy stout. No edge to this one, just nice and smooth.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 21:10:07 | More by kdahnke123
Photo of MadScientist

New York

4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 00:27:09 | More by MadScientist
Photo of BEERchitect


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

"Roar!" ...ok, sea monsters can't yell. But if they could they would. They would be greatly demonstrative with their attitude, their appearance, and their character- should I be scared to approach this beer?

Sea Monster opens up with the standard "stout" appearance. Deep and darken brown- appearing espresso-black through the middle. Its onyx color carries a dense blanket of tarnish foam that easily endures the session, shedding with lacing rings at each sip.

Its bold roast aromas once again harks to espresso- its earthen roast, burnt toast, grilled nuts and fruit are all supported with the scent of singed toffee and mild smoky chocolate. As the stout breathes, it releases subtle vinous nuances in the form of grape, dark berry and currant along with a spicy rum note.

Its taste leads with caramel, vanilla and heavy whipping cream for a sweeter start up. As the roast, charred toast, espresso, walnut and bittersweet chocolate folds in, the middle palate becomes sultry and robust. Its trailing fruit taste seems of grilled blackcurrant, grape and blackberry as the spicy alcohols carry- again a rummy finish with a long roasty-sweet aftertaste.

Full and smooth, the beer's body is creamy like malted milkshake. Its carbonation woven tightly into it lingering sweetness for a silky and velvety feel. Its roasty-bitter finish dries the palate and is assisted by alcohol warmth and trailing sweetness.

Sea Monster is rather a sea pup- It talks a big game, but is at its heart a friendly and endearing stout with a sweet side.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 16:53:47 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Ozzylizard


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber enjoy by 2/22/14 at 50 degrees into goblet
Aroma of roasted malt, slight coffee tinge
Head small (2 cm), light brown, creamy, mostly diminishing
Lacing ok – reticulum
Body black, opaque
Flavor begins with roasted malt with slight coffee taste and hints of vanilla
A slight alcohol burn is present. No hops, no diacetyl, no oat smoothness
Palate is medium, slightly creamy, soft carbonation

Pretty well meets the type criteria.
Not a bad beer but will probably mellow with aging. Could not tell that it was supposed to be an oatmeal stout. Would buy again to age.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 13:18:01 | More by Ozzylizard
Photo of beagle75


3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.
2010 vintage

A: Opaque, dark brown color with no foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Roasted malt is dark and smoky. Umami outdistances cocoa amongst the identifiable qualities. Yeast contributes fairly clean breadiness, but only slight fruit. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins very off-dry, with flavors of roasted grain, umami, chocolate and mild wood smoke. Acidity is muted into the middle where bitterness develops and accentuates the chocolate and coffee flavor qualities. The finish sees an early departure of the precocious bitterness that makes way for soft and comforting vanilla. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium to thick viscosity, dense but slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer has aged to its undeniable benefit over the course of three years. While not as intense as fresh Sea Monster, it bears no sharp edges. The prominent (and out-of-place) acidity has been dulled considerably with time, while a previously undiscovered thread of vanilla is shown the light of day. What little oxidation this beer suffered has apparently contributed more than it detracted. A meat-and-potatoes American imperial stout has become something sublime.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 19:46:31 | More by beagle75
Photo of joe1510


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber
Kenwood Liquors - Homer Glen, IL

Enjoy by: 2/14/14

What descriptors could I use to describe the color? As black as the deepest depths of the blackest seas? That'll work, I suppose. The mocha head rises slowly and peaks at a thick cap well after the pour. Foam eventually fades to a ring and swirlings but leaves velvety lace down the glass with each drink. Carbonation creeps up the glass and keeps the head intact through the entirety.

Unique. Deep roast hits off the bat before heavy handed dark berries takes over in the middle along with a heavy dose of baker's chocolate. The dark berries are overripe blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Coffee and cream bring up the rear, with the cream note is a nice lactic sweetness. A moderate pine/resinous hoppiness mop things up.

Baker's chocolate and those overripe berries mingle upfront and push all the way through. Mid palate they are joined by lactic sweetness (cream) and light roast coffee. The berry fruitiness along with a touch of booze adds a welcomed peppery bite. Solid resinous hoppiness lingers on the swallow. This beer is just wave after wave of big flavor. All work well together.

Ballast Point really nailed the mouthfeel. The body is surprisingly easy going, with weight that is on the heavy side of the spectrum but with leanings to the middle. Active carbonation adds to the lighter feel for a sense of high drinkability in a 10% beer. The finish is fairly dry and the mild alcohol fumes seem to scrub the tongue clean every drink.

Sea Monster is a stout with layer after layer of depth. Big bittersweet chocolate, berries, roast, coffee, hops, the list goes on but with all that depth it remains an easy drinker, relatively speaking. For the price you can't go wrong.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 03:05:54 | More by joe1510
Photo of captenaj


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured a very deep red to pleasant black

S: Minimal but nice coffee/chocolate.

T: very very nice. Coffee, chocolate, sweet but not too much so.

M: this was my least favorite aspect of the beer. A little thin but the tast was so good, I didn't notice until someone else pointed it out.

O: I really liked this beer. Perhaps a little too much alcohol taste but it carries well.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2014 04:01:19 | More by captenaj
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 draheim


4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz into a tulip. Pours a deep brownish black w/ a 1-finger khaki head.

Aroma is dark and roasty. Dark fruit, blackstrap molasses, bitter chocolate.

Taste is likewise a rich, balanced blend of roasted malt, dark fruit, and chocolate. Clean bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Coats the palate without being thick or chewy. Carbonation just right.

Overall a really nice, straightforward imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2013 05:48:34 | More by draheim
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown in color, pretty much black, leaves a slight finger of tan head at the top, and a tiny bit of lacing around the glass as you drink this one.

S: A little bit of chocoloate and slight hint of espresso and malt, but very subtle nose on this beer nothing to crazy.

T: Very robust taste, lots of bitter from coffee and hops, slight hint of brown sugar and chocolate on the tail end.

M: Smooth, medium bodied, very little carbonation.

O: Not a bad beer at all, not one of my favorite stouts but it was tasty and warming,
Ballast Point seems to know what it is doing with all its brews.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 19:07:45 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of ZAP


4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is chocolate easter eggs....more milk chocolate than bitter dark cocoa....light hint of dark fruits...

Taste is again milk chocolate forward...some dark fruits....a little molasses perhaps...

Body is creamy smooth..velvety....big enough...a little sharp with the booze on the finish

This is a quality Impy Stout that I am enjoying but would put a notch below the big hitters. it is just not as full flavored as some (Darkness, Dark Lord, etc). A bit of boozy but I want that in a beer like this....

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 06:07:18 | More by ZAP
Photo of McStagger


4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 2/1/14.

A: Pour down the middle leads to a touch under a finger of head. Pitch black. Poured not quite like motor oil. Head is a mochoa brown. Rapid dissipation, moderate lacing.

S: Big ole beer. Chocolate, toffee out the ass, heady aromatics of dark fruit and dark chocolate. Presence of alcohol. Slightly woodsy, nutty and toasty.

T: Big, rich dark fruit right at the front. Figs, raisins, dates, etc. Slowly fades into bittersweet chocolate, with some hits of coffee bitterness. Finish is darkened fruit and cocoa powder with leafy/herbal bitterness.

M: Appropriately big. Full bodied and chewy. The carbonation is fine, but present enough to keep this one from being a syrupy mess.

O: Good, but not stellar. While this one has a better body, the Victory at Sea smokes it in every other comparison. Still a good brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 08:50:47 | More by McStagger
Photo of DrinkNewport

Rhode Island

4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very black pour, with a nice brown head.

For a 10% ABV, hard-hitting Imperial Stout, there's almost no detectable aroma...or I've lost my sense of smell...or specifically, I can't smell stouts...or these stouts are rigged for silent running in the odor department.

The flavor is that of a solid Imperial Stout. I don't know how to describe it better than that. It's textbook. Textbook can be a little boring, but better textbook than flawed.

Overall, it's a beer that I would gladly drink again, but not one I'd hound down.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 03:05:57 | More by DrinkNewport
Photo of AlCaponeJunior


3.46/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good looking for an impy stout, black with a nice two finger brown head that settled to a nice creamy cap and left sticky lacing.

Aroma is rather more reserved than I expected, but has some burnt, roasty, coffee notes.

Flavor is far more bold, although I'm catching a little bit of metallic astringency. Otherwise it's a roasted malt bomb, tons of roasty and burnt flavors, tons of black coffee, some unsweetened baker's chocolate.

Drinkability is somewhat limited IMO. I don't think the alcohol is all that well hidden. Maybe let this one age.

Overall it's still an enjoyable imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 02:49:31 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of Furlinator


3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 02/22/14

Pours opaque black with slight cola brown on the edges. A 1/4 inch of khaki head quickly settles to just a ring on top and leaves spotty lace.

Smell is fairly weak. Faint coffee, hints of plum and cherry and just a touch of alcohol.

Taste is stronger than the nose would imply. Dark fruit and faint black coffee up front with slight hoppy bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

An above average Imperial Stout with rich flavor and slight alcohol bite.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 20:39:28 | More by Furlinator
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Note: Bottle has been aged since early 2012.

A: Pours a clear but opaque jet black in color with some light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and a faint dark cola brown highlight. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy dark tan head that slowly reduces to a medium sized patch of thick film (made up of larger bubbles) surrounded by a very thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts with some lighter notes of dark fruit sweetness as the beer warms up.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of roasted malts with some light notes of dark fruit sweetness (tastes like black currants) along with some light flavors of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Moderate amounts of bitterness which lingers of a moderate amount of time. Very light hints of alcohol in the finish as the beer warms up.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer has a lot of flavors that remind me of a Baltic Porter which is a good thing since I am a pretty big fan of the style but might not be quite heavy enough in the body of an Imperial Stout (just my opinion). Very nice flavors and the 10% ABV is very well hidden in the beer, making it an easy beer to sip on for quite a while. Very enjoyable now that the weather has started to turn cooler in the evenings.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2013 22:44:04 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of JMScowcroft


4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Brewing Company - Sea Monster Imperial Stout, poured into a Fiddlehead snifter.

Look - Pours a dark oil brown and settles black with a nice soapy head. Good lacing.

Smell - Chocolate and coffee with notes of oatmeal and currant. The currant gives a nice fruity touch that makes the aroma quite unique.

Taste - Currant and coffee with a blast of dark chocolate. Very bitter. Oatmeal is there, but very subtle.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied. Sits throat hot and boozy as hell, but in a good way. Moderate carbonation. Dry and drinkable.

Overall - Good solid imperial stout, but a little lacking in creaminess. If you like bitter dark chocolate, this is a win. The currant is a nice touch that sets this one apart from a lot of others.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2013 12:14:58 | More by JMScowcroft
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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,183 ratings.