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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,361 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,361
Reviews: 438
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 111
Gots: 257 | FT: 12
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: 1,361 | Reviews: 438 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AgentMunky
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. No visible best before date.

A: A full finger of creamy head, brownish with a bit of bubbles. Almost black, but when any light makes it through, it's a gorgeous reddish hue.

S: Dry, roasted malts, à la Guinness. Some baking chocolate.

T: Whoah. This is delicious. Amidst the dryingly roasted malts are amazing notes of smoked meat and sweet-strong alcohols. The aftertaste is coffee-bitter and almost peachy. I dig this imperial stout.

M: Sitcky-smooth and seriously substantial.

O: This beer came with superlative recommendations from the beer store owner, and I wasn't let down. It may not be "the best imperial stout ever brewed," but it's darn fine. I'd definitely have one again and I'd recommend you pick one up.

AgentMunky, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of Spider889
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%

Black in color, good khaki colored head with nice retention.

Smells very hoppy, nearly green. Rich black malts as well. Reminded me of IST.

Creamy and bitter stout, light char and ash flavors. Very bitter finish too. A little much so for me.

Very dry mouthfeel on this one. Medium bodied with some heat on the back end.

Overall not as impressive as I had hoped. I guess they can't all be winners.

Spider889, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of jmdrpi
4/5  rDev -0.5%

22 oz bottle, no date.

appears black, with 1/2" khaki colored head. nice lacing. aroma is a little sweet, some chocolate, nutty. taste is a nice balance between sweetness of molasses and bitter accidity of espresso. soft carbonation, thick body.

overall, a tasty, well balanced beer.

jmdrpi, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of azdback
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured into my Stone Imperial glass. Black color with light brown highlights. Head is a large two fingers with a creamy, frothy light brown color. Lace is quite sticky.

Smell is dark roasts that I interpret as roasted coffee beans. Some chocolate, sweet molasses and sure has the alcohol of a 10%er.

Taste is dark roasted sweetness. I must say that there is a strong alcohol presence in the front of this. Some nutty flavors, maybe toasted sesame seeds. Some blackstrap molasses. As this warms I am getting some tart fruit flavors.

The mouth is average to above average for the style. Carbonation is great. A bit dry at the end, a result from the tart fruit. Some alcohol warmth way at the end.

I really enjoy just about everything from Ballast Point. This is no exception. Overall a great Imperial Stout that should be tried if given the chance.

azdback, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of n2185
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%

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.

n2185, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of MikeyMikee
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

Been cellaring this for about 4-5 months. Served at cellar temp: 55'F

A- Opaque, literally jet black. A frothy baje head with a prety good retention considering its 10%. Nice lacing as well.

S- Heavily roasted malts, hazelnut, chocolate, light coffee grind and a bit of toffee. Clean citrus hops cut through the roast. AWESOME smell.

T- Vanilla, slight oak, liquorice and very little espresso. There are some light molasses and some figs which give it a tangy tartness. There are some citrusy hops on the finish that finish strong with some ethanol. Compared to the smell, the taste is a real let down.

M- Low to medium carbonation. Descent carbonation and the alcohol and hops provide a descent bite on the finish. There isnt any lingering of flavors which is alright. Doesn't fully coat the mouth and its a little thin.

O- Very drinkable, tangy but goes down smoothly for 10%..Thin body and tart tangyness takes away from the drinkability.

MikeyMikee, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of daveytheformer
4.22/5  rDev +5%

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.

daveytheformer, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of ExtraStout
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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.

ExtraStout, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%

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.

SubpoenaDeuces, May 31, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

AdamBear, May 30, 2011
Photo of gatorbreath
4.22/5  rDev +5%

Good pour on this bomber at 9:55 a.m. eastern.

Chocolate/opaque dark brown/black..frothy tan head atop that diminshes slowly but surely..Smell is complex stout-like full of malty aromas with notes of chocolate/toffee/mocha, and some coffee. Taste is good, picking up what i smelled on the front end while scorched on the back end by this 10abv. Wow..complex this brew is...Mouthfeel is full-bodied and well-balances as to carbonation. The overall on this is that I thought i would like it but it seems to be too strong for me. The alcohol taste is overpowering for the morning. Enjoy all.!

gatorbreath, May 29, 2011
Photo of grannun
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

Poured into a tulip glass from a bomber:

A - Dark black/brown and nearly opaque. Very slight head

S - Roasted malts, followed by coffee and chocolate. I can actually smell some of the booze in this one..

T - Wow. Initially, very mellow. Starts off with coffee and chocolate followed by the malts and finally the booze. Didn't taste the booze right away, but it sure got to me toward the end.

M - Medium carbonation, but a little more than I expected for a stout of this magnitude. Definitely full of flavor and body.

O - Very nice beer. Warming and flavorful, with no lack of booze. After awhile, I began to taste more of the booze, maybe a bit much at times.

grannun, May 28, 2011
Photo of emmasdad
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

Rich black body topped with a creamy light brown head. Aromas of fresh-brewed coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt. On the palate, this one is full bodied and creamy, with flavors of roasted malt, dark chocolate and good coffee, with a warming alcohol finish.

emmasdad, May 27, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured from bomber into tulip glass. Pours a deep clear brown with a finger of tan head that dissipates to a ring around the side of the glass which that lacing lasted nicely throughout the session. Aroma is caramelly, roasted malts, coffee, a touch of chocolate, and more roasted malts. Flavor initially is roast forward with a bit of bittersweetness but is never astringent. It’s almost as there’s coffee in it. Moderate sweetness, caramel. This beer is a little bit odd. Lacks the depth of malts and the mouthfeel is sort of thin. The hop character is barely detectable but lightly grassy. There isn’t too much color saturation - you can see through the beer without much difficulty, which is odd considering the strong roast character. The alcohol is warming but not distracting, and the finish is bittersweet yet tasty. Overall, a nice brew for the style.

CuriousMonk, May 27, 2011
Photo of robinsmv
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%

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

robinsmv, May 27, 2011
Photo of seand
4.22/5  rDev +5%

A: Pours a dark opaque brown, near black, with a large amount of tan head. Just a thin layer retains, but leaves nice lacing.

S: Rich roasted malts, with notes of brown sugar and chocolate. Very nice.

T: Sweet and rich, with a full sweetness leading to a light roasted coffee-like bitterness through the finish.

M: Full body, low to medium carbonation.

A very well executed beer. It doesn't have anything weird or crazy going on, but what's there is done just right.

seand, May 26, 2011
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.38/5  rDev +9%

$9.50 bomber from Abe's.

Darkest of brown bodies with ruby highlights. Huge medium tan body of the tinest micro-bubbles. Nice stretchy lacing in the ball of my Aventinus glass.

Serious dark fruits mixed with mocha in the aroma. Inviting, but could be just a tad more assertive.

Taste begins with deep roasted coffee with chocolate syrup. Deep dark fruits follow. Subtle alcohol at the swallow, followed by belly warmth.

Smooth rich mouthfeel, again with the chocolate syrup impression.

Alcohol might be noticeable, but does not really impair drinkability.

While not one of the very top imperial stouts, definitely a very good one, one very worthy of having more than once.

RonfromJersey, May 22, 2011
Photo of farlieonfootie
3.78/5  rDev -6%

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.

farlieonfootie, May 21, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%

Pours out black as the deepest sea depths, with a head of firm, creamy foam that's a nice milk chocolate tan color (or like a lightly toasted marshmallow) and quite firm. Doesn't last long though, minimizing to a skim then a crown.

Difficult to discern much from the aroma, somewhat surprisingly. A mild mineral/earth element, traces of very west coast-style hops (green, grassy, vibrant), but lacking the chocolate or coffee tones one would expect. Not even the 10% alcohol makes an appearance. Let's see if they appear more clearly in the taste...

Yes...and no. What we have here is a defiantly west coast-style imperial stout, meaning the hops shove in with as much personality as the malt. But it's a nice balance, and with warming this beer really shows its unique and attractive personality. So, yes, some green, minty, playful hops are threaded in throughout the tasting, as a Tootsie Roll-like chocolate flavor, no-nonsense dark roast coffee character and alcohol warmth fill out the rest of the beer's character. Remains remarkably herbal and almost spicy into the finish, with roasted grains and coffee hanging around as well. Some juicy fruitiness (currants, grapes) is also a part of this beer's complexity. Slick, wet, and robust, texturally, with just enough carbonation to provide a bit of prickle.

The word for this beer is "compelling." It didn't hit me over the head immediately, but with some contemplation, some warming, and some patience, I came to appreciate its various gifts. This is only my second Ballast Point beer, and it doesn't rank as high as Sculpin, as I hoped it might, but it's hardly a slouch. Give it some time...

Metalmonk, May 18, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours an almost opaque, almost black dark crimson brown with a 3 inch dark khaki head that fades to a thin cap. Thin rings of lace form on the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smells of coffee beans, dark chocolate, and toasted oats. There is also a fruity note that I am smelling. Taste is of roasted coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, toasted oats, and some dark fruits. There is a bitterness from the coffee/chocolate flavors that lingers on the palate. Low carbonation with a smooth and medium bodied feel. There is also a noticeable alcohol warmth in the throat. Overall, this is a pretty good stout with an interesting mix of smells and flavors. I have another one of these in my cellar and I am looking forward to seeing how this beer ages over time.

UCLABrewN84, May 18, 2011
Photo of benpopper
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%

Out of the bottle comes a deep dark brown pour that produces about a 1/2" of light brown head. Not much lacing left over, a ring around the edges.

There is way more going on with the smell than I expected. Roasted malt and coffee. There seems to be a deep sugar-ish smell too, molasses? (notes had the question mark so I'll write it in here). Alcohol on the back end in the nose after inhaling.

The taste was more one dimensional I thought. The roasted malt and coffee are fighting for my attention and drowning most everything else out unfortunately.

In the mouth it is as thick as I'd like, but maybe a little over carbonated too. The burn on the back end really isn't making me yearn for a ton of it.

I wanted to like this more than I did. A solid offering that I would never turn down, but not my favorite.

benpopper, May 18, 2011
Photo of brotherloco
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

22oz bomber.

Pours a deep dark brown with a finger of dark tan foam. Head dissipates to a medium sized ring.

Smells of warm roasty malt, coffee and chocolate, also a touch of vanilla extract. Spicy hops are also present in the background. There's some alcohol in there too.

Taste does not disappoint. Rich chocolate malt fills the mouth with a subtle bit of cherry cordial. Roasted coffee notes in the middle. Much like the aroma, the finish is spicy, hoppy, and has a pleasant alcohol kick. Lingering bitterness in the dry and slightly chalky aftertaste.

Body is medium-full with a decent amount of carbonation. Gets just a little bit thick as you get into it, but that seems to suit the style.

Overall I like this better than Victory At Sea.

brotherloco, May 17, 2011
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

A celebration beer for my girlfriend doing her first NPC bikini competition. I would have drank it if she didn't compete but huzzah just the same.

Opaque black under a large, fluffy white noggin. Decent swirly retention like the silhouette of a large wave. Splashy speckles of lace.

Sea monster is a hoppy monster. Dark roast coffee, fudge, and charcoal. Strength of the aroma peters out as it warms.

Black currant and dark malt. Bottle says "hop balance," I never would have believed it after first whiff but a guess a bottle never lies: it is balanced. Warming alcohol makes me giddy.

Good but doesn't taste like 10%.

donkeyrunner, May 13, 2011
Photo of surprenant1138
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Pours a deep dark brown/black into a snifter with almost no head and excellent retention of lacing. Aroma is light: coffee beans, some hops, some vanilla, maybe some spices. Mouthfeel is heavy, rich, and lightly carbonated. Taste is excellent: toasted coffee, some chocolate, some vanilla, very earthy, maybe some cinnamon, maybe some more spices. There is a hint of a medicinal afterbite, but that is tolerable. This is a great new stout for me to add to my list of continuing purchases.

surprenant1138, May 11, 2011
Photo of ADZA
4/5  rDev -0.5%

This brew pours a dark as night black hue with decent caarbonation that leaves behind a creamy two finger head that stays and leaves sporadic lacing,the smell is boozy alcohol,chocolate,dark milky coffee and resiny hops,it has a medium bodied well carbonated smooth mouthfeel and has tastes of chocolate,smooth oak aged bourbon,black coffee and piney,resiny hops,and overall its a nice drop that hides its high ABV of 10% very well and a beautiful example of the style cheers.

ADZA, May 09, 2011
Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,361 ratings.