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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.

1,343 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,343
Reviews: 437
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 109
Gots: 251 | FT: 13
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: 1,343 | Reviews: 437 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

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...

05-18-2011 21:54:59 | More by Metalmonk
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.

05-18-2011 02:04:15 | More by UCLABrewN84
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.

05-18-2011 01:34:12 | More by benpopper
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.

05-17-2011 04:10:10 | More by brotherloco
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%.

05-13-2011 00:40:51 | More by donkeyrunner
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.

05-11-2011 01:02:50 | More by surprenant1138
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.

05-09-2011 10:09:44 | More by ADZA
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%

Pours a solid black color with a huge fluffy off white head that shows remarkable staying power. Smells of chocolate, roasted coffee, caramel, earthy hops, and a touch of alcohol. Tastes of coffee and chocolate as expected. Dark caramel, citrus hops, and alcohol battle for supporting roles. Ashy roast and citrus bitterness leave there mark on my taste buds long after every sip. Surprisingly thin body really surprised me, I was expecting much more than this one delivers. Oily chocolate type mouthfeel with a medium to low level of carbonation. Very flavorful brew that I quite enjoyed, but this really could use a bit more body.

05-08-2011 00:18:25 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of eric5bellies


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours a classic deep Ebony colour with a creamy tanned head that retains well

S - Not much but some small hops and malts

T - Very nice flavours of Vanilla, Chocolate and Coffee. Roasten malts present with some nice hops too.

M - Full body and low to medium carbonation.

O - This is a very smooth impy stout with plenty on offer.

05-07-2011 13:39:30 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of adman08


4.18/5  rDev +4%

A-Minimal head, almost black in color.
S-Aromas of coffee, malt, chocolate and a hint of smoke.
T-Chocolate flavor is apparent along with coffee and a bit of smoke. Some hop bitterness as well. A hint of malt flavor and a hint of bourbon probably due to the high alcohol.
M-Thick, rich, creamy, very smooth. Very fine carbonation.
Overall an excellent version of an imperial stout. Not too sweet with good flavors of coffee and chocolate. The high alcohol is obvious in the taste but it goes down very smooth.

05-01-2011 01:13:28 | More by adman08
Photo of smcolw


4.18/5  rDev +4%

Near black color but I can detect light through the brew. Modest, but lasting head. Leaves some blanket lace.

Burnt toast and biscuits are the main smells. There is background touch of hop bitterness. Light cream, too.

The flavor is less harsh than the smell might suggest. There is an element of alcohol and hop in the swallow. The body is moderate. The carbonation is as expected. The alcohol is hidden. The finish is bitter and is composed of black patent malt and mild peppery hop.

05-01-2011 01:00:31 | More by smcolw
Photo of joecast


4.1/5  rDev +2%

Remember having a version of this beer a couple of years ago. It was at stone and served out of a small wooden barrel. Dont think it was 10% but the taste was phenomenal. A true desert beer. This probably won't measure up to that memory, but wanted to share that first experience with the monster.

Nearly pitch black with low carbonation. Thin tan head doesn't last too long but leaves a nice bit of lacing. Imposing.

Nice chocolate / cocoa aroma. Very mellow without begin soft. A bit of malty roast rounds things out. Surprising lack of alcohol for such a big abv beer.

Strong malt roastiness with a bit of sea monster sharpness about it. Nice coffee and chocolate character gives it some connection to a standard stout which this is anything but. Very much the bigger angrier brother. Not uglier in the least though. Real interesting character, nice robust finish gives this a bit of an edge putting it squarely in the imperial category.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and light for such a big beer. Goes down pretty light but still carries the flavors well.

As expected it doesn't live up to the memory of that first meeting. Still though, this is a nice impy stout. A bit of a different take with the sharp almost tart flavor, but very enjoyable.

04-27-2011 04:38:01 | More by joecast
Photo of JoshVandy


3.05/5  rDev -24.1%

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.

04-26-2011 20:48:21 | More by JoshVandy
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

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.

04-25-2011 20:45:39 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of nrbw23


4/5  rDev -0.5%

A- Pours a black color with a nice creamy light brown head. Head is gone pretty quick and leaves no lacing.

S- Smells of smoked barley, charcoal, bitter chocolate and roasted coffee.

T- Roasted barely comes back nice and strong in the taste, chocolate and coffee. A touch of hop bitterness and a bit of a nutty finish.

M- Just a tad bit on the fuller side of medium with low carbonation.

O- A very nice brew. I'd drink this one again with no problem.

04-23-2011 18:49:42 | More by nrbw23
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT


3.53/5  rDev -12.2%

split 3 ways with some friends; poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Black body with a brown head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Smells like a nice imperial stout with some hops going on in the background. chocolate malts and coffee roastiness. Earthy hops.

Taste: this beer is roasty and bitter. Moderate bitterness from a combination of the maltiness and hops bitterness. Not really balanced, but it not out of line either. The hops don't overpower the malts and vice versa. An earthy and slight citris hop flavor, with a moderate hop bitterness that caries throughout the beer.

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is a very solid beer, but not what i expected. Maybe a bit more balance between hops and malts would make this beer better. I still enjoyed the beer.

04-23-2011 06:39:57 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of brstls4drmrs

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -8%

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown almost black color with a nice coffee head. Tan lacing occurs and sticks around the glass afterwards.

S - Lots of hops (more evident from other stouts I've had) with a good amount of malts & coffee. Some chocolate is lingering in there too.

T - Hops, coffee and malts are all there and I can taste the alcohol a bit as well. Little chocolate on the finish but not much.

M - A crisp feel to it with some slight bitterness on the finish.

O - A different stout with a more hop taste and scent from what I'm use to seeing from stouts. Not a bad monster at all. :)

04-23-2011 01:21:45 | More by brstls4drmrs
Photo of fastsrt

New York

3.78/5  rDev -6%

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.

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


3.9/5  rDev -3%

Thanks Dan for sharing this one. Poured a dark brown/black with a brown head that disapated quickly. Aroma of malt, coffee, and chocolate. Taste didn't disapoint: coffee, chocolate, malt, with just a mild hop bitterness. Definitely a good stout; will seek this one out.

04-20-2011 06:33:52 | More by Schmittymack
Photo of smakawhat


4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A nice three finger soapy head with various sizes of bubbles. Falls at a slow pace. Body color is a dark brown walnut very close to black. Looks pretty good.

Good mix of malt and roast coffee, hints of tonic carbon dioxide gas and molasses.

Sweet and prickly is the first thing I get. Fruity currant finish and spiced hops. Licorice and many other things in the palate, bittersweet chocolate, molasess, coffee. Very complex tasting really interesting.

I real dig this there's a lot going on here for taste and flavor, it's kind of all over the place but this is a near stout!

04-19-2011 18:44:16 | More by smakawhat
Photo of BretSikkink


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

Pours a pleasing mahogany color with just a glimmer of highlighting. Head leaps up magnificently and sticks hard, leaving an ecru-colored network of rings. Superb look.

Strong aroma with a pleasing profile. This is a balanced effort, with coffee and chocolate fighting it out. There's a nice sweetness of cocoa powder that asserts itself against a strong backbone of espresso.

The flavor has a concomitant profile, mainly the roasted malts up front, but with a solid backing performance by C-hops. Good old San Diego. Bitterness is balanced nicely by the sweetness. Further notes include a little caramel, dark fruit, and herbal hopping.

Slightly shy of medium in the body, lightly creamy with the full carbonation. Eminently drinkable - keep an eye on how quickly the glass runs out! Great beer, yet another from Ballast Point.

04-19-2011 04:18:23 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of beer2day

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%

Deep black pour with no head and very light lace.

Dry roast coffee with cocoa underneath define the nose.

Creamy smooth chocolate malt hits first, light roast coffee follow, with a smooth dry finish. Light hop presence in the end. Very little indication of the abv.

Body is right on for the style.

Goes down way too easy.

04-17-2011 11:50:51 | More by beer2day
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

Poured from a bomber I picked up at the brewery in San Diego, I poured this beast into a pint glass. It pours with a viscous look to it, coming out a dark amber-brown color that compounds into a deep almost-black when the glass is full. Pours with a healthy 1.5 inch head of chocolate milk coloring that slowly settles into a film as you consume. Great body, as almost the entire glass is laced. Nose is roast coffee and smoke, with dark molasses and meaty characteristics, as well. Smokiness throughtout the taste characteristics, which is fantastic! Dark flavors of coffee bean and cocoa nib also lend themselves to the flavor. Booze not overly present despite the higher ABV. Body is full, rich, and round, but tails off into a crisp, dry, and slightly bitter finish. Very pleasant darkly sweet aftertaste makes this an easy drinker for a bigger beer. I could easily get in trouble with this one!

04-16-2011 04:19:12 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of comfortablynumb1


3.6/5  rDev -10.4%

Poured from a bomber into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours a deep brown with a one finger tan head on an aggressive pour. Head dissipates at a fairly hasty pace, but there is a little lacing to be had...

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and a hoppy aroma...

T - Dark roasted malts and coffe up front followed by bitter chocolate and a hint of vanilla. A smooth floral hop presense finishes this one off. Good, but not great. Would have perfered a little less hop presense and a little more sweet chocolate...

M - A little light for the style, but really smooth. Was hoping for a more silky viscous mouthfeel. Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation...

O - Would definitely recommend this one to someone who likes a hop presense in there Impy/Double Stouts. A decent brew, but Victory at Sea is hands down a superior beer in my opinion. Would be interested to try the BA verison of this...


04-16-2011 01:59:14 | More by comfortablynumb1
Photo of russwbeck


3.8/5  rDev -5.5%

Lots of thanks go out to beerman4 for adding this in an extra!

A: Black in color with a nicely sized light brown head from a hard pour. Not a lot of retention or lacing.

S: Surprised to smell the amount of hops I'm getting from this one. Sweet chocolate and roasted malts lay in the background, with on overlaying coffee, but really hops dominate the smell.

T: Sweet chocolate start the taste off. Next up is a big wave of citrus hops, almost like a punch in the face. That recedes to some roastiness and coffee. Bit of booziness throughout.

MF: Nice and heavy with decent carbonation. Very dry with a bit of creaminess to it.

O: This is a good beer, but not great for the style. The tastes are strong and intricate, but it leaves a strange taste in your mouth and isn't phenomenally well balanced.

04-10-2011 04:02:41 | More by russwbeck
Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,343 ratings.