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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

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1,466 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,466
Reviews: 452
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 121
Gots: 272 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,466 | Reviews: 452 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GregSVT
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter - Thanks Mike!

A: Pours a dark brown with a tan head that fades to a ring and leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, and dark fruits. If you allow this one to warm up the aromas get much stronger and better.

T: The taste is chocolate, coffee, bitter hops, and a slight dark fruit/currant flavor. The flavors are much bigger than the nose lead on...good stuff.

M: The feel is on the thicker side of medium and creamy. Carbonation is nice for such a big beer.

O: While this a good stout it's definitely not my favorite. I would drink it again if offered one but I wouldn't search it out again.

Photo of litheum94
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. No bottling dates. Reviewed on 5/20/11.

Pours a deep black body. A thick, brown head sits atop that settles very slowly, leaving a patchy cover. Very nice lacing on the glass.

Strong smoked hickory aromas dominates the nose. Chocolate sweetness, with some cocoa powder. Reminds me of BBQ sauce. Has a very salty, umami like quality to the nose.

Smoked hickory is very prominent in the mouth, with some charcoal tones. Cocoa powder with burnt toast flavors. Bitter coffee tones. Leafy hop flavor, imparting some more bitterness. Drying from the bitterness, yet also slightly creamy from the oatmeal.

Easy drinking and a good example of the style. Hides its alcohol well.

Photo of Chaney
3.28/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

Photo of nhindian
3.18/5  rDev -20.9%
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.

Photo of SawDog505
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 22 oz into my VIJF Duvel 20 oz glass. Pitch black, with with 5 inches on a aggressive pour, of sticky mocha head. Smells of chocolate, coffee, little burnt, and touch of booze. Smell is similar, with a little more booze then the smell leads on. Nice mouth feel, could be thicker, but probably adds to the drinkability. Plenty of carbonation. This is a great stout, will get more next time possible.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Spider889
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Photo of n2185
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
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.

Photo of MikeyMikee
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of daveytheformer
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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.

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.

Photo of gatorbreath
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.!

Photo of grannun
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of emmasdad
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

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

Photo of seand
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

$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.

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.

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

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...

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,466 ratings.