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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.

1,364 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,364
Reviews: 439
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 112
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: 1,364 | Reviews: 439 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of femALEist
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's not distributed out in the Bay Area. Traded to get a hold of this beer. This stout poured ink black and smelled of freshly roasted coffee, burnt caramel and citrus/piney hops. It tasted a bit toasty, with some dried raisins, plums, licorice, toffee, alcohol and subtle hops. What made this stout stand out to me was the hop flavor mixed into it. I usually only taste sweet or bitter stouts, but this one seems to be rounded out and a bit smoother due to the hop content.

femALEist, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of BelgianPrincess
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very respectable Imperial Stout. Pours black in the middle with translucent dark brown around the edges. Classic coffee/roasted/vanilla smell. Taste is much the same... creamy, chocolaty, coffee. Mouthfeel is thick with small bubbles bathing the tongue. Very tasty, but not something that I want more than 22oz of. Drinkable for a stout.

BelgianPrincess, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of waldensquare
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Poured from bottle.

Smell: Hints of smoke and coffee.

Taste: Nice dark chocolate color with good dense head; sweet malts.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy and smooth. No acidity or bitterness.

Drinkability: Especially nice during the cold winter months.

waldensquare, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of mirish72
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Psyched to see this at Julio's, picked it up with a Sculpin bomber. Pours jet black with a nice 2 finger brown head.

Smells of roasted, almost burnt malts. it also has a strong coffee bitterness.

Tastes a bit sweeter than I would have expected. I was thinking more dry and less bittersweet. Strong hints of coffee throughout.

Very drinkable, but packs less of a punch that I would have thought from other Ballast Point brews. Good, but I had higher, maybe unrealistic expectations and at $11 a bomber, probably not the greatest value for the hefty pricetag.

mirish72, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of koopa
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at Capone's last weekend.

Appearance: pours a dark brown to black with a 1 finger khaki crown. The cap displays medium retention and shows some lace.

Smell: Roast malt with a hint of chocolate.

Taste: Nice malt sweetness up front with a roasty malt transition into a nice juicy hop wave.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, well carbonated, and crisp!

Drinkability: Very....with a touch less alcohol and a better flavor profile it would earn a 5.0

koopa, Mar 13, 2010
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.

NittanyBeerFan, Mar 12, 2010
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.

garuda, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of ccrida
4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber (cellared 1 year), Sea Monster is a blackish brown with a tan head that leaves scattered foamy lace.

Smell is sweet, red wine and caramel. Crazy depth, I really love it, like a BSDA.

Taste is strong, big bakers chocolate, but also very vinous, tasting older then the year I've had it (bought it at a beer store in San Fransisco so I suppose it could have been sitting for a while). Tannic as well, although it wasn't barrel aged AFAIK. Reading teh able, I just saw that their description of currant, and that is very accurate. This really tastes like a Belgian stout, which I love.

Mouthfeel is very slick, medium light bodied, with the viscosity being a bit ephemeral.

Drinkability is good, this is a super tasty stout, a bit unusual though do due the sweet dark red and black fruits. It's so rich that it's a bit slow drinking in a satisfying kind of way, but it's light bodied and very smooth. Aged very well, great beer.

ccrida, Mar 07, 2010
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.

weeare138, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to find this at the local beer store...

A: Perfect pitch black with a thick 2 inch mocha colored head that slowly fades. Exceptional!

S: Smells of chocolate, malt, and raisin. Oakiness in the middle with hops on the backend. Not bad.

T: Hoppiness with bitter chocolate and coffee flavors upfront. Oaky malts in the middle. Slight grapefruit on the backend.

M: Very good. Leaves a nice stouty sticky flavor on your palate. Just a hint too much carbonation.

D: Goes down decent. Not too bad. Not as smooth as I would like it, but not bad.

All in all, this is a great brew to try once if you like stouts or if you like hoppy beers. I like it, but it's not one of my faves...

steve8robin, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of cassanoj
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Dark raisin brown, retains head throughout. Decent amount o' lacing.

I smell molasses, barley, a lot of roasted chocolate and a significant dose of hops. I really like how the roasted chocolate and barley play together in this one...also the way the hops add a nice little kick.

Taste is of chocolate, barley, dates, plums, cherries, coffee, and a significant lactic factor which I think seperates this beer from a lot of other stouts. It's quite sour, which I find myself enjoying.

Mouthfeel is smooth but the hops give it a bitter aftertaste. Medium to full body with light carbonation.

I'm quite impressed with Ballast Point's offering as I often am. I think these guys and gals are killing it over there in San Diego.

cassanoj, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of Adamdc
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into nonic pint glass.

A: Pour produced about a 1 inch head atop a nearly opaque body with ruby edges when held up to light

S: Instantly hit a chocolaty/coffee aroma. There's also some tobacco, currants and figs and swirling gives off a very strong maltiness. I really like the aroma.

T: Taste mimics the aroma. Lots of roasted chocolate and lots of coffee. Some dark fruits in there and there's a nice hop finish to balance things out.

M: Not bad, but not great. A little on the thin side. Very smooth however----the oats help this out quite a bit.

D: Drinkability is pretty good in this beer. Despite it's 10% abv this is going down smoothly and it's very tasty. I'm liking this very much. It's not as thick and chewy like some 'top' RIS's but seeing as it's an American Double I think it's right where it should be.

Adamdc, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber for $9.99 from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. No freshness/vintage info to be had. Pours black-suprise- frothy and rich mocha head, leaves low hanging extensive sheeting and plenty of bits and spots of fine lacing. Bold nose of burnt grains, pleasantly ripe dark fruit and rich stout goodness. Full flavor and complex, over the top stout. Ample dark malts and depth of flavor here, notes of dark coffee, smoky dark chocolate, moe dark grains, some shalkyness and a moderatly dry hop filled finish. Large and tasty, nice night capper or, of course, with a fudgy, chocolaty piece of cake. Well done BP.

Billolick, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of Bajasith
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 650ml bottle I picked up at my favorite liquor store. Heard some great things about this brew so here we are, pouring into a snifter glass...

A: Very dark with a reddish tinge around the edges. Small mocha-colored head that receded into a patchy veil and some spotty lace.
S: Thick aroma of dark roasted malts and some bitter chocolate notes and a faint hint of coffee.
T: Very thick and the initial flavor blends bitter chocolate and dry roasted malt with a tinge of earthy hop bitterness.
M: Full bodied stout with a slick, smooth oily texture, chewy and soft carbonation. Finish is dry, earthy, bitter and a bit astringent.
D: I was impressed by the full flavor of this stout. Due to it's full body, the 650ml bottle must be shared.

Bajasith, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark brown liquid that allows some hues of red through with light shined upon it. The head is khaki in color, thick and creamy. It lingers for quite some time, very solid retention! Big lace left on the glass, thick and completely coated.

S-the nose is decent in strength. Roasted barley comes first with notes of molasses and black current to follow, slightly burnt, the bitter sweet chocolate fades in towards the back.

T-this is big in flavor, lots of black curant and roasted barley hit the palate, like the nose it is slightly burnt. The oatmeal is noticeable but faint. Bittersweet dark chocolate comes in towards the back. An herbal, citric hop presence is noticeable at the finish but not strong.

M-this is a robust stout, full bodied thick and creamy. It is big! Lots of carbonation, a little too much for my liking.

D-this is good drinking wit a huge body and great flavors. Nothing deters me from wanting to keep drinking and I don't stop. I'd like more!

cpetrone84, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's yesterday.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. I don't get a whole lot on the nose, just some coffee and licorise... maybe some light tar and dark chocolate as well. It's OK, but it's pretty light. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose, and while the beer tastes pretty good, I found myself wishing that there was more of everything. The beer is at most moderately sweet, with just enough hoppy bitterness in the finish to dry it out a bit. The beer is medium bodied and drinkability is OK.

Mehhh... while there's nothing wrong with this beer, it was nothing really special either. I've come to expect more from Ballast Point, and so found myself a bit let down by this one. Oh well...

John_M, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of btransue4
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This poured dark as night black. I drank a bomber out of a goblet. Almost no head but a very dark with a strong flavor. Thick yet very drinkable. This stout had subtle undertones of chocolate with a rich coffee, bitter oatmeal flavor. Stouts are a hit or miss in my book and this one was spot on. This beer is a limited release and I see why, this was my first ballast point and I now understand why they are so sought after. A excellent stout. If you can find it, buy it.

btransue4, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Corsedonk snifter. Pours a 'not so black' yet dark at first. Black as night as it fills the glass. Interesting, looks more like a porter as it pours. Decent one to two finger size head. Very creamy and frothy head with very sticky, yet light lacing.

Wow, aroma reminds me of Darkness. Lots of sweet chocolate and coffee...like your standard big imperial stout. Picking up a piney bitter hops, this is making my mouth water.

Very good! Lot's of sweet chocolate followed by a small amount of counter balancing hops. Small amount of dark fruit...very slight. A little coffe on the backside. Very thick and creamy. Full chewy mouthfeel. Where has this beer been? Very good. Slightly boozy, but not overkill...definitely warming though.

ShadesOfGray, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of theghost3
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a 1-finger chocolate milk-like head. Medium lacing.

Smell is strong of chocolate, oak, blackberries, and some charcoal. The taste is coffee, dark chocolate, oak, charcoal, and molasses. There's also a hint of booziness. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied; more carbonated than I expected. Dry in the end.

This is a drinkable American Imperial Stout. There's a woodiness throughout, and a biting carbonation, but not too bad.

theghost3, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of meatyard
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a very dark, opaque, brown and with a hard pour I get 2-fingers of tan head that falls slowly to a cover. A fair amount of lacing.
The smell is very roasty malts, coffee and some chocolate notes.
The taste is a nice, sweet, malt flavor followed by coffee and finishing with a light touch of hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is up towards full and thick with adequate carbonation.
Drinkability is, mostly, very good but a bit on the sweet side, no noticeable alcohol.

This is a very nice stout overall but there are better BP stouts.

meatyard, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of Gehrig
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Touted with vigor by the manager of a local beer purveyor, I finally caved and grabbed Sea Monster from Ballast Point. Overall, a good selection.

Three full fingers of fairly dark tan froth top a rich, beautiful black body; ample lacing and good duration start Sea Monster out very well--a good-looking beer. Plenty of molasses, dark chocolate, and a hint of roasted coffee greet the nose--good aromas. A little bigger for a DIS would have been great, but the smell is not exactly disappointing.

Full taste, very malty, and a little sweeter than I expected. Molasses, chocolate, and coffee carry the day for Sea Monster, but the unmistakable taste of berry emerges in the second half as it warms. Delicious. Again, I'm left wanting for a little bolder flavor, but the variety is very good. Good texture, mainly smooth but a little gritty in the finish, Sea Monster is a well hopped beer that is predominately malt forward, a good, steady, and flavorful representative of the style.

At times, I wanted a little bit more from Sea Monster--especially a little more brash "Monster," to be aggressive and robust. Yet in the end, this is quite a good DIS, with no glaring weaknesses, and very accessible. To its credit, the high ABV (10%) remains hidden behind an accessible veneer.

Good stuff--not quite as brawny as I might have hoped or the label had alluded, but nonetheless good and well worth trying.

Gehrig, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into the old reliable pint glass.

A: Black in color with a cram colored head. Good lacing, and head retention is ok, considering the ABV of the beer.

S: Roasty malt shines through with coffee, chocolate, toast, and dried dark fruit. Suprisingly hoppy aroma on the back end.

T: One of the hoppier imperial stouts I have come across. Malt character is dominant, with espresso, toasted bread, some chocolate, and molasses. Hops dry out the finish, leaving a nice bitter edge.

M: Medium-bodied. Actually this is the one flaw with this beer. It was just a bit thin on the palate. Very silky overall, with loads of flavor.

D: Sea Monster is a very good imperial stout. It's one I would reccommend to people just getting into the style. A bit lighter, yet very full-flavored. I would definitely buy it again.

WYVYRN527, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near-black with a minimal head that clings throughout. Nose brings forth plenty of coffee, dark sugar, a bit of roasted malt, and a slight nose of chocolate and hops. Taste included a bit more chocolate, but still dominated by coffee and roasted malt. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied closing in on being heavy with good carbonation. Nice drinkability, but nothing spectacular for the style.

Thorpe429, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of homebrew311
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 22oz bomber into Delirium snifter.

A: on the pour, the beer appears a lighter brown color with some light passing through. As it all collects in the glass, it appears much dark with no light passing through. Minimal head with vigorous pour. Some sticky lacing.

S: heavy on roasted barley, molasses, and booze. Some dark fruits in there and a very small amount of dark chocolate.

T: the taste took me for a different ride than I expected based on the smell. Lots of boozy heat up front with molasses sweetness and dark fruits. The roasted barley character brings the sweetness to a halt, but then it finishes with lots of heat... too much in my opinion./

MF: There is something about this body that seems uncharacteristic for an imperial stout. It seems lighter bodied than it should. The specialty grain profile seems to be lacking.

D: I have tried a lot of imperial stouts, and this one fits somewhere on the lower half in terms of enjoyment. It is too boozy and lacks the depth and texture that I expect. With that being said, this is still a decent beer, just not in comparison to the vast variety of better imperial stouts out there.

homebrew311, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of jsh420
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours dark dark brown with a big 3 finger tan head that leaves notches all down the glass

smells of big fruity hops - i dont get any malts or anything else?

taste - again big fruity hops up front and then follows the malts roasted chocolate coffee

mouthfeel is good a medium to heavy body with good carbonation smooth and creamy

drinkability - this was a different kinda of impy stout - a clash of the big eye ipa meets a porter

jsh420, Feb 07, 2010
Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,364 ratings.