1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

1,298 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,298
Reviews: 435
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 104
Gots: 229 | FT: 9
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,298 | Reviews: 435 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopDerek


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

A bottle picked up back in December at Pizza Port Carlsbad's bottle shop.

Poured an inky black with some dark brown edges. Two fingers of mocha brown head has ok retention and leaves a bit of spotty lacing and an oily coating. Smells of chocolate, roasted malt, nuts, coffee, currants, plums, and a bit of alcohol. Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruits like black currants and plums, coffee, anise, and a soothing alcohol finish. Medium full in body with low carbonation. Pretty thick, smooth, and creamy with a nice balance. A pretty enjoyable Imperial Stout, not overly mind blowing, but also not a total miss. Quality stuff, easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2009 17:32:25 | More by HopDerek
Photo of NCSUdo


4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle

A: Deep black under a good sized brown head. Low retention and lace.

S: Very nice smell, chocolate, roasted malt, nuttiness. Really nice balance. Maybe some sweet cream. Very pleased with the aroma.

T: Again, very nice and very balanced. Chocolate and roasted malt balanced with a nice cream sweetness. Bitterness is there along with some heat, but never overwhelming. A hint here and there of some dark fruit.

M/D: Full bodied, low carbonation, could be a little better however (silky, creamy, smooth, etc.). Just missing some texture. Drinkability is very nice. A really good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2009 00:05:25 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of htomsirveaux


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 25 Mar 2009. Gift from A&P, thanks!

Poured in a DFH shaped pint glass. Medium sized dark brown head. Lightly carbonated. Dark brown bordering on pitch black. Smells almost muddy, like wet earth, chocolate, some coffee. Taste is much better than the aroma, very chocolately, roasty, milky and malty. Like a mocha malted milkshake, some dark fruits, currants. Finish and aftertaste are barely bitter, but instead are chocolately and sweet. Medium to heavy body, almost oily. Alcohol is warming.

Tasty, overall pretty good but the aroma is a bit off.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 05:07:21 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of ppoitras


4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. What head there is melts away to thin layer of small bubbles, with leggy slow-falling lace. Aroma is roasty dark malt, anise, and alcohol. Taste stays the course of the nose, with alcohol peeking through at the close. Mouthfeel is velvet smooth, and drinkability is WAY too easy for 10%. Find it, try it.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 00:59:58 | More by ppoitras
Photo of aforbes10


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very black with a short brown head, lacing very nice and unbroken. Smells of bittersweet chocolate, brandy and plums. Nice roasted chocolate flavor, laced with some coffee and a vague dark fruit. More roasted coffee on the finish with a slight alcohol warmth. Flavor is well balanced for the style but nothing amazing. Thick and full bodied, almost chewy. Drinks well. A good all around impy.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 04:23:06 | More by aforbes10
Photo of tmoneyba


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at local BA tasting.

Poured black color with an average brown frothy head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate roasted malt,chocolate and small alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy sweet roasted flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration.

Good complex stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2009 02:32:58 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of CheeseTurds


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this from a bomber last night.

This is a very well-executed stout from a great brewery. It took me a while to remember that I had this on tap at Toronado a few weeks back (my memory had been clouded by the 5 or 6 pints of stout I had afterward). It was quite the treat then, too.

This beer pours dark as hell. I held it up to the light and nothing shined through. That gets big points from me.

I had eaten pancakes before drinking this beer. This was just a little runnier than the maple syrup I had eaten. Thick, creamy feel. I felt like I was chewing on it, but it doesn't stick long. Again, that's what I want from an Oatmeal stout and this didn't disappoint.

The taste was a little boozy (as it's gonna be at 10%) but this is very drinkable. Perhaps I drank it too fast as I was asleep an hour after I finished the bottle.

Even though I intend to experiment more and more with Imperial Stouts, I'd definitely pick this one up on a "non-experimental" night.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2009 05:51:07 | More by CheeseTurds
Photo of rudylaw


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to HawekeyeDaz for the share!

Beautiful looking stout with a 2-3 finger, brown head.

Very sweet in the nose. Roasty, chocolate goodness.

First few sips I get a crack of booze. Some bourbon? Then, it mellows out into a very tasty RIS. It mellows out into a delicious, creamy, chewy finish. It's nothing that I haven't had before, and it isn't breaking any new ground, but it's still fantastic stuff! Glad for the opportunity to try more from Ballast Point.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2009 23:07:52 | More by rudylaw
Photo of Zorro


3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Dark black colored beer with a tall dark brown colored head.

Smell is chocolate and berries with charred malt and smoke. Fairly strong raspberry and vanilla aroma as if Chambord liqueur was added.

The taste starts out highly roasted and a bit burnt. Heavy on the roasted malt and lighter on the fruit, this is a bit oily in the mouth like French Roast coffee. Could be more complex.

Mouthfeel is quite thick.

Can't give this all that high a drinkability rating. This is good but after the first glass you don't really want the second one in the bomber.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2009 04:32:57 | More by Zorro
Photo of mully


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

Thick black body with hints of brown at the very edges of my less than optimal tasting glass. persistant mocha head fades but sticks around for the the end.

Dark roast malts, sweetness and alcohol are primary with a hint of bourbon/vanilla

Abit hot right up front, but after a few sips the booze starts to mellow. The black malt bitterness combines well with the hops to provide a solid palate for the sweetness to exisist on. Good flavor, not overly complex or deep. Good overall flavor, probably not in my top 10 stouts.

creamy and smooth mouthfeel a slightly visous or oily element to this beer as well.

Overall a good beer but not outstanding very glad to try it.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2009 04:08:02 | More by mully
Photo of sholland119


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

Got this in a trade with jgap. Thanks, Justin!

A-Jet black, opaque with a very thin creamy tan head.

S-Roasted coffee and molasses with some dark chocolate in the background.

T-Sweeter than the nose, starting with a nice malty front with a roasty finish and more than a little bit of alcohol bite. Just boozy enough without going over the top. Delicious.

M-A little bit oily but otherwise rather light.

D-Very nice. Rich in flavor and a pleasure to drink.


Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 04:25:14 | More by sholland119
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle served in my New Belgium goblet (thanks Topher). Poured two shades shy of black with a dense, half inch, khaki-colored head that eventually dissipated into a tight slick of foam. Some clusters of lacing present during the tasting, but weak adehsion for the most part. Nose was cocoa, malt and dark fruit. Taste follows nose, but also detected a roasty quality, a slight, but not unpleasant char and some acidity associated with the dark fruit. Mouthfeel is just short of medium-bodied. Texture is creamy, but there is also a light, background effervescence present. Really great IS. Not much heat and well-balanced. I really enjoyed this offering very much.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2009 01:04:40 | More by Jwale73
Photo of ffejherb


3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber into goblet on 2/4/09.

A - Poured a deep, almost pitch black body with a slim mocha-colored head that receded into a patchy veil and some spotty lace.

S - Earthy and meaty aroma with dark roasted malt and some bitter chocolate notes. There is also a bit of nutty acridity reminiscent of walnuts and chestnuts.

T - Initial flavor blends chocolate and dry roasted malt with a tinge of earthy hop bitterness. Finishes with a nutty malt character.

M - Full bodied stout with a slick, smooth oily texture and soft carbonation. Finish is dry, earthy, bitter and a bit astringent.

D - Pretty good Imperial Stout, but personally I prefer Ballast Point's hop bombs. With that said, I'm still grateful to have been able to try this limited release.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 23:22:38 | More by ffejherb
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mauerhan for this one. 22 oz bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours almost black with some reddish brown highlights. 2 fingers+ of dense, chewy-looking head. Good head retention, pretty good lacing.

The nose is pretty straightforward. Dark roasted malts, a little alcohol, and that's about it. Just a touch of dark fruit.

More interesting in the mouth for sure. Strong roasted malt flavors along with chocolate chips, a bit of cherry and a bit of coffee. Warm alcohol and raisin finish. Not too sticky, though- this stuff is tasty and very drinkable. Body is thinner than I expected for the style, but there's a creamy quality that makes for a pleasant mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation.

Overall impression: Enjoyable IS. I'd like to try more from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 18:01:57 | More by PDXHops
Photo of madorb


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

Had on tap at City Beer Store 01/24/09.

I'd previously had this in the bottle, and I thought it was a very solid, if unremarkable stout. On tap it really seemed like a totally different beast.

It poured a nice jet black, and the nose was smooth and creamy. It tasted *much* creamier and more robust than out of the bottle, it really tasted a lot more like a chocolately milk stout, with an amazing mouth feel. I was really surprised by the stark contrast between bottle and tap. If you see it on tap, I'd recommend checking it out!

Serving type: on-tap

01-26-2009 02:53:40 | More by madorb
Photo of ibbjamin


3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a bomber from BevMo in San Jose, CA. Poured into a large snifter and then into a tulip after realizing the smell of dishsoap remained in the snifter.

Leaves an inch long frothy tan head after a moderately aggressive pour. Head retention is phenomenal. Thick and black. Good lacing.

Has somewhat of a fizzy, carbonated nose that smells of sweet roasted malts and some alcohol.

Taste is much better than the nose. Quite malty actually; somewhat sweet and very roasty with definite chocolate backing.

The mouth is very thick creamy. Finished long and smooth. Carbonation is good. Full bodied.

Quite a tasty little treat that is relatively easy to put back. A good representation of this style at this price level.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2009 03:21:19 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of Murchmac


3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was excited to see this beer up here as i've never seen it before.

Pours a Dark Dark black, with some ruby, no real head, black, like the black on the hole of the bottom of the sea.

Thin smell of coffee, bourbon, sweet chocolate, some bready creaminess to it. Like Davey Jones locker the morning after a night with a prostitute made from chocolate.

Hot alcohol up front, roasted choco-coffee, some bready creaminess to it. Better when it warms up and your tongue adjusts to it.

Overall this beer was like finding out Jaws didn't eat Richard Dreyfuss, disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2009 03:49:17 | More by Murchmac
Photo of PhxHorn


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This about as close as you can get to black without actually being black. Half a finger of tan head forms when poured vigorously--not the foamiest of beers. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Tastes moderately of chocolate, coffee, caramel, malt, licorice. A nice balanced combination of flavors, but they really were a bit weaker than they should have been. If the flavors had been bumped up a notch, then it would have been first rate.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 17:11:10 | More by PhxHorn
Photo of charlzm


3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Consumed 01/17/09.

Pours a clear dark brown. A tan head a finger tall quickly dissipates. Some active carbonation.

The nose is enticed by subtle mocha and a sweet cherry note.

Flavor is thick, rich mocha with a some acidic red wine overtone. A little ashy smoke on the finish is the only thing off. More sweet than bitter, but more sour than sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick and smooth with a little prickly carbonation at first sip. BY the middle of the glass, the feel has gotten thinnner and less satisfying. Some stomach burn after swallowing.

A whole bomber may be a but much for a solo drinker; it's just not delicious enough.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 02:59:56 | More by charlzm
Photo of joepais


3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I walked into a beer store in mass and look what I found. The 22 0a bottle poured into a snifter produced a tan head the went of to a thin lace on top of a pitch black body
Aromas' of sweet roasted malts (chocolate) filled my head there is a little dark fruit in there as well
The flavor is very sweet and it surprise's me the malts are strong but the lite amount of bitterness coming thru is good enough to balance this brew out. The funny thing was that to say it is an IMP stout to me it's a stretch. It was almost Quaffable in some ways I could not detect any of the 10% in this at all. The mouth feel was medium more than thick so I went down very good. A very interesting stout I am glad I tried it

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 06:07:16 | More by joepais
Photo of bifrostguard


3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Jet black with a noticeable effervescence. Has a moderate light tan head that diminishes quickly and leaves no lacing.

S - Somewhat hoppy, citrusy along with the usual roasted malts, coffee and toffee characteristics.

T - Taste is mild, which is ok for me but considering the price of this bottle I was a bit disappointed. A good RIS with sweet roasted malt, chocolate and toffee flavors.

M - Thinner than most RIS, but still silky and creamy.

D - A building sweetness limits this one. I'm on to the next.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2009 08:14:05 | More by bifrostguard
Photo of hopdog


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle acquired in trade with Hophead22 - thanks!

I almost didn't notice this was different than last year's Robust Stout - good thing I took a second look at the label!

Poured a dark, dark brown, almost black with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of roast, cocoa, ligtht coffee, lightly earthy, and some dark fruits. Tastes of dark fruits, chocolate, lighter roastiness, molasses, and some coffee.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2009 01:32:34 | More by hopdog
Photo of ChillMike


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a super dark brown almost black in color with a nice dark tan head that is somewhat on the smaller side but does stick around and leaves some nice lacing around the glass.

S: Smells mainly of bitter chocolates and coffee, there are also hints of roasted nuts and earthy hops. Nice smelling beer.

T: Very nice taste, the main flavor I'm tasting is of roasted nuts. There are also flavors of a mild coffee, that bitter chocolate noted in the nose, a bit of toffee and ends on just enough of a mild bitter hop taste. Hides the 10% VERY well. Not as complex as some Imperial Stouts I've had but it is very good.

MF:Nice thick full body feels nice on the tongue but just a smidgen not enough on the carbonation side of things.

D: Very drinkable beer, high on the ABV, but definitely a great after dinner or night cap beer.

Overall a solid offering from Ballast Point. Not my favorite Imperial Stout but a very strong effort.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 09:16:11 | More by ChillMike
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

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

22oz undated bottle at 50 degrees, courtesy of SouthBay Drugs.

Pours opaque black with a one inch head of brown, somewhat porous foam. Retention is short-lived, and the head quickly drops to a placid surface with zero lacework.

Dark chocolate, charred malts, and coffee grounds lead off the nose. A hint of flaked oats and dusty straw is way underneath. A hint of grapefruit seems misplaced.

Full bodied with a chewy, oily mouthfeel. A bit thinner than I like.

Rich chocolate, roasted barley, burnt malt, and espresso start the palate. Hints of fresh, oily, chewy oats, and Kahlau follow through.

Finishes with charred bakers chocolate, coffee syrup, and some fading cereal undertones. Alcohol is barely warming and hardly noticable.

Certainly tasty, oily, and chewy, but the cereal-like oat flavor is a bit much. Kind of an odd taste in the very end. Otherwise, the beer is somewhat unmemorable albeit quaffable.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 00:12:23 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of magictrokini


3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Little did I know that there were two Sea Monsters. Pours jet black with brown edges. Small, thick tan head only one finger high. Minimal lacing, though it could have been the glass. Roasty, grainy aroma with burnt coffee, sour mash, leather, and wood. Acerbic taste initially, more of a black coffee bite when the beer warmed. Lots of coffee in this one. Baker's chocolate and cocoa, along with hints of vanilla, caramel, and cream. Periodicaly, there was a sour/metallic tang. Kind of like a Goldings hop bite with a twist of sour milk. It wasn't necessarily unpleasant, but I could have done without it. Like the non-Imperial version, this was a bit loose and watery in the mouthfeel, more so in this version given the style. Despite its warts, this was easily drinkable and I'll be sure to revisit it.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2009 18:24:41 | More by magictrokini
Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,298 ratings.