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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

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1,475 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,475
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 123
Gots: 276 | 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: 1,475 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
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
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
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
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
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
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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

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.

Photo of brotherloco
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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%.

Photo of surprenant1138
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Photo of eric5bellies
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of adman08
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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

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

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.

Photo of JoshVandy
3.05/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Photo of brstls4drmrs
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. :)

Photo of fastsrt
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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.

Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,475 ratings.