1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,512 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,512
Reviews: 464
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 125
Gots: 292 | FT: 17
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,512 | Reviews: 464 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shand
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. This Sea Monster's been hanging out in my cellar for about 10 months.

This is standard looking for an impy stout. Dark brown bordering on black, a tiny head that drops to lace around the edge. Aroma is a sweet roastiness, with dark fruits. The taste follows the nose, it's one of those stouts that's heavy on the dark fruits, with a nice, big malt presence behind it. The mouthfeel is a bit prickly, but it works with the heavy dark fruit presence. The drinkability is very good. Overall, a solid stout, but nothing worth losing sleep over.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a dark black with minimal head. The aroma gives off a lot of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts, along with some licorice. The taste has similar qualities with lots of chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruits mixed in. The mouthfeel is thick bodied with decent carbonation, but also somewhat creamy and smooth.

A solid imperial stout, although the ABV of 10% doesn't hide itself. There was just something about this beer that took it down a notch from being great - just a weird lingering aftertaste and the heat from the ABV didn't help either.

Photo of econ
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bomber into a pint glass, showing a thin head of frothy cappuccino. This sea monster was as close to black as the light-deprived ocean depths where the anglerfish lives, almost entirely opaque and viscous, with just the barest of light passing through towards the bottom, giving off a subtle reddish-brown tinge.
It had a strong aroma of dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and spice, sparingly bitter, and tasted malty and sweet, with a hint of alcohol. This was surprisingly very smooth for a stout, but with an understandable slight alcohol mouthfeel. Heavy and filling she was, but not quite as full-bodied as a Russian Imperial. A bit of vodka-ethanol aftertaste. Being a Ballast Point, there's no telling how fresh this bottle was, but I didn't notice any of the hop aroma or flavors most people point out with the Sea Monster. No complaints, though, as I enjoyed this beer immensely.

crossposted on http:://booksbitesbrews.blogspot.com

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

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Very dark opaque brown pour with a finger of brown head that slowly recedes to a ring of head. Solid, but not overly impressive.

S: Woah - lots of piney hops with some roast in the background. The hops dominate, though.

T: Strong bitterness with citrus and piney hop flavor. As the beer warms, I get more and more roastiness. However, the hops are a bit much for my me. Nearly no sign of 10% ABV, though.

M: Medium thickness mouthfeel with quite a bit of carbonation for an imperial stout, but not distractingly so. I like my stouts a bit thicker with a bit less carbonation.

O: Quite hoppy for an imperial stout. A bit distracting from the rest of the flavors. While this is not one of my favorite RIS, I did enjoy the beer.

Photo of NickRivers
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A&S - Pours a dark brown and sits non-transparent black with a finger worth of mocha colored head with tons of lacing. Smells of dark malts, some stewed fruit, vanilla, coffee, and a fresh hop presence.

T&M - Hits fizzy and sweet, tons of roasty malt that just compliments the alcohol burn ever so brilliantly. The finish is smokey bitter with huge hop profile, like a west coast IPA profile. Tons of coffee with a hint of vanilla and some woodiness.

O - A fantasic beer! Every flavor compliments the other unlike some other stouts which contain such huge flavors that seem to overpower the others. A little dangerous on the drinkability, I feel its more along the lines of a porter, its so drinkable but if you let it sit in your mouth you feel the burn from all that fermented deliciousness. Wonderful stout, maybe my go-to here in CA, haven't had Old Raspy yet, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Cheers!

Photo of ChugginOil
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark caramel color and sits pitch black. Cola edging sits underneath a fingers worth of pistachio colored head. Spotty lacing.

The nose presents an array of milk and dark chocolates, roasty malts, and a hint of dark fruit. Enticing

The taste is a roasty chocolate blast. Each sip brings cocoa, flakes oats, and roasted malt. A bit of coffee lingers in the finish. Very delicious with the 10% abv very well masked. As it warms, the golden oats stand out tremendously.

The mouthfeel isn't as thick as I had expected but it is quite pleasant. The oils within leave a whirlwind of roasty flavors on my palate. A moderate amount of carbonation suits this monster just fine.

Overall, this beer brings all the qualities I seek to the table. Balanced dessert like flavors and an ample amount of oats to boot. I am now very curious to try a barrel aged version of this beast. Super tasty imperial oatmeal stout!

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was told where I bought this (Healthy Spirits SF) that it's been sitting on the shelf for about 6-7 months which was the factor that made me OK with buying it at the $9.99 pricetag.

This is a very nice and enjoyable textbook stout.
Everything about this stout is good. Very good. I really can't find anythig wrong with it. But that's just it, it's REALLY good. Just would not go as far to name it with the greats...

Nice and big on the Chocolate then Vanilla, then the dark fuits / liquorice finish along with the hops. The roastiness is just phenominal. Pin point. I can also see where people say this is a hoppy stout...the hops have mellowed due to age but this needs another 6+ months before a "softer" mouthfeel would describe it.

As a regularly available stout...I'd take this over Old Raspy and GF Double Stout BUT...it would be a toss up between this and Big Black Bear Stout from Bear Republic. Of course...the price tag doesn't help Sea Monster's arguement...

A must try, if at least just once... recommended.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

crazy thanks to comfortablynumb1 for this super cool extra!!!

a - enjoyed in my E snifter. popped the cap and filled my glass...beer was a pewter black...bowling ball witha thin creamy mocha head that had slow eruptions from the larger bubbles on the surface. hung out for a while and eventually small ponds cleared on the surface. lacing was pretty slick.

s - very nice and subtle mix of roastiness with some sweet dark fruit. gently sweetened.

t - WHOA that's good squishy...BIG and BOLD. RrrrOASTiness. some bittering. cocoa powder. second pour was way more vanilla and creamy.

m - tingly bready finish. full bodied and authoritative. rich and filling but the roastiness makes it a bit lighter feeling.

o - overall a nice bold roasty stout. ballast point continues to impress.

Photo of lanamj
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a foothills pilsner glass.

A- Pours an obsidian black with a nice thick tan head that holds nicely. Lacing holds well to the glass and seems to never fade. Appears to be a little thin based on look

S- Lots of coffee and roasted malt are present at first. Some chocolate and dark fruit are found towards the end of the aroma. No booze smell at all on this one, its nicely hidden.

T- Taste follows the nose. Lots of coffee and roasted malts, chocolate and some alcohol are present as well.

M- Very nice, has a smooth clean feel. Not as thin as it appears and the carbonation is very mild but accommodating for the style

O- A good non barrel aged stout. All the necessary components for a good imperial stout. Defiantly want to enjoy this one again

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

Thanks to stakem for this one! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. $9.50 sticker. Neck stamped what appears to be "SMON8, AT .1AA" whatever that means...???

Pours a super dark black with slowly cascading tan head that stands tall. Nose smells like roasted coffee, and a bacon cheese burger with fries....seriously. Reminds me of our bar's house beef burger. Not unpleasantly though. Palate is wide and sweet/slick/rich. Black and brooding. Black coffee extract (the bagged stuff), sugar cane, molasses, leather, bitter herbs/roots. Long, wide finish.

Notes: A damn fine Imp Stout. Not the most complex, but then again, I don't know how old it is. (DATE YOUR BEERS!) Would drink/recommend again.

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

A-pours a deep rich brown with two fingers worth of light tan head

S-roast malts, bitter hops, caramel, molasses

T-roast malt, dark chocolate, and boozy dark fruit give the beer sweetness, but the bitter hops play a major role as well

M-rich body, light carbonation, creamy and smooth

Overall a really nice creamy imperial stout, maybe a little too much bitterness for me, but a beer that I would get again

Photo of Pete27lax
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sea Monster
Had this imperial stout 5/22/11, Aged about 4 months.

Very nice appearance in this beer. Almost completely black, with a lighter than expected good head. Solid retention and lacing in the head.

Smell was also very enjoyable. Heavy roasted scents, notes of molasses and a syrupy smell. Chocolate was also present in the smell.

The taste was slightly dissapointing. Nothing extremely strong in this taste. Coffee flavors are present up front and other roasted flavors. This is a very hoppy stout, a little more than I wouldve liked. Fruity hops were slightly overpowering the taste of the malts.

The mouthfeel was much lighter than I had expected. Moderate carbonation which died out and became more smooth after a few minutes of sitting.

Overall this was a solid beer. Could enjoy a bomber of this to myself. It also got better as it sat and warmed a little.

Photo of mikul93
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A poured black with a healthy light tan 2 finger head.

S Chocolate, coffee and booze. A nice roast smell.

T Lots of chocolate, coffee and some molasses. Nice roast flavor.

M Thick and creamy. Coats the tongue with a slight bitterness with the after taste.

O Great Imperial Stout. Really enjoyed this beer.

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

A: Pours an almost impenetrable deep black. Only the slightest hint of light peaks through creating a ruby highlight. There are 2 fingers of fluffy white head that dissipates very slowly creating some nice lacing on the side of the glass.

N: Roasted barley, chocolate, coffee, toffee and maybe some oats.

T: Roasted barley and toffee followed by dark chocolate and notes of black coffee. Finishes with dark chocolate, coffee and hints of charcoal.

M: This has a beautiful mouth-feel. Medium bodied, creamy, silky and soft.

O: Very smooth and easy drinking. Extremely balanced with a slight bitter bite towards the end. Absolutely delicious chocolate and coffee flavors run throughout. The 10% abv is undetectable. This is an incredible Imperial Stout!

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

Gives you a solid finger of brown foam, very even with pimples of larger bubbles scattered here and there, settles evenly too with no dimpling, the lacing is thin but possesses highly credible stickiness and ads visual appeal. Fully opaque black liquid with barely a touch or orange at the glass bottom, not much more can be said. The nose is rich and powerful while unassuming and quite content to let you come to it than assault you, cocoa, mocha, licorice, Brazil nuts, vanilla powder, orange zest, oat cereal and granola, some cherry, plum to black grape fruit, not getting any real booziness here, sinks in without a thud. Full-bodied, likewise here it is clear it could make more of an “impression” than it does, the coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla bean brown sugar, licorice never that sweet while the hops bring pine, orange citrus and a non-bitter herbal component. The same cherry, plum, currant fruit evident and maybe a touch bolder. The carbonation is not absent but is no doubt simmering very slowly on the back burner. Those hops give it spring through the finish. Again, it is not too sweet but, by the same token, it would be difficult to call it a dry stout. You can call it highly enjoyable though.

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out at a rich thick looking black goop. The head struggles a bit to get to the top of the beer. The head leaves a nice lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer is big, lots of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, booze, and a light sweetness in there too. The taste of the beer is sweet and full of chocolatey notes upfront that finish with a bitter sweet vanilla coffee flavor. The mouthfeel is nice and thick here, really fits the style well. Overall this beer is pretty damn tasty. I would probably give it another try if I saw it again.

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

32oz growler from Decicco's Ardsley, shopping for trades and figured this one was worth it.

A: Pours murky brown, dark, but not as much as you'd expect, I've seen darker depths than this sea monster. White head stays for a while, nice lacing

S: Whew, alot happening here. Dark chocolate, molasses and booze. Not really picking up some of the nuances of vanilla, etc other reviewers smell but its nice.

T: Syrupy Chocolate Cough Syrup. Thats my best explanation. None of the components really shine through to bring the taste up to par for me.

M: Thick, chewy, possbily the biggest beer I've tasted. Super heavy. Maybe this one would be more enjoyable in the winter.

O: This beer was a bit of a let down for me, I really like big roasty, chocolatey beers but this one was too one dimensional for me.

I've had other big beers like Mephistopheles and really liked it, this one left me hanging. Worth trying for sure, and would like to try the barrel aged versions but would likely pass on this one in the future.


2 days after reviewing, had more of this beer.

Getting alot more vanilla in the taste and less heaviness overall. Much more enjoyable and complex. Getting a bit more flat helped somehow, not really sure. Very Nice, though. Definitely not a let down and more of a B+, A- beer.

Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sea Monster really does look like something from the deep, dark depths. We're talking lowest layer in the ocean where natural light does not penetrate, the temperature is a constant just above freezing and the pressure is a thousand times greater than any human could withstand. Apart from that blackness, a thin clay-like crown is all else there is.

Notes of espresso and chocolate fudge define the aroma but evidence of simple roasted malts can still be found. A whiff of alcohol fumes and pine forest hoppiness rounds things out and both scents only grow stronger with warmth. The bouquet was so rich and decadent off the bat that I thought I was going to need diapers, but it quickly tapered off.

For a style known to have no shortage of flavours, this one seems to have them all: burnt malt, black licorice, coffee, chocolate, cigar smoke, caramel, molasses, vanilla and a few different dried dark fruits. It almost tastes as if they dumped a batch of mocha into a bottle of fine aged tawny, but the texture is thick as cream and frothy like steamed milk.

Although I could wax lyrical about all the rich, decadent flavours, most of them are actually cut short in the finish by something equally impressionable: zesty, leafy hops. Through this combination of perky West-coast hops and chocolaty roasted malts, the finish ends up tasting of cedar shavings and pine needles; the earthy bitterness lingers long-time.

This imperial stout has pretty much everything you could ask for and yet leaves a little something more to be desired - probably because we've become accustomed to being knocked upside the head and this silky-rich beer certainly does no such thing, even at double-digit strength. Rather, it allows you to cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water; it affords you a monster flavour profile without being devoured.

Photo of chilly460
3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - The beer pours deep dark brown, almost black, with a billowy mocha head. Definitely not as dark as most RIS I've had lately.

S - Nice roasted chocolate malts with some coffee and vanilla tones. A hint of alcohol warmth in the back along with some slight earthy hop flavors.

T - Very nice roast flavors immediately: chocolate, coffee, roast malts. Very similar to the aroma but more complex as the flavors come together. Earthy hops are there at the end. Alcohol is present and a nice complement.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - Nice beer. Not as "big" as other RIS I've had lately,

Photo of arizcards
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from BevMo in early March for $8.99.

Beer poured black as night with a nice tan head.

Nose was very good, coffee and mocha with some floral hops in the background.

Taste is somewhat uneven, cocoa powder and coffee up front and a huge dry bittering hop in the finish. I love all the ingredients but there is a bit too much of everything to work well together.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a pretty decent beer that was fun to try but doubtful if i would buy again given the price.

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

Pours an opaque near-black with two fingers of dense tan foam that settles slowly to a thin layer, leaving rings of delicate lace. Smell: buttered toasted bread, mild roast (both grains and beans), dark fruit - plum and currant perhaps, no booze (not sure when this is released, but I picked it up 4 months ago). Taste: moderate roasted grain, dark brown sugar, sugary dark fruit, slightly acidic mild roast coffee. Medium bodied, creamy feel, some earthy hopping coming through in the finish, sticky and drying. Alcohol well hidden. Didn't blow me away, but certainly pretty nice.

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
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
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
3.26/5  rDev -18.9%
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
3.21/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,512 ratings.