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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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1,554 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,554
Reviews: 470
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 129
Gots: 309 | FT: 18
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: 1,554 | Reviews: 470
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.

Photo of SawDog505
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
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
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
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
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
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
3.04/5  rDev -24.4%
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
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,554 ratings.