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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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1,512 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,512
Reviews: 464
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 126
Gots: 292 | FT: 16
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: 1,512 | Reviews: 464 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FosterJM
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

281st review on BA
bottle to NB Globe

App- A dark crimson from the bottle but settled into a nice brown with a 1 1/2 finger head into the glass. Nice lacing but not the best I have seen.

Smell- Big grains with a little bit of coffee.

Taste- It's good for an oatmeal stout as per the label. Big flavors that were layered well. The oatmeal and coffee are dominant on this beer. Slight bitter chocolate come through on the back on this.

Mouth- Medium bodied as most stouts are with a medium carbonation level. A little bit of hops are evident on this one. A blend of bitter are evident on this as well.

Drink- It's big and flavorful. I have been waiting this one for awhile. Glad I got it. Thanks to Rick @ Old Town in Temecula.

Photo of Bung
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Don't see much light around this black pour. Finger of light tan head that really lasted well. Almost wanted to give this a 4.5.

More malt, caramel, molasses and chocolate than roast in the aroma. Some roast though.

Wow is this bitter with roast. There is some malt and dark chocolate and cocoa hiding in there also. Some piney hops come out after. Finishes with the bitter anise and burnt.

It is medium bodied and slightly creamy, but the stickiness is not quite there. Alcohol seems more present, only because of the almost burnt acrid nature. Drikiability is low for me at first, but improved as it warmed.

The porters set the bar so high for these guys, this was a little bit of a let down for me compared to those. Maybe some age will help?

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

Was able to get about 4 bombers of this one this year. Already set one aside for the cellar, not sure on the other two yet, but this one I wanted to try fresh. I split the bottle between my wife and I, so we each basically got 11 oz.

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a Bruery Tulip glass.

The beer pours totally black, with no light penetration. A thick cappuccino colored head rose about two inches, slowly fading to about a half inch head that settled on top. Great retention, and generous lacing.

The aromas are of bitter dark chocolate, black coffee, roasted malts, and a bit hops come through as well.

The flavors were robust, and layered. Dark chocolate and sweet roasted malts up front on the first sip, followed by a bit of light coffee, molasses, vanilla, and some light caramel in the middle, with just a tinge of bitterness on the finish. The chocolate flavors mirrored the currants on nose, with the roasted notes blending in, and that sweetness up front stayed through with the finish too.

The mouth feel was light to medium, and just a bit sticky, but still smooth.

Overall, this year's seemed to have improved from last years, that or my palate missed it! Drinkable, and very smooth. Wish I had bought a case.

Photo of HopHead84
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


On cask at Ballast Point Old Grove.

A: Black with a creamy light brown cask head that lingers for a while.

S: Strong roasted malt profile with prominent unsweetened dark chocolate. Coffee is pronounced. Chocolate takes over as the beer warms. Faintly earthy.

T: Rich chocolate is balanced by a strong roasted malt profile and a moderate coffee presence. Moderately bitter with an earthy quality. Some blackstrap molasses is noticeable. Finish is a blast of chocolate and dry roast. Booze is slightly noticeable in the flavor but it's pretty well hidden. 

M: Full in body with a low level of carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Overall: A pretty aggressive Imperial Stout but well made and good if that's your thing. 4-8 ounces of this beer is enough for me. 

Photo of GehenHerzog
4.52/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a deep black with a finger tan head.

S- Smells of fresh coffee and vanilla. Little bit of roasted malt

T- Tastes of sweet chocolate malt and a nice coffee bitterness in the end. Very balanced. A sweet beer but not overly done. Some coffee and chocolate sweetness that keeps this one balanced

M- Thick and creamy.

D- Very drinkable. Even at 10% it is not noticeable.

Nice to finally get to try this beer and I was more impressed than I expected going into it.

Photo of dwilson01
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a bomber into my new belgium brewing glass. The body is dark but not pitch black, when held up to the light brown tints pop up around the edges. The head is very minimal but is a great mocha brown color.

The smell is very balanced. The malt shines through with a slight roast and bit of chocolate. The hop scents balance this quite well imparting an earthy dark fruit smell.

The flavor is quite good, it follows from the nose as well. Roasted coffee and some chocolate from the malt side, and a raisin fruity flavor as well mixed in. The finish is smooth and combines these flavors all together, almost like a chocolate covered raisin.

The mouthfeel is good but not super thick like I was expecting. I get none of the hot estery alcohol bite, it's smooth, sweet, slightly bitter, and definitely deliciously drinkable.

Photo of gregshead
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on 2/8/11. Reviewed from notes:

A: Pours with a finger of head, pitch black

S: Hints of coffee & vanilla with rich roasted grain smells

T: Lots of roasted grain but not overly done. Some coffee and some type of sweetness that keeps this one balanced

M: Smooth, thick and creamy. Some light carbonation

D: So easy to drink. As I had it I thought "Man this 8.6% stout is easy to drink" I'm not sure where I pulled that number from but I was shocked when I read 10% on the label.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle bought at Mesa Liquor

A: Pretty much jet black with a nice half finger mocha head that shows great retention.

S: Cocoa powder and coffee with a slight earthy tone that gives the smell real depth. As it warms, the scent changes a bit and the beer starts to smell more like currants and blackberries. Really nice.

T: Delicious. Roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee and a slight hint of hops before fading to a nice, bitter dark chocolate finish. Mouthfeel was way thin on this, but it's a great beer. I would love to try some of the other varieties of it.

Photo of Jeffo
3.44/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Mulder1010. Thanks for the trade man.

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours out brown and perfectly transparent. Way too light and transparent for the style. Makes a one finger, medium looking, tan head with decent retention. Dark brown in the glass with medium carbonation evident. Very transparent. Head fades to a decent wisp and ring, but by the end only a faint ring remains and leaves no lacing down the glass. Much too light for the style. Disappointing.

SMELL: Roasted malts, smoky notes, with dark chocolate and faint coffee aromas. Notes of black licorice and faint spicy hops. Enticing enough, though far too mild to be memorable.

TASTE: Roasted malts and they dominate up front. Some black licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, and a nice oat presence. Sweet up front with lots of roasted and smoky malt. Finishes with a roasted, bitter hop aftertaste that's quite bold and lingering. Chocolate, coffee and oats linger on the palate as well. A well integrated oatmeal stout with a good hop presence. Much better than the nose had suggested.

PALATE: Medium body and medium, prickly carbonation. Only moderately creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky on the palate. Could be fuller and creamier, but still fine. It smoothens out somewhat as it sits.

OVERALL: Despite the lack luster pour and look, this is a pretty flavorful and enjoyable imperial oatmeal stout. The nose could use some beefing up, but the flavor profile did the job. There are many more enjoyable imperial oatmeal stouts out there, however, so while I would drink this again, there is no need to track it down again. Thanks again Mulder1010 for the fun trade.

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

22oz bomber poured into snifter. Thanks to Michael (SneezyAchew) for this one!

A: Pours a dark black/brown/red color. In a well lit room, a bit of light actually manages to pass through this one when the glass is around half empty. One finger foamy tan head, good retention.

S: Lots of dark fruit evident in the malts here- almost a slightly tart, cherry-like smell (despite my general animosity towards cherry flavors in beer, I enjoyed this). Coffee and a light charred malt aroma also evident.

T: An extension of the somewhat sweet smell, with some chocolate for good measure. Lots of roasted malts present. A light bittersweet finish helps balance the mostly sweet taste from becoming too overpowering.

M: Medium body; light for an imperial stout- not as viscous as I was expecting, but all around this is a pretty unique beer. Moderate carbonation.

D: This bomber was able to pace me through four or so hours quite well; don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I went through it any faster- just a bit too sweet for repeated drinking.

Photo of Ambiorix
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Small Bar, San Diego.

A: Black pour, nice tan head, good lacing.

S: Yeasty, roasty malt nose, slightly fruity.

T: Roasty malt, alcohol, yeasty, coffee.

M: Medium-full, satisfying, robust.

D: Excellent. Not as chocolate as the Victory at Sea. Very nice stuff, indeed.

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

Dark black-brown color with some unusually dark foam for head with some nice lacing left behind.

Solid roasty aromas & flavors dominate, but there's some coffee/chocolate notes as well.

On the lighter side for an imperial stout body-wise, but not too light by any means. Would drink this again.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.03/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 4/3/2010. Bottle. Pours black with a small light tan head. Aroma of roasted malt, Parmesean cheese, and mild coffee. Flavor of roasted malt, charred malt. This was just a boring beer for me and not very "imperial" in terms of robustness in the palate. Not impressed.

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

My good partner entered this in a poker tournament as his entrance fee. Upon my success, I inherited this as payment from another contestant in some convoluted situation. It has been awhile, but I feel this beer is best drank in his absence.
It's a bitter chocolate lady-monster, some fruit involved heavily. Probably has a share in the company. The chocolate is so .. sexy?
I find myself staring at this package of open chocolate espresso beans. Should I put one in? Chew it up, digest and feed to my beer like a bird?
There's already a slight coffee to it, but it's background behind the bitter choco. Delicious. Only time will tell if the espresso bean was a good choice..

Photo of biglite351
3.32/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - a good bit of red around the edges. Tall creamy light tan head.

S - malts, chocolate and mild bitter coffee. I also get some hops and something se that I do not know.

T - strong malt with coffee and heavy chocolate. Underlying hops throughout.

M - mild coating with a slight tingle on front of tongue and back of throat, probably from the alcohol.

D - just one, maybe two.

Photo of Rifugium
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown and opaque, but not cloudy.

S: Roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol.

T: Flavorful dark malts, a little bitterness towards the end.

M: Medium body, a little bit of thickness, and moderate cabronation.

D: Decent overall, with just a bit of harshness from the alcohol.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black hue with dark brown highlights...small tan head and good lacing.

S: Lots of roastyness here, I mean a lot man. Leather, alcohol sweetness, licorice, dark coffee, chocolate malt.

T: Huge roast here again with bitters coming in at the end. Bakers chocolate, smoke, molassas, faint dark fruit. Huge flavors.

M: I was a little disappointed here, seemed thinner and more carbonated than it should be.

D: This is heavy, and its hard to get through in some ways, i was balking at the 10oz I got. Tasting beer for sure.

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

2008 vintage

A: Poured a really nice pitch black color with good carbonation and a brown head

S: COffee, toasted malts, cocoa and coffee of cours

T: This had a little funk on it, not bad, lots of charred malt, cocoa, coffee. There was a noticable funkyiness midway through

M: Good carbonation, sharp booze, plenty of flavor

D: Very good

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

Picked up a bottle at Julio's based on how good of an IPA Ballast Point can make. This did not dissappoint.

A - Poured into a tulip this imperial stout had a really nice healthy black colour with just the slightest amount of bubbles scattered throughit. There was a nice slightly more than one finger nut brown head that slowly faded into a good halo.

S - Definately picking up on what others are talking about when they say a currant like aroma. There really is a strong dark fruit aroma to this, along with your typical bitter chocolate and coffee.

T - Like the nose though not picking up much in the way of dark fruits. Theres the nice bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors, as well as a big alcohol kick. There is that faint dark fruit flavors.

M - Light, subtle carbonation. Just enough to tingle on the tongue with each sip.

D - Really pleasant everythign across the board with this Sea Monster. Has a nice subtle dark fruityness that isnt all too common with stouts. Really adds a nice deeper layer to each sip.

Photo of jlandis
4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A true sea monster that comes from the deepest depths of the ocean. Pitch black with a two finger tan head with densely packed bubbles that looks so rich and creamy. The aroma is of rich roasted grains and robust coffee. Along the edges I can pick up a malty sweetness that balances all of the other elements. With the first taste I can pick up rich roasted grains, currants, and a beautiful sweetness. In the finish there is a fantastic robust coffee flavor that finishes dry, which is the perfect invitation to take another drink. The body of this one is thick and creamy with a very subtle carbonation. This is a fantastic beer, and I'm glad that I finally had the opportunity to try this one. The whole case we split between some friends was over $120, so each sip should be savored.

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

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a midnight black, with no clarity through the glass. A full inch of chocolate head sits on top of the beer after the pour. The head dissipates to leave some "soapy" looking cloud formations on top of the beer. The head ring around the outside of the glass has good legs as it sticks well to the side of the glass as I drink it.

S: Scents of roasted coco beans, lots of black currant, and alcohol make up the nose.

T: The flavor is dominated more the the roasted chocolate. This was somewhat of a surprise as the scent was dominated by the dark fruit (currant) and I thought the taste would be similar. The finishing notes are of sweet dark fruit and alcohol heat. The finish has a bittersweet heat to it.

M: The mouth on this beer has the consistency of flat Coke, and I mean that as a compliment. Nice full body, slightly syrupy with no notice of the carbonation that you could so moving quickly up the sides of the glass.

D: I really enjoyed this beer and would certainly drink it whenever I could, however at 10% ABV I probably wouldn't be able to get through more than a glass or two. Cheers.

Photo of scottfrie
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into snifter split with friend. I believe this was bottled almost a year ago.

A: Pours a very dark brown with ruby edges under a thick light brown head that quickly settled into a thin film which left no lacing.
S: Light notes of dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate and raisins. Picking up maybe a hint of alcohol vapor and vanilla.
T: Rich and surprisingly sweet flavors of dark fruits and roasted dark malts with a hint of chocolate and faint bourbon near the finish. The sweetness throughout this beer is sticky and reminds me of molasses. Having never had this fresh, I assume that the expertly masked high alcohol content is partially due to the age of this bottle as I am picking up almost no trace of either alcohol flavor (except faint bourbon) or warmth. Finish has a touch of leafy hops and the aftertaste has a hint of tobacco.
M: Full bodied, but it could be fuller and more viscous. Very smooth and slick mouthfeel with a touch of stickiness. Goes down smooth and easy. Finish is surprisingly dry and almost has a woody oak tannin texture to it.
D: What a wonderfully flavored stout, I hate to see this one go. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer, although I am not sure why since this is the same brewery that makes Sculpin. This one had just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the expected coffee and chocolate flavors. The mouth could maybe use a touch of work, but overall this beer is very well done.

Photo of russpowell
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is courtesy of LarryG...

Pours an effervescent mahogany/ebony with 3 fingers of mocha colored head. Some viscosity to this, decent lacing & modest head retention

S: Slight bourbon sourness, dark fruit. Raisins take over once warm

T: Dark fruit, sour cherry & chocolate up front, plus slight woody/oak flavor up front. Vanilla & Baker's choclate are strong as this warms with cherries, raisins & woody bitterness on show as well, plus a touch of dryness. Finishes with dryness, vanilla, plums & bit of black cherry

MF: Medium bodied, fairly smooth carbonation, become chewier & more warming once a bit warmer..

Great drinkabilty for the style & ABV. A good IMP stout, was hoping for a world beater, merely got a Very good one...

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

Pours a half finger of light brown liquid over a pitch liquid. Smells prune, anise, clean alcohol, chocolate, blackberry, and a bit ashy. Oddly, it has a smell a bit like Q-tips. Strange.

Tastes sweet dark grains, blackberry hoppiness, and clean prominent alcohol. Grains are sweet chocolate, mild roast, some scorch, a bit of caramel, and a bit of ash. Md-light, but silky mouthfeel and modest carbonation.

Photo of prototypic
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sea Monster Stout pours a dark chocolate fudge color. It's nearly onyx, but a few burgundy highlights are noted. A light tan head covers the top. It's about a finger and a half tall and holds up fairly well. Lacing was sticky, but on the light side.

The nose is good. A mix of roasted and chocolate malts hit the nose first. The chocolate variety smells like dark, bittersweet chocolate. Roasted coffee/espresso is quite prominent. A light dark fruit scent is noted. While this bottle has been around for a bit (less than a year), there's a fair amount of hops present, as far as I can smell anyway. They smell piney. Alcohol is blended well for such a big stout. I'm not getting much.

The flavor is just a notch below the nose. Chocolate and roasted malts give it a very flavorful, strong base. Bittersweet, dark chocolate flavors are strong throughout. Roasted coffee/espresso complements the malty base very well. Raisin and plum are secondary, but add nice depth. Hops are noticeable, but aren't overly strong. This bottle has a little bit of age on it, so that's not too surprising. Nonetheless, there is a hint of pine and some residual bitterness still lingering. I like it. Alcohol is noticeable, but isn't warm or hot. Finishes malty with a strong coffee aftertaste.

Sea Monster Stout has a medium body that feels a little too thin. Given the malt that's present, I'm a little surprised. It is smooth, but would benefit from more body. Drinkability is good. For a big stout, it's relatively friendly. It is big at 10% though. I'll finish the bomber, but that's plenty enough for me.

Ballast Point brews very good beer for the most part. They even have a great one on their roster. This one's more of the former. Not that that's a bad place to be. Ultimately, I believe more body might kick this one up a notch all around. It's a big stout that just needs a little bit of a bigger body. Nevertheless, damn tasty beer. I wasn't aware that it was retired. That's a shame.

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