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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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1,476 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,476
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: 1,476 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of adkirkish
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Chocolate, toffee and bourbon notes that warmed to espresso
A: Pours black with a ¼ " tan head which quickly dissipated, no lacing.
F: Espresso and coffee upfront, burnt roasted malt and chocolate make up the rest of the flavor which is wonderful. I didn't get any Hop Bitterness in the taste. The Espresso and Chocolate are in complete domination of the flavor profile.
M: The mouthfeel is thick, full bodied, and little carbonation.
O: This is a should have/must have in my book. If you are a fan of dark and sweet stouts, this is your money. Highly suggested if you find it: buy it, age it, drink it. Be sure to first sip cool, and let it warm so you can experience the full flavor profile.

Photo of Jayli
3.39/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Acquired from dgb3 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a thick, opaque deep, dark, rich brown almost black. Only a dark brown film of head sits on top but a more rigorous pour yields a two finger of head. Minimal wisy lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is strong alcohol, licorice, toffee, caramel, coffee and some roasted malts.

T: Taste is sweet upfront - toffee, molasses and licorice. Middle has a mild amount of roasted malts before a strong alcohol flavoring hits. As the beer warms, a nice chocolate flavoring comes in right before the coffee notes. Hints of coffee in the finish and lingers.

M: Fuller bodied, low carbonation, creamy body with a slightly chewy finish.

D: This one is more of a sipper, goes down alright, big kick, the alcohol is a touch overwhelming, and a minor sweetness that lingers in the finish makes this a one and done.

Photo of akorsak
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to swnicholson for this bomber. Shared with ksak and janlud.

A: The stout, on first look, poured murky and black with a half a finger of tan head. That murkiness disguised a rather disgusting clump of yeast that looked like a hairball. Thankfully it wasn't in my glass (sorry janlud), but it was fuckin' gross. That cost the appearance big-time, as I spent the rest of my night peering ominously into my snifter looking for hairballs.

S: The nose has no clumps of hair, so no issues to report with the roasted nutty malt body, burnt at times with rich alcohol and vanilla notes.

T: The stout shows off all of the right notes, roasted grains, chocolate, burnt toast, even some vanilla and dark berries. The flavor, though, is thin, rarely providing oomph until the finish arrives. There, a sweet roasted fullness contentedly lingers.

M: The mouthfeel, aside from being thin at times, is never unpleasant. Roasted notes and chocolate always go over well with me.

D: Drinkability takes a hit for the same reason appearance does. I was paranoid with every sip. Not the way I like to spend a night.

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

Pours a rich, deep dark brown with a small cap of creamy brown head, leaving little lacing. Smell is of fresh dark roasted coffee, cream, dark fruit with hints of bitter chocolate, fudge and toffee. Taste pretty much follows the scent... a nice well balanced stout that brings well developed coffee and chocolate notes backed by a mild creamy sweetness. Only knock is the touch of misplaced warmth from the ABVs in the entire sip. Great body... full, creamy. A very good Impeial Stout that leans towards big yet balanced flavors and does not overdo any particular aspect.

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

Poured from a 22oz. bottle acquired in a trade with volatilesther (Thanks!) into my Cigar City snifter at cellar temperature (04/24/10).

A: Pours very dark shade of brown, nearing black with a one finger cap of an espresso colored head that has some retention and leaves bits of thick lace.

S: The smell is dominated by coffee and roasted malt. Hints of bitter dark chocolate and just a flutter of milk chocolate.

T: As with the smell, the flavor profile is made up of primarily coffee and roasted malt. Layers of bitter, dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Perhaps just a hint of alcohol comes into play as well. No as complex as I was expecting.

M: On the lighter side of medium-bodied with a moderate carbonation and some creaminess. A little thin for my taste.

D: Quite drinkable and the 10% abv. well hidden. Just a bit lacking in complexity.

Overall this was a pretty decent Imperial Stout and another fairly tasty offering from Ballast Point. Thanks again Esther!

Photo of illidurit
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Poured into an absurd massive chalice that wouldn't have broken if I'd thrown it at a wall. Deep black color with a thin creamy light-brown head. Zesty coffee aroma with touches of red fruits ad dark chocolate. Fudge and coffee flavor, very fresh, not like the cold, burnt coffee notes of some other imperial stouts. Light peppery alcohol influence and a dry, bitter, lasting finish. Mild fruitiness in the background. Fulfilling mouthfeel.

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown with one finger of tan head that has great retention and lacing. Light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Hints of vanilla and booze.

t - Taste is roasted malts, bitter chocolate, cofee, and piney hops. Some bitterness to it and hints of alcohol in the end.

m - Full body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth.

d - A pretty nice stout. Pretty interesting taste with the coffee and chocolate malts and piney hops. Would try again.

Photo of mgbickel
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Formed a sand colored, bubble on bubble, 2 finger head that, when receded, left tons of lace behind coating the glass. The body is dark brownish/black that allows some light through to form amber edges.

The nose has dark chocolate characters and roasted coffee beans up front. Some earthy (peat) aromas hide in the background but come out more as the beer warms.

The flavor follows the nose pretty well...sweet chocolate malts up front that fade into a roasted coffee finish. You can detect the 10% ABV toward the end...

The mouth feel is thick and creamy with mild carbonation.

Overall, this is a nice drinking stout...almost right up there with the big boys. The boozy finish keeps this from being marked higher...

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 22oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown/black with a thin tan head. Lots of roasted malt with some piney hops. Alcohol in the aroma made me think it would be hot, which was not the case. This is a West Coast IS for sure, plenty of hop bitterness. Rich and full bodied. Big roasted malt finish with some drying hops. Long finish. Went down way too easy for a 10% beer!

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip. No dating info on the bottle but we had Milt pick this up at the brewery about a week after the release so there are fresh. Color was black in the center with mahogany edges when against the light. It had a large tan head that settled into a good collar and central foam. Great sheeting with some sticking.

The aroma was excellent. Coffee, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate and just a bit of the alcohol. I like the coffee choice in this one. The taste was also excellent and matched the aroma with the roasted coffee and malt up-front with the chocolate hitting later on. Sweet from the malt to balance out the bitterness. Good balance. Dangerously drinkable at 10%. Mouthfeel was full and creamy. Good carbonation and sweetened coffee after-taste.

Overall, an excellent imperial stout and another excellent offering from Ballast Point. Very highly recommend. Hits both the imp stout and coffee beer buttons for me. Avail/Rot: not available here in TX so had Milt ship me some. If here, would be couple per release. As-is will be in the shipping schedule. Need to get some and cellar and see what happens. [R;Y;cellar]

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big black brown and foamy. Maybe a little red in there too. Thick. The ol motor oil cliche.
Aroma is burnt choco.

Taste, massive. Big ass heft, even a substantial amount of hopping. Everything about this beer is big. There is nothing left as a nuance. Gets a little puckering. Has that almost cabernet feel to it, big, bold, bitter maybe even some kind of fruit dallop from something like blackberries or dark grapes?

Expensive, but it is a mammoth beer.

Photo of Gavage
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a 2" creamy dark tan colored head. Thick lace is left on the inside of the glass as it goes down.

Smell: chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt tones are up front, with a hint of bitterness in the background.

Taste: big roasted malt flavor with bitter dark chocolate, some coffee tones, and a hint of grapefruit or similiar tart citrus arriving late. Alcohol is mildly noticeable, and there is a hearty bitterness balancing this one out.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and creamy at the finish. A bit of drying arrives late too. Aftertaste is long as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: despite the high alcohol level, this beer goes down smoothly. A definite slow sipper, one bomber should be enough in a session, but I could see having one more glass. Great flavor.

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

It's not distributed out in the Bay Area. Traded to get a hold of this beer. This stout poured ink black and smelled of freshly roasted coffee, burnt caramel and citrus/piney hops. It tasted a bit toasty, with some dried raisins, plums, licorice, toffee, alcohol and subtle hops. What made this stout stand out to me was the hop flavor mixed into it. I usually only taste sweet or bitter stouts, but this one seems to be rounded out and a bit smoother due to the hop content.

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

Very respectable Imperial Stout. Pours black in the middle with translucent dark brown around the edges. Classic coffee/roasted/vanilla smell. Taste is much the same... creamy, chocolaty, coffee. Mouthfeel is thick with small bubbles bathing the tongue. Very tasty, but not something that I want more than 22oz of. Drinkable for a stout.

Photo of waldensquare
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Poured from bottle.

Smell: Hints of smoke and coffee.

Taste: Nice dark chocolate color with good dense head; sweet malts.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy and smooth. No acidity or bitterness.

Drinkability: Especially nice during the cold winter months.

Photo of mirish72
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Psyched to see this at Julio's, picked it up with a Sculpin bomber. Pours jet black with a nice 2 finger brown head.

Smells of roasted, almost burnt malts. it also has a strong coffee bitterness.

Tastes a bit sweeter than I would have expected. I was thinking more dry and less bittersweet. Strong hints of coffee throughout.

Very drinkable, but packs less of a punch that I would have thought from other Ballast Point brews. Good, but I had higher, maybe unrealistic expectations and at $11 a bomber, probably not the greatest value for the hefty pricetag.

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

Had this one on tap at Capone's last weekend.

Appearance: pours a dark brown to black with a 1 finger khaki crown. The cap displays medium retention and shows some lace.

Smell: Roast malt with a hint of chocolate.

Taste: Nice malt sweetness up front with a roasty malt transition into a nice juicy hop wave.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, well carbonated, and crisp!

Drinkability: Very....with a touch less alcohol and a better flavor profile it would earn a 5.0

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

Poured into a snifter out of a firkin perched on the bar at TJs on 6 March 2010.

A: The beer poured into my glass is an opaque obsidian black that is impregnated with tiny white bubbles that churn and dart towards the surface. When they find their way through the viscous medium, they create a full finger thickness of creamy light brown head. No lacing, but aside from the agitation, there doesn't seem to be much carbonation in this one.

S: Smoked barley - almost burned, even - is the dominant aroma. I am excited to see such a bold character take control up front. It mixes with some bitter chocolate and roasted coffee aromas. Everything about this beer so far screams, "IMPRESSIVE"

T: The roasted barely comes back nice and strong in the taste, but that was to be expected. However, it is balanced better by the chocolate and coffee aromas here than it was in the aroma profile. These big imperial flavors do everything they can to steal the show, but somehow some Amarillo hops manage to squeeze their way in and take a bit of the spotlight as they add aroma and a touch of bitterness to the finish. I also make out some pecan nuttiness as the beer warms and approaches room temperature.

M/D: Smooth and extremely creamy, this beer borders on being able to be classified as silky. The consistency is right in the middle of the spectrum, which along with the alcohol content makes this one imperial stout that is easy to consume a few of. This one could get to be dangerous, but even at 7%, I feel like the alcohol makes itself known, but not in the flavor or on the palate, but more in my equilibrium.

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

Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Thin head with little retention, some lacing clings to the glass. Aroma is full of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and some alcohol about mid palate. Taste is similar, also has some earthy, pine resin hops in the aftertaste but gets over powered by the alcohol a bit too much toward the end. Because of the alcohol presence in aroma and taste, its not very drinkable for me.

Photo of ccrida
4.59/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber (cellared 1 year), Sea Monster is a blackish brown with a tan head that leaves scattered foamy lace.

Smell is sweet, red wine and caramel. Crazy depth, I really love it, like a BSDA.

Taste is strong, big bakers chocolate, but also very vinous, tasting older then the year I've had it (bought it at a beer store in San Fransisco so I suppose it could have been sitting for a while). Tannic as well, although it wasn't barrel aged AFAIK. Reading teh able, I just saw that their description of currant, and that is very accurate. This really tastes like a Belgian stout, which I love.

Mouthfeel is very slick, medium light bodied, with the viscosity being a bit ephemeral.

Drinkability is good, this is a super tasty stout, a bit unusual though do due the sweet dark red and black fruits. It's so rich that it's a bit slow drinking in a satisfying kind of way, but it's light bodied and very smooth. Aged very well, great beer.

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at TJ's...
Appears a near black with dark brown edges when held to the light. The tan foam leaves scattered bits of lacing around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, vanilla, Espresso, caramel, and toffee.
Taste is of the aromas with more of a coffee flavor that is perfect for a digestif.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet, syrupy, and chewy.

Photo of steve8robin
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to find this at the local beer store...

A: Perfect pitch black with a thick 2 inch mocha colored head that slowly fades. Exceptional!

S: Smells of chocolate, malt, and raisin. Oakiness in the middle with hops on the backend. Not bad.

T: Hoppiness with bitter chocolate and coffee flavors upfront. Oaky malts in the middle. Slight grapefruit on the backend.

M: Very good. Leaves a nice stouty sticky flavor on your palate. Just a hint too much carbonation.

D: Goes down decent. Not too bad. Not as smooth as I would like it, but not bad.

All in all, this is a great brew to try once if you like stouts or if you like hoppy beers. I like it, but it's not one of my faves...

Photo of cassanoj
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Dark raisin brown, retains head throughout. Decent amount o' lacing.

I smell molasses, barley, a lot of roasted chocolate and a significant dose of hops. I really like how the roasted chocolate and barley play together in this one...also the way the hops add a nice little kick.

Taste is of chocolate, barley, dates, plums, cherries, coffee, and a significant lactic factor which I think seperates this beer from a lot of other stouts. It's quite sour, which I find myself enjoying.

Mouthfeel is smooth but the hops give it a bitter aftertaste. Medium to full body with light carbonation.

I'm quite impressed with Ballast Point's offering as I often am. I think these guys and gals are killing it over there in San Diego.

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

22 oz bomber poured into nonic pint glass.

A: Pour produced about a 1 inch head atop a nearly opaque body with ruby edges when held up to light

S: Instantly hit a chocolaty/coffee aroma. There's also some tobacco, currants and figs and swirling gives off a very strong maltiness. I really like the aroma.

T: Taste mimics the aroma. Lots of roasted chocolate and lots of coffee. Some dark fruits in there and there's a nice hop finish to balance things out.

M: Not bad, but not great. A little on the thin side. Very smooth however----the oats help this out quite a bit.

D: Drinkability is pretty good in this beer. Despite it's 10% abv this is going down smoothly and it's very tasty. I'm liking this very much. It's not as thick and chewy like some 'top' RIS's but seeing as it's an American Double I think it's right where it should be.

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

Bomber for $9.99 from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. No freshness/vintage info to be had. Pours black-suprise- frothy and rich mocha head, leaves low hanging extensive sheeting and plenty of bits and spots of fine lacing. Bold nose of burnt grains, pleasantly ripe dark fruit and rich stout goodness. Full flavor and complex, over the top stout. Ample dark malts and depth of flavor here, notes of dark coffee, smoky dark chocolate, moe dark grains, some shalkyness and a moderatly dry hop filled finish. Large and tasty, nice night capper or, of course, with a fudgy, chocolaty piece of cake. Well done BP.

Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,476 ratings.