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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

474 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 474
Hads: 1,656
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 18.55%
Wants: 146
Gots: 354 | FT: 15
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 474 | Hads: 1,656
Photo of beagle75
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.
2010 vintage

A: Opaque, dark brown color with no foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Roasted malt is dark and smoky. Umami outdistances cocoa amongst the identifiable qualities. Yeast contributes fairly clean breadiness, but only slight fruit. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins very off-dry, with flavors of roasted grain, umami, chocolate and mild wood smoke. Acidity is muted into the middle where bitterness develops and accentuates the chocolate and coffee flavor qualities. The finish sees an early departure of the precocious bitterness that makes way for soft and comforting vanilla. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium to thick viscosity, dense but slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer has aged to its undeniable benefit over the course of three years. While not as intense as fresh Sea Monster, it bears no sharp edges. The prominent (and out-of-place) acidity has been dulled considerably with time, while a previously undiscovered thread of vanilla is shown the light of day. What little oxidation this beer suffered has apparently contributed more than it detracted. A meat-and-potatoes American imperial stout has become something sublime.

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Photo of joe1510
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber
Kenwood Liquors - Homer Glen, IL

Enjoy by: 2/14/14

What descriptors could I use to describe the color? As black as the deepest depths of the blackest seas? That'll work, I suppose. The mocha head rises slowly and peaks at a thick cap well after the pour. Foam eventually fades to a ring and swirlings but leaves velvety lace down the glass with each drink. Carbonation creeps up the glass and keeps the head intact through the entirety.

Unique. Deep roast hits off the bat before heavy handed dark berries takes over in the middle along with a heavy dose of baker's chocolate. The dark berries are overripe blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Coffee and cream bring up the rear, with the cream note is a nice lactic sweetness. A moderate pine/resinous hoppiness mop things up.

Baker's chocolate and those overripe berries mingle upfront and push all the way through. Mid palate they are joined by lactic sweetness (cream) and light roast coffee. The berry fruitiness along with a touch of booze adds a welcomed peppery bite. Solid resinous hoppiness lingers on the swallow. This beer is just wave after wave of big flavor. All work well together.

Ballast Point really nailed the mouthfeel. The body is surprisingly easy going, with weight that is on the heavy side of the spectrum but with leanings to the middle. Active carbonation adds to the lighter feel for a sense of high drinkability in a 10% beer. The finish is fairly dry and the mild alcohol fumes seem to scrub the tongue clean every drink.

Sea Monster is a stout with layer after layer of depth. Big bittersweet chocolate, berries, roast, coffee, hops, the list goes on but with all that depth it remains an easy drinker, relatively speaking. For the price you can't go wrong.

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Photo of captenaj
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured a very deep red to pleasant black

S: Minimal but nice coffee/chocolate.

T: very very nice. Coffee, chocolate, sweet but not too much so.

M: this was my least favorite aspect of the beer. A little thin but the tast was so good, I didn't notice until someone else pointed it out.

O: I really liked this beer. Perhaps a little too much alcohol taste but it carries well.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Ballast Point in little Italy.

Served alongside Victory at Sea.

The beer is near black with a small beige cap. Aromas of dark chocolate, bread, roasted malt, hints of coffee. A touch of dark fruit with a rich, robust malt body. Bold and flavorful. While I did prefer Victory at Sea, most notably the addition of vanilla, I rather enjoyed this one. I'd certainly have it again.

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Photo of draheim
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz into a tulip. Pours a deep brownish black w/ a 1-finger khaki head.

Aroma is dark and roasty. Dark fruit, blackstrap molasses, bitter chocolate.

Taste is likewise a rich, balanced blend of roasted malt, dark fruit, and chocolate. Clean bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Coats the palate without being thick or chewy. Carbonation just right.

Overall a really nice, straightforward imperial stout.

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown in color, pretty much black, leaves a slight finger of tan head at the top, and a tiny bit of lacing around the glass as you drink this one.

S: A little bit of chocoloate and slight hint of espresso and malt, but very subtle nose on this beer nothing to crazy.

T: Very robust taste, lots of bitter from coffee and hops, slight hint of brown sugar and chocolate on the tail end.

M: Smooth, medium bodied, very little carbonation.

O: Not a bad beer at all, not one of my favorite stouts but it was tasty and warming,
Ballast Point seems to know what it is doing with all its brews.

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Photo of ZAP
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is chocolate easter eggs....more milk chocolate than bitter dark cocoa....light hint of dark fruits...

Taste is again milk chocolate forward...some dark fruits....a little molasses perhaps...

Body is creamy smooth..velvety....big enough...a little sharp with the booze on the finish

This is a quality Impy Stout that I am enjoying but would put a notch below the big hitters. it is just not as full flavored as some (Darkness, Dark Lord, etc). A bit of boozy but I want that in a beer like this....

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Photo of McStagger
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 2/1/14.

A: Pour down the middle leads to a touch under a finger of head. Pitch black. Poured not quite like motor oil. Head is a mochoa brown. Rapid dissipation, moderate lacing.

S: Big ole beer. Chocolate, toffee out the ass, heady aromatics of dark fruit and dark chocolate. Presence of alcohol. Slightly woodsy, nutty and toasty.

T: Big, rich dark fruit right at the front. Figs, raisins, dates, etc. Slowly fades into bittersweet chocolate, with some hits of coffee bitterness. Finish is darkened fruit and cocoa powder with leafy/herbal bitterness.

M: Appropriately big. Full bodied and chewy. The carbonation is fine, but present enough to keep this one from being a syrupy mess.

O: Good, but not stellar. While this one has a better body, the Victory at Sea smokes it in every other comparison. Still a good brew.

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Photo of DrinkNewport
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very black pour, with a nice brown head.

For a 10% ABV, hard-hitting Imperial Stout, there's almost no detectable aroma...or I've lost my sense of smell...or specifically, I can't smell stouts...or these stouts are rigged for silent running in the odor department.

The flavor is that of a solid Imperial Stout. I don't know how to describe it better than that. It's textbook. Textbook can be a little boring, but better textbook than flawed.

Overall, it's a beer that I would gladly drink again, but not one I'd hound down.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good looking for an impy stout, black with a nice two finger brown head that settled to a nice creamy cap and left sticky lacing.

Aroma is rather more reserved than I expected, but has some burnt, roasty, coffee notes.

Flavor is far more bold, although I'm catching a little bit of metallic astringency. Otherwise it's a roasted malt bomb, tons of roasty and burnt flavors, tons of black coffee, some unsweetened baker's chocolate.

Drinkability is somewhat limited IMO. I don't think the alcohol is all that well hidden. Maybe let this one age.

Overall it's still an enjoyable imperial stout.

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Photo of generallee
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 10%. It also has a freshness date and short description.

Appearance: The Sea Monster pours slow, thick and black as night. A tall tan head forms over the opaque brew. It's head quickly settles down and forms a ring of lacing that hangs on the edge of the glass.

Smell: This one found my nose as soon as I opened the bottle. In the glass I get big roasted notes, burnt toast, heavy malt, coffee, caramel and toffee.

Taste / Palate: The Monster brings big lingering roasted and heavily toasted, almost burnt maltiness. The middle adds some caramel and raison like dark fruity sweetness. This fades back into pleasing roasted malt and hop bitterness.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 02/22/14

Pours opaque black with slight cola brown on the edges. A 1/4 inch of khaki head quickly settles to just a ring on top and leaves spotty lace.

Smell is fairly weak. Faint coffee, hints of plum and cherry and just a touch of alcohol.

Taste is stronger than the nose would imply. Dark fruit and faint black coffee up front with slight hoppy bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

An above average Imperial Stout with rich flavor and slight alcohol bite.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Note: Bottle has been aged since early 2012.

A: Pours a clear but opaque jet black in color with some light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and a faint dark cola brown highlight. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy dark tan head that slowly reduces to a medium sized patch of thick film (made up of larger bubbles) surrounded by a very thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts with some lighter notes of dark fruit sweetness as the beer warms up.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of roasted malts with some light notes of dark fruit sweetness (tastes like black currants) along with some light flavors of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Moderate amounts of bitterness which lingers of a moderate amount of time. Very light hints of alcohol in the finish as the beer warms up.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer has a lot of flavors that remind me of a Baltic Porter which is a good thing since I am a pretty big fan of the style but might not be quite heavy enough in the body of an Imperial Stout (just my opinion). Very nice flavors and the 10% ABV is very well hidden in the beer, making it an easy beer to sip on for quite a while. Very enjoyable now that the weather has started to turn cooler in the evenings.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Brewing Company - Sea Monster Imperial Stout, poured into a Fiddlehead snifter.

Look - Pours a dark oil brown and settles black with a nice soapy head. Good lacing.

Smell - Chocolate and coffee with notes of oatmeal and currant. The currant gives a nice fruity touch that makes the aroma quite unique.

Taste - Currant and coffee with a blast of dark chocolate. Very bitter. Oatmeal is there, but very subtle.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied. Sits throat hot and boozy as hell, but in a good way. Moderate carbonation. Dry and drinkable.

Overall - Good solid imperial stout, but a little lacking in creaminess. If you like bitter dark chocolate, this is a win. The currant is a nice touch that sets this one apart from a lot of others.

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Photo of bmwats
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a tulip.

A: Black. Pours a half finger, bubbly, brown head. Settles quickly leaving a smattering of bubbles on the surface of the brew. Some slight lacing, entirely retreats into the body of the brew.

S: Roasted coffee beans, black licorice, peat, clove, and bitter unsweetened dark chocolate.

T: Black licorice, dark chocolate, cloves, coffee....

M: Thick, hearty, grainy. Almost no residual aftertaste. Pure and pristine.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Dark and intimidating, with only a slight head, and little lacing. Nose is a symphony of roasted and bittersweet components. Black licorice, peat, and clove. Overall, this is a great quaff.

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Photo of bnes09
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pitch black allowing no light to penetrate. Pours a weakfish cinnamon colored head with fairly poor retention and a few lace spots. Pretty standard for the style.

Roasted, almost burnt aroma. Charcoal and smoked sausage come to mind. Hint of coffee and burnt wheat toast.

Flavor follows the nose pretty close. Lots of dry, bitter, roasted character but more on the grainy side. Hops are there too with an assertive grapefruit, pine and herbal jolt to the taste buds. Minimal sweetness here, just a touch of molasses. Well balanced malt and hop character.

Full bodied for sure. Dense, yet not syrupy. Slight grainy texture on the tongue. Super dry finish.

A good example of a double stout. Closer to a Russian imperial stout in my opinion but it could go either way. Just enough complexity and well balanced. Standard, yet solid.

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Photo of NickHalden
3.49/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark with a tan head that fades after a minute in the glass. Some lacing along the glass as well. The smell that hits me is the roasted malt and dates. The taste of this beer starts off strong with a mix of bitter and sweet. The taste of dates, dried fruit, roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and port are what hit my tongue with a aftertaste of some alcohol. Overall this beer isn't bad but compared to other Imperial Stouts this isn't my favorite. Actually reminds me of a Belgium Strong Ale rather than a Imperial due to the heavy fruit and port taste. Would not mind having another in the future.

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Photo of drpimento
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a bit warm with a small, soon to fade, tan head and no lace. Color is an opaque black brown. Aroma is a bit mild, roasty, toasty, malt, hint of molasses and dates. Flavors very close to supreme, but a tad sweet for me. Really good balance, if it weren't for the slightly oversweet. Tang does help to make up for the sweet, but the sweet clashes slightly with the bitter giving odd sharpness in the mouth. Body/carbonation is good but for that odd bitter/sweet thing. Finish is like flavor and the odd bitter/sweet thing ends up dominant. I would have another tho at the end the alcohol does rattle my noggin.

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Photo of Dope
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle approximately 2 years old.

A: Jet black pour, opaque and solid. Big, dense medium brown head. Head fades slowly, leaving thick fluffy chunks of lacing. Good retention.

S: Interesting aroma. Get a lot of molasses with some anise maybe? Mild chocolate and char too.

T: Lots of coffee initially, followed by a fair amount of sweet chocolate and molasses to back it up. Very mocha-ish. Decent chunk of anise in the middle. Chocolate and coffee turn acrid and bitter into the finish very quickly. Big wave of bitterness in the finish and aftertaste, maybe some hoppiness in there too?

M: Heavy and thick.

O: Different IS for sure. Surprising molasses and an unusually strong anise component as well. Pretty complex and fairly balanced brew. Quite bitter, I will say. A little sharp too, even though this is 2 years old. I had a bottle of this fresh before and I remember it being quite harsh so it's not surprising. Probably needs another few years to fully mellow out. It's not bad but not my favorite.

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Photo of bewley
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this delectable brew on tap at the Tin Bucket in North Portland, OR.

It was nice. I had to share it with my wife, who was sharing her dry hopped ale. But I didn't want to pass this over to her. I wanted to keep it for myself.

It's incredibly good, almost too good. I'm going back tomorrow to fill my growler.

OK, good night!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Label says enjoy by 02/22/14.

Appearance: Pours an oily pitch black with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Solid two fingers of deep tan head that fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A rich, sweet, and roasty dark malt driven aroma with big hints of chocolate, coffee, and roasted caramel malt. Dark roasted barley malts with big upfront hints of cocoa, dark chocolate, coffee beans, toast, burnt caramel, toffee, oats, biscuit, and yeast. Also some hints of creamy milk and smoke. Big sweet hints of molasses. Slight hints of anise spicing. Dark fruit hints of raisin, currants, plum, prune, dark cherry, and fig. Hints of earthy hops linger in the background. A very good roasty aroma.

Taste: As big and rich as the aroma, a roasty dark malt driven taste with notes of bitter chocolate, coffee, caramel, and dark fruit. Dark roasted malts with a big taste of bitter dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee beans, burnt toast, caramel, oats, toffee, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Sweet taste of molasses and some creamy milk notes. Some licorice anise spicing. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of raisins, plum, currants, cherry, prune, and fig. Solid backing of earthy hops help balance out the sweetness. A very good roasty and sweet stout taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a medium/high level of carbonation. Very creamy and silky with a nice bittersweet feel. Alcohol heat is felt somewhat but its far from too hot.

Overall: A very good imperial stout. Has the big chocolate and coffee flavors you expect from the style with a nice balance of bitterness and sweetness.

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Photo of bsp77
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Almost pitch black with initial foamy brown head that settles to a thin line with spotty lacing.

Smell: Molasses, caramel, chocolate and licorice.

Taste: Chocolate, molasses and oats immediately hit the taste buds, with some coffee rounding out the taste. The finish has a strong anise component, as well as bitter, roasted notes.

Feel: Very thick, smooth, creamy and silky. Finish is semi-dry. Very warming.

Overall: While not quite as incredible as Victory at Sea, this is another great luxuriant brew from Ballast Point. They are obviously good at these types of beers.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up a decent amount of head that shows some retention. The head is a light to medium beige while the body is a dark chocolate black that is opaque. Minimal lacing.

Nose- A combination of caramel that turns into bubblegum that reflects the muted coffee and roasted notes. Some chocolate appears and mitigate the warmer notes. Some caramel from the bottle. Light coffee seems to be the base. Some grain and oatmeal. Some toast.

Taste- Bittersweet chocolate is definitely the dominate note with considerable alcohol following. This is very sweet and could use some aging. Both the coffee and bittersweet coffee notes are rambunctious and they play well with the heat. In my opinion, this beer is way too hot for such a low alcohol content on an imperial. Bittersweet chocolate seems to move into cocoa. Light notes of oatmeal. Some raisins. While every aspect my not impress, most aspects seem to be in their place. It does become a bit sweet on the finish. Some caramel appears with notes of vanilla and oak. This isn't a great imperial stout but it is a good imperial stout. Heavy coffee on the finish with hints of oak and spice.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with a bit of thinness to it. Some grittiness
and oatmeal on the finish.

Drinkability- The raisin character is a bit cloying but this is a good imperial for the money. I like it more than Sculpin.

Overall- This is a solid Imperial stout. Very boozy, lots of raisin. I could age a bottle but who would care? Still a solid beer.

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Photo of 45nDown
3.39/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Imperial stout...Don't think so. Good out meal stout but a double imperial...NO Nice try.
It just fell short on all levels. This company can do better.

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Photo of beertunes
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in 12oz tulip. Poured a solid black color with 1-1/2 (+) of light brown head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma was fairly typical for the style, but very well-focused and defined. Nice base grains, and a very slight malt sweetness. On the tongue, a sharp alcohol flavor dominated at first but after 15-20 seconds, the burn faded and left a nice blend of grain and malt, with a very slight roast note.

The body was solid, but not quite as full as I like for the style. Drinkability was good, once you got by the alcohol taste. Overall, a very good beer, almost a must try, but certainly worth your time.

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 474 ratings.