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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

481 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 481
Hads: 1,717
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 159
Gots: 378 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 481 | Hads: 1,717
Photo of jminsc76
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bestowed upon me a few months ago by the lovely irishgurl4 as a moving-away present (nochmals vielen Dank).

Into a tulip, pours an incredibly large, thick espresso head atop an impenetrable black body. Very thick legs as I tilt the glass, but not much going on by way of lacing. Looks great though.

Aromas of coffee and cookies (chocolate dough), with some almost phenolic qualities, but that could be the currants. It's pretty good, especially as it warms, with the malts virtually tickling the bouquet.

The flavors are actually quite magnificent, with a dovetailing of the currants meshing with the bitter aspects of the chocolate. It's a bit overwhelming, or at least unbalanced at first, but the spectrum becomes more so (yet still nuanced) as it warms. A lot more sweetness on the finish.

The mouthfeel, for a beer claiming oatmeal stout on the label, is actually not that smooth or pillow-ey. I mean, it's still thick, but the aging I have done with it for the last few months has perhaps blunted the once thick consistency. Hard to say.

Overall, this non-barrel-aged stout is quite good, with a flavor profile that grows on me as I sip. Just hoping future versions can improve that mouthfeel.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Charred chestnut with dark bronze highlights along the bottom edge. Not a complete black hole, but close enough. An attractive chunk of mocha colored foam occupies the glass from the nonic bulge to the rim and can be seen laying down shredded sheets of lace as it slowly begins to melt.

The nose is classic for the American double stout style. It also earns an extra half-point for aggressiveness. Even a passing sniff results in a pleasing burst of roasted malt that slightly favors bittersweet chocolate over black coffee. If the flavor is this impressive, SMIS might end up as one of my favorite Ballast Point brews.

Sea Monster Stout is delicious beer that is a little smaller in scope than many American double stouts. I'm more than fine with that. Massive beer is great, but it can sometimes be difficult to get through an entire bomber in one sitting. This one should be no trouble at all... as long as I can find a soft place to land after the final ounce.

Given the masterpiece that is Sculpin IPA, it's obvious that the brewers at Ballast Point know their way around a hop cone. Therefore, it isn't surprising that Monster contains mucho hops. While the individual characteristics of the hops (Summit and Amarillo) aren't obvious, they succeed in adding a considerable amount of citric fruit flavor and back end bitterness.

As it should be, the flavor spotlight is on the typical stout flavors of chocolate and coffee. Let's also add dark caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit (raisins) to the list. No molasses, no anise, no smoke. Again, those who love both American C-hops and stout will be in seventh heaven.

The mouthfeel fits the beer perfectly. Like the flavor, it's no kraken, but it's no skinny little minnow either. Positives include a light creaminess and just the right amount of bubbles. Gulping is encouraged, as long as one remains mindful of the ABV.

Ballast Point isn't usually mentioned in the same breath as the giants of California craft beer. That's a shame because these guys release quality beer... after quality beer... after quality beer. Sculpin is still my favorite, but Sea Monster is fantastic as well.

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Photo of ExtraStout
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

P: Pours out of the bottle a thick, very dark brown color and sits in the glass a nearly opaque, jet-black colored liquid aside from the glimmer of rosy-brown light on the very edges of the glass. The hot cocoa colored head fades fairly quickly, not leaving much in the way of lace.

A: Huge, robust nose made up of baker's chocolate, a big dose of roasted coffee, sweet molasses, some oats, and black currant. Aromatics are very good with this one.

T: Starts sweet with chocolate malts heading the charge, reinforced by some slightly vanilla-flavored roasted coffee, molasses, and just the right amount of hop bitterness to keep this see-saw of flavors level. Bourbon alcohol pops in half-way through but doesn't rear its ugly head , rather it stays pretty subdued and lends a great contribution in the flavor department without overwhelming or being too harsh. Finishes dry, riding the gentle wave of Bourbon, coffee, chocolate, and a more pronounced oatmeal presence that leaves a very pleasant aftertaste. Mighty tasty!

M: The body of this Sea Monster seems like it gains some heft with each and every sip. Velvety smooth, rich, and creamy for sure. A sheer delight on the tongue.

D: Oh, hell yeah! It's probably a good thing that this is a seasonal offering, or else I'd go broke drinking this all the time.

Notes: This is one hell of an Imperial Stout. Deep, complex, very flavorful, dangerously smooth, and incredibly easy to drink. Don't miss out on this one, it's a must-have for sure! Highly recommended for all stout lovers.

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Photo of Kendo
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bomber into a Duvel tulip. Body is black. Even when backlit, it's a strong black, with no lighter hues around the edges. Reminds me of a slate chalkboard when backlit. Solid 1-finger chocolate-brown head on top leaves behind nice lacing with each sip.

S: Sweet malt and a hint of coffee over baker's chocolate (more roasted coffee smell as it warms up a bit). Slight hint of hops too.

T: Roasted barley malt, a touch of charcoal/char, roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. Finishes with good citrusy hop bitterness. Somewhat vinuous, with dark fruits as it warms (plum, raisins). Drinks real easy for a 10% ABV beer. Heat is felt in the belly, but not really noted in the taste. Pretty big hop bitterness at the finish offsets those malty flavors, leaves lingering citric bitterness on the palate.

M: A heavyweight, heft-wise, but that doesn't slow down the quaffing. Decent creaminess - the label says there's oatmeal in this, which makes sense. Carbonation is modest.

O: Good stuff.

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Photo of jpro
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from Common Market on Commonwealth. Into a Maudite snifter...

A: Pours black with a light khaki head. No lacing, although some retention is managed.

S: Black patent malt aroma, with some alcohol - not super roasty, charry or chocolately, really.

T: Dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and a touch of alcohol.

M: Full and viscous, yet with a higher carbonation. Nice.

O: A very drinkable and satisfying imperial stout. Hard to believe its 10% - a very good beer.

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Photo of madorb
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at City Beer Store 01/24/09.

I'd previously had this in the bottle, and I thought it was a very solid, if unremarkable stout. On tap it really seemed like a totally different beast.

It poured a nice jet black, and the nose was smooth and creamy. It tasted *much* creamier and more robust than out of the bottle, it really tasted a lot more like a chocolately milk stout, with an amazing mouth feel. I was really surprised by the stark contrast between bottle and tap. If you see it on tap, I'd recommend checking it out!

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

The best by bottle date was 7/12- I bought it recently, and I had some concern. It is a 10 ABV
beer. No problems.

The beer pours an attractive dark coffee-brown in a snifter with a 1 finger head.

It is most important to note that this beer has a totally different character warmed-up
than cold. Colder( 49F) lemon, vanilla, chocolate aroma- great.

The mouth feel remains quite moderate, with some hops.

The taste at a colder temp is strong coffee, some chocolate and lemon.

The aroma fades with warming, but the taste kicks in at 54F. Light but complex chocolate-lemon, as common with the style. The beer doesn't have the deep complexity of some
imperial stouts- there isn't an intensity one would find in Old Rasputin.

Despite the lighter taste, this is an excellent beer. Serve 50, closer to 55F.

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Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thick black liquid. Almost no head. Few bubbles stay on the surface till the end. Laces well.

S- Very sweet smell. Astringent roasted notes. Alcoholic presence at the end.

T- Big sweet imperial stout. It starts off with a thick molasses sweet malt. Then it moves towards a roasted barley with some coffee notes and hints of tobacco. You can slightly taste the alcohol in the aftertaste.

M- Big body. It coats the tongue completely. Just enough carbonation to slightly clear the palette.

O- This is another awesome imperial stout. Its a very smooth drinker. I wonder if the alcohol will fade with time? Going to grab a few more.

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4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An inch and a half of quick fading carmel brown head leaves just a skim after a few minutes. Body is a thick oiley jet blackness. Nose has a distinct smell of alchol soaked raisens and dark fruits with some biscuity malt as well. With first sip your mouth is flooded by smokey almost ashy malt tones that are very dark. Raw metalic minerals and tones of woodsy tree bark stick to the back of the tongue. The flavors that are initialy abrubt but quickly mellow and grew on you. Mouthfeel is thick rich and enjoyable. This is a wonderfully drinkable stout with a well hidden 8% alchol.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a super deep black color with a dark brown, rich head. The head sticks around for a good while. Some ruby and brown comes through the edges. The smell is of coffee, licorice roasty, bready notes, and bitter chocolate. Some hop aroma comes through the nose as well, which is nice. The taste is similar to the nose. Lots of bitterness from both hops and roasted malts. The beer has a nice layering of burnt, roasted, and toasted malts. The mouthfeel is full but possibly on the lighter side for a 10% beer, which, in my opinion, is awesome. Excellent beer.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of gestyr
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The weather turned a bit cool here so tonight is a good night for a stout.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a goblet.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a 1 finger beige head that has good staying power and leaves lacing.

S: Coffee, dark malts, citrus, chocolate.

T: Nice and roasty with hints of citrus and chocolate. Aftertaste is coffee with a bit of alcohol.

M: Rich and almost chewy with alcohol warming.

O: A good Imperial Stout. I will buy this again. This would go great with ribs or pulled pork.

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Photo of seand
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark opaque brown, near black, with a large amount of tan head. Just a thin layer retains, but leaves nice lacing.

S: Rich roasted malts, with notes of brown sugar and chocolate. Very nice.

T: Sweet and rich, with a full sweetness leading to a light roasted coffee-like bitterness through the finish.

M: Full body, low to medium carbonation.

A very well executed beer. It doesn't have anything weird or crazy going on, but what's there is done just right.

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Photo of mjl21
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 10%. No bottling info is given.

A-Pours black with a thin khaki head that quickly clings to the rim of the glass. Some decent lace is left in between sips.

S-For a decent amount of time it smells like a traditional oatmeal stout. There is plenty of roasted malt which gives off coffee and chocolate notes. As it warms it gets sweeter and vanilla begins to appear. Considering it is 10%, the alcohol is very well blended.

T-It is fairly sweet from the start. The dark roasted malts give off more chocolate flavor than coffee. Citrus hops are apparent as it reaches the middle of my mouth. It has a touch of ash and astringency in the finish. As it warms the bitterness from the hops becomes more apparent. The alcohol is nowhere to be found.

M-Thick, creamy, and smooth from the oats. Perhaps a tad overcarbonated.

D-The high abv limits this one, but it is so well masked that this is deceptively drinkable.

This is my second time having this beer and I enjoyed this one much better than the version I had almost a year ago. It was not nearly as ashy and drying in the mouth. A very good beer that I would say is worth the price point of $8.00 per bottle.

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Photo of whatthehull
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


A - Deep almost sludgy black/brown, half finger tan head and some sticky lacing

S - creamy sweetness, vanilla bean, sugar, tons of roasted malts, coca, milk chocolate, light but nice coffee, sweet yeast, sweet malts, awesome crisp earthy hop note, very sweet berries and cherries and a nice slight alcohol note

T - Deep dark berries, a really nice coffee note, creamy smoothness, super awesome fruity hop note, nice milk and dark chocolate, french vanilla bean, overly sweet yeast note, huge sweet malt, huge roasted malt and grains, awesome very slight but makes the stout booze, nice wood, slight anise, some serious earth and a hint of cherry

M - Full bodied, well balanced, full complexity, low acidity and a wonderful long finish

D/O - I love this stout. I believe a bit underrated. Never had it on tap, heard it is a 1000x better, but I am loving it out of the bottle. Nice and robust, but not overwhelming. Creamy delicious and refreshing. Not a huge beer but bigger than a lot of stouts

Final Thoughts - Only $7 a pop and a great 10% abv and just and all around top notch stout

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Photo of gatorbreath
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good pour on this bomber at 9:55 a.m. eastern.

Chocolate/opaque dark brown/black..frothy tan head atop that diminshes slowly but surely..Smell is complex stout-like full of malty aromas with notes of chocolate/toffee/mocha, and some coffee. Taste is good, picking up what i smelled on the front end while scorched on the back end by this 10abv. Wow..complex this brew is...Mouthfeel is full-bodied and well-balances as to carbonation. The overall on this is that I thought i would like it but it seems to be too strong for me. The alcohol taste is overpowering for the morning. Enjoy all.!

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Photo of russpowell
4.27/5  rDev +7%
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...

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased this 22oz bottle at BevMo! Orange.

A- Poured into an imperial pint glass, Sea Monster Stout pours solid black with a one-finger, brown colored head that eventually dissipates to a thin ring along the inside of the glass. No lacing to be found.

S- Roasted/burnt malts, dark chocolate, nutty coffee, and some dark fruit sweetness. No trace of this beer's 10% ABV.

T- This is good stuff. The taste is very malty and sweet, with flavors of coffee and dark chocolate kicking in shortly after. A pronounced hop bitterness takes over towards the dry and very warming finish.

M- A silky-smooth, velvety and slightly syrupy mouthfeel with gentle carbonation.

D- The 10% ABV is well-hidden, but this beer sits fairly heavy on the stomach.

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Photo of champ103
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque black color. No light gets through at all. A two finger tan head forms with very good retention. Rings of sticky lace is left behind.
S: A soft, but very enjoyable aroma. Milk chocolate, light roast, cream coffee. Bread pudding, light toffee sweetness. Very nice.
T: Milk chocolate and lightly sweet toffee is up front. Lightly roasted and toasted malts with some coffee. This is good.
M/D: A full body that is perfectly carbonated. Velvety smooth. Like silk. So easy and enjoyable to drink. The alcohol is nowhere in sight.

This is a great Imperial Stout. Well made with lots of subtle complexities. Highly recommended.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle

A: Deep black under a good sized brown head. Low retention and lace.

S: Very nice smell, chocolate, roasted malt, nuttiness. Really nice balance. Maybe some sweet cream. Very pleased with the aroma.

T: Again, very nice and very balanced. Chocolate and roasted malt balanced with a nice cream sweetness. Bitterness is there along with some heat, but never overwhelming. A hint here and there of some dark fruit.

M/D: Full bodied, low carbonation, could be a little better however (silky, creamy, smooth, etc.). Just missing some texture. Drinkability is very nice. A really good example of the style.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black with nice head retention and sticky lace left on the glass. Impressive!

S - Sweet, chocolate, hops, roasted grain. Nothing to not like

T - Like the smell, sweet, chocolate, sugar lingers in aftertaste. Warm alcohol undercurrents.

M - Full bodied, dry.

O - Very tasty. Alcohol is hidden, but it packs a punch no doubt. So smooth. Well done!

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black which becomes an almost pitch dark red when held up to light. The head is light tan and not very big. The scent is VERY similar to NC Old Raspy. I just reviewed Old Raspy the other night, and this seems almost identical. The taste, however, is not identical. First, I get sweet flavors of vanilla, toffee, and possibly even marshmallows. Then I get some black licorice, followed by roasted coffee notes. This also has a bit of booziness at the end, ending with a tiny bitter taste. This is not a bad thing, because I LOVE my DIS/IRSs to be a bit hot. The mouthfeel is creamy, but kinda light and fizzy at the same time. Not syrupy at all. The drinkability is mildly high for a 10%ABV Imperial Stout. Good beer.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I purchased this bottle from South Bay Drugs & Liquor. Thanks Joey!

This beer pours from 22oz bottle a pitch black with a nice 2 finger head of tannish foam. It's a very appealing sight in my Sam Adams glass.

The smell is very sweet. I'm getting a big caramel malt nose along with some chocolate and some roasted malt.

The taste...Yummy. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and all are there in ridiculously high abundance. The more I sip on it, the more I notice the coffee and roasted malt flavour. This is a very compelling Imperial Stout to drink. The relatively low abv for the style really helps when it comes to drinkability. It has a medium to medium full mouthfeel and it's fairly lightly carbonated. The finish has an ever so pleasing mix of coffee and chocolate that you *just* don't want to see end.

This is the my first experience with a Ballast Point brew and oh, I just noticed that the label says it is 8%bv. The alcohol is hidden *very* well. This is a winner in my book and if you're a fan of coffee and chocolate in an American Double/Imperial Stout, I can only recommend it highly. This is damn good stuff!

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Photo of augustgarage
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Bruery tulip.

An opaque seal brown body supports a finger of soft, soapy, buff colored foam which recedes to a delicate island of cream surrounded by rings of fine lacing. Good retention.

An assortment of dark roast notes greets your nose suggesting cocoa nibs, brandy-spiked coffee, roast barley, and toast. A subtle yet unctuous dark sugar sweetness becomes more prominent as the ale warms. The alcohol contributes a few esters perhaps, but is surprisingly tame for the ABV.

Intense palate entry is suffused with malt. A rich sweetness gives way rapidly to a deep char, the near-acridness of which joins with a moderate earthy bitterness contributed by hops. The finish is very long and increasingly dry, though there is a distinctive element of cocoa in the aftertaste which is very pleasing and brings you back for another sip. Alcohol still has some bite, one could imagine this aging for another couple of years to no ill effect.

Medium-bodied, creamy, and still well carbonated with only the slightest hint of astringency despite the prominence of dark specialty or roasted malt.

The aging has tamed the harsher elements of this beast, leaving behind the core of flavor - an excellent example of the style when given sufficient time to develop.

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 481 ratings.