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Sea Monster Imperial Stout | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by OlieIPA on 11-28-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 497 | Ratings: 1,788
Photo of cosmicevan
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

crazy thanks to comfortablynumb1 for this super cool extra!!!

a - enjoyed in my E snifter. popped the cap and filled my glass...beer was a pewter black...bowling ball witha thin creamy mocha head that had slow eruptions from the larger bubbles on the surface. hung out for a while and eventually small ponds cleared on the surface. lacing was pretty slick.

s - very nice and subtle mix of roastiness with some sweet dark fruit. gently sweetened.

t - WHOA that's good squishy...BIG and BOLD. RrrrOASTiness. some bittering. cocoa powder. second pour was way more vanilla and creamy.

m - tingly bready finish. full bodied and authoritative. rich and filling but the roastiness makes it a bit lighter feeling.

o - overall a nice bold roasty stout. ballast point continues to impress.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of MikeyMikee
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been cellaring this for about 4-5 months. Served at cellar temp: 55'F

A- Opaque, literally jet black. A frothy baje head with a prety good retention considering its 10%. Nice lacing as well.

S- Heavily roasted malts, hazelnut, chocolate, light coffee grind and a bit of toffee. Clean citrus hops cut through the roast. AWESOME smell.

T- Vanilla, slight oak, liquorice and very little espresso. There are some light molasses and some figs which give it a tangy tartness. There are some citrusy hops on the finish that finish strong with some ethanol. Compared to the smell, the taste is a real let down.

M- Low to medium carbonation. Descent carbonation and the alcohol and hops provide a descent bite on the finish. There isnt any lingering of flavors which is alright. Doesn't fully coat the mouth and its a little thin.

O- Very drinkable, tangy but goes down smoothly for 10%..Thin body and tart tangyness takes away from the drinkability.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Acquired this beer from the very sexy Aimstatus and enjoyed in her presence as well.

A: Poured with a brownish-black hue and was thinner than what I expected, but settled in nice and cozy-like in my brandy snifter. This beer also exhibited little head that dissipated shortly after the pour as well.

S: The initial smell is a mix of a really dark-roasted coffee with perhaps some hints of vanilla, or something sweet of its kind.

T: After the first sip, the palate is engulfed with a variety of flavors including: roasted coffee, nuts, dark chocolate, and black-licorice. There is one more flavor that I can't pick out, but it's something that would typically be found in a milk stout.

M: Has more of a Porter mouthfeel then an Imperial Stout, but does have a good amount of body for a 10% ABV beer. As aimstatus pointed out, the flavors seem to cling to the roof of your mouth.

D: No hint of alcohol taste as all; one of the easier Imperial Stouts to down.

Overall: Very impressed by this beer that you should definitely try to get your hands on. It reminds me more of a porter then an Imperial Stout, but still contains some of the qualities of one. A try it beer on my list. Cheers!

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Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade with jgap. Thanks, Justin!

A-Jet black, opaque with a very thin creamy tan head.

S-Roasted coffee and molasses with some dark chocolate in the background.

T-Sweeter than the nose, starting with a nice malty front with a roasty finish and more than a little bit of alcohol bite. Just boozy enough without going over the top. Delicious.

M-A little bit oily but otherwise rather light.

D-Very nice. Rich in flavor and a pleasure to drink.


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Photo of Tucquan
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-03-31 in Torrance, CA from a fresh bottle.

A - Deep, dark brown with a big, tan head that fades in half quicky and leaves nice lacing.

S - Chocolate, coffee, a bit of dried currants.

T - Tasty chocolate, toffee, medium roasted coffee astringency and hop bitterness. Sweet, mild sour and reasonable bitterness are well-balanced in the finish. Quite nice. Alcohol taste is there but this isn't a boozy tasting brew.

M - Thick, creamy with enough carbonation to refresh the pallet. Nice.

O - Props to a very good Imperial Stout. The chocolate and other flavors suit me better than oak/bourbon barrel stouts that sometimes emphasize fig/plum and vanilla. I'm a chocolate guy.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A – Poured out black with no light showing. Solid finger of brown head that receded down to a nice cap. Spotty lacing.

S – Roasted malt, oats, coffee, milk chocolate and bitterness.

T – Has a very nice roasted malt and chocolate taste in every sip. Pick up some subtle vanilla notes that also give it a bit of sweet flavor. Has a lot less coffee flavor then the smell would suggest. Solid pack of bitterness neat the end. Warms your throat on the way down with a breathy alcohol kick.

M – Medium to full bodied. Moderate carbonation. Still feels fairly creamy on palate.

O – Very good solid imperial stout. Nice easy drinker even for the ABV. Flavorful and the tastes get better if you let it warm up. More chocolate and vanilla comes out at room temp. Nice job here from the BP boys.

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Photo of bbothen
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Pours a deep dark pitch black with a frothy 2 finger deep tan colored head. Lots of sticky lacing & webbing left on the glass.

SMells of roasted coffee beans, toasted malts, nuttiness, sweet dark fruitiness, faint smoky aroma. Yowza. Let's go.

Toasted malty roastiness, chocolate goodness, sweet roasted maltiness, nice hoppy bitterness, burnt grains, coffee. IS that technical? It tastes AWESOME. Big, roasty, bitter.

Smooth, full bodied, moderately carbonated, lingering bitterness.

A 22oz was no problem. The 10% is well hidden.

A fantastic Impy stout from Ballast Point. Big tasty, and great. Seek it out.

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Photo of popery
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown-black opaque liquid with nice mocha head that dissipates perhaps a bit more than I 'd prefer.

S: The smell is a bit too mild, but what's there is quite good. There is a mix of chocolate, coffee and roasted malt notes with excellent dark fruit chiming in from somewhere.

T: Excellent flavor. It's not a chocolate malt bomb or aggressively roasted. This beer attains a balance between the big stout flavors. There is a natural, malty coffee flavor (as opposed to the flavor from added coffee beans, no disrespect to coffee stouts). There are some citric, herbal hops, at least they taste that way over the flavorful dark-roasted malt. Dark stone fruit backs up the malt with flavors of prunes and plums which combine well with the citric hops. It's a well-crafted flavor.

M: There's good complexity to the beer and the alcohol is relatively well-hidden. Slightly viscous.

D: Drinkable. Good aftertaste. Well-balanced.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. No visible best before date.

A: A full finger of creamy head, brownish with a bit of bubbles. Almost black, but when any light makes it through, it's a gorgeous reddish hue.

S: Dry, roasted malts, à la Guinness. Some baking chocolate.

T: Whoah. This is delicious. Amidst the dryingly roasted malts are amazing notes of smoked meat and sweet-strong alcohols. The aftertaste is coffee-bitter and almost peachy. I dig this imperial stout.

M: Sitcky-smooth and seriously substantial.

O: This beer came with superlative recommendations from the beer store owner, and I wasn't let down. It may not be "the best imperial stout ever brewed," but it's darn fine. I'd definitely have one again and I'd recommend you pick one up.

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Photo of surprenant1138
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown/black into a snifter with almost no head and excellent retention of lacing. Aroma is light: coffee beans, some hops, some vanilla, maybe some spices. Mouthfeel is heavy, rich, and lightly carbonated. Taste is excellent: toasted coffee, some chocolate, some vanilla, very earthy, maybe some cinnamon, maybe some more spices. There is a hint of a medicinal afterbite, but that is tolerable. This is a great new stout for me to add to my list of continuing purchases.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage served at cellar temperature in a chalice.

Sea Monster is a medium dark brown in color with good clarity seen on the pour. Head is thick at first but settles fairly quickly. Nice lacing left behind.

Aroma is roasty and chocolatey but surprisingly mild for an imperial stout.

Flavor is thankfully more mild than the aroma would suggest. It has dark malt sweetness up front with big bitterness from middle to end. A combination of roasted malts and hops contribute to the bitterness and there's good balance there.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with low carbonation.

Overall a very good imperial stout but maybe not as special as Victory at Sea.

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Photo of kdahnke123
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottling poured into a snifter.
A - Dark brown pour with a 2F head that very slowly dissipates to a cream colored lacing.
S - A rich malty smell a balanced amount of hops and hints of chocolate.
T - A balanced integrated flavor of roasted malt and medium hops.
M - Very smooth, with medium carbonation.
O - A very nice creamy stout. No edge to this one, just nice and smooth.

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Photo of cassanoj
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, appearing opaque in the glass, with a half finger light brown head that dissipates to patches leaving light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, chocolate, molasses and licorice. Flavor is dark toasted malt with a mild char, licorice, milk chocolate and molasses. Finishes with molasses, chocolate and nice lingering char and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with light creaminess, good mouth feel. A great full bodied imperial stout, almost a Russian imperial stout profile, but with a bit more hoppiness. Great flavor throughout with dark malts and molasses flavors at the fore. I like this stout a lot. This one got lost in the basement, but this 2 year old bottle has held up great.

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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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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 497 ratings.