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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,290 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,290
Reviews: 435
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 104
Gots: 226 | FT: 9
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:
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 added by: OlieIPA on 11-28-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,290 | Reviews: 435 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black color with a huge fluffy off white head that shows remarkable staying power. Smells of chocolate, roasted coffee, caramel, earthy hops, and a touch of alcohol. Tastes of coffee and chocolate as expected. Dark caramel, citrus hops, and alcohol battle for supporting roles. Ashy roast and citrus bitterness leave there mark on my taste buds long after every sip. Surprisingly thin body really surprised me, I was expecting much more than this one delivers. Oily chocolate type mouthfeel with a medium to low level of carbonation. Very flavorful brew that I quite enjoyed, but this really could use a bit more body.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2011 00:18:25 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of gford217


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

I opened the older version of this one last night so I thought I'd open the newer, amped up version tonight. 22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

The pours is dark brown out of the bottle and is almost completely opaque black in the glass. There's a small tan head that doesn't stick around too long and leaves a big ring and hints of lacing.

The aroma doesn't vary much from the earlier formulation and is dominated by dark roasted malts, bakers chocolate and a bit of citrus hops. There is a bit of roasted espresso beans in the nose as well.

The taste is more of the same with the dark roasted malts and bakers chocolate dominating from start to finish. The toasted character and espresso leave a slight bitterness in the finish almost lending a smoky ash aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with light carbonation and a little more dry and bitter than most Impy stouts in the finish.

This beer is not much different from the previous Sea Monster and the additional alcohol is not very noticeable. That said, I actually think I prefer the older version and the step up in alcohol didn't necessarily correlate to more taste or complexity for me. Still, a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2009 02:05:25 | More by gford217
Photo of maximum12


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

Thanks to chickencoop for sending me this brew in a nice, big box of beer recently. Really enjoy Ballast Point, so looking forward to something bigger, darker, & badder from the brewery. And action!

Pours black, with a slight prism of rose trickling in around the edges. Smell is wild. There's a note of cherry or raspberry quick-changing all over this beer. Alcohol makes it presence known, too.

Sea Monster has a freaky, port-like quality to it, as if the big stout had a few oak-port-soaked chips dipped into the tank at some point. The dark fruit carries over from the smell into the taste, but pleasantly, & dominates the beer. Not getting most of the tastes mentioned on the label...just a very viney, winey, almost brandy-hint character off the beer. Bitterness creeps in at the end from the hops.

End all? This is simple, but very good, very unique, nothing at all what I was expecting, & nothing like any other RIS I've had. But I'll take it any day.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2010 03:26:46 | More by maximum12
Photo of CheeseTurds


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this from a bomber last night.

This is a very well-executed stout from a great brewery. It took me a while to remember that I had this on tap at Toronado a few weeks back (my memory had been clouded by the 5 or 6 pints of stout I had afterward). It was quite the treat then, too.

This beer pours dark as hell. I held it up to the light and nothing shined through. That gets big points from me.

I had eaten pancakes before drinking this beer. This was just a little runnier than the maple syrup I had eaten. Thick, creamy feel. I felt like I was chewing on it, but it doesn't stick long. Again, that's what I want from an Oatmeal stout and this didn't disappoint.

The taste was a little boozy (as it's gonna be at 10%) but this is very drinkable. Perhaps I drank it too fast as I was asleep an hour after I finished the bottle.

Even though I intend to experiment more and more with Imperial Stouts, I'd definitely pick this one up on a "non-experimental" night.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2009 05:51:07 | More by CheeseTurds
Photo of Ozzylizard


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

Bomber enjoy by 2/22/14 at 50 degrees into goblet
Aroma of roasted malt, slight coffee tinge
Head small (2 cm), light brown, creamy, mostly diminishing
Lacing ok – reticulum
Body black, opaque
Flavor begins with roasted malt with slight coffee taste and hints of vanilla
A slight alcohol burn is present. No hops, no diacetyl, no oat smoothness
Palate is medium, slightly creamy, soft carbonation

Pretty well meets the type criteria.
Not a bad beer but will probably mellow with aging. Could not tell that it was supposed to be an oatmeal stout. Would buy again to age.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 13:18:01 | More by Ozzylizard
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Apearance - Poured 12 ounces into a snifter, producing an opaque black brew with a finger width, light cocoa powder colored head. Good retention. Decent lacing left on the glass, while an ever-present film of microbubbles cover the surface.

Smell - Milk chocolate, oats, roasted aromas. Lightly boozy.

Taste - Starts sweet, with light chocolate notes playing nicely off the oats, then the roast kicks in. Dark chocolate, then hints of anise creep in mid-taste before finishing with a strongly bitter coffee roastiness. Anise character leaves a mild tongue numbness. Sweetens as the beer warms, playing more and more to the milk chocolate character, though the bitterness still plays a nice role.

Mouthfeel - Closer to medium than full in body. Somewhat chalky. Not as smooth or creamy as one would expect for an oatmeal brewed stout. Dry, somewhat astringent finish.

Overall - A fairly good imperial stout. Great flavor, but lacks an ideal body. Something I wouldn't mind drinking again, but for the price? I'd pass.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 23:40:37 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of wisrarebeer


3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: near opaque, jet black, thin but creamy head
S: medium nose, chocolatey, roasted-burnt malt, some heat but nothing bad or distracting, predominately aged quality, some medicinal
M: very drinkable, creamy velvet with some heat in finish, some tannin sharpness in finish
T: well-balanced, nice roasted/burnt malt with good hop bitterness

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 21:36:08 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of ehammond1

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


Liquor Stop
San Marcos, CA

A breathtaking beer to behold. A midnight black pour with a huge inch and a half head that bubbles down just a bit before sticking around for a very, very long time. The head is thick and creamy with a gorgeous tan color. Sticky lacing down the glass. Hard to get better than this.

An appealing aroma of espresso coffee, some chocolate, and roasted malt. There is the fainest smell of warm alcohol hidden underneath. A relatively balanced and somewhat unaggressive nose, but certainly pleasing and inviting. While certainly enjoyable, it doesn't do anything to separate itself from other good to great American Imperial Stouts.

The taste falls in line right behind the nose. A balanced combination of bitter coffee and sweet chocolate with a backbone of bitterness from the hops. The coffee aftertaste really stays on the palette long after the last sip. Uncomplicated but delicious.

A medium mouthfeel with the appropriate creaminess I like in my big stouts.

This is a big, delicious, uncomplicated stout. It does everything it sets out to do well enough. Although perhaps a tad unambitious, a delicious and particularly drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 22:12:15 | More by ehammond1
Photo of OldIronLungs


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark caramel into my Duvel snifter with about a finger head that quickly dissipates - nice lacing left over however.

Smells of roasted malts and light coffee but a sip brings a nice creamy smooth mouth feel with light carbonation and some hope bitterness at the end. Oh and some of the booze is present at the finish since this is, in fact, Imperial.

Nice drinker, good mouth feel, a proper impy stout. Would love to try one with some age on it but I'd snag this guy again if I saw it.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2011 00:33:43 | More by OldIronLungs
Photo of donkeyrunner


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

A celebration beer for my girlfriend doing her first NPC bikini competition. I would have drank it if she didn't compete but huzzah just the same.

Opaque black under a large, fluffy white noggin. Decent swirly retention like the silhouette of a large wave. Splashy speckles of lace.

Sea monster is a hoppy monster. Dark roast coffee, fudge, and charcoal. Strength of the aroma peters out as it warms.

Black currant and dark malt. Bottle says "hop balance," I never would have believed it after first whiff but a guess a bottle never lies: it is balanced. Warming alcohol makes me giddy.

Good but doesn't taste like 10%.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 00:40:51 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of PhxHorn


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

This about as close as you can get to black without actually being black. Half a finger of tan head forms when poured vigorously--not the foamiest of beers. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Tastes moderately of chocolate, coffee, caramel, malt, licorice. A nice balanced combination of flavors, but they really were a bit weaker than they should have been. If the flavors had been bumped up a notch, then it would have been first rate.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 17:11:10 | More by PhxHorn
Photo of Murrhey


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

Poured on-tap in a 7oz glass at Playground in Santa Ana, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Half a finger tan head. Medium retention, nice fluffy lacing.

S- Chocolate and toffee, but subtle. Nice roasted smell.

T- Extremely strong flavor. Booze and coffee with heavily roasted malts and barley. Hides the alcohol very well.

M- Heavy bodied, almost chunky it is so thick.

O- Very stong. This beats the hell out of my tongue.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2012 01:19:07 | More by Murrhey
Photo of DoubleJ


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Let's do it again. Coming out of the 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

As expeced, this imperial stout is black as black. The head on top is slightly tannned in color, retains quite well, and leaves more than a few strings of lace around the glass. The nose has a few elements of goodness, however it isn't as rich as I thought it would be. The given aromas present are characoal, fruity esters, roasted malt, and a slight sweetness coming from the oatmeal.

Less astringent and more rich in the flavor. The oatmeal really adds up here, providing a velvety texture and a lovely sweetness. Subtle fruit kicks around. Unsweetened chocolate. For a body that is nearly 10% ABV and full, this drinks reasonably easy for the size. Of course, it helps that the alcohol is hidden well.

End result: a worthy and possibly overlooked strong stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2012 16:30:07 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of DrJay


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

Black with a dark tan cap of fine bubbles. Good head retention, lots of lacing - solid sheets near the top, more spotty as my glass was drained. Tons of roast in the aroma, coffee and toffee, some char and bitter chocolate, hint of licorice. Quite sweet, lots of caramel and toffee, bittersweet chocolate, mild leafy hops. Pretty tasty. Lingering bitterness and roasted malts. Carbonation was very fine, but there was quite a bit of it - less would have been better. Mild astringency, full but not heavy body, a little lighter than I expected.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2011 21:48:23 | More by DrJay
Photo of Urbancaver


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown. Looks fairly thin off the pour but very nice head. Smells very roasty and very malty. Tons of strong malts. Almost a hint of booziness as well. Tastes very roasted and strong. Lots of smoked malt flavours with some nice sweetness. Thicker mouthfeel than i was expecting given the appearance. Wll carbonated and fairly drinkable for a 10 percent beer

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 22:44:35 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of WYVYRN527


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

22 oz. bottle poured into the old reliable pint glass.

A: Black in color with a cram colored head. Good lacing, and head retention is ok, considering the ABV of the beer.

S: Roasty malt shines through with coffee, chocolate, toast, and dried dark fruit. Suprisingly hoppy aroma on the back end.

T: One of the hoppier imperial stouts I have come across. Malt character is dominant, with espresso, toasted bread, some chocolate, and molasses. Hops dry out the finish, leaving a nice bitter edge.

M: Medium-bodied. Actually this is the one flaw with this beer. It was just a bit thin on the palate. Very silky overall, with loads of flavor.

D: Sea Monster is a very good imperial stout. It's one I would reccommend to people just getting into the style. A bit lighter, yet very full-flavored. I would definitely buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2010 07:12:46 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of nmbr0ne


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

Poured into snifter from bottle.

Appearance: Dark, dark brown. Dark chocolate color with an off-white head. Not much lacing remains after the head is gone.

Smell: Chocolatey notes, both dark and milk varieties. Roasted malts. Slight coffee smells. Little bit of toffee.

Taste: Chocolate throughout. Bitter finish that is not overwhelming. Balanced flavors. Toffee notes, roasted malts. Very similar to the smell.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium bodied. Not a lot of carbonation.

Overall: Great stout. Delicious, but the mouthfeel leaves a little to be desired.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 01:53:44 | More by nmbr0ne
Photo of Bendurgin


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

Poured into a tulip. This pours black with a cap of light tan head.

Nice roasted aroma with leather and dark fruits. Hints of sweet vanilla in the background. Hints of bittersweet coco on the pallet with leathery notes and earthy flavors. Dark fruit in the mix also.

The body is full with good carbonation. Overall this one is pretty good. I'd have it again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 03:35:51 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of ixodus

New Jersey

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

A: Black with brown hues, heavy lacing, tall khaki head that sticks around.

S: Milk chocolate, plums, figs, raisins, caramel, and vanilla. Fruit forward and sweet. Alcohol hidden well.

T: Bittersweet dark chocolate and cocoa upfront quickly followed by dark fruits, plums, raisins, and figs tied together with a nice roasty background. Alcohol presence is there but doesn't hinder anything.

M: Medium bodied, a little on the watery side with soft carbonation.

O: Overall a decent stout. A lot of dark fruit in this one but it's not a dark fruit bomb per say. The body needs improvement as it's a little on the thin side for an Imperial Stout. It's just missing that high viscosity.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2012 01:28:47 | More by ixodus
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!

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2010 15:58:05 | More by Lunch
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

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

Thanks going out to Stoneman78 for the opportunity to consider this SoCal Regional specialty.

Pours an opaque darkness with a big stiff dark tan head that resists fading and leaves sheets of lacing in its wake. The smell is aggressive. Highly roasted malts coffee, chocolate and molasses. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is tangy, rich and full bodied. Unlike my favorite Double stouts, the mouth lacks that lingering coating texture. Full flavored, the highly roasted coffee character is showcased, slightly over powering the oat. A ton of high quality ingredients in this one. Best enjoyed on the wintry months. Darn glad that i had the opportunity to try this one!

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2008 23:40:58 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of homebrewhawk


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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!

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2010 14:41:51 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of ChillMike


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

A: Pours a super dark brown almost black in color with a nice dark tan head that is somewhat on the smaller side but does stick around and leaves some nice lacing around the glass.

S: Smells mainly of bitter chocolates and coffee, there are also hints of roasted nuts and earthy hops. Nice smelling beer.

T: Very nice taste, the main flavor I'm tasting is of roasted nuts. There are also flavors of a mild coffee, that bitter chocolate noted in the nose, a bit of toffee and ends on just enough of a mild bitter hop taste. Hides the 10% VERY well. Not as complex as some Imperial Stouts I've had but it is very good.

MF:Nice thick full body feels nice on the tongue but just a smidgen not enough on the carbonation side of things.

D: Very drinkable beer, high on the ABV, but definitely a great after dinner or night cap beer.

Overall a solid offering from Ballast Point. Not my favorite Imperial Stout but a very strong effort.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 09:16:11 | More by ChillMike
Photo of r0nyn

New York

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into my trusty Troegs pint glass.

I've had a fair few imperial stouts in my time so I have an idea of what they should look like. Out of the bottle the Sea Monster looks on point, but as it fills the glass, light pierces through the blackness. I can definitely see through it, the bottom of the glass takes on a dark reddish brown hue. Not what I was expecting. A good sized half inch head follows up and dissipates, leaving a nice amount of lacing that just coats the inside of the glass. I can see the bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass through the lighter parts. Smell is of dark chocolate mixed with some malt and cherry. Alcohol is also prevalent.

Dark chocolate flavor and bitterness right up front in the taste which stays throughout. There's some roasted malts in the follow-through, along with a subtle coffee undertone. Towards the end, there's a slight hint of hoppiness, but it quickly disappears. The alcohol twinges a bit at the end. It rounds off with a lightly bitter aftertaste from the omnipresent dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is not as hefty as some other imperial stouts I've had, but is no means watery or light. Has some weight and oomph on the tongue that goes down smooth with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability is only slightly affected by the hefty 10% ABV. It isn't easily detected, so you'll have to watch just how fast you're going, since the smell and taste are quite enticing. Definitely an easy brew to get lost in, so watch yourself, lest you fall victim to the Sea Monster!

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2010 04:15:23 | More by r0nyn
Photo of mikehblack


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Produces a small coffee head that reduces quickly. Black as night. Pretty typical imp. stout. Roasted malts hit on the nose. A little sweet chocolate follows. Big roasty character on the taste. In between I'm getting plenty of dark chocolate and some bitter espresso. It finishes with hop bitterness. Nice smooth mouthfeel with perfect carbonation for the style. Overall a nice stout I would love to have again, maybe with some age on it.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2011 07:22:27 | More by mikehblack
Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,290 ratings.