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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: 1,715
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 158
Gots: 378 | FT: 14
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: 1,715
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 Pencible
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nearly opaque black with some dark tan head. It smelled very strange at first like powdered sugar and melted plastic, then became more normal like coffee and milk chocolate, with some sour cherry and fudge and a bit of oak. It tasted more mellow than expected like coffee and chocolate and oranges, with some caramel and maybe a bit of pineapple. It was fairly thick with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this beer was confusing at first, but I think I ended up enjoying it. It seemed to blend a stout's traditional mocha flavors with tropical hops. Once I deciphered that mix, the beer started to grow on me. It had nice body and hid the alcohol very well, so it wasn't difficult to drink. But I definitely suggest sipping to help you appreciate the dichotomy of flavors involved. Very unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - black as night with half a finger of chocolate milk colored head

S - rich roasted malts with strong coffee and chocolate flavors, heavy on the chocolate end of the mocha spectrum

T - up front alcohol and roasted malts that blends quickly into the mocha-ness, roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate, the chocolate flavor persists longer than the coffee and evolves into a burnt aftertaste

M&D - typical stout mouthfeel, smooth and velvety with a warming cold weather perfection, a well brewed stout with a sneaky ABV, a great introduction to a new brewery for me, i will have to seek out more Ballast brews, and the barrel version of this

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Photo of jnn4v
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Black. No translucence. A small amount of tan head. No sediment that I could spot.

S: Coffee, pine and alcohol. Subtle hint of maybe dishsoap. Not sure what that's from.

T: Coffee and rich maltiness are the dominant flavors. Very nicely balanced and quite tasty. However, there is some lingering bitterness that builds over time. Seems like there is some hop flavor, but unlike Alesmith's Speedway Stout, I don't get any tropical fruit flavors and only get pine and bitterness from the hops.

M: Very smooth, silky texture. Not very carbonated, but not oily or syrupy either.

D: Between the bitterness and the high ABV, this is not an exceptionally drinkable beer.

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Photo of Tom8Analise
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So far, easily in our top 3 favorite beers of all time...extremely full bodied flavor with very well balanced flavor notes of oatmeal, chocolate, and coffe...very rich and one of the smoothest I've had yet...very excited to share it with some of my good friends but only have (1) left so I plan on aging it for a little while before we crack it open...

Hope you enjoy it just as much as we did!

Tom and Analise

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hamilton's served in a snifter. Obviously black in color with a mocha colored head. Smells roasty and stouty! The flavor was roasted, bitter chocolate, really flavorful for being listed as 7% on the chalkboard. This was probably the best of the three Ballast Point beers I had that day.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 22 ounce bomber bottle shared with psycohops. Poured into a pair of standard shaker glasses. The stout appears an opaque deep black color with at least an inch of creamy dark ecru foam. A nice looking pour there Bob! Taste and nose consist of dark roasted grains, baking cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, mocha, coffee, earthy, yet somewhat floral hops, raisin, lots of caramel malt, and alcohol. The stout is just about full bodied and amply carbonated for the style. Pretty decent stuff.

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Photo of nomomentwasted
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at Home Brew Mart today, supposed to get a 2 ounce taster, quite a bit more on accident and they said not to worry about it. Cool, I appreciate it!

Appearance: Dark with some light brown, tannish head. Looks every bit of a stout, but I wouldn't say it was other-worldly or anything better than other good imperial stouts.

Smell: Chocolate malts come through with some acidic coffee, followed by some slight anise and raisin. Little spice in there as well, not quite clove but maybe more along the lines of some more herbal spice. Biggest notes, and most prominent, however, are chocolate and then coffee.

Taste: Pretty heavy chocolate notes, tastes like biting into some unsweetened pure baker's chocolate. Followed by the coffee as well, but the chocolate malts must have been an integral part of this brew as it was far and away the biggest taste I got. Bitterness is there as well, as are some of the more dark fruits, but it's all under the umbrella of the choco-coffee. Very nice, but it's just a little one-dimensional when compared to the top-flight RIS.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy, and heavy. Felt like the ABV. Warm, prickly spiciness followed by a slight alcohol burn. Left my mouth a bit dry due to the heavy nature. Big stout for sure.

Drinkability: It's tough to say. It's 10%, and it drinks like it. A bit too much chocolate for me personally, but I wouldn't mind this as a dessert beer or special occasion, it's pretty tasty stuff.

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Photo of ledomelor
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a 16 oz glass

A: Very dark coal color with a very thin creamy tan head. Small amount of lace around the edges

S: Roasted coffee and dark chocolate hit the nose first. Then as the beer warms up the hops begin to pop out. Very sweet smelling, as well as the presence of alcohol

T: Initially it was more bitter then I expected from the aroma. The chocolate seemed to have a strong bite in the forefront of the palette, as did the hops, but as you allow the beer to linger in your mouth, the roasted coffee and malts began to come through with its hoppy background.

M: Very big bodied taste, however it didn't seem to linger as long as I hoped it would. I enjoy a stout which you can taste a few minutes after each sip, but it seemed to be missing from this brew. Perfect carbonation however, very light, but just enough to clear the palette and give the beer an edge

D: Very robust stout. I enjoyed sipping this beer, but I would save it for a night you are really craving a stout.

Overall I was satisfied with this beer. I was hoping for the flavors to pop out more and I was a little surprised at the bitterness of this stout. I also wanted to continue tasting this beer after I was done, but it didn't linger in the palette as long as I hoped. Over all very good stout

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Photo of gford217
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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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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Photo of Jmoore50
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This was an AVERAGE RIS for me. I had higher hopes.

The appearance is good, pours a dark oil brown, had a good consistency, something literally like oil. Came with a brown head, nice nice. Not much lacing, medium to light.

The smell was nothing. There was a light chocolate smell with a faint faint smell of old coffee grounds. Alcoholic metal smell as well.

The taste was good, and the mouthfeel was super watery. The drinkability was good. Okay, all of these are going to be lumped together because they all went together so well. The taste was not very complex, dark malt, chocolate, coffee, but faint aspects of each. It was very bitter with hops though, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt. I cannot decide if it helped or took away. The mouthfeel was almost non-existent on all levels. Watery, no real palate feel other than the hop bitterness. It was drinkable because I was in the mood for a stout. I would actually tell people not to really bother with this one, sorry but it is just average.


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Photo of paco1029384756
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to OlieIPA.

Pours black with a very small tan head and low carbonation, but a nice thin ring of lacing.

Scent of rich chocolate, oats, roasted malts, sugars, and some coffee. A good robust and balanced scent with nicely subdued alcohol.

Taste of roasted malts, rich chocolate, coffee, sugars, molasses, and oak. A very tasty Imperial Stout, as with the scent it is balanced nicely and still robust. Alcohol is hidden in the taste as well.

Mouthfeel is oily and heavy, though the carbonation is a bit too biting.

Extremely drinkable, another beer to put on the dangerously drinkable list.

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Photo of Nick3
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black in color, beer forms a 2 inch head that holds for several minutes. Ample lacing at the top half of the glass. Nose is oatmeal, molasses, roasted malt, and a little caramel. Really pleasant. Taste is roasted malt with a bit of oatmeal. Alcohol is masked superbly. Silky smooth mouthfeel and easy to drink.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this on tap at the Cloverleaf Tavern.

A: Pours a black body with a small, white head with some retention and decent lacing until the finish.

S: A sweet, roasted barley smell with some alcohol undertones.

T: A roasted, sweet barley taste with some sweet coffee notes and slight burning alcohol feeling in the aftertaste.

M: A fairly thick and smooth mouthfeel that felt velvet-like on the tongue.

D: A decent mouthfeel and taste combo makes this beer pretty drinkable. Alcohol warms you up, but nothing that took away from the beer. Worth a go.

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Photo of jmz62565
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with no light shining thru and a giant tan foamy head. The head lasts and leaves good lacing. The smell is pretty strong with dark fruit,alcohol,and chocolate. The taste is creamy with dark fruit,cocoa,alcohol,vanilla,and milk chocolate. The m/f is heavy with all the flavors mixing well. A very good beer,not the best,but still one that you should try.

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Photo of jdklks
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance is similar to most imperial stouts, but, held up to light has a more amber tone around the edges. the smell is of dark fruits chocolate and coffee. a hint of alcohol. nothing special. Taste is very close to the smell. a blueberry flavor that is very pronounced. hints of chocolate and coffee as well as molasses. burnt malts and a slight sweetness in the finish. nothing stands out, nothing is exceptional. mouthfeel is a little lighter than expected/desired and drinkability is about where most imperial stouts are to be found. Nothing too special here, but an enjoyable stout.

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Photo of jwc215
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to PhxHorn for this!

22 oz. bottle, poured into tulip glass:

Pours very dark brown/black with a tan head that descends to thin wisps. Some small dots of lacing stick.

The smell is of molasses, ash, coffee, slight chocolate, raisins and herbal notes.

The taste is of roasted, bitter coffee with the roast going towards ashy. Booze-soaked currants give it a fruity character. There is a hint of chocolate and molasses. It's dark fruity sweeetness is balanced by roast/ash and herbal bitterness.

It is full-bodied with ample carbonation keeping it from being syrupy. Some residual sweet sugar clings to the lips.

A well-balanced, though slightly edging towards too ashy, coffee-ish, fruity stout. Booze shows, so sip slowly, and enjoy!

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Photo of Kegatron
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a couple of pint glasses. Thanks go to HopDerek for sharing this one.

Pours a dense black, with a finger of foamy mocha colored head. Retains with a fizzy look around the edges, with some thin wisps in the center, leaving back some light spotty lacing and brown oily goo. The aroma is HUGE smelling with roasted malts, thick chocolate, molasses, a good bit of coffee character, just a smidge of dark fruits, and some light heat. Nice full smell to this in the nose.

The taste initially is very dark feeling, with notes of roast, bitterness, and coffee, before shifting into an equally HUGELY sweet base of chocolate, caramel, and smokey Blackstrap Molasses. Finishes with a sticky, bitter, and warm feel on the lips. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big chewy feel to it that goes well with the larger flavors. There is a good bit of warmth in the body but it feels just about right for a 10% beer.

An all around solid Imperial Stout from Ballast Part. While I thought that the aroma was the only aspect of it that went really deep, the taste and body weren't too shabby either and the drinkibility of this was good for a beer of this size. This is definitely worth a look.

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Photo of far333
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a crystal snifter. Inky black and opaque with a thick and frothy head of uneven bubbles that rise up to a full two inch head, and then slowly drop back leaving a rim of lace and fine bubbles along the sides of the glass.

Rich aroma of dark malt, cocoa, hoppy bitterness, raisin, and a cherry tang.

Complex flavors of bitter chocolate, espresso, cocoa, hints of smoke and charred oak, raisin, and currant. A balanced bitterness rides along, tar and chocolate linger. The ABV strength is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, with rigid carbonation, hints of powder, finishes with tannens. Really good beer, good sipper. Somebody pass me a maduro cigar.

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Photo of RedChrome
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A glass full of pure onyx colored liquid. A milk chocolate colored head of an inch in height lasted a few minutes. To dark to note any carbonation rising.

Burnt grains scents quickly gave way to a nice dark fruit aroma. Fruit smelled mainly of dates. A very faint coffee grounds presence wafts in and out.

Fruity overall quality to the taste. Dates and plums are strong with a bit of a cherry finish. Roasted grains and coffee are downplayed a bit. A bitter hops burst to finish.

A bit of a watery thickness on the surfaces. Carbonation is a bit week, and tastes don't cling to the tongue.

An O.K. brew. Would taste nice with slices of brown bread topped with plum preserves. A bit of balance for a beer of the style. Not bad, but others are better.

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Photo of Deuane
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Black with dark ruby highlights and a thin tan head that left spotty lace.

S-Rich and meaty with a dry oakiness and nice chocolate notes.

T-Robust chocolate and coffee and a beef jerky like backing. Backing bitterness present but this is smoothed out by the malt bill making this a very "round" brew.

M-Medium-heavy, silky smooth and oh, so rich.

D-Wonderful, rich and robust with a big chocolate/coffee/meaty body....so nice. BP does it again!

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Photo of emerge077
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On the sweet/chocolate syrupy end of the spectrum. Light-sucking black body, generous tan foam that puffs above the rim of the glass. Delicate lacing all around, it looks very appetizing. Slick and rich chocolate notes, slight fruitiness, sticky molasses and brown sugar.

Full and rich, palate coating. Finishes dry and slightly bitter, with delicate Belgian chocolate traces. The initial flavor is much more of a sweet fudgy blast to the senses. Light hop bitterness in the back, not a trace of 10%. The fruity element gives it something unique, and it's very well crafted. Something special to savor.

Thanks to Jason for this one!

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Photo of wcudwight
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with brown highlights. Large mocha colored head fades rather fast. Looks good, not exciting but good.
Bittersweet chocolate with some herbal hops in the aroma. I expected more coffee and roasted notes. But am pleasently suprised with the hoppiness.
Quite bitter for the style. Lot's of grassy hop flavors. Bittersweet chocolate with just hints of coffee and roasted malts. Dark fruits shine through at the end and become more pronounced as the beer warms.
Wonderful mouthfeel. Silky smooth and not too full. Mouthfeel is the highlight of this beer. Wonderful, I say.
This is not one of the top big stouts, but it's good and a pleasure to drink. I'd love to have another.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split this bottle with Stopper.

Pouring cellar temp bottle into a snifter. The beer pours a clear dark brown color with creamy tan head that fades to an edge layer fairly quickly.
Aroma is herbal to grassy hops mixing with some brown sugar and bakers chocolate.
First sip reveals fine tingly carbonation with a smooth silky texture.
Flavor is some roasty malt and some chocolate with a hint of brown sugar. No hint of the aromatic hops on the flavor. ABV is well hidden, the beer is amazingly (dangerously) easy to drink. I enjoy this beer quite a bit.

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