Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Sea Monster Imperial Stout | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
496 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 496 | Ratings: 1,787
Photo of theghost3
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a 1-finger chocolate milk-like head. Medium lacing.

Smell is strong of chocolate, oak, blackberries, and some charcoal. The taste is coffee, dark chocolate, oak, charcoal, and molasses. There's also a hint of booziness. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied; more carbonated than I expected. Dry in the end.

This is a drinkable American Imperial Stout. There's a woodiness throughout, and a biting carbonation, but not too bad.

 447 characters

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

Pours out a very dark, opaque, brown and with a hard pour I get 2-fingers of tan head that falls slowly to a cover. A fair amount of lacing.
The smell is very roasty malts, coffee and some chocolate notes.
The taste is a nice, sweet, malt flavor followed by coffee and finishing with a light touch of hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel is up towards full and thick with adequate carbonation.
Drinkability is, mostly, very good but a bit on the sweet side, no noticeable alcohol.

This is a very nice stout overall but there are better BP stouts.

 536 characters

Photo of Gehrig
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Touted with vigor by the manager of a local beer purveyor, I finally caved and grabbed Sea Monster from Ballast Point. Overall, a good selection.

Three full fingers of fairly dark tan froth top a rich, beautiful black body; ample lacing and good duration start Sea Monster out very well--a good-looking beer. Plenty of molasses, dark chocolate, and a hint of roasted coffee greet the nose--good aromas. A little bigger for a DIS would have been great, but the smell is not exactly disappointing.

Full taste, very malty, and a little sweeter than I expected. Molasses, chocolate, and coffee carry the day for Sea Monster, but the unmistakable taste of berry emerges in the second half as it warms. Delicious. Again, I'm left wanting for a little bolder flavor, but the variety is very good. Good texture, mainly smooth but a little gritty in the finish, Sea Monster is a well hopped beer that is predominately malt forward, a good, steady, and flavorful representative of the style.

At times, I wanted a little bit more from Sea Monster--especially a little more brash "Monster," to be aggressive and robust. Yet in the end, this is quite a good DIS, with no glaring weaknesses, and very accessible. To its credit, the high ABV (10%) remains hidden behind an accessible veneer.

Good stuff--not quite as brawny as I might have hoped or the label had alluded, but nonetheless good and well worth trying.

 1,406 characters

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.95/5  rDev -1%
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.

 827 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near-black with a minimal head that clings throughout. Nose brings forth plenty of coffee, dark sugar, a bit of roasted malt, and a slight nose of chocolate and hops. Taste included a bit more chocolate, but still dominated by coffee and roasted malt. Mouthfeel was medium-bodied closing in on being heavy with good carbonation. Nice drinkability, but nothing spectacular for the style.

 394 characters

Photo of homebrew311
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 22oz bomber into Delirium snifter.

A: on the pour, the beer appears a lighter brown color with some light passing through. As it all collects in the glass, it appears much dark with no light passing through. Minimal head with vigorous pour. Some sticky lacing.

S: heavy on roasted barley, molasses, and booze. Some dark fruits in there and a very small amount of dark chocolate.

T: the taste took me for a different ride than I expected based on the smell. Lots of boozy heat up front with molasses sweetness and dark fruits. The roasted barley character brings the sweetness to a halt, but then it finishes with lots of heat... too much in my opinion./

MF: There is something about this body that seems uncharacteristic for an imperial stout. It seems lighter bodied than it should. The specialty grain profile seems to be lacking.

D: I have tried a lot of imperial stouts, and this one fits somewhere on the lower half in terms of enjoyment. It is too boozy and lacks the depth and texture that I expect. With that being said, this is still a decent beer, just not in comparison to the vast variety of better imperial stouts out there.

 1,149 characters

Photo of jsh420
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours dark dark brown with a big 3 finger tan head that leaves notches all down the glass

smells of big fruity hops - i dont get any malts or anything else?

taste - again big fruity hops up front and then follows the malts roasted chocolate coffee

mouthfeel is good a medium to heavy body with good carbonation smooth and creamy

drinkability - this was a different kinda of impy stout - a clash of the big eye ipa meets a porter

 433 characters

Photo of Kaiser81
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Old Grove location on 1/28

A - Pitch black pour with less than a finger-width of head. It dies fairly quickly. Nice lacing is left on the pint glass.

S - Coffee and roastiness mixes with some cocoa powder

T - Flash of hops up front, then domianted by roast and coffee

M - Heavy with decent carbonation that rolls off the tongue.

D - Very good. The booze, for 10%, is hidden far too well.

 410 characters

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

I swear, my cousin was out to kill me. Opening a bottle of this out of his fridge was like gilding the lily.

The initial pour created an easy two finger's of deep-brown head with great retention. Color was a deep, dark brown, bordering on inky black. Nose had charcoal, chocolate, fudge, chocolate. Mouthfeel was very thick with a chocolaty fudge/ brownie taste in the mouth. Finish was very chocolate. It was much too sweet for my hophead taste, but I would definitely recommend it as a dessert beer.

 502 characters

Photo of bulletrain76
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, thanks to larryLSB for bringing this from home to DC. Black with a small tan head. Light roast, oatmeal, and sweet malt aroma. Sweet, with rich dark chocolate and fruit; a bit sugary with an almost vegetal oat quality. Creamy and full, but a bit sticky as well. Decent, but definitely not as good as the other stouts of the night, and not as good as the former version.

 382 characters

Photo of cptierney
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Ballast Point 22oz bottle into a Beamish stout glass.

Nice look on this beer. Shared with a number of friends so the pours were relatively small. Pitch black pour with very little light escaping The head was minimal- less than one finger and quickly disappeared.

Decent nose. A lot of Coffee comes to mind. there is a mild sense of burnt sugars and some sense of hop odor but really this stench seems to be dominated by bitter coffee and chocolate hints.

Strong mouthfeel. The carbonation exists even though you can't see it and its minimalist nature plays out well on the thicker body of this beer. The palate can really concentrate on the viscous fluid without distraction.

The taste reminds me of Ol' Raspy, with less malt depth. Sure there's the cocoa and the coffee, but the toasted malts and the small hints of dark fruits aren't evident. This guy tries to make up for this lack by over-compensating with caramel and sweet hits, the finishing hops are there and smooth things out at the end. ultimately its an inferior beer to the North Coast Impy with a higher price point.

Nice drinkability- wouldn't slug down more than one bomber, but the minimal hop profile and the nice viscous nature of this brew make for a trusty drinking buddy.

 1,262 characters

Photo of kels
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks pwoods for sharing last week. Who-Dey! Review is on the beer poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Pours a nice, rich dark brown with loads of sediment suspended throughout. It is fairly opaque, but there's enough visibility to see the sediment along with some decent carbonation running throughout. A 1/2-inch finger of tan, soft foam rests atop the liquid with a decent amount of slippery, watery tan lacing sliding from the walls of the glass into it.

Aroma is really unique and while reflective of the style also seems to present some surprising (and hopefully accurately identified) scents. I definitely get the expected dark chocolate smells, and the raisiny, caramelly sweetness of the malts is there as well. Along with the usual suspects, I seem to detect another fruity essence - it reminds me very much of dried cranberries or blueberries. There's also the slight essence of Scotch - not the ale style - but the alcohol, warm and earthy.

The first and most notable thing about my first mouthful is the audible Pop-Rock fizziness from the extremely high amount of carbonation. I know this is a turn-off for some, but high carbonation, when enhancing the flavors and aromas of the beer, is something I find rather pleasant. It really spreads the slightly roasted coffee undertones and sweet, caramelly stickiness rather well. There is only a hint of the fruit notes from the nose in the taste, possibly hidden a little by the strong carbonation. Feel is bright and moderately filling, and while quite slick throughout the drink, it actually finishes rather cleanly on the palate.

Moderately drinkable, though the excitement of the Pop-Rockiness outweighs the excitement of the beer overall. Definitely one to try nonetheless.

 1,749 characters

Photo of OStrungT
4.97/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours an inky black color, with a very thin brown head. The head fades quickly, leaving no lace.

This beer smells of chocolate. I can detect some coffee also. Very sweet caramel malt is present in the aroma. It has a nice roasted malt aroma as well.

This beer tastes like it smells. Great. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. There is very little hop flavor presnet. Just a healthy dose of hops.

This beer is full bodied. It goes down smooth, leaving a chocolate aftertaste. Carbonation is pretty low.

This beer would make a decent session beer. The alcohol content is a little high, but the flavor is great and would be good to drink all night long.

Overall: This beer is great. It may be the best thing I have ever had from Balast Point. Its almost perfect.

 772 characters

Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.58/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by PWoods. Thanks PimpP!

Pours a very dark brown, we'll just call it black in color. There's a huge coffee colored head that forms on the pour. The kind of head that I've experienced in infected bottles.
Smell is charred cocoa, some dark malts. But there's also a scent of "off-ness" that I just can't put into words.
The taste follows up my instincts. There's something not right about this bottle. Don't know if it was stored wrong or something happened during production, but there's a very noticeable off flavor. What lay underneath seems to be interesting. Will seek out and try again.

 605 characters

Photo of corby112
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest hint of lighter color when held to a light source. Frothy 1.5 finger chocolate coffee colored head that quickly settles into a lasting ring.

Roasted malty aroma with hints of bitter sweet dark chocolate, toffee, roasted coffee, oatmeal, alcohol and subtle hops. Slightly toasty with some subtle dark fruit notes.

Pretty carbonated up front with a chewy viscous mouthfeel. Very roasty with lots of silky chocolate malts, roasted coffee bean, oatmeal, licorice, toffee and alcohol. A bit too hoppy for my preference with a very strong alcohol warmth. This beer is kind of all over the place and the high ABV is not very well masked. Decent but not what I was expecting.

 736 characters

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.

 1,212 characters

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.

 844 characters

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

 645 characters

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.

 674 characters

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

 412 characters

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.

 296 characters

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.

 487 characters

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.

 1,464 characters

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

 1,308 characters

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.

 1,182 characters

Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 496 ratings.