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Sea Monster Imperial Stout - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,189 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1189
Reviews: 429
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%

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: 1,189 | Reviews: 429 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of kaseydad


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark as night pour with a nice sized foamy head that settles to a film.

The aroma consists of big leather and dark chocolate. Rubber, apple, booze.

The taste is bitter chocolate with an almost spicy finish. Not digging the ending here. Fruity, boozy and leather abound with each sip.

High carbonation for this monster.

Overall I thought this was pretty good. Not great, but good. The finish was a little harsh and really took over the tasting. Maybe this monster needs to lie down for a little longer to work itself out.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2013 06:15:49 | More by kaseydad
Photo of davey101


3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dusty 22 oz. bomber into a teku glass. Neck stamp reads "SM008/AAJPA" which translates to being batch 008. The second half is supposed to be a best by date which is out a year, but there are letters sooo....??? Just gonna guess and say that this is 1-2 years old since its the newer style label.

A - Pours a jet black body with a billowing three fingers worth of khaki foam. Settles into a patchy cap with super sticky lacing and retention that lasts the entire beer. Looks damn good.

S - Dry cocoa powder and a hint of vanilla, finishes strong on dark fruits and cherries. Almost has a sour like quality to it that some infected beers showcase, but its rather tame so I assume it's intentional. Pretty unique, but nothing extraordinary.

T - Starts off with smooth chocolate and vanilla. Seemingly out of nowhere comes a wave of candied cherries. Finishes with some raisin, ash and roasted malts. An almost unpleasant acridity lingers around. A lot of fruit flavors coming out of a non-fruited stout. Its quite nice but the aftertaste takes it down a peg. Mouth feel is full and creamy. Alcohol becomes pretty noticeable after a few sips.

O - I have no idea how old this beer is but I do know it is not fresh. It's pretty unique with its cherry/dark fruit element but I'm not totally impressed with it. I think I'll be saving my pennies for Victory at Sea instead.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2013 03:29:46 | More by davey101
Photo of TMoney2591


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Anyone else getting flashbacks to Finding Nemo? Anyway, this stuff pours a a very dark black-brown topped by a finger of steadfast tan foam. The nose comprises darkly-roasted malts, deep molasses, light cocoa, and a vague sense of dark fruits, primarily figs. The taste brings in more of the same, with a bit more roast than before and a hint of bitter coffee near the finish, lingering on momentarily. The body is a lithe medium, with a light carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, though a bit on the thin side, this was a solid stout, the most enjoyable of the beers that have been introduced the Chicagoland market thus far that I have tried. Hope remains.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2013 01:39:31 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Total Wine in Tampa. From notes.

A - Poured black with a one finger mocha head. Good spotty lace with alcohol legs and a half finger of retention.

S - Some booze, chocolate, rubbing alcohol. Very mild.

T - Lot's and lot's of chocolate. Lot's of coffee too. Alcohol and dark fruit. Pretty standard, but hammered down well.

M - Creamy full body. Some booze in the finish with dark fruit and bitterness. Good carbonation.

O/D - Nice, complex, and tasty. Good sipper. While the aroma sucks, it's a well crafted, ballsy Imperial Stout, fitting for the style.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2013 20:29:14 | More by tbeckett
Photo of TofuDC5


3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: I like how this pours. Light-brown, tiny froth; thick head. Completely opaque; black. Once beer settles in the glass, a thin layer of froth slowly lingers; a slight swish eagerly anticipates a full-bodied beverage from the thick, malty bubbles.

S: A strong grapefruit aroma is present. Bold. At least some presence of coffee and chocolate...as expected from an imperial stout.

T: I taste the citrus more than the chocolate; not what I expected, but it's very nice. Very interesting.

M: Creamy, medium-bodied; bitterness explodes all over the tongue and in my throat.

O: Very interesting stout; definitely sparked curiosity. Not many flavors, but the distinguishing ones are very noticeable. Grapefruit screams "I am here!"

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2013 01:39:00 | More by TofuDC5
Photo of gestyr


4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a goblet.

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

S: Coffee, dark malts, citrus, chocolate.

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

M: Rich and almost chewy with alcohol warming.

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

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2013 23:38:59 | More by gestyr
Photo of brureview


4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2013 02:04:33 | More by brureview
Photo of BigBarley


3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Hmmm... somehow I expected a better Imperial Stout from the makers of VICTORY AT SEA... but this falls short in a few ways.

Smells and looks great. Nice black with a decent dark brown foam cap. Smells include a bit of vanilla wrapped in cocoa, with a slight woody spice and a strange scent that reminds me of heavier oatmeal stouts.

Taste... I get a strange, almost salty thing happenin at the front. Like a smoked beer, but with a lot less smoke and a lot more salt... Following that strange umami amalgum, comes a touch of the vanilla chocolate from the nose, and a kiss of hops, but most of the flavor is dominated by a sharp, second-hand flavor almost reminiscent of oatmeal stouts.

something tells me there's oatmeal in this recipe.

Mouthfeel is just terrible for the style. Comes in thick, but immediately explodes into unreasonable carbonation (even after a pour hard into the middle, which is how I drink all stouts) leaving you with a thin, soupy mess that feels nothing like an Imperial Stout should.

so yeah, if you gotta go with Ballast Point, Victory at Sea is a much better Imperial Stout than this one! (and yeah, I know, it's a porter...)

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 16:39:45 | More by BigBarley
Photo of ThisWangsChung


3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours an ultra-dark brown color; perhaps not the thickest-looking pour I've seen from a big RIS. The head is a two finger khaki shade. It retains nicely given its gravity, and manages to leave some lacing on the glass, as well.

S: The first thing noticed is some dark fruit sweetness. Vague citrusy hops and savory notes hide behind the fruitiness, also, along with some molasses and chocolate. Typical for the style, but well made.

T: It opens quite savory on the palate, with a distinct (yet not unpleasant) umami note. The first sip seems to finish with strong booze, however this is soon replaced with citrusy hops, oatmeal, touches of roasted malt, and the slightest 'ping' of chocolate buried in there somewhere. The more I sip this, the more I realize how robustly hopped this one is - and it does a good job of balancing the excessive sweetness without creating a harsh imbalance.

M: This one lacks in body. I do notice the smoothness from the oatmeal - unfortunately it's hidden by excessive carbonation. Once the carbonation fades some, its syrupy and wet finish is revealed. As a result, it's not quite as drinkable as it could have been given its thinner texture.

O: If I have to nitpick - and I always do - the underwhelming body prevents this from achieving elite status in the imperial stout world. An enjoyable product regardless of its niggles. From what I remember of Victory at Sea, I'd personally put this one on the same level.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2013 22:52:39 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of d1ckvanswype


4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into an oversized red wine glass.

A: Robust black, with a nice orange highlight near the head, which is virtually nonexistent, sporadic lacing.

S: Milk chocolate, roasty malts, touch of coffee and something like oatmeal, but not fully, a light twinge of vanilla, bordering on a bourbon barrel note.

T: Powdery dark chocolate, coffee bitterness, crackery malts, a touch of salty carbonic action. Quite easy to put down, actually.

M: I would have hoped the oatmeal would have lent more of a creamy quality, but it's not bad by any stretch. Refreshing, coffee like astringency, even when warm you can't really feel the alcohol, and if you do it's definitely not 10% ABV.

O: Quite the tasty little oatmeal Imperial stout. I'd like to see what six months does to it.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2013 20:12:51 | More by d1ckvanswype
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 gr0g

New Jersey

2.7/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle marked "SM 19 enjoy by 02/08/14."

Jet black in color with a head about one finger tall, fading pretty quickly with hardly a trace. Heavy aroma of fusel alcohol. A solvent note is dominant and hides most everything else. Licorice, molasses, and brown sugar are detectable.

Alcohol sting weighs heavily upon the flavor as well. Any chocolate or coffee notes are hidden. Texture is thin and fizzy, and it doesn't help at all to bring this back from the brink. Having had Sculpin and Victory At Sea, I had high expectations for this. Sea Monster is a hot mess, though, and a borderline drain pour. Maybe age will mellow it out and unveil a good stout, but I won't be picking up another bottle to find out.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2013 03:03:15 | More by gr0g
Photo of evanforbeer


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber
Nose: licorice, chocolate, bourbon, cherry
Taste: fairly sweet/fruity, with chocolate, licorice, molasses, bourbon, cherry, vanilla, crackery dark malt, finishes roasty barley with coffee and cherry
Feel: rich, faint carbonation, drinkable and sweet
Very delicious, a little on the sweeter end compared to the richer coffee/cocoa-heavy imperial stouts. I would buy again, I'd have to be in the mood for something sweeter

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2013 02:54:16 | More by evanforbeer
Photo of elNopalero


4.73/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This pours from the tap a thick black cocoa color with a great aroma dominated by cocoa nib notes. So tasty too, with this essence of cocoa mixing and playing nice with the roasty notes. Smooth and thick, this flavor can last for days. This is a tasty one.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2013 21:58:28 | More by elNopalero
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 facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a pretty solid black with finger of tan head with great retention. smells of licorice, toasted grains, coffee, chocolate, subtle smoke. the taste is sweet with a note of subtle smokyness. a very light tasting stout with subtle notes of chocolate and licorice, big on the roasty bitterness of the grains. medium body but for the heaviness of the beer it' feels slightly watered down.. low carbonation.

overall this isn't a bad stout at all, but as far as a RIS, i'm not that impressed. it is fairly sweet which is good but lacks a lot of complexity for the style. the abv is well hidden though, which is a plus.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2013 05:43:23 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of rawfish


4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark cola coloration with tight mocha head, the head rises quite rapidly if the pour is vigorous enough. Pretty good retention and flecks of lacing.

Cocoa, chocolate, espresso laced, deep roast and specialty malts. Slightly earthy with charcoal and peat. Subtle sweetness and a strong fix of alcohol.

Roasted with chocolate, caramel and molasses sweetness, earthy detection of hops mixed with char and a peat smokiness. The finish is quite dry and booze is toned down nicely.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, oats really make their mark here, moderate carbonation with a full body. A bit slick and oily on the palate, full and pleasing, balanced with hidden alcohol.

Easy drinking imperial stout, the oatmeal makes it have excellent texture and palate. At the same time it stands quite balanced with roasted complexity, very nice imperial stout, would get again.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 01:05:53 | More by rawfish
Photo of unionturf

North Carolina

4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this bottle back in 2010 I think...I've had it a while and there is no date on the bottle.

A: Poured into my Duvel tulip jet black with a good foamy heal, even over a few years. :)

S: Roasted coffee and chocolate...a little booze too.

T: A boozy chocolate/coffee taste that I love...very well balanced as far as I'm concerned.

M: I've had thicker beers in this category, and I was surprised this felt thinner than it should...I really liked this beers.

Not sure what aging this beers has done but I really liked it, I'm thinking this bottle was brewed in 2010...but I'm not for sure.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 05:20:50 | More by unionturf
Photo of augustgarage


4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 21:03:52 | More by augustgarage
Photo of arfenhouse


3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Black with light brown head. Decent retention.

S: Espresso, charred malt, and alcohol. Some cherry and a bit of vanilla. Big and roasty.

T: Bitter roasted grain and roasted cacao upfront. Espresso and vanilla bean. Aftertaste is a less bitter, slightly sweet espresso and vanilla.

M: Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Wet and slightly sticky.

O: Decent big, bitter, bold RIS.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 08:46:25 | More by arfenhouse
Photo of barnzy78


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, "Best By 060812"
Pours a cola-like blackness with a tall, bubbly, beige head that holds pretty good retention and leaves some chunky lacing on the glass. Aromas are sweet with molasses, brown sugar, roasted barley, some fruity currant, maybe some earthy fig. Tastes are complex with roasted malt, anise, currant, molasses, earthy roasty bitterness, bittersweet chocolate, french roast coffee, mild tobacco leaf, and that fig is making an appearance again. Earthy piny hops begin to build and linger with each additional sip. As it warms, booze becomes more apparent, but not hot. Mouth-feel is super creamy & smooth, full bodied, pleasant carbonation, finishes a little bitter and semi-dry. Overall, it was better than I remember - very good American Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 23:02:56 | More by barnzy78
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 cvm4


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

A - Pours very black, tan head that doesn't leave much lacing/retention.

S - Roasted malt and coffee along with an edge of sweetness.

T - Tastes like a classic imperial stout here. No frills or gimmicks, just your regular dark chocolate, malt and coffee.

M - Just enough carbonation to get that chewy drink.

O - A no frills imperial stout. Just your regular, everyday stout that delivers.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2012 02:38:23 | More by cvm4
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 metter98

New York

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color-only traces of amber are visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a thin creamy beige head that hardly died down and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose; as the beer warms up, hints of alcohol become noticeable.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of roasted malts along with hints of chocolate, coffee beans and alcohol, the latter of which is only present in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer seems to be a little thin for such a big stout and seems a little like a Baltic Porter, but it is relatively easy to drink considering its strength.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 20:28:41 | More by metter98
Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,189 ratings.