Sea Monster Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged)
Ballast Point Brewing Company

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English Oatmeal Stout
4.08 | pDev: 11.52%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 69 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Knapp85
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice deep black color with a creamy white head on top. The nitro gives this beer a beautiful look to it with a great retention and lacing from start to finish. The smell of the beer gives off some aromas of the bourbon and vanilla mixed with the malts used. The taste of of the beer reflects the nose with some chocolate malts mixed with the bourbon vanilla sweetness with a subtle burnt finish. The mouthfeel is smooth, it's highly drinkable and medium bodied. Overall it's a good brew, it's not nice subtle differences from the original version.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted dark malt, cocoa, and some woody aromas. Taste is of roasted dark malt, dark fruit, cocoa, and wood. This beer has a low level of carbonation with only a very slight crispness in the mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer as it is but I honestly couldn’t get any bourbon whatsoever in the aroma or flavor of this one.

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3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft pour into a 10.5oz tulip for $6. Sampled 1/15/11.

A: Scant finger of medium dark brown, dense creamy head. Excellent retention. Slow receding throws down a contiguous sheet of lacing. Black as hell, and opaque everywhere except at the bottom of the glass, where a dark ruby-amber mix shows through.

S: Very bright, clean whiskey aroma dominates the nose bringing strong notes of vanillin which is most noticeable at colder temps. Barrel and dark fruitiness comes into play as the beer warms. The aroma is a little one dimensional, mostly because the intensity of the barrel and booze cast most of the subtleties aside.

T: The taste doesn't stray terribly far from the nose. The sweet malt character is more distinguishable, bringing in roasty flavors of chocolate, coffee and the slightest hint of cola. There are light notes of solventy alcohol but the flavor is very smooth - approachable even - for the whiskey monster that it is.

M: Lush and supple with a full body. The texture is slick yet semi-syruppy and with the right amount of cloy to keep the flavors lasting long.

D: Pleased to have sampled this one and would be happy to order again in the future.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ballast Point's Barrel Aged Day

A: Black with pretty much no head whatsoever.

S: I get a lot of the bourbon here along with some weird spiciness that kind of smells like cinnamon sticks. I don't know, maybe that was because this was my last beer of the day.

T: There are some dark malt flavors upfront followed quickly by a healthy hit of bourbon. Some chocolate and vanilla as well, but not a ton to hold up to the bourbon. I like this better than regular sea monster, but I'm still not a huge fan.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

on tap at devils den in philly during the bella vista bash

Pours a complete blackness with little head, basically no retention or lacing.

Strong scents of bourbon and vanilla, some coffee beans and roasted malts, slight sweetness and oak.

Nice boozy bourbon flavor right up front with plenty of earthy barrel notes. Vanilla and chocolate kick in quickly followed by plenty of roasted coffee beans. Dark malts and warmth with sweetness. Finishes boozy and warm with some residual chocolate and vanilla sweetness.

Slightly thin body, a bit flat (not sure if there was a problem with the nitro or what), kind of disappointing. The flavor was alright but this wasn't as great as i thought it would be.

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Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1st Beer I had at Port's Barrel Blast

A - Dark Black with a mocha lined head that left a little lacing

S - First smell was of boozy alcohol followed by Bourbon, Vanilla, and an oak presence

T - Strong Chocolate with Vanilla, and bourbon that came through in the finish with little to no heat

M - Light, low carbonation, no alcohol heat in the finish, very smooth

D - Very smooth, light and drinkable, almost no heat detected for being 10%.

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Photo of VanHorneDog
4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap the other night at their Larger Location in Scripps Ranch.

A - very dark with a nice brown head. lingers for a while then fades. Nice lacing.

S - my favorite part about this beer, the bourbon barrel really shines through and roasted barley and chocolate fill it out. The smell of alcohol persists.

T - a very strong flavor. the bourbon comes through. Its main body is roasty with hints of dark berries. There is some chocolate and not much coffee flavour behind it all. it does not come through as burnt.

M - fuller bodied but not the fullest there could be, you can tell it has a higher alcohol content (in the 10s) because it seems to cut into the beer.

D - i can have two of these, anymore and i would be on the floor. I love dark beers, but most people cannot handle more than half a pint of thi. So, i think its drinkable, but for those not accustom to imperial stouts or porters this probably isn't going to be one you put back.

i have also had this one on Nitro on tap, and i must say that was a treat.

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Photo of glid02
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Downtown Johnny Brown's in San Diego. Listed at 10.0% ABV.

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of muted roasted malts with hints of briny bourbon and lighter hints of unsweetened chocolate.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Dry roasted malt flavors kick things off. Midway through the sip the flavor profile opens up a bit with good amounts of dark chocolate and bourbon and milder amounts of smoke. The smoky bourbon flavors carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's got a decent thickness but the carbonation is a bit on the heavy side.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I was hoping for more from this beer. Certainly not worth turning down but a bit of a letdown given BP's track record. Still, worth a shot if you see it on.

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Photo of Overlord
1.87/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

On tap at Hollingshead. Had an 8 oz. glass.

Pours black with black edges and looks black when held to light. Maybe an eighth of an inch of surprisingly long lasting dark tan head.

Had to let this one warm up a while. And waited for a pleasant aroma. And waited. And waited.

Let's take a step back for a moment. In the hierarchy of great California breweries, Ballast Point is often unfairly overlooked. Double Dorado is one of the most underappreciated DIPAs out there. Big Eye IPA caps off a solid modestly priced "regular" lineup. Sculpin is the best IPA I know of. But, apparently they ain't perfect.

Back to this monstrosity. Smells like cleaning solvent and rubbing alcohol. No real beer-like aroma ever came. Just a faint wisp of roasted malt fighting for air through the alcohol miasma wafting to my nostrils.

Taste. is. awful. I've got hair on my chest. I can take it. This is just too hot, boozy, and a struggle to get through. It seriously tastes like cleaning solvent with a bit of roasted malt and squelched coffee. Was a struggle to get down 8 oz. Needs about sixteen years to mellow out.

I always hear stuff like "My wife loves and wants you Overlord, but you're such a sucker for barrel aged stouts," or, "I've always wanted to be like you Overlord, but why all the love for -bal aging?" Well, the score I'm giving this beer will demonstrate that not all barrel aging is created equal.

Also, too thin.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap 10/19/2009 @ The Daily Pint in Santa Monica, CA. Served in a St. Bernardus chalice. Listed as "Bourbon Barrel Aged," the bartender specified Jack Daniel's (which isn't a bourbon technically, due to it being charcoal filtered, but whatever) barrels were used. This is not the blended version.

The liquid is a lightless seething abyss, approaching asphalt in color. A single tan sticky skin of foam persists, much like thinned out cake frosting. Very persistent collar and lacing when swirled.

Alcohol assaults the senses, though prunes, raisins, and stale coffee linger behind the wave of booze. The alcohol smells sooty and sour, a pungent and commanding wave without quite smelling like solvent.

Young bourbon, vanilla, burnt sugar, tobacco and espresso on the palate - cocoa powder, oak, and hops in the finish. Sour and bitter notes make this closer to a RIS than an AIS.

Medium-heavy bodied, though lighter than I was expecting. Moderate carbonation. Very warming...borderline hot, really. Creamy but rather astringent. Stand up too quickly and you'll realize this one goes right to your head.

A unique and potent aroma and flavor profile, though not for the faint of heart or barrel-age novice. For a sipping beer, I wish it were aged in sipping whiskey barrels as it is quite harsh compared to some similar offerings by Brewdog for example.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Teresa's in the philly suburbs.

A- BA Sea Monster does not look like much with a not quite black but close enough for a stout color with no head or lacing. It's barrel aged so you know how that goes.

S- A monster amount of bourbon with chocolate, roast, some vanilla, sweet malts with caramel and some light coffee. The bourbon really comes through in this lighter type of stout.

T- Bourbon up front, and it's really strong too. That's the main ingredient with all the above mentioned scents coming together to make this special. Also getting a bit of oak from the barrel which i did not pick up in smell. Hops in here too although minimal. This rocks.

M- Getting a bit of heat which I expected. While this is hot it is not burning with the malts from the base stout smoothing the playing field. A bit of a thin body for a stout with low carb, but im not complaining.

D- I really need to start taking the train to these Teresa's Next Door events because I just wanted more. I sipped this with ease with a smile on my face. I really want to try the regular sea monster now. Not sure the ABV on this but it damn for sure is not sessionable.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up at Teresa's Ballast Point event on June 28, 2009.

A: Pours a deep opaque black with a very thin layer of extremely coarse bubbly head that quickly fades to nothing. Head is gone and the beer is sitting there smooth and inviting long before I get a chance to sip it.

S: Kentucky Bourbon and dark chocolate malts greet the nose, bringing some bittersweet coffee notes along for the ride.

T: Think of the flavor profile as bourbon --> RIS --> bourbon + RIS. A mild, well-aged smooth bourbon taste fills the front of the palate. Couples later with bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavored malts. These slowly give way to undertones of vanilla, espresso and dark chocolate. The bourbon then reappears at the end, mixing perfectly with the standard RIS flavors, and follows your palate in the aftertaste. Nicely balanced flavor, with no single element stealing too much of your focus.

M/D: Completely smooth, with a medium to heavy texture. The complexity of this beer is astounding. The three stage flavor really does it for me. Thoroughly enjoyable. However, due to the high ABV, it would be hard to drink too many of these. I would go for two easily, though.

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Photo of mcallister
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown bordering on black with a small tan head that fades quickly into a ring around the glass and a sporadic foamy topper.

Terrifice nose of vanilla, chocolate, hints of coffee, sweet cream, and a bit of caramel. Some black fruits led with a black licorice type aroma. Very nice.

Man just huge vanilla, malt, milk chocolate, a nice bitter hop finish, thick toffee and caramel, sweet creamy mouth and flavors. The amount of RS does hurt drinkability somewhat but other than that this is a fabulous beer. The alcohol is well hidden. A great after dinner drink.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ballast Point (Old Grove location) on 3/16/09. Served in a pint glass. The board indicated that this was aged 3 months in 25 year old Fitzgerald whiskey barrels.

Pours a dense black, with a finger of burnt colored mocha head. Retains with a thin creamy layer that just absolutely COATS the sides of the glass with sticky foam. The aroma is deep smelling with chocolate sweetness, lots of roasted malt, and a good bit of coffee thrown in for good measure. The barrel notes seem a bit more subdued in the nose than I would have though. Hints of light oak, vanilla, and whiskey. They are definitely there but don't overpower the nose, instead nicely complimenting the more assertive Stout flavors.

The taste is very similar, with big roasted malt flavors, a deep sticky chocolate sweetness, and a solid undercurrent of roasted coffee character. Bitterness from the roast and coffee combines with much more assertive notes of whiskey and oak in the back to end things with a dry and lingering bitter feel that just STICKS in the mouth. Wow! The mouthfeel is full bodied with a big creamy feel that just fills the mouth, along with more of a viscous undercurrent that carries all of that sweetness and whiskey character with it. The majority of the warmth that I'm getting in this is actually more from the barrel than the ABV (which at 10% ABV) is very nicely hid.

Sweet! This was a rare treat to enjoy on tap and I most wholeheartedly enjoyed it! I would have liked to have seen a little more evenness between the Stout and barrel flavors in the nose but the balance in the taste and massive body and overall feel on this was great!

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Photo of paytoplay
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bourbon is in the forefront here. Strong alc feel / boozy in a good way. On Tap at the brew mart. A bomber of this would be a tough one to drink by itself. Rich smooth texture, really just the bourbon is the only difference from the regular bottle. Hints of coffee roasty malt and chocolate. Nothing really dominates, balanced and a rare brew to try.

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Photo of illidurit
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Hamilton's during RBSG 08. Pours black with a small tan head that sticks around forever. Roasty coffee aroma with chocolate and vanilla sweetness. Flavor is kind of odd, with a tart oaky sourness dominating over the less prominent roast and chocolate. Creamy mouthfeel, low carbonation. Goes down easy, but the tartness seems out of place.

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Photo of Floydster
4.46/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

5 ounce taster from the 11th Anniversary Celebration today at Ballast Point in San Diego, first beer I tried today and perhaps the best

Pour was an opaque black color with a cloudy dark brown section in the middle and a nice looking tan head that left some silky lacing, head stuck around for the ten or fifteen minutes I sipped on this

Smell was full of whiskey and sweet chococlately scents, nice strong malty aroma, surprisingly more aromatic than most Russian Imperial Stouts I have tasted, really an A+ brew in this respect

Taste was near perfection and had a dry beginning, then sweetness with the cocoa, and then the finish was an amazing and slightly sweet bourbon aftertaste, most people standing around said this was their favorite beer of the day

Could have drank ten of these with my two wristbands, but decided to try others as well, great brew and if you ever get to try it, you will not be sorry, supposedly this was the first time it was ever released

Pleasure to try a brew like this, especially because there was only five gallons of this at the event and it is was in such high demand

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged) from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 69 ratings