Sea Monster Imperial Stout | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 511 | Ratings: 1,843
Photo of Chaney
3.26/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Special thanks to SamuelJackson45 for sending this one to me in an awesome trade!

I split this with my wife because I thought it would be right up here wheelhouse.

A: Black as night, with a slightly whiter than I expected slight head that retained itself throughout the session.

S: Mild puffs of coffee and cotton. The bittersweet chocolate came through once I really started to search for it.

T: Hoppy! Hell, was there a DIPA buried in there somewhere! Seriously, this thing was pretty bitter.... almost like biting into unsweetened baker's chocolate. This was one roasty, charred mama jama! Bone-suckingly dry on the finish and with a massive ABV wallop!

M: Thick, thick, thick! The lacing was ridiculous and the booze was definitely detectable and then some. The carbonation was fine and prickly for this style.

O: I'm not sure if I will be able to endure another session of this one again, however, I'm glad I got to try it. The second hoppiest IS I've ever tasted... right behind Storm King.

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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.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black Color brown highlights. Faint nose of chocolate and coffee. Mild charcoal and licorice. Faint nail polish.

Much lighter than expected and highly carbonated. Lots of chocolate sweetness throughout especially upfront. Faint caramel as well as a very subdued smokiness. Dark fruits come out as the beer warms. Black coffee and hop bitterness provide good balance. Mildly tannic. Medium body.

Well crafted and a good beer but doesn't stand out amongst the crowd. Could benefit from a bigger and creamier body. Liking the tanning quality though.

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Photo of akorsak
3.31/5  rDev -17%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to swnicholson for this bomber. Shared with ksak and janlud.

A: The stout, on first look, poured murky and black with a half a finger of tan head. That murkiness disguised a rather disgusting clump of yeast that looked like a hairball. Thankfully it wasn't in my glass (sorry janlud), but it was fuckin' gross. That cost the appearance big-time, as I spent the rest of my night peering ominously into my snifter looking for hairballs.

S: The nose has no clumps of hair, so no issues to report with the roasted nutty malt body, burnt at times with rich alcohol and vanilla notes.

T: The stout shows off all of the right notes, roasted grains, chocolate, burnt toast, even some vanilla and dark berries. The flavor, though, is thin, rarely providing oomph until the finish arrives. There, a sweet roasted fullness contentedly lingers.

M: The mouthfeel, aside from being thin at times, is never unpleasant. Roasted notes and chocolate always go over well with me.

D: Drinkability takes a hit for the same reason appearance does. I was paranoid with every sip. Not the way I like to spend a night.

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Photo of biglite351
3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - a good bit of red around the edges. Tall creamy light tan head.

S - malts, chocolate and mild bitter coffee. I also get some hops and something se that I do not know.

T - strong malt with coffee and heavy chocolate. Underlying hops throughout.

M - mild coating with a slight tingle on front of tongue and back of throat, probably from the alcohol.

D - just one, maybe two.

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Photo of PatronWizard
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This sea monster was hunted down and given to me by Rolie Polie OlieIPA. Swell fella.

Appears to be a really deep dark shade of brown. Near black. Frothy light beige head. Slowly settles to a thin film. Lacing is negligible.

Scent is a gentle caress of malts. I'll monitor the situation as it warms. **Bottle's gone and scent never did turn me on.**

Bitter chocolate hits first. Followed by dry coffee grounds. Big robust flavor. Thank you. Ends with a little sting. I'm starting to get something of a vinegar hint. Not really happy about that.

Full bodied, but very dry. Not as smooth as I would like. Had high hopes for this brew but I think I am a little underwhelmed.

Overall: marginal

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Photo of Jayli
3.39/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Acquired from dgb3 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a thick, opaque deep, dark, rich brown almost black. Only a dark brown film of head sits on top but a more rigorous pour yields a two finger of head. Minimal wisy lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is strong alcohol, licorice, toffee, caramel, coffee and some roasted malts.

T: Taste is sweet upfront - toffee, molasses and licorice. Middle has a mild amount of roasted malts before a strong alcohol flavoring hits. As the beer warms, a nice chocolate flavoring comes in right before the coffee notes. Hints of coffee in the finish and lingers.

M: Fuller bodied, low carbonation, creamy body with a slightly chewy finish.

D: This one is more of a sipper, goes down alright, big kick, the alcohol is a touch overwhelming, and a minor sweetness that lingers in the finish makes this a one and done.

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Photo of 45nDown
3.39/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Imperial stout...Don't think so. Good out meal stout but a double imperial...NO Nice try.
It just fell short on all levels. This company can do better.

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Photo of Slynger
3.42/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 ozer pours straight black with a surprisingly large, fuzzy tan lid that lasts.

The nose is not overly powerfull, but comes in mildly with roasted grains and bittersweet dark chocolate. Some sweet caramel and dark currant smells eminate as well, with light, piney, hops.

Flavor comes in with the pretty much the same ammo minus currants. Mouthfeel has a ton of carbonation. Body is about a medium, but the carbonation comes in too strong for a stout. Especially one that should be, according to the bottle, an oatmeal stout.

Sea Monster Stout has a nice scent/flavor, but lacks in my expected smooth, creamy, oatmeal stout mouthfeel. Good balance though.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown and opaque, but not cloudy.

S: Roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol.

T: Flavorful dark malts, a little bitterness towards the end.

M: Medium body, a little bit of thickness, and moderate cabronation.

D: Decent overall, with just a bit of harshness from the alcohol.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.44/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Mulder1010. Thanks for the trade man.

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours out brown and perfectly transparent. Way too light and transparent for the style. Makes a one finger, medium looking, tan head with decent retention. Dark brown in the glass with medium carbonation evident. Very transparent. Head fades to a decent wisp and ring, but by the end only a faint ring remains and leaves no lacing down the glass. Much too light for the style. Disappointing.

SMELL: Roasted malts, smoky notes, with dark chocolate and faint coffee aromas. Notes of black licorice and faint spicy hops. Enticing enough, though far too mild to be memorable.

TASTE: Roasted malts and they dominate up front. Some black licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, and a nice oat presence. Sweet up front with lots of roasted and smoky malt. Finishes with a roasted, bitter hop aftertaste that's quite bold and lingering. Chocolate, coffee and oats linger on the palate as well. A well integrated oatmeal stout with a good hop presence. Much better than the nose had suggested.

PALATE: Medium body and medium, prickly carbonation. Only moderately creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky on the palate. Could be fuller and creamier, but still fine. It smoothens out somewhat as it sits.

OVERALL: Despite the lack luster pour and look, this is a pretty flavorful and enjoyable imperial oatmeal stout. The nose could use some beefing up, but the flavor profile did the job. There are many more enjoyable imperial oatmeal stouts out there, however, so while I would drink this again, there is no need to track it down again. Thanks again Mulder1010 for the fun trade.

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Photo of Knight17
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being on a stout binge since cold weather has finally started, I had to try this one just based on the other quality brews offered by Ballast Point.

Upon pouring into a pint glass it gave up almost no foam. What little there was quickly dissipated. No visible lacing. It just kinda sat there. It did have about as dark brown a coloring as you could have without being black. The aromas for me were more cocoa with a little something sweet like a blackberry.

The taste didn't do much for me. Nothing really popped out. The mouthfeel was very smooth, not gritty like some other Imperials I have had lately. The alcohol was well hidden behind what tasted like a thick wall of chocolate and something toasted/smokey (but I couldn't discern much). The flavor was monolithic and just a bit flat.

I gave it a 4 for drinkability just because it is a very easy drink for the style. Although I wouldn't recommend more than 2 per session since the 10% ABV is sneaky in this one.

I would buy this beer again, although probably overpriced by a dollar or 2.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good looking for an impy stout, black with a nice two finger brown head that settled to a nice creamy cap and left sticky lacing.

Aroma is rather more reserved than I expected, but has some burnt, roasty, coffee notes.

Flavor is far more bold, although I'm catching a little bit of metallic astringency. Otherwise it's a roasted malt bomb, tons of roasty and burnt flavors, tons of black coffee, some unsweetened baker's chocolate.

Drinkability is somewhat limited IMO. I don't think the alcohol is all that well hidden. Maybe let this one age.

Overall it's still an enjoyable imperial stout.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/29/2008 (bottle):

Pours a body that is as dark as night. Small tan-colored creamy colored head. Coffee aroma, some alcohol. Some sweetness, molasses and some oatmeal. Some roasted aroma and chocolate, maybe dark chocolate? Much more alcouhol as it warms up. Chocolate oatmeal taste. Strong roasted coffee taste.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Very dark opaque brown pour with a finger of brown head that slowly recedes to a ring of head. Solid, but not overly impressive.

S: Woah - lots of piney hops with some roast in the background. The hops dominate, though.

T: Strong bitterness with citrus and piney hop flavor. As the beer warms, I get more and more roastiness. However, the hops are a bit much for my me. Nearly no sign of 10% ABV, though.

M: Medium thickness mouthfeel with quite a bit of carbonation for an imperial stout, but not distractingly so. I like my stouts a bit thicker with a bit less carbonation.

O: Quite hoppy for an imperial stout. A bit distracting from the rest of the flavors. While this is not one of my favorite RIS, I did enjoy the beer.

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Photo of NEdward
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

finger cream head of lose bubbles that mostly disappears soon after pouring. dark body. smell is a vague malt sweetness. immediate homogeneous bitterness, declines without complication. more carbonation than I was expecting. body profile is watery. mild bitter finish.

not very notable.

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Photo of NickHalden
3.49/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark with a tan head that fades after a minute in the glass. Some lacing along the glass as well. The smell that hits me is the roasted malt and dates. The taste of this beer starts off strong with a mix of bitter and sweet. The taste of dates, dried fruit, roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and port are what hit my tongue with a aftertaste of some alcohol. Overall this beer isn't bad but compared to other Imperial Stouts this isn't my favorite. Actually reminds me of a Belgium Strong Ale rather than a Imperial due to the heavy fruit and port taste. Would not mind having another in the future.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.49/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a complete onyx black with a huge three finger fluffy mocha colored head that takes a good while to die down. Stickiness is amazing, lots of thick webbing on the sides. Smell is a very light wood scent with a hint of citric hops. A faint floral aroma makes an unwanted appearence. Chocolate, caramel, and toasted oat are pretty weak in the nose but there. A good Folger's presence all over. I just don't understand the smell of this one. Wow, taste is very coffee-ish. Fresh french roast flavor that is quickly taken over by a dusty hop bite. Smokey roasted barley with dark chocolate in the mix as well. Just not enough sweetness to call this an oatmeal stout. Medium body with a slick and smooth feel. Subdued carbonation throughout. This beer is all over the place, not enough balance IMO.

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Photo of Spider889
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black in color, good khaki colored head with nice retention.

Smells very hoppy, nearly green. Rich black malts as well. Reminded me of IST.

Creamy and bitter stout, light char and ash flavors. Very bitter finish too. A little much so for me.

Very dry mouthfeel on this one. Medium bodied with some heat on the back end.

Overall not as impressive as I had hoped. I guess they can't all be winners.

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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.

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

From: Friar Tuck, Savoy, IL
Date: Best by 6/8/12
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

Ballast Point's Sea Monster is a solid imperial stout with adequate flavors of roasted malt, dark berry esters, and mild chocolate. I would be interested in trying out a newer bottle of this beer, as the hops mentioned on the bottle seemed to have dissipated by the time I drank it, and I wonder what else may have been missing. One to try if seen and affordably priced.

Pours a >2cm head of dark tan foam, with small to medium-sized bubbles that result in a fairly dense-looking texture. Retention is slightly above average, the head eventually fading to a thin ring around the beer with a few sparse islands of wispy foam atop the body. Lacing is present, a few small strands wrap around the glass. Body is a dark brown to black in color, opaque, though some carbonation can be seen near the top of the body.

Aroma is of roasted malt, dark fruit esters such as blackberries, very modest chocolate, and some malt sweetness behind everything. A bit disappointed that I'm not picking up any of the hops mentioned on the bottle, a bit of pine resin could be very interesting in this.

Flavors are fairly well-balanced between the roasted malts, some charred toast, blackberry esters, some sweetness, and thin chocolate. Again, not detecting any hops, which is a bit disappointing. Ethanol is noticeable, somewhat, from the mid-palate onwards. Certainly not bad flavors, above average.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy bodied with mid-level carbonation, resulting in a fairly smooth, thick mouthfeel with a bit of foaming across the palate due to the carbonation. Finishes semi-dry, with a bit of stickiness around the edges of the palate. Ethanol burn is felt slightly on the throat and in nostrils, but this is not a particularly significant detractor.

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Photo of BergBeer
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured form the bottle into a snifter

A: Opaque black with a thick mocha head. Looked a bit thing coming from the bottle but clings thick to the glass

S: Getting lots of dark fruit, roasted malt, bakers chocolate, fig, currant, licorice, booze, dark grapes, and coffee. Smells great.

T: Roasted malt buckles to taking a bite from a dark chocolate bar, followed by espresso, fig, raisin, coffee, all culminates to a surprisingly thick hoppy finish

M: Sticky and envelops the whole mouth. Booze is present through out and goes down pretty hot. Definitely a sipper.

O: Good brew. Wish it was a bit smoother and the booze is way to overpowering consider Victory at Sea is pretty close ABV but doesn't bring nearly the heat this one does. Pretty good American stout. Surprised by the amount of hops in this guy and it's definitely deep and complex. It was a little much having the bomber to myself and there are just too many other great versions of this style. With that being said though i wouldn't mind picking up another one in the future. Hopefully the one I'm aging now will be a bit less boozy!

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Photo of bbb099
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours almost jet black with a slight brown hue. Minimal amount of head that dissipated quickly.

S - Faint cocoa and coffee roast aroma.

T - Bitter roasted malt with some toffee and cocoa towards the end.

M - Low carbonation and medium to light bodied. Slightly watery.

O - Good, but not great. The watery body was a little odd and detracts from the decent flavors.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I bought a bottle of Sea Monster in a bottle shop Poured in to a tulip glass.

Pours a black walnut color, opaque, with a frothy tan head.

Smell is boozy, dark fruits and alcohol.

Taste is a lot like the aroma, dark fruit like dates and prunes, with a charcoal presence and a hint of coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied cloying with a thick sweet aftertaste.

Overall a full flavored stout, but not very drinkable.

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Photo of BigBarley
3.52/5  rDev -11.8%
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...)

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,843 ratings.
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