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: 507 | Ratings: 1,823
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

split 3 ways with some friends; poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Black body with a brown head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Smells like a nice imperial stout with some hops going on in the background. chocolate malts and coffee roastiness. Earthy hops.

Taste: this beer is roasty and bitter. Moderate bitterness from a combination of the maltiness and hops bitterness. Not really balanced, but it not out of line either. The hops don't overpower the malts and vice versa. An earthy and slight citris hop flavor, with a moderate hop bitterness that caries throughout the beer.

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is a very solid beer, but not what i expected. Maybe a bit more balance between hops and malts would make this beer better. I still enjoyed the beer.

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

A - Jet black with a noticeable effervescence. Has a moderate light tan head that diminishes quickly and leaves no lacing.

S - Somewhat hoppy, citrusy along with the usual roasted malts, coffee and toffee characteristics.

T - Taste is mild, which is ok for me but considering the price of this bottle I was a bit disappointed. A good RIS with sweet roasted malt, chocolate and toffee flavors.

M - Thinner than most RIS, but still silky and creamy.

D - A building sweetness limits this one. I'm on to the next.

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Photo of tpd975
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours deep dark black, with a creamy head, ample retention, with spotty lacing.

S: Weak scents. Touches of malt and a tad of cocoa.

T: Flavors not at all big and bold. Nice oatmeal malts with tinges of chocolate and coffee.

M: Smooth yet flat, needs more body.

D: So so, not a favorite of mine.

Overall: Ballast Point is grossly underated as a brewer, but this is not their best offering. Glad I had a chance to try but once is enough for me.

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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 0110x011
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Late '08 release, into a snifter.

A - Completely opaque black. Two finger tan head doesn't stick around very long, leaving a thin collar, and thats about it.

S - Mainly burnt grain, with some coffee notes and dark fruit. A dash of chocolate and smoke to top things off. The burnt aroma is a bit over the top.

T - Bitter roasted burntness to start, but coffee, chocolate, smoke and caramel flavors come about eventually.

M - Medium body, not as full and thick as I'd like. Although the carbonation is quite fine, which keeps it smooth.

D - Moreso than most Imperial Stouts, but certianly not quaffable.

A solid beer, and a good seasonal, but nowhere near the big boys.

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Photo of mully
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick black body with hints of brown at the very edges of my less than optimal tasting glass. persistant mocha head fades but sticks around for the the end.

Dark roast malts, sweetness and alcohol are primary with a hint of bourbon/vanilla

Abit hot right up front, but after a few sips the booze starts to mellow. The black malt bitterness combines well with the hops to provide a solid palate for the sweetness to exisist on. Good flavor, not overly complex or deep. Good overall flavor, probably not in my top 10 stouts.

creamy and smooth mouthfeel a slightly visous or oily element to this beer as well.

Overall a good beer but not outstanding very glad to try it.

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Photo of JohnP
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with a tall, lasting dark tan head. Mild aromas of mocha and hint of herbal hops. Simple flavors with a bit of tropical fruit, toasted coconut and tasted malt. Easy to drink with simple flavors.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black mahogany body with cola highlights. Nice light tan head with good retention and lace.

S - Light roast, touch of hazelnut and chocolate.

T - Warm alcohol into smooth chocolate. Dark roast center with touches of raisins. Dry mocha finish.

M - Medium body. A bit boozy.

O - Not bad. Nice cocoa flavors, but overall still a bit sharp. A year or two would hurt to mellow things out.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep brown with a tan foamy head. Some good lacing.

Pine hoppy nose up front, and some coffee and dark roasted malt.

Man, another over-hopped imperial stout. They almost blew it. Pine up front, which almost dominates all other flavors. As that dissipates, you get coffee, molasses, bitter chocolate, a little fruit. The beer dries out to a mild and pleasant nondescript bitterness with some maltiness that is long as well. Alcohol isn't even noticed. A bit more hops and I'd dislike this. Just under the wire for my palate.

Full body, with just the right carbonation.

This is a sipper, rich and complex. Some of my bitches are my palate preferences, but I fairly balance out those issues with a nod to quality and effort by the brewer. A good example of the style. I'd never refuse this, and would have it again.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a fiver-finger thick, nicely browned, frothy head. The beer is quite black in color, though it shows flashes of burnt ruby notes if moved directly up to the light. The aroma has quite a bit of roast character to it, but it remains smooth and not over-bearing. This has a nice mix of rich, roasted coffee notes, dark chocolate, a touch of roasted smoke as well as charred whole grain bread. There are some charred prune notes in the aroma as well along with a touch or burnt tartness. As the beer warms up the charred prune not seems to thin out the richness that was in this beer originally; it seems to finish on a weak note that also has a touch of vegetal character to it.

Thick and viscous, this almost has a syrup like feeling to it as it rests on my tongue. Lots of charred grain notes offset a rich, but very tempered, complex grain sweetness. The beer finishes with a substantial bitterness that seems a combination of hops and lots of bitter burnt grain notes. Towards the finish the sweetness accentuates notes of blackened prunes and charred raisins; this is actually quite fruity, which definitely helps to offset the roast character. Some dark chocolate character is noticeable as a hint of character that peaks out amongst the more focused roasted notes that are reminiscent of strong black coffee, burnt whole grain toast and even a touch of charred smokiness. As the beer warms up a touch of spicy, warming alcohol becomes more noticeable in the finish, but this is fairly mellow for a 10% abv beer.

This started out with some promise, but somehow seems to finish a bit disappointing. I like that this was not overly charred, but the character of this beer just doesn't seem all that well integrated. Perhaps it needs some age to round things out and make it more balanced. Not bad, just a bit disappointing.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the bottle black with a big light brown cream head. Aroma is hops, some light roasted malt, maybe some light chocolate. Smells a bit watery for the style. Mouthfeel is a bit light. Flavor is roasty toasty malt, light hops, a bit of bittersweet chocolate. Not a whole lot going on here. Feels more like a porter to me. Not a bad beer, but not really true to the impy style.

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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 litheum94
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. No bottling dates. Reviewed on 5/20/11.

Pours a deep black body. A thick, brown head sits atop that settles very slowly, leaving a patchy cover. Very nice lacing on the glass.

Strong smoked hickory aromas dominates the nose. Chocolate sweetness, with some cocoa powder. Reminds me of BBQ sauce. Has a very salty, umami like quality to the nose.

Smoked hickory is very prominent in the mouth, with some charcoal tones. Cocoa powder with burnt toast flavors. Bitter coffee tones. Leafy hop flavor, imparting some more bitterness. Drying from the bitterness, yet also slightly creamy from the oatmeal.

Easy drinking and a good example of the style. Hides its alcohol well.

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Photo of davey101
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep black, has a smaller caramel-tan colored head that doesn't sit too long. Body looks good though.
Roasty, toasted oats/ coffee grinds scent with burning. The Alcohol is detected here.
The taste starts out robust with notes of cocoa, coffee and anise, and I notice how thick this is right off the bat. But wow what a burn. I'll let this warm a little/ a burger dinner is almost finished for pairing this. With this brew it's odd, i really enjoy the immediate taste, and pick up more of a creamy, milk-chocolatey fruit-like presence to the tune of raspberries & cherries...however this all quickly turns into the astringent back-end, dominated by a dry, roasted alcohol burn. Worth trying if you're a fan of Ballast Point's offerings, however Im sure most would prefer their Victory at Sea over this double stout. I know I do.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours a deep brown with a one finger tan head on an aggressive pour. Head dissipates at a fairly hasty pace, but there is a little lacing to be had...

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and a hoppy aroma...

T - Dark roasted malts and coffe up front followed by bitter chocolate and a hint of vanilla. A smooth floral hop presense finishes this one off. Good, but not great. Would have perfered a little less hop presense and a little more sweet chocolate...

M - A little light for the style, but really smooth. Was hoping for a more silky viscous mouthfeel. Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation...

O - Would definitely recommend this one to someone who likes a hop presense in there Impy/Double Stouts. A decent brew, but Victory at Sea is hands down a superior beer in my opinion. Would be interested to try the BA verison of this...


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Photo of capeannbass36
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Poured into a Samual Smith pint glass.
Very dark brown. Light brown 1/2 inch head.
S-Sweet coffee/chocolate
T-Bittersweet chocolate, light coffee, hint of smoke. Just doesn't taste anywhere near as good as it smells.
M-Light carbonation, fairly smooth.
D-Just doesn't do it for me. Expected a lot more.
Overall, looks good, smells good. Taste is not there for me.

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

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. No bottle date, but this has been in the cellar for at least a year now.

Appearance - Dark brown, almost black. Nice khaki head with decent retention. After a while there's not much to it.

Smell - Chocolate from the roasted malts and a surprising amount of booze. Hops in the background, but not enough to smell grassy. Just a hint.

Taste - Chocolate malts throughout. A little one-note. Goes right into the bitter hop finish. The hops are significantly more prominent in the taste. Again, not grassy, but substantial. Almost like an RIS.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation, but not a heavy body. Slightly metallic flavor to it. A little dry.

Overall - A decent stout, but lacking in any distinguishing characteristics. Perhaps a bit more than the sum of its parts as I find myself enjoying the beer without loving the individual attributes.

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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 morimech
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful looking stout. Pours into the glass a dark black with two fingers of mocha colored head that looked like meringue. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass. Do not know how a stout can looking better than this.

Aroma has plenty of roasted malt but there is a lot of booziness. A bit of chocolate and maybe some earthy, floral hops. Nothing really exceptional here.

A lot of alcohol upfront in the flavor and that is what really dominates the rest of the flavor. Mild roasted malt and chocolate hints is about all I can pick out. Finishes hot.

Big body and nice carbonation. Good creamy texture that is hurt by the thinning effects of the alcohol.

Surprisingly disappointing big stout. Age probably would help this beer out and let it mellow out some. Just too hot fresh.

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Photo of teromous
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the label: 15355

Appearance: Black body with a moderate creamy light khaki head. Good retention and lacing.

Aroma: Light roasted aroma and a bit woody. Very subdued aroma.

Taste: Big bold roasted flavor right up front. I get lots of charcoal and a touch of sweet caramel.

Mouthfeel: It's nice and smooth delivering a big full body.

Overall: It's a good imperial stout and I would recommend it. It doesn't have a massive aroma or a great depth of flavor and complexity but it is a good imperial stout.

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Photo of zep9865
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into New Belgium snifter. Pours a molasses dark brown with a little bit of foam head and lacing. Didn't pour the complete jet black that i am accustomed to.

Lots of chocolate and toffee on the nose with some distinct coffee. Dark chocolate comes out as well

Beer is highly carbonated for an imperial stout, and that effects the rest of it's taste. Surprisingly tangy with dark chocolate, toffee, and coffee

Carbonation really messes with this beer. Almost seems as if it's a domestic company attempting a specialty beer that they did ok on. The chocolate and coffee are decent but the mouthfeel just isn't there.

This is the one beer style that i am experienced in and it just doesn't impress more than i thought it would. Carbonation is way too high and it is too tangy.

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Photo of Adamdc
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into nonic pint glass.

A: Pour produced about a 1 inch head atop a nearly opaque body with ruby edges when held up to light

S: Instantly hit a chocolaty/coffee aroma. There's also some tobacco, currants and figs and swirling gives off a very strong maltiness. I really like the aroma.

T: Taste mimics the aroma. Lots of roasted chocolate and lots of coffee. Some dark fruits in there and there's a nice hop finish to balance things out.

M: Not bad, but not great. A little on the thin side. Very smooth however----the oats help this out quite a bit.

D: Drinkability is pretty good in this beer. Despite it's 10% abv this is going down smoothly and it's very tasty. I'm liking this very much. It's not as thick and chewy like some 'top' RIS's but seeing as it's an American Double I think it's right where it should be.

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Photo of fox227
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark like a stout, a thin tan head, that has good retention.

S: Milk chocolate galore! I also smell some alcohol, but not much else.

T: Taste follows nose, I suppose. There's a sharp boozy character that rounds out the chocolate, and a bitterness that precludes this being on the sweet side. Overall, not bad. Had better.

M: Rather thick and dry, as per the style, but lots of bubbles tickle my tongue on each sip - not a flat Impy Stout for certain.

O: I rarely buy beers because the label looks so cool, but this is a beer worth trying, but it's rather on the lower end of quality Imperial Stouts, meaning that it's good, but not BEER GEEK Nectar of the Beer Gods good.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, purchased from Vin de Pays, in Long Beach, CA

A: Pours black, with a full creamy tan head, with good retention, limited lacing though.

S: Strong scents of roasted malt and coffee.

T: There is a strong coffee flavour on the first sip which melds into a flavour of dark chocolate bars. A nice flavour, but kind of 1-dimensional for a Double Stout, actually tastes a lot more like an Irish Dry Stout to me.

M: Smooth, creamy, lacking in richness which I usually find in this style, but overall, not bad.

D: A good stout, but in the end didn't really find anything special about it to make me spend $8 on another bottle.

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Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,823 ratings.
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