Sea Monster Imperial Stout | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
512 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 512 | Ratings: 1,849
Photo of jaypaul522
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass. Thick, black look with nice head that lasted awhile. Smell is of coffee and chocolate and malt. The taste is very good, complex, and the fruit comes through in the aftertaste. Very nice. This is a full bodied stout that is very satisfying. Highly recommend you try this one!

 298 characters

Photo of MjBrewhouse
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Vintage 2013. I'm surprised that this has held up for 2 years. Has a nice amount of bitterness to balance out the malt.Pretty much has the usual imperial stout flavors, coffee, chocolate, slight oak finish and abv is noticeable on the finish. Good Imperial stout from Ballast point.

 282 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with one finger khaki head that slowly died and left minimal lace. Coffee, bitter chocolate, bits of hops and oats come through in the aroma. Smooth despite its heavier body, thanks to oats, bit of hop bitterness on finish adds balance to beer, but make no mistake this beer is mostly a mix of bitter chocolate and light coffee so it's more sweet than roasted/coffee malt based. Easy drinking stout that is enjoyable and love the hidden ABV.

 464 characters

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.

 510 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a pitch black color with a two finger head of dark tan foam. The head has a fantastic level of retention, fading over time to leave bits of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is strong of a caramel and molasses sweetness with a good strong roasted malt showing. Along with these aromas comes other sweet smells of chocolate and a big dark fruit aroma of raisin and prune. Some lighter coffee aromas and a little bit of a woody and earthy aroma are there as well, producing a nice and sweet, roasted aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a big roasted malt taste that is mixed with a rather strong showing of a caramel and molasses sweetness. The molasses and caramel, while strong upfront, actually get even stronger as the taste advances further on. Along with these sweet flavors comes some lighter dark fruit flavors of fig and raisin as well as a little bit of a plum taste. Some light boozy tastes come more toward the middle, giving a slightly warming sweet and roasted taste. While the sweetness increases, it is balanced by some dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavors, which in the end, mix with a little bit of a grainy and woody taste to leave a sweet, slightly warming, and roasted, but still rather balanced taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is average in thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. For the rich roasted and sweet flavors of the brew a slightly thicker and creamier feel may have been slightly better, creating a thicker medium for all the flavors to be fully appreciated.

Overall – A fairly nice imperial overall. A bit on the sweet side, but I like the bit of wood and decently strong roast that balance it all out later in the taste, making this one a rather nice sipper overall.

 1,891 characters

Photo of JackieKu
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle.

A: Opaque black. No foam.
S: Intense roasted coffee aroma. Moderate caramel. Somewhat woods. A little pepper spicy. And some nuts.
T: Medium roasted coffee. Moderate chocolate. Medium bitterness. Moderate sweetness. Dry, bitter, and medium long finish.
M: Full body. Moderate carbonation.
O: Powerful and balanced.

 330 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours an oily black color, with a small, yet true to the style, head which dissipates quickly. Quite a bit of lacing.

Smells of licorice, molasses, roasted coffee beans, and subtle chocolate. I also detected a minor scent of figs/raisins. The smell manages to hit both the 'conventional', and 'refreshing' boxes - without being groundbreaking in any sense.

Taste is similar to the smell. Despite branding itself as an 'American Stout with Oatmeal', this is most definitely not an oatmeal stout as the taste is quite abrasive, albeit enjoyably so. The slight fruitiness of the figs and raisins that I detected in the smell is nowhere to be found, and the taste is dominated by bitterness, and roasted coffee/chocolate flavors. Licorice also plays an important role.

The feel is full, with moderate-to-low carbonation - even though the bitterness of the taste makes this feel more carbonated than it actually is.

This is a solid stout. The smell raised my expectations that this would push the envelope more than it ended up doing, but it's still rock-solid. Paid $8 for a 22 oz bottle at my local liquor store, which seems like a fair price - without being a steal by any stretch.

 1,186 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle - I forwent ordering this at every place whose doorstep I darkened in Idaho last summer, on the precept that my local Ballast Point rep would get around to procuring some - and they finally have!

This beer pours a solid black abyss, yet with fast and loose basal cola edges, and three fingers of puffy, rocky, and somewhat bubbly brown head, which leaves a stellar array of spindly and webbed tree branch lace around the glass as it quickly sinks out of sight.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, singed dark chocolate, black licorice, unsweetened cafe-au-lait, a muddled bruised orchard fruitiness, and quite subtle earthy, leafy, and mildly perfumed floral hop bitters. The taste is medium chocolate fudge, crackery caramel, coffee with slightly soured milk, still hard to define dark fleshy fruit, a sort of zingy anise spiciness, and more plain leafy, weedy, and floral hops - now with a hovering and micro-managing (my least favourite thing in the real world) booziness.

The bubbles are fairly sedate in their workaday frothiness, the body a so-so middleweight for the style, and smooth enough - the inherent oatmeal goodness offset just a little too much by an increasingly familiar metallic alcohol edginess. It finishes sweet, the cocoa headliner not to be denied its dues, while the strong (if sometimes misdirected) side players maintain a stiff upper lip stance.

Overall, a more or less simple, if still heady version of the Americanized imperial stout - things just seem a bit disjointed, and that 20-proof booze trips one up more times than I cared to count. Anyways, not bad, and a relative bargain for your scrounged beer-spending moolah - big surprise.

 1,686 characters

Photo of kalosjakar
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark black of course, off white head.

Your typical roasted, slightly chocolate malt imperial stout. Slight marshmallow scent.

Dry, semisweet finish.

 150 characters

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.

 429 characters

Photo of HopHunter19
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice dark brown/black beer, small tan head dissipates but leaves really nice lacing
S - nice roasts malts, burnt marshmallow, oatmeal, dark chocolate, little smokiness
T - big roasty malts, burnt marshmallow, oatmeal, bread, dark chocolate
M - heavy, alcohol covered, aftertaste roasty malts and smoke
O - pretty good

 329 characters

Photo of Viaduck
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Drark brown body & light brown head. Smells pretty; lots of chocolate & coffee & some malt & hops. Taste: chocolate & hops, a bit too much hoppy methinks. Coffee & chocolate battle with hops, IPA drinkers would love this stout.

 227 characters

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice if unexceptional stout
Pitch black with a tan/caramel head that stays a while and leaves lacing
Malt for the nose, with a bit of sweetness
Tastes more sweet malty very agreeable
Like I said a nice stout that I'm glad I got to try

 246 characters

Photo of ZakFaruki
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a Bomber into a Nonic, pours an Opaque black with a khaki head, decent amounts of lace

S: Subtle roasted malts, but a pervasive alcohol smell overpowers everything

T: Roasted malts and a tad bit of hops as well, fades into a pretty large alcohol taste, as expected for a 10% ABV

F: Pretty light mouthfeel for a Imperial Stout, but the carbonation is very light as is typical for the style

O: Obviously this is no "Old Rasputin" or any of the legendary Imperial stouts, but its still a very good example of the style. Big and boozy, and if you enjoy big crazy beers, this is a must-try.

 604 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A brown, almoust black, liquid pouring down the glass.

One finger high, beige-brown, head. Almoust no lacing.

Nose: Dark syrup, soy sauce, vanilla, brown sugar, banana, cream and roasted malt.
Taste: Roasted malt, honey, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, pumpernickel, soy sauce, coffee grounds, dried fruit and oak.
A full body with almoust no carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden.

GREAT beer!

 398 characters

Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Review is based on a bomber that I have cellared for 5 years. The brew pours black in color with ample khaki head resting atop that fades to a thin ring.

The nose is a pleasant mix of raisony alcohol mixed with milk chocolate. The taste is a little boozy with raison, earth, char and milk chocolate before a bit of solvent booze becomes noticeable.

This is medium bodied and modestly carbonated. A decent sipper that likely should have consumed a couple years ago but whatever, still an enjoyable experience.

 510 characters

Photo of scbeerman
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review is of a 2014 bottle.
S: dark chocolate, glorious roasted malts, and a hint of coffee balanced by dark fruit. 4.25
L: black, but with a hint of red shining through around he edges. A half finger of rich dark tan head; little lacing. 3.5
T: this blew me away. Roasted malts combine with currant, a little char, chocolate, coffee, mild sweetness (milk chocolatey almost, but not at the forefront) and a little earthy bite of hops. Absolutely delicious and very good complexity and depth of flavor; strongly considered giving it a 5 here. 4.75
F: 10%??? Could've fooled me. Medium-heavy mouthfeel, but not motor oil; scarily drinkable and hides the alcohol extraordinarily well. Oatmeal adds a wonderful silkiness that I love. 4.5
Overall: This was extremely impressive; not sure why it has a moderate rating on here because this is a delicious, world class imperial stout with a year and a half of age on it. Coffee and vanilla bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts? Nah, I'll take this over most any I've tried. This was a "Wow!" beer.

 1,039 characters

Photo of phrimplepoot
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely sensational. I am surprised by the "very good" rating on this one. But, I'm a sucker for balls-to-the-wall stouts. And, at 10 ABV I can barely taste the booziness. I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

 212 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quick Review: Poured a solid black with a very thin dark brown head. Smell was malts and chocolate mostly, but the nose was pretty faint overall for an imperial stout. The taste was nice. Smooth,roasted malty chocolate, and you could pick up oatmeal and hints of dark fruits. Feel was smooth and creamy with lowish carbonation. All in all an enjoyable beer.

 362 characters

Photo of Trooper92292
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The chocolate and oatmeal really stand out and mix well. The smell doesn't have much of an impact to me but this is a wow taste. I can taste the alcohol but I enjoy it with the chocolate taste. Sea Monster is really great, a good older cousin to Victory at Sea. I want another bottle and need to try this on tap.

 312 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Soft carbonation and medium bodied. Chocolate, malty nose and taste is baked chocolate, some malty sweetness, no currant. High ABV is hidden. $10.45 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

 320 characters

Photo of Co1911lt
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I have enjoyed many different stouts and I would even say I am a stout connoisseur. Ballast Point has taken a new swing at stouts on this one. Not to bad.

 154 characters

Photo of BeerMeColorado
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably better aged...pretty boozy with alcohol a little too dominant at this point. Had it on draft but think if I had some bottles I'd def put some down for at least a year.

 176 characters

Photo of Jayehm
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Read the summary and don't taste the coffee or chocolate hints. Flavor is still pretty good. Color is solid dark brown with a tan head. It sit heavy in the mouth. You can tell it's high in abv.

 197 characters

Photo of Totalpackage411
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is a very smooth Stout, not too overpowering. The oatmeal flavor definitely stands out and gives this beer a delightful taste. I highly recommend this beer if you like Stouts or any dark beer.

 199 characters

Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,849 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.