Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Sea Monster Imperial Stout | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
506 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Sea Monster Imperial StoutSea Monster Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
506
Ratings:
1,811
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
18.55%
 
 
Wants:
162
Gots:
417
For Trade:
14
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 506 | Ratings: 1,811
Photo of mactrail
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The brewery calls this an Oatmeal Stout, and it's certainly not the typical American double stout. It has a pleasant grainy edge, and while it's sweet, the sugar comes on more slowly, and fades into a bitter, chocolatey haze.

Very dark, deeply roasted, with some charred taste. Cedar and cocoa. Highly aromatic and spicy. This was a nice surprise to me, and it's a more complex and interesting big stout than the typical imperial fat boys. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Barons Market on West Point Loma.

 509 characters

Photo of travolta
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Jet black, huge head with an awesome rocky form and fantastic retention. Massive amounts of sticky lacing. I'm proud to look at this on my table right now.

Nose: Plums, fig, raisin, star anise and fennel.

Taste: Fig, raisin, carmel and chocolate. Some oatmeal smoothness and a little alcohol heat at the end.

Notes: an EXCELLENT stout. Just buy it.

 372 characters

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

enormous beer, great this time of year. dense malt layers in this one, like an under cooked fudge brownie. it ranges from day old drip coffee to sweet milk chocolate and oatmeal in the aroma, and hides its booze well. real dark look, but not shiny, its muted in luster, looking less exciting than it is, but the head is rocky peaky and tall, tan in color, and lasting for days. first sip shows a ton of viscosity, with flavors of bakers chocolate and licorice and burning bread. its great, its complex, its got depth like the sea itself, and it has an almost smoked note for a second in the finish. cocoa powder and a note of dried cherry there for a second, even coconut too. full bodied is an understatement, and this is a filling slow slipper, but the alcohol isnt all that aggressive and the beer on the whole is both very unique and very delicious. bold and intense, one heck of a stout.

 892 characters

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.75 - Pours an oily jet black color. Nice head potential, forms a finger and a half to two fingers of dark tan to light brown colored head. Good head retention, pretty solid lacing as well.
S - 4.75 - Raisins, plums, figs and prunes, light touch of alcohol, bittersweet chocolate, currants, star anise, fennel, licorice and a light herbal, medicinal nose. Almost in the vein of a Russian styled imperial stout.
T - 5 - Awesome. A stout that seems to focus more on the dark fruits and chocolate than the coffee. Lightly smoked malt upfront, prunes and currants, fennel, licorice and medicinal herbal tastes, bittersweet chocolate finish.
F - 4.75 - Nice creamy medium/full mouthfeel.
O - 4.75 - Excellent imperial stout. One of the better I've had in a long while. Worth noting I drank exactly one year passed the "best by" date on the bottle and it tasted PHENOMENAL so, don't let it intimidate you if you plan to cellar this one, I did, and the results were worth it!

 1,010 characters

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.

 205 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage served at cellar temperature in a chalice.

Sea Monster is a medium dark brown in color with good clarity seen on the pour. Head is thick at first but settles fairly quickly. Nice lacing left behind.

Aroma is roasty and chocolatey but surprisingly mild for an imperial stout.

Flavor is thankfully more mild than the aroma would suggest. It has dark malt sweetness up front with big bitterness from middle to end. A combination of roasted malts and hops contribute to the bitterness and there's good balance there.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with low carbonation.

Overall a very good imperial stout but maybe not as special as Victory at Sea.

 664 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage 22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a finger of caramel/chocolate-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thick lacing of foam that covered the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas! Tons of roasted malt, imparting notes of freshly toasted dark bread, some subtle smoke and a little ash. There are also aromas of dark chocolate, a touch of coffee and some floral hops.

Taste: Wow!! Strong, strong flavors of roasted malt up front, followed by some almost equally strong flavors of brown sugar-like sweetness, finished with some equally strong flavors of hops. Intermingled between the malt, sweet and hoppy bitterness, all three flavors vying for dominance, are some good flavors of coffee, dark chocolate and dark molasses. Very complex in flavor.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and extremely smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10%, there’s a definite presence of alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is a very good imperial stout! It has tons of great roasted malt flavors, accented with some good sweetness, but unfortunately, I find the hoppy bitterness to be out of balance, meaning it’s too assertive for my tastes, to make this beer balanced. I like it, but it has too much hops for me to really, really love it. Hop heads should love this beer, though.

 1,396 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A two-year-old bomber poured into a snifter.
Pours opaque black with a thin, medium-tan head and some spotty lacing.
The aroma is very nice, lots of coffee, licorice, dark fruit and perhaps, even a hint of berry.
What a great tasting stout. Lots of big roast coffee flavor with molasses and chocolate. Some raisin and fruitiness as it warmed a bit and even a touch of bitter hops. And, there is a little warming booziness as well.
Mouthfeel is wonderful, smooth and creamy and still a touch of carbonation.
Overall, a really top-notch stout.

 541 characters

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. Bomber into a snifter, 2010 vintage, so it's almost 5 years old now (consumed on new year's eve 2014).
It pours black, but it's not as dark and/or thick as some of those super stouts made by the likes of Evil Twin, Avery, etc.
Before I start sipping I've gotta give it a smell to give me an idea of what I'm in for. Suprisingly the overall aroma was very mild with no specific smell standing out above the rest. This probably has to do more with the age on the beer as opposed to the beer itself.
Now for the most important aspect: taste!! And boy does this one deliver! Up front you get a good combo of cocoa and a little coffee. The texture is excellent, very smooth but not like drinking motor oil as can tend to be the case with some stouts. Once you swallow you get hit with some dark malt and are left with hops on the finish. I was surprised that even after 4+ years the hop taste is still strong (not a bad thing!). Balance is usually a word I reserve to describe my favorite IPA's, but this is truly one of the most balanced imperial stouts I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. Age doesn't hurt it, so if you see it on a shelf near you don't miss out!

 1,193 characters

Photo of LouZ
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle; poured black with a thin line of head. Aroma was definitely coffee. Taste is distinctly black coffee with a hint of bitter chocolate. There is a hop presence that adds to the dry, bitter finish. Feel is carbonated and balanced; not as much body as other big stouts I've had lately but not too thin. This is a very nice coffee stout if that is what you are in the mood for.

 397 characters

Photo of HawkFalco
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Tasted: Dec 14, 2014
Purchased: Dec. 10 2014
22 oz. bottle shared

Poured room temperature into a half pint glass. Shared bottle.

Poured black, little light to be seen about the edges. Formed a lovely mocha colored head which lingered.

Tastes: Smooth roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, turns to nice hoppy bite at rear sides of tongue but then succumbs to harsh burnt, bitter coffee that lasts and lasts. As the beer warmed the flavors opened up nicely but the dry after taste continued.

Feels smooth, not much body. Finish is a lasting bitter desert dry. Is this the high alcohol ?

The overly strong lingering burnt bitterness in the mouth killed it for me. If I was poured this as a guest I wouldn’t rudely turn it away but I’d make sure there was food handy for mouth relief. My friend loved it. I won’t buy it again.

 835 characters

Photo of jellikit
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Bottle.
Appearance: black. Deep Amber with ruby hues if held to light. Super thin, light-brown head with tiny bubbles.
Smell: coffee. Fig.
Taste: coffee. Chocolate. Raisin. Booze.
Mouthfeel: low carbonation. Big body. Sweet, but not too sweet.
Overall: balanced very well. Not too boozy. Malty but not too roasty. Well done.

 340 characters

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

22oz bomber: This one pours an inky, very dark brown color. There was just a touch of a brown head that didn’t linger long. Getting lots of aromas in there. Chocolate, some coffee, a bit of vanilla, maybe some dark fruits too. The taste is very good. Chocolate, some roastiness, vanilla, maybe some raisin as well as other fruits. It has a very silky mouth-feel to it. Very Nice!

 381 characters

Photo of daveg36
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Just an awesome stout. Awesome. Incredibly smooth, and no hint of alcohol at 10.2% which is an amazing feat. Please pick this up if you can find it. It will be well worth it to you.

 182 characters

Photo of richj1970
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter. Bottled dated 14057.

A: Pours pitch black with a long lasting 2-3 finger tan head leaving nice sticky lacing.

S: Roasted malts, cocoa nibs, and vanilla.

T: Big roasted flavors up front. Bittersweet chocolate and a hint of vanilla.

M: Full bodied but on the lighter side for an imperial stout.

O: Very nice. Easy drinking with the big roasty flavors that you expect from an imperial stout.

 439 characters

Photo of DaveHopSculp
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Awesome beer. If more people knew about this, and actually consumed it, it would definitely be a top 50 brew. Unbelievably smooth and well balanced, incredibly drinkable for 10% ABV. A top 5, world class imperial stout on this planet.

 234 characters

Photo of pat61
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

Nose: fruit – prune, raisins, some roast and a hint of chocolate at the attack.
Pours deep, deep brilliant brown, under a 1/2" tan head
A big roast coffee palate up with an initial sweetness front backed by bittersweet chocolate highlighted by creamy smoothness. In the finish there is some hop bitterness hiding behind the roast and bittersweet chocolate. Lingering roast and bittersweet chocolate.
Very creamy, chewy, fine carbonation. Warming.

 451 characters

Photo of hardy008
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Pours black with a two finger tan head. The aroma has dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and some dark fruit.

the taste is much like the smell. There is a large amount of both sweetness and bitterness with dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit, licorice, and hop bitterness at the end.

full bodied with below average carbonation. Rich and creamy. The only thing that I can find as a negative is a long bitter aftertaste, from the roasted malt and hops. a good beer to be sure, but not as good as the best in the style.

 534 characters

Photo of Treyliff
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%

2013 bottle, poured into a pint glass

A- pours a nearly opaque jet black color with a small creamy khaki colored head that reduces to a thin film, leaving no lace behind

S- roasted malt aroma gives notes of burnt toast & earthy/herbal coffee, sweet aromas of toffee/dark chocolate kick in mid-palate, dark berries/black currants with a hint of vinous character 3.75

T- sweet up front, with flavors of heavy cream and caramel, also picking up a fruity currant sweetness. Roasty notes kick in with flavors of charcoal, coffee and burnt bread. The finish gives more notes of sweet berry/currant with notes of red wine 4

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a super creamy mouthfeel and a smooth finish that hides the alcohol very well 4.25

O- nice mix of dark fruit and roasty notes that is incredibly drinkable for 10%, perhaps the age has mellowed it out a bit 4

 908 characters

Photo of Motleydrunk56
2.84/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sea Monster is a Imperial Stout and is my second beer i have tried from Ballast Brewing with Sculpin being the first.Poured it into my 20 oz Firestone glass and its very Jet black in color.I gotta tell you this was not one of my Favorite stouts.At 10.0 ABV it is very respectible but the taste just did not get it for me.When you compare this to Stones Imperial Russion Stout it`s not even close.It is truely a very odd flavor.The reason I tried this was because of the rating on Beer Advocate.Just goes to show everyone has different taste buds.Keep on Rockin from the Motley Drunk.

 583 characters

Photo of slackattack
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber down the middle to nonic. Black, initial 1/2 inch head that dwindled to a film that hung around and left some wet spotty lacing. Nose is unspectacular. Some toasty malts and alcohol. Please don't disappoint me beloved Ballast Point. First taste is alcohol in your face. Actually tastes like much more than the 10% that it is. There's dark chocolate and toasted malts that are definitely there, but the alcohol is way more there. Good hop bitterness, but the alcohol, did I say the alcohol. Damn. Letting this warm.... As it warms it opens up a little but the alcohol is still dominant. Probably won't go here again...

 636 characters

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

Pours black of course. Light penetrates at the edges. Thin layer of khahi head. Not the most ominous of stouts but looks nice.

Aroma is deeply roasted malt. Bitter espresso and hops.

In the taste the deep roast is apparent. Long bitter finish with hops and coffee. Dark fruits also evident but not dominant.

Coating mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation

Nice year round stout offering.

 383 characters

Photo of fscottkey
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Black pour with a 2 finger tan head. The head has nice dense bubbles that are all uniform. The head recedes slowly and does not last for the whole drink.

S: Bold smell of alcohol. The alcohol is the strongest note in the aroma. There are also roasted malt notes.

T: Follows the nose with an alcohol forward taste. The mid-palate has hints of chocolate and mild vanilla. There is also a tannin type feel/taste.

M: Nice coating feeling. Heavy feeling like you'd expect for an oatmeal stout. Very nice overall feel with low carbonation.

O: It's a sipper where the alcohol is not masked - it is right up front. I couldn't drink more than one of these in a session.

 667 characters

Photo of abeeronthebeach
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Not quite black. Beaded head.

S - Chocolatey nose.

T - Bitter burned flavours. Burnt malt. Soy sauce. Metalliic aftertaste, very much like the iron taste you get from blood. Lacks toffee, maple or chocoalte to round out the palate.

M - Not super creamy but at least it's not lightweight.

O - Doesn't particularly do anything wrong but lacks depth. Its decent but unremarkable.

 384 characters

Photo of dave39
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sent to me by Ballast Point itself! Yes, Ballast Point sent me beer after I had outdated Sculpin. This was the last of it, and AWESOME. They sent me 2 six packs of Sculpin and this in bomber form. Amazing beer.

I don't usually like stouts. Loathe Guinness and others that are too heavy for my taste. This was awesome!!

Warm inviting chocolate, coffee tones upon opening.

Taste is SO SMOOTH. Extremely drinkable and tasty. This beer in their line-up doesn't get the publicity of Sculpin, but it is just as great in it's own way. Get some. Do yourself a favor. Great beer.

 575 characters

Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 506 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe