Monday, March 26, 2012

Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout


It's time for another collab review with Jay of http://youtube.com/jjrudy41 And yet another Ballast Point imperial beer that I received in a trade with Ryan of http://youtube.com/StumpyJoeJr We loved their "Victory at Sea" imperial porter, so it's only natural their imperial stout would be just as good, right?

3.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (635) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 25, 2012
Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout was a beer I didn’t know much about but when a friend from San Diego offered to send me one in a trade, and I noticed it rated highly, I thought I was in for something special. But what I got was a surprisingly average beer for the style (and the brewery) which I ultimately liked, but didn’t love. I think most drinkers will feel the same way.

I received a 22oz bottle from a friend (thanks, Ryan!). I split it with a friend and poured my half into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Jet black opaque body with no other colors visible. Forms a large, dark khaki colored, frothy head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: Surprisingly mild with more of a traditional pub-style stout aroma of sweet malts and some black licorice. No alcohol presence, though.

Taste: I’ve had plenty of "big deal" imperial stouts by now so I’m pretty familiar with what can be done with the style, and Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout leans heavily in the direction of the types I don’t like as much (notice I said "as much"). It begins with a mild sweetness, closer to a foreign extra stout than an American-style or Russian imperial brew. Licorice, a caramel syrup sweetness and a sharp dryness all come through in the middle. The finish is quite distracting, though, with a strong presence of pure booze with rubbing alcohol-like flavor and warmth. It becomes more tolerable the more I drink, but never fades away completely. The aftertaste is surprisingly clean with just a subtle dry combination of roasted malts, sugary residue, and alcohol. Is it tasty? Yes, and it’s quite enjoyable, but I couldn’t help but feel so much more could’ve been done.

Drinkability: Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout weighs in at 10% ABV and you can definitely tell from the overt alcohol presence. The mouthfeel seems thinner and more carbonated than you’d expect. While there is noticeable sweetness, it’s not sticky and cloying, nor does it have the texture of carbonated molasses. But it’s a hefty, dense brew and I definitely felt the alcohol, so I’m glad I split the bottle with a friend. This beer almost demands to be paired with a rich dessert to take some of the edge off. As a standalone dessert or sipper it satisfies for sure, but it’s a little challenging. Recommended for experienced imperial stout drinkers only.
Grade: 7/10

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