Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout

Here's the thing about Ballast Point: they do what they are supposed to do. They pick up challenging styles of beer, look to see what makes the style unique, and they produce beers that match the expectation of the style. In this case, I have found Imperial Stouts to be a bit intimidating and stolid compared to the affable nature of an Irish Stout or Milk Stout. So what will they bring here?

As black as Batman's cowl and topped with a light tan head, this stout has the makings of something very good. The aroma is chocolate and oatmeal with earth backing it up nicely. So, my fear about this possibly not being approachable seems to be unfounded, but that's only according to the smell.

First sip is more bitter than I expected, but there is the earth and chocolate simmering under it with even some sweetness chilling underneath it all. I think the main thrust of the beer is like tree sap that has been scorched. It's a good start.

Tip-in is sweet, roasted wood with chocolate lightly sprinkled on top. The middle is a rich oatmeal lumpy smoothness with roasted oatmeal and a little wood flirting with the roof of the mouth. The finish is a wave of bitterness and earth with toffee and vanilla highlighting the whole thing.

Bottom Line: Challenging, but worth the effort.

3.25/5

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