Ballast Point Sea Monster

Last week, during Madison Craft Beer Week, I went to Whole Foods hoping to try some of Tallgrass Brewing offerings, but I never got a taste of any of their beers. It just so happened that the MCBW guide had the hours misprinted, and I arrived just a few minutes after the party was over.

I was determined to try a new beer that day, so I decided to take home a bottle of Ballast Point Sea Monster. As you can tell, beer aging is not really my thing :)

Sea Monster is a very fitting name for this beer. Its color does resemble a place where a monster would live, pitch black. The mouthfeel is pretty thick like the murky mud from the bottom of the ocean. Good tasting mud.

I enjoyed this Imperial Stout with some sorta plain salty crackers, but some strong cheese would have been even better. I’m thinking some camembert would be a good pairing. Maybe next time I’ll do some more planning.

I’m glad I got to enjoy all 22oz. (650 ml) of it. It definitely felt weird to drink this imperial stout outside, on a hot and humid spring day. A basement bar with dim lighting, arched wooden support beams, and a musty smell would have been more fitting.

You can see here the nice tan colored head. If you are not careful, the head could turn out to be 3 or 4 fingers tall. Head retention is good, like I expected from such a thick pour. The head is more creamy than airy, which I like! This is not a great picture, but you can get a good idea of the head and body color. It was getting dark out, and I couldn’t get a sharp picture. Yeah, yeah, I know, excuses…

The smell has a hint of chocolate and bittersweet, I could almost smell some caramel in there too, but not a sweet kind of caramel, if that’s even a thing. You can also smell some roast aromas, like roasted hops.

It tastes great. Dark chocolate flavors, but again, not the sweet kind of chocolate, more like 90% cocoa chocolate. Bitter sweet taste takes over with some salty flavors coming through. Not a whole lot of coffee smells and flavors, which is not bad. This brew has a very distinct taste.

For some reason, this brew takes me back to the Augustiner brewery in Salzburgh, Austria. Not because it relates to a Bavarian style beer, but because it makes me feel warm. The dirty floors, rustic tables, and nonexistent natural lighting of a Bierhalle would set the right ambiance to enjoy a Sea Monster.

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