Ballast Point

BALLAST POINT BREWERY

“The perfect balance of taste and aroma. An obsession with ingredients. An exploration of techniques. And while we savor the result, we’re just as fascinated by the process to get there. What started as a small group of home brewers, who simply wanted to make a better beer, evolved into the adventurers known today as Ballast Point. We live to add our own touch and ask if there’s a better way. As we tinkered, tested and tasted, we discovered that making beer was more art than science. And while we respect and honor tradition, we relish the opportunity to take it further. That freedom has allowed us to reinterpret brewing. And along the way help to reinvigorate the industry. From bringing a hoppy twist to a porter, or developing a proprietary yeast for our amber ale, to creating a breakthrough gold medal-winning IPA.”

www.ballastpoint.com

Year-Round/Seasonal:

Limited/Specialty Release:

BIG EYE: 97 Points

Big Flavor

Big Flavor

This American IPA has an IBU of 71 and is available year-round in 12 oz. cans and bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “The beer that helped put San Diego IPA’s on the map. Our Big Eye IPA is a big hoppy brew, thanks to the abundance of American Columbus and Centennial varieties we use to flavor and dry hop. While the English originally added extra hops to preserve their beers for sea travel, we do it for the love of all that bold, intense flavor that makes India Pale Ale one of our favorite styles.”

My Description: This beer is great example of a classic West Coast IPA with strong pine and citrus hop notes. This beer is not complex by any means, which is excellent because Ballast Point does an outstanding job highlighting the flavors that are present; sometimes less is more. It begins with a good sized, white colored head that thins down a bit but lasts the whole way leaving behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant with notes of citrus hops and pine hops. Some caramel malt can also be detected along with a hint of tropical notes like pineapple. Big Eye is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. I did not detect much tropical hop notes in the flavor profile like I did in the aroma but I definitely tasted bold notes of citrus and pine hops. These resiny hop flavors sit on a satisfying caramel malt backbone that adds a touch of sweetness to calm the strong bitterness. The aftertaste is very clean with a satisfying bitterness that will linger for some time. Ballast Point has done a great job brewing a beer that showcases the West Coast hops beautifully. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with Tuna Poke, Panang Curry, or baked ham.

ABV: 7%  Color: Bronze/Copper  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 6.5/10

BLACK MARLIN: 95 Points

Deliciously Bitter

Deliciously Bitter

This Porter is available year-round in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A hoppy twist on the classic English Porter. Our Black Marlin Porter stands out in a town known primarily for its IPA’s. We craft it from a unique blend of roasted and crystallized malts that give it a smooth, chocolaty, caramel profile. Then toss in a healthy dose of American hops to serve up full-bodied flavor worthy of its San Diego roots.”

My Description: Ballast Point has created an extremely smooth and bitter porter that is a great substitute for an IPA when craving something a little more roasty. It begins with a large, light beige colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a beautiful amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming with an overall earthy presence along with notes of roasted malts, chocolate, pine hops, and some caramel. Black Marlin is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is delicious and complex. Caramel and roasted malt build the foundation of this well balanced ale holding up notes of dark coffee beans, earthy hops, and chocolate. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter with lingering coffee notes. As the beer warms, roasted and hop notes become more pronounced, which makes the beer that much more enjoyable. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with smoked sausage, apple pie, or a maduro cigar.

ABV: 6%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 4.5/10

CALICO: 93 Points

Terrific ESB

Terrific ESB

This American Amber Ale/ESB has an IBU of 35 and is available year-round in 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A rich, copper ale with a case full of gold medals. Our Calico Amber Ale takes its inspiration from traditional English ESBs. Four types of malts give it a bold complexity, and our proprietary yeast strain lends it a fruity, madeira-like richness. However, it’s the American hops that give this ale a distinct bite and floral aroma that have earned it just about every major beer medal.”

My Description: This is a fantastic ESB that rivals the British versions: it is nicely balanced with clean flavors and a finish that becomes addicting. It begins with a beautifully large, off-white colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a really nice amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming and pleasant with notes of caramel malt and toffee along with some floral hop notes. There is also a deep orange note in the aroma that I’m not sure if it is citrus hops or the yeast, but it smells great. Calico is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Upfront, there are notes of toffee and caramel malt that blend cleanly with citrus hops and a touch of pine hops. I also detected a touch of earthiness in this beer that adds character. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a lingering toffee note that satisfies. It is one of those few beers that finishes bitter but a sweet note lingers, I like it. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled jerk chicken, butternut squash soup, or creamy cheeses.

ABV: 5.5%  Color: Amber  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

DEAD RINGER: 82 Points

Average Oktoberfest

Average Oktoberfest

This Oktoberfest/Märzen is released seasonally in late Summer in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Dead Ringer Oktoberfest lager is inspired by old-style Marzen brews customarily enjoyed during Bavaria’s world-famous beer festival. Thanks to an abundance of toasted malt and a lower hop bitterness, this dark reddish brown lager is loaded with sweet, caramel toffee flavors and aromas. All the taste and celebration of Oktoberfest packed into one bottle; no lederhosen required.”

My Description: This lager is tastes pleasant enough but there are some flaws and overall it doesn’t have that great drinkability that the style is known for. It begins with a sub-par, light beige colored head with a weak retention level that leaves behind no lacing. The aroma is slightly sweet with notes of caramel malt and toast. However, I did detect some sulfur in there as well. Dead Ringer is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is more on the sweeter side with soft toffee notes and some bread. Earthy notes are also present and the aftertaste is minimally bitter. This is an average representation of the style but not one that I would choose to purchase again. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, ham pizza, or stuffed cabbage.

ABV: 6%  Color: Amber Brown  Sweetness: 3.5/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

EVEN KEEL: 96 Points

Excellently crafted

Excellently crafted

This Session IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. cans and bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Even Keel is a hoppy ale designed for smooth sailing. A full-flavored beer with a silky malt backbone and a bright hop profile of herbs and citrus, it packs all the taste of an IPA in a sessionable alcohol content. This ale is perfect for leisurely days on the water, when all you want are a few beers and a level ride.”

My Description: This is a well executed Session IPA with big hop notes and a noticeable body. It begins with a decent sized, white colored head that fades slowly to a ring leaving behind an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming with lots of hop notes including citrus hops, herbal hops, and faint bread notes. Even Keel is lighter bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is very clean and bright with notes of citrus hops, grapefruit, pine hops, and some floral hops. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering resin hop notes. There is a lot of flavor in such a low alcohol beer and the malt backbone does come through, this is nicely done. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with fish and chips, Mongolian BBQ, or soft cheeses.

ABV: 3.8%  Color: Dark Gold/Orange  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

GRAPEFRUIT SCULPIN: 97 Points

Grapefruit Monster

Grapefruit Monster

This American IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. cans and bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our award-winning IPA, with a citrus twist. Our Grapefruit Sculpin is the latest take on our signature IPA. Some may say there are few ways to improve Sculpin’s unique flavor, but the tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements our IPA’s citrusy hop character. Grapefruit’s a winter fruit, but this easy-drinking ale tastes like summer.”

My Description: What a beautifully balanced beer that is delicious and the grapefruit never becomes cloying or overpowering. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a great amount of lacing. You immediately understand why they call it Grapefruit Sculpin when you first smell this beer because it is a grapefruit bomb along with notes of citrus hops and pale malts with a hint of tart. This ale is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose closely with massive grapefruit notes along with citrus hops, bready malts, and hints of tropical fruits. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering grapefruit notes. The texture is smooth and overall this beer is refreshing and clean. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with basmati rice, coconut shrimp, or jerk chicken.

ABV: 7%  Color: Orange/Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

GRUNION: 98 Points

One of the best

One of the best

This American Pale Ale is available year-round in 12 oz. cans and bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Grunion Pale Ale wasn’t born on a beach, but in a backyard.  Originating from an employee-only home brew contest, this award-winning hoppy pale ale is named after the tiny local fish known for late night frolics on shore.  A pair of new hop varieties lend strong yet balanced summer melon aromas and herbal flavors, while a soft caramel malt sweetness holds it all together.”

My Description: This is one excellently crafted Pale Ale. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a good retention level that holds most of the way leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma smells terrific and fresh with notes of pine hops, tangerines, and a hint of sweetness. Grunion is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is balanced beautifully and the flavors really pop. Notes of pine hops and grassy hops blend cleanly with hints of melon and pale malts. It is slightly pungent and the aftertaste is moderately bitter. This is one of the finest examples of an American Pale Ale and makes for the perfect go-to everyday beer. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, curry seasoned vegetables, or a pesto pasta.

ABV: 5.5%  Color: Deep Gold  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5/10

HABANERO SCULPIN: 93 Points

Let the spice in

Let the spice in

This Specialty IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Sculpin IPA with Habanero Pepper began as a crazy experiment that’s taken on a life of its own. While its bright fruit notes and hoppy bite has made the original one of our favorites, this version takes that balance of flavors to the next level with the citrusy, floral heat of habaneros. Sculpin are known to sting, but this one’s got a kick.”

My Description: This is a fun beer to drink because the IPA base is delicious and the addition of habaneros gives it an interesting character. However, after some time the heat does begin to dominate the flavor profile but never becomes too potent. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a great retention level that leaves an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant with notes of grapefruit hops, pine hops, and hot peppers; the hops smell real fresh. Habanero Sculpin is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile gets better as it warms up, the flavors just seem to blend cleaner. There are notes of citrus hops, tropical hops, pale malts, and of course habanero. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering hot spice notes. Overall, this is a great IPA for those spice lovers. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with Basmati rice, curry chicken, or jerk seasoned shrimp.

ABV: 7%  Color: Orange/Copper  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5/10

INDRA KUNINDRA: 95 Points

Like I'm in SE Asia

Like I’m in SE Asia

This Specialty/Herbal Beer is available year-round in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our India-style Export Stout is a unique collaboration with award-winning homebrewer Alex Tweet. Released in limited quantities, this explosion of South Asian flavors is reason enough to kneel down and thank the heavens. It’s further proof of San Diego’s status as a brewer’s playground, and a beer lover’s utopia.”

My Description: The flavor profile reminds me of eating Indian cuisine, they did a great job turning that into a beer that still feels like a big stout. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head that fades rather quickly but leaves behind an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is complex and intriguing and spot on with the description including notes of curry, cayenne spice, coconuts, chocolate, and roasted notes. Indra Kunindra is full bodied with a slighlty lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is tasty with the heat from the cayenne spice taking center stage along with notes of coconuts, roasted malt, faint lime notes, and traces of chocolate. The aftertaset is slightly bitter with lingering spice notes. Overall, this is a very creative beer that makes you feel like your in SE Asia. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with ribs, fried rice, or Mongolian BBQ.

ABV: 7%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

LONGFIN: 81 Points

San Diego Helles Lager

San Diego Helles Lager

This Helles Lager has an IBU of 18 and is available year-round in 12 oz. cans and bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Inspired by the Helles Style from Germany, this very light colored Lager is big on malt flavor. With the reserved use of hops in bittering, this crisp Lager has the aroma, and flavor of fresh baked bread thanks to the German produced Pilsner Malt. Hell is the German adjective for “light,” while Helles is a noun used in the sense of “a light one.” Unlike the Helles beers of Germany that take time traveling to San Diego, this beer is locally lagered and delivered fresh. You can’t argue the minimal carbon footprint of a World Style being produced locally.”

My Description: The qualifications for a Helles Lager is that it is crisp, refreshing, and more on the malty side. This beer has all three characteristic but the flavor profile feels weak and it just doesn’t satisfy as much as their German counterparts. It begins with a good sized, white colored head with a good retention level that holds for some time leaving a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is subtle with notes of pale malts that smell like cereal grains along with some light citrus hints. I also picked up on some Noble hop notes that were faint for the most part. Longfin is lighter bodied with a higher carbonation level and a dry finish. A sweet pale malt flavor note is the commanding taste in this beer. There are also notes of grassy hops and some floralness as well. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and overall the beer is nicely balanced but more on the malty side. This makes for a great summer beer to quench your thirst. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with tempera sushi rolls, pizza, or German pretzels.

ABV: 4.5%  Color: Straw Yellow  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 2/10

PALE ALE: 83 Points

Yellowtail!

Yellowtail!

This Kölsch Style Ale has an IBU of 23 and is available year-round in 12 oz. cans and bottles and 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “German-style Pale Ale, inspired by the Kolsch Ales of Cologne, Germany. Our Pale Ale drinks like a Pilsner, only with more body and flavor. It’s no wonder why our Pale Ale is so popular—it is skillfully crafted in the style of the Kolsch beers of Cologne, Germany. We’ve chosen German hops for aroma, and rounded out the recipe with a blend of American and German malts. While it is very much like a Pilsner, our Pale Ale is fermented at ale temperatures, giving it a subdued fruitiness—a perfect complement to the crispness of the wheat and maltiness of the Munich malt. If you like a lighter brew but also like the complexity of craft beers, then our Pale Ale is for you.”

My Description: I feel almost mislead by the title. When I see the name Pale Ale on a beer I think of the English beer style, not the German Kölsch! It took me a few sips to realize what I was drinking and grade it appropriately. I was wondering why this beer was as crisp and refreshing as a lager. It begins with a good sized, white colored head with a good retention level that holds most of the way leaving behind a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is fairly subdued with notes of pale malts that smell like crackers and a touch of lemon. Pale Ale is light/medium bodied with a higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is similar to the aroma in that there is not too much going on. Some pale malt notes come through, bread notes, hints of sweetness, and a touch of herbal hops. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and overall this beer is more on the sweet side but still nicely balanced. This is a good beer for those hot days in the sun. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with beet salads, light desserts, or fish tacos.

ABV: 5.2%  Color: Gold  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 2/10

PINEAPPLE SCULPIN: 98 Points

Extra Tropical

Extra Tropical

This IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Pineapple Sculpin IPA came from one of many small-batch cask experiments to enhance the flavor of our signature IPA. With so many tropical hop notes in Sculpin, how could we not try adding some sweet, juicy pineapple? The combination of fruity flavors and hop intensity definitely packs a punch.”

My Description: This beer is amazingly clean and easy drinking. It makes for a great choice when craving an IPA that is more on the tropical side. It begins with a large, white colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is definitely centered on tropical notes with pineapples standing out the most along with notes of citrus hops and a touch of mangoes. Pineapple Sculpin is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is satisfying with bready malt notes blending smoothly with the citrus hop notes. There are also notes of woodsy hops, melon, pineapple, and a hint of tropical fruits. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers for some time. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with coconut shrimp, spicy Thai noodles, or cheesecake.

ABV: 7%  Color: Gold  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

SCULPIN: 100 Points

West Coast Beauty

West Coast Beauty

This American IPA has an IBU of 70 and is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles and cans and 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A trophy beer that’s a testament to our homebrew roots. Our Sculpin IPA is a great example of what got us into brewing in the first place. After years of experimenting, we knew hopping an ale at five separate stages would produce something special. The result ended up being this gold-medal winning IPA, whose inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.”

My Description: This bright and flavorful IPA is a masterpiece and it becomes extremely addicting after one sip. It begins with a good sized, white colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is no surprise here, big notes of grapefruit and citrus hops along with some fruity notes like peaches. The aroma smells wonderful and is very inviting. Sculpin is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is not too much different from other West Coast IPA’s but the harmony of the hop flavors and the level of smoothness really sets this beer apart from the rest. Grapefruit hops, pine hops, and fruity hops like peaches and apricots combine to form a great layer of flavors that can be detected at different temperatures throughout. Some malt notes help to lay a foundation for the hops and the alcohol is completely hidden. The transition to the aftertaste is clean and the finish is very bitter. This beer is a must have for any hop head and a great example of a American IPA. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with coconut basmati rice, jerk chicken, or tropical bread pudding.

ABV: 7%  Color: Amber/Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 7/10

THE COMMODORE: 95 Points

To Arms

To Arms

This Stout is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “The Commodore came out of our search for a medium-bodied American Stout. The recipe began at our R&D pilot brewery, but quickly became a favorite of our crew. Strong flavors of roast coffee and bittersweet chocolate balance with light citrusy hop aromas, highlighted by a crisp, bitter finish. One sip of this gold medal-winning stout will have you ready to take command of your own fleet.”

My Description: I salute this Commodore. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is robust with a roasty presence and notes of coffee, bitter notes, and subtle chocolate notes. The Commodore is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is clean and tasty with roasted notes taking center stage along with deep coffee notes, pine hops, and hints of char. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering dark coffee notes. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with BBQ ribs, strong cheeses, and vanilla ice cream.

ABV: 6.5%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 4/10

WAHOO: 85 Points

Cali Witbier

Cali Witbier

This Belgian Witbier is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A fresh, unfiltered brew perfect for lazy summer days. Our Wahoo White is brewed with unfiltered, un-malted wheat and oats that give it a distinctive cloudy complexity. True to the Belgian tradition, this Witbier boasts a refreshing, citrusy flavor thanks to the orange peel and coriander we add to the boil. This makes Wahoo an ideal beer for year-round beach weather.”

My Description: Wahoo is crisp and refreshing with just enough flavor to make it interesting and a low ABV to make it sessionable. It pours a decent sized, white colored head with a good retention level that hold the whole way and leaves behind some lacing. The aroma is inviting and citrus forward. There are notes of orange zest, coriander, and wheat malt. Wahoo is light/medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is tasty and pretty straightforward making for a great Summer beer. A pale malt backbone holds up notes of citrus and hints of yeast spices. Some tanginess can be detected but overall this beer has subtle flavors and clean aftertaste that satisfies. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with ceviche, lemon desserts, or cantaloupe.

ABV: 4.5%  Color: Straw Yellow  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 2/10

CALM BEFORE THE STORM: 89 Points

Nice Blend

Nice Blend

This Coffee Cream Ale is brewed in limited quantities in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Calm Before the Storm came from a quest for a warm weather alternative to our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter. Like its more robust cousin, we infuse a punch of flavor using cold brewed Caffé Calabria coffee and a hint of vanilla. But this time, we added it to a lighter-bodied golden cream ale. The end result is a surprisingly bright, coffee-forward beer that’s perfectly refreshing.”

My Description: The addition of the coffee and vanilla notes is done in a manner to where it is not overly robust or intrusive; the cream ale notes still come through cleanly. It begins with a decent, off-white colored head that fades to a thin film quickly leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is expected with some sweet notes blending in with notes of coffee, vanilla, and some herbalness. Calm Before is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose nicely with notes of bread, pale malts, coffee, and vanilla. There is also a faint earthy note that adds complexity. The aftertaste is minimally bitter with lingering light roasted coffee notes. Overall, this is nicely blended cream ale that is easy drinking and very smooth. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with cheesecake or a mild cigar.

ABV: 5.5%  Color: Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2/10

DORADO: 94 Points

Strong Fish

Strong Fish

This Imperial IPA has an IBU of 90 and is available year-round in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A huge, hoppy brew that will test your sea legs. Our Dorado Double IPA immediately hooks you with massive hops that never stop. Mash hopping, kettle hopping and dry hopping makes this beer a serious hop lover’s prize catch. It’s an amazingly drinkable, award-winning beer that’s as beautifully balanced as it is big.”

My Description: At 10% alcohol, this IIPA is still easy drinking with pleasing flavor notes and a long bitter finish. It begins with a large, white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is pungent and welcoming with a hefty presence of hops including floral hops and some spice hops as well. There are also scent notes of caramel malt and some citrus hops. Dorado is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is very bold and strong. Floral hops mixing cleanly with citrus hops on top of a good malt backbone. There are also hints of fruit and spice notes from the hops as well. The alcohol is slightly detected but does not distract from the overall experience. The aftertaste is highly bitter and lingers for some time. This is a real tasty Imperial IPA and well worth the purchase. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with crab Rangoon, pineapple pound cake, or braised pork belly.

ABV: 10% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 7.5/10

SEA MONSTER: 87 Points

A monster for sure

A monster for sure

This Imperial Stout is released at various times in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A beast of an imperial stout. 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.”

My Description: This is one strong beer and Ballast Point does not bother hiding the alcohol, it is in your face. It begins with a large and pillowy, beige colored head with an excellent retention level and it leaves behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is not potent but there are noticeable notes of dark chocolate, some minor hints of coffee, and earthy/herbal hops. Sea Monster is full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile lacks some depth and the alcohol flavor is definitely front and center but it is still a really good imperial stout. There are notes of chocolate, espresso, hints of smokiness, and a minor touch of dark fruit. The aftertaste is moderately bitter bringing a welcoming finish. I was feeling pretty drunk after one bottle so watch out. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with chocolate cake, oysters, or aged Gouda.

ABV: 10%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 4/10

TONGUE BUCKLER: 90 Points

Strong Tongue

Strong Tongue

This Imperial Red Ale/American Strong has an IBU of 108 is released in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pours a crimson red color which comes from the addition of UK Dark Crystal Malts and a small addition of huskless black malt. Aroma of dried figs, lime, spruce tips and burnt sugar. Copious amounts of hops are added in multiple additions to this ample ale. From the 108 International Bittering Units (White Labs has only tested a handful of beers over 100 IBU’s) to the over two pounds per barrel of dry hopping used. Hops like Galena, Chinook and Magnum help add a resinous blood orange and grapefruit flavor to this huge Double/Imperial Red Ale.”

My Description: This beer creeps on you easily because the alcohol is nicely hidden but it is immediately felt half way through the bottle. It begin with a large and dense, light tan colored head with a  great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a wall of lacing. The aroma instantly lets you know that this beer is no joke, it is strong. There is a rich caramel malt note accompanied by notes of citrus hops, pine hops, and burnt sugar. Tongue Buckler is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is similar to the aroma; it is strong, bold, and flavorful. A thick and deep caramel malt backbone hold up notes of pine hops, grapefruit hops, and hints of alcohol. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and will linger for some time.This may have over 100 calculated IBU’s but it doesn’t taste like a hop bomb, it is actually nicely balanced. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with sweet potato fries, teriyaki steak, or a scotch egg.

ABV: 10%  Color: Amber/Red  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 6/10

VICTORY AT SEA: 100 Points

VICTORY!!!

VICTORY!!!

This Imperial Porter is released in limited quantities in 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with vanilla and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.”

My Description: What a beauty. This beer is excellently crafted to deliver a plethora of flavors that work harmoniously together while delivering a very smooth texture. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head that lasts forever leaving behind a wall of lacing. The aroma is inviting with notes of coffee, roasted malt, a hint of smoke, subtle vanilla notes, and amazing chocolate notes that go deep. Victory at Sea is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is delicious and addicting with complex notes of chocolate and roasted coffee. There are also notes of vanilla and hints of caramel malt. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering char notes; it is delightful. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and overall this is beer is definitely a victory. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with pulled pork sandwiches, chocolate cake, or grilled ribs.

ABV: 10%  Color: Dark Brown  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10