In deference to my recent stout series / obsession, I ran out and picked up a Sea Monster Imperial Stout from Ballast Point. It's a hefty sipper at 10-percent ABV, so I strongly recommend that timid souls share this with their ilk. The rest of us can casually shotgun this and scoff at our lessers.
Sea Monster is as dark as the murky depths it references, perhaps allowing some deep brown translucence around its edges. It has the aroma of coffee, as anticipated, but it's more reserved than expected. Don't let the aroma head-fake catch you slipping, though, because it delivers one of the most sublimely roasty flavors I've ever gotten from a stout. It has a burst of roasted coffee and toasted bread without any detectable burnt flavor. It manages to be warming without tasting hot. There's even a little pumpernickel and maybe raisin lurking beneath those layers, but this stout really is all about delivering a syrupy and roasty quaff.
This is an oatmeal stout that clearly strives for best in breed. It doesn't rely on zany additives or prolonged barrel aging to produce character; it proudly stands on the merits of being an artfully structured beer.