Dark Seas - Mission Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark SeasDark Seas

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

606 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 606
Reviews: 149
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 9.31%
Wants: 40
Gots: 79 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Mission Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: srandycarter on 12-08-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 606 | Reviews: 149
Reviews by jd18:
Photo of jd18
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was a delicious stout. Medium body, well rounded flavor and opened nicely as it warmed to a smooth bitter sweet taste with hints of dark chocolate and coffee. No need to over analyze. If its an the beer list, you won't be left disappointed by ordering.

More User Reviews:
Photo of PSU_Mike
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black, opaque with a reddish-brown head that is gone as quickly as it came. Perfect for a big stout. The smell is dark chocolate, molasses, and a hint of smoke. Taste is heavy char, some coffee that I wasn't expecting, chocolate, and a very dry bitterness that I'm not a big fan of. Full bodied and thick, it's a sipper. But I prefer my stouts with a little softer finish and a touch sweeter.

Photo of Libationguy
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with a ruby red edge. Deep tan-reddish thin head with no staying power.

Deep bass notes of coffee, dark chocolate, black cherries, hazelnuts and kirsch.

On the palate, the coffee continues with bitter dark chocolate, chocolate covered cherries and some cola.

Rich mouthfeel with a port-like texture and a lingering finish. So rich that the beer finishes a little sweet. The carbonation is more pronounced on the palate than in the appearance. Alcohol here is well balanced against the texture of the beer.You know its there, but it manages not to be obtrusive.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent big chewy stout, dark as night pours with a chocolate tinted tan head...spent oil all the way. Big chugging bubbled carbonation, with chunky spanning lacing. Aroma has deep chocolate notes, dark bitter roasted malts, expressive with a bit of coffee like tones and ample hops in the back end mild citrus/herbs. Flavor is big upfront a bit of booze whacks you right in the kisser, but the chocolate creaminess/creamed coffee combo soothes the palate and it becomes a big dessert beer with bitterness from the herbal hops and dark roasted malts. Carbonation is ample pushes this big bruiser of a beer across the palate well no off flavors or lingering harshness, very drinkable big imperial stout. Overall I loved it up there with the best of the best in the imperial stouts, I like this and Black Out from Great Lakes just about equally.

Photo of biboergosum
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, 9.8% ABV. Wasn't it actually a Russian queen who was so fond of this style introduced by the English? An urban beer myth, maybe?

This beer pours a solid oily black abyss, no highlights, no way, with three fingers of densely foamy, bubbly, and kind of glistening chocolate milk head, which leaves some decent stretches of rock cliff profile painted lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells strongly of medium-dark cocoa, lightly toasted caramel malt, thick toffee, heavy dark fruit - dates and prunes - dry roast coffee beans, soft anise notes, an indistinct earthy hoppiness, and hints of warming alcohol. The taste is still big and chocolatey, the roasted malt leaning heavily in that direction, with some further caramel/toffee/treacle sweetness, semi-sour dried black orchard fruit, more charred, somewhat acrid cold coffee, lightly bitter leafy hops, and a bristling, but still as yet chained-up booze.

The carbonation is a little fizzy and frothy at first, but settles to a dull din soon enough, the body an unctuous, luscious medium-heavy weight, with a sateen creaminess, and smooth by acclimation. It finishes on the sweet side, the chocolate, caramel, and lingering dark fruit well enmeshed, with random tics of smoke, coffee, and alcohol milling about.

A pretty stellar RIS, I wasn't quite expecting this after plodding my way through this brewer's hoppier offerings, so it's a genuinely pleasant surprise. Thick, oily, and chocolatey, with a plethora of sub-flavours underpinning it all. Good, good stuff - I'd like to have another go at this come winter (checking watch now...).

Photo of GilGarp
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber served chilled into a goblet. ABV listed at 9.8% on the bottle instead of the 10.5% it says here.

Dark Seas is a very dark brown with very thin short-lived head.

Aroma is full of roasted malts, chocolate, and a sweet booziness.

Flavor is rich and strong with big roasty bitterness. There is some dark chocolate and coffee beans.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and a little over carbonated for my tastes.

Overall a very good double stout.

Photo of SomethingClever
4.71/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On draft poured into shaker pint


A: beautiful dark as night with a fluffy mocha head you know this beer is going to be good by that deep mocha head


S: chocolate and deep roast maybe a slight licorice but it's faint


T: rich roast taste with nice chocolate finishes roasty sweet very malty maybe a little bit of booze but it's not at the front


M: it's not motor oil thick but the body on this is very full and it has a very nice coat on the tongue


O: very nice you will be smiling if you get this in your glass. It may not be anything new in the flavor department but it knocks it out of the park in all the regular stout flavors, smells, and feel.

Photo of Fatehunter
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a finger of dark brown head on a black body.
The aroma is initially roasted malt and then cocoa.
The taste is rich and buttery. Chocolate and toasted malt mostly with some toffee in the background. Really nice.
The texture is super soft and smooth with low carbonation. Perfect.
A great brew.

Photo of DoktorEd
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an actual glass, this beer is a fine example of what a strong stout should be. I detected a substantial caramel sweetness to accompany a pleasantly thick brew. Finishes slightly on the dry side but overall a great effort, extremely potent.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Labeled 9.8% ABV.

Appearance - Inky jet black. Really black. Medium mocha head. Settles to just a thin collar. Very leggy.

Smell - Not a strong aroma. A bit metallic. Very roasty. Chocolate.

Taste - Chocolate. Bitter chocolate. Extremely roasty. Coffee bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Thick. Minimal carbonation. Low sweetness, although I think the sugars are covered by roasted malt.

Overall - Simple, but really tasty. Intense roasted malts, but I still put it away pretty easily. Too easily.

Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep brown, not quite black, with 2 fingers of rich dark mocha (almost milk chocolate looking) head. This retains with a ½ finger of creamy froth, which throws up a rich cascade of lacing that quickly slides down the sides of the glass but doesn’t stick a whole lot. The aroma smells of smoky roast, green citrus, dark fruit, chocolate, a touch of molasses. That roasted coffee character and dark fruit really start to emerge as this warms.

The taste is similar, with a strong roasted and bitter hop profile up front, with sweeter notes of chocolate and toffee coming in off the sides, before this finishes with a zippy espresso finish. Dark fruit is fairly hidden at first but much like the nose, starts to emerge in a bit way as this warms. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied and really opens up as this warms, with some sharpness on the tongue and then more of a chewy creaminess the rest of the way. The alcohol is handled pretty well here, mostly coming out as some underlying spicy warmth that adds a bit of an extra aggressiveness to this.

At first, this just seemed like a big American Stout, with a prominent roast and hop profile but then more dark fruit and even a touch of anise came out to play (after this really warmed up) to allow to this to come off as more of an Imperial Stout. This definitely could have used a bit more finesse but it overall wasn’t bad at all for the style at all. It just takes a little while to really get going.

Photo of HalfFull
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a globe glass. Pours a jet black with a thin mocha cap which shows light retention and some spotty lace.

Aroma is dry and shows light roast and a hint of chocolate malt. More dry chocolate with a spin and warming yields greater depth to the smell with a touch of cinnamon. Taste follows to a degree and reveals a bit of fruity malt depth and subsequent residual sweetness that the dry aroma doesn't show. Subtle and chewy but not cloying, nice chocolate spice coarseness on the finish.

A relatively dry and clean RIS that offers only moderate depth yet nothing to complain about either.

Edit: fresh bomber: Enhanced pour with more retention and enhanced aroma vs. older suspect bottle Still dry and a bit fruity on on the finish. Good but not earth shattering either. But then, that would be catastrophic in a bad way, so I guess that's good..

Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a flared pilsner. Poured pitch black with a one finger brown head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. The roastiness and sweetness on this one really helped to balance it out and make it quite easy to drink despite the alcohol content. While the alcohol flavor was present it definitely wasn't the dominate component by any means and rather added a nice level of flavor to an already solid backbone. Really glad I got the chance to try this one and I suggest you do the same given the chance.

Photo of JesseCap_13
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into snifter

A: Poured midnight black with a tan one finger head which did not linger long

S: dark chocolate, roasted malts, slight hops very faint though.

T: The taste follows the nose with dark chocolate. Roasty malts, and very slight hint of a dark fruit for the sweetness, maybe plum?

M: Medium to full bodied. Alcohol content is definitely apparent however it is masked and blends very smoothly and is complimented by the dark chocolate notes. Low carbonation

Overall very tasty, a great sipper and a very good RIS, will definitely be having this again

Photo of jtierney89
2.5/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

bottle says 9.8, not 10.5 but oh well. This is a damn dark beer. Black as night with a thin mocha head.

Immediate bitter black coffee flavor on the tip of the tongue. Slightly astringent with an earthy/medicinal bitterness. Alcohol content is well hidden but coffee flavors dominate with some faint chocolate and caramel notes. Alot of sweetness upfront with the right amount of bitterness to balance. Although the beer is in no way offensive and is well balanced, for such a big style of beer, it's simple. No layers, just straight up simple flavors that dont go deep enough.

If you want a nice drunk off four beers with quaff-able flavor, than sure this beer will do it, but at the price theres better then this for the same price (Yeti) ahem (Yeti)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent Russian Imperial Stout from Mission Brewery. Thick reddish-brown head dissipating to a thin foamy layer with little lacing. Pitch black in color. Nose has chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, and sweet delights. Rich and sumptuous, little to no hop bitterness, cocoa up front, sweet malts are not overpowering, light coating mouth feel with light roasted coffee, toffee, caramel, and bitter chocolate. Aftertaste is light for such a dark stout. Fantastic beer from this brewery and would purchase again. Cheers.

Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. A nice thick looking black pour, half finger of light brown head.

Aroma, very chocolatey, some road malt. Lighter caramel and anise.

Taste, Roast malt up front, some anise. Heavy chocolates throughout the middle. Cocoa, coffee and some piney hops and anise again in the finish.

About full body, the carbonation is just a little too high to pass for creamy. Very nicely coating, just a little warming. Rock solid. Would definetely get again.

Photo of tone77
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, some coffee. Taste is good, chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee, a touch of hops and alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

Photo of pjkelley82
3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a Tulip..

12oz bottle purchased mid-2013 with no bottle date so I'm assuming this is a little over a year old, maybe 2.

A-Pours like motor oil. Black I'm color with a nice sized mocha colored head from an aggressive pour. Very thin ring left around with a thin skin left atop. Nice lacing.

S-Dark bitter chocolate, molasses, anise, dark stone fruit, roast. Slight phenol kick to it as well.

T-Classic RIS taste. Big and roasted. Sweet on the front end with a bitter and roasty finish. Lots of anise and liquorice. I've read reviews where this was overly hoppy but I assure you those hops have subsided.

F-medium light bodied and oily and kind of juicy. A little watery with light carbonation.

O-Was not expecting this beer to be this solid. I'd imagine this beer still will age well. Had it by itself but this beer would stand side by side with lots of the sought after RIS's. It's mouthfeel is its downfall. If it were creamier and heavier it would be world class.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Viscose, crude oil black pour produces a chocolate colored head of 2 finger statue. Head retntion is solid with a thick and creamy consistency. Lacing sticks well as a solid film coating and thick saturn like rings adore the vessel. The coloring shows some red velvet cake highlights when caught with light around the edges.

S: Nose is lacking a bit in strenght and complexity, some leather, burnt chocolate, cocoa and some milkiness. Mellow soft delivery.

T: Flavor faired much better then nose, roasted chocolate offering, coffee, marshmellow with some esspresso-laced alcohol tones. Burnt barley, burnt oak cask with a bit of alcohol solvent nature upon the swallow.

M: a bit full, creamy and viscose, with a little edginess in texture. Some roasty alcohol warmth.

O: Overall finish shows some solvent nature, may be batch to batch. Range of complexity is only modest in a strong field so a 3.5 overall feels about right here where there are so many bigger and better offering that make a much bolder statement.

Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle from Tim Johnson, Growlin' at the Moon for March 2012.

A: Oily, a viscous mess (in the best possible use of the word) that can't escape its blackness. A bete noire in my glass.

S: Alcohol, roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. Quite a bit packed into one 12 oz bottle. A pleasant hoppiness, not overpowering, hovers around. This is, though, a murky RIS through and through.

T: Dark fruits, almost vinous, drive the taste, transitioning to the dark malts. Those malts are roasted, burnt, with chocolate and coffee in the mix. The booziness, another ~10% beer, is heavy but doesn't distract.

M: The richness of the stout doesn't get lost in translation, plenty of bold flavors with a requisite amount of booze.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours pitch black with a lasting very dark tan head.
Nose shows heavy complex roast with loads of coffee. Also some soft booze.
Equally rich flavours, with lots more coffee and heavy roasted malt. Some noticeable booze.
Carbonation could be higher.

Photo of Beejay
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours crimson black, in the glass it is obsidian with a dark brown head. The head only appears with an aggressive pour, and lasts for maybe half a minute before it becomes a chocolate ring at the edge of the glass.

S: Chocolate syrup, and a hint of booze. Bit of dark malt in there as well.

T: dark malts, rich chocolate, and perhaps a touch of licorice. There is a bit of heat as well as perhaps a slight metallic flavor. The finish is bitter chocolate, booze, burnt caramel, and a touch of earthiness.

M: Thick, with medium high carbonation for the style.

O: Overall a tasty beer, not the greatest impy stout that I have tried, but certainly good.

Photo of tanarm
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Awesome thick tan colored head persists. Black and opaque like it should be.

Aromas of almost burnt toffee, roasted coffee. Some toast. Dark chocolate. Light floral/herbal hop note finds its way in there.

Milk chocolate and sweet caramel leads to some roasted malt undertones. Light roasted coffee. Floral hops come in to battle sweetness to balance. Alcohol warmth is pleasing.

Thick, viscous, full body. Some creaminess for sure. Low carbonation is pleasing. Just enough. Some alcohol warmth.

There's definitely some booze in there, but it's masked well with some really complex flavors. Surprised by the sweetness since the aroma was so roasty and hoppy. Could mellow out even more with age, but its nice with those fresh hops in there - those won't last long. Its still a little too sweet in my opinion.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
9.8% ABV, no date.

A - Darker and thicker than used motor oil, this beer pours quietly into the snifter generating an almost red dark brown head which floats above the midnight beer briefly before capsizing into the abyss. Frothy waves of lace are left on the snifter.

S - Dry cocoa and heavily roasted chocolate malt slaughter the aroma with presence while chunks of alcohol-soaked raisin and plum follow through. Dark Seas has an interesting wood-paneled basement aroma though; dust, old funk, and dark-leaf tobacco in a humidor. Sweet molasses and brown sugar claim the last word and sweeten the aroma a tad.

T - Milk chocolate overcomes the molecules of dark, bitter chocolate chunk but cocoa still resounds, as do the dark fruit nuances of the aroma; raisin and plum. Dry, light wood caresses dryness along the beer's lingering finish which works well with the molasses component to it.

M - Don't look for it and you almost might forget this beer is carbonated. Small bubbles dance on the tongue if pause is given to see past the incredibly smooth, rich, and full-bodied beer. Roasted but balanced, this beer marries sweetness with acrid roast well for a great finish that lands a touch dry.

O - Mission, I'm glad you've decided to dock here in Wisconsin. Dark Seas is a fantastic Russian Imperial Stout that churns with rocky waves of malty depth for an incredible outcome of rather epic proportions. And the price is right which makes it that much better. I will be sure to secure more of this beer for the winter months.

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Dark Seas from Mission Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 606 ratings.