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Dark Seas - Mission Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark SeasDark Seas

Educational use only; do not reuse.

148 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 148
Hads: 640
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 19.75%
Wants: 38
Gots: 94 | FT: 4
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 148 | Hads: 640
Photo of leantom
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer simply blew my mind. I'll most certainly be getting it again (and again).

A: Very dark. This is to be expected, given that the opaqueness of RIS's is greater than any other beer style. The beer also had a very thick, dark head that accompanied the body.

S: Incredible. Smells very chocolatey, and I don't mean the dark, bitter, roasted malt kind of chocolatey. No, the beer smelled very sweet and creamy, which is different from many other RIS's I've had (see "Old Rasputin" and "Storm King" by North Coast and Victory, respectively).

T: Like the smell, the beer tasted excellent. Usually, beers of this style taste somewhat bitter and coffee-ish given the presence of dark, roasted malt. While this beer retained some of the coffe-ish taste found in other RIS's, it was not overwhelming, the predominate flavor being milk chocolate and cream. Very drinkable.

M: Very thick and creamy. The beer was rich in dark malt.

O: This is not a beer to be missed. Imperial Stout lovers, rejoice!

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Photo of verge
4.92/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Perfection in a bottle.

Pours half a finger of head, pitch black and thick. The head is the darkest brown I've ever seen. Dissipates in about a minute, but leaves some light lacing around the glass.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, and mystery. I want to drink it NOW!!!

Taste is complex yet you can pick apart the separate flavors. Much like the smell: chocolate, some dark dark roasted flavors, and the perfect balance of hops finishes it out and lingers in your mouth.

Mouthfeel is in the middle of the road, just the right thickness for this style.

This must be my favorite. Every time I see it in the store I buy it. Can't get enough of this beer!

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Photo of jra173
4.77/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

this stout is as dark as night and completely opaque. it was served in a 10oz glass at the brewery. Nice, two finger, khaki color head the seemed to last most of the way through the glass. left a nice lacing as it went. This is one of the best imperial stouts i have ever had. i bought a 22oz. to go and will save this one until winter. Next time in San Diego i will make sure to grab another one of these.

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Photo of beergoot
4.74/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Coal black with a rich brown head makes up the appearance. Anise and coffee notes in the aroma; a bit of mint; deep roasted grains; chocolate; charred toast. Wonderfully rich and bitter roasted flavors; subtly deep malt sweetness; semi-sweet chocolate; slight astringency; some alcohol warmth. Medium-heavy body, dry with a bit of milk chocolate richness makes up the feel.

Oh, yeah! This is a good one! Deep, rich, and complex. This could easily stand up with the best of the northern European dark ales that emphasize deeply roasted goodness layered with hop and alcohol goodness. Wild yet balanced in its intensity. This ain't your momma's Guinness! Seek and enjoy!!

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.71/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

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Photo of chefdaddy18042
4.67/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic aroma, everything you would want out of an RIS, chocolate, hint of licorice, and dark tones of malt. Poured your stereotypical dark grey head with bold bowling ball black body. The flavor was impeccable, covered the tongue with bitter chocolate and then finished boozy. Worth the price of the 4 pack, and from this kid, DEF case worthy!

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Photo of rjvanston
4.59/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Holy crap. I be a borderline stout guy and have never heard of Mission but you gotta try. Really. Not disappoint. Dark, rich, thick mouth feel and is there alcohol? Super hidden by what I see the ABV to be. Balanced and one would have to make an effort not to like or at least appreciate.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16 oz snifter. Poured slowly and got a one inch mocha head, that leaves behind some beautiful lace, and pours pitch black. Smell is dark chocolate, roasted coffee, anise, and vanilla. Taste is all about roasted coffee and chocolate, yes this is special. Body is big, perfect carbonation, a little dry, and goes down easy. Wow impressed with this beauty!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours deep dark brown under a 2” creamy dark tan persistent foam collar that grips the side of the glass.
S: alcohol, dark fruit, dark malts, cocoa.T: Big bitter espresso flavors layered with bitter dark chocolate.
F: Thick, chewy, extremely soft creamy carbonation
O: Very creamy and towards the dry side for a Russian Imperial Stout but in a good way - like an espresso with a shot of dark chocolate

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mission Dark Seas, 32-oz growler filled at Whole Foods Bowery for $7.99+tax. I first had this beer on tap at Pony Bar, NYC.

Appearance: Served in my Lost Abbey chalice/snifter, the Dark Seas pours thick and rich and black, with a by-the-book perfect one-finger head and good retention and lacing. Great-looking Imperial Stout, no doubt!

Smell: Damn, this is a good sniff! Roasty and bitter, a good hop base and great coffee around the nose. Sugar, some vanilla.

Taste: More coffee, dairy. Mostly sweet, thick chocolate and cookies. Sugar, some smoke and tobacco.

Mouthfeel: Truly exceptional indeed!! This is all I want in an Imperial Stout. Rich, silky-milky, creamy, sweet-and-bitter... full flavor and body, great carbonation. Smooth, never burns despite the hefty ABV.

Overall: I love Imperial Stouts but I'm picky about them... they have to be "just right". Some of the more famous ones, like Stone IRS, don't always cut it for me. Mission Dark Seas strikes me as very close to perfect. Great looks, body, smell, taste and drinkability. A winner!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
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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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ba Review #262
Served On: 3/22/2013
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 9.8%
Date/ Code: -

Ran into this at A.K.A. Frisco's in Frederick, MD ($12.00 / 4-pack).

Look: An aggressive pour formed a 1-finger of dirty tan head comprised of tight bubbles. A very black and viscous brew. Some sticky head lacing formed but the head dissipated quickly. Alcohol legs were all over the glass.

Smell: Strong roasted coffee and rich dark unsweetened chocolate. Some lactose or vanilla sweetness seemed to be lingering around. A hoppy herbal quality also came through in the nose. Some coconut.

Taste: First up was a coffee bitterness that was quickly overtaken by a sweet chocolate creaminess. The middle had a coffee and chocolate component blending together with unbelievable balance. Things seemed to fade quickly towards the end with a slightly bitter finish and sweet notes returning for the aftertaste. The 9.8% ABV was completely hidden with no dryness whatsoever. The mouth-feel was creamy, but a little thinner than the color and body suggested. Very drinkable with good balance.

This was a very enjoyable RIS from Mission. Almost as good as Founders BS except with slightly lower drinkability. Go out and get this!

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Photo of jjchristiano
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this stout.
As dark chocolate in appearance as a stout gets.
Rich chocolate and molasses smell.
Taste is just as you would expect, no surprises.
mouthfeel is so smooth as it's rich and not a lot of carbonation
Did I say, I really like this stout.
At 10% alcohol its a nice sipper for my scotch snifter.
I was in San Diego last July and wish I would have known about this brewery.

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Photo of thomda11
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a growler at the brewery. I had had this in a 12oz bottle back before I moved to San Diego from Maryland, and I have to say that, while I enjoyed it from the bottle, it is much better from the tap. The appearance lives up to the name. The color is pitch black with a dark a brown head. The beer has a strong dark chocolate aroma that oddly enough reminds me of Hershey's Chocolate World in PA. The taste is strong, but smooth and possesses a medium to full body. The flavor is full of dark chocolate--as suggested by the aroma--as well as coffee and roasted barley. The coffee flavor lingers on the tongue and leaves a bit of a charcoal after-taste. The high alcohol is noticeable, but doesn't detract from the beer.

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Photo of TehParabox
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark; So dark that I'm not sure if light even passes through. Has pretty nice dark brown head that fades slowly. doesn't leave lacing from what I know.

Smell: Dark roasted coffee or espresso, and dark chocolate. maybe a hint of vanilla extract. It's smell warns you that this is not for the weary traveler. the smell is distinct it might be overpowering to some. The coffee is the most present in this beer.

Taste: It's very good, if you love coffee or dark chocolate this is the way to go. The flavors are very dense but rich. Sweet and nice good roasted flavors accompanied by dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: the body isn't as thick as I expected, but it is really smooth.

overall: Not something for everyone but for stout drinkers this is a really good one to try. I'm quite impressed I can't say it's the best I've had but it's definitely great for what it is. It has a lot of good textures and it simply is what it is a very dark/sweet luscious tasting RIS. Don't know if I'm ready to take on another .. just yet. This one has gotten me by surprise not something to take easily. After a couple of tastes it turned out a lot better than I initially expected. I highly recommend this one!

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Photo of raiderob
4.49/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber into pint glass . Pours dark as a country night . Brownish creamy foamy head that lingers awhile then gives way to very nice lingering lacing . Smells of coffee&toffee taste of chocolate earthy flavor. Mmmmm very yummy . Prost❗

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Photo of quaybr
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Pretty light brown head lingers for a while.

Smells of coffee and chocolate, slight alcohol.

Taste follows aroma to a t, becoming even more invitingly complex with dark fruit as it warms.

Perfectly carbonated, roasted and chocolate malts are carefully carried across the tongue by a thick body.

This is a great stout, staying true to the Russian Imperial style. They're not trying to do anything outlandish here, and what they got was an extremely well balanced ale. If you have a chance to try this, you really ought to.

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Photo of ISmith87
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

(From notes) Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. I was excited to review this one as Russian Imperial Stouts are one of my favorite kinds of beer!

A - 4.75 - Has about a finger of dark khaki/light brown head of light bubbles, beer is dark as night - black

S - 4.50 - Chocolate, toffee, coffee, espresso, vanilla, roastiness, oak

T - 4.25 - More roasted/coffee flavors in the taste as opposed to the aroma. Chocolate/dark chocolate/toffee/vanilla too, but not as much as the smell.

M - 4.75 - Nice, thick frothy beer, alcohol well covered. Leaves a nice chocolate/coffee/roasty aftertaste.

O - 4.50 - One of the better Russian Imperial Stouts. Outranks Old Raspy in my opinion. Up there with Stone Russian Imperial Stout. Not at the level of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy but still good. 9.99 a four pack makes it about spot on as far as price.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. No freshness date.

A- Pours a deep black color with a 1/2 inch medium brown head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves large clots behind.

S- Lots of dark chocolate, burnt sugar, caramel and some char. Quite nice.

T- There's a great sweetness to this that I'm really digging. Reminds me of chocolate ice cream. On top of that are note of vanilla, more caramel and brown sugar. The char isn't as prevalent as it is in the nose. So smooth for the ABV.

M- Creamy and thick with medium carbonation and the fullest of bodies.

O- This is the first Mission beer I've had. The only reason I bought it was because it's the first beer I've seen available to me by them that has a really good score. Makes me curious to try more of their offerings.

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Photo of Krakistophales
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black with a nice but rather small chocolate head that quickly disappears but leaves nice lacing

S: The usual bitter chocolate, roast, malt, slight smoke, caramel sweetness and hints of anise

T: Rather sweet and kinda fruity up front, almost full of dark berries mixed with really dark chocolate, but eventually giving way to hoppy bitterness, chocolate richness, and espresso-esque dryness.

O: This one is interesting. Kinda sweeter up front than most RISs, and seems to have more fizz than most as well. A nice offering.

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Photo of rudolphjacksonm
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque black stout with coffee colored head and heavy lacing. Head dissolves suuuuper slowly and is delicious. This beer looks amazing for a stout! 5.0

S - Smokey malt and a hint of firewood and/or peat moss. Hint of sweetness, caramelized sugar maybe? Either way it's a pleasant smell with a tinge of ethanol. 4.0

T - Slightly sweet smokey malt flavors on the tip of the tongue, followed by a subtle burn of the 10.5% abv on the middle and back of the tongue with molasses and hop bitterness. Very nice coffee aftertaste. Very smooth considering the high alcohol content! 4.5

M - Thick and creamy, very stouty. Definitely what a stout should aim for. 4.5

O - A very, VERY solid stout. Possibly one of my new favorites. I'd recommend this to anyone who is a fan of a bran muffin in a glass. 4.5

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Photo of BierJager89
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a creamy brown head.

S: Chocolate, blackberry, coffee in the nose.

T: Blackberry pie, dark chocolate and mild, but dark roast coffee.

M: Full bodied and smoothish.

O: This is a great stout. Very drinkable, tasty, and definitely recommended. I'd love to try the bourbon barrel aged version.

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Photo of mdcflacal
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark color that keeps most light from passing through except at the edges. Thin head. Coats the glass nicely.
Nice sweet malt and roast on the nose.
Good viscous mouthfeel.
Good balance of bitterness and residual sweetness. No hot alcohol.
Overall I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. I think it's an excellent representative of the style.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. If this was actually only brewed once, then it's from January 2012. My bottle reads 9.8%.

A: A very dark brown, creamy, mocha head. A sinfully black body; utterly opaque. Heavy lacing.

S: Mmm. Chocolate, berries, dry-sweet malt, chocolate, distant roast, a touch of hops...pretty much everything I want in an imperial stout. However this nose comes only sometimes and every other sniff -- especially after my first sip -- comes boring, dry, and sterile.

T: Damn good. A deep milk chocolate base has just enough coffee bitterness to avoid sweetness and skip straight to roasted pleasantness. Gentle, soft, and alluring, it draws you in before treating you nice.

O: Delicious imperial stout. Must try. Will buy again.

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Dark Seas from Mission Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.