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Dark Seas - Mission Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark SeasDark Seas

Educational use only; do not reuse.

146 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 146
Hads: 634
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 19.8%
Wants: 38
Gots: 89 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 146 | Hads: 634
Photo of Immortale25
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
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 GarthDanielson
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is an oily, jet black coloring, with a fizzle of short-lived, dark brown head that quickly settles out into a halo. Aromas of booze, molasses, port wine, plums and dates, roasted notes, as well as some bitter chocolate and coffee notes. Flavors are extremely rich and bold forward, with a blast of old world fruit rich and sweet riding on a bitter and roasted coffee backbone. Wow! Molasses richness and booze highlights ribbon throughout the palate, and a warmth builds as you drink. The body is slick and smooth, with a softness to it that increases the drinkability. Roasted and boozy aftertaste heavy on the sweet notes of plum and molasses, with some woody notes in there, too. Slick, lingering rich finish, with that warmth continuing to build. Beast of a beer.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black beer with one finger high brownbeige head.

Nose: Coffee, cacao, dark chocolate, whipped cream, cardboard, rosted malt, licorice and coffee beans.

Taste: A lot of dark chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit and roasted malt. A great bitterness at the end.

Body: Full, complex budy with a little carbonation and a beatiful smoothness with the right bitterness.

I really like this stout!

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Photo of verge
4.92/5  rDev +21.8%
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 DoktorEd
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of thomda11
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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 Fatehunter
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of farrago
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours only a thin head but it does cover the surface, extremely dark brown colored bubbles, sizzles off swiftly, there’s a few lacing streaks of credible width, probably better than expected based on the head. The liquid is pure black, completely opaque, no way to even see if there’s any bubbles inside. The nose is a close to symmetrical split between bitter dark chocolate and coffee beans, good thrust as well in the raisin to plum fruit scents, touch of mint and vanilla bean, the roast is not overpowering which allows the strength of the sweet dessert like qualities to linger. Full-bodied, leverages its dryness to good effect, keeping it clean and well-paced. You do also get more roast here as a result, puts an aggressive charge into the coffee, chocolate, toffee, coconut flake flavors. The cherry, plum, fig fruit recedes some here, same for the flowers, mint and licorice. No citrus presence but there is a breadiness. Minimal burn from the alcohol, however, you feel the buzzing right off. Carbonation is average, takes awhile to even remember to gauge it. Long finish without going overboard trying to make an impression. Pretty good stuff.

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Photo of dtivp
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black with a half of a finger dark mocha head that fades rapidly into a thin ring with light lacing.

Aroma is light with notes of dark chocolate and burnt malt with a slight booziness.

Taste follows the nose with dark bitter chocolate, burnt malt, burnt oak and a touch of alcohol.

Mouth Feel is medium leaning full body, very light carbonation, smooth yet dry with a slight bitter charcoal after taste and some alcohol warming.

Overall this is a very nice imperial stout would recommend it.

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Photo of Boxus
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My second time having this on tap, around 1pm on St. Patrick's day. It's a wonderful RIS, very drinkable despite its double digit abv.

The pour is a nominal pitch black, with an almost maroon tan head, which dissipates with little lacing. Smell is a sea port at midnight, metal and driftwood with dark cherry and just a hint of pine.

Taste is fantastic, and very true to the name. I've always noticed an aquatic character in strong stouts, something mossy and salt-kissed. This beer dives deep, awash in exotic vegetation with a coastal pine finish. There is something metallic in the flavor, but it's that stout-metal that I love, and it gives me the feeling of being on a ship at midnight, just about to dock. The flavor is very dank, with an aftertaste of molasses that lays on a little thick. I would prefer this toned down slightly, but I do appreciate how the pungent flavors enhance the deep-sea sensation that is this beer's signature. Mouthfeel is rich and thick but it goes down very smoothly. Considering the abv, it is remarkably well balanced and drinkable. This is a distinct sort of imperial which I really enjoy and will return to again.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with good head on top of an aroma that has dark fruit for some reason, booziness to it, a thick aroma of roasted malts and a little bit of sweetness. The beer is chewey it's so thick but passes along smooth thanks to a little bit woodiness in it (swear I even get a touch of vanilla and bourbon). Mostly a balance of sweet malts like molasses and a roasted, even coffee esque dry malt base. Again, like aroma, I seem to pick up a little bit of figs and plums. This is a pretty good stout with interesting notes coming in from everywhere.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
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 schoolboy
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a style that I usually favor, but I also know of a number of excellent examples of the style, so Mission's had to live up to comparison with those. It does pretty well, and has some unique qualities.

It pours a jet black slightly foamy affair with brown foam and lace. Pretty. The aroma is a mildly boozy, hoppy, malty smell - just right.

The taste is really nicely balanced except for a booziness. I think they did well to not overcompensate (over flavor) to cover the alcohol. I think it is easier and more pleasant to drink this way. The aftertaste also is a bit boozy, but nicely bitter and malty as well.

Overall, this single was a well spent three bucks. Highly recommended as a change of pace. This might age OK too - at least for a half year or so.

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

Overall I was very impress With Mission for brewery this one . I over looked it a hundred times but not anymore . Personally I thought this beer should be drank at room temp since the aroma and flavor comes out much more . Very solid RIS. Strong notes of chocolate , coffee and a very bit of plum .

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Photo of HalfFull
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
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..

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a one finger tan shade - retention isn't the best, but the soft and creamy texture it has make me forgive that. Not much lacing is left behind.

S: Quite chocolaty in general. There are slight hints of coffee, as well, but this is mostly chocolate, roast, and brown sugar. And that's not a bad thing at all. Maybe it doesn't have the depth of other imperial stouts, but what's here works quite well.

T: There are some slight chocolaty hints, not only to start, but on the finish as well. In general, though, this one is roasty. Not oppressively so - it does end in a slightly sweet fashion - but it does enough to cleanse the palate of excess sweetness. There are also some coffee-ish hints, along with a bit of alcohol and licorice (usually the bane of imperial stouts for me). Just like with the nose, it isn't the most complex imperial stout on the market. However, it's still quite enjoyable that does a good job of bringing the traits I like within the style.

M: It's not the driest imperial stout, nor is it the sweetest. Rather, it strikes a neutral balance between the two. Make no mistake, in spite of its full body, it's quite drinkable for a 10% RIS, and despite the alcohol flavor, there isn't much booze to be felt on the palate.

O: Not a top-tier RIS, but certainly a very good one. It has to compete with the likes of Old Rasputin, though, and that makes this one a hard sell for yours truly. Still, I'd have no trouble drinking this one again.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.92/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of santomark
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a Coca Cola type darkness and glow in the light. Very little head, less than one finger. Carbonation Is bubbly.

S - Very balanced breathe of many aspects, chocolate, toffee, brown sugar, fruits, figs, barley, molasses. Smells like a fantastic stout.

T - Big roasted malts up front, toffee, slight chocolate, there's this break in the sip which reminded me of an "Eye In A Storm". After the roasted notes, you get a slight taste from the ABV. Then ends with this sweet and dryness and that is very inviting for another sip.

M - Glad I got this on a cold night. Very heavy in the body, dryness from the roastedness. Mild to medium carbonation.

O - This is a great stout. For being an Imperial/Double, it's very drinkable as if it were a lightered bodied stout. The taste is inviting, very comforting for this fine cold day. I really enjoyed this and wouldn't mind this in a 4pck... Adds variety when deciding between Old Rasputin.

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Photo of IAmAPenguin
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma: deep roasted grains and malts, burnt caramel, cocoa nibs and coffee beans. Appearance: thick black with a crimson tint and decent lace. Taste: Thick, syrupy chocolate, molasses, toasted sugar, toffee and grains. Overall, a really thick and rich imperial stout with heavy dark chocolate and fudge overtones. Very good.

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Photo of JesseCap_13
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
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

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Photo of quaybr
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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 SawDog505
4.56/5  rDev +12.9%
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 spinrsx
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle from Total Wine Tampa FL for $3

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a large size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, vanilla, coffee

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and vanilla. There is also lots of roasted/toasted notes and some bitter coffee.

Overall - Really good and fulfilling a great beer to sip. The bitterness lingers long after the sip is done. Wish I had picked up a few more of these for cellaring.

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Dark Seas from Mission Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.