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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 148 | Hads: 640
Photo of farrago
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
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 +4.7%
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 +5.9%
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 -3.7%
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 +8.1%
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 schoolboy
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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 -5.2%
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 -9.9%
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 -13.1%
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 -14.8%
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 -3.2%
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 +4.7%
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 +1.2%
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%
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 +10.4%
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 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 spinrsx
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
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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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 Joshpu
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A: Poured black with a brown one finger head which dissipated quickly.

S: Milk/dark chocolate, roasty malts, slight hops.

T: The taste follows the nose, except the chocolate tastes more like a dark chocolate. Roasty malts. The end has a slight charred note. As it warms I start to get more of the milk chocolate taste.

M: Medium to full bodied. The slight bitter note hangs around for a little, but the alcohol, which you can not taste, cleans the palate well.

Overall a very drinkable beer. A great example of an RIS.

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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 Thads324
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Been waiting so long for this one
Pours jet black like the dirtiest emgine oil. Thin dark brown head that fizzles to the edges and sticks there. The deep dark head looks amazing, you can tell this is a big brew.
Aroma is sweet plums, a hint of roast and coffee. A bit of dark caramel. Mild but nice.

Flavor Starts with a bitter jolt of dark bittersweet chocolate. Espresso and cream flavors, finishing dry with mild bitterness of earth and oak. It's more chocolate than I anticipated, but still big and roasty as well. The caramel sweetness on the end brings everything together nicely! Warming and inviting for more.

Mouthfeel is heavy but smooth. No harshness from the roasted malt and while the alcohol is apparent, it's balanced in the flavor.

Clean, smooth, tasty and drinkable. I wish I had more.

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

Pours black with a 3/4 inch brown head.

Smell is of dark chocolate, coffee and faint dark fruit.

Taste follows the smell with dark chocolate, coffee and a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is very thick. Almost chalky with low carbonation.

A delicious imperial stout.

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Photo of drunkheathen
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This Mission RIS pours a pitch black and has a bronzy brown head that dissipates quickly but remains thinly throughout. Heavy dark chocolate smell, and a slight smell of booziness but not overpowering. There is an obvious chocolate and roasted malt flavor and the ABV becomes clear as well. This one doesn't seem to me to be as thick as other RIS' but that's not to say its weak. This is a pretty decent Russian Imperial Stout, not the best ever but am glad to have tried it.

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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 mvanaskie13
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice, head is dark tan, color is black, thick, nothing coming through this brew.

Smell is all as expected from a big, dark stout such as this: great roast and chocolate notes, very solid bitterness but not fruity, and boozy - boy this brew packs some alcohol punch.

Taste is very big, lots of roasted malt and chocolate followed by some big booziness; subtle notes include light raisin or plum, some coffee and toast. Note the booziness is not offending just noticeable

Mouthfeel is spot on for a big RIS, lingering sweetness, good carbonation and solid bitterness to compensate.

Overall, a very solid RIS, great strong flavors, good lingering notes and nothing out of place. big on strength.

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