Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Dark Seas - Mission Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark SeasDark Seas

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

145 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 145
Hads: 628
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 8.91%
Wants: 38
Gots: 87 | 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: 145 | Hads: 628
Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger brown head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Black as midnight, no highlights. Good carbonation and heavy bodied. Baked chocolate and some coffee nose. Flavor is sweet baked chocolate with some black liquorice, the 9.8% ABV is hidden. Decent RIS. 12oz bottle from Gift Specialists Oceanside, California. (327 characters)

Photo of jd18
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
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. (257 characters)

Photo of sergio1va
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark Seas from Mission delivers a very good representation of this beer style- Dark, Malty and High Alcohol.
Pours to a pitch black with a small brown foam head. Little carbonation is observed as the beer was allowed to release it's aromas.
Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol are very present in this beer.
The taste is definitely malty and somewhat smoky, this producing a mouth feel that seems slightly bitter and dry. Definitely a beer one should enjoy with every sip and you'll discover even more notes. (533 characters)

Photo of denver10
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours black with a nice mocha head. A nice rich, roasty aroma with roasted barley and dark choclate. and a hint of some pitted fruit and some booze. Flavor followed suit with huge roastiness and dark chocolate, a kiss of some vanilla and a earthy bitterness in the finish. Some alcohol shows but not offensive. A fuller, mouthfeel. Overall, a nice solid RIS. (358 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

maybe the best of the mission beers so far. this pours as its name implies, dark and stormy, with a big frothy head and no light at all getting in. there is a funny gray shade though, like not brown but an ashy color, not sure where it comes from, not super nice, and ive never seen it before. the nose is a little sweet, boozy, and complex on the grains, with varying levels of roast throughout. tastes like there is some oatmeal in here, with a little extra sugar and a nice smooth full body. I get a little tobacco and a touch of vanilla, but this isn't as intricate as some others in the genre. an odd bitterness creeps in in the finish, not from hops or burnt grains, but sort of unidentifiable. its not an off flavor, but I can place its origin. kind of a difficult beer to drink, full body and overly alcoholic. my bottle says 9.8% abv, rather than the 10.5% listed here, but it might as well be the higher number. overall mission beers havnt impressed me much at all so far. they all seems to be slight tweaks on the standard lineups breweries are expected to have these days without much different to set them apart. this one is a little better than the others, but still on the generic side, insofar as a Russian imperial stout can be generic... (1,255 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (262 characters)

Photo of ADZA
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black oil slick hue with a chocolate laced two finger head and similar lacing here and there,the smell is dark chocolate,rum,booze,red wine and cherries,the mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation and has tastes of dark Belgian chocolate,dark fruits,candy,herbal earthy hops and finished with a burnt raisin bittersweetness and overall on a cold night like tonight this gets extra points as its the perfect winter drop with enough alcohol to warm you up but not put you on the floor will buy again for sure and a perfect nightcap cheers. (556 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Paid almost 3 dollars for the single, poured into a tulip glass.

A - Such a rich deep mocha head, I don't think I have seen many this dark. Equally pitch black beer very viscous.
S - Ah nice notes of bakers chocolate, ashy roasts, vanilla, some hops with a touch of molasses.
T - Drinking this a tad cold I got a great deal of vanilla and bakers chocolate, not as sweet as I expected it takes the edge off with roasted coffee, some dark fruits notes of plum come to mind and a mild dry finish with some hops which are very balanced not bitter which I love. Man these guys got the style down well!
M - Medium to thick in body as expected yet smooth enough for big sips.

Overall looking back at others beers I had from these guys I would have never expected such a world class imperial stout. I think I like it better than Founders version AND that is saying a lot. Worth picking up and aged I bet it could be even smoother. (925 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
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. (251 characters)

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown (mighty nigh unto black), with only the faintest hint of mahogany where light penetrates at the fringes. Even the head was a medium brown, like toasted wheat bread, albeit rather thin and short-lived; lacing was minimal.

S: The smell is not strong (perhaps due to lack of bubbles launching the aromas into the air?) It's mostly sweet smelling, with some bready malt, raisin, and perhaps bourbon (identifying the components was difficult, as they were all subdued).

T: Sweet, toasty malts are strong up front. Then comes an interesting mix of buttery dacetyl and mild, creamy orange. There's definitely some coffee in the mix, but pretty far in the background. Bitterness from hops was late and mild, just enough to balance the fading sweetness. It became more tart overall as it warmed up.

M: Smooth, thick/chewy, but not well carbonated; the finish was just a touch dry. I did notice a hint of booze when I took my first sip, but this became very pronounced and distracting as the beer warmed up.

O: A lot of good, but some low points as well. Head and carbonation weren't very good, and aromas were quite subdued, but the flavors were nice. I found it was much better when it was still fairly cold -- the negatives in terms of flavor and mouthfeel really became pronounced as it warmed up (and this is a sipping beer, so it will warm up unless you're drinking it it a very cold place...) Indeed, although I enjoyed the first half quite a lot, it got hard to drink the final few ounces, and I ended up pouring out the last couple. This may be a good one to split with a friend in the future to avoid those problems.

A note to Mission Brewery: boosting the carbonation just a tad would go a long way to improve the head/aroma and the mouthfeel (IMO). (1,775 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.46/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle $2.99. Color is pitch black and the head is a little darker than most RIS, almost brown. Aroma is slightly malty, hints of some dark fruit. Flavor is malty, almost has a note of chocolate but then recedes into a plum or raisin like flavor backed by malts. Sort of reminds me of Stone IRS. Overall its not bad and the alcohol was well hidden. It is sort of thick, hevay and took me a little while to drink it. (420 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (443 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.74/5  rDev +17.3%
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!! (670 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

No lacing, dark, thick, burnt brick colored soapy head.

Soy sauce on the nose, not overwhelming. Slight sourness. Dark chocolate, sweet, roasty, smoked.

Much better than the nose and appearance lead you to believe. Like a dark malty biscuit. Dry, chewy, coating, small amount of thick bubbles. Deep roasty chocolate.

Highly recommend, flavor is exceptional and mouthfeel is above many words. This brew is a bit of curve ball. Highly drinkable, even at 9.8% (460 characters)

Photo of rjvanston
4.59/5  rDev +13.6%
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. (288 characters)

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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! (1,218 characters)

Photo of LCB_Hostage
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle into a pint glass

A: As pitch black as it's name suggests with a monk-like fringe of brown foam around the inside of the glass that remains throughout. No lacing

S: Highly roasted --> burnt grains, some bitter chocolate and a hint of cherry (they say plum on the bottle, but seems more like cherry to me), plus lots of alcohol -- even more than the 9.8 ABV would suggest. The force is strong in this one.

T: Bitter from the roasted grains and chocolate, but not unpleasantly so -- enough to nicely balance the malty/alcohol sweetness. Would prefer a more rounded finish, but overall, not bad at all.

M: Too syrupy for my taste, with no carbonation to speak of to wake up the tongue. I know it's an RIS, but this just coats your tongue and then .... stays there.

O: I'm less of a stout fancier than many here, so take this for what it's worth. There's nothing here that would prevent me from drinking another one of these, but nothing that would lead me on a mission to seek it out, either. I particularly would have liked a bit more carbonation to lighten things up a bit. I'd treat this as a "dessert" beer -- a nice last call to finish an evening, but never earlier than that. (1,207 characters)

Photo of DenverLogan
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 22 oz bottle ordered through Letspour.
Black with rich brown head...poured into a Palm tulip glass.
Aroma of cocoa, sweet malts.
Modest carbonation...big mouthfeel.
Flavors of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, carob, molassas...let's give this 5 minutes...
OK...several minutes later we have a lot of lace and a reduced head remaining. Aroma and flavors include coffee, bitter chocolate... there's a big bitterness, black liquorice, toasty dark malts. (459 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serious big beer. Poured at a good temperature with a small, brown head that soon settled to a swirl and a ring and no lace. Color is an opaque brown black. Aroma is roast, cocoa, molasses, new leather, malt, and dark ripe fruit. Flavor's similar to nose with cocoa coming out more along with bitterness that is just balanced by sweet and tang. Body is full and has the bitter points slightly rounded off. Finish is remarkably moderate in length and fairly easy. Alcohol is tamed. Very good brew! (496 characters)

Photo of charlzm
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Consumed January 4th, 2013 at 1739 Public House in Los Angeles, CA. Reviewed from notes.

Beer is an extremely dark brown, allowing only a tiny amount of light to shine through. Presented to me with only a thin skin of foam for a head.

Very strong mocha and chocolate aroma. Bitter, roasted malt also present in aroma.

Flavor is much like the nose except for a slight tartness. Also smoky. Sort of a charred aftertaste with some notable bitterness. Enjoyable despite that odd tart thing. Maybe the lines at the bar weren't as clean as they should have been.

Slightly thick mouthfeel, but sadly lacking in the hoped-for velvety smoothness.

Not the best RIS out of San Diego, but certainly worth drinking if seen in the wild. (727 characters)

Photo of ksimons
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-inky black with just a thin layer of dark tan head that quickly disappears to leave a ring around the edge

S-smell's very nice. Lots of roasted malt, black coffee, molasses, light dark fruit sweetness, and finishes with a bit of smoke

T-taste is similar to the smell, chocolate heavy with roasted malt, roasted coffee, and light brown sugar.

M-smooth and creamy, medium body, good carbonation

Overall I would definitely have this again, really nice chocolate and coffee flavors, smooth and creamy, and well hidden alcohol (527 characters)

Photo of MaddMatt639
3.18/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted on February 23, 2013:

A: A very dark brown, borderline black. Half an inch head that's a light brown/reddish color. No lacing and no long lasting retention.

S: A strong aroma of chocolate and a very slight hint of malt.

T: The chocolate notes are not as strong at first, but sneak up on you after a few seconds. Taste a sweetness, kind of like molasses and a slight bitterness in the end.

M: Somewhat of a heavy feeling. Not a long lasting taste, but I can feel the weight of the beer in my mouth.

O: Not a bad stout, but I was hoping for more. Enjoyed the aroma and taste, but not the aftertaste. (609 characters)

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into Stone IRS Snifter.

A: Pours black with dark khaki brown head. Head recedes quickly.

S: Chocolate, Roasted malts, slight hint of coffee.

T: Creamy chocolate. Roasted malt, very slight hint of coffee. Also slight lingering alcohol burn.

M: Thick, smooth and creamy. Very very slight bitter finish. Doesn't coat the mouth with stickiness.

O: Fantastic RIS, similar to Founders Imperial stout. Smooth, creamy and chocolatey. And a bargain for the $6.75 bomber price. (490 characters)

Photo of jjchristiano
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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. (394 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: center-pour into a large snifter barely raised a head; oily black beer left a spattering of tiny motes as it went down

S: roasted dark chocolatey malts; espresso beans

T: bittersweet dark malt, hinting at cocoa, espresso; alcoholic undertones

M: fairly light for a stout, crisp on the tongue at first, then coating; drying, chalky

O: a good stout, but not one that distinguishes itself from the crowd (407 characters)

Dark Seas from Mission Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 145 ratings.