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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: 641
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 19.75%
Wants: 38
Gots: 95 | 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: 641
Photo of Murrhey
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- A quarter inch chocolate head. Dense with nice lacing. Jet-black in color. No light comes through.

S- Rich roast coffee and barley smells. Chocolate and toffee with a hint of vanilla as well. Dark and intimidating.

T- Layered malts and big boozy hit. First comes the heavy flavors, chocolate, coffee, roast barley, vanilla, tobacco, toffee. Packs a wallop.

M- THICK. Almost had to chew it.

O- Solid, not great. Tough ride but a tasty and roasty one.

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Photo of bound4er
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Near perfect dark tan head of two fingers. Jet black appearance. Screams RIS from the look of things.

S. Grain, earth, chocolate, coffee, roast - nice.

T. Roasted malt, chocolate and coffee followed with just enough bitterness from both the dark roasted malt and hops. Finishes very dry with a lingering aftertaste.

M. Medium bodied with just enough carbonation.

O. This is a solid, well crafted RIS that I really enjoy drinking a couple of times per week. Not an overly hyped beer and that may be part of its charm to me. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Libationguy
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pour black with a medium dark brown head. Fair retention but with great colour.

S: Lots of dark chocolate, molasses, and licorice, classic.

T: Big dark chocolate flavour which dominates the taste. Nice sweet malt flavour, with notes of brown sugar and a good amount of backing hops, Yeti-esque.

M: Full-bodied and smooth, creamy and delicate.

O: A nice unbarreled throwback American RIS. Well made and tasty.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.13/5  rDev +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 Rifugium
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Served in a snifter, dark black pour with a small tan head that receded to nearly nothing, leaving a few stray bubbles behind. Great aroma, toffee, chocolate, anise, licorice, touch of dark dried fruits. The taste was similar to the aroma, but not quite as good, dark chocolate, dark malts, toffee and Werther's candy, subtle red wine / brandy, and a bit of anise and hop spice. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, on the heavier side of medium-bodied, with a bit of inevitable alcohol warmth. Quite the pleasant sipper overall, I'd say.

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Photo of ADZA
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of tanarm
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of serspecv
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle poured into a pilsner style glass. Pours a thick, almost pitch black with a thin espresso colored head. Aroma isn't very apparent, yet has notes of toffee and dark chocolate. The toasted malt is robust and commanding before the earthy bitterness of hops come into the picture with subtle nuttiness followed by a sharp alcohol taste. Mouthful is really where this beer lacks, not feeling as rich as it tastes. Overall a great tasting imperial stout but not as heavy as something along the lines of Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Seriously, look at how spooky that label is! It was enough to intrigue me overall. Poured out of a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark, petrol-like slick into the glass, and even with help from the Duvel glass and slight aggressive pouring at the end, it doesn't produce too much of a head (about 1.5 fingers max). The head is milk-chocolate brown, and the beer is as black as an imperial stout can get. The alcohol leggings are massive on this thing, and it overall looks like an intimidating if not amazing looking drink.

The initial aroma is really powerful, consisting of an enormous alcohol smell, followed by smoked chocolate and coffee aromas that get quickly buried underneath it. With the alcohol being most predominant, I'm getting raspberry fruitiness, raisins, rum, and sweet smells that I usually don't find in even the most ridiculous imperial stouts. There's a lighter zest of hops way at the back, but not enough to be really noticeable. That alcohol is really freaking me out here. I do hope the flavor is a more balanced experience.

And with one sip - you don't want to *gulp* this - I'm instantly proven wrong. I can't even TASTE the alcohol here!! On the other hand, I get crisp, smoked malts that reminisce coffee grounds, vanilla, dark chocolate, but actually more subtle than you'd think. At front there's only a bit of coffee crispness, and the back is a little bit more full-bodied and coated with some hops. There's not much of an alcohol finish, but I must admit that this does it fact get substantially sweeter as it warms up. It took a while to finish this, even when splitting it with a friend. It's really thick, with a pudding like consistency, but the flavors aren't as explosive as I expected. At least it's not an alcoholic disaster, but I definitely expected more ridiculous amounts of chocolate and coffee beans here. It's very smooth and creamy, and definitely has dessert beer properties.

Interesting take on the RIS style, but probably not one I'd necessarily revisit again for being a bit too inconsistent with the aroma and flavors of what I personally enjoy in the style. Slightly too sweet and astringent at the finish. Complex, but not explosive enough. I definitely could have this in smaller quantities, but probably not half a bottle. It's a good one in the style, and I could probably bring myself to appreciate it again if I had it once more.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, no bottled-on date, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours jet black, has a thick, viscous appearance, produces a finger of chocolate colored head that recedes to a collar, leaves spotty lacing.

S- Roasted malt and figs, chocolate, some molasses and brown sugar.

T- Delicious blend of figs and raisins, dark chocolate, and roasted coffee beans. Finish is bitter from hops and roasty bitterness.

M- Full-bodied, smooth, thick feel, nice carbonation.

O- A great stout, very tasty and drinkable, a damn good value too for $6.50 for a bomber.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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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 MikeWard
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Not bottled date that I could find. Abv says 9.8 on bottle, BA says 10.5 (?)

This one pours like motor oil, thick black, leaving a 'coffee with just a dash of cream" colored head. Head does not retain much at all, and no lacing whatsoever.

Took a sniff. Hello! This smells pretty good! Sweet, cocoa, toffee, plums, brandy, all swirled together in a suprisingly not overwhelming nose. Mouth starts watering. Thinking fruit cake, the good kind from the olde countrye.

Taste & mouth were just outstanding, all the flavors in the nose coming through. Felt delicious rolling over the tongue. Alcohol not overwhelming at all, just got that faint slow burn contented feeling. Mouth was medium, not thick, not thin, or syrupy.

Overall, A very nice RIS, and I must admit to being a bit surprised, since I have not cared much for other Mission beers. Well done. Mission Accomplished (apologies for dreadful pun) Looking forward to trying this one in December in front of a roaring fire. If it tastes this good on an August evening...

Without date stamping, no way of telling how old it is, purchased 2 weeks ago in Reading.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1633rd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

2012 release
Purchased a single 12oz from Total Wine, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

App- A huge inky black pour with a ton of brown highlights around the edges. The head was a good 2 fingers and clung well to the side of the glass. A nice density center and very deep saturated.

Smell- A bit like a chocolate milk, mixed with coffee only a bit deeper and less grainy. The chocolate is very aromatic and pairs well with the malts and then the coffee comes in with a bit or roast and toast behind it. A bit smooth and creamy as well.

Taste- This was a nice and creamy RIS. A good amount of balance was there between the malts and the chocolate coffee flavors. The bitter was a bit toned downed in relation to say Narwhal which I had the day before reviewing this. This had more richness and cream as mentioned and dialed up the chocolate.

Mouth- A very thick medium almost bordering on being a low bodied/thick stout. The carbonation was fairly dense and a bit creamy. Got a bit thicker and denser as it warmed.

Drink- I really enjoyed this. A good deal in a 12oz bottle. I will have to grab more of these. Nice semi-local beer. Gotta love all the stuff out of SD.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Seas
Mission Brewery
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.50 %

LOOK: Pours a midnight black, with a dense light brown foam. Impenetrable by light, it would be difficult to sail on these dark seas. The foam leaves lace of sips gone by.

SMELL: Deeply roasted malts in the aroma, as well as chocolates, coffee, dark fruits and alcohol.

TASTE: Robustly malty, showcasing charcoal, coffee, and dark chocolate flavors. Dark fruits chime in with some date, raisin, and fig flavors. Vanilla comes through more as it warms, and alcohol is omnipresent but not distracting.

MOUTHFEEL: Full bodied , smooth, creamy feel. Delicious lingering stout flavor that sticks to the taste buds long after the pleasure of drinking.

OVERALL: A big bad stout that can stand up to the biggest and baddest of the style. Quite good.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a rich black color with a dark brown finger of frothy head. Strong retention and good lacing. The look is right on. Aroma is too, packing a lot of chocolate, roasty, charred malt, a hint of anise and coffee, subtle booziness. Everything you’d expect for the style if not an overwhelming bouquet.

The flavor follows the nose; there’s moderate sweetness and a pretty assertive chocolate presence, subtler anise, medium char/roastiness, a touch of coffee and booziness. Lightly hopped with a sticky, lip-smacking finish and a bit of lingering bitterness from both hops and roasted malt. The booze presence is there but it’s restrained, appropriate, and pleasantly warming.

Medium-full bodied, a little chewy, smooth and creamy carbonation. Excellent feel.

This is a really good non-barrel aged RIS and thankfully it’s in an affordable 12oz package. Definitely my favorite beer by Mission so far.

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Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high dark tan head that slowly died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of chocolate and roasted malts are present in the nose along with some notes of coffee beans.
T: Flavors of roasted malts stand out in the taste, which also has notes of chocolate and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and rather dry with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This Russian Imperial Stout is easy to drink but is complex enough to make it a peasant to sip. It masks its alcohol very well.

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Photo of gopens44
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I have no idea how old this beer is, but I'd say it's at least from no earlier than 2012 since I bought it at my favorite shop that closed in 2012.

Looks spot on for style, black as night, thick copper head and abundant foamy lacing. Nose is full of molasses and dark fruit while sneaking in some amount of nose irritating heat. Taste is wicked big dark chocolate that drops off into a dark malt yet randomly bitter finish. Thick bodied nearly throughout until the very end where we have a thinning out that allows the bitter to longer on the tongue.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 11/28/2012 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains rich chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong creamy chocolate flavor followed by some flavors of dark fruit and coffee. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is very mild as it should be in this type of beer and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid big stout but there are others in the style that I would pick first.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
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 GarthDanielson
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
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 VelvetExtract
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours viscous and absolute in its blackness. Head is excellent. Mocha colored head is a finger's width and refuses to die. Head leaves thick clumps of lacing. Great.

S-Boozy Hershey's Syrup.Chocolate covered vanilla beans and burnt, charred and smoky aromas. Coffee is lighter. The chocolate and char reign supreme here.

T-Flavor is pleasant but almost too subdued. It does grow in intensity after the sip and is actually quite delicious. Heaps of chocolate syrup. Quite burnt and smoky. Light coffee and vanilla. Finishes with a semi-potent hoppy bitterness.

M-Lighter than I would have expected. Booze masked quite well but it warms the cheeks a bit. Body is lightly creamy with soft carbonation. Bitter finish.

O/D-A nice RIS. Not the biggest or the boldest, but it is pretty damn tasty. Not a bad deal either. Well above average. I enjoyed the stressed milk chocolate flavor. Success!

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Photo of Durge
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A really opaque black brown colored stout with a solid light brown head and lots of cascadding lace. The aroma comes out with deep dark chocolate malt and light coffe charcoal. Pretty much a classic quality hint of things to come but not a huge note for this style. The flavor brings in thick charcoal malt and light grassy raisin-prune. This stuff his full bodied with a near oily feel. Carbonation is tingly stuff. A serious entry for the style, no session brew but tasty and satisfying!

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