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Imperial IPA - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

100 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 100
Hads: 217
Avg: 3.54
pDev: 13.84%
Wants: 6
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Zorro on 07-03-2010

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 100 | Hads: 217
Photo of goodbyeohio
2.27/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

i dont know why this stuck out to me.. prolly cause its new on the shelf. the bottle has changed a bit since the original design, reflecting more nonsense about 25th anniversary this and that. 8%

crystalline amber pour. nice lacing. smells like marshmallows and tree bark. tastes extremely grainy. kinda like toasted buckwheat followed up with a chunk of earth containing some grass. booze in the finish does not go unnoticed. further sips draw out some spearmint hints as well as some deeper, oaky notes. ballantiney/burtonbatony without oak, which is an achievement in itself. for 8%, this beer is a hell of a mess. will not repeat, may just drain pour the rest of this SHITE

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Photo of sdmvd6
2.39/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Deep bronze with a finger of head. Moderate lacing.

S - Almost non-existent hops is the first thing I noticed. I really hope this is just a case of an old bottle, as it was not dated. Strong sweet malty aroma with a bit of citrus hops after a lot of searching.

T - Cloyingly sweet malt throughout. Again, almost non-existent hops. I don't really understand the deal with this since it is supposed to be an Imperial IPA. Definitely not representative of the style at all.

M - Feel isn't bad, medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Highly disappointed by this one. I had never seen Mendocino in OK, and seeing as it was an Imperial IPA from the West Coast I expected a whole lot more. I was struggling to find any hint of hops, and I really think/hope it was an old bottle. If not, this "IPA" is a joke.

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Photo of mattcrill
2.46/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Mendocino Imperial IPA

Aroma: Sweet, grainy aromatics up front. Flowery and honey-like sweetness. Hop aroma is floral but the dominant characteristic is overwhelming honey.

Appearance: Clear amber colored pour with tight fluffy white head. Mild effervescence noted.

Flavor: More honey character up front. Earthy hop bitterness follows. Balance is towards the hop but not by much. Hop flavors don't seem to be there. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Slightly oily. Just a touch of hop-derived astringency.

Overall impression: Seems to be more of an American Amber. Too malty for an IPA or Imperial IPA. Not hoppy enough to be in the IPA category. Miss for me.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.48/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appears a deep orange pale copper hue with an off white head, speckled scattered lacing across my chalice. Aroma has deep citrus with some biscuit malts, a touch of pine and honey malts as well. Flavor is a bit weird it's like an herbal pine experiment with hints of citrus, blast of alcohol in the back end this is a bit rough. Unrefined hard to drink version of a great style, mouthfeel falls flat seems like it's brewed in Saratoga with the rest of the lineup. This is the type of craft beer that turns off new comers, Drinkability just isn't good not a beer I will return to anytime soon.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.51/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12-ounce bottle courtesy of JohnCoctsin. Served in a tulip.

Pours a very clear light copper color with a thin white head that diminishes quite quickly, leaving some spotty lacing behind. The nose carries some light alcohol plus bready malt and a bit of caramel. The flavor is booze in the background with mostly caramel and bread up front. Some faint floral and citrus hops. Medium body with very low bitterness and a fair amount of alcohol. Not a fan.

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Photo of mklinger
2.52/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Hazy orange beer with a smallish head that quickly dissipated.

Piney & slightly herbal paired with a good dose of caramel sweetness. Pretty average for a double IPA.

Highly astringent beer. Kind of unpleasant. High dose of bitterness with a good amount of tannins that were kind of unenjoyable. Herbal and grassy hop flavors dominate.

Mouthfeel is not terrible. It is thin for itsa strength as a DIPA should be. Well carbonated. Gotta take off a bit for the astringency which is largely a bad mouthfeel characteristic.

Least enjoyable DIPA I've had. Maybe it was a bad bottle, but I probably won't seek it out again to find out.

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Photo of HopDiggityDawg
2.6/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a very deep amber, big, big head, nice lacing that is in for the long haul
Smells - piney some malts
Taste - how can an Imperial IPA be so weak on a hop punch? very malty to me, not a drain pour, but I will not try again.
This beer kind of works but not as an Imperial IPA. Hard to be positive just because IMO it is mislabeled. Wild ale maybe, I don't know.
Mouthfeel - thick and chewy
Drinkability - nope

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Photo of TheSignPost
2.65/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I didn't care for this one. For an imperial, I expect more. More hops, better flavor. Maybe its just me, but this one leaves me cold. It was ok, but I wouldn't seek it out. In fact I'd try to avoid it. It tastes a little "thick", not crisp, not hoppy. No thanks.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber color, average all around. Aroma was lacking, no freshness date, a little sweet.

Taste, lacked the big hop bite I was looking for. Significant amounts of caramel, pale malts. Taste of honey. Plenty of carbonation, sweetness, but lacking in the hop mouthfeel department. Alcohol too noticeable.

I'm usually a big supporter of Mendocino's stuff, they've been around forever making good beers, but this one is a little below average for style, and definitely below their own standards. I'd venture a guess that it was a little more aged than it should have been. Hold it against the brewery for not telling me when it was made or when to drink by.

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Photo of gatornation
2.86/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

from 12 oz bottle

A- pours a beautiful slightly hazes golden copper color with a nice fluffy off-white head and some nice lacing

S- is malt and baked bread first then some caramel ,not alot of 2ipa smells

T- is malt first and some bitter citrus rind .some grain and baked bread

M- is well carbonated with just a malty taste to me

O- this is an average 2ipa ..its lacking in hops both tropical and citrus.its mostly malts ..1 and done for me

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Photo of BigPlay1824
2.87/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a tulip

A: pours a very hazy deep amber color which is nicely bright and has a creamy one finger head with large bubbles that is off white, kind of dark white is that makes sense, head dissipates rapidly and leaves no lacing
S: an interesting scent, a grassy hop note, quite earthy, kind of reminds me of the smell of the yard after a strong but quick mid summer day storm
T: welp, its kicks off right up front with the alcohol note, then it moves into an earth kind of tree bark or even tobacco note which is not at all bad, finishes pretty smoothly, although im note entirely sure i think i sense some slight oxidization, just an observation not gonna put it into my numerical score since im not certain
M: drinks slightly thick with a bit of carbonation and has a bit of a drying feeling on the palate which i think is more from the alcohol bite than it is from the hops
O: a decent beer, not all that tasty, alcohol kind of dominates, oh well

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Photo of bobhits
2.87/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

mendocino imperial ipa

Nothing special to look at here. Think generic IIPA without much lacing or retention and you're there.

Smells extremely sweet. Brings out a lot of amber malt with strong caramel notes. The hops are dominated in the nose.

The taste brings out that same malt character but then finishes with a very dry hoppy flavor. Not an easy hop flavor to talk about here. I think the malt dominates the flavor but the hops give it a strong bitter flavor.

The beer drinks well and the body isn't as thick as the flavor would make one assume.

This is certainly a different twist on the double IPA. This malt character is truly new to me at least, but overall I can't say that it is exciting. The hops aren't dominate. It doesn't have an oily hop resend. The beer doesn't leave the lacing other big IPA's leave. The hops are strong enough in the bitterness but the malt dominates the flavor profile. Well worth giving this beer a try. I doubt anyone who enjoys a double IPA will dislike this beer, but there's no wow here.

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Photo of acevenom
2.88/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a glass mug. Pours deep copper with a thick white head and lots of visible tiny bubbles in the beer. Some lacing is left on the side of the glass as the head retreats. The aroma is of some citrus and piney hops and a nice dose of caramel and bready malts. The flavor is a wallop of sweet grapefruit juice. There's some of that bready malt in the background with the piney hops, but this is one of the sweetest DIPAs I've sampled. The alcohol is also present in the flavor. The body is full with strong carbonation. There's a sticky aftertaste for this sipper. This is a below average beer. If you're looking for a DIPA, I would pass on this and go for something else.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
2.94/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Dark hazy orange/rust with a filmy white head

Smell - Citrus Hops, caramel, malts, yeasts and orange rinds. Fairly malty smell.

Taste - Citrus Hops, yeasts, and malts. There is also a very boozy flavor to it, which is sort of unpleasant and distracts you from the other flavors. Despite this, it still comes off as a bit weak.

Mouthfeel - Very heavy bodied and the carbonation is very strong, way too much so for this style of beer.

Overall - The flavor and mouthfeel need some serious work if in order to be a good IPA. Speaking of which, this feels much more like an IPA than a Imperial IPA just because it lacks the hoppy punch of other Imperial IPAs

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Photo of FanofHefe
2.95/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, no freshness date I can find. Pours a deep clear amber color, with a good two finger egg white head. Some light lacing.

The aroma does not remind me of a typical DIPA, but does have some light resiny hop aroma. Significant caramel malt aroma.

Flavors mix the slighlty bitter hops with a sweet toffee-like malt taste. Not a great combination.

Honestly, this does not seem like an Imperial IPA and the flavors do not mix well.

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Photo of mactrail
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The typical orange amber color in the Duvel glass. Less foam than average but plenty of fizz in the mouth. Medium body. Some hoppy notes and alcohol in the smell.

Nothing subtle about this. A flavor that makes me think of really overripe canteloupe and a whiff of the compost pile. An odd candy taste, some kind of fruity flavor. Caramel and malt. Wintergreen and brake fluid in the nose. Plenty bitter but not overwhelming. Usual hop flavors don't seem to apply here. It is just really strange though not actually undrinkable. I keep thinking of camphor and something sweet for the cough.

Rather hot and tastes more alcoholic than expected from the abv. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Baron's Marketplace in San Diego.

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Photo of CaptainTripps
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: The beer poured a amber-ish/orange color that came with about 2 fingers of off white head. Left TONS of lacing down the glass.

S: Citrus hops with a slight hint of pine paired with a semi sweet caramel note. While most Imperial IPAs in this category have a bigger aroma, its not incredibly poor with this beer, but it leaves you expecting more.

T: The hops are very citrusy, but far from over the top. The hops are really mellow in this beer which is odd for the category. Behind the hops there is a good bready malt backbone. There is some alcohol in the flavor as well.

M: Average, can't really say more about it. Medium mouth feel, alcohol is there more then it should but not bad.

O: Average beer, but not bad, just average. Would have it again, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a hazy dark amber pour with 2 fingers of off white head which turned into a 1/8" for the rest of the glass. great lacing.

smells of pine, peaches, grapefruit, honey

malt heavy taste with a weird sour/bitter after taste. can't tell if my palate has been tampered with from previous iipas from tonight but it just feels off for some reason.. tastes a bit like burnt plastic. very bitter hops fill in for the backbone of the beer. dirt, burnt toffee, fermented grapefruit.

medium body, slightly creamy, well carbonated.

overall, this is a pretty weird iipa. everything is on par with the "book definition" of iipa, except for the taste.. it's just off.. i can't get down with that. not sure if this is an old bottle or if it's just the way this one is, but it tastes like old grapefruit or something.. just odd.

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Photo of cbarrett4
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

To summarize this beer: Good if it were a standard IPA, but an Imperial IPA??? Tastes like a standard IPA that they decided to re-brand and charge twice as much.

A - Looks like IPA, nice head, good color

S - Rather ordinary. Hops are prominent, not much else.

T - Lots of hops on the palate but not overly impressive.

M - Good texture but the tannins are rather light for an Imperial IPA.

D - Drinks okay. I am being hard on this beer because it's listed as an Imperial IPA.

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Photo of Thads324
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A : pours a deep orange that isn't see through. A small amount of white head dissipates quickly to just a ring on the edges.

S : a mellow hop with little bitterness. Orange peel and old apple core with a sweet malt backbone. The malt is similar to a German lager.

T : starts with a blend of biscuit malt and slightly sweet hop. Then a bitter blast hits the palate. The hop bitterness is full and lively. The hops are earthy and grassy, with a subtle citrus undertone. There is still that odd German lager malty taste and aroma that makes it less enjoyable.

M : a lively carbonation and lingering hop. Full and bitter. Probably the best part of the beer.

Not horrible but not great either. A lack of complexity and poorly blended hops make for a bitter but too harsh taste. The export flavor bugs me. Not a repeat buy.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 8.0% ABV, no date.

A - Slightly hazy golden amber in color, the pour is tall but very quiet and almost viscous. A one-finger off-white head rose up, then sank back down leaving little lace left over.

S - Pale malt extract is potent and syrupy in the aroma. It has a slight caramel sweetness to it with a miniscule hint of alcohol. The hops come in with a not-so-fresh aroma that's not very inviting. Notes of old fruit and plastic-like resin aren't exciting either.

T - Definitely plastic-resin in flavor, the fruitiness of the hops doesn't come through until after the swallow. Grainy malty sweetness in the back adds an alcohol flavor as well.

M - Medium-bodied and somewhat thick going down, it could use a little more carbonation but it's got a dry, bitter finish like it needs. The bitterness is almost a bit too much as it's 'teeth-hurting'. One of the more bitter beers in recent memory. Alcohol is evident through retro-nasal breathing.

D - Very bitter does not a good DIPA make. The hops seem very old and lack a strong freshness. The malts are grainy and not thought-out. It's a mess of a double IPA. Fresh hops with definition and direction would greatly help this. I like bitter bit I'll struggle to finish this one.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this single 12ozer from Harvest Fine Wine in West Hartford CT for $2.33. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

Semi-foggy amber brew gives an inch of light beige foam that settles to a thin layer and clusters of larger bubbles. Smell is syrupy with some dark fruits and mild hop. Taste starts with a fairly strong generic muddy bitter hop. The body is syrupy thick, too heavy for the style and not appealing. Like a thick amber ale with a bunch of muddy unappealing hop.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.14/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a medium soapy white head. Lots of spotty lace.

S: Fallen leaves, cilantro, bitter melon, fairly metallic/copper. Weird and not particularly inviting.

T: Fairly malty with some white grapefruit. Bitter with some boozy heat, hint of metal, but not as much as in the nose.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy, oily, slick.

D: I don't know. This would make a fairly solid IPA, but as a DIPA it just doesn't have enough oomph, so reviewing to style I've got to dock it for that. One of the least expensive DIPAs going, so it's got that going for it which is nice.

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Photo of GhostKidd956
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a duvel glass

Appearance - Dark Orange color with a slight amber look

Smell - Citrus Hops, piney,

Taste - Citrus hops, piney taste, orange peels, hops is forward in this taste, very well balanced

Mouthfeel -very pleased with the CO2 added to this beer

Overall - I could have used a little more hops in this beer since in fact it is a imperial IPA with means "double hops" but it is a very good beer mendocino has very good beers such as the american strong ale which they should be very proud of my personal fav. But this Imperial was cut a little bit short. maybe push the IBU levels in the brewing? guessing its aroung the 60's should be aroung the 80's and 90's

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Beertracker
3.21/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mendocino's Imperial IPA pours up with a nice effervescence that creates a low-moderate cream colored head that sits rather loosely atop the bright sunglow-deep golden body. The aroma is rather muted, as there's some staleness (oxidation) which greatly diminishes the more pleasant aspects (citrus, minty, piney) of the late addition hops. Grainy notes, toasted crackers & some light alcohol round out the nose. The flavor starts off with a some enjoyable graininess with some developing sweetness that gets completely underscored by a coarse bitterness that carries through to a rather harsh, bittersweet finish with a mineral/vitamin character that's unpleasant. This medium-full bodied strong ale has all the components of the style, but misses the quality mark. It's definitely worthy enough to have a pint, plus the point-of-sale price is nice!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Imperial IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.