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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.
View: Beers (36) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 100 | Hads: 217
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer for what it is but it's a bit rough around the edges in my opinion.

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Photo of metter98
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is hazy copper in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly died down and left lacing covering the surface and the edges of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel malts and grapefruit hops in the nose. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is evenly balanced between flavors of caramel and grapefruit. Only a slight amount of bitterness is present and notes of alcohol are perceptible in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, chewy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a slow sipper because the flavor is very malty (it isn’t balanced off that much with bitterness from the hops) and the taste of alcohol is present.

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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 BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Resiny, citrusy, and earthy/grainy, Mendocino Brewing does a great job of capturing a malty flavor to balance the hops without allowing the malty-sweet weight to interfere.

A hazy, deep copper-deep amber color adorns the tulip while sticky lace climbs up the glass. Obviously the great rocky head formation and stubborn retention of eggshell white foam are prerequisites.

Malty rich aromas give the impression of deeply caramelized barley malts but avoiding toast, thus promoting a bread crust savory sweetness. But the hops are quickly countered by sharp hop flavors of citrus zest, ruby red grapefruits, and resiny bitterness. Pungent maltiness gives the impressions of rye malt or everso peated malts- flavorful but earthy. Alcoholic bitter flavors intensify the hop bitterness and gives an acetone taste.

The mouthfeel starts very creamy and somewhat heavy, but the sweetnes falls off quickly, allowing for a malty-dry mid palate. But the malts continue its fleeting texture as the hop dryness and alcohol warmth gain intensity- leading to a crisp and clean finish even if with a mild resiny sticky-dry bitterness.

It seems like I've written hundreds of IPA reviews that read the same way this one has. Though this is a delightful beer, there's little that separates it from many other well made Double IPA's.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazy light amber colr. Nice carbonation was evident right away as it bubbled up towards the surface. A good two inches of head then came up and capped the topped, only dropping slightly and depositing significarnt side glass lace,

The aroma was a hop heads dreams. Harsh, bitter, floral hops. Lots of grapefruit and strong pine notes, rich and fresh with tons of resin at the front of it. The flavor was more of the same. Damaging to the taste buds this was huge, Lots of rich pine flavors, pineapple, grapefruit, soem lght orange

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tumbler.

Another offering in my mini Mendocino tasting this afternoon. It pours a clear sunrise amber topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, lots o' ruby red grapefruit, a touch of pine resin, and a hint of mint (he-he, that rhymes...). The taste brings in more of the same, with the grapefruit and the caramel really combining and intertwining nicely. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a pretty dry finish. Overall, a pretty solid DIPA, one that doesn't try to o'erwhelm tastebuds with hops, but rather pumps plenty of hoppy flavor in with pleasantly sweet caramel sidekicks. Always nice to find an easy-going DIPA.

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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 Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Thirsty's in York, PA. consumed chilled in a willybecker from the 12oz brown bottle w/out freshness date.

A deep amber bordering on copper with hazed appearance and 1/2 inch of light beige cap w/ tight bead and waves of lace that pixelate the glass. The IPA smells of piney hops with some worty malt and a mild fragrance of fruit from the yeast ester. The feel is average to me, moderate bitter entry with slightly long lasting astringency and moderate carbonation w/ semi-dry finish.

The taste has pretty smooth hop bitterness which I expect more from a standard IPA with slight tangy taste and mild grassy tinged and slightly acidic character. The bitterness creeps in and overwhelms the hop flavors but the malt which has a caramel accent keeps pace. There is a mildly lemony aspirin-like astringency that doesn't quit wiht light yeast and vegetal elements w/ mild alcohol in the finish. I found this above average in most every way, but nothing really sets it apart, maybe I am being to generous...but it is not seriously flawed, just doesn't fit my personal taste for this style. I think it does lack some dimension and complexity with a sweetness level I don't prefer, but for your 'average' Imperial IPA it isn't bad.

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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 smcolw
3.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick, minute bubbled head that settles in a rocky fashion. A cross between a blanket of lace and ring lace. The brew is cloudy with brownish-amber color.

Syrupy rich malt aroma. Alcohol is also quite present. For the style, I would say the hop is muted.

Creamy, high alcohol, malty on the first impression. The hop bitterness continues to be far below expectations. Carbonation is high, but the body is chewy. The aftertaste has an alcohol element to it--short lived, though.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip, no idea on the age of the bottle. Pours slightly hazy brick red color with a dense 2 finger off white head with fantastic retention that eventually reduces to a thin lacing cap. Aromas of big caramel, pine resin, orange, a bit of spices, and a bit of alcohol. Seems like there is a lot of sweetness in these aromas, decent stuff though. Taste of tons of caramel, pine, orange, spices; with light grapefruit and a bit of pineapple. Tons of sweetness on the taste and finish; but there still is a decently strong bitterness that shows up after the finish to balance out the sweetness, and lingers for a good period of time. Some lingering notes of pine, spices, caramel, and citrus on the finish as well. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied. Fairly syrupy mouthfeel, but still manages to be quite drinkable despite the alcohol level. Alcohol is nicely hidden; nothing but a slight warming after the finish. Overall, despite this being quite malty, it is surprisingly delicious stuff; I definitely enjoyed it.

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Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served in standard pint glass

A - clear or hazy amber, with off-white head. Head has good retention. Trace of sediment in bottom of bottle (added to my beer, of course).

Mouthfeel: creamy and full, but with some dryness towards the finish. smooth; medium body and carbonation

S - Resinous and citrusy hops, but a bit subtle compared to the bold taste. {A more recent Nov. 2011 sample had a bolder, more citrusy aroma}. A bit earthy with hints of herbs and baked bread.

T - citrusy hops with traces of orange. Rather complex hop mix but perhaps not quite as hoppy as expected for an Amer. imperial or double IPA. Significant levels of sweet and caramel malt to balance the bitter hops. Only moderately bitter and hoppy after-taste. 8% ABV is largely hidden.

O - A very well-crafted DIPA. Boldly flavored, yet an excellent sipper that is refreshing and not challenging or overly aggressive. .

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Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Three Floyds glass because I'm striking out on glassware today. Beer is dark amber and completely hazy, thin white head, small bubbles, lots of lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, earthy and a little piny.

Beer is heavy and malt forward, not horrible but also not a great IPA. Hides the alcohol well, but the malt cuts through leaving only this mild earthiness / piny quality behind on almost no bitterness. Not a repeat for me.

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Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark golden/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a really nice malt aroma that boasts of pale, bisquit, and caramel malts. The hop aroma is moderately bitter with a piney character. The taste is good as well. It has a well balanced flavor that's bitter as hell up front with a solid, complex malt base. It's not your typical west coast DIPA. It is however a damn fine east coast variety. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine DIPA. I'm a huge fan of the malt character. The caramel and bisquit malts meld nicely with the piney hop notes.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by matt9875. Thanks Matt!

A: This beer appears orange in color, with a slight haziness about it. The head is off white, and measures in at around a half inch thick.

S: The aroma is of hops and alcohol.

T: A decent tasting brew, with a balance between hops and malt. Not overly hop forward or bold in terms of aroma or flavor, this is a relatively straightforward, balanced version of the style. While not particularly unique and/or exciting, it's still an enjoyable brew.

M: Medium bodied, with some bitterness, adequate carbonation and a warming alcohol finish.

D: Decent beer. I would drink it again.

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Photo of tdm168
4.47/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with a hint of orange. There's a thin lacing of white head that's soft and has good retention. The nose is bready and sweet with some underlying baked apple notes. The flavor opens up with a malt forward, bready, sweet, birthday cake character and then blends into a citrusy, grapefruit, pineapple hop character that is slightly bitter in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and smooth with decent carbonation.

This is a solid beer. It has good flavor and body. It's balanced, smooth, drinkable, flavorful. This is a nice West Coast IPA.

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle that came in a $9.99 four pack. I see no freshness info.

Pours typical almond amber, moderate haze. Frothy lite mocha head, stays @ 1/4 inch and leaves better then respectable fine lace.

Pine resin nose with some underlying malt.

Hopped up DIPA, resin, pine, gritty hop notes. Big and bold. East coast style...dont let the name fool you, this stuff is brewed in NY state.

Pleasant in the mouth with ample carbonation.

Solid effort, not spectacular, but a quality brew in all respects.

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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 Stinkypuss
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Imperial IPA
Mendocino Brewing Company
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.00 %

LOOK: Bright copper orange, soapy well retaining head. Plenty of lace clinging to the glass.

SMELL: Earthy hops, caramel, pine, strong tea.

TASTE: Resinous and bitter, high alpha hops running the show. Grapefruit zest, pine, herb, and earthy at that. Sweet malt character, honey, caramel and a light tang. A little alcohol flavor, finishes with a lingering bitterness.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated. Semi dry, with a hop bite in the finish.

OVERALL: Solid for the price, alcohol and decent flavor. There is a strong hop character, and a very nice feel to this beer. A serviceable and readily available "imperial" IPA that gets the job done.

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Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear amber colored ale that lies in the shades often called "IPA Orange." Small tan colored head.

Smells strong and hoppy with pine being the strongest scent. Wood and citrus are strongly present. Strong hops but just not many subtleties here.

Starts out Strong citrus with a woody aftertaste. Stout bitterness but there is enough malt to tame it down. Malt is present a little brown sugar to it. Good strong IPA taste but nothing unusual or notable about it.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is good. Not an outstanding IIPA but a decent one.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a deep orangish gold color with good carbonation and a dirty white head. Looked good.

S: Some hops, grain, musty

T: Has some caramel, floral and citrus, grains

M: Sordove blah but not bad, just uninteresting with some hop bitterness on the end

D: Average these days

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz from Brewforia... Poured into my Old Guardian goblet... Pretty attractive off white 1" head ... fantastic retention and lacing atop a clear orange brew.

Nose shows pithy citrus zest and some biscuit type maltiness... not very multidimensional.

Flavor has a nice bitter bite to it with an almost immediate toasty malt presence that isn't sweet.. just toasty.. Hops are citrusy... with a bit of floral qualities and sorta resinous pine on the finish.... I guess it is good, but I would have liked a bit more hop flavor mid palate.

Body is a pretty solid medium for the style and the carbonation is small bubble and on the lite side.

Okay... I will probably buy it again if the price is right.


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Photo of Bighuge
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dulled copper body. Hazy and murky. Thin off white head leaves minimal lace. The aroma of this DIPA is the opposite of bright. It's dank, dark, earthy and murky. Dulled base malts support the umbra of aromas. The flavor is where this beer comes to life a little. Still not bright by any means, but DIPAs can be very good without being bright. This one is just good though. Resin dripping hop flavors and vegetal and cannabis like. Malt support is more than sufficient. Bitterness is fairly abrasive and lingers nicely.

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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 TurdFurgison
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this poured from a bottle at the Mendocino tasting room, where all of their beers are FREE. Unbelievable, free beer every day!

This pours a hazy amber-hued orange with a thick and creamy, solid loooking wet foam cap. It couldn't look better, perfect 5 for appearance.

The smell is less to my liking, lots of malty balance making this smell like a light American barleywine. Toasty and caramelly, but the hops counter with citrus and resin character. Interesting aroma, I like it but don't love it. DIPA styles run a wide track, this just happens to not be on my preferred side but some will like it.

Pretty much same with the taste, lots of caramel malt but equal amounts of grapefruit and better things. At least the alcohol isn't too apparent, there definitely aren't any off flavors.

Creamy mouthfeel, a bit thick, very easy to drink.

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