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Imperial IPA - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

208 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 208
Reviews: 99
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.41%
Wants: 6
Gots: 7 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Zorro on 07-03-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 208 | Reviews: 99 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chocosushi
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

4-pack bottles purchased by a very good friend
12oz -> Fuller's Pint

A ~ Copper. Good Lacing that's not too sticky. Can see through it.

S ~ Moss, Wet leaves, and some hops. Not getting alot through the nose really.

T ~ Very balanced with Malt notes and hops moving in and out of eachother. Some wet earth flavors, but Not getting the "wet hop" flavor that i usually get with IIPAs. Alcohol is present after it warms a bit.

M ~ Pretty good. Not too astringent. Has a toastiness that would be a choice winter beer.

D ~ With the few flaws I found this is Very drinkable.
i feel like Mendocino should just say "forget it" with the whole 4-pack imperial series and just do sixers of this one.


Photo of generalnotsew
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour produced a nice 1 finger off white head. Body is a very rich dark amber coloring. Color is classic to the style. Smell is very earth, piney, resiney, woody hops. Also a touch of grapefruit. Borderline barleywine on smell. Initial taste is quite bitter with dirty earthy hops. A touch of caramel sweetness on the backend. Only downside is the bitterness is a tad medicinal. But one thing I have learned from that is that you will begin to like it after the second one. I learned this from Hopsickle. It is closely breaking into barleywine territory. Mouthfeel is very slick and oily with carbonation that is not overbearing. I had been apprehensive to try their stuff because I thought they were low brow. But they actually can brew up a solid IPA.

Photo of whatthehull
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted April 28th 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a La Chouffe tulip

A - blood orange and a bit cloudy. 2 finger light tan head and some serious lacing

S - super malty, toasted, sweet and a bit sour. Citrus, floral hops. Love the toasted caramel. A bit of citrus and maybe a tropical or passion fruit. Lots of wheat and yeast

T - toasted, barley, wheat, yeast, floral and citrus hops, some sweet element like sugar, molasses or caramel. Lots of alcohol flavor, it's nice

M - a bit chewy, nice acidity, long finish and nicely balanced

D - drinks like a west coast non imperial IPA. The alcohol taste is there but the 8% is perfect

Final thought - pick this one up

Photo of jacobseyb
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the bottle a deep orangish copper color with a white head of about two fingers that lingers well and laces the glass some. Initial aroma is malty sweetness and disguises the hoppiness of the beer very well. Taste follows with very bitter flavors, some pine, and a nicely balanced malt sweetness follow. Feel is moderately heavy bodied with a generous carbonation bite on the finish. Overall a good example of the Imperial IPA, it fits within the style, yet also shows the range of maltiness that is sometimes evident.

Photo of raszputini
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown with a reddish tint. White very foamy head that lingers. Nice lacing. Taste surprised me. Not as hoppy as anticipated. Starts with a malty breadiness and then a bitter hop finish. Not citrusy or flowery. That said, I still enjoyed it. The maltiness was interesting. This is the third in the Mendocino Imperial Series I've had, and I enjoyed this much more than the stout and barleywine.

Photo of gatornation
2.83/5  rDev -20.9%
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

Photo of Thads324
3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Photo of TheSignPost
2.65/5  rDev -26%
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.

Photo of FanofHefe
2.9/5  rDev -19%
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.

Photo of MrTopher
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into Duvel Tulip.

A: A dark golden color, almost like honey oak, decent visibility w/o any floaties. Head was thin, maybe about ½ an inch that disappeared rather quickly. The foam also doesn't cling to the sides as you drink it.

S: There is a good balance of hop and malt to the smell of this beer, is almost in between an IPA and a DIPA. There is caramel malt sent, and mostly citrus and resin hop smell.

T: Taste as it smells, this is a more balances DIPA, it's not a west coast DIPA (Ruination, PtE, etc.). The flavor of this beer reminds me a lot of a DFH 90 minute, there is a good ballet of hops and malt. The malt is smooth while the hops (mostly citrus) give it that slight bitterness.

M: Good carbonation, but the malt makes this less dry and a little thicker to the taste. Still a good presentation.

D: This could be a once in awhile DIPA, not something I would have all the time, but a little variety. Would be interesting to do a blind taste test between this and DFH 90min and see which is which because they are so similar. Also I believe this is an under the radar DIPA that is brewed on the west coast but has an east coast feel and flavor.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.15/5  rDev -12%
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.

Photo of HopDiggityDawg
2.58/5  rDev -27.9%
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

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy copper with golden edgings and a light, three-finger thick, off white head that leaves behind full layers of lacing.

Aromas of citrus (tangerine and lemon zest), toffee and hop resins.

Taste is well balanced between the citrus hops up front, toffee sweetness and light toasted malts in the middle and a grassy bitterness at the end. An alcohol astringency is throughout, but not overwhelming.

Thin to medium mouthfeel, slightly sticky and high carbonation.

Was expecting more hops in this one, but it is still a well balanced, moderate Imperial IPA.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours a lightly clouded red-orange color with a finger of frothy, dirty-white colored head that holds and laces well.

S: Strong caramel maltiness, slightly subdued citrus, breadiness, and resiny hoppiness. It turns more to the citrusy hops as it warms.

T: Grapefruit, lemon zest, sweet caramel, intense resiny bitterness, rye, and some sweet berries at the end.

M: It has a medium-thick body with adequate carbonation and a silky-smooth finish.

D: It isn't the hop bomb that I envisioned with it being from the west coast but it was quite enjoyable.

Photo of Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of mattcrill
2.48/5  rDev -30.7%
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.

Photo of Beertracker
3.2/5  rDev -10.6%
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

Photo of goodbyeohio
2.25/5  rDev -37.2%
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

Photo of DrDemento456
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice hazy amber with a hefty inch of head that turns to a light lace ring.

S - Ugh. Pine hops. Still it does seem to have a nice malt and yeast background. Giving it a chance

T - Not really impressed but glad to try only one and not an entire case. Starts off moderately hoppy with heavy pine and slight citrus yet no bitterness. The bitterness is covered by a yeast like malt that almost has a sort of sweet side. finishes rather good with little to no ABV bite. Drinkable.

M - Medium. I did find it more smooth bodied than 90 min IPA.

D - Overall I wouldn't consider a case since it runs about 46 but overall a decent rep of the style. Can't get over the yeast like malt smell as I take a sip. Kind of off putting but it does drink well. Damn west coast hops... Confused...

Photo of stephens101
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Resplendent red with a pale orange core to light. A fat finger of dense and bubbly head sits for a while. A thick and unbroken lace is left all around.

Moderate malts and medium floral hops to the nose. A squirt of citrus flies in the middle. Big piny hops to the tongue with a yeasty middle and fairly dry finish with a little chalkiness in the aftertaste. Not much malt sweetness, but a nice fruity middle to balance. Alcohol heat pinches the back of the throat, but a good amount of carbonation keeps it all flowing nicely.

Went through a period of not being overly excited with west coast IPA's, and kind of felt pummeled by em', but this one is drawing me back in. Welcome to Oklahoma Mendocino IIPA.

Photo of mklinger
2.48/5  rDev -30.7%
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.

Photo of otersen73
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep murky copper color in a pint glass. Descent head retention with good belgian lace.

Exceptional aromas...huge caramel malt backed by fruity esters.

Big malt profile up front, well balanced with hop bitterness, although, some off flavors poke through. Not sure about the choice of hops for this brew.

Chewy mouth feel.

I'd have another one, if someone got it for me.;)

Photo of brewskier
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured moderately hard into a pint glass. Evenly speckled tan foam leaves great thick, even lacing. The beer is a slightly hazy medium golden amber, a deep straw color. Several lines of effervescence trail upwards through it.

A nice fairly mellow pine aroma from the hops, as well as fainter citrus and even more slight floral notes. I'd expect a bigger scent from an Imperial, but what's there is pleasant enough.

This beer is certainly not lacking in the flavor department, however. Surprisingly, a hefty toasted malt backbone stands up those hops cold in their tracks, and there is a bit of back and forth between that grainy sweetness and a big evergreen bitterness, like two opposing linemen. There is almost a biscuity note towards the latter part of the sip, but then the aftertaste finally asserts that this is indeed a bitter beer. Nice complexity, but there are other hop profiles that I would take over this one.

Mouthfeel is spot-on. None of the syrupy gooiness of some DIPAs, but tons of body and a pleasant fizz on the palate.

Drinkability is quite high due to a seemingly manageable alcohol presence (can barely taste it at all), excellent balance, and quaffable mouthfeel.

Photo of tchenery
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a rich ruby/orange hue with a very slight off-white head. It dissipated quickly but the beer does show signs of light carbonation.

It smells very very malty with a bit of alcohol bite and juicy fruit. There definitely appears to be a load of hops in here and the original smell reminds me of some English Barleywines.

Very dry bitter taste up front. It's almost puckering. The bitter stays with it all the way through to the aftertaste but in between are a bunch of pine flavors, earthy wood flavors, some smoke, and floral hops. Very boozy and slightly wine-like.

This is a huge beer and it has a huge mouthfeel. I almost think it's more suited for barleywine status, but the hops keep it in the Imperial IPA category.

Drinkability is high for an Imperial, but it's still definitely a sipper.

Imperial IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 208 ratings.