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Imperial IPA - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

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214 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 214
Reviews: 101
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.73%
Wants: 6
Gots: 9 | 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 (31) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 214 | Reviews: 101
Photo of DrDemento456
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
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
3.84/5  rDev +7.6%
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
2.52/5  rDev -29.4%
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
4.09/5  rDev +14.6%
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
3.96/5  rDev +10.9%
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
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of malloyca
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange amber in color, with a thin, slightly off-white head that persists for quite a while in a small pint glass. Aromas of caramel malts and piney, citrusy hops with a floral element. A nicely balanced beer, with sweet caramel-toffee malt flavors offset by a dry, grapefruit citrus hop backbone. This is a easily drinkable medium-bodied beer. I did not think the alcohol was very apparent.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Photo of Tballz420
4.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a fairly dark copper color, medium amount of haze. Small white head leaves thick sheets of lace. The hop scents are bonerific. That goes for the taste as well. Nice light (comparatively) caramel malt, just completely dominated by some nasty ass bitter hops. Which completely sticks around in your mouth for quite a while after. A nice floral strain too, but that too is dominated by the bitterness. A bit of spice from the warming alcohol. Thinner-side of medium bodied, fairly wet. Very nice beer.

Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of thain709
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A darker copper body with a big two finger, creamy head...rocky retention which finally fell to a thin cap...sheets of lacing

S - A solid nose for a IIPA...strong, grapefruit and pine hops with a good dose of caramel malt

T - Again, pretty typical for a IIPA...the hops are the star of the show but to make sure they don't become overpowering there is a malt backbone to keep them in check...the hops start with a grapefruit flavor...the sweet caramel malts take over in the middle to balance things out...bitter, piney hops finish off the beer

M - Medium bodied...a tad resiny, dry and bitter...alcohol only showed after a bit of warming

D - I was surprised to see lower reviews for this beer...I found this to be pretty enjoyable...now it's nothing that blew my mind but it's nothing that sucked either...a nice beer to transition from a regular to a double IPA

Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +12%
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. .

Photo of ngeunit1
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber-orange color with a nice finger of white, foamy head. The head has okay retention and leaves behind a bit of lacing.

S - A mix of the strong hop aroma, which is a bit floral, and the smell of the sweet malts. Also, a touch of citrus aroma is mixed in.

T - Starts out sightly sweet, from the taste of the malts. Then the hops start to build up a bit and become stronger. Mixed in is some fruity/citrus taste. A touch unbalanced overall though. The finish is fairly dry, and bitter from the hops.

M - Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. The beer feels pretty crisp and pretty smooth, with the only downside being maybe a bit too much carbonation.

D - Fairly drinkable beer overall. The flavors are pretty solid overall, just a touch unbalanced. But overall the beer stays very crisp, smooth, and enjoyable.

Photo of bobhits
2.87/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Photo of avalon07
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a yellow color and a clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy, somewhat long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A different aroma for a DIPA: Hops, citrus, and what smelled like caramel.

T: Tasted of hops, lemon, malt, and caramel. This combination (especially the element mentioned) don't always work. This is a slightly uneven flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is one of those beers with some good qualities, but is too uneven. Not undrinkable, but not the best example of the style.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.08/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

Photo of SuperNova777
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 11/03/10

A:Pours a see thru orange color with a fingers worth of fluffy white head that has some
nice big bubbles on it, decent lacing is left down the glass

S:Nose picks up some nice citrus and piney hops that lead the way in for some caramel
and biscuit malts on the end.

T:Up front a foundation of hops is laid down to make way for the malt backbone in the
middle, on the backend a bite of citrus is left lingering on the tongue.

M:Good carbonation throughout with a solid body, palate is not left to moist with a small
lingering of alcohol

D:Pretty solid brew overall, balanced out but just enough to not take away from all the
hop action. Drink is easy going down with only a small hint of booze on the backend,
probably the best offering that I have had from Mendocino so far.

Photo of jsprain1
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a copper orange with a two finger white head and clinging lace.
S- Malty and caramel with some resiny hops. citrusy and zesty. balanced to be sure.
T- Quick caramel malt flavor, with just a bit of earthyness to it, followed by a lasting grapefruit and resin hop flavors. Slight alcohol twang.
M- Pretty sweet initially, finishes a bit dry. alcohol gains power with warming of beer.
D- A good, balanced iipa. There are more interesting ones, but it's a good representation of the style.

Photo of emmasdad
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle the other night at the Boulder Liquormart. Pours a medium orange color, with a bit tan foam on top. Aromas of earthy hops, light malt and orange zest. On the palate this one is medium bodied, lightly carbonated, flavors of orange, mango, light malt. A solid attempt, but ultimately a run of the mill IIPA.

Photo of BeerNinja007
3.13/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.48/5  rDev -30.5%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.61/5  rDev +1.1%
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.


Photo of jwinship83
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle picked up as a single for $2.50. drank from the samual adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out of the bottle an almost amber colored body with small cap of beige foam. the head doesnt last very long and leaves behind small circles of lacing.

S- the first thing that i notice are sweet caramel and toffee malts followed by a strong odor of pine and grapefruit hops.

T- pretty simple and basic. caramel malts start this one off and then comes a pretty strong blast of hops. lots of resiny pine and some grapefruit. the faintest hint of alcohol comes through at the end.

M- medium bodied with a high level of carbonation. sticky on the palate. a lingering bitter aftertaste.

D- back when they made their winter seasonal an IIPA and charged $7 a six pack i drank the heck out of it. this one seems a little better, but the change in price puts it out of my normal rotation. too many better options for $2.50 a bottle.

Photo of Beaver13
3.22/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a hazy copper orange with a medium pillowy head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts and melon with some biscuity toffee and fruity, slightly metallic hops.

The flavor is sweet biscuity malts with some fruits that leads to a big flavorless bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation and is a little watery.

Overall, I didn't really care for the flavor. It had good bitterness, but not much hop flavor. Plus it had a lot of biscuit notes which I don't really care for especially in an IIPA.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
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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Imperial IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 214 ratings.