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Imperial Stout - Mendocino Brewing Company

Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

154 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 154
Reviews: 73
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.51%

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: allboutbierge on 09-04-2010)
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Ratings: 154 | Reviews: 73 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mendocino Imperial Stout has a thin, tan head, a very dark, chocolate-brown appearance, and thin lacing left behind. The aroma is rich- deep, dark-roasted malt, a touch of anise, possible coffee, milk?, and some black cherry. The flavors are the same, with bitterness that is coming from the charred malt, rather than from hops. Mouthfeel is heavy and velvety, and Mendocino Imperial Stout finishes dessert like and sipable. Overall, this is the best beer I’ve had from Mendocino so far.


Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 12:59:44 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of tiltedglass

New York

4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Blind tasting (no visuals)--a really sharp, full taste, hard on the tongue but with overtones like a heady wine. Goes down too smooth for a high ABV brew. Some of the very best stout I've ever had, and I've had too many to count. But it's an Imperial brew for sure, not a Guinness easy-going breakfast replacement. Youzer! Sense the mixture of immediate taste (full) and the long lag on the followthrough (surprisingly complex and not bitter or out of balance). The other beers from this brewer do no especially inspire, but this is another beast altogether. I dare you to taste it blind, knowing nothing about who made it.

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2013 20:25:10 | More by tiltedglass
Photo of EgadBananas


4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours jet black, dark brown head of two fingers. Leaves some nice lacing. Aroma is roasty, hints of raisin, chocolate and light coffee. Taste starts of with a bit of chocolate raisins, cocoa powder, and roast, and char. Feels full bodied, chewy, rich and thick. Pleasantly drinkable, and all in all, I'm pleasantly surprised by how nice, tasty, and rich this is given my usual average opinion of Mendocino.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2013 00:19:05 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of JWearda


4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - pint glass poured from the bar tap

A - Jet black with a decent 1 finger brown head

S - Dark roasted malt. A bit of dark bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. Really deep roasted notes on this one.

T - Very roasty. Tons of dark, rich malts. Some coffee and dark bittersweet chocolate. A hint of toffee, molasses sweetness and some hops lurking around. Finishes pretty dry with a long bitter roasted malt and a bit of hops aftertaste.

M - Full bodied; thick and smooth. Mild carbonation.

O - Good drinkability for being 10% -- not boozy. Rich, thick, contemplating. An all around no thrills, but excellent imperial stout.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2013 20:33:44 | More by JWearda
Photo of thegodfather2701

North Carolina

4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-Pours nearly pitch black with a thin mocha colored head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S-dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malt, booze, and brown sugar

T-heavily roasted at first, then as it warms it opens up with flavors of dark chocolate, dark fruits, and alcohol.

M-A little thin for the style

D-very drinkable given its somewhat complex flavor

Overall, I was really impressed by this beer as I was not expecting much, but I must say I enjoyed it and would drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2013 20:06:45 | More by thegodfather2701
Photo of IchLiebeBier


3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark chestnut with medium beige head; excellent lacing

Smell: sweet; roasted malts; dried fruits; coffee; chocolate

Taste: Juicy malt on start; quickly hits with dried fruit and bitter grains; alcohol shows up in the mid; finishes slightly bitter, dry and full of chocolatey, bitter grains; coffee-like aftertaste. Not picking up much hop flavors

Mouthfeel: Creamy throughout with slightly viscous feel at the end

Remarks: Pretty excellent overall; a little bitter, but balanced pretty well throughout; complex profille

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2013 00:14:56 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of KajII

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a muddy ebony black with a slight ruby hue and a medium cocoa brown head that bordered between average and large, which did recede down to a nice thick film creating some fair runny lacing.

The aroma was of roasted dark bread malts, light floral hops and a meaty leathery yeast with notes of toffee, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit (raisons and prunes) and just a hint of licorice.

The taste was a roasty bitter sweet with hints of chocolate and toffee early on, progressing with a mild hoppy bitterness, a touch of fruit, a bold coffee presence, a bit of licorice and a noticeable alcohol tinge right at the end. The flavor lasted a very long time following the swallow with a bitter roasty alcohol taste left lingering for quite a while longer.

Mouthfeel was full in body and dry in texture with a good strong carbonation, which is kind of unusual in a stout.

Overall this was a unique Imperial Stout with a bitter sweet fruitiness and a bold roastiness, which worked very well together along with the smooth alcohol flavor making this an enjoyable brew to sip on....


Serving type: bottle

06-04-2013 15:35:35 | More by KajII
Photo of riversider76

New York

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a darkest of browns, with a thin lighter brown head. Good retention and some lacing. Aroma is of dark chocolate, coffee, and fruit. Body is rich with some carbonation. Taste is of coffee, and bittersweet chocolate up front with a malty fruit edge in the finish. really good!

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2013 23:44:57 | More by riversider76
Photo of dheacck11


3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is super dark brown. Scant mocha head that fades to nothingness in seconds. no lacing to speak of.

Nose is malty and boozy, with lots of dark fruit and some coffee and caramel notes.

Flavor is really quite powerful. Lots of dark fruit with raisin, dried fig, and dried cherry leading off. Followed by rich and biting dark chocolate, with a hint of slightly stale coffee. Booze is palatable, but not overpowering.

Mouth feel is medium to full, leaves a nice thick coating afterwards.

A nice imperial stout. Definitely worth a shot if you see it around. Not as complex and balanced as some of the big hitters, but solid.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2013 23:53:23 | More by dheacck11
Photo of CFHMagnet


3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured this one aggressively into a snifter. I got just a hint of head that disappeared before I could really get any read on it. It didn't even leave any real ring. No lacing tries to cling to the glass. Body is a deep dark brown.

There is a very pronounced head on this one. Dark fruit, caramel and toffee are very "loud" aromas, having been very noticeable as I poured. Roasted malt is present as well.

Dark fruit and roasted malt are up front. These transition into dark coffee, dark chocolate and hints of slightly over-roasted nuts. Booze comes in and plays around the flavors at the end. As the beer warms there is a hint of dark soda (similar to a Dr Depper or root beer) in the transition from dark fruit to dark chocolate/coffee.

This beer is heavy bodied. Carbonation is about average. The beer coats the mouth very thoroughly.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 18:36:48 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of barczar


3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black brown, with a foamy half inch milk chocolate head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving light sheets of lacing.

Dark cherries, prunes, and raisins open the aroma, with an underlying buttery toffee character and a hint of roasted malt and soy at the finish. Those esters really dominate. Chocolate surfaces as it warms.

Flavor reveals more roast malt character, with highlights of chocolate carrying into a charred malt, fairly bitter finish. Sherry notes combine with bruised cherries early, with a bit of phenol surfacing mid palate. There's some booze evident. Licorice and coffee emerge.

Body is on the light side, with low carbonation, a tad bit of astringency, and significant alcohol warmth.

The esters really dominate the initial flavor, and malt complexity is lacking. Phenols were a little offputting, and the finish was a bit bitter for my liking.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2013 01:01:26 | More by barczar
Photo of Brant


3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottom line up front: A solid imperial stout. Not as sweet as some of my other favorites, but still dang good. If you like more smoke than sweet, you'll be happy with this one.

A - Pitch black, like engine oil that's been in your car 3,000 miles too long. Head a nice caramel color.

S - Kind of a woodsy, coffee smell with sweet pumpernickel undertones. Smells like, well, a typical imperial stout for the most part.

T - Starts of with a punch of strong, slightly bitter coffee -- almost tangy or tart, but not overly -- then gets sweet for a few seconds before fading to smokey earthiness. Again, not as sweet as I like them, but that's just my personal preference. You won't have any issue with the taste if you like the smokier porters/stouts.

M - I really enjoyed the feel of the stuff. Smooth and creamy, "soft", really.

O - Easily recommendable. Looks good, smells good, feels good, tastes good. If you're like me and you like the really chewy sweet stouts, this will miss the mark -- but only slightly.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 23:02:34 | More by Brant
Photo of troysoy2


4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. A small-bubbled brown head gives way to decent lacing and a nearly pitch black body. Retention is okay.

The smell is of dark stone fruits and smoky, roasted malt. A slight sweetness comes through.

A nice, full bodied taste. Progresses from stone fruit and bitter chocolate on the front to mild smokiness, then dry roasted malt on the finish. The roast almost has a tanginess to it. This might go well with some barbecue. Hmm. The mouthfeel is a little on the light, effervescent side as far as stouts go, but it works for this beer.

Very nice job by Mendocino, and something I might look into getting again.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2012 05:29:05 | More by troysoy2
Photo of Dope


3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No date that I can discern but bottle is at least 2 years old.

A: Pours pitch black with a big effervescent medium brown head. Fades slowly, leaving some pretty nice lacing behind.

S: Lots of chocolate and coffee and some hints of dark fruit.

T: Chocolate and coffee up front. Fades into a nice char and dark fruit mixture (prunes and cherry) along with some really bitter chocolate. Some smokiness mixes in in the finish as well.

M: Heavy, smooth and creamy.

O: Not bad with a little age on it. Smooth and mellow and creamy for sure. Very drinkable. Lots of roasted malt and not much else. Odd bit of smokiness was a bit detracting for me mainly because I'm not a fan of smoked beers, but it was still plenty tolerable.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2012 05:23:09 | More by Dope
Photo of Brewmaster_Rick


4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

MASSIVE chocolate and coffee notes, hints of charcoal. Heavy body, almost oily. Dark tan head, creamy. Damn well a beer you can dip a cigar in. Moderate bitterness for balance. Would go great over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heavy, complex, near-perfection. One of my favorite imperial stouts for sure.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2012 18:31:28 | More by Brewmaster_Rick
Photo of tobelerone


3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the opportunity to try pretty much all the Mendocino beers on either tap at the brewery or in bottles recently and this was the best of the lot, which is unfortunately damning with faint praise. This is by no means an excellent imperial stout but it’s certainly a serviceable and drinkable one.

Looks pretty good: thick and dark black with a small tan head that settles slowly and some clingy lace. Heavily roasty, almost burnt aroma with sweet molasses, anise, and chocolate notes. The flavor has a bit of a soy aspect but it’s not too heavy or distracting. Again it’s quite charred tasting with decent molasses and burnt sugar sweetness, some anise, dark chocolate, raisins, and a hint of piney hops on the back end.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation; could use a little more heft; feels decent but not very smooth or creamy. Not something you’d go and seek out necessarily but a drinkable imperial stout that’s a step above the pretty mediocre beer this brewery normally cranks out.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 04:39:38 | More by tobelerone
Photo of LXIXME

New Mexico

4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from about an inch above the glass gives this stout a big light brown head that settles into a pretty nice lacing above a clear dark brown to black colored imperial.

Aroma consists of that dark black licorice, that I used to love as a kid, blended very well with dark hardy fruits such as prunes and/or apricots with some dark roasted malts sneaking there way in there.

Dark roasted malts, light alcohol, dark fruits, Hershey's special dark chocolate combine to make a pretty good imperial stout taste.

A full bodied beer with a dry aftertaste with some of the lingering rich dark malts staying around to entice you to take another drink.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 22:41:31 | More by LXIXME
Photo of drpimento


3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured at a good temperature with a large, tan, foamy, frothy, thick head that settles after a bit and some lace. Color, with aid of my trusty iPhone flashlight, appears to an almost opaque, but clear, very dark, almost black ruby red. Aroma is malt, roast, burnt, toffee, old coffee, cocoa. Flavor's like nose, fairly dry, and bitter, a little carbonic tang and also a little salt. Body is creamy & decent except for some clashing high points from salt, burnt bitter. Finish is like flavor, good length, a bit boozy, and one is enough.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2012 01:51:21 | More by drpimento
Photo of Heavenisbeer


4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


A: Perfect. The deepest opaque hues of brown, with a toffee tinged pillow of a head. Three solid fingers, laying down to a dense 3 cms of gorgeous foam. The lacing stays put to the last drop.

S: Dark fruit forward; more so than any stout I've tried. Dark prunes, raisins, and plums plunge quickly into dark chocolate, toffee, and Breyer's Vanilla. The nose mellows, as sweet milk chocolate and fermented sugars take a bow.

T: Bold sweet chocolate takes the lead, as roasted malts, boozy bursts, and a slight char populate the middle. The finish is dry and hopped up.

M: Medium-bodied Imperial Stout, with a dry boozy undertone, and a grassy hop finish.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2012 03:21:08 | More by Heavenisbeer
Photo of jdense


3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12. oz. bottle purchased in Boise, shared with beer buddy in The Big Feb 2012.

One finger rolling Guinness like head medium brown, fast dissipation with uneven layer of head retained. Some chocolate in the nose, more nibs than dark, roast becomes more assertive once it warms, light citrus hops. The roast is more prevalent than chocolate and hops are muted at best. Mouthfeel medium, decent effervescence, ABV well hidden. A decent non-barrel aged RIS though lacks depth of flavor, drinkability helps overall score.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2012 16:35:05 | More by jdense
Photo of IKR


3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very dark brown with a modest-sized medium beige head that faded fairly quickly.

Smell: Predominately coffee/roast malt notes. maybe a touch of brown sugar notes.

Taste: Primarily roasted malt notes for the most part, with maybe a hint of brown sugar from the nose. The beer finishes dry with some slight astringency. The alcohol presence is subtle for the ABV.

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation for the style.

Overall: Not bad, especially considering the price but not a mind blower.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 23:50:13 | More by IKR
Photo of TheSixthRing


4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a black with subtle brown hue. The mocha colored head thickens to a finger or two, and hangs around for a bit. The lacing is impressively thick and sticky.

Smell - Classic Imperial stout smells here. Alcohol and chocolate, overpowering a faint coffee aroma. Sweet caramel cuts through. Nice smelling beer.

Taste - Aggressive flavor, as is common with an imperial. A lot of chocolate and coffee dark roasted malt, brought in balance by sweet caramel notes.

Moutfeel - Thick, almost syrup-like body, with a good amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is certainly on point for an imperial.

Overall - This is a solid Imperial Stout. Thick and aggressive. Mendocino should be proud.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 03:14:10 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of barnzy78


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, pours jet black with a thin brown head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass. Aromas are bold with dark cocoa, coffee, and anise. Tastes are bold also: espresso, dark chocolate, roasted barley, and anise with a pungent hop finish leaving the palate rather dry and acidic, reminiscent of reduced balsamic vinegar. Alcohol is non-existent. Mouth-feel is full bodied, but the dry acidity takes away from the overall feel. Overall, this seems to be all over the place as far as qualities go. Has some strong points, but has some weaknesses also. Recommendable for a try, but there are better, more balanced RIS's out there.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2012 04:00:39 | More by barnzy78
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Jet black and a thick, cough syrup-cherry cola head on it 1.5" in depth, dense bubble structure, was so close to getting a perfect 5, it only needed a kickass lace job, instead, it was merely good. Aroma was roasty, a tad astringent. Was kinda expecting some dark fruit, chocolate or sweet aromas, but they weren't really there.

Taste, a substantial beer, the alcohol is there but isn't confrontational or oppressive, you can get through it pretty well. Really would think this could have a little more sugar or something sweet to help it along. I guess if you're looking for a 10% imperial stout for less than 10$ a 4pack, this is a good choice, and isn't going to have all kinds of confusing nuances for people. I mean, this is a way better deal than Darkness, it just doesn't have all the bells and whistles.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 20:51:16 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of righthereisay


3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tervis tumbler mug.

Smell: Wow, very intense. Most intense smell of any "beer" I've ever had. Dark fruits, kind of like a dark belgium. Not like other imperial stouts.

Pours black, with little a dark brown head that stays for about 1 minute. Rather thick in my opinion.

Taste: Hmm. Dark chocolate, dark fruits, nice roasted malts, with a mild bitter finish.

This beer actually hurt my throat a little. Maybe that is the alcohol (which you cannot taste). This could give you heart burn.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 20:32:07 | More by righthereisay
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Imperial Stout from Mendocino Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 154 ratings.