Imperial Stout - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

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BA SCORE
87
very good

79 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 79
Hads: 177
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 5.88%
Wants: 9
Gots: 16 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: allboutbierge on 09-04-2010

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 79 | Hads: 177
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick opaque black with a 1 inch puffy dark khaki head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, dark fruits, cocoa powder, and some slight coffee bean aromas. The smell becomes much more cocoa and cinnamon-like as the beer warms. Taste is of dark roasted malt, bitter cocoa, and coffee beans. A nice roasty bitterness sticks around after each sip. This beer has a nice level of carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS that is somewhat surprising. I haven't really been impressed with other Mendocino offerings in the past but this is a solid effort for the style at a pretty good price. (727 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark brown, essentially black with a big full three finger high head of tan colored foamy lace on top.

chocolate, deep dark chocolate with lots of hints of sweetness, lactose sugar perhaps, maybe a touch of vanilla.
nice deep chocolate notes with hints of vanilla and coffee beans laced in throughout. Most of the alcohol has long mellowed out by now and really all that remains of it was some tiny traces down through the middle. Very nice earthy roasted malts swirling around in the back giving it much depth and a great profile. (534 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, one-finger head of light brown foam. It had thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled roasty with notes of chocolate, toffee and caramel.

T - It tasted of chocolate, toffee and some sweet caramel notes. It had a good roasted character with some bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is an okay RIS. Not the best that I've ever had but it was worth a try. (478 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured jet black,even when held to the light nothing came thru,a thinner tannish colored head atop that held pretty well.Deep char and coffee roast in the nose,a mix of dark fruit and a tinge of vanilla provided sweetness along with light sweet alcohol as it warmed.A tad thin but quite smooth in the feel,heavy roast flavors with dark fruit flavors,the roasted coffee flavors are the dominant flavor trait.A solid RIS,not as sweet as many,but not as complex as many either. (474 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.49 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Displays a black body with an official inch of dark khaki-colored head with some slight creaminess evident.

Smell: Charred, roasted malts tossed with moist citrus peels, pine chips, licorice twists, and baker's chocolate chunks. Ashen coffee and dark fruits come secondary, and a bit of sweetish caramel falls last in terms of effusiveness.

Taste: Roasty-toned and bittersweet chocolate tasting malts at the opening with a bit of caramel perking up as the roastiness levels out. Medium sweetness. A cup of cafe americano spiked with a sneaky little pinch of licorice. Lightly underlying woodsy character precludes hop tastes of citrus and modest pine with a moderate bitterness cutting through the malts and sweetness, though it is ultimately aided by the charry roastiness. Sip of red currant juice somebody flicked a cigarette butt into. Roasty finish with some alcohol warmth that grows fruitier as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: It's decent, it's drinkable, but with more and more breweries pumping out more and more beers, does that really even cut it anymore? Maybe, maybe not. (1,218 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.14/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

My first Mendocino Imperial anything. Probably the first of a few... It pours a straight obsidian topped by a finger of light-ish brown foam. The nose comprises buttery biscuits, light char, rubber, black coffee, roasted malts, and I think there's some molasses way in the back there. Things are dominated by the biscuits, though, which comes off as rather strange to me. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, light coffee, charcoal, light bitter dark chocolate, and a touch of buttery toffee. The body is a soft medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, an okay impy stout at best, one that smells off, tastes decent, and feels too light and fluffy. I'd pass on this one, given a second chance. (767 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
4.42/5  rDev +13%
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. (648 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.16/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears pitch black large tan head fine even lacing. Aroma has some dark hoppy contents pine citrus dark chocolate moccha notes. Flavor is a bit harsh dark acrid black roasted malts. Harsh bitterness dark fruits hints of butterscotch that don't meld very well. Finish is rediculous with a harsh unbalanced bitterness, some hops come through pine/citrus/herbal that don't work well with the whole experience. Mouthfeel is cloying from front to back, I'm not really feelin this dark beer. Carbonation is unrelenting, on the high end fo the style becomes a bit cloying especially as this warms up a bit. Drinkability, after a second bottle I had on hand I revisited not as horrible as my first gut reaction was, a decent impy stout that just wasn't meshing for me on mouthfeel and flavor the clashing of the sweet sided traditional dark fruits more of a west coast hop profile coming through for me. (896 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours brown tinged black; opaque with a thin tan head (despite a rather vigorous pour) that has moderate retention but leaves little lacing.

S - Dark roasted malts, of course; hints of coffee and chocolate, not unexpected; but a surprise: dark fruits, mainly figs, are quite pronounced. High ABV rather hidden, at least before warming.

T (3.8) - Strong dark roasted malt flavor, with some burnt tinge and a touch of smokiness; spicy hops are also obvious here; more than expected. Hints of dark fruits (although less obvious than in the nose), dark chocolate and coffee, with the coffee coming clearly in the finish and aftertaste. A trace of dryness and hops in the finish. High ABV is well hidden.

M - Full bodied; with suitable carbonation.

O - Almost too rich, but a good sipper with well-hidden alcohol.

(light revision with new bottle in July 2013). (866 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by matt9875. Thanks Matt!

A: This beer has a really top notch appearance. It's jet black, with a dense, half inch of beige head that leaves plenty of lacing in its wake.

S: The aroma is primarily of roasted malt, with hints of coffee and chocolate.

T: The beer tastes of heavy roasted malt, with some bitter coffee flavor near the back end. Subtle chocolate sneaks in just a tad, but the roasted malt is very forward in this brew.

M: Medium in body, with 10% alcohol content hidden very well.

D: A good stout that I would drink again. (553 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a pale beige head that's tightly beaded and even a little creamy. A little bit of sloppy lacing. Lots of dry licorice up front in the nose, followed by some mellow roastiness and a bit of a vinous note. The taste is quite dry as well, and it's a harmonious blend of licorice, smooth roastiness, a bit of bitter chocolate and citrus peel. Very smooth, even a bit light, but a nice bitterness throughout. Dry, but with just a touch of chalkiness. Solid, and an excellent value as usual from this brewery. (519 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (1,008 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
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. (812 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a bottle somewhere between 3-4 dollars at D's

A - Not really as dark or thick as I was expecting for a massive stout but the lacing and half inch of tan head was inviting.

S - Smells more hop forward than I was expecting but I did get some cocoa nibs and a nice roast throughout.

T - Angry and abrasive this hits you with dry cocoa nibs, roasted coffee grains, and to top it off a bit of dry hopping which I didn't expect. The whole thing was done in a rather "creamy" way which made me think this isn't the "best" imperial but a rather good one.

M - The ABV made me do a double take. Was like "wha? 10%?" I expected somewhere in between 9 and 10 but never such a high ABV for something very drinkable.

Overall I am now thinking of getting a case of this since age would reduce the hop bitterness and maybe improve on the chocolate and roast notes. At 52 bucks (a case) it might be the single cheapest imperial I can get my hands on (with the highest gravity). Glad I tried this since I couldn't pronounce the name but I am a sucker for a good imperial! (1,064 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick, impenetrable texture. There was an inch and a half of tan-colored, foamy, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing. A beautiful-looking stout.

S: A nice aroma of malt, coffee, and chocolate. Smells like a stout should.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and some alcohol, though this last component isn't as prevalent as in other RIS's. A tasty beer.

M: A well carbonated beer with a surprisingly smooth and dry finish. Full-bodied.

D: A well made, drinkable beer. (550 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is fairly strong and smoky, and has good tones of roast coffee, molasses and semi-sweet chocolate. It pours a deep sable with a fairly thick dark tan head that leaves some respectable lacing. Rich flavor is smoky and surprisingly hoppy, fairly bitter, subtly sweet, tones of oak, quality coffee and chocolate with a hint of brown sugar. Texture is almost as smooth as soymilk and fairly tingly, leaving a nice fizzy and slightly bitter finish. I recommend this one to stout fans. (485 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (652 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.56/5  rDev -9%
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. (536 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (900 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Dark brown/black pour, ample light tan head.

Malty aroma, light roast, good caramel with some chocolates.

Very malty, roast, caramel, molasses, dark chocolate. Finishes with some cocoa and roast coffee, very pleasant.

Nearly full bodied and near creamy. Alcohol well hidden. A great winter warmer and head and heals above the others I've had from them.

Reminded me a bit of Plead the 5th from Dark Horse. Far and away the best I've had from Mendocino. (462 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Solid black color with a thinner body and a nice cap of brown foam that looks quite rich and has lasting ability.

Not the strongest nose, but it does present some chocolatey malt with a cream sweetness and a touch of hops. A little bit of a Cocoa Puffs and milk smell.

Toasty malt presence dominates with a little bit of a chocolate presence. Some alcohol peeks in as well. Really lacks depth and complexity. Tasty, but one dimensional really.

The feel is extremely creamy and foamy from the head. Frothy and fuller feeling, but the body does not feel like a ten percent beer.

A nice attempt at an RIS and a good beer, but really not all that interesting for the style. As mentioned earlier, lacks complexity. Worth a shot though. (734 characters)

Photo of Suds
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice imperial. Thick, dense, black color. Dark brown head with decent lacing. The beer smells rich and grainy...alcohol is present in the aroma, along with a touch of hops. Moderate fruit, and a bit port-like (given the heft, maybe I should say portly?). More bitter than expected. Some malt, but also a notable burnt flavor in the taste. Dark, bitter chocolate. The beer is full, and very, very heavy. This is surely an imperial stout. Long, lingering bitter hop aftertaste. Not at all oily. All in all, quite drinkable. (521 characters)

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours black and thick with a small amount of toasted sugar tinted head; I haven’t seen a beer this intimidating since Old Rasputin.

S: Smells darkly sweet with heavy malt, dark chocolate, faint licorice and some residual nuttiness, like a potent stout should smell.

T/M: Has a low amount of carbonation which helps it coat the mouth. More roasted barley char lingers throughout, mixed with some grape skin and tannins. Halfway through, a slight alcohol burn tries to push its way through and is then swallowed back by a clean, bitter and nutty finish.

The first sip has a bite, but it’s definitely more friendly the more time you spend with it. A great, “harsh” stout.

TheBeerAlmanac.com (733 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (406 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.8/5  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. (728 characters)

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Imperial Stout from Mendocino Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.