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Imperial Stout - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

165 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 165
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.25%
Wants: 8
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: allboutbierge on 09-04-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 165 | Reviews: 75 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cylinsier
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%

12 oz.

Pours jet black like oil with a "coffee with a dash of milk" head, quarter inch dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of chocolate, caramel, coffee and anise.

Taste is coffee first, bitter but not terribly acidic. Some dark chocolate sweetness follows. Some bready notes follow.

Body on the fuller side, low carbonation.

Pretty delicious RIS, a sipper that hides its strength. Wish there was a bit more in the taste; I've had other stouts that were more flavorful that I liked better. Still, solid stout worth trying.

Cylinsier, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

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).

chinchill, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%

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.

TMoney2591, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%

This beer poured almost black and produced a deep tan, creamy head. After dissipating it leaves pretty good lacing.
A very attractive Stout!!
The smell speaks of roasted coffee, chocolate, some malt and a slight oak wood flavor.
Tasting the beer, you will first notice all the roasted coffee flavors, mixed with chocolate and a hint of caramel. Than there is an unexpected hop selection present, which really lifts up the flavor. The malts are at the finish and build a bittersweet finish.
A very thick viscosity, very smooth beer. I think this will be one of my favorite Imperial Stouts. Very drinkable and the 10.0 ABV are very well hidden. I loved it and recommend it to all Stoutlovers.

Hopfenpeter, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of bramsdell
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%

Poured from bottle to imp pint glass.

A: ~1 inch, dark tan head. Foamy and rich, looks like expresso. Body is pretty much black and doesn't really change color when held up to light. Not much in the way of lacing.

S: Two flavors immediately spring out: burnt expresso and sweet grape-like aromas. Suffers from some of the problems of many imperial stouts in that the alcohol starts to come out at the same time as a sweetness that has clearly been placed there to hide the booze.

T: Burnt and sweet. The immediate flavor, just like the smell, is a charred coffee taste. Very much like a cafe Americano in its burnt, almost over powering flavor. Just as the burnt flavor begins to recede, there comes a malty sweetness that I simply can't get behind. I love a rich malt flavor, but this is not a rich flavor; it is simply a super sweetness to counteract the booze and charred flavors. The two flavors seem to stand quite separate from one another and never really mesh the way that they should.

M: Feels fine. It's as thick as it is dark with very low carbonation. There isn't much to complain or rave about here.

O: It's an average imperial stout. If every company didn't make an imperial stout, it might be something to talk about, but I've had a dozen stouts of this abv and darkness that I have preferred. Not a bad beer, just not a great beer of a style that demands greatness.

bramsdell, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
3.23/5  rDev -17%

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Dark espresso, red grape juice, and powdered cocoa. Very fruity with a slight mineral note.

Appearance: Pitch black. Pours like motor oil. Thick 1 finger tan head collapses to creamy layer.

Flavor: Mineral, slight metallic note, red grape juice, and a hint of phenolic band-aid. Espresso bitterness quickly appears, and lingers long through the finish.

Mouthfeel: Med-full mouthfeel and medium-low carbonation.

Overall: Definitely not my favorite Imperial stout... Mouthfeel was there, but the aroma was intriguing at best. Meanwhile, the flavor was a bit harsh, and the brew had some flaws. I'd give it another chance down the road, but for now, this is not something that I'm going to seek out.

mdvatab, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  rDev +1%

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.

Cyberkedi, May 15, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

ChainGangGuy, May 10, 2011
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.85/5  rDev -1%

appearance: Black. Shows a little crimson with a direct light behind. Reasonable tan head for an Imp Stout.
smell: Floral and cola with some spice. Interesting.
taste: a little bittersweet chocolate. A slightly hoppy bitter finish to a fairly mellow entrance. A little cola in the background.
overall: not a real stand out IMO but an interesting try.

cindyjeffsmith, May 08, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%

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!

DrDemento456, May 05, 2011
Photo of Chaz
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%

A medium-firm pour into a bulb renders a very dark brown elixir, topped with a very dark tan (closer to brown) head. When held up to the light this is almost completely impenetrable, and appears truly black in color. Head is visually compelling, rather impressive, consisting of tight, uniform small bubbles and a whip of froth on top. Excellent lacing all around, and really lasts throughout the drink.

Nose is bitter, acrid, and brim-ful of roasted malt notes. There's almost nothing here with respect to the implementation of American style hopping, emphasis is instead placed on the malts.

A mild-yet-pleasant semi-sour lactic tang is present here both in the nose as well as throughout the drink*. Malts offer notes of light espresso (crema), dark fruits (fig), and cocoa nibs, and these notes are realized in a manner that's well better than average for the style, I'd say.

There's a sharp aniseseed/licorice note on the first sip, followed by a bittersweet/lightly tangy character. Roasty, with notes of chocolate in the aromatics. Bitterness lingers very well throughout. Sweetness is restrained. Notes of dark and roasted malts as well as espresso are heightened as this warms, and complement the lingering bitterness quite well.

Mouthfeel is above average for the style, and this is a very easy drinker for 10%!

A classic rendition, and it's probably worth tracking down more bottles for the cellar.

* Reminds me fondly of 'Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout'.

Chaz, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of skandha
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%

Appearance is inky dark with a small amount of orange-tan lace.

Smell has some pleasant raisin notes with sweet hickory smoke pervading.

Taste: Cocoa sweetness with a through-and-through bitterness that, after some settling, I really came to enjoy. It's a little surprising at first, but I've been plagued recently with stouts and trippels that come up cloying for all their syrupy fruits and spice. There is a slightly acrid tang on the finish that I didn't like, but overall the bitter-effect was welcome.

Mouthfeel: smooth with moderate carbonation.

Overall: a tasty, affordable stout. The pervasive bitterness is a structural element that I appreciated, but it strays a little too far in the end.

skandha, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of Sorvahr
4.2/5  rDev +8%

I purchased this beer as a four-pack from Natalie's Liquor Warehouse in a four-pack. Poured from the bottle into a hefe-weizen glass as no pint glasses were clean at the time.

A: A pool of inky blackness with a thin tan/brown head on top. The head quickly recedes into a ring that leaves lacing all the way down the glass.

S - Extremely rich roasted malt smell with espresso undertones. One sniff and you know this is going to be an extremely bold beer.

T - Considering the relatively low price point, the taste is huge. The first impression is an overwhelming wall of dark chocolate-like bittersweet malts. A mild hop finish brings up the rear. It almost has a burnt smokiness to it, but not excessively so. The 10% ABV is hidden well. The aftertaste is bitter and coffeelike and lasts for a long time.

M: Thick, syrupy, with little carbonation, but not as massive as say, Old Rasputin. Very smooth on the palate.

D: This is a big and filling beer, one to be appreciated slowly and deliberately. Chugging it down quickly would be rather difficult and a waste anyway, as this beer requires some time to let the aftertaste run its course and for the brew itself to warm up.

Overall a good brew and for $2.50 a bottle it undercuts the price of many of the better-known imperial stouts. Has a huge, stately character you don't normally get at this price point. Highly recommended.

Sorvahr, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

12 oz bottle at 48 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours pitch black with an inch of khaki head that has average retention but excellent lacing.

S: Burnt malts, smoke, and charred oak all over with a little nuttiness mixed in.

T: Charcoal pit, some dark chocolate, strong coffee, and roasted nuts.

M: The body is medium-thick with below average carbonation.

D: It is like an Imperial Stout mixed with a Rauchbier.

bucklemyshoe, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of swierczt
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%

A - Poured into goblet, jet black, outside light does not permeate this offering. A little head, one finger thick, coffee colored. Short retention and only a light lacing left behind on the glass.

S - Roasted malts, a hint coffee, dark fruits are most apparent.

T - A ton of roasted, almost burnt, bitter malts. A touch of smokiness, dark chocolate and coffee. I do not get as much of the dark sweet fruits as detected in the nose. A bit of hops comes through at the end, which was a bit of a surprise.

M - Relatively full bodied, a bit more carbonation than I personally like in the style.

D - Did not notice the 10% ABV in the taste. Was drinkable in the sense that you do not get the warm boozy burn that you would find in other imperial stouts. Overall, a nice imperial stout with a slight hops twist.

swierczt, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of gabedivision
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%

Poured from a bottle to a snifter glass.

A- Typical Imperial Stout look, pitch black with a brown lace of head.

S- Sweet roasted chocolate. Vanilla and nuts, sorta like a dark creamy milk shake with a strong malt finish.

T- Roasted toasted chocolate's and coffee. Strong malt with a bitter sweet after taste. The finish has a delightful sweet fruity taste that is a gem as this puppy warms up.

M- Full bodied and humbling.

D- Very good, this was my first beer from Mendocino and i will seek other beers from this brewery as well as this one again. This is a damn good RIS.

gabedivision, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of jera1350
3.58/5  rDev -8%

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.

jera1350, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of MinnesotaRIS
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%

From a bottle. Pours with substantial body into a glass. Medium to low high carbonation. Thick head that stands up. Rich brown/tan head that falls at a slow pace leaving some lace. Opaque, high SRM - not black but very dark brown. Some scarlet color on the extreme edges.

Initial smells of raisin/prune and toffee. Some hops but they are drowned out by the body of the stout. The raisin prune is prominent. Low malt character on smell. Solid but low sweetness aroma.

Bitter taste related to the roasted grains. Alcohol is not perceptible as is covered by bitters and toffee/raisin taste. Very slight astringency. Licorice. Specialty grains seem well balanced.
Aftertaste is very similar to taste.

This is a RIS and to be drunk like an RIS, not budweiser. Rich character, stout body and worthy of you trying it. Closer to the English style.

MinnesotaRIS, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of boudreaux
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%

A: pours a dark mahogany/black ink; 1.5 finger rocky dark brown/mocha head; reduced to little/no lacing

S: slightly hoppy with salt, plum, toffee, coffee, chocolate, licorice and anise, anise strong ashy roast.

T: strongly bitter and dry, tar and ash and tobacco; nice roast from the slight/weak malt.

M: Medium body a little thin. dry, dusty, roasty, lightly ashen aftertaste is excellent and long; inky with noticeable rounding from the Goldings. Alcohol well hidden, silky slick and oily mouthfeel

D: on the whole, a very enjoyable stout, but lacks that transcendent oomph to set it apart from hundreds of others.

boudreaux, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev +2.8%

12oz bottle pulled from my cellar poured into a bulb style glass.

pours out opaque black with a one finger of super creamy mocha colored head with big bubbles in the middle. very nice retention. bits of sticky lace, but leaves some nice lace when you swirl the glass.

foremost in the aroma is a lot of heavily roasted/ burnt malts. also lots of dark dried fruits, a touch of smoke, dark chocolate and just a small hint of citris.

again lots of heavily roasted/ burnt malts that provide for a lot of bitterness in the finish. also dark dried fruits, bakers chocolate, dark chocolate, hints of coffee, subtle hints of smoke, and a bit of a citric acidic twang. not a stitch of alcohol noticable.

heavy bodied, carb is pretty good feeling for the style. a bit chalky. lots of lingering bitterness most likely from a combination of the roasted malt and hops. the overall feel of this beer is very similar to the mendocino oatmeal stout.

drinks about as good as any 10% RIS, one bottle is enough in a session. weighs a bit heavy on the stomach after awhile.

dogfishandi, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.15/5  rDev -19%

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.

WVbeergeek, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of JackieTH
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%

Appearance: Opaque black/brown with a thick cap of mocha foam.

Smell: Chocolate, dried dark fruits, coffee, and strong roasted malt. Smells a bit alcoholic, too, but it works in this regard.

Taste: Heavily roasted malt with figs, dark plums, toffee, black strap molasses, bitter baker's chocolate, subtle anise.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body, hefty and smooth.

Drinkability: This is a straight forward RIS. Tasty and packing a wallop, to be enjoyed one at a time.

JackieTH, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of daliandragon
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%

Sometimes its cool to pick up something you had no idea even existed until you walked into the store. I am familiar with all the Mendo bird beers but this is a completely unknown quantity to me. Plus it's an Impy stout on a cold winter's night. Back to the salt mines...

Strong pour with two fingers of dark cocoa head on top of an almost jet black body that has a tiny sliver of rusty brown at the base. Nose is heavy on the chocolate and coffee but it's the dark fruit thats most pungent, particularly raisins and figs. A little boozy, but it's well blended.

Taste is real heavy on the roasted (almost burnt, really) flavors and baker's chocolate. Quite bitter overall, but I'm not sure if it's hops or just the malt and alcohol. Coffee is obviously in the house as well. At 10%, you can't argue that the booze is overdone but it does make its presence felt. Mouthfeel is thick but not bulletproof. Definitely worth a try, this one has octane to spare.

daliandragon, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

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.

zeff80, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of herman77
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%

A: Jet black with a decent sized brown head. Pretty good lacing. A really good looking stout.

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. Pretty thick and smooth. Nice carbonation.

D: Good drinkability for being 10%. Not boozy. Rich, thick, contemplating. An all around no thrills, but excellent imperial stout.

herman77, Jan 06, 2011
Imperial Stout from Mendocino Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.