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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 MinnesotaRIS


4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 01:45:51 | More by MinnesotaRIS
Photo of boudreaux


3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-08-2011 06:12:40 | More by boudreaux
Photo of dogfishandi

New York

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 02:21:49 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of WVbeergeek


3.15/5  rDev -19%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 02:23:23 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of JackieTH


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 18:42:59 | More by JackieTH
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2011 05:26:37 | More by daliandragon
Photo of zeff80


3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 02:08:07 | More by zeff80
Photo of herman77


4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 01:55:33 | More by herman77
Photo of Georgiabeer


4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 01:03:54 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 20:14:44 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Suds


4.1/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 22:16:24 | More by Suds
Photo of deaconoflove


4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ap. Dense black, nearly opaque with almost no head...probably too cold.
Sm. Love it. Dark chocolate and malt. Roasty, toasty.
Ta. Burnt, roasted malt, coffee, nutty, chocolate, with some tart/lemon hidden and a lightly bitter finish. Tasty.
Mf. Medium thick, but not as creamy or full as you would expect.
Dr. Very easy going. I didn't know it was 10% until I got to the BA review.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2010 14:44:49 | More by deaconoflove
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

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

Mendocino Imperial Stout, bottled, served in a Sierra snifter.

Appearance: Very black, immensely black. Black like the epic sanitation workers striking in Memphis, February 1968. Odd looks- no carbonation, no head, no lacing. This pours and looks like a barrel-aged stout, or else. Whether this unexpected look is good or bad, I'll leave it to beaver.

Smell: The greatest strength of this beer. What a complex, riveting nose! Smoke, wood, age. Cherry, some sweet-and-cured fruits. Booze, good booze. Chocolate.

Taste: Intense smokiness upfront, with a dry finish. A bunch of hops and a dairy, milky feel. Roastiness abounds. However, a little thin.

Mouthfeel: Low, almost non-existent carbonation. A certain bitterness on the lips as it finishes. Medium-to-low body but almost full flavor. Pretty chewy. It is a strange play on opposites- thick but thin, full-flavored but non-carbonated. Satisfying at any rate, but not the greatest mouth for an Imperial Stout.

Drinkability: Damn good for a 10% imperial stout. Still a sipper, but quaffable if you wish. A well done brew, particularly for the price. Mendocino's Imperials are a great bargain.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 01:43:11 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of PicoPapa


3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a deep, dark color. Practically black.Virtually no head. Very minimal lacing. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee and alcohol. Taste is dark chocolate and coffee. Mild alcohol burn but not a lot considering the ABV. Chocolate aftertaste. Overall s pretty solid Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 06:08:48 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of Bung

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 03:51:20 | More by Bung
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2010 14:03:18 | More by avalon07
Photo of biglite351


3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - dark as night with a tall brown tight head that leaves a good bit of lacing.

S - rich malts and chocolate with a little fruit in the end. Every beer should smell like this.

T - a lot of fruit, high % chocolates, malts with just a tiny bitter turn at the end.

M - you can feel it on your teeth and a solid tingle on the front of the tongue. Slight alcohol burn in the throat.

D - a bit heavy, but you can have a few.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 02:53:08 | More by biglite351
Photo of jsprain1


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

A- pours a black with a thin cocoa head with decent retention and great lacing,
S- Smell is coffee, chocoate, and mild dark friut.
T- Roasted coffee and chocolate, with some fruit flavors and alcohol warmth.
M- A little light weight, bit plenty slick throughout.
D- Not a tough drinker for a 10 percenter. overall a good beer but nothing extraordinary.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2010 02:44:57 | More by jsprain1
Photo of thain709


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

A - Pours an oil black out of the bottle...the pour produced a two finger, mocha tinted head...the head retained nicely and left nice lacing down the glass

S - The aroma has a lot of chocolate and roasted malt going...there's also a hint of coffee...dark fruits are present as well

T - The roasted characteristics of this beer are very nice...there is a roastiness throughout the entire beer...to some it may have tasted burnt, but I feel the flavor was very nice...it also produced a bit of smokiness to the beer...the roasted malt gave off flavors of chocolate and coffee...dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans that is...the earthy hop presence at the end of the beer was a nice way to round off this beer

M - Medium bodied...I wanted to say this was full bodied but there were a few sips where it came up light in feel...but it was always full in flavor...the roastiness coats your palate nicely and the hop finish is pleasant

D - The drinkability on this one is crazy...at 10% ABV you don't even notice the alcohol one bit...I want to give this a 4.5 but if I would have had another one, things might have gone out of control...a nicely done imperial stout from a brewery I am trying for the first time

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 15:23:12 | More by thain709
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an impenetrable black with a thick and frothy tan head. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, molasses, burnt bread, dark fruits, alcohol and floral hops. The flavors are similar with arabica coffee and dark chocolate upfront, along with dark fruits and burnt bread, molasses, floral hops and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich and drinkability is excellent for the style. Very good attempt at the style, complex and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 06:32:26 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of Blakaeris


4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown almost black, with a dense and tan head.

Aroma is roasted dark malt, and an underlying dark fruit sweetness. Subdued coffee, anise, and chocolate.

Taste is big and smokey with charred dark grain quality. Sweetness from the nose is still present, but the burnt malt bitterness dominates. Toffee, chocolate, and plum remain however, and bring some balance. Finishes with a lingering bitterness and alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is medium-full and a touch slick.

A rich and flavorful RIS. Flavor is very intense, as it should be.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2010 23:37:25 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of bashiba


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

Poured deep dark black with a nice dark brown head, mild lacing and light retention.

The smell is very fruity with hints of chocolate and alcohol.

The flavor is big, very roasty and smokey with subtle hints of toffee and chocolate. The finish has a nice bit of hop bitterness to round this out nicely.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily and leaves a nice warm coating.

Drinkable and good, very balanced big stout. Nicely done by one of the more underrated craft breweries.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2010 23:25:05 | More by bashiba
Photo of allboutbierge


4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very black deep and dark. Off-white caramel colored head with ample lacing. Head dissipates rapidly. Mild roasty aroma, some tannin sourness. Full of oakiness roast, rich dark chocolate. Mild and smooth aftertaste. Just as good as any big name imp stout on the market and a much better deal that most. Finishes with a strong roastiness, but that's it. Very well done.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2010 19:10:20 | More by allboutbierge
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Imperial Stout from Mendocino Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 154 ratings.