Special Edition - Imperial IPA
Mendocino Brewing Company

Special Edition - Imperial IPASpecial Edition - Imperial IPA
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Mendocino Brewing Company
United States
IPA - Imperial
3.89 | pDev: 10.28%
Jul 01, 2016
Nov 30, 2005
Very Good
Special Edition - Imperial IPASpecial Edition - Imperial IPA
Notes: None
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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
by rodbeermunch from Nevada

Looks like an impressive orange hued ipa, 3/4" white head on it. The aroma is pretty hoppy, malty too, honey and caramel.

Taste is strong, the alcohol isn't quite pronounced, but its existence is never in doubt. Caramel weighted down the mouthfeel a little. Old school C hops. A lot of tea malt notes too. Some English aspects of this one. Its kind of like a light barleywine it has so much going on in both malt and hops. Sourdough bready kick on this one.

Jul 01, 2016
3.85 by zotzot from Vermont on Sep 09, 2015
4.25 by wrightst from Maryland on Sep 11, 2014
3.75 by zestar from California on Aug 13, 2014
Photo of barczar
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by barczar from Kentucky

This beer is 4 years old.

Pours a murky deep brown with a modest cream head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Aroma is dominated by caramel malt, toffee, and floral hops. Notes of citrus and dark fruit are evident.

Flavor reveals more sweet toffee and caramel malt, with herbal tea hops and light citrus notes adding contrast. The malt is initially cloying, but the lightly bitter finish cleans things up a bit.

Body is fairly thick, with modest carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

This beer has aged nicely. I know ipas are intended to be had fresh, but it got lost in the cellar. Still a nice beer.

Jun 29, 2014
3.75 by williamjbauer from Colorado on Jan 22, 2014
4 by BillRoth from Maryland on Dec 29, 2013
4.25 by RBorsato from Virginia on Oct 22, 2013
4 by Hopheadjeffery from Illinois on Aug 03, 2013
3.5 by RBassSFHOPit2ME from California on Jun 08, 2013
3.5 by cliff1066 from Virginia on Dec 26, 2012
3.75 by DrFunkenstein from Pennsylvania on Apr 15, 2012
3.5 by Tyrawlings from Ohio on Feb 16, 2012
3 by FreshmanPour77 from Minnesota on Nov 28, 2011
3.5 by barnzy78 from Illinois on Nov 28, 2011
4 by Another6Pack from Michigan on Nov 26, 2011
Photo of bobhits
2.73/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
by bobhits from Kentucky

Pours a cloudy orange and yellow colored as most IPAs do. A perfect opaque haze here give the beer the look of density and unfiltered goodness.

Candy sweetness with a touch of grassy and citrus hops at the end. There's a lot of subtle tropical fruits and aromas going on here, but it comes up underwhelming.

There are amazing hop flavors going on here. The problem is this complex blend of amazing American hops is being over powered by a heavy and fruity malt that doesn't really mesh well. Yes, this is still an IPA and not barely wine, but the blending of flavors is off. There's is an almost copper metallic flavor that is coming in here to and messing with the balance.

Not much to say on the mouthfeel. Carbonation is a bit lacking, but it is fine on mouthfeel.

Don't take my words too harshly, but there isn't much left to say on most IPAs. This is tasty stuff, but it is really far from the better double IPAs. it is also less than 10 for a sixer which might make it one of the better values I've seen though. This comes up well short of anything outstanding in flavor and it isn't going to make the group of flawless even if perhaps not perfect. Still worth a try if you see it.

Aug 21, 2011
Photo of dedrinker
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by dedrinker from Kansas

light amber color, thin white head.

A really nice floral and bubblegum aroma layered on some cookie dough malt.

Flavor was the same - this is the first time I was pleased by a double IPA for it's all around enjoyable flavor rather than the sole impact of the hops.

Medium-full body, going soft over the tongue to a soft mild yet persistent hop and malt finish.

Apr 19, 2011
Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by MrMcGibblets from Illinois

perfectly clear copper color, minimal creamy head. caramel and toffee notes dominate the aroma with a bit of resiny pine and grapefruit in the background. enters with moderately sweet malts balanced out by moderate hop bitterness. smooth on the palate with a spicy, bitter finish. a good value at $7 per six-pack but not sure this should be labeled as an imperial.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-05-2009 03:09:12

Mar 03, 2011
Photo of BB1313
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by BB1313 from Ohio

Leftover bottle from 2009. Mendocino didn't release this on in 2010, unfortunately. Pours a nice golden color with a nice white head and decent lacing. Smells great.. lots of citrus up front. I'm picking up some grapefruit, pineapple, and a slight amount of pine. Pretty bitter. Mouthfeel is nice, rich, smooth; medium-bodied. Drinkability is good, easy drinking with great flavors.

I never looked at this beer as an Imperial IPA, it drinks like a regular IPA to me.. and a really good one at that! Hopefully this one makes a comeback this winter! Excellent IPA!

Feb 23, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Thorpe429 from Illinois

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Color is a moderate copper with a white head and a pretty good amount of ringy lacing. The nose brings some very light malt along with some pine and citrus hops. A bit of grapefruit and pine needles throughout. The taste is a bit of light grain in the background, but mostly some bitterness. A bit of citrus peel, but not too much actual hop flavor. Good bitter feel and drinks well.

Nov 14, 2010
Photo of SuperNova777
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by SuperNova777 from Indiana

Notes from 08/25/10

A:Poured a copper color with a fingers worth of head that slowly dies down, leaving
a very nice lacing as it is drank down

S:Sweet malt first attack the nose followed up with a pleasant citrus and piney aroma.
Very subtle

T:Unlike the smell detects this seems to be more of a hop bomb than expected from
the nose, some sweet malt up front and then a attack of hops that taste remarkably
fresh all most like a wet harvest ale.

M:Well put together body but just slightly off on the carbonation. Leaves a nice oily
coat on the palate

D:Got this as a single 12oz. bottle and gonna go back and get a sixer of this. Very tasting,
drinkable, and fairly balanced but not....sounds weird but thats what I got out of it. Just enough malt to keep off the grid and a good deal of hops to really come thru.

Sep 20, 2010
Photo of biker30x
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by biker30x from Illinois

Poured a pleasing golden orange with a weak head. Faintest nose of citrus & flowers.

First sip immediately astringent but bloomed into a pleasing array of hop spice & malty sweetness. But this one lacks tha balance needed to pull of a big DIPA. Here, the hops take that medicinal turn, overly sharp and slightly lacking in depth. The malt fails to hold up its end and little of the sweetness or bread profiles are there.

Too big to session, but plenty good enough now & again. With outstanding DIPAs available nearly everywhere, "pretty darn good" just isn't good enough. This one's good - not great.

Sep 02, 2010
Photo of TexIndy
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
by TexIndy from Texas

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. No dating info that I could find. Was a hazy orange color with lots of carb streams from the etching. It had a good sized white head that settled into a constant foam cap. Great sheeting with that slowly slides back with some sticking.

The aroma was very good with lots of pine, grapefruit, pineapple and some caramel malt. Good nose on it especially after a good swirl. The flavor however didn't deliver as well on the promise of the aroma. The fruitiness of the hops didn't come thru as much as the pine and the bitter. I would have preferred a little less harsh bitter with more of the malt to balance it. I'll rate it more for the style than my personal preference though so 4 here but 3.5 personally. The mouthfeel was full and chewy with good carb levels.

Overall, a good but not great ADIPA. Lacking some hop/malt balance and a bit too harsh on the bitterness for me. Recommend if you like the really bitter ones. For me, I'm growing into them so will try again done the road to see. Not available here in TX so shipped back from my Indy trip. Rotation - try again in 6-12 months as my bitter palate develops. If no change in that, then one is enough for me. [RS;RS;BL]

Jul 31, 2010
Photo of scottfrie
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by scottfrie from California

12oz bottle into SN tulip pint glass. Reviewed from old notes.

A: Pours a honey amber with a finger of thick than head that reduced down to a thick film. Very good head retention and good lacing present.
S: Hop resin and oil with undertones of sweet caramel malt and a touch of bread.
T: More hop kick than some, but not enough to really be called a double. Citrus rind hops up front that tapers to sweet malt with a sharp bitter finish. Lots of citrus rind and some pine.
M: Decent carbonation and a slightly watery mouthfeel. Finish is sharp and crisp.
D: Good for a hoppy IPA, but not quite a double. Very drinkable, although not in my top 10.

Jul 24, 2010
Photo of lightindarkness
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by lightindarkness from Florida

Looks clear with tall off white head that settles and remains quite sudsy with some foamy splatter of lace. Smells of cotton candy, peach and apricot juice, and grapefruit, with a little piny resin. Tastes strong of intense grapefruit, sweet rock candy, some doughy bread and a little funky resin. A little malt balance present, but not outspoken. Lingering dough flavor after bitterness dies down. Overall nice, smooth medium full body with a sticky bitter finish that isn't too thick. Drinks well, satisfying and presenting tons of hop character to satiate the craving. Not the best I've had, but very pleasant.

Jul 02, 2010
Photo of bort11
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by bort11 from Missouri

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Thick white head a little over an inch high. Good retention and leaves delicate webs of lacing. Color is a dark mahogany red. I can see through to the center, but it's hard to make out much more on the other side.

Smell is a standard Imperial IPA force of hops. Dark pine with a hint of citrus. Very green and leafy. Taste is what you would expect. Hops are not overly aggressive, the caramel malts do their job to maintain a balance.

Mouthfeel is a little lighter than a lot of other Imperial IPAs. Still a medium body with a little stickiness around the edges. All in all, not bad.

Jun 29, 2010
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by UCLABrewN84 from California

A - Pours a hazy apple cider color with a 2 inch white head that stays pretty thick. Good ring lacing here.

S - Smells of citrus hops, sweet malts, and pie spices.

T - Spicy/bitter hop taste up front, sweet malts, and an underlying fruit taste.

M - Beer was somewhat flat and it was creamy and thick tasting.

D - Pretty good beer that I got in a Winter sampler pack on clearance. A seasonal brew that I might check out again if I see it again.

May 31, 2010
Photo of AleWatcher
2.31/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1
by AleWatcher from Illinois

Reviewed from notes--
Poured into standard pint

Pours a dark apple cider color with a toffee colored head bubbling up a solid 2 fingers. thick and heavy lacing finishes off a ver inviting looking beer.

The smell has some sweet notes with some decent citrus and floral hops and a little pine note as well. The nose is fairly weak, but still, not offensive at all.

The taste is of spiced malts... bitter hops. Not flavorful hops... just bitter ones. And a surprisingly large alcohol bite towards the finish.

The beer is full-bodied with acceptable carbonation.

For an Imperial IPA, this is weak. Even more so considering it is a winter seasonal. And at only 7.5% ABV, it is sad that they can't balance it well enough for me not to taste the alcohol. I understand the idea of a winter warmer... But the alcohol presence is on my tongue, not in my chest.

This beer does slightly improve as it warms... but enough to save it in my mind.

May 24, 2010
Photo of tapman
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3
by tapman from Illinois

Amber-orange in body, extra- tiny bubbles rise to form a creamy foam head with some of the most fantastic head retention I've ever seen. Seriously, head retention is great. Looks just about perfect for the style, though I guess I might prefer it lighter.

Caramel malt and lemony, floral hoppiness. Citrus hop aroma is very bright and sweet smelling and not vegetal at all. Malts smell very sweet, like the beer my be syrupy.

Big hop bitterness/saltiness, followed by a decent amount of hop flavor and finished with a buttery,toffee, too-much-crystal malt sweetness. While the sweetness is not appreciated, I discern no diacytyl or fusel alcohols. Hops finish clean, the malt does not.

Not too bad, but that malt taste literally creates weight in the mouthfeel giving it a stickiness that contrasts with the adequate carbonation. Not really too thick and actually quite refreshing after you get used to the maltiness.

To me this feels like an strong ESB brewed with American hops. No alcohol taste so you know good brewers behind this one, but I've had better balanced IIPAs.

Mar 26, 2010
Photo of mactrail
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
by mactrail from Washington

Fruity and hop crazed ale.

This is one of my favorite IPAs for being full of hop flavor without ridiculous bitterness. It IS plenty bitter, especially on first sip, but it mellows out a bit. Aroma is rich and full of flowery scents. Taste is sharp and robust. Rich malt flavors and more than a hint of sweetness. Call it well balanced.

Very rich with woody, maybe salty seaweed flavors to go with the aromatic, resiny hop attack.

Mar 25, 2010
Photo of cdizinno
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by cdizinno from South Carolina

A: Slightly hazy, amber/copper color with a decent off-white head. Minimal lacing.

S: Hoppy. Sweet floral scent with some citrus notes.

T&M: Thick bodied but smooth with a dry, rough finish. Begins with a heavy sweetness that fades to a heavy bitter taste.

Decent beer that was probably great at it's freshest. Now that it is March and it is a 'winter seasonal' with no date stamp, I have no clue how old it is. Very good for an IPA but not so good as an Imperial IPA.

Mar 13, 2010
Photo of yesyouam
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by yesyouam from New York

Mendocino Imperial IPA ia a dense, amber ale with a big, fluffy, white head that has great retention and lacing. It has a fresh, bready and hoppy aroma. It somehow smells like something off cask. There are lots of citrus notes, especially orange and tangerine. It's pretty thick and syrupy; quite smooth with a dry, wooden finish. It tastes a bit sweet and not super bitter. The flavor is mostly resiny. I have the feeling that a lot of the alpha acids have degraded. I don't see a timestamp on the label but it's a winter seasonal and it's almost March so. ... The aftertaste is wooden herbal and medicinal. It's a pretty acceptable beer.

Mar 03, 2010
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by PittBeerGirl from Ohio

part of my SNF winnings. Thanks for the opportunity to try this!

A- Body is a hazy medium orange/amber hue that pours with a good 2-3 finger frothy white head that eventually dwindles down to 1/2 finger or so and has good retention from there. Plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass.

S-Some citrus hops and a pretty big biscuit malt backbone. The overall impression is that this will be an IPA on the sweeter side.

T- Initial flavor is mild and offers a mild pine hop flavor and subtle malt backbone. The flavors intensify for the finish with the main character being a moderate blast of refreshing pine. Underneath is a sweet caramel flavor and biscuit taste. What is left to linger is a mild to moderate residual hop bitterness and a hint of sweet, doughy biscuit.

M-Mild carbonation and a thick heavy body loaded with hop oils and biscuit.

D- This is a decent, above average IPA for me overall. My beef is the biscuit consistency (which really is mild)-its unnecessary and takes away from the overall character of the beer- I'm sure some people love this or don't even notice it-but its a big factor for me. Other than that this is a decent IPA...though it is kind of dull.

Feb 11, 2010
Photo of Gehrig
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Gehrig from Illinois

Grabbed from the dynamite Neil St. Piccadilly in most recent sampling round. A fine call, I must say.

One pillowy finger of off-white foam atop an clear brown body with amber trim; dense snowy lacing coats the trusty Ommegang glass--a great-looking beer. Very hoppy smell, with plenty of what seem Simcoe and Cascade hops--grapefruit, orange peel, dense pine; good stuff. The aroma could be a little stronger for a DIPA, but this is overall good.

Same with the taste. I'd like it to be a little more robust, but it's undoubtedly flavorful--very citrusy, nice support from the caramel malt. It's definitely good stuff, with a nice bite in the finish. LOVE the mouthfeel, a real DIPA mouthfeel, assaulting the tongue with hop grit and a coating to leave one licking one's teeth afterward. Excellent.

Overall, I like Mendocino, a fine brewery whose wares I typically find good and solid, and whose Talon still stands out as the best I have tried. Imperial IPA has all the important but supplementary things down--great look and drinkability--with a good aroma. For me, mouthfeel and taste are the two most important aspects of beer, and Imperial IPA got the mouthfeel half of the equation spot-on. A little bolder taste and smell would elevate this from really good stuff to simply outstanding.

As it is, it's very good and well worth a sixer or three. Well done.

Feb 04, 2010
Photo of gatorbreath
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by gatorbreath from Fiji

App: Dark burnt orange almost amber look with a small head and some decent lacing

Smell: Smells malty. Got some bitterness to it but not overwhelmingly hoppy like i'd expect from an Imperial IPA

Taste/MF: A little bittery hoppiness with malty/caramelly undertones. Mouthfeel is slick and medium bodied.

Drinkability: I'll be having a few of these.

Overall: Very nice offering here, nice warming sensation on this cold, icy day.

Jan 30, 2010
Photo of jzeilinger
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5
by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

Pours a clear copper/amber color, very light head and lacing on the top, has a medium amount of active carbonation - this really looks good!

Nose is caramel, citric grapefruit, and pine. The ingredients really blend well in the aroma with not one overpowering the other. I would prefer to have a little more going on in the nose, this one comes across as smelling more mild than the beer actually tastes.

Taste is quite bitter, really great for a Imperial IPA. Very strong grapefruit presence throughout the entire sip. The caramel malts come to the surface right in the beginning and take a dive only to re-appear about midway through and then slowly subsides lingering until the end. Also has some other citric profiles like orange and possibly a little pineapple. As I get further into the glass, the caramel profile is becoming more noticeable and sweeter, more so than in the beginning as the beer slowly warms.

Finish has alot of carbonation on the tongue making it a little prickly and ends semi-dry. The hop bitterness lingers for a long while afterwards with the sweet caramel hanging around on the lips. (Strange description I know, but it does.) This is one drinkable beer and I've always liked this one. Hands down, this is one of the best Double IPA's for the money.

Jan 27, 2010
Photo of FallinDeck
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2
by FallinDeck from California

From a glass to pint glass it pours a clear golden orange color, with 1½ finger head with light to medium lacing. It carries a bountiful Hops aroma with a small hint of lemon. Taste of dry hops and burnt caramel. Has a nice dark chocolate bitterness flavor.

Jan 21, 2010
Photo of wangbruins
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by wangbruins from Florida

A- Caramel/copper orange with a good two inch head and a subtle haze

S- Flowers and citrus with lemon and plenty of earth tones

T- Orange and lemon with a lot of earth tones and a sort of smokey finish

M- Light but tangy, fairly typical of an IPA

D- IPA's are my favorite so I think it's one to have a bunch, but it's pretty generic in my opinion

Jan 17, 2010
Photo of wknight167
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by wknight167 from California

Apearance - Pours a crystal clear copper with a 2 finger white head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing.

Nose- Grapefruit and pine hops with strong floral notes and a slight caramel malt presence.

Palate- Solid caramel backbone with slightly green grapefruit and pine hops with a definite orange flavor. Not quite a DIPA, but still quite refreshing.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation and just a hair thin on the body.

Drinkability- I'm a bit sad that I only have one.

Jan 15, 2010
Special Edition - Imperial IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 262 ratings