Special Edition - Imperial IPA | Mendocino Brewing Company

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Special Edition - Imperial IPASpecial Edition - Imperial IPA
Very Good
262 Ratings
Special Edition - Imperial IPASpecial Edition - Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by nortmand on 11-30-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 262 |  Reviews: 248
Reviews by tangentrider:
Photo of tangentrider
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Light amber beer with an off-white head; golden orange when held to the light

S- Not getting much malt aroma, maybe a bit sweet; floral, piney hop aroma

T- hop is very present, floral and pine; finish stays hoppy, but with a slight undercurrent of sweet

MF- smooth, moderate carbonation

D- very drinkable

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poures a deep copper with a nice one finger white head that leaves sheets of lace behind as it settles,oh man those Ammarillos are workin in this brew orange rind,lemon,and deep piney esters here oh man Iam salivating at this one.Well to be expected a hop bomb here but not bitter just great hop flavors very piney and resiny oh did I say piney?There is a lightly sweet,fruity malt base that shows thru a little but the pine attack is the show here,Iam not sure the alc% on this one but it goes down smooth and easy.Mendocino did this?Nice job by Mendocino here a seasonal they should be damn proud of,I will buy again no doubt.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- orangey-bronze with a fluffy off-white head.

S- Dank, fruity citrusy hops, has some doughy-like malt in the background. Cat pee, if that makes sense.

T&M- Pretty well balanced with some grapefruit, green apple(not the tart kind), fresh flowery hops. Pretty light to call a double, though.

Very drinkable, but leans on the flavor of the hops a little too much. I'm not sure how good it tastes if you don't focus on just the hops. Still, their best beer.

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Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber body with a medium sized offwhite head. Good retention and lots of sticky lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is dominated by pungent grapefruit hops, with hints of pine needles and toasted caramel.

Medium body and carbonation.

Taste is dominated by a grapefruity hop bitterness that is edged by some grassy and pine presence. Toasted caramel provides a solid malt backing, but the bitter citrusy hop dryness comes on strong again at the finish.

A decent imperial IPA here, but not a world beater.

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

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness/vintage info.Whats up with "Mendocino" beer being brewed in Saratoga Springs NY? Pours typical darker copper amber, medium tan head and spotty lace on the glass. Grainy hop nose. Warming, quite hoppy brew, grainy, pine, citrus hop notes. Nice stuff. Sort of an "everyday DIPA"

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

A clear copper color with a full two fingers of off-white head...produces some decent lacing and the foam sticks around for most of the pint.
Piney hops in the nose with a subtle sweetness...a touch of alcohol in there, but not distracting.
The flavor is nice...quite a bitter punch and the alcohol is much less apparent in the taste...well balanced malt to hop ratio and it is definitely a hop bomb comparatively speaking.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and this one goes down very easily...so different from last years offering and once again, they pull off another solid brew.

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

Nice amber color with an off-white head that leaves decent lacing. Sweet caramel and citrus in the aroma, also a little bit of dark fruit and pine. Pine and citrus greet the tongue, quickly leading into sweet malty flavors. This one has a nice malt depth to it that treats it well. This one is really drinkable. I'd be happy to drink this one again. Good beer. Thanks to the generous Degarth for this beer.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours clear gold with a big, bubbly white head. Clean, fresh aroma of hops, pine, gras, and some soap. Lighter motuhfeel than expected for a IIPA. Still, a bold hop profile, with more pine and resin than grapefruit, with some strawberry. Well-balanced without using too much malt. Very nice.

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Photo of Kraken
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Firm pour evokes a one inch head that diminishes in size but shows good staying power. Very nice lacing. Color is a copper tinged amber.

Nose- Very well hopped, lots of citric notes. Grapefruit, lemon zest, also picking up some light caramel notes.

Palate- Very bitter initially, like the pith of a grapefruit. Lots of citrus notes, grapefruit, and lemon. Firm caramel notes, with a subtle sweetness. Flavor is slightly astringent. Long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- Very Dry, bitter and a little thin

Drinkability- Bitterness is fairly dominant, but not bad.

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Photo of kingjames1
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I too (with feloniusmonk) apparently picked up the last six pack in a local grocery store. I saw it hiding behind a row of 60 minute DFH. I went back the next week and, alas, they were all gone. I haven't seen it around since. It was a hidden treasure, especially at $6 and change. This may be the best beer deal I've stumbled upon.

This is an excellent DIPA, imo. Pours a beautiful, rich amber with a fluffly white head, that disintegrates into a respectable lacing. Smells equally wonderful - i detect especially grass and a variety of earthy grains. Taste does not disappoint: grassy hops as well as grapefruit citrus, together with bready malts, robust and full. This is a solid beer Good mouthfeel, and dangerously drinkable at 9.00 % abv.

I have slowly been enjoying this six pack over the course of nearly two months (really nursing it). I have one left, and will see what age does to it, if I have the self-control. Man, these are good.

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

Another good effort from Mendocino. Pours a great two finger lace with an orange amber haze. Smells sweet, not what I would expect from this company. Taste, much like their other ales, quite delicious. Mouthfeel stays with you, but the drinkability suffers a little as it jacks you up a bit, not something you are going to have a bunch of, not that its definitive of what drinkability is all about.

A typical solid effort from Mendocino.

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Photo of williamjbauer
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ADR
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear almost copper amber color. Decent 1/2 inch head of mostly large bubbles. Looping interlocking laces. Aroma of orange oils, almost a mandarin orange sweetness. Light mouthfeel, slightly higher than average carbonation. Yup, this one is hoppy, the aromatic sweetness is gone and replaced with a bitter pithy grapefruit. Very little in the resinous department, more juicy in its bitterness. Any malt balance (a bit of sweetness at the swallow, a slight show of Amarillo hops?) is as fleeting as the wind on this one, a big IPA showoff to me, and becoming so common its almost a yawn. As such, not much interest for me, but its a fine entry when you are in that hop state of mind, and drinkable as such.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to pugman for the chance to try this one.

A - a dark amber color with dark orange hue to it and a bit of deep gold color. There was a ton of carbonation when I poured this and it took a little while for this one to settle down. Once it settled down, though the carbonation destroyed the head as there was nothing left on top.

S - light smell of orange and piney hops that comes up as well. There is also a light malt, honey smell that comes up as well. Not too fragrant on the whole though especially for the style.

T - Initially found the taste to be a bit sweet as there was a honey sweetness as the malt came up front. After that there was a hint of orange but the main hop profile really seemed to be a lot of pine that comes in late. The aftertaste is definitely this pine aspect and comes on rather light especially for an DIPA. Really think this is just a big APA more than a DIPA.

MF - A good body which is a bit on the thicker side. There is also a light stickiness to it as well and that is stickiness is what really seems to give this one body. Actually nice bodied for an DIPA as sometimes these can be too thick.

D - overall this is a DIPA that does not really come up and fly in your face and doesn't make you only want to have one. It is balanced pretty well but doesn't really stand out especially for the style. I could though see this being a DIPA thatI could easily sit back watch a game and drink a couple. happy I had the chance to try it just not overly impressed.

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Photo of glid02
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a six-pack of this at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a clear golden copper color with a two-finger off-white head. The head slowly recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of piney hops and caramel malts. There are also hints of citrus hop aromas that poke out every now and then.

Tastes very good. Lots of caramel hop flavors up front followed shortly by pine hop flavors that lead to a solidly bitter ending. All flavors here are pretty robust.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very nice thickness with solid carbonation that makes this go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing the six-pack (though not in one sitting), and will be sure to revisit this next year.

Overall this is one of the better bang for your buck deals around. $7-$8 for an above average DIPA. Definitely worth a shot.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of dacrza1
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props to brother Bob for this gift basket stocking stuffer... perfumy esters to the pour--a surprisingly strong , flowery fragrance--and overwhelming spruce hops produce as unique an IPA scent as I've sniffed... beautiful, stately, slow-rising effervescence that curves with the snifter; thick white head that melds with its reddish-orange body... sweeping cirrus lacing as the glass drains... soft, warming, thickly cream palate... active mouthfeel but balanced and somewhat mellowing... intense kick of hops at the throat and a lingering cascade at the finish... hops are a bit sour and intense...surprisingly rewarding (the "double" in anything often blinds the brewer of his sensibility) and nonabrasive, with its Christmas tree effect subdued and its character presented with dignity...

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino- Winter Ale

Special Edition 2005-2006

Appearance- Hazy reddish brown with a thick bscuit head.
Smell- Caramel malt and strong fruity hops. Pine, raisin, cherry, and orange rind.
Taste- Sweet fruit. Cherry, grape/ raisin, and pine hops are big and flavorful. A nice sweet caramel candy malt blends in nicely.
Mouthfeel- Big flavor throughout, pine hops come through in the end with a nice dry bitterness.

Overall- Surprised this beer hasn't been reviewed yet!
Excellent beer!! It says on the label its an Imperial IPA, "A rich blend of luscious malts paired with enormous amounts of Cascade, Amarill, and Simcoe hops"!!

It's damn delicious!!!

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a big, glossy rust color that surprisingly doesn't have a whole lot of hop-haze. Just superb clarity here, especially considering the style. Big, fluffy, creamy head dies down pretty quickly, but stays long enough to enjoy, while it lays a few delicate strings of lace on the glass, and no more.

The aroma offers big hops and then plenty of big, sweet, candy-like malt to back it up. Smells like the liquid/syrup they make hard candies with (I'm guessing), a bit fruity--especially cherry and caramel too.

Despite the maltiness of the nose, the flavor is very much hop-centric. Grassy; not resiny/piney, and not really rindy/citrus-like either. A bit raw and, again, pretty grassy. Finish is a bit unpleasant--not quite harsh, but intensely earthy, as in dirt and grass, coupled with the astringency of whatever it is in citrus fruit that makes the mouth pucker ("uh, citric acid, ma'am?"). Malt backup is here, toasty toasty, though not terribly assertive. Does get more resiny as it warms...

Mouthfeel lacks the round creaminess I like in the best Imperial IPAs. Just a bit too much bite from the carbonation, but there's a stickiness that pulls it through and keeps making you feel the hoppy goodness.

Kind of a "west coast" vibe in its unforgiving character, but somehow lacking the love (and depth, and complexity) of, say, Pliny the Elder or any number of comparable big-ass IPAs. Still, it's interesting and surely worthy of any hop-lover's palate at least once. A worthy purchase if you find it.

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

Pours a tanned orange body below a sturdy ivory whipping. Nose is full of pine resin, lime zest, pressed flowers, burnt caramel, and juniper, a la gin.
Enters the mouth with a blanketing doughy maltiness, one that trickles sweeter, but thins, with caramel nougat and roasted nuts and toasted english muffins. Hops enter with a gusto, ripe with citrus pith (orange, lemon, and lime), pineapple, pine tar, and ganja resin. Bitterness is solid, but short as this tends towards juicy rather than enamel-stripping IBUs.
Medium in the mouth with a taut, gentle carbonation. Its basically unstoppably drinkable, as oxymoronic as it is, this is a "session" IIPA. And at under $7 a sixer, it is a 5 star value.
To compare this to the big dogs of the category isn't entirely fair, it's like a 1.5 IPA, or even just a boosted regular version. At the end of the day, lose the semantics and numerical assignments, this is simply a solid hop fix at a very friendly price. Fully recommended.

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Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lots of white foam, tis about 2 years old, give or take. Good full mouthfeel, creamy, a bit in back of throat from hop acid, lots of malt. Alcohol seemed stronger. Citrus in aroma and taste.Taste also is grapey and sweet. Drying aftertaste. Average DIPA.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An intensely floral hoppiness emanates from the bottle at once,
certainly a good opening scent. This one's a nicely amber-red in
appearance. It's "only" 7.5% ABV, but this hop-monster packs a bitter
wallop -- certainly not for beginners. Actually this is a pretty
traditional IPA, and not too fanciful or unique. Solid, but not

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Photo of dirtylou
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single with a $1.69 sticker on the cap...no idea where i got this a few weeks ago but my stores have been steve's university, star, and rileys these days.

appearance: pours into a great dane imperial pint glass, quite clear orange-amber body, big foamy white head with a nice bubbly lace left behind

smell: aroma is of hops and nothing else...bitter grapefruit, orange , and lemon all evident. that "bubblegum" trait also sticks out

taste: well this is a very solid DIPA and a nice find at the price...This is a hop blast so dont expect a balanced ipa but the hops aren't completely over the top which allows this to be a pretty easy drinker. Bubblegum and grapefruit citrus hops dominate the taste profile, lemon and tangerine in the background...nice

mouthfeel: medium body, wet hop feel, moderate bitterness

drinkability: great

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Photo of cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a pint glass. Pours an amber color with an off-white head that leaves a great amount of retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is malt with a touch of caramel and citrusy hops. The aroma is pretty metallic as well, which is kind of a distraction. Decent aroma, but not enough of a hop presence for a DIPA and the metallic twang turns me off of the brew as well.

T- The taste is much better than the aroma that features a decent malt backbone and a nice bitter citric hop kick in the finish. Pretty solid, but it is almost closer to an IPA than a DIPA.

M- The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium bodied, being somewhere closer to the medium side.

D- Mendocino Imperial IPA is a pretty solid brew that is worth purchasing. Worth a shot.

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

Many thanks to csmiley for the bottles.

Imperial IPA is copper in color. It's very clear and has a reddish tint with light behind it. It's topped with a vanilla colored head that stands about a finger and a half tall. It recedes to a surface covering quickly, but holds there for a while. Lacing was moderate and very sticky. Not bad at all.

The nose is far from bad, but is a little weak. It has a nice citrusy sweet scent due to an abundance of citric hops. Pineapple, grapefruit, and a little orange are noted. It smells sweet and obviously features a healthy amount of malts. Caramel and pale varieties are noted, though they don't seem overly strong. Alcohol is blended well and is largely unnoticeable. Good, not great.

The flavor profile is equally as good as the nose. The primary focus is obviously the hops. I like that...a lot. Pineapple, grapefruit, and orange flavors are the strongest flavors. It has a nice dry, bitter kick. But, it is balanced a little by the presence of caramel and pale malts. It's still skewed in the bitter direction at the end of the day. That's a good thing, but I'd still prefer more bitterness. Alcohol is blended well and is barely noticeable. My bottle indicates 7.5% abv. Not bad, but it is a DIPA only by the smallest of margins. It has a dry, citrusy finish.

Imperial IPA has a medium body that is smooth. Carbonation is dialed down nicely, but is never feels creamy. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor enough and would gladly down a couple of bottles in a sitting. But, there are far better DIPAs out there. That's a fact.

I've never been floored by Mendocino's beer. To be fair, I haven't tried many. But, this is easily the best one I've had to date. Having said that, Imperial IPA is a little too balanced for my taste. I prefer more hop bitterness. The hop flavor here is good. Perhaps very good, but it's a little more balanced than I'd like. It is a nice seasonal release and is worth picking up if you run across it. That's especially true if you're a hop fan.

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Special Edition - Imperial IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 262 ratings