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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:
None provided.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 262 |  Reviews: 248
Reviews by uwmgdman:
Photo of uwmgdman
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This IPA pours brilliantly clear, light copper color with a thick white head, a very nice appearance. The aroma is highly hoppy, citrus, pine and a bit of soap. There is also a subtle bready/toasted malt aroma in the background. The flavor is very hoppy, similar to the smell with a small, but still noticeable malt presence, well balanced. The hop bitterness is medium-high. The mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth, medium-full body and a pleasant finish. An exceptional IPA, highly recommend.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of letsgopens
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This Imperial IPA pours a semi-translucent amber with golden highlights and lots of very small rising bubbles. The tan/off-white frothy head holds well and leaves good lace.

Big hops are prominent in the nose along with some sweet citrus and toasty malt. Pine and spice are also detectable.

Really nice mouthwatering hops linger with a resinous bitter quality. Malty and rather juicy; not dry. Citrus and some spice. A hint of pine and some mellow warmth. Not terribly complex but what it does, it does well. Big floral tasty hops.

Mellow and juicy for the style. Full bodied but not syrupy on the palate. Low to moderate carbonation allows the texture to linger a bit. Well constructed and flavorful.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours an orangish-amber color with a thin and quickly receding white head. Decent lacing.

S: A lot of citrus in the form of grapefruit and orange.

T: A damn fine DIPA. A lot of delicious citrus in this one although it's balanced well with the malts. Very much on the sweet side with a faint bitterness at the end.

M: Full bodied with a slightly thick mouthfeel.

D: A very good DIPA, a nice winter seasonal from Mendocino.

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

Sparce head leaves a little lace on a brilliantly clear golden brown ale. Wheres the head?

Aroma hits with full caramel in front of a piney hop aroma that finishes in an earthy way. My favorite aspect of this beer. Tropical fruits explode surprisingly from the lip of the glass.

Nice resiny type bitterness up front not quite balanced by full malty flavor. Well balanced (for a hophead) fairly dry. Very drinkable for 7.5! Nice beer and I will drink this again.

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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 gford217
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear golden amber with a small, short-lived head that leaves a ring and a little bit lacing. There are some pine and grapefruit in the nose but it's balance by the biscuity malt backbone. The taste also veers to the sweeter side of the spectrum with the malts featuring as much as the hops. There is hop bitterness in the taste but a little metallic and quite a bit of sugary sweetness. The mouthfeel is sticky sweet with strong carbonation. This is decent and relatively balance IPA, but it's not one I would seek out.

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Photo of VonSteinhoist
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beautiful clear amber brew with a small and short-lived head. In typical IPA fashion it has pronounced citrus and pine flavors and this beer's assertive hops linger on the palate. It's velvety mouth-feel make it eminently drinkable, but caution the relatively high ABV. Though not the best in it's class, IPA lovers will not be disappointed. This brew was thoroughly enjoyed and, as it is a seasonal brew- enjoy it while it lasts.

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Photo of Durge
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear light amber colored brew with a fair white head and plenty of lacing. The aroma is incredibly strong grapefruit and not much else gets through! The taste stays true to the heavy grapefruit hops theme but it does have a nice solid body feel, fairly slick. There is a chewy malt and alcohol combination throughout. Smooth carbonation and pretty drinkable for the style, if you are OK with such dominant grapefruit. Bitter citrus goodness for the true fan! recommended.

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

this beer is listed twice, but whatever. the batch i'm drinking was brewed in saratoga, ny as well, but whatever. not much to say about this one besides the fact that it is above average for mendocino brewing co., and i really thank them for providing us with an affordable brew that can really fix that hop jones. a little bitter with that herbal/piney/citrusy/grassy thing that we search for. just not enough malt character for me and a little generic tasting. a brew this good for $6.99 a six pack though, you won't hear me complain, and i might session this one all the way to the new year. good beer. steal for the price. thanks mendotoga.

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Photo of colts9016
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter at 51 degrees.

Appearance: The beer presents an golden amber with a coppery hue. There is lacing on the glass. There is some effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is very clear to brilliant.

Nose: A nice grapefruit, grassy, and resin aroma most present in the beer. In the back ground there is a very nice subtle sweet maltiness.

Taste: There is nice grapefruit with resin and grass. There is a subtle malty sweetness in the background of the beer.

Overall: The mouth feel is astringent and dry. The finish is bitter and lingers on the beer. To me this beer feel more like an hopped up IPA. The imperial part of the beer lack a lot of hop flavor in this beer. Most of the Imperial IPA have a nice pungent bold in your face. I am a little disappointed in this beer.

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Photo of LeftyBWS
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass. 2007 winter seasonal offering.
A: Nice bright orange color with amber tinges. 1.5 inches of creamy white head, leaves a swirly layer atop the beer and sheets of sticky lacing.
S: Hoppy, mostly pine with some orangey undertones. Not much maltiness noticeable.
T: Hoppy and crisp at first, mix of pine and floral. Middle is more citrusy with a small sugary taste. Finish is a lingering hoppiness that fades out.
M: Good hop bite, and refreshing too.
D: Nice, easy to drink for a DIPA.

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Photo of bboven
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper body, clear with a smallish head but decent lacing.

Huge, burnt, high alpha hop aroma with just enough malt to not make it too crazy.

Bitter throughout, but sweet malt dances around and pokes through once again, enough not to be too much hop. Strong bittering at the end of the swallow.

Nice light carbonation makes for a smooth mouthfeel, but you can certainly tell that this was pumped full of CO2 and not bottle conditioned. This beer served out of a cask at cellar temps would most likely be a 5 across the board. I'm really surprised that A. it was so cheap (5.99 a sixer) and B. such a great beer from a brewery I've had hits and misses with. If you drink one beer from this brewery, get this one.

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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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Photo of nrbw23
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to fiveo2270 for this one.

A- A nice clear amber with a nice short head. Left a nice amount of lacing in my glass.

S- Typical IPA. Grapefruit, hops and light pine I can pick up in this one.

T- Again I can pick up grapefruit, nice amount of hops and pine. Finishes nice and sweet.

M- Almost like a Barley wine a little on the thick side. Very nice and pretty well balanced out.

D- Very nice and enjoyable. Alcohol is hardly noticable would put a few of these away pretty easy.

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Photo of hellomcfly
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper/amber color with a resilient off white head.

S - All hops. Orange, grapefruit, pine.

T - Hops hit you right away. Their flavors mirroring every thing found in the nose. Aftertaste is is of caramel and slightly toasted malt. There is a bit of a nuttiness like what would be found in a nut brown ale as well. All of this is encompassed in a residual hop bitterness.

M - On the lighter side of medium body. Just slightly dry finish.

D - Fairly aggressive bitterness but still drinks fairly easily for a 7.50 abv brew. I could down a couple of these in one sitting paired with some food.

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Photo of jdklks
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- dark golden brown with a big white head that leaves plenty of lacing down the glass.

S- hops and citrus fruit.

T- hops and oranges up front with a grapefruit bitterness (though not overwhelmingly so) at the end. hmmm... the orange flavor actually lasts throughout... interesting "balance" for a DIPA.

M- medium bodied. the flavor doesn't linger for nearly as long as most DIPAs ive had, but im guessing that is due to the "balance" issue i mentioned above, i.e., not any overwhelming hop bitterness. for this reason, it gets the 3.

D- the drinkability gets a bump because i could drink it all night. that is not to say that i enjoy it so much that i would drink it all night, but only that it has a good enough flavor, and that it is drinkable enough to keep grabbing another without even noticing how many you've had, which just might be what i end up doing.

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Photo of JamesS
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice light copper, though rather clear, with some decent head and lacing. Nice scent, extremely floral from the American hops. Great taste, although there is no aspect of balance, this is a hop bomb; it has a large floral taste with great citrus tones, a very nice use of American hops. It goes down very smoothly for an impy IPA. Very well done.

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

Pours a dark reddish chestnut, with a small tan head that left a little lacing. The nose is a tame one, subtle citrus, more pine sap notes than citrus. The flavors are inline with the nose pine sap is large and in charge, these hops are pretty one dimensional it seems. The malt is an after thought, but comes through in subtle toasted bread crust waves that can almost go unnoticed. The body was more carbonated than creamy and a little thin for a double IPA. Overall a very good offering, if the hop assault had been turned up another notch this would have been outstanding.

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

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.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For a winter warmer, this works really well with a hefty 7.5% alcohol... for an IPA, this also works really well, bursting with hops and robust flavor... from a 12oz bottle copped singly from Total Wine and More in West Orange, pours a copper-brown color with minimal or no head... smell is great... full of hops and caramel... taste strongly complements the aroma, bursting with hops, mild caramel, and vanilla creaminess... a very good example of the style - a strong, full-bodied IPA with a nice, warming alcohol glow... this beer packs a punch and was enjoyable to drink... will certainly be trying more brews from Mendocino... Defiitely recommended...

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

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.

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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 dolemite77
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice burnt orange with minimal head. It settles to a thin lacing head. Aroma is obviously hoppy, with a sweetness to it that you would expect from an imperial. ABV is listed as 7.5%, so it's not a hugely sweet beer, and seems truer to an IPA than an 2xIPA. Flavor is all hops. Minimal malt notes in this one. I think it would be better if the flavor of the hops was as prominent as the bitterness. All in all, a good IPA that is fitting for the winter season.

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