Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

BA SCORE
82
good
211 Ratings
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Imperial Barley Wine Style AleImperial Barley Wine Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States
mendobrew.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ThreeWiseMen on 05-29-2010

BEER STATS
Ratings:
211
Reviews:
94
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
13.26%
 
 
Wants:
5
Gots:
23
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 211 |  Reviews: 94
Photo of BeerNinja007
1.97/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Got this at Harvest Fine Wine in West Hartford CT for $2.33. Turns out this is brewed by the same folks who do the He'brew stuff under contract. If that's to be taken as a sign, then it's a good one. Served cold in a chilled goblet.

Clear dark cherry red brew gives a bit of thin beige head that's completely gone in short order. Nose is thick with sugary stone fruits, a moderate amount of malt, and boozy warmth. Taste is... wow, what an alcohol bomb, sheesh. The 11% isn't hidden at all, it's front and center, all over the place, burns the mouth. It has a little bit of cherry cough syrup sweetness but it's hard to find behind all the alcohol. It tastes like a Vienna lager fortified with vodka.

I can't finish this, I'm not looking to do shots tonight. Drain pour. Very disappointing. FAIL.

 799 characters

Photo of ChrisForman
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of Beaver13
2.12/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle. Pours light brown with a medium creamy light tan head that retains fairly well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet figgy malts, toffee, cola, cardboard and alcohol.

The flavor is sweet malts, molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits (fig) with some alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and kind of watery.

Overall, it's too sweet for me with a bit of alcohol. Not balanced at all.

 400 characters

Photo of Hellpop65
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

Photo of StaveHooks
2.4/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a copper brown with a light tan head that sinks into a thin cap of micro bubbles.

S - Heavily roasted toffee, sorghum, brown bread, a mix of dark fruit, raisins, prunes, coffee grinds, alcohol, heavy minerals.

T - Scorched brown sugar, molasses, fusel alcohol, prune juice, some bitter hops, rough mineral finish.

M - Medium body, slick, boozy.

The burnt sugar mixed with hot alcohol creates an unpleasant astringency. This is a miss for me.

 456 characters

Photo of mbusster88
2.66/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter glass.

A: Beautiful ruby red color to this beer. Off white head has small bubbles and sticks around rather long. Alcohol clings to the glass. Some carbonation continues to come off the bottom of the glass.

S: Get some booze right away on the nose. Also get the black licorice like smell, mixed in with the booze. Very earthy smells as well. Some fruity characters at first, but as it warms not so much.

T/M: Right away with the taste is some booze. Not a ton but its there. Turns to dark fruit notes and some earthy characters. Started this one out a little colder than normal. Not a difficult drink, but not the most friendly either. The dark fig flavors are really apparent as it warms.

D: Personally my first barley wine, I did enjoy it, but I feel like there are many better out there for me to discover. Overall I would say its an okay beer, not something I would seek out again though.

 932 characters

Photo of yesyouam
2.67/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Mendocino Imperial Barley Wine Ale is crystal clear and deep amber with a small white head that quickly dissipates. It has a resiny, oaky aroma that's slightly sweet, with notes of cherry, vanilla and bay leaf. It's pretty full bodied and pretty smooth. The finish is slightly dry and slightly sticky. It leaves the mouth slightly chalky. This tastes boozy, very hot and resiny. There are notes of cherry, dark fruit, oak and a slight sweetness... but it's mostly just booze-- maybe fusel. The alcohol flavor is pretty distracting. It tastes like whiskey. I dare you to chug this.

 580 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
2.73/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours a hazy ,dark amber with a 2 finger white head. Average retention. Leaves behind small, spotty lacing.

Smell - Sweet, boozy and a berry fruit aroma.

Taste - Follows the nose. Sweet berry notes, raspberry and blackberry. A hint of grassy bitterness. Heat creeps in near the finish, leaving in it's wake a dry, astringent resonance. Becomes cloyingly sweet, sip after sip.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied and syrupy. Has a moderate, somewhat bubbly carbonation. Finishes dry from the alcohol heat.

Overall - This is, at very best, an average barleywine. Little complexity, met by a lot of boozy character. Greatly unbalanced, and the unforgiving berry sweetness is matched only by the forwardness of the alcohol. I probably could have finished it, but I found myself not wanting to, so it went down the drain. Would not buy again.

 842 characters

Photo of seeswo
2.75/5  rDev -24%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
2.75/5  rDev -24%

Photo of bagpiper2005
2.96/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Dark red/amber color with a finger and a half of tan head that dissipated fairly quickly and left no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Pretty light. Fruity and sweet. Tones of molasses and alcohol. Hops barely detectable.

Taste: Caramel and brown sugar front end. Hints of apple in the middle, and finishes with no hop bitterness. Slight alcohol burn in the back.

Mouthfeel: Light and watery. Too much carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: It's palatable. That's about all I can say though.

Final Notes: Another one of those beers that should be reclassified. In my opinion, this beer is simply delicious, but it doesn't fit the American Barleywine category, hence the low rating. Actually, to me this beer tastes more like a Dubbel. I do like this beer though.

 774 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
2.97/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Strong aroma is fruity and syrupy, notes of caramel and cloves, a bit cloying. Pours a clear mahogany with a thick and rather fine-bubbled tan head. Flavor has a strong alcohol bite and a woody note, just a hint of fruit. Smooth texture has plenty of life, but finish is unpleasant. Well, a good effort.

 303 characters

Photo of Nage37
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of kbuzz
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: chestnut; slightly cloudy; small head, dissipates quickly; slight lacing

Aroma: malty; dried fruit; light hops; strong alcohol

Taste: Slightly creamy, sweet start that rides along with a sharp alcohol bite and hops; dried fruit and warming alcohol in the mid; finishes semi-sweet, but dry hoppiness in the aftertaste

Remarks: good and strong, but kind of one dimensional throughout the entire profile.

 419 characters

Photo of birdsellam
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Jade
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of facundoCNB
3.09/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

had this in the cellar for over a year.. poured a murky amber with a finger of head which quickly dissipated. smells of faint barley sweetness, raisins, getting a hint of strong alcohol. flavor is all sweet up front and then a burning alcohol that completely takes over everything.. a little harsh on the palate. full bodied, low carbonation.. the feel is harsh, the alcohol hits you in the lips, gums, palate, and chest.

i'll have to taste a fresh one, but man - either this is just a poor example of a barleywine or this just did not age well at all (find it hard to believe a barley wine could get worse with aging but hey, it's a tough game to play)

 654 characters

Photo of travolta
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Beautiful clear redwood in color. Mild head retention and some decent lacing. The color is quite nice.

Nose: Sweet biscuit, syrupy liquor, cat pee, dark candied fruits.

Taste: Syrupy sweet throughout, little bit of malt and hops coming through,

 263 characters

Photo of RochefortChris
3.11/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not as good as I thought it would be and I can’t really tell it’s "imperial". Aroma is a bit week for such a strong beer. Mouth feel is nice and chewy as a barley wine should be. Definitely noticeable alcohol presence but with no burn in the throat. Not a bad beer, typical barley wine but one I probably won’t have again.

 328 characters

Photo of flannelman808
3.14/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice looking rose violet brown and is fairly clear. Light tan head tops the glass which has large bubbles. Poor retention... it does not stick around very long.

S: Medicinal like. Over ripened fig, hints of anise. Kind of smells like a fig newton bar.

T: in a word... Underdeveloped. There are actually some nice flavors that shine through. And I am pleasantly surprised that it's not cloying on the palate (the nose indicated otherwise). Fig newton qualities come through as well. There is a balance between overall sweet and dry qualities. At the end of the day however this is just unfulfilling, seems watered down though at 11 % abv that is an odd thought to be having.

M: ehh ok

D: medium

 709 characters

Photo of OneDropSoup
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter: Nice reddish-brown, just barley transparent, with the slightest "milky way" dusting & some loose bubbles in the collar. Bright ruby highlights, kind of looks like a cherry wine. Nice color, but looks kind of flimsy otherwise.

First smells are a thin caramel, a little maple, an edge of alcohol, & a slight cinnamon character. Some dark, cooked fruits emerge, but they're all a little musty or like shredded paper. Not bad, though.

At first brings some dark fruit sugars, then a taste that's half dry booze & half papery, even a little like dry fruit skins or gourd. Huh. Not great, but tolerable. Booze gains traction & ends real dry.

Medium-bodied, with some heat & "dead-tongue" alcohol feel, not great.

The highs were mediocre & the lows were noticeable in this one. I'm no pro at detecting oxidation, but I have a feeling that was a culprit here.

 877 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a tumbler.

The last of the entries in my mini Mendocino tasting today. It pours a mostly clear garnet-amber topped by a finger of dusty off-tan foam. The nose comprises sweet caramel, ruby red grapefruit, pine resin, and balsa. The taste brings in more of the same, with the caramel's sweetness and the grapefruit really finding themselves amped up to great heights. Things almost come through too much for their own good. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a syrupy feel. Overall, a decent b-wine, but one I found a bit too sweet, too grapefruit-y, and too thick to really enjoy all the way.

 637 characters

Photo of bminor7
3.16/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

deep redbrown color
sweet nose. banana, dark fruit, sugar
taste is fainter though. better with warming. a bit of bitterness at the end.
MF is a bit carbonated
drinkability...well, it's a barleywine...

worth a try, but better examples in the style surely exist.

 261 characters

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Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 211 ratings.
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