Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

214 Ratings
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Imperial Barley Wine Style AleImperial Barley Wine Style Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

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

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Ratings: 214 |  Reviews: 94
Photo of andysk
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of muchloveforhops3
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of kbuzz
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of AndrewMichael
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of streetcommander
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in lager glass. Beer temp is 56F.

Pours a dark mahogany with tan head. Laces and maintains a foam slick throught the session. Very nice.

Smells of malts, caramel and a hint of spice. Hops are present as well, pine in nature.

On the draw, immediately hit with a lurid bitterness and crisp viscosity, not at all slimy or syrupy. Carbonation is on point, not overly carbonated.

Flavor is full bodied. Malts, brown sugar, caramelized roast drippings, and yes booze. Very well balanced, not at all harsh. Very well done. Very smooth and drinkable at 11abv. One could easily drink 4 or 5.

 595 characters

Photo of buckyp
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of InfernoBoss
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, rich copper color with a one-finger, khaki colored head of short-lived foam. It left little to no lacing.

S - It smelled of sweet maltiness, booziness and floral notes.

T - It was very boozy and sweet. Lots of malt, toffee and caramel.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a pretty nice barleywine. Strong and very full flavored.

 415 characters

Photo of acevenom
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet. Pours deep toffee brown with a thin off-white head that doesn't last for long. Some light can pass through the beer and I notice some visible tiny bubbles. The aroma is of toffee, malts, dark fruits, and plenty of booziness. The taste follows the nose. There's some grainy maltiness with some hop bitterness in the back end. I get some of the toffee, dark fruits, and plenty of booze. The body is medium to full with moderate carbonation. There's a dry finish. This is a very good beer.

 508 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 irongator
4/5  rDev +10.5%

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 danjw
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Brenden
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color is a thick, ruddy medium-dark brown, something of a heavy bronze. A tight medium-brown head develops and displays pretty good retention, fading off to a foam that leaves spotty lacing as the beer drops.
Something is lost in the heavy alcoholic presence of this beer. There's not much nuance in the aroma, and a lot seems to be lost as heavy fusel notes and even something akin to rubbing alcohol sit strongly in the front. That said, it isn't terrible; it doesn't go so far as to remind me of paint thinner or terpentine as some heavily alcoholic macros end up going with. The malts base is still there, and I can still get most of the notes I find in the flavor.
What I get in the flavor is a sturdy backbone of darker malts, a big dark fruits sweetness, some caramel, a sugary sweetness (residual sugars?) strong all the way through and, riding alongside the whole way, that big boozy presence. It comes together a bit better in the flavor here. Hops lie underneath the malts, offering a bit of citrus and, to a lesser extent, grassiness.
The body is on the bigger side of medium, not as thinned out for all the alcohol as it could be; in fact, it's almost a little "chewy," so to speak. There's a gentle crispness and a light carbonation throughout.

 1,262 characters

Photo of Hellpop65
2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours coppery with almost no head, and almost no visible carbonation. Smell is musty and sweet. Hay and dust. Dark fruit, like plums.

Taste is sweet and fruity with some alcohol bitterness. More of that plumminess. Maybe some dates and raisins.

Mouthfeel is a little still, and slightly sticky. Somewhat chewy.

Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine.

 394 characters

Photo of grumpygerman
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of mychalg9
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%

Photo of beerpadawan
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of ejw127
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of LXIXME
3.64/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small light brown head quickly dies leaving no lacing above a clear burnt dark reddish amber colored beer.

Rich grains and alcohol aroma overwhelm anything else that might be going on.

Big roasted grains blend well with the alcohol in a full flavored taste on this barley wine.

A very light dry aftertaste that brings with it some of the caramel malts.

A medium bodied barley wine that has more of a beer taste than a lot of barley wines I've have tried, which to me is a big plus.

 485 characters

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this "imperial" barleywine in a nonic pint.

Appearance- This barley wine has a copper, almost ruby look to it with an insubstantial tan head.

Smell- A little sweet from what seems to be dark fruits. I get no hint of hops. Alcohol comes through, reminds me of a brandy. The malt is bigger as well, more toffee and bread-like.

Taste- I would say the overall impression of the drink has to be unbalanced and a little too warm. The drink starts out sweet with the bread malt and dark fruits mixing a little, but then the heat plays around on the back of the throat.

This produces some flavors that seem "off" in this beer. It also brings down the finish considerably. Even if the drink finished smoother, this one might be a bit too sweet, and really lacking in hop presence.

Mouth feel- It is slick, but unfortunately, not really smooth or full. That would have really helped the beer. It is too oily really.

Overall- This imperial barley wine certainly shows its alcohol demeanor early and often, negatively affecting the smell, taste, and feel of the beer.

Give this barley wine some flavor hops and smooth out all of that alcohol bite and I might consider picking this one up again.

 1,195 characters

Photo of teetotaler
3.61/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

aged this bottle in the blair-witch cellar for 2 years. i figured, the dogs in bed and the wifes outside, so why not?

poured into the trusty duvel tulip

3/4" mottled tan and leather head, like crema on an espresso. despite it's attractiveness and seeming thickness, it dissipated within 2 minutes. held up to the light, the bulk was largely opaque with raisin-brown tinting around the edges. though the head had dissipated, carbonation was still very active throughout (this would become a problem later).

the smell was indicative of a barley-wine powerhouse. malt, dark fruits, chocolate and booziness so thick you could cut it with a knife. a bit too boozy at the start, but it Is 11%. age hasn't mellowed the nose one bit (of the beer, not my nose).

the taste followed the nose with a malty tongue bath. no booze burn. dark fruits pound the back of the throat and sinuses like a belgian yeast. the carmel in the nose is lost in the cloying richness.

mouthfeel is appropriate for the style. thick, coating the mouth, lingering, a few steps down from syrupy. the tingle of the carbonation is delightful in this style, keeping it from becoming too heavy, while delivering the alcohol to my brain and limbs much too quickly (yep, it became a problem)

overall, it's not the most complicated selection of the style, i've had quite a few over time. age may have focused the flavor, for the aroma is enticing, but the taste is one-sided. not a bad selection, but this would've been better with a lower ABV (it's crazy saying that. i started with barley wines Because of their high ABV). mendocino should leave the "imperial" designation to stouts and possibly IPAs, but leave barley wines where they are.

 1,708 characters

Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 214 ratings.
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