Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

Imperial Barley Wine Style AleImperial Barley Wine Style Ale
216 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 216 |  Reviews: 94
Photo of Pintofbrown
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
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 -1.6%
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

Photo of Djenx
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark ruby amber. Minima off-whitel head, light lacing. Aroma of malt and odd esters. Very malty; sweet caramel malt, some dark fruit, maple flavor. Finish is odd and somewhat dry with strong malt. I like the maltiness of this, but it is not very well balanced.

 334 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve, 12oz into a tulip. 2011 vintage.

Clear reddish brown with a white head that fades to a thin ring of retention. Sweet malty nose, brown sugar, light fruit character and a bit of marshmallow. Tastes of candy floss, candi sugar and caramel. Medium feel, not too boozy and a quite low carbonation. A sweet English barleywine, somewhat enjoyable.

 366 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another big beer for my birthday. Boozy aroma. Brown, with a whisp of a head. A big caramel that grows on me, more of an English barleywine. 2011 version so maybe hops have faded, yet the carbonation is still right there. Boozy finish and a meal in itself.Thanks for bringing Stephen.

 284 characters

Photo of Spartan213
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep amber with a finger of off white head. Sweet malt in the aroma with some caramel and some hops. On the malty side. Plenty of malt sweetness. Alcohol is well hidden for 11%. Just enough hops to balance out the sweetness. Pretty balanced. Full bodied. Decent.

 305 characters

Photo of UltimateLivewire
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of Beermazter310
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of seeswo
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of vonnegut21
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Amp
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of YouSkeete
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy dark amber/red with a short yellow-tan head. Big malt character through the nose with lots of creamy citrus, toffee, plums, dates, molasses and alcohol with soft tones of lemongrass. Fermented dark fruits, caramel malts and molasses on the initial sip followed by notes of hop bitterness and toffee. Smooth, mildly dry toffee/wood aftertaste. Creamy, boozy mouthfeel. Full bodied with moderate carbonation.

 424 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Obscure barleywine on sale ($8/4pk), sure why not?

Murky reddish brown body, a dense yet thin layer of white foam sits on the surface, settling slowly to a free island of floating skim.

Smells like toffee, oxidized malt, and a whiff of alcohol. Barleywine!

Creamy feel, no hint of alcohol in fact. Guessing this was aged a year plus at the store. Light hint of residual hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Bulk of the flavor is comprised of sweet malt complexity, cellophane-wrapped caramel squares, multigrain bread. Drying aftertaste. Medium bodied, lower carbonation levels. Overall not bad once it warms up. A middle of the road ABW that is cheap for being 11%, and hides it pretty well (after aging).

 708 characters

Photo of DrFunkenstein
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly murky dark orange with a 1 inch foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel/toffee, brown sugar, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is the same with a bit of a mineral/metallic flavor on the finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine but it smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

 479 characters

Photo of Nage37
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of jdense
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle purchased in Boise ID, consumed with beer buddy in La Grande.

Reddish amber clear body, , off-white head, quick dissipation, no visible carbonation. Light brown sugar notes in nose, floral hops. Taste is pretty boozy, light sugar notes. Mouthfeel is medium good effervescence a bit sticky. Needs some cellaring, too boozy right now.

 346 characters

Photo of bespin15
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby/mahogany body with a nice bit of tan head. A fairly pretty looking beer for sure.

S - Sweet dark fruits (plum, cherry), toffee and caramel. That's about it.

T - Dry and a touch smoky. THe dark fruit character comes through. A little bitter, but not so much of a hop thing.

M - coating and thick. There is a viscosity to this that kind of feels like it clings to your mouth.

O - I think this is pretty good. Tastes good, looks good, feels kinda funny.

 469 characters

Photo of Kornoms
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of OneDropSoup
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
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 UDbeernut
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Dutch poured into a oversized wine glass. Nice tan amber hue capped by a nice tan head. Head has fair retention that reduces to light lacing. Nose is warm with caramel, slight yeasty bread. Taste is a strong punch of caramel, cloying sweetness. Light grass and flower, tad of dull earth. Full bodies this is defiantly a sipper. Much better than I expected, not that I am the barley wine expert.

 408 characters

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ratebeer's own markwise for this one. Is this really an imperial barleywine? Not sure what that means. 12oz bottle pours amber with copper edges and tan head. The aroma is rich with apricot infused pine hops, some mango and more pine hops at the end of the draw. The taste is pretty nice with pine hoppiness that gets sticky with maltiness. To midway and into the finish a mild level of tropical fruitiness joins in too. Nice bold pine hop forward barleywine.

 469 characters

Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 216 ratings
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