Imperial IPA | Mendocino Brewing Company

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Zorro on 07-03-2010

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Reviews: 101 | Ratings: 221
Photo of tdm168
4.47/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with a hint of orange. There's a thin lacing of white head that's soft and has good retention. The nose is bready and sweet with some underlying baked apple notes. The flavor opens up with a malt forward, bready, sweet, birthday cake character and then blends into a citrusy, grapefruit, pineapple hop character that is slightly bitter in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and smooth with decent carbonation.

This is a solid beer. It has good flavor and body. It's balanced, smooth, drinkable, flavorful. This is a nice West Coast IPA.

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Photo of Justinbrick2011
4.42/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

mendocino imperial ipa is a great beer or should i say ale its a full bodied ipa with great flavor. mendocino imperial ipa is brewed with a lot of premium varieties of hops such as Amarillo, Cascade which are some of my favorite hops.. it also has caramel and 2-row pale malts.. i really love this beer for its strong hop aroma and the taste is a strong bitter citrus flavor

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Photo of yesyouam
4.41/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino Imperial IPA is a slightly hazy golden ale with a thin white head that fades to a film and leaves decent lacing. It has a pine and citrus aroma, bright and fresh with a touch of sweetness and a note of orange peel. It smells great. It's full bodied and very smooth with a clean, dry finish. It tastes very piny and slightly sweet with lots of orange going on. It's bitter, dry and well balanced. This is very easy to drink. It tastes great and it's really smooth.

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Photo of ckollias
4.32/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a brownish-orange with mild amber highlights. Huge, 3-finger, frothy, white head that lasts forever leaving a great trail all the way around the glass before ending in a persistent lace.

S: Strong hoppy aroma with a general sweetness.

T: Hops dominate this brew form beginning to end. Slightly sweet and there is no a nice alcoholic bite towards the ends.

M: Very strong and boozy. Medium body and heavy carbonation

O: Superb imperial ipa – nicely hopped and very drinkable. Would pick this up again.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a fairly dark copper color, medium amount of haze. Small white head leaves thick sheets of lace. The hop scents are bonerific. That goes for the taste as well. Nice light (comparatively) caramel malt, just completely dominated by some nasty ass bitter hops. Which completely sticks around in your mouth for quite a while after. A nice floral strain too, but that too is dominated by the bitterness. A bit of spice from the warming alcohol. Thinner-side of medium bodied, fairly wet. Very nice beer.

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Photo of ralree
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Red-gold, 1/2 finger ehad, fluffy white with good retention and lacing.

S: Really fruity, lots of hops, sweet.

T: Really caramelly, brown sugar, hops are great, smokey, no alcohol taste, spicy. I like it, but it's weird.

M: Chewy, thick, medium-heavy body, non-astringent.

D: Goes down pretty well for the style.

Enjoyed at the Oregon Brewer's Festival 2010

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Photo of tavernjef
4.13/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly smeared cast of darker goldenrod, somewhat bronzed glow with lots of activity of carbonation at a fury within. Medium tall capping of dense beige foam lifts quickly and remains for a while before wafting down to a heavy skim. Thin strings of lace along with some thin patchy curtains coat the glass very well.

Aroma is a bit lullish and leaning more towards a softer amber ale-like aroma with dryish cedar woody hops, a light backing of caramel, some flour grain, and floraly citrus spice thats a touch grapefruity and orange. It's a nice nose but a nose not quite fitting to the style(splitting hairs).

Taste is more likeable and forward as it balances quite well between a light grain malt sweetenss that definately has caramel and probably crystal and biscuit to it. Which keeps a nice tender tow of breadyish doughy sweetenss the whole way through. Yet keeps just enough room to let the hops swim in with a darker floral citrusyness that is peachy and orange zested. Notes of cedar pine. Stays clean and mostly sweet with a speakeasy dryness floating about. Bitterness well in check of citrusy orange and cedar. The malt tones are very nice and well handled.

Soft, smooth, tender medium body with a nice balance of softer drying hoppyness and peppery zest that lasts into a favorable lengthy finish.

Pretty solid stuff. Perhaps not so much a heavier handed Impy IPA that grabs your immediate attention, but pretty good for what it is with a smoother, sweeter malty balance and character that I found to be quite the drinkable treat.

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Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark golden/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a really nice malt aroma that boasts of pale, bisquit, and caramel malts. The hop aroma is moderately bitter with a piney character. The taste is good as well. It has a well balanced flavor that's bitter as hell up front with a solid, complex malt base. It's not your typical west coast DIPA. It is however a damn fine east coast variety. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine DIPA. I'm a huge fan of the malt character. The caramel and bisquit malts meld nicely with the piney hop notes.

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Photo of otersen73
4.09/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep murky copper color in a pint glass. Descent head retention with good belgian lace.

Exceptional aromas...huge caramel malt backed by fruity esters.

Big malt profile up front, well balanced with hop bitterness, although, some off flavors poke through. Not sure about the choice of hops for this brew.

Chewy mouth feel.

I'd have another one, if someone got it for me.;)

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Resiny, citrusy, and earthy/grainy, Mendocino Brewing does a great job of capturing a malty flavor to balance the hops without allowing the malty-sweet weight to interfere.

A hazy, deep copper-deep amber color adorns the tulip while sticky lace climbs up the glass. Obviously the great rocky head formation and stubborn retention of eggshell white foam are prerequisites.

Malty rich aromas give the impression of deeply caramelized barley malts but avoiding toast, thus promoting a bread crust savory sweetness. But the hops are quickly countered by sharp hop flavors of citrus zest, ruby red grapefruits, and resiny bitterness. Pungent maltiness gives the impressions of rye malt or everso peated malts- flavorful but earthy. Alcoholic bitter flavors intensify the hop bitterness and gives an acetone taste.

The mouthfeel starts very creamy and somewhat heavy, but the sweetnes falls off quickly, allowing for a malty-dry mid palate. But the malts continue its fleeting texture as the hop dryness and alcohol warmth gain intensity- leading to a crisp and clean finish even if with a mild resiny sticky-dry bitterness.

It seems like I've written hundreds of IPA reviews that read the same way this one has. Though this is a delightful beer, there's little that separates it from many other well made Double IPA's.

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle that came in a $9.99 four pack. I see no freshness info.

Pours typical almond amber, moderate haze. Frothy lite mocha head, stays @ 1/4 inch and leaves better then respectable fine lace.

Pine resin nose with some underlying malt.

Hopped up DIPA, resin, pine, gritty hop notes. Big and bold. East coast style...dont let the name fool you, this stuff is brewed in NY state.

Pleasant in the mouth with ample carbonation.

Solid effort, not spectacular, but a quality brew in all respects.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours amber with a slight chill haze under a sudsy 2” moderately persistent off-white foam collar that grips the side of the glass.
S: Big citrus, resin and grass hop aromas, bread and light malt sweetness.
T: Bread and light malt caramel sweetness provide a backbone for citrusy hops with some grapefruit and a delicate astringency from high hopping rates that linger well into the aftertaste. Some melon notes.
F: Medium body, medium carbonation, slight astringency in the end from the hops.
O: A big hop forward beer.

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Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served in standard pint glass

A - clear or hazy amber, with off-white head. Head has good retention. Trace of sediment in bottom of bottle (added to my beer, of course).

Mouthfeel: creamy and full, but with some dryness towards the finish. smooth; medium body and carbonation

S - Resinous and citrusy hops, but a bit subtle compared to the bold taste. {A more recent Nov. 2011 sample had a bolder, more citrusy aroma}. A bit earthy with hints of herbs and baked bread.

T - citrusy hops with traces of orange. Rather complex hop mix but perhaps not quite as hoppy as expected for an Amer. imperial or double IPA. Significant levels of sweet and caramel malt to balance the bitter hops. Only moderately bitter and hoppy after-taste. 8% ABV is largely hidden.

O - A very well-crafted DIPA. Boldly flavored, yet an excellent sipper that is refreshing and not challenging or overly aggressive. .

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Photo of Docer
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snagged up a 12oz. bottle to try. No idea when it was brewed and bottled as there are no dates or codes.

- Pours a nice rich slightly cloudy dark copper with a big 3 fingers of fluffy light light cream colored head. Slowly settles and leaves lace all about my small flute glass.

- Zesty lemon, citrus, and lime hops dominate the nose. Nice subtle caramel malt sits back while allowing the hops more room to shine. Certainly a nice floral flare there as well.

- Smooth caramel malts with a zesty bitterness, and more so a floral and zingy, and slightly spicy hop. Touch of earthiness, and lemon. Little bit soapy.

- Great medium bodied beer with perfect carbonation and a slightly drying after feel. Slightly creamy, very smooth.

- Overall this is a very good and solid IPA. I can see this being a regular for me if it were readily available to me. Certainly a must have if you are near it in bottle or on tap.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour produced a nice 1 finger off white head. Body is a very rich dark amber coloring. Color is classic to the style. Smell is very earth, piney, resiney, woody hops. Also a touch of grapefruit. Borderline barleywine on smell. Initial taste is quite bitter with dirty earthy hops. A touch of caramel sweetness on the backend. Only downside is the bitterness is a tad medicinal. But one thing I have learned from that is that you will begin to like it after the second one. I learned this from Hopsickle. It is closely breaking into barleywine territory. Mouthfeel is very slick and oily with carbonation that is not overbearing. I had been apprehensive to try their stuff because I thought they were low brow. But they actually can brew up a solid IPA.

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Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear amber colored ale that lies in the shades often called "IPA Orange." Small tan colored head.

Smells strong and hoppy with pine being the strongest scent. Wood and citrus are strongly present. Strong hops but just not many subtleties here.

Starts out Strong citrus with a woody aftertaste. Stout bitterness but there is enough malt to tame it down. Malt is present a little brown sugar to it. Good strong IPA taste but nothing unusual or notable about it.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is good. Not an outstanding IIPA but a decent one.

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Photo of thain709
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A darker copper body with a big two finger, creamy head...rocky retention which finally fell to a thin cap...sheets of lacing

S - A solid nose for a IIPA...strong, grapefruit and pine hops with a good dose of caramel malt

T - Again, pretty typical for a IIPA...the hops are the star of the show but to make sure they don't become overpowering there is a malt backbone to keep them in check...the hops start with a grapefruit flavor...the sweet caramel malts take over in the middle to balance things out...bitter, piney hops finish off the beer

M - Medium bodied...a tad resiny, dry and bitter...alcohol only showed after a bit of warming

D - I was surprised to see lower reviews for this beer...I found this to be pretty it's nothing that blew my mind but it's nothing that sucked either...a nice beer to transition from a regular to a double IPA

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Photo of ATPete
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Bright yellow orange color, large sticky off white/peach colored head. Big resinous nose, piney hops and a solid caramel malt sweetness. Balanced and the 8% alcohol is well hidden. One of the better offerings from Mendocino i can remember.

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Photo of malloyca
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange amber in color, with a thin, slightly off-white head that persists for quite a while in a small pint glass. Aromas of caramel malts and piney, citrusy hops with a floral element. A nicely balanced beer, with sweet caramel-toffee malt flavors offset by a dry, grapefruit citrus hop backbone. This is a easily drinkable medium-bodied beer. I did not think the alcohol was very apparent.

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Photo of hosehead83
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Deep, hazy, apricot gold, with a nice, two-inch head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Toasted malt and citrussy hops
Taste-Sweet, toasted malt, honeycomb, balanced nicely by a solid English-hop profile. Good flavor and character throughout, and very drinkable for an Imperial IPA, as it has a relatively low (8.0ABV). Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of Soozy
3.99/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a DFH snifter.

Hazy amber in color with a white laced head. Smell is great. There's a slight citrus aroma matched with a candi sweetness to it. Some light floral notes.

Taste is well balanced for an Imperial IPA. Taste is sweet malt and a light bitterness from the hops. There's a tangerine taste from the hops that is the most pronounced flavor of the IPA. Alcohol is not noticeable.

The mouthfeel is perfect. The carbonation is smooth and light.

Overall, this is a surprising easy drinking IIPA. This is something that you could easily keep in your rotation of beers throughout the night.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours a lightly clouded red-orange color with a finger of frothy, dirty-white colored head that holds and laces well.

S: Strong caramel maltiness, slightly subdued citrus, breadiness, and resiny hoppiness. It turns more to the citrusy hops as it warms.

T: Grapefruit, lemon zest, sweet caramel, intense resiny bitterness, rye, and some sweet berries at the end.

M: It has a medium-thick body with adequate carbonation and a silky-smooth finish.

D: It isn't the hop bomb that I envisioned with it being from the west coast but it was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Kromes
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A hazy copper color with a thick off white head that laces the glass.

S: A big toasted malt aroma with some earthy and citrus hop.

T: A really nice toasted malt flavor provides a great base for the hops. The hops are there but the bite has been mellowed out. Hops are earthy and citrus pith in flavor. There is bitterness in the finish, but the sweetness in the malt provides a very good balance. There is a floral hop flavor left afterwards.

M: Medium body and a little bit oiy. Lower carbonation provides a smooth feel and good drinkablility.

O: I was worried about this beer from the aroma. In my experience, some of the more malt heavy DIPAs turn out really bad with super hop competing with a big malt flavor. This beer has that great balance. The beer had a nice coat of dust on it so maybe this one has had a chance to blend and mellow out....who knows? Very good in my opinion.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle picked up as a single for $2.50. drank from the samual adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out of the bottle an almost amber colored body with small cap of beige foam. the head doesnt last very long and leaves behind small circles of lacing.

S- the first thing that i notice are sweet caramel and toffee malts followed by a strong odor of pine and grapefruit hops.

T- pretty simple and basic. caramel malts start this one off and then comes a pretty strong blast of hops. lots of resiny pine and some grapefruit. the faintest hint of alcohol comes through at the end.

M- medium bodied with a high level of carbonation. sticky on the palate. a lingering bitter aftertaste.

D- back when they made their winter seasonal an IIPA and charged $7 a six pack i drank the heck out of it. this one seems a little better, but the change in price puts it out of my normal rotation. too many better options for $2.50 a bottle.

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Photo of brewskier
3.96/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured moderately hard into a pint glass. Evenly speckled tan foam leaves great thick, even lacing. The beer is a slightly hazy medium golden amber, a deep straw color. Several lines of effervescence trail upwards through it.

A nice fairly mellow pine aroma from the hops, as well as fainter citrus and even more slight floral notes. I'd expect a bigger scent from an Imperial, but what's there is pleasant enough.

This beer is certainly not lacking in the flavor department, however. Surprisingly, a hefty toasted malt backbone stands up those hops cold in their tracks, and there is a bit of back and forth between that grainy sweetness and a big evergreen bitterness, like two opposing linemen. There is almost a biscuity note towards the latter part of the sip, but then the aftertaste finally asserts that this is indeed a bitter beer. Nice complexity, but there are other hop profiles that I would take over this one.

Mouthfeel is spot-on. None of the syrupy gooiness of some DIPAs, but tons of body and a pleasant fizz on the palate.

Drinkability is quite high due to a seemingly manageable alcohol presence (can barely taste it at all), excellent balance, and quaffable mouthfeel.

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Imperial IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 221 ratings.
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