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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Ratings: 221 |  Reviews: 101
Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip, no idea on the age of the bottle. Pours slightly hazy brick red color with a dense 2 finger off white head with fantastic retention that eventually reduces to a thin lacing cap. Aromas of big caramel, pine resin, orange, a bit of spices, and a bit of alcohol. Seems like there is a lot of sweetness in these aromas, decent stuff though. Taste of tons of caramel, pine, orange, spices; with light grapefruit and a bit of pineapple. Tons of sweetness on the taste and finish; but there still is a decently strong bitterness that shows up after the finish to balance out the sweetness, and lingers for a good period of time. Some lingering notes of pine, spices, caramel, and citrus on the finish as well. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied. Fairly syrupy mouthfeel, but still manages to be quite drinkable despite the alcohol level. Alcohol is nicely hidden; nothing but a slight warming after the finish. Overall, despite this being quite malty, it is surprisingly delicious stuff; I definitely enjoyed it.

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Photo of sdmvd6
2.39/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Deep bronze with a finger of head. Moderate lacing.

S - Almost non-existent hops is the first thing I noticed. I really hope this is just a case of an old bottle, as it was not dated. Strong sweet malty aroma with a bit of citrus hops after a lot of searching.

T - Cloyingly sweet malt throughout. Again, almost non-existent hops. I don't really understand the deal with this since it is supposed to be an Imperial IPA. Definitely not representative of the style at all.

M - Feel isn't bad, medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Highly disappointed by this one. I had never seen Mendocino in OK, and seeing as it was an Imperial IPA from the West Coast I expected a whole lot more. I was struggling to find any hint of hops, and I really think/hope it was an old bottle. If not, this "IPA" is a joke.

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Photo of deadliest
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber pour with fingers of off white head and sticky lacing.
S: Citrus hops, light pinesol smell, alcohol.
T: Citrus hops, alcohol, sweet malts.
M: Medium feel, good carbonation.
O: Decent IPA, alcohol shows through too much, would have been better if a little dryer as well.

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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 CaptainTripps
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: The beer poured a amber-ish/orange color that came with about 2 fingers of off white head. Left TONS of lacing down the glass.

S: Citrus hops with a slight hint of pine paired with a semi sweet caramel note. While most Imperial IPAs in this category have a bigger aroma, its not incredibly poor with this beer, but it leaves you expecting more.

T: The hops are very citrusy, but far from over the top. The hops are really mellow in this beer which is odd for the category. Behind the hops there is a good bready malt backbone. There is some alcohol in the flavor as well.

M: Average, can't really say more about it. Medium mouth feel, alcohol is there more then it should but not bad.

O: Average beer, but not bad, just average. Would have it again, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

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Photo of Keffa
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review.

12oz bottle poured into one of my Duvel tulips.

A: Pours a dark copperish orange with amber notes. 1 finger off white head leaves a little bit of leggy lacing, but it doesn't retain too well, and settles to a clumpy/patchy cap and ring. Good, but not the best I've seen.

S: Pine and citrus are met by caramel sweetness and slight alcohol. Very malt forward, if not so much to keep the hops out. It's definitely hoppy, but the malt sweetness is right there to reassure you that it's not all hops, no malt. Not a hugely amazing aroma for an IIPA, but still decent.

T: Starts out with a nice grapefruit rind like bitterness, then into a light pine and herbal-like quality. Then the caramel slides up along with a hint of alcohol and takes a hold of things until the long, dry, bitter finish comes in. Not overly bitter in the finish, but enough to remind you that it's an IIPA, not a single.

M: Slightly oily, light/medium body (if that makes sense), and nicely covers the palate.

O: Good IIPA. Very solid all around, and the fact that it's only a B and has few reviews is probably somewhat of a turn off to people. The lack of dating that I saw probably doesn't help either. But for what it's worth, this is a damned solid IIPA, and I'd drink it again.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.46/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - fairly clear copper coloor with a off-white head that stayed a while and left trails of lacing.

S - earthy with a whiff of alcohol.

T - odd mix of nutty and bitter with a citrus rind, dry finish.

F - medium bodied with mellow carbonation.

O - better than some, not as good as others.

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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 daledeee
3.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another sampler from the trip to Illinois.

Pours a dark goldish orange. Nice head and lacing.

Nose is slightly underwhelming. Not indicative of the style. It's not stale or bad just I can't explain it.

Taste is rather mellow for this style. The hops are rather citrus with a rind presense. Not much malt of pine profile.

Very creamy and carbonated mouth feel.

Overall this is a drinkable beer but it is not very strong in the hop profile or malt profile. Good enough, but not good enough.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.51/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12-ounce bottle courtesy of JohnCoctsin. Served in a tulip.

Pours a very clear light copper color with a thin white head that diminishes quite quickly, leaving some spotty lacing behind. The nose carries some light alcohol plus bready malt and a bit of caramel. The flavor is booze in the background with mostly caramel and bread up front. Some faint floral and citrus hops. Medium body with very low bitterness and a fair amount of alcohol. Not a fan.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber color, average all around. Aroma was lacking, no freshness date, a little sweet.

Taste, lacked the big hop bite I was looking for. Significant amounts of caramel, pale malts. Taste of honey. Plenty of carbonation, sweetness, but lacking in the hop mouthfeel department. Alcohol too noticeable.

I'm usually a big supporter of Mendocino's stuff, they've been around forever making good beers, but this one is a little below average for style, and definitely below their own standards. I'd venture a guess that it was a little more aged than it should have been. Hold it against the brewery for not telling me when it was made or when to drink by.

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Photo of metter98
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is hazy copper in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly died down and left lacing covering the surface and the edges of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel malts and grapefruit hops in the nose. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is evenly balanced between flavors of caramel and grapefruit. Only a slight amount of bitterness is present and notes of alcohol are perceptible in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, chewy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a slow sipper because the flavor is very malty (it isn’t balanced off that much with bitterness from the hops) and the taste of alcohol is present.

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Photo of chocosushi
3.23/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

4-pack bottles purchased by a very good friend
12oz -> Fuller's Pint

A ~ Copper. Good Lacing that's not too sticky. Can see through it.

S ~ Moss, Wet leaves, and some hops. Not getting alot through the nose really.

T ~ Very balanced with Malt notes and hops moving in and out of eachother. Some wet earth flavors, but Not getting the "wet hop" flavor that i usually get with IIPAs. Alcohol is present after it warms a bit.

M ~ Pretty good. Not too astringent. Has a toastiness that would be a choice winter beer.

D ~ With the few flaws I found this is Very drinkable.
i feel like Mendocino should just say "forget it" with the whole 4-pack imperial series and just do sixers of this one.


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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 whatthehull
3.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted April 28th 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a La Chouffe tulip

A - blood orange and a bit cloudy. 2 finger light tan head and some serious lacing

S - super malty, toasted, sweet and a bit sour. Citrus, floral hops. Love the toasted caramel. A bit of citrus and maybe a tropical or passion fruit. Lots of wheat and yeast

T - toasted, barley, wheat, yeast, floral and citrus hops, some sweet element like sugar, molasses or caramel. Lots of alcohol flavor, it's nice

M - a bit chewy, nice acidity, long finish and nicely balanced

D - drinks like a west coast non imperial IPA. The alcohol taste is there but the 8% is perfect

Final thought - pick this one up

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the bottle a deep orangish copper color with a white head of about two fingers that lingers well and laces the glass some. Initial aroma is malty sweetness and disguises the hoppiness of the beer very well. Taste follows with very bitter flavors, some pine, and a nicely balanced malt sweetness follow. Feel is moderately heavy bodied with a generous carbonation bite on the finish. Overall a good example of the Imperial IPA, it fits within the style, yet also shows the range of maltiness that is sometimes evident.

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Photo of raszputini
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown with a reddish tint. White very foamy head that lingers. Nice lacing. Taste surprised me. Not as hoppy as anticipated. Starts with a malty breadiness and then a bitter hop finish. Not citrusy or flowery. That said, I still enjoyed it. The maltiness was interesting. This is the third in the Mendocino Imperial Series I've had, and I enjoyed this much more than the stout and barleywine.

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Photo of gatornation
2.86/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

from 12 oz bottle

A- pours a beautiful slightly hazes golden copper color with a nice fluffy off-white head and some nice lacing

S- is malt and baked bread first then some caramel ,not alot of 2ipa smells

T- is malt first and some bitter citrus rind .some grain and baked bread

M- is well carbonated with just a malty taste to me

O- this is an average 2ipa ..its lacking in hops both tropical and citrus.its mostly malts ..1 and done for me

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Photo of Thads324
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A : pours a deep orange that isn't see through. A small amount of white head dissipates quickly to just a ring on the edges.

S : a mellow hop with little bitterness. Orange peel and old apple core with a sweet malt backbone. The malt is similar to a German lager.

T : starts with a blend of biscuit malt and slightly sweet hop. Then a bitter blast hits the palate. The hop bitterness is full and lively. The hops are earthy and grassy, with a subtle citrus undertone. There is still that odd German lager malty taste and aroma that makes it less enjoyable.

M : a lively carbonation and lingering hop. Full and bitter. Probably the best part of the beer.

Not horrible but not great either. A lack of complexity and poorly blended hops make for a bitter but too harsh taste. The export flavor bugs me. Not a repeat buy.

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Photo of TheSignPost
2.65/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I didn't care for this one. For an imperial, I expect more. More hops, better flavor. Maybe its just me, but this one leaves me cold. It was ok, but I wouldn't seek it out. In fact I'd try to avoid it. It tastes a little "thick", not crisp, not hoppy. No thanks.

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Photo of FanofHefe
2.95/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, no freshness date I can find. Pours a deep clear amber color, with a good two finger egg white head. Some light lacing.

The aroma does not remind me of a typical DIPA, but does have some light resiny hop aroma. Significant caramel malt aroma.

Flavors mix the slighlty bitter hops with a sweet toffee-like malt taste. Not a great combination.

Honestly, this does not seem like an Imperial IPA and the flavors do not mix well.

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Photo of MrTopher
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into Duvel Tulip.

A: A dark golden color, almost like honey oak, decent visibility w/o any floaties. Head was thin, maybe about ½ an inch that disappeared rather quickly. The foam also doesn't cling to the sides as you drink it.

S: There is a good balance of hop and malt to the smell of this beer, is almost in between an IPA and a DIPA. There is caramel malt sent, and mostly citrus and resin hop smell.

T: Taste as it smells, this is a more balances DIPA, it's not a west coast DIPA (Ruination, PtE, etc.). The flavor of this beer reminds me a lot of a DFH 90 minute, there is a good ballet of hops and malt. The malt is smooth while the hops (mostly citrus) give it that slight bitterness.

M: Good carbonation, but the malt makes this less dry and a little thicker to the taste. Still a good presentation.

D: This could be a once in awhile DIPA, not something I would have all the time, but a little variety. Would be interesting to do a blind taste test between this and DFH 90min and see which is which because they are so similar. Also I believe this is an under the radar DIPA that is brewed on the west coast but has an east coast feel and flavor.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this poured from a bottle at the Mendocino tasting room, where all of their beers are FREE. Unbelievable, free beer every day!

This pours a hazy amber-hued orange with a thick and creamy, solid loooking wet foam cap. It couldn't look better, perfect 5 for appearance.

The smell is less to my liking, lots of malty balance making this smell like a light American barleywine. Toasty and caramelly, but the hops counter with citrus and resin character. Interesting aroma, I like it but don't love it. DIPA styles run a wide track, this just happens to not be on my preferred side but some will like it.

Pretty much same with the taste, lots of caramel malt but equal amounts of grapefruit and better things. At least the alcohol isn't too apparent, there definitely aren't any off flavors.

Creamy mouthfeel, a bit thick, very easy to drink.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.14/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a medium soapy white head. Lots of spotty lace.

S: Fallen leaves, cilantro, bitter melon, fairly metallic/copper. Weird and not particularly inviting.

T: Fairly malty with some white grapefruit. Bitter with some boozy heat, hint of metal, but not as much as in the nose.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy, oily, slick.

D: I don't know. This would make a fairly solid IPA, but as a DIPA it just doesn't have enough oomph, so reviewing to style I've got to dock it for that. One of the least expensive DIPAs going, so it's got that going for it which is nice.

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