Imperial IPA | Mendocino Brewing Company

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA
223 Ratings
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: 223 |  Reviews: 101
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
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 -11.8%
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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Photo of HopDiggityDawg
2.6/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a very deep amber, big, big head, nice lacing that is in for the long haul
Smells - piney some malts
Taste - how can an Imperial IPA be so weak on a hop punch? very malty to me, not a drain pour, but I will not try again.
This beer kind of works but not as an Imperial IPA. Hard to be positive just because IMO it is mislabeled. Wild ale maybe, I don't know.
Mouthfeel - thick and chewy
Drinkability - nope

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Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy copper with golden edgings and a light, three-finger thick, off white head that leaves behind full layers of lacing.

Aromas of citrus (tangerine and lemon zest), toffee and hop resins.

Taste is well balanced between the citrus hops up front, toffee sweetness and light toasted malts in the middle and a grassy bitterness at the end. An alcohol astringency is throughout, but not overwhelming.

Thin to medium mouthfeel, slightly sticky and high carbonation.

Was expecting more hops in this one, but it is still a well balanced, moderate Imperial IPA.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
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 Slatetank
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Thirsty's in York, PA. consumed chilled in a willybecker from the 12oz brown bottle w/out freshness date.

A deep amber bordering on copper with hazed appearance and 1/2 inch of light beige cap w/ tight bead and waves of lace that pixelate the glass. The IPA smells of piney hops with some worty malt and a mild fragrance of fruit from the yeast ester. The feel is average to me, moderate bitter entry with slightly long lasting astringency and moderate carbonation w/ semi-dry finish.

The taste has pretty smooth hop bitterness which I expect more from a standard IPA with slight tangy taste and mild grassy tinged and slightly acidic character. The bitterness creeps in and overwhelms the hop flavors but the malt which has a caramel accent keeps pace. There is a mildly lemony aspirin-like astringency that doesn't quit wiht light yeast and vegetal elements w/ mild alcohol in the finish. I found this above average in most every way, but nothing really sets it apart, maybe I am being to generous...but it is not seriously flawed, just doesn't fit my personal taste for this style. I think it does lack some dimension and complexity with a sweetness level I don't prefer, but for your 'average' Imperial IPA it isn't bad.

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Photo of mattcrill
2.46/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Mendocino Imperial IPA

Aroma: Sweet, grainy aromatics up front. Flowery and honey-like sweetness. Hop aroma is floral but the dominant characteristic is overwhelming honey.

Appearance: Clear amber colored pour with tight fluffy white head. Mild effervescence noted.

Flavor: More honey character up front. Earthy hop bitterness follows. Balance is towards the hop but not by much. Hop flavors don't seem to be there. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Slightly oily. Just a touch of hop-derived astringency.

Overall impression: Seems to be more of an American Amber. Too malty for an IPA or Imperial IPA. Not hoppy enough to be in the IPA category. Miss for me.

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Photo of Beertracker
3.21/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mendocino's Imperial IPA pours up with a nice effervescence that creates a low-moderate cream colored head that sits rather loosely atop the bright sunglow-deep golden body. The aroma is rather muted, as there's some staleness (oxidation) which greatly diminishes the more pleasant aspects (citrus, minty, piney) of the late addition hops. Grainy notes, toasted crackers & some light alcohol round out the nose. The flavor starts off with a some enjoyable graininess with some developing sweetness that gets completely underscored by a coarse bitterness that carries through to a rather harsh, bittersweet finish with a mineral/vitamin character that's unpleasant. This medium-full bodied strong ale has all the components of the style, but misses the quality mark. It's definitely worthy enough to have a pint, plus the point-of-sale price is nice!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of goodbyeohio
2.27/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

i dont know why this stuck out to me.. prolly cause its new on the shelf. the bottle has changed a bit since the original design, reflecting more nonsense about 25th anniversary this and that. 8%

crystalline amber pour. nice lacing. smells like marshmallows and tree bark. tastes extremely grainy. kinda like toasted buckwheat followed up with a chunk of earth containing some grass. booze in the finish does not go unnoticed. further sips draw out some spearmint hints as well as some deeper, oaky notes. ballantiney/burtonbatony without oak, which is an achievement in itself. for 8%, this beer is a hell of a mess. will not repeat, may just drain pour the rest of this SHITE

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice hazy amber with a hefty inch of head that turns to a light lace ring.

S - Ugh. Pine hops. Still it does seem to have a nice malt and yeast background. Giving it a chance

T - Not really impressed but glad to try only one and not an entire case. Starts off moderately hoppy with heavy pine and slight citrus yet no bitterness. The bitterness is covered by a yeast like malt that almost has a sort of sweet side. finishes rather good with little to no ABV bite. Drinkable.

M - Medium. I did find it more smooth bodied than 90 min IPA.

D - Overall I wouldn't consider a case since it runs about 46 but overall a decent rep of the style. Can't get over the yeast like malt smell as I take a sip. Kind of off putting but it does drink well. Damn west coast hops... Confused...

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Photo of stephens101
3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Resplendent red with a pale orange core to light. A fat finger of dense and bubbly head sits for a while. A thick and unbroken lace is left all around.

Moderate malts and medium floral hops to the nose. A squirt of citrus flies in the middle. Big piny hops to the tongue with a yeasty middle and fairly dry finish with a little chalkiness in the aftertaste. Not much malt sweetness, but a nice fruity middle to balance. Alcohol heat pinches the back of the throat, but a good amount of carbonation keeps it all flowing nicely.

Went through a period of not being overly excited with west coast IPA's, and kind of felt pummeled by em', but this one is drawing me back in. Welcome to Oklahoma Mendocino IIPA.

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Photo of mklinger
2.52/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Hazy orange beer with a smallish head that quickly dissipated.

Piney & slightly herbal paired with a good dose of caramel sweetness. Pretty average for a double IPA.

Highly astringent beer. Kind of unpleasant. High dose of bitterness with a good amount of tannins that were kind of unenjoyable. Herbal and grassy hop flavors dominate.

Mouthfeel is not terrible. It is thin for itsa strength as a DIPA should be. Well carbonated. Gotta take off a bit for the astringency which is largely a bad mouthfeel characteristic.

Least enjoyable DIPA I've had. Maybe it was a bad bottle, but I probably won't seek it out again to find out.

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Photo of otersen73
4.09/5  rDev +14.9%
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 brewskier
3.96/5  rDev +11.2%
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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Photo of tchenery
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a rich ruby/orange hue with a very slight off-white head. It dissipated quickly but the beer does show signs of light carbonation.

It smells very very malty with a bit of alcohol bite and juicy fruit. There definitely appears to be a load of hops in here and the original smell reminds me of some English Barleywines.

Very dry bitter taste up front. It's almost puckering. The bitter stays with it all the way through to the aftertaste but in between are a bunch of pine flavors, earthy wood flavors, some smoke, and floral hops. Very boozy and slightly wine-like.

This is a huge beer and it has a huge mouthfeel. I almost think it's more suited for barleywine status, but the hops keep it in the Imperial IPA category.

Drinkability is high for an Imperial, but it's still definitely a sipper.

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Photo of malloyca
4/5  rDev +12.4%
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 Huhzubendah
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by matt9875. Thanks Matt!

A: This beer appears orange in color, with a slight haziness about it. The head is off white, and measures in at around a half inch thick.

S: The aroma is of hops and alcohol.

T: A decent tasting brew, with a balance between hops and malt. Not overly hop forward or bold in terms of aroma or flavor, this is a relatively straightforward, balanced version of the style. While not particularly unique and/or exciting, it's still an enjoyable brew.

M: Medium bodied, with some bitterness, adequate carbonation and a warming alcohol finish.

D: Decent beer. I would drink it again.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.3/5  rDev +20.8%
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 Billolick
4/5  rDev +12.4%
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 thain709
4/5  rDev +12.4%
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 chinchill
4/5  rDev +12.4%
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 ngeunit1
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber-orange color with a nice finger of white, foamy head. The head has okay retention and leaves behind a bit of lacing.

S - A mix of the strong hop aroma, which is a bit floral, and the smell of the sweet malts. Also, a touch of citrus aroma is mixed in.

T - Starts out sightly sweet, from the taste of the malts. Then the hops start to build up a bit and become stronger. Mixed in is some fruity/citrus taste. A touch unbalanced overall though. The finish is fairly dry, and bitter from the hops.

M - Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. The beer feels pretty crisp and pretty smooth, with the only downside being maybe a bit too much carbonation.

D - Fairly drinkable beer overall. The flavors are pretty solid overall, just a touch unbalanced. But overall the beer stays very crisp, smooth, and enjoyable.

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Photo of bobhits
2.87/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

mendocino imperial ipa

Nothing special to look at here. Think generic IIPA without much lacing or retention and you're there.

Smells extremely sweet. Brings out a lot of amber malt with strong caramel notes. The hops are dominated in the nose.

The taste brings out that same malt character but then finishes with a very dry hoppy flavor. Not an easy hop flavor to talk about here. I think the malt dominates the flavor but the hops give it a strong bitter flavor.

The beer drinks well and the body isn't as thick as the flavor would make one assume.

This is certainly a different twist on the double IPA. This malt character is truly new to me at least, but overall I can't say that it is exciting. The hops aren't dominate. It doesn't have an oily hop resend. The beer doesn't leave the lacing other big IPA's leave. The hops are strong enough in the bitterness but the malt dominates the flavor profile. Well worth giving this beer a try. I doubt anyone who enjoys a double IPA will dislike this beer, but there's no wow here.

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Photo of avalon07
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a yellow color and a clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy, somewhat long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A different aroma for a DIPA: Hops, citrus, and what smelled like caramel.

T: Tasted of hops, lemon, malt, and caramel. This combination (especially the element mentioned) don't always work. This is a slightly uneven flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is one of those beers with some good qualities, but is too uneven. Not undrinkable, but not the best example of the style.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 8.0% ABV, no date.

A - Slightly hazy golden amber in color, the pour is tall but very quiet and almost viscous. A one-finger off-white head rose up, then sank back down leaving little lace left over.

S - Pale malt extract is potent and syrupy in the aroma. It has a slight caramel sweetness to it with a miniscule hint of alcohol. The hops come in with a not-so-fresh aroma that's not very inviting. Notes of old fruit and plastic-like resin aren't exciting either.

T - Definitely plastic-resin in flavor, the fruitiness of the hops doesn't come through until after the swallow. Grainy malty sweetness in the back adds an alcohol flavor as well.

M - Medium-bodied and somewhat thick going down, it could use a little more carbonation but it's got a dry, bitter finish like it needs. The bitterness is almost a bit too much as it's 'teeth-hurting'. One of the more bitter beers in recent memory. Alcohol is evident through retro-nasal breathing.

D - Very bitter does not a good DIPA make. The hops seem very old and lack a strong freshness. The malts are grainy and not thought-out. It's a mess of a double IPA. Fresh hops with definition and direction would greatly help this. I like bitter bit I'll struggle to finish this one.

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Imperial IPA from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.56 out of 5 with 223 ratings