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 bobhits
2.87/5  rDev -18.9%
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%
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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Photo of SuperNova777
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 11/03/10

A:Pours a see thru orange color with a fingers worth of fluffy white head that has some
nice big bubbles on it, decent lacing is left down the glass

S:Nose picks up some nice citrus and piney hops that lead the way in for some caramel
and biscuit malts on the end.

T:Up front a foundation of hops is laid down to make way for the malt backbone in the
middle, on the backend a bite of citrus is left lingering on the tongue.

M:Good carbonation throughout with a solid body, palate is not left to moist with a small
lingering of alcohol

D:Pretty solid brew overall, balanced out but just enough to not take away from all the
hop action. Drink is easy going down with only a small hint of booze on the backend,
probably the best offering that I have had from Mendocino so far.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a copper orange with a two finger white head and clinging lace.
S- Malty and caramel with some resiny hops. citrusy and zesty. balanced to be sure.
T- Quick caramel malt flavor, with just a bit of earthyness to it, followed by a lasting grapefruit and resin hop flavors. Slight alcohol twang.
M- Pretty sweet initially, finishes a bit dry. alcohol gains power with warming of beer.
D- A good, balanced iipa. There are more interesting ones, but it's a good representation of the style.

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

Picked up a bottle the other night at the Boulder Liquormart. Pours a medium orange color, with a bit tan foam on top. Aromas of earthy hops, light malt and orange zest. On the palate this one is medium bodied, lightly carbonated, flavors of orange, mango, light malt. A solid attempt, but ultimately a run of the mill IIPA.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this single 12ozer from Harvest Fine Wine in West Hartford CT for $2.33. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

Semi-foggy amber brew gives an inch of light beige foam that settles to a thin layer and clusters of larger bubbles. Smell is syrupy with some dark fruits and mild hop. Taste starts with a fairly strong generic muddy bitter hop. The body is syrupy thick, too heavy for the style and not appealing. Like a thick amber ale with a bunch of muddy unappealing hop.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.48/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appears a deep orange pale copper hue with an off white head, speckled scattered lacing across my chalice. Aroma has deep citrus with some biscuit malts, a touch of pine and honey malts as well. Flavor is a bit weird it's like an herbal pine experiment with hints of citrus, blast of alcohol in the back end this is a bit rough. Unrefined hard to drink version of a great style, mouthfeel falls flat seems like it's brewed in Saratoga with the rest of the lineup. This is the type of craft beer that turns off new comers, Drinkability just isn't good not a beer I will return to anytime soon.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz from Brewforia... Poured into my Old Guardian goblet... Pretty attractive off white 1" head ... fantastic retention and lacing atop a clear orange brew.

Nose shows pithy citrus zest and some biscuit type maltiness... not very multidimensional.

Flavor has a nice bitter bite to it with an almost immediate toasty malt presence that isn't sweet.. just toasty.. Hops are citrusy... with a bit of floral qualities and sorta resinous pine on the finish.... I guess it is good, but I would have liked a bit more hop flavor mid palate.

Body is a pretty solid medium for the style and the carbonation is small bubble and on the lite side.

Okay... I will probably buy it again if the price is right.


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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 Beaver13
3.22/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a hazy copper orange with a medium pillowy head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts and melon with some biscuity toffee and fruity, slightly metallic hops.

The flavor is sweet biscuity malts with some fruits that leads to a big flavorless bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation and is a little watery.

Overall, I didn't really care for the flavor. It had good bitterness, but not much hop flavor. Plus it had a lot of biscuit notes which I don't really care for especially in an IIPA.

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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 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 THORN
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into pint glass. Served around 45 F.
A: Golden brown. Pours an inch of frothy white head. Retains a quarter inch of head and leaves thick lace around pint.
S: Fruity hops and sweet malts.
T: Fruity and earth hops, pale malts, and nice bitter linger.
M: Medium to medium light on tongue.
D: Very basic, but fair in balance.

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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 Bighuge
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dulled copper body. Hazy and murky. Thin off white head leaves minimal lace. The aroma of this DIPA is the opposite of bright. It's dank, dark, earthy and murky. Dulled base malts support the umbra of aromas. The flavor is where this beer comes to life a little. Still not bright by any means, but DIPAs can be very good without being bright. This one is just good though. Resin dripping hop flavors and vegetal and cannabis like. Malt support is more than sufficient. Bitterness is fairly abrasive and lingers nicely.

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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 cbarrett4
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

To summarize this beer: Good if it were a standard IPA, but an Imperial IPA??? Tastes like a standard IPA that they decided to re-brand and charge twice as much.

A - Looks like IPA, nice head, good color

S - Rather ordinary. Hops are prominent, not much else.

T - Lots of hops on the palate but not overly impressive.

M - Good texture but the tannins are rather light for an Imperial IPA.

D - Drinks okay. I am being hard on this beer because it's listed as an Imperial 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 bgjohnston
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I saw this next to the 4-pack of the imperial barleywine. Naturally, I had to try both.

Pours a clear dark amber with a light tan head that fades away pretty quickly. Smell hints at a hoppy beer, but I prefer more citrus than I am getting. Taste is better, with a nice bite to it and a dry finish. Feel is not expecially full, but satisfying. At 8%, it is quite drinkable, but their barleywine is significantly better at hiding an even stronger brew.

Overall, good beer at a nice price, but if you have access to River Horse Hopalotamus, that one is better for the same money.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a deep orangish gold color with good carbonation and a dirty white head. Looked good.

S: Some hops, grain, musty

T: Has some caramel, floral and citrus, grains

M: Sordove blah but not bad, just uninteresting with some hop bitterness on the end

D: Average these days

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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 Buebie
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a semi transparent reddish copper amber, mild chill haze, Just under an inch of white frothy head, receding very fast to leave a generous cap. thin but sticky lace drapery, leaving rings all the way down the glass.

Aroma is fairly sweet with a bit of cotton candy and fruity hops. Although the hops a bit masked by sweetness and the aroma put off is minimal at best, especially poor for an impy ipa.

Taste is much better then aroma would have led me to believe. Hops exist, bitter pine and some fruity flavors too. Hempy, weed heavy and a tad spicy, almost rye like. Sweet caramel sweetness and buttered biscuits with caramel.
Finishing with a long lasting pine bitterness.

Mouthfeel is slick and chewy, medium bodied, carbonation breaks this up, its not overly heavy and not overly carbonated. A good mouthfeel.

A beer thats tastes very good, aroma is MIA. A solid contender for the style, follows it well, mostly. Abv is well hidden in both aroma and taste. Follows the style to a T for alcohol and ibus. Would definatly drink this again.

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Photo of riversider76
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper-gold with a thin white head.great retention and excellent laceing. Aroma is piney hops,citrus and a bit of spice.Body is thick,rich and carbonated. Taste is less hoppy than other IIPA's I've had. Citrus hops up front with a bit of malt in the finish. Nice balance. Good stuff!

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.66/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Crystal clear copper brew with a huge head that never fades. Lacing lingers all down the glass. It would be hard to ask for more here.

S - Fairly strong nose - pepper mostly with a hint of caramel malt.

T - I have come to expect an Imperial IPA to kick my ass with it's hoppy onslaught (kick my ass in a good way, mind you). The taste of this beer is pleasant, but not terribly powerful. This is not a hop villain that should jailed for it's crimes against taste buds, this isn't even a hop deviant that should be subtly censured for it's uncouth treatment of gustation, this is merely a hop jerk - a few bitter remarks are all that it leaves, and those are nothing to one who has met him before.

The flavors are of pine and white pepper with a touch of caramel malt to balance it out. Faint floral notes are present too. The aftertaste is a mild finish of lingering malt and light peppery bitterness.

M - Smooth, medium body, pretty refreshing.

D - A nice IPA to be sure, but, truthfully, the only thing Imperial about it is the price tag. For the allocation of the Imperial price tag, I might just choose other beers in the future. Again, a great beer with little to complain about, but it is an IPA - not an Imperial IPA.

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