Imperial Stout
Mendocino Brewing Company

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #752
Ranked #14,119
3.91 | pDev: 8.95%
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States
Very Good
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
View: Beers
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 185 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Carolvs
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yowza! Surprised at the relatively low community rating on this one. One of the richest, thickest mouthfeels I've ever experienced. Try this next to a watery Guinness and you'll know what I mean.

 198 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Super used motor oil black, thick, viscous, definitely an imperial stout. Over an inch of head on it, tan. Aroma was dry, astringent, bitter and roasty.

Thick roast taste, mouthfeel is slick, alcohol is noticeable, but not pressing itself too hard. This is real straightforward, no real dark fruit edge, its just a big imperial stout with no adjuncts, no sweetness, no barrels. A good price on it doesn't hurt.

 418 characters

Photo of TDotScott
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Black with a generous, fluffy head that sticks around for a few minutes.

S- cacao nibs, soy sauce, coffee.

T- Coffee, with some roasted acidity. Lots of oxidation, but not necessarily the good kind.

F- Very full and syrupy, but finishes dry and a tad astringent.

O- No bottle date, but I got it on clearance a year ago. Given that store's usual policy for keeping high gravity beer before clearing it out (usually two years), this stuff is probably 2.5-3 years old. At any rate, it tastes over-aged.

 506 characters

Photo of travolta
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Coffee whipped head with nice retention and some very good spotted lacing. Needs more retention and some thicker lacing.

Nose: Charred malt, licorice, cacao, and cream.

Taste: Boy is this pleasant. Perfect mouthfeel, with licorice, chocolate, cacao, and a great malty backbone. The ABV is almost imperceptible.

Notes: This is quite a nice beer.

 368 characters

Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
4.73/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A black as the night, nice choclatey lace
S sweet, rich aroma, no alcohol detected
T same as smell only this time, the wonders are done on my tongue. This time we detect that alcohol, though it is well integrated into the aftertaste
M full, I am fulfilled, thick lush brew makes itself at home in there
O as close to a 5 as you can get but I cannot legally give it that ranking :)

my favorite imperial stout

 410 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours a thin tan head on a black body.
The aroma is loaded with roasted malt, coffee and chocolate.
The taste builds from chocolate sweet, to bitter chocolate and coffee and finishes dry roasted malt with a touch of bitter.
The texture is silky smooth.
An outstanding stout.

 274 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is two fingers high with a tan shade. Retention wise, it's about what I expect from 10%, maybe a bit better. I really like the head's dense, cakey texture, though. A solid ring of lacing is left on the glass.

S: The nose seems to be heavy on the licorice, which isn't my preferred taste for an imperial stout. While there is a good roasted (almost coffee-esque) characteristic along with some piny hops, I really think the licorice could be toned down a bit. It smells big to be sure, but not really that boozy. Still, I'm left wishing for some stronger specialty notes like chocolate or dark fruit.

T: Oh wow, this one is nicely roasty. The thing is, though, the roast pretty much sneaks up on the palate and doesn't properly appear until right before the swallow. When it does hit, though, it really works its magic like a champ. Some initial notes of licorice, coffee, smoke, and even piny hops appear before the roasty attack. It's redolent of a European-style imperial stout, with its dry, bitter roastiness and lack of sweetness beyond a bit of baker's chocolate here and there. Honestly, I like that it's bitter instead of sweet. Thought about giving it a 4, but it's missing complexity. The more it warms up, the more a whiskey-like booziness appears (though it never becomes harsh).

M: There's good softness on the palate, though it could be a little denser. It's not intolerably thin - just a bit more slender than the norm. Drinkability is quite good for a 10% RIS, that's for sure. Not much carbonation.

O: The nose left me a bit cold, to be frank. Luckily, it tastes much better. It's not an amazing RIS per se, but it's certainly a good one. I have a feeling this one will get lost in the shuffle; still, it's worth trying again.

 1,820 characters

Photo of BeersIsTheName
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- Midnight dark with a dark tan head about 2 fingers in height. Head lingers for half the glass.

S- Definitely a stout. Coffee with a charred malty smell. Hints of chocolate.

T- Wow. This is an amazing stout. Burnt with a smoothness that is matchless from all the stouts I have had. Hints of chocolate but with a strong coffee flavor. Outstanding.

M- Carbonation is as to be expected. Smooth and finished crisp.

O- By far the best stout that I have ever had. It has a strong burnt flavor at the beginning but finishes smooth and the burntness is not accompanied by an excessive bitterness. If you have a chance to experience this stout and do not, you have done yourself a severe disservice.

 737 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mendocino Imperial Stout has a thin, tan head, a very dark, chocolate-brown appearance, and thin lacing left behind. The aroma is rich- deep, dark-roasted malt, a touch of anise, possible coffee, milk?, and some black cherry. The flavors are the same, with bitterness that is coming from the charred malt, rather than from hops. Mouthfeel is heavy and velvety, and Mendocino Imperial Stout finishes dessert like and sipable. Overall, this is the best beer I’ve had from Mendocino so far.


 495 characters

Photo of tiltedglass
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Blind tasting (no visuals)--a really sharp, full taste, hard on the tongue but with overtones like a heady wine. Goes down too smooth for a high ABV brew. Some of the very best stout I've ever had, and I've had too many to count. But it's an Imperial brew for sure, not a Guinness easy-going breakfast replacement. Youzer! Sense the mixture of immediate taste (full) and the long lag on the followthrough (surprisingly complex and not bitter or out of balance). The other beers from this brewer do no especially inspire, but this is another beast altogether. I dare you to taste it blind, knowing nothing about who made it.

 623 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours jet black, dark brown head of two fingers. Leaves some nice lacing. Aroma is roasty, hints of raisin, chocolate and light coffee. Taste starts of with a bit of chocolate raisins, cocoa powder, and roast, and char. Feels full bodied, chewy, rich and thick. Pleasantly drinkable, and all in all, I'm pleasantly surprised by how nice, tasty, and rich this is given my usual average opinion of Mendocino.

 406 characters

Photo of JWearda
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - pint glass poured from the bar tap

A - Jet black with a decent 1 finger brown head

S - Dark roasted malt. A bit of dark bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. Really deep roasted notes on this one.

T - Very roasty. Tons of dark, rich malts. Some coffee and dark bittersweet chocolate. A hint of toffee, molasses sweetness and some hops lurking around. Finishes pretty dry with a long bitter roasted malt and a bit of hops aftertaste.

M - Full bodied; thick and smooth. Mild carbonation.

O - Good drinkability for being 10% -- not boozy. Rich, thick, contemplating. An all around no thrills, but excellent imperial stout.

 627 characters

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-Pours nearly pitch black with a thin mocha colored head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S-dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malt, booze, and brown sugar

T-heavily roasted at first, then as it warms it opens up with flavors of dark chocolate, dark fruits, and alcohol.

M-A little thin for the style

D-very drinkable given its somewhat complex flavor

Overall, I was really impressed by this beer as I was not expecting much, but I must say I enjoyed it and would drink it again.

 486 characters

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark chestnut with medium beige head; excellent lacing

Smell: sweet; roasted malts; dried fruits; coffee; chocolate

Taste: Juicy malt on start; quickly hits with dried fruit and bitter grains; alcohol shows up in the mid; finishes slightly bitter, dry and full of chocolatey, bitter grains; coffee-like aftertaste. Not picking up much hop flavors

Mouthfeel: Creamy throughout with slightly viscous feel at the end

Remarks: Pretty excellent overall; a little bitter, but balanced pretty well throughout; complex profille

 535 characters

Photo of KajII
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a muddy ebony black with a slight ruby hue and a medium cocoa brown head that bordered between average and large, which did recede down to a nice thick film creating some fair runny lacing.

The aroma was of roasted dark bread malts, light floral hops and a meaty leathery yeast with notes of toffee, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit (raisons and prunes) and just a hint of licorice.

The taste was a roasty bitter sweet with hints of chocolate and toffee early on, progressing with a mild hoppy bitterness, a touch of fruit, a bold coffee presence, a bit of licorice and a noticeable alcohol tinge right at the end. The flavor lasted a very long time following the swallow with a bitter roasty alcohol taste left lingering for quite a while longer.

Mouthfeel was full in body and dry in texture with a good strong carbonation, which is kind of unusual in a stout.

Overall this was a unique Imperial Stout with a bitter sweet fruitiness and a bold roastiness, which worked very well together along with the smooth alcohol flavor making this an enjoyable brew to sip on....

 1,159 characters

Photo of riversider76
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a darkest of browns, with a thin lighter brown head. Good retention and some lacing. Aroma is of dark chocolate, coffee, and fruit. Body is rich with some carbonation. Taste is of coffee, and bittersweet chocolate up front with a malty fruit edge in the finish. really good!

 280 characters

Photo of dheacck11
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is super dark brown. Scant mocha head that fades to nothingness in seconds. no lacing to speak of.

Nose is malty and boozy, with lots of dark fruit and some coffee and caramel notes.

Flavor is really quite powerful. Lots of dark fruit with raisin, dried fig, and dried cherry leading off. Followed by rich and biting dark chocolate, with a hint of slightly stale coffee. Booze is palatable, but not overpowering.

Mouth feel is medium to full, leaves a nice thick coating afterwards.

A nice imperial stout. Definitely worth a shot if you see it around. Not as complex and balanced as some of the big hitters, but solid.

 628 characters

Photo of CFHMagnet
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured this one aggressively into a snifter. I got just a hint of head that disappeared before I could really get any read on it. It didn't even leave any real ring. No lacing tries to cling to the glass. Body is a deep dark brown.

There is a very pronounced head on this one. Dark fruit, caramel and toffee are very "loud" aromas, having been very noticeable as I poured. Roasted malt is present as well.

Dark fruit and roasted malt are up front. These transition into dark coffee, dark chocolate and hints of slightly over-roasted nuts. Booze comes in and plays around the flavors at the end. As the beer warms there is a hint of dark soda (similar to a Dr Depper or root beer) in the transition from dark fruit to dark chocolate/coffee.

This beer is heavy bodied. Carbonation is about average. The beer coats the mouth very thoroughly.

 843 characters

Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black brown, with a foamy half inch milk chocolate head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving light sheets of lacing.

Dark cherries, prunes, and raisins open the aroma, with an underlying buttery toffee character and a hint of roasted malt and soy at the finish. Those esters really dominate. Chocolate surfaces as it warms.

Flavor reveals more roast malt character, with highlights of chocolate carrying into a charred malt, fairly bitter finish. Sherry notes combine with bruised cherries early, with a bit of phenol surfacing mid palate. There's some booze evident. Licorice and coffee emerge.

Body is on the light side, with low carbonation, a tad bit of astringency, and significant alcohol warmth.

The esters really dominate the initial flavor, and malt complexity is lacking. Phenols were a little offputting, and the finish was a bit bitter for my liking.

 900 characters

Photo of Brant
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottom line up front: A solid imperial stout. Not as sweet as some of my other favorites, but still dang good. If you like more smoke than sweet, you'll be happy with this one.

A - Pitch black, like engine oil that's been in your car 3,000 miles too long. Head a nice caramel color.

S - Kind of a woodsy, coffee smell with sweet pumpernickel undertones. Smells like, well, a typical imperial stout for the most part.

T - Starts of with a punch of strong, slightly bitter coffee -- almost tangy or tart, but not overly -- then gets sweet for a few seconds before fading to smokey earthiness. Again, not as sweet as I like them, but that's just my personal preference. You won't have any issue with the taste if you like the smokier porters/stouts.

M - I really enjoyed the feel of the stuff. Smooth and creamy, "soft", really.

O - Easily recommendable. Looks good, smells good, feels good, tastes good. If you're like me and you like the really chewy sweet stouts, this will miss the mark -- but only slightly.

 1,014 characters

Photo of troysoy2
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. A small-bubbled brown head gives way to decent lacing and a nearly pitch black body. Retention is okay.

The smell is of dark stone fruits and smoky, roasted malt. A slight sweetness comes through.

A nice, full bodied taste. Progresses from stone fruit and bitter chocolate on the front to mild smokiness, then dry roasted malt on the finish. The roast almost has a tanginess to it. This might go well with some barbecue. Hmm. The mouthfeel is a little on the light, effervescent side as far as stouts go, but it works for this beer.

Very nice job by Mendocino, and something I might look into getting again.

 651 characters

Photo of Dope
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No date that I can discern but bottle is at least 2 years old.

A: Pours pitch black with a big effervescent medium brown head. Fades slowly, leaving some pretty nice lacing behind.

S: Lots of chocolate and coffee and some hints of dark fruit.

T: Chocolate and coffee up front. Fades into a nice char and dark fruit mixture (prunes and cherry) along with some really bitter chocolate. Some smokiness mixes in in the finish as well.

M: Heavy, smooth and creamy.

O: Not bad with a little age on it. Smooth and mellow and creamy for sure. Very drinkable. Lots of roasted malt and not much else. Odd bit of smokiness was a bit detracting for me mainly because I'm not a fan of smoked beers, but it was still plenty tolerable.

 728 characters

Photo of Brewmaster_Rick
4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

MASSIVE chocolate and coffee notes, hints of charcoal. Heavy body, almost oily. Dark tan head, creamy. Damn well a beer you can dip a cigar in. Moderate bitterness for balance. Would go great over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heavy, complex, near-perfection. One of my favorite imperial stouts for sure.

 304 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the opportunity to try pretty much all the Mendocino beers on either tap at the brewery or in bottles recently and this was the best of the lot, which is unfortunately damning with faint praise. This is by no means an excellent imperial stout but it’s certainly a serviceable and drinkable one.

Looks pretty good: thick and dark black with a small tan head that settles slowly and some clingy lace. Heavily roasty, almost burnt aroma with sweet molasses, anise, and chocolate notes. The flavor has a bit of a soy aspect but it’s not too heavy or distracting. Again it’s quite charred tasting with decent molasses and burnt sugar sweetness, some anise, dark chocolate, raisins, and a hint of piney hops on the back end.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation; could use a little more heft; feels decent but not very smooth or creamy. Not something you’d go and seek out necessarily but a drinkable imperial stout that’s a step above the pretty mediocre beer this brewery normally cranks out.

 1,008 characters

Photo of LXIXME
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from about an inch above the glass gives this stout a big light brown head that settles into a pretty nice lacing above a clear dark brown to black colored imperial.

Aroma consists of that dark black licorice, that I used to love as a kid, blended very well with dark hardy fruits such as prunes and/or apricots with some dark roasted malts sneaking there way in there.

Dark roasted malts, light alcohol, dark fruits, Hershey's special dark chocolate combine to make a pretty good imperial stout taste.

A full bodied beer with a dry aftertaste with some of the lingering rich dark malts staying around to entice you to take another drink.

 648 characters

Imperial Stout from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 185 ratings