Mar 28, 2012

Mendocino Imperial Stout

Imperial Stout photo

I still remember the first time I tried Black Hawk Stout from California’s Mendocino Brewing. It was at The Green Leaf in Williamsburg, VA a year or so into dating my wife. I can tell the beer had an impact on me since I still remember the moment quite well even as we approach our 14th wedding anniversary. It was the first time I had truly had an American craft stout and can safely declare it the one that started my whole stout obsession

Over a dozen years since the epiphany, I’ve gotten my grubby mitts on this Imperial Stout from the brewery that started it all for me. This 10% ABV brew isn’t just an amped up version of the Black Hawk Stout. It’s a different animal all together — one that just continues to perpetuate my love of this beer style.


Imperial Stout pours thick and black with a full, brown head that fell slowly to decent lacing.


This brew smells great with a light earthy roast, chocolates, a touch of anise and coffee. There’s a subtle sweetness in the mix, as well.


Rich chocolates, roasty malts and with an earthy character, the beer is quite forward with its flavors. The higher alcohol isn’t to be found any where in the beer. It’s full bodied with a with a soft carbonation that gives the beer a chewy character. The finish is dry with a subtle hop bitterness.


This may not supplant my memory of the beer that started it all, but Mendocino’s Imperial Stout is my kind of brew. Rich, roasty and earthy, it’s a beer that I could sit down with for quite a while. It’s a bit big in the alcohol area, but that’s what imperial brews are for — relaxing after a long day with friends/family and a tasty brew. And reminding you why you love these types of beers so much.


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