TheBeerCollector (633) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - DEC 6, 2005
Awesome! Thanks to Brandon for this one. I had no idea this was a IIPA until I read the label. I just assumed it would be a porter or something similar based on the name and my history with "winter" beers. Upon pouring the beer and taking in the wonderful aroma and appearance it was quite obvious that this was going to be a great beer. The flavor is dominated by citrusy hops which are well supported by the malts. Finish is lingering and gloriously hoppy. rajendra82 (1105) - Alpharetta, Georgia, USA - DEC 19, 2005
Mendocino Winter 2005 says Imperial IPA on the neck label. Had they made it clearer, I’d probably have jumped all over this a lot sooner. The porter last year was quite good, but DIPA is the sure fire way to put away an extra cold night, if you ask me. Shag (3047) - Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA - FEB 5, 2006
The pour was orange-peach in color, with a superbly lasting, nearly two finger thick head, and lots of small bubbles rising through the glassy liquid. And that solid curtain of lace left around the entire glass was simply a feast for the eyes. The smell was a gentle cascade of citric fruits, with grapefruit being the chief. It was not overly resinous, but was not timid by any means.
The taste was a lot softer than the norm for the style, with easy drinking hop drizzled, caramelized apricots taking center stage. Citric hops were tangibly evident but not overly bitter, and made me wish that Mendocino had put more of them in the brew. Drank pretty much like a single IPA, except for the lingering warmth, which was the only legacy of the 9% ABV hidden so well.
Warmer temperature brought out a little more spicy oomph out of the hops, but the beer remained supremely drinkable no matter what the condition. If you seek balance in your DIPA, look no further than this Special Release while it lasts.
This one was damn good. An amber color with a light head. The aroma and flavor is awesome. A lot of orange and lemons showing up. The malt flavor and bitterness are well balanced. This reminded me of Alpha King quite a bit. DocLock (11110) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 29, 2006
UPDATED: JUL 7, 2006 Thanks to Degarth for this one. Pours deep coppery with 2-finger off-white head. Big hop and tropical fruit aroma, with a big caramel malty presence and more piney notes. The taste is very hoppy, but dominated by tropical fruit, including mangoes, tangerine, honeydew, and pineapple. Wonderfully complex taste, and the palate is dense and smooth. This one is outstanding! Jine (903) - Nutley, New Jersey, USA - DEC 13, 2005
Very nice IIPA. Right from the start this looks like a winner. Very deep copper color with a decent sized off-white head. But this is not what grabs you, the deep pine aroma coming from this brew does. So pungent as to almost smell of berries. The hops really grab your tongue as stars of the show, but the malts do a fair job of acting as the rhythm section. A little dry on the finish, mostly clean. The blend of hops is near perfect on this one. The malt just needs a little tweaking. Thumbs up to Olde Saratoga.
Bigsilky (327) - Charleston, USA - DEC 24, 2005
I agree, with some other posts, these guys really need to do some more ad. work if they are going to continue to make such a good beer. I really don’t like this brewery that much, but they continually score with this beer. The pour is picture perfect, nice clean firm head and a radiant cooper-crimson color. The aromas pinch the nose and draw it right into the glass, wow: grapefruit (certainly the Cascades) the herbal spice, the earthy undertones bouncing off the gorgeous malt fruit. Everything here is in balance and the 9% is well masked. I really didn’t pay attention to the abv. until I stood up for beer number 4, what a rush. Eyedrinkale (3235) - Astoria, New York, USA - JAN 4, 2006
Draft @ HDG. Rich orange color with a lasting white head. This stuff is a citrus hop monster. Tastes dry, sweet and bitter with a lasting long malt base. As good of an east coast rendition of the style thats out there. SoLan (1550) - Florida, USA - JAN 22, 2006
Deep copper. Creamy, dense off white head. Spicy, resinous, piney hops and rich malt in the nose. Flavor is big hops with enough malt to give it a slightly creamy texture. Clean, bitter finish. Fresh grapefruit aftertaste. Smooth with just a bit of tingly carbonation. Medium body. Excellent. Hop to malt ratio is almost perfect. Dabgerously drinkable at 9%. A steal at $7/6 pack. Underrated at 3.7. Zeswaft (1783) - Seattle, Washington, USA - FEB 8, 2006
When you first pop the cap I get hit with a Dreadnaught mango and pine/simcoe flash flood. Then it softens into a more pine and earth and a little alcohol. Pours out dark copper with a short lived white head. Flavor is quite great...some grapefruit, mango and pine. Bitterness is medium to high...most noticed on the after taste. I’d say it’s a great IPA, and a worthy IIPA. At 9% this is extrememely drinkable and dangerous as the alcohol is unnoticeable. It is very aggresively hopped and there is a flavor comparison somewhere between Alpha King and Dreadnaught. By the way, major point becuase this is only $5.99 a six pack. Extra points on the bargain. Excellent beer. GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - MAR 11, 2006
UPDATED: MAR 18, 2006 12 oz bottle. Clear copper color with a foamy off white head that laced the glass. Smells like a North Carolina pine forest. Powerful sprucy hop nose and flavor. Dry and delicious. Caramel malt flavor comes out at the end as the bitterness wanes. Great beer.