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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,411 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,411
Reviews: 712
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 56
Gots: 139 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  10.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 08-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,411 | Reviews: 712
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. Bottled in '11, so this guy is 3 years old. How does a 3 year old Imperial Black IPA hold up? Really well, apparently.

Pours a very dark black, looks thick and oily, with a thick, foamy off-white head, and a lot of lacing.

Dude, smells awesome. A bit smokey and ashy, with some powdery chocolate, a little bit of pine, and rich milk chocolate.

This has aged amazingly, honestly. The chocolate flavor is really overwhelmingly dominant, it's got a powdery rich flavor that's like a cross between Nesquik and Belgian chocolate, if that makes sense. It's rich, powdery and chalky, with some smokey flavors behind it, with the smallest vestiges of hop flavor left, some pine, a tiny bit of juicy sweet citrus. There's also vanilla and espresso beans at various points too.

This is really thick. I gave some to the bartender who had it fresh. He said it's thickened with age. It's got a really creamy, but slightly dry mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation.

This was really good, honestly mind-blowing at this age.

Photo of Boto
3.91/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Draught @ Headkeeper: This one pours a pretty much opaque dark brown color. There was about a finger of a tan head that lingers and leaves some lacing. The aroma was not quite as strong as i thought it would be. Some pine and earthy hops and chocolate are predominant. The taste is very good. Big malt body. Just a hint of sweetness up front. Not too bitter. Hints of chocolate, pine, nuttiness, perhaps some fruits.

Photo of rawfish
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Hamilton's Tavern. Received in a pub chalice, pitch black but likely cola brown, with nearly no head on it. Excellent coating of spotty lacing follows down the glass.

Roasted malt but overall rather bready and has some nutty nuances. Yeast adds some red fruity esters and the hops are vegetative and piney.

Milk chocolate with some coffee grounds and dark fruit like figs and prunes get muddled up in the herbal and piney hops. Notes of licorice and peat. Finish is piney but also very earthy and vegetative. Decent drying with a residue of charred malt.

Smooth carbonation and an easy to down body. Alcohol is well managed and masked by the malt and it presents a good amount of drying with roasted malt lingering.

Reminds me of a hoppy porter as opposed to an IPA, not unlike Stone's Smoked porter with less char. Hops are a touch earthy like tubers with a dose of pine, I would like this one brightened up.

Photo of Sumdeus
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at Congregation Ale House's Stone week on 3/26/2014. Poured into an 8oz tulip.

A: Black with half a finger of tan head, looks like a stout. Good staying power on the head.

S: the aromas are pretty faint, but I can somewhat pick out some hoppy bitterness.

T: wow, this IPA is how old? It's not super hoppy as expected and I never had the original fresh but it's still super tasty. Taste like bitter chocolate with liquorice. I don't usually like liquorice, but I'm really digging this beer. And by that I mean I love it. Taste is very richand creamy, decently sweet too.

M: This is a stout right? No... Oh, because it feels like motor oil. Has wonderful mouth feel like surprisingly thick and full. From mouth feel alone I would think thisisa stout.

O: I really wish I had the beer fresh to compare it to, but I don't. However, it's still fantastic. It's almost like a stout now, this beer had probably changed allot fromit's days as an IPA but it had become something still fantastic..

Photo of Smooth-Hoperator
3.96/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am drinking a bottle that was brewed in August of 2011 on 10/26/2013.

This is not an IPA to me because all of the hop flavor has long since gone. That's ok though, because this has morphed into a quite tasty imperial stout. So, strangely enough, that's how I will review it.

A - opaque dark black.

S - very sweet, with dark fruit, fig and licorice notes. There is a slight hopiness left to it, but it's faint. It smells like a Russian imperial stout.

T - Very deep flavor. I get a taste of milk chocolate right off the bat with a depth of flavor that develops into figs, and then a flavor of very bitter deep roasted coffee that fades quickly. It's smooth but leaves a taste of booze on the tongue. Overall, very smooth.

M - Great. Heavy and chewy. Great for the style.

O - I can't say what the black IPA would be like had I tried this beer within 6 months of the brewing date. BUT, what I will say is that this is a delicious beer and very well crafted.

Photo of jeff1973
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Schlafly tulip. Bottled 8/1/11, so more than 2yrs old now. Bought for $5.99 at Total Wine Tustin (great value).

A - Pitch black, nothing even around the edges. Mocha colored head leaves decent lacing.

S - Dark chocolate, has a weird turpentine smell, I expect it is from the aged hops. Not off-putting. Weird, but nice.

T - Dark chocolate upfront, also dark fruits (prunes, raisins, figs). A little sweet on the front end. You get that same flavor (turpentine) and black tea from the aged hops. You can definitely tell this beer was massively hopped.

M - Medium-heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is low side of medium.

O - I think this is definitely past it's age, but still a great drink. The fresh version was even better because of the hop notes. This is still better than the Sublimely Self Righteous (which is also a great beer).

Photo of bmwats
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a teku.

A: Black. Pours a 1 finger, foamy, brownish head. Settles fairly quickly leaving a smattering of bubbles and a thick ring around the rim. Thick, persistent, beer ring lacing.

S: Char roasted malt, hops, and black licorice. A little peat, and dark unsweetened chocolate. Maybe a little molasses.

T: Roasted malt and hops. Well balanced.

M: Roasty and hoppy in the front. Licorice in the back. Dry, hoppy finish lingers on the palate.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is great. Thick, tight head, with lots of sticky, persistent lacing. Nose is a full combination of roasted grains, hops, bitter licorice, sweet chocolate and molasses. Very roasty and very hoppy. Overall, this is a great quaff.

Photo of Omnium
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bomber > PInt Glass

A - Poured a nice rich black, two finger brown head, lots of lacing.
S - Chocolate, roasted malt, and a lot of weird hop oil/resin smell.
T - Really thick and sweet toffee kinda malt, and too much of that oily hop flavor.
M - Too thick and overbearing.
O - Not enough qualities that could redeem this for me from disliking it, hate the oily hop flavors.

Photo of beertardis
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

found a bottle at a local fish market that also sells beer and wine . been conditioning on the shelf for two years just my luck. smells of toffee , coffee, chocolate , and a hint of annise. the mouth feel was smooth and silky, almost tasted more like a russian imperial stout that a imperial black ipa .

Photo of Smurf2055
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed Dec 2011

Poured from bottle into a pint glass.

Pours like a stout, with a nice tan head about a finger thick. Good lacing.

It’s got some coffee and licorice, but the pine and hops smell as well. Maybe a bit of caramel. An interesting mix.

Taste really confused me. It’s a light body, very smokey, almost ashy. Greets you with light coffee and finishes with a hop kick near the end. I couldn’t tell it was over 10%. Very powerful. Leaves a nice aftertaste.

Overall, it’s a very interesting beer to say the least. Very complex and very bold. Impressive.

Photo of TBoneJones
3.41/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours like a black beauty. Thick deep black, great two finger-width off -white/ light caramel-colored head.
Smells like a liquory funky type of beverage, with some light mocha notes, and with some hop aroma as well. Interesting but not powerful.
This is an interesting take, I normally wouldn't go for a black IPA and don't recall ever having done so. But i feel Stone balanced this brew quite well. It's like a DIPA and an RIS seamlessly combined. It works somehow. It has burnt lingering bitterness with a smooth, thick creamy mouthfeel. Still not a favorite style of mine, but this one is a good sipper. But then this just feels very dry at the finish.
Overall I thought this was easy to drink for such a big beer, but the abrupt drying finish held this back for me. A good combo of big ipa and darkness, but the impression left is strong, and then a chalky, metallic taste. Looks much better than everything else about it. Worth a try nonetheless.

Photo of bjohn84
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber that I accidentally forgot about in the back of the fridge

A - Black coffee with a thin layer of toffee brown head

S - Roasted notes with some small citrus

T - Numbing alcohol up front, but taste of it is well hidden. intense bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. Also a bittering hop comes through on the back end

M - Intense and def a full bodied sipper. Leaves a nice coating in the mouth

O - Intense to say the least. Because of the age on this one it comes across as much more of a RIS than IPA, but the bitterness is still there and it is still great stuff. Sad I can't try it fresh again to do a side to side with age

Photo of motorhed
3.81/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber that has been in the cellar for about 6 months.

A: Jet black in color with about two inches of dark brown head from an aggressive pour that dissipates slowly and leaves noticeable layers of lacing throughout the glass.

S: First thing i smell is an older hop smell, followed by sweet sugars, some roasty malts, and coffee.

T: It's like a beautifully balanced mix of a stout and an imperial IPA without the massive hop bomb bitterness. This brew also doesn't have any hint of alcohol heat.

M: The mouthfeel reminds me of a stout, full of sweetness, and smooth. Fair amount of carbonation, perfect for the style. Overall, very thick but expected of the style.

O: I love this brew. Overall, it's one of the best black IPA's i've ever had and it's an imperial none-the-less. One of the most solid brews from Stone i've had in a while. Hats off to Stone on this one!

Photo of dmatsui
2.22/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pitch black. 2 finger sticky, mud brown head. Lots of lacing.

Muddled blend of bitter hops, burnt cocoa, hazelnut and coffee. Not particularly inviting, an odd, unbalanced aroma that I found to be really off-putting.

Big hit of bittering hops forward, followed by dark roasty stout characteristics.

I really don't have much to say about this one. To me there's way too much going on, the hoppiness does not pair up well with the stout backbone, and it tastes like a mess. Stone always seems to want to take on huge hybrid beers, sometimes very successfully sometimes over-executed. This was honestly one of the worst beers I've had in a while.

Didn't finish the bottle.

I'm still scratching my head about this one; I thought I would've liked it.

Photo of abrand
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

23 ounce bottled August 2011 poured into pint glass

This pours a deep brown to almost black color with a tan 1 finger head that quickly fades. Smell is fairly sweet with chocolate with a nice malt backbone. Plenty of espresso and raisins on the nose as well. Taste is still pretty hot for being bottled for 1 year. Some caramel and sweet fruits with a very bitter roasted malt backbone. Hoppy finish. Quite complex. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Overall this is amazing. Full of complexity and still holding well after a year.

Photo of beergoot
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black body with a rich, creamy tan head. Smell includes licorice, molasses, caramel, cocoa with a nice floral hop scent peaking through. Taste is toasty with a buttery feel. Bitter chocolate and slightly charred bread. A stiff bitterness pops up midway through the tasting and lingers through the finish. Alcohol warmth hits you along with the bitterness. Medium-heavy body, smooth and dextrous.

Rich, malty, and unforgettable. A must for heavy-hitting dark beer lovers.

Photo of Trueant1
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is not exactly true to style it seems. However, it is an excellent brew!

Pours like a stout. Black with a dark tan head. Thick lacing.

Cat urine like smells (many dipas have this), spice, alcohol and cat litter smells in the background.

Taste is heaven to me. Bitter/oily hops up front. Chocolate porters tastes abound. Alcohol booziness, oil, and extremely sweet malts come through as well. A nice "fresh hop" aftertaste surprise is what sets this brew apart. Wonderfully layered tastes!
Mouth-feel consists of fine carbonation, oil like slickness, and bitter aftertaste.

Great brew!

Photo of beer2day
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has the look of a classic dark stout. Opaque black pour with two fingers of very dark mocha head. Excellent head retention and lace. One of the best glasses of beer I've seen.

Nose is strong with roast malt and citrus hops. Very strong, if possible even too strong. Notes of chocolate under the roast and citrus, but you really have to hunt for it.

Chocolate, coffee, roast malt, dry hops all come in up front followed by a strong coffee, bitter chocolate, dry citric finish. Alcohol hides well, but you can feel the burn. Lots of complex flavors, but they seem to lack enough coherency to make this great. Pretty darn good, though.

Feel is a bout right. The hops give it a bit of a slippery, oily feel.

Overall, a very nice sipper.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, but doesn't really mesh with the style that well. Seems a bit thick on the character for a black ale; almost porter like. Has some nice hop characeristics, but doesn't really bring all that I would hope it would. Especially for an anniversary ale. Nice beer. An "okay" black ale.

Photo of paytonpowell
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Intensely black with an inch and a half of a frothy mocha head from an aggressive pour that does not slowly diminish but rather hangs about like a root beer float. I noticed an apparent viscosity during the pour of this thick black libation.

S: A thorough blast of aged hops that mellows into a cappuccino like aroma with serious notes of strong black coffee and a mild hinting layer of dark chocolate. There is hardly a trace of alcohol in the nose or urgent pungency of fresh hops.

T: My initial impression was rather torn, as it splits the difference between an Imperial IPA and an Imperial Stout. The first sip brings the tongue the heavy caramelized malts of an Imperial IPA, tiny amounts of hop bitterness alert ones sense of taste of something that never truly arrives: a full Imperial IPA. Instead this initial confusion eases into thick dark chocolate malt and mild coffee like bitterness of a proper stout. This warm rich taste lingers enduringly with pleasant stale citrus like hoppy taste much to my delight. Reminiscent of orange chocolate.

M: Thick!!! Just a slight presence of effervescence remains and the really truly brings this beer into the stout real with a full-bodied heavy mouthfeel thick, sticky and rich.

O: This brew has most effectively descended into the realm of the stouts after a solid year of aging. Almost all hop presence has faded into the background minus a surprisingly stale aged hop aroma. I never thought aging such creation would lead to such a pleasantly drinkable behemoth but it definitely has me intrigued as to what aging similar brews will lead to. Definitely a success in experimentation!

Photo of mactrail
2.44/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is so sharply alcoholic. With the bitterness, it tastes like a Chinese medicinal wine. It also wins the prize for the weirdest, most unpleasant aroma for a non-spoiled beer. It's like a wet felt hat filled with the parsley silage from the back of the vegetable bin.

The stuff looks nice enough in the glass, though it's just black with a thin beige head. Not very drinkable overall. It just seems like some kind of hop joke. Mouthfeel is hard to tell. It makes my lips hurt.

Personally, I think they are toying with us. Or else it's a chemistry experiment from the Escondido High School science fair. At least Stone doesn't don't overcharge, so I sometimes lapse from better judgement to try one of their loopy brews. From the 22 oz bottle. Add a case of Olde English 800 for an excellent frat party. "Dude, see if you can keep this down!"

Photo of ngeunit1
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown-black with a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts with pine and citrus hops, and some coffee, black licorice, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of orange and citrus hops, roasted chocolate malts, some bitterness, and some black licorice. Through the middle, some pine hops and bitterness comes through with some coffee and a touch of dark fruit. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, pine and citrus hops, bitterness, coffee, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry, bitter, roasty, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice big Black IPA. Lots of hops and enough roastiness for a good balance.

Photo of Beerlover
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing brew! Stone you Great glorious bastards! I love porters and i love ipas, especially imperial ones! this is not a porter but the blackness and roasty malts reminded me a bit of a porter with less coffee and or smokiness.

It looks dark and beautiful like a nice glass of porter or a mug of delish coffee. the smell for me was just average i didn't get much nose off the beer which is kinda sad but beer is for DRINKIN not SMELLIN !!

the taste is GLORIOUS! and i only use that word for my favs, i gave this beer a perfect 10 in my personal notes meaning i will buy it without hesitation if i ever find another bottle and I LOVE IT! flavors of roasted malts and hops perfectly balanced (im my own humble opinion)

i think my fav about this beer is the fact that it is an imperial brew, meaning it doesnt exactly have more hops in it or a higher i.b.u. but just that the alchohol content is higher than a normal brew of this type (when does Stone EVER have a "normal" brew with the exception of "arrogent bastard") the alchohol % on this beautiful beast of a brew is 10.5 %! AWE.SOME. and and normally anything over 9 I usually start to pick up at least slight booziness or tasting the "kick" but this, THIS is sooo smooth with no "booziness" apparent. PERFECT BALANCE!

ahh i wish i cud find another bottle to age a year or maybe two more. i think the fact that i aged this a bit in my fridge (6 months) really helped perfect this beer. i had split one with a buddy of mine a while ago (about 8 months) and do not rembember it being this great (maybe for lack of palate experiance... i suck at spelling sorry!) but yeah if u like dark ales and you happen to find this gem BUY IT or send it my way please!

this should be an all year relese. kinda like they did with "sublimely self righteous ale" maybe this should be called "sublimely self righteous 2" or how about "Super Sexy Swingin' Sublimely self righteous radical ass ale" idk maybe thats a bit overboard but to describe this ale, its just... undescribable! (again sorry about the spelling)

ohh and one more thig... IT GETS BETTER AS YOU DRINK IT, let it warm a bit i just got a hint of bittersweet chocolate! WHAT!??!

aaaand its done. no more left... SAD!! a tear is welling up in my eye. love this beer! "beerlover" LOVERS IT! done. d.u.n.

Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours stout black, thick head that slims to a thin rim

S: black and chocolate malts, espresso notes

T: bitter espresso, some chocolate... roasted, toasted malts, some hoppy woodsy flavors

M: dry, bitter, mellow; mild aftertaste

O: I get confused with what a beer should taste like when it has too much going on in its description, and I'm not a big black ale drinker - I suppose this is a decent black ale, but DIPA? I dunno. When I hear "imperial IPA" I expect some citrus or pine or brighter hop flavors; this was (to me) a basic black ale with a high abv - which is fine, but I wasn't blown away, nor is it my favorite black ale or black DIPA or DIPA. Not a re-buy for me, but may be spot-on for true lovers of the style.

Photo of david131
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an absolutely pitch black with a very thick and creamy mocha head that has excellent retention.

S- Pine, some citrus, caramel, and a slightly roasted aspect on the tail end. Rather deep and complex, considering the style.

T- Sweet and hoppy. The malt aspect is rather pronounced, not that it is a bad thing. The piney hops work well with the sweet, roasted malt. Interesting and intriguing.

M- Slightly spicy carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

O- A very well made beer. The alcohol content, while noticeable, is pretty well masked. Still, it is a bit rich and a bit of a sipper.

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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,411 ratings.