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

1,416 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,416
Reviews: 712
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 58
Gots: 137 | 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: 1,416 | Reviews: 712
Reviews by thatruth:
Photo of thatruth
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked up a 22 oz from the Beer Junction in West Seattle the day the cases arrived earlier this month. poured into pint glass.

almonds, pine, nutmeg, roasted oak. cherry and chocolate aroma.

pours a 1/8" mocha head with moderate, frothy lacing. coffee black with a syrupy look. opaque in glass, absolutely no light penetrates this beer.

tastes like you're in hop central and a stout steps in and takes over as sheriff. has the hop fritz and the stout lacquer.

robust and thorough on-bringing comes to a nice solid hold in the finish. lingering forest-y aftertaste. 10.8 alc/vol. hidden mildly well.

if herbal chocolate (mint chocolate? nah.) is your thing, this beer is spot on. Sublimely Self Righteous was a Stone Anniversary beer so popular they made it into its own. this one may likely follow: it's so odd and distinct.

**Label reads: "August 2011 BOTTLE CONDITIONED ENJOY FRESH"

More User Reviews:
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 oberon
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well for number #3000 I had to go with this,its worthy of such a lofty number.Poured into my Stone imperial nonic a jet black with a blooming mocha colored head that becomes a substantial frothy mass after leaving a few broken globs of lace as it kinda, sorta settled.Big resiny and herbal hops overtop of a dryer bitter chocolate base,a tinge of sweet boozy alcohol comes into play as it warms.Herbal hops really stand out on the palate along with unsweetened chocolate and light roast,there is a "meaty" element to the beer that I cant quite pinpoint.Full and creamy feel it glides down nicely.For my money this is the best Stone Anniversary beer that I have had,its as complex as all get out,hell of a job here.

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes taken on 11/3/11.

This Black IPA pours very dark brown to black with a light brown, one-finger head into a large snifter. The body is impenetrable by the eye with great, quick-rushing carbonation when agitated. The lacing is exquisite- fine and detailed.

The smell is a great blend of hefty chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, biscuit malt, prominent pine, citrus, grass and herbal hop aromas. This is a very deep and complex bouquet. As it warms a bit, the hefty malt profile takes over.

Wow, that is a huge flavor! The first wave is of roasted, chocolate malt, followed by a burst of pine and grapefruit hop profile. At the finish, thick malts and hops merge together to combine into a truly delicious beer. The aftertaste is hop bitterness, a little booze, and a lingering roastiness.

As one might expect from the ingredients, the mouthfeel is a combination of a medium-full coating malt presence and a puckering hop bitterness. The finish carries a bit of a boozy sting, along with a dry pucker from the piney and grapefruity hops.

I really like this beer. It is a big, bad Black IPA that really showcases the strong maltbill and a kickass hop profile. Very roasty, very chocolate-y, but also bitter and hoppy. Lovely.

Photo of AdamToomey
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first adventure into the world of Black IPA's and as this review will show, I was not the least bit disappointed.

A - I poured this beer from the bomber into a snifter. As other reviews noted, the beer is pitch black. If I saw someone drinking this I would immediately think they were sipping on an imperial stout. This dark beauty also has an incredibly thick, creamy coffee head that slooowly dissipates with great lacing. I was sipping on this beer for over an hour and the head was still present. Beautiful beer.

S - The nose of this beer is a hop-punch. Pine, citrus and grass like aromas explode out of the glass with the ever so slightest hint of roasted chocolate malts finishing it off. If you have had the Stone IPA, the hop aromas are very similar with an added roasted hint. Overall, a bit confusing but enticing all the same.

T - Man was this beer unique. At first the hops completely dominate the pallet but in a way that makes sense, not simply an overload of bitterness as in their Ruination. The different hops play off each other to create a nice harmonious beverage. What is most surprising about this beer is the way the dark/roasted malts work with the hop presence. The mild chocolate and coffee flavors that are present accompany the hop profile perfectly to create an astonishingly unique beverage. This is one of those beers which you say "wow" after those first few sips. Wow of course being both a "wow" of confusion and a louder "wow" that this confusion works so well. What does get lost, however, is the alcohol. It is completely hidden. At 10.8 percent, be careful or you will forget that it is even there!

M - The mouthfeel is more on par with IPA's and the dark malts do little to elevate the mouthfeel to a chewier, sweeter thickness. Rather, it maintains its crisp and bitter finish. Kind of disappointed. This was the least unique characteristic of the beer.

O - Overall, this beer was an absolute pleasure to drink. I am definitely going to track down a few more bottles of this before it is all gone. In addition, this brew has definitely turned me on to the world of Black IPA's. This was a refreshingly unique brew. I will say, however, that this style is definitely not for everyone. To enjoy, you definitely have to expand your beer tasting horizons beyond tradition. This beer is not exactly a stout, nor is it exactly an IPA. It's simply a hybrid of the two that works and works exceptionally.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracking the bomber, the brew pours into my glass a deep, super dark black with two fingers of creamy dark tan head atop the brew. Patchy lacing as it falls with aromas of dense pine and resinous green hops along with plenty of tropical citrus. Roasted chocolately malt backbone as well.

First sip brings big roasted malts upfront with plenty of chocolate. Pungent hops roll in with a great mix of tropical fruit and resinous pine tones as well. Plenty of bitterness as it flows down to counteract the malty sweetness. Touch of alcohol heat on the way down.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, medium bodied with just enough carbonation. This brew goes down pretty darn easy for clocking in at 10.8%. A solid, super hoppy black IPA, much better than the 14th Anniversary IMHO and well worth trying!

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was black, really black, with a tan head and a little bit of lace.

Aroma of roasted malt and herbal hops.

Things came through more in the taste. Chocolate, a lot of chocolate. Pronounced espresso taste. Resinous, piney hops.

Full-bodied, filling. Very enjoyable.

I'm still not sure what to make of the proliferation of black ales. This one was very good, but tasted like a hoppy stout.

Photo of warnerry
3.61/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours pitch black with one and a half fingers of creamy brown head. Head has nice retention and leaves spotty lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate malt and citrus hops, with some floral aromas as well. Definitely some alcohol in the nose. Good, but doesn't really grab me.

T - Still a good bitter hop presence after four months. Never had it fresh, so don't know how this compares. Significant chocolate malt and roasted malt presence throughout, a bit ashy. Citrus and grassy hops. Finish is dry and lingering bitterness.

M - Nice, creamy mouthfeel with a very bitter finish.

O - Good black ale, which is a style I have a hard time getting excited about. Nice bitterness, but a little too much ash from the malt component.

Photo of Beaver13
3.21/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Pours a dark brown black with a frothy creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted malts with piney hops and a little fruit.

The flavor is a some sweet fruity malt followed by a big roast bitterness with a lot of char in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, pretty similar to other black IPAs that just don't do it for me. Too much roast and char bitterness rather than hop flavors. There is some sweetness and a little fruit and pine, but it just doesn't seem to go well with the roasted char.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.74/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared a bomber with my wife. Pours a black color with a decent head that dissipates.
The nose is sweet smooth and mostly RIS. A slight vanilla aroma mellow with a generous amount of crystal malts. The hops make an appearance but fade...the aroma is quite nice...not what I expected from stone.

The taste is a mix of their RIS and their Subllimly but perhaps not as good as either. Smooth choc and mix of a slight fruity fig flavor which slowly turns to a hop bitterness. The bitterness melds with the roasted finish and leaves a dry mouth. There is no hint of alcohol in this beer.

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber, vintage date on bottle.

LOOK: Black as can be, thick brown head.

SMELL: Booze, dark chocolate, dank hop resin, dark fruit, burnt bread, orange zest.

TASTE: Roasty, dry toasted bread, hop bitterness, tobacco, earthy, smoky ash, brown bread, booze.

A solid brew, hits all the right buttons for what it is supposed to be. A bit too much alcohol and the hops seem to cloud ... Meaning the flavors don't mesh as well as I thought the would have.

Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

32 ounce growler pour ($10.99) @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

Pours BLACK, dark tan head, initially large, then going to a quick meraingue, then quickly again to a film and collar, quality lace left behind.

Rich nose of black coffee, dark chocolate and I get some hop cones...

Suprise-suprise a celebratory beer from Escondidian heavy weight Stone Brewery that is densly flavorful, hoppy, bold and kickin all sorts of ass...lots more coffee, more dark bitter chocolate, more hoppy goodness...thick, creamy and viscous...fine creation...get some..drink it fresh...

Photo of bsp77
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Pitch black with thick, foamy, root beer float head that leaves intricate lacing webs.

Smell: Citrus, pine, roses, chocolate and charbroiled meat.

Taste: Perfect integration of chocolatey roasted malts and citrusy hops. Elements of char, coffee and pine enhance the experience. Finish is bitter and spicy, with both a hop bite and a roasted malt bite. Becomes somewhat fruity as it warms.

Feel: Exceedingly smooth and creamy with a massive warming sensation. Moderately low carbonation, fairly dry finish.

Overall: Besides for the warming sensation, I can't tell that this is anywhere near 11% abv. Unbelievably smooth and tasty; the best American Black Ale / Black IPA / yada-yada I have had. Of course, one could argue that this is really a hoppy, citrusy Imperial Stout.

Photo of amidabha
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a vigorous pour into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass produced a deep coffee one inch tan head with abundant lacing. the hops aroma is great which confuses me by the appearance.

i've only had a few black ipa's before but i find this one tasty. starts off sweet and creamy like a stout with an ipa bite which gives me the best of both since it helps hide the high abv.

a great mix that changes as it warms complimenting both styles equally well. the hoppiness encourages me to drink this faster than normal. this sucker has such a great kick i wish i had bought two.

Photo of MicroBeerMan1980
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Creamy tan head sits on a rich black body. Ha ha! Anyway, it's head dissipates slowly and the lacing clings to edge of the glass. A fine, thin head remains.

S: Amazing citrus aromas pummel the nose. There's a touch of pine on the end of that. Sweet malts compliment the hardy hop profile. If you closed your eyes, you would imagine you're on a hop farm in the northwest. Brilliant.

T: Distinct citrus and pine hops greet the taste buds. Flavorful malt is prevalent. Once you get past the hops, the beer has a sweet/dry malt quality.

M: Full-on hop attack on the palate. Tannins and acid. It's heavy on the tongue, but not in a bad way. Full bodied.

D: SIP THIS BEER. Also, don't drink it first, because you don't want to blow out your palate before switching back to Miller Lite because you suck. ;)

Photo of tfratzke
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with a nice creamy tan head. Excellent lacing and head lingers for quite a while. Smells of roasted malts and some piney hops. Taste is roasted malts with slight bitter finish. This is an excellent imperial black IPA. With as high of alcohol content as it is, it doesn't seem boozy at all. Goes down easy which could be dangerous! Excellent overall.

Photo of ehammond1
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Appears black as night; I don't see much light passing through and I'm holding it up directly against the afternoon sun. A sticky chocolate milk colored head slowly grows to over an inch and stays unmoving for quite some time. Splotches and patches of sticky lacing coat the glass. A head turner!

Powerfully pungent grapefruit, orange, and mango aromas with a roasted malt presence hiding in the background.

Some initial hop bitterness with a pungent punch of grapefruit, stinging orange, and floral hops. The hops are so incredibly powerful it's almost staggering. An always present, underlying chocolate and roasted malt presence helps balance it just a touch, but this is super hop-forward, and delicious.
The smaller the sip I take, the more roasted malt and coffee flavors are present. With larger sips (or gulps), the powerful hops are dominant.

Medium bodied and highly carbonated. Very little alcohol presence.

This is a fantastic black IPA.

Photo of MattyG85
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Oily black with only a slight hint of brown. Solid four fingers of tan head that slowly fades into a thin layer. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Very hoppy with lots of citrus grapefruit and pine resin. Some dark roasted malts with subtle hints of coffee and chocolate. Definitely smells like a IPA.

Taste: Big burst of fresh piney and citrus hops up front. Some grapefruit, mango, and orange with a big presence of pine resin. Has a bit of a burnt toast flavor from the roasted malts. Some hints of coffee and chocolate come towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate carbonation. Tangy and roasty. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Overall: A very solid black ale from Stone. Very forward with the hops but as you keep drinking the dark characteristics make themselves known.

Photo of bravejoejoe
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz Bomber bottle.
A - Poured a pitch black beer with a thick creamy head.
S - I smell citrus hops with a burt/ roasted malts.
T - This is a punch in the mouth. There is an explosion of citrus hops, huge malt profile, and is still sweet. the after taste is bitter with roasty-ness.
M - This is very heavy in the mouth, very viscous. To me it seems light on the carbonation.

I would drink this again, but definitely not more then one in a setting. This is a good beer to drink for several hours or with a couple friends.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black, looks thicker than just the usual dehusked, debittered black malts used in these black ipa type beers. Good citrus aroma to it, the citra hops do a good job. Almost gave it a 4.5

Solid taste, hoppy, bitter, not not so much it drowns out the other aspects of the beer. What was outright amazing was the mouthfeel. I was just drinking this beer by the river two weeks ago. Like at a normal pace. Finished the beer. Was reading the label. What? 10.8%? I really would have guessed 7%. Hid that shit very well. Nice and dry. Didn't pull out the chocolate or licorice that others did, at least to any discernable degree. You could find the roast and chocolate if you're looking for it I guess, but its kind of a psychosomatic thing if you ask me anytime a beer is darker in color.

Citra hop makes you think there is orange rind in it at times. Nice price is even nicer.

Pretty much a bigger sublimely righteous beer, with citra.

Photo of mondegreen
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz into a Stone IRS Tulip.

Pours pitch black with a frothy tan head. Leaves sparse lacing as it recede into the darkness.

Nose is huge on the Citra hops. There is an earthy element, possibly from the dark malts. Not roasty by any means, but an interesting balance.

Taste is heavy on the Citra hops as well. They always come off as slightly funky to me, but I dig it. The dark malts come off as a smoothing factor. Maybe it's just my sense of sight playing tricks on me.

Mouth is medium and very smooth. Excellent.

Overall, a fantastic brew. Almost makes up for the disappointment of the 14th.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black pours like used motor oil, keeps all light from passing through. Head is a nice thicket of moccha tan head. Fine speckled lacing forms as the head dwindles. Aroma has a citrus leaf hop smell along with dark roasted malts mixed with anise black licorice. Flavor has a roasted malt flavor with green citrus hop tones and a bit of pine. Dark roasted malts have some licorice anise like tones about them. Tastes more like a hoppy stout than any type of IPA and I guess I can add an imperial stout at 10.8% abv I bet this is because they fucked up so bad on the Belgo Russian Imperial Stout. A bit of hot booze comes in the back end of each sip making it a slow sipper for myself, the dark roasted malts with bittering hops don't hurt things but it's really not the smoothest beer around either.

Photo of chinchill
3.76/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black and opaque, even in bright sun light.

Lots of dark malt and some hops, but too much alcohol in the nose

Rich flavor featuring dark malt over the hops, despite the IPA designation. Huge malt flavor yet plenty of hops show thru. Extremely long finish and aftertaste.

M: full body; good if rather aggressive carbonation.

O - very bold; a bit challenging and extreme; highly flavored. If you are seeking a rich and flavorful beer with plenty of hops and dark malt, don't miss this offering.

Photo of OStrungT
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an inky black color with a brown head. The thick creamy head fades very slowly, leaving a thick lace.

This beer smells of grapefruit. I also detect a piney aroma. A slight grainy aroma mixes in with a hint of coffee.

This beer tastes like it smells. Grapefruity hops with a touch of pine. It has a nice mild coffee flaovr also. I like the balance between hops and malts. Subtle sweet malt flavor.

This beer is full bodied and high in carbonation. Irt leaves a toffee aftertaste with a little grapefruit. The alcohol content makes itself known on its way down.

This beer wouldnt be the best session beer. The alcohol content is a bit high and the flavor is aggressive.

Overall: This is a great beer. I expect nothing less from Stone.

Photo of Fulkrum78
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black as night with a light brown head that fades to lacing along the glass pretty quick. Aroma is malty and rich. Taste is rich and malty. Hops and malt nicely blend with the alcohol content. Great beer. I'm gonna have to snag two or three of these to stick in the beer cooler to hold on to for later.

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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,416 ratings.