1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,397 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,397
Reviews: 713
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 54
Gots: 138 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 08-16-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,397 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WestValleyIPA
WestValleyIPA

California

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRS tulip aggressively. 4 fingers of very fluffy, stiff tan head. Takes almost 5 minutes for it to mostly die. Lots of sticky lacing. Black. Citrus on first whiff (lemon). Lots of sweetness and anise on a second smell, followed by roastiness and floral hops. Loving the nose. Some chocolate and anise up front on the palate, citrusy sweetness, a roasty dry finish. Chocolate. Bitter chocolate. Extremely bitter finish. More dryness and hops. Very very creamy and smooth going down. Ridiculously easy to drink for almost 11%. Fantastic. There's a reason I always buy Stone beers the first day I can get them.

08-19-2011 05:06:33 | More by WestValleyIPA
Photo of nimrod979
nimrod979

Maryland

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Bomber pours an ever so dark black. No light getting through this baby. Big creamy tan head. Pretty awesome looking "IPA"
Complex aromas going on here. Stuffing my nose down into the glass I find dark chocolate. Dried fruit and citrusy hops. Resinous and alcoholic. Dank, dark, and roasty.
Taste is not quite what the aromas would lead you to believe. The beer is quite sweeter and less bitter than I expected. Not quite as hoppy either. Definitely semi-sweet chocolate flavors. Along with some burnt hoppy and citrusy flavors flowing around. A bit of a lingering bitterness. Alcohol is pretty prevalent as well. Pretty good overall flavor. I do enjoy it. To me it's almost like a hoppy imperial stout.
Very smooth on the palate and full bodied.

10-26-2011 22:56:48 | More by nimrod979
Photo of finagler
finagler

California

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Creamy head that shifts on top like a foamy wave coming in Louisiana after the BP Oil spill. Held up to the sun I couldn't see through it at all, it's black y'all! Vanilla, some dark fruits, stone IPA on the nose and taste. Lacing reminiscent of dried pumpkin guts. If this beer were an animal it would be a California Black Bear after itching its back on a pine tree.

08-18-2011 21:57:40 | More by finagler
Photo of gopens44
gopens44

Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

A - About as good as it gets. Ginormous thick tan head with tremendous lacing on top pitch black liquid that gently suspends a quaint amount of sediment.

S - Incredibly fresh hop presence overwhelms anything else that may have tried to climb out. But there is a certain quality that suggests an effort to showcase a roasted malt presence.

T - Bold espresso taste battles with a fantastic hop forward tongue bite. Finish leaves a burnt dark chocolate coffee memory for a while.

M - Speaking of aftertaste, that's where this starts. The magnificent burnt chocolate coffee aftertaste that settles in after a well carbonated, dry and full bodies quaf (I may or may not have used that word right...)

O - It has attitude, character and arrogance. I love this bastard.

10-22-2011 00:29:10 | More by gopens44
Photo of etaggie09
etaggie09

Texas

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

appearance: black as any stout. no light gets through this at all. huge two finger head easily forms. color is light mocha. good thick lacing.

aroma: it's barleywine and double ipa mixed together. heavy sweet maltiness mixed with very citrusy hops. this is making me very excited to dig in. Big Pine presence and big grapefruit presence, but has some malt to back it up. there's some nuttiness in the middle there to provide some balance, but this is very much about the hops.

taste: whew we are in for a big one! big boozy maltiness and some big hops are definitely at play here. gives your tongue quite a thrashing, but a flavorful one. the malt is very upfront in this beer. it has a definite nuttiness to it with some faint smoke undertones. Huge in the hope bitterness that kicks through at the end. Some residual bitterness on the finish as well as some peppery hop and alcohol burn, but it is all enjoyable. Now I'm getting a little more of that grapefruit flavor, but it's matched so well to the dark flavors of the malt. Almost like a chocolate covered ruby red grapefruit, but it is definitely not sweet chocolate. It has a wonderful leafiness to it, but it is all checked so well by the maltiness. I really got a lot of malt in the beginning, and now I am noticing more hops, but it definitely stays balanced. The two do not combat each other in this beer. flavors stay silky and well delivered.

mouthfeel: nice and full without being cloying. hops dry things out nicely and a good amount of carbonation keeps things lively. just really smooth stuff.

overall: I am loving the Black IPA style. So far both the sublimely self righteous and this one have been my favorites. I would have to say that between the two stone blacks, I would definitely choose this one. It's just a bigger beer but it still manages to have the same level of harmony that the sublimely self righteous does. Definitely hop centered, but with just enough malt to balance. My only complaint is that as I get down towards the end of the bottle, the finish gets spicier and spicier, which kind of reduces the drinkability. This is more of a serving size issue to me rather than an actual flavor issue. If this beer were a 12 oz'er this probelm wouldn't be there. Ultimately, I waited patiently for this one, and it was well worth the wait.

10-03-2011 20:18:45 | More by etaggie09
Photo of mavbrew
mavbrew

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

A: Pours a jet black color with brown highlights. The head is thick, two fingers, and a dark tan color, which takes a while to dissipates and leaves some nice lacing.

S: The scent is very earthy, a serious hop aroma is coming from the glass, even at a slight distance. There is a slightly roasted scent as well, but it is masked by the strong floral hop presence.

T: Wow, this is a tasty beer! There is a lot more to this beer than you'd expect from the smell. I was expecting all hops, but there is a nice mocha and roasted flavor that goes along well with the hops. Not as much of an alcohol presence as anticipated, but it's there. Finishes with bitters that stick around for a while in the palate.

M: Medium bodied with little carbonation, actually kind of flat considering the head was large. There is a nice mocha and hop feel in the palate.

D: This is without question one of the best Black IPA's I've had, Stone really knows how to brew the style. I wasn't expecting a well balanced beer based on the smell, but it is very delicious.

08-31-2011 23:34:15 | More by mavbrew
Photo of xnicknj
xnicknj

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

on tap at good dog in philly

Pours an opaque black with a slightly tanned head resting on top. Tones of patchy lacing is left on the glass in rings, along with thick, filmy retention.

Pungent hops in the nose with grapefruit and citrus sweetness. Some roasted malt and light nuttiness with a touch of caramel. Very faint hint of boozy warmth.

Bitter and juicy up front with pine hops and sticky resin. Stiff notes of grapefruit tempered by lighter fruit sweetness. Thick roasted, nutty malt backbone, some touches of caramel and bittersweet caramel. Finishes bitter and long with a flash of pine and a soft bite of alcohol.

Medium body, fine carbonation, sticky and a little chewy. One of the best black IPAs I've had, and I'd definitely drink this again. I was also surprised at how well they masked the double-digit ABV.

10-06-2011 14:19:27 | More by xnicknj
Photo of argock
argock

Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Served on-tap in a 10oz clear glass snifter at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Black with light brown cap of had with a few bits of lacing down the glass.

S: Roasted and hoppy aromas are both pretty light and a dense maltiness dominates.

T: This is a black IPA that manages to showcase both the orange, fruity citrus hoppiness and the coffee and chocolate roasted notes and making them work together rather than having both of them stick out like two sore thumbs. The hoppiness is restrained along with a very significant dark malt breadiness that fades to some roast, chocolate, coffee, and lighter licorice notes. A very well-crafted beer that I wish had a little more character.

M: The thick maltiness leaves a full-bodied feel with no acrid character but a wonderful smoothness with very little blatant alcohol.

O: I really liked this beer a lot more than I though I would, mainly because I have not had very good luck with black IPAs generally. This one doesn't really fit that category too well, but it doesn't fit any category very well all-around. Instead, this beer balances the roast and citrus hops notes very artfully rather than hitting you over the head with them both.

10-09-2011 02:19:59 | More by argock
Photo of Celtics76
Celtics76

Rhode Island

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into my Star Wars Cantina glass.

Very impressive look to this one - couldn't be any darker, a solid jet black. Doesn't taste like an IPA to me - tastes very similar to Dogfish Head's Palo Santa Marron, which I find interesting considering they're supposed to be 2 different styles. Extremely boozy (which I kinda like) with complex flavors - chocolate and pine stick out the most.

Considering it's high ABV, I may not get the chance to try this again. I do hope Stone makes it a regular release though. Totally worth it.

10-02-2011 01:02:01 | More by Celtics76
Photo of akk101
akk101

Ohio

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

22oz bottle
A - Great looking printed bottle. Typical Stone with a very long description on the back. I don't know anyone who has actually read the whole thing. Black color with thick brown frothy head that lasts

S - Picking up some chocolate notes and hops

T - Roasted malt with pronounced hop presence at the end

M - Thick and full body

O - Great beer fromt Stone. Very drinkable; it didn't take me much time to finish it. It's like RIS and IPA collided.

01-07-2012 18:36:51 | More by akk101
Photo of CaptDavyJones
CaptDavyJones

New York

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured an absolute pitch black color from a 22 oz bomber, bought and opened on 8/17/11. According to a blog on Stone's website, the bottle was released on 8/15/11 (it says on the label that it was bottled in Aug 2011).
Nice one finger dark mocha/tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves behind an constant shape changing film of head. Nice head retention.
Aroma was extremely hoppy, from the moment the bottle was cracked open. As the beer warms up, amidst all the various floral hoppy notes, there are hints of roasted malt that are evident with noticeable cocoa/dark chocolate notes.
Taste-wise this is a very complex ale. The layers of varying bitterness constantly assault the taste buds. Some might say this ale is excessively bitter, but to me it is just the right amount of complex bitterness. At times you feel you are having a super hopped stout, since this is a surprisingly full-bodied and smooth IPA.
The high ABV is masked very well. Even the warmth from the alcohol doesn't make it's presence felt right away.
This is a sipper all the way, and gets better as it slowly warms up. Stone always impresses me with their brews. Definitely worth a try and is highly recommended. Especially to all hop-heads and those who enjoy really dark stouts.
I am very interested to see how it ages and will be getting another bottle tomorrow and store it to age.

08-18-2011 05:09:09 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of dbmernin83
dbmernin83

California

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Pours very black with a khaki head. Lacing that any boutique lingerie store would be proud of.
Smells like a hoppy imperial stout. Big hops and big roasted coffee.
Wow. This beer Mike Tyson's your tastebuds with huge hops and huge coffee flavors. Pairing this with food would be tough, because tasting anything in general after this beer would be impossible.
Good carbonation and full in the mouth.
A gigantic beer. A delicious sipper.

09-11-2011 08:15:29 | More by dbmernin83
Photo of zander4dawin
zander4dawin

Texas

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

All I can say is wow, I hope this beer comes back around. This was my first beer in the imperial black Indian pale ale style and if others are made to this quality it surely won't be my last. The first thing I noticed when I poured the beer was its exceptional appearance. The beer comes out of the bottle dark as night and the beautiful head rains top down in the glass. Truly looks remarkable. This is definitely an aggressive beer with some boosyness. But still a great balanced is meant in its assertiveness. The roasted malts start the beer off followed by the bite of hops, alcohol, and a sharp snappy mouthfeel.

10-03-2011 23:35:38 | More by zander4dawin
Photo of jjanega08
jjanega08

Minnesota

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

August 2011 is on the bottle and it says consume fresh...

A= Pours a deep black color with a nice big ol two finger head on it that is super thick and holds nice retention and lacing on the side of the glass. Looks pretty ideal actually. The head is a nice dark color sort of a mocha.

S= Still smells like fresh fruity hops! I guess two months isn't too long to age it! Nice roast in the background and a solid hop nose. The nose is really about ideal on it.

T= The taste is just like the nose. Excellent. Smooth roasty malt and a ton of great fruity piney hops. Really a smooth combination. This is one of the most well molded Black IPA's I've had. Takes good aspects from each and blends them. Nice bitterness coming from both ends.

M= Finishes dry like an IPA and has a smooth lasting flavor.

O= I've read nothing but bad things about this beer but see only good reviews. I think this is one of those beers some love and others hate right out of the gate. A good blend of two extreme styles I think and worth checking out. I'm really happy Stone now distributes to MN and I'm even more happy we are getting beers like this.

10-27-2011 02:50:29 | More by jjanega08
Photo of Dreadnaught33
Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

Had this big guy on tap at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown last night before an amazing Kenny Garrett concert, as I knew that the beer at Blues Alley would not cut it.

Pours black with a great tan head with lots of thick body to it. Outstanding lacing leaving webs on all parts of the glass the brew touches. The smell has a ton of resin and also a heavy dose of citrus and pine. Some toasty bakery bread notes with even a hint of smoke come through in the aroma as well. Has some spices and herbs that are hard to place and also a dose of cocoa bean.

The taste reflects those things in the smell to a point, but mostly this is a huge hop bomb with aggressive citrus and pine with raw hop resin that hopheads would appreciate clearly taking center stage in the flavor dept. A note of barley with a tiny bit of roast in the finish but again mostly all I get are hops as the main characters here and it tastes great. The feel is good and slick over the palate without much of a bitter or roasty aftertaste that was slightly disappointing.

Enjoyable overall, and I'd like to get a bottle. The beer is hard to get through even a 12oz pour of though in one sitting as it's not really the most balanced of beers, just mostly a hop explosion with a bit of roast thats almost not even there. I'm giving it a 4 overall because it tastes great, but drinkability turned out to be average at best.

09-18-2011 13:27:12 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of greenmonstah
greenmonstah

New Hampshire

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

22 oz bottle into DFH snifter

A - Black in color with a finger of lovely brown head. No lacing, and retention is pretty ok for such a high ABV. The black color is brilliantly deep, though.

S - Chocolate, roasted malts, and bitter grassy hops. Some dark fruit sweetness that I wasn't expecting. More stout than IPA.

T - Wow. Chocolate in droves, with a sweetness that is balanced by hop bitterness. I liken it to a chocolate stout blended with an especially bitter Double IPA, like Ruination.

M - Full bodied and a bit sticky initially but ends up drying in the finish. In every way this has the body of an Imperial stout, but with the dry finish of many IPAs.

O - Overall this is a phenomenal beer, truly. A strong Imperial Stout-y flavor that then leads into the bitter hoppiness of an IPA, but without a sharp divided between the two. The flavor and body flow from one stage to the next and blend in the interim in a way that perfectly compliments the many aspects of this beers flavor.

09-17-2011 23:04:53 | More by greenmonstah
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

06-09-2014 11:45:22 | More by tectactoe
Photo of kevwcamp
kevwcamp

Washington

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

11-17-2011 20:02:22 | More by kevwcamp
Photo of cisteve
cisteve

Texas

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

04-07-2012 01:26:28 | More by cisteve
Photo of Leftofthedial
Leftofthedial

California

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

12-31-2011 00:01:52 | More by Leftofthedial
Photo of jlieber17
jlieber17

California

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

10-13-2012 01:50:57 | More by jlieber17
Photo of Danielr26
Danielr26

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

02-21-2013 00:50:44 | More by Danielr26
Photo of JamFuel
JamFuel

Sweden

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

07-01-2012 19:33:38 | More by JamFuel
Photo of fain12
fain12

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

11-28-2013 08:08:44 | More by fain12
Photo of bszern
bszern

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours with a 2-3 finger dark tan head. nice lacing. Beer is deep brown, almost black.

Smell is a little boozy, real hoppy, with hints of licorice. I'm not a huge fan of anise, so this part of the beer kind of put me off.

Taste is intense. It is a little woody, and intensely malty. The hops are very obviously there, but the brutal bitterness is hid well by the malt. The large alcohol content is only noticeable on the aftertaste, and is not offensive or overpowering.

Mouthfeel is heavy and a little sticky. Not bad.

Overall, this is a very solid beer. Everything works together very well. I didn't expect anything less from Stone, and hope that this gets re-released.

12-22-2011 02:47:03 | More by bszern
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,397 ratings.