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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

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

1,409 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,409
Reviews: 713
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 55
Gots: 140 | 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: 1,409 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of THEOPTIMATOR88
3.1/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From notes, 08/30/11

Pours jet black with a large, light brown head and moderate retention. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts and earthy hops. Mouthfeel is thick like an imperial stout, not an easy drink. Taste is mostly charred, roasted notes followed by hint of chocolate and coffee. Earthy, resinous hops finish it off. Pretty boozy, and I don't consider myself too sensitive to that kind of quality. I really like Sublimely Self-Righteous but I was not a big fan of this one. I'm admittedly not a big Black IPA drinker but I have had ones that I thought balanced the flavors better (Deschutes' Hop in the Dark in particular). I thought there was too much stout and not enough hop presence. A good beer, but not one I'd be likely to buy again.

THEOPTIMATOR88, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of stakem
3.13/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to wishuwerebeer for the share. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. This brew appears black in color with a rich frothy cap of brown that is 2 fingers strong.  A thick wall of webby lacing completely covers the glassware everywhere it touches.

The smell of this brew initially is fruity with hops, some citrus and a bit of veggie to earthy aspect. A little bit pine included as well as a catty aspect across the back. Roasty grain becomes more bold across the back with a hint of alcohol as the brew warms.

The taste is bold with a roasty bitterness of the grain that immediately gives way to a hoppy bitterness that is oily and includes catty and veggie hop flavoring. Alcohol has a hint of fruit like pear or cantaloupe and a warmth down the back of the throat. The taste of this brew really clashes for me and seems a bit dirty.

This is a medium bodied brew, somewhat smooth in the feel with a creamy texture and modest level of carbonation. It is quite bold and roasty but the flavor and aroma really clashes for me. Pear/cantaloupe meets bitter roasted grain and catty/veggies is just so strange. I wanted to like this brew but had a really hard time finishing my glass. If black ipas are your thing, you might love this but there are better offerings for the style.

stakem, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of jsled
3.15/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

P: 4/5. Perfectly opaque black, good tan head, well supported with lacing.

A: 4/5. luxurious hops. some citrus, but a piney, resiny wonderfulness. no real perceived alcohol.

F: 6/10. sweet, roasty, alcohol. roast finishes in an astringent twang. unpleasant balance on the back of the tongue.

M: 2/5. not overly coating, but much residual bitterness, and no residual sweetness to balance.

O: 6/10. Not quite what I'd like in a BIPA.

jsled, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of hwwty4
3.15/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured a double deuce into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a oily black with a massive 4 inch head that never really dies down. Tons of lacing covers the inside of the glass. The aroma really is of a super piney DIPA. Just a bit of grapefruit pith mixed with a hint of roasty coffee and bitter chocolate. the flavor is much the same. Tones of piney hops. Followed up with more piney hops and a bit of lemon and grapefruit pith. Just a bit of medicinal bitterness at the tail of the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is dry with just a oilyness that adds a strange component to the mouthfeel. Almost like a bit of butter is coating your mouth. Interesting but not necessarily in a good way. Overall, I think the jury is still out. There are some thongs that I like about it but some things I really don't.

hwwty4, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of beertunes
3.15/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in tulip glass. Poured a solid black, no translucence at all, with an inch of strong black head that excellent retention and lacing.

The aroma was all nice hops, mostly floral, with a just barely noticeable malt profile. The flavors were unique, to say the least. There was a noticeable chocolate presence, and the hops did not combine well with the chocolate, with plenty of tangy hops. The beer had a weird metallic finish.

The body was medium and averagely decent. Drinkability suffered from the weird combination of flavors. Overall, a decent, but very odd, beer. As a note, with the last 1/4 of the glass, I had the bartender add a few drops of Creme de Menthe to the beer. This helped the beer a lot, really helped tie the flavors together.

beertunes, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of Beaver13
3.18/5  rDev -24.6%
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.

Beaver13, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 pt 6 fl oz. brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a three finger head of beautiful tan colour, wonderful cream and thickness, and excellent retention considering the high ABV. Colour is a solid black. Extremely appealing.

Sm: Bittering hops aplenty alongside cream and caramel. Interesting, but nothing special. Aroma is moderate in strength.

T: Some light floral notes and heavy bittering hops slam into dark caramel, light coffee, and cream like oncoming traffic. The balance is rather off, with most of the flavour contained in the latter half. The bitterness is too pronounced, to the point of being unwelcome, and even ruining the finish. Alcohol comes through, and there's a weak sauce chocolate note right on the end. It's complex but imbalanced, and overall is badly built for the style. That said, it does have some nice patches.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but too thick. The cream is lopsided and strange. It's also sharp on the finish. Doesn't suit the flavours of the body at all.

Dr: This is a strangely built beer for the style that isn't successful at meshing dark notes with an overload of IPA inspired bittering hops. The price is high, even in California. The ABV is pronounced. It's only worth trying for huge fans of Stone and/or the style.

kojevergas, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of spicelab
3.2/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber thanks to Adam@Platinum Liquor.

Tarry black with a large dense mocha head. Leaves a nicely raised ring but little additional lacing. Reforms to half a finger or so on swirling.

Initial hit of resinous pine, before the hops are swamped by sweet cocoa, booze-soaked raisins, tobacco, liquorice, coffee and barleywine-like treacle notes. Slightly sickly actually - I'd like a lot more hops.

Thankfully less cloying. Burnt coffee, liquorice, molasses and both sweet and bitter dark chocolate, backed by a moderate piney and minty bitterness. Occasionally get bizarre notes of scorched vegemite and ashy soy sauce.

Thick and viscous with a bit much carbonation. Not a big bitter presence and booze is impressively well hidden.

Generally full-frontal onslaught that leaves little to the imagination. Seems a bit gratuitous though - restraint in any number of areas would have made for a better beer. Have doubts that my bottle was in the best condition though - a re-review might be in order.

spicelab, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of rarbring
3.2/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is very dark, black, a good brown head leaving some lacing and having good curtains.

The smell is very intense, dates, grass, herbs, flowers, a perfume character.

Starting with sweet brown bread, dark dried fruits, then loads of fruity and bitter hops. Tropical fruits, grape-fruit peel.

Light carbonation, soft, sticky and oily, a huge body and a very dry finish.

Actually I found the hops a bit too much and clashing with the sweetness.

rarbring, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of Chuck_IPA_Mathus
3.25/5  rDev -23%

Chuck_IPA_Mathus, Oct 15, 2014
Photo of wowbagger
3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was very excited to get my hands on a bottle of this, and very kindly shared it with a few others.

Pours black as sin and has a sweet hoppy smell as expected. Beautiful thick head but it doesn't last long. I'd describe the flavor as unrelenting. Harshly hopped and stays on the palate for quite a while with some coffee hints.

Overall, this and IPA's in general really aren't my style. It's certainly worth a try and drinkable but the third of a bottle I had was enough for me.

wowbagger, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of Japple
3.25/5  rDev -23%

Japple, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of jarrgal
3.25/5  rDev -23%

jarrgal, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of tuka
3.25/5  rDev -23%

tuka, May 12, 2012
Photo of Charliechu
3.25/5  rDev -23%

Charliechu, Jan 20, 2014
Photo of phishbone23
3.25/5  rDev -23%

phishbone23, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of kmatlack
3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a small 6oz stone tasting glass.

A- Pours a dark black with a quarter inch mocha head. Looks to be a little on the thick side. Head disappears into small spots of bubbles on the surface. Attractive.

S- Smells hoppy, roasty, almost like licorice. A little boozy but smells very fresh.

T- Taste is sweet on the tongue, but properly balanced with the hop bitterness. Its fresh, roasty, boozy, bitter, citrusy, a little more black licorice, more booze.

M- A little thick for my liking, maybe that is in part to the abundance of non fermentable specialty grains in the beer. Gets thinner as the beer warms, i like it better warmer...

O- A good beer, I dont know if i would seek this out again though. Im a huge Stone fan but i really think Deschutes did it better with Hop in the Dark. There doesnt need to be this much alcohol in the beer, though im interested in trying this beer in a year. If its anything like the 14th Anniv. it should be a completely different beer, but still good.

kmatlack, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of Rau71
3.25/5  rDev -23%

Rau71, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of Philousa
3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with about 1/4" dark brown head and good lacing. Earthy, citrus hops in the nose, followed by bitter malt, and a hint of caramel. Taste is chocolatey, smokey malt up front, followed by earthy, bitter hops. Bitterness feels more alcoholic with time, in the nose. Mouthfeel is middling, good carbonation for a dark, high ABV beer, but taste is a bit fleeting. Clean, crisp taste up front with lingering bitterness.

Don't know how I feel about this beer. The nose says IPA, but the taste is bitter RIS, which kinda turns me off. If the malt was more sweet, I would be a much bigger fan. I think a little balance is in order here. Then again, this is the same brewery that tries to kill your palate with bitterness, so what else should I expect? Good experiment, not something I'd drink often.

Philousa, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of PicoPapa
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Pours a dark black, viscous color with a 1/2 inch of light brown head. Some lacing. Big whiff of hops. Some chocolate, earthiness, and maybe a bit of smoke and even meat. Taste has more of that meaty taste with piney hop flavor. Onions too. Hints of chocolate. Some smoke flavor. Bitter near the end with a chocolate aftertaste. Pretty thick beer. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. It definitely has a good amount of hop flavor to it but the meat and onions taste paired with some chocolate is odd. Overall, its decent but this one time may be enough for me.

PicoPapa, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 6 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Marked August 2011.

Appearance - Black body. Medium brown head with good retention and good stick.

Smell - Tons of wet grassy hop. Olives and soy sauce. Pungent.

Taste - Peppery. Acidic. Tons of hop. Almost fishy. Enormous lime peel bitterness in the body, finish, and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - This facet dominates the profile. Very solvent and acidic. So bitter i can't tell if it's medium bodied, though I suspect it. Head offers some creaminess.

Overall Drinkability - This is one of the most in-your-face beers I've had since Ruination. This beer is no joke.

ZenAgnostic, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of pmlondrigan
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ok, I don't usually like this style but I'm gonna try. Basically the appearance of this beer is it's best part. Black, two finger mocha head, nice looking. It smells like someone accidentally dumped way to many hops into a porter. Piney, pithy and roasty a combo I don't think works well. Not to mention it just isn't a complex aroma. The taste is similar, roasty, nutty, piney and dark. Again I keep trying to see how these are suppose to go together, but they just don't. Its thick like a porter, is it supposed to be? I can't even begin to detect the alcohol, is that good, probably given it's strength? I'm confused, and tired of beers that are a bunch of different things they shouldn't be. Usually I'm cool with experimenting but I think this beer was the straw that broke the camel's back. Black IPA, Black Saison, what is next Black Black Ale?

pmlondrigan, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of ShanePB
3.3/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle shared with a friend, poured into two tulip glasses.

A: Deep dark brown body, almost black if it weren't for the obvious brown hues along the top edge but close enough. A light mocha colored head with lots of big bubbles sits atop. Nice retention cap as it never fully dissipates with minor lace.

S: Big hop resin, pine and sap on the forefront. Roasted malts, chocolate, toffee and an earthy tone to it. It seems to have a some bitter coffee bean notes on the back end. What I would expect for the style, sort of intriguing but this dark hoppy profile seems to struggle.

T: A blast of bitter hops with again more of a pine and sap nature wrestle your palate. Caramel and chocolate malts come in mid palate to help take the edge and provide a strange dark profile. It finishes with huge floral, sticky hop resin notes again and even into the linger.

M: Hearty, medium-bodied, and slightly bubbly but not overdone. Actually this is really nice and gives this beer a nice boost overall for being really creamy.

Let's be honest, every time I have a Black IPA I feel the beer has an identity crisis. The bitter earthy hop notes just don't match up well to a dark roasted profile. I can't help but think there was a reason this wasn't done a lot before. At any rate, this might be the first attempt at the style that I didn't completely hate; however, after about 8-10 oz of this I was finished. It burned me out, became very confusing and just turned me off in the end.

ShanePB, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of emmasdad
3.3/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a glass of this one on tap yesterday afternoon at Hops & Pie (what a great place, but I digress). Having lived for a few years in less than beautiful Downtown Escondido, CA, the name of this one failed to get me too excited. Poured a dark brown/black color with a little-ish brown head. Aromas of anise, pine and black malt. On the palate, this one was full bodied, and bitter, with anise, pine and roasted malt.

emmasdad, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of Stunner97
3.3/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark black with small amount of bubbles to be seen streaming the glass, brown foamy heady quickly fades to very thin lacing, appearance looks identical to stout,

Smell- roasted nose, mostly hops and bitterness on the nose, smells of regular ipa

Taste- this beer really kinda falls flat on the up front and the mid palate and then follows through with firm bitter hoppiness, flavor is mostly just hops but overall some what bland, just kinda lacks that wow factor

mouthfeel- surprisingly light and soft,

Drinkability/ overall- to me though this beer wasn't bad i definitely thought it was far from great, about the best part of the beer is that the alcohol is very well hidden for the high gravity, but overall to me though this beer came through as a bland one dimensional over hopped beer that truly was just not that exciting, it manages to be okay but really nothing to me beyond that

Stunner97, Oct 31, 2011
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,409 ratings.