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

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,373 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1373
Reviews: 711
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%

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
Ratings: 1,373 | Reviews: 711 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of SGplayer84


4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at Bangers and Lace in Chicago in a 9oz Sniffer. Last week of 8/11

A-Black IPA, very dark. Looks like a stout save has a little more chocolate looking head to it. Very Opaque.

S-Smells Hoppy/pinecombs, grapfruits, with a tad bit of Coffee to the nose, interesting, let's continue...

T-Explosion of Hops, big American aroma hops with a nice roasty coffee taste towards the end. Hits like 5-6 sensations in my head. Wonderful, wonderful wonderful.

M-The body isn't quite stout like(not big or thick) but its not light like an APA. Its right where a double/imperial IPA needs to be body wise. Which is very interesting considering its like 10.4%.
O-Solid brew. It's almost like a double version of the Sublimely Self-Righteous ale. I am really crossing my fingers on them keeping this one around, but I doubt it. I know that the bombers from stone are very reasonably priced, but i would pay $2-$3 extra to have this one year round. Solid Brew and should be the benchmark for all ICDAs/DBIPAS in the future. I would love to have the recipe to recreate this(if I can...) Do try as its amazing.

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2011 03:09:19 | More by SGplayer84
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-12-2011 21:31:48 | More by emmasdad
Photo of rudzud


4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Armsby Abbey's Stone Night. Reviewed from notes

A - Poured into a standard pint glass a wonderous midnight black that had a one finger mocha head resulting in massive, massive side lacing. Excepetional.

S - A bit lower here than I'd like. Still nice roasted malts and chocolate with a light hop profile.

T - Wow. Big big big. Great roast malts, chocolate, rich coffee to start. This gives way to a nice piney hop bitterness. Wow, this stuff is delicious.

M - Very smooth and creamy, good carbonation for this style.

O - This is a great imperial black ale. Such great rich chocolate and coffee with a nice balanced hop profile.

Serving type: on-tap

09-12-2011 19:22:22 | More by rudzud
Photo of Swim424


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

Got this on tap at 100 proof/ liquor loft in tallahassee. It was poured into a stella chalice.
I am reviewing this from memory.

A-poured a deep dark black. At first I thought this was a stout I was about to drink. Nice head. It was dark at the bar but appeared to have a brownish tint to the head. But very nice looking.

S-Very nice. Smells of hops. maybe some coffee there. very much like an ipa as well as a stout. Definitly some fruits but dont recall exactly. But got me very excited to take a sip.

T-Damn. tasted of some coffee and roasted malt. as well as some slight fruityness to it. finishes with a very well balanced hop kick. I love my hops and this was pretty good. Not a ton. But again well balanced. Dont remeber much else, except that it was incredible.

MF- very smooth. slight creamyness to it. very pleasant. Good aftertaste.

O-basically this ranks in my top 5 or 10 best. I very much enjoyed this. As soon as I left i went over to the liquor store they have and bought a bomber of it as well. This is an incredible beer and one of my favorites at this point.

Serving type: on-tap

09-12-2011 08:14:48 | More by Swim424
Photo of dbmernin83


4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Serving type: on-tap

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


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

Pours a nice black color with a khaki colored head that settles to a thin cap. Very solid lacing left on the glass.

Aroma is hop forward and almost sweet from the tropical fruit and pine. Basically, every flavor you can get from hops is here.

Not super bitter in the taste but a nicebalance between the intense hop flavor and a bit of roast and dark fruit coming through in the after taste.

Light bodied and moderately, but nicely, carbonated. Sticky and resinous finish like a hop bomb should be.

This is like SSR on steroids and tastes fantastic.

Serving type: on-tap

09-10-2011 21:54:14 | More by mullenite
Photo of Slatetank


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

I enjoyed this on tap at the Brewhouse Grille Stone/TRÖEGS tap takeover, served chilled in a pint.

A pitch black stout-like look with opaque clarity and medium beige cap w/ fine bead. The lace clings in rings. The smell has a huge hop aroma which is enhanced by simcoe scent which is slightly pine and has a mango tropical note with some mild citrus elements. The nose is mellow with grassy and has mild herbal sweet floral round scents w/ practically no malt aroma w/ just slight sweet element. The feel is incredible with the viscosity giving the impression of light body since it is so dry with a very resinous lush oily hoppy all joy on the palate. The juicy texture with ultra dry malt body w/ no roast the way I like a black IPA with lush green smooth body without any astringency.

The taste of wonderful hop flavors greet the palate w/ juicy and mildly bitter taste which is pineapple/mango w/ a splash of grapefruit . The taste is outstanding since the black malt flavor is absent , maybe a whisper of malt in the overall taste w/ slight toasted tinge and light fruity accent of sweetness to join the mellow pine elements w/ simcoe obviously giving a lush herbal/tropical contribution and the cattiness is mellow w/ slight wild coarse earthy accent that is huge and the taste of full w/ phenomenal taste w/ semidry juicy bitter finish - this is possibly the best of the style that I have had. Overall this was fantastic on tap showing Stone is true to the love of hops and a master of black IPA's they deserve to rename it according to their locale. This nails it or hits it out of the park whatever cliche you choose will fit. I loved it a great example of the Imperial Black ale style

Serving type: on-tap

09-10-2011 18:42:21 | More by Slatetank
Photo of sweemzander


4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into an imperial pint. Thanks for sharing Chris!

(A)- Pours pitch black. Produced a solid cap of tan froth. Good retention and lace.

(S)- A fairly potent "green" piney hop profile. Bits of raisin and cocoa behind that. Subtle roasted elements.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A big piney hop barrage with bits of roasty malts and a chalky cocoa.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. massively hoppy, but it does have a good malt backbone to back it up. Hides the ABV very well.

(D)- Definitely a step up from Sublimely in a good way. Surprisingly crisp despite its apparent strength.

Serving type: growler

09-10-2011 16:34:01 | More by sweemzander
Photo of orangesol


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

Served on-tap at the Brewhouse Grille during the Troegs / Stone Total Tap Takeover.

A - Pours nearly pitch black with a nice two finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the entire glass.

S - Smells of rich dark roasted chocolate malt, molasses sweetness, bright citric hops, tropical fruits, and some light pine needles.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roasted chocolate malt slowly giving way to a mix of pungent citric hops, light hints of tropical fruits; most notably grapefruit; pine, molasses, and the faintest hint of booze. The finish is a mix of hop bitterness and dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. The feel has lots of hop bitterness and dark roast, lingering for some time after consumption.

O - Not too bad. The mix of dark roast and hops was fairly well balanced and it tasted pretty good. I have never been the biggest fan of Black IPA's but Stone really knows how to make them the right way.

Serving type: on-tap

09-09-2011 22:47:52 | More by orangesol


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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2011 18:27:47 | More by THEOPTIMATOR88
Photo of CampusCrew


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

appearance: pitch black with some good head rentention and lacing

smell: big citus, smells like a strong IPA

taste: very complex and comlicated beer. which makes it interesting. It's drinks like an IPA on the front, citrus, grapefruit, and a stout on the back, bitter and coffee flavors.

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: superb.... a new fav of mine

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2011 14:00:04 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of FanofHefe


3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a snifter. Deep, black body with a two-finger mocha head. Good retention on the head and streaky lacing. Looks foreboding.

The aroma is very hop-centric up front. Herbal and pine notes combine with a little roasted malt and coffee.

The flavor follows the aroma well with a nice hoppy flavor of pine to start with and the darker malt flavors following. The hops must have some good portion of Summit in the mix as there is a slight onion aftertaste. A little sweetness comes into play mostly along the lines of dark chocolate.

Lighter than expected mouthfeel, closer to an IPA than a porter or stout. Interesting and good brew overall.

Serving type: on-tap

09-07-2011 23:20:13 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of paulromeroii


4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stopped by last weekend at Killarney's in Riverside Ca for some lunch. I started out the afternoon with a Racer 5 but had my meal with the Stone 15th Anniversary Ale and I must say, this is one of the most exciting beers I've had so far this year.

It was served in a New Belgium Globe Glass which I was kinda upset about but it got the job done.

Poured very dark like motor oil with a dark brown head.

Smelled of Pine, coffee, and chocolate.

Taste was amazing! Hoppy up front, but finishes like a Stout. At 10.80% ABV its very drinkable.

It went very well with the Adult Grilled Cheese and the side of Curry Fries I had. I would love to see this on nitro.

Serving type: on-tap

09-07-2011 12:26:46 | More by paulromeroii
Photo of Cheesemoose


4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on draft at Kickbacks Gastropub.

As black as a good Imperial Stout. Good mild mocha head. Solid 2 fingers of head with a solid retention through each sip.

Hoppy, resiny, syrupy nose. Incredible amount of hops on this one, but still "black" due to the heavy amount of malt presence. Solid malt backbone with chocolate and dark fruit notes. An alcohol note that is rather noticeable, a big difference between the bottle version.

Hoppy front, mild hop body, and a big resurgence of hop in the back. The black ale part comes mainly in the body on this one. Reminds me of taking the bitter end of a banana and dipping it in chocolate. Very bitter and rather astringent at times.

Rather resiny, a bit syrupy and overall a bit clinging. Enjoyable, but in stride. Carbonation is a bit high.

Overall, a big, impressive Black IPA, but perhaps a bit too extreme.

Serving type: on-tap

09-07-2011 04:33:53 | More by Cheesemoose
Photo of morebeergood


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

My wife and I stopped at Coda in the Back Bay after dinner on Sunday night. I saw they were offering this on tap, so I ordered one. Served in a 10 oz stemmed glass for $8. Kinda steep, but I wanted to try it. When it was presented to me, it looked like a cappuccino from Starbucks. Dark black color with a huge creamy head of caramel colored foam. It had a thick look to it, almost like a parfait. Man, it looked good. Smell was a bit smoky, and roasted like coffee beans. Taste was pretty amazing also. Very hoppy at first, but it really played off well with all the chocolate and espresso flavors from the malt. Hopped like an IPA, but rich in flavor like a porter. Mouthfeel was both thick like a stout, but smooth like an ale as you swallow. This is a great beer from Stone, and if the price was a bit better elsewhere, I'd order it again.

Serving type: on-tap

09-07-2011 03:12:04 | More by morebeergood
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

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

On tap at Collins Pub in Seattle.

A: 3/8" mocha coloured head over black liquid.

S: Floral hops and pine hops.

T: Floral hops up front with a toasted malt finish.

M: Thick viscosity with a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: A solid American Black Ale that has a strong floral hop profile.

Serving type: on-tap

09-06-2011 06:12:51 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of mdaschaf


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

Had on tap at the Pickled Pig Pub

A: Served in a goblet, the beer was dark in color, pretty much black, with a very nice tan head on top. The head was very tight foam, great retention, with sparse lacing left behind.

S: Wow, amazingly hoppy on the aroma. If I was given this beer blind (and didn't see its color), I certainly would have guessed it either a strong IPA or a DIPA. Lots of grapefruit, pine, and pine resin. Very faint amount of roast going on, the hops dominate the aroma.

T: Roastier than the aroma led on, but still very hoppy. Lots of pine and resin, and to a much lesser extent citrus. This is mixed with some milk chocolate.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation, but it is rather creamy for style. Finishes bitter.

O: Pretty good for style, one of the better ones I have had. The mouthfeel on this one makes it better compared to most, which usually seem a bit thin. Fantastic aroma as well.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2011 13:06:44 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of BrewtifulMind


3.63/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Bottle Room, Whittier, CA

This brew pours a pitch black color, looks exactly like spent motor oil. Has an inch of brown head, good retention, and decent lacing. It has more of a hoppy scent to it than i had expected, also smells of roasted coffee beans, and heavy on the malts. This one tasted pretty chocolaty and coffee-like, not very much hops in the flavor, although it smelled of them. Pretty thick mouthfeel, just like i would expect motor oil to feel. Overall, this was a decent brew, but not one I would go out of my way to get again.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2011 21:04:15 | More by BrewtifulMind
Photo of TheGordianKnot


3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 10oz snifter...

A- Very stoutlike in appearance. Black with an inch of thick, dense, creamy, khaki colored head.

S- Incredibly balanced aroma, surprising from Stone. Quite a bit of everything from the hops- fruit, earthy, spice, grass, and a hefty dosing of pine. A bit of roast and pumpernickle bread from the malt to balance.

T/M- Not as over the top as everyone keeps saying. Slight roast to begin, with a smooth transition into dirty, earthy, piney hops. Ends with a little caramel and very boozy. Medium body, slick feel; well carbonated but it stays oily and doesn't get too bubbly.

O- Decent, not great. Definitely nothing like Devil Dancer as suggested on the forums. Nice balance compared to some others I've had from Stone *cough- I'm looking at you SSR-cough*

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2011 05:35:07 | More by TheGordianKnot
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2011 04:16:39 | More by beertunes
Photo of scottyshades


4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler from Greenville Beer Exchange

A: Pours and looks like a stout...opaque pitch black color with a beautiful dark brown head. Retention is awesome

S: Wow...seriously was not expecting this. Super west coast hop profile- resinous and piney, but really bright and fresh. All this accompanied by chocolatey malt. Really impressive considering that I am not a huge black IPA guy

T: Again, big time west coast bitterness, resin, and pine. Real big. Slightly bready and chocolatey as well. I like the balance. Why so much alcohol though??? It really cuts into the flavor and drinkability- a big flaw in an otherwise worldclass beer

MF/O: pretty rough on the palate but honestly I don't mind. Strong resinous and bitter finish-palate wrecker

Notes: honestly, I thought these ratings would be a little inflated, considering I'm not a big fan of black IPAs, but this sets the benchmark for the style. Very impressive

Serving type: growler

09-03-2011 01:48:16 | More by scottyshades
Photo of Merkur


4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured, fittingly enough, into a Stone 15th Anniv snifter.

Beer pours an extremely dark black with a good amount of brown head (about a fingers worth) that persists throughout. Great amount of lacing throughout. Looks almost exactly like an Imperial Stout.

The beer smells very much of pine and hops, but also slightly roasty.

The beer tastes very hoppy initially, followed by a nice mellow bitterness with a taste of cocoa. Finsih is suprisingly smooth, especially after such a blast on the front end.

Very nice beer. High quality.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2011 00:38:04 | More by Merkur
Photo of Cavery


4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on CASK @ schmidy's Tavern for a Beer School/Homebrew club event. I had a great time and met a lot of great homebrewers, seriously I was so impressed. Big shout out to all those Coachella Valley Homebrewers in attendance.

Review from written notes last night

poured into 15th Anniversary glass.

A: Octopus ink in a glass with some slightly brown bubbly foam. Head is a pretty fine microfiber top that goes into lighter browns. A dauntingly black void body, deep and dark enough to fall into. This thing does look like a BA stout. A solid Two finger foam head.

S: Thick greenery with some lighter florals. Hearty deep veggie notes that really put this nose deep in the garden. A bit of aged citrus rind comes through in light lemony and grapefruit notes. A nice background of kale and crisp stewed celery. A very filling nose.

T: Tons of veggies and crunchy hops that gives into a deep liquid syrup of bitter bakers chocolates. The chocolate notes are complex in that they taste like a blend of bitter chocolates and carob chips. Some really amazing bitter flavors that play off each other between the hops and savory chocolates. Coffee bitters in the back to add just another level of great bitterness.

M: This is so velvety smooth. It's like one of those perfect warm sauces on a dessert. Feels of warmed evaporated milk with buttery imperfections adding some texture. It's so bizarre to get such a feel given the flavor profile. What was simply veggies and hops in the nose has becomes creamed veggies in the flavor. Incredible mouth, big ups to the cask on this one.

O: Cask certainly can be hit or miss, but this was truly sensational. The mouth feel on this thing really put the whole thing over the top for me. The layers of bitter savory from hops, chocolates, veggies, and later coffees made this a deep thinking brew. I don't smoke, but this was like having a fine cigar of a beer. A great way to cap the night off. Big cheers to Schmidy's in Palm Desert for making this cask happen.

Serving type: cask

09-01-2011 18:40:30 | More by Cavery
Photo of jmfc8237


5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the pickled pig in Rehoboth beach. Thanks 2.0 for getting your hands on this one! Poured jet black in my shifter with a mocha tan two finger head and really nice head retention and colorful lacing. Aromas are enormously huge filled with vibrant citrusy hops and earthy cocoa. The bitterness is awesome and reins true to a west coast ipa as well as a almost creepy stoutlike mouthfeel. Not overly alcoholic like one would expect from it's abc and finishes with a great chocolate and smoked malt finish followed by intense hops. I really enjoyed this and thank you stone for staying true to your roots.

Serving type: on-tap

09-01-2011 17:18:32 | More by jmfc8237
Photo of readbaron


2.95/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served at Acre's stone tap takeover

Pours black with large tan head that laces up nicely and sticks around for a while.

Whew. I'm not sure what happened on the nose - smell is not to my liking. I get soy sauce and fermented broccoli. Blech. As I get used to it I can tell that it's a combination of piney hops mixed with roasty malts. The combo ends up pungent and not so tasty.

Tastes better than it smells. Very hoppy, with lots of roasty malts. Bitter and boozy with some of that unusual soy sauce flavor coming through.

Mouthfeel is quite nice - creamy and smooth. Medium bodied, and a bit sticky.

Overall, the nose just kills this one for me.

Serving type: on-tap

08-31-2011 18:41:16 | More by readbaron
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.