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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
93
outstanding

713 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 713
Hads: 1,420
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 59
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:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 08-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Alström Bros
Reviews: 713 | Hads: 1,420
Photo of TheBrewo
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We pour a brew of the deepest ruby sheen, with highlights of dark browns. It holds a one and a half finger head of medium brown bubbles, and shows great retention. As it departs we are left with sheets of thick lacing. Carbonation is medium with the bubbles rising slowly, and no sediment is noted. The aroma boasts bright hops which are earthy and very organic seeming. We also detect cinnamon, dragon fruit, tart red apples, and strawberry preserves. There is also a light hint of raw ginger root. The malts are toasty and dark. With warmth comes booze and strong bubblegum esters. As we sip, the flavoring begins with robust citric hops. Those tropical fruits come in, riding on some more soapy hops. There is a sweetness of fusel booze, along with crisp and roasty malts. Raw coffee bean adds an additional dryness, and brings us to the middle where the malts are richer, charred, and salty. They battle more hops, which are now earthy, as they were in the nose. The fruit also remains, and helps provide a sweeter base for the esters to play against. We end with sugary sweetness, booze, organic hops and earthiness, and metallic malty roast. The aftertaste is bittered from the coffee and citric hop inclusions, with a heavy fusel booze to bind it all together. The body is medium to full and the carbonation is medium, but soft. There is great froth and slurp and creaminess, but the beer stills feels satisfyingly sticky. There is ultimate cooling and a twang of dryness. The abv is getting up there, but the beer has phenomenal drinkability.

Overall, what we found to be the best aspect of this beer was the crazy aroma and feel. The tropical fruit was totally unexpected, with beautiful hops and malts. The fruit and spice were seemingly unconventional for the style, but made for a unique twist and a really wonderful brew. At times the flavoring approached the upper limits of tolerance for booziness, but this beer is really over the top in almost every single way. (1,979 characters)

Photo of iBeer16
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass.

A: pours extremely dark, can't see through at all. Pours with a 2" dark mocha head. Leaves nice lacing.

S: smell is very intruiging. Very hoppy but also strong sweet malty smell.

T: extmely malty, sweet and toasty malts. In addition as expected fairly hoppy but a great balance between hops and malts!

M: flavor combination of sweet malts and bitter hops make this a great beer to enjoy.

Overall, this beer is incredible. The mix between the bitterness from the hops and the sweetness from the malts makes this a fantastic black ipa. Strongly recommend to anyone looking for a quality black ipa! (629 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep brown, with a couple fingers of dark mocha head. This retains with a tight finger, leaving back a big frothy cascade of foam that settles down into a sticky latticework of lacing that clings to the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of fresh grapefruit and pine accents, with both definitely having some vibrant power to them. Notes of roast and sweet chocolate come in off the sides, while that big ABV adds a bit of heady warmth to the nose. Those American hops really control this though.

The taste starts with strong grapefruit bitterness and pine that cut across the tongue, with that initial blast being buffered by a thick mix of chocolate sweetness and a touch of tangier feeling caramel. A wall of burnt roast pulls up the back of this before the hops regains their strength in the finish with bitter fruit, resins, and spicy alcohol sticking to the tongue with a stiff dryness, while even the roast gets in on the act as well with an intense charred feel that leaves an impression. The mouthfeel is full bodied in the mouth and has some sharpness on the tongue that pops those notes of hops and roast. The rest of the feel has more of a smooth creaminess to it that helps fill out the corners of the mouth. That near 11% ABV isn’t ridiculous feeling but like the nose, does give this a certain amount of beefiness and intensifies those already aggressive flavors.

While this certainly had some big ole’ balls on it, it ultimately came as more of a hefty and hoppy American Stout to me, as those roasted malts and chocolate sweetness had about as big of a presence here as the hops did. Even with this not quite being quite up to snuff style-wise for me and much like all of these Stone Anniversary beers, it’s always at least worth trying. (1,809 characters)

Photo of syrupjoe
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into pint glass.

Pours a pitch amber color (deep brown/black with slight amber tints around edges) with a one finger sand colored head.

Nose is woody, roasty, and slightly cocoa-y. Hints of smoked meat and vanilla.

Taste is roasty, savory like burnt meat, and has intense hop and cocoa bitterness.

Moderate carbonation with a clean but intensely bitter finish and bitter hop aftertaste.

Overall a good beer. Alcohol is almost completely concealed and hops are nicely balanced with dark roasted malts. Not super easy drinking but I enjoyed it. (560 characters)

Photo of bszern
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (718 characters)

Photo of crowsoup
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darkness is not the opposite of light, it's the absence of light. It's night time right now, but I speculate that if one wanted, they could pour this "Black IPA" in a glass, hold it up to the sky, and stare directly at the sun with nary a negative effect on ones vision.

There's a certain maltiness that serves as an upfront mask to the underlying hops here. A complex hit of dark fruit sweetness balanced by bitter, dark chocolate notes to the left and right. The body and flavors mask the alcohol well, but as the beer warms in the glass the booze elbows its way to the nose.

There's a complexity here that I believe might possibly get more and more mysterious as time passes. Sadly I was more thirsty than curious and killed it way too fast. But not fast enough to forget it. Seems to me that I'll be back at the corner store tomorrow picking up another bottle or two to study. (883 characters)

Photo of ElGordo
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have to say first off that the nomenclature of this beer is unacceptable. The style is a Cascadian Dark Ale, not a black IPA, but that fight is for another day and for other parties to sort out.

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a snifter. Body is a deep dark brown, nearly black, topped by a finger or two of dark tan head. Aroma of roasted dark malt with some lactic sweetness, along with a good dose of citrusy hops that impart notes of grapefruit and grass.

Palate is big,rich, and a bit sweet for the style. Roasted malt with notes of lactose and cocoa. The hops come through on the swallow, with some grassy notes peeking through the huge malt backbone. Finish is full and sweet, with more lactose lingering alongside the dark roasty quality.

Body is big, full, and creamy, understandably heavy given the strength. The creaminess holds the flavor very well. I think, though, that the huge level of malt in this beer is a bit much for the hops to compete with, which leaves this beer closer to imperial stout territory more than any sort of hoppy style. (1,066 characters)

Photo of sevenarts
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Just a beautiful beer. Really dark, with a nice big cappuccino head that subsides to thick, resilient lacing.

S: Very strong aromas of floral hops, alcohol, and malty chocolate/coffee, all mingling together.

T/M: The hops hit up front and are quickly joined by slightly burnt, toasted malt flavors, some mild fruitiness, and hints of warming alcohol in the aftertaste. Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

O: A strong, tasty, intense black IPA that hits hard but doesn't sacrifice complexity. (486 characters)

Photo of Crundy
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours black with dark brown caramelly colors around the edges, mocha colored head

S: Chocolate, dark roasted malt, distinct hop aroma and an earthiness

T: Strong dark roasted malt, quite sweet and bitter at the same time, dark fruit

M: dry yet smooth, very think and sticky, medium bodied

O: very complicated beer, lots of flavors and the alcohol is masked well. I like this beer, its a great special occasion beer but I would not drink this regularly. (459 characters)

Photo of kaseydad
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a coal black ale with a nice foamy light brown head. Cool looking. The aroma has baking chocolate, coffee, slight soy, raisins, roasted malts, oak and some smoke. Getting some whiffs of Chinese food too. A lot going on here. The taste is very hoppy. More dark chocolate and coffee beans in the flavor. Big and malty. There is also a some citrus peeking through in the background and more noticeably on the swallow and aftertaste. Getting grapefruit and orange peel. Slight burn in the throat on the swallow. Overall I really enjoyed this brew. A nice sipper that catches up with the drinker very quickly....though at 10.8% it can be consumed by one very easily. Good stuff. (679 characters)

Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a stemless red wine glass at 46 degrees

Appearance: 0.5 inch tan/mocha head, nice and bubbly, great lacing and good retention. It's black, but light still gets through, good example of a black IPA

Smell: Piney and citrusey, with hints of vanilla, prunes and other dark fruits followed by the cascade hops. The smell is very reminiscent of an American barley wine.

Taste: a hint of dark chocolate, with black and roasted malt, the prunes come through a bit followed by a well balanced hop finish, thats complex and very present.

Mouthfeel: Light, silky/velvety. It dances across the palate, certainly not a session beer, but light enough to have a few glasses.

Overall: This is a well done offering from stone. Sometimes I think their beers scream at my taste buds, like their beers don't have any subtle flavors, this beer is the second beer by stone (first is double bastard 2010) that I really truly liked I will definitely have this again, and in fact I want to age one and see how it changes. (1,020 characters)

Photo of Heavenisbeer
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass.

A: Straight up darkness. Beautiful. Gorgeous cappuccino head with wonderful lacing. This is the first 5 I’ve given for appearance.

S: Mocha chocolate anise. Floral hops. Full bodied. Alcohol is evident. Dark fruits, prunes mainly.

T: Milk chocolate, with some underlying dark fruits (again, prunes). Roasted, toasty, bready malts. Darn good.

M: Close to perfection. The 10.8 abv, although punctuated, blends well with the carbonation and the viscosity.

Wowzers. Excellent BIG brew. (509 characters)

Photo of gpogo
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Black. Dark brown sticky head that dissipated to a foam top and left a sparse sticky lacing. Looked rather thick as it poured.

A- Herbal hops instantly hit you. As the beer warmed I noticed more malty influences, some chocolate and caramel. Slight fruitiness as well.

T- Initially a herbal bitterness, but then slightly sweet malt flavor opens up. It is then followed by alcohol and finishes with a slightly bitter roasty chocolate flavor.

M- Full body with low carbonation. Very smooth, almost considered having a cookie with this beer, but the bitterness probably wouldn't go so well with the sweets.

D- Very enjoyable. Drank a bottle slowly over the course of the evening. A very tasty beverage, I may have to purchase another. (737 characters)

Photo of emcohen
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown, almost black with a dark tan, thick head. The head was about two fingers and held up well.

A: Overwhelmingly fresh herbal hop aroma.

T: Roasted nuts and chocolate up front, citrus hops take over as it transitions to a more traditional IPA taste.

M: Light carbonation keeps tingling in the finish. Hop bitterness prevails throughout.

O: I'm usually not a fan of IPAs but I've been coming around on the black IPA style. This is definitely the best one I've had so far. (485 characters)

Photo of eat
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter after warming a while on the counter. Viscous black body topped with a light cover of beige-coloured head. Some lacing.

This was bottled about four months ago so I was expecting a possibly muted hop aroma; Stone must have hopped this to hell because the nose is still exploding with hops. Huge tropical notes with lots of lychee and guava, big caramel underneath with light chocolate and roast. This smells fantastic.

In my experience with Stone balance is not something I'm anticipating but this beer is just about perfectly balanced (I hope it wouldn't offend them for me to say that!). Insane smoothness for the ABV, probably the smoothest alcohol presence I've ever experienced at this percentage (I'd believe this was 6.5%). Lots of grapefruit but not overly bitter like I've found in most other beers from this brewery. Light chocolate, moderate roast and a good level of caramel sweetness to balance it out. I wouldn't really want to change a thing flavour-wise.

The feel is pretty much right on; not too thick or too thin. Right in the middle with medium-light carbonation.

I have to say that this beer is seriously underrated here on BA. As an imperial black IPA this is more or less perfect. I could drink this every day. This is definitely an appropriate beer to offer as an anniversary edition and the first by Stone to leave me totally impressed. (1,389 characters)

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Funny enough, this Imperial Black IPA is jet black and absolutely opaque, even when directly back lit. Big fluffy brown head that falls slowly and has a heavy lace. Heavy hop spice in the nose supported by a range of flavors: burnt sugar, heavy roasted malt, black strap molasses, dark fruit--light cherry and heavy fig, grapefruit, and a dense earthiness. Very excited for the first sip. Wow. Give me a second.

Roasted malt and molasses taste is heavy with burnt note blended with the serious hop bite. Supported by the wonderful nose, it is an amazingly fun beer to drink. 10.8% alcohol is not apparent in the nose or the taste, but the Imperial part of the title is showing through in every other respect. Hop lingers on the tongue and rises in the center of the mouth with the roast for a splendid twang. Dry off the back.

As the beer warms, the alcohol becomes apparent in nose and taste, which has little effect except maybe the hop is more subdued in the nose. Warmed up, the beer exhibits a stronger balance than when cold, so don't be afraid to be busy and drink this one over time. (1,094 characters)

Photo of rowingbrewer
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours to style it is a black ale. There is also amconsiderable tan head produced while pouring. The smell is roasty hoppy and almost a little sweetness and dark chocolate all in one. The flavor is a little sweet and hoppy at the same time. There is definitiel a lot of roasted character and a little dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is a little thick and I would almOst classify this as an American double stout based on the body abv and appearance. The beer is delicious but I don't think this is a black ale (516 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very, very dark brown. Colour is perceptible but it may just be an optical illusion. No illusion about the head which is lovely, dense mocha foam, sunk slowly to a thin film with uneven lace. Looks great.

Smell is hoppy like a mofo, just smells like hop pellets - grass clippings, thyme and taragon on there with lots of citrus and some polished brass. It's all hops, and could use some more dark roasty aroma from the malt. Don't mind it, but it's a bit simplistic.

Taste is better; more of the darker notes. In fact the hops seem almost to be missing here. Nice roasty malt notes, with by-and-by characters of chocolate, star anise, natural licorice and pepper, and then still that big grassy hop note comes through - fresh grass clippings and a touch of pepperberry. Slightly floral but yeah, grass is the big note. It's kind of a sidenote to the majority of the palate though and the flavours don't quite mesh, but it's a bit flavour brew that manages to be enjoyable in spite of its slightly slapdash nature.

A bit sharp and dry on the back, but otherwise smooth and a bit sticky. Not bad.

Seems a little more like a garage home-brewed IBA than something I'd expect from Stone. Seems like the flavour isn't as expertly woven together as previous beers of theirs I've had. (1,288 characters)

Photo of jsprain1
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- It pours very very very dark. Head is thick and cocoa-y brown. Quite a bit of lacing.
S- Aroma is chocolate and a bit of espresso, with a citrus kick.
T- More hoppy than the aroma indicated. The citrus-pine hop combination that Stone implements frequently is here. There is some sweetness to it, with a fairly assertive milk chocolate malt flavor.
M- I'd like a bit more body. The booziness in the finish is far more assertive than I'd like. Quite hot. Carbonation is good.
O- This is a well made big beer, apart from the over aggressive boozy finish. The flavor profile on it is quote pleasant though. It's certainly a sipper and the alcohol and taste fatigue make it hard to get through a whole bomber though. (716 characters)

Photo of 9InchNails
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cloverleaf, Stone Tap Takeover.

Creamy brown head leaving foamy lace on the glass. Nice head retention. I would say opaque but the bar is kind of dark. Definitely a dark body.

The aroma is citrus, pine, caramel and chocolate.

Wow! Sweet right away with bitterness at the end. Pine, citrus, caramel, roasted coffee, dark fruits, some noticeable alcohol, bitter chocolate and a lingering metalic but tasty aftertaste.

Silky smooth medium body, light carbonation, it leaves with a dry feeling from the bitter hops. Feels very nice.

I can see this being a dangerous beer. A sipper but yet something that I can drink a lot of and not get sick of. This is one of my favorite beer styles and to have a Imperial version of it is amazing. Stone has done a fantastic job! I hope they make this a normal rotation of brews. (831 characters)

Photo of devinoconnor
3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours coffee black (without the cream!) with a heaping of frothy brownish foam head. Smell is intense, as is everything with this imperial IPA.

Loads of roasted malts take to your nose, somewhat overpowering. Chocolate comes through, as does the high ABV alcohol.

While I enjoy a beer with character, I think the alcohol overpowers the taste here. Almost like liquor was just thrown in. Notes of oatmeal come through, as does dark chocolate and some citrus from the hops.

Beer grew on my as I drank my 8oz, but overall thought it was just a little too strong. Unnecessarily. (580 characters)

Photo of OleJohnnieAle
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Great looking beer with a solid three plus figners of dense head that leaves lots and lots of lacing. Dark looking beer with brown head.

S - Lots of roasted malts but not too overpowering, some nice sweet grapefruit scents with nice piney hops.

T - The hops hit up fron and are piney with a little bit of citrus, not the burnt taste to may be expecting but some nice subtle chocolate sweet notes. Nice and sweet not to heavy

M - Medium to full bodied as it was a little surupy. Was really smoth and clean though, doesn't feel heavy

O - Really a great beer, Stone has some great beers so if you have not had any... GET THEM!!! (633 characters)

Photo of pburland23
3.41/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a 22 ounce bombed into my Great Divide tulip.

Pours a stout-like opaque dark black with two and half towering fingers of mocha colored head. Moderate head retention and a ridiculous draping of thick, clingy lacing.

Smell is underwhelming. I was expecting a real, quintessential Stone hop bomb. But, the preeminent aroma was more dark candied sugar and sweet malt. At the tale end of the nose, there's a whiff of dank, earthy hops. Wish there had been more.

Taste start off overly sweet and malty. Then, there's a huge wallop of biting hops bitterness in the middle of the sip which slips away to a slight touch of roastiness. The happiness mellowed as the beer warmed, but this one tasted more black ale and less IPA throughout.

Mouthfeel is mildly thick with a healthy dose of carbonation. High ABV but the booze is hidden quite well.

Overall, I'm not impressed. Stone is using spot on but this one misses the mark. The flavored are muddled and the beer suffers from an identity crisis. (1,026 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having a Stone Imperial Black IPA...WOW!!! The beer pours a black/opaque with finger thick tan head that is lacing like a...The smell includes citrus and malty tones. The taste is amazing...and a sipping beer. There is a fresh hop bitter grapefruit zing that is mixed with caramel roast malt. The mouthfeel is a full body with good carbonation. Overall it is a great beer for sipping....sessioning this one would lead to big problems. (434 characters)

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wife picked this up for me last week.

Appearance- black color, thin tan head

Smell- roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, raisins

Taste- chocolate, coffee

Mouthfeel-- full bodied

Drinkability- very good, It's very much like a stout and very enjoyable. (254 characters)

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 713 ratings.