15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA - Stone Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 1,397 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
3.5/5 rDev -17.1%
Served on tap in a snifter at the Stone Tap Takeover at Acre.
Appearance: The appearance of every Stone beer shows their care and devotion to the craft. Black in color with brown edges and a tan cap, this big American Black Ale retains remarkably well for the ABV and leaves some nice lace down the glass.
Smell: The aroma is dark roasted malt, coffee, soy sauce, and some piney hops with a touch of ethyl alcohol.
Taste: Unfortunately, the taste cannot shed the soy sauce aroma that I got in the nose. Roast coffee and malt go well together with some light sweetness, with a mostly pine hop bill at the end. The salty soy sauce flavor just throws this off too much to give it a good score though. The booze is there the whole time, but it manifests itself in its purest form at the end of the sip.
Mouthfeel: Moderately creamy and smooth, with a good amount of carbonation. Fuller than medium bodied, with an ABV that warms the throat and stomach. Not too sticky or resiny, although both sensations are there.
Overall: Not the best I have had. Where that soy sauce flavor came from, I don't know, but it really distracts from what would otherwise be a pretty good beer.
08-22-2011 21:23:55 | More by KickInTheChalice
3.8/5 rDev -10%
Poured from a 22 oz. etched bomber into a tulip glass. Pours jet black even in the light and shows half an inch of mocha foam. Decent retention and light lacing follow.
Nose is rich with muddled earthy hops and a notable though light roast and dark chocolate presence. Cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar add complexity to a heavy bodied nose. Touch of alcohol drifts by here and there.
Taste is smooth and creamy, rich and with dark fruit and chocolate on the palate. Roast notes on the aroma don't reveal themselves here. A bit of dark chocolate bitterness tries to wend its way through the stout like body but just doesn't make it to the finish line, surrendering instead to the sweet malt body of cherried chocolate. Mouthfeel as a result doesn't resemble an IPA too well, Escondidian or otherwise.
In the end you may have your Escondidian IPA, or perhaps a Cascadian IPA or some future 'ian' IPA. But alas it's such a waste of hops, if they're actually there, to bury them behind the heavy handed and manipulative dark malts.
So, what makes an IPA? For I would not call this one, Black, Belgian or otherwise. A yummy brew, best perhaps enjoyed with chocolate cake, but an IPA??
08-22-2011 04:56:18 | More by HalfFull
3.85/5 rDev -8.8%
I've not had a black IPA before. With that said...
Poured dark black out of the bottle with sticky brown lace. Great head retention.
Smelled of pine resin and hops, lots of hops. Maybe some sort of chocolate on the nose, as well as coffee and roasted malt.
Tastes sweet and hoppy at once, but fairly well-balance. Also some roasted malt and coffee flavors, with lots of hop bitterness on the finish.
Mouthfeel wasn't what I expected, thick and viscous. But as I said, I've never had an black IPA before. Maybe this is something I should get used to.
08-22-2011 03:54:49 | More by felipe2toes
4.08/5 rDev -3.3%
A: Poured a rich, deep, opaque black in color with a half inch of thick, creamy tan head. Tons of lacing as you drink. On the pour, carbonation levels seem good, if a bit on the low side. If anything, that will help drinkability.
S: Tons of hops on the nose; lots of pine and maybe a hint of citrus. The backbone of this one is clearly the burnt, roasted malt character which brings notes of molasses, coffee and maybe some dark fruit.
T: Taste follows the nose pretty well. Hop-dominant on the front end with the roasted notes peaking through towards the middle and quickly subsiding back into a dry, bitter hop finish. There are notes of dark chocolate and a bit of coffee hiding in the roast. As with all Stone brews, the pine hops really burst out on the tongue, almost overwhelmingly. Unlike a traditional IPA, this one packs a lot of roast, much like a porter. Perhaps a bit simplistic in the flavor department, what is there is solid. The alcohol is masked quite nicely.
M: Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, this one turns to cream as it hits the tongue and goes down smooth and easy. Really enjoyed the feeling of this one on the tongue as it packs a good amount of substance without becoming heavy.
O: Stone never disappoints, and this one is no exception. However, I found this to be a bit on the acidic side and I've never been a huge fan of the pine-hop variety. Drinkability here is obviously not high, but I can't see why anyone would want to drink more than one of these. Definitely worth a try, and it's sure to please the Stone-faithful, but I would probably wouldn't seek this one out again.
08-22-2011 03:33:17 | More by kflorence
4.35/5 rDev +3.1%
22oz bottle served in a snifter.
bottled august 2011.
pours a dark cola brown, sits an opaque black; yields a 1" frothy tan head that demonstrates great retention and leaves respectable lacing.
nose offers some citric hoppiness - a touch of pine - with subtle roasty notes... maybe a hint of chocolate.
taste follows and exceeds the nose. flavorful and tasty with citrus (notably grapefruit), pine, roasted malts, and secondary notes of chocolate and even a hint of smoke. alcohol presence noted but not overpowering considering the north of 10% ABV... medium bodied in the mouth with average carbonation.
overall a damn impressive beer. thoroughly enjoying this one.
08-22-2011 03:10:09 | More by perrymarcus
4.25/5 rDev +0.7%
Black as night, though there may have been an smidgeon of a dark brown edge when held up to the light. Thick mocha cap of fine bubbles, clumpy sheets of lacing. I expected the aroma to be citrusy, and I wasn't disappointed - grapefruit pith was dominent at first, but gave way to some malty chocolate character as it warmed. Notes of cocoa and pine resin, alcohol and herbal hops, plus roasted malts, all floated in and out of focus. Big bittersweet chocolate flavour, more citrusy grapefruit and tangerine, peppery alcohol, bready and roasted malts. Full bodied with a silky texture, carbonation was a bit creamy. Mild warmth and astringency. Overall, quite enjoyable. It's a big beer packing a lot of flavour and I thought the brewers at Stone did a good job getting everything to work together.
08-21-2011 21:09:30 | More by DrJay
4.33/5 rDev +2.6%
22oz bottle into a giant mug
Pours with a frothy brown head, thick and dark like a porter, totally opaque. Small amount of active carbonation visible around the edges. Smells grapefruity, citrus florals. Fair amount of booze.
Taste is overwhelming. Very bitter, chocolatey, black liquorice, lots of that grapefruit rind flavor. Darkly roasted malts. Alcohol. This is strange to me, but strangely appealing. I don't know a lot of "American Black Ales" to compare this against.
Mouthfeel is thick, chalky, heavy, sticky, chewy. It's a mouthful. Overall, this is pretty good. More like a heavily hopped stout than a dark IPA.
08-21-2011 20:31:21 | More by snaotheus
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
a: poured into Stone IRS glass. big 3 finger head. tan colored.. body is black.. couldnt get any light coming through.. wow, this looks like stone irs but the smell is so off..
s: ripe pink grapefruit with sugar coating.. citrus peels, minty pine needles.. small booziness.. couldnt detect any malts..
t: upfront is roasty, chocolatey malts.. along with some heat from the alcohol.. as it goes back you get the bitterness! aggressive citrus peel bitterness along with sticky pine.. almost like biting on a lemon peel. very resiny, like taking the last hit of weed.. you know, the ones where it shits on you (with ash).. finish is a combo of burnt malts, coffee like bitterness, teamed up with very bitter citrus rinds.. booze lingers..
mf: thick mouthfeel.. does have that chewy element.. right amount of carbonation.. any less or more & it would ruin it for me.. lots of warmth from the alcohol..
o: wow, this is a big beer! and it lets you know.. another great job by Stone!
08-21-2011 09:04:18 | More by aval89
4.03/5 rDev -4.5%
deeeep black with a huge light mocha head that sticks around a while and laces in chunks.
lots of pine a bit of grapefruit, not much in terms of roasted dark aromas, though.
a bit of roasted malts are interlaced with an abundance of piney hops and some grapefruit and bitter hops that you would expect in a Stone brew. a bit of a tobacco leaf/menthol flavor.
medium bodied with a carbonation that fills the mouth with tiny prickles.
I actually like the Sublimely Self Righteous more. Its a very decent brew, but the hops overpower the roasted malts. I love my hops, though, so I do thoroughly enjoy this beer.
08-21-2011 07:01:28 | More by silentjay
4.1/5 rDev -2.8%
Surprisingly, this is a rather different beer than SSR/11, and even more surprisingly, I prefer this beer. That said, I bet it goes downhill fast, so drink it fresh. Anyway, on to the review...
A: The beer is wall to wall black with a thick and creamy light brown head. Even after ten minutes or so, there's still a mocha foam cover on the black liquid and bubbles cling all over the sides of my glass.
S: I'm getting pineapple, tangerines and grapefruit rind up front. It's more sweetly citric than Stone's normal hop profile probably due to large amounts of Citra. Lurking beneath the hops, there's a foundation of fudge with touches of roast and smoke. On the downside, there's also a little paint thinner and booze at the edges, but it wouldn't be a Stone beer without some rough edges.
T: The taste has a lot of sweetness followed up by a good bitter bite. It starts out with fudgy chocolate cake mixed with pineapple-citric hop oil. Some roast and smoke chimes in, filling out the malt flavor, and it ends with mild smoke and hop bitterness. The bitterness is strong but fairly smooth. However, there's some more booze pushing through, as well. It's an undercooked chocolate rum cake with tangerine pith icing. Very fun to drink.
M: It's creamy and smooth even as it smolders with pleasant bitterness and unpleasant booze. To be fair, it's getting away with some harshness by throwing in a whole bunch of lovely dry-hop delicacy.
O: It's tasty stuff. Of course, I would kill to have this beer as a low hop, English-style stout, but even as a general detractor of Black IPAs, I'm still thoroughly enjoying this beer. I'm beginning to suspect that I'm a sucker for Citra. Whatever the cause of my enjoyment, I'm a fan.
08-21-2011 04:48:48 | More by popery
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
Stone is one of my favorite breweries, and I'm happy to make my first review on this website of their 15th anniversary beer - which celebrates Stone's ability to numb and overwhelm my senses like nothing else! Poured into a pint glass from a bomber.
Appearance: Dark as oil slick, and with a beautiful brown-reddish head that makes this look like an equally intimidating and welcoming ale.
Smell: Smokey malts, strong hops and a delicious aroma that resembles coffee, extra dark chocolate and vanilla beans with spices. The smell is extremely strong, and not for the faint of heart. It must be difficult to balance ales like these, so I'm looking forward to the flavor.
Taste: It's like the roasted malts and extra hops are at a civil war with each other! Where to start with this? Roasted bready notes with citrus tones in compliment, juicy flavors resembling dark, dried fruits, and a maltiness so thick that is coated in sweetness due to the alcohol. I have no idea how to further describe this beer - it's a mind warp beyond belief.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and super easy to drink. The alcohol definitely burns and warms the back of the throat. It's an extraordinarily well balanced beer considering the mashup of roasted malts and bitter hops, and is one that requires respect and sipping all night long.
Overall: Stone proves again that they know how to celebrate their birthday! I cellered another bottle of this and am looking forward to opening it later this year. It's a very intense beer, but for huge fans of stouts and IPAs like myself, it's a dream come true. I really wish this was a year-round release, as it's amazing.
NYE extra note: Opened up a near 5-month old bottle of this - while the hops pretty much recede during cellaring, it immediately has the aroma and flavor of a barleywine. It is more sweetened as a result, far more alcoholic, and filled with honey aromas. I absolutely recommend that others age this if they are interested.
08-21-2011 02:47:57 | More by magictacosinus
4.33/5 rDev +2.6%
I believe I'm on record stating that I'm not much of a fan of Black IPAs but this one is different. This isn't anything that is going to convert me to the style but it is easily the best I have ever had.
On first pour there is just massive hop aroma, before even trying to smell the beer, while I was still pouring it into a glass I just got massive hop scent. The beer pours a pretty pitch black. The head is super frothy and has great retention. The beer is awfully sweet, about what you would expect from a 10.8% beer, but the sweetness never over powers the hops. They live in harmony.
I dig this beer. It's no 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout but it is a damn fine beer.
08-20-2011 23:57:00 | More by aknight
4.83/5 rDev +14.5%
Wow, what a great new offering from Stone. I never buy into "new style" hype and, as this beer is a play on the Black IPA debate, was unsure what to expect. I was, however, very pleased to find that this takes elements from what I love about a great imperial stout (roasty-toasty goodness coupled with rich mouthfeel) and combines it with what I love about a great DIPA (incredible resin and pine in the nose with well-rounded, strong citrus in the mouth).
It pour jet black, tastes like an impy stout up-front, yet somehow manages to smell and finish like a DIPA. I drank my bomber mighty fast and methinks I need to score a few more.
Solid offering from Stone, and the best beer from them in some time. Also, the cartoon artwork on some bottles is pretty hilarious too!
08-20-2011 22:11:27 | More by SFGuy187
3.7/5 rDev -12.3%
A: The beer pours almost black in color with two fingers of tan head that has great retention and lacing.
S: Smells like a classic hoppy Stone beer. Tons of grapefruit peel and pine with some intense herbal and woody hop notes. There is a fair amount of roast to it. A hint of fruit on the finish.
T: The roast flavor is a bit more powerful than I expected. There is a touch of chocolate followed by lots of grapefruit and a little bit of pineapple. Herbal and piney hops on the back end with a lot of bitterness.
M: The body is quite full with a medium carbonation with a lingering bitterness.
O: Not as good as Stone 11 or SoCal Hop Salute, but not bad. A bit boozy as it warms in the glass.
08-20-2011 18:40:29 | More by womencantsail
4.2/5 rDev -0.5%
A: Pours dark brown with a reddish copper hint. Light brown head pours with a generous amount of cake batter head (typical stone protein). If it ever disappears Ill make a note about the lacing... Retention is fantastic.
Eventually this shows good lacing. Head retention is Duvel status
S: Smells interesting... Chocolate and hop pollen jump out first, but there are some underlying notes of orange peel, lime, pepper, and there is a kind of aroma which reminds me of salinity as well.
T: Milk chocolate (think Ovaltine), Black pepper (and lavender?!), Orange pith and rind, Lime pith, molasses, and pine needles finish it up. Sweet start and a bitter finish works for me! Typically I find this style a misnomer usually belonging in the Russian Imperial Stout category. This isn't very far from a RIS but it does separate its self with spicy and fruity notes. Lastly Ill mention that the 10.8% ABV is well incorporated into its flavors, not hidden parse but well received.
M: Very well done in this department. Its got a velvet fizz thing happening.
O: Pretty darn good beer. Not quite up there with the ranks of Uinta Dubhe IBIPA (In my not so humble opinion the very best of style) but its pretty darn good and one of the better more inventive beers I have tried within the style. Also per usual its only $5.95 for a bomber which makes for a retarded like value.
08-20-2011 09:47:44 | More by flannelman808
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
This bad boy pours out a opaque black that you cannot see through at all. Serious black hole here. It has a light brown head that leaves some nice lace on the glass.
The smell is a bbq, smokey aroma tempered with great citrus and piney hops. It also smells of brown sugar and caramel with a touch of some tropical fruit notes as well. Very complex, very enticing.
The roasted malt and coffee flagvors hit you upfront with a nice sweet malt flavor in the middle and a super nice resiny hop finish. This has a lot goin on for it and a hint of alcohol warmth at the end let you know its here to pack a punch.
What can I say about this 15th Anniversary offering from Stone. I didn't have one single complaint about it. Creamy body on it, easily quaffable. The best qualities of a stout and the best qualities of an IPA combined to make something great.
08-20-2011 08:22:46 | More by snpub540
4.03/5 rDev -4.5%
A: Pours pitch black with a creamy, light brown head. Massive blanket lacing that dissipates very slowly. Looks like a heavy stout.
S: Refried beans with well-cooked barbecue and hickory, with a nice big hop river running through the smell. Really unusual and well put together.
T: Dark beef jerkey and hickory keep a slightly chocolate sweetend mellow tone with hops dancing on top. You get the mega hoppy IPA world but a lot of the flavor is dominated by stout-esque tastes.
M: Heavy bodied with creamy carbonation, but some hop aromatics that spread throughout the mouth. Mostly a stoutish mouthfeel.
O: This is interesting, different, and honestly quite good. I have enjoyed drinking this and would enjoy drinking it again, though I don't know if I'd bother shelling out the money for another bottle (not that it's expensive). Worth a shot if you can get this.
08-20-2011 05:29:54 | More by Klym
4.13/5 rDev -2.1%
Dark black in color. No light getting through this one. Looks like a stout with nice tan foam atop. The smell strikes a unique balance of twangy citrus hops and chocolatey malts. The high alcohol seems well hidden in the aroma, though smell it long enough and the fumes begin to add up.
The first part of the sip yields a piney, spicy hoppiness that gives way to the semi-sweet chocolate and lighly roasty malts toward the finish. The giant bitterness is slow to creep in after the finish, but then lingers nicely. The alcohol is again well disguised, though I can certainly feel it after finishing a glass. High marks for the mouthfeel on this beer, as it is silky smooth. It's not too heavy, nor syrupy, just perfect with an appropriate amount of carbonation.
Overall I am pleased with this beer, though it didn't amaze me. It has the right characteristics for an excellent stout, and it's also a real hop monster, but together it didn't add up to the same greatness as the 11th Anniversary beer. Perhaps we now know the limit of how much roasty malt can go into one of these Black IPA's before it's really just a hoppy Imperial Stout. The one thing I am curious about is whether this could age nicely, but I'm leaning toward no. It's already very drinkable considering the the strength, and once the hops fade it will probably start to taste a bit odd. I think I will drink my other bottle soon...
08-20-2011 05:17:20 | More by bennetj17
4.43/5 rDev +5%
Let me open this review by saying, happy birthday Stone! I remember that first Arrogant Bastard punching me in the mouth back in college, and you've been challenging my palate ever since.
Stone 15 comes in a typically badass bottle with a celebratory ripped gargoyle threatening all who think they're worthy of this beer. It pours dark black with a lovely burnt chocolate head. Looks like a stout, but don't be fooled, the Escondidians don't let the drinker off that easy.
The hops tingle the nose from the very first whiff, and that's when you know, you're in for a special night. The aroma blossoms with mild floral alongside creamy malt that had behind the wall of hops. The flavor lays on thick on the palate like a chocolate stout, yet quickly opens up to a vibrant hoppy dream. Creamy chocolate notes are cut in my bitter tangy hop flavor in order to create a truly challenging flavor. The beer has that wonderful chew of a thick stout, yet doesn't rest too heavily.
Thanks again Stone, here's to the next 15 years.
08-20-2011 04:58:04 | More by ManuelHerrera
4.03/5 rDev -4.5%
Poured into a Bruery tulip.
A - Beautiful appearance. Deep espresso colors and a three finger head with great retention.
S - Chocolate, piney, citrus, mocha. Smells fantastic. It's like a bipolar nose on this. You looks at a RIS, and you think chocolate and coffee, but the hops are just a great surprise.
T - Piney and resin straight up and then rich chocolate and coffee notes.
M - medium carbonation, silky, smooth, milky.
O - Great blending of two great styles. I usually think of Black IPAs/Cascadian/blah blah as fairly gimmicky, but I really enjoyed this one.
08-20-2011 04:17:53 | More by teamizm
4.43/5 rDev +5%
22 poured into Tulip.
Pours a very deep black, much darker then I thought it would be. Light tan 2 finger head that lasts quite awhile. Smell is nothing what I expected from the look, hops hops hops, citrus, pine, burnt roast, coffee. Taste mirrors the smell, lots of layers to this beer. Yep the taste is pretty spot on with the smell grapefruit and other citrus comes forward more on the taste. I can tell the alcohol is defenitly there but its not offensivly high at all, fits perfect. The mouthfeel is thicker then a IIPA but less then an Impy stout. By the looks of it you would expect a chewy beer but the carbonation smooths it out, with a taste and bitterness that lingers long after each sip. Loving this beer, I wouldn't mind if this replaced SSR in their regular rotation and I love that beer. Its SSR on the juice benching 520lbs for reps.
08-20-2011 03:46:02 | More by BdubleEdubleRUN
4.7/5 rDev +11.4%
A- Pours very dark black almost cant see through it into my snifter. body is just as black and has a 1 finger light broen head with moderate retention. not too much lacing left on the glass after a swirl.
S- Beautiful citrus hops like grapefruit and orange zest are accompanied by roasty malts. Nice BIG scent comming from this somewhat COLD beer. cant wait to smell it warm....
T- nice citrus upfront that will satisfy any hop head. grapefruit and citrus dominate all around with a nice dark malt roast comming up behind. Like David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, this is the best of both worlds. almost a pineapple hop taste like a galaxy hop. as far as ABA or BIPA's, this is a diverse taste.
M- medium mouthfeel that feels thicker than it seems. nice feel. great amount of carbonation that isnt too descriptive, but it is what is...
O- This is awesome.. Like any hoppy beer, get it while its fesh. Top notch ABA or BIPA whatever the fugg you want to call it.. But it, drink it enjoy it because this is almost flawless.
Thank you Stone.
08-20-2011 02:26:43 | More by Gushue3
4.38/5 rDev +3.8%
A: Pours a nice jet black color with a nice 2 inch chocolate brown head.
S: Nose is pretty epic with notes burnt chocolate, earth, pine and espresso.
T/M: Pretty blown away by the taste to be honest. Completely blows sublimely self righteous out of the water. Flavors of burnt espresso, chalk, pine cones, sauted mushrooms and baking chocolate. Super well balanced mouthfeel with a pleasant chalkiness.
O: Really impressed with this beer overall, very roasty flavors and great body and texture. Highly recommended.
08-20-2011 01:34:29 | More by nbree00
4.05/5 rDev -4%
A-Pours shiny coal black with an inch of foamy mocha colored head. The head retention on this beer is crazy. Takes forever to recede, leaving plenty of chunky rings of lacing down the glass.
S-Intense simcoe hop aroma. Intensely piny and resinous.
T/M-Roasty with a soft, thick mouthfeel. If you were to pour a glass of Sublimely Self Righteous into a glass of Stone IRS it might be a little like this. The body is more in line with what I'd expect from an imperial stout, but with sticky, piny hops. What I especially appreciate about this is the mouthfeel. Starts out velvety soft and dries out as it approaches the finish. The back end is piny and dry. Moderate carbonation.
O-Stone is on a roll with their Anniversary series. Loved the 14th, and this one is great too. Get this while it's nice and fresh.
08-20-2011 01:24:22 | More by DaveHS
4.85/5 rDev +14.9%
22oz bottle purchased from Best Damn Beer Shop in San Diego.
Two of my favorite styles are Double IPA and Imperial Stout. Stone's newest anniversary beer seems to me to be the perfect blend of these two epic styles.
A - Jet black body with a creamy brownish head. Good head retention for this big of a beer. Looks absolutely stunning and delicious...I can't wait to try this out!
S - Wow. The nose on this is intense! Hop overload in an awesome way. The Citra and Nelson hops really stand out to me with citrus, pine, roasted malts, cocoa. Excellent stuff here.
T - It tastes like your stereotypical massive triple IPA from the west coas with the bitterness of the hops blowing my taste buds out of my mouth...but then there's balance as the chocolate and coffee notes start to shine. Solid, solid work here Stone.
M - Mouthfeel is really creamy with a medium amount of carbonation.
O - In my opinion this is the best tasting Stone anniversary beer I've had. Very good all around beer, plus positive points for blending my favorite two styles together and more positive points for creating a truly unique beer.
08-20-2011 01:10:49 | More by sdderek
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,397 ratings.