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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: 12.8%
Wants: 55
Gots: 139 | 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:  Recent | Likes | 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 olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Densely malted, absurdly hopped, and alcoholicly intimidating. Stone's got me just where they want me: in the fetal position and begging for more!

Deep and dark black, just a shade away from black, this beast pours with a viscous plop into the oversized wine glass and even exudes creaminess and density even to the eye. Medium tan foam rises with a thick coat but settles into an espresso-like creme across the surface. Initially lacing very well, the weight of the beer and its high alcohol seem to prohibit lacing after the carbonation subsides a bit.

Aromatic malt leads the way with a dense scent of whoppers candies, malty milk shakes, vanilla and cream. These all play an underpinning role to the chocolate, coffee, and roasty aromas. Hard to believe but all that is dwarfed by the immensity of citrus, pine, and resiny hop aromas.

All those malty rich aromas manifest in flavor as well. Dense milk shake-like maltiness offer a strong glimpse of espresso coffees, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa, and charred woods. Again, after the early malt influence, a building hop flavor begins citrusy with grapefruit and orange pith, but then grow into sharp grasses and pine, before resting on a dry charr bitterness that accompany the bitterness of roasted grains very well. Somewhat metallic and salty, the beer has a very flavorful spread of dark malts and hops with savory threads.

Very rich, creamy, and volumnous for an IPA of any color, pushing what many consider Imperial Stout territoroy. Because of the hop bitterness and sharpness, the malts are downplayed into a less desne mouthfeel than it probably is. Very dry, very warm, and slightly astringent and harsh, this Black IPA struggles to make the hop dryness and crispness shine over all that malty texture.

Delicous and resiny throughout, this is a very schizophrenic beer. Is it a Stout, is it an IPA? Like the Sublimely Self Righteous Ale or 11th Anniversary Ale but with heightened hop and malt character, this is one intriguing animal!

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color ale with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of deep roasted malt notes with lightly sweet undertones and some dominant bitter and loads of piney hops. Taste is a very nice mix between some smooth roasted malt with light lactose notes and some dry notes with some huge piney notes on top. Boyd is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed and probably my favourite example of the style.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3 finger dark tan head with lots of lacing and some retention on a jet black body with a subtle hint of light getting through. lots of caramel and roasted malt aroma, fairly sweet with some coffee and hop hints. Flavor is excellent. I was worried from the smell that it would be too sweet but it was perfect. the roasted malt lingers nicely without too bad of an aftertaste. The hop bitterness is very pronunced for a black IPA. Drinkability is borderline but good enough. Moderate carbonation and full bodied. A very balanced roasted and hopped beer.

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

black as night with a light colored head that rose up about an inch and a half before settling down into a nice broken crown that stayed throughout the session. The aroma was very bright, lots of citrus here, orange and tangerine mostly and a wonderfully bright lemon like aroma that rose up, not at all what you would have expected from something that looked so fark. Nice medium body with a smooth and mellow carbonation and a lightness to it that again was outside what I was expecting. Smooth flavor, clean, crisp, loaded with bitter citrus hops. Lots of grapefruit and pineapple here. Such a tight and very hoppy big IPA.

Photo of womencantsail
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Knapp85
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was poured at the Tavern on Liberty St. during their Stone Tap Takeover. The beer comes out solid black with a nice sticky brown head that laced the glass really well. The smell of the beer is bold and hoppy. The taste of the beer is big and citrusy with a delicate chocolate coffee like balance to it. The mouthfeel of the beer has a really nice thickness, a bit oily and creamy. Overall it s a really good brew. Stone strikes again with another winner.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

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

Well for number #3000 I had to go with this,its worthy of such a lofty number.Poured into my Stone imperial nonic a jet black with a blooming mocha colored head that becomes a substantial frothy mass after leaving a few broken globs of lace as it kinda, sorta settled.Big resiny and herbal hops overtop of a dryer bitter chocolate base,a tinge of sweet boozy alcohol comes into play as it warms.Herbal hops really stand out on the palate along with unsweetened chocolate and light roast,there is a "meaty" element to the beer that I cant quite pinpoint.Full and creamy feel it glides down nicely.For my money this is the best Stone Anniversary beer that I have had,its as complex as all get out,hell of a job here.

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black body with sheets of lace coating the tulip glass. Excellent head retention, lasts for the entire glass, and with each pour there's a nice reverse cascade effect.

Citric hop notes meld seamlessly with a smooth dark roast malt and chocolate layer.

Similar flavors, bitter piney hops with a slightly sweet citrus edge, up against smooth, rich roasted malt character. Lots of bittersweet chocolate, and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with little hint of the double digit abv. My second bomber in as many days...

Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass.

Grabbed a bottle of his favorite style to share with a friend a few nights before his bachelor party. The festivities beginning real early, son. It pours a dark, ruby-tinted black-brown topped by a healthy bit of dirty tan foam. The nose comprises grapefruit zest, roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, orange peel, pine sap, and sharp mint. The taste doesn't really deviate too far from this plan of action, though the hops are definitely the dominant force here, with the roastier aspects forced behind them. The body is a sleek medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a more-than-solid black ale, though the spicily citrus hops don't completely meld with the darker aspects, rather the two camps constantly duke it out. This struggle doesn't torpedo things, though, a testament to the beer's strength.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a thick, dark, dark brown color with a two-finger, light brown head of long-lasting foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, grapefruit and strong pine notes. There was a burnt toast maltiness.

T - Good chocolate flavors with some burnt molasses. Very spicy with pine, citrus and grapefruit bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a sneaky alcohol presence.

O - Wow! This is another anniversary ale from Stone that needs to become a permanent brew. Best black ale, yet.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone 15th Anniversary

So what can be said about this one? First off, it's Stone, so it's going to be balanced with a nice bit of malt to it, some alcohol, a rock solid bitterness, and a lot of hops in both the flavor and the aroma. It's an easy read. And it's not like it's the first hoppy dark beer they've done, so the only real question is what will the hops be like? Noting that it's an "Escondidian" Imperial Black IPA, that's kind of answered already as well... they've got to be Pacific Northwest hops, and a bit citrusy and piney (at least that's how I remember San Diego!). You can smell them in the nose, and they're brightly citrusy with a lot of pineapple and pine, as well as some grapefruit rind. In the flavor, however, there's more fruit... Amarillo? It's nice and juicy, and it's a nice balance really. And they're bright enough to ride over the coffee and chocolate roastiness. In fact, all of the components kind of stand out on their own, including the alcohol which is a bit of a problem. The alcohol, however, is its only fault as I see it, and a minimal one at that given the style. Well worth trying / might be worth seeking out.

Photo of Jason
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber, vintage date on bottle.

LOOK: Black as can be, thick brown head.

SMELL: Booze, dark chocolate, dank hop resin, dark fruit, burnt bread, orange zest.

TASTE: Roasty, dry toasted bread, hop bitterness, tobacco, earthy, smoky ash, brown bread, booze.

A solid brew, hits all the right buttons for what it is supposed to be. A bit too much alcohol and the hops seem to cloud ... Meaning the flavors don't mesh as well as I thought the would have.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap 10/28/2011 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts with flavors of dark fruit, citrus, coffee and chocolate. Then a strong floral hops bitterness comes in followed by a hearty roasted malt character creating a very good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet and hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very nice beer with good complexity making it worth drinking for an entire evening.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black pours like used motor oil, keeps all light from passing through. Head is a nice thicket of moccha tan head. Fine speckled lacing forms as the head dwindles. Aroma has a citrus leaf hop smell along with dark roasted malts mixed with anise black licorice. Flavor has a roasted malt flavor with green citrus hop tones and a bit of pine. Dark roasted malts have some licorice anise like tones about them. Tastes more like a hoppy stout than any type of IPA and I guess I can add an imperial stout at 10.8% abv I bet this is because they fucked up so bad on the Belgo Russian Imperial Stout. A bit of hot booze comes in the back end of each sip making it a slow sipper for myself, the dark roasted malts with bittering hops don't hurt things but it's really not the smoothest beer around either.

Photo of nickfl
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours with one finger of medium-brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head fades slowly and leaves a thin layer of lace on the glass.

S - Lots of pungent hops up front, fruity and floral with a distinct pine note that blends nicely with the caramel and dark bread malt character.

T - Bitterness hits first, both from hops and malt, with some dark caramel and a hint of chocolate. Pine and grapefruit come out in the middle along with more dark sugar. It finishes with a dark, baker's chocolate note and more pine hops as well as a strong, but smooth bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Damn, and I though Sublimely Self Righteous was a nice black IPA! The malt is much darker than in most other examples I have had with a distinct dark chocolate note that dominates the finish. I am particularly impressed by the way that the hop character manages to stay bright and pungent rather than blending in with the dark malt. This is a masterpiece and it proves, to me at least, that this is something worthy of being considered a distinct style of its own.

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, but doesn't really mesh with the style that well. Seems a bit thick on the character for a black ale; almost porter like. Has some nice hop characeristics, but doesn't really bring all that I would hope it would. Especially for an anniversary ale. Nice beer. An "okay" black ale.

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

Photo of russpowell
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was thrilled to find this "across the border" on Missouri!

Pours black with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Tons of sticky lacing, great head retention`

S: Intense pineyness, grassy notes, smokey notes once warm

T: Follows the nose, some hints of of carob, dates & grapefruit up front, a touch of wet charred grain as well. Much pineyness, intense grapefruit, sharp herbal bitterness as well with a touch of smokey wet grain, along with , some booze bite & minty hops as well. Finishes with boozey grainyness, much pineyness

MF: Chewy, slick, very warming, a touch too much booze burn & not perfect balance

Much to love here, a real intense Black IPA. Thrilled to see a "new release" from Stone in my backyard. Keep'em coming please!

Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours black with two fingers of thick tan head. Decent retention and good lacing.

Smell: Fresh grassy hops are the dominant smell with some roast and dark chocolate in the background. Some citrus in there as well.

Taste: Bitter hops are present throughout the whole sip. Roast creeps up on you, but doesn't clash too much with the hops. A bit sweet, but not too much considering the abv. Bitter finish but not a ton of alcohol. A bit peppery in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the thicker side with very smooth carbonation. The finish is mildly dry.

Overall: One of my favorite American Black Ales. Way too easy to drink given the abv. I would have it again.

Photo of MasterSki
3.4/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Jason - thanks man! Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - A finger of tan foam settles to a partial cap, leaving behind spotty lace and a thick collar. A dark brown body reveals no transparency.

S - Pine, grapefruit, black malt, dark chocolate, and caramel. The hops give off a little bit of that cheesy stale hop aroma that I get from aged hoppy beers, but this was only bottled in August - weird.

T - Taste is unfortunately much less enjoyable. There's a blend of astringency, chalk, char, black malts, bitter grapefruit rinds, and pine. The bitterness is oppressive and fatiguing, and more sweetness is needed for balance. I'm alright with palate-bruising beers, but there needs to be a reward equal to the punishment, and this isn't the case here.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, extremely dry finish, and tons of resinous hop oils that linger well into the aftertaste. There's some light alcohol warmth, but nothing out-of-place for a 10.8% beer. The feel is by far my favorite element of this brew.

D - I'm starting to really dislike this style, particularly efforts like this one that mix my least favorite elements of IPAs and stouts yielding excessively bitter beers that evoke such delicious flavors as char, aspirin, and unripe grapefruits. While these types of flavors have their place, they just aren't very appealing on their own.

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