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

Not Rated.
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,409 Ratings
THE BROS
84
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
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Ratings: 1,409 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SFGuy187
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of HeavyD
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of emcohen
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Photo of DTJPPR
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes on 08-28-2011. poured into a Snifter glass.

A - Thick & black like melted chocolate with a deep brown 2.5 finger head. Good retention on the head and nice lacing all the way down.

S - Very hoppy with hints of grapefruit and nectarines.

T - Instant hit of Coffee, Citrus, biscuits and chocolate. Lots of chocolate, especially in the aftertaste, mixed with a bif molasses character that is fan-freaking-tastic. The malts are very very well balanced with the hops, making it malty for an IPA, but a rather perfect blend for this brew. There's a little alcohol heat on the back end but it blends well with the chocolaty flavors in this beer.

M - A bit dry & chalky, but not bad. This beer is pretty thick & viscous for the style. Carbonated as usual from Stone.

O - This is a great brew for the 15th Anniv. of Stone. The chocolate overtones really make this beer different from their other offerings, and it is well balanced with the hops. I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of Smooth-Hoperator
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am drinking a bottle that was brewed in August of 2011 on 10/26/2013.

This is not an IPA to me because all of the hop flavor has long since gone. That's ok though, because this has morphed into a quite tasty imperial stout. So, strangely enough, that's how I will review it.

A - opaque dark black.

S - very sweet, with dark fruit, fig and licorice notes. There is a slight hopiness left to it, but it's faint. It smells like a Russian imperial stout.

T - Very deep flavor. I get a taste of milk chocolate right off the bat with a depth of flavor that develops into figs, and then a flavor of very bitter deep roasted coffee that fades quickly. It's smooth but leaves a taste of booze on the tongue. Overall, very smooth.

M - Great. Heavy and chewy. Great for the style.

O - I can't say what the black IPA would be like had I tried this beer within 6 months of the brewing date. BUT, what I will say is that this is a delicious beer and very well crafted.

Photo of sapvt
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of tfratzke
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with a nice creamy tan head. Excellent lacing and head lingers for quite a while. Smells of roasted malts and some piney hops. Taste is roasted malts with slight bitter finish. This is an excellent imperial black IPA. With as high of alcohol content as it is, it doesn't seem boozy at all. Goes down easy which could be dangerous! Excellent overall.

Photo of byrdman16
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not a beer for the timid! Oh man I like this one. Big piney hops smack you in the face upon opening...this is a good thing in my opinion...pours BLACK as stone. This is the beer that I give my friends that think that they are living on the edge by drinking blue moon. Complete domination! Smells of BIG piney hops with bitterness to back it up. It taste like a Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale on steroids. Give it a shot if you cross paths.

Photo of GreenGoblinCC
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just when you think Stone could not come out with another amazing Anniversary Beer... Stone 15th hits the market. Delicious both in bottle and draft form enough good things cannot be said about this beer. So good that all the draft in the surrounding area was drank up in nearly the opening weekend of its release. I had to travel nearly an hour to find a place who still had it....and it was worth it! Smooth, Rich in flavor, Balanced, and a Great Hop taste. 10.5% Abv you would never guess it. This beer is amazing and recommend it to any IPA lover!

Photo of KevlarBrewing
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of Paniolo
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of VoodooImpStout
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of alumley
1/5  rDev -76.3%

Photo of BullDurham
2.78/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle poured into my DFH signature glass

Appearance: Dark, Black. Looks exactly like a stout. No light even around the edges of the glass. Two finger tan head, sticks to the sides of the glass nicely.

Smell: Not a strong smelling brew, really had to take a nice big whiff to get much. Some piny hops and something burnt. Odd combo.

Taste: Roasted malts, almost burnt taste mixed with pine needles. A Bitter and burnt taste coats the mouth, not pleasant. Alcohol isnt bad seeing that this is almost 11%. Something lightly sweet mid-taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick, almost creamy and sticky.

Overall: Stone I am disappointed! I dont know what to make of this. Trying to be and do too much at once? Would not buy this again, but not sorry that I tried it.

Photo of sneakybird
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thin finger of dense brown foam. Not even a hint of highlighting, no light is penetrating this. Good lacing. Northwestern hops are very evident in a piney, resinous, even spruce tree aroma. Strong, even before the beer has really warmed to a proper drinking temperature, but not at all overpowering. And then, I get just a slight hint of medicinality at the tail end.

The flavor... I don't know; can something be intense and subtle at the same time? I feel like that's the best way to describe this hoppiness. It's very present, right up front and every bit as pine tree as on the nose... but doesn't linger, and gives way to a slight roasted malt background. And there is a hint of alcohol warmth, felt more in the gut than the mouth or throat. Very smooth and medium bodied, on the light side in carbonation.

This is a really fine beer, yet conflicting for me. I tell myself that I have no great love for hops, but I keep subjecting myself to beers like this anyway. This could be the best hoppy beer on the planet, and I'll like it just fine, but still prefer a good bourbon barrel stout or Belgian quad. Maybe that's just a failing scoring beers in general. The beer may be flawless, but I feel weird scoring it five out of five when there are so many others, whole styles, that I would prefer to drink. Is that an argument for or against rating to style?

Photo of RStang13
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of PainkeepBrewing
2.58/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm trying to be nice, but I wonder with a lot of these reviews how much of it is that everyone is a massive Stone fanboys rather than really being objective with the beer.

A - it's black, dark dark black. It looks like a stout, pours fairly thick with very little light brown head, under a finger that fizzled away quickly.

S - alcohol is by far the most predominant smell. A bit of chalk, stout-like roast. Almost no hop aroma.

T - Egh. It was overly boozy, and the taste reminded me of chalk, roast, and a very small amount of hops on the back end. It was dominated by the chalky flavor and the roast though. Not really sure what to think about it being a 'black IPA', I don't doubt it has a lot of hops but they're just completely overwhelmed.

M - it's thicker than I'd like an IPA to be, but in an 11%ish beer I'm not surprised. It was closer to a heavy porter than anything.

O - completely underwhelmed. I had some high hopes but got a boozy, overzealous beer that was more like a mediocre stout than any kind of Black IPA. Really this beer was a huge letdown.

Photo of AdamToomey
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first adventure into the world of Black IPA's and as this review will show, I was not the least bit disappointed.

A - I poured this beer from the bomber into a snifter. As other reviews noted, the beer is pitch black. If I saw someone drinking this I would immediately think they were sipping on an imperial stout. This dark beauty also has an incredibly thick, creamy coffee head that slooowly dissipates with great lacing. I was sipping on this beer for over an hour and the head was still present. Beautiful beer.

S - The nose of this beer is a hop-punch. Pine, citrus and grass like aromas explode out of the glass with the ever so slightest hint of roasted chocolate malts finishing it off. If you have had the Stone IPA, the hop aromas are very similar with an added roasted hint. Overall, a bit confusing but enticing all the same.

T - Man was this beer unique. At first the hops completely dominate the pallet but in a way that makes sense, not simply an overload of bitterness as in their Ruination. The different hops play off each other to create a nice harmonious beverage. What is most surprising about this beer is the way the dark/roasted malts work with the hop presence. The mild chocolate and coffee flavors that are present accompany the hop profile perfectly to create an astonishingly unique beverage. This is one of those beers which you say "wow" after those first few sips. Wow of course being both a "wow" of confusion and a louder "wow" that this confusion works so well. What does get lost, however, is the alcohol. It is completely hidden. At 10.8 percent, be careful or you will forget that it is even there!

M - The mouthfeel is more on par with IPA's and the dark malts do little to elevate the mouthfeel to a chewier, sweeter thickness. Rather, it maintains its crisp and bitter finish. Kind of disappointed. This was the least unique characteristic of the beer.

O - Overall, this beer was an absolute pleasure to drink. I am definitely going to track down a few more bottles of this before it is all gone. In addition, this brew has definitely turned me on to the world of Black IPA's. This was a refreshingly unique brew. I will say, however, that this style is definitely not for everyone. To enjoy, you definitely have to expand your beer tasting horizons beyond tradition. This beer is not exactly a stout, nor is it exactly an IPA. It's simply a hybrid of the two that works and works exceptionally.

Photo of Supadup21
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of EricC
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of kbuff13
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of billybrownsolo
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of WereBot
4/5  rDev -5.2%

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

Pours black. Medium, tan head with a thick, sticky lacing. This beer is beautiful to look at.

Strong roasted smell, chocolate, piney hops.

Tastes like bitter dark chocolate, spicy, very bitter hops. Resiny hops. Roasted up front and in the long, bitter finish. Complex, lots of different flavors coming at you, but perhaps none more than the dark chocolate.

Photo of paytonpowell
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Intensely black with an inch and a half of a frothy mocha head from an aggressive pour that does not slowly diminish but rather hangs about like a root beer float. I noticed an apparent viscosity during the pour of this thick black libation.

S: A thorough blast of aged hops that mellows into a cappuccino like aroma with serious notes of strong black coffee and a mild hinting layer of dark chocolate. There is hardly a trace of alcohol in the nose or urgent pungency of fresh hops.

T: My initial impression was rather torn, as it splits the difference between an Imperial IPA and an Imperial Stout. The first sip brings the tongue the heavy caramelized malts of an Imperial IPA, tiny amounts of hop bitterness alert ones sense of taste of something that never truly arrives: a full Imperial IPA. Instead this initial confusion eases into thick dark chocolate malt and mild coffee like bitterness of a proper stout. This warm rich taste lingers enduringly with pleasant stale citrus like hoppy taste much to my delight. Reminiscent of orange chocolate.

M: Thick!!! Just a slight presence of effervescence remains and the really truly brings this beer into the stout real with a full-bodied heavy mouthfeel thick, sticky and rich.

O: This brew has most effectively descended into the realm of the stouts after a solid year of aging. Almost all hop presence has faded into the background minus a surprisingly stale aged hop aroma. I never thought aging such creation would lead to such a pleasantly drinkable behemoth but it definitely has me intrigued as to what aging similar brews will lead to. Definitely a success in experimentation!

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