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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

1,403 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,403
Reviews: 713
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 54
Gots: 140 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,403 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Hopdaemon39, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Jmamay22
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a jet black thats nearly as imposing as an Imperial stout. The head is a thin mocha cap. Smells of piney hop resin with a hint of caramel sweetness in the background.

The taste is similar to the smell, but with greater complexity. The hops build slowly, muted as the malts provide balance, finally taking over with a sharp hop bite that acts as a resounding finish. It is surely a West Coast styled ale that is intense, but very enjoyable. Not your typical beer, but Stone loves to go its own way. The mouthfeel is medium bodied yet rich. Overall very enjoyable.

Jmamay22, Nov 05, 2011
Photo of bmoney
4/5  rDev -5.2%

bmoney, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of Davit
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Davit, Sep 17, 2012
Photo of FightingEntropy
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

FightingEntropy, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of WhitmansNiece
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

WhitmansNiece, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of mattboyer182
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pitch black in color with a thick dark brown head.

S - smells of piney hops. And then a little more hops.

T - taste is hoppy up front with a subtley sweet after taste. It doesn't linger long.

M - mouth feel is thin and carbonated.

O - good beer but sublimely self righteous is much better

mattboyer182, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of bifrost17
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

bifrost17, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of UDbeernut
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

tan crater rock head with good retention mounted on top of a very dark amber hue. great piney scent, raisen, smoke. cutting bitterness joins in the mouth. full to medium bodied brew is sticky, chewy, and at times tough to get down. The alchohol hits like a freight train too.

UDbeernut, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of Viciousknishs
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours pitch black with two fingers of tan head. Good head retention.

S- obnoxious punch of woody pine hop aromas with slight notes of bitter citrus peel. Roasty malt and dark chocolate. Finishes with some booze and mulchy forest floor hops.

T- big pine and woody hop flavor that transitions into some citrus peel. Roasty malt and booze mingles in the middle. Finishes with bakers chocolate, a hint of coffee and hop bitterness/flavor that lingers on the palate.

MF- thick chewy mouthfeel with a big body and soft carbonation.

D- quite a big beer here. Drinkability is low on it's own. Had mine with some food and the drinkability became much higher.

Overall a pretty tasty beer.

Viciousknishs, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of AlexM
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

AlexM, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of innuendobrewskiman63
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

innuendobrewskiman63, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of Digimaika2
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Wow. Pours a noticeably rich and thick dark brown (near black) colour with a two-finger mocha coloured creamy head. Good lacing and decent retention.

S: Earthy pine, tart and slightly sour grapefruit, some faint dark chocolate and espresso. Quite a bit of earthy aromas coming through.

T: Bold pine and tart grapefruit (to a lesser extent) taste upfront quickly gives way to a roasted flavour that includes black licorice, molasses, burnt cocoa, and faint espresso. Alcohol well hidden as this doesn't taste like the stated ABV. Quite an earthy taste in this (especially towards the finish) with very nice overall flavours.

M: Good viscosity (not too thick, not too thin) and a healthy and pleasing dose of carbonation.

O: Everything comes together very well in this Black IPA. With the alcohol well hidden, this is surprisingly quite easy-to-drink. One of the best Stone offerings I've had yet.

Digimaika2, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of rondufresne
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

rondufresne, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of chodinheaven
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very well said paragraph on the back of the bottle by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner. The beer pours out pitch black and is completely opaque. A tan head forms slowly and dissapates even slower, leaving behind nice rings of lacing. Retention is excellent. The aroma is bursting with pine hops backed by dark roasted, almost burnt, malts, intensely aromatic from the opening of the bottle to the end.

Rich in flavor, full in body, and it certainly packs a punch on the taste buds. Full of a perfect combination of bitter dark roasted malts and piney hops, this beer takes your palate for a ride. The combination leads to a taste that isn't quite coffee, but is reminiscent of it. Definitely has the hoppy qualities of a big Imperial IPA, but the dark roasted malts add a very different character than any IIPAs, much less other black IPAs that I've tried. The bitterness lingers all the way from the beginning of the taste to the long and lingering finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, quite an accomplishment for such a big beer. The high ABV is hidden so nicely that it will sneak up on you. Definitely detectable, but the pine and roastiness are so pronounced that the boozy qualities are only noticed as an afterthought. A touch of biscuit brings it all around into a balanced Imperial beer. This is definitely the most distinctive black IPA I've had, and easily the most delicious. This beer is hearty. As I said, the richness and ABV make this one a good one to share with friends and sip on, talking about the paragraph on the back. If any beer were to live up to what their world philosophies described on the back are, this one does so with its unique qualities. Gotta love what Stone can do.

chodinheaven, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of wingman14
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with brown highlights and a frothy mocha head. The smell is dominated by the hops with some citrus fruit notes and obvious alcohol from the high ABV. The taste starts out slightly bitter with the citrus notes coming on right away. There is a hint of sweet that moves into the bitter hop and finishing with a strong dose of alcohol. The mouthfeel is heavy with a nice creamy body, definitely a sipping beer due to the huge flavor and ABV. It was good to split this bomber, because I couldn't see having more than a snifter full. Overall a good beer, different flavors that what you get with an IPA due to the dark malt, but mostly tasty. By the end of the glass I was glad I tried it, but wouldn't choose this as a regular beer.

wingman14, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of Philousa
3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with about 1/4" dark brown head and good lacing. Earthy, citrus hops in the nose, followed by bitter malt, and a hint of caramel. Taste is chocolatey, smokey malt up front, followed by earthy, bitter hops. Bitterness feels more alcoholic with time, in the nose. Mouthfeel is middling, good carbonation for a dark, high ABV beer, but taste is a bit fleeting. Clean, crisp taste up front with lingering bitterness.

Don't know how I feel about this beer. The nose says IPA, but the taste is bitter RIS, which kinda turns me off. If the malt was more sweet, I would be a much bigger fan. I think a little balance is in order here. Then again, this is the same brewery that tries to kill your palate with bitterness, so what else should I expect? Good experiment, not something I'd drink often.

Philousa, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of uziangis
5/5  rDev +18.5%

uziangis, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of beerhan
3/5  rDev -28.9%

beerhan, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of robear
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

robear, May 28, 2014
Photo of andthevolcano
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

andthevolcano, Nov 07, 2012
Photo of Teleweizen2
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a deep inky black with a frothy tan head. leaves spotty lacing. stays at about a fingers worth.

S - a vibrant hop aroma dominates the nose. notes of bitter orange peel and pine are the most prominate while the malt hangs back with just a touch of coffee and char.

T - bitter chocolate on the front of the tongue which turns into an onslaught of bitter citrus. notes of pine needles in the center of the tongue which carry over with the citrus flavors for a nearly endless finish.

M - soft creamy texture with a medium body. the bubbly carbonation is light giving the body a bit more weight on the tongue.

O - an interesting beer. I really do like the hop profile. Its bright and flavorful and just the right amount of piney-ness. but the malt profile is a bit lacking and almost nondescript which was a bit of a disappointment.

Teleweizen2, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of GuisseppeFranco
4/5  rDev -5.2%

GuisseppeFranco, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of Retsinis
3.38/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Being Stone's 15th, I had to try this one, even though I don't buy Stone's beers nearly as much as I use to a few years back. There WAS a TON of this at the local Total wines when it was first released, and now this was the only bottle I saw this past weekend, so it must be decent to be going so fast. Anyhow, on to the review.

Review from notes.

A: Poured from the 22oz bomber into a Bruery tulip glass. A solid half inch of medium tan brown colored head rose, and slowly settled, leaving a smooth coating film at first, and then some sticky spotty lace. Settled to just a ring of bubbles, and some film on top of this Black beer, that no light penetrates.

S: Scents of light espresso, light mint hops, light chocolate, medium roasted malt, more bitter hops, with notes of pine, hay, light smoke and that distinct stone yeast strain. A bit muddled actually.

T: Mirrors the nose, intense bitter hops aroma, medium roasted malt, light chocolate, and a touch of coffee. Some rye grain notes in there as well, and the ABV is well hidden. As it warmed, I started to get very subtle taste of burnt cinnamon, mixed with light pepper or even ginger? Might not be describing that just right, but it's there.

M: Medium carbonation, bitter bite.

O: Good, way better than 14. Glad I got to try it, but no plans to revisit. Still pretty intense, even though it was released nearly two months ago.

Black IPA's for me are either closer to porters, or DIPA's with some in between. It's a tricky balance to make a great one from the dozens+ I've tried. This definitely favored the hops, but it's an odd mix. While the hops may be what makes this beer great, some time might improve it even more for me, though not the brewers intention I imagine to age it,.

Not sure if it's the in house yeast strain, or the choice of hops, both, or something I can't put my finger on, but this beer is a bit TOO bitter for me, and not in a good way, and I love DIPA's, IIPA, IPA's etc, so I'm left that it may just not be a choice of hops that agrees with me.

Nevertheless, Congrats Stone on 15 years, Cheers!

Retsinis, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of TexAggie011
4/5  rDev -5.2%

TexAggie011, Dec 26, 2011
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,403 ratings.