15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 1,397 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
3.83/5 rDev -9.2%
Pours an honest, legitimate black. Not common with Black IPAs strangely enough. Huge three plus fingers bubbly khaki head. The retention is pretty impressive, works its way back slowly. A half finger cap remains through the duration. Nice sheet of moth eaten lacing coats the wall of the glass.
The aroma is fairly muted, this is disappointing. Resinous pine and citrus hops are on the forefront. Malt contributions are obvious, nearly boarding on too much for the style. Not huge on the roast but there is a definitely dark chocolate aroma pouring out of the glass. The combination is pleasant I just wish it was more intense.
The flavor is much closer to what I would expect but is not without its faults. Pine and citrus hop flavor barely rolls out of the glass and on to the tongue before the malt comes into play. To Stone's credit, the roast is subdued but there is a huge chocolate flavor coating the tongue. The hops do not have the time to be showcased but the do mesh well with the malt. The bitterness is rather low, I appreciate that in this beer.
Full bodied Imperial Black IPA. Carbonation is moderate and appropriate. The texture is ridiculous for the style, I cannot decide if this is good ridiculous or bad. Creamy and smooth on the tongue, this is not something I am use to with this style. The finish is long, the chocolaty malt lays heavy on the tongue.
The score for this beer will not be indicative of how much I enjoy it. I really like this beer, I am just not certain it is an excellent example of the style. The malt is a bit more assertive than I would like to see. The body is closer to a stout than a Black IPA. With all that said, this beer is damn tasty. I could drink a few of these without a problem.
08-19-2011 22:18:49 | More by kzoobrew
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
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.
08-19-2011 22:16:02 | More by oberon
2.85/5 rDev -32.5%
This just arrived in Indiana today. It pours a nice midnight black in color with a one finger poofy beige colored head. It looks great. It smells of sweet and bitter dark roasted malts and caramelized onions. Uh oh, smells like a dark roasted Devil Dancer. I'm not a fan of that onion aroma at all. The taste is sweet, dark, bitter, has a very nice hoppy aspect but again it goes very heavy on the onions. I'm sure some love it, but it isn't for me. It's also very, very boozy. It has the near perfect body for the style and drinks more like a stout or imperial porter. I wanted to love this one, but it just wasn't up my alley.
08-19-2011 21:31:50 | More by aasher
4.72/5 rDev +11.8%
Excited to run across this tonight at Stoney's Liquors on 10th Street and Emerson Ave. Indianapolis.
I've been wanting to try a black IPA -- I had my doubts whether the style would make any sense to me. That said, the closest thing I could imagine that I remember having was FFF Alpha Klaus, a super hoppy porter -- a past favorite.
Pours dark, inky. 3 inch head on a vigorous pour. Later on, plenty of stratified lacing. Pretty things make me thirsty(?).
Smell is not huge, but interesting: medicinal, cocoa, cinnamon. Slight alcohol vapor that goes well with the pleasant health-tonic nature of the thing.
Massive herbal onslaught enlivens the body, stimulates the senses, detoxifies the liver, cures depression! Burnt malts stay very dry indeed.. nothing here in the way of the swampy and slightly citric hops. It may not be perfectly balanced, at least at this fresh stage, but that distracts not from this beer. Totally unique. Alpha Klaus was not nearly as strange or intense as this beast, or as LOUD!
When cooler this beer's attack on the palate is somewhat diminished and delayed -- I enjoyed it at the full range of temperature from cold to almost room temp. Mouthfeel is oily, creamy, slightly astringent but not boozy.
I have not been this impressed with a beer for years. I feel lucky to get to try it right off the truck. I plan to buy many more while I can, maybe even attempt to age one. NOT to be missed.
It also intoxicates.
08-19-2011 07:30:32 | More by MarkBlackout
4.5/5 rDev +6.6%
Poured jet black into a tulip with ruby-tinged edges and a finger of creamy dark khaki head. Very pretty. Relatively mild aroma of roasty coffee, pine, and a hint of grapefruit.
Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy, slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Pine, lemon, and grapefruit up front followed by roasty coffee and hints of cocoa on the finish. Not very sweet, but a little caramel eventually emerges somewhere on the tail end.
Very interesting brew; rather than sweet malt to balance the hoppy bitterness, there's just more coffee/cocoa bitterness. Somehow it works and I definitely kept coming back for more, which was dangerous given the almost completely concealed ABV. This one drank MUCH easier than expected. (I split the bomber over two days and actually enjoyed it even more the second day...it was a little less carbonated but the flavors really emerged nicely.)
08-19-2011 05:11:43 | More by grittybrews
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRS tulip aggressively. 4 fingers of very fluffy, stiff tan head. Takes almost 5 minutes for it to mostly die. Lots of sticky lacing. Black. Citrus on first whiff (lemon). Lots of sweetness and anise on a second smell, followed by roastiness and floral hops. Loving the nose. Some chocolate and anise up front on the palate, citrusy sweetness, a roasty dry finish. Chocolate. Bitter chocolate. Extremely bitter finish. More dryness and hops. Very very creamy and smooth going down. Ridiculously easy to drink for almost 11%. Fantastic. There's a reason I always buy Stone beers the first day I can get them.
08-19-2011 05:06:33 | More by WestValleyIPA
4.53/5 rDev +7.3%
Sexy black body with dark tan head. Nose has plenty of fresh pine, dark bitter chocolate, and a hint of candied fruit. Palate offers a delicious balance of rich chocolate/espresso, and ample piney hops. Creamy body, silky, sexy, smooth.. makes me want to consider other uses for the beer. Surprisingly easy drinking, considering how rich this is.
08-19-2011 04:18:42 | More by yemenmocha
3.7/5 rDev -12.3%
My first review. Poured from a Bomber into a wine glass.
A: Deep Black with slight Reddish Brown tinge. Caramel colored long lasting head. A ton of lacing
S: Very sweet smelling. Piney Hops. Chocolate. Some orange.
T: At first tasted like a blend of Stone IPA and Imperial Russian Stout to me. Initial taste is definitely more IPA, transitioning in to the coffee/chocolate flavor of the malts. VERY PINEY. Bitter hops, bitter chocolate not much sweetness. Some Alcohol burn. Finish is great. Tastes more like a Stout-y IPA than a IPA-like Stout.
M: Very silky and smooth. Carbonation almost unnoticeable.
O: Looks pretty. Smells Nice. Great texture. Unfortunately tastes weird to me. Not bad, but weird. More like a fusion of two different styles than celebrating often overlooked Black Ale. Sublimely Self-Righteous does a much better job. I enjoyed this beer but won't be buying it again.
08-19-2011 03:50:18 | More by Canvas08
3.85/5 rDev -8.8%
22 oz. bomber,
A: Pours an opaque black with large tan head, good retention and thick lace.
S: Green almost peppery (jalapeno) hops with pine and a lot of dark chocolate.
T: Dark chocolate is heavy and is the dominating flavour with a hint of roast. Hops are prominent making the beer quite bitter at times. Very direct flavours, not exactly delicious, but powerful.
M: Full-bodied, creamy, soft carbonation, medium long aftertaste.
O: To me really like a hoppy Imperial Stout showing the overlap in styles. I enjoyed it, but I'm not going crazy.
08-19-2011 01:59:25 | More by Halcyondays
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
Creamy head that shifts on top like a foamy wave coming in Louisiana after the BP Oil spill. Held up to the sun I couldn't see through it at all, it's black y'all! Vanilla, some dark fruits, stone IPA on the nose and taste. Lacing reminiscent of dried pumpkin guts. If this beer were an animal it would be a California Black Bear after itching its back on a pine tree.
08-18-2011 21:57:40 | More by finagler
4.28/5 rDev +1.4%
Poured an absolute pitch black color from a 22 oz bomber, bought and opened on 8/17/11. According to a blog on Stone's website, the bottle was released on 8/15/11 (it says on the label that it was bottled in Aug 2011).
Nice one finger dark mocha/tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves behind an constant shape changing film of head. Nice head retention.
Aroma was extremely hoppy, from the moment the bottle was cracked open. As the beer warms up, amidst all the various floral hoppy notes, there are hints of roasted malt that are evident with noticeable cocoa/dark chocolate notes.
Taste-wise this is a very complex ale. The layers of varying bitterness constantly assault the taste buds. Some might say this ale is excessively bitter, but to me it is just the right amount of complex bitterness. At times you feel you are having a super hopped stout, since this is a surprisingly full-bodied and smooth IPA.
The high ABV is masked very well. Even the warmth from the alcohol doesn't make it's presence felt right away.
This is a sipper all the way, and gets better as it slowly warms up. Stone always impresses me with their brews. Definitely worth a try and is highly recommended. Especially to all hop-heads and those who enjoy really dark stouts.
I am very interested to see how it ages and will be getting another bottle tomorrow and store it to age.
08-18-2011 05:09:09 | More by CaptDavyJones
4.75/5 rDev +12.6%
From bomber to pint glass
A: Pours jet black and forms a super frothy 2-inch head, which very slowly recedes and leaves lacing everywhere.
N: Smells like a Stone IPA with strong notes of diacetyl and booze. Stone IPA's have a trademark pine scent, which is all over the place.
T: This was completely unexpected. The citrusy, piny, hop notes are there, but buttery, boozy flavors really dominate the palate. The diacetyls are really strong, but they're almost neutralized by the alcohol. It's almost 'truffle-y'. Lemony citrus and sharp pine poke through mid-sip, along with some bready tones reminding of squaw. Finishes bitter and boozy.
M: Oily as hell. The diacetyl is no joke. I'm going out for a pint of this tomorrow, will have to verify that this was normal.
And I assume so because this is completely delicious, I've just never tasted anything like it. Stone IPA was my gateway drug to craft beer, but recently they've put more energy into expansion and distribution rather than out-of-the-box brewing. I've been waiting, hoping, for them to come up with something amazing like this. You can taste a little Runination and Arrogant Bastard, but this is a brew all to itself.
08-18-2011 04:46:02 | More by rand
4.05/5 rDev -4%
721st Review on BA
Bottle to Piraat Tulip
22 oz bottle
App- A new point in the black IPA zone has been reached. To me they really dressed up a RIS with a bigger head and scaled back the lacing. Black squid ink liquid and a giant three finger head. Khaki in color and very very slow to recede.
Smell- A very nice blend of a lot of things. I get damp citrus with some orange and some tropical. At the same time its a bit malty with a creamy note. No trace of the ABV or bitterness.
Taste- This is very different from other black IPAs I have had including the 11th anny or SSR. This one is more malt driven with a balanced malt/citrus combo. Its unique in flavors with it being so split down the middle and very balanced. Black IPAs arent my favorite but 11th and 15th take the cake.
Mouth- A very well done medium bodied beer with a paired and equally balanced medium carbonation. A bunch of bubbles and a lot of malt with a touch of citrus and coffee. Maybe just maybe a little coffee on the finish.
Drink- Well I hope after all these years Stone will always push boundries and continue to push boundries. A newer style but very balanced, tasty and unique. I probably wont age one as it states but I saw the 3L and said mmm...
08-18-2011 03:51:10 | More by FosterJM
4.78/5 rDev +13.3%
A: Black body with large mocha head.
S: Smells of hops, roasted/toffee notes, sweet malt and dark fruits.
T: Stone defiantly delivers on the hops. Right off the bat your hit with bold hops, followed by creamy sweet malt. Grapefruit is also present. It gives off a smokey feel/taste. At first, I didn't get the dark chocolate and toffee, but give it some more sips and it comes out wonderfully.
M: Bold, creamy and smooth. Low carbonation.
O: Bold yet very drinkable. Hold on to a few. Beautiful beer. : )
08-18-2011 03:50:31 | More by MEsoJD
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
A-Pours nearly pitch black. Finger high khaki head is born from the pour. The head retains quite well. Random splotches of lacing cling to the glass.
S-Big whiff of floral and piney hops. Along with the aggressive hop aroma is an equally sturdy dose of sweet roasted malts. Along with the roastiness is some really nice chocolate notes. An attractive nose, makes me very excited for the first sip.
T-A big, bold and assertive flavor. The bitterness from the piney hops is quite overwhelming at first, but I really enjoy it. After the hop assault comes an awesome wave of rich chocolate and fresh coffee. The malt and hop battle for power on the palate. This is a hardcore beer.
M-Fuller. Creamy and slightly resinous. Dry and bitter aftertaste. Great feel.
O/D-Stone has not hit the spot with me with its recent offerings. This one is a winner however. I love their Sublimely Self-Righteous offering, and this is a bigger version. They really kicked ass on this one, very happy.
08-18-2011 02:47:38 | More by VelvetExtract
4.47/5 rDev +5.9%
I haven't been impressed with Stone's beers in a long time. Collaborations included. This one was an absolute game changer for me.
A: Black with a gorgeous two finger light brown head. Spotty lacing down the glass. The beer poured way darker than I expected. Definitely nailed the "black" IPA thing.
S: Pretty nice citrus hop aroma with a bit of pine thrown in. A hint of roasted malt, earth and leather as well.
T: A lot of dark, roasted malts, piney hops, dark roasted coffee and a bit of tobacco on the finish. The balance is incredible and the nearly 11% ABV is well hidden. I does feel more like a hoppy stout than an IPA, but I love it, whatever you want to call it. The mouthfeel is a bit thick and syrupy, but it works. Well done, Stone.
08-17-2011 18:37:45 | More by notchucknorris
4.75/5 rDev +12.6%
Appearance - Poured this one into a regular pint glass and what I got was quite a large 3 finger high, creamy looking, espresso colored head that leaves some nice sticky lacing around the glass as it fades down. Color of the beer pretty dark black.
Smell - Aroma is a mix between some pretty bright citrus, piney, resinous hops and roasted malts, slight dark chocolate, cocoa, and maybe a bit of coffee. At first I thought it was a bit like Sublimely, but as I smell it more, it's really its own kind of thing. Hoppier than Sublimely. I can't really tell you which one I prefer more, and I really like Sublimely. I love the mix of bright hops and smooth roasted malts/chocolate/etc.
Taste - Taste is really nice and much like the nose. A nice combination of citrus and piney/resinous hops (actually quite like an IPA), decent (but not too much) hop bitterness, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and cocoa. This is brighter and hoppier than I remember Sublimely being. It's almost closer to a hoppy stout than an American Black Ale, but I really like the combo.
Mouthfeel - Feel is really smooth and creamy. Cosistency is insanely smooth, carbonation is light-moderate and creamy, body is medium, and the finish is a little lingering but not in a bad way. It finishes with a nice note of bitterness, hops, and smooth roasted malts and chocolate flavors.
Overall - At first I wasn't sure if I could choose a favorite between this and Sublimely, but after finishing the second half of the bottle, I think I actually prefer this to Sublimely. That's really bold statement as some friends of mine will tell you I love Sublimely. I don't know what it is but the combination of the wonderful hoppiness and the roasted malt and chocolate qualities just works wonders for me...and Stone is just the best at it in my opinion. I highly doubt with Sublimely as a year-round beer, that they would turn this into one also, but I would be extatic if they did! At the very least, I'm going to have to go buy at least another 4 or 5 bottles of this. That's how much I love this beer!
08-17-2011 08:31:51 | More by matttttYCE
4.22/5 rDev 0%
Pours a black coffee color into the glass with a beautiful 2 inch tan head.
Smell- citrus, piney, roasted barley, and chocolate
Taste- roasted coffee, chocolate and citrus tones upfront with a nice hop kick in the backend of this. The chocolate remains in the aftertaste but is taken over slightly by the hop bitterness.
Overall- its a good beer and is a far different animal from the SR ipa. I love the chocolate flavor that stands out in this one. I strongly recommended!
08-17-2011 06:07:00 | More by badboyrsl84
4.4/5 rDev +4.3%
Poured into a pint glass. Pours a deep stout black. Very nice oatmeal stout thick head. Sticky lacing
Aroma is lacking a bit for an IPA. But it does have a nice hoppyness. Some noble hops I think? and a nice stouty roast. Bit of dark chocolate and coffee.
Taste is more like a hoppy stout than a black IPA. It has alot of roastyness and caramel like a really good stout with some dark chocolate and a bit of coffee but a nice hoppyness that complements it well.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Nice lower carb.
Overall a very tasty brew but I think it should be called a hoppy stout not an IPA.
08-17-2011 03:36:47 | More by PeprSprYoFace
5/5 rDev +18.5%
A - Pours deep dark black almost, creamy head is there but not too much maybe 1/4 inch when poured slow, descends fast into a haze over. Some lace but not crazy all over the place.
S - Smell is vibrant hops, pungent dank fresh nectarine hop thing, a little Vinegary mixed with some darker malts back in there.
T - Taste is great! Up front is the fresh dank hops, then quickly it turns malts and sorta chocolaty /toasty flavor. A little hidden alcohol in there... but not much for how much is in this brew. I can say its pretty complex but balanced out very well. Smooth resiny full fresh hop grapfruit'ish like.
M - Feel is great, larger bubbles for carbonation, but medium carbed. Not overly carbonated, goes down silky then with a little carbonation on the end. Great aftertaste feel, slightly hot in the throat.
O - Overall this has to be one of the best black ipa's, and certainly the strongest right now. Not too many imperial/double BIPA's around and this one is GREAT... I would say make this into a normal release along side sublimely self righteous single black ipa. THUMBS WAY UP!
08-16-2011 23:10:45 | More by SDtastentune
4.55/5 rDev +7.8%
Very excited to try the latest Stone anniversary ale when I heard it was a black IPA. This one delivered the goods quite well. Dark, dark body with a tan/dun colored head that dissipated quickly. Strong resiny hop aromas abound, touch of citrus but not as much as the SSR. The taste was wonderfully balanced between the roasted malts and the bitter hops. I experienced a blend of dark chocolate and toastiness that faded into a typically dry, bitter Stone finish. Alcohol (10.8!) was completely hidden in this offering; did not get any heat off this brew. Reckon I could have knocked back a few before realizing I was getting ripped. Excellent mouthfeel, too. Rounded and full without being heavy.
08-16-2011 03:28:31 | More by dannydetox
4.18/5 rDev -0.9%
Check the Stone tap list on the Stairmaster at the gym. Stone 15th? Don't mind if I do. 8oz draft pour.
A: Black as a moonless, starless Escondidian night. A massive brown head lingers with uncertainty above the liquid. Much lacing is left in the wake of the recession.
A: Aromatic resinous pine and grapefruit waft from the glass with lesser notes orange. Malt imparts notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, and roasted malt. The aroma is pretty great.
T: A prominent roasted malt profile is accompanied by dark chocolate and cocoa. The beer is dry, with anise and a touch of molasses. The malt profile does this beer much credit. Hops are aggressive, imparting an upper moderate to lower high level of smooth bitterness and flavors of pine resin, orange, and grapefruit that mix nicely with the chocolate and roast. Alcohol is really well hidden for how damn high it is. Stone should serve this in pitchers here at the Bistro. It would only be a $32 pitcher. Alas, they do not offer pitchers. I suppose you could bring your own, get 8 glasses of 15th Anniversary, and pour them gently into the pitcher. I'll have to see if they'll allow that. A nice pitcher of Imperial Escondidian Black IPA on a warm Escondido summer day in the Stone gardens, just the job.
M: Full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and chewy. Alcohol provides warming in the finish.
Overall: This is quite good. I really enjoyed my glass. It blurs the line between Imperial Escondidian Black IPA and Imperial Stout.
08-16-2011 02:55:39 | More by HopHead84
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,397 ratings.