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

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,373 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1373
Reviews: 711
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%


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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,373 | Reviews: 711 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken

New York

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

A: pours stout black, thick head that slims to a thin rim

S: black and chocolate malts, espresso notes

T: bitter espresso, some chocolate... roasted, toasted malts, some hoppy woodsy flavors

M: dry, bitter, mellow; mild aftertaste

O: I get confused with what a beer should taste like when it has too much going on in its description, and I'm not a big black ale drinker - I suppose this is a decent black ale, but DIPA? I dunno. When I hear "imperial IPA" I expect some citrus or pine or brighter hop flavors; this was (to me) a basic black ale with a high abv - which is fine, but I wasn't blown away, nor is it my favorite black ale or black DIPA or DIPA. Not a re-buy for me, but may be spot-on for true lovers of the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 23:09:03 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an absolutely pitch black with a very thick and creamy mocha head that has excellent retention.

S- Pine, some citrus, caramel, and a slightly roasted aspect on the tail end. Rather deep and complex, considering the style.

T- Sweet and hoppy. The malt aspect is rather pronounced, not that it is a bad thing. The piney hops work well with the sweet, roasted malt. Interesting and intriguing.

M- Slightly spicy carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

O- A very well made beer. The alcohol content, while noticeable, is pretty well masked. Still, it is a bit rich and a bit of a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 03:44:45 | More by david131
Photo of BostonHops
BostonHops

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
bottled 3 weeks prior to tasting.

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.

(originally reviewed: 08-22-2011)

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 00:55:31 | More by BostonHops
Photo of ccoff
ccoff

Colorado

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 17:52:03 | More by ccoff
Photo of animortician
animortician

California

4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: I gave this an average score on appearance because it just isn't black, not even close. Brown ipa just doesn't sound cool I guess but thats what this is. I was expecting something darker.

S: No hard or sharp hop aromas just really smooth hop smell even though this was aged for a bit. smelled like a fresh hop ale. Other aromas were there as well I can't place the smell its not the what I would call malty but I guess it kind of has to be. smells kinda like arrogant bastard.

T: Very interesting. Same as the smell it has an arrogant bastard hidden flavor to it. Not very bitter at all. Going back to the appearance, since its called a Black IPA I was expecting some dark deep roasted malt flavors but there just aren't any. I also was expecting more hops.

O: This beer just really doesn't live up to its name if you ask me. Its a great beer but its not black, and doesn't taste like a beer brewed with really dark malt and it doesn't seem as hoppy as an IPA should be. The labels commentary on our consumerism culture is very good though!

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2012 06:55:00 | More by animortician
Photo of Dawgmeat
Dawgmeat

California

4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour was a thick dark black with a large (2-3 finger) medium brown creamy head which had good retention reducing to a thick puddling thus creating some excellent sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a pine hop, a roasted grain malt and a moldy yeast with notes of coffee, caramel, licorice, chocolate and a decent alcohol tinge.

The taste was a hoppy, malty and a tad sweet with a very mild hint of caramel and chocolate at first then progressed into a bitter, roasty, hoppy flavor with a big coffee note and a mild alcohol presence at the end. The flavor hung on for a good long time proceeding the swallow letting the hoppy roastiness settle in.

Mouthfeel was a bit beyond medium in body with a dry, oily texture and a nice lively carbonation.

Overall an exceptionally well balanced Black IPA with just the right amount of everything working together.

I'm fortunate to be nearby the brewery itself, of course I'm a little biased. Their is a certain smell and flavor that comes with any of the Stone brews and it hooks me all the time.

The "Imperial Black IPA" is such a very complex and delicious explosion on ones palette. This is currently my best and favorite beer of all time. I'm actually still able to purchase this as of 6/1/12 at a local liquor store for $6.99 ;-)

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2012 03:30:39 | More by Dawgmeat
Photo of Giovacchini
Giovacchini

California

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

A- pours a black appearance with a finger and a half tan head.

S- chocolate, leather, pine, coffee, and bread.

T- chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, hop bitterness, leather, tobacco, and alcohol.

M- strong carbonation with lingering bitterness and some heat from the alcohol.

O- I tried this beer last fall a little after it was released and I found some again recently and decided to see how it changed. I remember their being a little more fruitiness from the hops. Otherwise this beer is still awesome even with some age on it.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2012 04:17:09 | More by Giovacchini
Photo of vonnegut21
vonnegut21

New York

4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black, with a thick, tan head. Smells of sharp roasted malts and chocolate with tons of hop spice. Taste is a beautiful mix of charred malts, chocolate, and hop bitterness. I've never had a beer balance roasted malt and hops this well. Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth. Overall, an amazing beer. Please, Stone. Add this to your year-round line-up. This is a masterpiece.

Serving type: on-tap

05-19-2012 01:49:56 | More by vonnegut21
Photo of Hopstamon
Hopstamon

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a imperial pint glass.

A - Poured a pitch black with a tan creamy head. Decent lacing.

S - Lots of in-your-face hoppiness dominate.

T - Taste doesn’t stray too far from the aroma. I get a lot of piney hops up front with some chocolatey malts on the backside. The bitterness grabs a hold of your palate and doesn't let go. A rather large amount of alcohol creeps up.

M - Medium-thick bodied with moderate carbonation. Thicker and creamier than expected. The bitterness is a little harsh. I can definitely feel the alcohol’s presence in this beer.

O - Not one of my favorites from Stone. I had bigger expectations on this one. I am a huge Stone fan... always have some on hand... I dig BIPA's...but I I didn't fall in love with this anniversary version as much as I have in the past.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2012 15:25:07 | More by Hopstamon
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle is 9 months beyond date of bottling.

Pours a clear deep brown with garnet highlights and a solid one finger cappuccino head that dissipates into a ring of foam, leaving no lacing.

Dark fruit, roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee dominate the aroma, with a hint of nuttiness and a muted grapefruit finish.

Flavor showcases much more hop character, starting with grapefruit tartness that makes my mouth water. It lingers throughout the profile, revealing more complex tropical fruit flavors. A solid roast malt backbone supports the hops well, allowing them to shine without overpowering them. Hints of coffee grounds accompany the bitter hop finish. Dark fruit flavors emerge as it warms, and malt becomes more pronounced.

Body is on the heavy side, with fairly low carbonation and a significant alcohol warmth.

Very interesting beer that is a contrast in malt and hop, but definitely biased toward the hop side. Alcohol content is fairly surprising!

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2012 04:51:08 | More by barczar
Photo of JimmyTango
JimmyTango

California

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

Pours like an imperial stout-black and thick with a big dark brown head. Smells like hops, lots of very tasty hops. Licorice, toast, and carmel malts are also there in the nose, but the main impression is hops and black. The taste follows the smell, but with more of a toast malt than the carmel smell suggested, more grassy hops than anticipated, but accompanied by the oily, piney, soapy hops that the nose promised. A touch of citrus rind, but nothing like in Sublimely Self Righteous. Pretty chewy and sugary, but without much sweetness. Bitterness is gnar, but not unchecked by the big black malts. This was great, hella great. Very different from SSR in a more deep and complex way. I’d say this is for sure gnarlier, but not any less drinkable. Big. Huge! I love that it still manages to come across as something completely different from a hoppy stout… I loved it, but will probably reach for the SSR when I’m in an IPA mood. This is more overwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2012 21:58:24 | More by JimmyTango
Photo of larryi86
larryi86

Delaware

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

22 oz bomber poured into a snifter

A- Black with a two finger light brown head.

S- Citrus hops, roasted malts, some caramel malts and chocolate.

T- Again citrus hops upfront, roasted malts and some dark chocolate in the middle, finish is piney with a hint of burnt coffee.

M- Smooth, medium body, crisp.

O- Overall a solid beer from Stone. I feel the 10.8% ABV is well hidden making this easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2012 01:40:25 | More by larryi86
Photo of Ego
Ego

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

crazy windy night here in jersey...
22oz bomber pulled from my cellar, august 2011 dated

eyes...
on a quick glimpse I thought I was pouring dimetap.. but then as it gathers it becomes more pitch, black with perhaps a little light shining through, head settles down to a tarp cover barely treading water above the blackness, plenty of legs on this one alright, the lacing is nice and consistent, a nice blanket of bubbles washing up and down the sides of the glass on a gentle swirl, a nice looking brew.

nose...
really hard to explain at first schnozz, vanilla glazed dark chocolate, molasses and faint coffee, brown sugar, darts of alcohol stab at the olfactory as well, really interesting mix, there is a clean consistency to it.

taste etc...
it is funny how you almost expect a black/dark beer to be hefty sometimes. I had to remind myself what style is afoot here... This drinks very smooth and leaves a rich flavor in its considerable wake. What looks like really used motor oil winds up as light as an IPA, perhaps with a shade less carbonation than the usual 'bright' american IPAs. Light molasses and vanilla on the front end of things with a nice deep bitter chocolate/ash back end that lingers (insert joke about people who linger here). The ABV is surprisingly mild in the mouth but definitely is letting my stomach (and soon my head I suppose) aware. This is consistent throughout the bomber. Just every sip is a wonderful experience, full of flavor and character delivering flavor upon every step of the sipping experience.

verdict?
One helluva beer. I tend to think Stone is over rated here sometimes but then they go and stick this in my craw... touche, well played my lads (hey, you watch game of thrones and try not to get all 'thee' and 'thus' my lady...)

in the player: Left Lane Cruiser - All You Can Eat

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 04:25:30 | More by Ego
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from Bristol Farms Palm Desert CA for 6.99

Appearance - Black/brown colour with a large size frothy light brown coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, chocolate, grapefruit/oranges

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops mixed with malts, chocolate, and hops. There is also quite a bit of a roasted/burnt nut flavour. It ends with a hoppy bittersweet chocolate aftertaste.

Overall - Lots of imperial stout qualities mixed with a good dose of hops. For an black ale I think I preferred the The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA, but this is still a fantastic beer. The alcohol is very well hidden and to me it's a beefed up Self Righteous.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2012 02:15:36 | More by spinrsx
Photo of MagicJeff
MagicJeff

Georgia

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

Poured from a bomber into snifter

A: Dark and creamy upon initial pour. less than a finger head dissipates fast into haze. some lace upon conclusion

S: Dark malts come first. some tangerine and citrus. slight toffee and even vanilla. some alcohol.

T: this is where I'm conflicted. chocolate and pine. citrus mid-taste. finishes nutty, like pecans almost. After it warmed, the alcohol made itself known. extremely complex

M: Very creamy. Pours heavy, leads to a smooth feel.

Overall: Different than any other Stone brew I've had, and that is not a bad thing. Lacks the citrus taste that I love about Stone. Malts make up for it in every way. The alcohol is present but the beer is still drinkable. The complexity of this beer is astounding--I don't think drinking this one time does it justice for a review. Looking forward to trying it again and seeing what I missed the first time.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2012 05:09:26 | More by MagicJeff
Photo of yokken
yokken

Minnesota

2.6/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got a bomber of this on my visit to California; I'll be visiting Stone in two days.

My father and I split this. First off, wow, that's thick. And it's certainly black. My first whiff had me reeling. It's extremely potent... hops flood my nasal passages. A pungent soy sauce flavor overwhelms me. It's very sweet.

The first sip is incredibly bitter. Sweet as well. The ABV of this beer doesn't hide, in my opinion, like some Double IPAs can do. I don't look forward to the next sip of this beer. And that's just it--this is a sipping beer. It's incredibly flavorful. It stops everything, and forces me to focus on how bitter and overwhelming the flavor is.

The aftertaste is the best part, and quite possibly the only thing I enjoy about this beer. There's an incredible coffee aftertaste reminding me of a coffee stout. I also detect chocolate and toffee undertones. Someone else here on BA noted figs as well, which I also subtly taste. But coffee and soy sauce are two huge flavors here, and I'm not the most fond of those. I'm much more of an IPA guy.

Compared to other black IPAs, this is something else entirely. It is so pungent, so powerful, so overwhelming, that I would probably never choose to drink this again. The flavor kills my palate more than a double IPA and I'm here wishing I had bought a bottle of something else. I love a lot of Stone's brews, but this sure isn't one of them.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 05:18:48 | More by yokken
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a half finger high dark tan head that died down rather quickly, leaving lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some notes of dark roasted malts.
T: A moderate to high amount of bitterness stands out in the overall taste, which also has notes of citrus and dark roasted malts.
M: It feels medium- to full bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are also some sticky hints of resin.
O: The bitterness in this beer is very bold and stands out in front of the other flavors. It’s not too difficult to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 00:35:07 | More by metter98
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black. One finger fine medium brown head with good retention and excellent lacing. Attractive. Aroma of critrus and aromatic hops. Flavor starts as a stout, dark and roasted malts followed quickly by aromatic hops and roast, burnt coffee. Finishes hoppy and somewhat dry. Taste goes through a rapid and complex series of flavors. Very different and interesting. Surprisingly smooth and mellow while presenting interesting components. The finish skates on the edge of being too dry and burnt, but somehow pulls off the whole thing. I really enjoyed this unusual ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2012 03:37:32 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of Speedstan
Speedstan


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

Was fortunate to have this on tap at Stone Brewery (8 oz snifter) up until it sold out in the last couple of days, so that would mean my last tasting was probably the weekend of 25/26 February (bottles are still available).

Comments concerning appearance and nose are consistent with others, but what really struck me as something else was the aftertaste - blue cheese and rye crackers! It was like I had downed a chunk of Stilton and washed it down with the beer.

Some people might get the impression that I'm suggesting it was somehow skunked or yeasty, but far from it - it was actually quite addictive. Funny I didn't note it in the bouquet, but that's most likely because the serving glass was pretty much topped off, not like a normal snifter where you can collect the vapors and get a nice noseful.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2012 04:28:07 | More by Speedstan
Photo of AlCzerik
AlCzerik

Georgia

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours Black with a very thick foam.

Smell: More of a citrus smell than I had anticipated.

Taste: As far as IPAs and black IPAs are concerned this is the best tasting one that I have had. It is easy to drink, especially for the ABV.

Overall: It is a great beer, but a little over priced for my liking.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 03:13:29 | More by AlCzerik
Photo of RockyTopHeel
RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

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

Pours a deep, nearly black-brown with a frothy, pillowy brown head that leaves heavy lacing on the glass. Aroma of hops and roasted malts.

Big, bitter and dominated by roasted flavors, with a big alcoholic finish. Wow. Just a big friggin' punch in the mouth.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 01:02:58 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

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

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a DFH glass a very nice black color, nice carbonation, with a one-finger creamy light tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is very very nice, hoppy, malty, lots of licorice, plums, raisins, figs, and chocolate. The taste is exceptional also, hoppy, with a nice touch of malts, chocolate, licorice, and some dark fruits. Medium body, kinda chewy, with a slight bitter finish. This is a very nice brew. It's been awhile since I've had a Stone beer, and this one is making me look for some more. Thanks Bill!

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 20:47:08 | More by Wasatch
Photo of GoldHorde
GoldHorde

Minnesota

4.78/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Unfamiliar with Stone Brewing offerings, The color density was correct to style - the kind of astronomical dark matter that hides starlight and in which the subsequent exploration of one hopes to discover hidden wonders of the universe...or at least a pleasureable surprise. I was expecting a nominal "black" lagerish lightweight with just enough hop sting to qualify as an IPA. What the Stone Brewers delivered was MUCH MORE pleasureable. As a lover of thick creamy stouts and dark mysterious porters I was shocked to find this could ante itself up into a game of those styles. This is not a beer of accents but of balance. Nicely done! Feast upon this brew and enjoy the very long and very lingering espressoist afterglow.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2012 03:59:38 | More by GoldHorde
Photo of KajII
KajII

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Tulip glass]

The pour was a thick dark black with a large (2-3 finger) medium brown creamy head which had good retention reducing to a thick puddling thus creating some excellent sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a pine hop, a roasted grain malt and a moldy yeast with notes of coffee, caramel, licorice, chocolate and a decent alcohol tinge.

The taste was a hoppy, malty and a tad sweet with a very mild hint of caramel and chocolate at first then progressed into a bitter, roasty, hoppy flavor with a big coffee note and a mild alcohol presence at the end. The flavor hung on for a good long time proceeding the swallow letting the hoppy roastiness settle in.

Mouthfeel was a bit beyond medium in body with a dry, oily texture and a nice lively carbonation.

Overall an exceptionally well balanced Black IPA with just the right amount of everything working together.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 16:42:40 | More by KajII
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Probably should have drank this when I bought it a few weeks ago. Somehow didn't get around to it until now. Looks like a pretty big beer.
Oh my goodness me is that some nice aroma. Such pleasant and pleasing fruitiness with tropical qualities like mango. Additional complexity with a bit of citrus and brisk shot of the malt, the dark malt to be exact lending a spicy, peppery, cooked malt. This is quite unique and exceptional.
Looks attractive as can be. Big frothy, rocky dark head covering a black, black body.
Wow, that's pretty darn good. Highly complex but with so much more malt character. One pretty big issue for me is the harsh flavor that comes from excessive hops - and this one has it - too bad it's the only flaw, but it's significant. It's not the bitterness, which while there and strong isn't' in excess. Well hidden alcohol considering the high level.
A bit bigger that moderate. Well done creamy feel from size and carbonation. Nice feel.
I don't like the flavor from excessive hop oils. Too bad as so much else was so good.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 02:02:57 | More by garymuchow
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.