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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

713 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 713
Hads: 1,420
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 59
Gots: 138 | 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:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 08-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Alström Bros
Reviews: 713 | Hads: 1,420
Photo of Smurf2055
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed Dec 2011

Poured from bottle into a pint glass.

Pours like a stout, with a nice tan head about a finger thick. Good lacing.

It’s got some coffee and licorice, but the pine and hops smell as well. Maybe a bit of caramel. An interesting mix.

Taste really confused me. It’s a light body, very smokey, almost ashy. Greets you with light coffee and finishes with a hop kick near the end. I couldn’t tell it was over 10%. Very powerful. Leaves a nice aftertaste.

Overall, it’s a very interesting beer to say the least. Very complex and very bold. Impressive. (577 characters)

Photo of TBoneJones
3.41/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours like a black beauty. Thick deep black, great two finger-width off -white/ light caramel-colored head.
Smells like a liquory funky type of beverage, with some light mocha notes, and with some hop aroma as well. Interesting but not powerful.
This is an interesting take, I normally wouldn't go for a black IPA and don't recall ever having done so. But i feel Stone balanced this brew quite well. It's like a DIPA and an RIS seamlessly combined. It works somehow. It has burnt lingering bitterness with a smooth, thick creamy mouthfeel. Still not a favorite style of mine, but this one is a good sipper. But then this just feels very dry at the finish.
Overall I thought this was easy to drink for such a big beer, but the abrupt drying finish held this back for me. A good combo of big ipa and darkness, but the impression left is strong, and then a chalky, metallic taste. Looks much better than everything else about it. Worth a try nonetheless. (954 characters)

Photo of bjohn84
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber that I accidentally forgot about in the back of the fridge

A - Black coffee with a thin layer of toffee brown head

S - Roasted notes with some small citrus

T - Numbing alcohol up front, but taste of it is well hidden. intense bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. Also a bittering hop comes through on the back end

M - Intense and def a full bodied sipper. Leaves a nice coating in the mouth

O - Intense to say the least. Because of the age on this one it comes across as much more of a RIS than IPA, but the bitterness is still there and it is still great stuff. Sad I can't try it fresh again to do a side to side with age (640 characters)

Photo of motorhed
3.81/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber that has been in the cellar for about 6 months.

A: Jet black in color with about two inches of dark brown head from an aggressive pour that dissipates slowly and leaves noticeable layers of lacing throughout the glass.

S: First thing i smell is an older hop smell, followed by sweet sugars, some roasty malts, and coffee.

T: It's like a beautifully balanced mix of a stout and an imperial IPA without the massive hop bomb bitterness. This brew also doesn't have any hint of alcohol heat.

M: The mouthfeel reminds me of a stout, full of sweetness, and smooth. Fair amount of carbonation, perfect for the style. Overall, very thick but expected of the style.

O: I love this brew. Overall, it's one of the best black IPA's i've ever had and it's an imperial none-the-less. One of the most solid brews from Stone i've had in a while. Hats off to Stone on this one! (878 characters)

Photo of dmatsui
2.22/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pitch black. 2 finger sticky, mud brown head. Lots of lacing.

Muddled blend of bitter hops, burnt cocoa, hazelnut and coffee. Not particularly inviting, an odd, unbalanced aroma that I found to be really off-putting.

Big hit of bittering hops forward, followed by dark roasty stout characteristics.

I really don't have much to say about this one. To me there's way too much going on, the hoppiness does not pair up well with the stout backbone, and it tastes like a mess. Stone always seems to want to take on huge hybrid beers, sometimes very successfully sometimes over-executed. This was honestly one of the worst beers I've had in a while.

Didn't finish the bottle.

I'm still scratching my head about this one; I thought I would've liked it. (751 characters)

Photo of abrand
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

23 ounce bottled August 2011 poured into pint glass

This pours a deep brown to almost black color with a tan 1 finger head that quickly fades. Smell is fairly sweet with chocolate with a nice malt backbone. Plenty of espresso and raisins on the nose as well. Taste is still pretty hot for being bottled for 1 year. Some caramel and sweet fruits with a very bitter roasted malt backbone. Hoppy finish. Quite complex. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Overall this is amazing. Full of complexity and still holding well after a year. (533 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black body with a rich, creamy tan head. Smell includes licorice, molasses, caramel, cocoa with a nice floral hop scent peaking through. Taste is toasty with a buttery feel. Bitter chocolate and slightly charred bread. A stiff bitterness pops up midway through the tasting and lingers through the finish. Alcohol warmth hits you along with the bitterness. Medium-heavy body, smooth and dextrous.

Rich, malty, and unforgettable. A must for heavy-hitting dark beer lovers. (478 characters)

Photo of Trueant1
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is not exactly true to style it seems. However, it is an excellent brew!

Pours like a stout. Black with a dark tan head. Thick lacing.

Cat urine like smells (many dipas have this), spice, alcohol and cat litter smells in the background.

Taste is heaven to me. Bitter/oily hops up front. Chocolate porters tastes abound. Alcohol booziness, oil, and extremely sweet malts come through as well. A nice "fresh hop" aftertaste surprise is what sets this brew apart. Wonderfully layered tastes!
Mouth-feel consists of fine carbonation, oil like slickness, and bitter aftertaste.

Great brew! (602 characters)

Photo of beer2day
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has the look of a classic dark stout. Opaque black pour with two fingers of very dark mocha head. Excellent head retention and lace. One of the best glasses of beer I've seen.

Nose is strong with roast malt and citrus hops. Very strong, if possible even too strong. Notes of chocolate under the roast and citrus, but you really have to hunt for it.

Chocolate, coffee, roast malt, dry hops all come in up front followed by a strong coffee, bitter chocolate, dry citric finish. Alcohol hides well, but you can feel the burn. Lots of complex flavors, but they seem to lack enough coherency to make this great. Pretty darn good, though.

Feel is a bout right. The hops give it a bit of a slippery, oily feel.

Overall, a very nice sipper. (738 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (300 characters)

Photo of paytonpowell
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
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! (1,645 characters)

Photo of mactrail
2.44/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is so sharply alcoholic. With the bitterness, it tastes like a Chinese medicinal wine. It also wins the prize for the weirdest, most unpleasant aroma for a non-spoiled beer. It's like a wet felt hat filled with the parsley silage from the back of the vegetable bin.

The stuff looks nice enough in the glass, though it's just black with a thin beige head. Not very drinkable overall. It just seems like some kind of hop joke. Mouthfeel is hard to tell. It makes my lips hurt.

Personally, I think they are toying with us. Or else it's a chemistry experiment from the Escondido High School science fair. At least Stone doesn't don't overcharge, so I sometimes lapse from better judgement to try one of their loopy brews. From the 22 oz bottle. Add a case of Olde English 800 for an excellent frat party. "Dude, see if you can keep this down!" (846 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown-black with a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts with pine and citrus hops, and some coffee, black licorice, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of orange and citrus hops, roasted chocolate malts, some bitterness, and some black licorice. Through the middle, some pine hops and bitterness comes through with some coffee and a touch of dark fruit. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, pine and citrus hops, bitterness, coffee, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry, bitter, roasty, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice big Black IPA. Lots of hops and enough roastiness for a good balance. (817 characters)

Photo of Beerlover
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing brew! Stone you Great glorious bastards! I love porters and i love ipas, especially imperial ones! this is not a porter but the blackness and roasty malts reminded me a bit of a porter with less coffee and or smokiness.

It looks dark and beautiful like a nice glass of porter or a mug of delish coffee. the smell for me was just average i didn't get much nose off the beer which is kinda sad but beer is for DRINKIN not SMELLIN !!

the taste is GLORIOUS! and i only use that word for my favs, i gave this beer a perfect 10 in my personal notes meaning i will buy it without hesitation if i ever find another bottle and I LOVE IT! flavors of roasted malts and hops perfectly balanced (im my own humble opinion)

i think my fav about this beer is the fact that it is an imperial brew, meaning it doesnt exactly have more hops in it or a higher i.b.u. but just that the alchohol content is higher than a normal brew of this type (when does Stone EVER have a "normal" brew with the exception of "arrogent bastard") the alchohol % on this beautiful beast of a brew is 10.5 %! AWE.SOME. and and normally anything over 9 I usually start to pick up at least slight booziness or tasting the "kick" but this, THIS is sooo smooth with no "booziness" apparent. PERFECT BALANCE!

ahh i wish i cud find another bottle to age a year or maybe two more. i think the fact that i aged this a bit in my fridge (6 months) really helped perfect this beer. i had split one with a buddy of mine a while ago (about 8 months) and do not rembember it being this great (maybe for lack of palate experiance... i suck at spelling sorry!) but yeah if u like dark ales and you happen to find this gem BUY IT or send it my way please!

this should be an all year relese. kinda like they did with "sublimely self righteous ale" maybe this should be called "sublimely self righteous 2" or how about "Super Sexy Swingin' Sublimely self righteous radical ass ale" idk maybe thats a bit overboard but to describe this ale, its just... undescribable! (again sorry about the spelling)

ohh and one more thig... IT GETS BETTER AS YOU DRINK IT, let it warm a bit i just got a hint of bittersweet chocolate! WHAT!??!

aaaand its done. no more left... SAD!! a tear is welling up in my eye. love this beer! "beerlover" LOVERS IT! done. d.u.n. (2,323 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (731 characters)

Photo of david131
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (595 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
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) (718 characters)

Photo of ccoff
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (359 characters)

Photo of animortician
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
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! (1,047 characters)

Photo of Dawgmeat
4.94/5  rDev +18.8%
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 ;-) (1,282 characters)

Photo of Giovacchini
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (533 characters)

Photo of vonnegut21
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (386 characters)

Photo of Hopstamon
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
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. (812 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
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! (969 characters)

Photo of JimmyTango
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (966 characters)

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 713 ratings.