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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 cvm4
cvm4

Mississippi

3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Damn if it doesn't pour black as a stout. Has a nice tan head to it. Great lacing once drunk down.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate and kinda hoppy.

T - The roasted malts and bitter chocolate decided to fight with the hops as a referee.

M - Medium to full with great carbonation.

O - The hops and the roasted malts work wonderfully together. This is a must try!

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 23:48:07 | More by cvm4
Photo of TCHopCraver
TCHopCraver

Michigan

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes taken on 11/3/11.

This Black IPA pours very dark brown to black with a light brown, one-finger head into a large snifter. The body is impenetrable by the eye with great, quick-rushing carbonation when agitated. The lacing is exquisite- fine and detailed.

The smell is a great blend of hefty chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, biscuit malt, prominent pine, citrus, grass and herbal hop aromas. This is a very deep and complex bouquet. As it warms a bit, the hefty malt profile takes over.

Wow, that is a huge flavor! The first wave is of roasted, chocolate malt, followed by a burst of pine and grapefruit hop profile. At the finish, thick malts and hops merge together to combine into a truly delicious beer. The aftertaste is hop bitterness, a little booze, and a lingering roastiness.

As one might expect from the ingredients, the mouthfeel is a combination of a medium-full coating malt presence and a puckering hop bitterness. The finish carries a bit of a boozy sting, along with a dry pucker from the piney and grapefruity hops.

I really like this beer. It is a big, bad Black IPA that really showcases the strong maltbill and a kickass hop profile. Very roasty, very chocolate-y, but also bitter and hoppy. Lovely.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 23:02:15 | More by TCHopCraver
Photo of doucmehu
doucmehu

Wisconsin

3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally posting review from notes taken in early October '11, enjoyed on vacation in Duluth.

A: Very dark mahogany, nearly black with a thin mocha head that runs away quickly. Some moderate lacing

S: Roasted sweet malts, chocolate, dark fruits, with grassy and tropical fruit hops taking a back seat.

T: Big tropical and grapefruit hops up front are met with big, bold malty chocolate, roasted coffee, slight esters, and finish with mild bittering sticky hops.

M: Smooth and full bodied, but the alcohol stands out and detracts a bit. Nice carbonation, and it isn't too sticky or bitter.

O: Almost like a bitter hopped American stout. Alcohol is very present as well, this might actually age ok as it is not so hop forward. Solid big beer, but nothing too outside the box.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 05:37:17 | More by doucmehu
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon

Rhode Island

4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review adapted from notes taken 9/18/11

Appearance: Black, black color with a tan head - fades to some slightly-above average lacing

Smell: Utterly ridiculous, like a freshly opened yet charred bag of hop pellets - super burnt and super hoppy - roasty, with a ton of chocolate malts and dry, baker's chocolate

Taste: Epic levels of dry, unsweetened chocolate - very bitter - burnt, roasted, chocolate malts, dark chocolate, dark coffee - tons of hops - citrus, orange peels, orange flesh, grapefruit, pine needles, a touch of tropical - hops and burnt malts are a two-pronged bitterness assault

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, a touch creamy, nicely carbonated, a nice, roasty burnt aftertaste

Overall: Too good for a one-time release

This beer is nothing short of great. Much like Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, I hope this is resurrected in the future. This is a great example of why people that think Stone is overrated should be punched in the face.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 07:53:06 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of JohnnyMc
JohnnyMc

Ohio

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

Had 7 bottles fresh and decided to age one! 2011 vintage woo!!

Pours out completely black with 2 fingers of a deep, khaki head.

The aroma has a decent amount of roast, some chocolate, some dark fruit, a little bit of caramel and vanilla and hints of coffee.

The taste is very much an Imperial Stout type of taste at this point. Basically no hops at this point, but there are a lot of roasted notes followed by some bittersweet dark chocolate and a ton of dark fruit; figs, plums and dates along with a hint of vanilla and toffee.

The body is full and mouthfeel is creamy. No alcohol on the aroma or taste or even warming as it goes down.

This has really transformed from the Black IPA/American Black Ale/CDA that it was to a very nice and complex Imperial Stout. The hops are way gone, but that allows for many other elements to come forth! Extremely enjoyable with age and I hope Stone will do this one again!

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2012 07:01:40 | More by JohnnyMc
Photo of JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

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

Had at iTap over the weekend.

Pours a very dark dark black almost crude oil color. There is a nice dark tan head that forms that is about .25 inches tall. The head is nice and sticky and sticks around for a while.

Very piney and hopy. Quite resiny with some nice sticky hop notes. Pure grassy and earthy hop notes. The aroma is very hop forward with some mild chocolate notes and roast on the background kind off teasing and enticing you.

Very good flavor. The hops have faded a bit IMO. Notes of pine and grassy "herbal" earthiness with some slight west coast citrusness in there. The malt notes creep in quick after the hop forward style. Nice roasted burnt malt notes mixed in with some chocolate and slight coffee notes. This is perfectly balanced with the hop notes and brings this beer full circle. The hops are definitely take center stage and are balanced well by the malt notes. Amazing brew.

This brew is sooo delicious. Very well done by Stone. They nailed this style. Intense hop notes and resinous pine with some nice roasted notes that work so well with the hops.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2012 01:55:59 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of zac16125
zac16125

South Carolina

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

22oz bomber poured into a snifter
Dated Aug 2011-I'm a little late on this but saw there were only 2 bottles left at the beer store, and since I am a huge fan of the sublimely self righteous I figure I needed to try this one

A: pours a dark dark brown, almost but not quite black, with just over 1 fingers width of pretty dense light mocha colored head.  decent retention but dissipates down to leave a thin outer ring, and leaves only mild spotty lacing.  

S: the hops are noted first, then the sweet malts, however, the malts are more prominent.  Caramel, sweet dark fruits, very mild roasted characters, and a touch of bakers chocolate.  Dark fruits and sugary malt sweetness certainly  predominant though and i would agree with others in that the aroma is reminiscent of a barley wine .

T: Roasty, dark chocolate, coffee, and hop bitterness.  Very complex, and this is all in the first sip!  Some dark fruits as well, although not nearly as much as the nose implies. Boozy and with some piney hop bitterness.  The alcohol presence is legit, with a bigger impact than I would have liked and at times get distracting.   As it warms the hop bitterness becomes more prominent as do the dark choloclate flavors.  What you end up with is complexity in each sip....malt sweetness upfront, followed by chocolate and roasted characters, and finishing with a hop bitterness. Just so good when the alcohol is under check.  I never really got much citrus character from the hops, a touch of grapefruit and maybe some lemon zest was all, but thats likely because of the age of the brew.  I would loved to have tried this one fresh.  Overall, I really dig the flavor profile, I think it's very complex and delicious, I just wish the alcohol presence was a little more subdued.

M/D: surprisingly smooth, coats the palate nicely, full bodied, appropriate carbonation, the ABV makes it a little harsh at times, but it's so smooth so the drink ability remains relatively high, and I love the mouthfeel .  

O: Overall, definitely a brew that I really enjoyed.  It's hard to judge this beer based on the style, because I swear every Black IPA I taste is completely different.  Nevertheless though, this is a damn fine beer.  Stone never disappoints.  I hope they continue this one and move it past the anniversary ale status so I can try it fresh the next time around.  I will say that I think their regular version of the Black IPA, Sublimely Self Righteous, is better.  but then again that one is probably in my top 10 favorite beers of all time so it's obviously hard to top.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2012 01:08:51 | More by zac16125
Photo of bucklemyshoe
bucklemyshoe

Georgia

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

22 oz bottle. Tulip/snifter.

A: Black as night with a finger of light khaki head.

S: Strong floral hops, roasted malts, alcohol.

T: Strong citrus and floral hops, chocolate, and espresso roastiness.

M: Average thickness (shocking, given it's strong flavors).

O: This is much more potent than it tastes and feels. Also, it leans more toward DIPA with the roastiness being considerably downplayed.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2012 14:55:03 | More by bucklemyshoe
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled August 2011
A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a four finger thick, dark brown colored head. The head is very dense and leaves lots of thick lacing as it slowly subsides with a very rocky surface with deep crevices in it. The beer is an opaque, dark, black color. The aroma smells of candied citrus fruit and berries that is backed by a rich, roasted, and burntly sweet-rich malt character; this last has notes of dark chocolate and something like coffee syrup (though not nearly so sticky sweet). The roasted character leans more towards huge toasted grain notes, which is good as burnt notes would really clash with the hops. The combination of roast malt and fruity hops combine to contribute a spiciness to the nose that reminds me of a christmass cake flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and allspice.

Sweet dark malt helps support a big candied citrus zest character, roasted lychee and super ripe tangelo zest. This is backed by a huge herbaceous pine character that transforms into a huge, aggressive bitterness that is a combination of hops as well as the burnt / roast malt; the bitterness, really, really lingers on in the palate, when you take another sip the bitterness is there up front only slightly tempered by the rich malt character. This has a fair amount of body to it, though the bitterness in the finish is easily able to clean up the palate from the somewhat viscous, medium’ish body; actually the body of this beer is actually fairly light considering the strength of this beer. The roast character in this beer is actually a lot more aggressive than in a typical Black IPA; it contributes lots of burnt, black malt notes, some burnt grain husk character, a big toasted whole grain character (though this is more significant in the aroma), and a supporting, not really noticeable in and of itself, dark malt sweetness.

I can’t believe I am saying this, but the bitterness is so huge that it is distracting me from the other flavors in this beer; one could look at this as a good thing given that this beer would likely be a clashing, jarring fight between the vibrant American hop character and the burnt / roast malt notes, but really hiding this clash doesn’t make this beer better, especially since these Black IPAs always end up being a clash between these two components to some degree no matter what. If you are in the mood for an aggressive, cacophonous ride of a beer, then this beer certainly fits the bill; I am actually even enjoying it a bit more than I would have guessed in the end, especially given how harsh the flavor is.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 03:27:27 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of travolta
travolta

California

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

App: Black, not even another color around the edges when up to the light. Head retention is minimal. Nice lacing. A foamy, espresso colored head.

Nose: Licorice and dark candied fruits, slight alcohol notes, some dark berries, roasted dark coffee.

Taste: Typical Stone....perfect carbonation. Very balanced and subtle at first, which breaks way into multiple licorice, coffee and toffee flavors. Chocolate and toffee maltiness throughout.

Notes: A nice example of a Black IPA. Is it Imperial, or was this just a well balanced version? I'm not sure. Head retention was not typical Stone, everything else was top notch. Always a good quality beer with Stone.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 03:55:24 | More by travolta
Photo of Vierenner
Vierenner

Ohio

3.05/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I purchased this beer only because the store limited its sale to one per customer ... I thought that meant it was something special.

While good, I can't see what all the fuss is about. Nothing special, really.

I taste coffee, chocolate, and a bitterness which ruins everything for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 23:19:38 | More by Vierenner
Photo of TwelveOunces
TwelveOunces

Kentucky

4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber poured into a tulip.
August 2011, Enjoy fresh.
Four months late on this one but...

A- Pitch black, a quarter finger of a khaki brown head with little retention. Nice lacing.
S- A nice hoppy aroma up front, would have been better if I did have this fresh but still, Im not disappointed. A slight bit of coffee malts, and some burnt caramel. A little alcohol but I wouldnt have guessed it was over 10%. Hops are very piney with some overly ripened citrus.
T- A lot of hop bitterness up front followed by a good heap of coffee and caramel and possibly even chocolate malts. Piney hops and some astringency to it, traces of what this beer once was. But the bitterness is perfectly balanced. I really cant taste the alcohol surprisingly.
M- This beer is way too easy to drink. Leaves behind an appropriate ammount of bitterness and a coating mouth feel. a creamy aftertaste. Awesome stuff.
O- This beer is awesome, I think it is as good as their self richeous ale just a little different (and bigger). I cant help but think that if I had this beer fresh it would have scored a perfect 5 but unless they re-release it I may never know.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 10:24:47 | More by TwelveOunces
Photo of Zimbo
Zimbo

United Kingdom (Scotland)

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

Deep black roasted tar nose which is sharply intense and penetrating. In the glass it is jet black and gives at least a half inch light brown glossy head. Interesting how it pours seeminglessly headless only to form something big and beatifull in just a few seconds.
The taste is tense, intense of dark liquorice, dark 100% cocoa chocolate, some silky earth which is superbly roasty dry and supported by deep pine. A vibrant TCP monster of measured intensity. Some slightly fizzy gas at the end does not distract from this potent glass of superb lethal jet fuel.
Bit of a predator. With large talons.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 22:06:46 | More by Zimbo
Photo of hopfacebrew
hopfacebrew

Colorado

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

Poured from undated bottle to pint glass. The beer pours a thick black color. Nice 1.5 finger tan head with good retention and lacing. The aroma is mostly roasted barley. I do recall a nice citrus west coast hop aroma of the bottle I cracked the day it hit the shelves many months ago. The hop aroma has certainly faded, as to be expected. Still a nice aroma. The flavor follows suit, the hops again have faded but not so much as to ruin the beer, the roasty malt together with a medium bitterness and mild hop flavor is still nice. The alcohol heat is prevalent and reminds you this beer is over 10%abv. The beer finishes smooth with a lingering chocolate flavor. Full bodied and really coats the palette. Overall, the beer is still good. I obviously preferred the fresh hop character several months back but this is still good, though perhaps more of a hopped up stout, which is fine. Another fine beer from Stone.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 14:00:28 | More by hopfacebrew
Photo of Keffa
Keffa

Ohio

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

Live Review, bomber poured into my Duvel tulip.

A: Pours black with a massive tan head, settles to a full cap, leaves small but abundant lacing everywhere. The best Black IPA I've seen to date, hands down.

S: Odd, yet good: Grassy, spicy, resinous, pungent hops off the bat, honestly reminds me of the Northern Brewer hops that I used in my first homebrew. Some coffee and roast notes come through as well as some chocolate and citrus notes under that. Nice.

T: Again, odd yet good. Bitter resinous hop up front, followed by the roast and citrus notes, then takes a back seat to the ABV and more bitterness. ABV is noticeable, if not in your face. Long, bitter and dry finish. Nice.

M: Hefty body, nicely carbonated, and oily, coating the palate well. Nice.

O: Really good. Bottle said bottled in August 2011. I could only imagine this beer fresh, it's good and hoppy now, I'm betting fresh it was a total hop bomb. Good beer, and even if you see it now, it's held up well in my humble opinion. Worth trying for sure.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 04:11:45 | More by Keffa
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung

Maryland

4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Williamsburg Winery wine glass.

A: Pours an unbelievably black body along with a light tan colored head. This has an insane head for 10.8%, with incredible retention and lacing. Aesthetically, an amazing beer.

S: The best descriptor of the smell is chocolate-glazed grapefruit. Not the smoothest blend of flavors to me, but it does smell nice.

T: Starts with some subtle, roasty chocolate and coffee, while it finishes with a textbook grapefruit hop/slight booze finish. Not much in the way of pine notes, and in terms of booziness, it comes across like it's 9%, rather than almost 11%. I was worried that the roast/chocolate wouldn't mix with the hop character, but my fears were assuaged. Excellent.

M: This doesn't have the sticky, palate killing finish like SOME Stone beers (cough Arrogant Bastard cough), which in this situation, is good. Nicely heavy-bodied, with high carbonation and a warming alcohol finish.

O: It was worth getting too drunk after drinking 2/3rds of this, throwing up half of my dinner an hour later, waking up with a solid hangover at 5:00 AM, and being completely sick of anything alcoholic for a couple days after having this. That is all.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 00:59:24 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of RustyTide
RustyTide

California

4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, well, I had this a while back now, but I wanted to give it some props.

A: Pitch black with approx 1 inch dark tan colored head with good retention and nice lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted malts, great bitter hops.

T: Very bitter hops with roasty, dark chocolate and caramel malts.

M: Thick full body, moderate carbonation.

Overall: This was an outstanding beer, one of my favorite Black IPAs so far. I miss it dearly. I had plenty of it while it was around, I hope it comes back. Stone....thank you.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 09:35:31 | More by RustyTide
Photo of pjs234
pjs234

Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Stone RIS glass. This beer is almost pitch black and had a solid 3 finger head that faded quickly with very minimal lacing. The head was very pretty, as it was a nice tan color, contrasting well with this thick black beer. The smell is sweet, roasty, hoppy, with a hint of alcohol. I am really digging the smell of this beer. The taste is great and very similar to the smell. It starts off a tad sweet and chocolately, and then the roasty flavors and hops take over resulting in a bitter flavor, with a hint of coffee. There is a touch of detectible alcohol, which is to be expected when the abv is 10%+. The mouth feel is smooth with just about the right amount of carbonations.

Overall, I really like this beer and it is one of my favorite Black IPA's.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 03:18:26 | More by pjs234
Photo of nrs207
nrs207

Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

Pours black. No light getting through this one. Creamy tan head. Aggressive pour leads to a 1.5 finger head into a tulip.

The smell is roasty, chocolate. Some muted hops, however I had this on tap in August right after it was brewed and the hops were fantastic and assertive. Obviously after 5 months the hops will settle somewhat.

The taste is chocolate and alcohol. The hops have faded over time unfortunately, but it is still a great flavor. Just turned into more of a hoppy stout than a roasty IPA. I wouldn't call either better, just depends on your taste. I prefer a lot of hops, so back when it was fresh it was more my style. I think with another 6 months on this thing I would be in love with it as a hopped up stout. This is what Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout should be if it had more hops. I get way more chocolate and a much better mouthfeel than BCS.

Very smooth mouthfeel. Really coats the mouth, and definitely a sipper at 10.8%.

Overally, I can't recommend this enough. Unfortunately being a hop forward beer, it was meant to be had fresh (says drink fresh on the bottle). It's the best Black IPA I've had to date, without a doubt.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2012 04:29:21 | More by nrs207
Photo of rdilauro
rdilauro

Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours like a dark rich stout. I have had a number of other Black IPAs and this pours the same way. A little but tan creamy head, that does not last that long
The difference ends here between stouts and black IPAs. Once I put my nose into the glass, all that came out was nice and strong HOPS. Closing my eyes, I am thinking like Stone's Bastard Ales, not as hoppy as Ruination.
I have to admit, my first taste was somewhat disappointing. I think it was perhaps that I was looking for that rich full stout flavor, but instead, it was much thinner, still nice The mouthful didnt last all that long. From the initial sip till the end, was so very quick, I was hoping for a little more flavour.
The finish was very quick. Hoppy to the end, made you make sure this was an IPA and not a stout

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 00:33:57 | More by rdilauro
Photo of schlimenhaumer
schlimenhaumer

New York

3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the standard pressure cap bottle into a nonic pint glass at low altitude.

A: Pours pitch black with a 1-2 finger mocha colored head of decent retention. Nice lacing here.

S: Dark chocolate, caramel malts, fairly prominent bittering hops. Like a stout, this one definitely smells dark. I feel I may have waited too long to buy this one as the hops smell a bit less prevalent than expected for a black IPA.

T: Dark chocolate and a sweet caramel malt body up front with and bitterness throughout that really takes over on the finish. I'm sure the hop character would have been stronger and more pleasant if I bought this one a bit fresher.

M: Full-bodied and slick with a little bit of carbonation. I feel that this one could have done with some more carbonation.

D: From the taste, I never would have guessed this one is 10.8% ABV -- it conceals the alcohol content very well. The dark chocolate and sweet malt notes were a bit overpowering, but the balance may have been better if I had this fresh. While it was pretty good, I don't think I would buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 01:55:41 | More by schlimenhaumer
Photo of alkemy
alkemy

Ohio

4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Out of the bomber…

A- To call it dark brown would be a misnomer. It’s so dark, let’s just call it black. There is some ruby highlighting around the edges of the glass when held to light. More than an inch of smoky taupe head that shrinks to about a quarter inch and then has plenty of staying power.

S- Very strong pine in the nose. Has a wet, swampy quality to it. There’s also a faint smoky molasses in the background.

T- Taste is complex. A bit like a barleywine right off the bat. Then some dark fruit quickly followed by the strong hop character. Smokiness intermingles, but really lingers in the finish. This sh*t’s good. It’s got a hint of the taste characteristics of a barleywine, with the strong pine goodness and some smokiness.

M- It’s silky smooth, but also has quite a bit of bite from the carbonation…silk at first and pine needles directly thereafter.

D- High. Smoky, pine finish leaves me wanting drink after drink. Alcohol is extremely well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 21:31:36 | More by alkemy
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours black. Looks opaque at first but if held right up to a light, it has some deep and intense ruby hues. Two fingers of chocolatey mocha foam with nice stick as it melts down.

Aroma - spicy grapefruit, almost juniper-like. Some char to the roasty grain aroma.

Taste - the sweet malty grain has a roasty element to it, but you better find it and enjoy quickly. The hops hit heavy, hard, and with intent. Wow, a rush of pine and grapefruit rind, a total alpha wash but little if any medicinal factor for a hoppy brew that could easily go there. The swallow brings in some balancing roasty malt and some abv heat. Not much indication that this is double-digit strength. The finish is a palate scraping bitterness, dryness occurring from the hops and the black malts. Lots of lingering flavor here, no need to rush the bottle.

Mouthfeel - my first impression was smooth like a milk stout or RIS but this got modified as I progressed to a lighter but still smooth feel. The carbonation is about as big as it can be and still be complementary.

Drinkability - top notch, a special entry for the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 03:13:31 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of duckrabbitfan
duckrabbitfan

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark with appreciable head and nice lacing. This was a beauty to just look at.

Surprised by my first smell. More sweetness to it than I thought.

Incredibly balanced taste. Incredibly delicious. For something so dark and hoppy I was amazed at its personality.

If i could capture the aftertaste I would keep it forever. Made me say outloud to my drinking buddy, "hahahaha,... wow. this. this is good."

Had the pleasure of trying this black IPA a few months ago and I still talk about it with friends. The taste is just wonderful. Would try it again and again, for sure!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 02:41:56 | More by duckrabbitfan
Photo of tlazaroff
tlazaroff

Virginia

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

This beer is what comes to mind when I think of an American Black Ale! The nose has ZERO roast, coffee, or chocolate on it what so ever. Instead, I get a beautiful floral, citrusy, and piney bouquet of hop aroma. It is quite perplexing and wonderful.

Escondidian Imperial Black IPA pours out pitch dark. It's the kind of dark that would make you afraid of the dark. It's topped by a persistent mocha head.

Roast comes though on the flavor in the finish. It lingers as well, quite presently. The hops mimic the aroma and are a punch in the mouth from the first sip, and they hold up to the beer nicely. The malt is really pronounced as well in the aforementioned roast notes, as well as light coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is strange on this one. It's full bodied, but finishes completely dry. It's carbonation is on the moderate side. Again, it's perplexing.

Stone are kings of the American Black Ale, if Sublimely Self Righteous doesn't convince you, this one will.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2012 04:47:57 | More by tlazaroff
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.