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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
Ratings: 1,373 | Reviews: 711 | Show All Ratings:
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 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
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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
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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 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
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
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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 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
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.