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

712 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 712
Hads: 1,418
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 58
Gots: 137 | 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: 712 | Hads: 1,418
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)

Photo of larryi86
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (408 characters)

Photo of Ego
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
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 (1,830 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (843 characters)

Photo of MagicJeff
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
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. (887 characters)

Photo of yokken
2.61/5  rDev -37.3%
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. (1,401 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (787 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
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. (634 characters)

Photo of Speedstan
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
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. (809 characters)

Photo of AlCzerik
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (317 characters)

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (260 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
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! (599 characters)

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 712 ratings.