Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

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

714 Reviews
For Trade:
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 08-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 714 | Ratings: 1,422
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter. Sampled 9/22/11.

A: Arrives with a fingers worth of thick, foamy, fluffy greyish brown colored head. Incredible retention. The body is dark brown - if not black. Lacing lays down with excellent coverage in barely interrupted sheets.

S: Nose is straight pine and very dank. Lightly grassy with some orangey-citrus pulling through. Earthy and lightly musty. Bitterness is evident even on the nose. The dark roasted grains pile on and compliment the bitter foundation that the hops provide.

T: Dark malts. Little-to-no coffee or chocolate flavor is, in my mind at least, a favorable quality in a Black IPA (or whatever we're calling it here). As it warms, baking chocolate makes an appearance. Acridness is definitely present.

M: Smooth and gritty at the same time - if that's even possible. Fine bubbles and a tingling carbonation gets the tongue ready for the next sip. And the dryness practically begs for it. Finishes well with long-lingering flavor.

O: Drinks like a West Coast-style Foreign Export Stout. The hop bill is wonderfully flavorful and the mouthfeel is so good that it enhances the flavor even more.

 1,140 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3 finger dark tan head with lots of lacing and some retention on a jet black body with a subtle hint of light getting through. lots of caramel and roasted malt aroma, fairly sweet with some coffee and hop hints. Flavor is excellent. I was worried from the smell that it would be too sweet but it was perfect. the roasted malt lingers nicely without too bad of an aftertaste. The hop bitterness is very pronunced for a black IPA. Drinkability is borderline but good enough. Moderate carbonation and full bodied. A very balanced roasted and hopped beer.

 551 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice beer, heavier on the hops than the roast. Pours jet black, with a very nice caramel covered head, 2 fingers probably. Even after sipping on this for awhile, the head is still there. Smells roastier than it tastes, but the hops still dominate. The taste particularly tastes strongly of herbal hops, with dill and citrus notes. Without looking at the color you wouldn't really even know this is a Black Ale. The aroma has a bit of chocolate and roasted grain along with those same citrusy and herbal hops. A little on the thick side, with real body, and with a nice lingering bitterness. Quite a nice package- the hops are the star here.

 647 characters

Photo of DCon
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle of this from Randall's Wine and Spirits in St. Louis, MO for $5.99. Poured from the Blue Iris/Black labeled bottle w/ Mr. Stone throwing up a cheers into a 16oz Tulip Glass. Does not have a freshness date on the bottle.

Aroma- Has a huge roasty start on the nose and then has an American hop flavor that pushes through. Great combo of aromas going on here, both black ale and imperial ipa like.

Appearance- Pours a 2 finger head that is dark brown and lasts for good time. Has a deepest brown colored body. Leaves good, dark lacing behind.

Flavor- Once again, dark and roasty comes out in the flavor and then has a awesome hop flavor. Light-Medium bitterness and finishes with a stout mix with roast. Very Clean.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, Roasty, and then perfect (american, strong) hops are left on the palate.

Overall Impression- While TRYING to give this Black-IPA style a chance, this is the one you need to go to! Awesome strength and just enough hop to push past the stout like attributes most Black-IPA's give you. Enjoyed GREATLY and keep your eyes out for this next year. Good one Stone!

 1,171 characters

Photo of collinmeyer
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best beers I've ever had. I was browsing my local liquor store and snagged the last bottle they had since I hadn't heard of it. To my dismay after tasting it and researching, I realized that the chance of my having it again was very slim.

This beer combines the best of an IRS, a double IPA and a stout. It is perfectly balanced and has just enough boozeyness for my taste. Coffee, chocolate, pine, west coast hops... Great beer. GO, STONE!

 452 characters

Photo of bigbubba
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If I hadn't poured it myself I would swear I was being served a baltic porter. It is black and the head is a drak tan. There is not much head. The aroma is very nice. Chocolate, toffee, caramel, but not real hoppy. The flavor is great and the mouthfeel is awesome. There are hops, but not so much that it overwhelms the delicious flavors from the dark malts. There is a bit of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is silky smooth.

I need to get out to the store and see if any of these are still available.

 510 characters

Photo of megahurts4
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stone Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Appearance: dark dark brown, medium-large head, and some good lacing.

Smell: roasted malts, hops, and molasses.

Taste: roasted malts, hops, brown sugar, and molasses.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy.

This is a great brew. It is very smooth and well crafted, not to mention well balanced. Hops are prevalent like all Stone brews, but less intense than most.

 403 characters

Photo of akk101
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle
A - Great looking printed bottle. Typical Stone with a very long description on the back. I don't know anyone who has actually read the whole thing. Black color with thick brown frothy head that lasts

S - Picking up some chocolate notes and hops

T - Roasted malt with pronounced hop presence at the end

M - Thick and full body

O - Great beer fromt Stone. Very drinkable; it didn't take me much time to finish it. It's like RIS and IPA collided.

 460 characters

Photo of alec7717
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark black and brown with a light white foamy head

S: Heavy hops and pine gives the beer good appeal before the first taste.

T: After a couple gulps you can taste the hoppy IPA as expected however it is smoother than the heavier IPA beer taste that is typically expected. Theres a hint of chocolate as your drinking.

M: It doesnt give the mouth a longlasting tingle that some IPA's give but gives a tasty coat on your mouth that lasts and gives the chocolate taste as well.
O: Delicious beer that I would definitely have again because of the smooth chocolate taste you get after the hoppy taste goes away but if your going for a more intense hop filled IPA go with something different

Serving type: On tap

 718 characters

Photo of Mahlik
3.46/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a shaker pint glass. Reviewed from notes (9/15/11).

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

S - Lots of in-your-face hoppiness dominate. Pine, resin and citrus are all present in the aroma. An underlying fruitiness.

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. A touch of citrus. 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. I'm usually torn on black IPAs. I probably won't seek this one out again. I like the hop profile but this beer borders on being too harsh. It's a little too unbalanced for my liking.

 914 characters

Photo of dbossman
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark, dark brown with a slight red tint and no head; decent lacing

S: Tons of pine, citrus, and floral hops with some boozy undertones; this smells incredibly hoppy and those hops seem to take the show over any malt undertones lurking beneath

T: Citrus and pine hop bitterness up front--and lots of it--a slight roasty grainy quality underneath; really, really hoppy and bitter--something a bit musty and strange in the finish--though I kind of like it; also some lingering chocolate and coffee poking through all those damn hops

F: Medium to think body; sticky and oily--just the way I like it

O: One of the hoppiest, stickiest beers that I have ever had; good stuff

 674 characters

Photo of kemoarps
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours black with a massive pillowy brown head that lingers nicely decorating the glass as I drink.

The nose is primarily hops with a nice roasty backdrop

There are waves of hot chocolate, and spiced coffee topped off , with a hop bitterness, finally tempered on the back end by warm caramel notes.

This is an amazingly smoothe and creamy beer. Definitely taste the alcohol, but it goes down like butter. Good carbonation and easily drikable.

I wasn't sure what to expect coming into this, but really enjoyed it. Grab some if you can.

 543 characters

Photo of jkanavel
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black with a pillowy, poofy, chocolate milk head. Very sticky rings lace the glass.

S: Charged with hops. Piny resinous pacific northwest style hop profile. Undertones of toasted pecans, and strong coffee.

T: Big hop explosion, very aromatic with solid bitterness. Next is a sweet but very earthy maltiness. Mild roasted notes. Not as assertive as a stout, and not as sweet or chocolaty as a porter. Very balanced.

M: Rich and creamy. Decent sparkle of carbonation.

O: This style of beer could easily be enjoyed as a pint, but I assume for cost reasons its served in a snifter, at least where I order it. I like to imagine that one day, some guy at the brewery was drinking a super hoppy IPA and decided he wanted some backbone to match the hop punch. Its not an imperial stout, its not really an IPA because its black. I dunno what it is. Its good stuff though.

 877 characters

Photo of dbell23
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Black with dark brown 1 finger head that leaves some lacing. Appearance is top notch.

Smells boozy, brandied fruit, with a slight hop. Reminds me of the moonshine that sometimes has added fruit like peaches or blackberries that we have here in Tennessee.

Taste is just this side of over the top. Burnt malt, strong coffee, super dark chocolate with dark fruit. You can really taste the alcohol. Almost sensory over load. Bitter sour aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is smooth but the taste overpowers it.

Overall I have to say that it's good but almost too much.

 596 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pour is motor-oil-black with a massive brown compact and creamy head. Dissipation is meidum-slow and leaves nice lacings.

S: The smell is awsome; lots of American floral and bitter hops; grapefruit and pine, together with moderatly roasted malts, some chocolate- some caramell- makes this very well balanced. The high ABV is not noticable - this smell is near perfection!

T: Bitter hops up front followed by roasted malts, chocolate with notes of coffee-beans - dry. Syrupy sweetness. Some burnt notes. And in the back; dark dried fruits. The alcohol is more present in taste compared to smell.

M: Short aftertaste, bitter and burned. Body is full while carbonation weak. Smooth but high ABV-presance.

O: A very complex and nice ABA. I hate myself for not buying a whole case...

 785 characters

Photo of warnerry
3.61/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours pitch black with one and a half fingers of creamy brown head. Head has nice retention and leaves spotty lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate malt and citrus hops, with some floral aromas as well. Definitely some alcohol in the nose. Good, but doesn't really grab me.

T - Still a good bitter hop presence after four months. Never had it fresh, so don't know how this compares. Significant chocolate malt and roasted malt presence throughout, a bit ashy. Citrus and grassy hops. Finish is dry and lingering bitterness.

M - Nice, creamy mouthfeel with a very bitter finish.

O - Good black ale, which is a style I have a hard time getting excited about. Nice bitterness, but a little too much ash from the malt component.

 724 characters

Photo of imasloth
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought bottle back in September and had it tucked in back of fridge until now (Bottle says to enjoy fresh so this may be an issue).

A- Poured into goblet the beer is midnight black, with a beautifully cafe-coloured head that is about an inch thick. the head dissipates slowly leaving a thin covering over the liquid. Spotty lacing.

S- When pouring the beer I was hit with the smell of bitter hops. From the glass they seem more citrsuy and floral and less overpowering. A bit sweet-smelling.

T- Surprisingly complex given the aroma profile. Hits first sweet and malty then followed by alcohol and bitterness. Some bitter chocolate flavor and the flowery hops in the aftertaste.

M- Smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel. Some bitter feeling while drinking that remains and maybe intensifies after swallowing.

O- Delicious and I recommend it if you happen upon it. I had one of these in September but hardly remember it amongst all of the alcohol and flavors of the evening. This is the first beer of the night and it's great, freshness be damned.

 1,042 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet back with a thick, rocky head that stays around quite a bit of time, leaving lacing.

The smell is very robust. Chocolate and coffee backed by aromatic hops. Smells inviting.

The taste is strong delicious. Chocolate and coffee intertwines with plenty of citrusy, resiny hops. Alcohol is certainly noticeable, but adds to the flavor and complexity by giving a palatable spiciness without overwhelming. Too often, this style clashes for me. But, here it works very well. A hoppy, bittersweet, complex, rich brew here!

The feel is silky smooth and full-bodied.

This is a wonderfully hoppy black ale that it very enjoyable! Another winner from Stone! Happy 15th!

 671 characters

Photo of cooncat
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another Stone anniversary beer. This one a black IPA, decanted into my SA glasses.

The pour produces a jet black beer, with an taupe head, that is beautifully rocky and substantial. It sticks around for a while, and lots of lacing is left behind. Very nice look.

The nose is lighter than I expected, but very balanced between a heavy dose of caramel malt, and citrusy hops. Perhaps if I let it warm up, the nose would be bigger, but its very balanced, which is what I've come to expect from Stone.

The taste is extremely well balanced. Caramel malts with notes of chocolate and roasted coffee come out, but are subdued by citrus and pine hops, probably magnum for bittering and amarillo or simcoe for flavor and aroma. So wonderful, it almost got the highest score, but I reserve that for perfection, which is rarely found.

Mouthfeel is huge .... almost chewy. This is a big, bold beer, with, which stands up to any food you could throw at it, including the hottest, spiciest wings you can find.

Overall, this is another brilliant beer from Stone. The balance is near perfection, and the mouthfeel is perfect for the style. Hard to find fault anywhere with this brew. Definitely one to search out. I paid $7.99 for a bomber .. well worth the price.

Na Zdravje!

 1,266 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured an opaque black mahogany with thick tan head.
S: It smelled like fresh citrus and some dried mango and floral hops, with a little roasted barley and dark chocolate.
T: It tasted like bitter citrus zest and copper hops, with roasted barley and black coffee, and a little sweet mango and dry dark chocolate. It had a dry bitter aftertaste that was clean but a bit harsh.
M: It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a very nice black IPA with good look and scent and taste, but the body was only ok. The alcohol was hidden pretty well, but it had a harsh bitterness and burnt character in the finish, so it wasn't entirely easy to drink. I'd love to try this side-by-side with Sublimely Self-Righteous to see which I prefer, but this was solid on its own.

 800 characters

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this both on draft and in the bottle and I have finally gotten around to reviewing it. Shared with Alucard4 and some friends at our Christmas party

Look: Black with 1/2 inch tan head and great retention

Smell: Roasted malts mixed in with some floral and bitter hops

Taste: The beer starts off just as the nose leaves you off. Upfront is a massive amount of bitter and floral hops and mixed together with the roasted malt and form a kind of candy sweetness. The beer then finishes with some nice coffee and chocolate notes

Mouthfeel: Medium body and ample carbonation

Overall: A very good Black IPA note as good as they sublimely self righteous but damn close

 674 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a pitch black color with a thick toffee colored creamy head, and gentle carbonation.

S - Crisp roasted chocolate malt with a citrus zing and some floral notes, a little bit grassy.

T - Boozy, and finishes with a citrus roasted mouthfeel. Roasted malt in the middle, slight warming on the way down, and leaves a bitter roasted chocolate and citrus aftertaste. Compared to other Black IPA's, this one is pretty bold for a black IPA.

M - Medium to full body, a little chewy, velvey smooth, and semi-dry.

When it comes to the Black IPA's, I could take 'em or leave 'em because they leave my palette confused and I don't enjoy the clash of the chocolate and IPA nuances. However, this particular beer is worth checking out. I can't see this beer keeping a long time before the hops fade and turn it into a chocolate IPA. (This review is being written from notes that were taken on 9/14/11 when I sampled it on tap.)

 924 characters

Photo of TechTriumph
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes on 12/02/11:
Bottled: Aug 2011; Poured in a pint glass.

A - Half inch thick creamy tan head; Very close to black - just a hint of dark brown along the edges when held to the light; Some lacing around the glass

S - Grapefruit smelling hops; Sweet chocolate with some roasted coffee beans; Dark fruits as well; Loving the smell of this

T - Some bitterness hits up front with some pine and grapefruit hops; Roasted coffee beans follow accompanied by biscuity and slight chocolate qualities; Some alcohol is present in the beginning; A good dose of bitterness stays throughout the taste

M - Lots of carbonation; Higher side of medium bodied; Pretty smooth feel that leaves a slight citrus oily coat on the tongue; A little warmth from the alcohol is also detected

O - This beer has really broadened my horizons in mixing the stout and IPA styles...and it's awesome. At first, the flavors in this beer didn't mesh like I had hoped. However, after having a chance to warm, it really reached a nice balance of hops and malt flavors. Stone really did a nice job on this beer, and I'm pleased I had the chance to enjoy this. I am excited to see what direction other breweries take with this new and growing style.

 1,220 characters

Photo of rarbring
3.23/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is very dark, black, a good brown head leaving some lacing and having good curtains.

The smell is very intense, dates, grass, herbs, flowers, a perfume character.

Starting with sweet brown bread, dark dried fruits, then loads of fruity and bitter hops. Tropical fruits, grape-fruit peel.

Light carbonation, soft, sticky and oily, a huge body and a very dry finish.

Actually I found the hops a bit too much and clashing with the sweetness.

 451 characters

Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.31/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 6 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Marked August 2011.

Appearance - Black body. Medium brown head with good retention and good stick.

Smell - Tons of wet grassy hop. Olives and soy sauce. Pungent.

Taste - Peppery. Acidic. Tons of hop. Almost fishy. Enormous lime peel bitterness in the body, finish, and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - This facet dominates the profile. Very solvent and acidic. So bitter i can't tell if it's medium bodied, though I suspect it. Head offers some creaminess.

Overall Drinkability - This is one of the most in-your-face beers I've had since Ruination. This beer is no joke.

 613 characters

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 714 ratings.