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

Not Rated.
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,412 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,412
Reviews: 713
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 55
Gots: 139 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,412 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WereBot
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of ccoff
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of paytonpowell
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Intensely black with an inch and a half of a frothy mocha head from an aggressive pour that does not slowly diminish but rather hangs about like a root beer float. I noticed an apparent viscosity during the pour of this thick black libation.

S: A thorough blast of aged hops that mellows into a cappuccino like aroma with serious notes of strong black coffee and a mild hinting layer of dark chocolate. There is hardly a trace of alcohol in the nose or urgent pungency of fresh hops.

T: My initial impression was rather torn, as it splits the difference between an Imperial IPA and an Imperial Stout. The first sip brings the tongue the heavy caramelized malts of an Imperial IPA, tiny amounts of hop bitterness alert ones sense of taste of something that never truly arrives: a full Imperial IPA. Instead this initial confusion eases into thick dark chocolate malt and mild coffee like bitterness of a proper stout. This warm rich taste lingers enduringly with pleasant stale citrus like hoppy taste much to my delight. Reminiscent of orange chocolate.

M: Thick!!! Just a slight presence of effervescence remains and the really truly brings this beer into the stout real with a full-bodied heavy mouthfeel thick, sticky and rich.

O: This brew has most effectively descended into the realm of the stouts after a solid year of aging. Almost all hop presence has faded into the background minus a surprisingly stale aged hop aroma. I never thought aging such creation would lead to such a pleasantly drinkable behemoth but it definitely has me intrigued as to what aging similar brews will lead to. Definitely a success in experimentation!

Photo of CyclingLush666
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance on this beer is what I thought was most impressive. Even though this is a great beer across the board, I thought how it looked right after I poured it is what made me really like it. The head on the beer was about 3 fingers thick and a very tan color. The beer looks like it could be a stout, but does not taste like one.

The smell is very nice, with a hoppy smell and a hint of chocolate. It smells like a stone, but that has much more too it then just barley and hops.

The taste is more complex than most stone's, that it has a flavor other than hops and barley. It looks like a stout tastes like an IPA but not bitter at all. It has that sweet chocolate taste that makes it very nice.

The mouthfeel has a medium body. Nothing that heavy but its also pretty dark so don't expect to just put it down.

I would try this beer, at around 8 bucks with over 10% its worth trying for sure. It has a nice rich taste, and is a lot different than most of the stone's.

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

Poured from bomber to pint glass, with 2 finger head, body is absolutely black as night. Heavy lacing followed from top to bottom.

Smells very strong of piney hops, close to burnt. Touch of coffee, malts and slight sweetness.

Very strong taste of hops up front into a roasted flavor followed by coffee and minor chocolate taste. Seems to finish with a tart fruity flavor. 10% is noticeable but not imposing.

Bitter fruity flavor medium body average carbonation.

Overall very nice beer great hop heavy flavor, accompanied by roasted fruit and small amounts of chocolate. 10% is nice bonus to a good tasting beer.

Photo of TrustOneSip
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of theklep
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the mother of black IPA's. From the toasted coffee, to the hoppy finish this beer has the flavor complexes many beers try to have just one of. This beer is obviously a winner. People in my inner circle don't have a bad thing to say about it. In fact, they can't get enough of it. For $6 a bottle it is well worth the price for a bomber that offers such complexity and ABV. 10.8% tastes like 4% in the best way possible. Words, again do not do justice to the subtle notes of fruit and barely that swirl around in your mouth. Go forth and seek this master brew. You will not be sorry. Dark and gothic. But oh so rewarding.

Photo of brwayne72
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Photo of harleybella
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of SGplayer84
4.78/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at Bangers and Lace in Chicago in a 9oz Sniffer. Last week of 8/11

A-Black IPA, very dark. Looks like a stout save has a little more chocolate looking head to it. Very Opaque.

S-Smells Hoppy/pinecombs, grapfruits, with a tad bit of Coffee to the nose, interesting, let's continue...

T-Explosion of Hops, big American aroma hops with a nice roasty coffee taste towards the end. Hits like 5-6 sensations in my head. Wonderful, wonderful wonderful.

M-The body isn't quite stout like(not big or thick) but its not light like an APA. Its right where a double/imperial IPA needs to be body wise. Which is very interesting considering its like 10.4%.
O-Solid brew. It's almost like a double version of the Sublimely Self-Righteous ale. I am really crossing my fingers on them keeping this one around, but I doubt it. I know that the bombers from stone are very reasonably priced, but i would pay $2-$3 extra to have this one year round. Solid Brew and should be the benchmark for all ICDAs/DBIPAS in the future. I would love to have the recipe to recreate this(if I can...) Do try as its amazing.

Photo of SlyFox21
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bottle poured into an Arrogant Bastard Ale Pint Glass

Appearance - Pours and inky black, with about a 1 finger thickness head. There is literally no light shining through this beer, excellent appearance for the style.

Smell - Strong of hops, and ever so slightly of toasted malts. But mostly hops.

Taste - Heavy on the hops, and noticeably of toasted malts, but again mostly hops. Has a good after taste of hops, lingers for a long while.

Mouthfeel - Feels about right, very thick for an IPA. What I wanted for an imperial Black IPA. Not as thick as an imperial stout, but has the feel of a lighter stout. Very good.

Overall - An excellent Black IPA. Good appearance, taste, aroma, and mouth-feel, worth seeking out if you like hoppy black IPAs.

Photo of Mfratkin
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of sklinger990
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a tulip glass.

A- Almost completely opaque, black. Creamy-coffee colored head. Quite beautiful, in a dark, you-don't-know-me type of way.

S- Bright hoppy and roasty dark at the same time. This typically is nonsensical, but it is a wonderful balance of both.

T- Oh, oh my. Before I get into the flavors, just know to taste this beer, you need like two minutes per sip. It's like every beer I've had in one. Hoppy, piny, citrus up front, slowly sliding into a spicy malty, breadyness, flowing even more slowly into a coffee, roasted grain, mocha finish that is both rich yet dry. World class, no doubt.

Overall- I've loved Stone for quite some time, but this beer strikes deep into my beer soaked soul. Liquid excellence.

Photo of Wassamatta
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of GANIMAL
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black motor oil color with a nice tan creamy head that quickly dissipates after the pour into the glass.

S - Very nice aromatic hoppiness/floral scent. No strong alcohol scent that you would expect from a 10.8% beer.

T - Very enjoyable, smooth taste with the perfect amounts of hop flavor. The hops are not overpowering and the alcohol is hidden in flavor with hints of a roasted flavor.

M - Very smooth creamy feel to it that makes you want to drink more.

O - Very good IPA as this is my first black IPA. The proportions of flavor are very well balanced and the hoppy flavor does not overpower the beer as some IPA's do. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that is looking for a good IPA.

Photo of alec7717
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
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

Photo of ChoppedHeads
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of johnnysky16
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle.

A - Fantastic looking beer. Could be mistaken for a stout with its thick head and midnight black color.

S - I definitely get a smell of hops. Great smell.

T - For the alcohol content this is a really smooth beer. Easy drinking. Has the hop flavor and malt in the background.

M - Mouthfeel is good as well. Very stout like in feel.

Overall I think this beer is exceptional. Very easy to drink even with the high alcohol. I think many people forget this is an imperial black ipa. As an imperial this is very, very good. Has stout like qualities with ipa qualities. Love this beer.

Photo of togabear
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served into a tulip.

A: Black, thats not a surprise though. Light brown head that sticks around, but its not very voluminous. Lacing down side.

S: Pine is the dominating smell, followed by citrus rind. Hot alcohol sticks out, but blends decently with hops. Dense and sweet malt flavor in background to hop. Malt slightly caramel, raisin, and burnt. Tropical fruit flavors, with slight breadiness. Maybe a little oaky/woody.

T/M. Syrup malt flavor and feel, roasted bitterness, slick resin hop flavor as described above, except more herbal. Hot alcohol. Very bitter, but I like that in a beer like this. Mouth feel is full and sticky syrup, with moderate carbonation. Very slick and resiny.

Overall, this is a decent beer, but I think I like the Sublimely Self-Righteous better. I like the smell and flavor, but I like them individually and they dont mesh well. I wish the flavor took on more of the smell or the other way around. The hot alcohol is so strong, although masked by hops and roast, that it puts me off a little.

Photo of Amergin
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of Dawgmeat
4.94/5  rDev +17.1%
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 ;-)

Photo of finagler
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy head that shifts on top like a foamy wave coming in Louisiana after the BP Oil spill. Held up to the sun I couldn't see through it at all, it's black y'all! Vanilla, some dark fruits, stone IPA on the nose and taste. Lacing reminiscent of dried pumpkin guts. If this beer were an animal it would be a California Black Bear after itching its back on a pine tree.

Photo of Ty82884
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of RustyTide
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of crawdaddy114
1/5  rDev -76.3%

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,412 ratings.