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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,402 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,402
Reviews: 713
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 54
Gots: 140 | 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:
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,402 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%

Black body with sheets of lace coating the tulip glass. Excellent head retention, lasts for the entire glass, and with each pour there's a nice reverse cascade effect.

Citric hop notes meld seamlessly with a smooth dark roast malt and chocolate layer.

Similar flavors, bitter piney hops with a slightly sweet citrus edge, up against smooth, rich roasted malt character. Lots of bittersweet chocolate, and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with little hint of the double digit abv. My second bomber in as many days...

emerge077, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%

A - Poured out a thick, dark, dark brown color with a two-finger, light brown head of long-lasting foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, grapefruit and strong pine notes. There was a burnt toast maltiness.

T - Good chocolate flavors with some burnt molasses. Very spicy with pine, citrus and grapefruit bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a sneaky alcohol presence.

O - Wow! This is another anniversary ale from Stone that needs to become a permanent brew. Best black ale, yet.

zeff80, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -5.2%

JAHMUR, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

Stone 15th Anniversary

So what can be said about this one? First off, it's Stone, so it's going to be balanced with a nice bit of malt to it, some alcohol, a rock solid bitterness, and a lot of hops in both the flavor and the aroma. It's an easy read. And it's not like it's the first hoppy dark beer they've done, so the only real question is what will the hops be like? Noting that it's an "Escondidian" Imperial Black IPA, that's kind of answered already as well... they've got to be Pacific Northwest hops, and a bit citrusy and piney (at least that's how I remember San Diego!). You can smell them in the nose, and they're brightly citrusy with a lot of pineapple and pine, as well as some grapefruit rind. In the flavor, however, there's more fruit... Amarillo? It's nice and juicy, and it's a nice balance really. And they're bright enough to ride over the coffee and chocolate roastiness. In fact, all of the components kind of stand out on their own, including the alcohol which is a bit of a problem. The alcohol, however, is its only fault as I see it, and a minimal one at that given the style. Well worth trying / might be worth seeking out.

NeroFiddled, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of Jason
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%

22oz brown bomber, vintage date on bottle.

LOOK: Black as can be, thick brown head.

SMELL: Booze, dark chocolate, dank hop resin, dark fruit, burnt bread, orange zest.

TASTE: Roasty, dry toasted bread, hop bitterness, tobacco, earthy, smoky ash, brown bread, booze.

A solid brew, hits all the right buttons for what it is supposed to be. A bit too much alcohol and the hops seem to cloud ... Meaning the flavors don't mesh as well as I thought the would have.

Jason, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%

On-tap 10/28/2011 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts with flavors of dark fruit, citrus, coffee and chocolate. Then a strong floral hops bitterness comes in followed by a hearty roasted malt character creating a very good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet and hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very nice beer with good complexity making it worth drinking for an entire evening.

TheManiacalOne, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -5.2%

This is a good beer, but doesn't really mesh with the style that well. Seems a bit thick on the character for a black ale; almost porter like. Has some nice hop characeristics, but doesn't really bring all that I would hope it would. Especially for an anniversary ale. Nice beer. An "okay" black ale.

RblWthACoz, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%

A - Pours with one finger of medium-brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head fades slowly and leaves a thin layer of lace on the glass.

S - Lots of pungent hops up front, fruity and floral with a distinct pine note that blends nicely with the caramel and dark bread malt character.

T - Bitterness hits first, both from hops and malt, with some dark caramel and a hint of chocolate. Pine and grapefruit come out in the middle along with more dark sugar. It finishes with a dark, baker's chocolate note and more pine hops as well as a strong, but smooth bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Damn, and I though Sublimely Self Righteous was a nice black IPA! The malt is much darker than in most other examples I have had with a distinct dark chocolate note that dominates the finish. I am particularly impressed by the way that the hop character manages to stay bright and pungent rather than blending in with the dark malt. This is a masterpiece and it proves, to me at least, that this is something worthy of being considered a distinct style of its own.

nickfl, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%

Pitch black pours like used motor oil, keeps all light from passing through. Head is a nice thicket of moccha tan head. Fine speckled lacing forms as the head dwindles. Aroma has a citrus leaf hop smell along with dark roasted malts mixed with anise black licorice. Flavor has a roasted malt flavor with green citrus hop tones and a bit of pine. Dark roasted malts have some licorice anise like tones about them. Tastes more like a hoppy stout than any type of IPA and I guess I can add an imperial stout at 10.8% abv I bet this is because they fucked up so bad on the Belgo Russian Imperial Stout. A bit of hot booze comes in the back end of each sip making it a slow sipper for myself, the dark roasted malts with bittering hops don't hurt things but it's really not the smoothest beer around either.

WVbeergeek, Oct 23, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -5.2%

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep brown, with a couple fingers of dark mocha head. This retains with a tight finger, leaving back a big frothy cascade of foam that settles down into a sticky latticework of lacing that clings to the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of fresh grapefruit and pine accents, with both definitely having some vibrant power to them. Notes of roast and sweet chocolate come in off the sides, while that big ABV adds a bit of heady warmth to the nose. Those American hops really control this though.

The taste starts with strong grapefruit bitterness and pine that cut across the tongue, with that initial blast being buffered by a thick mix of chocolate sweetness and a touch of tangier feeling caramel. A wall of burnt roast pulls up the back of this before the hops regains their strength in the finish with bitter fruit, resins, and spicy alcohol sticking to the tongue with a stiff dryness, while even the roast gets in on the act as well with an intense charred feel that leaves an impression. The mouthfeel is full bodied in the mouth and has some sharpness on the tongue that pops those notes of hops and roast. The rest of the feel has more of a smooth creaminess to it that helps fill out the corners of the mouth. That near 11% ABV isn’t ridiculous feeling but like the nose, does give this a certain amount of beefiness and intensifies those already aggressive flavors.

While this certainly had some big ole’ balls on it, it ultimately came as more of a hefty and hoppy American Stout to me, as those roasted malts and chocolate sweetness had about as big of a presence here as the hops did. Even with this not quite being quite up to snuff style-wise for me and much like all of these Stone Anniversary beers, it’s always at least worth trying.

Kegatron, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of russpowell
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

Was thrilled to find this "across the border" on Missouri!

Pours black with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Tons of sticky lacing, great head retention`

S: Intense pineyness, grassy notes, smokey notes once warm

T: Follows the nose, some hints of of carob, dates & grapefruit up front, a touch of wet charred grain as well. Much pineyness, intense grapefruit, sharp herbal bitterness as well with a touch of smokey wet grain, along with , some booze bite & minty hops as well. Finishes with boozey grainyness, much pineyness

MF: Chewy, slick, very warming, a touch too much booze burn & not perfect balance

Much to love here, a real intense Black IPA. Thrilled to see a "new release" from Stone in my backyard. Keep'em coming please!

russpowell, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
3.4/5  rDev -19.4%

Bottle shared by Jason - thanks man! Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - A finger of tan foam settles to a partial cap, leaving behind spotty lace and a thick collar. A dark brown body reveals no transparency.

S - Pine, grapefruit, black malt, dark chocolate, and caramel. The hops give off a little bit of that cheesy stale hop aroma that I get from aged hoppy beers, but this was only bottled in August - weird.

T - Taste is unfortunately much less enjoyable. There's a blend of astringency, chalk, char, black malts, bitter grapefruit rinds, and pine. The bitterness is oppressive and fatiguing, and more sweetness is needed for balance. I'm alright with palate-bruising beers, but there needs to be a reward equal to the punishment, and this isn't the case here.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, extremely dry finish, and tons of resinous hop oils that linger well into the aftertaste. There's some light alcohol warmth, but nothing out-of-place for a 10.8% beer. The feel is by far my favorite element of this brew.

D - I'm starting to really dislike this style, particularly efforts like this one that mix my least favorite elements of IPAs and stouts yielding excessively bitter beers that evoke such delicious flavors as char, aspirin, and unripe grapefruits. While these types of flavors have their place, they just aren't very appealing on their own.

MasterSki, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of Slatetank
4.6/5  rDev +9%

I enjoyed this on tap at the Brewhouse Grille Stone/TRÖEGS tap takeover, served chilled in a pint.

A pitch black stout-like look with opaque clarity and medium beige cap w/ fine bead. The lace clings in rings. The smell has a huge hop aroma which is enhanced by simcoe scent which is slightly pine and has a mango tropical note with some mild citrus elements. The nose is mellow with grassy and has mild herbal sweet floral round scents w/ practically no malt aroma w/ just slight sweet element. The feel is incredible with the viscosity giving the impression of light body since it is so dry with a very resinous lush oily hoppy all joy on the palate. The juicy texture with ultra dry malt body w/ no roast the way I like a black IPA with lush green smooth body without any astringency.

The taste of wonderful hop flavors greet the palate w/ juicy and mildly bitter taste which is pineapple/mango w/ a splash of grapefruit . The taste is outstanding since the black malt flavor is absent , maybe a whisper of malt in the overall taste w/ slight toasted tinge and light fruity accent of sweetness to join the mellow pine elements w/ simcoe obviously giving a lush herbal/tropical contribution and the cattiness is mellow w/ slight wild coarse earthy accent that is huge and the taste of full w/ phenomenal taste w/ semidry juicy bitter finish - this is possibly the best of the style that I have had. Overall this was fantastic on tap showing Stone is true to the love of hops and a master of black IPA's they deserve to rename it according to their locale. This nails it or hits it out of the park whatever cliche you choose will fit. I loved it a great example of the Imperial Black ale style

Slatetank, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Served in a snifter, at the time of this review this is the #5 American Black Ale (whatever that means) on the best of beeradvocate.com lists.

Beer is black / dark brown with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing but low retentioin and low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly sweet with a lot of earthy and piny hops.

Beer is medium in body and not roasty at all, blindfolded I would assume I'm drinking an IPA. Very earthy, almost sweet, strong, nice. Tastes pretty good, I'd have it again (I had more out of a bottle later).

drabmuh, Sep 19, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
3.63/5  rDev -14%

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured into a snifter, an oily brownish black with a small cap of tan head that retained decently and left some streaky lacing behind. Big aroma full of pine, with a sweet maltiness just peeking through in the background. A blast of pine and resin on the tongue, on the border of being a palate killer. Notes of coffee bitterness and bottom-of-the-barrel molasses. Heavy, greasy mouthfeel and definitely boozy.

I like Cascadian dark ales, I like Stone's brews a lot, and I know they're all about being extreme. But I think this one was too much even for me. It wasn't bad by any means, just a little over the top and one-sided with the pine taking almost complete dominance. I'd really have to be in the mood to try this one again.

Rifugium, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours black with two fingers of thick tan head. Decent retention and good lacing.

Smell: Fresh grassy hops are the dominant smell with some roast and dark chocolate in the background. Some citrus in there as well.

Taste: Bitter hops are present throughout the whole sip. Roast creeps up on you, but doesn't clash too much with the hops. A bit sweet, but not too much considering the abv. Bitter finish but not a ton of alcohol. A bit peppery in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the thicker side with very smooth carbonation. The finish is mildly dry.

Overall: One of my favorite American Black Ales. Way too easy to drink given the abv. I would have it again.

oline73, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan/brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a killer hop nose, citrusy and bitter, as well as a earthy black malt aroma. The hops dominate, but there is balance. The alcohol warmth peeks out a bit, yet it's not overly aggressive. The taste is great as well. It's incredibly smooth. The malt bill is incredibly complex; roasted and earthy with loads of mouthfeel. The hops are bold and bitter as well as incredibly flavorful. It goes down thick and slow with adequate warmth in the finish. The mouthfeel is tremendous. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a killer beer. It's load and proud on all fronts; a damn fine beer worthy of a celebration.

WesWes, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of mactrail
2.45/5  rDev -41.9%

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!"

mactrail, Aug 02, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

mendvicdog, Nov 08, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -5.2%

From 11/15/11 notes. Had on tap at Fireworks in Arlington, VA at their Stone steal the pint night event. Poured in a 10 oz. tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with one finger of very dark brown head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, grapefruit, roasted malts, a tiny bit soapy. As expected, lots of hops and roasted notes. Hops are a little more dominant, but it's a nice mix.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, citrus hops, sweet smooth chocolate, pine hops, grapefruit. Again, very hoppy and roasted, but the roasted malts and chocolate come out a lot more here than in the nose. A nice step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Light bitterness from the hops up front, than smooth thanks to the malts. Surprisingly easy to drink considering the high ABV.

o - Overall a very nice Black IPA; one of the better ones I've had. Didn't enjoy it as much as the sublimely self-righteous ale, but still good. Would have it again.

mdfb79, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

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!

jwc215, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%

Deep, dark brown liquid where no light shines through. Good beige head that drops very slowly, leaving a blanket of fine lace.

Dark, nearly burnt caramel aroma--semi-sweet. There's a light touch of hop at the end of the smell.

Bitter malt followed by bitter hop, quite different from the smell. There is no sweetness to this beer. In fact, it seems like an over abundance of black patent malt was added to the brew. Think coffee grounds and you'll come close. This beer is more bitter than a stout, even though the hop is largely overwhelmed. The body is decent with a good level of carbonation.

smcolw, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%

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.

Gueuzedude, Feb 12, 2012
Photo of Halcyondays
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours an opaque black with large tan head, good retention and thick lace.

S: Green almost peppery (jalapeno) hops with pine and a lot of dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate is heavy and is the dominating flavour with a hint of roast. Hops are prominent making the beer quite bitter at times. Very direct flavours, not exactly delicious, but powerful.

M: Full-bodied, creamy, soft carbonation, medium long aftertaste.

O: To me really like a hoppy Imperial Stout showing the overlap in styles. I enjoyed it, but I'm not going crazy.

Halcyondays, Aug 19, 2011
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,402 ratings.