Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
714 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
714
Ratings:
1,422
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.92%
 
 
Wants:
59
Gots:
136
For Trade:
2
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
BEER INFO

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
Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 463 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

 740 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Brewhouse Grille during the Troegs / Stone Total Tap Takeover.

A - Pours nearly pitch black with a nice two finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the entire glass.

S - Smells of rich dark roasted chocolate malt, molasses sweetness, bright citric hops, tropical fruits, and some light pine needles.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roasted chocolate malt slowly giving way to a mix of pungent citric hops, light hints of tropical fruits; most notably grapefruit; pine, molasses, and the faintest hint of booze. The finish is a mix of hop bitterness and dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. The feel has lots of hop bitterness and dark roast, lingering for some time after consumption.

O - Not too bad. The mix of dark roast and hops was fairly well balanced and it tasted pretty good. I have never been the biggest fan of Black IPA's but Stone really knows how to make them the right way.

 997 characters

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

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.

 597 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 993 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 802 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Pickled Pig Pub

A: Served in a goblet, the beer was dark in color, pretty much black, with a very nice tan head on top. The head was very tight foam, great retention, with sparse lacing left behind.

S: Wow, amazingly hoppy on the aroma. If I was given this beer blind (and didn't see its color), I certainly would have guessed it either a strong IPA or a DIPA. Lots of grapefruit, pine, and pine resin. Very faint amount of roast going on, the hops dominate the aroma.

T: Roastier than the aroma led on, but still very hoppy. Lots of pine and resin, and to a much lesser extent citrus. This is mixed with some milk chocolate.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation, but it is rather creamy for style. Finishes bitter.

O: Pretty good for style, one of the better ones I have had. The mouthfeel on this one makes it better compared to most, which usually seem a bit thin. Fantastic aroma as well.

 933 characters

Photo of billab914
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. Black in color with a thin, dark tan head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass rather quickly and left just a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma mixes a juicy, tropical fruit like hoppiness with a little bit of a roasted, chocolaty character. Some very nice grapefruit and mango notes come out in the hops. The roasted malts are noticeable but not overdone, which I like.

The taste shows some of that juicy, fruity hoppiness to it up front. Midway I start to get more of a dry, bitterness that lasts into the finish. The grapefruit and roasty flavors combine for some big bitter flavors in the finish, that seemed a little harsh at times. It was pretty good but I would have liked to see a little more of the brighter, juicy hoppiness that the aroma had cut through the roasty flavors a little more.

The mouthfeel is a little on the heavy side with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty good beer for the style. I liked the way juicy, hoppiness mixed with some chocolaty flavors in the aroma. The roasty, bitter, burnt flavors overshadowed the hops a little for me in the taste though. It was a pretty good beer overall though.

 1,217 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 300 characters

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

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is dark brown with a beige cap that measures about a half inch, leaving some decent lacing on the glass. The aroma is toasty, with some nice hop scents. The flavor blends the two, with a healthy bitterness. Also present is a nutty, burnt toffee character. The feel is medium bodied, with a lingering hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall, a tasty beer, and a good example of the style.

 440 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 stakem
3.14/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to wishuwerebeer for the share. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. This brew appears black in color with a rich frothy cap of brown that is 2 fingers strong.  A thick wall of webby lacing completely covers the glassware everywhere it touches.

The smell of this brew initially is fruity with hops, some citrus and a bit of veggie to earthy aspect. A little bit pine included as well as a catty aspect across the back. Roasty grain becomes more bold across the back with a hint of alcohol as the brew warms.

The taste is bold with a roasty bitterness of the grain that immediately gives way to a hoppy bitterness that is oily and includes catty and veggie hop flavoring. Alcohol has a hint of fruit like pear or cantaloupe and a warmth down the back of the throat. The taste of this brew really clashes for me and seems a bit dirty.

This is a medium bodied brew, somewhat smooth in the feel with a creamy texture and modest level of carbonation. It is quite bold and roasty but the flavor and aroma really clashes for me. Pear/cantaloupe meets bitter roasted grain and catty/veggies is just so strange. I wanted to like this brew but had a really hard time finishing my glass. If black ipas are your thing, you might love this but there are better offerings for the style.

 1,286 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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.

 1,373 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, rich black with a cappuccino head that hangs around. Smells of roasted, chocolate malts with earthy, piny, citrusy hops. Taste is deep, rich, roasted malts with spicy, piny, earthy hops. Nice hop bitterness that lingers. Medium to full bodied, rich, and unbelievably drinkable for the hop character and ABV.

This beer is really solid. The hop character isn't my favorite, but its not bad either.

 410 characters

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

22 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Very dark body, but not pitch black. Some transparency at the edges. It has a nice chocolate head to start, but it's gone in a flash and it diminishes to lacing. Spots of lacing remain and some sticks to the glass.

Smell - Strong citrus flavors and a plentiful roasted malt character behind it. These black ales always throw me off. The aromas just don't seem like they would complement each other, but they seem to work out in the end.

Taste - Hops at the front, much like the aroma. It fades very smoothly into the chocolate and coffee flavors in the end, but finishes just so slightly bitter. It never seems to fully materialize the chocolate and coffee flavors. They are muted by the hops, which dominate throughout.

Mouthfeel - There's a lot of booze in the flavor, it has to be said. It's heavy for an IPA and light for a stout. It's in between. I like it, but it leaves me questioning which it would like to be. Clearly more the IPA, but heavy and boozy for the style.

Overall - I like how the flavors meld in the taste, but I still feel like it wants to be either an IPA or a stout, but not both. It's surprisingly drinkable, though, just not great.

 1,211 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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).

 530 characters

Photo of ShanePB
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle shared with a friend, poured into two tulip glasses.

A: Deep dark brown body, almost black if it weren't for the obvious brown hues along the top edge but close enough. A light mocha colored head with lots of big bubbles sits atop. Nice retention cap as it never fully dissipates with minor lace.

S: Big hop resin, pine and sap on the forefront. Roasted malts, chocolate, toffee and an earthy tone to it. It seems to have a some bitter coffee bean notes on the back end. What I would expect for the style, sort of intriguing but this dark hoppy profile seems to struggle.

T: A blast of bitter hops with again more of a pine and sap nature wrestle your palate. Caramel and chocolate malts come in mid palate to help take the edge and provide a strange dark profile. It finishes with huge floral, sticky hop resin notes again and even into the linger.

M: Hearty, medium-bodied, and slightly bubbly but not overdone. Actually this is really nice and gives this beer a nice boost overall for being really creamy.

Let's be honest, every time I have a Black IPA I feel the beer has an identity crisis. The bitter earthy hop notes just don't match up well to a dark roasted profile. I can't help but think there was a reason this wasn't done a lot before. At any rate, this might be the first attempt at the style that I didn't completely hate; however, after about 8-10 oz of this I was finished. It burned me out, became very confusing and just turned me off in the end.

 1,486 characters

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

32 ounce growler pour ($10.99) @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

Pours BLACK, dark tan head, initially large, then going to a quick meraingue, then quickly again to a film and collar, quality lace left behind.

Rich nose of black coffee, dark chocolate and I get some hop cones...

Suprise-suprise a celebratory beer from Escondidian heavy weight Stone Brewery that is densly flavorful, hoppy, bold and kickin all sorts of ass...lots more coffee, more dark bitter chocolate, more hoppy goodness...thick, creamy and viscous...fine creation...get some..drink it fresh...

 562 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having a Stone Imperial Black IPA...WOW!!! The beer pours a black/opaque with finger thick tan head that is lacing like a...The smell includes citrus and malty tones. The taste is amazing...and a sipping beer. There is a fresh hop bitter grapefruit zing that is mixed with caramel roast malt. The mouthfeel is a full body with good carbonation. Overall it is a great beer for sipping....sessioning this one would lead to big problems.

 434 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

 750 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a true pint, and the beer presents with a jet black coloring and a towering, thick, frothy, foamy light chocolate-tan colored head. The beer absolutely clings to every part of the glass it touches. The nose is deep and rich, with a strong showing of wet, fresh hops, both resiny and spicy. Dark roasted coffee and a hint of citrus highlights also in the nose. Flavors are dark roast coffee and dark chocolate bittersweet, and this flavor combination helps to balance the wet, resiny, slick hops flavors that power throughout the entire beer. Very well balanced. Roasted characteristics on the initial palate, as well as the aftertaste, with a hint of the bitter chocolate and the hops presence throughout. The finish is oily and resiny, with a slick finish. Very tasty brew...another masterful concoction from Stone.

 842 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Toasted head has great retention and lace. Solid black body has almost no highlights.

S – Pine and green leaves. Caramel latte.

T – Round malt into a quick ramp-up of bitter roast alpha oil. Sharply acidic, black roast center with a raisiny sweetness. Lingering pine bitterness and cocoa on the backend.

M –Medium body. Low carbonation. Sweet finish.

O – A solid, complex BIPA

 394 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured pretty much a dark as night black in color with a thin brown head and left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: you can definitely tell that the hops were there on the first whiff with a good amount of roastiness from the chocolate malts but it did have a little coffee aroma to it as well.

T: black hoppy heaven on the first sip alongside chocolate roasty malt flavor, coffee accents, hints of smoke and a touch of brown sugar and molasses.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a hoppy, roasty, mild sweet, and slight smokey finish.

D: it was a really good cascadian brew but because of the hop punch it wasn't the easiest to take down but a solid black beer.

 719 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, yeah...it's black. A very dark pour with rich brown edges, but they are hard to see because the off-brown head collars around. Soft lacing, somewhat splotchy. Looks really nice

Mostly hoppy aroma, but a nice foundation of roasted malt lingers. Pine, some citrus. Overall it's good, but a hint of fingernail polish remover is detected. I think it's from the combination of ingredients rather than a defect.

Tasting it, the polish stuff is just a by-product, but still off-putting a touch. It's not bad, but I keep focusing on it. Still, the hops and roastiness are quite nice. Soft baked caramel and smooth cocoa are topped with pineapple and pine. Lots more pine than pineapple though. Hints of tobacco, leather and almond.

Feels smooth, and that's quite an accomplishment since it does have a hell of bite.

Overall a good beer. A bit much to solo a bomber, but I managed quite well

 895 characters

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

Appearance: black in color with a huge tan colored head that lasts a long time. Thick lace shows up on the glass during the session.

Smell: nice pine, grapefruit, and earthy hop tones are nice with the roasted malt aromas.

Taste: follows the nose as a great roasted malt flavor is nicely balanced by some strong citrus and pine hop flavors. Some molasses and some soft earthy tones rounds this out. Alcohol is mildly detectable here.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and dry at the finish. Long aftertaste here as the flavors last on the tongue.

Overall: this was a very enjoyable beer on tap as it was very fresh and full of nice flavors. This is an enjoyable black ale that hits the spot when you want the style.

 749 characters

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