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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

713 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 713
Hads: 1,420
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: 713 | Hads: 1,420
Photo of Emerson1310
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am NOT a fan of Stone beers...way too bitter, all of them. However, I like this one!! Unusual smell/taste combinations make this unique and enjoyable!!

A: Total, complete, opaque-black, like over-used motor-oil. Head is very thick, an entire hand, almost spilled over the lip of my Bell's glass. Plenty of lacing as the head slowly dwindles. Head is light brown.

S: A combination of hops, citrus, coffee & chocolate.

T: Not bad!!! Of course, like any Stone beer, the bitterness hits you like a baseball bat...But there is wonderful grapefruit, orange and mango there too, mixed with some pine and pine-resin. Add to this mix, some chocolate and bitter-coffee and you have it!! Smooth finish that gets more smooth the more you sip.

MF: Thick and creamy.

O: I will buy this again, there are plenty of huge 22oz bombers left at TW. A GREAT light-sipping beer, and best to sip LIGHTLY, as this is a high ABV craft at almost 11% ABV. The alcohol hides itself very nicely!! (974 characters)

Photo of sdderek
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased from Best Damn Beer Shop in San Diego.

Two of my favorite styles are Double IPA and Imperial Stout. Stone's newest anniversary beer seems to me to be the perfect blend of these two epic styles.
A - Jet black body with a creamy brownish head. Good head retention for this big of a beer. Looks absolutely stunning and delicious...I can't wait to try this out!
S - Wow. The nose on this is intense! Hop overload in an awesome way. The Citra and Nelson hops really stand out to me with citrus, pine, roasted malts, cocoa. Excellent stuff here.
T - It tastes like your stereotypical massive triple IPA from the west coas with the bitterness of the hops blowing my taste buds out of my mouth...but then there's balance as the chocolate and coffee notes start to shine. Solid, solid work here Stone.
M - Mouthfeel is really creamy with a medium amount of carbonation.
O - In my opinion this is the best tasting Stone anniversary beer I've had. Very good all around beer, plus positive points for blending my favorite two styles together and more positive points for creating a truly unique beer.

Cheers! (1,120 characters)

Photo of jomo
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black with noted high viscocity. Brown, sticky head on glass and surface. Looks BIG!

S: Excellent, fresh hops scent. Pine and citrus coming through. Sweet malt notes as well.

T: An interesting combination of hops, grapefruit and roasted malt. The grapefruit is quite prominant, which I like. I think is a bit overly sweet.

M: Like a thick, syrupy stout. Speedway comes to mind. Carbonation is fine and appropriate for this heavy brew.

O: I'm liking it. Certainly no session beer here and quite a bit over the top. A solid ass kicker. I only wish they would tone down the sweetness a notch. (602 characters)

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

pours a very dark viscus. Almost like an imperial stout. Aroma very similar to SSR right out of the bottle. Almost no head to speak of. Rich chocolatey, malted roastey flavor, hops are subdued but present.an amazing beer well worthy of being Stone's 15th anniversary brew.

Overall I'd call this a beer with an identity crisis. It certainly can and probably should be called a black IPA, but it has so many roast, chocolate and coffee notes that it may as well also be a porter. (478 characters)

Photo of duckrabbitfan
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark with appreciable head and nice lacing. This was a beauty to just look at.

Surprised by my first smell. More sweetness to it than I thought.

Incredibly balanced taste. Incredibly delicious. For something so dark and hoppy I was amazed at its personality.

If i could capture the aftertaste I would keep it forever. Made me say outloud to my drinking buddy, "hahahaha,... wow. this. this is good."

Had the pleasure of trying this black IPA a few months ago and I still talk about it with friends. The taste is just wonderful. Would try it again and again, for sure! (571 characters)

Photo of akk101
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
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 SFGuy187
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a great new offering from Stone. I never buy into "new style" hype and, as this beer is a play on the Black IPA debate, was unsure what to expect. I was, however, very pleased to find that this takes elements from what I love about a great imperial stout (roasty-toasty goodness coupled with rich mouthfeel) and combines it with what I love about a great DIPA (incredible resin and pine in the nose with well-rounded, strong citrus in the mouth).

It pour jet black, tastes like an impy stout up-front, yet somehow manages to smell and finish like a DIPA. I drank my bomber mighty fast and methinks I need to score a few more.

Solid offering from Stone, and the best beer from them in some time. Also, the cartoon artwork on some bottles is pretty hilarious too! (775 characters)

Photo of emcohen
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown, almost black with a dark tan, thick head. The head was about two fingers and held up well.

A: Overwhelmingly fresh herbal hop aroma.

T: Roasted nuts and chocolate up front, citrus hops take over as it transitions to a more traditional IPA taste.

M: Light carbonation keeps tingling in the finish. Hop bitterness prevails throughout.

O: I'm usually not a fan of IPAs but I've been coming around on the black IPA style. This is definitely the best one I've had so far. (485 characters)

Photo of DTJPPR
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes on 08-28-2011. poured into a Snifter glass.

A - Thick & black like melted chocolate with a deep brown 2.5 finger head. Good retention on the head and nice lacing all the way down.

S - Very hoppy with hints of grapefruit and nectarines.

T - Instant hit of Coffee, Citrus, biscuits and chocolate. Lots of chocolate, especially in the aftertaste, mixed with a bif molasses character that is fan-freaking-tastic. The malts are very very well balanced with the hops, making it malty for an IPA, but a rather perfect blend for this brew. There's a little alcohol heat on the back end but it blends well with the chocolaty flavors in this beer.

M - A bit dry & chalky, but not bad. This beer is pretty thick & viscous for the style. Carbonated as usual from Stone.

O - This is a great brew for the 15th Anniv. of Stone. The chocolate overtones really make this beer different from their other offerings, and it is well balanced with the hops. I really enjoyed this one. (986 characters)

Photo of Smooth-Hoperator
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am drinking a bottle that was brewed in August of 2011 on 10/26/2013.

This is not an IPA to me because all of the hop flavor has long since gone. That's ok though, because this has morphed into a quite tasty imperial stout. So, strangely enough, that's how I will review it.

A - opaque dark black.

S - very sweet, with dark fruit, fig and licorice notes. There is a slight hopiness left to it, but it's faint. It smells like a Russian imperial stout.

T - Very deep flavor. I get a taste of milk chocolate right off the bat with a depth of flavor that develops into figs, and then a flavor of very bitter deep roasted coffee that fades quickly. It's smooth but leaves a taste of booze on the tongue. Overall, very smooth.

M - Great. Heavy and chewy. Great for the style.

O - I can't say what the black IPA would be like had I tried this beer within 6 months of the brewing date. BUT, what I will say is that this is a delicious beer and very well crafted. (963 characters)

Photo of tfratzke
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with a nice creamy tan head. Excellent lacing and head lingers for quite a while. Smells of roasted malts and some piney hops. Taste is roasted malts with slight bitter finish. This is an excellent imperial black IPA. With as high of alcohol content as it is, it doesn't seem boozy at all. Goes down easy which could be dangerous! Excellent overall. (370 characters)

Photo of byrdman16
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not a beer for the timid! Oh man I like this one. Big piney hops smack you in the face upon opening...this is a good thing in my opinion...pours BLACK as stone. This is the beer that I give my friends that think that they are living on the edge by drinking blue moon. Complete domination! Smells of BIG piney hops with bitterness to back it up. It taste like a Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale on steroids. Give it a shot if you cross paths. (437 characters)

Photo of GreenGoblinCC
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just when you think Stone could not come out with another amazing Anniversary Beer... Stone 15th hits the market. Delicious both in bottle and draft form enough good things cannot be said about this beer. So good that all the draft in the surrounding area was drank up in nearly the opening weekend of its release. I had to travel nearly an hour to find a place who still had it....and it was worth it! Smooth, Rich in flavor, Balanced, and a Great Hop taste. 10.5% Abv you would never guess it. This beer is amazing and recommend it to any IPA lover! (551 characters)

Photo of BullDurham
2.81/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle poured into my DFH signature glass

Appearance: Dark, Black. Looks exactly like a stout. No light even around the edges of the glass. Two finger tan head, sticks to the sides of the glass nicely.

Smell: Not a strong smelling brew, really had to take a nice big whiff to get much. Some piny hops and something burnt. Odd combo.

Taste: Roasted malts, almost burnt taste mixed with pine needles. A Bitter and burnt taste coats the mouth, not pleasant. Alcohol isnt bad seeing that this is almost 11%. Something lightly sweet mid-taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick, almost creamy and sticky.

Overall: Stone I am disappointed! I dont know what to make of this. Trying to be and do too much at once? Would not buy this again, but not sorry that I tried it. (756 characters)

Photo of sneakybird
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thin finger of dense brown foam. Not even a hint of highlighting, no light is penetrating this. Good lacing. Northwestern hops are very evident in a piney, resinous, even spruce tree aroma. Strong, even before the beer has really warmed to a proper drinking temperature, but not at all overpowering. And then, I get just a slight hint of medicinality at the tail end.

The flavor... I don't know; can something be intense and subtle at the same time? I feel like that's the best way to describe this hoppiness. It's very present, right up front and every bit as pine tree as on the nose... but doesn't linger, and gives way to a slight roasted malt background. And there is a hint of alcohol warmth, felt more in the gut than the mouth or throat. Very smooth and medium bodied, on the light side in carbonation.

This is a really fine beer, yet conflicting for me. I tell myself that I have no great love for hops, but I keep subjecting myself to beers like this anyway. This could be the best hoppy beer on the planet, and I'll like it just fine, but still prefer a good bourbon barrel stout or Belgian quad. Maybe that's just a failing scoring beers in general. The beer may be flawless, but I feel weird scoring it five out of five when there are so many others, whole styles, that I would prefer to drink. Is that an argument for or against rating to style? (1,386 characters)

Photo of PainkeepBrewing
2.63/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm trying to be nice, but I wonder with a lot of these reviews how much of it is that everyone is a massive Stone fanboys rather than really being objective with the beer.

A - it's black, dark dark black. It looks like a stout, pours fairly thick with very little light brown head, under a finger that fizzled away quickly.

S - alcohol is by far the most predominant smell. A bit of chalk, stout-like roast. Almost no hop aroma.

T - Egh. It was overly boozy, and the taste reminded me of chalk, roast, and a very small amount of hops on the back end. It was dominated by the chalky flavor and the roast though. Not really sure what to think about it being a 'black IPA', I don't doubt it has a lot of hops but they're just completely overwhelmed.

M - it's thicker than I'd like an IPA to be, but in an 11%ish beer I'm not surprised. It was closer to a heavy porter than anything.

O - completely underwhelmed. I had some high hopes but got a boozy, overzealous beer that was more like a mediocre stout than any kind of Black IPA. Really this beer was a huge letdown. (1,071 characters)

Photo of AdamToomey
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first adventure into the world of Black IPA's and as this review will show, I was not the least bit disappointed.

A - I poured this beer from the bomber into a snifter. As other reviews noted, the beer is pitch black. If I saw someone drinking this I would immediately think they were sipping on an imperial stout. This dark beauty also has an incredibly thick, creamy coffee head that slooowly dissipates with great lacing. I was sipping on this beer for over an hour and the head was still present. Beautiful beer.

S - The nose of this beer is a hop-punch. Pine, citrus and grass like aromas explode out of the glass with the ever so slightest hint of roasted chocolate malts finishing it off. If you have had the Stone IPA, the hop aromas are very similar with an added roasted hint. Overall, a bit confusing but enticing all the same.

T - Man was this beer unique. At first the hops completely dominate the pallet but in a way that makes sense, not simply an overload of bitterness as in their Ruination. The different hops play off each other to create a nice harmonious beverage. What is most surprising about this beer is the way the dark/roasted malts work with the hop presence. The mild chocolate and coffee flavors that are present accompany the hop profile perfectly to create an astonishingly unique beverage. This is one of those beers which you say "wow" after those first few sips. Wow of course being both a "wow" of confusion and a louder "wow" that this confusion works so well. What does get lost, however, is the alcohol. It is completely hidden. At 10.8 percent, be careful or you will forget that it is even there!

M - The mouthfeel is more on par with IPA's and the dark malts do little to elevate the mouthfeel to a chewier, sweeter thickness. Rather, it maintains its crisp and bitter finish. Kind of disappointed. This was the least unique characteristic of the beer.

O - Overall, this beer was an absolute pleasure to drink. I am definitely going to track down a few more bottles of this before it is all gone. In addition, this brew has definitely turned me on to the world of Black IPA's. This was a refreshingly unique brew. I will say, however, that this style is definitely not for everyone. To enjoy, you definitely have to expand your beer tasting horizons beyond tradition. This beer is not exactly a stout, nor is it exactly an IPA. It's simply a hybrid of the two that works and works exceptionally. (2,456 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 paytonpowell
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
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! (1,645 characters)

Photo of CyclingLush666
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (981 characters)

Photo of RISky
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (617 characters)

Photo of theklep
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
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. (628 characters)

Photo of SGplayer84
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
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. (1,108 characters)

Photo of SlyFox21
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (755 characters)

Photo of sklinger990
4.95/5  rDev +19%
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. (735 characters)

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 713 ratings.