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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
94
outstanding

1,412 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,412
Reviews: 713
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 56
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 1,412 | Reviews: 713
Photo of bmoney
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Snellgg5
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of beerhan
3/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Funny enough, this Imperial Black IPA is jet black and absolutely opaque, even when directly back lit. Big fluffy brown head that falls slowly and has a heavy lace. Heavy hop spice in the nose supported by a range of flavors: burnt sugar, heavy roasted malt, black strap molasses, dark fruit--light cherry and heavy fig, grapefruit, and a dense earthiness. Very excited for the first sip. Wow. Give me a second.

Roasted malt and molasses taste is heavy with burnt note blended with the serious hop bite. Supported by the wonderful nose, it is an amazingly fun beer to drink. 10.8% alcohol is not apparent in the nose or the taste, but the Imperial part of the title is showing through in every other respect. Hop lingers on the tongue and rises in the center of the mouth with the roast for a splendid twang. Dry off the back.

As the beer warms, the alcohol becomes apparent in nose and taste, which has little effect except maybe the hop is more subdued in the nose. Warmed up, the beer exhibits a stronger balance than when cold, so don't be afraid to be busy and drink this one over time.

Photo of atr2605
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours completely black with a massive tan head that lasts forever. leaves a nice lace around the glass
S-tons of citrus and grapefruit, very subtle caramel and chocolate undertones
T-big smokey coffee flavor with the the citrus hop flavor afterwards. Very interesting flavor. It starts out pretty sweet but has alot of balance with the hops leaving the toasted flavor on the finish
M-full bodied.
O-Keeps you sipping just so you can continue to discover all the flavors in this beer. I wouldn't drink this all the time but definitely worth a try.

Photo of Digimaika2
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Wow. Pours a noticeably rich and thick dark brown (near black) colour with a two-finger mocha coloured creamy head. Good lacing and decent retention.

S: Earthy pine, tart and slightly sour grapefruit, some faint dark chocolate and espresso. Quite a bit of earthy aromas coming through.

T: Bold pine and tart grapefruit (to a lesser extent) taste upfront quickly gives way to a roasted flavour that includes black licorice, molasses, burnt cocoa, and faint espresso. Alcohol well hidden as this doesn't taste like the stated ABV. Quite an earthy taste in this (especially towards the finish) with very nice overall flavours.

M: Good viscosity (not too thick, not too thin) and a healthy and pleasing dose of carbonation.

O: Everything comes together very well in this Black IPA. With the alcohol well hidden, this is surprisingly quite easy-to-drink. One of the best Stone offerings I've had yet.

Photo of bifrost17
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of UDbeernut
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

tan crater rock head with good retention mounted on top of a very dark amber hue. great piney scent, raisen, smoke. cutting bitterness joins in the mouth. full to medium bodied brew is sticky, chewy, and at times tough to get down. The alchohol hits like a freight train too.

Photo of Viciousknishs
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours pitch black with two fingers of tan head. Good head retention.

S- obnoxious punch of woody pine hop aromas with slight notes of bitter citrus peel. Roasty malt and dark chocolate. Finishes with some booze and mulchy forest floor hops.

T- big pine and woody hop flavor that transitions into some citrus peel. Roasty malt and booze mingles in the middle. Finishes with bakers chocolate, a hint of coffee and hop bitterness/flavor that lingers on the palate.

MF- thick chewy mouthfeel with a big body and soft carbonation.

D- quite a big beer here. Drinkability is low on it's own. Had mine with some food and the drinkability became much higher.

Overall a pretty tasty beer.

Photo of Teleweizen2
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a deep inky black with a frothy tan head. leaves spotty lacing. stays at about a fingers worth.

S - a vibrant hop aroma dominates the nose. notes of bitter orange peel and pine are the most prominate while the malt hangs back with just a touch of coffee and char.

T - bitter chocolate on the front of the tongue which turns into an onslaught of bitter citrus. notes of pine needles in the center of the tongue which carry over with the citrus flavors for a nearly endless finish.

M - soft creamy texture with a medium body. the bubbly carbonation is light giving the body a bit more weight on the tongue.

O - an interesting beer. I really do like the hop profile. Its bright and flavorful and just the right amount of piney-ness. but the malt profile is a bit lacking and almost nondescript which was a bit of a disappointment.

Photo of innuendobrewskiman63
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of chodinheaven
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very well said paragraph on the back of the bottle by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner. The beer pours out pitch black and is completely opaque. A tan head forms slowly and dissapates even slower, leaving behind nice rings of lacing. Retention is excellent. The aroma is bursting with pine hops backed by dark roasted, almost burnt, malts, intensely aromatic from the opening of the bottle to the end.

Rich in flavor, full in body, and it certainly packs a punch on the taste buds. Full of a perfect combination of bitter dark roasted malts and piney hops, this beer takes your palate for a ride. The combination leads to a taste that isn't quite coffee, but is reminiscent of it. Definitely has the hoppy qualities of a big Imperial IPA, but the dark roasted malts add a very different character than any IIPAs, much less other black IPAs that I've tried. The bitterness lingers all the way from the beginning of the taste to the long and lingering finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, quite an accomplishment for such a big beer. The high ABV is hidden so nicely that it will sneak up on you. Definitely detectable, but the pine and roastiness are so pronounced that the boozy qualities are only noticed as an afterthought. A touch of biscuit brings it all around into a balanced Imperial beer. This is definitely the most distinctive black IPA I've had, and easily the most delicious. This beer is hearty. As I said, the richness and ABV make this one a good one to share with friends and sip on, talking about the paragraph on the back. If any beer were to live up to what their world philosophies described on the back are, this one does so with its unique qualities. Gotta love what Stone can do.

Photo of Leftofthedial
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Retsinis
3.36/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Being Stone's 15th, I had to try this one, even though I don't buy Stone's beers nearly as much as I use to a few years back. There WAS a TON of this at the local Total wines when it was first released, and now this was the only bottle I saw this past weekend, so it must be decent to be going so fast. Anyhow, on to the review.

Review from notes.

A: Poured from the 22oz bomber into a Bruery tulip glass. A solid half inch of medium tan brown colored head rose, and slowly settled, leaving a smooth coating film at first, and then some sticky spotty lace. Settled to just a ring of bubbles, and some film on top of this Black beer, that no light penetrates.

S: Scents of light espresso, light mint hops, light chocolate, medium roasted malt, more bitter hops, with notes of pine, hay, light smoke and that distinct stone yeast strain. A bit muddled actually.

T: Mirrors the nose, intense bitter hops aroma, medium roasted malt, light chocolate, and a touch of coffee. Some rye grain notes in there as well, and the ABV is well hidden. As it warmed, I started to get very subtle taste of burnt cinnamon, mixed with light pepper or even ginger? Might not be describing that just right, but it's there.

M: Medium carbonation, bitter bite.

O: Good, way better than 14. Glad I got to try it, but no plans to revisit. Still pretty intense, even though it was released nearly two months ago.

Black IPA's for me are either closer to porters, or DIPA's with some in between. It's a tricky balance to make a great one from the dozens+ I've tried. This definitely favored the hops, but it's an odd mix. While the hops may be what makes this beer great, some time might improve it even more for me, though not the brewers intention I imagine to age it,.

Not sure if it's the in house yeast strain, or the choice of hops, both, or something I can't put my finger on, but this beer is a bit TOO bitter for me, and not in a good way, and I love DIPA's, IIPA, IPA's etc, so I'm left that it may just not be a choice of hops that agrees with me.

Nevertheless, Congrats Stone on 15 years, Cheers!

Photo of wingman14
3.66/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with brown highlights and a frothy mocha head. The smell is dominated by the hops with some citrus fruit notes and obvious alcohol from the high ABV. The taste starts out slightly bitter with the citrus notes coming on right away. There is a hint of sweet that moves into the bitter hop and finishing with a strong dose of alcohol. The mouthfeel is heavy with a nice creamy body, definitely a sipping beer due to the huge flavor and ABV. It was good to split this bomber, because I couldn't see having more than a snifter full. Overall a good beer, different flavors that what you get with an IPA due to the dark malt, but mostly tasty. By the end of the glass I was glad I tried it, but wouldn't choose this as a regular beer.

Photo of Philousa
3.35/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark black with about 1/4" dark brown head and good lacing. Earthy, citrus hops in the nose, followed by bitter malt, and a hint of caramel. Taste is chocolatey, smokey malt up front, followed by earthy, bitter hops. Bitterness feels more alcoholic with time, in the nose. Mouthfeel is middling, good carbonation for a dark, high ABV beer, but taste is a bit fleeting. Clean, crisp taste up front with lingering bitterness.

Don't know how I feel about this beer. The nose says IPA, but the taste is bitter RIS, which kinda turns me off. If the malt was more sweet, I would be a much bigger fan. I think a little balance is in order here. Then again, this is the same brewery that tries to kill your palate with bitterness, so what else should I expect? Good experiment, not something I'd drink often.

Photo of loupap
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of uziangis
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of Axic10
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a thick deep black with a two finger fluffy mocha head that took some time to settle down.

Smell: Earthy and floral hops with a subtle hint of chocolaty malt. Slight hints of booze come through as well.

Taste: Piney and floral hops mixed with some chocolate and roasted (burnt) malt.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, very smooth and creamy.

Overall: I enjoyed this one slight more than I did the 11th Anniversary (Sublimely Self-Righteous). Will get more while it's available and wouldn't mind if Stone makes this a seasonal offering.

Photo of GuisseppeFranco
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of BBP
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- somewhat stout-like, but a thinner head and less lacing.

S- roastiness and slight bitterness. Slight pine hops. Slight caramel malt but mostly roasted malts.

T- reminds me a bit of sublimely but a but stronger. Slightly more depth. More like an ris than a black dipa. It's slighly lacking in character but maintains balance quite well.

M- medium full. Very dry. Sticky finish.

O- a good anniversary ale and very respectable, but it seemed a little lacking in character. All is good but it seems lacking in the ris sense but being beyond the black iipa.

Photo of TexAggie011
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of gafferjohn
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of kb2250
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Azrael
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

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