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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.

1,402 Ratings

(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 hozersr
4/5  rDev -5.2%

hozersr, Jun 30, 2014
Photo of TheGordianKnot
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%

Served in a 10oz snifter...

A- Very stoutlike in appearance. Black with an inch of thick, dense, creamy, khaki colored head.

S- Incredibly balanced aroma, surprising from Stone. Quite a bit of everything from the hops- fruit, earthy, spice, grass, and a hefty dosing of pine. A bit of roast and pumpernickle bread from the malt to balance.

T/M- Not as over the top as everyone keeps saying. Slight roast to begin, with a smooth transition into dirty, earthy, piney hops. Ends with a little caramel and very boozy. Medium body, slick feel; well carbonated but it stays oily and doesn't get too bubbly.

O- Decent, not great. Definitely nothing like Devil Dancer as suggested on the forums. Nice balance compared to some others I've had from Stone *cough- I'm looking at you SSR-cough*

TheGordianKnot, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of surlytheduff
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

surlytheduff, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of greenmonstah
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%

22 oz bottle into DFH snifter

A - Black in color with a finger of lovely brown head. No lacing, and retention is pretty ok for such a high ABV. The black color is brilliantly deep, though.

S - Chocolate, roasted malts, and bitter grassy hops. Some dark fruit sweetness that I wasn't expecting. More stout than IPA.

T - Wow. Chocolate in droves, with a sweetness that is balanced by hop bitterness. I liken it to a chocolate stout blended with an especially bitter Double IPA, like Ruination.

M - Full bodied and a bit sticky initially but ends up drying in the finish. In every way this has the body of an Imperial stout, but with the dry finish of many IPAs.

O - Overall this is a phenomenal beer, truly. A strong Imperial Stout-y flavor that then leads into the bitter hoppiness of an IPA, but without a sharp divided between the two. The flavor and body flow from one stage to the next and blend in the interim in a way that perfectly compliments the many aspects of this beers flavor.

greenmonstah, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of NCbeerpirate
5/5  rDev +18.5%

NCbeerpirate, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Listers
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Listers, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of ibbjamin
3.6/5  rDev -14.7%

Picked up a bomber of this new Stone brew from Perry's in Livermore, CA. I pour into a large snifter to review. Black IPA over 10% with an A rating on here? Sounds interesting.

Pours thick like a stout with an inch of dark colored stout-esque head. Black in color. A thin layer of retention and great lacing.

Quite hoppy nose, but still on the balanced side with a healthy dose of lightly roasted malt. Hints of chocolate, cream and vanilla but the resinous hops continue to push through. I cannot detect the high ABV.

Taste is much more stout than IPA for me. Much roastier than I anticipated with the chocolate and molasses pushing the hops aside. That ABV is being more detectable, but still well contained.

Full body, thick and somewhat creamy. Good levels of carbonation make this one very drinkable for its size. Long finish of roasted malt. The bitterness I detected in the nose is seemingly non existent now.

A good beer I suppose, but I was hoping for more hops on this one and ended up being let down a little. For what it is, a hoppy stout, in my opinion, it is a good beer.

ibbjamin, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of alkemy
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%

Out of the bomber…

A- To call it dark brown would be a misnomer. It’s so dark, let’s just call it black. There is some ruby highlighting around the edges of the glass when held to light. More than an inch of smoky taupe head that shrinks to about a quarter inch and then has plenty of staying power.

S- Very strong pine in the nose. Has a wet, swampy quality to it. There’s also a faint smoky molasses in the background.

T- Taste is complex. A bit like a barleywine right off the bat. Then some dark fruit quickly followed by the strong hop character. Smokiness intermingles, but really lingers in the finish. This sh*t’s good. It’s got a hint of the taste characteristics of a barleywine, with the strong pine goodness and some smokiness.

M- It’s silky smooth, but also has quite a bit of bite from the carbonation…silk at first and pine needles directly thereafter.

D- High. Smoky, pine finish leaves me wanting drink after drink. Alcohol is extremely well hidden.

alkemy, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of jamescain
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours a thick black with a brown head about two fingers thick that clings to the side of the glass and slowly fades into a lacing over the top.

Aroma: Strong citrus and pine notes mixed with chocolate and roasted aromas. Pungent.

Taste: Piney bitterness mixed with bitter chocolate and roasted grains with a touch of coffee.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with a lingering bitter finish. I see why they call it an Imperial black IPA.

Overall: If I didn't know any better from looking at the beer I would assume it was and RIS. Once you smell it you know it is not though. Of the three Stone anniversary beers I've had, this is my favorite so far.

jamescain, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of KGarrett
5/5  rDev +18.5%

KGarrett, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of CSQ1111
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

CSQ1111, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of kdown
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

kdown, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of TommyW
4.05/5  rDev -4%

A- Very stout-like appearance. Black body with a tan head that starting at about 2 fingers and faded to a thin layer.

S- Smell was very full of fruity hops with a notes of burnt/toasted malts towards the finish.

T- Followed the nose very well. Big IPA-like hop presence up-front (very fruity hop profile). Slight notes of toasted and burnt malts make a quick appearance toward the finish.

M - Medium carb. smooth feel.

D- The first few sips of this beer were awesome, but it became a little much on the palate towards the end of the bottle. A solid beer though, that i'm becoming a bigger fan of.

TommyW, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of roodie
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Enjoyed on tap at the Flying Saucer, Houston

~8 oz pour into a snifter

A: pours a dark coffee black, with 2 fingers of espresso head. Low retention, light lacing. dark coloring belies the hoppy potential

S: mild citrus with a hoppy, bitter, pungent backbone like a spicerack. odd, but working for me

T: bitter and piney; roasty malts give off a muted sweetness, very good.

M: a bit chalky with lingering bitterness. leaves a velvety coating blending the best qualities of a stout and heavily hopped beer

O: A great beer, better than most Black IPAs, I think Stone does this style well. A strong beer for sure, but hides it's punch till the end!

roodie, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of ineva
5/5  rDev +18.5%

ineva, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4/5  rDev -5.2%

A - Pours black into my snifter with a little over one finger of dense light brown head and has moderate retention and decent lacing.

S - Big hop aroma, very piny, resinous, and has grapefruit citrus. Once you get past the hops there are notes of toasted malts, bitter espresso and faint chocolate.

T - Follows the nose, grapefruit, pine, resinous hops that linger on the palate from start to finish, malt presence is there, bitter espresso is noticeable and dry cocoa with a slight alcohol burn.

M - Big and bold, full body with really well balanced carbonation.

O - I am not crazy about this style and this is not my favorite thing to come out of Stone, that's for sure. However, I get the concept and have had a few decent "Black IPA's" and although these roasted citrus combinations aren't that common we do find them in Africa/Arabia coffee bean varieties naturally. I am trying to keep this in mind when I start to think these flavors don't go together, because sometimes they can and do.

StoneBrewFanatic, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of mcorwin
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

mcorwin, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of flannelman808
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%

A: Pours dark brown with a reddish copper hint. Light brown head pours with a generous amount of cake batter head (typical stone protein). If it ever disappears Ill make a note about the lacing... Retention is fantastic.
Eventually this shows good lacing. Head retention is Duvel status
S: Smells interesting... Chocolate and hop pollen jump out first, but there are some underlying notes of orange peel, lime, pepper, and there is a kind of aroma which reminds me of salinity as well.

T: Milk chocolate (think Ovaltine), Black pepper (and lavender?!), Orange pith and rind, Lime pith, molasses, and pine needles finish it up. Sweet start and a bitter finish works for me! Typically I find this style a misnomer usually belonging in the Russian Imperial Stout category. This isn't very far from a RIS but it does separate its self with spicy and fruity notes. Lastly Ill mention that the 10.8% ABV is well incorporated into its flavors, not hidden parse but well received.

M: Very well done in this department. Its got a velvet fizz thing happening.

O: Pretty darn good beer. Not quite up there with the ranks of Uinta Dubhe IBIPA (In my not so humble opinion the very best of style) but its pretty darn good and one of the better more inventive beers I have tried within the style. Also per usual its only $5.95 for a bomber which makes for a retarded like value.

flannelman808, Aug 20, 2011
Photo of pburland23
3.43/5  rDev -18.7%

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a 22 ounce bombed into my Great Divide tulip.

Pours a stout-like opaque dark black with two and half towering fingers of mocha colored head. Moderate head retention and a ridiculous draping of thick, clingy lacing.

Smell is underwhelming. I was expecting a real, quintessential Stone hop bomb. But, the preeminent aroma was more dark candied sugar and sweet malt. At the tale end of the nose, there's a whiff of dank, earthy hops. Wish there had been more.

Taste start off overly sweet and malty. Then, there's a huge wallop of biting hops bitterness in the middle of the sip which slips away to a slight touch of roastiness. The happiness mellowed as the beer warmed, but this one tasted more black ale and less IPA throughout.

Mouthfeel is mildly thick with a healthy dose of carbonation. High ABV but the booze is hidden quite well.

Overall, I'm not impressed. Stone is using spot on but this one misses the mark. The flavored are muddled and the beer suffers from an identity crisis.

pburland23, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of Sinewave
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Sinewave, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of obywan59
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%

"August 2011, Bottle Conditioned, Enjoy fresh" on the bottle.

Pours an incredible very dark brown to almost black with a 1 1/2 finger thick, creamy, tan head in my oversize wine glass.

Amazing fresh grassy hops with chocolate, coffee, light over-ripe citrus, toasted malt, and spicy alcohol. Stone is famous for being "over the top", but this has to be their best aroma ever!

Sweet at first, but bitterness rises strongly. Dark roasted malts are coffee-like. Spice and alcohol.

Medium-thick and creamy with some bite. Warming alcohol in the throat.

Another winner from Stone. Stand up and embrace this revolution in beer. "Those that don't think they have been oppressed are already lost".

obywan59, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of buffs9
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

buffs9, Mar 06, 2012
Photo of readbaron
2.95/5  rDev -30.1%

Served at Acre's stone tap takeover

Pours black with large tan head that laces up nicely and sticks around for a while.

Whew. I'm not sure what happened on the nose - smell is not to my liking. I get soy sauce and fermented broccoli. Blech. As I get used to it I can tell that it's a combination of piney hops mixed with roasty malts. The combo ends up pungent and not so tasty.

Tastes better than it smells. Very hoppy, with lots of roasty malts. Bitter and boozy with some of that unusual soy sauce flavor coming through.

Mouthfeel is quite nice - creamy and smooth. Medium bodied, and a bit sticky.

Overall, the nose just kills this one for me.

readbaron, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of FirstBrewsoon
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

FirstBrewsoon, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of yokken
2.6/5  rDev -38.4%

Got a bomber of this on my visit to California; I'll be visiting Stone in two days.

My father and I split this. First off, wow, that's thick. And it's certainly black. My first whiff had me reeling. It's extremely potent... hops flood my nasal passages. A pungent soy sauce flavor overwhelms me. It's very sweet.

The first sip is incredibly bitter. Sweet as well. The ABV of this beer doesn't hide, in my opinion, like some Double IPAs can do. I don't look forward to the next sip of this beer. And that's just it--this is a sipping beer. It's incredibly flavorful. It stops everything, and forces me to focus on how bitter and overwhelming the flavor is.

The aftertaste is the best part, and quite possibly the only thing I enjoy about this beer. There's an incredible coffee aftertaste reminding me of a coffee stout. I also detect chocolate and toffee undertones. Someone else here on BA noted figs as well, which I also subtly taste. But coffee and soy sauce are two huge flavors here, and I'm not the most fond of those. I'm much more of an IPA guy.

Compared to other black IPAs, this is something else entirely. It is so pungent, so powerful, so overwhelming, that I would probably never choose to drink this again. The flavor kills my palate more than a double IPA and I'm here wishing I had bought a bottle of something else. I love a lot of Stone's brews, but this sure isn't one of them.

yokken, Mar 14, 2012
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,402 ratings.