1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,403 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,403
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: 1,403 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of swetsastonic
4/5  rDev -5.2%

swetsastonic, Oct 07, 2013
Photo of gafferjohn
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

gafferjohn, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of Smileitsfreetobehappy
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Smileitsfreetobehappy, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of SamN
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For my 300th review, I chose something special; Stone's 15th Anniversary beer. From a bomber into a Samuel Smith nonic pint.

This beer pours black as an RIS, with a thick, soapy dark tan head of billowy, creamy foam. Moderate lacing is left behind, great head for a 10.8% ale. Smell is powerfully hoppy, massive grapefruit rind aromas, tangerines, peaches. Very mild black roasted malt in the background, nose dominated by citrusy hops. Taste is an initial flash of hop-fruitiness, then melds into a more balanced taste incorporating some coffee and roasted grain notes. Finish is moderately bitter.

A pretty decent beer. Hoppier than I expected, but I suppose they did warn me with "Imperial" on the label. Well-hopped but not aggressive, the 'black" part is subdued; I would've liked to see that end brought up a bit more.

SamN, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of DaveBlack
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black, without the tiniest bit of light coming through. The head is large and creamy, maybe two fingers with good retention and a lot of lacing.

S: Really a bit disconcerting to smell a beer that looks like a stout and have it smell more like hops than anything else. Big hop aroma up front, and roasted malts underneath that. Not getting much else.

T: Malts come through much more strongly on the taste than they do on the nose. Big hit of darkly roasted malts up front. Chocolate, and caramel bring a nice sweetness. The hops balance it out really well, though, and break through the sweetness. It leaves me with the taste of chocolate malts in my mouth, but it is just a little too much.

M: Heavy body and moderate carbonation. Quite sticky, especially at the back of the throat.

O: A nice offering from Stone. Big, bold, in your face flavors. Certainly nothing subtle about this beer and I almost feel like nothing I eat or drink in the next 4 hours will have any flavor by comparison. I wouldn't drink it every day. It's a showoff beer, but it's well balanced and tasty, even if they could have toned it back a bit.

DaveBlack, Sep 28, 2011
Photo of Jstark5150
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Jstark5150, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of depechemode1983
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a tulip. Color is pitch black with no light shining through. The head is a nice medium brown. Its thick, its frothy and has damn good retention. It seems to last forever. Lacing is ridiculous. Its everywhere. Drapes on the inside of the glass like a curtain.

S - Lots of hops in the nose. Mainly piny/citrus. The middle is comprised of interesting spicy and smokey notes mixed with pineapple and orange. Oak also comes into play. There is a lot going on. Alcohol is surprisingly toned down considering the abv. Barely apparent.

T - Sweet, toasty, smokey, bitter. You get our tropical fruit, bitter grapefruit, smokey oak and and hot spices. Alcohol is more apparent in the taste. Gives it a nice warm finish. Not too hot though.

M - Medium bodied feel. Carbonation is low making for a smooth, velvet, and silky finish. An alcohol warmth tops it off.

O - Very interesting. Lots of hops. Tons of smoke and roasted malts. Alcohol. Tropical fruit. Bitter pine. Sugar. Spiciness. You get everything with this beer. It all melds together pretty well.

depechemode1983, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of hawkmage
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

hawkmage, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of ATXRyan
5/5  rDev +18.5%

ATXRyan, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of WMEugene
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle to a tulip glass

A - Pours an almost "all-but" black (faint hints of brown) with a thick, excellent bubbly dark tan head and thick lacing.

S - Piny hops smells (some citrus as well) and very little malts. What I do smell of the malts is definitely on the sweeter and roasted end of it.

T - Nice hop flavors that balance with hints of pine, citrus, and other fruits. The malt shines through a little with sweet, roasted flavor (of a chocolate nature).

M - Medium bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation. Hops aftertaste that lingers. Alcohol is well hidden.

O - I enjoyed Stone's 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA. It has big hop flavor with a surprising creamyness. It's one of the better Black IPAs I have had and I hope to enjoy it again soon!

WMEugene, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Leftofthedial
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Leftofthedial, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of mater
4/5  rDev -5.2%

mater, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of PSUDREW
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a: darker then ink, truely a wonderful pitch black. wonderful tan head
s: nice grassy smell. fresh cut even
t: wonderful a grass malt combo. honestly a wonderful mix. the hops stand out, but there is that solid malt feel
m" overall, a medium
O: pretty referesishing..I dig this

PSUDREW, Sep 24, 2011
Photo of ThirdEyePA
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

ThirdEyePA, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of Lerxst
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip

A-Pours black. No hints of light peeking through. 1/2" coffee colored head has good retention and leaves ample lace all the way down. Great looking beer.

S-Strong but not overwhelming nose. Very aromatic and pleasing. Pine resin and citrus are the star here with a nice dose of roasty malt, hints of chocolate and booze. Smells great too.

T-This is delicious. I can't quite give it a 5, but its close. A nice bitter hop bite of pine and citrus lead with a very pleasant roasted malt coming in just behind it. Got some booze in the nose, but none here. The alcohol is completely hidden to my palate. Just a hint of chocolate here. All of the flavors mingle together to provide an excellent drinking experience.

M-Medium body with slightly prickly carbonation that suits this beer well.

O-This style is hit or miss with me, but Stone hits this one out of the park. I'm a big fan of the SSR, but this one really takes the cake. I'd love to see this in the regular line up. I loved the entire experience from start to finish. Well done!

Lerxst, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of abrand
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

23 ounce bottled August 2011 poured into pint glass

This pours a deep brown to almost black color with a tan 1 finger head that quickly fades. Smell is fairly sweet with chocolate with a nice malt backbone. Plenty of espresso and raisins on the nose as well. Taste is still pretty hot for being bottled for 1 year. Some caramel and sweet fruits with a very bitter roasted malt backbone. Hoppy finish. Quite complex. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Overall this is amazing. Full of complexity and still holding well after a year.

abrand, Aug 31, 2012
Photo of 9InchNails
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cloverleaf, Stone Tap Takeover.

Creamy brown head leaving foamy lace on the glass. Nice head retention. I would say opaque but the bar is kind of dark. Definitely a dark body.

The aroma is citrus, pine, caramel and chocolate.

Wow! Sweet right away with bitterness at the end. Pine, citrus, caramel, roasted coffee, dark fruits, some noticeable alcohol, bitter chocolate and a lingering metalic but tasty aftertaste.

Silky smooth medium body, light carbonation, it leaves with a dry feeling from the bitter hops. Feels very nice.

I can see this being a dangerous beer. A sipper but yet something that I can drink a lot of and not get sick of. This is one of my favorite beer styles and to have a Imperial version of it is amazing. Stone has done a fantastic job! I hope they make this a normal rotation of brews.

9InchNails, Dec 06, 2011
Photo of Fitzmke
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Fitzmke, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of hyuga
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

hyuga, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of TheBronze
5/5  rDev +18.5%

TheBronze, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Neorebel
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is black as night in color with a thin brown head that sticks around. The nose on this reminds me of a grassy field and also has traces of oak and burnt coffee. -Yet it is still pleasant and hoppy. When quaffing The first thing I notice is a very thick, chewy mouthfeel. It's got the flavor of a porter with a soft, fruity hop flavor making a brief appearance in the middle, with a coffee finish. Heavy, warming - but not 'boozy' so to speak. I like when a brewer sneaks a high ABV in there without the drinker noticing. Very, very delicious, just not one you can drink a ton of in one night! I had this alongside the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale - two totally different beers of the same style, both great.

Neorebel, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of uustal
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a liquid tar with a two finger coffee brown head. Nice lacing and retention throughout. Didn't get the aroma at all. Aggressive alcohol, grapefruit, hints of roasted malt. A bit pungent and sour smelling, but the taste was not affected. Surprisingly big grapefruit and tropical fruit notes to start. Mango mostly. Small hints of black malt follows. Roasted notes, but play 2nd fiddle to the hops. Pine resin bitterness and booze as it warms finishes this one out. Very interesting brew. A hop bomb for sure, but the malts add some mid-palate sweetness. Can taste that this is a stone brew.

uustal, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of olympicgatorade
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Opaque brown-black

S: Boozy, bready, faint tobacco and chocolate

T: Roasty malt, hopped in a big way, definite booze presence here.

M: Nice carbonation, shot of intense hops and you're left with a nice malty linger

O: A good one. Nothing completely outrageous, but a tasty heavy-hitter at a good price. Recommended.

olympicgatorade, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of drumrboy22
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz. bottle into a Stone 15th anniversary snifter.  Beer was dark, dark brown, nearly black in color, with a one-finger, dark brown head.  Slow carbonation and moderate lacing around the glass.

Aroma was chocolate, big hops, caramel, boozy and sweet.  Big complex nose. 

Taste was roasted grains, malt, pine hops and sweet malt. 

Thick and chewy mouthfeel.  Drinks more like a stout than an IPA.  Nice beer. 

drumrboy22, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of velosuds
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. Saw this for the first time at 99 Bottles in Federal Way, WA and paid $6.99. Didn't bother looking for a freshness date since I knew been out for less than a month.

A-pours a beautiful dark brown, nearly black hue with a two finger dark tan head with decent retention. Lacing leaves even rings all the way down the glass.

S-Aroma is fantastic. Ripe, juicy grapefruit (like when peeling the fruit and it squirts ya in the face) pine, and earthy notes. Some roastiness and the slightest alcohol.

T-The juicy hops scintillate the taste buds. The roastiness is more evident in the taste than the aroma. The warming alcohol is also noted. But, the hops dominate.

M-Incredibly smooth and not nearly as filling as I expected. Except for the color and slight roastiness, this is more like a DIPA than many other black ales.

O-This is very good. I like the label on this suggesting the craft beer "revolution" is part of the broader artisan food movement. I wholeheartedly embrace Stone's world view. I no more care for shitty, tasteless food substitutes than yellow fizzy swill. Thank you Stone for your fine contributions to the craft beer movement.

P.S. "Escondidian?" I still prefer the PNW Cascadian moniker.

velosuds, Sep 13, 2011
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,403 ratings.