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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,402 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(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 plaid75
3.8/5  rDev -10%

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a deep black hue with a two finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a molasses, dark chocolate and caramel.

The taste consisted of elements of dry dark chocolate, coffee, caramel and a healthy dose of booze.

The mouthfeel was certainly full for the style with a dry finish.

If this isn't an RIS, then I'm the Queen of England.

plaid75, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of beerthulhu
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%

Bottle cond. Aug. 11. Consumed Oct. 11.

A: Pitch black with a 2 finger, frothy mocha colored head that sits steadily atop. Lengthy retention on the head's part leaves a modest half glass coating for lace, patchy and splotchy.

S: Fresh wet pine, dry celery, and a herbaceous scent of fresh parsley is about. The hops are strong at first wind, but quiet there after, not sure if it’s the nature of the beast, or the 2 month shelf sitting.

T: Deep roasted malt flavor, dry parching citrus, with a strong level of hop presence. Dry pine, bittering grapefruit mingles with a dart roasted barley base with a burnt bitterness. A herbal hint of parsley and spicy zing of citrus is found in the middle. On the close is a lingering black licorice spicines as well a sharp wet citrus zing leaving a scorched fade of burnt grains behind.

M: fizzy at first, frothy, with a thick resistance from the heavy handed malt base. Bittering and dry hops with a licorice and citrus bite coming on the swallow.

O: Overall the hops are big and bitter on this one, as well the malting is equally big and roasted leaving a healthy dose of scorchness in its path. Worhty of an anniversary labeling. A bomber seems like a good level of drinkability, even before I noticed its 10.1% abv which kinda surprised me. Some alcohol warmth, but would of never guessed on this level. Gets progressively smoother and easier on the down once your tongue goes numb from the bitter roasted goodness found within. Very good in humble opinion.

beerthulhu, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%

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.

tdm168, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of Kelp
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Kelp, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of sendbeer
5/5  rDev +18.5%

sendbeer, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of billab914
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%

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.

billab914, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -10%

Black and opaque, even in bright sun light.

Lots of dark malt and some hops, but too much alcohol in the nose

Rich flavor featuring dark malt over the hops, despite the IPA designation. Huge malt flavor yet plenty of hops show thru. Extremely long finish and aftertaste.

M: full body; good if rather aggressive carbonation.

O - very bold; a bit challenging and extreme; highly flavored. If you are seeking a rich and flavorful beer with plenty of hops and dark malt, don't miss this offering.

chinchill, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.05/5  rDev -4%

Pours black, looks thicker than just the usual dehusked, debittered black malts used in these black ipa type beers. Good citrus aroma to it, the citra hops do a good job. Almost gave it a 4.5

Solid taste, hoppy, bitter, not not so much it drowns out the other aspects of the beer. What was outright amazing was the mouthfeel. I was just drinking this beer by the river two weeks ago. Like at a normal pace. Finished the beer. Was reading the label. What? 10.8%? I really would have guessed 7%. Hid that shit very well. Nice and dry. Didn't pull out the chocolate or licorice that others did, at least to any discernable degree. You could find the roast and chocolate if you're looking for it I guess, but its kind of a psychosomatic thing if you ask me anytime a beer is darker in color.

Citra hop makes you think there is orange rind in it at times. Nice price is even nicer.

Pretty much a bigger sublimely righteous beer, with citra.

Beerandraiderfan, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of DrJay
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Black as night, though there may have been an smidgeon of a dark brown edge when held up to the light. Thick mocha cap of fine bubbles, clumpy sheets of lacing. I expected the aroma to be citrusy, and I wasn't disappointed - grapefruit pith was dominent at first, but gave way to some malty chocolate character as it warmed. Notes of cocoa and pine resin, alcohol and herbal hops, plus roasted malts, all floated in and out of focus. Big bittersweet chocolate flavour, more citrusy grapefruit and tangerine, peppery alcohol, bready and roasted malts. Full bodied with a silky texture, carbonation was a bit creamy. Mild warmth and astringency. Overall, quite enjoyable. It's a big beer packing a lot of flavour and I thought the brewers at Stone did a good job getting everything to work together.

DrJay, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

Picked up today at the COOP .... poured into my trusty HotD goblet.... nice looking 1" brown head... nice lacing and retention. The brew is not quite black, but close.... pretty highlites appear when held to a nearby light. Swirling stains the glass brown.

Nose is bright pine and pithy grapefruit zest.... slight roastiness reminds us of the dark malt... a bit of EtOH in the aroma.

Big and bitter up front.... the hops come out swinging almost immediately... grapefruit and pine needles.. a minor blast of roasty malt .. even hints of bittersweet chocolate come out with a little warmth... a bit boozy, but I'm not really complaining.

Seems thicker than I was expecting, but smooth with a good small bubble carbonation.

Inflatablechair and I shared last night, the 15th, SSR, Uinta Dubhe, and the Deschutes Hop in the Dark.... this was the clear winner, with the Uinta coming in a close second.

4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5/4

JohnGalt1, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of PEIhop
5/5  rDev +18.5%

PEIhop, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of liamt07
4.43/5  rDev +5%

Bottle from Premier Gourmet, 650ml into a tulip. August 2011 vintage. Review #500, woo.

Pours pitch black, with a nice brown head of a couple fingers - lightly 'dirty' in composition. Excellent retention and lace, awesome. Nose has layers, big citrus hop components in traditional Stone fashion, but also reveals degrees of chocolate, caramel, roasty coffee and espresso and some charred notes. Sweeter vanilla and brown sugar notes as well bring depth and a breadth to a wide spectrum of volatiles. Freshness could've helped this out a bit more. No alcohol for a fairly high ABV. Flavour doesn't let up either, a blast of hops and roasty/chocolate/coffee right off the bat, grapefruit, tangerine, oranges and tropical fruits are prominent; some pine too. Loads of resin-y goodness. Moves into a gritter charred bread with some brown sugar and vanilla, with long lingering bitterness - both coffee-like and from the hops. Extensive finish. Full bodied, yet fairly low in carbonation with a hint of alcohol heat in and around the finish. An exceptional black ale, likely the best I've had thusfar.

liamt07, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%

8/15/2011

Check the Stone tap list on the Stairmaster at the gym. Stone 15th? Don't mind if I do. 8oz draft pour.

A: Black as a moonless, starless Escondidian night. A massive brown head lingers with uncertainty above the liquid. Much lacing is left in the wake of the recession.

A: Aromatic resinous pine and grapefruit waft from the glass with lesser notes orange. Malt imparts notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, and roasted malt. The aroma is pretty great.

T: A prominent roasted malt profile is accompanied by dark chocolate and cocoa. The beer is dry, with anise and a touch of molasses. The malt profile does this beer much credit. Hops are aggressive, imparting an upper moderate to lower high level of smooth bitterness and flavors of pine resin, orange, and grapefruit that mix nicely with the chocolate and roast. Alcohol is really well hidden for how damn high it is. Stone should serve this in pitchers here at the Bistro. It would only be a $32 pitcher. Alas, they do not offer pitchers. I suppose you could bring your own, get 8 glasses of 15th Anniversary, and pour them gently into the pitcher. I'll have to see if they'll allow that. A nice pitcher of Imperial Escondidian Black IPA on a warm Escondido summer day in the Stone gardens, just the job.

M: Full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and chewy. Alcohol provides warming in the finish.

Overall: This is quite good. I really enjoyed my glass. It blurs the line between Imperial Escondidian Black IPA and Imperial Stout.

HopHead84, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

rolltide8425, Jul 26, 2012
Photo of ShanePB
3.3/5  rDev -21.8%

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.

ShanePB, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of beertunes
3.15/5  rDev -25.4%

Served in tulip glass. Poured a solid black, no translucence at all, with an inch of strong black head that excellent retention and lacing.

The aroma was all nice hops, mostly floral, with a just barely noticeable malt profile. The flavors were unique, to say the least. There was a noticeable chocolate presence, and the hops did not combine well with the chocolate, with plenty of tangy hops. The beer had a weird metallic finish.

The body was medium and averagely decent. Drinkability suffered from the weird combination of flavors. Overall, a decent, but very odd, beer. As a note, with the last 1/4 of the glass, I had the bartender add a few drops of Creme de Menthe to the beer. This helped the beer a lot, really helped tie the flavors together.

beertunes, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of Derek
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%

A West India Porter? Yeah, an American Black Ale.

A: Jet black with a tan head, light retention, great lace.

S: Floral, piny, molasses, citrus, brown sugar, intriguing.

T: The acrid roast is right upfront and surprising, but I like it. Tons of black-strap molasses and bakers chocolate, charred pineapple, with hints of licorice and soy sauce. Plenty of hop resin, slighty herbal, with an underlying piny backbone. Awesome bitterness. The first half of this bottle was almost exceptional. Unfortunately, the lysing yeast in the second half didn't play well with the acrid roast and the overpowering flavours became a little much. This is one to share... and leave the yeast sediment in the bottle.

M: Full mouth-feel has a bit of roasted acidity.

O: Enticing and awesome. There's plenty of alcohol here, but it's really well-hidden. More of a Baltic Porter fan than a DIPA.

Vital stats: 10.8% abv, 100 IBUs
Malt Bill: Pale Malt, Cara-Bohemian, Carafa III Special, and Chocolate Malt
Hops Bill: Columbus (bittering), Citra (flavor/aroma). Dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade.

Congratulations Stone! I'm looking forward to the next 15 years.

Derek, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%

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.

GarthDanielson, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of Brad007
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%

Another ABA to satisfy the urge for hops!

Pours a color that is blacker than fucking black with a two-finger brown head into my glass. Is this a stout or an ABA?

Whoa, the hops deliver quite a massive dick punch with a shit ton of mint and pine resin. I'm loving every minute of it. I want to roll around in this beer for hours.

Ditto on the taste. Lots and lots of grassy pine with just a hint of mint. It has the consistency of chocolate milk. Creamy too!

Lingering grassy pine, chocolate and cream pepper the mouthfeel. I don't want it to end.

Cliches aside, this is one excellent example of the ABA style out from our friends on the West Coast. I don't know. I still think that Hill Farmstead's James is much better but that could be because it's fresher.

Brad007, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.55/5  rDev -15.9%

This pours a dark brown/black color with a mocha-colored foam. It smells exactly as you'd expect, citrusy hops + roasted malts and a hit of ethanol. Some cocoa too (which wasn't expected).

Way too much roasty flavor for me to like this, big malt bill filled with heavily roasted grains. Chocolaty and toasty, with the hops giving more counterpoint than counterbalance. Basically this is a hoppy stout.

A little bit of burn at the end of each sip, strong stuff. Just not my style I guess.

TurdFurgison, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -5.2%

THECPJ, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of dirtylou
4.43/5  rDev +5%

22oz bomber

appearance: served in arrogant bastard shaker pint, ebony body - very dark, creamy pillowy chocolate head, sticky lacing. Exceptional.

smell: sticky pine, citrus hops, burnt malts, dark chocolate

taste: Wonderful stuff here - a creamy, roasty, hoppy concoction...burnt malt, bitter piney hops, citrus rind, dark chocolate, light espresso, everpresent notes of the 10.8% abv.

mouthfeel: creamy and rich, moderate bitterness, boozy bite

overall: another impressive anniversary offering

dirtylou, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%

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.

Alieniloquium, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of drummermattie02
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

drummermattie02, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of scruffwhor
4.43/5  rDev +5%

Lovely dark tan to brown colored head of two fingers width that leaves a CONSTANT film of foam so thick and luscious, it makes me think of espresso foam. The color is that of a proper RIS, jet black.

Heavily toasted, blood orange peel hop aroma mixes well with a mix of almost burnt and perfectly toasted biscuits.

Velvety palate from start to finish is ohh sooo nice. The palate enhances the interplay of bitter citrus with roasted, almost blackened mixed with perfectly roasted malts. Bitter, yet somewhat pumpernikel bread sweet. The heat of this abv. % heat of this beer only adds depth and complexity to this beer. This beer is almost perfect in taste, except I don't think the malt gets enough attention.

This beer is great and I will recommend this beer specifically along with other Stone beers to others with much piquant exclamamation

scruffwhor, Dec 02, 2011
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 1,402 ratings.