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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.

713 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 713
Hads: 1,419
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 18.18%
Wants: 60
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: 1,419
Photo of Derek
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of DrJay
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black color; no light coming through. Poured a 2 finger dense light-brown head with excellent retention to finger. Laced the glass in sheets at the top then wide rings.

S: Big wollop of hops; pine and grapefruit. Another wollop of toasted malts; bitter espresso and chocolate. Aromas are raw and big.

T: Consistent with the nose though the malt is just as prominent up front. Resinous hops cut through the bitter/sweet malt. Finish is sharply bitter with an alcohol burn that work in tandem to scrub the palate.

M: Full body; big and sticky. Moderate carbonation; almost not noticed between the bitter and alcohol in the finish. Big and rich then warm and dry.

O: Lots of malt and hop character. Remarkable balance; it is a monster

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Photo of rudzud
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Armsby Abbey's Stone Night. Reviewed from notes

A - Poured into a standard pint glass a wonderous midnight black that had a one finger mocha head resulting in massive, massive side lacing. Excepetional.

S - A bit lower here than I'd like. Still nice roasted malts and chocolate with a light hop profile.

T - Wow. Big big big. Great roast malts, chocolate, rich coffee to start. This gives way to a nice piney hop bitterness. Wow, this stuff is delicious.

M - Very smooth and creamy, good carbonation for this style.

O - This is a great imperial black ale. Such great rich chocolate and coffee with a nice balanced hop profile.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes. Enjoyed at Muddy Waters. It is very creamy black and hoppy with a hop and dark roast bitterness on both the nose and the palate with very faint malt sweetness in the background and a bitter chocolate note. Some hop and grain astringency on the finish.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch frothy tan head that stays around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is roasted malt, milk chocolate, grassy and citrusy hops, and some coffee. I think the taste pretty much follows the aroma, but with the hop flavors being stronger than the malty ones. There's also a lingering bitter hoppy finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and coating, and is well carbonated. I think it's a good overall brew, Stone did a nice job with this one! $7.99 a bottle.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from Bristol Farms Palm Desert CA for 6.99

Appearance - Black/brown colour with a large size frothy light brown coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, chocolate, grapefruit/oranges

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops mixed with malts, chocolate, and hops. There is also quite a bit of a roasted/burnt nut flavour. It ends with a hoppy bittersweet chocolate aftertaste.

Overall - Lots of imperial stout qualities mixed with a good dose of hops. For an black ale I think I preferred the The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA, but this is still a fantastic beer. The alcohol is very well hidden and to me it's a beefed up Self Righteous.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of Brad007
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

Growler poured into an imperial pint. Thanks for sharing Chris!

(A)- Pours pitch black. Produced a solid cap of tan froth. Good retention and lace.

(S)- A fairly potent "green" piney hop profile. Bits of raisin and cocoa behind that. Subtle roasted elements.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A big piney hop barrage with bits of roasty malts and a chalky cocoa.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. massively hoppy, but it does have a good malt backbone to back it up. Hides the ABV very well.

(D)- Definitely a step up from Sublimely in a good way. Surprisingly crisp despite its apparent strength.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this up last weekend and wanted to try this as fresh as I could (regardless of PA getting it one month later than release)

A - Poured it a bit too aggressive and almost overflowed the glass, man that's carbonated! Color of the head is a deep dark mocha and the beer itself couldn't get any darker. Liquid is pretty thick too.

S - Fresh grapefruit hops to the max, yet its pretty subtle than I expected. I also get some toffee, roast, and some butterscotch but you really have to dig deep behind the hops to smell it.

T - As I wait for the head to settle I read the label and find it kind of funny that some would blow these words out of proportion. Then I sip. My goodness I expected a tongue buckling effect of hops but got a strong bit of roast and toffee with a nice bit of hop bitterness. As I dig it seems to be every other sip a little something different, roast, then bittering hops, then chocolate, more hops, and even some toffee and butterscotch candies.

M - It does feel a bit thin but that does make it very drinkable. Aside from bitterness of the hops I detect no ABV burn or flavors. Where is that almost 11 percent hiding???

Overall Stone does it again and I seem to like this just as much as the 11th anniversary ale (Sublimely Self-Righteous) if not more since it delivers with a bigger punch. Makes the 9 dollars I paid for my bottle completely worth it

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of avalon07
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick, opaque texture. There was a half inch of creamy, tan-colored, fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: Not as robust an aroma as would have thought, but you still get a big bouquet of hops, coffee, chocolate, and pine.

T: Tasted of very sharp hops up front, with hints of coffee, chocolate, pine, and a little malt in the finish. This is a big, bold, and complex flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a lively, crisp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: An extremely focused and well made beer.

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Photo of barczar
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle is 9 months beyond date of bottling.

Pours a clear deep brown with garnet highlights and a solid one finger cappuccino head that dissipates into a ring of foam, leaving no lacing.

Dark fruit, roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee dominate the aroma, with a hint of nuttiness and a muted grapefruit finish.

Flavor showcases much more hop character, starting with grapefruit tartness that makes my mouth water. It lingers throughout the profile, revealing more complex tropical fruit flavors. A solid roast malt backbone supports the hops well, allowing them to shine without overpowering them. Hints of coffee grounds accompany the bitter hop finish. Dark fruit flavors emerge as it warms, and malt becomes more pronounced.

Body is on the heavy side, with fairly low carbonation and a significant alcohol warmth.

Very interesting beer that is a contrast in malt and hop, but definitely biased toward the hop side. Alcohol content is fairly surprising!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. Bottled in '11, so this guy is 3 years old. How does a 3 year old Imperial Black IPA hold up? Really well, apparently.

Pours a very dark black, looks thick and oily, with a thick, foamy off-white head, and a lot of lacing.

Dude, smells awesome. A bit smokey and ashy, with some powdery chocolate, a little bit of pine, and rich milk chocolate.

This has aged amazingly, honestly. The chocolate flavor is really overwhelmingly dominant, it's got a powdery rich flavor that's like a cross between Nesquik and Belgian chocolate, if that makes sense. It's rich, powdery and chalky, with some smokey flavors behind it, with the smallest vestiges of hop flavor left, some pine, a tiny bit of juicy sweet citrus. There's also vanilla and espresso beans at various points too.

This is really thick. I gave some to the bartender who had it fresh. He said it's thickened with age. It's got a really creamy, but slightly dry mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation.

This was really good, honestly mind-blowing at this age.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours nearly pitch black. Finger high khaki head is born from the pour. The head retains quite well. Random splotches of lacing cling to the glass.

S-Big whiff of floral and piney hops. Along with the aggressive hop aroma is an equally sturdy dose of sweet roasted malts. Along with the roastiness is some really nice chocolate notes. An attractive nose, makes me very excited for the first sip.

T-A big, bold and assertive flavor. The bitterness from the piney hops is quite overwhelming at first, but I really enjoy it. After the hop assault comes an awesome wave of rich chocolate and fresh coffee. The malt and hop battle for power on the palate. This is a hardcore beer.

M-Fuller. Creamy and slightly resinous. Dry and bitter aftertaste. Great feel.

O/D-Stone has not hit the spot with me with its recent offerings. This one is a winner however. I love their Sublimely Self-Righteous offering, and this is a bigger version. They really kicked ass on this one, very happy.

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

Bottle for $6.49 from The Village Pump, into my Aecht tulip. Even before I pop it open, I'm kicking myself for not grabbing a SSRA for a comparison.

Black with reddish brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, dark brown head with excellent retention and lacing. A gorgeous ABA. The nose has a beautifully pungent hop character, intense with fresh pine needles, grapefruit, a mild grassy, green hop character. The malt character is almost an afterthought here, there's a little roast noticeable, making this significantly distinct from a hoppy porter or stout. The alcohol is fairly well hidden as well.

The palate is a surprise given the nose. Plenty of juicy pine and grapefruit hop character is present, with a medium-low level of bitterness. Next, the mildly herbal, minty come through. These bright flavors lead into a moderately roasty malt backbone, with a little caramel, brown sugar and moderate roast. A touch of smoke is present as well. Moderately dry on the finish with a lingering grapefruit pith bitterness, roasted grain bitterness and juicy hop flavors. Medium in body with a wonderful, creamy carbonation, this beer feels awesome on the palate. This beer is pretty awesome.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada tulip.
August 2011, Bottle conditioned, Enjoy Fresh. 10.8% ABV.

A - Blacker than used motor oil, Stone's 15th Anniversary floods the glass with sinfully roasted malt as the dense head shrouds the glass with a veil of dark tan foam.

S - Notes of cold coffee and bittersweet chocolate from roasted malt blend surprisingly well with the over-the-top bitter hop resin found in the aroma. This takes me back a week to my hop (specifically Chinook) harvest; bitter grapefruit, sticky resin, and pine needle. An American-hop head's dream. Bold and unrelenting, the aroma has very little alcohol heat to it.

T - A hop smack in the teeth, this supremely bitter beer carries with it abounding pine resin, juicy grapefruit bitterness, and a splash of mango sweetness. The load of hops is generously offset by caramel and roasted malt. Hoppiness pushes forward but the chocolate and coffee-infused roasted malt pulls through the finish nicely.

M - Bitter as sin, Stone's 15th Anniversary displays a supreme level of balance throughout the mouthfeel. Hoppy and dry at first, it changes to acrid roast and then to a balancing sweetness before finally resolving itself at a dry, resiny bitter finish. Full-bodied and smooth, an inherent warming from alcohol is active in the stomach and retro-nasal breathing.

O - Aaah, fresh Stone. They're at the forefront of extreme hop usage, but this beer remains balanced regardless. Quality roast character works very well with the chosen American hops to give the Escondidian Imperial Black IPA one hell of a delicious punch to the face.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at good dog in philly

Pours an opaque black with a slightly tanned head resting on top. Tones of patchy lacing is left on the glass in rings, along with thick, filmy retention.

Pungent hops in the nose with grapefruit and citrus sweetness. Some roasted malt and light nuttiness with a touch of caramel. Very faint hint of boozy warmth.

Bitter and juicy up front with pine hops and sticky resin. Stiff notes of grapefruit tempered by lighter fruit sweetness. Thick roasted, nutty malt backbone, some touches of caramel and bittersweet caramel. Finishes bitter and long with a flash of pine and a soft bite of alcohol.

Medium body, fine carbonation, sticky and a little chewy. One of the best black IPAs I've had, and I'd definitely drink this again. I was also surprised at how well they masked the double-digit ABV.

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

Pours a dark, chalky charcoal color, nice cap of dense khaki froth, good sticky lacing. Scent is fruity with pineapple and tangerine, light pine, solid roasty and chocolaty malt backbone. Bright and fruity flavor notes, again with pineapple and tangerine, solid bitterness with grapefruit and pine notes, surprisingly big notes of cocoa and chocolate along with roast, mild profile of dark fruits on the rear. Medium bodied, smooth, maybe a touch too much carbonation, bitter and dry. An all around solid Black IPA, one of the best in style with nice notes of chocolate and dark fruit to add to the complexity.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a luscious opaque sable that is barely a whisker above black and has a thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Interesting aroma is smoky like a porter or stout yet hoppy like an IPA and has hints of licorice and coffee. Delightful flavor is fairly hoppy and just scarcely bitter, with malty, coffee and chocolate notes and just a hint of licorice. It seems to combine the best of a good stout and a good IPA, and I love both styles of beer! Full-bodied texture has a firm tingle and an occasional needle-like jab as if there are some hot peppers in the mix. Finish is tingly and just slightly sweet.

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Photo of Durge
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep, dark brown-black color with a muscular light brown head and gobs of lacing. The aroma is a pleasant chocolate malt with a bit of pissy citrus hop, a tad musty in a nice, herbal way. The flavor brings a hefty coffee-chocolate malt mixed tastefully with pronounced evergreen hops and citrus highlights. This is a medium-full bodied brew with a luscious feel and mid-range carbonation. This stuff is awesome. Thick but drinkable, tasty hop malt bomb. Big hit for me, love it!

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Photo of champ103
1.99/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours a dark black, almost opaque color. A one finger tan head forms, and recedes to a ring. Nice lace is left behind.
S: Oh man, the aroma is pungent. Herbal and soapy hops, citrus, grassy hops. That all intermingles with burnt sugar, tar, molasses, ash, wood. Just unpleasant in the nose.
T: The same here, it is just off putting. At first the hops are strong. Herbal, grassy, soapy. Charred wood, ash, and rubber comes next. Burnt sugar with way to much residual sweetness. Molasses and soy sauce. A lingering bitterness lasts forever. Not to mention the alcohol. Over barring in every way.
M/D: A full body that is thick and viscous. Overly so with a sticky adhesive quality that I don't like. I think tar is a good descriptor. To much alcohol and to much of everything else. I could not finish a glass.

Wow, I thought Stone could not get any more crase and over barring. Just an unbalanced mess. I wish brewers would think before releasing beers like this. Though I guess everyone else seems to like it for some reason, and I don't get it? I would say avoid, but that looks like I am in the minority.

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