1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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.

1,412 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,412
Reviews: 713
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 55
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,412 | Reviews: 713 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hawkmage
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of ATXRyan
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of WMEugene
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
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!

Photo of rdilauro
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours like a dark rich stout. I have had a number of other Black IPAs and this pours the same way. A little but tan creamy head, that does not last that long
The difference ends here between stouts and black IPAs. Once I put my nose into the glass, all that came out was nice and strong HOPS. Closing my eyes, I am thinking like Stone's Bastard Ales, not as hoppy as Ruination.
I have to admit, my first taste was somewhat disappointing. I think it was perhaps that I was looking for that rich full stout flavor, but instead, it was much thinner, still nice The mouthful didnt last all that long. From the initial sip till the end, was so very quick, I was hoping for a little more flavour.
The finish was very quick. Hoppy to the end, made you make sure this was an IPA and not a stout

Photo of mater
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of PSUDREW
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
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

Photo of ThirdEyePA
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of abrand
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of 9InchNails
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of seanwhite
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of Fitzmke
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of hyuga
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of bfields4
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a slight mahogany hue with a light head of the same deep brown.

Amazing aroma. Very hop herbal resiny pine reminds me a lot of the hop profile from pliny. Get a nice bit of the roasty burnt malt aroma too.

Bitter dark chocolate and hop meld to create a nice parallel to the semi-sweet malty tones.

Great flavors and good all around beer, but after the aroma I was really hoping for something that was super hoppy and a light roasted body. They came through with a great beer that is nothing like the sublimely self-righteous, but a whole new black ale beast of it's own..

Photo of whatthehull
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted aug 18th 2011 (from notes)


A - deep dark gluggy black/brown, half finger dark tan head and nice lacing

S - grapefruit, sweet malts, nice yeast, pine, alcohol, citrus, tons of hops, sugar, wood, earth and island fruits

T - hops, resin, tons of toasted malt, sweet oak, sweet hickory molasses, flowers, pine, alcohol, grapefruit, more hops and some slight island fruit

M - full bodied, nice complexity, medium minus acidity, well balanced and long finish

D - for the style and genre, this is easy to drink. Outside of that, it's huge. Tons of hops, toastiness, alcohol and awesomeness

Final thought - if you have had knuckle sandwich from bootleggers, you cant tell me this doesn't taste like an overly malted and toasted version of that

Photo of uustal
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Photo of olympicgatorade
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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. 

Photo of beertardis
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

found a bottle at a local fish market that also sells beer and wine . been conditioning on the shelf for two years just my luck. smells of toffee , coffee, chocolate , and a hint of annise. the mouth feel was smooth and silky, almost tasted more like a russian imperial stout that a imperial black ipa .

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.

Photo of jskennedy
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev -5.2%

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

App: Black, not even another color around the edges when up to the light. Head retention is minimal. Nice lacing. A foamy, espresso colored head.

Nose: Licorice and dark candied fruits, slight alcohol notes, some dark berries, roasted dark coffee.

Taste: Typical Stone....perfect carbonation. Very balanced and subtle at first, which breaks way into multiple licorice, coffee and toffee flavors. Chocolate and toffee maltiness throughout.

Notes: A nice example of a Black IPA. Is it Imperial, or was this just a well balanced version? I'm not sure. Head retention was not typical Stone, everything else was top notch. Always a good quality beer with Stone.

Photo of baybassboy
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Snifter..

Appearance-Pours a jet black body, looks like their RIS. Can't really see any carbonation bubles floating up. Head is a creamy beige head with nice litle bubbles and really nice lacing.

Smell-Hops really haven't faded quite yet which I was afraid of. Smells like citra hops. Grapefruit and orange, light floral and earthiness. Once you get past the hops I pulled out some roasted and chocolate malts. Really amazing, can't wait to finally take a sip.

Taste-This is absolutely outstanding. This is the first Black IPA that really tastes like a Big Stout and a Big Double IPA. I don't get different flavors at different points of the sip, they just all mesh perfectly together. Grapefruit, Floral hops. Not overly bitter. Roasty, Chocolate, Coffee with a drying finish that's bringing me back for more. Speechless, and this isn't even a super fresh bottle.

Mouthfeel-Creamy, Velvety, Smooth. Just perfect. Carbonation is medium and Body is pretty full. So smooth and really coats the mouth. This is amazing.

Overall-As you already know this is an OUSTANDING beer, one of the best that's ever touched my lips. I've liked other Black IPAs but some aspects of them just don't work for me. This works on so many levels. I'm sad this will probably never be brewed again,(they probably won't brew it again) but i'm glad they brewed it once.

My plans were to drink half this bottle now, cork it up, and bring it to a friends house later, but I don't think that's going to happen.

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

Deep black roasted tar nose which is sharply intense and penetrating. In the glass it is jet black and gives at least a half inch light brown glossy head. Interesting how it pours seeminglessly headless only to form something big and beatifull in just a few seconds.
The taste is tense, intense of dark liquorice, dark 100% cocoa chocolate, some silky earth which is superbly roasty dry and supported by deep pine. A vibrant TCP monster of measured intensity. Some slightly fizzy gas at the end does not distract from this potent glass of superb lethal jet fuel.
Bit of a predator. With large talons.

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