15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Stone Brewing

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Black Ale
ABV:
10.8%
Score:
94
Avg:
4.25 | pDev: 12.47%
Reviews:
719
Ratings:
1,449
From:
Stone Brewing
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  56
Gots
  139
SCORE
94
Outstanding
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Notes:
Reviews: 719 | Ratings: 1,449 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MaxSpang:
Photo of MaxSpang
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

APPEARANCE

Black as hell. We're talking Imperial Stout darkness here, with only a smidge of red/brown light poking through the edge. For the most part, though, it's like a black hole that not even light can escape. The head was a good 3 fingers when first poured, and was a lovely mocha brown color. The lacing was surprisingly high. Overall, not much else to say about the appearance.

SMELL

When I first opened the bottle, there was a lot of hoppy goodness. Now in the glass, I am getting much more of the dark notes. There's lots of chocolate and bitter coffee, as well as something I can't put my finger on. Anise, maybe, or tree bark. There is a definite spice aroma, sort of like black pepper. There's a definite leather smell as well. This is one of the strangest smelling beers I have smelled! This isn't the hop bomb I was expecting. There is a good amount of hop character, but not the bright citrus notes I was expecting. Rather, there's a lot of earthiness and spicy floral notes. Very interesting smelling beer - in a good way.

TASTE

Just like the taste - this is weird and interesting.. And tasty! Right up front, it sort of tastes like a Foreign Extra Stout. Tons of dark chocolate notes and that anise/tree bark flavor like in the nose. After a moment on the tongue, you are hit with the bitterness from the hops which only seems to grow after you swallow. There's a bunch of roasted malt flavor, almost a smokey flavor which seems to be amplified by the bitterness. Towards the end, there's some citrus notes, like very slight grapefruit pith.

MOUTHFEEL

There are some interesting flavor combinations. Even though this beer is bitter as hell, it still feels a lot like a stout. There's tons of body and has the feeling of a silky imperial stout for the most part, until the crazy bitterness comes in. Then it just gets weird and unexpected - in a good way, of course. The bottle conditioning makes the bubbles in this beer smaller, which contributes to the smooth mouthfeel. This is definitely not the most drinkable beer, but considering the high bitterness and full body it is more drinkable than expected.

OVERALL

One of the craziest beers I've had considering I was expecting a hoppy stout flavor. It's got more of a stout quality than an IPA quality. It's more like an over-the-top Foreign Extra Stout. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking this beer though, it's really interesting and crazily complex enough to have me at a loss for words for the most part. Which isn't to say this beer is unfamiliar, because it's got all the beer flavors in there. They just happen to be extremely exaggerated. The bottle says to enjoy fresh, but I'm really curious about how this beer ages. I may get another bottle and open it up when it's Stone's 16th anniversary!

Cheers.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
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 NCSUdo
3.45/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle

A: Dark black body under a good sized brown head. Nice retention and lace.

S: Mix of roasted and chocolate malt with a background of citrus hops. Nice balance in the aroma.

T: Very roasted taste, with some hints of chocolate. Unfortunately, there is a hint of "burnt" there also. Not getting a lot of hop taste, but certainly a big bitterness in the finish. Alcohol apparent in a decent warmth on the way down. Fairly unbalanced.

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation is not too high. Drinkability is fair. A big beer that is a bit out of balanced in the taste depart.

 578 characters

Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of joelBfrasier
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of codynevels
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of datphoo
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of 1971bernat
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jmamay22
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a jet black thats nearly as imposing as an Imperial stout. The head is a thin mocha cap. Smells of piney hop resin with a hint of caramel sweetness in the background.

The taste is similar to the smell, but with greater complexity. The hops build slowly, muted as the malts provide balance, finally taking over with a sharp hop bite that acts as a resounding finish. It is surely a West Coast styled ale that is intense, but very enjoyable. Not your typical beer, but Stone loves to go its own way. The mouthfeel is medium bodied yet rich. Overall very enjoyable.

 580 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, dated August 2011

opaque black in color, with big khaki colored head. good head retention, a bit of lacing. aroma is a pleasant mix of slightly roasted malt and earthy & floral hops.

taste is similar. nice balanced flavors. a bit of an alcohol burn in the aftertaste. mouthfeel is great, creamy and smooth. lower carbonation.

overall, another great beer from Stone. from what I can remember, not too much different from the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. maybe a little bolder.

 495 characters

Photo of nealbert
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of BeerMeInMS
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date on bottle: Aug. 2011
Drinking Date: October 2011

Glassware: Tulip

Appearance: Black...Looks like pouring motor oil; Large, thick brown foam that retains well. Looks like a stout.

Smell: A hoppy smell...mostly grassy with a little citrusy bitterness; refreshing; If you dig a little bit you can detect some roasted aromas. Smells like a hoppy beer.

Taste: As a rarity, the taste of the beer does not directly resemble its smell! The opening is like a battle between heavy roasted flavors and bitter hops...These flavors even out and continue through the middle of the brew ending with deep cocoa aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. The main characteristic that differentiates this IPA from a stout is its less-than-thick body. Finishes clear with a slight warmth from the alcohol.

Overall: If I closed my eyes I would have called this a stout... Good beer, no complaints, and not what I expected. Only Black IPA I have tasted, so nothing to compare to.

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Photo of PugsandBeer
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of jpcarnegie
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of BeerLover99
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep onyx body, finger tan head, excellent lacing

S: big hoppy nose: mango/grapefruit, pine, malt,
mild roasted nuts, hint of toffee

T: sweet citrus, malt, slow bitter roasted finish

M: med body, creamy/smooth mouth

O: Stone always excites my senses. They
just know how to make great beer. I would
recommend anyone to their beers.

DELICIOUS, SEEK THIS OUT!

 365 characters

Photo of FanofHefe
3.91/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a snifter. Deep, black body with a two-finger mocha head. Good retention on the head and streaky lacing. Looks foreboding.

The aroma is very hop-centric up front. Herbal and pine notes combine with a little roasted malt and coffee.

The flavor follows the aroma well with a nice hoppy flavor of pine to start with and the darker malt flavors following. The hops must have some good portion of Summit in the mix as there is a slight onion aftertaste. A little sweetness comes into play mostly along the lines of dark chocolate.

Lighter than expected mouthfeel, closer to an IPA than a porter or stout. Interesting and good brew overall.

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Photo of messrock
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Pwnzilla
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured very dark with a large tan head which disappeared quickly, spotty lacing. Smelled of malt and a little bit of citrus . Taste of a IPA with a little chocolate. Mouthfeel was pretty strong, with the hoppiness coming on at the end. A slight resemblance to a Porter. It’s a good beer worth trying

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Photo of bmwats
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a teku.

A: Black. Pours a 1 finger, foamy, brownish head. Settles fairly quickly leaving a smattering of bubbles and a thick ring around the rim. Thick, persistent, beer ring lacing.

S: Char roasted malt, hops, and black licorice. A little peat, and dark unsweetened chocolate. Maybe a little molasses.

T: Roasted malt and hops. Well balanced.

M: Roasty and hoppy in the front. Licorice in the back. Dry, hoppy finish lingers on the palate.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is great. Thick, tight head, with lots of sticky, persistent lacing. Nose is a full combination of roasted grains, hops, bitter licorice, sweet chocolate and molasses. Very roasty and very hoppy. Overall, this is a great quaff.

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Photo of cynical1027
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black coffee color into the glass with a beautiful 2 inch tan head.

Smell- citrus, piney, roasted barley, and chocolate

Taste- roasted coffee, chocolate and citrus tones upfront with a nice hop kick in the backend of this. The chocolate remains in the aftertaste but is taken over slightly by the hop bitterness.

Overall- its a good beer and is a far different animal from the SR ipa. I love the chocolate flavor that stands out in this one. I strongly recommended!

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Photo of rawfish
3.77/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Hamilton's Tavern. Received in a pub chalice, pitch black but likely cola brown, with nearly no head on it. Excellent coating of spotty lacing follows down the glass.

Roasted malt but overall rather bready and has some nutty nuances. Yeast adds some red fruity esters and the hops are vegetative and piney.

Milk chocolate with some coffee grounds and dark fruit like figs and prunes get muddled up in the herbal and piney hops. Notes of licorice and peat. Finish is piney but also very earthy and vegetative. Decent drying with a residue of charred malt.

Smooth carbonation and an easy to down body. Alcohol is well managed and masked by the malt and it presents a good amount of drying with roasted malt lingering.

Reminds me of a hoppy porter as opposed to an IPA, not unlike Stone's Smoked porter with less char. Hops are a touch earthy like tubers with a dose of pine, I would like this one brightened up.

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Photo of CyclingLush666
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance on this beer is what I thought was most impressive. Even though this is a great beer across the board, I thought how it looked right after I poured it is what made me really like it. The head on the beer was about 3 fingers thick and a very tan color. The beer looks like it could be a stout, but does not taste like one.

The smell is very nice, with a hoppy smell and a hint of chocolate. It smells like a stone, but that has much more too it then just barley and hops.

The taste is more complex than most stone's, that it has a flavor other than hops and barley. It looks like a stout tastes like an IPA but not bitter at all. It has that sweet chocolate taste that makes it very nice.

The mouthfeel has a medium body. Nothing that heavy but its also pretty dark so don't expect to just put it down.

I would try this beer, at around 8 bucks with over 10% its worth trying for sure. It has a nice rich taste, and is a lot different than most of the stone's.

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Photo of uvm2003
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of uziangis
5/5  rDev +17.6%

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 1449 ratings