15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA | Stone Brewing

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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
1,446 Ratings
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 08-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,446 |  Reviews: 718
Photo of inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone 15th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA (enjoy fresh, bottled August 2011). 10.8% ABV. Poured into a Deschutes sniffer.

A: Pours a really nice looking deep deep black. Finger and 1/2 tan mocha head. Nice bottle conditioning leads to tight bubbles. Almost stout like lacing on there. Some alcohol feet.

S: I don't get much IPA character from the nose, but there are some. Lots of roasted malt and breadiness. I get a little piney hop aroma, but it's really muted be the grains.

T: Interesting brew. You get hit with some hop bitterness on the tip of the tongue at first but not a total palate destroyer. This beer is a middle of the mouth beer. Lots of stuff going on: dark toasty notes, a little bit of chocolate, some coffee, etc. Then the close has a nice faint hop bite. There is a good bit of alcohol burn on this big beer. Definitely warming in the back of the throat.

M: Medium bordering on full. Definitely not a stout, but close to a porter.

O: A- grade for this one. I have a feeling this one might age really well. Yes, you'll lose some or all of the hop character though. We shall see what happens.

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Photo of alexgash
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle.

Very dark oily brown-black body. Viscous pour. A good inch of creamy, satiny, dirty khaki head. Very good lacing up the sides of the tulip. Lots of hoppy goodness on the nose. Piny, herbal, minty, and resinous. Boozy dark chocolate and roasted coffee mix with caramel sweetness to represent the malt side of the aroma.

Bitter roasted coffee flavors up front and stay throughout. Dark fruits and singed caramel build, with the building sweetness tempered by herbal, piny hop bitterness. Dark chocolate and some peaty flavors chime in before a big rush of tannic, herbal bitterness in the finish. Almost dries out this big boy, but there is some roasted sweet malt lingering in the end. Oh, and there is a bit or warmth generated from the alcohol. Full-bodied, with a smooth, almost creamy feel. A little more RIStouty than I was expecting, but still a very good beer. Happy 15th!

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Photo of DrStiffington
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on a whim. Didn't even know it was being released. It's always a risk trying a new beer while watching a Giants game, since there's always the possibility that they'll make me nauseaous. Anyway, it looks thick and black, with a dark head. I don't get a lot from the smell, but there's a light hops aroma coming through. Ahhhh, the taste. Very good. Boozy, but nicely so, with bitter hops. It's balanced out by the "black" part of the black IPA. The blend of bitterness and almost chocolate sweetness makes for a great concoction. Good thickness to this beer. I'm for sure going to buy more of these. Now if only the Giants will win this one...

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Photo of bszern
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours with a 2-3 finger dark tan head. nice lacing. Beer is deep brown, almost black.

Smell is a little boozy, real hoppy, with hints of licorice. I'm not a huge fan of anise, so this part of the beer kind of put me off.

Taste is intense. It is a little woody, and intensely malty. The hops are very obviously there, but the brutal bitterness is hid well by the malt. The large alcohol content is only noticeable on the aftertaste, and is not offensive or overpowering.

Mouthfeel is heavy and a little sticky. Not bad.

Overall, this is a very solid beer. Everything works together very well. I didn't expect anything less from Stone, and hope that this gets re-released.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Ale+Witch. The brew pours with a look reminiscent of 10w-40 at 25k miles; cappuccino-colored froth clings to the glass' side. The nose offers piney and herbal hop notes, evoking the aroma of fresh Cascade. There is also a chocolate-y note underlying, revealing roasty bitterness. The flavor is essentially the aroma transposed upon the palate, but it is greatly aided by the mouthfeel, which seems to amplify the quality and depth of flavor. The mouthfeel is creamy and silky all at once, and really I cannot imagine it being any better. Overall, this is one of the best examples of a Black IPA I've seen. And it has dark flavor, not just color, which is not always the case with this style.

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Photo of ahalloin
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the aptly and amusingly decorated bottle with the words of revolution printed on the back. I'll admit, I have a man-crush on Greg Koch.

Pours an absolutely black fluid. It's so black, it practically sucks light from the room. Nothing gets through this bad boy. Tall elegant light espresso head forms with reverse cascade head from a moderate pour. Head recedes to a large amount of lacing clinging to the glass and thin cap. Truly a beautiful looking beer!

The smell is pungent aggressive hops with notes of pine, onion, and slight citrus. I have a nose for picking out Summit hops, and I do believe I smell them here. It isn't my favorite hop when overdone, but in small doses, as it is here, it adds a nice complexity to the bouquet. Slight toffee and roasty backbone, but the hops are king here.

This beer creates some pretty incredibly complex flavors. The sweet malt backbone resides in the background while my taste buds get attacked with various levels of citric hops and roasty notes. This ain't for the faint of heart! Hops seem to win the battle against the roasty quality, which is as it should be for a "Escondidian" Imperial Black IPA. The finish is problematic for me. It is EXTREMELY bitter (for context: I like bitterness) and lingers in the aftertaste for, oh, I'd say...28 minutes! I'd guess this comes in well over 100 IBUs. It may be the marriage of roast and hop in the finish, but it distracts a bit from an otherwise very tasty beer.

The mouthfeel is very creamy and satisfying with a lowish carbonation. You'd never know you were drinking an almost 11% ABV beer.

Overall I really like this beer aside from the finish in the taste. I need something to cut it like a strong blue cheese.

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Photo of coldriver
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into Sam Adams glass. Impressive tightly bubbled tan head with stellar lacing and stout-like black color. Smells of dark roasted malt, alchohol and piney hops. Hops and dark malts assault the tongue with a fantastic finishing kick. Rather thick mouthfeel, dry finish, well carbonated, and nicely balanced. I'm becoming a big fan of the black ale style and I really like this one - could've backed off on the alchohol a tad though.

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Photo of Wizzle32
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of hozersr
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of flannelman808
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown with a reddish copper hint. Light brown head pours with a generous amount of cake batter head (typical stone protein). If it ever disappears Ill make a note about the lacing... Retention is fantastic.
Eventually this shows good lacing. Head retention is Duvel status
S: Smells interesting... Chocolate and hop pollen jump out first, but there are some underlying notes of orange peel, lime, pepper, and there is a kind of aroma which reminds me of salinity as well.

T: Milk chocolate (think Ovaltine), Black pepper (and lavender?!), Orange pith and rind, Lime pith, molasses, and pine needles finish it up. Sweet start and a bitter finish works for me! Typically I find this style a misnomer usually belonging in the Russian Imperial Stout category. This isn't very far from a RIS but it does separate its self with spicy and fruity notes. Lastly Ill mention that the 10.8% ABV is well incorporated into its flavors, not hidden parse but well received.

M: Very well done in this department. Its got a velvet fizz thing happening.

O: Pretty darn good beer. Not quite up there with the ranks of Uinta Dubhe IBIPA (In my not so humble opinion the very best of style) but its pretty darn good and one of the better more inventive beers I have tried within the style. Also per usual its only $5.95 for a bomber which makes for a retarded like value.

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Photo of jzlyo
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is dark/earthy malts, pine and a hint of tangy. The flavor is dark malts, grapefruit, citrus/fruit and a long and acidic/bitter/slightly earthy finish.

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Photo of IpeeA
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DaveBlack
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of RISky
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber to pint glass, with 2 finger head, body is absolutely black as night. Heavy lacing followed from top to bottom.

Smells very strong of piney hops, close to burnt. Touch of coffee, malts and slight sweetness.

Very strong taste of hops up front into a roasted flavor followed by coffee and minor chocolate taste. Seems to finish with a tart fruity flavor. 10% is noticeable but not imposing.

Bitter fruity flavor medium body average carbonation.

Overall very nice beer great hop heavy flavor, accompanied by roasted fruit and small amounts of chocolate. 10% is nice bonus to a good tasting beer.

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Photo of roodie
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Flying Saucer, Houston

~8 oz pour into a snifter

A: pours a dark coffee black, with 2 fingers of espresso head. Low retention, light lacing. dark coloring belies the hoppy potential

S: mild citrus with a hoppy, bitter, pungent backbone like a spicerack. odd, but working for me

T: bitter and piney; roasty malts give off a muted sweetness, very good.

M: a bit chalky with lingering bitterness. leaves a velvety coating blending the best qualities of a stout and heavily hopped beer

O: A great beer, better than most Black IPAs, I think Stone does this style well. A strong beer for sure, but hides it's punch till the end!

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Photo of zshaft
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

this beer pours awsome black with huge thick head that won't quit. good lacing and legs. nose is pine needles and grapefruit. maybe some anaise? taste is up front bitter pine and some light floral tastes with bitter grapefruit. taste gives way to some dark malt notes and sweetness. maybe chocholate but maybe some licorace in there as well. hmm. end very bitter with dry finish. this
is a very good black ipa. tons of flavor and I get a great blend of dark pine forest with juicy fruits and some lingering licorace going on. one of the best black ipas ive had. highly recommended especially if you like the style.

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Photo of shopk
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zachary80
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium Globe.

Great tannish-brown head, thick and creamy. Leaves lots of dark lacing on the glass. Body is black with just a hint of light getting through at the edges

Aroma has both the hops and dark malt mingling together nicely. Tons of hop aroma, a blend of citrus and pine that seems to work to a nice singular note. Smell has a light sweetness to it.

Opens with the hops then the flavor is toasty and choclatey. More dry then sweet. Lingering bitterness is nice and does not overwhelm.

Mouthfeel is dry, a little thinner than expected from the strong aroma and flavor. Since this is on the IPA side I think it works well. Alcohol is present but expected.

I'm very impressed with this beer. Definitely the best American Black Ale that I've had

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Photo of Chico1985
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this a couple weeks ago with friends at Ebenezer's, now enjoying a bomber to myself after my first day of classes.

Pour is pitch black, not even highlights show through. Awesome dark mocha foam head retains easily at a finger leaving some good lace.

Scent starts off a bit weak but opens quickly with some warmth. Mostly getting the malts, chocolate and roasted, but the hops have decent strength, herbal/pine mostly with some citrus there too.

Powerful and palate smacking, the taste is an explosion from all sides, piny/resiny/grapefruit hops assault your taste buds, super-roasted malt and black coffee almost just as big. Some licorice. Nice lemon+citrus coming out later on.

Good mouthfeel overall, great balance between hoppy and roasty, a bit boozy but not bad.

Stone definitely holds onto the 'Godfather of the Black IPA' title with this one. A really huge beer, great balance, a bomber may be best to split but very enjoyable.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. Excellent painted gargoyle art and a long story, as always. Love it when it's anniversary time!

Pours a super-dark brown. A huge, fine, tan head forms at first, then withdraws to a nice ring after a bit. Streaks the glass every time. Smell is a piney hop cone, with heavy malts lurking behind. Also, a bit of heat. Taste is a generous, well-blended amount of evergreen & citrusy hops, and smoky & peaty malts. Decent amount of alcohol burn as well. At almost 11%, its expected. A sipper, for sure. Dense, grapefruit finish too. A very good beer, glad to have one of these brews for #15.

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Photo of Wildman
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured pitch black and formed a huge foamy dark tan head that coated the glass with lace as it slowly subsided. An aroma of malt, hops, anise and cocoa. The flavor was of malt, hops, anise and chocolate. The body was medium light and the finish bittersweet with a lingering aspect of the alcohol present in the background.

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Photo of DrJay
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
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 BEERMILER12
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled August 2011

A: Pours a pitch black color with a nice fingers worth of thick brown head that has nice retention and leaves great lacing

S: Very hoppy with roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and some alcohol

T: Same as the smell with lingering alcohol. Roasty malts and some piney hops at first, followed by bitterness, coffee, and hints of dark chocolate. Then comes the alcohol, which is luckily subdued by lingering bitterness before it becomes too much of a booze overload

M: Thick and full bodied with light carbonation

O: The only downfall of this beer is the fact that it is best drank fresh, leaving no time for the booze to settle down at all. If you want hops, you need to face the booze. If you don't like a boozy beer and you lay it down for a bit, then you might completely miss the hoppy goodness that is the whole point of the style. Luckily for me, I don't mind some heat and take it how it is. It could definitely have been blended better, but there's not much Stone can do now. But hey, maybe it was intended. It is an imperial beer, after all

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Photo of Knapp85
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was poured at the Tavern on Liberty St. during their Stone Tap Takeover. The beer comes out solid black with a nice sticky brown head that laced the glass really well. The smell of the beer is bold and hoppy. The taste of the beer is big and citrusy with a delicate chocolate coffee like balance to it. The mouthfeel of the beer has a really nice thickness, a bit oily and creamy. Overall it s a really good brew. Stone strikes again with another winner.

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Photo of JimmyTango
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like an imperial stout-black and thick with a big dark brown head. Smells like hops, lots of very tasty hops. Licorice, toast, and carmel malts are also there in the nose, but the main impression is hops and black. The taste follows the smell, but with more of a toast malt than the carmel smell suggested, more grassy hops than anticipated, but accompanied by the oily, piney, soapy hops that the nose promised. A touch of citrus rind, but nothing like in Sublimely Self Righteous. Pretty chewy and sugary, but without much sweetness. Bitterness is gnar, but not unchecked by the big black malts. This was great, hella great. Very different from SSR in a more deep and complex way. I’d say this is for sure gnarlier, but not any less drinkable. Big. Huge! I love that it still manages to come across as something completely different from a hoppy stout… I loved it, but will probably reach for the SSR when I’m in an IPA mood. This is more overwhelming.

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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 1,446 ratings