15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
1,442 Ratings
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,442
Reviews:
718
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.92%
 
 
Wants:
56
Gots:
141
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,442 |  Reviews: 718
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First time: on-tap at Cole's. A story in licorice and well integrated chocolate. good though understated roasting. Dry finish. Black as night with a little head. High a.b.v. well hidden.Above average mouthfeel. Smooth drinker.Unique and not just another black IPA. Receommended.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3 finger dark tan head with lots of lacing and some retention on a jet black body with a subtle hint of light getting through. lots of caramel and roasted malt aroma, fairly sweet with some coffee and hop hints. Flavor is excellent. I was worried from the smell that it would be too sweet but it was perfect. the roasted malt lingers nicely without too bad of an aftertaste. The hop bitterness is very pronunced for a black IPA. Drinkability is borderline but good enough. Moderate carbonation and full bodied. A very balanced roasted and hopped beer.

 551 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch bubbly dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap. A nice latticework of lace forms all around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, charred meat, and some herbal and pine hops. The charred smell is a bit off-putting actually. Taste is of dark roasted malt, smoked/charred meat, coffee grounds, and quite a subdued herbal hop finish. A roasty bitterness sticks to the palate after every sip. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth with a medium body. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the charred smell takes away from everything.

 582 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
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 t0rin0
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a half finger high dark tan head that died down rather quickly, leaving lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some notes of dark roasted malts.
T: A moderate to high amount of bitterness stands out in the overall taste, which also has notes of citrus and dark roasted malts.
M: It feels medium- to full bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are also some sticky hints of resin.
O: The bitterness in this beer is very bold and stands out in front of the other flavors. It’s not too difficult to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

 787 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Densely malted, absurdly hopped, and alcoholicly intimidating. Stone's got me just where they want me: in the fetal position and begging for more!

Deep and dark black, just a shade away from black, this beast pours with a viscous plop into the oversized wine glass and even exudes creaminess and density even to the eye. Medium tan foam rises with a thick coat but settles into an espresso-like creme across the surface. Initially lacing very well, the weight of the beer and its high alcohol seem to prohibit lacing after the carbonation subsides a bit.

Aromatic malt leads the way with a dense scent of whoppers candies, malty milk shakes, vanilla and cream. These all play an underpinning role to the chocolate, coffee, and roasty aromas. Hard to believe but all that is dwarfed by the immensity of citrus, pine, and resiny hop aromas.

All those malty rich aromas manifest in flavor as well. Dense milk shake-like maltiness offer a strong glimpse of espresso coffees, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa, and charred woods. Again, after the early malt influence, a building hop flavor begins citrusy with grapefruit and orange pith, but then grow into sharp grasses and pine, before resting on a dry charr bitterness that accompany the bitterness of roasted grains very well. Somewhat metallic and salty, the beer has a very flavorful spread of dark malts and hops with savory threads.

Very rich, creamy, and volumnous for an IPA of any color, pushing what many consider Imperial Stout territoroy. Because of the hop bitterness and sharpness, the malts are downplayed into a less desne mouthfeel than it probably is. Very dry, very warm, and slightly astringent and harsh, this Black IPA struggles to make the hop dryness and crispness shine over all that malty texture.

Delicous and resiny throughout, this is a very schizophrenic beer. Is it a Stout, is it an IPA? Like the Sublimely Self Righteous Ale or 11th Anniversary Ale but with heightened hop and malt character, this is one intriguing animal!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 pt 6 fl oz. brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a three finger head of beautiful tan colour, wonderful cream and thickness, and excellent retention considering the high ABV. Colour is a solid black. Extremely appealing.

Sm: Bittering hops aplenty alongside cream and caramel. Interesting, but nothing special. Aroma is moderate in strength.

T: Some light floral notes and heavy bittering hops slam into dark caramel, light coffee, and cream like oncoming traffic. The balance is rather off, with most of the flavour contained in the latter half. The bitterness is too pronounced, to the point of being unwelcome, and even ruining the finish. Alcohol comes through, and there's a weak sauce chocolate note right on the end. It's complex but imbalanced, and overall is badly built for the style. That said, it does have some nice patches.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but too thick. The cream is lopsided and strange. It's also sharp on the finish. Doesn't suit the flavours of the body at all.

Dr: This is a strangely built beer for the style that isn't successful at meshing dark notes with an overload of IPA inspired bittering hops. The price is high, even in California. The ABV is pronounced. It's only worth trying for huge fans of Stone and/or the style.

 1,380 characters

Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours black with two fingers of thick tan head. Decent retention and good lacing.

Smell: Fresh grassy hops are the dominant smell with some roast and dark chocolate in the background. Some citrus in there as well.

Taste: Bitter hops are present throughout the whole sip. Roast creeps up on you, but doesn't clash too much with the hops. A bit sweet, but not too much considering the abv. Bitter finish but not a ton of alcohol. A bit peppery in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the thicker side with very smooth carbonation. The finish is mildly dry.

Overall: One of my favorite American Black Ales. Way too easy to drink given the abv. I would have it again.

 726 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black body with sheets of lace coating the tulip glass. Excellent head retention, lasts for the entire glass, and with each pour there's a nice reverse cascade effect.

Citric hop notes meld seamlessly with a smooth dark roast malt and chocolate layer.

Similar flavors, bitter piney hops with a slightly sweet citrus edge, up against smooth, rich roasted malt character. Lots of bittersweet chocolate, and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with little hint of the double digit abv. My second bomber in as many days...

 516 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color ale with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of deep roasted malt notes with lightly sweet undertones and some dominant bitter and loads of piney hops. Taste is a very nice mix between some smooth roasted malt with light lactose notes and some dry notes with some huge piney notes on top. Boyd is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed and probably my favourite example of the style.

 515 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a thick, dark, dark brown color with a two-finger, light brown head of long-lasting foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, grapefruit and strong pine notes. There was a burnt toast maltiness.

T - Good chocolate flavors with some burnt molasses. Very spicy with pine, citrus and grapefruit bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a sneaky alcohol presence.

O - Wow! This is another anniversary ale from Stone that needs to become a permanent brew. Best black ale, yet.

 549 characters

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Rick's in Alexandria. Served in a Stone IRS tulip.

Pours black with a large, creamy tan head that lasts for a long time before falling into a thin cap with excellent lacing.

The nose brings forward plenty of chocolate and roast, backed up with some earthy hops and pine resin. A bit of booze in the nose, which becomes more prevalent in the flavor. Hops are fairly light compared to the malt, though neither is particularly heavy. Moderate-to-strong bitterness with average carbonation. Medium body. Decent enough, but not what I expected given the rave reviews.

 583 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours with one finger of medium-brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head fades slowly and leaves a thin layer of lace on the glass.

S - Lots of pungent hops up front, fruity and floral with a distinct pine note that blends nicely with the caramel and dark bread malt character.

T - Bitterness hits first, both from hops and malt, with some dark caramel and a hint of chocolate. Pine and grapefruit come out in the middle along with more dark sugar. It finishes with a dark, baker's chocolate note and more pine hops as well as a strong, but smooth bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Damn, and I though Sublimely Self Righteous was a nice black IPA! The malt is much darker than in most other examples I have had with a distinct dark chocolate note that dominates the finish. I am particularly impressed by the way that the hop character manages to stay bright and pungent rather than blending in with the dark malt. This is a masterpiece and it proves, to me at least, that this is something worthy of being considered a distinct style of its own.

 1,111 characters

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well for number #3000 I had to go with this,its worthy of such a lofty number.Poured into my Stone imperial nonic a jet black with a blooming mocha colored head that becomes a substantial frothy mass after leaving a few broken globs of lace as it kinda, sorta settled.Big resiny and herbal hops overtop of a dryer bitter chocolate base,a tinge of sweet boozy alcohol comes into play as it warms.Herbal hops really stand out on the palate along with unsweetened chocolate and light roast,there is a "meaty" element to the beer that I cant quite pinpoint.Full and creamy feel it glides down nicely.For my money this is the best Stone Anniversary beer that I have had,its as complex as all get out,hell of a job here.

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Photo of chinchill
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 498 characters

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

Stone 15th Anniversary

So what can be said about this one? First off, it's Stone, so it's going to be balanced with a nice bit of malt to it, some alcohol, a rock solid bitterness, and a lot of hops in both the flavor and the aroma. It's an easy read. And it's not like it's the first hoppy dark beer they've done, so the only real question is what will the hops be like? Noting that it's an "Escondidian" Imperial Black IPA, that's kind of answered already as well... they've got to be Pacific Northwest hops, and a bit citrusy and piney (at least that's how I remember San Diego!). You can smell them in the nose, and they're brightly citrusy with a lot of pineapple and pine, as well as some grapefruit rind. In the flavor, however, there's more fruit... Amarillo? It's nice and juicy, and it's a nice balance really. And they're bright enough to ride over the coffee and chocolate roastiness. In fact, all of the components kind of stand out on their own, including the alcohol which is a bit of a problem. The alcohol, however, is its only fault as I see it, and a minimal one at that given the style. Well worth trying / might be worth seeking out.

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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing
4.18 out of 5 based on 1,442 ratings.
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