15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA | Stone Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,446 |  Reviews: 718
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled August 2011
A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a four finger thick, dark brown colored head. The head is very dense and leaves lots of thick lacing as it slowly subsides with a very rocky surface with deep crevices in it. The beer is an opaque, dark, black color. The aroma smells of candied citrus fruit and berries that is backed by a rich, roasted, and burntly sweet-rich malt character; this last has notes of dark chocolate and something like coffee syrup (though not nearly so sticky sweet). The roasted character leans more towards huge toasted grain notes, which is good as burnt notes would really clash with the hops. The combination of roast malt and fruity hops combine to contribute a spiciness to the nose that reminds me of a christmass cake flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and allspice.

Sweet dark malt helps support a big candied citrus zest character, roasted lychee and super ripe tangelo zest. This is backed by a huge herbaceous pine character that transforms into a huge, aggressive bitterness that is a combination of hops as well as the burnt / roast malt; the bitterness, really, really lingers on in the palate, when you take another sip the bitterness is there up front only slightly tempered by the rich malt character. This has a fair amount of body to it, though the bitterness in the finish is easily able to clean up the palate from the somewhat viscous, medium’ish body; actually the body of this beer is actually fairly light considering the strength of this beer. The roast character in this beer is actually a lot more aggressive than in a typical Black IPA; it contributes lots of burnt, black malt notes, some burnt grain husk character, a big toasted whole grain character (though this is more significant in the aroma), and a supporting, not really noticeable in and of itself, dark malt sweetness.

I can’t believe I am saying this, but the bitterness is so huge that it is distracting me from the other flavors in this beer; one could look at this as a good thing given that this beer would likely be a clashing, jarring fight between the vibrant American hop character and the burnt / roast malt notes, but really hiding this clash doesn’t make this beer better, especially since these Black IPAs always end up being a clash between these two components to some degree no matter what. If you are in the mood for an aggressive, cacophonous ride of a beer, then this beer certainly fits the bill; I am actually even enjoying it a bit more than I would have guessed in the end, especially given how harsh the flavor is.

 2,602 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up today at the COOP .... poured into my trusty HotD goblet.... nice looking 1" brown head... nice lacing and retention. The brew is not quite black, but close.... pretty highlites appear when held to a nearby light. Swirling stains the glass brown.

Nose is bright pine and pithy grapefruit zest.... slight roastiness reminds us of the dark malt... a bit of EtOH in the aroma.

Big and bitter up front.... the hops come out swinging almost immediately... grapefruit and pine needles.. a minor blast of roasty malt .. even hints of bittersweet chocolate come out with a little warmth... a bit boozy, but I'm not really complaining.

Seems thicker than I was expecting, but smooth with a good small bubble carbonation.

Inflatablechair and I shared last night, the 15th, SSR, Uinta Dubhe, and the Deschutes Hop in the Dark.... this was the clear winner, with the Uinta coming in a close second.


 919 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip. I don't understand the love for this...

Black with a creamy, khaki head with a long lasting finger thick head and clumpy lacing. Roast chocolate and malt dominate around with mild pine and resin hops. Much more malt forward than expected in the flavor, with roast and chocolate and a bitter finish without a particularly interesting hop flavor. Light pine and grapefruit rind linger. Medium thick body with average carbonation and a persistent bitterness. Not bad, balance is relative for a Stone beer and this ABV, but the malt is the only part that seems imperial here.

 606 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours an opaque black with large tan head, good retention and thick lace.

S: Green almost peppery (jalapeno) hops with pine and a lot of dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate is heavy and is the dominating flavour with a hint of roast. Hops are prominent making the beer quite bitter at times. Very direct flavours, not exactly delicious, but powerful.

M: Full-bodied, creamy, soft carbonation, medium long aftertaste.

O: To me really like a hoppy Imperial Stout showing the overlap in styles. I enjoyed it, but I'm not going crazy.

 551 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
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

 739 characters

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

Photo of WDJersey
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Kelp
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle cond. Aug. 11. Consumed Oct. 11.

A: Pitch black with a 2 finger, frothy mocha colored head that sits steadily atop. Lengthy retention on the head's part leaves a modest half glass coating for lace, patchy and splotchy.

S: Fresh wet pine, dry celery, and a herbaceous scent of fresh parsley is about. The hops are strong at first wind, but quiet there after, not sure if it’s the nature of the beast, or the 2 month shelf sitting.

T: Deep roasted malt flavor, dry parching citrus, with a strong level of hop presence. Dry pine, bittering grapefruit mingles with a dart roasted barley base with a burnt bitterness. A herbal hint of parsley and spicy zing of citrus is found in the middle. On the close is a lingering black licorice spicines as well a sharp wet citrus zing leaving a scorched fade of burnt grains behind.

M: fizzy at first, frothy, with a thick resistance from the heavy handed malt base. Bittering and dry hops with a licorice and citrus bite coming on the swallow.

O: Overall the hops are big and bitter on this one, as well the malting is equally big and roasted leaving a healthy dose of scorchness in its path. Worhty of an anniversary labeling. A bomber seems like a good level of drinkability, even before I noticed its 10.1% abv which kinda surprised me. Some alcohol warmth, but would of never guessed on this level. Gets progressively smoother and easier on the down once your tongue goes numb from the bitter roasted goodness found within. Very good in humble opinion.

 1,512 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
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 Evil_Pidde
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pour is motor-oil-black with a massive brown compact and creamy head. Dissipation is meidum-slow and leaves nice lacings.

S: The smell is awsome; lots of American floral and bitter hops; grapefruit and pine, together with moderatly roasted malts, some chocolate- some caramell- makes this very well balanced. The high ABV is not noticable - this smell is near perfection!

T: Bitter hops up front followed by roasted malts, chocolate with notes of coffee-beans - dry. Syrupy sweetness. Some burnt notes. And in the back; dark dried fruits. The alcohol is more present in taste compared to smell.

M: Short aftertaste, bitter and burned. Body is full while carbonation weak. Smooth but high ABV-presance.

O: A very complex and nice ABA. I hate myself for not buying a whole case...

 785 characters

Photo of ADTaber
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of beertunes
3.16/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in tulip glass. Poured a solid black, no translucence at all, with an inch of strong black head that excellent retention and lacing.

The aroma was all nice hops, mostly floral, with a just barely noticeable malt profile. The flavors were unique, to say the least. There was a noticeable chocolate presence, and the hops did not combine well with the chocolate, with plenty of tangy hops. The beer had a weird metallic finish.

The body was medium and averagely decent. Drinkability suffered from the weird combination of flavors. Overall, a decent, but very odd, beer. As a note, with the last 1/4 of the glass, I had the bartender add a few drops of Creme de Menthe to the beer. This helped the beer a lot, really helped tie the flavors together.

 756 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Check the Stone tap list on the Stairmaster at the gym. Stone 15th? Don't mind if I do. 8oz draft pour.

A: Black as a moonless, starless Escondidian night. A massive brown head lingers with uncertainty above the liquid. Much lacing is left in the wake of the recession.

A: Aromatic resinous pine and grapefruit waft from the glass with lesser notes orange. Malt imparts notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, and roasted malt. The aroma is pretty great.

T: A prominent roasted malt profile is accompanied by dark chocolate and cocoa. The beer is dry, with anise and a touch of molasses. The malt profile does this beer much credit. Hops are aggressive, imparting an upper moderate to lower high level of smooth bitterness and flavors of pine resin, orange, and grapefruit that mix nicely with the chocolate and roast. Alcohol is really well hidden for how damn high it is. Stone should serve this in pitchers here at the Bistro. It would only be a $32 pitcher. Alas, they do not offer pitchers. I suppose you could bring your own, get 8 glasses of 15th Anniversary, and pour them gently into the pitcher. I'll have to see if they'll allow that. A nice pitcher of Imperial Escondidian Black IPA on a warm Escondido summer day in the Stone gardens, just the job.

M: Full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and chewy. Alcohol provides warming in the finish.

Overall: This is quite good. I really enjoyed my glass. It blurs the line between Imperial Escondidian Black IPA and Imperial Stout.

 1,526 characters

Photo of DucksFan16
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mattmarka1
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of n2185
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with four fingers of dark tan head that recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts at first with lots of semi-sweet chocolate. Sweet citrusy aromas of grapefruit and oranges follow from the hops with some piny aromas as well.

T: Again, roasted malts up front with some bitter chocolate flavors. The hops kick in then, with a big piny and grapefruit blast. Char and lightly bitter flavors bring up the finish with a slight alcohol burn. The bitterness does linger a bit.

M: Medium body with fairly high carbonation that accentuates the hop flavors and bitterness well.

O: A good beer with lots of roasted malt and hop flavors. The bitterness is a bit on the strong side for me and the hops are a bit dominating on the flavor profile, but not too much so. I think I prefer Sublimely Self-Righteous to this, but not by much.

 862 characters

Photo of pathman
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 982 characters

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

Photo of rfgetz
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

 610 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 576 characters

Photo of corby112
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown that appears pitch black and completely opaque in the glass.  Two finger frothy beige head with great retention only slowly fading into a lasting cap/ring that leaves streaks and spots of lace behind.

Roasted malt aroma that's countered by some piny, oily hop notes.  Hints of chocolate, coffee and toast balanced by notes of pine, resinous oils and citrus fruit.

Fuller bodied than expected with a chewy mouthfeel and a blast of dry bitter hops up front that linger over the roasted malt backbone into a sweet yet dry finish.  Earthy with lots of piny resinous oily hops along with some subtle citrus.  This is countered by the roasted malt backbone that has hints of toast, chocolate, toffee, coffee.  Well balanced and easy to drink with a decently basked ABV.  Only subtle heat in the finish.  

 833 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased in California, brought back to Sydney, Australia and opened with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a heavily dark black-brown, with an exceptional head of crackling yellow brown coffee crema. Lacing is intricate, solid, honeycombed. Really solid legs to it, too, staying sticky on the edge of the glass when tilted. Body is surprisingly light, but extremely suitable for the style. Very fine carbonation. Looks genuinely exceptional.

Nose is heavily hoppy, with earthy, rusty hops giving the main event. There's no bright, citric fruitiness here—more of a tea tannin, earth, bracken character. It melds very pleasantly with the dark notes from the malt, in a way that makes some sense in a weird style; instead of the bright, citric, whimsical hoppiness creating an amusing contrast to the darkness, this blends together into some odd symbiosis.

Taste is smooth and clean and bright. The roast gives a nice basis, more of a dark biscuity sweetness, but the hops really lift the palate, and here they do have a touch of the crisp, bright citric quality to them, more than the tannic earthiness suggested on the nose. Finish has lingering bitterness, partially due to the hops, partially due to the roast. It's a nice finish, and sums up what the beer is about.

Really nice beer. It's a very odd thing that Stone have seemed to make sense of this style in a way that's quite orthogonal to the regular interpretation. The darker, more earthy hops match it really nicely with the roast malt, giving a beer that is different, but in all the right ways.

 1,581 characters

Photo of PEIhop
5/5  rDev +18.8%

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