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:
142
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,442 |  Reviews: 718
Photo of WoodBrew
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having a Stone Imperial Black IPA...WOW!!! The beer pours a black/opaque with finger thick tan head that is lacing like a...The smell includes citrus and malty tones. The taste is amazing...and a sipping beer. There is a fresh hop bitter grapefruit zing that is mixed with caramel roast malt. The mouthfeel is a full body with good carbonation. Overall it is a great beer for sipping....sessioning this one would lead to big problems.

 434 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, rich black with a cappuccino head that hangs around. Smells of roasted, chocolate malts with earthy, piny, citrusy hops. Taste is deep, rich, roasted malts with spicy, piny, earthy hops. Nice hop bitterness that lingers. Medium to full bodied, rich, and unbelievably drinkable for the hop character and ABV.

This beer is really solid. The hop character isn't my favorite, but its not bad either.

 410 characters

Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, but doesn't really mesh with the style that well. Seems a bit thick on the character for a black ale; almost porter like. Has some nice hop characeristics, but doesn't really bring all that I would hope it would. Especially for an anniversary ale. Nice beer. An "okay" black ale.

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Photo of dfhhead25
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

32 ounce growler pour ($10.99) @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

Pours BLACK, dark tan head, initially large, then going to a quick meraingue, then quickly again to a film and collar, quality lace left behind.

Rich nose of black coffee, dark chocolate and I get some hop cones...

Suprise-suprise a celebratory beer from Escondidian heavy weight Stone Brewery that is densly flavorful, hoppy, bold and kickin all sorts of ass...lots more coffee, more dark bitter chocolate, more hoppy goodness...thick, creamy and viscous...fine creation...get some..drink it fresh...

 562 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet back with a thick, rocky head that stays around quite a bit of time, leaving lacing.

The smell is very robust. Chocolate and coffee backed by aromatic hops. Smells inviting.

The taste is strong delicious. Chocolate and coffee intertwines with plenty of citrusy, resiny hops. Alcohol is certainly noticeable, but adds to the flavor and complexity by giving a palatable spiciness without overwhelming. Too often, this style clashes for me. But, here it works very well. A hoppy, bittersweet, complex, rich brew here!

The feel is silky smooth and full-bodied.

This is a wonderfully hoppy black ale that it very enjoyable! Another winner from Stone! Happy 15th!

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Photo of Duff27
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a true pint, and the beer presents with a jet black coloring and a towering, thick, frothy, foamy light chocolate-tan colored head. The beer absolutely clings to every part of the glass it touches. The nose is deep and rich, with a strong showing of wet, fresh hops, both resiny and spicy. Dark roasted coffee and a hint of citrus highlights also in the nose. Flavors are dark roast coffee and dark chocolate bittersweet, and this flavor combination helps to balance the wet, resiny, slick hops flavors that power throughout the entire beer. Very well balanced. Roasted characteristics on the initial palate, as well as the aftertaste, with a hint of the bitter chocolate and the hops presence throughout. The finish is oily and resiny, with a slick finish. Very tasty brew...another masterful concoction from Stone.

 842 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Jason - thanks man! Served in a Hill Farmstead glass.

A - A finger of tan foam settles to a partial cap, leaving behind spotty lace and a thick collar. A dark brown body reveals no transparency.

S - Pine, grapefruit, black malt, dark chocolate, and caramel. The hops give off a little bit of that cheesy stale hop aroma that I get from aged hoppy beers, but this was only bottled in August - weird.

T - Taste is unfortunately much less enjoyable. There's a blend of astringency, chalk, char, black malts, bitter grapefruit rinds, and pine. The bitterness is oppressive and fatiguing, and more sweetness is needed for balance. I'm alright with palate-bruising beers, but there needs to be a reward equal to the punishment, and this isn't the case here.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, extremely dry finish, and tons of resinous hop oils that linger well into the aftertaste. There's some light alcohol warmth, but nothing out-of-place for a 10.8% beer. The feel is by far my favorite element of this brew.

D - I'm starting to really dislike this style, particularly efforts like this one that mix my least favorite elements of IPAs and stouts yielding excessively bitter beers that evoke such delicious flavors as char, aspirin, and unripe grapefruits. While these types of flavors have their place, they just aren't very appealing on their own.

 1,373 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of sendbeer
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.6/5  rDev +10%
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.

 1,071 characters

Photo of aasher
2.87/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This just arrived in Indiana today. It pours a nice midnight black in color with a one finger poofy beige colored head. It looks great. It smells of sweet and bitter dark roasted malts and caramelized onions. Uh oh, smells like a dark roasted Devil Dancer. I'm not a fan of that onion aroma at all. The taste is sweet, dark, bitter, has a very nice hoppy aspect but again it goes very heavy on the onions. I'm sure some love it, but it isn't for me. It's also very, very boozy. It has the near perfect body for the style and drinks more like a stout or imperial porter. I wanted to love this one, but it just wasn't up my alley.

 628 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black. One finger fine medium brown head with good retention and excellent lacing. Attractive. Aroma of critrus and aromatic hops. Flavor starts as a stout, dark and roasted malts followed quickly by aromatic hops and roast, burnt coffee. Finishes hoppy and somewhat dry. Taste goes through a rapid and complex series of flavors. Very different and interesting. Surprisingly smooth and mellow while presenting interesting components. The finish skates on the edge of being too dry and burnt, but somehow pulls off the whole thing. I really enjoyed this unusual ale.

 634 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter, at the time of this review this is the #5 American Black Ale (whatever that means) on the best of beeradvocate.com lists.

Beer is black / dark brown with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing but low retentioin and low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly sweet with a lot of earthy and piny hops.

Beer is medium in body and not roasty at all, blindfolded I would assume I'm drinking an IPA. Very earthy, almost sweet, strong, nice. Tastes pretty good, I'd have it again (I had more out of a bottle later).

 530 characters

Photo of beernads
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of ShanePB
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle shared with a friend, poured into two tulip glasses.

A: Deep dark brown body, almost black if it weren't for the obvious brown hues along the top edge but close enough. A light mocha colored head with lots of big bubbles sits atop. Nice retention cap as it never fully dissipates with minor lace.

S: Big hop resin, pine and sap on the forefront. Roasted malts, chocolate, toffee and an earthy tone to it. It seems to have a some bitter coffee bean notes on the back end. What I would expect for the style, sort of intriguing but this dark hoppy profile seems to struggle.

T: A blast of bitter hops with again more of a pine and sap nature wrestle your palate. Caramel and chocolate malts come in mid palate to help take the edge and provide a strange dark profile. It finishes with huge floral, sticky hop resin notes again and even into the linger.

M: Hearty, medium-bodied, and slightly bubbly but not overdone. Actually this is really nice and gives this beer a nice boost overall for being really creamy.

Let's be honest, every time I have a Black IPA I feel the beer has an identity crisis. The bitter earthy hop notes just don't match up well to a dark roasted profile. I can't help but think there was a reason this wasn't done a lot before. At any rate, this might be the first attempt at the style that I didn't completely hate; however, after about 8-10 oz of this I was finished. It burned me out, became very confusing and just turned me off in the end.

 1,486 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a DFH glass a very nice black color, nice carbonation, with a one-finger creamy light tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is very very nice, hoppy, malty, lots of licorice, plums, raisins, figs, and chocolate. The taste is exceptional also, hoppy, with a nice touch of malts, chocolate, licorice, and some dark fruits. Medium body, kinda chewy, with a slight bitter finish. This is a very nice brew. It's been awhile since I've had a Stone beer, and this one is making me look for some more. Thanks Bill!

 599 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black in color with a huge tan colored head that lasts a long time. Thick lace shows up on the glass during the session.

Smell: nice pine, grapefruit, and earthy hop tones are nice with the roasted malt aromas.

Taste: follows the nose as a great roasted malt flavor is nicely balanced by some strong citrus and pine hop flavors. Some molasses and some soft earthy tones rounds this out. Alcohol is mildly detectable here.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and dry at the finish. Long aftertaste here as the flavors last on the tongue.

Overall: this was a very enjoyable beer on tap as it was very fresh and full of nice flavors. This is an enjoyable black ale that hits the spot when you want the style.

 749 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured pretty much a dark as night black in color with a thin brown head and left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: you can definitely tell that the hops were there on the first whiff with a good amount of roastiness from the chocolate malts but it did have a little coffee aroma to it as well.

T: black hoppy heaven on the first sip alongside chocolate roasty malt flavor, coffee accents, hints of smoke and a touch of brown sugar and molasses.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a hoppy, roasty, mild sweet, and slight smokey finish.

D: it was a really good cascadian brew but because of the hop punch it wasn't the easiest to take down but a solid black beer.

 719 characters

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