15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA | Stone Brewing

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
BA SCORE
4.21/5
1,444 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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
718
Ratings:
1,444
pDev:
12.59%
Bros Score:
3.75
 
 
Wants:
56
Gots:
141
Trade:
2
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,444 |  Reviews: 718
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, yeah...it's black. A very dark pour with rich brown edges, but they are hard to see because the off-brown head collars around. Soft lacing, somewhat splotchy. Looks really nice

Mostly hoppy aroma, but a nice foundation of roasted malt lingers. Pine, some citrus. Overall it's good, but a hint of fingernail polish remover is detected. I think it's from the combination of ingredients rather than a defect.

Tasting it, the polish stuff is just a by-product, but still off-putting a touch. It's not bad, but I keep focusing on it. Still, the hops and roastiness are quite nice. Soft baked caramel and smooth cocoa are topped with pineapple and pine. Lots more pine than pineapple though. Hints of tobacco, leather and almond.

Feels smooth, and that's quite an accomplishment since it does have a hell of bite.

Overall a good beer. A bit much to solo a bomber, but I managed quite well

 895 characters

Photo of ShanePB
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
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.

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Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured jet black, completely opaque, with two fingers of thick, foamy espresso coloured head.

S - Citrus and pine come through initially from the hops with some sweet chocolate and roasted malt notes present as well.

T - Bitterness up front with some pine and muted citrus notes. The roasted malts are a nice compliment, providing chocolate, a hint of coffee and some nutty flavours to balance out the bitter hops. The overall balance is very good. The finish is somewhat dry and bitter.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

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Photo of brandoman63
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of plaid75
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a deep black hue with a two finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a molasses, dark chocolate and caramel.

The taste consisted of elements of dry dark chocolate, coffee, caramel and a healthy dose of booze.

The mouthfeel was certainly full for the style with a dry finish.

If this isn't an RIS, then I'm the Queen of England.

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Photo of WesWes
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan/brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a killer hop nose, citrusy and bitter, as well as a earthy black malt aroma. The hops dominate, but there is balance. The alcohol warmth peeks out a bit, yet it's not overly aggressive. The taste is great as well. It's incredibly smooth. The malt bill is incredibly complex; roasted and earthy with loads of mouthfeel. The hops are bold and bitter as well as incredibly flavorful. It goes down thick and slow with adequate warmth in the finish. The mouthfeel is tremendous. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a killer beer. It's load and proud on all fronts; a damn fine beer worthy of a celebration.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like Stone is going back to the well of its 11th Anniversary Ale and has formulated a stronger version with Citra hops. Excitement is in the air once again. On to the beer:

It's as rich black as an imperial stout. The head on top is a mix of bubbly suds and milky lace, whipping up strings to the glasss. That's the Stone I know about...the aroma is filled with Citra hops. It's very juicy and filled with passionfruit. Metallic at times, but in a good way. There's that underlying note of roasted malt I was hoping to find.

Normally with a color so black, your brain tells you to wait for an espersso assult. In this case, it's a tropical fruit assult. Rest assured, it is tasty. Passionfruit and tangerine galore with a little layer of roast. I do like this, though a little more with the malt bill wouldn't hurt. The 10.8% ABV listed seems like a misprint, because the alcohol is disguised extremely well, it feels lighter than anticipated (closer to medium-heavy than heavy), and its drinkability is very high for its size.

Much more delightful than I was expecting. It's approachable and not over the top. Behold the power of the Citra hop, and Stone's ability to hop beers.

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Photo of bigred89
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Eziel
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice beer, heavier on the hops than the roast. Pours jet black, with a very nice caramel covered head, 2 fingers probably. Even after sipping on this for awhile, the head is still there. Smells roastier than it tastes, but the hops still dominate. The taste particularly tastes strongly of herbal hops, with dill and citrus notes. Without looking at the color you wouldn't really even know this is a Black Ale. The aroma has a bit of chocolate and roasted grain along with those same citrusy and herbal hops. A little on the thick side, with real body, and with a nice lingering bitterness. Quite a nice package- the hops are the star here.

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Photo of Whiskeydeez
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Derek
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A West India Porter? Yeah, an American Black Ale.

A: Jet black with a tan head, light retention, great lace.

S: Floral, piny, molasses, citrus, brown sugar, intriguing.

T: The acrid roast is right upfront and surprising, but I like it. Tons of black-strap molasses and bakers chocolate, charred pineapple, with hints of licorice and soy sauce. Plenty of hop resin, slighty herbal, with an underlying piny backbone. Awesome bitterness. The first half of this bottle was almost exceptional. Unfortunately, the lysing yeast in the second half didn't play well with the acrid roast and the overpowering flavours became a little much. This is one to share... and leave the yeast sediment in the bottle.

M: Full mouth-feel has a bit of roasted acidity.

O: Enticing and awesome. There's plenty of alcohol here, but it's really well-hidden. More of a Baltic Porter fan than a DIPA.

Vital stats: 10.8% abv, 100 IBUs
Malt Bill: Pale Malt, Cara-Bohemian, Carafa III Special, and Chocolate Malt
Hops Bill: Columbus (bittering), Citra (flavor/aroma). Dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade.

Congratulations Stone! I'm looking forward to the next 15 years.

 1,158 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone 15th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA

22oz bomber. Pours a dark, viscious blackish brown. Oily mocha colored head forms and leaves superb lacing on the glass. Aroma is very hoppy upfront and bright, with citrus, floral and pine notes medling well to the lofty alcohol and roasted malt aromas. In the flavor, intensely bitter, big, and a roasted character to round everything out. Pine, hop resin, and grapefruit rind all chime in. Roasted malt is there with notes of bitter espresso. Alcohol remains big but contained well in all the other flavor. Mouthfeel comes off somewhat slick, oily and smooth. Overall, this is a big one, but still enjoyable. I drank the bomber myself, and led to my undoing.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a pitch black color with a thick toffee colored creamy head, and gentle carbonation.

S - Crisp roasted chocolate malt with a citrus zing and some floral notes, a little bit grassy.

T - Boozy, and finishes with a citrus roasted mouthfeel. Roasted malt in the middle, slight warming on the way down, and leaves a bitter roasted chocolate and citrus aftertaste. Compared to other Black IPA's, this one is pretty bold for a black IPA.

M - Medium to full body, a little chewy, velvey smooth, and semi-dry.

When it comes to the Black IPA's, I could take 'em or leave 'em because they leave my palette confused and I don't enjoy the clash of the chocolate and IPA nuances. However, this particular beer is worth checking out. I can't see this beer keeping a long time before the hops fade and turn it into a chocolate IPA. (This review is being written from notes that were taken on 9/14/11 when I sampled it on tap.)

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Photo of enelson
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of spinrsx
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from Bristol Farms Palm Desert CA for 6.99

Appearance - Black/brown colour with a large size frothy light brown coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, chocolate, grapefruit/oranges

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops mixed with malts, chocolate, and hops. There is also quite a bit of a roasted/burnt nut flavour. It ends with a hoppy bittersweet chocolate aftertaste.

Overall - Lots of imperial stout qualities mixed with a good dose of hops. For an black ale I think I preferred the The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA, but this is still a fantastic beer. The alcohol is very well hidden and to me it's a beefed up Self Righteous.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber split with oglmcdgl, poured into some glaases.

A- 15th was split between black liquid and a frothy tan foam, each taking up about half of the glass. It took over five minutes for the head to die down before becoming a nice sturdy cap. The liquid is black except with light some brownish red spots pop up, good lacing.

S- Very hoppy, almost reminded me of a Storm King nose when cold. Big pine and citrus. Maltier as it warms with roasted malt and some minimal coffee. Some dark fruit appeal as it warms even more. This has the nose of a black IPA.

T- And as expected the hops come forth strong and piney. Getting some citrus grapefruit as well. A bit too hoppy so with some time I let the malts come up more which made for a better balance. The malts give off some fruit such as plum with some roast and sweet candy on the low side. The coffee i was getting actually is more of a burnt roast. This is a strong ale though with hops ruling.

M- Bitter, bordering on being bitter but this strong is built with a nice malt base. This provides for an easier and smoother drink when it warms. This is not a hot beer but it is a strong beer with legs. A medium body with perfect carbonation.

D- A bit off putting at first and then I remind myself im drinking a fresh west coast strong so the hops dont bother me as much now. I could not finish a bomber now but back when I was a youngbuck, hell ya.

 1,408 characters

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

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is intense and nearly over the top, with black cherry, espresso, vanilla and light chocolate. The flavor profile is more of the same, and I'm not sure why Stone just didn't call this a hoppy RIS. The beer is fairly sweet, and although there's considerable hoppy bitterness in the finish, I felt as if the beer was ultimately dominated by the sweetness and the black cherry. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, sweet, black cheery and bitter finish. The sweetness is a bit of a problem from a drinkability standpoint, as it makes the already noticeable alcohol all the more prominent.

This is a good beer, no doubt, but it's hard to imagine ever drinking more than one very small glass of this stuff.

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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.

4.5/4.5/4.5/4.5/4

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Photo of rudzud
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Armsby Abbey's Stone Night. Reviewed from notes

A - Poured into a standard pint glass a wonderous midnight black that had a one finger mocha head resulting in massive, massive side lacing. Excepetional.

S - A bit lower here than I'd like. Still nice roasted malts and chocolate with a light hop profile.

T - Wow. Big big big. Great roast malts, chocolate, rich coffee to start. This gives way to a nice piney hop bitterness. Wow, this stuff is delicious.

M - Very smooth and creamy, good carbonation for this style.

O - This is a great imperial black ale. Such great rich chocolate and coffee with a nice balanced hop profile.

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

Growler poured into an imperial pint. Thanks for sharing Chris!

(A)- Pours pitch black. Produced a solid cap of tan froth. Good retention and lace.

(S)- A fairly potent "green" piney hop profile. Bits of raisin and cocoa behind that. Subtle roasted elements.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A big piney hop barrage with bits of roasty malts and a chalky cocoa.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. massively hoppy, but it does have a good malt backbone to back it up. Hides the ABV very well.

(D)- Definitely a step up from Sublimely in a good way. Surprisingly crisp despite its apparent strength.

 604 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.

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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 1,444 ratings
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