15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA | Stone Brewing

1,443 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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 719 | Ratings: 1,443
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bomber into an Efes glass, once again, thank you Cheesemoose. Large, beige head, fluffy with good retention. Sticky, oily lacing. Aroma is the essence of Stone. Piney bursts of hop juice fighting for the front of the stage with roasty malt goodness, some alcohol noted. Taste is bitter of course but very interesting how the sweetness and bitterness are fighting it out with the roasted flavor refereeing. Some chocolate, some spice. No shortage of flavors. Easy to drink considering the abv. Spectacular.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent looking pitch black IPA with a large frothy light brown head with extraordinary retention and great lacing.

Very nice bold nose with deep dark roasted malt, dark chocolate and nice piney hop notes.

Flavor is big, bold and excellent as well. Very nice rich dark malt character alone with great chocolate, caramel and oaky notes balanced nicely with fresh and bold piney hops. Nice clean bitter chocolatey finish.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly viscous for the style which I love making is smooth and creamy. There is a light yet nice alcohol burn and medium creamy carbonation.

I had very much been looking forward to this release and it sure did not disappoint. Excellent from top to bottom. Great nose, flavor, body, etc. Just an awesome Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale!

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Photo of theklep
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the mother of black IPA's. From the toasted coffee, to the hoppy finish this beer has the flavor complexes many beers try to have just one of. This beer is obviously a winner. People in my inner circle don't have a bad thing to say about it. In fact, they can't get enough of it. For $6 a bottle it is well worth the price for a bomber that offers such complexity and ABV. 10.8% tastes like 4% in the best way possible. Words, again do not do justice to the subtle notes of fruit and barely that swirl around in your mouth. Go forth and seek this master brew. You will not be sorry. Dark and gothic. But oh so rewarding.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style Glass (took a few pours). Beer pours out dark like a RIS or Double Stout. During the pour it looks s as if if the liquid is very thick as well, black the whole way around. A reasonably hard pour makes the dark brown (sort of chocolate milk with extra syrup color) head erupts to the top, almost overflowed so I had to wait to let it settle a bit. Really, really, really, really, generous amounts of lacing. It coats the entire glass the whole way around, almost looks like a world map going around my glass, plus there's always a layer of the head at the surface. I've seen this before, but it doesn't happen very often. I like where this is going.

Smell is excellent. Citrus and pine hops jump out at you right away, mostly citrus though and many types, orange, grapfuit, tangerine ad their all ripe. Slight earthy and herbal notes as well. As well hopped as this beer is, it's no slouch in the malt department either, in fact I'd say they match up pound for pound. Sweetness tickles the nose with butterscotch, toffee and caramel. Just really well balanced in the nose.

Taste is completely on par with the smell, even better if that's possible. Sweetness is much more easily detected in the flavor profile. Generous amounts of malts here. Not as much chocolate as I expected, only slight amounts of sweet, but it's not the main thing going on here. Despite the color there's mostly toffee, caramel, butterscotch and a hint of vanilla. Again a nice hoppy brew, plenty of citrus and pone hops. Some herbal tones but not really that earthy, it's bitter, but not too much considering it's so hoppy. A really damn tasty brew.

Mouthfeel completely threw me of guard. I expected it to be almost chewy based on the pour. It's certainly full bodied, but refreshing in a sense, not light, but lighter than I expected. Good carbonation level with a very clean, strong, bitter finish. Very well balanced. This is an incredibly drinkable brew. Damn you Stone you did it again!

This should alternate with Sublimely Self Righteous

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Snifter..

Appearance-Pours a jet black body, looks like their RIS. Can't really see any carbonation bubles floating up. Head is a creamy beige head with nice litle bubbles and really nice lacing.

Smell-Hops really haven't faded quite yet which I was afraid of. Smells like citra hops. Grapefruit and orange, light floral and earthiness. Once you get past the hops I pulled out some roasted and chocolate malts. Really amazing, can't wait to finally take a sip.

Taste-This is absolutely outstanding. This is the first Black IPA that really tastes like a Big Stout and a Big Double IPA. I don't get different flavors at different points of the sip, they just all mesh perfectly together. Grapefruit, Floral hops. Not overly bitter. Roasty, Chocolate, Coffee with a drying finish that's bringing me back for more. Speechless, and this isn't even a super fresh bottle.

Mouthfeel-Creamy, Velvety, Smooth. Just perfect. Carbonation is medium and Body is pretty full. So smooth and really coats the mouth. This is amazing.

Overall-As you already know this is an OUSTANDING beer, one of the best that's ever touched my lips. I've liked other Black IPAs but some aspects of them just don't work for me. This works on so many levels. I'm sad this will probably never be brewed again,(they probably won't brew it again) but i'm glad they brewed it once.

My plans were to drink half this bottle now, cork it up, and bring it to a friends house later, but I don't think that's going to happen.

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Photo of sdderek
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased from Best Damn Beer Shop in San Diego.

Two of my favorite styles are Double IPA and Imperial Stout. Stone's newest anniversary beer seems to me to be the perfect blend of these two epic styles.
A - Jet black body with a creamy brownish head. Good head retention for this big of a beer. Looks absolutely stunning and delicious...I can't wait to try this out!
S - Wow. The nose on this is intense! Hop overload in an awesome way. The Citra and Nelson hops really stand out to me with citrus, pine, roasted malts, cocoa. Excellent stuff here.
T - It tastes like your stereotypical massive triple IPA from the west coas with the bitterness of the hops blowing my taste buds out of my mouth...but then there's balance as the chocolate and coffee notes start to shine. Solid, solid work here Stone.
M - Mouthfeel is really creamy with a medium amount of carbonation.
O - In my opinion this is the best tasting Stone anniversary beer I've had. Very good all around beer, plus positive points for blending my favorite two styles together and more positive points for creating a truly unique beer.


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Photo of Adamblair
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic brew! Almost feels like a breakfast stout to begin, but finishes like a big IPA.

Had it on tap at SmithHouse in LA. Served in goblet. Dark black in color with a touch on tan/brown head.

Fruit aromas, citrus and maybe even a hint of passion fruit.

Big mouth feel here, robust to put it mildly.

If you can find it you owe it to yourself to try it. As a fan of unique in beer, this one tops my list!

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Photo of GreenGoblinCC
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just when you think Stone could not come out with another amazing Anniversary Beer... Stone 15th hits the market. Delicious both in bottle and draft form enough good things cannot be said about this beer. So good that all the draft in the surrounding area was drank up in nearly the opening weekend of its release. I had to travel nearly an hour to find a place who still had it....and it was worth it! Smooth, Rich in flavor, Balanced, and a Great Hop taste. 10.5% Abv you would never guess it. This beer is amazing and recommend it to any IPA lover!

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Photo of KidsDoc
4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draft at Thirsty Monk in Asheville, NC

A: pitch black with fluffy, robust mocha head that sits around FOREVER

S: dark malt, huge chocolate aroma with a piercing pine hops

T: perfect balance where two become one. each sip is a surprise which feature will come out on top, but just by a hair. Piney, resin hop with a puckering bitterness going toe to toe with a rich, complex malt profile spreaheaded by molten chocolate smoothness and hints of coffee/mocha. Lingering finish, sticky, and addictive.

M: Everything - so smooth and at times creamy like a milk stout but then puckers from hop bite. Full body, light carbonation.

Overall this is the best Black/Cascadian IPA I have had; this is twice as good as the next closest Black IPA I have tried (maybe a slight exaggeration). Dessert to enjoy or can even seem a meal in itself.

Simply thankful to have had the opportunity to enjoy this beer. One that I will talk about for years to come. Moved into my top 10 of all time, easily.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Funny enough, this Imperial Black IPA is jet black and absolutely opaque, even when directly back lit. Big fluffy brown head that falls slowly and has a heavy lace. Heavy hop spice in the nose supported by a range of flavors: burnt sugar, heavy roasted malt, black strap molasses, dark fruit--light cherry and heavy fig, grapefruit, and a dense earthiness. Very excited for the first sip. Wow. Give me a second.

Roasted malt and molasses taste is heavy with burnt note blended with the serious hop bite. Supported by the wonderful nose, it is an amazingly fun beer to drink. 10.8% alcohol is not apparent in the nose or the taste, but the Imperial part of the title is showing through in every other respect. Hop lingers on the tongue and rises in the center of the mouth with the roast for a splendid twang. Dry off the back.

As the beer warms, the alcohol becomes apparent in nose and taste, which has little effect except maybe the hop is more subdued in the nose. Warmed up, the beer exhibits a stronger balance than when cold, so don't be afraid to be busy and drink this one over time.

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Photo of SFGuy187
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a great new offering from Stone. I never buy into "new style" hype and, as this beer is a play on the Black IPA debate, was unsure what to expect. I was, however, very pleased to find that this takes elements from what I love about a great imperial stout (roasty-toasty goodness coupled with rich mouthfeel) and combines it with what I love about a great DIPA (incredible resin and pine in the nose with well-rounded, strong citrus in the mouth).

It pour jet black, tastes like an impy stout up-front, yet somehow manages to smell and finish like a DIPA. I drank my bomber mighty fast and methinks I need to score a few more.

Solid offering from Stone, and the best beer from them in some time. Also, the cartoon artwork on some bottles is pretty hilarious too!

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Photo of wedge421
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Im going to make this real easy. This is the most hop forward and complex beer that Stone has brewed to date. Amazing stuff and highlights Stone being at the top of the West Coast hop bomb game. Yeah great stuff. If you love a solid west coast hop bomb this is the beer for you. This makes Ruination look like a barley wine

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Photo of Speedstan
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was fortunate to have this on tap at Stone Brewery (8 oz snifter) up until it sold out in the last couple of days, so that would mean my last tasting was probably the weekend of 25/26 February (bottles are still available).

Comments concerning appearance and nose are consistent with others, but what really struck me as something else was the aftertaste - blue cheese and rye crackers! It was like I had downed a chunk of Stilton and washed it down with the beer.

Some people might get the impression that I'm suggesting it was somehow skunked or yeasty, but far from it - it was actually quite addictive. Funny I didn't note it in the bouquet, but that's most likely because the serving glass was pretty much topped off, not like a normal snifter where you can collect the vapors and get a nice noseful.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap 10/28/2011 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts with flavors of dark fruit, citrus, coffee and chocolate. Then a strong floral hops bitterness comes in followed by a hearty roasted malt character creating a very good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet and hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very nice beer with good complexity making it worth drinking for an entire evening.

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Photo of SGplayer84
4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at Bangers and Lace in Chicago in a 9oz Sniffer. Last week of 8/11

A-Black IPA, very dark. Looks like a stout save has a little more chocolate looking head to it. Very Opaque.

S-Smells Hoppy/pinecombs, grapfruits, with a tad bit of Coffee to the nose, interesting, let's continue...

T-Explosion of Hops, big American aroma hops with a nice roasty coffee taste towards the end. Hits like 5-6 sensations in my head. Wonderful, wonderful wonderful.

M-The body isn't quite stout like(not big or thick) but its not light like an APA. Its right where a double/imperial IPA needs to be body wise. Which is very interesting considering its like 10.4%.
O-Solid brew. It's almost like a double version of the Sublimely Self-Righteous ale. I am really crossing my fingers on them keeping this one around, but I doubt it. I know that the bombers from stone are very reasonably priced, but i would pay $2-$3 extra to have this one year round. Solid Brew and should be the benchmark for all ICDAs/DBIPAS in the future. I would love to have the recipe to recreate this(if I can...) Do try as its amazing.

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Photo of bobhits
4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Stone Cali-Belqie glass.

Clearly a black ale with deep brown body, plenty of light goes through the pour so no fears of over doing the “black” part. A 2-3 inch head explodes to the top only to subside to the absurdly high abv. Lacing is left though perhaps a bit less impressive than it could be given the explosive head and the tendency for big double IPA’s to leave sticky lacing everywhere. This one is taking on some good wood notes that I think I’ve missed in other stone beers, but this reminds me a bit of life and limb in that respect only with hops upon hops!
Just while pouring the ripe fruity hops and subtle roasted malt characteristics blast from the glass exciting my every sense. I have things to do but this beer has just forced itself on me and my agenda.
Opens with an exciting ripe fruity hop glory to open but quickly shifting to a strong and powerful burnt chocolate malt. The second drink yields far more hop qualities as they refuse to be over powered by the malt. We have, pine, grape fruit, wood, chocolate, coffee, hop resin, and booze all mingling amazingly well together.
This is a boozy bastard and the booze is honestly perfectly bringing everything together! Thick, creamy, well carbonated, and just overly decadent.
We so often are disappointed by those things we hype up in our head. Those ultra-rare bottles (when not reviewed by obsessive snobs) so often simply disappoint because the expectations are just so absurdly high. This beer delivers 100x over for me. It is in many ways what I recall Stone 11 as being. I’m sorry but their recreation just hasn’t had that absurdly fresh hop attack and maybe that’s because it isn’t as fresh. I’m not sure, but I can state without a doubt this is amazing beer. Stone 12 and 13 for what they were are two of my favorite beers the brewer has ever done. 12 for the amazingly if not perfectly balanced chocolate stout and 13 for being the hoppiest beer I’ve ever had without turning into an undrinkable mess. This like the 13 is just amazingly bitter, over powering and sinfully delightful!

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Photo of OStrungT
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an inky black color with a brown head. The thick creamy head fades very slowly, leaving a thick lace.

This beer smells of grapefruit. I also detect a piney aroma. A slight grainy aroma mixes in with a hint of coffee.

This beer tastes like it smells. Grapefruity hops with a touch of pine. It has a nice mild coffee flaovr also. I like the balance between hops and malts. Subtle sweet malt flavor.

This beer is full bodied and high in carbonation. Irt leaves a toffee aftertaste with a little grapefruit. The alcohol content makes itself known on its way down.

This beer wouldnt be the best session beer. The alcohol content is a bit high and the flavor is aggressive.

Overall: This is a great beer. I expect nothing less from Stone.

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Photo of eat
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter after warming a while on the counter. Viscous black body topped with a light cover of beige-coloured head. Some lacing.

This was bottled about four months ago so I was expecting a possibly muted hop aroma; Stone must have hopped this to hell because the nose is still exploding with hops. Huge tropical notes with lots of lychee and guava, big caramel underneath with light chocolate and roast. This smells fantastic.

In my experience with Stone balance is not something I'm anticipating but this beer is just about perfectly balanced (I hope it wouldn't offend them for me to say that!). Insane smoothness for the ABV, probably the smoothest alcohol presence I've ever experienced at this percentage (I'd believe this was 6.5%). Lots of grapefruit but not overly bitter like I've found in most other beers from this brewery. Light chocolate, moderate roast and a good level of caramel sweetness to balance it out. I wouldn't really want to change a thing flavour-wise.

The feel is pretty much right on; not too thick or too thin. Right in the middle with medium-light carbonation.

I have to say that this beer is seriously underrated here on BA. As an imperial black IPA this is more or less perfect. I could drink this every day. This is definitely an appropriate beer to offer as an anniversary edition and the first by Stone to leave me totally impressed.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a black with brown highlights and a khaki head to boot.

The smell is citrus and very floral with just a touch of tingy alcohol.

The taste is bitter but the hop character is fairly sweet and lots of citrus and tropical fruits. A slight roast but nothing to right home about just enough to lend balance. Also it is amazing how little alcohol is detectable for 10%.

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Photo of morningthief
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle poured into a Pabst chalice.

A vigorous pour yields a one-finger tan head that settles nicely and all but disappears by the end of the glass.

Putting my nose to the glass I am immediately overwhelmed by the scent of fresh hop and grainy dark malt, with coffee and dark chocolate notes in the finish. If you have ever brewed beer before, you would liken the nose to the scent of the first hop addition during the boil. It's just that fresh. I am honestly more impressed with this smell than I have ever been with a beer.

The taste that follows is absolutely masterful. Tons of fresh hop flavor, roasty dark malt, coffee, chocolate, and exceptionally well-balanced bitterness rounds out the flavor. Offsetting the high IBU count is a delicate sweetness that is a welcome and refreshing resolution to the bold, crisp bitter dark malt and hop flavor. I am often dubious of the black IPA in general, but Stone does it correctly here.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, creamy, slick; expected but admittedly a little thick for my tastes. If this were a sweet stout it would be absolutely perfect.

What a triumph this beer is. While I would count myself a casual fan of Stone brews I am often blown away by their seasonals and one-offs, and 15th Anniversary is yet another addition to the line-up. Kudos to Stone for celebrating its 15th year in business with such a tremendous brew.

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Photo of MEsoJD
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black body with large mocha head.

S: Smells of hops, roasted/toffee notes, sweet malt and dark fruits.

T: Stone defiantly delivers on the hops. Right off the bat your hit with bold hops, followed by creamy sweet malt. Grapefruit is also present. It gives off a smokey feel/taste. At first, I didn't get the dark chocolate and toffee, but give it some more sips and it comes out wonderfully.

M: Bold, creamy and smooth. Low carbonation.

O: Bold yet very drinkable. Hold on to a few. Beautiful beer. : )

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Photo of welldigger888
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an opaque black with lovely dense tan head that laces the glass nicely.

West coasty style hop bomb that is roasted and toasted but not to heavy.

Citrusy piney hoppy dank that eases into a fine dark roastiness that never gets to thick, easy drinker.On our hot summer this brew proves to be refreshingly unstout type stout?

Nice and full without being thick and dense, still august here and it drinks damn fine on a balmy thurs evening.

These cats are not afraid to bring it and bring it BIG! Well done highly drinkable hop & ABV bomb.

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Photo of GoldHorde
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Unfamiliar with Stone Brewing offerings, The color density was correct to style - the kind of astronomical dark matter that hides starlight and in which the subsequent exploration of one hopes to discover hidden wonders of the universe...or at least a pleasureable surprise. I was expecting a nominal "black" lagerish lightweight with just enough hop sting to qualify as an IPA. What the Stone Brewers delivered was MUCH MORE pleasureable. As a lover of thick creamy stouts and dark mysterious porters I was shocked to find this could ante itself up into a game of those styles. This is not a beer of accents but of balance. Nicely done! Feast upon this brew and enjoy the very long and very lingering espressoist afterglow.

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Photo of minterro
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A present to myself from Spartan Spirits

A & S: smell hops: dank piney and citrusy hops. Malts: Sweet and roasty malts. Also a bit of woody tones in this one, even though I don’t think it barrel aged. Smell is very powerful after uncapping but dies at a high rate. Pours about 1 and a half fingers of foamy light brown head. Inky black. Great lacing and the bubbles have an interesting cling to glass as well. Head falls till about a quarter fingernail of a head is left on top this amount is retained.

T & M: Very rich and robust. More smokey in the taste then in the nose. Other major tastes include dark chocolate, piney hops, roasted malts, and citrus. Great after taste: super piney and bitter, semi dry. A bit boozy in the breath out. Full bodied, moderately low carbonation (right were you want the mouthfeel at for the style)

O: this beer was great idk what to say it was perfect for the style. Very powerful beer I would recommend sharing this bottle with a beer friend.

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Photo of bjohn84
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber that I accidentally forgot about in the back of the fridge

A - Black coffee with a thin layer of toffee brown head

S - Roasted notes with some small citrus

T - Numbing alcohol up front, but taste of it is well hidden. intense bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. Also a bittering hop comes through on the back end

M - Intense and def a full bodied sipper. Leaves a nice coating in the mouth

O - Intense to say the least. Because of the age on this one it comes across as much more of a RIS than IPA, but the bitterness is still there and it is still great stuff. Sad I can't try it fresh again to do a side to side with age

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15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing
4.18 out of 5 based on 1,443 ratings.
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