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 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 Kegatron
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep brown, with a couple fingers of dark mocha head. This retains with a tight finger, leaving back a big frothy cascade of foam that settles down into a sticky latticework of lacing that clings to the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of fresh grapefruit and pine accents, with both definitely having some vibrant power to them. Notes of roast and sweet chocolate come in off the sides, while that big ABV adds a bit of heady warmth to the nose. Those American hops really control this though.

The taste starts with strong grapefruit bitterness and pine that cut across the tongue, with that initial blast being buffered by a thick mix of chocolate sweetness and a touch of tangier feeling caramel. A wall of burnt roast pulls up the back of this before the hops regains their strength in the finish with bitter fruit, resins, and spicy alcohol sticking to the tongue with a stiff dryness, while even the roast gets in on the act as well with an intense charred feel that leaves an impression. The mouthfeel is full bodied in the mouth and has some sharpness on the tongue that pops those notes of hops and roast. The rest of the feel has more of a smooth creaminess to it that helps fill out the corners of the mouth. That near 11% ABV isn’t ridiculous feeling but like the nose, does give this a certain amount of beefiness and intensifies those already aggressive flavors.

While this certainly had some big ole’ balls on it, it ultimately came as more of a hefty and hoppy American Stout to me, as those roasted malts and chocolate sweetness had about as big of a presence here as the hops did. Even with this not quite being quite up to snuff style-wise for me and much like all of these Stone Anniversary beers, it’s always at least worth trying.

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Photo of mactrail
2.44/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is so sharply alcoholic. With the bitterness, it tastes like a Chinese medicinal wine. It also wins the prize for the weirdest, most unpleasant aroma for a non-spoiled beer. It's like a wet felt hat filled with the parsley silage from the back of the vegetable bin.

The stuff looks nice enough in the glass, though it's just black with a thin beige head. Not very drinkable overall. It just seems like some kind of hop joke. Mouthfeel is hard to tell. It makes my lips hurt.

Personally, I think they are toying with us. Or else it's a chemistry experiment from the Escondido High School science fair. At least Stone doesn't don't overcharge, so I sometimes lapse from better judgement to try one of their loopy brews. From the 22 oz bottle. Add a case of Olde English 800 for an excellent frat party. "Dude, see if you can keep this down!"

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Photo of Rifugium
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured into a snifter, an oily brownish black with a small cap of tan head that retained decently and left some streaky lacing behind. Big aroma full of pine, with a sweet maltiness just peeking through in the background. A blast of pine and resin on the tongue, on the border of being a palate killer. Notes of coffee bitterness and bottom-of-the-barrel molasses. Heavy, greasy mouthfeel and definitely boozy.

I like Cascadian dark ales, I like Stone's brews a lot, and I know they're all about being extreme. But I think this one was too much even for me. It wasn't bad by any means, just a little over the top and one-sided with the pine taking almost complete dominance. I'd really have to be in the mood to try this one again.

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Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of billab914
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. Black in color with a thin, dark tan head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass rather quickly and left just a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma mixes a juicy, tropical fruit like hoppiness with a little bit of a roasted, chocolaty character. Some very nice grapefruit and mango notes come out in the hops. The roasted malts are noticeable but not overdone, which I like.

The taste shows some of that juicy, fruity hoppiness to it up front. Midway I start to get more of a dry, bitterness that lasts into the finish. The grapefruit and roasty flavors combine for some big bitter flavors in the finish, that seemed a little harsh at times. It was pretty good but I would have liked to see a little more of the brighter, juicy hoppiness that the aroma had cut through the roasty flavors a little more.

The mouthfeel is a little on the heavy side with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty good beer for the style. I liked the way juicy, hoppiness mixed with some chocolaty flavors in the aroma. The roasty, bitter, burnt flavors overshadowed the hops a little for me in the taste though. It was a pretty good beer overall though.

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Photo of russpowell
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was thrilled to find this "across the border" on Missouri!

Pours black with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Tons of sticky lacing, great head retention`

S: Intense pineyness, grassy notes, smokey notes once warm

T: Follows the nose, some hints of of carob, dates & grapefruit up front, a touch of wet charred grain as well. Much pineyness, intense grapefruit, sharp herbal bitterness as well with a touch of smokey wet grain, along with , some booze bite & minty hops as well. Finishes with boozey grainyness, much pineyness

MF: Chewy, slick, very warming, a touch too much booze burn & not perfect balance

Much to love here, a real intense Black IPA. Thrilled to see a "new release" from Stone in my backyard. Keep'em coming please!

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Pickled Pig Pub

A: Served in a goblet, the beer was dark in color, pretty much black, with a very nice tan head on top. The head was very tight foam, great retention, with sparse lacing left behind.

S: Wow, amazingly hoppy on the aroma. If I was given this beer blind (and didn't see its color), I certainly would have guessed it either a strong IPA or a DIPA. Lots of grapefruit, pine, and pine resin. Very faint amount of roast going on, the hops dominate the aroma.

T: Roastier than the aroma led on, but still very hoppy. Lots of pine and resin, and to a much lesser extent citrus. This is mixed with some milk chocolate.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation, but it is rather creamy for style. Finishes bitter.

O: Pretty good for style, one of the better ones I have had. The mouthfeel on this one makes it better compared to most, which usually seem a bit thin. Fantastic aroma as well.

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Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep, dark brown liquid where no light shines through. Good beige head that drops very slowly, leaving a blanket of fine lace.

Dark, nearly burnt caramel aroma--semi-sweet. There's a light touch of hop at the end of the smell.

Bitter malt followed by bitter hop, quite different from the smell. There is no sweetness to this beer. In fact, it seems like an over abundance of black patent malt was added to the brew. Think coffee grounds and you'll come close. This beer is more bitter than a stout, even though the hop is largely overwhelmed. The body is decent with a good level of carbonation.

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Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber, vintage date on bottle.

LOOK: Black as can be, thick brown head.

SMELL: Booze, dark chocolate, dank hop resin, dark fruit, burnt bread, orange zest.

TASTE: Roasty, dry toasted bread, hop bitterness, tobacco, earthy, smoky ash, brown bread, booze.

A solid brew, hits all the right buttons for what it is supposed to be. A bit too much alcohol and the hops seem to cloud ... Meaning the flavors don't mesh as well as I thought the would have.

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

black as night with a light colored head that rose up about an inch and a half before settling down into a nice broken crown that stayed throughout the session. The aroma was very bright, lots of citrus here, orange and tangerine mostly and a wonderfully bright lemon like aroma that rose up, not at all what you would have expected from something that looked so fark. Nice medium body with a smooth and mellow carbonation and a lightness to it that again was outside what I was expecting. Smooth flavor, clean, crisp, loaded with bitter citrus hops. Lots of grapefruit and pineapple here. Such a tight and very hoppy big IPA.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I enjoyed this on tap at the Brewhouse Grille Stone/TRÖEGS tap takeover, served chilled in a pint.

A pitch black stout-like look with opaque clarity and medium beige cap w/ fine bead. The lace clings in rings. The smell has a huge hop aroma which is enhanced by simcoe scent which is slightly pine and has a mango tropical note with some mild citrus elements. The nose is mellow with grassy and has mild herbal sweet floral round scents w/ practically no malt aroma w/ just slight sweet element. The feel is incredible with the viscosity giving the impression of light body since it is so dry with a very resinous lush oily hoppy all joy on the palate. The juicy texture with ultra dry malt body w/ no roast the way I like a black IPA with lush green smooth body without any astringency.

The taste of wonderful hop flavors greet the palate w/ juicy and mildly bitter taste which is pineapple/mango w/ a splash of grapefruit . The taste is outstanding since the black malt flavor is absent , maybe a whisper of malt in the overall taste w/ slight toasted tinge and light fruity accent of sweetness to join the mellow pine elements w/ simcoe obviously giving a lush herbal/tropical contribution and the cattiness is mellow w/ slight wild coarse earthy accent that is huge and the taste of full w/ phenomenal taste w/ semidry juicy bitter finish - this is possibly the best of the style that I have had. Overall this was fantastic on tap showing Stone is true to the love of hops and a master of black IPA's they deserve to rename it according to their locale. This nails it or hits it out of the park whatever cliche you choose will fit. I loved it a great example of the Imperial Black ale style

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Photo of vfgccp
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Toasted head has great retention and lace. Solid black body has almost no highlights.

S – Pine and green leaves. Caramel latte.

T – Round malt into a quick ramp-up of bitter roast alpha oil. Sharply acidic, black roast center with a raisiny sweetness. Lingering pine bitterness and cocoa on the backend.

M –Medium body. Low carbonation. Sweet finish.

O – A solid, complex BIPA

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 11/15/11 notes. Had on tap at Fireworks in Arlington, VA at their Stone steal the pint night event. Poured in a 10 oz. tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with one finger of very dark brown head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, grapefruit, roasted malts, a tiny bit soapy. As expected, lots of hops and roasted notes. Hops are a little more dominant, but it's a nice mix.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, citrus hops, sweet smooth chocolate, pine hops, grapefruit. Again, very hoppy and roasted, but the roasted malts and chocolate come out a lot more here than in the nose. A nice step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Light bitterness from the hops up front, than smooth thanks to the malts. Surprisingly easy to drink considering the high ABV.

o - Overall a very nice Black IPA; one of the better ones I've had. Didn't enjoy it as much as the sublimely self-righteous ale, but still good. Would have it again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours almost black in color with two fingers of tan head that has great retention and lacing.

S: Smells like a classic hoppy Stone beer. Tons of grapefruit peel and pine with some intense herbal and woody hop notes. There is a fair amount of roast to it. A hint of fruit on the finish.

T: The roast flavor is a bit more powerful than I expected. There is a touch of chocolate followed by lots of grapefruit and a little bit of pineapple. Herbal and piney hops on the back end with a lot of bitterness.

M: The body is quite full with a medium carbonation with a lingering bitterness.

O: Not as good as Stone 11 or SoCal Hop Salute, but not bad. A bit boozy as it warms in the glass.

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

Served on-tap at the Brewhouse Grille during the Troegs / Stone Total Tap Takeover.

A - Pours nearly pitch black with a nice two finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the entire glass.

S - Smells of rich dark roasted chocolate malt, molasses sweetness, bright citric hops, tropical fruits, and some light pine needles.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roasted chocolate malt slowly giving way to a mix of pungent citric hops, light hints of tropical fruits; most notably grapefruit; pine, molasses, and the faintest hint of booze. The finish is a mix of hop bitterness and dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. The feel has lots of hop bitterness and dark roast, lingering for some time after consumption.

O - Not too bad. The mix of dark roast and hops was fairly well balanced and it tasted pretty good. I have never been the biggest fan of Black IPA's but Stone really knows how to make them the right way.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass.

Grabbed a bottle of his favorite style to share with a friend a few nights before his bachelor party. The festivities beginning real early, son. It pours a dark, ruby-tinted black-brown topped by a healthy bit of dirty tan foam. The nose comprises grapefruit zest, roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, orange peel, pine sap, and sharp mint. The taste doesn't really deviate too far from this plan of action, though the hops are definitely the dominant force here, with the roastier aspects forced behind them. The body is a sleek medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a more-than-solid black ale, though the spicily citrus hops don't completely meld with the darker aspects, rather the two camps constantly duke it out. This struggle doesn't torpedo things, though, a testament to the beer's strength.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Very dark body, but not pitch black. Some transparency at the edges. It has a nice chocolate head to start, but it's gone in a flash and it diminishes to lacing. Spots of lacing remain and some sticks to the glass.

Smell - Strong citrus flavors and a plentiful roasted malt character behind it. These black ales always throw me off. The aromas just don't seem like they would complement each other, but they seem to work out in the end.

Taste - Hops at the front, much like the aroma. It fades very smoothly into the chocolate and coffee flavors in the end, but finishes just so slightly bitter. It never seems to fully materialize the chocolate and coffee flavors. They are muted by the hops, which dominate throughout.

Mouthfeel - There's a lot of booze in the flavor, it has to be said. It's heavy for an IPA and light for a stout. It's in between. I like it, but it leaves me questioning which it would like to be. Clearly more the IPA, but heavy and boozy for the style.

Overall - I like how the flavors meld in the taste, but I still feel like it wants to be either an IPA or a stout, but not both. It's surprisingly drinkable, though, just not great.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is dark brown with a beige cap that measures about a half inch, leaving some decent lacing on the glass. The aroma is toasty, with some nice hop scents. The flavor blends the two, with a healthy bitterness. Also present is a nutty, burnt toffee character. The feel is medium bodied, with a lingering hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall, a tasty beer, and a good example of the style.

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Photo of BMart
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

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

Pitch black pours like used motor oil, keeps all light from passing through. Head is a nice thicket of moccha tan head. Fine speckled lacing forms as the head dwindles. Aroma has a citrus leaf hop smell along with dark roasted malts mixed with anise black licorice. Flavor has a roasted malt flavor with green citrus hop tones and a bit of pine. Dark roasted malts have some licorice anise like tones about them. Tastes more like a hoppy stout than any type of IPA and I guess I can add an imperial stout at 10.8% abv I bet this is because they fucked up so bad on the Belgo Russian Imperial Stout. A bit of hot booze comes in the back end of each sip making it a slow sipper for myself, the dark roasted malts with bittering hops don't hurt things but it's really not the smoothest beer around either.

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Photo of stakem
3.14/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to wishuwerebeer for the share. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. This brew appears black in color with a rich frothy cap of brown that is 2 fingers strong.  A thick wall of webby lacing completely covers the glassware everywhere it touches.

The smell of this brew initially is fruity with hops, some citrus and a bit of veggie to earthy aspect. A little bit pine included as well as a catty aspect across the back. Roasty grain becomes more bold across the back with a hint of alcohol as the brew warms.

The taste is bold with a roasty bitterness of the grain that immediately gives way to a hoppy bitterness that is oily and includes catty and veggie hop flavoring. Alcohol has a hint of fruit like pear or cantaloupe and a warmth down the back of the throat. The taste of this brew really clashes for me and seems a bit dirty.

This is a medium bodied brew, somewhat smooth in the feel with a creamy texture and modest level of carbonation. It is quite bold and roasty but the flavor and aroma really clashes for me. Pear/cantaloupe meets bitter roasted grain and catty/veggies is just so strange. I wanted to like this brew but had a really hard time finishing my glass. If black ipas are your thing, you might love this but there are better offerings for the style.

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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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