15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA | Stone Brewing

719 Reviews
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
firstprev| 651-675 | 676-700 | 701-725  | next → last
Reviews: 719 | Ratings: 1,443
Photo of CyclingLush666
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance on this beer is what I thought was most impressive. Even though this is a great beer across the board, I thought how it looked right after I poured it is what made me really like it. The head on the beer was about 3 fingers thick and a very tan color. The beer looks like it could be a stout, but does not taste like one.

The smell is very nice, with a hoppy smell and a hint of chocolate. It smells like a stone, but that has much more too it then just barley and hops.

The taste is more complex than most stone's, that it has a flavor other than hops and barley. It looks like a stout tastes like an IPA but not bitter at all. It has that sweet chocolate taste that makes it very nice.

The mouthfeel has a medium body. Nothing that heavy but its also pretty dark so don't expect to just put it down.

I would try this beer, at around 8 bucks with over 10% its worth trying for sure. It has a nice rich taste, and is a lot different than most of the stone's.

 981 characters

Photo of RISky
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber to pint glass, with 2 finger head, body is absolutely black as night. Heavy lacing followed from top to bottom.

Smells very strong of piney hops, close to burnt. Touch of coffee, malts and slight sweetness.

Very strong taste of hops up front into a roasted flavor followed by coffee and minor chocolate taste. Seems to finish with a tart fruity flavor. 10% is noticeable but not imposing.

Bitter fruity flavor medium body average carbonation.

Overall very nice beer great hop heavy flavor, accompanied by roasted fruit and small amounts of chocolate. 10% is nice bonus to a good tasting beer.

 617 characters

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.

 628 characters

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.

 1,108 characters

Photo of SlyFox21
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bottle poured into an Arrogant Bastard Ale Pint Glass

Appearance - Pours and inky black, with about a 1 finger thickness head. There is literally no light shining through this beer, excellent appearance for the style.

Smell - Strong of hops, and ever so slightly of toasted malts. But mostly hops.

Taste - Heavy on the hops, and noticeably of toasted malts, but again mostly hops. Has a good after taste of hops, lingers for a long while.

Mouthfeel - Feels about right, very thick for an IPA. What I wanted for an imperial Black IPA. Not as thick as an imperial stout, but has the feel of a lighter stout. Very good.

Overall - An excellent Black IPA. Good appearance, taste, aroma, and mouth-feel, worth seeking out if you like hoppy black IPAs.

 755 characters

Photo of sklinger990
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a tulip glass.

A- Almost completely opaque, black. Creamy-coffee colored head. Quite beautiful, in a dark, you-don't-know-me type of way.

S- Bright hoppy and roasty dark at the same time. This typically is nonsensical, but it is a wonderful balance of both.

T- Oh, oh my. Before I get into the flavors, just know to taste this beer, you need like two minutes per sip. It's like every beer I've had in one. Hoppy, piny, citrus up front, slowly sliding into a spicy malty, breadyness, flowing even more slowly into a coffee, roasted grain, mocha finish that is both rich yet dry. World class, no doubt.

Overall- I've loved Stone for quite some time, but this beer strikes deep into my beer soaked soul. Liquid excellence.

 735 characters

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

A - Pitch black motor oil color with a nice tan creamy head that quickly dissipates after the pour into the glass.

S - Very nice aromatic hoppiness/floral scent. No strong alcohol scent that you would expect from a 10.8% beer.

T - Very enjoyable, smooth taste with the perfect amounts of hop flavor. The hops are not overpowering and the alcohol is hidden in flavor with hints of a roasted flavor.

M - Very smooth creamy feel to it that makes you want to drink more.

O - Very good IPA as this is my first black IPA. The proportions of flavor are very well balanced and the hoppy flavor does not overpower the beer as some IPA's do. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that is looking for a good IPA.

 711 characters

Photo of alec7717
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark black and brown with a light white foamy head

S: Heavy hops and pine gives the beer good appeal before the first taste.

T: After a couple gulps you can taste the hoppy IPA as expected however it is smoother than the heavier IPA beer taste that is typically expected. Theres a hint of chocolate as your drinking.

M: It doesnt give the mouth a longlasting tingle that some IPA's give but gives a tasty coat on your mouth that lasts and gives the chocolate taste as well.
O: Delicious beer that I would definitely have again because of the smooth chocolate taste you get after the hoppy taste goes away but if your going for a more intense hop filled IPA go with something different

Serving type: On tap

 718 characters

Photo of johnnysky16
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle.

A - Fantastic looking beer. Could be mistaken for a stout with its thick head and midnight black color.

S - I definitely get a smell of hops. Great smell.

T - For the alcohol content this is a really smooth beer. Easy drinking. Has the hop flavor and malt in the background.

M - Mouthfeel is good as well. Very stout like in feel.

Overall I think this beer is exceptional. Very easy to drink even with the high alcohol. I think many people forget this is an imperial black ipa. As an imperial this is very, very good. Has stout like qualities with ipa qualities. Love this beer.

 613 characters

Photo of Genotype
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Selma's Tap Room in Rancho Santa Margarita CA.

Served in a tulip glass.

Dark, dark color. Nice. It's labeled an Imperial Black IPA, and black it is. This is my first beer review, and I'm not much for the specifics, but I just had to speak out.

Love it. Aroma is wonderful. Hop, Hop, Hop, Hop Hop. Booze is present (how can it not be w/ 10.8%) but not overpowering. My god. I could easily drink a few of these without noticing the cab that just pulled up to make sure I got home ok. I will be making a few calls and some special trips just to find these at a store. Mmmm...I may just have to get a bus pass to get another glass.

Definitely fits the IPA category. Almost fits a porter category. Not so thick I would label it a stout. Try it. If you are a hop head you'll want more. If you likes dark beers, you'll want more. I want more. I don't know... maybe it's the 10.8% talking...but I want more.

 913 characters

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

Served into a tulip.

A: Black, thats not a surprise though. Light brown head that sticks around, but its not very voluminous. Lacing down side.

S: Pine is the dominating smell, followed by citrus rind. Hot alcohol sticks out, but blends decently with hops. Dense and sweet malt flavor in background to hop. Malt slightly caramel, raisin, and burnt. Tropical fruit flavors, with slight breadiness. Maybe a little oaky/woody.

T/M. Syrup malt flavor and feel, roasted bitterness, slick resin hop flavor as described above, except more herbal. Hot alcohol. Very bitter, but I like that in a beer like this. Mouth feel is full and sticky syrup, with moderate carbonation. Very slick and resiny.

Overall, this is a decent beer, but I think I like the Sublimely Self-Righteous better. I like the smell and flavor, but I like them individually and they dont mesh well. I wish the flavor took on more of the smell or the other way around. The hot alcohol is so strong, although masked by hops and roast, that it puts me off a little.

 1,029 characters

Photo of Dawgmeat
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour was a thick dark black with a large (2-3 finger) medium brown creamy head which had good retention reducing to a thick puddling thus creating some excellent sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a pine hop, a roasted grain malt and a moldy yeast with notes of coffee, caramel, licorice, chocolate and a decent alcohol tinge.

The taste was a hoppy, malty and a tad sweet with a very mild hint of caramel and chocolate at first then progressed into a bitter, roasty, hoppy flavor with a big coffee note and a mild alcohol presence at the end. The flavor hung on for a good long time proceeding the swallow letting the hoppy roastiness settle in.

Mouthfeel was a bit beyond medium in body with a dry, oily texture and a nice lively carbonation.

Overall an exceptionally well balanced Black IPA with just the right amount of everything working together.

I'm fortunate to be nearby the brewery itself, of course I'm a little biased. Their is a certain smell and flavor that comes with any of the Stone brews and it hooks me all the time.

The "Imperial Black IPA" is such a very complex and delicious explosion on ones palette. This is currently my best and favorite beer of all time. I'm actually still able to purchase this as of 6/1/12 at a local liquor store for $6.99 ;-)

 1,282 characters

Photo of finagler
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy head that shifts on top like a foamy wave coming in Louisiana after the BP Oil spill. Held up to the sun I couldn't see through it at all, it's black y'all! Vanilla, some dark fruits, stone IPA on the nose and taste. Lacing reminiscent of dried pumpkin guts. If this beer were an animal it would be a California Black Bear after itching its back on a pine tree.

 368 characters

Photo of RustyTide
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, well, I had this a while back now, but I wanted to give it some props.

A: Pitch black with approx 1 inch dark tan colored head with good retention and nice lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted malts, great bitter hops.

T: Very bitter hops with roasty, dark chocolate and caramel malts.

M: Thick full body, moderate carbonation.

Overall: This was an outstanding beer, one of my favorite Black IPAs so far. I miss it dearly. I had plenty of it while it was around, I hope it comes back. Stone....thank you.

 515 characters

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.

 809 characters

Photo of weedchild
4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large snifter from a 22oz bottle

Pours black as a witch's...disposition. Leather colored head stays around for a good minute - impressive for a 10.8% beer.

At first I got a strong hop aroma - cat box and citrus. As it is warming up I get dank, almost Belgian funk in the background of fruit and chocolate and strong alcohol.

The flavor is almost indescribable. It starts sweet and chocolaty and quickly evolves into bittersweet chocolate, pine needle, wild/tropical fruit, and finally cigar. As I write this I feel like I just took a puff on a very well made cigar.

The mouthfeel is viscous, but the carbonation is just enough to cut it. The residue lasts in your mouth for a while.

Overall, this is one of the most complex beers I have ever tasted. After pouring and sniffing I felt like it was an imperial IPA that happened to be black - and it is - but there is so much more that I can't find the words to do it justice. I'm going to run out an buy another one (when I sober up) to share with my homebrew buddies this weekend.

 1,049 characters

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!

 414 characters

Photo of collinmeyer
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best beers I've ever had. I was browsing my local liquor store and snagged the last bottle they had since I hadn't heard of it. To my dismay after tasting it and researching, I realized that the chance of my having it again was very slim.

This beer combines the best of an IRS, a double IPA and a stout. It is perfectly balanced and has just enough boozeyness for my taste. Coffee, chocolate, pine, west coast hops... Great beer. GO, STONE!

 452 characters

Photo of Canvas08
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My first review. Poured from a Bomber into a wine glass.

A: Deep Black with slight Reddish Brown tinge. Caramel colored long lasting head. A ton of lacing

S: Very sweet smelling. Piney Hops. Chocolate. Some orange.

T: At first tasted like a blend of Stone IPA and Imperial Russian Stout to me. Initial taste is definitely more IPA, transitioning in to the coffee/chocolate flavor of the malts. VERY PINEY. Bitter hops, bitter chocolate not much sweetness. Some Alcohol burn. Finish is great. Tastes more like a Stout-y IPA than a IPA-like Stout.

M: Very silky and smooth. Carbonation almost unnoticeable.

O: Looks pretty. Smells Nice. Great texture. Unfortunately tastes weird to me. Not bad, but weird. More like a fusion of two different styles than celebrating often overlooked Black Ale. Sublimely Self-Righteous does a much better job. I enjoyed this beer but won't be buying it again.

 895 characters

firstprev| 651-675 | 676-700 | 701-725  | next → last
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing
4.18 out of 5 based on 1,443 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.