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Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Formerly brewed at Stone Brewing Co.
Style: Black IPA
Escondido, California USA
Serve in Shaker, Tulip


on tap

Regional Distribution

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RATINGS: 711   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.89/5   EST. CALORIES: 324   ABV: 10.8%
In the 15 years since we entered the craft brewing world, change has come not in a straight line, but as an exponential curve. The craft brewing movement has long been called a "revolution." But today the air is so thick with revolution, it’s palpable. No longer is it only an awareness among the faithful; the unconverted are beginning to feel it as well. Denial and ignorance are disappearing in favor of opened eyes, curiosity and the sense that there’s something larger out there. For far too long we have been lied to. For far too long we have been oppressed by the notion that dumbed-down-lowest-common-denominator-mediocrity was all that we could, and should, expect. You might think we’re talking only about the world of brewing, but we’re not. There is a myriad of products out there masquerading as cheeses, coffee, chocolates, breads...hell, there is stuff pretending to be ’food’ that our great grandmothers would not recognize as such. Yet the craft brewing movement, together with the artisanal food movement, is making much progress. Where the industrial companies can’t dismiss or bury us, they are attempting to copy us with cheap facsimiles. Yes, chances are if you are holding this bottle, you understand these things to be true about the world of brewing. You also likely understand the importance of our fight at Stone against accepted ’norms’ over the last 15 years. We believed that America was ready to embrace things made with artistry and passion. You have spoken. Your response has been clear. We are not merely consumers to be spoon-fed whatever commodities need to be unloaded for a profit. We have only just begun to move the needle of this revolution, & mediocrity still reigns. Consider that when you reject dumbed down, industrialized food and drink, you also support craft brewing. The line is nearly seamless; we are fighting the same battle. We will not win in our lifetime, as the powers are too entrenched, and the masses too…fooled. And shackled. However, this is a revolution of ideas and of taste, and we will win. How do you want to be viewed by your children, and your children’s children? As a hero, or as the oppressed? (Those that don’t think they have been oppressed are already lost.) Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. We hope you’ll stand with us. Strong and unyielding. You are needed. This bottle and its glorious contents are a celebration of you, brothers and sisters, and your importance in this fight. Cheers to all we’ve accomplished together in the past fifteen years, and cheers to the adventure ahead!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
AHTOH (101) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 2, 2011
Bomber dated August 2011. Drank 9/2/11.

AROMA: Hops (primarily grassy hops, some pine and citrus notes), roasted malt, coffee, earthy character. Light creamy sweetness from the malt. Faint vegetation.

TASTE: Similar to aroma. Earthy character behind the coffee notes more pronounced than on nose. Malt sweetness also more pronounced on palate than aroma, albeit behind the big bitterness from the hops and roast.

MOUTH FEEL: Quite carbonated. A bit sweet. Slight alcohol warmth. Hop oils seem to linger on back of palate. The sweetness mixing with the hop (and roast) bitterness and the resulting awkwardness on the palate is why I believe I generally prefer IPAs over DIPAs - regardless of black or pale or in between.

OVERALL: The faint earthy character, especially on palate, in the background reminds me of Rogue’s Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager - except on steroids and heavily hopped.

Body like Great Divide Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA meets Stone Russian Imperial Stout; then add a plethora of hop oil and subtract the wood notes. Thankfully not as sweet at Avery’s Maharaja.

Despite the faint off-note on the nose, a great and complex brew.

Couple weeks ago had Uinta’s Dubhe Imperial Black IPA on tap, and though never took notes or even fully analyzed it, I feel I enjoyed that one more than this Stone 15th.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
FudgeSociety2 (311) - Florida, USA - SEP 2, 2011
UPDATED: MAY 9, 2012 Nice beer. Awesome tropical fruit flavor, but with a strong bitter edge. The dark malt is nice but I can’t help but feel that a regular IPA with these hop flavors would be better. Good stuff. Drink fresh or don’t bother. I heard this beer varies greatly. This beer needs to be part of the regular lineup, drop the overrated Ruination.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - SEP 2, 2011
22oz bottle. Pours deep, deep brown, maybe not quite black with a small creamy tan head that recedes to a thin cap with some bubbles feeding it from underneath. Aroma is excellent and headlined by a big citrus presence including grapefruit rinds and oranges. But there is also a hefty chocolate malt presence as well. There is also a little herbal note in the nose. The taste starts with the citrus, grapefruit and pineapple, but has a huge chocolate malt backbone that underpins everything else. The finish is bitter and roasty, with more pine resin than I got in the nose. The mouthfeel is fantastic, full bodied and creamy but with a nice hoppy bitterness. I’m a huge fan of this beer which is a great combination of hops and dark roasted malts with a thick, almost chewy mouthfeel. Substantial and super tasty.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
jlruthven (594) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 2, 2011
Bomber. Pours darker and oiler than a good many imperial stouts I’ve had. Big, creamy mocha-colored head that takes a LONG time to dissolve. Beautiful look to this beer. Nose definitely crosses wires with the appearance. Big pine, a little pineapple, orange, and passion fruit, metallic hint (copper maybe), resinous hops and a pronounced coffee-ish roasted quality. Taste is like a meeting of the minds; big hop quality, with a little citrus, pine in a big way, slightly nutty finish. As it warms, hints of espresso-laced chocolate sneak through. Big flavors, very little of the near-11% ABV noticeable. Exceptional beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
HughConway (830) - Washington, USA - SEP 2, 2011
Bottle. Opens with a hefty hop aroma, pours a pitch black with decent head. Taste is rich and thick with a hint of hops. Interesting beer, a bit overdone in all respects imo and not sure how well the hops would age.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
killjoy966 (677) - Washington, USA - SEP 2, 2011
22 oz from Chuck’s. This is a great beer. Pours pitch black. I’ve had some stouts that aren’t this roasty. Think of it like a hoppy porter and you’re getting warm. This is a big beer that was made to put you away.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Terminus (3409) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - SEP 1, 2011
Bottle-WOW, this is a whopper-pours pitch black with a large kacki colored head with some decent legs but no lacing. nose is wacky-hops, metalic, copper penny, pine, lots of fresh hops in here. lots of burnt roast and husky charred malt notes. its a pretty good nose here. flavors are huge-metallic hops, huge char, roast, chocolate, with a decent amount of alcohol. Somewhat warming. lots of hop bitterness mixed in well with the burnt char notes. Its a very well put together beer. the finish is a bit on the warm side, but the huge roast helps to cover it up a bit. somewhat green as well but thats due to the fresh hops i think. Well done Stone!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
arkurzynski (1886) - Combined Locks, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 1, 2011
Pours syrupy black with khaki almost orange head. Definitely a nice pine hop aroma with a trailing cocoa/roast aroma. The initial pine aroma is nice, but the mix with roast muddies the overall appeal. Flavor starts sticky and sweet like an imp stout followed by a strong, but not overpowering pine bitterness. Finishes with cocoa, caramel, light roast. Residual sticky sweetness and mild hoppiness. Interesting take, and overall well-crafted, but not particularly digging the whole package. Not as impressive and balanced as Sublimely Self-Righteous. Kind of wishing this whole black IPA thing would stop soon before the style is even more played out.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
popery (1742) - San Francisco, California, USA - SEP 1, 2011
The beer is wall to wall black with a thick and creamy light brown head. I’m getting pineapple, tangerines and grapefruit rind up front. Lurking beneath the hops, there’s a foundation of fudge with touches of roast and smoke. On the downside, there’s also a little paint thinner and booze at the edges, but it wouldn’t be a Stone beer without some rough edges. The taste has a lot of sweetness followed up by a good bitter bite. It starts out with fudgy chocolate cake mixed with pineapple-citric hop oil. Some roast and smoke chimes in, filling out the malt flavor, and it ends with mild smoke and hop bitterness. The bitterness is strong but fairly smooth. However, there’s some more booze pushing through, as well. It’s an undercooked chocolate rum cake with tangerine pith icing. Very fun to drink. It’s creamy and smooth even as it smolders with pleasant bitterness and unpleasant booze. To be fair, it’s getting away with some harshness by throwing in a whole bunch of lovely dry-hop delicacy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
DYCSoccer17 (3513) - Woodland, California, USA - SEP 1, 2011
22 ounce bottle purchased at the Davis Food Co-Op. The aroma on this is moderately hoppy with hints of Centennials and other PNW hops. Some grapefruit and pine. Beneath this, there is a lot of roast present. Some sweet chocolate is also there with some chalkiness, too. Mildly transparent dark mahogany body with a smallish, quickly dissipating light tan head. Starts a little chocolatey, before this becomes quite burnt, and bitter. Tons of grapefruit hops going on here. Very charred, and very difficult to drink this beer. There’s no subtlety here, and it just seems like they dumped the leftover unsweetened chocolate from their previous Oatmeal Chocolate IS and a shit ton of hops into this beer.

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