RedSox2004 (1139) - Pacific Palisades, California, USA - AUG 19, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Jet black with a thick strong brown head that retains well and leaves excellent sticky lace. Sure looks like an imperial stout. Lots of everything on the nose - resinous pine, chocolate, coffee, citrus. Same thing on the palate - a shot of hops bitterness followed by a long smooth chocolate and espresso sweetness. Full bodied, minimal carbonation, silky creamy smooth, and a lingering dark chocolate sweetness. Tastes and smells like they mixed a batch of Ruination with their RIS. Just a bit overwhelming.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - AUG 19, 2011
1.9 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 7/20
Escondidian? Yeah, thatís something to be proud of. For those of you that donít know, Escondido is one of the most ghetto North County Suburbs in San Diego. Actually, it is THE most ghetto North County Suburb. So, as you will see, this is quite fitting for a name for this beer. Furthermore, Imperial Black IPA? Yeah, just what the world needs and practically the most predictable thing that stone could have done. Pours the dark brown color most Black IPAs do and sports a tan head that starts rather thick but settles fairly thin. The nose smells like old coffee, rotting vegetable matter, and driveway black top. The flavors, if you can call them that, are down right putrid. Weíll start with the bitterness...itís retardedly faceless, brash, harsh, cloying, and not anything anyone with a sense of taste would find enjoyable. The "Flavors", hidden behind this bitter, bitter nonsense, are just as off-putting...abrasive roasted malt that tastes more like burnt rubber than anything else, bitter licorice that tastes like itís been run through a used 10-day old coffee grinds Randall, and a finish reminiscent of spoiled lettuce. Then thereís the boozy alcoholic nature that looms around the whole experience, making each sip more painful than the next not to mention that indescribable stone house character is ever so present in this beer.
So let me be frank. This beer is absolutely awful. Yes, Iím known to often bash Stone, but I do give them praise when they deserve it, it just happens that that doesnít happen too often...but this beer here, this is seriously one of the worst beers stone has ever made...which is sad, because I have actually enjoyed a few of their newer beers the past few years and I was starting to let up on my hatred, but this beer is so god damned bad...fuck.
papajohn (1248) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - AUG 19, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bomber from Marine Mart Miramar: Pour is black with a huge dark mocha head. Aroma is chocolate with a hint of citrus and pine. Flavor starts rich dark chocolate followed by citrus bitterness and a long dry orange rind, bakerís chocolate coffee bitter finish. Palate is full, rich and smooth with moderate carbonation and a light alcohol burn.
502Che (999) - @, CAMBODIA - AUG 19, 2011
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bomber. Wow this stuff is over the top. Super fresh hops--tastes like swallowing frech cones. The hops go horribly with the obver the top roasted-soyish malts. The score on this one is a huge shocker. This over-the-top trend is really getting old.
FlacoAlto (3737) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 19, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
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, mediumíish 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 canít 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 doesnít 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.
trevor211 (1298) - Seattle, Washington, USA - AUG 18, 2011
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Imperial indeed. This is one confusing beast of a beer. Pours thick, and pitch black, with a burnt mocha head -- super dark. Put it under your nose and close your eyes, and youíd think you were sniffing a deep transparent orange syrupy thick IIPA -- something along the lines of a PtY -- except somethingís different. Someone threw a chocolate bar in. With the huge amount of malts it must have taken to produce such a viscous, dark brew, this is essentially an uber-hopped imperial stout. The aroma is actually quite sticky. The flavor, clean thanks to the 10.5%, is actually like someone dumped a Ruination into an RIS. Itís a monster of a brew thatís entirely bipolar -- one second you think youíre drinking a IIPA, the next you think itís so syrupy itís got to be a stout. Really, really interesting brew -- itíll keep throwing you off, and itís like nothing Iíve ever had before. Kudos to Greg and the gang... this is anything but ordinary.
icculus801 (39) - New Orleans, Louisiana, USA - AUG 18, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft from Avenue Pub in New Orleans. Pours almost black with a nice tan head. Big aroma of chocolate with a bit of hops. Initial roasted malt flavor gives way to a hoppy finish. A hint of warmness from the alcohol is present but by no means overpowering. Very solid offering from Stone.
thicksuds (387) - Massachusetts, USA - AUG 18, 2011
4.2 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
If youíve never had a black IPA, start here. the best black IPA I have ever had, awesome pour, great texture, taste is awesome, hops are intense, lots of dark malt and chocolate goodness as well, all in all very well done, not disappointed a bit.
swoopjones (5333) - Buffalo, New York, USA - AUG 18, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft at Coles in Buffalo NY. Big dark pour with sizable dark tan head. Big roasted malt aroma, agressively hopped, grassy & citrus hops, dark chocolate. Flavor attacks your palate quickly with substantial bitterness, resiny sticky hops that are mildly tamed by the huge amount of maltiness, sticky sweet maltiness. Very agressive, would you expect anything less? Bitterness shines. Happy 15th
BMan1113VR (7788) - Los Angeles, California, USA - AUG 18, 2011
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap (at multiple places). Pours with a deep black body and a large, lasting brown head. Aromas are a bit husky, roasty, citrus, tropical fruits. Somewhat dank hop character. Flavors are roasty, chocolate, fudge and malty. Some citrus and fruity hop notes. Roast flavors dominate a bit too much over the hops for my liking. Medium to medium-high carbonation. Dry. No fusel, but it is quite warming.