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Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Serve in Shaker, Tulip


on tap

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RATINGS: 698   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.89   EST. CALORIES: 324   ABV: 10.8%
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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 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
502Che (999) - @, CAMBODIA - AUG 19, 2011
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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 19, 2011
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, medium’ish 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 can’t 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 doesn’t 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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
trevor211 (1298) - Seattle, Washington, USA - AUG 18, 2011
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 you’d think you were sniffing a deep transparent orange syrupy thick IIPA -- something along the lines of a PtY -- except something’s 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. It’s a monster of a brew that’s entirely bipolar -- one second you think you’re drinking a IIPA, the next you think it’s so syrupy it’s got to be a stout. Really, really interesting brew -- it’ll keep throwing you off, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever had before. Kudos to Greg and the gang... this is anything but ordinary.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
icculus801 (39) - New Orleans, Louisiana, USA - AUG 18, 2011
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.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
thicksuds (417) - Massachusetts, USA - AUG 18, 2011
If you’ve 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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
swoopjones (5725) - Buffalo, New York, USA - AUG 18, 2011
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

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
BMan1113VR (7853) - Los Angeles, California, USA - AUG 18, 2011
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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
nightrider (754) - encinitas, California, USA - AUG 17, 2011
Pour from da bomber gave a pitch black oily look with a very cool mocha head. Aromas flow with cocoa and fresh grassy hops. Very smooth on the palate. Flavors are burnt roasted malt initially followed by a dank onslaught of fresh bitter hops. Alcohol is there but not overpowering. Finish is long and bitter but balanced and mighty tasty.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
TURDFERGUSON (3948) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - AUG 17, 2011
Making this beer official. Nose is grassy and resinous, some floral and citrus, definitely dominated by the hops. Roast, cocoa, booze, some heavy hop bitterness in the flavor. Finishes a tad astringent.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
nbutler11 (1267) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - AUG 17, 2011
Ninth rating. Bottle from BevMo. Pours a slick black color with a big brown cascading head. Looks great. Smells of earthy malts and bitter hops. Tastes of malt, bacon, roast, and grapefruit. Holy shit,, this is a breakfast IPA - badass!

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