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Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

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


on tap


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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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
csteele2144 (125) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - SEP 7, 2011
22oz bottle. Pours black with a creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass. Burnt malts, hoppy aroma, didn’t taste the 10%+ alcohol Perfect Double Black IPA

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
StormCoat (122) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - AUG 25, 2011
Picked up a bomber bottle at Bevmo in San Diego, CA, and poured it into a snifter. Pours a dark brown/black with a soapy tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves just a few light flecks of lacing. The aroma is full of resiny, piny hops, with a spicy hint of alcohol coming through. On drinking, the flavors introduce huge, rich coffee flavors that are backed by a dark fruit tanginess. I love the contrast between the aroma which makes me think so much of fresh hops and the flavor that I get with each sip, which reminds me of cherries covered in dark, bitter chocolate. The body seems a little over-medium, with an oily feel that coats my gums and leads to a very long, satisfying coffee aftertaste. This is a richly-flavored beer that you can take your time drinking. It’s really good; probably the best Stone beer I’ve had yet.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
nj_BierMaven (121) - Flemington, New Jersey, USA - NOV 16, 2011
Bottle pour. Not the hop-forward nose I’ve come to expect from Stone, but still a good aroma. I can appreciate where others have noted a "cabbage-like" scent, but really that’s mild and it doesn’t ruin the taste. As it warms, a full malty flavor, hints of chocolate, coffee. Truly a brew to be savored over a 45-to-60 minute span. Had this immediately after a Sublimely Self Righteous Ale for comparison sake, and have to say this is enjoyable experience for the taste, palate-feel and overall artistic impression.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
kchampagne (116) - Jacksonville, Florida, USA - NOV 21, 2011
Had it on tap, as well as out of the bottle. Pours pitch black with a thick dark brown head. Aroma is roasted and hoppy. The taste is floral and has slight chocolate notes. Mouthfeel is great with lingering bitterness. One of my favorites.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Joel (114) - Massachusetts, USA - JAN 24, 2015
Pours dark brown with a thick brown head. Aroma is hoppy with notes of caramel and malt. Tastes initially of caramel followed by lingering hops bitterness. Complex, dark, and rich. Reminds more of a hoppy stout than an IPA. 10/10/2011

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
PackPride (112) - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - DEC 20, 2011
I never rate beers near perfect, but this beer is as near perfection as it can get. Pours a dark rich color with a large brown head. Tastes of chocolate, oak, and hints of alcohol. Overall a terrific beer!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
sistinas (108) - Mountain View, California, USA - OCT 15, 2011
Bomber. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma is citrusy hops, pine, some chocolatey sweetness. It’s quite bitter upon first sip, but melds into a more malty aftertaste. The piney/charred taste lasts throughout and in a way almost reminds me of some scotches. It’s thick and almost a little chewy. You don’t really taste the alcohol but it does warm you up pretty quickly. Not amazing but a decent brew.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
mandalarules (104) - Akron, Ohio, USA - NOV 6, 2011
Bomber. Aroma of dark roasted fruits, black cherry, a hint of chocolate and citrus. Appearance is espresso black with a beautiful tan frothy head. Taste is complex. Chocolate, dark fruit, hints of coffee and citrus. Hop forward and malt dry bitter finish. This is an incredible brew and has changed my palate for the better in trying new beers. Its a fine example of how far craft beer had come and how far its going to go in the future.

   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
emarkd (100) - Georgia, USA - OCT 26, 2011
A fine BIPA, stronger and richer than the others I’ve had. Pours opaque but slightly brownish - not quite black, looks like a good porter. Nice tan head with good activity and retention. Aroma is heavy on the chocolate and roast profiles with a nice grapefruit tone and a touch of something floral. Nice, but the taste is even better. Starts off dark and roasted, chocolate, caramel, then the bitter piney hops come through strong, finishing dry and lingering. Good stuff! And its quite smooth, slightly oily and full-bodied as well. Good beer!

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