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 tooâ€¦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!
frank0830 (70) - South Bend, Indiana, USA - SEP 16, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Served from a bottle, fresh around 40deg in an English Pint. Aroma was very awesome. Strong notes throughout the poor and pint. Beautiful head. Mouth feel was great. Would rather have seen more flavor than a strong alcohol taste.
NateBarnett (69) - Augusta, Georgia, USA - NOV 10, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Wow- I knew it would be good, but this is awesome! Pours black with a minimal head. Smells like coffee and sweet dark fruits- cherry? A little dark chocolate and some light floral elements. Mouthfeel is thicker than I expected, almost chewy. Strong presence of hops and the alcohol leaves my tongue buzzing slightly. Tastes a bit smoky too. Good shit!
sickboy79 (66) - USA - SEP 23, 2011
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
My first "Imperial" Black IPA. I’ve been getting into Black IPAs recently and this one is amazing! Thick as molasses on the poor. Taste has big chocolate and coffee notes, some big floral hops, and a nice touch of alcohol. Not too boozey, not too sweet, not too bitter. Super example of an Imperial Black IPA. Highly recommended!
Swillbur (62) - Arizona, USA - APR 3, 2012
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Everyone of these i drank which was at least 6 had crazy long lasting overflowing head. You can pour 2OZ in a chalice and it will bubble up to the top and even over but never spill down the sides. Pretty nice malty hoppy flavors going on for a style i don’t care for its done well. I just don’t get the crazy head
Bgarnreiter (53) - Alabama, USA - NOV 7, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours jet black, with a carmel head with plenty of lacing. smells of malt with a nice hoppy aroma. as if you put an ipa and an imperial stout in the same glass. tastes roasty with the bitter ipa feeling. some citrus with a nice roasted malt. feels dry and lasting with the malty thickness. overall solid brew, with an interesting mix of stuff going on.
SCP (53) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 12, 2011
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pitch black with a fine moka head. Palate is oily, you can almost feel fat on your tongue. Floral, chocolate, coffee, alcohol and sugar. A very tasting and intense brew. Would have rated it higher if I had only a sample but the very low drinkability makes the overall drop.
riseagainstme (48) - Michigan, USA - OCT 14, 2011
2.6 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
22oz into snifter...pours almost black with a tan head...Tastes not so good to me, I was really excited about this one but it is not that good. Tastes very bitter from the hops and from something else I get more bitter. When it warmed up a little all I could taste was alcohol. Just not impressed, was hoping for a stronger sublimely self righteous or something, but this isn’t it.
AverageMan (40) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - NOV 29, 2011
2.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
In the past I enjoyed many of Stones offerings. For me Stones has stumbled a bit Belgo Old Guardian a medicinal nightmare, Emperial IPA (14th Anni) a bit of a practical joke. In short I was in fear of Stones falling. Stones 15th was a step back towards a true path. This beer has set a little as I found it a bit rough in early September. This beer was served in a Imperial Pint glass.
Ar- A mixture of darkly roasted nearly cocoa malt and coffee. This mixes well with a pungent citrus and pine resinous notes. A bit boozey but not bad. In short the beer smells like arrogance.
Ap- The body of the beer is black. The head of the beer is thick and looks like a fizzy chocolate milk. Nice head retention is noted. Crazy thick lacing marks the beers passage from my glass.
T- The flavor of the beer is deep bitter pine combining with darkly roasted chocolatey malt. A powerfully abrasive alcohol weaves itself around the citrus and pine notes. Full on bitter finish. Not bad but doesnt rise to the level of greatness.
P- The body of the beer is pretty full and a bit oily. The alcohol is a bit hot and abrasive at times. I do like the mouth full of hops feeling on a plus side but cannot rate higher than 2 because of astringency.
O- A bit of a mixed bag. I dig the bitter mouth full of hops. I dont really dig the whole Black IPA. Not terribad but not really great. A whole hell of alot better than Emperial IPA.
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.
aveclaudenum (31) - California, USA - AUG 28, 2011
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours pitch black with a beautiful brown head. Aroma of grapes and citrus. Comes in smooth and leaves with a hard kick of alcohol. Incredible beer. Stone once again can do no wrong.
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