Dec 5, 2011

Stone Brewing 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Stone 15th Anniversary

I’ve had a few Black IPAs over the past couple of years as the style has grown. I’ve had some decent ones and I’ve had some poorly crafted ones. The good ones straddle the line between the black and the IPA, creating and evenly balanced beer. The bad ones, not so much.

For their 15th anniversary, Stone Brewing has crafted a good one. Make that a great one. Their Escondidian Imperial Black IPA may lean a little heavily on the hops side of the style — in all honesty what do you expect from a brewery known for pounding our taste buds with hops. This 10.8% ABV monster is big, potent, flavorful and just down right tasty.


The special release pours black with a dense mocha head that fell slowly to a thin ring. Had I not caught of a wiff of the beer I would have thought that this was a rather thinly pouring porter.


Piny, citrusy hops fill the nose while a roast sits comfortably in the background along with hints of chocolate. For the high alcohol content, I didn’t really get much of it in the aroma.


Peppery, piny hops invade the mouth rapidly as a quickly rising warmth crests before fading to a glowing ember in the chest. Hints of grapefruit and tangerine accompany a fairly light roast and subtle chocolates as the beer moves smoothly through a subtle malt sweetness to a dry finish that lingers nicely with a decent amount of hop bitterness.


If Stone Brewing knows how to do anything, it’s hops. This thing is packed with loads of them, but the light malty roast is just enough to let you know that this isn’t your typical IPA. And despite the big alcohol footprint the beer is deceptively drinkable. It’s still a beer, however, that needs to be taken slowly and enjoyed for all it’s worth.


More: ,