Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
Mark at Wine World literally jumped me and thrust a bottle of Stone’s 15th Anniversary brew into my hands. “You have to buy this. It won’t last long.” With it being a 23 oz bottle I generally invite the Brews Brothers over before I pour. I have to admit I had sticker shock after I looked at the receipt after I left. I saw Mark about 2 weeks later and he asked if I had tasted it saying “it is already sold out in the state of South Carolina.” Hmmmm. Must be popular. But he added “well if you like it review it, if you don’t, I wouldn’t worry about it. ” That’s not a good sign when someone plants in your head that I might not like this brew.

I have to wonder if I need to review it since most likely you won’t find a bottle yourself. (Update: Roger has 4 bottles on his shelf at the Vineyard)But then again you might have found one and will be able to agree or tell me I’m full of it. This brew is different. This is truly a session beer.

This brew is black
This brew is black

Brett and Mark stopped by and we divided it between the three of us. This brew is black… or at least light won’t pass through it. Dark brown head. A distinctive flavor and aroma that is …. well evergreen. “Pinesol is the first thing that comes to mind,” said Mark. “It’s like sucking on a Christmas tree,” said Brett.

I have to agree that it does have a bit of an evergreen aroma and taste to it.

It’s black. So black I couldn’t get my Nikon flash to shine through it. But it does have some nice creamy mouthfeel to it. But you got to get around the evergreen aspect.

So I visited their website to find out something about this brew and to see what was making up the flavor profile. (I bumped into Tom and he said that he really likes it but admitted it did have a bit of a “green” taste to it). Didn’t find anything on first visit. I shot an email to their webmaster who responded with a link, admitting that they kind of hid this one.

“Escondido, CA | August 15, 2011 — Stone Brewing Co. has released its newest beer, commemorating a decade and a half of brewing excellence with the Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA.
The name—besides being a mild-yet-necessary chore for dutiful writers, dedicated retailers and enthusiastic publicans to write out in its entirety—is Stone Brewing President & co-founder Steve Wagner’s chuckling jab at those looking to lay territorial claim to the Black IPA style.

“There’s this small faction of people that seems to think it can call Black IPAs ‘Cascadian Dark Ales,’ historical accuracy be damned,” Wagner explains. “So, we thought we’d lightheartedly lay claim to our own style, dubbing it ‘Escondidian,’ both as an homage to our hometown of Escondido, CA and as a gentle ribbing to those Black IPA fans worshipping a false Cascadian idol.”

And while this point of contention may only be of import to 0.01% of craft beer fans, what is important is how the beer looks, smells, and ultimately tastes. “Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA pours thick and opaque, with a deep brown head of foam,” boasts Brewmaster Mitch Steele. “Intense herbal and piney hops are followed by roasted malt notes redolent of coffee, anise, and cocoa, all coming together to form one of the darkest, hoppiest and most colossal beers we’ve ever brewed.”
[quote] And there’s no doubt what Black IPA means: an IPA that’s black. Elementary, my dear Watson! [/quote]

“To those confused few still sipping a Black IPA by any other name, I hear your argument… that Black India Pale Ale is a bit oxymoronic on the surface,” adds Wagner. “But as an English Major, I can firmly stand behind the term Black IPA. At its core, language is all about one thing: conveying meaning. And there’s no doubt what Black IPA means: an IPA that’s black. Elementary, my dear Watson!”

So here’s the stats on this brew:
[tabs slidertype=”top tabs” auto=”on”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext] Stats [/tabtext] [tabtext] Comments [/tabtext] [/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]

Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Availability: 22oz bottles, on draft, and a limited number of 3L bottles.

Vital stats: 10.8% abv, 100 IBUs

Malt bill: Pale Malt, Cara-Bohemian, Carafa III Special, and Chocolate Malt

Hops bill: Columbus (bittering), Citra (flavor/aroma). Dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade.

Released: Monday, August 15th, 2011











[/tab] [tab] I n 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! [/tab] [/tabcontent] [/tabs]

Would I spend more than $6 for another bottle? Probably not. I enjoyed the exploration but not sure I want to visit again. We helped celebrate their 15th Anniversary and look forward to their next celebration.

From: North County San Diego, California
Brewery: Stone Brewing

Black Brew. Brown Head
Black Brew. Brown Head

Write A Comment

Pin It