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Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Review

“This bottle and its glorious contents are a celebration of you, brothers and sisters, and your importance in this fight (Craft v. BMC). Cheers to all we’ve accomplished together in the past fifteen years, and cheers to the adventure ahead!” –Stone Brewing Co.

So it’s been brought to my attention that I’ve dropped off my reviews of beer lately (AV did a nice one on New Belgium LoF Super Cru recently), which was one of the main reasons I started this blog. Between keeping up with news, getting the drop on what pub has that special beer on tap, when that case of limited release beer is showing up, and just taking time to enjoy beer with friends, I’ve neglected this aspect. Without further ado, enjoy..

Style: Imperial Black IPA
Brewery: Stone
Package: Bomber into Bruges
ABV: 10.8%
Location: Citywide Liquors (Downtown South Bend)

Aroma: Floral hop nose right off the bat that fades to a roasty malt in the background. Picking up hints of chocolate and coffee.

Appearance: Midnight black with a creamy 2 finger chocolate cap and sticky sheets of lace.

Taste: Getting a hoppy first impression with pine and light citrus that’s built on a foundation of darkly roasted malt, almost burnt at times. The bitterness slaps you right in the face with the initial sip, but subsides to a nice malt profile. Glimpses of chocolate and coffee shine through. This beer feels like a stout and IPA are battling for supremacy on my taste buds. A nice alcohol warmth hits you toward the end of each sip, just to remind you of what you’re drinking.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, a bit oily with mild carbonation.

Overall: I’m not sure if this is an actual style of beer… yet. With that being said, I really enjoyed this beer, and hope I can pickup another bottle somewhere. Nice mixture of in-your-face IPA and roasty-toasty malt.

Notes: Stone may not be my favorite brewery, but I really admire how they consider the Craft beer movement to be a war against the fizzy yellow zombies, and the corporate machine that drives them.

Black IPAs/Black Ales have always been hit or miss for me, but when I find one that’s good, it’s one of my favorite styles. I thoroughly enjoyed Deschutes Hop in the Dark, and drain-poured Clown Shoes Lubrication. If they brewed this full time, I would surely make it a regular.

As far as availability… Well I grabbed one when there were only about 4 or 5 bottles left. I’m sure if you wanted to try this, at least in the South Bend area, you could find a bottle. Try Citywide on Grape (after I pickup my 2nd, of course) and Belmont on S.B. Ave. Enjoy fresh, this is not a beer to be aged.

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