Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Review: Stone Brewing Co. – 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
I picked up a bottle of Stone’s 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA at Whole Foods for $5.99. As the name implies, Escondidian Imperial Black IPA celebrates Stone’s 15 year anniversary. The back of the bottle is adorned with a powerful statement from Greg Koch, CEO and Founder, and Steve Wagner, President and Brewmaster, chronicling the changes seen in craft brewing since forming Stone.
As for the beer itself, upon first opening the bottle, I was hit with a waft of hop aroma; this beer reeks of hops. It is super dark with a fluffy cappuccino colored head that never fully went away. Not sure if you could say this beer produced lacing of any kind, it seemed more to etch itself into the side of the glass. The delicate and complex flavors that I found in the last Stone beer I had are missing here. Escondidian Black IPA is dark and nasty. The fact that its 10.8% ABV does not help matters and I wouldn’t be surprised if a 22oz. bottle fulfilled my daily caloric requirements. There’s a burnt coffee flavor with a light chocolate tones, but the predominant taste is straight-up hops. Basically, this beer is a hop’t-mess. I didn’t pick up too much sweetness, like I generally due with high alcohol IPAs, in part because of the bold hop flavors. However, there is a slight warming effect from the alcohol. The finish is smooth considering everything going on in this beer, but perhaps it just seems that way since the beer is so thick and chewy. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this beer. After all, I did jot down two pages of notes in my beer book. Highlights of which include:
- “Only a quarter of the way in…first time I’ve been scared of a beer”
- “This beer might put hair on my chest”
- “I just burped and it tasted like a hop cone”