Back in May, a certain craft beer focused comic strip predicted that Stone’s 15th Anniversary Ale would be “something hoppy.” Well, that turned out to be half true. The beer is both hoppy AND black. The name 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.”

Fortunately, the contents of the bottle more than back up the coded smack talk. This is one beast of a beer. Yes, it is hoppy. Very hoppy. Bittered with Columbus hops, with a late Citra addition, followed by prodigious dry-hopping with Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade hops from New Zealand, the beer boasts a fragrant and complex hop aroma.

Stone 15th Anniversary Bottle

And yes, it is black. As black as the inside of a locked-up fermentor. What does it taste like, you ask? Let’s let Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele do the talking:


ours thick, opaque and black with a deep brown head of foam. Resinous, piney hops hit first on the aromatics, followed by healthy doses of roasted malt flavors, including coffee, anise and cocoa. The multi-layered aroma profile presents a challenge: is this an Imperial IPA, or is this an Imperial Stout? Tasting answers the question, it’s an Imperial Black IPA, with intense herbal and piney hops and a great balance of roasted malt flavors. The beer is full bodied, with a touch of alcohol heat, and the hops are upfront all the way through the palate, finishing with an intense bitter linger. The roasted malt comes through more like cocoa in the taste, and balances fantastically with the hops and the alcohol on the aftertaste.

Overall impression:  Our 15th Anniversary marks another year for Stone Brewing Co. and we were encouraged to brew a beer fitting such an auspicious milestone. So we went all out, and brewed one of our darkest, hoppiest and most colossal beers we’ve ever brewed. We also used the opportunity to add copious amounts of Citra hops in the brewhouse, with New Zealand Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade in the dry-hop...marking the first time we’ve ever really used these wonderful hops.

We do recommend drinking this beer as fresh as possible, but those inclined to age their beers will probably not be disappointed, as the intense roast malt flavors will enhance the aging potential of this beer, even as the fresh hop character fades over time. If you do decide to age, we strongly suggest not to do it with just one bottle tucked away in the back of your closet for some undetermined amount of time, but rather with a few bottles, properly cellared (55 degrees F, or below), and a predetermined "open, and enjoy the progression" series of dates not more than six months apart (three month intervals are suggested for this particular beer). That way, you can enjoy and appreciate the cellaring process in addition to the beer itself.

Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial 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.
Availability: Starting August 15th in all states Stone is distributed, except NH



Good lord, 10%. I need a case.

Sounds spectacular! Cant wait to enjoy one.

Wha? Why no NH love? Gawd this state sucks beer wise.

NH puts a lot of restrictions on what we can & cannot send into the state. Sorry! It's not that we didn't want to send it to NH!

In reply to by DerekC (not verified)

What are the differences from the SoCal Hop Salute? Or is it the same?

15th Anniversary is a bit different. It finished around 1% higher ABV and the hops are different varieties.

In reply to by Clark (not verified)

is this the same recipe as the one breweed for the National Homebrewers Conference this year in San Diego?

Any word on the bottles with the Trouble Brewing cartoon printed on it?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. How did you know? Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

It's a very good beer. Fat, bitter, with a hint of chocolate. Better then recent anniversary releases. But is no 10th anniversary. 10th should become a periodic special release. Do it.

I just bought this beer. It is delicious. I am going to tell my IPA-loving friends about it.

Glad my local market carries this fine ale. Two nights in a row!

For your NH followers - Tully's Beer & Wine in Wells Maine is a huge supporter of Stone Brewing Company and stocks everything available from Stone at all times (as supply dictates). A little comfort...

Best. Beer. Ever.

Somehow they managed to top that Imperial Stout they did 10 years ago.

The best beer I have EVER tasted.... and I taste them all. Bless all the angles that work at Stone.

If you haven't tried it, you haven't tasted heaven yet.

Yep, you guys did it. Another fricking outrageous beer! I'm one of the lucky Bastards that live close enough to Stone to hit it weekly. There is a God! This Black IPA is by far the best Stone I've ever had. Love it! Strong work! Now when are you going to get Stone on Kauai so I can enjoy it after a killer session in Hanalei Bay??

What stores in Los Angeles carry a case of this stuff? I was fortunate enough to try it at a Pub off the tap but I can't find a place that sells it in bottles. CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE LEAD ME TO THIS?!?!

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