They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Sunday, 4 March 2012

15 Years

Stone Brewery have been going for just over 15 years now, and have been going from strength to strength (no just in terms of beer..!) So it would only be right that they brew a 15th anniversary ale to celebrate.

This Escondidian Imperial Black Ale is something which should be respected. With the first hiss of opening this 10.8% juggernaut, a wave of fresh hops wafts across my nose, even at a couple of feet away.

Blacker than black with the most compact brown/dark tan fluffy head. What an aroma! Big on the dark chocolate and also big on the piny resinous hops. Lots of coffee, a little oak, some liqourice, rummy raisins, a hint of apricot and orange and a dab of leather. It kind of smells what I think you might get if you mixed a bit of Ruination and Stone Russian Imperial Stout together.

A very silky, velvet like mouthfeel. The most immediate thing you notice is the bitterness behind this beast. As the beer warms ever so slightly, and your mouth adjusts a little, a lot more qualities and flavour complexities come about. There's a lot of bitter chocolate, which is intensely drying to the mouth and makes you want more before you've even put the glass down. You do get quite a bit of a classic Stone hoppiness to this beer. In fact as I drink I can't but help be reminded of the hoppiness you get in Double Bastard. The alcohol is quite well hidden under rich mocha tones mixed with the chocolate and dried fruits. You can't help feeling there's two sides to the beer though: the darker side, but yet, the lighter side - perfectly balanced too. There's a lot of sticky resinous pine in the bitterness making it known this beer has enough hops to kill a bear. It's the perfect counterbalance to the dark side. Stone's 15th Anniversary BIPA is a great beer, that's putting it mildly.

I've not come across any other brewery in the US that does Black IPAs quite like Stone. When they brought out their Self Righteous, I'm pretty confident in saying that we were all blown away over here in the UK. I'll raise the rest of my glass to Stone Brewery tonight and say a big Cheers! to the last 15 years...

And here's to the next 15!


  1. Top review Ghosty and a truly top beer! I shared a bottle with a few people at Foleys and loved it...LOVED IT! If it hadn't been for the price tag I would have had a bottle to myself :)
    By the way "this beer has enough hops to kill a bear" should be in the BJCP guidelines :-D Excellent work there!!

  2. I've got a bottle of that and can't wait to try it. I've been to San Diego about 8 times in their 15 year history and am kicking myself it's only the last couple that I've been drinking its beers.

  3. Thanks Dave, I'm glad to see others saying they liked it too, I had heard a lot of talk that Self Righteous was a better beer, but I didn't think this was the case, both beers have their different qualities and aspects which are equally great.

    Get stuck into it Brewbie, and if you've been 8 times in 15yrs I take it you'll be back a few more times ;)

  4. I've seen a few dissenting comments about Stone of late and I can't understand why? I really love their beers even the weaker beers like Levitation are great, I'd love a fridge full of that as a go to beer. Not tried this particular beer but it sounds like a gem, I'll keep the peepers peeled..

    Cheers Phil