Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Stop reading this and go buy some Escondidian!

...Because there aren't a great deal of these beers around (less than a hundred in the UK), they're getting snapped up quick, and it's a beer you won't want to miss.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle in Mr Foleys last night, a 650ml bomber to be precise. At that size, and 10.8% ABV, it's a beer you'll want to share if you value your brain cells or the ability to walk in a straight line.

American Craft breweries have become renowned for beers with big, bold hopping and full on flavour profiles, and of all the American Craft brewers, Stone brew some of the biggest. They are also pretty hard to get a hold of over here, which only makes people want them more! Making this a must try beer for me as soon as I heard about it.

You may be wondering what the term Escondidian means, I know I did, and it turns out to be a bit of Gasoline on the flames of the Black IPA vs Cascadian Dark Ale argument. Here's what co-founder Steve Wagner had to say about it,

“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.”

So on to the beer itself. It's a pitch black beer which has been hopped with Columbus for bittering, Citra for aroma, and then heavily dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade. In other words, it's a proper, fully fledged Black IPA.

It pours totally and utterly black with a medium brown, foamy, stable head that sticks around and laces the glass. The aroma is initially dominated by those resinous hops but then dark, malty, chocolatey aromas of an Imperial Stout start to waft through as well. It's satisfyingly oxymoronic.

The flavour is extremely complex and powerful - there's a big bitter roasted flavour running right through everything, but also chocolatey dark malt and a bit of liquorice, along with a slight cranberry tartness, and a very dry finish with bitter dark chocolate and a bit of booze alongside lingering, resinous hops.

In many ways it's like an Imperial Stout yet the lingering aftertaste is hops. It's a great beer, so go get some!

Where to find em? You'll need to be A. Quick. and B. Lucky. But if you're in Leeds then here's where to start:

Mr Foley's (I think might be sold out now)


  1. I'm new to American beers, is stone a good place to start? From what I've been reading they seem to be well liked. I'm off to San Diego in a few months so hopefully ill be able to try quite a few breweries.

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