Anniversary ales are becoming more and more popular these days. Each year brewery's release a special beer celebrating their birthday. Even Texas breweries are getting in on the fun, Real Ale released their own 15th Anniversary ale, an Imperial stout earlier this year. Stone, though is different, they've been doing anniversary beers for a long time and were probably ahead of the curve on this one, as they are on many other trends in beer. When I see their anniversary beer, I'm always a little surprised at how relatively young they are. The same age as Real Ale brewing, but younger than Saint Arnold's, Avery, and some others. I guess I've always just thought of Stone as being around much longer.
For Stone's 15th they made what they are calling an Escondidian Imperial Black IPA. Now if your saying, hmmm that sounds familiar, its because it is. They have a black IPA called Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, itself based off of their 11th anniversary beer, and a beer that I enjoyed. So whats the difference?
The Beer: This Black DIPA weighs in at 10.6% far heftier than SSR's 8.7%. It pours a dark rich chocolate brown with a cafe colored head. Hoppy hop hops on the nose. Citrus peel, pith, fruit all of it. Hints of coco and roasted malts struggle to make their voices heard through the din of hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, some astringency either from the booze or from the hops. Roasted malts, grapefruit, citrus peel, chocolate malts. Very very resiny, course, harsh. Much more so than SSR. This is not a gentle beer. There is no balance here, its harshness and hops. Warming it helps some as it gets fruitier, but there is still that harshness that distracts from everything else. Its an interesting brew, and I love hops, but give me an SSR any day over this. I'll give it a C.