Editor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle spotlights the brews we're sipping, one by one.
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I've never expected subtlety from the brewers at Stone Brewing Co. The San Diego stalwarts have always seemed to be more comfortable leaning on the big, bold, and sometimes brash side of the craft beer spectrum. Their latest creation, Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, is no exception. It's a mouthful on paper and in the glass.
Nelson Sauvin hops open the aroma with a rush of white wine juiciness. Citrus peel and pith are close behind, along with pine. The beer is completely opaque with a dark tan head. Lacing clings to the glass in thick rings.
Stone 15th Anniversary is devastatingly bitter. If this isn't your last beer of the evening, it'll most certainly be the last one you taste. Piney hops and bitter black malt show up first. Midway through there's bittersweet chocolate and a tinge of roast. Underneath it all is a layer of smooth full-bodied malt with a sweetness that intensifies almost until the end. It's viscous, thick even considering it's a 10.8% ABV imperial IPA. The beer finishes with a mix of anise, blackstrap molasses, and warming alcohol. A lingering bitterness hangs on the tongue long after swallowing.
If you're looking to pair it, you'll want to choose something bold. Try smoked pork ribs, chili, or a porterhouse.
Sample provided for review.