Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale)Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale)

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BA SCORE
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1,195 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,195
Hads: 2,904
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.29%
Wants: 134
Gots: 350 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: John on 02-24-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,195 | Hads: 2,904
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am not normally a big fan of this style, though I did like this one. It was a very good hop mix and tasty, well malted. Hop resin, grapefruit aroma. Very drinkable at the end of a hot day.Alcohol was not so apparent."Wierd" was the reaction of my sharing guest.
On tap 9 months later, big bitterness. (303 characters)

Photo of t0rin0
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orangey color, a bit light for a DIPA but the tan head and little bubbles coming out of solution make up for that. Also, relatively clear but not crystal clear.

The smell was very strong of hops. Lots and lots of them but mostly as aroma hops, not bittering. There was a little malt smell coming out but the fruity hop smell dominated. The flavor was a bit more balanced in terms of malt vs hops. I did notice a little alcohol but nothing distracting. Although halfway through the glass, who cares, you're already buzzing from the 11% abv. Some moderate hop flavor and bitterness in the aftertaste.

The body was medium, a little lighter than I would have guessed for a DIPA but thats alright. Great beer all around. (727 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to shrek086 for sending this one!

Pours a murky honey orange-brown with a 1 inch fizzy orange-white head that settles to a thin cap. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is very much like a barleywine with malt, caramel, toffee, and lots of citrus zest hop aromas. Taste is also very much like a hoppy barleywine with malt, caramel/toffee, brown sugar, and some citrus zest on the finish. A mild bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a mild carbonation with a crisp yet smooth and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that seems much more like a barleywine than a DIPA. I am pretty sure this was not intended but it's very good none the less. (722 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1.5 finger head with solid circumferential lacing on a clear golden with crimson hues body.

S: light citrus with a cinnamon note otherwise not much on the nose.

T: initially a bitter citrus flavor with a maple syrup like finish both in taste and mouthfeel. The hips are lighter than I was expecting. Candy like notes as well.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this one is an interesting beer. The mouthfeel is thicker than I expected and there is more of a molasses note than hops. (503 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear orange in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger off white head that quickly faded away, leaving delicate lacing covering the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of citrus and floral hops in the nose along with notes of caramel malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but the flavors of caramel malts are more apparent and also contribute some notes of sweetness. There is a moderate amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some dryness in the finish.
O: This beer has a good balance between the flavors of malts and hops and hides its alcohol very well from the taste. All in all, it’s a solid double IPA. (849 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice copper color with a good white head and a bit of staying power. Some nice white lacing. Nose is strong pine, citrus, and earthy hops with a bit of caramel in the back. The flavor is a bit less hoppy but adds a strong amount of bitterness along with a bit of caramel and bread. Nice feel with good carbonation and hop bitterness levels. Much better than the oak-aged version and a really nice DIPA. (432 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber/golden color with a massive head that leaves quite a few patches

Smell: Grapefruit pith, pine and a minty character

Taste: Biscuity, for a sec, and then the hop parade begins, with a floral, citrusy, tropical fruit mix that joins with pine by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a wallop of sticky caramel and, though the finish is rather sweet, there is still plenty of hop bitterness in the residual

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: Overall, a bit too sticky and sweet to be my ideal DIPA; a rather good example for those who prefer that style of beer, however (627 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this is everything one could hope for in an east coast imperial ipa. it pours a decadent orange brassy color, dense and bright, with a luscious head, just off white, about an inch tall. the nose on this is intensely hoppy, oily heavy, and delicious. it reminds me somewhat of the founders centennial ipa, in the sense that its got that almost lumber quality to it, woody and sturdy, earthy and bitter, very nice aromatics here. I cant place the hops variety exactly, but its familiar to me for sure. big bitter hops all the way through the flavor of this one, with that fresh milled lumber element coming in and out. I get some sort of English malt underlying it all, and maybe even some English style bitter hops, but I also get bold American fruity and piney hops, sappy and fresh, penetrating my palate. the hopback process has been an obvious success here. good carbonation, fuller body, almost chewy in that classic way my mother describes big beers she cant comprehend. satisfying after a few days of not drinking, and a beer I am already dying to score again. one of the best from southern tier for sure. (1,111 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Certainly a tremendous beer. It offers an extremely bold, yet delicate balance of intense malt sweetness and hop intenisy and flavor. The dryness of the hops, combined with the pronounced alcohols leaves a very spicy and dry sensation immediately. The flavors, though rich with caramels and barley, are thinned by the alcohols and citrus hops. The hops deliver strong citrus, pine, and earthy flavors of higher proportions. Along with flavor, the hops give a serious bitterness without the soapy, metalic flavors expected in big ipa's. The feel is full and rich, but I stop shy of saying 'thick or heavy'. Finishes with a focus on the dry, spicy hops with back-up tones of carmel malts and smooth fermented barley. Well balanced and strong flavored. Not for the timid, but pleasant after getting past the bitter shock. (818 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this a little while ago from a bottle and thought it was fantastic. Last summer I took a trip to the brewery and brought home a Growler of it. This beer pours out as a really great looking copper color with a creamy looking frothy head on it. The lacing is thick and sticky. The smell of this is of course hoppy, lots of pine and cirtus in the mix. The taste is very good for any IPA lover. The mouthfeel is sharp and tingley on the tongue. Truely a really good beer here. Looking forward to having this whenever I can. (523 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a golden amber color ale with a medium foamy head with slightly below average retention. Aroma of bitter and citrus is dominating as expected but is well balance with some sweet caramel malt. Taste is also a nice mix between citrusy bitter malt with a nice backing of caramel malt. Body had an oily texture and was about medium full with some low carbonation. Very good take on the style but probably still notch down from my personal favourite such as Dreadnaught and Smuttynose Big A IPA. (530 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.09/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Copper in color, bright and perfectly clear. Head retention is great for an 11% beer, leaving plenty of lace sticking to the glass.

Smell: Citrusy, floral hops over a substantial malt backbone. You can tell from the first whiff that this is going to be heavy stuff.

Taste & mouthfeel: And heavy it is. Oily hops, an enormous malt backbone and stratospheric ABV make for an extremely heavy DIPA - this stuff is downright syrupy. There's quite a bit of fresh hop flavor here, but the malt base is right up there with it, creating a pleasant bittersweet flavor that leans toward the bitter in the finish. Not my preferred style of DIPA, but not bad.

Notes: Received from Dyan in a recent trade; thanks! (714 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Polished bronze-like orange. Not quite brown enough to be titian, nor red enough to be terra cotta. Whatever color it is, this is a beautiful shade for a DIPA. The large head is a masterpiece, as expected. Heavily creamy to start, it melts into a milkshake-like puddle atop the beer and deposits a respectable amount of soon-to-be-crusty lace.

The nose isn't quite as hop resin explosive as I had hoped, but it's still damn good. UIIPA has a classic DIPA aroma of brown sugared grapefruit, thanks to a hop bill that includes Chinook, Cascade, Centennial and Styrian Goldings. Great hops, each and every one.

Believe it or not, this sucker is balanced for the style. Since the impressive silk-screened label states that the beer contains 'an uninhibited infusion of hops' and has a stratospheric 153 IBUs, I can only conclude that the brewers include a few fields worth of barley in each batch. The malt is dark honey sweet and lays down a rock-ribbed foundation that any amount of hops would have a hard time overwhelming.

The flavor is akin to liquified brown sugar and caramel-coated white grapefruit and orange sections. This is delicious beer that I'll try not to penalize for falling a fraction short of my preferred DIPA profile of dazzlingly bright citric top notes that threaten to scrub the top few layers off the tongue. Unearthly is one of those versions that edges into the gray zone between DIPA and barleywine, while staying firmly on the side of the former.

As a rule, I don't drink DIPAs out of a fluted glass, as the label recommends, but this is one case where that might not be such a bad idea. This is a supremely civilized, sippable beer that would look and taste great out of such a vessel. Even though I've never had the pleasure of meeting them, I like the folks at Southern Tier because they brew some of the best beer on the planet. That won't stop me from calling them out on the stated ABV. All kidding aside, this is one of the most perfectly masked 11%'ers in the history of beer.

When I take the time to reflect on the mouthfeel, which I've been doing off and on since the very first sip, the words that enter my mind are plush, lush, crushed velvety, buttery and heavily silky smooth. If this beer was a car, it'd be a Rolls Royce (and if it was a liquor, it'd be a well-aged, single barrel bourbon). I don't remember a DIPA with a mouthfeel any more full or any more impressive than this.

Unearthly (adj.): concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul. Southern Tier's foray into the world of DIPAs with Unearthly Imperial IPA is an unqualified success. Although it may not 'wow' me the way some versions do, it's definitely a beer that is long on spirit and soul. It's worth getting to know over the course of a slowly sipped bomber. A big thank you to Calico for the bottle. (2,817 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear medium orange amber, with a huge dense, creamy white head, which leaves spotty lace as it melts away. Big grapefruit and pine hops aroma up front, followed by a seemingly subdued caramel maltiness. The taste is caramel malt, orange and pine hops, and some warming alcohol. The bubbles are mild, the body is slick, filmy, and sticky, and it finishes totally in line - off-dry, malty and hoppy.

A typically big Yankee DIPA, both in volume, and in flavour. (478 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served cold at 42º as the bottle suggests.

Pours a deep amber jewel tone into a fluted Ommegang glass. Skim of foam across the liquid, spotty lacing. A second pour has better results, two fingers of foam and sheets of lacing.

Fresh hop aroma, with pale malt in there too. Slightly herbal and sweet. Clean and inviting.

First impression is big juicy hops, countered by a deep earthy quality that is intertwined with maltiness toward the end. Grassy, herbal, resiny finish. It feels big, but the alcohol doesn't interfere.

Mildly viscous on the palate, saturated with hop oils. It is really super smooth.
Have one bottle yourself, or share with a friend. This one deserves the praise it gets...On a final note, please send JAH-VA to IL!! (745 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poired a deep dark orange amber with a nice average size white head, Very quick fade left behind adecent film ontop and a really awesome lace. Very gooey and thick on the sides of the glass.

S - Nice clean smell and hop character here, Not too much of a citrus profile, more of a piney tone..Nice slightly grain back trying to poke out and balances it very nicely not letting the hop character overtake it. Very lean and sweet.

M & T - First impression was whoa. Very very sweet, logs of sugar in here. Extremely smooth, but with a slight tingling from the alcohol, and a tiny burn on the lips, but it faded away nicely as it warmed up. Bigtime hop bomb kool aid with sugar type of taste. This was a damn strong brew!

D - Overall very nice with lots of alcohol, which can hurt the drinkability somewhat, but overall this was very nice and definatly my type of brew. Would love to try one again, as I really thought this was a fine ale. (949 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark amber/copper color with a bubbly, tan, one-finger head. It left behind sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled very floral and hoppy. Also, some good citrus aroma and had a grassy smell.

T - It tasted of a smooth, subtle hop blend. A nice roasted malt flavor with a citrus kick.

M - It was fairly crisp and very smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good Imperial IPA. I expected better, but it was still good. (446 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a great rich clear bronze witha very well retained 1/2 finger head with a fine bead just a pleasure to look at I have to say.The aromas are quite citric alot grapefruit in there maybe a note of apricot over top of caramel malt a whif of alcohol shows thru more so as it warms.This is not an in your face DIPA although the hops do pack a good punch not to mention alot of complexities citrus and piney cascades and chinooks really show themselves I even get a little earthiness as it warms saying all that there is a big enough of juicy lightly sweet caramel malt backbone to almost hold up against the hop onslaught.Wow amazed at this beer the alcohol is so well hidden you would have no idea how big it was and the hops take the show,"an unhibited infusion of hops" per bottle that sums it up,kick ass! (810 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an amber body with a medium-sized, off-white head.

Smell: Beyond a bit of toasty caramel is a prominently hoppy aroma of pine, grapefruit, and fresh mint leaves.

Taste: Toffee sweetness struggles to support some heavy-handed hop flavors of resiny pine, lush grapefruit, and, as with the scent, more mint, along with other herbaceous hints. You can almost hear the toffee's knees buckling from carrying the weight of the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Oily, sticky mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: While not a beer to cause my brain to explode from its greatness, its still pretty decent. (625 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of off-white head resting on top of a slightly hazy, amber-brown body. The foam settles relatively quickly but leaves nice lace.

S - Pine hops with lots of sweet malt. Bready notes as well as light caramel and big toffee notes that darken the hop character and bring out rummy spic-cake notes.

T - Equal parts sweet malt and resinous hops up front. Lots of toffee and caramel with a hint of molasses. The hop character is primarily grapefruit with notes of pine and orange that blend well with the malt. Finishes with big, sweet notes of malt as well as strong hop bitterness. Lingering toffee and brown sugar notes that combine with the hops to produce a plum and brandy/tobacco note that lingers on the palate.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - This is quite a nice beer with a good balance of thick, velvety malt and resinous hops, the only flaw I see is that it isn't a DIPA. Someone should really point out to Southern Tier that they have clearly created an American Barleywine in this beer; and a good one at that, The rich, sweet brown malt characteristics blend magnificently with the moderately powerful hop character and each aspect changes and enhances the other. This juxtaposition and mutual transformation is quite pleasant, though it clearly gives the beer more commonalities with great Barleywines than it has with high quality DIPAs. Seek it out, just be prepared to get something a bit different than what the name implies. (1,504 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.64/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear red amber with hardly any head. The nose is really sweet and malty with some fruit and hop notes. Smell isn't super impressive. There is more bitterness in the taste, but the sweetness overwhelms a bit. The bitterness just pops up in the finish. Notes of pine and mild citrus peel. The carbonation is sharp and tingly. Flavors could blend better. (360 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well here's a treat, to review Unearthly and Oak-Aged Unearthly side by side; and all 44 ounces are mine!

Both appear pretty much the same, except that the oak-aged version is clearer, and thus appears to the eye to be just a slight touch darker (there's no yeast in it to reflect light back at you). Other than that, they deliver a deep amber body that has an orange cast to it, and glimmering golden highlights at the base of the glass. The finger-thick, off-white head is creamy and holds pretty well. The original leaves short, creamy mountains of lace rising up above the surface. The oak-aged leaves sheets of thinner, craggy lace that sticks to the glass and stays, where as the original version tends to slide down to near to the level of the head as it goes. Overall I'd guess I'd have to say that the original version has a bit of a better head, but that the clarity of the oak-aged version is generally more enticing.

In the nose, the original Unearthly is decidedly caramelish and malty with notes of pine/spruce and citrusy, and a bit of grassiness and leafiness as well. It's bold and bright, and somewhat sweetish.

The oak-aged version displays some subtle oak (which I kind of didn't expect), along with fruity and citrusy notes; and it's dryer with much less maltiness. I also get a little more grapefruit out of the oak-aged, and some lemon and what I think of as something like a tomato plant - it's vegetal, but in a good way... grassy I guess. And I get more spruce than pine.

As expected, in the flavor the standard version wraps piney, grassy, floral and citrusy hops in a rich blanket of bready and gently caramelish and honey-like malt. The oak-aged version also follows what its aroma suggests, and it's dryer and more fruity, although some raspy pine does appear in the finish. The woody touch is nice. I should also note, however, that even though the original is a bit sweetish, it still finishes fairly dry, with just a hint of doughy malt lingering, and it doesn't build on the palate.

Interesting! They're really like two different beers. The original version is very wide in its flavor profile, whereas the oak-aged is more focused, but with perhaps a touch more depth. Hmmmm....

The mouthfeel for each beer is a little bit different as well, with the original Unearthly displaying a more dextrinous body.

Oddly, both beers display the same bitterness to me, despite the fact that I find the fuller maltiness of the original to be sweeter, and the oak-aged to be drier. The bitterness somehow remains the same.

Both beers have their own charms in the end, and I again have to reiterate how different they really are. I like the fuller mouthfeel of the original, and its bready malt and bolder hop flavors. But I also like the fruitiness and dryness of the oak-aged version, and because of that I think I'd find it a little more drinkable in the long-run (although it seems to have just a little bit more alcohol to it as well). And on that note, perhaps the extra aging time, and surface contact with the oak allowed it to ferment out a bit more. Just a theory.

Conclusion: both versions are really good beers that don't overstep their bounds with too much maltiness, too much bitterness, or too much hop flavor - and yet all of those are present in abundance. Nicely balanced. Nicely rounded. Nicely drinkable. Certainly worth trying! (3,379 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a clear amber with 1-2 fingers of creamy off-white head that retains superbly and leaves big, sticky lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is big floral hops, a ton of citrus character, and the smell of beefy oats.

The taste is thick mix of tingling hop bitterness, fresh citrus notes, and a chewy malt backbone that evens things out. The finish is definitely more sweet than bitter and ends sticky and warm. The mouthfeel is large and in charge with a touch of alcohol heft to the body that combines with the sweetness to give things a slightly medicinal feel towards the end.

This is a good effort from Southern Tier but I can't help but wonder what this would be like with the heat turned down a little more? I dug the aroma and flavor profile but medicinal tasting DIPAs just aren't my thing and it definitely hurt the drinkibility some what for me. (902 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.97/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: It has a very intense hops & citrus aroma. There’s really much else to say about the smell except that it was excellent.

T: Very well-balanced blend of hops, citrus and caramelized malt. The hops flavor is certainly the most prevalent as you would expect, but it allows the fruit and malt in as a compliment rather than competing for dominance. The hops remain in a pleasant after-taste.

M: Very crisp, very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, excellent finish.

D: This one is very tasty and light for a 2IPA. This is now one of my favorites. Once you start drinking it, you’ll find it hard to switch to anything else. (819 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A light fluffy 1 finger head forms over hazy orange honey colored beer.

N: Lots of chewy hops with sweet chewy malts. A little citrus and tangerine, somewhat heavy on the hops and sweet malts, but not over the top yet.

T: Lots of sweet chewy malts here, with more chewy citrus hops. Semi bitter with some spicy hops as well. Very sweet with a nougat like taste even. Way too sweet for me, as usual from Southern Tier. A slight floral hop flavor too.

M: Medium to light body with lower carbonation.

F: Bitter with a long astringent flavor that's not as pleasant as it was on the initial taste. Lots of lingering sweet malts, some nougat, citrus hops and a little pine, orange peel too. Long sweetness and astringent hops. A touch of warming booze on the finish as well. (775 characters)

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Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,195 ratings.