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

Not Rated.
Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale)Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,838 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 2,838
Reviews: 1,192
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 130
Gots: 300 | FT: 3
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,838 | Reviews: 1,192
Photo of Nugganooch
3.36/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off many thanks to mdfb79 for knocking out one of my wants. Cheers!

Secondly, it is worth noting the info posted on this brew contradicts what is printed on the label. My bottle states this is an 11%ABV brew not 9.5%? And how is there no pic yet? Mysterious.

At any rate poured into a pint & looks like a bottling # on the bottom but no distinguishable dating.

A: Pours a slight hazy pale color with some lighter hues to it. Like that of spun caramel sugar. Nice 1 finger thick khaki white head formed with some respectable lacing.

S: Clean fresh water and ingredients are detected by nose and are dominated with a spicy hop aroma. Some faint hints of citrus come through but mostly that earthy spice hop scent.

T: Taste leaves a little bit more to be desired. No mistake this is a big brew with very rich caramel malt and toffee like flavors. While there is a nice spicy hop bitter bite there with some citrus and pine undertones. It finishes much sweeter. Like a spicy orange juice really.

M: Overall I would say the beer has a decent cream texture to it but pretty sticky on the palate and warming towards the end.

D: Dangerous. Most IPA's get too boozy for me once they hit 10% but this one I felt is masked quite well. Probably the best thing going for this brew...if it is in fact 11%. Very smooth at such a high ABV in my opinion. I was really searching for the ABV's in the beginning but it really only starts to warm the throat towards the end.

I think there is alot to be said about designing such a massive beer and maintaining the drinkability. And I can also really appreciate that I can taste the fresh water and ingredients used here. But in the end this one finishes on the sweet side and I would have liked to see a better marriage of the hops used. The spicy hop and sweet tofee malt flavors just kind of take over. Glad to have tried for sure though!

Photo of zachariaIPA
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful copper with an inch of off-white resiny head. Intense hop aromas..even more intense hop taste..floral, citrus, spicy, piney, bitter yet balanced with a substantial amount of sweet malt. You can definitely taste how strong this beer is. Hop resins seep from your pores after drinking one of these.

Photo of StoneTSR
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

APPEARANCE: Gorgeous beer. A bright, orange-yellow color with a little bit of haze. The head was about an inch thick in my 20 oz. glass and the lacing was pretty solid.

SMELL: This is an outstanding smelling beer. Floral, hoppy and piney with a hint of grapefruit and orange.

TASTE: The Unearthly Imperial IPA is almost a different beer than what it smells like. It is still tasty, but it is much sweeter than the smell would indicate. A strong honey and orange flavor hits the palate to start and then slowly balances out into a more grapefruit-like flavor.

MOUTHFEEL: This is where the beer went south for me. It is more than oily and mouthcoating and crosses the line into downright syrupy. The carbonation was almost non-existent, which was in stark contrast to the initial appearance.

OVERALL: If this beer tasted as good as it smelled and felt as good as it looked it would be one of the best in the world. It is still pretty good, but not what it could have been.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich copper/amber color with small amount of head on the top and no carbonation.

S - Graham cracker bread, spices, pine, and a malty booze presence. Could be stronger in this category.

T - Balanced quality throughout. Honey, graham crackery, spicey, toasted toffee, and there's a partial butterscotch nuance that's very unusual compared to other IPA's I've had. There's some citrus mixed in around midway through along with an alcohol effervesence. The mouth is left with a coating of orange and spicy graham cracker.

M - Silky smooth, sticky, thick, full bodied.

O - This is very unusual for an Imperial IPA which is why I like it so much. Not your typical Imperial/D-IPA, nice job, Southern Tier. I've had this beer so many times before but never reviewed it. Even more astonishing, over 900 reviews and a picture was finally submitted! That's very unusual.

Photo of Jparkanzky
2.71/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From bottle to pint glass, split with wife.

A) Golden, more of a "sandy-blonde" as Patrick Bateman would say

S) Smells hoppy, and slightly of oak (although I've had the oak-aged version, which was completely different than this)

T) Malt... booze... a hint of hops... not what I would expect from an IPA.

M) Nothing memorable.

O) Not bad, just doesn't taste like an IPA or double at that.

Photo of ReelBigwigFish
2.96/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: dark amber color, with a slight reddish hue. After pouring the head formed up high and fizzed down with vigorous carbonation, but the remnant head is more creamy looking, a light amber color.

s: smells extremely malty and sweet, almost too sweet. there is also lots of alcohol in the aroma, not a whole lot of hops in the nose. mostly smells like malts, raisins, and alcohol.

t: intense malt sweetness up front, a little woody, and very boozy. there is a tinge of bitter hop flavor but it's just swept to the side by the overpowering combo of heavy malt and alcohol.

m: heavy, boozy, syrupy: not all that drinkable (i split this bomber with a friend and it's taking me 20 min to drink 11oz)

o: i really don't know what to say about this one. it's really expensive, and all my friends that have had this beer have said such great things about it. and honestly it was a huge let down. i think the oaked version of unearthly is far far better, and even gemini is much better. but if you're going to buy any southern tier beer ipa, get the 2x IPA. i haven't tried their regular ipa, but i've had all the others and the 2x is WAY better than all these small batch bombers. this one was definitely the least hoppy, somehow the oaked version tastes that much different.

Photo of TangTKE402
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bomber bottle into a beer mug. Hazy deep tan in color with a white foam head and some decent lacing.

S: Woody with some boozey aromas of prunes and figs. A slight hop aroma under the heat.

T: Big flavors of grain and dark fruit with a raisin swallow and a touch of bitterness on the aftertaste. Alcohol is very present in the flavor, as are notes of cherry wood, dirt, grass, grape leaves, and key limes... Not much in the way of hops flavor at all.*

M: This feels heavy and a touch syrupy, almost like a barleywine. It still has some residual stickiness that one associates with an IPA (you know, on the side of your mouth by the molars) but other than that, the feel is misleading.

O: This beer is not for hopheads looking for an overwhelming bitterness and pine/floral/citrus hop flavors. It's not a bad beer, but you feel the hooch as you drink it, and it has an almost oak-aged quality to it, which is unexpected.

*Note: I could not find a "born on" date on the bottle, so it may not be the freshest of beers, as it tastes like some other Imperial IPAs I've had past their prime...

Photo of NODAK
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is, at first, rather floral with heavy notes of pine. However, as it opens up, a sticky malt base shows up with a spiciness as well.

Pours somewhat orange and cloudy in the glass with a small head that doesn't last too long.

Good hit of bitterness immediately upon taking a drink. Pine notes, a little tropical perhaps. This goes into a sticky sweet toffee and caramel maltiness pretty quickly though, that I would say defines this beer more than hops do. There is a small resinous bitterness that finishes the beer off, but it isn't much and doesn't take much away from just how malty it is. It's definitely thick...you can tell this is a boozy one. That isn't to say it isn't hoppy, as it has a pretty good bitterness upfront especially and in the finish, it's just that this beer has a very heavy malt inclusion.

This one won't please hopheads, I know that. However, as a person who does enjoy malty DIPA's, I found this a very easy drinker although it was so sweet for style that it could get cloying. The ABV is really high, so that's something to watch out for.

Photo of thehopsguy
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Good pour, short head but good carbonation, golden with a hint of amber in color from amber malts and red wheat's.

S- balance of malt aromas ( 2-row,cara-pills) with a sudden hint of citrus/ pine hops..which is interesting because they "hop back" this brew..which adds hop aroma (and some hop flavor) but not much bitterness. would have thought there would be more aggressive hop aromas. ( hopback using whole hop styrian golding)

T- Strong boozy flavors of caramel sweetness at first with a strong bitter finish (dryhopped w/ cascade centenial & chinook) first couple of sips at 42* F second half of the bomber was around 50*F which brought out some more hop flavors

M- Medium to heavy body...very dry finish

Photo of grover37
3.14/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber from D'Vines for $8. Poured into a DFH snifter.

Appearance (4): A very clear, dark copper with a fat finger of light cream head. The foam reduces to an uneven, medium thick layer with lacing all the way around the glass. Not much lacing besides at the top.

Aroma (2.5): Not a huge aroma but it's still pretty cold. Faint notes of grapefruit mix with pine and a dark caramel. Once it warms up, it's a sweet mango and a strong, oily and resinous caramel. You can really tell it's going to be extremely bitter.

Taste (3.5): Very strong resinous hops and thick caramel right off the bat. Intense flavor compared to the less than impressive aroma. A strong bitterness hits in the middle and works well to cover up a lot of residual sweetness. The bitterness mingles with the sweet caramel in the finish. This is a good example of a big East Coast DIPA, but I like the style much more when it's dry and less balanced.

Mouthfeel (3): A bit slick, cloying, and bitter. Full bodied and low carbonation which is appropriate. The finish really lingers, especially the sweetness, and is a bit coating.

Overall (3): A bit too sweet - borderline cloying - as well as bitter. They even each other out, but the hops aren't really showcased here; it's mostly an interplay between the bitterness and sweetness. I'd like to try this a bit fresher on tap.

Photo of shand
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. This was received by my beer store last week, so this is hopefully a fresh batch, since I've shied away from this before due to lack of bottle dating.

This brew is a relatively clear amber color with huge evident carbonation. The head is relatively small for a DIPA, but retains and laces well. The aroma is quite nice, there's both aggressive hops and malts in here fighting for attention. I also smell something that smells like a bit of wood-aging, although I know this is the base Unearthly. What's up with that? The taste on this is very good. This is a very skillfully brewed beer that balances a huge hop bomb and a huge malt bomb with the deftest of ease. Both hops and malts are present huge here, but unlike many DIPAs, they stay in a constant struggle. I hesitate to say it's "balanced," because it never tastes like a balance, but a fight over my taste buds. And honestly, I'm the winner here. The aftertaste continues the theme, with huge hop resin and caramel malts sticking around for quite some time. This is a great DIPA.

The mouthfeel is full and thick, and the drinkability is exceptional for the 9.5% ABV. I highly recommend this DIPA if you can get a bottle you know is at least relatively fresh, this is a great brew. Just a solid DIPA in every way.

Photo of Krakistophales
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep, dark amber with about a finger's worth of head with a generous pour that recedes into a cauldron of bubbles and a nice halo around the glass.

S: A nice malt smell emanates from this one, with just the slightest floral hops lingering in the aftersmell. Almost like toasty, caramel malts with a boozy finish.

T: This one hits with strictly floral hops in the middle followed by a heavy and sweet malt finish, with an almost non-existent floral hop aftertaste. This is probably the maltiest DIPA that I've ever tasted.

M: Has a bit of a stickiness to it, but with good carbonation and high drinkability.

O: This is a good one. I feel like southern tier is a "sweet" sort of brewery, with their stouts and even their DIPA being the maltiest and sweetest I've had yet. Still, this is a good one, definitely will buy again.

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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

Photo of lnashsig
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Finewinemike for the chance to taste this long time want. Poured into my Jester King snifter, pours a yellow/orange hue, very cloudy in appearance, with visible bubbles. Smell- blood orange, malty bready scent, alcohol on the nose, some fruit forward flavors. Taste- caramel sweet, mixed with hops bitterness mid palate, finished with a bitter grapefruit flavor. Lots of sweet flavors in this beer hide the alcohol well, and balance out the bitter profiles. Mouthfeel- syrupy and sweet but not cloying, appropriate carbonation, well balanced. This reminds me of DFH 90 minute in a way (maybe the malt profile?) Drinkability- for 11%, the abv is well hidden here and this is an overall well balanced representation of the IIPA style. I'd search it out again for sure.

Photo of HoppyHachey
3.24/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured with a small head and spotty lacing. Great golden color with a slight red hue to it.

S: I was a little congested when I drank this so I didn't smell much. But it definitely wasn't strong.

T: It had a really strong taste to it. Was nice and bitter but left this strange after-taste in my mouth that just hung around.

MF: Surprisingly not as dry as I'd thought it would be. But the fulness of the flavor, I thought, made it harder to drink than most Imperials.

I drank this Imperial out of a beer glass and not saying i didn't enjoy it but definitely not one of my favorites. Hard not to enjoy an Imperial IPA.

Photo of rustymoore
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a golden amber into a snifter...moderate head with some lacing throughout
S: smells like fresh fruits such as apricot and fresh hop aromas
T: tastes sweet, slight alcohol twinge, with a great strong hop bite, dried fruits come thru as well
M: very spicy and acidic on the tongue
O: overall an excellent strong beer to enjoy when u r feeling bold. This isn't a beer to play around with

Photo of funkymuppet
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big IPA - hits hard at first then goes a bit bland and then rounds out with a crispy sweetness and something a little spicy. Not too much in the way of hop aroma, and I might say the bitterness is a little bigger than the malt body. Does come through kind of sweet for my taste - I do like the Southern Tier 2xIPA and didn't find that overly sweet.
Recommended, just not a lot of it.

Photo of surprenant1138
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter- a very hazy looking dark amber beer with very little head and slight lacing. Aroma is of sugarcane and hops. Taste has that signature Southern Tier sweetness, but it is very tolerable in the form of this IPA. Hops is prevalent, and only slightly citrusy. Heavy bodied, and slightly yeasty. Overall a very good IPA and refreshingly not too sweet, as most Southern Tier tends to be. Good drinks here.

Photo of heysuz
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intro: 22 oz. bottle in a tulip glass. Shared with a friend.

Appearance: Poured a moderate two inch off-white head that remained through half the sample. Thin sparse lacing forms on side of glass. Color is deep amber with slight haziness.

Smell: Slight aroma of hops with a sweet note. The overall aroma is somewhat stronger than other brews in this class. The malts and sugars are more pronounced in this beer than some other DIPA's I've tried.

Taste: Good, rich, deep flavor that seems to smooth out some of the sharp hoppiness. It is dry but not as much as HopSlam or Dreadnaught. The malts stay in front of the hops throughout and provide a creamy flavor.

Mouthfeel: It has a creamy feel that coats the tongue but at same time is has a hoppy, resin aftertaste. The alcohol tends to leave your mouth dry.

Overall: At 10% ABV it's a quite drinkable beer. It's in the same league as HopSlam and 90min. IPA although I would prefer HopSlam if I had all three sitting in front of me and I could only drink one. I've had the 2XIPA also but prefer the taste of this. It just seems a little more complex and interesting.

Photo of theghost3
3.57/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a transparent, deep copper with a 1-finger light yellow head. Moderate lacing.

The smell is grassy, herbal with a slight pine hop character & tobacco. Taste consists of earthy and grassy hops along with woody malt flavors and sweet cigars. Mouthfeel is acidic, liquor-like and medium-bodied.

This is not as hoppy as I would expect. Lots of cigar & malt qualities. Has an ending that's liquor-like. The alcohol is actually hidden quite well up until the end.

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this before from a 22 oz bottle and on tap, yet never managed to get it reviewed. So when I heard that World Wine in Mentor had a barrel on tap, I had to get a growler and finally get my thoughts on this fine DIPA down on paper.

Pours a honey amber, almost russet color with about 1/4" of head that quickly forms a thin lid. Actively foams like a roiling sea when swirled, with excellent retention along the sides.

Has a piney, resin smell with a thick, sticky-sweet aroma like warm grapes or pears. A hint of alcohol in the nose reminds you of this beer's power.

Starts somewhat spicy and peppery. There's a floral, almost orange blossom sweetness to this that fades to a bracing, biting bitter that hits the back of the tongue and continues down the throat. I think my stomach is feeling the bitterness! Pine resin notes give this a slight astringency that, combined with the alcohol, gives it a fair amount of substance.

Medium bodied, almost buttery, with a refreshing crispness along the middle of the tongue before assaulting the back of the tongue and down the throat.

This is a savory, tasty beer, that went excellent with my "Indian hit" saag lamb earlier. I'm happy to have a growler that, over the next few days, will make me appreciate how good a brewery Southern Tier is. If you're not lucky enough to find this on tap, at least treat yourself to a 22 oz bottle and enjoy!

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a clear copper with good carbonation leaving a nice white cap

S: Nose is well balanced but not very aramoatic, more aroma hops could have helped out but I did get some booze and citrus

T: Caramel upfront, citrus, good amount of bittering and pretty good hop presense, finish with a booze kick

M: Slick, sweet, medium body and boozy

D: A step above average but at 10 ABV it kept me from going the extra step to Good.

Photo of jboucher
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Hazy dark orange color with a fluffy head. The lacing forms sticky rings around the glass as it goes down. Below-average carbonation.

Smell: There are hop, brown-sugar, and rose petal notes in the nose. Grapefruit is present along with other citrus and floral scents.

Taste: Balanced grapefruit-like citrus and honeyed malts. Hoppy, but not overpowering. I would not guess that this beer is 11% ABV. On the sweeter side compared to the majority of its style. Excellent hop profile. This beer is surprising well balanced as there is a solid brown-sugar-malty backbone present.

Mouthfeel: I was a little surprised to find that this beer is essentially full bodied. There is also very little carbonation. Nice mouth-coating. Smooth.

Ending notes: What a great beer! A nice sipper. I would easily recommend this to any hop head. Very enjoyable.

Photo of JLeege
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft - Into a tulip

Appearance- Pours a clear light copper color, with a nice bubbly 2 finger white head, decent retention, a little lace left behind.

Smell- Has a very earthy hop presence, notes of resinous pine and a little citrus. Some caramel malt as well. great aroma.

Taste-Floral throughout, Pine resin, light citrus, mostly pineapple/grapefruit. With a medium malt backbone. A little booze on the finish. The taste covers nearly the entire hop spectrum, and works pretty well overall.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation, a bit oily.

Overall- It is a palate wrecker, but it tastes pretty damn good. I would end your drinking session with this one, because you won't be tasting all that much after this one.

Photo of BeerNinja007
2.74/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've enjoyed Unearthly many times before. This particular bomber hails from Harvest Fine Wine in West Hartford CT, purchased in September for $6.99. Bottle claims alcohol at 11.0% ABV. No date or code observed. Served at 44F in a tulip at the same temperature.

A: A significant cake of yeast is noted at the bottom of the bottle. Brew is a mostly-clear reddish copper color with a moderate quantity of small carbo bubbles drifting upward. Heavy/ moderate pour generates only 1/2" of tan head that settles to a creamy layer. Difficult to get any significant head out of it.

S: Smell is thick with malts that have been slightly caramelized by a long boil, a thick and slightly scorched grainy sweetness. Not much hop noted.

T/M: Thick malt body and taste identical to the smell, semi-sweet, scorched, really dominates the experience. Some mild yeasty funk is also present. Hops are pretty subtle, very tame for the style; some bitter orange pith, grapefruit, mixed herb. Finish is pretty long with citrus rinds and alcohol fumes. Alcohol is present but fairly subtle for 11%.

D: This is pretty lackluster, I remember it being much better. Not at all crisp or hoppy like a DIPA should be. Not much different from any other mediocre DIPA. I'm guessing it's due to some combination of over-cooked batch and an old bottle.

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Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 2,838 ratings.