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

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

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567 Reviews
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Reviews: 567
Hads: 1,117
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 17.78%
Wants: 66
Gots: 74 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-09-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 567 | Hads: 1,117
Photo of shroompod
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a small head , no lacing. Clear amber honey colored.

Aroma of citrusy hops and perhaps the wood aging lend an earthy appeal that can only be described as "weedy".

I get less puckering bitterness than I'd expect , a decent malt backbone keeps this honest.

Mouthfeel is thick , carbonation is good.

A very nice IIPA I'd drink any day.

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Photo of klewis
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a brilliant copper color with a small bubbly head. A light halo but no lacing.

S: Malty caramel aromas with a strong vanilla smell. Isn't this missing something?

T: Strong toffee and molasses characteristics with prominent vanilla and oak tones. Sweet with a touch of bitterness in the back. Umm....?

M: Full-bodied and super sticky with light-moderate carbonation.

D: Did someone forget the hops? Not what I expected, but not bad. Not great either as the sweetness is getting a bit cloying.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.84/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip.

4.5 A: Ultra clear medium orange color. Two fingers of frothy head with excellent retention and good lacing.

3.0 S: Woodiness sticks out, but is a little weird. Kinda like pinesol with a lemony tinge. Floral hops supplement.

2.5 T: Strange woody flavor sticks around into the flavor. Lemony wood flavor, like pine-Sol. Plenty of hop flavor and even more maltiness.

3.5 M: Mouthfeel average overall. Good creaminess, carbonation, etc...

2.5 D: I like the original better. The oak aging adds a flavor I don't like. (But I do like wood aging.)

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Photo of emerge077
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unearthly is a great IPA, and i've enjoyed the few oaked IPAs i've had in the past...

This pours a bright jeweled amber, with a short foam cap. Lacing is pretty good, and it retains a slightly broken skim on the surface.

Amazing nose...melon, cantaloupe, rhubarb, ripe banana sweetness, orange zest, skunky hops, buttery oak. Like a wooden barrel full of some ungodly melange of turbo-charged fruit cocktail. Not in the alcoholic sense, more just in it's unique pungency. You can get lost in it easily, which is no small feat.

More cantaloupe and ripe banana in the flavor, some light bitterness, but with the buttery sweet finish, it feels more like an English strong ale or something. Leafy hops in the aftertaste, sort of steamrolled by the sugar and oak. Mildly drying, oak is noticeable in the finish. Low carbonation, sort of syrupy. A sipper for sure, and a really interesting experiment that could use a tiny bit of tweaking.

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Photo of JimmieFrisbee
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from 22 oz. bottle. Nice golden color, hints of orange or bronze, some bubbles rising to the top. Good head with the pour, starts to diminish some but looks like its going to last... just off white, goldish.

Smells nice and hoppy... a little bit of bitterness and earthier hops, but also a fair amount of fruity hop sweetness. Maybe a little bit of a pine smell in there too for good measure.

The piney hops come through first, almost a little disappointing as I was hoping for more of that fruitiness. Lots of carbonation on the tongue, not overly harsh but could be a little less. Fruity hops do come through in the finish. To me, that's where the real enjoyment of this beer lies... about two seconds after each sip, you really get that wonderfully fruity hop flavor. It only lingers for a few more seconds so you have to go back for another sip if you want some more.

Incredibly drinkable, not getting any of the 11% ABV in the flavor, unless it is contributing to that slight carbonation roughness.

I'm a little bit disappointed as it isn't as good this time around as it was when I got a free 2 oz. sample last week, but maybe it will improve as it warms a bit. I only let it sit out of the fridge about 10 minutes before pouring.

* Yes, as it warmed, it was a little less piney up front, must have been getting more of the malt. Also a little less carbonated, but I think I could ALMOST begin to sense the alcohol. Still not off-putting. Very, very good, but just short of great.

** Also, I should note I have not tried the non-oak aged version and therefore can't make a comparison.

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Photo of jcompton
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bomber into an over-sized red wine glass

appearance: transparent golden-red. a nice frothy head disappears with light lacing to the glass.

smell: citrus hops, mostly grapefruit, with a fair amount of pine and caramel

taste: the oak gives this an immediate vanilla flavor. the oak also seems to mellow the hops just a bit. the more i drink the more the oak shows up

mouthfeel: a bit sticky, but not syrupy. nicely carbonated

drinkability: i like this brew, but due to the complexity i'm not sure how much i could have in one sitting. i will, however, revisit this brew. it's been a few months since i've had the regular unearthly, but these are definitely 2 completely different brews

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Photo of MasterSki
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle in Michigan while at the KBS release. Served in a Hopleaf tulip glass for New Beer Sunday : The Return!

A - Two and a half fingers of off-white foam that has solid retention and leaves nice rings of lacing. Transparent copper orange color that is a little more yellow at the edges of the glass.

S - Lots of balance to this one. There's the obligatory hoppiness, but also a fair bit of malt and woodiness to it. There's some skunky weed flavor to the hops - amarillo? - as well as some citrus. Not super strong in the nose.

T - Surprisingly high malt character - lots of caramel and breadiness to this one, with a fair bit of woodiness. The hops are more understated in the taste. The wood contributes a slight sourness that builds as I go through the glass.

M - Solid residual stickiness, medium body, and fairly moderate carbonation that causes a nice tingle at the top of the mouth.

D - While the wood flavors are interesting it gets a little tiring, and the high ABV definitely sneaks up on you. I don't think I'd want much more than a 12oz pour of this, but it's a solid brew nonetheless.

I haven't had regular Unearthly in a while, but I don't think this is a huge improvement.

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Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours copper amber with a thin head that leaves dotted lacing.

The smell is of pine, citrus (lemon/orange) and peppery spicing. There is some (musty) oak.

The taste is of pine, resin and orange. Sweet with alcohol on the agressive side. It has a perfumy/herbal touch, as well. A nice, interesting hop touch (as was the case with the un-oaked version, with a firm sweet maltiness. The oak lends even more sweetness, with a vanilla character.

The feel is thick and syrupy sweet sticky, though there is some carbonation to help it along.

I have to say, that this was interesting, but found it less drinkable as it progressed. I did enjoy the Unearthly more. The thickness is almost too much, and the oak gives even more sweetness, throwing off the balance of the hops a bit too much. Something "different" for sure, and enjoyable to a degree, but I, personally, prefer the original, as I said.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful copper body that is completely transparent. One-finger off-white head with good retention but little lacing.

S: Strong hops with a good caramel scent along with pine and oak.

T: Nicely mellowed out. Strong hops with pine hit with an oaky overtone turning into caramel malts with a slightly bitter pine finish. Very good.

Overall: Excellent mouthfeel, perfectly carbonated, thick and oily doesn't get better for the style IMO. Very drinkable as well, Wouldn't be a problem to finish a bomber and more.

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Photo of mbrasi
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted side by side with it's unaged brother. Pours golden amber with a white head. Has a slightly darker hue due to the aging. A definites less hop presence in the aroma for the oak aged version. There is a definite earthy feel to the aroma. The hop presence is more subdued which I know to some hopheads is considered blasphemy. Aged woody presence is definite within this DIPA. I never though oak aging would do anything good to a DIPA until today. I know this is a matter of opinion and if you are a "purist" hophead you would bash this brew for letting the hops fade. IMO this is an improvement on the original, there's definitely a higher level of complexity with the oak aged version. All in all another good top notch brew from ST

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft at the Dily Deli.

Poured clear copper color with a large creamy off-white head that was mostly lasting with excellent lacing. Heavy complex citrus hoppy aroma. Medium body with slick texture and soft carbonation. Heavy smooth bittersweet citrus flavor with a heavy bittersweet finish of long duration with a small alcohol burn as it warms.

This is a standout beer.

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Photo of prototypic
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This one pours a nice color that mostly looks to be copper. It's very clear. Not a bit of haze clouding the scene. The head is a tad off-white and only reaches a finger or so deep. ABV likely got to this one. Still a little disappointing.

Smell: It's very sweet and sugary up front. Very candy-like. There's a heavy citrus grapefruit and pineapple scent that only adds to the strong sweet smell. There's a fair amount of caramel and pale malts, but they're far from overbearing. Hops are citric primarily, but there's definitely some pine notes present, as well. Smells delicious. There is an oak presence that adds a nice dimension to it. Surprisingly, alcohol is masked very well. It's barely noted. Very well done here.

Taste: There's no shortage of sweetness in this one. It's very sugary and the strong citrus grapefruit, pineapple, and light mango flavors only add to it. Somehow, it's not so sweet that it's offensive. It works. Hops emerge and add a really nice bitter bite. They're citric and piney. A mix of caramel and pale malts are noted and seem to tone down the hop bitterness to a degree. But, not too much. It remains bitter and satisfying. The oak element of this is very nice. It's definitely a complementary flavor and adds a nice touch of vanilla to the mix. Alcohol again is only faintly noticeable. Very impressive. It finishes bitter and a little sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's on the heavier side of medium bodied. Very close to thick. Carbonation is light and really helps to smooth it out, giving it a creamy feel. Drinkability, unfortunately, is a little limited. This is an aggressive beer that has a big, bold feel. At 11% abv, it's definitely not to be toyed with. I'll manage the bomber, but it's going to take me a bit.

Southern Tier did a really nice job with Oak Aged Unearthly. Unearthly is a solid beer. But, this release is superior. The oak aspect of the beer works well on the nose and in the flavor. I was a little skeptical of the effect it might have here. Fear not. It delivers. This is one big badass beer. Check it out.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into 25oz wine glass. Nice looking label. Eye catching and a nice touch with the hop-cone acorn.

Slightly hazy ruby red color - more of a rose hue when held up to the light. The head is thin, even with somewhat of an aggressive pour. It was a smooth pour without any "glugs", so that kept the head size down.

Sharp and citrusy hops are the dominant aroma, although overall it's not the most aromatic beer ever. The malts add a sweet candy scent.

Plenty of hops in the flavor, still with a citrusy characteristic, but not as sour as grapefruit. They taste more like tart and sweet pineapple. I keep looking for the oak flavors, but never really find them. They could just be hidden behind the hops. The alcohol is very well hidden. Full bodied, but with a slightly watery finish.

This DIPA borders what I would consider an American Barleywine: ruby tones and 11%ABV. However, the drinkability is kept pretty high, maybe from the hops mellowing out a bit in the barrel. A very good beer, especially for hop lovers. Recommended.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this first on tap, then out of a bottle couple days later.

Pours a light golden color with a nice one inch of head. Very good looking beer in the glass, just what you'd expect. Smell is citrusy hops, but just the most incredible balance of oak and bourbon one could imagine.
Taste follows up the nose. Wonderful, battle between bittering hops and mellowing of the barrel aging. Amazing combination. Prickly but smooth. Just a wonderful concoction.
I do have to admit that the draft version was better than the bottle, with a more pronounced oak/bourbon flavor. In bottle form the hops were much more pronounced and dominated. Very good beer, would like to see more of the style.

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Photo of WalterSobchak
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby amber with a light one finger head, quickly dissipates, no lacing, no cap.
Big pine and floral/citrus notes, a licorice and alcohol
Spicy on the palate with a steady hops and big bitter punch on the back end. Sweet oak notes come through strong as a following flavor.
Complex and balanced, a bit too bitter but the sweet oak makes it worth it. I'm really liking this; complex flavors with a pleasant MF, nice alcohol kick....good stuff.

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Photo of RomanW70
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep caramel with a minimal tan head that quickly dissapates into lacing. Looks delicious. Aroma has heavy oak, with additional notes of caramel, pine and grapefruit. Oak is pretty dominant. It's pretty dominant in the taste too. Initial ruch of oak is followeed by earthy hops and sweet malts. The finish is oak and bitter. Very thick mouthfeel and fairly minimal carbonation. Very drinkable for 11%. An interesting take on Unearthly. I would have preferred a little more balance, but still a very tasty beer.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mid-range amber color with a relatively shallow foamy pale yellow collar that lingers briefly, leaving little lacing behind. The smell is aggressive and complex. A real battle between big hops and the classic cherry-vanilla aroma of an oak aged ale. The flavors are close to the nose; lots of vanilla (creme brulee). On the sweet side. I'm experiencing a real clash from this combo. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is on the heavy side. A sipper at 11% ABV. A real niche product. Super glad to see the imagination...not sure i'm going back for another.

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Photo of irishman646
3/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served in a 16 oz. Pilsener style glass (They were super busy and had no other glassware) at Rustico's in Alexandria, Va.

To tell the truth I didn't know this was the oak aged version until halfway through the beer. I saw the tap handle first and didn't read the tap list until later.

The head was thick, off white, and stuck around for awhile. The appearance was of an American Amber. The beer had a strong hop aroma dominated by citrusy grapfruit aromas backed up by strong notes of pine.

Oak Aged Unearthly had a strong malt presence to counteract the hops but they ended up clashing with one another rather than working together. The crisp hop bitterness never came through in the end. Any presence of oak was faint and struggled to make it's presence known through the syrupy malty mess of a mouthfeel.

The mouthfeel on this beer was a real dissapointment, in fact it ruined the beer. As soon as it warmed up it became syrupy and thick and a pain to drink. The thickness really brought out a cloyingly sweet taste. It ruined any chance of drinkability. Granted, 16 oz. of a beer this big is probably too much but then again my mouth waters at the thought of 16 oz. of Bell's Hopslam.

This was my first try of either version of Unearthly. Perhaps the unoaked version is better but I will be wary of trying it.

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Photo of Buebie
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into an oversized snifter.

Appearance is transparent in a dark orangish copper color. 2 finger fluffy white head with great retention and lace cling.

Aroma is smoothly oaky with a buscuity fruity smell, orange peel, floral hops, and some malty sweetness.
No alcahol on the knose.

Taste is sweet and malty up front with a bursting of cereal grains, becoming quite oaky at the swallow. A light toasted oak flavor. Hops packing a punch, mainting a smooth orange and grapefruit flavor. Still some sweetness comes around. At the swallow a humble amount of warmth, but just a little bit. Cloves linger with bittering hops and toasted oak.

Mouthfeel is creamy with some carbonation, finishing clean with a touch of slickness on the tounge.

Great brew, terrifically balanced. Best idea I've had today in cracking this on a cold blustery snowy night.

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Photo of alyankus
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Great color deep copper. Great head good lacing.

Nose: Vanilla tinged citrus notes and fresh cut grass

Mouth: Very smooth tiny bubbles. I get the same champagne mango, grapefruit and tangerine flavors I find in it's un-oaked version but without the heat and slight astringency at appear in the regular Unearthly. A fantastic offering from a great brewery. If you have found that most of their beers have been too hot for you in the past I strongly suggest you try this one as it is a great example of ST at their best.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Pours clear amber/golden with a creamy, thin white head.

S - Piny, oaky, complex hoppy punch.

T - Hoppy, oaky, vanilla and bourbony. Spicy, raw pine finish that fades out to a tart aftertaste.

M - Silky, decent carbonation. Medium bodied.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Boy is this beer a whollop to the senses. Agressive on all fronts.

Big aromas of citrusy, piney hops dominate the nose. The malts struggle to give a sugary sweetness with caramel and worty aromas. Esters of pineapple, cherries, peaches, and pears come out of the candied hop scents. Light woodsy, nutty aromas- too light for a beer that brags on oak aging.

The appearance is a straight-up golden, amber hue with light carbonation, firm but light on head formation. Reduces to a froathy film ontop of the beer. Light lacing. Low rates of foam is partially due to high alcohols and oak aging.

Flavors are sugary and caramelly- very high sweetness to combat the on-slaught of hop puree. Pine and citrus give a huge juicy burst of flavors that run the gammot: grapefruit, pineapple, orange zest, pine, lemon zest, and fresh cut grass. Esters give even more complexity with fresh tropical fruits: appricots, mangos, pineapples, oranges, cherries, and apples. Light on phenols, but the high alcohols give an ethanol taste that I could live without. Again, the wood flavors and nutty notes pale up against the strong malts and hops.

With such boldness in flavor, the mouthfeel suffers. Initially sticky-sweet, mouth-coating sugary malts begin to warm with the fusal alcohols and eventually rise to caugh-syrup proportions. Hop bitterness never crispen the beer like good IPA's do because of the confectionate cloyness. Though very full, rich, and appetizing, the maltiness result in oily, hot, and abrasive textures. The oak aging seems to take the rough edges off the beer, but not enough.

With most other beers that try to match intense hop flavors with a presumed balance of malts, the result is not balance, but conflict. When everything stands out, then nothing stands out. Still a pleasure to drink. But with so many opportunities missed, it's quite a shame.

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Photo of WeymouthMike
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer pours a gorgeous amber with a good inch plus solid white head.

Smell is reminiscent of Seagrams 7 whiskey.

Taste again is headed by the whiskey, followed by a smokey vanilla.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a slight alcohol bitterness on the finish

Drinkability, well I drank one over a 4 hour period. I much prefer the original un-oaked version.

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Photo of skrib09
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a burnt orange color, pretty hazy, with a head of something you would normally see with ipas.

smell is woody pine and citrus.

taste up front is hop and the oak flavors come up with it. a mild balance comes through and i can hint at some malt backbone. plenty of pine and wood from the oak aging.

really smooth mouthfeel that attributes to good drinkability even though it's imperial.

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Photo of alexgash
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle with glittery label.

Mostly clear golden peach with lighter edges. Tall, thick, foamy, light beige head. Great lacing. Nose is a nice mix of hops, oak, and sugary malt. Big, juicy pineapple, tangerine, grapefruit, and pine resin. Light bourbon-y oak with a whiff of vanilla. Sugar-dusted malts.

Tannin-like bitterness up front. Slightly boozy, sweet fruity malts come in strong. Definite oaky foundation. Big pineapple and tropical fruit swell as the hop bitterness takes over the second half. Lots of orange marmalade, grapefruit, and pine resin in the finish. Warming, with a nice lingering citrus hop taste, with oak in the background. Full-bodied with a very creamy smooth, cask-y carbonation. Very nice!

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Oak Aged Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 567 ratings.