Oak Aged Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company
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Ratings: 1,077 | Reviews: 564 | Display Reviews Only:
4.15/5 rDev +2%
Amazing tap at Cole's, as the oak ageing mellows and smooths out the aggressive hoppiness. Hop aroma, closer to a juicy West Coast IPA. Colour is creamy yellow golden, akin to a Belgian. Understated carbonation and malt bulks up mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable, creamy citrus orange flavour, the oak is there its secondary.
Bottle other than the colour, was nowhere as interesting.
04-24-2009 03:38:09 | More by Sammy
3.93/5 rDev -3.4%
Thanks to Tieman for sharing this one at his tasting.
Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, alcohol, herbal hops, and a slight wood aroma. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a mild hop bitterness with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.
11-11-2012 08:57:56 | More by UCLABrewN84
3.9/5 rDev -4.2%
G: Poured into an oversized snifter.
A: Pours a bright orange-amber color with a decent off-white head. Plenty of carbonation on the surface of the head, but not much in the beer itself, which is nearly transparent.
S: Absolutely delightful. The oak definitely comes through alongside an overpowering hop presence--fruits are definitely present, with the biggest one being perhaps apricot.
T: An overpowering bitterness--the 100+ IBU's definitely make themselves known. A light touch of the oak is available underneath. Relatively sweet.
M: Medium-bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Goes down smooth without much alcohol presence given the high ABV.
D: Drinkable, but a little too unbalanced to warrant having this one very often. While there's nothing I like better than a good hop bomb, I'd prefer to have one that's a little more balanced than this.
04-07-2009 01:31:31 | More by Thorpe429
4/5 rDev -1.7%
A: The beer is clear orange in color and poured with a thin off-white head.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of grapefruit in the nose.
T: The hops lend flavors of grapefruit to the taste, although these are well balanced by the underlying malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink because the hops are not overpowering and the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.
03-08-2011 04:43:33 | More by metter98
4.45/5 rDev +9.3%
"Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who decided to stand their ground."
Pristine persimmon with a gorgeous glow when backlit with bright morning sunshine. The creamy crown of sandstone colored foam is big beer beautiful. It has tremendous texture and looks to be melting in super-slow motion. A thick sheet of BB-shot lace is the cherry on top of this extraordinary looking DIPA.
As far as I know, Oak Aged Unearthly is simply Unearthly that has been oak aged. What better way to end up with great beer than to start with great beer? The aroma is exactly as expected given the ingredients list. There's plenty of tropical fruity hops, with just the right amount of background oakiness. This should be some treat.
Even though I slightly prefer the unadulterated Unearthly, this version is still top-notch. When it comes to IPAs/DIPAs, it's best when nothing gets in the way of the hops. Things like caramel malt and oak are fine in small doses. Even when they're present in moderate doses (as is the case here) it can still work. The reason this brew is so good is that it's a minor departure from the original rather than a major departure.
The malt structure is as rock-ribbed as they come, providing flavors of caramel-iced sugar cookies and well-toasted wheat bread. The hops are still able to punch through the malt sugars with ease, delivering plenty of bitterness, as well as generous shavings of orange peel and grapefruit pith. A glimmer of unmasked alcohol is to be expected given the ABV.
The original brew earned the highest mouthfeel score available and I see no reason why this ale shouldn't as well. It's impressively lush and silky... becoming even more so as it gains a few degrees. I can't imagine how it could be improved.
Southern Tier does big beer the way big beer should be done. Oak Aged Unearthly is yet one more example. Even though the standard Unearthly is slightly better, this is a more than worthy addition to the brewery's lineup. Thanks a million to prototypic for his incredible generosity.
05-08-2009 15:00:07 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.95/5 rDev -2.9%
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.
03-08-2009 20:36:55 | More by BEERchitect
4.4/5 rDev +8.1%
I was thrilled to see these on the shelf at whole foods yesterday, so you just know I had to pick one up. Served out of the fridge and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/07/2009.
The pour was very nice. Rich amber in color with a nice clarity to it. Head of white foam rose up to about three inches and then sttled down with lots of sticky lace. Rich aroma of piney hops and sweet oak like notes. Really well done here with a very nice balance. Nice notes of vanilla as it warms. The first taste sealed the deal for me. Lots of orange and pine, nice balance with hints of vanilla and woody essence coming through loud and clear. Smooth, medium body with a mellow carbonation and a all but hidden huge ABV profile. I could have drank this one all night, though i started to catch up with me by the end of the bottle.
Overall I was really impressed with this one, One of the best beers I have had from ST and something I will be going back for again and again
04-08-2009 01:11:29 | More by mikesgroove
3.6/5 rDev -11.5%
Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy orangey color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention and not much lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with some floral and citrus hops also thrown in the mix. Taste is much similar to a barleywine then an imperial IPA with dominating sweet malt with a very light oak and a floral bitter finish. Body is quite full with limited filtration and no much carbonation. I honestly think the regular version is better.
06-08-2009 02:03:17 | More by Phyl21ca
4/5 rDev -1.7%
A: two finger thick head on a clear amber with crimson hues body.
S: oak, vanilla, earthy/citrus hops and a little booze.
T: the addition of the oak makes the malts in this one stand out even more verging on the candied fruit and breadiness of a barleywine. The hops are down played more in this one due to the woody presence but still contribute nicely.
M: medium body and moderate carbonation. smoother than I expected.
Overall: The oak/wood is fairly strong and this one takes a few sips to get used too. The barleywine-like flavors also make the booze stronger affecting drinkability but it is still a nice one to try.
05-17-2012 18:37:41 | More by kylehay2004
3.6/5 rDev -11.5%
22 ounce bottle - $6.99 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Appearance: Pours a clear, amber-hued body with an initially lively, but fastly dissipating, white head.
Smell: Floral, fruity, citrusy and notably oaky with a dry inclusion of caramel, and some drops of nostril-clearing spruce oil and alcohol.
Taste: Sweet malty doses upfront tasting of caramel candy and honey, sugary guardians forever countering an everpresent, but not quite grading tannic oak astringency and a noted (though not overwhelming) alcohol presence. Grapefruits and oh-so juicy clementines leisurely soaked in SoCo follow. Robustly bitter. Handful of spruce tips. Fruity, oaken finish with a lingering tannic astringency and touch of booze.
Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation, leaving the mouthfeel somewhat soft.
Overall: How does it compare to the non-oaked version? No clue, to be honest with you! I haven't had that in ages and I am far, far too much of a lazybones to click on over to that review. Let's just enjoy what we have here, a lightly carbonated, oaken ale.
07-04-2011 04:23:55 | More by ChainGangGuy
4.33/5 rDev +6.4%
Not much a huge difference here between this brew and the non-barrel aged actually. This beer pours out of the bottle with the same beautiful copper color with just about the same amount of head. The lacing is a little bit less on this one. The smell is still hoppy but has just a slighty earthy note to it now. The taste isn't much different, the hoppy citrus flavors still dominate the brew and in the faint aftertaste there is a wooden flavor that comes through. The mouthfeel is a little softer now, the tingle has been muted a bit. Overall, I'll take the orginal over this one. However, this is still a pretty good brew.
05-31-2011 15:42:25 | More by Knapp85
4.03/5 rDev -1%
Poured with great clarity into a imperial nonic a deep burnt orange color with a frothy two finger slight off white head atop,a mix of vanilla/oak and big citric hop with the hops given the slight edge,a tinge of alcohol comes thru as well.The oak isnt to big wich is a good thing for me leaving the great complex hop profile that I love about the standard version to be the main component of the beer.Big citric piney hop with some herbalness,the oak flavors come in the finish.Everything seems to be getting oaked these days not sure if a DIPA should be oaked,this was still pretty damn good.
08-17-2009 21:38:02 | More by oberon
4.28/5 rDev +5.2%
Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.
My man down at Whole Foods in...I think they consider it the Tyson's Corner location, though it may or may not actually be in Falls Church. I dunno, the geography out here is still something of a mystery to me. Things are much simpler back home in the IL... Wow, I think my thoughts cut into that sentence there. As I was saying, my man at Whole Foods recommended this to me, and, though I haven't historically been that into IPAs and whatnot, I figured "What the hell" and took the shot. From the bottle, this thing figures to be anything but simple (see how I looped back around there?), so expectations are running frighteningly high. Here goes:
A clear, rosy amber replaces the empty clarity of the snifter. The head is not very pronounced, and whatever is there dies off faster than public interest in lasting governmental reform (zing!). For whatever reason, I was expecting to snort hops as though they were arranged in lines with my diamond-encrusted razorblade (don't ask how I was able to purchase such an extravagance), but this was contrary to reality. Instead, a charge of toffee, especially sweet, flanked by a healthy dose of background floral radiation. Kinda like a tac-nuke, there's a relatively minimal amount of immediate physical damage but a resounding level of malingering effects (at least within the blast radius)...or such is my understanding of current nuclear weapons technology...I could be wrong. The hops make their first real appearance on the tongue, though they are still not as powerful as in my expectations. A sharp twang of citrus, a lingering soft pummeling of bitterness, but nothing really painful. What does stand out is the oak, which stands steadfastly in the background like a massive forest, wood, greenery, and all. Some caramel is there as well, not as sweet as the toffee in the nose, but rather a tad nuttier, bordering on a bland peanut brittle. The resulting olio does not overdo on any level, but maintains great strength at each one. The only thing precluding perfection here is a metallic bite slicing through the rearguard; a bitter Roland ensures that the rest of the troops do not become engulfed by the Saratin horde. (...Damn, that went from intellectually inspired to obviously forced...) Because the flavors are not intense, the medium body does minimal damage on its way down, allowing for deeper sips than would be possible elsewhere. I gotta say, my man did right by me again. Now, though, I feel as though I should try the non-aged version...
05-11-2010 08:41:51 | More by TMoney2591
4.15/5 rDev +2%
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.
03-17-2009 01:25:04 | More by emerge077
4.33/5 rDev +6.4%
A - Poured out a clear, copper color with almost no head. There were some white bubbles but no lacing to speak of.
S - Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt and some citrus hops.
T - Probably one of the most balanced oak aged IPAs that I've had to date. Nothing overpowers you - bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet malt, caramel, citrusy hops and a touch of bitterness.
M - It was crisp, sharp and very smooth. A medium bodied ale with a potent alcohol warmth.
D - This is a really well done oak aged brew. It delivers big flavors without being overbearing or over-the-top.
08-26-2010 03:26:00 | More by zeff80
4.38/5 rDev +7.6%
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!
06-08-2009 22:29:53 | More by NeroFiddled
3.53/5 rDev -13.3%
Pours an almost clear orange amber. Nose is perfume and floral tones. Flavor is real tangy. Way too much so IMO. Seems like overkill. Cotton like and stuffed full of too much something. Besides that there is a nice hoppy and citrus tone with firm resin in there as well. Feel is thick and soft. Carbonation is lower. This doesn't do it for me. The imperial has gotten too much so. I don't think this oak aging has had any positive benefit on the original Unearthly. It seems to have clogged it up in trying to be even more than it already is.
Wondering if I had a poor sample. I am willing to try again and adjust my opinion if needed.
05-11-2009 23:00:56 | More by RblWthACoz
4.7/5 rDev +15.5%
Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.
A: The beer is a bright orange/amber color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.
S: The aroma is full of floral hops and complimented nicely by fruity citrus and caramelized malts.
T: The taste starts with a very strong burst of grassy hops. Then sweet flavors of caramel and citrus come in along with the notable flavor effect of the oak aging which brings a little bit of a bite to it. The malt character is hearty and the high ABV is well-masked. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.
M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.
D: Very tasty and flavorful, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, while I think this is an excellent beer that is good to drink for an entire evening, the original Unearthly is one of the Top 5 beers that I've ever had and there wasn't much room for improvement. I don't think the oak aging made the beer better, but it did add a twist to it.
03-23-2009 00:51:15 | More by TheManiacalOne
4/5 rDev -1.7%
A - Poured with a small head of white foam on a perfectly clear, dark-copper colored body. The foam settles quickly and leaves light lace on the glass.
S - Strong floral hops with a but of pepper and citrus in the background. The hops are complimented by sweet toffee malt and lots of oaky vanilla.
T - Sharp, some what sour pine hop flavors up front with lots of soft vanilla and toast from the oak. Some sweet malt peeks out from behind the intense vanilla in the middle, along with a spicy pepper note composed of both hops and alcohol. The beer finishes with more peppery hop flavor and a wave of vanilla and toffee that is balanced by strong, blunt bitterness.
M - A thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.
D - This beer smells phenomenal, but the flavor just isn't on the same level. The hops and oak work together wonderfully in the noise, but both are harsher in the flavor profile and seem to be muddied by the thick malt. It is a but more drinkable than regular Unearthly, but I still prefer 2xIPA, which is both lighter in color and alcohol which allows the hops to shine in a way that they simply can't here.
03-30-2011 21:53:22 | More by nickfl
Oak Aged Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,077 ratings.