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

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Oak Aged Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale)Oak Aged Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale)

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1,106 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,106
Reviews: 565
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 64
Gots: 72 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,106 | Reviews: 565 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of prototypic
4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of BeerSox
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of WalterSobchak
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of RomanW70
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of jjayjaye
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of irishman646
3/5  rDev -26.3%
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.

Photo of Buebie
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of alyankus
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of WeymouthMike
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

Photo of skrib09
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of alexgash
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
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!

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle served in my Southern Tier Tulip. Poured a translucent orange-gold with a half inch tight off-white cap. Copious tiny bubbles evident effervescing in solution. Thick swaths of heavy lacing coated the glass during the tasting. Big nose - oak, vanilla and sweet grapefruit. Taste follows nose; however, the oak character really pronounces itself as it smooths out the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a pleasant and consistent level of carbonation from sip to swallow. This is one interesting DIPA. I have to say that my preference is for the standard Unearthly, but this is so complex and interesting that it is well worth your time.

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

Just purchased this gem from the Charleston Beer Exchange (my favorite store).

Pours into my Maudite glass with a 1" head. This subsides to a light white lacing. This oaked DIPA is free from any haze and light copper in color.
The smell is of light earthy hops, vanilla, and caramel.
Taste is wonderful. More earthy hop flavor and light vanilla with a hint of charred oak.
Every sip is full of smooth bitterness. This beer goes down easily and does not give you a heavy feeling.

I think this is a delightful beverage that definitely ranks up there with oaked arrogant bastard.

Photo of TheMistler
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light, clear copper brown with a white head displaying good retention. Very sticky lacing.

A seemingly mellowed DIPA aroma. Citrusy. Hints of vanilla. Sharp end. A good amount of sweetness, too. Biscuit dough malt. Ethanol undercurrent throughout, but only after the beer has warmed a little bit.

Nice creamy vanilla, with pine for the initial hop presence, re-asserting itself in the resin-y aftertaste. Some wood tannins play with the vanilla. Citrus - orange, building to grapefruit. Seemingly a bit of honey.

A smoother an very creamy brew, becoming more chewy as it warms. it's a meal. Pretty thick, with rather subdued carbonation. A very nice, tasty sipper - but an investment of tasting resources, if you will.

Photo of brushtachio
3.16/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Wow. I'm really surprised by this ale. I love regular Unearthly but this version seems forced. The oak aging dilutes the hoppy goodness, replaces it with a woody, vanilla, oak profile. In the process, the whole beer suffers.

Nose bears very little resemblance to a IIPA. Instead of hops there is wood, vanilla, pepper, cinnamon. All of these elements carry over to the taste along with the expected Unearthly sweetness. But with the diminished hops, it ends up being a little one sided. I wonder if this beer is suffering (ratingwise) because I am judging it to style or comparing it mentally to the regular Unearthly. If I approached it as a hopped up Barlywine a la SN Bigfoot, would I appreciate it more?

Photo of adamdotson
4.64/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. This is delicious.

Nice amber color. Very clear. Smells most strong of clementines and wood. A very sweet smelling double ipa. Also very christmas treeish.(pine)

Spicy hop flavor. Also taste the orange flavor. Strong, pleasurable bitterness. kind of reminds me of gin.

COats your tounge with yummy viscous bittersweet syrup. Lingers on the pallate nicely. I love this one.

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

Finally Albany gets a Southern Tier release on time!

A: Really great looking beer. A nice looking amber color. A shade or two darker than normal unearthly.Decent lacing. Not as good as the normal version.

S: Really great nose. Very pungent hop nose right up front. The oak is there and they really work well together. No hint of the malt at all that is totally drowned out by the oak.

T: Really a well balanced beer. The hops are there and are strong but are tempered by the oak. A little bit of sweetness is there. Sometimes unearthly can have a little bit of a boozy taste which I enjoy. This version cuts that out entirely.

M: Much creamier a mouthfeel. Regular version is a little thick and syrupy. This is a dream on your tongue.

D: I liked this beer quite a bit. I would not suggest aging this one as the hops are so enjoyable right now. Drinks way easier than it should at 11%. Another winner from Southern Tier.

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

Poured from the bottle a bright clear amber orange with a thin off-white head.

Aroma of grapefruit, pineapple, pine, plenty of oak, and some booze.

A big blast of orange and lemon up front, with caramel malts, candy sugar, honey, and oak right behind. The 11% alcohol definitely shows it's teeth in this one.

Medium bodied, quite sticky, and moderately carbonated.

A big beer - kind of reminds me of a barleywine in look and taste. I like it but a bomber is really more than I care to handle in a sitting.

Photo of ATPete
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle
my 400th review!

Pours a pretty transparent amber orange color with a medium sized peachy tinted head. Im surprised how much hop comes through in the nose, good malt sweetness and a hint of oak as well. Big flavor, sweet malt, lots of hops, notes of grapefruit, peach and apricot. The centenial dry hopping really shines through nicely. The aftertaste is still lingering with me and its been about 10 minutes since my last sip. Full bodied with light carbonation and the 11% ABV is no where to be found, this one is a killer, one of the best from Southern Tier i've ever had. Keep this one coming!

Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured crystal clear copper into a tulip glass, nice white ring of foam with solid sticky lacing.

For being un-earthly I get a rich earthy smell in the nose. Slightly spicy but a lot like carrot if you can believe that.

Tastes a bit like carrot too. This is not a bad thing. There is a vegetable sweetness that is new in beers to me. It must be from the red wheat. Very interesting, very enjoyable. The hops are mellowed out by the oak aging process.

I really like the mouthfeel. Carbonation is light, medium body and the hop bitterness is a little prickly toward the end.

As with most imperial offerings, drinkability suffers a bit with the higher density and ABV. I can easily finish this one but a second one is entirely out of the question, even if this was my first beer and I was planning on drinking more. I would get something lighter.

I plan to go grab a few more of these to share with others and keep for myself. I'm wondering if it will age well. Perhaps we'll see.

Photo of beachbum1975
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is my first oak aged Double IPA. Shared with my buddy Dave today and reviewed on the fly. New shiny label with a hops cone wearing a crown.

Pours into my cab glass a clear amber with brassy edges. White creamy head which dissipates quickly leaving a chunky, bubbly halo and fine mist of surface foam.

Smells of big, piney hops and wood (ie, oak!) and light vanilla. The nose is big and potent on this one. Very interesting...

Medium bodied and medium to full flavored. Compared to their regular Unearthly, the hops are muted, but still there. The woodiness definitely places a role in this one. The woody aroma carries over into the mouth. Kinda reminds me of a hoppier version of their ST Cuvee #1 (which sadly, I wasn't a big fan of).

Ordinarily, I enjoy this beer for it's hops presence, and I'm not a big fan of this interpretation. Sorry!

Photo of John_M
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Max's today.

The OA Unearthly pours a goldish orange color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose, this beer smells pretty much like the non-oaked version. There is some pretty sweet malt, but it blends very nicely with the citrus, grapefruity hop aroma. The flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose. I don't really pick up much from the oak, except that the beer is a bit rounder and smoother, and it seems to have toned down the hoppiness a bit. Not really sure that's such a good thing. Like the regular unearthly, the alcohol is pretty noticeable and it's on the sweet side. The beer is medium bodied with a good, smooth mouthfeel, but once again the beer is a bit heavy and tiring on the palate.

While a good beer, the alcohol is too noticeable on the finish, and I found myself having an increasingly difficult time drinking it, the more I went along. Just like the regular unearthly.

This beer is so similar to the regular unearthly, I just don't see the point to it. Again, just not my cup of tea I guess.

Oak Aged Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,106 ratings.