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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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,101 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

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Ratings: 1,101
Reviews: 566
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.78%
Wants: 59
Gots: 70 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-09-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,101 | Reviews: 566 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pours a crystal clear copper body with a tight bubbled light off white tan khaki head forming thick into my Unibrouse La Fin du Monde chalice. Fine even lacing spread thin but intricately around the edges of my glass. This one in particular is aged on some oak, it really comes off in the nose with a typically big hoppy barrage of hops this one is more concentrated in a nice earthy/oak wood aged caramel malt mixture. Also an air of sharp citrus/possibly grapefruit notes coming off strong amongst the rest of the nose. Flavor is actually quite balanced with a big rush of oak barrel aging hints of vanilla/caramel/charred oak with one of my favorite DIPAs standing up against the barrage of other flavors with citrus/grapefruit/herbal hops peaking through. The flavor is probably best enjoyed with a big woody cedar toned cigar, it just seems like they would get along. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slightly oily with hop resins standing strong alcohol robustness that doesn't overwhelm the palate but makes it's presence known with each soothing sip. Carbonation is quite mellow with a big sugary beast of a DIPA aged on oak flexing it's muscles take your diabetes meds kids this is super sweet with backing hops, alcohol, and oak barrel aging effects to create quite the experience.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of MasterSki
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of drabmuh
2.35/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

No date on bottle, poured into a snifter. Beer appears thick. Clear, orange and forms a thin diffuse head of small white bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is criminally low. Seriously low.

Boozy aroma, hops and lots of sweet malt. There is some hint of woods, not much though.

Big body, spicy, lots of hop flavor and malt sweetness, lots. Its kind of like drinking syrup with this undercurrent of woodiness. Its not as good as the unearthly, I'm not sure what the wood aging did to it. I guess its making it close to undrinkable. I hate this beer.

There is a tendency to age a portion of a beer in barrels or on wood and tell everyone that its a new beer and people's general reaction is that its better, but especially with a hoppy beer there are reasons not to do it. Not all beer benefits from contact with wood, air, and time. Its just a waste of hops. Never again.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, amber/apricottish hue, lovley white head, if small. Poured into a Maredsous tulip glass.

Aroma: bittersweet, lightly malty, pine and fresh citrus fruit...ripe orange & tangerine, splash of pineapple.

Taste: here's where the oak comes in, from the first sip...Big, wet, & woody. Lean body, long, oaky finish. Blankets the hops a bit, smothers them, even, and lets the malt stand guard. The regular Unearthly is a bitch-slap of bitterness. Oak-aging masks the spanks of the hops, tenderly covers it, and all is smooth and mellow.
Alcohol shows eventually, as it does with all of these ST Imperials.

There's no mistaking the oak in this, but I wouldn't have recognized it as Unearthly. A uniquely beautiful ale.

Photo of Rifugium
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA

Clear amber liquid with a small, bubbly, white head; moderate retention and lacing. Aroma is almost straight-up oak, probably the most pronounced wood scent I've ever gotten from a beer, with grassy hops also detectable. Taste followed the aroma, lots of oak astringency, grassy and floral hops, lesser hints of citrus and pine, and a bready caramel malt base peeking through from the background. Light-medium body, pretty crisp and drinkable though it might through the unexpecting off a bit.

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 3/31/10 notes. Had on tap at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, Va.

a - Pours an amber color with an inch of white head. Looks the same as normal Unearthly.

s - Smells of citrus hops, sweet malts, and piney hops. Not getting any oak or wood, so I would say smells the same.

t - Tastes of citrus and pine hops, caramel malts, and hints of oak. The oak definitely is not too prominent in this one.

m - Very smooth. Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - It is a pretty good beer but to be honest, not much different than the normal version of Unearthly. I liked it a lot, and if you've never have Unearthly, I would reccomend trying it. If you've had the normal version though, it is not worth going out of your to try as a subtle oak aftertaste is all your'e missing.

Photo of WesWes
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a beautiful amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a wonderful medley of hops and oak that really compliments one another. The vanilla character reacts well with the heavy malt bill. The taste is good. It has quite the complex array of flavors here. The malt and hops hit you up front with a nice bitter explosion. It goes down easy with some warmth and then the oak really finishes it off. It's powerful, almost to the point of extinguishing the hop finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. The oak character is a nice touch, although the original is fine without it. These guys just keep putting out the good stuff. Cheers!

Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle provided by slasher007.

Pours an orange color with a white head. The smell is somewhat resiny with some hop bitterness and some flavors that I associate with barrel aging. The oaked aroma gets stronger as the beer warms. There is definitely some piney and citrus hop flavors but the oak aging takes the edge off of them, mellowing them out. You also get some oak character in the flavor. The beer has a medium mouthfeel and the oak aging makes it very drinkable. We tried this after drinking some other big IPAs and DIPAs and I would like to try it again when my palate was fresher.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +22.9%

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

Decent, above normal, head. Good lace. Neutral amber color with a slight amount of haze.

Fresh, aromatic hop nose.

More malt than expected; of course, there is a strong bittering hop component. Still, this is a well balanced beer. Light alcohol in the background, which given its ABV would mean trouble in the drinkability department. It's too easy to finish off. If anything, it is under-hopped for the style.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.08/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A solid pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a fat-three-finger thick, nicely tan looking head. The beer is a concentrated amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, copper-amber color when held up to the light. Up front the beer smells of pungent hops with notes of pine, herbaceous hemp oil (with a certain dankness to it), candied citrus fruit (grapefruit, tangelo and bergamot) as well as some bright tropical fruit notes that remind me of lychee, kumquat and a sort of floral, super-peach note. The oak integrates very well with the hop character; it naturally accentuates the herbal notes with a spicy, buttery, woody oak aroma. As the beer warms the alcohol becomes a touch hot.

The beer feels a touch lighter than I was expecting from the viscous looking pour, but it is still fairly full bodied. The hop flavor is a bit reduced from what one would expect from the expressive aroma. The oak character might actually be a little more present, or at least more on par with the hop flavors. The oak and green hops combine to contribute a sort of raw, menthol-like, spicy, dank-buttery-almost-cheesy herbaceous quality that is the dominant note here. Supporting flavors of ruby-red-grapefruit, tangelo and lychee are noticeable in the middle, while the finish has a pronounced green, peppery note that lingers on the palate for quite some time. Speaking of the finish there is an oak derived astringency that couples with the hop-bitterness, as well as the previously mentioned peppery note, to produce an almost harsh finish to this beer. The malt character plays a definite supporting role, but is a bit too crystal malt focused with some intrusive hints of sweet-tea and caramelized, toasted grain that clashes with the hop / oak combination instead of smoothing them out. The sharp / harsh finish is exacerbated as it warms by a hot-alcohol presence.

An interesting beer, despite really being in the mood for something hoppy, this didn't really quite work for me. The oak provides a certain astringency, as well as accentuating a bit more of the herbaceous hop qualities that I would prefer. This is certainly not a bad beer though, and I can see some really enjoying it, but it really just isn't quite for me. My final assessment is that the oak and hops combine to create a flavor that reminds me of raw, herbaceous, citrus infused, dank, slightly ripe cheese and menthol, crystal malt laden tea.

Photo of GClarkage
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Gavage
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear orange color with a 1" head that falls apart quickly. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: some pine, grapefruit, vanilla, and earthiness comes through easily to the nose.

Taste: caramel, pine, grapefruit, golden apples, and a hearty bitterness is wrapped in a earthy woodiness. Some vanilla arrives late. Alcohol is warming.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start and a bit smoother late. Aftertaste is warrming and long.

Drinkability: smooth drinking beer here with a big flavor profile. The bomber bottle is enough in one session. Pick this interesting beer up if you see it.

Photo of orangesol
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 4/21/10.

On tap at Al's of Hampden served in a stemmed tulip. Pours a clear amber color with a creamy tanned head about a finger strong. Constant bubbles of carbonation rise to the surface in support of the head which retains quite well with lace sticking about the glass in an almost solid curtain. Nose is full of spicey hops that are a bit herbal with a backing of malt aroma and subtle oaky notes. Taste is hoppy upfront but not as bitter as expected. The hops present themselves in a more flavorful way than just bitter. Hop flavors remind me of pine and herbs. Mild vanilla and oakiness comes through as it warms. Decent amount of malt sweetness is evident. Finishes with an herbal hop flavor that lingers with a bit of bitterness. Medium to heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. I think this is one of the first examples of any style that I prefer the plain version over the oak aged version.

Oak Aged Unearthly (Imperial India Pale Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,101 ratings.