Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)

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1,508 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,508
Reviews: 620
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 165
Gots: 149 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-12-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,508 | Reviews: 620
Reviews by BgThang:
Photo of BgThang
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Visiting the taphouse bar and grill in norfolk. Sister to the one in hampton. Met the bartender who was kewl and found out he just was in austin a couple of week before hand. Tried this on tap, do not remember seeing it in ST's lineup.

The appearance is blackish with a nich fine creamy head.

The nose. Dang this is straight up bad ass. Hops, hops, and some maltyiness comes through.

The miuthfeel is creamy, nice hop presence that is not to overbearing and finishes with that nice hoppy/malty balance.

If its as good as this in the bottle then I want some.
I feel it could benefit from some cellaring. This is due to some boozyness in the mouthfeel

Overall a very fine beer that will sneak up on ya

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #32 (Sep 2009):

"A gross immorality or injustice." Huh? Why would a beer be grossly immoral? Because ap- parently this beer is "the antithesis of Unearthly." Hmm ... we already like the sound of this.

It's certainly black in the glass, nearly opaque, with soft tones of rich brown and ruby, and a creamy tan lacing that sticks and trails down the glass. Nose is grainy with spicy hop aromas, dried leaves, earth and a faint citrus note in the back. Very creamy on the palate, with a lush, smooth, but firm, body. Complex sweet and malty base up front with caramel, toasty breads (pumpernickel comes to mind), treacle syrup, chocolate and suggestions of honey. Bold and spicy hops, resiny and oily edges; also lots of dense herbal flavors, with more leaf and earth, hints of mint and splashes of floral citrus. Alcohol presence rears a bit hot on the breath, but hides well within the sweetness for the most part. Finishes wet and oily with a resiny and sticky hop linger, eventually going a bit dry, spicy and ashy.

We give it a solid A for awesome. This is a fantastic abomination of a beer. Get some.

Photo of oberon
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I shared this with a friend with high hopes.a bit of a let down.Poured into a standard pint glass a deep dark black but not opaque,a thinner but well retained off white head atop.A mix of left coast hop and bitter chocolate in the nose,quite bitter and earthy.Not the hop profile I was hoping for on the palate,it left me wanting more.Big earth and unsweetened chocolate on the palate,the hops seem more subdued in citric form.A nice beer but it left me wanting more.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This impressive brew poured black with a nice tan head that took quite a while to settle and is clinging to the glass nicely.

You get the roasted barley & malts and chocolate tones of a porter in the nose, but you also get whiffs of hops.

Taste is very complex. At times it reminds me of a porter, but then in rush the Ipa like qualities. The barley and malts win-out, but the hops get a few jabs in as well.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy.

As far as drinkability goes, I could probably do several of these in a sitting.

Bottom Line: Yet another well made beer by Southern Tier. Reminds me of Old Man Winter taken to the extreme.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice black with dark brown highlights and a light tan head on top. Even a bit darker than I expected. Aromas start out with roasty, chocolate infused malts that quickly kick into citric / piney hops. Lots of hops here with fruity accents and caramel undertones. Pretty nice.

First sip brings rather sweet dark malts upfront with chocolate and roast accents that rolls into citrus and pine resin hops. Caramel touches on the way down with a nice kick of bitterness. Finishes with sweet malt accents.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Goes down fairly easily while being slightly dry. Overall, this was a tasty black IPA, however I found it a bit on the sweet side malt wise.

Photo of elinash
3.09/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Trying this from the bottle at home. Served in a Trois Pistoles chalice. Pours with little apparent effervescence and no head at beginning or end of pour (sign of the alcohol?). Little to no lacing with first few sips.

Aroma is sweet hops- maybe mandarin orange. No detectable malt on nose.

The first sip is all IPA and hops for me. The carbonation is almost null- feels like a flat soda. Extremely hoppy in taste, almost no malt/ black malt detected except in the structure. Appropriate for the style, but I think the malt really could come through more. The body could also use a boost.

Bitter and sharp on the finish, rounding out with a little roasted malt in the back palate. Lingering hops.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.35/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In a tulip glass this beer was black with a miniscule tan head and no lacing. Sweet, fruity aroma, some floral notes. Muted taste of dark fruit and pine. Oily in the mouth.
Southern Tier is newly arrived in Maine. Thus far, not impressed. I imagine I'll try some of their other beers.

Photo of warnerry
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown with a reddish hue, with 1 finge of head; head dissipated pretty quickly, leaving a small amount of lacing behind.

S - A bit of licorice, sweet malts and a bit of hops; a faint aroma of bubblegum.

T - Some citrusy and floral hops up front, quickly balanced by some rich, slightly roasted, slightly sweet malts; interesting flavor combination to say the least.

M - Somewhat creamy mouthfeel, medium bodied. Leaves a slightly bitter taste on the tongue.

D - Probably no more than a bomber, as the sweetness, though subtle at first, starts to catch up with you. Still, a pretty easy drinking beer with a an interesting and pleasant flavor profile.

Photo of marvin213
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As expected, it looks like an IPA...but black. It leaves some semblance of a web as it settles and stirs, and a heady foam dissipates to a thin layer of head coating interspersed with bacterial culture-looking bubbles. It looks like an IPA, but it's black. I suppose that's neither good nor bad, but +0.5 for novelty.

The smell is good and unlike an IPA. I don't know if it's a jedi-mind trick or not, but I smell chocolate. I also smell wood. Surely not everything that makes beers black (malts) has origins in chocolate. And I feel like I smell more oak than some oak-aged ales. Maybe it's one of the hop varieties. Though it's far different smelling than your traditional IPA, it certainly offers a pleasant aroma.

I taste toasted malts and hops. A hint of the chocolate I smelled strikes my tongue and lingers on the palate. The hops are there for the IPA effect, but not at the forefront like most imperials. With all the hop monster copycats flooding the craft beer market these days, this is a welcome effect. It tastes like an Imperial IPA with the hop presence and warming alcohol, but I suspect it's the "blackness" that presents the balance so many other doubles promise but fail to deliver. If it really is balance your looking for, this could be your beer.

That malty hoppiness makes for a magnificent mouthfeel. Though I admit I love enamel-pulling hoppiness, this beer is a fulfilling DIPA. It's a unique twist on a style ever-increasing in popularity, and it's unlike any other. The hexagram talisman on its label is appropriate because it is sorta magical--an imperial IPA is not supposed to feel this way.

The sweet sort of blackness blended with genuine IPA hop maks for a drinkable beverage. It's a really light sweetness--I don't know the calorie content, but (minus the alcohol) it seems like a dieter's dream...uh, as far as sweet beers go. A really strong offering from Southern Tier--not just the antithesis of Unearthly (as the bottle suggests), but better.

Photo of Doomcifer
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with minimal light coming through. Not much of a head but tremendous lacing. Smells very floral, citrusy, tropical fruits...hop bomb. Tastes of more huge hoppiness, citrusy, pine, melon, hints of alcohol, light roastiness. Delicious. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, perfect carbonation. Very enjoyable and drinkable...fantastic tasting Hop Burps!

Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber, w/o freshness indication. Pours dark mahogany, dark tan head and ample spots and strands of lace. Bright nose of hop cones, fresh and pungent. Tasty, hoppy brew. Notes of more smooth, citric and pine. Smoothly over the tongue, with hints of milk chocolate, dark malts and more hoppy goodness. Enjoyable dark hoppy brew. Highly recommended. More High quality brew from NY state.

Photo of tigg924
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, dark leather brown, clear

Smell: hops, malt, and a touch of chocolate

Taste: chocolate, coffee, small hops, and burnt malt

Mouthfeel: very smooth, light bodied, little carbonation, with a slightly bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: Not sure I would call this an imperial IPA but it is a very very good beer. It almost drinks like a light RIS and is dangerously sessionable although due to the high ABV one is enough. It is odd that such a dark beer can drink this light. Another Southern Tier triumph and one of my favorites of theirs.

Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by slasher007.

This beer pours a dark brown color with a white head. The aroma is roasted malt with some hops, but not as much as you would get in a regular DIPA. The flavor is very different, with some hop bitterness and citrus flavor as well as lots of flavors you normally associate with porter and stouts. I get some coffee and some roasted malt. This tastes about like a schwarzbier mixed with an IPA. A very interesting beer that I applaud Southern Tier for making.

I had this beer last in a flight of IPAs and DIPAs so there is a good chance some of the hop character was muted due to the prior beers. With that being said, I still really enjoyed this.

Photo of NilocRellim
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

10 oz. pour from the tap.

The beer was solid black in colour.

There were clear notes of smokiness, malt, and citrus on the nose.

Tasted just like it smelled; the smokiness, malts, citrus, and hops were very balanced and surprisingly light. Not overpowering despite the ABV.

Would I buy it again? Definitely.

Photo of RTEdmunds
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black as night, with a small head of tiny little active bubbles. The head subsides quickly.

Wow, this smells intriguing! Smoky and earthy, with some undertones of dark fruit coming through. Pretty strong hop presence.

Tastes quite excellent. The smokiness isn't overpowering, and it tastes a bit more citrusy than the nose let on. It's rich in all kinds of other subtle I struggle to describe.... burned sugar and figs or something come to mind. Flavor is immensely complex but it does not punch you in the mouth; it just subtly cajoles me into taking another sip after I put it down.

The body is lighter than I expected, and the carbonation is moderate. It does not feel like a 9% ABV. Smooth and drinkability is pretty high.

First experience with Southern Tier. Definitely keeping an eye out for their stuff in the future!

Photo of jondeelee
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Iniquity is a brew that will leave you questioning your eyes and tastebuds. For starters, it's almost midnight-black in color, and to the eyes resembles a thick stout. But the nose reveals aromas more common to an IPA: strong grapefruit-like hops with a nice malty/sugary backbone.

Take a sip, and the journey gets even more confusing. The initial flavors still resemble an IPA--heavy on the hops--but almost immediately a wave of dark fruit esters leaps in, bringing molasses and caramelized brown sugars. That is followed by an onslaught of chocolate malts that lasts for most of the mouthful, and completely switches the flavors from grapefruit-bitter hops to almost-burnt grains. Then, at the end, the hops make a brief reappearance, and the aftertaste then becomes a battle between hops and burnt grains to see who can last the longest.

This is truly a genre-bending beer, as well as a first-class taste experience that has to be tried to be believed. A must-buy for beer afficionados.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes.

22oz bottle at about cellar temp. split with a friend poured into a standard pint glass.

pours a pitch black that reveals just a touch of dark ruby brown in the light. big frothy tan head with great retention and lots of lace.

a little bit of piney hops, mostly creamy caramel and roasted malts with hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

lots of creamy caramel and roasted malts. lots of hop bitterness but not too much hop flavor, a little piney. bits of coffee and fruit and quite a bit of alcohol heat

super smooth rich and creamy body. good feeling carbonation.

drinks good for the abv, but one bottle is more than enough, a good beer to split with someone due to its high abv and richness.

Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark black with a little bit of brownish amber showing when held to light. Decent finger and a half of tan head quickly fades into a patchy layer. Decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Sharp aroma of citrus and piney hops with dark roasted malts. Strong hints of chocolate and coffee with a little vanilla and smoke. Also some hints of dark fruits.

Taste: Good kick of piney and citrus hop bitterness up front is followed by notes of coffee and chocolate. A strong base of dark roasted malts backs it all up. Light hints of dark fruit and vanilla. The malts seem to take over after the first bite of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

Overall: A very solid version of a black ale from Southern Tier.

Photo of far333
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque and brownish black with garnet highlights at the bottom and edges of the glass. A half inch high head of thick and dimpled light brown foam sits atop and lingers long.

Aroma of hops, sweet and juicy.

Interesting flavor, is this a dark IPA or hoppy porter? Hard to say, it's definitely hoppy upfront, nice and crisp and fruity and citrusy. But then morphs to a dark malt flavor, a little roasty, with some smokey notes. Leathery smoke lingers.

Great mouthfeel, very smooth and full and consistent. Very drinkable.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.69/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2nd time having this delicious beer; time to give it a proper review.
Poured bomber into 34oz mug. Deep brown/black that shows brown/ruby in the light. Smell is hops like an IPA, but with a strong malt backbone. Taste is hops at first, but the expected bitter finish is obliterated by malt and sweet chocolate. Finishes wet and sweet and delicious. Alcohol is hidden entirely by the sweetness, as is the hop bitterness that would normally come at the end of a beer that smells like this one. Mouthfeel is creamy without being too heavy. Overall, this beer is a couple different styles, and no style at all. A delicious abomination, as many have said.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.81/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A neat little IBA. Pours a dark brown, small amounts of carbonation, rich, deep two finger head.

Smell, lacking, no herbal, floral, citrus, pine or any other hop aroma noticeable, which is a rarity for a ST brew.

Taste is where you really get thrown off. Again, the hop character wasn't there ocmpared to a normal iba, and certainly not ST. Malt wise, super weird, not chocolate or coffee, can't figure out what predominates the style roasted deep brown here, and its flavor component. Sure, there's a bit of nuttyness, but I doubt its driving it entirely. Kind of a mystery. One of those beers that makes you wish you could see the recipe list with it while you drink it, because I have not much of a clue.

Mouthfeel, decent, doesn't fade, just keeps being mysterious. Drinkable, yes, as you keep wanting to drink more hoping to find the answer to its riddle, but alas, I missed.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another nice snag from my quick visit to the Piggly Wiggly at Market Commons in Myrtle Beach, SC. This one pours a deep cola brown if held to the light other wise it looks like a huge dark black schwarzbier. Head is light beige tan and rises well above the rim of my glass, looks like bready rising, lacing is streaked evenly with each sip and makes the beer look very appetizing. Aromatics have deep herbal and pine like hop cone action going on amongst deep dark roasty malts, and a touch of mellow alcohol in the background. I'm getting some herbal mint like qualities amongst the dark bitter chocolate roasts. Flavor is fantastic, one of the dark semi sweet chocolates with a dry finish, enough malts give it a caramel roasted malt flavor but overall very hoppy expressive flavor that includes more herbal and aggressive pine hop action to the enjoyable Imperial Black Ale I have in front of me. Mouthfeel is fuller bodied with a touch of cloying milk chocolate syrup notes, carbonation level is carried well here nothing that makes me want to pour it out, very enjoyable in fact. Much more so than other hopped up dark ales with the higher alcohol contents. I split this with my wife, who typically enjoys darker offerings, I ended up finishing more of this than she could handle. I think the hop forward approach in this dark caught her off guard.

Photo of brow1901
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle calls this beer an imperial black ale. The antithesis to Unearthy.

A- This beer pours a pitch black. With a light tan head, the color of cardboard. But upon further inspection I noticed that the black isn't really deep, some light will shine through when held to the lamp. And rising bubbles can be seen.

S- The smell really confuses the senses. I expect to smell hits of malts and sweetness mixing with light hops. Instead the beer smells of piney hops with faint hints of chocolate malt.

T- Iniquity has an exceptionally interesting flavor. In your normal Double IPA the hops do fight the malts but in the end the hops win the bottle and destroy the malt flavor. In this beer the taste starts with the usual hops but then the malt begins to take over. Suddenly your mouth is hit with flavors of chocolate and roasted malts, slightly sweet yet dry. Simply delicious.

M- The mouth is good also, leaves the palate dry. The beer is full bodied and thick, but again you expect the tastes of a stout but you instead get the light carbonation feel of an IPA.

D- At 9% abv this beer is highly drinkable, I really love this beer. I wouldn't call it extreme, but it's really fun to drink.

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours a dark brown color that allows light through the edges with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of good amounts of citrus and light pine hops with mild amounts of black malt.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth and mild black malt flavors without the charred flavors normally accompanying these malts are joined by large amounts of citrus and light pine flavors midway through the sip. The hops carry through to the mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have a few more.

Overall this is another solid incarnation of the Black IPA. I didn't know what to expect after reading the bottle but I did know to expect something good and ST delivered. Well worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a dense black body with a light tan head that fades to a thick ring and sticks to the glass with each sip. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The full aroma of green juicy hops has a nice pine resin quality to it.

T- The big taste of green pine hops is juicy with a slightly sweet pale malt flavor. There is a mellow roasted malt note with no bitterness at the finish. As the beer warms the roasted note increases and turns sweeter and covers some of the hops. The finish has a pine resin flavor that lingers along with a roasted malt note.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a soft alcohol bite.

D- This beer is a nice IPA with a twist of some soft mellow dark malt notes. Interesting concept that was nice to drink.

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,508 ratings.