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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)

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1,466 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,466
Reviews: 615
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 142
Gots: 130 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-12-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,466 | Reviews: 615 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wburch1967
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been loving the darker, hoppy beers. Not sure why, btu waited to pick this up. Guess I'm not a fan of the packing of S. Tier, but this beer in the glass was brown/black with a big, yummy head. The smell was molasses, charcoal, and west coast hops. The taste was smooth and showed a great balance of hops and the darker malts. Great beer.

wburch1967, May 06, 2011
Photo of teromous
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with some brown when it catches light. The head pours pretty low about 1/3 a thumb, with tan bubbles. I would like a little more head. It drops out to nothing but a foam ring in a matter of seconds. No real lacing...only some occasional blotches.

S: I can smell pine hops and some roasted notes. It smells very similar to a barleywine, where the roasted malts come out very distinctly.

T: I didn't get slammed with hops or bitterness which is great because this is really supposed to be a played down style. It's a very well balanced comforting beer. The flavors...there's first the bitterness from the darker grains, reminiscent of a strong coffee or espresso. After that the hop flavor slides in with a slightly spruce flavor. When the hops back off, there's a bit of fruit rind flavor and some chocolate even. The chocolate flavor comes and goes. Really an exceptional flavor.

M: The mouthfeel is medium bodied leaning towards heavy. It's not overly malty or bitter so it's balanced really well. No awful aftertastes or unpleasantness. I would like a little more carbonation though, because it feels a little flat.

O: Overall It'd rate this just above good. It's not perfect by any means but it's a really great beer. This beer would be great for people who like barleywines or DIPAs/CDAs/ABAs, whatever you want to call them. I would buy this again.

teromous, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of ToasterChef
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cellar temperature bottle is split between two pint glasses. The beer is colored dark brown. It is pretty opaque, only a tiny amount of light penetrates the liquid. There is a lot of carbonation clinging to the sides of the glass. On top is a large head of tiny tan bubbles.

The beer has a great hoppy aroma, but it isn't too strong. It is earthy and floral. The malts provide a little bit of sweetness to the nose that balances well.

This beer has a good, balanced flavor. Hops are strong, but not in your face. Bitterness is very noticeable, especially in the finish, but it never becomes overpowering. Some roasted malts are tasted. Hops are slightly oily and linger long.

Very good mouthfeel, considering this is an imperial ale with 9% alcohol. A flavorful coat is left behind, but it doesn't feel very thick. There is hardly any stickiness.

This is an enjoyable ale. I didn't enjoy it as much as Southern Tier's imperial IPA, but it is still one of the better American Black Ales I've had.

ToasterChef, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of WoodBrew
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It was our annual trip to Tampa...the night before THE BUCKEYE CRUISE AGAINST CANCER!!!! The better half and I walked a couple of blocks down from our hotel and found a wonderful sport to taste numerous different brews. The third beer I tried, thank to the suggestion of our server...was Southern Tier's Imperial Blaxk Ale...again another nice suggestion!!! This was a quite nice beer!! The color was...black with creamy white head. The nose had a subtle hop and definite roast/coffee. This of course fed into the taste of the beer which was full body (prbably cuz of high ABV), with a great balance of hop, molassis, malt, and coffee. I could drink maybe four of these....then would have to wave the white flag!!!!

WoodBrew, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of JayQue
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer style is all over the lot, but this beer is awesome no matter what style it is.

Pours a dense dark brown with some light coming through at the bottom of the glass. Nice size tan head. Good retention and thick patchy lacing.

Smell is rich and inviting, somewhere between a Barleywine and a Double Stout. Caramel malts, piney hops and a touch of chocolate.

Tastes good as well. Bready and caramel malts dominate, but the balancing piney hops are not too far behind. The chocolate is more pronounced in the taste than the smell. This is a good, strong tasting beer, not your "slightly thin roasted malts/hint of bitterness" Black Ale.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy.. Hardly any alcohol presence just alternating layers of malts and hops. Goes down real easy.

Overall, a very good beer!!!

JayQue, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of vandemonian
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Southern Tier Iniquity is a super thick and foamy black ale that emphasises the IPA less than others.

A: Black colour and a 4 mm head that fades pretty quickly but leaves some lacing behind.

S: Smells lik roasty malt with a hint of chocolate.

T: Taste is a little hoppy up front into a roasty malt finish. Very nice.

M: Very thick and foamy.

O: Very nice.

vandemonian, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of birderbeerer
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black beer with an off-white, three-finger head, and super lacing. Stuck on the glass.

Equal malt and hops in the aroma. Hops are herbal and floral with some pine. Malts are chocolate.

Taste is nice and sweet. Some fruit that wasn't present in the aroma. Chocolate too. And just a little bit of pine and grass. Good dose of chocolate and sweet malts behind the hops.

birderbeerer, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dramatic pour with stout-like intensity though the color is considerably lighter with some translucence and ruby highlights; the rocky head sticks nicely and leaves clumps of lacing

Smell: A very different aroma indeed, with peppermint and spruce wafting above a burnt caramel base

Taste: Opens with caramel and peppermint; underneath, the caramel malt builds and produces a burnt brown sugar aspect by mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweet and bitter flavors nicely interact and both sides of the profile linger into the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Certainly quite different from the other Black IPAs I have sampled, this one is somewhat sweeter but still has the dramatic contrasting sweetness/bitterness I seek

brentk56, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of uberez8
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a two brothers pint glass, this is as dark as my soul (pitch black) and when held up to the light, an opaque brown color is seen at the top. The head is a bit weak at one finger and surprisingly whitish tan but the lacing is nice and lingering. I am definitely liking what I see and loving what I smell with a crisp, deep malty scent wafting up. The taste is outstanding, a deep, dark malt flavor between earthy and smoky. It's a bit sweet at first but the then the hops kick in with a nice light spiciness and then a perfectly balanced hop finish almost on the grassy side. For the mouth feel it has a nice amount of carbonation, just enough to let the flavors sit and transition smoothly.

My first love of Southern Tier was Krampus but this one has taken the cake, and it's year round. I am very excited about this fact.

uberez8, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of tapman
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, but not black. Head is moderate beige and less than a finger after a fairly aggressive pour.

Smell is dark kilned malts, though no astringent roastiness. Smell is mild, with faint chocolate and fig notes. Not that hoppy in the smell.

Smooth chocolate and a full, all-around hoppiness. Seriously, hops are very balanced with the de-bittered black malt that is in this brew. Hard to pick out any big flavors because the brew is so balanced, but I suppose I get some cocoa powder, fresh mint hops, dark fruit/light figs. Bitterness is round and satisfying in the finish. 9%? What 9%?

I could have used it a little thicker, but still smooth and feels good in the mouth.

Very good beer. I like'em a little hoppier, but the lack of roasted astringency is a nice change.

tapman, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of JWU
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into standard curved pint glass

A- Really pretty. Very dark, but not "stout dark" some ruby hues on the edges. A nice three finger head on the pour that stuck around a good while.

S- Really love the smell. Ha some dark roasted barley, some brown ale sweetness in the smell and of course some nice hops.
Really complex smelling.

T-Taste follows the smell. It's very much a Porter/Brown Ale/IPA hybrid, and it works oh so well. Coffee and dark malts like a porter, brown ale sweetness, and hops that do an admirable job of trying to overcome the malty sweet base. So nicely balanced. Where in the world do they hide the 9% ABV in this???

M-Moderate carbonation, heavier than an IPA, but not quite as heavy as most porters.

D- for a 9% imperial ale, I could sit and drink this for awhile.

Really impressive offering from Southern Tier, and the most impressive beer I've had in awhile.

JWU, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of ExtraStout
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

ExtraStout, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of BEERMILER12
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark red, almost black. About half a finger of tan head fades fairly quickly, but still manages to leave some fairly impressive lacing

S: Like a mix between porter and IPA. Definitely get the chocolate and coffee scents that a porter/stout would exhibit, along with some nice citrusy and piney hops

T: Along the same lines as the smell, the hops are definitely more on the citrus side than the pine. Nice coffee notes with dark chocolate. It's tough to tell whether the hops or coffee do more bittering towards the end, but bitter it is

M: Full bodied with fairly high carbonation. Almost like a highly carbonated imperial stout or porter. Not too full or syrupy though, more like an IPA or DIPA

D/O: Definitely drinks well, the alcohol is almost unnoticeable. I'd love to get this a bit fresher, because I'm pretty sure the hops are a bit faded, and could stand out a little more. Still a great brew, nonetheless

BEERMILER12, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of jbertsch
2.2/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm not sure if I got an old bottle with all the hops having completely faded away or what... I'll re-review when i get another. But for now...

Appearance: Black, light tan head dissipates to a cap that sticks. Decent lacings hangs out.

Aroma: Rasin, sweet fig, faint cocao and coffee. Heavy malts backbone, no noticeable hops.

Taste: Fig dominates, along with a little molasses and rasin notes that come through. Hops is absent..and I'm really searching for it because it SHOULD be there.

Mouthfeel: A little on the heavy side (not a abd thing). Creamy, yet carbonated fairly.

Drinkability needs improvement. The unbalanced sweetness can be an obstacle. But a slice of sharp cheddar cheese cut the sweetness perfectly, so I recommend that pairing.

All in all, I'm not sure if I had an old bottle. I can't find any bottle date printed on the bottle anywhere. I've had it for about a month, but the hops shouldn't be completely gone... only not as strong maybe. I'll give it another try sometime as I love the black ale style. But for now, I was very dissapointed.

jbertsch, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of rinhaak
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. aged bomber poured in a tulip glass.

Pours a rich, dark black with a thin head leaving behind a nice lace. The nose is truly a highlight here: I could smell it all day. (Even my less fanatical beer friends couldn't stop commenting on the aromas.) Lots of chocolate, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, plums, and port wine are all present. With this much intensity in the nose (and with a 9.0% abv), I expected a syrupy, sweet ale in the mouth.

Not so. This is surprisingly dry without a trace of the high alcohol. Beautifully balanced, it's less chocolaty than the nose suggests (though the chocolate malts are certainly present), and licorice, port, plum, and richly roasted malts interact to create a symphony of flavors.

This is a hugely drinkable beer, and one of the best American Black Ale's I've had to date. Complex but balanced, this will become a mainstay in my house.

rinhaak, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of bobhits
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Deep reddish brown pour, turning black in the glass and giving way to a huge creamy thick head. Some of the best head I've seen....well not downloaded....in a long time. This glass is going to be smothered by lacing.

Citrus, American hop notes, clean yet oily aromas. There is malt here, but it's light, subtle, and way in the back.

Citrus hops dominated this beer, but they don't reach that level of biting the tongue for an IPA. There's a very neutral malt character that dominates the time on the tongue, but the finish is all citrus grape fruit hops. There's a touch of alcohol, a bit solvent like. The malt has perhaps a touch of molasses or maybe my eyes are doing the tasting for me. There's a bit of dry bread, not toasted per say but lets say lightly toasted to the point it's just dried out.

Well carbonated and the alcohol doesn't take on much impact in the mouth. There is a decent amount of weight and body here, some oils but not over the top.

Call this an adjustment, but well the sum of the parts are greater than the final product. Good? Sure, but there's just something here that doesn't work.

bobhits, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of FanofHefe
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a Southern Tier tulip. Big two-finger tan head that leaves nice lacing down the glass. The body is black, but not pitch black like thick stout. Still, no light coming through.

Interesting aroma. A mix of piney hops and roasted malt. A more unusual combination than I expected.

The flavors step it up a notch. In addition to the hops and malt you get chocolate, and a hint of coffee. Nice bitter hop aftertaste that works well, with a decent sweet malty, chocolately balance.

The mouthfeel is a little thin, but, of course, more like an IPA than a stout. Overall, a very enjoyable brew.

FanofHefe, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

American-style black ales or 'Cascadian' ales seem to be graining steam. Iniquity is part of this schizophrenic scene with an intensely hopped flavor and nearly black cast.

The pour brings a dark, dark brown color that approached black. An onyx-like sheen atests to the odd clarity of both dark ales and dry-hopped beers. A creamy (remarkably light) tan head rests on the beer in rather dense fashion and holds firm through the session without demanding too much thought. A good look, even for a small stout.

Aromas are in vast contrast to the impressions given to the eye. Resiny hop character resemble pine, grapefruit pith, and herbal grasses; not the caramel rich or heavy toast aroma that are usually associated with darker, heavier beers. Light malt character emmit with subtle toast and malted barley.

Flavors again are right out of Stone's playbook: Sharp pine flavors along with fresh cut grass, sappy bitterness, and citrus peels give an aggressive hop overtone to the beer. Light and crisp malt flavors struggle to offset the bitterness with the faintest flavor of burnt molasass and dry toast. There's little else that make any impact to the beer- hops, light toasty, and a slightly solventy alcohol taste.

Malty rich and creamy with the first sip, but the carbonation soon gives way to a toasty-dry, alcoholic warmth, and piney bite in the throat. A big transition for a big beer- again much like an ipa.

It's difficult to get past the notion of ipa's being black and offering the acrid dryness of burnt toast; it becomes hard to tell where the hop bitterness ends and the burnt toast bitterness begins- but again, that's all part of the fun. Kinda reminds me when the green ketchup came out; then, the psychological game was too much to accept. We'll see about black pale ales.

BEERchitect, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of obrendano
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a new find thanks to my new beer guru Steve from 7 Courts Liquors in Perry Hall, MD

A - great bottle design, as usual. poured into a pint glass, beer is dark black, thick, with a sticky light tan head, even darker than most stouts. head leaves nice rings with each sip/gulp

S - huge sweet hit of sweet sugary smell, some roasted coffee and bread tones, can notice some fruity cherry as well hidden in the mix

T - an absolute bomb of complex and balanced dark malts, perfect hop job, a large brush of milky chocolate and an ever so slight brush of alcohol. this is fabulous. eating some light bread while you drink brings out even more of the chocolate flavors

M - super duper smooth, full bodied, and sticky. pretty much as good as it gets for me

D - I'm so glad to have found this. Iniquity very quickly shot to the top of my favorites/go to list with just one bomber. I will add also, this went absolutely perfectly with some Indian naan dipped in a medium hot curry sauce

obrendano, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of busterthecat
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into oversized stemmed ale glass

A- Pours a very dark reddish hue. A nice dense 1/4" khaki head sits and lingers for a bit. creamy lacing.

S- A solid dose of roasted and chocolate malts. Some clean floral and piney hops peak through. Medium robustness of aroma. Smells creamy.

T- Good burst upfront of mostly piney hops with some pepper/ spice. Bitterness is a good level. The hops give way to the solid body of roasted & choc malt. Chocolate is more subdued then in aroma. The hops linger through entire taste.

M- A medium-big bodied brew. Bitterness is well dialed in, sits on palate but doesn't block any of the other flavors. Finish sticks to back of mouth and lingers well.

D/O- No alc heat. A very solid brew all around. Southern Tier really pulled off a good ABA. Will be getting this again.

busterthecat, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of greenmonstah
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into Ommegang tulip.

A - Pours a dark brown with a half a finger of tan head. Head lacing is nice.

S - Smell is mildly hoppy (piney) with a fair amount of black malt. It has an aroma that I can always pickup in dark ST beers that I can never really place - like a semi bitter chocolate? Definitely has some bitter chocolate to it.

T - Bitter up front, hoppy pine. Has some chocolate and black malt flavors. Later becomes very sweet, with a deeply sweet and resinous finish. Could use a bit more hop emphasis, but I love the malt base.

M - Medium to full body with some active carbonation. Wet throughout, but with a slightly drier finish.

D - Easy to drink and tasty. No alcohol taste. Drinks like a 6-7%, not a 9% Not going to buy it again, but it was pretty good.

greenmonstah, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of stewart124
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby red to almost black with a thin but sustaining head.

Nose is full of red grapefruit and a spicy tone.

Very viscious and oily. The black malts adds quite a character and all the bottle bosts is dehusked black malt and pale malt. Whoa! The brewers did a great job building such a malt character from 2 malts. Delicious! I could get used to this. Some alcohol hot notes but this is easy to drink.

Hops blend well to add a very bitter backbone without taking away from the malts. Lots of citrus and pine that finishes with a ton of resin. Not astringent at all.

I almost get some milk chocolate in the finish but then pine and citrus take hold. Quite good to say the least but I expect this from Southern Tier.

stewart124, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of titosupertramp
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to DIM for the opportunity to try this. Didn't realize this was so hop forward or I would've drank it sooner.

A: Pretty dark...appears black, but when the glass is tilted to the side and held to light, the outer edges are soda colored. Thinish,bi-colored head, tan and with off-white highlights. Receds and leaves cap with big bubbles around the edges.

S: Bready, licorice, citrus and spicy hops...something sweet here..brown sugar..candi sugar. When the beer warms, there's a slight alcohol burn.

T: Follows the nose pretty closely. The hops are a little more aggressive when the beer is cold. As the beer warms, the licorice becomes more evident. An herbal flavor is present as well. Bitter finish. Pretty interest flavor.

M: Full bodied and dry. No real alcohol burn.

D: Iniquity is the type of beer that makes rating drinkability difficult. This is a tasty and enjoyable beer, but it sits heavy and is for sure a sipper.

Thanks Dan..this is a good one.

titosupertramp, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of phishgator
3.05/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into Draak goblet. Dark black/brown with slightly tan head, only two fingers. The aroma is of candi fruit, spicy hops, and roasted licorice. The taste starts with a earthy dose of bitterness from the hops. There is a roasted malt sweetness; a flavor of root beer without the large amount of carbonation. Low carbonation. The body is full. Not their best offering.

phishgator, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of bnes09
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, just a couple shades away from pitch black. Completely opaque with a thin head. Descent retention though.

Dark roasted aromas as well as spicy hops.

Hops and roasted malt are both distinct in the flavor. Hops are citric and floral. Some coffee and a little almond roasted character. Bold and complex.

Medium to slightly fuller body. Moderately carbonated. Fairly dry finish.

An interesting brew. I like the flavor combinations.

bnes09, Mar 02, 2011
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,466 ratings.