1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,432 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,432
Reviews: 613
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 133
Gots: 125 | FT: 2
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,432 | Reviews: 613 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of evilkalla
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Serving: Bomber into a big glass.

A: Poured a very, very dark brown, almost black. About an eight inch of head which went away pretty fast. Not really that much carbonation is visible.

S: Dark malts, some chocolate and coffee, plus piney, citrusy hops you would expect for an IPA.

T: Has a dark amber/stout like flavor with a lot of hops. There is an upfront sweetness to it which immediately gives way to hop bitterness. Very unusual, but pretty tasty.

M: Has a solid feel in the mouth, somewhat sticky and clingy. It lets you know that it's a big beer.

D: This is a pretty drinkable beer. The flavor is somewhat unconventional but I like it. I would drink it again.

evilkalla, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of msnow34
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured from a bomber into a tulip. Pours a dark black with chocolate milk colored head. Very easy on the palate was expecting a little more hoppy for being a black ipa. Easy to drink quickly tastes chocolatly malty more like a stout just a little lighter. Very easily to get down esp at 9%

msnow34, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of ryanonline
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%

Nice and black with a tan head and a bit of some Ruby highlights. Ok lacing.

Smells like a deliciously chocolate IPA, or a superbly Hoppy chocolate stout.

Oh my God it tastes the same. Awesome!

Smooth and crisp slightly heavy body. Very light carbonation. Slightly creamy.

A bit heavy but nice and easy on the palete.

Wow, I am impressed. Not just with iniquity, but I also tried the creme brulee and Jah vah stouts from southern tier and am thouroughly amazed. This is one of my new favorites.

ryanonline, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of SirSketch
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%

A - Dense, cream colored head dissipates quickly to a ring. Fairly opaque color at first glance, but displays hues ranging from brown to ruby red when held up to light.

S - I noticed two distinct hop aromas: floral hop and a juicy grapefruit aroma. There is also an almost undetectable roasted malt smell trying to push its way through.

T - Sweet milk chocolate, grapefruit-like hops and a trace of roasted malt. Very dessert-like.

M/D - Somewhat aqueous and is neither dry nor sweet. At least it is drinkable for a 9% brew. OK, but I probably wouldn't buy it again

SirSketch, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of DanielRP
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%

Bottle from Ølbutikken, Copenhagen. Can't find a date on the bottle, but I bought it 2010-01 and served it 2010-09 (so there might be some aging bias in my review). Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Dark, as it promises to be. Quite a light coloured head formed an inch or so after pouring.

Smell: Sweet, with recognizable cascade. Something also reminds me of caramel malt heavy brews such as Dale's Pale Ale.

Taste: Like the smell advertised. Sweetness like from caramel, ends with nutty touch. Pleasant, not really running away in any direction.

Mouthfeel: Flows easily, not thick as a stout, as it shouldn't be. Carbonation is at a good level.

Drinkability: I splitted a bomber with a friend, and despite of that I honestly got quite bored after a while. It doesn't get hindered by high alcohol percentage or unpleasant taste, but there's nothing that really keeps me going in drinking it either. Maybe depended more on my mood than the beer though (but the best of beers should be able to influence my mood to the better, shouldn't they? :-) ).

It says "the antithesis of Unearthly" on the label, and that is a strange statement. If anything, I felt that I recognized the beer clearly from Southern Tier's other products, very much including Unearthly. It is different, but it's more like a little brother than an antithesis. It goes with the style, I guess. And variety from the heavier DIPA:s can be good.

DanielRP, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of dtivp
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%

Poured a very dark brown with a a small tan head that dissipated quickly.
Aroma of roasted or burnt malt with sweet dark fruit.
Taste had a strong roasted malt flavor with the sweetness of dark fruits and a hint of hop bitterness.
Light to medium body with light carbonation and the alcohol was hidden very well.
The sweetness surprised me and dominated the bitterness from the hops. A nice black ale from Southern Tier.

dtivp, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local in MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear brown brew. Head recedes slowly, with sticky lacing. Aroma is sweet with dark fruitiness.

Taste with dark sweetness, somewhat strong dark fruitiness in the middle, and closes a bit boozy. It all comes together well though. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is good also. I don't know what it is, but a double IPA, I'm thinking no. However, I don't think good beers always have to fit into style pigeonholes.

ppoitras, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of AdamBear
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%

A-dark brown, almost black, thin tan head.

S-I smell mocha, it smells like a porter until you notice that hops scent within. dark roasted and creamy and fairly strong smelling

T-This is a very interesting beer, definitely the most unique double IPA i've had. Its not as if either the hops or the smoked mocha hits first and then one comes in after...no...these two tastes come together all at once. Its a very different and exciting experience. The after taste is also fused, between bitterness and smoked mocha. It doesn't last long. there is a bit of licorice in there too. not too bad!

M-medium carbonation, feels great. dry finish

D-very drinkable, even for a 22 ounce bottle at 9%ABV, the mocha taste lasts more than the others, and it tastes very well. doesn't have any bad tastes that keeps this from being extremely enjoyable. still one of the best black ales i've ever had.

AdamBear, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Pours black with low carbonation. Head is brown and made up of small to medium sized bubbles; lacing is fairly high.

Aromas of sweet malts, some roasted notes. Not a lot of hops.

Taste is sweet with a slight roast in the back. There is some hop flavoring and bitterness but they are understated and well balanced with the rest of the beer. Beer is smooth and his a nice medium body to it.

Drinkability is fairly high, despite the alcohol content. One of the original Black IPAs which are becoming popular lately; I appreciate that Southern Tier was original before it was cool to make this style.

claspada, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of generalnotsew
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%

Pours extremely dark brown. Near black but on the light side of black if that is possible with a tan head. Smell is full of chocolate surprisingly. Kind of expected some hoppy bittnerness but it actually smells closer to a stout than anything. But no, no bitterness in the nose. Hmmm tastes more like a hoppy Imperial Stout than anything. I am not really too keen on the taste. Lingering hop bitterness in the finish but mostly bitter chocolate. Second Black IPA for me. Cap'n Krunkles although I didn't care for it either was closer to IPA tastes than this. I take it I just care for the style although I say this is well done.

generalnotsew, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of sdawson
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

I received this bottle from HeadyHops81 in a great trade! Thanks so much!

I poured the Iniquity into a snifter, which resulted in a rather minimal head -- just enough to patch over the top, and create a bit of subtle lacing. The brew, true to the bottle label, is nigh pitch black, though does show hints of brown and amber throughout. The scent is of sweet syrup and citrus, a bit more dessert-like than my pre-conception was for this brew. The hops come out more in the taste, however, starting with a jolt of lemon and pine, followed by a maltiness oddly reminiscent of sweet Japanese milk coffee, only for the tang of hops to rise once more again in the lingering aftertaste. Overall, the mouthfeel is appealing, though I would have appreciated a touch more carbonation to keep the brew from feeling quite so weighty upon the tongue. All in all, quite a tasty find, and I do hope to have more in the future.

sdawson, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of chickenflea
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

Bomber. Pours a deep rich black (although not opaque) with a medium thick tanned head. Lots of lovely lacing on the glass.
Aromas are interesting and predictable. Overriding aroma is sweet malts with dark dried fruits like prunes and raisins. Some roastiness as well. The hop aroma is muted. A touch of vanilla. Flavor is sweet and smooth. Medium bodied with notes of brown sugar, molasses, candy, vanilla. Finishes with smoky Red Man chewing tobacco. The hops are more spicy than bitter in this brew and they are very understated until the very end. A rich beer. The complexity on the finish saves it from being too rich. A good brew. Southern Tier is really starting to earn my respect as on of the top micros in the US.

chickenflea, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of silentjay
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%

pours a slightly viscous dark brown (almost black) which produces a nice, two-fingered tan head that retains well and laces decently.

lots of piney hops hit the nose and hint at dry-hopping. some herbal hops, molasses, dark caramel, a little dark chocolate, and some tree bark.

taste is of piney hops, a bit, but unfortunately not as much as in the aroma. molasses and caramel take over a bit bringing this close to an english porter realm. Still decently hoppy, yet not quite as much as was hinted at in the aroma or by the bottle print. Unfortunately, there is no easily recognizable bottle date, so I am not sure of the freshness of this particular bottle to see if the hops may have faded with time. Falls short of my favorites of the Black IPA hybrid style due to this. Still decently tasty, though.

light/medium bodied with ample carbonation that finishes a tad dry and kind of sweet.

goes down rather well. alcohol is definitely integrated well and does not hinder the drinkability at all.

I hate to sound like the typical hophead, but this needs more hops! And they need to clearly date the bottles, so I know how old the beer I'm drinking is. Also, I put the bottle down too closely to my Duvel tulip and managed to crack the glass. Not Southern Tier's fault, but I'm rather disappointed.

silentjay, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of StephenRich
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

From the genius brewing minds of the folks who brought us both the Creme Brulee Stout and the Choklat Stout now comes the Southern Tier Iniquity Imperial Black Ale. The Iniquity is another example of a crisp and refreshing IPA with a deep black creamy finish to it. This backwards combination is slowly becoming more popular; among the best exaples of the style, and also one of the first to the best of my knowledge, is the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA.

The Iniquity seems to be perfectly aligned as a Black Imperial IPA; 8.9% abv, with five different hops used in brewing and dry hopping. From my past experienced with Southern Tier, and from what I experienced with Stone's example of the style, I had very high hopes for this beer.

These Black IPAs are quickly becoming among my favorite styles. They offer the smooth creamy and luscious mouthfeel of a stout, with the fresh, bitter and crisp quenching characteristics of an IPA. This is seriously a wicked combination, and is worth seeking out.

As per Southern Tier's Description: "The hexagram talisman has been used around the world for centuries to invoke magic and good luck. The six-point star is also the customary symbol of the brewer, representing the essential aspects of purity: water, hops, grain, malt, yeast, and of course, the brewer. Wishes of good fortune often collaborate with the brewer's creativity to yield dramatic results. We carefully chose the name for this Imperial India Black Ale, Iniquity - a word opposing goodness. Why? This beer is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night. It is the antithesis of Unearthly. Some may consider it an immoral act to blacken an ale. We suggest they don't rely on conventional standards. Allow the darkness to consume you."

I poured the 22oz bottle into a Southern Tier tulip glass at a cool temperature of 8C (45F); my intent was to enjoy both the cool quenching characteristics of the IPA and the smooth silky sensation of a stout (not that there is stout in this beer.. it just feels like one.. you know what I mean). The pour was as I had imagined, soft and elegant gliding gently into the bottom of the glass forming a smooth rumbling of foam eventually building to a perfectly dense and airy mocha brown head. This was really a mountainous head that had excellent retention. The beer underneath was pitch black with a hint of chrome shine piercing the wall of the glass, but really it is just jet black. Awesome.

The nose was rich with roast, caramel, coffee and earth. After a moment and some contemplation you can get in behind all the warm black characteristics and pull out floral hops with touches of citrus, spice and pine. Overall those the nose is generally dominated by the malt backbone of this beer. It does smell like there will be a bitter and crisp finish to it, but it does show much nutty sweetness and roast.

Get right into this beer and the malts show themselves first as it they are pushing to get to the front of a long line. A lot is happening here. Lightly smoky, roast malts come right down the center bringing with them caramel and biscuits, soft toffee and more mellow sweet malt flavors. Bitter coffee is easily noticeable on the cheeks and sides of your tongue, and dark bitter cocoa also shows up adding dryness to the beer.

It is very chewy and round on the palate because soon, as your palate learns to absorb these flavors, hops begin to show up to the party. They are very herbal with lots of earth, soft dryness, some citrus and pine and a touch of sweet fruit. Hops do bring bitter to the back of your mouth and cheeks, but overall they cannot contain the malt. This, along with superbly slick and creamy mouthfeelmakes me want to consider this a hopped sweet porter or stout, rather than a Black IPA. Really the beer is fantastically delicious, I was raving about it all night to anyone who got in the way of my vocal cords, but I am not sure how well it fits the style description.

Honestly though, I don't care. The Iniquity is delicious, and really cool. It has a nice dry and slightly quenching finish with some roast and smoke coming though. It was exceptionally appetizing. I actually enjoyed it with a roast beef dinner with bacon potato pie; absolute heaven.

StephenRich, Aug 22, 2010
Photo of cnally
4.18/5  rDev +1%

This one has a deep, deep black color in the body with a quick dissipating tan head, which barely leaves a trace.

Burnt wood, dark nuts in aroma, the malt comes through as the dominant aroma.

Flavor leans on that burnt malt and comes off a little sweet. The sweetness, which resembles a sweetness like you'd find in a fig or prune, balances well with the burnt bitterness, and the alcohol is really well hidden.

Thin feel for an oil-slick beer.

I really think that this is the most drinkable high-alcohol beer I've had in a while...the alcohol isn't even detectable. Delicious.

cnally, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of gator0877
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

A-Pours very dark brown with about a 1 inch head. Head thins out a bit but still had about 1/2 inch after a while.

S-Yup, it is a DIPA. Huge hit of pine and that is about it.

T-I get a little citrus but man the booze cuts right through. I get a little malt but not too much. This is a DIPA and the hops come out and say hello. The more it warms up the more the booze is apparent.

M-This is damn near syrup, very chewy.

D-I like it but I will only be having 1or 2 a night. This is not an everyday beer.

gator0877, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of Ryan011235
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

On tap in a pint glass at Bodega on 7/22/10

Reviewed as a Cascadian Dark Ale

Dark brown, though light is able to pass through. At times seems like tobacco, crimson & ruby highlights. 1/8th inch head quickly skims out. Hardly any retention. Lacing picks up about halfway through but dries out quickly.

Smells of American hop goodness; definitely CDA worthy. Pine & juicy citrus aromas - grapefruit & orange. Dark malt notes that don't seem sweet. Faintest hint of dry roast. No booze.

The dark malts come across as more assertive to taste. Roastiness is more pronounced & full-flavored. Notes of cocoa, dark chocolate, caramel & maybe a spot of molasses. Definitely a dry malt profile. Still, the hops aren't overwhelmed, though they are kind of muddled. Pine tar offers a modest bitterness. There's a citric element that seems largely concealed.

Full bodied, sticky & resinous - a dense brew for sure. Some appreciable alcohol slickness, but not hot. Moderate carbonation has its work cut out. Roasted, piney & juicy residuals linger.

Rather impressive. Tasty, with a nice aroma & well-hidden abv. Overall, a solid representation of the CDA style, as opposed to a hoppy porter (though at times it wants to lean toward the latter).

Ryan011235, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%

Had on tap in a pint glass at Ballantine's in Willoughby. Will file a Beer Spy report later.

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with very little head. It's served ever so slightly colder than it should be.

Smell is subdued, with very slight malt notes rising from it. No doubt the smell is hampered by the colder temp it is served at.

Has a nice nutty, hoppy taste to it, topped with caramel malt. Though I see this is classified as an imperial IPA, I would have pegged it a porter in mouthfeel and taste.

Smooth mouthfeel, but not too thick.

Highly drinkable; but for the other offerings on tap that night, I absolutely would have had another.

TheHoppiest, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%

Southern Tier Iniquity is balanced, slightly earthy, and tame.

It poured black with a thick three-finger tan head. The head quickly dissipated, and with the exception of a lone thin ring, nothing was left on the glass. The aroma and flavor were subtle and rustic, with hints of pine and moldy cellar. There was a roasty sweet finish that provided balance. The feel was insubstantial and fleeting, too tame for an Imperial IPA. It was smooth and refreshing, especially considering the high ABV.

Iniquity has an imposing look and a musty flavor, but its sweet and smooth finish make sure its bark is worse than its bite.

MetalHopHead6, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of Spider889
4.18/5  rDev +1%

Had on tap at Bodega in Columbus.

The beer comes out looking very dark and malty - exactly what I'd expect (and want to see) in a Black IPA. It is black but opaque when held to the light.

Smelled of some roasted malt and loads of hops.

The taste had a very nice malt character, mild coffee, which was very well balanced with the hops. I like it when my Black IPA uses malt for more than just coloring! Nonetheless this is definitely a beer with a Double IPA base.

You can't ignore the alcohol but it's decently masked for being a 9%er. I'd gladly drink this again, but most likely single doses if I plan on drinking anything else with noticeable hops in it.

Spider889, Aug 06, 2010
Photo of EgadBananas
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%

Thanks to Rob (Robtobfest) for this!

Pours very dark brown, looks pretty much black in the glass. Light, contrasting head sits on top, 2 fingers, sticks around for a decent amount of time.

The smell is very hoppy, with pine, resins and hints of citrus. Not much in the way of malts, but there is an apparent sweetness.

There is a definite malty dark sweetness up front that melds into a piny hop finish.

The feel is medium, slightly creamy and smooth.

Above average drinkability.

All in all, this reminds me of a more sweeter, maltier SSRA, and it's definitely good.

EgadBananas, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of JackieTH
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%

Color was very dark brown, but not at all opaque. A thin, light brown head forms.

Complex and inviting nose of caramel roast malts, figs, citrus, and other dark fruits possibly cherries.

The palate leads off with with immediate citrus and piney hop, then becomes more complex with dried dark fruit, again figs/cherries and finally there is some sweetness that tends to overwhelm preceeding flavors.

Medium body with mild carbonation.

I enjoyed this one, another good one from Southern Tier.

JackieTH, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of kwjd
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%

Pours a very dark reddish-brown with thick off-white head and lots of lacing, with good retention. Smells of citrus and pine hops, with some roasted malt. One of the better smelling Cascadian Dark Ales (I like this name the best), as it seems to be really well balanced between the hops and the roasted malt. However, the flavour I'm not as impressed with. It just seems a bit too much like a sweet syrup then the bitter roasted flavour the smell would suggest. If you have a sweet tooth, I can see finding that appealing though. Mouthfeel is quite creamy.

kwjd, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of thetomG
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%

Dark reddish brown pour. Very little head with no lacing left behind on the glass. Taste is a nice blend of sweet malts and bittering hops. Syrupy mouthfeel, but could definitely use a bit more carbonation IMO. Glad I tried this one, but not likely to seek it out again.

thetomG, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

The glass is full of Iniquity. The beer that sits in the goblet infront of me is black, it's almost opaque but just lets a little light through. Fluffy head makes this a great looking beer.

Smells of pine, hops, chocolate roasted malt. Nice, I've had a few that do it better, but this is good.

Taste is wonderful IMO. A great mixture of roasty chocolate and coffee and piney citrus hops. Not too bitter but packs a punch. An excellent Cascadian Dark from upstate New York.

Lighter mouthfeel than I expected. But still good. I liked the beer, thought it tasted good and finished cleanly. Overall, I'd have this again with pleasure.

jampics2, Jul 23, 2010
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,432 ratings.