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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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1,498 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,498
Reviews: 618
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 152
Gots: 143 | 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: 1,498 | Reviews: 618 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of busterthecat
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of greenmonstah
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of stewart124
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of titosupertramp
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Photo of phishgator
3.03/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

Photo of bnes09
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of gnemesis
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bomber into snifter on 10/25/10.
This ale pours dark brown, almost black. Nice creamy, brown head, that stays for a bit then recedes leaving some nice lace.
The scent on this one is amazing! Roasted malts, a bit of coffee, some brown sugar or caramel, maybe a tad sweet chocolate. Add to that some herbal and citrus hop character.
Wow! The taste doesn't disappoint! It follows the scent to a "T" but the hops come out more in the finish and dance softly on the tongue. I get a slight bit of booze warmth but this is Northern Michigan and October so this is good and welcome... plus at 9% it understandable not a detractor.
The medium/full body and medium carbonation play well together. Beer becomes slightly more sweet and a bit thicker as it warms.
This is an excellent offering from Southern Tier- my favorite from them by far. This style has been on my radar for months now and is becoming my favorite. It has something for everyone that enjoys a big beer.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.61/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another bottle in my latest trade with russpowell. Thanks Russ!

Imperial Black Ale? Whoah.

A very dark brown colour in the glass, it comes complete with a 2 finger head of off white foam and lots of sticky lacing.

The smell is a mix of grapefruit, roasted and some chocolate malt, and a pretty big amount of bready malt.

Taste wise, maybe too much of a bready note, some grapefruit hoppiness, wish there was more, a nice roasted malt flavour, a mix of sweet and dark chocolate, and quite a bit of alcohol. Lots and lots of warming after the swallow. A good tasting brew overall but there's too much emphasis on one flavour and not enough on the others, at least to my palate.

Medium body and carbonation, it certainly has a good mouth feel to it.

Drinkability? It's easy enough to drink despite the beer being on the boozy side; for the style, it doesn't match up all that well with the few others I've tried though none of the others had "Imperial" in their name. Okay, I'm thoroughly confused by this beer and I'll make no excuses...

Photo of Duff27
3.04/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours black with a two-fingered medium mocha head. Above average head retention and a lot of lacing.

S- Raisins. Licorice?

T- Not too much hops detected, but a slight spiciness. Almost has a bock feel to it.

M- Medium mouthfeel as far as carbonation. Syrupy.

D/O- Nothing terribly wrong with this beer, but overall I just didn't care for the flavor too much. Southern Tier is usually hit or miss with me and I'd have to mark this a miss.

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a 22oz bomber; poured into a conical pint.

A: Very nearly black. A bit of brown highlights and a two finger off-white head.

S: Spicy hops and a rich roasted coffee bean aroma.

T: Taste is such a shock from the look of it. There's syrupy sweet brown sugar and coffee with a strong bitterness and spicy hop backbone.

D: For such a big beer it goes down pretty easily. Alcohol is hidden, but the flavours are so intense you can't drink it too fast.

Overall: Incredibly unique and flavourful brew. This is pretty much Unearthly with the addition of roasted malts. A must try for any hophead or fan of original beers.

Photo of turnstile
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Very dark brown, near black; highlights range from copper to chestnut. A coarse, bubbly head forms and retains as a thin surface covering. Soapy ring around the edge of the glass with great lacing.

Smell: Ultra-complex; sweet milk chocolate note dominates along with a strong coffee-like roastiness. Smoky with a hint of citrus and spice.

Taste: The faint smokiness of the aroma appears up front on the palate with bittersweet chocolate and roasty coffee notes soon following. Vanilla rounds out and mellows the heartier flavor notes. Finishes with a rum-like flavor.

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the tongue with very, very smooth carbonation yielding an exceptionally creamy texure. Slick finish.

Drinkability: Like its anithesis, the Unearthly, it's absurdly drinkable. Sip after sip, it goes down like milk.

Overall, I'm unbelievably impressed by what Souther Tier has crafted here.

Photo of jsh420
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours dark dark brown with a 1 finger tan head that left some spotted lacing

smells of floral hops and some dark malt

taste is a great mix of citrus/floral bitter hops and semi sweet caramel chocolate malt - leaves an ashy chocolate aftertaste

mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation that is crisp smooth and creamy

drinkability is very good - even @9%abv i had no problems taking down the entire bomber and could have cracked open another if i had bought one

Photo of mwthomas
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A: Black, with some hints of brown if you look at it in the light. It has a thin, beige head.

S: Roasted, chocolate malts are nicely complemented by the strong hop aroma, which is reminiscent of dark fruits/licorice.

T: Highly complex. The roasted malts and hop oils balance perfectly with a sweetness which could be overpowering otherwise. Like the aroma, the sweet flavors remind me of dark fruits and licorice.

M: Smooth with medium carbonation.

D: Great. Definitely heavy, but light enough to enjoy a few in a session.

Overall: This is a perfect introduction to the style and one of my favorites. It perfectly blends the hop profile of an IPA with the complex roasts of a darker style.

Photo of mjsheehan08
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This one came to me thanks to a great trader, rhong187. Thanks Rich!

Highlights of deep brown and ruby shoot out of the bottom of my pint glass as this nearly opaque beer settles in the glass. A light mocha head fizzles to a capping layer of lace that is pretty spotty. Lacing in long and lasting. 

Nose is very dry and hop centric, earthly leaves, slight pine and citrus are the primary notes in the aroma. 

A really creamy taste that has mild bite in the front that brings back that earthy smell from the nose. There is a relatively strong malt backbone, that is bready and just a touch of caramel. Finishes with a really present expresso that lingers a while. Mild alcohol heat, but not enough to take  away from the enjoyment of the taste. Hops have a pretty strong presence through, and there kinda spicy. 

Thick and creamy, really a great feel that I wasn't expecting with the hop bite of this cascadian. Really a great beer and matches up with some of the best in the style. 

Photo of krazyboi
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a 32 oz. glass mug.

A: A black beer with dark brown around the edges. Forms a cream colored frothy head that recedes slowly.
S: Chocolate with a bit of coffee. some vanilla hints.
T: Mellow chocolate and coffee hits the mouth first. A mixture of hoppy bitterness comes in at the end. A slight alcoholic kick stays in the mouth.
M: Very creamy and smooth. Fairly thick in the mouth.
D: Wonderful beer. Quite strong. Definitely a beer I would want to enjoy time and time again. Try it!

Photo of alkemy
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From the bomber...

A - Without direct light, it looks black. Lighting yields a clear dark ruby color. Maybe a finger of rich tan head that left fairly quickly.

S - Lots of dark fruits and alcohol in the aroma. This smells pretty boozy to me. Quite a few scents present here...figs, raisins, caramel, burnt sugar, oranges, some pine, and a bit of ash.

T - To me, the hops are more potent in the taste...just a hoppy overtone to the entire taste. Mostly roasted malts, chocolate, and caramel. The dark fruits present in the scent are fairly muted. Alcohol also seems lessened here as opposed to the aroma. Finishes with a bitter chocolate aftertaste.

M - A bit of stickiness in the mouth. Creamy with medium body and carbonation.

D - There's a syrupy sweetness that isn't really noticeable with any singular drink, but builds and really weighs you down towards the end of the bottle.

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 emooze
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: 22oz bomber pours a dark, deep but not opaque brown. Almost no head whatsoever

S: Raisins, chocolate and possibly cherry.

T: More of the fruit that was in the smell slowly followed by the chocolate from the roasted malt. Slight hint of hops on the tail end.

M/D: Appropriately thick for a beer this dark but not quite as heavy as the 'imperial' moniker would lead you to believe. Easily finished the bottle.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review adapted from notes taken in November, 2009

Poured into a snifter

Appearance: Black with some hints of brown, a beautiful tan head

Smell: Complex - burnt, dark chocolate malts, some sweetness, citrusy and resiny hops - kind of reminds me of toasted bread... except with lots of hops

Taste: Borderline perfect - loads of hop oils, sweet malts balanced by dark, roasted and burnt malts - the amount of flavor the hops impart is insane considering the intensity of the malts - a little sweet at times, but otherwise ridiculously balanced

Mouthfeel: Incredible - creamy and full bodied despite the harshness of the hops - some kind of alchemy must be involved here

Overall: This was my first Black IPA / India Dark Ale / American Black Ale (whatever), and it remains one of my favorites. It is incredible. I love what Southern Tier does with dark beers.

Photo of Frosty80
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours clear, medium brown with golden hue. sits very deep, dark garnet with brown highlights. one-finger tan head that dissipates after couple moments leaving behind some good lacing

Smell: the otherwise medium-high aromas of piney, fruity hops are muddled by the presence of toasted and chocolate malt and a tinge of dark fruit. behind it all is some fruity yeast esters and light alcohol

Taste: very dark. dark fruit notes meld in with the fruity character of the hops in great balance. very light flavors of toasted malt, with just a hint of roast, and chocolate. bitterness is light throughout but comes through more in the finish with the help of some charred malt.

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium carbonation

Notes: seems like the hops could have been stronger despite the negating factor of the darker malts and fruitiness. still a delicious brew

Photo of kzoobrew
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black IPA, Cascadian Dark Ale, American Black Ale? I don't know what to call em, breweries can't decide how they are suppose to taste. I have my opinions but the bottom line is, if it tastes good I will drink it.

Iniquity is a Black Ale that is nearly black. When held to the light you realize you are dealing with a very deep brown color with ruby highlights throughout. Two finger french vanilla colored head sits atop. The head fades rather quickly leaving an admirable amount of lacing clinging to the glass.

Citrus and soft roasted aroma meld together up front. Chocolate coffee and dark fruit flavors are set just behind. If you want to call this an American Black Ale I am cool with that, it is not Black IPA though.

Smooth roasted malt, chocolate are accompanied by a healthy dose of hops as the beer rolls onto the tongue. The flavor is really centered around a dark chocolate and citrus flavor, a rather pleasant combination. A decent amount of caramel can be picked up but is not over done.

Medium to full bodied, the texture is very smooth and rather creamy. The carbonation is on the lower side but I am finding that to be very appropriate for the style. The finish is a bit long, with such a new style it is hard to say what is appropriate but I can say that this seem to be what I expect.

If you drink Iniquity as a beer without a style it is great. Trying to decide what style it should be and if it fits takes away from the enjoyment. Very enjoyable beer, one I wish could find its way to six packs so I could enjoy it more often.

Photo of inlimbo77
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber bottle poured into snifter style glass, shared with others.

A: Pours a deep brown. not black (note the watery edge), but deep brown. little to no head retention. faint bubble line around outside of glass.

S: I got sweet hops, and some chocolate notes from the nose. Not a full BURST of hops like the Un-Earthly...hence the "antithesis" line on bottle.

T: As mentioned in other reviews, you get a bunch of malt up front in this brew and then the hops hit you on the back end. I really enjoyed my taste!

M: Not as sticky as I was expecting from an Imperial beverage. Fairly watery actually.

D: Very much drinkable brew. Only had a sample but probably could have taken down the bomber without blinking an eye. Good product from a solid brewery.

Photo of flexabull
3.56/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottles courtesy of pwoody11 and TheManiacalOne, thanks again guys!

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black color with a nice off white head.

Aromas are earthy, with dark baked breads, and bitter bakers chocolate.

Taste is chocolately, lightly sweet, with brown sugar and cola flavors. Beer then settles into some creaminess, breadiness, and a mineral and earthy hop finish. I was expecting and hoping for more hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Nice fullness, and good carbonation.

Drinkability is ok. This is a pleasant enough beer, but it kind of misses when compared to other Black IPA's. There just isn't enough hoppiness to carry this one, and it kind of lacks complexity.

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into cervoise

A - Black centre with brown and reddish edging against the light. Tan tinged head and lacing.

S - Roasty bitterness, decent hop smell of pine. You can smell the sweetness of the malt

T - Interesting tasting brew. This has too much caramel malty sweetness to really bring out the hop bitterness associated with Black Ales. You can pick up some of the dry pine bitterness as well as some roasted coffee flavour from the malt.

M - Not as heavy as I would expect out of a beer with an "Imperial" in the label. Very tacky on the back palate.

D - This beer is decent, but not the best example of the style. Easy enough to drink but a weird sticky sweetness to it. Okay beer, still love ST stuff.

Photo of MadCat
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: More of a very dark brown than black. Small brown head that dissipates quick, but leaves some lacing

Smell: Beautiful bouquet of hops

Taste: Wonderful balance of malt, hops, and a reasonable amount of bitterness. Nice roasty flavors in there as well. Good complexity.

Mouthfeel: Good, some thickness, a normal level of carbonation

Drinkability: No problems finishing a 22oz bomber, certainly could drink more of it if it were one of those nights. Does not taste like 9% abv.

I think I would call this a stout drinker's IPA. Very hoppy and roasty, but not overly so on either. Not so many hops that you can't stand to drink more than one glass, but not so intensely malty either. Very nice balance, I think I have found something to go for when I'm in a hop mood.

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,498 ratings.