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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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1,432 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,432
Reviews: 613
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 132
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
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Ratings: 1,432 | Reviews: 613 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rapidsequence
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

22 oz bomber from Beer Run in Charlottesville.

Appearance: In the tulip sitting on the counter, it looks pitch black. When held to light, its a deep dark garnet color. The head is light brown with average retention. Leaves nice lacing.

Smell: I have to close my eyes to really smell this. Even though I know its a black IPA, that amount of spicy and citrus hops coming off a black beer is strange. A bunch of different smells all mixed together here: sweet citrus hops, sweet and slightly roasty malt, leather, and chewing tobacco. Those last two were a real surprise.

Taste: Very different. A roasty IPA more than a hoppy stout. Nice citrusy, spicy, piney hops bite right up front, but with malty sweet, roastiness filling all around it. I'm hit again by chewing tobacco-- not unpleasant. Big and caramelly on the finish with a slight lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, almost silky and that would make it almost syrupy if it werent for the excellent carbonation that keeps it light and tingly.

Drinkability: Here the sum is greater than its parts. This is just a really good beer. Reading back over my review makes it sounds like a mess, but everything kind of works. Comparing this to an IPA isnt fair, so the review is a little artificial.

rapidsequence, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of babaracas
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

Pours a mostly opaque black with brown edges, thin khaki head leaving spotty lace. Smell: orange citrus, pine, a little pineapple, background roastiness and dark caramel. Taste: lots of piney and citrus hops, tangerine, a little pineapple, and a bit leafy towards the end. In the back, dark caramel and a slightly astringent roasted flavor. Medium body, carbonation complements the bitterness well, finishes somewhat dry. Nice BIPA/IBA.

Note: rerated after another try, getting more of the usual ST DIPA profile: earthy, green, and a little offputting. Still, it's one of the better ST brews, and not a bad Double India Black Ale (or whatever this is called now).

babaracas, Mar 13, 2010
Photo of Yimosan
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

Poured a 650ml bomber onto my "spoiled rotten" tulip glass.

A: Dr. Pepper dark, hardly any light getting through. It poured a 2 finger head, light beige, that lasted an adequate amount of time, considering the ABV.

S: Totally confusing, yet cool at the same time. The aroma is piney, citrusy, and a bit malty. I also get some fall spices working in the background. I say confusing in the fact that, a porter-like looking beer should not smell like that...I call this a fun gotcha beer.

T: Grapefruit and malt jostle beautifully, this is exactly what I like on my IPA's or IBA in this case. I love the bitterness of the India style brews with the roasted malt, it's sweet and sour, it's caramel and citric acid slow dancing to a Michael Buble bolero song...my favorite!!!

M: It is medium to full bodied and palate cleansing at the same time. It is creamy and long lasting.

D: This beer is very interesting...kinda' like a Houdini trick, you see one thing, but you get another. Now, it is 9% so a better trick would be to stand up after a couple of these guys!!! I'm just saying!

Pleasantly surprised, and so far the two offering I've had from Southern Tier, have thoroughly impressed me!


Yimosan, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of DosBeerigos
4.1/5  rDev -1%

H. Black
N. Citrus Hops strong grapefruit

Notes taken from my blog;

I was looking forward to this beer. Southern Tier is new to the area, and this is one of their year round offerings. Beautiful color of this beer, nice and dark. Nice off-tan colored head that disappears quickly. Insane taste on this beer, the carbonation dances on your tongue, nice roasted malt on the attack with a slam of smoke on the back end. There is a bit of hop bittnerness to this beer, but it sneaks up on you. Sorta like your little cousin that thinks its "cute" to scare you, the hop comes up and slaps you subtly across the face. Good Beer!

DosBeerigos, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%

On-tap at the New World Brewery in Ybor City.

A – A way dark brew, not quite black but almost, with not much head but big lace rings.

S – Smells a lil roasted with a well balanced piney hop plus notes of carambola and lychee. Unusual.

T – The taste is very oak-y and woody overall, though it is not advertised as a woody beer in any way. The hop is prevalent but not specific, and seems to have some cork notes too. Licorice impressions are slightly available, with a peppery, peat-y, tobacco finish. But not like cigar or pipe tobacco, instead more like cigarette tobacco.

M – Medium-full, good and hearty.

D – I like it but this beer would not be a preference.

ktrillionaire, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of BlackBearForge
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

22 oz. bottle/pint glass

Iniquity pours like a dark stout, nearly an opaque black with ruby around the edges though with an off-white tan head where a stout would have a dark chocolate brown head. The head is leaving gobs and gobs of creamy lacing sticking all over the glass as it subsides.

The aroma is redolent with piney and citrusy hops on top of a somewhat chocolate/caramel malt scent.

The flavor is not as hoppy as the aroma might indicate but the piney, resinous and citrus hops are very prominent while bitterness is low. The malt body is equal parts chalky chocolate and creamy caramel drizzled with dark chocoalte syrup. Alcohol is nearly invisible.

The mouthfeel is very very good, somewhat fuller than medium, creamy and as smooth and slick as can be. Nice!

Iniquity is a lovely beer melding different styles, and is very very drinkable despite it's 9.0% ABV which is due in large part to it's exquisite mouthfeel. It almost wants to be gulped rather than savored!

BlackBearForge, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of Lerxst
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

22 oz. bomber poured into a tulip

A-Black Ale is accurate. Pours black with a creamy mocha head that has good retention and leaves nice lacing. This is a good looking beer.

S-My eyes say, "this is a stout" but my nose says "Hops, and tons of 'em!" Huge citrus and pine hop aroma with delicious roasted malt and faint chocolate notes. Smells fantastic.

T-A truly complex and wonderful beer. Citrus and pine hops are evident along with dark fruit, a nice, nutty roasted malt flavor with a lingering caramel presence. Somehow these things all pull together and complement each other. Its really good.

M-Slightly more than medium bodied, a nice balanced carb level, slick and oily. Fantastic.

D-For such a big and complex beer, this is very drinkable.

Overall, I was very impressed and enjoyed this one a lot. Another great job by Southern Tier.

Lerxst, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of tippebrewcrew2
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%


Southern Tier
Black Ale

L=4.5 Little head with decent lacing. Pours a thin oil black

S= 3.5 Light black malts on the nose with lots of sweetness

T= 3.5 Malty sweetness with medium hops at the end. Nice brew. Not very much body

F= 4.0 Light finish at the end. Short lived bitterness as well

D= 4.0 It's a good beer and I didn't read the bjcp guidelines for the style. I have had a few previously but I wasn't all the impressed with this beer. It is a good brew though and southern tier is a great brew co.

tippebrewcrew2, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

Rich and complex black ale... A dark IPA with a sour edge?

Presentation: 22 oz bottle. Contemporary design around a splash of a six point star. Small narrative noting how it stands for good luck and brewing, followed by a small note explaining the intent of the brew. No printed bottling date on side, does not note IBUs, but shows °Plato (21), and Alc. (9.0%) alongside detailed list of ingredients, and recommended drinking temperature and glassware. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Black pour with dark brown edges, good head with fine retention and rich lacing.

S - Malty aroma with a couple of hoppy notes in an almost sour and sweet whiff.

T - Rich taste around a dark malt profile and faint hoppy notes. Almost has a rich sour quality to it that leads to a rich sweet and dry finish. A bit unusual but rather pleasing.

M - Medium body with an occasional heavy feel. Smooth profile with a sticky hint that does not quite make itself present. Good carbonation.

D - Works rather well and is rather drinkable. Not extreme but not for all palates though.

Notes: Funny, not the first time I have this one and this tasting is really not like I remembered it, still pretty good and remarkable though. I wonder if it was a bit of aging on the bottle, change of recipe or most likely my faulty memory. Let´s compare notes with a future tasting...

Daniellobo, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev -3.4%

22 oz bottle from Belmont Station PDX poured into workhorse Piraat tulip 2.24.10.

One finger light tan head, quick dissipation with good lacing. Dark brown almost opaque body, no visible carbonation. The nose centers on a big malt hit, caramel, chocolate, roast, with flowery hops pretty well hidden by the malt, though after warming the hops became more prevalent in the nose, I'd recommend letting this beer warm up a bit before serving. The taste is chocolaty goodness up front with some roast leading to a hop-filled bitter finish. Mouthfeel is full and sticky. Warming alcohol glow cuts into drinkablility, but overall a fine tasting brew. I'll be checking out more beers from Southern Tier in the near future.

jdense, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Bottle: Poured a deep black color ale with a small foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt with notes of piney hops with light citrus undertones. Taste is also a unique mix between some light roasted ,malt with traces or caramel and a medium hoppy finish with lots of note piney and citrus hops. Body is about average full with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad and interesting take on the style.

Phyl21ca, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of magine
4.1/5  rDev -1%

Poured into a Dinkle Acker oversized pint glass.

Pours a dark brown color, with an off white (light tan) head. Has a thick chunky head - fades to a lace island. Nice lace as well.

This brew smells of earthy hops and sweet caramel roasted malts.

This brew has a very smooth taste, slightly carbonated. Can taste the hops initially and then the malt balances it off nicely. Has a dry finish. The malts smooth it out and cut out some of the hops and makes it unique and very drinkable.

This is a very unusual tasting brew. Tastes good; seeing a dark IPA is not a common thing. A good drinkable brew for the high alcohol level. Another fine offering from Southern Tier. Stellar stuff indeed....

magine, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of racer2k
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Poured 22oz. bomber into my favorite tulip glass after letting it warm up to about 42F as suggested on label.

A - Dark squid ink black with a tint of ruby red in the light. There is one finger of off white foam which quickly settles into a tight ring of lacing. Very nice looking Black IPA.

S - The initial aroma yields an earthy hop smell and then I get a blast of sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar and maple syrup as the beer warms up a bit.

T - Good balance of earthy hops and sweet nutty malt with a nice burnt maple sugar finish. The beer starts with a hopped up tangy front end but quickly smooths out and provides a maple sugary earthy finish. This beer finishes very sweet.

M - Smooth, medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. There is a distinct smooth sugary finish to the beer which appears to be driven by the balanced sweet malt profile.

D - A very balanced beer which produces a very nice black IPA profile. The dark color of the beer tends to play tricks with your mind as you immediately think it is a porter or a dark malty ale not an IPA which is very cool. Alcohol is well masked in the complex taste profile which is very drinkable. Great cold weather beer.

racer2k, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of Lukie
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours out, funnily enough, black, with hints of deep, deep mahogoney brown hues against the light. The head is a billowing 2 fingers, before it cascades down into some mild lacing on the outside of the liquid.

Roasty malts give way to a brown sugar, candy sugar like aroma.

Big roasty flavours, with a bit of nutty qualities, give way to a nice, slightly syrupy sweet dark fruit. It's nicely balanced between the roast and the fruits, with blackberry licorice coming through oh so slightly.

Overall, a really interesting beer. It's got absolutely no semblance of being 9% alcohol, which I found with the ST DIPA aswell. It's a bit scary. Just really easy to drink, with fantastically well balanced flavours.

Lukie, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of brystmar
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

A: pours a jet black color with about one finger of thick head which left a nice layer on the surface of the beer throughout the drink. Lacing on the glass.

S: chocolate, strong burnt malt, a little caramel too. Smells delicious!

T: starts off malty with chocolate & caramel right behind. Hints of dark fruit underneath. Turns mildly hoppy/bitter towards the end, but extremely well balanced overall. Lots of stuff going on here, but everything is complementary which results in a very bold -- yet smooth -- drink.

M: heavy mouthfeel, but still creamy. Medium carbonation. Leaves a pleasant taste & feel in the mouth after each swig.

D: a very enjoyable beer, but still a big beer. Easy drinking for the style; definitely the best black I've tasted. Shame it's so hard to get down here in Texas. :(

brystmar, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of mulder1010
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

100th review...I figured going with a good US beer would do the trick.

Poured into a La Chouffe Tulip 650 ML Bottle

A-- Poured jet black, no tints of red, no light, no nada. A solid one finger head, light kakhi in color. Creamy lacing left on the glass. No bubbles on the sides of the glass.

S-- After the pour started smelling big rich malt, hop and dark citrus smell. Mix in a bit of carmel and a tad bit of chocolate. Wow very big smell and impressive.

T-- Just as big a taste across the board. Pine does come through in a pretty aggressive way. Very aggressive beer. Bueno. More this opens up, the more the hops come out to play.

M-- Thick and dark, decent carbonation but what stands out is the menthol sort of feeling in your mouth afterwards. Pine really hold weight. Combination of all is very good but very aggressive. Hops have held up well going a good portion across the world.

D-- Drinkable yes. This is ment to be savored in a big way. First really big East Coast beer I have had that could pass for a West Coast. ABV is very well hidden because of the aggressive pine/ hop taste. Malt is there at first but the hops take over once it opens up more. I guess the irony is when I lived in AZ/CO I would not have seen this beer for a long time, distribution, good to see it in Australia.

mulder1010, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of ADZA
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

This brew pours a nice jet cola hue with decent carbonation that leaves a one finger creamy head with lacing all splattered around the edges of the glass,it has a real citrus fruity hop aroma to it with a caramel,toffee malty background very inviting,the taste is beautiful with a nice smooth creamy mouthfeel and big hints of caramel,toffee,expresso and some fruity hops which are beautifully blended together to make no taste a standout just a real nice mix of all and its ABV of 9.0% is so well hidden its not funny i could drink this all night and in saying that this so far for me has to be my most favourite Southern Tier brew to date and will be buying more of this delicious brew without a doubt.

ADZA, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of Augustiner719
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%

***100th Review!!! 1/29/2010***

For my 100th review I grabbed a Southern Tier Iniquity... my first "black" IPA.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Sam Adams perfect pint.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark molassesy color that yields a nice pillowy mocha colored head. Not a whole lot of lacing going on as i swirl. Red hues appear when held up to the light, almost clear beer but its so dark its hard to tell. Unbelievable color on this sucker, looks like a porter.

Smell: This is the most interesting smelling DIPA i have every had to the chance to experience. Its got that roasted malty coffee meets chocolate meets vanilla component balanced out by intense sweet sticky smelling hops. Big molasses and brown caramalized sugar component. Nice a piney, but not citrusy.

Taste: Tastes truely complex. Great citrus hops come through which didnt on the aroma. Nice grapefruit meets meyer lemon zest. Its sweet, maybe a tad too sweet but the flavor is intense. Huge caramel porter like malty backbone that is kept in check by the huge sweet hops. Even with the insane amounts of hops and malt in this beer, it is remarkably balanced. Initially on the palate, it hits you with the bitter tangy hops and then through the midpalate the hops become sweet and finally the caramel malty backbone relieves the palate on the finish. As it warms, it becomes much more savory and makes me think this would be one of the DIPAs that would age well.

Mouthfeel: Tremendous. Simply one of the best mouhtfeels i have experienced on a DIPA. Smooth coating of sweet hops and malty caramel and coffee take over the palate and last for minutes between sips. Perfect carbonation. As it warms it might be even more enjoyable but seriously this its ridiculous.

Drinkability: The only thing holding this beer back is that it might be a touch sweet for me. Nonetheless, its an easy go to DIPA for a hops fix. I might keep this on hand during the summer months, but for the winter and colder months this feels like a great winter style DIPA. Its warming, filling and complex, making it a great brew. If you havent tried this sucker, go get one and enjoy.

Augustiner719, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of dgilks
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

Very dark copper colour verging on black but not quite there. Big, creamy light tan head with good retention. Quite clear. Very good.

The aroma is interesting with grapefruit, pine, chocolate and caramel all playing a role. Really interesting and quite nice.

It tastes like a good IPA with some background caramel sweetness really adding a difference. The solid, silky malt backbone holds up the tasty, grapefruit and pine hops. Great resiny flavour.

Medium-light mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Silky, smooth and quite creamy. Top notch.

A really drinkable beer with lots of flavour and a bit of a twist. Very enjoyable.

dgilks, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.18/5  rDev +1%

Picked this up because it looked unique and I love Southern Tier's beers. Sure enough, this did stand out from anything that I've had recently and although this is categorically a Double/Imperial IPA, it's dark enough to be a Porter. This had me intrigued and upon opening it, there was no doubt that it was for a good reason!

The edges of this beer were a deep mahogany and unlike a few reviews I've seen on here, the head was quite nice as well. Each sip had a great mouthfeel - from start to finish - and the flavors mixed quite nicely too. It combined the smokiness of a Scotch Ale with mild hops, roasted coffee, and bitter chocolate, creating a strong but relatively easygoing beer that went down pretty easily. This did have an earthy feel to it like some English Red Ales but it wasn't heavy either. Even the lacing surprised me, especially when compared to other beers of this style.

This is strong at 9.00% ABV but that never got in the way of how this tasted. For the winter, this is a great choice as it combines several styles that are popular this time of the year. One of the better beers I've had recently and like their Hop Sun, another niche offering that Southern Tier should be proud to have in its lineup!

JerzDevl2000, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of bruachan
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%

tons o hop and no foam? attractive liquid (deeeep mahogany)

plenty of centennial hops to the nose. brown-smelling notes as well. i think that's from some goodly kilining

fruity flavorings up front, but not perhaps in the usual sense. i think you'll see what i mean. hops are prominent but the malt bill certainly holds its own. strong bitterness and thoroughly NW flavors: citrus, pine; sticky all the while (though the liquid doesn't allow too much viscosity). the malt actually provides a tartness, form a dried cherry and currant type experience. plenty sweet, though a small amount of true darkness shines through. the tart is something i keep coming back to, though: perhaps it's a confluence of malt flavors and hop bitterness. regardless, the effect is minimally cough-syrupy to be tasty

a nifty twist on the D/IIPA. full points for originality, really (unless, i suppose, it was brewed with "american strong" in mind)

bruachan, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of sulldaddy
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

Sampling a cellar temp bottle pouted into a snifter.
The beer pours a fairly dark cola brown with tan frothy head of 1 cm that fades to a bubbly edge layer quickly.
Aroma is a bit of caramel and molasses that mixes with some pine sap hits and herbal tea hops.
First sip reveals an average body with fine fizzy carbonation. Flavor is sweet malt, slightly burnt notes, molasses and moves agin to some herbal tea hits and resiny pine hops. Just a hint of booze mixes into the finish.
Fairly easy drinker and very complex beer. Well crafted and interesting, not sure of categorizing as a double IPA, but also not sure where else it fits per style. A nice beer that should be consumed if found on the shelves.

sulldaddy, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of Gehrig
4.43/5  rDev +7%

Iniquity pours a deep, rich brown with ruby trim, and a dense finger of tan head; good duration; dense lacing takes the cake, coating the trusty Duvel tulip--five-star appearance.

The smell emits plenty of citrus-pine, certainly well hopped with cascade, willamette, centennial and chinook nicely represented. But it's also rather malty, very much in balance--maybe a little too restrained for a brew listed as a DIPA, but nonetheless impressive.

Delicious taste--caramel, licorice, and dark chocolate with some orange peel in tow; fantastic. The malt and resiny, gritty hopped texture join forces smoothly, taking turns tantalizing with smooth malt alternating with chewy, oily taste. It's consioderably maltier in taste but certainly texture than most DIPAs, really showing in the mouthfeel its chops as an Imperial Black Ale (bottle characterization).

Every time I review a Southern Tier beverage, I cannot help but heap praise on what has become one of my very favorite breweries. Everything ST touches, it seems, turns to beer gold. Iniquity is no different.


Gehrig, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of jbowers56
4.1/5  rDev -1%

Black/Dark brown colour. Thin white head with the usual bubbly layer that is caused by a ton o hops.

I love the way a good black IPA smells. The intense citrus mingling with the rich chocolate and sweet maltiness is so good. Im glad I picked this one out of the fridge.

Almost dissapointing in the palate. Not as bitter as I'd hoped. That being said, it delivers in all departments very well. Citrus hops mingle well with chocolate malts and roasted malts. Very good, kind of wish they'd up the bitterness. It's balanced. Maybe that's my problem....

jbowers56, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of inspektor
4.18/5  rDev +1%

Pours a very deep brown/black color with a very nice off white head that leaves its trail along the glass. Carbonation is faintly present as well.

The smell is hoppy with traces of caramel for balance that are followed by roasted coffee as well.

The taste is of strong roasted malt, citrus hops, and a coffee finish. Caramel and chocolate are present as well.

The mouthfeel is high-medium and definitely borderline in the full range, but is aided by the light carbonation and smoothness.

Overall a very drinkable beer, especially given the abv. Refreshingly good as my 2nd ST beer, definitely implores me to continue sampling their offerings.

inspektor, Jan 14, 2010
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,432 ratings.