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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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1,433 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,433
Reviews: 613
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 134
Gots: 124 | 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: 1,433 | Reviews: 613 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NCSUdo
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle

A: Dark black, with a bit of brown around the bottom, under a good sized brown head. Good lace, good retention.

S: Fresh, grassy, citrus hops, roast malt, bit of chocolate. Well done.

T: Hoppy, big citrus and pine hop character, bitterness is very big. Some roasted malt and chocolate, but those 2 get lost a little in the bitterness.

M/D: Mouthfeel is perfect. Full bodied, smooth, velvety, a little oily; like a pillow on your tongue. Drinkability is really nice. A superb beer.

NCSUdo, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of canucklehead
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pretty cool beer with the IDA idea showing up all over the place. Pours almost jet black but the nose says IPA. The malt is quite strong but the hops are more dominant especially as the beer warms up. I like the thick mouthfeel ( a ST trademark) and the drinkability for such a big beer. IDA's take the IPA into more Fall/ Winter territory .

canucklehead, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is classified on this site as an DIPA and this is pretty inadequate a description of this beer. I usually try to review beers strictly to style being as objective as I can but I cannot with this beer. This is not a good example of a DIPA, but it is a good beer. The label states that it is an Imperial Black Ale, not a recognized style of this website. Off to the review.

Poured from a bottle into a conic pint glass. Beer is black and carbonation is low. Head is brown and made up of small to medium sized bubbles. The beer is brown at the corners of the glass. Lacing is high. Its an attractive looking beer.

There is some ethanol aroma to this beer as well as some malt sweetness. Its faint but there is definitely some roast in the nose, I can detect it only after several attempts. Not a lot of hops in this aroma though, as you might expect from the DIPA. They just aren't there.

Beer is overall 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. Definitely a repeat, my wife also really loved this beer. Drinkability high.

drabmuh, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of jgasparine
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured with almost no head- just a bit of edge lacing... the body was a dark ruby red (almost black) with no visible carbonation.

S- Smells of caramel malt (despite the lack of caramel malt in the recipe) and earthy hops, with more subtle aromas of leather, dark fruit and the *slightest* hint of roasty notes.

T- A beautiful balance of caramel malt flavors and earthy hops. Some booziness and vinous notes are also present. Finishes strong with a lingering hop bitterness. If my eyes were closed, I would think I were drinking an imperial red ale.

M- Nice big firm body with a little creaminess imparted by the soft carbonation. Moderately attenuated, but it still keeps the mouth adequately coated.

D- Very drinkable, despite the higher ABV. I easily could enjoy an entire bomber on my own.

jgasparine, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of GeezLynn
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with little tan around the edges. Weak white head that recedes into a few patches of foam.

S: Chocolate malt with a hop spice and grapefruit punch.

T: Smooth, sweet, milk chocolate and caramel followed by a slightly spicy finish. Citrus hop finish, which may have lost a little over the last few months (no date on bottle!), but also appears to be somewhat restrained by dark malts. Masks high ABV wonderfully.

M: Lighter bodied than expected with a fairly low level of carbonation.

Not sure what to make of this confusing beer. Sort of a milk stout-DIPA combination. I think Southern Tier did a good job of of accomplishing what they set out to brew, but seems like kind of a novelty beer. Tasty, but I would prefer either a porter/milk stout and get my dark malts, or to drink a DIPA and have my hops less muddled.

GeezLynn, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of Gosox8787
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured from a bomber bottle into a pint glass in two parts.

Appearance is dark brown (not black) with ruby edges. One finger beige head has good retention. The aroma is citrus hops upfront with a strong malt backbone. Chocolate and caramel in the background, with some booze present. The taste hits first with some citrus notes from the hops. These are not as strong and astrigent as a tradtional DIPA. Chocolate, and smoke notes from the malt add a nice malty backbone. Neither hops nor malt really shine as much as they could though. The texture is medium to full bodied. There is a slight sticky and oily character. But overall, it is creamy. Drinlability is below average here. The high ABV is not completley hidden and the flavors are not as well balanced as they could be.

Overall, not as strong as a DIPA should be in hops and not that impressive as a malt offering. The flavor profile could use a little work. Enjoyable overall, but it does fall short at times.

Gosox8787, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of LOCAL
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz into Duvel tulip

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with red high lights and a tannish head that goes rather quick.

Smell: Its a nice blend of roasted malts, caramel. citrus, and even a little oak.

Taste: Starts off with a bright porter like flavor with the roasted malts. Mid pallet the caramel and citrus of the hops show them selves before finishing with am almost oak like character.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and VERY easy to drink. Maybe a little thin feeling seeing that the flavors are traditionally in a heavier feeling beer.

Drinkability: Showing no sign of the 9% ABV its easy to find your self going through this one a little bit too quickly. This was the first black IPA I've had and was very impressed with it. Certainly something that I would purchase again.

LOCAL, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of crossovert
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A black ale? The IPA equivalent to a Schwartzbier? That would be cool.

Pours like a stout, with a dark reddish brown color and dirty white head. The head is big and thick and leaves some decent lacing.

Smell of grazzy, herbal, piney hops, with a hint of citrus. THe mlt has a roasty almost chocolate smell, interesting.

The taste initially is reminiscent of a DIPA but then some porterish flavor sneaks in. You get an initial slam of citrus hops and sweet malt that melds into roasty malts and alcoholic bitterness. It is a combonationof an east coast DIPA, barleywine,adn a stout or porter. A unique beer.

This one is different but good, a unique idea, great for winter.

crossovert, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of shadow1961
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Iniquity pours a good finger of sandy foam over an almost opaque black brew. The nose is toasty mocha notes, sharp herbal hops and a bit of alcohol heat. The flavor reflects the nose- espresso, mocha, with molasses notes balanced with herbal/piney west coast hops. What to call this- a black IPA, maybe? In any case, there's a very fine balancing act here- the burnt espresso and hop notes never really overshadow the sweeter aspects of the malts here- the overall effect is smooth, yet assertive. Mouthfeel is round, drying a bit in a hoppy aftertaste. Alcohol is 9% ABV, which is only apparent in the nose and as a warming sensation- share, or take it easy. Whatever this thing is, it is good- seek some out if you can!

shadow1961, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz brown pop top with nice label with a bit about the beer

Appearance: Beautiful black beer with a low-profile ivory cap and pretty ruby highlights when held up to the light

Smell: Nice burnt caramel tones, with lots of fresh herbal/piney hops...this is fresh, sharp, and fairly simple, with just a touch of alcohol and a really interesting slate note on the finish

Taste: Mild burnt caramel with a touch of vanilla and some super-burnt chocolate; there's a fairly high level of alcohol noticeable here as well; hop flavor is fairly sharp and herbal/grassy in nature, with a medium bitterness; just a touch of orange liqueur on the finish; overall, the profile is pretty interesting

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy

Drinkability: Kinda scary-high

Conclusion: This is really interesting, my first Black IPA. It's really pretty similar to a good, drinkable DIPA, but with a little more

BedetheVenerable, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of StJamesGate
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby black with a puffy tan head that fade with sheets. Nose is herbal, like Ricolla cough drops, but also tangerine - great interplay between treacly malts and piney hops. Big furry chocolatey malts with some bark but also orange sponge cake. Grapefruit, wintergreen and cedar hops come in at the end. Linger is dry but with a sweet cocoa hint in the back, too. Round and very smooth, some stickiness, no noticeable ABV.

A big dark IPA. Well balanced. Trouble is, balance is between orange and licorice - do those go together? As complex as it is, I'm just not compelled to actually keep drinking it. Interesting nonetheless.

StJamesGate, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


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

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

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

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

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

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

glid02, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of jrallen34
2.58/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

The beer pours a dark black, only very small hints of brown in direct light, with a little tan head that is less than half a finger. It does foam at all and is gone within 15 seconds. The beer is watery and has very little lacing. The color is very strange for an dipa.

The aroma gets you back on track to seeing this is an dipa. The main notes are light hops and you get a small amount of coffee.

The taste is very confusing to your senses. If you didn't know much about beer you might really enjoy this, but to me it breaks to many boundaries and blurs to many lines. There is some light hoppiness to the beer but the great bitter finish that makes me enjoy a dipa is replaced by a coffee stout finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied and lasting, and despite its weirdness is decently drinkable.

If you can just ignore what you know about beer this might be a beer for you. To me it isn't that excellent tasting to allow me to forget the faults and recommend it.

jrallen34, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of DrKnoskelson
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 22 ounce bottle I picked up from Canals Liquor in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Beer pours an earthly brown color with only a slight tinge of red on the edges.

Disappointing aroma; no detectable hop aroma, mainly hints of roasted malt. Only a trace amount of head after the pour.

The beer was mildly carbonated, with a sweet malty taste. No noticeable bitterness, mostly specialty grains such as chocolate malt and roasted barley. Very complex finish comprising mostly of roasted grains.

I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed with this beer. I think that the bottle I purchased might have sat on the shelf for a bit too long since there was only minimum hop flavor. I plan to try this again and see if the beer scores the same.

DrKnoskelson, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of gford217
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by glid02 at the Brick Store.

Pours a deep, clear copper with a very small creamy beige head that hangs around as a swirl for a while and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is fairly hop forward with some oranges and pineapples up front which is balanced a bit by some dark roasted malts, though the hops are the main attraction in the nose. There is a bit of sweet caramel and some chocolate as well.

The taste seems to be slightly less hoppy, but the citrus hops are still the most dominant feature of the beer. There are some dark malts in the background, but they seem sweeter than I was expecting with very little roasted character. There is some chocolate in there though.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and very smooth with the hops sticking to the tongue after each sip.

This is an extremely good and very unique beer. It's definitely more on the IPA side of things with the hops showing out, but the sweetness of the malts and chocolate make for an intriguing and very drinkable mix. The alcohol is completely unnoticeable.

gford217, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of qchic
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark, dark brown with deep red highlights. Modest tan head appears coarse with large bubbles. The aroma is a harmonious blend of citrusy hops and roasty malts. This beer becomes far more engaging in the flavor with sweet bitter orange and chocolatey roasted malts with some licorice in the finish. Full-bodied and a touch sweeter than I was expecting, but enjoyable throughout the entire bomber. I'm definitely a fan of this hybrid style and look forward to finding more examples (probably with lower ABV, and therefore higher drinkability) to satisfy either an IPA and/or porter craving simultaneously.

qchic, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black stting on the table maybe, but its a dark red when held to the light. Topped by three fingers of swiss cheese foam. Nice lacing.

Light mocha aroma, with slight candy note.

Chocolate syrup down the center of the tongue. Earthy hops rise up to balance the sweetness, then take things over to the bitter side a bit.

Nice smooth slick mouthfeel oozes down the tongue.

A quickly disappearring bomber. Anymore out there?

Not sure what it is, but its nice and tasty. Give it a try.

RonfromJersey, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown (almost black) color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled very hoppy with citrus and floral notes. There were also sweet notes of chocolate and caramel.

T - It tasted of bitter grassy hops with a sharp citrus kick of orange peel and grapefruit. There was a roasty chocolate malt taste to give it its "black ale" name.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied beer that hides its high ABV very well.

D - This is a great brew from Southern Tier. I'm really becoming a fan of the Black IPA style and this is a great example.

zeff80, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of Lambstrong
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark mahogany, almost pitch black with a sandy tan head with decent retention and very nice lacing.

Aroma: Roasted malt, caramel, vanilla and liquorish are upfront. Very pleasing.

Taste: Taste is almost like it's aroma. Initial bitterness and then I picked up on chocolate, vanilla. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel: A little chewy. Not heavily carbonated, but you can feel the bubbles on the tip of your tongue. Slight warming in the aftertaste from the higher ABV.

Lambstrong, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from rgtravers, cheers Ryan...

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 2 fingers of mocha head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Piney hops, breadyness & a bit of booze once warmish

T: Dark chocolate, some minty hops then some pineyness & a bit of apricot & grapefruit up front. This one is wild, I get oaky bourbon/vanilla as this warms, with herbal hops lurking in the background, then POW more grapefruit!! A bit of smokeyness, dryness & boozeyness too, this one is a bit all over the map, but working for me. Finishes dry with much caramel & Bourbon, plus pine

MF: Fairly chewy, moderate carbonation & good balance. Becomes pretty sticky the last 3rd of the bottle

Drinks a bit slow due to the complexity & ABV, but I really liked this one. I suspect this one may not please hardcore hopheads, but I dig it! Every sip seems different to me, wish I had a few more to see if I can replicate this! Seems almost like a blend of a great DIPA & Imp Stout & may be...

russpowell, Oct 30, 2009
Photo of david131
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very deep and clear brown/ blood red. The off-white head is thin but creamy and leaves some really nice lacing.

S- Pine, caramel, a hint of cinnamon. Very sweet smelling and if I were blindfolded, I would say it looked orange. Aromatic and appealing.

T- Sweet caramel with a nice piney hop flavor that is not overbearing or even all that bitter. Smooth and nice for the style and ABV.

M- Smooth and not all that thick- and it doesn't need to be. Leaves some residual sweetness and oiliness.

D- An enjoyable beer that goes down nicely for the ABV. I kind of dig this black DIPA thing.

david131, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of PerzentRizen
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 5

I love nearly everything from Southern Tier and this one is no exception - though it doesn't score well as a DIPA; I think it would be better categorized as an Imperial Swartzbier.

Poured into a Piraat tulip at 40 degrees this beer has a black color with fizzy head that quickly retreats.

The aroma is very malty with lots of latent hop aromas that pick up in the nose after the first whif. Toffee, chocolate, and caramel are all there too.

The first taste is much fuller than the aroma. Toasted caramel and malt, light bitterness and a touch of coffee are the first tastes. The flavors are reminscienct of Stone's 13th anniversary though not exact.

Mouthfeel is way too light and watery. I'm not falling in love with the consistency.

Drinkablity is off the charts. I was guessing 6.5-7.5% abv but at 9% the alcohol is very well hidden. I have finished a bomber in under 20 minutes and I'm just now starting to feel the effects.

PerzentRizen, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of morimech
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, almost black color with 1/2 inch of tan head that has good retention. The head eventually settles to a thin cap. Sheets of lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is nothing like I expected in a dark beer. They used dark malt but there is no roasted charactor to this beer. I smell chocolate, citrus, and dark fruit. You can definately taste the C-hops in this beer but bitterness stays at the moderate level. There are hints of dark fruit and dark chocolate as well. Alcohol is well hidden. Again this is nothing like a hopped up porter or stout. The malt profile is more like a Schwarzbier. Has a substantial body with a wonderful creamy, soft texture. It is a pleasure to drink. The high ABV is the only limiting factor in the consumption of this beer. One of my favorit ST beers.

morimech, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of becktone
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes 7-12-09

Eye: Black, opaque. No light gets through this guy. Just what you want from something of this style. Head formation is nice, but the retention could use some work, it does leave behind some nice lacing though. Thought that after the initial pour subsequent pours would yield a better head, not true.

Nose: Grapefruit and floral hop notes right upfront backed by some dark malt aroma, bits of roasted and chocolate. Pretty much what you'd expect from an IPA.

Tongue: Take Two Hearted and give it some more complex malt flavor and that's pretty much what you've got here. I'm getting a roasted and slightly toasty maybe almost browned or burnt grainy flavor. Hop character is very nice here, compliments the malt very nicely. Even though that black patent has been debitterized you can still taste that malt, its very specific and clear that much of this malt flavor is coming from there, yet its not acrid or ashy or black malt bitter. All in all pretty damn good, but its no Stone 11th. Alcohol is well hidden. Maybe some slight phenols/esters from the yeast-hints at bubblegum, not strong enough though for make this beer even close to being undrinkable for me though.

Feel and Drinkability: This is an easy drinking beer, body is light. Its a bit deceiving since this beer is so dark in color....one suspects that it'll be heavy since its jet black in color, but its really just the opposite. The body is medium-light. Esters from the yeast and the black patent flavor last long on the palate. Carbonation is somewhat prickly but works with the beer, I think something softer would be even better but, hey, that's just me. This is a good beer, but for the price I'd rather be drinking Sublimely Self Righteous. No qualms with the feel, not really. As far as drinkability, I'd drink another one, if I saw it in a bar I'd prolly get it, but going out to specifically get this, prolly not going to happen again.

becktone, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of FernMaster
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

If you're reading this on your internet phone at a liquor store deciding to buy this beer or not, just skip the review and buy this beer. Southern Tier's Inequity is trip for your taste buds and mind. If Alice was drinking beer her taste buds would have gone done the rabbit hole.

Southern Tier's Inequity pours very dark, almost pitch black - very much like a stout. In the light, it loses some of the darkness and becomes a very dark red. The pour yields very little head. I poured my allotment into a pint glass, but since my roommate bought the beer he got the tulip and that didn't have much head either. There's very, very little lacing on the glass as you drink it. The smell is something you wouldn't expect from the look of the beer out all. Depending on your experience with IPA's or beer in general, it can be a real mindfuck. You really, really expect a stout when looking at this, however your nose picks up a bit of grapefruit and hops. Then once you taste it, oooh. Wow. Your mouth does not expect this at all! While it may be a very straight forward IPA, cascade hops and grapefruit charactersitcs, the true joy of this comes from the look. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great tasting IPA it's just the look! Crazy. The novelty of this beer makes it a definite purchase (if you like IPA's) if you've never had it before, after that is left up to your discretion! It drinks well, the mouthfeel is thick enough and it's very drinkable - not too bitter.

FernMaster, Oct 18, 2009
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,433 ratings.