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.

1,404 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,404
Reviews: 611
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 127
Gots: 104 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,404 | Reviews: 611 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a near dark roasted coffee coloring with dark plum highlights around the edges when viewed against the light. A 2 fingers spongey sandstone colored head sits atop for a good while leaving a well pronounced and full spongey coating on the way down.

S: fresh citrus and pine with a soft pungent showing of flowers. Nice enough aroma, moderate in strength, but nothing really out of the ordinary that was to be expected.

T: The flavor brought about a fresh squeezed citrus hoping with a gentle roasted touch of barley grains. Dry pine with a pungent flowery, bitterness compliments of the Chinook hops blends well with the roasted barley. Theres a slight acidity, as well dry grapefruit found in the middle of the palate before a sharp and well pronounced zesty, and juicy fresh citrus hopping closes things out on the finish. Overall a nice flavor, dark and brooding in appearance with a freshly squeezed citrus hop zing makes this stand out.

M: a medium consistency, with a slightly oily texture. The carbonation was extremely soft adding to the smooth and fullness of the body.

D: Good drinkability, nicely hopped with accents of soft roasted malting gives this a nice spin on an ipa. Smooth going down and defiantly good for a few.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 22:41:52 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a snifter

Body appears a dark brown, but shows off a clear body, with ruby overtones when held up to the light. The head is tan, and is a late riser. It only makes it about half a finger before subsiding to a bubbly collar and leaving some spotty lace.

Strong piney, citrus hop profile. Tangerines and pineapples layered over top of a slightly roasted malt profile of molasses, caramel and semi sweet chocolate. A very unique nose to an IPA. I like it.

The flavor is very similar to the nose, only deeper and broader. Same citrus up front, only it is backed up by a pretty hefty bitterness. A melted caramel, brown sugar, and molasses flavor take over only to let the hops finish up---primarily of grapefruit and pine.

A pretty full body, with a good amount of carbonation. Smooth, but not creamy. With such a robust malt profile and the hops to balance, I would like to see this guy creamier.

I will say that while drinking this, the alcohol is very faint, but after about 10 mins of finishing the bottle, I had a subdued burn going on that seemed to build up over time. Otherwise, a very easy drinker.

I like what Southern Tier did here. There are so many IPA's out there that remind you of this one or that one. This IPA takes a chance at something different, and that is OK in my book. It is ok to switch things up once in a while. Nice job.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 21:57:18 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of BeerBelcher


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

With only one or two exceptions, every Southern Tier beer I've tried has been exceptional, and I believe I've tried most of them. And this one is no different.

Body of this beer is black, but not impenetrable. I read somewhere else comparing its color to cola, and I think that's right. Head was light tan and fairly abundant. Aroma is distinctly hoppy and floral, which is a little different for a dark-colored beer. But if you closed your eyes and smelled t his beer, you would think you were sniffing an APA. There was also some light toffee-malt notes. Flavor was more of the same - a bit of toffee, lots of hops, and a good amount of roastiness on the back end. This is not a challenging beer to drink - quite the opposite. I would say it is "big" based on the variety of flavors involved here, not necessarily on the intensity of these flavors (reading here that this beer is 9% ABV is a surprise to me). Quite good and highly recommended.

I bought this bottle at Blacklick Liquor on Broad Street a few weeks ago.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 13:54:51 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of drcarver


3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep brown with a clear "cola like" body. An off white small head sits on top with little lacing

S - Strong floral hops aroma with pine resin dominating

T - Surprisingly the hops flavor is almost lost completely. Dark roasted malt and way in the back is the pine on the exhale.

M - Full bodied with a slight syrupy texture. A good burn with a dry finish

D - A nice change of pace, but you definitely can't kill more than one.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 01:43:25 | More by drcarver
Photo of orbitalr0x


3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice black with dark brown highlights and a light tan head on top. Even a bit darker than I expected. Aromas start out with roasty, chocolate infused malts that quickly kick into citric / piney hops. Lots of hops here with fruity accents and caramel undertones. Pretty nice.

First sip brings rather sweet dark malts upfront with chocolate and roast accents that rolls into citrus and pine resin hops. Caramel touches on the way down with a nice kick of bitterness. Finishes with sweet malt accents.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Goes down fairly easily while being slightly dry. Overall, this was a tasty black IPA, however I found it a bit on the sweet side malt wise.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 01:34:55 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of ZAP


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love drinking beers like this that break the boundaries.

The first thing I noticed on the taste was a big chocolate flavor...but then the hops join in and it takes on more of an earthy flavor....finishes with some nice citrus notes....

Aroma is very interesting too...the citrus jumps out first then a little of the sweet cocoa....

Very enjoyable beer..finishes a little citrusy acidic in the mouth but that is about the only complaint...very well done

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2009 19:27:55 | More by ZAP
Photo of DrJay


4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, but when held up to the light it was clear and had a deep reddish chestnut colour. A fine cap appeared after the pour, settling to a collar with a skim of bubbles topping the beer. Good retention after that, with a lot of spotty lace. Big citrus aroma, tangerine and grapefruit, more rind and pith than flesh, plus a little pineapple. Malt was present, but far in the background, with some caramel and molasses. Sturdy bitterness, but really just enough to overcome the malt presence. Malty caramel and brown sugar sweetness were complemented by dried fruits (prunes, raisins) and a bit of roast. Toasty and a bit doughy with a pleasant fruitiness. Hops were in the grapefruit to pine range, but were balanced nicely with the malts. Medium+ bodied with carbonation a little less than average. Smooth, not much of an alcohol presence, perhaps a bit of alcohol spice in the finish and a hint of warmth. Quite good. Really drinkable for a bigger beer. The balance really worked for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2009 02:57:52 | More by DrJay
Photo of BMoney575


3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 5-15-09

Pours very black, with a little bit of purple around the edges. A chunky off white head keaves behind decently craggy lacing.

Smell is malty IPA, a little strange, very roasty with a dry stout quality. Interesting, but a little too bland.

Taste is malty, sweet and bitter, and amazingly bland. It's like they poured everything into one pot, and all the ingredients canceled each other out, except for a warming alcohol. Very odd.

Mouthfeel is very thin, I can't tell if it's fitting or not.

Drinkability is decent, although the flavors are odd, they aren't offensive.

Overall, very different, and I'll have to try it again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2009 01:18:44 | More by BMoney575
Photo of mhatters


4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Ron's in Exton, served in a tulip glass

Pours a black color with ruby undertones, a small amount of white head and good lacing.

Lots of things going on, strong malts, some citrus the oak notes shine through

The malt is dominant, but the oak, hops, and citrus come through nicely balanced and enjoyable.

Complex, enjoyable, a balance between hops and malt. Go get this

Serving type: on-tap

05-16-2009 01:01:04 | More by mhatters
Photo of jwc215


3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky-ish dark brown with an off-white creamy head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is perfumy, piney, a touch of "cat pee" with orange and lemon. There's a mingling of licorice to give it some "darkness". It has the "Southern Tier" house character quite strong.

The taste is of licorice, a bit ashy. "Darker" than the aroma. It has piney, citric and perfumy notes. Again, strong house character. I liked it more initially than as it progressed. Combining "dark" and "hoppy" is interesting, but the enjoyability of it is limited, IMO. Doesn't necessarily "clash", but comes too close to be something great, IMO. There is something harsh about it. Something a bit plastic-y, too. There's an herbal dryness in the finish.

Mild to medium carbonation with a medium to full body. Alcohol is noticeable in cleansing way.

Drinks fine for a noticeably stong brew. Interesting, and enjoyable for that.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2009 01:08:51 | More by jwc215
Photo of watkins

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a Brooklyn chalice.

A: Nice dark brown color with deep ruby notes.

S: Smells immediately of hops! So unfair, this shouldn't happen for such a dark brew. Toasted malts follow soon after, and slight alcohol, comfortably.

T: Tastes highly like roasted/smoked malt/grain at first, followed by citrusy hops afterward. Rich. This took me by surprise; I might have to re-review this one, as it's definitely more layered than I expected.

M: Pretty highly carbonated, medium bodied.

D: 9 percent is definitely heavy-hitting, and I'm kinda buzzed after a little. The richness also lends a little difficulty toward the drinkability.

Expect a re-review of this one!

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2009 00:53:51 | More by watkins
Photo of taylorhamrick

South Carolina

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark brown color, light mahogany higlights, with a massive tan head. The head is formed with loose bubbles, which leave just little bits of lacing and kind of stays around for most of the drink. The smell is very nice, fruity, piney, resinous hops are sitting on top. There's a tiny bit of lemony citrus peel underneath, with a big chocolatey back. There's also a fruity, raisiny note underneath. I love the smell of dark, hoppy beers, so much complexity. The taste is really great too. There's a good hoppiness, but actually a very well hidden bitterness, with lots of flavor. I get so much orangey, lemony hop flavor, with a bit of tropical fruitiness, and some resinous flavors. Then the maltiness really kicks in, coffee, dark chocolate, a good bit of sweetness, like raisins of plums. No dryness, just very full flavor. I like it. It feels just a bit watery. At least more watery than I would've expected, very little alcohol presence (a good thing), a bit syrupy, kind of prickly carbonation. A pleasant drink. Easy to go down, and it won't hit you too fast, but I can already feel it about half way through. I would recommend it for the pure enjoyment.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 18:51:59 | More by taylorhamrick
Photo of deereless


4.78/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Midnight black with some crimson along the edge of the glass, thin layer of dense head, some lacing down the glass - 4.50, S: Touches of charred wood, fusel alcohol, pleasant hop aromatics - the citrusy and earthy varieties, a hearty fruit aroma such as fig or possibly an aroma of dates - 4.50, D: Lots of bitter chocolate, molasses, solid hop bite, noticeable alcohol, there is what tastes like a little green on the hops - 4.75, M: Slightest touch of graininess - 4.00, D: Another very impressive product from Southern Tier, extremely drinkable - one I will seek out again - 5.00

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2009 00:10:16 | More by deereless
Photo of froghop


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a black with a red tint, a small off white head that goes away quickly, and some lacing.

smell is of fruits (mainly plums and grapes), some sour malt, a touch of floral, and some hops.

taste is of toasted malt, caramel, touch of pine, a little chocolate in the back, and some citrus, end is thick and a little bitter.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 00:23:43 | More by froghop
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle purchased on a recent trip to premier gourmet in buffalo. sampled may 5/09.

pours deep brown, nearly black, and almost opaque. when held to the light you can see a slightly lighter shade of brown at the edges and enough to know that it's nice and clear of any haze. a small very dense light brown head forms, dropping fairly fast but leaving plenty of spotty lace behind. so far it sure looks like "the antithesis of uneartly" as the bottle claims.

aroma is great. with my eyes closed i'd swear this was a regular american ipa and not a black one. pine needles, grapefruit, and bright citrus that includes tangerine and orange. the only thing to give it away is it's hearty malt presence. i swear, this thing smells chewy. big blast of multi-grain bread, biscuit, and cracker. just a touch of alcohol. ok, maybe a little more resemblance to unearthly here, but it's also clearly striking its own path.

taste is good. not at all what i was expecting from the aroma. the big chewy malt i got in the aroma is still here - lightly toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit, and a bit of cracker - but the hops are toned down and joined by a nice dark fruit presence. date, raisin, bit of plum. just under medium bitterness level. there's just a touch of pine and some light orange and tangerine more than grapefruit. light alcohol. yep, this is certainly going in left field compared to unearthly. you can tell there's common lineage, but the two have gone in different directions.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. silky smooth well integrated medium carbonation.

drinkability is dangerously good. perfect balance, hiding its 9% alcohol incredibly well, with enough depth and complexity to keep you going back for more.

i wouldn't call it an american iipa, and don't know if i'd even call it a black american iipa. the dark fruit makes me think more of something like a darker, hoppier, belgian strong dark ale. maybe belgian black ipa? no, it doesn't have that belgian yeast character, and the hops are still distinctly american... ah, who cares what we call it - it's a damn tasty beer that i'll definitely be picking up again.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 22:57:50 | More by grub
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, thanks grub!

Pours a deep dark reddish brown, almost black, some red in the edges, slightly opaque, medium sized light tan head forms, quickly settles down to a thick ring, leaves some nice lace spots on the glass. Smell is nice, lots of floral and grapefruit hops, some pineapple, light caramel malt, dark fruits, raisins and grapes, brown sugar, a light toastiness, very lightly roasty. Taste is similar, sweet at first, caramel and brown sugar, biscuits, grapes and raisins, prunes, nice hoppiness, some floral and grapefruit, very fruity in the flavour, licorice, maybe a touch of roast, smooth balanced finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, very smooth for the ABV, very balanced. Real nice beer, aroma is pretty hoppy, like Unearthly-lite, but the flavour is very fruity, good stuff. Thanks Russ!

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 22:56:29 | More by Viggo
Photo of mwilbur


4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 650 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Well, not really black. Pours a nearly opaque amber-brown with the thinnest of light tan heads.
S: Tons of pine and citrus hops. My mouth starts watering from the hoppy bite in the aroma alone.
T: Holy hop-head, Batman! The hops are very strong...pine and citrus again. A little one-dimensional, but if you love hops then this is your beer.
M: Generally smooth and light. Hoppy bite, but not as much as I feared from the aroma. Pine aftertaste.
D: ABV is very well hidden. A very drinkable brew, but not a session brew due to the extreme hop nature (and the ABV eventually catches up to you). Surprise your friends with this one...the dark color will not prepare them for the taste! Again, if you are a hop lover, seek this out.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 04:31:18 | More by mwilbur
Photo of charlesw

New York

3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Listed right now as a DIPA. Um. What? I'm reviewing it as an old ale 'cause it will score better.

Brown and on the way to opaque but not quite - lots of red shining through. Decent head of tight dark cream bubbles.

Smells like an IPA. Crazy. Fuggles and floral hops.

Roasty dark malts in the mouth but a ton of DIPA in there. Whoa. Southern Tier DIPA, come to think of it. Like there's a brewery flavor or something. Well, there is if you're blending two house beers, I suppose. I wonder if this is a blend... It's not really important. You get some roasty flavors - a thick and sweet caramel to back that up. All kinds of crazy hop things going down. Crazy hop things like in a DIPA.

Probably pretty close to the mouth for an old ale. Maybe a wee bit light.

To be a great old ale it would need less of the IPA hop profile. Of course, to be a great DIPA it would need to lose the roasties.

It is certainly an interesting experiment.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 21:37:59 | More by charlesw
Photo of keo

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sniffing my glass after pouring this dark brew I was surprised to detect a floral scent, underneath which was a barely noticeable hint of alcohol. An impressive off white head frothed to the top of my glass. Taking a first sip, a floral hop flavor immediately hit, followed by a very mellow bitter chocolate flavor. As with the aroma, a scantily noticeable trace of alcohol was detected, but it did not detract from this delicious concoction.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 02:10:59 | More by keo
Photo of CrellMoset


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA. Served in a 10 oz. nonic. Had this one at Beer Run previously, but out of the bottle. Let's see how they compare.

Appearance: Arrives a dark brown, not opaque, but just a deep, robust brown. Capped by an off-white head of average retention that leaves a not insignificant amount of foamy, streaky, blobby lacing.

Aroma: Hmmmm. A little toastier than out of the bottle, with dark coffee goodness, bittersweet chocolate, and heavily roasted toffee, all with some residual sweetness but not TOO much sweetness, with leather, tobacco, grapefruit, and pine flourishes coming fast out of the gate but falling into balance with everything else as it warms.

Taste: Whoaaa. This tastes entirely different from the out of the bottle version. There're way more coffee and dark malts notes - dark roast espresso coffee, cocoa, toast, dark toffee, just a huge vibrant but crisp assortment of flavors. The remainder is no surprise, with pine, tobacco, and grapefruit wrapped up in a moderate amount of bitterness. I'm just surprised at how different this tastes.

Mouthfeel: Like the bottled version, even but slightly "large" bubbled, making for a fluffy, pleasant, and not too thick feel. Very flufftastic.

Drinkability: Much more like a dark Unearthly than the bottled version. This one actually tasted "dark" - does that mean it's better or worse? I'm not sure, but I do know that this one was more what I expected than the other. At 9%, it's not as big as the Unearthly either, enhancing the drinkability ever so slightly.

Serving type: on-tap

05-03-2009 23:18:16 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of Kadonny


3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber bottle into my nonic pint glass.

A: A dark brown almost black color with a thin light brown head. Minimal glass lacing that disappears.

S: Hops, with citrus and bit of floral smells coupled with a hefty malt sweetness.

T: Wow, very different. Flavors of sweet candied sugar and honey start, then make way to some citrus pine floral hops finishing with a roasted malt chocolate flavor. Take an IPA and blend it with a porter and that it this beer. Slight alcohol flavor sneaks in on the finish.

M: Full and coating with some cloying sweetness that lingers. Alcohol can be tasted for sure.

D: Medium to low, sweetness wears on you.

Overall a good beer that I can only drink in small quantities. It turns out being very sweet that seems to take over the whole beer. Still, very different and a very solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 21:09:50 | More by Kadonny
Photo of HeyItsChili


4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours Coca-Cola black w/ brown highlights and a big, creamy tan head that just won't quit.

S - The foam may obscure some of the aroma, but what does come through is an earthy, subtle malt scent.

T - The malt profile is present up front as the hops slowly heighten in bite. There is a sweet, dark brown sugar underpinning that holds down the hop content. The hops are probably most present in the finish.

M - Thin bodied, creamy, good carbonation.

Serving type: growler

05-03-2009 20:01:10 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of caminiti

New York

4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased on the advice of Kendo, and glad i did. Poured into an old Griffen pint glass, it looked a lot like soda, not quite black, with a decent head. I got the smelll of malt, coffee, and I thougt licorice as well, and that was reflected in the taste. It may be mistaken for a stout by appearance and smell, though not in mouthfeel, much thinner. A great brew by the great folks at ST again.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 12:18:37 | More by caminiti
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black body with a white generous head. Great C-aroma. Great taste of grapefruit, lemon with the malting making it a great complexity. Above-average moutheel. Good drinkability. A tad acidic, still one of the better beers I have had, regardless of being a DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 02:37:11 | More by Sammy
Photo of claytri


3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a rich black with a nice tan head. The aroma is of toasted malt, coffee, and hops. It tastes of sweet toasted malt front end with a hoppy coffee finish. The feel is medium and dry. This was a very enjoyable beer, nice and rich, the malt up front was so enjoyable it allowed me to appreciate the bitterness in the finish.

Serving type: on-tap

05-02-2009 23:40:32 | More by claytri
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,404 ratings.