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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 BgThang
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Visiting the taphouse bar and grill in norfolk. Sister to the one in hampton. Met the bartender who was kewl and found out he just was in austin a couple of week before hand. Tried this on tap, do not remember seeing it in ST's lineup.

The appearance is blackish with a nich fine creamy head.

The nose. Dang this is straight up bad ass. Hops, hops, and some maltyiness comes through.

The miuthfeel is creamy, nice hop presence that is not to overbearing and finishes with that nice hoppy/malty balance.

If its as good as this in the bottle then I want some.
I feel it could benefit from some cellaring. This is due to some boozyness in the mouthfeel

Overall a very fine beer that will sneak up on ya

BgThang, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of Metalmonk
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

No surprise, this black ale is black. Not the impenetrable abyss of a Russian Imperial Stout, but certainly black enough to earn the title. The head is very creamy and built of insanely small bubbles, giving it a very desserty look, like mocha frosting or something.

Clean breezy hops dominate the nose, which seems in conflict with the color, but that's the beauty of a black IPA. Some fruit comes in too, like overripe plum, but slight, and also a slight bit of chocolate too, like milk chocolate or cake-topping chocolate shavings.

Where most other black IPAs focus on the roast/burnt aspect, with hops only adding to the intensity, this particular version is richer, creamier, sweeter, rounder, more succulent than any other I've had in this category. Or at least on par with Stone's similar Sublimely Self-Righteous. Roast is here, but it's just dressing around the edges to the dark chocolate cake, chocolate milk, gobs of marshmallow and ultra-juicy dark fruit sweetness of the center. Hops play a supporting role, just one of the parts of this beer and not something spiking out and going for the kill. It's about superb balance and plenty of depth.

What makes this beer even better is the mouthfeel. It's transcendental -- if you like your dark ales and double IPAs on the super-creamy side. This is liquid velvet in the mouth, on the tongue and down the throat. Soft and smooth but with loads of presence; so utterly round and creamy yet not overly thick or gooey. Perfection.

Southern Tier are fast becoming one of the greatest U.S. brewers of all time, and I'm not surprised they've come up with another utterly fantastic beer with Iniquity. This is a winner, and one I would love to have on hand regularly.

Metalmonk, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of strengthdoc
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours very dark brown almost black in color with not much of a head. The aroma is slight with a little bit of chocolate and caramel. The taste is mildly sweet with a medium mouthfeel. There is a buttery feel of alcohol on the lips and the taste is pretty balanced. There is a mild bitterness in the finish the turns to an alcohol warmth and taste.

strengthdoc, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of CHADMC3
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown to black with a thin tan head packed with dense carbonation bubbles, patiently subsiding to leave almost no lacing behind.

Immediate pine hop aroma dances from the glass, dark coffee malt is faint, and a sweetness resembling brown sugar.

This is quite a complex brew with pine hops, dark malts, toffee, a slightly woody aspect likely an extension of the pine hops, fresh sap, all around delicious and unlike anything I have had before.

Medium to full body, light carbonation, very smooth, and an excellent palate that buries the abv.

This is just a great beer, unlike anything I have had recently. Certainly something I will visit again. A must try. Way too easy to drink, I am putting this thing down quick. This does not resemble many guidelines within its style, but its absolutely delicious!

CHADMC3, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of skrib09
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a deep ruby red/brown, bordering on black. tan colored head, fluffy looking.

smells hoppy. more pine than citrus. there's also a distinct sweetness on the nose.

taste is pine up front. a little citrus tangled in there. the end notes are sweet and syrupy. a slight hint of something roasty or chocolate maybe.

mouthfeel is full-bodied. a little bit of a grain feel too.

not a session beer.

skrib09, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a dark brown with a small white head. Aroma of sweet citrus, cappucino coffee, and light roasted malt. Flavor is sweet initially with a roasted malt/coffee finish. More on the brown ale side than the IPA side I think, but an interesting blend. A little sweet too. But I liked it overall.

LilBeerDoctor, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yep, it's black, all right, thoroughly opaque, nothing but nothing but darkness, and a cream-toned, tanned head atop. Looking good.

Aroma is fresh and lively, pine and citrus at play, but matched with dark malt, a bit of chocolate and caramel. Odd, but true.

In the taste, it's utterly indescribably delicious. Tasty dark malt, chocolate and toffee, met with a blast of hops. What is this? India black ale. Damn, but it's good, though.

With each sip and gulp, I wonder if I'm downing a porter or stout, but the brash hoppy twist takes it to another level, and we have to reckon with that. Still, despite the confusion, it's nothing besides delicious. Really.

So unique, so unusual, so really delicious. The best of malt, the best of hops. Damn, what is up with these guys...? Just keep making the great beer, Southern Tier!

feloniousmonk, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of smcolw
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark brown color, nearly black; a minimal amount of light will shine through. Great lace (chunky and ringlike after each sip). The head starts off well and seems to hold its shape at the end

Smells like a dark brown ale with a generous amount of hops tossed in. Well balanced with a light chocolate malt aroma mixed in.

Chocolate, cocoa, cream, hops all blended together in beer frappe (thick body, low carbonation). The aftertaste is bitter and lasts for at least fifteen seconds.

Here is a cross between a brown ale and a Double IPA. Delicious and worth seeking out.

smcolw, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of dirtylou
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, jennifer street market

appearance: poured into my hopleaf tulip, interesting body as expected - cola-mahogany, garnet tints, very dark violet. creamy tan cap that is well layered

smell: sharply hopped, lots of pine, burnt sugar, spicy rye

taste: this is an odd one - very heavy hop profile that puts this in the DIPA category, fuller body is a result of strong rye notes, a little woody, moderate-high bitterness. This one is a little spicy, and full of bitter pine. i guess i'd just prefer the other DIPA's in the line though

mouthfeel: sticky and highly bitter, medium-full body

drinkability: ok

dirtylou, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of coachdonovan
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let's see how this "black IPA" thing goes...

Poured into my Iron City Beer pint glass, the head dissipates quickly and leaves this beer looking like a glass of Coke. I suggest smelling/tasting this beer with your eyes closed; the color plays tricks with your mind, as you're expecting a roasty porter smell. Instead you're met with an IPAish aroma, but it seems muted. Inhale deeply, and the hops start to fill up your nose but stop short. The alcohol is definitely present in the taste, but it's not overpowering. Overall an interesting twist on an imperial IPA.

coachdonovan, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of naterock
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a fluted tasting glass. dark brown but not black like I was expecting. decent one finger head that leaves quickly

smells of rich chinook hops and a sugary malt sweetness.

Taste is overwhwelming on both levels with a malty sweetness and huge hop bouquet of citrusy and piney hops. really a nice change of pace for an IPA

Mouth is medium varbonation and slightly viscous. Drinks well and quite slow.

naterock, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of Mdog
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown, good foamy head.

Smell: Mild citrus, roasted malt notes.

Taste: Interesting taste, not really anything like a typical DIPA. Slight pink grapefruit, light chocolate, bready, balanced.

Drinkability: I finished the bottle quite quickly.

This was an interesting beer, I would almost call it more of a porter than a IPA/DIPA. Doesn't seem as "extreme" as the other Southern Tier bombers, but is a pretty nice beer.

Mdog, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a very thin tan head. Nose is like older tea. No. It's iced tea! I hate iced tea. Try growing up in the very Deep South hating iced tea. Going to someones house for dinner and they don't put a glass of water out next to your plate; just a glass of iced tea. Flavor is bringing the tea yet again. Tea Beer. Really. That is what I am getting here. Feel has a nice enough carbonation and the liquid is fairly thicker. An interesting beer to say the least. I will say it again. This is a tea beer. Double/Impy IPA? Huh? I get almost no hop character whatsoever off this.

RblWthACoz, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of OlieIPA
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared by the very generous Topher...thanks man!

A: Had a color range that included dark brown and black. The head size and retention were mediocre at best, but lacing was surprisingly above average.

S: Complex malt profile mixed in with some sort of dark fig. Not a "in your face" aroma, but provides the nose with a variety of smells.

T: Dark malts seem to transition into a deep and dark chocolate coffee with hints of caramel and dark fruits. The hop bitterness is evident as well, which is surprising considering the lack of hop aroma. Delicious! It almost has the appearance of being a Black IPA, but some of the flavors seem to be holding it back from being one.

M: Lighter on the carbonation side, but I love how the flavors linger on the palate.

D: Pleasantly surprised. Easy to drink, good aroma and flavor profile, and perfect on a cool spring evening.

Overall: A try it beer. Cheers!

OlieIPA, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of argock
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a clear tulip glass. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.49.

A: As black as any stout with no light escaping and a solid 2-3 finger tan head with excellent retention and lacing. A truly stunning brew.

S: Aromas of caraway rye mixed with a hefty dose of floral, citrus, and piney hops

T: A very inviting and unique blend of bready dark malts and floral, citrus, and pine hops with exceptional smoothness.

M: The smoothness is remarkable with low carbonation. Body is medium to full. The aftertaste is delicious dark malt with grapefruit hoppiness.

D: A singular brew with a rare but excellent combination of dark malt with C-type hops created with great feel. A wonderful beer to come back to periodically, and not a bad value for the contents to boot.

argock, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of AltBock
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber bottle with a plastic wrap around label. The main picture on label is that a big white Star of David on top of a purple circle that's leaking out some gray paint. To the far left of the label is where they keep all the mandatory US information. To the right is where you'll find the usual Southern Tier wealth of info. This is where they list the ABV%, plato level, type of malt, the type of hops, correct serving temperature, picture of the correct glassware, and a large paragraph that describes what the picture stands for and a short description of the beer. Of course, like any other Southern Tier label, the only missing info is some kind of vintage year or best before date.

Appearance: The label suggested that I pour their beer into a Tulip. So, I poured this beer into my Corsendonk Tulip. I've never had a "Black" IPA before, so I didn't know what to expect from the color. I had no clue that it was going to pour a jet black color. It wasn't a pitch black color because I could see some minor cola brown highlights at the bottom of the glass. That's the only place where light could shine through the beer. Sitting on top of this IPA was a beautiful 1 inch creamy off white colored head of foam. This creamy head of foam had excellent slow retention that left behind a creamy 3/4 of an inch skim of foam and a ton of sticky streaks of lace around the glass. A top notch appearance.

Smell: The black malt used in this beer didn't make this beer smell malty. It instead made this beer smell like roasted buckwheat. Directly behind the roasted buckwheat was a hint of roasted coffee and a gentle whiff of dark chocolate. Just when I thought this aroma wasn't going to have any "IPA" aroma in it, the beer then finishes up with some minor grapefruit and pine notes. A unique aroma for a unique beer.

Taste: The first thing I noticed about the taste was how creamy it was. It was just as creamy as the creamy head of foam that was on top of this beer. Like the aroma, it wasn't malty at all. It smelled more like roasted buckwheat than any other grain. There was some chocolate in the aroma, but it was in the taste where the chocolate and buckwheat combined powers to form a unique chocolate grain taste. Behind that taste combo was a hint of lightly roasted coffee beans. Like the aroma again, just when I thought there wasn't going to be any "IPA" flavors in this beer, out comes a touch of grapefruit, citrus hops, and pine.

Mouthfeel: For a 9% ABV IPA, this was a medium bodied beer than a full bodied IPA. It didn't completely mask the 9% ABV. I could feel a little alcohol trying to seep through at the end. It was also in the mouthfeel where I received a creamy aftertaste of chocolate, buckwheat, roasted coffee beans, and a gentle splash of citrus hops and grapefruit.

Drinkability: This was my first experience with a "Black" IPA and what a good experience it was. It was a very interesting beer. Not only was the beer roasted, but yet it had a touch of citrus flavors to it. If you want to try something out of the ordinary, then I would try this beer. Would I ever buy this beer again? Maybe once more, but that would be it.

AltBock, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of barnzy78
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Just realized that this is classified as an Imperial IPA - interesting - I was expecting American Strong Ale. Poured near black with hues of chestnut at the edges of the glass when held to the light. Beige head is thin, but still respectable and it leaves a decent lacing on the glass. Aromas are of floral hops, citrusy grapefruit, and pine. A blind sniff would reveal an IPA or Imperial IPA - smells pretty good. Initial tastes are completely different than aroma - we've got roasted malts with slight hints of molasses and chocolate. These notes don't last long and are quickly taken over by a nice hop character - citrus with some pine notes, which really brings this all together to be an incredibly balanced ale. Overall, I really liked this one and wouldn't change anything about it. Definitely recommendable.

barnzy78, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of movingtrain
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked this up from Main Street Gourmet in Oxford, Ohio. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber, drank from a tulip Chouffe glass.

A: Dark--indeed, it is black. A lot of carbonation out of the bottle...a good finger head that is sticking around a while...tan, and sticking to the edge of the glass as it slowly goes down.

S: Hops! Man, all I'm getting is hops here. Bit and fruity. Pine notes, citrus...the bottle notes that Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops were used...with Willamette in the hop back. I keep going back, and all I'm getting is some severe hops in this one.

T: Sweet...not what I expected from the smell. Chocolate up front, hops in the middle, and a smooth, creamy finish. Some burnt wood, char. Bubbly and creamy mouthfeel...a bit of spice (peppercorn?). Some bitterness lingers after several sips. Still, the only thing coming through in the smell is hops, but the taste is well-balanced and sweet...the overbearing hop smell breaks away nicely into a pretty delightful beer.

Overall: Another nice selection from Southern Tier...I've been very pleased with their imperial beer selection, and this is no exception.

movingtrain, May 31, 2009
Photo of elinash
3.08/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Trying this from the bottle at home. Served in a Trois Pistoles chalice. Pours with little apparent effervescence and no head at beginning or end of pour (sign of the alcohol?). Little to no lacing with first few sips.

Aroma is sweet hops- maybe mandarin orange. No detectable malt on nose.

The first sip is all IPA and hops for me. The carbonation is almost null- feels like a flat soda. Extremely hoppy in taste, almost no malt/ black malt detected except in the structure. Appropriate for the style, but I think the malt really could come through more. The body could also use a boost.

Bitter and sharp on the finish, rounding out with a little roasted malt in the back palate. Lingering hops.

elinash, May 30, 2009
Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis. I had a small glass during the bar's IPA tasting. I thought it was a nice change of change for big hoppy beers. I thought the malt profile landed it more in the neighborhood of an imperial brown ale. There's some dark roast in the flavor, but also toffee and caramel. And like a lot of imperial malty beers that try to be DIPA's in some sort, the hops don't quite dominate like they do in a regular IPA. Still, very tasty and enjoyable. Worth a try, though I'd just call it an American Strong Ale.

tempest, May 28, 2009
Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two imperial pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a dark cola-brown/black with a creamy, light-tan head that doesn't leave anything but a few random speck of lace in the glass.

S: Pretty nice combination of grassy hops and burnt, roasted, and sweet malt aromas. We also picked up a slight hint of peach and/or apricot floating in the background.

T: Freshly mown, grassy hops with a sweet/roasty malt flavor that leads into flavors of citrus, tropical fruit, dark chocolate, and a hint of french press coffee in the finish.

M: Surprisingly hoppy with a thick and sweet middle that eventually turns dry and bitter and quite sticky in the finish.

D: I was glad to see that this wasn't yet another 11% ST beer. The alcohol is pretty well hidden and we really enjoyed the hoppy/sweet/roasted maltyness of this beer.

GbVDave, May 26, 2009
Photo of Reagan1984
2.9/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Sunset Grill. Came served in a tulip glass with virtually no head. What was there vanished in moments. No cap and no lacing.... The beer was virtually black. Totally opaque.

Virtually no aroma. A touch of alcohol and a phenolic/plastic smell.

Well, this is a balanced beer. Big malt backbone and also strong hop bitterness. Not fresh hop flavors, but strong bitterness. Again some phenolic flavors. Lots of roasted malt flavors. Pretty sweet.

Fairly thick bodied. Light carbonation.

I wasn't a really big fan and therefore I did not find this extremely drinkable.

Not sure I'll seek this one out again.

Reagan1984, May 25, 2009
Photo of kirok1999
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet, slightly transparent with some wispy foam and mild lacing.
Smells of dark malts and just a hint of dry malt extract.
Roasty and sweet with a dry finish. Dark caramel with some cotton candy. I can see how they relate this to Unearthly as the sweetness seems to be the same note.
Very clean and refreshing and another really well done beer by Southern Tier.

kirok1999, May 25, 2009
Photo of OldSchoolGamer
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There is alot of controversy regarding this brew. People claim it is not an IPA, while others say Stone Sublimely Self Rightous Ale puts this to shame. The fact of the matter is, this beer is really unique and I have never had another beer like this one. Here is my review:

A: Pours a dark black with a frothy, tan head. Lacing is left with each sip. The beer is pretty opaque as light only penetrates around the edges.

S: There is a nice subtle hop aroma. Some grapefruit and citrus. There is also some nice maltyness on the nose. Maybe some roast.

T: Unique indeed. There is a great grapefruit hop flavor upfront. The citrus hops then giveway to complex malt flavors. I get a strong smoke flavor, as well as roast and maybe a hint of chocolate. This is alot maltier than Stones, but still great.

M: I would say light to medium bodied. Decent carbonation. Very, very smooth. This beer goes down way too easy. It doesn't coat the mouth that much. The finish is pretty clean. Not bitter at all.

D: Like is said, this beer goes down way to easy. Great flavor and no hint of the 9% ABV at all. I bet I could drink a couple bombers throughout the night.

Overall, this beer is pretty awesome. I like it alot better than Southern Tier's Unearthly and Hoppe. I also think this beer is more complex than Stone's SSRA. I just wish the flavors would coat your mouth a little more. Worth the time and money for sure.

OldSchoolGamer, May 24, 2009
Photo of JamnesCameron
2.63/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Okay, here goes....

Serving from a 22 oz bomber.

Initial pour fills the glass with a dark, ruby beer with an offwhite/beige head. Head disappears quickly.

The color is interesting, I like the idea of a dark IPA, but there is not P(ale) here. That's the reason for the 1.0 on appearance. Had it been classified as an "experimental beer" and the criteria set as a "black IPA" I'd give it a 3.5 or 4 (it's not black, it's dark ruby).

The aroma is dominated by hops, resiny grapefruit. But there is a hint of roast in the aroma, so marks off for that.

The taste is wonderful. The combination of hops and roast malt is fantastic. There is an obvious duel between the malt and hops, and both battle for attention. But the roast flavors are not to style, so marks off for that. Again, had it been classified as an experimental Black IPA, I'd score it higher on taste.

Mouthfeel is slightyly syrupy, a little too much body for an IPA or Imperial IPA. An IPA or Double/Imperial IPA should not be filling.

For drinkability, this is an awesome freaking beer. I will buy it again. I will search this beer out on tap. This beer is all substance, but no points for style. Call this beer an Imperial India Porter Ale, and you'd be dead on.

JamnesCameron, May 24, 2009
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,433 ratings.