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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)

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1,501 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,501
Reviews: 620
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 160
Gots: 147 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-12-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,501 | Reviews: 620
Photo of alleykatking
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle.

A- Pours a nice darker deep brown. Amber highlights when held up to the light. Nice 1 finger tan head that dies down after a short period leaving some lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Nice balance of piney earthy hops (almost a little of on the too bitter side) infused with a nice roasted malt backbone for the body of the aroma. Good smelling beer for the style (black of course). Hops take over as top dog in the overall aroma of this beer.

T- This one suprised me to be honest. Bigger roasted malt in the front of this beer with hints of lighter dark chocolate. Bitter hops come through in the tale end of this beer. A total flip-flop of what I thought it was going to taste like based on the aroma. Nice balance still even though it's kind of not like the style as far as DIPA's go.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Good carbonation levels with this beer lets it flow across the palate. Nice tastes of burnt malts and hops on the palate. Good malty burnt aftertaste with a slight bitterness to it.

D- Good drinker I will be buying this again since it's now in Indiana. Good beer to try when you want something new.

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

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the bomber bottle to a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours deep brown almost black, but turns ruby red when held to the light. Nice thick tan head on the first few pours that sticks around for a while.

Smell: Pine hops, kind of fruity and roasted malts. Definitely not what I was expecting for a DIPA. I can't say I have ever had a DIPA that didn't bowl you over with hops.

Taste: Definitely not your standard DIPA flavors. Based on all the other DIPA's I have ever tasted this definitely pushes the boundaries the most. The roasted malts dominate with hints of chocolate and ends with that piney hops flavor. More balanced than your standard DIPA but is actually skewed to the malt side.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and sticky. Goes down nicely with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Tastes more like a schwarzbier than a DIPA. That being said, I should probably rate this beer lower than I will because I'm not sure it lines itself up with DIPAs. However, it is still a tasty brew. I would have again, but wouldn't seek out.

Photo of PatronWizard
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Scores were intact. Shared by the slightly pudgy but very tall Mauerhan. Thanks man!

Poured a black fluid. OK. Appeared cola-ish. Creamy tan leather head.

Smell is very nice. Hint of chocolate, almost a little smoky.

The smoke is more pronounced in the flavor. Not bad, but I'm generally not a fan of the smoke flavors in me beer. Slight hop bite but fairly week.

Still, solid enjoyable brew.

Overall: next!

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another nice snag from my quick visit to the Piggly Wiggly at Market Commons in Myrtle Beach, SC. This one pours a deep cola brown if held to the light other wise it looks like a huge dark black schwarzbier. Head is light beige tan and rises well above the rim of my glass, looks like bready rising, lacing is streaked evenly with each sip and makes the beer look very appetizing. Aromatics have deep herbal and pine like hop cone action going on amongst deep dark roasty malts, and a touch of mellow alcohol in the background. I'm getting some herbal mint like qualities amongst the dark bitter chocolate roasts. Flavor is fantastic, one of the dark semi sweet chocolates with a dry finish, enough malts give it a caramel roasted malt flavor but overall very hoppy expressive flavor that includes more herbal and aggressive pine hop action to the enjoyable Imperial Black Ale I have in front of me. Mouthfeel is fuller bodied with a touch of cloying milk chocolate syrup notes, carbonation level is carried well here nothing that makes me want to pour it out, very enjoyable in fact. Much more so than other hopped up dark ales with the higher alcohol contents. I split this with my wife, who typically enjoys darker offerings, I ended up finishing more of this than she could handle. I think the hop forward approach in this dark caught her off guard.

Photo of thequeen711
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found Iniquity on the shelf and decided to give it a try, after all, Southern Tier rarely makes an undrinkable beer. Poured dark chocolate, minimal head with light lacing. Nose is heavenly, slightly hoppy,but the sweet roasted malts come through to balance the flavour. Taste and smell go hand in hand, can detect the hops, however the maltiness is quick to balance. Very smooth finish, and quite enjoyable. I would buy more of these when I see them!

Photo of ClevoPiwo
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Definitely a black ale, this one pours nearly opaque with not much head to speak of.

The smell is pretty good. Definite hop presence complimented by a big malt background. The malt is big in the bouquet, with a nice grainy, sweet and roasted aroma.

The taste is similar to the smell, definite hop flavor with a big malt presence. Roasted malts with a hint of earthy grains and sweetness followed by a hop flavor that lingers into the aftertaste. The finish is a nice blend of hops and a roasted malt character.

I didn't really know what to expect coming in to this tasting, but I left very surprised and pleased. Also, this was on sale and I was lucky to pick up a few bombers!

Photo of Patrick999
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excited to try this one as my first "Black IPA" - haven't made my way to the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous yet. Also excited to see a fellow 'Canes fan just below me in the reviews for this, but this is a beer site, not a college football site, so I'll zip it.

Poured into my Stone imperial pint, it does indeed look black, but held up to the light, you can just barely see through its deep ruby red. Head is thin, but present.

Hell, it smells great. It's pretty much what you'd expect a Black IPA to smell like, not having had one. Citrusy, floral hops with some roastiness.

This is pretty well-balanced. A lot of citrusy hop, but the malt profile puts up quite a fight, its roasty sweetness blending in nicely with the hop bitterness. You really can taste the double IPA lurking somewhere beneath the dark malts.

This would seem to blur the line between hoppy Imperial Stout and DIPA, but for the mouthfeel. It is by no means the mouthfeel of a stout - in fact, it's mercifully thin for 9%. While there is a good deal of perceived sweetness as well, it never gets around to being sticky.

It's a drinkable 9%. Due to the feel, it seems to drink smaller than it is, and there isn't any perceived alcohol, either - that alcohol is very well-hidden, it never gets boozy. You could really drink the hell out of it.

It'd be nice if I could get this on a regular basis down here in the real "Southern Tier"...this is my only bottle....but such is life.

PS - Overlord, good call with the Arrogant Bastard similarities....after reading your review, I can taste that connection.

Photo of mullenite
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into two Corsendonk tulip. An opaque pitch black body with a tall frothy cream colored head. Head fades to leave a rocky island center. Lacing down the side of the glass is one of the best I have ever seen. Very thick and sticky.

Smell is a strange mixture of sweet dark fruits and pine-y hops. The hops are a bit stronger but the fruits hang out in the background.

The taste is an excellent blend of biscuit, dark fruits and pine. The hops from the nose are subdued until the back of the tongue, allowing the malt flavors really shine.

Mouth feel is a little creamy, very nicely carbonated and not too oily (I was expecting a mess for what is essentially a black DIPA...)

Overall I really enjoyed this one. I would love to be able to get this whenever I wanted but for now I'll have to stick to trading.

Photo of JMD
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black as night with a rocky off-white that leaves heavy lacing down the glass.

S: Sweet malty aroma, with hints of bittersweet chocolate, and toasted malt. Follows up with a nice blast of citrusy hops.

T: Amazing balance between malt and hops. Starts out sweet with toasted carmel malt, carmel, and some chocolate. Also has a nice hop punch, with fresh grapefruit and lemonzest.

M: Full-bodied, viscous, and almost syrupy texture.

D: This is a unique and outstanding beer. Great balance and flavor, and great texture. Southern Tier just puts out one great beer after another, they are easily one of my favorite brewers. Iniquity is a well crafted brew, to say the least.

Photo of SFLpunk
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown glass pry-top with no freshness date.

Pour looks thin, but it's completely opaque with fluffy tan head standing about 1.5 inches high. Nose is somewhat muted, but there's that tell-tale cascade aroma sitting on top of some black malt/burnt malt aromas. Palate is crisp and flavors are complex and mingling. Crisp hoppiness up front is quickly tallywhacked black chocolate malt which is supported by a net of alpha-acid and lemon zest. Medium- to light-bodied (esp. for the style) and crisp like any great black lager (I know it's an ale). Does well as my first "Imperial Black Ale." Nicely done, would like more body though.

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

22oz bomber served in a Duvel Tulip. Poured a deep brown/black with about a finger of tan head. Big piney hop aroma with chocolate malt. Not as bitter as the aroma would suggest. Starts off with some cocoa. Medium bodied. Hops in the middle and finish. More chocolate that really lingers in the finish. Very interesting and unique beer that really worked for me.

Photo of Overlord
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty interesting brew, actually. Thanks bitterpachyderm (!).

Pours a somewhat translucent black (hahaha, oxymorons FTW!). Smells like chocolate mixed with ... grapefruit and bitter hops. Very intriguing.

It tastes like a mixture of Arrogant Bastard with Big Eye IPA with ... something chocolate-y. In a good way. There is a bursting grapefruit and piney taste to it, but the backing is definitely chocolate malt. Pretty tasty, I must say. I had to look up one of the hops (chinook) to figure out the arrogant bastard link (arrogant bastard features chinook hops).

Well, nice bubbly mouthfeel, and a good brew.

Photo of nanertak
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle bought locally.

Appearance: Poured black with brown edges. 2 fingers head, medium lingering lace on rim. Looks black as night and thick.

Nose: Coffee, chocolate, cloves. Bittersweet smell.

Mouthfeel: Very round. This thing takes over your mouth. Strong body, low carbonation.

Flavor: Toasted malts up front, fading to somewhat bitter hops as a backbone. Coffee, chocolate, cloves again. The 9% alcohol is masked incredibly well.

Finish: Persisting hops and mild burned sugar (but not unpleasant). Long, long finish. Stays with you for a long time.

Overall: Excellent sipper. This is one of those beers that basically astounds me every sip, not because the flavors change but because it's so well balanced and intriguing. I could sip this and stare into a fire for hours. Highly recommend.

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle purchased at Charleston Beer Exchange and poured into an Allagash Tulip glass.

A: Pours an extremely dark brown that appears black until it is held up to the light revealing the lighter color and ruby highlights. The head is a frothy pillowy light brown color that is two fingers in thickness at the pour. It does settle quite a bit but lasts extremely well. As it recedes there are multiple rings of lace left on the glass.

S: It has a very nice hoppy aroma that is a mix of citrus and floral hops.

T: This is the second "black IPA" I have had and both have been suited well to my tastes. The darker malts provide a much more interesting malt backbone to the load of hops than the paler malts do for so many IPAs. There is quite bit of hop bitterness in this one, but it is perfectly balanced. The finish is slightly on the dry side though.

M: The pillowy head makes it incredibly smooth and creamy in the mouth.

D: This one goes down so much more smoothly than I expected. It disappeared quickly.

Photo of marvin213
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As expected, it looks like an IPA...but black. It leaves some semblance of a web as it settles and stirs, and a heady foam dissipates to a thin layer of head coating interspersed with bacterial culture-looking bubbles. It looks like an IPA, but it's black. I suppose that's neither good nor bad, but +0.5 for novelty.

The smell is good and unlike an IPA. I don't know if it's a jedi-mind trick or not, but I smell chocolate. I also smell wood. Surely not everything that makes beers black (malts) has origins in chocolate. And I feel like I smell more oak than some oak-aged ales. Maybe it's one of the hop varieties. Though it's far different smelling than your traditional IPA, it certainly offers a pleasant aroma.

I taste toasted malts and hops. A hint of the chocolate I smelled strikes my tongue and lingers on the palate. The hops are there for the IPA effect, but not at the forefront like most imperials. With all the hop monster copycats flooding the craft beer market these days, this is a welcome effect. It tastes like an Imperial IPA with the hop presence and warming alcohol, but I suspect it's the "blackness" that presents the balance so many other doubles promise but fail to deliver. If it really is balance your looking for, this could be your beer.

That malty hoppiness makes for a magnificent mouthfeel. Though I admit I love enamel-pulling hoppiness, this beer is a fulfilling DIPA. It's a unique twist on a style ever-increasing in popularity, and it's unlike any other. The hexagram talisman on its label is appropriate because it is sorta magical--an imperial IPA is not supposed to feel this way.

The sweet sort of blackness blended with genuine IPA hop maks for a drinkable beverage. It's a really light sweetness--I don't know the calorie content, but (minus the alcohol) it seems like a dieter's dream...uh, as far as sweet beers go. A really strong offering from Southern Tier--not just the antithesis of Unearthly (as the bottle suggests), but better.

Photo of bobsy
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this bottle in Buffalo. Pours a pure black with a finger of off-white head. Decent retention and lace. The aroma is good - a mix of chocolate and coffee with some lovely c-hops. The flavour is not quite as hoppy as I expected, and shows more balance than usually found in southern tier's big beers, while also dropping the booziness that they tend to have. Chocolate and lightly roast coffee mix in with some smoke before hitting a good splash of grapefruit and some pine in the finish. Simple, but good. Medium body and carbonation. Drinkability is high for an imperial. Nice stuff from ST!

Photo of goblue3509
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cola like dark brown almost black color with a tan head that gives way to good lacing. The smell is of coffee and chocolate as well as citrus and piney hops. The taste is of malt chocolate and sweet malts at the front end. The taste is balanced out by citrus and piney hops for a bitterness. The mouthfeel is a little syrupy but overall it is very good. The overall drinkability is very high, it is an overall very complex beer with a lot of malt and hop balance.

Photo of jbhuxley
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Pour immediately produces a cloud of tiny bubbles which form one finger of smooth tan head. Color is black, almost opaque. When held to light some dark ruby tones show.

The smell is not reflective of the appearance. I can only pick up traces of toastiness, maybe a bit of molasses. I mostly only smell the hops. A little bit of citrus but mostly earthy hops.

At first, there is a sweet coffee/chocolate feel, I can barely pick up the hops until the finish. I get a bit of pine and citrus, but it is a bit masked by the sweetness. I think would prefer this slightly more bitter.

I poured this beer at about 42 degrees, as recommended on the side of the bottle. I enjoyed this beer much more as it warmed up. The bitterness comes out and the complexity of the beer is amplified.

Mouthfeel is light, but sticky. The carbonation is just right.

The 9% is a bit dangerous. The combination of sweetness with the light body and hops make it very drinkable, and very easy to forget that you're drinking 9%.

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

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a dense black body with a light tan head that fades to a thick ring and sticks to the glass with each sip. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The full aroma of green juicy hops has a nice pine resin quality to it.

T- The big taste of green pine hops is juicy with a slightly sweet pale malt flavor. There is a mellow roasted malt note with no bitterness at the finish. As the beer warms the roasted note increases and turns sweeter and covers some of the hops. The finish has a pine resin flavor that lingers along with a roasted malt note.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a soft alcohol bite.

D- This beer is a nice IPA with a twist of some soft mellow dark malt notes. Interesting concept that was nice to drink.

Photo of superdedooperboy
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The folks at Wine World in North Augusta, SC cracked open a couple different beers they are sampling in an upcoming tasting and invited me to join in on the fun.

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a 1-2 oz. sampling cup.

Pours a deep, dark brown, perhaps a bit cola-like. Clarity is decent; gives rise to a thick head of dark tan foam that is a bit creamy and holds itself together very well, leaving nice rings of lace on the vessel that come near to sheets in breakage.

Aroma is quite appetizing, with rich dark chocolate and notes of dark roast wafting up initially, melding with brighter grapefruit-like citric hop notes as the beer warms up a bit.

Medium-full in body with a nice zippy, moderately carbonated mouthfeel that helps keep it a bit more drinkable despite its weighty 9% ABV. Flavors mimic the nose rather well, with nice dessert-like notes of milk and dark chocolate and roasty, toasty malt showing themselves in the beginning, but with liberal notes of American-variety hops showing themselves as it warms a bit, doing sort of a turn-around from a dark-souled yet lighter-bodied Imperial Stout to a bright, citrusy, weighty Double IPA. Finishes with a medium-dry, nicely balanced citrus-and-caramel fade that lingers well afterward.

Imperial Black Ale? That's what Southern Tier calls it, and the name is rather fitting. In character, perhaps a bit of a combination of New Belgium's Enlightened Black Ale and a nice hefty DIPA, but with pronounced Imperial Stout leanings as well. Very interesting and very, very tasty. Definitely a must-try.

Photo of nasty15108
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Poured black with a thick head of tan foam. Nice lacing.

S - Malty with herbal undertones.

T - Malty, with complex layers of smoke, citrus and herbs (Anise/Licorice).

MF&D - Medium bodied and slightly sticky. Very enjoyable.

Photo of bfields4
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very dark body with a light amber hue. Nice lacy head.

Very herbal hops are accompanied by a light roasted malt. A little citrus zest to boot.

Extremely complex brew. Begins with rich and chocolate flavors. The hops then hit with a bitter very light citrus to herbal flavor. The finish is a more roast malt smoothness.

A little boozy, not overwhelming but there for sure. Chewy and nice light carbonation.

Photo of damienblack
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly dark brown, somewhere between a traditional IPA and a stout. Head like a stout, same mocha color and billoweyness. Smells like sweet hops basically, except unlike a busy malty IPA like DFH 90, they really blend together quite well. Mostly earthy, a bit of pine, not much citrus. Taste is great - the flavors compliment each other. It's like drinking a real earthy IPA, except without the huge pine sensations, the malt sweetness drives it. Almost like a real hoppy brown or some such. If you're looking for a real strong DIPA, this isn't it. If you're looking for a great balance between malt and hop, this is the target. Nice coating mouthfeel, and sublimely drinkable. For me, who isn't a huge fan of IPAs, especially huge malty confused ones, this walks the line perfectly. Bravo!

Photo of cavedave
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Antithesis of Unearthly (a brew I recently enjoyed) it says on the label. Yeah, bring it on.

The look is a deeply dark brown, opaque, thickly made beer which affords a thin beige head that dissipates rapidly to a cap. A gentle swirl leaves thin streamers of lace on my snifter.

Smell is a strongly insinuative blast of chocolate, molasses, and caramel, all wrapped in herbosity, citrus, and floral sweetness. There is a sense of alcohol to the aroma, but not an overt presence.

The taste, good gosh, what a new and different taste, what flavors! Chocolate and molasses ride a tsunami of fruit, herbal, toffee, citrus, and sweet flowers into a finish that is stupendously juicy and long. During my first few sips there's a strangeness to the mix of citrus with the deeper flavors, but after that this beer just takes off. It's a flood of alcohol, herbosity and bitterness, with undernotes of pine and citrus. As it warms, and as my palate comprehends this brew, its flavor range, its balance, and its boldness become exceedingly enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this edgy style. Low carbonation, very viscous, light mouthfeel despite all this, holds the mouth well without a chewy or metallic feel.

Just had to check the ABV. 9%. Wow, be careful with this one, it drinks real easily.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Jet jet inky black. About an inch of light sandy head. Good retention and lacing.

S- Hops! I love that these black IPAs look like stouts and drink like IPAs. Delicious blend of citrus hops and a light malt sweetness.

T- Wow... exactly what it looks like... starts with a rush of dark malt--chocolate, coffee notes--the hops wrestle for the forefront. Citrus hops give way to a piney finish. Sweet molasses/caramel flavor lies underneath. I could go for a little more bitterness, however. Some alcohol is apparent, but it gives another sweetness to it.

M- Smooth and creamy, syrupy even. Good amount of carbonation.

D- Way high. I'm loving this.

Here's what I love about Southern Tier. I haven't had too many of their stuff yet, but everything I've had is robust and flavorful. Good stuff all around.

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,501 ratings.