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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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1,413 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,413
Reviews: 611
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 129
Gots: 114 | 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: 1,413 | Reviews: 611 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mwilbur


4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

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.

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

New York

3.8/5  rDev -8.2%

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.

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

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -7%

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.

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


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

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


3.68/5  rDev -11.1%

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.

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


4.1/5  rDev -1%

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.

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

New York

4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

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


3.93/5  rDev -5.1%

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.

05-02-2009 23:40:32 | More by claytri
Photo of hopmonkey

New York

3.58/5  rDev -13.5%

A - More of a deep deep ruby than black. A pleasant hue.

S - Plenty of hops and citrus with hints of yeast and bread.

T - Aggressively hoppy without being overbearing. Powerful citrus flavors yield to pine and dough. Then the malt steps in for a brief second for a bit of a jammy taste, followed by a bitter finish with enough fire to remind you of the ABV.

M - Nicely carbonated, not oily as I had feared it might be.

D - A nice beer, but in the end, nothing too special here. A bigger dose of malt would result in a more layered presentation and could tone down some of the pine.

05-02-2009 00:57:32 | More by hopmonkey
Photo of jmalex


4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

This one snuck up on me. Southern Tier is really cranking these beers out now, but I'm doing my best to keep up!

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Victory becker a dark brown with some russet highlights showing through when held to light. The head starts small and slowly drops to a full splotchy cap of foam. Webs and curtains of lacing cover all sides of the glass.

SMELL: The familiar west-coast hop profile greets you as it always seems to - quite aggressively. Burnt, astringent chocolate comes on increasingly as the beer warms and offers a bitterness that works really well with the intense hoppiness.

TASTE: Remarkably balanced. Some really malty sweet flavors are here with a real chocolatiness to it. The hops, obviously, shine on their own but just fit snugly into this beer and simply try and do their part. The finish shows off the hops the most - citrus and pine mostly.

MOUTHFEEL: Definitely on the fuller side with only a light slickness to it. Carbonation is a touch high of medium and well done.

DRINKABILITY: It's a big one, but what else would you expect from Southern Tier. I know this will be a slow go getting through the bomber, but for what it is, this drinks reasonably well.

Wow. A definite surprise for me. I'm used to their excessively malty beer, but in this one it works. You may not have heard about it when it came out, but Iniquity is a beer worth drinking.

05-01-2009 20:03:28 | More by jmalex
Photo of Slatetank


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

Thanks to Tenderbranson69 for sharing this bomber -poured chilled in a doublewalled tumber.

A - A very dark brown w/ ruby highlights. Rocky light tan head of about 1 inch, think lace coating and clarity is translucent and it has no visible carbonation

S - Citrus, lemony scent w/ sweet floral juic notes and mild ruby red aromas. Hops dominate the smell, but malt and yeast fruitiness evident in the aroma also

M - very smooth, resinous feel w/ moderately low carbonation and mild hop spice. A light hop acidity and a herbal/juicy texture w/ slight sweetness in the feel from malt. The texture has a slight warmth of alcohol moderal floral quality as in the nose w/ resinous oiliness and mild roasted element at the finish

T - The hop flavor is more upfront than the bitterness which I like. Very high c hop taste is noted as in the nose w/ the lemony/grapefruit taste of the cascade w/ the piney centennial that gives nice contrast to the roasted, but not bitter flavor of the (debittered) black malt which has a slight molasses accent. There are subtle currant notes and hints of smoked nuts w/ mild crystal malt sweetnes, dark toast adn pistachios bitter skin flavor when closer to room temp. The tast is like citrusy African coffee in the finish w/ similarity to dark candy, moreso than molasses

D - A very good black IPA if you will, but one of the best of the hoppy black ales. Nice Hop flavors which tak priority over the bitterness and the black malt is not bitter. The malt adds roastiness but still allows the hops to shine throuh. Highly recommend this ale - another great example of the style.

05-01-2009 18:27:22 | More by Slatetank
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

A: Poured from a growler to a tulip glass. Had a brownish-black color, with a slight ruby hue around the edges when held up to the light. Had an almost impenetrably dark consistency. Quarter inch of tan-colored, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: A very aromatic beer, smelling of malt, citrus and a hint of coffee.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, some bitter hops, citrus and some coffee. Very complex, very tasty.

M: Lots of carbonation and a smooth, biting finish. Medium-bodied.

D: I guess there really wasn't another style to categorize this beer in other than imperial IPA. It's not necessarily apt, but this is definitely an excellent, drinkable beer.

04-30-2009 14:16:28 | More by avalon07
Photo of Deuane


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

Thanks to Clockworkorange for sharing a bottle with Psychohops and I.

A-Black with the most subtle of deep garnet highlights. A thin tan head reduces to a thin veil and leaves spotty.

S-Roasted malt, nutty and a nice light citrus pop. All in all this is light but present nonetheless. Quite complex for such light aromas.

T-Damn complex...even more so than in the nose! Roasty malt, nutty with a spicy citrus kick. Finish is wonderful with an interesting bready nutiness.

M-Medium body with good lingering flavours. I really like the lasting nut bread taste.

D-Wow! This is damn good stuff. Another Southern Tier Imperial brew that rocks! Full of flavour, truly a nice surprise!

04-29-2009 02:59:23 | More by Deuane
Photo of ClockworkOrange


4.43/5  rDev +7%

A 22 ounce bomber bottle split with psycohops and Deuane. Poured into a shaker glass. Appears a deep and dark, but still translucent brown color with about a finger of light tan foam. Smells and tastes of fresh candied orange and lemon peels dusted with cocoa powder, full of fruity, citrus hop notes with an ample amount of roasted grain and caramelized malts. Rather smooth drinking with little to no alcohol presence and medium carbonation. Delicious and dangerously drinkable.

04-29-2009 02:32:39 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of msubulldog25


3.65/5  rDev -11.8%

Opened this bottle (22 oz.) a couple weeks back - review from notes. A pour to a standard pint glass.

Label: 'The Antithesis of Unearthly'
2-row Pale Malt; Debittered Black Malt
Hops: Kettle - Chinook, Cascade; Hopback - Willamette; Dry hops - Cascade, Centennial

A: Deep mahogany/not-quite-black, a tinge of orange/ruby glowing at the seams. Short khaki head comes up just shy of a finger-high...maybe a pinky. Gorgeous lace, a strong creamy/foamy coating hanging in curtain-like webs.

S: Burst of sweet/juicy orange citrus, an initial explosion of fruit/toffee. Light pine scent and a pronounced herbal spice. As it warms, hops gets 'greener', even more grassy/herb-like with a modest hit of smoke.

T: Upfront, a huge jolt of dark malt - scorched toast, acrid coffee,blackened popcorn. That's a Black IPA for ya, I'm finding... Malts and gentler hops encroach as the sooty flavors wane, offering mint and a gummy 'envelope flap' spiced sweetness. Wasn't happy with this so I let it sit awhile; the result: dingy earth/dirty huskiness, better pine and notes of orange scone. More modest smokiness. Better, certainly flavorful, but doesn't fit my palate well.

M: Creamy smooth, modest carbonation. After the initial dark 'charred' flavors a nicer toffee sweetness and hints of candied citrus. Medium-full body. Alcohol weight is present, not overbearing.

D: Hmmmm... liked this gradually more as it warmed, but it never caught up to be a truly enjoyable flavor/feel. Has a fine look and great aroma, but I'd probably pass on this one if I found it again, simply because the flavors do nothing for me. Worth a try, tho'...

Thanks for the bottle, Alan (BanditBrewingCo)!

04-29-2009 00:32:16 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Pencible


4.72/5  rDev +14%

This poured a translucent mahogany with light tan head. It smelled like copper and grapefruit hops and sweet honey, with some roasted coffee. It tasted like grapefruit and pineapple and orange, along with roasted coffee and sweet honey. It was fairly thick with smooth carbonation, and had a mild aftertaste. Overall this was an excellent black IPA, maybe better than Stone's! It had great delicate flavor that was well balanced and very clean. It had great body too, and was quite easy to drink. I just love this beer.

04-28-2009 15:20:51 | More by Pencible
Photo of UA8


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

A- Pours an opaque coffee black with a one inch thick bubbly light brown head.

S- Big scents of tangerines and lemon, with a caramel malt backing.

T- Leads with a sweet caramel malts, mid palate is of tangerine sourness and finishes big with heavily roasted sweet malts, a slight smokiness and herbal hops and orange rind.

M- Smooth, big , and round with a nice light carbonation.

D- Man this stuff goes down way too easy. I love black IPAs!

Had this several times since and have to say on each revisit have found the malts a bit heavy handed and artificially sweet. Still worth trying.

04-28-2009 01:50:49 | More by UA8
Photo of jsp2


4.58/5  rDev +10.6%

22 oz bottle poured into pint glass, dark black but light penetrates the edges. Foam is very thick and just off white.

Delicious aroma of roasted barley with notes of coffee and vanilla, with a slightly citrus but more floral hop counterpoint.

Sweet and milky roasted barley combined with piney hops. Very curious bitter aftertaste that is some combination of toasted barley and hops. Aftertaste is somewhat sweet.

Carbonation is very low and body feels very full. Satisfying.

Extremely falvorfull yet quaffable and light.

Another successful experiment from ST. I think it could be slightly less sweet, but it delivers everywhere else. Reminds me of a "black and tan" I had with a sweet east coast IPA and a nice balanced stout, if you were to stir it up.

04-28-2009 01:17:12 | More by jsp2
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

4.24/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours very dark with minimal light coming through. Not much of a head but tremendous lacing. Smells very floral, citrusy, tropical fruits...hop bomb. Tastes of more huge hoppiness, citrusy, pine, melon, hints of alcohol, light roastiness. Delicious. Mouthfeel is pretty heavy, perfect carbonation. Very enjoyable and drinkable...fantastic tasting Hop Burps!

04-27-2009 23:56:00 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of gabrielsyme


4.72/5  rDev +14%

On tap at Rustico. Pours brown with half a finger's worth of tan head. Strong, delicious floral hop taste giving way to chocaltey-sweet goodness, combining to amazing aftertaste and the best hop burps ever. Very drinkable at 9%, no noticeable burn. I've had a few of these black IPAs (they seem to be all the rage) and this one was unique. Worth seeking out.

04-27-2009 20:31:48 | More by gabrielsyme
Photo of gws187


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Appearance- Pours a nice dark brown/ black. Good head retention throughout.
Smell-Hops, hops, and roasted malt.
Taste- Wow. Nice hop taste with a roasted malt finish. Nice balance.
Mouthfeel- Very smooth, little carbonation.
Drinkability- Extremely. Even at 9% alcohol this beer is one I could enjoy multiple times in a night.

04-27-2009 02:28:30 | More by gws187
Photo of KarlHungus


4/5  rDev -3.4%

This beer pours an opaque black color. The head is a quarter inch in height, and recedes slowly into moderate lacing. The aroma is of citrus, grapefruit, and pine resin with traces of malt in the background. The taste is full of hops, but the part I like most is the roasted malt backbone. The mouthfeel is full bodied with lively carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a good beer. I'm not sure what an "Imperial Black Ale" is suppose to taste like, but I am sure that this beer works.

04-26-2009 21:53:27 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

3.88/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours sinfully dark with an absolutely HUGE foamy light tan head that fades slowly. Tons of Belgian lacing left behind with each mouthful. Is that to style? P*s on that! It's better than looking through a pale fizzy yellow beverage. The smell comes across to me like a candied grassy pine, huge sweetness behind it, and a lemon-vanilla combination. I've picked up on that common thread with the last couple of beers that ST has rolled out. It dominated the oak-aged unearthly; its as if there were leftovers from the brulee. Full flavored, the taste is a balance of extremes; big tangy grassy lemon minty hops married with an overly stated sweetness. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel almost burns from the hop and alcohol combo. That hoppy business is all up in the front and on the tip of the tongue while the back of the mouth bathes in sweetness. It gives the impression of being lighter in body. The taste and spicy burn lingers significantly. A really interesting beverage!! I hope my tastes aren't changing that drastically...i wasn't looking for that much sweetness. The 9% ABV warmed the chest nicely. Totally different experience than XI.

04-25-2009 02:15:58 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of Celt44

New York

4.85/5  rDev +17.1%

Appearance - Pours a deep, dark brownish black. Head is nice and frothy and lacing lasts throughout. Nice tan foam. Good looking beer.

Aroma - Citrusy hops mixed with malts right off the bat. Lemons. Hints of freshly baked bread.

Taste is exceptional. Not as bitter up front as their IPAs. It eases you into the slightly bitter and lemony hops. Fruity also. Delicious. Malts take over near the end to distinguish itself from an IPA.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Slight alcohol burn. Just enough.

Overall another EXCEPTIONAL beer from ST. One of the best I've ever had. They never cease to amaze me.

04-24-2009 23:30:00 | More by Celt44
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,413 ratings.