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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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1,485 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,485
Reviews: 616
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 145
Gots: 135 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-12-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,485 | Reviews: 616 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

Photo of Gmann
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a typical black ale appearance; very dark brown, lighter on the edges, smallish tan head that settles into a light ring. The aroma is of a light citrus hop, some pine, and a bready honey malt. Kind of a funky hop aroma, not much in roasted malt. The taste is malty sweet (honey) like a traditional DIPA, some tin like hops with perhaps a touch of pine. There is a touch of roasted malt in the end. To me has very much the DIPA flavors, malty sweet though not very hoppy. No real roasted malt characteristics like a traditional black ale. Seems the color is the only true characteristic of a black ale. A nice moderate feel with prickly carbonation; finishes sweet but not cloying, nice balancing bitter hop. Just ok for me. Not a big fan of the flavors, too much of a honey malt DIPA quality. I was looking for a nice roasted malt but only got a bit. It does drink fairly easy as there are no dominate flavors and not too sweet or bitter.

Photo of Brad007
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black IPAs aren't very common, especially those of the Imperial variety.

Pours a dark reddish-black color with a brown two-finger head that fades down leaving some lacing on my Piraat glass.

Aroma is full of floral, grassy hops with a hint of the de-bittered (what exactly does this mean?) black malt upfront. I can detect the dry-hopping done to this beer and it is very nice.

Taste is full of floral, grassy hop flavors with a bit of sweetness from the malt but very little, if any roastiness. Hops seem to fade in the middle, bringing out the malt more. Malt imparts an interesting flavor and the absence of overpowering alcohol heat is welcome.

Mouthfeel is full of sweet, thick malt and lingering hops that stick around like a good friend.

This is a very mellow brew and when it was fresh, it was likely more vibrant with the hops and warmer. However, I really like it and I'm glad I picked it up as this type of IPA is uncommon, Worth a shot if you enjoy ST's other IIPAs (UnEarthly, Hoppe and Gemini).

Photo of saintwarrick
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour is a very dark crimson, rust red with a sudsy cream soda-colored head. Aroma is top notch, closing your eyes definitely bring to mind an IPA. Very hoppy, piney resins and grapefruits. Taste is thick, but a little thin in the hops department. Blast of citrusy bitterness at the start, but it trails off into some darker fruit flavors and some faint chocolate hints.

It's all a mish-mash of oddly-matched flavors, but it doesn't bring the brew down, though I wish it were a bit bigger. It's just unique.

Photo of lugosi33
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was scared to get this one when I saw it poured on draught because of it's thick black pour. I couldn't resist. A beautiful and smooth BLACK ale with all the sweet aromas and flavours. I cannot resist getting bottles as well as draught. I will miss it when my work runs out of it.

Photo of beerthulhu
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.

Photo of ColForbinBC
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Photo of watkins
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!

Photo of taylorhamrick
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.

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

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.

Photo of grub
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.

Photo of Viggo
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!

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.

Photo of charlesw
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.

Photo of keo
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.

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,485 ratings.