1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,420 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,420
Reviews: 611
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 129
Gots: 121 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-12-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,420 | Reviews: 611 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

This was an insanely good beer that I was thrilled to be able to try. Coming my way via the NO BS 4 BIF, this was the first one of the box I decided to down. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/14/2009.

The pour was wonderful, black as night with a light colored head that rose up about an inch and a half before settling down into a nice broken crown that stayed throughout the session. The aroma was very bright, lots of citrus here, orange and tangerine mostly and a wonderfully bright lemon like aroma that rose up, not at all what you would have expected from something that looked so fark. Nice medium body with a smooth and mellow carbonation and a lightness to it that again was outside what I was expecting. Smooth flavor, clean, crisp, loaded with bitter citrus hops. Lots of grapefruit and pineapple here. Such a tight and very hoppy big IPA. I was very pleased with this one for sure. The alcohol was very well hidden I have to say and I was quite impressed with how smooth it came across.

Overall a really, really good beer. This was a shocker for me as I was not expecting it to come across as good as it did. Really another very good offering from Southern Tier.

04-15-2009 01:31:13 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of kels


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

Picked up a bottle of this during a recent run to Jungle Jim's. Split with bamadog into two pints.

Appearance: Dark black with ruby highlights and a 2 finger bubbly, reddish tan head. Head fades to a foamy skim with thick rings of sticky lace left behind.

Smell: Delicious bright bitter citrus with a sneaky powdery roasted malt backbone creeping in. Smell is so strong I get it from across the table.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Really interested, unique and pleasing blend of chewy caramel malt with a bright bitter citrus and strong earthy undertone. Alcohol is big in the taste, but bigger in the feel of the vapor. Mouth is very creamy and fizzy - really nice.

Drinkability: Moderate at best. The alcohol is big time from the first sip, but the delicious taste and really nice feel keep me going.

04-14-2009 21:52:16 | More by kels
Photo of Morey


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%

This impressive brew poured black with a nice tan head that took quite a while to settle and is clinging to the glass nicely.

You get the roasted barley & malts and chocolate tones of a porter in the nose, but you also get whiffs of hops.

Taste is very complex. At times it reminds me of a porter, but then in rush the Ipa like qualities. The barley and malts win-out, but the hops get a few jabs in as well.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy.

As far as drinkability goes, I could probably only do one of these in a sitting.

Morey's Bottom Line: Yet another well made beer by Southern Tier. At first I wasn't too keen on ST, but it's become clear to me that they are truly one of the better breweries around.

Not my favorite style, but a fantastic beer none the less. Reminds me of Old Man Winter taken to the extreme.

04-14-2009 00:15:22 | More by Morey
Photo of dondeez21

New Jersey

2.15/5  rDev -48.1%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Dark beer, looks like a Porter or Stout. Very thin head with some decent lacing.
S: Smells almost like a porter ot light Stout. Very slight hint of coffee. Not much hop aroma.
T: I cant quite put my finger on it. It doesnt taste like an IPA or a Porter, Stout or Brown Ale. Not much hop flavor or roasted malt flavor.
M: On the lighter side. Not thick or chewy. Not much that sticks to your mouth.
D: I dont really enjoy this beer at all. I will probally never buy it again or order it at a bar. Overall I feel this beer is very bland. Not a single charecteristic shines on this beer.

04-13-2009 03:30:09 | More by dondeez21
Photo of kkosmoski

New York

4/5  rDev -3.4%

Bomber served into a tulip. Very dark in the glass (similar to a porter) with some ruby highlights on the edges. A hard pour produced a small amount of off-white head that fades off, but does stick to the glass. The aroma is a heavenly display of pungeant hop juice. Thick pine, lemon, and mown grass scents. Flavors include lemon, grapefruit rind, orange, a touch of light roast in the middle, and some husk in the finish with citrusy bitterness. Mouthfeel is creamy and medium-full with soft carbonation. Ease of drink is pretty nice with the exception of the alcohol level, which produces some warmth on the way down.

A unique and interesting offering from Southern Tier. The bold hoppy character of this brew coupled with the dark color is a cool combination. Not something that other breweries haven't tried out, but a very nice example to add to the group.

04-13-2009 02:17:11 | More by kkosmoski
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger

New York

4/5  rDev -3.4%

A: Midnight black in color, half an inch of white head on the top. Fast dissipating head retreats to make way for some spectacular lacing on the pint glass.

S: Spicy hops, smoked malt. Some coffee and chocolate in there too.

T: You get a hit of some of that spice hop, almost like a christmas beer. The malt then rounds it off in a stellar way. Its hopped up, and its black!

M: Medium bodied, some stickiness, good carbonation. Pretty much flawless.

D: Its a keeper. "The crystal pepsi of beer". Comes recommended.

Kudos again to the STBC!

04-13-2009 01:26:08 | More by BuffaloTapHugger
Photo of Nickls

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

A - Deep nearly black color, and poured with a creamier looking light tan head. Decent head retention, and provided just a bit of lacing. Have to say that the look of this brew is really intriguing, which is hard to come by IMO.

S - Hoppy, and then some more hops. Bit citric and piney hop aromas followed up with a solid maltiness (is that roasted malts I smell?) and you have to work pretty hard to pick up the booze in the aroma.

T - Good hop bitterness, but not as forward as indicated in the aroma. Hops are both citriuisy and piney, but followed with a very substantial malt backing. Maltiness brings in some dark chocolate and licorice flavors. Touch dry in the finish and the booze doesn't show up in the taste.

M - Fairly viscous, a little oily and coats the entirety of my palate. Very fine, subtle carbonation.

D - I would consider this in my "dangerously drinkable" category given that it weighs in at 9%, but drinks much more like a brew of lesser being. Really interesting flavors that keep my attention throughout.

Overall, interesting juxtaposition of the hoppiness against such a dark palate and color background. Regardless of the novelty factor, this is a damn tasty brew with a good deal of complexity for the style. Highly recommended.

04-12-2009 23:28:03 | More by Nickls
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.63/5  rDev -12.3%

22oz. bottle served in my ST tulip at 48 degrees. Poured the color of cola with a half inch bubbly tan-colored head that sizzled and popped and quickly receded. Only a few specks of lacing were present during the tasting. Nose reveals light, floral hops aromas as well as a grainy quality. Taste was pretty subdued for the style - much more sweet malt comes out than hops. None of the sweet grapefruit that you get with Unearthly or other DIPAs. Mouthfeel fell between light and medium-bodied with a consistent level of background carbonation, and finished fairly cleanly. Alcohol was well-hidden for a 9% abv and went back pretty easily. I have to say that I liked it, but I didn't love it. I usually love most of ST's big beers, but this one slightly missed the mark for me.

04-12-2009 22:55:25 | More by Jwale73
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.1/5  rDev -1%

Bomber, w/o freshness indication. Pours dark mahogany, dark tan head and ample spots and strands of lace. Bright nose of hop cones, fresh and pungent. Tasty, hoppy brew. Notes of more smooth, citric and pine. Smoothly over the tongue, with hints of milk chocolate, dark malts and more hoppy goodness. Enjoyable dark hoppy brew. Highly recommended. More High quality brew from NY state.

04-12-2009 20:30:19 | More by Billolick
Photo of schinebd


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

A - Very surprised by how dark this beer is...even though the title should've clued me in. A nice foamy light brown head that retains and laces.

S - Like an IPA. My eyes can't believe my nose.

T - This is a great beer. Served cold the hops really dominate the flavor and it tastes just like a solid IPA. However, letting it warm opens up a great flavor profile. Underneath the hops I could detect some toffee, sugar, and spice. It finishes with a nice smoky grain flavor with some linger hoppiness. They should make more beers like this.

M - Medium bodied, well carbonated.

D - Goes down easy enough, tastes good, and despite the high ABV is quite quaffable.

04-11-2009 02:42:12 | More by schinebd
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

I like this black IPA business. This has the visual impact of a big bad stout with the sensations of sipping down a majorly hoppy IPA. The sweet and dark aspects of this beer are more like a porter: not so viscous and overpowering but still with light smoke and sweetness. The hop character in here is really enjoyable. Big, citrus hops like I like in my Southern Tier beers.
I was excited to see this on the shelf of Whole Foods in Chelsea and it really delivered in the glass. I can't wait for more from Southern Tier.

04-11-2009 00:45:23 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of ABCBeer


4.43/5  rDev +7%

This may be my favorite yet from Southern Tier, great hop aroma and flavor, perfectly balanced with the black malt. The aroma as soon as you open the bottle is a mix of citrusy floral with malty chocolate. The taste was exceptional, as you drink a little more you discover all the flavors this beer has. Can't even tell that this is 9%. As the beer warmed up it got a little more malty flavor, more hop taste when colder. Easy to drink overall. I would highly recommend this. Can't wait to try it on draft.

04-10-2009 23:14:54 | More by ABCBeer
Photo of brewdoc75


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

I heard from someone that this seems like a porter and drinks like an IPA. Time to try it out.

A: Pours a black color with see thru brown hues. It has a fluffy white to off white head atop. Not too much carbonation.

S: Beautiful hop aromas come out of this black brew. Mostly an earthy hop aroma at first, it trends to citrusy towards the end. Very floral and aromatic. The malt character is what throws you a curveball. Lovely toffee and chocolate permeate the nose.

T: Lovely chocolate and toffee hit the tongue initally. I slight roasted grain flavor is there as well, but it is subtle. The unique maltiness turns to sheer hoppiness with citrus and earthy flavors. Even after the sip, the hops linger in your mouth. Plenty of stuff going on here. Quite complex and flavorful. The clean bitterness is there in the end, but really isn't too strong.

M: A medium bodied brew. The stickiness of the malts and hops stick in the back of the throat a bit though. Carbonation is a bit soft, but pretty good.

D: Pretty damn drinkable for a higher ABV beer. Really complex flavors make this beer unique. A black IPA seemed odd to me. I kind of like it though. After having this I see a whole new style to enjoy. As a homebrewer it is inspiring. As a craft beer drinker it is comforting.

04-10-2009 02:38:40 | More by brewdoc75
Photo of bamadog


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

Special thanks to Kels for splitting this bomber with me. A very unique beer, matter of fact, I've never had anything quite like it before, so definitely a new drinking experience.

Appearance: Pours near black with just the slightest bit of amber coming through when held up to the light. Big two finger head that is a light tan and rocky in stature; solid lacing holding firm to the glass; head has amazing retention and even after the monster faded, it was still a pretty thick skim.

Smell: Very bitter hop presence, bold -- grassy and earthy, perhaps even a little piney; I would dare say a very slight citrus in the far back of the nose.

Taste: Very bitter up front again from the hop presence, much like the aspects in the scent, I would also add that there is a bit of a metallic/coppery presence as well -- a very nice bready maltiness sneaks up near the aftertaste and really takes over the flavor, creating a sweet finish that really brings about a timely balance to the hoppiness.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, nice and fairly thick; coats evenly, but not especially thick and and finishes rather moist and refreshing and not the least bit dry; carbonation is soft and mild and adds to the overall smoothness of this drink.

Drinkability: Moderate, very tasty overall -- the balance is interesting as it essentially goes from one end of the spectrum to the other (hop to malt) and the flavors don't necessarily blend, but follow each other. ABV is a bit high, but as long as I'm at home and/or not driving, I'm good to go with this beer.

04-10-2009 02:00:50 | More by bamadog
Photo of hopdog


4/5  rDev -3.4%

On tap at Capone's.

Poured a deep brown color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of floralness, pine, toasty, some nuttiness, and earthy. Tastes of toast. citrus, caramel, floral, and pine. Piney burps. Alcohol content well hidden.

On tap and tasted on: 4/9/09

04-09-2009 22:43:00 | More by hopdog
Photo of tavernjef


4.53/5  rDev +9.4%

Darkest of brown with deep ruby casted highlights and one very lush, light kahki colored capping of fluffy, loosened foam that sits quite high and solid with a slow dissolve to a thick, always present skim and a ton of chocolate milk-like bubbles. Megotons of lacing in very thick moth holed sheeting coats the entire top of the glass like glue.

Aroma is mildly light and clean of slightly dry grains, black malt, hops add orange juice, pine, and feathery dry woody leafyness; some notes of cocoa powder, and creamed milk.

Taste is even more impressively balanced as the nose gives way too. Emaculate balance between a mild tone of milken cocoa-esk dryness and mildly enduced hops float in some nice nuances of deep fruity orangeyness and pineapple under a fairly large black malt under carriage. Super smidgeons of burnt orange peels, crusty creme brule cream topping add a kiss of fun about its notings as it finishes clean, creamy, milky, and slightly juiced in a tropical hoppy warmth.

Body is about medium if not a bit more, clean, creamy, bold, slightly dryish, if not all together slippery in its hoppy and burnt offerings that are sublte. Which combine a very interesting and uniquely fun, quite drinkable balance.

Drinkable...yep! Damn yummy and one solid brew. A milk porter with a great twist of hops - or a juicy IPA with a melange of dark malts? Whatever it is so deemed in style, it's great! One of the few fairly priced brews from Southern Tier to hit our market @ under $7 per bomber, you can't go wrong.

04-09-2009 00:18:42 | More by tavernjef
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.63/5  rDev +11.8%

The beer pours a black color with a thick frothy tan head that lasts. The aroma is awesome. The hop aroma of this beer is out of this world. It has a huge citrus/floral scent with just a hint of black malt. The taste is great. It has a nice pale and black malt flavor that's roasted enough to give it color, but doesn't get in the way of the hops. It has such a fresh hop taste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. I would like to do a side by side comparison with Stone's version of the same style. Recommended

04-09-2009 00:05:07 | More by WesWes
Photo of number1bum


3.83/5  rDev -7.5%

Pours a cloudy dark brown, really no color around the edges, with a finger or a bit more of tan head. Head dissipates pretty quickly, with a patchy lace left behind and a bit of stick.

Smell starts with a burst of juicy, resiny hop goodness, full of citrus and pine and earthy notes. Not far behind the hops is some dark malt aromas. There is some cocoa but other than that nothing really distinguishes itself. Overall the malt has sort of a sawdusty, toasty quality. Sadly I'm not sure it adds much; rather, it gets in the way of all those wonderful hop aromas. As it warms up there is a bit more of a dark caramel aroma and some coffee, but it never really becomes a complementary quality to the hops. I also struggle to regain the initial burst of hops after the first sniff or two.

Taste is more like it. Lots of hoppy goodness with the darker malts complementing the flavor rather than getting in the way as they did in the smell. Hops are leafy and resiny, with citrus, pine and tobacco flavors. Malt flavors consist of dark caramel, a slight roasty note and some cocoa and espresso beans. Into the finish is some earthy hop flavor and a pretty substantial level of bitterness. There's a lot of lingering hop bitterness and leafy flavor left on the palate, and it also feels a bit chalky in the aftertaste. Makes me think I've been chewing on a hop pellet. Methinks they dry hopped the hell out of this. I really like the flavor here, but the dry, chalky finish and the leafy residue left on my palate really started to wear on me, making me want to cleanse my mouth between sips. For that, I have to dock the score a bit. Alcohol is well hidden however, which is sometimes a problem for ST, so that's a plus.

Mouthfeel is initially quite creamy, but then gives way to a very dry, somewhat chalky feel. It's between a medium and a full body and is pretty smooth, but the chalkiness really takes away from what seemed as though it might be an exceptional feel.

I think this is a good beer but I also think that Southern Tier has the makings of a really exceptional one with a few tweaks. The darker malts never fully come together with the hops in the aroma, and even with the taste they don't fully complement each other. I think it's dry hopped a bit too much, resulting in the leafy and chalky aftertaste. Overall I think they need to try to marry the components together a bit better, and if they succeed they'll have a real winner. For now, though, it's good, but a bit of a jumbled mess.

04-06-2009 21:58:49 | More by number1bum
Photo of HopHeadRyan


4.58/5  rDev +10.6%

Excellent brew. Had this at Quotations in Media, PA. It is categorized incorrectly on here. Should be listed as a Schwarzbier/Black Ale. It is NOT an Imperial IPA...probably confused because Southern Tier calls it their "IBA" - Imperial Black Ale. Those who are reviewing this in any relation to an IPA are way way off. Not even close to the same style.

A - Beautiful dark brown/black; frothy off-white head

S - Toasty/Smokey/Malty

T - Reminds me of a cross b/w a Brown Ale and a smoky Porter. The smokiness is subtle but its there. Definitley Chocolatey, Nutty, & Malty.

M - Heavier, full-bodied. Cola like thickness.

D - Highly drinkable for its abv and density, but not a session beer. Very very smooth and delicious.

My first Southern Tier experience...I'm a big fan! Can't wait to try some more.

04-06-2009 18:36:17 | More by HopHeadRyan
Photo of Hoppington

New York

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

Wow! A black IPA stands out in the crowd of amber. Huge hop nose on this beauty of a beer. Sort of a cross between a porter and an Imperial IPA. Tons of character and very distinctive. A very innovative offering from Southern Tier!

Well done! Highly recommended to all IPA afficionados.

04-05-2009 00:47:33 | More by Hoppington
Photo of yesyouam

New York

4.58/5  rDev +10.6%

Southern Tier Iniquity is a very dark (nearly black) ale with a thick, foamy, light brown head. It thins out a little but stays put to the bottom of the glass. It leaves a generous, thick sheet of foam all the way down the glass. It has a strong citrus aroma that's detected from arm's length. It's all grapefruit and pine. It is medium-full bodied and incredibly smooth and soft in the mouth. It tastes squarely between sweet and dry. It's very well balanced; hoppy, but not overly bitter. The finish seems to have a touch of roast or ash. It is thoroughly enjoyable and unique.

04-04-2009 16:47:18 | More by yesyouam
Photo of far333


4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

Opaque and brownish black with garnet highlights at the bottom and edges of the glass. A half inch high head of thick and dimpled light brown foam sits atop and lingers long.

Aroma of hops, sweet and juicy.

Interesting flavor, is this a dark IPA or hoppy porter? Hard to say, it's definitely hoppy upfront, nice and crisp and fruity and citrusy. But then morphs to a dark malt flavor, a little roasty, with some smokey notes. Leathery smoke lingers.

Great mouthfeel, very smooth and full and consistent. Very drinkable.

04-03-2009 22:31:16 | More by far333
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

On draft at The Blind Tiger, NYC.

Poured a murky black hue with a one finger creamy off white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured a leafy citric dry hop with some caramel.

The taste was upfront sweet malts that receded once the juicy orange hops took hold. A nice toasted edge as well.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a delicious and complex DIPA.

04-03-2009 20:59:06 | More by plaid75
Photo of BanditBrewingCo


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

Been waiting for this one, finally hit the shelves here today...
I think I was expecting basically a double IPA that was just dark in color.

Pours beautifully, yes - black, letting in a hint of light around the edges where a slight brown color is created. Nice, thick and sticky off-white to beige head. Really didn't expect it to be quite so dark but I'm not complaining!

Smelling this beer I first get what I think is some hop spice intertwined with a bit of roastiness. Interesting.

Upon tasting, my first thought is: wow, IPA meets a porter and it works! I see they used de-bittered black malt for the color and it must have contributed some flavor as well. In the same regard, hops are not overdone and there is certainly balance here. In other words, this is not a crazy over the top DIPA with some dark malt thrown in, it's an impressively designed beer.

Would definitely have this again, it's delicious but obviously not a session beer. Iniquity can be added to the long and ever growing list of great Southern Tier offerings.

04-03-2009 16:43:01 | More by BanditBrewingCo
Photo of brow1901


4.53/5  rDev +9.4%

The bottle calls this beer an imperial black ale. The antithesis to Unearthy.

A- This beer pours a pitch black. With a light tan head, the color of cardboard. But upon further inspection I noticed that the black isn't really deep, some light will shine through when held to the lamp. And rising bubbles can be seen.

S- The smell really confuses the senses. I expect to smell hits of malts and sweetness mixing with light hops. Instead the beer smells of piney hops with faint hints of chocolate malt.

T- Iniquity has an exceptionally interesting flavor. In your normal Double IPA the hops do fight the malts but in the end the hops win the bottle and destroy the malt flavor. In this beer the taste starts with the usual hops but then the malt begins to take over. Suddenly your mouth is hit with flavors of chocolate and roasted malts, slightly sweet yet dry. Simply delicious.

M- The mouth is good also, leaves the palate dry. The beer is full bodied and thick, but again you expect the tastes of a stout but you instead get the light carbonation feel of an IPA.

D- At 9% abv this beer is highly drinkable, I really love this beer. I wouldn't call it extreme, but it's really fun to drink.

04-03-2009 03:11:34 | More by brow1901
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,420 ratings.