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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 smcolw
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

Photo of dirtylou
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, jennifer street market

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

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

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

mouthfeel: sticky and highly bitter, medium-full body

drinkability: ok

Photo of coachdonovan
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

Photo of naterock
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

smells of rich chinook hops and a sugary malt sweetness.

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

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

Photo of Mdog
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown, good foamy head.

Smell: Mild citrus, roasted malt notes.

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

Drinkability: I finished the bottle quite quickly.

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

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

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

Photo of OlieIPA
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall: A try it beer. Cheers!

Photo of argock
4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of AltBock
3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of barnzy78
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of movingtrain
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of elinash
3.09/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Reagan1984
2.88/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

Fairly thick bodied. Light carbonation.

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

Not sure I'll seek this one out again.

Photo of kirok1999
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of OldSchoolGamer
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
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
2.68/5  rDev -35.1%
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 -11.6%
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 +1.2%
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
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
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
4.83/5  rDev +16.9%
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
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
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
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
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 +4.1%
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.

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