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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

615 Reviews

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Reviews: 615
Hads: 1,517
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 17.6%
Wants: 170
Gots: 149 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 615 | Hads: 1,517
Photo of curasowa
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, dark red color with one finger of tan head that fades slowly with a thick curtain of lace.

Aroma: Roasted malt, milk chocolate, cocoa and alcohol.

Taste: Sweet, roasted malt, a fair amount of boozyness, then some sweet bread dough, a little chalkiness and a decent amount of earthy bitterness. Finish is pretty hot, but surprisingly clean, then some roasted notes pop back up and hang around.

The Rest: I really like this beer. The body is on the lighter side for an imperial, and it doesn't have that syrupy mouth-coating quality you sometimes find in imperials, but it has a nice layering of flavors, with maybe the alcohol showing up a bit too much. Overall very good.

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Photo of delta490
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- a clear and very deep brown, not quite black. A hint of light gets through to illuminate the ruby tinge. A very short lived head has almost no retention.

S- rich and malty. Note of coffee.

T- deep roasted malt. Reminiscent of schwarzbier in its flavor

M- pleasingly full and smooth with just a hint of bite from the hops bitterness

O- this is a delicious black ale with strong similarities to its German lager cousin.

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Photo of a0lbudman
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-black with a tan head, all you you see when you put it up to a light was a red from the light
S- sweet malt and hops
T-roasted malt with hops that fades to a sweet caramel malt, and a little hoppy aftertaste. You get a slight warming, but not like you expect from a beer with 9%ABV
M-medium body with a good amounts of cabonation
O-this beer has the taste and the aftertaste ans was a great beer

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Photo of Donis
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The iniquity beer was very well received between a friend of mine and myself. This was one of three beers I had given to me for my monthly beer club.

The beer poured very well with good viscosity and a nice thick head. The smell was our favorite aspect as it sniffed very very well. The taste was good but had a pretty harsh aftertaste. Mouthfeel was good and overall was a very good imperial black ale. I would recommend anyone to that hasn't tried and imperial black ale before as it's much easier on the palate.

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Photo of Fuzzycranium
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The limited amount of head is minute but last for an extended period of time. Roasted and phonolic aroma. Flavor is a bit alcoholic, warming to the throat and cleanly roasted. maybe a little raisin flavor too. A good, solid, black ale...no messing around...not super fancy...solid...enjoyable...luxurrious...

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Black, beautiful pour, with a nice head, which fairly quickly fades.
S: Powerful hints of the alcohol, with a good dose of hoppiness.
T: Strong, dark, with solid fruit and malt notes combined with hops and spice. The alcohol taste rears up and overpowers other flavors.
M: Sharp carbonation, but medium weight otherwise.
O: I enjoyed it, but I thought the booziness somewhat eclipsed the more subtle elements. Perhaps apt, given the name.

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.42/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours nearly black with a small creamy head.

Aroma opens with sweet malts and C-hop aroma. The roast doesn't really "pop" as much some black ales but it's there. Dark fruits and caramel round out the nose.

A bit more roast in the taste but piney/citrus hops take over. Even more, caramelized malt flavors come through with a mild bitterness.

Feel is pretty average. Medium bodied.

Decent beer but I expected more. Not sure how old this is but I would try it again.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pour a deep-brown color, nearly black, with a small half finger of fizzy looking off white foam formed upon pouring. The head persists only a short period of time, fading too leave lots of big bubbles floating atop the brew and some light foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is a nice mix of roasted malt, dark fruits and hop. The roasted aromas are heaviest of a roasted brown bread smell mixed with some light sweet cocoa aromas. Other roasty smells of a light coffee and some cola are there as well. The hops are lighter then the darker aromas, but still make a decent showing. The hop are heaviest of a more citrus aroma, but others of some earth and pine are there as well.

Taste – The taste starts out with a roasted bready flavor mixed with some sweeter flavors of caramel and vanilla. Some lighter cocoa flavors come to the tongue along with some hop flavors of a citrus nature. A grape and darker fruit flavor comes to the tongue more toward the middle of the taste, starting out lighter, but growing quite a bit stronger as the taste goes on to its finish. Along with the fruit flavors, so too comes more hop of a light pine and a very light earthy taste mixing with some more sweeter chocolate flavors, which overall, leaves a sweeter and more lightly hopped (for an IPA), roasted flavor to be left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the slightly higher side for a beer of 9 % abv. A little thicker of a body and a little less carbonation would have likely been better for the roasted and hoppy flavors of the brew, but overall it was OK.

Overall – This is a rather tasty brew. If looking for something decently hoppy, moderately sweet, and roasty, this is a good brew to try.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - black, incredibly dark for something other than stout or porter.
Smell - Amazing. Citrus with berries (blueberry??). Truly unbelievable.
Taste - A big, bold mix of malt and hops, intense but balanced.
Mouthfeel - along with the smell this in the amazing thing about this beer. Kind of creamy and very full.
Overall - This is the second time I've had this beer and it's more amazing than I remembered. It's a great midwinter beer for hop lovers.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.1/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a red-tinged dark brown. Nice beige head, webbed but sticky. Could be a bit darker but still nice.

Fruity on the nose. Banana, passionfruit, plenty of tropical notes. Bit of resin, but overall a bit light and almost stodgy. Needs more dark characters.

Taste is similar. Quite winter warmery with spice and dark fruit. Some banana, and a bit of rummy booze on the back. Not the best IBA I've had, a bit sweet and lacking roast characters.

Smooth texture, bit of hop pull and touch of booze on the back. Not bad.

To me the darker flavours are so integral to the success of a black ale. This seems more like an IPA that happens to look dark, and even then it's a bit flighty and fruity and lacking in gravitas. Can't say I love it.

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Photo of TeamMathis
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep, dark brown. Tan, thick head.
Smell: Pepper, vanilla (I think), and alcohol.
Taste: Pepper, strong alcohol, maybe grape, and something slightly sweet.
Mouthfeel: Thick. Moderate carbonation.

This is a big drink, but it's not overwhelming. You don't necessarily feel the need to have to slow down and sip; you do it because it's very enjoyable. I had a bit of trouble figuring out particular hints that I noticed with each smell and taste. The pepper and alcohol were the first things to come to mind, but it's not as if they dominated the taste. I couldn't quite place much more. I noticed a sweet vanilla hint in the smell, and it seems like there was a grape taste present. Of course, I didn't want to get totally lost in figuring out what the smells and tastes were and forget to enjoy it. The sum of the parts make this a great brew. I will get this again.

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Photo of hreb
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Beer is pitch black in the pint glass; held up to the light it reveals reddish brown accents. No head. Aroma is slightly citrusy/peely, like an IPA. I think we might have a CDA on our hands.

Flavorwise this beer is up front with big hops: I'm thinking Amarillo? Simcoe? or maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about. But this is not merely a black IPA, there's also a malt backbone with a strong molasses note. Finishes dry but not clean, leaving a little bit of a funky bitter edge in the back of the mouth. Alcohol wise the 9% is relatively apparent, a teeny bit of alcohol burn and just a very alcohol rich flavor. But still quite drinkable considering.

There are so many great black / Cascadian ales out there, and this is not my favorite. I think the molasses flavor is a little much for the style and the hops flavors are good but just not quite what I want. But this is just quibbling: this is a great beer.

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Photo of thabeerguy
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Very dark with some lower tones of red around the sides when held in the light. The pour created a frothy head with nice lacing as I finished my glass.

S - The roasted malt is pretty prevalent here, and I also pick up notes of chocolate and dark fruit beneath that. The darker fruit smell I get on the end is almost like fig but I'm still not quite sure. It's very dark and discrete.

T - The taste was roasty with some lower notes of chocolate and coffee. The finish is bitter and hoppy, with some very subtle citrus tones embedded deep within its full-bodied taste.

M - I would call this somewhere between medium and full-bodied. It has the hoppiness of an IPA and the body and flavor of a porter with those sneaky coffee tones that jump out on the finish.

O - Overall, I think that this was one heck of a great ale and more than deserving of it's present rating of 92. This beer had an incredible balance of hops, bitterness, and malt. I will definitely buy it again.

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Photo of CASK1
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber poured to a tulip.

A - Jet black, with dark ruby highlights when held up to a light. Light tan, dense head with good staying power. Nice lacing as the glass empties.

S - Low sweet toffee and milk chocolate aroma. Piney, resiny hops kick in late and linger. Low non-descript fruitiness from hops and yeast.

T - Complex and balanced. Bitter chocolate from roast malt, quickly followed by medium-high hop bitterness, and a wave a piney, resiny, citrusy hop flavor. Starts out roasty but quickly moves to the hops.

M - Medium-light body, low for such a strong beer but not thin or watery. Low alcohol warmth, but not hot. Dry, hoppy, slightly astringent finish.

O - Very enjoyable take on the style. I will get this one again!

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Photo of kemoarps
3.86/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep purple-ish copper-ish reddish brownish type colour. Decent head retention and lacing. Kind a slightly lighter shade of black, but rich, not grey. Does that make sense? Well I suppose that would make it an iniquitous description (get it? get it? OK, I'll stop).

Roasty barley with crisp grassy hops and... grape? I know it's not actually anything grape in there, but I can't escape it. A touch of burnt malt with a caramel sweetness and just a touch of hops. I can't escape the grape.

Luckily it's not as dominant on the tongue. I get a fair amount of roasty/burnt grain. There's some candi sweetness and some pine bitterness. But that damn grape is still lurking like a big purple gorilla. Don't ask. No one else seems to be getting this, so I suppose it's possible it has to do with this bottle, but I don't really think that that's the case. I think it's more just my wiring being a little... off.

All that grape malarky aside, it's a pretty tasty little brew (I would feel even strongly in that case if it weren't for the pervasive grape. You could say it's a.... VITIL flaw (eh?? eh?? fine. I promised. I'll stop.)

Anyway, bottom line is: it's a solid black ale. I still like Hop in the Dark and certain others better, and I'm glad this wasn't any more expensive than it was, but it's still quite an enjoyable drinking experience.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Iniquity pours a mahogany color that is actually a much lighter brown around the edges. With a considerate pour, a sizable mocha cap rises from the liquid. A nice bit of lace follows the beer on the way down.

The aroma is rich, full of roasted malt first. Citrusy hops really control the show, though. Grapefruit, orange, lemon, and a strong dash of spicy pine make this a hop-forward American Black Ale.

Each sip has a ton of bitterness and a nice amount of flavor. The dark malt flavor is not actually that bitter, although there are notes of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and coffee all present. The grapefruit citrus flavor is the anchor of the hop flavors, with apricot, orange, and lemon adding citrus depth and earthy and piney hop flavors rounding out the hop profile.

The mouthfeel is pretty much right where I want it to be for a 9% American Black Ale. There is modestly creamy carbonation, a bit of sticky hop residue on my tongue after each sip, and a body that is on the full side.

Overall, this is a solid beer. It reminds me of Anger, which I have much more frequently than this one, although this is a little bit bigger.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.57/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a ruby undertone. Two fingers of sturdy foam from a vigorous pour that fell unwillingly to some sticky lacing. Nose is muted dark fruits, citrus hops and roasted malt that’s a little burnt. The forward hop nose is contrast to the dark color. As it warms the malt comes forward even more, a little coffee, more earthy hops and slightly boozy. First taste is a surprise. I expected very sweet but what I got was smooth, burned toast and bitter. The chocolate comes out a little and the alcohol is warming. It finishes big and heavy, bittersweet and smoky. Well made.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a light tan head.
Nose shows roasted malt, coffee, sweet bready malt, resinous hops, booze and pine.
More roasted malt and booze as flavours but also fruity confectionery, pine and lots of sweet malt.
Too highly carbonated.

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Photo of girlbrew
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into pint glass

Head is a thick light tan that dies down to a thin bubbly ring.

Color is a lighter and more transparent brown than a usual black ale, more of a lager color.

The nose on this is very nice; lots and lots of sugar up front then strong caramel and toffee scents. With all the sugar, the aroma has more than a passing resemblance to sticking your nose in a bag of fresh caramel corn at the fair.

Taste is assertively sweet, almost barleywine level sweetness. Why does Southern Tier make such sweet beer? Its a very good beer that could have been so much better if they had better balanced all those sugars. Faint hops at the end but too little too late.

Mouthfeel is an appropriate level of carbonation that can't cut through the slick sugary coating left behind.

Overall its a quality beer made with real skill but falls short due to Southern Tier's sweetness problem. This is where personal preference comes into play; someone who likes a nice barleywine or quad will love this but those of us who love crisp pilsners and dry stouts will feel compelled to brush out teeth afterwards.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A big thanks to angrybabboon for sending me a bottle. Poured from a 22oz into a tulip glass. Shared with others. No bottling or freshness date, unfortunately. My first Southern Tier beer. Consumed on 05/12/13. Review is from my notes.

Pours a thickened, blackened beer with 2-3 fingers of a khaki colored head that never completely dies down. Bubbles are scattered about the bottle, and given the relatively high ABV, this is a well done feat indeed. As indicated by the pour, this is pretty viscous, often resembling imperial stouts or dessert beers of sorts in its solid, robust appearance. Nearly opaque, but some light reaches around the edges. Never seen a black IPA quite this before - menacing, full-bodied, and yet intriguing.

The aroma is chock filled with all kinds of dank earthy, roasted, herbal, and floral notes, all which come and go in spades. Immediately I'm getting a pine resinous flavor, coated with slight honey (signs of aging), as well as all kinds of different flavors that a beer in this style should offer. Mint leaves, rosemary, roasted biscuits, a touch of dark chocolate, woodiness, maybe a combo of plums and raisins added in there as a finalizing element. Totally vibrant and bright, but also pretty dank and robust given the roasted character and strong hoppy presence. Surprisingly, none of this is too explosive, and does not overwhelm the senses throughout.

Wow, given the context of the initial aromas, this is fantastically easy to drink. At first, you get an immediate roasted barley character that quickly turns towards a piney, dried citrusy, hop resinous flavor. The bitterness lingers on and finishes once again with the honey, cracked barley notes, and a lot of the herbal and floral phenols I described earlier. The centennial hops are definitely doing their job here, although the cascade prevents it from going overboard. This is exactly how I like black IPAs - piney and oily, yet filled with a roasted robustness. Super earthy at that end, almost as if you're right where the harvest of the ingredients starts as soon as you take each sip. Carbonation is solid, and provides an extra kick to all of these flavors. Chewy, syrupy, and very robust. Excellent stuff.

I haven't had a black IPA I enjoyed this much since Stone's 15th Anniversary Ale. I should have had this a little fresher, but it should hold up well given the thick malts and high ABV. However, the earthy flavors are a plus here, and it's all owed to the dank yet vibrant hop profile. Can't wait to try more beers from these guys!

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Photo of Omnium
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours a rich dark brown/ruby hue, one finger of tan head, moderate lacing.
S - Wow, lots going on here, you get some sweet malts, chocolate, and vanilla, and it transforms into some fresh almost grassy hop aromas.
T - Those sweet malts come at you up font, very rich and creamy, and a little bit of spice kicks in and then you get some of the fresh lemongrass, mild citrus and some hop oil.
M - Very full and rich, lots of body, but is exquisitely smooth and finishes nice.
O - Outstanding beer, always a delight to have.

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Photo of estlinska
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a tulip. Pours a deep, dark color of charred wood and allowing just the faintest amount of light through its belly. The head is big, two to three fingers high and cloud-like. There is lacing all over the glass as the beer disappears. The nose is a huge citrus hop blossom. There are all the usual offenders of bright oranges, grapefruit, lime and citrus zest. The black malts impart the very faintest of a Hersey chocolate bar, but gives much ground to the dry hop additions. The taste is incredibly smooth. The hops take all of the glory of this show and have all the fresh orange zest, fresh oranges...just a lot of orange flavor all over the place. There is a good bitter profile to the beer, but in no way astringent or overbearing. The malt gives good backbone to the beer and the creamy and roasty characteristics of a good black malt without any of the sometimes bitter component that comes across unnatural to some black IPAs. The mouthfeel shows none of the 9% abv and has good body. My only complaint would be a little bit of a syrupy feel at times. Notwithstanding, this beer is a fabulous black IPA that really features the late hop additions and pulls off a wonderfully balanced beer.

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Photo of mdcrouser
4.79/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

While it's been in the fridge for a few months since a black ale run I went on earlier this year, this is one of the last chilly weekends, so it was time to bring it out.

Black as can be, with a faint ring of head and nipple of bubbles in the middle.

Holy depth - huge licorice, herbaceousness, pine and caramel. Very few beers will match the nose of this one.

Big licorice, chewy greens, burnt toast, barely a whisp of alcohol to close. Huge hops on the backend, but so well balanced that they're completely approachable and enjoyable.

Great in the mouth. Incredibly smooth - everthing noted above wraps around the tongue like a blanket. Like the slow roll of cigar smoke afterwards.

Not exactly my favorite variation on the style, but still definitely one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Chaney
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This makes sense on a bright sunny day outside in DC, right?

Served in a DC Brau tulip.

A: Black, for the most part, but a few slivers around the edges spoiled the "iniquity" of this. :) Soft, off-white head sat on top and stayed.

S: Hop leaves, grape juice, and chocolate all wrapped up in a glass. Gotta love it!

T: Perfectly balanced and my first thought was how great it played out at the end. Total fruity, grape juice-esque drink on the finish. Ah, but first... the cocoa and pine cone. Awesome flavor!

M: Nice and creamy for sure, with ridiculous lacing, and EXTREMELY drinkable.

O: This kinda reminded me of Three Floyds Black Sun and Blot Out the Sun. Awesome beers, not to mention this one.

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Photo of rangerred
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours pitch black with a thick one finger medium tan head. The head sticks around seemingly forever. There is also nearly a solid wall of lacing on the sides of the glass. Quite impressive.

The aroma has a good deal of pine mixed with hints of alcohol with roast and coffee pulling up the rear. There is an almost minty quality to the aroma that is unique compared to other American Black Ales I have had.

The flavor has bitterness taking hold immediately followed by a little milk chocolate and then roasted malt and dark toast. More mint comes in but is a bit more restrained than in the aroma. Lots of pine from the hops that marries perfectly with the roasted malt which can be hard to do in this style of beer. Mouthfeel is soft and almost chalky finishing a little on the sweet side but it remains restrained.

Overall, this is an excellent beer and one of the best I have had in the style. One to pick up should you come across it.

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.