1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,333 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1333
Reviews: 602
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.11%

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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,333 | Reviews: 602 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours very dark. Looks like a Stout. Light penetration is minimal. Beautiful head. Toasty tan in color. Frothed milk consistency. The head also refuses to falter. Good lace too.

S-Nose is surprisingly light. Clearly not going to be a Black IPA. The muted nose is mostly of burnt coffee grounds and chocolate. Where are the hops? I get a bitter piney hop presence, but there is absolutely zero hop expression. Just bitterness. I am confused but intrigued.

T-Whoa. The flavor is mostly salty and smoky. Bacon and leather. Really chalky too. Bland bitterness via the hops. A burnt/charred brew that is far more Stout/Porter than anything else.

M-Not a huge body. For the ABV, it's rather light. Booze slowly peaks through. Mild carbonation. Decent bitterness. Slow sipper.

O/D-A perplexing brew. I was not a big fan. I enjoyed its individuality. It doesn't suit me well. The large format Souther Tier brews are not my favorite way to spend 8 to 9 dollars.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2012 00:25:51 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of BB1313


2.93/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a very deep brown with auburn/ruby red hues, huge khaki colored head which fades and leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are full of chocolate malts. I can pick up a touch of pine. Very subtle, the hops are barely noticeable in the aromas. I can also pick up a touch of black coffee. The flavors are warm and bitter. The heat from the alcohol is very noticeable, which takes away from the flavors. It has somewhat of a mineral taste as well, almost metallic. Very grainy. There are some fruits noiceable, I'm picking up some orange peel. The hops are clearly dominated by the malts, but it still has a subtle bite. Similar to a chocolate orange, if you can imagine. The mouthfeel is nice, spritzy, but smooth. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied. The alcohol is present, pretty boozy. It's one of those "soapy" beers.

It's been a few years since I've had this one. I remembered enjoying it much more, but this isn't as complex as alot of the big "Black IPAs" coming out these days. Decent big beer, but one note and boring. It's not exactly worth the price of admission, in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2012 00:24:42 | More by BB1313
Photo of JohnnyMc


3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Only my second IBA or Black IPA.

Pours out very dark with 2 fingers of off-white head.

The aroma has a lot of roasted malt and a hint of chocolate, but only a hint of earthy hops.

In the taste the hops also take a backseat. This is more malty with some caramel sweetness and toasty notes, but the piney, earthy hops are in the background. Bit of a lighter mouthfeel than I would have liked.

Not a bad beer, but not the best for the style. Seems pretty average, but maybe it was a bad batch or something.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2012 04:50:26 | More by JohnnyMc
Photo of One2Remeber


4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Lacy, frothy leather/tan head. As dark brown as you can get without being black.

S: Burnt, sweet honey malts. Powder, chalky chocolate. Citrus hops.

T/M: Gummy, soft body. Tons of piney, slightly resinous, citrus hops. Chalky chocolate coats the pallet.

O: Great example of a Black IPA. The smooth, fluffy body of a stout with the full-hop flavored hop presence.

Serving type: growler

08-07-2012 01:46:05 | More by One2Remeber
Photo of marlinsfan4


3.25/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had high hopes for this beer, didn't exactly live up to the lofty standards. Being a rare, albeit one of my favorite, styles, I was expecting a nice smoky, charred hoppy taste. The hops are there.. but also just a cloying sweetness and not enough balance for my liking. Not a bad beer by any means, and probably above average, but if I'm spending $7 on a bomber I want superb taste with complexity and balance... and I didn't feel I got that with this one... also, too much of a boozy aftertaste, even for the high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 21:42:40 | More by marlinsfan4
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark Brown almost black color, a nice two finger tan head at the top that left a slight lacing around the glass.

S: Wood, chocolate, coffee, malts, and bit of hops but very small note.

T: A nice smokey taste up front but nothing crazy, the hops are present but they are not overbearing, a good mixture of the nose.

M: Medium bodied, and slight carbonation. Good stickyness.

O:A very well balanced brew, Loved this beer very unique and tasted great.

Serving type: growler

08-04-2012 15:22:25 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of LiquidAmber


4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours dark red brown with wispy light tan head and lacing. Sweet and roasted malt and hops aroma. Citrus fruits, sweet and roasted malt and chocolate up front. Malty, dark fruit middle and hoppy, roasted malt finish. Medium bodied. Nicely made and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2012 18:38:39 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Dark black but it is possible for light to get through the pint producing a deep amber color when held to the light. A one cm creamy white head fades shortly after pouring.

Smell: There are many things going on here. Initially when poured at fridge temp the smell is of a toasty citrus. As it warms roasted malts and coffee make appearances.

Taste: Upfront it hits you like an imperial stout with some coffee and hops. After a few sips it becomes apparent that the body is lighter and quite fitting for a black ale. When the beer warms the coffee and hops shine brighter and the roasted malt comes through. The best part about the taste is that not one of the elements are overpowering or offensive. The hops are balanced and everything else is spot on.

Mouth feel: Creamy and enjoyable. It tastes big and goes down smooth.

Overall: This is a fantastic imperial black ale; That I would recommend to anybody who enjoys dark beers. Good call by Southern Tier putting this beauty in regular bottles.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 22:34:56 | More by FatBoyGotSwagger
Photo of jettjon


4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz bomber, moderately vigorous pour into a goblet yields very little carbonation. Five minutes later, only a scattered archipelago of lacing remains atop an inky sea of blackness. Color is pretty much pitch black other than when held directly to the light at which point a tiny sliver of chestnut peeks through the murk. Large, clumpy bubbles occasionally erupt from the depths like pockets of methane from beneath the blackest bog. Sweet, slightly boozy nose evinces scents of cocoa, dark fruit and sweet banana taffy. Coffee beans and black licorice dance in the background. In the mouth, it’s surprisingly thick and smooth, with fine carbonation tickling on the way down. Malt and hops engage in epic battle with the hops prevailing at the end, pummeling the malt into submission with a dry bitterness like coffee grounds. The flavor is intense and difficult to decipher; there is a definite pervasive coffee-like bitterness, but Belgian-ale characteristic flavors such as cherries and raisins struggle to assert themselves only to be overwhelmed by a tide of caustic black hatred.

Overall: Now THIS is a big beer done well. Never overly pretentious, it walks a perilously thin line between a hopped-up IPA and a refined Belgian strong dark ale or quadrupel. This dance could have gone so wrong in so many ways, but it works. Flavors are perfectly balanced with every sip bringing new appreciation for the subtle complexity containing within the murky depths.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2012 23:00:13 | More by jettjon
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Love the new super packs.

A: Pours a very dark brownish ruby appearing black in the glass. Head fizzles away in a few seconds leaving nothing on the top.

S: Can get strong coffee and chocolate but also a great citrus hop backing. Some sweet fruit and a hint of alcohol. Very interesting aroma that is enjoyable.

T: Starts with dark chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. Strong hop profile kicks in giving it some serious bitterness. Lingering hop in the end too.

M: Light on the pallet with mild carbonation. Feels a little oily and watery but that also seems just right for some reason. Pretty darn drinkable for 9%.

Overall a very interesting beer that is certainly worth trying. Have gotten a few times and not been let down. Liking the new 12oz bottle to make this easier to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 00:58:52 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of 57md


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a deep, dark brown with a thin head that dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lacing. Nose is mild with some hoppy tones. Roasted malt and hop bitterness are both distinctly present in this offering.

I like the bottled version of this offering a bit better than the on-tap version. There is more body to the beer and the hop flavors are more distinct.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2012 04:07:23 | More by 57md
Photo of Beer_Runner

4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There is no enjoy by date on the label; but, the label lists the malt and hops bill.

Slowly poured into a standard pint glass.

A: It poured to a very thin layer of dark khaki colored head that disapated quickly. The brew is black as midnight and almost completely opaque.

S: The aroma is very mild. There is just a little bit of dark roasted malt and a touch of bready yeast.

T: The taste has plenty of sweet, dark roasted malt. There is a small bit of earthy hops that is just enough to balance the very sweet malt flavor. There is also a touch of alcohol heat that works well to also balance the sweetness.

M: The body is on the lighter side of heavy. It also has a good amount of carbonation.

O: This is an outstanding Imperial Ale. It really seems to fall somewhere in between an Imperial Ale and a Barley Wine. This will really please fans of malt centered beers.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 23:59:34 | More by Beer_Runner
Photo of BMMillsy


3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A very unique ale. Pours dark brown to black with a white head. Aroma is sweet sugars, molasses, a bit of pine. Sweet molasses like flavor with some piney hop bite mixed in. Complexity keeps me from identifying any one flavor. This was sweet but relatively light. Slick on the palate, with plenty of carbonation. Candy like flavor, but not cloying. Interesting beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2012 00:30:04 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of superspak


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled 12/30/2011. Pours fairly clear very dark reddish brown color with a fairly dense 1-2 finger light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, dark chocolate, roasted malt, herbal, orange, biscuit, floral, pine, light coffee, and earthiness. Some really nice and well balanced aromas here, with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, dark chocolate, roasted malt, biscuit, floral, pine, light coffee, orange, toast, and earthy spiciness. Moderate amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, citrus, roasted malt, pine, light coffee, and toasted biscuit on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic flavor balance, with plenty of roasted malt sweetness balancing out the hops perfectly. Medium carbonation and body; with a very nice creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with only a minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely fantastic black IPA. Plenty of roasted malt sweetness balancing out the hop flavors; which is what I really like in the style. Very smooth and easy to sip on.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2012 01:44:29 | More by superspak
Photo of dmfrench


4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bitter and sweet, creamy, fruity Imp. Milk Stout/Porter

A: Very, very dark reddish brown, only evident when held to a light. Persistent enough one finger light khaki head.

S: Big nose of inky, rotting dark fruit (prune, apricot). Underneath are some porter-like notes of spices and roasty malt. Hops are very faint, so faint that it's hard to tell what variety they are. Cream and sweetness are other strong notes.

T: As big on the palate as in the nose. More bitter coffee/cocoa malt. Inky, RIS-like fruitiness is present from the nose, but takes a back seat. Still really not getting much obvious hops, which is a bit of a letdown for me.

M: Creamy and finely grained. Perfect carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2012 01:22:17 | More by dmfrench
Photo of yuenglingfan101


5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty pint glass from bottle. Kind of a brownish hue with decent head. Tastes of toffee and chocolate and the smell is the same as it tastes. Strong enough to have a couple of these at a time though. Smooth tasting a great filling!!!!

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 14:06:39 | More by yuenglingfan101
Photo of NightINgale

Russian Federation

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 US fl.oz/650ml "bomber" bottle. The bottling date remains unknown to me.

A - Pours a clear dark brown body with a lovely ruby glow to it. Caramel-coloured head sticks around for quite a while.

S - The aroma is hoppy (citrus, flowers and a bit of pine) yet very malty (chocolate, coffee, toffee a bit of raisins)!

T - Usually people see Black IPAs as a crossover between an American IPA and a stout, but in this case, I'd rather call it a mix of Double IPA and brown ale. It starts out fairly hoppy, with some nice hop oils and a pronounced citrus taste, which is followed by a fairly heavy load of roasted malts, with distinct chocolate, caramel, and coffee taste and just a hint of dark fruit. The finish is not too dry or bitter and has a nice lingering
chocolateness to it, as well as some flowery hoppiness.

M - Wow, all in all, this does NOT feel like a 9% beer at all! Medium-bodied, medium level of carbonation, and virtually no alcohol in the taste. However, if you're like me and choose to drink the whole "bomber" bottle by yourself, you will feel the ABV in your body.

O - I liked this beer, and it's true to the style. Perhaps, it isn't as complex and big as, say, the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous, but it surely is one of the most drinkable 9% beers out there! Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2012 00:06:20 | More by NightINgale
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark tan, trace of black, poured aggresive to get a 1/2 foamy head, and some decent lacing.

Smell - Hops, dark sweet fruits, malts, chocolate, licorice, a little bready, biscuit aroma mixed in. Some added molasses and sugars.

Taste - Sweet caramel along with a nice cirtic hop kick and a strong malt backbone starts this one off. Real citric hops add the classic pineapple/grapefruit lemon flavor along with chocolate, coffee and nut flavors from the malts. Alcohol adds a little warmth at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium thickness, a real treat to the tounge, hops coats it with citric sweetness, then malts add coffee and chocolate. The aftertaste is really nice and hoppy and light.

Overall - Wow, this is excellent, i always thought southern tiers beers were far over the top with the feature flavor of the beer, "mokah, jah va etc" but this is killer with balance, flavor and smoothness. hands down the best black ale ive ever had, and untill i find it, this gets a perfect taste for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 21:36:56 | More by wvsabbath


4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle. Tulip glass. Enjoyed on nov´11. Pitch black. Beige,large size bubbled , froth creates a creamy fairly well retention crown. Collars on sides. Subtle toasted malt aroma, hints of cocoa. Very pleasant toasted malt upfront. Flavor is a miscellaneous of bitterness, dark fruits & prune hues. Gentle molasses to the palate. Full body, medium carbonation. Dry sharp hoppy finish. Smooth oily resins on the aftertaste. Toffee notes. Well balanced beer where ABV is perfectly hidden so drinkability is such a mistic experience. Thankfully it´s presented in a medium size bottle if it were smaller I´d felt frustrated.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2012 17:55:44 | More by GONZALOYANNA
Photo of HalfFull


3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber served up into a pint glass. The Iniquity pours a deep mahogany with good clarity. A thin cap offers decent retention and lots of lacing.

Aroma is mild compared to Unearthly but has a decent hop backbone nonetheless. Earthy, citric and with a bit of spice on the hop front. Dark malts add some cocoa and a light caramel fruitiness but don't overwhelm or mask the hop forward delivery.

Taste is spicy and bitter as the relative lightness of the pour might suggest. Smooth and silky for its heft with a touch of cherry and shaved chocolate for a bit of balance. Finish is a touch oily but really much drier than expected for the style and the ABV. Overall pretty enjoyable and quite drinkable vs. a Stone SSR for example. Yet not as memorable either. The jury is still out...

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2012 03:26:37 | More by HalfFull
Photo of coldriver


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a near opaque black. Head and lacing is a bit of a disapointment. Nose is roasted bready malt with spicy hops, and chocolate. Taste is subtle smokey malts with dark fruit, spicy and grassy hops and thankfully-not overly sweet. Alcohol well hidden for 9%. Smooth but nice crisp mouthfeel finishes a little wet. This is almost too drinkable for such a high ABV beer. With such a complex but subtle flavor I'm drinking this way too fast...

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2012 00:41:36 | More by coldriver
Photo of RTEdmunds

New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black as night, with a small head of tiny little active bubbles. The head subsides quickly.

Wow, this smells intriguing! Smoky and earthy, with some undertones of dark fruit coming through. Pretty strong hop presence.

Tastes quite excellent. The smokiness isn't overpowering, and it tastes a bit more citrusy than the nose let on. It's rich in all kinds of other subtle I struggle to describe.... burned sugar and figs or something come to mind. Flavor is immensely complex but it does not punch you in the mouth; it just subtly cajoles me into taking another sip after I put it down.

The body is lighter than I expected, and the carbonation is moderate. It does not feel like a 9% ABV. Smooth and drinkability is pretty high.

First experience with Southern Tier. Definitely keeping an eye out for their stuff in the future!

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2012 02:02:50 | More by RTEdmunds
Photo of neckbracesub


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed after poured into a pint glass from a 22 oz. bottle.

This is my 3rd time trying a Southern Tier product (after their Oatmeal and Java stouts) and I must say that this is their finest offering yet.

Pours so dark it turns your pint glass into something resembling a black hole. The aroma has a bit of smoke to it (which made me a bit scared that the taste would be heavy on the smokeyness) but it's not too overpowering.

There's a surprisingly unique taste to this heavy black ale, setting it aside from the inferior smoked ales that can be compared but do not come near the quality. At first it hit me on the negative side, but after a couple of swigs I really grew to enjoy it more and more.

The mouthfeel is what impressed me most about this one. I was surprised that I found it as smooth and pleasant as I did, considering that there was a bit of overwhelming pungency to the aroma and initial taste.

Overall this is easily recommendable and another stellar addition to the Southern Tier name.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 23:37:34 | More by neckbracesub
Photo of budgood1


4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber.

pours out an opaque black colour with a pure tan head; frothy in nature with a good deal of staying power. plentiful lace. aroma is a fruitful bounty of pine and resin hoppiness with a complex layer of maltiness that reminds me of liquid raisin bread with hints of chocolate, toffe and caramel. the dark roasted maltiness really shines through with layered complexity...like a rye bread sweetened with molasses and anise. the debittered black malt certainly has less astringency, therefore allowing a softer, rounded maltiness that allows itself to show off a few ripe fruity nuances not normally detected. it helps that the yeast has a certain aggressive profile, making a nice combination in the overall taste profile. lets not forget the hops either, maybe the shining star of this brew. lots of piney, sprucy notes with hints of citric pith. not a lot of overall bitterness or alcohol notes, although they lay low, they are certainly to be noticed. for such a big beer, the body seems really soft and gentle, with a velvety mouthfeel and easy going mannerism that make this way more dinkable than it should be. i repeat, this is really quite drinkable despite the high ABV.

overall my impression of this experiment is positive. i've had trouble with black ales/CDA's and others most closely related to the style. now an imperial version...it seems to agree with me as i can't really find anything that doesn't agree with me in a big way...good thing i have only one bomber! good stuff here.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 22:53:20 | More by budgood1
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Very dark brown, comparable to a porter in color, small tan head, isolated specks of lacing.

S - Very mild - faint caramel, burnt sugars and a vague citrus pith. A faint hint of alcohol as it warms.

T - Wow! Unlike other southern tier IPAs I've had which are strong on the nose but lacking in flavor, this one has an outstanding flavor. The taste is not very sweet, but it has a definite presence of slightly burnt sugar - like the crust of creme brûlée - molasses, mild pine resin, toffee and a bit of... pumpernickel? The aftertaste has lingering creme brûlée coating and pleasant pithy bitterness. The moment it leaves my tongue I start craving another sip. Never once does the beer tell me about it's 9% abv. This beer doesn't scream, but it is better that way. A paragon of flavor.

M - Incredibly smooth, medium bodied, very refreshing.

D - The smell is so lacking, but that almost improves the beer. There is little to entice you, no expectations, then the first sip and the beer shouts in a commanding flavor, "I am good, love me!" and I am powerless to resist its demands.

... yes. I will have this one again.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2012 01:17:39 | More by mrasskicktastic
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,333 ratings.