Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA | Stone Brewing

1,914 Reviews
Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPASublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gueuzedude on 09-02-2007

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Reviews: 1,914 | Ratings: 5,924
Photo of ccrida
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic, Stone's 11th Anniversary is black with a very large, thick, rocky tan head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is overwhelmingly sweet, citrus hops, grapefruit to the extreme. Smells fine, but really more like grapefruit juice then beer, although with enough sweet malt and alcohol to make the difference clear.

Taste is pretty good but rather unusual. Basically a big porter with a huge charge of citrus hops. The hops are so citrusy that they're more akin to the sourness of, again, grapefruit. There's a bit of astringency from the black malt as it warms. The finish is a bit boozy, with just enough bitterness to let you know your actually drinking beer. Lots of flavors, but they seem very disjointed, lacking synergy. I think I'd really like this better if they went with EKG or another English or Noble hop, rather then the PNW "C" varieties, but still, it's quite nice. Funny how thinking outside of the box ceases to be so when you do it the same way every time....

Mouthfeel is very creamy, with a suprisingly light, yet not thin body.

Drinkablity is about average. The booze is certainly there, and I'm not to fond of grapefruit juice, even if it is as sweet as this. However, like most Stone brews, that second half of the bomber goes down way to quick! Still, I couldn't really take to big of a swig, that weird sweet and sour combo was just too much. I had this right when it came out, and this one tastes about the same, maybe a hair sweeter, but I think the store kept it chilled the past 3 months, as the hops are still in full effect. I'm gonna cellar one just to see what happens in about 2 years. Sure the hops will fade, but dark beers really develop well in my experience, and I expect a whole new animal by then.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Charred walnut with dark copper trim that extends a short distance into the liquid rather than being a mere sliver along the edge of the glass. The golden brown sugar colored head is the usual beauty from the boys at Stone. It produces numerous bridges of foam that result in sticky splotches of lace when they eventually break. We're starting things off on a high note.

I love the aroma! It's hard to get the beer's color out of my mind, but I'm not sure that I could have identified this as anything but a hugely resinous DIPA. A whiff of black malt would be welcome. However, when a beer smells this sensational, it isn't essential. Pineapple and grapefruit in brown sugar syrup explode out of a glass that is begging to be upended.

11th Anniversary Ale tastes like a black IPA. In other words, it's an IPA that happens to use some quantity of dark malt. Actually, Double IPA might be more accurate given the ABV. I was expecting something along the lines of Three Floyds Alpha Klaus, but that beer is, at heart, an Imperial porter that uses more hops that I've ever tasted in a 'dark' beer.

Maybe it's the muddying effect of the roasted malt, but the hoppiness isn't as bright and as vibrant as it could be. The citrus zestiness (almost exclusively white grapefruit now) is front and center, it's just that the bitterness digs in harder than the hop flavor. I feel like I'm nitpicking because 11th is clearly delicious beer... that could be even more delicious with a tweak or two.

I understand the brewery's desire not to do yet another C-hop IPA/DIPA, even though they do them very well. What I'm trying to say is that if you're going to brew a black IPA, then make it unquestionably BLACK. Give me roasted barley and bittersweet chocolate right alongside the grapefruit. Those flavors work well together, as Alpha Klaus, Rogue Black Brutal '07 and Bear Republic Big Bear Black have shown.

Despite my ever so slight misgivings about the flavor profile (which are really nothing more than wanting a good beer to be a great beer), drinkability is right up there. I was shocked when I picked up the bottle and found it to be almost empty. The mouthfeel is much closer to an IPA than a DIPA and is part of the reason why this sucker is disappearing like nobody's business.

I've been drinking the Stone Anniversary Ales since 7th and haven't been blown away by any of them. Keep in mind that this is in comparison to Imperial Russian Stout, Ruination IPA, IPA, et al. 11th is probably my favorite and is a beer that deserves a repeat purchase if I'm lucky enough to run across a few bombers again. Don't age this one. Drink it now.

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Photo of beerphan
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown practically black with a huge unmovable head that last. Thick crusty lace.

Nose: Piney hops, sweet cherry soda pop,

Thick body. Unexpected hop explosions, mixes well with some sweet dark malts. Not roasty. Finishes with a long lingering piney hop bitterness.

Very drinkable and actually not outrageously priced as some other specialty brews seems to be. Highly recommended.

Review from notes: drank during the Pitt-Baltimore game a few weeks ago. Go Lers.

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Photo of buzzworthy
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Stone 11th Anniversary Ale looks marvelous! It pours a dark brown, almost black color with a three finger, frothy tawny-brown head. Hops come through on the smell with a hint of malt and almost licorice. Grapefruit and orange hoppiness dominate with some bready malt flavors submerged in the mix. The hops are aggressive, not overly bitter, but would mitigate my desire to drink this brew all night long.

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Photo of auxiliary
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - dark black,with a offwhite creamy head, and nice lace.

smell - Fruits and hops here.

taste - Sweet,like toasted malts, and toffee with a hoppy finish at the end.

mouthfeel - Medium body

drinkability - Not a bad drink, looks like a porter but wasn't. Would buy agin, can't wait for 12th ann.

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Photo of Talisker
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am very definitely *not* a Stone fan. But I *love* the Stone 11th Anniversary Ale.

22oz bomber purchased for $4.99 from SF's City Beer Store in October '07. Poured in November '07.

Pours very, very dark. Not pitch black - has some dark brown highlights around the edges - but certainly a black beer. Looks like a particularly opaque Schwarzbier. Head is medium-tan, and about medium-think - a few fingers high.

And the smell isn't entirely unlike a Schwarzbier, as long as you add a very healthy dose of American citrus hops. There's sweet malt, more roasted perhaps than a standard IPA, but yes, it's American hops and more American hops. And unlike most Stone beers, pretty straightforward in the aroma.

Fortunately this trait continues in the taste, which is basically IPA. But not Stone IPA - there's sweetness, but thank the heavens there's no typical-Stone thick over-the-top gooey syrup. And maybe I'm just being influenced by the color, but I daresay there's some roast here - the faintest hint of a bit of burnt sweetness you wouldn't get in your standard IPA. The taste holds up as the beer warms - doesn't change, but is always with you.

Again, kudos for a silky texture that doesn't fall into the goo trap of nearly every other Stone beer, most notably and unfortunately the otherwise excellent IRS. There's a bit of alcohol heat on the finish, and perhaps just a bit too much of the hops winning over the malt, that hurts the drinkability.

An IPA that looks like a Schwarzbier and shares a few characteristics. Including ageability - this feels like something you should have now, rather than set aside for the future. It's ready to go, no rough edges, and the hop bite is what makes it special.

Really, I love this beer.And I'm happy finally to be able to say that about a beer from Stone.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, 8.7% ABV. Very dark brown, approaching black in color. Edges are ruby, thick rocky tan head. Seems to be a good amount of carbonation. Great head retention.

Slightly piney and grapefruit hops in the nose. A whiff of caramel and a slightly roasty character. Hop aroma seems well rounded.

Starts with a roasty flavor, which then turns into a bit of chocolate. Seems a bit chalky. Long lingering pinet bitterness. Finishes a bit dry.

Good body. Alcohol seems pretty well hidden to me. Interesting beast this one is.

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Photo of grub
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

DrJay hooked me up with this one. thanks jay!

22oz bottle.

pours deep red, nearly brown, with a big dense than head. the head drops very slowly and leaves nearly a solid sheet of lace behind. tons of lace down the glass too.

aroma is great. pine and grapefruit. huge caramel. slightly sweet orange and tangerine. bready malt.slightly earthy hops too, but the pine and citrus dominate. light alcohol. i think i get a bit of rye-like spice in there too.

taste is good. high bitterness level, but fairly smooth. massive grapefruit flavour and bitterness dominates. light alcohol. not much pine. light orange and tangerine sweetness. there isn't as much caramel as i expected from the aroma, but still a little. bready malt. touch of biscuit.

mouthfeel is good. the bitterness is long and clingy, but not unpleasant. well integrated very fine medium-low carbonation level. medium body.

drinkability is good. the bitterness feels a little high and out of balance, but that'll settle out with time. the solid malt base holds it all together and the alcohol is hidden fairly well. i can see this one coming together nicely with some time in the cellar, but it's still quite good now.

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Photo of pershan
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD

A: Not what I expected! Black with a cream-colored semi-rocky head. The bartender called it an IBA (India Black Ale). Nice lacing on the inside of the glass after a few mouthfuls.

S: Strong, piney hop aroma. I'm a hop-head, so very nice.

T: A big, initial hop hit, and stuck around for the entire tasting. A great balance of hop flavor and bitterness, which did a fantastic job of masking the substantial amount of alcohol in this beer. The warmness came through, but not until you swallow.

M: All hop flavor and bitterness...again, very nicely done.

D: This is a dangerous brew, since it is very drinkable and does such a nice job of masking the 8.7% ABV. I haven't had a bad Stone beer yet, and I think this might just be my favorite. Frisco has 7 of the Stone beers on tap right now in preparation for a tasting tonight - wish I could be there.

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Photo of zealot
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I live in MN, and don't get access to the Stone gems. I was going to trade this to a friend without tasting it, but he surprised me by opening it and letting me try it with him. Thanks, Jeppe!

I knew this was going to be a black IPA, or an India Black Ale, however you want to call it. I am a big fan of expanding the definitions of traditional styles, and Stone did just that with this brew. Poured dark and opaque. It had a healthy head on it, like any IPA should. Not viscous like an Imp. Stout, but just very different from most beers.

I was too eager to taste this one, so I forgot to dissect the nose. I apologize. But I'm not going to make up a fake one. I'm going it assume it was good, based on my other ratings.

At first I felt a little let down because it just tasted like a regular IPA, but ... wait for it ... the roasted barley showed up. I am pretty sure it was roast barley and not chocolate or black patent - but maybe I'm wrong. But it was a subtle flavor that just boosted the malt profile to round out the flavor and balance the hops. Truly elegant.

Creative and artistic with this beer. Fantastic stuff. It left the great sticky tackiness of a good IPA, but with some added depth from the darker grains. I could have drank the whole bomber, but I just appreciated my taste.

I guess the only criticism I might have would be that I was hoping for just a little more from the dark grains. As stated above, they made their appearance, and it was great, but perhaps just a touch more would have been nice. BUT, the subtleties are what make this the beer that it is.

Get it. Drink it.

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Photo of ohoove
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured off at first what seemed to be a black/brown but when seen in the light more like a deep dark rusty copper.
A beautiful thick and frothy head hung tough and eventually gave way to consistent and clingy lace. Nice tan color.
Would never have guessed American Strong Ale by the smell, more of an IPA dipped in smoke.
Taste to me is the best of both worlds IPA characteristics combined with the malt and smoked flavor of an American Porter.
Medium mouthfeel.
Good drinkability, although i wouldn't session this one, she's got some bite to er. Very good.

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Photo of IgnatiusReilly
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle to pint glass. at JWS's.

Pours surprisingly dark. Deep, deep ruby, almost to be confused with stout. I actually flipped the bottle over to recheck what I was drinking (nice little write up but these Stone bottles are always impossible to read without the beer in them.) The head of the beer is huge and thick, a nice soft tan color. Very complex aroma, both sweet and piney, and smoke and roasty. The taste reflects the aroma with the same complexity. Very bitter from the beginning, but where most huge IPA’s have a very sweet balance, this one is more dark chocolate and smokey. Still a little of a caramel sweetness peeks through. Aftertaste reflects the dry hops and big ABV. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy. Very drinkable. Great complete beer.


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Photo of BBM
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep russet with a surprisingly foamy head, and web-like lacing around the glass. The aroma is almost pure citrus and pine hops with just a hint of alcohol.

The initial wave of cascade hops and earth are very up front and raw. Then the roasted malts and smoky wood flavors come through, not only balancing the beer, but continuously assaulting the taste buds. Many times brewers try to balance beers with lots of hops and the end result is disjointed and overly sweet. That doesn't happen here; everything is kept in delicate balance, although delicate is the last word I would use to describe the taste itself. There is an oily resin left in the mouth, and the finish is smooth and dry.

There's a lot to like about this beer, and I'm glad I tried it. One thing you can always count on from Stone is a finely crafted and interesting brew.

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Photo of calebmills
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

my dear lord. this is great stuff. happy anniversary indeed!
pours deep brown almost black smells like a coffee and some fruit citrus and piny smells. very aromatic. taste is amazingly smooth and very balanced yet complex lots of different flavors exactly like what you smell instead of the high alcohol overwhelming the taste it warms you up with every drink. i love this stuff hopefully ill be able to get some more before its gone forever

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This could easily be confused for a stout in appearance - it's dark brown and opaque with a frothy tan-colored head.

Smell: Amazing hop aroma of grapefruit and pine. Dark chocolate and smoked malt are also present beneath the hops.

Taste: What a unique beer. It opens with a rich chocolate and espresso character, but it finishes like a Double IPA. Bitter citrus rind notes blend harmoniously with smoked and roasted flavors in the aftertaste. It's remarkably complex, but the huge variety of flavors are strangely complimentary.

Mouthfeel: Viscous but surprisingly drinkable. It goes down easy despite the high ABV, and it's not particularly extreme in any one character.

Notes: This is the best American beer I've had for a long time. Really impressive stuff.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber bottle. Served in a Duvel glass.
Poured an opaque brown/black. Lots of carbonation.
Fine bubbled light tan head about two fingers.
Big citrusy hop aroma with some molasses.
Medium body. Some roasted malt to start.
Lots of hop bitterness. Good malt backbone. Long dry finish with plenty of hop bitterness and a lingering chocolate. Very drinkable. A unique beer that was great fun to drink. Schwartz IPA?

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Photo of Douglas14
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

God, I freaking love Stone. It pours an incredible dark, deep, rich brown…almost black but not quite. It has a nice thick, foamy head with very good retention and nice lacing.

It smells intensely of hops (no surprise coming from Stone), maybe banana, maybe dark cherries.

The abundance of flavors are balanced so well in this beer…hops, dark fruits, roasty goodness. Everything about this beer is amazing.

This is an amazing beer and I hope I can find more of it. Too bad it’s a one time batch…this is my kind of IPA.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice three finger head with nice lacing and retention. Dark brown color that is pretty thick.

Smell, caramel malts are huge on the bill. I also smell some pale and a little chocolate characteristic on the malts. Wonderfully complex. Smells like cascade/amarrillo/chinook hops in the backround. Nice raisin undertones

Taste: Wonderfully complex with pale malts follwed by caramel malt sweetness balanced by a chocolate maltiness with a nice hopping to balance. Nice grape and resin taste provide a balance as well. Such balance with an awesome complexity. No doubt, this is the best stone beer that I have ever tasted. I love the oaked bastard, but this is my favorite of the collection. I hope I can keep my other sample for trade bait. It will be a bit hard.

Mouthfeeel has a nice bite from the carbonation which provides a good crispness. It also has a light creaminess. Very nice. I ususally have an issue with stone beers in the mouthfeel department, but this is splendid.

One of the easiest to drink strong ales I've had to date. I wish this was part of the stone line up for the rest of time.

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Photo of charlesw
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty decent IPA, if I do say so. A bit dark on the color, but, still, very nice. Heavier in body and flavor than the arrogant bastard and lighter in body and bitterness than the double bastard. Reminds me, somewhat, of Rocket Red. Obviously, it doesn't taste like that, but the flavor profile reminds me of it. Pretty good. Almost 9%? No wonder I got toasted off one bottle (22oz)! You wouldn't know from drinking it...

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Photo of Vancer
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy moly, this thing pour a deeeep mahogany brown, tan head rises like a mountain, only to collapse, leaving thick sheets of lace behind beautifully in my Cordendonk tulip.

The aroma is a surprising pine citrus , thick and juicy. Moves right into the quaff, juicy pine bubblegum. Smacks with citrus and a hint of chocolate malt in the finish. This is one loaded up brew, sips like a dream while watching football and working on some cheddar and crackers.

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Photo of DavidEddie
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to jjayjaye for this one!

Appearance - Black porter like in color. Thick off white head that won’t go away.

Smell - Tantalizing piney hops, chalky, and rich dark roasty malt.

Taste - Ruby red grapefruit, citrus, very pine like, big dark malt, flavors of smokey burnt wood.

Mouthfeel - Silky smooth, creamy, nice hop bitterness lingers.

Drinkability - I love this beer! Goes down easy. Reminds me of a west coast DIPA mixed with a good porter. Highly recommended!

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Photo of djeffbee
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into my newly stolen Stone Smoked Porter pint glass.

Appearence - Dark ruby to black pour with a massive white-tan head that stays. Lacing remains on the glass throughout the session.

Smell - American citrusy (chinook? simcoe?)hops with a caramel and roasted malt aroma. Interesting, almost smells like a Barleywine.

Taste - Big hop bitterness, with a blast of roasted malt (almost espresso-like). Body is medium considering the color and malt presence.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, sick on the IBU's, huge IPA flavor with a porter-lie finish. Perfect carbonation.

Drinkabiltiy - Awesome brew, and a bit too easy to drink at 8.7%ABV - this one can get you into trouble (financially as well).

Another Stone Masterpiece.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

taste this blindfolded than look at your glass. A heck of a double take will happen every time!

A - rich black brew with a solid dark tan head
S - A nice sharp blend of citric and piney hops overlay and almost overwhelm roasted malts
T- similar to the nose with a mid glass caramel malty body adding a nice rounding effect.
M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated, solid catty hop aftertaste.
D - Hop heads now have a leader in the "dark" side of the color spectrum. A bit hoppy for me but a treat none the less.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*This is the 11th Anniversary with Chinook. I don't know why my separate entry was bunched up with the regular 11th Anniversary.*

I had this during the Stone 11th Anniversary event in Sept. I don't remember if this was on-tap or cask. And I assume the alcohol was the same. Mostly from my notes:

Very, very dark brown with a nice amount of foam and great lacing/retention.

Aroma is hoppy, pine/citrus but dark and smokey, very interesting. Some ash but not in a bad way, it works well.

Taste is very weird, different but tasty (I know, very vague). Big malt profile but hoppy as well. Some caramel and herb qualities. I remember this one being much like a tea bag, very herbal and "green", bold and daring. You could definitely taste the fresh hops. A bit of bitterness, just like the regular 11th.

Drinkability was very good. Doesn't really feel like a big heavy beer. One of the most unique beers I had in the festival and most unique beers up to this day.

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Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nicely made 22oz bomber poured at 45F into a goblet.

Very dark for a strong ale, almost black with shades of brown with light. Has a nice creamy beige head.

The aroma is of piney, citrus and floral hops with an appetizing sweet character in the background. Flavors of ripe plums and caramel come out as it warms.

The taste again is strong of hops but is well complemented with a variety of dark roasted malts. The bitter hops really linger well throughout the finish. A well balanced medium body and a creamy mouthfeel make this beer quite drinkable considering it's complexity. This beer is a beautiful blend between a powerful IPA and a classic strong ale.

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Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA from Stone Brewing
4.2 out of 5 based on 5,924 ratings.
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