Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA | Stone Brewing

5,926 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,926 |  Reviews: 1,914
Photo of draheim
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had one of these a while ago that wasn't particularly fresh, not knowing what to expect, and was very impressed. Picked this one up a few days ago specifically to document the experience. And of course to enjoy another one.

22oz bottle (best before 10/5/11) poured into a tulip. Dark, dark brown color with a fluffy 3-finger tan head with great retention.

Even from a distance, the aroma is bright floral and citrus hops. Smells like an IPA. Not sure if it's my mind playing tricks on me because of the color, but the malt smells a little darker and roastier. Only way I could know if this is psychological would be to taste blind; too late for that now.

First sip is all that grapefruit bitterness, but yes I'm definitely tasting a darker, roastier malt here. It really tempers the brightness of the hops in a good way. This is not just an IPA; it's almost a cross between a stout and an American IPA. The only other beer I've described like this is, not surprisingly, Deschutes Hop in the Dark. Mouthfeel is really smooth too. Maybe a little less refreshing than a regular IPA because of the dark malt, but there's a richness here that compensates.

Yes, this is a "hybrid" style that really works. And I expect I'll be adding it to my lineup of regular "go-to" brews. Well done Stone!

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Photo of chocosushi
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Pour from Bomber->Saison Dupont Becker
A ~ Pours well. Black/Brown with a great looking cap of an awkward color of tan/beige. Pretty good lacing with pretty great retention.

S ~ Strong Pine & Citrus notes as well as Raw Sugar & Dark Malts. I expected more roasted notes, but they are buried pretty well beneath the layers of grapefruit & sap. Slightest hint of bruised banana.

T ~ Grapefruit by the pound, Burnt Wood, Cedar Chips, Baking Chocolate, Rosemary, Black Pepper & even hints of Tropical Fruit (guava & mango). Burnt Grass, Pine-needles & Coffee silt assert themselves upon warming up a touch. I am not letting this one get to room temperature, though.

M ~ Mouthfeel is full. Not necessarily sticky, but Very oily & herbaceous. Almost ashy at times. Hopped well. Really exciting on the palette. Pretty bitter, too.

D ~ From what I have had of the style, this is pretty much the hallmark. It's not just an IPA with a dash of Specialty malts, it's a BLACK IPA. Like the Belgian IPA, it is a peculiar style, but Stone executed it as if they'd invented it.

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Photo of sloambbr
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: black black black. Dark head that has a pretty good retention. Settled quickly. Good looking beer overall.

Smell: Hoppy. Wasn't all that impressed with the smell. Smelled like a standard Stone IPA. Which is still a pretty strong hoppy smell.

Taste: Heavier taste that goes along with the color, but still tastes like an IPA. The only thing that really sets it apart from a normal IPA is a smoky initial flavor. Very hoppy. Good floral taste, and an nice lingering bitter. Not as "self-righteous" as I was hoping for, but really good none the less.

Mouthfeel: Heavier than an IPA, but its nicely carbonated, which offsets nicely.

Overall this was a really good beer, wouldn't expect anything less from Stone. Wish it stood apart from the double bastard a little more though.

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Photo of kcopelan002
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving- bottle to pint glass
Appearance- A thin tan head. Dark black and Opaque
Taste- very bitter hops at the beginning. some hints of malt.
Smell- Strong hoppy smell
Mouthfeel- moderate carbonation
Overall- the has a very overpowering hop taste. which made it hard for me to taste everything else. It is a good beer overall.

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with a very dark brown hue when held to light - a nice tan colored thick frothy head bellows up and hangs around and doesn't want to leave - a beautiful yet devious looking brew - ends up leaving some very thick sticky lacing with each drink. The smell is insane! A nice mixture of piny and tangy hops that mash up with a very welcoming burnt chocolate and vanilla mixture of aromas - the hops do take over here, though. The flavors are as the bottle says "sublime". The piny resinous hop flavor is perfect with a sweet hop bit taking the back seat - the roasted maltiness comes through strong coffee, bitter chocolate, and the slightest hint of smoke coming through. Exceptional. The mouthfeel is damn near full bodied - very creamy and still very well carbonated. A little burn from the booziness but nothing overwhelming. This beer was a real treat - all the cocky text on the back of the bottle, which is typical of Stone, is completely fulfilled in this delicious brew. Glad I had the opportunity to enjoy this.


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Photo of hopsolutely
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Knockout "Black APA".

As the style name suggests, the beer is almost completely opaque: black with reddish brown tones when held up to light. Beautiful coffee coloured head and lacing, decent mouthfeel, without the oiliness often associated with this higher ABV level.

Aroma is predominantly roasted malts but with the hint of "west coast" hops. These are more present in the taste, which is a well balanced combination of caramelized & toasted malts, coffee & vanilla, plus the citrus and tropical fruit hoppiness of the "west coast".

A nice bitter finish ends a truly delightful beer. Will definitely purchase again whenever I get a chance.

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Photo of cr0ckett
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Thick, dark, brown, almost black. Light tan head that leaves good lacing.
S: Surprisingly hoppy/piney; malt and toffee come through a little as it warms up.
T: Piney hops to begin then balanced out somewhat by sweeter malts and earthy tones; light chocolatey note in the finish. Some alcohol warmth, but not noticeable in the taste. Hop note left to coat tongue.
M: Medium to full body, slightly viscous, but not like a thick stout. Medium to high carbonation. Smooth drinker with a bit of a bite.
O: One of a handful of Black Ales that I've tried; very good. Seamless merging of hops, malt, and sweeter chocolate and caramel tones. A must try.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark... black. A huge head starts off this brew, nice and tan. Sexy lacing, makes you want to lick it off the glass.

The smell is a mash-up of charred malts and citrus. Hard to pick any one thing out. Hints to a complex taste but not on the most appealing of ways.

Burnt chocolate, coffee and strong grapefruit lead off the taste. A touch of coffee and an almost marijuana herbal taste follows (not surprising being that they are in the same family). I taste a bit of creamy vanilla bean and another hint of citrus in the finish. A touch of booze is noticed as it warms. Goes down well, though a little heavily carbonated.

When I'm in the mood for the style, this would be a, "go to brew". Very nice, one is good for a sitting though.

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Photo of beagle75
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque black in color yielding some light transmittance around the edges that shows dark brown, with one finger of mocha-tinted foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Root beer-like, with rich toffee and piney hops. A balancing spirituous sharpness cuts through the steady roasted malt notes, especially as it warms and more of the glass volume is filled with air instead of liquid.

T: Begins off-dry, with intense coniferous hop aromatics and lesser burnt caramel amidst bold acidity that seems to draw out some additional spicy and herbaceous hop notes. The middle is more focused on stout-like black grain with some faint dark citrus and dried plum detected, as well as a whiff of cardboard. Earth and even some coffee characterize the finish, where bitterness becomes appropriately intense and durable. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium to thick viscosity, slightly sticky and acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: Certain beers, due either to timing or to mastery, have taken on the role of archetypal example of their style: certainly Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the archetypal American-brewed pale ale, and within its distribution range Alaskan Amber will always be the defining American-brewed alt. Sublimely Self-Righteous (SSR) ale by Stone defined the archetype of the black DIPA--which is, I think, an important distinction to make from the black IPA. While the style has been popping up here and there and everywhere with ever-increasing frequency, this beer was very accessible within Stone's distribution range before most breweries had even discovered black IPAs or DIPAs. More hop-focused than some, it is interesting in the way that its hop profile puts it closer to Double Bastard than to the Russian imperial stout. It is worth returning to occasionally, even if it isn't your favorite black DIPA--after all, it set the mark to which all others are measured against.

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Photo of jizfiasco
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have had this brew many times and the consistency amazes me always the same. The beer pours black like a stout with a great lasting head. The smell is a hop explosion like an IPA with a tad of sweetness some roastyness and a mild smoke character. Taste is absolutly what a black IPA should be and the best I've had in the style. I can taste candied hops perfect roasted malt flavors and the best part is the coffee taste is minimal. Will continuously go to this beer to get my fix of dark malt as its excellent and easy to get.

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

1/3 pint served in a Teku glass in the BrewDog bar in Edinburgh. From notes. Reviewed 7 June 2011.

A: Big, THICK beige-brown head. Very dark; opaque. Red-brown body.

S: Huge smell; I can detect it from across the table. Smells like a Double IPA. Caramelly hops on the sweetish side. Deep and delicious.

T: Good, but a bit weak...or maybe it's just a letdown after the smell. A strong maintaste is malty, slightly tart, and noticeably hopped. Espresso on the aftertaste. Generally? Yum!

M: Sturdy, as one might expect, but not stellar.

O: This beer grows on you -- I like it. Less coffee as time goes on...actually, maybe not. Consummately crafted; great beer. Restores my faith in Stone.

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Photo of Fenris244
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into my duvel tulip

pours jet black with a 3 finger off white head, wonderful retention and some good lacing

smells very fruity with grape and some peach as well as some citrus and a little pine resin

sweet flavors up front grapes and orange, great hop bitterness and a good burst of roasted malt on the finish

mouthfeel, smooth, lightish in body almost crisp

overall, fantastic beer, lives up to the hype too, i could have this stuff all the time

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Photo of jondeelee
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Any ale called "Sublimely Self-Righteous" has a lot to live up to, even before the beer hits the lips. Thankfully, this one starts off with a mouthwatering aroma, full of sparkling grape, apple, and grapefruit notes, tempered by rosewater and confectioner's sugar, and grounded by a strong scent of toasted baguette.

On the tongue, the beer proves far darker, beginning with deeply-toasted grains, and descending quickly even further down the scale, adding chocolate malt, caramel, and marble rye tones, as well as brown sugars and hints of fig, vanilla, and roasted pecans. Grapefruit flavors and a noticeable buzzing on the tongue is the most direct evidence of hops for the main part of the mouthful, though a pine-and-grapefruit tinge becomes apparent late in the aftertaste, after the sugars and bitter, husky malt flavors have died off. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a surprisingly dark ale, replete with delicious bread and toasted nut/malt flavors, and begging to be sipped quietly in front of a roaring fire. Only a slight alcohol tinge--a result of the 8.7% ABV--mars what is otherwise an excellent beer. But even then, the alcohol is excusable and warming, much like a whiskey or cognac.

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

A - pours a lovely dark opaque with nice head and lacing

S - slight alcohol (in a positive way) with the requisite roasted malt undertones for the style

T - bitter hops hit the front of the tongue and resin hangs on towards the back. Dark IPA or light stout? Either way I love the blending of this style. The best of both worlds.

M - resinous hops really hang with a subtle warming from the alcohol.

O - gotta say this is one of my favorite styles and this is no exception. I've heard some complaints about chalky mouthfeel with this style - that's what makes it great. The bitter and resinous hops hang on the tongue for an eternity. Great example of the style.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can you imagine a better way to spend a Friday night than with family sipping this beer? Actually, anywhere sipping this beer is an excellent place to be.

This is a really good black ale. The coloring is very dark with a creamy foam. On the pour you get a decent amount of the foam, but the carbonation held well in this beer.

This is a really good smelling beer. I could just smell this beer, but I know it tastes good... so why would I do this?

The coffee is present in the beer, but it is not overwhelming. Also in there is a decent amount of hops. The hoppiness is never a surprise in a Stone beer. I savor each sip of this excellent experience.

Thank you for another great beer to review, Stone.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a nearly opaque copper brown color with one finger of tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Lots of pine, citrus and mango hop aromas, good sweetness underneath.

T: Leads with pine and caramel, then the pine carries through as the sweetness fades in the middle but returns on the finish. Very nice. There's also a bit of coffee, and after a while, the alcohol starts to poke thru on the finish, too.

M: Medium mouthfeel, smooth and creamy.

O: A great beer, wish Stone would distribute locally. Meanwhile, road trips can bring it home. Delicious stuff.

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Photo of Wreckoncile
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Arrogant Bastard Pint Glass.

A - Two fingers plus of an almost fluffy tan head on top of an abyss of opaque black liquid. Dissapates reasonably quickly and leaves average lacing.

S - Solid nose that could be detected as I poured from a foot away. The citrusy character of the hops blends with the roasted malts to give it an almost dark fruit scent. Powerful and robust, with notes of bitter chocolate to compliment.

T - Similar to the scent, with the combination of roasted malt and hops. But whereas the beer smelled initially like a combination of the two, the taste is a little bit more of a ride. The malts hit first, with a slight bitter chocolatey note, transform into a dark fruit flavor, and finish with a pine-hop aftertaste.

M - Not overly viscous, not watered down. A good balance, with light carbonation, and an appropriately wet mouthfeel that gives the illusion of sticking a bit more due to the hoppy aftertaste character of the beer.

O - A perfectly drinkable black ale for a warm evening insofar as it offers the great combination of roasted flavor, but the drinkability of a hoppy IPA.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark, dark brown with a tinge of mahogany. Light can't seem to find its way through. Nice creamy 1 finger head that dissipates very slowly.

S - Smells of grapefruit and piney hops, slight notes of darker fruit, some chocolate and malt. Very interesting smell, almost a chocolate-covered grapefruit. I really enjoy the smell of this beer

T - Very complex taste here. It's plenty hoppy, a mixture of grapefruit and pine, but it has this full malty backbone with some notes of coffee and chocolate. It's extremely balanced, a perfect mixture of hops and malt. Very tasty.

M - Nice full bodied taste, leaves the mouth a bit dry from the hops, but it's also fresh and crisp. Good mouthfeel.

Overall - I found this a damn good brew. It was my first black ale and I was certainly impressed.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of the deepest brown, which lightens to a reddish amber towards the bottom of the glass. The head put up stands huge at three fingers, with cappuccino colored bubbles that look much like the froth from a cola. It retains well and leaves sticky lacing around the glass. Carbonation appears standard and no sediment or haze is noted. The aroma sings of bright citric and piney hops that sit atop a field of rich roasted caramel malts. They smell a bit toasty, but not charred. There is a sugary and fruity sweetness to it, attributable to dark cherries. There is also a faint boozing and a steely bite of yeast. As we sip, there are big chalky malts up front. They fight for first place with sweet and tart hops that taste both piney and soapy. There is also a citric cleaning, which enhances as we move to the middle. This evens out to bitter hop activity and a darkness of raw coffee bean or raw chocolate, with a slick oiliness. The finish is clean, dominated by more hops and sweeter grain than in the start and middle. The aftertaste reverts to that bitter hop quality, and breathes with a bit of alcohol and that raw organic oil. The body is medium to full and the carbonation is medium. The feel is extraordinarily smooth and soft. There is a big froth, smack, and slurpability to each drag. The abv is appropriate, maybe a bit high, and the beer drinks with great ease.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the surprising mouthfeel and the great balance. The first thing noticed at the very first sip was how soft the feel was. For this style it is easy to produce a watery beer with little substance, but they seemed to retain a good deal of body, after which the hops were added as a secondary feature. This made for a nice balance, which allowed for no component to really obtrude the other.

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Photo of Internatbrewlove
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This black ale pours a dark toffee color with a fine generous head. The aroma is one of citrus and malt. The taste is a mixture of chocolate, coffee, and very dominant Cascade hops. Definitely a "hop slammer's" beer. If you love strong hoppy beers this one is well balanced with malty undertones.

BTW, this beer tastes uncommonly good with peanuts!

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Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz poured into a snifter

Pours a thick black with a heavy, foamy head. Nose is a perfect bouquet of flowers. Taste is a solid balance of roasted malt and bitter hops a little chocolate in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full bodied and well carbonated.

This beer is amazing. Looks like a stout. Tastes like an IPA..You have to try it.

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Photo of threeviews
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter glass

A-Pours nearly black (but when the glass is near empty, allowing a bit of light through, it is more like a dark toffee) with a beige, 1/2-3/4" fluffy head possessing light-to-moderate retention. Boozy lacing slides down the glass as it warms

S-Pine and citrus hops are in the forefront folllowed by mild roasted, chocolate malts. As the brew warms, the roasted malts mesh with the hops in equal amounts...very well done!

T-Everything present in the nose is alive and well in the taste. Hops dominate, but the roasted malts keep it in balance. The flavors really flourish as the brew warms (and that goes for the alcohol presence as well).

M-Despite its menacing appearance, this brew is quite thin and quite refreshing. Very drinkable courtesy of the relatively strong carbonation (uncapping the bottle exhausted quite a blast of CO2)

O-Of the Black IPA's that I've tried, this now tops my list (knocking 21st Amendment's 'Back In Black' to second fiddle). If you like, or are interested in this style of beer, look no further. Let this one warm, as this is a complex concoction that should be enjoyed at (or above) cellar temperatures to elicit all of the flavors.

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Photo of vobr0002
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- dark black color with a caramel colored head that lasts on top of the beer.

S- citrus hops, then the roasted smell comes through to finish. Hint of chocolate smell.

T- a smooth roasted chocolate flavors then followed by a blast of hops. A bit more pine flavor on the taste than on the smell. Lasting bittetness.

M-medium high carbonation level with a slightly creamy feel.

O- I like this beer a lot. Has a very unique profile that leaves your mouth wanting more of the bitterness.

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Photo of TVolt1
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very black. When the light hits it just right, there is a tint of red on the edges. Toffee colored head, small amount with lacing that disappears rather quickly.

S: Malty smell with a touch of dark chocolate and toasted coffee beans.

T: Good taste. Has initial taste of malt and chocolate followed by a hit of pine and floral hops. A little too strong of the pine taste in the finish but overall, I good beer.

M: Good mouthfeel. Medium in thickness and stays on your tongue long enough to enjoy and get a good impression of the beer.

O: Overall this is a decent beer. I would buy it again but am not thinking I would ever crave this beer and have to have it now.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black as night with light brown head - some ruby highlights when held to the light. Excellent retention and some lacing.

Smells of citrus, pine, and some floral notes with pine dominating the scene.

Big hop slap in the mouth - bitter domination. Pine leads the way and outshines all else. It is followed by some bitter grapefruit. It gets slightly biscuity towards the end, but not enough to add any sweetness - this beer is all bitter & hoppy, but it is good, damn good.

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Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA from Stone Brewing
4.2 out of 5 based on 5,926 ratings.
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