Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA | Stone Brewing

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Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPASublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA
5,935 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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Ratings: 5,935 |  Reviews: 1,916
Photo of tavernjef
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intensely thick dark brown pour settling quite ebon in the glass with a tall dense light tan foam that sits heavy and hardly moved from its top. Good amounts of thick curtained lace lathers onto the glass.

Aroma is a thick dark citrusy affair with a pine sided stab at the nose in places. Slightly cindered orange, blackened grapefruit, and over baked, charred peels of both those heep and stand bold with the usual Stone attitude of hops.

Taste is alot more of the same as it has a long, dark citrusy tongue the lashes the top of the mouth with dark peppy orangeyness, bits of roast slip in underneath along with burnt coffee notes. But the hops really make a strong presense with its citrusy brigade of bitterness that has a high tinge of orange bite and white grapefruit zip and pepperness. All tinted slightly with a crisp touch to burntness and a medium coating of pine. There's malt in there somewhere keeping the balance but its nowhere to be found in the taste really. Its all about the hops here with a fairly raw, green, stew of dark citrusy stuff.

Body is a solid medium with a bold tone of hops that takes over immediately and lasts the whole bomber thru. Dark, peppy, nearly peppery citric zest with a low building warmth. The Stone mark of bitterness is there with a bite uniquely darkened and roasted.

Another big brute of hops from Stone for their 11th. One that'll grab your tongue and pierce it with the spiked wing of a gargoyle.

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Photo of philosobeer
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip glass at Binny's South Loop store in Chicago. Great bartender (Jim) talked about this and similar beers as a nice prelude.

Appearance - Pretty damn intense, and that generally characterize the beer and the brewer for the most part. This looked black, in the glass, coal with a lacing tan head. Catch light through the edge of a tilted glass, and you get a very dark garnet ray, provided the room has enough light.

Smell - The hops come out in full on the nose, generally a sappy pine, I smell just a touch of citrus. Both dark fruit and roasted flavors are an undertone here, as well as alcohol.

Taste - The pine hops are there on the front, and in the mid-palate I get flavors of anise and fennel (I was reminded of the fennel flavors in el camino (un)real). This isn't without some rich notes like chocolate. It has very good complexity, but the finish was fairly chemical.

Mouthfeel - sits somewhat heavily, but the carbonation (perhaps accentuated by bitter flavors) is sharp, and rather clean.

Drinkability - It drinks like an american strong dark ale, I was happy with one.

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Photo of BeerBATvocate
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Let me prefaces by saying... WOW! Very nice beer indeed. I'm a big fan of the style. And Stone pulls it off like a champ.

OK.. so
Standard 22oz. Bottle for Stone
A. Pours out black with a nice light tan head. Nice lacing. Not much light comes through the black. Maybe a bit, with a tad dark brown and ruby highlights... but faint.

S. Roasted malt, Hops, and a hint of cherry. Very compelling.

T. Fist comes the roasted malt, followed immediately by fresh hops, then finishing with a black cherry followed by bitterness that sticks for a bit. Very nice.

M. Medium body, Creamy, Slightly sticky, with a well balanced carbonation.

D. Quite impressive. Very complex for the style. Almost a contradiction in a way... but in a really good way. Overall ver impressive. Not much to complain about really. Possibly.. well no... on second thought.. nothing really to complain about on my end. I love it.

Will buy again. Often.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle, and a huge thank you to my brother in law for sharing this on a trade!

A-Pours a deep black that when the light comes across the edges makes a near red color, and a nice about 1 finger head. Thick thick lace

S-I give this high makes not for the complexity of thenose but the sheer fragrance of the malt and sweet dark fruits. Also has a very nice roasted undertone

T-Oh stone you have a flavor all your own! The hop profile says all you need to know who brewed it but the best part is the complexity of the dark rich malts the blend seamlessly with the hops. Undertones of some choclate in the nice bitter finish

M-Very straightforward mouthfeel, yet a a tone of flavors, medium bodied good carbonation.

D-It may just be me but ive yet to come across anything from stone that isn't at least above avg and very easy to drink, this one is no exception I am very happy I got to have it.

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Photo of cbak999
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber.

A - black. A nice 1/4" close-to-white head dissipates to a thin head the covers the beer completely. I don't notice any lacing on the glass.

S - most abundant smell is roasted malt. Also hints are caramel detected.

T - drinks like a roasty, black IPA. Very thick. Bitterness sticks with me after each sip. It's a citrus-type bitterness.

D - Great sipper. I like the complexity. The alcohol is hidden nicely. I will likely purchase this Stone beer again!

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Photo of haddon
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a dark molasses color with a nice mocha head.

S- not sure I have experienced a more balanced beer on the nose. it has a very strong hop presence that is full of citrusy pineapple... but also has a very strong malty backbone. sweet like brown sugar

T- initially has a sour twang on the palate that present as grapefruit & black cherries. follows with a nice bitter aftertaste. again, both the hops and malts are nicely intertwined like a braided rope! the alcohol is very faintly noticeable... just barely.

M- medium to full body that is thick and creamy with right amount of carbonation

D- one fine beer! very complex and goes deeper than the hops that are on the front end. I suspect this is a hop bomb but I don't notice the sharpness of it because the malty backbone brings a balance like an acrobat on a high wire.

One of my favorites!

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Photo of StephenRich
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Theres no question about it, I love the beers that comes out from the Stone Brewery in Escondido California, and I love their passion and unique enthusiasm for amazing beer. Among their most unique is the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, which also happens to be one of the coolest beers I've yet to come by. It is a black India Pale Ale.

Your typical IPA is golden yellow to amber in color, transparent to hazy and opaque, with crisp pale malts and a fresh bite of citrus, earthy or piney hops. This Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA is pitch black! Literally, it is completely black letting not an ounce of light through it. Somehow the maniacs at Stone have crafted an IPA that still exemplifies so many IPA characteristics in an astounding fashion, yet is dark as night and creamy as sin.

This is one of the many reasons why I adore this brewery. They refuse to limit themselves to what is seemingly the standard and open their minds to a new world of flavor, color, and aroma combinations.

It was originally brewed as their eleventh anniversary ale (see the original bottle below). By the time that the original batch had sold out, they had received such a strong sentiment from beer drinkers, and they missed enjoying the beer so much that they decided to add it to their regular beer lineup. Thanks guys!

It is brewed with a combination of pale and roasted malts, has been bitter hopped with Chinook hops, and flavor as well as dry hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo hops. On the back of the bottle the brewery claims that they know exactly how amazing that this beer is, and they don't care what anyone else may think of it. They know that they are artists and have created a masterpiece, and hence have named it Sublimely Self-Righteous.

It is available in 650ml bottles, and is 8.7% abv measuring 90 IBUs (International Bitter Units) - so it does fit the bill for a strong IPA. I wasn't sure what temperature to enjoy this beer at cause of its mixed heritage, so I decided to err on the IPA side of things. I brought it out slightly warmer than fridge temperature around 5 degrees Celsius (40F). It pours smooth and creamy like a stout raising a soft and dense one inch tan khaki head. The beer is deep black and fully opaque. Only when I hold it up to direct light does a slight bronze hue gleam through.

So far its more stout than IPA, but the nose is all pale ale here. Fresh American west coast hops pour out with grapefruit, pine needs, earth and pineapple. In the middle behind the hops are mild roasted malts and soft coffee aromas. It was odd to smell these two extremes together, but they seemed to work exceptionally well.

Getting into this beer was so awesome - first its glides over your palate with smooth creamy stout flavors. Roasted malts, light bitter chocolate, coffee, earth with a nice soft bittersweet character. But in a beat comes the crashing and quenching parade of hops. Piney fresh grapefruit, lemon peel, glass and spice begins to rush past your tongue making their mark on your cheeks and throat. Pale malts show light sweetness in the center, but are primarily dominated by smooth roasted malts and espresso.

The body is supremely smooth, elegant and refreshing. Stone really hit the nail on the head with this one. While it comes in smooth and luscious, it finishes crisp and clean completely refreshing your palate. This could be such an amazing beer with a huge range of foods! Spicy, grilled and roasted meats will do amazing. Rich chocolate deserts and fatty soft cheeses will be beautiful. But really, all I want to do is enjoy this beer on its own. I'm a little sad that Stone is so far away, and I constantly debate with my roommate over what beer if any beer I could choose to be regularly available in Toronto would be. Time and time again, I end of with this black magic work of art.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes

Pours a dark shade of crimson with two fingers of head and nice lacing. The flavor is bright with a floral and citrusy hop profile. The taste is very bitter initially with an earthy hop profile that is good but quite boring to my palate. The body is medium with low carbonation. Overall this is a tasty but highly uneventful beer.

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Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft review transcribed from May 2009 notes.

Nice black color with a medium cream-colored head.

Aroma of piney hops and roast. Nice and intense with typical Stone hop profile.

Flavor of roasted malt, chocolate, grapefruit, orange, and typical Stone hops. Some caramel malt evident as well.

Palate medium with fairly high carbonation.

An excellent offering from Stone. Will revisit this one for sure.

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Photo of BeerMusketeer
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fell in love with Black I.P.A.'s when I tried Hoppy Feet from Clown Shoes. Tried a few since and this is the best of the rest. The hops are piney with grapefruit and a good level of bitterness that is balanced by a sweet roasty body. Doesn't taste like it has so high and ABV. DELICIOUS.

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Photo of punkrkr27
3.86/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black-brown pour, ruby highlight and a dense , 2 finger, tan head. Sweet, citrusy aroma with notes of fig, cocoa, caramel and vanilla. Flavor is alcohol, pine, slight citrus and some roastiness and chocolate. Oily, medium-full body with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of CONOR8832
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - chocolate and coffee life in color, nice froathy light brown head, nice lacing left on glass.

S - Some carmel/sweet malty notes then finishes off with good hoppy notes.

T - Nice earthy flavor, bittersweet like dark chocolate, mild caramel flavor, then finshes off with a good lingering hoppy bite.

M - Low/mild carbination, nice creamy feel, medium bodied, bitter dry lingering after taste.

D - Good dark ale, more hoppy than the appearance and smell make it out to be. Stone hits another home run on this brew.

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

found this and bought it at first sight.

A: Pours super dark, makes me think of rootbeer.
tan coloroed head with great lacing. so dark it's almost opaque

S: I had a really hard time reconginzing this aroma: (hops with a solid-ass malt backbone
the hops stick around for a bit, too! really this is great.

T: great. think of reeses peanut butter cups: 2 great tastes that taste great together!

M: tons of body. standard carbonation

D: this is pretty heavy. I'd better have antoher!

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 22oz bomber.

A - Pours a nice dark mahogany with a dense tan head that is nice and sticky.

S - Starts off quite nice with some sweet hints of plums and a nice hopy and citrus aroma. Mild toasted malt aromas as well.

T - Very complex beer. Start off with a nice grassy and earthy hop flavor that is well balanced with some nice toasty malts. There is quite a bready malt character and flavor that is also sweet. There are some nice spicy notes as well and there are some nice fruit sweetness around. There is a nice dry and citric finish similar to that of a DIPA.

M & D - Very complex and delicious beer. Good carbonation and good medium body and refreshing. Very drinkable

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Photo of movingtrain
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bomber sampled from a 12 ounce snifter.

Pours a coffee black with a light brown head on top. Carbonation looks good, and the head is sticking well to the edges of the glass.

The aroma is a mix of fruity, citrusy hops and coffee. Some bitter chocolate notes in there, as well as caramel, cinnamon, toffee, grapefruit, and brown sugar mixed into a nice shot of espresso.

Up front on the palate the beer gives off some real hop character. Bitter and fruity, it comes off like an IPA. However, the beer fades into a more porter-esque flavor, with hints of chocolate, coffee, and honey.

I like this is a super hoppy porter. But, the flavors seem to balance themselves nicely. I am surprised at the union here of hops and dark chocolate is a fine ale, one worth revisiting.

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Photo of Radome
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bomber into a wide-mouth glass (all I had).

A - This beer is pitch black and lets no light through. The head is tan, thick and has an oil sheen on it. It fades to a few patches of tiny bubbles and a ring of them around the glass.

S - Very strong American hop aroma. It is mixed with malt and alcohol, but the hops really dominate. I am not a hop-head, but this does smell very good.

T - From the smell, I expect hops to be the first taste, and it is. There is hugely strong hop bitterness, and hop taste that infuse the beer. There is a lot of malt fighting to be noticed and it eventually comes through, along with some chocolate, roasted and coffee notes. Alcohol is also a big taste contributor. Overall, it is very complex, despite the initial impression of "all hops".

M - The body is medium to heavy, but is lightened by some carbonation and alcohol burn. There is a lingering mouthcoating feel, but it seems appropriate for the huge taste.

D - I am not normally big on heavy American hops, but this one is balanced just enough by malt and alcohol to be enjoyable to me.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_Pours dark brown with a thick khaki colored head. Great retention. Heavy lacing.

S_Sweet malt,caramel,and floral hops.

T_Floral hops,caramel,sweet malt. Roasty and chocolaty on the finish.Lot going on but pretty well balanced.

M_Full bodied ,thick and creamy.

D_Bomber does it for me.

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Photo of Tone
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 3/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong citrus/floral hops, sweet malt, slight alcohol, hint of vanilla, and citrus (grapefruit). Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is also a strong bitterness. Tastes of floral hops, sweet malt, caramel, wood, hint of earthy malt, and slight citrus. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany body, opaque aside from the slightest brown highlight shining from the bottom of my snifter, with a nicely contrasting cappuccino head.

The aroma is that of the growing ever popular hoppy Black Ale, e.g., Night Stalker, Dark Hops, Iniquity. Mad roasty while being loaded with pine resin at the same time. Deep notes of cacao on the dark side, while hints of citrus, almost grapefruit, bringing home the hoppy side. Intriguing to say the least.

The flavor is that of a Night Stalkers little brother, even in body it's not as big. Which is a bonus for me, as Stalker is a bit too gloopy for the flavors it has. Cedery and piney hop resins, cigar smokiness, bitter cocoa, spruce, all with a toasty chocolate fade. Notable, almost crisp, carbonation also helps take it out of the stout catagory.

I've drank about half the bottle and still have no idea what I'm trying to figure out here. It's complex beyond my vocabulary. You haven't lived until you try this beer.

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Photo of seand
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dense nearly black opaque with a fair amount of bubbly light tan head. Retains pretty well and leaves all kinds of lacing.

S: Sweet with notes of raisin or dried apricot.

T: Tons of flavor, starting sweet with the dried fruit notes leading into a huge hoppy finish.

M: Full bodied, medium carbonation.

D: So much flavor you don't want to drink too much or too fast.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass black with a very nice two finger thick off white foamy head. Great retention and lacing. Scent has hop floral notes along with some sugars. The taste is great, a nice hop bitterness with a late developing carmel and smoke sweetness that goes back to a bitter aftertaste. Very complex. The mouthfeel isn't quite what you would think of a strong ale, maybe a little thin for the style. But this does not take anything away from this beer. It actually makes this a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.56/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a pint glass at Dirty Frank's on 7/30/10

Reviewed as a Hoppy Cascadian Porter...Meh, I'm just going with American Strong Ale on this one.

Dark hued. Lighting makes it tough to tell, but it appears to be brown with a few ruby highlights. 1/8th inch head has retained well thus far. Good retention & great, solid lacing.

Has a dank, hoppy aroma reminiscent of a Cascadian Dark Ale. Floral & citric notes. Lemony pine-sol. Roasted dark malts in the back.

Tastes very dry with a slow moving bitterness. Quick hits of citrus zest add a semblance of spice. Roasted dark malts are equally dry; actually seems to have hints of cocoa & coffee grounds.

Full bodied with a decent amount of grit. Carbonation is fairly smooth. It isn't boozy, but has a weird, numbing effect. Roasted residuals linger with a long lasting, dry bitterness.

This is a weird one - smells like a CDA, tastes like a hoppy porter. Therein lies the conundrum. Good, not mind-blowing. I did this review while drinking the first 2/3rds of the glass. The last bit still had enough strength to cut through after eating some of Dirty Frank's excellent hot dogs.

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Photo of ebby82
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black into a snifter with a very nice two finger head. The smell is very hoppy and instantly recognizable as a Stone beer. The hop aroma reminds me of their other IPA's. There is also a slightly alcoholic astringency to the smell.

The taste is smooth and hoppy. I think what distinguished this from one of their regular IPA's is its smooth character. The alcohol is also evident, although not overwhelming, in the taste. The mouthfeel is light, although the alcohol tastes can linger in the back of the throat. This ensures that it's a sipper, and that I don't really want to drink more than one in a sitting.

A very well made and interesting beer.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Looks like a stout- black with some cola hints coming through and a small brown head that dissipates quite slowly and doesn't really leave behind lace.

Smell: Very rich malty aroma- chocolate sweetness with some fruit and alcohol notes.

Taste: Begins with fruit smells and sweet coffee flavors, giving way to piney and bitter hops. Finishes with bittersweet chocolate and alcohol notes. Leaves behind a coffee/chocolate taste in the throat.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with relatively heavy carbonation and a sticky alcoholic finish.

Drinkability: This is another big winner from Stone. However, I don't see too much of a difference between this and their IRS, except that the IRS seemed sweeter with a lower hop profile. Still a very good brew and an enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Save-On, a great beer store in Mentor Ohio. Totally black pour with nice two-finger caramel colored head with great lacing. Very unuasual, unique earthy nose that's half stout, half IPA. Initially it almost reminds me of soy sauce, with just a touch of black licorice. Lots of malty burnt toffee as well as some subdued citrusy hop notes. Really unique taste that's much like the nose. All the best characteristics of a stout perfectly matched and balanced with the best of an IPA. Subtle roasty, chocolate and coffee matched with bitter, hoppy, citrus, and sweet malts to balance it all out. Mouthfeel is also part creamy stout, part bitter hop bomb. Extremely drinkable for such a big beer. Very complex and unique beer that stands out and defies classification. Can't wait for round 2 if I can find it again...

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Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.22 out of 5 with 5,935 ratings