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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,935 |  Reviews: 1,916
Photo of mempath
4.78/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

incredible from the start....huge dark crema head that settles in slow-motion Matrix fashion, lacing in odd gobs and veils. dark buckwheat pancake batter appearance develops as it descends...

nose: toasty, oily hops. can't find a best before date (if there is one), but this seems quite fresh. no telling, since i bought this in Penn Station/NYC for $8.

this is a full-bodied, luscious slop of massive hops and malts that have been working out with the hops...extreme balance of, well, extremes! nonetheless, unified into a lip-smacking perfection that is realized only as you finally taste it. creamy mouthfeel with enough carbonated punch to make this bristle and slide. totally different from, say, another hop masterpiece such as Nugget Nectar, but the devastating impact is all the same.

most least for the initiated, self-righteous and not-so-sublime. loved that Cali-Belgie, but this is stellar!

p.s. another swallow as this slightly warms and i get the dark sweet dried fruit sense i get in some really good imperial stouts....has much to offer as you try to take this one in slowly and experience its many nuances.

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

This brew pours a deep and translucent brown with a creamy khaki head.

The smell is strongly hoppy. Intense pine and citrus notes as well as a deeply sweet roasted malts.

Deliciously hopped sweet goodness. The hops are spectacularly citrusy in a truly American fashion. Sweet roasted barley and delicious thick grainy body. The drinkability is excellent.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany with a cherry tint, with a rocky light brown head. A thin film cap remains the entire time, with some sticky lace as well.

Smell: Typical Stone punch-in-the-nose strength. Strong grapefruit hops, with a distinct pine notes as well.

Taste: A little bit unbalanced for me. I always expect monster hops with Stone brews, but a little more balance would do this one good. It starts off bitter, but black malt, roast coffee, and dark fruit have a subtle presence, before a citrus hop bite sinks in. A bitter pine finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium carbonation wrapped in a nice full body. Alcohol is not present in the taste, but warms on the way down.

Drinkability: The feel of this beer is great and helps make it evaporate, but this is a bit hop-heavy and does not really have any distinguishing characteristics over AB or other strong ales.

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

Poured into a tulip glass from a bottle that says best 6/29/10. They love their hops at Stone and I love them for that. Normally you would expect a beer this dark to be sweet and heavy. But this one comes across like some crazy hybrid of just about everything Stone does well and the result is awesome. Pours fairly thick, like a porter say, and as dark as a stout but with more carbonation. A nice, thick toasted brown head forms. The scent is almost all hops with notes of chocolate and roasted malt. The taste is a beautiful melange of hops, dark chocolate, coffee, and raisins. Not too sweet and not too bitter. The good amount of hop bitterness gives it a lighter body and cleaner finish than an imperial stout, making it a very drinkable strong ale.

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Photo of Osiris9588
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

220z bomber. Pours nearly back with slight reddish glow at the bottom when held to the light. Smells hoppy with malty notes and a strong hint of charred wood. The flavor is dominated by dry hops and toasted malt with a slight smack of cherry cough drops on the finish. The mouth is dry most the way through, the slight sweetness at the end, but that diverse of a mouth from tongue to throat. It's quite drinkable, with the alcohol well hidden, but the predominant woodiness would prevent it from being a session beer. Solid overall, but rather mundane compared to the stars in the Stone universe.

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Photo of TK5150
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights and a beige head.

S- Monster grapefruit, some apricots and tropical fruitiness. Roasted malt takes a back seat.

T- Grapefruit and roasted malt. Firm bitterness on the back-end. Not a ton of complexity here, but tastes quite nice.

M- Light to medium bodied. I was actually surprised at how light this was. Effervescent as well.

D- Pretty drinkable stuff due to being so light in body.

Overall, not what I was expecting for some reason, but pretty good. I enjoy this a little more than the score indicates. The weight for my score in the mouthfeel deducts more points than I think it should. Probably in the neighborhood of a 3.9 IMO.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.26/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe, couldbe be black, but is more of a blackish brown color with garnet highlights. Two finger, sandstone head that recedes to a nice film of foam througout all 22 ounces.

Pretty aggressive hop aroma. Grapefruit zest to the point of atringency in the nostrils. Gives me the same feeling as spicey Chinese mustard in the sinuses. I like that in my mustard, but not in my beer. I can barely smell a dark roasted malt at all.

The same aggressive, biting grapefruit and lime zest bitterness up front and the middle. Whatever roasted malts are detected towards the finish of the flavor profile, seem to exacerbate the hop bitterness of this brew. I don't detect the abv. but I wonder if that adds to the increases the effect of the hops bitterness.

Astringent and bitter is all I can come up with for the palate. I was expecting a little more fr this beers palate and flavor.

Still a sipper for me. I like bitter beers, but this just didn't sit so well for me.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.86/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured vigorously into a large tulip. XI has a large khaki head that sits upon a brown opaque body of liquid. Chocolate and the signature Stone aroma wafts into the air. Smells like a vintage Double Bastard with a dark malt presence.

Flavor is extremely mellow. Hops are pretty much absent from flavor but causes a slight bitterness at the back of the palate, leaving an astringent finish. Age has tamed this beer completely. Slight burnt sugar and sweetness. I never had this fresh but if the recipe is exactly the same as Sublimely Self Righteous Ale then this is just a rusted hollow shell of it's former self.

I had an 8 or 10 month old SSR (first batch) and that seemed to be the proper amount of time if you want to age it. Dark malts had a stronger presence and the hops have only partially faded enough to be in perfect balance.

This beer is still drinkable. Alcohol is more prevalent since the beer is so unpronounced now. Carbonation is lively, I could tell immediately from the loud hiss as I opened the bottle. Definitely past its prime though.

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

A: black with a nice tan head and lacing.
S: american hops and dark roasted malts.
T: same as above. malts are reminiscent of a just over medium bodied dryish stout (some coffee and dark molasses) with lots of american hops clearing it out to a bitter, drying finish. lingering hops and roasty malts, manages to seem crisp at the end.
M: frothy and lively for this abv.
D: goes down a lot easier than you'd think for this abv. alcohol is well-hidden and the dryish hoppy finish helps in this regard.

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

pours a jet black color with spare off white head and good lacing. smells heavily hoppy and bitter although wasn't as hoppy in flavor mostly just bitter with a slightly roasted nutty carmel taste. the finish is extremely bitter. not nearly as full bodied as i would have thought by the look. this beer is delcious and goes down very easy. would definitely try again and would highly recommend.

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Photo of blammasterj
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into my St Arnold's pint glass with an "Enjoy by" date of 06/10.

A: Pours a dark dark brown, with an off-white head; looks like a porter!

S: Smells of hop goodness: pine, citrus, some resin; also catching the malts buried in the back.

T: Taste is wave after wave of hops and an exercise in the phenomenology of West Coast hop flavors: slightly sweet, piney, bitter, oily and floral. I know the malts are there only because I haven't been blasted to Hop Island, but I'm only really tasting them on the finish and even then they only provide a slightly pleasant roasted flavor. The finish is long, pleasantly bitter, and slightly coffee-flavored.

MF: Nice medium body, but not a ghost of alcohol except upon reflection.

D: Becomes more barleywine-eque as it warms and the malts come through a little more. Also getting some faint chocolate and coffee on the finish as it warms closer to room temp.

This was definitely a very complex, iconoclastic beer that I will continue to buy and enjoy. However, by means of comparison, I think that Arrogant (and Double) Bastard are better and more balanced brews.

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Photo of golffan8
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste this beer for what it is, simply, something different. The Brewmasters at Stone toyed around with a Black IPA and created a beer that tastes similar to an IPA with a darker color and a slight touch of toasted malt.

S - It smells like a typical IPA, citrus and pine.

M - Mouthful was moderate, similar to a double IPA; however I didn't have the same hop oil residue. Possibly, the toasted malt somehow dissipated the hop oil texture (just my opinion, who knows?).

T - Initial taste was dominated by grapefruit, and citrus then segued into a slight note of toasted malt. The finish was a hint of dark chocolate. If the color was lighter, most people would rate it as a hoppy grade (A) West Coast IPA with a toasted malt finish.

Bottom line, it is a fun beer! Drinking beer can be a fun experience and Stone did a great job creating this unique beer. It will not be a beer in my weekly rotation but I appreciate the beer for what it is...a unique style that should be distributed as a limited edition.

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Photo of ugaterrapin
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: It is a deep dark brown bordering on a complete black opaqueness. There is about two fingers of tan head that recedes slowly leaving an incredible amount of lacing on the glass.

S: A crisp hop aroma sits on top of a nice bed of burnt malt smells. It is a nice complex aroma that wakes the senses.

T: I must say the taste is more complex than the aroma. There are a lot of different flavors present in the taste. The front of the sip is dominated by the burnt malt presence. Slight tastes of coffee appear as the beer moves across the palate. The finish hits with some hop bitterness and a touch of alcohol. The beer has a oily and slightly creamy body. Due to the intense flavor profile of this beer, I rated the drinkability somewhat low.

Overall this is an interesting beer. It is interesting in a good way because it pushes style barriers. Although I don't see myself purchasing this beer too often it was still a great purchase and one I would recommend. A great offering from Stone Brewing.

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Photo of chumba526
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The color is midnight black it pours with a two inch dirty brown head.
It smells of toasted Smokey hops, hints of grassy citrusy, herbal hops. I almost smell a bit of a rosemary flavor.

The taste starts as expected by the smell with a Smokey toasted slightly caramel malt flavor and moves in to a rich citrus grassy hop flavor. Even with the strong citrus grassy notes of the hops the nice Smokey flavor is still noticeable. The beer has a very nice blend of malts and hops. You can clearly taste both the malts and the hops. The taste ends with duel flavors of bitterness and toasty malts. The Bitterness lingers on the palate for quite a while. The medium carbonation makes the beer quite smooth.
Overall probably the best black IPA beer I have had.

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Photo of BeanBone
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an inky black body capped by two fingers of tannish head that fade slowly and leave great lacing.

Aroma: Lots of citrusy, piney, and tropical fruit-like hops over a big, sweet, and roasty malt body.

Flavor: Up front, there's a blast of nicely bitter, citrusy, resinous, and piney hops. Underneath, the malt backbone is caramel-like, with toasty flavors and a little molasses mixed in. The hops take charge, as they do in an IPA, but the big malt body keeps this from being an unbalanced proposition. The alcohol content is hidden well. Citrusy and reinous hops over toasty malt in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A silky medium body with medium carbonation and a dry finish. The aftertaste endures well into the next sip.

Drinkability: Drinks faster than the ABV would suggest, so keep an eye out.

Verdict: The emerging "Black IPA" style is one of my favorite new styles of the last decade, and I have to say Stone have put together the best one I've tried yet. Tasty, balanced well, and full of character, Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale has earned its cocky attitude.

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Photo of rustymoore
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amber to almost black with a reddish tint. Good thick tan head with excellent lacing.

S: Nose is dominated by the strong hop aromas of pine and citrus...when swirled I get a hint of dark fruit.

T: The hops can't be masked in this one...they dominate the nose as well as the taste but they are some of the best hops around. Very crisp and robust...something that I think would be best paired in a meal with a nice steak. I love the hops combined with strong beef dish.

M: Overall smooth with a bitter finish but not so much so.

D: Quiet good but I wouldn't say its something I would drink weekly. Best saved for special occasions when you want a deeply hoppy experience.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber served into a tulip glass

Pours a deep chocolate brown. This beer is stout dark. The very tan looking foam, a two finger dome of head, sits heavy on top of the stout-looking body, leaving little in the way of lacing. The beer looks good and not just because of its unusual color 9I say unusual because, while this is listed on BA as a strong ale, I can't get away from thinking of it in terms of a "black IPA").

Loads of grapefruit dominate the nose here. Only a gentle kiss of pine or bitter hops. Beyond the fruit there is a porter-like smell of light chocolate maltiness. There is some age to this bottle, I can tell from the aroma, but it doesn't detract from the beer. While simple, uncomplex, the beer smells good. I can't deny the pleasure of smelling this much grapefruit from such a dark beer.

You first taste all of that grapefruit along with a touch of a softer, rounder fruit, like strawberry. But a beer this dark has to have some roasted malt character, right? Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale has the roast character of a solid American Stout, with a tasty blend of coffee and chocolate flavors coming out of the malt bill. It is a treat to taste the bright hops interact with a roasty, stout-like base. This beer makes me think of what a dry-hopped Boulevard Bully! Porter might taste like when ran through a DFH Randal the Enamel Animal. I can see why some people wouldn't like black IPAs or super-hoppy stouts. Me though? I adore them.

This very thick by IPA standards. I would abhor the mouthfeel if it weren't for the stout flavors that this beer has. it strikes me that Stone has figured out something of a happy middle ground here that feels mostly like an East Coast IIPA. The more that I drink of this beer the more that I can see how creamy the feel is without being too heavy. Drinkability is just fine. It is close to 09% ABV, strongly flavored and comes only in a bomber but the sheer playfulness of the flavors here is enough to propel the drinker down deeper into the bottle.

American Strong Ale? American Stout? Black IPA? Whatever. This is a playful, interesting, damn tasty beer that successfully marries big-time hoppy grapefruit with roasty malt. Enjoy it.

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Photo of mjaskula
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The first black IPA that i've had. Served in a sniffer. Pours black, with some red hints when held up to the light. The head is thick, dense and tan. It thins down to a film an leaves some lacing.

Aroma is full of hop character, citrus and pine, there is some roasted malt aroma as well. The flavor is typical of a double ipa, strong malt sweetness (dark fruits) balanced with huge hop character (citrus and pine) and bitterness. The bitterness of the hops flows well into the bitterness of he roasted malts. Coffee flavors are present in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, and the bitterness lingers in the mouth a bit to long. A big beer like this is hard to call drinkable, but it certainly is easy to go back to. I like it a lot.

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Photo of samie85
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed 4/16.

A-Pours a very dark brown/black with a brown two finger khaki head.

S-Pine, grapefruit, orange with chocolate and some vanilla.

T-Roasted and chocolate malt notes transition into orange and bitter pine; finishes with a dry, dark chocolate bitter with some alcohol presence.

M-Smooth and medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

D-Not the easiest drinking beer I've had, but pretty enjoyable and definitely something new and different for me.

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Photo of hopheadjuice
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber into harpoon Goblet. Enjoy by date 6-10-10.

Pours pitch black center with dark brown edges when held up to light. Pretty good 2 finger brown head that has nice retention.

HOLY HELL! this ale smells RICH, very complex aromas of roasted malts and strong astringent bitter hops (TRUCK LOAD). very dark citrus characteristics along with subtle hints of pine sap and chocolate.

Very robust taste here, very strong Astringent citrus hops flavour that gives way to a black roasty malt backbone. Very well balanced being an extremely hopppy beer. Remins me more of an India Black Ale or IBA.

Slick mouthfeel with a over-active carbonation that beats at your mouth. finishes extremely dry with a after bite of hops.

8.7% alc/vol and you wont notice any in the taste. very sophisticated brew from those Beer Demons at stone. Not something you would overall drink a lot of.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, best by June 23, 2010.

Served cool into a Duvel tulip. Pours very dark brown with a large dense & foamy light brown head. Maintains a nice cap and leaves a few spots of lacing.

Aroma is an initial smack in the face of citrus and tropical fruit hops, a bit of pine, earth, funk as well, but there is this underlying roasted malt underneath, continue to inhale and the chocolate aspect really begins takes shape. Not only is the aroma very pleasant, but is quite strong as well.

Flavor follows suit, heaps of hop bitterness, pine and citrus, contrasted with a lot of rich chocolate malt in the middle, some caramel, anise, toffee, alcohol. Big and bold.

Mouthfeel is rich, creamy, starts out soft on the palate, finishes with a little prickly carbonation.

I'm really digging the contrasting chocolate and big bitter hops coming outta these Black IPAs and this one just might be my favorite of the style. Good stuff, hope it becomes more readily available...

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Photo of dougofthefuture
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up in Chicago last week, poured into my glass tonight.

A - Not much to say here - dark brown/black without looking thick, 1 finger head.

S - There is a distinct plum-like sweetness complemented with some pretty strong hops. It's funny - I almost get magic marker in there. Probably just me, but it is unique.

T&M - I was expecting dry and hoppy for some reason. This is a great creamy, flavorful beer with a significant hop presence. The carbonation is on the low side, which allows the chewyness to come out in the base. Lingering sweetness and bitterness is... sublime.

D - Very surprising balance here. I could drink a lot of this. The novelty in combination of flavors isn't something I'd want to revisit frequently (personal preference only), but this is a very good beer.

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

From a bomber, this strong ale pours a dark garnet hue, translucent on the edges. Really nice tan head and fantastic lacing.

Nose is pretty darn hoppy, though I'd imagine it's even more fragrant when really fresh. Spicy and floral. Touch of dark chocolate.

Flavor is nice, with a very hop-forward character. I could swear there's some Chinook in there. Acidic, roasted maltiness provides a nice counterpoint. In terms of flavors, I get a woodsy, spicy hoppiness, some dark fruits, anise, chocolate, and bit of alcohol. This beer is almost like a Black Double IPA. Pretty interesting. Mouthfeel is a high point. Slick, chewy and creamy without being heavy or ponderous.

Overall, I was happy I picked this up and will look for it again when it's fresh.

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

Pours a dark almost black with a nice head that resides and lasts for about a centimeter.
Smells of hops, nice maybe glacier from dry-hopping. A good amount of bitterness too but nothing too much compared to the darkness.
Nice balance and a good hoppiness give it something I would probably not be able to drink a whole bottle of but still enjoy.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured by parts into a snifter. Best by date of 6-24-2010 printed on the bottle. This is the first Black IPA/CDA I have ever had. I have to say I was apprehensive about the style but my beer guy suggested trying this one. Thanks Sam, your recommendation was dead on.

The appearance on this beer was very black. I know it's called a black IPA but I was unsure of what to expect. This had just a little brown around the edges when the beer was very low in the glass. The head was huge and cappuccino froth like. The lacing was the best I have ever seen on ANY beer regardless of style. It started at the very top of the glass and continued the entire way to the bottom upon completion with absolutely no gaps! Although I have not had another of this style to compare it too, I have no idea how this could possibly look any better so it receives a perfect score for appearance.

The smell was like a big tropical IIPA. Pineapple was all over this thing! There was some of the other big smells associated with IIPA's there as well such as fresh cut grass and faint dank. No dark aromas were detectable to the point that, were I blind-folded no way would I call this anything other than a golden IIPA.

The taste let me know that this was a horse of a different color. Typical big tropical hops were at the front of this thing, but on the finish there was...licorice? Yes indeed! I found some licorice at the end and liked it a lot! A little faint coffee and chocolate were found at the midpoint and the sweet/bitter hops kept rolling around the whole time. I'm holding back on giving my score another half point but am restraining myself due to my newness to the style. Definitely is a pleasing and extremely complex flavor that just keeps developing as it warms.

The mouthfeel is good but not great. Its medium bodied for sure, but is missing the great sticky lip feeling I have come to love from great IIPA's. I feel this is one area that can be improved on.

Is this really 8.7%? For some reason I started out drinking this thinking it was 7.8% and found it highly drinkable for that. I very easily drank the whole bottle and couldn't detect the alcohol until I stood up...THERE it is! A little light headed, I headed up-stairs from my man cave and wished I had another of these. In my opinion I found this to be more drinkable than I recall Ruination to be. I haven't had that beer in years but recalled it was a little difficult to drink even though it is below 8%.

As far as introductions to a style go, my venture into Black IPA's was a good one. I will be on the lookout of more from this style to try. I personally will be buying up more SSR in the future and passing over the perennial top 100 Ruination in the process. It really is that good. Try a bottle if you get the chance too and prepare to be astonished. HIGHLY recommended.

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