Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA | Stone Brewing

Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPASublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA
5,928 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: 5,928 |  Reviews: 1,915
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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Photo of freescribbles
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was totally caught off guard when I poured as I was not expecting a black ale. Reminded me of a porter from the looks. Dark coca-cola like coloring with a thin caramel toned head.

Some nice lacing on the glass and a pleasant carbonation level. It definitely walked the line between a traditional ale and a porter. Hints of grapefruit and some nice subtle hops without the syrupy feel.

Definitely piqued my interest in darker ales.

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

A- Poured with a thin, tan-colored head, which slowly receded to a collar. You have some little touches of lacing throughout. The body was a very dark garnet color, with no visible carbonation. Although any carbonation could easily be obscured by the dark color itself.

S- On the nose you're getting an incredible bouquet of hops... high alpha acid... citrus and tropical-fruitlike hops. There's some faint indications of pale and stewed malts in the background; but this is very much a hop dominant nose.

T- In the mouth, the hops are even more dominant. The pale and stewed malts appear right up-front, but are immediately overtaken by bucketloads of high alpha hops... which are bitter like citrus zest and citrus pith throughout the finish. The lingering hoppiness on the tongue is a little weaker than the midpalate suggested. Overall good flavor.

M- A medium body. Not much viscosity there... but a nice soft carbonation. There's a bit of astringency there, presumably from the hops.

D- Still quite drinkable, despite its unbalanced hoppiness. The alcohol is very well hidden throughout.

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Photo of bonkers
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Jet black pour with a medium white head, slight lacing. It has big pine and grapefruit notes on the nose. The flavor is lots of pine and tropical fruit, from first sip to aftertaste. The flavors are strong and linger for a long time. The beer is medium/full in body and has good carbonation. And with everything stone is aggressively hopped, a good thing. A very good black IPA.

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Photo of femALEist
4.62/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask at the 2010 Firkin Festival.

Black IPA dry hopped with Chinook. Funny, I literally just had the regular Black IPA version of this on draft at Pi Bar this week.

This poured a dark chocolate with a touch of light cream.

Nose: Mmmmm dry hopped mixed with some light malty deliciousness and some grapefruit skin bitterness.

It tasted hoppy with a good roasted malt backbone, then roasted coffee, then back to a bitter grapefruit skin finish.

Good carbonation, great mouthfeel.
Sooo good. I LOVE this freaking beer. I can say hands down, this is the BEST Black IPA I have ever had! It has SUCH an incredible balance of being a hugely hopped IPA with a soft, sweet malty balance. Mmmm mmmm good.

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Photo of BDJake
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- almost pitch black pour with dark brown edges, topped off by an inch of light tan head that laced and retained very well

S- Citrusy hops, with an underlying malt base, and a bit of earthiness

T- prominent but not overpowering hops, with dark roasted malts providing a bittersweet coffee-like finish

M- smooth but heavy-bodied, with a bitter aftertaste

D- it just keeps screaming for more

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Photo of xanok
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into my Stone Levitation Ale glass.

A-Black. Extremely dark and impressive for the style. Head is a light tan with great retention.

S-Very faint. Citrusy hops, malt notes, and some sweetness.

T-Slammed right away with the hops, but they don't stick around long. Dark roasted malts provide a solid note. Some very bitter chocolate to finish.

M-Smooth going down. Lingering bitterness after each sip, but not off-putting, just noticeable. Carb is a tad heavy. Body is bordering full.

D-Typical Stone here. High ABV, but well hidden. No shock there. Bitterness and full body make this a sipper.

This is an extremely complex brew, moreso than most will give it credit for.

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

On tap at Harris Grill, 23-4-10.

Pours almost jet black with a thick layer of tan head. Piney hops prominent in nose; aromas of coffee and chocolate also present. Taste is big, boozy, and complex. The combination of bitter, resinous hops and rich roasted malt is interesting and new to me; the only other "black IPA" I've tried is Southern Tier's Iniquity, but SSSRA is more aggressive on all fronts. Sort of reminds me of Arrogant Bastard (one of my favorites), but with more of everything. Another winner from Stone.

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Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.22 out of 5 with 5,928 ratings
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