Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)
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American Black Ale
4.15 | pDev: 10.84%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)
Reviews: 615 | Ratings: 1,527 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.47/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour yields about 1.25" head, tan in color. Aroma was why black ales never took off, too much roast, not enough hops. Gotta use that dehusked malt. This was less roast and more 'nothing' in terms of aroma.

Taste was a lot of brown malt, some hops, but not the amount I've come to expect from Southern Tier. Kind of felt like a hodgepodge recipe where they threw a bunch of leftover stuff together and still managed to salvage a decent beer. Efficiency!

One of the better black ales, but still behind their regular ipa/dipa lineup.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.69/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter.

3.25 A: Black color. One finger of beige head. Retention is below average and just a few wisps of lacing are left.

3.5 S: Floral hops with pine and citrus underneath. Pithy grapefruit and clove honey. Earthy with bready malts.

3.75 T: This is a black IPA done well. It's not overly bitter, indeed, it has just a light bitterness. Good mix of earthy, citrus, floral, and grassiness from the hops. Honey comes through fairly strong despite it not being in the recipe. Bready maltiness with a pleasant spicy finish.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Very nice creaminess that makes this super smooth. Alcohol super well hidden.

3.75 D: Very good example of the style.

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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania, Sep 27, 2015
Photo of Jadjunk
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"We carefully chose the name for this Imperial IBA, Iniquity - a word opposing goodness. Why? This beer is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night. It is the antithesis of Unearthly. Some may consider it an immoral act to blacken an ale. We suggest they don't rely on conventional standards. Allow the darkness to consume you. Cheers!" Brewed in the style of an American Imperial Black Ale, available previously as a year-round release in 22 oz. bottles and on draft. Recently discontinued.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a Southern Tier tulip glass. Served above 51 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Iniquity pours a creamy frothed mocha head over a very dark cola brown body. Retention is very good and lacing is light and streaked. 4.25

(Smell) Aromas of moderately roasted barley, black patent malt, spicy, peppery and earthy hop aromas, as citrus notes have faded. Subtle notes of dark fruits, licorice and earthy spice. Understated sweetness and high bitterness in the aroma, medium potency overall. 3.75

(Taste) The flavor is a continuation of the aroma, although notably well balanced and very complex. The malt body is built with a combination of medium roasted malts, black patent char, chocolate malt and toasted caramel bread, moderately sweet and highly drinkable. The hop profile is earthy, resinous, lightly bitter and slightly less assertive than the aroma suggested yet better balanced. Yeast characteristics include a subtle undertone of dark fruit essence, including raisin skins, date sugar and more prominently licorice sticks. The finish is slick and roasty with lingering notes of licorice and earthy hops. 4

(Mouthfeel) The texture is moderately viscous, medium sticky and mildly dry. Carbonation levels are moderate generating a smooth, medium frothy and subtly crisp mouthfeel. Body is medium/heavy for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is very slightly bitter and roasty over sweet. Alcohol presence is low, and off characters are minimal. 4

(Overall) I know this beer is quite old but I am very impressed at how complex the flavors are and how it still stands superior against many other Black Ale examples out there. Not just a hop-driven beer, Iniquity does a great job at matching the hop profile with an equally complex malt bill that carefully focuses on roast, chocolate and fruit characteristics- all of which many other black IPAs overlook. Southern Tier frequently makes some questionable cuts to their year-round lineup, but Iniquity certainly should have been kept around for the long haul. My hopes are that it returns in the near future, ideally in a smaller-bottle format, as it is also quite the filling beverage. 4

Southern Tier Brewing Company's
Imperial Iniquity Black Ale

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Jadjunk from Georgia, Dec 22, 2014
Photo of dcmchew
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours pitch black with a small frothy head, getting a bit poorer in a minute, leaving just some messy specks around.
An interesting smell, a mix of fruit brandy and fruity hops, really sticky and jammy-sweet. Plum, dark grape, persimmon, date, orange pulp, dark berries, fragrant like concentrated syrup. Floral notes too, peach-flavored iced tea, ribwort, faint leafy hop.
Sweet malty front, with sticky caramel, maple syrup, cake, faint spicy rye bread, faint chocolate. A dark fruit jam sweetness too (plum, date, blueberry), even some tropical hints. Bits of citrus peel. There's quite a 180 degrees transition here afterwards, gets a bit more roasted (clearer toasted bread crust), doesn't lose the sweetness entirely, but it gets more leafy and aromatic, with spicy hops, peppermint, floral tea, with that nice alcoholic kick (just warm), reminding of herb liqueur (Jagermeister came to mind, tho i haven't touched it for more than 5 years).
Aftertaste has a bit of roast, some hop resin, light dark fruit. Smooth, oily, really nice body and carbonation.
Rich hoppy flavors, easy to drink, really enjoyed this one. A big sweetness that's incredibly handled and doesn't disturb in the slightest.

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dcmchew from Romania, Nov 27, 2014
Photo of pagriley
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured jet black with a thin white head. Some sweetness on the nose with hints of hops but not a lot of floral or citrus. Sweet and not a ton of complexity to the hops.

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pagriley from Illinois, Nov 05, 2014
Photo of Treyliff
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%

12oz bottle to snifter

A- pours a deep jet black color with a one-finger creamy khaki colored head that retains long after the pour, looking like espresso cream and leaving some lacing behind 4.5

S- grainy with some spicy hop aromas with notes of earth, pepper, licorice, toasted bread, milk chocolate and a hint of coffee. Also picking up a hint of citrus/piney hops 3.75

T- sharp citrusy hops up front with an emphasis on grapefruit and orange zest, earthy, leafy & woodsy notes kick in with some herbal/floral hop flavors, caramel/toasted bready malt, the finish gives some dry bitter black coffee with a hint of dark chocolate 4 1.8

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy & prickly mouthfeel and a creamy semi-dry finish 3.75

O- this is the first black ale that had such an emphasis on citrusy hops, it was quite the contrast with the chocolate/coffee malt notes. Very good overall, hides the alcohol well 4

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of BigRedDog
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a stout glass.

The beer pours midnight black with a thick khaki colored head. Good lacing.

I get coffee and espresso, vanilla, and dark fruits on the nose. Almost smells similar to a belgian quad with the dark fruit.

Taste is good. Mild carbonation and vanilla at first. That mellows into a dark fruit taste that continues on the finish. Has a good maltiness as well.

Thick feeling in the mouth. Kind of creamy.

Overall a very good beer. I wasn't expecting the dark fruit, but I liked it.

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BigRedDog from Indiana, Jul 26, 2014
Photo of arlo19
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into DFH signature glass.

Aroma is dry and roasty. Some raisin and a little booze.

Taste is similar. It is not a porter, not a stout, but similar. The mouthfeel is great with a clean aftertaste that is slightly dry but flavorful. Tastes a couple abv less than it is at 9%.

Overall another winner from ST. Will definitely be getting again.

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arlo19 from Kentucky, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

1 Pint, 6 oz bottle poured into a glass.

A: I love the deep brown color. Medium sized head.

S: The perfect balance of toasted and alcohol scent.

T: A great black ale. Toasted malt flavor. Even a hint of hops in here.

M: Great mouthfeel. Not overly carbonated or too much alcohol.

O: I love black ales and lagers. Unfortunately, I don't see enough of them. I would definitely get this again.

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TheBeerdedCharmer from Pennsylvania, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of mntlover
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a black with some brown red highlights when held to the light. Smaller tan head falls to ringed bubbles with one lace.

Aroma is wonderful big roasted chocolate notes sweet maple sugar sweetness with hints of figs and earthy notes. Hops are nice thinking of that chocolate orange candy big orange notes mingled with pine resin for a perfect hop presence to back the chocolate roasted malt goodness. Got to be the best smelling black ale ever.

Taste is big on roasted malt notes plenty of chocolate, some light coffee, fruity notes and earthy hints also. Some dry coco powder sprinkled into the finish also. Lots of good malty backbone with tons of chocolate but plenty of hops to keep this baby from being cloying. Even with the huge hop aroma the hop flavors don't overwhelm the malt notes. This is a wonderful brew even though it does smell better then it tastes slightly.

Mouthfeel is also wonderful big solid mouthfeel with carbonation that makes it oh so smooth, almost as smooth as chocolate milk.

Overall this is one heck of a beer, if you see this one and don't buy it you are wrong and hurting no one but yourself.

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mntlover from Tennessee, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of Roxie_B
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had someone else pour this for me so I wouldn't muck it up. Poured from bottle into 16 oz. pint glass.

Appearance: Somewhere between a dark properly brewed tea and time for an oil change darkness. No head that I noticed but a bit of lacing that lingered on and swirled in a nifty way.

Smell: Floral. This smells awesomely floral. I would wear this to church as a perfume or roll around in it. After the floral you get a bit of chocolate and then I could swear some clover honey.

Taste: Surprisingly I got some fruit forward. Quite a bit of fruit, citrusy. Orange zest is definitely in there. Then in the middle as it goes over my tongue I am getting a bit of hay/grass. There is a little bit of alcohol but I don't find it unpleasant. Then as a nice swallow hits the end there is a bit of charred wood light coffee and caramel. Afterwards I got more of the floral that I was expecting to find from the smell.

Mouthfeel: Buttery but not greasy because it is a bit acidic.

Overall: Not as bitter as I might like and very floral for something so masculine. Surprisingly crisp. Might not seek it out a-purpose but tasty never the less. I might prefer something less floral and acidic and a bit more bitter.

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Roxie_B from Alabama, Jun 01, 2014
Photo of Kenee
2.78/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

650ml bottle served in tulip glass

Pours as dark as the night. Good small head with strong lacing.

Smells of strong thin alcohol - reminds me of vodka mixed with roasted malt

Thin mouth feel. Bitter but no astringency. Slight chocolate, coffee hints. Doesn't feel like there us much depth. Thin mouth feel and vodka aroma shine through more than any complicated deep flavours.

Not bad but not great... Disappointing

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Kenee from United Kingdom (England), May 30, 2014
Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with a nice light head. The smell was very light and citrus in contrast to the color. A lot of floral and citrus notes. The taste was very nice. A clean finish that was very refreshing while having a good body and flavor to go along with it. I found a lot of orange flavor to it. The only thing I would have liked was more malt, to give more flavor on the end and give it a bit thicker body.

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WhiteHillsStore from Connecticut, May 20, 2014
Photo of lochef81
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This black ale pours a very near black color with a thick off white head that leaves beautiful silky lacing. The nose is shockingly malty and one note. All roasted malt and little to nothing else. The mouthfeel is very pleasant and smooth and creamy. The flavor is much better than the nose with some hops, chocolate, coffee, and dried fruit added to the roasted malt character. It is still quite sweet for the style. I'm not sure if I just have a bottle that is slightly past its prime or if this is what the brewer was going for. It is far maltier than most of the American black ales I've had; more reminiscent of a dopplebock or a belgian dark ale. I'd really like to try a bottle of this that I knew was fresh to see if this was the intention or just a victim of time. Good none the less.

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lochef81 from Michigan, May 07, 2014
Photo of Bierman9
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 22oz bottle gifted to me from ol' Bro Artied2...

Poured into a small DT tulip.... It is 99% opaque, with just a slight glimmer of ruby when held up to backlight. Head is quite thin, a ring of tan bubbles doing some rim-clinging. Lacing is on the light side, too. Nose is somewhat roasty with a bit of underlying floral hoppyness. Body is good - a solid medium, with a relatively smooth feel on the tongue.

Taste is surprisingly sweet to start, with a good dose of caramel malt which reminded me a bit of a doppelbock. Hints of dark fruit float about before the finish arises. That is where a load of hoppage wells up to balance the sweetness and slather the palate with earthy, floral bitterness. Also, the finish is quite dry, in a chalky, charred sort of way.... Not bad, all-in-all... Thnx, Bro!


3.78/5 rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


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Bierman9 from New Hampshire, Apr 30, 2014
Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown approaching black (but not quite there) color, about a finger's worth of head which fades at a moderate pace, few patches of sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell has a strong roasted/burnt malt aroma, hops aren't quite as strong but there is some pine lingering around.

Taste throughout is a mix of roasted malt and pine, burnt bitter aftertaste but enough sweetness to not be overwhelming, carbonation is medium with an average body.

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Photo of Emnmarko
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/4/14 enjoyed 3/28/14.

A- Black with a slight brown hue. Clear. An off white one finger head putters out quickly to leave a light cap. Very little lacing at all.

S- Has a dank pine hop tone with roasted malts there too. Black licorice notes as well.

T- Dark roasted malts. A nutty flavor in there. Caramel with a little cocoa. Then some charcoal notes . You get a a warming alcohol feel starting in the middle and lasting well into the end. A complex brew, it throws alot at you.

M- A heavier brew, creamy feeling. Somewhat gritty. A meal in a bottle. Perhaps a little bit too carbonated. A couple few may be too much. More a sippin' beer.

O- This black ale is deep without being rude. Tons of flavor and feel from the dark side. Roasted malts mingling with a bitter hop backbone makes for an interesting conversation. And that ain't no lie. Good sippin' brew but could fill you up. Enjoyable.

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Emnmarko from Michigan, Mar 28, 2014
Photo of SerialTicker
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled January 6th and poured March 25th. $2.49 single poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Aggressively poured -- too much so. Got most of the beer in the glass, but a four finger soapy and creamy head stuck around for a bit. Iniquity is a perfectly clear mahogany color. There's a lot of lacing for this beer as well. Looks very nice in the glass.

Smell: Delicious. Outstanding. Awesome. Incredible. Really now. So much fruit and earthiness from the hops, it's pretty much insane. Massively hoppy. A lot of sorts of nondescript fruitiness and sweetness are there... just a sort of fruit cocktail of fruity deliciousness. The undertones on the aroma are all the earthy, piney, resinous hop smells. There is maybe also a faint hint of roasty character as well, but it's basically all about the hops. Going on three months old, and it smells like it was bottled yesterday. I'd love to get a whiff of this fresh.

Taste/feel: Holy balls. Alright, okay, that's interesting, let me gather my thoughts here. Okay. Wow. This is gonna be a long description. Rolls across the tongue almost tangy with some alcohol warmth and a bit of an alcohol flavor. The tangy and alcohol combination meet with the combination of fruity and earthy hops as well as roasted malt and make for an experience that, well, needs to be experienced. It's hard to describe what's going on adequately. I guess the tanginess is throwing me for a loop because it was so unexpected. The alcohol isn't well hidden, but it's not a problem for me here. There's a fair amount of flavor and warmth. A bit bitter, but there's also a pretty huge amount of sweetness on the finish as well. It's clusterfuck-y, yet it works. There's a slight belly warmth after the swallow, too. Iniquity has a pretty low carbonation, and about a medium sort of body to it as well.

Interesting beer that I feel I could easily pick out of a line up of black ales. That tanginess is unmistakable. For all I know, this beer is mildy infected, but whether it is or isn't, that little sort of funk is more than welcome. Bursting with resinous hops, a roasty character on the finish, alcohol that's not shy to show itself... a very interesting, enjoyable beer. Well worth the $2.49, because this was an experience worth having. Would have it again, for sure.

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SerialTicker from Michigan, Mar 25, 2014
Photo of ski271
2.69/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Maybe it's possible I got a bad bottle? There was something a little off with the smell. And then at the initial taste, this quite off-putting heavy alcohol aroma hits. Completely ruins this otherwise-good beer for me. But again, with people praising this beer and rating it so highly, I'll have to try it again and adjust my review. But until then I have to rate it poorly.

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ski271 from Pennsylvania, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of mrfrancis
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nearly opaque black with subtle ruby highlights and a thin, creamy khaki head.

S: Mild aromas of herbs, caramel, cream, dark chocolate, lemon, and grass take some time to develop on the nose.

T: Delicate flavors of lemon, lime, orange rind, grass, herbs, cream, dark chocolate, and caramel are present, though hints of pine, cedar, and juniper berries linger in the background throughout. The finish is mildly resinous and unexpectedly clean with a nice, mellow combination of caramel, lemon, and herb flavors.

M: Medium in body, smooth, and only mildly resinous compared to many other examples of the style. Carbonation is delicate and gentle. Alcohol warmth is present, but very restrained for an ale of this strength, making the beer dangerously easy to drink.

O: A really well executed and surprisingly balanced take on an American black ale. I could definitely see myself picking this one up again in the not too distant future.

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mrfrancis from Kentucky, Feb 18, 2014
Photo of NilocRellim
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

10 oz. pour from the tap.

The beer was solid black in colour.

There were clear notes of smokiness, malt, and citrus on the nose.

Tasted just like it smelled; the smokiness, malts, citrus, and hops were very balanced and surprisingly light. Not overpowering despite the ABV.

Would I buy it again? Definitely.

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NilocRellim from Minnesota, Jan 28, 2014
Photo of DionysusAwakened
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'm impressed with this beer and would buy it again. This is a great beer. It's appearance and smell weren't anything special, but it had a thick and rich mouthfeel and it's taste was rich and full. There wasn't any chalky or metallic taste and it hid its high alcohol content well.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.

Pours a black-ruby colour with a fair amount of clarity to it. Head is just a ring of bubble pale bubbles around the glass. Body is fairly light, some speckled lacing. Looks decent enough.

Nose is great, full and sweet with plums, ripe dates and an underlying solidity like brown bread. Christmas cake comes out nicely, giving a doughy solidity to it. Very pleasant.

Tasty on the palate as well. Creamy, dark and nutty, with characters of praline and hazelnut. Slight salty, mineral sea character comes through as well towards the back, leaving the back just a touch empty. The darkness lingers like a suggestion of liquorice. Feel is pretty light, but has a nice substance to it.

Overall, this is really nice stuff. Plenty of flavour, nicely balanced with a good amount of interest too. Very happy.

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Photo of Labeorphile
4.71/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Deep, dark with some red hints and a tan head that leaves lacing down the glass and hangs around.

Much more malty and toasty and less hoppy than a lot of black ales. Nose it inviting and I can't wait to taste it. Maybe a little coffee?

Taste follows nose, with good, sweet malts and chocolate with a hint of bitterness, but not crushingly bitter like many in the category. Definitely some coffee.

Also smooth and drinkable. The ABV sneaks up on you, but the mouthfeel isn't overly thin and works great.

A really good beer from Southern Tier.

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Photo of ivanovichi
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz Bomber into a snifter

A- You hear imperial BLACK ale and it lives up to the name, very opaque with a half inch slightly off white head

S- Roasty, nutty, and a little hoppy on the end

T- Almost perfectly on point with the smell, that roasty nutty flavor comes out first and is quickly followed by a little hoppiness, there are definitely hints of chocolate in there too

M- Nice, not oily or greasy but retains in the mouth between sips, carbonated but not too much

O- A great brew for drinkability with the flavor of a black ale. Will definitely be buying another one of these bad boys

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ivanovichi from Tennessee, Dec 18, 2013
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 1527 ratings