Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)
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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark 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
Reviews by prototypic:
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prototypic from Ohio

4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Iniquity isn't quite black. It is very dark brown and a bit of light cutting through gives it garnet highlights. It's topped with a modest off-white head that's lucky to reach a finger deep. It wasted no time fleeing the scene and left a sticky lacing in its wake.

Smell: The nose is stacked with citrus hops. There's the usual suspects of grapefruit, pineapple, orange, and mango. A light dose of pine is in there, as well. There's a little malt that's noted. But, I'm not picking up any caramel which is definitely a good thing. It's a little yeasty on the tail. Alcohol surprisingly goes unnoticed. Very well done in this department. Really nice smelling beer.

Taste: The flavor isn't quite as good as the nose set my expectations. It's good, but not elite by any means. There is a really nice citrus hop flavor. It's bitter and features the usual wave of citrus flavors. The downside is that the there seems to be a really spicy hop flavor that consumes the citrus variety. It's good, but it negated what potentially was an excellent hop flavor. There's a little pine in there, but it's predominantly spicy. There's enough malt to hold it together well, but not too much. It is a tad yeasty. Alcohol is noted, but I wouldn't have guessed it's 9%. Finishes spicy and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has a smooth, creamy medium body. Carbonation is light and doesn't offend. Southern Tier really nailed the feel on this one. Drinkability is good, but falls short of great. I like the flavor quite a bit, but can't say that I love it. It's also weighs in at 9%. Not exactly a lightweight.

Iniquity is quite the interesting beer. It's good. Perhaps very good. But, I can't help but think about what could have been. The spicy hop flavor really cuts into and overtakes a more appealing citrus flavor. It's interesting. The citrus hops just begin to take hold...and then they're gone. Iniquity is injustice or an immoral act. Perhaps suppressing that really nice citrus hop flavor is Southern Tier's poetic (in)justice. All kidding aside, Iniquity is a nice beer. It really is very good. But, it's not quite as good as it could've been. Just sayin'.

Mar 28, 2009
More User Reviews:
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #32 (Sep 2009):

"A gross immorality or injustice." Huh? Why would a beer be grossly immoral? Because ap- parently this beer is "the antithesis of Unearthly." Hmm ... we already like the sound of this.

It's certainly black in the glass, nearly opaque, with soft tones of rich brown and ruby, and a creamy tan lacing that sticks and trails down the glass. Nose is grainy with spicy hop aromas, dried leaves, earth and a faint citrus note in the back. Very creamy on the palate, with a lush, smooth, but firm, body. Complex sweet and malty base up front with caramel, toasty breads (pumpernickel comes to mind), treacle syrup, chocolate and suggestions of honey. Bold and spicy hops, resiny and oily edges; also lots of dense herbal flavors, with more leaf and earth, hints of mint and splashes of floral citrus. Alcohol presence rears a bit hot on the breath, but hides well within the sweetness for the most part. Finishes wet and oily with a resiny and sticky hop linger, eventually going a bit dry, spicy and ashy.

We give it a solid A for awesome. This is a fantastic abomination of a beer. Get some.

Nov 12, 2010
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jamie2dope from Massachusetts

3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another new beer from Southern Tier, a dark DIPA. It would not surprise me if this becomes a popular style soon. Fast pour reveals a solid looking black beer, with about a finger of slightly tanned white heading. Despite its blackness, there seems to be a clarity about it in color if that makes any sense. Pretty decent smell. I get from it some mild chocolate, little metallic twang, and some alcohol bitterness. Taste is more centered in hop flavor, but for an Imperial IPA (Sorry, IBA) there is a very good level of balance. The dark malt manages to stay behind the hops, but still smooth things out. Alcohol is hardly present in this one. Had somebody told me it was 9% I might not have believed them. Like I said, the well hidden alcohol and balance between malt and hops both combine to make this an easy drinking ale. This is a very respectable effort from Southern Tier. I liked the fact that it was balanced as opposed to hop overkill. Please continue to experiment.

Apr 01, 2009
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photomike from California

5/5  rDev +20.5%

Dec 14, 2011
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elchingen from Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Feb 08, 2013
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CWhite from Wisconsin

2.5/5  rDev -39.8%

Jan 10, 2012
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JustinWhipple from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Jul 08, 2012
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bsm80x from New York

3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Oct 24, 2013
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mrasskicktastic from New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Very dark brown, comparable to a porter in color, small tan head, isolated specks of lacing.

S - Very mild - faint caramel, burnt sugars and a vague citrus pith. A faint hint of alcohol as it warms.

T - Wow! Unlike other southern tier IPAs I've had which are strong on the nose but lacking in flavor, this one has an outstanding flavor. The taste is not very sweet, but it has a definite presence of slightly burnt sugar - like the crust of creme brûlée - molasses, mild pine resin, toffee and a bit of... pumpernickel? The aftertaste has lingering creme brûlée coating and pleasant pithy bitterness. The moment it leaves my tongue I start craving another sip. Never once does the beer tell me about it's 9% abv. This beer doesn't scream, but it is better that way. A paragon of flavor.

M - Incredibly smooth, medium bodied, very refreshing.

D - The smell is so lacking, but that almost improves the beer. There is little to entice you, no expectations, then the first sip and the beer shouts in a commanding flavor, "I am good, love me!" and I am powerless to resist its demands.

... yes. I will have this one again.

Mar 10, 2012
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05Harley from New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on: Only listed on the case.

Purchased @ Tulley's Wells, Maine

Price - $7.50/bomber

Appearance is a deep ruby red color that borders dark. Very little foam with a non existent head. Patches of islands in the form of suds float freely on top. As the glass empties you can see a few lines of bubbles rising from the bottom. Little to no lacing.

The aroma is sweet malt and hops followed by a hint of smoke. Not strong, but enough to identify the qualities.

The flavor is unique in the form of smokey/citrus. I get grapefruit, raisins, licorice and roasted malts. This is different, however it strangely keeps me going after another sip. I can 't explain it.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth especially for 9.0%. Carbonation is medium to low and the body was fairly chewy. A near perfect bitter after taste right through the finish.

Overall for the style this example has it's own unique flavor I can't seem to wrap my head around. I thought the mouthfeel was the strong point as well as the hidden octane. A good beer overall.

Aug 28, 2011
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rjvanston from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -3.6%

Aug 30, 2012
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nmbr0ne from Florida

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass at the House of Brews in Jensen Beach, FL.

Appearance: Dark, dark brown. Almost black. Finger-thick tan head. Dissipates into nice ring patterns. Decent retention and lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and roasted malts. Piney and citrusy hops.

Taste: Chocolate dipped grapefruit? Slightly bitter finish. But decent tastes throughout.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied. Definite drinkability.

Overall: Good black IPA. The mouthfeel is really what saves it to make it an above average beer.

Feb 03, 2012
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josh32219 from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Feb 16, 2014
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Critters from Colorado

4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jan 22, 2015
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bort11 from Missouri

4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Tall khaki head with sticky rings of lace. Color is a shocking purple/black. I honestly thought it was hyperbole that it was a black IPA. No, ST is not kidding here.

Smell is a lot maltier than a standard IPA, dark roasted malt very much like a porter. However there is still very much the citrus character of an IPA. Taste is sweet like a ruby red grapefruit with a little licorice. That doesn't sound like it would work, but it does.

Mouthfeel has a silky smooth feel with a mild carbonation. ABV is masked well. Crazy interpretation of the style.

Blipped a crazy cover of "Black Hole Sun" by Handsome Hank

Jun 27, 2009
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Jayli from Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 12/22/09

A: This beer pours a thin, dark chocolate brown with some mahogany hues around the edges. One finger of rocky, creamy, khaki head that recedes nicely leaving thick rocky lacing.

S: Nose is of caramel malts, slight citrus hops, and bitter chocolate.

T: Taste is starts with a citrusy hop bite, then lends to a very sweet flavoring. Brown sugar, caramal malts, and a touch of molasses comes through. Finish has a hint of bitter chocolate, and then piney hops.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, clena and crisp feel.

D: A nicely crafted beer, easy to drink, goes down well, I would opt for others of the style though.

Dec 28, 2009
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ryanonline from Florida

4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice and black with a tan head and a bit of some Ruby highlights. Ok lacing.

Smells like a deliciously chocolate IPA, or a superbly Hoppy chocolate stout.

Oh my God it tastes the same. Awesome!

Smooth and crisp slightly heavy body. Very light carbonation. Slightly creamy.

A bit heavy but nice and easy on the palete.

Wow, I am impressed. Not just with iniquity, but I also tried the creme brulee and Jah vah stouts from southern tier and am thouroughly amazed. This is one of my new favorites.

Sep 21, 2010
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JakeDebus from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Apr 28, 2013
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sabitu from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -3.6%

Apr 20, 2012
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Canti4341 from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Nov 13, 2013
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TurdFurgison from Ohio

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 650ml bottle with a clear printed label (I'm glad Southern Tier moved away from printing ink directly on the glass, it didn't work too well). The beer is dark brown with red highlights along the border, some wet off-white foam that laces all over the glass. The beer smells like a strongly hopped schwarz bier, citrus + pine over a roasted malt body. The taste is really good, much better than Stone 11th in my opinion, more than just a dark IPA, this was tasty in a complex way that included roasted malts and chocolate to offset the citrus character of the hops. Very nice, this is the kind of beer that keeps me coming back to Southern Tier.

Apr 01, 2009
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Yimosan from Florida

4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 650ml bomber onto my "spoiled rotten" tulip glass.

A: Dr. Pepper dark, hardly any light getting through. It poured a 2 finger head, light beige, that lasted an adequate amount of time, considering the ABV.

S: Totally confusing, yet cool at the same time. The aroma is piney, citrusy, and a bit malty. I also get some fall spices working in the background. I say confusing in the fact that, a porter-like looking beer should not smell like that...I call this a fun gotcha beer.

T: Grapefruit and malt jostle beautifully, this is exactly what I like on my IPA's or IBA in this case. I love the bitterness of the India style brews with the roasted malt, it's sweet and sour, it's caramel and citric acid slow dancing to a Michael Buble bolero favorite!!!

M: It is medium to full bodied and palate cleansing at the same time. It is creamy and long lasting.

D: This beer is very interesting...kinda' like a Houdini trick, you see one thing, but you get another. Now, it is 9% so a better trick would be to stand up after a couple of these guys!!! I'm just saying!

Pleasantly surprised, and so far the two offering I've had from Southern Tier, have thoroughly impressed me!


Mar 11, 2010
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TheHoppiest from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in a pint glass at Ballantine's in Willoughby. Will file a Beer Spy report later.

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with very little head. It's served ever so slightly colder than it should be.

Smell is subdued, with very slight malt notes rising from it. No doubt the smell is hampered by the colder temp it is served at.

Has a nice nutty, hoppy taste to it, topped with caramel malt. Though I see this is classified as an imperial IPA, I would have pegged it a porter in mouthfeel and taste.

Smooth mouthfeel, but not too thick.

Highly drinkable; but for the other offerings on tap that night, I absolutely would have had another.

Aug 11, 2010
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matzah from Georgia

5/5  rDev +20.5%

Apr 08, 2012
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1/5  rDev -75.9%

Apr 16, 2012
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 1527 ratings