Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

616 Reviews
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ClockworkOrange on 01-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 616 | Ratings: 1,525
Photo of yuenglingfan101
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty pint glass from bottle. Kind of a brownish hue with decent head. Tastes of toffee and chocolate and the smell is the same as it tastes. Strong enough to have a couple of these at a time though. Smooth tasting a great filling!!!!

 250 characters

Photo of obrendano
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a new find thanks to my new beer guru Steve from 7 Courts Liquors in Perry Hall, MD

A - great bottle design, as usual. poured into a pint glass, beer is dark black, thick, with a sticky light tan head, even darker than most stouts. head leaves nice rings with each sip/gulp

S - huge sweet hit of sweet sugary smell, some roasted coffee and bread tones, can notice some fruity cherry as well hidden in the mix

T - an absolute bomb of complex and balanced dark malts, perfect hop job, a large brush of milky chocolate and an ever so slight brush of alcohol. this is fabulous. eating some light bread while you drink brings out even more of the chocolate flavors

M - super duper smooth, full bodied, and sticky. pretty much as good as it gets for me

D - I'm so glad to have found this. Iniquity very quickly shot to the top of my favorites/go to list with just one bomber. I will add also, this went absolutely perfectly with some Indian naan dipped in a medium hot curry sauce

 979 characters

Photo of Celt44
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Pours a deep, dark brownish black. Head is nice and frothy and lacing lasts throughout. Nice tan foam. Good looking beer.

Aroma - Citrusy hops mixed with malts right off the bat. Lemons. Hints of freshly baked bread.

Taste is exceptional. Not as bitter up front as their IPAs. It eases you into the slightly bitter and lemony hops. Fruity also. Delicious. Malts take over near the end to distinguish itself from an IPA.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Slight alcohol burn. Just enough.

Overall another EXCEPTIONAL beer from ST. One of the best I've ever had. They never cease to amaze me.

 606 characters

Photo of Qbdoo
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - black, incredibly dark for something other than stout or porter.
Smell - Amazing. Citrus with berries (blueberry??). Truly unbelievable.
Taste - A big, bold mix of malt and hops, intense but balanced.
Mouthfeel - along with the smell this in the amazing thing about this beer. Kind of creamy and very full.
Overall - This is the second time I've had this beer and it's more amazing than I remembered. It's a great midwinter beer for hop lovers.

 457 characters

Photo of fps_dean
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I picked it up in a 22 and did not pour it into a glass, but it appeared to be a dark brown color inside the bottle, so I would not say it is too dark colored.

You can smell the malts and molasses, as well as a citrusy note.

It tastes a little less sweet than it smells. You can taste malts, coffee, caramel, and chocolate, which is balanced nicely with a grapefruit, strong citric hops flavor.

It goes down very smoothly. It's somewhat thick, and moderately carbonated.

Overall, this is a very solid offering, and is one of the best beers I have ever had.

 560 characters

Photo of lugosi33
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was scared to get this one when I saw it poured on draught because of it's thick black pour. I couldn't resist. A beautiful and smooth BLACK ale with all the sweet aromas and flavours. I cannot resist getting bottles as well as draught. I will miss it when my work runs out of it.

 282 characters

Photo of JayS2629
4.82/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the rich, indulgent offerings from this brewery as sippers. This one is so well balanced and mild yet still sweet but not cloying. It just may be the most drinkable of their dark beers I've had. I had to share the others for their rich, sweet, cloying qualities that distinguished them. This, however, I can finish by myself.

It pours a dark black with a thin off white head that fades fast but leaves great sea foam lace.

The aroma is malt dominated with a good dose of roasted malt, coffee tones, and hints of fudgy chocolate. Some fanilla notes, hints of dark fruit like figs, and some earty elements coming through.

The taste is very strong on the toffee, with some richly roasted coffee notes, and deep, dark, sweet, fudge. Its bittered in the back with a good dose of pine, citrus and herbal, earthy blends. Some nutty notes and dark fruit hints.

Very rich, smooth, creamy and easy to drink. Nicely balanced and mellow.

 937 characters

Photo of TexIndy
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got in a trade with johnnnniee - many thanks! Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip. No dating info. Was dark brown color with mahogany edges. It had a massive tan head that took forever to settle into a foam cap. Great lacing as the head receded.

The aroma is excellent. A great blend of c-hops, grapefruit, pine, chocolate, caramel and dark malt. A mix of an ADIPA and a darker beer like a dunkle or a scharwbier. Very interesting. The taste also has the great blend of hops and black malt. Alternates back and forth from a hoppy delight to a smooth dark malt ale. Get the best of both worlds. The hops deliver great flavor without a sharply bitter finish. After each drink, I couldn't wait for the next one. Mouthfeel was rich and creamy with good carb levels. The finish was just right.

Overall, an exceptional beer that perfectly blends the hoppy ADIPA with a smooth malt flavor. Yet another excellent offering from ST. Most highly recommend. Rotation - not avail in TX so got in a trade. If here, it would be a regular. For now, I'll be trading for more for sure.

 1,072 characters

Photo of gnemesis
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bomber into snifter on 10/25/10.
This ale pours dark brown, almost black. Nice creamy, brown head, that stays for a bit then recedes leaving some nice lace.
The scent on this one is amazing! Roasted malts, a bit of coffee, some brown sugar or caramel, maybe a tad sweet chocolate. Add to that some herbal and citrus hop character.
Wow! The taste doesn't disappoint! It follows the scent to a "T" but the hops come out more in the finish and dance softly on the tongue. I get a slight bit of booze warmth but this is Northern Michigan and October so this is good and welcome... plus at 9% it understandable not a detractor.
The medium/full body and medium carbonation play well together. Beer becomes slightly more sweet and a bit thicker as it warms.
This is an excellent offering from Southern Tier- my favorite from them by far. This style has been on my radar for months now and is becoming my favorite. It has something for everyone that enjoys a big beer.

 977 characters

Photo of mdcrouser
4.79/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

While it's been in the fridge for a few months since a black ale run I went on earlier this year, this is one of the last chilly weekends, so it was time to bring it out.

Black as can be, with a faint ring of head and nipple of bubbles in the middle.

Holy depth - huge licorice, herbaceousness, pine and caramel. Very few beers will match the nose of this one.

Big licorice, chewy greens, burnt toast, barely a whisp of alcohol to close. Huge hops on the backend, but so well balanced that they're completely approachable and enjoyable.

Great in the mouth. Incredibly smooth - everthing noted above wraps around the tongue like a blanket. Like the slow roll of cigar smoke afterwards.

Not exactly my favorite variation on the style, but still definitely one of the best beers I've ever had.

 800 characters

Photo of fropones
4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on-tap at the Blind Pig in Champaign. Pour was thoroughly black, with no light shining through even when I hold it to the light. Mocha head sitting on top. Smell is hops, pine, some caramel malt. Interesting combination. The taste is a delicious and perfect balance of hops and dark chocolate malt. Some toffee, and more hops. Absolutely delicious. The mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy. Light carbonation. The drinkability is very high. 9% abv? I think not! Couldn't even taste the alcohol. India Black Ale is really a great way to describe it, as it stands out from your typical IIPAs as well as your typical stouts. Really an amazing beer.

 653 characters

Photo of deereless
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Midnight black with some crimson along the edge of the glass, thin layer of dense head, some lacing down the glass - 4.50, S: Touches of charred wood, fusel alcohol, pleasant hop aromatics - the citrusy and earthy varieties, a hearty fruit aroma such as fig or possibly an aroma of dates - 4.50, D: Lots of bitter chocolate, molasses, solid hop bite, noticeable alcohol, there is what tastes like a little green on the hops - 4.75, M: Slightest touch of graininess - 4.00, D: Another very impressive product from Southern Tier, extremely drinkable - one I will seek out again - 5.00

 585 characters

Photo of dmbsteve
4.74/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/amber with tan 1 finger head. Small amount of lacing.

Smell of hops and sweet malt sprang out of the bottle as soon as I popped it. Aroma has elements of sweetness, spiciness, and even a touch of smokiness from the roasted malts accompanied by floral quality from the hops.

Flavor is hard to describe as it has so many elements. Point blank it is absolutely delicious, but very strong tasting and this beer is really a sipper. Sweetness and roastiness from the malts, balanced out perfectly by the hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy. Has a sticky quality that coats the tongue and aftertaste lingers for quite some time.

Overall a fantastic beer. I typically enjoy both the malty porters & stouts and the hoppy IPA's and this beer is really a perfect combination of the two.

 808 characters

Photo of estlinska
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a tulip. Pours a deep, dark color of charred wood and allowing just the faintest amount of light through its belly. The head is big, two to three fingers high and cloud-like. There is lacing all over the glass as the beer disappears. The nose is a huge citrus hop blossom. There are all the usual offenders of bright oranges, grapefruit, lime and citrus zest. The black malts impart the very faintest of a Hersey chocolate bar, but gives much ground to the dry hop additions. The taste is incredibly smooth. The hops take all of the glory of this show and have all the fresh orange zest, fresh oranges...just a lot of orange flavor all over the place. There is a good bitter profile to the beer, but in no way astringent or overbearing. The malt gives good backbone to the beer and the creamy and roasty characteristics of a good black malt without any of the sometimes bitter component that comes across unnatural to some black IPAs. The mouthfeel shows none of the 9% abv and has good body. My only complaint would be a little bit of a syrupy feel at times. Notwithstanding, this beer is a fabulous black IPA that really features the late hop additions and pulls off a wonderfully balanced beer.

 1,225 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a nice 2" head that slowly fades. Thick lacing paints the glass.

Smell: big floral hop aroma with some citrus and caramel sweetness.

Taste: huge malt profile. Caramel, big pine, some grapefruit, and loads of floral attributes too. Some hidden licorice is barely noticable. Alcohol is warming and adds to the complex flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Medium-heavy in body. Aftertaste is long on the bitterness.

Drinkability: superb beer that you can't put down. The flavors are well balanced and if you are in the mood for a differnt big IPA this is the beer to buy.

 626 characters

Photo of Labeorphile
4.71/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

 585 characters

Photo of BgThang
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Visiting the taphouse bar and grill in norfolk. Sister to the one in hampton. Met the bartender who was kewl and found out he just was in austin a couple of week before hand. Tried this on tap, do not remember seeing it in ST's lineup.

The appearance is blackish with a nich fine creamy head.

The nose. Dang this is straight up bad ass. Hops, hops, and some maltyiness comes through.

The miuthfeel is creamy, nice hop presence that is not to overbearing and finishes with that nice hoppy/malty balance.

If its as good as this in the bottle then I want some.
I feel it could benefit from some cellaring. This is due to some boozyness in the mouthfeel

Overall a very fine beer that will sneak up on ya

 706 characters

Photo of ForrestWolf
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the second time I've had this beer. Picked it up at my favorite local beer store, EZ Liquors in Toms River NJ.

Appearance - pours a beautiful deep mahogany reddish brown when held to light. Head is thick and dense with lacing that lasts the whole pint.

Smell - Big burst of hops with notes of chocolate and roasty malts.

Taste - Excellent combination of bitter, hoppy IPA and chocolate sweetness. This one really hits the umami taste buds!

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is very well balanced with the amount of alcohol that cuts through. Aftertaste leaves you craving for more.

Drinkability - I would drink this beer anytime I could.

 642 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a translucent mahogany with light tan head. It smelled like copper and grapefruit hops and sweet honey, with some roasted coffee. It tasted like grapefruit and pineapple and orange, along with roasted coffee and sweet honey. It was fairly thick with smooth carbonation, and had a mild aftertaste. Overall this was an excellent black IPA, maybe better than Stone's! It had great delicate flavor that was well balanced and very clean. It had great body too, and was quite easy to drink. I just love this beer.

 519 characters

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.69/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2nd time having this delicious beer; time to give it a proper review.
Poured bomber into 34oz mug. Deep brown/black that shows brown/ruby in the light. Smell is hops like an IPA, but with a strong malt backbone. Taste is hops at first, but the expected bitter finish is obliterated by malt and sweet chocolate. Finishes wet and sweet and delicious. Alcohol is hidden entirely by the sweetness, as is the hop bitterness that would normally come at the end of a beer that smells like this one. Mouthfeel is creamy without being too heavy. Overall, this beer is a couple different styles, and no style at all. A delicious abomination, as many have said.

 650 characters

Photo of gabrielsyme
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Rustico. Pours brown with half a finger's worth of tan head. Strong, delicious floral hop taste giving way to chocaltey-sweet goodness, combining to amazing aftertaste and the best hop burps ever. Very drinkable at 9%, no noticeable burn. I've had a few of these black IPAs (they seem to be all the rage) and this one was unique. Worth seeking out.

 358 characters

Photo of sk8man121
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into goblet. Southern Tier is brand new to Maine and this is my first offering from them.

A: Pours a silky black/dark-brown with soft ruby highlights. Head is 2 fingers, sandy-brown, complex and full; dissipates to a light film and leaves some beautiful lacing on the glass.

S: Hops are upfront (chinook, cascade, willamette, centenial) and definitely form the backbone of the smell. Malts (2-row pale, debittered black malt) are nicely subdued. I also get hints of fresh cream at the back of the nose. Smells clean and delicious.

T: Caramel, refreshing hops and alcohol dominate the flavor. Aftertaste is quite piney from the hops, but in a really functional and cleansing way, as it removes the whiskey notes from your palate. Each sip tastes better than the last. Does this beer have MSG in it?

M: Mouthfeel is thinner than you'd think by looking at this brew, but remember that the black malts are more for color than anything. This is a DIPA all the way, and it drinks like one. Thin, but resiny. Creamy yet dry. Perfectly embodies the style.

D: While Iniquity does a nice job of hiding her alcohol content (9%), it's tough to deny that you feel every glass that you knock back. That said, the drinkability of this beer is exceptional. So many beers just get "old" to me after a couple of glasses; not this.

One of my highest recommendations, and I can't wait to taste the other ST labels. I'm very impressed, to say the least.

 1,458 characters

Photo of Augustiner719
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

***100th Review!!! 1/29/2010***

For my 100th review I grabbed a Southern Tier Iniquity... my first "black" IPA.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Sam Adams perfect pint.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark molassesy color that yields a nice pillowy mocha colored head. Not a whole lot of lacing going on as i swirl. Red hues appear when held up to the light, almost clear beer but its so dark its hard to tell. Unbelievable color on this sucker, looks like a porter.

Smell: This is the most interesting smelling DIPA i have every had to the chance to experience. Its got that roasted malty coffee meets chocolate meets vanilla component balanced out by intense sweet sticky smelling hops. Big molasses and brown caramalized sugar component. Nice a piney, but not citrusy.

Taste: Tastes truely complex. Great citrus hops come through which didnt on the aroma. Nice grapefruit meets meyer lemon zest. Its sweet, maybe a tad too sweet but the flavor is intense. Huge caramel porter like malty backbone that is kept in check by the huge sweet hops. Even with the insane amounts of hops and malt in this beer, it is remarkably balanced. Initially on the palate, it hits you with the bitter tangy hops and then through the midpalate the hops become sweet and finally the caramel malty backbone relieves the palate on the finish. As it warms, it becomes much more savory and makes me think this would be one of the DIPAs that would age well.

Mouthfeel: Tremendous. Simply one of the best mouhtfeels i have experienced on a DIPA. Smooth coating of sweet hops and malty caramel and coffee take over the palate and last for minutes between sips. Perfect carbonation. As it warms it might be even more enjoyable but seriously this its ridiculous.

Drinkability: The only thing holding this beer back is that it might be a touch sweet for me. Nonetheless, its an easy go to DIPA for a hops fix. I might keep this on hand during the summer months, but for the winter and colder months this feels like a great winter style DIPA. Its warming, filling and complex, making it a great brew. If you havent tried this sucker, go get one and enjoy.

 2,133 characters

Photo of bonk0076
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap after in the same glass I had a bottle of Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA immediately before it, so I can't say this is accurate. Pours a pitch black color with a nice beige head that leave a sticky lacing. Aroma of citrus and pine, with dark malts beneath it. Taste is surprisingly bitter, with molasses and roasted malt leading the way, and finishing with a lot of hop bitterness. Full mouthfeel that hides the ABV.

 436 characters

Photo of mntlover
4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

 1,132 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 1,525 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.