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.

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Reviews: 616 | Ratings: 1,525
Photo of dondeez21
2.16/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Dark beer, looks like a Porter or Stout. Very thin head with some decent lacing.
S: Smells almost like a porter ot light Stout. Very slight hint of coffee. Not much hop aroma.
T: I cant quite put my finger on it. It doesnt taste like an IPA or a Porter, Stout or Brown Ale. Not much hop flavor or roasted malt flavor.
M: On the lighter side. Not thick or chewy. Not much that sticks to your mouth.
D: I dont really enjoy this beer at all. I will probally never buy it again or order it at a bar. Overall I feel this beer is very bland. Not a single charecteristic shines on this beer.

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Photo of jbertsch
2.22/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm not sure if I got an old bottle with all the hops having completely faded away or what... I'll re-review when i get another. But for now...

Appearance: Black, light tan head dissipates to a cap that sticks. Decent lacings hangs out.

Aroma: Rasin, sweet fig, faint cocao and coffee. Heavy malts backbone, no noticeable hops.

Taste: Fig dominates, along with a little molasses and rasin notes that come through. Hops is absent..and I'm really searching for it because it SHOULD be there.

Mouthfeel: A little on the heavy side (not a abd thing). Creamy, yet carbonated fairly.

Drinkability needs improvement. The unbalanced sweetness can be an obstacle. But a slice of sharp cheddar cheese cut the sweetness perfectly, so I recommend that pairing.

All in all, I'm not sure if I had an old bottle. I can't find any bottle date printed on the bottle anywhere. I've had it for about a month, but the hops shouldn't be completely gone... only not as strong maybe. I'll give it another try sometime as I love the black ale style. But for now, I was very dissapointed.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.6/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

The beer pours a dark black, only very small hints of brown in direct light, with a little tan head that is less than half a finger. It does foam at all and is gone within 15 seconds. The beer is watery and has very little lacing. The color is very strange for an dipa.

The aroma gets you back on track to seeing this is an dipa. The main notes are light hops and you get a small amount of coffee.

The taste is very confusing to your senses. If you didn't know much about beer you might really enjoy this, but to me it breaks to many boundaries and blurs to many lines. There is some light hoppiness to the beer but the great bitter finish that makes me enjoy a dipa is replaced by a coffee stout finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied and lasting, and despite its weirdness is decently drinkable.

If you can just ignore what you know about beer this might be a beer for you. To me it isn't that excellent tasting to allow me to forget the faults and recommend it.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
2.68/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Okay, here goes....

Serving from a 22 oz bomber.

Initial pour fills the glass with a dark, ruby beer with an offwhite/beige head. Head disappears quickly.

The color is interesting, I like the idea of a dark IPA, but there is not P(ale) here. That's the reason for the 1.0 on appearance. Had it been classified as an "experimental beer" and the criteria set as a "black IPA" I'd give it a 3.5 or 4 (it's not black, it's dark ruby).

The aroma is dominated by hops, resiny grapefruit. But there is a hint of roast in the aroma, so marks off for that.

The taste is wonderful. The combination of hops and roast malt is fantastic. There is an obvious duel between the malt and hops, and both battle for attention. But the roast flavors are not to style, so marks off for that. Again, had it been classified as an experimental Black IPA, I'd score it higher on taste.

Mouthfeel is slightyly syrupy, a little too much body for an IPA or Imperial IPA. An IPA or Double/Imperial IPA should not be filling.

For drinkability, this is an awesome freaking beer. I will buy it again. I will search this beer out on tap. This beer is all substance, but no points for style. Call this beer an Imperial India Porter Ale, and you'd be dead on.

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Photo of ski271
2.69/5  rDev -34.2%
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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Photo of zhanson88
2.73/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Almost pitch black with a couple fingers of light caramel colored head. Lacing is fine and pretty decent.

Smell: Roasted dark malts form the base of this beer, that is for sure. I also get a lot of strong fruity aromas. Makes for a weird combination, in my opinion.

Taste: Dark malts form the backbone, and a lot of fruity flavors and floral hops provide the rest of the flavor. I've tried a couple examples of this style, and this beer stands out as coming close to being a complete mess of fruity and roasted flavors. They just don't combine well for this beer.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: A nice medium-to-full mouthfeel, clings to the palate a bit. With all of the strong, conflicting flavors in this beer, the alcohol is easily hidden. This is an interesting style to say the least. Others have rated this beer very highly, so if you're looking to try a Black IPA I would certainly pick it up and give it a try. This beer just isn't for me.

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Photo of adamette
2.73/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from tap at the brewery 8 28 09 into a clean, clear glass. Review from notes

A Dark, dark body under a brief off white head. Nice, interesting look consistent with the name and the style. 4.0

S Hops and little malt to the nose. This is not my favorite smell but it carries a little more interest than a hopped up DIPA. 3.5

T Hops dominate but there is some dark malt sweetness buried deeply behind the hops. I don't appreciate how prominent the hops are and I wonder what the malt might taste like (it is eclipsed by the hops). 2.5

M Big with bitter hops and alcohol that is not real well hidden. 2.5

D Not good drinkability due to the huge size, not well hidden alcohol and that annoying hops. 2.0

Notes: I want to be positive but this beer was nearly ruined by the hop presence.

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Photo of Kenee
2.78/5  rDev -32%
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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Photo of dedrinker
2.85/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Black color with tan head.

Aromas of roasted malts, light coffee/ cocoa.

The flavor was like the aroma - roasted malts on the front - like a porter, but the hoppy flavor that followed was kind of bitter and sour in a very distracting and detracting way.

I have had other black IPA type beers that were much better balanced - either in favor of malt or hop, but this one had an pleasant hop character.

medium-full body with a bitter/ sour finish. Bummer.

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Photo of nitro0292
2.86/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Split a bomber with a fellow BA. Poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

Pour produced a full 2 fingers of cappucino colored head. Rention is fair, but lacing is solid. Color is very deep brown, almost black, almost completely opaque. When held up to light some deep mahogany highlights make an appearance.

Smell is smoky roasted malts with a faint touch of resin. The smoke notes dominate to point that this smells like a rauchbier.

Taste is similar to the smell, but not as dominated by smoke. Very good balance between sweet, bitter and all other flavors, but nothing stands out which is a shame. This beer does not have a distinct character.

Mouthfeel is fairly light for the ABV, with fairly low carbonation. Eh.

Overall, this is an Ok beer. To me there is not enough character of any type. This was bottled on 10/4/11, so freshness is not an issue. I had a bottle about a year ago that was well past its prime, which was dominated by sweetness. The fresh version was dominated by anything.

Disappointed. I expected more.

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Photo of Reagan1984
2.88/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Sunset Grill. Came served in a tulip glass with virtually no head. What was there vanished in moments. No cap and no lacing.... The beer was virtually black. Totally opaque.

Virtually no aroma. A touch of alcohol and a phenolic/plastic smell.

Well, this is a balanced beer. Big malt backbone and also strong hop bitterness. Not fresh hop flavors, but strong bitterness. Again some phenolic flavors. Lots of roasted malt flavors. Pretty sweet.

Fairly thick bodied. Light carbonation.

I wasn't a really big fan and therefore I did not find this extremely drinkable.

Not sure I'll seek this one out again.

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Photo of Florida9
2.92/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Very dark mahogany brown, but still somewhat translucent. Pours with about a 1/2" of tannish head that has little retention and absolutely no lacing.

S: Caramel malt. Floral or citrus hops. A sweet scent.

T: Sweet. Too sweet. Caramel malt. There is a roasted flavor, but it is subdued and there is a citrus hop flavor and it is also subdued. There is a sweet flavor. It is not subdued. A mild bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium body with low carbonation. Along with the sweetness it becomes cloying.

D: This beer is not a DIPA. If I were to review it as a DIPA, it would be an F. Aside from that, I found it difficult to drink. Annoyingly sweet with little else going for other than contrast between the roasted malts and some hops. Only saving grace is its 9% abv.

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Photo of phishgator
3.03/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into Draak goblet. Dark black/brown with slightly tan head, only two fingers. The aroma is of candi fruit, spicy hops, and roasted licorice. The taste starts with a earthy dose of bitterness from the hops. There is a roasted malt sweetness; a flavor of root beer without the large amount of carbonation. Low carbonation. The body is full. Not their best offering.

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Photo of Duff27
3.04/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours black with a two-fingered medium mocha head. Above average head retention and a lot of lacing.

S- Raisins. Licorice?

T- Not too much hops detected, but a slight spiciness. Almost has a bock feel to it.

M- Medium mouthfeel as far as carbonation. Syrupy.

D/O- Nothing terribly wrong with this beer, but overall I just didn't care for the flavor too much. Southern Tier is usually hit or miss with me and I'd have to mark this a miss.

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Photo of elinash
3.09/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Trying this from the bottle at home. Served in a Trois Pistoles chalice. Pours with little apparent effervescence and no head at beginning or end of pour (sign of the alcohol?). Little to no lacing with first few sips.

Aroma is sweet hops- maybe mandarin orange. No detectable malt on nose.

The first sip is all IPA and hops for me. The carbonation is almost null- feels like a flat soda. Extremely hoppy in taste, almost no malt/ black malt detected except in the structure. Appropriate for the style, but I think the malt really could come through more. The body could also use a boost.

Bitter and sharp on the finish, rounding out with a little roasted malt in the back palate. Lingering hops.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.1/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a red-tinged dark brown. Nice beige head, webbed but sticky. Could be a bit darker but still nice.

Fruity on the nose. Banana, passionfruit, plenty of tropical notes. Bit of resin, but overall a bit light and almost stodgy. Needs more dark characters.

Taste is similar. Quite winter warmery with spice and dark fruit. Some banana, and a bit of rummy booze on the back. Not the best IBA I've had, a bit sweet and lacking roast characters.

Smooth texture, bit of hop pull and touch of booze on the back. Not bad.

To me the darker flavours are so integral to the success of a black ale. This seems more like an IPA that happens to look dark, and even then it's a bit flighty and fruity and lacking in gravitas. Can't say I love it.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.14/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured lighter black with a small tan/off white head.

S: Nose is grains and a whiff of citrus

T: Taste was perhaps some cocoa, fruits and dry,some bitter hops. Nothing really stuck out on the taste.

M: Mouthfeel is oe dimenionsal and medium bodies but really nothing to it.


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Photo of BB1313
3.16/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a very deep brown with auburn/ruby red hues, huge khaki colored head which fades and leaves nice lacing and retention. The aromas are full of chocolate malts. I can pick up a touch of pine. Very subtle, the hops are barely noticeable in the aromas. I can also pick up a touch of black coffee. The flavors are warm and bitter. The heat from the alcohol is very noticeable, which takes away from the flavors. It has somewhat of a mineral taste as well, almost metallic. Very grainy. There are some fruits noiceable, I'm picking up some orange peel. The hops are clearly dominated by the malts, but it still has a subtle bite. Similar to a chocolate orange, if you can imagine. The mouthfeel is nice, spritzy, but smooth. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied. The alcohol is present, pretty boozy. It's one of those "soapy" beers.

It's been a few years since I've had this one. I remembered enjoying it much more, but this isn't as complex as alot of the big "Black IPAs" coming out these days. Decent big beer, but one note and boring. It's not exactly worth the price of admission, in my opinion.

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Photo of ATPete
3.16/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

Pours an expected black color with a small tan/off white head. More malts in the nose than i thought there would be, a sweetness met with a moderate hop aroma. Malt dominant initially, fruity and semi sweet, notes of raison and plum, shallow hops, no where near as bright as i had hoped for. I was and still am pretty amped for this one but so far it has let me down. I will definitely revisit in hopes of a better outcome.

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Photo of Pahn
3.19/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Couldn't find a bottled on date, but bought it recently from a trustworthy store.

Appearance: Free pour down the middle of the glass manages a 1/3 inch white head that disappears immediately leaving a foamy ring around the surface of the glass and no lacing. Pours a very, very dark red, translucent at the edges when held up to light. Decent legs, almost no lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: interesting... equal parts plum and citrus hops. In the glass: whoa, what's all this? Big hits of grape jelly, plum, raisin, black cherry, black raspberry. There's a sweetness to the aroma that makes all the fruit notes smell like ___-jelly instead of ___-fruit. Some cola and spices. Boozy. Hops? I'm not getting any of that...

Taste: First sip: distracted for most of it by the rather oily mouthfeel, but detected caramel and similar dark fruits as the smell only less sweet. Second sip: again, a less sweet version of the nose; lots of grape, plum, fig, and a rather strong maltiness. The malt is barleywine caliber actually, deep and overwhelming. There's a faint note of grapefruit hops. It's fighting a battle to stand among the huge malt, caramel, and dark fruit flavors... and it's getting murdered. The beer has the bitterness of a (D)IPA, but the hop flavor isn't in any balance at all. This isn't a "black IPA", it's just a darker American barleywine.

The flavors are bold, but not well-balanced, and the mouthfeel isn't helping matters. Less sugar, a modicum of subtlety, and way more hop flavor would do wonders for this beer...

Mouthfeel: On the heavier side of medium bodied. Sticky and chewy. Unpleasant.

Drinkability: The alcohol is just as bold as the malt and dark fruit flavors, which combined with the mouthfeel isn't making drinking this beer any easier. If I weren't drinking alone at the moment, I would offer the rest of this bottle to someone else and open something good.

I had two major problems with this beer. The first is the whole "Black IPA" thing... that concept sounds fine to me. Make a beer with all the hop forward characteristics of an IPA, make it darker, and maybe give it a stronger malt character than you'd even expect from "east coast (D)IPAs". Sounds good. But this beer is not that. This beer is plainly a run of the mill American barleywine, but lacking any semblance of balance or restraint. A big sugary mess + hop bitterness doesn't make something a DIPA, and turning it black doesn't make it a "black IPA".

The second problem is that it's just not a very well-made beer, even if you throw style out the window. It's sticky, boozy, and has huge, overpowering dark fruit flavors that neither mesh well with everything else nor are particularly interesting on their own. If the brewers had called this beer what it is (a barleywine), I would still give it a low score.

This beer is a failed experiment.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.23/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: poured a dark brown in color with yellow highlights and a half finger of head that left some good spotted lacing sticking to the glass.

S: plenty of malty sweetness was noticeable upfront in the aroma, with burnt caramel, signs of hop character kickin it in the background, some roastiness and a little booze heat.

T: roasty chocolate malts were more pronounced on the palate alongside good caramel malty sweetness with a very muted hop profile, subtle booze notes and a little earthy grass flavor.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, malty, roasty, chocolatey, slightly hoppy and sticky finish.

O: It was just a decent black ale I can't seem to understand the high score it has received in the past. Definitely not my cup of tea.

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Photo of ToddT
3.23/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Almost black liquid topped with a beige head. Head dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lace on the glass.

S- Sweet but subdued fruit notes consisting of pineapple and grapefruit. Caramel and roasted malt as well, maybe that is what is toning down the hop aroma.

T- Roasted malt mixed with sweet fruit. Flavor combination doesn't work that well for me. There is a sweet finish to this and then a bitter kick of the hops to close it out.

M- Lighter than what you would think from the color and aroma. Less than medium in body and minimal carbonation. Smooth and creamy in the mouth but a little thin.

D- Pretty drinkable for 9.0% ABV, the alcohol starts to show up as this warms. I'm still having a little trouble with the flavor profile though.

I'll call it an interesting experiment that didn't win me over. Don't think I'll be going back for another one of these.

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Photo of strengthdoc
3.23/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours very dark brown almost black in color with not much of a head. The aroma is slight with a little bit of chocolate and caramel. The taste is mildly sweet with a medium mouthfeel. There is a buttery feel of alcohol on the lips and the taste is pretty balanced. There is a mild bitterness in the finish the turns to an alcohol warmth and taste.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.28/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a darkness snifter glass.

A- One finger head off white head, dark red blood appearance, head dissipates quickly
S- Bready, molasses, malty, syrupy, hints of dark fruits (plums, raisons)
T- Well carbonated, malts upfront, very bready, hints of brown sugar, metallic after taste, alcohol is present, slight hints of hops, not very appealing.
M- Big mouth feel, well carbonated
O- Not impressed at all with this brew, very unusual, was hard to finish the bottle even with two people drinking it.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.28/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had high hopes for this beer, didn't exactly live up to the lofty standards. Being a rare, albeit one of my favorite, styles, I was expecting a nice smoky, charred hoppy taste. The hops are there.. but also just a cloying sweetness and not enough balance for my liking. Not a bad beer by any means, and probably above average, but if I'm spending $7 on a bomber I want superb taste with complexity and balance... and I didn't feel I got that with this one... also, too much of a boozy aftertaste, even for the high ABV.

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 1,525 ratings.
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