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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale)
1,526 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,526 |  Reviews: 616
Photo of sevenarts
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very dark reddish-brown, not quite black though it looks it in certain lights.

S: Sweet, malty flavors dominate the aroma.

T/M: A very complex taste with multiple flavors threaded through. Right up front are some hints of hops woven together with sweeter malty flavors, and it finishes with very subtle bitter, roasted notes.

O: There's a lot going on here, and the multiple layered flavors make this a true blend of an IPA with a darker beer.

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Photo of scootny
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well not quite black but close. A dark clear cola with a dark off white head that does not want to go away. Scads of lace and just a joy to behold. Nose is full of roasted grains. Light chocolate and coffee notes waft back and forth with a lovely caramel sweetness. This is so good. Taste is much like the nose with a brown bread malt core that envelopes a yeasty fruitiness bringing forth some faint plum and figs. No trace of the alcohol anywhere. Wow. Finish is crisp with a good earthy hops that has a firm but mild grapefruit bitterness. Feel is supple and medium-ish with a touch of light syrup. Carbonation is lightly creamy and super fine. This stuff goes down like a lager and is so delicious that you need a plate of good food too keep you from getting in trouble. A stupendous beer.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Dark brown but not black. Ruby highlights when backlit. Active, a finger of tan head fades fairly quickly. Patchy lacing.
Caramel malty, boozy, with floral and citrus hops. Takes a swirl to entice the rich and balanced blend.

Roasty and black malt flavors are solid, but some seriously rich caramel malty sweetness is more prominent. I get some citrusy hops, but the roast and caramel elements define this one. Very mild bitterness.

Moderately strong warming, medium carbonation, full body, highly viscous, and finishes pretty clean.

For some reason, likely my own preconceptions, I was expecting a beer called an Imperial Black Ale to be more akin to the new Black IPA. And it sort of is, if you don't mind a malt bomb as an IPA. I don't, necessary, and quite enjoyed this. But the hops are very subdued and someone looking for a more hopped up black ale may be disappointed. I like it and think it's really good.

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Photo of TTAmod
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into Chimay chalice. No bottling or freshness date.

A: Actually not as black as I was expecting. It's a very dark brown with some ruby highlights. There's a quickly dissipating white head. Quite a beautiful beer.

S: Smells of nice citrus-y hops and roasted malts.

T: Roasted malts up front, followed by fairly intense pine and citrus hops. There's also a mix of caramel, grass, and even a little roasted malt at the end. Also warms the throat. There's a lot going on here. It's like being lost in a pitch black maze. I guess that's a good thing =p

M: Quite light bodied. Prickly from the carbonation.

O: It really is the antithesis of Unearthly. This beer is a complete mess, but in a good way. It's even weirder than other Black IPAs I've had. It's not as well balanced, yet it's still enjoyable. It's really hard to grade this brew. Technically it isn't a well done beer, but I like it. However, the Stone Escondidian is a better example of the style, in my opinion.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Brown in the pour, almost black in the glass. A one finger, light tan head.
Smells strongly of malt with a sharp citrus in the middle. Toffee and molasses dominate.
Taste has a rich malt layer, ripe fruit (sweet) with a light bitterness at the end. Complex and enjoyable.
Soft and bubbly initially. Later it was more syrupy, medium bodied throughout.
Interesting drink. I thought it was going to be like a Schwartzbier, but it was advertised on the bottle as a Black IPA... but it was neither and very enjoyable.

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Photo of smerrell
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a fluted glass.

Appearance - if you were just looking at it, you would think it's a stout. The head dissipates quickly with nice lacing.

Smell- there is a nice sweetness in the smell, almost candi-sugar

Taste - there are licorice notes, along with coffee and caramel. there is a long, sweet finish. I really like this beer

Mouthfeel - smooth and pleasant. this beer coats your tongue and lingers for a long time

Overall - This one is a winner. The bottle claims that it is the antithesis of unearthly, and I would like to try them side by side. I find this easy to drink, and do not taste the alcohol.

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Photo of CHickman
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, like a brownie, with a massive 3 finger foamy tan head that faded slowly and left great spotty foamy lacing clinging to the sides.

Smells of floral hops, sweet malt, flowers, citrus hops, caramel and roasted grains; very strong nose and a very nice aroma.

Tastes like floral hops, sweet malt, flowers, hay, citrus hops, light lemon zest, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, charcoal and roasted grains which somehow still maintains a sweetness with all the roasted flavors and hoppy presence. The alcohol is completely hidden by the hops and soft cocoa flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy and slick with a light feel, light carbonation and a sweet yet toasty finish that leaves off quite tasty.

A very nice beer overall that went down easy and was highly drinkable. Definitely check this out.

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, purchased 7/2011 from a reputable bottle shop, bottling date unknown as I did not have access to the “mother case”

Poured into a Corsendunk Tulip after trying a British Imp Nonic which did not work for me.

Pours a nice frothy 1/2” head, which reduces fairly quickly to a thin film. Nice lace.
Deep black color, you cannot see thru it.

The smell first hits you with rich, dark roasted malts, followed by black molasses.
There are some mild hops in the background.

Very rich, chocolate and malt, entry on the palate, followed by, a relatively dry middle.
Delicious flavors of distinct black malt throughout the pour, again with hints of hops hiding in the back. Very full mouth feel from the intense malting and the completely buried 9% ABV.

Long rich finish of rich black malt, with a definite chocolate component.

Overall this is an excellent, delicious ale. The very rich black malt makes for a very different drinking experience. The chocolate notes makes you think of a RIS, but this is different.

The lack of overdone sweetness is very refreshing and invites one to have another drink.
There is not a very noticeable hop presence, just a hint now and again in the aroma and flavor. Given the unknown age of this bottle, it may be at that point in its evolution where the hops have given way to the malt. It is very much alive though, just aged perhaps.
As the ale warms everything becomes more intense, seems best at around 55 degrees, IMO.

Definitely worth trying. I will, if I can procure a fresher bottling.

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Photo of beagle75
3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip pint glass.

A: Clear, ruby-tinted dark brown color with one finger of beige foam head. lacing remains on the glass.

S: Piney hops outdistance the dark bitter chocolate in the smell, but not by a lot. It seems restrained, compared to the intensity of the flavor profile, but does not truly lack intensity. Spectral dark fruit also lurks, barely showing itself. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with fairly mild pine and dark citrus hop aromatics and a refined combination of richly toasted malt and English yeast esters. Acidity is moderate, yet unable to scatter the intense host of appropriate flavors. Malt shines in the middle, appearing simultaneously refined in its smoky quality but also husky in the quality of dark roast it presents. The finish is reflective of the dominant components from earlier in the profile, with hops and dark malt each continuing to contribute. Bitterness is kept in check, appearing restrained compared to the other qualities demonstrated. No alcohol is detected.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, simultaneously wet and slightly creamy on the palate then developing slight stickiness later, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: For a big black IPA, this beer is fairly palate-friendly. Flavors are balanced, with just a slight edge given to the layered dark malt qualities over hop influences. It is notably similar to Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous ale, a beer that arguably founded the imperial black IPA sub-style.

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a super dark black into my snifter glass. Decent carbonation, and excellent lacing. A little thinner looking than I would expect for the style, but the color is right on. Head was half a finger cocoa in color- it quickly disappears. Nose is really nice, bordering on fantastic. The 'C' hops are here, as well as malt, grapefruit, and caramel. Very smooth and balanced nose. Taste is really nice as well- nice malt/hops/caramel/chocolate/fruit vibe. Definitely balanced and a smooth, easy drinker. The feel on this beer is excellent- very creamy, smooth and somewhat dry. Just about perfect for the style. The 9% ABV is completely absent from this beer as well- I'm not sure where they hid it, but I don't even get a whiff or taste of alcohol at all. Totally stealth. Overall, this is a nice brew that deserves a pick up if you haven't had it. I enjoyed it- Cheers.

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Photo of Domingo
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black...pretty much like a big stout, but with a more traditional bubbly (instead of creamy) carbonation.
Hops hit the nose first, but there's an unmistakable malt base beneath them. I like how the two seem to go back and forth taking the lead role.
Like pretty much all ST bigger beers, this one is sweet. The first little bit is almost like a sweet stout. In the middle of the palate, you get traditional PNW hops. They aren't "fresh"hops, but some of that same spearmint character shows up here. A little bit of pineapple, too. The malts give off a little bit of anise, which seems to be a hallmark of a good black ale. The finish, much like the nose, seems to alternate back and forth with the hops and malts lingering.
My glass was gone pretty quickly and I'd definitely be down for another if that was an option. It's as drinkable as a milder beer for sure, and I think that texture helps that.
At first I thought the ST sweetness might be a hair out of place here, but it probably also helps to bring out some of those other hop notes that are occasionally buried beneath bitterness. My opinion shifted mid-beer, which doesn't happen too often.
Good stuff - thanks to Wilkins44 for this.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, deep brown. The foamy head is tan and dense but is smallish. Leaves good lacing though as it never really seems to disappear completely. Nicely carbonated.

Aroma is roasted malts, some earthy hops and a touch of licorice.

A hoppy slightly bitter beer with roasted malts.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side and is smooth and clean. Some alcohol warming finishes up.

Overall average. Flavors seem weak and washed out.
There is an off taste or something, it doesn't really affect my opinion though and i would have another no problem.

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Photo of azdback
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone Imperial glass. Very dark in color but I think it is more dark brown than dark black. The edges are fairly transparent, hell, I can see right trough this. Head is a miniscule one finger of light cocoa colored foam. Lace doesn't seem to want to stick around either. Not a great start for this one.

Smell is of dark roasted aromas of coffee and light cocoa with the sugary sweet malt smells of a Barleywine. Light molasses and Brach's caramel cubes. Some rich earthiness, sugar dipped straw and a bit of alcohol as it warms.

Taste is fairly similar to the nose, but the roasted flavors are much more subtle than in the nose. The candy comes out in the forefront, burnt caramel or light molasses, with some alcohol burn and a bit of rye? There is also quite a bit of bitterness here too. Quite nice.

Mouth is okay for the style. Rich and full to the end. Carbonation is good. There is a bit of alcohol burn, but not un-welcomed. The sweetness and bitter kind of leaves the mouth a bit wrecked and needing some time to recover.

Overall I think this is a great beer, but it entered a "style" that is dominated by extraordinary beers like SSR, Stone 15th Anniversary and Hop in the Dark. It is good but doesn't come close to measuring up the the heavy hitters in the style. Thanks to MaxSpang for the bottle.

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Photo of Humulus85
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my snifter for effect. It produced a nice, dense, cream, two-finger head. Good retention, with some seriously sticky lacing; stickiest I've seen in this or damn near any style. Almost jet black, but a bit of light shines through in the rim.

Smells of piney hops, some roasted malt, and a bit of an alcohol sting; not bad, but I think it could be more complex.

A nice balance of roasted malt and florally hops upfront. The hops outlast the malt and meet up with some present but welcome booze. Again, good, but lacking depth.

Smooth, well carbonated. Drinkable for the ABV, but still what I would call a sipper.

Overall this is a solid brew from Southern Tier, and a decent representation of the style. I've had better, but this is a beer worth trying from a brewery that helped usher me into craft beer. Cheers!

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Photo of MandatoryJimmy
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was browsing the beer shelf the other night at the shop and saw this one and decided to pick it up.

A- Poured a very dark black and swirled around before finally settling into a black light less drink with a half inch white head.

S- Smelled like a coffee infused with toasted hops and Carmel

T- Delicious, like a coffee that mixed with a vat of milky hops with a tinge of smokeyness.

M- very smooth with a lingering aftertaste.

O- A very sinister and barbaric looking drink which has a very pleasing and smooth taste. If I were a Viking I would drink this next to a massive victory fire on a cold battle ridden night. I will definatly have another.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a jet black color with a one fingered toffee colored creamy head that sticks to the side of the glass like cotton candy.

S - Burnt chocolate, earthy black licorice, citrus, and strong pine aroma.

T - Dark roasted earthy chocolate with a mild citrus bite and nice pine overtones. Lingering roasted alkaline bitterness.

M - Watery thin and velvet smooth on the tongue.

O - So, so - wouldn't purchase this again. I love Southern Tiern but am not hip on this particular beer.

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Photo of TippySelenoid
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

It's very black, with a bit of dark tan head that dissolves into lacing. A bit of bubbles swimming toward the top.

Got a lot of hops but it has a very malty sweetness.

This beer has lots of hops, a bit bitter but not too. It also is very malty. It has a lot of chocolates and some molasses flavors too. This is a very sweet beer. It's almost a black barleywine.

It's very creamy, a pretty thick and luxurious brew.

I love it! It's a favorite and it's perfect for my wife and I to split before bed!

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Photo of Swim424
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from bomber into terrapin cask glass

A-dark black but see through up to a light. nice head with light brown in it. decent retention

S-hoppy coffee. lightly like a stout or porter

T-wow. weird. not bad at all. definitly some coffee. finishing with some hops. maybe a little oatmeal.

Mf-slightly creamy. good aftertaste. pretty good

O-very good. I really enjoy this beer. decent hops. good balanced taste.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out nice and black in color, the head was brownish tan and left behind a sticky lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer was pretty good, lots of chocolate and hop aromas pouring out of this one. The taste is a rich, and loaded with flavorful hop and roasted malts. The mouthfeel of the beer is a bit on the thick side and for Southern Tier that seems to be something that their Imperials never lack. Overall this brew was quite tasty, I'd really like to revisit this one someday.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: quarter finger head with lots of lace. A little light getting through but very dark.

S: very little on the nose. Not much to comment on here.

T: caramel and roast. A sharp finish. Chocolate and smokey notes.

M: moderate carbonation. Medium to full body.

Overall: The taste is very good but the aroma was lacking. This is a very good tasting beer and I will be getting this one again.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Southern Tier : Iniquity

22oz poured into a snifter. Dark brownish black ale. Aroma of roasted malts, dark fruits, sugary booze and floral hops. In the taste, an even balance of roasted malt, barleywine like heat and fruityness, and a small piney resiny hop profile. Full bodied, chewey, strong brew. Southern Tier once again brews an extreme beer to please and challenge the palate. Solid.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle 9,0% Abv.
Served chilled in a tulip wine glass.

My first Black IPA, expecting an awesome beer!

Appearance: Looks black in the glass, but a back light reveals a deep red body. A rough pour yields a small tan coloured head that displays good retention and leaves some decent lacing.

Smell: Great nose, perfect mix of roast and hops.
The hops come out top on the first few sniffs with resiny pine and loads of citrus. The malt quickly catches up though, with sweet chocolate, roasted malt and fudge/caramel. A touch of liquorice is also noted.

Taste: Superb, the flavour takes all the notes from the nose and intensifies them. Perfect interplay between sweet chocolate fudge and caramel and piney, citric hops.
Light bitterness and perfect Abv. cover.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, slightly oily with wonderfully smooth carbonation. Very easy drinking for such a big beer, I just want to gulp it down!

Overall: Great beer, I am very glad I have two bottles of this!

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Photo of bashiba
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown with light cola highlights and a thick and sticky brown head, very nice lacing and retention.

The smell is light and very floral with just a hint of burnt black malts.

The flavor is very malt forward with light espresso and chocolate notes mixing in with smokey burnt malt flavors. The citrus and pine from the hops slowly creep in making there presence known more as you drink. It starts out fairly balanced, but the bitterness of the hops continue to pile up and eventually dominate the flavors.

The mouthfeel is oily and resiny with a bit of dry finish.

This is a pretty decent black ale, I like how the hops sort of sneak up on you, its not at all a black hop bomb and has some nice layers.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark black color with a big finger of super frothy tan-chocolate head. The head fades down super slow leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a nice mix of roasted and slightly burnt chocolate and semi-sweet malts. There is also a pretty good hop presence in the background as well.

T - Starts off with a great mix of roasted chocolate and sweet malts with some building earthy hops. Through the middle, the burnt flavors come through a bit more strongly alongside some stronger hops and bitterness. The finish is a mix of hops and bitterness, roasted chocolate malts, and some coffee flavors that linger nicely.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels very smooth and nicely dry due to the roasted and burnt flavors.

D - Very drinkable. The roasted and burnt flavors balance quite well with the hop flavor. I especially like the coffee flavor that comes through at the finish.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Very nice almost black color with traces of red thoughout. Nice 1/2 inch tan head and ok retention and some lacing

Smell: The nose had a few different characteristics to it. Upfront was some coffee and chocolate and on the backend was some bitter hops

Taste: The first thing that I taste is burnt coffee and it really isnt that great I was honestly expecting some bitter hops but they are not there at all. On the backend it just taste like a syrupy malty mess.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation with a dry sticky feeling

Overall: Honestly this is probably one of my least favorite Black IPA's or ABA's. The flavor profile is just an absolute mess in all honesty not at all what I expected from Southern Tier

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Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 1,526 ratings
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