Iniquity (Imperial Black Ale) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,526 |  Reviews: 616
Photo of grittybrews
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured cola black with half a finger of dark khaki head. Aroma of coffee, a hint of caramel, and some pine and grapefruit.

Slightly low carbonation and a full, slick mouthfeel. Roasty up front with coffee, dark cocoa, and a touch of caramel sweetness. Lingering finish of pine and smoke with some nice boozy warmth.

Very smooth-drinking and flavorful. Nice balance between the roasty, sweet, and hoppy qualities.

 414 characters

Photo of shanblur
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No freshness date. Poured from bomber into a tulip.

A - Cola colored brew with thick tan head. Leaves moderate lacing.

S - Roasted malt aroma predominates. Some light hops aroma.

T - Roasted malts again on the taste. For as much hops that are listed on the bottle it sure does not come through on the taste.

M - Creamy and smooth with a light carbonation.

Certainly not a bad beer. Very smooth for the ABV. I could use more hops on the smell and taste.

 457 characters

Photo of 05Harley
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 1,037 characters

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

22oz bottle bought earlier this summer, drank 8/25/11 in a chilled tulip glass at 45 degrees

A - Nearly Pitch Black with thin tan head that sticks around. Sticks to the inside of the glass well throughout

S - Not a whole lot picked up, a hint of chocolate and some maltiness, sort of smells like a porter. Alcohol smell as it warms

T - Hops first then the malts come through, finishes sweet with a lingering sweet after taste similar to a milk stout taste

M - So so, nothing spectacular but good

O - Was expecting more. Could be that its an old bottle? Would like to sample it very fresh. It just seems what's going on doesn't mesh well to me.

 648 characters

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

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a dark chocolate color and settles into a much darker black. Eggshell hued bubbles accumulate in the head to form a tight, foamy pack, about two fingers worth.

S: Aroma is smoky and sweet; some rum raisin and a touch of yeast along with some chocolate and roasted malts making up the backbone.

T/M: Flavor is a bit different from the aroma; smokiness and charred malt qualities remain wrapped in a medium amount of carbonation, but alcohol is apparent all at once up front and gives way to hop bitterness and some fermented dark fruits, not necessarily bad but a bit potent. Hints of chocolate round out the profile.

I like it but you have to be in the mood for it.

 708 characters

Photo of Buggies
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Really just OK for me. This isn't bad, but I don't see what all the hype is about with these black ales.

Anyway, smells OK. Nice background aromas of caramel, coffee, and roasted grains. Resiny hops and grapefruit too. Light aroma of alcohol too.

Tastes OK. Nothing mind blowing I don't think. Dark roasted grains. Sort of a sticky mouth feel. Alcohol is warming. Very mute hops flavors I thought. Hints of grapefruit and citrus, slight bitter finish.

Overall, not a bad tasting beer. But maybe the style gets a little more hype than is necessary maybe?

 556 characters

Photo of Siggy125
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a taster glass.
Muttled blackis brown. Good off-white carbonation with fair head retention. good amount of lacing.

Smells of sweet resiny hops, hints of black coffee, roasted malts.

Tastes of smooth hops, not very bitter. Hints of roasted coffee. Traces of burnt toffee sweetness. The hops and sweetness are well balanced. I get a bit of wet cardboard funkiness, but not in a bad way.

Overall a nice experience, a style that stands on its own. For having lots of flavors and higher ABV, a pretty smooth drinker. I'd do it again if the opportunity arose.

 589 characters

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

Iniquity is a brew that will leave you questioning your eyes and tastebuds. For starters, it's almost midnight-black in color, and to the eyes resembles a thick stout. But the nose reveals aromas more common to an IPA: strong grapefruit-like hops with a nice malty/sugary backbone.

Take a sip, and the journey gets even more confusing. The initial flavors still resemble an IPA--heavy on the hops--but almost immediately a wave of dark fruit esters leaps in, bringing molasses and caramelized brown sugars. That is followed by an onslaught of chocolate malts that lasts for most of the mouthful, and completely switches the flavors from grapefruit-bitter hops to almost-burnt grains. Then, at the end, the hops make a brief reappearance, and the aftertaste then becomes a battle between hops and burnt grains to see who can last the longest.

This is truly a genre-bending beer, as well as a first-class taste experience that has to be tried to be believed. A must-buy for beer afficionados.

 994 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with a quarter inch of brownish head that fades to a thin lacing. Smells of roasted malt and a piny, floral hop aroma. Taste is roasted malt with a hint of chocolate and coffee, a faint hint of raisin, and bitter, piny hops. The alcohol provides a nice warmth to the finish. Moderate carbonation, medium to full bodied.

Really a great black IPA. The bottle describes it as "the antithesis of Unearthly", and it really does taste like Unearthly's alter ego.

 476 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650mL bottle into an Ommegang glass. From notes. Reviewed 14 June 2011.

A: Dark ruby-brown, not near black. Great finger of off-white head with fantastic retention. Translucent in direct light. Really nice lacing.

S: Smells like a Double IPA. Some sugary alcoholic malts with strong, fruity hops.

T: Strange -- some fruity-sweet hops with drying citrus. The endtaste is chocolatey and darkly bitter. Interesting transition from beginning to end. The aftertaste is lightly dry and very good.

M: Wet, round, roasted, and good.

O: An intriguing beer -- very tasty. I would recommend it. Drinkable for the ABV, and something I wouldn't mind revisiting in the future.

 681 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured just about the entire bomber into my Schlafly imperial sip club 20oz glass, and the stuff looks really nice. Black as night, tan head, great sheets of gorgeous lacing.

Oddly the smell is somewhat like that of a New York state barn that's full of hay, like I remember from somewhere in my childhood. I really like that smell, as I recall. There's also a roasty, coffee like component, and plenty of hops to finish it off. Smells great to me, damn the adjectives if you don't like my descriptors!

Tastes a bit more roasty and dark than the smell, but it's fairly on-line with the smell in most aspects. Bready and roasty malts make up the base, accented by a complex array of slightly oily hops, coffee, chocolate, and lightly pungent, earthy flavors.

Full bodied and a bit on the sweet side, but 110% on the delicious side. Alcohol is obviously present from the warming but is otherwise well concealed.

This may be my favorite from southern tier yet. Absolutely outstanding. This one will be on my gots list for future BIFs and trades for sure.

 1,056 characters

Photo of crewfan16
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a Stella glass only because I have no other glassware clean presently. Picked this up last week on sale at the local store. Im a huge fan of Unearthly and Gemini, and the bottle telling me iniquity is the antithesis of unearthly intrigues me. so, i had to try it.

a- poured pitch black with no light escaping through it at all. strangely, there was little to no head and what did pop up was stark white.

s- similar to unearthly in the malt and caramel sweetness. there are hops there, but not so in your face as a DIPA. the malt is darker and more charred smelling than usual.

t-unearthly minus some hops and add dark roasted malt and oatmeal. this is really tasty stuff. initially i taste somewhat muted hop fruitiness, just a bit of grapefruit and caramel, then the nice malty rich backbone, and finishes with some charred characteristics.

m- mouthfeel similar to that of a DIPA and similar to unearthly as well. alittle oily and slightly syrupy. abv is nowhere to be seen. a nice creaminess about this one as well.

overall, this is a very good brew in my book. I love the unearthly, and I agree this is the antithesis in southern tier's imperial series. I find it incredibly drinkable, completely delicious and for $8 a bomber, a great deal for such a beer.

 1,289 characters

Photo of NickRivers
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A&S - Pours a deep black with two fingers of tan soapy head. Smells a lot of coffee, some sweet chocolate, smokey roasted grains, a little citrus hops, and some dark fruit.

T&M - Very crisp and grainy on the front turns to a super sweet and sticky fruity flavor, then finishes with a beautiful balance of chocolate, coffee, and hops. Mouthfeel is medium/heavy body with plenty of carbonation for its style.

O - A little sweet for my tooth but a great beer regardless.

Im not sure how sweet ST likes their beers but this being my second, and Unearthly being my first, i'm beginning to see a lot of sweet and sticky traits in their brews. I picked up a few bottles after hearing about the infamous Pumking, and I soon found myself going back for more of their selection. These beers are sure to please the maltier crowd just as much as the hop-heads. The balance on this beer in incredible, every ingredient is used just above its status quo. I highly recommend checking ST out for some great beer. Stay thirsty my friends.

 1,024 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark black with a little bit of brownish amber showing when held to light. Decent finger and a half of tan head quickly fades into a patchy layer. Decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Sharp aroma of citrus and piney hops with dark roasted malts. Strong hints of chocolate and coffee with a little vanilla and smoke. Also some hints of dark fruits.

Taste: Good kick of piney and citrus hop bitterness up front is followed by notes of coffee and chocolate. A strong base of dark roasted malts backs it all up. Light hints of dark fruit and vanilla. The malts seem to take over after the first bite of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

Overall: A very solid version of a black ale from Southern Tier.

 820 characters

Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- 3.5 Black body with a minimal bone/khaki head on the pour. The head is fairly inconsistent with both small and large bubbles. Slippery, spotty lacing.

S- 4.5 The aroma is very nice and unique; it has me very intrigued. It is chocolatey up front and that sweetness is countered by a nice clean hop aroma. Subsequent smells of coffee appear as well.

T- 4 The chocolate/malt sweetness is even stronger in the flavor of this brew, while the hops that I smelled before are lost fairly quickly to the sweeter tastes. I was hoping for more of that hop balance throughout the drink. That said, the cocoa-like tastes are nice and there is just enough bitterness to keep it from being too one-sided.

M- 3.5 Just a shade above medium in body. Ample carbonation. Lighter than a stout, but heavier than an average ale, it is certainly one I'd sip more than chug. Slightly syrupy.

D- 4 I enjoyed this one. Although I wouldn't probably drink more than a bomber because of its somewhat heavy/somewhat sweet tastes, I would definitely buy it again. Interesting and solid brew.

 1,066 characters

Photo of hoptualBrew
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. This is my first Black Ale, so I am pretty excited for this one.

Pours jet black with a nice one finger khaki cream head. The head receeds fairly quick into a miniscule film layer on top. This strongly resembles an Imperial Stout. There is no hues on the edges of this, just black all the way through. No lacing to be seen on the glass.

In the nose it is a mix between an IPA & an Imperial Stout. I pick up alot of those chocolate & caramel malts but there is also a nice earthy hop presence as well. Interesting, very very interesting.

Up front there is a little hop bite - but the majority of this, as indicated by the color, is a roasted malty chocolate with hints of caramel & toffee. Hops arent so much present on the tongue as the dark roasted malts are.

If I didnt know this was a "Black Ale", I would consider it a hoppy American Imperial Stout.

I guess, since this was the first of the style I have had, I was expecting something very different from anything else I have tasted. Kind of let down in that aspect, but overall it is a pretty tasty brew!

Purchased at Total Wine & More for $6.99


After having another American Black Ale, this one just didnt live up to the style. Maybe I had an old bottle - but the hop presence in this was very muted & dominated by the malts.

 1,331 characters

Photo of Jerone
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown with a thin brown creamy head.

S - Smells like dark fruit and roasted malt.

T - Tastes like dark roasted malt with some dark fruit/liquorice with a slightly bitter ending from the roasted malts. I get a bit of alcohol taste as the beer warms up. I'm searching for some hops but I can't taste them.

M - Medium to heavy bodied, coats your mouth very nicely.

O - A solid beer, I would recommend it.

 429 characters

Photo of Sideswipe
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a DFH tulip.

Iniquity pours pitch black with two fingers of beige foam on top. Head recedes leaving minimal lacing. The aroma is roasted malt, coffee and a bit of chocolate. Taste follows with big roasted coffee notes up front. Coffee is followed by a sweet malt backbone and a mild hoppy bitterness. The finish is dry and roasty, with a lingering bitterness which is quite nice. Feel is thick and chewy with a medium to low level of carbonation. Alcohol is exceedingly well hidden making the beer extremely drinkable. Overall, Iniquity is a very solid offering from Southern Tier in the somewhat ambiguous American Black Ale style. I'd say it nearly qualifies as a stout, given the flavor profile. Regardless of style, it is a tasty brew which I'm glad to have had the opportunity to sample.

 811 characters

Photo of JayS2629
4.82/5  rDev +16.7%
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 ChainGangGuy
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $7.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a black body with a foaming, reactionary, light tan head.

Smell: Slightly fudge-hinted chocolate with sugary caramel cubes and fruity citrus-scented hops in the nose with trifling hint of pine and booze tucked in rear.

Taste: Malty, sweet tastes of dark caramel sauce and melting semi-sweet chocolate greet the tongue. Moderately roasty. Fresh, fruity ripe Melogolds with a slender sliver of pith remaining. Whisper of nearby pine wood. Firmly bitter, but there's also plenty of residual sweetness to keep this, as well as the heated alcohol, in check. This sometimes displeases the hopheads out there. I'm just sayin'. Faintly acidic. A push-pull of malts and hops at the slightly lush finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: Flavorful and not too astringent or brutishly bitter like some, so, yeah, I'm down with Iniquity. Not even giving this beer a try, well, that would truly be the iniquity.

 1,038 characters

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

A: Pours jet black with a touch of a tan head that recedes into a cauldron of bubbles.

S: Big time dark roast, coffee, caramel, double espresso, dark chocolate

T: A mix of chocolate caramel hits the palate at first, followed by a slightly bitter double espresso finish that's accentuated with tropical fruit like peach and pineapple. Fantastic and super complex.

O: This is one amazing brew. This is stouter than...well, most stouts. With huge roast flavors, but creamy caramel that balances out. Amazing.

 508 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black pour but nice white lacing in the New Belgium snifter. Quite drinkable with it's modest sweetness and tart edge. Just thick enough for the strength, but it does give a funny coated feeling to the sides of the mouth. Some acidity beneath the malt. Brown sugar flavors along with a hint of licorice. Fruity like mango, plus burnt biscuits. Nose of dried figs.

This American Black Ale style is getting to be a strange catch-all. Everything from almost-Schwartzbiers to what seem to be double Stouts, so the label's "Imperial Black Ale" is perfectly appropriate.

 566 characters

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

If its not held directly towards the light it looks pitch black. When held up to the light it looks like carbonated cranberry juice. Light fluffy brown head leaving some lacing. Bubbles rushing towards the top at first but slows down as it sits.

Big time piney hops along with some citrus. I do get some dark roasted malts. Overall, not a bad aroma at all.

Big time roasted malts, Chocalate, caramel up front and then a bitterness with citrus as it hits the back of the mouth. Yeast and some dark fruits have made their presence known. Some alcohol is noticeable but for the most part is well hidden. I picked up a coffee bitterness as it warmed.

Medium body, carbonation is there but feels right. It leaves the lips a little sticky as it dries. I feel a little dry mouth but its not annoying.

Not a bad brew. The hops and malt mix quite well. I did notice some alcohol but for the most part it's well hidden for a 9 ABV. It's quite easy to drink but I think this is meant more as a sipper.

 995 characters

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with big tan head and leaves lots of lacing!

The smell is mostly of citrus/floral hops. A very little bit of roast comes though but I struggle to pick up much more.

The taste is a little bitter on the front but quickly balanced out but roast, smoke, and very very little taste of alcohol.

I must say the drinkability of this beer is insane. There is so much flavor and a couple layers while remaining as easy to drink as your favorite Pale Ale or Porter.

 477 characters

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

Two finger plus head of churned up, larger bubble infused dark brown foam, more hills and valleys than dimpling, the lacking streaks are thin but numerous and cling very well. The liquid is black but without the über-density of so many, allows you to get a sense for its innate clarity, this more so as there’s a wide burnt amber coloration at the glass bottom, quite attractive overall. Thick, close to dewy nose of warm milk chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, licorice, candied orange peels, cashews, all this tends to cloak the plum, cherry, apple fruit, too soft to be really roasty, the florality the most pronounced signature of any hops, nothing close to herbaceousness. Full-bodied, the carbonation builds quickly, possesses a tight enough weave to keep the mouth feel firm. Layers of chocolate, coffee, caramel, butterscotch, for all of its sweetness stays in balance, especially with a mineral water, earth element in play. More green grass and a touch of pine here, the orange citrus met equally by white grapefruit. Has a tingle to it but has a “wet” and clingy feel and does not ever take on a powdery texture. To me, drinks like a chocolate infused porter but, hey, I am unsure if anyone knows what an “American Black Ale” is supposed to taste like. Just tastes good tonight.

 1,299 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.