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
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Ratings: 1,526 |  Reviews: 616
Photo of dogfishandi
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes.

22oz bottle at about cellar temp. split with a friend poured into a standard pint glass.

pours a pitch black that reveals just a touch of dark ruby brown in the light. big frothy tan head with great retention and lots of lace.

a little bit of piney hops, mostly creamy caramel and roasted malts with hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

lots of creamy caramel and roasted malts. lots of hop bitterness but not too much hop flavor, a little piney. bits of coffee and fruit and quite a bit of alcohol heat

super smooth rich and creamy body. good feeling carbonation.

drinks good for the abv, but one bottle is more than enough, a good beer to split with someone due to its high abv and richness.

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Photo of D4rkn355
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a weizen

A: Dark black very little head... looks amazing I love the way a good solid dark beer looks

S: roasted malts hint of dark choclate

T: Coffee, ROasted Malt Toffe with a kick of Hps

M: Medium Body

D: The pint went quickly but I personally would only stick to one a session.

Overall I was very impressed Would buy again. I bought as a part of a winter mix I was building... Though its not a seasonal winter beer it sure goes well with it

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Photo of dedrinker
2.85/5  rDev -31%
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 BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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Photo of bierguru
4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A -
tan head inch thick which holds very well boby is a very dark amber

S -
sweet malts with a hint of citurs/floral character

T -
malty coffee-ish upfront bold hop flaovr like expected from an ipa and finished with like a bittersweet chocolate

M -
smooth heavyish slight bite

D -
this beer is awesome i havent had to many of this style but in my mind this is what i expect it to taste like

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Photo of WildTurkey
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber bottle into a Troubadour stem glass.

A: Very dark; looked solid black. Couldn't make out any amber around the edges, because the lighting was poor. Small-Medium cream head. Lookin' good.

S: Dark roasted malts are obvious. With some pine smell secondary. Kinda reminds me of a german dunkel. I'm confused.

T: Not too sweet. But good hop bitterness is right for the dark malts. Not noticing the alcohol flavor.

M: Feels like a medium body, and pretty crisp. I wasn't expecting that. Seemed lighter. A little carbonation.

D: Went down pretty well for a big beer.

I liked this but I was a little confused by the style. Is it an IPA with the hoppiness?; was it a Porter with the dark roast malts? or was it something else with the lighter body (lighter than expected)? My senses were not calibrated for this.

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Photo of Beerbuddha
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- This brew pours a nice dark black with ruby highlights. The head is a nice and frothy tan. Lacing present throughout.

Smell- The aroma has a nice piney hoppiness with hints of citrus and roasted malt, chocolate and caramel.

Taste- GREAT brew! As in the nose it has a nice hoppy bitterness with hints of roasted malt, chocolate, caramel and toffee. The roasted malt in the IPA really creates a well balanced brew.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall- Incredible brew!!! The Black IPA is something we're seeing more of and I love them!

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

pours dark reddish brown. off white head dissipates quickly. sweet brown bread in nose. taste of molasses cookies, licorice, raisins, chocolate. citrusy hops on tongue in finish. tasty. well made, curious how would taste on tap and would drink again.

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Photo of hopheadjuice
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, no freshness date

Pours a near black but with brown around the edges. tight one finger tan head that leaves modest lacing.

Hops are upfront being grapefruit and pine, dark malts with chocolate and coffee aspects to them. This smells very bitter almost astringent but in a good way.

Malts are upfront in the taste which is kind of weird, Bakers chocolate and slight mocha feel to it. Hops are not as present as i would've liked, slightly diminished but small pine and citrus notes balance the malts.

Medium bodied ale with a slightly slick feel on the tongue. finishes semi dry with a lasting aftertaste of bitter chocolate.

9% ABV and you wouldn't even know it, easy to drink and not to harsh. Overall not as hoppy as i would've liked but maybe i bought an old bottle from Table and Vine, ya' never know unless they date um'.

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Photo of zhanson88
2.73/5  rDev -33.9%
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 Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours near black with a nice tan head, leaving a little bit of lacing behind. The nose is in your face with a strong attack of citrus and pine hops atop a good amount of strongly-roasted malt. The taste is pretty good in its balance, though it lacks the depth and interactions of the nose. The roast comes through a bit more here. The dry roast and hop bitterness combine well in the feel. Quite a drinkable brew and one of the first Black IPAs I ever came across.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not quite the black I was expectng-still a deep, deep brown color with some nice reddish hues along the edges. Decent carbonation level though no real head. Mellow sweet aroma-somewhat piney and resiny. A trace of licorice in there. Very nice, caramel like sweetness with some very nice roasted grain flavors. Good dose of hops going on. The caramel/toffeeish flavors are great. really balances well against the hops. Soft, almost creamy like body to it. Really goes down easy-almost too much so! Damn drinkable and a dangerous abv to boot!

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Photo of OlRasputin989
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a New Belgium snifter style glass...

A: pours black with some reddish black hues around the edge with a light brown head.

S: i smell delicious piney, citrusey hops and something else...roasted malt. what a treat.

T: a sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, and roasted malt flavor followed by a strong hop finish with the roastiness blending well with a piney, sappy and grapefruit hoppiness. finishes with citrus peel and smokey malts.

M: a full body with a velvety texture, dry and warming finish.

Overall, a big and bold black ipa that brings the flavor. The flavors of this style are too good to be set within such a high ABV beer. I would love to see more of this style in a 5-7.5% ABV medium. This one is still worth a try.

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Photo of berley31
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a moderate-sized, light tan head that stuck around quite nicely. Body is almost black, but if you hold it to the light you can see some ruby highlights and some clarity.

S: At the time, I actually didn't know this was a Cascadian Dark Ale. It had some roasted notes to the aroma, which surprises me now, but I guess that's how some of these 'Black IPAs' are being made. The hops are definitely more prominent, citrusy and floral.

T: Some malty, caramel sweetness comes through, with a touch of roasted flavors. The hop flavor is moderate-high, citrusy, with a very firm hop bitterness in the finish. Overall, though, quite easy drinking for a 9% beer.

M: Medium-bodied, medium carbonation.

D: A tasty beer, and easy to get down, overall. I'd probably stop at one, but it's a pretty easy one to drink.

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Photo of Jdmpolk
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle

A. When poured in a grey brown head rises to the surface, then quickly dissipates leaving behind wispy remnants trailing on the surface. Color is a reddish mahogany.

S. Aroma is slightly smoky with hints of dried fruit. Sweet with a slight hint of turpentine in the far back ground.

T. The smoky aroma translated into a caramel raisin taste. The hops emerge as a slightly bitter taste of the back end reminiscent of a bitter melon rind.

M. Slightly syrupy sweet lingers in the back while the hops make themselves known on the front of the tongue. Slight carbonation, resonating alcohol burn.

D. Starts out easy drinking, but starts to be a commitment half way through.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.56/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into Delirium Tremens. Big thanks to SneezyAchew for this brew.

A: Pours an extremely dark ruby with a thinish light tan head that faded into a wispy film that left some streaks of sticky lace.
S: Smells of rich barley malts with a light touch of licorice. Not getting much hops but there might be a faint grassiness to the nose.
T: More hops come through in the mouth, but not as much as I was expecting. Caramel and roasted flavors dominate. With no bottling date to be found, who knows if perhaps this was hoppier when fresh. I get notes of raisins and chocolate covered citrus fruits throughout.
M: Medium-full body with a bit of a viscous mouth. Finish has a touch of alcohol warmth to it. Carbonation is light and tingly.
D: I am a bit turned off by the smell of this beer, but the flavor and mouth redeems itself. If I am to compare this to the only other two examples of a black ipa that I've had, from Stone and Deschutes, I'd have to say this falls in third. It's still a very drinkable brew, and one that would probably be monster on tap. Thanks again Michael for a very interesting brew I would never have gotten a chance to try otherwise.

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Photo of Rangermonk
4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a bomber at the local beer store. Poured into a thick walled pint glass.

A - Looks black until held up to the light. It's a dark reddish brown. But, very clear. It is very clean in appearance.

S - Wow, very confusing and pleasant at the same time. It has a very nice, hoppy aroma, but at the same time malty. I want to say IPA, but at the same time I want to say brown ale.

T - Right away there are hops, citrus notes. This plays well with the malt. Coffee and burnt sugar in the background, with caramel. The hops and dark grains mix very well. I'm really excited. This is something I want to make/recreate.

M - It's right on for the "style". Not very thin, but not thick like a Dubbel. It's dark, so you want some body and it has that. But, it's not fat and it goes down real easy.

D - I finished the bottle. Would definitely drink a second. This is a dangerous beer. I love the concept of an overly hopped dark beer. IBA is just great. This goes beyond that. If this beer hasn't won any awards, it's because they haven't found or made the right category for it.

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Photo of velosuds
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. No bottle dating apparent. Purchased at Capital Market in Salem, Oregon for $8.69.

A-pours a beautiful reddish-dark brown, nearly black hue with a two finger light brown head with modest retention and lacing.

S-Aroma is very nice. Piney and citric Cascade, Willamette, Chinook, and Centennial hops and dark malts.

T-Initial citrusy hops are sufficiently hoppy and bitter to be an IPA, but not overpowering since it was balanced by deep, bready malt flavors reminiscent of oatmeal and brown sugar. This quite good, but I wonder if it is past its prime since is beginning to resemble a barleywine.

M-Substantial yet smooth, but a more a sipper at a 9% ABV.

D-This very drinkable. I wish Southern Tier bottle dated. I also wish this were available to me in 6 packs of 12 oz. bottles. Not sure why they call it "iniquity" since it seems to hit the mark quite well.

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Photo of peabody
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark brown to black with 1/2 finger of off-white suds. Some lacing appears on the side of the glass.
Smell is a charred malt with a hop bitterness followed by the alcohol.
Taste is really good for such a cheap beer. Thanks to Southern Tier for having such great prices on these bombers.
Mouthfeel is slightly sticky but the bitterness keeps everything clean and ready for the next drink.
Drinkability is pretty good despite the high ABV.

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

Serving: Bomber into a big glass.

A: Poured a very, very dark brown, almost black. About an eight inch of head which went away pretty fast. Not really that much carbonation is visible.

S: Dark malts, some chocolate and coffee, plus piney, citrusy hops you would expect for an IPA.

T: Has a dark amber/stout like flavor with a lot of hops. There is an upfront sweetness to it which immediately gives way to hop bitterness. Very unusual, but pretty tasty.

M: Has a solid feel in the mouth, somewhat sticky and clingy. It lets you know that it's a big beer.

D: This is a pretty drinkable beer. The flavor is somewhat unconventional but I like it. I would drink it again.

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Photo of msnow34
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip. Pours a dark black with chocolate milk colored head. Very easy on the palate was expecting a little more hoppy for being a black ipa. Easy to drink quickly tastes chocolatly malty more like a stout just a little lighter. Very easily to get down esp at 9%

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Photo of ryanonline
4.57/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

Oh my God it tastes the same. Awesome!

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

A bit heavy but nice and easy on the palete.

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

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Photo of SirSketch
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Dense, cream colored head dissipates quickly to a ring. Fairly opaque color at first glance, but displays hues ranging from brown to ruby red when held up to light.

S - I noticed two distinct hop aromas: floral hop and a juicy grapefruit aroma. There is also an almost undetectable roasted malt smell trying to push its way through.

T - Sweet milk chocolate, grapefruit-like hops and a trace of roasted malt. Very dessert-like.

M/D - Somewhat aqueous and is neither dry nor sweet. At least it is drinkable for a 9% brew. OK, but I probably wouldn't buy it again

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Photo of DanielRP
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from ├ślbutikken, Copenhagen. Can't find a date on the bottle, but I bought it 2010-01 and served it 2010-09 (so there might be some aging bias in my review). Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Dark, as it promises to be. Quite a light coloured head formed an inch or so after pouring.

Smell: Sweet, with recognizable cascade. Something also reminds me of caramel malt heavy brews such as Dale's Pale Ale.

Taste: Like the smell advertised. Sweetness like from caramel, ends with nutty touch. Pleasant, not really running away in any direction.

Mouthfeel: Flows easily, not thick as a stout, as it shouldn't be. Carbonation is at a good level.

Drinkability: I splitted a bomber with a friend, and despite of that I honestly got quite bored after a while. It doesn't get hindered by high alcohol percentage or unpleasant taste, but there's nothing that really keeps me going in drinking it either. Maybe depended more on my mood than the beer though (but the best of beers should be able to influence my mood to the better, shouldn't they? :-) ).

It says "the antithesis of Unearthly" on the label, and that is a strange statement. If anything, I felt that I recognized the beer clearly from Southern Tier's other products, very much including Unearthly. It is different, but it's more like a little brother than an antithesis. It goes with the style, I guess. And variety from the heavier DIPA:s can be good.

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Photo of dtivp
3.81/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark brown with a a small tan head that dissipated quickly.
Aroma of roasted or burnt malt with sweet dark fruit.
Taste had a strong roasted malt flavor with the sweetness of dark fruits and a hint of hop bitterness.
Light to medium body with light carbonation and the alcohol was hidden very well.
The sweetness surprised me and dominated the bitterness from the hops. A nice black ale 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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