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

22oz bottle purchased somewhere local in MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear brown brew. Head recedes slowly, with sticky lacing. Aroma is sweet with dark fruitiness.

Taste with dark sweetness, somewhat strong dark fruitiness in the middle, and closes a bit boozy. It all comes together well though. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, and drinkability is good also. I don't know what it is, but a double IPA, I'm thinking no. However, I don't think good beers always have to fit into style pigeonholes.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown, almost black, thin tan head.

S-I smell mocha, it smells like a porter until you notice that hops scent within. dark roasted and creamy and fairly strong smelling

T-This is a very interesting beer, definitely the most unique double IPA i've had. Its not as if either the hops or the smoked mocha hits first and then one comes in after...no...these two tastes come together all at once. Its a very different and exciting experience. The after taste is also fused, between bitterness and smoked mocha. It doesn't last long. there is a bit of licorice in there too. not too bad!

M-medium carbonation, feels great. dry finish

D-very drinkable, even for a 22 ounce bottle at 9%ABV, the mocha taste lasts more than the others, and it tastes very well. doesn't have any bad tastes that keeps this from being extremely enjoyable. still one of the best black ales i've ever had.

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Photo of claspada
3.74/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with low carbonation. Head is brown and made up of small to medium sized bubbles; lacing is fairly high.

Aromas of sweet malts, some roasted notes. Not a lot of hops.

Taste is sweet with a slight roast in the back. There is some hop flavoring and bitterness but they are understated and well balanced with the rest of the beer. Beer is smooth and his a nice medium body to it.

Drinkability is fairly high, despite the alcohol content. One of the original Black IPAs which are becoming popular lately; I appreciate that Southern Tier was original before it was cool to make this style.

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Photo of generalnotsew
3.4/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours extremely dark brown. Near black but on the light side of black if that is possible with a tan head. Smell is full of chocolate surprisingly. Kind of expected some hoppy bittnerness but it actually smells closer to a stout than anything. But no, no bitterness in the nose. Hmmm tastes more like a hoppy Imperial Stout than anything. I am not really too keen on the taste. Lingering hop bitterness in the finish but mostly bitter chocolate. Second Black IPA for me. Cap'n Krunkles although I didn't care for it either was closer to IPA tastes than this. I take it I just care for the style although I say this is well done.

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Photo of sdawson
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this bottle from HeadyHops81 in a great trade! Thanks so much!

I poured the Iniquity into a snifter, which resulted in a rather minimal head -- just enough to patch over the top, and create a bit of subtle lacing. The brew, true to the bottle label, is nigh pitch black, though does show hints of brown and amber throughout. The scent is of sweet syrup and citrus, a bit more dessert-like than my pre-conception was for this brew. The hops come out more in the taste, however, starting with a jolt of lemon and pine, followed by a maltiness oddly reminiscent of sweet Japanese milk coffee, only for the tang of hops to rise once more again in the lingering aftertaste. Overall, the mouthfeel is appealing, though I would have appreciated a touch more carbonation to keep the brew from feeling quite so weighty upon the tongue. All in all, quite a tasty find, and I do hope to have more in the future.

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Photo of chickenflea
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber. Pours a deep rich black (although not opaque) with a medium thick tanned head. Lots of lovely lacing on the glass.
Aromas are interesting and predictable. Overriding aroma is sweet malts with dark dried fruits like prunes and raisins. Some roastiness as well. The hop aroma is muted. A touch of vanilla. Flavor is sweet and smooth. Medium bodied with notes of brown sugar, molasses, candy, vanilla. Finishes with smoky Red Man chewing tobacco. The hops are more spicy than bitter in this brew and they are very understated until the very end. A rich beer. The complexity on the finish saves it from being too rich. A good brew. Southern Tier is really starting to earn my respect as on of the top micros in the US.

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

pours a slightly viscous dark brown (almost black) which produces a nice, two-fingered tan head that retains well and laces decently.

lots of piney hops hit the nose and hint at dry-hopping. some herbal hops, molasses, dark caramel, a little dark chocolate, and some tree bark.

taste is of piney hops, a bit, but unfortunately not as much as in the aroma. molasses and caramel take over a bit bringing this close to an english porter realm. Still decently hoppy, yet not quite as much as was hinted at in the aroma or by the bottle print. Unfortunately, there is no easily recognizable bottle date, so I am not sure of the freshness of this particular bottle to see if the hops may have faded with time. Falls short of my favorites of the Black IPA hybrid style due to this. Still decently tasty, though.

light/medium bodied with ample carbonation that finishes a tad dry and kind of sweet.

goes down rather well. alcohol is definitely integrated well and does not hinder the drinkability at all.

I hate to sound like the typical hophead, but this needs more hops! And they need to clearly date the bottles, so I know how old the beer I'm drinking is. Also, I put the bottle down too closely to my Duvel tulip and managed to crack the glass. Not Southern Tier's fault, but I'm rather disappointed.

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

From the genius brewing minds of the folks who brought us both the Creme Brulee Stout and the Choklat Stout now comes the Southern Tier Iniquity Imperial Black Ale. The Iniquity is another example of a crisp and refreshing IPA with a deep black creamy finish to it. This backwards combination is slowly becoming more popular; among the best exaples of the style, and also one of the first to the best of my knowledge, is the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA.

The Iniquity seems to be perfectly aligned as a Black Imperial IPA; 8.9% abv, with five different hops used in brewing and dry hopping. From my past experienced with Southern Tier, and from what I experienced with Stone's example of the style, I had very high hopes for this beer.

These Black IPAs are quickly becoming among my favorite styles. They offer the smooth creamy and luscious mouthfeel of a stout, with the fresh, bitter and crisp quenching characteristics of an IPA. This is seriously a wicked combination, and is worth seeking out.

As per Southern Tier's Description: "The hexagram talisman has been used around the world for centuries to invoke magic and good luck. The six-point star is also the customary symbol of the brewer, representing the essential aspects of purity: water, hops, grain, malt, yeast, and of course, the brewer. Wishes of good fortune often collaborate with the brewer's creativity to yield dramatic results. We carefully chose the name for this Imperial India Black Ale, Iniquity - a word opposing goodness. Why? This beer is contrary to what one may expect from an IPA; this is an ale as black as night. It is the antithesis of Unearthly. Some may consider it an immoral act to blacken an ale. We suggest they don't rely on conventional standards. Allow the darkness to consume you."

I poured the 22oz bottle into a Southern Tier tulip glass at a cool temperature of 8C (45F); my intent was to enjoy both the cool quenching characteristics of the IPA and the smooth silky sensation of a stout (not that there is stout in this beer.. it just feels like one.. you know what I mean). The pour was as I had imagined, soft and elegant gliding gently into the bottom of the glass forming a smooth rumbling of foam eventually building to a perfectly dense and airy mocha brown head. This was really a mountainous head that had excellent retention. The beer underneath was pitch black with a hint of chrome shine piercing the wall of the glass, but really it is just jet black. Awesome.

The nose was rich with roast, caramel, coffee and earth. After a moment and some contemplation you can get in behind all the warm black characteristics and pull out floral hops with touches of citrus, spice and pine. Overall those the nose is generally dominated by the malt backbone of this beer. It does smell like there will be a bitter and crisp finish to it, but it does show much nutty sweetness and roast.

Get right into this beer and the malts show themselves first as it they are pushing to get to the front of a long line. A lot is happening here. Lightly smoky, roast malts come right down the center bringing with them caramel and biscuits, soft toffee and more mellow sweet malt flavors. Bitter coffee is easily noticeable on the cheeks and sides of your tongue, and dark bitter cocoa also shows up adding dryness to the beer.

It is very chewy and round on the palate because soon, as your palate learns to absorb these flavors, hops begin to show up to the party. They are very herbal with lots of earth, soft dryness, some citrus and pine and a touch of sweet fruit. Hops do bring bitter to the back of your mouth and cheeks, but overall they cannot contain the malt. This, along with superbly slick and creamy mouthfeelmakes me want to consider this a hopped sweet porter or stout, rather than a Black IPA. Really the beer is fantastically delicious, I was raving about it all night to anyone who got in the way of my vocal cords, but I am not sure how well it fits the style description.

Honestly though, I don't care. The Iniquity is delicious, and really cool. It has a nice dry and slightly quenching finish with some roast and smoke coming though. It was exceptionally appetizing. I actually enjoyed it with a roast beef dinner with bacon potato pie; absolute heaven.

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Photo of cnally
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one has a deep, deep black color in the body with a quick dissipating tan head, which barely leaves a trace.

Burnt wood, dark nuts in aroma, the malt comes through as the dominant aroma.

Flavor leans on that burnt malt and comes off a little sweet. The sweetness, which resembles a sweetness like you'd find in a fig or prune, balances well with the burnt bitterness, and the alcohol is really well hidden.

Thin feel for an oil-slick beer.

I really think that this is the most drinkable high-alcohol beer I've had in a while...the alcohol isn't even detectable. Delicious.

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Photo of gator0877
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours very dark brown with about a 1 inch head. Head thins out a bit but still had about 1/2 inch after a while.

S-Yup, it is a DIPA. Huge hit of pine and that is about it.

T-I get a little citrus but man the booze cuts right through. I get a little malt but not too much. This is a DIPA and the hops come out and say hello. The more it warms up the more the booze is apparent.

M-This is damn near syrup, very chewy.

D-I like it but I will only be having 1or 2 a night. This is not an everyday beer.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass at Bodega on 7/22/10

Reviewed as a Cascadian Dark Ale

Dark brown, though light is able to pass through. At times seems like tobacco, crimson & ruby highlights. 1/8th inch head quickly skims out. Hardly any retention. Lacing picks up about halfway through but dries out quickly.

Smells of American hop goodness; definitely CDA worthy. Pine & juicy citrus aromas - grapefruit & orange. Dark malt notes that don't seem sweet. Faintest hint of dry roast. No booze.

The dark malts come across as more assertive to taste. Roastiness is more pronounced & full-flavored. Notes of cocoa, dark chocolate, caramel & maybe a spot of molasses. Definitely a dry malt profile. Still, the hops aren't overwhelmed, though they are kind of muddled. Pine tar offers a modest bitterness. There's a citric element that seems largely concealed.

Full bodied, sticky & resinous - a dense brew for sure. Some appreciable alcohol slickness, but not hot. Moderate carbonation has its work cut out. Roasted, piney & juicy residuals linger.

Rather impressive. Tasty, with a nice aroma & well-hidden abv. Overall, a solid representation of the CDA style, as opposed to a hoppy porter (though at times it wants to lean toward the latter).

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

Had on tap in a pint glass at Ballantine's in Willoughby. Will file a Beer Spy report later.

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with very little head. It's served ever so slightly colder than it should be.

Smell is subdued, with very slight malt notes rising from it. No doubt the smell is hampered by the colder temp it is served at.

Has a nice nutty, hoppy taste to it, topped with caramel malt. Though I see this is classified as an imperial IPA, I would have pegged it a porter in mouthfeel and taste.

Smooth mouthfeel, but not too thick.

Highly drinkable; but for the other offerings on tap that night, I absolutely would have had another.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Iniquity is balanced, slightly earthy, and tame.

It poured black with a thick three-finger tan head. The head quickly dissipated, and with the exception of a lone thin ring, nothing was left on the glass. The aroma and flavor were subtle and rustic, with hints of pine and moldy cellar. There was a roasty sweet finish that provided balance. The feel was insubstantial and fleeting, too tame for an Imperial IPA. It was smooth and refreshing, especially considering the high ABV.

Iniquity has an imposing look and a musty flavor, but its sweet and smooth finish make sure its bark is worse than its bite.

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Photo of Spider889
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Bodega in Columbus.

The beer comes out looking very dark and malty - exactly what I'd expect (and want to see) in a Black IPA. It is black but opaque when held to the light.

Smelled of some roasted malt and loads of hops.

The taste had a very nice malt character, mild coffee, which was very well balanced with the hops. I like it when my Black IPA uses malt for more than just coloring! Nonetheless this is definitely a beer with a Double IPA base.

You can't ignore the alcohol but it's decently masked for being a 9%er. I'd gladly drink this again, but most likely single doses if I plan on drinking anything else with noticeable hops in it.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rob (Robtobfest) for this!

Pours very dark brown, looks pretty much black in the glass. Light, contrasting head sits on top, 2 fingers, sticks around for a decent amount of time.

The smell is very hoppy, with pine, resins and hints of citrus. Not much in the way of malts, but there is an apparent sweetness.

There is a definite malty dark sweetness up front that melds into a piny hop finish.

The feel is medium, slightly creamy and smooth.

Above average drinkability.

All in all, this reminds me of a more sweeter, maltier SSRA, and it's definitely good.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Color was very dark brown, but not at all opaque. A thin, light brown head forms.

Complex and inviting nose of caramel roast malts, figs, citrus, and other dark fruits possibly cherries.

The palate leads off with with immediate citrus and piney hop, then becomes more complex with dried dark fruit, again figs/cherries and finally there is some sweetness that tends to overwhelm preceeding flavors.

Medium body with mild carbonation.

I enjoyed this one, another good one from Southern Tier.

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Photo of kwjd
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark reddish-brown with thick off-white head and lots of lacing, with good retention. Smells of citrus and pine hops, with some roasted malt. One of the better smelling Cascadian Dark Ales (I like this name the best), as it seems to be really well balanced between the hops and the roasted malt. However, the flavour I'm not as impressed with. It just seems a bit too much like a sweet syrup then the bitter roasted flavour the smell would suggest. If you have a sweet tooth, I can see finding that appealing though. Mouthfeel is quite creamy.

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Photo of thetomG
3.59/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown pour. Very little head with no lacing left behind on the glass. Taste is a nice blend of sweet malts and bittering hops. Syrupy mouthfeel, but could definitely use a bit more carbonation IMO. Glad I tried this one, but not likely to seek it out again.

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Photo of jampics2
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The glass is full of Iniquity. The beer that sits in the goblet infront of me is black, it's almost opaque but just lets a little light through. Fluffy head makes this a great looking beer.

Smells of pine, hops, chocolate roasted malt. Nice, I've had a few that do it better, but this is good.

Taste is wonderful IMO. A great mixture of roasty chocolate and coffee and piney citrus hops. Not too bitter but packs a punch. An excellent Cascadian Dark from upstate New York.

Lighter mouthfeel than I expected. But still good. I liked the beer, thought it tasted good and finished cleanly. Overall, I'd have this again with pleasure.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours a dark, dark brown/black with a one finger...very light brown head. Lacing is gorgeous...not one break in it at all.

S- very strong citrus hops with a piney backbone. Getting some dark fruits in there as well...maybe some cherries or figs. Pretty complex.

T- starts off with a nice burst of citrus, then you get smacked with the piney bitterness before finishing with a cross between the sweet and bitter. Sweetness might be a little much, though...I'd prefer a little more bitterness actually

M- a little thick...syrupy. Not a huge fan of the feel.

D- the sweetness is a little much...its decent for the style. The big selling point is the BLACKNESS I guess...but whatever. Its an average DIPA

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking this for the very first time. Purchased at Whole Foods, which is not the first place I've seen this heavily discounted. I think something about the unusual nature of the style is causing it to not sell as well as other Southern Tier imperials and as a necessity, go down in price. This is my first black IPA.

A: The flow from the bottle is a golden brown, but by the time it lands in my Unibroue tulip, it's, well, black. There's an anemic off-white head that's about the color of a malnourished vampire's complexion.

S: Smells roastier than I expected. Strong malt scent with some definite hop bitterness. The standout of the nose is a sweet dark fruit aroma.

T: Dark fruits, roasted malt, and some hops. Considering that this is classified on this site as a double IPA, I was quite surprised by the taste. It tastes more like a strange Baltic porter than it does a DIPA. There's a chocolate scent on each sip that reminds me of Troegs' Flying Mouflan.

M: The tanginess of this beer makes itself known on the tongue, but the alcohol is completely masked.

D: I can't imagine drinking more than one bomber in a row, it's certainly not a beer that encourages the drinker to polish it off, but it's very nice.

This beer is an absolute steal if you can find it, like I did, for less than $6 per bottle. Seek it out, don't ignore it, on that gorgeous shelf of Southern Tier imperials.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black in color with some light coming through but not much. Above is a pillowy tan head that leaves great lace.

S: Roasted and burnt malt, coffee, chocolate, chicory, char and molasses. Hops are earthy and spicy.

T: Char, roasted and burnt malt, raisins, molasses, weak coffee, licorice and chocolate make up the malt profile. Hops add some more bitterness and some spice. Finish is slightly bitter and dry.

M: medium body and small crisp carbonation. Some alcohol warmth noticeable.

D: Refreshing and still complex with some good flavors and good strength. Not hard to drink at all. Very good now but could age well too.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with only the faintest bit of bubbles around the glass. Scent is a mild and subdued combinaton of dark roasted grain, faintest hints of roasted coffee and cocoa beans. A slight herbal, earthy and piney hop quality is there. Taste again brings a relatively mild and subdued quality - the roasted grains are present, backed by a noticibly unbitter presence of earhty, floral and piney hops. Tastes of dark fruit, coffee and chocolate barely touch the palate. Medium bodied, mildly carbonated. A decent beer that has some very mild flavors and lacks a bitter bite... nout much of a dIPA in my opinion.

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

22oz bottle, probably mid-April 2010 bottling date.

Pours medium brown with a one and a half finger beige head, leaves some lacing and recedes to a light foamy cap.

Aroma is a bit quiet, but features roasted malt, coffee, a little chocolate, some citrus and earthy hops, bread, yeast, toasted dark bread and yeast character increases as it warms.

Flavor is quite nice, good juicy citrus hops, caramel, toffee, light roast and chocolate, coffee, fairly sweet, a bit of bitterness, but less than I was hoping for. Some alcohol on the finish.

Mouthfeel is fairly thin, slick, low to medium carbonation.

Solid Black IPA, but weak aroma and thin body don't help...

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Photo of juju7
4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love a beer that evolves in the glass. Pours a dark red, cola colour with not much head. Initial bouquet of citrus hops gives way to some interesting cocoa and yeast aromas. On the palate as well, what starts out tasting like an IPA with driving bitterness starts to morph into a smooth almost dark Belgian kind of vibe. Finishes dry but with a hint of yeast sweetness. I've only had a couple of beers in this style but this is the one that has really sold it for me.

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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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