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 crossovert
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A black ale? The IPA equivalent to a Schwartzbier? That would be cool.

Pours like a stout, with a dark reddish brown color and dirty white head. The head is big and thick and leaves some decent lacing.

Smell of grazzy, herbal, piney hops, with a hint of citrus. THe mlt has a roasty almost chocolate smell, interesting.

The taste initially is reminiscent of a DIPA but then some porterish flavor sneaks in. You get an initial slam of citrus hops and sweet malt that melds into roasty malts and alcoholic bitterness. It is a combonationof an east coast DIPA, barleywine,adn a stout or porter. A unique beer.

This one is different but good, a unique idea, great for winter.

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Photo of shadow1961
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Iniquity pours a good finger of sandy foam over an almost opaque black brew. The nose is toasty mocha notes, sharp herbal hops and a bit of alcohol heat. The flavor reflects the nose- espresso, mocha, with molasses notes balanced with herbal/piney west coast hops. What to call this- a black IPA, maybe? In any case, there's a very fine balancing act here- the burnt espresso and hop notes never really overshadow the sweeter aspects of the malts here- the overall effect is smooth, yet assertive. Mouthfeel is round, drying a bit in a hoppy aftertaste. Alcohol is 9% ABV, which is only apparent in the nose and as a warming sensation- share, or take it easy. Whatever this thing is, it is good- seek some out if you can!

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

Presentation: 22oz brown pop top with nice label with a bit about the beer

Appearance: Beautiful black beer with a low-profile ivory cap and pretty ruby highlights when held up to the light

Smell: Nice burnt caramel tones, with lots of fresh herbal/piney hops...this is fresh, sharp, and fairly simple, with just a touch of alcohol and a really interesting slate note on the finish

Taste: Mild burnt caramel with a touch of vanilla and some super-burnt chocolate; there's a fairly high level of alcohol noticeable here as well; hop flavor is fairly sharp and herbal/grassy in nature, with a medium bitterness; just a touch of orange liqueur on the finish; overall, the profile is pretty interesting

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy

Drinkability: Kinda scary-high

Conclusion: This is really interesting, my first Black IPA. It's really pretty similar to a good, drinkable DIPA, but with a little more

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby black with a puffy tan head that fade with sheets. Nose is herbal, like Ricolla cough drops, but also tangerine - great interplay between treacly malts and piney hops. Big furry chocolatey malts with some bark but also orange sponge cake. Grapefruit, wintergreen and cedar hops come in at the end. Linger is dry but with a sweet cocoa hint in the back, too. Round and very smooth, some stickiness, no noticeable ABV.

A big dark IPA. Well balanced. Trouble is, balance is between orange and licorice - do those go together? As complex as it is, I'm just not compelled to actually keep drinking it. Interesting nonetheless.

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Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours a dark brown color that allows light through the edges with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of good amounts of citrus and light pine hops with mild amounts of black malt.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth and mild black malt flavors without the charred flavors normally accompanying these malts are joined by large amounts of citrus and light pine flavors midway through the sip. The hops carry through to the mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have a few more.

Overall this is another solid incarnation of the Black IPA. I didn't know what to expect after reading the bottle but I did know to expect something good and ST delivered. Well worth a shot.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.6/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of DrKnoskelson
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 22 ounce bottle I picked up from Canals Liquor in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Beer pours an earthly brown color with only a slight tinge of red on the edges.

Disappointing aroma; no detectable hop aroma, mainly hints of roasted malt. Only a trace amount of head after the pour.

The beer was mildly carbonated, with a sweet malty taste. No noticeable bitterness, mostly specialty grains such as chocolate malt and roasted barley. Very complex finish comprising mostly of roasted grains.

I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed with this beer. I think that the bottle I purchased might have sat on the shelf for a bit too long since there was only minimum hop flavor. I plan to try this again and see if the beer scores the same.

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Photo of gford217
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by glid02 at the Brick Store.

Pours a deep, clear copper with a very small creamy beige head that hangs around as a swirl for a while and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is fairly hop forward with some oranges and pineapples up front which is balanced a bit by some dark roasted malts, though the hops are the main attraction in the nose. There is a bit of sweet caramel and some chocolate as well.

The taste seems to be slightly less hoppy, but the citrus hops are still the most dominant feature of the beer. There are some dark malts in the background, but they seem sweeter than I was expecting with very little roasted character. There is some chocolate in there though.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and very smooth with the hops sticking to the tongue after each sip.

This is an extremely good and very unique beer. It's definitely more on the IPA side of things with the hops showing out, but the sweetness of the malts and chocolate make for an intriguing and very drinkable mix. The alcohol is completely unnoticeable.

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Photo of qchic
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark, dark brown with deep red highlights. Modest tan head appears coarse with large bubbles. The aroma is a harmonious blend of citrusy hops and roasty malts. This beer becomes far more engaging in the flavor with sweet bitter orange and chocolatey roasted malts with some licorice in the finish. Full-bodied and a touch sweeter than I was expecting, but enjoyable throughout the entire bomber. I'm definitely a fan of this hybrid style and look forward to finding more examples (probably with lower ABV, and therefore higher drinkability) to satisfy either an IPA and/or porter craving simultaneously.

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

Black stting on the table maybe, but its a dark red when held to the light. Topped by three fingers of swiss cheese foam. Nice lacing.

Light mocha aroma, with slight candy note.

Chocolate syrup down the center of the tongue. Earthy hops rise up to balance the sweetness, then take things over to the bitter side a bit.

Nice smooth slick mouthfeel oozes down the tongue.

A quickly disappearring bomber. Anymore out there?

Not sure what it is, but its nice and tasty. Give it a try.

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Photo of zeff80
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown (almost black) color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled very hoppy with citrus and floral notes. There were also sweet notes of chocolate and caramel.

T - It tasted of bitter grassy hops with a sharp citrus kick of orange peel and grapefruit. There was a roasty chocolate malt taste to give it its "black ale" name.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied beer that hides its high ABV very well.

D - This is a great brew from Southern Tier. I'm really becoming a fan of the Black IPA style and this is a great example.

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

Appearance: Very dark mahogany, almost pitch black with a sandy tan head with decent retention and very nice lacing.

Aroma: Roasted malt, caramel, vanilla and liquorish are upfront. Very pleasing.

Taste: Taste is almost like it's aroma. Initial bitterness and then I picked up on chocolate, vanilla. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel: A little chewy. Not heavily carbonated, but you can feel the bubbles on the tip of your tongue. Slight warming in the aftertaste from the higher ABV.

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

Got this one from rgtravers, cheers Ryan...

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 2 fingers of mocha head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Piney hops, breadyness & a bit of booze once warmish

T: Dark chocolate, some minty hops then some pineyness & a bit of apricot & grapefruit up front. This one is wild, I get oaky bourbon/vanilla as this warms, with herbal hops lurking in the background, then POW more grapefruit!! A bit of smokeyness, dryness & boozeyness too, this one is a bit all over the map, but working for me. Finishes dry with much caramel & Bourbon, plus pine

MF: Fairly chewy, moderate carbonation & good balance. Becomes pretty sticky the last 3rd of the bottle

Drinks a bit slow due to the complexity & ABV, but I really liked this one. I suspect this one may not please hardcore hopheads, but I dig it! Every sip seems different to me, wish I had a few more to see if I can replicate this! Seems almost like a blend of a great DIPA & Imp Stout & may be...

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Photo of gordavidson
3.97/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A very deep and clear brown/ blood red. The off-white head is thin but creamy and leaves some really nice lacing.

S- Pine, caramel, a hint of cinnamon. Very sweet smelling and if I were blindfolded, I would say it looked orange. Aromatic and appealing.

T- Sweet caramel with a nice piney hop flavor that is not overbearing or even all that bitter. Smooth and nice for the style and ABV.

M- Smooth and not all that thick- and it doesn't need to be. Leaves some residual sweetness and oiliness.

D- An enjoyable beer that goes down nicely for the ABV. I kind of dig this black DIPA thing.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 5

I love nearly everything from Southern Tier and this one is no exception - though it doesn't score well as a DIPA; I think it would be better categorized as an Imperial Swartzbier.

Poured into a Piraat tulip at 40 degrees this beer has a black color with fizzy head that quickly retreats.

The aroma is very malty with lots of latent hop aromas that pick up in the nose after the first whif. Toffee, chocolate, and caramel are all there too.

The first taste is much fuller than the aroma. Toasted caramel and malt, light bitterness and a touch of coffee are the first tastes. The flavors are reminscienct of Stone's 13th anniversary though not exact.

Mouthfeel is way too light and watery. I'm not falling in love with the consistency.

Drinkablity is off the charts. I was guessing 6.5-7.5% abv but at 9% the alcohol is very well hidden. I have finished a bomber in under 20 minutes and I'm just now starting to feel the effects.

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

Pours dark brown, almost black color with 1/2 inch of tan head that has good retention. The head eventually settles to a thin cap. Sheets of lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is nothing like I expected in a dark beer. They used dark malt but there is no roasted charactor to this beer. I smell chocolate, citrus, and dark fruit. You can definately taste the C-hops in this beer but bitterness stays at the moderate level. There are hints of dark fruit and dark chocolate as well. Alcohol is well hidden. Again this is nothing like a hopped up porter or stout. The malt profile is more like a Schwarzbier. Has a substantial body with a wonderful creamy, soft texture. It is a pleasure to drink. The high ABV is the only limiting factor in the consumption of this beer. One of my favorit ST beers.

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Photo of becktone
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes 7-12-09

Eye: Black, opaque. No light gets through this guy. Just what you want from something of this style. Head formation is nice, but the retention could use some work, it does leave behind some nice lacing though. Thought that after the initial pour subsequent pours would yield a better head, not true.

Nose: Grapefruit and floral hop notes right upfront backed by some dark malt aroma, bits of roasted and chocolate. Pretty much what you'd expect from an IPA.

Tongue: Take Two Hearted and give it some more complex malt flavor and that's pretty much what you've got here. I'm getting a roasted and slightly toasty maybe almost browned or burnt grainy flavor. Hop character is very nice here, compliments the malt very nicely. Even though that black patent has been debitterized you can still taste that malt, its very specific and clear that much of this malt flavor is coming from there, yet its not acrid or ashy or black malt bitter. All in all pretty damn good, but its no Stone 11th. Alcohol is well hidden. Maybe some slight phenols/esters from the yeast-hints at bubblegum, not strong enough though for make this beer even close to being undrinkable for me though.

Feel and Drinkability: This is an easy drinking beer, body is light. Its a bit deceiving since this beer is so dark in suspects that it'll be heavy since its jet black in color, but its really just the opposite. The body is medium-light. Esters from the yeast and the black patent flavor last long on the palate. Carbonation is somewhat prickly but works with the beer, I think something softer would be even better but, hey, that's just me. This is a good beer, but for the price I'd rather be drinking Sublimely Self Righteous. No qualms with the feel, not really. As far as drinkability, I'd drink another one, if I saw it in a bar I'd prolly get it, but going out to specifically get this, prolly not going to happen again.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

If you're reading this on your internet phone at a liquor store deciding to buy this beer or not, just skip the review and buy this beer. Southern Tier's Inequity is trip for your taste buds and mind. If Alice was drinking beer her taste buds would have gone done the rabbit hole.

Southern Tier's Inequity pours very dark, almost pitch black - very much like a stout. In the light, it loses some of the darkness and becomes a very dark red. The pour yields very little head. I poured my allotment into a pint glass, but since my roommate bought the beer he got the tulip and that didn't have much head either. There's very, very little lacing on the glass as you drink it. The smell is something you wouldn't expect from the look of the beer out all. Depending on your experience with IPA's or beer in general, it can be a real mindfuck. You really, really expect a stout when looking at this, however your nose picks up a bit of grapefruit and hops. Then once you taste it, oooh. Wow. Your mouth does not expect this at all! While it may be a very straight forward IPA, cascade hops and grapefruit charactersitcs, the true joy of this comes from the look. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great tasting IPA it's just the look! Crazy. The novelty of this beer makes it a definite purchase (if you like IPA's) if you've never had it before, after that is left up to your discretion! It drinks well, the mouthfeel is thick enough and it's very drinkable - not too bitter.

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

"The blackened ale", as it's referred to by its brewers, is only partially that. Sure, perhaps away from the source it appears black but with any amount of back light behind it the beer becomes lined with a glistening shade of maroon. It appears especially moonlit along its base and sides (the center is steadily opaque). The surface is left desolate and, minus the odd dash of lacing, the glass too remains a vacant canvas.

The brewers believe this beer to be "the contrary to what one may expect from an IPA". Surely they must mean appearance wise because this is *exactly* what I hope my IPAs to smell like! This comes as no surprise, however, given the beer is brewed (and dry-hopped) with Chinook, Cascade, Willamette and Centennial hops. Plus, a malt bill that contains only pale and debittered chocolate malts means there is nothing to stand in their way.

And that pertains to flavour as well. The chocolate malt imparts little taste, perhaps maybe a faint hint of cocoa-powder, and the pale malt provides only a teacup size serving of biscuits and toffee cake. Once again, hops outweigh malts by a portion of at least 3:1. The taste is predominantly citrusy with an herbal undercoating and peppy notes of cedar and pine as well as brisk shots of a cinnamon-spiced mochachino.

Curiously, the one area where the contribution of the hops is not overstated is the mouthfeel. The aftertaste shuffles between the hop-induced flavours of cedar and pine wood and tropical citrus fruits but, oddly enough, bitterness is hardly stressed. In fact, the texture is almost sliver thin and the beer just breezes over the palate. Furthermore, if this label is to be believed, the beer is 9%. Please, I'm not buying it!

Superman has Lex Luthor, Wild E. Coyote has the Roadrunner; Mario has Bowser, Sherlock Holmes has Professor Moriarty. Peter Griffin has the Giant Chicken, Inspector Gadget & Dr. Claw and Harry Potter has Lord Vol- he who should not be named. Spiderman has a few (Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Venom) and now Un*Earthly has its own antithesis.

Like all arch nemeses, Iniquity shares strong connections with it's foe (the budding, obnoxious hoppiness). It may also be its most threatening enemy - if there's anything that can compete with Southern Tier's DIPA it's their "black" DIPA. In fact, the first time I tried this a friend had split his bottle with me. I loved it so much I had to go buy more for myself. Hum, looks like it may also turn out to be Un*Earthly's most recurring enemy too...

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

Roasted coffee bean black that fails the opacity test when backlit. That's okay, this stuff wasn't brewed to be an RIS. It's actually reddish chestnut in color and has a stupendous looking cap of golden caramel colored foam. The lid is incredibly sticky and is beginning to lay down some of the best looking lace that I've seen in weeks. Maybe months.

Debittered black malt was probably just used for color because it sure isn't appreciated in the nose. Instead, good ol' citrus fruity American hops have the run of the joint. A lineup that includes Cascade, Chinook, Centennial (dry-hopping only) and Willamette is hard to beat, especially given this brewery's chops when it comes to the little green cones.

Southern Tier has done it yet again. Iniquity actually tastes like a black DIPA rather than a hoppy Imperial porter or stout. The key is a perfectly calibrated amount of black malt that is easily swamped by hoppy goodness. If this is a mixture of two different beers, they got the percentages pretty much perfect.

Flavors include candied orange and grapefruit peel swimming in dark chocolate and dark caramel sauce. A fraction too much sweetness hurts drinkability... but only a little. On second thought, whenever I start looking forward to the next mouthful as soon as the current one is gone, drinkability is up there. No appreciable alcohol (other than by the central nervous system) helps as well.

The mouthfeel is some kind of impressive. It's heavily silky smooth and lush and plush and nougat chewy and lip sticky and ideally bubbled and... oh what a sensory treat this beer is. A perfect score got some serious consideration.

Southern Tier has many, many more hits than misses. In fact, their misses fit on one hand with fingers to spare. In the still sparsely populated category of Black DIPAs, Iniquity is a bull's eye. I would gladly pay $6.99 for another bomber. And another... and another... and another...

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Photo of beer2day
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a wafer thin head. Burgundy tones. Decent retention, though, and long thin lacing.

Big nose. Chocolate, roast malt, raspberry, cherry, and molasses all present.

Hits with chocolate sweetness and roast flavor. Finishes tart with a very nice hop presence.

Expecting a little more in the feel, but this is a dark ale rather than a stout.

Alcohol hits a little hard, but man this is a very easy sipper.

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Photo of JVEyck309
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle poured into tulip glass

Dark black, held up to the light, some bloody crimson burgundy colors. Nose is a mix of a DIPA grassy hops and some malt notes of raisons brown sugar, bready, etc. Taste is more on the malt side, a bit syrupy, a bit chocolate, on the sweet side. Definitely way better as it warms up.. high abv is totally hidden. I'm not overly impressed but certainly a nice beer.

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

Southern Tier Iniquity
22 oz brown bomber
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Love the bottle and love the Southern Tier design.

On to the beer -

Pours a solid black with light chocolate brown highlights on the the bottom. Khaki colored head forms and leave some random dots of lace.

Interesting nose with whiffs of mocha, dairy and spicy hops.

A syrupy and sugary sweet brew with a candy bar chocolate thing going on. Complex and more enjoyable after each sip. Becomes better as it warms up. Hershey chocolate smoothness with a big, malty backbone. A serious hop profile on the finish with some grapefruit tartness & citrus flavors.

Very interesting beer here, almost like a stout and IPA combination. Original, dynamic and pretty friggin' tasty.

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Photo of Anthony1
3.29/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark brown color, nearly black; a minimal amount of light will shine through. Great lace (chunky and ringlike after each sip). The head starts off well and seems to hold its shape at the end

Smells like a dark brown ale with a generous amount of hops tossed in. Well balanced with a light chocolate malt aroma mixed in.

Chocolate, cocoa, cream, hops all blended together in beer frappe (thick body, low carbonation). The aftertaste is bitter and lasts for at least fifteen seconds.

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

Poured from the bottle a deep purplish-brown with a thin, large-bubbled tan head.

Aroma of sweet caramel malts, floral hops, chocolate, vanilla, and licorice.

Sweet and malty upfront with dark fruits and a deepening coffee and chocolate note towards the finish. The 9% alcohol drops a tingle on the tongue with every sip.

Medium bodied with a touch of stickiness and moderate carbonation.

A very interesting twist on an IIPA. Putting this in a 12 ounce bottle would be enough. Definitely worthy of a try.

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