Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Southern Tier Iniquity

Iniquity is hardly a new beer. Southern Tier has been making this imperial Black IPA for three years now. So why did I wait so long to review it? I dunno. I was actually a little hesitant to review this bottle as it was four months old at the time. Surely this wouldn't be anything special, right?

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (683) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 26, 2012
Sometimes a beer is perfect (or nearly so) and it’s difficult to explain why. That’s how I feel about Southern Tier Iniquity - an imperial Black IPA (I think) that’s an absolutely delectable, well-balanced, and highly drinkable beer even though it’s not a very complex palate.

I poured a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Beer is a dark brown, coffee-like color while pouring, but a completely opaque black when in the glass. Head is a light tan froth which laces and retains very well.

Smell: All three of the hop scents at once: pine, citrus and flowers. A sweet confectionary scent as well and just a hint of roasted malt.

Taste: I put off reviewing Southern Tier Iniquity for three years because I figured it was just another black IPA. I was even hesitant to review the bottle I had since it was four months old at the time. That all being said, one sip into this brew and I was shocked and awed. Huge hop character from beginning to end, and much like the nose, it’s not just pine or citrus or flowers - but all three in tandem.

It begins with a surprising amount of sweetness, almost of grape flavor or some kind of fruit-flavored syrup. Piney, resiny hops great the palate with a sticky bitterness. Through the middle comes a lighter bitterness of flowers, and then finishes with distinct orange citrus on the end. What’s interesting is that there’s only two types of malts in here according to the bottle, neither of which is roasted malt, so any kind of detectable stout qualities (and there are some) is almost a placebo effect. A subtle taste of sweet milk chocolate can be found somewhere towards the end, but the hops remain the star throughout. A remarkable incorporation of intense, sticky bitterness that’s never truly cloying.

Drinkability: Like most Southern Tier imperial beers, Iniquity hides its potency quite well considering it’s 9% ABV. Absolutely no alcohol warmth or taste whatsoever, and it doesn’t overwhelm the drinker, either. The mouthfeel is certainly a bit bigger than your average ale of the style, but still has a crisp texture. The hops eventually do linger, leaving a sweet, piney aftertaste, but it’s easily tolerable. This is a very versatile beer since it would stand up to a hearty meal easily, but is sweet and tasty enough to enjoy as a liquid dessert. Probably one of the best sleepers on the craft beer market today.

Grade: 10/10

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