Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Southern Tier – Iniquity (Black Ale)

Mike found this one at Kappy’s in Saugus, MA along with a few other Southern Tier brews. I have sampled Southern Tier beer before and found it to be strong flavored and for the most part, delightful. 

This one intrigued me particularly when I began to read the bottle.
“…Wishes of good fortune often collaborate with the brewer’s creativity to yield dramatic results. We carefully chose the name for this imperial IBA, 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 black an ale. We suggest that they don’t rely on conventional standards. Allow the darkness to consume you. Cheers!”

What? Did I read that right? A black IPA? An Imperial Brown Ale? I have got to try this. It pours, well, black. With a dark brown head like an oatmeal stout. The smell though, betrays its origins. A hoppy and strangely smoky smell, it is one of the most unique aromas I’ve ever sniffed out of a glass. Like a contradiction, it plays back and forth between hoppy sting and malty warmth. This one is going to be interesting.
Like the aroma, this one’s taste is a trick on the tongue. It is up front an IPA, and ends with a smoked maltiness that is characteristic, almost, of a Rauchefetzen. This is likely a hybrid, an IPA balanced with smoked malts to add the dark color and different taste. It is a pairing you would not normally expect. I can safely say I have never tasted something like this. 
It is 9% ABV, and something I want to taste over and over again. It is for the IPA lover bored of citrusy hops, or for the porter lover yearning for a zing. A truly unique experience. 


Sierra Nevada – Harvest (Wet Hop Ale)


Make Beer, Not War


  1. Allan

    I really need to try this it sounds wonderful.


  2. Brad -

    Definitely one of the best brews I’ve had in a long time.

    Between Iniquity, Gemini, Unearthly, Choklat and Backburner… Southern Tier might have just overtaken Stone as my #1 seed of US breweries.

  3. Andy

    I was in Montreal recently and had a ‘Black IPA’ at Dieu de Ciel micro-brewery. Delicious! I love hoppy IPAs and Stouts, so it’s the perfect cross. When will the Portsmouth Brewery make one?


    I don’t know if you get Avery out east, but their New World Porter is an interesting one. My most succinct description would be that it’s a porter/IPA hybrid. Really interesting beer, though not as “big” as Iniquity.

  5. The Beer Babe

    I have not had the big red, I’ll have to look for that one.

    On the smokiness – sometimes its literal. In this case, the malts are roasted before being added to the brewing process, and a bit of toasty, smoked flavor comes through. Other times its a feeling that reminds me of the smoked peat taste in a good scotch, or the hickory taste that shows up in smoked salmon.

    Great questions – I am a bit notorious for making up words to describe beer, so thanks for asking!

  6. Lost

    Two comments:

    #1: Have you tried the Imperial Big Red? Just had it this evening and it’s ridiculously good!

    #2: I’m intrigued by your comments about smokiness. When you say that, do you mean smoky, like hickory?


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