Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Southern Tier Brewing Company Iniquity

Good evening all. Please excuse the recent period of inactivity- I moved back up to Guildford on Sunday to start the final month of my degree and since then I've been reacquainting myself with 9am starts, coursework and exam preparation. As a result, my output over the next few weeks will unfortunately diminish in comparison to the previous month, so savour every post as they'll most likely be few and far between. Tonight I'm having a beer that combines two of my favourite flavour profiles in beers, namely dark roasted malt and fruity, resinous hops. It can only be Iniquity, a black IPA from Southern Tier Brewing Company. This brewery has graced the blog a couple of times in the past, so let's see how they fare with this relatively new beer style. Review after the pic....

Iniquity (9.0% ABV) pours a very dark brown colour, verging on black, with an off-white head that settles to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer. Not a lot of head formed during pouring but it still looks good. The aroma is characteristic of a black IPA, with roasted malt, citrus fruits, resin/pine, caramel, some chocolate and a light awareness of coffee in the background. The hops hit the olfactories first with the duality of fresh citrus fruits and resinous/piney aromas, and once the nose has acclimatised to this sensation the roasted malt begins to make itself known by gradually enveloping the hoppy aromas with chocolate and coffee. There's also a significant oaty presence, reminiscent of Ready Brek in a strange way! Despite the elevated alcohol content, I'm not getting a lot of boozy aromas on the nose, only every so often with a slight ethanol aroma vaporising from the glass. The taste brings out a lot more of the roasted malt character in comparison to the aroma, with light coffee, chocolate and yeast extract balanced against the hop-derived fruits and pine. The sweetness is also more pronounced on the palette, with burnt sugar and caramel coming through during drinking and in the finish, which is dry and fruity with some of the roasted malt flavours lingering slightly in the background. The hoppy fruits are more subdued but still manage to push through the darker flavours, although the hops themselves impart no bitterness to the finish so I'm guessing this beer was predominantly dry-hopped. The mouthfeel is quite light and the beer isn't overly carbonated, which compliments the dark flavours whilst still elevating the hops. Overall, a very good example of a black IPA, although this beer is certainly more subdued than more recent offerings that I've sampled, particularly with UK breweries such as Magic Rock (Magic 8 Ball), Windsor & Eton (Conqueror 1075) and Moor (Illusion). This certainly isn't a negative point though, as it allows the roasted malt flavours to come through whilst still allowing the pine and citrus fruits to deliver the all-important aspect that makes this beer style so different. Definitely recommended!

Until next time....

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