A few weeks back I was fortunate to attend a beer pairing dinner at Summer Winter restaurant in Burlington, MA featuring three selections by Southern Tier. Tonight’s beer, their Iniquity Imperial Black Ale was paired with the main course, a fantastic smoked “voodoo” duck (see the full menu below). One of Southern Tier’s reps was in attendance to introduce each beer, and answer questions at the end of the dinner. This was a great night, and well worth the price of admission. Great beers, and the food paired with it was equally delicious. I’d never heard of a “beer pairings” dinner, but it goes to show how complex some of the craft brews now available can be. Having the Southern Tier rep there was a nice added bonus.
So on to the beer at hand. This one, in my view, was the star of the night, and sampling the bottle I brought home from the tasting tonight proves it was no fluke. It pours a thick, dark color which at first appeared to be a dark dark brown, but on holding it up to the light, what little passes through appears red. A nice, creamy head on top which laces nicely on the glass as it recedes. Lots of notes battling for your nose’s attention on this one including bready malts, coffee, herbs, chocolate, licorice, caramel/toffee, and finally citrus…wow! A very complex nose on this one, and I spent a good 5 minutes just trying to pick out as many as I could. I probably even missed a few.
As you’d expect when you watch it pour, the taste on this beer is big. Medium to full mouth feel, and a bit surprisingly, medium carbonation. The primary flavors which come through are licorice, coffee, pine, roasted malts and herbs. The finish has a hint of bitterness and alcohol warmth, but watch out…it checks in at 9.0% ABV. This is a wonderfully complex and full bodied craft beer. Drinkability suffers a bit not from the alcohol content, but rather from all of the flavors competing for your attention. This is one to savor and enjoy.
Vitals: Poured from a Bomber at 42F at 9.0% ABV