STYLE: Imperial Black Ale
APPEARANCE: Black…about 90% opaque, but some light creeps through around the edges
HEAD: Toasted marshmallow-colored, piled high, resilient
LACING: Excellent…clings in stratified layers
NOSE: I love the cognitive dissonance when a pitch-black beer smells like a big, bright IPA. Cascade hops dominate…big, bitter grapefruit overtones with lots of other citrus fruits (tangerines, oranges, lemons) detectable. Definitely an IPA.
TASTE: Excellent. Instead of going the Russian Imperial Stout route and trying to balance a huge hop profile with massive, thick malty sweetness, Southern Tier went 100% IPA. There’s a touch of dark roasted malt, but it’s drowned out entirely by the aggressive, but delicious citrusy hops. Good bitterness and a touch of alcohol burn at the end round out this well-crafted brew.
MOUTHFEEL: Lush and creamy, but not heavy at all. Proving yet again that dark beers aren’t necessarily heavy beers. This is a great brew to roll around your palate.
DRINKABILITY: Very high. The highlight (for me) of the draft options at RFD in DC. Wish it was readily available in my neck of the woods.
RATING: 4 Hops