Back in my home brewing days I called my nano-brewery “Alchemy Brewing”. The name, and the 6-pointed star on the label, came from a passage I read in Micheal Jackson’s “The New World Guide to Beer” (Courage books, pgs 13 and 58) about how the 6-pointed star used to be the symbol for alchemy, and later brewing. This appealed to me not only because I love all that arcane science stuff being a chemist myself, but I completely loved the analogy between alchemy and brewing. Alchemy, taking a common metal and changing it into something precious and valuable – gold. Brewing, taking a common grain and changing it into something precious and valuable – beer.
So when I picked up a bottle of Southern Tier’s Iniquity and saw the 6-pointed star on it, it called to my inner one-time brewer. And when I read the nice little history of the 6-pointed star on the label along with the beer’s description I had to give it a try.
THEM : Iniquity is an imperial black ale. The grain bill includes 2-row pale malt and debittered black malt. Pretty basic, huh? Well here come the hops : chinook and cascade in the kettle, williamette in the hop back and it’s finished off with a cascade and centennial dry hop. Final ABV ends up at a listed 9%.
ME : Iniquity pours (as you’d expect) black with a medium head settling into a fine lace after a few sips. My initial take on the aroma detected light hints of the cascades/centennial hops but they were quickly taken over by a combination of roasted malt and pine. Initially the taste starts with a combination of roasted malt and coffee in the front. I started getting what appeared to me as a slight taste of caramel in the middle, and it finished in a nice piney hop bitterness. Overall I found this beer very drinkable. The roast and piney notes play well together with the hops, all of which hide the 9% ABV to the point of almost being dangerous.
I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the concept of “black ales” when they started to show up on the shelves. But the more I try them, the more I have to admit I like them and this, another solid beer made by Southern Tier, was no exception.
Coming up : My recap of the Kennett Square Brewfest, and How an internet “myth” helped influence a beer label. Time for another beer!