For Beer Nerds, By Beer Nerds

594-TALK NERDY TO MEI’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn about beer.  I usually try to do this before others have the chance to point it out, but unfortunately I give them plenty of opportunities (see all the posts below).  This is actually a great thing, because learning about beer is great fun.

In my beer travels, I’ve come across people with amazingly high beer IQ’s.  These are people who brew their own beer, create their own mash, can taste the difference between top fermenting and bottom fermenting and can eloquently explain all the nuances that go into making a great beer.

Well I’ve found a brewer that will unite us all; experts, noobs and everyone in between.  The brewery is Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York.  Kevin, my local beer guru, explained to me that Southern Tier is young brewery, and everything they make is kind of an experiment, as they are still exploring their repertoire.  Experiments or not, their beers are delicious, original and affordable.  It’s a pretty rare combination and one that I appreciate.

The other thing I’ve realized about these guys is that they are a great choice for beer nerds.  I discovered this when I looked at the label of their Imperial Iniquity Black Ale.  I know it’s a shock, I actually read a label, but I was impressed with what I saw…

photo-1As you can see from the picture, these guys wear the beer science on their sleeves.  They lay out the ingredients and the process and even show the recommended drinking temperature.  They also say something about Plato, but this is where their knowledge outstrips mine.  Beer philosopher, perhaps?  Anyway, the info on the outside is only outdone by the flavor on the inside.  This is a unique and satisfying beer.

The pour of this Dark Ale was inky black, with a thin toffee-colored head that disappeared in a hurry.  The aroma was chockfull o’ coffee and caramelly malt, with a hint of hop spice dancing in the background.

photo-2The first sip greeted my tongue with the dark and lush flavor of roasted malt, which shifted to a satisfying coffee taste, and finally faded with a piney bitterness of hops.  It was a little thin on the tongue for a beer with such a stout taste, but probably not for an ale, which it is after all.  With an ABV of 9%, the beer finished with the perfect embrace of alcohol.  Mmmm, this is a really special brew.

I love big-character beers, and I love brewers that put an original spin on the beers they brew.  The gang over at Southern Tier has my full attention.  Everything I’ve tasted from them has impressed, and I can’t wait to dig deeper and see what their other “experiments” taste like.  Along the way, I’ll keep reading labels and keep learning about beer.  In time, I might even figure out what plato is.   Anyone want to enlighten me?

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Categories: Beer


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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5 Comments on “For Beer Nerds, By Beer Nerds”

  1. October 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    Great beer! I reviewed it a while back ( Love the dark IPA’s/Black Ales/Hoppy Stouts, whatever the current term is.

    The Plato is basically a measure of sugar in the beer. There are 2 measures, one at the time before the yeast is added to the beer, you original plato (or specific gravity, depending on the scale being used) and then the final plato (or final gravity). These two measurements will tell you how much sugar the yeast has consumed, from which you can derive several data points for your beer, like attenuation, alcohol, and freezing point, etc.

    Jim, I highly recommend brewing, since you appear to have a passion for beer. It takes beer appreciation to a new level!

    • Jim
      October 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

      I’m really interested in brewing and will probably have Santa outfit me this year. I know it will provide me with tons of insight and knowledge, and generally increase my enjoyment of beer.
      I’m going to have my wife help me out, as she’s a research scientist and a great baker. I figure someone who loves good beer AND is great at precise measurements and controlling temperatures AND has worked successfully with yeast in the kitchen AND is a cutie is the perfect brewing partner.

  2. October 8, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    Jim, why would you brew beer in a Santa outfit? Maybe a lab coat or train engineer outfit, but not a Santa outfit. I kid. Anyway, I have a few bottles of Southern Tier that I’m hoping to try soon – including their Pumpking and Ja-Vah.

    @SimplyBeer, thanks for the Plato lesson, I needed it too!

    • Jim
      October 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

      The wifey said if I dressed up like Santa, she’d be a naughty elf…

  3. Jim
    October 8, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

    BTW, I had this beer right after the Black Orchard from the Bruery. It was like the antidote!

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