sublimely self righteous


Founders “Dark Penance”

93 A-

Dark Penance is a newly released fusion, appropriately labeled “Imperial Black India Pale Ale.“ It’s released as a fall seasonal, and available October through December in four-packs. Aromas release a hoppy bouquet of grapefruit peel, wild berries, evergreen, mint, and other herbs. Malts come across like coffee, dark chocolate, and a whisper of smoked barley. Additional notes give a weak impression of licorice and currant.

The palate begins in subdued sweetness, followed by a sudden flow of dark chocolate. Caramel holds its ground while hops leap from the middle, infusing flavors of grapefruit which rise toward a sour climax. As bitterness is ejected onto the back-end, Chinook hops unload a heavy undercurrent of pine and dank herbs. Malts finish in a burnt roast that rings out as rich flavors of cocoa powder and cold, black coffee. Resinous hop oils continue to cling beyond the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is creamy throughout, delivering a full, chewy body that leaves slightly dry and astringent.

Overall, I think this is the darkest, most malty Black IPA I’ve ever had (which I love). This style fits rather nicely into the rest of the Founders lineup. Although it does in fact contain 100 IBU’s of bitterness, the immense depth of roast provides a natural counterpoint of balance to taking the edge off. If you’ve ever had Stone’s Sublimely Self Righteous, this is incredibly similar, but Dark Penance has a darker depth of roast, and slightly different hop definition (I performed a side-by-side comparison to assess the differences). If you’re a fan of this novel style, you really have to check this out! I recommend it to those of you who love Double Stouts equally as much as Double IPA’s.

Known Malts: Crystal, Midnight Wheat

Known Hops: Chinook, Centennial

$11.99 / 4-pack


100 IBU

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Mike - After a pleasing night at the theatre watching Stewart Lee being a hilariously grumpy man, we suggested a quick trip to the York Tap for a sneaky half or two… However when I arrived, I spotted nothing terribly exciting on Cask (maybe Kipling… which Annis had, although the Rogue Oregasmic was a welcome option, but I’ve had that before), but in the bottle fridge I spotted a few Stone bottles. Namely a Smoked Porter (which I love), an un-oaked Arrogant Bastard, and a Sublimely Self Righteous.

Since I’ve had the other two before, I enquired about it and purchased it for my tummy to consume. It poured aggressively black and tan, and smelled so savoury and meaty it was an absolute delight. Compared to the 15th anniversary black IPA this (which was originally the 11th anniversary Stone ale) is much less sweet, with more of that leathery, meaty flavour balancing out a very intense hoppy finish.

Ratebeer reads ‘Meaty, leathery aroma, with hints of mint and pine. Medium body with dense, even carbonation; a very satisfying mouthfeel. Dark treacle and roasted malts lead the assault, which  is followed up by masses of bitter, aggressive hops; pine, leather, some ash. The finish is massive and enduring, an exceptional black ipa.’

I’d say that, given I was a pint into this 8.7% monster beer, I did ok at stringing together a few sentences there (considering how light-weight we are). It was duly passed around the table, all agreed the best adjective was 'intense’, lots of wows were heard, and then I tried some of Annis’ Kipling, which tasted of vaguely hopped water in comparison.

In all it’s fucking excellent, and all the more poignant since the bottle we mail-ordered last Autumn still hasn’t been returned… nor have we received a refund. Time to moan at Brewdog again, no? (Brewdog’s mail-order/customer service is a long and painful story of how not to run this type of business).