So, remember when we told you that Stone was bringing back the Stone Sublimely Righteous Black IPA? If not, that article is right here (you may want to check it out, as it explains how a black IPA is made). As we mentioned at the end of that article, we were working on getting a bottle in, and that’s precisely what we did.

Now, in our prior article, we went into some of the history of the Stone Sublimely Righteous Black IPA, but it also shows up on the back label on the bottle (pictured up above). So, you get that bit of the story there, as well as the marketing “thing” they’re doing with upside down text (and sometimes whole labels) on the Stone bottles. We had the bottle in-hand – now, it was time to open it up.

Pouring it into the glass, you might be tempted to think (if you didn’t know what was in there) that it was a stout or a porter. But, no, that’s not it at all (just the use of different malts to get the darker coloration). And, as soon as you put it to your nose, you know that this is something different. You get a bright hit of juicy citrus on the nose, just like you would with a good IPA.

On the tongue, however, the Stone Sublimely Righteous Black IPA paints a different picture. This is no summertime hazyboi – no, this is an IPA from back in the day. It’s very smooth, and very crisp – but it’s also very bitter. I mean, that 90 IBUs rating belies that, but it can be a shock to our tongues today. We’re used to strong IPAs, but the IBUs are generally not that high, and the hops used tend to bring other flavors in that soften the hit. Here, that bitterness hits you up front, and softens out a bit into a slightly metallic aftertaste.

A friend I was talking to as I was working through was asking how the Stone Sublimely Righteous Black IPA was, and if it was worth seeking out. While I enjoy beer, he really knows a LOT about beer, and remembered this from back in the day. So I had to stop and figure out how to answer him. And my answer was this: “it’s a good wintertime IPA that’s not so tropical”. This is definitely not the IPA to introduce to someone who hasn’t tried an IPA, as it’ll smack them around. However, if you’re used to the bitter hops, and want to keep that IPA train rolling through the cold months, then I’d say the Stone Sublimely Righteous Black IPA is the one for you.

Details from Stone Brewing

  • Name: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA
  • Release Date: Week of January 4, 2021
  • Web:
  • Stats: 8.7% ABV; 90 IBUs
  • BeerAdvocate Score: 94
  • Availability: Nationwide Special Release
  • Packaging: 12oz six-pack bottles, 22oz bottles & draft

Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Black with reddish hue, light tan head and lively foam with good lacing
  • Aroma: Coffee, black currant, chocolate, piney, citrus, tropical fruit
  • Taste: Dark and milk chocolate, orange, raspberry, pine resin, tropical fruit, with hints of coffee
  • Palate: Medium body with solid bitterness and a nice drying character on the finish

Food Pairings

  • Starters: Smoked Rib Tips**Deep Fried Tofu with Orange Sauce, Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps, Stuffed Grape Leaves Salads/Soups: Caesar Salad, Thai-Style Salad, Potato Bacon Soup, French Onion Soup Main Courses: True Craft Burger*Competition Ribs (Smoked St-Louis Style Ribs), Pork Katzu with Ponzu Sauce, Duck a l’Orange, BBQ Jack Fruit, Chile Rellenos
  • Desserts: Whiskey in a Jar (Chocolate Cake w/Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale, toffee, bananas, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream), Cheesecake, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Dried Candied Orange Slices dipped in Chocolate
  • *Menu items available at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido and Liberty Station
  • ** Menu items available at Stone Brewing – Napa

By Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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