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Grand Arbor - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Grand ArborGrand Arbor

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

249 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 249
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 7
Gots: 25 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JimmyFlatRock on 01-10-2014

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 249 | Reviews: 48
Photo of barleybadger64
4.31/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hazy golden color, nice effervescence with malty sweet/fruit notes. Taste was similar. In general, this is what I look for in a saison and was very pleased with the beer. The maple syrup was in balance and provided a light but noticeable mouthfeel. I'd buy again.

Photo of dorianmarley
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a bright golden brown with a white head and sticky lacing.

Nose is sweet, whole grain bread, maple candy, lemon zest, and conifer.

Taste is astringent with caramel, almond, wheat bread, and sour gummy.

Mouthfeel is very full. It is the highlight of this beer. Pleasant bit of oil slickness and mild carbonation.

Overall, this is a pleasant ale that is well-made but lacks a lot of character.

Photo of teromous
3.22/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light hazy golden body with a tall thick fluffy white head. Good lacing.

Aroma: Spicy aroma and the smell of wet brown paper towels. It's an average smelling farmhouse ale.

Taste: Spicy flavor, clove, and a touch of wood character at the back. It's important to note that the label says "ale brewed with maple syrup." I don't pick up anything unique to maple syrup.

Mouthfeel: It has a good mouthfeel. It's just dry enough to let some of the bitterness to come through without muddying it up.

Overall: It's a well crafted farmhouse ale. It definitely won't disappoint if you're looking for a good farmhouse ale. Unfortunately there wasn't anything unique in this beer, which was disappointing given the claim of maple syrup on the bottle. It didn't appear to effect the color of the beer, the aroma, or the flavor. I would recommend skipping it unless you're just looking for a regular farmhouse ale.

Photo of hburhenne
4.73/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent dlbeer with dinner out

Photo of JayQue
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much better than I expected!!!! A lot of American Saisons are all lemon zest and little yeast or funk. This beer has a definite lemony presence but the Belgian yeast and (to a lesser extent) musty barnyard funk are present. Pours a slightly hazy bright straw gold color with a huge bubbly white head. Good head retention and wide bands of thin lacing on the glass.

Taste has lemon, yeast and some funk. The maple is noticeable but wisely under-done. mouthfeet is rich and a little tart. Overall a pretty decent Saison

Photo of tillmac62
3.22/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear amber, slightly darker than golden. World Class head volume, normal retention and poor lacing.

Light nose of banana, clove and a hint of funk.

Light medium body with a smooth texture. Below normal carbonation, with little effervescence in the finish.

The flavor profile is intense, complex and reasonably balanced other than for the phenolics. It begins with a blend of flavors that never really separate. It comes across as a muddled blend of citrus, spice, sweetness and a slight funk. This carries to the middle where the phenolics take over and produce a medicinal quality. As this flaw fades, a sweet background is evident (but has no characteristic identifiable as maple). The finish is a lingering medicinal phenolic aftertaste that is less than pleasant.

Photo of barczar
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is lightly barnyard/bubblegum funky, with a ton of cardboard. Subtle bruised apple, light spice.

Flavor is extremely woody and earthy, very savory, yet mapley sweet and toasted, with bandaid phenols. The finish is fairly bitter and a touch peppery. Becomes a bit burnt. Would love to try by a campfire, with some marshmallows.

One of those that I can't decide if I enjoy it or not. Aroma, no. Flavor...kinda.

Photo of Yancey82
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had at Pittsburgh Winter BeerFest.

Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

BOTTLE: 1 pint 9.4 fl oz. Brown glass. Black and silver pry-off pressure cap. Generally appealing label art.

8.0% ABV. Served cold into a goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. White colour. Soft. Fluffy. Creamy and inviting. Retention is good - about 8 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Vibrant yellow-copper. Its strange clarity suggests this was filtered. Lacks a farmhouse ale's characteristic haze. Translucent.

Appears well-carbonated. It's not a great look for a farmhouse ale, but it's appealing outside of style conventions.

AROMA: Doughy yeast, wheat, maple syrup, maple sugars, candi notes, faint orange marmalade, banana, clove, and bready malts. The emphasis on yeasty banana and clove (over a more traditional lemon peel or white pepper) lends this a distinctly German feel. The absence of any brettanomyces funkiness similarly leads this away from a discernable Belgian character. If anything, this an American farmhouse ale, as nothing aromatically suggests it adheres to traditional Belgian takes on the style.

The maple syrup is quite reticent, and if I tried this blind I doubt I'd even be able to identify it - though it does lend this more sweetness than a farmhouse ale usually features.

It's pleasant overall, but far from ideal or traditional. Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE: Overly sugary and sweet, with definite syrupy characteristics - though to its detriment, I don't know that maple is readily identifiable as the culprit. If you're going to brew with maple syrup, brew with maple syrup; I'd like to see that intensified.

After only a few sips, it becomes evident this is anything but a Belgian style farmhouse ale. It's not Belgian; the banana and clove heavy yeast profile is more in line with a Bavarian hefeweizen or an American wheat, and the doughiness observed in the aroma is absent in the taste. It's also not farmhouse; there's no barnyard-redolent straw or hay, and no funkiness (from brettanomyces yeast or otherwise) is present. The malt-heavy sweet build, on the other hand, suggests a Belgian tripel - though without Trappist yeast this ends up rather imbalanced and unsure of itself.

I'm not really sure what they were after with this one, but the sweetness throws off the balance and it lacks the spice profile (especially white pepper) needed to satisfy stylistic convention. The hopping is aptly minimal, and grassy in character with subsidiary floral characteristics.

Ultimately, this is a simple shallow brew with a plain taste. I can't say I'm a big fan.

TEXTURE: Overcarbonated. Overly full-bodied and thick. Has a syrupy heavy feel on the palate. The old trope of beer being liquid bread comes to mind. It's not the peppery refreshing feel of a proper Belgian style farmhouse ale. Smooth and wet enough to keep it drinkable.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh or rough. The alcohol is noticeable, but not overt.

OVERALL: A swing and a miss from the cats at Southern Tier. Those hoping for a traditional Belgian farmhouse ale with interesting maple syrup notes will be quite disappointed. There's nothing here for the discerning drinker, but it's not an undrinkable brew. I'll finish the glass, but this just isn't working as a cohesive gestalt whole of a beer, and frankly it's a bit of a mess.

As a side note, none of the "tasting notes" on the label are even remotely close to being accurate. "Earthy Aroma"? No. "Mild bitterness?" Definitely not. (And why would that be a good thing in a Belgian style farmhouse ale anyway!?) "Dry tart finish?" Nah.

C-

Photo of jaswilson2
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An odd first sip that keeps this from being rated higher

Photo of Brenden
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Grand Arbor is a gold-orange color, mostly clear with a glowing brightness. The white head rises to one finger's height and shows good retention and some impressive stick. It keeps up while throwing down some very nice lacing to the bottom of the glass.
The smell isn't sweet. Instead, it starts off with a bit of must, then offers up some herb and leaf while a light peppery sort of spiciness hits the nostrils.
The taste starts off as a fairly traditional take on Saison, dry and light. It develops notes of pale and darker fruits, a bit sweet but not very, before some drier woods come in. Some clove and a mix of sweet spices and kitchen spices lie lightly underneath, and maple isn't introduced as a major player so much as suggested. It does come in at the finish, even while it remains on the dry side.
The body is medium, the character semi-dry leaning dry from start to finish. It's plenty crisp and smooth with a moderate carbonation while spiciness hits the palate evenly.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

In attempt to dry the beer, rather than sweetening it, the mild use of adjunct sugars to would give added fuel for yeast consumption. Thus added alcohol, dryness and carbonation all work to enliven the flavors already present in the beer.

Southern Tier's vernacular take on this tradition sees a Belgian-style farmhouse ale with a heavy yeast and golden-straw color. Bready, frothy and persistent, the creamy scent is laced with banana, white pepper, clove and apple for a scent that straddles saison and the hefeweizens of Germany.

Its creamy sweetness massages the tastebuds with the bready sweetness of cookie dough and fresh yeast. With green apple, faint lemon, orange and pear each taking turns layering on the palate; the rebuttal from spice sets in with white pepper, clove, grassy hops and a glimpse of smoky cumin as the maple reveals more of a peanut skin and shaven pine character.

Its high carbonation keeps the long and lingering residual sweetness held in a creamy and bready state as its sweetness and malt textures are slow to relax. This blanketed character keeps the spice, earth and dryness muted as the ale favors sweetness and added body more than authentic versions do.

Photo of PostRockandCats
3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Draught. Sample.

Not what I expected! The bartender kept giving me random samples at random once we made the beer dweeb connection. In the din of the pub, I didn't catch anything other than "Farmhouse Ale" when he passed this to me, so I was expecting something drier. But, I love blind tastings...

Got pear and slight pepper at the nose. Loved the light carbonation and creamy mouthfeel.

Honey more than maple up front going right to "tree" notes that are more indicative of the maple used in the brewing process. Goes to fruity graininess for a second and the the maple rick rolls you, throws horns and coats the back of your throat with a pleasant sweetness that's just perfect.

Photo of HamdenHector
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: cloudy; golden colored; 2+ finger white head that receded slowly to a thin cap; nice thick lacing;

S: maple up front; then Belgian yeast takes over;

T: Belgian yeast, followed by lemon zest at mid-palate; some bitterness from mid-palate through finish; maple comes through a little at the end; alcohol isn't very evident until well after the swallow;

Light bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: different take on the style; for me, the maple didn't help, bit it wasn't overdone; yeast was VERY prevalent;

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +6.1%

750 ml bottle, bottled on 12/04/13. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a hazy dark gold color with about an inch and a half off-white head. Head retention is decent, and there's a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like citrus peel, straw, peppery spice, apple, and a bit of maple. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some wheat/grainy malt, pears, earthiness and a bit of bubblegum. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and has soft carbonation which helps make this easy to drink. I think it's a good overall brew, definitely worth a try. $8.99 a bottle.

Photo of lionhrt9
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Light golden reddish cloudy appearance. finger and half slightly creamy head that diminished to a half finger cap and good lacing with moderate carbonation

S - maple sweet smell with some citrus back notes, not pungent smells. It's like a wheat beer

T- slightly hoppy with that maple syrup helping it along from start to finish. Nice citrus notes to finish, not too bitter just enough. Hops hang out between sips.

M - creamy very nice crisp clean finish

O - Really liked this beer, but I'm a sucker for a good Belgium beer, this one fits the bill and with 8% by volume its not a little over flavored weak beer, this one stands up. Southern Tier knocked this one out of the park for me.

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/4/2013. Pours lightly hazy bright gold color with a 2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon zest, orange zest, pear, apple, banana, coriander, clove, pepper, wheat, bread, herbal, grass, light wood, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy maple notes; with great strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange zest, pear, apple, banana, coriander, clove, pepper, wheat, bread, herbal, grass, bubblegum, light wood, and yeast earthiness. Moderate yeast spice on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon/orange zest, pear, apple, coriander, clove, pepper, bubblegum, herbal, grass, light wood, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy maple flavors; with a great malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent saison style. All around great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy maple flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of mactrail
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Color is a rich yellow in the Gulpener tulip. Lots of carbonation provides abundant foam and lacing, and a big spritziness in the mouth. Some woody and flowery notes in the aroma. It's fresh straw with applejack. The alcohol fumes add to the effect.

The yeast flavors are hardly subtle. The drying sensation is very pronounced, as is the bitter and woody yeasty bite. Warm and malty with plenty of sweetness. Everything about this beer is more bold and dramatic than the typical Saison. Fortunately, however, the maple syrup is the exception and it provides a subtle tangy taste and a fruity sweetness.

This is a very pleasant and highly drinkable beer that channels the Belgian style vividly. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Wine World and Spirits in north Seattle for $11.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Hazed peach color. Two fingers of pillowy white head. Retention is about average and a bunch of irregular lacing is left.

3.75 S: Peppery spiciness with earthy undertones. WIldflowers, apricot, and apple. Clove, wet grass, dirty woodiness. The maple syrup gives a few notes of complexity. Tart orange to finish.

3.75 T: Tastes just like the nose. Pepper and clove spiciness. Yeasty breadiness. Apricot, apple, orange on the fruit front. Wildflowers, grass and hay. Dusky woodiness.

3.75 M: Medium body. Good spritzy carbonation. Lightly creamy and smooth enough. A tinge of booziness on finish.

3.5 D: Good beer. Worth a try.

Photo of corby112
2.84/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy bright golden orange color with tangerine edges and a two finger, pillowy off-white head that very slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Very good retention, taking a while to settle and leaving large streaks of soapy lacing on the way down.

Slightly earthy aroma with some floral hops, grass, hay and subtle farmhouse funk countered by sweet malt backbone, alcohol and light fruit esters. The funk/saison yeast character is muted until it warms up considerably and is still pretty weak once I pick it up. Subtle perfume like presence with hints of raisin, apple and pear sweetness countering the earthier notes and faint farmhouse funk. I'm sure some of the sweetness comes from the maple syrup but I wouldn't have been able to pick it out if I didn't read that it was used on the label.

Medium body with some earthy bitterness and subtle earthy funk followed by light fruit and strong alcohol sweetness. Not nearly as dank, earthy and/or funky as I prefer with overwhelming alcohol flavor dominating the palate. Floral and slightly bitter earthy hops along with faint hay/straw followed by apple and pear sweetness. Very subtle saison yeast flavor but it's nearly completely overpowered by the sweetness and strong alcohol. Some warmth in the finish but has more astringent alcohol flavor than heat. Disappointing.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle - $8.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, darkened yellow body with a medium-sized, powdered-white head.

Smell: A stirred up melange of fruitiness and florals, there's lemon, bitter orange, white peach, banana, which, itself, is mixed up with a heavier spiciness, a teensy sprinkle of alcohol, honeyed coated wheat malt.

Taste: Honeyed, pale, wheat-laden, lightly grainy maltiness tempered by an earthy spiciness, a little tart citrus, floral, some dusty banana and peach, a dot of camphor as the yeasty phenols are introduced. Maple flavor present, a little implied sweetness embodied, which carries you to the drying finish as the spiciness ramps up with a hint of the alcohol warmth detected.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: Didn't out-and-out love it, but, I will say, it's much better than anticipated. The maple is noted with being overdone and ultimately taking away from the final product and the underlying saison isn't overly sweet, alcoholic, or flabby on the tongue as so many American-made saison can be.

Photo of portia99
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a faintly hazy golden color touching on orange with a huge three fingers of fluffy white head that shows excellent staying power and absolutely coats the entire surface of the glass with foamy lacing.

S -Bright aroma, filled with citrus - lemons and oranges. Super spicy with cloves, cinnamon, pepper, a bit of sweet pickles, wintergreen, phenolic, faintly tart. Some funk that is earthy, but a bit odd/different from the typical funk character of farmhouse ales. Bottle says it is brewed with maple syrup...not picking this up in the nose, however. A lot of good in here and some unusuals that I don't know exactly what to think. First sip will tell a lot...I think.

T - Very herbal up front - wintergreen is dominant, peppermint, black pepper and cloves mix in with one or two other things I can't quite identify. A bit like a Ricola cough drop (which I like) - but not exactly - just a lot of stuff going on here. Lightly tart, fairly earthy hop character that also shows some grassiness and a mild bitterness. As in the aroma...maple - not really getting it. Quite unusual and very herbal - one of the most herbal character beers I have had.

M - Strong carbonation - quite tingly and also showing some foamy qualities as well. Super herbal - cool, almost menthol-like at times. Tart, dry, earthy in hop and malt character...although well subdued by the yeasty herbal-ness.

O - Very odd beer...I waiver on whether I like it or not. This is variable by sip. Tons of Belgian yeast character, well out of proportion with anything else to be found in this beer. Definitely a mixed bag. If you like spicy and herbal beers, this will be right up your alley. I do tend to like this type of beer, but this may be just a bit over the top for me. A full 750ml bottle is a bit tough to get thru on my own...sharing would be recommended. Definitely an intense herbal experience that I still am not sure which side of the pass/fail line it falls on. I am still drinking it half way thru the bottle (which is a positive) but not sure I am going to finish it (a negative). Herbal beer lovers rejoice...pretenders, take notice.

Photo of metter98
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that died down a bit and consistently left a short head covering the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of Belgian yeast and peppery spices are present in the nose.
T: The taste starts out like a saison but seems a little maltier and hints if maple syrup are present towards the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The addition of maple syrup to this saison adds some complexities. I liked how the maple wasn't overdone.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a wonderful beer, but i am a die hard maple lover, so maybe thats part of it. it looks fluffy headed and pale bronze color. the aroma is sweet and yeasty like a belgian tripel, and in fact, i think it misses the saison/farmhouse mark the label sets for it by a considerable margin, way more of a tripel with all the sugar and higher gravity. the taste is better, richer, and not sweet at all despite the addition of maple. i find it to be not maple syrup but running sap. its less intense, not condensed, and frankly a little more drinkable than the syrup might be. earthy and different, with a medium but not unique grain body to it. the alcohol is well hidden but appropriate for the body here. i love the dryer finish with all the maple, and i appreciate how well carbonated this thing is, its easy drinking flavorful beer thats not like others i have had. it definitely doesnt fit neatly into any styles, but sometimes those are the beers that we love the most. maple is always a plus for me, so maybe i am biased, but i think this is up there with the best of southern tier.

Photo of rangerred
4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip out of a 750ml bottle.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a huge fluffy white head. Very nice head retention and awesome lacing clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell is extremely spicy like a good saison should be. Coriander and citrus with a great Belgian farmhouse yeast character. A bit peppery and floral.

The flavor has a huge citrus and peppery hit right away. Lots of tangerine along with coriander. A hint of earthiness is present and the maple syrup is just barely detectable in the background. Very prickly mouthfeel from the abundant carbonation along with a drying finish.

Overall, a very nice saison that has just enough uniqueness to set it apart. I really love this style and the maple syrup adds just a touch of earthiness to balance out the spice and citrus. Very nice and worth picking up.

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Grand Arbor from Southern Tier Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 249 ratings.