Grand Arbor - Southern Tier Brewing Company
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Ratings: 183 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
4.44/5 rDev +17.5%
We crack a bottle, pouring a murky, muddy-orange brew into our Founders snifters. A solid two and a half finger tall tower is created to match, consisting of massive milk bubbles suspended in an indiscernibly finite latticework of cork colored foam. This shows excellent retention, leaving thick, organic patterns of lacing around our glasses. A chill haze cuts clarity, but no sediment is noted through the first half of the bottle. Carbonation appears to be active. The aroma offers bright esters, dank vinyl resins, clean Belgian yeastiness, soft pale, wheaty, and Munich maltiness, lemon and orange peel effervescence, brown sugar sweetness, vanilla and candied maple sugars, cloven and peppery phenols, sticky nougat chew, raw honey, lavender florals, and light but spicy and grassy hops. Booze becomes more pervasive with warmth, but is at no point overwhelming. Our first impression is that the flavoring is wildly robust, vegetal, and earthy, with nice crispness and dryness to offer an abrupt but satisfying finish. As we sip, the taste begins with bittering and biting citric orange rind, musk, sawdust, black pepper and nutmeg spiciness, cedar earthiness, subtle maple sugars, sourdough breadiness, white sugar sweetness, generic chemical phenols, and bright banana esters. The middle hits with the highest peak of booze in the sip, accompanied by bubblegum and banana bread esters, brown sugar sweetness, faint maple syrup sugariness, earthen clay, airs of vegetal metallics, salted grain, and chlorine fumes. The end arrives with mild floral and earthen hoppiness, mineral-laden well water, mildly solventy booziness, plastic phenols, tin, spice of curry, marjoram, sage, and thyme, basement mustiness, earthy barnyard essence, continued sweet estery airs, lemon zest, orange pulp, and bittered, drying yeatiness. The aftertaste breathes of browned bananas, peppery booze, chemical phenol bite, dirty pale and pilsner grain, gravel, pencil lead, crisp mineral water cleanse, bitter wheaty graininess, floral and lightly soapy hops, and distant echoes of those aromatic clovey phenols. The body is on the full side of medium, and the carbonation is solidly medium. Each sip gives nice slurp and smack, but a more watery cream, froth, foam, and glug. Finishing pop is curt and crisp. The mouth is initially slicked and coated, but this softly puckers away into bone dry astringency, with a fleeting acidic tartness to the tongue. The abv is stronger for the style, but the beer drinks nicely.
Overall, what we found to be the most enjoyable aspect of this beer was its big, big flavoring. Actually, we were quite surprised that this beer came from the Southern Tier camp. In our minds they have traditionally churned out deliciously suitable stouts and IPAs, but this seems to mark a veritable transition for them into more versatile and masterful brewery. The flavoring was spot on stylistically, hitting all of the right stops, while keeping the bitterness and overt acidity at bay. The maple sugars, while present, were a bit subtle, and more of a novelty as a selling point. They did add a bit more earthiness and spice, so they weren’t a complete waste of the effort. With a higher abv it does deviate from the saison template a bit as well, but in no way does it take away from the tasting in the end. By keeping it dry and biting to the far reaches of the tongue it helps keep you coming back for more, and maintains a level of freshness and crispness throughout. This is truly a fantastic beer, but what makes it so fun is that it is from an American brewery, and they really make it their own by making it so robust and bold in each aspect of its being. We will be searching for a few more bottles of this tomorrow.
01-21-2014 03:15:38 | More by TheBrewo
4.29/5 rDev +13.5%
Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 12/04/13.
Appearance: Pours a very hazy yellowish golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big three finger white head which slowly recedes into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing.
Smell: A yeasty and spicy Belgian style aroma with good hints of fruits and syrup. Belgian yeast with some upfront hints of farmhouse funk, clove, and pepper. Fruity hints of bananas, pear, white grapes, and apple. Some bubblegum hints along with some Belgian candied sugar and maple syrup. Also some citrus hints of orange, lemon, and apricot. Pale malt with hints of wheat, grains, straw, biscuit, and cracker. Wood like hints which supposedly come from the syrup. Hops are very light. A very good aroma.
Taste: Like the smell, a yeasty and spicy Belgian farmhouse taste with big notes of fruit and some syrup. Big taste of Belgian yeast with good notes of farmhouse funk, clove, and peppers. Fruity taste of bananas, pear, apple, and white grape. Citrus fruit notes of orange, lemon zest, and apricot. Sweet notes of Belgian candied sugar and subtle Maple Syrup which gives some woody notes. Also some bubblegum taste. Pale malt with notes of wheat, grains, biscuit, straw, and cracker. Subtle earthy hops in the background. A very nice Farmhouse taste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Spicy and fairly drying feel. A little alcohol heat is felt but things are still fairly smooth.
Overall: A really nice twist on a Belgian Saison/Farmhouse Ale. Good yeasty and fruity notes with an interesting woody kick from the syrup.
02-07-2014 08:18:50 | More by MattyG85
4.19/5 rDev +10.8%
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.
04-19-2014 05:09:16 | More by StonedTrippin
4.16/5 rDev +10.1%
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.
07-03-2014 18:58:04 | More by lionhrt9
4.15/5 rDev +9.8%
Poured from bottle into a chalice glass
Appearance – The beer pours a nice lightly hazed orange amber color with a big billowy head of a just off white foam. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a fantastic level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite heavy of a grainy smell along with a very nice lot of a yeastiness. The yeastiness brings with it aromas of a grassy nature as well as a nice lot of a banana sweetness. Along with these smells are some sweet aromas of bubblegum, maple syrup, and candied sugar with a bit of a tangerine sweetness present as well, which with the rest, create a very sweet and pleasantly “funked” aroma.
Taste – It begins with a sweet candied sugar taste along with a nice bready flavor. The bready flavor is of a smooth doughty flavor along with a moderately strong yeasty taste. Along with these tastes there is a decent sweetness to the brew as fruity flavors of both banana and tangerine are present right from the start. While starting out very smooth, the taste ends up becoming more grainy and a bit more chewy as the taste advances. This is largely due to a more grainy wheat flavor replacing the doughy flavor with other tastes of a grassy nature also meeting the tongue. While this occurs however, so too comes even more sweet flavors with tons of maple syrup and with a bit of light bubblegum and candied sugar taste, going with the tangerine and banana nicely but actually heavily outpacing them. With a bit more grassy and hay-like funk coming to the tongue at the end of the taste, along with a lighter spice flavor of coriander and clove, one is left with a very pleasantly sweet and enjoyable flavor to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner side overall, but gets a bit more chew in nature as the taste advances from the start to the finish. With a rather higher carbonation, the overall lighter body, which transitions at the end, is very nice for the mix of yeast, dough, grain, sugary sweet, and grassy flavors of the brew and with a very modest alcohol flavor (well at least for a brew of 8% abv.) it creates a very easy drinking Belgian style farmhouse ale.
Overall – A very enjoyable and quite drinkable brew. On the sweeter side, but very enjoyable and balanced. Not sure if it is quite worth the $10 per bottle price tag in comparison to their backwater and imperial series (usually ~ $7-8) but regardless it is quite nice and is well worth the try.
03-20-2014 01:25:08 | More by Darkmagus82
4.14/5 rDev +9.5%
Bottle poured into Stone IPA cervoise.
A - Hazy school bus yellow. Two finger rocky head with excellent lacing. Smallish carbonation bubbles throughout.
S - Smells alot like a saison I brewed with French saison yeast. Clove and other spicy esters take the forefront, touch of Hawaiian roll breadyness from the malts and just the slightest touch of grassy hop character. Little to no maple syrup, though it may just be blending with the malt notes I picked up.
T - Maple syrup comes out a bit more in the taste, mixes nice with the Belgian esters. Solid malt backbone and very little hop.
M - The residual maple syrup sugars and lower amount of carbonation make this a bit too sticky for my taste, but still fairly refreshing.
O - A great saison I'm happy to drink an entire bottle of. Glad to see a tasty large format from Southern Tier with a little more finesse than the dessert series.
01-29-2014 20:26:36 | More by Zach136
4.11/5 rDev +8.7%
On draft into a goblet at Aurora Brew Works. Poured a cloudy yellow/golden color with an off white head taking up the top 1/2inch of the goblet. Some earthy malt smells come from the glass as well as a sweetness. The Maple syrup that is added adds to the smoothness of the beer lightly and is not at all overpowering making this very easy to sip. As a Saison should be this has a very light feel to each drink. Wish I would have had time to have a second glass. It is interesting with the Belgian flavor and the maple syrup and I will certainly be picking one or two more of these up again.
01-19-2014 14:29:19 | More by timmy2b
4.1/5 rDev +8.5%
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.
05-20-2014 03:47:55 | More by superspak
4.08/5 rDev +7.9%
750 ml WHOA, a unique farmhouse for sure! The maple syrup sounded weird, but it doesnt take like syrup, it just takes amazing! Sweet yet tart, a nice smooth feel going down. However, like all farmhouses, I am incapable of drinking more than one in a session, and this one is no different, maybe even worse due to the maple syrup. Nature of the beast for me.
03-04-2014 03:52:54 | More by Johnny_Muir
Grand Arbor from Southern Tier Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 183 ratings.