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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

235 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 235
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 6
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
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: 235 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rmcnamee
2/5  rDev -46.9%

Photo of brandonwnw
2.25/5  rDev -40.3%

Photo of bootdown21
2.5/5  rDev -33.7%

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 IPAchris
2.75/5  rDev -27.1%

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.

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3/5  rDev -20.4%

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3/5  rDev -20.4%

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3/5  rDev -20.4%

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3/5  rDev -20.4%

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

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3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

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Grand Arbor from Southern Tier Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 235 ratings.