1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Grand Arbor - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Grand ArborGrand Arbor

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

242 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 242
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.61%
Wants: 6
Gots: 24 | 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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 242 | Reviews: 44
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

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 SocalKicks
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

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 oberon
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 12/04/13.Not a style I gravitate to very much but any chance I get to try a new ST offering down here I take it.Pours into an Ommegang chalice a hazed honey tinged lighter golden with a nicely formed egg shell colored head that leaves a full ring of lace behind as it settles into a frothy mass.Aromas are lighter with spiced phenols and medicinal notes mainly with a hint of bread.Yeasty phenols are big on the palate with rock candy-like flavors,the maple syrup doesn't really show thru much,there is some sharpness in the feel but is not overly annoying.Well if you like yeasty farmhouse ales you might enjoy this,I don't but still enjoyed it in a small amount.

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 Jason
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of jlindros
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well this is a Southern Tier beer, AND it has maple, I really hope it's not too sweet. Needed something a bit bigger tonight, so this should stack up nicely, and ehopfuly is actually Farmhouse like. Also noticed a lot of space in the neck, like dangerously low fill, which is a bit unnerving and it loses points for that. But bottled date helps, 12/4/13.

The long narrowing neck forces a chugging pour that yields a frothy semi thick 1.5 finger head that fades at a med pace with lots of big bubbles, decent soapy lacing, hazy orange honey colored beer.

Nose smells like a typical Americanized wit, a little farmhouse saison but not a ton. Plenty of wheat no matter how you slice it, creamy wheat, with mild spices, little coriander like spice and touch of other mild spring saison spices, some banana too, very faint clove, some orange zest and citrus, little lemony too, lots of esters through all that, plenty to go around for a few days, and when I take a big whiff I get a little fusel alcohol with mild phenols, but both very light.

Taste starts like an imperial witbier again, Americanized version as well, lots of creamy wheat, tons of it, with some orange peel, zest, citrus, little banana, and tons of esters again. Then a little saison note but not a lot, little coriander, hint of clove, and other mild saison spices, almost mulling tea spices in there with a little herbal tea note even. Then a little booze cuts in, warming and slightly tingly, mild phenols too. Hint of bitterness in there, more like an orange peel bitterness and some from the spices but a touch from hops I think. Creamed wheat comes through again on the back end, turns a little crackery and doughy, as more orange peel, clove, spices, and herbal tea come out towards the finish and a little bit of a yeast flavor, and finally a bit of a maple flavor coming out, which I guess really dried out. The finish brings a nice maple cream flavor, dried maple cream, with dried but slightly creamy wheat flavor, more mild spices and orange peel lingering too, little sticky feeling, hint of warming booze too.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bod, fairly creamy, plenty of carbonation like typical hef.

Overall OK, but not crazy, more like an imperial hefe with hints of saison in there, I don't think I get any farmhouse style notes at all, more like American hefe and saison blended with a hint of maple on the back end. Booze is noticeable too, but that tends to come from lots of esters, phenols, and dried out maple back end.

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 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 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 Gavage
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a brilliants orange color with some yellow highlights. A huge 3" fluffy head lasts a long time and some spotty lace develops on the glass.

Smell: spices, citrus, and yeast provide a great aroma.

Taste: bready malt profile with coriander, banana, lemon zest, orange, spicy belgian yeast, and a nice balancing bitterness to the overall sweetness. Alcohol is noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Very crisp to start, and the prickly crispness remains through the finish. Long lasting aftertaste here.

Overall: a slower sipping beer that is full flavored and nicely refreshing. Very enjoyable.

Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev +6.1%

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.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of tdm168
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -20.4%

Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Grand Arbor from Southern Tier Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 242 ratings.