Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series)Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

295 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 295
Reviews: 222
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.56%
Wants: 7
Gots: 27 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 07-15-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 295 | Reviews: 222
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Incredibley eveready rabbit drinkable..goes on and on over supper. Georgeous fruity peachy yellow, with minimum head though clinging white lace. Sophisticated and boozy yeasty aroma. Medium moutjhfeel, smooth drinking. Wood was in the backgound and trained the yeast and ingrediants. Like to have this again in several years. It keeps going.What American strong--give the Belgians credit.

Photo of Thorpe429
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a somewhat-dark golden color with a thin head without much retention. The nose brings sweet honey and candy with a bit of fruit. Definite booze. Oak as well. The taste is really just a mix of flavors with nothing coming together, even though it seems to work in theory. The oak is overcome by alcohol and a strong sweetness. A bit cloying and boozy, this doesn't drink terribly well.

Photo of brentk56
4.54/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a roacky ecru head that dribbles lacing down the sides of my tulip

Smell: Warmly inviting blend of oak, vanilla, toffee, almonds, dried golden fruit and honeysuckle

Taste: Opens with a toffee, almond and vanilla blend that adds oaky complexity by mid-palate, with dried fruit and honey flavors arriving as well; after the swallow, the honeysuckle candi sugar flavor dominates, with the other elements adding balance underneath

Mouthfeel: Thick body with low carbonation; considerable warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Although I would prefer a spritelier body, the flavor profile of this beer is quite compelling and is one of those beers to drink by the fireplace with a good book in hand

Photo of Knapp85
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember buying this beer at a local beer shop in my area and the guy was talking it up quite a bit. That was back in 2008 and I really didn't know much about Southern Tier yet. This beer was interesting to be because of it being part of a series. Stuff like that intrigues and also hurts my wallet. If I have one I wanna try them all eventually.

This brew pours out as an orange color with a very little head, suppose that from the barrel aging. The smell is quite sweet and boozey. The taste is kind of along the lines of a Belgian Tripel but much sweeter and the oak sets it apart from that as well. There was a slight tartness in there as well. The mouthfeel was pretty thick for such a light colored ale.

After finishing this I waited almost 2 years before finding Series 2.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.6/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a golden honey color ale with small foamy head with minimal retention and not much lacing. Aroma of sweet rich malt with some bitter grassy hoppy notes also discernible. Taste is more or less interesting with some overly sweet malt notes and a clashing bitter hoppy finish. Body is full with medium to low carbonation and no alcohol perceptible per say. Overly sweet mess with clashing hops and no real presence of oak is a real disappointment.

Photo of largadeer
1.86/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Got this one in a trade with spacecoyote. Thanks!

Appearance: Murky and cloudy with a body the color of apricot skins. Pours with practically no head, although carbonation levels are fine.

Smell: Fruity and ridiculously sweet. Smells like dried mangoes, dried peaches, overripe, nearly rotting apricots and diabetes. This is going to be challenging.

Taste & mouthfeel: Insanely, horribly sweet up front with nothing balancing the sweetness. Fucking hell. It's like someone pureed a bunch of dried fruit and added a few shots of whiskey for texture and bonus alcohol burn. And I'm not talking regular dried fruit here, I'm talking the shit that's dried and then covered in even more sugar; dried fruit for people that don't value their health and teeth and have no concept of insulin levels. Oak is present only in the form of astringent tannins at the end, which almost quells the sweetness, but it's really more like chewing on a sugar-coated log.

I've never been a big fan of Southern Tier and their under-attenuated, syrupy sweet beers, but this one is truly atrocious. Best avoided unless you've got a sweet tooth that knows no bounds.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.24/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Harvest orange with honeycomb highlights and a majestic crown that is equal parts ivory and ecru. This is attractive ale that could be any of a dozen different styles where looks are concerned. Creamier foam during melting and streamers of sudsy lace are highlights.

There is very little ingredients information on CS One. What is available suggests a burly pale-malted ale with some oak-aged character, which doesn't sound very exciting at all. The aroma confirms my worst fears. There isn't much contribution from malt, hops or yeast... or oak for that matter. Looks like this big brew has a long row to hoe on the palate.

Granted, this is a somewhat common refrain from me, but One needs a flavor hook in the worst way. It tastes like a 'pale malt only' barleywine with no distinctive hop flavor, hints of oak, and too much unmasked alcohol. Almost two years of aging has helped that last one, but there are no stronger flavors to completely bury it.

The tasting notes on the Southern Tier website are good for a chuckle. Each mouthful is supposed to deliver toasted coconut, almond biscotti, toasted almonds and honeysuckle. My list includes lightly toasted barley malt, hints of honey, a moderate flowery fruitiness, a modest oaky woodiness, and a splash of Grey Goose. Not exactly the Holy Grail for American strong ales, even for a big beer lover like me.

The body/mouthfeel, on the other hand, is some kind of enjoyable. It's closer to full than medium and has a lava-like sticky sappy smoothness that almost earns it the next highest number. Why any brewer would bottle-condition beer that is meant to be aged is beyond me.

Southern Tier Cuvee Series One is not worthy of the 'sold in an impressive cardboard box' presentation. These guys, like most all craft breweries, are hit-and-miss when it comes to big beer. This one, unfortunately, is an unqualified miss. Here's hoping Cuvee Series Two will be a significant upgrade.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.49/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A big thanks goes out to Guzzle for providing this gem to me in a recent trade. I had been wanting to try this one forever and it looks like I finally got my wish. Served at a decently chilled temperature and allowed to warm up nicely. This one was decanted into an oversized wine glass and consumed on 11/18/2008.

The pour was rather bland for me. A nice color of burnt amber, that was somewhat cloudy, but mostly translucent to be honest. No real carbonation to speak of on this one, rather all that was there was a touch of light foam on the top that faded quickly to leave behind nothing more then a naked and bare top.

The aroma was top notch though. A deep whiff of vanilla and woody touches hit me all at once. Lots of depth and complexity here for sure. Rich notes of grain, malted sugar and oak were all over this. One of the most pleasing aromas I have found in quite a long time. The flavor surpassed even that though. So smooth, I really was in awe that this one has slipped by my radar this long. Rich notes of vanilla and oak, layered on top of a biscuit like mid palate that really resembled a nice well balanced barley wine at times, but without the huge hop nose. Consistent flavor throughout with a medium body that served well enough to coat the tongue throughout the session. Huge abv here is soo well masked that I was really caught off guard and by the time the bottle was done, I was hurting to say the least.

Overall this was really and truly an excellent beer. Something I would love to try again, and in fact I just ordered some today as I would like to see how this one will hold up for sure.

Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in 10/08 for $12.99. Held onto it for a while after reading the early reviews, hoping the booze might mellow a little.

Served cold into the recommended tulip glass, and allowed to warm slightly. Initial two fingers of foam that subsided quickly, leaving little trace. Color was an attractive deep amber, with slow ascending bubbles from the center. The aroma was pleasant, sweet cantaloupe, toasted coconut, and caramel apple. The flavor echoed this, plus banana and vanilla, with more brashness from the oak and alcohol. The feel was syrupy and candy sweet, then dry with oak finish. I enjoyed the fruit and oak elements, but it was still a bit harsh and unbalanced. Can't say i'm too intrigued to try the others in the series...

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a hazed, deep orange body with a bubbled, off-white head.

Smell: Lightly sweetish, mild pale malts in the scent entwined with assorted notes ranging from white grapes, to bubble gum, to toasted oak wood.

Taste: Heavy pale maltiness with sweet dashes of simple treacle and sticky honey. Vague floral character. Touch of sultana fruitiness. Pinch of spice. The pungent alcohol content is quite obvious, giving the throat a good sear with each swig. The oak gives meager hints of woodiness and vanilla whilst imparting some accosting tannins which linger into the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Huh. Well, I suppose it's adequate, though certainly not enough to warrant the start of a beer legacy. Oak aging is all well and good, but does nothing to enhance things if the underlying beer is simply hohum.

Photo of oline73
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours an orangish amber color with a half finger of fluffy white head. The head disappears almost immediately.

Smell: Super sweet, I'm picking up malt with caramel and some fruity grape sweetness. There are also hints of oak with some vanilla.

Taste: Again, super sweet. I'm still picking up caramel and a bit of grape. The wood stands out more here, definitely picking up vanilla from the barrels. At the end there is some alcohol with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium body. Very mild tingly carbonation with a hint of dryness at the finish.

Overall: This beer was pretty good, but I'm not sure I would want another bottle. I would have liked the alcohol to be a little bit smoother. The oak was a nice addition.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

JUNE 2009 - Age this one a bit !!!

Cuvee 1 pours a hazy orange body beneath a 2" head of yellowed-white froth. The head retention is quite good, although it fails to maintain a surface covering once it drops. That's not really surprising though, as it's got a pretty soft carbonation to it. The lacing is nice though, leaving wide, jagged rings of sticky lace about the glass.

Sweet malt greets you in the nose with a touch of vanilla-tinged caramel, and then some mild woodiness.

It's medium bodied and quite creamy in the mouth, although the alcohol is perceptible.

The flavor is very much as the nose suggests with sweetish golden caramel and honey dominating over a thin bit of fruitiness (apple, some plum, a hint of citrus and melon, some very minor red berries) and a delicate touch of grassy hoppiness. The alcohol is noticeable, but it also helps to cut through the maltiness as the bitterness is fairly restrained. What oak is there is nice, although I was expecting a little more. (At least it's not overdone; and if, as I suspect, this is aged a little longer it may dry a bit and exhibit more of the oak). It finishes with a touch of sweet, caramelish and doughy maltiness, but then the wide bitterness evolves and lingers for a bit, eventually drying the palate completely.

Overall it's a pretty impressive beer. I think it could be more complex, but at the same time I think a little bit of aging will dry it out, and then the woodiness will show better, and some other flavors will be able to find their way around the big maltiness. I'm definitely going to grab another bottle, if not two or three, and put it in the cellar for a half year or so to see how it rounds. Nicely done! And certainly worth trying if you don't want to wait.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, fruit, some alcohol and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and some fruit. Then some alcohol sting comes in along with a hearty but not too heavy malt character. The oak essence is also prevalent. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, it’s an ok aged beer to drink for a while.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ooooh. Pretty bottle. Pretty box.

Pours a foggy amber with a thin creme head. Nose is so mild, at first I get nothing. Later on I get very minor wood. Flavor is good. Smooth sweet edge on top of an alcohol presence. Wood is there too. Overpowered fruit tones. Minor vanilla on the backside. Overall though, it's quite smooth I have to say. 11%? I'm not sensing it. (I don't doubt that it's there though) Feel is slick and sticky on liquid. Carbonation is smooth and a bit low.

My verdict of this beer is that it needs more time to really allow it's complexities to come forward. It's very nice now, sure. But I think it could really turn into something else if given time.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

APpears a clouded bronze copper hued tone with a khaki thin head that dwindles rater quickly, not nearly as dark as the # 2 that I sampled at Fathead's on tap. Nice fine even lacing is left behind. Aromatics offers up lightly scrched oaka barrels with a touch of vanilla and alcohol intertwined, minimal citrus peel and baked cookie dough arise with a slightly butter scotch rum like atmosphere. Flavor has deep alchohol along with that charred wood and vanilla, and cloyingly sweeted sugar cookie dough sweetness. Minimally spiced I'm under the impression yet again that just like the Cuvee #2 that the combonation of the oak, alcohol, and hops and yeast profile don't mix to equate to a medicinal cloying experience this one needed more time. Mouthfeel is more of the same sickeningly sweet with a burning alcohol and bitter charred oak experience carbonation levels were sturdy a bit higher than expected from a barrel aged offering. Drinkability overall was straight up gross I hope I come across a bottle with age to prove me wrong.

Photo of MasterSki
2.54/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled purchased somewhere in Chicago many moons ago. Nearly three years old at this point. Served in a Goose Island taster glass.

A - Quick-dissolving thin tan foam settles to a thin ring of bubbles, leaving behind a few wisps. Hazy dark orange body.

S - Cloying honey, sugar, toffee, and other sweet things. Vague hits of wood, nuts, and alcohol. Otherwise just oppressively sweet.

T - The taste is about 20% less sweet, which still means this is about 100% too sweet. Sugar, honey, caramel, oaky vanilla, light coconut, and fairly mellow booze. Actually, in retrospect a bit more spicy alcohol would have balanced things a bit better.

M - Low carbonation, mild alcohol warmth, full-bodied, sticky and viscous. The feel is a perfect match for the taste and smell, but that's not necessarily a good thing.

D - This was not as horrible as I expecting, but not particularly good either - certainly not worth the sticker price. Drinking a whole bottle would be borderline impossible.

Photo of smcolw
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy, gold-amber color. Minor head, light lace.

Strong earth tones in this beer's smell. Some oatmeal and raw flour aroma.

Cream flavored soured malt. Lots of alcohol warmth with an oiliness in the body as a result. There's an element of pineapple and grapefruit, even though I'd initially say there is very little hop to this malty brew.

Photo of mdfb79
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up along with Series 2 a few months, finally trying them. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a light copper color with one inch if off white head with no rentention and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of oak, toasted and caramel malts, and some coconut. Hints of alcohol. A little weird but something else I just can't put my finger on.

t - Taste is oak, toasted malts, and booze. Alcohol is much more evident in the taste than the smell.

m - High carbonation, medium body, and a little bit of alcohol warmth.

d - Ok but nothing special. Has some nice oak and smooth malts in the smell and taste, but there is something a little weird in the smell as well, and the alcohol shines through a little too much in the taste. Wouldn't look for again.

Photo of drabmuh
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the Blind BIF shared by Thorpe, thanks.

Beer is brown with a mild haze, a boring lazy head that breaks and fails to leave any lace on the glass.

Aroma is sweet, mildly honey, mildly malty, perhaps some oak in the afterthought but no idea really.

Beer is medium to thin in body and mostly sweet throughout, not a great beer in my opinion but just an average heavy high gravity ale. Now noticing the ABV I guess it is good to comment that the beer hides the alcohol well, probably a product of being so old though. I doubt I would have ti again.

Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light orange amber with a thin white head.

The smell is of mild oak, vanilla, some floral and light citric notes.

The taste is of coconut/almond (from the oak), light citrus. The oak is nice, imparting a coconut-covered almond character, but the beer, other than the light citrus, doesn't really stand out or do much for me.

The carbonation is soft. Not much to the body, though it suffices. A bit of alcohol warmth lingers, but it is soft and not sharp - covered reasonably well.

Not "what it could be", IMO. Pretty good, but not for the price. Not "off", and oak done well enough, but not as much character to the "beer" part as I was hoping.

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter; bottled in 2008, so around 6.5 years old. Pours slightly hazy ruby red/copper color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a spotty cap that lingers. Some light spotty lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, apricot, apple, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toasted bread, vanilla, oak, light nuttiness, light herbal, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and oak notes; with good strength. Taste of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, apricot, apple, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toasted bread, vanilla, oak, light nuttiness, light herbal, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light amount of herbal/oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, apricot, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and oak flavors; with a great malt/oak balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and slightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with minimal warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is an excellent oak aged strong ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and oak flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a very mellow oak character to it that seems calm the high alcohol content. It also blends nicely with the malty character of this beer. I assume that it's the Backburner Barleywine. The taste is much of the same. The oak seems to help in the drinkability of the beer without really extending too much of it's own character. It goes down real smooth with just a touch of warmth in the finish. It's also very clean in the finish; not overly malty. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very easy drinking beer. I like the oak effect on the beer. It nuetralizes some of the harshness a barleywine can sometimes bring.

Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy brown-orange color with a white head. The aroma is almonds, oak, vanilla, dark fruit and honey. The flavor is chocolate, oak, caramel, toffee, coconut, vanilla and almonds. This is the first beer I have ever tried that had almonds in it and they dominate the flavor and aroma. Very interesting. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared this with ThePeskyDingo

Pours a 1/2 finger head that is slightly tan. Thins down quickly. Not a lot of lace here. Color is burnt orange/dark peach. Very hazy.

Aroma: apricots. dried fruits, slight alcohol. Floral hops. Very sweet smell. Hints of a witbier (banana and cloves). Slight oak aroma. Amazing.

Taste is booze of the top. The oak-aged part comes out a lot here. Wood flavor. Apricots and dried fruits are present like the smell. A lot of floral hops.

Mouthfeel is bitter at first, then the hops setlle a little. Alcohol rushes the palate. It smooths out a bit leaving a very sticky, hoppy aftertaste.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. Very expensive, but it had some great flavors to it. I am glad that I got to try it, but at the price tag it is to much for a college kid to buy more than one of. I highly recommend this one.

Photo of stakem
2.89/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber into a snifter, this brew appears a hazy orange with yellow around the edges. A finger of lightly tan head sits atop the brew with fluffy retention. Thick patches of lace stick to the glass.

The smell of this brew is like orange rinds and toasty grains. Some herbal hops mixed with sweet smelling orange marmalade. Overall this smells lightly medicinal.

The taste is herbal and rindy with orange pulp flavoring. Some toasty grain inclusion. There is seemingly no alcohol inclusion but it does evolve a medicinal touch throughout. It is oxidized and toasty with almost an oaked inclusion that turns to more of a cardboard quality.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. There is a very low alcohol impact. This brew was pretty forgettable. Having it once was more than enough. My tasting group had a bottle of Cuvee 2 to drink right after this one but everyone lost interest in trying it after having a sample of this one.

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Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 295 ratings.