Compass - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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very good

632 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 632
Reviews: 137
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 19
Gots: 69 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Knapp85 on 05-27-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 632 | Reviews: 137
Reviews by xmorgan:
Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Town Hall Tap in Minneapolis.

Nice Imperial PALE ale, could almost be called a golden ale, very refreshing and nice hop to alcohol balance. Light bodied and allows for distinction in pale ale verse IPA styles.

Pale almost golden color with very good lacing

Floral and citrus tones in the aroma

Crisp grapefruity refreshing taste lots of effervescence in the carbonization

Light body mouthfeel yet very refreshing

Overall does not hit like a 9% ale is expected to beware and refresh!

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Imperial Pale Ale in name only, this Imperial IPA claims roots in the American Pale Ale form, but just scaled up- but the final product has nothing to do with the balanced flavor of "Pale" but more so with the dry malt, highly hopped taste that is IPA- but in greater drinkability and strength- this will prove to be one dangerous beer!

Its hazy straw pour is everything "light" to the eye. A modest haze and a soft honey glow gives impressions of a timid ale. But its fluffy, frothy, and creamy head releases quickly from the beer's body below and further promotes the sense of drinkability and friendliness. Broken rings of lace with each sip signals the beer's quality.

Bright citrus overtones of fragrant grapefruit, orange peels, pineapple and freshly crushed herbs fill the nose with bright zest and zeal. A backing of the most timid of honey and cracker from malt supports the hops.

Yet in taste, its the soft powdered sugar seduction that takes place on the front of the tongue while a pile-on of red and white grapefruits, freshly zested oranges, an fresh-cut grass build on the middle palate. But finishing with a dry malt taste and a pleasant, soft bitterness the ale is herbal and minty in its closing taste.

Mid-light in body, the beer's ample carbonation and void of sweetness all keep the beer airy, fluffy, and cottony on the mouth. It simply wisps away with only a mild hint of minty warmth.

Its a beautiful ale that deserves a conflict in its stylisticic declarations and its marketing verbiage. This Imperial IPA does all that big pale ales should do- but it's a much drier and drinkable beer that never relinquishes its crisp and clean undertone.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a medium golden with a half finger white head atop.Aromas of nutty pilsner malt,drunken fruit and herbal/grassy hops.Flavors are deeply influenced by the doughy pilsner malt and the dryer sparkling feel,some sweetness from alcohol dipped fruit and dough with a leafy/grass finish.I like the sparkling feel and I like the hoppy finish of this innovative beer,well done.

Photo of MadScientist
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: A golden with decent clarity, although the bottle was shaken a bit just before opening stirring up a few floaters of yeast sediment.

S: A unusual herbal and citrusy nose with some pils malt aroma and a low phenol. There is a light dill aroma.

T: The flavor is dominated by lemon-citrus hops, an herbal character, some dill and rose hip tartness. There is a medium hops bitterness adding to the rose hips making for a beer that is moderately bitter. There is a medium-low wheat and clean malt sweetness. The finish is off dry and the aftertaste is of a lingering hop and herbal bitterness. There is some fruit esters and a light spice to the fermentation character as well.

M: A medium bodied beer with a strong level of carbonation. A light, tannic prickle from the use of spices.

O: A bitter and herbal beer that's a blend of the American Pale style with a Gruit. A nice beer for hops and bitter beer fans and well worth the reasonable price.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pretty beer. In a pint glass it was light yellow in color with a medium-sized white head. There was a bit of lace.

Mostly a floral and grassy aroma. Some fruit.

Mostly a floral taste. Some berries. Hops late.

A crisp, refreshing beer. Something good to drink on a warm summer day.

Photo of generallee
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 650 ml bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 9% abv and it also lists the malts and hops.

Appearance: It has a bright yellow color with some visible carbonation and a some very fine sediment floating around inside the beer. On top I got a tall soapy head which quickly settles down to a wispy thin film covering. It leaves some lacing near the top of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is fairly light but do get some nice citrusy lemony hops standing out with a touch of floral and pineapple like hop notes. There is a hint malt sweetness as well. This may be a bit crazy but I am also getting something, very very light that reminds me of a Flintstones chewable vitamin for kids.

Taste / Palate: It’s flavor matches the aroma perfectly. There is a good balance of light malt sweetness with juicy and floral hop flavor and bitterness. The feel is well carbonated and fairly light. Overall it is very drinkable for a 9% abv beer.

Photo of tigg924
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, moderate carbonation, gold in color, cloudy, sediment

Smell: citrus hops and floral hops

Taste: citrus hops-grapefruit and lemon, floral hops--some candied sugar or sweet white grape taste as well

Mouthfeel: nice mix of sweet and bitter with a strong bitter aftertaste, light body, medium carbonation

Overall: Very interesting beer. This one hits all sorts of notes from very sweet to super bitter--very complex. I would pick this one up again. Liked this way better than Plum Noire.

Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottling date of 05/06/13.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy yellowish golden orange with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Huge four finger off white head which slowly recedes into a smaller creamy layer. Leaves a solid amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A pretty hop forward aroma with good hints of fruit, yeast, and flowers. Big hop scent upfront with earthy hints of grass and citrus hints of orange, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, and lemon. Big floral scent from the rose hips. Also some subtle fruit hints of white grapes along with a light hint of pepper. Bready malt hints of biscuit, wheat, yeast, and cracker. A bright, zesty, and fairly dry smelling aroma. Pretty good.

Taste: Like it smells, a zesty and floral hop forward taste with a nice dry biscuity malt backing. Big earthy and floral hops upfront with notes of grass, pine, and the rose hips. Lively citrus esters of orange, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, and lemon zest. A little taste of white grape fruit. Solid soft dry bready malt presence with notes of biscuit, wheat, yeast, and crackers. Subtle pepper notes as well. A pretty nice lively and zesty tasting ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Very crisp, juicy, and fairly bitter and drying. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Overall: A pretty interesting and nice "sparkling ale". Has the bitter hop profile of an American IPA with the lively yeast profile of a Belgian ale along with the malt profile of a pilsner.

Photo of far333
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Big pop and burst of carbonation upon popping the top off the bottle. Slightly opaque straw-yellow with an eggshell colored thick two-inch high head of meringue that lingers long. Seems overcarbonated perhaps? Aroma of lemon and sweet malt, some citrus.

Bready flavor upfront, some honey and lemon zest, fruity notes perhaps imparted by the hibiscus, orange rind hops, slight peppery bite and piney finish that lingers.

Interesting mix of flavors. Full mouthfeel, very creamy and viscous, not what I expected from a sparkling ale, whatever that is.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into 34oz mug; cloudy bright banana yellow with a thick fizzy white head that fades relatively quickly into a thin but tight disc of foam. Smells like lots of clean malts, with crisp citrusy hops and just a hint of booziness. It smells great, but I'm a little worried that the high %abv will offset the crispness the style should have. My worries were for naught, however; not that I ever doubted Southern Tier. Although it's a huge pale ale, it's still a pale ale: clean, crackery-sweet malts fill out the big mouthfeel, and a perfect pinch of citrusy hops cleanse the palate at the end, leaving just some lingering bitterness (hops and rose hips here) and some slight sticky sweetness leftover from the malt. 9% is entirely hidden in the taste, this is drinkable as hell and delicious. Definitely worth picking up, another great addition to ST's Imperial series.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Cigar and beer pairing, L'atelier 52 ring gauge from Pete Johnson and his brother, hand rolled in Nicaragua at the My Father Cigar Factory in Esteli. The beer brewed under Phin and Matt of Lakewood, NY. From what I gather on the label the beer is a strong hoppy American Saison with rose hips, very rustic with only pilsner malt fine carbonation the proteins of the settled hops and rose hips are floating in the semi hazed golden beauty. Bright white head settles slow and leaves fine even patterned lacing. Aroma upfront with citrus and grapefruit going down amongst many other, biscuit tones from the pale malts and a pleasant kiss of floral/vegetal rose hips. There are terrified wheat additions which only complement the citrus based hops. Bottled on 5/3/13, spicy citrus ale with a lingering bitterness derived from those rose hips it's bitter but has a nice interplay of bright citrus and spicy yeast. The light biscuit toned pilsner malts set off as the canvas for the interplay between high alpha acids and the rose hips, everything else going on is fantastic 9% abv is well hidden. The body is medium to full a lot of texture from the hop oils, and lingering finish from the spice/bitterness from the rose hips pairs well with the effervescent carbonation looming with each sip. Overall the beer is at odds with itself the same pairings I enjoyed weigh heavy on the palate and kill the drinkability a bit, not the type of beer I would like to enjoy in number but with a fresh fish prepared just right fine dining there wouldn't be any better pairing as for the cigar. This lighter colored habano born seed wrapper has the right elements of pepper and spice to complement the drink just right. Definitely a worthy pairing with the type of hops and yeast, with those rose hops it adds to spicy Nicaraguan long fillers very happy with this pairing.

Photo of Brenden
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A clear and bright medium yellow, with a look as effervescent as the bottle claims the beer to be, Compass grows a soapy pillow of pure white head just under a finger in height. It's retained pretty well, dropping with some time to a foam that leaves spotting on the glass.
There's lots of citrus with a bit of a floral edge and some more tropical fruits as well. The smell is lightly sweet, and certainly more than the taste is, backed by the somewhat dry, crackery malts.
The rose hips are all over the tongue, imparting its own particular bitterness that's got a hard (not harsh) edge. There is a soft sweetness underneath along with that of the fruits. There's more bitterness both herbal and raw/woody (stem) all the way through.
Again, this beer is every bit as effervescent as the bottle claims in a body that exemplifies the balance of softness and strength with fantastic depth. It's crisp, and every bit as it should be, without giving up smoothness.
This is an exceptionally unique beer, to say the least, but very well crafted.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split and poured into a tulip. DOB 05/06/13.

A: Pours an opaque light golden yellow with a one finger white head. Takes a few minutes for the head to dissipate as it leaves spots of lacing on the glass. Some floating sediment once you get to the bottom of the bottle.

S: First thing I notice is a pleasant hop aroma. A nice blend of citrus and earthiness. Rose hips add a bit of a floral character that compliments the hop. Some grassiness comes out as it warms up as well as yeast.

T: Balanced blend going on here, not an overwhelming hop as you would expect from the aroma. Rose comes through fairly strong and is an welcome compliment to the bitterness. Malt adds sweetness that masks the booze pretty well.

M: Light body with a bubbly mouthfeel. Crisp finish which reminds me of a champagne. Very easy drinking considering the ABV.

Overall a unique approach on the pale ale that comes through very solid. The citrus hops and rose hips compliment each other nicely. Would recommend giving it a shot.

Photo of russpowell
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazed amber with a finger of pearl colored head. Above average head retention & alright lacing

S: Tropical fruit, breadyness

T: Pineapple, some grapefruit, breadyness & a little dryness up front. Grassy hops, mix in with pineyness, a little dryness & grapefruit peel. More pineapple, grapefruit, & slight breadyness in the finish, along with boozeyness

MF: Medium bodied, lively carbonation, nicely balanced, warming

Sparkling ale? Not sure you can have one at 9.0 ABV, but if you can this is damn tasty & drinkable. Southern Tier, you have made me happy again! Get this 4 or six packs

Photo of HawbakerBrewery
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pretty good. Pours to a heavy head at first. Head is snow white and leaves a fairly persistent lacing. The color is a vibrant yellow gold with light haziness. The color is very similar to that of a Wit. Definitely has a malty back to it, with good strong citrus hop bitterness up front. Aftertaste reveals the 9% ABV to the sinuses. The body is lighter than expected. This does not sit as heavily as something like an imperial stout. The aroma is pretty citrus like with a pungent maltiness, letting you know to expect big flavor. Price is not bad either. 22 oz. bomber sold for $6.99 plus tax.

Photo of nicholas2121
4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Compass brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company, with an ABV of 9.0% This Ale pours out a nice amber color with a nice white head. The smell is hoppie with grains and malts. You also pick up on a mild sweetness in the smell. The taste is rich with hops. This brew has a nice balance of grains and malts at the end. Southern Tier Brewing Company did a nice job with this one , there is no bad aftertaste. You really can't pick up on the 9.0% ABV. The mouthfeel is hoppie, smooth, and refreshing. There is nothing overpowering in this brew, it has a nice balance to it. Compass is a nice smooth, but rich drinking brew. Overall I'm giving Compass a 4.5 out 5. I would buy this brew again.

Photo of Gmann
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a straw color with honey highlights. A short wispy white that settles into a light ring. Some moderate yeast floaters.

The aroma is bright. Nice citrus hops, mainly grapefruit. Floral notes from the rose hips. Malt is very light so the hops really standout.

The taste is hoppy but mellow. Not very aggressive hops but quite flavorful. Nice citrus flavors, grapefruit and some orange. Perhaps a touch of lime and grass. The rose hips seem to compliment the hops and not add much extra flavor besides a floral presence. The malt is dry and crackery despite the large malt bill. It drinks quite light for a 9% beer.

The feel is light to moderate with airy carbonation. Lightly bitter on the palate. Finishes dry and crisp. ABV well hidden.

Flavor wise it is good but not great. I am impressed by how drinkable this big beer is. Drinks like a session.

Photo of KTCamm
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours mustard yellow, lighter on bottom, hazy on top. Light white foam sits as a cap. Malty floral nose. Fresh bright citrus taste, buzzy carbonation. Fruitily floral. Some biscuit background. Insistent hop at the close. Boozy finish, hits hard.

Photo of jtierney89
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm excited about this one. From the pop of the cap with a bright popping noise and to the super intense smell that leaked from the bottle. Palest golden color I've ever seen with lots of active carbonation. Seriously super pale, like hard to understand how pale it is. Sticky bright white head, about a finger and half tall. Intense, intense super intense nose of hop resin, grapefruit and pine. Rose hips give a nice flowery presence to the nose.

Not as briskly carbonated as I thought it would be but damn this a fantastic beer. This is the lightest bodied 9% abv beer I've ever had. Slightly crackery dry malt flavor, lots of citrus flavor from the hops, almost lemon meringue like between the hops and the malt. Rose hips add a delicate flowery flavor to the delicate body. Pretty well carbonated for a 9% brew and not a touch of alcohol heat. Malt fades, rose hips dry them out near the back of the tongue. Bitterness isn't present at first but builds slowly as you continue to sip the beer. This beer is seriously fantastic, I'd say it's categorized incorrectly but honestly, taste more like a super flavorful and delicate pale ale then an DIPA. Amazing. This will be an amazing summer drinker.

Photo of waterbuffalo
3.29/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks good, smells good, starts off with nice flavour but bad after taste. Might be too floral. I wouldn't buy again.

Photo of jwk0408
2/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love southern tier. I've loved every beer I've tried, until this one. It had a dish soap taste to me. I couldn't even finish it. Although I tried,I just couldn't get past that. I think I even cried when I poured it out. It was the third beer I have poured out. I just couldn't do it. To me, it doesn't reflect on southern tier. I still believe they are one of the best around. I will continue to buy anything they release. I hope to get to the brewery soon. For now, I have a pumpking on ice! Got to go.

Photo of DaveBar
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Purchased at the LCBO for a pretty steep amount of $8.00 or so in a 650ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- 3.75- Opens well and pours a decent head that lasts. Unfiltered

S- 3.75- Good hops. Not much rose hips.

T- 3.5- Kind of like a sweeter IPA with a slightly unusual finish. Ok

M- 3.5- Pretty dry and open. Typical IPA

O- 3.67- Ok beer. Novelty more than anything else. Will not buy again

Food Pairing

This ok IPA went well with..... BBQ chicken breast marinated in..... BEER!!


Photo of bluejacket74
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 05/03/13. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a hazy gold color with about an inch off-white head that stayed around for a while. There's also a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells really floral, the rose hips really stand out in the aroma. There's also citrusy (lemon peel, grapefruit) hops and some peppery spice noticeable. The taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some pineapple and bready malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has a good amount of carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew, but I'd like to try a fresher bottle next time.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Bottle: Poured a deep golden color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet malt notes with some citrusy hoppy notes and light rose hips notes. Taste is a well balanced mix between some citrusy hops notes, a sweet malt base and some light rose hips notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Good beer thought maybe a tad too sweet for my own taste buds.

Photo of Caveworm
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Compass - Southern Tier Brewing Company. Poured from the bomber bottle into a pint glass, this "sparkling ale" 's head is 1.5 fingers thick and bubbly as the name would imply with spottier lacing, and a medium-gold clear body.

Smells like the rose hips used in the brewing of this select beer,along with the citrus hops mentioned on the label. Can't really detect much malts going on with this part of the review.

I'm tasting most of the components listed above, although now I'm getting malts of an earthier characteristic. These all compliment each other pretty damned well. I honestly can't notice the 9% ABV of this brew.

The mouthfeel of Compass is lively and crisp. Only a slight dash of a rose hip/hop combo that leaves pretty fast.

Overall, I'll give Compass - Southern Tier Brewing Company a 4.25. This is quite a different taste and overall vibe for me, but I may pick up another bottle or so in the future.

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Compass from Southern Tier Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 632 ratings.