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Compass - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

130 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 130
Hads: 655
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 24.74%
Wants: 21
Gots: 78 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 130 | Hads: 655
Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of shand
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle says to drink it cold. Let's drink a cold beer. Compass pours out a stunning yellow with chunky sediment. The aroma is bright, hoppy, and extremely floral. I really love this aroma, as an advocate of both beer and perfumery, this strikes me just right. The beer is also tasty, it keeps on the brightness and floral aspects from the aroma, with a slight underpinning of wheat and spicy malt. The mouthfeel is on the light side and very well carbonated, and the drinkability is great. I really liked this new brew from Southern Tier. It's incredibly drinkable and has a beautiful nose.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours banana yellow with a soft haze and a faint glow. Tall billowy head of tight white foam that fell slowly to a thick cap and ring and left dabs of lace. Very pretty indeed. Nose is bountiful, sweet and bright. Citrus fruit, tangerine, pineapple and grapefruit. A dry yeasty bite with a little spice. Light cracker malt and a deep all around sweetness that's positively intoxicating. Rose hips and light grain. Intensely floral with light pine and dry resin. Sweet white grapes and a touch of alcohol. Taste is delectable. Juicy sweet fruits wash over the palate first with light touches of floral and grain. Cracker carries it to a deep sweetness on the back palate that resounds with earth and a plucky bitter. Yeast character and spice are present throughout the drink and offer a faint pepper to tempt you gently but firmly. Finishes dry and with a sensational aftertaste that sparkles like champagne.

The fruits are sweet and very forward like they want to steal your attention but the the luxuriousness of the sweet and dry drink wins you over as the hops and rose hips create a substantial but soft bitter. This beer seems to celebrate everything about earth that's good and sweet. The hops are proud and determined and really shine in their floral character and give a great perfume to the drink. Southern Tier has crafted a beer that is spirited, engages with every sip and is quite wonderful.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
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.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Light wheat-gold body. White sediment, even on a careful pour. White, loose foam head has ok retention and low lace.

S - Sweet nose. Orange, honeysuckle, rose, honey, touch of booze, white grape, lychee.

T - Soft and relatively brisk on the palate. Honey, wheat, orange zest, floral potpourri, dry pear.

M - Light frame with a soft, creamy smoothness. Low carbonation.

O - Dangerously outstanding drinkability at 9%. Nice flavor profile.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle served in a pint glass.

L - clear and bright yellow color with a white head that thinned out to a ring.

S - lots of juicy citrus and tropical fruits.

T - full of very tasty citrus and tropical fruit flavor with a floral/earthy taste lingering in the background.

F - light/medium bodied, it's a very crisp and refreshing beer.

O - tasty and enjoyable brew, grab some if you can.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid 8 bucks for the bomber from halftime beverage. Into a pint glass. 5/03/13 bottle date.

A - Yet another hazy Belgium pale ale this one being mildly carbonated giving me just a 1/4 inch of head that settles to a mild soapy ring.
S - Great smell the citrus hops are pungent and bright. Not much rose hips but it does have a fruity malt backbone and a dry yeasty edge.
T - Well it's good but not really wowing me. I love the combination of bittering rose hips and the citrus hops are clean and crisp like a fresh DIPA even though this bottle is a month old.
M - ABV is well hidden it drinks like a DIPA around 7 or 8%. Tasty.

Overall its a great dry hopped ale with some Belgium yeasts and its easy to drink. If I found it local and the price was a bit cheaper I might get it every week. Always a treat to try the latest ST.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly hazed golden beer. Humble sudsy top. Fizzed down to a fluffy ring.

Tangy citrus hop notes with grapefruit, kumquat, and tangerine. Rosehips add a big floral bouquet that is hard to distinguish from natural hopping. A little too resinous for how sweet it is. Sweet booze and sweet pale malts. A whole lotta aroma.

Better that it's drier, but the rosehips are super-pushy and clash with sweet citrusy hop notes. More citrus fruits; tangerine and grapefruit, most prominently. Malts are what are drier, although the finish is hardly that dry. Alcohol is very big. Too much so. Fluffy carbonation does represent this properly as a Sparkling Ale. Body is bigger, too. Definitely an imperial ale.

We'll see if this one sticks around long. Not bad, but hard to imagine seeking it out for any reason. Doesn't leave that kind of impression.

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Photo of avalon07
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a pale yellow color and a cloudy consistency. Some sediment. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A light, sweet alluring aroma of citrus, hops, and a floral element.

T: Tasted of hops, a good amount of citrus, the advertised rose hips, and a hint of malt. Hard to know exactly what the style of this beer is by its taste, but it does taste good. Sort of akin to an imperial pilsner. Pretty good.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: An oddball beer, but well worth trying. Drinkable.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of Omnium
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served on tap at House Of 1000 Beers

A - Poured a nice light yellow, two finger of white head, good lacing.
S - Really good aroma, some nice floral and pine hoppy notes up front, then some belgian yeast, and dried fruits.
T - Nice piney and citrus hop bite with a crisp refreshment, light belgian yeast on the back.
M - Bitter but still light, bright and crisp feeling.
O - Very good, this was labeled as a "Belgian strong" at Ho1kB, but i definitely see how this fits into an APA, excellent ale for sure.

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Photo of LI_PO12
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bomber into Tulip (

Appearance- Light gold, slight haze, 1 and half finger white head

Aroma- Citrus, Lemon, floral, light bready malt, very nice

Flavor-pear, citrus, melon, floral, slightly tart, good bitterness, slight herbal notes

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, good carbonation slight alcohol

Overall- I enjoyed this and will be getting more. Very drinkable, sort of like an IPA but very different at the same time. I hope this one stays on rotation for a while.

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Photo of JRed
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Wonderfully bright in body with thin white head. Aroma of lemons, pears, some booze, and plastic. Tastes of lemons, pears, kiwi, floral notes, grass, bitterness comes thru with some boozy aftertaste. Medium body with medium carbonation. Spritzy and tasty. This would be a great beer if lower in alcohol but otherwise a nice treat.

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Photo of goblue3509
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy yellow color with a one finger stark white head which recedes to edging and leaves slight fingers of lace. The aroma is big...roses and citrus. The smell is a mix of a flower shop and fruity Pebbles. The taste follows the nose a big nice citrus flavor. Lemons and oranges. There us also a flowery taste at the back end. The mouth feel is moderately carbonated. Overall its a very solid beer. Nice big taste and aroma.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of CHickman
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Imperial Compass is a bottle conditioned sparkling ale brewed with rose hips and citrus hops, per the bottle, so I'm not sure why it's listed on BA as an APA.

Pours cloudy yellow with 1 finger snow white colored head that faded slowly, leaving decent spotty lacing. Basically it looks like a cross between a Belgian and a lager.

Smells very floral, with the rose and floral hops leading the way, followed by light caramel, citrus hops, yeast, grains and a fruity sweetness like white grapes. A very soft and enjoyable nose, which leads to the flavor which is much the same.

Tastes of floral hops, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, citrus hops, yeast, grains, white grapes, mild spices like coriander and pepper. Flavor has mild sweetness and a complex floral aroma similar to a bouquet or potpourri; it's basic and complex at the same time with a hoppy element more like a pilsner than an IPA or APA.

Mouthfeel is light crisp and refreshingly clean, with a light body, mild carbonation and a dry clean finish like a light pilsner that borders on a champagne – a sparkling ale indeed, it went down like soda.

Overall very enjoyable, easy to drink and complex enough to hide the high ABV, yet still go down like a summer ale or pilsner – a rather amazing trick which Southern Tier pulled off; I'd love to have it again well aged to see what the bottle conditioning does to it or the next batch. A very nice experiment from a brewery known for bold imperial stouts and IPA’s, this steers off course and ventures into soft, sessionable territory while maintaining a bad-ass ABV and excellent drinkability.

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Photo of tviz33
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber in to a Duvel tulip.

A- Pours absolutely beautiful. Hazy gold body with a frothy inch tall white head and good lacing.

S- Grapefruit, pine, citrus, and everything nice.

T- Well balanced and lively. Floral notes, lemon, and a mild bitterness. A very tasty brew.

M- Bubbly and sort of creamy. Not slick, but goes down easy and is very refreshing.

O- Another good Southern Tier offering. I will be having another.

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Photo of MRsojourner
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

aroma is a big boom of citrus- orange & grapefruit and candy sweet sugar.

appearance is very pale with a thick white head leaving sporadic lacing.

taste is lemon and a touch of grapefruit and pine initially with a sharp hop bite but finishes really clean.

high carbonation that makes it very drinkable and hides the high abv.

overall really good so far

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- huge expansive white head on this one with bubbles of varying size. It's loud and active and recedes at a moderate pace overtop a handsome looking hazed over lemon yellow colored brew as some thick clumps of lace adhere to the glass.

S- bright zesty hop aroma with a distinct floral character, a combination of both the hops and the rose hips. On the hop side, there's grapefruit, lemon and a hint of fuel or solvent and pitch (not in an offensive way). Flowery sweet rose water and chlorophyl. Delicate pilsner malts lend crackery base notes along with white bread.

T- I can't really tell the difference between the hop bitterness and the Ross hip bitterness as stated on the label. I suppose the rose hips would taste a bit greener, but the lemony grapefruity floral nature of all this dry hopped goodness makes it hard to discern. Wheat and pale malts contain a certain sweetness that, paired with the bitterness, nicely disguises the 9%abv. The finish is a combination of dried leaves and peppery spice with lingering pink flower petals and bitter citrus.

MF- the term "sparkling" nails it. Highly effervescent and briskly dry with a puckering bitterness that lingers in the throat.

D- this one seems like a weird hybrid of styles. I guess APA fits. Hell, even IPA would fit. It's could be an American Saison with low yeast character. The wheat confuses me. The high abv has me thinkin weird shit. It's good in small doses, and I keep picturing it in a champagne flute with some cheese. The combination of ibu's, alcohol, and strangely light yet proteined body with high effervescence confuses the senses. My compass is going haywire and I can't find Polaris. I don't know how to define this beer to myself let alone to others. It's good and quality made, but I don't think I'll be going back for another bottle.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: into a tulip, light hazy gold body, finger of ivory head, some lace smatterings

S: lots of citric and floral hops dominant, suggestions of lemon drops and vitamin C

T: a very hop-forward, citric-style, beer - pale, delicate malts beneath hint at light and fluffy biscuits

M: light-medium body, bittering and drying finish, effervescent and crisp

O: a very enjoyable pale ale, Imperial strength, even though it feels like light drinking - a very nice offering from Southern Tier

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Photo of jtierney89
5/5  rDev +27.6%
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.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – Pours a heavily hazed golden orange color. Upon pouring there was a thick two finger white head. Even thought the brew was hazy one could still see tons of little carbonation bubbles streaming up through the brew. The big head faded slowly over time leaving very little lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma is big of a citrus hop (lemon and grapefruit) smell mixed with aromas of a floral hop as well. Along with these hoppy smells are other aromas of maltiness and rose water mixed with a little bit of grass.

Taste – The taste starts out with a malty and bready taste with a strong showing of lemon mixed within. Flavors of yeast and a floral taste soon come to the tongue with a lighter hop of grapefruit joining in. At first the grapefruit is lighter, but it grows stronger as the taste advances while all the while the malty flavors begin to loss strength. In the end a light pine and grassy hop flavor join the now rather strong grapefruit hop to in the end create a malty and lightly hopped flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is thicker side with a carbonation that is rather low for a champagne yeast beer. The tiny carbonation bubbles that are there are nice, but there are just too few with a body that is too thick for the style.

Overall – An alright brew, but nothing too extraordinary. The taste was rather nice, although eh body was a bit off for me.

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Photo of teromous
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very hazy, light gold colored body. There is a ton of visible carbonation even through the murky haze. Fairly thick white fluffy head, settling in just under a thumb's width. There isn't much in the way of lacing, despite the bold head.

S:Huge citrus hop aromatics, with a hint of pine in the back. This smells mostly of grapefruit and orange.

T: The hops are there, but very mild. It feels very appropriate for an APA. There's a first tinge of citrus hop bitterness and flavor, followed by a slight bread-crust flavor. The aftertaste is light bitterness. It is very extraordinary in that it keeps a high level of hop flavor without being too bitter. The malt can be tasted, resting slightly in the background. There is a hint of pine and mint in there on the aftertaste.

M: The mouthfeel is a lighter shade of medium. It feels overcarbonated, but that's a tough call. The bottle says "sparkling ale" so it's possible that a higher degree of carbonation was intended, so I won't count that against the mouthfeel. No alcohol burn, despite 9.0 which is great.

O: Some things to point out. The beer is hazy even when care is taken when pouring. If you drink this beer, be very careful because it has floaters. I would recommend this beer hands down, to anyone. I feel that as far as the flavor and aroma, it is a very good APA. On a personal note I was very pleased with the beer because it showed good craftsmanship while displaying restraint on bitterness. The ability to create such a fresh tasting beer without showing the 9.0% ABV was masterful. They hit this one out of the ballpark like the great Bambino. I wouldn't say it's 5.0 but it's nearly there.

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Compass from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.