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Ground Break - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
Ground BreakGround Break

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

526 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 526
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 24
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: WesWes on 02-02-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 526 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mit
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Always had a soft spot for Ithaca Brewing for some reason. Was really happy to see this pop up.

a-really nice cloudy gold colour with a very nice long lived creamy head.

s-fruity, crisp smelling, some spicey smells I couldn't place(probably on acct of stuffed nose)

t-Tastes kinda like a wheat. The spicey smells are there but it's more fruity IMO...the crispness remains...some of the banana esthers are there. Really nice.

m-Thicker...like one would expect of a 6%.

d-I really liked this beer alot. I can't wait to buy more.

Mit, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of woosterbill
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Prime 16 into a La Chouffe tulip.

A: Clear gold body with a half-inch of fine white foam. Ok retention and nice lace. Not bad.

S: Spicy, intense aroma that does a good job balancing fruity esters (apple stands out; not much banana at all) and phenols (minerals and white pepper, thankfully no band-aid). A little chalky, but quite good.

T: Spicy phenols start things off, and never really cede dominance. Some fruity esters, bready malts, and dry minerality are also present. Very clean on the finish. Tasty.

M: Light to medium bodied with ample, lively carbonation. Very fresh feeling. Excellent.

D: Intense, comple, and phenolic without being medicinal or alcoholic in the least. Fantastic.

Notes: Yet another solid beer from Ithaca. I'm very glad to see this hitting shelves in CT, as there aren't enough reasonably-priced, good-quality saisons. As much as I love Hennepin (and Hennepin is considerably better), I'd rather get a $10 six-pack of Ground Break than an $8 bomber of Ommegang's fine Saison. It's awesome to have the choice, and impressive that New York produces two such authentically Belgian-tasting brews in this fickle yet phenomenal style.


woosterbill, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of Homebrew35
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a huge 2 finger head, off white, bubble streaming from the bottom, high carbonation for sure. Head fades to a nice spotted cap. Pale golden clear body. Smells nice, fruity pineapple, banana, bready yeast. Kind of like La Fin in the smell that belgian quality. Tastes sweet and full of bananas. Some lemon zest, peppery, some apricot maybe on the finish, clove comes out as this one warms up. A touch of hop bitterness on the finish but not too much. Very much on the sweet side and I love it. I could drink this all night. $1.80 for the single.

Homebrew35, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear light copper in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that slowly faded away and consistently left lacy patterns of bubbles floating in the center of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of grapefruit, orange, lemon, black pepper and clove in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the spicy flavors are a little more pronounced and the hops lend a slight amount of bitterness and grassy flavors.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some notes of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is quite easy to drink and the citrus flavors would make this particularly refreshing to drink on a hot summer day.

metter98, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of JamnesCameron
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a MJ tasting glass (tulip).

Pours a hazy yellow with orange highlights. Big fluffy white head, that stands up and drops very slowly. Leaves big chunky pieces of lacing.

Aromas of lemon zest, orange, and pepper. Chaulky. Amarillo hop aroma.

First sip is citrus, lemon, orange, pepper, Amarillo hop flavor stands out. High level of bitterness for the style. Good level of carbonation, almost creamy. Long bitter, peppery finish.

Mouthfeel is light/medium, powdery, very dry. Almost astringent hop quality.

Very drinkable beer. Good example of an American version (read "hoppy") of a saison.

JamnesCameron, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of scootny
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy gold appearance with a quick fade. Leaves a collar as it sits. Smell is just short of a higher score. Belgian yeast with a banana and cinnamon flair. Some light sweet malt and a bit of funk and earth. Wheat-like notes waft in and out. Taste is a firm herbal hops, sweet light malt core moving into citrusy hops. Wheat malt moves in a bit. A bit of honey tinged grapes and a touch of pear. Dry finish has a bit of grapefruit and whole grain biscuit. Light crisp feel with a moderate carbonation. Goes down like a pilsner on a hot day. Super drinkable.

scootny, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of rlee1390
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy orange that poured a 1 finger foam head, and that was from me using caution not to over flow the glass after realizing the potential size while first pouring

S-Lemon and wheat

T-Mainly lemon, a solid lemon flavor that is not artificial. Not much bitterness to me, I had to look for it.

M-Light with some carbonation

D-Drinkable but the carbonation gets to me.

rlee1390, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of Eldalonde
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden with a full white creamy looking head. Very nice lacing left behind clinging to the sides of the glass. The aroma is different, but good! Initially, there are the tell-tale aromas of a saison, the fresh farm aromas of hay and grass, some barnyard as well. There is also the usual citrus aroma as well. But there seems to be a bit of pine in this beer, which is reminiscent of hops. There are also some nice belgian spices coming through as the beer warms a little. The flavor is rightly mild, but the usual barnyard and earthy flavors are there. Some tart and yet sweet citrus come out and the spices are fairly strong in the finish. The hops are noticeable as well, but not overly so. I'm glad this one isn't hopped as much as most "American" varieties are as it allows this to keep the saison style at the core. Very nice beer.

Eldalonde, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It slowly starts erupting, and forms a huge 4 finger head as I pour, forcing me to stop pouring. The bubbly frothy head fades semi slowly with lacing over crystal clear golden orange color.

Nose has some nice Belgian malts, a light Belgian yeast, saison like. Touch of wheat, some lemon peel, citrus, slight grassy like hop aroma, touch of Belgian yeast fruit aromas.

Taste is similar, light malts, Belgian saison malts, light citrus, little orange and some lemon zest, even hint of banana, with the slightest touch of a tart funk. Slightly sweet but finishes fairly dry, with lingering lemon zest and saison malts.

Mouth is fairly light with lots of carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good, with a pretty light overall beer, no real alcohol hit, and nice dry finish.

jlindros, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of PicoPapa
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with a Best Before Date of Oct. Whoops. Pours a real murky light orange with a small frothy head. Nice lacing. Aroma is slightly sour with aromas of hops and yeast. Some lemon zest. Flavor is basically a continuation of the aromas. Yeast, hops, lemon and a bit of a sour aftertaste. This is not a style of beer I seek out very much but I took a shot since I enjoy Ithaca so much. Overall I liked this beer but would probably grab it as one of the beers in a mix 12 pack as opposed to a 6 pack by itself.

PicoPapa, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of dogfishandi
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle pulled from fridge. several months past its freshness date, but i couldnt see that hurting a beer like this.

the pour into an oversized wine glass results in a huge billowy head. took me a minute or two for the head to settle to finish the pour. a beautiful white cap of head was the result. tons of soapy looking sticky lace and pretty decent retention. a cloudy, murky golden orange body.

the aroma reviels a spicy blend of belgian yeast and american hops. reminds me of a belgian ipa. the spicy phenolic belgian yeast is definatly the main player. bits of lemony citrus and clove.

lots of flavors going on, decent complexity. a bit tart, spicy, with a pretty decent citrus hop bitterness. lemon zest, lots of spicy phenolic yeast. definatly a hoppy example of the style, but thats exactly how ithaca's website describes this. very tasty!

medium bodied, crisp yet fine carbonation. almost like the real thing!

a great spring beer, really quenches the thirst and is very different than your usual spring/ summer seasonal wheat. i highly recommend this!

dogfishandi, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of mjaskula
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass. Looks like a saison - cloudy and yellow-golden with a thick white head. Not thinking I poured this one quickly and it went over the sides of the glass. The rocky head subsides slowly and leaves a ton of lacing.

Aroma is typical of a saison, it's earthy with lemon zest and belgian yeast. Flavor is also typical saison, as expected it continues the nose. The yeast is the strongest, but the lemon and earthiness are there too. Not much spice going on, but there is a nice grassy hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit light and carbonation is high. This is a great saison.

mjaskula, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of Doomcifer
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy golden pour with a beautiful rocky, creamy head. Tons of tiny carbonation bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Sweet citrusy aroma, definite belgian yeast trademark smell along with a spiciness lingering. Strong mix of orange and lemon rind/zest. Nice!

Tastes of more citrus of the lemon & orange peel variety. Clove spice, Belgian yeast, a dash of white pepper, nice spicy hop finish that lingers on the tongue along with the spice. A little funk is present as well.

...This big, rocky head is going nowhere fast.

Prickly carbonation on the tongue, medium body, semi dry finish but not astringently so. I could definitely enjoy a few of these in one sitting. I wasn't expecting much at all from this release but am very pleasantly surprised!

Doomcifer, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of cpanossian
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very hazy light honey colored unfiltered with floaties. Strong wild hoppy aroma, similar to a good Belgium like fresh Chimay or Rochefort. Take a few deep breaths - a real pleasure. Generous effervescent foaming at first pour - almost three fingers high - it slowly mellows down to a thin foma cover with isolated lacey spit along the side of glass. Bitter hoppy taste that would go great with a few mild cheeses. Real nice one this is.

cpanossian, Oct 06, 2010
Photo of korguy123
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into my new Lost Abbey Tulip. Special thanks to chelodina1 for both.

This is my first step into the saison/farmhouse styles and I thank Scott for the gentle nudge forward. I've read up on the style, like what I hear. But there is only one way to truly tell... So here we go.

A- Very hazy peach colored pour, massive 2+ finger soapy white head, this was not agitated and I had to stop and pour 3 times. Accidently poured the bottom which left little brown flakes in the bottom of my glass. Lacing is good.

S- Sweet yeasty smell, cloves and ginger, very plesant citrus smells (orange, lemon) peach and apricot hidden well in the back. Slight swirl brings out a little strawberry smell to this. Overall a very floral, fruity plesant experience on the nose.

T- The hops are present and they bring a smile to my face, the sweet yeasty taste is there but not as prevelant as it was in the nose. Citrus fruits are greeting me as well, but more lemon rind than the other citrus families. It's got a little funk to it that I can only assume is the brett, with my lack of experience with these styles and brett in general it's really hard to pinpoint some tastes and flavors. The beer overall tastes juicy but is moisture suckingly dry all the way down.

M- Juicy and dry all at once. The funk is kicking my tastebuds into overdrive.

D- I think at this very minute that one will be enough but it definitely has really opened my eyes to a much broader spectrum of brews. Will probably explore other versions of this to give a chance.

korguy123, Sep 30, 2010
Photo of generallee
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label has a "Best Before" date but no ABV%

Appearance: This beer pours clear and golden until the last few ounces with all the yeast sediment. The yeast swirls around and slowly blends in give the body a hazy appearance. The slow carful pour produces a huge billowy meringue like head that fills half the glass. It holes on forever and keep a good cap of foam on till the last sip. On the sides of the glass it leaves big splotches of foam lacing.

Smell: There are strong hop presence along with all the typical estery and funky/medicinal Belgian yeast and malt notes. There are fruity notes from the malt and yeast as well as the hops. Hops add some citrus and spicy floral notes and the yeast/malt brings a mix of tropical fruit and mild white pepper like dry spice.

Taste/Palate: There is a lot of complexity packed into this firmly medium bodied beer. There is a flash of candy and bready sweetness with estery yeast as well as dry funk and mellow phenolic spice. The hops which are more influential here then in a traditional Belgian Ale bring solid hop bitterness from the start to the finish and add there own floral and citrusy spice notes. It finishes with dry spice and firm dry hop bitterness. The palate is lively and well carbonated.

Notes: This may note be true to the Belgian style with its assertive American esque hop profile but it works!!!

generallee, Sep 19, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Deep Wood...Pours a light gold, pretty clear, lots of nice retention and lacing...The aroma is really clean and crisp, light musk, lots of nice floralness...Super easy to drink, floral, crisp drinker. This is much better than advertised.

jrallen34, Sep 14, 2010
Photo of bruachan
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle says "american saison". i like the sound of that

well the head is luxurious: i think i could lounge on it! crystal clear light amber liquid lies beneath

strong amarillo scents. bright, yeasty spice

interesting flavor profile. for me, yeast makes a saison. or at least the beer requires a minimum standard of spiciness. and this beer is the closest i've seen to that spice floor, if you will. spice abounds, for sure, (and is buoyed by the hops) but otherwise it's fairly clean as saison goes. dry; herbal; lacks esters

i will say, the hopping was tasteful

bruachan, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Thanks to stevglad and the N00b BIF for this bottle!

And the Leaving Falls Church uber-bender continues a-crunchin' on. This offering to the gods pours a clear amber orange topped by a tall, thick, white frothy head. The nose comprises earth, coriander, wheat, clove, lemon zest, and banana. The taste follows closely, though with a greater amount of earth and clove. The body is pretty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a nice saison, a bit much with the earthiness, but still pretty tasty.

TMoney2591, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Look was amber with white foam, quite pleasing to the eye.

Smelled of grapefruit, licorice, and a floral bouqet, very sweet.

Tatse was a bit more bitter up front soften by the sweetness of fruit and licorice, which left a lingering bitterness that leads one back to sip again.The sweet yeast was not overpowering as Saisons can be, well balanced with bitter notes from the grapefruit and licorice; still, they don't overpower either giving a feel of white tea. An excellent beer to drink, but with all the spice and bouqet, I wouldn't have more than two at a time.

It is a spring seasonal, but the flavors reminded me more of Autumn.

Chickenhawk9932, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of Jason
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date on the bottle.

Dirty cloudy yellow color, looks better than it sounds. LOL. Crowning of lace is impressive. Candied fruit, hint of ginger, nutty yeast and bready malt make for an exciting aroma. Deep smoothness, decent sized body ... not too dry. Mild tartness, grassy and lemony with a faint raw honey note in the back. Brett throws down some medicinal herb that comes off a bit bitter, good for balance here. Yeasty earthy bittersweet finish.

Super tasty, very drinkable ... sadly just a seasonal as I could see drinking this all of the time.

Jason, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of Augustiner719
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a beautiful hazy orange mango color with a nice shaving cream Ike foamy head. The pour had to be careful to make it contained in the glass. Has a nice herbal citrus component that is very attractive. Also has a spritzy component that invites summer drinking. Taste is on point with the style but feels just a tad rich for my preference. Has a very oily component that coats the palate and masks the complexities in this brew. Really becomes one dimensional and uninteresting as i drink this. Mouthfeel is a bit overcarbonated and has a sweet finish that I am not enjoying. Drinkability is not Super high but given the relatively low abv and the fact it comes in six packs is a plus also. This would be great in a larger format.

Augustiner719, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: poured into a Brooklyn snifter, glass filling off-white head, very deep golden in colour, something of an amber gold, long retention

s: pilsner malt body with a sweet white bread touch, full aromas of grassy/spicy noble hops, herbal, soft yeasts, light lemon, good

m: lively, scrubbing carbonation, light-medium body

t: mostly clean pils with a touch of sweet bread, steadily moves towards a finish of lemongrass/herbal hops the seem just a little harshly acidic, lemon rind, bready yeast

d: easy, a good saison that's not as refined as a top-tier example, but well on the way

single bottle picked up from Westmere in Albany and consumed at a campground in Fundy National Park, reviewed from notes

blackie, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Stone Tulip. Looks really nice, at least 4 fingers of head fill the neck of thee glass. The rest has a beautiful orange beer with golden edges and very active carbonation. Head recedes slowly leaving excellent lace. This is a great looking beer.

Smell is full of bright notes including lemon, banana, and orange. The requisite spices are there, and there's a nice hoppy touch that makes this certainly an "Americanized" saison.

Taste is fresh, fruity, and clean. There's a ton of spices including corriander. A really nice orange citrus taste. Some honey and lemon, and a nice hoppy bitterness that lingers a bit. The malt is sweet and slightly bready, but it serves mainly as a platform all the great flavors are piled on. Unique and well-done, but the beer feels like it may be suffering a bit of a "Belgian Identity Crisis". However, look past the labels and I bet you'll agree it's a nice mix of BPA and saison.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, carbonation is active but not distracting, and the finish ends in a bitterness that's strong for the style but appropriate for a BPA.

Overall, I enjoyed this for the intense flavors the hops impart when coupled with the spicy yeast. I'd drink this again in a heartbeat.

jampics2, Jul 19, 2010
Photo of GarrettMD
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a blind tasting from the Blind Beers BIF. These are my notes from before I knew what beer I was drinking.

A - Light hazy golden color with lots of carbonation. The head was, well lets just say it was a lot of head, guessing it would have been a 2+ finger creamy white head with great retention if it werent shipped (and probably shaken). Great lacing.

S - Piney and citrus hops. Definitely guessing IPA on this one. Slight malt character coming through, but not much. Some subtle scents I can't quite place... Thinking theres some yeasty/bready smells, but not sure. Once the head died down, the hop aroma faded, became more yeasty/malty. Changing my mind on the IPA.

T - Not as hoppy as the smell suggests. Definitely still there with the pine notes coming through more than the citrus. Bready flavors are more prominent, but not as much as a belgian.

M - Light bodied. Good carbonation. The finish is dry, no real hop presence in the finish either. Mostly light malt flavors with those subtle flavors I can't quite place.

D - I would guess this to be around 5-6% ABV. Good drinkability. I should have probably had it a little colder. After the full review, I changed my mind on the IPA. Definitely not an IPA, just a very hoppy nose.

Now I can see why I had trouble finding some of the aromas and tastes. I have never tried a saison/farmhouse ale. So this was a blind taste of a completely new style to me.

GarrettMD, Jul 18, 2010
Ground Break from Ithaca Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 526 ratings.