Southampton Grand Cru | Southampton Publick House

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Southampton Grand CruSouthampton Grand Cru
403 Ratings
Southampton Grand CruSouthampton Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Southampton Publick House
New York, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-08-2003

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Ratings: 403 |  Reviews: 292
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Ralphs66
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Neffbeer
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of bultrey
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK, it’s about time I reviewed this puppy, to give it it’s just dues…
There’s not much more I can add to what has already been said, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Appearance: Picked this up at a local Brooklyn beer store, brought it home, and served in a goblet-style wide-mouth glass. Beautiful peachy orange color with an incredible fluffy white head. Don’t remember much else because I was too eager for my first smell and sip.

Smell: Delicious. All the stuff listed in the reviews below. It’s been a few days since I sampled, but coriander, apricots and oranges are what stayed with me. And I’m not talking navel oranges or Tropicana -- I mean some sort of luscious, juicy Italian orange-oil-type essence.

Taste: Yes. Fantastic and incredibly complex. I can’t recall everything, but it was a mélange of all the malt characteristics, white fruit and spices that are desirable in a beverage of this type: coriander, apricot, peach, toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, just to name a few.

Mouthfeel: Fantastic carbonation. Often when I’ve had beers of this style, the carbonation can almost be too much. In this case, it was plentiful, but, as in the style of fine champagne, produced a frothy, delicate mousse that served to deliver the flavors to all corners of my mouth, and went down the hatch as smooth as can be. Incredible.

Drinkability: Very. I had no trouble finishing off my oversized bottle. Yeah, I felt a little buzz, but a damn happy one.

Overall: My favorite beer from Southampton, bar none (which is saying a lot, as these guys keep cranking out the quality brews). This sets the standard for the style. I feel it is the equivalent to a California (or Long Island, as it were!) sparkling wine outclassing anything from the actual Champagne region of France. Hard for me to rate a beer perfect, but…

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Photo of CharlesRiver
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml brown bottle, corked and caged. Pours out a copper light-brown with a good size head that keeps growing. Tons of bubbles in this one. Smell is wonderful. Big and malty with tons of spice, nuts and something a bit doughy.

Taste is so well balanced and just goes on and on. Similar to smell with plenty of malt and spice but also raisins and dates. I also get some slight bitterness that fits perfectly. A slight mineral taste is present as well. Zero alcohol is detected which adds to the drinkability.

I have had this beer two other times, both on tap. I am just as blown away this time as I was then. To me, a perfect beer. My first and only all 5.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of jtrockchalk
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of bsimms
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of taigor
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a caramel-tan slightly hazy body with a thing bubbly head that fades to a thin ring. There is a nice carbonation of tiny bubbles and a good bit of lacing with each sip.

S- The smooth slightly yeasty perfume nose has some sweetness and double cream brie rind notes. As the beer warms the aroma becomes even more fragrant with notes of sweet malt and cherry hints in the background.

T- The taste of perfumed honey sweetness, with hints of orange as the beer warms, has a slight brie rind flavor giving way to a dry spice note. The taste of dry fresh coriander has notes of anise and green peppercorns and a faint club soda quality.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a velvety texture and a tight fizz at the finish makes it feel more full in the finish.

D- This beer was complex but had light flavors making it very easy to drink. The sweet beginning was balanced by the dry finish and there was hints of funk blending with complex yeast qualities. Everything about this beer was balanced. I was truly a wonderful beer.

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Photo of marburg
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A muddied, browned, dirty gold brew with a fizzy head that fades at the pace of a middle distance runner. Easily ressurectable, though, with a quick swirl of my tulip glass. But let's cut the bull and get to the goods:

A stun-you-in-your-tracks nose does just what my name for it says it'll do. Open bottle. Pour. Sniff. Sniff again. Pause. Sniff. Watch some TV. Sniff some more. Ponder drinking. Sniff again. I already love this beer and I haven't had a damn sip yet. A glorious array of redolent fragrances await the quaffer of this fine ale: dandelions in bloom (as much as a weed can be "in bloom"), orange zest, orange/lemon Pop Rocks in someone else's mouth. This is a fresh, lively, and hopeful beer. Tomorrow will be a better day simply from having smelled this.

Heavy flavor and hearty alcohol! Two trademarks of many quality Belgian or Belgian-inspired ales. Definitely to be found here. Orange liqueor and vodka honeydew with a splash of pineapple from a can. Syupy -- but only in the Karo LIGHT vein. A slight plant bitterness helps this avoid being rock candy sweet. A spectacular wedding gift from some damn good BAs and friends. Superb in every way.

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Photo of hero27
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

corked/caged 750ml bottle
9.8% abv

DrJay hooked me up with a bottle, much thanks!

Consumed at cellar temp.
Glowing, opaque orange..if i squint I can see a few random streams of bubbles rising from the bottom like something out of 20,000 Leagues Under the, what an obscure reference.
Anyways..onto the aroma. Outright coriander & freshly peeled oranges. Belgian-influenced pale malts, peppery hops, and lemon zest..
the fresh orange flavor is incredible.. Belgian yeast, vanilla, candied caramel malt, and a peppery blend of spices.. hard for me to describe, but the flavors blend together effortlessly.. it's one of those brews that you can take a sip and taste one thing perfectly, but in the next sip you taste something entirely different. Just amazing.
This is one of the few brews that is just endlessly drinkable as well..quite dangerous considering it's bordering on a double-digit abv..
After looking for a bottle of this for some time, I was definitely thinking this would not meet my expectations...but I'm finishing up my last few sips, and I've concluded that this is the real deal. Just superb..near brewing perfection.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle bought at Julio's, Marlboro, MA. 2006 vintage, corked and caged. Epic battle ensued to get the bottle uncorked, finally had to use a corkscrew, looked like the cork was glued in place. Anyways, on to the beer...

Carefully poured in a Rapscallion glass, formed an airy 2" light beige head, with a veritable tornado of bubbles in the glass, causing the head to snowcone above the rim. Head finally settles after plenty of time for me to do some BFGuide catching up, and leaves tons of heavy lace in its wake, above the slightly cloudy coppery amber brew.

Nose is is a miasma of scents, spicy yeasts, caramelly sweetness, light fruitiness, some mustiness lurking as well. Taste starts with the sweeteness, but quickly the spices seem to tickle the taste buds one by one, increasing in intensity. Close has a citrus zest to it, and a light alcohol warmth is the parting blow. Mouthfeel and drinkability are superb. This recipe hasn't lost anything in the past couple batches.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Gorgeously dulled in tone in a pure shade of coppery orange jelly with a active core that keeps a lava lamp of activity along the sides of the goblet. A perfect, nearly gelantinous, thick, tall, creamy substance of a head sits with a firm, steady, lathering of yellowish foam that insists on not moving until touched by the lips. Lacing is big and drippy in large sheetings across the glass.

Nose is quite fair and round with a fine yeasty spice of white pepper and corriander. Perhaps a flinting of ginger. Moderately malty and kinda candyish with some soft pineapple and tangerine along with some bubblegum esters.

Taste is wonderfully rounded in malty richness of thick, deep, and dulled, tropical-like candy chewyness smacked with the perfect touch of fun spicy notes that really balance well. Actually, this is quite superbly balanced! A totally perfect melange of tamed, but huge malty goodness that reflects all that is thick and candy, toffee rich. Much like a fresh, and softly, slow baked bread and some bubblegum. And the spices that are added in are terrifically interwoven into the composition with a craft and care that endures wonderment and tasty awe. It's a bit hard to pin it down exactly; the spice is a tad peppery, yeasty of course, and a feathery tad citric as well. Especially as it trails off into the finish as there's a small little oompf of pithy bittering lemony/orange bite. Exacting the finish with length that's strong with malt and drying late with some yeast, citric hops, and a malty reign of candyied chewy leftovers. Awesomely Yummy!

Huge, chewy, malt body that brings a large and in charge candied impression of bubblegum ascented with tropical fruits. At first it didn't seem as full, but as it went along this got bigger and bigger, fuller and fuller. Is that even possible. Well, if not, than this just proved the impossible Cuz this just plain out was huge and chewy with a very favorable smoothness and a pleasingly dulled sense of commonality and balance that screamed "Drink me you fool, drink me!"

...And so I did, and then some. Wow, an amazing brew! Way better from what I remember from when I first had it a couple summers ago. Totally worth every penny and every sip you can get. Phenomenal stuff! And a pure gem by Southampton!

Thanks Joe!

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Photo of rotsaruch
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A 750-ml corked, caged bottle.

What can I share with you that the previous reviewers have so elequently described about this brew. I had the opportunity to share this liquid gold, which Davo had gifted me, with five other individuals. This is a regular group I meet with to talk, sample and taste new beers. Well, when everyone saw the bottle and the label from SPH, the conversation abrubtly stopped while everyone waited for this treasure to be poured and shared.

Its a remarkable brew!! A slightly pale yellow appearance with a hint of orange. There is a distinctine and persistent white head. There is noticable carbination, but not overwhelming. There is a subtle spicey aroma with malty tones. The taste is beyond belief. It is so soft, smooth and delicate. I think my tongue got a "woody." To me the alcohol at 9.5% was not really noticable. There was a sweeter than expected taste with a stunningly refreshing dry finish. It almost tasted more like a tripel than a grand gru. Who cares, it was delicious!!

I have yet to be disappointed by any Phil Markowski brew. I wish we all had access to his brews!!

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Photo of Franchise
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a sparkling dark orange that leaves a bubbly body foggy and inviting that has a clingy tan head. The nose is candied orange, wheat, grass, lemon peel, honey, tartness, fresh spicy hop aroma that is elegant and delightful. The taste starts malty, candy fruit, citrus rind bitterness that is rounded out by a clean palate cleansing from the carbonation. The finish is bitter and slightly boozy but that alcohal is smooth a little rough but it is quickly offset by the fruit backbone making this is a phenominal ale one of the best I've had the pleasure of having.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

At the time of this review, the Grand Cru is the #1 rated Belgian strong pale, and I can see why. This is an awesome concoction, brewed with orange peel, star anise, and coriander. 750 ml cork-n-crown bottle with no freshness date, and labeled as 9.8 %. The beer pours a sedimented radiant orange hue, with very active carbonation and three inches of fluffy, off-white head that puts loads of lacing on my tulip glass. It has an irresistible, sugary sweet bouquet, fruity and peppery, with oranges, pears, and yeast - I can't stop sniffing this beer. The flavors are even better, contributing orange, peppery coriander, hints of licorice, fruits (pear?, melon?, kumquat? stone fruits?), a mild to medium bitterness and the slightest hint of alcohol. Even the mouthfeel is complex - the medium and smooth, yet prickly body imparts coating citrus flavors that last long into the finish. Final thoughts? Powerful aromas and flavors, along with skilled brewing and delicious spicing combine to provide a unique, damn tasty Belgian that almost comes across as a big, meaty tripel, but goes down so very easily. It's beers like this that prove that America has some of the best brewers on the planet.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A hazy marmalade body lies beneath a huge head of pillowy off-white foam. Fine bubbles stream steadily upwards - continually adding to the head - and it holds a solid 1/2" or more throughout the entire glass. If that alone made up its appearance it would still be beautiful, but the almost solid sheets of Brussels lace are quite mesmerizing!

Delicate orange and vanilla cream candy (think creamsicle) reside in the nose with just a smattering of brilliant, fresh spice to jazz it up. It's quite alluring, and could almost be enjoyed on its own.

The mouthfeel reveals a meium/light body that's accentuated by a gently effervescent carbonation. It initally tingles the tongue, but then warms to become quite creamy!

The flavor is quite rich without being overwhelming; and it initially accentuates its cookie dough and candyish malt. Midway, however, a supple spiciness and orange flavor appear as it warms. Flashes of alcohol act to enliven its character, rather than detracting; and it finishes soft and sweet with a thin wash of drying alcohol and some residual cookie dough sweetness.

A most impressive brew! Its lush flavors are delivered within a perfect mouthfeel. Extremely well done. and absolutely worth seeking out! This beer rivals some of the top Belgain ales!

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Photo of mcallister
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally getting around to drinking this. I believe I recieved this in a trade in '06.

Pours nice orange reddish color with a large loose wound yet thick off white head. Great retention with thick lacing. Some yeast particles mingle around with the millions of carbonation bubbles.

Damn complex nose. So much going on I'll just take a stab at things. Big corriander and orange peel and full of belgian yeast character, hints of citrusy hops with a very earthy ester. Candied apples, cotton candy, hints of golden raisin and popcorn with a bit of a buttery aroma?
And much much more.

Christ this is a hell of a beer. Mouthfeel is amazing. Soft and creamy very light on the palate but a huge glycerl makes it entrench the tastebuds.

Anise, corriander and orange peel are all evident as the bottle would say. But there is so much more. Golden raisin, candied apple and some pitted fruit flavors lead through from front middle and finish long into the finish. Slightly sweet but not cloying at all. I could keep going on but it would get repetitive and this keyboard blows. Yay Dell XPS.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yum! I'm on a Grand Cru run and this will be tough to top. I went head to head with 4 breweries Cru's and this one jumped out of the pack.

It's a peachy golden nectar with a heavy, creamy head. The aroma of applesauce, spicy yeasts, vanilla, and an abundance of other spices. The flavor follows along with an incredible sweet fruit flavor (peaches,pears) spicy yeast and marshmellows. It's a verrry drinkable medium body with nice carbonation. The flavors are hard to put to words but this beer is not hard to put to mouth. My rec is go get this beer and let it do it's magic.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Diaphanous tangerine with multiple energetic bubbles leading up to a regal crown that looks like it belongs on one of Belgium's finest. The foam is pale orange-tinted ivory in color and is softly, smoothly rocky. When it eventually begins to relent, sudsy streamers of lace can be seen on the the upper reaches of the glass. Whatever else Southampton did right with this beer, and I'm guessing a lot, they nailed the look of a world-class BSPA.

I love the way a really good Belgian ale smells. This one adds to that enjoyment by putting a twist on the style with the addition of a few of my favorite spices: dried orange peel, ground coriander seed and star anise. I could never have identified them on my own, but I believe I can pick each one out if I really work at it. The order of prominence is just as they're listed on the bottle (and above).

Southampton Grand Cru is the best beer of 2007 so far; by a long shot. One large gulp is all it takes to tell me that this is a magical concoction that can stand tall and proud with the world's most spectacular BSPAs. If Phil Markowski's goal was to pay homage to the best that Belgium has to offer, he's reached that goal and then some. The only question is, will I be able to think of enough complementary adjectives or will I have to reuse a few?

Wow! There's so much going on in each mouthful that I don't know where to start. The pale malt and candi sugar backbone is amazingly supple and is the bedrock on which the rest of the beer is built. Sweet just does hold its own against bitter and spicy. I'm amazed at how much pungent, grassy (probably German) hoppiness is present and I'm even more amazed that it works as well as it does.

In terms of spice additions, none of them overpowers the others. Each one is able to be appreciated in turn if one simply focuses on that particular flavor. It's difficult to point to one reason why this beer is so spectacular. If pressed, I'd say it's the uniqueness imparted by the addition of such non-typical spices. This may be the world's first Imperial witbier. It's definitely the best.

As always when it comes to such delicious, high-ABV beer, I need to slow down so that I can continue to record my impressions. There's very little hint of alcohol on the palate; yet another reason to be humbled by this masterpiece of the brewer's art. It doesn't happen often, but I suddenly find myself wishing I had a case. Make that two cases.

The place where most American brewers (except Allagash) typically fall short when they attempt to brew the Belgian styles is the mouthfeel. Southampton has hit the mouthfeel nail on the head with a solid gold hammer. The sprightly effervescence provided by all those bubbles belies the underlying firm silkiness provided by all that malt. My mouth is as happy as it's been in a very long time.

Beer like this makes me glad to be alive. This is one of the best BSPAs that I've ever had, no matter the country of origin. Sometimes I sit and marvel at the complexity in each mouthful, and sometimes I simply enjoy what's happening to my taste buds. It's only January, but it's going to be hard for any brewer to top the sheer brilliance of Southampton Grand Cru during the remainder of 2007.

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Photo of popery
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy crap, this is a great beer. It is bar none the best American-made Belgian that I've ever had, and actually probably the best Belgian (although I can imagine some Trappists getting even better with age on them). The beer is a glowing golden liquid with an excellent creamy head. The nose and flavor are both very complex. It's a sweet Belgian flavor that works incredibly well. There is a balancing spice of coriander and light pepper. The sweetness is a blend of earthy Belgian tones, candied malt and hops that taste like wildflowers. Hats off to Southampton for this one. The feel is creamy and luscious. Despite being aware of the hype, I was happily surprised at just how much I enjoyed this beer. I split a bottle with good friends, and I wish that I had another to do it again. Ship to California, Southampton. Please.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: I managed to pick up this bottle earlier this year during my first trip to New York, in fact during the first of five trips to New York this year, but more specifically on Friday 27th May during a trip to New Beer Distributors with the Evil One. Due to the number of bottles I purchased, Davo mailed on my brews, this was one of the last to arrive back in Long Beach. A 750ml (I Pint 9.4 fl.oz) flat bottomed aqua-green glass bottle. Cork and wire caged with a 2004 dated metal cap. One main label, a yellowy-orange background affair with black text, simple yet impressive. “Southampton – Belgian-Style Grand Cru Strong Ale (ale brewed with spices)”. Listed at O.G. = 22.5 P, 9.5% abv.

Appearance: Streamers slowly punctuate the gorgeously crisp and clear orange marmalade body that casts a sunset amber-golden glow onto my desk when backlit from above. The head is awesome, incredibly smooth, a creamy natured head so often only found in higher caliber Belgian brews. Supreme ½” thick off-white snow cap covers the golden brew. The head rescinds to a slick but uniform 1/8” collar which leaves some attractive sheet lacing. Talcum smooth conditioning supports this brew throughout. I decided to utilize my Westvleteren Goblet for this SPH brew, a mighty gesture indeed for my Westie Goblet is rarely considered let alone used for anything but the best, yet in this case, this is indeed a worthy Chalice. Excellent presentation, a straight 5, hands down.

Nose: Light spicy hints, sharp dried orange peel mixes with a very feint yet defined coriander which mingles with a fruity Belgian yeast odor. You know what, as it warms I get aniseed and liquorice.

Taste: Strong Spanish orange and spicy coriander melt into a spicy yeast laden Belgique Strong Pale Ale backbone. Add to this a doughy like bread feel in the center that gains strength from some malty sharpness with a full-bodied Candi sugar ending, that in turns benefits from a lingering liquorice and anise tingle. Dark fruity finish whisks with a fast freeway Strong Pale Ale twist.

Mouthfeel: A majestic aristocratic beauty that benefits from exceptional breeding, yet it retains a down-to-Earth silky smooth body that has a humble working class attraction. This has an incredible body.

Drinkability: 9.5% abv...are you kidding me!??! Shurely shum mishtake…hic…

Overall: Was it really 7 months ago that I picked this up? Did it really only cost me $8.95?? I actually got chance to visit the Southampton Publick House on Sunday 5th September a couple of months before this bottle turned up. There is no way on Earth that I would have had the patience or self-control to ever cellar any Southampton brews… thanks to Davo for doing that for me!!! Cheer Evil One!

Supremely Impressive and Highly Recommended.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cloudy amber, light and sticky off-white head is very nice for the strenght. Unique malty aroma of orange, toasted malt, grahma cookies, plain oat, coriander, bread dough yeast, curacao etc. Very interesting although I’d have hoped for more intensity. Nice complex belgian style palate, peppery, mostly dry. Faint creamy lactic component. Curacao leads to a pleasant fruity bitterness. Light grapefruit lingers for a while in the superb aftertaste. Very yeasty yet even more balanced. Usual Southampton creamy mouthfeel, full bodied, extremely smooth despite the rather high carbonation. Nice beer, sure thing.

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Southampton Grand Cru from Southampton Publick House
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 403 ratings