Grand Arbor
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Grand ArborGrand Arbor
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Belgian Saison
3.78 | pDev: 10.32%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Grand ArborGrand Arbor
Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 297 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I'm a fan of funky, farmy saisons, but this one was a bit too funky for me. It was OK but nothing I'd necessarily drink again. It was supposed to have been brewed with maple syrup, but the maple flavor was quite faint.

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Photo of chinchill
3.1/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From a bomber bottle.
Pours with a large foamy white head over a light copper body.
A bit dank and earthy, with moderate bitterness.
Overall: Disappointing, but then not a favorite style.

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Photo of EMV
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a clear light golden amber color. 2-3 fingers of thick creamy white head. Mild lacing.

S: Belgian yeasts... bananas and bread mixed with lemon zest.

T/F: Taste follows smell. Bready and yeasty with notes of banana and citrus. Honey and maple syrup sweetness up front with some thyme and spice. Zesty mouthfeel... well carbonated and spicy which lingers a bit on the aftertaste.

O: A very pleasing saison from Southern Tier. Better than I'd expected and definitely one I'd enjoy having again.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

"Flemish brewers add sugar as an adjunct during fermentation. We add "American sugar" in the form of real maple syrup made by our neighbors at Big Tree Maple, a farm literally across the road from us. Cheers to collaboration and bit old trees." Brewed in the style of a Farmhouse Ale with Maple Syrup, available in 750ml. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy foam head of a pale beige cream tone over a moderately hazy amber body with abundant carbonation with light sediment. Retention is good and lacing is light. 3.75

(Smell) Fermented syrup with a biscuit malt presence and a light spicy and fruity yeast profile. Potency is moderate. The aroma of maple syrup certainly is not difficult to notice in this beer. 3.5

(Taste) Biscuit and caramel malt with a distinct syrupy undertone, finishing quite dry with a slight yeast presence of peppery spice and light fruit. At its current spot, it drinks closer to a Tripel for the feel of a much heavier, and somewhat grainy body. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly chewy, moderately syrupy, peppery and medium dry. Carbonation is full, generating a moderate frothiness and a briskly crisp finish. Body is medium/heavy for the style and medium+ overall. Balance is slightly peppery spicy and grainy over sweet. Alcohol presence is moderate and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) The inclusion of Maple Syrup does change the overall composition of this beer tremendously, generating
a thicker body, slightly more exposed graininess and a higher perceived alcohol presence than usually expected in a Farmhouse ale. Notably, I find the saison yeast used insufficient to produce much of a counter flavor to challenge or balance out the enhanced malt body with its added malt backbone. I'm not too big a fan of this but don't consider it all that awful, it doesn't come off as much of a saison, but as a hybrid beer style, it's passable. 3.5

Southern Tier Brewing Company's
Grand Arbor Bottle Conditioned Ale

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Photo of hman43
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: It pours pale orange with a full white head. There is plenty of lacing as the head recedes.

Aroma: It has high fruit aromas of citrus and orange. There are also low aromas of caramel, earth, cheese, and spices.

Taste: It has high fruit flavors with orange and citrus leading the way. There are earthly elements, cheese, and a bit of a malty caramel like backbone.

Feel: It has a high moderate feel to it. It has a dry, bitter finish.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer definitely has about 2 years age on it, but it's been stored properly so we will see how it developed.

Look is a hazy orange with a thin half inch head.

Funky saison aroma with a heavy molasses malt smell.

Definitely more of a malt bomb. Light herbal flower from either the yeast or the hops. But then a lot of toffee malt and a slight maple sweetness.

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Photo of Darxink
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saison to the core - promises of maple syrup were a little unkept but many lesser beers would have overdone it. Slightly bitter for my taste, but it is a saison.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice barely cloudy rich good color with a tall white head after an aggressive pour. Smells like hay, yeast, and grass with some booze and a very minor whiff of maple. The taste follows suit but adds some citrus and clove. Not a bad Belgian but the one I had could have used a bit more maple.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Capped 750ml bottle poured into a chalice.

A: Golden in color with good clarity. Fine-bubbled and foamy white head retains at a solid two fingers. Clumpy webs of lacing cling everywhere.

S: Sweet, toasty, and bready malts. Walnuts. Yeast is musty and a bit chalky. Mildly tart/vinous white grape aroma. Perhaps some floral hops. Touch of clove.

T: Sweet and toasty malts. Walnut. Grain. Herbal hops. Good dose of musty yeast. Sugary. Hint of vinous white grapes, Apple skin, and pithy lemon. Clove. Stiff alcohol. Drying musty yeast finish.

M: Sturdy medium-thick body. Rounded and creamy with a sense of heft and weight. Somewhat chewy. Lots of acute, scrubbing carbonation forgives its size and lifts the body right off of the palate.

O: Not a bad beer, though it seems bigger in all respects than it has to be. The 8% abv is felt and its big-boned nature sacrifices drinkability to some extent. I want to quaff a saison, not sip it. The use of the maple syrup imparts little flavor; it's mainly there for the added fermentables.

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Photo of darktronica
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

If you like Southern Tier, then you know what you're getting into when you see that they've put maple syrup in a saison. These folks have a sweet tooth, and the only cure is more cowbell.

This is a pretty enjoyable saison for people who prefer barleywines. It hits the style, with plenty of straw, citrus, and pine notes, but there's also an underlying sweetness from the maple syrup that brings vanilla and turbinado sugar into the mix. That said, it's still somewhat dry, with a moderately short finish that asks politely for you to please take another sip. Nicely done!

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Photo of justinp444
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a semi clear golden yellow with a 2 inch thick foamy yellow white head. Smells of maple syrup, biscuit-y malt, citrus and earth hops, and cinnamon. Taste of sweet maple syrup, citrus, and pine. Slight bitter, dry, and sweet with a moderate mouth feel and body.

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Photo of Gmann
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy straw color with a huge rocky white head. Pretty spot on for the style. Decent head retention, which left some chunky lacing as it settled.

The aroma is perfumey with notes of hay and clove. Floral and bright with a hint of grassy hops. Standard saison aroma, similar to Saison Dupont.

The taste is similar to the aroma but is deeper and more complex. Again a floral and perfume presence mainly hay and clove. There is a solid sweetness to this beer which you wouldn't expect from the look and aroma. The flavor has a hint of the maple syrup but I get more of the overall sweetness. I thought the maple syrup would have been too strong for the style but Southern Tier did a nice job mixing it in. Pretty aggressive grassy hop bitterness in the finish. The maple syrup seems to come out more as the beer warms.

Moderate feel with prickly carbonation. Sweet on the palate but finishes dry and with a grassy bitterness. A bit chalky actually and the bitterness lingers a tad too long.

I think Southern Tier did a nice job with the maple syrup for a saison. It doesn't over power and it doesn't add too much sweetness. The beer is surprisingly dry.

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Photo of barleybadger64
4.31/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hazy golden color, nice effervescence with malty sweet/fruit notes. Taste was similar. In general, this is what I look for in a saison and was very pleased with the beer. The maple syrup was in balance and provided a light but noticeable mouthfeel. I'd buy again.

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Photo of dorianmarley
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a bright golden brown with a white head and sticky lacing.

Nose is sweet, whole grain bread, maple candy, lemon zest, and conifer.

Taste is astringent with caramel, almond, wheat bread, and sour gummy.

Mouthfeel is very full. It is the highlight of this beer. Pleasant bit of oil slickness and mild carbonation.

Overall, this is a pleasant ale that is well-made but lacks a lot of character.

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Photo of teromous
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light hazy golden body with a tall thick fluffy white head. Good lacing.

Aroma: Spicy aroma and the smell of wet brown paper towels. It's an average smelling farmhouse ale.

Taste: Spicy flavor, clove, and a touch of wood character at the back. It's important to note that the label says "ale brewed with maple syrup." I don't pick up anything unique to maple syrup.

Mouthfeel: It has a good mouthfeel. It's just dry enough to let some of the bitterness to come through without muddying it up.

Overall: It's a well crafted farmhouse ale. It definitely won't disappoint if you're looking for a good farmhouse ale. Unfortunately there wasn't anything unique in this beer, which was disappointing given the claim of maple syrup on the bottle. It didn't appear to effect the color of the beer, the aroma, or the flavor. I would recommend skipping it unless you're just looking for a regular farmhouse ale.

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Photo of JayQue
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much better than I expected!!!! A lot of American Saisons are all lemon zest and little yeast or funk. This beer has a definite lemony presence but the Belgian yeast and (to a lesser extent) musty barnyard funk are present. Pours a slightly hazy bright straw gold color with a huge bubbly white head. Good head retention and wide bands of thin lacing on the glass.

Taste has lemon, yeast and some funk. The maple is noticeable but wisely under-done. mouthfeet is rich and a little tart. Overall a pretty decent Saison

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Photo of tillmac62
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear amber, slightly darker than golden. World Class head volume, normal retention and poor lacing.

Light nose of banana, clove and a hint of funk.

Light medium body with a smooth texture. Below normal carbonation, with little effervescence in the finish.

The flavor profile is intense, complex and reasonably balanced other than for the phenolics. It begins with a blend of flavors that never really separate. It comes across as a muddled blend of citrus, spice, sweetness and a slight funk. This carries to the middle where the phenolics take over and produce a medicinal quality. As this flaw fades, a sweet background is evident (but has no characteristic identifiable as maple). The finish is a lingering medicinal phenolic aftertaste that is less than pleasant.

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Photo of barczar
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is lightly barnyard/bubblegum funky, with a ton of cardboard. Subtle bruised apple, light spice.

Flavor is extremely woody and earthy, very savory, yet mapley sweet and toasted, with bandaid phenols. The finish is fairly bitter and a touch peppery. Becomes a bit burnt. Would love to try by a campfire, with some marshmallows.

One of those that I can't decide if I enjoy it or not. Aroma, no. Flavor...kinda.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

BOTTLE: 1 pint 9.4 fl oz. Brown glass. Black and silver pry-off pressure cap. Generally appealing label art.

8.0% ABV. Served cold into a goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. White colour. Soft. Fluffy. Creamy and inviting. Retention is good - about 8 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Vibrant yellow-copper. Its strange clarity suggests this was filtered. Lacks a farmhouse ale's characteristic haze. Translucent.

Appears well-carbonated. It's not a great look for a farmhouse ale, but it's appealing outside of style conventions.

AROMA: Doughy yeast, wheat, maple syrup, maple sugars, candi notes, faint orange marmalade, banana, clove, and bready malts. The emphasis on yeasty banana and clove (over a more traditional lemon peel or white pepper) lends this a distinctly German feel. The absence of any brettanomyces funkiness similarly leads this away from a discernable Belgian character. If anything, this an American farmhouse ale, as nothing aromatically suggests it adheres to traditional Belgian takes on the style.

The maple syrup is quite reticent, and if I tried this blind I doubt I'd even be able to identify it - though it does lend this more sweetness than a farmhouse ale usually features.

It's pleasant overall, but far from ideal or traditional. Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE: Overly sugary and sweet, with definite syrupy characteristics - though to its detriment, I don't know that maple is readily identifiable as the culprit. If you're going to brew with maple syrup, brew with maple syrup; I'd like to see that intensified.

After only a few sips, it becomes evident this is anything but a Belgian style farmhouse ale. It's not Belgian; the banana and clove heavy yeast profile is more in line with a Bavarian hefeweizen or an American wheat, and the doughiness observed in the aroma is absent in the taste. It's also not farmhouse; there's no barnyard-redolent straw or hay, and no funkiness (from brettanomyces yeast or otherwise) is present. The malt-heavy sweet build, on the other hand, suggests a Belgian tripel - though without Trappist yeast this ends up rather imbalanced and unsure of itself.

I'm not really sure what they were after with this one, but the sweetness throws off the balance and it lacks the spice profile (especially white pepper) needed to satisfy stylistic convention. The hopping is aptly minimal, and grassy in character with subsidiary floral characteristics.

Ultimately, this is a simple shallow brew with a plain taste. I can't say I'm a big fan.

TEXTURE: Overcarbonated. Overly full-bodied and thick. Has a syrupy heavy feel on the palate. The old trope of beer being liquid bread comes to mind. It's not the peppery refreshing feel of a proper Belgian style farmhouse ale. Smooth and wet enough to keep it drinkable.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh or rough. The alcohol is noticeable, but not overt.

OVERALL: A swing and a miss from the cats at Southern Tier. Those hoping for a traditional Belgian farmhouse ale with interesting maple syrup notes will be quite disappointed. There's nothing here for the discerning drinker, but it's not an undrinkable brew. I'll finish the glass, but this just isn't working as a cohesive gestalt whole of a beer, and frankly it's a bit of a mess.

As a side note, none of the "tasting notes" on the label are even remotely close to being accurate. "Earthy Aroma"? No. "Mild bitterness?" Definitely not. (And why would that be a good thing in a Belgian style farmhouse ale anyway!?) "Dry tart finish?" Nah.


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Photo of Brenden
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Grand Arbor is a gold-orange color, mostly clear with a glowing brightness. The white head rises to one finger's height and shows good retention and some impressive stick. It keeps up while throwing down some very nice lacing to the bottom of the glass.
The smell isn't sweet. Instead, it starts off with a bit of must, then offers up some herb and leaf while a light peppery sort of spiciness hits the nostrils.
The taste starts off as a fairly traditional take on Saison, dry and light. It develops notes of pale and darker fruits, a bit sweet but not very, before some drier woods come in. Some clove and a mix of sweet spices and kitchen spices lie lightly underneath, and maple isn't introduced as a major player so much as suggested. It does come in at the finish, even while it remains on the dry side.
The body is medium, the character semi-dry leaning dry from start to finish. It's plenty crisp and smooth with a moderate carbonation while spiciness hits the palate evenly.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

In attempt to dry the beer, rather than sweetening it, the mild use of adjunct sugars to would give added fuel for yeast consumption. Thus added alcohol, dryness and carbonation all work to enliven the flavors already present in the beer.

Southern Tier's vernacular take on this tradition sees a Belgian-style farmhouse ale with a heavy yeast and golden-straw color. Bready, frothy and persistent, the creamy scent is laced with banana, white pepper, clove and apple for a scent that straddles saison and the hefeweizens of Germany.

Its creamy sweetness massages the tastebuds with the bready sweetness of cookie dough and fresh yeast. With green apple, faint lemon, orange and pear each taking turns layering on the palate; the rebuttal from spice sets in with white pepper, clove, grassy hops and a glimpse of smoky cumin as the maple reveals more of a peanut skin and shaven pine character.

Its high carbonation keeps the long and lingering residual sweetness held in a creamy and bready state as its sweetness and malt textures are slow to relax. This blanketed character keeps the spice, earth and dryness muted as the ale favors sweetness and added body more than authentic versions do.

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Photo of PostRockandCats
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Draught. Sample.

Not what I expected! The bartender kept giving me random samples at random once we made the beer dweeb connection. In the din of the pub, I didn't catch anything other than "Farmhouse Ale" when he passed this to me, so I was expecting something drier. But, I love blind tastings...

Got pear and slight pepper at the nose. Loved the light carbonation and creamy mouthfeel.

Honey more than maple up front going right to "tree" notes that are more indicative of the maple used in the brewing process. Goes to fruity graininess for a second and the the maple rick rolls you, throws horns and coats the back of your throat with a pleasant sweetness that's just perfect.

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Photo of CTHomer
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: cloudy; golden colored; 2+ finger white head that receded slowly to a thin cap; nice thick lacing;

S: maple up front; then Belgian yeast takes over;

T: Belgian yeast, followed by lemon zest at mid-palate; some bitterness from mid-palate through finish; maple comes through a little at the end; alcohol isn't very evident until well after the swallow;

Light bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: different take on the style; for me, the maple didn't help, bit it wasn't overdone; yeast was VERY prevalent;

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +5.8%

750 ml bottle, bottled on 12/04/13. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a hazy dark gold color with about an inch and a half off-white head. Head retention is decent, and there's a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like citrus peel, straw, peppery spice, apple, and a bit of maple. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some wheat/grainy malt, pears, earthiness and a bit of bubblegum. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and has soft carbonation which helps make this easy to drink. I think it's a good overall brew, definitely worth a try. $8.99 a bottle.

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Photo of lionhrt9
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Light golden reddish cloudy appearance. finger and half slightly creamy head that diminished to a half finger cap and good lacing with moderate carbonation

S - maple sweet smell with some citrus back notes, not pungent smells. It's like a wheat beer

T- slightly hoppy with that maple syrup helping it along from start to finish. Nice citrus notes to finish, not too bitter just enough. Hops hang out between sips.

M - creamy very nice crisp clean finish

O - Really liked this beer, but I'm a sucker for a good Belgium beer, this one fits the bill and with 8% by volume its not a little over flavored weak beer, this one stands up. Southern Tier knocked this one out of the park for me.

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Grand Arbor from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 297 ratings