Grand Arbor
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Grand ArborGrand Arbor
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Style:
Belgian Saison
ABV:
8%
Score:
85
Avg:
3.78 | pDev: 10.32%
Reviews:
57
Ratings:
297
From:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  7
Gots
  39
SCORE
85
Very Good
Grand ArborGrand Arbor
Notes:
Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 297 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by EMV:
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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More User Reviews:
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 jlindros
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well this is a Southern Tier beer, AND it has maple, I really hope it's not too sweet. Needed something a bit bigger tonight, so this should stack up nicely, and ehopfuly is actually Farmhouse like. Also noticed a lot of space in the neck, like dangerously low fill, which is a bit unnerving and it loses points for that. But bottled date helps, 12/4/13.

The long narrowing neck forces a chugging pour that yields a frothy semi thick 1.5 finger head that fades at a med pace with lots of big bubbles, decent soapy lacing, hazy orange honey colored beer.

Nose smells like a typical Americanized wit, a little farmhouse saison but not a ton. Plenty of wheat no matter how you slice it, creamy wheat, with mild spices, little coriander like spice and touch of other mild spring saison spices, some banana too, very faint clove, some orange zest and citrus, little lemony too, lots of esters through all that, plenty to go around for a few days, and when I take a big whiff I get a little fusel alcohol with mild phenols, but both very light.

Taste starts like an imperial witbier again, Americanized version as well, lots of creamy wheat, tons of it, with some orange peel, zest, citrus, little banana, and tons of esters again. Then a little saison note but not a lot, little coriander, hint of clove, and other mild saison spices, almost mulling tea spices in there with a little herbal tea note even. Then a little booze cuts in, warming and slightly tingly, mild phenols too. Hint of bitterness in there, more like an orange peel bitterness and some from the spices but a touch from hops I think. Creamed wheat comes through again on the back end, turns a little crackery and doughy, as more orange peel, clove, spices, and herbal tea come out towards the finish and a little bit of a yeast flavor, and finally a bit of a maple flavor coming out, which I guess really dried out. The finish brings a nice maple cream flavor, dried maple cream, with dried but slightly creamy wheat flavor, more mild spices and orange peel lingering too, little sticky feeling, hint of warming booze too.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bod, fairly creamy, plenty of carbonation like typical hef.

Overall OK, but not crazy, more like an imperial hefe with hints of saison in there, I don't think I get any farmhouse style notes at all, more like American hefe and saison blended with a hint of maple on the back end. Booze is noticeable too, but that tends to come from lots of esters, phenols, and dried out maple back end.

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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
3.54/5.00

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Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of whatname
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of smithj4
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rdilauro
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I need to admit that I am not a big fan of Belgium style beers. Its something about the yeast, the wild yeast that picks it apart for me.

This beer had a very nice nose, it didnt seem to have that wild far away yeast bouquet, but instead something much more agreeable (for me)

The taste was nice, big , round and soft. Again sort of typical for the Belgium's I have tasted. But this was also very clean. This beer was almost chewable! That may have been because of the addition of maple The finish was long, lingering and asking you to have another sip.

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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 AngusOg
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of ChrisMon02
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/4/2013. Pours lightly hazy bright gold color with a 2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon zest, orange zest, pear, apple, banana, coriander, clove, pepper, wheat, bread, herbal, grass, light wood, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy maple notes; with great strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange zest, pear, apple, banana, coriander, clove, pepper, wheat, bread, herbal, grass, bubblegum, light wood, and yeast earthiness. Moderate yeast spice on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon/orange zest, pear, apple, coriander, clove, pepper, bubblegum, herbal, grass, light wood, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy maple flavors; with a great malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent saison style. All around great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy maple flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of a77cj7
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of GTJayG
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of bluetrevian
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of jaswilson2
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of mattboyer182
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Mineo
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a nice lightly hazed orange amber color with a big billowy head of a just off white foam. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a fantastic level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite heavy of a grainy smell along with a very nice lot of a yeastiness. The yeastiness brings with it aromas of a grassy nature as well as a nice lot of a banana sweetness. Along with these smells are some sweet aromas of bubblegum, maple syrup, and candied sugar with a bit of a tangerine sweetness present as well, which with the rest, create a very sweet and pleasantly “funked” aroma.

Taste – It begins with a sweet candied sugar taste along with a nice bready flavor. The bready flavor is of a smooth doughty flavor along with a moderately strong yeasty taste. Along with these tastes there is a decent sweetness to the brew as fruity flavors of both banana and tangerine are present right from the start. While starting out very smooth, the taste ends up becoming more grainy and a bit more chewy as the taste advances. This is largely due to a more grainy wheat flavor replacing the doughy flavor with other tastes of a grassy nature also meeting the tongue. While this occurs however, so too comes even more sweet flavors with tons of maple syrup and with a bit of light bubblegum and candied sugar taste, going with the tangerine and banana nicely but actually heavily outpacing them. With a bit more grassy and hay-like funk coming to the tongue at the end of the taste, along with a lighter spice flavor of coriander and clove, one is left with a very pleasantly sweet and enjoyable flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner side overall, but gets a bit more chew in nature as the taste advances from the start to the finish. With a rather higher carbonation, the overall lighter body, which transitions at the end, is very nice for the mix of yeast, dough, grain, sugary sweet, and grassy flavors of the brew and with a very modest alcohol flavor (well at least for a brew of 8% abv.) it creates a very easy drinking Belgian style farmhouse ale.

Overall – A very enjoyable and quite drinkable brew. On the sweeter side, but very enjoyable and balanced. Not sure if it is quite worth the $10 per bottle price tag in comparison to their backwater and imperial series (usually ~ $7-8) but regardless it is quite nice and is well worth the try.

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Photo of tdm168
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Treyliff
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- pours a pale cloudy straw color with a big creamy white head that retains long after the pour, all the way to the finish

S- earthy and musty with a hint of grass, yeasty, slightly sweet

T- yeasty with notes of must, hay, mild hop bitterness, slight sweetness from the maple, dry finish with a noticeable linger of alcohol

M- medium body and carbonation, fizzy-to-creamy mouthfeel, crisp and dry finish

O- good classic saison, the maple added a nice touch of sweetness, alcohol was quite noticeable though

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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.

C-

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Photo of DudMan
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 12/04/13.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy yellowish golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big three finger white head which slowly recedes into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell: A yeasty and spicy Belgian style aroma with good hints of fruits and syrup. Belgian yeast with some upfront hints of farmhouse funk, clove, and pepper. Fruity hints of bananas, pear, white grapes, and apple. Some bubblegum hints along with some Belgian candied sugar and maple syrup. Also some citrus hints of orange, lemon, and apricot. Pale malt with hints of wheat, grains, straw, biscuit, and cracker. Wood like hints which supposedly come from the syrup. Hops are very light. A very good aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a yeasty and spicy Belgian farmhouse taste with big notes of fruit and some syrup. Big taste of Belgian yeast with good notes of farmhouse funk, clove, and peppers. Fruity taste of bananas, pear, apple, and white grape. Citrus fruit notes of orange, lemon zest, and apricot. Sweet notes of Belgian candied sugar and subtle Maple Syrup which gives some woody notes. Also some bubblegum taste. Pale malt with notes of wheat, grains, biscuit, straw, and cracker. Subtle earthy hops in the background. A very nice Farmhouse taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Spicy and fairly drying feel. A little alcohol heat is felt but things are still fairly smooth.

Overall: A really nice twist on a Belgian Saison/Farmhouse Ale. Good yeasty and fruity notes with an interesting woody kick from the syrup.

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