Grand Arbor | Southern Tier Brewing Company

BA SCORE
85
very good
293 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
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Grand ArborGrand Arbor
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
southerntierbrewing.com

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by JimmyFlatRock on 01-10-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
293
Reviews:
57
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
10.29%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
40
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 293 |  Reviews: 57
Photo of rmcnamee
2/5  rDev -47.2%

Photo of brandonwnw
2.25/5  rDev -40.6%

Photo of bootdown21
2.5/5  rDev -34%

Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -30.6%
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-

 3,689 characters

Photo of IPAchris
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of corby112
2.84/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy bright golden orange color with tangerine edges and a two finger, pillowy off-white head that very slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Very good retention, taking a while to settle and leaving large streaks of soapy lacing on the way down.

Slightly earthy aroma with some floral hops, grass, hay and subtle farmhouse funk countered by sweet malt backbone, alcohol and light fruit esters. The funk/saison yeast character is muted until it warms up considerably and is still pretty weak once I pick it up. Subtle perfume like presence with hints of raisin, apple and pear sweetness countering the earthier notes and faint farmhouse funk. I'm sure some of the sweetness comes from the maple syrup but I wouldn't have been able to pick it out if I didn't read that it was used on the label.

Medium body with some earthy bitterness and subtle earthy funk followed by light fruit and strong alcohol sweetness. Not nearly as dank, earthy and/or funky as I prefer with overwhelming alcohol flavor dominating the palate. Floral and slightly bitter earthy hops along with faint hay/straw followed by apple and pear sweetness. Very subtle saison yeast flavor but it's nearly completely overpowered by the sweetness and strong alcohol. Some warmth in the finish but has more astringent alcohol flavor than heat. Disappointing.

 1,338 characters

Photo of briandaube
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of marmstrong1212
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of Syracuse12
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of lisahope27
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of jaswilson2
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of ncstateplaya
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of malfunxion
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of psdonnelly
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of BcOneSeven
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of KJ2013
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of chinchill
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

 188 characters

Photo of HermitDan
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of teromous
3.22/5  rDev -15%
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.

 916 characters

Photo of tillmac62
3.22/5  rDev -15%
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.

 788 characters

Photo of LAND_MINE
3.24/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of rbouton
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Elicoleman
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

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Grand Arbor from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 293 ratings.
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