Imperial Cherry Saison | Southern Tier Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Imperial Cherry SaisonImperial Cherry Saison
329 Ratings
Imperial Cherry SaisonImperial Cherry Saison

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

Style: Belgian Saison

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.10%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 329 |  Reviews: 296
Reviews by Douglas14:
Photo of Douglas14
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a hazy golden color with a nice white head that leaves good lace. It has a nice Belgian smell to it. Light malt and citrusy fruits are very noticeable in the nose. The taste has a great malty characteristic to it, followed by hops and fruit. The brew has a great straw quality to it. My only knock on this beer is the lack of cherry flavor...I was expecting it to be a key player.

I am still acquainting myself with saisons and this beer has been one of the better ones I have tried. I definitely need to try it again in a couple of months as my experience with this style grows.

 590 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Hojaminbag
2.67/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A clear brown body that has a distinct red tinge, but without any head.

A big boozy smell with a touch of cherries and some spiciness.

In a blind taste test, I could never tell someone that this beer is a saison. Up front comes a big splash of cherry that tastes a little bit like cough syrup because it is paired with a large alcohol flavor. After that comes a touch of earthy flavor along with clove and pepper. These are pretty muted, but I guess they are the rationale for making this one a saison. As or it warms I can also taste a little bit of oak in the middle, which is the most pleasant part of the beer by far. Overall, I'm just not sure this one works.

Mouthfeel is just way to heavy for a saison, it just comes off as feeling sticky in my mouth. The carbonation is moderate but just does not suceed in making this mouthfeel equal to a good saison.

Not too drinkable, just way too boozy and what cherry that is there tastes artificial and cloying.

 963 characters

Photo of Slynger
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep golden hay color with an amber tint to it, and a nice cap of tight fuzzy white.

Smells of a very light sugared cherry sweetness mixed with sweet oak, and a very light cherry sourness mixed with farmyard funk and yeasty golden fruits. Spicy oak barrels and black pepper complete the package.

Flavors bring light doughy and cherry sweetness along with yeast. A touch of sourness and funk as well with a solid black peppery-oak spiciness. Full bodied and a nice chewy-creamy carbonation goes down real smooth.

I really enjoyed this one. I'm glad that the cherry came through as subtly as it did since I am not the biggest fruit infused fan on the block. This is definitely one of my favorite ST offerings to date.

 731 characters

Photo of BgThang
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy straw color
1 finger head
nose- musty saison with slight cherry
mouthfeel - some sweetness maybe from the cherries, spiciness, and some bitterness.

This is a good summer beer without the big cherry flavor I was expecting which was nice. Too much cherry and this would have been a no go, but its just the right amount. Its very faint.

Thanks hojaminbag for this in trade.

 386 characters

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Light golden orange in color with a nice white foamy head and nonexistent lacing.

S: Yeast, cherry, sugar cane.

T: Sweetness right off the get go. The cherry flavor hits with a bang of tart then mellows out in the back with a relatively clean finish.

M: Light bodied overall, nice carbonation, ABV hidden altogether.

D: Great rep of the style, would recommend to those who embrace the fruit/saison characteristics. Had to knock this one off the belt, and glad I tried it....with no regrets.

 497 characters

Photo of bobsy
3.82/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded amber with a nice tight white head that slowly fades to a faint wisp, and leaves a inconsequential amount of lace. The head could've exhibited better retention, but the appearance is quite fitting for a saison. The aroma gives up strong notes of cherries (slightly funky) and wood. Inviting and complex, it holds promise for a great combination of flavours.

To some extent this expectation is met when the first sip is taken, although not, perhaps, to the extent that I would have hoped. The initial hit is funky cherry and damp oak, before a large amount of caramel flashes through. The caramel seems to be a defining feature of a lot of the Southern Tier imperial brews, and while it has its place in many of them, I feel it would be better more subdued in the saison. Thankfully, the cherry and wood return after this hit, and cidery notes also come to the fore in a slightly drying finish. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden, and while the body is heavier than a regular saison, its fitting for an imperial, and the spritzy carbonation is spot on.

Certainly an interesting take on a saison, with a lot of complexity and depth. Now, I've had a few more under my belt I can tell its not too style, but a good beer nonetheless. The cherries are very well-integrated, creating one of the better fruit beers I've had. It seems slightly unbalanced, but despite its flaws its still a nicely made drink and one that I would recommend.

 1,453 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a pale, hazy orange with a thin, creamy bone-white head that left a broken rim lacing before settling to a slight fizzy covering. Visible carbonation was quite strong.

S: a light subtle tartness of cherries to it along with some wheat and funky yeasty notes.

T: The tart cherries and yeasty sourness is dominant from the start and hits you upfront. The yeast and cherries are married beautifully together with a subtle funkiness and some acidity. The magnum hops add a light citrus touch and floral hopping. There is a dominant alcohol presence detected as well in the finish which was hot and spicy with hints of candy canes. A spicy dry alcohol fade that reminded me of "cherry bombs" lingered on the tongue long after the swallow providing a nice warming fade.

M: very light, oily smooth.

D: A nice drinking saison though is first marred by some noticeable alcohol burn which soon fades and gets easier to manage deeper into the drink. If the abv was toned down a bit in the beginning would make for a nice summer time quencher, but it wouldn't be a southern tier beer then would it. A nice different experience worthy of checking out.

 1,153 characters

Photo of maximum12
2.21/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to a kind but unnamed BA who sent this along as an extra in a trade. I sampled this before & didn't like it so let's hope for better this time, eh?

Pours a very clear yellow. Smells rather rancide. Tastes worse. Funk isn't quite right word, but the pairing with cherries wasn't a good idea. At all.

There's something not right about this beer. The cherry taste is artificial & cloying. The funk is stinkish. It's just not good.

Blech. Haven't had a drain pour in a while, down the garbage disposal this one goes.

 523 characters

Photo of naterock
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a slightly cloudy orange very little head.
S: Malt and cherry come forth with a slight oakey nose.
Tastes more malty with a hint of cherry, oak is very apparent in the finish.
M: dry finish, with a lively mouthfeel.
D: fairly decent saison, however I am not to familiar with saisons/farmhouse ales. but overall, I like it.

 329 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle, into chalice.

Pours hazy gold with a one finger creamy white head. A

roma is cherries, candy sweetness, spicy yeast.

Taste begins sweet, moves on to a peppery spiciness while a firm hop presence takes root. Finish is is dry, mild hop bite with peppery spice and the cherries come out in a very understated way.

Mouthfeel is a bit heavy because of the gravity, but crisply carbonated and creamy.

Well done, not at all gimmicky, but also hard to call this a saison by any stretch. A whole bomber of this was a bit of a stretch also.

 547 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of SLeffler27
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent bronze under a two-finger puffy white head that drops quickly in a tulip glass.

Opens with a musty sourdough, followed by light orange and vanilla, but generally follows the definitive Farmhouse aroma.

Lightly sweet pineapple followed by some sourness. While there is some cherry, it is significantly less pronounced than expected.

This Cherry Saison has a light body with almost no carbonation.

While still 8% ABV, this is easily consumable and thirst-quenching, but hardly Southern Tier's best offering.

Date consumed: 4 August 2008

 559 characters

Photo of Kraken
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into an over-sized wine glass. Firm pour results in a minimal head with scant lace. IT has been by experience with ST's Big Beer series that head is almost non-existent. Color is a clear golden amber, looks very miller light.

Nose- Rich and sweet, perhaps from candi sugar. No hint of cherries, a slight whiff of vanilla perhaps from the oak??

Palate- Very Smooth, sweet. Interesting bittering. Finish is not as long as I anticipated. Ever so slight vanilla, faintest hint of cherries, dry, perhaps a bit a thin.

Mouthfeel- Dry, lively carbonation.

Drinkability- Very good. booze is hidden well at 8%.

This really reminded me of tripel more then a saison.

 687 characters

Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +13%

Photo of paco1029384756
3.61/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a minuscule head; not what I was expecting from the style.

Scent of spices, yeast, earth, grain, subtle hops, hints of caramel and oak, peanuts, and cherries. Has the qualities expected of a Saison with some unexpected characteristics. Balanced and complex; a great scent.

Taste of cherries, wheat, yeast, and some oak. A let down compared to the wonderful scent.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with decent carbonation.

 449 characters

Photo of MusicaleMike
4.37/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Special 50th Review (from the cellar)

Bomber reads on the label that it is brewed with malted white wheat, belgian candied sugar, and cherries as adjuncts, and then is aged for who knows how long with French Oak staves. I poured this into my Michelob tulip glass while listening to Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sheherazade".

A: A big egg shell-white spongy head sits atop a radiant, but hazy, golden body. The head collapses down a little, becoming more compact, and then leaves a decent amount of lacework. Haziness is good for saison style, head is good for almost any style.

S: This beer has a beautiful aroma! It is perfect. It combines tradition with a twist. The saison style shines though, with a good yeasty presence. However, sour cherry sits right there in the immediate background. There are many different notes, creating a wonderfully complex smell, including green apple, ripened bananas, and black pepper. From a distance there is a sweet malt smell that is balanced by a light hop character.

T: The flavor is surprising! It definitely does not match up with the big, fruity smell. It is more earthy and thick than expected. I can tell that this is where the oak aging comes into play... The Belgian candied sugar is a major factor in the taste, which at first I somehow interpreted as tasting like tomato sauce on a pizza. Malt flavor is doughy, biscuit, and very present. The hop bitterness is more towards the finish and in the aftertaste. There are notes of black pepper, vanilla, and egg white. The oak adds a nice roundness to the flavor profile and is probably contributing to the vanilla notes in the aftertaste as well, combining well with the light cherry flavor and slight orange peel on the breath.

M: Full-bodied and rich, almost syrupy, but without overdoing it. The alcohol give off a nice warmth in the mouth, reminding you that this is an "IMPERIAL SERIES". Carbonation is minimal and smooth. The alcohol is what gives this beer its bite on the tongue.

D: This is a tasty beer, however the 8% abv will limit the extent to which one could consume this in a night. I would have this beer again, and especially with some good food. Cherry cheesecake? Cherry-glazed duck? I am making my mouth water...

 2,225 characters

Photo of PBBC
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden/yellow...

Aroma is yeasty, fruity, sour cherries...

Sweet and Sour flavors pour over the tongue, slightly shocking at first, but then rounding off nicely with some vanilla/oak smoothness on the center of the palate. Finishes nicely with herbal/spicy hops and a peppery yeast bite.

Enjoyable.... I would love to sip this in the shade on a hot day. Pair it with spicy food.... preferably seafood... maybe mussels fra diavalo?

 455 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 6/23/08. On tap at the Ginger Man. Pours a cloudy light orange with a pretty white head. Aroma of sweet malt and wheat. Flavor of spices (especially clove), banana, wheat, buttery popcorn, and light honey. As many have previously stated, no cherries at all...Dry mouthfeel, slightly heavy. This reminded me of a Belgian witte or hefe with the large spice presence. When this beer came out, I was quite intrigued by it despite the reviews, but afterwards, I can see why people were saying this is nothing special. I won't have this again, but it was at least interesting to try. Perhaps this needs some aging?
7/4/7/4/13 (3.5/5)

 639 characters

Photo of ATPete
2.75/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2


22oz bottle

Pours an pale orange color with a lasting white head. Nose of Ludens cough drops, fresh hops, sweet but very faint wood notes and wheat. Tangy and damn near electric to the tongue, acidic fruit. The cherry flavor is definitely there, but its more like notes of broken down pits than the fruity flesh which should be giving off its flavor. Barely medicinal, it sure doesnt give off a straight up cough medicine flavor like ive encountered in other cherry beers. This beer would benefit from some funk-age, it might hide some of these sour fruit notes. 2-3 oz were more than enough for me. Im really not a ST hater, i just call them as i see them.

 664 characters

Photo of Voonder
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks bobsy for this bomber!!
Pours hazy cloudy color with thin white head. Smell - yeast, just hint of cherries, malts. Taste - bready, fruity yeasty. Very rich and creamy, alcohol hidden very well in here. Very smooth with slightly yeasty aftertaste. Pretty interesting. Drinkability - good.
Great stuff, thanks a lot Rob!

 325 characters

Photo of Mauerhan
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

jwale73 sent this with my goody pack from southern tier. decided to crack it tonight when i found out i have WAY to much beer in my fridge/store room.

pours a nice light golden color. some tangerine highlights when held up to the light. a nice two finger fluffy white head slight lacing. leaves a bit to be desired.

smell is slightly sour sweet. i get a small amount of cherries but not as much as i would expect.

taste is good. i wanted a bit more sour but it is still a very tasty beer. what i didnt get for cherry smell i get on taste. i really enjoy this.

mouthfeel is supreme. smooth. medium bodied. not to complex. just an easy drink. i like this beer.

drinkable yes. yes it is

 690 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

GLASS: Tulip Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours a golden honey colored liquid. One inch head of loose creamy white foam. Minimizes to a thin layer of white bubbles fairly quickly, but they stick around. Lacing is minimally spotty.

Definite cherry smell, although it is light. Hints of oak. Slight band aid notes. Light yeasty quality.

The woody oak flavor comes through, fairly strong. Yeasty and breadlike. Very light touch of cherry presence. Not as much as expected. Light hints of caramel malts and a touch of hops. Maybe the oak-aging overpowered the cherry presence.

Light body, with a sharp finish. Not as creamy as expected.

Alcohol is fairly well hidden. Although this beer is not exactly what I envisioned it to be, it is light, refreshing, well balanced and pretty darn drinkable.

 808 characters

Photo of KeefD
4.25/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy golden color with a nice inch worth of foam and some delicate lacing being left down the glass. Smell is typical farmhouse funk. Slightly sweet. Is this thing from Belgium? Taste is sweet up front, a little sourness in the middle, and dry on the finish. I don't know if it was just me, but I didn't get any big hits of cherry in the flavor. Slightest nuance of cherry in the background which makes it hard to believe it's there. Full-bodied, almost creamy, very slick on the tongue. Alcohol can be felt, but it's hidden quite well for 8%. A very nice saison that I enjoyed very much. Southern Tier's Imperial series are quickly becoming some of my favorites.

 672 characters

Photo of jenitivecase
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Slightly hazy golden orange, with practically no head but a decent crown.

S: Definitely picking up the saison yeast character here. The nose is distinctly woody, with some fruity notes; cherry features, but other dark fruits are also present.

T: Echoes the nose; predominantly woody, with yeasty and fruity notes underneath. Slight cherry taste, but also some grapes and some figs or plums. Definitely has the saison funk. Hops provide a nice kick of initial taste, while the yeast asserts itself more at the end.

M: Moderate carbonation and a clean mouthfeel; actually, cleaner than a lot of Belgian saisons I've had.

D: I'll finish this one with pleasure, but this definitely isn't a session beer. The general funkiness precludes any serious drinking here.

The cherry is present, but not the dominant feature of this beer, although it is more noticeable as the brew warms. This is definitely an American saison with some cherry notes, NOT a fruit beer.

 966 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Imperial Cherry Saison from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 329 ratings