Imperial Cherry Saison | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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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
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Ratings: 329 |  Reviews: 296
Reviews by malcontent:
Photo of malcontent
2.37/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Into a tulip, ST Cherry Saison (really?) pours a slightly hazy orange with a pink-ish hue and a minimal but surprisingly stable head.

Smells grainy with a bit of artificial fruit scent (not necessarily cherry). A substantial wheat aroma fills things out.

The cherry, although minimal in presence, does plenty (in a bad way)...medicinal overtones mar a decently dry, funky body. There is an almost tannic quality to the finish, leaving a touch of astringency on the palate. Biscuity notes try to break though although the off-flavors prevent anything notable.

The mouthfeel is decently crisp while not out-of-control with carbonation. This strikes me as an idea not seen through correctly. The French oak overpowers the subtler aspects of the beer while the cherries might as well have not even been included. I'm glad the wife will drink anything because one glass is all I can handle.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of boston2bburg
4.56/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a majestic hazy blush-gold with a modest white head that hides on the edges of the glass. Not much lacing, but oh well.

The initial aroma is grass and hay from the yeast, with a touch of cherry. Very clean, and gains strength with time. More of a sweet, honey-cherry-smokey oak flavor with warmth, which puts the first few whiffs to shame. Served outside on a warm day, it should be spectacular.

I should mention that I've had but one Hoppe and two Unearthlys at out of state beer bars and loved them both, so I was ecstatic about seeing four of their selections at the local beer store this week. First sip is verrry complex on the palate, but I'll take a stab at it: the first thing I get is mustard seed of all things. I've never tasted anything like it in a beer. Mint, oregano, tomato/ketchup, grass, oak trees, a babbling brook, and a partly cloudy sky may also be found here. And some vanilla and cherry. Theres a dry bitterness attributable to the magnum hops but not an overwhelming hop flavor. They show up more on the nose.

Mouthfeel full for a saison yet it sits easily on the palate and has a pleasant spicy kick on the finish. Speaking of kick, there's a pleasant warmth building in my chest and buzzing in my legs as I tackle the final 5 or so sips. With this beer, Southern Tier has done nothing to remove itself from the top 3-4 of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of brownbeer
1.5/5  rDev -57.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This is an odd offering from a brewery who specializes in stouts and ipas, and i'm not sure why they put "imperial" on it either.

Orange-gold color with a thin white head.

Aroma and taste is like isopropyl alchol and rotten cherries, like nasty schnappes. Mouth death.

I'm assuming this is a bad bottle, I had to pour it down the drain, and I think i've poured maybe three beers down the drain in my life. It might be old, since they're no longer making this, AVOID.

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Photo of generallee
4.04/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: It had a hazy body with a cool orange amber color. Its head was thin, white in color and faded fast leaving some slippery lace that slide down the glass.

Smell: The aroma was no doubt Belgian. It's full of doughy and earthy yeast with mellow spicy wood tones and just a hint of cherry.

Taste/Mouth feel: The flavor is bold and attacks the tongue with spicy oak wood, herbal hops and funky doughy yeast and malts that add some sourness. The alcohol is quite noticeable throughout and tart cherry is picked up in the finish, which is quick and dry. Carbonation is modest leaving the mouth feel somewhat flat but smooth in the medium to full body.

Notes: It's wonderfully complex and delicious with some ruff edges that I think would mellow perfectly with some cellaring.

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Photo of merlin48
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle pours a hazed amber body with a fleeting and tiny offwhite head. A few wisps of puny lace left on the glass.

Aroma has cherries, Belgian yeast, oak notes, and lots of pepper.

Mouthfeel does have an earthy and tingly saison feel to enliven the medium body.

Taste has a yeasty dominance, with subtle cherries, chalky oak, and peppery hot alcohol. The alcohol is quite intrusive here.

I like cherries and I love saisons so I hope ST gives this one another shot. The hot alcohol in this version covers up the hoped for nuances and makes for a disappointing experience.

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Photo of BlueHammer
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer on tap. In the glass it was a golden color that you could not see through. The thin white head left some lacing on the side of the glass I was not drinking from. The smell was yeasty with just a slight hint of cherry. The taste was similar, it seemed almost as if the cherry was an afterthought, it was so faint. It was good, refreshing, but not tops.

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Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ouncer, w/o freshness info on the bottle, but this stuff is brand new, tasting good and a welcome addition to the continuing to impress/improve ST line up. Pours cloudy medium apricot amber, moderate light tan creamy head and then a thick tiny bubble film.Lacing is fine, and scattered. Cherry, wood and a hint of smoke in the nose. Imperial saison, gotta love it! Nicely crafted, complex, with notes of moderate cherry, undertones of wood, peppery spice and resiny hops. Creamy soft on the tongue, very smooth mouthfeel. More aromatic cherry as it warms up a bit. yeasty, with small chunks in the final swirled pour. Very enjoyable, love the style (is their officially one for this stuff?) Hopefully this will be widely available for many years to come.

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Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head that dissipates quick, high carbonation, clear, orange-yellow

Smell: sour cherry and funky yeast

Taste: sour cherry, some wheat, earth, apple

Mouthfeel: dry, smooth, tart, and crisp. I could really taste the carbonation

Drinkability: This is a good beer for the style and hits what a saison should be. It is very dry and has a slightly complex and interesting flavor. One is enough in a sitting, but I would look for this again.

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Photo of badmoon
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip from a bomber.

A: Light amber. Very little head and not much lacing at at all.

S: Light citrus. I really have to take a deep breath to notice anthing.

T: Tastes great! I wasn't expecting much from the aroma but the flavor is great! Excellent composition.

M: Slight carbonation. Slightly bitter aftertaste...which I don't mind. Good stuff.

D: I like it but the ABV is too high for a session. I'll buy again for sure.

Overall: Great beer. I'd love to try all their releases but they are simply not available.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of Belgian yeast, lighter malts, cherries and a lot of oaked notes.

There are a lot of oaked notes in the flavor as well. I get cherries, yeast and caramel malt as well as the dry, oak. The beer is very dry.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Pretty good, but not one of the better beers I have had from Southern Tier.

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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.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears in my sample glass with a slight hazed bright golden body, forms a nice egg shell white head that leaves fine lacing with each sip. Aroma tart cherry mild funky yeast edge with some alcohol and fruity phenolic characters with a good bit of cherry tannins to it. Flavor comes of with a touch of bubblegum esters from the yeast and mild funk. Tart with cherries evident fruit tannins thrown in add a complex dryness with the yeast components not amazing bud definitely solid. The dry finish is the only aspect that keeps the mouthfeel tolerable or the beer drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied would be sticky sweet but a clean dry finish comes overs. Solid carbonation but definitely no a fine spritzy carbonation found in Belgian style Saisons. Drinkability is solid for what it is another big beer from Southern Tier, howevery they have not done well with Belgian style offerings this one does seem to pull it off much better than the triple with a nice cherry edge with yeast funk and a dry finish that is perfect for the summer weather. Living in Ohio waiting to try a bottled version, however I spyed this one at Bocktown in the Burgh.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Southern Tier- Imp. Cherry Saison

On tap at Isaac Newton's- Newtown, PA

A- Cloudy orange with a moderate frothy head, no lacing.
S- Slight touch of spices; clove, pepper, wheat, cherry and orange.
T- Sweet cherry malt with bitter orange rind.
M- Sweet candylike malt dominates the front half, bitter citric rind dominates the back half.

Overall- I found this beer to be sorta bland and boring. Cherry isn't very prominent. Flavors are weak. 1 and done!

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.05/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy light gold color with a medium white head that leaves very good lacing. The smell is strong with lemon,cloves,banana,and a "bisquity" aroma. The taste is crisp with the same flavors as smells,wheat,clove,banana,cherry,oak wood,and bitter hops. Not overpowering,but full of saison and cherry oak flavors with some alcohol. The m/f is light for a strong beer and the complex flavors mix very well. This beer is interesting with a mix of flavor,scents,and good looks, making this a "must" try. Glug glug.

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Photo of asabreed
3.49/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a Samuel Smith 12 oz. nonic. I was wondering why this was only $4.99 at Sam's in Binghamton, and I suppose that may be due to them wanting to get rid of it, since it is indeed retired. I was always curious about this, so I'm glad I got to snag a bottle before they're gone forever.

Appearance: A golden color with little carbonation, head, or retention. Very disappointing.

Smell: Oak and vanilla sweetness, yeast, some sourness, citrus bitterness, earthiness, and sour cherries.

Taste: The Saison-like presence is here, with its earthiness and mildly medicinal phenolic funk. However, I'm not sure the presence of the oak and cherries, adding both a sweetness and a sourness, work well here with it, as it seems like they're all kind of at odds with each other in some way. The back-end bitterness seems overly earthy and bitter, and kind of takes over the flavors, leaving the oak and cherries more in the background, unfortunately.

Mouthfeel: Fairly lighter to medium-bodied, with a moderate creaminess. The best thing about the brew.

Drinkability: I don't want to say it, but I will: I understand why they retired this. That said, how the hell could they retire Ubersun, which I think is awesome. I'm glad I tried this, as it's my first oaked cherry version of a Saison, and maybe with some tweaks it could work into something better, but I think too many disparate things are going on here, which is why the brew doesn't come together, and maybe those disparate parts should be kept separate from each other.

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Photo of Stigs
2.47/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22oz bomber, split and served in Duvel tulips

A - pours a clear strong gold color with a very light amber tint. there is a small floating island of foam and ring around the glass, intensive bubbling down below.

S - sweet marachino cherries, very slightly tart. some belgian yeast, grains, hay, and cough syrup/Tussin.

T - very acidic, sweetness comes and goes in a flash...turns a bit abrasive. alcohol burn and more Tussin. nothing else makes its way through, finishes kind of offensive.

M - very light, thin....carbonation is present but a tad lacking. finishes extremely prickly and dry...leaves mouth feeling a little chalky.

D - thanks. probably my least favorite Southern Tier beer to date, not sure what they were going for here. a Saison should be refreshing and indicitive of the old styles of brewing, this is not.

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

Pours a wonderful sunset yellow/orange, rusty and hazy, with a never-ending head and plenty of slow-moving bubbles rushing up to serve it. Enough lace to note, but nothing insane.

Aroma has that simplistic, straightforward, earthy smell a good Saison should have. Big fruit (pear, peach, apple) and yeast, mostly. Was surprised and a little let down not to get more cherry in the nose. Along with a faintly mineral smell, it could use improvement in this area but it's generally pretty easy on the sniffer, and certainly Belgian-esque.

Flavor brings the cherry character in, more so in terms of a big general fruit juiciness, not super tart and not super cherry-like. The oak-aging factors in too, but as with the cherry, it's kept in service to the other elements and doesn't jut out prominently--just subtle wood and earth tones. Typical saison elements are here too, nice earthy yeastiness (only faint funk), elements of pear, peach, green apple, and a sweet doughy center that shines as its most enjoyable characteristic.

Didn't really think much of the mouthfeel one way or another. It's light yet well-carbonated. Could've been a little creamier but at least it's not too harsh in terms of the carbonation.

A little less cherry-like than expected or wanted, but overall a super-solid and satisfying Saison. This is one of the more subtle Southern Tier beers, especially in their Imperial series, and one of the more nuanced beers in this style. It won't blow you away immediately, but it should impress given time, warming and contemplation.

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Photo of Magpie14
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: poured into a large brandy snifter with haste resulting in a fusing of clouded orange, peach, and light reddish hues. It has a very summery appeal. A thin layer of lemon creme formed on top and lacing was well under par on this one. I must say that the colors are the best part

S: tart, sugary, and funky are all occupying the same whiffs. Tart cherries are noticeable with light sugary/candied notes, reminiscent of a port or sherry. Some dry grains and malts are in the mix as well. Nothing fantastic, but okay...

T: all around the flavors are most definitely cherry-like. The grains pull at pale malts, some stale bread, and yeast notes. And then again, I find a constant musty and damp character enveloping every sip (along with a pinch of alcohol). I would consider this more of a fruit and vegetable beer as the Saison dimensions are lacking, or rather that, in my capacity and knowledge for understanding Saisons, this one seems weak. I just keep getting jabbed with tart cherries and funk in each sip, nothing really complex or tongue catching

M: the feel is rather nice: smooth, kinda creamy, and snappy with a light zest

D: as with a few other Southern Tier brews I am one and done with this one. I find there beers to be a bit over the top. My recommendations are not in favor

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Photo of cokes
2.8/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours to a murky yellowed brass with a small and tight and sticky off-white head.
It noses of wheat, doughy and plain, with some confectionery sugars acting as icing. Cherry is only nodded at, but seems tied more throughly to this sweetness. Later, there's a odd, but not disagreeable, twinge of mustard, probably from the interaction of the oak chips and hops. With warmth this mustard morphs into rubber and gauze and cloves.
Into the mouth it rolls waves of wheated, doughy blandness..err..maltiness. It's an agreeable flavor in their lighter Hop Sun, but here it is done to excess, and so much that nothing else can breathe except a stony black cherry sweetness, glazed with cane sugar. In this fray, even the namesake cherry is virtually shut out, and forget about any oak nuances. The sugary, glazed frosting aspect gains traction as it warms, but not to any good end, as it cloys and clots upon itself. The conclusion finds diced leafy hops smashed by a grainy, vodka-esque sour-bitter-hot alcohol flare.
It a heavy bodied, sticky sweet, doughy bland, booze rich, chore of a beer, and lacks all intrigue and finesse of a decent (or even mediocre) saison. It's not totally undrinkable, just heavily flawed and heavy handed- and strangely not because of the cherry.
Call this an Imperial Fruited American Wheat Ale and I'll say nicer things about it....but I still won't buy it again.

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

Pours saison light yellow, with generous head, leaving some lace down the glass. aroma is some yeast, like an American saison brewed with aroma not to offend. Only secondary of cherry. The taste-saison, a bit above average carbonation, medium mouthfeel, the cherry taste is in the finish and aftertaste. Drying. Not a bad one.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My wife and I "shared" this one (80/20 my lead) while having our Christmas present opening event with each other tonight.

A - Light tangerine color with a nice haze, this is topped with a finger of white foam that deposits some nice lace on the glass.

S - Funky, cheesy brett with hints of peppery zing and cheddar cheez-its. Small hints of tropical fruit and feta cheese. Brie, gouda, cheddar, and swiss. This should have been called Cheesy Saison, and I don't mean that as an insult!

T - Sadly, this is not as funkalicious as it smells, but it's still pretty damn bretty with a hint of tart cherries and a sugary flavor on the backside. Bourbon and gin flavors are there along with some alcohol fumes. This tastes like an interesting mixed drink made with a hint of juniper-y gin, and enjoyed with a plate of the stinkiest of stinky cheese smattered with German mustard. Nice, but too oddball for my wife. Whatever... I love the funk!

M - Light bodied with some obvious alcohol and tart cherry acidity mixed with some boozy fumes. Some Belgian sugar is there in the moughtfeel, and it finishes tart, sour, and funky.

D - I love the funky flavors and aromas, but any more than one bomber would be too much for me. Oddly, this is very light on the cherry notes, but heavy of the brett/cheesy aspects. Interesting for sure. A session brew. No way.

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Photo of FernMaster
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a Tulip.

I purchased this beer a couple weeks ago while beer shopping with a friend of mine. I remember being like, wtf? an imperial cherry saison? By Southern Tier is crazy. I've been falling in love with Southern Tier like they're Lady Gaga, so I decided to give this beer a try.

As soon as I began to pour the beer the wind picked up, and made me hate Missouri winters even more, sneaking through the kitchen window. It was an ominous entrance for two fingers worth of head, that brought about no lacing. The color is like I poured a welch's juice, its got a thick amber color look. I really like the smell. There's the cherry's at the forefront, followed by the yeasts and earthy smell of the saison.
I picked the glass back after the head had resided and I had my feel of the smell and took a sip. I bet you I looked like a cartoon character getting hit by lightning. The bitter flavor hit me in the face like I looked at his girlfriend the wrong way in a club. The flavor was so overwhelmingly bitter that it caused a shock from my mouth down to my feet. Yuck! I forced myself to keep drinking and I eventually got used to this shock, but it still causes my face to contort. There's nothing wrong with the beer, this is just the way it's brewed. Because of this I have to rank down the drinkability, seeing as I can't really drink it! The mouthfeel is fine, it makes destroying my face an easy experience at least.

Now I'll say this for clarification purposes. I'm not a huge saison fan. I don't dislike them, if anything Goose Island's Sofie and Boulevards Tank 7 have probably pushed me in the camp of enjoying the style. I'm the same way with cherry's in beer. My favorite beer ever is Boulevards Bourbon Barrel Quad, which proudly features cherry's, but I've had other beers with cherry's that I found repulsive. Maybe it's a balance issue? If that's the case, it's not found in Southern Tier's Imperial Cherry Stout.

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz poured into a snifter

Pours a hazy orange. Smells of Belgian yeast and spice. Taste is cherries, coriander, and Belgian yeast. There is quite a bit of alcohol that comes through in the finish. Mouthfeel is very light; quite a good deal of carbonation, almost champagne like.

Not a bad beer at all, I'm glad I came across it.

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Photo of hreb
2.63/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Cold 22oz bottle poured into tapered Dogfish Head logo glass. Beer pours slightly pinker than orange amber, very clear, with a medium off-white head which rapidly falls. Aroma is faintly of sour cherry.

The interesting thing about this beer is how well it all works together: the wheat, the yeasty flavors, and the sour cherry. The bitterness of the hops with the tartness of the cherries really is impressive. The balance is clearly on the bitter/sour end of the spectrum; there's no residual sugariness. It's not out of proportion at all.

The unfortunate thing about this beer is that it's just not very enjoyable. There's novelty in cherries as a bittering agent, but the refreshing, fruity taste of cherries is MIA. As a saison, it's more tart than I'd really like (ok, I admit, I'd like approximately zero tart in just about any beer), and it's been filtered to all hell. I'm curious about the oak aging -- there isn't really an obvious oak flavor, but I suspect the beer would be even less interesting without the oak.

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Imperial Cherry Saison from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 329 ratings