Imperial Cherry Saison | Southern Tier Brewing Company

Imperial Cherry SaisonImperial Cherry Saison
329 Ratings
Imperial Cherry SaisonImperial Cherry Saison

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.10%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bighuge on 06-07-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 329 |  Reviews: 296
Photo of GrindFatherBob
1/5  rDev -71.8%

Photo of tj4288
1.3/5  rDev -63.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

poured from bomber into pint glass, split with my cousin-in-law

i dont even know where to start. i guess i expected a little more color in this beer, but was let down by a fairly pale golden/ ruby, with a slightly off white head that didnt last long. no lacing either. smell is over all pretty weak. i didnt pick up any cherry on the nose. just an overall tart sweetness. taste is terrible. taste like a cherry throat lozenge. and even the high alc added a cough drop throat numbing feel. sticky flat mouth feel. terrible. i WILL advise someone in a store standing within 10 feet to not bother trying this brew. i have had many others from southern tier and this is the first that i was at all disappointed with. . . and i was very disappointed. o well .

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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 yourefragile
1.53/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I'm not going to waste my time writing a coherent review for this beer since I poured out most of the bottle and found this to be very...bad. 22 oz bottle, ABV 8%, poured into a snifter.

Appearance is a cloudy pale gold with a fizzy, bubbly whitish head. Thicker bodied than expected for the style, but sharp, fine carbonation makes that tolerable and tries it's best to scrub away any trace of the flavor (the oh so terrible, wretched flavor). So the appearance and mouthfeel were only parts of this I didn't find completely disagreeable. Aroma starts off ok, spicy yeast and a strong malt body before the cherry (if you want to call it that?) foulness overwhelms the rest of the nose. The flavor instantly makes me gag, a completely artificial blend of mild tart cherry and musty, dank rotting cardboard (or so I imagine). Oh well, I wanted to try this before it disappears after thankfully being discontinued. Found this marked down locally so I don't feel bad about pouring out 90% of this abomination. I finally found a beer more nauseating than Rugbrod was for my taste. Yay?

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Photo of BMoney575
1.66/5  rDev -53.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Sampled on 7-9-08

Pours a cloudy pale orange, very cool, with a thin white head and rings of white lacing.

Smell is very plain, with a subtle, slightly sweet malt, and a bit of light fruitiness.

Taste is absolutely awful, a combination of sour cherry and thin, adjuncty malt, all covered up by a plastic-y bitterness. Hands down, the most disgusting beer I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is decent, but hard to rate.

Drinkability sucks.

Why do I keep doing this to myself? Southern Tier is like an abusive boyfriend I keep going back to. I've had enough.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
1.69/5  rDev -52.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Wiseman Zach brought this back from Rochester, NY. Thanks dude!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: A white, fluffy, head sits atop a hazy goldenrod body. Retention is really weak. No lacing. Nothing special.

Smell: Ew. Smells like SweetTarts or maybe Pixie Stix. The cherry is there, but it smells more like cherry-vanilla (yogurt). Sickly sweet. Doesn't show any semblance of saison. Downright awful.

Taste: Tart cherry and rum-like esters are the first things I get. Lemon, clove, and hay are also in there, but the overall taste is very ho-hum. Much better than the smell, but so far this beer reminds me of a phony pumpkin ale. Lots of non-beer qualities to this beer, if you catch my drift. Leaves a really crappy taste in my mouth.

Mouthfeel: Moderately carbonated, malty, medium-bodied, and... fuzzy? Not as creamy as I had hoped, and all of the off flavors are really ruining everything else for me, too.

Drinkability: Boo. This was the lousiest saison I've ever tasted, and I've had quite a few. I was hoping for some sour notes from the cherries, but nope. This was all phony sweetness. Yuck.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
1.98/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Picked this one up for $7.49 today, after a LONG day of searching, in vain, for a 16 year Ola Dubh to complete the set. Thought it would be pretty good... it looked intriguing enough. Cherry? French oak? How can it go wrong?

Poured out with a one and a half finger head atop a hazy pale yellow body with tiny floaters. The head died to a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

Aroma was of dried cherries, mild skunkiness, straw, white bread, and floral. A slight sweetness was apparent. Not bad.

Taste.. OMFG what have they done to this beer? There is a HUGE blast of black pepper and bitterness on the swallow, followed by a grassy taste, with woodiness, tannins, and more bitterness. Then a blast of alcohol and solvents. Not estery at all... more like phenols. No cherries apparent anywhere. I am SO tempted to pour this in the sink, but I spent a fair amount on it, so I won't blow it.

Mouthfeel... thin, astringent, bitter. It makes me shudder when I swallow. It makes me glad that I can open my throat and down a lot quickly. Looks like I will make use of this ability tonight. Just got the first half down, wondering if I can do the second without hurling. Leaves a slightly coated feeling on the inside of my mouth. I know that feeling! It's like when I am heating the solvent Aromatic 100 at work, and I accidentally inhale some through my mouth.

Drinkability - godawful. The only reason I didn't give it a 1 was that I could hold it down after I slammed it.

I seriously regret purchasing this beer, at this point. I consider it money poorly spent. I wasn't overly impressed with Oat or Choklat, and now I wonder about both versions of Unearthly (even though I love the style). Just plain nasty. I doubt I will be buying much more from Southern Tier.

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Photo of aquatonex
2/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours pale orange brownish with a very slight creamy head. Nose was immediately overwhelming, was hard to distinguish what was going on right out of the bottle. Once it breathes there is mostly alcohols in the nose with a hint of fruitiness. Taste is also impossibly overwhelming at first. Once it sits, there is major bitterness, hints of fruits, reminds me of Campari. Puts a big frown on my face with each sip. Not my kind of beer.

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Photo of jfcaa193
2/5  rDev -43.5%

Photo of barnzy78
2/5  rDev -43.5%

Photo of UDbeernut
2.1/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

a: clear golden yellow hut, foamy 1/2" head with fair retention

s: sweet aroma, fake cherry, yeast, slight spicing

t: uggghhh, very peppery (clove). hard to pick out any cherry. avoid

m&d: slight cough syrup mouth, very clingy. Avoid.

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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.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
2.34/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The girlfriend picked this up at New Beer, and we decided to share it while watching Star Trek IV on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Southern Tier is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries, so I'm looking forward to trying this one.

Poured from a bomber into the a pint glass (hey, I was at my girlfriend's house -- she's light on the glassware).

Appearance: Pours the color of apple juice. The pour produces a ridiculously fizzy 2 finger head that doesn't want to stick around to watch "The Voyage Home" with us.

Smell: It's strong and fruity, with a big hit of spicy Belgian yeast. Yummy.

Taste: The initial taste is of sour cherries, which is quickly overcome by a very dry spiciness. I gather that must be the oak that the beer was aged with, according to the bottle.

These tastes aren't bad, but they're overwhelmed by an unpleasant, acrid bitterness. It has the flavor of my dad's Campari, and is nearly as boozy. It's really unpleasant, and makes finishing the drink a chore.

Mouthfeel: Flat and syruppy.

Drinkability/Overall: I could barely finish my pint, as the bitterness and syruppy mouthfeel overwhelm. I appreciate the effort to counterbalance the cherry flavor, but it goes way too far.

Southern Tier has some excellent beers, but this isn't one of them.

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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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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.4/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a bright orange-gold colour, like pumpkin skin. Head is initially firm and fine, but dissipates after a while to a collar of small white bubbles around the rim. Some reasonable lacing, and a small amount of streaming carbonation. Looks ok.

Rather timid nose. Some hints of cherry candy, dried orange rind, plastic and perhaps a very faint herbal funk to it. "Funk" is probably overstating it for a Saison - certainly doesn't have the wild musty aromas associated with the style. Not bad, but could be a lot better.

Initial hints of cherry are noticeable; no sweetness, perhaps the tang of fruit you'd get by eating cherry stems or pips. This is then pummeled by the rather phenolic bitterness, like chewed herbs, an unfortunate spicy character that doesn't do the cherry any favours. Ends up with a bitter cherry skin flavour, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Mouthfeel is crisp but thin.

No, this doesn't work for me at all. It's a mish-mash of conflicting flavours that aren't even that pleasant in isolation. Tastes phenolic, higher in alcohol (and more noticeable) than it actually is, and with neither the elements of a good saison, nor those of a good cherry beer.

Bridge Road's Saison de Coing does fruit-infused saison much better. This is rather unpalatable, verging on offensive.

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Photo of sholland119
2.46/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Really did not like last year's version. Let's see if this year's reformulation is improved.

A-Looks like a saison, maybe a bit deeper in amber hue. Apricot with a bit of peach color, a light white head that dissolves into a ring.

S-Belgian yeast, a whiff of cherries and more alcohol than I would have expected.

T-Black cherry notes seem to be in conflict with the saison aspects rather than working in harmony. the flavors do not even come together. Also an awful lot of booziness.

M-Maybe the worst aspect of this beer. The cherry sweetness lies on my tongue like a throat lozenge. There is not enough carbonation to take it away.

D-No thanks. Probably even worst than the last batch. Excuse me, I have to go pour the rest of this out now.


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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 victory4me
2.5/5  rDev -29.4%

Photo of StoutSlayer
2.54/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When I drink this beer I feel like I'm Robitizing or something. Cough syrupy taste but with double vision. Artifical cherry taste kills it but I feel there's actually a good saison buried in there somewhere? I still feel like I got wasted on cough syrup though.

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Photo of capra12
2.55/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Reviewed with the help of wheatman106, speedwayjim and Tania, served in a snifter glass.

Appearance- 1 1/2 fingers head, fairly coarse head which dissipates quickly. The color presents itself as faded orange and pink.

Smell- There is strong red fruit smell, and yeast.

Taste- THis opens with a green taste, hop and yeast with a good amount of carbonation. From the middle to the end there is a very very very mild brown sugar but not enough to influence the hop profile at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Rather light bodied, carbonated, crisp, clean and dry.

Drinkability- As far as this brew I regret to say I would not have another, I usually like the southern tier line but they have been a hit or miss lately.

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Photo of beerindex
2.58/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A somewhat deeper Amber colored beer with a head that pours out heavy, but dissipates all too quickly. The smell certainly reflects Saison standards, or so I'm prepared to conclude from the half-dozen or so examples of the style that I tried.

Missing from both the smell and the taste...cherries. Really, this was misnamed. It wasn't a bad beer. In fact, it was a fairly standard tasting saison. Dry, bitter, and somewhat spiced. And surprisingly it became more drinkable as I made my way further through it. Of course, that may just be because I was stunned by the lack of cherry at first, and after accepting it was missing, decided to judge it based on what was there.

If you like the style,this is probably worth a try. Otherwise, stick to other Southern Tier brews.

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Photo of kmeves
2.62/5  rDev -26%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a lightly cloudy golden amber with a smallish white head and some lacing. Aroma is medium sweet with bubblegum, clove and sour cherry. Flavor is clove, cherry, light banana, woodiness and light spice. Medium body, tart and dry finish. Very minimal alcohol burn.

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

Pours a hazy, golden straw like color. Exhibited a very soda pop like, small bubbly head with no lacing.

Smells like a fruity saison. Sweet sugary notes along with a kick of oak and alcohol. I don't really pick up an cherries in the smell at all. Not as aromatic as I had expected.

Sweet candied sugar flavor followed by kick in the pills of an astringent chemical soaked oak barrel taste. Moderate amount of alcohol warmth, as the flavors can't really stand up to the 8%. There is some kind of cherryish taste in there kinda.... Fairly dry, and super tannic in the finish.

Very light bubbly and thin. Too much carbonation.

I really wanted to like this one. It just was not good, (they get an A for effort.) This is the first ST brew that I didn't like.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.65/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle, an extra from Lazerlobe, into a Duvel tulip. Thanks, Warren!

A: A fairly hard pour yields a scant half inch of coarse off-white foam atop a hazy light amber body. A bit dull, but not horrible.

S: Saison, really? This is closer akin to a big Tripel, with huge amounts of bready malt and alcohol dominating. Cherry is present as well, but it reminds me more of the red dip at Dairy Queen than a good cherry beer. As much as I love a cherry Dilly Bar, this one isn't really doing it for me.

T: Cherries (again, DQ) are always in play, although they recede into the background as the flavors develop. Alongside the sweet + sour fruit notes are flavors of banana, bread, oak, spice, and booze. The ethanol on the aftertaste gets rather oppressive. This tastes nothing like a Saison, and really nothing like any beer I've had. Unfortunately, uniqueness is not a good thing in this case.

M: Surprisingly light body, with carbonation to match. Interesting. I wish it were livelier, but it isn't bad at all.

D: Nope. I'm going to be struggling to get through the bomber, that's for sure. I've had hotter 10% beers, but this is up there.

Notes: A cherry saison aged with French oak sounds awesome, but Southern Tier really shot themselves in the foot by insisting on making this beer "imperial." The added alcohol brings with it flavors and aromas that just kill the potential for delicacy and complexity - whatever character the yeast could have brought out just gets subsumed in a wave of booze. Bigger isn't always better.


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