Imperial Cherry Saison | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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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.

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Ratings: 329 |  Reviews: 296
Photo of boston2bburg
4.56/5  rDev +29.2%
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 johanvond
4.23/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On the opening of the bottle the aroma released is of hay, funk, with a slight hit of oak, but it tempered by the cherry sweetness. It's golden honey hue with a quickly disipating head. There's a plesant viscous body with that classic saison funk, oak alcohol, minor bitterness, but then the cherry becomes apperant. This is a well ballenced saison. All the flavors have there time but you get an extra bit of funk in the end. Oh that glorious funk.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not much of a head afte th pour, no film or lacing. Some very sparse and lazy bubbling. The color is a very faint hae with some gold bar ish amber hues. The aroma is a straight up wood, with a hint of yeasty funk and cherry pipe tobacco. The taste is a much deeper, toasted wood malt with strong notes of dry biscuits, green tewa with a splash of cherry juice. More like dropping a cherry into the beer and then removing it promptly before you sip it. I love the wood notes of this beer. Amidst the slight tart twang of what a saison should have, there is a strong note of toasted oak with some fruits as well. The alate is bright and calciumy.

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Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a beautiful gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful pale malt scent along with fruity yeast esters and a light cherry aroma. It has a slight oak/farmhouse mustiness to it. The taste is great! There is a lot going on with this beer. It's got all traditional saison characteristics, but the cherry flavor adds a smoothness to the finish. It's not as dry and musty as some. The malt content is excellent. There is a bit of malt sweetness that lends itself well with the cherry and yeast ester components. I'm only detecting a minimal oak contribution. The mouthfeel is outstanding. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. It find most saisons to be a little overcarbonated. This one is on point. I'm a big fan of this beer. I know everyone wants to emulate the Belgian styles to a tee, but I would like to see some Americanised versions. It's worked for a lot of styles. Why not these?

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Photo of Donnie2112
3.62/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance wise it's about what you would expect per the description the typical saison yellow hues mixing with the red cherry color to make a sort of burnt orange nice carbonation as well, very light

the aroma is typical of saisons, lots of clovy Belgian yeast on the nose. A bit of light sourness there as well

lightly sour in flavor with the typical dominance of the yeast. I am very surprised at how saison this is and how lightly cherry it is. The cherry flavor is just barely perceptible and to those who don't know it's there they probably wouldn't notice it all together the hops finish it off nicely with a light bitter cleansing

snappy carbonation, medium light body

was not what I was expecting, was anticipating a lot more cherry flavor there, but it was more or less just a saison with a bit of cherry. Really surprised me. I don't think I will pick this up again though didn't really distinguish its self all that much for me.

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Photo of HopDerek
3.47/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Union Jack's Manatawny

Poured a cloudy golden yellow with thin white head that left minimal lacing. Smells nice, of bready yeast, peppery spices, cherries, honey, banana, clove, oak, and alcohol. Tastes of clove, pepper, wheat bread, and honey with a dry oaky finish combined with alcohol, and slight cherry notes that only show up as the beer warms up. Medium light in body and low in carbonation. Smooth and sweet but also packing a lot of heat, almost like a double edged sword, the cherry flavors come out more as the beer warms up, but so does the alcohol. Overall, I was excited to see this beer, but it ended up disappointing. Perhaps if it wasn't called Imperial Cherry Saison I wouldn't expected it to taste more like cherries.

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Photo of BgThang
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of blakesell
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a Belgian goblet.

Appearance- Stored on its side before chilling, you could really see the ample yeast on the side of the bottle. Beer pours a lightly hazed yellow golden with a finger of head and ample lacing. Legs also present on the appearance with that wafty alcohol on the sides oozing down.

Smell- This is clearly a farmhouse ale and the funky horse blanket bacteria comes right through first thing. I have a feeling by the first smell that I will be enjoying this beer. There is a hint of sweetness, nearly imagined that indicates the cherry, but I'm not even so sure that it would warrant calling it a cherry saison. Still, I'm enjoying sticking my nose in here. Sweet and sour fruit, almost as if they put spoiling cherries into the mash. Hints of slight spices coming up in the background.

Taste- Funk and saison lightness upfront. Cherry is here as the beer warms. Still not Kreik powerful cherry, but there are hints like what you have on the top of your sundae. Funk overpowers most all the sweetness making this one of my favorite kinds of Saisons. Fairly tart, but somewhat warming for the summertime swilling needs. Yeast spiciness is very powerful. Very nicely done.

Mouthfeel- Warming for a lighter style beer, medium bodied, highly carbonated. Not hot or solventy from the alcohol.

Drinkability- Very nice on the drinkability and I'm quite eager to find this on tap somewhere soon.

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Photo of qchic
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of favorite aspects of this beer is the label, but I find it misleading as the cherry was far more subtle than I ever expected, especially from Southern Tier. I also don't like the beer at 40 degrees, as the bottle suggests. I've let it warm up a bit and am enjoying more flavor and sweetness.

In the glass, it's a hazy amber w/ barely a 1/4 in. head. I get a little bit of cherry and definitely oak in the aroma. I can also smell the yeast that is typical w/ a saison. Taste is mostly spicy, with a lot less cherry than you'd imagine. At first, I was let down, but it turned out to be more drinkable than I thought at first. Maybe because I was looking for the cherry all along. For some reason, I just can't get the idea of cherry chapstick out of my head. Enjoyable, I suppose, but didn't quite live up to my expectations. I think instead, I'll buy another Southern Tier selection next time.

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Photo of Slynger
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.15/5  rDev -10.8%
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 NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy, Southern Tier's Imperial Cherry Saison offers up a golden orange body that's amber in color (true amber - not copper) at around 11 SRM. The bright-white head is short and creamy, and holds fairly well. Lacing, however, is limited. It's an 8% beer to sure, but the head should be a bit better and the lacing far stronger.

The initial hit of cherry and wood in the nose is distinct and bright. It's a beautiful combination with the fruitiness of the cherry helping to soften the wood, and the spiciness of the wood helping to boost the cherry. It's complex and welcoming. There are some yeasty notes, as well as some additional spiciness. (NOTE: Do not make the mistake of drinking this beer too cold... let it sit to warm to 40?F as they suggests, and perhaps even 42 to 46. You will be rewarded!)

In the flavor, however, the cherry and wood remains a pretty brash combination at first. The fruit makes a very quick appearance at the tip of the tongue, almost appearing medicinal and false - there's a note of sugar to it, but there are some underlying notes that are unimpressive. Fortunately, in a way, it's then run roughshod over by the aggressive, lingering wood and spice (alcohol? hops? or wood?). Some more fruit then softens and takes on a greater breadth as it rises in a mushroom cloud just after mid-palate and into the swallow. Following that, the wood is brisk and sharp, and combined with the solid bitterness that backs it, it finishes raspy-dry. It's reminiscent in a way of cedar. Cherry does remain, but it's mainly pushed aside by the more masculine bitterness and spice. And on that note, it's certainly an aggressive saison, even as base beer, and I wonder how much of the spiciness is alcohol, and how much of it is yeast or woodiness?

It does soften after the first 1/4 of the glass however, as the palate adjust and becomes saturated, and that's when it shines! It really becomes a different beer! The fruitiness remains, but it becomes somehow secondary in a way, but still remains completely present... perhaps it just doesn't have the charisma of the wood and spice, and simply acts more as a cushion. It's always there though, helping to balance.

And that leads me to what makes this beer great - it's complexity and almost imbalance!!! It feels as if it's always leaning forward, just about ready to fall apart and topple - yet it maintains its shape and simply pushes you forward taste-wise, always looking for what's going to happen next.

For the beer lover - someone who's familiar with the saison-style and beers made with cherries and wood, this is really interesting. It's a very American twist that I think even the Belgians would welcome. For someone who's simply thinking "CHERRY" beer, however, I'd give it a pass.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy pale golden color with a full finger wispy head that fades quickly leaving little lacing. The smell is earthy with fruity overtones. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is medium-full bodied. The texture is heavier than some I've experienced in this style, but that's a good thing. Full flavored, the taste matches the smell. This style still reminds me of harvest fruits, and this one has a significant spicy character to it. I don't get much of the cherry, but the aftertaste is spicy & fruity and lingers appropriately. The 8% ABV is warming but not distracting.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, 8% ABV. Pours a hazy golden color, with a rocky white head. Head is a good size, and retains itself quite well. A faint whiff of ripe cherries, spicy hops and some Belgian yeasty aroma. Hints of earthy aromas as well. All seems to fit well together.

A bit of tartness and candi sugar up front, with a bit of earthy and spicy flavors. Very slight cherry fading finish. Not as much cherry as I would have thought. Long lingering earthy hop finish.

A bit of warming from alcohol. Light to medium body, decent carbonation. Pretty drinkable. Not quite what I expected, but still good.

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Photo of PBBC
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
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?

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Photo of BlueHammer
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
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 generallee
4.04/5  rDev +14.4%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.01/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy, pale gold body with a thin, bubbly, white head.

Smell: Pale malts and a slight funky yeastiness, a touch of clove, and a very faint oak character. Cherries? Cherries? No cherries.

Taste: Ah, crap! That pick-up truck drove away with the cherry flavor. Grainy pale maltiness, some sweetness. Oh, some cloves, too. A bit of yeastiness and funk. Slight oakiness. Tiny hint of vanilla. Dry finish. Yeesh.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Mild carbonation. Somewhat sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Nothing but a bottle of confusion and deceit. Totally devoid of cherries! I demand a public apology from Southern Tier.

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Photo of pershan
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured a slightly hazy straw-yellow with a thin, white head into a small pilsner glass. The smell was of Belgian yeast, with no discernable cherry or oak components. The flavor was initially all bubble-gum Belgian yeast, but I also detected a hint of oakiness at the back of the mouth. The aftertaste was of hops and a slight, but detectable, cherry sourness. A fairly fizzy mouthfeel. A surprisingly refreshing and drinkable beer, especially given the high ABV.

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Photo of wiesike
4.57/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

sweet jesus this beer was drinkable!
popped it open in the afternoon and poured it into a snifter-style glass. orangish-amber color with a nice white head that stuck around for a while. smell was fairly typical of the belgian saison style with a nice hint of spice, and very mild undertones of cherry/sour hintings, with just an inkling of the oak. the taste followed through on those notes bigtime. all of the elements in the nose were there...too many beers are dominated by oak when they use it and this just had the lightest touch...very nice, and perfectly offset by the souring cherry elements made this a hell of a balanced take on the style, especially for an effort bringing several new elements in at the same time...the alchohol was barely noticeable at all, the mouthfeel/carbonation/flavors all crisp enough to make this refreshing on a summer afternoon...i hadn't planned on drinking this all in one sitting by my lonesome, but i couldn't stop myself, and when it was done i just wanted more...another awesome effort from probably my favorite smallscale brewery...their "bigbeer" efforts just keep on impressing...thank goodness their distribution now reaches dc...highly recommended if you see it on your local beershelves

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy golden orange color with a thin white head. Lots of carbonation making its way to the top with some sticking to the side of the glass. The aroma is yeasty, spicy and has a nice clove scent. This brew is fairly hoppy and it overpowered most of the cherry flavor that I came across. Very good saison flavor. Lightly citric. But Cherry and oak? Im not so sure. There is a certain fruit and earthiness to it that is pleasant. Hops overpower the malt also. The more of the bomber i drink the more cherry flavor i come across. The feel is moderate with a good amount of carbonation. This is very drinkable but far from perfect.

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Photo of timtim
3.18/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

i'm not sure what to make of this one's appearance, but it looks pretty cool to me right now, so i think i'll give it the benefit of the doubt and find at least one redeeming quality here. white feet on the beer. hazy pinkish orange in the middle and white head on top that holds pretty well, turns to spotty clumpy chunks on top of the beer and leaves some nice lace on the glass. smell is interesting. cherry soda with a hint of smokey, woody campfire in the background. also picking up some clove and pepper and spice. taste is where it goes downhill for me. i can understand the need to experiment and create new twists, but aging a saison on oak staves and adding cherries doesn't seem to work. fantome messes around with the original saison formula and comes up with beers that are unique but still saison first and foremost. this is like someone put out a fire in a cherry coke factory with clove and pepper beer. it just isn't working for me. nice long finish, but the flavors aren't ringing my pleasure bells. a little prickly, but not from over carbonation. i think it's kind of hot boozewise. sort of hard to drink. good effort, but i'll pass on another one.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.12/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy golden with orange tints, a thin white head that disappears to a ring of lace.

S - Spicy yeast, clove, hint of tart cherries, bready wheat, floral hops and the lightest touch of oak.

T - Bready wheat, spicy clove, not sure if the oak was toasted but it tastes like it. The hint of tart cherry in the nose now appears sweet.Cherry is a little more noticeable as it warms.

M - Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation and a dry finish.

D - I was expecting more cherry for some reason but I think the subtle cherry notes probably suit the style better. Much more of a true saison than I anticipated.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mildy foggy gold with a thin whitish head that. Nice dough nose. Smells like a saison, alright. Flavor is saison-ish! Sweet! Nice funky doughy thing. Noticeable spices. There is so little cherry on here, I probably wouldn't notice it if I hadn't already been informed about it. Feel is standard really. Definitely drinkable. Man I hate how most American breweries just totally jack up this style. But for once in a blue moon, it gets pulled off. Very nice.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.48/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Muted pale gold with a solid finger high head of solid white foam thats lush and lumped with a substantial girth that lasts fro good duration. Lacing sticks in long stings and globuls as it sits and consumed.

Aroma is fruity and sweet with a clean tone of cherry, pear, and melon with a wheaty/bread doughy freshness and tender zip of musty grassy spices.

Nice flavors, a nice easy meld of creamy/milky breads and tender fruityness that touches on the cherry lifted with melon, dull, rounded citrus, and pears and red apples. Very nice saison touches of wet or musty grassy herbs and grassy spices that make for wholesome treat of goodness.

Nice medium toned bodt with a clean mold of creamyness that is remarkably wholesome and vibrant with a great touch of spices that last in the finish resonating with left over malty sweetness of doughy breads and fruity nuances.

Drinkable by the gallons! Super drinkable and an absolutely fine tasting brew by Southern Tier! Yum!

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Imperial Cherry Saison from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.53 out of 5 based on 329 ratings.
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