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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Reviews: 296 | Ratings: 330
Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting offering and I'm excited to see how the Imperial Cherry Saison tastes.

***First off let me say this....this is a Saison first and foremost...all the classic saison components are here....

-spicy/floral hop aroma....

-black pepper spicing...

-medium bodied..

-.alcohol not noticeable on the taste and only slightly on the aroma...

***Now here is what is different...

-there is an oaky barrel aged quality that is subtle and more noticeable on the aroma than on the adds a unique, interesting and appealing quality.

-there is a very mild sweet cherry impression on both the nose and taste.

***Overall this is pretty complex...and subtle....not immense or overpowering but definitely enjoyable and unique.

Worth trying and I'd call it another in a long line of quality beers from this fast rising brewery.

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Photo of corey0212
4.25/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a glowing, slightly opaque golden color, nice creamy white head that fades somewhat quickly and leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Smells great! Nice wheaty/yeast aroma, a touch of banana and cherry, lots of spice in the nose. Really just a minimal amount of cherry flavor, but it's there, and it works. Spicy on the tongue, and I'm getting plenty of smoky flavor from the oak on the back end. A bit of a drying finish, really finely carbonated, some lingering spice and bitterness. I love it.

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Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Yet another great offering from Southern Tier. I wasn't sure what to expect from this. An imperial saison? Sounds intriguing, great brewery with a knack for imperial beers, should be good. From the get-go, poured into a 20oz bubble glass, little to no head. Smell is fruity but not intensly, the cherries are well hidden. The taste is spicy, nutmeg and allspice seem present. Then WHAM!!!! Alcohol. Its almost burning at time. This beer does not disappoint. It would be a great aperitif or dessert beer. It reminds me of the Trou-Norman or "Normandy Hole" the speak of in northern France, where you drink a sweet but potent liquor between courses of a large dinner to "burn" a hole in your stomach so you can eat more. Very tasty and once again a great offering from Southern Tier.

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Photo of marcpal
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into Ommegang flute glass.

A: Looks like cloudy apple juice with a thin white head that passed on. Appears to be a saison.

N: Smells of Belgium and of banana fruits. Was expecting for cherry flavors but not really there. Bit tart tang.

T: Bananas, spices and a slight hint of cherries in the back only because I was looking for it. As it warmed, more earthy flavor.

M: Very creamy for a saison. Awfully thick, and some burn on the tongue from the alcohol. I really like the mouthfeel but its not what you would describe as saison.

D: Not bad, not quite on par with the Tiers other imperial bombers. Would choose the UberSun over this. It was good on a humid day and stood up well with some spicy pasta.

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Photo of gpcollen1
3.97/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my Smutty Big Beer glass with a quick rising head that is quick to settle. Very light in color with a hint of amber and orange. Aroma is light and sweet with the spiciness that jumps right in.

Hits the palate with a light sweetness that ushers in some nice carbonation and the far off hint of cherries. Finishes with some nice dry and bittering hops and still a distant cherry theme.

This one is a nice drinker and a pleasant change from the saison scene. Not that the great saisons are missing something but just - change is nice. Drink this one whilst it is around.

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Photo of shirfan
3.96/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Light cloudy gold with a thin, fine-bubbled layer of lace sticking around.

Aroma is not this beer's strong point. Zero cherry, some minimal clove and wheat. A slight sense that this could be a hot alcoholic mess.

Taste: Redeems the worrisome nose quite nicely. This is a subtle, suggestive beer, not a "CHERRIES ROCK!!!" mandate. Crisp but soft wheat, mild clove, grassy organic flavors. Typical saison intricacies with just an afterthought of cherry tartness. Oak adds a mildly aged vanilla and light astringent aspect.

Mouthfeel is the star of this show. Soft, fine carbonation gives way to lingering complexity begging another sip. Alcohol is there in the finish but *just* under the threshold of where I'd find it too aggressive for the style.

Dear Southern Tier -- Raspberries don't seem to be your forte...
I'd love to see the raspberry wheat dropped in favor of a smaller version of this brew.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.37/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Cloudy golden wheat color. Minimal white head with a nice showing of lacing.

S: Cheries up front. Then the yeast gives us a whiff to let us know it is there. You really can smell the oak in this beer which is unusual for a wood aged beer. Slight funk in there as well. Super complex.

T: Starts off with hints of oak. The oak and cherries basically are playing off of one another. Really sweet as well. The cherries are really there. Cherries really do come out as it warms. Hints of a saison in the middle.

M: Really different mouthfeel. Goes down so easy. Carbonation is really low but it works.

D: This one could get you in trouble. On tap may jesus be with you because you are beyond the help of all others. Dangerously drinkable. Again as other said do not expect the over the top cherry like Choklat and Jahva but damn this is good. Wonder how this would age?

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.67/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From bomber into Cab glass...

Natural honey color with placid carbonation. Thin, yeasty head that laces nicely with a chunky head-body seam. Classic, rustic saison look.

Lots of spice on the nose - cloves, mostly with slight (increasing with warmth) natural cherry essence, yeast and wheat electricity. Nice and complex.

Surprisingly a little bitter on the palate in a slate-ish sort of way. Almost tastes like a blackboard - is there some oxidation in there? Yeast is definitely present as is a little wheat. Dry sugar and faint cherry presence (cherries come out with warmth). Not unbalanced - rolls a little on the cold side.

Mouthfeel is a little constricting from the bitterness - almost a rubbery, oxidized feeling. I don't agree with the 40-degree serving temperature on the bottle - needs a little warmth to expand. Cherry essence lingers in back of palate along with yeasty backbone.

The oxidized feel precludes exceptional drinkability - maybe it's a question of overdoing the oak? In the background is the making of a solid saison, but it could use some more citrus tanginess.

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Photo of soupyman10
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well I wrote a whole long review and then my computer locked, so this one might be comparatively short. Although you all would never know that, so whatever.

I will say I've been excited for this one for a while, after hearing on a forum about it and the Creme Brulee coming out in the fairly near future. I've always been a huge fan of ST (especially their "Imperial" class), and this one seemed like just innovative enough to be at the top of the class.

I'll say I was a little disappointed. It's not bad, by any means, but I don't think they went quite crazy enough with it. The beer looks standard Saison, with a light yellow color and a nice head that leaves minimal lacing. The nose is nice as well, with a nice mix of yeast and wheat with the little cherry flavor. And that's the key: light cherries. In the flavor especially, they went surprisingly understated in their cherry influence. The flavor is tons of spicy malt and citrus wheat, but much less so in the treat of the name. Honestly, if it weren't plastered all over the bottle, I might not have known this was even a cherry beer. As it is, it works in very subtly with the malt (and light alcohol) and the wheat), but I could have done with more. The body is nice with good carbonation. Overall, it's good. But it could have been SO MUCH MORE. Still, looking forward to the Creme Brulee...

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Photo of John_M
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I think I'm just going to stop drinking any more of Southern Tier's Imperial beer line-up. More and more frequently, whenever I drink them, the alcohol is just much too prominent and distracting.

On tap at Max's the other night.

The beer pours a bright gold color with good head retention and sticky lacing. The beer looks pretty impressive. Not surprisingly, I get a lot of cherry aroma on the nose, coupled with sweet honey. The beer smells pretty good, albeit a bit overly sweet IMO. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose, except that I'm finding this beer overly sweet and hot from the high abv. Mouthfeel is fine for what it is, very smooth and soft on the palate. Drinkability is clearly this beers biggest shortcoming, as once again I find the alcohol to be excessive and invasive in this beer. The beer is heavy and tiring to drink, and ultimately I just gave up. I couldn't finish the beer. More and more frequently I find this to be the case with Southern Tiers high abv. imperial beers.

This beer is not to my taste (I'm not a huge fan of fruit flavored beers under the best of circumstances) and I will not order it again.

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Photo of ommegoose
4.23/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Evanston First Liquors for $6.49 a bomber. Looked new, so I was excited to try it.

Served mildly chilled. Was close to room temperature by the end.

Poured into a small snifter. Orange-gold with several active carbonation streams. The head is a soft milky white. I was expecting it to really explode like many other saisons, but this was more subdued. Stayed at a steady cap on top. Streaky lacing sticks around the edges. Great color. Adding the yeast turns it into an opaque peach color.

One can't help but expect to find cherries immediately in the aroma, but they are far less present than I expected. They come across as more tart than sweet. After that, typical farmhouse aromas appear. A little grassiness, some pepper, a touch of vanilla. I feel like this should have a much stronger nose than it does, even though it was suitably complex.

I can't say I'm disappointed in the taste, even though there was nowhere near the cherry flavor I was expecting. It's wonderfully complex. Cherries linger, but never dominate the farmhouse aspects. Crisp wheat, doughy yeastiness, vanilla, sweet and tart cherry and apple, white pepper, clove, lemon zest, some funk. A mild but sharp hop bitterness. Finishes sour and dry with lemon and mild cherry. Adding the yeast actually seemed to bring out more fruit flavor. I didn't really notice alcohol on the palate unless I looked for it. This was very good, but I feel like with a little tweaking they'd have a big hit.

Similar to some of Southern Tier's other offerings, this features super-fine carbonation leading to a soft, delicate mouthfeel that suits this beer perfectly. It maintains a medium light body in the mouth without fizzing up, allowing the palate to be explored fully. Well done. Even after flattening out a bit towards the end, it stays juicy and smooth.

This is a lot less extreme than the other offerings in the Imperial line from ST. It's not quite like the other saisons I've had, but it's no cherry oaky monster. It's not really any more extreme than a Hennepin even. I sipped on this one for quite a while. I'm not sure that having a full stomach slowed me down a lot, or if it was just a lot of work to down a bomber. While I would hog a bomber of most of their brews for myself, I wouldn't mind sharing this one.

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Photo of Douglas14
4/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nicely hazed golden yellow color with just a half inch smattering of white head. Aromas contain plenty of the typical saison notes, citrus, barnyard funk, clove, light banana. Only subtle fruit make its way through the two proclaimed flavors of this beer: oak and cherries, so it must be through its flavors I'll find them. On the palate, things seem to fall apart it bit more. The cherries just barely peek through all of the phenolics and esters while the oak aging does nearly nothing to the beer but perhaps make it more muddled. A low carbonation and slight sweet malty finish also hinder into calling this a saison. So, it's got just enough yeast character to call it a saison while the finish and carbonation really take away, in addition to a lacking fruit and oak presence. What were these guys thinking? I've so far been quite impressed with this line, and they put out something like this, I'm pretty disappointed. I hope they have better luck with that creme brulee thing.

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Photo of number1bum
4.12/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed golden color with a thick, frothy off-white head. Retention is good and leaves a bunch of lace.

Smell includes some yeasty farmhouse funk, lemon zest, pepper and spice, and only a hint of cherry. I really had to strain my nose for the cherry actually and if I hadn't known it was there I doubt I would have found it. Just smells like a really good saison.

Taste has an underlying pale malt sweetness. Then there is a bready and grainy character, some lemon, cherry and yeast. Some bitterness in the finish, too. Also somewhat earthy and spicy. Not much yeasty funk like the nose had. This has got much more depth of flavor than your typical saison, as it should at 8%; the malt is bolder. I actually don't think this tastes as complex as it smells. There are a lot of flavor components but it drinks more simply than I describe it (if that makes any sense).

Mouthfeel is fuller than most saisons, again due to the abv, and is more of a medium-full body.

The cherry is very subtle here. If you come looking for cherry at the same levels as Choklat has chocolate or Jahva has coffee, you're not going to find it. It's just a very nice, amped up saison from an alcohol perspective. Another fine offering from Southern Tier which seems to do no wrong except for their Godawful Tripel.

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Photo of callmescraps
4.18/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad this one is finally up. Had it Thursday when it was fresh out, but I'm a newbie and couldn't be the first reviewer. I kept checking back so that I could weigh in on this surprisingly good version of one of my favorite styles.

When I poured it certainly looked like a saison with the cloudy golden goodness.

It smelled like a saison with some nice spice, a definite hint of the cherry, and little funkiness that I love.

It tasted, well, a lot better than expected. I love saisons, but was a little afraid that the cherry would make it thick or syrupy, and the suggestion on the bottle of a "dessert beer" made me nervous. However, I found a surprising depth, some nice spice, and only a thin hint of cherry. In fact, just the balance of sweet fruit, spice, and funkiness that makes saisons so damn good.

It felt smooth but not light in my mouth, and the drinkability was fantastic. I only wished that I had another. I usually love the Southern Tier bombers, and I certainly love saisons, but I was afraid that this combination would be a disaster. I was happily mistaken. I'll be having this one again.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single, 650 ML bottle just purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
Pours a hazy, cloudy, dark-yellow-colored hue with a minimal head that quickly dissipated and left a minimal amount of lacing around the serving glass...
Smell replete with wheat, yeast, cherries, vanilla, and cream essences...
Taste was headily alcoholic - in other words, the 8% alcohol was certainly noticeable and not as-well masked as some classic Saison styles...
The cherry flavor, as I had been told, is not so dominant - more of a subtle nuance more than anything... Vanilla and cream flavors dominate this one along with noticeable alcohol... According to an employee where I just purchased this one, this particular beer should be served ice-cold if you really don't want to taste the alcohol so much...
Creamy, rich mouthfeel, however, the drinkability level took a hit due to the unequivocal alcohol present in the taste...
Different, and worth a try, although certainly not the best offering from Southern Tier...

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Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +20.2%
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 blitheringidiot
4.03/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Escapes from a double duecer bottle to form a spotty ivory spumescent cap over a hazy hay hued offering. Lattice lace is left in the glass.

Nose is a cherry and doughy suggestion. Belgian yeasty dough aspects are pronounced.

First swigs: Bold saison front. Tight dough yeast. Cherry is an afterthought. Hidden cherry aspect. Clean overall flavor. Slightly metallic. Cherry aspect still remains hidden. Not a cherry powerhouse.

Feel is clean and refreshing. Lightly 7-Up Cherry-ish. Dry finish. Seems to be a version of a farmhouse with a city twist.

Last swigs: Reminds me of Clipper City Red Skies but more Cherry. Decent offering. Seems like it could use a touch more (yes I said more) cherry aspect to be supreme. Props to ST for a stellar barley wine and a stellar chokolat.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.21/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grabbed a bottle of this at the Wine Gallery in Brookline today. Poured in to a Duvel tulip a nice hazy orange, with a pillow like white head show. This one was served slightly chilled, so as to capture as much from it as possible. Nose is complex, with elements of earth, spice, a bit of funky must, and just a hint of the cherry. Alcohol can also be picked up in the smell; and is reminiscent of some of Southern Tier's other pale strong beers such as Heavy Weizen and Uber Sun. Taste is a bit chalky up front, with funky yeast, spice and hop....again very musty, and only a little bit of the cherry shows itself. Mouthfeel is on the big side for this style, although I guess that is why it is an imperial Saison. I am having some trouble finishing this bottle, although I think I will make it. Overall, this was a pretty big letdown for me, as I was really looking forward to trying this one. I would have liked to see a bit more assertiveness with the cherries and not so much funk/alcohol. Worth a try I suppose.

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Photo of JAramini
4.15/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle:
Alc. 8.0% by Vol.
2-row pale malt
malted white wheat
belgian candied sugar
kettle hops: magnum
aroma hops: sterling

Poured from the bomber into a shaker glass a cloudy straw color with a quickly-dissipating meager head. Minimal lacing as I drink it.

The smell is largely that of a typical saison. The sweet wheat notes come through first, and a serious sniffing uncovers the cherry hiding somewhere in there.

I think I served this too cold at first. At a fridge-cold temperature the hops seemed too harsh for the style, poorly integrated, and lingered unpleasantly on my palate. The cherry was missing completely. As it warmed, the beer evolved.

The hops smoothed out and joined the subtle cherry, and earthy flavors along with the very nice wheat/saison flavors.

Smooth, medium-bodied on the mouthfeel with just the right carbonation.

On the first pour of this I was very disappointed. Upon freshening up my pint from the bomber after it had warmed it improved tremendously. For me it's not a "wow" factor beer like many of their other beers in Southern Tier's big beers series, but it's certainly drinkable, with the alcohol well-hidden.

It stands alongside other saisons admirably well. If you're hoping for a cherry assault, look elsewhere, if you're looking for a saison with a bit of a twist, this should suit you just fine.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.59/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Glowing, hazy golden. Thin light beige head. Lace is minimal.

Aroma: Oh, it's got cherry. But it's got so much more. Like bread pudding. And sourdough yeastiness. And spicy peppery notes.

Taste: The taste follows suit. Quite remarkable. I had hesitations that this could be a cloying cherry bomb, but it's not. It's a nicely integrated beer. Great cookie dough malt base. There's just the right amount of cherry. Spicy, peppery accents. A little damp earth and cork. Some estery yeast accents. Oh, this is really good.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. For an 8% a/v, I find very few signs of alcohol on the buds. More of a lingering of pleasing phenolics if anything.

Southern Tier is now a Top 10 Brewery in my personal ratings. I've had enough. Tasted enough great beer from them to give them this designation. Great brewery. Hell, they could be in my Top 5. But that requires a little more thought on a different night.

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Imperial Cherry Saison from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.52 out of 5 based on 330 ratings.
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