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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: 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 lackenhauser
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat golden color-slight haze though quite bright. Some head-low carbonation in general. Somewhat muted aroma-mainly a yeasty sort of earthly tinge. Nice, crisp, peppery and malty flavor up front. Very slight fruit flavor-I was expecting more but this will do. Lingering burn in the finish-dont know if it's the alcohol or spiciness of the yeast. Decent mouthfeel. Finish hovers between dry and sweet-well done. Very drinkable and enjoyable. Great hot weather beer but a high abv might sneak up on you!

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

22oz bottle served in a fluted glass.

L - hazy, golden color with a fluffy white head that stayed as a layer leaving sticky bits of lacing behind.

S - Saison aroma, yeast, wheat malt, slight sour cherries.

T - sweet taste upfront balances out with a slight sour cherry flavor and a woody, bittering dryness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

D - a nice, tasty beer to sit and relax with.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First, I must say the first thing I noticed about this bomber was the label. They aren't using that silk screening method with these bottles. Hopefully they will move to this new (plastic?) label on all of their bombers. Love the look of the old painted ones, but I was getting tired of the letters coming off of the bottles and sticking to my hands!

On to the beer...

This one pours a lightly cloudy honey color with no visible head. Only a very thin ring of what appears to be pale tan bubbles. No lacing whatsoever.

The aroma is a little better with the welcomed saison funk, bready malts, and a hint of sour cherries...and I mean only a hint. There's a bit of spice in there, also (clove, maybe?).

The flavor starts with the bready malts, followed by some fruity flavors (cherry and banana) and cloves, and capped off by the saison funk. Somewhat sweeter than I had hoped it would be.

The mouthfeel is a solid medium body, but the sweet and sour aftertaste ins't working to well for me. This isn't horrible, but there are much better fruit beers out there. And a whole lot of saisons can top this one.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a bottle from Bauer and had it after dinner this past Saturday. Poured into two tulip glasses. Huge white head. Cloudy yellow color. Smell was grass-like, with a hint of fruit. But the taste was a major letdown. First off, let me say, this is fine saison. But sell it as such. This is supposed to be an ale brewed with cherries and aged on oak. Where was the cherry flavor? Where were the oak notes? I just didn't taste it. It was a nice beer and I enjoyed drinking it, but I was bit surprised. False advertising!

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Photo of Gmann
3.92/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color with an average white head that dissipated into a light cap. The aroma is similar to that of a Hefe, some banana and spice. It also has a touch of lemon and tart apple that is familar with the Saison. The taste is earthy, with a bit of banana and spice, honey suckel, pepper, some lemon/green apple tartness, and a shot of hop bitterness in the end. Oh, and some cherry flavor, though very subtle, which is nice. The taste is a bit sweeter than most saisons as this is brought on by the candi sugar; not too sure if or how much of the candi sugar typical saisons use. The feel is moderate with fairly soft carbonation; finishes sweet and perhaps a tad slick but yet dry. A sweeter saison, not quite as earthy and raw as most but it is what I would call a saison. The subtle cherry flavor is subtle which is mixed perfectly with the saison style. Too much cherry flavor would overpower a traditional saison. Another big series winner from Southern Tier

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Photo of erosier
2.94/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Pours a hazy orange-reddish color with a nice white head. It left a decent amount of lacing down the glass on the way down.
S: The smell was of very faint malts, a faint hint of cherry and wood, but mostly yeast.
T: The taste was the same. It was almost sweet from the cherry and malt, but the yeast overpowered it and gave it kind of a bitter taste.
M: It was crisp, had a medium weight and a nice amount of carbonation.
D: It was OK, I think the funky yeast flavors were overpowering.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A vigorous pour produces barely a one-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a clearish, honey gold color that shows a lightly hazy, straw-gold color when held up to the light. Despite the anemic head it is decently carbonated, which does a good job of supporting a thin head continuously. The aroma is very malty, up front, but this is quickly overtaken by a mix of fruity esters, phenolics and fermentation character. Ripe pears, something a bit like kiwi and some orange zest aromatics are offset by spicy notes of white pepper, faint ginger, and earthy spiciness sort of like coriander and sage as well as a nice herbal note. This last, when coupled with the malt produces an aroma like some sort of herbal honey, the malt also contributes a nice cracker-like grain character, a nice crushed wheat aroma and a touch of pale-malt grassiness. This is an interesting mix of sweet grain, toasty malt, and spicy, fruity fermentation character; there is no real cherry character though, perhaps it accents a touch of the general fruit aromatics.

Sweet tasting, with a sort of wine-like fruitiness to it. This has a creamy, chewy body that competes easily with the peppery, zippy carbonation. The sweetness accentuates a light, herbal varietal of honey, some young ginger notes, sweet wheat flavors and secondarily some fruit notes of not quite ripe melon, some pear-like flavors as well as a touch of Macintosh apple. The beer finishes with a hint of astringency and a touch of hop bitterness; the former is a combination of fermentation character and, more than likely, the oak character. The oak though is quite faint, though it seems to add a touch of structure to the body. As the beer warms up the alcohol becomes a bit more noticeable in the finish adding some warming and more spiciness to the finish. As it gets quite a bit warmer the fruitiness picks up and almost suggests a cherry note.

This is a really lame attempt at a fruit beer. I wish the brewery had played the Fantome card and just insinuated at interesting ingredients that only accented the beer, but did not define them. This beer does achieve that as I think both the cherries and the barrel subtly influence the overall character of this beer, but are not particularly expressive themselves. This is not a bad example of a strong Saison, it is a touch too sweet and could perhaps use a bit more complexity.

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Photo of meatyard
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a hazy golden orange with a short lived head leaving no lacing. There is a fair amount of carbonation.

The smell is mostly a funky tartness. Maybe a little bread and some spice..

The taste is spiciness st first, clove and allspice. A little banana and very slight cherry comes next.

Mouthfeel is medium thin with a continued carbonation throughout.

Drinkability is pretty nice. The alcohol is mostky hidden.

I would've liked to taste more cherry in this but it's a good saison, not my favorite but nice.

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Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev +16.4%
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 taste....it 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 +20.1%
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 +21.5%
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 +7.9%
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 +12.1%
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 +11.9%
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 fort...er 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 +23.4%
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 +3.7%
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%
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 -12.4%
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 +19.5%
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%
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 -1.7%
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 +16.4%
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 +18.1%
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 -0.6%
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 +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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Imperial Cherry Saison from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 329 ratings
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