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 EricCioe
3.21/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a reddish copper in the tulip. A nice tight white head with good lacing and retention. On the nose it's cherries and sweet bread, pretty overpowering. The taste is lots and lots of sweetness, natural cherries, and a bit of alcohol. At the end of it there is a pleasing sour note. The feel is thin but really satisfying and it enhances the drinkability, though the overall sweetness makes this not quite sessionable for me.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.04/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a snifter. Golden amber body with 1 finger of thick cream-colored head. Good retention with a fair dose of alternately drippy and sticky lacing.

Lots of cherry and oak in the nose, to the point of obscuring everything else except some clove spiciness and a touch of booze. Pleasant enough, although not exactly to style.

Tastes a bit more like a proper saison, or at least like a proper saison is hiding in there somewhere. Cloves, banana, orange zest and tangy yeast, but a tidal wave of cherry threatens to drown out everything else and lingers far after the swallow. Buttery oak in abundance, but the booze is pretty well hidden.

Overall impression: Not recommended as a true saison, although it is pretty tasty and enjoyable as just 'a beer'.

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Photo of brendan13
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a tulip glass a hazy dark golden colour with very minimal head that falls away quickly.
S - Some cherry comes through in the aroma with subtle Belgian yeast spice character.
T - Cherry comes through in the taste with some very subtle oak character. Yeast phenolics are also present.
M - Light body with moderate carbonation.
D - A decent beer worth trying but I wouldn't buy it again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of baldmasterflex
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Overloaded my palate last nite with Double IPAs and Imperial Stouts last nite. Was looking for something lighter and fruitier to finish off this sweltering weekend. Picked this up at Capone's, $8.50 for a 24 oz capped bottle.

Poured into a wine glass and developed a huge frothy white head. The color is interesting, yellow like many other saisons, but with wisps of burnt orange and red when held to the light. Definitly not as carbonated as i expected, which is an aspect that i enjoy from saisons.

Smell is citrus-y sharp with a dull cherry aroma, honestly reminiscent of the black cherry yogurt I stoop over for breakfast every morning.

The taste is good, not too sweet or overpowering with cherries. They actually add a bitter-sweetness in the back of the mouth as it goes down. What i dont like is the def warmth of the alcohol. I know its listed here as 10.1% but this bottle reads 8%. I guess that could be attributed to how delicate this style usually is.

A good beer, worth a try. Wont buy again in the bottle, but maybe on draft if i see it.

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Photo of aasher
2.93/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: poured an orange copper color, slight white foam that laced the glass, pretty translucent, not as cloudy as I thought it'd be

Smell: a little yeasty, tart bitterness of cherries is subtly present, decent but nothing special, alcohol slightly present on the backend

Taste: not what I thought it would be, it didn't really resemble a Saison or the cherry ale I thought it would be. It's kind of like cherry cough syrup mixed with a light Saison. Kind of disappointing.

Mouthfeel: pretty light and well carbonated, a lot tingling on the tongue. finishes a little dry, alcohol lingers in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: not overly drinkable, it lacks complexity and good flavor, kind of masquerades to be something that it isn't. I was disappointed with this one.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a glass. Did not have the recommended glassware,so made do.

Poured a red tinged gold with a little white foam. Laces.

Light malt smell, hint of cherries - the fruit is in there, but buried.

Hearty oaky taste wrapped around a subtle malt. Tartness underneath. Cherries almost taking a back seat. Some barrel toastiness especially at the finish - as the beer warms, this taste begins to take over.

Nice blend, certainly interesting, but can be a little rough at the end. The last 4-6 ounces, while not a struggle, were less drinkable than the opener.

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Photo of branimal9
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Found some old notes - tried this one back in July of 2009 - On tap at Barley's Greenville.

Hazy orange-red in appearance. Aroma is a bit tart & astringent. Smells boozy. Upon first taste, very medicinal & sour. Even hotter than it smelled. Taste improved as it warmed, but flavor swung a bit too far to the unpleasant side. Drinkability was low, and I probably wouldn't go out of my way to try this again, though it might get better with some age to mellow out the burn of the alcohol.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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 droomyster
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange with tiny white head that quickly settles into a collar. Pronounced aromas of cherry taffy candy, with yeastiness; the smell is interesting without being appealing. Sour cherries, pineapple, and flavors of orange zest come through loudly on the palate, along with a nice spicy finish. The massive fruitiness of this beer masks the high abv and makes for a interesting after dinner sipper.

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Photo of SpdKilz
2.87/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

New Beer Friday from the Midwest. The amount of good beers I am about to consume over the next few days will be epic. Sadly I doubt most will get reviewed but I will be sure to try.

Appearance - Pours a light tangerine color with very little white fizzy head that dissipates almost immediately leaving literally zero lacing.
Smell - Slight funk, cherry, must, etc. Nothing that will knock your socks off but has a nice summery light quality to it.
Taste - Ehh...interesting. I know for a fact this is at least last year's version of this. It was properly stored in a cooler the entire time I am led to believe. Despite this, the taste is off. Cherry syrup combined with an odd tasting/weak tasting saison flavor. That's all I get out of this.
Mouthfeel - Relatively syrupy, low carbonation, oily.
Drinkability - Not drinkable. This was a drain pour. I can taste the alcohol even after this has sat for a while and you'd think it might get a bit better with age. Perhaps it DID get better with age. If that's the case, I sure as hell wouldn't want to try this fresh. Disappointing - I was hoping to have a nice refreshing summer cherry flavored saison. Instead I got a drain pour.

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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 ADZA
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I gotta admit im abit of a fan of the saison style especially fruit driven saison's so lets get into it,it pours a light clear amber hue with nice carbonation that leaves a fast vanishing two finger head and a layer of froth and sticky lacing everywhere,it has aromas of oak,wine,wheat and some feint cherries,it has an above average mouthfeel that is almost like a fine fortified wine with carbonation and exudes tastes of wheat,cherries,white grapes and finishes lightly sour and tart with an oaky finish,overall not a bad brew that i personally think could be alot better with the Cherry more on show and without the oak character as it definately takes away the cherry flavour.

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Photo of BigBry
3.67/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650ml brown bottle, thanks bobsy. Drank a while ago, but just stumbled across a bunch of notes...

Hazy appearance, amber colored liquid with a bright white head. Foam slowly fades, minimal lace. Slightly yeasty aroma, cherry smell also comes through, nice earthy oak wood as well. Interesting and complex flavors. Caramel malts to start, a good dose of cherry, nice oak finish. Layers of flavor make it tough to pick out more specifics, but all the elements are there. A bit spicy, funky finish, fitting a saison. Dry finish, alcohol is well hidden - no hot burn at all.
Lots of carbonation keep it fresh on the palate, medium leaning to fuller body. Interesting was the adjective that kept coming up: nothing bad, just different, and hard to put into words.
I have enjoyed all of Southern Tier's beer I have tried so far.

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Photo of dgilks
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Good, spicy, peppery, lemony aroma. I don't really get the cherry. There might be a hint of vanilla from the oak but there isn't much.

Slightly hazy, dark straw colour with a big but short-lasting white head.

I'm somewhat unsure about this beer. The saison comes through initially with the same spicy, lemony flavour from the aroma. There is a light tartness which could be cherry. The oak seems to come through more as tannin than flavour.

Mouthfeel is good with a medium-low body and moderately-high carbonation.

An interesting beer. The saison itself is good but the cherry and oak fail to show and don't add anything here.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. Beer is reddish and hazy forms a white head of medium and small bubbles. Some lacing on the glass. It looks fine.

Aroma is slightly sweet and slightly cherry. I was expecting more of a Saison-like aroma, but its not there. It smells OK, overall kind of weak though.

Beer is medium to light in body, has a nice tartness from the cherries but none of the things I consider characteristic for a saison. dirnkability is good but overall i'm pretty bored.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle

A - Pours a hazy amber color with almost no head; a very thin white carbonation disappears quickly; no lacing

S - Cherry, pears, lemon and a bouquet of sweet smelling fruit

T&M- Tart cherry flavors, with the yeasty taste one expects from a saison. The sweetness is nicely balanced by the earthy yeast and tart from the cherry. There is a light spicy undertone behind the fruit flavors, and an almost tannin quality in the aftertaste. Medium bodied and smooth.

D - A very nice spin on a saison; I think it's very complementary to the style. An easy summer sipper that I could enjoy at any time of the year, and even my very picky (with regards to beer anyway) wife agrees.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.27/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Went to the shop to get this for my friend and accidentally picked up Southern Tier's Imperial Red Ale... The labels are almost the same!

Anyway I went back later and got the right thing.
A- Not the typical massive, wild head the real saisons have. There is still that frantic rush of effervescence and bubbles clinging to the side of the glass. This beer is pretty clear but darker than I thought it would be. Its pretty much right on the same color as cream soda.

S- Heavy on the funk which is a typical saison characteristic I like. It smells like its going to be tart. The cherries arent really there much but I have hopes for a sweet, sour and tart cherry bite mixed with some funk in the taste.

T- The funk, slight sourness and tart bite is there. The cherries are very faint. Its obvious that this is first and foremost a saison.

M- Typical dry and crisp and biting saison with sharp carbonation.

D- I was slightly let down with this beer. I didnt really expect a whole lot but I wanted more cherry. I think tart cherries could really add to a lightly funky and dry saison.

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Photo of claminat420
3.29/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- poured a slight hazy golden color. white foamy head but not alot on a hardy pour. very little lacing.

S- don't smell the cherries but just a light belgian banana/clove scent.

T- well it has that belgian banana/clove taste but blended with some slight cherry masking it. alil tart.

M- medium bodied. good carbonation.

D- not to bad. not my thing tho.

Overall- i've only had one other saison/farmhouse ale in my life and that was a jolly pumpkin and i would say i liked this one better. this style is not to much my thing but it was a decent change of pace.

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

Nice cherry saison, hefty for the style with a bit of a sweet and provocative edge.

Presentation: 22 oz bottle. Contemporary and dedicated design around the image of a pick-up truck carrying a giant cherry on the back. Narrative goes over the seasonal nature of cherries and how the brew uses them in a similar fashion, noting main intent. Lacks an apparent bottling or best by date, does not note IBUs, but shows °Plato (19), °Lovibond (4.5), Alc. by Vol. (8.0%) and a detailed list of ingredients, recommended drinking temperature and glassware. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Deep gold to pale amber pour, nice frothy head, medium retention with some surface memory and rich patches of lace.

S - Sweet and sour cherry scent with a tangy, almost lightly funky, background, yeasty notes.

T - Sweet rich cherry profile, slightly medicinal over a distant sour sense, but the funkiness is almost absent. Touch of yeast, and a very distant woody note.

M - Medium body, with medium to light carbonation... Maybe a touch short in carbonation, but it helps to give a deeper sweet feel, a bit sticky even.

D - It's a pleasing saison, goes down well and it's also a nice social brew to entice newcomers and connoisseurs alike.

Notes: This a rather nice take at a fruity saison. The tangy, and earthy saison profile is almost coated by a sweet fruity sense, that does not kill the dryness but leaves it is a distant background. It works well in any case and has a nice social upside.

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Photo of drcarver
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

NOTE: According to the bottle the ABV is 8%

A - pours like a flat ginger ale. Golden body with little if any head. No life within the clear body.

S - at first whiff its like sour milk. after further inspection the cherry is present as is the classic aroma of saison.

T - meh, sour all throughout the beer. the initial is pleasant. as the flavor progresses it gets stale. sour cherry is there in the background. more like a poorman's three philosophers (even though they aren't the same style)

M - sharp in the front and back with a syrupy coating left on the tongue

D - it goes down well enough. i just don't know how much i want to go down.

I have visited the brewery and would like to try this beer there. I have a feeling it will have a truer flavor there.

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Photo of manahansf
2.91/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a smei-hazy and light copper color with a thick creamy white head which dissipates quickly. The nose is muted sweet malt and a slight horse blanket aroma, but fitting and pleasant. The flavor begins subtle and sweet but suddenly an explosion of tart cherry flavor takes over. The body is light and well carbonated so the drink and finish are quick. The cherry flavor does not continue through the finish but the tartness seems to get stronger. As the drink ends, a tangy sweetness lingers. Had to pour it out...

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Photo of goblue3509
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale yellow color with some visible carbonation and a thick frothy white head which gives way to a little lacing. The aroma is faint and of wheat and tart cherries. The taste is of wheat, and tart cherries with a hint of bitterness from the hops. The mouthfeel is mildly carbonated and light bodied. Overall this is a very drinkable beer, it is very smooth and light bodied with enough of a taste to keep you interested.

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