Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series) | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series)Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series)

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcallister on 07-15-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 226 | Ratings: 308
Photo of YouSkeete
4.53/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep amber and orange. Extremely cloudy. Very short off-white head with no retention. Some lacing on the finish of the pour.

S: Lemon, chamomile, oak, bread, and alcohol. Hints of cantaloupe and other tea spices are dominant in the nose as well. Lots of complex fruity aromas.

T/M: Smooth mixture of chamomile, molasses and lemon zest on the initial sip. Evens out to a soft body filled with bready malts and rich barley. Flavors of other complex fruits (bananas, plums, cantaloupe and others) and wet wood reveal themselves throughout the drink. Boozy, but fantastically smooth for an 11%. Oak and molasses on the finish. A really rich, smooth and complex brew. Medium body with low carbonation.

D: A really interesting ale. Inventive flavors, VERY easy to drink, and surprisingly smooth overall.

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Photo of Vierenner
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not really what I expected. Kind of flat with flavors that remind me of barleywine. Seems syrupy ... too sweet ... honey, caramel, and butterscotch.

I've been quite impressed with Southern Tier and have enjoyed many of their products ... but this beer is a disappointment for me. The sweetness just smashes down any other complexities that may be inside.

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Photo of claytong
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

friend brought this over and though its not stand out, its certainly a well rounded anytime kind of beer. i certainly had nothing negative to say except maybe a few more stronger characteristics, but i enjoyed the softness of it.

appearance - hazy straw, a few particles in it, love the haze, small to tiny head, with no retention

smell - very light oak, grains, floral, wet grass

taste - stronger oak, some vanilla, some daisy/rose, light grain, and some more musty grass (though i enjoy this) almost similar to a bamboo tea.

mouthfeel - smooth, a bit creamy

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Photo of FanofHefe
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Quite a few bottles on this on the shelf at my local shop so I picked one up today; boxed version. No dating - poured into a Duvel tulip. Clear burnt orange, clear body, with a hint of red hue. Small one finger white head that dissipates quickly and leaves very little lacing.

Strong oak and sweet malt come through in the aroma. Just a hint of light fruit.

The taste does not really improve much over the aroma. Sweet caramel malt with a heavy dose of oak flavor. Some apple and a hint of pear flavor, but not much else.

Medium mouthfeel and a heavy notice of the alcohol. The sweetness almost puts this over the top on the sweetness meter, but has a similar sweet taste to some other ST beers I've had.

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Photo of jtingue
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip

A- Pours a hazy amber with about a finger of head which quickly dissipates. Many bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass.

S- The nose has elements of over ripe fruit (specifically apple) and a slight mustiness with a slight alcohol pungency in the background.

T- The taste is surprisingly reminicent of the nose. Over ripe apples, or apple cider, are not as prominent. The mustiness, however, is there along with the alcohol. Overall, though, the taste is overpowered by a whole series of fruits common here (in western new york) in the fall: grapes, apples, blueberries, etc. which is quite pleasent. There is very little, if any, hop bitterness though this does have some age on it.

M- The mouthfeel has some nice effervescence with a medium body which coats the palate nicely.

Not a bad beer, the oak aging seems to be the dominating factor.

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Photo of dbossman
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark apricot and hazy with some floaties; thin but steady head; decent lacing

S: Lots of oak with some alcohol; also tea leaves and lemon; a sweet bready malt base shines through as well

T: Lots of booze but that softens as the beer warms; the oaky woodiness is also quite prevalent; a nice balance of sweet bread and lemon and wood

F: Medium body with a nice amount of texture and beer sticking to the roof of the mouth

O: A very woody beer; the alcohol booziness fades which is good--making the beer more drinkable than it seems to be when you start

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Photo of Adrianized
3.39/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Murky reddish brown.  Little to no head, which has a dirty color to it.

Raisins, oak, malty, sweet dark fruits. 

Tastes like a brown ale with strong oak overtones.  Very sweet with raisins.  Also a little bit of rum and yeast.  The aftertaste is not too pleasant, I want a subtle oak finish but instead I get rotting drift wood.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, it seems thick but doesn't really stick.  Little to no carbonation.

Overall an okay beer if you want to chew on a piece of wet oak.  Its not bad, but I don't love it.  There's better things out there for the money.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the Blind BIF shared by Thorpe, thanks.

Beer is brown with a mild haze, a boring lazy head that breaks and fails to leave any lace on the glass.

Aroma is sweet, mildly honey, mildly malty, perhaps some oak in the afterthought but no idea really.

Beer is medium to thin in body and mostly sweet throughout, not a great beer in my opinion but just an average heavy high gravity ale. Now noticing the ABV I guess it is good to comment that the beer hides the alcohol well, probably a product of being so old though. I doubt I would have ti again.

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Photo of Seeker41184
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Date Drunk: 12/15/10

Bomber into pint glass.

Purchased this beer on 10/28/2008 and was told to age it because of the 11% abv was too much on the mouth. I purchased 2 and planned on drinking one and aging the other, but I aged both. Sweet and tangy smell with a hint of honey. The beer was sweeter then I expected for the ABV%. Think of a vanilla malt ball mouthful, oaked flavor flowers, with a dark fruit (maybe prunes) after taste. IMO, all these unique and complex flavors come together and make this a very enjoyable beer whether the beer is cold or warm. I can't even tell that this is 11%. Maybe it was worth aging it after all. I would recommend this beer. Can't wait to try Series 2 and 3, which I have aging also.

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Photo of craytonic
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: near clear amber-orange pour, smallish head that quickly disappears, no lacing

Smell: unremarkable, bits of biscuit and caramel malt, perhaps a touch of oak

Taste: Rather one-dimensional, standard malty strong ale with hints of oak.

Mouthfeel: full side of medium body that coats the mouth

Overall: unremarkable and standard, nothing special about this one

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Photo of Knapp85
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember buying this beer at a local beer shop in my area and the guy was talking it up quite a bit. That was back in 2008 and I really didn't know much about Southern Tier yet. This beer was interesting to be because of it being part of a series. Stuff like that intrigues and also hurts my wallet. If I have one I wanna try them all eventually.

This brew pours out as an orange color with a very little head, suppose that from the barrel aging. The smell is quite sweet and boozey. The taste is kind of along the lines of a Belgian Tripel but much sweeter and the oak sets it apart from that as well. There was a slight tartness in there as well. The mouthfeel was pretty thick for such a light colored ale.

After finishing this I waited almost 2 years before finding Series 2.

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Photo of oline73
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours an orangish amber color with a half finger of fluffy white head. The head disappears almost immediately.

Smell: Super sweet, I'm picking up malt with caramel and some fruity grape sweetness. There are also hints of oak with some vanilla.

Taste: Again, super sweet. I'm still picking up caramel and a bit of grape. The wood stands out more here, definitely picking up vanilla from the barrels. At the end there is some alcohol with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium body. Very mild tingly carbonation with a hint of dryness at the finish.

Overall: This beer was pretty good, but I'm not sure I would want another bottle. I would have liked the alcohol to be a little bit smoother. The oak was a nice addition.

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Photo of brystmar
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: amber with bright red hues. Minimal head with a frothy white rim at the surface and some beady lace.

S: oak aged indeed! Boozy oak, a tad nutty, mild sweetness.

T/M: a medium- to full-bodied brew. Boozy and oaky, fruity with some candied sugar, finishes malty with good alcoholic warmth. Really well-balanced, which is a bit surprising since most oak-aged beers are anything but balanced. But then again, it's a Southern Tier so I shouldn't be *too* surprised...

D: excellent for such a big beer. This style generally isn't for me, but ST demonstrates again why they're among the elite American brewers.

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Photo of ibbjamin
2.5/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Paid $13.99 for a boxed bomber from Riley 's Wines of the World in Madison, WI. Purchased in July of 2009 and am tasting in February of 2011. Poured into a small snifter after cellaring for about 2 years.

An aggressive pour yields a very small off white head that dissipates very quickly to almost nothing. In a couple minutes, there is literally no retention and seemingly no carbonation. No lacing. Surprisingly light in color, it comes off as a very cloudy muddled orange.

Aroma is quite boozy, almost rumlike in its sweetness. Honey, sweet caramel malts, butterscotch, oak and faded hops like an aged barleywine. I do get hints of coconut as noted on the box. Complex, but I wish the sweetness and alcohol were tamed down a bit more.

Taste is of an overtly sweet barleywine. Again, faded wet hops. Very rum-like. Fruity coconut tones with honey and butterscotch. Very sweet and hot.

Medium body and minimal carbonation. Sweet aftertaste.

Appreciate their willingness to try something different, but the end product didn't do it for me. Maybe this one wasn't meant to age, but perhaps a couple years more would tame down that hotness.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A:Poured a deep yellowish orange color with a small white head.

S: Nose is sweet, oaky,, apricots, caramel, toffee, grapes.

T: Taste is oak, apriocts, caramel, some pear, apple, orange peel, very sweet and delicous.

M: Mouthfeel is very malty with a sweet aftertaste

D: Drinkability is great, enjoyed this immensely

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a luminous amber tone with a finger of tan head that fades fairly quickly into a thin cap, ring around the glass; patchy lacing.

oaky, earthy notes combine with sweet malts to headline the nose. hints of honey and vanilla are also evident. definitely one of the more oaky beers i've come across.

flavor follows the nose pretty closely... getting some coconut... alcohol is present but not overbearing; of course, this was preceded by a 17.6 ABV barleywine so i may not be sensing the booze as much as i would have with a fresh palate. caramel and almonds also come to mind.

mouthfeel is nice: creamy, medium-plus bodied with average carbonation. good drinkability. solid beer.

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a light amber with an orange hue. A small, off white head slowly fades out into a gentle cap. Spotty bits of lacingare left around the glass.
Smell is of over ripened bananas, rum soaked oak, honey, vanilla, ripe nectarines, coconut, with spicy Belgian esters.
Taste is of the aromas with a candy sugar sweetness and light booziness that reminds me of a dark rum.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, sugary, hot, and in need of more age.

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Photo of corby112
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

pours a dark golden orange/light ruby color with a thin foamy yellowish head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

The aroma of this beer is dominated by oaky wood notes but also has a slight floral resence as well as hints of vanilla, lactic cream and hazelnut.

Medium bodided and vey sweet with a very prominent vanilla oak flavor. Slightly tart with hints of biscuit, nut, caramel and a lactic creaminess. The ABV is very well masked by the prominet oak and vanilla sweetness making his very easy to drink. Decet bu kind of one dimensional.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a sample of this at a beer tasting and loved it. Grabbed a bottle and can't wait to give it another go. 22oz bottle...

A: A murky medium gold with a very tiny off white head that fades quickly to tiny bubbles on the side of the brew. Decent.

S: A great bourbon character upfront blended with some white grape, a mild hop, some walnut scents, and some sweet sugary malts. Some great toffee, caramel, and molasses quickly follows. Hints of port on the backend. Smells perfect!

T: A nice nice blend for a strong ale. A boozy bite blended with some sweet candi sugars and some caramel. Some grape juice in the middle with some port on the backend. All blended with some water. Good.

M: Medium body with a very nice carbonation feel. A nice clean finish. Very good.

D: Exceptional drinkability for an 11% strong ale.

All in all, this is a great beer. The nose was a bit deceiving because the booze bite smelled a lot stronger than in tasted. It is a very solid brew, and I would definitely like to grab a few more bottles. Great if you like well blended strong ales. ST is great.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a somewhat-dark golden color with a thin head without much retention. The nose brings sweet honey and candy with a bit of fruit. Definite booze. Oak as well. The taste is really just a mix of flavors with nothing coming together, even though it seems to work in theory. The oak is overcome by alcohol and a strong sweetness. A bit cloying and boozy, this doesn't drink terribly well.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a hazed, deep orange body with a bubbled, off-white head.

Smell: Lightly sweetish, mild pale malts in the scent entwined with assorted notes ranging from white grapes, to bubble gum, to toasted oak wood.

Taste: Heavy pale maltiness with sweet dashes of simple treacle and sticky honey. Vague floral character. Touch of sultana fruitiness. Pinch of spice. The pungent alcohol content is quite obvious, giving the throat a good sear with each swig. The oak gives meager hints of woodiness and vanilla whilst imparting some accosting tannins which linger into the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Huh. Well, I suppose it's adequate, though certainly not enough to warrant the start of a beer legacy. Oak aging is all well and good, but does nothing to enhance things if the underlying beer is simply hohum.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Harvest orange with honeycomb highlights and a majestic crown that is equal parts ivory and ecru. This is attractive ale that could be any of a dozen different styles where looks are concerned. Creamier foam during melting and streamers of sudsy lace are highlights.

There is very little ingredients information on CS One. What is available suggests a burly pale-malted ale with some oak-aged character, which doesn't sound very exciting at all. The aroma confirms my worst fears. There isn't much contribution from malt, hops or yeast... or oak for that matter. Looks like this big brew has a long row to hoe on the palate.

Granted, this is a somewhat common refrain from me, but One needs a flavor hook in the worst way. It tastes like a 'pale malt only' barleywine with no distinctive hop flavor, hints of oak, and too much unmasked alcohol. Almost two years of aging has helped that last one, but there are no stronger flavors to completely bury it.

The tasting notes on the Southern Tier website are good for a chuckle. Each mouthful is supposed to deliver toasted coconut, almond biscotti, toasted almonds and honeysuckle. My list includes lightly toasted barley malt, hints of honey, a moderate flowery fruitiness, a modest oaky woodiness, and a splash of Grey Goose. Not exactly the Holy Grail for American strong ales, even for a big beer lover like me.

The body/mouthfeel, on the other hand, is some kind of enjoyable. It's closer to full than medium and has a lava-like sticky sappy smoothness that almost earns it the next highest number. Why any brewer would bottle-condition beer that is meant to be aged is beyond me.

Southern Tier Cuvee Series One is not worthy of the 'sold in an impressive cardboard box' presentation. These guys, like most all craft breweries, are hit-and-miss when it comes to big beer. This one, unfortunately, is an unqualified miss. Here's hoping Cuvee Series Two will be a significant upgrade.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz brown bottle shared at Delaney's, poured into a nonic half pint.

A: Slightly hazed medium amber body with half an inch of tan head. Reasonable retetion and minimal lacing. Thoroughly acceptable for such a strong beer, but far from beautiful.

S: Sweet, rich, oaky, and complex. Toasty malt, coconut, candied tree nuts, and vanilla. The oak and malt really play well together.

T: Opens with toasted oak, then big malts appear alongside the nutty complexity. Slight bitterness on the finish keeps the malt and oak sweetness in check. Delicious.

M: Quite smooth and clean medium body (esp. for the ABV) with a generous amount of soft carbonation. Lovely.

D: Quite good for 11%, but it was definitely a good idea to split this bottle three ways.

Notes: This was consumed immediately before Cuvee Series Two, and was the unanimous favorite at our table. I was a bit surprised, as I hated the idea of preferring European oak to good old Quercus Alba (American White Oak), but this one was simple more complex, more intricate, and more delicious.


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Photo of jjanega08
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A= The pour is a hazy bright orange color. Totally opaque and orange. The color is actually somewhat interesting. The head is an off white color and rises to about a half finger and falls fast to a thin skin on top of the glass. No lacing is evident.

S= The smell is very very sweet. It has that aged beer smell to it. Not much alcohol suprisingly. There is some oak in it for sure and kisses of vanilla. Some toffee is present as well.

T= Hmmm. This is interesting for sure. The taste is very very light and subtle. For being 11% ABV the alcohol is not noticable at all and the oak dominates the flavor suprisingly. The sweetness from the malts is totally taken over by the oak. The oak does lend some vanilla flavor but mostly oak comes out of this.

M= It has a nice weight to it and boody body but there is some zippy carbonation that I think is a little odd.

D= A unique beer for sure. I gotta check my review for the 2 to see what I thought that was like. This is a total oak bomb though. I could see myself enjoying this again for sure just because it's so unique.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
2.73/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bomber courtesy of Cuzco in a recent BIF. Pours a pretty clear, dark gold color, bordering on orange. Fluffy cream colored head holds well and leaves just a dab or two of lace.

Nose is heavily oxidized malts, honeyed and a bit stale. Malted milk balls with a dose of alcohol and a touch of oak.

Taste is not as oxidized as the nose indicates, and has a nice, toasty vanilla oak flavor. Alcohol is huge, cognac-esque even. Toast and caramel malts are quite sweet, maybe too much so. Hops are non-existent. Toffee and nutty with some coconut undertones as it warms. It's ok, but I think this one is probably past it's prime and the ABV make it a bit much to handle, unfortunately just not a very enjoyable beer.

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Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 308 ratings.
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