Plum Noir
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Plum NoirPlum Noir
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American Imperial Porter
3.7 | pDev: 12.16%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Plum NoirPlum Noir
Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 598 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
2.75/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

From old, undated notes. Had this one on draft.

Purple/black liquid.

Dark khaki head; decent lace.

Dark chocolate & dark fruit nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Mild pickle juice & chocolate.

Pretty big disappointment.

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My husband got me a bomber of this beer because he knows I'm a Southern Tier fangirl. I'm not the biggest fan of plums let alone sweet, fruity dark beers, because many taste like raisins, and I think raisins are disgusting. I am surprised how much I did like this beer. It's not as sweet as I thought it would have been - this is a good thing. You do get a hint of sweetness and fruit, but I get more of the Porter flavors such as chocolate and coffee.

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Photo of gopens44
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

All kinds of dark, not even much colour around the edges. Smallish head recedes to a thin foam film, leaving some stubborn lacing.

Nose is silly with dark fruit and little else.

While thinner than I would have imagined, there is plenty of taste. Begins sweet like molasses and the plums, as billed, but takes a solidly roasty turn with hints of coffee, chocolate and smoke.

Finish is dry, think and leaves behind a little phenolic thing in the throat

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Photo of egrapplesberg
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

DOB 5/1/13. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass (should be a snifter, I think, but whatever). Pitch black with half finger head that is gone before the blink of an eye. Minimal lacing and retention. Smell is slight boozey with chocolate and raisin. Taste is also chocolate, with a light plum sweetness in the finish. The boozeyness is hidden very well. Average carbonation. Most Southern Tier "Black Tie Series" are very much dessert beers but with this being aged 2years and 4 months I can tell it has mellowed quite a bit. Definitely a good beer and I would like to try fresh. Cheers!

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

DOB 5/1/13 at 42 degrees into snifter
$ 8.99/bomber at Oppermann’s
Aroma of plums
Head gone before aggressive pour completed; no ring, no layer, just a small island of medium to large bubbles
Lacing none
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor lightly sweet with a hint of plum; no malt, no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 4.25, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

"Plums are a diverse group of species, with somewhere between 19 & 40 varieties depending upon whom you ask. We're using what we consider the best to brew with. The Italian plum has beautiful dark skin & the flesh is perfect for fermentation." Brewed in the style of an American Porter with Italian Plums added. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on seasonal draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a Southern Tier tulip glass. Served above 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy foam head of a mocha brown color over a dark cola brown body with cherry highlights. Retention is above average and the lacing is light and spotty. 3.5

(Smell) Roasted grains, notes of chocolate, bold dark fruit flavor of plums, syrupy and mildly tart. Delicate caramel malt, mild coffee. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) More chocolate and coffee up front, finishing with substantial roasted barley. Less plum flavor than the aroma suggested, just accents alongside a heavily-bodied porter, but providing a touch of tartness and viscosity to the mix, both are appreciated additions. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) The texture is silky, lightly chewy, smooth and mildly dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a low frothiness and a softly crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly roasty bitter and grainy over sweet. Alcohol presence is mild, and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) This is a decent Imperial Porter although the plums don't come through all that visibly in the flavor, more so in the aroma. Nice enhanced body and smooth texture makes for an enjoyable and filling drinking experience. 3.5

Southern Tier Brewing Company's
Plum Noir

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours nigh on black with a decent, if short-lived, dark tan head. Minor, scattered lacing left behind.
Smell is weak, almost exclusively cardboard. No malt coming through, no plums, no chocolate. A bit of a letdown I must say. (Thank you, Ed Grimley)
Taste is better with notes of malt, chocolate, plums, some wood and young whiskey, a hint of smoke. Balance could be better but 5 minutes out of the bottle this is nice. I expect improvement as it warms. (It does)
Medium bodied, lighter effervescence. Drying with a cleaner than expected finish. Slightly warming.

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Photo of Buschyfor3
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber, served in a snifter.

A: Chestnut brown body, with flashes of ruby highlights throughout, particularly near the flared rim of the glass; about a finger worth of sandy colored head on the pour, but retention is minimal and dissipates to a small film of bubbles across the surface; lacing is good, nice rings on the drink down

S: Somewhat tame to be honest; I do get a nice dose of dark fruit sweetness from the start - the plums, obviously - but I don't get much from the underlying porter; the nose remains rather vinous, wine-like throughout; perhaps a faint doughy note of brown bread as the beer warms, but that is about as much of the underlying porter as I can find through the plum sweetness

T: If the influence of the plums on the nose wasn't obvious, then the first splash across the palate removes all doubt - juicy, sweet, dark plums; molasses as well; the initial sweetness is tempered by a wine-like acidity mid sip; late on, doughy bread and a slightly toasted/nutty note appear, reminding you that there is a porter lurking beneath the fruity top note; a dash of cocoa grows as this porter warms to room temperature, adding a complimentary layer of sweetness beneath the fruit and bready flavors; the finish is drying, slightly astringent - the closest thing I can compare this to is a semi-dry wine.

M: Medium bodied - very fine carbonation supports a decently slick body.

O: Not bad - the plums are definitely there, as advertised. However, the underlying porter seems content to stay well in the background, never really asserting its presence until late on. I would have liked better balance on the palate, with a stronger showing from those familiar lightly-roasted, chocolate and gentle char flavors I've come to expect from top-tier porters. It does drink smoothly, however, as the 8.0% ABV is well hidden beneath layers of dark fruit. If you like fruit beers, or beers that emphasize dark fruit qualities, this is a nice offering to sample.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.7/5  rDev 0%

Pours the darkest brown, a small ruby tinge when held towards the lamp. Small light beige head, immediately recedes to a small lace and a tiny floating speck.
Should smell as good as it is described on the label, hopefully. Aaand it does: rich dark chocolate, mochaccino, creamy, milky, dusted with a bit of cinnamon and some extra coffee powder. Faint cigar, but some nice dark fruit (dried plum and fig).
Aaand the taste doesn't live up to it. Front has milky chocolate and mildly sweet plum jam, pretty simple. Malts follow, blandly roasted, kinda bready, with a nice americano coffee finish to save it, but blander than the nose. Some hop bitterness too.
Medium body, smooth carbonation, soft, easy to drink. Aftertaste has bread crust, coffee dregs and some dark chocolate shavings.
Certainly not bad, but lacks intensity, doesn't really show off the extra ingredients and might seem quite boring for many. Pity.

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Photo of spacecake9
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%

I was really excited when I saw this. A porter with plums made my mouth water. It pours a dark brown with little head. The aroma is wonderful - dark fruit or wine that prepares you for a mouthful of flavor. But the taste is, unfortunately, very ordinary. Very minimal dark fruit flavor. That does not make this a bad beer - I'll happily finish the bomber. I would say this beer is almost there. It's a great idea, they just need to kick the taste up to meet the aroma.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.32/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Grabbed this on sale. Pours cola brown and appears darker as it collects in the glass. Minimal brown head present. The nose features mellow chocolate and roast with a slight hint of plum towards the end. The chocolate is rich and dark, the plum is understated but does bring a nice dark fruit note to the nose. The taste isn't nearly as good as the nose would lead you to believe. There is some chocolate to start but the plum competes with these flavors. It takes a turn to plum juice notes that adds a bit of unpleasant acidity to the flavor. The finish is just a mess and leaves a bad aftertaste. The body is silky with low carbonation. Overall, this beer feels a bit like the base for Choklat, but the plum does no favors for this beer. Too bad.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nearly opaque black with subtle garnet highlights and a clinging tan head.

S: Mild aromas of coffee, vanilla bean, sweet cream, dark chocolate, roasted grain, caramel, raisins, ripe plums, and earthy, lemony hops are present on the nose.

T: Notes of caramel, coffee, roasted grain, vanilla bean, sweet cream, dark chocolate, plums, figs, raisins, Medjool dates, black currants, lemon, herbs, and leather fill the mouth. The finish is smooth and mellow with plenty of dark fruit, caramel, and lemony, herbal hop notes.

M: Medium-to-full in body, silky, and smooth. Carbonation is active and prickly on entry, but soon mellows and fades. Alcohol is so restrained as to be virtually undetectable. A little fuller in body than many American porters, but still easy to drink.

O: An impressive porter. The addition of plums works really well with the citrusy, herbal hop and chocolaty roasted grain notes. Recommended for fans of darker, more robust ales.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.69/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin tan head.

S - Light roasted malts and dark chocolate.

T - Toasted malts, coffee, and chocolate upfront. The plum really comes through in the finish producing a good balance of sweet and tart.

M - Medium carbonation with medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

O - This is definetly an interesting beer. Glad I gave it a try, but probably would pass on next time.

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Photo of BradC
3.72/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color with little head or lacing

Smells of dark fruit, plums.

A hint of roasted grains and then fruits, cherry, plums

Low carbonation and medium body no hint of the 8% abv

Overall a nice fruit beer, the wife loves it and I can sip on it

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Photo of far333
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown, nearly black and opaque with a thick beige head that settles slowly. Low aroma of faint raisin and Cabernet, perhaps a touch of Cabernet. Interesting flavor of rich dark malt, darkly toasted, not roasted, with rich dark fruit flavors. Not sweet, but rich and well complemented to the malt. Firm bitterness against the malt, but no hop flavors. Rich and full mouthfeel, good beer.

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Photo of Captain_Komamura
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - a very dark brown color, with a tan head and good retention.

Smell - a sweet chocolate malt smell with the plums coming in as well.

Taste - Like the smell, it is a sweet chocolate/coffee malt taste, with the plums adding a fruity and tart element to it.

Mouthfeel - It is a bit light for a porter, carbonation is perfect.

Overall - It is a good combination of sweet and tart flavors, very good beer.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown body with a reddish hue about the edges.

Chocolate and light roast aromas. Pleasant, but light. Plums add a slight sweetness and is perceptible.

It's an easy drinking porter. The plums add both earthy and sweet characteristics with a hint of leather. Southern Tier often goes overboard with the flavored beers (and I mean that in a good way) and this was much more user friendly than I expected.

Medium bodied, smooth, average carbonation.

Overall, a very good beer. Nothing terribly complex yet a nice twist on the style.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle. The body is black but with purple hugh to it, it has a very small beige color head. The aroma is toasty and with some chocolatev notes and as it warms thev fruit comes through. The taste has a robust roasty malt flavor up front then a slight chocolate and the plum comes in on the end. Mouthfeel is good and overall is a darn good beer. Just have to let it warm up.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

not sure if this is a winter release only or not, but it is some of southern tiers more interesting work, and it fits on winter solstice day pretty well. chocolate brown color to this, with the lightest of pink glows from the fruit. the head is thick and rich and somewhere between wallpaper beige and dockers tan. it smells only moderately fruity, with roasted barley and bakers chocolate being far more assertive. you could call this a stout instead of a porter and fool me as far as the nose goes, but the flavor is a bit lighter, with abundant ale yeast and chocolate hints. the fruit acts more as a sweetener and an acid than as a flavor agent, but it transforms a fairly ordinary strong porter into a work of art. i like the way this all comes together, with some chocolate sweet and fruity tartness, its a strange but cohesive dynamic. mouth coating brew, just upper medium in terms of body, but it feels light when its cold. bigger as it warms, but still a decisive holiday feel. clever beer, id like to see more done with plums.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark ruby to black with minimal head.

Smell is rich chocolate, coffee and hints of ripe fruit.

Taste is toasted malts, chocolate and coffee. Lot of smokiness. Not as much fruit as in the nose.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Average carbonation.

Overall this was fair.

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Photo of mactrail
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very dark red-tinted walnut color with a nice brownish head in the Ciney snifter. Quite spritzy with some silkiness in the mouthfeel. The aroma is plum wine, alcohol, and a whiff of licorice. Slightly sweet and richly malty. The fruit flavor has that tangy fresh prune flavor, though it's a little peculiar mixed with the charred grain taste that gradually takes over the aftertaste.

This is an interesting strong brew with a fruit flavor that seems at odds with the very dark malt. Kind of a coffee grounds and charcoal rasp at the finish. I think I'd be looking for the Plum Saison next time. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Totowa last week, having never given this a go before. It looked different than anything out there and after having this, I could certainly say that this was the case. There was a lot of complexity here and the plum flavor didn't overwhelm the taste or mouthfeel of this. Because there was oat and chocolate notes in this, it made this Porter more like a Stout as the roasted characteristic of a Porter were just a bit more recessed. Since the alcohol was nicely hidden, this was relatively easy to quaff as well!

Of course, the pour was dark to this but not quite black, with a creamy head and a somewhat fair amount of lacing. A bit of a smoky smell to this along with plum skin and at first, I thought that this would be sticky like a Scotch Ale. The oat gave this a wonderful body and some taste and combined with the bitter chocolate, really let this beer shine while enhancing the plums as well. Not strong, not boozy, and not too aggressive, this served nicely as a "dessert beer" without any strong, lingering notes in the aftertaste. While not a silky like some Stouts, this was not as "rough" as a Porter nor as chewy.

Even though I split this with a friend, I finished most of the bomber off and by the end of the bottle, I could feel just a bit of the alcohol. This never felt like a wine nor any Imperial style of beer and had I had some tart squares or cheesecake, it would have gone wonderfully with this. I always enjoy a beer that is a meal unto itself and is unlike anything else on the shelf and this certainly fit the bill. While not for everyone, most aficionados will get a kick out of this as it combines the best aspects of a Stout, Porter, and fruit beer. Warmly recommended!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.84/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Plum Noir, Imperial Porter with Italian Plums.

Dark brown color, utterly opaque, big, creamy tan head, leaving lace, and looking lovely. Looking good.

Aroma: dark, rich, roasty, coffee and toffee, with dark fruit rising up from below. Slightly sweet, slightly tart. Definitely plummy, but it's more delicate, and in no way a fruit-forward thing. Don't think that's either possible, or wise, if you're going to do this right. Great complexity here, I like it lots.

Taste: Brisk, bright, and fruity, though floating over a dark, malty morass. An intriguing mix, to say the least. Rich and thick, some bitterness, small sweetness, great balance. This is not a typical imperial porter, just enough of this, plenty more of that.

Is it silky smooth? Almost. Is it fruit-tastic? Pretty much. It's all these things, and more. bright and fruity…some bitterness, massive malt, and extra deliciousness.

…a little wine-y...a little plummy...plenty richness. Good stuff, Southern Tier, keep it up!

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Photo of dheacck11
4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Super dark black with just a hint of garnet in the light. No real head, but some fancy lacing.
Smells really sweet and boozy. Dark cherries, figs, plum, chocolate and sweet bourbon. Nice. Taste is interesting. Definitely a lot of sweet up front, similar to the nose, but getting a lot more chocolate here, especially towards the finish. Little bitter roast on the finish.
Quite thick and full feel. But still feels more porter-y than stout-y, though very very close.

Nice bottle. Good unique flavors. Not super complex, but perhaps as it warms a bit. Glad to have tried it.

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Photo of adamette
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Live review. Poured from the 22 oz. bomber that my brother Pete brought directly back from the brewery a few weeks ago. Thanks Pete! "DOB 05/02/13" stamped near the base of the bottle. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass.

A Very dark brown body lets the minimum of light through in front of direct light since it glows a VERY dark mahogany in that situation only. Otherwise it appears to not let any light through, a pleasing dark body. Head is medium brown and pleasingly silky and thick but dissipated down to a single layer within a minute. 3.5

S Well, a porter with dark fruits. Nothing steps out and grabs my attention in the smell. If anything it may be a bit “distant” for my sensibilities. 3.0

T Happy to report that the taste offers more than the smell. On top of a nice solid porter base are the Italian Plums but they are not dominating, they provide more of a nice accompaniment to the porter. Dark roast malt makes a comeback of sorts in the taste late as it lingered on my tongue. Certainly an interesting taste. I find the taste a bit gimmicky though. When I am in the mood for a porter I really don’t think that I need any competing or complimentary tastes. Anyway, my proclivities aside, this is a good tasting porter. 4.0

M Feel is thin like the smell suggested (the “distant” smell noted above) in the beginning but some nice porter bitterness lingers late in the taste. 3.5

D/O Drinkability is only fair. This is a “big beer” with the 8.0% ABV and it is a sipper. Overall this is a solid porter. 3.5

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Plum Noir from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 598 ratings