Plum Noir | Southern Tier Brewing Company

very good
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Plum NoirPlum Noir

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CaptDavyJones on 05-08-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 120 | Ratings: 597
Photo of AdamBear
4.58/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-dark brown with a thin tan head

S-decent scent of dark, chalky cocoa and plum skin. the plum is noticeable but weak.

T-comes in with an awesome chalky cocoa flavor with maybe a hint of smoke and plum rind. it's a really good and full flavored porter. the after-taste is strong and matching.

M-good thick carbonation with a semi-dry finish

O-I really enjoy this porter. it's super easy drinking and tasty. I've fortunately seen this on tap many times and I order it almost every time, plus I've bought several bottles. a lot of people might be turned off due to the word plum, but if it didn't say it, i bet most people wouldn't pick up any fruitiness.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.54/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Dark ruby cola brown. Frothy khaki head has nice retention and great lace.

S - Soft nose with great integration. Black cherries, light roast coffee, caramel, fresh baked pumpernickel bread.

T - Similar profile to the nose. Warm black cherries and plums, soft coffee, cream, burnt caramel. Touch of copper in a dry cocoa and toasted almond finish.

M - Warm, smooth, creamy body with a medium frame.

O - Outstanding flavor and balance; the Blackwater Series never disappoints.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.51/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter. Deep warm brown to black with a thick tan head that fades semi-quickly. Smells of coffee and roasted malt, but a bit smoother than you'd expect, and with a hint of the plum sweet smell at the end. Tastes almost more like a stout; the bitter roasted tastes are barely present. In their place is a full creamy mouthfeel, sweet caramel and chocolate with the bitter flavors barely coming in at the end before being snuffed out by slight dark fruit sweetness. I was almost hoping for more presence from the plum (although I wouldn't want this to be a fruit beer by any measure). Still, a great and unique beer from ST.

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Photo of AlanBurgess
4.44/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a goblet at the Rail House, Waverly NY. The plum in the name may scare some away from this imperial porter, but do not be afraid!. The plum is hardly noticeable in this richly brewed porter. Sinfully smooth. Dangerously easy to drink for a high abv.

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Photo of ale1
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i found this at Moe's beer store ,Center st ,jupiter, fla

served in a malt glass

nice fine carbonation, decent lacing name implies fruit-malt
reminds me of my own homebrew ale

smells of coffee and barley malt.
1st taste malt,coffee, dry light bitter finish from coffee , no yeast fruit overtones or plums ..well anyway this is a good porter nothing overwhelming and quite good

i will add this to my list of ales as a "keeper"

The brewmeister hard at work on this one, nice subtle but there flavors and probably different for each review

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.34/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Almost black body, light beige head, moderate retention. Clear lacing. Aroma includes roasted malt, coffee, caramel sweetness, and a nice, fresh fruit flavor that I suppose I could describe as plum and maybe a hint of vanilla. Flavors on taste are similar to the aromas. There is no alcohol noted in the aroma or taste, VERY easy to drink for the abv. Very good beer and an interesting and tasty addition to the blackwater series.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.26/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottling date of 05/01/13.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brownish black with a hint of ruby. Solid tree fingers of light tan head which slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A roasty and fairly sweet aroma of chocolate malts with fruity hints from the plum. Roasted malts with big hints of chocolate and coffee along with hints of toast, cream, caramel, toffee, smoke, and nuts. Big presence of dark fruits with hints of plums, prune, fig, and raisin. Slight hint of anise spice. Fairly earthy with some hops in the background. A pretty big and rich aroma. Smells pretty good.

Taste: Follows the aroma, a rich and dark taste of sweet chocolate malts and dark fruit. Dark roasted malts with a big taste of chocolate, coffee beans, and toasted bread along with notes of caramel, vanilla, toffee, cream, nuts, and some smoked malt. Big taste of dark fruits with notes of plums, prune, raisin, berries, and fig. Also some notes of molasses and anise licorice spice. Some bitter earthy hops are also in the background. A very good roasty and rich taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very creamy, slick, and roasty. Finishes somewhat dry. Alcohol heat is masked well.

Overall: A very good take on a porter. Amped up dark roast flavors with a good dose of dark fruits.

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Photo of seymourcox
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer the other night, sitting on a rooftop restaurant (in such a setting, I'm more inclined to see everything in a more favorable light). I saw it on the menu and asked the waiter if it were good, or ridiculous garbage (c'mon, beer made with plums?). He brought me a sample and I was in. You can taste the plums in it, but more in the way wine might have plum notes (in other words, largely imaginary). The color reminds me of a patiently licked grape Tootsie-Pop nearing the center. I'll be getting this again and will, most assuredly, be trying their other beers.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: An exceedingly dark beer with good clarity. The head is quick to settle to a thin cap of fine tan bubbles.

S: A fresh fruit aroma with overripe plums a touch of oranges and a light resinous hops type aroma in the background. There is are some chocolate notes hanging out with a slight caramel malt sweetness.

T: A medium chocolate flavor blends with an overripe plum flavor and is countered by a medium hops bitterness. There is also a slightly lower citrus hops flavor mingling with the more prominent flavors. A moderate malt sweetness. The balance is abut even with a medium finish and an aftertaste of plums, chocolate and citrusy hops.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with a medium carbonation a light warmth on the palate.

O: A fruit, chocolate beer with a fair amount of sweetness but balanced by some bitterness. This is the sort of beer that reminds me that there a wonderful fruit beers to be had; there is a balance between the plum flavor and the imperial porter and a damn fine one at that.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.23/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Clear dark crimson hue. Thin cap of light brown head. Lacing is pretty minmal. Aroma is of chocolate and mashed blackberry. Flavor is smooth and clean. Roasted malts, chocolate, blackberry/blueberry puree...plum. Since I know there's plum in this, I can taste it, otherwise I'd have a hard time picking it out. Flavors are pretty subtle. No signs of alcohol for an 8% beer. Chalky,cocoa like finish. Solid brew, but not quite as spectacular as my only other plum beer I've ever had...1997-1998 Schell's Blizzard Ale. Now that was something special.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
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 bluejacket74
4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, DOB 05/01/13. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown with an inch tan head that stays around for a while. There's a good amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like plums, roasted malt, coffee, and bittersweet chocolate. I think the taste pretty much follows the aroma, but with the addition of a bit of smoke. There's a good balance between the sweet and bitter flavors, wtih the bitterness being a bit stronger at first and the sweetness getting stronger as the beer warms. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and has moderate carbonation. I like this beer a lot, definitely worth trying. I'll have to pick up some more soon.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: just shy of opaque black in a stout flute glass, almost ivory head a couple of fingers high, smattering of lace down the sides

S: sweet fruits (plums?) and dark malts - hinting at chocolate and espresso

T: barest accent of plums and dark fruit in this smooth, caramel, chocolate, and black malt porter - nice flavors, mellow; flowery, fruity, and earthy notes amid the mellow roast of dark barley malt

M: medium-to-light body, smooth and easy-drinking, very subdued bitterness - it was so clean and fresh across the palate...

O: my favorite Southern tier beer yet - or at least right up there - complex flavors - not too sweet (which I consider a flaw in their stout offerings) - really good stuff.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a great brew, but don't expect a knock your socks of kick in the mouth experience. It's subtle and tasteful. And tasty.

It opens nearly but not quite opaque. The head fizzles out but continues to fizzle. The aroma is subtle but complex. It could easily be overwhelmed by other aromas at the dinner table.

The taste is subtle. Not weak, just subtle. There is a lot going in with plums and whatever, but they are just there to mellow out the malt and hops tastes. They do this well. The aftertaste is nice. Slightly roasty and fruity.

This is a classy porter.

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Photo of bnes09
4.16/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep licorice black color and entirely opaque. Thinnish head for the style, off-white in color. Dissipates to a thin ring around the glass and provides a few lace spots.

Lot of bread grains in the aroma. Wheaty and toasty. Hints of espresso and sweet dark fruit.

Palate follows the nose with a bit more complexity. Begins with a sturdy malt foundation of wheat, cornmeal and oats. Hops impart a slightly bitter herbal, earthy character to the brew in excellent balance with the smooth, roasty malt. Sweet plum and raisin. HInts of coffee and brown toast detectable from middle to end. Great balance overall.

Medium bodied with lots of grainy texture. Very well carbonated. Smooth throughout then turns dry in the finish with lingering roasty grain qualities.

Overall a superb porter with lots of complexity. Likely the best of the blackwater series I have yet to try.

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Photo of LI_PO12
4.14/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into Tulip (Bottle date 05/01/2013)

Appearance-Very dark opaque with some amber hues, Small white head faded fairly fast, good lacing.

Aroma-Very Interesting, some chocolate gelato, some coffee, cocoa, roasted malt, a little char, there are dark fruits in there, can't say its a booming plum aroma. As it warms the plum comes out more still not the dominating aroma or anything.

Flavor-Roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, some char, it got a slight sweetness, some plums come up towards the end. Dry finish that really crashes all the flavors at you as the sip ends. leaves a coffee like bitterness lingering.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, good carbination, slight alcohol warming, dry finish.

Overall- I enjoyed this beer, a solid porter for sure, The plums add a nice touch but don't get in the way of the malts. Interesting take on the style. Would recommend.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 5/1/2013. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big milk chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, toast, plum, brown bread, nuttiness, light coffee, floral, light pine, and toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with all around great balance of plum and malt notes with some light hops; and good strength. Taste of big milk chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, toast, biscuit, plum, nuttiness, light coffee, floral, light pine, and toasted earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, toast, biscuit, plum, light coffee, light pine, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors with plums; with an awesome fruit/malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a silky and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent fruited imperial porter. All around great balance of malt and fruit notes with light hops; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering as expected of the Blackwater series.

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Photo of dheacck11
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
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 ChainGangGuy
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $8.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

DOB 05/01/13.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with a smallish, short-lived, ecru head.

Smell: Sweetened espresso, cacao nibs, walnut, molasses, black peppercorns, and a hint of smokiness enveloped in the engaging plum aroma.

Taste: Coffee-toned roasted maltiness with a lush layer of molasses, charred walnuts, and bittersweet chocolate with a tiny wisp of acrid smoke. The maltiness and upfront sweetness is cut by the slightly tart-ish Italian plum fruit character. At times it intermingles with the malts, hinting at something along the lines of a black cherry cola, at other times it slides ahead giving a hint, when the alcohol warmth and a peppery spiciness is felt, a bit like a mulled wine. Peppery, sweetish, warming, fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body, a bit chewy. Medium carbonation.

Overall: With it's moderate (though not disproportionate) plum character set against a richly malty amped up porter it's a tasty brew.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown with a fine, one finger light brown head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet toasted malt, dark stone fruit, leather (a term I don't use often, but there it is) and a faint sourness. Very interesting flavor, toasted and lightly charred malt, coffee, nuts, plum and other dark dried fruit with a chocolatey hop bitterness with a hint of smoke in the finish. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Quite a grab bag of flavors, but somehow it all comes together. There's a lot going on here, some of which does not seem balanced, but I really liked this a lot. Southern Tier pulls off these odd, semi sweet to sweet beers that could get overwhelming, but manage to satisfy. I'll be coming back to this one.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Plum Noir opens to a sweet, malty nose that smells immediately of yeasty rising whole wheat dough, with lesser notes of biscuit and Grape Nuts cereal, sweetened with molasses, wildflower honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Darker undertones of chocolate malt, coffee, and light ash add interesting textures, and an assortment of fruit esters, including berry, cherry, fig, white grape, and plum, do the same for the sweeter side. The addition of Italian plums noted on the label is not overly obvious; the beer certainly doesn’t smell like plum juice. It does seem, however, to add further complexity to the fruit esters, adding more fruit sweetness to what is otherwise a yeasty, malty, dark porter. As a whole, the aromas are very nice and enticing, and while there is a fairly strong fruity sweetness in here, there’s enough dark backing to prevent it from becoming overpowering.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a bold, black flavor that brings light coffee and ash, and heavier notes of toast crust, deeply baked brown breads, whole wheat dough, and biscuit. Sugars help offset this dark bready side, bringing in brown sugar, as well as touches of molasses, vanilla. A layer of fig, plum, berry, and cherry fruit esters adds further complexity, as does a touch of grapefruit from the hops. Toward the end of the mouthful, and existing especially in the aftertaste, the beer takes on a heavily ashy overtone, as of slightly burnt brown bread crusts, which combines with a surprisingly still strong fruit ester base, lingering on the tongue for a long time. Mouthfeel is a smooth medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, fizzing up on the tongue.

Overall, this is nice beer, being well balanced and very flavorful. The Italian plums don’t make as much of a presence as would be expected, mainly blending well with the other fruit esters, which works very nicely for the overall profile. Worth trying.

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
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 CaptDavyJones
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Plum Noir is a new imperial porter brewed with Italian plums added to the Southern Tier Blackwater Series.
Poured almost pitch black in color into an over-sized snifter, no visibility whatsoever once it was in the glass. The head was more like a thin film that dissipated very quickly. The date of bottling is printed in yellow at the bottom of the bottle (5/1/13 from what I could read, pretty fresh bottle).
Aroma is typical of a porter, heavy on the chocolate/cocoa and coffee. The beer was poured at ~45 F. As it warmed, there were hints of plum coming through. Very pleasant on the nose.
The aroma translates very well into the taste. There is a hint of cocoa and coffee upfront, which gives way to mild sweetness in the middle. Towards the finish, bitterness and hints of sour notes make their presence felt with the sweetness. The finish is dry and almost a little acidic.
Mouthfeel is very pleasant, the plums do make their presence felt and change the complexion of the beer from a typical porter.
Not a bad addition to the Blackwater Series. I am definitely interested to see how this one ages.
Worth a try and comes recommended.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, blackish color with dark brown highlights around the edges. Thin, whispy, filmy, off white surface coating of head. Aromas of roasted coffee, hints of bittersweet chocolate, plum sweetness, and earthy tones. The nose is rich, but subtle enough to avoid overpowering. Flavors are roasted and rich, with a coffee and chocolate blend forming the backbone to support rich, old world fruit sweetness and hints of oak. Very smooth and robust in mouth. The aftertaste is roasted and sweet, with a touch of smoke and chocolate. Smooth, clean finish. This is an easy drinker.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The look is big, fairly thick and heavy, pretty much stout territory. There's enough uncertainty regarding where to draw the line between porter and stout before "imperial porter" came into play. Regardless, it's within its proper realm as far as body and color, somewhat viscous but not excessively. A nice, dense light brown head lies between one and two fingers tall and takes its time receding. It leaves behind some rich deposits of patchy lacing.
There's a roastiness to the underlying foundational malt that holds everything together, sans much of the char of a more heavily roasted stout. The seemingly obligatory notes of ground coffee and bittersweet cocoa are there too. There's a lightly sugary sweetness, but otherwise the plum imparts more tartness than anything. The first time I tried this I thought the plum wasn't as pronounced as it ought to be, but lately it's been much stronger than that initial impression. It allows the plum to be a major factor without adding too much. The roast ends up being more like a heavy toastiness, and some smokiness lies beneath.
It's somewhat viscous in the body as the appearance would make it seem, but not heavier than it ought to be. It's fairly rich with a light carbonation adding just a little crisp nip and going nicely smooth from beginning to finish.

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Plum Noir from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.76 out of 5 based on 597 ratings.
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