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: 598
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
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 Knapp85
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out as a nice deep black color with a mocha colored head on top. The retention on this one was pretty good but there wasn't too much lacing at all. The smell of the beer is roasted, some subtle sweetness in there that might have come from the Plums but could just be the malts also. There is an earthy aroma to this beer also and not much in way of hops. The taste is mostly roasted and chocolate with a subtle earthy sweetness in the finish. The mouthfeel was smooth, good carbonation and easy drinking. Overall it's a decent porter, nothing too special here though. It's good but not great.

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Photo of metter98
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cask at Bronx Ale House, Bronx, NY

A: The beer is clear but very dark amber in color. It poured with a finger and a half high white head that died down, leaving a din collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Faint aromas of roasted malts are present in the nose—plums become noticeable as the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is a little more flavorful—the plum flavors are a little stronger and linger through the finish.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is an interesting take on a porter, particularly after it warms up when the plums start showing up in the smell and taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Blackwater Series took left turn into Italy with a plumb-infusion that layers upon a roasty healthy heaping of American Porter! The unexpected combination dips its toes into a slim wine-like world.

But like Porters, the beer separates with a clear tawny ruby body and a tanned creme to float atop. Stong creamy retention lasts the session confidently and denotes each drink with well defined rings of lace. It's a fine and masculine looking Porter.

Scented with burnt toast, roasted nuts, soft molasses, cocoa and fresh ground coffee- the beer's Porter roots are well established. But the decoration of dark fruit peaks through the malt and offers up a tinge of tart berry-like aroma. Slightly wine-like the fruit can easily be mistaken for red grapes or a host of berries.

Its full flavor wraps around the tongue with early sweetness of blackstrap molasses- then layers upon with coffee, walnuts, toast, and cocoa without ever stepping over to overly roasted taste. Again, the subtleties of fruit emerge with a pleasant tart taste of plumb. Subtle enough in fact that the fruit contributions remain somewhat obscure and are generally of the dark, pitted varieties. Its dry malt taste carries a coffee-like bitterness to close its taste toasty and acidic.

Full bodied, the beer's premiere creaminess holds firm deep into the session, and forbidding any premature turn to dryness or lightness. But finishing malty-dry and lightly astringent, the beer lingers with burnt sugars, toast, and fruit.

Plumb Noir is an effortless taste that makes Porter making look early. Where the understated taste shyly reserves its praise, the fruit is yet too timid to make any meaningful impact. Any fruitiness tasted could easily been assumed to be yeast esters instead of additions.

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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 TheManiacalOne
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 7/31/13 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large foamy beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, coffee, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with a hearty roasted malt character followed by some flavors of coffee and dark chocolate. There’s some dark fruit (obviously plums) and smokiness in the background. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sweet.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid porter to drink for a while.

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Photo of mactrail
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
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 dcmchew
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%

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 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 russpowell
3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent brown/walnut with a pinky of fast falling caramel colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Plums & smokeyness

T: Follows the nose, a touch of charcoal up front, some carob notes as well. Plums & smokeyness as this warms along with faint cocoa notes, much dryness. Finishes with plummy sweetness & smokeyness

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation, nice warming sensation

Might pick up a bottle to age, but not really working for me in the here & now

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Photo of Slatetank
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was purchased at Wegman's , enjoyed chilled from a tulip out of the bomber.

The color is piano black with opaque clarity and two fingers of pale tan cream with ultra fine bead, lace sticks as a film. The smell is very roasted with some chocolate malt aroma and slight sweet fruity ester combined with a mild caramel accent. The feel is very good with some mild roasted textures and moderately carbonated with gentle sweetness and low bitterness and subtle alcohol with a light char--like dry finish.

The taste is somewhat coffee flavored with some sweet caramel on the tip of the tongue which segues into a more chocolate-like creamy flavor with some char from the dark malt in the peripheral taste. The flavor of plum is mild but seems to increase in the porter as it warms with a gentle acidic aspect that blends well with the mild bitterness from the highly kilned malt with a slight hint of alcohol but it is well hidden in this semi-big brew. The flavor of the plums seems to go well with the malt bill since it doesn't stand out and yet is complimentary with a taste you might find in some imperial porters anyway. Overall I enjoyed this and it went down way easier than I expect which is why the overall score gets a boost. I would certainly enjoy this again since it is a good value based on taste

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

It was a popular film genre in the fruit world of the 1930s. (Yeah, that wasn't forced or anything...) Anyway, this stuff pours a dark midnight sienna topped by two fingers of sandstone foam. The nose comprises cocoa powder (verging on dark chocolate), light coffee, light roasted malts, and a vague sense of dark fruits (though not necessarily plum, interestingly enough). The taste brings in more of the same, with some mild roast and coffee notes overshadowing the erstwhile cocoa leader and the fruit even vaguer, tending toward the skins. It's a strange combination in the end, though, one that just comes across as a touch unsettling. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a nice enough beer, I suppose; it's not bad, but it's not something I wanna drink again, really.

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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 tdm168
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - black with a tall, brown head that has great retention and leaves nice lacing on the glass

S - the plums coming through nicely, some sugary fruit notes, a hint of chocolate, a hint of cream

T - big chocolate malt presence, plums, sugary burnt caramel notes, hints of charcoal, very faint bitter finish

M - medium to full bodied, well carbonated

This is a pretty decent beer. I give them credit for getting the plums to come through as much as they did in the face of the big chocolaty malt. I like the burnt caramel notes that come through towards the end of the sip. I like this quite a bit.

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Photo of jwc215
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours between very dark brown and black with a nice lingering tan head that leaves spotted lacing.

The smell is of plumbs, roasted coffee and charcoal.

The taste is of a slightly burnt porter with a sweet fruitiness - plum - or raisin. Slight vinegar comes through while keeping a sweet, roasted character. The hint of hops comes in a subtle earthy tone. The taste is not quite as complex as the nose, in my opinion. The alcohol does show it's strength, though it doesn't block out the taste. I taste an almost rich porter mixed with a red wine like fruitiness. Caramel comes out as it progresses. The finish lingers in a sweet, boozy way.

It is medium-bodied - slightly slick, but smooth.

This is an "interesting" brew. To be honest, I had a bit of a hard time with the scores here - mixed feelings about this one. It does have a dark, fruity character. No problem finishing it - and I think it's a well-made porter with a fruity aspect - it's unique - It just doesn't get to the point of "Gimme more!"

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
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 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 Tone
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. One inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of roasted malt, strong plum, alcohol, slight sweet malt, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of an American Porter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, strong plum, slight hops, hint of chocolate, and slight alcohol. Overall, good strong plum flavor that doesn't over-shadow other ingredients.

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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 Gavage
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a short 1/2" head.

Smell: roasted malts and a fruity overtone is pleasant on the nose.

Taste: roasted malt, mild coffee tones, hint of chocolate, and a decent plum flavor. Bitterness provides a bit of earthiness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish.

Overall: a nice fruitier porter that is quite enjoyable. Slower sipping beer that would go well with BBQ.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Plum noir

Pours a dark brown color with good clarity. In the right light this brew has amber tints as well. A solid layer of foam is off white and silky, retention is good.
In the aroma, smoked malt, alcohol esters, light fruitiness.

In the flavor, chocolate and roasted malt. Mild coffee and smooth plum. Gets better as it warms, at first I found myself searching for the note of plum. Mild earthy hops. Nice roast from the malts and a kiss of booze.

Surprisingly light feel, a soft medium, with a creamy completion. Carbonation is also moderate. Overall, this was a straightforward stout ish ale with plum purée. Was very refreshing on a balmy summer evening. I'd reach for this again, the ladies loved it.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad beer, but not outstanding either. Fairly light for an imperial porter, and at 8% I'd expect a bit more heft. It's also surprisingly dry, and even a bit dusty, and gets a little thin in the finish. There is also just a bare hint of plums here, so it depends what you're looking for in that regard. I would have liked a bit more plum. Here you get a hint of the juice and the sour skins way at the end. There are some fairly nice roasty flavors, and a touch of spice and chocolate. The nose does have some more plum, and between that and the tantalizing hint you get from the late finish, you get a hint of what this beer could have been- particularly if the porter flavors were more Baltic in style.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black and pours with a minimal amount of foam and quickly leaves a light ring behind around the glass, lots of very fine bubbles produced when the glass is swirled.

S - Chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, a little bit of char, coffee, light caramel, and an extremely light dark fruit aroma.

T - Up front is assertively roasty with roasted chocolate, light char, and coffee. Midway through the roasted malt subsides (a little) followed with some plum and dark fruit acidity before finishing with a satisfying lingering chocolate roasty bitterness. As the roasty bitterness lingers there's a light acidity/tartness from the plums that gradually and eventually blends in.

M - Medium body with light carbonation.

O - The plum flavor is very subdued and "just enough" to show up on the radar.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Roasted malt nose and flavor is light malty sweetness with some bitter chocolate. Not finding any plum. $9.49 for a 22oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Marlboro, MA

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

-Imperial porter brewed with Italian plums.

A: Rich cola exit sits a black olive coloring in the glass with a 3 finger golden-beige head that was firm and foamy, and impossible to budge. A rush of golden micro-effervesce rushes up along the vessel walls. Heavy stickage of meaty foam lace coverage with a lasting covering.

S: Aroma of sweet plums, sweet dark roasted malt that was gentle with a slight hint of dry chocolate.

T: Roasted malt and smoky plum skins. Touch of charred bitterness, very smooth, with some charcoal, and earthy silky wet ash. Lingering campfire minerality soothes the tongue with a gentle mingling and a smoky charred coating. The plums are really nice here, combining nicely with the mild roasty coffee and dark malting.

M: Medium body, slick with a bit of light syrupiness, easy carbonation. Plum skins and earthy bitterness leaves a gentle lingering reminder.

O: Overall very smooth, well rounded and polished flavor. Gentle soothing alcohol presence, warm plums and charred malting with just the right amount of smoky character. The plums are first rate and bring a good deal of presence here, the brewing technique was clean with a sweetly-bitter appeal. Very good overall.

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Plum Noir from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.76 out of 5 based on 598 ratings.
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