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 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 jrenihan
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Beer is black with a large tan head. Nice lacing.

Nose is a mix of chocolate (which is quite strong) and plum.

The plum is quite forward in the flavour, and is a bit much. Juicy. Some slightly bitter chocolate and roasted malt. Hard to get past the plum, not very well integrated into everything else.

Medium bodied, moderate to strong carbonation level. Feels a bit thin.

Overall, fine, but not great. Doubt I will make it through the bottle.

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Photo of Stranger5582
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This pours dark with a nice head. The head fades quickly. It is nigh black in appearance.

The nose is interesting, with hints of a sweet plum.

Unfortunately, on the tongue, the taste is so-so with none of the hinted plum notes.

In the mouth it has all the hallmarks of a decent porter. Coming into the mouth as liquid and then swishing will thicken it instantly, but doesn't release any greater flavors.

Overall as a porter it, is passable but, does not really stand out. Incidentally, it is not as bitter as other porters which may be a result of the plum sugars. I was really expecting a plum-flavored porter, which would have been a nice change of pace, but this is not it.

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Photo of Chaney
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Served in a Port City glass.

A: How many ways can one say a porter pours black as night? Yep, and the head was a slight mocha formation.

S: Not much actually, which surprised me. I got a slight bit of charcoal and that's about it.

T: Well, it's definitely a porter. I'll say that for it. Quite a bit of char, which was like a cocoa dusting over a dark fruit base. Despite the plum schtick, there was nothing really special about it.

M: This is where the brew really fails to my mind. This was pretty thin and quite water. That was surprising considering the awesomeness of Choklat and Oat.

O: Well, for $6.99, this was well worth trying. It wasn't bad, but Southern Tier can do better. Bring back Mocha and Jahva before brewing this one again.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A- pours nearly pitch black with a small light-tan creamy head, reduces to a small layer, leaving some lace behind

S- lots of sugary dark fruit notes up front, plum, raisin and fig, some brown sugar with a bit of booze at the end

T- like every other beer from the blackwater series, it's very sweet but not overbearing. Sugary fig and plum flavors with just a hint of roasted notes, the finish is somewhat dry with a chocolate linger and a touch of coffee on the linger

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel and a velvety finish, just a touch of warmth at the end

O- sweet, dark and fruity. A different take on the style that's worth a try, but doesn't match up with some of the other blackwater series beers

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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 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 farrago
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The pour yields only a thin coating across the surface, barely half a finger and soon to dissipate, wispiest lacing imaginable. The liquid is opaque but remains mostly in the dark brown area rather than black, allowing for a yellow tint at the rims, the bubbles are tiny and appear to be widely dispersed. In the nose the plum comes through clearly but stays lowkey and out of the spotlight, as a result it’s the basic cocoa, chocolate, coffee and cola bean leading the way, scone and croissant flakes, beyond this is a light leafy and metallic touch which gives it some spine, overall not a heavy presence with nice liveliness. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied, the carbonation is light but what’s there is crisp, not much fluffy about it. The plum stays at about the same level here, recognizable yet not dominant. The cola, chocolate and vanilla upfront, not sweet enough for more caramel like notes. A touch bready but not doughy nor yeasty. Noticeably drier through the finish. The earthy, metallic aspect is pleasurable and also adds punctuation at the end. Overall, too simple to hold your interest past a few sips while still nothing stopping you from throwing it back uncritically.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: This beer poured into snifter a clear but black color and a frothy half inch tan head. The glass is left with nice lacing as I drink.
S: roasted and slightly burnt malt flavors mix with dark cherries and plums in the nose. Orang honey and caramel mix in there too. Hops are very subdued. Some alcohol vapors become present.
T: Rich malt backbone with hints of chocolate, caramel, and char. Layers of dark fruity esters abound notably plums and dark cherries. Sweet flavor but hops keep it not overdone.
M: Medium body with crisp carbonation and some alcohol warmth.
O: In my opinion a very drinkable imperial porter with great flavors especially as this beer warms up. Not too boozy and enough sweetness to make it go well as a dessert beer. It is pairing nicely with sushi right now for me. I would get this beer again.

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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 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 JohnnyBarman
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle picked up from the brewery during a recent visit to their tasting room.

Poured into my newly purchased Southern Tier tulip glass. Dark brown-black, with chestnut around the edges in the light. A half inch of off white head recedes into a thick ring. Decent looking porter.

Nose is quite nice, certainly porter-like. Roasted grain, coffee, chocolate, and a mild dark fruitiness that may or may not be the plum.

Tasty enough porter, nice roasted notes, good dryness to it, but where are the plums? I know that the bottle says that they would be subtle, but porters already have a subtle fruitiness to them, so because of this, it just tastes like a slightly-above average porter.

Good mouthfeel, thin, creamy.

Rating is mostly reflected in the fact that the brew didn't really deliver what it promised - didn't get much in the way of plum whatsoever. Still a decent porter, but there are others out there that are just as good.

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Photo of rand
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 22 oz bomber to pint glass

A: Deep, dark brown with a reddish hue, the brew appears clean and light-bodied relative to the ABV. The small, wispy head corroborates the appearance.

S: Toasty malts anchor the subtle nose, dry with notes of earthy grain. A touch of ripe fruit-sweetness lingers at the edge of the bouquet.

T: Toasty, crackery notes at the front of the palate. Mid-sip the flavors bend toward earthy, almost floral grains with a touch of vanilla sweetness. Alcohol is nicely masked, leaving a creamy, almost buttery note toward the finish, as the beer closes dry and fairly quickly.

M: Thin and light bodied, but the creamy flavors deceive the senses into thinking the brew is chewier than it is.

A drinkable porter, tasty, but not at all what I was expecting. There are no plum notes to speak of, just a touch of fruity sweetness in the nose but the flavors were dry and toasty. Definitely loses points given the can find porters this good in a six-pack.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Finally got an affordable bottle of this for $10.50 at Giant Eagle.
A - A nice deep shade of brown not pitch black with a 1/2 inch of mocha head. I was a bit disappointed since it poured lighter than most imperial porters.
S - Redemption! Smells of strong candied plums, other dark fruits and a nice chocolate malt assault. Very little roast it kind of smells like a quad...
T - Ah there is the porter like yeasts, dry and tannic with a good bit of roast mid palate. There is some decent chocolate malt character that keeps it from being too dry or roasty but very little actual sourness or sweetness from the plums.
M - Medium to thick in body, somewhat chewy. Very easy to drink.

Overall it's not a bad beer but really not worthy of losing most of the other Blackwater beers. Hopefully next year they will ramp up the plums to impact a more sour taste.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color, good sized light tan head, fades at a somewhat quick rate, not much lacing on the glass.

Smell is surprisingly metallic for some reason, hints of chocolate, fair amount of dark fruit, oh say plums if you can believe it.

Taste starts out fairly straight forward with a roasted malt backbone, complexity slowly creeps in with a chocolate bitterness in the aftertaste, dark fruit is not overwhelming but present, fairly mute flavorwise from what I was expecting, not bad just not explosive, carbonation is high and appropriate, thickness is decent, not sweet or cloying.

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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 Ryan011235
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at King's Table

Dark brown with ruby highlights. Long lasting thin head and good lace, too.

The aromatics include roasted coffee, chocolate, and plum acidity. The feel is great: smooth, rolling carbonation draped over a silky body. The taste has subtle roast that blends well with the plum.

It's a mild mix overall - not bad for what it is.

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Photo of draheim
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz (bottled 5/2/2013) into a tulip. Pours a deep brown w/ a 1-finger khaki head, minimal lacing.

Aroma is equal parts roasty and fruity. Pronounced sweet plum aroma.

Taste follows nose. Mild roast, sweet plums, hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel is balanced and medium bodied.

Overall, better than average but nothing exceptional here.

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

a - poured a one finger thick creamy, coffee-colored head into a goblet. the body was a dark brown with red edges.
s- roast and chocolate the overwhelming aromas.
t - roasty, burnt, with some plum sweetness.
m - creamy and medium mouthfeel.
o - solid porter but i had high expectations so i was a little underwhelmed.

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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 Roguer
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Extremely dark black with hints of red, completely opaque. One finger of dark creamy head. Decent lacing.

S - Sweet with cherry notes, like a Belgian. Strong hints of coffee or chocolate.

T - Lighter than expected, with a bit of sweetness on the tongue, and strong bitter chocolate/burnt coffee on the mid-tongue. Only a slight hint of cherry and sourness. Reasonable but not perfect balance, with each flavor fighting for dominance on every sip.

M - Medium-full. It seems surprisingly light on first, but it easily fills the mouth, taking on a full, chewy body. Nice residue, good oils, and no unpleasant aftertaste; the coffee, in particular, lingers in a pleasant fashion.

O - This is a very pleasant mix of a coffee stout and some Belgian-style sweetness. I find it much more drinkable than the heavy stouts that are in vogue right now, while maintaining the same character and flavor profile. Definitely give it a try if you're into porters or stouts.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance was quite black, dark plum maybe? Onyx or opal it glowed with a nifty radiance. The head was thin though and slightly off white.

The head was chocolatey, chalky and coffee driven. Dry malts or Graham cracker mixed with powdered chocolate.

The taste was hot with peppery spice. Dry malt, chocolatey malts, grain, coffee, and earthy tones ride through a strangely non-plum like experience. The taste is quite good but heavy for a bombers worth so a 12 ounce draft is perfect for what is a a very interesting beer.

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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 harrymel
2.81/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Bottled 02MAY13

Pours a dark brown with a fine tan sheet over the top. Smells of plum, quick chocolate cocoa powder, some soil, some black olive. Flavor is fruity with a dimatap character. Some dust, some cocoa, some bitterness and a mint in the background. Not really impressive. Medium bodied with a silky feel and a nice off dry finish - feel of this beer is really good. Overall, nothing special.

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