Compass
Southern Tier Brewing Company

CompassCompass
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Pale Ale (APA)
ABV:
9%
Score:
87
Avg:
3.88 | pDev: 11.08%
Reviews:
137
Ratings:
671
From:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  19
Gots
  80
SCORE
87
Very Good
CompassCompass
Notes:
Reviews: 137 | Ratings: 671 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of CaptainHate
CaptainHate from Ohio

3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This was a 2015 bottle given to me, along with others, by a friend cleaning out her beer fridge in anticipation of moving. It poured a slightly dark yellow with a large white head which slowly dissipated with moderate lacing in a Nonic glass.

I don't thing aging this served it well. I could barely smell any rose hips and citrusy hops which surely have faded with time and they were borderline nonexistent in the taste. In fact it tasted like a generic American Pale Ale which I'm sure was not Southern Tier's intention. The good news is that this is the last bottle I received that should be negatively impacted by aging.

Mar 11, 2018
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

2.54/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

**
02/27/2015

Appearance is a slightly hazy yellow; small white head, fades quickly.
Aroma is floral, hoppy.
Taste is a little wheat/paste. Sweet/sour. Not bad. Needs some meat and potatoes.
Feel: pasty, sticky. medium body.

Peripheral attributes are weak, but overall not bad. Kind of all over the place; the different flavors and textures do not seem to blend well.

**

Aug 20, 2017
Photo of descobar
descobar from Florida

2.16/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Disclosure: old 22 oz bottle probably from 2013. although bottle conditioned, not meant to age this long... so take review and low rating into account:
Look: pours deep golden, with thin white head with very low retention. the beer is now hazy with visible yeasty sediment. no lacing was observed.
Smell: stale oxidation, green apples (acetaldehyde?), bandagey, sweat, or some type of stinky cheese. none of it good.
Taste: once you get past the mediocre smell, the flavor has not deteriorated as much. mostly just malt sweetness and spices. the bitterness is almost absent. and there is a cheesy flavor there for sure.
Feel: medium body, moderate carbonation (should have been almost effervescent for a "sparkling ale". its texture is oily and with some creamyness. and... there is an astringency that borders on harsh.
The beer finishes short and sweet with only the aforementioned harshness lasting a bit longer.
Overall: I remember this being a decent beer. although I certainly expected some deterioration, it should have held out just a bit better given the high abv and the bottle conditioning. drank just enough to write this review, rest is getting dumped.

Mar 11, 2017
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this years ago on draft. From my notes:

Murky bright yellow appearance.

White head; nice lacing.

Fresh flower & lemon nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Pleasant citrus flavor; hint of flowers & strong marijuana. Substantial but easy to enjoy. A winner; great for summer.

Jan 19, 2017
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

3.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains light caramelized malts, some piney hops, some citrus and some spice.

T: The taste starts out with mildly sweet flavors of citrus, spice and caramel. Then a significant but subdued hops presence comes in. The malt character is on the thin side but brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very crisp and a little smooth, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent variation of style, it’s not a bad beer but it’s not something I would choose unless my options were quite limited.

Feb 13, 2016
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow from Minnesota

2.92/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

No bottle dating. I think this might have some age on it. In the aroma the hops are dull and it seems a bit oxidized (some cardboard). Lots of floaty stuff in a lighter golden body. I like the bitterness. It's smooth and consistent throughout the drink. Not a lot of fruit in the drink, but some. White caps leaves some nice rings.
Overall, this is pretty bad.

Oct 17, 2015
Photo of SomethingClever
SomethingClever from Ohio

4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into snifter

A: golden in color like clear honey great transparency fluffy head that settles down to almost nothing

S: Resiny, floral, a little herbal picking up a honey like sweetness

T: nice bright honey citrus almost a little grapefruit taste with a slight back of bitterness

M: coating but still light if that makes sense its very clean in the body

O: very bright in the taste but the little bit of bitterness I don't care for a lot of bitterness in the aftertaste. Its an ok beer but not something I'd hunt for.

Aug 16, 2015
Photo of EvoRich
EvoRich from Pennsylvania

4.41/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours a pale orange color with a lot of white head, that then quickly fades.

Smell: A lot of orange peel, lemon, and bitter hops. It smells very refreshing. A lot of citrus.

Taste: Mango, hops, with a ever so slightly boozy bite to it at the end. I wouldn't call this beer boozy, but you do get a small hint of booze at the end. surprising for only 9%.

Feel: Light bodied and crisp. Very refreshing!

Overall: I'd like to see something like this offered in 6 packs year-round.

Jun 25, 2015
Photo of jwc215
jwc215 from Arizona

3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazed straw yellow. A fluffy white head leaves lacing.

The smell is floral (from the rose hips), some bread, a hint of citrus. Not exactly robust, but pleasant.

The taste is of citrus (grapefruit) - The medium bitterness is balanced by sweet malt. Floral dryness mixes with peppery alcohol in the finish.

It has a nice silky texture. Medium body. The alcohol cleans up the palate (though not in a raw way), so the flavors don't hang around very long.

A unique, slow-drinking strong pale ale. Floral aroma with a balanced citric bitterness in the taste. I don't understand where the "sparkling" part comes in, but I suppose that that's not important.

May 27, 2015
Photo of zeff80
zeff80 from Missouri

3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Poured out a clear, golden color with a small, off-white head of foam. It smelled very floral with citrus and caramel. Sweet caramel, citrus with a mild bitterness.

May 13, 2015
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"We rely on age-old tools in the brewery despite being surrounded by high technology. As a sort of compass, we use the six pointed brewer's star to help navigate the uncharted brews. The cardinal points of water, malt, grain, yeast, hops and a brewer make the baseline. From there anything goes. Sometimes the journey is as important as the destination. You'll notice a slight bitterness in Compass derived from our use of rose hips accentuated by high effervescence. Drink it cold from a fluted or tulip glass. And by all means, avoid sea serpents!" Available in 22 oz. bottles and on seasonal draft as an early summer release.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a Southern Tier tulip glass. Served above 52 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy cream head of a lemony white color over a densely hazy gold body with ample lively carbonation and fine sediment. Retention is good and lacing is light and spotty. 3.75

(Smell) Pale malts, soft cracker and delicate wheat with a mild body. Hop aromas of grass and fruit with a moderate bitterness, strengthened aromatically with the strong bitter qualities of the rose hips. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Clear and easygoing malt profile of pale and pilsner malts with a touch of grain for body, finishing on a note of dry cracker and grain with a strong bitterness from the rose hips in addition to lighter grassy and fruity hop profiles. Drinks very clean and easy with a nice balance of malt and bitter flavors. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) The texture is lightly oily, softly chewy, briskly dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style and medium overall. Balance is slightly bitter and grainy over sweet. Alcohol presence is low and there are no notable off characters. 3.5

(Overall) A very enjoyable American Pale Ale with a great bitterness presence from the rose hips which make for a decent substitute or addition alongside hops. The hop profile was very simple but allowed the malt profile to stand equally bold as it was. Aside from the startlingly high ABV, this beer is a solid drinking APA and a great warm-weather beer. 3.75

Southern Tier Brewing Company's
Imperial Compass
3.73/5.00

Apr 27, 2015
Photo of tillmac62
tillmac62 from South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an almost clear golden. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Light nose of rose hips and citrus over biscuit.

Light body that has smooth moments. Very well carbonated with a lively prickly effervescence from the middle on.

The flavor profile is laid back, but nicely balanced and has a bit of complexity. It begins with a mild mixture of slightly sweet citrus, that never separates. The middle effervesces into a mild bitterness that has both rose hip and hop qualities over a biscuit sweetness. The finish is dry and prickly had leaves you with a slight pucker. The 9% ABV is completely covered.

Apr 01, 2015
Photo of founddrama
founddrama from Vermont

4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really dry. Almost no malt character, but also not characterized by hops either. I like it, but I've got no real comparisons. Easy to love this beer. Not overly hoppy. This one is big on flavor, and NOT a one-trick pony. That said: bottle says "sparkling ale" and as such is expect a lot more carbonation. Rose hips!

Mar 22, 2015
Photo of Caveworm
Caveworm from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Compass - Southern Tier Brewing Company. Poured from the bomber bottle into a pint glass, this "sparkling ale" 's head is 1.5 fingers thick and bubbly as the name would imply with spottier lacing, and a medium-gold clear body.

Smells like the rose hips used in the brewing of this select beer,along with the citrus hops mentioned on the label. Can't really detect much malts going on with this part of the review.

I'm tasting most of the components listed above, although now I'm getting malts of an earthier characteristic. These all compliment each other pretty damned well. I honestly can't notice the 9% ABV of this brew.

The mouthfeel of Compass is lively and crisp. Only a slight dash of a rose hip/hop combo that leaves pretty fast.

Overall, I'll give Compass - Southern Tier Brewing Company a 4.25. This is quite a different taste and overall vibe for me, but I may pick up another bottle or so in the future.

Mar 01, 2015
Photo of nicholas2121
nicholas2121 from Ohio

4.54/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Compass brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company, with an ABV of 9.0% This Ale pours out a nice amber color with a nice white head. The smell is hoppie with grains and malts. You also pick up on a mild sweetness in the smell. The taste is rich with hops. This brew has a nice balance of grains and malts at the end. Southern Tier Brewing Company did a nice job with this one , there is no bad aftertaste. You really can't pick up on the 9.0% ABV. The mouthfeel is hoppie, smooth, and refreshing. There is nothing overpowering in this brew, it has a nice balance to it. Compass is a nice smooth, but rich drinking brew. Overall I'm giving Compass a 4.5 out 5. I would buy this brew again.

Mar 01, 2015
Photo of HawbakerBrewery
HawbakerBrewery from Wisconsin

4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pretty good. Pours to a heavy head at first. Head is snow white and leaves a fairly persistent lacing. The color is a vibrant yellow gold with light haziness. The color is very similar to that of a Wit. Definitely has a malty back to it, with good strong citrus hop bitterness up front. Aftertaste reveals the 9% ABV to the sinuses. The body is lighter than expected. This does not sit as heavily as something like an imperial stout. The aroma is pretty citrus like with a pungent maltiness, letting you know to expect big flavor. Price is not bad either. 22 oz. bomber sold for $6.99 plus tax.

Feb 23, 2015
Photo of TAHEETNA
TAHEETNA from Mississippi

4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am extremely fond of this beer. It has become a strong favorite on my list of proffered beers. Easy drinking beer. Very little bitterness, or left-over after taste. The 9,00% ABV is a very big Positive to my liking this beer. Good beer for a hot day. Compass is an appropriate name for this beer,because it guides me to a place I like to be. I wish I could find this in more stores.

Dec 20, 2014
Photo of macrosmatic
macrosmatic from Florida

3.47/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into a Cigar City pint glass.

A: Hazy light gold, with a two-finger white fluffy with good retention. Fairly low visible carbonation.

S: Citrus fruits, flowery and perfumey notes, grassy hops, some cracker malts, and a touch of resin.

T: Citrus (orange and tangelo) hop flavor, citrus pith, perfumey and flowery (I wonder if this last one could be the power of suggestion?). Bitterness level is fairly moderated, and relatively balanced with the light cracker malts. Hop bitterness and residual cracker malt sweetness in the hang.

M: Light body, good carbonation sensation, alcohol presence seems more noticeable that I expected.

O: Not my favorite at all. It's interesting, but it doesn't seem hoppy enough for the style. I find the flowery aspects a little weird as well. I won't be looking for another bottle.

Nov 11, 2014
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Bottle: Poured a deep golden color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet malt notes with some citrusy hoppy notes and light rose hips notes. Taste is a well balanced mix between some citrusy hops notes, a sweet malt base and some light rose hips notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Good beer thought maybe a tad too sweet for my own taste buds.

Oct 17, 2014
Photo of DaveBar
DaveBar from Canada

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Purchased at the LCBO for a pretty steep amount of $8.00 or so in a 650ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- 3.75- Opens well and pours a decent head that lasts. Unfiltered

S- 3.75- Good hops. Not much rose hips.

T- 3.5- Kind of like a sweeter IPA with a slightly unusual finish. Ok

M- 3.5- Pretty dry and open. Typical IPA

O- 3.67- Ok beer. Novelty more than anything else. Will not buy again

Food Pairing

This ok IPA went well with..... BBQ chicken breast marinated in..... BEER!!

Enjoy

Oct 17, 2014
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic from Florida

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a straw yellow with lots of floaty bits suspended within. A bright white head that lingers well but leaves very little lacing behind.
Smell is a nice blend of floral hops, malt, and grass. The ABV is detectable.
Taste is exactly like the nose promised: malt, floral hops, grass. Great balance.
Medium-light body up front builds toward the fuller end of the spectrum at the finish. Effervescence is restrained. Somewhat drying and warming. Good stuff.

Sep 30, 2014
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Colorado

3.54/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BOTTLE: 22 oz brown glass bottle with a busy label and a branded black pry-off pressure cap acquired at my local H-E-B grocery and served cold into a snifter (as no tulip was on hand) at low altitude in Austin, TX.

Reviewed live as an"imperial sparkling ale" - whatever that means.

9.0% ABV. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers in width. White colour. Fairly frothy. Decent thickness and creaminess. Has a decent complexion and consistency. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

Retention: ~3 minutes.

BODY: Quasitransparent translucent dark orange-copper. Murky. Not real vibrant. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible within.

Looks above average, but not unique or special. Closest to a pale ale or IPA in terms of appearance.

AROMA: Pale malts. Wheat. Floral hops. Stale citrus fruit. I do find the rose hips when I search for them; I only know the aroma from when I used to chew vitamin c tablets with added rose hips; it's a subtle note but an interesting one. Muted lychee skin. A kiss of doughy starchy malt. Light hints of honey and a bit of crackery malt.

It's a bit sweeter than anticipated; I expected the hops to dominate but they seem pretty neatly balanced. A pleasant albeit reticent aroma of light intensity.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, or off-notes are detectable. If you told me this was a 5% pale ale in a blind tasting, I'd believe you. Given that they describe this as an imperial sparkling ale, I anticipated a heavy crystal malt presence, but none emerges.

The presence of crackery and doughy character is odd given the aroma isn't very dry. Maybe that indicates good integration of those notes?

TASTE: Very pleasant and mellow. The malt base is unintrusive, providing a clean neutral foundation upon which the hop notes can shine. The malts I notice are (in order of emphasis) pale malts, wheat, honey malt, and a bit of crackery malt. Hopwise, I notice floral hop character the most, backed by vague citrus (orange peel I guess), a kiss of papaya, and subtle rose hips (again, I'm judging by my familiarity with vitamin c tablets).

Other reviewers are noting an herbal hop character - I find none. The faint doughiness noticed in the aroma is extremely subtle and buried here, but it's a blip on the finish, and does add a little more nuance to the beer.

What shocks and impresses me is the complete absence of any noticeable alcohol; this drinks like a 5% pale ale, and is expertly balanced, with no naked hop bitterness. The malts are well suited to the hops.

I find no crystal malt; I definitely expected some given the purported style.

Overall, I'm really pleasantly surprised with the quality here. This is a complex, subtly executed brew which boasts impressive depth of flavour without feeling unnecessarily complicated or busy. Great flavour amplitude; the constituent notes blend together seamlessly to form a very cohesive - almost gestalt - whole. As a result, it's hard to deconstruct the beer - which while taxing for a reviewer, is a good thing for the discerning drinker.

TEXTURE: Crisp, slightly overcarbonated, smooth, wet, refreshing, and quenching. I'm taken aback by the absence of any noticeable alcohol heat or booziness. In spite of the subtle crackery malts and doughy yeast notes, it's not really dry at all- except maybe a biteen on the open, which has the effect of parching the palate briefly and then instantly refreshing it, which teases the drinker into consuming more. Aptly medium-bodied, and of appropriate thickness to support the flavour profile without coming off overbearing or oppressive.

Overall, this beer boasts a great presence on the palate and this texture complements the taste quite well, with evidence of custom-tailoring.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, scratchy, or rough.

OVERALL: Southern Tier can label their beers any style they want so long as they keep making them this good, as far as I'm concerned. This was a pleasant surprise and surpassed my expectations. I'd definitely recommend this to friends. It's dangerously drinkable for its relatively high ABV, and offers plenty of flavour. This will impress the discerning drinker. One of the better brews I've had from Southern Tier in recent memory. I'll have to seek out more of their work.

Low B

Sep 28, 2014
Photo of peensteen
peensteen from Canada

3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy pale blonde one finger white head, thick with good lace. Smell is quite hoppy, citrus, grapefruit some orange and tangerine with just a bit of malt backbone as well. Taste is hoppy and quite citrusy, some sugar coated gummy candy, orange and fuzzy peach rings, some crackery malt and just a hint of alcohol. Lightly carbonated, medium full body, slick and chewy. Quite good, a really enjoyable beer that I would gladly revisit again.

Sep 23, 2014
Photo of BucannonXC5
BucannonXC5 from California

3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Pint mug
From: Total Wine & More in Ballantyne (Charlotte), N.C.
Price: $6.99
Purchased: Sept. 9, 2014
Consumed: Sept. 16, 2014
Misc.: Date of birth April 1, 2014

Poured a golden, straw, hazy color with 2-to-3 fingers of khaki-cream head. Lots of streams of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Below average lacing on the sides. Below average retention on the top. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled a pleasant variety of hops from the get-go. Got Citra hops, potent floral hops, coriander, tangerine rind, orange creamscicle, wet Cascade hops, pine, lime, almost raspberry, Sprite, caramel and Mountain Dew. (Smell - 4.00)

Taste wasn’t anywhere as good as the nose. The sparkling soda notes, which came on strong late in the nose, dominated the taste. Got Sprite, Mountain Dew, 7-Up and other lime, citrusy soda. Citra hops, floral hops, lime, bitter pine, orange creamscicle, caramel, coriander and bitter tangerine rind. (Taste - 3.75)

Light body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Average carbonation. Bitter, abrupt finish on the tongue. Didn’t taste anywhere near 9.00% ABV (Feel - 3.50)

I am about 97 percent positive I’ve never had a pale ale at 9.00% ABV, but it didn’t feel that strong. Overall it was a decent pale ale and I’d have it again. (Overall - 3.75)

3.79 | 85 | B+

Sep 18, 2014
Photo of BoldRulerVT
BoldRulerVT from Vermont

3.9/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.
Pours a nice honey color, a touch of haze with a real nice head two fingers high. Looks really nice.
Smells great. Nice and hoppy. Maybe a touch of tangy maltiness in back.
Tastes really nice. Interesting taste here, curious on the hop bill as the hop profile was unique. An interesting tasting beer.
Mouthfeel was nice. Inviting.
A good beer, interesting flavor.

Sep 05, 2014
Compass from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 671 ratings