Compass | Southern Tier Brewing Company

very good
133 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Knapp85 on 05-27-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 668
Photo of Ego
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

soapy head rises to around 2 fingers of white foam, slightly hazy golden hue with small particles in suspension, pretty good on the lacing angle with some legs showing from the ABV, a pretty good amount of carbonation spiraling up towards the top, the head fades decently quickly... not bad

juicy fruit tropical tone with an edge towards bubble gum (you know, old school like bazooka joe), lemon seltzer underneath, it smells sharp and crisp, the aroma matches the description on the bottle to the tee

taste etc...
light and effervescent, really hits with that lemon seltzer angle up front then it melds into some malt and mild bitterness that coats the tongue like quality honey, even though this coats the mouth it has an almost dry - champagne like quality to it but yet... it doesn't actually leave your mouth dry whatsoever, this drinks light but yet has decent body... really throwing me, I suppose the body has to be in there to support the ABV (which is nowhere to be found in the flavor), the end part with the yeast adds a bit more... wait for it... yeast! so the dry/doughy flavor is a bit more pronounced, honestly I prefer the clearer part in the beginning of the bottle but it is still very tasty either way, this beer reminds me of a few different german styles rolled into one beer.

I like birthing hips.. not sure about rose hips, but man this is one tasty beer, kind of like a lighter saison with a mega ABV kick and a nice little injection of hops, seek this one out... fantastic brew.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clean golden pour with 2 fingers of head, slight lacing. Smells of minty and citrusy hops, bready yeast, pine and grapefruit with a nice caramel hint.
The flavor is very subtle and bready with some nice bitter hop notes. Slight citrus flavors of grapefruit mix very nicely with the pilsner malt.
Medium body with high carbonation. A very refreshing beer.

Definitely didn't know what to expect with this one but it drinks like an imperial apa. Yeasty eaters on the finish (burping it up), but you don't feel the high abv at all.

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Photo of sommersb
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted On: 07-04-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Tulip pint
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

A: Big white head sits on the hazy yellow/gold beer. Very good lace and a super amount of head retention.

S: Floral and citrus hop aromas are dominant, with some pale malts in the background.

T: Taste has a big citrus aspect, with oranges and bitter orange peel. Fairly dry, with a bit of alcohol warmth.

M: The mouthfeel features high carbonation levels and a medium body. The finish is bitter and pretty dry.

O: Overall a solid high-gravity pale ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Imperial Pale Ale in name only, this Imperial IPA claims roots in the American Pale Ale form, but just scaled up- but the final product has nothing to do with the balanced flavor of "Pale" but more so with the dry malt, highly hopped taste that is IPA- but in greater drinkability and strength- this will prove to be one dangerous beer!

Its hazy straw pour is everything "light" to the eye. A modest haze and a soft honey glow gives impressions of a timid ale. But its fluffy, frothy, and creamy head releases quickly from the beer's body below and further promotes the sense of drinkability and friendliness. Broken rings of lace with each sip signals the beer's quality.

Bright citrus overtones of fragrant grapefruit, orange peels, pineapple and freshly crushed herbs fill the nose with bright zest and zeal. A backing of the most timid of honey and cracker from malt supports the hops.

Yet in taste, its the soft powdered sugar seduction that takes place on the front of the tongue while a pile-on of red and white grapefruits, freshly zested oranges, an fresh-cut grass build on the middle palate. But finishing with a dry malt taste and a pleasant, soft bitterness the ale is herbal and minty in its closing taste.

Mid-light in body, the beer's ample carbonation and void of sweetness all keep the beer airy, fluffy, and cottony on the mouth. It simply wisps away with only a mild hint of minty warmth.

Its a beautiful ale that deserves a conflict in its stylisticic declarations and its marketing verbiage. This Imperial IPA does all that big pale ales should do- but it's a much drier and drinkable beer that never relinquishes its crisp and clean undertone.

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Photo of shand
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle says to drink it cold. Let's drink a cold beer. Compass pours out a stunning yellow with chunky sediment. The aroma is bright, hoppy, and extremely floral. I really love this aroma, as an advocate of both beer and perfumery, this strikes me just right. The beer is also tasty, it keeps on the brightness and floral aspects from the aroma, with a slight underpinning of wheat and spicy malt. The mouthfeel is on the light side and very well carbonated, and the drinkability is great. I really liked this new brew from Southern Tier. It's incredibly drinkable and has a beautiful nose.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: A golden with decent clarity, although the bottle was shaken a bit just before opening stirring up a few floaters of yeast sediment.

S: A unusual herbal and citrusy nose with some pils malt aroma and a low phenol. There is a light dill aroma.

T: The flavor is dominated by lemon-citrus hops, an herbal character, some dill and rose hip tartness. There is a medium hops bitterness adding to the rose hips making for a beer that is moderately bitter. There is a medium-low wheat and clean malt sweetness. The finish is off dry and the aftertaste is of a lingering hop and herbal bitterness. There is some fruit esters and a light spice to the fermentation character as well.

M: A medium bodied beer with a strong level of carbonation. A light, tannic prickle from the use of spices.

O: A bitter and herbal beer that's a blend of the American Pale style with a Gruit. A nice beer for hops and bitter beer fans and well worth the reasonable price.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours banana yellow with a soft haze and a faint glow. Tall billowy head of tight white foam that fell slowly to a thick cap and ring and left dabs of lace. Very pretty indeed. Nose is bountiful, sweet and bright. Citrus fruit, tangerine, pineapple and grapefruit. A dry yeasty bite with a little spice. Light cracker malt and a deep all around sweetness that's positively intoxicating. Rose hips and light grain. Intensely floral with light pine and dry resin. Sweet white grapes and a touch of alcohol. Taste is delectable. Juicy sweet fruits wash over the palate first with light touches of floral and grain. Cracker carries it to a deep sweetness on the back palate that resounds with earth and a plucky bitter. Yeast character and spice are present throughout the drink and offer a faint pepper to tempt you gently but firmly. Finishes dry and with a sensational aftertaste that sparkles like champagne.

The fruits are sweet and very forward like they want to steal your attention but the the luxuriousness of the sweet and dry drink wins you over as the hops and rose hips create a substantial but soft bitter. This beer seems to celebrate everything about earth that's good and sweet. The hops are proud and determined and really shine in their floral character and give a great perfume to the drink. Southern Tier has crafted a beer that is spirited, engages with every sip and is quite wonderful.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.67/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into 34oz mug; cloudy bright banana yellow with a thick fizzy white head that fades relatively quickly into a thin but tight disc of foam. Smells like lots of clean malts, with crisp citrusy hops and just a hint of booziness. It smells great, but I'm a little worried that the high %abv will offset the crispness the style should have. My worries were for naught, however; not that I ever doubted Southern Tier. Although it's a huge pale ale, it's still a pale ale: clean, crackery-sweet malts fill out the big mouthfeel, and a perfect pinch of citrusy hops cleanse the palate at the end, leaving just some lingering bitterness (hops and rose hips here) and some slight sticky sweetness leftover from the malt. 9% is entirely hidden in the taste, this is drinkable as hell and delicious. Definitely worth picking up, another great addition to ST's Imperial series.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Light wheat-gold body. White sediment, even on a careful pour. White, loose foam head has ok retention and low lace.

S - Sweet nose. Orange, honeysuckle, rose, honey, touch of booze, white grape, lychee.

T - Soft and relatively brisk on the palate. Honey, wheat, orange zest, floral potpourri, dry pear.

M - Light frame with a soft, creamy smoothness. Low carbonation.

O - Dangerously outstanding drinkability at 9%. Nice flavor profile.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle served in a pint glass.

L - clear and bright yellow color with a white head that thinned out to a ring.

S - lots of juicy citrus and tropical fruits.

T - full of very tasty citrus and tropical fruit flavor with a floral/earthy taste lingering in the background.

F - light/medium bodied, it's a very crisp and refreshing beer.

O - tasty and enjoyable brew, grab some if you can.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid 8 bucks for the bomber from halftime beverage. Into a pint glass. 5/03/13 bottle date.

A - Yet another hazy Belgium pale ale this one being mildly carbonated giving me just a 1/4 inch of head that settles to a mild soapy ring.
S - Great smell the citrus hops are pungent and bright. Not much rose hips but it does have a fruity malt backbone and a dry yeasty edge.
T - Well it's good but not really wowing me. I love the combination of bittering rose hips and the citrus hops are clean and crisp like a fresh DIPA even though this bottle is a month old.
M - ABV is well hidden it drinks like a DIPA around 7 or 8%. Tasty.

Overall its a great dry hopped ale with some Belgium yeasts and its easy to drink. If I found it local and the price was a bit cheaper I might get it every week. Always a treat to try the latest ST.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly hazed golden beer. Humble sudsy top. Fizzed down to a fluffy ring.

Tangy citrus hop notes with grapefruit, kumquat, and tangerine. Rosehips add a big floral bouquet that is hard to distinguish from natural hopping. A little too resinous for how sweet it is. Sweet booze and sweet pale malts. A whole lotta aroma.

Better that it's drier, but the rosehips are super-pushy and clash with sweet citrusy hop notes. More citrus fruits; tangerine and grapefruit, most prominently. Malts are what are drier, although the finish is hardly that dry. Alcohol is very big. Too much so. Fluffy carbonation does represent this properly as a Sparkling Ale. Body is bigger, too. Definitely an imperial ale.

We'll see if this one sticks around long. Not bad, but hard to imagine seeking it out for any reason. Doesn't leave that kind of impression.

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Photo of avalon07
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a pale yellow color and a cloudy consistency. Some sediment. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A light, sweet alluring aroma of citrus, hops, and a floral element.

T: Tasted of hops, a good amount of citrus, the advertised rose hips, and a hint of malt. Hard to know exactly what the style of this beer is by its taste, but it does taste good. Sort of akin to an imperial pilsner. Pretty good.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: An oddball beer, but well worth trying. Drinkable.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pretty beer. In a pint glass it was light yellow in color with a medium-sized white head. There was a bit of lace.

Mostly a floral and grassy aroma. Some fruit.

Mostly a floral taste. Some berries. Hops late.

A crisp, refreshing beer. Something good to drink on a warm summer day.

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Photo of Omnium
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served on tap at House Of 1000 Beers

A - Poured a nice light yellow, two finger of white head, good lacing.
S - Really good aroma, some nice floral and pine hoppy notes up front, then some belgian yeast, and dried fruits.
T - Nice piney and citrus hop bite with a crisp refreshment, light belgian yeast on the back.
M - Bitter but still light, bright and crisp feeling.
O - Very good, this was labeled as a "Belgian strong" at Ho1kB, but i definitely see how this fits into an APA, excellent ale for sure.

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Photo of LI_PO12
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bomber into Tulip (

Appearance- Light gold, slight haze, 1 and half finger white head

Aroma- Citrus, Lemon, floral, light bready malt, very nice

Flavor-pear, citrus, melon, floral, slightly tart, good bitterness, slight herbal notes

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, good carbonation slight alcohol

Overall- I enjoyed this and will be getting more. Very drinkable, sort of like an IPA but very different at the same time. I hope this one stays on rotation for a while.

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Photo of JRed
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Wonderfully bright in body with thin white head. Aroma of lemons, pears, some booze, and plastic. Tastes of lemons, pears, kiwi, floral notes, grass, bitterness comes thru with some boozy aftertaste. Medium body with medium carbonation. Spritzy and tasty. This would be a great beer if lower in alcohol but otherwise a nice treat.

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Photo of goblue3509
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy yellow color with a one finger stark white head which recedes to edging and leaves slight fingers of lace. The aroma is big...roses and citrus. The smell is a mix of a flower shop and fruity Pebbles. The taste follows the nose a big nice citrus flavor. Lemons and oranges. There us also a flowery taste at the back end. The mouth feel is moderately carbonated. Overall its a very solid beer. Nice big taste and aroma.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottling date of 05/06/13.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy yellowish golden orange with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Huge four finger off white head which slowly recedes into a smaller creamy layer. Leaves a solid amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A pretty hop forward aroma with good hints of fruit, yeast, and flowers. Big hop scent upfront with earthy hints of grass and citrus hints of orange, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, and lemon. Big floral scent from the rose hips. Also some subtle fruit hints of white grapes along with a light hint of pepper. Bready malt hints of biscuit, wheat, yeast, and cracker. A bright, zesty, and fairly dry smelling aroma. Pretty good.

Taste: Like it smells, a zesty and floral hop forward taste with a nice dry biscuity malt backing. Big earthy and floral hops upfront with notes of grass, pine, and the rose hips. Lively citrus esters of orange, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, and lemon zest. A little taste of white grape fruit. Solid soft dry bready malt presence with notes of biscuit, wheat, yeast, and crackers. Subtle pepper notes as well. A pretty nice lively and zesty tasting ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Very crisp, juicy, and fairly bitter and drying. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Overall: A pretty interesting and nice "sparkling ale". Has the bitter hop profile of an American IPA with the lively yeast profile of a Belgian ale along with the malt profile of a pilsner.

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Photo of CHickman
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Imperial Compass is a bottle conditioned sparkling ale brewed with rose hips and citrus hops, per the bottle, so I'm not sure why it's listed on BA as an APA.

Pours cloudy yellow with 1 finger snow white colored head that faded slowly, leaving decent spotty lacing. Basically it looks like a cross between a Belgian and a lager.

Smells very floral, with the rose and floral hops leading the way, followed by light caramel, citrus hops, yeast, grains and a fruity sweetness like white grapes. A very soft and enjoyable nose, which leads to the flavor which is much the same.

Tastes of floral hops, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, citrus hops, yeast, grains, white grapes, mild spices like coriander and pepper. Flavor has mild sweetness and a complex floral aroma similar to a bouquet or potpourri; it's basic and complex at the same time with a hoppy element more like a pilsner than an IPA or APA.

Mouthfeel is light crisp and refreshingly clean, with a light body, mild carbonation and a dry clean finish like a light pilsner that borders on a champagne – a sparkling ale indeed, it went down like soda.

Overall very enjoyable, easy to drink and complex enough to hide the high ABV, yet still go down like a summer ale or pilsner – a rather amazing trick which Southern Tier pulled off; I'd love to have it again well aged to see what the bottle conditioning does to it or the next batch. A very nice experiment from a brewery known for bold imperial stouts and IPA’s, this steers off course and ventures into soft, sessionable territory while maintaining a bad-ass ABV and excellent drinkability.

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Photo of tviz33
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber in to a Duvel tulip.

A- Pours absolutely beautiful. Hazy gold body with a frothy inch tall white head and good lacing.

S- Grapefruit, pine, citrus, and everything nice.

T- Well balanced and lively. Floral notes, lemon, and a mild bitterness. A very tasty brew.

M- Bubbly and sort of creamy. Not slick, but goes down easy and is very refreshing.

O- Another good Southern Tier offering. I will be having another.

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Photo of MRsojourner
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

aroma is a big boom of citrus- orange & grapefruit and candy sweet sugar.

appearance is very pale with a thick white head leaving sporadic lacing.

taste is lemon and a touch of grapefruit and pine initially with a sharp hop bite but finishes really clean.

high carbonation that makes it very drinkable and hides the high abv.

overall really good so far

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split and poured into a tulip. DOB 05/06/13.

A: Pours an opaque light golden yellow with a one finger white head. Takes a few minutes for the head to dissipate as it leaves spots of lacing on the glass. Some floating sediment once you get to the bottom of the bottle.

S: First thing I notice is a pleasant hop aroma. A nice blend of citrus and earthiness. Rose hips add a bit of a floral character that compliments the hop. Some grassiness comes out as it warms up as well as yeast.

T: Balanced blend going on here, not an overwhelming hop as you would expect from the aroma. Rose comes through fairly strong and is an welcome compliment to the bitterness. Malt adds sweetness that masks the booze pretty well.

M: Light body with a bubbly mouthfeel. Crisp finish which reminds me of a champagne. Very easy drinking considering the ABV.

Overall a unique approach on the pale ale that comes through very solid. The citrus hops and rose hips compliment each other nicely. Would recommend giving it a shot.

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- huge expansive white head on this one with bubbles of varying size. It's loud and active and recedes at a moderate pace overtop a handsome looking hazed over lemon yellow colored brew as some thick clumps of lace adhere to the glass.

S- bright zesty hop aroma with a distinct floral character, a combination of both the hops and the rose hips. On the hop side, there's grapefruit, lemon and a hint of fuel or solvent and pitch (not in an offensive way). Flowery sweet rose water and chlorophyl. Delicate pilsner malts lend crackery base notes along with white bread.

T- I can't really tell the difference between the hop bitterness and the Ross hip bitterness as stated on the label. I suppose the rose hips would taste a bit greener, but the lemony grapefruity floral nature of all this dry hopped goodness makes it hard to discern. Wheat and pale malts contain a certain sweetness that, paired with the bitterness, nicely disguises the 9%abv. The finish is a combination of dried leaves and peppery spice with lingering pink flower petals and bitter citrus.

MF- the term "sparkling" nails it. Highly effervescent and briskly dry with a puckering bitterness that lingers in the throat.

D- this one seems like a weird hybrid of styles. I guess APA fits. Hell, even IPA would fit. It's could be an American Saison with low yeast character. The wheat confuses me. The high abv has me thinkin weird shit. It's good in small doses, and I keep picturing it in a champagne flute with some cheese. The combination of ibu's, alcohol, and strangely light yet proteined body with high effervescence confuses the senses. My compass is going haywire and I can't find Polaris. I don't know how to define this beer to myself let alone to others. It's good and quality made, but I don't think I'll be going back for another bottle.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: into a tulip, light hazy gold body, finger of ivory head, some lace smatterings

S: lots of citric and floral hops dominant, suggestions of lemon drops and vitamin C

T: a very hop-forward, citric-style, beer - pale, delicate malts beneath hint at light and fluffy biscuits

M: light-medium body, bittering and drying finish, effervescent and crisp

O: a very enjoyable pale ale, Imperial strength, even though it feels like light drinking - a very nice offering from Southern Tier

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Compass from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 668 ratings.
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