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Compass | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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very good
131 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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 667
Photo of teromous
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very hazy, light gold colored body. There is a ton of visible carbonation even through the murky haze. Fairly thick white fluffy head, settling in just under a thumb's width. There isn't much in the way of lacing, despite the bold head.

S:Huge citrus hop aromatics, with a hint of pine in the back. This smells mostly of grapefruit and orange.

T: The hops are there, but very mild. It feels very appropriate for an APA. There's a first tinge of citrus hop bitterness and flavor, followed by a slight bread-crust flavor. The aftertaste is light bitterness. It is very extraordinary in that it keeps a high level of hop flavor without being too bitter. The malt can be tasted, resting slightly in the background. There is a hint of pine and mint in there on the aftertaste.

M: The mouthfeel is a lighter shade of medium. It feels overcarbonated, but that's a tough call. The bottle says "sparkling ale" so it's possible that a higher degree of carbonation was intended, so I won't count that against the mouthfeel. No alcohol burn, despite 9.0 which is great.

O: Some things to point out. The beer is hazy even when care is taken when pouring. If you drink this beer, be very careful because it has floaters. I would recommend this beer hands down, to anyone. I feel that as far as the flavor and aroma, it is a very good APA. On a personal note I was very pleased with the beer because it showed good craftsmanship while displaying restraint on bitterness. The ability to create such a fresh tasting beer without showing the 9.0% ABV was masterful. They hit this one out of the ballpark like the great Bambino. I wouldn't say it's 5.0 but it's nearly there.

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4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy gold with a one finger fluffy head. Aroma of floral hops with notes of sweet citrus and a bit of earthiness. A little bit of the rose hip smell and a funky yeasty straw aroma. Sweet up front flavor fades quickly into a refreshing, effervescent bitter hoppy straw. Ends dry with a definite character from the rose hips. Lingering sweet floral flavor on the palate. Light and effervescent mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Easy drinking and can’t believe this is 9%. Hit right on what I was hoping for with this beer. A winner from Southern Tier.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a - poured a three-fingers thick bubbly, white head into a tulip glass that left good lacing and sheeting throughout. the body was a hazy orange-golden color.
s - orange zest is the predominant aroma.
t - spicy hops with a hint of citrus and floral hops.
m - dry and bubbly.
o - really tasty beer and i thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Photo of Brenden
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A clear and bright medium yellow, with a look as effervescent as the bottle claims the beer to be, Compass grows a soapy pillow of pure white head just under a finger in height. It's retained pretty well, dropping with some time to a foam that leaves spotting on the glass.
There's lots of citrus with a bit of a floral edge and some more tropical fruits as well. The smell is lightly sweet, and certainly more than the taste is, backed by the somewhat dry, crackery malts.
The rose hips are all over the tongue, imparting its own particular bitterness that's got a hard (not harsh) edge. There is a soft sweetness underneath along with that of the fruits. There's more bitterness both herbal and raw/woody (stem) all the way through.
Again, this beer is every bit as effervescent as the bottle claims in a body that exemplifies the balance of softness and strength with fantastic depth. It's crisp, and every bit as it should be, without giving up smoothness.
This is an exceptionally unique beer, to say the least, but very well crafted.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 3 Monts tulip. Pours a pale golden amber with a big three finger white head with good retention and lots of lacing; lots of active carbonation. Pale but looks good. Aroma of nice floral citrus, complex with grapefruit, orange; some light tropical notes and citrus hops. Flavor follows aroma with nice complex and floral citrus; tangerine, lemon and grapefruit with a some sharp citrus rind hops. The flavor drops off a bit and seems a bit attenuated for a big beer, but finishes strong with a long citrus hops aftertaste. Light to medium bodied, but nice mouthfeel from the active carbonation. A really interesting and novel lemony pale ale. Somewhat dangerous because the base flavors are not that intense and it drinks like a pale ale of half its ABV. The light rose lemon is still on the back of my tongue as I write this. Another off-beat but very well done ale from Southern Tier. Great brewery. Glad I only have one bomber of this, because I could easily drink many glasses of this and end up very sorry the next day.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber poured into a tulip
Bottled 5-14-13 (3 months old)

A- pours a surringly pale golden orange color. A bit of haze and some yeast floaties. A fluffy white head.

S- A sharp citrus. A crisp pine, some pilsner type malt. A very clean smelling beer.

T- A very citrusy beer. There is a lot of peach, orange and a ton of lemon. This beer is also quite floral. A fresh taste for being a few months old. The malt is plain but rather like a pilsner. A super crisp floral and fruity taste. Somewhere in between an imperial pilsner and an IIPA.

M- Bitter but not quite a double IPA. Very drinkable and refreshing considering the ABV.

O- A very nice brew. I will be picking up another next year.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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 LI_PO12
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
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 schoolboy
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is another of those great big Southern Tier brews of which I am so fond.

It pours a pretty yellow fizz, with a rich aroma one would expect from a big APA - rich and hoppy, malty, etc., and it never quits. There was a lot of stuff suspended in the brew.

The taste epitomizes APA - rich, hoppy, dry, yet full. The aftertaste is dry and bitter.

This is another go to brew from Southern Tier.

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Photo of stumac
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours up clear and gold with a decent white crown. Quickly fades leaving behind a little head. Nose is very faint. Citrus hops. Lemons and oranges. Nothing special. Taste is a nice solid sweet malty backdrop. Pale malts that is. Getting a lot of rose throughout the whole flavor ride. Lingers in the finish. Citrus hops again. Very refreshing brew. Can barely taste the alcohol. Pretty spritzy carbo. Medium bodied. Leaning light. Would be better in a six pack. Good brew

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up in Totowa a while back, having never had this before. I was surprised at how strong it was for a beer of this style, but the alcohol was hardly noticeable and the flavors meshed well enough together to hide whatever remained. This reminded me a lot of the big bottle offerings from Brooklyn and like that other brewer from New York, this was a great beer from the Empire State!

Nice golden pour to this with some cloudiness and a full, frothy head that left nice rings of lacing as I worked my way through the glass I emptied it out into. Not a strong aroma to this but there was a nice floral tone that was more marked in the taste than in the nose. Good, light mouthfeel to it that felt like champagne and went down almost as easily as that. Nice carbonation and felt easygoing, which was amazing given the potency of this. There was a hint of citrus here but for the most part, this was pretty malty without being thick or chewy in any way.

I could feel a bit of a warming from the booze by the time I made my way through this, even though I split it with a friend. While not the best offering for the summer, there's a lot to like here and it's a testament to Southern Tier that they could brew a beer that was so strong, smooth, and easily enjoyable. Not a typical Pale Ale, this had good balance while being soapy to the taste and consistency. Worth a go one for anyone looking for something different during these dog days.

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love love love this beer. It's a good, flavorful IPA without being overly hoppy in a bad way. I do love very hoppy and bitter beers, but there's something very balanced and lovely about this beer. I think it might be the rosehips, which gives a nice citrus-sour-herb flavor, which pairs well with the hops.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Cloudy bright orange, one finger head.

S-Mainly lemon and citrus, tad bit of malt, nice hop presence.

T-Nice balance, rather citrusy, lemon and orange. Nice bitterness with some caramel malt. Floral notes as well.

M-Light to medium bodied, nicely carbonated.

O-Another solid beer out of ST. Not sure why it needed to be 9% but still very tasty.

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Photo of generallee
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 650 ml bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 9% abv and it also lists the malts and hops.

Appearance: It has a bright yellow color with some visible carbonation and a some very fine sediment floating around inside the beer. On top I got a tall soapy head which quickly settles down to a wispy thin film covering. It leaves some lacing near the top of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is fairly light but do get some nice citrusy lemony hops standing out with a touch of floral and pineapple like hop notes. There is a hint malt sweetness as well. This may be a bit crazy but I am also getting something, very very light that reminds me of a Flintstones chewable vitamin for kids.

Taste / Palate: It’s flavor matches the aroma perfectly. There is a good balance of light malt sweetness with juicy and floral hop flavor and bitterness. The feel is well carbonated and fairly light. Overall it is very drinkable for a 9% abv beer.

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Photo of HawbakerBrewery
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
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 BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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 Omnium
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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 Cylinsier
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz.

Pours a hazy lemon orange color, sugar white head retains as a film.

Smells of orange citrus, fresh floral hops, roses, honey and sweet bready malt.

Tastes of honey, roses, and spice floral hops with some dry hop bitterness and subdued malt character. Some coriander and chamomile might be mixed in there as well.

Medium to full body with stinging carbonation on the tip of the tongue that turns tingly going down.

Really nice flavorful ale, feels lighter than it is and goes down smooth. Southern Tier's track record is excellent and this is no exception.

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a medium golden with a half finger white head atop.Aromas of nutty pilsner malt,drunken fruit and herbal/grassy hops.Flavors are deeply influenced by the doughy pilsner malt and the dryer sparkling feel,some sweetness from alcohol dipped fruit and dough with a leafy/grass finish.I like the sparkling feel and I like the hoppy finish of this innovative beer,well done.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label tells it like it is. A cloudy light straw color with slightly floral and citrusy nose. The mouthfeel - for an imperial beer - is incredibly light and bubbly. The taste is biscuity with an understated but nicely balanced citrus quality. I don't taste any alcohol despite the 9% abv. This is a slightly unusual beer. Drinks like a light pale ale but has a much more complex and original flavor. This is a great summer beer but you'd have to be careful with its sneaky abv.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks again, Todd. Poured out of a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass and consumed over the course of two days mainly in response to ST's hilarious high gravity brewing program. I can actually picture them drinking session beers while they brew these high ABV offerings, nevertheless.

Pours a golden pale color that looks like every single Belgian strong pale ale I've ever seen. However, this still merits further attention even here, as it contains a frothy, foamy head that lasts a long time in the glass, never fully receding, and leaving a good deal of lacing as it lowers in size. Definitely viscous - nearly wine-like, actually, if it weren't for the color. The second pouring was a little cloudier, which I'm always a fan of. No way is this an APA even here, but how does it carry out in the aroma?

The first whiff most definitely takes me the realm of Belgian style beers far over any pale ales I've ever had. Notes of pineapple, pears, and green apple are most predominant, with a lot floral notes from the rose hips coming through. I love floral aromas in just about anything, and the dried rose peels and violets are definitely adding on to the aroma, to the point where this resembles far more a subdued Grüner Veltliner than an actual beer. Then, as soon as some of the white pepper comes in, I'm this close to claiming that they DID fortify it with that grape varietal. Citrusy, herbal, with notes of toffee and candi sugar mildly coming in. Definitely an experimental beer even here, but definitely not bad by any means.

The flavor is pretty much the same, except for the fact that the floral notes are even more pronounced at this point. Other than the notes of pears, grapefruit, and pineapple, there's a more piney edge to the bittered flavor, with slight notes of sage, which then allows the rose, lavender, and violet notes to fully open up and fill the palate with a perfumed, slightly phenolic flavor. I'm actually enjoying it, but I'm going easy with it as well. The second pouring the next day was slightly less floral, and actually was a little more enjoyable as a result. Slightly peppery and a bit funky, with a sweet, sugar cane edge at the finish. I have no idea why this is labeled as an APA. Maybe because it uses all American ingredients? Doesn't matter - this seems way more in vein with experimental farmhouse ales that you can find up north from here, or better yet, across France. Very well carbonated, with a thickness that holds up well thanks to the bottle conditioning. Big stuff, but pretty good.

I'm surprised with how much I enjoyed this over the two days I consumed it, but it comes as no surprise given the floral aspects that make this unique. I hope to see more interesting brewing work with flowers in the future, but I'm sure the bad examples would overwhelming. This takes a cross between Belgian and American styles and even wine, but I enjoy it for what it is. Not a practical offering to drink alone, but still one I'd gladly have again.

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Photo of MRsojourner
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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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Compass from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 667 ratings.
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