Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Belgian Saison
3.79 | pDev: 8.97%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: This series is all about experimenting with unusual brewing ingredients. Sonnet uses lemongrass and at 8.5% alc/vol, we call it a Super Saison. With the addition of lemongrass, one expects a spicy, peppery and lemon aroma, with citrus and subtle hop character. Looking at the beer through a stemmed glass, you’ll notice pale straw-gold color and a thick and rocky white head with persistent lacing. Of course, because the 750ml bottle is conditioned, some haziness is to be expected. When pouring the bottle, be aware that some sediment may be present. Pour carefully to avoid this, or don’t. The choice is yours.
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 143 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of avalon07
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a golden yellow color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A decent aroma of barnyard funk, citrus, and a spicy quality.

T: Tasted of a moderate amount of citrus (the advertised lemongrass), some malt (very aggressive in the finish), light hops, a fair amount of barnyard funk, and pepper. An interesting, if somewhat uneven, flavor. Could have used more of the lemongrass and less malt. Still, it's a lively flavor.

F: A highly carbonated beer with a prickly finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Sonnet is an uneven beer, but definitely one worth trying. Generally pretty tasty vibrant.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber into pint and teku glasses:

Appearance: pours somewhat hazy golden-yellow in color, with a super thick, fluffy, and purely white head. Head lingers foreeeeeeeeever, with loads of little bubbles replenishing the suds. Lots of sticky, soapy lacing as well.

Aroma: some moderate coriander and lemongrass taste, with some pepper spice as well. There's a touch of bitter/booziness that takes this down just a touch though. Nice saison notes, just a touch of something off putting.

Taste: lightly tart and with some peppery refreshing saison flavor. The lemongrass definitely comes through too, with some nice citrus and mildly bitter character.

Feel: medium-bodied, with a very dry and mildly tart finish.

Overall: a really nice saison! Refreshing and crisp.

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Photo of hman43
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: It pours close to a straw color with a full white head. It is a bit cloudy. It has orange hues as well.

Smell: It has high fruit flavors that are highlighted by citrus fruits, lemons, bananas, some spices, and a bit of floral hops.

Taste: It has a slight tart taste to it with citrus fruit flavors, lemons, pepper, and other spices. It also has a slight bit of earthy flavors. The is a slight bit of sourness to it.

Feel: It feels medium light with a high bit of carbonation. It has a fruity, but tart slightly spice after taste with medium light bitterness in the finish.

Overall: A highly carbonated, fruity beer with some tart and sourness to it. The lemon and bananas add a quality touch to the overall beer.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is about as traditional as a saison can be. Pours hazy golden yellow - foamy white head, huge, great retention and solid lacing.

Nose of clove banana and spice.

Flavor is well rounded, nice funk spice and sweet balance.

Feel is a bit more full and soft than a lot of saisons. Nicely done.

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Photo of EMV
4.19/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

L: Pour is a clear deep golden color with 3 fingers of creamy white head. Generous lacing on the glass.

S: Citrus and belgian yeasts. Lemongrass and spice.

T/F: Creamy and refreshing... strong citrus presence with Belgian yeast complexity Thyme and coriander notes give it a spicy appeal but the citrus really carries the day. Lemongrass... yeah, they threw that in.

O: A very tasty saison. Lots of citrus and bready goodness from the Belgian yeasts. An excellent beer and a great pickup if you can find it.

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Photo of justinp444
4.46/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden yellow orange with a 2 inch thick frothy foamy slight yellow white head of 2 inches. Smell of yeast, sweet biscuit-y malt, hay, a little bit of tart sour, lots of citrus, spices, fruity esters, and lemongrass. Taste of citrus, lemongrass, bit of lemony sour, sweet floral, little bit of biscuit-y malt, very heavy creamy body, banana, spice, and hay. It has a nice crisp moderate mouth feel with a creamy full body. Overall a very drinkable and enjoyable saison not too overpowered by spice or funk but balanced and crisp.

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Photo of ZBowden
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours hazy golden orange with a small white head, smells of yeasty maltiness and spice, tastes of slight citrus lemongrass bitter and sweetness slight banana and sharp hot alcohol finish, smooth creamy mouthfeel medium to high carbonation.

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Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just bought a fresh bottle on 4-3-15 so this is no longer retired.
L: Hazy goldwith an almost green tint under a 3” white foam cap that hughs the side of the glass.
S: Lemmony citrus, lemmon grass, banana, spice.
T: Big Belgian yeast flavors seasoned with lemmon grass. The Belgian banana, citrus, fruit and overripe fruit flavors work well with the lemmon grass. Has some sweetness and a hint of pepper. There is a hint of vegetal from the lemon grass on the finish.
F: Very creamy with medium carbonation, medium to medium light body.
O: This is a very creative beer that mostly works well – it sould use a little something tart and/or funky to put it over the top.

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Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is slightly hazy pale light yellow in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high bright white head that gradually died down and has very good retention properties, consistently leaving a short head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of lemongrass are present in the nose along with some hints of funk from the brett and spices from the yeast.
T: The taste is mostly dominated by flavors of lemongrass and has strong notes of spices from the yeast. Hints of grainy malts and funk are also noticeable.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palatine has a moderate amount of visible carbonation.
O: This saison is very unique - it has spicy characteristics of a saison with citrus and the easy drinkability of a witbier plus some bits of funk. It goes down easily but has enough interesting complexities to sip and savor.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Murky yellow orange color. Three fingers of frothy/pillowy white head. Retention is very good and lots of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Big fruitiness in this. Peach, lemon, orange, general citrus. Straw and hay, sweet graham crackery malts, bready yeastiness.

3.75 T: Tastes a lot like the nose. Lots of peach, lemon, and orange. Straw, hay, wildflowers. Sweet cracker malts opposing a moderate to heavy hoppiness.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Pleasantly creamy ans super smooth.

4.0 D: Good well rounded beer.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

DOB 04/09/14

A: Pours a golden yellow color with 2+ fingers of head that settles to a frothy cap decently quickly

S: Belgian yeast, banana, lemon peel and lemongrass, and quite a bit of general fruitiness. Fairly well balanced

T: Starts off with a light Belgian yeast and farmhouse kick, with some of the fruitiness and banana notes in the back. Lemon and lemongrass come through near the end, finishing with some lingering yeasty fruitiness

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: I think the 6 months in the bottle with both the yeast and abv has helped this one out a bit. Much better suited for the transition from summer to fall than spring to summer, just because of the higher abv and feel of it. Definitely worth drinking now if you still have some left over or can still find some on the shelves for the time being until next spring

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Photo of chinchill
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

From a bomber bottle. (caveat: not a favored stye).

Hazy yellow gold color with a good head.

Fruity and yeasty with a clear but not strong contribution from wild yeast.
Lemon and floral notes.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- Body is a translucent, uniformly hazy golden yellow hue. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy white head that fades to a thick collar with some lacing left behind in the glass.

S- Nose is good and pretty typical for a saison. Lemongrass is at the forefront-but it is soft with a very prominent but sweet floral hop aroma. There is a mild bready smell in the background.

T- Upfront is a lot of lemon, citrus, a hint of banana with a bready yeast backbone and floral hop overtones. The finish is slightly tart with the lemon and floral hops really showing the most.

F- Medium to high carbonation, light to medium weight body with a dry finish.

O- Overall this is a good, pretty typical saison. The addition of lemongrass is fitting and doesn't really do anything crazy or unique to the flavor profile. This is a good brew from southern tier and a nice saison overall. As with most ST beers the alcohol is very well hidden behind a full body and flavor.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: "DOB 04/09/14." 8.50% ABV. 750ml brown glass bottle with gorgeous label art and branded black/grey pry-off pressure cap purchased at a local H-E-B grocery and served cold at low altitude in Austin, TX into a snifter.

Reviewed live as a saison per the label. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1.5 fingers wide. White colour. Nice thickness. Decent creaminess. Has a nice supple consistency and a soft complexion. Mild lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is pretty good - about 5-6 minutes.

BODY: Clear translucent vibrant yellow-copper. Filled with gorgeous floating yeast particles which shine when backlit. Couldn't appear more alive. No hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a good looking saison but I'm a bit perplexed by its clarity. I'm excited for the first sip.

AROMA: Doughy biscuity lively yeast. Lemongrass. Belgian pale malts. Lemon zest. Grassy hop notes. Light crackery malts. White pepper. Clove. Vague ripe fruits. A hint of mango. Floral hop notes.

The malts and hops blend well to suggest an effective saison, albeit one of limited spice. I'm really digging the yeasty notes.

A pleasant, fresh aroma of mild strength. Evokes a farmhouse vibe, sure.

TASTE: Lemon zest complements the lemongrass nicely, which is itself well-emphasized. Floral hop notes feel in place, as do some vague zesty fruit notes. Belgian pale malts provide the unobtrusive malt foundation, with a bit of pils malt in there too and maybe even some wheat. Clove, yeasty spice, and faint doughiness blends well with crackery malts. White pepper. A brief faint hint of apple. It's a bit grassy.

Well-balanced, with some lovely elements. The yeast character is a real highlight, and the beer does have a farmhouse Belgian character, even if it isn't real funky or brettanomyces-emphatic. I'm disappointed in the relative lack of spice; the modest white pepper and clove offered here seem unsubstantial when compared to the masterful spicing of superior saisons (i.e. Fantome). While it's not a simple brew, it isn't anywhere near as complex and/or intricate as the best examples of the style.

There's some lovely subtlety here, though, and I wouldn't say it isn't nuanced. Has a cohesive - but not a gestalt - build.

TEXTURE: Perfectly dry. Crisp, well-carbonated, and refreshing. Just coarse enough to amplify the duration of flavour, giving the drinker time to appreciate the more subtle flavours. It feels fresh and is a bit juicy, evoking orchard fruit (apt given the flavour profile's crisp apple and hints of pear). Aptly medium-bodied. Thickness is perfect.

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

Presence on the palate is fantastic. This is a soft comforting texture which is somehow still coarse and dry enough to coax out more depth of flavour from the taste. Very well-executed. A terrific companion to the taste.

OVERALL: It hides its high ABV very well. Quite drinkable. A very pleasantly Belgian-mimetic farmhouse ale from the cats over at Southern Tier. I'd definitely say it's worth picking up at its reasonable price point, but it isn't quite on par with stylistic paragons like Fantome and Dupont. They do give fellow New York powerhouse Ommegang a run for their money in the saison category, which is saying a lot.


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Photo of bluejacket74
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

750 ml bottle, bottled on 04/09/14. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours a hazy dark gold color with about an inch white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is nice but somewhat light, the brew smells like lemongrass, hay, peppery spice, grainy/bready malt, and a bit of banana. Good thing the taste is stronger compared to the aroma. It tastes like lemongrass, peppery spice, pears, grainy/bready malt, apple, hay/straw, and some earthy/floralness. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and has moderate carbonation. I liked this brew, worth a try if you've never had it before.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
2.92/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Undated bomber at 45 degrees into snifter
Aroma hay, vegetables, and grass
Head average (4 cm), white, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to 3 mm ring and 1 mm layer
Lacing good – wide partial rings with mostly small bubbles
Body light yellow, clear
Flavor very weak of grass and hay, ends with alcohol burn but no alcohol taste; no hops, no malt, no diacetyl.
Palate light to medium, watery, lively carbonation.

Another mediocre offering from Southern Tier. The appearance is good, but the aroma is weak and weedy. The palate is good but cannot disguise the poor flavor. A waste of good lemongrass.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Crown capped 750ml bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Hazy golden-orange. Foamy white head stands at an inch and a half. Jagged rings and spots of lacing.

S: Multi-grain aromas. Slight toast. Lemon grass. Grassy in general actually. Whiffs of various tropical fruits, from mandarin orange, to pulpy mango, to pineapple. Overripe bananas. Light tartness. Hints of yeast every now and then. The nose is rather clinched and stubborn. You really have to let it warm and pry at it before you get the whole picture.

T: The taste is more forthcoming. Sweetish toasty and honeyed malt base. Lots of tropical esters. Mandarin orange is prominent, hints of pineapple and mango. Quick flashes of overripe banana. Oily and herbal hops. Some yeasty and peppery flavors come toward the back end. Alcohol is well hidden for the most part, but comes out now and again. A lot of great contrasts bring balance. Slightly drying finish of oily hops, shortbread, and fleeting banana and clementine.

M: Hefty medium body. It presses down on the tongue with some weight. Moderately aggressive scrubbing effervescence adds texture but does little to lift the weight, which is fine. It also punctures the firm and silky feel, but again, it works.

O: Billed as a 'super saison' brewed with lemongrass. The nose is a bit shy, but otherwise it delivers. Definitely bigger that the average saison, though it remains drinkable enough. The lemongrass flavors could easily have been mistaken for normal fermentation by-products, not that I'm complaining. In the end it's a pretty decent saison that achieves balance through a series of interlocking contrasts.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An extremely nice Saison. Crisp (although could be even a bit crisper), and nicely flavored, with peppery notes and the lovely addition of lemon grass- which gives it a nice bite in addition to the wonderful citrus component it gives. Just what I'm looking for in July and August in Atlanta. Citrusy, refreshing, but with a peppery bite. Very nice. Also, pours beautifully, hazy golden with a glow, a two inch white head and some persistent lacing.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 4/9/2014. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy bright gold color with a 2 finger dense white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, pear, apple, light banana, pepper, clove, herbal, straw, grass, cracker, bread, light honey, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of pale malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon, pear, apple, light banana, pepper, clove, herbal, straw, grass, cracker, bread, light honey, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, pear, apple, light banana, pepper, clove, herbal, straw, grass, cracker, bread, light honey, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and robustness of fruity/earthy yeast, pale malt, and spice flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice saison. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spice, and pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle dated 4/9/14 into a pint glass
A: Goldenrod color with a 1.5+ finger head
S: Yeast, herbs, some light grain & generic fruit
T: Grains/yeast up front along with some herbs and a kiss of hops
M: Medium-bodied with quite a bit of carbonation
O: Tasty, no flaws just not as complex as many recent Saisons I've tried

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Photo of Gavage
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a hazy golden yellow color with a 1" head that falls to a spotty covering.

Smell: yeast, pepper, grass, and some citrus comes through to the nose.

Taste: grainy malt base with yeast, pepper, lemon zest, orange, crackers, and some grassy tones are wrapped in a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less crisp at the finish, long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a nicely refreshing saison that hits the spot on a hot day.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the 2014 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest held at the Paso Robles Event Center in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with yeast and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of yeast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is very yeast and spice forward all around.

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Photo of sprat1960
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Bright golden color with a hazy opaque appearance; creamy white head that dies down fast. A slight layer of foam remained on the surface of the beer the entire time I was drinking it. Smell was outstanding - grassy, slightly spicy (notes of freshly ground black pepper) with the aroma of citrus. The taste matched the aroma completely - again grassy, citrus, with slight spicy taste of fresh ground black pepper that lingers on your tongue. Medium body with a spicy feel in your mouth ending in a dry finish that I did not care for. (I felt thirsty like I needed water after drinking this beer.) I thought that this beer was interesting, though it is something would probably purchase again. The beer was not thirst quenching at all; it left me feeling dehydrated after drinking it.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: A restrained Belgian yeast character that is mostly spice and ginger with a moderate lemongrass aroma. There is the aroma of Pils malt sweetness and a light alcohol sweetness as well. A light spicy hops aroma as well.

S: A pale yellow beer with a light hazy and a long lasting thin head of fine, white bubbles

T: Moderately strong fruit flavors of orange, lemon and lemon grass dominate with a medium amount of black pepper and ginger and some alcohol. There is a light, Pils sweetness against a moderate hops bitterness making for a balance that is moderately bitter. The finish is fairly dry with a lemon and spice aftertaste.

M: A light bodied beer with a strong level of carbonation.

O: A strong saison with a bunch of fruit, moderate spice and a fair amount of alcohol presence. This is a dry, refreshing beer hitting the right notes.

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

Poured a hazy gold with a sumptuous head that fell slowly and left great lace. Soft belgian nose. Brett, dry, breaddy, earthy. Soft spice and light pepper. There was a little lemon and lightly sour. Malt had a honey sweetness ont he palate and this drank with a hint of lemon zest amidst the carbonation. It sported a little apple and pear as it drank and a light cracker. Finished bone dry but delicate. Hop floral was sweet on top of this one.

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Sonnet from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 143 ratings