Ground Break | Ithaca Beer Company

very good
232 Reviews
Ground BreakGround Break

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WesWes on 02-02-2010

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 232 | Ratings: 543
Photo of Willytee3
4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a golden yellow with orange hue. Pure white head with a consistent foamy, bubbly film.

Smells of candy funk and citrus hops. Jolly rancher sour with some bread dough, complex.

Tastes of banana wheat and spring flower funk lingering into the bitter after taste. Has a spicy bite.

Effervescent sharp carbonation almost foams mouth a bit too much. Thin to medium body a bit off balance.

 392 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Groundbreak pours a hazy yellow straw color with a lean and loose head flaoting on top. The head fades quickly and leaves no lacing.
Aroma is that of malts, spices, yeast and light hops. Yeasty esters give the beer a general wheat beer aroma.
Taste is half desent with a solid malt base, a bit spice from cloves and a sprinkle of hop flavor. I can percieve some barnyard funk too.
All in all, pretty good. Average, but good.

 424 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – Pours a hazy orange-amber color with a big three finger white head. The head has nice retention slowly fading to leave a very nice level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is a mix of lots of yeasty and spicy smells. Mixed with these aromas are strong smells of a haylike funk, green apples, sour grapes, wheat and pepper. It is a rather potent smelling saison in many of the aromas you would expect.

Taste – The taste begins with a lot of wheat, yeast and an orange citrus taste. As the taste advances flavors of spice begin coming to the tongue with clove coriander and cardamom being the strongest. Along with the spice so too comes a souring and haylike funky taste. Sweeter flavors of a light banana and tangerine also come to the tongue more toward the middle giving the brew a rather sweet taste. The flavors are soon met with a strong grass and herbal like and sour grape like taste more toward the middle to the end of the taste. In the end a moderately citrus sweet, yeasty, and funky taste are left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is rather light in terms of creaminess and thickness with a carbonation level that is on the medium to slightly above average side. Both are quite nice with for the funky and citrus flavors of the brew and make for an easier drink.

Overall – A fairly sweeter and tasty saison. Lots of citrus, yeast and a nice sour bite that is balanced nicely by the herbal and sweeter flavors of the brew.

 1,543 characters

Photo of greybeardloon
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best before May

A: Thick head that dissipates quickly leaving lots of lacing.

S: Sweet, yeasty, bready, spicy. Some alcohol on the nose.

T: Sweet, full breadiness, prominent yeast, white pepper, dry with an herbal hop bitterness on the finish. Some tartness at points and on the finish.

M: Surprisingly full given the dryness.

O: This comes out too early in the season. This would be super drinkable in the heat.

 417 characters

Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.22/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 fl. oz. bottle into a Delirium tulip at low altitude in NY. I believe this will be my first trying an "American Style Saison."

A: Pours a slightly hazy yellow color with a small creamy white head. Decent retention, but not much lacing to speak of.

S: Malty wheat notes are the most prominent, with some characteristic "barnyard" funk in the background. A relatively light smell overall.

T: Opens with malted wheat flavors followed by some yeasty funk. The finish brings along some soapy character that leaves a rather unpleasant bitterness long after the last sip. Besides the soapiness, I this would be a pretty solid saison.

M: Light- to medium-bodied with a slick mouthfeel. A bit overcarbonated in my opinion.

O: A decent take on a saison. Not sure if the soapy bitterness was the "American" aspect here, but it would have been better without that.

 874 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer Notes from 3/12/12, on tap at The Lark in East Northport, NY: pours a hazy yellow gold color with a creamy 1 finger white head that faded and left a creamy layer on top; leaves decent spotty foamy lacing.

Smells of funky yeast, grains, sour grapes, clove, pepper, light floral hops, wet grass, caramel, coriander and light spices; soft and funky, it's a nice mellow nose with all the saison basics.

Tastes of funky yeast, roasted grains/malt, wheat, sour grapes or tart apple, clove, pepper, floral hops, herbs, wet grass, caramel, pine cone or tree bark, coriander, hay and light spices like cinnamon or allspice; flavor is tart, herbal and grainy, yet somehow crisp with a nice funky finish that is on the dry side.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp and zesty, with tight fizzy carbonation, a light to medium body and a funky semi-dry finish that leaves a grainy aftertaste that dries and feels like yeast is coating your tongue.

Overall a good beer that is very drinkable, goes down easy, hides the ABV very well and is a nice American impression of this style.

 1,069 characters

Photo of russwbeck
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a very clear yellow color with a huge white head. Retention is pretty decent, as is the lacing. The bubbles initially surge through the liquid, but slow off rather quickly.

S: Spicy esters with some banana and it seems like Belgian yeast. It's pretty sweet at least, with the level of spices you'd expect from a saison. Not quite funky or boozy.

T: The taste is also more sweet than I expected, with the spices coming second and lingering on the palate for a long time after the liquid is gone. The fruits, bananas specifically, carry the beer, with the spices and esters providing some balance. I wanted another layer to this. It's balanced and tasty, but not that much better than average.

MF: Medium body with a level of carbonation that drops off after the initial pour. It's almost silky on the tongue. The aftertaste on the palate makes me want to keep drinking the beer, but the drinkability could be better. The overall taste wore on me after a while.

O: This was a nice offering and I'm glad I tried it, but there's nothing here to bring me back for more. Give it a shot if you like saisons, if not, you can probably skip this one.

 1,159 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. 12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a nice golden color with great clarity. Huge rocky white head forms and never subsides. Thick rings of lacing cement themselves to the glass. The clarity of it throws me for a loop. Did they filter this?

S: Nice and yeasty with pepper and spice and a perfumey floral scent. Clove. Fruity and nutty. Underlying biscuit and pilsner malt. Great nose.

T: Big hit of clove and black pepper on the attack. Strong yeast character, as in the nose. Chalky and a touch earthy. Very spicy. Underlying tropical fruits and a hint of tartness. Slightly rustic. Malt character is biscuity and nutty. Mild hop bitterness with light floral and orange peel tastes. Finishes with chalky and spicy yeast.

M: Medium bodied. Highly effervescent with an aggressive scrubbing carbonation. Creamy in texture and smooth.

O: One of the better American-made saisons I've had, and an excellent choice for a spring seasonal.

 972 characters

Photo of jwhancher
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought about 3 cases over the summer as they were on closeout at my local distributor. Think I bought each one for roughly $15 a pop. Poured the last one I had into a snifter for review. Think I read somewhere that they use both American (1056?) and saison strains along with ample American hops.

A: Pours a cloudy golden yellow with nice rocky white head. Some belgian lacing clings to the glass. Some lazy carbonation is evident.

S: Smells has a musty, almost barnyard like aroma. Not sure if this was intentional, but this smell does take on some Brett-like character. There's also some lemon zest with citrus, spicy peppery notes, and a fairly noticeable aroma like kick.

T: Light malt character with citrus and lemon zest. I'm assuming a good portion is coming from hops while the saison yeast strain is doing the other work. Nice bitterness to it.

M: Finishes nice and dry. Feels light and highly drinkable although the alcohol is quite noticeable after a few. Kept me from pounding through these after a hot, humid summer night.

O: A great summer thirst quencher. This was one of my favorite finds for this past summer. Would definitely buy again.

 1,163 characters

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Victory tulip

A- pours a cloudy shade of orange with a one finger white head. Looks pretty solid. Nice head, not overcarbed

S- nice floral aroma, as well as a good bit of citrus....smells very sweet and juicy

T- some very light spice and sweetness, and juicy citrus. Very nice

M- medium bodied, on the thin side

O- very good saison

 364 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a vivid orange gold with a large creamy head. Exceptional retention and lots of creamy lacing. The aroma is quite nice and stylistically accurate; lots of saison yeast; fruity hops and esters, spices and black pepper; a hint of peach that's very appealing.

The flavor follows the nose fairly closely; plenty of yeast; citrus and peach; moderate bitterness lingering a bit in the aftertaste. Some light sweetness that dries up well in the finish. Nice and spicy, although there is a faint metallic note detected in both the aroma and flavor.

Moderately light bodied with very spritzy, tongue-prickling carbonation, but still has a bit if creamy smoothness. Extremely crisp and refreshing. The only knocks for me on this beer are the vague metallic aspect and the carbonation, which could be toned down just a smudge. Otherwise it's rather outstanding!

Edit: almost two years and dozens upon dozens of saisons later this feels a bit more pedestrian. On draught the carbonation is fine but the taste profile is simply a little generic and while inoffensive fails to distinguish itself from the now flooded pack. Nothing wrong here but nothing to go running back to either.

 1,178 characters

Photo of mountdew1
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a nice golden amber with a 3 finger thick milky white head. Head was foam at the bottom, but creamy at the top. Aroma was citrus herbal with a bit of bitter acidic in the back. Flavor was peppery, a bit of spicy kick. Felt a little overcarbonated in the mouth for my taste. Coated well, but left too much tingly feeling on the insides of the cheeks. Overall not bad. No real negative traits to it.

 443 characters

Photo of ujsplace
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic.

This brew boasts a massive, soapy head with plenty of chunk and lace to go around. The liquid is a deep orange colored, hazy brew with flecks of yeast suspended throughout. A dirty looking brew - nice.

Smells fruity, bready and spicy. Very nice.

Tastes of bright fruit, slightly tart, hoppy citrus overtones, spicy with a dry finish.

Light medium mouthfeel, well carbonated and crisp.

Wow, this is some good stuff. Nice flavors all come together very nicely. Great drinking brew.

 505 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear dark golden orange to copper in color. The beer has a three finger tall off-white head that reduces to a medium sized thick patch near the center of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of citrus - grapefruit, orange, and lemon - along with spices (black pepper and clove).

T: Similar in taste to the smell but the spice flavors are far more intense than they smell. There is also a moderate amount of citrus flavors (more lemony). Light hints of grassy hops and Belgian yeast lend to the bitterness.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly dry in the finish.

O: Easy to drink but a little too strong to be sessionable (higher ABV than I usually have for a session beer). I like the citrus flavors/aromas, they make this one pretty enjoyable.

 889 characters

Photo of magine
4.63/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel glass.

Pours a cloudy, honey orange. Massive, massive chunky lemon meringue pie like head here. Tons of tiny tight bubbles cascading to form this huge head. Big chunks of head here, tons of lace. Fantastic looks here. Lots of malty yeast making this head like this I imagine. Really one of the most impressive pours I have seen. Exceptional.

Brew smells of big lemon zest, yeast, cloves, spices and orange. Great nose here, could smell it as I poured it. Impressive nose here.

Brew is smooth and creamy up front, spiced in the middle and peppery semi dry finish. Great tastes here; complex spices and malts working in harmony here. Cloves, spice, lemon, orange rind all fill a complex palate. Stickiness to it and some semi sweet and tart flavors here. Great flavors, and great drinking brew. Awesome stuff here.

This is one of the best saisons I have tried. I love Hennepin and feel that is the best of the style, but I think this matches. I would love to try this side by side with Hennepin. Tremendous brew here.

 1,039 characters

Photo of aranheaney
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Stone Nonic Pint Glass:

A-beautiful yellow, great Saison Head, on a par with Hennepin (my gold standard for Saisons)

S-Clove, pepper, banana and oh yeah heaven

T-Clove, pepper, banana and oh yeah heaven

M-Perfect, carbonation is spot on

O-on a par with Hennepin (my gold standard for Saisons)

 332 characters

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best by April(yeast was heavily caked on the bottom, this could be a year or more old). Pours hazy golden orange color with a very nice 2 finger dense and fluffy white head with incredible retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some nice soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big lemon, apricot, pear, herbal, floral, coriander, pepper, bread, earth, light funkiness, and yeast spiciness. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good strength and complexity. Taste of big orange, lemon, pepper, pear, lime, coriander, bread, earth, herbal, floral, grass, clove, light funk, and yeast spiciness. Very slight tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruit, citrus, pepper, clove, earth, herbal, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance of sweetness and spiciness; with great flavor complexity. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a slightly syrupy and extremely crisp mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small amount of warming noticed after the finish. Extremely smooth and easy to drink. Overall this is an outstanding saison. Great balance and flavor complexity. Nice touch of funk rounds it out as well.

 1,233 characters

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a hazy golden/banana yellow into my DFH glass. A thick and fluffy bright white head cover this golden elixer! Thick and chewy lacing hold onto the rim of the glass for it's life. It looks like summer in a glass! PERFECT!

S- Banana's with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with black and green peppercorn flakes. Hints of citrus peel, Big League Chew gum, compost, fresh cut hay and wheat with little notes of pie spice mixed in. It has just a little bit of Belgian funk... wish it had more! This is one of my favorite Saison's!!!

T- Over ripe banana's, touches of funky yeast, spicey black/red/green peppercorns. Sweetness from the wheat and grains, some clove, allspice and fresh nutmeg. Real big notes of freshly zested lemon and grapefruit peel. Has a nice tartness that lets the honeysweet grains and spiciness shine thru as well. This is damn near perfect.

M- Really crisp, refreshing, and full of tropical fruit goodness! Electrifying carbonation that tickles the tongue! Wonderful Belgian yeastiness, peppery, lemony, and sweet banana and wheat malts. No hint of alcohol at all.

O- I'd give it a 4.75 if I could. This is another brilliant example from one of NY's best and most creative brewery's. I gotta buy up all I can of this before it's gone for the season.

 1,294 characters

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a weizen glass. Pours a hazy apricot color, with a one-inch off-white head that is slow to reduce.

Has a funky farmhouse aroma, with cardamon, parsley, cilantro, and hints of pepper. Hints of banana and clove, like a wheat beer, but with more of the saison spice than a typical wheat beer.

Taste starts spicy and aromatic, with a tart, almost sour funky beginning. Lemon, straw, and dandelion greens combine for a very fresh taste. Oak undertones develop mid-sip, finishing tar, dry and slightly bitter.

Has a crisp, fresh feel, light to medium bodied, with a bit of dryness on the tongue.

An enjoyable, if slightly intense saison, with plenty of funk, tart, herb and spice to keep you satisfied. Great for a full-tasting beer, but too much to have more than one before moving to an easier drinking brew.

 840 characters

Photo of match1112
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: clear bright gold body with a thin white head.

s: bread, yeast, fruit and a touch of earth.

t: yeasty bread up front giving way to a crisp light fruit flavor. on the finish is a touch of earthieness from some hops i'm guessing.

m: medium body, prickly carbonation tickles the tongue. and a dry finish.

o: pretty darn tasty. worth trying.

 344 characters

Photo of BeerCon5
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy yellow-orange color with more than one finger of white fluffy head with pretty good retention.

The scent is of sweet fruit, notes of bread, and notes of herbal hops.

The taste is of lightly bitter herbal hops, sweet fruit, some citrus, bready malt, some notes of yeast.

Light bodied, smooth and refreshing, moderate carbonation.

This was a very flavorful beer, both refreshing and very easy to drink.

 422 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1309th review on BA
Bottle to Excelsior! Glass

Thanks to mjtiernan for this one.

App- Lots of deep colors on this one all intermixed. Dark orange with a golden yellow blend. Big fluffy 2 fingers white head with a great amount of cling and lace. Very pretty beer.

Smell- The American saison is right. A blend of hops and citrus with a fairly thick malt note. The saison comes next with a thick pepper and a medium yeast note.

Taste- A lot like a blending of a nice base IPA with a small saison. The hoppy bite is there with a large malt backbone and a very thick yeasty pepper. A lot of flavors of a deep dank IPA. Fairly balanced but still flavorful.

Mouth- A large medium body with a nice kick. The carbonation is a bit thick with some tangible bubbles. Residual malts with orangy yeast.

Drink- Matt always does a great job of sending quality extras. This was no exception. Fairly balanced as mentioned above. A tad thick, but a good IPA/saison mix.

 961 characters

Photo of jmarsh123
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from mtiernan. Thanks!

American style saison. Perhaps I may actually like this? Let's see. Pours dark gold with a finger of pillowy white head and decent lacing.

Some typical saison aromas of pepper and clove, but with some citrus fruits as well.

Some good citrus (orange) up front. Belgian yeast then takes over and it finishes spicy, but the citrus flavor is still present throughout.

Light-medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Enjoyable beer from Ithaca. I normally hate saisons so finding one I like is a pleasant surprise. The citrus works well to balance out the normal Belgian spiciness.

 623 characters

Photo of BB1313
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. First pour was transparent, second pour was hazy. Glolden/yellow with a nice fluffy white head and nice lacing/retention. Lots of herbs and spice up front, but they're on the subtle side. I can pick up a ton of lemon zest. There's a slight funk. The flavors match the aromas. I can pick up more lemon zest, which dominates. I taste the thyme and rosemary. There's a nice hop bite to this one, but it seems the hops have faded by now. This isn't too spicy, but there's a touch of black pepper. There's a breadiness to this one and the malt is there. Mouthfeel is nice, light, and creamy. Carbonation is there, not too much, right amount. Alcohol goes unnoticed and it's pretty easy to drink.

This might not be my favorite saison or my favorite from Ithaca, but it's a really nice beer to enjoy when it's in season.

 849 characters

Photo of MrOH
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brilliant gold with a billowing 2 and a half finger white head. Excellent retention. Rings of lace at every sip.

Very floral, some bubblegum and tropical fruit notes and an underlying earthiness.

The fruit is there. Tropical fruits, citrus, mango, floral notes, bready malt and the earthy background. Well played.

Light bodied with very high carbonation, as befits the style.

A damn fine american saison.

 414 characters

Ground Break from Ithaca Beer Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 543 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.