Ground Break | Ithaca Beer Company

very good
543 Ratings
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

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Ratings: 543 |  Reviews: 232
Photo of Jesse13713
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best before May and poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass.

Appearance - A very pleasant golden pour that settles into a hazy straw yellow that almost looks sour. Mostly opaque and slightly amber. Three full fingers of soapy head are immediately noticeable.

Smell - Smells like a sour lambic with earthy properties. Hints of apple and grains. Grassy and full of other floral earth notes. Pleasent on the nose.

Taste - A refreshing arctic chill shadows over the entire taste of this beer. It is very crisp and refreshing. Heavy floral notes and other earth tones that accompany the cool chill well. Slightly tart and not very yeasty at all.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - Very light bodied and natural tasting. Crisp and refreshing. A good spring beer that sort of leaves a cool mint taste in my mouth. A very suiting name for the beer; as it tastes of light flowers breaking through a slightly cold earthy layer. All in all, it is pretty average and bland tasting. But it is unique in this weird 'arctic chill' taste I'm getting. I think I enjoyed it so much because of this unique mouthfeel.

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

A huge thanks to Paul (pmlondrigan) for this great beer. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours into my Ladyface Tulip with a hazy dark golden color. About a finger of slight white head is achieved with a moderate pour that dissipates at a moderate pace leaving nice, thin lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Nice spicy hops, floral/grassy aromas, a hint of citrus and fruitiness, malty backbone and noticeable Belgian style yeast. Just a hint of barnyard funk.

Taste - Not as sweet as the nose would suggest (positive thing). Just a slight tartness up front almost immediately masked by a definite wet hay/barnyard funk. Nice peppery and floral hops, just a hint of banana esters, bread, and yeast.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied yet thin? I know that is odd to say but there is a definite coating of the tongue but it tastes lighter bodied. Prickly carbonation, finishes dry.

Overall - A very easy to quaff and refreshing saison. Not too sweet, though not as tart as I'd like. Honestly, this is not bad at all. I am used to JP type saison's which are obviously a bit out of the norm. I find other saison's generally to be too sweet so this one is right up my alley. Glad to try it!

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip glass at ChurchKey, Pours a hazy medium gold with a two finger off-white head, fair retention down to a thick film, some clinging lacing throughout. Spicy yeasty nose up front with a good amount of citrus zest and citrus herbal green hops quickly following. Light pear and biscuit malt backing with some floral notes. Flavor continues to be pretty yeasty with the hops, sweet, and citrusy. Minimal sweetness, well attenuated to a dry herbal finish, and picked up some bitterness along the way. Low carbonation with light to medium body. Quite tasty and another nice offering from Ithaca.

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Photo of quine
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a hazy golden. Short white head with decent retention. Slight lacing.

S: Smells fantastic. Sweet and malty, with some sort of spicy note in there.

T: Tastes similar to the smell. The malts come through with a sweetness, and the spiciness comes through more. In the middle, though, comes an unexpected and not entirely pleasant hoppy bitterness that doesn't quite seem to fit.

M: Crisp, with medium carbonation. Light bodied. Dry.

D: The hop bitterness is a little out of place, which kills the enjoyment a little. Otherwise a fairly good saison. Drinkable, and with the fairly low ABV, it doesn't hit you so hard.

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Photo of timtim
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

burnt gold with a white head that leaves good lace. nose is white pepper, clove, grain, fruit and a touch of hop. very round. the spice is prominent and almost hefe reminiscent. hops are there more in the taste, everything is well integrated and all the components play off of each other very well. hops, grain, yeasty spiciness, wheat(?)... it's all there with minimal farm, but very clean and pleasing. mouthfeel starts soft and silky, yet finishes dry with a healthy bitterness that creeps up in the finish. american hops are really there in the backbone and finish, and they come out a great deal more as it warms. just traditional enough to say saison, but enough personality to really stand out. a very solid, accessible brew from ithaca.

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Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy glowing orange, a compact finger of white foam on the surface. Surface texture is creamy, and it sticks nicely around the edges. Retention is pretty good, some delicate arcs of lace form in the glass also.

Estery yeast notes of clove and banana resemble a spicy hefeweizen. More earthy notes of coriander, cumin, and/or white peppercorns.

Dry, lightly bitter and spicy. Big notes of pepper and grassy hops. Orange peel, savory spices. Smooth feel, with the spices dominating the flavor, leaving telltale signs of pepper with a numbing tingle on the palate. Dry finish, little to no residual sweetness. Quenching and pleasant overall, something to anticipate springtime with.

Thanks to Mike for this unexpected beer!

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duvel art tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden in color with a deep reddish-orange hue and a large, foamy white head that dissipates slowly and leaves behind a wall of lace in a ring.

Smell: Citrus, apple, grape, and maybe apricot stand out the most with a bready note and musty yeast.

Taste: Begins bitter and a bit spicy, turning bready and finishing with a lot of flowery, citric, and fruity notes. There is also the obligatory farmhouse flavor throughout this brew.

Mouthfeel: Lighter in body with balanced carbonation and a very refreshing finish.

Drinkability: This is an excellent saison, and one that can definitely hold its own against its Belgian siblings. Another great Ithaca brew, and a saison that I would love to drink frequently. It also tastes just perfect for spring.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ubufan2112 for sending this bottle my way. Served in a tulip.

Pours a nice golden color with a two-finger white head off a hard pour. Good retention and some nice sticky lacing as it falls down into a nice cap. Nose is really fantastic and well-integrated with some white pepper, hay, grass, and light fruitiness. Some light grain in the background. All of this carries over to the taste. Everything is somewhat subtle, but it all blends incredibly well. This is one of the more-impressive tasting American saisons that I have ever come across. Body is dry with nice carbonation. Very drinkable. I am a huge fan and will seek this out again.

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Photo of MLasoski
2.41/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Looked like an interesting buy and I love Ithaca products; however, this one doesn't sit with me right in terms of the style. Maybe it's because I'm used to more crisp and clear saisons?

A: A cloudy copper body with a 1/8" thick head which dissipated within a couple minutes after a couple sips. Can't really see the carbonation either. I was expecting a crispy, clear, and straw-colored body with excited carbonation and a thick head.

S: Blah... nothing special. Smells of mild hops and malts. Can't really pinpoint anything so I'm not going to make anything up either.

T: Tastes a bit like table salt with hops added into the container.

M: Salty up front with the hop character coming through in the end. Pretty light on the tongue with some crisp carbonation in the end as well.

D: I wish I only picked up one of these as part of a mix-a-six instead of the entire 6 pack. I'm having a rough time finishing one. Not what I expected as a saison.

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Photo of gregalobeer
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: deep honey gold with a slightly amber hue, not a lot of head.

S: citrus peel, nutmeg?

T: hops are direct but not overly bitter, very earthy and musky overall, with some of the same citrus and spice notes from the nose

M: wonderfully balanced, smooth but crisp, and the modest carbonation levels let the spices do most the talking without leaving you flat

D: highly drinkable, this would make a great first day of spring BBQ beer

an instant favorite!

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Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Cloudy and golden with a nice airy head that dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lacing.

Wonderful aroma. Spicy and fruity, with a tatse to match. Peppery lemon, and a bit sweet up front, with a nice dry finish. No wonder Saison is the perfect beer to hasve with food.

Carbonation a bit strong for the hoppiness of the beer, but this is still a saison after all.

Ithaca continues to make some really good beers.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown bottle. Best before date etched on label.
Poured into an Allagash goblet.
The color is a cloudy honey amber color with a thinnish white head and some trailing lacing.
A big whiff of clovey Brett yeast is realized before the pour is complete. Smells of sweet malt and lemon zest are in perfect harmony. A faint smell of orange liquor is noticed.
A flavors are spot on for the style (although the Saison/Farmhouse styles tend to vary). I like this one...a lot!
Spicy hops, citrusy fruits, lemon zest meld nicely in a loving caramel malt body. Honey sweetness and a light alcoholic warmth are so inviting.
Goes down so liquid and smooth with just a bit of an edgy raspiness.

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Photo of bigoten13
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass, and it pours a fabulous mix of gold-tangerine-yellow, with intense cloudiness and a formidable head. Mildly lacy, but over time the beer maintains a thin layer of bubble on top.

The aroma is perhaps my favorite part of this beer. At first, you get a great big waft of sweet honey, perhaps an agave-derivative, followed by some spicness (i detect a hint of ginger), and it finished off with a yeasty, nutty odor that you never want to leave your nostrils.

The taste exhibits the same sweetness as the aroma, however there is a bit of bite/tartness. This is a welcome contrast to the honey flavor, and the hop/yeast character is right on point with any well known belgian saison.

Mouthfeel is crisp, and bubbly.

Drinakbility is only a 4.0 because I wouldn't like to do a session with such assertive flavors in a lighter beer. However, the relatively low ABV for its style makes it a very drinkable saison.

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

Ithaca Groundbreak pours a bright gold, bone white head and some lacing. Aroma is very floral, alittle grassy and some sweet yeast. The flavor captures the Belgian style, heavy yeast giving a spicy kick. Muted fruit tang. Also a good amount of hop character, giving off grassy, earthy and light citrus notes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a carbonation sting. Drinkability rates fairly high. Authentic saison in style with a nice bitterness. Solid.

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Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Modest near-white head. Leaves a blanket of slippery lace. While hazy, this is far more clear than most saisons. Neutral gold color.

Interesting blend of sourness and barnyard earthiness. Once the head settles, the traditional sour yeast aroma of a saison comes through clearly.

Starts off tart, but mellows quickly. There's a sizable yeast bite toward the end of the tasting. The swallow is lightly tart. The aftertaste is grainy, but short lived . Good body for the style and the carbonation is understated.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color with an off white head. In the aroma, earthy, small tart and small hops. In the taste, earthy and small tart fruit hints, a bit watery. A spice like bite and thin and light bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry small spiciness in the aftertaste. Nice flavor of earth and small tartness, although a bit thin and watery.

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Photo of Fluke828
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, opaque pale amber into an SA Perfect Pint glass. Good amount of lacing and a 1/2 finger head. Smells of sweet fruits and wheaty, bready aromas. Taste very similar to the smell, only sweeter, and really could close my eyes and think this might be some kind of radical weizen. Very chewy mouth-feel, slightly thick and drinks very refreshing. Overall, a tasty Saison that I would enjoy again.

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Photo of Mit
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Always had a soft spot for Ithaca Brewing for some reason. Was really happy to see this pop up.

a-really nice cloudy gold colour with a very nice long lived creamy head.

s-fruity, crisp smelling, some spicey smells I couldn't place(probably on acct of stuffed nose)

t-Tastes kinda like a wheat. The spicey smells are there but it's more fruity IMO...the crispness remains...some of the banana esthers are there. Really nice. one would expect of a 6%.

d-I really liked this beer alot. I can't wait to buy more.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Prime 16 into a La Chouffe tulip.

A: Clear gold body with a half-inch of fine white foam. Ok retention and nice lace. Not bad.

S: Spicy, intense aroma that does a good job balancing fruity esters (apple stands out; not much banana at all) and phenols (minerals and white pepper, thankfully no band-aid). A little chalky, but quite good.

T: Spicy phenols start things off, and never really cede dominance. Some fruity esters, bready malts, and dry minerality are also present. Very clean on the finish. Tasty.

M: Light to medium bodied with ample, lively carbonation. Very fresh feeling. Excellent.

D: Intense, comple, and phenolic without being medicinal or alcoholic in the least. Fantastic.

Notes: Yet another solid beer from Ithaca. I'm very glad to see this hitting shelves in CT, as there aren't enough reasonably-priced, good-quality saisons. As much as I love Hennepin (and Hennepin is considerably better), I'd rather get a $10 six-pack of Ground Break than an $8 bomber of Ommegang's fine Saison. It's awesome to have the choice, and impressive that New York produces two such authentically Belgian-tasting brews in this fickle yet phenomenal style.


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Photo of Homebrew35
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a huge 2 finger head, off white, bubble streaming from the bottom, high carbonation for sure. Head fades to a nice spotted cap. Pale golden clear body. Smells nice, fruity pineapple, banana, bready yeast. Kind of like La Fin in the smell that belgian quality. Tastes sweet and full of bananas. Some lemon zest, peppery, some apricot maybe on the finish, clove comes out as this one warms up. A touch of hop bitterness on the finish but not too much. Very much on the sweet side and I love it. I could drink this all night. $1.80 for the single.

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Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear light copper in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that slowly faded away and consistently left lacy patterns of bubbles floating in the center of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of grapefruit, orange, lemon, black pepper and clove in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the spicy flavors are a little more pronounced and the hops lend a slight amount of bitterness and grassy flavors.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some notes of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is quite easy to drink and the citrus flavors would make this particularly refreshing to drink on a hot summer day.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a MJ tasting glass (tulip).

Pours a hazy yellow with orange highlights. Big fluffy white head, that stands up and drops very slowly. Leaves big chunky pieces of lacing.

Aromas of lemon zest, orange, and pepper. Chaulky. Amarillo hop aroma.

First sip is citrus, lemon, orange, pepper, Amarillo hop flavor stands out. High level of bitterness for the style. Good level of carbonation, almost creamy. Long bitter, peppery finish.

Mouthfeel is light/medium, powdery, very dry. Almost astringent hop quality.

Very drinkable beer. Good example of an American version (read "hoppy") of a saison.

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Photo of scootny
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy gold appearance with a quick fade. Leaves a collar as it sits. Smell is just short of a higher score. Belgian yeast with a banana and cinnamon flair. Some light sweet malt and a bit of funk and earth. Wheat-like notes waft in and out. Taste is a firm herbal hops, sweet light malt core moving into citrusy hops. Wheat malt moves in a bit. A bit of honey tinged grapes and a touch of pear. Dry finish has a bit of grapefruit and whole grain biscuit. Light crisp feel with a moderate carbonation. Goes down like a pilsner on a hot day. Super drinkable.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy orange that poured a 1 finger foam head, and that was from me using caution not to over flow the glass after realizing the potential size while first pouring

S-Lemon and wheat

T-Mainly lemon, a solid lemon flavor that is not artificial. Not much bitterness to me, I had to look for it.

M-Light with some carbonation

D-Drinkable but the carbonation gets to me.

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Photo of Eldalonde
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden with a full white creamy looking head. Very nice lacing left behind clinging to the sides of the glass. The aroma is different, but good! Initially, there are the tell-tale aromas of a saison, the fresh farm aromas of hay and grass, some barnyard as well. There is also the usual citrus aroma as well. But there seems to be a bit of pine in this beer, which is reminiscent of hops. There are also some nice belgian spices coming through as the beer warms a little. The flavor is rightly mild, but the usual barnyard and earthy flavors are there. Some tart and yet sweet citrus come out and the spices are fairly strong in the finish. The hops are noticeable as well, but not overly so. I'm glad this one isn't hopped as much as most "American" varieties are as it allows this to keep the saison style at the core. Very nice beer.

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