Ground Break | Ithaca Beer Company

BA SCORE
88
very good
543 Ratings
Ground BreakGround Break
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States
ithacabeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
543
Reviews:
232
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
11.99%
 
 
Wants:
28
Gots:
28
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 543 |  Reviews: 232
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 4/9/2010 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short foamy white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, bananas, light malts, spices and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong spicy bite up front that is followed by sweet flavors of bananas and citrus as well as a strong breadiness from flavors of Belgian yeast and wheat. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The hops presence is mild but brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a nice flavorful but lighter Belgian-style beer to drink for a while.

 904 characters

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

On tap at Coles in Buffalo. As soon as I arrived and saw this on the menu I instantly ordered a chalice because I'm a big saison fan. I was unaware that Ithaca had another saison, so I was happy and surprised to come across this one.

Ground Break arrives at the table a rich burnished gold with an off-white head that left sheets of lace. Extremely good appearance gets this off to a perfect start, and there's not really much more you can ask of it. The aroma is grainier than normal for the style, and its honey notes also seem to have a lot more in common with a tripel. Behind that there's a pleasant spiciness, some earth and a touch of leather,

Earthy, grainy flavour with some sweetness, and and peppery saison-style finish. Some hints of leather, cider and hay. Quite well-made and pleasing, and unlike any interpretation I've come across so far. It seems more like a hybrid of a saison and a tripel, but whatever it is, I think it works quite well. Dry with a medium-light body and a pillowy carbonation.

Certainly steps outside of the box, but does so successfully. I suppose a beer named Ground Break is actually breaking ground with this take on the style. I've enjoyed both Ithaca saisons that I've had so far, and I'd love to see them produce more - they certainly seem to have a talent for it.

 1,311 characters

Photo of portia99
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (best before 06/10) poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pale, translucent straw gold color with 2+ fingers of fluffy head with good retention. Foamy lacing left behind after many minute of waiting for the head to die down. A few wisps of brown yeast speckle the foam like cinnamon on top of a cappuccino.

S - Very fruity and spicy - oranges, a bit of cloves, cinnamon, apples. Yeasty aromas blend in nicely. Not much for malt in the aroma. Overall smells very good.

T - Quite spicy in the taste and follows aroma pretty well with citrus and cinnamon apples taking the lead. Nice Belgian yeast character too. Hops give a noticeable bitter bite adding onto the nice fruity and apicy character of the beer. Quite good.

M - Thin, but not watery, carbonation is high on the scale. Quite fizzy on the tongue. Fruity and spicy flavors fill the mouth completely and linger into the aftertaste.

D - Overall, I am pleasantly "surprised?" by how good this is. I'm generally a fan of the Ithaca beers, and this one is no exception. Lots of fruity and spicy flavors that come together really nicely. Not sure if this one is available in my local area, but I certainly hope so...definitely a good and affordable saison for the upcoming warmer months.

 1,265 characters

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

Poured from bottle into tulip glass

A- golden brew with good head that provides good lacing all over the edges of the glass

S- spicey and sweet hops. Zesty aroma arises from the brew. There is some yeast scents that blend with a banana theme. The spicy scent gives it a kick that i enjoy with this style

T- the flavor is almost like a "pick me up..." The lemony taste is blindsided by some sweet malts. The combination of spicy flavor even partners better with the fruity banana flavor.

M- crisp, clear, and light

D- ithaca brings the saison style with an american swing to life. I always look forward to ground break as one of my favorite seasonals. You cant ask for more flavor

 685 characters

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

Glass on tap at Coles in Buffalo. Arrives a pretty golden yellow with a nice head that leaves sheets down the glass.

Nose is quite fruity, a hint of grains, esters - maybe more like a tripel? Hint of spice, touch of honey.

Flavour mirrors the nose, add on some fruity pear and apple, fair bit of orange rind coming through, touch of herbs,honeysuckle, quite grainy. Dry finish but juicy body. This comes across to me as more tripel than saison, also in body it feels heftier (I guessed higher on the ABV), rounder, and sweeter than your typical saison. I think I would tend to go with something a little lighter feeling come summer but it's not a bad beer.

 658 characters

Photo of TheTrevor
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a light copper with a big fluffy head. The smell is mostly grassy hops. The taste starts off with some malt sweetness that is quickly cut by the same hops present in the nose that linger for a while. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with fine carbonation. Not a bad tasting beer, but the hops kind of overpower it and linger on the palate.

 355 characters

Photo of vazy
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap and Tap and Mallet.

The appearance is a soft tangerine color with a slight golden hue. Its clear as well. The smell is of moist mulch after a rainy day, a hint of sweetness. Its taste is slightly sweet, medium hopped and a pleasure to drink.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied as it bites the back of your tongue. Overall, its a good amount of hoppiness. Its kind of light and would be good to enjoy with a meal.

 426 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy honey color with a beige rocky head. This head lasts and leaves good lacing. Rising bubbles visible in the glass.

Some yeasty notes and some light malt.

Predominantly yeastiness, with some coriander and white pepper spice. Some sweet grain and bitter grain husk bouncing back and forth. I really don't find any true fruit in this beer, although it seems to have this mouth filling juiciness in the flavors. Overall, flavors are a little raw and unfinished. Not what I would describe as a smooth beer. And that's ok.

Well carbonated but with enough body to swish around in your mouth. Every sip seems to contain some foamy head.

Overall, a good brew. Easy to drink (easier than some of the style) with enough intensity to know you've got something, but muted enough so big sips won't make your eyes bug out. Glad I tried it.

 840 characters

Photo of mstyne
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very enjoyable beer, in one of my favorite styles. I could easily enjoy a whole six pack and probably not even notice. A cloudy, orange/brown pour. No mention of the ABV on the bottle or pack that I noticed, but seems fairly light on the alcohol content -- perhaps deceptively so. Sold for fair price as well at my local beer emporium.

 337 characters

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

A: Hazy straw colored gold, like what every review has said. A nice bright white head on top, not bad lacing.

S: Light spices and pepper, mixed with fruit.

T: Nice and fruity, notes of peach and banana, goes along well with the bit of spice to it.

M: Really light, but has a nice crispness to it.

D: Very solid and easy to drink, will remind you of the spring time.

 369 characters

Photo of oberon
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass a slight hazed lighter straw color with a nice fluffy two finger white head that left broken rings of lace as it settled slowly into a creamy mass.Aromas were a mix of earth and phenols,a slghit lemon rind is there as well.Flavors start out with almost a lactic-like tartness to go along with some lemon pith,phenolic spice and earthy hop rounds out the finish.A good stab at the style and refreshing,good for a hot day.

 446 characters

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

On-tap at Clark's Ale House. Appeared a lightly hazy straw yellow with a tall white head. I thought this was a nice American take on the style. While the flavor focuses on crisp malt and herbal spices while the aroma is filled with smooth floral hops that make a great compliment to the grassy and citrus yeast character. Like hops and saisons? Give this a try.

 361 characters

Photo of gpioski
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on tap at The Blue Dog Pub in Lansdale, PA during an Ithaca tasting event.

A- hazy honey colored brew with no head to speak of. no visible carbonation. Very pleasing appearance. 4.0

S- fruity and hoppy aroma with Belgian yeast tones. 3.5

T- very fresh and fruity. Huge fruit flavors- apricot, peaches, a little bit of white grapes. Very little hoppy bitterness, but a bit at the finish. 4.5

M- smooth. mild carbonation. very refreshing. 3.5

D- very drinkable on a warm spring night (or any other time for that matter). relatively low ABV makes it easy to have a few. 4.0

Interestingly, I seem to have had a bit of a different impression that other reviewers in the level of fruityness. possibly due to the freshness? I'd like to think so. Very tasty.

 763 characters

Photo of aerozeppl
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Just a slightly hazy golden color. A little less than half a finger of head with a touch of lacing.

S: A little bit earthy. I actually got a little whiff of young flowers. Little bit of white pepper. Kind of a tight nose for a saison but what I did get was enjoyable.

T: Little bit earthy. Not quite funky and not sour at all. Lots of wheat comes through.

M: Well carbonated. Finishes very dry.

D: Super easy and flavorful. I really liked this beer quite a bit as a semi session beer on a nice evening. Too bad this is my last one of the six pack I grabbed.

 565 characters

Photo of BeerTwigs
4.58/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a pint glass and it settled very nicely. It pours a nice light golden color with medium white head. The aroma is almost spot on for a saison and has really good character. I get banana and the traditional belgian armoa out of the nose of this beer. It has a good body and provides a nice smooth finish. Ithaca has done a really nice job here in changing up the traditional spring seasonals. I would definitely drink this beer again.

 456 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden straw color with a wispy white head that left some clingy lacing. The aroma is light but nice. Nice clove and light farmhouse aromas, trace of candi sugar sweetness, and a dash of white pepper. The taste is of clove and candi sugar which is followed by a souring farmhouse flavor which offsets the initial sweetness, this is finished by a bittering grassy hop, not much hop flavor, just a grassy bitterness which works well with this style. A moderate body with very fizzy carbonation, fairly crisp, finishes with a slightly bitter twang. A very light saison but very enjoyable. At first it seemed like a BPA but then the sour funk came out to play. Again, not very strong flavors but good and I dig the 6% ABV, great spring beer.

 759 characters

Photo of parris
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Before pouring I noticed the little bit of yeast that had settled to the bottom of the bottle. It got me expecting a cloudy beer, but to my suprise it poured to a pretty vibrant light orange/yellow color. Medium carbonation produced a perfect sized head, maybe 1/2 inch.

There is a good orange citrus smell to it. I've got a cold now, but I've had this before, and remember noticing pleasant burnt and floral aroma.

Great taste. Not bitter at all, but tons of hop flavor. I have no idea what their recipe is, but I bet they dry hopped the hell out of it. I suppose I also don't know what an American-style saison is supposed to taste like, hopefully this is it.

Thin mouthfeel, maybe a hair astringent, here is where I notice just a bit of bitter on the sides of my tongue.

Very drinkable. I prolly wouldn't bring this out on a bender, but it's definitely something to look forward to with dinner (Italian maybe?)

 917 characters

Photo of ATPete
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

Pours a slightly chill hazed gold yellow color with a small white head that leaves healthy notches of lace on the glass. A fat dosing of bitter and aromatic hops is almost upstaged by a strong, dominant yeast character. Honey, grainy pale malt and yeast are balanced by a largely bitter hop character. Tiny bubbles of sparkling carbonation add a soda water dimension to this beer making difficult to quaff. A nice saison.

 434 characters

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

bought and drank in march 2010, cambridge, ma

soapy white head dies pretty quickly but leaves ok lace. ring around the outside of the glass stays reasonably well. almost-clear burnt-orange gold color.

good farmhouse smell, a little citrus and apple.

tastes very crisp, strong farmy presence and minimal else. farm melds right into the clean bittering hop ending, finishing with a bit of lingering hop, also pretty clean. fairly 'wet' finish. carbonation seems relatively low. tastes pretty good and i enjoy it, but quite straightforward and not super interesting. a little more flavor in the middle and a crisper ending would improve it in my book.

relatively thin mouthfeel, a little slippery lowish carbonation.

drinkability is pretty high, goes down smooth and would be nice on a spring/summer day, good flavor, unassuming and tasty.

 842 characters

Photo of asabreed
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, way too cold, at The Ithaca Ale House in Ithaca, New York.

Appearance: Definitely highly orange, with a bit of yellow and copper. Not a lot of carbonation coming to the top. Bright white head sitting on top of the body.

Smell: Definite pungent citrus, Saison yeast, spicy hops, and major earthiness, though it seems more like spices and grains rather than phenolic funkiness.

Taste: This is a bright brew. A lot of spicy yeast, rind-like hops, lots of grain and earthiness (possible with the additional use of spices), and highly bitter, pungent, and lingering spicy finish. Not as nuanced as I'd hope, but this is a solid attempt from a great brewery at a style that seems tough for a lot of domestic breweries to deal with.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with good, bright crispness and full carbonation.

Drinkability: I would definitely grab a six-pack of this for the summer if I can find it around here. Not the best, mind-blowing version of the style, but one that brings the complexity and heightens the drinkability.

 1,053 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from naproxen! Thanks!

Poured into my Portsmouth Brewery tulip. A three finger head lasts quite a while (love this glass) and eventually fades into a lacing across the top of a beautiful golden base. Absolutely gorgeous! Smells spicy and the hops are very detectable. The taste strikes a wonderful balance between the spicy saison yeast and just a touch of golden sweetness to balance it out. Just about perfect. This beer is strongly carbonated and highly refreshing. Very very good saison.

 501 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in my ST tulip. Best before June notched on the label. Poured a semi-translucent orange-gold with a three inch, bright white, rocky head. Head slowly collapses into half its volume, leaving delicate strands of lacing as it recedes. Nose reveals candi sugar, citrus and a slightly herbal/hoppy quality. Taste is somewhat consistent with nose; however, hoppiness is very assertive upfront, with other qualities somewhat muted and watered down. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of the spectrum, but not quite light-bodied per se, with a fairly assertive carbonation that falls a little short of prickly. Decent brew, but not really a saison in my book - closer to a Belgian Strong Pale/Belgian IPA hybrid in my opinion; a respectable brew nonetheless.

 768 characters

Photo of david18
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was one of a number of farmhouse ales i tried in a short period and this was possibly the most interesting one I've had. Ithaca has done a good job of brewing very drinkable beers. What stood out for this was the fact that it was not too "farmy" but more of an interesting, yeasty pale ale.

Dark golden color with good carbonation. Very good smell,taste, mouthfeel and drinkability. Again, think pale ales meets belgian/french style.

 439 characters

Photo of extremelybland
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light copper, deeper than your average saison and a little cloudy.
A powerful nose here, with fruit, spice, with some bubblegum and Belgian yeast jumping from the glass alongside a notable hop presence.
Taste is rich with pine and orange peel with a juicy Belgian yeast right up front and finishing with flinty and lingering hops, basically coming off like rich Belgian IPA.
Mouthfeel is a touch on the thick side which highlights everything that is going on here, and it seems like a fantastic transitional Spring beer - exactly as they constructed it. I could have a bunch of these
Very successful beer, hope they keep this one going!

 645 characters

Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Waterfront, Brooklyn, New York.

Poured a hazy dark straw hue with a one and a half finger foamy white head head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a grassy and musty hop with a nice lemon zing.

The taste consisted of a tangy lemon, light grain and vibrant yeast ester. Assertive hops for the style.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a very tasty and hop forward saison.

 427 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe