Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Southern Tier Über Sun


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (599) - Albany, USA - JUN 8, 2010
I’ve always found "imperial" white/wheat beers to be a contradiction since wheat beers are supposed to be light and refreshing - so what’s the point of boozing them up? Perhaps brewers make such beers just to have a unique imperial brew, and more often than not they are good (if you’ve acquired the taste for them). Leave it to Southern Tier to make Uber Sun - an imperial wheat beer that isn’t just great for its taste, but also a big beer that’s quite refreshing and remarkably smooth. How do they do it?

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

I split a 22oz bomber with a friend and poured my half into a wheat beer glass. This beer has the color of a fresh apricot: bright yellow with a general haziness but no large sediment present. It forms a rather small layer of bright white, almost creamy head that leaves some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is very unique: citrusy hops with a prominent malted wheat foundation. It’s similar to a weizenbock, but without the spice notes. There seems to be some confectionary notes such as butterscotch and maybe a slight floral scent as well.

TASTE
Probably the best way to describe the flavor of Southern Tier Uber Sun would be a weizenbock with the spicy flavors replaced with hops. This beer is an interesting and impressive combination of citrus hop bitterness and classic wheat backbone. Up front it’s noticeably bitter which gives it a fairly crisp mouthfeel and finishes with a more subdued, almost "muddy" wheat flavor.

Wheat beers tend to have flavors of banana and clove, and while they are present here they are subtle. There’s a smooth, almost sugary sweetness to the palate that gives the beer a rich, borderline syrup quality. Not that this beer tastes absolutely delicious. In fact, it’s actually a little mild and I suspect it might only appeal to audiences that appreciate such a hoppy wheat beer (hefeweizen fans tend to be purists).

DRINKABILITY

What impressed me most about Uber Sun was just how drinkable it was. Having tried other imperial white/wheat beers and found them to be intense in the mouth and difficult to drink, I was shocked that this beer went down like a brew half its size. The mouthfeel is rather thick and a little sticky, but is not peppery in at all. The alcohol is virtually undectable despite a potency of 8% ABV. I can envision this beer pairing well with a summer cook-out, or as a simple alternative to the typical light-bodied summer brews.

FINAL THOUGHTS


Southern Tier Uber Sun really surprised me with its hoppy taste and easy drinkability. It’s not to say I found it to be an outstanding beer, but it’s definitely something I could get behind. From what I understand this beer is now retired so I would highly recommend picking up a bottle while you still can.

Grade: 7/10