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Review by joe1510 on 11/17/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
88 3 9 19 4 9 2009
Half Time Beverage

This beer has been sitting in the cellar for about a year and a half now. Southampton's Grand Cru pours a semi-translucent sunset orange that has some shimmer out of the bottle but glows when backlit. A standard pour brought about a fat two finger white head that fell rather quickly to one finger and left big chunky sheet lacing on its way down, even after every drink. The carbonation can be seen rushing up from every surface of the glass and keeps the head sticking around for the entirety.

The nose of this beer is absolutely laden with spiciness. It's tough for me to even put my finger on the complexities of this beer. There's a muddled mixture of spices right off the bat but they quickly start to separate and become more pronounced. Vanillin is quickly met by sweet orange peel, another citric aspect along the lines of coriander, and a mild touch of anise. Candi sugar and the pale maltiness add a sweetness that's welcomed and the hops add a bit of herbal earthiness. I'm torn between giving this a 4 or a 4.5. I have to go with the lower of the two because of some of the muddled aromas up front.

I wasn't all that crazy with this beer at first but as it warms more and more the flavors come together much better. A faint hint of vanilla passes by quickly before the sweet orange peel comes back into play. The most noticeable spice in the flavor is the coriander. The coriander is big, juicy and explosive with a great citric character. There's a touch of sweetness left behind from the candi sugar and pale maltiness that add a great depth to the already complex flavor. A sweet caramel and brown sugar maltiness coe through as well. The spices that were added in this beer make it a true treat. The hop additions, although I'm sure they have faded over time, are in the back and slightly herbal and earthy. This beer really is a treat.

The mouthfeel has a little more body than I would have liked to see. There is a little sugary sweetness that contributes to the body being on the heavy side of medium although it never gets in the way. The carbonation adds a nice soothing mouthfeel and the spices leave behind a bit of tingle.

This really is a treat to put away but it is without a doubt a sipper. The spice complexities keep this from going down too quickly but also make this beer what it is. This is something to sip and savor the night away.

This so far is the best beer I have had from Southampton. I wasn't that impressed at first but it continues to get better as it warms. The mouthfeel, spiciness, and warmth set this apart from others of a similar style but as I drink I keep wanting more and more. This is actually an excellent beer that I would love to pick up more of.

Reviewed: 7/6/08

Served In: Tulip