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Sankaty Light - Cisco Brewers Inc.

Sankaty LightSankaty Light

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

181 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 181
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 15.3%

Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Light Lager |  3.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 06-21-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 181 | Reviews: 75 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BEERchitect


3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

With a whole lott'a flavor for a "light" lager, The Cisco brewers link up that light and low-cal body with a a lavish pilsner-esque taste with savory impressions of sweetness, elegance and savory flavor without the much of its associated weight. How'd they do that?

With the pour of the beer bringing about richer tones than is expected from light lager, its goldenrod appearance is laced with a tightly woven haze that scatters light and allows the beer to glow inside the glass. As I hear the bubbles pop, I fear the worst but the beer retains solidly enough to offer islands of retention with impressive decoration of lace with every sip.

Its delicately floral bouquet opens with the scent of honey, orange blossom, fresh baking bread, toasted grain and a light savory note with a sun-kissed flare. A background of apple, pear and something of near-orange is off-citrus but playfully acidic to the nose. A slim sulfur note crispens the scent as the taste draws close.

Mostly malty, yet partly grainy, the beer's early sweetness inherently links up with the husken taste of whole grain bread and that elegant bread crust savory flavor. Its supportive honey sweetness unveils a bready-sweet character that's similar to angel-food cake before the hoppy spices settle in its middle palate. That growing spice of straw and grass turns bitter and dryly resinous as the sweetness fades and its refreshing bite concludes its quick taste.

With that heightened character and complexity for its style, Sankaty Light Lager shrugs all that off when it comes to its middle where the taste dries considerably and that slight sulfur character offers a crispness to highlight a mineral-rich finish. With just enough dry malt lingering on, it hides much of the beer's would-be astringency and bite. Only a minty-cool evaporation feel extends from alcohol and makes this ale one hell of a refreshing choice!

Sankaty is in most actuality a Vienna Lager but in the shell of a light lager. As a Vienna-style beer, the ale sorely misses its mark in body and hops. But as a unique American light lager, it's marketing might just be ingenious.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 03:39:32 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of WarEagleJeep


3.94/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy straw color, half inch white head that recedes to a thin film and ring.

S: Mellow sweet grains and lemon grass.

T: Light tart citrus notes and subtle bitterness up front with a nice crisp finish. Rather simple but still enjoyable

M: Light, bubbly carbonation, crisp, and refreshing.

O: Great drinkable lager, more flavor then your run of the mill domestic lager but still very accessible to non-craft beer drinkers. Add that it is comes in a can and is 3.8% ABV and this is a perfect pool/beach beer.

Serving type: can

02-28-2014 20:48:51 | More by WarEagleJeep
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden-yellow with a foamy off-white head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, and grass aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest and grass flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp but somewhat thin mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is refreshing and tasty for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 03:28:09 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of brochamb


3.05/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a pale yellow color with small white head but very clear. Well carbonated. Not too much smell to it, but you get a light larger smell. Taste is a bit bitter (high on the bittering hops?). I get a hint of Heineken with the taste. You can really feel the carbonation in the mouth feel.

Overall this is an okay American lager.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2013 00:30:57 | More by brochamb
Photo of WoodBrew


3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The Sankaty Light Lager is a decent american style lager. The beer poured a pale yellow clear color with white head that is leaving some lace. There isnt much to the scent...maybe some wet grain and mild malt. The taste is well balance with subtle hint of lemony citrus. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it is a decent lager and would be best drank on warm summer days.

Serving type: can

12-01-2013 21:29:36 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of Flounder57


3.56/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a light yellow color with great clarity and bubbles seen coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Lemon and grassy hops followed by biscuity malts. Hard to notice anything past this with all the hops and the low ABV.

Taste: Lemony, biscuity, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, chewy, low to medium carbonation, and some lingering and tingly bitterness.

Overall: Really hoppy and light. Is this right? Nice hop profile and simplistic.

Serving type: can

08-20-2013 07:12:28 | More by Flounder57
Photo of ryan1788a5


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a pint glass.

A: Dull straw golden color with a very mild chill haze, Rocky white head settles quickly. Lacing is sticky and leaves webs on the glass.

S: Faint sweetish grainy scent. Straw. Very clean. Lemony hops, very floral.

T: Lemony hops, tangerine, grassy, slightly herbal and spicy. Dry, grainy malt base. Very clean. Bitter, hoppy finish.

M: Very light. Watery with a bit of a creamy texture. Stiff, seltzery carbonation.

O: Very simple and straightforward, just a clean, hoppy session lager. A no-frills 'just drink it' sort of beer. A nice lawnmower beer, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Serving type: can

08-16-2013 04:59:06 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of Andrew041180


3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured from the can into a pint glass. The beer is a pale golden with lively carbonation. The head overflowed the glass, which was surprising considering I wasn't really pouring that hard, and retained quite well. There is a small amount of lacing left on the glass.

S - Mostly grassy in nature, with a faint floral gesture.

T - Hints of a nice pilsner here. Grassy up front, with a hint of spice on the tip of the tongue. It slowly mellows into a calming bitterness.

M - Light-bodied for sure, which is to be expected. Still, there is a nice tingle on the tongue and a very refreshing finish.

O - Combine all of the above with a 3.7 ABV and I could easily drink a 12-pack over the course of a hot weekend. I wish I could, but the price tag is a little steep to allow for this on a regular basis. Very enjoyable, but since I normally limit myself to a beer a night, this one doesn't really fit into my regular rotation.

Serving type: can

07-24-2013 23:07:54 | More by Andrew041180
Photo of MarkQ617


4.19/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this poured from a can into a pint glass. My ratings are in comparison to other light lagers, not beers in general (I think that this is how most reviews on this site are supposed to be, but it's easy to compare lagers to other lagers when you've had a bunch of different varieties, as opposed to comparing something like milk stouts where maybe you've only had a handful). I think this is one of the few light lagers that I actually enjoy drinking. Very refreshing and not too heavy, crisp and fruity, excellent on a summer day. Smell is bolder and fruitier than most lagers as well. Solid offering from the incredibly consistent Cisco.

Serving type: can

05-21-2013 18:57:45 | More by MarkQ617
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sankaty Light Lager is named after an historic lighthouse located on Nantucket island, the home of Cisco Brewing, although the beer itself is brewed in Utica, New York. As though that were not ironic enough, the beer named after a lighthouse has a dim tone and misty complexion. Its pale golden colour notwithstanding, this thing couldn't aid navigation any more than it could attract a moth.

But of course I jest, as that was not the brewer's aim. The idea here was a beer that could satisfy the appetite without doing much damage to the waistline (or liver, for that matter). Going by smell you'd never know this was only 3.6% alcohol and 128 calories. The aroma has enough cereal graininess to feed an entire daycare breakfast. It smells biscuity and bready, and has a mist of floral hop accenting. It's simple but lovely.

The taste, somewhat surprisingly, provides one more curtain call for hoppiness; faint, rose-like florals and a trace of grapefruit or citrus arise. They provide a light perfumed contrast to the prominent grainy notes. Those flavours are sweet and agreeable, like fresh bread (and a curious touch of vanilla). Despite this soft maltiness, however, a carbonation with the prickle of a cactus makes for a finish that is hard and dry.

The beer doesn't suffer when brewed with cheap, poor quality ingredients - it's the person drinking it that suffers. The converse is true too. And in this case, wholesome and good quality ingredients have made for a happy, satisfied drinker. It's also made for a beer that disappears rapidly. Sankaty Light does exactly what it was intended to: gives the palate plenty of flavour without giving the belly too much bloat.

Sankaty Light is a light beer that would make Coors Light cringe (not Coors Light drinkers, mind you, I bet they'd prefer it). It offers big flavour in a low-calorie serving and a level of quality that you simply can't find in macro, commercial brands. It is a reminder that lower alcohol beers are still real beers nonetheless; they have maltiness and bitterness just like any others. Good on Cisco for sticking up for the little guys!

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 15:50:38 | More by biegaman
Photo of grittybrews


3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, pale gold with a finger of bright white head. Not much aroma, just some light grain.

Moderate carbonation and a light, crisp mouthfeel. Mild grainy sweetness followed by a touch of lemon with biscuit and grass on the tail end.

Clean and refreshing. Nice lager!

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2012 02:50:55 | More by grittybrews
Photo of flagmantho


3.63/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: pale golden hue with a hint of haze and a mild effervescence. Head is a thin layer of frothy white foam with little retention or lace. Not exciting, but OK.

Smell: nice sweet malt aroma with a light graininess and a hint of yeasty character. Aroma is awesome for such a low-ABV light beer. Quite good!

Taste: light malt flavor with a balanced graininess. Hop flavor is minimal but there is a hint of bitterness here. Not bad for a light beer.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a very good level of carbonation and a smooth, satisfying creaminess. I like it.

Overall: a good light lager. For a beer of this ABV, it's quite tasty and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 03:54:15 | More by flagmantho
Photo of emerge077


3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB NOV 2012 printed on bottom of the can.

Poured into a half liter mug, it has a fluffy souffle cap of foam that rises above the rim in a momentary gravity defying episode. Plenty of clinging lacing, clear gold straw body. Lasting retention, head sticks around for a good 15 mInutes.

Lightly grassy with wet straw, malty biscuit and tea aromas.

Watery and thin feel, to be expected I guess. Clean and malty with some expressive noble hop character. Wisps of bready biscuit and herbal tea. Little sweetness, more of a dry coarse finish. Not a bad lager, certainly has more flavor than most light beers on the market.

Serving type: can

09-08-2012 02:58:19 | More by emerge077
Photo of rdacey


3.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: corn-like sweetness, slight grain, clean yeast characteristics, little to no diacetyl, no hop aroma or esters

Appearance: Thin, white, lasting head, great clarity, golden color

Flavor: Slight spicy hop flavor, malts are grainy, slight diacetyl slickness on the back on the tongue. Tastes slightly watery, could benefit from increased carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Thin, slight diacetyl slickness on the tongue, finish is slightly dry although the carbonation is lacking for the style.

Overall: Aroma and appearance are appropriate to style, but the flavor was slightly watery and could have benefited from a more dextrinious wort

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2012 03:13:45 | More by rdacey
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a crisp, yellow-gold coloring with a tall, white, foamy head. Buttery and roasted aromas on a crisp nose. Smooth, buttery flavors with a roasted grain backbone. Roasty aftertaste with a smooth finish. Tasty and light, with a low ABV making it extremely sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2012 22:33:51 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of horshack7


3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pale golden and clear with a bright white head that is a good two fingers thick.

Aroma: Floral hops that have a dryness in the nose. Grassy, grainy, lemon zest, biscuity.

Taste: Light bodied with crisp mouthfeel. Lemon, grainy, grassy notes. Some dryness on the palate. Minor notes of pear.

Notes: This is a great summer beer light bodied for a warm day and very drinkable. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2012 02:25:46 | More by horshack7
Photo of jsanford


3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear light gold with a white head that settles to a dense 1/4 inch cap, leaving slight sheets of lacing. Mild aromas of doughy malt, grassy hops, and sweet grain. Not bad for a Light beer. Taste is similarly impressive, with more bready malt, sweet toasted grain, and faintly herbal hops. Not watered-down in the least, and easily the most full-flavored Light Beer I've had (edging Sam Adams only slightly). Mouthfeel is very crisp and drinkable, with a medium-thin body and excellent carbonation. Overall a superb Light Lager, probably the best on the shelves.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2012 22:38:19 | More by jsanford
Photo of woodychandler


4.43/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My local trader, tone77, beat me to the punch on this one! I scored a couple during a recent field trip to Pinocchio's in Media and thought that I should include him in my spree. The CANQuest (TM) is all about spreading the wealth and karma since so many have been so good to me so far.

From the CAN: This Ameri[CAN] Golden Lager is the lightest lager we've made so far. It's [sic] drinkability, crisp citrus hop elements, and smooth malty finish make it not too light but just right. Don't fall off the bluff!"

I will never grow tired of the former, auditory portion of the Crack & Glug! Bottles will never have the same cachet unless it is a caged, corked beer, but I do not open those nearly as frequently as I do CANs. For newcomers, the latter half is why I am NOT a ticker - CANs do not "tick", they merely "Glug!".

The Crack & Gllug was up to spec and I managed to produce a finger of bone-white head with limited retention in this oppressive heat and humidity. Color was a beautiful sunshine-yellow with NE-quality clarity and plenty of fizzy bubbles. Take that, Greg Koch! Nose smelled like all-malt (no adjuncts) and grassy hops and my heart began to go pitty-pat. I CANnot tell you the pain that I have endured at times in this madness, and especially from this style, AALs and AMLs. This actually smelled like real beer, even in a Light Lager version. Mouthfeel was actually pretty big, very foamy with big bubbles and the taste was of light malt and light grassy hops. Zounds! Finish was semi-dry and I was ready for another sip. I CANnot remember the last time that I thought that way of a beer of this style. Now, all of that said, I am not going to pack the cooler full of such CANs, however. I do not care how good it may be, I am not into Light beers. I probably could stand to lose some weight, but not by cutting back on flavorful beer. If you are accompanying me to the beach or elsewhere, I will happily put some in the cooler for you, but that's it.

Serving type: can

06-23-2012 23:37:12 | More by woodychandler
Photo of tone77


3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts and grains. Taste is crisp, malts, a touch of hops, more flavor than just about any light lagers. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a cut above for this style.

Serving type: can

05-31-2012 21:26:18 | More by tone77
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a lightly hazy straw yellow in color with some very light hints of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall white head that reduces to a thin film and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate lacing is observed.

S: A very mild overall aroma for this beer. Light aromas of bready malts and just a hint of grassy & citrusy hops.

T: Flavors of grainy and bready malts with a very light amount of sweetness. There is aslo a light bitterness contributed from the grassy and citrusy hops. Overall, the beer is very well balanced.

M: Light bodied with moderate to high amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Very refreshing, very easy to drink, and very enjoyable... The low ABV makes this beer very sessionable and the lighter flavor and mouthfeel make this a great summer beer.

Serving type: can

05-13-2012 16:03:52 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.03/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Beer review from 4/6/2012, on tap at the Lark in East Northport, NY: pours a cloudy piss yellow color with a foamy 1 finger white head that faded quickly and left decent spotty lacing.

Smells of sweet malt, light caramel, grains, floral hops, lemon and herbs; sweet and grainy overall, but the aroma just doesn't have any major accents or highlights to it...it's pretty dull.

Flavor is also pretty dull, with sweet malt, corn, light caramel, grains, light floral hops, lemon and herbs; typical lager flavor, but if this is from a "craft brewer" then it's a failure as it is just blah and almost devoid of hops that the craft movement is known for.

Mouthfeel is light, creamy and smooth, with very mild carbonation, a medium body and a grainy finish; extremely drinkable, this flows down like a 7-UP.

To me this beer basically sucked as a “beer experience” as I don’t see the point of a micro-brewery creating competition for Coors Light, Bud Light and Amstel Light; this was on par with a macro brewed light beer, and while the flavor was above average I just don’t understand why this beer exists. If you like this style then go for a Budweiser or another beer that you can find in a 7-11 or any gas station across America. This may seem like a harsh review, but it based on principal more than flavor. Perhaps this is helping Cisco fund it’s other beers as that’s the only reason I can think of for producing this drink.

Serving type: on-tap

04-09-2012 18:38:38 | More by CHickman
Photo of Domingo


3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had never seen this before and ordered one without really even knowing what it was. Something about Whale's in a red can. A light lager...egads!
Pours an ultra-pale straw color that even has that fain greenish tinge most light beers do. Lots of foam though.
Smell's like a full-flavored American lager, though. No issues there.
Wow - it has some flavor, too! Mild pale malts, a faint hop note, and a clean, but not too abrupt finish. While fairly mild, it doesn't really ever come across as watered down.
Super drinkable and extra mild. I might get some of these for summer.
Probably the best light beer I've ever had, or at least on par with Skinny Dip. Better than a lot of Int'll. macro lagers and a fair number of US "premium" macros, too.
While my score isn't that high, it just comes down to reviewing to style in this case. Still, this isn't not bad at all!

Serving type: can

02-21-2012 03:19:05 | More by Domingo
Photo of Bendurgin


3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Pale yellow with lots of visible carbonation and a nice creamy inch of white head and some soapy lace.

Light grainy aroma with a little bit of lemon in the background and little bit of grassy hops. Similar to the aroma this has a nice grainy flavor to start and a little bit of bitter hops to finish. It's actually pretty tasty.

The body is nice and light with good carbonation. I can't help to compare this to the big boys. Yes, this is a light lager but there's a heck of a lot more flavor to it. Not a world class beer, but one I'm sure I'll enjoy around campfires in the summer.

Serving type: can

02-16-2012 03:05:12 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of smcolw


3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Starts with a near white head which leaves some slippery lace. It settles to a single layer of bubbles. The liquid is light gold and nearly clear.

A blend of raw grain and light malted barley. Nearly no hop.

Tastes like the smell but with a good dose of bittering hop. More grainy than I like. The body is rich for the style--carbonation is low. One of the best light beers I've ever had, but it's still a light beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 20:41:48 | More by smcolw
Photo of SLeffler27

New York

3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fills a pilsner glass with a clear, pale straw and nice, creamy half-inch, white head that settles quickly, leaving little lacing. Thin streams of carbonation add interest.

The aroma is sweet and yet very clean with some hay and honey tones.

Sankaty Light is clean and crisp, with a mild orchard fruit undertone. Pears and some honey come to mind. The finish is short and mild.

A light body and watery texture with prickly carbonation, this one meets the style rather well.

While light lagers are not my staple, this one gives me reason to reconsider. Sankaty Light far surpasses the ubiquitous alternatives typically found at a tailgate party. A perfect sessionable beer for a long afternoon. Far and away the best “lite” anything I have ever had.

The first time I had this was in Sconset during an unexpected, and much needed, weekend of relaxation with close friends.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 21:21:34 | More by SLeffler27
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Sankaty Light from Cisco Brewers Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.