Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Sankaty Light - Cisco Brewers Inc.

Not Rated.
Sankaty LightSankaty Light

Educational use only; do not reuse.

89 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 89
Hads: 263
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 27.51%
Wants: 18
Gots: 36 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Light Lager |  3.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 06-21-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 89 | Hads: 263
Photo of HamdenHector
4.05/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; pale straw in color; less than 1 finger white head that receded quickly to a very thin collar; light lacing;

S: pilsner malt, corn, a little DMS;

T: not much flavor up front - a little grain; a blast of lemon at mid-palate that fades toward the finish; very mild bitterness at the end;

M: light bodied; moderate carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O: not a beer I would choose, but for the style, it's well done;

 433 characters

Photo of BradMacMullin
3.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great summer beer - nothing special, but hits the spot when it is a lazy summer day and you're on the beach. Or sitting in your basement crying. Whatever this situation

 170 characters

Photo of rorykanderson
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Solid light beer that drinks best cold on a hot day. Like most light lagers the biggest flavors are cereal, corn, bread and water. Always the water. Doesn't bring anything new to the table but does the light beer thing right. When you're in the mood for a few cans of light lager you can't go wrong with this.

 309 characters

Photo of Duhast500
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

The color is a clear yellow gold with two fingers of foamy white and some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is earthy with a slight fruit aroma that comes out here and there. There is a light wheat aroma in nose that does meld well with the some citrus notes found in the back that is sweet and inviting.

The taste is fruity with berry flavor that light with a slight strawberry flavor checking in towards the end. There is a light malt flavor that seems to spread throughout this beer and gets into every aspect of the flavor. There is a dryness that is present here through most of this beer that helps some of the light citrus flavor that is present way in the back.

This beer has a light feel that goes easy and has a nice crisp feel to it. There is a really great drinkable feel that is pretty smooth and makes for a great hot weather beer.

 923 characters

Photo of Taybeh
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

from a single into a pokal: not bad with a particularly nice substantial feel to it given the low abv, that is also quite refreshing. The nose has some zesty but nondescript citrus, some grainy notes, and is promising...the taste starts out nice but then the back end has something a little off and almost metallic.

 317 characters

Photo of lwillitz
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12-oz bottle into pilsner glass

A - fairly clear straw yellow body under 3 fingers of white foam, high visible carbonation

S - honey sweetness and grain

T - honey-sweetened grain; light lemony fruitiness, grassy hops

M - light body, high carbonation, very refreshing

O - wouldn't buy again, but not bad for a light

 319 characters

Photo of WestmontStorm
1.42/5  rDev -59.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I may have to re-try this one. I see all the favorable reviews. I thought it tasted awful. Did I just get a bad or outdated sixer or what? I've tried a lot of beers and this one is the worst.

 191 characters

Photo of Davidstan
3.39/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I swear this tastes like some Belgian Ale offshoot. For a low cal low ABV it is delishous for sure. Very citrusy and thin but expected for a light beer. No weird aftertaste, finish is crisp. Overall a good light lager that blows away the BMC crowd but only negative is very expensive. 12 Pak cans 16.99 at Total Wine.

 317 characters

Photo of SierraFlight
2.63/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Can poured into tulip thanks to Cisco rep who happened to be eating at Beachwood BBQ Seal Beach. Pours slightly hazy gold with thin white cap. Aroma is cereal grain and floral hop. Flavor is slightly more hoppy but is uninspired. Light bodied with a thin mouthfeel, crisp finish, and moderate to high carbonation. Overall, not memorable, even as a BMC replacement light beer.

 375 characters

Photo of Act25
3.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm going to rate this above many of the top raters here. Reason: It's packed with easy going flavor for a < 4% Abv, and it's a great example of pilsner. Blows away any mass light lager. Has a great nose for a lager. This brewer is good.

A: Very light straw pale body, like a pilsner, dotty lace.
S: Excellent - as good as any pilsner in memory: floral, honey, orange blossom, fresh baked bread, lemon. Neat, full, abundant for a light beer, great appetizer (in this case with champagne cheddar and pretzels).

T: Follows smell, just as rich. Sweet fruit (honey-lemon-pear) teams with baked bread, which then is dried by the long, lemony, grassy hops.

F: Mineral, dry, finish. Light, but not thin.

I wish this came in cans - contender for my summer go-to beer.

 765 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%

Served from the can in a taster glass.

You know it's a solid birthday when you spend it at a beer distributor's trade show, right? Here at the Cisco table, we've got Sankaty Light. It pours a clear straw topped by a finger or so of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises light white bread, mild flowers, mild grass, and a kiss of what seems to me to be tangelo rind. The taste brings in more of the same, the lightness in the name and the smell underlined here on my tongue. In addition, the bread from earlier appears to have taken on a slight sweetness, though it's not much to speak of. The body is appropriately light, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda watery feel. Overall, this isn't a bad beer by any stretch, especially considering how overwhelmingly underwhelming the light lager style has become over the years, but it's overt mildness borders far too much on boring for its own good. I could see myself drinking another at some point in the future, but it's unlikely I'll have paid for it.

 1,025 characters

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle served in a pils glass.
It pours a shiny golden color with a fizzy/spritzy snow-white head. Lots of lacing rims the glass on the way down...and it goes way down fast!
The crisp smell of Noble hops fades somewhat quickly. A nice lingering whiff of wild flowers follows, as does a light smell of pennies. A smell of dried hay and minor whiff of fresh cut oak rolls in behind.
There's surprisingly more to the flavors than in the aromas. In fact, there's quite a bit of flavors for a beer of only 128 calories. This is a hop forward lager and the tastes of citrus zest, resins and slight metallic bite slide in on a somewhat thin, seltzery malt body. And this is not to suggest there's a problem with a beer body being thin. Hell, the German, Belgian and English brewers have been brewing small/light beers forever. And they brew these beers to be more drinkable and refreshing on a hot day, or when you feel in need a short beer break, but have things to do afterward...especially where you need to think coherently or carry out some physical tasks.
Nice beer!

 1,076 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
2.66/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

So here's 12 ounces of lager which I am ab...wait, it is a LIGHT lager?! But I don't like this style, you see. Have you ever tried Bud Light, Corona Light, or any others of the like? Well, I think I have shot myself here, but at least it's a one and out. So, here's 12 ounces of light lager, and on to the beer:

A heady beer at the pour, which drops away to a soapy lace and top, while beneath is a pale gold beer with lots of visible sparking bubbles. There is aroma fortunately, but there is a strong scent of diacetyl which does not belong. Slightly citrusy with a bang of butterscotch. Is this lager or bitter I'm about to drink?

Very light in flavor, which means that even a small flaw can wreck its balance. It was doing okay until a modest burst of esters and kiss of diacetyl came to the scene. Otherwise, it would be a light wave of grain and hops. Despite a lackluster overall flavor, the beer is very easy to drink. The beer is light bodied, but surprisingly sturdy for its low alcohol level.

Next time I want a light beer, I'll go with a Sam Adams Light.

 1,070 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

All things are relative and this light lager pours with nice body, significant aroma and great taste...for a light lager. The body is clean pale straw with a sizable bright white head. The aroma is lemony with nice cereal malts and a Pilsner like scent. The taste is crisp, light and lemony with tea leaf malts, cereal grains and an almost wheat like body. This is a hugely sessionable lager with significant personality and very well done....for a light lager.

 461 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 2,126 characters

Photo of WarEagleJeep
3.93/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

 514 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

 532 characters

Photo of brochamb
3.06/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

 331 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.22/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

 400 characters

Photo of Flounder57
3.57/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 616 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

 630 characters

Photo of Andrew041180
3.67/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

 927 characters

Photo of MarkQ617
4.15/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

 641 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.59/5  rDev +2.9%
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!

 2,122 characters

Photo of grittybrews
3.69/5  rDev +5.7%
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!

 278 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sankaty Light from Cisco Brewers Inc.
80 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.