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Samuel Adams Summer Ale - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,437 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,437
Reviews: 1,535
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 32
Gots: 374 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Wheat Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
An American Wheat, brewed with malted wheat, lemon zest and grains of paradise - a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th Century to create a crisp and spicy flavor and body.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-09-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,437 | Reviews: 1,535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BarryMFBurton


2.28/5  rDev -31.5%

This one sort of comes under strange circumstances. I had it on Memorial Day on tap at Cheeseburger in Paradise in Southport, IN. The thing is, I ordered a Boston Lager. What’s worse is that I’ve never had, let alone seen a Boston Lager before. I definitely wasn’t expecting the taste I got, so, after drinking about a quarter of the glass, the server finally came back. That’s when I found out it was actually their Summer Ale. Weird, but communication errors are bound to happen in a setting that involves a lot of interaction. Once I learned it was a wheat beer, I was a lot less surprised. Here’s what I thought of Sam Adams Summer Ale (not Boston Lager):

A: The glass comes to me with a foamy head that recedes to nothing very quickly. The body is a hazy pale red, like apple juice. No retention; overall, just a pretty uninteresting look.

S: Not good. Musty wheat and dim hops are the only things I can make out. The biggest nuance about the nose: faded.

T: Bready, at first, with some gingery aspects on the back end. There is a vast shortage of hops, but it isn’t a huge loss in a wheat beer. It might have been good in this instance, because the accompanying notes are so dull. Fruit tastes are completely dumbed-down –orange that is mostly rind, grapefruit that reminds me of a watered-down, second-rate juice. I don’t like this at all.

M: Bubbles are a regular in the glass, demonstrating a light feel. Sparkling and, unlike the rest of the brew, lively.

O: Alright, at the very best. My impressions of Sam Adams have always been that it’s a brewery with a good heart, but a salesman’s brain. It’s capitalism at its finest: show commercials that insinuate your product is made with tons of the best ingredients and care, then watch your cheaply-made product fly off the shelves. Hopefully I find something in the Sam Adams lineup (that doesn't cost $150+ per bottle, mind you) which will change my mind. For now, though, my opinion remains unchanged.

06-03-2011 04:10:43 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of bubseymour


4.01/5  rDev +20.4%

Nice appearance with 2 finger head and good retention. Taste has an extreme lemon flavor for a beer and not much else to offer.
Overall, its an ok flavoring, not very refreshing but still easy to drink. Rather disappointing to be honest. Barely acceptable if offerred.

06-02-2011 00:30:15 | More by bubseymour
Photo of NStLincoln


3.28/5  rDev -1.5%

A pleasantly cloudy straw colored beer with a white head the fizzles out within two minutes.

A strong hint of lemony citrus makes me nervous, I don't really do citrus unless we're talking orange juice. The lemon is mixed with some light wheat.

Sam Summer is crisp, refreshing and empty on the back end. The citrus is light and breezy.

Nothing complex or exciting here but this beer is a fine refresher on a summer's day. It's a toned down, drinkable version of all the lemon/lime abominations that are on the market now.

05-31-2011 18:54:04 | More by NStLincoln
Photo of notchucknorris


3.45/5  rDev +3.6%

A: Pours a golden, honey color with a very thin off-white head.

S: I'm not picking up a ton, but I'm getting some faint wheat and a bit of citrus zest. It's kind of a mix of lemon and lime.

T: This was pretty refreshing, with some light grain and pale malt flavor along with a light bit of lemon. It wasn't mindblowing and the mouthfeel was a bit light, but there could be a place for this in the summertime.

05-29-2011 19:37:40 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of mdaschaf


3.18/5  rDev -4.5%

Review from notes.

A: Poured a golden/yellow color, not perfectly clear, but not hazy either. A foamy, one finger head formed on top with moderate retention and wisps of lacing down the glass.

S: A good bit of lemon and lemon peel, light spices, and a hint of hops. Slight windex aroma.

T: The lemon comes through on the flavor profile with a heavy hand of wheat and just a touch of spice. A little bit of beady malt comes in on the backend.

M: Light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Crisp and light, fitting for a summer beer.

O: Its ok, not bad, but I am not really a fan of it. Not bad on a hot day outside, which is where I had this one, but plenty of other beer out there I would prefer.

05-29-2011 17:50:54 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Vixie


2.85/5  rDev -14.4%

Pours yellow/orange with about a half inch of white foamy head that slowly dissipates into lacing.

Smell is lemony, with a bit of malt tossed in.

Starts out with some citrus, and finishes with a touch of hops. Also has a strange aftertaste to it, with a touch of bitterness.

Pretty thin and watery feeling.

Below average offering here. Just not much flavor, and what there is isn't very good. Has that strange underlying flavor, and is also watery. I'd have been disappointed had I bought this alone rather than part of a package deal.

05-29-2011 00:36:47 | More by Vixie
Photo of pressman57


1.68/5  rDev -49.5%

Poured into a cracked jelly-jar from a 12 oz. bottle. Medium head and lacing.

Couldn't get any smell from it. Would have been nice to get a little warning.

I thought I'd had bad beer before- Colt 45, Pearl that had "turned"- but this one beat them all. Imagine a glass of goat urine with a lemon-rind pitched in. It's baaad.

05-28-2011 02:02:47 | More by pressman57
Photo of shand


3.25/5  rDev -2.4%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an oversized pilsner glass.

This one pours a pale golden color with an impressive head. The retention is alright, and this brew has some absolutely huge amounts of carbonation. I don't think I've seen a beer with quite this much apparent carbonation. The aroma is alright, a lot of lemon, a bit of wheat, and just a bit of an off sweet character. The taste on this one is interesting, a lot of lemon rushes in, and is quickly joined up by wheat and some sweet malts. The sweetness is a bit strong and rides all the way to the finish. Just too sweet for me, but otherwise fairly interesting and well-constructed.

The mouthfeel is light and very brisk, the carbonation level is very high here. The drinkability is actually fairly low due to the sweetness, I wish this was toned down a bit. Overall, the most disappointing seasonal I've had from Sam Adams. It could be a really good beer with some tweaking, but is just average as it stands.

05-27-2011 01:24:43 | More by shand
Photo of ummswimmin

New Jersey

2.53/5  rDev -24%

I had this in the signature Sam Adams glass. I really like this glass even though I have never been over impressed with any Sam Adams beers. This is kind of like a cross between a tulip and pint glass.

When it was poured there was a two finger head, which stayed for quite a while. The beer was a golden color with no inclusions.

I couldn't get any aroma off of the beer. I tried a few different times to pick up any bouquet, and I couldn't get one.

There was a very strong taste of grapefruit in the first drink. I kept getting the grapefruit in each drink, eventually I picked up a little wheat flavoring on the end.

There is a bitterness to the after-taste, but that is expected with the over-hopping.

The only redeeming aspect is with how pretty the beer is. The coloring was nice, and the lacing looks really good at the end.

05-26-2011 23:52:26 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of Knapp85


3.63/5  rDev +9%

A lot of people I know really don't like this beer at all, they claim it's "too perfumey". I don't really feel that this beer is a bad summer brew at all. The beer pours out as a hazy yellow color with decent sized white head that leaves a pretty nice lacing. The smell of the beer is bright and fresh, it's got some lemon in there and perhaps a few spices on the nose. The taste is a citrusy and grainy blast of freshness. It's a little sweet and it's got a good balance of fruit and beer. The mouthfeel is very easy going. lightly carbonated and soft. This beer is a great for a hot day in the summer to kill off the heat. I wouldn't drink a lot of these in a sitting but one here and there is usually enough.

05-24-2011 16:19:00 | More by Knapp85
Photo of mactrail


3.3/5  rDev -0.9%

Sharp, heavily spiced light beer.

This is very educational. I didn't realize there was a pale wheat category-- let's call it Denatured Wheat. Strange that it's like a Wit-- wheat malt and the usual spices-- but quite different in taste. Citrus peel is pleasant until the bitterness takes hold. Oddly bitter with such a modest amount of malt to hang onto. Lots of flavor, but I wish it had less!

Another well-made and very light beer from BBC, though one of my least favorites. I think it is much improved mixed with Rampage DIPA.

05-24-2011 06:11:20 | More by mactrail
Photo of Matt1516

Quebec (Canada)

3.08/5  rDev -7.5%

Let's just say that this was the best thing the "Olive Garden" had on tap...

Pours pale golden, slightly cloudy with a small head, light lacing.

Smells of wheat, cloves and yeasts. Thin mouthfeel.

Tastes mostly of lemon, wheat, a touch of hops, and some peppery notes. Mostly bland with a clean finish.

Inoffensive but forgettable.

05-24-2011 02:50:28 | More by Matt1516
Photo of biteme398


2.83/5  rDev -15%

Appearance is a darkish yellow with a fuzzy head that recedes fairly quickly. Not much cloudiness like some wheat beers, although that isn't unusual for American beers in that category. Smell is of wheat and some malts. Not too complex but decent. The taste up front is rather pleasant - wheat and spice combine for something light but not bland. It is the aftertaste that gets me. It is overwhelmingly sour, almost soapy. Maybe it was just a bad batch but it is hard for me to overcome the aftertaste. That brings the beer down considerably.

05-24-2011 01:21:03 | More by biteme398
Photo of marty21

Manitoba (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev +7.5%

A: Pours a very dark golden almost orange with two fingers worth of white foamy head. Settles to a nice cap and left a decent amount of lacing more near the top of the glass.

S: Lots of wheat with a bit of lemon and some spices.

T: Oranges, spices and wheat all combine with a bit of lemon in the aftertaste.

M: Medium carbonation with a light to medium body.

O: This beer is balanced really well. All the different tastes blend together nicely. I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this beer but it surprised me on how good it was. This would hit the spot outside on a hot summer day. It’s too bad we can’t get this in Canada.

05-23-2011 21:18:51 | More by marty21
Photo of bucklemyshoe


3.58/5  rDev +7.5%

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: It pours golden with a two finger head of white foam that holds okay but doesn't lace well.

S: Light fruity esters, mild bread malt, and lemon zest.

T: Lemon, light spicing, apricot, and a little cracker malt.

M: The body is light, bubbly, and refreshing.

O: This is okay; it is very drinkable but not very flavorful.

05-23-2011 15:55:59 | More by bucklemyshoe
Photo of MattyG85


3.85/5  rDev +15.6%

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Bright golden orange with lots of rising bubbles. Big white head that has good retention and a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Lots of wheat and bready malts with a touch of lemon and earthy hops. Hints of spice, honey and pepper.

Taste: A burst of sweetness from bready malts and citrus flavors up front is followed by a mild kick of earthy hop bitterness with lemon zest and spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a medium to high carbonation. Slightly creamy and very smooth.

Overall: A good version of a pale wheat ale. Nice balance of malts and citrus.

05-23-2011 06:39:49 | More by MattyG85
Photo of BennyL1


3.08/5  rDev -7.5%

12oz from the Summer pack with a cool new label. Best by date of September 2011 on the label. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Sam Summer pours a clear straw yellow with a decent fingers worth of very foamy white head. Some good lacing as well makes for a good looking brew.

There is a good amount of the lemon zest in the nose. Some hints of malt in there too for an overall refreshing aroma.

Upfront the taste is rather pleasant with lemon zest and a bit of pale malt. The aftertaste is rather sour from the lemon with some spice notes in an almost unpleasant way. Not bad its just the aftertaste a little too much.

Light and refreshing body with good carbonation.

An OK summer beer but there are a lot better seasonal options out there than this. Not bad if this is your only craft option at a restaurant or BBQ but there are better options.

05-23-2011 02:57:38 | More by BennyL1
Photo of Shadman

Alberta (Canada)

2.93/5  rDev -12%

Heard the advertisements, finally get the chance to try...

Starts off nicely with a bright, clear gold colour, frim thick white head and some traces of lacing..head retention was a bit of a let down.

very slight citrus peel aroma mixed with an annoying malt graininess. S;ight. slight hint of pepper..

Tough to get beyond the grainy malts here..some decent citrus flavours and the pepper spice in the end add a dash of flair, but over all nothing really blends together here.

Not sure one whould even bother with a lemon wedge as none of the traditional wheat bite is here. actually quite watery and bland until one counts about 3 Mississippi's...

Lot's of better attempts out there than this..

05-22-2011 23:38:11 | More by Shadman
Photo of JohnFatAss

New Jersey

2.4/5  rDev -27.9%

I was disapointed in this beer, I had high hopes for this after loving Sam Adams Noble Pils.

Anyway, the beer looks nice enough. Kind of golden color. Not very cloudy for a wheat beer.

It has a sweet pleasant smell.

Not much flavor at first, a little sweet but leaves a sour lemon rind after taste that kills the experience.

It is okay for a summer beer. It will go with most summer foods, but I did not care for the sour after taste it left behind.

A simple lager would be better and less offensive than this.

05-22-2011 17:57:13 | More by JohnFatAss
Photo of Groomsy


3.5/5  rDev +5.1%

12 oz. bottle from Summer Styles pack poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. "Best by" date of August notched on side.

Appearance: Remarkably un-cloudy for a wheat ale? The body was a lightly hazy honey gold/orange, topped by a foamy 2-finger head of an eggshell color which fades pretty quickly. Lots of carbonation bubbles rise to the top, but there is only decent lacing left behind. Meh.

Smell: I definitely picked up the lemon out front on the nose, and I would say that's the most obvious smell here. There's also whiffs of malt and wheat sweetness in there, along with a note of spices and a peppery type of scent (probably the Grains of Paradise). Not a bad smell, probably more lemon in there than I would like though. Probably one of the better summer seasonals on the nose, and not too weak.

Taste: Very sweet on the front of the palate with flavors of citrus, though not quite lemon at this point. There is a soft malt and wheat presence for some balance and glides over the tongue with a nice sweetness, contrasted by the lemon and spice notes that kick in on the finish. The spiciness takes on an earthy, herbal character in the finish and blends with some grassy flavors from the hops which linger on the back of the palate. The lemon characteristics are slightly bitter, very tangy, and almost sour - nearly artificial, which is the big downfall of this beer, as the lemon characteristics grow more intense as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and snappy, very well done drying finish. Much bigger in character than expected for a summer seasonal with a medium body. The lingering flavors are a little undesirable though, especially those lemon flavors.

Overall: This is my first time having this beer so I can't compare it to previous years, but this is probably one of the better summer seasonals out there, and probably the best American Wheat Ale I've had so far, lemons be darned. If the lemons were a little more balanced with the other flavors and not as artificial, I'd give it a higher grade. But it gets kinda gross after the beer warms. Worth a try, though.

05-21-2011 01:54:53 | More by Groomsy
Photo of addmorehops


3.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Don't know why I get jazzed to drink this every year. I had it on tap once in the desert (Phoenix) and it tasted so good. It's never that hot here so I ponder... but anyway, I can like this as a great companion to grilled BBQ food with respectable flavor for a summer wheat, but thought they used to leave more tasty floaties behind. And why is Sam approaching $40/cs here in PA?

05-20-2011 23:28:33 | More by addmorehops
Photo of 9InchNails

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev +9%

I originally had this ontap but I didn't review it. Now I am going to review it from the bottle.

Light golden color with some decent amount of bubbles. A nice white head that eventually disapated to a film. Leaves some lacing on the glass.

I get some sweet grain, wheat, grass and lemon. Quite a pleasant smell.

A sweet taste of wheat, grass and lemon, that is the main attraction here. Also a peppery kick at the very end. Not a bad taste.

Medium carbonation, light in body, leaves the mouth a little dry but refreshing at the same time; it is a summer beer after all. 3.5

A refreshing summer beer, no doubt. The aroma is better than the taste but not by much. I like it but I think their Spring Seasonal Nobile Pils will be missed more than this Summer Seasonal.

05-20-2011 06:12:40 | More by 9InchNails
Photo of curasowa

New York

3.35/5  rDev +0.6%

Appearance: Clear, straw yellow with 2 fingers of fluffy head that fades with chunky lacing

Aroma: Surprisingly grainy/wet grass with notes of yeast and citrusy hops

Taste: Full bodied, grainy and slightly sweet right off of the bat, then a good bit of oily hops mixing in with an astringent feeling before finishing fairly fast except for a lemon-pith bitterness that lingers a bit

The Rest: Not what I was expecting for a summer ale. Much more body, but with a fair amount of citrus stuff going on. Overall, pretty decent.

05-20-2011 00:49:22 | More by curasowa
Photo of ShanePB


3.2/5  rDev -3.9%

I've had this many times in the past, reviewed from a draft version last night, poured into a tall Weizen glass (odd?).

A: Pale yellow, fairly clear, could be a bit of chill haze with a nice and creamy white head. Retention was actually pretty damn good, as was the lacing. I'd like to think this is above average for a APWA.

S: Musky grassy notes, lemon zest, orange peel and a bit of wheat spice. The nose in and of itself is a bit muted, it doesn't have that bouquet of aromas like some other wheat beers do, but alas it's SA - so, for what it is, not too bad.

T: Grainy malt base, very earthy in nature, with a bit of peppery spice at first. Clean lemon comes through next followed by a distinct grassy finish. It's not bad at all, just very average for the style. The complexity of flavors really is non-existent, very one dimensional but still quite drinkable.

M: A bit over carbonated for me, but clean, crisp and pretty refreshing.

It's not one of their best beers by any means, nor is it one of their better seasonal releases but it's still a refreshing beer to have on occasion. Nothing worth buying a 6-pack of, but still enjoyable when it needs to be.

05-19-2011 13:25:51 | More by ShanePB
Photo of vrushing88


1.9/5  rDev -42.9%

I've had this beer every summer for the past several years. The one thing I must remark on before getting to the actual review is the consistency. There is none. I don't mean the recipe changes each year, but it seems like it changes several times a season. If that isn't the case, then this beer just radically changes with time, or environment. Usually one can tell when a recipe is changed or they can at least notice the taste difference in draft/bottle, but it still is identifiable as the same beer. In my honest opinion, with the most recent batch I've tasted (four or five separate bottles), I wouldn't even be able to say it's the same beer.

This beer is a wheat beer, but looks nothing like a wheat beer, it is extremely clear (for even an American Wheat) it pours a pale-yellow body with a decent head.

The smell is very zesty, not a bad smell, I just don't particularly care for it. I find it a bit overpowering.

The taste is hard to comment on for the aforementioned reasons. Overall it has a spicy lemon taste with a bit of wheat malt mixed in.

The beer is light in feel, but it burns because of the spice and carbonation.

Overall this is a decent beer at times. I would recommend working through a six-pack to decide if you like it or not.

05-17-2011 21:49:30 | More by vrushing88
Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
76 out of 100 based on 4,437 ratings.