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

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Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale

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4,801 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,801
Reviews: 1,562
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 42
Gots: 666 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-09-2001

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,801 | Reviews: 1,562
Photo of Knapp85
3.65/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of mactrail
3.35/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of Matt1516
3.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of biteme398
2.92/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of marty21
3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of MattyG85
3.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BennyL1
3.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of Shadman
2.91/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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..

Photo of JohnFatAss
2.48/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

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.

Photo of Groomsy
3.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of addmorehops
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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?

Photo of 9InchNails
3.65/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of curasowa
3.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of ShanePB
3.21/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of vrushing88
1.93/5  rDev -42%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of AdamBear
2.38/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-pale cloudy yellow with a thin white head

S-crisp wheat malts and lemons. very light smelling. smells like a Sam Adams.

T-comes in with tangy wheat malts. the lemons come in, but its not the good lemon flavor, its more the flavor of the sour lemon seeds...not exactly a sought after flavor. the flavors are light and oddly bitter. it takes awhile before the after-taste comes in. it is a decent spicy flavor but is unfortunately paired with the weird lemon taste. this is a pretty awful beer.

M-medium carbonation with a watery finish.

O-i like sour beers but this has a tangyness to it that makes this one difficult to drink in my opinion. i can see how this might be up some BA's alley, but not mine. this is one of the worst offering of the style that I've ever had.

Photo of russpowell
3.89/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent honey color with 2+ fingers of ivory colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Grassy & lemon zest up front
& coriander

T: Follows the nose,, you get grains of paradise also & white pepper, slight white grape juice up front. Grainy & lemony notes plus all the spiceyness mentioned earlier as this warms. Grains of paradise really show in the finish, very crisp & peppery

Medium bodied & crisp

Presented well for the style, very drinkable

Photo of birdman200
3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark yellow, with a faint white head that dissipates fast. Smell is very wheaty, with a slight lemon/citrus smell. Very fruity hint at the end of the taste, with a wheat taste as well. Very crisp and refreshing. Very easy to drink, great for summer. Very simple.

Photo of Looneybiz
3.28/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass has a nice golden hue with a 2 finger frothy head that has nice retention and leaves decent lacing.

Amora is dominated by lemon. A little hard to pick up anything else since its such a strong scent to begin with.

The taste is very light and almost tastes adjunct with a little lemon. Has a little more flavor than your average adjunct but not much. Seems Sam Adams watered this beer down a little this year.

Overall it will still be a great beer to enjoy outside in the sun.

Photo of nickfl
3.18/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours with two fingers of bone white head resting on a clear, golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves light lace.

S - Honey-like malt aromas with a little bit of lemon and some grassy hops.

T - Lemon and coriander flavors up front with a bit of spicy grain character. More citrus in the middle with a hint of orange and some peppery phenolic notes. The pepper becomes kind of medicinal in the finish with grassy hops and moderate bitterness. A lingering, burnt toast and phenol aftertaste.

M - A moderately thick body, average carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - It starts out very promising with a nice, spicy and fruity character but things really fall apart in the finish. It gets really medicinal and almost burnt tasting with a stale spice character that lingers long after all of the pleasant aspects have faded away. Too bad really.

Photo of NEhophead
3/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle served in a nonic.

'Enjoy before 08/2011'.

Pours a watery, pale straw in color filled with active carbonation. Foamy white head that is quickly decimated by the carbonation. No lacing to speak of.

Sweet, biscuity malt character with a healthy dose of diacetyl. The primary aroma is a wheat-filled must that that gets a sharp, hint of lemon.

Overly-sweetened toasted malt that is quickly overwhelmed by a solvent-like lemon. Notes of mild pepper over a bland, slightly musty wheat and adjunctory grain base. The astringent lemon lasts well into the aftertaste.

Light bodied; primarily airy despite the dominating carbonation presence.

Some flaws in flavor and aroma, but all in all a fairly average offering of a sometimes boring style.

Photo of AmericanGothic
3.68/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Peace Tree pint.

A: Pours a cloudy pale yellow orange color with two finger os fully white head. Excellent retention and lace.

S: Tame wheat with slight pungence. Over time, the pungence becomes more pronounced, and has a bit of a smoky character.

T: Grains of paradise give a spicy start to the flavor, but it drops off suddenly like the start of a roller coaster, descending quickly into pleasant but unremarkable wheat. However, it slowly creeps back in during the finish. The trajectory of the flavor changes is somewhat abrupt, maybe awkward, but still good. The overall impression is a little bit like a Witbier, both in terms of the spice as well as the underlying wheat profile.

M: Unremarkable, average. Very light, almost feels like nothing is there at all. Odd.

O: Okay, I know lots of people really don't get excited about pale wheat ales, myself included (except gumballhead). And there seems to be a consensus that Boston Beer Company almosts always comes in as second best or below. But this beer has a few things going for it. 1. Very light and refreshing for hot summer days. 2. The spiciness from the grains of paradise is pretty unique and well showcased in this beer. So, I think I'll see this one in the fridge again.

Photo of LiquidBread219
3.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a pale golden color with a thin foam head that leaves some lace.

S- Corn and grain with a touch of honey and sweetness.

T- Mild honey upfront with some sweetness and a touch of hops in the finish. A bit of citrus and plenty of spice and yeast flavors.

M- Light bodied and decent carbonation.

O- Overall an ok beer but I buy them basically to have around for people who aren't really that into craft beer because I don't keep any BMC products at my house.

Photo of kflorence
2.97/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear, golden color with very subtle hints of copper. Virtually no head and no lacing around the glass as you drink. Carbonation looks medium to high. For a wheat ale, it doesn't look like much.

S: Smells of sweet malts, grains and honey with a bit of citrus. There is also a sour, astringency. Some hop floralness lingers in the back.

T: Tastes of sweet malts, honey and wheat with a butter and floral hop backbone. It's simple and to the point with no distinctive notes. Not really what I'm used to in a wheat ale, but very in line with other Boston Beer Company brews. Was hoping this one would be a little more outside their usual realm of brewing.

M: This is a light bodied beer with a good level of carbonation and a bit of creaminess that coats the tongue. It's a bit thin without much substance, but that's to be expected.

O: Overall, this is a simplistic brew without much to offer. That's not to say it's bad, but in my opinion it didn't live up to its potential. I was hoping for a bit more flavor and a bit of substance, maybe something that would break outside of the realm of being "just another Samuel Adam's beer." That said, it is drinkable and better than most mass-produced American offerings, but I wouldn't go out of my way for one.

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Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
76 out of 100 based on 4,801 ratings.