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

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Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale

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4,753 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,753
Reviews: 1,548
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 33
Gots: 542 | 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)
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Photo of mdr4669
3.9/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been a fan of Sam's Summer Ale off and on for a long time now.

App: Light golden straw with about a finger of initial head that receeds quickly leaving patchy lacing around the glass.

Smell: Citrusy and grainy are the initial scent characteristics. I also notice some paprika and mustard, but a minimal amount of both.

Taste: Lemon grapefruit are the two most noticeable characteristics. In the tail of beer I can also notice the hopiness that makes for a very balanced finish.

MF: Smooth and crisp, what one would be looking for in a brew for the sweaty months.

OA: Every year you seem to get something different with this seasonal release, and this year I think Sam's got it right bottle dated with best consumed by August 2011 and it reminds me of their 2006 release.

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
2.68/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a Samuel Adams pint glass.

All I can say is, I have been a BA member and regular reviewer for almost five years. I remember reviewing this beer years ago, but for some reason, all I could find was my review from 2007. Anyway, onto the beer and how it has changed over the years...

I have noticed over the years that the BBC seems to mess with their seasonal recipes all the time, and this seems to be very much the case for the summer ale. Over the years, it seems to have gotten more and more away from being a good wheat beer with just a hint of spice and lemon, to a a beer that has become increasingly more and more overdone with odd flavors. Anyway, 2011 unfortunately takes the crown for overdoing things, as the lemon is so strong it literally tastes artificial and sour in the finish. It almost reminds me of the strong smell you get with a cleaning product for a household. All of the other characteristics I enjoyed of this brew in the past---the wheat malt, spice from the hops, and overall balance, are basically gone.

Make no mistake about it, I really like Samuel Adams and highly respect Jim Koch, and that's why I am not going to give a good rating to a beer that simply is not good. So, with that, I am going to rate this year's version as it deserves and paste my review from 2007 below...

2007 Review:

Poured a 12 ounce bottle with a clearly marked freshness date into a pint style Samuel Adams glass.

A: A very golden hazy color with a good amount of head. As it's consumed, it leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is mostly dominated by lemon & wheat, but some other citurs flavors are in there as well.

T & M: Starts off with a wheaty malt lemon flavor which rides through into other citrus flavors as well. The big imporvement from last season is in the finish department--this year's Summer Ale has the nice spicy refreshing hop finish I expect from a Samuel Adams Brew, similar to the Boston Lager. Mouthfeel is awesome for the style, as it starts off with a farily substantial body, but then gets thinner towards the end; which, in my opinion, adds to the refreshing aspect of this summer brew.

D: Outstanding! I can say this brew has plently of complexity and flavor for the beer geek, but wouldn't offend too many macro drinkers either. I am very impressed the BBC has improved the finish from last seasons. The only knock (and this is coming from a light weight, go ahead, send me an e-mail and call me a wussy), is that the ABV may be a tad high for the style. It's just too easy to knock back a few too many of these!

Photo of mitchelsliwa
2.5/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Light straw, golden wheat color your would expect from a wheat beer. Nothing out of the order or special.

S: The smell is lemon and bread but overpowering lemon on the nose.

T: I really don't like the taste. It has a decent lemon flavor up front, some wheat and bread in the middle and it finishes with the lemon again but this time its really bitter and unpleasant.

M: The mouthfeel carbonated and light. I have nothing bad to say about this part.

O: I have had sam adams summer in the past, and to be honest, it has gotten worse over the years. The 2010 summer batch was lame and the 2011 batch is even worse. I won't be buying any six packs this summer, and I will give away the summers if I buy a 12 pack mix.

Photo of xylophonica
2.8/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Cloudy and somewhat murky golden colour. Minimal head.

S - Wheat and sweet lemon myrtle. Unfortunately the lemon pretty much kills any other aromas which may be present.

T - So as per the label there's loads of zesty lemon. Hiding under the lemon is a touch of honey and a hint of various spices. Plenty of wheaty overtones naturally abound.

M - Slight bitterness but not much activity on the tongue.

O - Ok so I realise I'm going to be well down on the deviation for this review but this beer is really not that great. It's got a massive hit of lemon which drowns out everything else in pretty much every category. Tastes like someone has taken a decent ale and poured a heap of processed lemon juice into it. Not impressed.

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

12oz bottle with a Best Before Date notched at Aug. Pours a slightly hazy, slightly translucent straw yellow with a thin head. Some lacing. Aroma is of lemon peel, spices, bread and slightly floral. Taste is mostly of lemon and grains. A bit bready. Lemon peel aftertaste. Definitely tastes like a wheat beer, but a bit more grainy than I'd like. Somewhat drinkable but I find the wheat and lemon combination a bit too harsh. Overall, its alright but I wouldn't get it on its own.

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.45/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a cloudy straw yellow with a 1/2" head that fades almost instantly to nothing

S: Lemon, spice, and wheat all come immediately to mind. Some maltiness as well, but that's just about it

T: For the most part, the same as the smell. Lemon zest and spice dominate, followed by that almost bland wheat taste that I usually characterize with most pale wheat beers

M: Light-moderate body with tons of carbonation. Almost like soda in terms of carbonation. Way overdone

D/O: It definitely fits the Summer style well, and is pretty easy to drink once you let the carbonation die down a bit

Photo of puboflyons
3.03/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle that expires August 2011. Sampled on April 9, 2011. The pour is a hazy pale yellow-orange combination with a short bursting fizzy white head the goes away quickly. The aroma highlights the lemon zest and grains far beyond anything wheat like. The taste is summer tart with a zing of lemon, black pepper, and a moderate hop note at the end. The wheat taste is downplayed too much.

Photo of chiccabeer
4.47/5  rDev +34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the quintessential summer beer. The ale has a very smooth ale feeling to it, and does not leave your mouth dry. The flavor has a nice fruit taste without over powering you with too much sweetness. Some places garnish this one with fruit, but I like it as it is. Cheers.

Photo of CrazyMike
3.9/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has a hazy orange appearance with thick white head that slowly settles down. Smell is mostly citrus, picked up orange and wheat as well.

Taste-wise, picked up lots of lemon as well as malt, wheat, some sweetness , variety of spices and bitter hops. The body is medium and creamy with moderate carbonation. After taste is bitter with a lingering lemon taste.

Overall, this indeed comes off as a good summer beer. To bad I got this off season. I'd say it's worth a try. Good to different varieties of Sam Adams coming to Canada (or at least Western Canada).

Photo of joshk
2.6/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

meh, what can I say...

Poured into a glass, like all beer should be.

Looks nice, hazy yellow with a white puffy head. Looks like a lemon meringue pie.

Smells nice and lemony, super light hops (which could also just be the lemon zest). Has a "wheat beer" smell to it under the strong lemon scent.

This one didn't taste too great, I think the grains of paradise plus the lemon zest give it an awkward bitter flavor (as opposed to a pleasant hop bitter flavor). Spice, lemon rind, wheat.

A very thin bodied beer. For the summer this might be refreshing, but even then I'd probably take a sierra nevada kellerweiss or something similar over this for my summer refreshment.

Drinkability is only as good as the beer tastes...

Notes: you can find much better wheat beers/summer beers out there, use this website as a guide.

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

This beer has a lot of very good qualities. Good color, nice citrus smell, very summery. Very drinkable as well. The taste is very unique, you get the wheat, and you get a lot of different fruit and other tastes, you can taste the grains of paradise and all the fruit they mix in. All in all it's not outstanding, but a very good wheat beer non the less, I will get this one again.

Photo of JayS2629
3.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- hazy gold with frothy white head that fades fast and leaves no lace.

S- Lemon and wheat, citrus and coriander, slight spice

T- Follows the nose. Tangy lemon, pale malts, and wheat with some coriander and spice.

M- Watery, tangy, crisp and dry

D- Easy to drink, refreshing.

Photo of JizackFH
3.15/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a slightly hazy pale gold color. It has a decent sized white frothy head on it, that left no lacing on the glass as it fell.

S - It smells mostly of wheat and citrus. There are also some notes of pale malts, hops, and some spices.

T - The taste is mostly of wheat, pale malts, lemon zest, and citrus. It tastes a bit watered down, which is a disappointment, but not a total surprise.

M - It has a medium-light body and high carbonation. Very average mouthfeel here, nothing special.

D - The drinkability is decent. It goes down fairly smooth, and it'd be easy to drink a 6-pack of this in a sitting. Overall, it is a decent beer. It's a beer I'm glad I got the chance to try, but I wouldn't buy it again if I came across it at the store.

Photo of philbertk
3.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Boston Beer Company--Samuel Adams--Summer Ale 1998 12 oz. Bottle. 5.06% ABV. (3.0 / 5.0) Golden Ale--Slightly amber rich cloudy golden color. Nice mild spice front. Good malt body.

1999 12 oz. Big Sam Bottle. 5.06% ABV. (3.75 / 5.0) Golden Ale--Clear light golden color. Hints of spice in pour and aroma. Wheat spice flavor with a hint of lemon opens up unfiltered, but rich wheat body. Finishes with rich special spice overtaking wheat. Sampled 4/28/1999.

2000 Big Sam 12 oz. Bottle. 5.02% (3.75 / 5.0) Pilsner? Slightly hazy light amber golden color. Light refreshing wheat coriander spice front. Belgian White Ale with malty body. Hints of sediment flavor. Delicately tasty with nice flavor and clean maltiness. Sampled 8/10/2000.

2001 Big Sam--Signature Series 12 oz. Bottle. 5.06% ABV. (3.75 / 5.0) Fruit Ale--Spice--Clear golden color. Big head pour leaves good lace. Mild hop front with malty hint of lemon. Mild smooth body with light malty crisp sweetness and hint of wheat flavor. Light clean lemon hop wheat end. Sampled 10/15/2001.

2002 Big Sam--Signature Series 12 oz. Bottle. 4.75% ABV. (4.0 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Slightly hazy rich golden color. Light lemon aroma finishes mild floral light malt front introducing crisp light malty wheat body. Mild sweetness. Refreshing flavorful taste. Clean light lemon wheat end. Sampled 7/23/2002.

2003 Big Sam--Signature Series 12 oz. Bottle. 5.20% ABV. (4.0 / 5.0) Wheat Ale-- Light loose sediment .Hazy dark golden color. Medium lacy head. Floral citrus mild hop wheat spice front. Creamy malty wheat lemon citrus mild sweet fruit body. Clean lingering lemon mild hop end. Malty. Sampled 9/23/2003.

2004 Seasonal Brew 12 oz. Bottle. 5.20% ABV--20 IBU's? (4.0 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Lemon--Mild lace head. Hazy bright lemon orange color. Floral mild lemon wheat spice hop front. Zesty crisp mild wheat spice citrus butter "Paradise" body. Clean refreshing mild hop spicy citrus end. Nice. Sampled 7/27/2004.

2005 Seasonal Brew 12 oz. Bottle. 5.20% ABV--15 IBU's? (4.0 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Lemon--Foamy mild lace head. Bright cloudy dark lemon color. Tangy wheat spice coriander grains of paridise mild hop front. Crisp dry sweet malted wheat body. Refreshing tart citrus spice mild hop end. Nice. Sampled 8/17/2005.

2006 Seasonal Brew 12 oz. Bottle. 5.20% ABV--15 IBU's? (4.5 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Foamy lacy head. Bright cloudy lemon gold orange color. Mild heat ester hop front. Creamy crisp tart wheat malt body. Tangy clean lemon citrus spicy Grains of Paradise clean fresh tasty dry end. Sampled 6/16/2006. (4.25 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Mild lacy head. Cloudy bright lemon orange color. Mild banana clove wheat front. Creamy tangy mild sweet citrus banana wheat malty body. Refreshing mild citrus tangy Grains of Paradise end. Nice Hefe! Sampled 6/18/2006.

2007 Summer Styles Sampler 12 oz. Bottle. 5.30% ABV--15 IBU's? (3.75 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Foamy lacy head. Bright dark lemon color. Mild Grains of Paradise lemon hop front. Crisp mild sweet tangy wheat spice lemon ester body. Refreshing clean mild hop mellow end. Tasty but a little bland. Sampled 4/9/2007.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale Seasonal Brew--Ale Brewed with Lemon and Grains of Paradise--2008 12 oz. Bottle. 5.30% ABV--15 IBU's? (4.0 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Spiced--Foamy lacy tight white head. Clear bright rich yellow color. Floral Wheat Grains of Paradise mild lemon hop front. Crisp clean mild citrus tangy crusty hint wheat body. Refreshing easy mild hot pepper hop smooth clean quenching zesty end. Sampled 4/24/2008. 6-Pack $7.49.

Boston Beer Company--Samuel Adams--Samuel Adams Summer Ale Seasonal Brew--Wheat Ale Brewed With Lemon Zest And Grains Of Paradise--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 5.30% ABV. 10 IBU's? (3.5 / 5.0) Wheat Ale--Spiced. Thin fizzy light lace white head. Light tight sediment. Clear thin bright soft gold color. Tangy lemon pepper mild hop wheat ester front. Crisp zesty dry sweet light thin wheat lemon citrus body. Clean refreshing hot pepper hint mild hop clean citrus end. Aged fizzy. Sampled 1/6/2011. Purchased 6-Pack for $6.99 @ Fred Meyer--Ballard, Seattle on 5/3/2010.

Photo of mikeg67
3.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours golden hazy color with a negligible white head. Soda like carbonation. Nose is of lemon, yeast and some malt. Light body, tart and crisp. Flavor is of citrus fruit and sweet malt . Finish is short and dry. Nice, very refreshing beer.

Photo of elgiacomo
1.75/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

12oz bottle.

Pours cloudy yellow with a tiny white head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

Aroma is lemon Pledge.

Flavor is a lemon gumdrop sprayed with lemon Pledge. Very artificial smelling and tasting beer.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation.

Did not enjoy this at all. Most went down the drain. The aroma in particular is just repulsive....

Photo of Archelenon
2.42/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This may be my favorite of the Sam Adams Seasonal beers, but that doesn't say too much because I'm not a fan of their Winter Lager or Octoberfest. It's a good beer from a great brewer, just not exactly for me. The flavor and aroma, as I mention below, is just a little too lemony and bitter.

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Hefeweizen glass. Label had brief description of beer, with a freshness date of October 2010 (so it was about a month past its prime.) Not too surprising because it came from World Market (which frequently sells outdated beer...)

Appearance: Poured a cloudy light orange with a massive head (at least a couple inches, because of the mid-pour swirl) that dissipated within a few minutes to a thin cap of foam. Good lacing throughout.

Smell: Aroma is heavily lemon with a hint of wheat. Alcohol smell is noticeable.

Taste: Taste is similar to smell - pretty heavy on the citrus with a hint of hoppy bitterness. The sour lemon and bitter combined are interesting, but not my favorite.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is smooth with little crispness/carbonation. This is contrary to some other reviews, so it could be a factor of being about a month past its prime.

Drinkability: With a slight aftertaste of lemon and alcohol, this isn't exactly my favorite beer. I want to run to something else to cover up the strong lemon flavor. Probably won't buy again.

Photo of nhindian
2.58/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a Perfect Pint.

A - Pours a hazy, golden color, a little bit muddy in the middle, but more clear on the perimeter. Some sediment in the glass. Can see some carbonation, but not much. Head is a fluffy, 1.5-fingered head that diminishes to a cap in a few minutes. Not much lacing.

S - Smell is strong with a lemony zest and yeast quality. Pretty mild and not much too it. Some spices and pepper is apparent as it warms up.

T - Taste is very up-front with the lemon. Almost an artificial lemon bitterness overwhelms the mouth and lingers in the long finish. The spices and pepper are also there, but throughout the whole thing the lemon dominates.

M - Mouthfeel is light with heavy carbonation. Too much lemon aftertaste doesn't make this one pleasant to drink and isn't crisp enough to keep it smooth.

D - Drinkability is low. Tangy, artificial lemon is almost mouth-puckeringly sour, and not in a good way. May be good for a session beer in the summer but I can't see me searching it out again.

Photo of BrianBoruma
2.15/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this on tap. Honestly I think there most have been something wrong with the tap line...

A: Looked good. Faint head that was white over blonde body.

S: buttery. No spices in the nose

T: Butter. It wasn't very drinkable.

M: Oily.

D: I didn't order another. So take what you will from that.

Photo of gopens44
3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Solid yellow and hazy. Gentle head that relaxed shortly after the pour.

S - Malty, lemony and delicately bitter, but not overly sharp in it's bitterness.

T -Nice flavor overall. Slight bitterness with good balancing due to slight sweetness of the lemony flavor.

M - Smooth and of medium carbonation

D - I enjoyed this beer. Picked it up with several other SA's in a build your own deal at a grocery store.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine July 2007.

This seasonal is seeing its 12th summer. It's a sort of like a twist on the Belgian White Ale (being a spiced wheat ale) that sports lemon zest and grains of paradise--if you didn't know already.

Very cloudy--let's say murky--orange-ish color. Ample froth after a quick pour, with bubbly and very sticky lacing: a sign of good retention. Aromas of lemon and sweet malted wheat come forth with underlying suggestions of vanilla, white pepper and cherries. Smooth and creamy with a slick, medium body. Malty for starters, with both wheat and barley battling it out. Lemon and spicy flavors try and push through, with hints of pepper and vanilla in the back. A kiss of hop bitterness goes against a flash of fruitiness, as well as hints of cherries and pears. Earthy, almost woody semisweet finish.

This beer is more complex than a summer seasonal needs to be. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it's a pretty bold move to put out a murky, com- plex ale for a summer seasonal while everyone else is lobbing their crystal clear Blonde Ales into the market. Maple-glazed jalapeño turkey burgers with potato salad stood up to this very well.

Photo of Radome
2.35/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from bottle into snifter.

A - The color is pale gold. It is not cloudy, but also not clear--maybe "milky" is the best description. The head was weak and faded quickly.

S - Aroma is lemony and spicy with a strange, vaguely organic note that's not very pleasant. I don't get any wheat or hops through the spices.

T - The taste is dominated by lemon and spice. Standard wheat beer flavors are not noticeable. There is a sharp flavor apparently from spices rather than hop bitterness. The aftertaste is strange and "soapy".

M - The body is thin and watery with an initial astringency that eases later in the sip. The carbonation is moderately high.

D - I would not call this refreshing or drinkable. I give the brewer credit for trying something different than a standard American Wheat style, but I don't care for the heavy-handed, strange combination of spices.

Photo of Adamthome1
3.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, BB: 11/10

Goes down smoothe, nice summer inspired ale. Tangy,, aggressive carbonation, nice lemony aftertaste.

(Unfortunately I have a cold right now, so i'm sure I'm missing some info, last one of the year though so I must make the review)

Not too much citrus, hops just right. Quality, average summer ale, exactly what I'd expect from Samuel Adams, give it a try (might have to wait until next year)

Photo of Derranged
2.55/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this twice on tap, poured into a glass.

First time:

A- Light, cloudy golden color.

B- A hint of lemon, some wheat

T- Some lemon, wheat, water, really not much going on at all, the flavor was very lacking.

M- Thin and watery, decent carbonation.

D- It was easy to drink because of how watery it was.

The Second time:

A- same

S- same, only soapy

T- same, but tasted a little soapy. (Bartender 4got to clean glass properly?)

M- Same

D- Took two sips. Bah.. No more. Luckily I didnt stay at the bar long and had some craft beer.

Overall, this is a weak showing by Sam Adams, not sure how others rated it a B- or above. Not impressed by the beer at all. In fact, I only had it a second time because my friend got me the drink, I asked for Sam Adams lager, he came back with the Summer crap. I'll wait for the Winter Bock.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a light golden color with a decent amount of haze and a several finger white head, although this doesn't leave behind much lacing. Nose is a large dose of lemon and a lighter amount of spice. Taste is lemon, light spice, and a bit of wheat. Light body with moderate carbonation, although the spice takes over a bit. Not too much going on with this, and I would prefer it without the extra additions.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
76 out of 100 based on 4,753 ratings.