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

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale

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4,768 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,768
Reviews: 1,553
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 35
Gots: 596 | 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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Ratings: 4,768 | Reviews: 1,553 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of perrymarcus
3.63/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a shaker pint.
best before: august is notched.

pours a slightly cloudy golden-yellow tone yielding about a 1" off-white head that dissipates at a moderate pace; a bit of patchy lacing.

nose is on the muted side, led primarily by lemon zest and malt; grainy.

flavor is decent: the lemon zest is strongly evident out in front, followed by some grain/wheat characters and a touch of pepper.

mouthfeel is medium-light with average carbonation. relatively crisp.

overall, few will mistake this for a world class beer, and it generally doesn't garner a lot of love from BAs. however i find it reasonably flavorful and refreshing, pairing well with it's season namesake. you could do a lot worse.

Photo of ZenAgnostic
2.8/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle with a label notched Enjoy Before SEPT. Poured into wine glass (why the hell not).

Appearance - Hazy amber.

Smell - Orange.

Taste - Grassy. Sour finish and aftertaste. Kinda gross.

Mouthfeel - Medium and frothy.

Overall Drinkability - The bitter sourness ruins this beer.

Photo of engagechad
1.99/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Purchased on draft at Starlite in Richmond, VA - pint glass

Pours a very watery yellow with almost no head initially or upon agitation. Smells herbal. Tastes very medicinal and very difficult to drink. I haven't had many beers that I didn't want to finish but this was one of them. Mouthfeel was menacing and burning.

Overall I would never purchase this beer again and would almost prefer a bmc.

Photo of SkunkWorks
3.1/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap, served in a mug.

Look: clear, pale, golden yellow with visible carbonation bubbles and a thin white head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell: not a lot here at all, with a bit of lemon and pale malt.

Taste: follows the nose with, well, not very much. Pale malt, a little wheat, and a bit of lemon zest. I can't detect the grains of paradise this is supposedly brewed with. Honestly, tastes like a macro-lager.

Feel: about what you want in a summer beer, light, crisp, and refreshing and could conceivably be sessioned.

Overall: not impressed. I don't know why but I expected this to be a little bit better than it was. The Sam Adams seasonals tend to be decent and well, this was pretty much a macro-lager on a craft tap. I wouldn't bother. Cheers!

Photo of Schmittymack
3.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a straw/yellow color with a nice creamy white head that quickly disapated. Aromas of malt, wheat, and a touch of citrus/lemon. Taste was ok: malt, lemon, a bit of biscut, and no bitterness at all on the finish. Mouthfeel was like any other BMC brew. Not bad for a hot summer day but I won't be seeking this one out again. Definitely better on draft.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.91/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a clear golden yellow body with a bubbly white head. No lacing.

S: Grains, honey, & a slight lemon zest.

T: Nothing impressing here as it just taste like a fancy BMC to me honestly. Slight wheat flavor with a honey malt backbone, followed by some hoppy bitterness and lemon zest. Kind of boring.

M: Light body; heavy carbonation; kind of a "dusty" texture if that makes any sense.

O: Didn't care for it. Probably would not get again. Not my favorite one of this style.

Photo of AlexanderSelby
2.44/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Nice golden straw look to it with a fine head. Smells subtle, but mostly getting musky/mildewy citrus. Taste is unbelievable like a orange tic-tac. No joke. There doesn't seem to be much layering. Sweetness and citrus hit at the same time, resulting in, as I said, orange tic-tac. The aftertaste is kind of bitter (not in the hoppy sense) and dirty, like biting a banana peel. Carb level and mouth feel is actually quite pleasant, though.

There are some really tastefully done American Wheats that showcase a citrus/fruity vibe out there, and this is not one of them.

Photo of greenmonstah
3.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into pint glass

A - Pours a hazy yellow with lots of carbonation and a half finger head.

S - Lemon, wheat. You know, like a pale wheat ale! Also a bit grainy and some kind of mild sweetness.

T - Right off some zesty lemon and a mellow wheat. Very bready in the middle, with a gross bitter finish. Leaves the mouth with a dirty lemon peel flavor. Not good.

M - Light body, refreshing. Good carbonation. Dry, grainy in the finish.

O - Not my bag, baby. The finish is almost unbearable. Everything else is fine, but I can't stand the way this leaves my mouth.

Photo of drabmuh
3.31/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer served in a Sam Adam Noble Pils glass and I spent the evening wishing this was Noble Pils. Beer is yellow with a mild haze to it, some lacing on the glass. Moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is grainy and unpleasant, sorry Sam Adams, this does not make me want to drink this.

Beer is medium to light in body, nothing up front with a mild sweetness on the finish. There is a grainy aftertaste that really takes me out of the beer. I had 500 ml of this (why was this served in 500 ml glasses?) and that was more than enough. I'd have it again if it were the only beer at the party and my alcoholism needed to be fed, otherwise I'd pass.

Photo of dcook11
4/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours just under a two finger head made up of whispy white suds. Unlike other beers where the head is somewhat off-white, summer ale is a soild white. The beer itself is a light straw color with v Some lacingery high levels of carbonation. Champagne levels. The smell is malt dominate with vanilla, lemon, citrus, and a touch of coriander and spice at the finish. The taste is light and refreshing but with a nice citrus and spice note at the end. Overall, I love this beer for summer.

Photo of ngeunit1
3.72/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear orange-yellow color with a finger of frothy white head on top. The head fades down to a ring around the glass leaving behind very little lacing.

S - Aroma is full of wheat with honey and lemon peel aromas mixing in. There is just a touch of breadiness and yeast in the background.

T - Starts off with some wheat flavor mixed with some lemon zest. There is a bit of honey sweetness also and some grain. Through the middle some stronger lemon flavor and spices come out. Touch of yeast. The finish is a mix of wheat, honey, and lemon flavors that linger nicely.

M - Light bodied with moderate lively carbonation. Even though it is supposed to be a summer beer, could have used a bit more body since it feels a bit watery. Really crisp and refreshing though.

D - Extremely drinkable. Super crisp and refreshing. The flavors are could use a touch of kick, but they are far from empty and well balanced.

Photo of projectflam86
3.28/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | 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 not one I'll be buying again soon.

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

Clear golden colour with a tiny, white head. Poor head retention.

Robust spicy, lemon aroma with a touch of tart wheat. Nice and refreshing.

Malt, tart wheat, spritzy lemon, mild spice. A crisp, refreshing ale. There flavours get a little overbearing at times.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A decent, flavoursome wheat ale with nice flavours. It's a little over the top and I'd like a bit less of the lemon and spice.

Photo of morehoppps
4/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from bottle to Pilsner Glass. This beer looks like a typical summer wheat, yellowy-orange, hazed. Decent head for a wheat, although it crumbles quickly.

S: Smells is of citrus, and wheaty goodness. Classic Sam Adams complexity, something else you can't put a finger on.

T: At first it seems like an average wheat, but then there's the mystery flavor. I want to say it reminds me of fruit snacks. Cheap fruit snacks.

M: Carbonation could be a bit more crisp. It fits the style, but I like a sharp carbonation with wheats. Take Boulevard Unfiltered for example.

O: At first, I didn't care much for this beer. But sip by sip, I enjoyed it more and more. I purchased the summer sampler, and was least excited about this one (and Sam Adams Light), but it's good. I prefer Boulevard, but still, it's a good beer; something different.

Photo of thebrood1987
4.07/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I instantly get that lemony smell with some yeast, wheat, spicy grain and a noticeable soapy smell. The taste upfront is a crisp bite and then ending with that combination of the lemon wheat and spicy grain (grains of paradise) taste. I would assume that any hops they do put in here is mixing with that spicy grain taste but that outshines the hops. I've never had that taste in a beer before actually. It also has a dry yeasty finish. The soapy smell doesn't come through in the taste at all though and you mostly get that lemon flavor mixed with dry yeasty wheat and dull grainy spice flavors.

I could see why people would go either way with this beer because on the initial sip you get that crisp lemon wheat beer that people would expect but then ends with that bitter like grains of paradise taste. I really like it and I will drink this beer throughout the whole summer.

Photo of mdr4669
3.88/5  rDev +16.5%
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
2.7/5  rDev -18.9%
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
2.56/5  rDev -23.1%
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
2.82/5  rDev -15.3%
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
3.07/5  rDev -7.8%
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
2.69/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
76 out of 100 based on 4,768 ratings.