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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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4,768 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,768
Reviews: 1,553
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 35
Gots: 595 | 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: 4,768 | Reviews: 1,553 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.8/5  rDev +14.1%
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
3.32/5  rDev -0.3%
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
3.16/5  rDev -5.1%
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
3.33/5  rDev 0%
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
3.57/5  rDev +7.2%
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
1.71/5  rDev -48.6%
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
2.6/5  rDev -21.9%
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
2.17/5  rDev -34.8%
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
3.36/5  rDev +0.9%
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
2.38/5  rDev -28.5%
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
3.4/5  rDev +2.1%
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
2.59/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

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

Poured on tap into regular pint glass.

A - Poured slightly hazy amber color with medium head that dissipated very quickly leaving almost no lacing.

S - Mostly wheat and citrus with a hint of hops and spices.

T - Wheat with slight citrus flavor upfront with a hoppy finish.

M - Light bodied with high carbonation.

D - Not bad overall but would not be having this one again in the future.

Photo of megahurts4
3.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Adams Summer Ale

Appearance: Amber, small head, and some lacing.

Smell: Wheat, slight citrus, and slight hops.

Taste: Wheat, lemon zest, citrus, hops, and grains.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light.

This is definitely a good brew. It is well balanced, smooth, and pleasant. It has a very refreshing aftertaste.

Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.57/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a pale yellow straw color. Smelled of lemon zest, hops, and orange peels with peppers. Tasted quite spicy (which did not really do anything for me) hoppy, and all around kindy nasty. Mouthfeel was fairly average with some crisp carbonation to it. Fairly drinkable, not a bad summer choice -- far better than some I have had.

Photo of BamaViper1
3.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

This beer has a dark gold/light amber hue and pours with minimal head that dissipates quickly. Swirling the beer creates a little lacing but it's gone in an instant.

Initially I smell lemon/citrus and malt. The taste is mostly malt with a touch of citrus and the typical bread-like taste of a wheat beer. The finish definitily tastes of wheat bread, and it lingers.

The beer has nice body in the mouth with a suprising amount of carbonation compared to what I had seen in its appearance. I would imagine that this beer is very drinkable as well on a hot summer day for those that are a fan of the style.

Overall, this is not a bad effort from Sam Adams, although I do prefer their marzen and winter lager by leaps and bounds over this one. I'm not the biggest fan of wheat beers, and so I am a little underwhelmed by this offering; however, I can see the SA Summer as a legitimate, easy-going tailgate beer for fans of this style.

Photo of Bookseeb
3.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a hazy golden yellow with a head that dissapates quickly leaving no head. Smell has a light nose of sweet malt. Taste has an interesting light cream soda sweetness followed by a light hop that has good balance with the malt. Mouthfeel is medium with good body and carbonation. Overall its a easy going non complex summer ale.

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

This was the first beer I ever had with family. I remember it pretty clearly - it was on my uncle's sailboat - and, at the time, it was very special indeed.

12 oz. bottle, best before November, served cold into a pint glass.

Sam Adam's Summer Ale is a hazy golden yellow with thin white head. It settles quickly and leaves no lace.

Aroma is very much a lemon bomb. Wheat base is barely detected behind what is almost like cleaning product lemon scent.

I remember really liking how lemony it was when I was younger but my tastes have obviously evolved. This basically tastes like lemon cake. Very sweet, very big on lemon citrus, and almost no bittering at all. A little pepper and some tartness at the end but it falls a long way from providing any balance to the beer.

Mouthfeel is light in body, nicely carbonated, and almost no lingering aftertaste.

Overall, not the beer I have wonderful memories of but that's probably not because the recipe has changed. I see the changes more within myself.

Photo of JMad
3.63/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass...
Color was hazy golden yellow, white head, good lacing.
Smells of lemon, bread, and yeast.
Tastes like wheat bread with a hint of lemon.
Feels light, crisp, and refreshing.
Drinks good, pretty average summer beer. I wasn't very impressed with this one.

Photo of Lemke10
4.1/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a 12pack Sam Adams sampler at Woodman's in Janesville, WI for about $9 in late summer 2010.

I've never had a Sam Adams beer that tasted bad and this Summer Ale keeps the record going. Summer Ale pours a golden yellow with a decent head of foam that has some longevity to it. Definetly can taste the wheat in it. It has a deep rich taste to it that makes it not weak but yet not to stong. Very tasty on a warm summer day.

Photo of Augustiner719
3.13/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes had back in april 2010.

Draft into a pint glass>

Very yellow fizzy looking with a soft white head that recedes quickly with no lacing. The bubbles are streaming from the bottom of the glass and the beer fizzes like lemon lime soda. There are aromas of bitter orange and lemon peel, corriander spice and some grassy aromas. Flavors are similar to the aroma but its got a real astrigent flavor that puckers the palate. The lemon is much more predominant this year and the flavor profile has been watered down from what i can remember. Mouthfeel is astrignent and light, but very refreshing. Artificial sweetness cloys and makes this somewhat hard to put down after it warms too much. Drink cold and enjoy!

Photo of EgadBananas
1.79/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Looks pretty good. Hazy golden color, with a nice little pronounced white head.

Theres a bit of citrus, and a slight bit of breadiness.

Slightly malty, with a bit of lemon zing, not much though. There is a hint of pepper as well. Average is the best descriptor I could use here. But I don't like it.

Upper light in body, light carbonation, fairly smooth.

It's not hard to drink, per say, but the taste is funky to me and I didn't care for it.

EDIT: After having this prior to anything else today, as opposed to after a few others previously, The true awfulness came through! Nearly couldn't finish it. Looks ok, and tastes awful, average body, undrinkable.

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