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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.

4,244 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,244
Reviews: 1,532
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 28
Gots: 276 | 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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Ratings: 4,244 | Reviews: 1,532 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ElGrecoVerde


3.6/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very pleasant and unoffensive summer brew. It's not going to knock your socks off, whatever that means, but it will chill your feet on a warm summer day.

Has a grainy, orange peel aroma. Smooth orange flavors throughout, with a slightly spicy wheat and grain.

Feels smooth, crisp, and full, without feeling like a burden. Perfect feel for a summer brew, and combined with it's good, crisp flavor, it will make plenty of visits to my fridge.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 19:02:19 | More by ElGrecoVerde
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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

'Summer Ale' is a befitting name for this beaming golden brew; although plenty of light is allowed to pass through, fine dusty particles blur clarity enough that only shadows are visible on the other side. Its linty white head is very responsive to swirling but always tapers off to just the one thick outside ring of foam. Hardly any lacing is left.

Like most American wheat ales, this is rather agreeable but has an additional, uncustomary savoriness that is definitely notable even while not being overpowering. The beer's 'aww chucks' appeal, however, quickly grows old as the lemon zest and grains of paradise notes go stale at the expense of tiresome malts and an overly complaisant spiciness.

The mouthfeel has both gritty bitterness and fruity tang, albeit each in compromised roles. The spices are again quite agreeable, and fitting for a beer meant to be light and refreshing, although a peppery texture definitely coats the palate long before anything earthy or sweet sets in. The finish is dry and croaky like steamed pak choy or other Asian greens.

Flavours of dry grass and grapes, raw wheat, and floral hops compliment the grains of paradise, which are actually quite mild in taste. The Asian greens flavour continues as a steamed bok choy plays right into a lemon zested chickpeas, with added mandarin slices and pomegranate molasses. It tastes like a healthy dinner, with as much bitterness as sweetness.

I got no qualms with this one. Sure, there are better summertime patio beers, but in a crunch this will do just fine. In fact, I can see this being enjoyed by the more casual crowd of beer drinkers as well as the more demanding aficionados. Indeed, come summer, this is exactly the kind of refreshing, endlessly quaffable ale one wishes were more widely available.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 03:42:56 | More by biegaman
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


3.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy gold in color with fizzy white head. Looks like a light wheat beer.

Smell: Crisp, bitter, but no good. Maybe this just isn't our thing. This smell reminds me me of Anchor Summer Beer (we were not fans). This smells very corny and stale to me. Other wise man says it smells sweet and crisp, but can't really pick out what the sweetness is coming from...

Taste: Well, each of us saw this beer a little differently. One wise man thought it tasted stale and corny, almost like a thicker upgrade of Budweiser. The other says it tastes like an above average wheat beer. The taste isn't anything notable, however there's no reason to have any beef with it.

Mouthfeel: Thin body + medium carbonation = meh

Drinkability: Yes, i could drink a lot of these. No, I do not want to drink a lot of these. Sam Adams Summer Ale, you get a 3. Nevermind, the other wise man present likes it more. Sam Adams Summer Ale, you get a 4.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 01:27:47 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of Rayek


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

A: Hazy gold color with very active carbonation. White head is rocky and has nice retention. Leaves a fair amount of lace.

S: Toasted biscuit with a lot of lemon and peppery spice. An interesting mix of aromas.

T: Dry and tart with pronounced toasted bread, lemon and pepper qualities. Bitterness is spicy. Finishes with a lingering tartness.

M: Medium light body is grainy and coarse on the tongue. Carbonation level feels about right.

D: Nice summer offering. I'd have to be in the right mood to visit this again, however. This is not your typical wheat beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 16:47:46 | More by Rayek
Photo of TerryW

Ontario (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Found this one to be a bit of a letdown, especially after the interesting promise of lemon zest and grains of paradise. At the end of the day the beer just failed to distinguish itself.

Good looking brew, appetizing appearance, hazy golden colour, good head and some lace.

Failed to follow through in the aroma and taste side though. Not quite as exotic as I figured it might be.

A good lookin' average beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 01:33:22 | More by TerryW
Photo of nem2006


3.98/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this on tap at a Red Robin as a 22 ouncer. It was barely hazy, yellow and gold. With a nice head that lingered for about 1/3 of the drink. Nice lacing.

Smelled semi-sweet with some citrus tones.

Light-bodied, started sweet and sharp with a slight bitterness at the end. Very smooth and goes well with summer. This is a very refreshing beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2008 23:22:37 | More by nem2006
Photo of woemad


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

12oz bottle purchased about three weeks ago at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.19, 20 cents off it's regular price. According to the label, it's best-by August of '08.

Poured a slightly hazy, golden color with a big, sudsy white head that hung around longer than I expected. Lots of drippy lace left on the sides of my SA glass.

Earthy and lemon-y in the nose, along with a mild sweet maltiness. If that's the vaunted "Grains of Paradise", they definitely take a backseat to the lemon zest.

The taste is dominated upfront by the lemon zest (though it remains pretty mellow - this is no fruit bomb), with an earthy graininess huddling in the background. A mild maltiness becomes evident just before the swallow, which is crisp and somewhat dry.

Light-bodied, with a carbonation level that is high but nowhere near over the top. The mothfeel is mildly efervescent.

While not a flavor bomb, this is a refreshing take on a much-maligned style. It would make an excellent lawnmower beer and hit the spot on what is the warmest day thus far this year.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2008 00:18:39 | More by woemad
Photo of CaptainIPA


3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

P: 12 oz., brown bottle purchased as part of the Samuel Adams Summer Styles 12-Pack. Purchase before notch: AUG/2008

A: Pours a hazy, golden color with a luxuriously foamy head with excellent retention and active carbonation.

S: Aromas of wheat and lemon zest with hints of vanilla and grass.

T: Opens sweet with a strong, wheat malt foundation, mild spicing (Grains of Paradise), and blasts of lemon. Finishes light with a tang of citrus and no perceptible bitterness.

M: Crisp, smooth and refreshing. Medium-bodied.

D: Brewed for session drinking. So far, the best of the SA Summer Styles.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 22:44:24 | More by CaptainIPA
Photo of Overlord


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


Pours a dark yellow with a moderately large white foam head. Smells faintly of ... wheat and musty spice.

Taste is quite different. Malt and wheat with a weird spicy pepperiness. I had to look up the description of the beer to see if there really is pepper in it. Apparently, there is.

Different, which is nice, wouldn't buy again.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 06:50:03 | More by Overlord
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer


3.13/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served cold from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Boston Lager glass.

Cloudy golden color, almost orange, with a fluffy off-white head that oddly didn't leave lacing.

Subtle aroma, a bit of lemon and wheat. Not a weizen, by the yeast anyway.

Flavor is mild, uninspired. Dominated by a weird, distracting softness. Slightly spicy and a bit of citrus.

Mouthfeel is slick and soft, unpleasant.

I had this back to back with a Corona, and the Corona kicked Sam Summer's ass. Totally unexpected. I'm a Boston Beer Company fan, but their Summer Ale misses the mark, doesn't satisfy. They should take this one out of their rotation and push their much better White Ale more strongly in the market.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 00:30:10 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
Photo of Gtreid


3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-Tap at LeeRoy Selmon's in Sarasota. Great ribs by the way.

A: Cloudy, straw yellow color with about two fingers of white head. The head remains strong for the entire glass and the lacing is impressive.

A: Strong lemon smell, almost over the top. The spicy grains of paradise are apperant as well. Some earthy hops and biscuity malts round out the nose.

T: Very summery. Lemon, earthy hops, wheat, and spice. A little bitter and finishes sweet and dry.

M&D: Light bodied beer. The agressive carbonation makes it a bit sharp on the palate. I think there is too much lemon in this. But, this beer was one of the first to turn me on to the craft beer scene, so I search it out every year. I really enjoy Summer Ale, not the best of the style, but at 5.2% ABV this is very easy to drink out at the BBQ. Skal.

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2008 12:51:38 | More by Gtreid
Photo of drinkininthewood

Ontario (Canada)

2.93/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

6 pack from the LCBO. BB April 09

Served from a 355ml brown bottle into a Hoegaarden glass.

A- Golden yellow color, decent white head with good retention and some lace. Floating particles rather than "haze".

S- Some faint wheat aromas with hints of ginger.

T- Light wheat, some slight cardamom and ginger, but way too tangy. This brew could have seriously gone without the hoards of lemon zest, but, it makes it very refreshing in the scorching summer heat.

M- light bodied with medium carbonation.

D- Ice cold is the only way.

Overall this brew was just way too tangy. I just felt like i was sucking on a lemon the whole time. Last years batch was way different. Note: 6 hours have passed and I still can't shake the tangyness from my palate. 2weeks later shared 6 pack with a freind at the beach but very drinkable in the summer heat.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2008 01:02:03 | More by drinkininthewood
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.85/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a clear golden color ale with a light foamy head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of light wheat with some grain of paradise. Taste is a mix between some grains of paradise with some very light wheat. Taste is very dry with the spices also coming through. Light body with average carbonation. Malt base is just too light for this beer to be truly interesting.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2008 19:54:47 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

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

Recent LCBO purchase, I've had a few of these in the last week and finally decided to review one. Hazy, gold orange hue, thin head but distinct ring around the rim of the glass. Carbonation was gentle but persistent in the haze but there was not as much lacing as I hoped to see. This is a certainly a good looking beer.

The smell on opening was melon and an orange-soda smell, really not much more happening. In the mouth, there is a minor hop presence, enough to distinguish this from a macro, then lots of lemon, wheat, appealing but a little dry at times. With warming, unfortunately, the taste got more metallic with a cleansing sort-of finish that compromised an otherwise refreshing summer ale.

Overall, I found this an acceptable quaffing brew and suitable as a session beer provided it's kept cold - ideal for a party by the pool.

Tried again December 15, 2009: The three finger white foamy head with nice lace and seemingly good retention was promising to begin with. After a short while, it took on a flat, non carbonated hazy orange liquid appearance that was less than appealing. Smell of sour dough bread, rye and caraway was up front and curiously odd.

The taste was similar to the smell with a lot of rye bread and caraway seed taste, hops not as inspired as I expected and little of the lemon zest promised on the label. The Grains of Paradise spice ingredient - which I found online described as akin to a blend of "ginger, cardamom and pepper" - most likely influenced the taste the most but didn't in my view make this much of a summer beer. Mind you, I'm not a pepper fan so that's a bit of bias coming through; still, the beer was far too earthy for my liking without much in the way of citrus or hops to balance it.

While writing this review in December of a "summer ale", I asked myself whether it was a bit long in the bottle for a fair assessment. However, as the label specified that it was best before April 2010, I concluded that this must be pretty much what the beer tastes like and, with all due respects, I doubt I'd buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2008 00:53:33 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of WJVII


3.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass (from a Sam Adams variety pack) this brew has a pale orange color with a 1/2 inch head, leaving minimal lacing. I am not one for summer brews (seem to be marketed for the ladies) but this one was ok. The smell left something to be desired with mild wheat notes and some slight spice. The tasted was more than the aroma led to believe. It was a fresh brew with some clove and mild balance. The carbonation was more than I like, but this was a decent brew. On a hot summer day I could put a few back!

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2008 00:36:52 | More by WJVII
Photo of clayrock81


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

Had this last year and couldn't wait for this year's batch - I guess, as the Geto Boys once said, "my mind's playin' tricks on me".
I remembered trying this last year and it being a great pale wheat; that isn't the case this year. Pours a orangish body with a great one-finger head that was very creamy. Picked up some citric notes and clove, among other spices, in aroma but kinda weak. The beer threw me off. It was smooth, a little creamy, had a nice taste, but everything was kinda blase. Had some orangish, citric taste, and some spices, but overall was a little bland and watery. Not a bad beer, but I can think of other summer ales this season to try first.

Serving type: on-tap

06-12-2008 04:24:11 | More by clayrock81
Photo of Halcyondays


2.8/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a cloudy yellow, with a medium white head, good retention.

S: Very light, wheat malt and lemon.

T: Bitter lemon comes to the forefront, cereal grains and peppery spice in there too.

M: Light and crisp, smooth, medium carbonation.

D: An interesting mix of flavours, but just wasn't into it at the end, I'd choose others for a summer refresher.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2008 17:03:51 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

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

12oz bottle poured into a SABL glass. Pours a hazy straw yellow with a thin head that diminishes to a ring. Aroma is citrus hops, sweet fruits and a hint of bubblegum. The taste is an interesting blend of hops and wheat with just a touch of fruity spice. The beer is very crisp and refreshing with decent carbonation. While I'm not a huge fan of wheat beers, this one is certainly enjoyable and would be great on any hot Summer evening.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2008 09:00:19 | More by atsprings
Photo of Reagan1984


2.83/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I felt that this beer had an astringent mouth feel.

After pouring from the bottle there was a 3 finger head that vanished quickly. As the beer was consumed there was no lacing to speak of.

Deep gold color with slight haze. Not at all dark, but a little more bold in color than I had imagined.

No haze. (Strange for summer/wheat)

Noted a slightly spicy Citrus aroma.

The taste followed suit Spicy & slightly sweet up front with citrus notes. Classic wheat finish.

I think that many of the Micro-Brewers have dramatically upgraded their summer offerings this year. Sam Adams has not looked to change their Summer Ale at all. That's too bad as I think it's being left behind.

It's not terrible, but it's also not special.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2008 01:19:19 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of tgbljb


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

Served as cloudy light apricot colored beer with moderate white puffy head.

Smell shows some distinct notes of citrus.

Taste is a lemon-orange-citrus combination with a nice refreshing feeling.

Goes down very easy and is non-offensive.

Not a whole lot to thos beer. Good for hot summer afternoon when a thirst-quencher is needed.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2008 22:07:54 | More by tgbljb
Photo of Gish

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly opaque, golden color, with a minimal head.

Smells of malt with herbal undertones.

Big upfront wheat taste with a slight citrus flavor. The advertised lemon and grains of paradise are not very apparent.

Average carbonation, could be a little less watery.

Definitely a good straightforward beer for the summer, there is no problem with drinking a few of these.

This beer is not what I expected from the description. Not very complex and the component parts end up being redundant. It is still a certainly refreshing and enjoyable beer though!

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 16:39:01 | More by Gish
Photo of Strix


3.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange with a small head.

Smell is wheaty, yeasty, with a vague citrus presence.

Taste is fairly average. Nothing to really make this stand out here, tastes like a simple wheat beer. Wheaty, citrusy. Drinkable, but not exciting for me.

Mouthfeel helps this along, sturdy and crisp.

Overall, I had no problem finishing this, but it didn't really leave a lasting impression either way.

Serving type: on-tap

06-07-2008 23:41:16 | More by Strix
Photo of DmanGTR


4.22/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Red Lobster so I'll do this review rather than the bottle review (which are basically the same).

A - honey amber, slightly foggy with 1/2" head that did not lace.

S - spicy, citrus, malts, orange peels, whiff of yeast.

T - sweet maltiness up front, followed by a complex array of spices and a touch of citrus tang. Ends nicely with a light hoppiness and it did not have too much aftertaste for such a spicy beer. Quite crisp.

M - medium/light bodied with healthy carbonation. Not sticky but had a little bit of chew.

D - quite drinkable. I could easily have had a couple of these over the course of dinner but I decided to be frugal and make it last.

Overall - A good beer that can be paired with a number of different meals or just a refresher on a warm day. This reminded me somewhat of the Shocktop Belgian Wheat, only better. Very good, will buy again.

Serving type: on-tap

06-07-2008 05:54:18 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of Popkorn615

New York

4.45/5  rDev +33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a cloudy orange with a 1cm thick marshmallowy head that slowly dissipates to a surface glaze.

S - Citrusy, (probably from the lemon zest added to the beer).

T - Lemony, orangey, citrusy, zesty, and malty.

M - Very light and smooth. A touch watery and could probably use a little thickness in its body, but it is by no means a distasteful lack of thickness. Personally, I thought the mouthfeel was great, but I could understand how others might think that it is a little thin.

D - A fabulous summer ale that is very light and refreshing, and possesses a great balance of each element. I could easily have countless numbers of these in one go, especially on a sweltering hot summer day.

Serving type: on-tap

06-07-2008 01:15:17 | More by Popkorn615
Photo of genog


3.6/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden straw yellow color with a slim amount of white lace and almost no head. Smell is very wheat with some citrus, and spicy notes from the grains of paradise. Taste is very much a wheat beer with a kind of weak finish. Mouth is a little carbonated, but nothing too heavy.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2008 20:19:22 | More by genog
Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
76 out of 100 based on 4,244 ratings.