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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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4,753 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,753
Reviews: 1,548
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 33
Gots: 536 | 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: 4,753 | Reviews: 1,548 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jsprain1
3.63/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Appearance was a pale golden with pretty high clarity and thick head that maintained itself nicely.
S- Smell is of lemon zest, and pepper.
T- The taste is quite lemon-centric. Wheat and pepper flavors (probably the grains of paradise?) filled out the finish. Far more flavorful than in the bottle, but the flavors didn't mesh well for me.
M- Light bodied, high carbonation.
D- A pretty drinkable and tasty beer. Not my favorite from Sam Adams, but it is often the best option in summer at less beer-centric establishments.

Photo of r0nyn
3.38/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my trusty Troegs pint glass.

A good pour gives this beer a frothy half inch head that quickly dissipates. The beer itself is a slightly hazy, but still clean-looking orange-ish yellow. Not quite as see-through as a pilsner, but on the lightish side. Smell is quite nice, full of a citrus-y fruitiness along with a slight hint of malt.

Unfortunately, the taste does not follow up on the smell. A bit of citrus-y flavoring is in the initial sip, but it quickly disappears into a malty wash with a slight tinge of bitterness in the finish. Wheat is just barely detectable and it's not as sweet as I was expecting. The grains of paradise are evident as advertised, but don't do very much for the palate. There is a bit of sourness that coats the overall taste of the beer and I don't think I enjoy it all that much. Mouthfeel is decently substantial, especially for a beer of this type. Lots of carbonation too.

This isn't a hard beer to drink by any stretch of the imagination. Sam Adams is renowned for making very approachable beers and the Summer Ale is no different. I just wish there was more character to it than simply some sourness and malts. I think I'll stick to hefeweizens for my wheat beer cravings.

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

consumed 04-21-2010, 12oz bottle into weizen glass.

Poured very pale hazy light golden color. 1 finger head quickly goes down to thin film

Smell: zesty, grainy, lemon, pepper... Fresh smell but had a metallic smell I didn't like..

Tastes is also very fresh and quenching.. Lemon zest, citrus tone to it.. pepper, wheat, grain & a hint of yeast... Light bodied with little carbonation.. Leaves a lemon/pepper note on palate.. Very clean beer, just a little heavy on the pepper.

Very drinkable & good for summer.

Photo of Sudsy89
3.9/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big 22oz. mug on draft, cold.

This was a very nice, enjoyable beer. It's medium-bodied with an average level of carbonation, has a white head that quickly dissipates. Pretty golden color, a bit cloudy.
Aroma and taste is nice, has a bit of sweet lemon and hops that combine nicely, not too bitter. Highly drinkable, it isn't much more filling than a lager but has more flavor. I definitely recommend this beer if you can find it.

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Light yellow with fizzy head.

S-Lemons, peppery spice. All quite light.

T-Taste is stronger than the nose. Lemon zest, more spiciness, wheat.

M-Thicker than I expected still pretty light bodied however.

D-Less drinkable than anticipated.

Not a bad seasonal.

Photo of jazer
3.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Probably my second favorite seasonal beer. Definately look forward to this one come late spring. A flavorful beer with an excellent aroma that just tastes so good when it hits your lips. A beer that feels good going down meaning that one could indulge in many before too long.


Photo of FreshHawk
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy golden orange color with a larger than average frothy and billowy head. About average retention that fades into a nice layer of lace.

S - Slightly bready, malted wheat aroma with a good amount of spice, particularly a pepper aroma. Some citrus and fruitiness with a good amount of lemon and some orange.

T - Similar to the taste with some bready and malted wheat taste with some sweetness. Hints of some sweet fruitiness. Mid sip to the finish there is a strong pepper (Grains of Paradise) and other spices and also a strong lemon rind taste. These linger after the sip. Unfortunately these are a little too strong and overpower the taste.

M - Light to medium body with a good amount of carbonation. A bit of a zesty and refreshing feel.

D - A little too peppery and too much lemon rind to be really drinkable for me. It is refreshing, though, especially on a warm day. One would do me fine, but I wouldn't mind a second or to have another on a different day.

Notes: The spices and lemon zest are a little too unbalanced to me. An interesting beer and it does have some refreshing abilities for a summer day, it just seems a little too off balance to me.

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.8/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is nice, but just average. A cloudy, golden yellow, with only a bit of fast-vanishing head.

Smell and taste are quite similar, and are both good. It reminds me of a Trashy Blonde. Lemon, a bit of pepper, and a different (must be the "Grains of Paradise") taste of something like grain/bread and some... cilantro?

Mouthfeel is decent. A little bitter, which I often don't like, but not too much so. It's OK. Not too watery, not over or under-carbonated.

Pretty drinkable, but the bitterness does build a bit, though. Unlike the somewhat similar Trashy Blonde, though, you can have a few of these and not have your tongue destroyed by bitterness.

Photo of H1N1
2.65/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured into a pint glass. 2 fingers of pretty active foam. I actually just sat and enjoyed the popping sounds for a few seconds. Dissipated into a thin layer that remained and stuck to the sides of my glass nicely. The beer was a hazy gold colour which put me off slightly. Looked like a urine sample.

S- Wheat was immediately the most powerful aroma. The smell of lemon peeks out, but the wheat pushes it back. Slight lemony smell. Not much of a hop smell to speak of.

T- A malty wheat flavour. The lemon flavour is there but doesn't taste quite natural. It tastes more like lemon flavour from a lab than actual nice citrus. There is a tiny peppery taste if you search for it, otherwise it is not noticeable. I would like the peppery taste to shine through a bit more.

M- It felt almost slimy in my mouth. I was not a fan of that aspect.

D- Not my favourite Sam Adams. I was disappointed. I probably will not buy this again.

Photo of callmeclemens
2/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

In the spirit of my summer of summer ales, I decided to pick up Sam Adams summer ale.
Drinking straight from the bottle, the first thing I tasted was a chemical lemon flavor, upon finishing and stepping on my back portch I smell citronella, which smelled exactly like the lemon taste in this beer. On the bright side it was smooth and not to strong to be unbearable. In a world of great summer ales there is no need to try this again.

Photo of KTCamm
3.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours hazy golden yellow with 1 finger white foam. Settles to a creamy layer. Some lacing.

Wheaty citrus smell. Malty grain hints.

Lemon malt taste - citrus fades but not replaced by anything, leaving a little malt cloying. Low finish, no bite. Creamy mouthfeel. Prominent spice that I can't quite pinpoint.

Tasty, reliable summer brew. I feel like I have either liked this better in year's past or have just tasted better summers. Tasty, but not refreshing, and gets a little heavy after a while.

Photo of lespaulrocker
4.08/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This is the only part of the beer I don't like. Gold, a little cloudy. Looks like a cheap, gross beer. Head dissolves fast with a little bit of lacing.

S: Flowery, citrusy, and hints of pepper.

T: Citrusy with a bitter finish. Really enjoyable.

M: Little bit of carbonation, not too much, good mouthfeel.

D: Very drinkable, as a summer ale should be.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer.

Photo of Kooz
4.33/5  rDev +30%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a nice surprise. It's been a long time since I've had these, but a got a twelve-pack for a party because I stopped in a crappy store with a bad selection. Anyway...

Nice golden color, slightly cloudy. Really nice to look at and made my mouth water just seeing it.

Nice smell, notes of wheat but not overly strong. Pretty nice.

The taste is really good. A hint of sweetness; slightly sour... It tastes like a corn sour-mash in a whiskey distillery should. Really awesome. Can taste the wheat, really good. Not much of a hops note, which I'm happy about. All in all, it's a really good taste.

Mouthfeel is really nice too. Slightly foamy, really rich. Almost a little thicker than it drinks...

Very drinkable--can drink this all day and all night. Very high marks--maybe my favorite summer beer.

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

Pours light and golden, white sugary head with good retention as a film.

Smells light and wheaty.

Taste is the same, with a tinge of barley-like grain in the end. A bit on the heavy side for it's color.

Moderate to full with tingly carbonation throughout.

Easy going and sessionable, but nothing game changing about it. Good, but I've had better.

Photo of beerprovedwright
3.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Nice Head, almost three fingers, with some lasting power. Good lacing that clings to the side of the glass like glue, good and thick. Not bad color for a light ale, a 6 on the SRM chart. Good trace of wheat, but not overpowering. More of a smell of wheat in the field, not the barn. Lots of carbonation that tingles the tongue as I retain it in my mouth, just a little more than I like. Very little after taste, but what there is...is pleasing. Much better than the other wheat ale's I have tasted. Still a little pricey, I would splurge for those who like wheat ale. I would not turn this beer down if someone gave me one.

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

I expect a lot from sam adams. With summer ale, i was not fully satisfied. The original citrus taste is satisfying, but i hate the bitter aftertaste. A slight bitterness is perfect among beers, but summer ale slightly overdoes itself. Is it too harsh to finish a six pack on a hot day? No. Is it better than a Corona? Yes. But is it the beer that I would prefer to be drinking? No.

Photo of mklinger
2.73/5  rDev -18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a shaker pint. Pale yellow with a thin bit of head. Fairly hazy. Pretty unexceptional looking. No lacing in the glass.

Again, fairly bland. Maybe just a hint of spice and lemon but very little. No hop aroma and not much malt or wheat character.

Taste was similar -- not much desirable going on here. Nothing bad, just nothing of note. The two bottles I drank were very fizzy but light bodied. Not a beer that made me want to drink more; I had two but only because it was the only beer available.

Photo of Spider889
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This used to be my favorite SA offering. Each summer I looked forward to its release and would buy it regularly throughout the hot season. However each year the flavor profile seems to get dialed back more and more, and this year (2010) is the worst yet. Not only has the beer lost much of the spicy assertiveness I used to crave, it has picked up other unattractive qualities.

Pours an orange-gold color, medium to high carbonation for the style with a decent white head.

Still smells good, but not as strong as it used to. It's light and wheaty, nice complex malts and spices. There are peppery notes and some lemon and orange peel.

The taste used to be amazing, but now the spices are getting weakened as well as overpowered by the wheat flavor. You definitely taste the grains of paradise, but that flavor too is getting pushed out by a strong metallic taste. The first time I had Summer Ale this year I swore up and down that I just got it from a bar that must not clean their tap line or something. But after having it on tap 3-4 times at just as many places this year I have concluded that the metallic flavor is a permanent fixture in this year's batch.

It's still highly drinkable and quenches your thirst. Had this over the weekend for free at a charity event and was happy to drink 3 or so glasses nonetheless.

Photo of jr0d420
4.93/5  rDev +48%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok, well I've seen most reviews out and about giving this ale an average of a B-.. This is not acceptable! This ale achieves a great complexity of taste and yet such simplicity in drinkability that I do not understand why this ale is rated a somewhat above average B-! Summer Ales are meant to be drinkable, but with this much flavor?? Wow! Where to start? Ill Opt to not.. This is a great Ale! Enjoy the grains of paradise!!

Photo of aasher
3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It poured a golden straw wheat yellow, slightly cloudy with barely any head. It smells of yeast, citrus, and coriander and smells pretty good. It tastes of light yeast with the citrus, perhaps orange peel, coming through. It's slightly sweet and tastes pretty solid, definitely better out of a bottle than on tap. The mouthfeel is just ok. It's very light with just slight carbonation. It's extremely drinkable, being both tasty and light. It's something worth drinking if on funds are tight. It's probably my favorite Sam Adams brew after the Boston Lager.

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

I am glad they featured this beer on the Sam Adams brewery tour. It is a completely different beer on tap than the bottle I had.

A: bright lemon yellow with some cloudiness.

S: the floral hops shine, as does the lemon and pepper.

T: lemon, white pepper, and flowery hops.

M: light-bodied, good carbonation, no oiliness.

D: so much better than the bottle I had!

Photo of mlazzaro
2.2/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

no year or date to be found.

very pale wheat beer, crystal clear, low head retention.

I literally placed my nose in the head to smell, and still got very little aroma. Smells like yeast more than anything.

tastes of lemons, water thin body, low carbonation. very watery. It is zesty and peppery. Not very beer-like though.

I feel like it used to taste different, or my palate has changed dramatically.

(you can float a cap on water.)

Photo of peensteen
2.8/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy golden pale colour, little head no lacing present on the glass. Smells strong of citrus and yeast, that was pretty much all that was going on in the aroma department for this one. Lots of green apple and bready sweet malt in this. Medium to light in the mouth, not terrible but lots to be desired here. I could drink one of these but thats about it. By far not my favorite from Sam Adams. Glad to have tried it though.

Photo of RankRefugee88
3.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a tap into a 22 oz mug.

A - Very cloudy, not clear at all, small white head. Very little if any lacing.

S - Nice aroma. Smells of citrus and wheat, hops are also present.

T - Taste is good. Bitter at first but boy does it go well with a nice summer meal. Citrusy lemony presence stays till the very end of a sip. Wheaty and hoppy too, but the citrus makes this beer very tasty on the palate.

M - A bit chewy, good mouthfeel. Light, refreshing, leaving a crisp clean and dry finish.

D - Drinkability is good. Its a beer you can drink all day and its very very refreshing. A perfect beer to enjoy on a hot summer day.

Overall good beer. Good go to beer if looking for a summer style.

Photo of Reaper16
3.48/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Pours a pale yellow with a fair amount of haze to it. Not much head but what is there is sterling white. Little lacing. Body size appears to be appropriate. Average.

Summer Ale smells like a pale wheat that wants to be a sort of witbier but is unsure of itself so it awkwardly sits between styles, much like high school goth girl who still wears blonde highlights in her hair. A zippy, wheat base smell dominates but you also get exactly what the label promises: notes of lemon zest and grains of paradise. It is the lemon and GoP that prevent this from being completely blase.

Taste is very muted. This is like craft beer 101. Some wheat tang here, a dripping of lemon peel there, some interesting spices that taste like a distant afterthought rather than the focal point that they should be. Decent, probably even above average for the style.

Mouthfeel has a good level of carbonation to it. The body is right in line with other popular pale wheat ales. Nothing to write home about but it gets the job done. If it weren't so muted in taste relative to what it could easily be then the drinkability would score higher. It is one of those rare beers that is too boring to be a great session candidate for me.

All in all an above average pale wheat. Nothing more.

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