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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: 594 | 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 Jesstyr
3.65/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Summer to me is the ultimate grilling beer - the first one I grab is the beginning of the season, and the last one I drink is after labor day weekend. Of course I still grill year round...

Appearance is pale orange with a fizzy white head that starts out with a few fingers, but lingers nicely throughout. Nose is lightly citrus, much like a bit of a watered down hefeweizen, but with a little bit more yeast.

Taste is lightly citrus, with a light body, but I find it a really enjoyable drink, particularly for the style. Its well balanced, not overly flavorful or hop, but has subtle elements. Overall, it just has a summer feel to it, which makes it ideally suited for the season, and for its primary use.

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
3.95/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, Sam Adams Summer Ale. My longtime summer standby at most of my area's restaurants.

A-A very nice pale orange--yellow color. Slightly cloudy but not near as much as many other wheat beers that I have had. A nice one finger off-white head and a fair amount of lacing left on the glass.

S-Orange and lemony citrus scents dominate the nose but there is enough malt there to bring out a bit of a bready quality.

T-The citrus is the main component here as well but the malt does come through nicely to balance things out. A little bit of hops to keep things from getting overly sweet.

M-Carbonation and body are great for the style. Not too heavy

D-High marks in this area. This beer was made for hot summer days. Very refreshing and goes down easy. I've lost count of how many places I drank this beer at last summer, but please keep your orange wedge and frosted glass. This brew is better without them.

Photo of Veillantif
2.91/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look out for those variety packs. I said, "Oh, it's Boston Lager and some other stuff on special!" like an idiot.

A=Pretty color; not as swampy-looking as a lot of other wheat ales. A finger of head that stays for a good two or three minutes.

S=I appreciated the hint of lemon, because it added a fresh scent to what was otherwise a little unpleasant. Got a hint of something dank, like old vegetable soup or something.

T=Exactly like the smell, but fortunately not as sweet as I was afraid.

M=Thin carbonation. Feels like punch (and doesn't taste that much different from it either).

D=There are just so damn many beers like this, and there's nothing to raise this one into the 75th percentile. The lemon's a nice touch. But if I wanted another beer like this, I would get some Leinie's or something, and use the buck I saved to buy an actual lemon. More Vitamin C that way.

Photo of david131
3.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A lightly hazed yellow liquid with a splotchy thin white head. About right for the style.

S- Very yeasty white bread, orange, lemon, some spices, and a definite Sam Adams-ness.

T- Very yeasty and citrusy. White bread, butter, lemon, and spices.

M- Has a significant yeasty mouthfeel with a lasting bready aspect.

D- A very ready beer that is pretty drinkable, especially on those hot summer nights.

Photo of pzrhsau
3.85/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice Cloudy golden color with a decent sized head.
Smell: Very bright and citrusy with an underlined peppery spice note to it.
Taste: Very strong lemon undertones pair well with the wheat malt and the grains of paradise really gives it a nice character to it.
Drinkability and Mouthfeel: Very light and refreshing beer that pairs really well with a lemon on a hot day to add some tang. Great summer beer to just sit and enjoy.

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

Poured into a perfect pint glass. Very cloudy yellow/straw color with 1 finger white sudsy head. The smell is mild - wheat, lemon, yeast. The taste matches the smell. A strong wheat flavor with a bit of citrus. The bitter wheat, slightly sour lemon, ends with a touch of spice. It's a pretty good summer ale but feels a little heavy after a while. Not bad, but not my favorite of Sam Adams.

Photo of Prostman81
3.41/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer many times before in the bottle, but had this on tap last night at a local bar & grill. Temp for the day went into the mid 80s (very unusual for N. IL this time of year). Seemed to be an appropriate choice. This has to be one of the first new shipments of this stuff for the year since it is only April right now. The beer tasted really fresh, and actually way better than some of the bottle examples I've had previously.

Color was an orangey gold, definitely hazy, and had a minimal head which completely dissapated after the first couple of swigs.

Not much going on for this one in the aroma department. Taste brings forth a nice blend of citrus and spice. Very smooth mouthfeel with no lingering after-tastes. Definitely refreshing to drink. I knocked back several of these no problem.

Overall, I'm glad I had this one again. If you can get this beer fresh on tap or decently fresh in a bottle, don't hesitate to call on this after a hot day. I still think that older examples of this have a wierd after taste, but this iteration certaintly disproved that notion.

Photo of cbgVT
2.7/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Funny how one's palate can change so dramatically. This used to be one of my favorite beer and was one of the first 'better beers' I liked. I have since moved on to real better beers lol, German Hefe's lately. It is kinda funny how SA Summer Ale claims to be a wheat ale. Far from it.

Appearance - decent, slightly hazy golden straw color. Little head at pour and a slight trace of lacing. Disappointed in that.

Smell - not too much of a smell, slightly lemony

Taste - Tastes like what I would imagine lemon scented pine sol to taste like. I really don't like the lemon zest, it tastes like lemon extract was added to the bottle. It is overpowering.

Mouthfeel - well carbonated, not too much not too little. I prefer a thicker bodied beer, especially if it claims to be a 'wheat ale'

Drinkability - for all my complaints, it isn't the worst thing in the world, but certainly no better than 'Okay'. I am glad it has a decent ABV though, if not I would probably let it stay in the fridge for desperate times.

Photo of berpwillie
3.45/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a golden yellow color with a little bit of pearl white head and light carbonation. there is malty wheat taste with some hints of lemon. neither were apparent in the smell. o.k. beer nothing great. probably wouldn't drink again unless it was the best beer available as it was last night when i was eating dinner at red lobster

Photo of BigIrishman
3.21/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden straw with a fluffy white head. Smells of very faint lemon and a bit of spices which I would normally associate with a wheat beer. Taste is lemon with an adequate citrus hoppy taste coming in, a bit of a wheaty spicy flavor ends it. Mouthfeel is very crisp and light, pretty good for a warm summer day. Drinkability is also fairly high on this beer, it's perfect for a nice easy relaxing summer day. Overall nothing to write home about but adequately quenchable when the time calls for a nice refresher.

Photo of skullsplitter
3.88/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always thought this beer should be rated higher. Perhaps because it holds such a strong sentimental value to me I rated it higher than most. To me this is the best beer when sitting by the beach during the summer.

Appearance - Cloudy. Very light head as well as lacing. Good retention.

Smell - Strong citrus smell. Definitely has some spice.

Taste - No mistaking it is a wheat ale. Pretty strong body. Much more than any wheat ale I have ever tried. I won't lie the taste is somewhat strange, but I like it. Tangy as well as slightly spicy.

Mouthfeel- Excellent. Very crisp and refreshing.

Drinkability: All around good beer. Great for the summer.

Serving type: Tap

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.46/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Adams Summer ale poured a hazy golden color with a small head, that dispated quickly. I found the smell of it to be a bit offensive. There was a strong wheat taste, with lemon, and a delightful aftertaste, it was lighter, but still falvorfull, overall not their best seasonal, but still good.

Photo of Espenoza
2.97/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Golden, hazy, with a thin white head.

S - Strong yeast smell definitely with some citrus notes.

T - Not what I was expecting, it is very crisp and take a bite at you half way through. I like the lemon and grains, but the bite is a little over-powering.

M - It is crisp but thin.

D - I think it's okay, but I can only see myself having one on occasion.

Photo of wahhmaster
3.45/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Paulaner weizen glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy straw color. Has a small, foamy white head that has good retention but leaves little in the way of lacing.

Smell: Has a strong lemony smell to it backed by a crisp yeastiness typical of most wheat beers.

Taste: Lemony with a citric bite up front. Develops into a yeasty, spicy flavor. No hop taste to speak of. Not bad, but this is pretty standard in terms of American wheat beers.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and refreshing with a nice carbonation bite.

Drinkability: This is a pretty average beer. Nothing really stands out about it. It's a good summer seasonal and is very refreshing on warm days but not something I'd seek out on a regular basis. There are many better wheat beers out there.

Photo of bump8628
3.93/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with a best by date of August notched on the label.

Straw-gold topped by a thick mat of white foam.

Tangy, crackery wheat is evident and forms the base for the spicing. The lemon is quite refreshing and natural and goes well with the peppery character of the grains of paradise. Hops don't really make an appearance, which allows the spices and the wheat to shine. Finish is dry with a refreshing tingle of carbonation.

A nice, and unique take on the style. It's great for hot summer drinking and pairs well with a variety of light fare.

Photo of bnes09
3.77/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lemon colored and semi-transparent in appearance. A weak and bubbly white head forms and recedes quickly with little lacing.

Smell is crisp and yeasty with a citrus tang.

Lemon and apricot flavor hit the tongue right away. Yeast arrives to mellow out the tangy flavor. Hops are hardly detectable. Finishes with a grainy wheat character that is somewhat dry.

Light-bodied with mild, tingly bubbles. Refreshing on a warm day.

Overall, a decent brew and a nice summer seasonal. Some interesting flavors are detectable and are pretty well balanced. A nice choice when you want something refreshing and not too filling or bitter.

Photo of jmich24
3.16/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A: Orangish amber in color. Quarter inch head. Sporadic lacing. Not impressive.
S: Wheat, bread yeast, slight citrus (lemon).
T: Similar to smell. No bitterness.
M: Smooth, crisp finish.
D: Good drinkability. Crisp refreshing on a summer afternoon.

Not bad overall. There are just much better other choices available. I will not buy this again.

Photo of NA1NSXR
2.36/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - Small head, slightly hazy golden color, little carbonation, looks kind of lazy. Reasonable lacing.

Smell - Ok, I can smell all the stuff they listed on the label, the lemon, some funky grain and exotic spice. This beer smells quite strongly of all those things, but is it a good smell? Not to me, really. Maybe I'm too much of a layman to appreciate these exotic ingredients, but I don't like this smell.

Taste - Oo. Spicy. I am getting all of that 'grains of paradise' up front, the lemon in the middle, and the wheat at the end. This is definitely unique, but a bit too much of the special spice that doesn't really fit my taste.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is okay though, its typical wheat ale feel, maybe a hint thicker, which is fine by me.

Drinkability - For me, this is a bit too funky for me to have again. This is coming from someone who likes wheat beer a lot. I guess its the 'grains of paradise' pepper that is the selling point and also the culprit at the same time. Maybe with fish, chicken, or white meat like that. Maybe. I can't believe the consensus has this better than the coastal wheat.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into half-liter Paulaner branded weizen glass.

Appearance: Pours clear gold with a large white head that dissipates very slowly and leaves behind lots of lace.

Smell: Wheat aromas with lots of tangy citrus and hints of spice.

Taste: Pretty weak on flavor- tangy lemon with grain flavors and a strange bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light body with little carbonation. Refreshing.

Drinkability: Nothing special at all here. Not bad, and probably a good beer for hot summer days, but overall pretty average.

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

This poured a slightly hazy medium gold with a tiny white head which soon turned into a thin film and left moderate lacing. Nothing special going on here.

Nor is there anything special about the aroma. It's mostly a faint wheat scent along with an even fainter citric note.

The taste wasn't much of an improvement, and I struggled to give it even an "average" grade. It was similar to the smell, with wheat malt playing the main role with a very small lemon accompaniment. There was also a musty quality to the beer, but overall it was what I'd call weak tasting.

The mouthfeel was again, very average at best. Somewhat thin, but with just enough crispness to keep it from being too dull.

All said, this was simply a very mediocre beer. I live in a very hot climate, but I can't see myself purchasing this one again. There are far too many beers of it's style out there that are superior.

Photo of Saint
4.27/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Certainly in the running for my favorite wheatbeer. This brew is exactly what it says it is, Summer Ale, its perfect for summer. Its appearance is cloudy amber. It smells of slight hops, wheat and zesty citrus. It tastes refreshing, its a wheat beer but with the taste of zesty lemon citrus flavors, very Similar to MagicHats Circus Boy. It has no flavors that overwhelm at any point, from first sip to aftertaste it presents a very even & pleasant palette, through and through. Its mouthfeel is average, nothing real special to report here, certainly not unpleasant, but not really unique. As far a drinkability, on a hot summer day, on the beach, out sailing, camping, hiking, grilling, enjoying a number of BBQ treats, polish-wiffle ball, or any other number of outdoor summer activities, this beer ice-chilled is a prime choice. Several of them in a row can and should be enjoyed on the regular this spring and summer.

Photo of ocbears
2.88/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A: Yellowish/orange with a tinge of cloudiness. Small, perfectly white head.

S: Lemon, grass, something has a slight dank quality to it. Possibly the wheat?

T: Much the same as the aroma. A mixture of lemon, some grassy hop characters. As it warms up you notice the alcohol in the throat.

M: Good level of carbonation. Light bodied and somewhat creamy. Not at all chewy.

D: Hmm. I'm not much of a fan of this one. Nothing really grabs me at all in the way of aroma or taste. It's a one and done for me. None of the flavors are terrible but it doesn't quite work.

Notes: I reviewed the Blackberry Wit the other day and in terms of appearance and body it's much of the same, hence the similar review. I'd say I prefer the Blackberry to this one, though.

Photo of pwoody11
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Hazy golden color, flirting with almost an orange hue.

Aroma is of citrus, mostly lemon, some spice (african grain?) and wet wheat-like scent.

Taste is somewhat similar to the aroma with the citrus and spice. Maybe some honey? Overall the flavors are pretty mild and hard to detect. I also have no clue what the african stuff tastes or smells like to be able to pick it out. Not really detecting any bittering from the hops, which for a summer beer such as this, IMO, is not a bad thing.

Overall, I enjoyed the brew, and as with the others in the variety pack, I think they compliment each other very well.

Photo of RevereBeer
3.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looks: Pours a bright yellow which is just the tiniest bit hazy, quickly dissipating white head and no lacing. No carbonation to be found.

Smell: Sweet, fruity and citrusy. A little spicy. Some wheat smell as well, but nothing too powerful here.

Taste: Sweet malts and lemon dominate the taste, with just a tiny bit of hop flavor, which is appropriate for the style. Some wheat flavor, but only in the backround. Honey and some spice add a nice touch.

Mouthfeel: Strong carbonation with a very light body. The subtle spice gives some texture.

Drinkability: Oh so drinkable on a hot summer day (minus the heavy carbonation). Very refreshing with the powerful lemon taste and light body. Could probably fly through a 6-pack of this if it were hot enough!

Photo of RobbieB5555
2.36/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

For the last two years I was a huge fan of Sam's Summer Ale. When I first tasted Summer Ale in 08, I thought it was wonderful. It had a great taste from start to finish. Last year I was a little less impressed. This year's Summer Ale totally missed the mark in my opinion. It is great when it first hit my tongue, but then there was nothing! I thought maybe it was me and I asked others with me what they thought, and they agreed that when it first hits your tongue there is a party, but no finish... nothing. I know that every batch of a seasonal brew is different, but when I have and expectation of how something should taste, based on past experience, it is much more disappointing. I only hope that Sam's October Fest doesn't disappointment like this beer did.

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