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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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4,785 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,785
Reviews: 1,556
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 16.52%
Wants: 37
Gots: 638 | 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: 4,785 | Reviews: 1,556 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ujsplace
3.1/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pub glass.

A: Golden orange, decent head, minimal lacing.

S: Spicy, lemony citrus hops with mild malt

T: Grainy, earthy hops with mild malt, but somewhat lacking.

M: Light, decent carbonation.

D: Drinkable enough, just not much in terms of remarkable flavor. Seems to be a very safe middle of the road, brew. I think this would be good at gatherings, but I would get bored with too much of this...there just isn't much to offer here...

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a light orange/yellow brew, white creamy head, nice lacing. Head stays a top the brew.

Smells of citrus/Lemon - slightly bready scent.

Pours a citrus/lemon flavored brew, smooth mouthfeel. A slight bready taste.

Very drinkable and very non offensive. This brew lacks alot of character but is still good for a session. Nice on a hot day.

Photo of dbmcrorie
2.86/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz brown long neck bottle with freshness date notched on back. Poured into an American pint glass.

Golden honey colored body with cloudy chill haze. One finger of puffy off-white head that dissipates before the first sip.

Citrus, lemony honey, soft citrus hops and faint malt presence. Crisp and clean. Soft spice in the back.

Astringent. Bitterness is too heavy. Interesting twang, less "tangy" than promised. Clover honey, lemon zest sourness, and a banana fruitiness are to the extent of the flavors in this brew. When it comes to entertaining my tongue, it appears that the malt is asleep, and the hops just don't give a damn. Prickly carbonation and a rough mouthfeel. Sticky and bitter finish.

The carbonation is good for waking up the mouth on a hot day, but the profile does little to keep up. Not impressive in any format. Another lackluster brew from Sam Adams massive library of beer. I think they hurried over this recipe a bit too hastily. Thank god their Boston Lager is phenomenal, otherwise brews like this would deter me from the brewery altogether.
Could pair decently with stereotypical summer foods such as hotdogs, as well as spicy German food, California burgers, fish, and steamed clams.


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

12 oz bottle into a weizen glass.

Hazy golden-orange color with one-and-a-half finger head that dissipates to a thin cap and leaves virtually no lacing.

Aroma is slightly medicinal/soapy and lemony with wheat and some interesting spices.

Has a dry, crisp lemon zest flavor with some wheaty goodness and a dash of malt sweetness.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with little carbonation makes this a refreshing brew that lives up to its moniker.

A fairly decent brew, but I seem to remember it being significantly better on-tap.

Photo of hossua34
3.73/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is great. A light, pale gold. Cloudy but not opaque. A thin head quickly turns to a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell = lots of wheat, lemon and oranges.

Taste is a little bit on the citrusy side, with a bitter, almost champagney bite at the end. A nice orange-wheat aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, a little bubbly IMO.

I don't know, I can taste the alcohol in this one a little bit too much for a 5.2% brew. And letting a glass warm up a little results in a pungent, almost grapefruit-like aftertaste. For me anyway.

Overall, pretty good. Not a lot to make it stand out from other summery, citrus wheat beers however.

Photo of OnThenIn
3.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: a beautiful white finger and a half thick head. A nice yellow copper color.

Smell: The nose seems to be all about the lemon and the wheat. There was a little bit of bready goodness in there too, but nothing mind blowing. It was pretty subtle overall.

Taste: Metallic notes, which was somewhat of a let down. There was a great deal of lemon flavor with a hint of fruity citrus. The flavor had some definite bitterness in it which dominated any hint of malt. But there may have been a tiny bit of sweet malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation plays up a lot of the mouthfeel here and without the great amount of carbonation it seems the better would be on the thinner side. As is, I would say it is medium bodied. The lack of a watery quality to the beer which I have seen in lesser "summer beers" is a nice bonus, but overall this is just a simple average beer with nothing really great going for it.

Drinkability: I must say this simple refreshing drink was the perfect beer to have when being done with a hot day at the beach. Otherwise, I do not think I will be picking this one up again.

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

I poured into a pint glass to an inch of creamy white head. It was gold in color and cloudy. I got the lemon scent right away followed by the wheat. I tasted the lemon up front and got the spicy, bready taste on the back end. It tastes a lot better than I remember. I am on my second and see no problem finishing the other two I have left. I may drink it again.

Photo of jhammel01
4/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat cloudy carbonated light orange with a pretty thick fluffy head. Unfortunately, the head does not stay around to long.

Smells a little bready and some citrus. Not much else hitting me. Seems like its a bit muted from being so cold..If that makes sense...

Tastes great. Citrus and slight lemon notes come up 1st with some slight hop flavor. Has a good bready malt finish.

This beer has become one of my favorites from SA. Can't go wrong on a hot summer night with some of these around!

Photo of Lolli1315
3.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a golden to caramel looking color. A little bit darker than what I am used to for this category of beer.

S- The citrus smells hit you right away. Most notably is the lemon scent that comes through as expected by the description.

T- Lemon is the biggest taste that I got out of this beer. The citrus is pretty strong and refreshing on a summer day.

M- Medium bodied mouthfeel, pretty average run of the mill. Nothing too special, but certainly not bad.

D- Pretty easy drink. I went through a couple of these before I knew it. The only problem is that the citrus flavor becomes a little too much after a couple.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.61/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Nice golden color with some haze. A nice amount of white fluffy head.

Smell - You can smell the "summer". One can smell lemons, bread, yeast, wheat malt, etc.

Taste - Taste's similar to the nose. Nothing overly complex or dramatic. There is a rush of spices/lemon after the initial sip.

Mouthfeel - As I stated with the Blackberry Witber, it is not very thick in mouthfeel, and is quite carbonated (but I feel it works with this drink).

Drinkability - A good beer to have on a hot California summer Sunday. Sitting outside doing this review and drinking this makes me enjoy it all the more and it really does hit the spot right now.

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

I enjoyed this beer on tap recently at Ruby Tuesday's.

I was pleased to see it on the list. RT's lists my beloved Yuengling as an option, but alas, it is only for their east coast establishment. BFE Ohio gets no Yuengling. However, they did have SA Summer Ale (SASA?) on draft.

The appearance is mildly cloudy -- not unexpected for a wheat beer.

The smell was a bit lost on me due to a cold (unfortunately).

Taste was excellent and balanced. I enjoyed the hint of spice which, to me, had overtones of cinnamon or nutmeg. I also enjoyed the fact that the spice was not overwhelming, nor was the beer obnoxiously sweet.

Mouthfeel was fine -- no objections.

Drinkability was excellent. This beer complemented my steak and mashed potatoes perfectly on a summer day. An enjoyable brew!

Photo of sarahspat
3.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very frothy, creamy-looking white head sits atop a clear honey-hued liquid.

The nose is very subdued... I detect some grassy notes, but that's about it.

The taste contains many pleasant flavors that I can't seem to pinpoint other than more grassiness and notes of vanilla. It's a bit spicy, but very refreshing and crisp. Creamy mouthfeel; highly drinkable.

It's above average for the style, but not spectacular.

Photo of jimj21
3.97/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Bought a twelve pack of this ale. Twelve ounce bottle marked as best by September 2009. Poured into a standard pint glass. Sam Adams Summer Ale pours a hazy golden yellow/orange. Topped by about a finger of white head. There's not much staying power, as the foam recedes quickly. Not much lacing either. Some bubbles rising in the glass.

Smell is mostly of wheat. There are also some citrusy aromas of lemon and lemon peel. Some spices are there, but I can't pick those out. A little bit of sweet maltiness.

Flavor starts out with a little wheat tanginess which works along with the lemon zest to provide some bitterness. This is where the malty sweetness starts to come through. A little bit of caramel even. Finishes a bit spicy and kind of dry.

Mouthfeel is a little creamy, even though this beer is light bodied. Carbonation is noticable but definitely not too much. A little dry, but not detracting.

I think this is a great beer for the summer. It's not complex and it's not packed with flavor, but it is incredibly easy to drink. It is also very refreshing on a hot and humid day. It's even something that most non-craft beer drinkers can enjoy. Definitely something I look forward to every summer.

Photo of BierFan
3.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. The notched label says to enjoy by December.

Appearance: Nice and fluffy off-white head. Hazy honey/amber body. Small spots of lacing.

Smell: Nice lemony aroma. Reminds me alot of a witbier. Kind of has a cinnamon aroma as well, perhaps that is from the grains of paradise.

Taste: The taste doesn't come together quite as nicely as the smell of the beer does. Still pretty tasty, though. The grains of paradise give it a certain "hearty" character that sets it apart from other wheat beers.

Photo of pasdachuri
2.17/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Hazy gold with a creamy white head. Very similar to a German Weissbier like Franziskaner.

Grainy and malty, with a bit of lemon spice.

Heavy on the wheat and hop bitterness. Very bitter. A little bit of lemon flavor and an unpleasant spice taste to finish.

Crisp with a medium body.

Could not stand the taste co not very drinkable to me. I typically enjoy this style but was looking to trade the rest of my sixer away after the second or third sip.

By far my worst experience with the Boston Brewing Company

Photo of vishneda
2.62/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into glass. Was our Friday afternoon beer at work. Best by "November".

This looked pretty good in the glass. However, the aroma put me off pretty quickly. There was a citrus note, but something else was in there that none of us liked. Something sort of like the smell of fresh asparagus.

The taste was equally disappointing. Nothing about it was very strong. The grain flavor came through without much complexity. It had a slightly sour quality which lingered in the aftertaste. Metallic notes as well.

I did like the body and carbonation of the beer; these were perfect for a summer day, even if the ABV is a little high. It was pretty drinkable for a beer which I did not like to taste.

Summer ale was not nearly as good as we had hoped, and we were scratching our heads trying to figure out what we were missing. I started to wonder if we got a bad six. However, there was nothing obvious to say that this beer was damaged or very old. I hate blasting this beer, but compared to Gumballhead, Honey Moon, 312, etc this one didn't live up to the mark.

Photo of Buggies
3.35/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy golden yellow with a this head and blotchy lacing.

S: Wheat malt and citrus with hint of bread and yeast.

T: Taste is pretty much as the the nose. Not much to talk about. Slight sweet citrusy finish. A basic American wheat.

Not much to talk about here. A basic example of the style. Altogether a nice beer for what it is. It's a thirst quencher which makes it drinkable on a hot summer day.

Photo of a4tuurbo
3.21/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A-This beer came to my table with just a tiny little head that quickly dissipated. It was a nice clear gold color with high carbonation.

S- The most prominent smell was malt with a little bit of lemon.

T- I could definitely taste the malt as well as a touch of hoppy bitterness. I did get a hint of lemon but not much. The grains of paraside gave a slight spicyness at the end.

M- I didnt particularly like the high carbonation. Otherwise, I can only describe it as average. Not too thick and heavy but also not watery.

D- Although not my favorite flavor profile, I could definitely drink quite a few of these.

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

Pours a hazy, cloudy orangish-yellow with a thick foamy head that quickly settles down to about 1/4". Active carbonation, lots of tiiny bubbles rising to the top. Aroma is tangy and citrus-y, definite hints of lemon. Taste is crisp & refreshing, clean wheatiness with a nice lemon peel bite. A hint of spiciness. There's a nice creaminess to the mouthfeel. Overall, a really good thirst quenching summer beer. After working in the hot sun all day, a couple of these REALLY hit the spot!

Photo of VTaler
3.52/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a mug
A - Dark honey color. Modernate carbonation with a nice white head. Sticks around for a little bit and leaves behind nice lacing

S - Lemon and wheat aromas

T - Wheat is the first flavor but its eventually overcome from the citrus hops and the spices. As you drink it more flavors start to come out. Relatively complex for a wheat beer. I do not really like wheat beers and I though that this was pretty good

M - Could be a little less carbonized

D - Pretty drinkable. Nice and refreshing

I not a big fan of wheat beers so if you like them then you shouldnt have read this review

Photo of MeisterBurger
3.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden amber with a bubbly head. Made a nice crackling white noise sound as the carbonation escaped. Looks nice.

Smell is grains and lemon rind, with a touch of funky Belgian yeast. Some pepperiness comes out later.

Taste is citric and crisp toasted biscuits, lemony wheat, just a hint of ginger almost, the carbonation tickles the palate and leads to a dry finish and slightly bitter, peppery, yeasty aftertaste. It's pretty tasty and satisfying for a lighter beer and it'd make for a great backyard summertime refresher.

Mouhtfeel is crisp and carbonated, yet smooth.

It's easy drinking and would be easily sessionable.

Best before date: April 2010.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Golden with an amber hue. Low carbonation. Pours into a 2 finger, bubbly, white head. Settles fairly slowly leaving a small blanket of foam. Some spotty lacing remains.

S: A little malt, wheat, lemon and orange citrus.

T: Prominent wheat base (as expected), a little hops, and citrus. A little sweet, also a little steely.

M: Very light, really refreshing. Flavor is full but light, aftertaste of a little bitterness which you don't really get in the initial drink.

D: Good brew for the season.

Pretty nice appearance. Good combination of components in the nose, although subtle. Nice light flavor with good combo of summer elements in there. Overall, this is a really nice quaff, summer or otherwise.

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

A - Sudsy white head that equates to several fingers thick. Slight haze from the year obscures the view, though not like a German variant. Upon head receding, severe lacing forms on the side of the glass. Though this was served in a Hefeweizen-style glass, it was an American version of one. Upon further observation at warmer temps, the once hazed beer looks clear, indicating some chill haze. Lastly, carbonation is high with bubbles consistently bubbling to the top, which helps keep a near finger-thick film on the top.

S - Slightly sweet banana mixes with spicy clove. Orange and lemon give a citrusy aspect to the beer. Unlike some German varieties, there is no floating yeast in this beer.

T - Orange and lemon sweetness comes through, with a mild yeasty flavor. The beer has a light-bodied consistency to it. Since it was served at what seemed like very cold temps (35˚F?), it felt a bit too cold on the tongue. With that said, had I been outside in the heat of summer, this could have possibly been favored differently :) A kiss of hops comes through to balance out the malt and finishes dry and crisp.

C - So I did a lot of investigation into this beer, as American Wheat beers are usually not preferred over German variants. Also, the term Summer Ale didn't exactly describe what it was I was going to be drinking! Researching the website tells you that you're drinking an American Wheat Ale. In addition to Grains of Paradise, lemon and gives reference to this beer being brewed with the Flanders style in mind, which would mean this wouldn't be an American Hefeweizen, yet an American Wit.

Possibly, the peppery notes supposed to be prevalent in the beer was mistaken for the clove, of which I found and possibly, the banana note was wrongly mistaken for the peach and mango scent that I was supposed to pick out. If so, then my apologies to Samuel Adams for thinking I was drinking a wrongly interpreted (according to all Style Guidelines, an American Wheat Ale should not have notes of clove and banana!) American Hefeweizen.

In the end, no matter what Sam Adams defines this beer as (Wit vs. Weißbier), I can't say I was overtly wooed by it. The beer provides a refreshing session beer (well it's at the top of the range [5.3% ABV], but I'll give it to them!) that can easily be drunk in quantities of 3+. For the drinker that is looking for more complexity, I would recommend Sierra Nevada's Kellerweis Hefeweizen, or Ommegang's Witte. Of course one can find spectacular "Old World" versions out there as well!


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

A nice hazy golden color with a 1.5 finger head that faded quickly. The taste is citrus with a hint of spice that I can't put my finger on. Possibly corriander? Overall a very light, refreshing taste. Pretty good drinkability as it is not hoppy in the least. A good basic beer, but not something I would "have to have" as it were.

Photo of PEBKAC
3.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Leftover bottle from the latest Colombian soccer beatdown that I can't believe we payed $30 to endure. September notch, quite fresh. Poured into my Sly Fox tumbler.

Milky agitated pour down the center. Settling into a tight inch & a half of whipped froth over a cloudy pale wheat body. Sticky, beaded, lace.

Smell is very real with ripe bananas & bready yeast; I don't sense Runts™. More like banana cream the more I drown in it. Faint peary notes, as well as very new grass. The wheat portion is boring & smells like it's been been boxed up. Subtle spices all along the edges, making it quite a nice package regardless.

Taste has big ideas of pear & even some apricot. Green bananas more then traditional thoughts. The wheat just comes off as dust. Spices are very mild in clove & glue. White bread, & bitter melon go one point up one point down. Finish has some vanilla(maybe?), but otherwise, just weak pale wheat.

Carbonation is moderate, falling off quite rapidly after settling in a glass. The wheat feel is disappointing at best, just giving a murky feel to the beer. Hef or bust IMO.

Two in & I'm done here.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
76 out of 100 based on 4,785 ratings.