Samuel Adams Summer Ale - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,603 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,603
Hads: 5,162
Avg: 3.37
pDev: 29.08%
Wants: 55
Gots: 1,012 | 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.
View: Beers (118) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Summer Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,603 | Hads: 5,162
Photo of Rifugium
3.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

First had: bottle from a friend's cooler

Pours a hazy golden with a nice white head that recedes fairly quickly to a thin layer of bubbles. Light malty aroma, lemony, grainy. Typical wheat bite in the mouth, with obvious lemon and peppery spice; a little harshness to it, but for a major label, not a bad beer. Good balance of flavors. Light bodied and easily drinkable; best in summertime...obviously.

 403 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.89/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent honey color with 2+ fingers of ivory colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Grassy & lemon zest up front
& coriander

T: Follows the nose,, you get grains of paradise also & white pepper, slight white grape juice up front. Grainy & lemony notes plus all the spiceyness mentioned earlier as this warms. Grains of paradise really show in the finish, very crisp & peppery

Medium bodied & crisp

Presented well for the style, very drinkable

 473 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.68/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours with an orangish golden tone with a nice frothing orangish white head that left me relatively quickly. Another sorry attempt for Sam Adams to make a classic style, it's not horrible it's just Sammed out. Has the same background flavors as many of their beers, which I am not crazy about. The aroma is full of the lemon zest aroma that is nice but the beer shouldn't just have the bitter taste of lemon zest. It cancels out the pleasure of the smell when you taste the bitter offness of the lemon zest. Overall not very drinkable or enjoyable for me. I don't consider this a true witte bit if I did it would be on the bottom of the wittes I have tried. Will not go for this one again.

 699 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.61/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy; light amber. Thin head, decent lace

The smell is almost non-existent--too mild to evaluate well. I detect some wheat, little else.

A classic wheat beer taste. Some sourness and nice spice. Tight carbonation, moderate body.

Any easily quaffable brew. Think front porch, watching thirsty people walking by--here's the beer for that.

 353 characters

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, best before 11/2014. Pours hazy bright golden color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, pepper, wheat, cracker, bread, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of pale malt, spice, and yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, pepper, wheat, cracker, bread, light honey, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Minimal herbal spice bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, apricot, pear, apple, coriander, pepper, wheat, cracker, bread, light honey, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good balance and robustness of pale malt, spice, and yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/yeast/spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 5.3%. Overall this is a nice spiced pale wheat ale style. All around good balance and robustness of pale malt, spice, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,447 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy, pale orange color, clear yellow at bottom, with a lovely meringue-like, creamy white head, large & softly settling.
Aroma: delicate, with tingly spices, loads of citrus.
Taste: mild, smooth entry on the palate, but generous flavor, excellent wheat texture. Medium-bodied. All the parts, wheat, spice, (grains of paradise) & fruit (lemon zest) make a near-perfect blend. Certain aspects stand out from others from time to time, though, too lemony once, too thick another.
All in all, not a bad stab at the witbier style, a good interpretation from these guys, highly drinkable, nice job.

 607 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.16/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 09/11/10 notes.

a - Pours a nice golden color with an inch of white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of lemon, citrus, wheat, and bready malts.

t - Tastes of wheat, bready malts, and lemon/citrus.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent, easy to drink beer by Sam Adams. Not my favorite seasonal from them, but a decent beer to get when out to eat. Would never seek out but will drink again at some point.

 451 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.18/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle (BB date of August 2012 but stored chilled) served in a Sam Adams lager glass. A thin layer of sediment covers the bottom of the bottle.

Pours a hazy golden color with an ample white head that soon settles to a durable top coat. Some spotty lacing is left on the glass.

The aroma is yeasty and fruity, with too much hint of wet bread but overall mildly appealing.
The flavor is similar, sans wet bread, and has a light, zesty lemon feature like the nose. As often happens with "summer" beers, it is light on both flavor and body. On the other hand, it has a nice peppery spice kick and enough flavor to create a lingering, mainly malty/wheaty, aftertaste. Medium+ carbonation is clearly visible in the glass and moderately soft in the mouth.

O: one of the weaker offerings from Boston Beer, yet still at or slightly above average. [3.25]

 857 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy, some-what cloudy gold. Almost like a witbier, but not quite. Above average, but something missing. The head was foamy, a bit thin, but it was fairly well-retained.
The smell was not bad, but a bit thin. Some hints of lemon, a touch of orange. I had to take deep breaths and swirl quite a bit to pick up on it.
The taste was not bad. Some citrus, especially lemon, with a bit of yeast background. It was refreshing. Virtually no aftertaste.
For a summer ale, it was thirst-quenching. It could be a good selection for a summer brew. I could drink this by the pool on a hot day.
There are better selections for a summer day, but if offered, I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

 691 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer served in a Sam Adam Noble Pils glass and I spent the evening wishing this was Noble Pils. Beer is yellow with a mild haze to it, some lacing on the glass. Moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is grainy and unpleasant, sorry Sam Adams, this does not make me want to drink this.

Beer is medium to light in body, nothing up front with a mild sweetness on the finish. There is a grainy aftertaste that really takes me out of the beer. I had 500 ml of this (why was this served in 500 ml glasses?) and that was more than enough. I'd have it again if it were the only beer at the party and my alcoholism needed to be fed, otherwise I'd pass.

 641 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow in color. The beer has a half finger tall white head that reduces to a patch of extremely thin film covering a portion of the surface and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. No lacing is observed.

S: Moderate aromas of wheat + lemon/citrus along with much lighter aromas of banana, clove, and some very light grassy hops.

T: There is a slight hint of "paste" flavor to this beer - the beer has a pretty good amount of wheat flavor to the body of the beer. There are lighter notes of spice/pepper and citrus in the finish.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Refreshing and easy to drink - this is easily a beer that you could have many times in a session. The lightness of the aroma and smell make this a great seasonal beer for the summer.

 840 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.18/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Poured a golden/yellow color, not perfectly clear, but not hazy either. A foamy, one finger head formed on top with moderate retention and wisps of lacing down the glass.

S: A good bit of lemon and lemon peel, light spices, and a hint of hops. Slight windex aroma.

T: The lemon comes through on the flavor profile with a heavy hand of wheat and just a touch of spice. A little bit of beady malt comes in on the backend.

M: Light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Crisp and light, fitting for a summer beer.

O: Its ok, not bad, but I am not really a fan of it. Not bad on a hot day outside, which is where I had this one, but plenty of other beer out there I would prefer.

 718 characters

Photo of mothman
3.72/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass

Pours two fingers of slight off white head. Fades down very quickly, but some of sticks to the glass as it goes down to a thin layer. Color is a a pale golden bronze. Very hazed over.

Aroma: Wheat, lemons, oranges, coriander, and I am guessing what I smell is the grains of paradise.

Taste:Very sweet and interesting blend of flavors. The grains of paradise are represented highly here then comes the wheat, lemons, oranges, and spice mix. It seems to be too sweet.

Mouthfeel: very crisp with a decent amount of carbonation and a light body. Ends with a sticky over spiced aftertaste.

Overall, this isn't a bad beer. It is just spicy sweet if that makes sense. It is drinkable, especially on a warm day, but that is about it. Nothing to exciting, but nothing bad either.

 812 characters

Photo of ShanePB
3.21/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this many times in the past, reviewed from a draft version last night, poured into a tall Weizen glass (odd?).

A: Pale yellow, fairly clear, could be a bit of chill haze with a nice and creamy white head. Retention was actually pretty damn good, as was the lacing. I'd like to think this is above average for a APWA.

S: Musky grassy notes, lemon zest, orange peel and a bit of wheat spice. The nose in and of itself is a bit muted, it doesn't have that bouquet of aromas like some other wheat beers do, but alas it's SA - so, for what it is, not too bad.

T: Grainy malt base, very earthy in nature, with a bit of peppery spice at first. Clean lemon comes through next followed by a distinct grassy finish. It's not bad at all, just very average for the style. The complexity of flavors really is non-existent, very one dimensional but still quite drinkable.

M: A bit over carbonated for me, but clean, crisp and pretty refreshing.

It's not one of their best beers by any means, nor is it one of their better seasonal releases but it's still a refreshing beer to have on occasion. Nothing worth buying a 6-pack of, but still enjoyable when it needs to be.

 1,168 characters

Photo of stakem
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle with a brewery freshness month of August into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Summer Ale appears a light golden yellow color with a slight touch of haze and a thin white cap of head supported by constantly rising bubbles of carbonation. A spotty amount of lace clings to the glassware. The aroma is filled with a lemony scent on top of wheat and spices. Taste is pretty much dominated by wheat with an upfront flavor of lemon and a bit of spice and pepper on the backend. Light feel with a very lively amount of carbonation. Overall a pretty decent warm weather wheat beer. As it warms, there is a change in the flavor and the lemon flavor starts to get to me. The lemon character seems out of wack and doesn't really mesh well with the rest of the flavor of the beer. It's a good lawnmower beer to drink on a hot day but to sit down and enjoy it I am having a hard time getting through just one.

When I had this before, I distinctly remember the character of the grains of paradise being totally dominating in both the flavor and aroma. The lemon character was slim to none but it was there. I don't know if that was from a previous recipe or maybe that has to do with the freshness. Regardless it was an interesting example of the style.

 1,261 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.77/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a wonderful wheat scent accented with lemon zest; very nice. The taste is decent. It has a dry wheat flavor which is drenched with lemons; quite tart. It goes down slow and finishes bitter. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a unique seasonal. It has good wit qualities, but the lemon contribution is a bit much. Other than that, it's not a bad drinking brew.

 530 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.76/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On draft at The Upper Crust in D.C.

The beer is mostly clear and appears golden yellow in color. The head is minimal, thanks to a most generous pour from a gracious bartender. The aroma is weak, with some hints of lemon. The flavor is akin to Lemon Pledge...not digging it. The beer tastes of artificial additives. The back half is just too odd and artificial for me to enjoy. Not a repeat for me.

 398 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a yellow gold with one finger of head that fades quickly. Nose is of lemon zest and straw from the wheat. Taste is lemon and wheat at first with a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is light and crisp; well carbonated and dry.

This has always been one of my favorite seasonals. It is sessionable and refreshing.

 347 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.14/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It looks like either Jim Koch heard me or I won over their brewer during Philly Beer Week 2013! Jim Koch swore that he was not going to put his beers into CANs until he was totally satisfied with their design. In the meantime, their brewer, whose name I forget, (with his shaved head and bushy beard, he was the face of the company for a while), came to Philly for a luncheon at City Tap House. I knew the answer to so many of his questions for us and he was impressed by Bro. Woody and he picked up my tab, although I offered to pay if he would get his boss to start CANning their beers. Such is a day in the life of The CANQuest (TM)!

From the CAN: "Proudly Brewed By The Boston Beer Company"; "Seasonal Brew"; "Wheat Ale Brewed with Lemon Peel & Grains of Paradise"

They know their business since the loud Crack! revealed a brimful CAN. I raised a toast in return to Mr. Adams, clearly depicted toasting me, then hoisted the sails and the CAN in an inverted Glug. I recommend against inverting your sailboat. I got two fingers of dense, rocky, bone-white head with good retention for my troubles. Color was a slightly hazy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4-5). Nose had a prevalent lemon peel/citrus smell with an underlying light pepperiness. Mouthfeel was medium. This beer was like a lemon tart or a slice of lemon meringue pie! It was lemony, but kind of sweet at the same time. No ABV was shown, but I could definitely see putting this in the cooler for the people who are not into bitter AIPAs or light, tasteless AALs. Finish had a slight pepperiness that made it semi-sweet overall. I liked the way that the spiciness seemed to linger and tickle my tongue well after the swallow.

My previous, bottle review follows:

CAN't I please get a CAN in somewhere?!? I know that I have strayed, bottle be good in the future.

From the bottle: "Brewed with Lemon Peel and Grains of Paradise, Samuel Adams' Summer Ale is a classic American Wheat Ale. Refreshing and citrusy, with just a hint of spice on the finish. [Undersigned] - Jim Koch".

The pour netted a finger of rocky, off-white head that was burbling and bubbling its way out of existence pretty quickly. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy golden yellow, suggesting that they did not filter the life out of it like that extra clear Blue Moon Summer wack nonsense. Nose was initially lemon citrusy, but then I got a real whiff of those Grains of Paradise and I felt like I had inhaled black pepper. Zounds! Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but close. This tasted really good, especially after those last two Summer losers, with an initial lemon citrusiness that quickly got out of the way for those Grains of Paradise, which filled my sinuses like there was room or I wanted them there. I kid you not, I was so close to a sneezing fit that it was not funny! Finish was pleasantly dry and I would highly recommend it were it not for the fact that it is not in a CAN and bottles are frowned upon at many summer destinations.

 2,989 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.01/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass, good till Sept 2011 let's see how this continuing Sam Adams fest goes...

A very large foamy even tight foamy head is made off the pour but seems to fall rather quickly. Sits on a very bright yellow lemon gold body with just a hint of cloudyness. Looking ok if not a little lifeless.

Bouquet is bitter, a little tea like herb and dried orange peel. Slightly musty and dank. Strangely earthy and dirt soil sense. Seems odd for a Pale Wheat Ale. Not too bad kind of average going on so far.

Tastes is rather well.. non existent really. Everything seems toned down that it comes off as just a weak malt. No big bread, hop character, crispness, crackle, not even much spice that seems to come from the nose. IT's quite easy drinking I'll give it that. There's a muted orange on the finish but it's completely buried.

Overall really middle of the road beer for me here. Not getting much out of this one.

 949 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, with new graphics and purchase before dating notched onto label. Pours a nice cloudy honey color, white head, tiny bubble film, some lacing left behind. Flowery nose. herbal notes, yeast present. Some resiny hops in finish. Sort of non descript wheat/wit brew. Crowd pleaser for sure, on a hot summer day, but not really too interesting for a BA palate

 369 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.29/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Roscoe's Deli last night, on to the beer:

It hazy orange in color with a pretty good head. It glows in the rather dark surroundings of Roscoe's. Not much to smell but yeast, perhaps being too cold. The first half of the beer was boring because it was too cold. But as it warmed up, it got better. Some mango, apricot, yeast, pepper, and spice become noticable. Smooth and creamy from draft. It must be more refeshing when it's warm, because I consumed this after midnight, when it's, you know, cool.

 512 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
1.88/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

What a difference between the tap and bottle.
This poured a light golden body with a thin film that was supposed to be the head. Is this the same beer as from the bottle?
Smell? Nothing, maybe a hint of citrus, maybe. Gave it 2.5 cuz the smell isn't bad, just isn't really noticeable.
Taste is awful. Stale hops, malt, citrus. Nothing fresh or refreshing. Too sweet if anything. this must have been a keg from last year. It ain't good. Blah

 443 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
2.77/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

 371 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.05/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 bottle drank a few months after best buy notch on label and poured into a weizen glass

A: A nice murky, straw-golden color with a lot of tiny bubbles and a large white head that slowly dissipates down to a steady thin layer. Leaves moderate lacing in glass. Also some particles of sediment floating in the glass, not sure if I remember them from when I had this fresh.
S: Nothing remarkable, nothing bad. Some citrus, yeast and a little soapiness
T: Maltier than expected, strong citrus flavors, lemony. An adequate wheat ale, not overpowering.
M: Only part of beer that something seems off with. Somehow seems thick and watery at the same time.
D: While nothing about this beer was incredibly good or bad, I do enjoy drinking this (well, in the summer) and is a reliable beer at a chain restaurant in the summer and worth picking up a 6 pack for an outdoor afternoon

 875 characters

Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
77 out of 100 based on 1,603 ratings.