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

Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,695 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3695
Reviews: 1509
rAvg: 3.34
pDev: 16.47%

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: 3,695 | Reviews: 1,509 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of bluejacket74


3.4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single 12 ounce bottle bought from Trader Joe's, bottle says best before August 2007. Head retention and lacing are both OK. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a hazy yellow/orange color with an inch white head. It smells like lemon, grain and some peppery spicyness. The taste is pretty much the same as it smells, except that there's a slight tangy finish. Mouthfeel is light, and the beer is smooth. Drinkability is OK, it's easy to drink. It's a good choice as a summer beer, I think it could be very sessionable on a hot day. Not a bad choice at all, overall I think it's a decent, non-offensive brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2007 00:53:38 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of ZAP


3.95/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Certainly not a whit....but really a pretty tasty American Wheat that is very refreshing. Pours a regal gold color...some cloudiness..small white lace....the nose is pretty soft but I get mainly sweet wheat crackers...the taste is sweet wheat malt...a refreshing spritz or lemons and orange peel add a nice citrus touch to it...For a summer beer there aren't a lot I would take over this...it is very refreshing but also features a sweet wheat malt backbone and elements of citrus..body is on the light side of medium and as I drink my third one it is taking on a slightly (very slightly) watery mouthfeel....

Just got done golfing and these hit the spot..it's that type of beer...I am actually surprised I like this that much as my expectations were pretty low..

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2003 22:56:38 | More by ZAP
Photo of tone77


3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smeel is slightly sweet, some lemon and wheat. Taste is light and sweet, some hints of lemon, a touch of hops is present.Feels medium bodiedin the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this makes a pretty good selection.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2009 22:21:13 | More by tone77
Photo of flagmantho


2.53/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: clear yellow body with a thin head of fizzy white foam. OK for the style, but it's not a particularly inspirational picture.

Smell: light wheatiness and spiciness from the grains of paradise. It's an interesting aroma, but I'm just not a big fan of the spice: it just seems astringent and off-putting in a beer of this style. Not *bad*, but just not my speed.

Taste: the spice is significanly more prevalent in the flavor than the aroma. I'm getting lemongrass and pepper and bitter, astringent citrus. It simply does not float my boat; in my opinion a beer needs more heft to handle a spice like this.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a decent carbonation. Not bad, but not much to say here.

Overall: this beer has a few good points, but they are mostly blown away by the inappropriateness of this grain in this beer. I'm sure it would work well in a saison, but in this beer it is neither particularly tasty nor refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 02:00:37 | More by flagmantho
Photo of bark


4.38/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The colour is gold with a tint of orange, the liquid is a little bit hazy. The two finger white head is airy; it sinks slowly down, leaving no lacing.

The smell is fruity with notes of citric and honey. There is some sourness paired with yeast and a fine bitter hoppy flavour.

The taste is fresh and refreshing. There is fine wheat-y sourness, some sweet malt. Fruity notes of lemons and blueberries(!). The aftertaste got a good amount of bitterness, some sweetness and a hint of yeast.

The carbonation is powerful; medium sized bubbles. The liquid is somewhat smooth.

A summer ale that really suits summer days.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2007 16:13:06 | More by bark
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 ounce standard brown glass bottle with a “Sam Adams” embossed shoulder. Classic ”seasonal” label design on my bottle differs markedly from the older more expressive one in the BA Database. For the Summer Ale it has a dark blue with a golden-yellow colored edging and the words ‘Summer Ale’ on the main label. Described as a “Wheat Ale brewed with Lemon and Grains of Paradise’ Has a nicked “NOV” Brewery Fresh date.

Appearance: Golden body with a faded milky hue. Decent white head rises on the pour and settles to a firm but relaxed looking ¼” head. The level of conditioning is such that it imparts fresh from the brewery tap appearance. Thin lacing which is wispy in nature. OK, but a thicker head would have been nice.

Nose: Wheat, lemongrass, grains of paradise and a light grain background. Gentle strength aromas that are a tad muted but nonetheless appealing.

Taste: The beginning has a wheat ale start with a low gradient switch-back to include lemongrass, citrus rinds and delicate grains of paradise. Ending has a zesty lemon in the finish. Clean.

Mouthfeel: Fresh carbonation lends a sprightly zesty feel on the tongue. Rich welcome and a mild closed mouth gargle helps to expel some of the lemon and grains of paradise from the depths of this one.

Drinkability: A tasty thirst quencher for the Summer that plays it just above average for the long run.

Overall: To be honest I fancied a good but cheap brew from Ralph’s last night. The change of label design had me pick up a Six Pack of this one just out of intrigue to see if the beer itself had changed. It hasn’t. Nice to revisit it and a decent enough Wheat ale, but it is nothing more than a ‘once-or-twice-a-summer’ pick up and not a regular one.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2006 04:42:20 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of dgilks


3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden colour with a tiny, white head. Poor head retention.

Robust spicy, lemon aroma with a touch of tart wheat. Nice and refreshing.

Malt, tart wheat, spritzy lemon, mild spice. A crisp, refreshing ale. There flavours get a little overbearing at times.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A decent, flavoursome wheat ale with nice flavours. It's a little over the top and I'd like a bit less of the lemon and spice.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 11:13:10 | More by dgilks
Photo of cokes


2.83/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Golden orange body (much too dark for a witbier), thin white head retains fairly well. Slightly hazy.
Nose of powdery wheat, slight clovey spice and lemon.
Taste mirrors the scent. Wheat flavors are grainy and powery. Quite a bit of lemon sourness. Spice is more subtle than it should be. Lemon washes out the finish. The lemon taste coupled with the powdery flavors get obnoxious quickly. Aftertaste is not kind.
Body is on the thick side for a wit, but lacks any of the typical pizzazz. Smooth, but sort of clunky.
Wouldn't be bad to down quickly in the summer sun, but not something I would make a session of. I'll take a traditional wit, thank you.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2002 22:44:11 | More by cokes
Photo of nickfl


3.15/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours with two fingers of bone white head resting on a clear, golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves light lace.

S - Honey-like malt aromas with a little bit of lemon and some grassy hops.

T - Lemon and coriander flavors up front with a bit of spicy grain character. More citrus in the middle with a hint of orange and some peppery phenolic notes. The pepper becomes kind of medicinal in the finish with grassy hops and moderate bitterness. A lingering, burnt toast and phenol aftertaste.

M - A moderately thick body, average carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - It starts out very promising with a nice, spicy and fruity character but things really fall apart in the finish. It gets really medicinal and almost burnt tasting with a stale spice character that lingers long after all of the pleasant aspects have faded away. Too bad really.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2011 04:15:20 | More by nickfl
Photo of champ103


3.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy golden/orange color. A small head forms and leaves little lace.
S: Citrus fruits. Grainy malt. Not that complexe, but nice.
T: Same as the nose. Citrus fruits up front that give way to a cereal grainy flavor. A mettallic aftertaste.
M/D: Light and crisp in the mouth. A little over cabonated for my tastes. An easy to drink beer that is just right for the season.

Not a bad beer, but nothing all that exciting. A fall back for me if there is nothing better.

Serving type: on-tap

09-09-2008 16:52:18 | More by champ103
Photo of blackie


3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Buy Before Date notched September, I assume 2006

Produces a big two inch off-white head comprised of large bubbles when poured. The beer is a cloudy golden amber in color.

Smells of wheat malt with low noble hops. The aroma is slightly yeasty. Hints of slight citrus (not bitter or acidic), some grainy breadiness, and light tropical fruits are present. There is a very small touch of mintiness in the flavor...so little I am surprised I noticed it.

The beer is highly carbonated with a light mouthfeel.

The taste is of light wheat malt with not much hops to speak of. There is plenty of citrus and light fruity flavor present, as well as some slight yeasty flavors. The sip finishes with a touch of hop bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2005 06:52:10 | More by blackie
Photo of TurdFurgison


2.78/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at a restaurant at Dallas Fort Worth airport during a nearly infinite layover. The beer was clear golden color with a standard foam cap. Not much in the aroma, very muted spice maybe but more likely just the smell of malt and hope (not hops). The taste is not spiced, nor hopped, more just a bland American wheat ale. Meh, this is nothing to write home about, I should have gone for the Boston Lager. Not recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

06-21-2009 00:58:37 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep golden straw color with a smallish white head that quickly dissipates to a cap. Spicy aroma that smells of lemon, pepper, and sweet malts. Taste is sweet with honey like malts, lemon and pepper and that spicy wheat taste. Moderate level of carbonation, medium body, slick sweet mouthfeel. Nice Summer ale if not a bit boring. Not bad but nothing I would regularly seek out.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2011 01:03:29 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of woosterbill


2.28/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle, best by 9/10, into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a clear, vibrant gold body with two inches of fluffy white foam on top. Good retention and some fine, solid lacing. You can't really ask much more from this style appearance-wise.

S: It has all the notes I'd expect from having read the bottle-neck - lemon, clove, pepper, and wheat - but the overall impression is dull and uninspiring. The lemon in particular seems artificial and excessive, and lends a distinct scent of lemon Pine-Sol. Yuck.

T: Just like the nose, spice and lemon cleaner are predominant, with some wheat malt sneaking in on the finish to balance things out a touch. Still, the added flavors just don't do it for me, and I'd rather see some hops take the place of both the lemon and grains of paradise.

M: Fairly light body with moderate, rather sharp carbonation. Not quite as lively as I'd like, but not bad either.

D: Sorry, but I can't get behind a beer that tastes this bad. I'm contemplating making this a drainpour, just so I can move on to something tastier.

Notes: I remember disliking this beer every summer I've tried it, but I figured I'd go ahead and give it a chance this year - plus it was left over from a mixed 12-pack that a friend bought. I really don't see how this beer is as popular as it seems to be, as it's certainly one of the least palatable APWAs I've ever had. It's too bad you have to buy two of these to get two of the fairly tasty Latitude 48 IPAs.


Serving type: bottle

05-21-2010 00:48:29 | More by woosterbill
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.18/5  rDev -4.8%
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]

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2012 23:36:00 | More by chinchill
Photo of francisweizen


3.3/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty good stab at the Belgian White style by Samuel Adams. Although this beer poured a wonderful colour it did not really have the head retention that White Style beers are generally known for. Also this beer did not have a very pungent aroma or strong taste, but what it did have was good. Still this is a very drinkable beer, with a nice creamy mouthfeel. Overall a decent job by Sam Adams on this one...

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2002 22:12:26 | More by francisweizen
Photo of FosterJM


2.75/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

748th Review on BA
Bottle to Clear 16oz dixie cup

App- A very dark cloudy yellow with zero head. Poured and nothing happened just a flat yellow wheat beer.

Smell- All macro grain on this one. I do get the wheat notes and a ton of lemon. A few whisps of the spices.

Taste- I don't know if Sam Adams meant to make a wheat sour but I think they accomplished. The grain and lemon are certainly spicy, tart and unique. A seemingly light little beer, it tried to induce some big flavors and feel short. A bit of a head scratcher to me as well. Maybe 100 degree heat or high humidity makes this better.

Mouth- A light bodied beer with a high carbonation level. A bit of that lemon zest and wheat is all that remains.

Drink- Just a very unique summer beer, way to lemony and tart and not in a good way.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2011 21:13:15 | More by FosterJM
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Appearance - Mostly clear yellow with an average frothy/fizzy white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for 3 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell – Grains, lemons, light hops

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and most of the taste is made up of lemon juice and zest. There are also some grains and a very light amount of hop flavour. It finishes with a lemony grainy aftertaste.

Overall – A decent summer refresher. Probably not something I'd go out of my way to seek out again, but still decent.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2011 16:22:15 | More by spinrsx
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

2.5/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 5/16/08. Bottle. Pours a clear golden yellow with white head. Aroma and flavor of wheat, spices, and a finish of butter that doesn't mesh with the rest of the beer. Meh. Without the butter taste, it would be ok, but with it, I just don't care for this beer.
5/4/4/3/11 (2.7/5)

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2008 02:47:02 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.2/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served in my Weihenstephaner weizen glass. Poured a translucent orange-gold with a two-inch, billowy bright white head that lost half its volume within a minute. Nose reveals a sweet, spicy character, light malt and the merest suggestion of citrus. Taste is somewhat consistent with nose, but also buttery and biscuity, with a slight citrus astringency at the finish. Mouthfeel is between light- and medium-bodied, lightly effervescent and also a little slick. Not loving the taste on this one - perhaps one of my least favorite SA offerings; there's just a weird cloying/sweet/spicy character to this one that impacts its sessionability.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2009 00:06:37 | More by Jwale73
Photo of alexgash


3.3/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden/orange with a medium-sized white head. Smell is tangy yeast, with a touch of malts, and lotsa lemon. Taste is light grainy malts--not sweet, but a little medicinal--followed by sharp, sour lemon flavor and a slight bitterness. Acidic all the way, with lingering lemon zest. Very interesting. A little too much lemon tartness; reminds me of the lemon juice in the fridge. I prefer traditional witbiers methinks. A good summer quencher, however.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2003 20:15:11 | More by alexgash
Photo of AgentZero


2.5/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy yellow color with a nice big white head. Pretty solid looking brew for the style. Moderate lacing looked pretty good.

S - I think I smell a majority of the things that are stated on the label, but it's not all that great. Lemony citrus and rind really dominate this, fairly pungent, not in a particularly good way.

T - Could do with out this. Very bready and citrusy, leading to an almost skunk like taste. Not a bad bottle either, drank this a couple of times and always forget how much I do not like it because of this taste. Nothing very good going on here.

M - Pretty light and nice carbonation, would be great on a better tasting beer.

D - For something I'm assuming should be sessionable, this is not. IT tastes too bad, with it's overly lemoned flavoring and skunkness.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 13:41:52 | More by AgentZero
Photo of Brent


2.35/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I probably would have liked this ale more if the label had not lead me to expect a spiced white ale. Overall, it seemed too restrained. What the heck are "Grains of Paradise" anyway?

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2001 10:24:38 | More by Brent
Photo of Mebuzzard


1.83/5  rDev -45.2%
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

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2007 05:18:20 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Brenden


3.73/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a cloudy amber color with a decent head that leaves some thin lacing. The smell is that of malt, grains, spice and citrus. The taste is a nice grainy, citrus taste, quite flavorfully but not overpoweringly sweet and spicy. The body is light to medium and the mouthfeel is pretty crisp. It finishes dry and lingers well. This one could easily be a regular.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2009 13:14:21 | More by Brenden
Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
76 out of 100 based on 3,695 ratings.