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Saranac Belgian Ale - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Belgian AleSaranac Belgian Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

235 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 235
Hads: 289
Avg: 3.34
pDev: 14.67%
Wants: 2
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbnooshay on 10-27-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 235 | Hads: 289
Photo of sethmeister
1.68/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

12 oz from the 12 Beers of Winter pack into Chimay chalice

Pours clear reddish amber color with a short lived offwhite head.

Scent is slightly yeasty; that's about all i get from it.

Wow. Bubblegum flavor. Oh jeez that's really awful. Makes me wince each time it hits me. Its so distracting i can't really discern any other flavors. Banana perhaps.

Medium thin body manages a bit of creaminess.

Drinkability is, at least for me, nil. I literally sent it down the drain. I hope this proves to be the worst of the 12 pack.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.72/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

A - Pours with a decent one finger head. In typical Saranac fashion, it dissipated in under a minute. It is a slightly hazy orange. As in a Tang, or other orange drink, orange.

S - There is a bit of good and bad. I can get faint cloves and bananas, but mostly a stale grain odor dominates.

T - Faint bananas accompanied by a strange musky bitterness. The aftertaste is entirely a really gross stale grain flavor. It makes me think of stale Cherrios. Not good at all. It doesn't really go away either.

M - Thin, drying, the lining of my mouth started feeling odd. It starts to feel like I've been eating chalk after a bit, and with that aftertaste it is an entirely conceivable scenario.

D - Ugh. I'll pass in the future. I can't think that this would go well with anything. It is easily the worst Belgian I have had to date. Maybe I'd go for it again if I ever have a craving for Cherrios, chalk and bananas, but I'd probably just bust out the blender. 1.5 here because I could actually finish it.

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Photo of AudioGilz
1.96/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a pale amber hue with little visible carbonation and a weak head. The aroma is a definitely of a Belgian style; earthy, medicinal, crispy hops.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin for my preference, sweet maltiness hangs in there strongly, followed by a bitter finish and lingering sour bitterness. This definitely doesn't have the smoothness of a genuine Belgian ale, something's lacking for sure, not enough complexity is what I am concluding to, with a very annoying aftertaste. The aftertaste alone is turning me off very much; definitely not a preferred Belgian ale for me here.

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Photo of Stubbie1
2.25/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Light brown/orange color, thin tan head, no lace. Aroma of yeast, touch of fruit and mild tone of alcohol. Taste is bland, bit musty from the yeast and a mild watery feel. Lacking anything that stands out or worth talking about. This beer never really took of. There are way way better Amercian versions of this style out there.

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Photo of eporter66
2.27/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a pint glass

A - Copper colors, 1/2 finger head.

S - Yeast is upfront, and a sour bitter aroma accompanies the yeast

T - Yeasty flavor upfront, a mix of malt and fruit flavor comes through, but not enough to take away the yeast/sour flavor.

M - Average mouthfeel with a lot of carbonation tingle, surprising since it did not produce much head

D- Just not a big fan of that upfront yeast/sour flavor. I would not drink this again, does not seem to have as well balanced a flavor as the description of the style states it shoud.

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Photo of Rudgers73
2.28/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I figured that I'd give this one a try. It pours a crystal clear reddish/amber hue with moderate carbonation. The head is off-white and settles to nothing but a few blotches of micro-bubbles in a matter of a minute or so. The fact that it was clear and not cloudy is not a good indicator for me about this one. The smell is that of any and EVERY OTHER Saranac beers I've tried: corny malt and grassy hops. The taste is a faint flash of belgian style before it fades into the same saranac taste.

I don't understand why Saranac is so popular!! All of the beers have interchangeable labels!!

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Photo of goblue3509
2.28/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a copper color. The smell is a little manufactured. It smells of fruit but almost in a cheap way. The taste is the same, hints of fruit and clove notes, but it taste a little cheap. The mouthfeel is a little harsh. Overall the beer is a little bit off, I can't really pinpoint it but just not quiet right. Not one of my favorite saranacs.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.28/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - this ale pours a golden color with a thin quickly lacing white head, with steady streams of carbonation

S - hmmm, actually smells like a decent belgian style ale, that sweet spiciness of a ginger/clove beer like a quality belgian, but with cloyingly sweet kick

T - the word cloying is perfect for this beer, it has that belgian style taste, of spicy clove/ginger, but the other flavors or overdone, the sweetness the hoppiness, are all there, but out of whack, the balance also suffers due to this, its not a bad beer, just a little bit overdone

M&D - both mouthfeel and drinkability suffer due to this zealous belgian imitation, however its still a decent brew, its not drain pour by anymeans, it IS a worthwhile addition to the winter 12 pack, however i wouldnt purchase a 6pack of just this

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Photo of yelterdow
2.28/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served at a few degrees below cellar temperature in a Chimay chalice. Fresh from 2008's winter seasonal pack, I'm excited to try this.

Appearance- Aside from the hazy orange color of this beer, the first thing I notice is the lack of head that emerges from the pour. Most BPAs will create a large, rocky crown and this simply does not. After two minutes of the initial inch thick topper's birth, it reduces to just a ring with some activity coming from the etching at the bottom of the glass.

Smell- An unmistakable Belgian yeast character, and a good one at that, takes firm hold of the nostrils and delivers a fruity tartness that beckons the first sip. Malty and gripping, a very pleasant nose.

Taste- Wow, what the hell happened here... it's awful on so many levels. The taste is nothing like the aromas might suggest, it is a blast of hops that run completely head-on into an overcarbonated mess of I couldn't tell you what. There is no grace, no elegant display of ingredients that would want me to go for another sip. After the few seconds in the mouth where it all goes haywire, the swallow brings some malts and a final hop bitterness that lasts quite long.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The texture is explosive right out of the gate... almost impossibly rugged... it pinches and attacks the tongue before the beer makes it across the palate. Soon it quiets, but it's just a jumbled circus with all of the conflict. I wanted to love this beer and was ready to sing its praises, but this is simply not a good representation of the style by any stretch.

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Photo of oelergud
2.36/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

transparent copper body, good carbonation. Light tan head that collapses to a broken float leaving little to no lace.
Sweet somewhat reminiscent of real belgian scent but not really. Some raisen and honey thrown in there. All in all pretty good.
Raisen and molasses up front quickly taken over by a much too intense hop flavor which should not be there at all. Aftertaste is much too harsh.
Medium body but again acidic and dry.
Chalk it up on the no repeat list.


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Photo of LucaBrasi
2.4/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a hazy orange with virtually no head, the head that did appear disappeared quickly. Little to no lacing.
Smell is fruity i thought i smelled cherries.
Tasteing the beer was not the case. The taste was citrus....like orange citrus and cinnamon. Finished up with a slight bitterness
Mouthfeel decent, the carbonation is good.
Drinkability is low because of the flavor that I wasn’t all crazy about

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.44/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Shiny copper body, good clarity, with little carbonation streams. Two fingers of rocky uneven white foam. Light lacing.

Sweet aroma, heavy with fruit and a touch of candy, and a hint of bakery.

Mild sweet beginning, a momentary splash of fruit and candy, but then an odd sour note plays at the swallow and into the aftertaste.

Light-to-medium mouthfeel is fine.

Finish and aftertaste drags down drinkability.

A good start but doesn't finish the trip to Belgium. Pass on this one.

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

a: amber color eight inch white head dissapears very fast leaving very little lacin
s: sweet grains very yeasty not a very strong hop aroma
t: kind of a sweet fruit like flavor
m: medium to thin bodied beer not overly carbonated

overall this isnt that bad of a beer but i dont think ill seek this out got it from a friend who had the whole sample pack

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Photo of dsa7783
2.5/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A confusing cross between a Belgian Pale and a watered-down, bland American depiction... Nothing special about this European wannabe... Flavor complexity was non-apparent... Slights hints of honey were present but struggled to be noticed... I was not particularly impressed...

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Photo of Gmann
2.54/5  rDev -24%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden brown color with a 1 finger head that disapated rather quickly for a Beligan ale, no lacing noticed. This ale smelled the part of a Beligan, sweet, sugary, spicy. Unfortunately that didn't transfer over to the taste. The taste was watery, a quick sweet spicy shot with a light hop aftertaste. I could drink a few of these but knowing what a true Beligan should taste like, I would stay away from this.

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Photo of engisch
2.6/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a light amber-brown color with a light head that disipates quickly. Aroma is sweet yeasty smell with a subtle resemblance to an actual Belgian ale. Flavor has light fruity flavors with a slightly bitter finish and aftertaste. I'm not terribly impressed.

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Photo of nlmartin
2.61/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer was poured into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear amber coloration. The head was two fingers off white. The head quickly resolved to foamyness on the top ot the beer.

Smell: The beer smelled medicinal. Small amount of citrusy sweetness covered in medicinal smell.

Taste: The beer actually doesnt taste bad. There is a nice malty fruityness mostly bitter orange juice. There is also an astringent taste that prevents this from being a better beer.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is light bodied. The beer has an unfortunate medicinal smell and a astringent after taste. There are better stabs at the belgian style available.

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Photo of sabrills70
2.64/5  rDev -21%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a medium amber with a less than 1 finger head and almost no lace. Smells of a mild wheat but with a touch of fruityness added in. A decent wheat tartness and a decent hop flavor and bitterness but in between its a bit metallic. Some mild fruit also detected. Based on some of the other reviews I may have gotten a bad bottle - it is possible, but not likely. Not the worst beer I have ever had, just not very tasty.

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Photo of jwc215
2.65/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark copper with a thin patch - almost no head, though a little bit of traces of lacing are there.

The smell is of caramel and clove. Herbal and medicinal.

The taste is herbal and medicinal. Too heavy with the clove. Some graininess. Yeast strain can't keep up leaving it malty and clove sticking way out. Rather abrupt, though dry, finish.

Rather watery. Slightly astringent.

Well, it may not be drain pour, but close. An attempt at a Belgian that just doesn't work, IMO.

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Photo of clemtig76
2.65/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Another train wreck in the Saranac 12 beers of winter 12 pack. This is my first Belgian Ale and boy was I disapointed. Pours a hazy orange with thick, dense head that quickly dissipated. Fruity, cutrusy aroma. Taste was like Tang, sour and artificial. Maybe someday I will be able to try a true Belgian Ale in SC.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
2.66/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Had this as a part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter ($11.99/12 Pack)

This was certainly a weird one. I'm not too sure what was Belgian about this one. Had a very hoppy aroma but not a very hoppy taste. Tastes of some mixed fruit flavors with some other flavor I can't my finger (tongue) on. Just a little too out of balance for me, would pass on this in the future.

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Photo of lackenhauser
2.7/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a golden to orange color-somewhere in between the two. Low aroma-some phenolics and a touch of spices. Quite "band aid" like actually. Very phenolic and medicinal in flavor. The Belgian characteristics are there but really out of wack in the whole perspective of things. Average mouthfeel. A very average beer-less so in some areas then others. These guys need to stick to US styles or at least British ones. Dont bother.

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Photo of Shiloh
2.71/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is not a very pretty beverage, actually, it's kind of homely.
The colour is a lightly hazed thin orange, the head does not really exist, only a minor glass ring.
The carbonation is lively.
The aroma is very nice(personality) for something this unpleasing to the eye...fresh, crisp and smokey.
The taste is a little better than the appearance but not by much, the first thing you notice is its watery content then a meagre stab at respectability with its attempt at a smoked hickory flavour.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.76/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a two-fingered off-white head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is not there. Starts as a moderate malt/hop mix with a woody overtone. Hoppy after taste. 12 oz bottle from their winter sampler 12-pak $9.99, Market Basket Concord, NH.

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Photo of bjohnson
2.78/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear amber color with a nice half finger white head that actually has some nice retention.
S: Bready malt notes with a good infusion of lemon peel and orange. Slightly spicy.
T/M: Light body with a fruityness that's subtle. Wheaty and bready flavors supply the backbone. Astringent hop notes leave you with a dry finish with a wheaty aftertaste. A bit thin and not very exciting or complex in the slightest.
D: I'd pass on this one if I had the chance. Drinkable, but kind of lame.

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Saranac Belgian Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 235 ratings.