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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA - Matt Brewing Company

Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPASaranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

344 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 344
Reviews: 254
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 15.69%

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Kendo on 12-23-2006)
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Ratings: 344 | Reviews: 254 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of thierrynantes


3.91/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from Bières d'ailleurs (St Herblain, Nantes), and tasted in 2014.

Appearance : dark amber color with white foamy head (w nice lacing).
Smell : malty and caramel aroamas.
Taste & mouth feel : hoppy flavors and dry bitter with a long duration.
Drinkability : a good beer in the Style Imperial IPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 19:58:30 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of TeamMathis

West Virginia

3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A cloudy amber.
Smell: A bit like strawberry preserves, smoke, and wood.
Taste: Bitter and malty. Aftertaste of cheap vodka.
Mouthfeel: Some thickness and carbonation.

This is definitely an unusual double. The hops are jumbled together with the malt. It doesn't seem to have hints of anything except maltiness, some bitterness, and straight alcoholic aftertaste. Having said that, I really like it. The drink is hardy and full. I probably wouldn't get it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2013 02:24:50 | More by TeamMathis
Photo of TrappistJohnMD


3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours amber color with white head in DFH IPA glass.

Smell is heavily malt with some citrus notes.

Taste is malt forward with some caramel and mild citrus. Mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied. Average carbonation.

Overall this was too malt forward and lacking any significant hoppiness.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 23:00:03 | More by TrappistJohnMD
Photo of gnolan

New York

2.3/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm a huge fan of Saranac beers but was disappointed in this Imperial IPA. I like a strong hop smell and finish and this had neither. It is very malty and the alcohol is taste is present and leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Their Session IPA is much better.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2013 21:25:35 | More by gnolan
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into it's signature pilsner glass.

A: Pours an deep amber gold with a 1 finger white head. Lots of visible carbonation in the brew.

S: Get some hop notes but also a pretty substantial sweet malt backing.

T: Balanced malt forward approach to an imperial IPA. Would say this leans more toward an English Pale Ale with all of the sweet malts. The aftertaste lingers with sweetness instead of hops.

M: Medium bodied with average carbonation. Real easy drinking for the ABV.

Overall one of the maltier double IPA's I have tasted. Has a flicker of hops but seems to get lost in the 10 different malts.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 00:18:00 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of CHickman

New York

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

Pours a hazy copper color with a 2 finger foamy light tan head that faded slowly, leaving very good lacing clinging to the sides leaving rings as it goes down.

Smells of sweet floral and piney hops to start, with grapefruit, caramel, cracker, biscuit, citrus hops, grains, flowers or herbs, and some earthy or grassy notes; good balance, but this is like an English IPA more than an American DIPA as the hops are just not that strong smelling, but it’s decent smelling overall.

Tastes like it smells with floral hops, strong piney hops, grapefruit, mango, caramel, cracker, biscuit, toffee, toasted grains, herbs, spices like pepper and coriander, grass, faint brown sugar and some earthy notes like peat moss; this hid the alcohol well and the finish was slightly bitter with a grainy sweetness that seemed to leave a hop oil slick across the tongue.

The mouthfeel may be the best part of this beer as it was slick and oily with very light carbonation, a medium body and a slightly bitter finish that seemed to bring out more complexities in the flavor and show great balance.

The 8.5% is very well hidden and this brew went down smooth. What it lacks in DIPA hop flavor it makes up for in drinkability. Give this a try and be patient as it grew on me more after each sip.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 03:58:30 | More by CHickman
Photo of rlee1390


3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear orange, carbonated, two finger head tries to leave behind some lacing

S-grass, pine, hops and some malt

T-All over the place, but not in the best way. Some dirt and pine, good deal of malt, too much for a DIPA, not much bitterness either

M-Medium bodied, carbonation but not that smooth.

O-A poor DIPA, too much malt and all over the place in flavors

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2012 01:06:02 | More by rlee1390
Photo of jjchristiano

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think Saranac themselves are very honest with this beer's description. They put 5 malts and 5 hops in this mixture and got a high aclohol sweet malty beer that has a citrusy lingering aftertaste.
But I like it. It certainly isn't bland and boring.
I'm sipping it from my oversize restaurant style water glass. It is definitely a sipping beer. If Yards(Philly,PA) added an IPA to their Revolution Series this would be perfect addition to the lineup.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2012 02:00:59 | More by jjchristiano
Photo of wafers

New York

4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass

A: Pours a cloudy, tan-orange color, heavy foamy head, moderate lacing
S: Light grassy aroma, some oranges
T: Heavy on the citrus, somewhat sweet, flavors of sour peaches, some apple
M: Pretty thick, heavy, not something to down very quick
O: This one is definitely a sipper and also one of the better choices I have tasted from Saranac, definite hoppy character but also contains a prominent sweetness that blends nicely with the bitterness

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 05:33:39 | More by wafers
Photo of NODAK


2.45/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Has a fairly tropical hop aroma to it, with notes of orange there as well...though it certainly shows its sweet malt backbone as well. Fair.

Pours and orangish dark golden color in my pint glass with a decent head...lacing is pretty good.

Taste...well it isn't what I'm looking for in a DIPA. It begins with a tropical hop profile that also has a peppery spiciness present as well. From there though, it turns strongly earthy and woody...and that just isn't pleasant to me in a beer of this style. The only real bitterness in the beer comes at the time of the swallow, where there's a fair bitterness, but it just isn't what one would expect from the style. At least, it isn't what I expect.

It may be cheap for the style, but i think you get what you pay for here.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 01:59:49 | More by NODAK
Photo of Sygma


2.93/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This Saranac Imperial IPA seems to be a New York State type of IPA because I also had another New York State IPA that was a distinct departure of the traditional American IPAs.

Having cut my teeth on Port Brewing's Swami's IPA and HOP 15, and later Dogfish Heads 60 Minute IPA, these New York State IPAs are not overly hoppy, but very heavy, complex ales, more along the line of some country ales I drank in the UK years ago.

Saranac Imperial IPA is not a hop-bomb as it seems they have their own idea of what an IPA is.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 20:33:57 | More by Sygma
Photo of BigPlay1824

New York

3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed in a tulip glass

A: pours a mostly hazy reddish brown with a finger of fine head that dissipates rapidly and is a kind of deep off white to brown color, not all that appealing at the appearance, head leaves no lacing
S: woody, hickory, slight vanilla, whiskey, overall the scent here really reminds me of 120 minute with the depth but also with the alcohol tinge, not well masked comparatively
T: the forefront is of malt and wood, the middle moves into vanilla and whiskey, the aftertaste is really odd, kinda like sucking on wood chips, decent
M: a bit strong on the carbonation, surprisingly little alcohol burn from what i had expected in the nose, leaves mouth only slightly dry but mostly smooth and almost creamy
O: kind of a bland representation, nothing really jumps out as being all that great, everything is just kind of ok, best part was the mouthfeel

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 02:21:01 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a vibrant honey color, with a hefty white lacing. smells spectacularly complex, with ten malts and ten hops going into the brew kettle here. taste is perhaps a bit muddled by all thats going on, but a sweet hops palate dominates, with strong earthy malts backing it up. this is a really tough beer to describe, because it is so similar to other imperial ipa's but yet so different at the same time. the body is heavy, and the aftertaste evolves for several minutes in the mouth. i think i will need to have more than one to get a better feel for it, but i can say that you can taste (and feel) every bit if its 8.5% abv. will also certainly seek out other saranac high peaks series brews

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2011 02:03:55 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a hazy, opaque dark amber with a thick and fine-bubbled pale tan head. Strong aroma is completely like fresh-cut evergreen wood. Seriously hoppy gives the impression of drinking a pine tree - but lacks any real complexity. Full-bodied texture is rough and quite fizzy, leaving behind an evergreen and tingly finish.

Serving type: on-tap

10-15-2011 02:44:23 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of kennylopez

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into globe glass.

Appearance: dark clear amber with a fingers worth head.

Smell: a lot of hops, pine like with a hay sort of smell.

Tastes: taste is not very balanced in my personal opinion. the taste shifts from floral bitter to bitter and dry which is I like, but there is a lot in the brew and kind of hard for me to taste everything going on all at once.

Mouthfeel: dry and little alcohol burn in the aftertaste, and the end is actually where I start to taste more of what is going on.(which is still to complex for my palette I guess to really pick up and describe)

Overall: I got two of these as a bonus on a great trade(thanks jizfiaco). I don't know if that's why I enjoyed this quite a bit, but I would get a pack if I saw them. I have one more and I want to see if the taste changes in a few months.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2011 00:34:38 | More by kennylopez
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber with an inch of head with decent retention. Nose is a bit soapy but primarily floral, piny, earthy hop aromas. Taste is subtle, bready malts with piny, earthy hops. Alcohol warmth and some misplaced citrus come through in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated.

Better than their regular IPA, but a little unbalanced. Not bad by any means though.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2011 00:23:18 | More by tdm168
Photo of Criscoh88


3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - A Red-ish Nut Brown. A little cloudy with high visual carbonation. Great head that retains. Thick lacing.

Smell - Sweet caramel and malt. A nutty floral hint. Not like your normal IPA.

Taste - Bitter sweet. A sharp bite of roasted malt that lingers followed by a slight sweetness. The flavor of heavy alcohol rests in the back of your throat.

Feel - Great carbonation. I wouldn't say smooth due to the flavor, but smooth for a Double IPA. Easy to drink for the abv. Heavy sitting.

Overall - Wow this one packs a punch. First sip caught me off guard. I don't feel the flavor is as complex as it is strong, But this beer was well crafted and the high alcohol goes down flawless. The appearance is just beautiful, one of those beers that you can hear calling "drink me". I wouldn't get down with this often, but I will defiantly pick this up again if intending to share.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2011 01:06:35 | More by Criscoh88
Photo of ryan1788a5


2.2/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Clear dark orange with hues of brown.Thick off-white head boasts great retention. Rings of foamy lacing cling everywhere. It is a nice looking beer.

S: Hefty dose of caramel and some bready malt. Pine, mango, tangerine, and other citrus fruits. Leafy hop scents. Pineapple esters.

T: Very sweet malt tastes up front, to the point of being cloying. Sugary caramel and crusty bread. Oily, floral, and leafy hop tastes, pine needles, and some citrus flavors. Moderate bitterness. Toasted malts come out toward the end. Alcohol peeks out just a bit and adds a little spiciness. Finishes with toasted malts and pine tar.

M: On the thicker side of medium. A bit viscous and chewy. Some prickly carbonation. Not at all right for the style.

O: This was not very good. Finishing one bottle was a chore, and now I'm stuck with five. Glad I didn't pay for them. I'll just have to cook with them I guess.

Notes: Tastes under-attenuated. Too sweet, syrupy in body. I realize they are going for more of an East coast representation of the style, but it feels like they went a bit overboard.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 01:34:36 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of DrDemento456


3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a single with the mix and match price of 10.99

A - Pours a nice clear amber with a bit of carbonation that forces about a half inch of head. Lacing is OK.

S - Not as hoppy as I wanted I mostly get bread malts toffee and caramel. Kind of like a Barleywine.

T - As an IPA it's not very good. OK for a barleywine. Starts off very sweet with the cracker like gram malt then toffee and caramel sweetness that gives just a bit of hop bite at the end which isn't strong enough to leave any bitterness just cover the ABV.

M - Medium bodied it was OK.

Overall it's a pretty average take on the style and without bottle dates it's hard to even tell how old my bottle was. Mine was somewhere between an IPA and a barleywine so it might have been a couple months old.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2011 15:09:05 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of godlessape


4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This brew pours honey brown topped with what starts out as a two finger head, then mellows down to a quarter inch. Lot's of lacing left behind with this one.

Smell: All caramel, peaches, and toffee, covered in citrisy hops. I also detect the booze.

T: Full malt wallop that ends with a bitterness that sizzles on the tongue.

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall: Pretty good beer. I'll have to sample more Saranac brews.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2011 00:10:06 | More by godlessape
Photo of abgba121


3.23/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a light amber color with thin head that dissipated very quickly

S: very malty and sweet, hints of caramel and alcohol, almost no hop aroma

T: Sweet and slight alcohol, very little bitterness

M: medium body and carbonation

O: not a very good example of an Imperial IPA, will not buy again

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 04:43:47 | More by abgba121
Photo of Durge


3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At the Colgate Inn’s new Tap Room in Hamilton, New York, this shows a deep, near copper-amber color with a big white head and lots of cascading lacing. The aroma is a pleasant nutty grapefruit, woodsy breadiness. The flavor brings a deep malt liquor over bready grapefruit. It is a bit maple syrup sweet, at times approaching a root beer or licorice idea with a slightly harsh woodsy edge. Alcohol is noted but not overwhelming at all. It’s medium-plus bodied with a light but crisp carbonation. Fair drinkability but somewhat cloying. A quality brew with some woodsy touches.

Serving type: on-tap

06-03-2011 04:16:08 | More by Durge
Photo of Arithmeticus


3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled in tall straight glass.

A: dark cloudy orange, decent head, decent carbonation; lacing isn't bad
S: floral bouquet, very hoppy (pleasantly so), much in line with the style
T: tinny right at the front, but moves quickly to a decent IPA-style--floral, bitter, hoppy; but the metallic notes linger, unfortunately; the alcohol is blended rather nicely; were I given this without being told its style I would have guessed straight up IPA.

The main detraction for me is the metallic notes, which I've detected in other Saranacs too, some more than others.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2011 16:45:04 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of PoorArtist

New York

3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: clear golden amber with a tawny, sticky head that holds up well and laces the glass prodigiously.

S: I try to be sparing with the 5.0 score, but the bouquet is exceptional and I have to give it a perfect 5.0. In a word: floral. I sensed all kinds of spring blossoms, even jasmine and gardenia. All these blossoms, mingled with a rich yeasty, malty substrate. All very balanced and hard to separate in the mind, but really wonderful altogether.

T: Again very well balanced. Ample hop bitterness, but with many other undertones to balance it off. Not at all the usual IPA (one-note bitter slap-in-the-head). Malt and yeast compete with floral hop to an even draw, striking a very pleasant chord. Tasty to the end. Very difficult not to open another immediately, in spite of its muscle.

M: Ample warmth, as expected at 8.5%. Creamy, wet, full, chewy, assertive, but all in a pleasant way. Not a light finish by any means, but not at all cloying, sweet or oily. Friendly.

O: Overall a well-balanced, high-quality product. If you believe (as I do) that a good beer should be a beautiful balancing act between many elements, then this is your drink. In short: a very drinkable beer that I will return to often.

V: I give High Peaks an extra half-point for its high-quality vs. moderate price. It holds it's own against some much more expensive IPAs at a much lower price (in my area).

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 23:25:27 | More by PoorArtist
Photo of dragonWhale

New York

2.28/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap for a lovely NY "event' the great Matt brewing company desires to put this about my tonsils. We laugh and dance, we draw the pint. Amber maiden with the right stuff. Smell is pine and bleu cheese, a little citrus. At first, it's very nice, then the cheese becomes more apparent to us all.
Bitter up front, metallic, bready, cheesy. Not ideal.... This was at least drinkable, but it made my tongue all messed up for the night. It was all I could taste in the next beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-12-2011 04:32:33 | More by dragonWhale
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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA from Matt Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 344 ratings.