Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014) - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014)Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

359 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 359
Reviews: 256
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 15.41%
Wants: 3
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: Kendo on 12-23-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 359 | Reviews: 256
Reviews by FirstBrewsoon:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First of the High Peaks series I have tried,poured a clear bronze with a big blooming 2 finger craterous head leaving multiple streaks of lace behind as it settled ever so slowly.Somewhat subdued aromas mainly grassy and herbal-like even a hint of leather wich I found a bit odd for this style but yeah thats what I got a hint of lightly swwet doughy malt underneath.This seems like an amped up English IPA to me quite herbal with a geranium quality to its hop profile there is a hint of pine mainly herbal a rather large biscuity/doughy malt quality holds up well to the hops.Not bad its not huge by my standards wich isnt all so bad I guess its quite unique in some ways actually.

Photo of ExtraStout
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was excited to see how Saranac would do with my favorite style. They did OK. In typical Saranac fashion, it's a good beer, but not a great one. I found it to have too many shortcomings as it warmed; excellent beers don't fall apart that easily. It really seemed to lose in the nose, taste and mouthfeel departments as it warmed, so despite the label's recommendation that you "savor" this beer, you may actually enjoy it if you drink it quickly and at a cold temperature. I don't mean to be entirely negative, because this isn't a bad beer all around. It's just not nearly as refined as other DIPAs. I am looking forward to their other brews in this new High Peaks Series, and I look forward to having another Imperial IPA soon, to see how a second sampling compares to my initial reaction to this brew.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.16/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

Looks like Matt Brewing is following the rest by brewing up limited, specialty-release batches that are not a part of their 12-pack mix. A gutsy move for them to start off with an American Double IPA. Welcome to the party guys! You're a bit late, but there's more than enough room for beers of this stature. No holding back here, with 10 different malts, 10 different hops, and 85 IBUs.

Quick to foam, with an off-white head that nearly flows over the glass; head retention is amazing, as it sticks to nearly every inch of the glass. Excellent clarity for such a hoppy brew: the amber color really shines. Soft resin-hop aroma with tones of mint or evergreen, blonde tobacco and blood-orange peel. The hop character wraps around the tongue right from the start. An undertone of toasted malt has a small appearance as the hop bitterness takes over. Leafy, stale-tobacco flavor middle to end, with a dry finish.

A decent stab at the American Double IPA style, and a step above average only because it's a clean version, and that adds to the drinkability. Put this up against a one- or two-year aged Vermont cheddar to see who wins.

Photo of TuckerCarlson
4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a partly clear amber with reddish tones to it. A full finger of whitish-orange head slowly fades on top, leaving a ring of foam. Good lacing down the glass.

Full nectary and floral orange scent

This may be the juiciest DIPA I've had. Tons of citrus flavor without being overly sweet, enough malt sugars to suit my taste, and a strong but pleasant piney hop bitterness at the end. Incredibly well-balanced, and the alcohol provides a slight warming without intruding on the flavor.

Full, thick texture with just the right amount of carbonation.

DIPAs are highly subjective, I've come to realize, and I have to admit my bias - I lived in the Utica area for several years, so I have a touch of hometown pride coloring my view. I also tend to prefer a smoother, more balanced DIPA over something that's going to rip my tongue out with hop bitterness (Stone Ruination) or club me over the head with sugar and alcohol (Southern Tier Un-Earthly).

This doesn't have the complexity of Weyerbacher Double Simcoe or the puissance of Avery Maharaja, but it's my go-to beer for the foreseeable future (and at $25 a case, one of the best values in craft beer).

Photo of JasonA
3.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber to dark copper. Plenty of delicious head, staying power, with lacing around to boot.

Some spice, maybe biscuit. Barley? Not hoppy hops. Some alcohol.

I will call this a hop bomb. Feels like 3 layers of hops. First, the standard IPA. Then somewhat different hops, like a traditional IBU monster, then a 3rd set which reminds me of a stone set of hops.

Sits very well with ABV and carbonation. Nice Ale overall. No bite for the ABV which is impressive

Very drinkable. I would love to sit and have quite a few of them. Matter of fact, Im going to. Very excited about having these on the east coast.

Photo of generallee
2.73/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It has a medium orange amber colored body with good clarity and a big white head. The head has good retention and makes some good sticky white lace rings on the glass.

Smell: The aroma has a grainy alcohol smell that mixes into a very powerful hop bouquet. The hop scent is assertive and brings loads of pine resin, citrus, and some old musty/spicy hop notes to the nose.

Taste/Mouth feel: It has a big, sweet grainy and dark bready malt flavor up front with a touch of caramel and smoke. Also there is a very noticeable syrupy and medical alcohol presence throughout. A big hop presence quickly takes over and offers a muddled and overly complex flavor that also brings heavy bitterness. In the end the finish is a slow fading fight between bitter hops and sweet grainy alcohol. On the tongue it has a big full body with a thick, somewhat slick texture that overpowers the seemingly light carbonation.

Notes: The bottle notes that there are 10 different malts and 10 different hop varieties used to brew its Imperial IPA. I thick that they may have gone a little overboard here.

Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer w/o freshness indication, this one pours a darkish shade of almond amber, pretty clear, with just a few bubbles rising to the top. Light tan head leaving classy and well developed, fine and scattered lacing and sheeting. Nose here is just slightly of piney hops. First impression is that this is the best beer ever from Saranac, perhaps that is not saying all that much, but this is some pretty tasty stuff. Love DIPAs like so many here, so really nice to try another. Plenty of bittering going on here, like somebody else said, it would be nice to have a bit more floral, citric hop notes in the nose and flavor profile. Having said that this is a medium bodied, pleasantly hoppy creation, pleasing to the taste buds and tongue taste sensors. Packs a punch at 8%. Well worth a try and assuming its gonna be year round and widely available, I can see enjoying many sixers of this stuff. Nice DIPA from my home state of N.Y.

Photo of Gribbs23
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a standard 12oz pint glass.

Aroma was somewhat heavy on the alcohol...taste reflected this. Minimal head from dark amber color. As mentioned above, heavy alcohol taste followed by floral/piney hops. As an area native, this one was challenging. I would recommend trying a bottle or two, but only for the more experienced IPA drinker. Not a first timer beer. I give Saranac props for pushing the envelope...could be just a littler smooother.

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.78/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured into pint glass from a 12oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped on cap.

Medium copper/amber color with a 1" thick,rocky head with good retention, rings of lace at the top of the glass turning to some spotty lacing down the glass.

Some pine/citrus also grassy hop aromas on the faint side. Nutty carmel/toffee complex malt aromas, again on the faint side.

Very piney taste,astringent,grassy,some sweet carmell/nutty tastes covered up from the bitterness.Lots of dry,tart bitterness lacks maltiness. Citrus comes through at the finish.The taste just doesn't say imperial ipa.

Grainy texture on the light side for the style. On the rough side wasn't impressed enough to want to drink a lot of these. Not real drinkable to me. Saranac beers are usually the most drinkable around. This just wasn't very drinkable to me. A bit of a dissapointment.

Photo of Kraken
2.96/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 1/11/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. Hard pour illicits 1/4 inch of bone white head. Head doesn't stick around very long but leaves a fair amount of art work on my glass. Color is a dark orange brown. This one looks the part.

Nose- Some citric hop notes, predominently candied lemon and orange. Rich caramel notes. Some sour notes, specifically wet wood. Some bready doughy notes.

Palate- Chewy and viscous, pungent puckering tang of bittering hops. No floral or light citric notes. This one does not dance lightly on the tongue. Lots of caramel sweetness, some coco and coffee notes. This might be past its prime, as I was expecting more of a tribute to the hop. Hot, a kin to drinking slightly hoppy cough medicine. Finish is long bitter and warming.

Mouthfeel- Cloying very dry, and slightly bitter

Drinkability- On the lower end. Too thick and heavy in the mouth, some what confused.

Photo of far333
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into the glass a clear copper color with a full two inch high head of tightly bubbled foam. Streams of fine bubbles rise quicly from bottom to top and the head slowly caves in at the center.

Aroma is full and inviting, full of floral and grassy hops.

Flavor is rich and tangy, somewhat biting upfront. It's a mixture of thick bready malt and alcohol warmth, with alcohol vapors rising through, which mutes the hops except for the aroma that floats to the nose during each sip. Some citrus and pine emerge in the finish, plus a hint of sweet fruit, but it's really muted by the ABV.

Mouthfeel is full and rich and creamy, very satisfying.

Average drinkability. The alcohol takes over and there's just not enough hops coming through for the style in my opinion.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a caramel ruby amber tone with large beige tan head wow leaves fine even lacing behind with each sip. Aroma has deep alcohol with overpeened fruit notes that definitely flood my senses mild mineral character with leafy hops not as expressive as I hoped the hops would be. Flavor has a strong sweetness brings to mind barlleywine characteristics with strong hop flavors herbral pine tones not too blanced a barrage of flavor wrecks my palate I'm kinda shocked by the over topness FX Matt went with a beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated kinda sticky in texture, not cloying but not overly smooth. Drinkability kind of a rough character with the brashness of the flavors colliding I'm readly to move on after this sample it's nice to see them go big but remember balance is key.

Photo of ByTor2112
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In the bottle at Fishbones-thanks Neil!
Aroma-citrusy hops, a small hint o f pine.

Mouthfeel- Nice and hoppy and I can get a good feel of the extra malt backbone. Could be a little thicker but a good job with getting more malt into this brew with the extra hops. It all mixes well and I am glad Saranac took the plunge to bring game for some bigger beers on the market. At 8.5% this is quite drinkable for a shorter session! Cheers

Photo of CloudStrife
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.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.06/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac- Imperial IPA

Appearance- Bright red with a thick whipped cream style head.
Smell- Sweet malt with a touch of pine and citrus.
Taste- Sweet, very sweet caramel malt up front. Slight piney, grapefruit citrus bitterness in the end.
Mouthfeel- Sweet and watery up front but the flavor builds and it finishes off bitter and dry.

Overall- Wasn't bowled over by this, but it was definitely worth the $.99 I paid!!

Photo of jmz62565
3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear carmel,amber,honey color with a giant white foamy head that leaves great lacing. A very nice looking beer. The smell has some citrus hop smell to it,but it's really not too strong. The taste is bitter hops with a citrus flavor and piney with a nice alcohol bite. A really good tasting beer from a brewery that hasn't been a favorite of mine. The m/f is medium with the flavors mixing well.
A good drinking beer and for the alcohol, pretty easy drinking.

Photo of asabreed
4.27/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: A deep copper color with lots of bubbles, a creamy looking off-white head with a nice amount of lacing all over the glass, even at the height toward the very top.

Smell: An interesting dark fruit malt element mixed with the bitterness and flowery nature of the citrus hops. Strawberry, cherry, dark berries, a bit of apricot and tangerine, certainly some grapefruit rind, a bit of pine and a twang of lemon. Very impressive and aromatic stuff.

Taste: Lots of nice bitterness all throughout balanced by the malt backbone of dark fruit. The good citrus nature is apparent at first, with some cherry and strawberry coming in a bit later, and the finish is long, coating, and interestingly balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel, which I like since the carbonation seems fairly high (and works better toward the good).

Drinkability: Sure, bring it on. Highly enjoyable, with not a lot of alcohol bite, full of flavor, and above all it's from Saranac. This was a pleasant surprise and I'm looking forward to more from the series.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.76/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick creamy head that leaves a coat of lace as it diminishes slowly. Color is blood orange with patient bubbles moving slowly toward the head. Looks great.

Aroma is big on piney, citrus-rind hoppiness, obviously some hops to tackle with here. But there's a weird medicinal edge floating just under the surface...might be the alcohol showing through too clearly. It provides a spikey counter to the hops, giving a strange peppermint vibe to the aroma.

The peculiarities of the aroma also show through in the flavor. Big juicy hops tickle the tongue; healthy, fresh and alive. Caramel, creamy-sweet malts crowd around to give good balance. But an unusual, too-sweet, astringent, gum-like grassiness envelopes all that and rides through into the finish. It's not even bad. In fact, it lends a unique character to this particular DIPA...but it's not ideal.

Mouthfeel is wonderful. Creamy, full-bodied roundness that we've come to expect from the best examples of this style.

A mostly successful interpretation of this great style...one that all hop-heads should try to get ahold of before it's gone completely. I need to try their bigass stout from this series before that's gone too. Maybe big beers are where Saranac should focus in the future?

Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprisingly decent. Advertised as brewed with ten different malts and ten different hops to At 85 IBU's and 8.5% alc/vol . Lots of dotys in lacing, very bitter I cannot make out what they threw in as hops, above-average carbonation. One of the best they have done, although this style is a cholent of hops and malts that does not showcase skill.

Photo of tdm168
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.

Photo of mempath
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear amber with a good size, flapjack batter head, some sheet-lacing all around. settles neither fast nor slow. lacing sticks around awhile. good.

very interesting massive malty nose with hoppiness churning around in it. some old leather. deep earthy floral tones. fairly complex, but maybe it needs to warm up a bit to open up a bit more...but as it is, very nice. and unique.

taste is really nice. i would like the mouthfeel to be a bit more chewy ( a bit thin, actually), but carbonated perfectly enough. quick, dry finish leads you quicker to the next taste which is a hop-blast for sure, but not too bitter at all. alcohol presence is subdued, too. i think the malts somewhat 'negate' some of the hop profile i'd expect, but in a 'positive' way...i do think the 10 and 10 ratio might be overkill (it seems no more complex than those featuring a few malts and hops)...but it really does taste good. i wish i could wait around and let it warm up, but it's going down fast.

session this? not if you want a hangover. but as above suggests, it's quite drinkable. good to have one alone, whet the appetite, then order a roast beef sandwich au jus.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The new Saranac Imperial IPA pours a clear, deep-copper body with orange highlights beneath a foamy head of yellowed off-white foam. The head retention is very good, and it leaves some solid walls of lace that slowly fade to tiny spots and streaks reminiscent of stars in the summer sky over mountainous terrain.

The nose is a bit limited given the style designation, but it offers some welcome floral, grassy, and spicy hops over a delicate, caramelish and somewhat nutty maltiness. Oddly, there's a bit of soapiness as well, possibly coming from a combination of the floral character of the hops, and some of the sweetness of the malt, although the house yeast may be suspect as well.

In the mouth it's medium-bodied, but seemingly fuller as the somewhat effervescent, fine-bubbled carbonation releases to become "airy" in the mouth.

There's not as much residual maltiness as might be expected (or hoped for), and without it, sweetness and balance are missing, leaving the 85 IBU's quite brash. It's initially sweetish, and lightly caramelish, with a hint of nuttiness to the malt as well. Grassy, spicy, and floral hops rise to dominate at mid-palate, accentuated by a spritz of acohol - just then, the bitterness reaches its peak, pushing aside any residual malt sweetness, and leaving it raspy and grassy in the crashing, long-lingering aftertaste. The alcohol is noticeable from within the first few sips, and it builds to the point that the strength becomes apparent midway through the glass.

Interestingly, Matt seems to have produced more of an Imperial Pilsner, although there is a touch of yeasty fruitiness present. It's definitely a sipper, although serious hopheads who need the burn might really go for this one.

It should be noted that large breweries are unable to do multiple additions of late-kettle hops because of the length of the run - leaving Matt at a bit of a disadvantage against the smaller-kettled micros. It just takes so long for them to transfer from the kettle to the heat exchanger that the hop flavor is lost, and bitterness is gained. That said, what needs to be done here is less bitterness upfront, some more dry-hopping, and a bit more maltiness as cushion.

Photo of jlmjl
3.32/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Nothing particularly anything

S - Not too bad, biscuit sweet ? nice in a sense

T - Not sure, nothing like the smell. THe alc comes thru, astringent

M - Slightly thin, not expectedfor a 2ipa ? Mildly creamy , but Im searching

D - Not sure again, didnt run for another , certainly good, but, not sure Id buy this beer despite the reasonable price.

I cant get the utica beer ball out of my head from the late 70s. We dont particularly love the Matts line

Photo of bobquick
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasty and affordable. Dead on representation of the style, one of my favorites. Saranac does not make a bad beer, any style and the six packs are usually $2 less than comparable beers.

Hoppy and full flavored. I wouldn't drink too many of these in a row at 8%, but you sure could by accident.

Nice color. One reviewer said it was light on carbonation, but in my experience the double ipa style is lightly carbonated. I didn't think this was overly, under-carbonated. If it was over carbonated, you'd know it because its such a full bodied beer that you would become bloated quick.

Photo of prototypic
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It pours a clear, dark amber color with a massive three and a half finger head. Retention and lacing were very good.

Smell: Piney hops are very strong. Nice infusion of caramel-toffee malts though it does not smell balanced. Citrus scents of grapefruit and pineapple are present. A bit of a biscuity smell toward the end.

Taste: Nice mix of bitter hops and caramel malts. It's actually more balanced than I expected from the smell, but it is rather bitter. Citrus flavors add sweetness and it is somewhat yeasty or biscuity on the way down.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied. It is a little overcarbonated. Nonetheless, it's fairly drinkable. I could drink a few of these in a sitting. Overall, it's a pretty solid beer and definitely worth checking out...assuming you can find it on shelves.

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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014) from Matt Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 359 ratings.