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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPASaranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

366 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 366
Reviews: 258
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 15.41%
Wants: 2
Gots: 12 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Kendo on 12-23-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 366 | Reviews: 258 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by onthefarside:
Photo of onthefarside
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Just bought a 6 pack of this for about $7 at Oliver's Beverage. Off a recomendation from a friend who said it was decent. Saranac has a few decent brews out there. The Pomegranate Wheat is pretty good, as well as their belgian white, what blue moon should probably taste like. I'm getting into the IPA thing, so far DFH 60 minute has been great. So on to this beer as I drink it.

Poured relatively rough revealed a 2 figer head in a pint glass. The white head covered a rather different coloured IPA then DFH, more of a reddish colour than copper/gold. I'm not biased towards colour of beer so i jumped right in. Leaves very nice lacing with a small perhaps, 1/2cm head

Smell was of floral hops (my friend said it smelled like flowers and passed it up, fool), some alcohol, about all i could pull out of this one.

Taste was kind of bland personally, i couldn't really really pull out much flavor aside from the hops (which is a good thing i suppose for the style) and the alcohol. After it warmed up a bit, there appeared a sweet malt flavour, which was enjoyable i must say.

Mouthfeel- A good amount of carbonation, not too much. is a little thicker than most beers. Before swallowing, it has a nice feeling on the tounge, however the alcohol really shows itself while/after swallowing, much like a wine. It's not too bad of an aftertaste, the bitter hops is much more pleasant and overpowerers the alcohol so you only taste it for 2-3 seconds.

Drinkability, well i've has 2-3 beers already tonight and this finally got cold. At 8.5 % abv it's not too bad. The only high abv content beers i've tried are stouts which hide the alcohol extremely well. Perhaps the Imperial IPA will take some getting used to. I could get used to this however.

onthefarside, Jul 16, 2007
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

oberon, Feb 03, 2007
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.

ExtraStout, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

BeerAdvocate, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of TuckerCarlson
4.38/5  rDev +22.7%
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).

TuckerCarlson, Jul 07, 2007
Photo of JasonA
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

JasonA, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of Halfpump
4/5  rDev +12%

Halfpump, Nov 11, 2014
Photo of generallee
2.68/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

generallee, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Doomcifer, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of megamass
3.75/5  rDev +5%

megamass, Mar 13, 2014
Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Billolick, Jan 23, 2007
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.

Gribbs23, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of MikePags
3.25/5  rDev -9%

MikePags, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of jcdiflorio
2.75/5  rDev -23%
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.

jcdiflorio, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of mjtiernan
4/5  rDev +12%

mjtiernan, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Kraken
2.95/5  rDev -17.4%
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.

Kraken, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of far333
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

far333, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of williamjbauer
3.5/5  rDev -2%

williamjbauer, Jul 01, 2014
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.

WVbeergeek, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of ByTor2112
3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
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

ByTor2112, Aug 09, 2007
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.

CloudStrife, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
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!!

NJpadreFan, Mar 20, 2007
Photo of jmz62565
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

jmz62565, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of asabreed
4.25/5  rDev +19%
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.

asabreed, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
3.75/5  rDev +5%
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?

Metalmonk, Feb 25, 2008
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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA from Matt Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.