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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 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 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 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
Photo of jzeilinger


3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear copper color with a uniform white creamy layer across the to. Lacing clings to the side of the glass like glue.

S - Smells a little grainy, earthy, and caramel smelling malts are up front with floral and pine aroma from the hops staying a little more subdued.

T - Is almost buttery in character. Starts with sweet caramel bisquity malt which gives way to a floral citrus hopping that is more delicate and mild than I would expect for such a big beer. The overall flavor is mild for this style. Finishes drywith a piney floral bitterness that lingers for a few minutes. This same buttery presence reminds me of the Shipyard IPA, maybe a little British in character? The very ending finish is a little watery.

M - Medium light body and a little watery.

D - Marginal.

Not totally crazy about this one, especially finishing this thin as a D-IPA. But, the ABV is pretty well hidden. I'm not a big fan of Saranac, but this one, in my opinion, ranks at the top of their line-up.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2010 04:01:29 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of johnmichaelsen


3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a light orange color with decent head retention and lacing. On the nose, there is a pronounced sweet malt flavor, with some underlying bitter hoppiness. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose, though the sweet, flabby malt flavor dominates the flavor profile way too much on this beer. The beer really comes across as rather simplistic, though it's still fairly pleasant. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and simple. The combiation of sweet malt and alcohol hurt this beer's drinkability, not to mention the fact that it's just not a particularly interesting beer to drink.

While OK, I can't imagine why I would ever pick this beer over the hundreds of other interesting DIPA's out there.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2009 19:07:19 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of HopEnthusiast


4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has a small white head atop an absolutely transparent amber. The aroma is very hoppy. Pine and citrus dominate the smell here. The hops are crushingly bitter with not only citrus and pine, but a few herbal and grassy notes in between. It has a soft, oily texture and leaves the tongue a bit chalky feeling and exhausted.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2009 17:07:48 | More by HopEnthusiast
Photo of BEERchitect


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

Taking a more balanced, "Midwest" type of demeanor, the beer denies the standard hop-dominant taste and drier body of IPA and prefers the even keel personality of regular pale ales- just scaled up to imperial strength in this High Peaks Imperial IPA.

Starting with its excellent copper clarity, the beer seems to have filtered out its hoppy haze. A semi-turbulent pour releases a frothy, dense, just off-white head that endures the session strongly and trails the glass with lace.

Citrus hops sweep the nose with images of grapefruit and orange peel; all giving an herbal and tea-like scent up front. The hops weave into a strong caramel note that shows balance until the very end. The focused scent of hops and malt play out in balance and allows little else to enter the equation.

The sweeter malts kick off the show and gives a high degree of malty sweetness that stays with the beer throughout. Citrus fruits of grapefruit, orange zest, and even more tropical mango notes begin to rise early but really take hold at middle palate. Rich fruit sweetness, tobacco earthiness and tea-like herbs make complementing impressions before the malts recess slightly and allow for the pithy bitterness of citrus fruit to clean the finish.

Medium-full, the beer retains much of its malt sweetness and body- much to the determent of its drinkability. But a sweeter, softer, and more succulent mouthfeel emerges and continues to balance the strong hop presence and seems to keep the reigns on the sharper, drier and more aggressive citrus dryness. Finishing malty-dry and semi-warm, the beer seems to cross imperial ales with pale ales.

Where the even malt-hop balance of the beer sings "American" style pale ale, its strength is undoubtedly "imperial". The tribute imperial IPA is much more of an big, but regular, standard pale ale.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2008 18:26:58 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of erosier


3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

L: Pours a nice orangey color from the bottle with a tall and thick white colored head that takes some time to settle. Nice lacing down the glass.
S: Smells of sweet malts, then a huge amount of piney and citrisy hops.
T: Very big piney hop flavor overpowers this one. Subtle hints of citrisy hops and then some nice malts but the piney hops take over.
M: Very sharp but crisp with the right amount of carbonation.
D: OK, too much piney hop, was hoping for a better balance of the tastes.

Serving type: on-tap

09-26-2008 10:38:59 | More by erosier
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at British Beer Company on 10/11/07, served in an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, hops and a little citrus.

T: The taste is pretty well-balanced, with flavors of caramel & citrus and a decently strong bite of hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty but doesn’t make the beer too sweet. The after-taste is hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, nice kick, good representation of style, I wasn’t expecting much from this beer due to the fact that I’ve been less than impressed with the several ordinary (or worse) beers that I’ve had from Matt Brewing. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this beer was pretty good. I could drink this for a night, but since BBC has such a good selection on-tap (including Stone AB & Ruination), for me it was a one-and-done just to try it.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2007 14:20:01 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of WillieMoe


3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a beautiful amber color, honey-looking, if you will. delivered with a thick head, that quickly dissolved, with mild lacing. Has a fruity smell and taste about it and is pretty smooth for an imperial ipa. I probably couldn't spend all day drinking it, but one or two would really hit the spot.

Serving type: on-tap

08-03-2007 21:34:02 | More by WillieMoe
Photo of cnybrewblog

New York

4.33/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this off tab.

A: Amber color that was not much darker than the normal IPA

S: Now I have a bias here because I love hops and this was SWIMMING in them, so I have to say I loved it. There were some faint pine smells that really complemented the hops and gave it a great nose.

T: Way too smooth for a beer with that ABV. There was a nice hoppy snap to it with a hint of grassyness in the finish.

M: This was good, there was a nice dry snap to with the hops and a sweet finish. The carbonation was good.

D: I would go driving home after a couple of these, but otherwise this is a great beer, instead of getting pounded with alcohol you have an IPA that is just more nuanced.

Overall I am a fan. This is a great addition to the Saranac family and I am looking forward to what other brews they have in store.

Serving type: on-tap

02-27-2007 18:35:11 | More by cnybrewblog
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 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
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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA from Matt Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 344 ratings.