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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

383 Ratings

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Ratings: 383
Reviews: 264
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 15.08%
Wants: 3
Gots: 15 | 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

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 383 | Reviews: 264 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of asabreed
4.27/5  rDev +19.3%
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 Rudgers73
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours a very impressive thick and rising head that stops right at the top of my pint glass and begins settling into a thick frothy foam. The beer is clear and has a deep amber shade. The smell is piny, bubble-gummy hops that are rather sharp and pungent. As the head settles it is already showing signs of really great lacing. The taste is really bitter. The hops are piny, woody, and tart. Maybe a little bit too hoppy for my taste. I think it overwhelms the rest of the beer a bit causing a lack in balance leaving the mouthfeel not so great either. I'm surprised at Saranac for producing such a bold beer and, honestly, I am going to give it a little bit extra for this since I rarely see this from Saranac.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a decent copper with highlights of tawny orange. The head is soapy and white and maintains true to form for the style--sticky and frothy. The nose is delicate, sweet floral hops, grapefruit juice and some piney notes. One could expect more. Initial quaffs revel creamy grassy hops and a quick shot of piney malts. The body, through warming, will give way to fresh grapefruit, bubble gum and some reserved sticky malts. Burnt caramelized hops; medium carbonated and probably a medium bodied DIPA. Very nice, rates just below some of the big boys, if there was ever a session-able DIPA, this is the one. Go easy.

Photo of AltBock
3.64/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle that has picture of 3 big black curved lines that are supposed to represent the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. These lines are drawn onto a a map of the northeastern part of New York. Above those black lines is the name of the brewery, Saranac, in big bold red letters. At the bottom of the label is where Saranac calls this their "High Peaks Series" and below that, in big white cursive letters on a black background is the words, "Imperial IPA." On the outer rims of the picture is just the refund prices and the Government warning. Information about the beer can be found on the neck label surrounding an oval that has "Saranac" in big red letters, gray lines that are supposed to represent the mountain range, and the words "Imperial IPA" in those white cursive letters that were on the main label. Served in a Great Lakes Christmas Ale Snifter.

This Double IPA poured a beautiful honey amber that easily had a 1 finger head of white pillowy foam. It had pretty good retention that left behind a small white film, plenty of white foamy rings along the edge, and tons of white sticky lace around the glass. I thought the aroma of this beer was too light. It couldn't have been the temperature of the beer because it was at room temperature. It was just the beer itself. All I got in the aroma was just a slice of grapefruit, a few citrus hops, and a touch of toasted malts. Toward the bottom of the beer, a slight juicy fruit aroma emerged. The taste started off some bitter grapefruits and then it went into a dab of toasted malts, a few more citrus fruits, a pinch of pine tree, and then finished off with a mild hop bomb of burnt citrus/piney hops. This is the second Saranac IPA beer I had where they burned the hops. Hopefully this isn't a trend thery're doing with their IPAs. Stop burning the hops! The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, not too dry, average carbonation, and with an aftertaste of toasted malts mixed in with those burnt hops that Saranac is so fond of. Can't feel or taste the alcohol content of 8.50% in this one. A friend pick this one up in New York for me and it was only $.83 a bottle. That's a deal! Not the best tasting or the most bitter American Double IPA out there, but it's probably the most affordable one out there. Hell, it's worth a try for $.83 a bottle. I wouldn't mind trying this one again in the future. If you don't like it, you're only out a little pocket change. Give it a try!

Photo of JasonA
3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
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 sulldaddy
4.13/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass. The beer pours a clear chestnut orange with fluffy eggshell white head of 2 cm foaming up easily.
Aroma is a nice floral hop base with hints of caramel in background.
First sip reveals an average body with fine fizzy carbonation. Smooth texture.
Flavor is sweet caramel up front and then rolls to an herbal and rindy hop flavor, lingers as general bitterness. No hint of alcohol anywhere. Overall this is a solid beer as I expected from Saranac. This is no hop bomb, but I dont think a beer has to be completely out of balance to be a good IPA or double IPA. For the price this is worth it for sure.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
2.53/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I felt honored to have been able to get this at my local beer store.
This is the 1st in the High Peaks Series and I thought it would have been more expensive, but I only paid $6.49 for a six pack.

It poured a clear amber color with a short tan head that went away in a hurry, but left a fair amount of lacing.

Smell is not what I expected from a Double IPA, it smells like malt and alcohol. The empty bottle smells like hops, but I don't smell them in the glass.

Whoa... I taste alcohol and plenty of it!
Malty taste is over-powered by strong alcohol taste, it actually burns a bit in the mouthfeel catagory.

With this much alcohol (and alcohol taste) how much of this stuff can someone drink?...
I'm 1/2 way through number 4 as I write this review and I'm having a tough time with it.

I'm sorry for knocking this beer, but I expect and want more hops than malt and/or alcohol in my Double IPA. This beer will offend a true hophead.
I'd rather be doing shots of Jack for this type of alcohol throat burn.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.42/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glowing orange copper body, couple carbonation streams, topped by a fistful of level bone-china white froth.

Impressive citrus aroma, heavy with oranges.

Thick rich deeply sweet malt slathers down a bedrock foundation. Juicy fruit flows over while a tingle builds along the edge of the tongue and mouth. That tingle becomes a ferocious bite at the swallow. Fruit and bitter tingle entwine in the aftertaste.

Nice smooth well integrated mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability.

Saranac comes out to play with the big boys, and makes the varsity. It's no HopSlam, but it's damn impressive and far exceeded my expectations.

Photo of cbl2
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

3/31/2007 $1.50 12 oz. 8.50% No best by date.


Pours a crystal clear medium brown with orange highlights that is topped by over an inch of tight offwhite head that is slow to settle, as whorls of carbonation replace it.


Brewed with 10 hops at 85 IBU's, this is on the grapefruit side of the spectrum, with just a touch of grass thrown in. Decent sweet malt backbone to balance things out.


Delicate, smooth mouthfeel leads off this rather pleasant offering from Saranac. Nicely juicy with loads of grapefruit bursting in your mouth, coupled with some toffee notes from the malts. 8.5% ABV is not apparent at all, making this highly, and dangerously drinkable. I wasn't expecting much, as I'm usually let down by Saranac, but I must say they crafted a fine ale here that could hold its own against any other beer in this style.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No idea why people are dogging this beer. It's fantastic, at 6.99 a six pack, a deal and then some. As many DIPA's are over-hopped, over-hyped messes, this one is balanced, low-key, complex, and what a DIPA should be. For the style its drinkability is outstanding. Just enough bitterness, to keep you guessing, just enough malts to make you want more. Rather fruity on the nose, show nicely in the glass, nothing outstanding, but hey, what is that isn't unfiltered and unpasteurized.

A little late to the scene, but lacking nothing. Outstanding!

Photo of AlexJ
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale yellow orange with a fantastic head of dense beige that just lasts forever. Pinpoint carbonation feeds the head until it forms craggy peaks. Each sip leaves concentric rings of crusty lace on my glass. Impressive presentation from Saranac.

Aroma is a collage of hop aromas; pine, citrus, ceder shavings, earthy herbs, light florals, and so on. There's a decent toffee malt note there too. The ample nose is another nice surprise.

Flavor is also quite good, but not as good as the nose of appearance. It's plenty hoppy, but the hop flavor doesn't take any real direction. It's citrussy, earthy, green, piney, astringent, floral, fruity, etc. Not nuanced or refined tasting at all, just hoppy. It's actually pretty balanced though, there's plenty of malt in here.

Body is medium and creamy, perhaps on the lighter side of the IIPA spectrum, but perfectly acceptable. Alcohol not noticable at all in the flavor, only in the effect. Twof these gave me a surprisingly big buzz.

A worthy effort and certainly the best Sranac has ever offered. It's a bargain for 7 bucks a sixer though, no complaints there.

Photo of jaxon53
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served slightly chilled in a pint glass. Poured a rather clean copper red color with about a half inch off white head. Head was frothy and tight with very little in the way of retention. Aromas of hops, some sweet malty notes, and some citrusy grapefruit in the nose. Tasted heavily of bitter hops, some nice piney flavors, and some nice balancing malt flavors. Strong hoppy start, with a mellow, dry, hoppy finish with small hints of warming alcohol. Hops are dominant in the mouth. Has a full , thick mouthfeel. Drinkability is good. An above average double I.P.A.

Photo of akorsak
4.02/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle from a trade with drseamus.

A: The ale has an amber color, trending closer to a dark orange/brown color, let's settle on auburn. The head is voluminous on pour and laces extensively in the glass.

S: The nose has a big hop flavor, showing off some pine and citrus oiliness. Maybe its me, but there appears to be a ginger element present as well. Overall, the nose is big and hangs with the best DIPAs.

T: The flavor starts off with a deceptively strong malt body. I say deceptive because there was no evidence of it in the nose. The caramel and biscuit graininess is paired well with the bigger hop profile. The hops are citrusy, with the slightly pungent taste of an orange or lemon rind supported by some grapefruity floral elements.

M: I've noticed that almost all Saranac offerings have a similar taste component, making them almost indistinguishable. This beer is a marked exception. The big hop nose and well-balanced body, while it screams IPA not DIPA, is enjoyable.

D: The higher 8.5% abv is well-hidden. The hops are strong enough to capture one's attention up front and make for a thoroughly enjoyable beer. By far one of Saranac's best offerings.

Photo of foureyedgeek
3.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle picked up as part of a mixed-6 from Dawg's Bottle Shop in Greensburg.

Wow, this beer is actually quite a looker. The amber body is topped with an absolutely puffy cap of head, a good three fingers, standing tall above the rim of the pint glass. A well retaining foam streaks lacing as its drank.

Smell, though, does little to live up the looks. Rather muted scents of bready malt, very little bursting hop aroma like I want in an IIPA.

Sadly, the taste is much the same as well. Caramel and breadiness, but the purported 85 IBUs must be hiding somewhere. The bitterness isn't even hoppy, its more of a chemical-metallic bitterness.

Mouthfeel is fine, the body is pretty much where it needs to be.

Drinkability is only decent. I thought this beer was going to be a basement bargain winner at first sight, but the follow-through was rather disappointing. Its not bad, but its certainly not great.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.06/5  rDev -14.5%
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 gpcollen1
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an interesting reddish brown into my Imperial Pint glass yielding a full inch of pillowy fluffy head. Aromas are light in the pants in the hops category but you really get a bit of sticky sweet malt coming through.

Sweet malty goodness hits the tongue and gets slowly dispersed by the gentle fizz of this moderately carbonated brew. A gentle hoppy presence rides in and then multiplies, completing the act with a slightly bitter and dry finish. Some mild runs of sticky sweet pine come and go. Not much citrus at all, which is quite refreshing.

Not to bad a brew for the price. Would love to see Saranac take a few more stabs at brews like this.

Photo of DrJay
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear orange with an off-white, fluffy head. Decent retention with some sticky lace. Clean, hoppy aroma, mostly pine with a little citrus peel and powdered aspirin. Malt presence is sequestered at the front, leaving the finish quite bitter and resinous, just a little harsh. Hop flavour is piney and citrusy, but there are also some earthy notes, some spice, and without the balance of malt sweetness it's a little acrid towards the end. The alcohol's well hidden, just a little warmth. Medium/full bodied, fairly smooth carbonation, nothing out of place. Not a bad beer, I'm just not a fan of how the hop character influenced the flavour. Maybe a little more malt depth would help out. Still, the hops really worked in the aroma.

Photo of Braudog
3.87/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had to do a double-take when I saw this on the shelf at Bon Vivant, but Mike there recommended it so here we go ... It pours with a slick red-tinged amber color and a sold if airy head. There’s a solid metallic-hoppy nose, too. Wow .. on the first attack, this is a big hoppy beer, with a thousand times more character than any Saranac beer I’ve ever had before. It’s got a big viscuous resiny hoppiness to it. But is this a DFH 90-minute in disguise ... not quite ... doesn’t have quite the body. But nonetheless a good stab at a big IPA from the boys at Matt. (#2755, 3/16/2007)

Photo of jlmjl
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
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 PBoegel
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lots of folks have reviewed this brew so I am not going to get crazy into the prose.

Served form a 12 oz bottle into a 20 oz duvel tulip glass. Appearance is very nice, pours a dense creamy white head on top of a very rich reddish orange body with great clarity. Very nice. Aromas are pine, rough english noble hops and some slight citrus, the aroma on this bottle is a bit subdued, this bottle is three months since it hit the stores and the earlier bottles had a more pronounced aroma.

Flavor and mouthfeel on this beer are very good, with the mouthfeel outstanding. I really enjoy the more balanced double IPAs that show malt character and thrive on hop bitterness, and that is where this beer shines. Flavors are clean malt with a nice robust but dry finish in mouth feel, no cloying and no over the top hop flavor.

This is a damn solid brew from FX Matt who can be hit and miss, but this is a keeper, I hope they do it every year it is worth repeated visits. The aroma shines when young, they could tweak that a tad, only big ding.

Photo of beerphan
4.15/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> nonic
no date but there is a screened code

Pours a darker amber than expected with a full frothy white head that recedes to an unbalanced pillow. Some nice patches of lace and even a few rings. Carbonation is slow and steady from the pour til the end of the glass.

Sweet juicy oranges, rinds, caramal malt, sugar

Deep malt backbone with caramel sweetness all over. Hops are flavorful but quick, some peach, orange, and pine. Earthy bitterness from the start but never really overwhelming. Finishes clean. A little heat from the alcohol about 3/4 the way through. Full flavored probably the best beer from Saranac I've ever tried.

Mouth is full-bodied and smooth.

I really think this brew has balanced itself out with a little time on the shelf, took me a while to find it, but i'm glad i did.

Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
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 jjayjaye
4.38/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear orange amber color with better than a full finger foamy head that was able to stick around . Pretty active effervescence and impressive lacing patterns observed. I've gotta give the A - better than good because of the foamy artwork.

The aroma is classic. Fresh hop and yet a nice balance of sweet malt.

Medium bodied mouth feel with a nice ting from hops and carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

The mouth complements the flavor quite well. The flavor has that sweet malty characteristic with great hoppy notes; quite balanced.

Put me down as a fan. Tell me again what i paid for this? The 8.5% is hidden well beneath a wonderful complexity. Matt Brewing invested in this one and they have my attention.

Photo of atsprings
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had seen this beer around and passed on it but couldn't pass up $6.99 for a six pack! Pours a crisp clean light amber with a decent frothy off-white head. Aroma is of both pine and citrus hops. Taste is a good plethora of hops! There is a decent malt backbone that does its job but lets the hops shine through. The 8.5% is pretty well hidden and the beer sits medium on the tongue. The 85 IBUs show through nicely for a hophead like me. Given the reputation Saranac generally has, this is actually a damn good beer!

Photo of jmz62565
3.86/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA from Matt Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 383 ratings.