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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.
BA SCORE
81
good

358 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 358
Reviews: 255
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 15.73%
Wants: 1
Gots: 11 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 358 | Reviews: 255 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kernalklink
4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow- I'm really impressed with saranac after this one- their normally watered down brews pale in comparison to this one. Dark reddish pour with noticeable sticky head, great earthy hop aromas. Nice thick body, cant even taste the alcohol. Some sweet malty grains lend a counter-flavor to the huge hop profile which is refreshing and well selected. Oily slick finish, very tasty with a little toastiness and alcoholic warmth. If youre going to try a saranac, make this one your first.

kernalklink, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a nonic.

Antiquated copper with a slight haze. Half-inch, creamy off-white head that lingers as a gelatinous sheet. Thinly webbed lacing with solid strength.

Juicy floral hops; earthen yet oily. Lemon and grapefruit aromas that are almost solvent-like and artificial-smelling. Stiff, adjunctory wheat with a slick, over-the-top alcohol presence.

Semi-sweet caramel-flavored, toasted malts surrounded by a waxy, cleaning solvent-esque floral hop character. Burnt, earthen hops with hints of spicy pine. The alcohol presence is abrasive and swarming from beginning to end. A slick, waxy finish is followed by sweetened wheat, pine, and ripe alcohol.

Medium bodied; slick, filmy, waxy. The beefed up, static alcohol character makes the mouthfeel very unflattering as it swarms the palate and doesn't let go.

A Double IPA that is very one-dimensional and tough to drink for that reason. Sloppy and overdone for the style.

NEhophead, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a 1/2" offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a loaded malt profile along with a wonderful hop aroma. It is well balanced and not too aggressive. This is a beer to enjoy, not worship. The taste is good. It has a piney hop flavor that is quite bitter from start to finish. The malts add a full body and elevated alcohol, but maintain a balanced flavor. This is a great beer for Saranac which always seems to hit the middle of the road. This time, the middle of the road is pretty damn enjoyable. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking Imperial IPA.

WesWes, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of maddogruss
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a glass mug. I had the Ruination IPA so I had a general idea of what to expect but this brew was pretty potent. It poured a nice, dark amber color with an off-white head which further made me believe that it was very, very hoppy.The retention was pretty slow, which was good, allowing the hops to really be emitted from the beer. The smell was very hoppy; I guess it's those 130 IBUs (although I believe my friend told me our palettes can only handle 70; I believe him to be wrong after having this brew). The taste was, as explained in the ruination, filled with so much hops, that it was a palette destroyer. As soon as I drank it, I realized that I would not be able to review any beers for a little while, no matter how much water I drank afterwards to cleanse it. The mouthfeel was pretty solid; nothing too thick or too thin. Pretty drinkable if you are a hophead. After a couple of these, my stomach started to churn due to the high volume of hops in this brew. Overall, a good beer. Probably best as a night capper if you are into hops, otherwise, stick to hoppy beers all night long.

maddogruss, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've been a local fan of Saranac since I started drinking beer and I was quite pleased to hear they were doing their High Peaks series. For Saranac, they did a good job...but compared to other DIPA's, I've definitely had better.

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. It has a clear amber hue with a very generous head. Lace is very sticky throughout the entire beer. Very unique hop aroma, citrus/pine/soap? aromas. Very subtle malt odors. Taste, now this was hard to grasp. Not really that hoppy for a DIPA with this abv. Very weak bitterness...quite malty for a DIPA, caramel/nutty taste. Mouthfeel is a bit chewy with a fairly dry aspect. Carbonation started off strong but weakened towards the end. This is a very drinkable DIPA, probably the most drinkable I have ever had and I've had quite a few. I would say give it a try if you're a hophead because it definitely is a unique DIPA, it will surprise you!

BeerTruth, Mar 02, 2007
Photo of goodbyeohio
2.68/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

part of a mixed sixer obtained from manchester wine & spirit.

pours a brilliant orange with darker amber highlights, i am entranced by the bubble flow.. and quite a frothy head leaving chunks of substantial lacing behind. double ipa visage, for sure

malty caramel aroma with processed grain notes, baking bread and an understatement of slightly citrusey but mostly funky fresh hops. earthy, buttery aromas that i usually associate with columbus exist here. big for sure, but not excessively fruity like i had hoped for.

drinkable enough, with a carbonated jazz happening. very bitter, chalky, and lacking any hop-associated flavor. the beer finishes with a mold-like quality, accents of fresh red berry as it warms. i can feel the abv in my stomach as i continue to sip. really rough metallic notes in broad strokes, and not much defining complexity here. sure, this beer is a hop bomb, but that's not all that a double ipa is about. i like the body, just wish the hops were more carefully selected and balanced.

saranac specializes in middle-of-the-road session beers, and have gone completely awry with this fucked up bastardization of a style. not absolutely awful, but probably the last dipa i would reach for on local shelves. not recommended.

goodbyeohio, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of cnybrewblog
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%
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.

cnybrewblog, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of sinstaineddemon
1.83/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - light brown pour, with a full finger of buttery colored head, scant and rare carbonation

S - musty hoppy, with some floral notes on the nose, not too complex however, rather unidimensional

T - just straight up hoppy bitterness, i really can detect no other components, insanely unbalanced, i like Saranac brews, just didn;t hit it off with this one

M&D - not very drinkable, just way to one-sided bitter, ill stick with the others in the Saranac lineup that i enjoy

sinstaineddemon, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%
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 brewandbbq
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper, perfect clarity, and with a two inch, rocky beige head. The head is of medium density and falls within two minutes to a skim coat on the surface. Some decent lacework of clingy, frothy bubbles remain.
Aromatics are piney and peppery. Almost a cedar bark note amongst earthy resinous hops. A hint of cinnamon with the cedar leaves a musty hint. Lacking the pungent, floral character that an IIPA should have.
The mouthfeel is medium and sappy. Mildly sweey and sticky. Carbonation is right on.
The pallet is hop-laden and earthy, with plenty of juicy malt backbone. Heavy on piney, woody, spicey notes. Plenty of zesty, peppery, forest floor character as well. The citrus fruit so well known in a lot of IIPA's is somewhat subdued by the malt and spiceyness.
Bitterness is firm but not harsh.
Finishes quite warming and almost hot.
A notch above for Saranac.

brewandbbq, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of charlesw
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"The first in our series..." "Ten different malts and ten different hops..."
Of the "High Peaks Series". In a 6 pack of 12 oz bottles. I can't believe that I'm the first to review this one. But, hey, whatever.

Pours a clear amber with a light tan head of tight bubbles which lasts a few minutes leaving a very lasting covering lace.

Smells light, grassy and citrusy.

Tastes... Well, there's caramel. There are light citrus hops. There's a bang of bitter hops at the end. Given another 6 months to a year I'd expect both of those to mellow and this to be a lot mellower and even better...

Very nice in the mouth - slick but not cloying.

Now, I'll tell you that it's drinkable but, well, I'm letting my wife drink most of these while I pursue other beers. Why? Well... It seems just a little out of ballance - just a bit too much bitter at the end, a bit too much citrus all over (especially in after taste). Seriously, I'd be happy with this every day but, well, I have other stuff that I want to try and then I've got homebrew without the citrus or bitter tang at the end. Mind you, this is by far the best Saranac I've had and I am so pleased that they're branching out into bigger beers and only hope that they're all at least as good as this one! It will definitely increase my patronage of their beers! I can't wait to try the next in the series! And I should buy a case or two of this series and age it a while to see what that gives...

cheers!

charlesw, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of billybob
4.8/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours orange copper with a light tan two finger head which holds to about half with excellent lacing to the finish. floral, citrus, piney aromas, toasted malt, citrus, spice, and pepper hop taste finish. medium body, good carbonation, with a dry hop, after taste. if it was not for the 8.5 abv i would drink it all night, oh what the hell who cares. keep pouring.

billybob, Feb 22, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.55/5  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.

NeroFiddled, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers: To Saranac for trying to go big and for finally having a beer with retention and lacing.

Jeers: To Saranac for coming out with a big beer doesn't quite deliver.

The flavor and aroma just dont do it for me. There's just a strong citrus rind presence and that's about it. Sure, there's some bitterness, but it comes off like a bigger IPA. At least they're trying.

tempest, Feb 21, 2007
Photo of Ricochet
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big flavor. Saranac beers have always been "okay" but nothing really stuck out. This one would be an exception. Smells very grapefuit and malt and had a good sized head. Darker amber and no carbonation. Mouth, well, bitter but the malt of the beverage takes center stage and chewy is thy name. Very nice. Taste, warm as all IPAs with the extra punch of an imperial? Where do I begin? Grapefruit from the hops, agressive but not overpowering, a little wine and very thick maltiness. There is even a faint blue cheese note? Jeeze, that is a really wierd taste I experienced, but that's it. What a beer.

This is exceptional. I will have it again. Flavors so diverse, but truly a end of session beer.

Ricochet, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of RedHaze
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear dark amber, with a thick two finger head that settles slowly to a thick cap. The lacing is very thick, almost completely covering the inside of the glass.

Smell; citric hops are present with a bit of grapefruit and some oranges. A nice pine tree aroma is there just behind those citrus notes, and there's a bit of a biscuity malt as well.

Taste; more piney in the flavor than citric, but neither is really that strong. This seems to be dominated more by the malts than it does by hops. There's also a spicy alcoholic presence, but it doesn't get in the way too much. I just wish there was a bigger hoppiness in flavor of this one. Not quite what I was expecting for an Imperial IPA.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and the drinkability is pretty good, even though the alcohol is pretty evident in the flavor.

RedHaze, Feb 15, 2007
Photo of riversider76
4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice honey color. One finger head,with decent retention,and great lacing. Smell is hoppy. Pine and citrus,with a hint of sweetness. Body is medium, and carbionated. Taste is piney, with fruit and citrus thrown in the mix. Trust me, you will want more than one. Excellent.

riversider76, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of wedge
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice looking candy orange color with a fat, persistent head pasting sheets of lace to the glass. Aroma of flowery hop cones, pine needles, and citrus along with a sweet caramel base. Resinous flavor of pine sap and a little grain just before the bitterness hits. Peppery, herbal, floral hops. A little different from most DIPAs. This would benefit from a bigger malt profile to really round things out. Bitter medium body with appropriate carbonation.

Cheers to Saranac for expanding their range. Though this can't really compete with the big boys, it is worth a try. Very sticky, flowery, and herbal overall.

wedge, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of far333
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
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 jkaufman
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours golden and clear, with a decently thick head that subsides to 1/8" thin; a nice lacing is left behind.

Smell: Hops, hops, and more hops. Very floral.

Taste: Initially, the multitude of hops seems overpowering, but eventually they mellow out and citrus flavors and aromas dominate.

Mouthfeel: Despite all the hops, this beer finishes slightly malty. However, the hops will remain on your palette long after the beer is gone.

Drinkability: Definitely not a session beer, best enjoyed by itself after a filling dinner.

Highly recommended.

jkaufman, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of oberon
3.6/5  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.

oberon, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of RedChrome
3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Body was a clear medium amber color. A inch high white head shrunk to a thick coating on top. A decent amount of carbonation seen rising to the top. Clingy lace.

Aroma has a strong hops oil aroma. There is a distinct pine note to the aroma. Alcohol presence is also abundantly clear in the nose. Very faint hint of citrus weaves in and out.

A gritty pine taste overtakes the tongue. Strength of the alcohol provides a warming taste as this one goes down. Finish leaves a bitter light plastic aftertaste. Unbalanced.

Decent thickness with a carbonation effect that tingels the front of the tongue during taste.

Only slightly above average. This would be great to go with a chedder cheeseburger. For all the hype I heard about this one it really didn't live up to it. Many other better choices out there.

RedChrome, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of number1bum
3.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear amber with a nice 1" light beige head, sticky lacing and minimal retention. Smell is lots of hops and some floral, pine and citrusy tones. Big hoppy flavor up front, again some grapefruit/citrus flavor, malt sweetness and a long bitter finish. The malt backbone is actually very pronounced. This one really sticks to the palate - slick, creamy mouthfeel and bitter aftertaste. I love hoppy bitter beers but I'm not sure I could have more than 2 of these in a sitting. Solid and enjoyable DIPA, though.

number1bum, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of williamherbert
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear burnt orange color with a welcoming pillowy head. Zero carbonation. Absolutely and completely see-through. Looks light, but we'll see about that. Leaves a frosty lace.

Very strong, bitter hop smell. Very exciting! Strong grapefruity presence. Really a marvelous bitter smell, and even leaves enough room for a mild malt undertone.

Very strong, bitter hop blast. Has a woodsy character to the hop. The hops just keep coming. They are so intense and overwhelming that no other character emerges. One dimensional, though that one dimension is very good.

Sits on the tongue in a big way. Has a thick and creamy body. Constantly keeps reminding you that it's there. It's a delicious drink, but so strong and so hoppy that more than one in a row would be a hard sell.

williamherbert, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with a two and a half finger pillowy white head. There was very good retention and very good sticky lacing.

The smell featured an herbal and oily hop aroma surrounded by a grainy caramel malt.

The taste consisted of a sharp peppery hop with an herbal and earthy essence. Good doughy malt as well.

The mouthfeel was average with some warming alcohol and a dry finish.

Overall a good and drinkable DIPA. Impressive offering from Saranac.

plaid75, Jan 29, 2007
Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA from Matt Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 358 ratings.