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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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 344 | Reviews: 254 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Jeffo


2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

Bottle into the snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a three finger medium-thick off-white head with good retention. Zero carbonation evident, clear, and sienna brown in color. A little darker than standard. Head slowly fades to a decent foam cap, leaving some immediate clingy lacing. Splotchy lace remains and leaves some decent lacing down the sides.

SMELL: Some pale malts, some grainy notes and touches of caramel as well. Some floral hops show up too, but the hop profile is a little muted here. Not all that impressive for the style.

TASTE: A different DIPA for sure, and I'm not sure it's all that impressive. Pale malts up front with some grainy, perhaps pilsner malts in there too. Floral elements in the middle as well as some spicy notes and alcohol into the finish. Aftertaste is bold and lingering, with some spicy notes and bitter floral hop notes. Alright, but not to style really.

PALATE: Medium body, medium carbonation, and creamy enough on the palate. Goes down smooth but has a bit of an alcohol burn at the finish. Not good for the ABV. Finishes slightly dry.

OVERALL: Underwhelming and quite a disappointing double IPA. The grainy notes, perhaps from some pilsner malts, just didn't quite fit the style. The hop profile was also not bold enough to be interesting. This is probably the third or fourth Saranac brew I've had that just didn't do it for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2010 09:20:21 | More by Jeffo
Photo of Mbarnes304

West Virginia

4.33/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a copper ton with not much of a head. The head is white and thin. The beer smell like it has been blended with at least two different aroma hops. I say that because I can't put my finger on the aroma pine or citrus? This being an IIPA I would think the hop aroma would be more prevalent. I think it has more of a malty smell. The taste also has more of a malt flavor then most IIPA's. The taste however is good and the hops and malt are well balanced. It leaves you with a crisp finish. It goes down a little thick, but it's an imperial what do you expect. Very drinkable, will drink again. The beer overall is well balanced. I think it needs more hops but, it's a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2010 03:30:43 | More by Mbarnes304
Photo of mooseisloose


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

Picked up a six at TW, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yields a smell of citrus and cocoa like chocolate covered oranges. Pours into a trusty trappistenbier glass with a eep bronze orange clolour with a nice two finger micro bubble head. Taste is quite exquisite, black licorice and sweet candy start right of the bat, immediately followed by a nice bitterness, then the maltiness, with a chaulky bitter finish. Very complex. Mouthfeel is silky smooth and carbonation spot on. This brew is an incredible value. For this flavor people pay more for 4-packs than I paid for this six-pack. Good job Saranac.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2010 18:45:12 | More by mooseisloose
Photo of bamadog


3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I received this bottle as an extra in a trade, it's not bad, but I'm glad it was an extra and not something that I actually traded for as that would have been disappointing. Anyway you look at it though, it's always great to receive something different and have the opportunity to review it, so cheers to that! Review is from notes taken on 6/16/2010 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a pretty standard coppery color; starts with an even 1 finger light tan head that fades to a full, but uneven skim; body has solid clarity and shows strong carbonation bubbling throughout; spots and strands of lacing are left behind on the sides of the glass.

Smell: A hoppy presence that's bitter, and actually a little spicy; a toasty and dry graininess is present as well as a faint scent of sweet maltiness; also a presence of alcohol creeps into the nose as well.

Taste: A very hopped up DIPA and if I had to guess, I would say that there was an obscene amount of dry hopping due to the especially spicy presence (bit of a turnoff to my palate); a moderate balance with the toasted and dry grains and slight caramel sweet maltiness; faint presence of alcoholic bite lingers at the end.

Mouthfeel: body is medium in weight, but not quite as thick as some other DIPAs out there; carbonation is present and lively enough; a fair coating of moist stickiness is left on the palate and while the alcohol attempts to dry it out, it still finishes fairly moist; belly is left a little warm.

Drinkability: Not bad, but I really don't like the spicy hop presence -- I enjoy bitter, but this is just a bit heavy on the burning hop side of things. I won't be seeking it out, but if it was offered to me, I probably wouldn't turn it down.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 02:15:50 | More by bamadog
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 zeff80


4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of thick foam. The head lasted awhile and left sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of grapefruit, citrus and pine. It had a burnt toast malt aroma.

T - This IPA has a grassy, piney hop presence with a touch of citrus. A nice bitter kick. There was a strong caramel and burnt toast backbone.

M - It was crisp, sharp and finished clean/dry. A medium bodied IPA that is sneaky with its alcohol punch.

D - This is a good Imperial IPA. One of the better Saranac brews that I've had.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 02:31:28 | More by zeff80
Photo of JamesS


3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice mid-copper color with some decent initial head and some nice lacing. Good scent, a nice sweet malt body with a wonderful citrusy hoppy aroma. Decent taste; it has a decent malt backing, but the hops don't work well together; tastes like several competing hops that don't merge very well: earth, pine, citrus, jerky... Goes down a bit rough from the hops.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 00:30:24 | More by JamesS
Photo of mempath


4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2010 01:01:06 | More by mempath
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 20:43:26 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of mklinger

North Carolina

2.98/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Copper colored with a decent but not huge head. OK lacing.

Smell was more subdued than I'd expect for an imperial IPA. Some citrus and some sweetness but also a bit of astringency. Not a great IIPA.

Flavor was similar. Mostly I found it out of balance a bit. Hop flavor without enough bitterness to fill it out. Also, not enough malt to fill it out.

Mouthfeel was good. Not too thick, not too thin. Nice carbonation. Only an OK IIPA, not a favorite at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 03:27:14 | More by mklinger
Photo of animalchin

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice dark cooper body. Head stays retained for quite some time. Rocky lacing follows the whole way through.

S - Very sweet and malty more than hoppy - found this surprising. Sensing a lot of caramel and floral notes.

T - Was expecting a lot more bitterness, but there's certainly a lot more sweetness that starts out. Caramel is what strikes me immediately. The alcohol is strong, but it's not an over-bearing ordeal. Obviously a lot of malts were used, which is apparent with the dark roasted taste.

M - Little carbonation. Decent feel.

D - The 8.5% ABV makes this a one shot deal at a time. Overall one of the best beers I've had from Saranac. I would certainly dive into this again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 20:29:53 | More by animalchin
Photo of Augustiner719

New York

4.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint:

Appearance: Pours a beautiful tawny brown color with orange highlights. Deep dark and rich in appearance. Yielded a 3 finger head that left tremedous lacing. Great head retention.

Smell: Smells very hoppy and piney. Roasted malts come through slightly but caramelly sweet sticky piney hops are predominant.

Taste: Huge hop flavor that is balanced out perfectly. This beer uses a variety of different malts and hops, maybe 10 of each i think and its very complex. The flavor of the beer layers on and on through piney, to grapefruity to grass. Sweet caramel malts balance out the beer.

Mouthfeel: This beer is very smooth on the palate but its over carbonated. THis would do well if left in the glass for a bit. There was a sticky mouthfeel that left you wanting another sip.

Drinkability: Very high drinkability: For a DIPA, its amazing how well the alcohol is hidden and how smooth it goes down. For the price i think you cant beat this beer in DIPA territory.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2010 21:51:08 | More by Augustiner719
Photo of Brent


3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm not sure what hops were used (ten varieties, according to the label), but the overall effect was discordant. There was also a hot bite of alcohol in the middle, much more than I would expect from an 8.5% beer. Not a bad beer, by any means, but this category has many better beers against which this must compare, and it simply falls short.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2010 19:23:07 | More by Brent
Photo of jlindros


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

A: Light airy fluffy head of 1 finger. Super clear amber toasty honey brown color.

N: Some fresh bright aromatic hops really dominate the nose. Not bitter heavy hops, mostly bright fruity hops, some citrus, slight grapefruit, slight fresh musty hop aromas.

T: Mostly lighter hops, lots of lower alpha lighter hops. Some fresh musty hop flavors, hop oils, slight chewy hops. A slight malt flavor as well, but light. Not much for fruity or citrus hops. It has some pine, and has a strange bitterness that is not so pleasant, like taking the sap from a tree blended with orange rind bitterness. Very different. Slight spicy hops too. A slight boozy warmth too, with some slight syrupy sweet malts too.

M: Good body and good carbonation.

F: Very bitter on the finish. Leaves that weird flavored bitterness too, somewhat unpleasant. The heavy bitterness never really goes away either, just kinda sits there. Pretty dry too, which goes hand in hand with that strong bitterness. The pine tree flavor is there as well. I've come to love a lot of the Saranac beers, but this is not the best beer they have made IMO.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 03:21:27 | More by jlindros
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 05:20:16 | More by Gribbs23
Photo of Naugled

New York

3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear brown copper color, with light carbonation but good off white head that lasts.

Piney hop aroma.

Piney hop follows in the flavor right up front, but overall good balance. The hops bitterness doesn't linger.

A very drinkable imp IPA from Saranac. I'm looking forward to trying their other high peaks batches.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 20:13:38 | More by Naugled
Photo of projectflam86


3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

JoeyBeerBelly sent me this brew as an extra. Thanks Joe!

A- Pours a nice amber color with a thick white foam head that leaves great lacing.

S- Some floral hops and grains with a big whiff of alcohol.

T- A light hoppy bitterness upfront with a HUGE alcohol burn in the finish. A bit soapy and astringent. Not the flavor that I would expect from a DIPA.

M- Medium bodied with lots of carbonation. The alcohol is not well masked.

D- Not a bad brew but certainly not on par with other great DIPAs.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2009 04:05:15 | More by projectflam86
Photo of HerrBob


4.45/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

IPA is my favorite style. Initially this IPA was too bitter for me but I kept going back. It grows on you with time & I now enjoy the bitter kick of this brew. It is still a little short of my favorite IPA (Sweetwater) but is still excellent. To those who find the bitterness too overpowering, I suggest you sample it a few more times and I bet you keep coming back. It is very comparable to some far moree expensive brews & an excellent value.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 17:15:12 | More by HerrBob
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades very slowly, leaving a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit hop nose. Flavor is almost sweet grapefruit, malts are nearly balancing the hops with a slight bitter finish. $1.58 for a 12oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2009 23:27:05 | More by jdhilt
Photo of d0ggnate


3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this one in as an extra from kennyo. Never heard of it, but it's always great to get the opportunity to try a new beer.

A: Poured a solid amber / orange color. Near-white single finger head tops my glass. Visible carbonation rises quickly from the bottom of my glass.
S: Immediate citrus, pineapple, grapefruit hop aromas. Subtle pine aromas. Almost find the nose to be a candy citrus or green apple.
T: More citrus, but slightly floral. Sweetness is greater than bitterness. Taste of hops, but not as strong here as on the nose.
M: Good balance, but slightly watery. Flavors linger long on my palate.
D: Found this beer to be initially exciting, but as I moved forward I found it to be slightly above average for an IIPA not from the West Coast. Call me spoiled, but there are so many great IIPA's readily available from my area. My taste leans towards a stronger hop flavor. However, I found this Saranac IIPA to be a great representation of citrus-like hopped IIPA. Almost like HOTD Blue Dot's little brother.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2009 05:20:39 | More by d0ggnate
Photo of KickbacksSteve


3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't smoke marijuana, but I know what it smells like. I also know that cannabis is closely related to hops. This beer smells like it was made with weed. Period, end of story. 7 people were near me when I poured this beer into my Unibroue tulip, every one of them agreed, except for "straightedge John" who went with oregano. Fascinating. Taste is nicely bitter, but maybe not as much malt backbone as expected in a double. Also, while bitter, maybe not enough flavor from the hops. Good beer, not the greatest. May seek out some bottles due to the novelty of the aroma.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2009 08:29:33 | More by KickbacksSteve


3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear Orange copper with Dark amber core. An inch of ivory head that receeds into a pool of oils within a collar of foam. Big Droopy Swiss cheese laces.

Toasty malts, caramel, hint of chocolate. Spicy pine, herbal, and grapefruit.

A very complex malt and hop profile. toasted, roasted, chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, nutty, bread. Orange, grapefruit, herbal, pine, floral, resins, pepper, aspirin. Pleasant bitterness, not the tongue crusher you might expect. A slight medicinal feel towards the end with a bit of alcohol.

Smooth, med body, dry, average carbonation.

10 malts and 10 hops. You can really taste the complexity in this one. They kept it in the realm of IIPA when it could've gone to barleywine. Not a huge hoppy bomb, but a very complex flavor profile. Not typically a fan of Saranac, but this was a good brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2009 01:02:23 | More by CHILLINDYLAN
Photo of mjaskula

New York

3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass. I poured it a little too fast and got a huge head, which wasn't too bad with an aromatic beer. Head was off white and rocky leaving significant lacing, color was clear and copper.

Aroma was fragrant and citrusy not as complex as I expected with 10 hop varieties. There was a little malt sweetness in the background. Flavor is hoppy and bold, but bitterness isn't as strong as i expected. Malt and alcohol presence is strong enough to provide some balance.

Mouthfeel is nice, drys right up leaving little bitterness. Very smooth with a light carbonation.

Overall it's pretty good, but its character seems more like an IPA than a double.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2009 01:21:14 | More by mjaskula
Photo of tj4288

New York

3.13/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a pretty average dipa poured from 12oz bottle into flared pilsener

a- nice dence head only slightly off white. recedes to decent cap that lasts. leaves thick lacing. body is a slightly murky orange brown. lifeless.

s- smells of an average dipa, grapefruity hops.

t- taste is grapefruity hops nice bitter hoppyness from beginging to end.

m- slightly lacking in carbonation imo. slightly heavy body.

d- goes down smooth great price, and from one of my favorite breweries. i might not have more than one or two in a row due to its fairly heavy body, high alc, and bitterness. but one or two will be well enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2009 04:46:18 | More by tj4288
Photo of ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

2.53/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

OK, a pre-review recap. I have had a lot of Saranac beer, mostly towards the end of my college experience. The mixed 12 packs are priced awesomely and gave me a lot of introductions to the qualities of many beers. I don't really remember any super stand outs, but I remember enjoying the beers and they were one keystone in my craft beer journey. I haven't had any beer from them in a long time. I'm excited to see their take on a DIPA.

This was one of the nicest pours I've seen in a while, 12oz into pint glass. A beautiful rich color with an active head that settles nicely. Really impressed at the color on this one.

S-Floral/pine/mild citus hops. Nothing memorable, but certianly not off-putting.

T- This is a disappointment. The taste is total bitter, Moderate malt sweetness and just an overpowering pine-sol hoppyness that isn't vibing. And I love my DIPAs bitter.... this one is a bit muddled.

M- Not helping. Kind of drags across the tongue. ABV is not well blended. Now I'm not looking for stealth ABV, but I've had many a stronger DIPA that wasn't as harsh as this.

D- Moderate. Went well with the pizza I had, and the price is right, but with so many other DIPAs available, I won't be coming back to this one.

I'll try another Saranac at some point, though. Great for the price, for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2009 21:24:46 | More by ShogoKawada
Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA from Matt Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 344 ratings.