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Saranac Irish Red Ale - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Irish Red AleSaranac Irish Red Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

162 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 162
Hads: 293
Avg: 3.38
pDev: 13.61%
Wants: 1
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States | website

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale | 4.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-19-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 162 | Hads: 293
Photo of Duhast500
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a dimpled mug.

The color is an amber with a maroon tint with a finger of foamy off-white head and some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is a little malty with some caramel and some dark roasty malt aroma coming out. There is a bit of a bitterness here but seems to be washes away but a slight CO2 smell.

The taste is a bit smooth and creamy at first. A bit of a surprise, there is a nice cherry-like flavor that seems to be a read band holding up the beginning of this beer then the malts take over and let out some slight roast flavor. Some earthy hops hit toward the end and round out the basses.

The feel of the beer is light and has a smooth feel going down that was a bit sweeter then expected. It has a nice drinkable feel as well and goes down easy.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of the "What Ales You" mixed 12pk. Pours a crystal-clear deep copper color with a half inch of off-white head. Biscuitty malt with slight herbal hops in the aroma, but you really have to look for it. Sweet bready malt with caramel notes and a hint of herbal hops. Medium in body and carbonation. Tasty, balanced, and quaffable. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear, amber/copper in color, with a moderate head of off-white foam.
Aroma-a bit grassy and grainy
Taste-Faint toasted malt, artificial tasting caramel, sweetish and watery, a bit of a metallic finish. A bit of a dissapointment. Certainly much better Irish reds to be had out there.

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Photo of IPAescotch
3.37/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Something like whole oats and dry hay in the aroma
Tart and foamy, nothing to hate, not a hell of alot to get excited about. A little bit watery though not exactly thin. If i knew more about irish reds than i may have a different opinion, but this is kinda plain. Crisp like a lager almost, only the malts have apresence. My bud says he tastes soy sauce but i dont know about that.
Easy to drink but not very inviting

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Photo of tchenery
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours very bright. It has a thin slightly off-white head and when you hold it up to the light it does shine reddish.

On first smell I'm picking up roasted malts. It smells sweet.

The taste is an extension of the smell. It's very full flavored malty ale with some residual sweetness. Not much hops on this one but I wasn't expecting them due to style. It is probably as close to a lager as an ale will ever get in terms of smoothness and subtle flavors.

Mouthfeel is full but not too heavy. It's a very well rounded feeling beer.

Drinkability is very high. Much like the other Saranacs this one can be thrown back with ease time and time again.

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Photo of Brenden
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is a bright, clear coppery orange color. An mild off-white head forms, resting at just under one finger. It dissipates somewhat quickly but does leaves a touch of thinnish lacing around.
Caramel malts with grainy notes and a touch of hops and yeast notes make the aroma, along with earthy, grassy hints.
The same goes for the flavor. It's a straightforward red that could use a bit more strength and depth but certainly isn't bad. A decent hops presence balances the grainy malt. There's a touch of light fruits in the flavor as well.
The body is medium with a crisp bite and a modicum of smoothness. Carbonation is moderate.
While this one isn't stellar and could use more depth, it's a solid representation of the style and quite drinkable.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.31/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown, almost black, very dark for an Irish Red. Nice lacy tan head. Smells of caramel and toffee, sweet malts.

Taste- Hops come through about mid palate, I get the traditional Irish Red taste, but something seems off balance. Mouthfeel is pretty good, drinkability is about average; The hops seem a little off.

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Photo of mikeg67
2.37/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From 12 ounce bottle (bought a 6 beers variety pack). Pours a mahogany color with a nice tall lacy head. Too dark for Irish Red. Aroma is sweet caramel malts. Body is thing but crisp. Flavor of sweet caramel malt in the beginning with barely noticeable earthy hops in the finish. Boring, characterless brew.

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Photo of tzieser
2.88/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours a deep dark brownish red color with a two finger off white head that settles quickly.

S: almost no nose here. a bit of caramel malt I guess. underwhelming.

T: pretty thin flavor. a bit of caramel malt, maybe some maris otter in there too. little to no hop flavor. ehh....

M&D: thin mouthfeel; ok drinkability.

Not a bad beer but not a good one either. Ill pass.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.44/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed on 10 November 2010.

Beer paired with a stuffed pepper. Poured into standard American pint glass right from the fridge, pours a deep copper with touch of red, 1-finger head, average head retention and lacing. Aroma and taste actually come out with the same notes and levels of toasted malts, slight caramel and slight toffee. There isn't much more to say, other than this beer is extremely drinkable and smooth. It does not numb the palate, nor overpower the taste buds. This is top-shelf stuff for a cheap 4.5% beer (believe it), and I would happily stuff my fridge full of these for relaxing days if I wasn't so into tasting and reviewing all kinds of other beers. BUY THIS BEER.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear red/amber color. Poured a 1 finger off-white head that dissipated to a skim; thicker on the edges. Lace washed down the sides of the glass.

S: Sweet roasted malt; caramel and bread. Mild yeast spices.

T: Sweet caramel malt overpowers the lighter malts; masks most everything else. Bitter enough to balance.

M: Light body. Moderate carbonation. Crispy and clean in the finish.

D: Flavorful and smooth. Easily drinkable even though the crystal malt was pretty dominating.

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Photo of asabreed
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A nice-looking amber color with nice bubbles floating to the top. Head leaves decent clumps and drops of lacing and stays fairly frothy a 1/2 finger above the brew's body.

Smell: Standard malt aromas with mild fruit esters, earthiness, and possibly some citrus from the hops. Nothing more.

Taste: Good grains and earthiness, with lingering fruit esters, mild berries, and some citrus from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Lighter-bodied with some crisp carbonation, but nothing feels overly spritzy or watery.

Drinkability: This would go well as an easy-going session brew, or with some bangers and mash, but as far as a version you'll admire, it really doesn't strike that kind of chord.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.11/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served in a standard pint glass. Pours a translucent copper with a loose, half inch, tan-colored head that quickly disperses into a tight, bubbly band around the edges - no lacing on this one. Nose is almost non-existent but suggests a light, malty body (perhaps caramel malt) and a slightly metallic quality. Taste consistent with nose; however, a slightly skunky quality is expressed towards the middle and the metallic character resurfaces at the finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with a lively, assertive (almost prickly) carbonation and some astringency. It's definitely drinkable, but really not all that impressive. A swing and a miss - no need to try this one again.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a typical Red through and through it poured deep red in color is has a very nice color but absolutely no head remains after a few seconds much like a soda. The aroma is of malt and grains but nothing distinctive. The tastes begins sweets and as the carbonation builds it drys and leaves a grain taste on the tongue. For the price its drink increases but overall doesn't stand out.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured the beer into a german stone mug. the color is a beautiful reddish brown wich a nice head building, lot of carbonation, the head disappearing rather quick.
The smell hints some caramel, yet leaves everything else to your imagination.
The taste is actually pretty good, some caramel, toffee, malt. A prickly mouthfeel, very refreshing and drinkable. A good all around beer, yet not extraordinary. I would drink it again.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
2.29/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A= Dark-orange-amber to red with decent head,leaving behind moderate lacing.

S&T=Some toffee, lightly roasted malts, little else.

M=Very thin, with carbonation.

Not much to this beer, even though I have not had much in the style. And yes, I do have Irish in me, but I'll pass on this from now on.

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Photo of bourbonbock
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a clean pint glass.

A. Orangey and red amber color with about a finger of white bubbly head.

S. Smells of malts and some hops with a little bit of caramel in there.

T. Rather average taste with a body of malt and some nice subtle hop flavor with a nutty undertone.

M. Clean and crisp on the tongue with very little aftertaste.

D. I could put a sixxer of this away without a problem at a party. Not an extrodinary beer but an average red ale that I wouldn't look past at the store.

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Photo of RankRefugee88
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams glass.

A - Poured a nice amber color. Nice white head, not too big, not much lacing. Crystal clear.

S - Malty and sweet. Yeast present.

T - Nice caramel taste, a bit tangy. Overall heavy on the caramel, and just simply tastes like a fall style beer would.

M - Mouthfeel is ok. Carbonated well. Crispy finish on the palate.

D - Smooth going down. Decent drink.

Pretty decent beer. Not my favorite Irish Red Ale but I would definitely consider getting it again. It came in te fall seasonal variety pack for Saranac. It's a pretty well made fall beer.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.57/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz

Pours an amber red, cherry red to the light, with a white head that retains as a lacing.

Smells of equal parts light sugary malts and subdued floral hops. Maybe a hint of yeasty tartness.

Taste is faintly bitter and then a bit citrusy. The malts are bready and the hops are very subtle. A bit coppery in the aftertaste.

Feels moderate, mild tingly carbonation throughout.

Good sipper, not much to dislike about it. Would be easy to session but not quite great.

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Photo of soju6
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep red red that is clear with no real head to speak of.

S: Mild malt with hint of grain. Not much here.

T: mild malt flavor with a trace of caramel sweetness. Mild bitter finish.

F: Light body with lots of carbonation.

D: A bit on the tame side but good for a couple.

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Photo of nukem5
3.28/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark ruby red color with a huge clarity, nice fizzy head which dissapears to a thin film.

S: Dark roasted malts caramel and toffee notes.

T: Biter hops and malts toffe and caramel.

M: Medium Body, Balanced between sweet malts and some sour notes from hops.

D: Good drinkable beer and sad by the seasonal status.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had maybe a half-dozen Irish Red Ales in my time and this is one of the better examples. It has, I feel at least, a little more substance than the others.

Deep burgundy hue in the liquid, with a light touch of that color ending up in the head. Volume of head is quite abundant. No significant lacing to mention. Clean, rich appearance.

Bit of a weak aroma. I'm not expecting much in the way of smell from this style, but I found myself straining to pick up whatever was there. Malty and subtly sweet, however, quite subdued.

Takes a few sips to really settle into the flavor, but once I did I found it simple yet satisfying. A cakey maltiness forms the backbone with some caramel notes and I swear the tiniest of almost toffee or cinnamon richness at the back.

Has some body to it. Not as thin as I anticipated or as compared to other examples like Killian's, Guinness Red, McSorley's or Smithwick's, for instance. Drinks clean and fairly smooth, carbonation largely absent.

All in all, this wasn't half bad. I see this best as a beer to enjoy along with a meat pie, burger or simple grilled chicken sandwich and some fries.

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Photo of sdj5
3.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Reddish orange with a one-finger white head

Smell: No hops, sweet caramel malt

Taste: Brown bread, hint of bitterness, very simple

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, feels alright

Drinkability: Doesn't taste good enough to warrant many more

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Photo of skenyon1811
2.79/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled poured into pint.

A: Not much of a head when I poured this and what did appear went away quickly. The color of this beer is great. A dark red color with a little brown, but super clear.

S: I really don't get much here. Nothing standing out to me. I don't get any hops, just a little maltiness.

T: Very heavy on the malt side. I instantly get the roasted flavor and sweet caramel note. Finishes with a slight bitterness and alcohol taste. Not really blown away here.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Mine was a little too carbonated.

D: The carbonation slows ya down a little, but it never feels too heavy. I would pick up a six pack for a night.

Side note: I went to see Umphrey's Mcgee this summer at the Saranac Brewery and in between sets they were giving out free Irish Red.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Irish flag orange, which is a much more common red ale color than red. Nearly two fingers of toasted tan foam looks pretty good at first and melts in fine fashion. Glass coverage isn't outstanding, but it's serviceable.

The nose isn't powerful enough. Just a bit of earthy malt with meager caramel character. Unfortunately, head descent and warming don't add power or personality.

Irish Red Ale is pretty much as expected given most of my previous experiences with The Matt Brewing Company. In other words, it's a dumbed-down version of the style. On the other hand, an ABV of only 4.5% doesn't lend itself to massively malty mouthfilling magnificence.

Flavors include watery caramel, mushy apples, tea leaves, and a mild spiciness that must be coming from the Vanguard hops (developed from Hallertau). Maybe it's my big beer bias talking, but IRAs need to be at least 6.0% (and packed with malt) to deliver the goods.

The mouthfeel is thin and the bubbles are lightly tongue tingly. The first was a foregone conclusion and the second is more tolerable in the bottom half of the bottle than the top half.

Saranac Irish Red Ale fits into the TMBC lineup pretty much where I though it would. For those upstate New Yorkers looking to drink locally and save a few bucks, have at it. For anyone looking for an enjoyable Irish red... keep looking.

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Saranac Irish Red Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.