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Saranac Big Moose Ale - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Big Moose AleSaranac Big Moose Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

206 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 206
Hads: 457
Avg: 3.5
pDev: 23.14%
Wants: 2
Gots: 31 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009

Saranac Big Moose Ale is an American Pale Ale with a kick. The medium-bodied malt sweetness is balanced by a nice crisp bitterness from hand selected centennial and cascade hops. Look for a vibrant citrusy hop aroma that will leave you craving another swig!

13.5 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Big Moose Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 206 | Hads: 457
Photo of metter98
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear yellowish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high light beige head that died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacy rings of bubbles around the edges of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of floral hops and spices in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of pale malts and a light amount of bitterness. Hints of spices are noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink, but the aroma and flavors seem to be a little muted.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is one of those rare beers that has two identities. the pour is fine enough, copper in color with an average white head, not much retention. the nose is all malt, english caramel, sweet, toffee even, medium toast. but the flavor, is all hops, resins and bitter from extensive dry hopping. its sort of an odd double take, i get no hops in the nose, and i get very little of that robust malty weight in the taste, which i cant seem to figure out in terms of brewing technique, but it comes together rather well all things considered. this is a winter beer for sure, even brown sugary to the smell, and the hops keep it crisp and clean like the night air in december here in upstate new york. enough body and enough bubbles, the feel is fine. dry bitter finish. overall not my favorite saranac winter selection, but it wont be the last beer left in my fridge, thats for sure.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a light amber color with some orange hues. The head was white and fizzy left some very thing a scattered lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer has a lot of toasted malt on the nose, that's mostly all I get from it. The taste of the beer has a big toasted caramel bitter sweet flavor in the beginning that fades into a bitter hoppy finish. The mouthfeel of the beer reminded me more of an ESB than an APA. It was mild and smooth with a dry finish. Overall this beer wasn't great but it was drinkable.

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Photo of brentk56
3.49/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a bulky head; plenty of foam sticks as well

Smell: A hint of malt and grain, but rather non-descript

Taste: Toffee malt, up front, followed by a piney bitterness that fades, after the swallow, so that the finish is filled with toffee and the hops are a lingering memory

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink but would be better with a more assertive hop bill

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looking for an incredible hop-malt balance with a dry-drinkable balance. The Matt Brewery has the answer with Big Moose! It's a tasty beer with impeccable flavor delivery.

With a slightly richer hue that's expected from the style, its deeper amber hue is brilliantly clear and allows a creamy white head to rise at the onset. It's diminishing froth reduces to a dissolved sheet and laces intermittently. Looking much more English-like, the beer is a bit more calm that what we're used to.

Citrusy notes of orange peel, grapefruit, light tropical notes, pine, and grass gives both pungency and floral notes to the aroma profile. Backed by malty notes of caramel and graham crackers, a hearty sweet note is what's needed to balance the strong hop presence.

Delicious dry graham cracker sweetness, graininess, and hearty taste all rise in taste to meet the front of the mouth. As the sweetness extends onto the middle palate, the citrus and herbal hop flavors emerge with those orange peel and grapefruit tastes. Herbal tea leaves, fresh cut grass, and pine resins start to frame the finishing flavors while grain and bread crust offer creamy taste in support.

A creamy-dry texture rises early and retains the mouthfeel until very late in the session. A short lived malty texture quickly fades and favors a pleasant grainy-dry, semi-sweet posturing. The late spic of alcohol and malty-dryness gives the beer enough structure to become endearing but is dry enough for sheer drinkability.

Big Moose Ale is a fantastic American pale ale that holds up to an array of American cuisine, but is sturdy enough to stand alone as a session-like ale. Incredible in texture and firm in taste, the beer is build for flexibility.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, orange-amber color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of spicy hops, pine and some bubblegum notes.

T - It tasted toasty with nice citrus, pine and bubblegum flavor from the hops. Really surprisingly tasty.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean, dry finish.

O - This was a really surprisingly good pale ale. It had IPA-like hop character.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Saranac Twelve Beers of Christmas I picked up today.Poured into a standard pint glass a clear medium golden with a tight formed one finger white head that rstuck around for quite a while leaving one big ring of lace as it creeped slowly down the glass.A mix of caramel malt,biscuit,and floral hop,an annoying metallic-like aromas shows through as well.Pretty nice balance on the palate,a mix of toasty/graininess and lightly sweet caramel malt,a healthy dose of citric hop comes through in a long finish.Matt did a fine job on this Saranac offering,its extremely balanced and a good quaffer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another in the long line of this twelve pack. This was the middle of the day for me and I was not really sure what to expect with it to be honest. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass. Consumed 02/21/2010.

The pour was decent, nice even amber in color with a modest head that settled down slowly and evenly over the course of the session, but left little in the way of lacing or any formative layer of foam. Light malted grains open up as it warms. Caramel, hints of piney hops, a nice touch of rich bready malts and a definite herbal quality to it.
Smooth and even with a nice soft and even consistency to it. Rich, warming hop notes great me across the palate and melt into a fine mix of caramel and smooth, subtle and lovely buttery notes. Final smack down comes from the hops which are nice and prominent in the finish and really go a long way into the final taste. Easily session able and much easier to put down then I thought it would be. I have to admit I grew quite fond of this one.


Overall a very solid little ale here. One of my favorites of the mixed sixer for sure. I would have no issue at all with getting another one of these any day of the week.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.8/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, darkened orange body with a grouping of rather large, white bubbles comprising a rather small head.

Smell: Malty accents of caramel-glazed barley grain. Vague hints of florals and spice. Citrus-scented hop note of wet, juicy lemons.

Taste: Lightly grainy, lightly bready pale malts. Not much of the caramel from the aroma carries over into the final flavor. Modest amount of sweetness. The hops are predominately citrusy, though a few faint hints of spice and florals are transmitted. Medium bitterness. It literally melts in your mouth, as in it gets increasingly watery as you reach the dry, bitter, though wimpy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: The decaying body, with its thinning wateriness drives down my interest in this one to near nil. A weak, below average offering.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

The whole Sarance winter styles box was another war trophy from the post-DLD death march through Hoosierland. Don't ask...you couldn't handle the darkness. This guy pours a clear deep amber topped by about two fingers of white foam. The nose is pretty weak, comprising only floral hops and rice cakes. The taste bumps things up, but not very much so: notes of bitter citrus peel, caramel, and toffee. Nothing mind-altering, but a nicely balanced bit o' APA. The body is light, with an active carbonation and a dry finish. Once again, nothing stunning, but solid enough to have again.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light copper color, smallish head to it.. some nice lacing though. Faint hop aroma. Taste has a great mouthfeel, nice crispness to it. Smooth going down with some nice subtle hop notes. Really a well balanced beer, this would be a great summer beer because it's just so damn refreshing. Not overly killer with the hops like an IPA so this APA is a solid choice for a beer. Nice start to the winter mixed 12 pack!

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Photo of kojevergas
2.18/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I just reviewed this in full, but beeradvocate lost my review so this will be much more brief.

Average appearance of copper colour with an unimpressive head.

Aroma is poor for the style; imbalanced floral hops, caramel, and some sweet nectary notes.

Taste is poor as well; way too sweet with bland floral hops and middling caramalt. Bleh.

Mouthfeel is bland. Smooth, wet, too thick, overcarbonated.

Hard to drink due to its low quality. Another garbage beer from Saranac/Matt brewing. Not recommended at all.


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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

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

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, tea, citrus and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a hearty but not too heavy malt character that is quickly followed by mildly sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. Then a decent hops presence comes in but it's a bit on the weak side for the style. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, this is a fairly solid beer overall but there are several others in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of Jason
3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Pours a pale copper color, good clarity with a sea foam stick head on top. Smells of citirc herbal hop with a caramel / taffy maltiness. Crispness fleshes out the medium body a bit. Light maltiness goes a little sweet but more toasted bread and biscuit. Hops are here, bitterness plateaus yet the flavor is pretty broad with herbal, citric, tobacco and grassy flavors. Mild fruitiness / faint alcoholic ester in the middle. Finishes hoppy and semi-dry.

One of their hoppier beers and it seems they did a good job all around, perhaps a bit more on the malt side but it was not lacking much.

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Photo of russpowell
3.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent honey color with 2 fingers of pearl white head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Floral & citrus hops & a touch of biscuitty malt that fades over time

T: Follows the nose, plus some leafy hops up front. Leafy & herbal hops bitterness dominates as this warms along with a bit of dryness & a hint of pear. Finishes with flinty dryness, a hint of lemony hops & a touch of grapefruit at the very end

MF: Light bodied with moderate carbonation, pretty good balance

Drinks fairly easy, this could pass as an English IPA IMO, not great, but not too shabby

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a glowing copper orange hue with a bright white head, lacing is speckled evenly around the sides of my chalice. Aroma has a nice citrus bitter pith and floral hop accents with clean biscuit malt sweetness. Flavor has a very dominant lemon citrus note to it with bitter green fresh cut pine needles, minimal biscuit malt sweetness makes it through a burst of hop pellets for sure. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a strong sturdy flow of carbonation, bittering hops are all that are left on the slightly slick mouthfeel. Drinkability is decent as part of a sampler but one sided hop pellet bitterness leaves more to be desired in a session style American Pale Ale.

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Photo of jwc215
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours orangish copper with a thin, foamy lasting head. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of a tea-leaf spiciness with a hint of lemon/orange citrus - towards pink grapefruit. Not as "vibrant" as the label on the neck describes, but nice enough in a mellow way.

A malty sweetness is overshadowed by a dry, aspirin-ish bitterness, slightly metallic. Centennial and Cascade hops used, according to label, but they come across more in aroma and bitterness than in flavor. It has a dry, herbal finish.

The body is close enough to medium to call it that, though it has some watery thinness going in and out.

A decent attempt at a hop-leaning APA, without going into IPA territory.

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Photo of stakem
3.16/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear light orange color with more than 2 fingers of slightly yellowish off white foam. Large bubbles constitute most of the head that receeds leaving a lot of lace all over the glassware. Nose is mildly spicy from hops and a bit of malt is detected in the background. Taste includes some caramel-like malt notes and finishes slightly bitter from the hops. Moderately carbed and medium to light feel. Overall nothing really exciting about the taste and the nose is not impressive. I will note that it has been a long time since I saw a beer that had this much head retension right down to the last sip without being on nitro.

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Photo of tdm168
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper with a mountain of off-white, dense, foamy head that has great retention. There are noticeable carbonation bubbles rising to the top. The nose has very mild bready notes but a big bouquet of floral aromas. The taste is lightly malty up front followed by a floral, piny bitterness. The hops are a little confusing as they contradict each other on the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little heavily carbonated.

This is a decent APA from Saranac. It's nothing to rave about, but it's hop character is strong enough to make it rival their IPA.

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Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid pale malt scent along with a mild citrus hop aroma. This is one of the hoppier pale ales I've had from these guys. The taste is decent. It has a wonderful hop character that's quite bitter from start to finish. The malt content is lacking IMO. It's basically pale malts with just a light body. The mouthfeel is decent also. It's a medium bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a solid offering from Matt's, but it could use a bit more malt character.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle: " Saranac Big Moose Ale is the perfect brew for a cold Adirondack winter night. This full-flavored ale is triple dry-hopped with specialty Citra, Centennial and Cascade hops to give you a vibrant citrusy hop aroma. The bold hop character is balanced by malt sweetness from English Pale and Caramel malts to produce a lusciously crisp flavor. We don't call it 'Big Moose' for nothing!" Now, that's copy!

I got a rocky, foamy finger's worth of ecru head off of the pour with decent retention. Color was a medium-copper/amber with NE-quality clarity, real BUPGOO stuff! Nose was, as some noted, more bread/biscuit than hoppy, but underlain with a lemon/ grapefruit hoppiness. Interesting. Mouthfeel was medium with a definite hops bite on the tongue, more pine than citrus, The bottleneck reads "... from hand selected Centennial and Cascade hops." Aha! Finish was pleasantly bitter and definitely made the big moose welcome back to Chez Wood Estate any time.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.56/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real nice crystal clear, and very light copper amber body with a mix of fast and slow rising pinhead carbonation. Head is about two to three fingers, and quite bleach white in color. Soapy retention, and falling at a normal speed. Good looking amber.

Very light toasty grains, and hints of caramel on the nose. Hop profile is not that obvious on first whiff or thereafter. By no means a bad smell, just nothing that impressive. It sort of reminds me of Sam Adams Boston Lager (yes I know this is an ale) on the malt profile.

Crisp playful carbonation a bit with a very light pale ale style body. Palate mixes with very hard to hint toasty caramel. Crisp hop action on the finish with only a simple pine bitterness. Clean. Easy to drink. Front of tongue has a bit of bitter orange, but it's quite hard to notice. However, with time and warmth the orange comes out more noticeably.

It's an overall fine easy drinking pale, but nothing that memorable, but would pick it over many other mass produced beers if I had a choice.

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Photo of Billolick
2.96/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle w/o freshness info of any sort to be had.

Pours caramel and lightly hazed. Very minor head, next to no film/collar/lace.

Meh kinda nose of more caramel smellin' malts...

Herbal tea hops, caramel malts, not loving much about this one.

Not really coming together for me. Bordering on unpleasant to drink.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.09/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with a decent sized white head that displays moderate retention and lace. Smells of hops up front. Juicy citrus, pine, onions, and garlic with hints of bread, caramel ,and licorice in the background. Taste is bready malty caramel sweet up front before the hops take over and reclaim their dominance. Pine, green onion, and garlic flavored hops atop bready caramel that can't keep up. Medium to thin body, moderate level of carbonation, with a sweet resinous mouthfeel. Wow after several mediocre beers from the 12 pack I think we have our winner. It's too bad my brother drank and didn't enjoy the other bottle in the 12 pack.

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Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a pint for $4.50 at Volpe's in Emmaus. I thought the malt was a little thin, but there was a very pleasant, crisp American hops character. A little spicy and piney, but mostly grapefruit and citrus that started in the nose and carried through the finish. If the ABV were a touch lower, this would be a fantastic session beer.

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Saranac Big Moose Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 206 ratings.