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Saranac Big Moose Ale - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Big Moose AleSaranac Big Moose Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

451 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 451
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 2
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

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

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 451 | Reviews: 206 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of letsgopens
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This APA shows a clear, translucent copper orange body with some sparse rising bubbles. A thick, rocky, egg-shell head holds its shape pretty well and leaves some sagging rings of sticky lace.

Some really robust aroma going on hear. Well balanced in the nose with some substantial herbal, flowery hops and sweet caramel malt. Vanilla and sweet, lightly toasted and buttered dinner roll. Lingering, almost candy-like caramel sweetness on the nose.

More caramel and vanilla sweetness immediately but quickly making way for some bitter, herbal hops. The average bitterness level is a stark contrast to the unusually high level of initial sweetness in this brew. The abruptness fades as the brew warms a bit and begins to meld more. A hint of minerally flavor and sweet brown bread. The bitterness lingers a small amount in the finish with a good jumble of neutral hop flavor.

Fluffy and slick on the palate for the most part with just a notion of dryness lingering in the middle with the mineral/metallic note. Medium body and, again, a fluffy/fine carbonation. A unique and well balanced APA if not a bit on the sweet side. Still enjoyable throughout.

letsgopens, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a caramel color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops. Taste is good, well balanced hops and malts, very flavorful. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a fine quality beer.

tone77, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of Justin23060
3.8/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Poured a nice 3 finger ivory head on an extremely hard pour. Head was stiff with good lacing.

S- Light "Pale Ale" smell (mostly mild pine and floral hops).

T- Not at all overly hoppy (which I appreciate). ...and somehow the malt was not dominating either. Nice balance.

M- Somewhat thin with very soft carbonation (but I'm gonna chalk that up to the hard pour - In the name of science I'll go a little easier on the second Big Moose.) Nice dry finish without being astringent.

D- It's pretty drinkable.

Justin23060, Nov 22, 2010
Photo of claspada
3.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of freshly baked bread, lemon/orange flavored bread.

The taste was mostly hops, both citrus and pine, but I found very little malt presence. Despite the apparent lack of balance for an Pale Ale, I still liked it, maybe because the hops weren't overwhelming. The mouth feel was light bodied and adequately carbonated.

A pretty good beer, only drinking it because it's part of the Winter 12 pack. Not bad, worth a try I guess.

claspada, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 15 November 2010.

Poured into Sam Adams Summer Ale glass. Pours a clear amber, 1-finger head that disappears, lacing is rather runny. This beer has a nice light pine aroma, followed by toffee and almonds. Big caramel notes dominate the nose after swirling. Toffee and a little wet leather make themselves known when tasting. The hops are extremely light in aroma and taste. Bitter-malty sweetness is moderate in this light-to-medium bodied beer. Big moose gets more pine flavor toward the end of the glass. This is an excellent winter session beer. Decent taste for the price.

ToAzwethinkweizm, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of lovindahops
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

still tapping into the 12 beers of winter this morning. Lil pregame for me

A- pours a light copper color with a small frothy head that leaves some lacing on the side. Has a good American Pale Ale look

S- a strong whiff of pine, grass, and some caramel malt flavor. There are some spices present as well. The hops are definitely the highlight of the scent

T- the malt begins the taste profile of big moose... and then it's followed by some strong bitterness and piney resin. I think I expected a bigger hop presence, but the malt was still placed pretty good

M- medium bodied and good crabonation

D- Saranac has a pretty good beer. The malt is unexpected, but still make for a good beer. Let me just say it is no Saranac Pale Ale as far as the drinkability goes.

lovindahops, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of PicoPapa
3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the 12 Beers of Winter pack. Pours a very light caramel color with virtually no head. No lacing. Nice Aroma of hops, fresh cut grass, and malts. Taste is a combination of hops and malts with an aftertaste of the cut grass. A bit of caramel flavor as well. I enjoyed this last year in the Winter Pack and was glad to see it make the cut. One of Saranac's hoppier brews. Not quite as good as their flagship Pale Ale but pretty close.

PicoPapa, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of greenmonstah
2.93/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into DFH Snifter

A - An aggressive pour resulted in a two-finger white head with average retention. Color is like most APAs, a deep copper. Great lacing.

S - A weak hop on the nose. Piney hops. A bit of floral hops. Very little aside from the weak hop aroma.

T - Hops in the front with a mediocre malt middle. Finish is grainy. Improves on the nose, but only slightly.

M - Light to medium body. Very wet in the middle, but finishes very dry.

D - Goes down easy enough and looks great, but is just not very tasty and leaves the mouth too dry.

greenmonstah, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of BigPlay1824
3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a shaped pint glass

A: Pours a nice copper color with an inch and a half of fluffy white head. Leaves a very nice amount of lacing

S: Beautiful hoppy smell, not as deep of a smell as some pale ales. Really makes the mouth water

T: Very nice hoppy/bitter taste. Slight amount of sweetness as well

M: Feels very smooth and thin on the pallet. Has a nice amount of carbonation tingle that doesnt "burn" away the taste

D: Really a very nice drinking brew. Has great taste that makes you want more but is also nice and thin and smooth so it goes down easy

Overall, really enjoyed this brew and I really thought it represented the style quite well. hats off to saranac once again

BigPlay1824, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of bobquick
4.4/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great, less expensive representation of an American Pale Ale. Piney, not too hoppy, and heavy enough to "feel" like a craft brew, but drinkable enough that having more than one at a sitting won't weigh you down. If Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the bar for this style, then Saranac comes real close.

bobquick, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of bourbonbock
2.98/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz bottle into a clean pint glass.

A. Light copper with very little white head, medium carbonation and not much really going on with this one.

S. Hops, piney, citrus, and earthy smells.

T. Up front hop bite followed with a full bodied malt beer with little malt flavor balancing it out, as is characteristic of the style.

M. Full and sticky with a smooth aftertaste that gently coats the mouth with a faint flavor of good beer.

D. I wouldn't hesitate to try this again. It's a nice east coast APA that could hold its own at the cooler.

bourbonbock, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of NEhophead
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a tumbler.

Copper colored with a fair clarity; noticeably active carbonation. Short-lived, carbonated white head that leaves only a semi-intact sheet. No lasting lace.

Buttery, semi-sweet bready malt character over a grainy, almost adjunctory base. Mildly astringent, floral hop aroma with a touch of citrus. Notes of licorice and saffron.

Butterscotch, toasted malt that make for a pleasant breadiness. Lemon and pear flavors that are short lived once the perfume-floral hops take over. The finish is waxy with an unpleasant bitterness.

Medium bodied; the filmy floral hop character is far too bulky for the sweet, bready malt.

An average American Pale that is in need of a balance in terms of flavor and texture. Perfect for the mixed 12 pack, but I wouldn't buy a six pack

NEhophead, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of caddybuyer
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A-filtered clarity. Medium copper whth a foamy tan head that settles rapidly.

S-Little to speak of. Sweet malts and grain. A hint of lemon.

T-Lemon and grains carry forward into the taste. Mostly malt with no hops present. Decent, and unremarkable.

M-Medium thing, average carbonation

D-One reviewer once called Saranac the comfort food of beer. I cannot agree more. I like their take on style....they just should use twice the ingredients....otherwise...simply average.

caddybuyer, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.75/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of mikereaser
2.38/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle on 12/23/09

A - pours a clean copper color with some big soapy foam that let some good lacing

S - grassy hops dominate with some malty backbone

T - just an awful bitterness, followed by more bitterness and a burnt finish

M - good carbonation, crisp taste

D - i'm just not into theis one at all, not hoppy good bitter, just bitter tasting.

mikereaser, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

TMoney2591, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of biggred1
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper with blonde highlights and a finger of smooth khaki foam that leaves rings of lace on the glass. Pale and caramel malts with a good blast of citric C-hops in the aroma. Nice fruity hop flavor and bitterness with a decent pale malt backbone. A touch more malt might have bumped my score up a touch. The body is on the lighter side of medium with bright carbonation. A surprisingly good beer from the Matt brewing company.

biggred1, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

mikesgroove, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of morimech
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with one inch of white head that had good retention. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma was a bit of a turn-off. Smelled like a combination of dish soap and aquarium. Not pleasant. Despite that this comes through with some nice flavor. Sweet malt is nicely balanced by citrus and grassy hops. Bitterness is moderate. Medium body and nicely carbonated. Nice soft texture. I found this a nice drinker with hop flavor and bitterness without being over-the-top with hops and ABV.

morimech, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of beerphan
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> SA tasting glass
2009-2010 12 beers of winter
2669 0640 is screened on the bottle

Pours a clear yellowed orange with a thick mostly white head that raises quickly and stands tall. Thick chunky globs of lace. Carbonation is steady and intense.

Nose: Citrus, overripe fruit

Ligth caramel malts of overcome with citric fruity hop goodness. A little butter in the front mixes with the tame slightly sweet malts. Hops bring overripe pear, pineapple and bitter lemon. Bitterness is present and balancing, although short-lived. Smooth creamy mouthfeel, leaves the mouth dry and eager for another sip.

A good addition to the 12 beers of winter, a nice change up from Saranacs regular Pale Ale offering. I'm reaching for another.

beerphan, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of jwc215
3.15/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

jwc215, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

woodychandler, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of Jason
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Jason, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of kegger22
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Big Moose Ale was a clear amber with an off-white, one finger head that dissipated to a thin skin.

The aroma was like fresh bread, lemon flavored.

The taste was mostly hops, both citrus and pine, but I found very little malt presence. Despite the apparent lack of balance for an APA, I still liked it, maybe because the hops weren't overwhelming.

The mouth feel was light bodied and adequately carbonated.

A low ABV helps to make Big Moose drinkable.

A pretty good beer, the second one out of the 12 beers of winter sampler.

kegger22, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of mjaskula
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass. Pours a clear dark gold with a thick off white head that thins to a nice film and leaves a ton of lacing.

Aroma is faint but hoppy as expected, a bit grassy. Flavor is that of a typical pale ale. Hop flavors are grassy and a bit citrusy. The bitterness stays in your mouth for a bit too long, in an almost uninviting way.

I'm not sure what the 'big' part of the big moose is. Overall it's a fairly decent APA.

mjaskula, Feb 06, 2010
Saranac Big Moose Ale from Matt Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 451 ratings.