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Saranac Big Moose Ale - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Big Moose AleSaranac Big Moose Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

455 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 455
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 15.47%
Wants: 2
Gots: 23 | 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:
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
View: Beers (94) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 455 | Reviews: 206 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of argock
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased as part of Saranac Winter Sampler 24-pack for $19.99.

A: Caramel-amber with robust 3-finger rocky off-white head with good retention and copious lacing.

S: Tea-like herbal hoppy aromas dominate with flashes of citrus, pine, and floral character. Caramel and biscuit are the malty aromas.

T: The flavor is good but has its flaws, mostly in the finish. The initial flavors are spot on for the style with biscuity, caramel maltiness with some light toasted notes combining nicely with floral, citrus, and pine resin overlaying chiefly herbal hops as in the nose. Unfortunately this flavor package doesn't have the staying power and deflates into a cardboardy lightly astringent chemical-mineral note.

M: Nice coating mouthfeel, some tackiness with relatively low carbonation.

D: Definitely one of Saranac's better offerings although some cleanup in the finish with a more cohesive finishing hops combination and/or dry-hopping to deliver the flavor all the way through.

Photo of Morey
3.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This winter pale poured copper-orange in color with a two finger head following a fairly mild pour. Head has now settled to a thin lace, but there is still plenty of lacing and retention on the glass as this beer goes down the hatch.

Smell is heavy on the bread and grain-like aromas. Some earthy malts in there as well. Hops are hard to detect.

Taste is a nice balance of hops and malts with an earthy finish with some mild lingering bitterness.

Medium body with the carbonation leaning just a touch on the high side.

Pretty drinkable, but I'd be ready to switch gears after a few of these.

Morey's Bottom Line: I can think of plenty of pales I'd rather have, but I can think of quite a few that I wouldn't. Saranac doesn't charge much for their beer, so if your wallet is a little light, this might not be a bad choice.

Photo of rlee1390
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Little head, but remains constant. Orange-Red in color. Very transparent though

S-Coffee and Caramel

T-Coffee. Not very many hops or malt coming through. Molasses and Caramel as the beer warms.

M-Light with some residuals of carbonation felt

D-Not overly drinkable. Sort of wondering why it is in a winter mix as it could have been a lot heartier.

Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.13/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a light copper, full inch, carbonated head

S - Not a very strong smell, a bit of pine, but not much else. Very light on smell

T - A bit spicy, a little bit of malt, easy on the hops, some hints of caramel

M - Decent amount of carbonation in the mouth, not very thick, mouth coat is very light.

D - This beer goes down easy. Warms the throat a bit.

Overall - I found the beer a little bland. The taste was balanced, but nothing remarkable. A good session beer though, especially in the winter. I actually felt warmer drinking this

Photo of letsgopens
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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.

Photo of Justin23060
3.78/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of claspada
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.54/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of lovindahops
3.7/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of PicoPapa
3.97/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

Photo of greenmonstah
2.92/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.02/5  rDev +15.2%
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

Photo of bobquick
4.44/5  rDev +27.2%
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.

Photo of bourbonbock
2.97/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

Photo of NEhophead
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
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

Photo of caddybuyer
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.8/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

Photo of mikereaser
2.43/5  rDev -30.4%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Photo of biggred1
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of morimech
3.32/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of beerphan
3.98/5  rDev +14%
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.

Photo of jwc215
3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Saranac Big Moose Ale from Matt Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 455 ratings.