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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.

440 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 440
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 2
Gots: 14 | 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)
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Ratings: 440 | Reviews: 206 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Part of the winter pack...poured from a bottle into an Ommegang tulip glass.

A - Poured a clear reddish amberish orangeish yellowish rusty copper with light even carbonation and a thin bubbly head.

S - Maple, apple...crisp, clean, almost candyish soapy smell. Smells inviting and juice like.

T - Crisp, apple, hoppy with a slight orange, honey candy-like character.

M - Really sharp and hoppy feeling. Definitely has a bit of bite. Lots of carbonation with a bit of a candylike thing going on. Bittery aftertaste.

D - Drinkable. Very lager-like and sweet for a pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 03:05:16 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of mtnbikerpa


2.88/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Copper, amber color with little or no head with only minimal carbonation. Very bland smell of faint hops. Sticky pine-like, hoppy taste. But not alot of distinguishing flavor, a little more than a standard pale ale. I am glad I got to try this as part of the Saranac beers of winter variety pack. Probably not a beer I would seek out though.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 20:44:48 | More by mtnbikerpa
Photo of mempath


3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a golden brown-amber with super sticky lacing and a huge head that settled moderately slow. nice.

smells of sticky, hop oils...not overpowering or strong, but right upfront. expected grapefruity nose.

a nice hop blast immediately that also immediately dissipates to leave a microsecond of hop bitterness (needs to last longer!) and...then nothing. i mean, this is 'clean' but is that good? sure, it is tasty, but the mouthfeel doesn't seem to allow time for reflection and lip-smacking. maybe my tongue is off this (late) morning! very drinkable and sessionable for sure, but maybe a good beginners' APA so they won't get scared off when the hop pinches them slightly for half a second...maybe they'll be intrigued to step up to something that slaps then a few more moments. this is too quick. too clean. there's good and not so good in that.

edit: another try at another time of the day reveals a more lasting finish and somewhat hoppier blast. still light. i changed the taste from 3.5 to 4.0 (GOOD)...it's still clean and quick, but a bit more snappy.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 15:20:15 | More by mempath
Photo of billzee


3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into Flyers pint glass. Copper body with creamy white head with decent retention. Citrusy hop and some sweet malt notes. Lots of orange peel and a bit of grassy flavor. MLighter body with medium carbonation. Not my favorite Pale Ale, but I would drink this again. I think I would enjoy it more in the summer months.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2010 01:01:20 | More by billzee
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a bright orange with a brilliant clarity and was topped off by a ½ finger, fizzy tan head that leveled rather quickly to a skim, frumpy coating. Visible carbonation was light and rapidly moving.

S: The nose provided dried caramel and dried oranges initially with a faint grapefruit hopping. Despite what the label claims as a vibrant hop aroma I would have to disagree and say this was lazy and soft. Things rounded out with a faint trail of lemons and grains.

T: The hopping was fresh and juicy with loads of citrus and grapefruit juice. A good floral dryness moves in for the finish. The hopping makes amends for a lackluster nose. There is a good sour twang presence of grapefruit that covers the tongue upon the swallow. Overall a respectable amount of hopping, especially by a brewer who is not known for going big. Fairly well suited per style.

M: had a nice crisp bite from the lively carbonation starting things off. A nice bubbly edginess and creaminess composes the texture. Dry with a citrusy floral finish rounds things out.

D: Good drinkability with a sour citrusy twang. A pleasant surprise by this brewery with a good dose of bitterness that should satisify your hop needs. 6 pack worthy.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 23:30:55 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of capps24

New York

3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this APA as a part of the Saranac sampler 12 pack. Beer was clear in appearance, with noticable carbonation with bubbles continously flowing. I thought it was over carbonated which killed the taste for me, was like a soda.

It did have a fairly strong hop taste and character for a pale ale, but I felt there was something missing to back up the hops. Maybe a bit more malt.

Overall it is drinkable, but probably would not rank it as one of my favorite pale ales. The name though gets it some extra points in my book, BIG MOOSE!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2010 01:45:50 | More by capps24
Photo of Mardukk


3.28/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an amber color with some lacing.

A piney/citrus hop smell dominates.

Very carbonated with extremely lively citrus hops and little to no malt flavor. While I like hops this seems almost too light without a malt backbone..carbonated hop water.
Medium carbonation and light bodied.

I tend to enjoy beers with a bit more malt flavor. This is a somewhat unique beer as I've not had anything quite like this, hoppy and somewhat light. While this is not bad....I would not want to drink more than a couple.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 02:25:47 | More by Mardukk
Photo of Gosox8787

New Hampshire

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

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. This is part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter Collection.

Appearance is light orange with a cloudy offwhite head that fades into a nice lacing. Leaves a good lacing on the glass as you drink it. Smell is biscuity and bready from the malt. Some subtle hop bitterness follows. Taste is bready from the malt. Bitter hop strigency takes over after, but leaves a rather clean aftertaste. The bitterness could be a bit overwhelming though. A bit watery overall. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied without much carbonation. Drinkability is average thanks to average ABV and lighter flavors. The bitterness could ear thin quicky in some cases.

Overall, an average and forgetable APA. Some nice malt flavors, but the hop bitterness is too bitter and not flavorful enough.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 00:02:45 | More by Gosox8787
Photo of russpowell


3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 22:36:21 | More by russpowell
Photo of PangaeaBeerFood

New York

3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pulled a 12 ounce out of my beer fridge, which is kept at 50 degrees, and poured it into a 12 ounce mini-pint glass. I poured it straight down, with no glass tilt and was surprised to find that it didn't bubble up more than two or three fingers, which diminished quickly. A nice clear coppery color. Attractive looking, but nothing above the standard APA.

The smell is pretty pungent, which surprised me because their Rye IPA (which I reviewed about a week back) had literally no scent. Lots of citrusy West Coast hops here, most likely Cascades (I only know that because I homebrew with Cascades). Very reminiscent of something out of Sierra Nevada. In a blind tasting (smelling?), I'd be surprised to find that this was brewed in New York.

Taste is surprisingly pleasant. Maybe it was because my expectations were low after their Rye IPA, but I very much enjoy this. The hops are bright and sharp. They hit you quickly then dissipate, without lingering on the palate too much, which I really like. I like my Pale Ale's very clean, which this certainly is. Not a whole lot of malt backbone here, which surprised me for a winter seasonal. That being said, it quite hold a candle to the real West Coast Pale Ales and lacks complexity (seems to be a running Saranac theme). Pairs well with my comfort food (meatloaf, potatoes, gravy) and cuts through them nicely.

The mouthfeel is where this beer falls shortest, in my opinion. It's a bit undercarbonated, which, when combined with the lack of malt, leaves the beer feeling a bit watery. Not macro-watery, but watery nonetheless.

Drinkability is good. The sharpness of the hops ensure that the bitterness doesn't linger too long or overpower and the thinner mouthfeel make this go down super smooth. Though it's lack of complexity doesn't intice me to have another, I certainly wouldn't complain about putting back a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2009 00:40:39 | More by PangaeaBeerFood
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

3.05/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A basically average, run-of-the mill pale ale from Saranac... Nothing to get excited about... This one satisfies as far as the typical, expected flavor profile for an APA is concerned but in no way goes above or beyond... Subtle hints of citrus are noticeable but overall the taste was lackluster...

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 22:37:58 | More by dsa7783
Photo of Zekezilla


4.05/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't typically enjoy pale ales. I don't really like the grapefruit/hoppy thing BUT I was willing to try this because...well, it came from Saranac. I've yet to be disappointed in one of their beers and this is no exception. It's smooth and citrusy. THIS is a pale ale I can finally enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 00:26:05 | More by Zekezilla
Photo of bob3701

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. Clear copper color with a nice creamy head that lessens but hungs around. Laces really well, marks each sip taken. Great aroma of hops and citrus.The hoppy bitterness is present but very laid back and hints of orange/lemons thoughout. Can feel the Cascade hops in the aftertaste but very subdued; its like a laidback version of a West Coast pale ale which I happen to like. I could drink a bunch of these.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 19:00:02 | More by bob3701
Photo of MVotter

New York

4.25/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - The Saranac Big Moose Ale pours into a chalice a crystal clear amber with a good inch of a cream colored head, and thick, ample lacing.

S - Breads and yeast, roasted malts, and faint piny hops.

T - Nice, hop tang in the front, mellowed almost immediately by some malts. The finish features a stronger return to the piny-hops foundation of this American Pale Ale.

M - The mouthfeel is medium gravity with a tame, pleasant effervescence.

D - This is a very drinkable, satisfying American Pale Ale. A really nice offering from the good folks at F.X. Matt and Saranac.

The Big Moose Ale was part of the 12 Beers of Winter package from Saranac this season. So far I have really enjoyed every style I've tasted (Belgian Ale, Winter Lager, Big Moose Ale) in this one. Well done!

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2009 04:44:43 | More by MVotter
Photo of deruiz10


3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A - 2-finger eggshell head retains well and leaves massive lacing. Beautiful reddish amber with awesome champagne-like effervescence.

S - Sweet malts and bright citrus, gentle hop bite.

T - Light slightly sweet malts, hops are fairly flowery with a good amount of grapefruit and mild spiciness. Finish is crisp with a bit of bread-crust aftertaste.

M - Slightly more than moderate carbonation, keeps the body full but crisp and slick. Works perfectly with the taste.

D - Excellent for refreshment value. It's crisp and clean, a real good warm day brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 02:34:26 | More by deruiz10
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Big Moose ale, poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A light copper in color with a head that recedes to a ring around the edges. Minimal lacing.

Aroma of sweet malt and a subtle note of pine.

A well balanced brew. Caramel malt and a light piney, earthy hop. A hint of buttery sweetness and a clean grainyness.

Medium bodied with a good level of carbonation.

Drinkability rates fairly high with this unoffensive pale ale. A moderate hop presence and a good character make this a pretty solid offering from Saranac.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2009 04:02:57 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had out of a 12 ounce bottle.
A- It has a copper color with some bubbles. It has a good head and leaves behind a good deal of lace.
S- Very bitter, hop scent to it.
T- Seems like more of an IPA to me. It has a nice, very spicy bitter taste. FUll-bodied. Too be honest, I'm not educated enough to know the difference between an APA or IPA...but this is very solid whatever the taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 00:00:29 | More by Amalak
Photo of akorsak


3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle from the 12 Beers of Winter.

A: The pale ale is a coppery amber color, more orange than brown hued with a robust clear look. A finger and a half of white head left a surprising quantity of lace around the mouth of the glass.

S: The APA has the Saranac house aroma, a little ringwood-esque sweetness followed by a solid bready presence.

T: The house malt profile is strong upfront. Behind it, and I really had to search for it, is a bolder hop profile. The citrus isn't overwhelming but it does stand out amidst the malts. The ale's finish has a stronger bitterness, the citrus blowing things up rather late in the game. I like the hops, very flavorful, much more so than almost any other Saranac offering.

M: The mouthfeel is caramel sweet up front before yielding to the hops at the back end. The recent 12 beers offerings (summer included) have really surprised me.

D: Low booze and a surprising hop taste. A good start to the 12 beers of winter.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2009 19:44:14 | More by akorsak
Photo of mnrider


3.03/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. Brown Bottle. Pint Glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color. Forms a small white head which eventually turns into a nice coster thin head the rest of the way. Lacing is minimal.

S: Malty caramel. Light citrus blends with a floral aroma. Very light though.

T/M: Smooth and very easy to drink. Taste is on the light side. Cascade hops and bread, caramel malts. Kinda like a watered down crispness.

D: Pretty good brew. Not sure i'd get it again. I've had much better brews of this style. However not bad and very easy to drink. Maybe a little light on the hops.


Serving type: bottle

11-27-2009 05:35:21 | More by mnrider
Photo of number1bum


3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of creamy beige head. Keeps very well, with a pretty full lace and nice stick on the sides.

Smells of toffee and caramel malt, with a bit of woodsy, earthy, floral and subtle citrus hop aromas.

Taste is also maltier than hoppy, even for a pale ale. It's a toffee/caramel/lightly toasty flavor, with a bready quality to it. Hops are earthy with just a touch of citrus. Modest bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a creamy medium body, quite smooth. It's crisp and dry in the finish.

This is a pretty solid APA. Nothing too out of the ordinary here but a well made, easy drinking pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 21:28:41 | More by number1bum
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 22:23:01 | More by oberon
Photo of tigg924


2.98/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: caramel in color, 1/2 inch head, high carbonation, clear

Smell: citrus hops, floral hops and light toasted malt

Taste: Light restrained grapefruit, light bread. The hops are dominant but not strong.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, medium bodied, slightly bitter

Drinkability: This one matches the style guidelines for the American version fine. It is a slightly bitter APA that wants to feature the hops, but is afraid to let them come all the way out. Not offensive, but rather average. I may have this again in the variety pack, but would not buy a six.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 15:13:21 | More by tigg924
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 20:44:15 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of mklinger

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a shaker pint glass. Nice dark golden/pale amber. Thick head that dissipated quickly. Head was composed of too large of bubbles. Little carbonation visible in the beer itself. Leaves lots of nice lacing.

Great citrus aroma, grapefruit, orange, and lemon jumping out of the glass. Very nice classic APA/IPA aroma. Great stuff.

Nice flavor. Hop flavors are a bit stronger on the bitterness and slightly piney. I'm surprised that there was so little citrus in the flavor profile. Also, the body/malt of the beer was a bit odd. I recently reviewed the Saranac Rye IPA & tis has a similarly odd tart flavor without as much malt or body as I might hope to balance it out.

Like the Rye IPA, from the appearance and aroma I thought I was going to love this beer, but the finish isn't one I'm crazy about.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2009 02:51:55 | More by mklinger
Photo of porterwoobie

North Carolina

3.28/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: orangish amber color, slightly hazy, slime head, some lacing

S: it has a mix of malt sweetness and citrus hops in the aroma. kind of a cherry smell overall.

T: overall, tends toward the sweet side. neither the hops or malts dictate, maybe slightly weighted toward the malts, which has a caramel sweetness to it. has a slightly bitter finish.

MF: medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Drinkability: although nothing stands out about this beer, there is nothing i dislike about it. i'd drink it again. there's better APA's out there, but i've had worse.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 20:55:58 | More by porterwoobie
Saranac Big Moose Ale from Matt Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 440 ratings.