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Saranac Red IPA - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Red IPASaranac Red IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

63 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 63
Hads: 200
Avg: 3.41
pDev: 13.49%
Wants: 0
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: plaid75 on 10-29-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our Red IPA is a twist on a traditional west coast IPA featuring a deep red color from European dark caramel malts. We brew with generous amounts of American hops including Calypso, Palisade and Chinook to give this IPA a distinctive hop aroma. You'll notice a strong hoppy flavor with caramel malt undertones and a unique color that gives this IPA a whole new personality!

63 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 63 | Hads: 200
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Best by 3/31/13.

Pours a hazy reddish-orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with nail polish remover and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that has a promising smell but the flavor comes across as somewhat harsh.

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Photo of metter98
3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer is slightly hazy reddish amber in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that hardly died down and left some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of caramel malts and a mix of citrusy, grassy and herbal hops.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the hops are a little more prominent and herbal hops linger through the finish. Ther is a very light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The lingering herbal hops in the finish of this beer do not make this one that is very easy to drink.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

cool beer, thanks saranac for continuing to do new stuff, i liked this effort. it pours clear, more red than amber, with a small white head that fades fast. the nose is really hoppy, bitter and citrusy, which stands against but also next to the richer malty profile, definitely dry and dusty like an irish red, not much sweetness at all, although there is a touch of caramel flavor. excellent hop bitterness all the way through, and the finish is crisp and clean, but pungent and dank. i liked the vibe of this beer, perfect in the winter season, and one fo the highlights in this years winter mix, what a pleasure this one. maybe a little too much carbonation, and a more gentle feel could help it, but i thought it was really nice as it is. will rush to consume whats left of these in my 12er.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Hoppy amber ales and red IPAs share a link in common, and it seems that whatever the brewery decides the call the beer- it ends up tasting like the other. This is what happens here...

With certainly a crimson red hue, the brilliantly clear beer showcases well its mohogany shaddows and nearly golden highlights. It's an impressive looking beer, all topped with its moussy eggshell head and lacing by design. It's really hard to fault any aspect of the beer's appearance.

Aromas, on the other hand, invite a balance between citrusy hops and caramel malts. Where the aromas of grapefruit, pine needles, and grass are in abundance so are the rich caramel, toast, and nuttiness from malt.

Acting in reverse, its the flavor of toffee and nuts layer on a heavy coat of malt that seeps deep into the soft tissues of the mouth. It's cola-like sweetness makes it hard for the hops to balance at first, or to then command the beer to finish. It's taste of white grapefruit, citrus peel, pine, and grass is sharp, pungent, and pleasantly bitter but can't become the showcase that those hops deserve in an IPA. The malt and hops battle it out, leaving in its wake residual tastes of butterscotch, shaved wood, and pecan.

Medium bodied throughout, but the residual sweetness keeps the beer fuller longer than is desired in any IPA. Lacking the drying power from fleeting malts, the beer instead relies on its moderate alcohol and resinous hops for dryness, drinkability, and refreshment with only marginal success.

The beer's balance definately favors an amber ale although their proportions are higher. While the hops push upwards of IPA status, the malts do not- they become way too much a part of the profile.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.64/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter variety pack - $13.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

"BB MAR 31 2013"

Appearance: Pours a deep, amber-tan body with a lofty, foaming, off-white head.

Smell: Pale malts rounded out by some toasty notes. Hops yield notes, albeit somewhat wimpy notes, of florals, resins, and citrus.

Taste: Pale malts, slight toast, even slighter brown sugar with a low sweetness. Floral, resinous, citrusy hop flavors follow, but they're muted, just depositing some aspirin-like bitterness and fleeing the scene. Drying, lightly bitter finish with most of the flavors long gone by this point.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-light carbonation.

Overall: It's like your old man banged on the door and told you to "turn that IPA DOWN!" Parents just don't understand, man. You ain't the boss of me, Saranac!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Saranac Red IPA
12 oz. brown bottle, code "BB JUN 30, 2014 3503 1047"

Appearance: Wow, it has protein floating in it. It appears to be permanent chill haze. If I move the glass back and forth the proteins move with it, and if I spin the glass and then stop it, they'll keep going in the direction I've sent them in. I don't care, clarity isn't necessary in a hoppy beer in my opinion, it's just that I've never seen that from a Saranac beer. I doesn't even say it's dry-hopped. Maybe it's not. (Ahh, I checked another bottle and it's just the sediment stirred up and held in suspension by the malt). Moving forward, it's still moderately clear, and it's got a beautiful ruby-accented dark copper body. The head is a creamy yellowed beige, and it holds fairly well but should be better. The lacing is better just slightly better than average as well.

Smell: Hoppy. Bright and fresh. It's slightly citrusy, but not overly so, and a bit candyish... slightly grape-ish maybe. It must be the hops. I'm not familiar with Calypso or Palisade hops, but I do get a whiff of piney-ness from the Chinook. Oddly, those hops aren't even listed on the bottle I have. There's some apricot to it as well, and - a very nice bit of very lightly sweet dark caramel.

Taste: As is quite often the case, the flavor basically mirrors the aroma. The malt is fuller, and the hops are intertwined in it. I don't find anything candyish or grape-like upfront, but I do get it in the burp! Odd. It's an interesting addition to the other flavors of pear, apple, apricot, and gently resinous pine. It's really nicely balanced, and I don't really get the whole effect of the 63 IBU's of bitterness until the finish where it lingers. Either the alcohol of the hops add a bit of spiciness to it, and it's quite dry. Surprisingly, most of the malt and hop flavors fade pretty readily.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Moderately carbonated. Delicately crisp and then smooth... I think it could use a little more bite myself, although I guess that would change the balance by accentuating the bitterness a bit.

Overall: An interesting beer, and one that's surprisingly drinkable, but also with a bit of complexity to it.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle appears to be 12 fl oz volume. Brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired as part of Saranac's variety box at Argonaut Liquor in Denver and served into a nonical pint glass in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are average.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger beige colour head - quite thin - devoid of cream and of above average retention. No lacing. Body colour is a transparent translucent copper with red hues. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Certainly appears more red than most IPAs, so it seems right on point for their style designation of "red IPA."

Sm: Floral hops, biscuit malt, soapy notes (too long in primary?), and clean underlying generic malts. A strangely hopped IPA (is it the calypso?), but a generally appealing aroma. The soapy notes have me worried, though. An average strength aroma. No yeast character comes through, nor does any alcohol.

T: Sweet up front, with a strange caramel and candy sugar/sugarcane body. Hopping is also strange, with obligatory floral hops but also a strange herbal/medicinal character as well which evokes some sort of spice that doesn't belong in the flavour profile; it's not ginger but it certainly seems a cousin thereof. I wish I could put my finger on it but it's illusive. Hints of biscuit malt. Sweetens on the climax, highlighting one of the primary issues with the build: the flavour emphasis is on the malts rather than the hops. As a result, the balance is off. It doesn't lack flavour and I wouldn't call it bland, but it does leave a lot to be desired - especially in terms of complexity and subtlety. It's pleasant to drink, but it's not a great example of the style. I don't get any yeast character or alcohol.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some cream on the open. Slightly overcarbonated. A touch too thick for what would be a refreshing flavour profile. Complements the flavours decently, but it's certainly not custom-tailored to them.

Dr: Drinkable but a poor example of the style (whether we're talking "red IPA" or simply IPA). The malt emphasis and overdone sweetness coupled with the lack of balance and complexity makes this one beer that I'll easily finish but which I wouldn't seek out again. I wouldn't recommend this to friends, and while I'll happily have another from the variety box, it's far from exemplary. Perhaps worth a try for Saranac fans. I doubt it'll draw outright hostility from anyone; it's certainly a drinkable brew in spite of its flaws. Lacks sufficient hop character to satisfy most American-style IPA fans.


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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 2/7/2013 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a coppery red color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, floral hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts with a strong hops bitterness and then some mildly sweet flavors of caramel and citrus come in. The malt character is hearty and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to pound down for a while.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Don't know what the goal was here, as I didn't read the description here before taking notes. An amber and an IPA hybrid? Regardless, it's decent. Some spice to it from hops. Fairly smooth feel. Easily drinkable. Wouldn't mind things kicked up a notch, but it works. Consistent also.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.54/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Impressive 63 IBU Red IPA from Saranace, deep ruby tinted copper hue with an off white biscuit malt head, their beers look delicious...they have some great technical brewing skills let's see how the other senses perceive this beer. The nose is pine needles, citrus, and alpha acids derived from the hop pellets, a bit of caramelized sugars accented in there as well. Where this and other hoppy IPAs from Saranac take a dive is lack of hop and malt balance. Hits with hints of caramel fades into a bitter sickeningly dry finish with citrus pith and highly acidic pine needle hop pellet induced hop flavor/bitterness. Mouthfeel is just lingering hop bitterness from the lack of balance of the malt and hop, it's an atrocious mess of an IPA. Overall Saranac needs to go get some lessons on the west coast for proper IPA brewing/fermentation lessons.

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Photo of tdm168
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a big, frothy, off white white head that has decent retention

S - faint birthday cake sweetness, some caramel, faint citrusy aromas

T - caramel, very faint birthday cake sweetness, mild bitterness, some pine, light citrusy notes

M - medium bodied, well carbonated, a bit crisp

If this were full flavored it would be a great attempt at a west coast IPA as the bottle suggests. It is a nice attempt, but the flavor is watered down. All the right notes are there, but it doesn't impress. It's worth a try, but ultimately there are better.

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Photo of WesWes
3.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep amber/red color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a nice mix of caramel malts and piney hops. It's bone dry with a mild bitterness. The taste is decent as well. It has a smooth, malty flavor that boasts of pale, roasted, and crystal malts as well as piney hops. It's well balanced with a good amount of hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a solid offering, but there are more IPA's I'd rather have.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I am now committed to reducing, if not eradicating, my backlog of bottles. This one was part of a local, in-person trade with tone77.

From the bottle: "Our Red IPA is a twist on a traditional west coast IPA featuring a deep red color from European dark caramel malts. We brew with generous amounts of American hops including Calypso, Palisade and Chinook to give this IPA a distinctive hop aroma. You'll notice a strong hoppy flavor with caramel malt undertones and a unique color that gives this IPA a whole new personality!"

I will readily cop to being a big fan of F. X. Matt B.C. and their Saranac series of beers. The price point is friendly and the beers are always at least serviceable.

I popped the cap and got the aggro pour going right away. The pseudo-cascade started right up and netted me two rocky, tawny fingers of head with good retention. Color was a deep-copper (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. I once had a girlfriend whose coarse red hair was this shade. I miss you, Lou! Hell, between a new, short hairdo for her and another bottle of this and I would be down at the local recyclers to see how much copper is currently paying out. Nose was much more caramel malt than hops. It also had the brand's characteristic yeast-driven tang. Mouthfeel was soft and creamy and completely unexpected. The taste seemed skewed in favor of the malts on the tongue, at least initially. Letting it roll around, though, produced a light citrus bitterness. I kept thinking back to an earlier EIPA, however. Finish was semi-dry, still more malty than hoppy. I disagree with calling it a Red Ale as it was more than that, but I would not call it an AIPA, either.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish Head Ale glass.

A real simple off white head just over a finger is produced on the pour. Body is a real nice Amber red, a little bit opaque, with some faint carbonation to be seen. Head settles nicely with a little bit of creamy character, but pretty small. Still a solid looking brew.

Nose is floral a bit, soft hop bodied. Hints of caramel sense kick in just a little bit. That herbal sense with some sweetness kicks in nicely also. Pretty inviting but without a lot of classic IPA bitterness.

Palate leaves a little bit left behind. First sip is pretty uninteresting. Swallow brings a little bit of sweetness with the caramel malts slowly coming behind. The flavor though is more apparent in the aftertaste. The bitterness slowly creeps up with floral hints, and potpuri. It really lingers, and is a nice mix with the caramel like action. The mouthfeel though is just a bit watery though and doesn't hold the beers character for very long.

Overall on first sip this seems ordinary but after the first gulp it's actually quite enjoyable. Not a bad alternative, but it's also quite fleeting flavor wise.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

LOOK: Pours a reddish copper with a white foam that leaves some webbed lacing on the pint glass.

SMELL: Perfumy, fruity hop bouquet kind of like fruit roll ups, and just a touch of sweet malted grain.

TASTE: Bitter, earthy hops lead the way, pretty heavy presence. The malt body has a faint caramel note, but this is all about hops. Hops flavor of earthy pine, grapfruit and a bit of lemongrass like flavor.

FEEL: Medium bodied, a bit thin, ample carbonation.

OVERALL: Pretty decent little beer here with aggressive hops. A bit harsh, but still drinkable and worth the try.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.12/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a vibrant, mahogany coloring with a frothy, off-white head that slowly settles into a filmy coating all over the glass and the surface of the brew. Aromas of sweet and rich caramel in the background, with a wet, resiny, pine-scented hops presence. Well balanced nose, and far from overpowering. Flavors are very balanced, and more on the sweet, amber side. Light, crisp body with a caramel and chocolate backbone. The hops presence in the nose almost disappears on the palate. Subtle bitterness at the end, leading into the aftertaste. More pepper spiced and resiny in the aftertaste, with a slick, bitter, slightly drying finish. Decent beer, but a bit of a misnomer as far as the IPA goes.

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Photo of plaid75
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the 2012 12 Beers of Winter.

Poured a dark copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured dry caramel malts and an herbal hop aroma.

The taste consisted grainy malts, a slightly green sweetness, an astringent herbal hop and a touch of sourness.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side if the style with a dry finish.

Overall a raw, green tasting ale. Nice choice style wise, but a bit underachieving.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an auburn color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell has some hops, a bit of sweetness to it. Taste is hoppy up front, malts kicking in at the finish. Well balanced and easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Burgundy coloring with artifical light backing. Neat clarity with an impressive head of 2 finger statue that was whipped and frothy with a strong holding delight. Light spacious and leisure rise of visible carbonation.

S: On the nose was some piney and grassy hops with a touch of semi-dry grapefruit. The aroma strength is moderate, with some dry barley closing things out.

T: Flavor was grassy toasted grains. Dry grapefruit, pine, grassy hops come with an moderate detection and dry bitterness. A touch of sour dry grapefruit on the leave and a bit of sweet dry toasted speciality grains balance things out a bit.

M: Mouthful was frothy, a bit washy, alkaline and dry. A dry sour citrus twang fade.

O: Overall a decent show of hops, dry toasted backing and moderate complexity though could of been sharper in terms of hop identity, and malt backing especially on the mouthful. Still better then most of thier other offerings, though again comes off average by style, a bit coarse and unrefined and could use some polising around the edges. A C rating feels about right here. Not for the hardcore ipa enthusiaste.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.24/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on February 1, 2013.

It has a reddish-amber hue to it with good clarity and a lingering off-white head.

The aroma has a notable grainy start, a kind of vague fruit note, and a solid hop character to it.

Medium body.

The taste is much like the aroma with a lot of grains and a slightly lingering hop finish. The fruity character I got on the nose is not as noticeable in the flavor. Good bitterness.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks for the bottle, Jacob!

It pours a slightly hazy reddish gold with a very large head of foam that surprised me considering it came straight from the fridge.

I get light notes of citrus hops and grain.

Though hoppy, it's more of a bitter flavour going on than an actual citrus thingy; the malt tastes toasted and grainy. The 63 IBUs don't seem to working any magic. A pretty dull brew.

Medium bodied so mouthfeel.

The first Saranac that I didn't find a joy to drink. S*it happens.

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Photo of Brad007
4.33/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful copper color with a thick head into my glass. For something that's supposed to be an IPA, it's not classified as such on here. That may be half-right and it is probably is a hoppy red ale?

Lots of pine tar from hops followed by a slice of buttered bread. Not so assertive. Reminds me of Roxy Rolles from Magic Hat. That too, was a nicely hopped red ale.

Definitely right as far as pine tar and buttered toast are concerned. Very chewy. The hops leave a decent coating on the mouth. Some would say it's average. I think it's quite alright.

Mouthfeel is excellent overall. Piney. Starts to dry up a bit.

Not bad! I'd love to see Saranac try a beer with NZ hops next.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.4/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not many reviews on this one. Picked up mixed and matched

A - Head sticks around for a while yet just a 1/4 inch. Lacing is sticky and the hue is a deep brown amber.

S - Smells rather hoppy, raw and aggressive, with a touch of sweet and grain.

T - Not bad it's rather balanced. Hops are pine like but clings to palate a bit. Mostly like a red ale with caramel malt and grains. Not great like Nugget Nectar but not terrible.

M - Seems to be around 6% so it is bitter, yet medium bodied.

Overall not as enjoyable as the white IPA but fairly better than the regular IPA. Being limited and no longer made it reduces a second offering but doesn't really merit a second one.

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Photo of claspada
2.98/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color with a decent size foamy white head that recedes to leave some above average lacing.

Aromas begin with some light citrus, herbal, grassy hoppiness. As it warms you get some of the light caramel and toasted bready maltiness.

The tastes follow the nose with some initial grainy pale and sweet caramel maltiness. Then you get some astringent herbal and resiny hop bitterness that is slightly unpleasant and unenjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium boided with medium carbonation. Finish is farily balanced but a but on the dry, bitter side.

Overall this was really just meh and I really did not want to finish it. It offered really no redeeming qualities, the flavor profile left me wanting more and falls into the "not worth my sobriety" category.

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Photo of Brenden
3.32/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oddly enough, this is one of the best-looking beers I've ever seen. Say what you will about the overall flavor or the substance, apparently there's plenty of malt in here and enough hop oils to contribute to a rich head. Speaking of, it rises to about two fingers atop a thick red-orange brew. The true beauty is that it barely settles and never fades, insisting on remaining until the beer is gone; not just a wispy foam, either, almost a full finger after it's diminished. A thick, consistent sheet of lacing curtains the glass all the way to the bottom. How? I don't know, but this is what my eyes are seeing.
So it makes little sense that this IPA isn't particularly strong. In fact, it's a bit strange. The fact is, only American varietals of malts and hops are used here. The combination of them, however, seems to work out to make for a beer that seems more British than American. There's a show of pine, though light, and possibly just a ghost of citrus, but most of what I get is a bit musty, downright herbal, and leafy, with a much earthier note than American hops employ. There's also a metallic note throughout.
The feel is good, mingling a brisk crispness that doesn't fade with a good smoothness underneath, ample but not overstated carbonation making for good drinking of an adequately medium-bodied brew.

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Saranac Red IPA from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.