Saranac Belgian Pale Ale - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Belgian Pale AleSaranac Belgian Pale Ale

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BA SCORE
79
okay

42 Reviews
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Reviews: 42
Hads: 152
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 6.4%
Wants: 0
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our Saranac Belgian Style Pale Ale is made with 2-row barley and traditional European malts. Brewed with a perfect balance of malt and hops, this is a "sessionable" Belgian style ale. Look for a light amber color and a distinctive fruitiness from the Belgian yeast used in fermentation. Consumed by Belgians as an "everyday" beer, this style will quickly become your winter go-to!

28 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 152
Photo of kojevergas
2.21/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a nonical pint glass in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average.

Served straight from the fridge. Poured with standard vigor.

A: Pours a beige colour head of slight cream, nice thickness, and above average retention. Body colour is a transparent translucent pale yellow. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Pale malts, light candi sugar, floral hops, and a hint of lemon citrus. Soft and fragrant, but slightly artificial. An average strength aroma. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Pale malts, sweet candi sugar, traces of a lemon ester, floral hops, and unwelcome caramel. Imbalanced. Build is generic and bland, but it's still pleasant to drink. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Comes off a bit artificial. Candi sugar is dominant to its detriment; it's far too sweet.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Generic standard fare. Decent carbonation. A bit too thick. Lightly metallic, actually.

Dr: Drinkable but boring and bland. Another generic offering from Saranac.

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Photo of MadScientist
2.66/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: a light golden with good clarity. The head is thin an quick to dissipate in to a thin ring.

S: All the aromas are pretty faint on this, in my experience the Belgian character improves over time. There is a light clover and pepper aroma with a slight spicy hops aroma. There is a slight malt sweetness.

T: A moderate clove flavor and moderate hops bitterness. The hops flavor is a light spicy and earthy flavor. The balance is fairly bitter with a dry finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A light prickle

O: An unbalanced and not all that enjoyable. (571 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
2.71/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

A: Pale orange with a pristine clarity, 1/2 finger chalky white head is creamy and sticks well to the glass walls. Medium carbonation factor rises to the occassion like beads of oil on a string. Decent length of stay retention wise leaving a milky speckled band lacing.

S: Light to medium sense of fruity hops, melon, cantelope, apples and pears.

T: The flavor begins with some fruity hops, again apple, pear, and melon with some fresh greenery, very vine like. Ends with a tart fruit sourness, touch of grassiness and some fruit skin. The finish kind of ruins it for me personally,with some moldy nature.

M: Tingly carbonation, frothy, tart fruitiness ending with some turing of sour fruit. Scratchy texture and moldy hop feel.

O: Overall had some potential in the beginning, fruity, light in character and fresh. Things started going downhill mid-way through the flavor. The sour fruitiness and moldy hop appeal made this a hesitant to finish. pass altogether on this one. (982 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
2.81/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With the typical alterations that are made by American brewers to otherwise classic Belgian recipe- the Saranac Belgian Pale ale substitutes mild caramel-tasting malt for the fussy pilsner malt for a new attitude from which the fruit and spice play out.

Bright gold in color, the appearance is straight forward and abundantly carbonated. Capped with a foamy white topping, the bubbles shows firm staying power and laces the beer as you'd expect Belgian ales to do. With the yeasty haze filtered out, the beer looks odd, yet pleasant.

Slight apricot and coriander aromas balance out upon a terse caramel and honey base. The part grain, part malt character tampers down the spices and fruit before weaving in the mild alcohols. Lightly medicinal, the nose culminates in a very lemon-scented furniture polish kinda way.

Grainy-sweet to taste, the malts thin out and allow for an odd settling of soap and stemmy hop bitterness to assault the palate hardly into the body of the taste. Lemon and orange, peel become the fruit balance to the spicy bitterness of spice tannin and harsh hops. But light overall in taste, the off balance has nothing to hide behind and leaves the flavors naked and isolated.

Light bodied, the beer's short lived malt texture leaves the beer thin instead of dry and exposes the harsher mouth sensations that reveal hop and spice astringency and unnecessary bite. Finishing grainy and thin, the bitter taste of soap lingers deep into aftertaste.

I'm all for American brewers gaining inspiration from Belgian brewing technique and not trying to replicate their methods and tastes, but the trade offs here really disrupt the balance and causes much harshness, abruptness, and lack of character on many fronts. (1,733 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
2.82/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A- Very transparent, golden colored body with a frothy white head that leaves a lot of lacing.

S- Really just get some sweet, bready malt, no real sign of a Belgian influence.

T- Maybe a hint of Belgian yeast flavor in an otherwise blonde ale. I find this to be a stretch as a BPA.

M- The feel is not offensive, light-medium bodied, medium carbonation.

O- Pretty embarrassing take on a Belgian Pale Ale. Not a terrible beer, but not good for the style. (456 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
2.95/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance - Pours crystal clear and golden in color, leaving a near two finger white head that dissipates in fair time, leaving behind a broken layer of suds across the surface. Small, spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Light clove spice, biscuity undertone and some fruity esters make up the jist of the aroma.

Taste - Considerably lighter on the tongue than on the nose. Predominant clove spice, backed by weak notes of fruit and an underwhelming bready, biscuity malt presence. Finishes with spice and a slight metallic twang.

Mouthfeel - Light, near watery body with low carbonation. The weakest aspect of this beer.

Overall - A fairly bland, below average brew. Without the spice kick, this would be close to club soda. Will not buy again, and would not recommend. (778 characters)

Photo of mikeg67
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from variety pack. Pours golden with a long lasting, foamy white head. Aroma is of yeast, sweet malt and ripe pears.
Body is full and slightly crisp. Taste is yeast, bready malt, earthy hops and some fruit. Finish is short and slightly bitter. I guess you get what you paid for. (291 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.11/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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 pale gold body, a little less than clear, and topped with a goodly-sized layer of white froth.

Smell: Notes of Wonder Bread, cracked grains, cracked peppercorns (both black and white), barest hint of fruit, and a little coriander.

Taste: Pale malts, a bit bready, a bit grainy, along with a hint of crunchy wheat. Light golden syrup sweetness. Vague touch of citrus, with bits of ground pepper and coriander. It does have a bit of bitterness to it, though. The pepper accent and graininess hold onto the near-crisp finish. A whitewashed Belgian ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: Many of these Saranac beers are like getting socks for Christmas, it's not what you really wanted, but you don't get upset about it, and it's something you can at least utilize. OK, so Uncle Saranac bought me another pack of tube socks, big deal. Hold 'em up for the camera and feign a smile. (1,049 characters)

Photo of ColdWaffles
3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tall pint.

Appearance: Pours what Saranac describes as a "light amber" color. I'd call it a dark gold. Provides and keeps very little head. It passes.

Smell: Smells lightly of clove. Weaker pale malt scent. Relatively strong overall scent. Kinda sweet smelling.

Taste: This one is easy to drink, but it doesn't taste like much. Little bit of pale malt, generally pretty sweet with a light bitter end. Tiny bit of clove. Overall just absolutely unexciting.

Mouthfeel: Probably the only decent part of this one. It's got a lot of carbonation which mixes with its subdued flavor to make this an effortless drink. Still, that doesn't make the whole beer good, and it kind of just covers up the beer's deficiencies.

Not something I'd buy, but I doubt I'd pass it up. I think. (810 characters)

Photo of Gmann
3.2/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a short airy pure white head that settled into a ring.

The aroma is light and fruity. Some juicyfruit notes from the yeast. The scent is refreshing but not strong and doesn't really come close to a BPA.

The taste is of a light pale malt, perhaps a touch more bready than a Belgian made brew. Doesn't seem to use as much Pils malt. The flavor is light and fruity with some spice. A light juicyfruit but not much else. No real clove or banana flavor, no candi sugar presence. Besides the fruitiness, this beer misses the Belgian mark. No depth.

The feel is quite light and fizzy. Sweet on the palate with just a touch of grassy bitterness. It is well balanced and quite drinkable. Great session brew as it does have enough flavor.

It labeled itself as a sessionable Belgian brew and it is so I give it props. Quite light on the BPA flavors but much better than the Stella type peers. (925 characters)

Photo of u2carew
3.22/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz longneck bottle
A) Pours with a very thin head, but still has visible carbonation. Clear straw colored body.
S) Classic Belgian aroma - hints of banana, cloves and floral notes.
T) Pleasant malts upfront which transition to a mellow hop bite mixed with earthy, pungent, floral tones. A linger graininess in the finish.
M) Light bodied. Crisp. Dry in the finish.
O) An alright Belgian pale ale. A bit thin on flavor and body. (429 characters)

Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
3.25/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Filtered yellow color with great head and moderate carbonation. Fruity, floral, citrus aroma. Smells decent enough. Straw, spice, citrus notes with a kick. Decent but not incredible. Nothing really in the back of the palate except a slight hint of caramel. It should probably be unfiltered. Decent from a hop lovers perspective but otherwise can be disappointing. (363 characters)

Photo of beergoot
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nicely carbonated body with a thick, creamy white head. Wisps of apricot and biscuit in the aroma. Softly bitter, malty flavor with a hint of light fruit flavors. Mouthfeel comes across light bodied, clean and crisp, with a dry finish.

This is a fair little beer. Great appearance with an okay taste. It balances nicely with lightly toasted malt flavors and hop bittering. The fruit-like component isn't overly pronounced, but can definitely be picked in the smell and buried in the flavor. Nothing earth-shattering, but still a good beer overall... (550 characters)

Photo of rangerred
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear light gold with a one finger white head. The abundant carbonation gives the head excellent staying power and there are nice globs of lacing clinging to the sides of the glass.

The aroma is, unfortunately, quite metallic but there is some clove and bubblegum poking through it all. Not enough to overcome the metal, though.

Thankfully the flavor is quite nice and really suprised me in a pleasant way. Lots of clove and bubblegum esters that I love in a BPA along with a nice dose of bready malt. There is a little bit of pepper towards the finish which is pleasantly dry with just a little bit of stickyness left on the lips.

Overall, I was suprised by this as the other offerings I have had from Saranac have been less than impressive. While not on the same level of a beer like Ommegang, a good value and one i wouldn't hesatate to pick up again. (897 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.34/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appears a bright orange copper hue with white bright head forming thick, fine speckled even lacing around the sides of my glass. Aroma orange bright citrus notes, hints of spicy yeast tones, clove, and coriander. A fruit bright character with a mild funky edge of the Belgian Pale Ale yeast strain, citrus rolling bitterness mainly from the yeast light biscuit malts slightly sour/wild notes. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied cloying yeast profile between sips, lingering dry spice character. Overall it needs some works, these brewers need to have a couple Orval Trappist Ales and then go back to the drawing board. (619 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter/globe glass. Pours a light amber with a half inch of foam and more of a deep golden in the light and with just a toch of haze. Offers moderate retention with a somewhat light apparent carbonation level yet offers up a light cap through the glass.

Aroma is largely yeast driven with spicy pepper and a citric fruitiness but by no means riveting in nature. A bit of caramel/roast resides in the background lending a supportive rather than overwhelming role. Pleasant and with a decent amount of depth, and more robust with warming.

Taste is lightly sweet with a citric and biscuity grain flavor/texture. Yeast spice is prominent more on the finish and accompanied by some moderately complex malts and a touch of toast. Decent feel and depth, somewhat subtle yet approachable. Overall a bit thin in feel as the spritzy carbonation dissipates, a pleasant quaff nonetheless. (907 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear straw yellow color, hardly any head and no lacing.

Smell is primarily sweet malt, not much of anything else to note, only a slight clove aroma.

Taste is fairly straightforward, malt upfront with a slight grassy aftertaste, cold crisp carbonation with a dry finish. (280 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Best before 3/31/14.

Pours a clear honey orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, spice, and Belgian yeast aromas. Taste is much the same with spice and Belgian yeast flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice 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 with a solid Belgian yeast aroma, but the taste isn't as good in my opinion. (581 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a bright clear golden-straw color with a small fizzy white head with short retention and no lacing. Not the big rocky head typical with many Belgian pales.

S- fruity yeast with notes of banana and clove, some musty funk, a bit medicinal and some herbal notes.

T- some grainy husk up front with a somewhat thin malt body, transitions into some citrus fruity notes with a bit of clove, the finish is dry with some resinous yeast lingering on the palate

M- light body with assertive carbonation, foamy mouthfeel mid-palate, with a slightly creamy dry finish

O- the think malt body leaves this I've a little too thin and grainy for me. It did however have a nice yeasty finish. (690 characters)

Photo of bobquick
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chimay? Nope. But it is a nice representation of the style. Light head, starts smooth then the hops kick in. Don't think I could drink more than two in a single sitting. Even though it checks in at 5.4 ABV, the after taste limits how much I want to drink in one sitting. (270 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from Wegmans Dewitt, NY for $2

Appearance - Clear yellow colour with a small size fizzy white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there isn't much lacing.

Smell - Corn, breads/grains, yeast, coriander/clove

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste corn, hops, and bread/grains. There are also some grassy/herbal notes, banana, coriander/clove, and some yeast.

Overall – A decent attempt at the style but far from world class. Worth trying once I suppose. (538 characters)

Photo of TheMarkE
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Amber pour with a big head of foam and quite a bit of carbonation.

Smell: Fruit, yeast, malt.

Taste: Biscuit, fruits, clove, and bubblegum.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, dry, and slightly sticky.

The Verdict: Not bad. A standard take on a Belgian ale. Saranac seems to have a propensity for making standard brews that fit the bill without doing anything to make it stand out from the crowd. (401 characters)

Photo of TeamMathis
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Yellowish orange. Slightly cloudy. Small lace remains from minimal head.
Smell: Honey, hay, pear, and a bit of banana.
Taste: Honey, some citrus.

I don't know what to think of this. It's enjoyable, but the taste is probably the least valuable player here. All around it's ok and quite drinkable. It's quite spritzy, and that dominates the taste. The smell has more qualities to it. All in all I would certainly drink this again, but wouldn't buy this by itself. (474 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
3.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Best By March 31, 2014

A: Pours a clear pale golden with a dense white head. Just a touch of visible carbonation.

S: Reminds me of a light abbey dubbel. Hints of dark fruit and belgian yeast. Bit of a roasty aroma with a biscuity toasty feel.

T: Mild and balanced flavor. Isnt overly belgian but still has ample yeastiness and fruitiness characteristic of the big belgians. Malts add some sweetness and the hops some earthiness. Bit of spiciness too.

M: Medium body with average carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel, bit of a sticky finish.

Overall goes down easy and works well in the winter mix pack this one was in. Has strong American overtones for this typically Belgian style. (718 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - copper with a thin lacing of pure white head

S - faintly fruity with a big spicy, coriander and clove-like aroma

T - spicy up front with clove and coriander followed by a light appley fruitiness; the finish is spicy as well. A pretty clean, balanced flavor. The yeast shines here with just some faint malt presence.

M - medium bodied, crisp, well carbonated

This is a decent take on the Belgian Pale Ale style. It has a far more spicy yeast character than I would have expected from Saranac. This is definitely a beginners BPA but it's well done and worth a try. (570 characters)

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Saranac Belgian Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.