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Saranac Pale Ale - Matt Brewing Company

Saranac Pale AleSaranac Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,026 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1026
Reviews: 608
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 13.74%

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Malt Selections: Crystal English Pale Ale
Hop Selections: Cascade, East Kent Golden

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001)
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Ratings: 1,026 | Reviews: 608 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TheMultiYeast


3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear light brown with a small white head.

Decent hop profile in the aroma. Backed well by malty sweetness. Floral and pine notes dominate.

Pine again with sweet caramel malts, moderate bitterness with some sourness, clean finish.

Medium bodied APA, sessionable.

Not too shabby.

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2012 16:46:19 | More by TheMultiYeast
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass at a BWW in Stamford CT.

A classic English Pale! Mild amber color, low foam. Very little lacing, and light on the bubbles. The smell is modest, but inviting. Taste too. Notes of toffee, and low nuttiness. English hop finish.

Crisp tasty, overall a very good beer,

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2012 23:41:37 | More by KTCamm
Photo of Crossmd


3.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft pour into a shaker pint. Probably 45 degrees fahrenheit.

Pours a lucid copper red with a half finger foam cap, no lacing.

Smells sharply of piny, resinous maybe citrus hops? Excellent projection though on first pour.

Tastes much like it smells, but softer and rounder in the mouthfeel with a disappointing lack of attack that i was expecting- as if the malty backbone that was supposed to provide support is instead fighting for the spotlight. Points off here for a little bit of imbalance. Just the slightest hint of corn(?) and brown sugar at the start of the drydown. Finishes very well though, crisp and clean with lingering pine resins.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly more effervescent than i would imagine, never overtaking the body, and adding a plesantly contrasting dynamism, I think.

Overall pleasant and enjoyable, many parallels i think to the Sierra Nevada Pale, which is absolutely a good thing. Not distinguishing enough to get me to reach for it if it's on the same shelf though. More deserving than the reviews here would suggest though.


Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2011 18:36:56 | More by Crossmd
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.25/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac Pale Ale has a clear, dark copper-colored body and a slight, off-white head. Retention and lacing are both good.

The aroma has fruity hops and caramel malt.

The hops express themselves first, leading with a considerable grapefruit flavor that is followed by a less assertive fruit character that is more like pineapple. This tastes like a mix of American and English hops to me, but I could be wrong. Next comes a good bit of sweetness and caramel flavor. A bit of bitterness in the finish. The malt is a little less assertive than in a standard English IPA, as it has a slight watery character to it. The hops are more assertive than I would expect for the style, and I'm pretty sure that an American hop such as cascade was thrown in there.

Fairly light body, not much to it. Moderate amount of carbonation.

Saranac Pale Ale is a decent beer. Like most Saranac products, the flavor is acceptable when compared to the price tag.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2011 19:02:02 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of BigPlay1824

New York

3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a stein

A: pours a medium brown color with a small amount of off white head that dissipates quickly, leaves a decent amount of lacing

S: medium caramel malts with a slight smoked wood scent

T: nice smooth taste, nice caramel malts, a bit of a deep flavor for a pale ale

D/M: smooth on the palate, medium carbonation tingle, a bit too much depth for a pale ale in my opinion, nice overall

Serving type: on-tap

01-26-2011 01:12:45 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of cdizinno

South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: On tap at the Flying Saucer in Columbia, SC.

A: Light copper color, white head, and minimal lacing.

S: Mild hoppiness. Some citrus and peppery aroma with a mild malt sweet presence.

T&M: Light to medium bodied with an up-front faint caramel-malt presence that expands to a floral hop taste with some fruit character.

Better than I remember from way back when. The last time I had a bottle was at least 10 yrs ago. I'd love to try some of their other specialty brews after this one.

Serving type: on-tap

06-11-2010 16:57:18 | More by cdizinno
Photo of lovindahops

New York

4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft on a lovely 80 degree friday night dinner on the lake. In syracuse, Saranac means Summer

A- great copper look with an unprecedented head. Foamy as all heck. Well carbonated as well

S- some darker citrus themes are contrasted with a sweet malt. The connection to bavarian hops produce a banana type scent which I love. The overall scent experience is accompanied by a final darker malty scent

T- caramel, bananas, sweet malt. The earthy hops combine with some spiced hops. The flavor is primarily dominated by some tasty malts. It taste like summer in syracuse/adirondacks. Very good american interpretation of bavarian brewing when it comes to taste

M- full bodied and big time carbonation

D- saranac pale ale is sooo good when it comes to laying back and enjoying these days. The brew is well represented when it comes to an english pale ale. It has the flavor to make you welcome summer. Great brew


Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2010 02:14:23 | More by lovindahops
Photo of bourbonbock

New York

3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this on tap in a local establishment and ordered a pint. Dark golden amber in color with 2 fingers of white foamy head.

A. This looks pretty good color and head look good. Lacing on the glass is pretty heavy after finishing the glass.

S. Smell is muted for a pale ale. Slight hoppiness and citrus on the nose.

T. Taste is similar to the smell as it is slightly hoppy but not as much as other pale ales and slightly fruity. Overall a pretty balance flavor with a bitter ending.

M. Good carbonation with a creamy feel on the tongue.

D. Great drinkability and a good choice on-tap don't know about the bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2010 02:55:34 | More by bourbonbock
Photo of JohnL9013

New Jersey

2.73/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Light amber with a small head. Not poured by me, so I can't say what the head would have been like.

S: A rather nonchalant smell with some hops and citrus notes here and there.

T: This beer has a huge lemon zest to it in addition to the hops. Whether you like this is up to you, but personally I did not like this beer and I thought the lemoney flavor was way overdone, overpowering the other flavors, which were already weak to begin with obviously. This is like a lower-grade Sierra Nevada with lemon flavor added, and overall it just seemed like a cheap beer to me.

M: Since this was on-tap, the carbonating was low, but it was almost to the point of being flat. Once again, this is out of my control so I'll give the beer the benefit of the doubt.

D: This is hardly drinkable to say the least. I was barely able to choke it down and, unlike most good beers, the taste got worse as it warmed up.

I would definitely never try this beer again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2009 02:17:06 | More by JohnL9013
Photo of Tbn2

New York

3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap in pint glass.

A-The body of the beer has a deep amber appearance. A good head settles to the top and laces most of the way down.

S-I couldn't get much from the smell for some reason. I could pick up some hops and some grains, but nothing that jumped out at me.

T/M-Much clearer taste than the smell. A good blast of piney/earthy hop taste comes at you first. As the beer goes down, some toasted and pale malts comes at you. The beer has a nice dry finish with a well balanced hop and grain flavor. The body of the beer is just about perfect and the carbonation is very good. There is a good crispness to this beer.

Overall, this is a good beer. Pick it up, you won't be disappointed.


Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2008 15:22:07 | More by Tbn2
Photo of erosier


4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice Pale Ale. Pours a dark amber color with a very thick caramel colored head that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is a nice malty and hoppy aroma with hints of fruity undertones, probably citris of some sort. The taste is exellent! Really well blended malts and hops for a nice ale taste. There is a hint of citrus in the beginning and aftertaste. A nice finish to a refreshing pale ale. The beer is usually very well carbonated which makes it really nice for drinking a few of these after a long day. Overall, I give it my approval and would recommend this as long as you like Pale Ales.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2007 18:20:39 | More by erosier
Photo of argock


3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass

A: Copper-golden amber with frothy off-white head. Nice lacing and head retention.
S: Fruity malt with leafy hops leaves a pleasant earthy scent.
T: Very caramelly with a nicely balanced hop finish which is bitter but not harsh. Fits well with the mellow character of this beer,
M: The dry finish gets your attention, and it would be that much better if it had a tad more body.
D: Kinds of splits the difference between an American and British Pale Ale. Mellow enough with an average ABV such that a few could be had in one sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

06-19-2007 04:01:20 | More by argock
Photo of TurdFurgison


3.78/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was on tap at the Homewood Suites (!) in Albany, along with Coors Lite. It was in the buffer area, where you could fill the glasses yourself. I didn't expect much out of this beer, I'd tried it a couple of years ago from an airport bar. But it was really nicely malty. There was an oily hops aroma on top of the malt, I was surprised at how well put together it was. I poured several, drinkability was pretty good.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2007 10:51:43 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of bignick


2.78/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Free on tap at the brewery. Served in a mug.

There is a pleasant fruitness in the smell of this beer, and it is present in the hoppiness as I sip it. However, the fruitness transitions into a sticky sweetness that is cloying and unpleasant. Not one of the better pale ales I have tried, as the finish makes it pretty undrinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2006 03:04:34 | More by bignick
Photo of Truh

New Hampshire

3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cast off the winter clothes and decided to get some sun with this one on 3/23/2005. 20-oz. chilled mug pour at the Outback Steakhouse on Wolfe Road in Albany, NY, hell yeah!

As a result of the chilled mug, I would surmise, a giant plume of head was immediately present, and the keg had also been freshly tapped as well, so I’m not sure this is a true indicator. Very light mahogany hue but crystal clear and no discernible action. Very clean tasting malt with just a flirting of hop and some washiness, but not too bad overall. Very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2005 12:20:48 | More by Truh
Photo of blitheringidiot


3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draught at The Drafting Room in Springhouse, PA. Orangey dark pour with tiny bubbles and scant tan bubbly head.

Very little detectable scents.

Well balanced but falling on the side of hops. Hard cedar wood hops. Crisp zero finish. Starts as it finishes. Warmed malts & hops.

Good sizzle and lasting carbonation.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Serving type: on-tap

08-15-2004 04:09:22 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of scottum


3.1/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served a pale amber with a short head. This was the dollar on tap at Three Needs in Burlington, VT. A decent pale ale, but nothing special. Quite the drinkable, but nothing unique about the flavor to draw one in. An average ale on all counts. Worth a shot when nothing is on tap, but nothing to order above other north east microbrews.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2003 00:12:10 | More by scottum
Photo of far333


2.95/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light copper color with a beige frothy head. Light aroma of malt and citrus. Mouthfeel is smooth, even, and crisp, but I find the flavor severely lacking. This is more pale than ale. It's a bit flowery and a bit citrusy, but the malt doesn't come through very stong, and there is no detectable hops in the upfront, the finish, or the aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2003 10:12:15 | More by far333
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.86/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a fantastic orange amber with a lusterous shine and thin head of off white foam that fell pretty fast. Nose is bright with floral hops. Beautiful sweetness that does not get too fruity but just hints at fruit. A balanced herbal scent that suggests grass and hay. A malty sweetness that is grainy and a bit husky. There is a touch of mild soap on the nose but nothing egregious. Taste is lovely. Bitter. Hop forward without being too hop important. A nice biscuity malt with enough sweetness to rock those hops into submission. And a pungent little herbal to really quaff! OH!

Finishes wonderfully and balanced well although slanted a bit toward hops. No presumption in this one just a slightly bitter tonic that growls a bit.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2014 16:01:57 | More by utopiajane
Photo of Bitterbill


3.71/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks, Jacob, for the bottle!

It pours a deep golden colour with a very firm 1" head of foam that leaves excellent lacing behind.

The smell is on the sweetish side with just a bit of some bitterness noticeable to my nose.

The taste does a good job of representing an EPA. Nice sweetish notes from the malt...not earthy nor grainy, just a pleasant sweetness. The hops show up mostly in the finish where it gets a tad bitter but overall, a very enjoyable brewski.

On the light end of medium bodied, good carbonation, this is a well brewed beer. I like.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 23:45:21 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at a restaurant in my neighborhood in Shanghai China.

A: Poured from the 330mL bottle into a standard pint glass. The beer is a bright amber color that is clear. Head was off-white and reached a finger and a half and then fizzled out to a layer of foam.

S: Biscuity malt and some toasted grain and caramel in the malt zone. Has a nice bright fruity hop aroma as well. Nicely balanced.

T: Solid floral and spicy hop taste with toast and caramel backing everything up. Great balance throughout. Great drinkability - not crazy but also not boring.

Overall: Good bar drink - won't get in the way of a good conversation but tasty enough to keep you wanting more. I'd pick this up again (or 2 or 3) for sure.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 11:12:27 | More by BucBasil
Photo of illpass78


3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear gold with a short white head that recedes quickly. Lacing moderate. It's sort of on the cusp of a golden and a pale ale.

Aroma: This has a more powerful nose than I expected, and it's kind of a mixed bag. There's toast, grassiness, fruitiness and other inviting aromas, but it's also kind of sour smelling. It's not off-putting but also not perfect.

Taste: Pretty standard pale ale flavor. Some decent hop bite to go with malty sweetness. The taste mostly follows the nose.

Mouthfeel: It's somewhat light of body but easy to drink.

Overall: This is very average. It's the kind of thing I'd get at a restaurant that otherwise only had BMC stuff. It's a decent pale ale, but it's not distinguishable from the pack.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 21:20:23 | More by illpass78
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

2.78/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Copper tan/brown, 1/4 inch head, minor lacing.

Smell - Pale ale malts, a little hop note, some added sugars. Not getting much else.

Taste - Starts out with some caramel malt and a little nut flavor. Minor hops providing a sour/bitter flavor. Added sugars offset a little bitter note left behind from the hops. Really about all that's going on.

Mouthfeel - Tongue gets the malts, where the palate gets some hops and a little sugar. Aftertaste is dry, and a little sour.

Overall - Pretty weak and boring. The caramel malts make up most of the flavor, where the hops are not very fruity, just provide a bitter note. Nothing worth drinking since there are lots of better pale ales out there.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 21:24:37 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of dank203

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

alot of alcohol on the nose , a little light citrus, not too strong. taste is bitter, good spice notes in the back end with a clean dry finish. a little alcohol burn. a little too harsh for my liking on a pale ale. a little more burn than I expected. a tiny bit off balance but clean

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 01:40:31 | More by dank203
Photo of Diggitydustin

West Virginia

3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2nd one I drank out of the spring sampler. Definitely a good IPA. Good look, good smell, good taste. Better than the Forbidden IPA, in my opinion. I enjoyed this from the first tilt into my mouth to the last swallow. Good after taste. A very decent IPA. I'd recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 01:26:14 | More by Diggitydustin
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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 1,026 ratings.