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Saranac Pale Ale - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Pale AleSaranac Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,142 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,142
Reviews: 616
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 13.74%
Wants: 4
Gots: 56 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,142 | Reviews: 616 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donnebaby
2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clea, almost watery amber color. Fizzy, small bubble head bubbles away--fast. Breezy malts nose, sweetish apple and pineapple notes, mild hop backdrop.

Taste is overwhelmed by high carbonation, which seemed to outdo any flavor in the mouth. Light sour grain malts barely present. Aftertaste is lightly dry and bitter hops, somewhat metallic and charcoalish. Light but rough.

Seltzer-like feel and something else unpleasant associated with the aftertaste left me disappointed. Felt more like a normal lager than a "classic English ale".

donnebaby, Aug 13, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a one-fingered white head that stays leaving a chunky lace. Sparkling clear amber color. Good carbonation. Definitely a hoppy overtone, particularly at the finish. What else would you expect with a pale?? $1.55 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, Ma.

jdhilt, Aug 12, 2004
Photo of niknar
3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a deep amber color with a thick, foamy off-white head. Excellent lacing down the glass. Decent head retention that finally settles to a nice collar. Smells slightly fruity and ever so slightly of toasted malts. Not much else there for me, but I have a pretty poor sniffer. Taste is quite pleasant. Fairly strong hop bitterness, balanced by fruity esters, toasted malts, and maybe some caramel in there. Finishes slightly dry with some lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is right on par. Nothing spectactular, but definitely a solid swallow. Drinkability is fairly decent. This isn't going to compete with some of the better pale ales, but it is a very solid beer that is quite enjoyable. I would buy it again, but probably only to mix things up a bit from time to time. Not something that would stay in my fridge over and over again.

niknar, Jul 18, 2004
Photo of Zorro
2.68/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear bronze colored brew.

Smell is malty and grainy with a light hop scent to it.

Taste is very bland light grain and fruitiness, mild bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is light.

Drinkable brew but there is nothing in this that I would say is worth expending any effort to get some.

Zorro, Jul 07, 2004
Photo of SixpointJMH
2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

from the appearance and smell of this one, i figured it might stray from saranac's run of mediocrity. ultimately, it didn't. it pours a pretty nice amber colour with a big foamy head which is nice and sticky. the smell and flavour are both more balanced than the ipa was, however, a stronger malt presence is too much. both consist of hop, sweetness and caramel along wit hthe afformentioned maltiness. there's really not much more to say about this brew. it's mellow and boring. a bit better than the ipa, but too similar in all of it's characteristics. even the most basic of pale ale's seemingly blow this one away. the appearance was the only real saving grace here, but if the brew tastes crappy, then who cares what it looks like?

SixpointJMH, Jun 18, 2004
Photo of ark57
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a crystakl amber with a good sized head. The aroma has some caramel and pine and grassy hops. There is a good malt backbone that has some caramel notes and is slightly sweet. There is also a slight metallic tinge. There is a good bitterness courtesy of EKG and Fuggles. Not the best around, but not a bad quaffer by any stretch.

ark57, Jun 02, 2004
Photo of BadBadger
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber. There is a nice white foamy head which dooes not last very long (an encouragement to drink quickly). There is very little aroma to make note of. The taste is just slightly above average, with a very gentle bitter flavor. This is a rather drinkable beer. As with other Saranac beers, when the options are limited and this is available, give it a try.

BadBadger, May 13, 2004
Photo of abcsofbeer
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours medium amber color with about a 1/4 inch head. Head virtually disappears after a few sips. Lace is minimal and stays more toward bottom of glass. Smell is very weak. First time I tried it, I thought it was terribly bitter. 3rd time around was a little better, but it is very hoppy in my opinion. I doubt I will buy this one again, but it is not a bad beer.

abcsofbeer, Apr 17, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
3.23/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark-amber, nice bubbly head.

Big sweetness with some grain. Hops crispness but not as much as I'd expect.

Medium body, some bitterness from hops and husk-like flavors. Finishes with a light dryness. Noticable oily feel that helps a little but doesn't make it anything great.

OK beer, not something I'll buy again.

Southernbrew, Apr 11, 2004
Photo of dippy
3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

After a hard pour there was a dense head but it quickly vanished. Some retention on the glass. Medium body brew with light carbonation. Orangish in color. Pleasant hoppy aroma. Taste is a tad more hop than sweet which is nice, but the hops didn't really bite. I detect a little roasted malt in the background. Very drinkable beer. Might buy these for a bbq as they are inexpensive and a pale ale always compliments grilled food IMO. A good APA, nothing out of this world. Love beer.

dippy, Apr 07, 2004
Photo of Holden
3.38/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a medium copper color, and decent off-white head that lasts. There is a faint, pleasant hop aroma. The beer reveals a reasonable balance of malt and bitterness.

I have had this pale ale many times starting in the mid 90's when I lived in Upstate NY where it is brewed. Though basically average, this is a decent, drinkable beer, and is quite affordable compared to others of the same style.

Holden, Apr 06, 2004
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.95/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - smooth center pour into a glass gave a 2 finger white head. Orange coppery color with lots of carbonation.

Aroma - malty with a hint of floral and yeast. On target.

Taste - biscuity English malt flavor, mild balancing floral hops, in step level-wise. Tasty! Sour finish, a bit metallic but not offensive. Biscuity, hoppy finish further accentuates the fine balance of the PA.

Mouthfeel - zesty, very carbonated, just a hint of oiliness to aid the residue.

Drinkability - I like it as a session beer. There are other PA's to try, but this one's easily available, affordable, and represents a more than competent example of the style.

brewdlyhooked13, Apr 03, 2004
Photo of Jacobob10
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark gold color with about a half-inch of head. Big hoppy, floral aroma, slightly fruity. Has a crisp, refreshing, and piney/citrusy taste. Does not leave you mouth feel as dry as most pale ales do. Although it is not the best pale ale on the market, if I was forced to buy it, I would not be dissapointed.

Jacobob10, Apr 03, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly hazed golden amber with plenty of orange. The head is a little darker than cream, average in size, frothysoft and leaves lace in tries-to-be rings. The nose is a combination of earthy-spicy hops and pale malt, with the hops winning out.

Taste follows aroma, but is too weak. This beer needs a serious flavor boost. What makes its way to the palate is sweet, biscuity malt countered by spicy-earthy hops. The finish is short, leaving the taste buds seemingly untouched.

The beer isn't exactly crisp (the brewery, via the label, says it is), but it's clean and tends toward dry. Unfortunately, a graininess sneaks in on the back end. The mouthfeel, while not horrendously thin, is too light for the style.

Saranac Pale Ale is average to slightly above average at best. It isn't hard to drink, but neither does it make me want to grab another. More flavor and a more substantial body would help move it into the 'respectable' category.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 28, 2004
Photo of krberg
3.38/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac PA looks somewhat thin to me. Perhaps because it is sparkling clear - something I'm not used to these days. It pours with a nice rocky head that faded quickly leaving a decent amount of lace on the glass.

It smells Englishly sour and quite hoppy. I know that sour smell... Similar to Samuel Smiths.

Mmmm, smooth. A bitter start but not too bad. I get a little hop flavor, but it fades fast into nice biscuity malt. There is a slight sweetness left on the tongue and a cheap lager-like after taste. Are there adjuncts in here?

Saranac Pale has a nice full mouthfeel although I think it is all created by the carbonation which will not leave this beer. This CO2 is harsh on the tongue.

A nice drinkablity, but because of the tenacious CO2 it is filling in that "3 burps and I'll be ready for another" way. I'll bet on tap that would be different.

Overall, I like Saranac Pale Ale. Sure, I would never buy this for a relaxing evening of enjoying craft beer, but as a $10 12 pack to provide quantity for friends, its really hard to beat.

krberg, Mar 08, 2004
Photo of theozag
3.1/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ah the pale ale, one of my most-visited beer styles. I thought Saranac's version was about average against the bakdrop of the other pale ales i've tried. judging by the ratings on this website, i've guessed about right.

This particular pale ale has a sweet smell and pours medium amber with limited clouding. Its thick, creme-colored head adds a distinct wheat or grain texture to the brew and sits atop your glass as long as some pale ale is left. Start, mouthfeel, and aftertaste are in no way remarkable (in comparison to other pale ales). This beer's flavors include ginger, cinnamon, and plenty of the expected hop bitterness.

theozag, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of UnionMade
2.65/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a brassy amber, topped with a thin, uneven froth of white bubbles. The larger bubbles pop quickly, settling into a patchy white mist that keeps throughout. Some sticky lace leaves cobwebs down the glass. Good clarity, with lots of rapidly rising carbonation bubbles.
The aroma is a sweetish toasty malt, perhaps a bit biscuity, balanced by grassy, herbal hops. The hopping has that hay-like quality that I'm not too fond of. Mild floral esters, with an unappetizing cabbagey DMS aroma. A bit of graininess to the malt.
The flavor starts with toasty malt, moving slowly into faintly floral fruitiness and, thankfully, a much more subdued cabbage flavor that the aroma would suggest. The finish showcases a grassy, herbal hopping, adding a bit of bitterness to the finish. Coupled with the cabbage, the hops take on a fairly gross vegetal flavor, like baby corn in chinese mixed vegetables. A slight graininess in the finish doesn't help, either. It's tolerable and you get accustomed to it after a few sips, but I'd rather drink something else. Moderate, spritzy carbonation does a fine job of supporting the flavor. Lightish medium body.
Saranac seems to have a common flavor running through all their different styles, and this is no exception. A neutrality of sorts that seems to deaden everything out, like wax or something similar.

UnionMade, Feb 17, 2004
Photo of Stimack
3.93/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What can I say about Saranac Pale Ale, this is the brew that helped me move away from the macro brews of the college years. This was a brew that was very different than the labatt, bud and beast of the college years! I have had my fair share of this pale ale!

The brew pours to a light golden color with a white head that will usually stick around for a little while and then fade to a lot of nice lacing. You can tell that this brew has some carbonation with the amount of bubble action. The smell of this brew is of floral hops with light sweet malt and is quite nice. The taste is smooth with some very nice carbonation. Have very nice citrus and floral flavors with a mix of malt that goes well together. The finish is of a little hop bite that brings the whole brew together. This is a beer that I can drink quite a bit of, granted there are better Pale Ales on the market but this was one of the first “special” brews that I have ever had. It lead to the exploration of other brews and styles and will always be a special brew for those qualities!

Over all a very nice brew!

Stimack, Feb 10, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
2.85/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Orange-copper color, with a creamy white head that lingers quite a while. Smells floral and hoppy, like a PA should. Taste is not impressive at all. has a burnt carmel taste that shoudn't be in a PA. Not enough hops, or maybe they are just overpowered by this unpleasant flavor. Not very good, after the first 2 categories. My least favorite out of the sampler, so far.

TastyTaste, Feb 09, 2004
Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light copper in color, clear enough to read through, and the head has good staying power with a cream-like color and consistancy. Leaves a nice lace on glass

Aroma: Excellent blend of malt (pale) and hops (fresh and floral, not bitter at all). Very tempting...

Taste: Mild malt up front followed by a rush of hop flavor. Reminds me of an ESB or a weak IPA. The subtle bitter bite lasts long into the aftertaste, leading to a second shot at the floral aroma.

Mouthfeel: above average carbonation, an almost sinewy consistancy that lends itself to a long lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability: A quaffable pale ale. Worthy of a six pack. For the price, a great value. An excellent beer to serve with friends.

smcolw, Feb 08, 2004
Photo of palma
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light amber body with a yellow tint and an off white head that lasts. Sticks to the glass pretty well. The aroma is sweet caramel malt along with some florals and fruit. Taste was better than expected with a good solid malt flavor.Woody, grassy. Some toasted notes in there too. Nice use of english hops. Don't let this beer warm up too much - it starts to taste slightly tangy. Highly carbonated from the bottle which was a minor turn off. Overall, a good brew IMO especially for the price.

palma, Feb 08, 2004
Photo of masterbruewer
3.78/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark golden, slightly amber color with about a half inch of white head that faded slowly, leaving nice lacing. Decent carbonation.

The scent was strong from the moment the bottle started pouring. It was very hoppy with a little malt sweetness behind it.

The taste was very hoppy and strong with the flavor I associate with fuggle hops. There was some fruitiness and malt flavor, and a hint of copper, but the hops nearly buried it.

The mouthfeel is smooth, yet a little bubbly and overall solid.

This is a fine example of a pale ale. Very tasty and drinkable.

masterbruewer, Feb 04, 2004
Photo of Maestro
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a nice bitter. The beer is a yellow/orange with a hefty head. The lacing is quite thorough. The nose is very hoppy. Clearly a selection of English Hops is noticeable in the nose and the first taste.There are hints of citrus and a slight off soapy taste is present. Overall, the ale is good and worth a try. One of the better from Saranac.

Maestro, Jan 28, 2004
Photo of Charthepirate
3.23/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A solid brew no doubt, but not fantastic. It's color, lacing and head were all proper, so it's appearance was good.

It smelled so strongly of hops, I was expecting a smack in the face in the flavor, instead i got more of a tickle. Neither the hops or the malts were simply strong enough. Their flavors were well balanced, and tastey, but combined they didn't add to an amazing beer. It's decent, and I'd drink it again, but there are much bolder pale ales.

Charthepirate, Jan 08, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours golden with amber hues. The head is off-white and retreats quickly to the edges of the surface.

The aroma is earthy hops (label says EKG and Fuggle) and slight caramel aroma in background.

The flavor, where present, is malt and hop bitterness balanced pretty well, but not present in great amounts. Also in the flavor is slight caramel.

The finish is dry and bitter, but not overly so. Over time the finish evolves into caramel bitterness. The body is medium.

Nothing exciting about this beer.

GCBrewingCo, Jan 06, 2004
Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 1,142 ratings.