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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.

1,165 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,165
Reviews: 620
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 4
Gots: 64 | 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: 1,165 | Reviews: 620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blitz134
3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yellow golden color with a very small white head. Light smell of hops mainly floral in nature with a bit of pine resin and a touch of sweetness. Taste definitely has a bitter side to it without much malt balance. Besides the resin bitterness there isn’t much else to speak of in the hops department. Mouthfeel is medium and about like most pale ales. Overall this is a weak pale ale without much flavor complexity.

blitz134, Feb 09, 2005
Photo of ecoboy
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I have been disappointed by Saranac products before. I'd say the pale is disppointing, but only in one factor, and overall, it's a better offering from this brewery than I am used to.

A very nice looking sample. Rich copper color with long-lasting off-white head. Stellar lacing.

"Fruity hop bouquet" referred to on label is only marginally apparent, even as sample warmed (which it did as I screamed more at Chris Collinsworth's marginally useful comments than drink my ale during the Super Bowl. Yes, I rate beer during the Super Bowl. sosumi.)

There is an interesting, slightly peppery quality that sets the flavor apart (and not necessarily above) from a standard good ol' pale ale. A bit average in taste otherwise. For every nice flavor note, there's a blandness to the mouthfeel.

Conflicted: wanted to like it more, so I don't seem a Saranac-slagger...

ecoboy, Feb 08, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper color with a one inch white head. Aroma is more hoppy than I expected. Flavor starts out malty, followed by oily hops and a slight fruitiness. Very English in the malt and hop flavors. Average mouthfeel. Very drinkable. I thought this was a pretty good pale ale. Definitely one of the better beers I’ve sampled from Saranac.

beveragecaptain, Feb 03, 2005
Photo of foXXtail
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear copper amber with an obvious effervescence. The head, though thin and lacey has excellent retention. The nose is full of fruit esters; plums, raisin and cherry are all evident with a just a touch of hop bitterness to boot.

The flavor is malty and earthy with a hint of smoke. The hop finish is not nearly as strong as I would like it to be, and I feel that this is one major shortcoming of the beer. The mouthfeel is on the thin side, though the carbonation is spot on.

All in all a smooth drinking but otherwise not notable Pale Ale.

foXXtail, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of JLShepard
3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma: A pleasant hoppy aroma with a malty edge to it.

Appearance: A clear amber beer that pours with little to no head.

Taste: A light malt flavor with a hint of coffee starts this beer off, it transitions to a mild hoppy middle which strengthens slightly at the finish.

Mouthfeel: A thin and crisp beer, this ale is quick drinking and refreshing.

Overall, a pleasant beer, but not a stand-out pale ale by my measure. The hoppy character I expect was present, but not nearly as strong as I would have liked.

JLShepard, Jan 27, 2005
Photo of Kookiekwan
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours golgen/amber and clear has a 1/2 finger head with no retention and average lacing. The aroma is faint but of grainy malt with fruity hops in the back. The taste is of pale malt with citrus hops in the finish. This beer is medium bodied and easy to drink.

Reflection: If you were trying to explain to someone what a pale ale is then this is the perfect beer to give them. They didn't try to get crazy with this beer, it's just what the label says a pale ale.

Kookiekwan, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of aquatonex
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours medium amber-red with half a finger of moderately dissipating head. Lacing remains true throughout. Smells of some hops, alcohol, and light malths. Taste is nicely punched up with the hops while maintaining a smoothness and consistency with its slight maltiness. A pretty good choice for a 'Pale Ale', was expected lighter and more watery.

aquatonex, Jan 06, 2005
Photo of Hibernator
3.43/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in an imperial pint glass. Pours a copperish amber color. Decent head on top that turns into a mini lacings. Some spotted sticky lacings.

Aroma of sweet caramel, toasted grains and a slight floral hop punch.

Pretty smooth malty mouthfeel with a mini snap bite on the finish. It would be nice to see the hop presence bulked up a little bit on the finish, but what is there is nice. Caramel, fruity sweet malt blended with toasted grain dryness and floral hops. Not bad and one of the better Saranacs from this 12 pack.

This was the last beer remaining from the Saranac 12 Beers of Christmas that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I finally realized that these beers were just average on a whole. I swear, I remember Saranac being a more impressive brewery. On the flip side, Saranac has always offered an afforable, decent 6 or 12 pack selection. Not the best beer line out there, but a solid selection when $ or selection is limited.

Hibernator, Dec 29, 2004
Photo of Citadel82
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very nice american pale ale. Part of the 12 beers of Christmas. Pours transparent copper with a durable thick head, lots of lacing on the way down. Smell is floral hops with some malt. taste matches the smell. Like all Saranacs rather light bodied. Could be a session beer.

Citadel82, Dec 18, 2004
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear copper with a big creamy lacy head. Aroma is assertive hops and lightly fruity malt.

Tastes of floral hops with metallic undertones. Grassy malt. A bit thin, not enough body on this beer. Nice hops but something falls short here. OK for a session brew I suppose but this one misses with me.

The Second Beer of Christmas.

ViveLaChouffe, Dec 02, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12ozer bottle bought as part of a mixed six of Saranac products from somewhere, I forget...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" beige head above the slightly orangey-amber brew. Head is dense and lasting, and lacing is good. Aroma is lightly malty, lightly hoppy, more balanced than most pale ales I usually see. Taste finds the hops kicking it up a bit more here than in the nose, which is good. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both reasonably good. A nice fallback choice when I'm up at the in-laws in the beer wasteland that is northern, northern NY.

ppoitras, Dec 01, 2004
Photo of Rio
3.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep brown color, very clear, with a moderate white head that receeded to a thin ring around the outside. Sweet aroma, a tiny bit citrusy, and with a bit of a mild caramel smell in there.

Hoppy flavors, as well as a bit of a caramel flavor, too, and a bit of a toasted malt flavor. Crisp, clean mouthfeel. Goes down smooth, though a bit dry at the end.

A good beer. Nothing too outstanding, but pretty good.

Rio, Nov 02, 2004
Photo of chilidog
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice appearance for this pale with its clear copper color and nice off-white head. The head is soft and not shy, ring lace is easy to see. The aroma is citric, with grain and malt. The taste is crisp, toasted malt with a slight bitter floral. The mouthfeel is crisp and smooth while the finish leaves a husky feel. Overall a good easy drinker for something crisp, good looking with a bite.

chilidog, Oct 30, 2004
Photo of oelergud
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper body, little carbonation. Rocky off-white head, good lace and retention.
Sweet malt with a salty hint to it makes up the nose, honey and hay mingled together.
Musty hay, sweet and hoppy in good balance, aftertaste is strong lingering hoppy prickling sensation.
Decent mouthfeel, maybe abit fuller than most pale ales.
High drinkability makes this a good session brew.


oelergud, Oct 24, 2004
Photo of Goldorak
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pale amber, with weak tan head that laces out on the side of the glass.

Smell: Very floral hoppy smell. Some people don't like, I do.

Taste: Good balance of malt, and gradual bitter hop buildup, but all in subtlety. A bit lost in the shuffle of american pale ales, but a very drinkable session brew nonetheless.

Goldorak, Oct 23, 2004
Photo of bigbubba
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A clear amber beer with a small white head that diminishes to a sticky lace. The smell is ok but unremarkable with a slight hop aroma. The taste is also ok. There is a hoppy flavor with slight bitterness. The mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste. Technically drinkability is not too bad, but I would grab something I liked better if it was available.

bigbubba, Oct 19, 2004
Photo of Beersignal
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber with hints of copper glimmer through this crystal clear beer. A cream coloured head is brief in its presence and leaves no trace of existence.

Wonderful freshness of compact malt and hops open the experience and are followed closely by notes of apples and peaches. Wafts of peppery mint surface through the fruit and malt to add dimention to the aroma profile.

A light bead accompanies the medium bodied beer through the first sip. Notes of malted cereal and fruity esthers are followed by freshness of hops and an adequate balancing bitterness. Simple and honest, a pleasant session beer.

Many thanks to J.F for sharing this with myself and Goldorak during a stellar night of tasting.

Beersignal, Oct 18, 2004
Photo of dgallina
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours to an amber color with a slight head that rapidly dissipates and leaves minimal lacing. Hoppy and slightly fruity aroma. Strong hop flavor with bitter finish. Medium body and relatively smooth. Not an outstanding or particularly representative pale ale in my opinion.

dgallina, Oct 13, 2004
Photo of Shaw
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a lovely amber color with a nice head that quickly turns into just a thin lace-like layer in my glass.

The smell is light: malt and a bit of hops. Nothing special, but not bad, either.

The taste is good. It's clean, with enough hop bitterness to counter the malt flavors. It leaves a good bitter taste in my mouth.

The body is nice and substantial. I like it when a beer isn't light.

Overall this is a good APA, especially considering its price. This would be a good session beer. This is a solid beer than you can keep coming back to.

Shaw, Sep 18, 2004
Photo of Backer2004
2.98/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pale Ale has a caramel, darker than expected appearance with a frothy head that disappears quickly. Fruity smell, yet rather bitter taste. Drinkable and a good mouthfeel, but not a beer I would particular imbibe or recommend to many. However, it's not a bad choice when purchased as part of the Saranac 6 pack trail mix.

Backer2004, Sep 16, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Brewed with German Pilsener malt. Hopped with Tettnang, Perle, and Saaz.
5.3% ABV.

Pours out to a brilliantly clear medium-copper with brass accents, forming a modest off-beige head with very good retention and nice sheets of lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma of a nice caramel maltiness, balanced by spicy German noble hops. Suggestions of sweetness, vanilla, and honey. Mouthfeel is lively and bright with a medium body. Taste begins with floral hops, with an odd herbaceous tang, caramel with residual butterscotch sweetness which is unusual for the style, followed by light toast and floral soapiness. Medicinal bitterness towards the very dry finish. Alcohol is lightly perceptable in aroma, taste and mouthfeel.

A poor man's version of Sammy Boston Ale...inferior in every way. Matt's yeast house character is too pervasive, and I'm starting to dislike getting that distinct taste in every beer, regardless of style. Not recommended.

Mitchster, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of ElGordo
3.43/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a smallish off-white head. Body seems almost devoid of any carbonation. Nice aroma of sweet roasted malt and a hint of toffee. Sweetness continues on the palate. Rich roasted malt, a touch of honey, some light citrus, and a little bit of hops. Mouthfeel is a little thin and a touch foamy. Not a bad session beer.

ElGordo, Sep 03, 2004
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.65/5  rDev +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.

blitheringidiot, Aug 15, 2004
Photo of donnebaby
2.83/5  rDev -17%
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%
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
Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 1,165 ratings.