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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.

1,124 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,124
Reviews: 615
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 13.74%
Wants: 4
Gots: 47 | 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
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Ratings: 1,124 | Reviews: 615 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of clvand0
2.63/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a yellow color with a full head that dies off quickly and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy with a malty characteristic present as well. The flavor had a bready malt feel with a strange earthyness about it. Not bad, but not great.

clvand0, Jan 02, 2004
Photo of LuckySevens82
3/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a pretty straight forward pale ale.
Pours honey colored with small white head,
Smells of hops and citrus.
Slightly bitter, but balanced out by a dry and pleasant finish.
Nothing special about this one, but definitely worth a try is you want a decent cheap beer.

LuckySevens82, Dec 31, 2003
Photo of mschofield
3.25/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a rocky off white head. Dissipated pretty quickly.
Very hoppy aroma, citrus and floral.
Hoppy taste, with toasted malt background. Fruity, slight toffee note.
Medium bodied and dry, slightly bitter. Good for a session beer. Easy to drink, nothing outstanding. Good for the price.

mschofield, Dec 15, 2003
Photo of Quaffer
4.13/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle labels this beer as a "Classic English Ale."

Appearance: This beer poured a warm, amber hue that seemed perfect for the style. The head rose up to a nice two-fingers, though it was somewhat coarse and fizzy. However, as it settled down, it became more dense and a little fluffy. It clung desparately to the side of the glass, seeming to not want to sink back into the amber depths of the beer. Therefore, as I downed the pint, a lot of lace was left stuck to the side of the glass.

Smell: Right after the pour, the hops smell was very light with a somewhat spicy character. As the beer sat, though, the hops became more and more dominant. The depth of the aroma was provided by some nice roasted malt and vanilla. There were also hints of buttery caramel and some light, fruity esters.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, but almost breaking into the medium-bodied category due to a nice chewy feel on the sides of the tongue. The carbonation definitely made itself known in the mouth, but it was not too rough. It just provided a nice, lively tingle.

Taste: There wasn't any malt upfront in the flavor. The hops kicked in almost immediately with a flowery, herbal character. While the bitterness was relatively low, the hops flavor was nice and big. The malt finally made an appearance on the finish. It was slightly roasted, but more sweet than anything else, especially as it continued into the aftertaste.

I found this to be a nice, mild pale that goes down very easily. This is a great change of pace from the over-the-top hopped beers that I have become used to. The hops presence might be a bit much for being a self-proclaimed "English" style pale, but I still think that they did a pretty good job. A solid beer that would make a great session brew.

Quaffer, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of merlin48
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another one from my 12 bottle holiday sampler box. I keep wondering if a regional brewery like this is trying to do too much with 12 different styles. The label proclaims this is made with six specialty malts and Goldings and Fuggles hops. It pours an enticing clear, copper, amber with adequate head that drops quickly to a lacy island ring. Surprisingly, malts dominate the nose and initial mouthfeel. This one is much better crafted than Saranac's IPA. The absence of the floral Cascade hops is noticeable, but their English cousins fill in admirably to produce a lighter profile. I can detect hints of hazelnut and raisins in the taste, on top of the hops and malts. This becomes a very drinkable pale ale as the flavours improve at room temperature. This ale is an example of Saranac, at their best. Hats off for a nice effort with this pleasing pale ale.

merlin48, Dec 08, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle served chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear amber color topped with a healthy and frothy off-white head. It eventually settles to a smallish layer of foam which leaves some nice pale ale/IPA style lacing on the glass.

Smell: Nice "British" style pale ale hop bouquet (read: no Cascade hops). The label says Kent Goldings and Fuggles, which to my inexperienced nose sounds about right. Biscuity malt aroma.

Taste: Pleasant bready malt taste with a slightly bitter hop finish. The hops aren't so bitter, but more grassy and herbal in character.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body. Kinda crisp.

Drinkability: Not a bad pale ale at all, I'd say slightly above average. Wouldn't beat out Dominion's Pale Ale (my local brewery) or SNPA for my attention, though.

ManekiNeko, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.1/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Saranac Pale Ale is called the "classic English ale"

Pale Ale poured an inviting caramel/ orange-red with a creamy head that stuck to my face.
The aroma was of Hops and grain.
The taste was plain- hops and grains, wheat, a slight roasting.
Very smooth and finishes with a tinge of bitterness.

Pale Ale is a ho-hum, run of the mill pale ale. Not bad but there's plenty out there that are better!

NJpadreFan, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of marc77
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper hue, with a slight mirk. One fingered, fluffy off white head yields sparse lace. Mild wafts of sugar sprinkled grapefuit along with subtle, odd hints of almond. Trace bready base malt notes arise as it warms. Prosaic aromawise. Light toffee sweetness incipient in flavor yields to a combination of moderate, quinine laced hop and bread crust like bitterness. Slight papery malt hints indicate fledgling oxidation. Well attenuated and dryish overall, but aptly dextrinous in mouthfeel. Hop flavor is expectedly of a pink grapefruit nature, albeit with a tinge of pine. Finishes with a brief surge of light caramel, but otherwise dry, with hints of citric tartness. A simple, no frills pale. Soft on the palate, indeed. Would be utterly innocuous if not for the slight oxidation. Respectable.

marc77, Nov 26, 2003
Photo of HappyHourHero
3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not much of an off white head. A tiny bit of lacing above the dark amber beer. Sweet and malty aroma, not really any hops. Medium body, with just the right amount of carbonation. Lightly sweet malt up front, a bit on tangy hops on the back of the tongue. Finishes just slightly bitter. A solid session beer.

HappyHourHero, Nov 25, 2003
Photo of winomark
2.85/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light to medium copper with a fluffy off-white head and lots of vigorous bubbles.

Aroma: Mild malt tones and some hops present. NOt much going on in the nose.

Taste: Good malt profile with good hops offering balance in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Flavorful, but mild. Short finish, with some bitterness.

Drinkability: Not a beer tha I wold seek out, but a decent, easy-drinking brew.

winomark, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of CBFanWish
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac Pale Ale has a medium amber color that leads to a weak head that just doesn't want to last. The smell is fruity, hops are subtle. There is a very fruity taste. I can't quite pinpoint what fruit I taste exactly, but there is that taste. The hops are there, just not in abundance. It's not a bad beer, but it's not a great beer. What this is is a great starter beer. If anything will open the door to our (beer geeks) world, this could be it.

CBFanWish, Nov 20, 2003
Photo of shippos
4.33/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

medium amber color, actually darker than there amber, and a small but dense white head. dry floral hoppy aroma with hints of raisins and dried fruits. excellent mouthfeel with a good hint of caramel malts, excellent taste as the hops are there and the malt but they are in perfect harmony, an absolute classic pale ale. I love this beer gotta try more of it.

shippos, Nov 20, 2003
Photo of Gavage
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the 12 beers in the winter holiday sampler package. It pours a clear copper color with a medium head. The head dissolved within a few minutes. The aroma was not overly exciting, as some light malt and a faint floral smell was detected.

The malt and hops flavor were better balanced in the flavor department, but were both mellower than other pale ales. There was a slight fruitiness that lasted for a short time on the tongue. This was very smooth, had a medium body, but could have used a bit more hops. Very drinkable.

Gavage, Nov 17, 2003
Photo of vitesse
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

served in 12 oz. brown bottle from "trail mix" six pack...
this is my favorite saranac brew. a very traditional pale ale. not far off really from its english forefathers. pours an orange/brown color. nice clarity. slight flecks of yeast in the foam. nice head. great lace on the glass. very appetizing appearance. malt comes through in the smell.
taste is very traditional. mild hops give it a traditional taste. very mild, but very good. not hoppy or overly acidic. biscuity/carmel balance in the malts.
could maybe tone the carbonation down just a notch, but otherwise a very good pale ale. i highly recommend this beer.

vitesse, Nov 10, 2003
Photo of Beastdog75
3.1/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Saranac "12 Beers" sampler, 2002 edition)

The Saranac Pale Ale seems to be as average as a pale ale could come. All the aspects of a pale ale are here, but nothing is over or underdone. No "special effects" either. Kind of a no frills pale ale if you ask me.

This pale ale pours a light copper/gold color, that is somewhat similar to the Saranac Adirondack Amber. A 1 finger foam head forms and dissapears in under 30 seconds, leaving some whispy lace. There is some light malt in the aroma along with a good amount of hop fruitiness. I have to give mention to a previous BA (I think it was rangerdanger) who noted some cheesy aspects in this beer and I have to agree with him, as there is a scent in which I can only describe as cheesiness in the smell. The mouthfeel is thin and lightly carbonated. Taste had a light but decent amount of caramel malt flavors. Cheesy flavor is here too. Hop presence was quite assertive, with definite citric qualities and somewhat of a minty quality too. High-moderate amount of bitterness. Aftertaste has a lingering hop bitterness that lasts for a good amount of time and this finishes off with a very slight alcoholic warmth.

As mentioned, pretty average, and the cheesiness was the only "stand-out" feature of this beer. Pretty drinkable, and probably worth a second try if I get the chance.

Beastdog75, Nov 05, 2003
Photo of Ianhockey91
3.1/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got it in a mix pack. Pours out a nice orance, decent head (appears to be hihgly carbonated) Tastes ok, hops seem to be very very prevelent in this one but not overly bittler, and the malt had a bisuity feel to it. I enjoyed this beer because it was quite smooth, but probably wont buy it again, the money is better spent on some SN pale or some otter creek plae ale.

Ianhockey91, Oct 28, 2003
Photo of taez555
3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a big fluffy white head with a clear amber body.

The nose was very malty. A slight hop smell, a touch of honey, caramel, fruit and some floral overtones. But for the most part it had a very malty smell.

The taste was rather interesting. Very highly carbonated for a pale ale. Caramel, biscuit and bready malt tastes. The hops were an interesting mix of an English/German earthyness with with a touch of purely american citrus. There's also this chalky bitterness to the whole mix of flavors.

It ends with a decent bitter citrus finish that fades quickly.

Overall it's a very drinkable beer. Nothing I'd go crazy about. A very unique mix of English and American Pale Ale.

taez555, Oct 25, 2003
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.

scottum, Sep 30, 2003
Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 1,124 ratings.