Saranac Pale Ale - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Pale AleSaranac Pale Ale

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1,185 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,185
Reviews: 620
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 3
Gots: 73 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,185 | Reviews: 620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Redrover
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown longneck sampled as part of the trail mix offering.

The beer is a dark copper with a tan head and decent lacing.

The hops are prominent in the aroma. The beer smell like fresh citrus and pine with a touch of bready malts in the background.

The beer is slightly bitter (less than I expected given the smell) with a bracing citrus taste. Toasted malts linger with a bit of metallic twang late.

The good carbonation helps overcome the slightly thin mouthfeel. Would be a fine session drinker and once that can cut the heat on spicy food. Well done!

Photo of sabrills70
2.85/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber with a very small head that faded quickly and almost non existant lacing. Faint smells of hops but not what I think a typical pale ale shold be. Some malt aromas as well. Tatses of a typical PA. Strong hop flavor and bitterness but I think its a bit too heavy, or possible weak on the malt side. Medium carbonation and a bit watery. A below average PA in my book, not horrible but below average.

Photo of LarryV
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not the best of the PA genus, but for the money it's a pretty good beer. Pours a pretty amber color which begs "drink me" on a hot summers day. A moderate head fades to oblivion fairly quickly leaving behind a brew that smells citrusy from the hops. The hops are definitely in the flavor profile along with a nicely balanced malt backing. Not terribly exciting and missing the wow factor, but nonetheless, a solid, crisp tasting brew that's quite refreshing under a hot summer sun. I would be content downing a few of these.

Photo of kbnooshay
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice inviting amber/copper color with a great uneven head. Well with the smell the pine hops are there. Nothing like what you get with a southern tier i.p.a. but you can tell they are there. The taste has lots o' hops, not enough malt in my opinion. Mouthfeel is moderate. This is very drinkable though. It has a really friendly taste to it.

Photo of cubedbee
3.43/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pour a bright amber with a finger of white head with a thin cap being retained till the very bottom. Smell is piney hops with a little bit of butterscotchy malt mixed in. Flavor is pretty simple---malts and hops are the only thing which really get tasted, with the hops being bitter rather than flavorful, and slightly overshadowing the malt. There is also a slight metallic aftertaste. Mouthfeel was smooth, but a little on the thin side. Overall this is a decent pale ale, but given the large number of good beers in this style, it just isn't worth buying.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A journey back to one of the first craft beers I remember having. Overall a nice beer from a brewery that produces a failry consistent product.

A&S- Saranac frames itself as a classic English brewer and I have to agree. Pour caramel red with a thin head, nice lacing. Pretty typical for your run of the mill PA.

S&T- Good. Pine and butterscotch. Earthy tones with a hint of mass-production.

M&D- Before I knew it, I was slugging these bad boys down. Light, easy to drink.

Photo of Barraclou
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours a copper amber colour. It is nice and inviting.

Smell: The aroma makes me thinking so much about tea and some fruits.

Taste: The flavours are a complex mix of malts with good hops synergy. You will also have lots of fun to discover all of them.

Mouthfeel: Very drinkable. It is thin, but it is still fun to drink.

Drinkability: This beer is not bad at all. That's funny, but I can't stop to think about tea / iced tea when I drink it. It got the colour, the smell and the taste! Overall, it is a very decent beer.

Photo of TheDeuce
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance-frothy white head tops a rather copper colored ale, decent sized head, not so pale though is it?

Smell-some malt, citrus hop combined with fuggles, not bad.

Taste-not bad, decent hop flavor balanced nicely with malt, no way I can complain about it, just doesn't jump out at me.

Mouthfeel-completely inoffensive, smooth leaving fuggles aroma behind, decent.

Drinkability-not too alcoholic, decent flavor and aroma, a nice sessioner.

Overall-a nice pale ale, especially for the uninitiated, for those that have had many it may seem dull, but it's inoffensive and a good stab by Saranac.

Photo of TinusTime
3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber colour with a slightly off white head. Leaves a decent sticky lace on the way down. Nose is of a bit of floral, citrus hops with a bit of sweet malt thrown in the back ground. Some fruity ale like notes are also evident

Taste is fairly basic. Somewhat malty up front, with the hops lending some citus and a little bit of piney notes to the back. Nice fruity notes help balance the two. Nice easy mouthfeel, decent carbonation makes this very drinkable. Definately a candidate for a session beer when you are on a budget. Overall Saranac might not make you sit up and smack yourself, but for a inexpensive beer its hard to beat.

Photo of connecticutpoet
3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one poured out an amber beer with a one finger, fast-dissipating head. Looked OK, for an APA.

Aroma was of pine-like hops, and it was rather light. A wisp of malts in there.

Taste was of bittering hops, a little breadiness, a little astringent.

Mouthfeel was pretty smooth overall, but thin.

I'd say this one was a little better than average, overall, but not too much.

Photo of TongoRad
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy amber with a rocky long lasting head.

Floral/resiny hops dominate the aroma, but there is also an unpleasant metallic quality. Caramel malt is deep down in the nose, as is a touch of alcohol, which seems out of place.

Flavors carry through on the nose- including that metallic quality- though the bitterness seems ratcheted up a bit too high. A touch of nuts and fruit on the finish keeps it interesting.

A flawed but decent enough beer.

Photo of clemtig76
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was my first pale ale and one that I aways come back to when it is available. Pours a dark amber/copper color with a thin tan head. Some lacing. The smell is dominated by the fruity, citrusy English hops. The bitterness of the hops is nicely balanced by the malt sweetness. There are better pales ales out there to be sure, but few at less than a buck a bottle.

Photo of Truh
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

Photo of ski271
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Funny that the last review said something about this being a beer that started him onto better beers but now isn’t that thrilled. Same thing here. I remember loving this stuff, so I had it again lately after not having it for years, and I was rather disappointed. I mean, it’s good, but it’s just not spectacular like I remembered it being.

Appearance: Amber with a medium-sized, off-white, creamy head that rapidly diminished to a thin persistent film, leaving good lacing on the way down.

Smell: Spruce-like hops, light citrus, a bit of hay and slightly buttery.

Taste: Rather tame. Smooth and light. Fruity with a light malt sweetness. Hops are more muffled than I expect from a pale ale. The finish is medium-short in duration, and a little dryer with just a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Watery texture, thin body, medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Crisp and refreshing, but not ballsy enough for me.

Photo of twelvsies
3.6/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very average beer. That hurts me a little bit to say because I credit this beer with sparking my first interest in the overall world of "better beer." If it weren't for this beer I might not be sitting here writing this review, I could be off pounding a 40. We used to always get this stuff in the summer and in high school. Relatively cheap but even they we knew that this stuff was better than Bud. But enough nostalgia... Looks pretty typical for an APA, a nice orangy amber color with a little foamy head that dissipates quickly, but it's a little bubbly and a little thin looking. Smells rather hoppy with a nice backbone but nothing really jumps out at you. Taste does have a decent hop taste and a malty profile, but there's weird other tastes in there that aren't really supposed to be there. Little bitter, metalic, dusty tastes. I'm sure I've used the terms bitter and dusty (not metalic) in a positive way before when reviewing beer but this is different. Mouthfeel isn't bad but it's a little thin and watered down. All that being said I find this beer to be pretty drinkable anyway, for whatever reason. Like I said, this ain't no "heady brew" or whatever you might want to say but it is respobsible for heading a lot of people down the trail that leads to "better beer." It definately showed me the light and for that I'm grateful and will always get this stuff every once in a while.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color with miniscule amounts of off-white head. Sparse lacing of the glass. Dash of citrusy notes mixed with some subtle caramel sweetness mixed with a soapy undertow. Flavor sees more of this. Crisp, with notes of citrus hops, a dash of sweetness in the middle, and finishes with a short-lived bitterness with a metallic twinge to it. Not much in the way of body or drinkability. Pretty middle-of-the-road.

Photo of Luigi
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange-amber color with a white bubbly head. Smells hoppy (very west coast) with a some bread like malts. Oily hops hit the tounge first and then some bready malts balance the taste. Has a meduim-light mouthfeel. I enjoy this beer! It may not be the best Pale Ale I have ever tried, but it is certainly a worthy Pale Ale. Makes a good session beer!

Photo of sprackops
3.6/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Light amber with respectable head.

Smell: Very aromatic, citric and floral hops dominate.

Taste: Big fruity malts followed by a lightly bitter herbal and citric finish. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, crisp. Lively carbonation.

Drinkability/comments: This amounts to a fairly good if boring example of the style. Nothing objectionable, nothing outstanding. I'm beginning to notice these qualities in a slight majority of Saranac's beers. That said, I wouldn't mind having another.

Photo of santoslhalper
3.43/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearence: Pours a clear reddish copper with a fomay beige head.

Smell: It's fresh and floral smelling in the nose, with a generous yet tasteful amount of hops.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is a mildy pleasent mix of earthy and floral hops. The balance is off, but it's still decent tasting. The aftertaste lingers nicely, and the mouthfeel is firm.

Drinkability and Overall: Not too bad, and honestly one of the best from Saranac I've had yet. Full bodied and smooth, but lacking an extra punch. The further I get down this beer the less I want to finish it. Nothing special.

Photo of ithacabaron
4.2/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a damn sucker for this beer, if only for the fact I can't think of a day that at least one bottle didn't haunt my collegiate fridge. I know it's adjunct ridden, I know some would say its pedigree (or lack thereof) makes it worthy of slagging, but there's just something about this brew that satisfies me time and time again.

It pours a polished bronze, with what I might even call a creamy off-white head, full and proud.

Aroma is of Maris Otter malt, Caramel malt, (a little adjunct twinge, that I'll forgive them for [tastes like rice, but I can't imagine that's what in here])and an austere EKG and Fuggle fog of hops floating over it.

Taste is much the same, and its perfectly balanced presentation calls those that deign to imbibe into the "drink, don't think" school of imbibation. Those who would do so, however, and those who would be fooled by Saranac's cheap price tag, would miss what is, if not a perfect rendition of a Brit Pale, a very, very sessionable beer, and a fine ale to seduce potentially new BAs.

Mouthfeel is spot on.

Drinkability, as I noted, is wonderful here. When in Central/Upstate New York, this will probably become your fallback beer of choice at many bars. Learn its ways, love its ways, and realize it's so much more than you originally thought.

A classic.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 1,185 ratings.