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Sugar Moon Maple Ale | Garrison Brewing Company

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Sugar Moon Maple AleSugar Moon Maple Ale

Brewed by:
Garrison Brewing Company
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Truly Canadian Ale brewed with Nova Scotia maple syrup from "Sugar Moon Farms" (www.sugarmoon.ca). The term was originally coined by Native Americans for the sugaring season, and this is definitely a brew to be enjoyed under a cold sugar moon!

21 IBU

Added by Seanstoppable on 04-13-2009

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Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 43
Photo of chinchill
4.49/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery

Creamy tan head over a deep copper body.
Wonderful aroma with hints of maple, toffee and vanilla.
The flavor is even better, with a clearer maple component and some nice roasted nuts.

Overall: Excellent, all natural, maple flavored ale. Best maple ale I've had.

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Photo of D-HopSupreme
3.64/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, ruby body with a slight bit of pearly white head. The scent is very sweet with maple and brown sugar, and a bit of maltiness. The taste brings up malt and some slight maple sweetness, but it's hidden in a smooth way. Awesome maple beer, can't say I'd go for many more though.

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Photo of PorterPro125
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 650 mL Bottle

A- Pours a dark, Maple Syrup Amber colour. A thin cap of fizzy white head tapers off swiftly. No lacing.

S- Distinct smells of Maple. Maple syrup and primarily, maple candy. The aroma reminds me of my childhood when I visited a "Sugar Shack" where they made Maple Syrup. A little bit of biscuity malt comes through but mostly maple.

T- Again, the distinct flavour of maple candy. Biscuity malt also makes another appearance along with a slight bitterness to round out the sweetness.

M- Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Seems to work fine here.

O- I haven't had too many Maple beers but this one is by far the best. Excellent Maple flavour and a hop presence that doesn't mess with the flavour. Delicious indeed.

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Photo of Kremlock
4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Ruby in colour with hues of red. Pours a 1/4 inch head that quickly collapses to a thin film. Clear with no particles.

S: Holy maple. There are hints of maltyness, bread and lots of maple. Sort of pancakes or french toast.

T: A lot more malt character coming through. Bread/biscuit, grain, caramel and of course some lighter maple then in the smell. Some bitterness balances well the sweet flavours of the beer.

M: Well carbonated, clean palate. Not too sweet that it stays in the back. Clean dry finish.

O: Highly impressed with this beer as there is a great deal of balance with the grain, bitterness and sweetness. Not what you'd expect with the word "maple" in it.

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Photo of BigBry
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried a sampled at Calgary Beerfest, everyone really liked it, so had to track down a bottle.
Pours a nice, shiny brown color with a tan colored head. Foam is thick and dense, shrinks down to a short floating cap, chunky lace.
The smell is what catches you right off the top, sweet, fresh maple syrup. No other aromas really coming through, but the maple is great.
Taste has more of the sweet maple syrup. At first you might expect it to be overly sweet, but there is very nice balance between the malt base, hop bitterness, and the sugar sweetness.
There is a complex layer of flavors, especially when it starts to warm up. Maple, brown sugar, caramel. Sweet to start, hop bitterness at the end balance everything out.
The body is on the lighter side, which helps it from becoming too sticky or cloying. Carbonation level works for the beer/style.
Would make a good after dinner drink, or with a dessert. A good one for friends who don't like "beer" and whose only experience is with main streem lagers.

This stays on my list of beers to look out for, buy it when you see it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a medium amber color ale with a large foamy head with average retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of light maple syrup with a nice medium caramel malt base. Taste is a nice enough mix between some maple notes with balanced sweetness and a standard caramel malt backbone. Body is about average with OK carbonation. Nothing necessarily special about this one but still better then most maple based beers out there.

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Photo of ChrisCage
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours with a syrupy tan colored head that is dense, but not super thick....settles to a bubbling yet puffy looking film. The color of the brew is a clear bronze, with reddish hues. The carbonation appears to be fine, with lots of small columns rising to the top. Lacing is pretty much non existent unfortunately....still a better than average looking beer.

S- Fresh maple syrup, and lots of it. It literally smells like how maple syrup smells after soaking into warm pancakes. I'm guessing that there is some malt aroma mixed in here and perhaps some hops but it's really hard to detect....perfect aroma for what Garrison is going for here!

T- More of the same here, but more balanced and more complex. There are flavors of maple, of course, but also malt, brown sugar, and caramel/toffee. It's sweet, but then towards the finish, bittering hops completely balance out the flavors, with a 360 degree spin, similar to an american amber ale, imo. Great flavors and great changes in flavors too!

M- The body is maybe a little lighter than I'd like it to be considering the richness of the beer itself. Carbonation is fine, just how it should be I think, as the character of the brew really doesn't need to work hard to make itself known on the palate.

D- Really great dessert beer, and I could handle probably a couple of bottles/pints before being saturated with satisfaction. On it's own, without food, one bottle would suffice...I really like what the brewery has done here and look forward to getting more of this before it's gone and have to wait another year.

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Photo of spree92
2.86/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was hoping for big things from this. A deep red with mahogany hues had a light looking head sitting on top. Without maple, would be classified as red/amber ale. The sell is an over-abundance of sweet maple candies, brown sugar and strong cinnamon. The taste is unfortunately near similar. The taste outs an odd taste in the mouth. I am a little disappointed with this Garrison offering. Most of their products are good but this was a miss.

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Photo of Rutager
3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a clear, deep red-amber with two fingers of thick and sticky looking, off white head. Lasts a while and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell. Maple!! Lots of sweet maple. Some sweet caramel and maybe a hint of herby hops.

Taste. Sweet caramel and woody maple. Sweetness seems just right. Some grassy hops in the end.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, stronger than medium, super-smooth carbonation.

Overall. Good maple beer. Maybe a little too much maple, but what the hell ...I'm Canadian.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - a syrupy brown, tall tan head dissipated slowly
S - super sweet maple and brown sugar dominate, very subtle hop freshness
T - the maple is there, but it is quickly taken over by soapy and metallic notes, still sugary sweet, oily hop note, but the flavour is a bit of a turn from the nose
M - medium carbonation, sticky mouth coating with a slight chemical oily hint
O - started off with a bang but ended on a little down note, its a good enough brew, but it could be a case of the feature ingredient taking away from the fact that it is a beer

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Photo of BDTyre
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

6.3% according to the label. By far the best maple beer I've ever had. Lovely copper with a nice white head. Definite maple syrup scent. Maple sugar candies, caramel and brown sugar in the nose. Strong maple syrup flavour with a noticeable sourness from the hops. That said the maple flavour itself is much sweeter than other maple beers and the hops work with it, not against it like in so many other maple beers of head. I think this could do with a bit less carbonation, but otherwise a great brew.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a nice caramel colour, thin layer of beige soapy head with little retention, no real lacing, very little visible body carbonation.

S - Super sweet with the maple taking a strong presence. Literally, its tough to detect anything other than maple syrop.

T - Quite different from the nose, some bitter earthy hops come off the top and are almost a bit sour rather than bitter. The maple flavour does linger on the tongue alongside some caramel and a bit of coffee.

M - This one is definitely in need of a carbonation lift as it comes across way too thin and watery for my liking.

O - Overall, a unique maple ale though not the best Canadian made maple ale. Worth a try but don't get your hopes up.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, 6.3% ABV. Can't say I'm familiar with the concept of a "Sugar Moon".

This beer pours a clear, dark golden amber hue, with two fingers of thin foamy pale beige head, which shows decent retention, eventually leaving a low rise of paint splotch lace around the glass. Wow, this smells good - even from a fair distance away - fragrant, not overly sweet maple syrup veritable. Underneath that bit of Canadian manna, I also get a bit of understandably overlooked biscuity grain and bitter weedy hops. The taste is more subdued on the guest ingredient front - the maple falling back to a supporting position, mostly through its less obvious earthy, woody essence, letting the sourdough breadiness and nutty, oily bitterness of the base beer edge back to center stage. The carbonation is on the low side, the body medium weight, and decently smooth. It finishes with an echo of the sweet malt and maple syrup, the focus is more of a dry floral, nutty nature.

Kudos to Garrison for making this smell at first contact like a Timmie's Maple Cream doughnut, and following up with a nice complementary balanced amber ale. As I've said before, Maple influenced ales are Canada's claim to a new beer style.

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Photo of pootz
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Poured a dark amber ale in the glass. 2 finger tan cap, fair lace.

Aroma is nice Not too overstated but the maple is present but compliments the malts -. like maple cereal.

Big malt spine, moderate maple flavor mixes with the herbal-woodiness of the Spalter hops. Long wet finish, a tad sweet but not offensive.

One of the better put together maple beers I've had, innovative use of Spalters.

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Photo of Long813
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From: Premier Wine & Spirits

A: Clear rugby red body with three fingers of off white head. Decent retention which dissipates into a thin ring ans leaves no lacing.

S: You can smell maple from three feet away - it's that strong. Besides that, some breadiness gives it a fuller body

T: I find the taste of maple to be weaker than the aroma, but still quite evident. Some bready characters in there and low bitterness. I feel it could use some more flavours

M: Medium-light bodied with medium carbonation. Very sticky maple aftertaste and lasts for a long time. No alcohol notes.

D: Not bad, but I think it would be better with maple added into another style of beer rather than the style revolving around it. The maple gets boring, but for what it is, it's not bad.

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Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into pint glass june3 2010

A clear reddish amber with a crap load of bubbles of all sizes and speeds feeding a light tan head that has pretty good retention but leaves no lace

S the maple is pretty strong and I pick up on a little caramel

T not too sweet and the maple mellows out a bit, its a little nutty and has a decent amount of malt to go along with a little rye bread

M big carbonation gives it a creamy feel and it's a little sticky

D I wouldn't say 6.3%alc is overly strong but without reading the label I would never had guessed it was that strong. I would have given it 4.5 but I couldn't see myself drinking these back too back, one works quite well though

this is a straight across the board good beer, not lacking in any areas, worth trying without doubt if you get the chance
thanks to Long813 for sending this one my way

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Photo of ludachris
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany red with one finger of whispy off white head that quickly dissipates leaving only dots of lace.

Sweet and sticky maple syrup, graham cracker, bready malts, and a touch of grassy hops make up the nose. Sweet and very inviting; like maple cookies in liquid form.

It almost seems contradictory, but the syrupy notes of maple are quite clean and present from start to finish. Light grassy hops come in the middle, evening out the sweetness. As the hops begin to fall off, notes of graham cracker come in, imparting a semi-chewy finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit filmy at times. It could use a bit of bulking up, but the balance of it all makes up for it.

Another solid seasonal from Garrison. The sweetness of the maple is perfectly worked making it easily quaffable rather than harshly cloying. I'd say this one is definitely worth a try, especially if you're in the area.

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Photo of cratez
1.18/5  rDev -67.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

500ml bottle courtesy of mrmanning. Pours a cloudy amber body with one finger of beige/tan head and a couple dots of lacing on the shaker. Smell and taste are fusel alcohol, maple syrup, sugar, butterscotch, sweet and sour sauce, metal, and a strong malt astringency with a boozy, SOUR aftertaste. Absolutely disgusting! The sourness worsens as the beer warms, resembling the leftover taste that one would have after vomiting hard liquor. Repulsive beyond description. Lenny, I appreciate your generosity, and obviously we were hoping for a winner, but Garrison has really fumbled this one. Drain pour = F

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Photo of mrmanning
2.06/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

500 ml bottle from private order- Murky brown, pours a billowing off white cap. Nose of burnt sugar, earthy malts, odd... wet leaves, aluminum pretty much take over. Somewhat sweet maple and caramel malts up front, but that is taken over by an offputting sour flavour followed by a metallic twang that does not go away. Medium body, slightly creamy. Unappealing metallic finish with sour maple. I don't like this at all.

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Photo of grub
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another bottle from Viggo. thanks eric!

500ml bottle. sampled sept 6/09.

pours deep reddish orange with a small dense tan head. the head seems to last forever and leaves some spotty lace.

aroma is insanely mapley. even from a couple of feet away it is all i can smell. maple syrup on a stack of pancakes. pecan and almond character too. white bread. bit of cracker. alcohol.

taste is good. again, lots of maple syrup but without being overly sweet. bit of pecan, but less nutty than in the aroma. pancakes. white bread. bit of smoke. earthy medium-low bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. just over medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. restrained sweetness and the bit of nutty character keeps it interesting and balanced and holds everything together well. one of the nicest maple beers i've had, and although i'm not generally a huge fan this one was quite good.

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Photo of bobsy
4.36/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a case of this, and four bottles were bad. For some reason it turns cloudy as it sours, so I could crack the cloudy bottles open to confirm they were turned. The rest have been fine and quite delightful.

Pours a deep chestnut with a couple fingers of white head that diminishes to a film, with only a few patches of lace. Canadians out there will know what I mean when I say this smells exactly like a Tim Horton's Canadian Maple donut. It has that really nice maple flavour, with an underlying sweetness and a light breadiness. I can understand what viggo means when he talks about maple-drenched waffles, because this beer practically hits that on the nail. The maple flavours come through very cleanly, and haven't transformed into something else, as maple sometimes seems to do. Sweet waffle batter underpins everything, and a pecan nuttiness adds an extra dimension. Medium, and slightly sticky mouthfeel, but decently carbonated. I'm relieved the rest of my case is fine, and also happy to discover this is a great beer. A word of warning, though. If you don't like sweet beers, stay away - the sugar level in this is high.

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Photo of Viggo
4.29/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, sent my way by Bobbyok.

Pours a hazy and chunky reddish amber, almost brown, thick off white head forms, drops to a decent layer, no real lacing on the glass. Smell is crazy, tons of maple, icing sugar, cereal, caramel, toasted wheat, very malty, light bit of citrus kick, really neat. Taste is similar, insane maple, but in a real maple sort of way, tastes authentic, maple sugar, almost tastes like a waffle with syrup, some citrus, pecans, biscuits, vanilla, more maple, really cool. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. I really enjoyed this one, the maple character is kickass. Thanks Bobby!

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Photo of MeisterBurger
4.26/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-reviewed after I found out the first one I reviewed was infected, which is a problem for this beer I guess, so here's my non-infected review. Maybe add it to the infected review and divide by two? I don't know.

Pours a clear mahogany, with decent head and fantastic retention. No lacing to speak of. Did I mention the insane head retention? It sticks around right till the end.

There is a ton of maple and fudge in the nose. If I had pancakes handy, I'd definitely pour some on.

The taste is maple, malt, sweet dough, nuts, caramel, bread, with a soft fruity finish. This isn't a case where it tastes like beer with a bit of maple in it, it's a case where it tastes like a delicious carbonated maple beverage all to its own that just happens to be a beer. If that makes sense.

Mouthfeel is medium to thin, with a lot of residual maple sweetness that lingers in the finish.

I guess I would say if you can tell that the beer is clear, pick it up. If it looks cloudy, avoid it.

What a difference a lack of infection makes. It's not even the same beer. Wow. Thanks to bobsy for righting this wrong. :)

Re-reviewed on: 09-29-2009

Infected review:

C+ / 3.05
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | drink: 2.5

Pours a dark, cloudy, orangish brown with a thick, frothy head that makes a surprising amount of noise as it dies down but when it dies down, it's gone. Not a ton of head retention here.

The smell is nice, prickly piney hops with tons of maple fudge with an underlying sour lemon. The maple dies down as you drink it but it sticks around and adds a nice dimension to the beer.

The taste is...weird. Like a sugary lemon maple cough drop. There's a toffee/caramel backbone mixed with orange juice. It's surprisingly sweet yet tart. A mild hint of maple in the aftertaste is nice, but it'd be even better if the maple was more present in the front end.

Mouthfeel is thin and refreshing.

It's not horrible. But I wouldn't rush back for more.

Reviewed on: 06-01-200

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Photo of notdan
3.04/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received this form Seanstoppable in CanBIF5, thanks man!

The original pour for this beer was really nice. Really pretty amber colour with a decent fluffy head. The head dissipated really quickly though. The smell was pretty much all maple, but that also died with the head for the most part. The taste had a decent but not overpowering maple kick and some caramel in there too. That part was all well and good, and I did not find the beer too sweet, mostly because there was this lemon tea tangy-ness to it, which was not all bad, just unexpected. It reminded me a bit of having a Beaver Tail (this fried Canadian pastry they serve on the Rideau canal in Ottawa) with lemon on it. I thought the mouthfeel was quite good; right amount of carbonation and not too heavy or syrupy. Drinkability isn't bad, but the alcohol comes through a bit more than it should for 6.0 ABV.

Overall, I'm glad I got to try this beer and would have it again if offered, but will not likely make any large attempt to seek it out in the future.

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Photo of RickB
2.38/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Nice try but if i want something that sweet I'll stick with my maple syrup on pancakes. Too sweet to really be enjoyable.

The best thing about this beer was the attractive bottle. Poured a nice head into a glass.

Smell was neither good nor bad. But I knew it was maple as soon as I popped the cap.

Taste was overwhelmingly maple, and sweet. Too much so. Would have been much better to be a little more subtle and dry.

Mouthfeel was adequate.

Could not drink more than one of these, as it was like drinking syrup with an alcoholic taste.

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Sugar Moon Maple Ale from Garrison Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 43 ratings.
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