Samuel Adams Summer Ale | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

1,656 Reviews
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Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American Wheat, brewed with malted wheat, lemon zest and grains of paradise - a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th Century to create a crisp and spicy flavor and body.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-09-2001

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Reviews: 1,656 | Ratings: 5,443
Photo of engagechad
1.99/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Purchased on draft at Starlite in Richmond, VA - pint glass

Pours a very watery yellow with almost no head initially or upon agitation. Smells herbal. Tastes very medicinal and very difficult to drink. I haven't had many beers that I didn't want to finish but this was one of them. Mouthfeel was menacing and burning.

Overall I would never purchase this beer again and would almost prefer a bmc.

 397 characters

Photo of McStagger
1.99/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours a hazy golden orange with 1.25 inches of head that is white with layers of nutmeg and curacao.

S: Roasty toasty notes with very mild layers of banana. Quite reminds me of an over oaked Cabernet or Merlot. (Minus the red fruit, of course).

T: Oakey notes are followed by clove and allspice. These then quickly evolve into notes of astringency and black pepper. NOT enjoyable.

M: Good body. Well balanced with the oak overtones actually making their way into the mouthfeel of this beer, which smooths out its character. Too bad this couldn't be said for the taste.

D: When a beer tastes this bad, it's not possible to be very drinkable at all.

I'll need to try this beer again. It may be possible that I got a bad bottle. I have a hard time believing that Sam could do such a poor job with such an appealing style of brew.

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Photo of dvb
2/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Drinking this one out of the bottle. Yeah, it's a wheat beer. Definitely not a good example of the style, though. Lemon zest? I could do without it. Too bad it's the standout characteristic of this beer, other than the obvious (but weak) wheat flavor.

For those who want a light beer on a hot summer day, I guess this one would be OK, but I would not buy this beer again unless it was my best or only choice.

Sam Adams is not winning me over with its seasonals.

Thumbs down.

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Photo of callmeclemens
2/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

In the spirit of my summer of summer ales, I decided to pick up Sam Adams summer ale.
Drinking straight from the bottle, the first thing I tasted was a chemical lemon flavor, upon finishing and stepping on my back portch I smell citronella, which smelled exactly like the lemon taste in this beer. On the bright side it was smooth and not to strong to be unbearable. In a world of great summer ales there is no need to try this again.

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Photo of hegelec
2/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

standard pale wheat beer look, with substandard head and lacing - no torrified wheat? smell nicely peppery and citrusy, but disturbingly chemical and soapy. taste is clementines and bleachy solvents. almost unspeakable. i sincerely hope there is merely something wrong with the glass than with the beer, but a quick chat with the bartender, who has overseen innummeable kegs of this stuff pass through the draught line in the last two months, and another sample confirms my worst suspicions. african spices be damned. hideous.

 526 characters

Photo of brewmudgeon
2.01/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

3 A leaves ring and some slight lacing
2 S mild and fruity, mixed fruit cup artificial colored cherries fruity
2 T sweetness is first sensation, no bitterness, something has been added, tastes like sprite mixed with weak beer
2.5 M too much like water
1.5 D yuck. doesn't seem worthy of "beer" label. dumped last couple inches.

 327 characters

Photo of q33jeff
2.04/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2


AROMA: Lemon, mold.
LOOK: pasty yellow color, chalky head
TASTE: Both sweet and sour notes are fighting each other.
FEEL: Sluggish, like a wet sponge. Heavy in the stomach for a summer ale. Not Pleasant.

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Photo of madjr80
2.06/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I used to swear by this beer when I was much younger. I used to order pint after pint of this when I first turned 21. Now 6 years have passed and I don't feel the same for this beer. There is something about it that is unappealing. It could be the grains of paradise. It gives a nasty aftertaste. Maybe it was the lemon wedge that killed that bad aftertaste. I no longer put fruit in my beer, because truly great beers only need an appropriate glass.

Very murky, medium bodied ale. citrus/ spicy smell. Not my bag anymore.

 523 characters

Photo of bashiba
2.11/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured a cloudy orangish yellow with a light white head.

Smell had a light bit of wheat and grain.

Flavor is very one dimensional with just a bit malty grain flavor with a bit of copper in the strange finish.

Mouthfeel was very dry with a medium body, leaves an awful dry residual in your mouth that makes you need something else to drink.

Not at all a good summer beer. Will avoid.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
2.11/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

A very light golden ale, with a medium white head on top. It has somewhat of a fruity-citrus kind of smell to it. It has a sour taste at the beginning finished off with a hoppy finish.

 184 characters

Photo of Guden
2.12/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A- Pale gold with a bit of copper and lots of small swirling carbonation bubbles. The half inch white head fades quickly, leaving no lacing.

S- Very sweet fruit, lots of lemon with hints of spice and malt. Nothing too great but not bad either.

T- Yuck. This stuff is pretty unenjoyable from the get go. Starts off with an abrasive lemon peel character with some lager like sweetness in the middle and an entirely unappealing jumble of pepper, aspirin, pine and more lemon peel on the finish.

M- Medium high in body for the style and a bit light in carbonation this one seems to miss the mark.

D- Not something I would go back for, finishing one feels a bit like a labor. There are WAY better summer ales out there (Heavy Seas comes to mind). This is another example of a bad use of flavorings by Boston Beer Company.

 820 characters

Photo of BobJustBob
2.14/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

After enjoying the living heck out of Noble Pils last week and seeing that my local bottle shop, bar was out of it today, I decided to give this one a whirl.
Big mistake!
What got to me was that it tasted incredibly sour. The Hops and Lemon seemed to be battling it out in my mouth and neither ingredient won.
Since I make Church Mice look like Donald Trump, in the financial department I didn't feed it back into the city's water supply.
Brainstorming resulted in the addition of a few grains of Sea Salt.
Afterward, it tasted remarkably like a Corona, the way it's served in a Mexican restaurant. Ok then, but not what I wanted.

Major disappointment from what's usually a fantastic brewer.

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Photo of MrOH
2.15/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Light, slightly hazy gold. Finger of white head.

Candied lemon peel. A little bit of fruity yeast. Touch of wheat. Peach?

Peppery, gingery spice, lemon pith. Wheat malt, lemon zest. Pithy bitterness kinda runs roughshod over everything. It's like sucking on the white part of the peel. Gross.

Light-bodied, highly effervescent. Good for the summer.

Everything except the taste is good for a lawnmower beer. But the pith flavor really sucked. I mean really sucked hard.

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Photo of BrianBoruma
2.17/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this on tap. Honestly I think there most have been something wrong with the tap line...

A: Looked good. Faint head that was white over blonde body.

S: buttery. No spices in the nose

T: Butter. It wasn't very drinkable.

M: Oily.

D: I didn't order another. So take what you will from that.

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Photo of pasdachuri
2.17/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Hazy gold with a creamy white head. Very similar to a German Weissbier like Franziskaner.

Grainy and malty, with a bit of lemon spice.

Heavy on the wheat and hop bitterness. Very bitter. A little bit of lemon flavor and an unpleasant spice taste to finish.

Crisp with a medium body.

Could not stand the taste co not very drinkable to me. I typically enjoy this style but was looking to trade the rest of my sixer away after the second or third sip.

By far my worst experience with the Boston Brewing Company

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Photo of bourbonbock
2.18/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured this one vigorously into a clean pint glass. The beer came out hazy straw color with 2 fingers of bubbly head.

A. Not to appetizing but still looks very nice. Head bubbled away quickly and left a cap of white bubbles. Some hints of lacing on the glass.

S. Not much in the smell department. Smells of malts and wheat. Not much else to speak of.

T. This stuff is just not good, which is disappointing, the first year this stuff was for sale it was pretty good but anymore I feel like they just rush it out and don't put any effort or real ingredients in it.

M. Kind of thick and sticky from adjuncts? I'm not sure but it sticks around for a while.

D. Awful drinkability unless it is supplied and event then I might reach for a Bud.

Usually impressed with the Sam but not with this beer. I won't be purchasing this ever again.

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Photo of mlazzaro
2.18/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

no year or date to be found.

very pale wheat beer, crystal clear, low head retention.

I literally placed my nose in the head to smell, and still got very little aroma. Smells like yeast more than anything.

tastes of lemons, water thin body, low carbonation. very watery. It is zesty and peppery. Not very beer-like though.

I feel like it used to taste different, or my palate has changed dramatically.

(you can float a cap on water.)

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.18/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer is hardly a home run. It is not making me like summer any more than I already do. On a hot day, I'd really rather have something else.

Appearance is a clear dark yellow with decent macro-lager-like head formation. I get some candy-sugar sweetness, some citrus, some diacetyl in the aroma. Flavor is sweet and citrus-y, but not overly sweet and not unbearable. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky and cloying. I don't find this beer to be especially drinkable; in fact drinking it kind of makes me want something else.

I would not recommend this beer.

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Photo of palliko
2.18/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I notice that the picture provided of the bottle on this site is not the current look of this beer for Summer 2004, so note that my review is of a bottle that had a "drink by" date of December 2004. Let me state up front that I LOVE Sam Adams beers. But this one, not so much. It was very disappointing and is indeed, as Mitchster so ably pointed out in his review, it leaves a cardboard taste in one's mouth. Boring! Watery! The only thing that can be said is it may be refreshing, but is not much better than most Lite beers. Appearance is unfiltered golden orange, good head and lacing, light carbonation, aroma contains corn, lemon and faint spice ('paradise' is the spice, according to the bottle). Smooth mouthfeel, taste of wheat, honey and bitter herbal with a dry unpleasant finish.

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Photo of DESTRO
2.19/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

ok, i had this on tap at the espn sports bar one night and thought it was pretty good but i was also already intoxicated which may be the reason this was such a dissapointment the second time sround. pours a nice somewhat deep golden color with a small white head. it smells like lemons with a hint of spice. taste, tastes like an average beer that someone squeezed a bunch of lemon juice into. its not horrible, but it is pretty crappy. it just has this weird off taste to it. the mouth feel is ok, light and with a nice amount of carbonation. i would drink one if it was the only thing around, 2 if a gun was pointed at me.

 635 characters

Photo of vfgccp
2.2/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Blind taste test.

A – Pale side of yellow. White head holds up with about average retention and leaves a low lace.

S – Damp wheat with a musky overtone. Sprits of lemon on the backend.

T – Harsh, moldy bitter note. Very herbal with cilantro and sage characteristics. Pepper finish with sharp lime acidity.

M – Medium light body. Ok carbonation. Semi-dry, but astringently herbal finish.

O – Oppressive herbal note comes off almost like cleaning fluid. If the not was toned down to about 70% of it’s current intensity I think it’d be a much better beer.

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Photo of mintjellie
2.22/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Straw gold with a thin, poorly retained head. No lace. Soapy lemon aroma with a hint of vanilla. It's pleasant lemon flavour is marred by that same soapy character in its aroma. Mild unpleasant aftertaste reminds me of tylenol. Light, spritzy, and quenching. The fact it tastes like it's meant for washing away sweat and dirt instead of washing down a meal detracts from it's drinkability.

 389 characters

Photo of JoLight
2.22/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A yellow/gold appearance. An off-white head.

The aroma smells like skunked wheat malt. No lemon. No spices.

It tastes just like Blue Moon Belgian White, except there is much less spice and citrus notes to this. But with that said, this is somehow much less bland...?

It was pretty watery.

This was supposed to be good until December 22nd. But it tasted awful. I think I just don't have a taste for wheat beers, because I've only had one that I've enjoyed. I couldn't finish this one....

I don't know. I figured with this being Samuel Adams, it would be good. But wow, I was very disappointed.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
2.22/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2


Poured into Pint Glass

Appearance-Shades of brown and golden yellow. 2 finger white head with nice retention. Thin white film rests atop the body.

Smell-Slight lemon, and some grassiness. A little skunky, kind of a turn off.

Taste-Sweet and creamy. Grassiness, Lemon, light hops and some spice. It all tastes good until the finish. It's skunky as hell.

Mouthfeel-Medium bodied, lots of carbonation.

Taste-I'm not sure If my tastes have changed or it was always this skunky. Haven't had it in years and was glad to try one again, but there are better summer beers out there.

Note: I love BBC, but I had to drainpour the final 4 oz or so, this got gross.

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Photo of CHickman
2.24/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy yellow orange with a 1 inch thick creamy white head; smelled of wheat, lemon, malt and a burnt grain of some sort that's a bit skunky.

Tastes like malt, lemon, yeast, spices and a grassy tang that didn't mix well. Very light and crisp carbonation which flows like water, but unfortunately leaves the before mentioned skunky burnt grain taste/smell as the finish.

Not a good beer, and very disappointing. The spices didn't mix well with the lemon and/or wheat or grains and I did not find this beer refreshing at all. Not a summer ale I would seek out or have again.

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Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.37 out of 5 based on 5,443 ratings.
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