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

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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: 1,654 | Ratings: 5,425
Photo of NiceGuyMike
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This isn't much of a beer. I'd make it slightly better, taste wise, than SA's standard white beer.
Appearence: Cloudy, orangy gold with decent head.
Smell: sulfer and not much else.
Tastes: slight citrus, bit of bitterness
Mouthfeel: medium body but nothing to write home.
Drinkability: I had one, didn't care either way for another.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Peachy color with sizeable head. Citrusy flavors in the smell as well as the taste.

The taste is fine, but the there is a sharp, although not overwhelming, hop bitterness at the end fo the taste which does not sit well with me. There are gears that mesh and gear that grind. These grind. Both fine on their own. But they just don't mesh for me.

I wish they did. This beer is worth a try to see if you like it. Just not for me.

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Photo of weeare138
3.98/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'll admit that I moaned at my wife for making me get this at such a price for guests.
Appears a hazy light gold with a thick, 2 finger creamy white head that never fully goes away. Excellent lacing for the style and a steady 1/8" creamy head floating with excellent carbonation pumping to the top.
Smell is of light orange peel, zesty wheat, bubble gum and white pepper.
Taste is actually pretty good. Good taste of sweet orange peel balanced by the wheat, spice, and a mild hop note.
Mouthfeel is creamy, medium bodied and dry with a light gummy spiciness flowing through the palate.
This is actually a good beer and I was ready to be let down. Prepare to drink at a fast pace b/c they go down nice and smooth.

Finger licking good.

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Photo of ism
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2005 bottle notched for August.

Hazy marigold with a small white head that dissapates thinly. Scent of wheat, dull clove, lemon. Gentle carbonation up front, thin-bodied. Wheat with dominating citrus, and an odd spice somewhat like clove and coriander but unplacable. Slight hoppiness but overall on the sweet side.

An interesting mix of flavors and definitely refreshing on a summer day, but nothing really to note. Either the citrus is a little too much or the other flavors don't balance it out properly.

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Photo of ski271
2.73/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Hazy orange-gold with a small, white, slightly creamy head that quickly diminished to a film. Sparse strings of lacing early.

Smell: Very mild. Mostly citrus, a little wheat, soap and some sweat malts.

Taste: Bland malt, lemon, a little grape and a touch of apricot... and is that coriander? The finish is malty and sweet, yet a little dry.

Mouthfeel: Thin body, watery texture (turning dry), moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: I was bored by this beer. There wasn’t anything really all that out of balance here, it was just dull. I know this style usually produces a milder beer with more subtle characteristics, but I think this is a bit too mild for my tastes. I think a beer like Allagash White is a better representation of this style. This one is not worth seeking out.

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Photo of packetknife
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Much better this time off of the tap. A bit cloudy through the orange-yellow with a white fluffy head that held well. Smelled of lemons and grass, reminded me of Florida. Very subtle hoppiness with citrus, just acidic enough, and a sharp but quickly clearing finish. Felt just a tad thin but was very drinkable on that warm summer day.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium colored yellow with a moderate fizzy white head that quickly goes away.

Smell is lightly clove with a lot of lemon in there. Slightly more understated than most of the style.

Taste is lemony, light, and wheaty. I feel the lemon really dominates the flavor, but there are notes of spice and a bit of toasted wheat that pulls through.

Overall: Pretty drinkable, if ordinary, summer beer. The best choice at the bar I was in, and I'd drink another couple if need be.

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Photo of Jason
3.01/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle with a freshness date ... different label from before, no more sail boat. :-(

Super foamy with a dense white head. A cloudy haze of orange-straw color.

Slightly soapy aroma, malt sweetness, hops and some odd spicing going on. Hint of wheat and lemon in the nose as well.

Wheat is evident on the palate, fuller bodied than one would expect from a summer ale. Odd spicing and an all around orange-ish flavor in the middle. Mild hopping goes well with the maltiness.

I want to like this brew but the flavors just don't meld ... it just does not do it for me.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.98/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a sixpack at Avalon Liquors in Southern New Jersey. Simple labeling, but had clearly notched September best before on the outside.
Poured a nice hazy light golden. Lacing stayed throughout. Big, fluffy golden colored head with excellent retention.

A faint amount of citrus and malt on the nose.
Same thing comes through with the flavor. Slightly malty with a peppery citrus. No real bitterness comes through.

Went well with a few burgers and my wife drinks it.

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Photo of BuckSpin
3.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky, pumpkin/bronze hue with a nice 1" head of off-white mixed foam that subtly clung & laced. Nose is light, mildly malty, with wisps (not over the top) of citrus and spice.

Its smooth, creamy on the tongue with malted flavor coming forward, spiced and citrus. The beer picks up speed as it finishes sharper, crisper, with the citrus & spice more noticable, perhaps a hint of some hops.

I like witbiers, and while I am certain this was served colder than it should be, it was enjoyable. I can certain see people not immediately recognizing it as such. It did have more of a wheat ale taste. It would probably go well with summer style foods. I would drink it again.

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Photo of bceaglejoe
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured a cloudy, light orange color into a ridged pint glass. About a finger-thick head popped up, but retention wasn't that good. This beer showed off a moderate amount of carbonation. The smell was of spices and lemons, just as advertised. I didn't detect much in the way of malts or hops, though.

Tasting: Malt smoothness was balanced by lemon and coriander flavors, without much in the way of hop presence. A sharp "tang" was present on the front of the tongue. It was a very light beer, with a watery texture and a thin body. Perhaps I might have another of these if there isn't anything with a little more body to it.

Overall, I would recommend it with reservations. It's a good starter to the Witbier style, but there are better examples of it. If it had a little bit more of a body to it, my style scores would go up. But it's a decent thirst-quencher.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.13/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presented in a 12oz bottle, one of two Samuel Adams beers offered at a small bar at the Ontario Airport. Poured into a plastic pint cup (no glass at the airport?).
Had a slightly clouded golden color and a scrawny white head that fizzled down to a thin ring. Aroma was light, of wheat, malt and lemons. Really not all that witbier-like; more like an American pale wheat ale. The taste was lemon zest layered with spice (grains of paradise, according to the label). Way more lemon than I care for; might as well have dropped a lemon slice in it like it was a hefeweizen (not that I'd do such a thing). Was rather sharply acidic and tart yet also disconcertingly watery and thin.
Overall, not something I'd be in a hurry to get back to again. Too much like an American wheat ale for my taste.

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Photo of charlatan
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big, foamy head and rather dark straw colour. Very slightly cloudy.

Smells of lemons and cream. I would have expected this to be rather yeasty, but it isn't at all. At first there is some creaminess, and it feels rather watery, but then suddenly a rather fake but still pleasant lemon flavour takes over and is backed by a subtle hoppy bitterness and a grainy flavour. Not filling or overly satisfying, but it would be a doddle to knock back a few of these, so it makes for a good session beer.

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Photo of cubedbee
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark hazy yellow with a thin half finger of head that faded quick. Just a little lacing. Smell is rather weak, but is mainly of lemons and spices with a faint maltiness detectable. Taste is spices, lemons, bananaas, cloves, and just a bit of bitterness. Pretty well balanced and a lot better tasting than the nose would indicate. The beer was a little thin bodied. Overall, this is a decent spicy witbier--not something I'd go out of my way to drink but nice to have a pint on a hot spring day.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
2.67/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle into a pint glass yeilding only about a half-finger of white frothy head that quickly fizzeled out to nothing. Very little carbonation vizable. Overall color was a clear, light, hazy yellow. Looked similiar to a murky light lager. No lacing during the sample.

Smell is of malt and citrus upfront. Very lemon like, with softer citrus undertones in the background.

Taste was rather bland. Malty at first with a bit of a crisp citrus bite to the end of each sip. Just every so slightly bitter and overall rather wattery. This beer tasted like watered down Blue Moon.

Very light on the palate and rather carbonated.

Overall one of the weaker offereings from SA. Mildy refreshing with the citrus crispness it delivers but falls way short of a "go to" summer brew. As a side note I tried at two slightly different temperatures: it was much easier to drink at the colder temp. than the slightly warmer temp.

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Photo of mgdeth
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Somwhat hazy. Golden or pale amber color. Thin white head. Looks to be highly carbonated. Some lace.

Smell - Very lemony, with an odd spicy and sweet aroma. No hops in the nose to speak of.

Taste - Tangy, dry, and crisp. Lemon flavor is present. The beer has a peppery taste, and this comes out more in the aftertaste. This blends well with the lemon flavor, but the lemon might even be a bit overdone. The taste is difficult to describe, possibly due to the flavors from the grains of paradise.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated. The body is light, so this is a good for something styled as a summer ale.

Drinkability - Refreshing. However, the beer gives me me a little bit of cotton mouth, making it less quaffable.

Comments - Certainly a good summer beer. I say that it is worth a try, and probably at least a siz pack.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.48/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not bad, not outstanding. Refreshing I think might be the best adjective. Pours a light amber color, more on the yellow side, murky, with very little head. Smell is almost non existant, but I'm picking up some spritzy notes and spicyness. In the taste, there's a lot of lemon character and corriander perhaps, on top of a pretty well balanced spicy hop and light malt body. Mouthfeel is a little off. Drinkable and refreshing though, so keep some around for a hot summer day, though there are better options for the "summer ale" style.

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Photo of cracgor
3.91/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this beer into my glass and...

Appearance: the lightly cloudy, golden color of the beer is contrasted by a frothy, white head that remains thick and sticks readily to the glass. Through the beer is a constant stream of bubbles rising to the surface--massive carbonation.

Smell: is a grassy wheat smell. Also noticeable is a citrus and spiced aroma.

Tatste: It is a crisp, dry wheat taste. Once again the citrus is noticeable and the spice brings some heat to the flavor.

Mouthfeel: is full bodied with heavy carbonation throughout the mouth.

This is an easy to drink beer. Not as refreshing as I might want on a hot summer day, but I think it gets the job done. Not my favorite seasonal variety from Sam Adams either, but it is worth a try.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.98/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This one pours a cloudy golden color with some orange hues. The smell is very fruity and citrusy. Oranges, lemon-lime, grapefruit, and possibly even strawberries are detected. It also seems to smell a bit flowery. The taste is not overly sweet like I had expected. Its very zesty. I taste lemons and limes, spices, and wheat grains. The flavor is very sharp and to the point, and the incredible zestiness is quite an eye-opener. The mouthfeel of this beer is great. Sam Adams' brews always seem to score very well with me in this category. They do an excellent job with the carbonation and creating the perfect body for a beer. Overall, this is a nice, good quality beer. I'll be sure to buy this one again a few times while its available throughout the summer.

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Photo of LPorter33
3.01/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased single bottle from Martignetti's

Appearance = Cloudy, foggy golden-yellow. Nice 1 inch head that dissipates into 1/8 inch lacing.

Smell = A little weak in the olfactory department. A faint aroma malt with a little bit of spice and a hint of floral scents. Not much though.

Taste = Tangy sourness dominates. Alright yeast like aftertaste. Nothing spectacular though. A pretty average tasting beer.

Overall = This is a very average "good quality" beer. Nice to have around for company but nothing at all for special occasions.

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Photo of Backer2004
2.82/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jim Koch, the founder of Sam Adams, writes on the back label, "When you pour a Samuel Adams Summer Ale into a glass, you'll notice slight haze in the liquid. This is intentional. We achieve more body and mouthfeel by not filtering this wheat ale."

It's like they received so many complaints that the beer was clear and crisp that need need to explain themselevs to the consumer. I just thought this was funny. Tastes like a wheat beer mixed with dishwater. Disappointing compared to the so many other great beers by the Boston Beer Compnay.

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Photo of aquatonex
3.65/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A refreshing offering from Samuel Adams...

Pours light orange with a short creamy head, a little bit of lacing. Robust carbonation. Aromas of nutty wheats, whiffs of citrus. A little subdued nose. Taste is good, not too strong, not too weak. A good balance of wheats with minor citrusy notes. I don't taste any spice in it, though. Seems to be more of a summer wheat ale instead of a witbier. But, very drinkable nonetheless. I'd definitely have it again.

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Photo of maek228
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at a Italian restaurant called "Scoogi's".

Appearance: Hazy light orange that was poured with a very small head. Definitly unfiltered...very cloudy.

Smell: A sweet malty wheat scent, although not very strong.

Taste: Tastes like a toned down witbier....IMO it was not very spicy. I detected some spice...but I had to due some serious detective work. There was definitly a fresh wheat taste to it. Also, it had a nice clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation that tingled my mouth. Grainy medium bodied wheat feel to it.

Drinkability: This was refreshing. It's lack of strong flavor works in it's favor goes down so easy. Definitly for the summer.

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Photo of crookedhalo
2.97/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A witbier? I hardly think so. It pours a clear golden with light copper accents and a scant eggshell colored head. Pale malts, light wheat notes and a light hoppiness with faint citrus mainly makes up the aroma. Some husky malt astringency and moderate hopping raises further questioning on whether this should be categorized as a witbier. It's rather lifeless and bland. Better suited for summer, but even then I could think of a thousand beers I'd have before this.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.18/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mildly murky goldenrod with sunshine yellow accents. The cream-colored head is large, finely pitting and hangs around a while. Unimpressive lace. The aroma is not what I had expected or hoped for. Summer Ale smells like a macro lager that's trying to dress itself up and pass itself off as a summer beer by adding a grating or two of lemon zest. The grain-like undertow is too pronounced to be completely covered up. It isn't a total loss, but I see definite room for improvement.

While the flavor is a bit better, it doesn't knock my socks off. Pale malt and wheat malt are dominant, but that same macro lager graininess is annoying the hell out of me. Citrus zest is now minimal and the spice load has been ramped up to moderate. The grains of paradise, used in both this beer and BBC's White Ale, don't seem to work as well here. The medium length finish gives a nod toward bitter, but is otherwise nondescript, and the light-medium body is just about right for a summer quaffer.

In terms of quality and enjoyability, Sam Adams beer covers a fairly wide range for me. While far from bad, this one is solidly in the bottom half. I'm not sure how often they change recipes, but Summer Ale is long overdue.

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Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.37 out of 5 based on 5,425 ratings.
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