Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,656 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,656 | Ratings: 5,430
Photo of Rock_Glenn
2.55/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Smells of lemon and spice, with noticeable wheat. The spice is less pleasing to the tongue. The smoothness of the wheat only exasperates the light feel. Too fruity to my tastes, and too heavy on odd spices to boot. Tastes sour, more so than any hefeweizzen. The wheat, rather than smooth out any harsh flavors, seems to exasperate them.

 336 characters

Photo of txmilligan
4.19/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smooth in taste, cloudy appearance, the Summer Ale is crisp and sublime. Little aftertaste, and consistent from first pull until the last swallow. Not as festive as a shandy, and lacks the summer connection it appeals to, but a fine beer, nonetheless.

 251 characters

Photo of Squire123
3.64/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Bright yellow with white cap and above average lacing.

Aroma: Nice, pleasant, the spicy, lemony, citrusy stuff steps up and politely introduce themselves. Little detectable in the way of hops or malt but gold star for lovely appearance.

Taste: Follows the aroma, no surprises here, hey, it is a Summer Wheat Ale. Blends in well yet still stands out a bit in the crowd. Slightly rich without being sweet and more complex than the label would indicate. Lemon and spice and everything nice, a pleasant interlude.

Texture: Medium at least.

Overall: All light stepping spritely in her pretty Summer dress.

 626 characters

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.85/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

At the airport, from the tap, it pours a hazy amber with a small off-white head. Lemon is noticeable in the nose and the mouth notes the wheat and a bit of lemon. Decent.

 172 characters

Photo of InfernoOrangeSS
5/5  rDev +48.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am sure I will catch some flak from the more elite beer drinkers, but this beer is my all time favorite summer time beer. It has an amazing summery taste and feel for me and I look for it every year. The hint of citrus is just right without being overpowering as some beers do. This is a great beer and the best summer beer I've tried. I graded it based on summer beers, not against every beer out there.

 410 characters

Photo of The_Atom
3.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a bottle so I couldn't get a true analysis of the look. Smell is somewhat average with a slight lemon smell. Taste is sharp with carbonation and an immediate presence of wheat, lemon zest and followed by a spicy note. Overall, a pleasant, enjoyable, yet decently spicy summer beer, but it doesn't pack a whole lot of flavor so that disappoints me some.

 357 characters

Photo of mchegash
3.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

L: A very nice hazy orange, about a finger of off-white head. Lots of visible carbonation. This is actually a really fantastic looking beer.

S: Lemon, grains of paradise, and some wheat malts. Perhaps a little bit of funk.

T: Tastes pretty much like the smell. Subtle lemons and generic citrus notes and the grains of paradise balance out the standard pale wheat ale taste. Nothing amazing, but not terrible.

F: Medium bodied, medium amount of low intensity carbonation. Not as crisp as I would expect a summer beer to be.

O: Overall this is a decent beer. Not sure why it gets such moderate ratings.

 604 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
3.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a pale gold with a medium sized head and huge amounts of carbonation. The aroma leads with a freshly baked white bread smell, as well as peppery and earthy hop notes. The flavor is light and crackery, with mild peppery spice and a bitter grain flavor towards the end. Mouthfeel is fizzy with a silky texture. Overall this is a nice beer, light and refreshign and does it well, but it does lack excitement of any kind.

 433 characters

Photo of basaywhat
3.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Hazy dark straw color with a white head. Aromas of orange and a little citrus and spices. Taste of a little citrus zest flavor and spicy taste. Light mouth feel. Nice lacing in the glass.

 201 characters

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

A: Dark, slightly hazy orangish-yellow. Decent sized, soapy white head.
S: Moderately sweet smell, mostly wheat aromas
T: Decent amount of bluntly sweet wheat taste, with a slight hint of lemon. Nice pepperish and interesting notes strike the tongue, and linger a bit.
M: Light and refreshing. Heavy carbonation.
O: Fairly good beer. Nothing too special, however. The taste isn't robust enough to be special, but it is a decent pepperish wheat beer that should be good for summer.

 485 characters

Photo of JFCLACK
3.48/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Complex wheat, the Lemmon zest and pepper make for almost salty finish. It's like eating hotsauce you got to have more and more, I haven't been SA fan but they keep trying... Props!

 184 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
3.23/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy golden color, with a minuscule head. Moderate amount of visible carbonation.

Regarding the nose, the Belgian yeast hits you first , with some lemon and sweet malt in the background.

Taste is subtle, as you'd expect from both the style and Sam Adams. There is lemon, tartness, and quite a bit of disappointment. Mouthfeel is light, with low carbonation.

 368 characters

Photo of MACrist
2.89/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

APPEARANCE: A hazy burnt amber with a finger of soapy, quickly fading head. Leaves some mild lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Honestly, first thing it reminds me is mildew. But, I do get some lemon/citrus, the spicy quality of the grains of paradise, and a cracker/breadlike quality.
TASTE: See tasting notes.
FEEL: Medium body, good carbonation level, dry all the way through.
OVERALL: Just not my thing. When the first thing I get is mildew, probably not going back for more. For a summer wheat ale, I'd go for something like an Oberon, everytime, over this.

 557 characters

Photo of microbrewlover
2.96/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brew pours a hazy/orange straw color with a fluffy off white head, some of which sticks around until the end, and light lacing.
The smell is full of wheat and peppery spice, coriander, damp hay and some bubble gum.
The taste follows the nose with sweet wheat, spices, such as coriander and grains of paradise and bubble gum. The finish is spicy and you can taste a small amount of hops in the finish.
Overall this is a decent wheat beer.

 447 characters

Photo of BeerBobber
3.76/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours out a hazy golden color with a bone white head that was nice and soapy. A lot of streaming carbonation is visible through the haze.

Smells of fresh bread and citrus hit the nose up front. Some spice seems to be hiding in the background.

A bit of peppery lemon on the taste.

Mouth feel was like a wheat with that body that borders on medium but finishes fairly dry.

Overall I did not find a whole lot of complexity in this beer. What I did find was a cool refreshing wheat beer that fits well with the target, a summer ale. I really can see this fitting in with a hot summer evening on the patio sipping down several cold ones. Very nicely done. Prost!

 663 characters

Photo of jreynaud1
3.93/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The flavor isn't too strong, which is an added bonus on a hot summer day. Very refreshing ale with a prominent taste of lemon and wheat. The smell is a nice lemony smell that you grow to love and look forward to the delicious ale you're about to drink. The somewhat heavy carbonation offsets the "light" flavor in a near harmonious way. Overall a wonderful wheat ale for blissful summer days.

 392 characters

Photo of utopiajane
2.91/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Below average appearance because ti was dull. For a what beer I should have seen plenty of head and bubbles. It was soft and lackluster. hazy. Thin white head that fell off fast. Nose was all malt. Just some dry cracker left and really not much wheat . I got this in a mix six at wegmans and it's obviously old. The notch says august. No real lemon except the idea of tart lemon in the middle. No real hops in the flavor except I think they were herbal. The grains of paradise sruvived and so did some very soft flat wheat. What is tall breaddy and vibrant like gold in sunshine. This was dull. Finished lackluster and bland mostly malt a malt bomb it had become. really below average.

 690 characters

Photo of AfricanPete14
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A very decent beer. Extremely refreshing and the taste of lemon was very prominent with a small taste of hops. with a large amount of carbonation. A light grain taste was also noticeable but honestly this mostly tasted like lemon.

 231 characters

Photo of BostonBeanBoy
1.62/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

i kept thinking, this beer must be amazing cause they have draft lines for it all over, but then i found out they were just undercutting all the small breweries on prices to steal their lines. it makes the beer taste even worse than it is.

 239 characters

Photo of TheBierdimpfe
2.75/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy dark straw color with dense storming activity. Slightly frothy white 2 finger head that last for 5 minutes, making some average leggings. Flavors of caramel, wheat, sweet grains, corn, citrus, noble spices. Slick medium body with excessive carbonation. Light and short finish, ending with a roasted malty feel and a thick sugary syrupy feel. Overall I find this one not very well craft from the lack of intensity and balanced flavors. Overly sweet and feels adjunct.

 473 characters

Photo of VDJ104
2.93/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got to admit this was the first non macor I tasted. Even before boston lager or Blue Moon, and at the time I loved it. But I recently got again and was somewhat dissapointed. It reminded me of lemon flavors halls the lemon seemed stronger than I remember. Also the first time I had it I drank it out of the bottle . In the glass it has a weird look to it. Really thought I liked this beer now not so sure.

 405 characters

Photo of Libeertarian
3.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Has the color and opacity of honey. Medium-retention fine-bubbled cream-colored head. Moderate lacing. Smells like a lemon shandy (oh wait, it kind of is), but with wheat in the background. There is also a slight burn sensation to it. Alcohol? Grains of paradise? In any case, aroma is strong and enticing. Thankfully, it does not taste like a shandy. I was a bit worried there for a moment. It's hard to tell if there's a lot of lemon in this or only a little. It could be that the distinct wheat character along with the smooth mouthfeel are counteracting its effects. As for the grains of paradise...what? If you say so. I'm on my way to my spice cabinet right now to investigate. Oh...I thought that was just hops and/or lemon...okay then. I guess there is something different in the retro-olfaction. Could just be wheat or yeast though. And kind of a spicy (but not what I'd call flavorful) zing on the sides of the tongue. I don't know. Maybe I'm tasting the spices, maybe I'm not. Moving on. As I said, mouth feels smooth. Too watery, though with finer bubbles that only prickle for a split second with each gulp. Flattens in glass about twenty minutes in.

 1,163 characters

Photo of harpo111
3.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not a bad seasonal brew. Could have been a tad heavier. Goes well with food. Hold its head well. I wish the spices were more pronounced. Overtake not a bad beach beer.

 169 characters

Photo of stlfatguy
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pale yellow, slight haze, white head. Smell was fairly light, but you can catch the lemon and also some sweet malt. Taste was not what I expected. Base tasted like sweet malt. Faint lemon- pepper taste at the end. Feel wasn't really crisp. Was ready for a light summer ale, but this one has more going on. I think it's growing on me.

 333 characters

Photo of puck1225
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On draught at a steakhouse. Cloudy yellow with thin head and no lacing. Good floral smell. Light pleasant taste of lemon and grass. It went well with the steak and ribs.

 169 characters

Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.37 out of 5 based on 5,430 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!