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

5,545 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 5,545 |  Reviews: 1,677
Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.79/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is nice, but just average. A cloudy, golden yellow, with only a bit of fast-vanishing head.

Smell and taste are quite similar, and are both good. It reminds me of a Trashy Blonde. Lemon, a bit of pepper, and a different (must be the "Grains of Paradise") taste of something like grain/bread and some... cilantro?

Mouthfeel is decent. A little bitter, which I often don't like, but not too much so. It's OK. Not too watery, not over or under-carbonated.

Pretty drinkable, but the bitterness does build a bit, though. Unlike the somewhat similar Trashy Blonde, though, you can have a few of these and not have your tongue destroyed by bitterness.

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Photo of H1N1
2.68/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured into a pint glass. 2 fingers of pretty active foam. I actually just sat and enjoyed the popping sounds for a few seconds. Dissipated into a thin layer that remained and stuck to the sides of my glass nicely. The beer was a hazy gold colour which put me off slightly. Looked like a urine sample.

S- Wheat was immediately the most powerful aroma. The smell of lemon peeks out, but the wheat pushes it back. Slight lemony smell. Not much of a hop smell to speak of.

T- A malty wheat flavour. The lemon flavour is there but doesn't taste quite natural. It tastes more like lemon flavour from a lab than actual nice citrus. There is a tiny peppery taste if you search for it, otherwise it is not noticeable. I would like the peppery taste to shine through a bit more.

M- It felt almost slimy in my mouth. I was not a fan of that aspect.

D- Not my favourite Sam Adams. I was disappointed. I probably will not buy this again.

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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 KTCamm
3.73/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours hazy golden yellow with 1 finger white foam. Settles to a creamy layer. Some lacing.

Wheaty citrus smell. Malty grain hints.

Lemon malt taste - citrus fades but not replaced by anything, leaving a little malt cloying. Low finish, no bite. Creamy mouthfeel. Prominent spice that I can't quite pinpoint.

Tasty, reliable summer brew. I feel like I have either liked this better in year's past or have just tasted better summers. Tasty, but not refreshing, and gets a little heavy after a while.

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Photo of lespaulrocker
4.07/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This is the only part of the beer I don't like. Gold, a little cloudy. Looks like a cheap, gross beer. Head dissolves fast with a little bit of lacing.

S: Flowery, citrusy, and hints of pepper.

T: Citrusy with a bitter finish. Really enjoyable.

M: Little bit of carbonation, not too much, good mouthfeel.

D: Very drinkable, as a summer ale should be.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of Kooz
4.28/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a nice surprise. It's been a long time since I've had these, but a got a twelve-pack for a party because I stopped in a crappy store with a bad selection. Anyway...

Nice golden color, slightly cloudy. Really nice to look at and made my mouth water just seeing it.

Nice smell, notes of wheat but not overly strong. Pretty nice.

The taste is really good. A hint of sweetness; slightly sour... It tastes like a corn sour-mash in a whiskey distillery should. Really awesome. Can taste the wheat, really good. Not much of a hops note, which I'm happy about. All in all, it's a really good taste.

Mouthfeel is really nice too. Slightly foamy, really rich. Almost a little thicker than it drinks...

Very drinkable--can drink this all day and all night. Very high marks--maybe my favorite summer beer.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light and golden, white sugary head with good retention as a film.

Smells light and wheaty.

Taste is the same, with a tinge of barley-like grain in the end. A bit on the heavy side for it's color.

Moderate to full with tingly carbonation throughout.

Easy going and sessionable, but nothing game changing about it. Good, but I've had better.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
3.29/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Nice Head, almost three fingers, with some lasting power. Good lacing that clings to the side of the glass like glue, good and thick. Not bad color for a light ale, a 6 on the SRM chart. Good trace of wheat, but not overpowering. More of a smell of wheat in the field, not the barn. Lots of carbonation that tingles the tongue as I retain it in my mouth, just a little more than I like. Very little after taste, but what there pleasing. Much better than the other wheat ale's I have tasted. Still a little pricey, I would splurge for those who like wheat ale. I would not turn this beer down if someone gave me one.

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

I expect a lot from sam adams. With summer ale, i was not fully satisfied. The original citrus taste is satisfying, but i hate the bitter aftertaste. A slight bitterness is perfect among beers, but summer ale slightly overdoes itself. Is it too harsh to finish a six pack on a hot day? No. Is it better than a Corona? Yes. But is it the beer that I would prefer to be drinking? No.

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Photo of mklinger
2.7/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a shaker pint. Pale yellow with a thin bit of head. Fairly hazy. Pretty unexceptional looking. No lacing in the glass.

Again, fairly bland. Maybe just a hint of spice and lemon but very little. No hop aroma and not much malt or wheat character.

Taste was similar -- not much desirable going on here. Nothing bad, just nothing of note. The two bottles I drank were very fizzy but light bodied. Not a beer that made me want to drink more; I had two but only because it was the only beer available.

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Photo of Spider889
3.54/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This used to be my favorite SA offering. Each summer I looked forward to its release and would buy it regularly throughout the hot season. However each year the flavor profile seems to get dialed back more and more, and this year (2010) is the worst yet. Not only has the beer lost much of the spicy assertiveness I used to crave, it has picked up other unattractive qualities.

Pours an orange-gold color, medium to high carbonation for the style with a decent white head.

Still smells good, but not as strong as it used to. It's light and wheaty, nice complex malts and spices. There are peppery notes and some lemon and orange peel.

The taste used to be amazing, but now the spices are getting weakened as well as overpowered by the wheat flavor. You definitely taste the grains of paradise, but that flavor too is getting pushed out by a strong metallic taste. The first time I had Summer Ale this year I swore up and down that I just got it from a bar that must not clean their tap line or something. But after having it on tap 3-4 times at just as many places this year I have concluded that the metallic flavor is a permanent fixture in this year's batch.

It's still highly drinkable and quenches your thirst. Had this over the weekend for free at a charity event and was happy to drink 3 or so glasses nonetheless.

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Photo of jr0d420
4.92/5  rDev +46%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok, well I've seen most reviews out and about giving this ale an average of a B-.. This is not acceptable! This ale achieves a great complexity of taste and yet such simplicity in drinkability that I do not understand why this ale is rated a somewhat above average B-! Summer Ales are meant to be drinkable, but with this much flavor?? Wow! Where to start? Ill Opt to not.. This is a great Ale! Enjoy the grains of paradise!!

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Photo of aasher
3.52/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It poured a golden straw wheat yellow, slightly cloudy with barely any head. It smells of yeast, citrus, and coriander and smells pretty good. It tastes of light yeast with the citrus, perhaps orange peel, coming through. It's slightly sweet and tastes pretty solid, definitely better out of a bottle than on tap. The mouthfeel is just ok. It's very light with just slight carbonation. It's extremely drinkable, being both tasty and light. It's something worth drinking if on funds are tight. It's probably my favorite Sam Adams brew after the Boston Lager.

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Photo of Erish
3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am glad they featured this beer on the Sam Adams brewery tour. It is a completely different beer on tap than the bottle I had.

A: bright lemon yellow with some cloudiness.

S: the floral hops shine, as does the lemon and pepper.

T: lemon, white pepper, and flowery hops.

M: light-bodied, good carbonation, no oiliness.

D: so much better than the bottle I had!

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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 peensteen
2.83/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy golden pale colour, little head no lacing present on the glass. Smells strong of citrus and yeast, that was pretty much all that was going on in the aroma department for this one. Lots of green apple and bready sweet malt in this. Medium to light in the mouth, not terrible but lots to be desired here. I could drink one of these but thats about it. By far not my favorite from Sam Adams. Glad to have tried it though.

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Photo of RankRefugee88
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a tap into a 22 oz mug.

A - Very cloudy, not clear at all, small white head. Very little if any lacing.

S - Nice aroma. Smells of citrus and wheat, hops are also present.

T - Taste is good. Bitter at first but boy does it go well with a nice summer meal. Citrusy lemony presence stays till the very end of a sip. Wheaty and hoppy too, but the citrus makes this beer very tasty on the palate.

M - A bit chewy, good mouthfeel. Light, refreshing, leaving a crisp clean and dry finish.

D - Drinkability is good. Its a beer you can drink all day and its very very refreshing. A perfect beer to enjoy on a hot summer day.

Overall good beer. Good go to beer if looking for a summer style.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Pours a pale yellow with a fair amount of haze to it. Not much head but what is there is sterling white. Little lacing. Body size appears to be appropriate. Average.

Summer Ale smells like a pale wheat that wants to be a sort of witbier but is unsure of itself so it awkwardly sits between styles, much like high school goth girl who still wears blonde highlights in her hair. A zippy, wheat base smell dominates but you also get exactly what the label promises: notes of lemon zest and grains of paradise. It is the lemon and GoP that prevent this from being completely blase.

Taste is very muted. This is like craft beer 101. Some wheat tang here, a dripping of lemon peel there, some interesting spices that taste like a distant afterthought rather than the focal point that they should be. Decent, probably even above average for the style.

Mouthfeel has a good level of carbonation to it. The body is right in line with other popular pale wheat ales. Nothing to write home about but it gets the job done. If it weren't so muted in taste relative to what it could easily be then the drinkability would score higher. It is one of those rare beers that is too boring to be a great session candidate for me.

All in all an above average pale wheat. Nothing more.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely cloudy golden color with a big white head. Aromas of wheat, citrus fruits, meat (smokiness), and spices. The taste is initially full of flavor. Lots of meat and spices...very delicious. The mouthfeel is awesome, and the drinkability is high.

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Photo of tykees88
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- golden straw yellow. one finger head, lacing half down.

S- lemony wheat, hops, and booze

T- lemon off the bat, wheat middle bitter hops finish, just enough to complement the lemon

M- Light bodied, great for summer, good drinker if you're say... at the lake

D- Good, easy light tasting, good drinker.

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Photo of jsanford
3.52/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a hazy bright yellow-gold with a minimal head and no lacing. Lots of effervescent carbonation, though.

S - Wheat and light malt with lemon and oranges and a slight peppery finish.

T - More wheat and citrus with a peppery and floral finish.

M - Crisp with a light body and nice fizzy carbonation.

D - Solid summer beer, very crisp and refreshing. Could have a few of these on a hot afternoon.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.89/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rather aggressive pour into a hefeweizen glass for nice three-finger head with heavy lacing remaining and a translucent golden body; the classical image of "beer." Not as textured or wheaty as on-tap, but still refreshing. Very light citrus notes, not bitter at all. Taste (primarily of cereal grains) is subdued for good sessionability and drinkability; this beer is unassuming and straightforward. Fans of German lager and wheat beers will appreciate this domestic standby, though it's priced appropriately as a quality beer.

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Photo of burnerfinger
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Kracky Mgee's, at the OMA airport on July 30, 2010

A as a wheat beer should be, this is cloudy. bright lemon color, minimu head with little apparent lacing.

S: a bit of citrus but a bit "musty" this is not really working for me

T: again with the fruity citrus. and some sort of aged grainy taste. looking forward to the end of this glass

M: just right if you can isolate mouthfeel from the taste. medium carbonation, light body.

D : I imagine this will be super drinkable for a wheat beer lover. I'll leave the rest to you becuase I cant appreciate this type of brew.


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Photo of thebeerdoctor
3.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Re-sampled this one. This time, a twenty two ounce bottle, sitting in the backyard on a very hot afternoon, listening to jazz music from a Paris Internet radio station.
I must say I enjoy this beer far better in the elements, than sitting in a room with air conditioning, where the somewhat mixed up flavors can seem downright ponderous. But out in the summer sun, Samuel Adams Summer Ale is quite a seasonal concoction: thirst quenching and more lively than a shandy.
It also seems pointless to compare with Belgian whit, despite the use of somewhat exotic grains of paradise. Like their Octoberfest, this is beer made from a new world viewpoint.
Despite Boston Beer Company's refusal to can any of their beers. This would be a good candidate for such portability. Take this one outside and pour into a glass.

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Photo of TheMadJack
3.61/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. Bottle into Pint Glass.

A: Cloudy golden yellow with a thick, foamy head that would be white save for a lemony jaundice. The carbonation comes in thick strands of fair sized bubbles.

S: Orange blossoms and zest, hint of lemon and grass. Barely detectable soapiness and a dash of cinnamon. I don't know what "Grains of Paradise" smell like, having never encountered them outside of the context of this beer, but that might be they.

T: Light, just a little sweet and a little bitter. Wheat comes through good and strong with a sour lemony note and a finish a bit like orange pith. The peppery flavors one would expect after, say, reading the Wikipedia article on Grains of Paradise ( are notably absent.

M: The carbonation that shows in the glass is barely apparent on the tongue, leaving the beer feeling a little flat. The lemony sourness of the beer gives elevates it and gives it some brightness.

D: It's refreshing and it's light, I'll give it that. Goes real well with sandwiches and warm days.

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Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.37 out of 5 based on 5,545 ratings.
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