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

1,658 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: 1,658 | Ratings: 5,457
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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Photo of beergeek279
2.55/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The color is golden, with a head that disappeared almost immediately. The smell is fairly muddled with just a slight wheat coming through. The taste is dominated by a very astringent wheat, with just a twist of lemon. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, I don't want to finish this one...why the hell would I want another?!?!

I even checked the notch on this one, and it's December, so they can't blame this one on's just not very damn good! I'm glad my roommate bought this 12-pack (and even he doesn't want another one), so I don't ever have to deal with this again.

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Photo of SteveP
2.52/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle. Yuck. Cloudy orange colour is OK - neither sufficiently attractive nor sufficiently unappealing to draw much attention to itself. Aroma is pleasing - soft citric notes plus some cloves. But the taste is initially quite bland, then stunningly foul. Mouldy oak - possible oxidisation, but best before date is May 2004 - 10 months away. ecrvich also notes a similar experience. I can't get past that foul taste. And the after-taste is a long lingering peppery burn - no doubt from the grains of paradise. It's now creeping up my nose. By god, this is one foul, foul beer. Drain pour.

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Photo of redmosquito
3.16/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Translucent straw in color, served with a very little white head. Very malty, and bread like aroma. The wheat shines through, with a sweet and clean flavor, malty and without hops. It's also without any citrus or spice as the style suggests. It should be listed as an American wheat and not a witbier. This is an okay beer but not one of my favorites from the Boston Beer Company.

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Photo of Admiraldinty
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not one of my favorite SA's, but this stuff is absolutely ubiquitous in bars in the Boston Summertime so it's hard to avoid. (Plus, my friends seem to constantly have it in stock.)
Pours golden with a white lace. Aroma is of wheat malt, some spices and lemon.
Very refreshing and thirst-quenching at first. Spicy, sweet and lemony. Light to medium-bodied. The bad thing about this brew is that it leaves a not so pleasant aftertaste. Maybe it's the mysterious "grains of paradise".
Nice summer afternoon brew, but not an earthshaker.

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Photo of farHillsBrewer
2.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had it previously on draft after a round of golf on a hot day amd was somewhat impressed. But hot and thirsty makes all beers taste better. I recently popped a bottle and this offering came back to earth.
It is a common-yellow American wheat with lemon flavor. The mouth feel and overall lightness of flavor could make it popular with the lite crowd but not for me.
I gave it a plus on drinkability beacuse it is a thirst quencher, but I'll pass it over for a good pilsner any day.

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Photo of Dmann
3.6/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

And average beer at best. This one poured a nice orange color with a small white head that faded quickly. It smelled of grain and spice and not much else. The taste was decent but there was just too much of the citrus bitterness there to enjoy thoroughly. If it is on sale get it, if not do not pay full price for this one.

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Photo of RocketWidget
2.62/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I usually enjoy most Sam Adams seasonals. Unfortunately this is one that I won’t be recommending. Appearance is the best part of this brew, dark orange, with lots of carbonation and a very good head. Smell seems off to me, though I can’t identify why. Taste is, at best, interesting. Bottle claims this was brewed with wheat malt, lemon zest, and grains of paradise, but all I’m really getting from it is the lemon zest. Slightly sweet, but mostly sour, there isn’t anything special from the taste of this. Not especially refreshing either, a trait which should be a wheat beer’s forte.

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Photo of lokicat444
2.7/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Although I usually enjoy wheat beers (and most Sam Adams offerings) I avoid this beer if I can find something else.

Appearence is alright, cloudy and light as one would expect- a bit yellow-y for this style, but overall average.

Smell is citrus-y, though the old dependable SA smell is present.

Taste: Too much lemon or citrus for my tastes- seems artificial and gets rather unenjoyable after the first beer. Maybe it's the grains of paradise they put in it, I'm really not sure. Spicyness is alright, but not enough to help this beer out.

Bottomline: A rather unhappy marriage of that distinctive Sam Adams taste with the wheat beer style. I'd blame the citrus-ness of it as being out of balance.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.08/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Hard Times in Herndon, VA. This appeared a very cloudy golden yellow color with a slight bubbling coating atop the body. Not much lace was left either as this was consumed. Smell is a rather weak lemony wheat scent that has a touch of spice that peaks out from time to time. Taste is that of a weak wheat beer that has been watered down. The spiciness was about as minimal as I have ever had in a wit beer. Mouthfeel was thin and watered down a bit. It was refreshing and went down easy but after a 23oz glass of this I had enough of it for the night and switched to something else. I wouldn’t really recommend this for a wit beer but it would be a decent macro replacement.

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Photo of ybnorml
2.38/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A very cloudy amber ale. Pours with no head at all. The aroma is vaguely sweet but no particular sweet aspect can be determined from it. A very fruity flavor witha light hop characteristic in the background. The fruity flavor reminded me of mango. I could not finish drinking this. It was like drinking a V8 Splash mixed with beer.

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Photo of mntlover
3/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy light golden amber color with a white head that falls to half finger for ride down the glass leaving light lace. Smell is faint wheat malts lemon and light on spices. Taste is light wheat, sour then lightly bitter, get light spice flavors and a dash of lemon. Tastes like a good wheat beer that has been filtered a little and watered down for mass consumption. It is light and goes down quickly good thirst quencher. Body is light side of medium drinkablity is ok if options are macros but otherwise wouldn't purchase again. Picked up at closest grocery store to home hadn't had before so I tried it, damn BA always has me buying something new :)

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Photo of stirgy
4.05/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a cloudy golden yellow color with a decent amount of carbonation and a healthy head of creamy white foam. The aroma is almost like sour Lemonheads candy. Citrusy and sour. The taste is light and refreshing. Bittersweet with floral notes and small amounts of buttery malt. This is very refreshing! Sour and slightly yeasty. This is another good poolside summer beer.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.11/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ncie,cloudy,straw yellow color.Decent head that lingers all the way down.No real discernable aroma.Slight malt and spiciness but nothing special.Crisp and clean on the palate.Somewhat grainy flavor with a touch of spices and lemon.Average body-lends it to being a beer that is great for a hot day.Overall a decent enough beer-take some to a party with macro drinkers and let them try it on a hot summers day.

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Photo of fdrich29
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce mug at the 99 in Waltham, Massachusetts. I specifically asked my server to please bring me a non-frosted glass and to my luck that's exactly what I got.

Poured a nice reddish/orange color with a little smooth head and lacing.

Smelled and tasted of spicy lemon. Very refreshing after a long day of wrok.

If I wasn't totally exhausted I could have drank these all night, but as things were I only ordered one and went home to bed after dinner. Great summertime beer, but not my first choice.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.57/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle. Sam Adams seasonal brew with a freshness date notched for December 2004. I poured this directly into a pint glass.

The appearance is a cloudy light orange. Minimal head that disappeared rather quickly. Some lacings, but they fail to sustain.

Aroma smells a little spicy and lemony.

The taste is grainy, crisp, dry and refreshing. This tastes like a classic wheat ale to me with a lemon backdrop. Great for summer months.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
3.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appeared a pale amber color with no head but nice lacing. The aroma was very light... lemons and spice. As for taste it was slightly fruity and reminiscent of a wheat beer with a tinge of lemon and spice. It had a medium to light mouthfeel with good carbonation. It was crisp and refreshing and very drinkable. It wasn't that exciting for a wit (is it even a wit?) but one could easily enjoy many of these on a hot summer day.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sam Adams Summer Ale poured a nice hazy golden yellowish orange color with a sweet wheat aroma. A nice size head turns into decent lacing around the glass. First sip is a bit fruity and smooth. I like it. Definetly a good drinking beer. As far as wheat beers go this is one of the better ones I've had. It's not spectacular...but it's a good brew and I will be coming back to it :-)

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Photo of RoyalT
3.12/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This is one gorgeous-looking ale. The body is a deep, slightly darkened yellow with a tinge of orange and quite hazy. The head is monstrous, roaring up into a beautiful puffy column and descending slowly, leaving some nice, thick, shaving cream lacing on the way down.

Smell – This is American grain with a dollop of fruity yeast. Ugh!

Taste – This doesn’t taste as bad as it smelled, but it’s still not very good. The course grain is blunted somewhat by some tangy citrus hops and a fuzzy type of wheat.

Mouthfeel – Surprisingly big for the style, almost medium-bodied, with some good summertime carbonation and even a bit of dryness at the finish.

Drinkability – With both the temperature and humidity hovering in the mid-90s, I was looking forward to a refreshing summer ale. This one just did do the trick.

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Photo of ken3c
2.76/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice poofy head stays around a while. Clear amber.

Smells more like a macro lager than a wit. This one might be a little skunky.

Tastes nothing like a wit except for a bit of citrus notes.

Light and well carbonated.

I should try this again in case I got a bad sixer but I probably won't. It wasn't bad, just not really good.

This beer should probably be classified as an American wheat rather than a wit. I would have rated it slightly higher.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.38/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Came without any head (which seemed to be the trend around me) and seemed like it would spill out of the pint. About 75% opaque, deep orange body, and mysterious lacing that produced itself despite the lack of head..

Smell was lightly sour, mash and weedy hops. Taste, too, was grainy, medium malts, also slightly sour, lemony. Weedy hops mellow and creamy. Tingling carbonation in the mouth.

A little too heavy on the carbonation and body for my summer ale desires at the time.

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

Pours an orangish-yellow color with a thin head and faint aroma. I really didn't pick up a lot of citrus in the aroma. I didn't expect a lot of lemon flavor as it's actually brewed with lemon zest which to me has a slightly different flavor than lemon. Perhaps that's what I was tasting because I really couldn't put my finger on it. It's not a bad tasting brew, but not one I would seek out. I'd prefer the Boston Lager or Boston Ale over this. It is refreshing though on a hot, humid day, but I think there's better choices.

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Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.37 out of 5 based on 5,457 ratings.
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