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: 5,433
Photo of johannasclimacus
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a nice hazy golden color, and as noted on the label, this is because it is unfiltered. Because it is unfiltered, however, it also has more of a body than you would expect in a "summer beer." This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but I would only have a handful in one sitting.

The beer smells faintly of lemon, and I picked up a little bit of grainy/hops smell as well. The taste follows about as you would expect. To me, it was like a run of the mill pale ale with a hint of wheat and lemon. Interesting, but the beer didn't seem to work together as much as I would have liked.

I would enjoy this again, although next time I would like it in the middle of the afternoon on a hot day instead of the evening. Overall, a decently drinkable pale ale with a bit of a twist.

 788 characters

Photo of techtatu
3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice rustic color with about 2 fingers width of cream colored head. At first sip you get hit with a very strong citrus note and as you continue to drink it starts to hint at spicy note. Dare I say the same spicy note that is in their Octoberfest. It is a very light drink and quite refreshing one too.

Definitely a beer I would take out fishing with me and or to a BBQ out at the lake. It is a good substitute to a Hefeweizen, and it is a beer I would recommend to those who are exploring beers with a citrus hint.

 525 characters

Photo of Beerwithoutallthehops
1.47/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 1.25 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

While I do not like hops much, if at all, I understand they are necessary for beer. With that, I find it typical American thinking that if a little hops is good - tons of hops MUST be "better". And, so, we have the American craft beer scene. Too many with too much hops. Malt anyone???? FORBIDDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ask Budweiser, they have dropped grains altogether and use rice. It makes a wonderfully NOTHING beer taste. At least, they think, people buy it. No, not so much any more...........

With all of that, I have been trying more beers that have a lot of hops, just to expand my taste spectrum. Perhaps, I have been too "intolerant" and am a "hater" of hops. It couldnt be that I just prefer malts??? Nope, I am a "hater". A nod to the goofy, liberal, political, moronic thinking that captivates our local, state and fed govts.

So, I tried this Sam Adams ale. Why? Because Adams is known for their light editions of most beers. Like Bud, they appear to believe that making a beer that tastes like a beer is "bad". They prefer to water it down so that any taste is gone. I figured, I may as well try a watered down version, rather than a HOPFEST of a beer that floors me with its bitterness.

This beer had a decent aroma. Its color was beer-like. Its taste was like lemon furniture polish. Sorry, that is a bit strong, but the subtle- yet distinct- lemon taste reminded me, CLEARLY, of what polish smells like. Other than that? It wasnt too bad. I forgot it is a wheat ale. It tastes almost like nothing. I usually do not like wheat, but this one tasted like nothing. No real wheat aroma, taste or aftertaste. Tip your hat to BUD, Samuel, you have arrived at the "do not offend customers with taste" zone. Bland, tasteless and water like - that is the goal???

I will not buy this again.

 1,827 characters

Photo of ebraun
3.95/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was pretty excited to see a Sam Adams Belgian Wit style brew. As other reviewers have noted this just doesn't get the job done for that. I really have no idea what 'grains of paradise' are and I don't really detect any spice in this beer to speak of. Nevertheless, it's a very enjoyable easy-drinker. Enough hoppiness to give it a good dry finish. There is a certain amount of sweetness from the wheat and a soft, persistent head and lace to the bottom of the glass. I found it quite tasty, probably great with barbecue or mexican food.... it's just not really what I was hoping for in a Belgian Wit style.

 615 characters

Photo of xtremejammn
4.36/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hands down my favorite Sam Adams so far hands down.

A: Pours a light brown with a remarkably long lasting head,

S: Very strong wheat smell, smell is also very hoppy, with a hint of yeast.

T: A very citrus-ish beer, I get a sense of orange spice and lemony taste.

M: Perfect, not too bubbly although it packs a punch, makes it very smooth to drink.

D: Very smooth, not too bubbly, finishes pretty well.

Bottom Line: I'd highly reccomend this to anyone, a very well done ale and gets my two thumbs way up. ta ta

 543 characters

Photo of humuluslupulus8
3.76/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The Summer Ale was a cloudy honey color. There was a thick white head on top that lasted for a long time.

S: The smell was good but not that interesting- an equal amount of malt and piney hops.

T: The taste was an improvement from the aroma. The sweetness and bitterness were well balanced, and I could taste the lemon peel. The citrus flavor was in the background, and I think that was a good choice. There was a faint spiciness to the beer that might have been the grains of paradise, but I don't know what that spice tastes like and couldn't identify it.

M: The beer had a creamy head and light/medium thickness in the body. The mouthfeel was just right for the style and flavor of the beer.

O: Overall, I really liked this beer. I wouldn't treat Summer Ale as a special beer to drink when celebrating something, but it tastes good and is easy to drink. This is an excellent beer to drink during hot summers.

 918 characters

Photo of uhhhaaron
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

consumed 04-21-2010, 12oz bottle into weizen glass.

Poured very pale hazy light golden color. 1 finger head quickly goes down to thin film

Smell: zesty, grainy, lemon, pepper... Fresh smell but had a metallic smell I didn't like..

Tastes is also very fresh and quenching.. Lemon zest, citrus tone to it.. pepper, wheat, grain & a hint of yeast... Light bodied with little carbonation.. Leaves a lemon/pepper note on palate.. Very clean beer, just a little heavy on the pepper.

Very drinkable & good for summer.

 514 characters

Photo of tkepx182
3.1/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The feel of this beer on my pallet was not as pleasant as most of the beers I have tried from Samuel Adams. I was rather disappointed actually, I expected more. The aroma smelled like most standard wheat beers. In my opinion, this beer was mediocre at best.

 257 characters

Photo of Alestorm4069
5/5  rDev +48.4%

I really enjoyed this one. Ever since i was 18, i was like, when i drink, i want to try SA summer ale. I did on my 21st birthday. Not gonna go into lacing or anything of the sort as i don't really know how to review in that way. I drank this ale straight from the bottle. Has some hoppy and citrusy flavor. medium/ light body. Great for what its meant to be. A beer for the summer. All i know is when i worked unloading trucks, on the weekend, and going to the lake, having these was so refreshing and its just a great easy drinking ale. I rate it a 5 out of 5. Considering this was my first beer, it will always be special to me.

 632 characters

Photo of Cure_Tap
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I always hear craft beer enthusiasts shit on this (and other Samuel Adams products), but this really isn't the "terrible" summer beer that people make it out to be. Like all beers, it's way better if you can get it on tap, but it's still a solid brew in the bottle. Nice wheat backbone, a good punch of sweet lemon, a little bit of spice on the way down, and it mellows out to a very mildly bitter wheat aftertaste. Super drinkable and refreshing. It's not going to have the flavor complexity of a double IPA or a stout, but if you go into all beers expecting that, you're going to be constantly disappointed, and you're going to be pigeonholing yourself into only drinking stronger beers. Different beers for different jobs. Great on a hot summer day.

 752 characters

Photo of powoo19
4.47/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. It has a lightly citrus smell and light appearence for Sams. The taste is outstanding and the aftertaste is good. It pours nicely with a light head. The hint of citrus is just enough to give that summer feel and not take away from the beer itself. Good job!
Happy Drinking!

 286 characters

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

I've had this brew the past couple years and always enjoyed it. It showed up in a pint glass with a small head that faded into a bit of lacing pretty quick. The beer is a hazy light gold that is semitransparent.

The aroma is a little spicey with hints of citrus Great wheat taste punctionated with lemon zest and earthy tones.

This does and excellent session on those hot summer nights where you want something to quench your thirst.

 441 characters

Photo of GrinkoN
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L: Foggy orangish, very thin head,

S: Malty, citrus (lemon), some wheat

T/F: Get the lemon here, sweet with a little bitter at the back end. Mid to light bodied feel, meh.

O: It is a decent summer beer, not Sammy Adams best but good.

 237 characters

Photo of mclanem
4.54/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear golden beer very light white froathy head

Smell: This beer smells great, has the smell of a white ale. very floral and clean, hops and caramel

Taste: Great clean white ale taste good hop flavor floral like the smell.

Mouthfeel: This beer has good carbonation, not thick but is refreshing just like a summer ale should be

Drinkablity: this beer is very drinkable perfect in the heat, I love this beer like all sam adams

 449 characters

Photo of Alexmc2
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a hazy golden without much of a head to speak of, perhaps the pourer's mistake. The smell is of citrus and wheat beer, a delicious combination. The beer is fairly balanced, but I couldn't have more than say, two before the lemon taste started to get to me. A great offering from the Boston Beer Company, and one I'll have on any hot day.

 353 characters

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

This pours a hazy gold color, which is to be expected from a wheat beer.

About average carbonation.

I don't detect anything in the smell of this one. Just smells like a nice balanced beer to me...

Taste is where it's at. It's wheat up front. The middle is a crisp clean spice taste; I can't describe it, but it's probably the Grains of Paradise. The fade is lemon.

The finish is crisp and clean. This would be a great beer to quench your thirst after mowing the lawn.

 471 characters

Photo of redfire89
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Bright golden color, lots of carbonation
S- Lemony hops and other citrus characteristics
T- Light lemony flavor with wheat taste
M- Very clean and crisp
O- This a very good summer ale, it' s refreshing like a summer ale should be. Much better than coastal wheat.

 265 characters

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

A- Drank out of a bottle so didn't get a nice look at the colors.

S- A very zesty lemon like aroma. Also had a strong wheat smell. Citrusy and enticing.

T- Tasted alot like it smelled which was nice. Good wheat flavor and good citrus summer taste. A hint of lemon or orange. However did have an almost chalky like taste left in the mouth.

M- Most impressive part of the beer as far as I am concerned. Very smooth onto tounge, with a nice carbonation level that doesn't turn it into complete foam when swished around, but also enough to not seem flat or dull. Swallows very easy and smooth dispite the chalk tasting residue leftover.

D- One or two would be alright. Whatever that taste/feel I am calling chalky is leaves me feeling that it is not up to par with other summer beers. However I have heard it is better on tap so I will give it another chance.

 859 characters

Photo of rickzim1
4.12/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is definitely a great beer for summer. It has a light, slightly citrus taste. Head is insignificant, carbonation is vigorous and AVB is just right for summer activities.

 174 characters

Photo of thefireman
2.85/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured nicely enough with a nice white head that quickly vanished. Real lemon smell with a little hops thrown in. Taste was not bad, but could only smell lemon, or something like it. Not a session beer, but good once in a while. Not worth what they charge.

 256 characters

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

It's summer and I've enjoued a few of these already this year, so I figured an offical review was appropriate before summer's end.

a - pours a translucent, peachy amber with a rich, golden head

s - unmistakeable citrus zest with a slight floral bouquet

t - excellent blend of hops and earthy spices with a mildly tangy finish

m - medium carbonation and medium bodied

d - very easy beer to enjoy, one after another, outside on a warm summer evening

I poured a cold bottle into a tall, cyclindrical glass for this tasting. This seasonal brew is a fine summer compliment to the other Sam Adams offerings. I need to research this "grain of paradise" in more depth!

 666 characters

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

I tried this around the same time as Honey moon summer ale and i feel about the same as i did with that beer.

I was expecting this to be very refreshing and more unique than other beer. i felt it did ok in both those areas but it could have been better. It certainly wasn't a bad beer at all, it had good flavor and i liked the subtle differences it had but in the end i wish it would have maintained the drinkability but had more flavor like i later found boston lager to have. I think i would try it again one day, but so far i would reach for something else before i went for this again on a warm summer night

 613 characters

Photo of sluggermatt15
3.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a darker yellow color with an orangish tint. About a 2 finger head with some white lacing that dissipates after several minutes following the pour. Average in my opinion.

S- Smells of wheat, sweet spices, and citrus fruits.

T- Tastes of wheats, lemon, and some spices. The lemon taste is apparent, making the beer have some sweetness to it. No bitterness here and you don't really taste the alcohol until about the end.

M- Some carbonation, but not a ton. I was pleased.

D- This beer is rather drinkable in my opinion. I would probably have about 3 in one sitting. Easy to drink it down because of the lack of a ton of carbonation and bitterness to it.

I really enjoyed this one from SA. I tend to like their seasonal brews and I was able to appreciate this one too. There's a reason they brew this one during the summer. It pairs well with a hot summer night. This was also the first beer I had on my 21st birthday, so it will be remembered. I would pick this one up again, even now that summer is relatively close.

 1,031 characters

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.

 381 characters

Photo of davecavemaster
3.45/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours with a pillowy, large bubble, white colored head. The foam slides up and down the glass as you drink, almost no lacing at all. The color of the beer is best described as a semi-opaque/yellow straw, with a touch of orange.

For a nose expect a bit of citrus, and a bit a malt. Somewhat of a spicy orange smell.

The taste starts with the citrus flavors, and then gives way to the spice on the end. This is a wheat beer, so you defiantly get the wheat feel and somewhat of a yeast taste.

The mouthfeel is very thin, and somewhat disappointing for this brewery. Slight carbonation, and a crisp citrusy finish.

Of all the seasonal beers that Sam Adams produces, this is certainly my least favorite. This brew is better than most of the gimmicky seasonals that you will find on the shelf of your local supermarket, but certainly at the bottom end of what the Samuel Adams brewery puts out. Not a bad beer, but not something that I will go out of my way to find, or even order in a bar.

 997 characters

Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.37 out of 5 based on 5,433 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
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!