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

BA SCORE
77
okay
1,656 Reviews
THE BROS
78
okay
Read the review
Samuel Adams Summer AleSamuel Adams Summer Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
samueladams.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,656
Ratings:
5,445
Avg:
3.37
pDev:
16.02%
 
 
Wants:
70
Gots:
1,272
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,656 | Ratings: 5,445
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.

 1,212 characters

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

Review from notes.

A: Poured a golden/yellow color, not perfectly clear, but not hazy either. A foamy, one finger head formed on top with moderate retention and wisps of lacing down the glass.

S: A good bit of lemon and lemon peel, light spices, and a hint of hops. Slight windex aroma.

T: The lemon comes through on the flavor profile with a heavy hand of wheat and just a touch of spice. A little bit of beady malt comes in on the backend.

M: Light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Crisp and light, fitting for a summer beer.

O: Its ok, not bad, but I am not really a fan of it. Not bad on a hot day outside, which is where I had this one, but plenty of other beer out there I would prefer.

 718 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just finished polishing this one off at the inlaws tonight. I actually was suprised I had never tried this one in all of my tastings so when I saw it in the fridge I went for it. The pour was nice with a rich golden yellow coming forward right away. A nice tswo inch high head of white foam then rose over the top and settled down to a thin crown that covered the sides and the top. A nice side glass presentation and copious carbonation rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma was rather bland. Just the slightest hint of lemon on top of bready malts. Some light grain as well. The flavor was more of the same, with nothing really standing out to me. A nice light body with ample carbonation and a low abv amde it totally sessionable, but the light grain, and a kiss of citrus in the flavor just really did not do it for me.

Overall it was not terrible and i have had much worse, I just thought it was far too libght and really just a touch too bland for my tastes. A nice beer for tailgating through and in the more popular establishments, if this was all that was on tap, you could do far worse.

 1,110 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.89/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent honey color with 2+ fingers of ivory colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Grassy & lemon zest up front
& coriander

T: Follows the nose,, you get grains of paradise also & white pepper, slight white grape juice up front. Grainy & lemony notes plus all the spiceyness mentioned earlier as this warms. Grains of paradise really show in the finish, very crisp & peppery

Medium bodied & crisp

Presented well for the style, very drinkable

 473 characters

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

Pours cloudy; light amber. Thin head, decent lace

The smell is almost non-existent--too mild to evaluate well. I detect some wheat, little else.

A classic wheat beer taste. Some sourness and nice spice. Tight carbonation, moderate body.

Any easily quaffable brew. Think front porch, watching thirsty people walking by--here's the beer for that.

 353 characters

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.

 586 characters

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

A: The pour is a golden-yellow color with perhaps just a touch of haze to it and a fluffy white head.

S: A strong citrus aroma to the beer is immediately noticeable. The lemon zest shines through and there is maybe a light spice character as well.

T: The wheat provides some nice sweet flavors which goes along nicely with the lemon zest quality. Again, a hint of spice to go along with a mild breadiness.

M: The body is light, which you would expect from a summer beer with a moderate carbonation and a crisp finish.

D: A real easy drinking beer that does work quite well for the warm weather. I wouldn't mind having one of these on a hot day outside.

 656 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

I wanted the Latitude 48, so I had to get the whole Summer Styles box. Oh well, I guess I'll suck it up and drink the extraneous bottles. Tee hee. This one pours a clear pale golden straw topped by a half-finger of white micro-foam. The nose comprises lemon zest and a very light bit o' wheat. Uncomplicated, yet still pretty nice. The taste holds quite a bit of cardamom, along with a bit o' coriander and some light grains. Too much spicy flavors, not enough of the grains. Something like that. The body is light, with with moderate carbonation and a crisp, refreshing finish. Overall, a decent lemonade-style brew, but nothing great.

 679 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.16/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 09/11/10 notes.

a - Pours a nice golden color with an inch of white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of lemon, citrus, wheat, and bready malts.

t - Tastes of wheat, bready malts, and lemon/citrus.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent, easy to drink beer by Sam Adams. Not my favorite seasonal from them, but a decent beer to get when out to eat. Would never seek out but will drink again at some point.

 451 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.14/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It looks like either Jim Koch heard me or I won over their brewer during Philly Beer Week 2013! Jim Koch swore that he was not going to put his beers into CANs until he was totally satisfied with their design. In the meantime, their brewer, whose name I forget, (with his shaved head and bushy beard, he was the face of the company for a while), came to Philly for a luncheon at City Tap House. I knew the answer to so many of his questions for us and he was impressed by Bro. Woody and he picked up my tab, although I offered to pay if he would get his boss to start CANning their beers. Such is a day in the life of The CANQuest (TM)!

From the CAN: "Proudly Brewed By The Boston Beer Company"; "Seasonal Brew"; "Wheat Ale Brewed with Lemon Peel & Grains of Paradise"

They know their business since the loud Crack! revealed a brimful CAN. I raised a toast in return to Mr. Adams, clearly depicted toasting me, then hoisted the sails and the CAN in an inverted Glug. I recommend against inverting your sailboat. I got two fingers of dense, rocky, bone-white head with good retention for my troubles. Color was a slightly hazy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4-5). Nose had a prevalent lemon peel/citrus smell with an underlying light pepperiness. Mouthfeel was medium. This beer was like a lemon tart or a slice of lemon meringue pie! It was lemony, but kind of sweet at the same time. No ABV was shown, but I could definitely see putting this in the cooler for the people who are not into bitter AIPAs or light, tasteless AALs. Finish had a slight pepperiness that made it semi-sweet overall. I liked the way that the spiciness seemed to linger and tickle my tongue well after the swallow.

My previous, bottle review follows:

CAN't I please get a CAN in somewhere?!? I know that I have strayed, bottle be good in the future.

From the bottle: "Brewed with Lemon Peel and Grains of Paradise, Samuel Adams' Summer Ale is a classic American Wheat Ale. Refreshing and citrusy, with just a hint of spice on the finish. [Undersigned] - Jim Koch".

The pour netted a finger of rocky, off-white head that was burbling and bubbling its way out of existence pretty quickly. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy golden yellow, suggesting that they did not filter the life out of it like that extra clear Blue Moon Summer wack nonsense. Nose was initially lemon citrusy, but then I got a real whiff of those Grains of Paradise and I felt like I had inhaled black pepper. Zounds! Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but close. This tasted really good, especially after those last two Summer losers, with an initial lemon citrusiness that quickly got out of the way for those Grains of Paradise, which filled my sinuses like there was room or I wanted them there. I kid you not, I was so close to a sneezing fit that it was not funny! Finish was pleasantly dry and I would highly recommend it were it not for the fact that it is not in a CAN and bottles are frowned upon at many summer destinations.

 2,989 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.76/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On draft at The Upper Crust in D.C.

The beer is mostly clear and appears golden yellow in color. The head is minimal, thanks to a most generous pour from a gracious bartender. The aroma is weak, with some hints of lemon. The flavor is akin to Lemon Pledge...not digging it. The beer tastes of artificial additives. The back half is just too odd and artificial for me to enjoy. Not a repeat for me.

 398 characters

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

Appearance- Nice hazy orange-golden color. Strong, moderately thick head.

Smell- Wheat smell with strong citrus overtones.

Taste- About what you'd expect from this beer. Typical wheat taste with highly noticeable citrus presence.

Drinkability- Not a bad brew. I could drink it again, but I probably don't like it enough to go out of my way and buy it again. There are better wheats out there.

Note- This is a fairly mediocre beer by Samuel Adam's standards. Their similiarly styled White Ale is better than this.

 525 characters

Photo of stakem
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle with a brewery freshness month of August into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Summer Ale appears a light golden yellow color with a slight touch of haze and a thin white cap of head supported by constantly rising bubbles of carbonation. A spotty amount of lace clings to the glassware. The aroma is filled with a lemony scent on top of wheat and spices. Taste is pretty much dominated by wheat with an upfront flavor of lemon and a bit of spice and pepper on the backend. Light feel with a very lively amount of carbonation. Overall a pretty decent warm weather wheat beer. As it warms, there is a change in the flavor and the lemon flavor starts to get to me. The lemon character seems out of wack and doesn't really mesh well with the rest of the flavor of the beer. It's a good lawnmower beer to drink on a hot day but to sit down and enjoy it I am having a hard time getting through just one.

When I had this before, I distinctly remember the character of the grains of paradise being totally dominating in both the flavor and aroma. The lemon character was slim to none but it was there. I don't know if that was from a previous recipe or maybe that has to do with the freshness. Regardless it was an interesting example of the style.

 1,261 characters

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

This beer pours with an orangish golden tone with a nice frothing orangish white head that left me relatively quickly. Another sorry attempt for Sam Adams to make a classic style, it's not horrible it's just Sammed out. Has the same background flavors as many of their beers, which I am not crazy about. The aroma is full of the lemon zest aroma that is nice but the beer shouldn't just have the bitter taste of lemon zest. It cancels out the pleasure of the smell when you taste the bitter offness of the lemon zest. Overall not very drinkable or enjoyable for me. I don't consider this a true witte bit if I did it would be on the bottom of the wittes I have tried. Will not go for this one again.

 699 characters

Photo of vfgccp
2.2/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Blind taste test.

A – Pale side of yellow. White head holds up with about average retention and leaves a low lace.

S – Damp wheat with a musky overtone. Sprits of lemon on the backend.

T – Harsh, moldy bitter note. Very herbal with cilantro and sage characteristics. Pepper finish with sharp lime acidity.

M – Medium light body. Ok carbonation. Semi-dry, but astringently herbal finish.

O – Oppressive herbal note comes off almost like cleaning fluid. If the not was toned down to about 70% of it’s current intensity I think it’d be a much better beer.

 571 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.36/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep golden straw color with a smallish white head that quickly dissipates to a cap. Spicy aroma that smells of lemon, pepper, and sweet malts. Taste is sweet with honey like malts, lemon and pepper and that spicy wheat taste. Moderate level of carbonation, medium body, slick sweet mouthfeel. Nice Summer ale if not a bit boring. Not bad but nothing I would regularly seek out.

 386 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a yellow gold with one finger of head that fades quickly. Nose is of lemon zest and straw from the wheat. Taste is lemon and wheat at first with a bitter finish. Mouthfeel is light and crisp; well carbonated and dry.

This has always been one of my favorite seasonals. It is sessionable and refreshing.

 347 characters

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

The Summer Ale by Sammy A is not one of my favorite....there are many other summer beers I would choose over this one. The appearance is a pale yellow with white head that laced nicely. The smell is dominated by lemon citrus. The taste leaned on the acidic side and was not overly refreshing to me. The mouthfeel is fine...if you like a tartness to your beer.

 359 characters

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

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass, good till Sept 2011 let's see how this continuing Sam Adams fest goes...

A very large foamy even tight foamy head is made off the pour but seems to fall rather quickly. Sits on a very bright yellow lemon gold body with just a hint of cloudyness. Looking ok if not a little lifeless.

Bouquet is bitter, a little tea like herb and dried orange peel. Slightly musty and dank. Strangely earthy and dirt soil sense. Seems odd for a Pale Wheat Ale. Not too bad kind of average going on so far.

Tastes is rather well.. non existent really. Everything seems toned down that it comes off as just a weak malt. No big bread, hop character, crispness, crackle, not even much spice that seems to come from the nose. IT's quite easy drinking I'll give it that. There's a muted orange on the finish but it's completely buried.

Overall really middle of the road beer for me here. Not getting much out of this one.

 949 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy, some-what cloudy gold. Almost like a witbier, but not quite. Above average, but something missing. The head was foamy, a bit thin, but it was fairly well-retained.
The smell was not bad, but a bit thin. Some hints of lemon, a touch of orange. I had to take deep breaths and swirl quite a bit to pick up on it.
The taste was not bad. Some citrus, especially lemon, with a bit of yeast background. It was refreshing. Virtually no aftertaste.
For a summer ale, it was thirst-quenching. It could be a good selection for a summer brew. I could drink this by the pool on a hot day.
There are better selections for a summer day, but if offered, I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

 691 characters

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

Appearance: hazy, pale orange color, clear yellow at bottom, with a lovely meringue-like, creamy white head, large & softly settling.
Aroma: delicate, with tingly spices, loads of citrus.
Taste: mild, smooth entry on the palate, but generous flavor, excellent wheat texture. Medium-bodied. All the parts, wheat, spice, (grains of paradise) & fruit (lemon zest) make a near-perfect blend. Certain aspects stand out from others from time to time, though, too lemony once, too thick another.
All in all, not a bad stab at the witbier style, a good interpretation from these guys, highly drinkable, nice job.

 607 characters

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

12 ounce bottle, with new graphics and purchase before dating notched onto label. Pours a nice cloudy honey color, white head, tiny bubble film, some lacing left behind. Flowery nose. herbal notes, yeast present. Some resiny hops in finish. Sort of non descript wheat/wit brew. Crowd pleaser for sure, on a hot summer day, but not really too interesting for a BA palate

 369 characters

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

Pours a hazy, gold color. 1/3 inch head of a white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of lemon, sweet malt, pale malt, hint of hop, grass, slight yeast, earthy malt, and a hint of pepper. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale malt, hint of sweet malt, strong wheat, hint of hop, hint of ginger, and slight lemon. Overall, average appearance, good aroma, and average body.

 427 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer served in a Sam Adam Noble Pils glass and I spent the evening wishing this was Noble Pils. Beer is yellow with a mild haze to it, some lacing on the glass. Moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is grainy and unpleasant, sorry Sam Adams, this does not make me want to drink this.

Beer is medium to light in body, nothing up front with a mild sweetness on the finish. There is a grainy aftertaste that really takes me out of the beer. I had 500 ml of this (why was this served in 500 ml glasses?) and that was more than enough. I'd have it again if it were the only beer at the party and my alcoholism needed to be fed, otherwise I'd pass.

 641 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- two finger head atop clear golden beer. Nice effevescence.

S- clean lemon scent

T- slight lemon. leaves a weird grainy aftertaste.

M- typical BBC carbonation/mouthfeel. Somewhat thin in the mouth.

D/O- not my favorite style but their are some GREAT examples (Gumballhead, A Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale) and this one doesn't even compare. Others may like this one (BMCers?) but I don't care for it much.

 406 characters

Samuel Adams Summer Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.37 out of 5 based on 5,445 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe