Saranac India Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

548 Reviews
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Saranac India Pale AleSaranac India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

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Reviews: 548 | Ratings: 937
Photo of tjd112
1.79/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Got this in an Adirondack Trail Mix sixer. Pours a gold appearing body. There just isn't much hops in both the smell and the taste, the mouthfeel is crisp but this is the only really redeeming quality of the beer. It's not that drinkable a brew, I guess you get what you pay for.

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Photo of beerislove
1.9/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle received as part of the winter seasonal 12 pack.

The beer was a light gold color that had me double-take to the bottle to make sure that I had actually opened the IPA. The head was thin and quickly faded with very little of the oily lacing that I love in IPAs. The smell was equally weak like the color with a very faint hop aroma and no noticeable malt presence.

After failing the appearance and smell tests, the taste lived up to my newly reduced expecttions. There is very little hop bite, no malt flavors, and any initial tastes that are expected in an IPA fade immediately to an unpleasant finish. The carbonation and thickness of the beer seem to be in the ballpark of an IPA, but that is about the only "compliment" I can find.

I drank a third of the pint and gave up as additional sips showed no improvement. This beer is a drain pour.

For a brand like Saranac that is making a name for itself and trying to strengthen its reputation, I really expected a bedrock beer like an IPA to be above average. Utterly dissappointing.

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Photo of marvin213
1.91/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

As described on the bottleneck, the beer appears a golden straw color. Its head froths to 2mm thick at the pour, and then dissipates to thin, partial coverage. Not too bad, but nothing all that impressive.

A "generous" amount of cascade hops and I can't enjoy the smell? It doesn't stink or anything, but I really feel like all these Saranac/Matt Brewing Company beers smell and taste nearly the same. It's got some sorta wierd, bark-like odor that I smell in all these beers. Bark's my best guess but--whatever it is--it ain't that good.

I bought this beer in a mixed-six at Food Lion. Aside from maybe Longhammer, it's like the only IPA in that store. It has a peculiar, sour, acrid taste to it that is just short of awful. I acknowledge that this brewery offered some variety long before the craft beer explosion, but I can't give a whole lot of credit to longevity. There's a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste, but I consistently get sour vibes. I know it's not a bad beer issue because I detect this thru the whole Saranac line. Why review a beer I know I don't like? Hadn't had it in a while, saw IPA at the Food Lion, and wanted to give it another shot. Now I'll just have documented my thoughts on this beer.

The mouthfeel is tolerable. Juxtaposed against that sour bark is a bitterness that isn't pleasant. When I like beers like Ruination, why don't I like this type of bitterness? Where I usually experience malt backbone, I feel almost like I've got liquid bark in my mouth.

Drinkability is poor. I'll finish it just outta principle, so it's not so bad I'm going to pour it down the drain. As I contemplate the appropriate context to enjoy this one, I'm honestly at a loss. In every potential environment I can conjure in my head, there are far better beers to enjoy.

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Photo of sstackho
2/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle. Pours a light straw with quite a bit of carbonation. Light hoppy aroma. First taste is sparkly and crisp. There's some flavour in there, but not really a lot of hops. A slightly unpleasant aftertaste doesn't stick around for very long. I can't say a had a lot of hope based on my memory of some Saranac beers many moons ago, but this is one still falls below expectations.

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Photo of bashiba
2.01/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a bright macro yellow with a thick and creamy off white head.

The smell was thin and light, where are all these hops the label was talking about?

The taste is watery and thin, once again I ask "Where are the Hops?" Only a slight bit of juniper poking through at the end. One of thinnest and most boring IPA's I have ever had.

The mouthfeel is light and creamy.

In contrary to the bottle claiming this is a hop lovers delight, all hop heads steer clear of this bland offering.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.05/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottled poured into a La Chouffe tulip.

See-thru amber/gold body with a fluffy and frothy off-white head that leaves sticky lacing from the top edge of the glass. Nice retention.

Smells... uh oh, could have another "east coast" IPA here. Giving the benefit of the doubt, it could be an older bottle (no freshness dating). A bit metallic, a bit nutty, a touch of saltwater taffy(?). Mild citrusy notes if you go looking for them.

Flavor is similarly disappointing. Moderate metallic bitterness, a bit leafy, a bit nutty, a bit bready (like day-old bread, kinda stale). Cardboard? Some mild apple sweetness. Moderate carbonation. Just not a very enjoyable beer.

Overall impression: A treat for the eyes, but that's it. Not recommended. I'll certainly give it another shot and re-review if I find it on tap and can be guaranteed of freshness.

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Photo of kernalklink
2.08/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This brew poured nicely enough- looks like an IPA, and its printed on the bottle- nice try. Im not really understanding saranac on this one. Aromas were slightly sweet in their malt character but the hops- WTF? an odd phenolic nastiness which i was hoping would change on the first few sips did not go away- not sure what kind of hops were used on in this brew- strong, astringent bitters almost medicinal but not in a good way. Either this was contaminated by some crazy yeasts, cleaners or some unfiltered water- who knows. Ugliness. Nothing more to say.

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Photo of nlmartin
2.08/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer looked alright in the glass. The beer was golden colored with ruby highlights. The head was just briefly there and then gone. A small ring of foam surounds the top of the beer.

Smell: Smells slightly of spicey hoppyness. No sweetness or maltyness noted.

Taste: Very little hops and no spicyness or maltyness to be found. Leaves a biter back taste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: The beer has a nice creamyness but the back taste is terrible. This beer is out of wack. There is not enough hoppyness or maltyness.

Drinkability: This was almost a drain pour.

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Photo of KevinB
2.12/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation:Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Chilled Conical.
Appearance: .The Beer looks nice, vivid, rich golden amber color, thick creamy white head, the head retains for a bit then dissipates after several minutes. Nice lacing, hangs on the sides of the glass through out.
Smell: kinda musty smelling, strong hops, hint of malt
Taste: musty, very hoppy, earthy, piney
Mouthfeel: dry, makes me more thirsty
Drinkability: one beer is fine couldn't imagine ordering another.

I was expecting more, didn't taste like an IPA, looked nice, smelled ok, but left me shaking my head. It's a shame cause the body of the beer is nice,very solid, has all the elements, but really comes up short on the taste and feel.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.14/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Golden, straw color with a thin white head that leaves fair lace and retention. Neck label states "a hop lovers delight." I feel like they built me up just to knock me down.

Aroma is prickly grapefruit hop spice. White grape fruit juice and an odd sugary undertone--brownies, canned pumpkin pie filling?

Fuzzy agave hop oil and thin, burnt juice-like malt. Hops come through primarily as a light oil with a meek bitter hiccup in back--these hops should be ashamed of themselves. Very light body and submissive malt bill -- there's a pond water element at work here and I don't like it. No sir, I don't like it at all.

Weak hops and weak malt does not an IPA make. I checked the Saranac website for the ingredients and they are only two: cascade and American 2-row. I like a simple beer but c'mon man, if you're not gonna try brewing I'm not gonna try drinking. Don't often see a 12oz. drainpour from me but this one had it comin'.

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Photo of klewis
2.14/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours a dark straw color with a foamy one-finger head. Leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Not much smell... a bit of grass and hops is all I can detect.

T: Weak. Dump some hops in a glass of water and you'll get this. A strange lemony sourness in the finish.

M: Light bodied, but good carbonation.

D: Don't waste your money. Fortunately, I got this as a "gift", so I didn't. This might work as a good introductory IPA for BMC junkies.

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Photo of Kooz
2.17/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into Sam Adams special pint glass.

Nice foamy head that stays around and leaves a sticky lacing on the glass. Not straw colored as the bottle says, but a very light orange-brown. Slightly cloudy. Nice.

Smells only of hops. I get nothing else. Very one-note.

Tastes like chewing a mouthful of hops. I don't taste anything else. Disappointing. Not a huge IPA fan, but I expect some complexity.

Like most Saranac beers, this falls short on mouthfeel, but it's a bit better than some of the others.

I wouldn't drink this if I didn't already have it in my fridge.

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Photo of BWED
2.18/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

12 oz. bottle into craft pint

A- Crystal clear, dark honey body, 3/4" dense off white head. Little bits of lacing.

S- Strong pale malt nose, with relatively no hops, Agitation brings up a little citrus.

T- Pale malt, with a dull bitterness lingering. Pretty poor flavor.

M- Fairly light, hardly any carbonation.

O- Not an IPA, nor a very good beer at that.

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Photo of Dewey0603
2.2/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This pours a golden straw color,it looks like a lager, with a small head that disapears quickly.This really doesn't smell very hoppy,more like cooked vegatables.Saranac has made an IPA that hardly has any hops.This is pretty poor.Almost every other IPA I've tried is better than this.The m/f is weak and watery.I really don't want to bash this brewer,but I haven't had one good beer from Saranac.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.21/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Auburn, yellow, gold colors, white head, not bad appearance, looks the part. Aroma was clearly lacking the hop character you want in an ipa. Smelled like a bland beer.

Taste, more blandness from Saranac, which is actually a step up for them, since its usually horrible. This one is drinkable, but its also a far cry from what an ipa should be these days. Bitterness sure, hop mouthfeel, no. Dry hopping, no. Minimal sweet malt aspect. This might as well be a high end mass produced lager, because that's the closest thing I could compare it to. Easy drinking, some bitterness, and that's about it. Not horrible, but not adventurous, and not even an average ipa. Not even an average east coast or uk ipa.

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Photo of Kremlock
2.21/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

For the record, the bottle only read IPA and not India Pale Ale as the picture above shows. Same beer though.

A: Orangy straw colour. Pours a nice 1/4 inch head that then falls to a film and laces the glace. Head retention is very short.

S: I detected a rubbing alcohol smell when taking a deep smell. Some cascade in the background (citrus)

T: Again, alcohol is strongly detected, some malt flavours present and strong bitterness.

M: medium body feel, carbonation is a bit on the higher side for me and it does distract from the flavours.

O: Not a beer I would want again. The alcohol is present in the smell and taste. The bitterness is not pleasant and the carbonation distracts from the experience.

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Photo of JMBSH
2.23/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A hard pour gave me a good size head over the golden colored liquid. The head gave off that nice hoopy scent that one looks forward to. The taste though didn't seem to match the smell. Very light for what I expect for a hoppy beer such as an IPA. The most noticible thing is a very strong resin aftertaste that lingers a long time. By the time my glass get almost finished, all I can taste is this piney coating that does not taste that great to me. Not a beer I would try again.

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Photo of Jwaks
2.27/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Serving 12oz bottle

Pours a translucent dull orange with a finger's worth of bone white, quickly dissapating foam composted of fine bubbles. There is a notable dearth of retained head and carbonation in this beer. Lacing is poor and almost non-existant.

Scent is moderate floral hop bitters, a smaller share of buttery phenols and light malts.

Initial flavors of light malts, sweet floral hops degenerate to awful harsh bitters with austere dry, acidic and astringent notes. Thankfully the finish short yet full of acid. Not a pleasant experience nor a great ipa.

Mouthfeel is thin and unimpressive. Lack of hop fruits to balance the harsh bitters and acid make this beer difficult to put down.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.3/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appears copper gold with an off white cream colored head leaving scattered lacing with each sip emptied from pint. Aromatics this beer seems standard piney hops simmered in caramelized sugar is what I am getting here, cascades aren't as upfront as I would like. Flavor is one rush of bittering hops with no malt balance exists making this beer hard to swallow and rough on the palate. Saranac IPA isn't in your face for the style it's just not good, so with a thin mouthfeel and no body hand me a real IPA. Drinkability suffers due to the one dimensional flavor profile and lack of texture in the body of this beer, disappointed in this beer from the Saranac lineup.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.3/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Got this at Bert's Bierhuis in Utrecht.

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a big fluffy 2+ finger medium-thick white head with great retention. Color is rust reddish brown or mahogany with lots of carbonation in the form of small bubbles. A solid film cap stays 'til the end and leaves some great lacing down the sides. Good looking beer.

SMELL: Some toasted malt and pine notes. Grapefruit hops show up and so do some faint yeasty spice notes in the back. Pleasant, but far too mild for an IPA.

TASTE: Just doesn't quite deliver. Some toasted malt with soft touches of grapefruit, citrus fruits and floral elements. Some slightly spicy and yeasty notes with a touch of hop bitterness at the end. Well balanced to be sure, but just too weak to really be interesting. The mild and short aftertaste is easily forgettable.

PALATE: Medium body with medium carbonation. Very creamy and silky, which was nice, and it goes down smooth with a slight bite at the end. Crisp and slightly dry finish on the palate. Decent showing.

OVERALL: The beer looked great in the glass, but that's about as far as it went. It certainly wasn't offensive, but I certainly wasn't looking forward to the next sip. It was anything but interesting enough to keep me intrigued. I'd say this one is more of a APA, and not a bad one at that, but with all the great IPA's out there, this one just doesn't measure up. Re-name it Saranac Pale Ale and you might have something.

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Photo of ragnarsword
2.31/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a fine beer, but a poor example of an IPA. I expect an IPA to have a great, floral, even piney smell to it. This one has a very dull floral smell to it that finishes almost sweet. The taste isn't any better. An IPA should be very hoppy, preferably well balanced, but hoppy nonetheless. This is not so with Saranac IPA. Again, the best I can say is that it is dull and lacking. There is no bite to this beer. The carbonation is quite low and the hops that add the bitterness I want from an IPA is lacking. I think the maltiness is too apparent and left a lingering taste in my mouth that wasn't unpleasing, but not great either. Overall, I would say this would make a better amber ale, not a good one, but closer to an amber in taste than an IPA.

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Photo of LPorter33
2.35/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from the Holiday 12 pack.

This is a pretty disappointing and below average IPA that reminds me of the Alexander Keith's that I recently tried. It's just weak and flavorless, like they're trying to create an IPA that will appeal to macro drinkers. Everythign is toned down and watery, the hops just don't make a strong enough presence and the malty aftertaste is too similar to a cheap macro lager. This is not a good example of the style and not one I recommend.

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Photo of TriggerFingers
2.35/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ok, before I watched the Saranac video on their website I totally thought this was an English IPA. Don't get me wrong, I mean it has a nice malt character, no citrus, no dank--tastes like an American rendition of an English IPA. If thats what you are going for, then its not bad at all. Kind of like Bass on steroids.

But American IPA? Really? The old guys in the video are talking about Cascade hops like they are some new discovery? Really? Born and raised in Nor-Cal, I was weaned on Sierra Nevada and this tastes nothing like what you would expect from an American IPA. That being said for an English IPA, its in the top 2/3 and a fair attempt. For an American IPA, or even a West Coast rendition, this is severely lacking. Beers like this make me glad I am a homebrewer.

Last Words: Now you know

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Photo of kingcrowing
2.36/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

Pours a Dark am er with almost no head at all. Nose is very light, a bit malty but no hops or anything fruity...

Taste us also super bland, a bit malty but no real hop flavors, mouthfeel is light and a bit sticky. It's really dissapointing and bland.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.36/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a one-fingered white head that fades quickly but leaves a good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Floral nose. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Starts and finishes hoppy with a bitter, lingering after taste another typical IPA. 12oz bottle in 12 pak $9.99 Market Basket Concord, NH.

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Saranac India Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.32 out of 5 based on 937 ratings.
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