Saranac India Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

548 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 548 | Ratings: 938
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.38/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

really bitter ipa. smells and tastes the same, very citrus hop beer. i taste slight hints of lemon lime in here. its a bitter hop takeover to a point far beyond refreshment. i didnt like this one at all when i first had it years ago, but as i enjoy one right now i find my palate has evolved to appreciate it for what it is. mouthfeel is a little thin for all this flavor, but thats a good thing here i think. a good beer for bold foods as it can stand up to anything without filling you up. they put this one in most of their mix packs so its widely available. not bad, not amazing.

 583 characters

Photo of metter98
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured clear golden yellow in color with a finger sized white head that has good retention properties. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are aromas of citrusy and piney hops in the nose along with some notes of pale malts.
T: A light amount of bitterness from piney hops is present in the initial taste and finish, the overall taste has notes of pale malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and is quite sessionable given the low alcohol content.

 544 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
2.94/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought this as part of the Adirondack Trail mix pack ($11.99/12 pack)

A little disappointed by this one. Seems like it's lacking of hops taste which is evident by the low ABV for an IPA. Saranac makes some decent brews but I felt this one was subpart. Great aroma but the taste doesn't follow up.

 297 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.6/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this Saranac better than most from the variety pack. Though you won't brag about this one to your friends, it's a basic, nice brew. A moderate malt profile withdraws underneath the bittering and flavor of spicy American hops. The hop flavor shows light esters with a light boquet to the nose and taste. Lightly grassy and piney, yet remaining sweetly spicy. Moderate and bitter to the mouth with a hint of grain-husk astringency. Finishes bitter and dry with a light sweetness. Good, but I probably won't remember it in a week.

 537 characters

Photo of brentk56
2.96/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a modest head a some splashes of lacing

Smell: Sorry, but this smells soapy and grainy

Taste: Unfortunately, the soapy flavor shows up at the outset; after the swallow, the beer provides a grainy bitterness along with a perfumy quality that mixes with a resinous character but overwhelms the malt

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good carbonation

Drinkability: There are so many great IPAs out there it hardly makes sense to waste one's time with this one; the flavors are not well-balanced at all

 551 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.05/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a nice copper/amber color ale with a medium head with good retention. Aroma of bitter hops is clearly identifiable. Taste is comprised of well balance floral malt and bitter hops. Body is above average without being too full. I guess this is a middle of the road IPA that can be quite enjoyable with BBQ on summer.

 329 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out a golden/amber color with a white, 3-finger head. It left lacing.

S - Smells mainly of hops and grass.

T - The malt flavor is nicely complimented by a spicy/bitter hoppiness.

M - It is crisp and light-bodied.

D - This is a pretty good American IPA. Not as hoppy as some but still pretty good.

 310 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - One finger of white foam on top of a somewhat hazy, copper colored body. The head dissipates quickly and leaves nice lace.

S - A nice aroma of citrus and pine hops, balanced out by caramel malt and some toasted notes.

T - Moderate pine hops up front as well as a strong dose of thick, bready malt. Some notes of light caramel in the middle with more pine character. Finishes with darker toast and toffee notes as well as moderate, balancing bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - A well made and drinkable, if somewhat middle of the road, IPA. There is enough aroma and flavor character from the hops to clearly place this in the India spectrum of pale ales, while the malt is more than sufficient to balance. The hop character is a bit one dimensional, mostly pine with a hint of citrus, and the aroma could be a bit more pronounced. Overall, it is drinkable and a pretty decent beer for the price.

 953 characters

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear golden with a fluffy head that takes its time settling leaving a nice sheet of lace,mainly grapefruit/citrus in the aroma with a light tasted grain hint but its subdued.A pretty well balanced IPA some citruis and resin up front but a toasted malt flavor really comes thru in the finish to make this pretty well balanced.A pretty drinkable ale not complex and or big and bold but quaffable and I think a good session type brew.

 445 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden body that's topped by a creamy white head which holds fairly well before dropping to a creamy collar and thin surface covering. It leaves some nice "spider web" lace that's thin but still attractive. The aroma expresses bold Cascade hops and some underlying sweet and fruity (apple, pear) malt that cuts down its citrus side. It's almost sweet, and even quite floral as opposed to the tangy citrus that can sometimes be present when over-done. It's quite nice; soft and inviting. The body is medium light and combines with a fine/median carbonation to give a gentle crispness on the tongue. The flavor displays a nice combination of straight-forward sweetish malt and mildly citric hop flavor. Again, it's clearly not over-done. It's a touch soapy across the palate, as many of the Matt beers can be, and that lingers in the dry finish with some firm bitterness and citrusy/floral hop flavor.

 921 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.33/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

served in standard pint glass. Good carbonation.

A - typical IPA appearance. clear. 1+ finger head is short-lived but nice lacing left on glass as beer level drops.

S - hoppy, but less so than the average IPA

T - good citrusy hops flavor (Cascade). Perhaps a bit unflavorful for a current American IPA, but other otherwise flawless. Does lack much character or complexity.

O: very drinkable [3.75]. Very good IPA for price point.

 434 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.47/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color with a thin white head that fades very quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is weak and contains a decent amount of hops, but not a lot for the style. What makes the hops smell seem strong is the fact that there really isn’t much else to go along with it, just some caramelized malt and a faint touch of citrus.

T: The taste starts out with a tangy bitterness, but not the normal floral hops bitterness of most IPA’s. There’s a little bit of caramel and citrus sweetness that provide some balance, particularly as the beer warms. However, I found both the hops and malt characters to be kind of thin. After-taste is pale and grainy.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very dry.

D: I didn’t find it very tasty, which was the most contributing factor to it not being very easy to drink. It was exactly what I was expecting, which was a slightly hoppier version of their Pale Ale. I didn’t like that and I don’t like this either. It’s among the very worst that I’ve had in the style.

 1,163 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber with a handsome head. Creamy carbonation, on the sprightly side.

Malt is a bit wan, rather grainy. Aromas are resiny, taste has a touch of sweetness but tends toward the woody and ends with grapefruit peel.

Nice to taste a lower-alcohol and less obsessive IPA. It has a nice blast of hops that melts down to a pleasant fruity bitterness. More drinkable than some enthusiastically-hopped Pale Ales. I like the refreshing watery feel this has, as opposed to the often sticky bolder IPAs.

 508 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.23/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a deep copper body with an inch of fizzy, white head. Thin, half-formed layers of lacing on the way down.

Smell: Pale malt aroma with a note of grain husks and hints of citrus and pine needles.

Taste: Pale malts with a bit of graininess to it and a very slight caramel sweetness. A mix of pine and citrus hop flavors with a medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit basic, a bit under par within its style, but not out-and-out bad. Saranac seems to have a Saraknack for that.

 541 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bright tangerine with a barely visible cloud of tiny particulates suspended within. The large, creamy cap makes me think that Saranac IPA might be a quality offering. It sorta looks like one anyway. The lid is ecru in color and sports a surface of variously sized bubbles that are in no hurry to pop. I like what lace has been deposited so far.

The nose is disappointingly underpowered. I fully expected simplicity since pale malt and Cascade hops are the only two members of the malt bill and the hop bill respectively. However, I also expected more than a barely noticeable citric hoppiness. A stumble on the first turn.

If the truth were known, I really didn't anticipate that this would be a great version, no matter the appearance. I've simply had too much experience with Matt Brewing Company beer to have gotten my hopes up. The first thing that occurs to me is that the brewers nailed that whole bitterness thing, without paying much attention to that whole flavor thing.

IPA is acceptably malted with an underlying pale malty sweetness that still struggles to offset the deluge of alpha acids flowing its way. There can be no other conclusion than that this is what adding a boatload of hops to the kettle will get you... when the skill to make it work is missing.

White grapefruit pith and peel assaults my tongue with every sip. This beer is a perfect example of why bitterness for bitterness's sake is never a good idea. Saranac IPA is to a quality IPA what a child's cartoon drawing is to an artist's rendition. The mouthfeel is barely acceptable for the style. At least it achieves respectability, unlike the aroma and the flavor.

I actually wondered whether this would be my favorite Matt Brewing Company beer, given my love of hops in general and this style in particular. Nope, not even close. This is one case in which aging an IPA might be a good idea. It doesn't really matter though, since I won't be buying any more Saranac IPA in order to test that theory.

 1,994 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours bronze with a 2 fingers off white foamy head & effervesnce. Great lacing & okay head retention

S: Floral hops, but not much

T: Foral hops & fruittyness followed by a sligt grainyness. Finishes fruitty with floral & citrus hops

MF: Light/medium bodied, with good carbonation & okay balance

Drinks pretty easy, but just an okay IPA

 347 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.82/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very light in color--golden. Nice two finger head that leaves a pleasant lace on the the glass. Slight chill haze.

Beautiful hop bouquet in the smell with just enough malt to keep it complex.

Taste: First to mind--lemony. Lots of flavoring hops, lots of aroma hops, almost like the time I took a hop pellet and sucked on it. Even though I'm a hop head I miss the malt balance. The malt is subtle that one needs to seek out. I like the body--just about perfect. The hop stays with me long, long after the swallow.

Perhaps I'll have a Scotch ale to clear my palate.

 572 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a nice amber bronze with a huge billowing white head, great retention and a nicelace. Smell was lightly hopped with a very good malt back showing through. Taste was good, but forgettable, obvious hop tones but just too lightly done for me. Overall a very sessionable poolside beer, nothing to write home about.

 317 characters

Photo of Jason
3.44/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown longneck bottle with no freshness date, description of the beer and “American I.P.A.” stated on the label.

Appearance: Shimmering off white lace that leaves a web-like trail, the pancake of a head stays for a while floating above the bright golden liquid.

Smell: Slanted hoppy aroma of full on Cascades, sweet and floral with an oily citric note. Some malt is noticeable with suggestions of taffy and ripe pear, all in all this is a bit weak in the aroma for an American IPA.

Taste: Crispness gets a little lost when the moderate carbonation drops out, malt is hard to discern as the one way left-wing Cascade character tries to take over. Rind like citric tones are quick and the bitterness is a bit pungent. Finishes bitter and semi-dry.

Notes: Not bad if you like the taste of citrusy Cascade hops, weak in the malt department which shows in the body as well. Similar to Harpoon IPA but not as good.

 953 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 5/8/10 notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a light orange/amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of faded pine hops, citrus hops, and some pale malts. Not too much here.

t - Taste is again faded hops and some pale bready malts. Not great.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - Not that great of an IPA. The hops were not very strong and I wouldn't look to have again.

 458 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.34/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured with a nice, thick, bone-white head with decent retention. Nose was more malty than hoppy. Color was a very clear (NE-quality) coppery-amber. Mouthfeel was medium with a good hop presence on the tongue. The finish had a decent hoppiness. They might have used more hops, but overall, it was a decent IPA.

 315 characters

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.

 666 characters

Photo of stakem
3.48/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown bottle into a pint glass, it appears a fairly clear light orange color with more than 2 fingers of slightly yellowish stained head. Pretty serious amount of lace clings to the glassware as the head slowly receeds. Aroma of this beer is for the most part fruity citrus, kind of like grapefruit and a little bit floral. Taste is bitter upfront with a mineral character in the taste throughout the seemingly thin body. Somewhat citrusy bitter finish from the hops. Body is quite light with a modest amount of carbonation. For less than 6% abv, it is noticeable. As it warms a very faint bit of malt character comes through and the hop aftertaste is a bit herbal and earthy (somewhat earthy due to the hop flavor, somewhat due to the mineral taste previously mentioned.) Overall impression is that it is lacking any significant malt backbone and seems a bit watery. This beer was kind of a let down after a strong start with the appearance.

 956 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper with a two fingers of head and nice retention. Nose is piney and floral. Taste is mild malts with a crisp, piney, floral hop bitterness. This beer has decent carbonation, is lighter bodied, but a little thin.

Not a great IPA, but it'll do in a pinch.

 271 characters

Photo of Billolick
2.98/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

clear, straw color. not much of a nose, abit of cascade. Medium hops and minimal malt, Hops in the finish, abit of lime and grapefruit. Doesnt live up to its label " a hop lovers delight!". This really is more like a Pale Ale, not enough of a hop kick to get it up to style....$5.99 a six, I'd rather pay a buck or two more to get a non-watered down attempt at an IPA

 367 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saranac India Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.32 out of 5 based on 938 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.