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
Reviews: 548 | Ratings: 937
Photo of sixerofelixir
3.41/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Purchased as part of a 12-pack Fall sampler. Freshness code on bottle.

Pours a clear, amber-golden. A thick, almost-white head rears back after the first sip. Smell is a bit of tartness, and plastic. Taste is sour grapefruit and a toasty, very mild malt. Definitely hop-centric. Finishes very tart and dry. Drinks OK.

 332 characters

Photo of Meshuggah135
4.19/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into a frosted mug, and had a two finger head on it. The color was amber and had an earthy, typical IPA smell to it. The mouthfeel was smooth, although it'll leave a musky bitter taste in the back of your throat. The taste was traditional IPA, strong hops with a slight bitterness. Overall this was a very good beer, pretty mild IPA, easy to drink and enjoy. This beer is definitely better a little warm as opposed to chilled

 446 characters

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

Average copper coloring but a really nice 3 finger billowy head.

Smell - mild pine hop scent but not very noticable

Taste - pleasant and somewhat flavorful IPA with pine hop slight bitterness but nothing overwhelming. Easy IPA to drink. Enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - Good.

Overall - I think this is a good IPA.

 307 characters

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

Poured a bright golden color, with a decent cap of bubbly off-white foam. Aromas of floral hops, somewhat grassy, bubblegum and biscuit. On the palate, this one was light to medium bodied, with flavors of good hops, as well as some pears, peaches and biscuit malt.

 264 characters

Photo of barleyroad
3.97/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has a lighter gold that most IPA's, has a very nice smell, you can tell it is going to have some hops. Taste in where an IPA should be, smooth with that hop finish. Great mouth feel, clean, crisp and wow. over all this is a great beer and will go well with any meat product.

 274 characters

Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.83/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce bottle from Twelve Beers a falling collection.

Pours a nice medium dark yellow with great creamy long lasting head that laces the glass well. Smells a bit hoppy. Taste is hoppy and crisp slight backbite in the aftertaste.

Really nice, especialy for saranac.

 273 characters

Photo of SFC21
2.63/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle from a mixed six pack poured into a sam adams pint glass

A - amber with a one inch head that leaves some lacing throughout

S - For an IPA, not much here. some faint citrus but I really don't get much of anything.

T - Again for an IPA, pretty muted. Some hops bitterness at the finish

M - smooth with some creaminess

O - Not much to this one. No balance or layering of flavors, just kinda one note. Given how many good IPAs are out there I doubt I'd revisit this one

 483 characters

Photo of Morey
3.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with no freshness date. There is a code stamped on the neck of the bottle, but I have no idea what it means.

Pours copper orange in color with pretty good clarity. Head stood a good two fingers tall following my medium pour, and is still hanging around after about 5 minutes or so. Good head retention too.

The aroma is a bit tame and malty for the style, and I'm picking up a slight metallic smell as well.

Hop bitterness and toasted malts both greet you at the door setting the tone for a balanced Ipa. My assumptions are confirmed. And unfortunately I'm getting a bit of that metallic smell transferring over into the taste department as well. Not enough to destroy the taste, but it brings it down for sure.

Medium bodied mouthfeel. I don't mean to harp, but the metallic character lingers on the tongue after each sip taking away from what this beer could be.

Ok overall, but I won't spend my money on the beer unless it's in a mixed 12 pack.

Morey's Bottom Line: I wanted to like this more than I do. I like the Black Forest, and the Rye Pa wasn't bad either. Lew Bryson likes the Oktoberfest, and I have one to try. Props to Saranac for switching to pry-off caps as well. But, This is middle of the road, and not worth spending money on when there are SO many better beers within this popular style.

 1,326 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.06/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours light amber. Completely transparent. Giant off-white head. Dies down to a thin layer while leaving frothy lacing. A bunch of bubbles.

S-Subtle floral hops and a caramel malt. One of the most subdued aromas from an IPA I have come across. More malty than hoppy. Not a good sign.

T-Hoppier than the nose would suggest. Mostly grassy and floral hops. Malt is solid but not as intense as I was expecting. All in all, a somewhat underdeveloped flavor. Surprisingly decently bitter.

M-Lighter and crisp. Bright carbonation. Only a tad bit dry.

O/D-Pretty underwhelming. I guess it would be an okay beginner IPA. But there is a lack of flavor. Sub-par. So much competition within the style makes beers like Saranac IPA more than expendable.

 746 characters

Photo of BeerPhan86
3.45/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Being from Central New York, I basically grew into craft beer drinking with Saranac Pale Ale. The stuff just tastes like home to me. That said, the IPA they make is not nearly as good. I find the Pale Ale, Pale Pale Ale, and Big Moose Ale to be pretty decent pale ales, not sure why they couldn't pull off the IPA a little better than this.

A - Pours a clear golden amber with a two finger off-white head. Appears well carbonated, with good retention on the head and decent lacing.

S - Grassy and floral hops with citrus notes. Has a earthy aroma with hints of lime more than any other citrus fruit.

T - Earthy and grassy hops, with plenty of citrus notes but again, more lime than anything else. It reminds me of a lime flavored Lifesaver more than anything else. Very one-dimensional, with a fairly flat and not fresh tasting hop profile. It tastes like it has gone bad but this is part of a brand new fall variety pack I just purchased. With a different and perhaps fresher tasting hop profile it would be much better. Slightly resiny and dry, some alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with a bit too much carbonation.

O - Not a very bad IPA, but not a very good one either. After tasting what Saranac can do with its other pale ales, I expected more of this one. Falls short.

 1,289 characters

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #49
Served On: 8/27/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass

This was one left over from 2011 'What Ales You' summer pack.

Look: Super clear light copper color. Head started as a 1 finger white head: dissipated into a thin patchy film.

Smell: Aroma was a salty pine with some sweet malts. Maybe some slight floral notes.

Taste: I first noticed that signature Saranc maltiness all their beers seem to have. There was a salty bitterness with a barely noticeable pine that hit on the backend. The aftertaste was bitter salt notes mixed with biscuity yeast.

This was certainly a good entry level IPA for one who likes low ABV and extreme bitterness. I do know that Saranac has a couple versions of this offering. This one obviously had more of a salty bitterness. I noticed they released one with a darker green label (that spells out 'India Pale Ale’ like the Ba photo), It is way more balanced and enjoyable. When I get a hold of that version, I’ll add an addendum to the end of this review.

 997 characters

Photo of SickGnar
2.91/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Rich copper hue, but light toned and quite clear with just a hint of chill haze. Not very robust looking. A few large bubbles zing up to a good size cream colored head. Good retention and nice lacing.

S: Citrusy but also a little bit dank and leafy. Malts are quite shy. Some toasty grain, soft caramel, and hint of sweetness – but you have to hunt around to find it all. Weak and clean nose.

T: Flash of tropical fruit before citrusy & oily hops take over. Through the middle the citrus leans more to rind and an herbal, leafy note comes out. Then some pine & resin at the end, and a grating earthy note in the finish. Quite bitter throughout. Toasted grain, caramel malts, and soft sweetness stay quite a bit behind – perhaps to much so in the background. Hops without balancing malts gets to be a tad harsh.

M: Almost medium body. Over average & course carbonation makes it seem thinner. It is on the thin side for an IPA. Basically no residual sugars or dextrins to balance the hops. Strongy hop drying finish grows to be rather scraping.

D: Decent but borderline. Light and thin for the style. Weak nose. Lacking in malts all through from nose to flavor to body & mouthfeel. Could use some tweaking to make it worth seeking out.

 1,244 characters

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a golden copper with a half finger of head that drops quickly. A thick ring forms around the glass with large puddles across the top. Golden/copper in color. Nose is caramel sweet bread with a subtle, earthy, goldings character. I know it says it on the label but it is clearly defined in this beer. Flavor has that same sweet bread but only after a tingly hit of metallic flavors. Transitions to a light grapefruit flavor but that slowly overpowers the metallic bready flavors. Earthy tones finish is off but there isn't a huge bitterness that is common in a lot of IPA's. This a good balance of hops and malt but there is something about the malt combination that seems a little gritty.

 699 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 GarthDanielson
4.15/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer pours a bright orange-copper coloring with a thin, chunky, white, foamy head that slowly disperses while it settles. Aroma is slight grapefruit sweetness, with an abundance of rich, green, resinous hops blended throughout. The beer has hop forward flavors that hid the outside of the mid-tongue. The back of the tongue picks up the peppery notes from the hops, and the light citrus and malt sweetness blends over everything else. Very well balanced flavors. The aftertaste is heavily spiced, with a good citrus balance. The finish is quick and crisp, with a very light bitter drying effect that begs for another swig. Very tasty brew.

 683 characters

Photo of ThaCreep
3.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber color. Fresh hop nose, close to the appearance of being drug-free, clear flavors of IPA. Entrance with green hops, arrival of bitterness, grassy and slightly medicinal but back a little taste citric, citrus, like grapefruit, which is probably Cascade hops, which is going to continue in the palate with bitterness in hops. Interpretation of the classic India Pale Ale, but without a touch of madness.

 406 characters

Photo of beerdrinker4life
2.91/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, now for my second pale ale over at the Gathering of the Vibes! Trying this one out after the Butternuts beer. Its an IPA so looking for some bold flavor here.

Poured into my glass with minimal head. Nice copper color. The aroma was just not there. I was hoping for a nice big aroma of hops. Instead, I got nothing. What happened?

Taste was OK. It was not the thirst quencher I was looking for on a hot day.

Decent mouthfeel, but not enough girth or strength here.

Overall, this was just an average beer. On to the next one.

 532 characters

Photo of CharlieMurphy
2.42/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Review #1 of this hot summer night

A: 1/2 glass of head, couldn't even fit the whole 12ozs. creamy tan head spots, sticks, and settles after a few mins. very effervescent, lively carbonation

S: smells good but somewhat one dimensional. I can only discern some simcoe for sure in modest amounts. Might be slightly dated.

T: Definitely refreshing in this heat. Shoulda have been cooled colder though, even though I think my frig got it as cold as it could. Light on the malts, bitterness, and overall hop presence, but most prominently the malts. Goes downhill.

M: Light and watery. A teense separated. Not bad though, very little residual dryness

O: Wouldn't bother bothering with again.

 691 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 Jimmys
3.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

reviewed on 6/5/11 - from notes:

A: pale copper with a steady carbonation climbing up. clear. big white head has good retention and leaves a nice lacing behind.

S: a light citrus. even bigger toast notes.

T: the cascade is obviously citrusy, but has some very earthy notes to it as well. big time malt body balances it out nicely.

M: mouthfeel is soft and gentle. wouldn’t hate it to be a little harder.

D: overall, an enjoyable IPA from Saranac here.

 458 characters

Photo of UDbeernut
3.08/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a cheater pint

A: clear copper colod, 1/2" head with fair retention, lacing rings, gobs of carbonation

S: hint of pint and citrus

T: fairly underwhelming when cold, as it warms more flavor comes through. Mainly pine and citrus. Not too much of a malt backbone. A bit of soap off flavor.

M: medium bodied, not quite as drying as most IPAs.

O: another bland attempt by matt fx brewing.

 407 characters

Photo of Chizoad
2.86/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Cool to be able to pick this one up while on a trip to Alabama. Don't think we get this in CA.

Slightly cloudy deep amber color with a decent head. Good lacing, retained a small layer of foam.

Weird aroma of mainly honey. Some slightly funky hops in there. Not a fan of this aroma in an IPA.

Bland woodsy hops, retreating bitterness and advancing malt.

Low carbonation with too heavy of a body.

I've had better, I've had many many worse.

 442 characters

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

A - Dark gold, almost rust colored beer with a sticky white head.

S - Full of leafy hops aroma that smells similar to wet grass clippings. Beneath it is a toasty, honey-like malt backbone. A little restrained, though.

T - Grapefruit and blood orange flavors. More bitter than sweet. A little stale, cardboard flavor comes through.

M - Chewy, medium-full mouthfeel that ends sticky and dry.

O - A decent beer, especially if you like your beer bitter. More hops in the nose and a less oxidized flavor would make this beer much more enjoyable.

 544 characters

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.

 704 characters

Photo of mostpoetsdo
2.48/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Very light amber-gold. Faint white head, not much lacing.

S: Not much going on here, traces of citrus hops, and an almost adjunct grain quality.

T: An underwhelming hop taste, and even weaker malt backbone. Again, major adjunct qualities. Don't remember it being this bad in a bottle.

M: Incredibly thin, overly carbonated.

O/D: I'd say avoid this one on tap...out of a bottle, worth a shot, can't be any worse.

 419 characters

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