Saranac India Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac India Pale AleSaranac India Pale Ale
938 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 938 |  Reviews: 548
Photo of RedChrome
3.08/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Body was a crystal clear light golden color. A very small white head vanished almost instantly. Lots of tiny carbonation slowly meandering to the surface. Small spots of lace cover side of glass.

A light hops start is quickly overtaken by a malt aroma. Unfortunatly the malt isn't all that strong either, just powerful by comparison. The malt brings a fruit pear and apple blend.

A very clean floral taste. Hops flavor is definitly stronger in the taste then the aroma. A light apple flavor develops into a strange bitter aftertaste with a plastic quality.

Nice feel of average thickness on the tongue. Average carbonation tingle on center of tongue.

Only a par offering in style. Would go good to wash down a few pieces of fried chicken. Definitly not a leader in the style, but far from a miss. Try it as part of a mixed pack, but don't select it by itself over others.

 883 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
3.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear gold with a solid 1 inch head. Good lacing.

S - Hoppy, citrusy and floral. Maybe some underlying sweetness. Hop aroma has a much more floral edge than I expect from an A-IPA.

T - A little light in flavour. The hops are there, but maybe lacks the malt to back it up? Tastes kind of like a ton of hops added to your average pale lager.

M - Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. Works for me.

D - Well, it feels a little off. I think the lack of malt balance hurts this one.

 505 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.01/5  rDev -9.1%
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 psinderson
3.14/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Thick off-white head. Great lacing all the way down the glass. Clear, light amber to dark golden color. Lots of little bubbles swimming to the top.

Smell: Hop presence is there but really weak for the style. A slight caramel undertone.

Taste: Some hop flavor, but again, much less than typical. Malt is detectable as it warms, but could also use a boost. Overall, lacking in complexity.

Mouthfeel: Nice, medium to full bodied feel with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Nothing too offensive...relatively smooth.

 574 characters

Photo of arnulfooxblood
3.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, part of winter sampler.

Appearance--Nice deep golden color, good head.

Smell--Nice and hoppy, definite floral aroma.

Taste--Very typical IPA. Hoppy and refreshing. Nothing new with this one, but it is quite solid.

Drinkability--Nice solid brew I would gladly enjoy at any time.

 317 characters

Photo of williamherbert
3.08/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mostly clear with a slight haze. Decent but thin head. Nice copper color.

Balanced hop/malt smell with a slight edge to hops. Slight sweetness. Hint of woody bitterness.

Balanced hop/malt, but should have much more hops. Flavor is pleasant but boring. More of a pale ale. Hops come out but a bit with warming, but still.... should be way hoppier.

Slight creaminess, a little thicker than most Saranacs. A very ho-hum IPA. Hops are severely underwhelming. It's a pleasant beer, but not a great IPA.

 506 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.01/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light copper color, a bit orangy, small off-white head that dissipated quickly, good lacing. Not very strong hop smell for an AIPA, a bit disappointing. Saranac's brown ale had a stronger hop smell to it. Had a flowery hop taste, almost metallic bitter aftertaste. It had a light creamy mouthfeel, moderately carbonated. The ale goes down easy and tastes well enough. I could drink a few but when I want to drink an AIPA, this would not fit the bill.

 459 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice soapy, creamy head atop a golden-yellow color, leaning toward an orange hue. Good clarity and healthy bubbles.

The hops are dominant in the aroma, as expected, with a big fruity essence to them. Slight malt in the background but not much.

On the lips and tongue: Hops are resiny and a bit piney, less sweet than the aroma lets on, robust and earthy. Malt enters to balance things just enough, but this is clearly a hoppy excursion. Bitterness is perhaps a little too sharp in the finish.

Great hold in the mouth, just enough oomph that you feel it, but also delivering a nice smooth, creamy texture.

This isn't anything extraordinary, there are probably a million IPAs a lot like it, but it delivers as it should. There's no denying that this is totally enjoyable.

 789 characters

Photo of alexskovan
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a coppery gold with a sturdy off-white head. Lots of spritely Cascade hops in the aroma. Taste was mostly hops with mouthfeel just slightly watery. A nice IPA, not a great one. A big attack -- but not quite enough follow-through. But that's nothing between friends.

Hey: sturdy New York Saranac, I luv ya!

 316 characters

Photo of sraimondi
4.28/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First a disclaimer; I'm not a big fan of IPAs generally, so you hop heads should take this review with a "grain of salt". This one pours a nice orangey hue with a nice head, with very good lacing that lasted throughout. Nice citrusy/pine aroma with some malt in the background. The taste is fantastic IMO--very balanced with the needed hop assertiveness in the finish. This lends itself to a soft mouthfeel, very unusual for an IPA. Most of the IPAs I have tried (Dogfish Head in particular) overwhelms the drinker with hops. IMO this is not what beer should be. Beer should be balanced at all times. This will definitely be on my buy list. I had this one from the Winter 12-pack, but luckily Saranac sells this one in sixes. Yum!

 730 characters

Photo of ekempey
3.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice golden/amber color drank from a pint glass, with 1 and 1/2 finger head that reduced quickly. Very little lace left over.

S: Hints of citrus and caramel, hoppy.

T: Nice blend of spices along with citrus. Definatley a good winter beer imo.

M: Suprisingly smooth, I love the after taste. It is also not too bitey with an even carbonation.

D: Goes down pretty smooth.

 385 characters

Photo of scarletfire79
3.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

another middle of the road offering from saranac. for some reason i find this beer to be okay. maybe it's beause we have it at the resort i work at under the name "Ascutney Polar Beer". (which i can't understand for the life of me). so this one comes into play sometimes on tap after work but this one is out of the christmas sampler. decent enough, pretty well balanced but definitly leaning more towards the citrus side. good head retention and thirst quenching as well. okay but not my favorite ipa, wouldn't even rank it above harpoon.

 539 characters

Photo of maddogruss
3.65/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug. The body was a nice, golden amber color with a thick white head that lessened a little but was then retained throughout the rest of the beer. A nice strong hoppy smell at first, but later died down. An intense hoppy, first taste, but by the end of the beer, it was not as strong as I thought it was going to be. IT had a medium thick mouthfeel that was pleasant. A very good, drinkable beer. A decent IPA that I thought would have been a bit hoppier.

 490 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.45/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - this IPA pours a pale straw yellow with a thin pale white head, small amounts of slow carbonation stream up the glass

S - a dry hoppy aroma slightly on the piney side, with the citrus twang i have come to expect from IPA's, very nice fresha nd crisp aroma

T - a little overly bitter, no balance at all, taste entirely piney, no subtle sweetness, no citrusy twang, just bitterness, needs some balance, definitely

M&D - not too bitter for me, but with beers this bitter, i enjoy some slight sweetness to back it up, this si just straight sweetness, okay at best

 572 characters

Photo of dustylong
2.53/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Another Winter pack beer...Pours a light golden amber with almost no head, retention or lacing (poured from a bottle into a pint glass). Doesn't have a very strong smell to it, and the smell it does have is slightly citrusy. Slightly hoppy. Taste is average at best for an IPA. I'd also expect a higher alcohol percentage out of an IPA. Mouthfeel is also about average, with a decent amount of carbonation. Overall, not that impressed with this beer...i've had much better IPAs..

 479 characters

Photo of InsolublePancake
2.88/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice golden color, although it's pretty light for the style. Good head that dissipates rather quickly. Decent lacing as well.

S- Pretty weak, not much to speak of. Lightly sweet malts and some citrusy hops, but quite subdued.

T- Not a whole lot of flavor either. A touch of hoppy grapefruit flavor and an underlying sweetness reminiscent of sweet tea. Also some kind of metallic taste that is not too pleasing. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish.

M- Pretty thin, ok carbonation, nothing to write home about.

D- Not bad. The flavor's not great, but it would be easy to put down a few in a session, if only because it's so thin in the body.

Not a very good IPA. It's simply lacking in the all important flavor and aroma categories. It's not horrible and a decent quaffer, but not something I'll be getting again. Not recommended.

 850 characters

Photo of phisig137
3.05/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rather light amber color, with a one finger head. Little retention, but decent lacing.

Aroma is quite hoppy, resinous, and piney. Fairly one dimensional, but still hoppy and pleasant.

Flavor is a let down. Slightly hoppy, not very bitter, and has an odd metallic kind of flavor. Not all that enjoyable. No malt presence. Mouthfeel is thin and watery. Drinkability is pretty good.

 395 characters

Photo of treehugger02010
4.69/5  rDev +41.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Before I begin, I must say I have a sweet spot in my heart for IPAs. This is a wonderfully crafted brew. It had a beautiful amberish color. The cascade hops reminded me of a simcoe ipa. Again with what I have had from Saranac everything was well blended and nothing was overpowering. Don't drink and review.

 307 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic,a clear light golden color.A nice creamy,rocky head. A few very tiney bubbles rising to the top with nice lacing,a retentive head.
The aroma was mostly hoppy,citrus and pine notes and very clean.The malt aromas were faint with hints of caramel and bisquit.
The taste was piney,grapefruity, a nice hop aroma. The maltiness was a bit lacking,a carmel taste,with a slight burnt taste at the finish.
The mouthfeel was medium,but light for an IPA,a light prickleness on the palate,with a nice dry,tartness a sweet edge at the finish.
A very drinkable beer,more of a pale ale rather than an ipa.
Not a bad beer,but leaves you feeling empty if your really in the mood for an IPA,

 697 characters

Photo of Grundle20
3.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden champagne color with no head to speak of into a snifter.

Mellow hops and pine dominate the overall smell but I picked up a small hint of anise/black licorice which really added a nice punch to the scent.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The black licorice taste carries through from the smell. I've been eating pulled pork this evening so maybe i'm mistaken because anise isn't a taste i'm used to in an IPA, although it nicely rounds off the bitter hop character. The beer rolls over my tongue rather smoothly and has a minimal bite to it. My only complaint here really is the lingering after taste.

I'm just another sucker for a decent IPA and this certainly fits the bill. If it wasn't for that mildly unpleasant after taste I would be completely sold on this beers poundability.

Bottom Line:
If i'm on the ball with the black licorice then this is indeed an interesting IPA. It may not be the best but it's a deffinately better then people had lead me to believe.

 1,021 characters

Photo of Neehan
3.62/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light copper with a large head. Bright in appearance. An exceptional smell of delicious hops that lures you into this beer. Mouth watering. The taste is good but a bit disappointing in comparison to the smell but still solid. Tastes like a typical good IPA. The mouthfeel is well-balanced and smooth with a bit of a bite. Drinkable but not not your top choice for a session ale.

 386 characters

Photo of Estarrio
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear golden hue with a big, frothy, white head. Excellent retention and chunky lacings throughout.

The aroma includes citrus, cascade hops, some fruity sweetness and a touch of pine. Overall, the smell is nice but a little faint.

This has a nice American IPA taste, with an aggressive amount of hops. The flavors include sharply bitter grapefruit, a mild sweetness and lots of Cascade hops. The taste is balanced but somewhat one dimensional. A little more sweetness up front would have created a more balanced flavor.

This light/medium bodied IPA is well-carbonated and not overly-syrupy. It's actually quite pleasing to the palate.

 652 characters

Photo of LiquidBreadMan
3.79/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

IPAs are my favorite style. In a nutshell -- Saranac IPA is a very good beer.

The aroma is classic - hints of pine and you can actually smell the hops. Mmmm.. It pours a pale gold with a quickly fading head. The flavor is hoppy from the time it touches the tongue, with strong satsuma mandarin and cherry undertones. The finish is quite dry. An excellent experience and one that I will repeat.

 397 characters

Photo of Globetrotter
3.69/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A former colleague brought this back from New York (thanks, Dr. Mark!). It pours a clear orange gold under a 1/2 finger beige head that fades fairly quickly, leaving no lace. The nose is strong of floral hops - quite enticing. The mouth is quite prickly and full-bodied, almost sticky. The taste is initially quite sweet, while the espresso dry bitter comes on strong and lasts. The bitter is acrid and insistent, inviting another drink. A very refreshing brew.

 461 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev +13.6%
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

Saranac India Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.31 out of 5 with 938 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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