Saranac Imperial IPA
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Imperial IPASaranac Imperial IPA
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Style:
American Imperial IPA
Ranked #3,533
ABV:
8.5%
Score:
88
Ranked #20,475
Avg:
3.85 | pDev: 10.39%
Reviews:
26
Ratings:
73
From:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  1
Gots
  10
SCORE
88
Very Good
Saranac Imperial IPASaranac Imperial IPA
Notes: Saranac Imperial IPA is brewed with a variety of hops to give it the big hop aroma and flavor of an Imperial IPA. At 85 IBUs and 8.5% alc/vol, this is a beer that truly meant to be savored.
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Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 73
Photo of BeerNinja007
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.25

I obtained a 4 pack of 12oz bottles from McKinnon's grocery in Portsmouth, NH for $10.99. Code "3534 15:42" printed on the neck. Poured cold into a tulip.

Moderately strong pour yields 1/2" of fizzy eggshell head with good retention. Brew is an opaque golden orange color. Smell is a nice balance of sweet light crystal malt and a big dose of floral lemony hop. The first sip hit my tongue and felt a lot sweeter than I expected, but a couple sips in the hops took over and evened it out. The body is moderately thick with a sugary kind of slickness. Malt character is notably absent. The hops are mostly a generic bitterness with hints of floral and tropical stuff around the edges. Finishes with generic bitterness and sugary slickness lingering on the tongue for quite a while.

Not a bad brew except for the lack of malt. The body is kinda disappointing. I wish I got a single instead of a 4 pack.

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Photo of Marraybay
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Look: Golden; Not much head. Some cloudiness. No noticeable lacing
to speak off.

Smell: Vinous:

Taste: Vinously sweet with grape and orange notes along with booze; bitter
grapefruity finish that lingers.

Feel: Non-descript

Overall: Interesting; Like this one a bit more than other DIPA's I've tasted
recently. Has a grape and or an orangey component upfront, which kind
of differentiates it somehow. Would drink another; (DFH 90 min still king).

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Photo of Damian
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12 fluid ounce bottle
Served in a snifter
Thanks to my friend Zac for bringing this to our place.

Beautiful appearance. The hazy, glowing orangey-amber liquid was topped by a tight, creamy, finger-tall cap of light tan foam. The head eventually fell to a frothy mass of bubbles. Patchy lacing coated the glass. By the end of the session, the lacing turned into a thick, craggily latticework.

The nose had a very British hop character initially. Earthy hops and zesty orange notes were balanced by biscuity malts. Somewhat bready. Fairly sweet. Later, the biscuity malt character subsided and the juicy orange notes intensified. This reminded me a lot of straight up orange juice. The malts still lent a lot of sweetness however. Almost a bit candy-like. As the beer warmed, the nose really intensified. Peach and apricot notes came forth. Some juicy tangerine as well. Fantastic.

Orange notes also came through strong in the flavor profile. Juicy and fruity. The beer was anchored by a stiff malt backbone. A bit more sweetness than I typically like in a hoppy beer but still pretty well balanced. White grapefruit appeared in the finish. Just a touch of bitterness but not a hint of alcohol. As the beer sat, peach and tangerine notes came forth. Nice sweet-tart combo. Really solid overall.

The mouthfeel was very creamy and frothy. A fine, zippy carbonation gave the beer a smooth suppleness. Medium to full bodied for the style and impressive considering the relatively low ABV.

Saranac's "High Peaks Collection" Imperial IPA really took me by surprise. This beer's combination of intensely juicy citrus notes and firm malty sweetness reminded me of a improved rendition of an old school East Coast-style DIPA or some of the better Midwest and West Coast hoppy beer I have come across. Simply put, this is definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours a deep golden color with a one-finger foamy white head that has good retention and a touch of lacing

S- citrus, piney & earthy hop aroma, notes of citrus peel, guava & grass.

T- big tropical fruit notes up front with flavors if mango, guava & passionfruit, even some pineapple. Underlying malty notes of caramel and bread. More tropical hop on the finish

M- medium-viscous body and medium carbonation produce a foamy mouthfeel and a creamy finish

O- really enjoyed the tropical hop notes, making it cutler drinkable

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Photo of gopens44
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one looked fairly normal upon pour, with it's decent sized white foam head atop the crystal clear yellow-ness. Lacing is somewhere between lazy and slightly interested. Nose is very much reminiscent of an IPL, as I get noble hop and spiciness. Taste follows suit identically, which makes me double check the style - nope, not an IPL.

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Photo of barczar
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No idea of the age on this one, but guessing the clearance sticker gives some indication that it's likely past its prime.

Extremely floral aroma, touch of muddled tropical fruit and grapefruit that have blended with the very sweet caramel malt backbone. Touch of sherry and soft cardboard present.

Flavor is about as sweet as the aroma promised, and the faded fruity hops can't counter enough, but they lead into a moderately bitter, resiny finish that cleanses the palate a bit. Becomes a bit perfumey as it warms.

Would like to try this fresh.

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Photo of DavidS333
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Saranac Imperial IPA is a great Double/Imperial and has been on my list for a bit. The smell of the beer is tasty and refreshing and to be quite honest, smells really good. It hints of the flavor of the beer as it suggests the presence of not only Alpha hop acid, but Beta hop acid aswell, more on this in a moment.

The froth of the beer is what one might come to expect from an American Double/Imperial beer/ale, namely, there isn't much of it. The body isn't too thick, but is semi-thick, perhaps about 3/4 of the way to medium on a scale of light/medium/thick. The beer's color is a translucent but not transparent, harvest orange.

The beer's flavor is really quite unique for the American Double/Imperial genre in that I believe that they have managed to pull off quite an impressive feat. It is perhaps somewhat well known, that Alpha hops acid, often reflected in a beer's IBU count, is the bitter and pain relieving side of hops, while the Beta hops acid brings to bear the fragrant flowery side of hops giving beer its sweetness, florid smell etc.

This beer is unique I think in a sense, because it manages to still pull off the American Double/Imperial, semi-thick tasty side of the beer, all the whilst keeping the Beta hops acid flavor of florid sweetness sort of cocooned into a corner of the taste. Hence while one may be used to a variety of different Alpha hops acid tastes in a Double/Imperial beer/ale(which can be very rich), this beer somehow manages to bring that bitter side of hops to bear, but sort of schmoozes it in with a sort of suggestion of beta hops sweet floridness, hence giving the beer a sort of semi-sweet coating to the otherwise rich Alpha-hop body of flavor and hence sort of blankets the otherwise bitter hops acid present in the beer.

In effect, one might argue that this beer brings in the sort of taste of a beer like the Kenyan "Tusker" for example, and sort of covers over the Alpha hops bitterness initial "bite" with said beta-hop-acid taste, making for a very diverse and flavorful American Double/Imperial. It is semi-impressive in that this isn't often found in an American Double/Imperial, and hence I would encourage anyone to try this beer, for I believe it represents a unique and quite good take per se, on the American Double/Imperial genre of beer. A great tasty and satisfying American Double/Imperial.

For a similar type of beer, one might want to try some of Weyerbacher's American Double/Imperial style beers/ales.

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Photo of rapayn01
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jungle Jim's made an offer I couldn't refuse: $4 for a four pack of bottles! The beer featured a big hop taste, but it was also pretty boozy as many imperials are.

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Photo of scotorum
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Became intrigued by the ads I've seen for this new Matt Brewing offering over the past months. Bought recently as a single in another part of my state, we seldom see Saranac anywhere anymore. They seem to have pulled in their distribution footprint somewhat.

Bottling code suggest this dates back to mid-December 2014. So it's very old for an IIPA.

a: Clear amber with an inch thick white head which receded to thin surface foam and patchy to spotty lacing.

s: Odd mild woody notes, then some light vinegar.

t: Follows the nose somewhat, believe it or not, along with some light orangy citrus. Moderate bitterness fades fairly fast on the dry finish. Very slight vinegary aftertaste early on. Highish ABV is well covered.

m: Medium, very good body and carbonation tingle.

o; Not as bad as it might sound, quite tasty in a Lagunitas Brown Shugga sort of way, although leaves more bitterness on the tongue. No doubt suffers somewhat from being eight months old, but is still quite quaffable. I'd buy again, especially if I can find it fresher.

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Photo of Suds
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An Amber, orange looked liquid, with a foamy white head...sweet, fruity (grapefruit) aroma. The taste is sweetish, with a lot of hop and malt flavor. The hops are fresh tasting and the ABV is notable. Complex and full bodied. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of 4thFloyd
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A clear dark golden color with a nice offwhite head. A moderate aroma which is very sweet and malty with some citrus and tropical fruits. Flavor is also very malty and sweet for an imperial IPA. Fruity hops provide a little bitterness and some balance but still dominated by the malt. Nice full flavor and smoothness with very little alcohol detected.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Clear golden/copper body. Medium -sized white head. Leaves moderate to heavy lacing.
S - Strong medicinal herbs, caramel, some light grapefruit rind, a little booziness. A little harsh.
T - Much more balanced than the nose led me to believe. Some nice sweetness up front cut off by the hop bitterness before it gets to be too much. Pine resin and spice from the hops.
M - Medium to thick body, low carbonation. Coats the palate and dries it out.
O - This is a solid imperial IPA. Can't remember what I paid for it, but most Saranac beers are priced to move. If you see it give it a try you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Dooga
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Best tasting beer that is flying under the radar. I've heard people compare it to heady and was shocked to agree with them after experiencing this beer. Much easier to find, and I bought a 4 pack for $9.99! I would gladly pay twice that now that I know how great this beer is!

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Photo of bigflatsbeerman
4.73/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Light amber color with 15 finger head which dissipates fairly quickly

Smell = citrus and somewhat piney. This is a great smelling beer.

Taste = Taste similar to the smell is very pleasant citrus and a little piney. A definite taste of alcohol, but not boozey which for me would be a hands down bad attribute.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, carbonation is good.

Overall - A very solid offering from Saranac. I will buy this again and again. Just finished my last one from a 4 pack and I'm tempted to go out and buy more now.

Examples:
•How was the overall drinking experience?
•What did you find pleasurable or objectionable about it?
•Offer suggestions for improvement.
Pro tips:
•Be honest and constructive.

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Photo of JAFoley
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - crystal clear amber body with foamy white head. Very good retention and lacing.

S - bright citrus hops

T - bitter pine and floral hops upfront followed by citrus and grassy notes. Malts are earthy in the finish with a bite of alcohol.

M - medium body with moderate carbonation. Slightly sticky and resinous.

O - this is by far my favorite beer from Saranac. Very well rounded and tasty ipa. Will certainly be picking this up more often.

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Photo of WSchooley
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The best word I can find to describe this IPA is clean. Very clear, good color. Clean crisp hoppy taste. Slightly citrus and pine. Not crushingly bitter.

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Photo of rokoch27
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium tulip glass. One this in apparent from the first whiff – this is a double IPA. It pours a clear dark gold with a limited 1/4 inch head. Both the smell and taste highlight the tropical notes and while the taste of pine shows up at the end, the hops aren’t overpowering. This imperial/double IPA is quite drinkable for 8.5%, but certainly isn’t an everyday option for this guy.

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Photo of OGShotzy
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is pretty good. Nice taste; not much bitterness. And this bottle was not fresh. It was at least a couple months from purchase at Wegman's in Dewitt, NY.

Also, the bottle looks much different than the one posted here.

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Photo of Calvert_Bobola
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1. A: Light Amber
2. S: Bright, Tropical, Mango
3. T: Citrus, Tropical, Resinous, Pine
4. M: Medium
5. O: Juicy, hop-forward with some malt balance; moderate bitterness; dirnkable

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Pilsner glass (not my choice) from a 12oz glass.

Appearance: Golden brew with slight darkness to the body with light haze. Head after a hard pour comes off a nice natural white rising to maybe half an inch at best.

Smell: light hops.

Taste: Hard citrus and sweet grapefruit. Complex with the sweetness and bitterness.

Mouth: Comes of a bit dry, slightly chewy and just not as sticky as I would like it to be.

Overall: Not a bad brew, have had better IPAs but still not a disappointment. Grab a glass and enjoy..salud

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Photo of hophugger
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

pours am amazingly clear tangerine-gold color. Nice fluffy head and great, sticky lacing. Aroma is both malty and hoppy with some citrus presence. The hops come out upon tasting, but IMHO, the malt overwhelms and the bitterness at the end is not all that pleasant. I see that this one is over 4 months old and I am assuming that the malt overtake is because of this. OK IIPA...

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Photo of CTHomer
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: slight haze; burnt orange in color; 1 finger off white head that receded quickly to a thin collar; very nice lacing;

S: ripe orange and grapefruit; a little marijuana;

T: follows the nose with the ripe, sweet orange and grapefruit; light bitterness hits just before mid-palate, but pretty much fades away by the finish;

M: medium bodied; lightly carbonated;

O: no complexity; OK;

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Photo of unclejazz
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Seems like a noble hopped Imperial, and a well executed one. It doesn't stand out in the current market of boutique hopped beer with late hopped additions/dry hopped, etc. Great mouthfeel.

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Photo of mackeyse
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is going to be a snarky review but my past experience with Saranac always left me underwhelmed if not downright offended.
I have never been driven to write a review for a beer but I was motivated after finishing this beer. Not because it transcended Imperial IPAs. Not because it was the tastiest or was a "Heady" or "Pliny" clone. I simply decided to review this beer because I have never-ever-ever had a GOOD Saranac beer until now. OK maybe Saranac Legacy IPA was OK (just OK) as well. This may even have been the first Saranac I have ever finished and didn't immediately have another beer to erase the taste and memories of the Saranac.
This is far superior to the previous incarnation of High Peaks Imperial and the one I drank today had a different label than shown on BA (it's still ugly as hell but all Saranac's labels are bland and unoriginal but don't judge this beer on its label).
Everything about this beer does nothing to stand out from the pack BUT it also does not offend or taste like the rest of Saranac's line (which all seems to taste the same regardless of the name or beer type: I've had 12 pack samplers where it tasted like I bought 12 of the same beers). If this was an early offering from a new brewery I would think the place had potential. Knowing it's a Saranac means it's likely an outlier, never to be matched again, and the 2015 version will be boring.
But if you ever have the urge to try or revisit Saranac this is the one beer to try. A 4-pack ran $9.99 by me in NY which was a good deal for a GOOD DIPA.

I am a tough grader and consider 3 to be a good beer (doesn't mean I would try it again just means I wouldn't turn it down if offered). So I gave it Low 3's. Puts it just north of good. Maybe Saranac is turning a corner here? I've seen positive things about their Big Moose Ale on BA so I might be inclined to try more Saranac based on my experience with this beer.

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Photo of T-34-85
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%

An impressive upgrade over the previous version of Saranac's Imperial IPA from the High Peaks Series.

Extremely fruit forward hop aroma with a good level of hop bitterness to match it. Slightly on the sweet side in terms of the malt sweetness, but pairs well with the overall composition of this beer. If I had a negative remark on this beer, it may be a bit too fruit forward with the hops, but I'm guessing this would not be negative mark from most hop heads.

The best hoppy beer I've seen from Saranac to date.

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Saranac Imperial IPA from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 73 ratings