Saranac Summer Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

307 Ratings
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Saranac Summer AleSaranac Summer Ale

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

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Available in the 12 Beers of Summer sampler. Not to be confused with Saranac Summer Brew (a German Radler).

Added by WesWes on 04-14-2005

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Ratings: 307 |  Reviews: 195
Photo of squirrelpirate
3.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Saranac Summer Ale pours a dark golden hue with a small, fizzy head that quickly disappeared. The strong lemon and spice aromas seem to taint any malt or hop aroma present. There were some flowery hop notes.

The taste mimics the aroma, with the lemon and what seeemed like coriander and orange peel permeating through the malt and hop character in the beer.

Light bodied and high carbonation makes for a drinkable beer, if you can get past the lemon and spice. I think it's a bit too overwhelming, so I will most-likely abstain from this in the future.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
2.38/5  rDev -24%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

After a hot afternoon I was looking to the refreshing nature of a good summer themed beer. Summer Ale from my Saranac variety pack seemed to fit the bill. Alas...

The beer poured a dark golden color with a thin ring of foam around the glass. The foam quickly and completely disappeared.

The aroma is off-putting--to be blunt about it. It reminds me of some kind of lemony cleaner spiced with cardamom. The feeling on the palate was acceptable with noticeable carbonation. More soapy lemon, unfortunately, on the palate.

I am not sure what happened to this beer, but, whatever it is, a correction seems necessary, forthwith.

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Photo of thespaceman
2.85/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass:

Appearance: A lighly brushed gold in color, head size is very minimal here even with a generous pour, a thin line of lacing doesn't seem to trail this one down the glass.

Smell: Very much a turn off, smells exactly like Bud Light lime, yet it's lemony and very artificial in aroma. Some small malt spice is here as well but it's very minimal. I can see why you would use lemon for a summer offering but it fails huge in the nose here.

Taste: Taste is eerily similar to a SA Summer that failed to hit the mark in the malt department. Lemon zest dominates here but doesn't hit the mark as this is all you taste. A small malt backbone is not able to hold up against such a huge showing of lemon driven spiciness. Needs to be toned down alot.

Mouthfeel: Hugely carbonated, paired with such a strong showing of sour lemon it's almost sickening. No real body on this one, just very light and carbonated.

Drinkability: I'll pass on the next one, I offered this to my Bud Light Lime drinking brother and he actually enjoyed it. Good riddance, I'd hate to drain pour this cause it's not that bad but it's definetley not for me.

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Photo of u2carew
3.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A) Pours with a frothy two finger had, then settles. Decent lacing. Visible carbonation. Bronze in color.
S) Dry. Grainy. Some fruity notes. Not much character to the aroma.
T) Mellow citrus notes. Wheaty. Some hop bitterness in the finish.
M) Crisp. Lots of carbonation. Dry. Light bodied.
D) Just average. Not much to it. It's wet and refreshing.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.72/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color with a slight head, maybe one finger that gives way quickly. There is very little carbonation to be seen through the glass. The smell is at first lemon but it gives way to a floral aroma almost carnation like. The taste is floral with a hint of lemon at the end. The taste is a little more complex than I thought with my first one. The mouthfeel is dry. The drinkability is a little different. The first time I had this beer I wasn't impressed with it. After having it a couple weeks later in a glass the taste doesn't seem as harsh of lemons as before and the taste seems much more balanced. After second review I would say the drinkability on this beer is high.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear light orange with a small white head. Aroma of bready malt, wheat, light fruits (cherry, raspberry), and some spices (allspice?). Flavor is sweet and malty with lots of dough notes and spices. Slightly on the sweet side but definitely an interesting wheat. Nice beer!

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Photo of Deuane
3.58/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Brilliant orange kissed amber with a medium white head that reduces to a thin ring that leaves spotty lace.

S-Light lemon zest that grows in strength with a bit of warming. A touch of honey malt sweetness resides in the background.

T-Lemon zest zing more pronounced on the palate ending with a smooth honey like finish that doesn't get too sweet.

M-Light bodies and super crisp with the finest of smoothing out in the finish. This brew must have been reformulated over the years as I do not find it to be thin or watery or a "mess". Comes off more like a crisp German lager to me.

D-Low ABV + refreshing, lemon zing + light, crisp body = a worthy summer session beer that would push any BMC offering off the table.

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Photo of AtlasBrew
2.4/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: a medium gold color with off-white head that has a larger fizzy sort of bubble which fades relatively quick.

Aroma: lemon grass and citrus, not much malt or yeast.

Flavor: fizzy medium body with lemon/citrus flavor and a tart finish. Subtle sweetness underneath but not too much. It's a lot like watered down lemon aide with some beer spilled in it.

Overall: I often wonder where beer stops and fruity chemical concoctions begin. Is there a certain percentage of malt that needs to be used in order to have a product worth being called a "beer?"When the fine print on a bottle reads "Beer brewed with natural flavors and colored with caramel" one has to wonder "What is this?" My roots as a brewer tells me that you don't need to add caramel for color when you could have added some crystal malts to get this beverage to the medium gold that it currently is. However, my business side says: "if I were trying to sell beer to the tasteless masses and go with the current trends (i.e. Bud Lime/Miller Chill) then I would make a fruity watered down beverage like this. But I like beer, and this just doesn't work for me. Saranac, from my perspective, is a company on the brink of becoming a really good brewer. When they do things like this it sets them back a few steps. I hope they can brush this one off and move forward by making real beer from this point forward.

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Photo of DannyS
3.65/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

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

A - I very clear orange amber with a nice head of foam that disappears disappointingly quickly, leaving nothing.

S - Little bit of citric hops, slight malt, and honey on the nose, but that's about it.

T - Has a perky, lemon-accented wheat malt taste with just a hint of hops and cinnamon-like spice. Finishes clean and slightly dry.

M - watery and fizzy. Little in the way of body, but not necessarily a bad thing.

D - Low ABV + good taste and mouthfeel = excellent session beer.

overall - a Good idea for a summer thirst quencher. I could easily enjoy a few cold ones on a hot day. I'd call it a lawnmower beer, but we hire landscapers. So it's an outdoor summer drinking beer. Yeah, that should do.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.82/5  rDev +22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a straw color with a mild honey nose. Wispy head of light lacing. Thick and full mouthfeel. Very enjoyable in the mouth. A clean attack that gives a touch of lemon and some citrus notes in the flavor. The finish is a bit fruity but cleans up to not allow any lingering aftertaste from the fruit notes. I am not normally a big fan of summer ales, but I truly enjoyed this one. Definitely one of the better summer offerings that is readily available and widely distributed.

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Photo of KenC411
2.88/5  rDev -8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear orange brown with a sickly thin head. Disappears almost instantly, leaving no peaks.

Smell: A sweet citrus

Taste: Citrus, some malt notes with almost no hops. Tastes a strongly carbonated, like seltzer water.

Mouthfeel: The beer is very crisp but watery, and although it tastes gassy is not overly carbonated.

Drinkability: Its sweet but gassy, crisp but watery, strong nose but flavorless. It feels like it is missing something.

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Photo of caddybuyer
3.5/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle from the "12 beers of summer" 12 pack.

A-Clear amber with a puffy eggshell head. One of the better looking beers from the pack.

S-Sweet, earthy citrus and grassy.

T-Clean, crisp and refreshing, but not much going on here. Watered down malts, but not bad either.

M-Very light, as one would expect for the style. Decent, but not outstanding.

D-Very drinkable on a warm day. You are not here for taste, as much as for a quencher.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.36/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 1179-1118. Sampled on May 24, 2009.

A - An amber, rusty color with a smidge of off-white head and light lacing. Slightly cloudy but reasonable clarity.

S - The aroma is malted and citrus like. It has a freshness about it.

T/M - An average mouthfeel. Not too watered down but not very heeavy either. The taste is kind of fruity and malty.

It works well on a very hot day but beyond that it is really kind of average.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
2.51/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy orange color with a white heading. No lacing present.

Smell is kind of spicey,a little coriander,but a funky yeasty smell overrun's the aroma.

Taste and mouth is a bit over carbonated light to medium bodied. Very sweet malty beverage that leaves a funky taste in the mouth not far from the smell.

Drink is unenjoyable I almost had a drainpour but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

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Photo of akorsak
3.85/5  rDev +23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle, number three from the 12 Beers of Summer pack.

A: The is a tea-colored amber, more yellow-brown than orange. The color isn't so dark, allowing the translucence to remain. Not much head to speak of.

S: Lemon essence is strong, not syrupy or bitter but sugary with an added emphasis on lemon peel. Almost, if not entirely, shandy-like.

T: Not bad at all. Much better, in fact, that I was expecting. The lemon is strong, tempered by cloves and light wheat tartness. The lemon is sweet, not cloying and not tart. The wheat and lemon play nicely, a flavorful combination.

M: The lemon, wheat and spices are all in proportion, with the lemon leading the way. Much better than I was expecting.

D: Very quaffable, this would be excellent on a hot, muggy day.

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Photo of smerkinb
3.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a disappointing 1/2" head-fizzy and pure white...not really what I was expecting from a wheat beer. Head is gone in the time it took to write the previous sentence. Coppery gold color, the collar left little lacing.

Smells of caramelly malts, light floral hops and a hint of citrus.

Crisp wheat malts and lemon. The citrus is more than background but wisely stays away from anything resembling a "flavored" beer. The hops in the nose don't show up on my palate. Wheat, wheat, lemon and more tangy wheat.

Nice snappy, zingy, mouthfeel--good robust carbonation. Crisp and tangy. Sort of middle of the road--not thin or watery, not thick or syrupy.

I find myself describing this beer in terms of what it's not--not overly complex, not thick/thin, not too lemony.... What it IS though is a tasty refreshing and simple wheat beer with enough character to park it firmly in our camp. It might make an excellent "starter" beer (I hate the term "gateway"). It's refreshing and interesting. It's tasty and accessible and it's going with me to every damn pool party, BBQ, tailgate and beach trip this year.

Thumbs up on the Saranac 12 beers of summer pack. I have officially justified impulse shopping!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.91/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac- Summer

A- Light caramel brown, clear, no carbonation, small light sticky head.
S- Not much here. Slight sugary corn syrup, wheat, and clove.
T- Very light malt, sweet caramel/ corn syrup with a slight fruitiness. Spicy clove and wheat with a thick malt finish.
M- Light sweet malt with a dry body and thicker malt in the backend.

Overall- Light and mellow but a decent drinker.

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Photo of Buschyfor3
2.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams draft glass.

A: Pours a clear, rich golden amber body with a fizzy white head about 1.5 fingers thick that swiftly dissipates. Leaves thin rings of white lacing.

S: First note was a sweet burst of apricot or peach; then I start to get some husky, musty grain notes. Other than that, I really don't detect a lot going on in the nose.

T: A bit of hoppy bitterness peaks up front, followed by a flash of fruit - apricot, orange rinds, a hint of lemon. Mid sip, the malt background appears with a grainy, wheat-like note followed by the slightest touch of peppery spiciness. In the finish, the malt washes out the citrus notes and ride out the finish. Reminds me of a toned-down Sam Adams Summer Ale - the flavors are there, they just aren't as vibrant and they disappear all too quickly.

M: Light body with alot of carbonation - quite fizzy.

D: 4.70% ABV means you could easily drink a couple of these in a night without any problem. However, I think there are better examples of the style with more "pop" on the palate

Alright, but nothing special. Really, I would probably play it safe and just stick to a Sam Adams Summer Ale if I were presented with the choice between the two.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
2.9/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker glass. Appears a crystal clear bright yellow color with a finger of quickly fading bone white foam. Smells and taste is over run with citrus, mainly lemon peel. Tastes a tad artificial to me (pledge-like). Notes of grass, and lightly toasted grains are also present. A bit thin bodied with modest carbonation.

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Photo of KTCamm
2.75/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden color with moderate foam that recedes very quickly. Beer is cloudy in appearance, mine has very small bits of sediment in it (not sure if that was intended).

Smell is citrusy malt. Tart.

Taste is overwhelmingly citrus - at times too tart, especially as the beer warms. Its backed by wheat, and no discrenable hop presence. Its almost as if I spilled some lemonade into a wheat beer.

If they could reduce the tartness, this would be much more drinkable. Given its current state, I'd hesitate to have too many of these.

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Photo of yesyouam
2.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Saranac Summer Ale is a clear and sparkling golden ale with a thin white head that mostly dissipates. It has an aroma of lemon cleanser or lemon Starburst with a little coriander. A light cereal note-- almost oatmeal-- is present. It is very light and crisp all the way down. It's pretty watery and a little flat. It has a light flavor of lemon dish soap and a hint of Pine-sol hops. It seemed like a good idea, but it tastes very artificial.
(rated May 8, 2007)

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Photo of tmoneyba
2.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft in Siesta Key, FL.

Poured clear golden color with a moderate frothy white head that was mostly lasting with excellent lacing. Moderate wheat sweet aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture. Medium sweet flavor with a medium sweet finish of average duration.

Smooth soft summer beer.

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Photo of mtstatebeer
2.9/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from summer mix pack. Pours a sparkling golden yellow color with an extremely thin white head, little to no lacing. Aroma is initial lemon zest, crisp light/wheat malt, and maybe clove. Flavor is fairly plain, pale malts, lemon, a slight bitter finish. Mouthfeel is crisp, fairly carbonated. Overall a very drinkable beer, but not great.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought as part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Summer mix pack ($11.99/12)

One of the better offerings from the summer mixed pack but still doesn't compare to the other micros. Has a bit of a lemony and citrusy taste to make it 'summer' like, but overall its a beer that is lacking on body and overall taste. Would try again though.

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Photo of dacrza1
2.97/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thin, clear golden orange-yellow body with a sudsy white head settling atop a Hoegaarden tumbler--why so much plaer than the Belgian white? the head leaves a slight tracing as the bottle drains... straw and lemon zest to the nose... a bit of pilsner malt plays a part as well... a freshness does exist here... softer yet more astringent than the Belgian in the sampler... malts provide a semblance of a body, but this is still light (purposefully, I imagine) and buttery/creamy on the finish... the malts rush the flavors straight back to the throat--a soft ale exists somewhere in this wheatness... this provides a nice feeling for summer, even if August in NJ has been unseasonably Autmumnal... shorter on hops to increase its drinkability, no doubt, this ale seems to attempt the "sparkling" aspect of a Cooper's perhaps... not bad, but flavor is elusive...

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Saranac Summer Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.13 out of 5 based on 307 ratings.
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