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Saranac Summer Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Summer AleSaranac Summer Ale
307 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 307 |  Reviews: 196
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.48/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - clear golden color, white, fast settling head, some lacing.

S - kind of floral, wheat and malt.

T - sweet malt, slight citrus and wheat. I added a slice of lemon halfway through and it helped quite nicely.

M - light bodied, low carbonation, sweet aftertaste

D - overall a very nice beer at a very reasonable price. I'd take this over a lot of other micro "summer" beers and any macro out there.

 410 characters

Photo of sraimondi
2.88/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one from "The 12 Beers of Summer" box.

Significant head after an aggressive pour. Nice initial sheet lacing followed by spotting. I can't really pick up much aroma which is surprising, as this one is supposed to be a filtered version of a Hefeweizen. Taste is also somewhat "flat". The only thing I can pick up is lemon/citrus--no perceivable spices, as the label indicates should be present. Mouthfeel is OK with some fullness. Drinkability is also OK.

I'm not sure about this one. There's no doubt that this one will be a refreshing summer/lawn mower beer for most. However, it is absent of any real character, IMO. I probably will give away the other one.


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Photo of auxiliary
3.97/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance - Goden color, small head, but had some lace.

smell - Lemon, wheat, sweet malts.

taste - Nice sweet malt and hop taste that is well balanced. Some wheat taste too.

mouthfeel - Light body, some carbination.

drinkability - nice clean crisp taste, i enjoyed this.

Whoooo ! I am an Initiate now.

 321 characters

Photo of riversider76
3.56/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden. Thin white head. not much retention,but good lacing. Smell is lemon,and spice. Body id light,and carbonated. Taste is light and lemony. There is a nice spice flavor through out and some hops in th finish. Good summer ale. I'll have it again for sure.

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Photo of yourunclewalt
2.76/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Lacey white head that recedes from a creamy one-finger within a minute. Reddish hue on a very clear straw body, resembles an IPA.

S - As the bottle suggests, there is a lemony aroma, but it reads as more of a cleaning product than an actual zest; lingering quasi-phenolic undertones.

T - Subtle lemon finish that opens to a hoppy aftertaste on top of a subdued pale ale.

M - A light-bodied, dominately carbonated beer.

D - The Summer ale is probably the most drinkable of the "Twelve Beers of Summer" mix-pack that Saranac offers around this time of the year. Unlike the rest of its counterparts, it does have a reasonably individual character that, while slightly phenolic, is at least more interesting than the slightly below to average offerings of various other wheat styles.

 798 characters

Photo of Stimack
3.6/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The brew poured to a golden color with a nice sized white head that had some good retention while leaving a little lace around the top of the glass. The aromas while not over whelming are very pleasant with a wheat scent and a solid lemon zest making this an inviting brew. The taste, while not extraordinary, is quite good with its wheat flavors mixed with lemon highlights and a spiciness that brings things together well. As can be expected the feel is quite refreshing and light but has some real nice flavors. I can imagine that this brew will be quite refreshing during the warmer months. Once again a good brew from F.X. Matt’s, middle of the road but a solid offering with a high drinkability.

 702 characters

Photo of alexskovan
3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured hazy gold with a thin fizzy head that dropped at once, leaving slight lacing. Aroma of floral hops and pale malt. Taste is cloyingly sweet, like honey-water with lemon. Finish is crisp. Feels a little thin in the mouth.

It tastes a bit like a watered-down, much-less-sweet-and-horrible version of Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat.

This is not a good thing.

 365 characters

Photo of matsputis
3.62/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Clear orange and a finger white head

The smell was mostly a clean coriander w/ some wheat in the background.

Crisp wheat taste with coriander. It didn't have much of an aftertaste. Then again it's good because it doesn't overpower with the coriander.

The mouthfeel like most of the other summer Saranacs was on the watery side.

This brew was one of my favorites in the mix pack. I wish I could get six-packs of this. It's has very soft flavors which makes it extremely drinkable.

 491 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.63/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a weizen glass.

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

S: The aroma is of lemon, spices, wheat, light malts and a little bit of hops.

T: Flavors of lemon and caramelized malt start out with light flavors of wheat, spice and hops in the background. However, this one seems a little watered down and lacks the hearty wheat flavor that you typically get in this style. After-taste is fruity and a little sweet.

M: Crisp with a little smoothness, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: It goes down easily and isn’t very filling, a little tasty but I would consider it a stretch to call this beer mediocre. There are many others I would choose first in the style.

 800 characters

Photo of pootz
3.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle ( thanks Eric, you da man!)

Pours a shimmering amber-gold ale with a light protien haze in my pint glass. Remarkable puffy white cap lasts a while then laces the glass. Moderate carbonation.

Aromas are nice: herbal, spicey, citrus no sweetness.

Nice dose of corriander up front some citrus peel then the malts kick in and it goes to a spiced biscuit decernemnt,,,finish is clean with more sweetness developing but then balaced at the very end with herbal bittering and spice.

A nice summer beer kind of like a saison with wheat.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.37/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Crystal clear golden body, a few scattered carbonation streams, topped by a fluffy but rapidly decaying soft white layered head. Not sure this really should be this clear, but it looks damn good.

Aroma is wheaty, a bit yeasty, and has a rather sharp smack of lemon, which reminds me more of a cleanser than say lemonade.

Lighty sweet to start, spicy middle, and a sharp lemon twang in the finish, The lemon is a hit and run, fading back some in the aftertaste which also features subdued spice, with maybe a taste of honey (which is odd since many times I can't taste honey in beers that are suppose to have it). Overall, not really well integrated.

Light mouthfeel is fine for the season. Drinkability impaired by the lack of "symphony" of the various elements. Lot of solos, but this band isn't playing together.

 823 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orangish amber with quite a few fine particulates swimming about and eventually slowing to a static haze. The yellowed bone cap is surprisingly creamy for what I expect to be a relatively light-bodied beer. Respectable cap persistence eventually gives way and results in a glass that isn't exactly covered in lace. A more than passable look.

The nose is exactly as advertised, never a sure thing when it comes to beer. It's softly wheaty with a fair amount of lemon zest and a sprinking of spice that is almost certainly coriander. For all intents and purposes, Summer Ale is a witbier that uses lemon peel instead of orange peel. Nothing wrong with that.

Yep, it tastes like a lemony wit. I think that I prefer the classic orange zest flavor, but then what I might be craving is simply a better beer. Not that this one is bad; I'd consider it to be comfortably above average. 'Comfortably above average' appears to be the glass ceiling for this particular brewery.

Actually, there's a good bit of flavor to be had. The wheat malt has something of a grainy quality, but there's enough citrus and spice to overcome it and to keep the beer drinkable and reasonably enjoyable. The Tettnang hops don't contribute much, either in terms of flavor or bitterness, until the finish. This one is growing on me as I drink and is a pretty decent version in the end.

The body/mouthfeel is appropriately light, although not overly so. I might even grant it light-medium status. Nothing wrong with the amount or the feel of the bubbles either. I'd say that the mouthfeel is well suited to the task at hand. It enhances rather than detracts from drinkability, which is all that one can ask for in a summer beer.

Summer Ale is one of the better offerings from The Matt Brewing Company. Of course, their lineup doesn't exactly stand out in my memory. I'm not sure why it's classfied as an APWA when, to my nose and palate at least, it's clearly a wit. Yet another addition to my growing list of refreshing, locally available 'lawnmower' brews.

 2,032 characters

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.18/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle, no date information.

From the front label: “Hints of lemon and spice, brewed with natural flavors, colored with caramel.”

Honeyed gold. One finger dirty white head of small bubbles that slowly settles to a skim coat and a modest collar, depositing no lace. Swirling lines of active and slow carbonation, consisting of a mixture of both fine and large bubbles. Wheaty, lemon rind and fresh cut lemon flesh aromas. Smells almost like lemonade. Some light spices, maybe coriander, meld with a slightly sweet lemon juice. A faint wheatiness underlies the body and the finish is a mix of soft grassy hops and gently crisp lemonish note which does not last too long. The slightly grassy flavor lingers just a moment longer. Medium-light body with some zippy carbonation, this feels appropriate and a bit refreshing. Overly non-distinctive, but moderately enjoyable nonetheless.

 899 characters

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.59/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I tried the second of this from a 12pk sampler.. I think my opinion of this beer has changed.

The liquid is nice looking but I see they use caramel as a coloring agent. Not good.

The Head was tall foamy. Not bad

The smell was lemony and spicy. Nice

The taste was good, mouthfeel average, but the drinkability was very high, It was hot I was thirsty. and it is gone just like that, crisp, clean and enjoyable. Not bad for what it is. MK
The taste was good, mouthfeel average, but the drinkability was very high, It was hot i was thirsty. and it is gone just like that, crisp, clean and enjoyable. Not bad for what it is

 631 characters

Photo of sacfly
3.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz, part of the beers of summer pack 2006
Pours a clear, yellow gold with a thin head of white bubbles. Lemon zest in the nose. Taste is sweet then fades quickly into the lemon zest. Little to no aftertaste. Body actually seems a bit heavy compared to the others in the summer pack. Inoffensive, clean beer. A great summer pack, especially for those just starting into craft beer.

 383 characters

Photo of ism
3.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear light gold with a slightly yellow 2-finger head, low retention with sudsy lacing. Mellow banana wheat, cloves, citrus in the nose. Microbubbly carbonation with lemon zest on the tip of the tongue, bananas washing over the rest, with cloves. Medium body but fluffy. Goes down crisp and refreshing, if not entirely bland. Easy-going and easily quaffable, just not all that interesting.

 395 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.1/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear pale amber color with a thin off-white head with little retention and minimal lacing. The aroma has some citrus and malt in it. Light-bodied with light wheat, spice and fruit flavors. The finish is sweet with hints of malt and citrus. All in all this is an average beer like everything else I have tried from Saranac.

 331 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours a basic light golden colour with a mild head that doesn't leave much of a mark on the glass.

The aroma is of faint wheat, some grass, a bit of sweet lemon and perhaps a touch of spice.

While the aroma sounds slightly appealing, it's fairly bland overall...much like the flavour. All afformentioned characteristics are here, there's just not much going on with them. There's a decent balance, but everything is really subdued. Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing for the most part.

This was one of my least favourites from the Summer Pack. It's not bad, just run of the mill overall.

 604 characters

Photo of weeare138
3.1/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a light, pale yellow with a small white head that quickly fades out into a mild cap. Gentle streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of mild lemon zest and light caramel.
Taste is of the same aromas. Nothing close to dazzling here.
Mouthfeel is crisp, lemony, bubbly, along with a dry, citrus finish.
I guess if there's nothing else around, this American Wheat can sub for a Corona, or a Miller Light but don't expect to wowed.

 452 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.87/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another pick from the Saranac Summer Mixed Pack we picked up for the holiday weekend. I found it went well with a buffalo burger, but what doesn't?

Placid but pleasant appearance with a instahead that vanishes in a flash. Typical golden color. Nose is sweet fruity, almost bubblegumesque, if such a word could ever exist. Very appetising.

Tasty and easy to drink with notes of banana, clove, berry, and mild hops. Slightly too much carbonation but palateable enough. This is drinkable and quenching stuff, not outstanding but a good effort from Saranac nonetheless.

 574 characters

Photo of semihobo
3.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold, straw, rich yellow color with a hint of red -- "colored with caramel" says the bottle, wtf. Head is here and then it's gone. I like the bottle's color schemes.

Smells of wheat malt, spices, maybe coriander more than nutmeg, lemon. Grainy.

Taste is grainy and almost fruity, hints of berries although they aren't supposed to be here. No hops. Spices are definitely a big part of the action but aren't too overpowering. Enough lemon (probably from direct flavoring but if it tastes good, who am I to question the method?) to taste like someone dropped a lemon slice in, but it tastes nice when integrated into the brew like this. Simple, but delicious. If you don't like lemon or spice flavorings added, you won't be a fan, but I am open to them.

Mouthfeel is great, not thick or thin and rolls around the mouth. Not too much carbonation so it goes down in gulps.

Very drinkable, it's cheap (especially considering the lack of cheap APWAs) and simple but tasty. "Quenching" is cliched for the genre but it's more quenching than most due to the mouthfeel, simplicity, and conformity to the style. As good as some more expensive APWAs, not really anything to make you crap your pants but it hits the brewer's goal competently, just how you'd imagine a good Saranac attempt at this style.

Yes, it is a simple attempt at a confined style that has fake color and flavorings -- that said, it is tasty and flows down the gullet, so ha.

 1,447 characters

Photo of bonbini26
3.71/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

When poured into a glass....a nice head forms, but dissappears quickly, yellow in color, nothing special

Smell was refreshing, with lemon and spices very present

Taste was not as strong as i thought it would be after the good amora, but a nice refreshing taste

Easy summer ale to suck down, ive had better summer ales though

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Photo of JayQue
3.13/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A fairly run of the mill summer beer. Nice orange, clear color. head impressive for a minute, then fades rapidly to lacing around the top of the glass. Just a little more taste than the average lager with a bit of a citrus taste added. Mouthfeel is "ok", not real watery but not that rich either. Very average. The Golden Pilsner and the Hefe are the winners in the Summer sampler, with the Kolsch running just behind.

 418 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.1/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of a summer sampler 12 pack. Some hits, some misses. This was an OK beer, but nothing really special. It was a clear orange color with a medium head that retained pretty well. Not much aroma, a little grain detected. Not much taste, some citrus and a little bit of spice. It is drinkable in the sense of downing a few on a really hot summer day.

 350 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light and slightly cloudy straw hue with a one finger foamy head. The retention and lacing were decent.

The smell was very subtle. Mild hints of lemon, wheat and spice.

The flavor was very subtle as well. Again, wheat, lemon and maybe coriander. A light hop floweriness. Could have been a bit more flavorful.

The mouthfeel was very light and clean. A nice wheat tingle at the finish.

Very light and crisp and very drinkable on a hot summer night.

 466 characters

Saranac Summer Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.12 out of 5 with 307 ratings
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