Saranac Summer Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

195 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 195 | Ratings: 306
Photo of riored4v
3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured in to a pint glass. 1 finger, frothy white head. Crystal clear, golden body. A bit too clear in my opinion.

Kinda dull and flat in the aroma, but there was some signs of lemon and a grainy, breadiness. Slight orange aroma as well.

Taste was thin and one dimesional with a hint of citrus. Lemon seems to come out the most. Otherwise, slightly malty with a grainy flavor.

Mouthfeel was thin body, medium carb and a dry finish.

Overall, pretty average at best. Nothing really stood out aside from the lemon.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.08/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.91/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a perfectly clear honey color. Small head. Not many bubbles in the glass.

S-Smells like a weaker version of their Belgian White. Aroma is too weak. Light fruits and wheat. In all seriousness, this beer is very poor in the aroma department. But I don't drink beer for its aroma alone...The taste rules over all.

T-A bunch more citrus than in the nose (mostly because their is almost no nose). Mostly lemon. Vibrant and light. I keep sipping to attempt to describe more flavors but in essence this beer is bright, crisp, and easy going.

M-Light bodied. Heaps of carbonation. Much more energetic on the tongue than the bubbles rising from the glass would lead me to expect. Somewhat watery.

O/D-Seemed like it was going to be a superior bore at first, but the flavor isn't half bad. Summer beers usually don't rock. This one is a mediocre summer beer. Therefore it is not that great in my book, but there is something about it that maintains my interest...At least for the first bottle.

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Photo of SickGnar
2.88/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark straw/golden, clear, just a few bubbles but a big white head. Barely fair retention, but no real lace.

S: Lemon, faint wheat beer, hint of spicy, herbal hops. Ghost hint of sweetness. Pretty clean and faint actually.

T: Lemon – both zesty from peel and herbal from coriander – a bit too much actually. Some more of the herbal & spice aspect of coriander. Perhaps some other spice. Not really a lemon tartness, but some acidic flavor without much bite. Base beer is rather generic, only slightly bready, American wheat beer with touches of pale crystal and husky grain. A tiny hint of hop bitterness flashes through at the end before the lemon takes over again.

M: A tad thin with firm but appropriate carbonation – expansive, crisp, & quenching. Herbal, lemon drying, but no tartness. Decent mouthfeel, one of the good parts of this brew.

D: American wheat with Wit-esque riffs – but it doesn’t work. Not blended & melded, but rather angular and constructed. Not proportional and balanced. Comes across as overly gimmicky in the lemon direction. Could be improved with more orange citrus, some character and robustness to malts, and less lemon.

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Photo of cbutova
3.35/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ahh, the good old "summer ale."

A- Pale golden ale pours into my pint glass. One finger white head forms and has poor retention. Dies down to just a small ring and some cloud atop the beer.

S- A very faint aroma overall. I do get some pale caramel malt and lemon zest.

T- A heavy lemon zest note is present through a light-end beer flavor made up of pale caramel malts, bread and some sweets. Also a bit of floral, herbal hops.

MF- Light bodied ale with a somewhat creamy feel. Highly carbonated and just a tiny bitterness.

Not the most flavorful of beers but it drinks pretty nicely on a hot summer day. Got it in the summer 12pack for $10. A bit too heavy on the lemon flavor but I can see what they were going for.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
2.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Peace Tree pint.

A: Pours a clear, golden color with one finger of nearly white head. Little retention or lace.

S: Sweet wheat malt, not bad. A bit of hay.

T: Weak. No off-flavors, but barely any flavor at all. Faint wheat malt, nothing else.

M: Okay mouthfeel, light enough but nothing special.

O: No joy here. Just really bland. Have yet to meet a Saranac that really does anything for me. Maybe next time.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.28/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a relatively clean amber, small pillowy head with decent retention. Scent is quite off from what most pale wheats typically smell like, the lemon is there, but the backbone screams of poor quality malts (or even adjuncts) and stale hops, very little wheat character. Taste is a little more focused, lacks much malt flavor, a little bit of staleness rescued by some citrus notes. Under carbonated for the style, comes across as medium in body. Not your typical pale wheat, some minor off notes stand out a tad more then they should. Not bad, but not something I need to sample again.

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Photo of tdm168
3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottles poured into a pint glass.

Pours a golden straw color with a quarter inch of head that fades to a thin lacing. Smells grainy and mildly like straw, the hops are noticeable, but take a backseat here. Taste is very mild; wheat and hops, but the flavors are so mellow that neither offer much. The bottle says lemon, orange and spice, but I get a tiny hint of lemon in the finish and that's it. This beer is very carbonated and actually turns to foam in your mouth; incredibly light bodied.

This beer is mediocre at best.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
2.28/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Lemon juice and copper mix in the coloration below a half finger of quickly dissipating white head...

Has a urine citron and cherries smell too it not much else

Light fruity malts and lemon water... reminds me of the belgian white and wheat from the same sampler... also has a distinctive sam adams wheat flavor to it too

Soda pop mouthfeel on a light body

Overall there isn't much here. I have a feeling this is just another one of those breweries that are scared to put out a bold product. Like Boulder Beer and BJ's Pizza. Too bad

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Photo of beerdrinker4life
3.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok trying some more beers here at GOTV. Lets go with the summer ale after all, its over 100 degrees outside!

This one came real nice and light color. Looks appetizing with big pure white head on top!

Smelled like sugar and some fruit. Not a whole lot of hops.

Tasted pretty good. Better than the IPA. Not a lot of character, but definitely refreshing.

Nice light mouthfeel and an easy drinker. It didn't hit the spot, but it was nice on a hot day.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into the Lowenbrau mug.

A - Clear golden yellow brew that came with a massive pillowy head. Eventually calmed down to a thin layer, but only after some time had passed.

S - Lemons and grassy hops make up the nose, while a distinct earthy tone also shows itself.

T - Pale malt sweetness with a mild hop tinge to balance. Big zesty citrus notes and a slight peppery quality are also present.

M - Clean light body with a good carbonation level.

D - Pretty tasty, while drinking it I was actually not sure if it was a pale wheat or a pils, but regardless I really enjoyed it and look forward to having another.

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Photo of jadpsu
3.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear pale yellow with a white head, that quickly fades.
Has a citrus lemon oder with some faint spicyness.
Taste is crisp, clean with the lemon the most prominent.
Carbonation, fizziness and a medium body. OK on the beach on a hot day but that is about it.

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Photo of renegadeburger
3.28/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

hmm i don't really know what a summer ale would be style wise but one thing is for sure it has to be thirst quenching for me otherwise it seems out of place

i poured my sample in a plastic cup (all i had at the time) but i could analyze the color as it was clear plastic, a nice hazy orange color

the aroma was not there i did get a faint smell of some sweet malk but not much else going on

overall the taste was rather bland it did not stand out for me it just seemed like a regular beer nothing special about it or nothing that made me want to suck one down at a bbq or baseball game or while mowing the lawn

overall a decent beer but i just didn't get excited about it

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Photo of JohnFatAss
3.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the Saranac Summer 12 pack.

I has a very light smell, citrus and lemon come through.

This is a mild beer. Wheat with lemon flaover and some spice. No hop bitternes.

Basically, just a beer with some lemon flavor.

Nothing stands out about it, no reason to hunt this one down, or buy again.

I liked it better than Sam Adams Summer Ale.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.08/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Saranac Summer Ale is a slightly boring tangly, citric wheat ale.

A: Yellow colour and a 4 mm head that fades to sparse lacing. 3.5

S: Not much there. Maybe a little malt and sweet. 3

T: Malty base into a very mild citric acid flavour. Weak, but reasonably pleasant. 3

M: Fizzy. 3.5

O: Tangy and a little citric. Very mild to the point of boredom. 3

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Photo of tone77
3.72/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to woodychandler for yet another canned beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is sweet, malts and grains. Taste is crisp, some citrus and grains, a bit on the sweet side. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking summer beer.

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Photo of aranheaney
2.58/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got in a sampler, poured into a DFH snifter:

A-light straw with a finger of head that is quickly gone and no lacing

S-non-offensive, fruity with some lemon

T-meh, lemon, weak, not so great

M-there's not alot going on here

O-wouldn't recommend, there's just not much positive, it's lightish, has a funky aftertaste and I don't think I'll revisit it again

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Photo of woodychandler
3.18/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I saw a 12-pack at The Foodery (N. Liberties) and being a CAN regular, I asked if they had singles available, so they broke one open for me and I bought three. It's a CANQuest (TM) thing ...

I am a retired sailor and I am doing three knots with this beer: 1) It's knot summer yet; 2) It's knot Noon yet and 3) I'm knot worried about the first two. There's an old joke about a salt on his 80th birthday and the young woman he procures to help him celebrate. She tells him: 1) You're knot in; 2) You're knot even erect; and 3) You're knot getting your money back! Brings a tear to my eye ...

From the CAN: "Beer brewed with natural flavors" (unlike Minhas, which is as unnatural as they come).

The Crack & Glug was yet another reminder as to why it is important to deCANt: not only did I get two fluffy fingers of bone-white head, but it looked like summer in a glass. Color was a beautiful sunshine yellow with NE-quality clarity. Couple that with the cloud-like head and you have a summer's day. I am a visual beer guy, I suppose. Nose had a metallic aspect to it. Uh oh. Fortunately, the smell did not translate to the taste. Mouthfeel was on the thin side and the flavor was big on lemon, which were probably the natural flavors alluded to earlier. It was a pretty mellow drink, as wheat beers are wont to be, finishing with a light zestiness, making it quite refreshing. I probably would not want more than one, but if I were accompanied by someone who really likes this sort of thing, it would be in my cooler.

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Photo of Jimmys
2.8/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

reviewed on 5/31/11 - from notes:

A: orange/gold hued body. steady carbonation leads to a very fluffy head. reasonable retention.

S: a noticeably tart lemon aroma. orange peel citrus also working its way in there. struggling to find a distinct malt or hop presence in there, however still a unique aroma.

T: pretty thin body. very similar to the nose, tart lemon flesh as well as the citrus of orange peel. a touch of breadiness boasts evidence of malt. 99% sure the citrus is from a citrus source and not hops, but I could be wrong.

M: substantial carbonation doesn’t detract from anything here.

D: a miss for me. the citrus and fruit seems too forced to be enjoyable and I am not finding this a ‘refreshing’ summer beer as I thought I would.

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Photo of muttyd
2.78/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured aggressively into a pint glass. Near clear yellow body with a soapy white head that fades into a slight ring.

Aroma is filled with iced tea with lemon, honey, and some pale malts. Somewhat musty and grass like in the nose too. Flavor is citrusy sweet up front, follows with a grainy/bready body, and finishes with a slight bitterness. Lemon sticks around after the beer is gone. As the beer warms up, the lemon becomes more reminiscent of drinking an artificially sweetened lemonade. Carbonation is spot on; bubbly on the tongue, light body and drinkable.

Really wanted to like this beer more. The lemon flavor is just too strong. Decent base beer, but wanted more.

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

Bottle poured into a cheater pint

A: clear straw yellow, slight 1/4" head with very low retention. Gobs of bubbling carbonation.

S: neutral nose, slight citrus and malt

T: not a lot of flavor. Hint of malt and citrus. Slightly soapy.

M: light bodied

O: an ok session beer, nothing that really standsout in my mind.


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

A= clear light amber to golden, with big lacing.

S= big lemon, some malts.

T= big lemon, some malts. A bit trendy and novel, mostly a fairly decent (rather, non-offensive) big lemon tasting brewed beverage. For a wheat ale it's a bit light on the wheat ale traits but huge on lemon. Pretty much as the bottle states, a great summer beer.

M= lemon and lemon, like I just bit into a fresh lemon. But better.

O= well, it's not much in the wheat beer category but it's made with wheat as a background to huge fresh-lemon flavor, probably great with most seafoods or for some exciting alternative to otherwise mediocre lawn-mowing summer beer.

If kids still had lemonade stands and sold this, the world would be a better place.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.45/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear, yellow/gold in color, with a two-inch "airy" head of foam.
Aroma-Faint lemon peel, Pilsener malt
Taste-Wheat, faint lemon peel,spice, orange pel note. Light-bodied, crisp and refreshing, but lacking any great depth of character. A decent "no-brainer" brew to be had on a hot summer day.

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Photo of micmillon18
2.85/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Best before Sept 30, 2011. My first foray into Saranac...

A - Pours a clear straw yellow with a very thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly.

S - Somewhat wheaty and yeasty; maybe some light citrusy scents. Its pretty faint on the nose.

T - Upfront sweetness, like that of orange and citrus, gives way to some grainy flavors. It ends poorly, with some odd tangy flavors (possibly from the hops) and a bit yeasty, all of which are kind of off putting. There's not a ton of flavor but what's there is decent.

M - Light body, good carbonation.

O - This was in the summer 12 pack I purchased so I'll have another one to mull over. It's very average and there are better choices out there within a similar price range.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.5/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Saranac Summer Mix pack

A-Clear yellow , carbonated as well.

S-Some lemon and a little wheat.

T-Lemon, a little wheat, with a little bit of bitterness.

M-Light and some carbonation as well.

O-Not a bad example of a summer beer but the wheat profile could have been better.

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Saranac Summer Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.13 out of 5 based on 306 ratings.
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