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 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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Photo of NODAK
3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is decidedly ruled by citrus, with a wheat undercurrent present.

Taste comes across as citric in the front, but not really in a strong way. It's actually kind of weird, because it's lemony in a way but really seems pretty watery. There's a small, funky tartness in the back with a little wheat. It's just unremarkable. I don't know how to explain it further. The label says there are spices in this. Good look finding those.

Pretty average stuff. Just wish it would have kept up the taste throughout the beer.

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Photo of jsprain1
2.36/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a slightly hazed apricot, with a foamy head that actually doesn't look to bad. Fizzed down to a ring though.
S- Some decent wheat characteristics, and some artificial lemon, that is not particularly enjoyable.
T- A tale of two halves here. Initially it is a pretty good beer, with some grainy wheat characteristics, but then the artificial lemon character comes in and hits it on the head. Minimal hop character. Really dug it until the lemon came in.
M- Fizzy carbonation in the mouth wasn't appreciated. Decent body though.
O- This seems like a decent beer ruined by the lemon addition. I think the trend in my taste is to like Saranac's base beers, but any time they add fruit, it doesn't mesh well. Generally would advise against this one, though it is refreshing enough.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Saranac Beers of Summer Box - $13.48 at Sherlock's in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, bronze-esque body with a thin, scant, whitish head.

Smell: Malted wheat with a vague, ill-defined spiciness and a bit of honey and perhaps less than a bit of light caramel (though I may be unduly influenced by reading 'caramel coloring' on the label). Then, there's the lemon, which, sadly, has an artificial bent to it.

Taste: Wheat malt, along with some simple pale malted barley joins a medium sweetness and small hint of graham cracker crumbs. A small hint of honey as it warms. Then, in comes a lemony flavor akin to adding a spoonful of Crystal Light to the brew. A subtle spiciness and a hint of bitterness tries to cut through the lemon additive to no avail. Finishes crisp, the tongue popping with crackling carbonation. A bit more of the lemon flavoring lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-high, soda-like carbonation.

Drinkability: SSA reminds me a bit of Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat (minus the Fruity Pebbles kick, natch). One to pound after mowing the lawn, or pound while out at the lake with friends, or not drink at all. I think I know which option I'll go for. I see a few notations of people wanting to call this a witbier, but, come on, let's not be hasty. At the very best, it's like a weird, creepy distant cousin the rest of the proud Witbier Family never calls, doesn't accept FB friend requests from, or responds to requests to "borrow" money.

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Photo of bourbonbock
3.7/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into my mug.

A. Clear and golden body with about a finger of white fluffy head which is receding pretty slowly.

S. Light aroma of pale malt and perhaps some lemons.

T. Light body with a lemony and spicy flavor. Not much aftertaste but the spiciness fades slowly.

M. Light and carbonated like a refreshing summer beer should be.

D. I like this better that the sam adams or brooklyn summer ale and would definitely buy a 12 pack when the weather turns around.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Finally almost done with the Saranac Summer pack. Jesus, it's taking me way the hell too long... Anyway, this one pours a clear pale golden straw topped by a half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises coriander, orange and lemon zests, and a good amount of wheat. The taste runs along a very similar course, but with more wheat and some sharp flowers thrown in. The fruitier notes are decidedly toned down, mere shadows of their nasal selves. The body is quite light, with a light moderate carbonation and a crisp, clean finish. Overall, an okay brew, but one that really doesn't endear itself to me. As mild as it is, I still can't see myself wanting to drink much more of this. Maybe it's too mild, I dunno.

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Photo of Offa
2.65/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is a decent, light but thin, rather sharp, bland beer and overall seems a but crude.

Deep gold, it has a medium off-white head soon thinning and leaving no real lace.

Aroma is light, vaguely caramelly toasty barley apple, hints of metal. It is rather like a lighter American dark lager-type.

Taste is grain, simple but pleasant enough, very faintly caramelly with faint leafy hop and light but sharp pepperiness and light mineral. I note an odd, fleeting hint of cherry right at the finish. Light sweetness is up front before light, brief peppery-bitter finish and then a long, faint, vague caramelly-sweet aftertaste with nothing else.

This is ok, but thin of character, simple, and crude. It offers so little that it quickly becomes tiresome.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
2.9/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Golden yellow to light orange with half inch of bubbly white head.

S: Lightly toasted malt, husky grains, lemon zest and spicy hops.

T: Slightly sweet toasted malt, light breadiness, some tart lemon flavors and a hint of spice.

M: Light body and moderate carbonation.

D: Refreshing yet not quite there for a summer beer. Lemon flavors work well but it still seems a bit boring.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Figuring that I already had the amber wheat, maybe having the pale version as well would be interesting to compare. On to the beer:

Clean bodied pale orangish gold color, the body seems "still". The head retention is adequante, and it leaves a little lacing. The aroma is like being near a lemon tree; lemon peel and lemonheads in the nose, though it should be noted the intensity isn't very high. Call it decent for a beer.

Leinenkuegel's had say in making this beer, but that famous "fruity pebbles" note strikes in here, and is the leader of the flavors. Lemonheads come out secondary. I prefer this over being bland. Light and airy in the mouth, with a gentle snap of carbonation. The mouthfeel is identical to the one of the amber wheat, but if taste is what you're concerned about, go pale.

A somewhat decent summer ale. You can do better or worse.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.08/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours a pale, clear yellow with a 2 finger white head that begins to dissipate very quickly. No lacing to speak of at all. Crappy appearance.

S- mostly an aroma of lemon...a little soapy, almost. Then it totally dies and I'm left with nothing.

T- a little lemon, a little banana. It is not a pleasant combination how they are combined. Actually pretty disgusting.

M- thin and watery. No body to speak of at all

D- I guess you could drink one pretty quickly on a really warm day. I do not want this near my lips at all with the superior variety of summer beers on the market.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.7/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Well, its Saranac, so expectations are low. Pours a decent enough yellow with a degree of haze. Smells like lemon. More than anything.

Tastes like lemon more than anything. I guess relatively speaking, its a decent Saranac brew, it tastes like something that isn't offensive for once, and its actually assertive. Don't necessarily know that I want the flavor they decide to get assertive with be lemon, but its a start. There really isn't much else to talk about, lemon dominates. Too expensive to be drinkable, too sour and sweet one dimensional lemony as well.

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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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