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 Jason
2.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date.

A- Thin off white lacing, pale copper hue. Clear but the head lacks a bit.

S- Iced herbal tea? Sweet maltiness in the back.

T- Soapy with a lackluster malt character, hops are minimal with some washed spice flavors from coriander and such.

M- Slick with a modest carbonation within a medium body.

D- I could barely down on bottle and I am certainly not going for a second. This is like a Belgian Wit gone wrong.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.63/5  rDev -16%
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.

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Photo of guinnessfan
2.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from akorsak

A: Pours a golden copper color, with a 1 finger head. Retention and lacing are non-existant.

S: Grain, burnt caramelized malt. Some coriander and lemon.

T: Reminds me of a malty pilsner, not really a wheat taste at all. Not really flavorful. The hops seem to be replaced with lemon zest.

M: Thin and watery. Somewhat crisp and clean, though. Annoyingly sweet aftertaste.

D: It's okay, gets the job done, but I would not choose it if it wasn't in a variety pack.

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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 Gmann
2.67/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear golden color with a sub-par head, dissipated quickly, no lacing. This offering does actually have a smell to it. It has a kind of funk corriander, orange peel smell, I'm not a big fan of this smell but some may like it. It has a weird corriander lemon flavor that doesn't fit well together. It tastes like funk. Again some may like this but it doesn't sit well with me. Seems to be a cross between a witbier and a traditional summer ale. The feel is fizzy and crisp. This would be a refreshing brew if you like the taste.

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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 mnj21655
2.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a pale golden color with about a half finger of head that quickly dissipates and leaves little lacing. Aroma is predominantly of lemons but more than pine sol than actual lemons with some yeast and other fruity esters. Taste is like the aroma. First there is a nice wheat flavor with lemons in the background. Then the pine sol like lemon flavor rears its head and builds into the finish reaching its zenith at the very end of the finish. Mouthfeel is decent, low-medium body with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is average at best. The somewhat harsh lemon flavor does nothing to make me want another one of these. Aside from that flaw this is a decent beer that I'd be willing to revisit.

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Photo of sleazo
2.69/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Saranac summer ale

A-a dark golden colour with a decent sized head leading to a nice ammount of lace. A steady stream of bubbles replenishes the head. 4

S-very strong wheat aroma. A good deal of citrus and coriander. Too strong with the coriander 2.5

T-coriander, coriander and some more. This one at least tastes a little different from the rest of their offerings. 3

M-light bodied and aggressively carbonated. 3.5

D-too much coriander and citrus. At least they went bold here. 3

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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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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Yellow with some wheat haze to it. Lemon aroma and not much else.

Once again, lemon dominates, enough water to cut it from being brutal or anything. Although that might be more welcome. I just want to feel something!!!

Perhaps they actually used lemon rind in this one. One trick pony, and not even good at that one thing. Pass.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
2.73/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with now freshness dating

A- Small soapy head, clear golden beer with subtle hints of copper

S-Nose is of berries and perhaps sweet iced tea, with a sweet malt smell as well

T- Monochromatic bitter hops with enough malt to hold it together, crummy aftertaste

M- Decent ammount of cabonation, thin bodied, leaves an awful filmy feeling in the mouth.

D-I'd still rather have this beer than a bud but by no means would I seek it out

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Photo of sabrills70
2.74/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date. Pours a very slightly hazy medium light copper wit a 2 finger head, OK longevity and just OK lace. Decent wheat malt aroma mixed with some citrus and yeast notes. Not as much malt flavor as the smell would lead you to believe. OK hop flavor mixed with some bitterness although too much for a wheat ale IMHO. Leaves a funny sort of aftertaste - part hop part wheat malt but mixed in a weird unpleasant way. Initially its not a bad beer but then the aftertaste kicks in and ruins it.

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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 MTNboy
2.76/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- A golden yellow color a little bit hazy due to carbonation bubbles but still transparent. Both the head and lace go quick.

Smell- There is something a little off in the aroma. There are tones of citrus, floral hops and metal.

Taste- Spiced roasted malt a little bitter but in a good way.

Mouthfeel- Light and soft texture.

Drinkability- Not a bad little summer beer.

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Photo of yourunclewalt
2.76/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

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Photo of asabreed
2.78/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

As per the possible suggestion, this 12 oz. bottle has been poured into my Aventinus glass.

Appearance: Hazy yellow with some brown tints, decent lacing, and a decent head. Nothing special, but at the moment it works for me.

Smell: Lemon grass, some lemon sugars, OJ or citrus fruit soda, herbal cough drops. Odd, which intrigues me, but it does indeed smell like a wacky Belgian Wit with something wrong with it in the mix.

Taste: Herbal cough drops up front, and yes, not something that's gratifying. Some off balanced citrus zest, watery malts that almost aren't there, and the faintest of hops, maybe.

Mouthfeel: Slick and watery, carbonation almost not present or is very light, which is odd.

Drinkability: I give it a 3 because I could see myself grabbing one of these instead of some light macro out of a cooler with friends grilling burgers and dogs in the July heat. Otherwise, as far as sitting down and reviewing this sucker or partaking in the aforementioned activities (though I don't think any of my friends would randomly have Saranac in a cooler, though that's beside the point), the tasting's not gonna happen again...

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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 OtherShoe2
2.78/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep gold with a white head and no lacing.

Lemon pledge aroma with a hint of spice and light malt. Not great.

More of the same. Artificial lemon dominant here, with light sweet grain fighting through, but the fight is feeble. A little sour in the finish.

Well carbonated and light bodied.

Overall, not as horrific as it could have been, but not something I'd want again. Too much lemon up front, and not done in a way that is a compliment to the rest of the brew. The true dud in the summer mix pack.

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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 Halcyondays
2.81/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark gold with a small white head, good retention.

S: Mild Lemon Pledge, some malt.

T: Light lemon flavour (little artificial), hint of wheat, just very bland though inoffensive, but that's nothing to brag about.

M: Crisp and clean. Light-bodied but has a nice structure.

D: Drinkable, but I'm already bored halfway through. Simply needs more flavour.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
2.82/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. About a finger of head. Color was honey pale. Minimal lacing on the top that dissipated to nothing at a record pace. No film on the sides.

Smelled honey and lemon mainly, but also some wheat, grass and some skunkiness

Honey dominated the taste, but also some lemon and wheat grass. Nothing crazy.

Light body. Thin texture. Above average-to-heavy carbonation. Abrupt finish.

Just your typical summer beer. You always hope for more, but it never delivers.

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Photo of Duhast500
2.83/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

The color is a clear gold with about a finger or foamy white head that cleared up quickly. No lacing left at all.

The smell is a little fruity with a hint of orange and other citrus fruits but is well muted.

The taste is just a bit sweet with some malty flavor at first. Some spicy hop flavor hits for a second then is washed away.

This beer is pretty easy going down and is pretty smooth. It does have some carbonation but does not hinder the drink-ability of this beer. A good summer beer but not groundbreaking.

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Photo of changeup45
2.85/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall I'm a little disappointed with Saranac's summer beer mix pack. This was one of the better ones from the bunch, but it's still merely average. Pours a copper color, practically no head or lacing on the glass. Doesn't have that cloudy, hazy look that most wheat beers I've tried had. There is a rather strong lemon zing in there for quite the summer effect. Not much else though, the lemon stands out and is a little too much, even for the summer. The bottle says the lemon hints are subtle but don't be fooled by that.

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