Saranac Pumpkin Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

437 Reviews
Read the review
Saranac Pumpkin AleSaranac Pumpkin Ale

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

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by JackStraw22 on 09-01-2005

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 437 | Ratings: 1,173
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.31/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy khaki head that fades to nothing. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and pumpkin pie spice aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, fruit, and pumpkin pie spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is nothing too memorable, but it is easy to drink for what it is.

Serving type: bottle.

 563 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the classic pumpkin beer to me. in upstate new york, this beer signals that the season is here. a pours of rich coppery orange, nearly red in color, with a just off white lacey head. the nose is the perfect mix of pumpkin and spice, some clove, vanilla, cannamon, and allspice. flavor starts off with mellow spice and a lot of the pumpkin pie flavors, but not too much sugar. it moves to an english malty fruit bread sort of middle, and a nice heavier sweeter spice in the finish. this is the pumpkin beer i grew up on, and for that i will always love it. never too sweet, never too spicy, just balanced. lighter mouthfeel for what it is, and just right medium carbonation. this is a very sessionable pumpkin brew, and definitely on of the better ones on offer anywhere. i think it is grossly underrated here on BA.

 815 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought a 6 Pack back in Fall 2007 and loved the design on the label. The beer was pretty good to start out but got kind of gross about half way through. Very strange how it took a turn for the worst once it warmed up. The aromas of spice and pumpkin are dominant. The flavor was the same way till about half way through and it started tasting very odd to me. The color was a nice amber tone with a pretty nice tan head. I drank all 6 and it didn't get much better as they went. Not sure what the deal is.

 504 characters

Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger and a half high dense off white head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of toasted malts and pumpkins in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that there are more flavors of pumpkins and also some notes of nutmeg. There are some faint hints of malty sweetness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: Nothing really jumps out at me as being impressive about the smell or taste of this beer but it is quite easy to drink. This might make for a good pumpkin beer to try for someone who is just getting into craft beers and might get turned off by stronger flavors of pumpkin or spices.

 874 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.9/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally saw it at my regular beer store, a little later than the other seasonals but whatever.

I was impressed by this one. Pours a beautiful deep amber, a nice spice filled smell, and a great thick body with plenty of tasty spices. Very drinkable and well balanced and the pumpkin flavor is kept in check.... very good beer.

 326 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.57/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A nice Pumpkin Ale that rides the fence of 'character' and 'mediocricy'. Saranac takes a moderate gravity and bodied base beer of an Amber Ale (probably), lightly hops it, and adds a lot of pumpkin flavor. The sun-kissed malt character brings on a bright caramel and grain taste that leads to a clean and crisp body. Pumpkin aroma and flavors hide right behind the malts and certainly provide a punch of vegital tastes. Spices however enhance the pumpkin and reaffirms the majority of what is preceived as pumpkin. A good amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and other flavorings do more than balance but give a spice-forward notion to the beer's flavor. I wish the beer held onto a bit more creaminess and body, as it fades quickly into a finish that prefers grain and sweet over malty and rich. Still a nice beer to drink with very little in flaws; just under malted and under pumpkin-ed (take note Webster).

Notes on appearance include a bright amber color with mild haze. Initial loosely knit head fades farily soon into a trace before holding firm. No lacing. An ok-to-less than average look.

Thanks ShadesOfGray!

 1,120 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper color with a creamy white head that leaves dots and dashes of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Caramel backbone with hints of cinnamon, and alspice; also some pumpkin and vanilla peeks through

Taste: Caramel and some pumpkin flavor complemented by the spices up front; after the swallow the cinnamon and vanilla poke to the forefront; there is also a nice balanced bitterness from the hops that works well into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the better pumpkins out there; a pleasant surprise from a brewery that has often been a disappointment to me

 639 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear dark ruby color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of light pumpkin with notes of cinnamon and cloves more perceptible then I had expected. Taste is also dominated by cloves and cinnamon which are well balanced with pumpkin and light caramel malt. Body is a bit light for my own taste with good carbonation. Some additional character and more body would have greatly benefited this beer which is still very enjoyable.

 479 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark, reddish, amber color with a one-finger, white, bubbly, head of foam. It had some nice retention and left thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of pumpkin, cinnamon, and allspice.

T - Cinnamon led off the taste with a nice pumpkin flavor. Some good, traditional spices that come with pumpkin dishes.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a dry finish. A light to medium bodied ale.

D - This is a good pumpkin ale, but after drinking a bunch of Schlafly Pumpkin Ale...this one just doesn't compare.

 515 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours an orange-copper color with a white head and a bit of lace. The nose brings forward nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and some mildly-sweet pumpkin. The taste brings more nutmeg and allspice without as much cinnamon. Some pumpkin in the background. Medium body with good carbonation and a nice spice-to-pumpkin ratio. Drinks fairly well and isn't overly spiced or overly pumpkin-oriented, which puts it above many in the style.

 449 characters

Photo of oberon
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Admittedly I am not a fan of pumpkin pie but I always look forward to the fall pumpkin beer each year,this poured a light copper with a 1/2 finger white head that was gone quite fast seems to be quite carbonated and somewhat spritzey.Pumpkin spice mainly in the nose cinnamon and mace stick out mainly a hint of nutmeg and an underlying toasted grain character,a sharp even light mouthfeel didnt like the feeling of that much.Subdued spice flavors not over the top quite pleasant nutmeg and cinnamon mainly even a touch of butter.Not bad flavors but the thin sharp mouthfeel is undesirable in my mind and it takes away from its drinkability,not bad but wont seek out again.

 673 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bubbly fizzy head that rises to the top of the SA perfect pint glass about 2 fingers and fades semi quickly, over crystal clear amber reddish orange slight copper color.

Nose is pumpkin alright, some pumpkin extract and pie filling, light bready malts, hint of spices, light syrupy reddish malts, hint of caramel.

Taste comes on with pumpkin again but not overpowering. A bit syrupy and reddish malty flavor, some light bready malts, fruit tasting and candy as well. Semi sweet, pumpkin is lighter overall. Then the finish starts to get bitter as a few spicy hops come out, and a light sticky finish, and a bit syrupy, light spices and pumpkin, and almost flemmy. The finish kinda ruins it.

Mouth is med bodied, syrupy, and good carb.

Overall not bad, pumpkin is kept at a good level, no heavy spices, nice malt profile, just way to sticky and syrupy.

 863 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As is the case with almost all "pumpkin" ales, what we're really talking about here is a spiced ale. The use of real pumpkin pulp doesn't generally lend much flavor to the beer, but the spice does. The question then becomes, is it balanced? Well, yes it is. Matt has done an excellent job with this one, clearly laying out the pumpkin pie character, yet keeping it just on the edge of going overboard. The spice is clear and upfront in both the flavor and the aroma, with the cinnamon and all-spice very noticeable in the flavor, and the vanilla and clove more clear in the aroma, but not so much in the flavor where it's kind of drowned out - the all-spice and cinnamon dominate (although the clove follows close behind). The sweetness of the malt is just enough to support the spiciness, and it doesn't become "sweet". The bitterness is therefore kept low to achieve that, and really, it's not needed - the spice does the job! And I think that perhaps the vanilla, even though it's low-key in the flavor, is enough to stimulate the brain into thinking that it's sweeter and softer than it might actually be. So although I'm still not sure that there can ever be any real level of drinkability to a pumpkin ale, the Saranac pumpkin is at the very least one of the best "first" beers at Halloween (or anytime during the fall season), and may pass second-beer muster. Well done! Absolutely worth trying for those who enjoy pumpkin ales, or even spiced beers in general.

 1,468 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.57/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear medium amber with a fizzy whitish head that quicky evaporated into nothing and barely left any lace. Aroma is quite surprising. Strong, very pleasant blend of pumpkin and spices.

Taste is similar to the aroma but seems much more muted. That nice mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg is there but seems to fade out pretty quickly. The mouthfeel is fairly thin and fizzy on the back of the throat.

All in all, not a bad Pumpkin Ale from Saranac that actually exceeded my expectations somewhat. A nice aroma and lighter body help keep this guy fairly drinkable.

 609 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.97/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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

A: The beer is a rusty brown color with a thin off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of pumpkin, spices, caramelized malts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is little spicy up front with sweet flavors of pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg and caramel. Then there's a mild hops presence that comes in but doesn't complement the other flavors very well. The malt character is on the thin side for the style. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly spicy.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, not the best representation of style, there are many other beers in the style that I would go with before this one.

 845 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear very dark copper to dark amber in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall dense and fizzy white head that quickly reduces to a large patch of thick film and a thing ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal to light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted and caramel malts with light hints of pumpkin.

T: The beer starts out with some moderate toasted and caramel malt sweetness that has some lighter notes of pumpkin and nutmeg. Light bitterness in the finish.

M: Light to moderate bodied with heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Easy to drink due to the light flavors of pumpkin and spices but does not stand out to me.

 727 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.13/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Autumn leaves orange with butternut trim. A large sandstone colored cap was created on the creamy sounding pour. The foam is soft and featureless, perhaps gaining a hint of rockiness as it melts. Pumpkin Ale isn't bad in the lace department, solidifying the 'better than average, but far from spectacular' appearance.

I liked the nose better from afar than I like it from anear. It's decent, and easily idenitifies the beer as a pumpkin ale, but it lacks the wonderful combination of pie spices that read so well on paper: cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger. The first and third are the only obvious ones by my nose.

With October right around the corner, I thought the time was right to dig into the first pumpkin ale of the season. While this one isn't bad, it fails to light my jack-o-lantern. Curiously, there's no light shining from the eyes, nose and mouth holes on the label pumpkin. An omen? We'll see.

The malt backbone is neither very sturdy nor very remarkable in terms of flavor. As well, the beer could use more pumpkin flavor. It's more like a mildly pumpkin-flavored amber ale than a pumpkin ale. The spices aren't very prominent either and their muddled nature makes picking out specifics impossible. I'll stop short of calling this one bland, but it's close. Who puts Cascade hops in a pumpkin ale? Can't taste them anyway.

The brewers think the mouthfeel is medium. I think it's light-medium on a good day. A proper amount of carbonation helps to give the beer a hint of light creaminess... that's gone in the blink of an eye.

There's nothing to hate about Saranac Pumpkin Ale because it has no real negatives. Trouble is, it isn't exactly bursting with positives. Unfortunately, the same can be said for most beer from these guys. Here's hoping my next pumpkin ale will have more fire in its belly.

 1,825 characters

Photo of russpowell
2.67/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up in Wichita

Pours a super-effervescent bronze/amber with 1+ finger of cream colored head. Below average head retention & lacing

S: Metallic hops & pumpkin pie spice which dominates as this warms

T: Pumpkin pie spice, metal, & not much else up front. More of the same as this warms, plus leafy hops & nutmeg. Finishes with some buttery sweetness & cinnamon

MF: Light/medium bodied, fairly vigirous carbonation

Drinks slow, I expected more from these guys. Maybe this better fresher, but this needs some malt backbone for starters, disappointing

 564 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I grabbed this sixed from the store yesterday as I had not had it before and the price came in just about right for me. Served cold, right out of the fridge, I poured this one into a pint glass and enjoyed it on 10/28/2008.

The pour was fairly straightforward here. Nice and lightly hazed orange tinted amber was quickly encompassing the glass. A nice sized head of white foam then rose up over the top and reached a height of around two inches, excellent retention left behind a good deal of side glass lacing and some nice puffy white foam across the top.

The aroma was a touch lighter then I would have thought, but I would still say it was fairly decent. Nice touches of cinnamon and all spice, hints of nutmeg and a nice light grain and bready base to it. The flavor though was just decent. No really full profile here, lots of pumpkin spice and hints of cinnamon throughout, but other then that it just came across as far too weak for me. No aftertaste at all, and the quick and very clean finish was a little bit less then I would have initially hoped for. Decent carbonation on a somewhat thin body here. Easy to drink, though a touch light for me again.

Overall it was decent. Nothing terrible by any means, just a decent fall seasonal here. I would try it again, but not my favorite so far.

 1,303 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one pours dark amber and clear. The head is mild and dissapates quickly.

Dark malt aromas with strong baking spices, especially cinamon. The pumpkin smell is quite light.

Nice pumpkin flavor which is surprising. Also, there is a noticeable hop finish which my nose could not detect. I like the body (above average) and carbonation (moderate). This is a drier beer than many pumpkins are made. I tend to like this style more than the sweeter heavier malted beers. Still, there is some wonderful flavors and complexities here.

 531 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked up a six pack at the PX at Ft. Indiantown Gap in PA.
Poured cool into a nonic
A - A slightly coppery shade of bronze w/ a full inch of off white foam. There is a relatively moderate amount of stickage.

S - Vegetal, nutty and spiced aromas w/ a hint of metallic scents w/ a clove/nutmeg odor.

M - Meaty, malty feel w/ a large quantity of carbonation and smooth biscuity and grainy textures and a sweet finish.

T - The taste of pumpkin is evident and the spicing is consevative. There is a slightly corny taste and a sugary sweet almost brown sugar in light form in the flavor.The taste also has a flat dull effect as it begins to warms, more or less the good flavors don't stick around for long. A hint of warmth of alcohol lingers in the background, but barely enough to distract. The sweetness becomes slightly cloying w/ an allspice and cinnamon note in the flavor as the sample gets close to the end of the bottle.

D - A pretty average pumpkin, the ale just doesn't provide enough of a foundation for the flavor. Dirnkability wise there are moments that are tasty, but it fails to wow me overall. I found it drinkable for the price at the PX since it was less than $6 for a sixer. I probably won't revisit the experience, though.

 1,245 characters

Photo of Jason
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Dark tawny

SMELL: Vanilla, licorice root, all spice, mild pumpkin meat

TASTE: Crisp, lighter body, spicy, clean grain, root beer, faint pumpkin, dark bread, herbal

Not half bad, perhaps not at beery as I was hoping for. The spice does not get annoying at all and there is enough malt flavor to keep things interesting.

 371 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.17/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yay, it's Pumpkin Ale season again! I am usually a big fan of these beers and it seems early for them, but who am I to complain? Time to drink the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I must be out of my gourd.

From the bottle: "In celebration of the Fall harvest, here's an Autumn favorite that's as enjoyable as pumpkin pie. This hearty ale is brewed with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Look for a full body and an amber color. We're sure you'll enjoy this special brew. Cheers!"; "The perfect hint of pumpkin flavor, spiced right with cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger. You'll think you just drank fall!"; "Celebrating 125"; "Hey there ... To celebrate our 125th year, we're introducing our Legacy IPA, a beer inspired by a recipe crafted long ago by our founder, F. X. Matt. We're excited to share this new beer with our friends. Look for our Legacy IPA and CHEERS TO 125 YEARS!"; "From our family-owned brewery in the heart of Upstate New York, the third and fourth generations of the Matt family have been committed to the craft our great-grandfather brought to America 125 years ago."; "Sticklers for detail and suckers for a twist on tradition, our family is relentlessly committed to brewing excellence. The result is the Saranac family of beers. Uniquely identifiable. Refreshingly distinctive. Exceptionally drinkable."; "Our founder would be proud to know that his legacy endures. And we're glad that you chose to enjoy Saranac. Cheers, [undersigned] Nick & Fred".

My pour got me a finger of tawny head with good retention. Color was a deep copper with NE-plus quality clarity. I could see into the future through this beer! Nose was big with spiciness, especially cinnamon and clove, maybe even nutmeg. Boy, howdy, but I love that smell! Mouthfeel was full and creamy and the cloves really stood out in the mouth. The finish was more cinnamon in its spiciness, but the whole package reminded me of chewing a stick of Big Red gum while smoking a clove cigarette. Very tasty.

 1,987 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.47/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A – Orange copper body. Loose white head with lose lace and retention.

S – Orange with a whisper of booze. Pumpkin sweetness with savory allspice and a touch of nutmeg.

T – Big ginger bread note opens the profile and lasts through a long center. Orange zest and malt on a sweet backend. Very light on pumpkin flavor, but what’s there is layered in the gingerbread in the middle.

M – Bright carbonation up front with a medium body. Round, sweet finish.

O – Good drinkability and a nice flavor profile, but low on the pumpkin that I’m looking for.

 563 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears an amber caramel hue with a large creamy off white head and it leaves nice bands of even lace around my nonic pint glass. Aroma is perfect with soft mellow spices including cinnamon, all spice, and clove...of course the famous gourd, the pumpkin presence is there as well and it does justice to this often overdone style. Flavor has caramel malt presence with light but evident we get the point doses of spice and everyone's invited to the party with the pumpkin pie spices and and earthy vegetable tone we have ourselves some pretty good stuff here...balance equals good in a pumpkin ale. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slight syrupy character with even carbonation flows very nicely glass empties itself. Drinkability...this should be the standard for the style flavorful yet doesn't make my stomach wrench after the first pint of it.

 840 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saranac Pumpkin Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,173 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.