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
Reviews: 437 | Ratings: 1,173
Photo of CWiggins
3.54/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found this at Target Superstore on the 15/501 in Durham, NC. All their single beers are $1.50, so I try to pick up a new item or two when I go. (Actually, they have a very small selection, but the seasonals are new to me.)

I poured the beer into a Samuel Smith glass. No head whatsoever formed. The aroma is very nice; there are hints of cloves, cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg, with cloves dominating. Really, it reminds me of the smell of freshly baked pumpkin pie! The flavor, however, is a little on the lean side. There are hints of the spices I listed, but most of those flavors occur in the aftertaste, almost as an afterthought! Also, the mouthfeel is a little too fizzy for me.

It's not that I didn't like this beer, I just think my expectations were a little high. This is my first experience with autumnal beers, and, after having consumed many Belgian-style ales, I thought this may have that big, slightly sweet flavor I associate with fruity beers. Now that I know what to expect, I would drink this again.

 1,024 characters

Photo of jmatthew
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance is a nice deep brownish orange hue, although surprisingly clear with a fair amount of visible carbonation and no head retention. The aroma is very subtle but pleasant, and has layers of vanilla and clove. The taste is of warm spices; nutmeg and cinnamon, with a faint hint of pumpkin and a sweet malt flavor that carries through to the end. A small but noticeable hop balance. The smell and taste seem to be more fall spices in general than anything inherently pumpkin. Thin and watery mouthfeel. Overall an easily drinkable beer, but I didn't find the pumpkin to be nearly as pronounced as I would have expected from the style and label art.

 653 characters

Photo of cubedbee
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First pumpkin ale of the season, and not bad at all. Pours a crystal clear copper-orange with a nice sized off-white head, pretty good retention, and a good amount of lacing. Smell is rather faint vanilla overlaid with a vague cinammon spiciness, a litle clove as the beer warms. Taste is a nice solid slightly toasty malt imbued with a nice amount of spices--cinammon, allspice, and clove--a moderate pumpkin coming through in the middle, finishing with a nice spicey pumpkin pie aftertaste. Medium bodied beer with a slightly dry finish. This is a really solid seasonal by Saranac, maybe not the best pumpkin ale out there, but for the price it's worth getting a few six packs.

 679 characters

Photo of rarevos
2.7/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a clear orange/copper with white head. Head has little staying power and eventually becomes a ring around the glass.

S: Pumpkin and nutmeg, with some cinnamon in the back. A touch of vanilla. Smells pretty good.

T: Oh, no. Dominant pumpkin and spice (nutmeg, clove) up front before crashing into a buttery finish that tastes medicinal, chalky and thick, like kaopectate or pepto bismol. There's some bitterness in there, but this beer's lost me.

M: A little tingly and a tad watery.

D: I'm glad I bought just the one bottle of this. I'm not well-versed in the style, but I still can't get past the finish. It's actually pretty promising up until then. It smelled great, and the front of the sip was pleasant.

 732 characters

Photo of riversider76
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber/orange. Decent head goes into a moderate laceing. Lots of bubbles. Smell is sweet, and spicy. Cinnamon, and allspice mostly.Maybe a hint of hops. Body is thin, and carbonated. Taste is cinnamon, and pumpkin up front, with a dry allspice finish. Liked it!.

 267 characters

Photo of beerphan
3.12/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle -> goblet
no date

Pours a clear amber with an one inch bubbley head that fades fast to a thin layer of soap suds A ton of bubbles line the glass with even more tiny bubbles shotting upward. Zero lacing.

Pretty strong nose. Cinnamon up front. Allspice and a tinge of pumpkin are also present.

Taste is spice up front with a touch of pumpkin pie on the finish. Pretty tame the whole way, not alot going on here.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit watery.

I was expecting more flavor out of this one. I guess i could drink a few of these, but i'd opt for something else next time.

 601 characters

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

12 oz brown bottle; no best before date.

Light to watery amber in color. Minor, creamy white head that fades quickly to a broken, whispy sheet. Little to no lacing.

Burnt, malted wheat; wet cardboard in the aroma. Heavy on the allspice with hints of clove and cinnamon.

Cinnamon spice, clove, and allspice upfront; all falling short in covering up a musty, dirt-filled malted wheat flavor. The pumpkin flavor is nearly absent here. An adjunctory-riddled bitterness makes for an off-flavored aftertaste of cardboard, corn, and rice with underlying hints of allspice.

Medium in body; surprisingly the malt character stands up well to the array of spices.

Given that I'm not a huge fan of herbed/spiced ales, it's not a big surprise that I didn't dig this one. Nonetheless, I couldn't get past the artificial flavor and overused spices.

 848 characters

Photo of tugdriver7
4.5/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

[Disclaimer: I love just about anything pumpkin; and I know fruit ales of any kind are an acquired taste--either you love them or you don't like them at all.]

This one is a keeper. The beer pours from the classic jack-o-lantern labeled bottle with a deep, rich dark amber/copper color and froths with a nice 1/2 inch tan head. The spice hits you in the nose, but it's mild. Just enough to hint at what you'll taste. And the taste is really very balanced and flavorful. The spice and malt are most present. Not much hop bite, but a nice tart aftertaste to balance the mild sweetness of the liquid. Very tiny bubbles finish the mouthful. Excellent.

I consider myself a pumpkin ale aficionado of sorts and find myself comparing all I can find to taste. This one is easily one of my favorites—at least of those that are bottled. Saranac/Matt does it again. This was a very pleasant surprise to see at the local store in August. Happy (early) Halloween.

 956 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a strong pumpkin pie effect. Plenty of allspice, cinnamon and clove to go around.

The taste also mirrored pumpkin pie. There was also a nice subtle sweetness that balanced out the various spices.

The mouthfeel was clean and suprisingly crisp. Good carbonation.

I like pumpkin beers. I think it is the perfect cold weather brew. This Saranac Pumpkin is much easier drinking than most. It is light and crisp and doesn't get bogged down in heavy spiciness.

 579 characters

Photo of Foxman
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours a quite clear true amber, with little carbonation to speak of. There's never more than a sliver of white head itself soon dissipated. There's mere traces of lacing.

The aroma is a generic malt/yeast duo backed capably by a pie spice melange.

Upon sipping, there was a rounded toasted malt biscuit note. Spices then take over, with a mildly bitter mix of clove, cinnamon, and allspice. Doughy yeast comes in toward the close, along with a downplayed sweetness. Ths finish is a mild spice bite drifting away. It's fairly uneventful, but there are no real low points either.

Light bodied, it simply doesn't have a lot of presence on the palate, passing through and soon gone.

It's utterly inoffensive and somewhat indifferent, but it's not bad, for what that's worth. There's a slightly savory splash of spicy sass, with just enough malt and yeast to balance things out. While nothing to write home about, maybe, it's enjoyable enough to have one or two more. could do a lot worse.

 1,013 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber hue topped with a foamy off white ringed head cap and a few bubbles rising to the surface.

Spiced aroma of cinammon and a pumpkin solid scent.

First swigs: Yup. Plenty of pumpkin in there. A touch of vanilla and spicy blends. Decent pumpkin flavor that certainly hits the mark.

The feel was a bit of a sticking point. A touch thin and diluted with a linger of cloying metallic spice wafer cookie.

Last swigs: Plenty of pumpkin, but became a bit tongue coating.

 493 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid pumpkin ale from Matt Brewing. Poured out to a dark orange color with a dense head of about 3/4 of an inch. Medium level of carbonation. Aromas of pumpkin, cinnamon, spices and herbs fill the nose. Taste is comparable to aroma; pumpkin, spice, brown sugar, roasted malt and a minor hop presence makes this brew a bit more complex than other pumpkin brews. Mouthfeel was medium bodied yet retained a lager-like drinkability, making it light and smooth. Very drinkable, this is one of the better pumpkin ales I've had. Recommended. Thanks to connecticutpoet for the sample.

 579 characters

Photo of Stimack
3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew poured to dull amber color with a smallish white head that does not have much retention but did leave some lacing around the top of the glass. The aroma is mostly of spices, but they are not as strong as I thought they would be. Seems to be tame compared to other pumpkin ales I have had this season, which is not a bad thing. The taste is nice, very smooth. Malt characteristics seem to dominate with the spices hitting the taste buds a little bit after the initial malt flavors. Over all this is a nice brew, one that I will get again next year if Saranac comes out with it again. Nice effort put forth by Matt's.

 620 characters

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

Looks good enough. In the layman's parlance, "I'd do 'er." Head dies to a hearty froth--more than i expect from a Saranac. Body is tinted with tan crossed with Coca-Cola red, very little visible carbonation.

Smells great! Vanilla and cream and pumpkin and coriander and crust and just a whiff of hops and banana. Potent scent, and enjoyable.

The taste delivers, not as much as the nose, but it does. Vanilla strongly, cooked pumpkin, sweet and smooth and a baked-crust aftertaste. Excellent mouthfeel except towards the very end, when it thins out. Until then, the humble but peppy, many-small-bubbles fizz works very well.

I've reviewed a few Saranacs this week, and drank several in addition to those I've reviewed. I get the feeling that their brewers are avoiding lingering tastes and full-bodied textures (more carbonation, thicker consistency) in order to be more session beers for bar boozers. This is well and fine, and this beer in particular does that well while still making for above-average overall quality, but I wish they'd grow some cajones if this is the case.

Oooh, peppery and some taste of ground cumin. Cinnamon galore and nutmeg too! Yowza. Like I said, very powerfully front-loaded on taste and mouthfeel, which drops off considerably (read: too much) as I let it linger or swallow it. I like it...but I see potential unrealized. God, what neat vanilla!

 1,389 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
3.27/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was a clear, deep amber brew with almost no head. The thin layer that did form disappeared quickly.

The aroma was all about spices... nutmeg, allspice, cloves. Some malt lay underneath, but it was definitely a supporting role. Like a nice pumpkin pie.

Oddly enough, I don't like pumpkins or pumpkin pie... but I love the smell, and because I am trying to sample all the Saranac brews I can, I decided to try this.

Taste was of nutmeg and cloves over medium bodied malts. A hint of caramel. There was no discernable pumpkin taste. This did not bother me in the least.

Mouthfeel was pretty good... not like one that I have had, which left my mouth feeling slimy.

Drinkability is a little below average... a little too heavy on the spices.

 761 characters

Photo of Hagbard
3.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown with mahogany highlights. A very small head formed after an aggressive pour. The aroma is a very strong malt base with nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices. Not much in the way of pumpkin, but everything you associate with the spicing of pumpkins. The taste is very spiced up. It starts with a pleasant maltiness. The spices, namely nutmeg and cinnamon, come in very quickly and take over. Nothing else is really allowed to come through. There doesn't seem to be any pumpkin taste. It seems like an amber that's been spiced to heck. Not bad per se, but not very good either. Not being a fan of spiced beers (winter warmer included), the drinkability on this is just not very good.

 697 characters

Photo of sinistrsam
3.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The body of this beer seemed watery and unimpressive but gave way to an aroma of vanilla and spice. There was a VERY slight hint of a chocolaty-caramel-coffee I can't put myfinger on. There is more of that in the flavor which was suprising; vanilla and hints of caramel and cinnamon spice. The mouthfeel was mediocre; watery and almost a flat feel. Once again, I need to have more pumpkins to get a better feel of the style.

 424 characters

Photo of maddamish
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours nicely into a decent sized head. Walnut brown color. Good lacing here.

Smell: Pumpkin, cinnamon and spice notes.

Taste: Same notes. Not overbearing at all in the spice department. Slight pumpkin aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Light and creamy

Drinkability: Decent enough. Nothing special here.

 307 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought it at the liquor store after trying a few pumpkin ales that were too spicy. This one gets it right! Nice, dark brown color but the head could be a bit more frothy and inviting to the nose. Lots of malt up front with a hint of cinnamon, a stronger dose of vanilla, and of course, pumpkin underneath. Spice is light, no aftertaste unless one looks deep for the "pumpkin pie" that lingers after the bottle is finished.

Saranac beers tend to be pretty good and this one is no exception. Very smooth, warming on a cold, rainy night (such as this), and not too expensive nor cheap. A mellow take on a pumpkin ale worthy of a "second slice".

 645 characters

Photo of asabreed
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a six-pack and this bottle's being poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A lighter brown color, with a decent head, and some decent lacing. Your typical-looking pumpkin ale, I'd say.

Smell: Lots of malt with some subtle spices, some vanilla, cloves, and slight pumpkin.

Taste: Malt up front, with some slight hop bitterness also, complimenting it well. Spices are a little discernible in a way, but they're there, and it finishes pretty nicely.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy, slightly crisp, with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty tasty. It may not be the ultimate example of the style, but I'd definitely buy it again. It's not overly spiced, which, to me, way too many pumpkin ales are, and that's what it makes it so highly drinkable.

 771 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 objectivemonkey
3.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle, a nice amber color. Little head, which was probably my fault. Smell wasn't readily apparent, though I could sense the cinnamon spices. On first sip, was a little taken aback, as it was my first 'pumpkin' beer. Second try, could taste the cinnamon and it was good. Good hints of vanilla and other spices were vaguely present. Felt like a normal beer, nothing too spectacular in that repect. After about half a pint, I thought the vanilla was overpowering a little bit. Should have had some food to complement. Definitely not a beer to sit down to and drink away, but paired with some good autumn-y food, I'd say this is a pretty good beer to drink once in a while.

 680 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
2.84/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

looks great. nice dark and crystal clear with sizeable head of medium density. aroma has a peppery spice to it, blended plethora of additives and subtle on the pumpkin essence. an even maltiness subexists. overall, excessively sweet tasting. heavy on the vanilla and sweeter cinnamon aspects.. mild pumpkin if any at all. a bit too light and bubbly mouthfeel-wise. tastes like dogfish punkin mixed with a bud light. noble effort but a failure in the grand scheme of fall beers.

 477 characters

Photo of BadBadger
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a rather tasty pumpkin ale. It pours a nice "amberish" color. The head is plentiful, and lasting. The aroma is nicely spicey. The taste is pumpkinish, pleasantly spiced. While not overwheling the spices are enough to limit the drinkability of this ale. This is certainly a pumpkin ale worthy of your time. Enjoy!

 320 characters

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite the pumpkin pie aroma. Nice malty pumpkin base with spiced accents of nutmeg and clove. Poured a small, dark tan head thaht faded quickly to a thin film. Transparent, dark caramel colored beer that shows no signs of life. Light pumpkin pie spices mix with a solid bready malt and pumplin core. There is a bit of tea flavor in there, but otherwise the flavors simply meld into the finish. Mouthfeel is somewhere between watery and soft. Saranac beers tend to be light on flavor, but this one has more then usual and strikes a nice balance of spices and malt.

 563 characters

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.