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 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

Photo of Risser09
2.36/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
Appearance: Pours a red-orange color with a one inch head that quickly dissipates. Moderate lace clings to the glass and stays put. No carbonation is present.
Smell: Very strong cinnamon and nutmeg with a slight malt backing.
Taste: The taste mimicks the smell of this beer. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavors are overwhelming. I am struggling to get a hint of actual pumpkin flavor.
Mouthfeel: This beer comes up poorly in this category as well. A slight fizzle of carbonation.
Drinkability: This is not a beer I would buy again. It tastes like an ale that was injected with cinnamon. There isn't any complexity and there is very little, if any, pumpkin flavor.

 702 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.82/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - this pumpkin ale pours a rich ornage color with plenty of swiftly rising carbonation, atop sits a thin tan head that dissipates quickly

S - a great pumpkin pie aroma, complete with the associated spices, with a crisp ale aroma, these worlds are blended rather nicely, no hop or malt profile to speak of

T - wow, where'd all the pumpkin go? not nearly as prevalent as in the aroma, a decent taste, but the slight pumpkin flavors make it seem as if the pumpkin flavor was added in as an afterthought, kinda weak, but not bad tasting

M&D - medium body and drinkability, smooth, but not blanaced all to well, and average brew

 634 characters

Photo of lpayette
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance- pours a very nice orange-red. Close to pumpkin in color, but a bit too red for a perfect match. Head is unimpressive despite ample carbonation to feed it.

Smell- Pumpkin pie (there are subtle hints of baked crust). Cinnamon and vanilla with vague amounts of cloves. Could stand to smell more.

Taste- Delicious pumpkin pie flavors again, complete with crust. Hints of vanilla are similar to a whipped cream topping. Various other seasonal spices.

Mouthfeel- Less carbonation and a bit more thickness would make this beer amazing and authentic tasting. Smooth and crisp.

Overall, a pretty good attempt at a pumpkin ale, but like most others, this one still left me wanting more from it than what I got.

 759 characters

Photo of msolar
4.35/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color- Deep amber, dark orange. Light colored head with consistent texture.

Smell – Pumpkin pie, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Taste – Pumpkin pie, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Not as sweet as I expected, and much more refreshing. My favorite fall beer is probably a tie between this and Smuttynose’s Pumpkin Ale. Very drinkable, very crisp, very delicious beer.

 351 characters

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

Saranac's Pumpkin Ale pours an unassuming amber color, hardly darker than a pint of Yuengling. It smells of roasted pumpkin pie and nutmeg, followed by a smooth, gentle flavor. The taste begins with pumpkin pie spice, ginger and cinnamon. After the spices, a caramel and wheat sweetness lingers while the beer finishes with a crisp, bitter nudge.

The Saranac lacks the boldness of some great beers, but more than makes up for it with a crisp mouthfeel and lighter body that make for excellent drinkability. This pumpkin ale makes a great starting point for the newly adventurous drinker or as a beer to convert the Keystone-loving beer heathens. But really, this is just a beer for anyone that likes pumpkin pie.

 716 characters

Photo of travpard
4.12/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drinking this beer feels like drinking a pumpkin pie. lots of pumpkin and cinnamon flavor. very similar style to a winter beer. great copper coloring. poured very nicely. probably would not want to have more than one in a session. priced very reasonably for a seasonal brew.

 274 characters

Photo of Damian
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle

Poured a deep, ruddy orange with a tiny white head that faded to a ring of white lace.

Aroma was similar to warm pumpkin pie. Sweet pumpkin and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice and vanilla - just like the bottle stated) with hints of other ripe fruits as well. The aroma seemed to crescendo as the beer warmed.

Taste was similar to smell yet not as intense. Pumpkin sweetness and malts were noticeable up front with spices and ripe fruits following. Then, the pumpkin pie goodness was again detected, this time on the roof and the back of the mouth. Slight hop bitterness on the back end. Somewhat dank aftertaste (I have found this true of other fruit beers as well.)

Medium bodied with a fairly creamy mouthfeel.

Overall, a nice overall pumpkin ale that covers all the bases.

 816 characters

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

I spotted this pumpkin ale stacked up by the case in a local
package store and having never scene it previouly bought a
six pack home to try. Its the season for these fall offerings and
I usually don't pass up something new. I enjoyed this enough
that I went back and bought up the last two six packs. Although
I really wouldn't be drinking these one after the other, these ales
come and go so quick(seasonal) I enjoy finding them when they
come out in September. When it gets nice
and cool out in October, friends light a nice huge fire along the
lake where we live and enjoy these brews. This one has a nice
spice flavor, creamy off white head, fairly well balanced athough you can't taste much
pumpkin but I've never been crazy about this in beer,(soup is fine) just enough pumpkin in it to call it a pumpkin ale
is fine with me, the spices don't do you in on this, tastey, Its not the greatest fall offering but it deserves to be around each season.

 965 characters

Photo of quasimoto
2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - It is a nice copper color with very little head and no lacing. Crystal clear.

S - There is not really any strong aromas going on here. In fact they are really hard to find. Really muttled smells of spices. No real off aromas to speak of.

T - Once again, really lackluster in flavor. There is a paper flavor right off the back and melds into a paperish pumkin pie flavor. Some caramel in the back, but it is really bland.

M - Light bodied, and a little too watery. carbination bite is really dominate all around.

D - Its a good one to feed to the masses if they dont really care what they are drinking. I wont go ouot of my way to get this again.

 663 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 becktone
2.93/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've been looking forward to this time all year; the time when pumpkin ales are in season. I can't wait to drink more of these wonderful beers, this Saranac Pumpkin ale is my first this season and I am ecstatic. Not only do I look forward to drinking these but I plan to brew my own pumpkin ale as well.

This beer is a wonderful color. It is a crystal clear amer-orange in color. Carbonation bubbles are abundant and make this beer appear quite alive. Head formation is very nice, a solid creamy one and a half finger head crowns this beer. As it begins to receed it leaves a very appetizing lacing along the sides of the glass. Head retention is fair.

The nose of this beer is of a strong malt influence. There are no hop aromas that I can associate with any of the aromas that I am smelling. There are various spices that I can pick up in the aroma of this beer, the most prominent are nutmeg and ginger, reminds me of the smell of pumpkin pie....Hey who would've guessed it!? Basically Pumpkin is the overall impression I get when I smell this beer. Would be nice if the aromas were more in the face, and not quite so hard to detect. They are a bit weak.

The first thing I noticed about this beer is that there is a metallic tang on my tongue, right on the tip. It was closer to the finish of the beer than right in the begining but it detracted from the rest of the experience. Bittering hops do their job well by providing some balance to this overall malty sweet beer. The spices take the foreground of the flavor profile of this beer. The pumpkin doesn't really make itself known at all. If there is any pumpkin in this beer it is hidden behind the malt. The aftertaste of this beer is somewhat metallic as mentioned earlier. The actual taste of the beer doesn't last long in the mouth, it is usurped by the metallic tang. Don't get me wrong this is a good beer, but it didn't meet my expectations.

The mouthfeel of this beer is full bodied which is very nice and fits with expectations of this style. Higher levels of carbonation give a nice feeling on the tongue once this beer is swallowed. This beer is an easy drink, and is quite enjoyable; however, unless this is the only pumpkin beer that I can get my hands on this season I will not be purchasing this particular brand again. Don't get me wrong, its a good beer, but I know that there are much better beers out there that really shine in this style. Dogfish Head Punkin' ale is fantastic, and I would recommend that over this any day.

 2,512 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber color with moderate white puffy head. Smell denotes a mild clove note but little else. Taste is also a bit spicy with a light detection of cloves. Finish is nice and refreshing with a nice full mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability. Somewhat lacking as a pumpkin ale, but still a nice beer.

 306 characters

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

Admittedly, I have criticized Matt Brewing for the Mainstream appeal of their beers, or stated another way - boring. I have to take it back. After their Oktoberfest and now the Pumpkin Ale I see That Saranac really can make some good brews.

Appearance: Pours a light brown amber copper with a small head that fades.

Smell: mmm. I love everything about pumpkin beers! I love pumpkin pie smells and I love the allspice cinnamon vanilla pumpkins in the nose of Saranac's version.

Taste: The taste follows the smell. It has all the flavors I love to find in a pumpkin ale. The cinnamon and the nutmeg and pumpkin flavor along with the caramel malty bread. It may not stand leagues above the rest but right on representation of a style I enjoy this season is okay by me!

Mouthfeel: A medium light mouthfeel with low carbonation lends to a fast easy drinker.

Drinkability: This beer is actually, to it’s credit, built for mass appeal. It is approachable and easy drinking and certainly a good choice as a party beer in the season.

Hope this is helpful.

 1,074 characters

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

Saranac Pumpkin Ale
12 oz brown bottle
Jet ink # on the bottle - 2026 03:44
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a light copper brown. Decent head at first, but quickly vanishes to a thin lace that wraps around the top of the beer. Little spots and dots of lace stick to the glass.

Whiffs of caramel malts, vanilla and pumpkin spices. Not as strong a nose as some other pumpkin ales that I've tried.

Juicy caramel malt backbone with hints of sweet vanilla, allspice and a touch of cinnamon in the background. The mouthfeel is a tad thin, but favors more of a medium body.

A slighty above average Pumpkin Ale from Saranac. I've said this before about other beers in this style and I'll say it again, it's no Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale.

 749 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 AltBock
1.98/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle with a label that's black in color and with a grinning Jack O' Lantern. To the left of the Pumpkin is that bar code and Deposit and to the right of the Pumpkin is the Govt. warning. Information about the beer along with a picture of pint glass filled with beer can be found around the small neck label. No date can be found anywhere on the label. It's just an average simple non- threatening non-offensive Pumpkin Ale label. This makes for my very first Pumpkin Ale review.

Appearance: When poured into a Beck's American Pint glass, the beer was a dark chestnut brown color with a skim of white foam that just disappeared in front of my eyes and left maybe some white rings that lasted only few seconds and no lace around the glass.

Smell: The smell was that of very subtle spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice), hint of cloves, with a background of burned canned pumpkin. I really didn't care for the aroma in this beer. Not good.

Taste: Very little Pumpkin taste in this, if that. There were more spices like nutmeg and cinnamon then a pumpkin taste. The best way I can describe it is, if you make a pumpkin pie with all the spices with a pinch hops and then when it's done you remove the pumpkin. That's what this beer taste like. All you get a a touch of pumpkin. At least there was some pumpkin flavor to this beer.

Mouthfeel: It was very light, little carbonation, and with a slight aftertaste of spice and burnt hops. Not much going on after the light pumpkin taste goes down your throat.

Drinkability: Basically this beer was a lot like the label. It was non-offensive, non threatening, and very little was going on. What can I say, at least it's cheap. I couldn't commit to buying a six-pack and only bought a single. I'm glad I only got one bottle.

 1,785 characters

Photo of Suds
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was the first time I’ve had Saranac’s pumpkin ale. It pours a rich copper color, with a moderate soapy head. The aroma is as notable for the spice as it is for the pumpkin. I picked up a lot of cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger. The pumpkin is also present, but didn’t seem to have the same prominence as the spice. There’s also an underlying mildly toasted malt and grain character. The taste is similar, with a lot of spice flavor. The brew is a little more carbonated than necessary, giving it a distracting effervescence that I don’t think fits well with the style. Still, this is a pretty enjoyable brew…slightly sweet, pumpkin-pie flavor, and fully appropriate for the season.

 689 characters

Photo of AlexJ
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$5.50 a sixer, what the hell!

Dull orange amber pour with the traditional Saranac head dissapearing act and no lace to speak of. Note: these beers are decent for the price, but why the hell can't they brew a beer that holds it's head.!?!

Aroma is a light snap of roasty malt accented by tons of cinnamon and nutmeg, subtle clove anf possibly coriander. No notion of the namesake's ingredient however.

Flavor has a nice malty accent and simple and traditional spicing, although a bit heavy on the cinnamon and lacking elsewhere. I'm happy to report that the pumpkin character missing in the nose is found in the tasting. Actually a pretty tastey beer, and very budget-conscious.

Body is light to medium, with the dull mouthfeel that accompany's every offering from this brewery. Easy to put away nontheless, especially while noshing on a steaming bowl of sweet potato and crab bisque and buttered, toasted baguette.

 927 characters

Photo of spiffylubes
2.16/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From a 12 oz bottle, served in a pint glass, poured a decent copper/amber color with very little head that dissipated quickly leaving little to no lacing. Very lacking in the smell department, all I smell is basic sweet malts, no special pumpkin spices at all. Flavor was similarly lacking, slight sweetness, with the first taste the aftertaste had some basic pumpkin spice flavors (cinnamon mostly). After the first taste there wasn't anything there for me, however, and all I got was a very slight sweetness. Mouthfeel isn't bad, smooth, good amount of carbonation. Drinkable, but as many others have said, why would you bother when there's so many other better pumpkin ales?

 677 characters

Photo of far333
2.87/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper-caramel color with a frothy but low off-white head that doesn't rise up much and then recedes very quickly. Aroma of sweet malt and cinnamon. Flavor is initially cinnamon, followed by some sweet malt, and then a strong nutmeg flavor. Clara Peller would probably taste this beer and say "Where's the Pumpkin?" I honestly don't detect any. There's a hint of buttered corn in the finish, followed by a misplaced peppery bite that lingers. The taste is not bad, but I'm scoring it low because it's missing the main ingredient. Mouthfeel is smooth, full, moderate carbonation. It's fairly drinkable, but why bother? There are so many other better pumpkin beers.

 677 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass, it pours an amber color with not much of a head at all. It smells like bready malt, cinnamon, nutmeg and some pumpkin. It pretty much tastes the same way, but there's more of a spicy taste than a pumpkin taste. There's also a small bitter aftertaste, but it doesn't last long at all. The mouthfeel is light and a bit slick, and it has moderate carbonation. The drinkability is good. Overall the beer is OK, I could drink it every once in a while.

 470 characters

Photo of nouseforotacon
2.75/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up in a mixed singles section at Mo's. Fall is around the corner and eating pumpkin pie comes a close second to watching football as my favorite Fall pastime.

According to the Julian date code, if I am reading this right, this bottle was made on the 198th day of the year, 2006, 6:53pm. Right.

This one poured out a cloudy, translucent amber with a short white foam. Lightly visible carbonation, short head is reduced to murky lacing in a matter of seconds.

Very spicy aroma with the sweet malts and cinnamon coming to the forefront. Cloves, nutmeg, and a toasted profile all noted on the nose. Pleasant smelling, but spices dominate.

First sip and I'm wondering if this is the same brew - spices are mild and pushed way back on my palette, lingering bittersweetness. Malts, malts, and more malts is all I really taste... and not particularly pleasant tasting malts, at that. Pumpkin flavor seems like an afterthought, in fact, there's not much of it here at all.

The most disappointing thing about this brew is the extremely watery/carbonated mouthfeel. Light to medium body, but with a rush of carbonation in the finish that feels like I'm drinking this one while doing a keg stand. I can't say that I'm a fan.

Drinkability is fine, but why would you want to? Can't recommend this one, even though I love DFH and Bklyn's pumpkin ale efforts.

 1,381 characters

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

It was a gloomy Fall day today, so I was in the mood for a brew to match the outside. The only pumpkin ale on sale my local store was...gulp..from the mediocre Matt Brewery. Still, I wanted me some pumpkin and I was a' gonna get it.

Pours like a nice pumpkin ale, actually. Dark gold and orange with a decent, but short-lived head.

Smells great! Huge allspice, ginger, and big, juicy pumpkin. Oh please oh please let this translate into the flavor.

Starts off with a wonderful burst of spice, peppery and gingery and getting solidly more floral as it goes on. That leads into the meaty pumpkin middle, a kiss of bad east coast malt, and then it ends on the spice of pumpkin again. The malt comes and goes and really isn't that offensive, but hell what is it with the east coast brews tasting like rotten Cheeri-os?

A fine example of this style, and one of Saranac's better offerings.

 896 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

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.