Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014) | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014)Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014)
365 Ratings
Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014)Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014)

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Kendo on 12-23-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 365 |  Reviews: 258
Photo of woodycorn44
1.5/5  rDev -58%

Photo of sinstaineddemon
1.88/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - light brown pour, with a full finger of buttery colored head, scant and rare carbonation

S - musty hoppy, with some floral notes on the nose, not too complex however, rather unidimensional

T - just straight up hoppy bitterness, i really can detect no other components, insanely unbalanced, i like Saranac brews, just didn;t hit it off with this one

M&D - not very drinkable, just way to one-sided bitter, ill stick with the others in the Saranac lineup that i enjoy

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Photo of RWACKO
2/5  rDev -44%

Photo of jfcaa193
2/5  rDev -44%

Photo of grover37
2.22/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle from State Line Liquors poured into a Dogfish snifter.

Appearance (4): A clear, dark gold with a finger and a half of head which reduces to a thin layer. Lacing at the top but only spots further down.

Smell (2): Strong, sweet caramel. Smells a lot like a barleywine. Not much hops but a hint of pine and grapefruit.

Taste (2): Boozy and dark, candied caramel up front. Bitter in the middle and sweet in the finish with some mouth coating pine. Once again, much more like a strong ale or a barley wine. Not much aroma hops here except in the finish.

Mouthfeel (3): Medium to full body with low carbonation. A bit bitter in the finish and stinging sweet. Not an offensive mouthfeel except for the taste.

Drinkability (2): I'm glad I split this one as I don't even want to finish my half. It'd be an acceptable barleywine but way too sweet regardless.

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Photo of bribo
2.25/5  rDev -37%

Photo of mitch3114
2.25/5  rDev -37%

Photo of DonFrap
2.25/5  rDev -37%

Photo of ryan1788a5
2.26/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Clear dark orange with hues of brown.Thick off-white head boasts great retention. Rings of foamy lacing cling everywhere. It is a nice looking beer.

S: Hefty dose of caramel and some bready malt. Pine, mango, tangerine, and other citrus fruits. Leafy hop scents. Pineapple esters.

T: Very sweet malt tastes up front, to the point of being cloying. Sugary caramel and crusty bread. Oily, floral, and leafy hop tastes, pine needles, and some citrus flavors. Moderate bitterness. Toasted malts come out toward the end. Alcohol peeks out just a bit and adds a little spiciness. Finishes with toasted malts and pine tar.

M: On the thicker side of medium. A bit viscous and chewy. Some prickly carbonation. Not at all right for the style.

O: This was not very good. Finishing one bottle was a chore, and now I'm stuck with five. Glad I didn't pay for them. I'll just have to cook with them I guess.

Notes: Tastes under-attenuated. Too sweet, syrupy in body. I realize they are going for more of an East coast representation of the style, but it feels like they went a bit overboard.

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Photo of gnolan
2.31/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm a huge fan of Saranac beers but was disappointed in this Imperial IPA. I like a strong hop smell and finish and this had neither. It is very malty and the alcohol is taste is present and leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Their Session IPA is much better.

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Photo of dragonWhale
2.31/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap for a lovely NY "event' the great Matt brewing company desires to put this about my tonsils. We laugh and dance, we draw the pint. Amber maiden with the right stuff. Smell is pine and bleu cheese, a little citrus. At first, it's very nice, then the cheese becomes more apparent to us all.
Bitter up front, metallic, bready, cheesy. Not ideal.... This was at least drinkable, but it made my tongue all messed up for the night. It was all I could taste in the next beer.

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Photo of techcommdood
2.44/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured froma 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams glass (hey, it was in reach). Poured clean with a nice deep golden straw color with over 2 fingers of crisp head that quickly sunk down. Impressive lacing on the glass, with legs!

Aroma was full of grassy hops and caramel, with some alcohol presence on the nose.

Taste was extremely grassy with very little malt character at all, and extremely boozy. Seems like they let this one ferment a bit too long. If they used a bit more malts and stopped fermentation to yield the same 8.5%, this would be a far better beer. This beer is way too boozy for 8.5%. Dogfish Head's 120 Minute tastes and smells less boozy, and that weighs in at 20%!

Mouthfeel is thin, dry, and bubbly. As a result, drinkability was not good. I had to switch off with water every so often, and looked for something to munch on to break the boozy grassy flavor from layering too thickly on my tongue.

Overall, this beer looks fantastic but just doesn't live up to the quality expected in a IIPA; other breweries have set the bar fairly high with strong but balanced IIPAs. This one is just way too boozy and grassy to be enjoyable.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
2.45/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into 400ml New Belgium branded tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep amber color with a very minimal off-white head that manages to leave a thick lace behind.

Smell: Strong hoppy nose- pine notes are the most prevalent alongside touches of flowers and grass (all of the smells of the forest). While the smells detected are tantalizing, the overall smell is pretty weak.

Taste: Begins with biscuity flavors, finishing with a relatively mild hop bitterness that is backed up by too much alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick, almost syrupy body with light carbonation and a sticky finish.

Drinkability: This beer was a disappointment- it's not even as hoppy as some IPAs, let alone Imperial IPAs. The alcohol in this is a bit overwhelming, along with the mouthfeel lacking the dryness typical of the style. Definitely not something I'll be rushing to have again.

 869 characters

Photo of NODAK
2.46/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Has a fairly tropical hop aroma to it, with notes of orange there as well...though it certainly shows its sweet malt backbone as well. Fair.

Pours and orangish dark golden color in my pint glass with a decent head...lacing is pretty good.

Taste...well it isn't what I'm looking for in a DIPA. It begins with a tropical hop profile that also has a peppery spiciness present as well. From there though, it turns strongly earthy and woody...and that just isn't pleasant to me in a beer of this style. The only real bitterness in the beer comes at the time of the swallow, where there's a fair bitterness, but it just isn't what one would expect from the style. At least, it isn't what I expect.

It may be cheap for the style, but i think you get what you pay for here.

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Photo of YankChef
2.48/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

poured into an american pint glass

Appearance: Dull amber color with a light colored off white head.

Aroma: not as pungent as I expected, somewhat sweet with a mild pine aroma of hops.

Taste: bitterness is certainly present on the finish and is well not very pleasant... this beer is out of balance and not in a good way

Overall: A mediocre beer from a mediocre at best brewery, if it seems like its too cheap it probably is.

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Photo of Doomcifer
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Photo of PrimScrewhead
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Photo of jbrumberg
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Photo of bplzip
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
2.53/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I felt honored to have been able to get this at my local beer store.
This is the 1st in the High Peaks Series and I thought it would have been more expensive, but I only paid $6.49 for a six pack.

It poured a clear amber color with a short tan head that went away in a hurry, but left a fair amount of lacing.

Smell is not what I expected from a Double IPA, it smells like malt and alcohol. The empty bottle smells like hops, but I don't smell them in the glass.

Whoa... I taste alcohol and plenty of it!
Malty taste is over-powered by strong alcohol taste, it actually burns a bit in the mouthfeel catagory.

With this much alcohol (and alcohol taste) how much of this stuff can someone drink?...
I'm 1/2 way through number 4 as I write this review and I'm having a tough time with it.

I'm sorry for knocking this beer, but I expect and want more hops than malt and/or alcohol in my Double IPA. This beer will offend a true hophead.
I'd rather be doing shots of Jack for this type of alcohol throat burn.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
2.59/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

OK, a pre-review recap. I have had a lot of Saranac beer, mostly towards the end of my college experience. The mixed 12 packs are priced awesomely and gave me a lot of introductions to the qualities of many beers. I don't really remember any super stand outs, but I remember enjoying the beers and they were one keystone in my craft beer journey. I haven't had any beer from them in a long time. I'm excited to see their take on a DIPA.

This was one of the nicest pours I've seen in a while, 12oz into pint glass. A beautiful rich color with an active head that settles nicely. Really impressed at the color on this one.

S-Floral/pine/mild citus hops. Nothing memorable, but certianly not off-putting.

T- This is a disappointment. The taste is total bitter, Moderate malt sweetness and just an overpowering pine-sol hoppyness that isn't vibing. And I love my DIPAs bitter.... this one is a bit muddled.

M- Not helping. Kind of drags across the tongue. ABV is not well blended. Now I'm not looking for stealth ABV, but I've had many a stronger DIPA that wasn't as harsh as this.

D- Moderate. Went well with the pizza I had, and the price is right, but with so many other DIPAs available, I won't be coming back to this one.

I'll try another Saranac at some point, though. Great for the price, for sure.

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Photo of maleman
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - poured from a 12oz bottle with no noted freshness dating into a pint glass. the color of brewed tea, with a one-finger off-white head that receded quickly into a thin cap. thin clingy lacing.

S - heavy on the grains, both hops and malt, with a note of something floral there, too.

T - this is where i got lost! a very resiny taste that i did not expect at all. the phenols were really apparent that gave a metallic bite that was really overpowering!

M - medium-bodied, with less than average carbonation. the aftertaste is bitter...and hangs around!

D - the appearance and the smell had me really pumped on this beer initially but the taste killed it for me. And afterall, it's about the taste in the end...very disappointed in this entry into one of my favorite genres of brewdom.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.61/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

Bottle into the snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a three finger medium-thick off-white head with good retention. Zero carbonation evident, clear, and sienna brown in color. A little darker than standard. Head slowly fades to a decent foam cap, leaving some immediate clingy lacing. Splotchy lace remains and leaves some decent lacing down the sides.

SMELL: Some pale malts, some grainy notes and touches of caramel as well. Some floral hops show up too, but the hop profile is a little muted here. Not all that impressive for the style.

TASTE: A different DIPA for sure, and I'm not sure it's all that impressive. Pale malts up front with some grainy, perhaps pilsner malts in there too. Floral elements in the middle as well as some spicy notes and alcohol into the finish. Aftertaste is bold and lingering, with some spicy notes and bitter floral hop notes. Alright, but not to style really.

PALATE: Medium body, medium carbonation, and creamy enough on the palate. Goes down smooth but has a bit of an alcohol burn at the finish. Not good for the ABV. Finishes slightly dry.

OVERALL: Underwhelming and quite a disappointing double IPA. The grainy notes, perhaps from some pilsner malts, just didn't quite fit the style. The hop profile was also not bold enough to be interesting. This is probably the third or fourth Saranac brew I've had that just didn't do it for me.

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Photo of weeare138
2.63/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appears a hazy, semi-transparent amber with particles floating around the glass. Chunky streams of CO2 slowly rise to the top. A 2 finger, off-white head slowly fades away with lots of scattered lacing left behind.
Smell is of grapefruit, herbs, floral notes, along with peppery spices and hints of caramel and cream.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas but with a standout bitter citrus, biscuits, rye, and dandelion.
Mouthfeel is overly bitter, creamy on the lips, medium-full bodied, not very balanced at all and in need of more sugary sweet malts to counteract the bitter abrassiveness that is so mouth puckering that it's hard to believe the beer is only 85 IBU's. Does this have a hearty dosing of rye? The beer finishes very dry and puckering. Whatever sweetness that was in this beer gets killed by the bitters and that's not always a good thing. It seems very muddled with too much going on in the flavors.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.66/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Clear medium orange in color. Two fingers of thick creamy head with good retention and plenty of lacing.

3.5 S: Floral and grassy hops. Caramel malts with some underlying depth.

2.0 T: I'm fine with a brutally bitter beer, but it must be accompanied with either sweetness from the malt or lots of hop flavor. Unfortunately, this is missing both. There a bit of maltiness, but not enough for balance. The bitterness makes it hard to pick out specific flavors other than caramel malts. There's also some grassy hop flavor and a touch of citrus. Overall, it's not terrible, but considering the plethora of gems for this style, I'll leave this one at the store.

3.5 M: Medium heavy body. Good carbonation. Good creaminess.

2.0 D: The bitterness makes this a not so drinkable beer. However, this is the first beer (of the many I've tried) from Saranac that seems to have beer carefully thought out. Though the end result isn't the best, I applaud the brewers for shooting for something other than mediocre.

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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014) from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 365 ratings