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)

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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 258 | Ratings: 364
Photo of sinstaineddemon
1.88/5  rDev -47.5%
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 grover37
2.22/5  rDev -38%
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 ryan1788a5
2.26/5  rDev -36.9%
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 -35.5%
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 -35.5%
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 -31.8%
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 -31.6%
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.

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Photo of NODAK
2.46/5  rDev -31.3%
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 -30.7%
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 JoeyBeerBelly
2.53/5  rDev -29.3%
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 -27.7%
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 -27.4%
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 -27.1%
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 -26.5%
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 -25.7%
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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Photo of gabedivision
2.68/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle to a glass, simplicity.

Pours a dark reddish amber with a 1 finger head that fades out and turns to a lace that slimes to the side of the glass. Light hop characters on the forefront, piney, very grassy, metallic, olives come to my mind for some reason. Perfumes of sweet malts and alcohol follow up on the finish. Whoa, bitter bitter bitter. This puppy swims around the mouth like a lemon, extreme lemon citrus with a killer bitter bite. Big malt lays on the tongue, again metallic tastes to me. Doesnt come off as something that is balanced very well, alcohol is all over the place, so is the flavor. Fizzy and sugary, high carb, bitter, unsettling. Well, i didnt like this. It tasted very shitty from start to finish, glad i only bought one i would regret looking a 5 more of these things.

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Photo of Reaper16
2.68/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a rusty looking orange color that immediately stands out for its translucence. This beer is perfectly clear; there is no haze whatsoever. Frankly, it is sort of off-putting in an IIPA. I've never seen a beer this large in both malt profile and hop profile be so crystalline. Maybe one finger in total size for the eggshell head. It dissipates very quickly, leaving behind some good, notchy lacing.

This smells exactly like I thought it would: an East coast malt-bomb. Sweet, sugary honey biscuits and cotton candy make for a very sweet malt profile. The hops are certainly noticeable, but they amplify the sweetness. Aromas of old tree sap, lots of resins, spruce. A metallic twinge of pennies when the beer warms. Below average for the style because of the relative lack of citrus fruit; the label proclaims the use of 10 different hops but all I can glean are Northern Brewer, Liberty and Columbus.

Malt-forward on the tongue; deep caramel malt, crystal malt overload. Lots of oily hop resins, but they taste old. Nothing fresh about the hop flavors here. Old pine. Stale orange. Nothing to write home about. This is what I imagine the typical East coast small brewpub IIPA to taste like: average.

This is thicker than I like my IIPAs. I like mine thinner than medium-bodied. This is, as you could guess from the malt descriptions, thicker than medium-bodied. Syrupy. Drinkability is suspect: an 8.5 ABV% combined with boring, stale flavors doesn't make for a very drinkable beer.

Avoid this. I should have, but I'd never had a Saranac beer before and this bottle was pretty fresh.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.71/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

Bottle date code of 0970 - meaning April 7, 2010, so this is well past its prime. I will try to keep that in mind a little while reviewing this one.

A - Deep amber colour, filtered. One finger of bubbly white head.

S - Very sweet and malty up front - toffee and caramel notes are in your face up front. Some bitterness comes through from the hops with some very faint floral notes but overall the malts dominate this one and overwhelm the nose. Seems very unbalanced. The lack of freshness can't be helping this out but I can't imagine that even a bottle fresh from the brewery would be very hoppy. Not my preferred IPA nose.

T - Follows the nose. Lots of malts up front providing A LOT of sweetness with an abundance of toffee and caramel notes. Some bitterness comes through from the hops, which lingers slightly in the finish. Overall, the hops are overwhelmed by the overly-sweet malts that completely dominate this palate. Completely unbalanced. No flavour contribution at all from the hops, they merely impart a slight bitterness.

M - Medium body, chewy. Lightly carbonated. A nice mouthfeel.

D -A poor example of the style.

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Photo of generallee
2.73/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It has a medium orange amber colored body with good clarity and a big white head. The head has good retention and makes some good sticky white lace rings on the glass.

Smell: The aroma has a grainy alcohol smell that mixes into a very powerful hop bouquet. The hop scent is assertive and brings loads of pine resin, citrus, and some old musty/spicy hop notes to the nose.

Taste/Mouth feel: It has a big, sweet grainy and dark bready malt flavor up front with a touch of caramel and smoke. Also there is a very noticeable syrupy and medical alcohol presence throughout. A big hop presence quickly takes over and offers a muddled and overly complex flavor that also brings heavy bitterness. In the end the finish is a slow fading fight between bitter hops and sweet grainy alcohol. On the tongue it has a big full body with a thick, somewhat slick texture that overpowers the seemingly light carbonation.

Notes: The bottle notes that there are 10 different malts and 10 different hop varieties used to brew its Imperial IPA. I thick that they may have gone a little overboard here.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
2.74/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

part of a mixed sixer obtained from manchester wine & spirit.

pours a brilliant orange with darker amber highlights, i am entranced by the bubble flow.. and quite a frothy head leaving chunks of substantial lacing behind. double ipa visage, for sure

malty caramel aroma with processed grain notes, baking bread and an understatement of slightly citrusey but mostly funky fresh hops. earthy, buttery aromas that i usually associate with columbus exist here. big for sure, but not excessively fruity like i had hoped for.

drinkable enough, with a carbonated jazz happening. very bitter, chalky, and lacking any hop-associated flavor. the beer finishes with a mold-like quality, accents of fresh red berry as it warms. i can feel the abv in my stomach as i continue to sip. really rough metallic notes in broad strokes, and not much defining complexity here. sure, this beer is a hop bomb, but that's not all that a double ipa is about. i like the body, just wish the hops were more carefully selected and balanced.

saranac specializes in middle-of-the-road session beers, and have gone completely awry with this fucked up bastardization of a style. not absolutely awful, but probably the last dipa i would reach for on local shelves. not recommended.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
2.78/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured into pint glass from a 12oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped on cap.

Medium copper/amber color with a 1" thick,rocky head with good retention, rings of lace at the top of the glass turning to some spotty lacing down the glass.

Some pine/citrus also grassy hop aromas on the faint side. Nutty carmel/toffee complex malt aromas, again on the faint side.

Very piney taste,astringent,grassy,some sweet carmell/nutty tastes covered up from the bitterness.Lots of dry,tart bitterness lacks maltiness. Citrus comes through at the finish.The taste just doesn't say imperial ipa.

Grainy texture on the light side for the style. On the rough side wasn't impressed enough to want to drink a lot of these. Not real drinkable to me. Saranac beers are usually the most drinkable around. This just wasn't very drinkable to me. A bit of a dissapointment.

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Photo of cbutova
2.81/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Found the Saranac Imperials for the first time, might as well give them a shot.

A- Light amber body with a huge creamy white head. Good head retention. Some nice rings of lace from a big pillow on the beer.

S- Very lemony and citrus filled, it really reminds me of a cleaning product or fruit loops. Some floral and grassy hints as well. The very sharp lemon note really dominates. Pine becomes heavy.

T- Hops dominate lending, like in the aroma, a citrus and lemon floral forward profile. It is also pretty grassy, pine and has some sweet malt. Some notes of alcohol on and off. Hints of alcohol.

MF- Highly-carbonated creamy moderate body. Very bitter overall. Alcohol warmth.

The flavors in this beer are all over the place, they do not balance out for me. The overall flavor is like fruit loops or a cleaning product, Pinesol as it warmed up.

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Photo of Seanibus
2.88/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A big, robust looking beer, dark amber with a moderate head and nice lacing. The aroma is strong and malty, but with a little bit of solvent-like bitterness and a strong hit of alcohol. The taste is big and alcoholic, almost out of balance. A little too sweet, too little hop bitterness for the style. The mouthfeel, however, is big and firm. Your tongue will know it's drinking this beer. But then again, so will your head - this beer is as alcoholic as the taste would suggest. Not an outstanding example of the double or imperial IPA. Saranac should stick with the lighter fare, which it does much better.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.94/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased as part of Wegmans mix a six pack.

Pours out a golden amber, with a one inch head, and some good long lasting lacing down the glass.

Smells very piney. I can tell this will be bitter.

Astringently bitter and piney. Some bitter orange and grapefruit peel provide some citrus flavors, but the dominant flavor is astringent, hard to swallow bitterness. A bit of a boozy sting, as well. The hops seem muddled and just thrown together for the hell of it- just to make a super hoppy bitter IPA. Not a whole lot of skill involved. There is a lot of very sweet malt flavor near the end.

Medium bodied, sticky and sweet mouthfeel. High carbonation.

A miss from Saranac, as per usual.

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Photo of Kraken
2.96/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 1/11/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. Hard pour illicits 1/4 inch of bone white head. Head doesn't stick around very long but leaves a fair amount of art work on my glass. Color is a dark orange brown. This one looks the part.

Nose- Some citric hop notes, predominently candied lemon and orange. Rich caramel notes. Some sour notes, specifically wet wood. Some bready doughy notes.

Palate- Chewy and viscous, pungent puckering tang of bittering hops. No floral or light citric notes. This one does not dance lightly on the tongue. Lots of caramel sweetness, some coco and coffee notes. This might be past its prime, as I was expecting more of a tribute to the hop. Hot, a kin to drinking slightly hoppy cough medicine. Finish is long bitter and warming.

Mouthfeel- Cloying very dry, and slightly bitter

Drinkability- On the lower end. Too thick and heavy in the mouth, some what confused.

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Saranac High Peaks Series Imperial IPA (Dec 2006-Sep 2014) from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.58 out of 5 based on 364 ratings.
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