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.

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Reviews: 258 | Ratings: 364
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprisingly decent. Advertised as brewed with ten different malts and ten different hops to At 85 IBU's and 8.5% alc/vol . Lots of dotys in lacing, very bitter I cannot make out what they threw in as hops, above-average carbonation. One of the best they have done, although this style is a cholent of hops and malts that does not showcase skill.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a vibrant honey color, with a hefty white lacing. smells spectacularly complex, with ten malts and ten hops going into the brew kettle here. taste is perhaps a bit muddled by all thats going on, but a sweet hops palate dominates, with strong earthy malts backing it up. this is a really tough beer to describe, because it is so similar to other imperial ipa's but yet so different at the same time. the body is heavy, and the aftertaste evolves for several minutes in the mouth. i think i will need to have more than one to get a better feel for it, but i can say that you can taste (and feel) every bit if its 8.5% abv. will also certainly seek out other saranac high peaks series brews

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.01/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Saranac High Peack Series. $8.99 for a 6 pack of these guys.

At 8.5% ABV and at barely more than $1 a bottle I was skeptical going in but this was a solid beer. The alcohol taste was apparent but not forthcoming and the hops were present plentifully in both aroma and taste. I thought it suffered from a lack of carbonation as this affected the total overall mouthfeel. $/oz, probably the best DIPA I've had.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taking a more balanced, "Midwest" type of demeanor, the beer denies the standard hop-dominant taste and drier body of IPA and prefers the even keel personality of regular pale ales- just scaled up to imperial strength in this High Peaks Imperial IPA.

Starting with its excellent copper clarity, the beer seems to have filtered out its hoppy haze. A semi-turbulent pour releases a frothy, dense, just off-white head that endures the session strongly and trails the glass with lace.

Citrus hops sweep the nose with images of grapefruit and orange peel; all giving an herbal and tea-like scent up front. The hops weave into a strong caramel note that shows balance until the very end. The focused scent of hops and malt play out in balance and allows little else to enter the equation.

The sweeter malts kick off the show and gives a high degree of malty sweetness that stays with the beer throughout. Citrus fruits of grapefruit, orange zest, and even more tropical mango notes begin to rise early but really take hold at middle palate. Rich fruit sweetness, tobacco earthiness and tea-like herbs make complementing impressions before the malts recess slightly and allow for the pithy bitterness of citrus fruit to clean the finish.

Medium-full, the beer retains much of its malt sweetness and body- much to the determent of its drinkability. But a sweeter, softer, and more succulent mouthfeel emerges and continues to balance the strong hop presence and seems to keep the reigns on the sharper, drier and more aggressive citrus dryness. Finishing malty-dry and semi-warm, the beer seems to cross imperial ales with pale ales.

Where the even malt-hop balance of the beer sings "American" style pale ale, its strength is undoubtedly "imperial". The tribute imperial IPA is much more of an big, but regular, standard pale ale.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a stiff head that retains very well and leaves shards of lace

Smell: Caramel malt base with plenty of piney and grassy hop aromatics

Taste: Opens with a touch of the biscuit and then an immediate assault of grassy, piney bitterness; after the swallow, the bitter flavors are joined by some citrus pith (as well as aspirin) and there is a touch of residual sweetness on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Full body, almost syrupy, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not well balanced and launches the bitterness in a direction I didn't care for

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Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of thick foam. The head lasted awhile and left sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of grapefruit, citrus and pine. It had a burnt toast malt aroma.

T - This IPA has a grassy, piney hop presence with a touch of citrus. A nice bitter kick. There was a strong caramel and burnt toast backbone.

M - It was crisp, sharp and finished clean/dry. A medium bodied IPA that is sneaky with its alcohol punch.

D - This is a good Imperial IPA. One of the better Saranac brews that I've had.

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Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First of the High Peaks series I have tried,poured a clear bronze with a big blooming 2 finger craterous head leaving multiple streaks of lace behind as it settled ever so slowly.Somewhat subdued aromas mainly grassy and herbal-like even a hint of leather wich I found a bit odd for this style but yeah thats what I got a hint of lightly swwet doughy malt underneath.This seems like an amped up English IPA to me quite herbal with a geranium quality to its hop profile there is a hint of pine mainly herbal a rather large biscuity/doughy malt quality holds up well to the hops.Not bad its not huge by my standards wich isnt all so bad I guess its quite unique in some ways actually.

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Photo of jlindros
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light airy fluffy head of 1 finger. Super clear amber toasty honey brown color.

N: Some fresh bright aromatic hops really dominate the nose. Not bitter heavy hops, mostly bright fruity hops, some citrus, slight grapefruit, slight fresh musty hop aromas.

T: Mostly lighter hops, lots of lower alpha lighter hops. Some fresh musty hop flavors, hop oils, slight chewy hops. A slight malt flavor as well, but light. Not much for fruity or citrus hops. It has some pine, and has a strange bitterness that is not so pleasant, like taking the sap from a tree blended with orange rind bitterness. Very different. Slight spicy hops too. A slight boozy warmth too, with some slight syrupy sweet malts too.

M: Good body and good carbonation.

F: Very bitter on the finish. Leaves that weird flavored bitterness too, somewhat unpleasant. The heavy bitterness never really goes away either, just kinda sits there. Pretty dry too, which goes hand in hand with that strong bitterness. The pine tree flavor is there as well. I've come to love a lot of the Saranac beers, but this is not the best beer they have made IMO.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.56/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The new Saranac Imperial IPA pours a clear, deep-copper body with orange highlights beneath a foamy head of yellowed off-white foam. The head retention is very good, and it leaves some solid walls of lace that slowly fade to tiny spots and streaks reminiscent of stars in the summer sky over mountainous terrain.

The nose is a bit limited given the style designation, but it offers some welcome floral, grassy, and spicy hops over a delicate, caramelish and somewhat nutty maltiness. Oddly, there's a bit of soapiness as well, possibly coming from a combination of the floral character of the hops, and some of the sweetness of the malt, although the house yeast may be suspect as well.

In the mouth it's medium-bodied, but seemingly fuller as the somewhat effervescent, fine-bubbled carbonation releases to become "airy" in the mouth.

There's not as much residual maltiness as might be expected (or hoped for), and without it, sweetness and balance are missing, leaving the 85 IBU's quite brash. It's initially sweetish, and lightly caramelish, with a hint of nuttiness to the malt as well. Grassy, spicy, and floral hops rise to dominate at mid-palate, accentuated by a spritz of acohol - just then, the bitterness reaches its peak, pushing aside any residual malt sweetness, and leaving it raspy and grassy in the crashing, long-lingering aftertaste. The alcohol is noticeable from within the first few sips, and it builds to the point that the strength becomes apparent midway through the glass.

Interestingly, Matt seems to have produced more of an Imperial Pilsner, although there is a touch of yeasty fruitiness present. It's definitely a sipper, although serious hopheads who need the burn might really go for this one.

It should be noted that large breweries are unable to do multiple additions of late-kettle hops because of the length of the run - leaving Matt at a bit of a disadvantage against the smaller-kettled micros. It just takes so long for them to transfer from the kettle to the heat exchanger that the hop flavor is lost, and bitterness is gained. That said, what needs to be done here is less bitterness upfront, some more dry-hopping, and a bit more maltiness as cushion.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Stone IPA flute.

Pours a deep orange ruby color with a titanic billow of off white poof that nearly spills out of the top of the glass. Eventually it settles down enough to empty the rest of the glass into it. What's left retains pretty good and leaves some pretty huge lacing. Aroma is a huge hop bouquet with some light malty sweetness behind it. As it warms some fairly strong alcohol emerges.

The taste is a big ole' mouthfull of bitter hops that lasts the whole way through. There's a sense of sweet caramel back there somewhere but seems to just get lost amongst all the hops. Balance does improve somewhat as it warms. Finishes bitter with a pretty good amount of heat. Mouthfeel is nice drinkable medium but this guy definitley isn't afraid to wear it's 8.5% ABV on his sleave. Tons of heat towards the bottom of the glass which takes away some of the quaffability for me.

All in all, not a bad effort from Saranac and is a nice step up from a lot of the other beers that I've had from them. A little more balance and less heat would have gone a long way but it's definitely worth trying and is a good hop fix for the money.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at British Beer Company on 10/11/07, served in an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, hops and a little citrus.

T: The taste is pretty well-balanced, with flavors of caramel & citrus and a decently strong bite of hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty but doesn’t make the beer too sweet. The after-taste is hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, nice kick, good representation of style, I wasn’t expecting much from this beer due to the fact that I’ve been less than impressed with the several ordinary (or worse) beers that I’ve had from Matt Brewing. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this beer was pretty good. I could drink this for a night, but since BBC has such a good selection on-tap (including Stone AB & Ruination), for me it was a one-and-done just to try it.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coppery apricot beneath three fingers of foam the color of orange juice-infused brown sugar mousse. Solid sheets of sudsy lace are beginning to fragment as the well-constructed crown loses altitude. Although this is a pretty typical look for a beer of this style, it's also a damn good one. The glass is nicely coated in the end.

I like the hop bill that the brewers have chosen. They claim that 10 different hops are used, but will only name Cascade, Columbus and Centennial. Orange and grapefruit esters share the spotlight, along with a whiff of caramel malt and almost no alcohol. A lack of pungency keeps my enthusiasm in check.

This is pretty good beer that is no real danger of being very good beer. Still, given the usual fare from these guys, I'll take what I can get. At least they've added a sufficient amount of ingredients, which is the biggest problem I have with their non-High Peaks Series offerings. Imperial IPA's negatives are something less than a DIPA's worth of hops and an alcohol presence that is a shade too prominent.

The malt backbone is big enough and is balanced between pale and caramel malt as far as I can tell. However, a relative hop shortage allows a hint of alcohol fusels to creep into the flavor profile. They aren't a deal breaker, but they shouldn't be present either. Orange and grapefruit peel soaked in sugar syrup and Stolichnaya round out my flavor impressions.

Firm is the one word that comes to mind for the body/mouthfeel. Perhaps that's because of the ethanol, since malt liquors strike me exactly the same way. I like it, though. It works well and keeps things from being overly sticky.

My hope was that High Peaks Imperial IPA would be the second Matt Brewing Company beer to earn a 4.0 for flavor, but Fiddler's Green IPA is still alone at the top. I applaud the brewery for aiming high, even if they didn't come anywhere close to the peak of DIPA mountain.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tastings with my family. The saranac one from a couple weeks ago was more then epic as it took months to gather all of these, but it was a hell of a fun night! Big thanks to Alex for pulling through on the bulk of these

Caramel tinted amber coming out of the bottle with a nice level of carbonation and a smooth, rich look to it. Nice head, maybe an inch of white comes up and over the top, settling down nicely with minimal side glass lacing. A very interesting profile. Piney hops up front but there is definitely some balance to be had here as the bready malt notes are very easily picked up here. Nice grassy and herbal quality to it as well. Smooth flavor, not much going on in the way of overpowering anything, it was much more mellowed, subdued even then I thought it would be, still though, nice piney hops notes, light hints of citrus around the edges with lots of malty exposure going on. Well balanced carbonation with a smooth, easy to drink profile and nice medium body

overall not a bad dipa, though no where near the upper echelon of the style.

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Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice two-finger head that lasts. It leaves ring lace after each sip. The color is dirty copper and nearly clear.

Strong malt aroma for an IPA; Lots of alcohol warmth. Very low hop smell.

I love beers with changing flavors and good balance. This beer has both. Up front, the beer is quite malty--dark crystal. Slowly, the hop starts showing up (along with the warming alcohol). Near the swallow, the hop is completely dominant. The aftertaste is all hop and long lasting. The body is above average with an above average carbonation.

This is a fine I-IPA. I'd love to try it in a flight.

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Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle came to me courtesy of DarkertheBetter, along with a second one which BK998 and I drank on the Amtrak ride home from PHL following Spilt Thy Skull.

It poured with a great, foamy, bubbly, light-tan head and had good retention. The color was anorangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. The nose was floral with hops and my mouth began to water as soon as I lifted the glass to my nose. The mouthfeel was medium and I got a lot of hop taste on my palate, accompanied by a pleasant malty sweetness. This is a really good beer from Saranac, who is best known for their variety packs. It is too bad that it is a limited release from them. The finish was more dry and hoppy, leaving that pesky sweetness behind. Man, I love american IPAs. It should be noted that this is an Imp in the Imp/Dub War.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a caramel ruby amber tone with large beige tan head wow leaves fine even lacing behind with each sip. Aroma has deep alcohol with overpeened fruit notes that definitely flood my senses mild mineral character with leafy hops not as expressive as I hoped the hops would be. Flavor has a strong sweetness brings to mind barlleywine characteristics with strong hop flavors herbral pine tones not too blanced a barrage of flavor wrecks my palate I'm kinda shocked by the over topness FX Matt went with a beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated kinda sticky in texture, not cloying but not overly smooth. Drinkability kind of a rough character with the brashness of the flavors colliding I'm readly to move on after this sample it's nice to see them go big but remember balance is key.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours beautifully. Clear amber. Light tan head. As I pour and watch it settle, huge bubbles from carbonation rise up. Massive lacing on the way down. Nose is fruity. At first I felt like I was getting some mild apricots or tangerines on there. That quickly went away and a real sharp alcohol edge seemed to appear and hook my nose. Flavor is pretty different from what I am used to of the style. Hops are there, yes. But the alcohol comes in and just hijacks the experience. Potential is there, but it ends up being not so good. Liquid body is good. Carbonation is as well. But this one just doesn’t make it. Pass.

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Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber with an inch of head with decent retention. Nose is a bit soapy but primarily floral, piny, earthy hop aromas. Taste is subtle, bready malts with piny, earthy hops. Alcohol warmth and some misplaced citrus come through in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated.

Better than their regular IPA, but a little unbalanced. Not bad by any means though.

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Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer w/o freshness indication, this one pours a darkish shade of almond amber, pretty clear, with just a few bubbles rising to the top. Light tan head leaving classy and well developed, fine and scattered lacing and sheeting. Nose here is just slightly of piney hops. First impression is that this is the best beer ever from Saranac, perhaps that is not saying all that much, but this is some pretty tasty stuff. Love DIPAs like so many here, so really nice to try another. Plenty of bittering going on here, like somebody else said, it would be nice to have a bit more floral, citric hop notes in the nose and flavor profile. Having said that this is a medium bodied, pleasantly hoppy creation, pleasing to the taste buds and tongue taste sensors. Packs a punch at 8%. Well worth a try and assuming its gonna be year round and widely available, I can see enjoying many sixers of this stuff. Nice DIPA from my home state of N.Y.

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Photo of Gavage
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a dark orange color with a short 1/4" head that breaks apart immediately. Some large bubbles hug the sides of the glass.

Smell: grapefruit and pine are pleasant, and some caramel sweetness lingers in the background.

Taste: big caramel sweetness with a softer pine, grapefruit, a bit of honey, and some golden apple sweetness. Bitterness is a bit mild compared to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp throughout with some light dryness arriving late. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: this DIPA is pretty easy to drink but the flavors are a bit muted compared to others in the style.

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Photo of tempest
3.36/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers: To Saranac for trying to go big and for finally having a beer with retention and lacing.

Jeers: To Saranac for coming out with a big beer doesn't quite deliver.

The flavor and aroma just dont do it for me. There's just a strong citrus rind presence and that's about it. Sure, there's some bitterness, but it comes off like a bigger IPA. At least they're trying.

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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 WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a 1/2" offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a loaded malt profile along with a wonderful hop aroma. It is well balanced and not too aggressive. This is a beer to enjoy, not worship. The taste is good. It has a piney hop flavor that is quite bitter from start to finish. The malts add a full body and elevated alcohol, but maintain a balanced flavor. This is a great beer for Saranac which always seems to hit the middle of the road. This time, the middle of the road is pretty damn enjoyable. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking Imperial IPA.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to orcasteve for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, with some malts, citrus, slight pines. The taste is bitter, hoppy, slight sweet malts, with some citrus and slight pine. Medium body, nice bitter/dry finish. Drinkable, this is a nice DIPA, not high on ABV, so I did not rate it higher because of that. A nice solid brew though. This is also my first from this brewery, I cannot believe that, lol

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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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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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