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 Durge
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At the Colgate Inn’s new Tap Room in Hamilton, New York, this shows a deep, near copper-amber color with a big white head and lots of cascading lacing. The aroma is a pleasant nutty grapefruit, woodsy breadiness. The flavor brings a deep malt liquor over bready grapefruit. It is a bit maple syrup sweet, at times approaching a root beer or licorice idea with a slightly harsh woodsy edge. Alcohol is noted but not overwhelming at all. It’s medium-plus bodied with a light but crisp carbonation. Fair drinkability but somewhat cloying. A quality brew with some woodsy touches.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled in tall straight glass.

A: dark cloudy orange, decent head, decent carbonation; lacing isn't bad
S: floral bouquet, very hoppy (pleasantly so), much in line with the style
T: tinny right at the front, but moves quickly to a decent IPA-style--floral, bitter, hoppy; but the metallic notes linger, unfortunately; the alcohol is blended rather nicely; were I given this without being told its style I would have guessed straight up IPA.

The main detraction for me is the metallic notes, which I've detected in other Saranacs too, some more than others.

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Photo of PoorArtist
4.02/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: clear golden amber with a tawny, sticky head that holds up well and laces the glass prodigiously.

S: I try to be sparing with the 5.0 score, but the bouquet is exceptional and I have to give it a perfect 5.0. In a word: floral. I sensed all kinds of spring blossoms, even jasmine and gardenia. All these blossoms, mingled with a rich yeasty, malty substrate. All very balanced and hard to separate in the mind, but really wonderful altogether.

T: Again very well balanced. Ample hop bitterness, but with many other undertones to balance it off. Not at all the usual IPA (one-note bitter slap-in-the-head). Malt and yeast compete with floral hop to an even draw, striking a very pleasant chord. Tasty to the end. Very difficult not to open another immediately, in spite of its muscle.

M: Ample warmth, as expected at 8.5%. Creamy, wet, full, chewy, assertive, but all in a pleasant way. Not a light finish by any means, but not at all cloying, sweet or oily. Friendly.

O: Overall a well-balanced, high-quality product. If you believe (as I do) that a good beer should be a beautiful balancing act between many elements, then this is your drink. In short: a very drinkable beer that I will return to often.

V: I give High Peaks an extra half-point for its high-quality vs. moderate price. It holds it's own against some much more expensive IPAs at a much lower price (in my area).

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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 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 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 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 TheSignPost
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was disappointed. I expected more. This one is drinkable, but not worth looking for. It has a generous malty flavor, but very little of the hoppiness that I'm looking for in an imperial IPA. The price was ok, so I'm not cryin' in my beer, but I'll be shopping for something else next time.

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

Poured from the bottle into a snifter a darker amber golden color with an off white head that dissipates quickly. Smell is faint but primarily malty in nature, more like a barleywine. Taste generally is much the same with malts taking the forefront and some slight pineyness on the finish. Feel is amply carbonated and crisp, with a medium body and a dry finish. Overall not a bad beer but not the best IIPA in my opinion.

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Photo of tbrown4
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz -> Duvel tulip. Picked up a single from Shawann Liquors in Hunt Valley, MD. Really enjoyed their imperial stout. Looking forward to this brew.

A - Deep dark orange/read, moderate carb, huge pillowy fine bubble off-white head

S - Huge malty nose, not much of a hop presence, slight creaminess

T - Creaminess of the head kind of masks the initial flavors. Lots of tart citrus in the middle, bitter sweet finish. Not too much more to it. From the aroma I was expecting more of a malty presence.

M - Medium bodied, slight carb fizz, light alcohol warmth

O - I was somewhat let down by this one, being that I was so impressed with the imperial stout. It's an above-average IIPA/DIPA that's pretty easy to drink and not too heavy on the palate. I'd be curious as to how this would age.

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

I was excited to see how Saranac would do with my favorite style. They did OK. In typical Saranac fashion, it's a good beer, but not a great one. I found it to have too many shortcomings as it warmed; excellent beers don't fall apart that easily. It really seemed to lose in the nose, taste and mouthfeel departments as it warmed, so despite the label's recommendation that you "savor" this beer, you may actually enjoy it if you drink it quickly and at a cold temperature. I don't mean to be entirely negative, because this isn't a bad beer all around. It's just not nearly as refined as other DIPAs. I am looking forward to their other brews in this new High Peaks Series, and I look forward to having another Imperial IPA soon, to see how a second sampling compares to my initial reaction to this brew.

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Photo of BobCS
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - medium amber, clear but with the slightest hint of haze, fine off-white head that lasts and lasts.

S - aroma has fruit and a bit of alcohol blended with citrus hops, but hops are subdued relative to expectations for the style.

T - taste is fairly evenly balanced between hops and malt with a solid malt backbone with caramel and honey. Although it is a big beer and plentifully hopped it is still not as aggressively hopped as many imperial IPAs. Tropical fruity-esters (pineapple?) nicely round out the flavor before finishing with pine and grapefruit.

M - full body and generous alcohol warmth make this a smooth sipping beer

D - Saranac's Imperial IPA is strong and hoppy without being over the top, and definitely sits at the lower end of the range of strengths for the style, making it easily drinkable.

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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 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 DrStiffington
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a decent head and has a dark amber color. Getting a slight floral smell with something else that I can't identify. Leaves behind some lacing on the glass. Has a slightly citrusy hop taste, with some malty sweetness. It's hard to identify any overwhelming tastes on this one. It's good enough, but not my favorite double IPA by a longshot. I'm glad I picked up the 6 pack though.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark cloudy amber color with small layer of head and minimal lacing. Lots of smells coming from this one. Caramel toasted malts on the front end, slight floral scent comes through also.

Malts come through on the initial taste, but then then overpowered by the hops; holds to IPA style. This brew is made with 10 different hops and 10 different malts so the flavors are very complex. Considering this, they blend pretty well.

Overall a good brew, high alcohol content is covered well as well.

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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 Shaw
3.76/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber in color with a big tan head that looks as thick as meringue.

The aroma is almost soapy from the hops, but there's also a hint of caramel malt in there.

The taste leans more toward malty than bitter, with big malt notes like waffles that mix with floral hops. There are also tea-like flavors. This is a bitter beer, don't get me wrong, but it's more balanced than some big IPAs.

Nice creamy body, very nice.

Overall this is a fine double IPA, and, at about $8 a six-pack, is easily one of the most affordable.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.06/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a nice thick slightly off white head which stays around for a while and gives way to a nice lace. The aroma is of piney and earthy hops with hints of caramel malt as well. The taste has a caramel malt and bready malt backbone with a nice but subtle piney and earthy hop bitterness to it. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated. Overall it is a decent beer, but it is missing the big hoppy smell and flavor that you would expect from and imperial ipa. I realize that they are using more malt to balance the flavors, but it just seems to leave me wanting more of a hop bite. Southern tier's 2XIPA comes to mind for what Saranac is trying to do, but it isn't there yet.

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Photo of dstc
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly cloudy, copper brown with small, tan head. Head falls to a minimal one. Thin lace.

Nose is if hops with plenty of caramel and strong, raw alcohol.

There is a lot of malt in the taste and plenty of hop bitterness. Some off flavor I can't quite put my finger on. Does not do a good job of hiding the alcohol.

Medium bodied and lowish carbonation and plenty boozy.

I kinda like it but it's also a bit of a mess. Wait, am I describing the beer or Lindsay Lohan?

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Photo of nrbw23
2.99/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a hazy darker orange amber with a huge cream colored head. Head dissipates slowly and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- The smell seems a bit muddled. Caramel malts, buttery, spicy, and floral hops. Seems to be missing the hop smells that I really like.

T- Taste is sweet grainy, caramel and bready malts up front. Syrupy and medical alcohol taste. Hops come in bitter up the brew and again muddle everything up.

M- Medium in body and carbonation. A bit chewy too.

D- I would probably not seek this one out again. Could I drink this yes, but I feel there are better ones out there.

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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 alleykatking
3.37/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Pours a coppery color. One finger light tan head shows good retention. Light spotty lacing on the glass which turns more into streaking.

S- Light grainy aroma gets overrun by a more dominate caramel malt. Alcohol is very apparent in this beer as well. Bitter piney hops in the aroma overtake most of the other scents in the overall aroma.

T- Big bitter hop bite in the front of this. There is a light toasted grain flavor for a second in the middle of this that turns into a bready caramel malt bite. The alcohol comes in with the ending being a light spicey hop bite. Interesting beer to say the least.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Caramel malts left on the palate with a spicey hoppy alcohol in the aftertaste. Flavors were muddled together and easy to pick out. Very drying on the palate as I drank it down.

D- This was a alright beer that I would have another on of. The alcohol was apparent which meant that it wasn't a sixer and done...more like two and I'll be glad to move onto something else.

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

A: Poured a cadmium-orange with a medium show of effervesce through a fair clarity. A frothy, light beige head sits 1 finger high while displaying moderate retention and leaving a thick and stratified layering behind on the way down. A milky coating sits atop for much of the remainder of the drink.

S: Flowery pine, slightly bitter and dry arrives on the nose. Toasted caramel grains really speak out here with a decent enough backing to get recognized and appreciated. The overall strength of bitterness borders on medium per ipa standards, but falls to light in regards to imperial standards.

T: Fairly bitter from the get go, and a pleasant surprise from a brewery that I regard as making middle of the road and lightly flavored beers. The sharp nature of the toasted caramel grains adds a nice dry sweetness to the mix upfront which is quickly followed and consumed by a wet flowery citrus and pine hopping. There is a sharp bite of citrus juice midway in the transition prior to the swallow which is followed by a sharp bite of dry citrusy hops of fairly strong nature on the fade. I was actually quite a bit surprised by the strength and aggressiveness of this beer considering the brewer. The toasted dry caramel grains perhaps stands out the most offering maltious moments to compliment the bittering hops.

M: Some bubbly nature form the carbonation stands out upfront quickly turning creamy on the hold with a good malty fullness. Warm, bitter lemons and citrus dry coats the tongue with some flowery interest.

D: The 8.5% certainly is noticeable, paired up some warming citrus and lemons and malty nature builds upon a fairly good ipa attempt that was both bold and bitter.

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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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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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