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

364 Ratings
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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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 364 |  Reviews: 258
Photo of TagoMago
4.38/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am surprised this beer isn't getting higher ratings, and I think a lot of people are reluctant to rate the beer higher, simply because it's made by Saranac and not Stone or some other acclaimed, top-notch brewery.

In my opinion, this ranks up with the best double IPA's.

What really gets me about this beer is that it's incredibly well-rounded and exceptionally smooth. The head-retention of this beer is astounding, and remains from pour to finish, leaving a nice lacing on the glass.

The aroma of this beer is of very fruity, floral hops.

Again, the flavor is perfectly balanced, and with very piney and fruity hop notes.

As far as the drinkability of this beer is concerned, its smoothness makes it near-quaffable, despite its 8.5% alcohol content, which can definitely pack a major punch if you're knocking these babies back like they're Becks.

I highly recommend this beer, so pick up a six pack or five while you still have the chance.

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Photo of kwakwhore
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber with a light head. Lace halfway down the glass. Some hops and malts in the aroma. With 10 different types of malts and hops, I expected more out of the flavor. Hops were there, but not really in your face and the malt accent of this beer was somewhat attenuated. I expect bigger hop and malt flavors from my DIPA's and I didn't get them here. Not a bad beer, but not a great one either. Nevertheless kudos to Saranac for the attempt.

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

A-Dark Copper, clear as bell. Off-white, 2-inch head, incredible retnetion. This head stays for a very long time. When it does start to dissapate, it falls to a still tall 1/2 that stays until it is laying on the bottom of an otherwise emty glass. The lace is fantastic stuck all over the inside of the glass.

S-Big green hops, citrus hops, carmal and biscuit malt.

T-as the galss is drawn to the mouth there is an initial, fleeting glimpse of carmel malt that is immediately beaten back by a serious green and citric hop bitter bite. In the middle the carmel malt returns. Biscuit malt is there as well. Although thee in spades, the malt certainly does not balance out the huge hop presence which comes roaring back in the finish to carry a long lingering bitterness. Note: malts intensify as it warms.

M-oily, medium body. Some tingly carbonation that lingers on the pallete for quite a while.

D-Actually quite high for an 8+% ABV. I've had 3 in sitting

Overall: it took me most of a case to warm up to this beer. Initially the unbalcned extremly bitter hops had me wavering on this one. I am now getting to like. I am glad I choose to review it my last one of the case. I now feel I am going to miss this as I drink this last one. I will need to seek this one out again. At $27/case, a DIPA bargain as well.

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Photo of Derek
4.6/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle stamped 0467 1613.

A: Copper-bronze with an off-white head, good retention & lace.

S: Pine, citrus, floral and grassy hops. Not over-the-top, in-your-face hops, but a very pleasant depth of aroma. Some caramel, bready & nutty malt, cotton-candy fruity esters.

T: For 85 IBU's this seems incredibly well-balanced. Must be a lot of low cohumolone hops, with a little residual sweetness. Pine, grass, grapefruit, orange, peach, spice, bread, nuts, light caramel, toffee. cotton-candy-like fruity esters and some amarillo asprin in the finish. Under all these flavours, the alcohol is very subtle.

M: Moderate body & carbonation (well-attenuated for its weight), slight acidity.

D: It doesn't seem as big as it is... drinkability is very good.

I'm seriously impressed. With 10 hops & 10 malts, nothing is in-your-face... instead it is incredibly well-rounded. Not at all harsh for the style (though it still made my wife say 'yuk').

Get it while you can!

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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 mvanaskie13
4.27/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper, nice thick foamy head that laces the glass as it dissipates.

Smell is strong but not overpowering, almost refreshing. Lots of fruity undertones.

Taste is very good. My first beer I was a little knocked away by the intial bitterness, but after a few tries I really like this beer. Its bitter initial taste is brought down by the malty finish.

Mouthfeel is not biting, but the bitterness defintely overrides.

Overall, a very drinkable beer. The alcochol content is surprising after tasting the beer because you do not get knocked away by it.

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Photo of asabreed
4.27/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: A deep copper color with lots of bubbles, a creamy looking off-white head with a nice amount of lacing all over the glass, even at the height toward the very top.

Smell: An interesting dark fruit malt element mixed with the bitterness and flowery nature of the citrus hops. Strawberry, cherry, dark berries, a bit of apricot and tangerine, certainly some grapefruit rind, a bit of pine and a twang of lemon. Very impressive and aromatic stuff.

Taste: Lots of nice bitterness all throughout balanced by the malt backbone of dark fruit. The good citrus nature is apparent at first, with some cherry and strawberry coming in a bit later, and the finish is long, coating, and interestingly balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel, which I like since the carbonation seems fairly high (and works better toward the good).

Drinkability: Sure, bring it on. Highly enjoyable, with not a lot of alcohol bite, full of flavor, and above all it's from Saranac. This was a pleasant surprise and I'm looking forward to more from the series.

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Photo of Rudgers73
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours a very impressive thick and rising head that stops right at the top of my pint glass and begins settling into a thick frothy foam. The beer is clear and has a deep amber shade. The smell is piny, bubble-gummy hops that are rather sharp and pungent. As the head settles it is already showing signs of really great lacing. The taste is really bitter. The hops are piny, woody, and tart. Maybe a little bit too hoppy for my taste. I think it overwhelms the rest of the beer a bit causing a lack in balance leaving the mouthfeel not so great either. I'm surprised at Saranac for producing such a bold beer and, honestly, I am going to give it a little bit extra for this since I rarely see this from Saranac.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a decent copper with highlights of tawny orange. The head is soapy and white and maintains true to form for the style--sticky and frothy. The nose is delicate, sweet floral hops, grapefruit juice and some piney notes. One could expect more. Initial quaffs revel creamy grassy hops and a quick shot of piney malts. The body, through warming, will give way to fresh grapefruit, bubble gum and some reserved sticky malts. Burnt caramelized hops; medium carbonated and probably a medium bodied DIPA. Very nice, rates just below some of the big boys, if there was ever a session-able DIPA, this is the one. Go easy.

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Photo of AltBock
3.64/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle that has picture of 3 big black curved lines that are supposed to represent the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. These lines are drawn onto a a map of the northeastern part of New York. Above those black lines is the name of the brewery, Saranac, in big bold red letters. At the bottom of the label is where Saranac calls this their "High Peaks Series" and below that, in big white cursive letters on a black background is the words, "Imperial IPA." On the outer rims of the picture is just the refund prices and the Government warning. Information about the beer can be found on the neck label surrounding an oval that has "Saranac" in big red letters, gray lines that are supposed to represent the mountain range, and the words "Imperial IPA" in those white cursive letters that were on the main label. Served in a Great Lakes Christmas Ale Snifter.

This Double IPA poured a beautiful honey amber that easily had a 1 finger head of white pillowy foam. It had pretty good retention that left behind a small white film, plenty of white foamy rings along the edge, and tons of white sticky lace around the glass. I thought the aroma of this beer was too light. It couldn't have been the temperature of the beer because it was at room temperature. It was just the beer itself. All I got in the aroma was just a slice of grapefruit, a few citrus hops, and a touch of toasted malts. Toward the bottom of the beer, a slight juicy fruit aroma emerged. The taste started off some bitter grapefruits and then it went into a dab of toasted malts, a few more citrus fruits, a pinch of pine tree, and then finished off with a mild hop bomb of burnt citrus/piney hops. This is the second Saranac IPA beer I had where they burned the hops. Hopefully this isn't a trend thery're doing with their IPAs. Stop burning the hops! The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, not too dry, average carbonation, and with an aftertaste of toasted malts mixed in with those burnt hops that Saranac is so fond of. Can't feel or taste the alcohol content of 8.50% in this one. A friend pick this one up in New York for me and it was only $.83 a bottle. That's a deal! Not the best tasting or the most bitter American Double IPA out there, but it's probably the most affordable one out there. Hell, it's worth a try for $.83 a bottle. I wouldn't mind trying this one again in the future. If you don't like it, you're only out a little pocket change. Give it a try!

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Photo of JasonA
3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber to dark copper. Plenty of delicious head, staying power, with lacing around to boot.

Some spice, maybe biscuit. Barley? Not hoppy hops. Some alcohol.

I will call this a hop bomb. Feels like 3 layers of hops. First, the standard IPA. Then somewhat different hops, like a traditional IBU monster, then a 3rd set which reminds me of a stone set of hops.

Sits very well with ABV and carbonation. Nice Ale overall. No bite for the ABV which is impressive

Very drinkable. I would love to sit and have quite a few of them. Matter of fact, Im going to. Very excited about having these on the east coast.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.13/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass. The beer pours a clear chestnut orange with fluffy eggshell white head of 2 cm foaming up easily.
Aroma is a nice floral hop base with hints of caramel in background.
First sip reveals an average body with fine fizzy carbonation. Smooth texture.
Flavor is sweet caramel up front and then rolls to an herbal and rindy hop flavor, lingers as general bitterness. No hint of alcohol anywhere. Overall this is a solid beer as I expected from Saranac. This is no hop bomb, but I dont think a beer has to be completely out of balance to be a good IPA or double IPA. For the price this is worth it for sure.

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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 RonfromJersey
4.42/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glowing orange copper body, couple carbonation streams, topped by a fistful of level bone-china white froth.

Impressive citrus aroma, heavy with oranges.

Thick rich deeply sweet malt slathers down a bedrock foundation. Juicy fruit flows over while a tingle builds along the edge of the tongue and mouth. That tingle becomes a ferocious bite at the swallow. Fruit and bitter tingle entwine in the aftertaste.

Nice smooth well integrated mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability.

Saranac comes out to play with the big boys, and makes the varsity. It's no HopSlam, but it's damn impressive and far exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of cbl2
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

3/31/2007 $1.50 12 oz. 8.50% No best by date.


Pours a crystal clear medium brown with orange highlights that is topped by over an inch of tight offwhite head that is slow to settle, as whorls of carbonation replace it.


Brewed with 10 hops at 85 IBU's, this is on the grapefruit side of the spectrum, with just a touch of grass thrown in. Decent sweet malt backbone to balance things out.


Delicate, smooth mouthfeel leads off this rather pleasant offering from Saranac. Nicely juicy with loads of grapefruit bursting in your mouth, coupled with some toffee notes from the malts. 8.5% ABV is not apparent at all, making this highly, and dangerously drinkable. I wasn't expecting much, as I'm usually let down by Saranac, but I must say they crafted a fine ale here that could hold its own against any other beer in this style.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No idea why people are dogging this beer. It's fantastic, at 6.99 a six pack, a deal and then some. As many DIPA's are over-hopped, over-hyped messes, this one is balanced, low-key, complex, and what a DIPA should be. For the style its drinkability is outstanding. Just enough bitterness, to keep you guessing, just enough malts to make you want more. Rather fruity on the nose, show nicely in the glass, nothing outstanding, but hey, what is that isn't unfiltered and unpasteurized.

A little late to the scene, but lacking nothing. Outstanding!

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Photo of AlexJ
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale yellow orange with a fantastic head of dense beige that just lasts forever. Pinpoint carbonation feeds the head until it forms craggy peaks. Each sip leaves concentric rings of crusty lace on my glass. Impressive presentation from Saranac.

Aroma is a collage of hop aromas; pine, citrus, ceder shavings, earthy herbs, light florals, and so on. There's a decent toffee malt note there too. The ample nose is another nice surprise.

Flavor is also quite good, but not as good as the nose of appearance. It's plenty hoppy, but the hop flavor doesn't take any real direction. It's citrussy, earthy, green, piney, astringent, floral, fruity, etc. Not nuanced or refined tasting at all, just hoppy. It's actually pretty balanced though, there's plenty of malt in here.

Body is medium and creamy, perhaps on the lighter side of the IIPA spectrum, but perfectly acceptable. Alcohol not noticable at all in the flavor, only in the effect. Twof these gave me a surprisingly big buzz.

A worthy effort and certainly the best Sranac has ever offered. It's a bargain for 7 bucks a sixer though, no complaints there.

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Photo of jaxon53
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served slightly chilled in a pint glass. Poured a rather clean copper red color with about a half inch off white head. Head was frothy and tight with very little in the way of retention. Aromas of hops, some sweet malty notes, and some citrusy grapefruit in the nose. Tasted heavily of bitter hops, some nice piney flavors, and some nice balancing malt flavors. Strong hoppy start, with a mellow, dry, hoppy finish with small hints of warming alcohol. Hops are dominant in the mouth. Has a full , thick mouthfeel. Drinkability is good. An above average double I.P.A.

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

A 12 oz bottle from a trade with drseamus.

A: The ale has an amber color, trending closer to a dark orange/brown color, let's settle on auburn. The head is voluminous on pour and laces extensively in the glass.

S: The nose has a big hop flavor, showing off some pine and citrus oiliness. Maybe its me, but there appears to be a ginger element present as well. Overall, the nose is big and hangs with the best DIPAs.

T: The flavor starts off with a deceptively strong malt body. I say deceptive because there was no evidence of it in the nose. The caramel and biscuit graininess is paired well with the bigger hop profile. The hops are citrusy, with the slightly pungent taste of an orange or lemon rind supported by some grapefruity floral elements.

M: I've noticed that almost all Saranac offerings have a similar taste component, making them almost indistinguishable. This beer is a marked exception. The big hop nose and well-balanced body, while it screams IPA not DIPA, is enjoyable.

D: The higher 8.5% abv is well-hidden. The hops are strong enough to capture one's attention up front and make for a thoroughly enjoyable beer. By far one of Saranac's best offerings.

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Photo of foureyedgeek
3.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle picked up as part of a mixed-6 from Dawg's Bottle Shop in Greensburg.

Wow, this beer is actually quite a looker. The amber body is topped with an absolutely puffy cap of head, a good three fingers, standing tall above the rim of the pint glass. A well retaining foam streaks lacing as its drank.

Smell, though, does little to live up the looks. Rather muted scents of bready malt, very little bursting hop aroma like I want in an IIPA.

Sadly, the taste is much the same as well. Caramel and breadiness, but the purported 85 IBUs must be hiding somewhere. The bitterness isn't even hoppy, its more of a chemical-metallic bitterness.

Mouthfeel is fine, the body is pretty much where it needs to be.

Drinkability is only decent. I thought this beer was going to be a basement bargain winner at first sight, but the follow-through was rather disappointing. Its not bad, but its certainly not great.

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

Saranac- Imperial IPA

Appearance- Bright red with a thick whipped cream style head.
Smell- Sweet malt with a touch of pine and citrus.
Taste- Sweet, very sweet caramel malt up front. Slight piney, grapefruit citrus bitterness in the end.
Mouthfeel- Sweet and watery up front but the flavor builds and it finishes off bitter and dry.

Overall- Wasn't bowled over by this, but it was definitely worth the $.99 I paid!!

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Photo of gpcollen1
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an interesting reddish brown into my Imperial Pint glass yielding a full inch of pillowy fluffy head. Aromas are light in the pants in the hops category but you really get a bit of sticky sweet malt coming through.

Sweet malty goodness hits the tongue and gets slowly dispersed by the gentle fizz of this moderately carbonated brew. A gentle hoppy presence rides in and then multiplies, completing the act with a slightly bitter and dry finish. Some mild runs of sticky sweet pine come and go. Not much citrus at all, which is quite refreshing.

Not to bad a brew for the price. Would love to see Saranac take a few more stabs at brews like this.

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Photo of DrJay
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear orange with an off-white, fluffy head. Decent retention with some sticky lace. Clean, hoppy aroma, mostly pine with a little citrus peel and powdered aspirin. Malt presence is sequestered at the front, leaving the finish quite bitter and resinous, just a little harsh. Hop flavour is piney and citrusy, but there are also some earthy notes, some spice, and without the balance of malt sweetness it's a little acrid towards the end. The alcohol's well hidden, just a little warmth. Medium/full bodied, fairly smooth carbonation, nothing out of place. Not a bad beer, I'm just not a fan of how the hop character influenced the flavour. Maybe a little more malt depth would help out. Still, the hops really worked in the aroma.

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Photo of Braudog
3.87/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had to do a double-take when I saw this on the shelf at Bon Vivant, but Mike there recommended it so here we go ... It pours with a slick red-tinged amber color and a sold if airy head. There’s a solid metallic-hoppy nose, too. Wow .. on the first attack, this is a big hoppy beer, with a thousand times more character than any Saranac beer I’ve ever had before. It’s got a big viscuous resiny hoppiness to it. But is this a DFH 90-minute in disguise ... not quite ... doesn’t have quite the body. But nonetheless a good stab at a big IPA from the boys at Matt. (#2755, 3/16/2007)

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Photo of jlmjl
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Nothing particularly anything

S - Not too bad, biscuit sweet ? nice in a sense

T - Not sure, nothing like the smell. THe alc comes thru, astringent

M - Slightly thin, not expectedfor a 2ipa ? Mildly creamy , but Im searching

D - Not sure again, didnt run for another , certainly good, but, not sure Id buy this beer despite the reasonable price.

I cant get the utica beer ball out of my head from the late 70s. We dont particularly love the Matts line

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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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