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

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

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Kendo on 12-23-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 365 |  Reviews: 258
Photo of jlmjl
3.32/5  rDev -7%
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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Photo of PBoegel
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lots of folks have reviewed this brew so I am not going to get crazy into the prose.

Served form a 12 oz bottle into a 20 oz duvel tulip glass. Appearance is very nice, pours a dense creamy white head on top of a very rich reddish orange body with great clarity. Very nice. Aromas are pine, rough english noble hops and some slight citrus, the aroma on this bottle is a bit subdued, this bottle is three months since it hit the stores and the earlier bottles had a more pronounced aroma.

Flavor and mouthfeel on this beer are very good, with the mouthfeel outstanding. I really enjoy the more balanced double IPAs that show malt character and thrive on hop bitterness, and that is where this beer shines. Flavors are clean malt with a nice robust but dry finish in mouth feel, no cloying and no over the top hop flavor.

This is a damn solid brew from FX Matt who can be hit and miss, but this is a keeper, I hope they do it every year it is worth repeated visits. The aroma shines when young, they could tweak that a tad, only big ding.

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Photo of beerphan
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> nonic
no date but there is a screened code

Pours a darker amber than expected with a full frothy white head that recedes to an unbalanced pillow. Some nice patches of lace and even a few rings. Carbonation is slow and steady from the pour til the end of the glass.

Sweet juicy oranges, rinds, caramal malt, sugar

Deep malt backbone with caramel sweetness all over. Hops are flavorful but quick, some peach, orange, and pine. Earthy bitterness from the start but never really overwhelming. Finishes clean. A little heat from the alcohol about 3/4 the way through. Full flavored probably the best beer from Saranac I've ever tried.

Mouth is full-bodied and smooth.

I really think this brew has balanced itself out with a little time on the shelf, took me a while to find it, but i'm glad i did.

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Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
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 jjayjaye
4.38/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear orange amber color with better than a full finger foamy head that was able to stick around . Pretty active effervescence and impressive lacing patterns observed. I've gotta give the A - better than good because of the foamy artwork.

The aroma is classic. Fresh hop and yet a nice balance of sweet malt.

Medium bodied mouth feel with a nice ting from hops and carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

The mouth complements the flavor quite well. The flavor has that sweet malty characteristic with great hoppy notes; quite balanced.

Put me down as a fan. Tell me again what i paid for this? The 8.5% is hidden well beneath a wonderful complexity. Matt Brewing invested in this one and they have my attention.

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Photo of atsprings
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had seen this beer around and passed on it but couldn't pass up $6.99 for a six pack! Pours a crisp clean light amber with a decent frothy off-white head. Aroma is of both pine and citrus hops. Taste is a good plethora of hops! There is a decent malt backbone that does its job but lets the hops shine through. The 8.5% is pretty well hidden and the beer sits medium on the tongue. The 85 IBUs show through nicely for a hophead like me. Given the reputation Saranac generally has, this is actually a damn good beer!

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear carmel,amber,honey color with a giant white foamy head that leaves great lacing. A very nice looking beer. The smell has some citrus hop smell to it,but it's really not too strong. The taste is bitter hops with a citrus flavor and piney with a nice alcohol bite. A really good tasting beer from a brewery that hasn't been a favorite of mine. The m/f is medium with the flavors mixing well.
A good drinking beer and for the alcohol, pretty easy drinking.

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Photo of kernalklink
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow- I'm really impressed with saranac after this one- their normally watered down brews pale in comparison to this one. Dark reddish pour with noticeable sticky head, great earthy hop aromas. Nice thick body, cant even taste the alcohol. Some sweet malty grains lend a counter-flavor to the huge hop profile which is refreshing and well selected. Oily slick finish, very tasty with a little toastiness and alcoholic warmth. If youre going to try a saranac, make this one your first.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.18/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a nonic.

Antiquated copper with a slight haze. Half-inch, creamy off-white head that lingers as a gelatinous sheet. Thinly webbed lacing with solid strength.

Juicy floral hops; earthen yet oily. Lemon and grapefruit aromas that are almost solvent-like and artificial-smelling. Stiff, adjunctory wheat with a slick, over-the-top alcohol presence.

Semi-sweet caramel-flavored, toasted malts surrounded by a waxy, cleaning solvent-esque floral hop character. Burnt, earthen hops with hints of spicy pine. The alcohol presence is abrasive and swarming from beginning to end. A slick, waxy finish is followed by sweetened wheat, pine, and ripe alcohol.

Medium bodied; slick, filmy, waxy. The beefed up, static alcohol character makes the mouthfeel very unflattering as it swarms the palate and doesn't let go.

A Double IPA that is very one-dimensional and tough to drink for that reason. Sloppy and overdone for the style.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
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 maddogruss
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a glass mug. I had the Ruination IPA so I had a general idea of what to expect but this brew was pretty potent. It poured a nice, dark amber color with an off-white head which further made me believe that it was very, very hoppy.The retention was pretty slow, which was good, allowing the hops to really be emitted from the beer. The smell was very hoppy; I guess it's those 130 IBUs (although I believe my friend told me our palettes can only handle 70; I believe him to be wrong after having this brew). The taste was, as explained in the ruination, filled with so much hops, that it was a palette destroyer. As soon as I drank it, I realized that I would not be able to review any beers for a little while, no matter how much water I drank afterwards to cleanse it. The mouthfeel was pretty solid; nothing too thick or too thin. Pretty drinkable if you are a hophead. After a couple of these, my stomach started to churn due to the high volume of hops in this brew. Overall, a good beer. Probably best as a night capper if you are into hops, otherwise, stick to hoppy beers all night long.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've been a local fan of Saranac since I started drinking beer and I was quite pleased to hear they were doing their High Peaks series. For Saranac, they did a good job...but compared to other DIPA's, I've definitely had better.

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. It has a clear amber hue with a very generous head. Lace is very sticky throughout the entire beer. Very unique hop aroma, citrus/pine/soap? aromas. Very subtle malt odors. Taste, now this was hard to grasp. Not really that hoppy for a DIPA with this abv. Very weak bitterness...quite malty for a DIPA, caramel/nutty taste. Mouthfeel is a bit chewy with a fairly dry aspect. Carbonation started off strong but weakened towards the end. This is a very drinkable DIPA, probably the most drinkable I have ever had and I've had quite a few. I would say give it a try if you're a hophead because it definitely is a unique DIPA, it will surprise you!

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Photo of goodbyeohio
2.74/5  rDev -23.2%
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 cnybrewblog
4.32/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this off tab.

A: Amber color that was not much darker than the normal IPA

S: Now I have a bias here because I love hops and this was SWIMMING in them, so I have to say I loved it. There were some faint pine smells that really complemented the hops and gave it a great nose.

T: Way too smooth for a beer with that ABV. There was a nice hoppy snap to it with a hint of grassyness in the finish.

M: This was good, there was a nice dry snap to with the hops and a sweet finish. The carbonation was good.

D: I would go driving home after a couple of these, but otherwise this is a great beer, instead of getting pounded with alcohol you have an IPA that is just more nuanced.

Overall I am a fan. This is a great addition to the Saranac family and I am looking forward to what other brews they have in store.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of jcdiflorio
2.78/5  rDev -22.1%
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 brewandbbq
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper, perfect clarity, and with a two inch, rocky beige head. The head is of medium density and falls within two minutes to a skim coat on the surface. Some decent lacework of clingy, frothy bubbles remain.
Aromatics are piney and peppery. Almost a cedar bark note amongst earthy resinous hops. A hint of cinnamon with the cedar leaves a musty hint. Lacking the pungent, floral character that an IIPA should have.
The mouthfeel is medium and sappy. Mildly sweey and sticky. Carbonation is right on.
The pallet is hop-laden and earthy, with plenty of juicy malt backbone. Heavy on piney, woody, spicey notes. Plenty of zesty, peppery, forest floor character as well. The citrus fruit so well known in a lot of IIPA's is somewhat subdued by the malt and spiceyness.
Bitterness is firm but not harsh.
Finishes quite warming and almost hot.
A notch above for Saranac.

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Photo of charlesw
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"The first in our series..." "Ten different malts and ten different hops..."
Of the "High Peaks Series". In a 6 pack of 12 oz bottles. I can't believe that I'm the first to review this one. But, hey, whatever.

Pours a clear amber with a light tan head of tight bubbles which lasts a few minutes leaving a very lasting covering lace.

Smells light, grassy and citrusy.

Tastes... Well, there's caramel. There are light citrus hops. There's a bang of bitter hops at the end. Given another 6 months to a year I'd expect both of those to mellow and this to be a lot mellower and even better...

Very nice in the mouth - slick but not cloying.

Now, I'll tell you that it's drinkable but, well, I'm letting my wife drink most of these while I pursue other beers. Why? Well... It seems just a little out of ballance - just a bit too much bitter at the end, a bit too much citrus all over (especially in after taste). Seriously, I'd be happy with this every day but, well, I have other stuff that I want to try and then I've got homebrew without the citrus or bitter tang at the end. Mind you, this is by far the best Saranac I've had and I am so pleased that they're branching out into bigger beers and only hope that they're all at least as good as this one! It will definitely increase my patronage of their beers! I can't wait to try the next in the series! And I should buy a case or two of this series and age it a while to see what that gives...


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Photo of billybob
4.78/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours orange copper with a light tan two finger head which holds to about half with excellent lacing to the finish. floral, citrus, piney aromas, toasted malt, citrus, spice, and pepper hop taste finish. medium body, good carbonation, with a dry hop, after taste. if it was not for the 8.5 abv i would drink it all night, oh what the hell who cares. keep pouring.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
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 tempest
3.36/5  rDev -5.9%
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 Ricochet
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big flavor. Saranac beers have always been "okay" but nothing really stuck out. This one would be an exception. Smells very grapefuit and malt and had a good sized head. Darker amber and no carbonation. Mouth, well, bitter but the malt of the beverage takes center stage and chewy is thy name. Very nice. Taste, warm as all IPAs with the extra punch of an imperial? Where do I begin? Grapefruit from the hops, agressive but not overpowering, a little wine and very thick maltiness. There is even a faint blue cheese note? Jeeze, that is a really wierd taste I experienced, but that's it. What a beer.

This is exceptional. I will have it again. Flavors so diverse, but truly a end of session beer.

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Photo of RedHaze
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear dark amber, with a thick two finger head that settles slowly to a thick cap. The lacing is very thick, almost completely covering the inside of the glass.

Smell; citric hops are present with a bit of grapefruit and some oranges. A nice pine tree aroma is there just behind those citrus notes, and there's a bit of a biscuity malt as well.

Taste; more piney in the flavor than citric, but neither is really that strong. This seems to be dominated more by the malts than it does by hops. There's also a spicy alcoholic presence, but it doesn't get in the way too much. I just wish there was a bigger hoppiness in flavor of this one. Not quite what I was expecting for an Imperial IPA.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and the drinkability is pretty good, even though the alcohol is pretty evident in the flavor.

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Photo of riversider76
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice honey color. One finger head,with decent retention,and great lacing. Smell is hoppy. Pine and citrus,with a hint of sweetness. Body is medium, and carbionated. Taste is piney, with fruit and citrus thrown in the mix. Trust me, you will want more than one. Excellent.

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Photo of wedge
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice looking candy orange color with a fat, persistent head pasting sheets of lace to the glass. Aroma of flowery hop cones, pine needles, and citrus along with a sweet caramel base. Resinous flavor of pine sap and a little grain just before the bitterness hits. Peppery, herbal, floral hops. A little different from most DIPAs. This would benefit from a bigger malt profile to really round things out. Bitter medium body with appropriate carbonation.

Cheers to Saranac for expanding their range. Though this can't really compete with the big boys, it is worth a try. Very sticky, flowery, and herbal overall.

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