Saranac Irish Red Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Irish Red AleSaranac Irish Red Ale
Liked This Beer
3.37 w/ 320 ratings
Saranac Irish Red AleSaranac Irish Red Ale

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

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-19-2008

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 320 |  Reviews: 171
Photo of RankRefugee88
3.38/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams glass.

A - Poured a nice amber color. Nice white head, not too big, not much lacing. Crystal clear.

S - Malty and sweet. Yeast present.

T - Nice caramel taste, a bit tangy. Overall heavy on the caramel, and just simply tastes like a fall style beer would.

M - Mouthfeel is ok. Carbonated well. Crispy finish on the palate.

D - Smooth going down. Decent drink.

Pretty decent beer. Not my favorite Irish Red Ale but I would definitely consider getting it again. It came in te fall seasonal variety pack for Saranac. It's a pretty well made fall beer.

 589 characters

Photo of Cylinsier
3.57/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz

Pours an amber red, cherry red to the light, with a white head that retains as a lacing.

Smells of equal parts light sugary malts and subdued floral hops. Maybe a hint of yeasty tartness.

Taste is faintly bitter and then a bit citrusy. The malts are bready and the hops are very subtle. A bit coppery in the aftertaste.

Feels moderate, mild tingly carbonation throughout.

Good sipper, not much to dislike about it. Would be easy to session but not quite great.

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Photo of soju6
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep red red that is clear with no real head to speak of.

S: Mild malt with hint of grain. Not much here.

T: mild malt flavor with a trace of caramel sweetness. Mild bitter finish.

F: Light body with lots of carbonation.

D: A bit on the tame side but good for a couple.

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Photo of nukem5
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark ruby red color with a huge clarity, nice fizzy head which dissapears to a thin film.

S: Dark roasted malts caramel and toffee notes.

T: Biter hops and malts toffe and caramel.

M: Medium Body, Balanced between sweet malts and some sour notes from hops.

D: Good drinkable beer and sad by the seasonal status.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had maybe a half-dozen Irish Red Ales in my time and this is one of the better examples. It has, I feel at least, a little more substance than the others.

Deep burgundy hue in the liquid, with a light touch of that color ending up in the head. Volume of head is quite abundant. No significant lacing to mention. Clean, rich appearance.

Bit of a weak aroma. I'm not expecting much in the way of smell from this style, but I found myself straining to pick up whatever was there. Malty and subtly sweet, however, quite subdued.

Takes a few sips to really settle into the flavor, but once I did I found it simple yet satisfying. A cakey maltiness forms the backbone with some caramel notes and I swear the tiniest of almost toffee or cinnamon richness at the back.

Has some body to it. Not as thin as I anticipated or as compared to other examples like Killian's, Guinness Red, McSorley's or Smithwick's, for instance. Drinks clean and fairly smooth, carbonation largely absent.

All in all, this wasn't half bad. I see this best as a beer to enjoy along with a meat pie, burger or simple grilled chicken sandwich and some fries.

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Photo of sdj5
3.26/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Reddish orange with a one-finger white head

Smell: No hops, sweet caramel malt

Taste: Brown bread, hint of bitterness, very simple

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, feels alright

Drinkability: Doesn't taste good enough to warrant many more

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Photo of skenyon1811
2.79/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled poured into pint.

A: Not much of a head when I poured this and what did appear went away quickly. The color of this beer is great. A dark red color with a little brown, but super clear.

S: I really don't get much here. Nothing standing out to me. I don't get any hops, just a little maltiness.

T: Very heavy on the malt side. I instantly get the roasted flavor and sweet caramel note. Finishes with a slight bitterness and alcohol taste. Not really blown away here.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Mine was a little too carbonated.

D: The carbonation slows ya down a little, but it never feels too heavy. I would pick up a six pack for a night.

Side note: I went to see Umphrey's Mcgee this summer at the Saranac Brewery and in between sets they were giving out free Irish Red.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Irish flag orange, which is a much more common red ale color than red. Nearly two fingers of toasted tan foam looks pretty good at first and melts in fine fashion. Glass coverage isn't outstanding, but it's serviceable.

The nose isn't powerful enough. Just a bit of earthy malt with meager caramel character. Unfortunately, head descent and warming don't add power or personality.

Irish Red Ale is pretty much as expected given most of my previous experiences with The Matt Brewing Company. In other words, it's a dumbed-down version of the style. On the other hand, an ABV of only 4.5% doesn't lend itself to massively malty mouthfilling magnificence.

Flavors include watery caramel, mushy apples, tea leaves, and a mild spiciness that must be coming from the Vanguard hops (developed from Hallertau). Maybe it's my big beer bias talking, but IRAs need to be at least 6.0% (and packed with malt) to deliver the goods.

The mouthfeel is thin and the bubbles are lightly tongue tingly. The first was a foregone conclusion and the second is more tolerable in the bottom half of the bottle than the top half.

Saranac Irish Red Ale fits into the TMBC lineup pretty much where I though it would. For those upstate New Yorkers looking to drink locally and save a few bucks, have at it. For anyone looking for an enjoyable Irish red... keep looking.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a sightly hazy ruby-amber with a thick white foamy head that pillows down to a thin sheen.

Has a slightly grassy-barley smell that is overlaid with sweet toffee malt. The sweet smell almost seems out of place with the predominate smell of the beer.

Has a pleasant, muted taste. Starts like a crisper ale, but gives way to a slightly sweet, caramelly taste mid-side of the tongue. Notes of straw, and slight lemon also hit the palate. Ends with very little bitterness. Not terribly complex, but a decent brew.

Mouthfeel is average, slightly carbonated feeling.

Smooth and drinkable as a session beer, good for a St. Patty's day celebration.

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Photo of Mbarnes304
3.08/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer had a medium creamy tan head with a very dark red body. The smell didn't have much of a hop aroma. I was picking up a slight yeast smell, but also toffee. This beer is lightly carbonated witch fits well with soft undertone of Carmel and toffee. I believe the toffee is however more noticeable. The beer seems like a light Irish RED or watery to me. I was expecting this beer to be bolder. This Irish Red is drinkable, but not something I will buy again.

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Photo of jmarvin4189
2.94/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - dark amber color with minimal head

Smell - very malty

Taste - smooth and slightly bitter... nothing special

Mouthfeel - goes down smooth

Drinkability - goes down easy but definitely have to take my time with this beer

Overall this is a pretty basic irish red, nothing really stands out from this beer but for 3.99 a six pack I might find myself drinking it again since it has some flavor to it.

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Photo of biggred1
3.85/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with a creamy tan head that leaves some fine lace on the glass. Caramel and roasty malty aroma with a touch of floral hop. Sweet and malty upfront with some minty hop bittering in the finish. Medium light bodied with plenty of carbonation. This is one of the better examples of the style IMO. It won't blow your mind but would any Irish red?

 353 characters

Photo of BostonBrewins
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear, ruby amber. Tan head with decent head retention. Does not appear to be alot of carbonation. Looks like an irish red to me.

S - Smellls very sweet. Lots of toffee and caramel.

T - Very bready, toasty too. Lots of caramel flavor initially, but sadly this fades away as the beer starts to warm a little.

M - Low to medium carbonation and medium bodied. Nice mouthfeel, to style.

D - A very enjoyable and sessionable irish red. Not overly sweet which serves to enhance the drinkability. A nice example of the style.

 534 characters

Photo of MarvinSnyder
2.86/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

3-25-10 - poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass - 12 Fl. oz. capped bottle

Appearance: Pours an auburn red with a bubbly, creamy, tan head. It also has some noticeable lacing.

Smell: Aroma features metal, hops, some grainy notes and a slight hint of caramel apple. However, the aroma never really develops and is exceptionally light.

Taste: This beer has a slight metallic taste. Also, a hint of tea and a mostly unremarkable bready malt flavor surfaces. Like the aroma of this beer, nothing truly distinguishable about the taste ever really surfaces. There is no complexity, as the taste never really goes anywhere.

Mouthfeel: Mild to moderate carbonation. The feel is light and thin, but overall the sensation is decent on the palate.

Drinkability: Although this beer has the appearance and feel to go down easily and smoothly, with so many quality beers to reach for I probably will not choose this one again.

Comments: Overall, this beer presents some good attributes, but other key components seem to be missing.

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Photo of Lukafer
3.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured in pint glass.

Appearance is a medium/dark red. Smell is slight nuttiness and alcohol. I taste sweet maltiness with some sweet cereal, with a dry finish. There is a good amount of carbonation, but it is really thin. Drinkability is good, not the most delicious beer, but very easy drinking.

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Photo of generallee
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The bottle has no freshness date or abv% listed. I got this as part of the Saranac "What Ales You" 12 pack.

Appearance: The body has a rich amber color with a slight reddish hue and good clarity. On top sits a small cap of off white foam. This head quickly fades to a ring of lace foam that is slick and sides down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Its aroma is very light with only very slight hints of biscuit like malt and herbal/dried leafy hops.

Taste/Palate: The flavor is very simple and safe. There is a modest bready and biscuit like maltiness with some light hints of red apple skins and caramel like sweetness. Mixed into the malt is a weak dried leafy hop presence. The finish is fairly dry, quick and has mild hop bitterness with just a slight acidic touch. The palate feels light to medium bodied with a smooth mild carbonated texture.

Notes: Overall it's not bad but to me, it is rather simple and light.

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Photo of zebco
3.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to a red-amber color. From my vigorous pour I received a thick, tall head which dwindled quickly but stuck around from there on. Sweet malt on the nose. Sweet flavor as well. Hints of sweet caramel. Develops into a light hoppy bittterness in the finish. This was an average beer for me. Nothing really stood out for me. It wasn't bland. Just a sweet beer with no real strong flavor. Probably won't get this one again.

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Photo of JamesS
3.03/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a decent mid-red color, with just a bit of initial head and no lacing. Clean malty scent, but that's about it for the aroma. Decent clean malty flavor, as well, but without much of anything else; did not have that nice extra sourness red ales from Ireland have. Goes down smooth. Not a great beer, but a drinkable one. I'll not buy another six pack but I wouldn't turn down a free one.

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

A - A dark red with translucent shimmering of orange peeking its way through. A creamy and dense white head leaving an ample amount of mobile lacing following downwards along the surface.

S - Biscuit-like maltiness that gets slightly covered up by a rusty metallic aroma.

T - Top heavy malts that seem to sit heavy on a top of dark cherry and dense cream. Toffee notes following along that turns into plum perhaps?

M - Getting a lot of carbonation that seems to over-shadow the potential creaminess that rests in the body.

D - Not a bad red ale. There were a lot of coarse characteristics (carbonation, saturated malt) that blanketed a lot of potential features. It's worth a try though.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.6/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Pours a semi-clear deep amber copper color. One finger white head dies down rather fast. Spotty lacing all down the sides of the glass.

S- Some nutty aspects to the front of the nose. Light roasted malts along with caramel highlights throughout. Some alcohol in the back end of the aroma tingles the nose.

T- Sweet caramel malts in the front. Watery roasted malts in the middle. There is no hops in the flavor at all which threw me off. Cereal style grainy flavor. Sweet alcohol in the back end of the beer.

M- Light mouthfeel. Cabonation is good for the style. Sweet malts on the palate with some cereal grains on the aftertaste. Clean tasting throughout.

D- This was one of my first stabs at Saranac and don't know how I feel about it. It is a step above BMC but not by much. Will try others from the brewery but don't know if this is one I will revisit.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Single bottle (lots of numbers on the bottle, no date I could find) poured into a tumbler.

Appearance: Dark orange-red with light tan foam that is very persistent across the top of the beer. Some lacing noted as I drank it down.

Smell: Some roasted malts...a little cleaner though at the end. What am I looking for here?...A bit of a hoppy lager smell. Not very strong in the smell dept.

Taste: Malts up front followed by a quick metallic taste, then some bitterness and a crisp finish. There is some biscuity aftertaste. Pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation on the tongue, about water thickness - not bad, not good; just there and okay.

Drinkability: Very drinkable - goes down easy and quickly and went nicely with a simple fish meal. There are other Irish reds out there I enjoy more though. Still, if it was available, I'd take it.

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Photo of dmamiano
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark reddish pour....nice tan head that leaves a sticky lacing
hints of caramel,toffee and perfectly kilned malts
taste is nice as in feel. Sweet malts prevail...malty and nice. Caramel, toffee ..some roastiness but slight.
One of my favorite the malt!

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Photo of Kendo
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on St Patrick's Day 2010. Just noticed "Irish Red Ale" = IRA. Interesting coincidence (or is it?). . . .

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is coppery-amber with a small off-white head. Leaves some lace behind, though not much.

S: Not terribly strong on the nose. Some roasted barley malt, some basic grains. Slight earthiness.

T: Slight caramel/toffee sweetness up front, along with cereal grains. Dry metallic/minerally taste at the back end and lingering into the aftertaste. Tastes a lot like many other Saranac offerings, actually.

M: Light in heft. Over-carbonated makes this one a bit harsh in feel.

D: OK. At least it's light, has some flavor to it. Not one I'd get again, however.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into pint glass a clear amber to red color with two-finger tan head. Head stays nicely and great lacing on glass.

S: Roasted grains, fresh baked bread, toffee, caramel, and husky aromas of fresh grains. Hops are floral and grassy.

T: Smooth, light and caramel roasted grains, sweet toffee and cream with a touch of honey. Hops balance with bitterness and some floral characteristics.

M: Medium body, slightly creamy with light fluffy carbonation.

D: Nothing wrong with this beer at all and IMO one of Saranacs best made beers!

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Photo of mempath
3.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours an bright amber with nice intricate lacing. smells of toasty malts...nothing spectacular, but fresh. full-bodied mouthfeel allows the tang of hops to accent, but allow the malt character to remain stage center. not bad at all. much better than Killian's....a bit dry, not one-dimensional, but not 3 or 4 either...good for quaffing something that has flavor.

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Saranac Irish Red Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 20.6% out of 100 with 320 ratings
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