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Saranac Irish Red Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Irish Red AleSaranac Irish Red Ale
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 320 |  Reviews: 171
Photo of mikereaser
2.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours a clear reddish brown with 1/4 inch of tan foam

S - caramel and grains dominate, sweet malt, caramel & peach

T - very light sweet caramel malt flavor, seems awfully watered down to me.

M/D - decent carbonation with a slightly bitter finish, nothing to exciting with this one and I don't know if I'd have it again

 325 characters

Photo of MikeBrandman
3.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Served in a bottle from the "What Ales You?" variety pack.

A - Obviously a Red ale. Pours a rich, deep amber/red. Translucent, not transparent. Very thin head, only about a finger even with a rather harsh pour and almost no lacing.

S - Not a lot to smell at all. A little bit of maltiness, but a pretty good amount of smell from the carbonation, I suppose.

T - Pretty good taste overall. Not terribly balanced, definitely more on the malty side. Very sweet, like caramel. Very little aftertaste to this, a good amount of sweetness in your mouth that lingers though. Enjoyable, not overpowering. Actually kind of underwhelming.

MF - Light and airy. You might even forget you're drinking something if it's served room temperature.

D - Definitely sessionable. Low taste, low ABV, low carbonation, definitely could go back for more, if the taste left me wanting more.

Comments: Definitely the most bland out of the "What Ales You?" pack. I'd have this as a third or fourth beer in the evening, when you're not so much drinking for the taste as the enjoyment. Goes down easy; not bad, just not that good either.

 1,114 characters

Photo of albern
3.45/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

There's not much going on here and thus not much to comment upon either. It pours a reddish amber color with a decent slightly creamy off white head. Some retention and lacing going on too. The nose is sweet crystal malts and the taste follows suit. There is a roasted graininess and a slightly pricklish mouthfeel. It is a sweet malt, pretty low carbonation, not much else other than it is eminently drinkable and a decent beer that is none too complex.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.45/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours a nice reddish brown color with white foam that recedes instantly. No foaming down the side.

Smells of malty sweetness.

Taste is sweet as well - caramel, blended with a modest fruit hint. The malt dominates. Finish is sweet, very mild hop bittering.

Virtually no carbonation in the mouthfeel.

This is a good enough beer to drink more than one.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.17/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into pint glass.

Crystal clear copper hue with some honey highlights. A thin light tan head quickly settles to a thin cap.

A little bit of burnt caramel and only a slight touch of very herbal-like hop aromas.

Very light toasty malts, not as much caramel in the flavor as I expected. The hops add a light amount of bitterness, and add a very grassy and smooth flavor in the background. Medium bodied with high carbonation.

This is an okay Irish Red, maybe a little light on the flavor.

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Photo of yelterdow
2.65/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served at fridge temperature in a pint glass. One of eight Irish Reds facing off in a double-blind tasting with BA EPseja. This one didn't quite make the final cut for either of us.

Appearance- Sporting a finger-thick bone white head infused with just a hint of red, this is a deep amber red and relatively light-bodied. There's not much lacing at all here.

Smell- A faint metallic aroma mingles with a touch of grain, then the malt becomes more evident ten minutes into the review.

Taste- Sweeter and more cloying than almost all of the other players in this tasting, it lacks both the firm malt backbone and the spritzy hop character that really makes this style so enjoyable alone or with food. The malt and hops are there, but just barely.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Extremely fizzy and thin, the most macro-esque in terms of texture of the entire lot. The bubbles, though tiny, remain quite discernable the entire time, never easing up and becoming more smooth. This factor, more than anything, sinks the drinkability score.

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

Much more impressive than a Killians or comparable. Somewhat more like an amber APA.

A= brown-amber, fair off-white head.

S= lots of hops florals up-front, whiffs of caramel & sweet malts.

T= hops florals galore, enough bitters to please an APA fan; fairly rich caramel malts.

M= clean, light bitters, plentiful florals.

D= very drinkable for most occasions and in-session.

 378 characters

Photo of number1bum
3.46/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear reddish brown with about a finger and a half of ivory colored head. Keeps a mostly full lace and leaves some webbing on the sides.

Smell is pretty weak and bland, with a bit of toasted grain and caramel, a light floral hop note and some wet cardboard.

Taste also has some caramel and toasted grain which stand out more than they did in the nose. Likewise with some fruity hop flavor which provides some nice balance. Flavors are still somewhat muted but it's not bad.

Mouthfeel is a light medium body, crisp and pretty smooth with nice balance.

This is a pretty good Irish Red. Nothing spectacular but a solid and easy drinking brew.

 651 characters

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

Nice color to it, amber, with a slight head and mild lace. Malty scent to it.

Kind of bitter/sour. Easy to drink, mild body...but lacks any real style to it. Out of Saranac offerings, I would put this on the lower end. It was too dry and lacked that malt kick that kind of came through wit the scent. Above average.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sweet sugary toffee notes--as the label declares--and buttery popcorn (?) softens the nostrils... handsome clear amber red body with thin, white head that embraces the pint glass... medium-bodied, effervescent--balanced around the mouth and tongue... a bit of roasted malt and sweet candied sugars produce a rather flavorful, American-style ale...not much difference betwen this "Irish" ale and the average American "amber"--mellow, compatible with many dishes, and easy drinking enough to pound--clever marketing for the St. Patty's Day rush? A nice surprise in the Saranac "What Ales You?" 12-pack...

 602 characters

Photo of Cakanator
2.71/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

bottle from a mix pack. Pours a red brown with little head. No real aromas, thin palate with little fruits. A little spice, maybe cinnamon towards the finish. Really average with what saranac puts out. I could drink another, but I have better options.

 251 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
2.41/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured a brilliantly clear bright ruby read with a foamy light beige capping. A light splotchy lacing was faint while a light visible effervesce was observed. Sadly this was the strongest point of the drink and was only average.

S: Hardly any aroma at all. Dried cherries with faint hints of dried powdery malt extract. Really weak and hardly any scent or incentive to intake makes this unimpressive.

T: The flavor faired only moderatly better with light tart cherries with a spritzy seltzer like presence. Tart dried apples skins and cores with a dried malting lacking much substance, flavor, depth, or complexity. Overall found the flavor to be plain jane, boring, and rather bland.

M: Moderate carbonation with a light body while finishing fairly watery. Again not much here, stripped of body, and lacking any memoriable calling cards.

D: Really hate to hit a beer when its down but came off as a very boring and bland drink deprived off body and flavor. Undistinguishable, unmemorable and cant honestly cant recommend. Easy enough to down but certainly lacks any incentive to do so.

 1,096 characters

Photo of nms1987
3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not a great beer, but a pretty good one.

Pours a nice rich amber color with solid head.

Not alot of nose. A little bit of sweet maltyness.

Taste is smooth and malty with just a bit of hops cleaning up at the end. Caramel sweetness is the biggest taste in the taste.
It is smooth and easy drinking. Not complex, and not a great beer... but, again, a real good one

 366 characters

Photo of TheTrevor
3.08/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured copper with reddish highlights and a thin head. The smell is pretty subtle, just a tiny bit of malt and yeast. The taste starts off with a bit of caramel malt and that's about it. Not unpleasant, but incredibly one-note. The mouthfeel is a bit watery but there's enough carbonation to keep it crisp. I can't help thinking that this beer may have been made specifically to drink in large quantities on a certain March Holiday.

 442 characters

Photo of SqueeCantCook
3.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving: 12 oz Bottle into a pint glass.

Overall: I bought this while mixing a six pack at a local beer store. I had seen it around for a few months and decided to give it a shot. Being a fan of Saranac beers and a bigger fan of Irish Reds, I had somewhat high hopes for this beer. But alas, I wasn't impressed. Not saying its a bad beer, but its not a great beer either.

Appearance: Against the light, it has a very nice rust orange/copper/amber color. Caramel-y almost. Very little white creamy head that fades quickly. Little to no lacing. Head fades to a thin film on the top. Visible carbonation.

Smell: Not much on the nose here. Fairly clean. Slight yeast. Some metallish notes, but not in a bad way.

Taste: Some maltiness up front, but overall, not much going. Finish hangs around for a bit. After tastes of caramel and malts.

Mouth feel: Pretty nice mouth feel. Creates a nice coat on the tongue that sticks for about a minute or so after you've tasted it.

Drinkability: Its not heavy. One could drink a few of these without realizing it I would say. Goes down easy, not very filling either.

Give it a shot.

 1,129 characters

Photo of mpyle
3.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App - brilliant amber color, great clarity. Pours a nice white head with good retention.

Smell - Caramel malt aroma, but mostly clean.

Taste - Bland maltiness upfront, but never overly sweet. Finishes gently bitter. A bit of copper penny late. Doesn't have the distinctive diacetyl of some of the more interesting examples. Not as malty, either.

Medium body and med-high carbonation. A bit spritzy, but otherwise nothing too notable in the mouthfeel.

Not a very distinctive beer, but Irish Red isn't really much of a style. Probably too bitter and insufficiently malty - not unpleasant to drink, but nothing exceptional about it.

 633 characters

Photo of u2carew
2.87/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(A) Copper in color. Pours with a mellow head that fades and settles to the outside of the glass. Visible carbonation.
(S) Mostly yeasty with a slight caramel aroma.
(T) No overtly distinct flavors. Mild malt sweetness, with a touch of caramel. Finishes dry with a toasted grain aftertaste.
(M) Some tannin feel present. Medium bodied brew.
(D) A decent brew, but not stand out.

 379 characters

Photo of bsend
3.93/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

The beer pours a rich, deep amber red. A proper pour provides a 1 finger soapy white head. It stayed with the beer for most of the drink.

The smell was light but I got a bit of caramelized and roasted malts back by yeast. Nothing spectacular, but standard for the style.

The taste was pretty good. Though not my favorite style, I enjoyed this Irish red. Plenty of roasted malt without a metallic aftertaste that you can experience with some of the mass produced styles.

The mouthfeel was average but adequate. It was light but coated the mouth.

The drinkability on this one was what really stood out. This beer was great for a session (unfortunate they don't give you more than 2 in the mix pack!). It was smooth, and light. I wish I could grab a twelve of this.

Final Thoughts - My current favorite of the mass produced Irish reds. Definitely pick up the mix pack and give it a go.

 936 characters

Photo of philbe311
2.88/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - One fingers worth of pure white thick, lush, and fizzy head... The head fades and leaves an beautiful lacing... A minimal amount of slow carbonation... Light to medium brown in color with signs of a reddish hue when held near light...

S - Overall the aroma is quite weak... There are hints of caramel, toffee, and a distinctive earthiness...

T - The taste may be even fainter than the aroma, but follows the noise... Perhaps there is a hint of spice as well...

M - A little bit of biting carbonation... Medium bodied... A very mild smokiness at the end... The flavors really didn't fill the mouth...

D - As a long time proponent of Saranac, I was rather disappointed in this brew... Aside from the appearance there isn't much going on in any of the other categories...

Note - There was a distinctive fizzy sound to the beer until the head settled...

 862 characters

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

Pours a coppery brown (not very red, but close enough) with a big fluffy head. The aroma has a solid malty, slightly roasted character. The flavor, however, is a bit weaker than one might hope - malty and toasty, with a little burn down the throat, but somewhat weak on the finish. The mouthfeel is sparkly and carbonated which makes up for the somewhat thin flavor.

Like most Saranac products - good, pleasant, but not great.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This came as part of Saranac's latest mixed twelver. It's a few days after St. Patty's (I chose Beamish on the day) but it's still the right season. This one has a rusty orange color with very little head. The nose is a nutty caramel with a lingering touch of metal.

The initial taste is fresh and shows a surprising hint of hoops and plenty of carbonation. Shortly after, the malt kicks in and unfortunately, so does the metal. The aftertaste is refreshing at first but ultimately turns gritty. This is a reasonably decent interpretation of the style but not overly inspiring. Typical Saranac, really.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
2.53/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This has a rather dull color for a "red". It's much more like a brown ale in appearance, right along with a thin, white head that forms and then falls apart pretty quick.

The aroma is very mild, with a muddy-malt aroma, semi-sweet, herbal balance in the nose. A very mild heat can be detected under that.

The flavor is a rather mundane maltiness, sweet on the herbal side, not hefty on the herbalness but the malt complexity is pretty thin and is very close to Brown ale. The feel is flat and very light bodied, but not lively. It's not really holding my interest.

Oh well, you can't dig 'em all.

 603 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright coppery color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, tea and touches of fruit and hops.

T: The taste is malty with mildly sweet flavors of caramel and some fruit. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, might not be the best Irish Red out there but it's a solid beer that is worth drinking for an evening.

 711 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle no. 4122274000716. Sampled on March 14, 2009.

The appearance is a translucent deep ruby red with virtually no head. Malts are the key aspet of the aroma followed by something sweet. Medium mouthfeel. The malts were not as evident in the flavor as that of an overripe fruit, weak hops and a dry finish. Adequate.

 337 characters

Photo of JayNH
2.59/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- pours a clear reddish copper with a large foamy head. Decent lacing left on the glass.

S- Call me crazy but I swear it smells just like a Pilsner lager. Though if you search hard enough you can detect a faint toasty malt note in the background.

T- The taste only hints a being an Irish red. Bland and watery, any maltiness is MIA.

M- Thin, watery and bodyless.

D- Drinkable only because it's so bland and watery. This brew is a dud...

 441 characters

Saranac Irish Red Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.37 out of 5 with 320 ratings
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