Saranac Irish Red Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Irish Red AleSaranac Irish Red Ale
336 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: 336 |  Reviews: 175
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...

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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

Saranac Irish Red has very little red colour to it, and it's only present when you hold the beer right up into the light. 'Saranac Irish Orange with a Concentration of Amber' would have arguably been just as accurate, if the name referred to colour and not to style of course. Some head can be found on top but it's nothing close to substantial.

Metallic, artificial and cloying are not the words you want coming to mind when you drink any beer. This smell of corn syrup and cheap malt extract should not be appealing to anyone. I'll be keeping my nose out of the glass. Is this a welcome to adjunct central?

Apparently with the flavour we depart 'adjunct central', but we end up in 'cheap malt extract west', which I suppose is somewhere in the suburbs? The grainy taste of wet, unmalted barley can't stand up to the cloying taste of corn syrup and stale adjuncts; I don't really want to taste either anyhow. I might of said a hint of dark fruit but that's really reaching.

Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the style but I can appreciate every and any kind of beer given a well crafted sample (which come to think of it, for this style I've had only one - Three Floyd's Brian Boru). Thing is, I could drink this - I just wouldn't really want to, but if offered I wouldn't necessarily decline. Let's make that distinction clear: some (I find a lot) of macro breweries produce beers I can't drink. This isn't anywhere near that bad.

I may have been a little overly harsh with my review, but the fact remains: there was nothing for me here. Most underwhelming micro breweries, including this one, make beers that are definitely drinkable, beers that I probably would have enjoyed a few years ago. As things stand now, however, I'll probably pass.

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Photo of glid02
3.36/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very nice clear dark amber color with a one-finger light tan head. The head dissipates into a thin layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of metallic hops with hints of caramel malts coming through.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though the caramel malt flavors are now at the forefront. Like the only other Saranac I've tried to date - the Pale - this one seems to have too much sweetness. It's not that it's cloying, it's more of a grainy sweetness.

Mouthfeel is good. Above average thickness with good carbonation.

Drinkability is good. If it weren't for being too sweet this could be really easy to drink,

Overall this is close to being a really good beer, but if you haven't learned already, I thought it was too sweet.

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Photo of Celt44
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle label is certainly eye-catching - especially this time of the year (March)

Appearance is a clear, coppery orange. Nice head and a very thin lacing lasts throughout.

Aroma is big with malts up front. Sugar & Spice come to mind. Slight citrus.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Taste is not bad for the style. The smoothness makes it head and shoulders above any macro Irish Red I've had. Big sweet malt character with tones of toffee - just as advertised.

Overall a good beer. Definitely one of the better beer claiming to be an Irish Red - whatever that means....

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

Nice deep amber to red in the glass; decent head with some lacing. Malt (lightly roasted) in the nose and in the initial taste. Little hops flavor, though the hint of bitterness helps balance the beer nicely. Great body, perfect carbonation and a nice dry finish make it easy drinking. Enjoyed it a lot. Another winner from Saranac. Happy St. Patty's Day.

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Photo of animal69
3.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear deep reddish-brown color w/ a thin off-whitehead which rapidly dissipates leaving a decent lacing in my nonic ; a rather weak smell, some steely, caramelish grain with hints of toasted nuts and a very faint dark fruit presence as it warmed ; taste is very similar to smell, but with a bit more nutty flavor w/ a bvery well-balanced hop-malt flavor, a slightly tart,yet crisp finish ; a light body, dry and very well carbonated ; a very drinkable brew, and much better than most irish reds available..

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.38/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac- Irish Red Ale

A- Good clear golden amber with a fluffy head. Moderate lacing.
S- Sweet cherry licorice malt. Hints of caramel and butter.
T- Sweet buttery caramel malt. Sugary cherry licorice.
M- Moderate, not too thick, malt. Very sugary sweet with a grainy dry finish.

Overall- Not bad at all. I would by a 6er of this for a poker night.

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Photo of curasowa
2.44/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured with very little head that dissipated immediately. Has the reddish color I was expecting. Nothing too impressive on the nose; maybe some graininess and some strange sourness as well. Things don't get any better when I take a drink. Some initial sweetness and a tiny bit of bitterness, and then nothing. VERY thin, OK carbonation and a lingering graininess that isn't too pleasant. I live in NY and try and support my local brewers, but this beer isn't very good

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Kinda like training wheels in craft brew, Saranac is great for getting beer drinkers ready for more complex and diverse beer styles. However they tend to keep it pretty safe, which isn't a bad thing. Appears a traditional deep caramel red hue with light beige head forming nicely above the rim of the glass. The head retention is decent and comes complete with minimal scattered lacing. Smell of this brew carries mild metallic qualities witha mineral water like quality. The cereal grains amongst the party carries caramel and biscuity wheaties notes with a touch of herbal hop in the finish. Flavor is mild slightly tart and metallic with a touch of acidity amongs a sweet rolling malt profile. Mouthfeel is light bodied a tad heavier than most michelob "craft" styles. Drinkability overall is solid something I would buy due to affordability and quaffabillity definitely falls in the session beer category all adorned with an Irish flag on the six pack holder.

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Photo of Stimack
3.16/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Seeing that this was new I decided to pick up a 6 pack. The brew pours to a nice copper color with a thick off white head that has good retention and has left a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is malt, slight caramel and sweet along with a aroma that seems to come with a majority of Saranac brews, must be from their yeast strand. The flavor is very similar to the aroma, caramel though you do get a toffee note. Besides what was mentioned I am not picking up much more. This is a fair brew from Saranac, good for the price. The one thing that I notice is that I get a lot of the same aromas and flavors from a wide variety of their brews.

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Saranac Irish Red Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.37 out of 5 with 336 ratings