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Saranac Rye Pilsener | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Rye PilsenerSaranac Rye Pilsener

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

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-18-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 105
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.52/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Brings the darker color, I guess that's the rye. Smallish 1/4" offwhite head. Aroma was not rye. Wasn't really anything to speak of.

Taste kind of reveals this was a darker beer in color, but not in substance. Again, devoid of hop, malt or yeast flavors. Lots of carbonation on it. Why do all their beers taste the same? Only one yeast strain?
Some toffee and caramel notes, but they aren't well integrated.

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Photo of msnow34
3.12/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

First smell and taste is very spicy, lots of carbonation. Future sips, take this beer almost to an adjunct lager level. Not much flavor or smell. The spicyness and the fact that it isn't sour is the only thing that sets it apart. Very dry mouthfeel, and the small head retains itself throughout.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice copper hued amber color with a head that was maybe an inch or so high and balanced out well along the walls of the glass. Aroma was heavy hops at first, citrus and pine, but as it warmed some balance is brought forward by bready malts and hints of caramel. Nice and smooth, clean finish had a nice bite to it but mellowed tremendously as it went down leaving a semi dry, semi sweet finish in its wake.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear straw. Head retention is decent at about half a finger. No lacing.
S- Smell tends toward spice, but despite the rye componant it smells more like they spicy characteristics of noble hops than it does of rye. Somewhat grainy.
T- Sweeter than I expected, though this only slightly a negative. Again, spicy, but I really feel this is a product of hop selection rather than rye. Although the further down the glass I get the more I think the sweetness is restraining the rye.
M- Body is moderate, carbonation is a bit too fizzy in the mouth.
O- A decent enough pilsner I suppose, but the rye characteristics were underwhelming. Refreshing and easy enough to drink, but not particularly outstanding.

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Photo of bourbonbock
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up with the saranac summer mix pack. Poured this 12 oz bottle vigorously into my mug.

A. A pale yellow body topped with white foamy head.

S. I can smell slight maltiness with some citrus and thats about it.

T. Very light and tangy with a very small body and not much aftertaste. Very refreshing, which seems to be the theme of this case.

M. Light and clean with some carbonation bouncing the taste off the tongue.

D. I could put a whole sixxer of this stuff back without realizing it.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.72/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Saranac Beers of Summer Box - $13.48 at Sherlock's in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, yellow body with a fairly small, fizzy, white head

Smell: Lightly sweet-scented pils malts in the nose, with a growing but gentle graininess as it warms. Soft notes of lemon peel and spiciness from German-like if not exactly German-born hops.

Taste: Sweetish, lightly honey-tasting pilsner maltiness with a slight grainy undertone. Touch of zesty rye malt aided by the spicy, grassy, lemon-hinting hops with their gentle bitterness and still further aided by the carbonic bite of the crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: A simple, tidy, if average pilsner with a hint of rye which goes well enough with the light inclusion of Vanguard hops. Paired with the TCM television premiere of Metropolis.

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Photo of bernie879
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a straw gold with minimal pure white head that fell as soon as I set the glass down and grabbed my pencil and pad. The aroma was pretty mild; malty rye and barely discernable hops. The first sip really suprised me as it was real bright as the carbonation is right on, then smoothes out over the tongue, followed by tingling the back of the throat. The spicyness of the rye comes out a bit more on the taste as does a matching lemon note.

This wasn't a very complex beer but I liked it nonetheless. The mouthfeel was the highlight of the beer and helps to bringout the mild taste of the beer. A good beer that I could have a few of in a sitting.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for donating this to a worthy cause...me

It has that pale straw color like you would expect that a pilsner would be, but as a rye beer I expected a bit more color and the head to last longer than 10 seconds on the surface. The aroma is a bit sour as I would expect from the rye. There is no unpleasantness from it, but aside from a twinge of lemon zest the rye is really all that I get from the nose. The palate is rather crisp and clean with no real bitterness. The flavors are a smidge sour, but then the citrus mixes with the sweetness of the pale malts and almost makes it refreshing like a barley lemonade, not nearly that strong, but you get the idea. Most other hints on the tongue remain rather fruity in nature such as honeydew and red apple. Though it's not overly sweet in the slightest it has the right amount of fruity notes to make it quite enjoyable. It's rather good on the palate and it's pleasant to drink. A recommendation for me and a surprisingly good beer.

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Photo of Offa
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is essentially a good, solid and satisfying traditional American pale lager with the rye giving extra depth and character to the malt-grain quality.

Golden, it has a medium-big white head steadily shrinking to a ring and no lace.

Aroma is very full grain character, strong dry bread crust (the rye influence perhaps?) hints of apple juice, grass, herbs and hay and the faintest hint of rye. It is mostly a very nice, more full-bodied regular American pale lager with a somewhat stronger, more toasty bread-crust grain character and a faint hint of what is identifiably rye.

Taste is similar. It has a nice, full grain character, firm with an unusual fullness for an American pale lager-type, with some hints of complexity. It has light spicy-leafy and grassy hop character and a definite light juiciness. Light sweetness just dominates underlying gentle bitterness. The character and feel are firm and zesty. The rye is only noticeable as such as a light spicy hint in the finish and aftertaste, but I suspect it adds to the more full-bodied, well-rounded and slightly more complex toasty grain character. In the end, this is essentially a nicely full-bodied, firm, well-founded American pale lager with some slight additional character and complexity from the rye.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.18/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Workin' my way through the summer variety box. This entry pours a clear pale straw topped by a finger of staunch white foam. The nose comprises corn, wheat, and some light cardamom. The taste begins all standard pils, what with the wheat and floral hops and all, but then deviates from the norm with a nice backbone of peppery rye. Good times. The body is quite light, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly crisp finish. Overall, a very nice brew: Something tells me rye can make all sorts o' beers even better than before (though the rye AAL still sounds like it'd suck something fierce...).

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Photo of movingtrain
3.01/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow, relatively clear, with a decent head at first which slowly falls to not much more than a film across the top of the beer.

In the aroma there are hints of fruit, bread, some rye, and wet wood. The aroma here is very much a basic pilsner smell, with a good malt background and some fruity and bitter notes on top.

The flavor leaves something to be desired. It is fruity, grapes and lemon on the tongue. There are also notes of white pepper, honey, and a bit of spice.

Overall, this is a very drinkable beer. Nothing outstanding about it, but one whose flavor is just neutral enough to be enjoyed through the evening, or, more likely, on a hot summer day.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.82/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours a dark gold with a huge, 4 finger white head that fades pretty quickly with minimal lacing. It looked good to start, then just kinda went...blah. The initial pour was outstanding, though

S- I'm getting a lot of rye, with some very faint hoppiness in there as well. Well...its supposed to be a rye, and I'm getting rye...so thats good, right?

T- really, really muted...getting a small bite of rye to start, then it dies and fades into a corny, buttery mess. Yuck

M- thin and overcarbonated. Not too appealing

D- nothing to see here. Easy drinking, nonoffensive, really bland

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Photo of huxcrunner
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a-this is a nice golden yellow color with good lacing and about 1 fingers of white head

s-nice pilsner aroma with good notes of different malts including the rye notes

t-great clean taste that is smooth and crisp great taste with good malt taste

m- a little light mouthfeel but it is smooth and refreshing

d-this is just a good overall beer and is refreshing and tastes great

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer poured clear and golden with a bubbly half inch white head.

S: Grainy, both fresh and toasted, spicy hops, peppery hops and some cream corn smells.

T: Toasted and husky grains, crisp dry maltiness, spicy rye and a bit of hay. Hops give a crisp bitter touch with a hit of spice and astringency.

M: Light body with bubbly carbonation. Finish is dry.

D: Delicious twist on a traditional pilsener style. Easy to drink a few and remain interested. One of the best balanced and drinkable beers in the mixed case.

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Photo of russpowell
3.77/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review based on notes

Pours an effervescent gold with 3 fingers of pearl colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Bready with grassy & perfumy hops

T: Bready with grassy notes & slight honey malt sweetness up front. Rye crispness & grassy note when warm. Finishes crisp with lemony hops showing up late to the party

MF: Light bodied, firm carbonation & nice balance

Drinks pretty easy, better than most in this summer mixed 12, could've use some more hop bite

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Photo of DoubleJ
2.42/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Rye Pilsener eh? On to the beer:

We're looking at lemongrass colored beer with a sizable, creamy head on top. Good retention and I don't get the aroma. As in "I don't understand it". Fruity esters that I've smelled in other Saranac brews (it must be the yeast) are here too. I get some rustic aromas; could be worse.

Where's the rye? Where's that great pilsner taste? Something's weird in that fermention process, beacuse I'm getting a good amount of green apple flavor. Yes, it could be worse, but this is not what I want dominating my pilsner. Oddly, it is drinkable to an extent, probably because of the smooth and semi-creamy mouthfeel.

Off the mark. May I trade in a Rye Pilsener for a Helles?

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appeared as a nice buckwheat honey color and formed an inviting head when poured into my German engraved pewter mug. The foam left a latter formation as it was able to hold its head through almost half the bottle's worth.

The smell was sweet and malty. As was the taste.

The mouthfeel is balanced and had a very delicious aftertaste. The drinkability is strong with this one, unfortunately it didn't live up to the rye boldness that I was looking for. However, this remains one of my favorites in the summer pack.

I deem this brew...GOOD!

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Photo of dmamiano
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very light straw color witha small white head and ample carbonation cascading upward.
seems very pilsner like in the nose. not noting any rye as of yet
oh yea taste is another story...nice hint of spicy rye tickles the palate as the beer departs...finishes a slight bitter as well.
almost earthy....more so than a traditional pils
good beer!

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Photo of bcm119
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light straw color, minimal white head. German lager aroma with a slightly spicy, dry grass hint. Lean pils malt, grassy, minerally. Similar to the Helles, but leaner mouthfeel, and slightly more astringent. Hops are mild and green. Rye is subtle. Comes together in a clean pils with a slightly spicy, grainy twist. Not a bad pils, but lacks any creamy complexity.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.15/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: yellow, clear; modest head
S: sweet, malty, light aroma
T: thin flavor, slightly sweet (honey) with a whole-grain flavor (I guess from the rye?)
M: a bit watery
D: very drinkable; it has not much punch, but interesting enough a taste that it would be a pretty good summer beer.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single 12oz bottle from Hoosick Beverages in Troy, NY. Served cold in a chilled weizen glass.

A: Clear sun yellow brew generates a stable 1" of rocky white head (emphasized by choice of glassware). A steady stream of small bubbles flows upward at a rate that hints at moderate viscosity. Head leaves some big but spotty chunks on the glass.

S: Warm orange rind and some spicy rye, semi-sweet grain backing. Nice nose. A more defined honey sweetness develops as it airs.

T: Dryer and more subdued than the nose. Crisp lemongrass, mild malt backing, only a slight rye twang. Finishes dry with lingering lemongrass.

M/D: Dry and crisp, but somehow still a bit creamy. Easy drinker. I'd be glad to go through a sixer of this with a friend some evening.

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Photo of animalchin
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Lively golden body with ample carbonation. Smells of more toasty, stronger grains containing some fruity characteristics. The maltiness from the rye sticks out in the taste, but gets balanced with the use of the vanguard hops. Falls short to contain a real distinctive taste, as it isn't very long sustained on the taste buds.

I certainly like the more depth that the rye malt adds to the otherwise simple pilsener. While it belongs in the summer pack for sure, I wouldn't protest this being a solid sessionable fall beer as well.

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Photo of stakem
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle with no indication of freshness into a pilsner glass. It appears a clear light yellow color with a few faint particles stuck in suspension and a white head less than a finger strong that doesn't display much retension at all. A few lengthy strings of lace appear on the glassware. Nose has a slight biscuity sweet grainy scent to it with a touch of sulfur and some hops that are a bit herbal and lemony. Along with the hops is a slight bit of spice that I am assuming to be the contribution of the rye. Taste is a little sweet upfront tasting of fresh grains and a bit of the rye spiciness comes into play before the light hop bitterness. Light body, moderate level of carbonation and a crisp finish quite indicative of the pilsner style. Overall not bad but nothing exciting enough to go out of your way for.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Moment: Curing my World Cup fever--go USA!
Glassware: Saranac pokal...
Appearance: clear, lively golden body with a crisp, simmering white head that makes some show at the glass as it dwindles..
Aroma: fragrant bouquet of spices and pilsner malts form a balance of sharp and soft effects on the nose--intriguing, inviting...
Palate: medium-bodied, smooth and vibrant--crisp and refreshing must be compliments made as well...
Taste: subdued tast of fruit and bananas with spices also mingling to soften the impact--my nose and tongue may not be sharp enough to identify the spices, but I can attest with confidence that this pilsner is more interesting to sip than the many second-level brands I have sampled...
Overall: Saranac scores a winner with this one, an appropriate summer refresher that actually evokes spring with its profile... might avoid serving during the barbecue and instead serve as the opener, where its true qualities may be better enjoyed and discussed...defintiely one of Saranac's best efforts--congrats, gents!

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not one of the best yet wasn't the worst. Got it in the summer variety pack.

A - Pours light copper with an inch of fluffy head. Really dark for a pilsner.

S - Most of bread malt and grains. Not really sure if I ever smelled rye.

T - Gave off a almost citrus taste that goes hand in hand with bready malt and finishes bitter yet refreshing.

M - Smooth and drinkable.

D - Didn't really love it since I really don't like bitter pilsner's but it had enough sweetness made it stand out and drinkable. Decent beer

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Saranac Rye Pilsener from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.52 out of 5 based on 105 ratings.
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