Saranac Rye Pilsener | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Rye PilsenerSaranac Rye Pilsener
105 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 105 |  Reviews: 89
Reviews by joejost:
Photo of joejost
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Nice golden hue that produced a head that didn't stick around very long.

S- Like a nice Jewish Rye bread, but not too stong.

T- Surprised. Many of the Saranac beers of Summer can't match this clean taste, with a hint of bread and pepper, while being refreshing.

M- Light body, medium carbonation, not to complex which I expect in a pils.

D- Could be a summer winner. Considering the price is right, and goes down easy.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of generallee
3.78/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a Pilsener Glass. The bottle has no freshness date but it was part of the Saranac Summer 12 pack and I sampled many of these throughout the summer and into fall as they went on sale.

Appearance: The body had a clear yellow gold color with some visible carbonation rising up the head. Its head was white in color and slowly faded to thin skim of foam on top of the beer. Lacing was minimal and slick.

Smell: There was not very much here to note, just light malt notes with hint of rye bread and light hops.

Taste/Palate: Like the aroma there is a light malty base with hints fresh rye bread. There is only a mild sweetness from the malt that is balanced by pleasant hop bitterness. Its plate has a light to medium feel with active carbonation.

Notes: This is a nice refreshing summery beer. It is note overly complex or extravagant but it will satisfy on a hot day.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.28/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Another disappointing beer from Saranac! At least this one is darker than water (but not much). Another beer that smells like it was produced in 10,000 bbl batches. The aroma and taste don't even give the slightest hint of the usual rye spice that is added to a beer.

Its another water beer. No real malt or hops to speak of. Does enough to get by, but when compared to other rye beers, jeez. Tons of carbonation may cover up the rye, but I dunno. Just not a fan.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears a pale golden hue with a bright white vibrant head formed thick, lacing is fine and even with each sip.

Aromatics offer up pale malt sweetness with some herbal hops, a nice mineral character flowing strong but I'm not really getting too much rye spiciness yet.

Flavor has some biscuit malt and cracker like sweetness, sharp rye spice character with herbal and grassy hop layers quite a nice combo. I'm surprised I've never seen a rye pils yet.

Mouthfeel is lighter bodied sturdy carbonation nothing too notable subtle mild dry finish.

Drinkability overall is effortless nice to see a little complexity out of Saranac especially within a great summer style like a pils.

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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 NJpadreFan
2.5/5  rDev -29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Saranac- Rye Pilsner

A- Light clear yellow with a thick fluffy white head.
S- Slight metallic hops with a touch of lemon and grass.
T- Lemon and grass hops with a touch of grain (rye? I don't know) Slight metallic hop finish.
M- sweet and citrusy throughout. Touch of bitterness in the end.

Overall- Not as good as I was hoping for. Too watery.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.02/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the summer 12-pack

A very clear golden color with a rush of bubbles create a solid, lively white head, moderate dissiaption.

Aroma of dry rye and wheat malt, sour yeastie bits and tangy corn, wet soil, soft white pepper. subtle, but it draws you in.

I gotta say i'm really into Rye beers right now, i enjoy the feel and flavor it adds. corn on the cobb with dried wheat, earthy and sour yeast which is very nice. light and refreshing, just the way it should be. There are some unique flavors like, mild citrus and oregano.

session anyone?

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

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light copper color with hints of gold and peach, with a fizzy head that gets some craters and then leaves some big drops of white on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Good notes of rye sweetness and spiciness, mixed with some earthiness and grain husks, amidst a mild but present herbal component with a tinge of of citrus.

Taste: I like the balance of rye spiciness and sweetness of the rye mixed with the herbal sweetness and citrus component also going on. Lingering mild sweetness with some citrus rind hops going on.

Mouthfeel: Lighter to medium bodied with surprisingly creamy carbonation.

Drinkability: An interesting brew that works for me, and one that would definitely be sessionable for the summer. I have a feeling that other breweries taking on this style could do fantastic things with it. We'll see if that ever happens.

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

not as impressive as i would like in looks and smell. not much there. almost average. but the taste amps it up a hair above average. i note some nice layers of biscuit and bite. almost sweet, but the spice is the rye and/or carbonation. i can't tell (yet). that very carbonation (as in several of these newer saranac's) seems to hide or deflect some interesting things (possibly) going on. but overall, quite drinkable and at least has some personality if found at a party full of macros and macroPeople...!

edit: noticing inconsistency in an odd way (and i can't pinpoint if it's the saranac, me...or both!)...but i am rereviewing a few of these because i am sensing more in a couple of these. i think my allergies played a subtle part, so i am, again, slightly, upgrading some tasting points here...all in all, a recommendable brew.

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Photo of tempest
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pulled from a 12 beers of summer pack. The label says it all, this is a simple, but tasty rye beer in pilsner form. The flavor is dominated by the bready rye grain, but there's also a mild herbal-floral undertone as the beer warms. I certainly wouldn't mind if this was more widely available. It's interesting, drinkable, and delicious.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Having had so many 'Rye' beers I make note that this is nonetheless the first one designated as such here. Pours a medium straw with half an inch of nearly white foam, a pilsener it be indeed. Typical retention and holding a surface film.

Nose of lemon and hay, noble hops and a bit of lightly sweet grain. Expands with warming, adding a nice yeast nature.

Flavor is slightly coarse up front with a grainy texture, tending towards a citric/lemon flavor and finishes a bit sweet as predicted by the nose. A nice American Pils whose Rye component seems a bit subdued and under the radar for me, though it blends well with the hops and offers a pleasant spice character.

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Photo of Gmann
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a honey straw color with a soapy pure white head that settles into a puffy cap. The aroma is of a musty malt and stale hop, very faint. The taste is of a light bready malt, some grain and metal flavors, with a stale grassy hop in the end to give the brew a traditional pilsner taste. Some rye spiciness is detected throughout and blends well with the hops. Cut back on the grainy taste and you have a good pils here. The feel is fairly light with fizzy and airy carbonation; finishes slightly bitter. Not as dry as most pils. A pretty good pils that shouldn't disappoint.

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Photo of bum732
3.87/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear straw yellow, decent creamy head with little lacing. Smells grainy and grassy, slight rye spiciness. Tastes of slightly grassy sweetness followed by some mild rye. Nice rye and grassy bitterness finishing fairly sweet for a pilsener. Fairly thin mouthfeel, some crispness.

A decent beer, fairly sweet for a pilsener, i think this beer would be much better a little drier. The rye is nice and muted, but plays its part. A decent rye beer.

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Photo of kmwilson76
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

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 tone77
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is sweet, some malts. Taste is crisp, rather light, finishes with some bitterness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has decent drinkability. Overall this is a fairly good beer.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.32/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle no. 1109-1512. Sampled on May 29, 2009. The pour is a mostly clear but golden-yellow with active carbonation and a thin white head. The aroma is grainy and a bit different and that is probably due to the rye. There are some malts in the mix. The taste leans sour with some malts, light hops, and the rye.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a orangish-bronz with a bready, eggshell white head that was short lived. A high clarity revealed a medium strong carbonation factor composed of quickly paced micro-bubbles. Overall to dark for a pilsner, to light for a rye.

S: The nose was neutral with only the faintest hint of rye, so light to the point it rendered it moot or subliminal, im probably going with the latter. Softly dried lemony grains are present.

T: Things open with a sweet and grainy helping upfront. Fresh lemony hops wets the whistle with a spicy twang. Light, tart lemon notes and bread come into play mid-palate. The finish is tart and lemony with a light flowery coating and hopping for the finale. As for the rye influence, it really didn't affect the taste, crispness or drinkability in my opinion and used mostly to entice a curious try.

M: Fairly good crispness on the hold, dances on the tongue. Light bodied wit a tart lemony fade of medium proportions.

D: Overall a mindless downer, wont do much to impress, but on the other hand wont do much to discourage, sits safely right in the middle of the road. Probably a good intro beer for your BMC friends or a backyard picnic on a hot summer day.

End musings: im not going to say I tasted rye because its on the label. Rye is a great addition for adding crispness in small quantities, so im guessing by the flavor, color and aroma that it was used sparingly (<5%) and most likely utilized more as a marketing gimmick for the curious. Was it present? Maybe in small limited quantities, but was it strong enough to be defined? Not to me, though im betting a lot will say otherwise

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Photo of akorsak
3.98/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle, part of the 12 beers of summer.

A: The pils is a golden straw color, a glass of apple juice. Another vigourous head, over three fingers, was denser than the helles lager but left little lace.

S: The nose nicely combines the crisp hoppiness of the pils with a bready rye. The rye isn't particularly strong, just enough to be recognized.

T: The grain bill shows a mix of pale and rye flavors. The rye has a peppery fuller flavor that takes charge of the malt side. The hops are crisp but subdued, not as strong as the nose would suggest. The restrained hops allow the rye to see the pils away.

M: The malt bill dominates, with the rye sharpness flecking pleasantly at the tastebuds.

D: A very quaffable beer, this is the second good beer to come out of the 12 Beers pack. Nicely done, Saranac, for expanding your horizons.

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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 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 u2carew
2.86/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A) Transparent. Visible carbonation. Pours with a foamy, two finger then settles out. Golden color. Lacing is fairly sticky.
S) Dry. Grainy. Wheaty. Very pilsner-esque. Some citrus notes. A touch of malt sweetness just below the surface.
T) Not much flavor. Just a bit of dry, hop in the finish but again barely noticeable.
M) Light bodied. Ultra fizzy. Crisp. Dry.
D) A nice refreshing beer for a hot day, but not much else going for it.

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

Saranac Rye Pilsener poured a clear golden color with a substanial white head that quickly vanished. Very active carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. The aroma consist of spicy rye and virtually nothing else.

A very malty, bready taste that finishes smooth with faint hop and rye characters at the end. It seemed to have a stronger bitter and lemony finish the more I drank and the warmer the beer became.

It is somewhere in between a light body and a medium. Sticky, with very high carbonation. A very drinkable beer that was refreshing. This beer is nothing special, but it stands out from the other options in the summer 12-pack.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

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Saranac Rye Pilsener from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 105 ratings