Saranac Amber Wheat | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

94 Ratings
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Saranac Amber WheatSaranac Amber Wheat

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

Style: American Dark Wheat Ale

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.

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Ratings: 94 |  Reviews: 75
Photo of 160Shillings
4.3/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac claims this beer is "In keeping with the tradition of Dunkel Weizen" and it is classified here as an American dark wheat ale. It is neither "dunkel", nor "weizen". I would also not call it dark as it is more of a light amber at its darkest. However I do not intend for these statements to demean this beer, like all Saranac beers it is quite good. I have rated this beer considering it as an ordinary American wheat beer. Don't expect something exotic and you'll find a good drinking beer for warmer weather. Reviewed in 12 ounce bottle from the "12 Beers of Summer 2010" pack.

Aroma: mild fruity esters (no specific type, more Belgian than Bavarian aroma); very mild spice from phenols (perhaps they didn't use a decoction or step mash); no noticeable hop character; a tart wheat malt aroma is prominent, but not dominate; no melanoidin aroma.

Appearance: Orange-Gold, not quite amber, certainly not as dark as a Dunkelweizen. The head is an off white with just the slightest tint of orange; it thins at a slight film that leaves very light lace on the glass, some foam of very fine bubbles last till the bottom of the glass. A mild translucent haze from the wheat protein, but no suspended yeast (not bottle conditioned).

Flavor: Very noticeable wheat tartness; just a hint of caramel sweetness and the minutest suggestion of roast malt. No hop flavor and very low bitterness. The overall impression is the wheat malt tartness and despite the slight body, the finish seems crisp due to the tartness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall Impression: A light amber colored American wheat ale. A good beer for those that enjoy wheat beers with just a hint of caramel sweetness.

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Photo of AtlasBrew
4.27/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: deep cloudy amber with a light beige pillowy, tightly beaded head that lasts for some time. The head laces nicely down the glass.

Aroma: malty aroma with caramel undertones and some spicey and earthy hop aroma.

Taste: semi-sweet malt with caramel undertones and a pleasant toasty flavor. A subtle earthy and spicy hop flavor that combines well with the carbonation to deliver a very pleasant and refreshing flavor. Finishes with low alcohol flavor and a semi-dry finish.

Overall: I really like this one! I think it was a great choice for a summer variety pack. It gives the variety pack a little something for everybody and a nice entry into the world of dark beer for the person who's been bombarded with watered down, fizzy light lagers from the big guys with monster advertising budgets.

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Photo of Bockrules
4.27/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from the bottle into a weizen glass

A - Pours a beautiful orange-amber with a fluffy two finger orange-amber head. (Which is unfortunately disappearing quite quickly). The beer is hazy and unfiltered as promised on the bottle. Head says intact until half way down the glass, then it's gone for good.

S - Moderate smell of toasted malt. A musty sweet smell begins to develop as the beer warms. Quite nice

T - Sweet and malty up front, followed by a balanced body. The subtle caramel malt sweetness seems to flow throughout the beer and ads wonderful flavor and complexity. The finish is musty and sweet and slowly fades away into the aftertaste. A delicious wheat beer, with surprising complexity.

M - Moderate body with low carbonation. I thought it suited the beer very well, though I suppose the carbonation could have been higher.

D - This was a great wheat beer,, certainly one of the best i've had. I have never a dark wheat beer before, so it's hard to say if i'm just a fan of the style. I really loved the sweet cara malt. A great start from Saranacs Summer pack. Why aren't their year round beers this quality?

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.17/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wheat glass, forms about two fingers of white head that drops to a lacing over a dark amber body with burnt orange highlights. Any lacing that forms soon falls.

Smell is impressive for such a light-bodied beer, like baking chocolate chip cookies or pancakes but not nearly as heavy, just a good malty smell.

Taste is honey-like at first, but turns slighty bitter midway & ends with a lightly caramelized roast taste. Just a little mineral in the aftertaste, & roast.

Mouthfeel is light as well, just a tiny bit of action from carbonation & some sharpness from the hops. On the thin side, but fitting for a wheat.

I really like this: it's flavorful for a beer of its strength & body, & I like the fact the flavor elements are clear without being too powerful. They're kind of moderate & reigned in enough to leave you wanting more. This might be my favorite from Saranac's summer line-up, an unassuming beer that packs some satisfying flavor while still being refreshing.

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Photo of thespaceman
4.15/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass:

Appearance: Pours a nice amberish copper in color, lots of head here with good lacing and retention all around.

Smell: Crystal malts paired with a decent dose of wheat and grassy hops are almost perfectly balanced in the nose. I can get bits of honey, ginger, and a tinge of malt spice. Finally a beer from the summer pack with a little extra umph in the nose.

Taste: Unlike any wheat I've tried, malt overplays the wheat here and it is paired beautifully. Loads of caramel, citrus, wheat, grassy like hops some malt spice. Weird that Saranac's wheat offering taste more like a malt driven bock but it plays in nicely with the rest of the summer pack. Sweetness from the malt is the star of the show in the finish and I am impressed.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and bigger then the rest of the beers in the pack. This one sits on the tongue like a pro and holds its ground from getting wet, this stays nice and thick and keeps the taste bud working overtime.

Drinkability: Besides the Rye Pilsener this is the best beer in the box. I love the malty aromas this emits and the wheat paired with the sweetness from the malts make this a beer to be reckoned with. One of the better wheat beers I've tried period. Sessionability isn't a question as all the beers in the Summer box are sessionable, but for what this is, I can easily down alot of these.

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Photo of Brad007
4.07/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium reddish color with a one-finger head into my glass.

Aroma is full of clove and wheat in the nose. To be expected from this style.

Taste is full of clove and wheat upfront. A bit of banana. Otherwise, a solid wheat beer.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering wheat and clove but it feels a bit creamy. Not too watery either. Not bad at all.

Give it a shot. Again, it's from Saranac so it may not meet your expectations if you're a geek.

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Photo of abrodsky
4/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of animal69
4/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of M_Burkey
4/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of smerkinb
3.97/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slim 1 finger head, fizzy and soapy looking, quickly dissipates. Hazy burnt orange color.

Malty sweet grains with citrus backdrop and yeast to round it out.

Classic American Wheat--zesty malts with sweet spicy bite. Sweet lingers behind the citrus and malts.

Zesty, alive mouthfeel with active carbonation. Prickly on the tongue with a sweetly dry finish. Not too thin.

I think this is a bit m ore than decent. It's not super complex - more a straightforward, refreshing drink. Good flavor with no "off" tastes, nothing that wasn't cohesive. It's nice on the palate, fun in the mouth. I could definitely have several of these without a problem. Solid.

Saranac 12 beers of summer is 2/2.

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Photo of akorsak
3.92/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle. I'm rapidly making my way through all 12 beers and it's not even summer yet.

A: The wheat beer is relatively dark, a fuller copper color that renders the ale nearly opaque. Head? What Head? Nothing to be seen here.

S: Caramel grains stand out in the nose, giving the ale a fuller aroma. Underneath the caramel is a mild wheat aroma, light with just a pinch of tartness.

T: Caramel leads the way with a fullness that is uncommon for Saranac beers. The darker malts sit atop the wheat, allowing its lighter flavors to percolate up from time to time. Especially near the end, the wheat flavors become more prevalent.

M: The wheat and dark malts work well together, alternating between sweet caramel and lightly tart wheat. No real frills but it doesn't disapooint.

D: Another low alcohol beer that goes down really easily. The fuller malts make be a little too much for a hit day so try a lukewarm one.

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Photo of u2carew
3.88/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Hazy amber (unfiltered). Pours with a frothy head then settles to thin lacing on top and along the edge of the glass. Overall tight, thin bubbled lacing.
S) Wheaty. Notes of sweet orange. Caramel. A pinch of hops.
T) Citrus, caramel sweet front end. Just a touch of hop bite in the finish. Lingering sweet wheaty-ness in the aftertaste.
M) Crisp. Bubbly. Slightly dry. In between light and medium bodied.
D) A tasty little bugger. I think I'd have another one.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another beer from the summer variety case. Seems limited so maybe the only way to buy this beer.

A - Not really as amber as it should be. More of a semi light brown than amber in color. Head is nice though.

S - Caramel and roasted malt. Slight wheat backbone.

T - Caramel and roasted malts followed by a wheat bitter finish. Again not very complex but gets the job done.

M - Very light and refreshing. Seasonable.

D - Well I have three more of these and they did not offend. I don't know why some would give this a D because that's borderline BMC. I give it at least a solid B. Decent brew.

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Photo of animalchin
3.83/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark caramel, thankfully amber color. Loose head with minimal lacing. Faint film on the surface.

S - Clove spices and fruits. Almost sensing some banana followed by strawberry faintness. These aromas are battling it out as they tend to get covered up by the roasted malts.

T - First thing that strikes me are banana and clove - similar to the smell. A slight tartness starts to sneak through which is a nice touch. Also getting the yeast but ever so slightly. Roasted malts tend to take over in the after taste.

M - Looser composition that has some body provided by the unfiltered body.

D/Notes - Fresh and light sitting. Nothing overbearing. I enjoyed the nice fruit tones that balanced with the wheat. Alcohol is nice and light which can make for a couple. Good work.

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Photo of generallee
3.78/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a weizen glass. There appears to be no freshness date on the bottle.

Appearance: It has a hazy coppery amber body with a tall light tan head. Its head is fluffy and fades down to thin cap fairly quick. As I drink it makes a few thin lace rings at the top of the glass then the rest of the lacing just slides down the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma was very light and fairly clean. It had some sweet roasted gain and wheat notes with only a very slight hint of mineral like hops are noticeable.

Taste/Palate: The flavor matches the aroma. The malt flavor is mildly sweet and roasted. There is some dryness from the wheat that holds the sweeter grain in check. Hop flavor is mild adding some mineral like notes and bitterness to keep things nice and balanced. It finishes very light, clean and almost watery. On the palate it has a light to medium body that seems a bit thin for the style. The carbonation is average and matches the feel of the body.

Notes: The flavor and balance is good but it seems a bit light or dumbed down to make more of an easy drinking hot summer time beer. Still overall it is enjoyable.

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Photo of Cooker_stp
3.75/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of harsley
3.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured into a weizen glass. Body is slightly hazy caramel-amber in color with a 1-finger khaki-colored head. Some visible fine bubbles of carbonation. No lace.
I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I've grown to not be a huge fan of Saranac but tried this and liked it quite a bit. It poured a dark amber/red that was cloudy and had a decent head with great retention from the wheat. It smelled of wheat, malt and some caramel malt. It tasted quite malty with some caramel supporting and a nice wheat presence. Pretty good mouthfeel and very drinkable, although maybe not all night. The body was on the lighter side but enough to support the beer.

This was a good drinking beer and a good beer to segue Summer to Fall.

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Photo of caddybuyer
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes from a tasting of this summers 12.

A-Cloudy medium amber with a large creamy eggshell head that settles a bit then sticks around.

S-Cream wheat and malt

T-Predominantly malts but a rather thin profile overall. There is not much going on here complexity-wise. A touch of citrus.

M-Light, and a decent quencher.

D-Pretty decent overall brew to knock back in the hot summer sun, but nothing to call home about. Another, sure, why not.

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Photo of confer
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The name is the color, it is a cloudy amber. A small head fades away quickly.

The aroma is faint ale smell, nothing special at all.

The taste gets better as you go, even though there isn't really much of one. I don't know how to explain it.

This beer is easy to drink, and would probably go good as a summer beer.

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Photo of DannyS
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

A - slightly dark orange amber with a thin head; dissipates into decent foam collar that leaves sporadic patches of lacing.

S - not a whole lot going on here, slightly citric with some wheat character, caramel malt, and slight hints of dark sugar.

T - Grainy and lemony on first sip, giving way to some slightly sweet, toasty caramel malt. twinge of bitterness on the finish.

M - Feel is a bit weighty, but the carbonation is good, and adds appropriate levity.

D - Very easy drinking; definitely a brew made with summer sessioning in mind.

Overall - I'll also give my impression on the entire Saranac summer pack with this bit. The beer itself is not very complex but good enough to enjoy easily. The whole pack itself is a bunch of fairly basic session brews, that don't really push the envelope much but certainly won't leave you regretting the purchase. If you're burnt out on big beers and need a vacation for your taste buds, give the summer pack a try.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has the standard amber coloring with a good half-inch of foam above. The foam settled into a ring and remained until the liquid was gone. Husky grain and spice compose the aroma. The chewiness on the palate is due to the wheat.

This beer starts as an amber and finishes as a wheat beer. Slightly sweet caramel upfront. It transitions through the center acquiring spicy and fruit characters.

This is a quaffable beer, decently refreshing, and goes down easy.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.58/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 1119-1617. Sampled on Memorial Day 2009. It pours cloudy with a copper color tinged ith red and a smallish beige head that does not last very long. The smell has a sort of roasted bread and malts combination. The mouthfeel is about average. The roasted sensations are noted in the taste nut it has a heavy feeling to it. A god brew.

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Photo of bsend
3.55/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

Appearance: Pours a nice hazy amber color. A standard pour creates a one inch white head that dissapates quickly.

Smell: Not getting much out of this. Yeasty light tones followed by grain.

Taste: Light flavor (part of their summer theme I am assuming). Starts out with parts of yeast, and ends surprisingly sweet, almost passion fruit like finish.

Mouthfeel: Very watery and light. Small amounts of carbonation.

Drinkability: Definitely a drinkable beer. Light, watery body helps these go down easy. Most likely the purpose as its a summer beer.

Final Thoughts - I was hoping for more from Saranac but I guess they were trying to make an easy drinking unfiltered beer. In that regard it was a success but unfortunately I was expecting more from the name. Try it in the mix pack.

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Photo of WesWes
3.55/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark golden/amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a refreshing wheat and caramel malt scent along with a hint of yeast esters. It's dry with a light hop aroma. The taste is decent as well. It has a bone dry wheat malt flavor that goes down easy with a bit of cara/roasted character. It finishes with a slight fruity feel. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an easy drinker, although I'm not crazy about the style or their interpretation.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.55/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bought as part of the 12 beers of summer mix pack,

Bottle neck claims this as a Dunkelweizen by the way.... Anywho, beer pours a cloudy light brown/orange color. Pretty nice head to it, decent amount of lacing as well. Smell is very bready, a nice subtle aroma to it. Nice mouthfeel to it, a biscuity taste to it, not too appealing but not too harsh either. A little on the lighter bodied side. Nothing too spectacular here, a nice drinkable brew with a decent amount of flavor that'd be nice on a hot day. Would never seek it out but would gladly drink one if it was handed to me.

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Saranac Amber Wheat from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.35 out of 5 based on 94 ratings.
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