Saranac Amber Wheat | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Amber WheatSaranac Amber Wheat
94 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 94 |  Reviews: 75
Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone weizen glass.

I think this finally finishes off my 12 Beers of Summer box. I think. It pours a hazy amber-tawny topped by a finger or so of creamy ecru foam. The nose comprises wheat, grass, flowers, light walnuts, and a touch of rye bread. The taste holds notes of dull wheat, light walnuts, flowers, light greens, and some earthy hops. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, a nice bit o' brew, nothing fancy or special, but easily drinkable and a decent change-up for a summer beer.

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Photo of bourbonbock
3.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz bottle from the summer collection into my mug.

A. Chestnut colored body with about 2 fingers of off white foamy head that has fallen to a cap after about 5 minutes.

S. I can smell sweet toasted malts and some caramel and yeasty aromas.

T. Pretty straight forward clean and cold flavor. Not much in the way of depth of flavor but its got some nice earthy, malty, and some citrus flavors to it.

M. Light and clean. Definitely has lager characteristics and leaves a pleasant aftertaste on the pallate.

D. I definitely don't mind this beer but it isn't very special. I'm glad there aren't more than two to drink otherwise they might hang around for a while.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.31/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

Appearance: Pours an ever so lightly clouded, amber-tan body with a 1½-inch head of off-white foam.

Smell: An assortment compiled of scant notes smelling of toast, chocolate, yeast, apple, and past-its-prime spice. A decent array, but nothing in there ever really reaches out and grabs you. None of it.

Taste: Malty albeit mild impressions of chocolate, powdered toast, and light caramel with sweetness a notch or two above the 'medium' setting. Hint of pear and a sparkling apple juice. Pinch of spice. Vaguely herbal hops with a minimal amount of bitterness. There's a return of the choco-toast taste before the crisp, fast finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: It's lightness and looseness keep this one bland and mediocre. Not bad, mind you, just a gulp, a yawn, and it's gone.

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Photo of Offa
3.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a decent, pleasant, very drinkable, but thin, one-dimensional beer with little more character than a basic American pale lager.

Nice amber, it has a medium pale tan head soon thinning to a ring and wisps.

Aroma is perfumy, sweet caramelly apple and grain, faint soapiness.

Taste is light toasted bread with old, fermenting apples and vague leafy-peppery bitterness that comes on in the finish. It ends smoothly but thin and overall, it is thin in character and a feel. Though pleasant enough, it has very little character or body and little to mark it out as anything but a basic, slightly darker and more caramelly, American pale lager.

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Photo of mwa423
3.51/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a crystal clear reddish amber with a finger of soapy head with great retention and lacing.

S - The smell reminds me of a light brown ale with a hint of wheat. The majority of the aroma is a sickly sweet caramel aroma.

T - The flavor is much like the aroma which is really a light amber/brown ale with a nutty flavor followed by a wheat note at the end. Little to no hop flavor. If I was going to guess without knowing what this was, I would guess it was a new "Newcastle Light".

M/D - Mouthfeel is full but the wheat leaves a watery mouthfeel. A great summer beer, very drinkable and a great substitute for a heavier beer outside heavy beer season.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours a nice shade of amber with a one finger white head. Head actually sticks around for awhile

S- it smells really sweet, almost like honey or maple syrup. Smells nice

T- bland. Getting a lot of sweetness, from what tastes like the maple...really no hops whatsoever. Blah

M- its actually a little thick...weird, based on the style. Not a huge fan of wheat beers having a body...but whatever

D- nonoffensive summer beer. Par for the course for Saranac

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear amber color with a half inch tight bubbly head that settles pretty fast.

S: Toasted grains, caramel roasted malt, toffee, nutty, and bready. Hops are herbal, and spicy but pretty quiet.

T: Bready, slight caramel and roasted grains quickly give way to bitter and spicy hops and wheat astringency. Aftertaste is dry.

M: Light to medium body with a crisp prickly carbonation.

D: It is fairly easy to drink and one of the better beers in the mixed case. It has a balance a bit too much to the bitter side for me to give this a better rating though.

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Photo of DoubleJ
2.81/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Part of the summer pack, on to the beer:

Bronzed orange color with a clean looking body. The head on top is a little creamy, and it leaves a little lacing on the glass. There isn't a whole lot in the nose, light toasted grains and a little dextrin. It hardly smells like a "wheat ale" of any kind.

It tastes more like a "cheap" English pale. I'm getting a little toasted malt, and also a little fruity ester flavor. The malt seems to dry, and th esters aren't the ones I'd die for. The light and airy mouthfeel with just a snap of carbonation was working for me at the time.

Well, I finally got to knock-off "American dark Wheat Ale" from styles that I've reviewed. I just hope that Saranac's version isn't typical of the style.

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Photo of russpowell
2.63/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a somewhat effervescent amber with a finger of cream colored head. Average head retention

S: Wheatyness that fades fast

T: Some grainyness, mineral & grassy hops up front, faint apple flavors too. Apple peel flavors dominates as this warms, dryness is there along with some grassyness. Finishes grainy & crisp with some pear flavor once very warm

MF: Thin, grainy with an okay carbonation level

Average drinkability this is a very forgettable beer in a very mediocre summer mixed 12 pack. I'm not sure I'll buy any future ones based on this group of 6 mediocre beers

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: orange amber, prominent head
S: sweet, unspiced bready smell
T: plain wheat, slightly sweet; this is a very inoffensive beer--neither remarkable nor bad, neither bitter nor overly sweet; tones of orange
M: watery
D: it may have improved its drinkability factor if it were slightly sweeter.

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Photo of biggred1
3.4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Almond with blonde highlights when backlit and a creamy eggshell head. Hazy with no real yeast sediment visable..strange for an unfiltered wheat beer. Hazelnut aroma with notes of wheat & caramel malt. Mild caramel malt and a bit of the banana/clove flavor with a bitter grainy finish. On the leaner side of medium, this beer could use a little more malt. Meh..this beer is forgettable.

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Photo of stakem
3.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Saranac "Amber Wheat." I don't even know what that is suppose to mean. It is amber, it is wheat, it's amber wheat. This is a first for the style for me.

Poured from a standard brown bottle with no indication of freshness into a weizen glass. It appears a clear amber orange color with an initial half finger of slightly yellowish stained head that receeds to a thin layering atop the brew that creeps slowly to the outer limits of the glass. Constantly rising bubbles of carbonation rise in support of this outer ring of head that remains. Minor patches of lace cling to faint spots to the glass and the head maintains relatively decent but not top quality powers of retension. The aroma of this beer smells of buttery caramel malt with a slight indication of hops on the backend. Outside of that, there isn't much else going on in the scent department. Taste is light, somewhat crisp and modestly carbonated for the wheat style. The flavors apparent in this brew consist mostly of a light caramel/bready sweetness that finishes with a taste of butter and some faint hop bitterness.

I have zero basis for comparison when it comes to this brew and other examples of the style so it is both the best and the worst amber wheat I have ever had. Drinkable? Yeah, it is easy drinking but not all that enjoyable if you are looking for decent flavor and aroma.

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Photo of dacrza1
2.76/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The Moment: Easing into a pre-July 4th celebration, thanks to a nice party thrown by friends Jim and Maria...
Glassware: Saranac willibecker...
Appearance: slightly hazy orange body that supports a thick, frothy head...
Aroma: Malty with a bit of dough and some banana notes--not complex but appropriate for the style...
Palate: consistent, medium-bodied and fizzy...little staying power on the finish...a strange experience, as the body actually shifts weight in the sip and thins noticeably...
Taste: malts rest on the tongue as the wheat attempts to impress the throat; not much profile to this one, save the wafting caramel, and I know the style may not demand such articulation, but the watery constitution leaves the "unfiltered" claim wanting and the dunkel aspect with kid gloves...
Overall: The nerd in me asks: why does Saranac label this a "wheat ale"? Is it simply a question of brewing technique? And the "amber" part must be on color alone...after the rye pilsener I had a couple of days ago, this one doesn't deserve the slot over in the case...refreshing in its genre...

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Photo of JDH2000
3.08/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a sampler case bought in mid-May.

A- Light brown, almost a copper color.. Not really amber.

S- Subtle hints of caramel and malts.

T- Again, the caramel and malts. I'm only getting a slight wheat flavor.

M- light mouthfeel with slight carbonation on the tip of the tongue.

D- overall, an okay beer. Not my first choice, but not my last choice. Consistent with the rest of the beers in the sampler.

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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 Beerandraiderfan
2.6/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Well this one at least looked the part. Aroma wasn't as disturbing as other selections, small amount of grain earthiness.

Another real easy to drink (i.e., not challenging) beer, but you get bored 2 sips in and are asking, hey, where's the caramel, the wheat, the lemon, the "anything that resembles the proposed style" of this beer vibe I always get w/ Saranac. Very pedestrian, and I didn't pick up anything of note to say in the taste profile. Mouthfeel lacks the tang I want in a wheat.

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.5/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: A glowing sunset orange yields a dome shade linen white capping atop that was respectable retention wise. A steady moderately paced showering of carbonation was observed through a fairly high rate of clarity. An amber wheat that wasn't quite amber in color, nor wheat (golden) but rather orange, so I guess they got it right. edit: i later learned this style was changed to a dark wheat ale which makes even less sense and warrants a reduction in points. A lack of lacing leaves the glass walls empty.

S: Light dried orange peels appear on the nose along with a soft wet flowery hopping. Sour dough yestiness appears after several swirls but quickly diminish as does my interest. A finishing trail of honey candy sweetness occurs.

T: Thin flavor, apples and pear juice fruitiness against a thin malt sweetness. Dried maize with a corn syrup sweetness and some honey. A bitterness of green mildewy leafy hops moves in for the finish. Not quite an amber, not quite a wheat, and certainly not a mixture of either much less a dark wheat. A fruity sweet start concludes with a faint mildewy hopping that will leave you wondering what the intention or direction of this beer was.

M: Very light mouthful offers an easy resistance, oily texture and only slight bubbly action on the tip of the tongue. Gets washy on longer holds with a bit of a tart orangey fade.

D: Not really impressed here, or would bother to spend my hard earned, or even easily earned money on this. Easy and sweet but ultimately easily forgettable with no real amber or wheat contribution. Overall hardly worth bottling or the marketing costs.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A firm pour from a 12 oz. bottle yields a hazy light amber/copper pour. Really a deep golden. A half inch of foam settles out to a light cap in short order.

Light wheat sense on the nose along with some toasted caramel. Clean and light. Earthen hop notes expand nicely with warming and exposure and soon cloak any wheat influence.

A bit nutty of hazelnut and caramel in flavor. Offers a slight chewy sweetness and drinks like a amber through and through. Wheat notes are subtle and yeast notes more so. Easy drinking nonetheless and reminiscent of an amber lager.

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Photo of tempest
3.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Took this from the summer variety pack. There's a wonderful cookie aroma with a little spice, but the flavor is pretty plain. There's just a plain, smooth wheat cracker taste. If you're splitting up the summer case, give this to someone afraid of beer.

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Photo of asabreed
3.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A peach and copper-colored mixture, off-white head, which leaves a few drops on the side of the glass. Nice amount of bubbles floating up from the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Some malty sweetness from the wheat, mild caramel, and grain. Not much else.

Taste: Grain and earthiness, along with mild wheat sweetness, and a bit of caramel. Maybe some mild finishing bitterness with some hops. Not much to discern here.

Mouthfeel: For a darker beer, I expected a bit more thickness and body, but this seems pretty thin. The carbonation's also oddly spiky, if that makes sense, as if it's too overly carbonated, making it feel a bit too much like soda water in that sense.

Drinkability: It's not that I necessarily disliked this brew, but it's definitely average, at best, and doesn't really provide anything memorable.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, the first from the summer mix pack, the legendary Saranac shows up in the Southland,

A: Pours a medium amber with a light head, no lace, good retention. The epitome of translucence.

S: Caramel sweetness, with some brown sugar, altbier like.

T: Minerals with some dark malt. Light amber malt flavour, not really wheaty at all.

M: Very light-bodied, fizzy, clean and smooth.

D: A nice inoffensive wheat beer. Nothing to think about, but some good flavours. My first Saranac brew isn't impressing me too much, but I liked it well enough.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.08/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

The color is a light amber with a finger of foamy white that does not stay long, and some slight lacing.

The smell is mildly fruity with some slight wet hop flavor in the background.

The taste s tart with a bit of a wheaty flavor that mixes well with a fruit flavor. There is a slight malt sweetness to the beer that gives a little sugary feel.

The feel of this beer is a medium body is drinkable and would go well with some BBQ. It was part of a summer mix pack and would fix right in around a grille.

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

Pours a hazy amber color with a fluffy cap of soapy head, diminishes quickly. Smell is rather mild... dried grain, hints of spice, yeasty bread, faint carmely sweetness and ripe apple. Taste is a little more aggressive but still a mild taste of roasted nuts, dried grain, spice, applie. Light bodied, active carbonation, semi-dry. A decent, light, refreshing beer.

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Photo of tone77
3.21/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a copper color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some wheat and spices. Taste is also mild, grains with a touch of spice, not a lot of flavor. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a fairly decent beer.

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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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Saranac Amber Wheat from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.35 out of 5 with 94 ratings