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 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 donkeyrunner
2.83/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Post long run porch beer #2.

Copper color with a 1 finger white head. Pretty clear for a purported unfiltered ale. Thick horseshoe retention leaves a few laces tracks. Nice color.

My first impression of the aroma was a toe jam, wheaty, yeast funk...but that dissipated as the head did and left a subtler, delicate caramel in its wake. Some grassy hop in there as well.

Well, it's not offensive. Yep, I am definitely not offended by this beer. Nor am impressed. Very light caramel notes like a raw, non-cold conditioned altbier. Light yeast snap in back.

Overall, dumbed down but drinkable.

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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 kegger22
3.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy amber with a moderate head that faded to a collar. The aroma was malt sweetness. The taste was mildly malt sweet with a metallic taste hovering in the background. Tasted more like a red ale than anything wheat. The feel was light bodied with sufficient carbonation. Drinkability was good. I don't know if this beer was a typical example of the American dark wheat ale style, but if it is, I'm not particularly impressed.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into my weizen glass. Pours a dirty copper color with a big frothy light tan head on top. Decent retention; left some sticky lace. Smells of caramel, bananas, bread, and whisps of maple syrup.

The body was bit on the light side. Could use a little more bulk. Carbonation level was low-to-moderate. Very mild unoffensive flavors in this beer. Warming sweet kisses of brown sugar and banana bread at the onset. Finishes semi-sweet but with hints of bitterness from the light hops. This was plenty drinkable. Not the most complex beer out there, but a good one anyways.

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Photo of skinny0ne
3.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's got a great creamy head. The color is equally great. A deep and cloudy amber. The aroma is a bit light but smells of wheat and hay. The flavor is a bit lacking. There's a bit of caramel undertone to it. Definitely can taste the wheat. It's got a medium body. And the finish has a little bit of hops to it. It's a beer you could easily drink a lot of, but not one to really enjoy. It's kind of a jacked up Yuengling. More flavor, more color. But certainly less than special.

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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 Gavage
3.43/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear dark orange in color with a short one finger head. No lacing developed.

Smell:Some soft caramel and wheat tones are detectable.

Taste: caramel, wheat, pear, and green apples are soft but up front. Bitterness is light.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less so at the finish. Aftertaste is short as the flavors leave the mouth quickly.

Drinkability: decent but the flavor profile is a bit weak here.

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Photo of squirrelpirate
3.4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac Amber Wheat poured a dark amber with a thick white head that quickly dissolved and left no lacing down the glass. The aroma considered of bready wheat and caramel notes, with no hop character.

The taste was very different than the aroma would suggest. At first the bread and caramel came through but they quickly gave way to citrus and a slight dry bitterness on the tongue.

A very light, smooth mouthfeel with medium carbonation make this beer extraordinarily drinkable. I finished this beer much quicker than I anticipated, and it's one of the better offerings in the Saranac Summer 12 pack.

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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 OtherShoe2
3.51/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown with a foamy off-white/beige head. Some lacing.

Smell is on the light side, but you get some toasted grain and sweet wheat, and a little brown sugar as well.

A surprise beer here. Nutty sweet grain with enough toasty elements to balance it out. A definite drop of caramel or brown sugar here as well, but not to the point where the sweetness is overpowering. Nice balance of sweet, toast, and light bitterness. No true spice in this one, so though not quite a one-trick pony, it is only 2 tricks. But still, I found this one quite drinkable and refreshing. Firm carbonation kept the palate clean and allowed the flavors to define themselves. Decent brew and a nice surprise in a multipack.

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

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.

S: Hint of caramel malt, hint of nuttiness.

T: Some sweet caramel malt and a hint of fruityness. Some toffee-like sweetness too. Not much in the way of wheat twang, if any. Mineral dryness, however, at the end and lingering into the aftertaste, fighting with sweet malt for supremacy.

M: Light-to-medium body. Carbonation is good.

D: OK. Nothing special, but easy to drink. Overall impression is that it's more amber than wheat, if that makes sense.

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Photo of eporter66
3.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with foamy rich head. Good lacing and retention. This beer leans to the malt side rather than hops, and an added sweetness that I would not have expected. A refreshing and easy drinking beer with an average mouthfeel. These go down smooth.

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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 albern
3.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is another respectable but not brilliant offering from Saranac. It pours a nice hazy dirty water brown color, unfiltered of course, with a fairly thin off white head, no lacing. There is some carbonation in the beer and it has that prickly mouthfeel of a wheat beer. The nose is pretty unsubstantial and has the aroma of oh so many sweet malty beers, but nothing to distinguish it.

The taste is on the sweet side, but it doesn't have the candy sweetness of a dunkel wiessen. There are brown sugars in the beer, plenty of course wheat grains in the mouth, some light sweetish caramel malts, a touch of drying grain in the finish, maybe some hoppiness on the very back end. This is a fairly easy to drink wheat beer, nothing special, nothing complex, more sweet than not.

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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 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 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 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 jwc215
2.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From summer variety pack:

Pours hazy amber with a thin off-white head taht descends to a wispy cover. Thin lines of lacing stick.

The smell is of a light caramelish sweetness, some light must (wood?). Didn't get much "wheat" character. Odd all-around, but not bad - caramel hint helps it, a bit.

The taste is of sweet caramel with (peach-like) fruitiness. Sweetness, while not cloying, does linger a bit.

The feel is pretty watery. It has an effervescence that borders fizzy.

Rather bland. A mediocre brew with a light hint of caramel sweetness.

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

A-Lightly hazed amber with a thin off-white head that reduced to a thin veil and left spotty lace.

S-Lightly sweet malt aroma with some caramel and a bit of mustiness.

T-Lightly sweet caramel,a bit of spicy bitterness with a semi-dry finish. Mostly though this is rather dull and one dimensional,lacking no depth what so ever. There is nothing wrong with it per simply boring.

M-The best feature. Medium-light bodied with a good crispness and a nice lingering drying bitter finish.

D-Ho-hum. Out of all the beers in the Summer Sampler pack this one is my least favorite. Much like a slightly hoppier version of Yuengling Lager....another ho hummer. Drinkable for sure but not something I would search out again. Not a drain pour by any means but not something I want to keep filling my pint glass with.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Each Saranac "12 beers of the season pack" should be persued with caution. There is usually a good beer, a few mediocre and a stinker or 2. Instead on making a few great beers they make tons of different half assed attempts. How did this one fare?

The amber wheat poured a semi-hazy orange color with a decent off-white head that stuck around for about a minute. The aroma slightly sweet and malty.

Taste is of caramel and this doesn't resemble a wheat beer. The sweetness from the caramel flavor is a little too much. This isn't too bad though.

Feel is very tingly from the carbonation. I could drink a lot of these but i probably won't be.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.5/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a amber color with a decent head to it. The smell is of wheat with a little lemon to it. The taste is of amber with hints of lemon and other fruits. A very smooth beer with a good mouthfeel. One of saranacs better beers. The taste was smooth but no overpowering.

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Photo of originalsin
3.43/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one pours a deep hazy amber color with a little bit of off-white head that quickly forms a cover on the beer and doesn't really lace.

The aroma is heavy on wheat and has strong caramel undertones. Something about the wheat smell here just seems so manufactured i can't put my finger on it..

Taste is of wheat, caramel malt, lemon, some orange with a little bit of floral notes.

Relatively light-bodied brew with medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is ok- but this one goes down easy, above all else. Not a bad lawnmower brew--and certainly a very well priced case.

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