Saranac Pale Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

102 Reviews
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Saranac Pale Pale AleSaranac Pale Pale Ale

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

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Summer

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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Reviews: 102 | Ratings: 179
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.6/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Good appearance of amber liquid, 1/2" white head, substandard retention. Aroma was not hoppy, just had an almost oxidized like cardboard malt aroma.

Again, more cardboard as the dominant flavor. Almost Sorachi like lemon notes. Even though the grain and cardboard aspect dominates, it still comes off as a thin body. Expensive for what it is, I can see why this is retired now, it wasn't doing anything ingredient wise. Malt and hops weren't providing good flavors. Neutral ale yeast and water was all you were left with.

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Photo of Ratman197
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Boittle courtesy of adneilsen ( thanbks AAron) poured a clear gold with a small lasting white head. Aromas of biscuit, light earthiness and a hint of citrus. Mouthfeel was light bodie and crisp with a dry finish. Flavors of biscuits, light earthiness and light citrus with a crisp dry lightly bitter finish. Yet another average beer from Saranac.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- light golden pour with small foamy white head that quickly subdues with very minimal lacing.

Smell- very citrus, tangerine like smell up front coming from the hops. Can barely pick out a slight sweet malty caramel scent. A bit of figs also.

Taste- immediate citrus kick from the hops, malts are barely noticeable but does finish with a slight nutty kick. Extremely dry on the back end, leaves very little on the palate.

Mouthfeel- good. Creamy and pretty well balanced.

Overall, pretty decent. The balance seems a little off and the dryness off puts me a bit.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.34/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle at a recent beer competition. 12oz bottle...

A: A perfectly clear, filtered, orangish red brew with an off white 1 inch head that fades quickly to small bubbles atop the brew. Decent.

S: I get a bready malt upfront with a rye scent in the middle and not much on the backend. Hops? Eh...

T: Wow! A nice bready malt upfront followed by a nice crisp clean hop in the middle and a sweetness on the backend. Well blended malt and hop! Good.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation. A clean malty finish. Decent.

O: All in all, this is a decent brew. For a pale ale, I'd say it is a decent representation. There are many better in the style, but if a local for you, a good pale to try.

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Photo of CHickman
3.06/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy gold color with a 2 finger off white foamy head that faded slowly; the head had a lot of bubbles in it and left good spotty lacing.

Smells hoppy and malty, with piney hops, sweet malt, toasted grains and some lemon zest; pretty basic aroma with light hops and grains.

Taste is crisp and hoppy, with light piney hops, citrus hops, lemon zest, sweet malty, toasted grains, hay, grass, herbs, light spices like pepper or coriander and an overall earthy flavor.

Mouthfeel was crisp with light carbonation, a medium body and a finish on the dry side that has a hint of citrus bitterness. It was almost refreshing and yet almost too grainy, so the end was mixed up to me.

It was decent overall, and while enjoyable enough the taste just didn’t blow me away. Good beer as part of the sampler 12 pack, but I doubt that I’d buy a 6 pack of this.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a bright golden color, with a decent cap of bubbly off-white foam. Aromas of floral hops, somewhat grassy, bubblegum and biscuit. On the palate, this one was light to medium bodied, with flavors of good hops, as well as some pears, peaches and biscuit malt.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.84/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #53 (June 2011):

Big dollop of off-white head; filtered clarity of a pale golden hue. Citric zest with a hint of grain seem to be the only traits noticeable in the nose. Crisp, light-bodied ale; pulling dryness. Maltiness tries to hold this beer together, while faint juicy fruit and even fainter caramel in the front quickly give way to the dryness. Hops chime in with citric but earthy flavors of bark, tobacco and wild herbs. Hints of fruit and ale fermentation twang. Super-dry finish. The dry- ness and extra hop push leave this brew a bit off balance—perhaps that was the intention, but it takes away from its potential drinkability.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.42/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Solid brown ale. Good color, definitely adequate with lacing, and foam as I remember.

Smell: A nice nutty sweetness. Brown sugar and honey with a hint of fruit.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Good flavors that mesh with excellent complexity. This is how a pale ale should taste. Nice creaminess as well.

Drinkability: Superb.

Overall: One of Saranac's best.

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Photo of PhageLab
2.85/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Clear copper colour, nice head of froth, but poor retention. Some spotted lace.

S - Mild citrus hops in the nose, but not much else to report here.

T - Sort of acidic, and bitter, but not in a pleasant hoppy way. Some pine hops offer relief, but not much.

M - Light bodied, mild carbonation, watery feel and finish.

D - It's not terrible, but it is one of the weaker Saranac brews and pale ales in general.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a brighter orange color. Head is frothy and standard in size. A bunch of lacing. Transparent.

S-Pale maltiness. Sugary malt. A bit of pine and even spruce. Lightly hopped. Once again, like most Saranac beers, the nose is underwhelming. Mellow balance.

T-The flavor beats out the nose. Unique qualities of pine. Carves its own flavor niche. Hard to exactly describe, but it uses conventional Pale Ale/IPA flavors and mixes them together in a different way. Slightly bitter aftertase, but the sweetness lingers too.

M-Lighter bodied. Moderate carbonation. Nothing much to note aside from that. No lingering feel.

O/D-I enjoyed this one far more than Saranac's IPA. Better hop profile, and simply more memorable. Nothing to faint over but very solid indeed.

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Photo of cavedave
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A hard pour puts two fingers of off white lather atop a dark straw-colored, almost clear beer. A few thin arms of lace cling. The head goes to a lasting thin cap.

Light aroma- a touch of grass and yeasty tart, hints of bready sweet, very light scents of citrus and floral.

Light strength taste as well, starts with a rounded yeast flavor, light herbal bitter, some neutral sweet, hints of pine and citrus, with a fizzy bitter ending. All in all not too bad.

Mouthfeel is less than optimal, especially compared to the many, many much better pale ales easily available. Too carb.'ed, not viscous enough, though its not a clean cling, and a finish that has too much resin buildup that could be tastier.

A beer that comes in a value priced assortment pack, and is okay for the cost, but not one to try if you are looking for SN quality or better.

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Photo of tdm168
3.94/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a copper-straw with obvious carbonation bubbles rising to the surface. Any head quickly fades to nothing. Smells hoppy and a little citruisy. Taste is decent; nice hop character of flowers and pine add to nice bitter swallow; smooth malt character adds a welcomed sweetness. Nicely balanced. Mouthfeel is crisp and a little dry; decent carbonation; very drinkable.

This is a decent offering from Saranac. It definitely helps to save their Beers of Summer mix pack. I would definitely have this beer again.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
3.47/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a clear, pale amber color with 1/2 finger of off-white head. Some retention but no lace.

S: Faint sweet malt and a little floral quality. Not bad, but too subdued.

T: Leads with dry, biscuity malt. A little citrus fruit. Like the smell, too tame.

M: Light mouthfeel, a tiny bit of cream.

O: Not a bad beer, but not a lot going for it. With so many better examples of the style out there, I probably won't be revisiting this one.

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Photo of Wamesit
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear amber with a clean white head that gives way to minimal lacing.

S - Very light aroma. Pale malts for sure, hint of hops in the back. A touch of light yeast esters as well.

T - Very slight malt flavor, touch of grass/grain, good hoppy finish. Overall mild. Watery--but not to a fault.

M - Very light, carbonation hangs around a bit.

O - Light & refreshing. Great session beer and a great summer beer.

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Photo of tdexterc
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a Saranac variety 12 pack my father picked up.

A- A stiff pour yields a short lived 1 finger head. The body is a crystal clear pale yellow.

S- Bright leafy hops with a light malt presence.

T- Sweet and nutty malt, backed up by a nice earthy hop character.

M- Smooth carbonation with a nice bittering aftertaste.

This beer fits well in the summer sampler pack. Refreshing, mild, and easy to drink. Nothing to write home about, but still tasty.

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Photo of RyeIPA
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured nicely in a pint glass with a rich copper color and a decent head that lingered for a while. Not incredibly hoppy but the hops are prevalent in both smell and the taste. The taste is very smooth and very refreshing. Overall a nice summertime beer.

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Photo of hopsgirl35
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is light with a spicy citrus smell.

The apperance was golden but darker then other

The taste was smooth but the dryness hits right

I taste the spicy-citrus bitterness going down
but it dosn't lingure on the back of my tongue.

Not a bad beer for a warm summer night,
go's great in there summer variety pack.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this at Nail Creek in Utica on 7/2/11.

Pale is definitely what this beer is, a clear light gold color that is quite bright despite the lightness of it. A small white head shows moderate retention and lacing, while certainly not massive, isn't bad at all.
Breads, light wheat malts perhaps, and a bit of caramel come off the nose, followed by a bit of citrus and herbal notes with a light spiciness from hops.
A bit of grassiness comes in under the hops and malts elements already eveident, with an additional light sweetness that really balances the whole thing out.
This is as light as expected with a bit more to it, almost medium, and keeps with the style well. It's also clean and has a nice crisp bite to it while maintaining a bit of smoothness.
Some may not like that it's not some weird sort of monstrous APA, but it's certainly a good example of the style and a good beer beside.

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Photo of JohnFatAss
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a nice golden color. A little darker in color than I expected since this is called 'Pale Pale'.

Good head retention, left some lacing on the sides of my glass.

A good looking beer.

The Pale Pale Ale has a sweet citrusy smell.

Like all the other beers in the Saranac summer pack this is a mild beer.

Good flavor, mild hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is excellent.

Nothing earth shattering here, just a simple, well balanced beer that is clean crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice clear amber with an ample white head about two inches tall. This faded and left behind a ton of lace. Good visible carbonation.

Very hoppy, lots of very sweet citrus flavors. A touch of sugar and some malted grains in the backend of it Very nice, and very hoppy. Had a very clean, cut taste. Not much of an aftertaste here, just straightforward hoppy pale ale. Nice grain fresh cut grass in the back.Silky smooth, albeit a little thin, but very smooth. Again very clean and refreshing, light.Very good. I could easily session this one all night ling. It was just a nice light IPA, or pale ale.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saranac Pale Pale Ale is a nice, if very mild, American pale ale.

A: Yellow colour and a 4 mm head that fades quickly to sparse lacing. 3.5

S: Woody hop aroma. 3.5

T: Mild hoppy flavours with some faint hints of pine over a malty base. The aftertaste is fresh and hoppy without being bitter. Maybe Challenger hops? Pretty nice. 4

M: Foamy. 4

O: This is a pleasant beer, like many other mildly hopped pale ales. 3.5

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Photo of UDbeernut
3.61/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a cheater pint

A: pale color, 1/2" head with good retention. Gobs of carbonation. Lacing rings the glass

S: mostly neutral nose, slight hint of pine and citrus

T: pine and citrus bitterness well balanced by what seems to be a simple malt bill. Nothing overly agressive.

M: light to medium bodied

Overall: A nice little APA from Matt Brewing. Also perhaps one of the best beers I have had from them.


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Photo of micmillon18
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a pale golden color with a small bubbly head that subsides quickly. Small amounts of lacing followed the beer as it was consumed.

S - Low aroma profile but whats here smells of citrus and hops, maybe a slight bit of pale malt.

T - Piney hops and and citrus flavors hit the pallet instantly. It seems to start out full but quickly fades to something much lighter, leaving little aftertaste. The hops tone down as the beer warms, presenting a sweeter taste. The bitter flavors are nice but die much too soon, leaving you with some sort of seltzer water flavor.

M - Light to medium bodied. Refreshing and easy to drink.

O - For what its worth, the hop profile is pretty good for a beer thats this refreshing. Saranac intended, from what the label says, for it to be a light hoppy brew, which it is. I could see this beer being a good assimilation for those trying to delve into hopier brews. However, for those interested in more bittering flavors, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another sampling from Saranac's Summer Mix

A-Clear yellow orange. Some carbonation, head is gone rather quickly.

S-Some citrus notes.

T-Earthy and citrus hops, not strong though start. Finish has some bitterness. Malt bill seems bready

M-Medium, no carbonation

O-On the bottle it says the most refreshing Pale Ale out there. Not even close, however like most (all?) of Saranac's offerings; decent, nothing offense and a good gateway to craft beer.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours just what the name suggests, a pale golden. Head is thin, but retains decently at a half finger. Slight lacing sticks to glass.
S- Pale malt, slightly citrusy, and I'm picking up something that is just faintly berrylike.
T- A bit of hoppiness at first, slightly citrusy and slightly grassy. Pale malt picks it up. There is a crackery element to it. Not much malt characte beyond basic cracker/bread. Simple, but well balanced.
M- Too light for the style, but I found it impressively smooth in the carbonation.
O- A rather good pale ale. It won't ever replace SNPA or similar as the best in the style, but this is a good, simple straightforward beer.

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Saranac Pale Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 179 ratings.
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