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 Yekaterina
4.45/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really hope that Saranac will bring this one back someday; when they do, I hope I will be able to buy a six pack of just the Pale Pale Ales. As far as I can tell, this beer was only released in the summer variety 12 packs. Although I always like the other beers in Saranac's seasonal twelves, I was buying a lot of the summer 12 packs this year just to get the two pale pale ales.
The pale pale ale is a perfect summer beer. It's very light, crisp, and clean. It's got a VERY DRY finish to it which tends to float my boat. I hope Saranac does the right thing ;-)

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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 mempath
4.3/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

couldn't resist the new Saranac summer case since there were 5 of the 6 i had never had. but the pale-pale caught my eye.

ok, it pours a very carbonated frenzy of foam and fuss, but settles up and down very very quickly. little lacing...actually, a nice 'light' deep golden color, not 'pale' in the least. looks like a lager...

malts dominate the nose...not bad, but hoping for hops hopping about. i can sense them, but they must be saving their entry for the taste. nonetheless, there is a very satisfying smell here, a tangy, cirtrusy (not in the hop-citrus sense!), biscuity concentration. nice.

well, bust my buttons if this isn't a surprise. not alot of mystery, but this is a nice, quite hoppy, light presentation that certainly makes this a better Saranac (i still think, if i can remember, i prefer the IPA)...and certainly more lively than the regular pale. if anything, maybe more akin to the SN pale in this case. there is a nice bite that at least doesn't slur 'macro' here. not trying to amp this up into what it isn't. my benchmark for everyday APA or IPA is Torpedo. but this does a nice job and is fine as a session brew but would be a fine accompaniment to a meal. say, chili (any style...)!

i think the mouthfeel suffers a bit, too much carbonation makes the flavors slip away instead of lingering. that's visibly evident in pouring it. adjust this and throw in one more handful of hops...please.

edit: i amped up, slightly, some of the marks after spending another round or two with this over the week. it is more impressive as i drink it. actually very well balanced.

edit 2: a year later+ and it's still on point...the mouthfeel is still crazy bubbly, but seems creamier and more balanced.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

The beer is a golden yellow color with a huge white head that left a sheet of lacing. There is a nice soft citrus hop aroma. The taste is a well balanced blend of mildy bitter hops and sweet malt. Medium bodied with a clean, crisp feel make this a highly drinkable beer. I'd like to see this brew available in 6 packs, as I would enjoy this as a summer session beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

In my opinion it was the best out of the summer variety pack.

A - Pale golden yellow in color with a nice fluffy white head. Lovely.

S - Slight bread and citrus fruit sweetness. Mild hops.

T - Wow really enjoyed this one! The taste is perfectly balanced with a lemon fruit sweetness and finishing with a mild bitter bread. Awesome.

M - Prefect summer brew. Light and refreshing. Session-able.

D - I loved this beer. The bitterness was not overpowering like the Stegmaier or Serra Nevada pale ales. Really enjoyed the subtle sweetness of this pale ale. Great beer.

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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 caroberts
4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is great for someone not quite ready to take on a full pale ale or india pale ale (those afraid of hoppiness).

But this beer is still floral, smells of nice malts and tastes of a light pale ale base with rosewater almost.

Very fresh, very clean, I highly recommend for summer drinking. (Or anytime, I'm drinking it in January when it's 10 degrees outside).

But definitely worth a try and definitely the best of the Saranac beers of Summer sampler.

And remember, I'm reviewing this for what it is. Do I really think it's one of the best beers in the world - hell no. I think it's a shame that Kolsh, pale ales, lagers and other light not over the top styles can't get top ratings. For a summer seasonal though, this is top notch - it's not a wheat or fruit beer.

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Photo of JoKo
4.04/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Amber with a small head that faded quickly, lively carbonation.

Smell: Hops, piney, citrus

Taste: Definitely hop-centric, grapefruit notes.

Mouthfeel: Crisp with a clean finish, light to medium bodied.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable, overall, a good representation of the style.

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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 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 AtlasBrew
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm having a great summer with Saranac! Got the 12 Beers of Summer variety pack. Decent Beers and great price! $21 in my neck of the woods.

Presentation: gold with a slight chill haze and an off white head that laces nicely down the glass, retention is low however that is a characteristic of the style.

Aroma: an earth, citrusy, and slightly steely aroma from the hops. Has a sweet malt aroma underneath it all.

Flavor: A semi-sweet malt flavor which is slightly overwhelmed by the hops. Hop flavor is mildly bitter with some herbal and citrus flavor followed by a steely some what dry finish.

Overall: True to its name; Pale Pale Ale delivers on what one would expect from an ale designed to be refreshing on a hot summer day yet hoppy enough to satisfy the majority of beer geeks.

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

Beer pours a dark golden color with a slightly sticky head that sticks around while the glass is being drained. A pleasant nose of mostly dominated with herbal and citrus hops with a nice touch of biscuit. The beer flows well--a little slick--across the medium bodied palate. The flavor is mostly bitter and grapefruit hops. Only the faintest hint malt is enough for acceptable balance.

This is a pleasant and highly drinkable ale. It is not overwhelming, but pleasing to the palate. Recommended.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Super pale as the pale pale nomenclature would entail, this is quite easily paler than the helles of Saranac's that I just drank from the 12 Beers of Summer. Crystal clear light golden copper tinted hue with a bright white head forming thin but fine and even lacing around my chalice. Aromatics offer up sharp centennial citrus rinds including pink grapefruit and pine and earthy notes. Marris otter malt brings the funk with an earthy nuttiness, but I really like the aroma on this one overall. Flavor shoots straight toward the alpha acids with barely any malt balance it really drives the citrus peel and earthy hop components. Reminds me of Philadelphia Pale Ale from Yard's in alot of ways. Bitter dry finish on the mouthfeel with sturdy carbonation flowing nicely, very light body as well as the alcohol. Drinkability is sessionable all the way it has flvor and refreshing appeal going on.

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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 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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Photo of squirrelpirate
3.9/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saranac Pale Pale Ale pours a slightly cloudy golden hue with a small head that quickly vanishes and leaving a thin, bubbly lace.

The aroma consists of spicy and citrus qualities from the Centennial hops with certain grassy and light malt qualities.

Hop bitterness shines with little competition from the nutty malt sweetness. A slightly bitter finish with a light astringency and moderate mouthfeel and carbonation.

I love the Maris Otter malt in this beer, and it's not as extensively hopped as some pale ales I've tried. Could be a session beer, but not the most easy drinking.

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Photo of animalchin
3.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Looks like a pale should, yet the head retention is lacking a bit. A deep dark golden body with some decent carbonation.

S - A nice balance of malt and hops. Has a sweet musk to go along as well.

T - The malts make a big first impression. Having a hard time identifying the hop character, but the crispiness gives a little to go along. I'm also sensing some wheat-like characteristics as well.

M - You know...a pale ale mouthfeel. Not too overbearing - decent mobility.

D - A little more weight that I was expecting, but nothing anyone couldn't handle.

I'm not totally sure what they were going for with this beer. When I saw Pale Pale Ale as the name, I was expecting a lot more hop overall. It's a little more intricate than their pale ale. All around a decent brew.

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Photo of plaid75
3.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured an herbal hop and delicate doughy malt.

The taste was well balanced with a crisp malt and a lingering herbal hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style.

Overall a tasty and very easy drinking pale ale.

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Photo of mjaskula
3.86/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass. This one looks really great. It pours a nice clear copper with a thick rocky head that thins to a film with lots of lacing.

Aroma is faint, with both citrus and florally hops and a malty sweetness. Flavor has a moderate amount hop bitterness with a decent balance of malt. Hop flavor is clean and crisp. A little bit of green apple flavor is present. Mouthfeel is nice and a bit dry. A pretty good APA, but not as inviting as the Sierra Nevada pale.

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

Saranac Pale Pale Ale is a very clear pale golden ale with a soft, fluffy white head that has great retention and lacing. It has a hoppy aroma that's almost sweet, with notes of grass and wood (pine). It is medium-light bodied and very smooth with a clean finish. The Centennial hops are apparent in the flavor with pine and citrus peel. It's dry and clean. An excellent American Pale Ale!

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

To me, this is one of the better, probably the best, of the Saranac beers in the Saranac sampler I had.

Deep gold, it has a pale amber, medium-big off-white head steadily shrinking to a foamy ring and leaving a little lace.

Aroma is nice, fruity-yeasty grain, apple, faint herbal & grassy hop, faintly spicy. It's a little like a full-bodied pale lager with something more.

Taste is nice, crisp grain, mineral, faintly fruity, lightly sweet with vague peppery-herbal-grassy hop character and faint bitterness, nice light yeastiness take over at finish. An aftertaste of vaguely citrusy hop joins at finish. Feel is nice, it is pretty balanced, solid, and enjoyable, if rather simple.

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Photo of generallee
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The bottle has no date or abv%.

Appearance: As advertised the body has a pale yellow gold color with a light and fluffy foam head. The head fades to a thin wisp of lace that hangs on top of the beer to the last sip. There is very minimal lacing on the glass as it is slick and just slides down the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is delicate and has mostly hopy notes with pale biscuit/grainy malt underneath.

Taste/Palate: Like the aroma its flavor and palate are delicate as well. This makes for a very refreshing and easy drinking beverage. Its base has a light biscuity flavor that mixes with and then quickly gives was to modest leafy/citrus hop notes. The finish has light hop bitterness fading off of the tongue.

Notes: Overall it's a nice refreshing drink that could also make a good cross over beer for BMC drinkers who would be overwhelmed by more hopy complex beers.

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Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had a bottle out of the summer variety pack. The clear, amber beer pours with a tall head and lacing. The aroma is a light, citrus pine scent and the flavor also focuses on the hops, but with a very mellow nutty undertone. Along with the rye pils and helles, this mix pack has some really solid options for craft beer lovers. I'd be happy to drink this in the summer or any time I want a more sessionable pale ale. Reminds me a touch of of the Southern Tier Pale.

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Photo of thespaceman
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass:

Appearance: Light golden hue on this, thick billowing head atop a bed of bubbles from the carbonation. Cloudy looking with awesome lacing and head retention.

Smell: Citrus aromas from the hops combine with some bread like maltiness. Grapefruit, citrus, plum, and other fruit elements are here with some grass like aromas. Very earthy and invigorating.

Taste: Hop characters exceed any maltiness applied to this brew, lots of slick tasting hop oils, citrus and a small tinge of malt backbone. Very pleasing on the palete, the small bitterness makes you pucker a bit combined with the hop presence. Overall, alot more hoppier then other APA counterparts on the market.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, good amount of bitterness here, very light on the palete, and refreshing to enjoy on a hot day.

Drinkability: Overall, light years ahead of the Saranac Pale Ale, combines alot more hops to please the hop heads, with a small backbone to smooth things out. Not an overall exciting offering but for what it is, it hit's the mark for sure.

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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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