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 donkeyrunner
2.35/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Saranac Pale Pale Ale, for when a standard pale ale just isn't enough. Gold with a white head. Retention should be ashamed of itself.

Doesn't smell like much. Maybe some biscuity malt. Faint swampy hop character. Taste is biscuit malt and a little cascade spice. Nice Cali pale mouthfeel. Intensely soapy aftertaste, I was hoping for a nice porch beer but ended up with a bathtub beer. Bummer.

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Photo of milesmayhem
2.38/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This came in the summer Saranac box of 12 beers along with Helles, Summer Wheat, Amber Wheat, Pomegranate Wheat, & Rye Pilsener. None of these really stood out but the Pale Pale was the only one disconcerting enough to review.

Pour was average, head was average, aroma showed plenty of malt but the mouthfeel and bitterness just did not sit right. I know the right bitterness when I taste it and this was like hops gone bad. Almost poured it out...and for me that is a big deal. I would like to try this on tap so I know it is fresh.

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Photo of PatrickJR
2.41/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear, light golden with about 2 fingers of white head that disappears somewhat quickly before falling to a thin film. Mild lacing.

S - Weird dirty/earthy/citric aroma, what I associate with "dirty wheat." Some floral notes are hidden in there letting you know there were some kind of hops used at some point here, but they are smothered in a grainy/husky blanket.

T - I didn't think it was going to get any worse, but it did. Grainy sweetness akin to a macro or malt liquor hits immediately and then some crazy off flavors pop up like metal and wet dog. Really off-putting. Somewhere in this gutter-water mess is a dying reminder of hops, with some slightly citrus and earthy characteristics. Bitterness hits hard with a squeeze of lemon for flavor but little else. Moderate to high bitterness for the style and relatively blandness of the brew in general. Grain, lemon juice concetrate, and just a bit of that wet dog linger in the finish and aftertaste.

M - Not too much to talk about here. Relatively light bodied with spritzy carbonation. Comes across as watery at times.

D - I don't know what's going on, but Saranac's beers seem to be getting worse. This beer seems like little more than an American ice lager with a blast of bitterness. No harmony or balance, and nothing that shines from the malt or hop department. The wet dog thing seems to be going in and out, varying in intensity between sips, but it's still pretty gross. Not quite undrinkable, but walking a thin line.

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Photo of 160Shillings
2.51/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Aroma: Very faint fruity esters and mild citrus hop aroma, too mild for American pale ale. No malt or other aromas.

Appearance: Deep yellow to pale gold. A modest but lingering finely bubbled head. Crystal clear.

Flavor: Prominent, but not overpowering hop character with medium bitterness and a medium-light citrus lingering into the finish. Very faint malt sweetness in the front that blends well with the citrusy hops. No other malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body and carbonation. The finish has a mild lingering bitterness that is not quite dry.

Overall Impression: A very mild example of American pale ale that would make a good introduction for the drinker that is not used to more aggressive beers. A warning though, this beer is way too mild for the typical pale ale loving hop head as well as being rather one dimensional.

Comments: This beer barely manages to meet the standards for American pale ale. It has no faults with what it is, other than it may not be enough for those who prefer this style. I think it serves best as an introduction to the uninitiated and those who aren't too picky.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.56/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Decent amber appearance. Aroma, that of a bad ipa, minimal hops, wood and stale smell.

Taste, more wood, minimal hops. Bland. A little bit of a sour feel, maybe lemon. Very light body duped by the graininess. A very conservative beer, something you give the plebian drinker who has graduated beyond BMC, but hasn't got beyond SA yet.

Pricey for what it is, not enjoyable. Definitely on the bottom 25% of all APAs I can think of.

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Photo of skinny0ne
2.57/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It has a fizzy head. The color is a good pale amber. The aroma is light, but of hops and malt. I don't get any citrus. Up front it is a bit sweet. Honey and malt. A bit of lemon hits in the middle. In the finish a bit of bitter hops. Nothing notable. And that's kind of how I see this brew. Not bad. But nothing really good either. Kind of like spicing up a macrobrew a bit. For a brew that wants to be the best pale ale you ever had (on the label), it totally misses that mark.

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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 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 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 wesbrownyeah
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac APA 4.7% alcohol... not expecting much due to the price tag on this one.

A- Pours a solid copper colored fluid with massive off white head that lingers around leaving a good share of sticky lacing.

S- Danky hops and yeast upfront with a mild and light husky malt back on the nose.

T-M- Taste is predominitly a danky malt thats almost tea leaf like in flavor with light but there citus hop twang. Mouthfeel is wet and active in carbonation leaving the aftertaste of this brew on the tongue for a good bit.

D- Its drinkable but nothing i'd look for next time for any drinking occation. Slightly boring.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear dark gold. Head is relatively light but stays around a while, limited lace.

S: Some grassy hops and sourdough bread, cracked wheat in there too, relatively mild for the style.

T: Light amount of grassy hops, pretty good aftertaste - they come out more. Mild malt, carbonic acid makes a play which is never a good sign. Mediocre flavour.

M: Light-bodied, smooth for sure, creamy. Easy going down, but just so light in this style.

D: A very mild-mannered pale ale. Taste is okay, no outright problems, I simply need more hops, I'm hankering for some Anchor Liberty after this.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.04/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

I always thought Pale Ale's were pale enough.. apparently Saranac didn't feel the same way.

Pours a light golden color.. memories of Bud light in a glass come to the forefront.. it has to at least TASTE better than that. Thankfully it does. Not surprisingly, it tastes like a watered down pale ale. Very light bodied, a tiny little hop kick to it with some nice bitterness in there. Definitely an easy drinker and not offensive by any means.. but just way too thin and light, even on a nice hot day. It's refreshing but I wish Saranac chose a better style to brew for their 12 Beers of Summer.. I vote no on this one.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.06/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Moment: spackling the kitchen is done...for tonight, at least...
Glassware: Kisatsky's Bar pint...
Appearance: pours a two-finger head that leaves a hair of tracing atop a soft yellow-orange glow--quite light in this lighting...
Aroma: light floral hops--not an impressive profile, but probably as advertised; once engaged in drinking, I expereienced a wafting in and out of the hops...understated...
Palate: rather smooth with fizz at the finish; buttery on the tongue but nothing to the teeth--less than understated?
Taste: light, pleasant, smoothly inoffensive ale; easy drinking and light-bodied; hops are indeed allusive...
Overall: Give Saranac credit for creating an ale that meshes with the summer sun; just enough flavor to keep the profile engaging, but too soft to be anything but a sessions player...

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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 DerekP
3.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pseudo cloudy, light amber gold.

S: Malty/bready undertones w/ hardly a scent of finishing hops in the nose. As it warms up, floral notes begin to play lightly.

T: Malty, with flat bittering hops. Toasty hints; muffled.

MF: Mild bitterness, light-medium body; noticeably attenuated.

D: Easy to drink, but lacking in depth & character.

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Photo of russpowell
3.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent honey color with 2+ fingers of cream colored head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Grassy hops, light breadyness once warm & honey malt notes

T: Grassy hops & light crackey flavor up front, some metallic twang too. Grainy notes, a touch of butterscotch & much grassyness as this warms.
Finishes with grainyness & metallic notes, plus slight crackery notes

MF: Light bodied, fairly firm carbonation, becomes a tad watery once warm. Balance is out of kilter, not enough malt base to pull together

Drinks alright to quench the thirst but not enough to hold my interest for long. Worth a try if you like them simple

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Photo of mdfb79
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From 6/9/10 notes. Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle.

a - Pours an amber color with 2 inches of white head.

s - Smells of floral hops and wheat.

t - Tastes of wheat, bready malts, and fading hops.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - Not a great pale ale. Not much going on here and would not look to have again.

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Photo of Brad007
3.12/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a golden, light-copper color with a one-finger head into my glass.

Aroma is full of light floral hops and malt in the nose. Seems a bit "extra" as far as the aroma is concerned.

Taste is somewhat watery with only a touch of hop bitterness and malt upfront. Seems a bit peppery/buttery in the middle. Not what I was expecting.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering, but disappointing bitterness and malt at first. However, after I wait a minute or two, it seems to settle down nicely in the form of a nice touch of hop bitterness. Perhaps my taste buds were a bit off.

Definitely doesn't taste like anything I'd buy again but it's still a bit drinkable if you can get past the watery start.

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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 asabreed
3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light yellow with copper color mildly coming through. Bubbles on the sides gurgling up the glass. Bright white fizzy head settles down after a minutes or two, leaving little on the sides.

Smell: Light grain, grass, and citrus, along with a mild herbal component.

Taste: Initially present but lighter herbal hoppiness, but after the grassy and citrus nature of the hops, which doesn't last long, there's a bit of a soda water component -- meaning that the flavor doesn't last long, and there's hardly any lingering.

Mouthfeel: Certainly lighter-bodied, but the carbonation's spritz makes it pleasurable enough and is not watery and also not overdone.

Drinkability: A lighter version of their Pale Ale, which I imagine is the point with this brew, but I have to say that the sheer drinkability factor is higher than I thought it would be. I could do this in the summer, in the backyard, while grilling, and considering it's summer, this makes sense. It's not the most flavorful beer, but for pretty much a light Pale Ale, this could hit the spot for a lot of people during the hot summer days.

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Photo of indiapaleale
3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour - absolutely gorgeous pour. Nice bold, bright amber color with a big, thick off-white head. This pour is clean and looks great. I am impressed.

Aroma - toasty malt, a little honey along with some fruity sweetness. Not a lot of aroma, mostly light caramel malt.

Taste - brown sugar and malt, a bit light in mouthfeel with some grassy components along with hints at lemon or even lime. I can't quite get a grip on why a brewer would settle with this flavor as the style is not overly complex. Tastes like it was made without a lot of love and attention to detail. This one has the looks of a great brew but not the flavors to back that up. Its unfortunate.

Overall - decent enough beer but lacking body and flavor. Its an easy drinking pale ale and certainly one that I'd choose over any macro in the cooler but not in the same category as some of the other craft pales on the market.

Would I buy more of it? - with the selection of canned craft beers available here I'd probably choose a few others over this one. For the style I'd go with Cisco's Whale's Tail Pale for sure.

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Photo of DrewKid4
3.27/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served: Bottle into 16 oz tall glass

Appearence: Light brown-bronze with a finger width white head and more than moderate carbonation.

Smell: Wheat with a hint of hops.

Taste: Not a bad American Pale Ale, but after having many greats, it doesn't compete. It's not bad, it is a good brew under the somewhat unknown Saranac arsenal but doesn't have as much soul into it as many other breweries. I felt the bite and bitterness came from the carbonation rather than the hops, which were light for a pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but too much carbonation for my taste.

Drinkability: Would be great for outdoor events, but not an everyday beer, which is what it's being marketed for.

Overall, this is not a bad beer, but it is an average Pale Ale. Not bad for a casual drink, but would not seek it.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.27/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark yellow slight orange color with a thick two finger head that gives way quickly to a half finger head. Lacing is visible but isn't big. The smell is of pine and hops. The taste is not as the smell would dictate. The taste is of a very slight hop with a little pine or citrus to it. The carbonation is fairly high, you can see it in the glass. The drinkability is okay, you could have one or two of these but not many more. It leaves you wanted some more flavor out of it.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a perfect pint

A- pours a dark shade of gold with a one finger pure white head. Head sticks around for a real long time...I'll give extra points for that.

S- getting some hops...shocking for a Saranac beer! Some pine with a little bit of citrusness to it as well...its mild, but smells nice.

T- VERY disappointing. I'm getting some light piney hops...and that's all. I obviously am not expecting a huge burst of flavor like I would in an IPA, but its so...mild and underwhelming.

M- feel is really good...very crisp. Refreshing

D- very drinkable...but it could be so much more with a little more hoppiness. I'd probably buy it again...easy drinking

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