Saranac Pale Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Pale Pale AleSaranac Pale Pale Ale
179 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 179 |  Reviews: 102
Photo of OtherShoe2
3.77/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a darker yellow with a fair foamy white head and some lacing.

Decent notes of grapefruit and pine in the nose, some bread-like aromas as well.

Lighter in the flavor than I would have liked, but still plenty there. Decent citric rind bitterness, and some bready flavors and a little sweet grain. Finish is lightly bitter.

Well carbonated and medium-light bodied.

Overall, not too bad. Very very drinkable on a hot day, and a decent brew with food. I dug it.

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Photo of squirrelpirate
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
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 BeardedBoffin
4/5  rDev +17.3%
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 jwc215
3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From summer '09 variety pack:

Pours bright golden with a nice foamy white head. Patches of lacing stick.

The smell is biscuity and grainy with mild herbal hop spicing.

The taste is of tea-leaf with Maris Otter maltiness and a balancing bitter touch. Mild, but pleasant - a nice English/American hybrid of English malt and American hops.

It has a crisp, light body (though not thin or watery) with a lasting pleasant aftertaste.

This is thist-quenching and truly a summer session beer!

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Photo of thespaceman
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
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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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 05/27/2009. Bottle. Pours a clear light orange with a small white head. Aroma of bready/doughy malts, light citrus, and fruit hops. Flavor is sweet initially with a nice malty, bready finish. Slightly on the sweet side. Easy to drink, decent beer.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.27/5  rDev -4.1%
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 auxiliary
3.72/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance - Yellow color, white pond for a head, and lots of bubbles.

smell - Some hops, bread, pale malts.

taste - decent balance of malt and hops here. Not too much hoppy here.

mouthfeel - Medium-light body.

drinkability - Not a bad drinking beer after a long day of cutting the grass. Worth a try.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
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 u2carew
3.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A) Pours with a two finger head that is creamy and tight. Golden to bronze in color. Visible carbonation.
S) Malty sweet mixed with hoppy citrus notes. Light caramel. Pink grapefruit.
T) Mellow, malty nose. Earthy. Just a bit of hop bite in the middle as well as nutty in the middle and finish. A lingering dry, earthiness.
M) Fizzy. Medium bodied. Dry. Gritty.
D) A decent pale ale. I wouldn't have too many of these in a row - just not that attractive.

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Photo of AtlasBrew
4/5  rDev +17.3%
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 DannyS
3.61/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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

A - clean, clear straw colored amber with a head that pours fairly thin but leaves lots of clingly lacing as it goes down.

S - Not a whole lot there, but i did detect some nice bready malts and grassy hops

T - Lots of tasty biscuity malt, punctuated by clean, slightly bitter grass/herbal hops. A fairly simple combination of flavors, but it's pulled off well enough. Finishes clean with just a twinge of bitter hops in the back of the tongue.

M - Has a little bit of weight to it, complimented by the fizzy carbonation, making this a smooth, fairly foamy drink.

D - The hop bitterness gets more noticeable as one drinks, but this is easily a session beer. I kinda wish I had slowed down when drinking this one; i plowed through it quick.

overall - It's a pale ale that drinks like a pilsener. I can dig it. So far, the summer beer pack from FX Matt has been pretty good, all perfectly decent thirst quenchers.

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Photo of plaid75
3.87/5  rDev +13.5%
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 KenC411
3.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A thin one finger head tops the tan translucent beer with a medium amount of bubbles marching towards the head, which disappeared in less than a minute.

Smell: Citrus and malt

Taste: Initial hoppy bite followed by a wave of sweet malt. It finishes with a light bitter kick. Very balanced malt and hops.

Mouthfeel: Its medium in thickness, crisp and refreshing.

Drinkability: In a sea of odd misfits, this beer really hits the mark. It has a little bit of sweet, little bit of hop, and a crisp refreshing taste. Definitely a welcome addition to my fridge.

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Photo of dbmcrorie
3.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown long-neck bottle with no decipherable freshness/bottling date.

Rich amber/orange body with a light khaki head, similar to standard pumpkin ales. Minimal head retention with a collar that leaves a bit of lacing clinging to the glass.

In my past few reviews, I've constantly asked, "Where are my hops?" ...I've found my answer.
Great floral bouquet. Hops provide fresh notes of citrus, pine, herbs, and very discrete spices. The soft caramel malt lays just below the surface, providing enough biscuity and sweet candy notes to balance the almost (but not quite) sour profile from the hops.

A bit less impressive than the nose. Weak malt profile provides faint biscuit, caramel, toffee, and bread notes. Allegedly six specialty malts were used, but I'm getting very little balance for the aggressive hop astringency in the back of the tongue. Lots of citrus (prob. the Goldings) and pine (prob. the Fuggles) along the sides of the mouth, with a very piny/spicy finish. Decent carbonation opens up the hop oils and resin, but gets lost somewhere in the end. Slick mouthfeel and rough carbonation makes this less of a session beer, and better for pairing with food.

Not a bad Pale Ale. I was excited when I saw how rich the color was, and smelled how aromatic the nose was. But unfortunately the taste let me down a bit. Decent PA for the price and availability, and wouldn't mind it again; maybe just if the pine flavors were toned down a bit, and the malt had some more backbone.
Because of the heavy pine/hop profile in this brew, this would pair greatly with anything smokey; such as bacon burgers, smoked gouda, smoked salmon, etc. Anything earthy/smoked that reminds you of the outdoors - this would go great with.


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Photo of Gmann
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very pale brown color with a wispy white head that settles into a sparse cap. The aroma is of bread malt, light caramel, a touch of metal and spicy hop. A very light bready malt flavor with light caramel and hints of grassy and citrus hops. The flavors are quite light but balanced. I would like to see this more malty with a more pronounced hop flavor but if they were going for a pale pale ale, I guess they achieved it. The feel is light but not watery with airy carbonation; finishes sweet. A very drinkable ale with some light flavor. If they were going with a dumb-downed APA they hit it. No off flavors make this a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.32/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The last one in a summer variety case I bought. Pours a golden color with a very little sticky white lacing that pretty much disappears after a few sips.

smell is very sweet like caramel,skunky and a nutty aroma

Taste is kind of lemony but more a funky bitter grapefruit that sticks to the palate throughout the tasting and 10 mins afterward.

Mouth is light-medium bodied,crisp, with good carbonation that turns flat pretty late in the game.

Drink is good if you can stand that bitterness throughout but might be a good session beer.

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Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from Saranac's 12 Beers of Summer pack.

A: The pale pale ale is just that, wickedly pale with a solid yellow color, a goldenrod tone that is translucent.

S: The nose is malty, full of bread and caramel. A mild hop profile also hovers below the surface, peaking out at times.

T: The ale is very light, focusing on the malt side. Bready with a soft caramel touch, the lighter malts take the focus of said caramel. The taste is very earthy without being hoppy. The malt flavor lingers long after the sip is gone, a rarity so such a mild ale. Citrus hops are present below the surface, adding flickering bitterness to the maltiness. A pleasant pale ale that needs some of the oomph that the pale ale brings.

M: The ale is light, reflected both in flavor and body. The relaxed atmosphere makes for a nice drink.

D: A decent light pale ale. I'd take its stronger brother 9 times out of 10, as it needs a little more strength.

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Photo of mempath
4.3/5  rDev +26.1%
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 PatrickJR
2.41/5  rDev -29.3%
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 puboflyons
3.57/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked 1109-0824. Sampled on May 24, 2009.

A - a fairly clear rusty-amber with almost no head and very little lacing.

S - Kind of pungent with its odd mix of sweet malts and fruity flavorings.

T/M - The mouthfeel is bit on the watery side and the flavor is very sharp and tart like sour malts. It has a slightly dry finish.

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Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid pale malt scent along with a mild hop aroma. It's dry with some light yeast esters. The taste is decent. It has a weak malt flavor with a decent amount of hop character. It's light and refreshing; just not that malty. It goes down easy with a dry, bitter finish. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a very drinkable APA. It's a solid session beer that won't fill you up and is great for the warmer months.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
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 oriolesfan4
3.04/5  rDev -10.9%
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 NJpadreFan
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac- Pale Pale Ale

A- Light copper orange with a small sticky lacing head.
S- Sweet juicy pine hops and a sugary caramel malt.
T- Light sweet sugary malt, hints of honey and caramel. Pine hops are sweet and juicy nice, but light.
M- Heavy carbonationup front with a sugary sweetness. Sweet hops turn slightly bitter in the end.

Overall- Starts off light and subdoed but eventually flavors pop out. Decent but not outstanding.

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Saranac Pale Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.41 out of 5 with 179 ratings