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

Poured a 12 oz bottle from the summer mix pack into my mug.

A. It pours a light golden blond color with about 1 finger of white foamy head that falls into a cap after about 3 minutes.

S. I can smell citurs, earthiness, pine and well thats about it.

T. Light body favoring primarily hops up front with some citrus and some salt.

M. Light and carbonated. Very refreshing body and it goes down easy. Not quite as weighed down as some APA's with the large amount of hops.

D. I would definitely put a sixxer of this back if the opportunity presented itself.

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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 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 nickthegun12
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First off this is not an american pale ale, this is an english pale ale replica!
light brown in color
smells like tea>>>due to the english hop selection
taste like tea>>>i can taste the english fuggles and goldings
decent lacing and smooth feel
i could drink a few of these beers
this company can make some beer! too bad they are all english styles, not really my style

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Part of the Saranac Beers of Summer Box - $13.48 at Sherlock's in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a burnished bronze body with noted clarity and an initial flurry of active carbonation that forms an inch-high layer of soda-like suds.

Smell: Fairly mild nose, with gentle, breezy notes of sliced white hoagie rolls, cut lemons, and flower petals. Again, it's all rather mild.

Taste: Light touch of light pale malts with a small, meager hint of lightly toasted bread. Lightly sweet boost of caramel cookies. Light nuttiness underneath. Lightly citrusy with some soft florals and a very light amount of balancing bitterness. Light, clean finish simply alive with carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-high carbonation (again, a bit soda-like).

Drinkability: Fairly innocuous and easy to drink. While I felt I would be mighty quick to dismiss this one, the two bottles ended up being a nice, light beverage (despite its soda-like tendencies) to drink while cooking up a batch of shrimp and grits (with chorizo).

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Deep golden-orange in color with a smaller white head that dissipates quickly, leaving behind spots of lace.

Smell: Lots of sugary and buttery sweetness with mild floral hop aromas.

Taste: Begins with biscuity flavors and some citrusy flavor, finishing with rounded bitterness and buttery sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with fairly sharp carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Drinkability: While this is a fairly ho-hum pale ale, it's still not bad. It could definitely make for good sessioning, though there are many brews I would pick ahead of this one.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Nearing the end of the Saranac summer mixer with this one (I think...). It pours a clear pale golden straw topped by a bit less than a finger of slightly off-white foam. The nose is a dichotomy of sweet caramel and hoppy florals, with a touch of orange zest trying to mediate things. The taste de-emphasizes the florals in favor of the orange, which itself is joined by some of its rind as well. The caramel is also not as sweet, but remains fairly pronounced nonetheless. The body is pretty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a nearly dry finish. Overall, a nice but only slightly above average PA, but rather easily drinkable.

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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 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 LairdChisholm
3.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taken from notes 8-15-10

A - Poured nicely. An amber color with a copper tint. A good one finger tan head. The head dissipates after a few minutes and leaves no lacing.

S - Smelled this one as it was being poured. Smells of hops, dark fruit and malts. Smell reduced significantly after it was poured and in my glass, but that's easy to do.

T - Hops are are present but not dominating. Taste of bread with a slight fruity after taste. Maybe banana?

M - Maybe a little too much carbonation but overall, light a pleasant.

D - Pretty easy to drink but doesn't make me want another.

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

Another bottle from the sampler pack, on to the beer:

Pale pale ale is indeed pale, with a pale orange color bordering into golde yellow territory. Head retention is good, and so is the amount of lacing left. Wait, this smells like a type of fruit...smells like apricots. Is this a Magic Hat #9 clone?

The flavor's key is on the back of the strongish estery fruit and funny apricot notes. There's little support of the hops or malt, so something weird must be in that yeast. Light solvent alcohol is whispered at times.

It's enjoyable enough. Easy enough to drink, but in the end I find it as a mere upgrade from #9.

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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 BeerPhan86
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The local distributor finally got this in six packs (although probably made from hacked up variety packs according to a friend). I enjoyed this beer when I had it last year (Summer mix pack perhaps?) and was hoping it would stick around.

A - Pale yellow gold in color with a one finger white head. Minimal retention and lacing. I was kind of hoping this would be slightly cloudy but it is clear.

S - Piney hops, slight citrus with some slight malt.

T - Much like the aroma. Mainly nutty malt at first but has a sharp slightly bitter hoppy aftertaste. I'll admit it the hops are fainter than I would have liked. Slightly metallic aftertaste.

M - Medium mouthfeel and in my opinion it is over-carbonated. The dry finish makes me want another sip, though.

D - Very sessionable, even more so than the normal Pale Ale.

This one is a bit thin on the flavor but overall a decent pale ale. If Saranac kicked up the hops a bit this one could be better.

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Photo of dbossman
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Redish brown with a full and steady head; lacing is mediocre

S: Subtle hop qualities balance out a candied malt presence; subtle tea leaves round out the aromas

T: Pretty balanced malt and hop presence; a bit sweet on the back end; a touch thin and watery too; something slightly funky in there as well as a strong burnt sugar taste

F: Fairly thin but beer does manage to sit on the tongue for a while

D: Quite drinkable, sessionable pale ale; not the best but okay

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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 Arithmeticus
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: very clear dark yellow liquid; thin head that quickly dissipates
S: light, sweet bready aroma; the smell is not prominent
T: sweet, slightly oily in the rounding of the flavor; medium hoppiness
M: watery mouthfeel; feels rather insubstantial
D: you could pound down multiples

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Photo of wcintula
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a regular pint the beer has an amber colored body with a foamy, two-finger, well-retained head. 'tis nice looking. The smell at first is reminiscent of of a SNPA but as it warms smells of honey and oatmeal or granola come through which is nice and reminds me of breakfast. It's a very dry tsting beer, certainly hoppy and light on the malt flavor. The beer is light to moderate in body with a prickly dryness in the back. The beer isn't a bad choice, a decent pale ale.

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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 stakem
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a standard brown bottle with no indication of freshness into a SA perfect pint glass. This Pale Pale ale appears a clear light yellow color with 2 fingers of white foam for a head that receeds leaving lace all over the glassware. Aroma has a pleasant mixture of herbal and citrus hops that come across a bit grassy. Taste has a the expected citrus hop character as well along with a faint grainy malt sweetness before the slightly bitter sweet finish that is quite crisp. This brew has a light body with moderate level of carbonation. Very faint but interesting mix of bready grain flavor coupled with the citrus bitter hops. Overall not bad, the entire time I am drinking this I can't get the thought of "light" pale ale out of my mind.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, this Pale Pale pours rather, well, pale in color. Pours a deep straw with a light cap. Decent carbonation holds a light film yet offers only light lacing.

Nose is lightly lemon citric in nature and offers a dry grainy sense and a light spice. Taste follows in suit. Dry and grainy up front with a lingering citric component that seems a touch unnatural at times. Feel is dry but not chalky and offers just enough grainy texture to keep from being watery in nature. Pretty easy drink given the lack of sweetness and an equally light bitterness on the finish.

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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 biggred1
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale golden with a big fluffy white head of foam that melts slowly leaving scraps of lace on the glass. The aroma is nice, citrusy centennial hop notes with bready grain. Mild, piney hops and lightly rich and toasty malt. Light bodied with smooth carbonation. This beer is extremely refreshing and could be a go to session ale.

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