Saranac Big Moose Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

206 Reviews
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Saranac Big Moose AleSaranac Big Moose Ale

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

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Saranac Big Moose Ale is an American Pale Ale with a kick. The medium-bodied malt sweetness is balanced by a nice crisp bitterness from hand selected centennial and cascade hops. Look for a vibrant citrusy hop aroma that will leave you craving another swig!

13.5 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009

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Reviews: 206 | Ratings: 460
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

The smell featured a piney hop and grainy malt.

The taste consisted of an upfront herbal hop with a moderate grainy malt and a strong residual spice.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and highly drinkable ale.

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Photo of bubseymour
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from pint glass.

This is a good Saranac and very well made American Pale Ale. Very drinkable and good flavor to me. I'm having this beer after just finishing a Saranac Rye IPA. From the winter 12 pack mix I just bought, this one is one of the better beers from this mix. I recommend this one.

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Photo of SirSaranac
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer surprised me. I had no clue what style of beer it was prior to cracking the bottle and pouring it.

Clear copper. Nice head... nice lacing.
Smells rather hoppy... nice citrus notes.
Tastes smoooth. There's a solid malt backbone, which smoothly transitions into a juicy citrus hop. Slight hop oil clings to the tongue.
Hmmm... this tastes more like an american IPA than Saranac IPA! This is a really solid beer that would go well with summer food... not quite sure why they made this a part of their 12 winter beers. Would love to see this in 6 packs.. but, we all know that Saranac won't. Oh well!

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Photo of magine
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a amber brew, with with lace head. Has nice lacing.

Has a nice sweet malt smell, has the grainy floral hops smells as well.

This brew tastes very smooth. Has a nice sweet malt flavor then has the floral hops. Has a smooth aftertaste.

This brew is very dribkable and very balanced. Nice.

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Photo of mempath
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a golden brown-amber with super sticky lacing and a huge head that settled moderately slow. nice.

smells of sticky, hop oils...not overpowering or strong, but right upfront. expected grapefruity nose.

a nice hop blast immediately that also immediately dissipates to leave a microsecond of hop bitterness (needs to last longer!) and...then nothing. i mean, this is 'clean' but is that good? sure, it is tasty, but the mouthfeel doesn't seem to allow time for reflection and lip-smacking. maybe my tongue is off this (late) morning! very drinkable and sessionable for sure, but maybe a good beginners' APA so they won't get scared off when the hop pinches them slightly for half a second...maybe they'll be intrigued to step up to something that slaps then a few more moments. this is too quick. too clean. there's good and not so good in that.

edit: another try at another time of the day reveals a more lasting finish and somewhat hoppier blast. still light. i changed the taste from 3.5 to 4.0 (GOOD)'s still clean and quick, but a bit more snappy.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light copper color, smallish head to it.. some nice lacing though. Faint hop aroma. Taste has a great mouthfeel, nice crispness to it. Smooth going down with some nice subtle hop notes. Really a well balanced beer, this would be a great summer beer because it's just so damn refreshing. Not overly killer with the hops like an IPA so this APA is a solid choice for a beer. Nice start to the winter mixed 12 pack!

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Photo of beerphan
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> SA tasting glass
2009-2010 12 beers of winter
2669 0640 is screened on the bottle

Pours a clear yellowed orange with a thick mostly white head that raises quickly and stands tall. Thick chunky globs of lace. Carbonation is steady and intense.

Nose: Citrus, overripe fruit

Ligth caramel malts of overcome with citric fruity hop goodness. A little butter in the front mixes with the tame slightly sweet malts. Hops bring overripe pear, pineapple and bitter lemon. Bitterness is present and balancing, although short-lived. Smooth creamy mouthfeel, leaves the mouth dry and eager for another sip.

A good addition to the 12 beers of winter, a nice change up from Saranacs regular Pale Ale offering. I'm reaching for another.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the 12 Beers of Winter pack. Pours a very light caramel color with virtually no head. No lacing. Nice Aroma of hops, fresh cut grass, and malts. Taste is a combination of hops and malts with an aftertaste of the cut grass. A bit of caramel flavor as well. I enjoyed this last year in the Winter Pack and was glad to see it make the cut. One of Saranac's hoppier brews. Not quite as good as their flagship Pale Ale but pretty close.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a nice red color with about a centimeter head, that dissipates quickly, but leaves a little lacing. Smells of fruits and malt, which is very pleasant and pleasing. Tastes of fruit, malts and slightly of hops. This beer goes down really well and is carbonated perfectly for the taste. Definitely a session beer and a nice winter seasonal.

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Photo of claytri
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a dark gold with a thin white head. The aroma is floral hops with a bit of caramel malt in the background. The taste is malty with a bitter hops overbite, and a floral hop finish. It has a medium to light body, with a dry finish. A very pleasant find in the style. This could do as a session beer when you want a bit of hops, but want to drink more than one.

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in the beers of winter box.

Appearance is average, golden body with a good finger of white frothy head. Lacing is solid, head retention is weak.

Smells of dry hop, citrus notes, mild back spice.

Taste is very crisp, almost a bit more IPA than pale ale in terms of hop usage here. Very sweet, dry, citrus front with a smooth bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is good, light to medium bodied, carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability is good. Saranac fails however in one aspect : this beer comes in a sampler, and as such I can't buy a 6 pack! Otherwise this has great drinkability, went amazingly well with Hawiian pizza.

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Photo of droomyster
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper body with a small white head with decent retention. Aromas are quite good and reminiscent of the best APAs in their assertiveness. The smell of freshly peeled oranges is most prominent, with a lot of sweeter malt aromas like caramel and toastiness almost as strong. The taste is sweet and caramelly up front before yielding to a more austerely toasty mid-palate which gives way to a strong, citric hoppiness on the finish. Very well balanced. In my opinion, this is one of Saranac's best offerings.

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Photo of wafers
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found in 2011 Saranac winter mix pack
A: Very light, copper coloring on the pour with a decent amount of off white head
S: Gives off a nice, full aroma of citrusy hops with a slight hint of roasted malts
T: Definite hoppiness up front that dissipates to a to a somewhat roasted background
M: Very light, smooth, low carbonation
O: One of the more hoppy saranac brews I have tasted...very comparable to their pale ale offering as well as many of the other commonly found APA's out there.

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Photo of bob3701
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. Clear copper color with a nice creamy head that lessens but hungs around. Laces really well, marks each sip taken. Great aroma of hops and citrus.The hoppy bitterness is present but very laid back and hints of orange/lemons thoughout. Can feel the Cascade hops in the aftertaste but very subdued; its like a laidback version of a West Coast pale ale which I happen to like. I could drink a bunch of these.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, orange-amber color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of spicy hops, pine and some bubblegum notes.

T - It tasted toasty with nice citrus, pine and bubblegum flavor from the hops. Really surprisingly tasty.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean, dry finish.

O - This was a really surprisingly good pale ale. It had IPA-like hop character.

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Photo of Rschis16
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A darker burnt orange color that is nearly opaque froma slight haze. Nice head retention from the healthy white head. Smell is of piney hops and apricots or some other similar fruit. It's pleasant.

Fruity taste at first, then a nice bite of hop bitterness in the back. The hops support a weaker fruit taste that, alone, would not stand up well as a good beer. But the hops behind it make them stand out as a uniqueness to the beer and for that, this beer is pretty good and I would have another one. Drinkability is high, as it is easy to drink, yet hoppy enough that i'd want another. The only thing that may improve this beer a little is if it had a crisper mouthfeel and dryer finish. I feel that would make this beer more refreshing. But this is only a minor detail, and overall it is a nice relaxing and easy beer to drink.

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Photo of deruiz10
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A - 2-finger eggshell head retains well and leaves massive lacing. Beautiful reddish amber with awesome champagne-like effervescence.

S - Sweet malts and bright citrus, gentle hop bite.

T - Light slightly sweet malts, hops are fairly flowery with a good amount of grapefruit and mild spiciness. Finish is crisp with a bit of bread-crust aftertaste.

M - Slightly more than moderate carbonation, keeps the body full but crisp and slick. Works perfectly with the taste.

D - Excellent for refreshment value. It's crisp and clean, a real good warm day brew.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.92/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy aeep amber color. Foamy head was nearly nonexisistant, merely spotty surface lacing. Carbonation was very light. A sweet malty taste with a fresh hops. A bready, grainy finish. Smooth and clean mouthfeel. A good tasting beer although nothing special overall. A good party beer or starter beer.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Saranac Twelve Beers of Christmas I picked up today.Poured into a standard pint glass a clear medium golden with a tight formed one finger white head that rstuck around for quite a while leaving one big ring of lace as it creeped slowly down the glass.A mix of caramel malt,biscuit,and floral hop,an annoying metallic-like aromas shows through as well.Pretty nice balance on the palate,a mix of toasty/graininess and lightly sweet caramel malt,a healthy dose of citric hop comes through in a long finish.Matt did a fine job on this Saranac offering,its extremely balanced and a good quaffer.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a nice small pine like hop presence. In the taste, a sweet to dry nice hop presence. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry, hoppy aftertaste. A nice, everyday pale, nothing too exciting, but nice nonetheless.

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Photo of projectflam86
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a golden amber color with at thick foam head that leaves nice rings of lace.

S- Some pine hops and lemon grass in the nose. A decent malt sweetness is in there as well.

T- Nice gentle bitterness upfront with a really a very sweet malt finish. Caramel and grain round out the flavor and add sweetness.

M- Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

D- A very drinkable brew that isn't too high in ABV.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another in the long line of this twelve pack. This was the middle of the day for me and I was not really sure what to expect with it to be honest. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass. Consumed 02/21/2010.

The pour was decent, nice even amber in color with a modest head that settled down slowly and evenly over the course of the session, but left little in the way of lacing or any formative layer of foam. Light malted grains open up as it warms. Caramel, hints of piney hops, a nice touch of rich bready malts and a definite herbal quality to it.
Smooth and even with a nice soft and even consistency to it. Rich, warming hop notes great me across the palate and melt into a fine mix of caramel and smooth, subtle and lovely buttery notes. Final smack down comes from the hops which are nice and prominent in the finish and really go a long way into the final taste. Easily session able and much easier to put down then I thought it would be. I have to admit I grew quite fond of this one.


Overall a very solid little ale here. One of my favorites of the mixed sixer for sure. I would have no issue at all with getting another one of these any day of the week.

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Photo of bltzburgh
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Saranac success!

poured dark brown with a lasting head and nice lacing. The carmels and coca stand out but a hint of vanilla comes through also, very complex Ale, Very drinkable beer with a good after taste and wonderful finish. Would recomend to fellow beer lovers.

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Photo of PangaeaBeerFood
3.84/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pulled a 12 ounce out of my beer fridge, which is kept at 50 degrees, and poured it into a 12 ounce mini-pint glass. I poured it straight down, with no glass tilt and was surprised to find that it didn't bubble up more than two or three fingers, which diminished quickly. A nice clear coppery color. Attractive looking, but nothing above the standard APA.

The smell is pretty pungent, which surprised me because their Rye IPA (which I reviewed about a week back) had literally no scent. Lots of citrusy West Coast hops here, most likely Cascades (I only know that because I homebrew with Cascades). Very reminiscent of something out of Sierra Nevada. In a blind tasting (smelling?), I'd be surprised to find that this was brewed in New York.

Taste is surprisingly pleasant. Maybe it was because my expectations were low after their Rye IPA, but I very much enjoy this. The hops are bright and sharp. They hit you quickly then dissipate, without lingering on the palate too much, which I really like. I like my Pale Ale's very clean, which this certainly is. Not a whole lot of malt backbone here, which surprised me for a winter seasonal. That being said, it quite hold a candle to the real West Coast Pale Ales and lacks complexity (seems to be a running Saranac theme). Pairs well with my comfort food (meatloaf, potatoes, gravy) and cuts through them nicely.

The mouthfeel is where this beer falls shortest, in my opinion. It's a bit undercarbonated, which, when combined with the lack of malt, leaves the beer feeling a bit watery. Not macro-watery, but watery nonetheless.

Drinkability is good. The sharpness of the hops ensure that the bitterness doesn't linger too long or overpower and the thinner mouthfeel make this go down super smooth. Though it's lack of complexity doesn't intice me to have another, I certainly wouldn't complain about putting back a few of these.

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Photo of Brenden
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is a nearly clear, shiny amber-copper with gold highlights. A nice continuous bubbling and cascade effect form a creamy, dense eggshell white head. It's not all that tall, but when it settles to about half a finger in height, it never fades beyond that. This head has some stick as well, as it unlooses the head in sheets but is continuously rebuilt as it descends.
Saranac usually has a good balance, even if their beers tend to be a bit light. This beer does have the balance in the aroma but isn't light. Citrus and floral hops balance nicely with caramel malts. It's not complex, but it makes for a very nice APA and isn't one-dimensional, either.
The flavor changes a touch as what's noted in the aroma makes for the general taste, but a bit of graininess pulls out as well. Sometimes tobacco can be difficult to distinguish in a bigger beer or hard to put a finger on. This is the beer I'd suggest for anyone wanting to really what what it means to taste a tobacco note in a beer, as it comes out quite strongly.
The body is medium, and the play between crisp and smooth works well while operating with a relatively low carbonation that remains to keep the feel lively.

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Saranac Big Moose Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.5 out of 5 based on 460 ratings.
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