Saranac Big Moose Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

206 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 206 | Ratings: 460
Photo of heavy216
2.09/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: 12 oz bottle. 2 fat finger head, lasted several minutes, good lacing,,,,orange/amber in color

S: strong hops smell, with slight citrus smell

T/M: very strong bitter aftertaste, taste more fruity as it got warmer...

D: not one i would write home about

 256 characters

Photo of mikeg67
2.1/5  rDev -40%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle from a verity pack. Pours light amber with a short-lived white head. Aroma is of bready and caramel malt, hints of citrusy hops and ripe fruit. Body is full and crisp. Taste is citusy, herbal hops, some shellfish and something else. Finish is long and unpleasant. Nice drain pour.

 293 characters

Photo of q33jeff
2.14/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

**FROM OLD NOTES, 12/31/12: Aroma is rye, fruit, apple. Look is light brown, clear. Taste is slightly bitter, stale, rye. Thin mouthfeel. Nothing Special.

 164 characters

Photo of Prospero2u
2.16/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

T obe fair, this is not my style of beer, but it was included in a holiday gift pack, so...

I found the color (coppery) average but the drink experience from aroma to taste was disappointing.

I didn't pick up much sweetness or caramel but a stronger hops aroma. It's a 13.5 IBU,

 281 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.18/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I just reviewed this in full, but beeradvocate lost my review so this will be much more brief.

Average appearance of copper colour with an unimpressive head.

Aroma is poor for the style; imbalanced floral hops, caramel, and some sweet nectary notes.

Taste is poor as well; way too sweet with bland floral hops and middling caramalt. Bleh.

Mouthfeel is bland. Smooth, wet, too thick, overcarbonated.

Hard to drink due to its low quality. Another garbage beer from Saranac/Matt brewing. Not recommended at all.


 521 characters

Photo of microbrewlover
2.26/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The brew pours a dark copper color with a small head and minimal lacing with stays with the beer to the end of the glass.

The brew manages to smell both hoppy and malty at the same time.

The mouthfeel is bready with some hop oil, weak spices and a lot of bitterness.

The taste is that of hop oil, bitterness, bitter aftertaste which lingers. There appears to be some weak spices and maybe the slightest taste of malt.

Overall I found this brew to be bland. The picture on the bottle would indicate that this brew is intended for Christmas, I drank mine in Feburary so maybe the beer sat on the shelf too long but nonetheless I was dissapointed.

 649 characters

Photo of mfigueroa713
2.28/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours with a nice two fingers of head but disappears in seconds. Lacing in not present. Color is of caramel. Winter spices were noticeably but not completely sure what they were and their strength was not all that pronounced. Carbonation was very low. Would not drink again based on my sample but maybe I got a bad bottle ??

 324 characters

Photo of blakelive784
2.3/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a pint glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a transparent orange/copper color with an underwhelming, thin head of 1 finger. Retention is poor.

S - Caramel and pale malt forward. Some very faint grassy/citric hops notes, but they're subdued. Mild strength and uninteresting.

T - Follows the nose closely. Caramel malt foundation with stale lemongrass and citrus hops built on top. It finishes a bit bitter. It's incredibly simple and uninspired. The bottle says best by Mar 31 2012, but I think it's past its prime.

M - Medium bodied, medium carbonation, smooth and wet on the finish. Not all to great.

D - I'd have it again if it were fresh, and on draught, but not one I'd seek out.

 713 characters

Photo of curasowa
2.36/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Clear, golden color with two fingers of head that fade to a cap with some spotty lacing.

Aroma: Big toasted malt aroma with some woody notes mixed in with a slight metallic tang.

Taste: Some thin toasted malt flavor up front followed by a lot of grainy, thin, metallic yuck. Some mild bitterness towards the back end and finishing with some lingering graininess.

The Rest: Not much to say here, this isn't very good.

 431 characters

Photo of andersony17
2.39/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a case on sale at a local distro.
Very nice label on the bottle, definitely belongs in a fridge next to the holiday dinner leftovers.

Pours a nice light amber color, the head dies out quick.

Not really sure of the aroma, i guess i smell the hops but it's not very appealing.

Can definitely taste the caramel but it's very hard to put down, I've been drinking it very slowly just because it almost hurts to drink.

I have a whole case so if I don't end up trading them away I will hopefully learn to deal with the bitterness.

 537 characters

Photo of mikereaser
2.43/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle on 12/23/09

A - pours a clean copper color with some big soapy foam that let some good lacing

S - grassy hops dominate with some malty backbone

T - just an awful bitterness, followed by more bitterness and a burnt finish

M - good carbonation, crisp taste

D - i'm just not into theis one at all, not hoppy good bitter, just bitter tasting.

 364 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
2.44/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle with a best by stamp of MAR 31 2012. Pours a lightly hazed copper color with a decent cap of creamy head. Fades pretty slow and leaves a nice collar.

Nose is toast and caramel maltiness with a light, citric hop aroma. Finger nail polish remover and Pine-Sol throw out some less than desirable nostril candy. Label claims "Triple dry hopped with specialty Citra, Centennial and Cascade hops..." Sure as hell coulda fooled me.

Taste is moderately better with a thin, caramely malt flavor with some burnt biscuit bottoms and a biting bitterness on the back end that...well, for lack of a better word, sucks. Kinda like putting an aspirin in your mouth before you get the glass of water and having some dissolve on the back of the tongue. This beer is pretty terrible. I would not recommend it to anyone and will avoid all the Saranac offerings I have tried thus far (6) like the plague next time I find myself in the Northeast. Hell, Id rather have a Yuengling than this.

 984 characters

Photo of TheWapakian
2.45/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

13.5 IBU is incorrect in the BA description. 13.5 is the Original Gravity per the Saranac website. With this much toe curling bite there is no way this is a 13.5 IBU (I'm guessing it is more like a 55-60 IBU). This is not one that I would buy on my own (I got it as part of the sampler pack) If I were a hop head I may really like this beer, but I'm not.

 354 characters

Photo of cnjohn19
2.52/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Notes on the label: "Saranac Big Moose Ale is a full-flavored American Pale Ale. 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!"

Grabbed this one from a winter seasonal 12 pack and overall not impressed at all...notes below

A - pours a dark, rich orange...looks flat and uninviting, very little carbonation with almost no head...

S - mainly citrus notes of sweet mandarin definitely sweet, but not sure its from the malts as the label indicates...

T & M - distinct hops, full body, very sharp...but has a soapy finish...the bite is too intense for this brew with a horrific aftertaste...kind of like biting into an orange peel...

really enjoy saranac's brews as a whole so far, but skip this one...not worth it...

Song pairings: don't waste your time...

 925 characters

Photo of fx20736
2.61/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, served right from the fridge.

Pale, reddish-gold amber, decently carbonated with 2 fingers of offwhite head and some decent lacing.

Aroma: noticeable but not bold, piney hops and bready malt. My nose catches an 'off' smell like vegetable soup being cooked in an institutional kitchen.

Mouthfeel: full.

Taste: there is something just a little funky here. It doesn't overpower the beer but I notice it in the aroma and taste. Otherwise it is a slightly thin and fairly malty IPA as if they were trying to replicate SN Celebration Ale.

Notes: I always try to like Saranac beers, especially as they are brewed a 120 miles from me and their Pale Ale was one of my first entrees into American Craft beer but they usually come up short. Without the 'off' flavor and aroma this would be a somewhat uninspiring APA/AIPA but the total package is a flawed beer that I won't buy again.

 924 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.68/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a bright copper, orange/amber color. Think rusted carrots. The creamy light fluffy head stays around for a while, leaving a good even head all the way down. Sticky lacing. Smells very hoppy with a sweet carrot presence. The beer tastes tangy with too much hops. Sticky and sour come to mind. Again, there is a weird carrot taste in there. Mouthfeel is a bit watery. Overall, I despise pale ales that are dressed up as Winter Warmers. I mean, come on ... I don't want a tangy, hoppy beer for Christmas, thank you.

 559 characters

Photo of Kooz
2.68/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams specialty glass. Not much head, but some sticks around. Not much lacing. Beer is a light orange-ish brown. Not bad looking but not particularly enticing.

Not much nose. A little hoppy... portents...

Tastes okay, but too much on the hops side. Almost like an IPA. Not a fan. Too bitter too.

Mouthfeel is about average, if maybe a little watery.

Despite the low ratings, it's a fairly drinkable beer. I think I could have a few of these, though there are plenty I'd prefer over this.

 519 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
2.73/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a mini snifter. Small, quickly dissipating head. Light, clear lacing. Aroma is slightly apricot and citrus but I'm honestly struggling to smell any hops. My friend said it smells like a "lemon tire"? Taste is mildly bitter. Not too flavorful but also no off flavors. Easy on the palate, but again, lacking any great flavors.

 349 characters

Photo of Tilley4
2.73/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From the Saranac Winter Sampler 12 pack...

Pours a golden appearance with a small head... Lots of evident carbonation so this one should be fresh...

Wow... For a brew supposedly hopped with 2 different C-hops, this one has no hop aroma whatsoever... Light biscuity malt all the way...

Well, after a few sips of this one, it was down the drain for me.. It wasn't really offensive or anything but just had no noticeable hop presence at all.. A very average beer that just didn't do it for me...

On to the next one from the Winter Sampler...

 543 characters

Photo of e11iott
2.78/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 12 oz bottle. light amber color you can see through. Light lacing, 2 finger head.

S: heavy hops aroma, bottle says citrus, but very light to the smell, none to taste.

T/M: seamed a bit dry, strong hops flavor start to finish and after taste.

D: taste didnt improve with warmth. Not one of my favorite Saranac's. Came in a case variety pack with a total of 6 kinds, hope the others are better.

 399 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.8/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, darkened orange body with a grouping of rather large, white bubbles comprising a rather small head.

Smell: Malty accents of caramel-glazed barley grain. Vague hints of florals and spice. Citrus-scented hop note of wet, juicy lemons.

Taste: Lightly grainy, lightly bready pale malts. Not much of the caramel from the aroma carries over into the final flavor. Modest amount of sweetness. The hops are predominately citrusy, though a few faint hints of spice and florals are transmitted. Medium bitterness. It literally melts in your mouth, as in it gets increasingly watery as you reach the dry, bitter, though wimpy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: The decaying body, with its thinning wateriness drives down my interest in this one to near nil. A weak, below average offering.

 845 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From the beers of winter 12 pack.
Copper colored. Thin tan head. Tiny bit of lace.
Very weak aroma. Vaguely sweet with a hint of citrus.
White bread taste, a little bit of grapefruit.
This beer just didn't do it for me. Really weak aroma, with only minimal improvement in the taste.

 297 characters

Photo of Kremlock
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A. Poured a nice 1 inch head that fell within 30 seconds. Lacing is low-medium. Colour is a very clear light copper.

S: Floral bouquet, some citrus present. Caramel in the background.

T: I get a slight bubble gum flavour. Caramel flavours are hidden by the hops. A bit thin.

M: After taste is astringent and has some tannins. Bitterness is nice at the beginning but then changes into that strong tea feel. Hop flavours are hidden by the mentioned problem.

O: Not impressed at all. The lack of caramel leaves the bitterness go wild. The tannins and astringency of the beer distracts from any enjoyment of wish to continue it's consumption. But fear not, I drank it anyways.

 676 characters

Photo of sleazo
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A_Pours a medium brown with a one finger head. Decent Retention

S_The smell is reminiscent of other Saranac brews. Slightly metallic and with hints of grain

T_The same metallic taste comes through. Mildly malty but fairly iron like. This overshadows the minor bread like malt tones and the mild generic hops.

M_Light bodied and medium carbonation

D_Meh, fairly crappy pale ale.

 381 characters

Photo of mtnbikerpa
2.86/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Copper, amber color with little or no head with only minimal carbonation. Very bland smell of faint hops. Sticky pine-like, hoppy taste. But not alot of distinguishing flavor, a little more than a standard pale ale. I am glad I got to try this as part of the Saranac beers of winter variety pack. Probably not a beer I would seek out though.

 372 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saranac Big Moose Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.5 out of 5 based on 460 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.