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Saranac Big Moose Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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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 MrOH
2.92/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Clear light copper with a single finger of white foam. Spotty lace.

Citrus, passionfruit, some caramel. Hints of pine.

Melon, lemon, pine hop flavors, bitterness is strange, lingering, but not unpleasant. A bit unbalanced for an APA.

Medium-light bodied with ample carbonation.

A bit odd, don't think that it really works. Worth a try. The whole is less than the sum of its parts.

 384 characters

Photo of greenmonstah
2.92/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into DFH Snifter

A - An aggressive pour resulted in a two-finger white head with average retention. Color is like most APAs, a deep copper. Great lacing.

S - A weak hop on the nose. Piney hops. A bit of floral hops. Very little aside from the weak hop aroma.

T - Hops in the front with a mediocre malt middle. Finish is grainy. Improves on the nose, but only slightly.

M - Light to medium body. Very wet in the middle, but finishes very dry.

D - Goes down easy enough and looks great, but is just not very tasty and leaves the mouth too dry.

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Photo of DirtyPenny
2.95/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pint glassed.

A: Poured with 2 fingers of level, foamy off-white head. Clear and dark amber in color, bubbles actively replenish the head
of this brew and are easy to see racing to the top. Plenty of lacing.

S: Very hop forward and piney, with slight notes of pale malt.

T: Hops are immediately noticable with a mingling of pale malts and a slight note of... onion? There something pungent and allium-ish in the flavor of this brew. Not sure if that's intentional or not. Kind of ruins it for me as I strongly
dislike onion. Caramel malt only comes out as it warms.

Second Bottle: I opened my other bottle of this to make some Welsh rabbit this morning and couldn't think of anything to do with the remaining 8 oz, so I manned up and drank it. Didn't get any of the oniony flavor this time, so I guess I owe Saranac an apology. Still not an amazing beer, and the hops take over without leaving much else to taste, but not abominable.

M: A touch frothy.

O: Apparently this was brewed with centennial and amarillo hops, which I don't believe are known to cause that oniony flavor on the first try. Not sure what the problem was here.The second one was fine, if a but underwhelming. I'm in no hurry to try another one to see which of these was the odd man out, though if I were to guess, I'd say that they weren't trying to make an onion-flavored beer.

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Photo of Billolick
2.96/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle w/o freshness info of any sort to be had.

Pours caramel and lightly hazed. Very minor head, next to no film/collar/lace.

Meh kinda nose of more caramel smellin' malts...

Herbal tea hops, caramel malts, not loving much about this one.

Not really coming together for me. Bordering on unpleasant to drink.

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Photo of bourbonbock
2.97/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz bottle into a clean pint glass.

A. Light copper with very little white head, medium carbonation and not much really going on with this one.

S. Hops, piney, citrus, and earthy smells.

T. Up front hop bite followed with a full bodied malt beer with little malt flavor balancing it out, as is characteristic of the style.

M. Full and sticky with a smooth aftertaste that gently coats the mouth with a faint flavor of good beer.

D. I wouldn't hesitate to try this again. It's a nice east coast APA that could hold its own at the cooler.

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Photo of tigg924
2.98/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: caramel in color, 1/2 inch head, high carbonation, clear

Smell: citrus hops, floral hops and light toasted malt

Taste: Light restrained grapefruit, light bread. The hops are dominant but not strong.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, medium bodied, slightly bitter

Drinkability: This one matches the style guidelines for the American version fine. It is a slightly bitter APA that wants to feature the hops, but is afraid to let them come all the way out. Not offensive, but rather average. I may have this again in the variety pack, but would not buy a six.

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Photo of Spica66
3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank this beer with gwuilliums at Camp Lawrence for 15th anniversary celebration.

A: Light golden yellow with some chill haze. Decent head formation, but hardly any retention. Decent carbonation with very little lacing.

S: Medium hops and a decent malt background.

T: Nothing special here. Decent tangy malt with some hops.

M: Carbonation is right. Decent, roundish mouthfeel. Not creamy.

O: Just an average pale ale. Nothing I would go searching for.

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Photo of mnrider
3.04/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. Brown Bottle. Pint Glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color. Forms a small white head which eventually turns into a nice coster thin head the rest of the way. Lacing is minimal.

S: Malty caramel. Light citrus blends with a floral aroma. Very light though.

T/M: Smooth and very easy to drink. Taste is on the light side. Cascade hops and bread, caramel malts. Kinda like a watered down crispness.

D: Pretty good brew. Not sure i'd get it again. I've had much better brews of this style. However not bad and very easy to drink. Maybe a little light on the hops.


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Photo of dsa7783
3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A basically average, run-of-the mill pale ale from Saranac... Nothing to get excited about... This one satisfies as far as the typical, expected flavor profile for an APA is concerned but in no way goes above or beyond... Subtle hints of citrus are noticeable but overall the taste was lackluster...

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Photo of Minkybut
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this hoppy beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a caramel color and poured a big tan head. The beer had a slight hop smell to it. The taste of this beer was crisp and clean. Little hoppy for my taste but not a bad beer at all. The beer had good lacing also. However I will not buy again because I don't care for this much hops. But if you like that you should like this brew.

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Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brought a bottle to a BYOB restaurant to enjoy with dinner. Review from notes.
Poured into a supplied pint glass.

A - Pours a rather translucent, light golden yellow color. A rather foamy, white head appears upon pouring but it quickly fades. Large amount of carbonation bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Little to no lacing left on the glass after drinking.

S - Rather unimpressive. Slightly tangy, maltly smell.

T - A rather generic pale ale. Tangy, slightly malty taste. Little to no hop bite. Nothing awful but not the best ale I've ever had.

M - Very well carbonated. Leaves a slightly metallic aftertaste.

D - The low ABV and lack of heaviness would allow you to drink this as a session beer. That being said, I wouldn't want too many of these.

Overall - Another Saranac beer that falls short. Drinkable but not something I'll seek out again.


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Photo of 401J
3.1/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Beer #2 in this craft pack lacked some luster or anything much notable for that matter..

Delightful nose of fresh flowered hops rose my hopes but it turns out there wasn't much behind it..

Taste was of a solid ale but a bit metallic in the mouth feel..

Fair all around, wouldn't purchase again.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.12/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear copper in color, with a big head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Mineral note, subtle fruitiness.
Taste-Up-front earthy hops and a minerally, flat bitterness that follows to the finish. Label states that it is "triple dry hopped" but the hops seem to fight each other instead of playing nice. Toasted malt mixed in but doesnt help the balance. Mineral quality reminds me more of an English pale rather than an American pale.
Tastebuds left scratching their heads and shrugging shoulders. Meh.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a light copper, full inch, carbonated head

S - Not a very strong smell, a bit of pine, but not much else. Very light on smell

T - A bit spicy, a little bit of malt, easy on the hops, some hints of caramel

M - Decent amount of carbonation in the mouth, not very thick, mouth coat is very light.

D - This beer goes down easy. Warms the throat a bit.

Overall - I found the beer a little bland. The taste was balanced, but nothing remarkable. A good session beer though, especially in the winter. I actually felt warmer drinking this

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Photo of stakem
3.16/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear light orange color with more than 2 fingers of slightly yellowish off white foam. Large bubbles constitute most of the head that receeds leaving a lot of lace all over the glassware. Nose is mildly spicy from hops and a bit of malt is detected in the background. Taste includes some caramel-like malt notes and finishes slightly bitter from the hops. Moderately carbed and medium to light feel. Overall nothing really exciting about the taste and the nose is not impressive. I will note that it has been a long time since I saw a beer that had this much head retension right down to the last sip without being on nitro.

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Photo of jwc215
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours orangish copper with a thin, foamy lasting head. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of a tea-leaf spiciness with a hint of lemon/orange citrus - towards pink grapefruit. Not as "vibrant" as the label on the neck describes, but nice enough in a mellow way.

A malty sweetness is overshadowed by a dry, aspirin-ish bitterness, slightly metallic. Centennial and Cascade hops used, according to label, but they come across more in aroma and bitterness than in flavor. It has a dry, herbal finish.

The body is close enough to medium to call it that, though it has some watery thinness going in and out.

A decent attempt at a hop-leaning APA, without going into IPA territory.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I picked this up on the single bottle shelf to try something new. The label brags about the hopping; so I was very interested in pouring it.

The moose is very pretty. It is orange with lots of coppery notes. And it leaves a nice foam on top of the beer.

This moose smells good. You get lots of citrus and floral hopping. I like the way this smells.

The flavor isn't as good as the smell. Somehow the flavors aren't balancing. I think the caramel malt isn't working with the hops. It was kind of disappointing.

I wish this beer tasted half as good as it smelled. That's too bad.

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Photo of billzee
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into Flyers pint glass. Copper body with creamy white head with decent retention. Citrusy hop and some sweet malt notes. Lots of orange peel and a bit of grassy flavor. MLighter body with medium carbonation. Not my favorite Pale Ale, but I would drink this again. I think I would enjoy it more in the summer months.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a tumbler.

Copper colored with a fair clarity; noticeably active carbonation. Short-lived, carbonated white head that leaves only a semi-intact sheet. No lasting lace.

Buttery, semi-sweet bready malt character over a grainy, almost adjunctory base. Mildly astringent, floral hop aroma with a touch of citrus. Notes of licorice and saffron.

Butterscotch, toasted malt that make for a pleasant breadiness. Lemon and pear flavors that are short lived once the perfume-floral hops take over. The finish is waxy with an unpleasant bitterness.

Medium bodied; the filmy floral hop character is far too bulky for the sweet, bready malt.

An average American Pale that is in need of a balance in terms of flavor and texture. Perfect for the mixed 12 pack, but I wouldn't buy a six pack

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Photo of jjchristiano
3.21/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed some Christmas beers to try in advance of the holiday. Took a six pack of the Saranac as they are always reasonably priced. Most times I am very pleased. This offering though is not really very tasty. It's drinkable but not anything special and I really can't find anything about it that is very wintery. Just an average amber ale that has a big "Big Moose" name. I got others to try and look forward to finishing this one to move to something else.

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Photo of caddybuyer
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A-filtered clarity. Medium copper whth a foamy tan head that settles rapidly.

S-Little to speak of. Sweet malts and grain. A hint of lemon.

T-Lemon and grains carry forward into the taste. Mostly malt with no hops present. Decent, and unremarkable.

M-Medium thing, average carbonation

D-One reviewer once called Saranac the comfort food of beer. I cannot agree more. I like their take on style....they just should use twice the ingredients....otherwise...simply average.

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Photo of TheTrevor
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a light copper with a single-finger head. The smell is mostly bready malt with a tiny bit of hops. There's a bit more hops towards the finish in the taste, but for the most part this is a straight down the middle beer that's right in Saranac's wheelhouse. Not going to make anyone's favorites list, but it's in the Holiday pack and you shouldn't ignore it if you pick one up.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Little head, but remains constant. Orange-Red in color. Very transparent though

S-Coffee and Caramel

T-Coffee. Not very many hops or malt coming through. Molasses and Caramel as the beer warms.

M-Light with some residuals of carbonation felt

D-Not overly drinkable. Sort of wondering why it is in a winter mix as it could have been a lot heartier.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Pours a golden brown with a finger of foamy head. Smell is sweet caramel malts and slight hops. Taste is just mild hop and aggressive sweet malt. Way unbalanced and over sweet with a bitter finish. Its better than macro but not representative of the style. I wouldnt seek this out...or buy it on its own.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.26/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light amber color, not much for head or lacing on the glass.

Smell is mostly caramel malt with a bit of citrus hops, nothing overwhelming, an odd aroma of fruit pebbles though, I guess you would consider that light fruit haha.

Taste is fairly light and crisp, sweet malt front followed by a dry bitter finish, overall pretty clean.

Nothing to write home about but not terrible either.

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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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