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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 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,

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Photo of IronLover
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright copper orange in color with good clarity. Poured with a short white foam that quickly reduced to a wispy cap. Citrus and herbal floral hop aromas with caramel malt beneath. Medium bodied with tangy carbonation and an oily feel. Herbal and floral hop flavors with a caramel malt backbone. Hop character is a bit messy. Finished semi-dry with a lingering hop bitterness.

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Photo of GiantMidget
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought the Saranac winter variety sampler at Wegman's. Good price at 16.99 for 12 beers.
This was the first one I tried out of this pack. I've had other Saranac's in the past.

Poured into a nonic, left a rocky 2-3 finger off white head.
Some citrus, floral and hops scent to be expected were present.

This was a pretty smooth APA but nothing super memorable about it to me.
The hops didn't jump out at first but the dryness reappeared more towards the end of the glass.

Thinner mouthfeel than I would prefer from an APA.

Overall it's not bad just not one I'd jump back to quickly.

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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.


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Photo of papaglide
3.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a beautiful copper color with minimal head. Nice Lacing left on pint glass.

S- Cascades, with citrus, biscuits and a sweetness lingering in the background.

T- the hops hit first, followed by a small dose of breadiness. Hops kick back in and the finish is quite dry but those hops to linger.

M- Thin and water like is the best way that I can describe it. Carbonation is medium.

O- This is not a bad APA but its not an outstanding one either. Big Moose is quite average for the style. It might be a tad out of balance but that may be the par for the style. Probably my least favorite out of the 12 beers of Christmas.

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Photo of AAG
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this American Pale Ale into a stein after letting it sit for a few minutes after taking out of the refrigerator. Unknown freshness; can't find expiration date on the bottle. Drank shortly after purchasing, though.

Appearance - A very nice pour that left about a finger of white head; head came down after a few minutes but still left nice cascades and lace on the side of the stein as I drank it. Nice amber color; slightly darker than I expected but still very pleasing.

Smell - Hoppy, grainy, caramel-like smell. Very enjoyable. Can smell the spices but not sophisticated enough (yet!) to tease out what they actually are.

Taste - Malt sweetness, caramel, hoppy taste. Hoppier than I would expect for this ale but very pleasing overall. Full-flavored, slightly bitter aftertaste. Crisp.

Mouthfeel - Feels nice on the palate, carbonated, but pleasant.

Overall - I enjoyed this American Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company. This is the second Matt Brewing Company beer that I have enjoyed this week (the other was the Saranac White IPA). I prefer the IPA but I am still pleased with this Big Moose Ale. Good for a winter night (as advertised). I recommend this beer. I would have it again.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looking for an incredible hop-malt balance with a dry-drinkable balance. The Matt Brewery has the answer with Big Moose! It's a tasty beer with impeccable flavor delivery.

With a slightly richer hue that's expected from the style, its deeper amber hue is brilliantly clear and allows a creamy white head to rise at the onset. It's diminishing froth reduces to a dissolved sheet and laces intermittently. Looking much more English-like, the beer is a bit more calm that what we're used to.

Citrusy notes of orange peel, grapefruit, light tropical notes, pine, and grass gives both pungency and floral notes to the aroma profile. Backed by malty notes of caramel and graham crackers, a hearty sweet note is what's needed to balance the strong hop presence.

Delicious dry graham cracker sweetness, graininess, and hearty taste all rise in taste to meet the front of the mouth. As the sweetness extends onto the middle palate, the citrus and herbal hop flavors emerge with those orange peel and grapefruit tastes. Herbal tea leaves, fresh cut grass, and pine resins start to frame the finishing flavors while grain and bread crust offer creamy taste in support.

A creamy-dry texture rises early and retains the mouthfeel until very late in the session. A short lived malty texture quickly fades and favors a pleasant grainy-dry, semi-sweet posturing. The late spic of alcohol and malty-dryness gives the beer enough structure to become endearing but is dry enough for sheer drinkability.

Big Moose Ale is a fantastic American pale ale that holds up to an array of American cuisine, but is sturdy enough to stand alone as a session-like ale. Incredible in texture and firm in taste, the beer is build for flexibility.

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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.

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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 metter98
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear yellowish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high light beige head that died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacy rings of bubbles around the edges of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of floral hops and spices in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of pale malts and a light amount of bitterness. Hints of spices are noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink, but the aroma and flavors seem to be a little muted.

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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 auxiliary
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearane- Copper amber color, nice white head when poured but then settled down. Left some lace on the glass.

Smell - Lot s of hops here and some bread.

Taste - Malt taste up front and a lot of hops follow through. Hints of caramel also.

Mouthfeel - Medium body

Overall - Not that bad, I'm not into hoppy beer person but it is one to start off if you are a newbie to this. It is a nice winter warmer.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is one of those rare beers that has two identities. the pour is fine enough, copper in color with an average white head, not much retention. the nose is all malt, english caramel, sweet, toffee even, medium toast. but the flavor, is all hops, resins and bitter from extensive dry hopping. its sort of an odd double take, i get no hops in the nose, and i get very little of that robust malty weight in the taste, which i cant seem to figure out in terms of brewing technique, but it comes together rather well all things considered. this is a winter beer for sure, even brown sugary to the smell, and the hops keep it crisp and clean like the night air in december here in upstate new york. enough body and enough bubbles, the feel is fine. dry bitter finish. overall not my favorite saranac winter selection, but it wont be the last beer left in my fridge, thats for sure.

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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 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.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint on tap at Tully's NY - for 4.50$

Appearance - Clear gold colour with an average size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent l acing. The head lasted for 2-3 minutes.

Smell - Breads/grains, hops, caramel, grassiness

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste corn mixed with some malts and grains. There is also some hops and a it of a mustiness mixed with very light grapefruit. It ends with a malty slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall - With the limited selection of beer to choose from, this one was okay.. there were hints of a flavourful APA at time but it's a little too muted and musty for me to want to drink again.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours a clear golden with a 1.5 finger white head. Not much visible carbonation at all. Leaves some nice lacing, Head remains as a 1/8" film.

S: Grassy hay like aroma, some musty malts in the background. Seems almost to smell more of malt than hop.

T: Odd mix here, real bitter from the hop but yet it almost seems malt forward. Leaves a bitter aftertaste I am not too fond of.

M: Medium body, average carbonation. Sort of a sticky mouthfeel. Not something i would want to drink all night.

Overall not their best seasonal. I guess its hoppy yet seasonably malty. Always lingers in the fridge after others are drank.

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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 SickGnar
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden amber, clear with a few fine floaties. A few streams of bubbles rise to the small bone-white head that settles with moderate speed. It keeps a ring and a partial skim and leaves some alright lace.

S: Nice fruity hop aroma – pineapple, tropical fruit, tangerine, and some more general citrus. There are some light fruity esters as well. Malts balance quite well with lots of caramel malty sweetness on a softly biscuity background. Perhaps a hint of diacetyl as it warms. And hops grow more herbal as well.

T: Fairly firm bitterness – hop character is less fruity - more rind - with leafy & herbal notes up front and through the middle, and the end gets a flash of pine and then resin lingers in the finish. Malts are a bit less balancing than in the nose. Still predominately caramel with low C malt sweetness. The biscuity base gets a hint of breadiness. A touch of earthy yeast comes in while the diacetyl hint vanishes.

M: Medium body with evenly matched CO2 that is a bit expansive & cushiony. Minimal chew and quite attenuated with just a hint of sticky sugars on the lips. Strongly hop drying finish.

D: Even the bottle label hints at the target. It misses. It lacks the lusciousness & richness. But it is a high aim – Celebration is damn fine. Still, it is a reasonably tasty & quite well made beer. Overall it’s a solid American Pale.

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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.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.32/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #124
Served On: 02/07/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: March 31, 2012

This was in the 2011 '12 Beers of Winter' mixed 12 pack.

Look: Poured a clear medium copper color with a 1-finger off-white head. Carbonation bubbles were slow and steady.

Smell: Some hops and that usual malt character that all Saranac beers seem to have. The aroma was just a more robust version of the Saranac Pale Ale.

Taste: The taste had some interesting bitterness at first that lead into the signature Saranac maltiness. Then a nice roasted note kicked in towards the back. The finish was more bitterness with some semisweet malts. Aftertaste was fairly clean and dry.

This beer seems like it's nothing more that the Pale Ale with a little more body and character. I noticed more of a hop profile and a roasted English malt note that the Saranac Pale Ale doesn't seem to have. Overall - not bad.

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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.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Occasion: unwinding from aLong Island QB tourney...
Glassware: K's Tavern pint...
Appearance: monstrous white head that pillows a third of the glass; a semi-opaque tan body that presents suitably...
Palate: mellow, almost medium-bodied mouthfeel that belies its hop wallop; warms the mouth with a late burst...
Taste: crisp, fresh pine that pricks at the teeth and a malty finish that holds the beer in place--nice!
Overall: this beer works by combining a sensible balance and some stronger elements distinct to the genre...enjoyable...

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Photo of mralphabet
4.39/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Copper with a good fingers worth of head that a quickly dissipating to a nice ring with OK lacing.

S: Nice mix of floral and citrus hop right up front with a hint of sweet caramel malt floating around.

T: Hops right out of the gate.... Just like the smell... strong grapefruit citrus hops with a little floral hops mixed in. Mid-palette I'm getting a little sweet malt... Just enough to balance things out for me. Aftertaste has a little bitterness but not much.

M: Mid body, great carbonated, it is a good mix of crisp yet smooth.

O: Very Very nice APA.... I'm not a big hop head but this beer had all the things I like about hop (wonder smell and complex taste) but not a lot of the things I hate (overwhelming bitterness) and mixed it perfectly. Very nice APA and a great ABV to boot... I will have to start looking for this one on a yearly.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Golden Amber. Transparent. Average to below average carbonation. About a finger of head that fades fairly fast.

S- Pine, hops, malts.

T- A little hoppy a slight citrusy/piney taste. Slight sweet citrus finish.

M- Drinkable, but not a ton of flavor. Light to medium body.

O- At first I wasn't overally impressed by this beer, was expecting it to be a little bit different, but the beer grew on me the more I drank it. Overall not bad, but not a huge fan.

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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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