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 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 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 Zekezilla
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't typically enjoy pale ales. I don't really like the grapefruit/hoppy thing BUT I was willing to try this because...well, it came from Saranac. I've yet to be disappointed in one of their beers and this is no exception. It's smooth and citrusy. THIS is a pale ale I can finally enjoy.

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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 MVotter
4.21/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - The Saranac Big Moose Ale pours into a chalice a crystal clear amber with a good inch of a cream colored head, and thick, ample lacing.

S - Breads and yeast, roasted malts, and faint piny hops.

T - Nice, hop tang in the front, mellowed almost immediately by some malts. The finish features a stronger return to the piny-hops foundation of this American Pale Ale.

M - The mouthfeel is medium gravity with a tame, pleasant effervescence.

D - This is a very drinkable, satisfying American Pale Ale. A really nice offering from the good folks at F.X. Matt and Saranac.

The Big Moose Ale was part of the 12 Beers of Winter package from Saranac this season. So far I have really enjoyed every style I've tasted (Belgian Ale, Winter Lager, Big Moose Ale) in this one. Well done!

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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 Stinkypuss
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Big Moose ale, poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A light copper in color with a head that recedes to a ring around the edges. Minimal lacing.

Aroma of sweet malt and a subtle note of pine.

A well balanced brew. Caramel malt and a light piney, earthy hop. A hint of buttery sweetness and a clean grainyness.

Medium bodied with a good level of carbonation.

Drinkability rates fairly high with this unoffensive pale ale. A moderate hop presence and a good character make this a pretty solid offering from Saranac.

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Photo of Amalak
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had out of a 12 ounce bottle.
A- It has a copper color with some bubbles. It has a good head and leaves behind a good deal of lace.
S- Very bitter, hop scent to it.
T- Seems like more of an IPA to me. It has a nice, very spicy bitter taste. FUll-bodied. Too be honest, I'm not educated enough to know the difference between an APA or IPA...but this is very solid whatever the taste.

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

A 12 oz bottle from the 12 Beers of Winter.

A: The pale ale is a coppery amber color, more orange than brown hued with a robust clear look. A finger and a half of white head left a surprising quantity of lace around the mouth of the glass.

S: The APA has the Saranac house aroma, a little ringwood-esque sweetness followed by a solid bready presence.

T: The house malt profile is strong upfront. Behind it, and I really had to search for it, is a bolder hop profile. The citrus isn't overwhelming but it does stand out amidst the malts. The ale's finish has a stronger bitterness, the citrus blowing things up rather late in the game. I like the hops, very flavorful, much more so than almost any other Saranac offering.

M: The mouthfeel is caramel sweet up front before yielding to the hops at the back end. The recent 12 beers offerings (summer included) have really surprised me.

D: Low booze and a surprising hop taste. A good start to the 12 beers of winter.

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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 number1bum
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of creamy beige head. Keeps very well, with a pretty full lace and nice stick on the sides.

Smells of toffee and caramel malt, with a bit of woodsy, earthy, floral and subtle citrus hop aromas.

Taste is also maltier than hoppy, even for a pale ale. It's a toffee/caramel/lightly toasty flavor, with a bready quality to it. Hops are earthy with just a touch of citrus. Modest bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a creamy medium body, quite smooth. It's crisp and dry in the finish.

This is a pretty solid APA. Nothing too out of the ordinary here but a well made, easy drinking pale ale.

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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 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 WVbeergeek
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a glowing copper orange hue with a bright white head, lacing is speckled evenly around the sides of my chalice. Aroma has a nice citrus bitter pith and floral hop accents with clean biscuit malt sweetness. Flavor has a very dominant lemon citrus note to it with bitter green fresh cut pine needles, minimal biscuit malt sweetness makes it through a burst of hop pellets for sure. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a strong sturdy flow of carbonation, bittering hops are all that are left on the slightly slick mouthfeel. Drinkability is decent as part of a sampler but one sided hop pellet bitterness leaves more to be desired in a session style American Pale Ale.

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Photo of mklinger
3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a shaker pint glass. Nice dark golden/pale amber. Thick head that dissipated quickly. Head was composed of too large of bubbles. Little carbonation visible in the beer itself. Leaves lots of nice lacing.

Great citrus aroma, grapefruit, orange, and lemon jumping out of the glass. Very nice classic APA/IPA aroma. Great stuff.

Nice flavor. Hop flavors are a bit stronger on the bitterness and slightly piney. I'm surprised that there was so little citrus in the flavor profile. Also, the body/malt of the beer was a bit odd. I recently reviewed the Saranac Rye IPA & tis has a similarly odd tart flavor without as much malt or body as I might hope to balance it out.

Like the Rye IPA, from the appearance and aroma I thought I was going to love this beer, but the finish isn't one I'm crazy about.

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Photo of porterwoobie
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: orangish amber color, slightly hazy, slime head, some lacing

S: it has a mix of malt sweetness and citrus hops in the aroma. kind of a cherry smell overall.

T: overall, tends toward the sweet side. neither the hops or malts dictate, maybe slightly weighted toward the malts, which has a caramel sweetness to it. has a slightly bitter finish.

MF: medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Drinkability: although nothing stands out about this beer, there is nothing i dislike about it. i'd drink it again. there's better APA's out there, but i've had worse.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A: Light copper color with a thin white head.

S: Some sweet notes from the malt, but the most noticeable aroma is the floral scent of the hops. Nothing too crazy here, but thats why this is a Pale Ale and not an IPA.

T: Nothing special about this but it isn't bad either. A malt is hardly noticeable; seems to provide more body than anything else. A bit citrusy and a bit estery. Hops provide a nice bitterness at finish.

M: Good use of malts on this one to provide a decent body. Carbonation is just right too.

D: Can't really go wrong with this one as part of the "12 beers of Winter" mix pack. Overall a very drinkable pale ale that I would consider as a basic go to beer if it were available outside the mix pack

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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 puboflyons
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle numbered 2669-0643. Sampled on November 12, 2009. It pours a handsome looking reddish-bronze with little to no head and excitable carbonation that mellows out after a moment. The aroma is full of malty sensations and a fresh hopped background. The mouthfeel is about medium body. The taste is bitter with sweet caramel malts along with a notable dose of fresh Cascade hops. The hops are the more memorable flavor in the end.

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

Saranac- Big Moose Ale

A- Clear golden brown with a huge thick chunky lacing head.
S- Sweet pine and citrus hops with sweet caramel malt.
T- A nice balance of sweet caramel malt and a citrusy, Amarillo perhaps, hoppiness. Light touch of lemon and dry grass.
M- Sweet malt with a sugary citrusy bitter hop body and a dry thick malty finish.

Overall- Solid Pale Ale. Tasty and easily drinkable. A nice addition to the Winter variety pack.

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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 Zraly
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear copper with white head. Nice lacing and decent head retention. Nice smell of malt mash.

Crisp and relatively well-balanced, this is a nice APA. Malt sweetness up front with a dry hop finish. It's clean on the palate, leaving a small trace of bread sweetness. Nice, bitter, orange rind finish. Slightly astringent in the finish, but if you are into hops, much of this is subsumed in the hop profile.

So far, this is my favorite out of the seasonal winter pack. I would pick up a 6 pack of this if it was offered, especially at the Saranac price point.

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Photo of Gmann
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with a tight off-white head that settles into a light cap. The aroma is of a bready caramel malt and a light floral hop; a touch of metal. The taste is of the caramel malt, which has a nice fruity flavor, along with some lemon. There is a noticable hop presence which is grassy and bitter. Definitely more flavorful than their normal APA. The beer has a light to moderate body with nice carbonation; finishes with a slight asprin like bitterness. A very solid APA, one of their better beers. The asprin hop characteristic diminishes the drinkability for me a bit but it might suit others well.

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Photo of BeerPhan86
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For some reason, BeerAdvocate lost the last four reviews I did of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter. Makes me mad, oh well here we go AGAIN.

A - Pours a rich golden amber with a one finger tan head that lingers for a couple of minutes.

S - Citrus and piney hops, along with a nice grassy/earthy scent and some grains. Sweet and floral.

T - Bitter, grassy hops at first followed by a nice piney taste and some malty/biscuity sweetness to finish it off. Citrusy with hints of grapefruit. A bit spicy and minty.

M - Very smooth, medium bodied and just the right amount of carbonation.

D - I could session this, and I prefer it over their regular pale ale actually! Can't wait to find this in six packs at my local store and I hope they keep this one around.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.38/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle purchased as part of a seasonal mix pack. Pours a brilliant crystal-clear amber body with a good inch of khaki-colored head. Herbal grassy piney slightly citric hops dominate the aroma with just enough caramel and chocolate malts to balance. Piney herbal minty hops play a huge role in the flavor, with enough chocolate and caramel malt to make this beer about more than just hops. Grass and bread on the finish and aftertaste. On the lighter side of medium-bodied with ample carbonation. Drinkable, carbonated, and boldly-flavored enough to make this a perfect pairing for most pub fair. This beer was a pleasant surprise! Both super-tasty and super-drinkable. One of the best American Pale Ales I've had in quite a while!

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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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