Saranac Big Moose Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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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 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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Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a light amber color with some orange hues. The head was white and fizzy left some very thing a scattered lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer has a lot of toasted malt on the nose, that's mostly all I get from it. The taste of the beer has a big toasted caramel bitter sweet flavor in the beginning that fades into a bitter hoppy finish. The mouthfeel of the beer reminded me more of an ESB than an APA. It was mild and smooth with a dry finish. Overall this beer wasn't great but it was drinkable.

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

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Saranac winter mixed 12-pack at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a nonic, formed a 3/4" tan head over the clear amber brew. Pillowy head falls slowly, with good lacing, even better in some places. Aroma is biscuits and a citrus bite.

Taste starts with clean malt flavor, ample citrus in the middle, and a crisp hoppy bite at the close. Mouthfeel is quite smooth, and drinkability is good. I'd have this one again.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up a few weeks back down at BuyRite in Jersey City. I hadn't had a Saranac offering in a long time and wanted to give this a go now that the Winter was finally here. Like the other ones that I had, this was a bit thin but there was enough here to enjoy. The appearance was the best aspect of this but since this was moderately priced, there wasn't a reason not to enjoy this on a cold night!

The head was the best aspect of this beer, as it was quite large and foamy, while the copper hue was decent to behold, but nothing special. This was moderately balanced with enough malt to give it body and the taste was like that of an English Bitter. There was just a hint of caramel and the usual citrus flavors to be found in a Pale Ale, but they weren't as pronounced as the bitterness in the back that reminded me of an imported beer. The carbonation was low here, hence why the flavor stuck around so long after each sip.

While there may be lots of big moose up in New York State, this beer was not big in terms of a taste or alcohol sense. Sure, this wasn't like other Pale Ales that I've had, but there was just something missing here. Hopheads probably wouldn't give this a second try but in its own, this was fine to enjoy on a nice Winter's night, and a bit of an improvement over other Saranac beers that I've tried over the years.

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

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

a: clear copper in appearance with a thick two finger head that settles into a thin lacing.

s: pine hop aroma with some subtle citrus notes and a noticeable sweet malt smell.

t: bitter hops seem to hit first, quickly by citrus hop flavor then ending with sweet malt flavor. pretty mild all around. i don't get why they say "it's called big moose for a reason". this isn't a big beer at all.

m: pretty thin mouthfeel. nothing special. easy to drink though.

i was expecting a bit more out of this beer, probably because of the somewhat deceiving advertising, but it's still a pretty solid pale ale on it's own. don't be afraid of the big moose! recommended if you don't really have enough cash for a better brew, but still want something decent.

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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 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 ??

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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.

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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.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.82/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a brillantly clear amber body with a small white head and light lacing.

S: A nice hoppy aroma, mostly citrusy, with a caramel malty backbone.

T: Nicely hopped, but I got this fresh off the truck. Loads of crisp centennial and cascade hop flavors (lots of citrus and floral notes) with a sweet caramel malt and bready background. Very clean and somewhat dry finish.

M: Crisp and clean mouthfeel; medium-high carbonation; medium-light body.

O: Usually not a big fan of their ales, but tend to enjoy this one. Very refreshing and easy to drink. Follows the style very nicely. Price, availability, and low ABV makes it very drinkable.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nearly clear, reddish-amber colored beer with good lace and a half-inch white head that has decent retention. Modest sweetness with some grassy hops in the aroma – not too promising to be honest after the label description, which had me expecting a much bigger tropical/citrus fruit presence.

Flavor has lightly sweet caramel malt and simple, bitter hops. Unfortunately just not too interesting; tastes less like a west coast dry-hopped beer than an traditional English IPA. The bottle is relatively fresh (about 2 months) so the hops shouldn’t have fallen off all that dramatically. I get faint grass and floral notes, maybe a trace of citrus, but that’s about it.

Finish is brief, with an aftertaste that doesn’t linger very long. Slightly creamy medium bodied beer with a nice carbonation level that falls just on the low end of medium. Not bad, certainly drinkable and even a bit tasty, but not what I’d hoped for.

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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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