Saranac Big Moose Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

460 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 460 |  Reviews: 206
Photo of musicforairports
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours somewhere between gold and amber, nice carbonation bubbles, some lacing. Head stays for quite awhile.

Smells like American C-hops, with some sweet malt over it. Nothing too overwhelming in the aroma.

Taste is alright: some hops up front and in the finish, but a bit of a soapy taste through much of the middle and into the finish as well. Sweet malt backbone here that dominates in flavor, even if some bitterness takes it over at times. A hint of citrus throughout. Nothing awful at all, though.

Mouthfeel is fine. Smooth and light enough to drink. But the flavors leave something to be desired. As always, I like Saranac's willingness to try a lot of styles and be priced cheap (at least around here), but, like often, the result is perfectly drinkable without standing out in any way.

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear amber-orange color with about a finger of white head. THe head fades fairly quickly leaving behind little lacing.

S - The aroma has a mix of grassy/floral hops and some citrus notes (mostly lemon). Overall, it is very mild, could be a bit more powerful.

T - Starts off very sweet and citrusy with just hints of sweet malt and grassy hops. The hop flavor eventually builds a bit and balances the sweetness nicely. The finish is a mix of the hops and the lemon flavors and lingers for a bit. Fairly balanced.

M - Medium-light bodied and a moderate amount of carbonation. Very crisp and smooth overall. Just a tad watery through.

D - Fairly drinkable. It is super smooth and crisp, it could just use a bit more flavor overall. However, the flavor that was there was very well balanced and pretty refreshing.

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Photo of Dodt
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

picked this beer from a mixed six
poured from the bottle to a pint glass
appearance clear copper color with a light head
smell a bit grassy with some citrus notes
taste sharp with good malt character
mouth feel nice with a bit of a after taste
for me is is a decent beer .

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

12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith 12 oz. nonic.

Appearance: Lighter yellow with some copper involved in the mix. Decent drops on the glass and carbonation floating to the top of the glass. The head doesn't want to seem to dissipate either.

Smell: Grassy notes, some citrus, some spiny hop punch (though subtle), and some lemon zest. Bright and balanced, though it's not as up front as it maybe should be, if that makes sense.

Taste: The grassy, herbal, and citrus notes are at the forefront here, with lingering lemon zest, mild fruit esters, and a good rind-flavored earthiness that comes through, commingling nicely with the rest of the flavors.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp for the style, certainly, again, for more summer than winter.

Drinkability: This is another brew from Saranac I like a lot. Is it full-bodied? Not necessarily. But it has enough flavor to almost be considered a light pale ale with full flavor, and that seems to be almost how they should market it. Light enough to session, with enough flavor to keep me going back, if it's available in the summer that is.

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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...

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Photo of argock
3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased as part of Saranac Winter Sampler 24-pack for $19.99.

A: Caramel-amber with robust 3-finger rocky off-white head with good retention and copious lacing.

S: Tea-like herbal hoppy aromas dominate with flashes of citrus, pine, and floral character. Caramel and biscuit are the malty aromas.

T: The flavor is good but has its flaws, mostly in the finish. The initial flavors are spot on for the style with biscuity, caramel maltiness with some light toasted notes combining nicely with floral, citrus, and pine resin overlaying chiefly herbal hops as in the nose. Unfortunately this flavor package doesn't have the staying power and deflates into a cardboardy lightly astringent chemical-mineral note.

M: Nice coating mouthfeel, some tackiness with relatively low carbonation.

D: Definitely one of Saranac's better offerings although some cleanup in the finish with a more cohesive finishing hops combination and/or dry-hopping to deliver the flavor all the way through.

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Photo of Morey
3.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This winter pale poured copper-orange in color with a two finger head following a fairly mild pour. Head has now settled to a thin lace, but there is still plenty of lacing and retention on the glass as this beer goes down the hatch.

Smell is heavy on the bread and grain-like aromas. Some earthy malts in there as well. Hops are hard to detect.

Taste is a nice balance of hops and malts with an earthy finish with some mild lingering bitterness.

Medium body with the carbonation leaning just a touch on the high side.

Pretty drinkable, but I'd be ready to switch gears after a few of these.

Morey's Bottom Line: I can think of plenty of pales I'd rather have, but I can think of quite a few that I wouldn't. Saranac doesn't charge much for their beer, so if your wallet is a little light, this might not be a bad choice.

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

This APA shows a clear, translucent copper orange body with some sparse rising bubbles. A thick, rocky, egg-shell head holds its shape pretty well and leaves some sagging rings of sticky lace.

Some really robust aroma going on hear. Well balanced in the nose with some substantial herbal, flowery hops and sweet caramel malt. Vanilla and sweet, lightly toasted and buttered dinner roll. Lingering, almost candy-like caramel sweetness on the nose.

More caramel and vanilla sweetness immediately but quickly making way for some bitter, herbal hops. The average bitterness level is a stark contrast to the unusually high level of initial sweetness in this brew. The abruptness fades as the brew warms a bit and begins to meld more. A hint of minerally flavor and sweet brown bread. The bitterness lingers a small amount in the finish with a good jumble of neutral hop flavor.

Fluffy and slick on the palate for the most part with just a notion of dryness lingering in the middle with the mineral/metallic note. Medium body and, again, a fluffy/fine carbonation. A unique and well balanced APA if not a bit on the sweet side. Still enjoyable throughout.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a caramel color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops. Taste is good, well balanced hops and malts, very flavorful. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a fine quality beer.

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Photo of Justin23060
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Poured a nice 3 finger ivory head on an extremely hard pour. Head was stiff with good lacing.

S- Light "Pale Ale" smell (mostly mild pine and floral hops).

T- Not at all overly hoppy (which I appreciate). ...and somehow the malt was not dominating either. Nice balance.

M- Somewhat thin with very soft carbonation (but I'm gonna chalk that up to the hard pour - In the name of science I'll go a little easier on the second Big Moose.) Nice dry finish without being astringent.

D- It's pretty drinkable.

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

Aromas of freshly baked bread, lemon/orange flavored bread.

The taste was mostly hops, both citrus and pine, but I found very little malt presence. Despite the apparent lack of balance for an Pale Ale, I still liked it, maybe because the hops weren't overwhelming. The mouth feel was light bodied and adequately carbonated.

A pretty good beer, only drinking it because it's part of the Winter 12 pack. Not bad, worth a try I guess.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 15 November 2010.

Poured into Sam Adams Summer Ale glass. Pours a clear amber, 1-finger head that disappears, lacing is rather runny. This beer has a nice light pine aroma, followed by toffee and almonds. Big caramel notes dominate the nose after swirling. Toffee and a little wet leather make themselves known when tasting. The hops are extremely light in aroma and taste. Bitter-malty sweetness is moderate in this light-to-medium bodied beer. Big moose gets more pine flavor toward the end of the glass. This is an excellent winter session beer. Decent taste for the price.

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

still tapping into the 12 beers of winter this morning. Lil pregame for me

A- pours a light copper color with a small frothy head that leaves some lacing on the side. Has a good American Pale Ale look

S- a strong whiff of pine, grass, and some caramel malt flavor. There are some spices present as well. The hops are definitely the highlight of the scent

T- the malt begins the taste profile of big moose... and then it's followed by some strong bitterness and piney resin. I think I expected a bigger hop presence, but the malt was still placed pretty good

M- medium bodied and good crabonation

D- Saranac has a pretty good beer. The malt is unexpected, but still make for a good beer. Let me just say it is no Saranac Pale Ale as far as the drinkability goes.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the 12 Beers of Winter pack. Pours a very light caramel color with virtually no head. No lacing. Nice Aroma of hops, fresh cut grass, and malts. Taste is a combination of hops and malts with an aftertaste of the cut grass. A bit of caramel flavor as well. I enjoyed this last year in the Winter Pack and was glad to see it make the cut. One of Saranac's hoppier brews. Not quite as good as their flagship Pale Ale but pretty close.

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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 BigPlay1824
4.02/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a shaped pint glass

A: Pours a nice copper color with an inch and a half of fluffy white head. Leaves a very nice amount of lacing

S: Beautiful hoppy smell, not as deep of a smell as some pale ales. Really makes the mouth water

T: Very nice hoppy/bitter taste. Slight amount of sweetness as well

M: Feels very smooth and thin on the pallet. Has a nice amount of carbonation tingle that doesnt "burn" away the taste

D: Really a very nice drinking brew. Has great taste that makes you want more but is also nice and thin and smooth so it goes down easy

Overall, really enjoyed this brew and I really thought it represented the style quite well. hats off to saranac once again

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Photo of bobquick
4.44/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great, less expensive representation of an American Pale Ale. Piney, not too hoppy, and heavy enough to "feel" like a craft brew, but drinkable enough that having more than one at a sitting won't weigh you down. If Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the bar for this style, then Saranac comes real close.

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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 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 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 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.

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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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

The whole Sarance winter styles box was another war trophy from the post-DLD death march through Hoosierland. Don't couldn't handle the darkness. This guy pours a clear deep amber topped by about two fingers of white foam. The nose is pretty weak, comprising only floral hops and rice cakes. The taste bumps things up, but not very much so: notes of bitter citrus peel, caramel, and toffee. Nothing mind-altering, but a nicely balanced bit o' APA. The body is light, with an active carbonation and a dry finish. Once again, nothing stunning, but solid enough to have again.

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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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