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 biggred1
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper with blonde highlights and a finger of smooth khaki foam that leaves rings of lace on the glass. Pale and caramel malts with a good blast of citric C-hops in the aroma. Nice fruity hop flavor and bitterness with a decent pale malt backbone. A touch more malt might have bumped my score up a touch. The body is on the lighter side of medium with bright carbonation. A surprisingly good beer from the Matt brewing company.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another in the long line of this twelve pack. This was the middle of the day for me and I was not really sure what to expect with it to be honest. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass. Consumed 02/21/2010.

The pour was decent, nice even amber in color with a modest head that settled down slowly and evenly over the course of the session, but left little in the way of lacing or any formative layer of foam. Light malted grains open up as it warms. Caramel, hints of piney hops, a nice touch of rich bready malts and a definite herbal quality to it.
Smooth and even with a nice soft and even consistency to it. Rich, warming hop notes great me across the palate and melt into a fine mix of caramel and smooth, subtle and lovely buttery notes. Final smack down comes from the hops which are nice and prominent in the finish and really go a long way into the final taste. Easily session able and much easier to put down then I thought it would be. I have to admit I grew quite fond of this one.


Overall a very solid little ale here. One of my favorites of the mixed sixer for sure. I would have no issue at all with getting another one of these any day of the week.

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Photo of morimech
3.32/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with one inch of white head that had good retention. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma was a bit of a turn-off. Smelled like a combination of dish soap and aquarium. Not pleasant. Despite that this comes through with some nice flavor. Sweet malt is nicely balanced by citrus and grassy hops. Bitterness is moderate. Medium body and nicely carbonated. Nice soft texture. I found this a nice drinker with hop flavor and bitterness without being over-the-top with hops and ABV.

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Photo of beerphan
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> SA tasting glass
2009-2010 12 beers of winter
2669 0640 is screened on the bottle

Pours a clear yellowed orange with a thick mostly white head that raises quickly and stands tall. Thick chunky globs of lace. Carbonation is steady and intense.

Nose: Citrus, overripe fruit

Ligth caramel malts of overcome with citric fruity hop goodness. A little butter in the front mixes with the tame slightly sweet malts. Hops bring overripe pear, pineapple and bitter lemon. Bitterness is present and balancing, although short-lived. Smooth creamy mouthfeel, leaves the mouth dry and eager for another sip.

A good addition to the 12 beers of winter, a nice change up from Saranacs regular Pale Ale offering. I'm reaching for another.

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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 woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle: " Saranac Big Moose Ale is the perfect brew for a cold Adirondack winter night. This full-flavored ale is triple dry-hopped with specialty Citra, Centennial and Cascade hops to give you a vibrant citrusy hop aroma. The bold hop character is balanced by malt sweetness from English Pale and Caramel malts to produce a lusciously crisp flavor. We don't call it 'Big Moose' for nothing!" Now, that's copy!

I got a rocky, foamy finger's worth of ecru head off of the pour with decent retention. Color was a medium-copper/amber with NE-quality clarity, real BUPGOO stuff! Nose was, as some noted, more bread/biscuit than hoppy, but underlain with a lemon/ grapefruit hoppiness. Interesting. Mouthfeel was medium with a definite hops bite on the tongue, more pine than citrus, The bottleneck reads "... from hand selected Centennial and Cascade hops." Aha! Finish was pleasantly bitter and definitely made the big moose welcome back to Chez Wood Estate any time.

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Photo of Jason
3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Pours a pale copper color, good clarity with a sea foam stick head on top. Smells of citirc herbal hop with a caramel / taffy maltiness. Crispness fleshes out the medium body a bit. Light maltiness goes a little sweet but more toasted bread and biscuit. Hops are here, bitterness plateaus yet the flavor is pretty broad with herbal, citric, tobacco and grassy flavors. Mild fruitiness / faint alcoholic ester in the middle. Finishes hoppy and semi-dry.

One of their hoppier beers and it seems they did a good job all around, perhaps a bit more on the malt side but it was not lacking much.

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Photo of kegger22
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Big Moose Ale was a clear amber with an off-white, one finger head that dissipated to a thin skin.

The aroma was like fresh bread, lemon flavored.

The taste was mostly hops, both citrus and pine, but I found very little malt presence. Despite the apparent lack of balance for an APA, I still liked it, maybe because the hops weren't overwhelming.

The mouth feel was light bodied and adequately carbonated.

A low ABV helps to make Big Moose drinkable.

A pretty good beer, the second one out of the 12 beers of winter sampler.

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Photo of mjaskula
3.29/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass. Pours a clear dark gold with a thick off white head that thins to a nice film and leaves a ton of lacing.

Aroma is faint but hoppy as expected, a bit grassy. Flavor is that of a typical pale ale. Hop flavors are grassy and a bit citrusy. The bitterness stays in your mouth for a bit too long, in an almost uninviting way.

I'm not sure what the 'big' part of the big moose is. Overall it's a fairly decent APA.

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

The beer poured a dark gold with a thin white head. The aroma is floral hops with a bit of caramel malt in the background. The taste is malty with a bitter hops overbite, and a floral hop finish. It has a medium to light body, with a dry finish. A very pleasant find in the style. This could do as a session beer when you want a bit of hops, but want to drink more than one.

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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 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 Tilley4
2.73/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From the Saranac Winter Sampler 12 pack...

Pours a golden appearance with a small head... Lots of evident carbonation so this one should be fresh...

Wow... For a brew supposedly hopped with 2 different C-hops, this one has no hop aroma whatsoever... Light biscuity malt all the way...

Well, after a few sips of this one, it was down the drain for me.. It wasn't really offensive or anything but just had no noticeable hop presence at all.. A very average beer that just didn't do it for me...

On to the next one from the Winter Sampler...

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Photo of irishking1977
3.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Appears a golden amber with a surprisingly large white, rocky head that leaves ample lacing. One thing about Saranac's brews that I've noticed, they always look quite appetizing.

S: Faint malt and hops with some pine and citrus.

T: Watered down malt and hops with some lemony and sweet tartness in the finish. Better looking than tasting, but not bad, just watered down and somewhat innocuous.

M: Mildly carbonated with slight oily residue in the finish. Aside from that, nothing else really remarkable.

D: A good pale ale from a craft brewery in comparison to those big macro folk. I'd take the Big Moose over Miller, Coors or Bud any day. There are better APAs out there, but for quality and affordability, this one is pretty good.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.34/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found in the 12 beers of winter mixpack.

Presentation: I poured Saranac Big Moose into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: This beer's party trick is in its appearance. Most of it is standard to the style; clear amber and a 1 and half finger head. With an aggressive pour I was able to generate a 1 and a half finger head that was foamy. The head dissipated slowly into an equally as frothy lacing. I have never seen the lacing of a mild pale ale cling to a glass like this. My glass was a mess of sticky lacing after I was done. An impressive appearance.

Aroma: The aroma is dominated mostly by oily hops, more floral then citrus. Other notes I picked up were pale malt and raisins.

Taste & Mouth-feel: There isn't much hop taste to this beer, but when there is it is floral. There's mostly malt and a small back-note of raisins.

Body is in the medium range for the style and carbonation is average. Beer finishes a little bitter and somewhat dry; its only real signifier of hops.

Saranac seems to brew some pretty boring beers overall. Hitting the style only but never exceeding it or offering really any excitement. With every craft brewer making a pale ale you really have to do something special to make one stand out. Or perhaps just a really solid one; balanced in all aspects.

Big Moose is balanced but the taste nor aroma do much to please the palate. Its a step above their standard pale ale in flavor and assertive hops. Fits the style and exceeds some of the categories of being average. Very easy to drink simply because it is so uncomplex and unchallenging to sophisticated palates, however that does also make it well suited to many types of cuisine.

Overall not a beer I'd look to with great zeat to have again, but a decent start to a very diverse and interesting looking mix-pack.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into a pint glass to a couple inches of off white head. It is a nice dark golden color. It has a nice balance of malt and hops on the nose. The taste is a solid malt backbone and some floral hops. It is a nice pale ale. I would love to have this as a selection at a restaurant as an alternative to BMC. This beer is going down quite nicely. I am pleasantly surprised by the drinkability of this one.


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Photo of SirSaranac
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer surprised me. I had no clue what style of beer it was prior to cracking the bottle and pouring it.

Clear copper. Nice head... nice lacing.
Smells rather hoppy... nice citrus notes.
Tastes smoooth. There's a solid malt backbone, which smoothly transitions into a juicy citrus hop. Slight hop oil clings to the tongue.
Hmmm... this tastes more like an american IPA than Saranac IPA! This is a really solid beer that would go well with summer food... not quite sure why they made this a part of their 12 winter beers. Would love to see this in 6 packs.. but, we all know that Saranac won't. Oh well!

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

Picked this up in the beers of winter box.

Appearance is average, golden body with a good finger of white frothy head. Lacing is solid, head retention is weak.

Smells of dry hop, citrus notes, mild back spice.

Taste is very crisp, almost a bit more IPA than pale ale in terms of hop usage here. Very sweet, dry, citrus front with a smooth bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is good, light to medium bodied, carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability is good. Saranac fails however in one aspect : this beer comes in a sampler, and as such I can't buy a 6 pack! Otherwise this has great drinkability, went amazingly well with Hawiian pizza.

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

12 oz bottle.

Appearance: This really looks good. Nice and clear golden color with a pretty impressive little head that leaves decent looking lacing.

Smell: Kinda dull. Muted slightly citrusy and floral hops. Little biscuity and caramelly malt.

Taste: Much more flavor than aroma. Up front there is a bitter bite from the hops. In the middle, there is some citrusy hops flavor and more of that caramelly sweetness. The finish is bitter with a slightly unpleasant metallic flavor.

Mouthfeel: Its OK. Carbonation is appropriate. Tongue gets a little sticky coating.

Drinkability: This is a decent pale ale from Saranac, a brewery that makes a lot of decent- but-not-great beers. I would neither turn this down nor seek it out.

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Photo of bltzburgh
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Saranac success!

poured dark brown with a lasting head and nice lacing. The carmels and coca stand out but a hint of vanilla comes through also, very complex Ale, Very drinkable beer with a good after taste and wonderful finish. Would recomend to fellow beer lovers.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.32/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Part of the winter pack...poured from a bottle into an Ommegang tulip glass.

A - Poured a clear reddish amberish orangeish yellowish rusty copper with light even carbonation and a thin bubbly head.

S - Maple, apple...crisp, clean, almost candyish soapy smell. Smells inviting and juice like.

T - Crisp, apple, hoppy with a slight orange, honey candy-like character.

M - Really sharp and hoppy feeling. Definitely has a bit of bite. Lots of carbonation with a bit of a candylike thing going on. Bittery aftertaste.

D - Drinkable. Very lager-like and sweet for a pale ale.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
2.86/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Copper, amber color with little or no head with only minimal carbonation. Very bland smell of faint hops. Sticky pine-like, hoppy taste. But not alot of distinguishing flavor, a little more than a standard pale ale. I am glad I got to try this as part of the Saranac beers of winter variety pack. Probably not a beer I would seek out though.

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Photo of mempath
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a golden brown-amber with super sticky lacing and a huge head that settled moderately slow. nice.

smells of sticky, hop oils...not overpowering or strong, but right upfront. expected grapefruity nose.

a nice hop blast immediately that also immediately dissipates to leave a microsecond of hop bitterness (needs to last longer!) and...then nothing. i mean, this is 'clean' but is that good? sure, it is tasty, but the mouthfeel doesn't seem to allow time for reflection and lip-smacking. maybe my tongue is off this (late) morning! very drinkable and sessionable for sure, but maybe a good beginners' APA so they won't get scared off when the hop pinches them slightly for half a second...maybe they'll be intrigued to step up to something that slaps then a few more moments. this is too quick. too clean. there's good and not so good in that.

edit: another try at another time of the day reveals a more lasting finish and somewhat hoppier blast. still light. i changed the taste from 3.5 to 4.0 (GOOD)'s still clean and quick, but a bit more snappy.

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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 beerthulhu
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a bright orange with a brilliant clarity and was topped off by a ½ finger, fizzy tan head that leveled rather quickly to a skim, frumpy coating. Visible carbonation was light and rapidly moving.

S: The nose provided dried caramel and dried oranges initially with a faint grapefruit hopping. Despite what the label claims as a vibrant hop aroma I would have to disagree and say this was lazy and soft. Things rounded out with a faint trail of lemons and grains.

T: The hopping was fresh and juicy with loads of citrus and grapefruit juice. A good floral dryness moves in for the finish. The hopping makes amends for a lackluster nose. There is a good sour twang presence of grapefruit that covers the tongue upon the swallow. Overall a respectable amount of hopping, especially by a brewer who is not known for going big. Fairly well suited per style.

M: had a nice crisp bite from the lively carbonation starting things off. A nice bubbly edginess and creaminess composes the texture. Dry with a citrusy floral finish rounds things out.

D: Good drinkability with a sour citrusy twang. A pleasant surprise by this brewery with a good dose of bitterness that should satisify your hop needs. 6 pack worthy.

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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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