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

Poured chilled in flared glass

A: great carbonation; modest head; clear copper color; fine lacing
S: sweet pine aroma; inviting ale
T: slightly soapy/buttery APA (flavor in IPA direction); medium flavor depth and complexity
M: smooth, appealilng

Not bad for a Saranac. Enjoy!

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.92/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy aeep amber color. Foamy head was nearly nonexisistant, merely spotty surface lacing. Carbonation was very light. A sweet malty taste with a fresh hops. A bready, grainy finish. Smooth and clean mouthfeel. A good tasting beer although nothing special overall. A good party beer or starter beer.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this hoppy beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a caramel color and poured a big tan head. The beer had a slight hop smell to it. The taste of this beer was crisp and clean. Little hoppy for my taste but not a bad beer at all. The beer had good lacing also. However I will not buy again because I don't care for this much hops. But if you like that you should like this brew.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a medium white head, very good retention, spotty lace.

S: Tangerines with a hint of mint, light pine.

T: Good citrusy and earthy hop flavour, hint of mango in the finish. Tasty crystal type malt, good balanced flavour.

M: Medium-bodied, crisp and clean. Refreshing and easy drinking.

O: Quite a pleasant surprise from the Saranac winter 12er. The best beer I've had from them, just a good APA.

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

12oz bottle served in a Saranac pint glass.

L - clear copper color with a fluffy white head that had good retention and left a sheet of lacing.

S - mix of floral hops and malt.

T - starts out with floral hops and then the malt blends in before finishing slightly bitter.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - decent beer for the price but there are better beers in the style.

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Photo of tdm168
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper with a mountain of off-white, dense, foamy head that has great retention. There are noticeable carbonation bubbles rising to the top. The nose has very mild bready notes but a big bouquet of floral aromas. The taste is lightly malty up front followed by a floral, piny bitterness. The hops are a little confusing as they contradict each other on the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little heavily carbonated.

This is a decent APA from Saranac. It's nothing to rave about, but it's hop character is strong enough to make it rival their IPA.

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Photo of gregb13
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a very fine example of the style; no particular aspect of this beer is spectacular, but the sum of its parts is excellent. You get some citrus rind in the aroma along with some hop earthiness. The taste follows the nose nicely. Mouthfeel is medium; nice carbonation, effervescent. Extremely sessionable.

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

Found in 2011 Saranac winter mix pack
A: Very light, copper coloring on the pour with a decent amount of off white head
S: Gives off a nice, full aroma of citrusy hops with a slight hint of roasted malts
T: Definite hoppiness up front that dissipates to a to a somewhat roasted background
M: Very light, smooth, low carbonation
O: One of the more hoppy saranac brews I have tasted...very comparable to their pale ale offering as well as many of the other commonly found APA's out there.

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Photo of rodney45
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Burnished copper with a quickly dissipating off white head.

S: Generous amount of citrus hop aroma, yet balanced with a golden amber malt profile, and toffee scent.

T: Malt profile is slow to develop, but tastes mostly of two row pale malt, and crystal malts. Light on malt. Hop flavor is upfront and overwhelming. Nice. Not a lot of complexity, more of a straight forward citrus hop blend. Notes of grapefruit, mango, and lemon.

M: Light to mid body. Highly carbonated, but easily could kick back a bunch.

O: Hop intensive bitter APA, with little malt character to balance it all out. Im actually liking this beer the more I drink it.

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

Pours a clear copper body with a small white head with decent retention. Aromas are quite good and reminiscent of the best APAs in their assertiveness. The smell of freshly peeled oranges is most prominent, with a lot of sweeter malt aromas like caramel and toastiness almost as strong. The taste is sweet and caramelly up front before yielding to a more austerely toasty mid-palate which gives way to a strong, citric hoppiness on the finish. Very well balanced. In my opinion, this is one of Saranac's best offerings.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

In a pint glass:

A: clear bright orange slightly hazy body with a one finger white slightly foamy head, barely any lacing

S: citrus, some pine, slight malty sweetness comes through

T: bitter coming through in a bland sort of way

M: light to medium, nothing harsh on the tongue, dry bitter aftertaste and finish

O: this used to be better, now just a decent beer, unsure if I would have again?

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

POured into a standard pint glass, color is copper, translucent with bright white head that clings well and lingers lightly on top.

Smell is a mix of citrus scents with hints of pine, slight malt sweetness comes through.

Taste is clean, with a heavy hop presence but milder bitterness then the aroma, malt flavor is clean with hints of caramel, but very light.

Mouthfeel is a touch heavy on the tongue, maybe the bitterenss is stronger than the taste would hint at.

Overall, nice beer i like the pungent aroma but the malt could be to clean for it overall.

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Photo of MrOH
2.92/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Clear light copper with a single finger of white foam. Spotty lace.

Citrus, passionfruit, some caramel. Hints of pine.

Melon, lemon, pine hop flavors, bitterness is strange, lingering, but not unpleasant. A bit unbalanced for an APA.

Medium-light bodied with ample carbonation.

A bit odd, don't think that it really works. Worth a try. The whole is less than the sum of its parts.

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

A: Clear copper orange with big, white head, lots of web like lacing.

S: Several kinds of fruitiness: grapefruit, lemon, apple. Toffee.

T: Big citrusy hop bursts, grapefruit, pineapple sweetness. Good bittering, but met with a biscuity maltiness.

M: A thinner, juice like consistency. Smooth carbonation; bitter.

O/D: Great job, Saranac. A hoppy, citrusy pale ale, surprisingly good hop forward offering. Buy it.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
2.68/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a bright copper, orange/amber color. Think rusted carrots. The creamy light fluffy head stays around for a while, leaving a good even head all the way down. Sticky lacing. Smells very hoppy with a sweet carrot presence. The beer tastes tangy with too much hops. Sticky and sour come to mind. Again, there is a weird carrot taste in there. Mouthfeel is a bit watery. Overall, I despise pale ales that are dressed up as Winter Warmers. I mean, come on ... I don't want a tangy, hoppy beer for Christmas, thank you.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.09/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with a decent sized white head that displays moderate retention and lace. Smells of hops up front. Juicy citrus, pine, onions, and garlic with hints of bread, caramel ,and licorice in the background. Taste is bready malty caramel sweet up front before the hops take over and reclaim their dominance. Pine, green onion, and garlic flavored hops atop bready caramel that can't keep up. Medium to thin body, moderate level of carbonation, with a sweet resinous mouthfeel. Wow after several mediocre beers from the 12 pack I think we have our winner. It's too bad my brother drank and didn't enjoy the other bottle in the 12 pack.

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Photo of fx20736
2.61/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, served right from the fridge.

Pale, reddish-gold amber, decently carbonated with 2 fingers of offwhite head and some decent lacing.

Aroma: noticeable but not bold, piney hops and bready malt. My nose catches an 'off' smell like vegetable soup being cooked in an institutional kitchen.

Mouthfeel: full.

Taste: there is something just a little funky here. It doesn't overpower the beer but I notice it in the aroma and taste. Otherwise it is a slightly thin and fairly malty IPA as if they were trying to replicate SN Celebration Ale.

Notes: I always try to like Saranac beers, especially as they are brewed a 120 miles from me and their Pale Ale was one of my first entrees into American Craft beer but they usually come up short. Without the 'off' flavor and aroma this would be a somewhat uninspiring APA/AIPA but the total package is a flawed beer that I won't buy again.

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

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is light-coppery-amber with a small ecru-colored head. Leaves tiny splotches of lace.

S: I swear I can tell Saranac beers by that yeast strain - fruity nose with a touch of lemony hops.

T: Fruity malt foundation up front, some caramel malt sweetness, then finishing with good lemony bitterness - I'm guessing that's the Citra hops.

M: Carbonation is fine but active. Call it light-to-medium in heft.

O: Good, not great. Easy quaffer.

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

Medium brassy color with a thick off white head the looks like cream atop the beer.
Fades slowly leaving lacing clinging to the glass.
Aroma of citric hops and some malts....slightly to the English style.
Taste was a bit of a let down. expecting a bang of hops and this one missed the mark a bit. Plenty of bitterness hits the palate but the hoppy flavors seem diminished.
Nice malt backing.
Ok beer but not a memorable one.

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Photo of TheHopMonster
4.17/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours a very clean copper color. White foam is prevalent but disappears quickly. Fast rising bubbles indicating that the malt does not play a big part in the structure of this brew.


Intense herbs, with grassy citrus notes. Some caramel and sweet malt comes through once the beer warms a bit.


You can really tell this beer was triple dried hopped. The hops play a dominate role in the taste. A lot of citrus up front with some slight malt characteristics making an appearance and then it ends semi dry. You really taste the delicious cascade hop throughout. Satisfying to say the least.


One of their hoppier beers. Saranac did a decent job with this one. Nice spice notes and well rounded hop characteristics.

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

Had a pint for $4.50 at Volpe's in Emmaus. I thought the malt was a little thin, but there was a very pleasant, crisp American hops character. A little spicy and piney, but mostly grapefruit and citrus that started in the nose and carried through the finish. If the ABV were a touch lower, this would be a fantastic session beer.

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

Poured from a glass bottle with March 31st, 2012 freshness date into my Carlsberg pilsner glass.

Appearence: pours a clear copper with two fingers of creamy tan head. Head retention is decent and the glass shows a nice amount of lacing as I drink it.

Smell: Strong citrusy hop notes, not much else worth noting.

Taste: Taste follows nose with a big burst of citrus hop flavor. Not too astringent. Balanced well by caramelly malts, although they are quite subdued. The finish is long with a mild bitterness lasting on the palette.

Mouthfeel: Slick with a good amount of carbonation. A bit thin in the body but not unpleasantly so. Warms you up as you drink it--a nice beer for the winter, for sure.

Overall: A fine pale ale with a strong but balanced hop profile. Definitely sessionable (if not for the fact that there were only two of them in the sampler pack I purchased.) Not particularly memorable but definitely a worthy beer.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light amber with a nice foamy head that retains great and leaves full rings of lacing. A feather in this brewery's cap has always been head size, retention, and lacing, especially in their hoppier beers. If they could just tweak some flavor notes here and there...

Good malty base with a fairly layered hop character, however the hops could be a little softer and more flavorful; the overall impression leans more toward the bitterness and is bordering on harsh.

Fullish body with decent carbonation levels after a strong pour.
Overall pretty drinkable and one of their better efforts for sure.

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

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to a standard (shaker) pint. Bottling date of October 11, 2011 at 9:38AM if I’m interpreting the Julian Code printed in yellow ink on the neck of the bottle correctly (2841 0938)

Appearance (4.0): The pour gave rise to a surprisingly thick, oatmeal-colored head that turned into a 2 ½ extinct volcano kind of crater—thick, flat rim at the top with a shallow indentation in the middle. Body is clear and the definition of amber, a kind of burnt orange-tan. A few rings and spots make for some modest lacing. Not a bad looking beer by any means.

Smell (3.5): There’s something really interesting going on here that smells like super-floral pink grapefruit, if that makes any sense. Unexpected, but very pleasant. Understated toasted biscuit malt base, very simple.

Taste (4.0): Grapefruit pith and a soapy aftertaste dominate the hop profile; bitter but without the edge, sort of. Malt profile is negligible. Yeast, pretty neutral. I wish it was thicker, sweeter and a little darker (I know, that’s what she said, right?) but it’s not bad where it is. It evens out and sweetens a bit as it warms, absorbing the soapiness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium-light bodied and relatively dry in the finish—begs for sessioning.

Overall (4.0): I’d give this a 3.75 if I could, because it’s not quite as good as a 4 but definitely not so mediocre as to deserve a 3.5. Given Saranac’s aim with the hopping here (“This full-flavored ale is triple dry hopped with specialty Citra, Centennial and Cascade hopes to give you a vibrant citrusy hop aroma. The bold hop character is balanced by malt sweetness from English pale and caramel malts . . .” reads the neck label), I feel this would have been a better beer if they just boiled the wort longer, let the hop flavors intensify, stiffen the malt backbone and kick the abv up a notch. Still, this is a good beer for sure, and in a blind test I imagine Saranac haters would be rather surprised.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.32/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice citrusy orange peel smell from the hops. It gives off a bright citrusy taste from the hops with some caramel malts and then the fruity bright citrus hops and bitterness finishing out the taste.

I can tell they use a different type of hop in this that adds a more orange peel like taste to it and you can tell they dry hop most definitely. For a standard cheaper craft beer this really nails the American Pale Ale style pretty well.

My only complaint about this beer is that the mouthfeel is a bit thin but that just makes it more refreshing with the fruity citrus hop character to finish. This is definitely one of my favorite if not my favorite Saranac beer.

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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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