Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

630 Reviews
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Saranac Pale AleSaranac Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Malt Selections: Crystal English Pale Ale
Hop Selections: Cascade, East Kent Golden

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

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Reviews: 630 | Ratings: 1,303
Photo of Moose64
4.64/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This Pale Ale is what I compare all other Pale Ales too. The East Kent Golden hops makes it unique, hopped enough but not too much like most other brewers do. Great smell and taste. What a Pale Ale should be. Great beer to have with a nice steak. Haven't found a Pale Ale to match this one (but I'll keep looking).

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Photo of GordieF
4.6/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Saranac has crafted a smooth pale ale that is a consistent pleasure to consume. Great balance that is lighter on the hops than some, but a unique powerhouse in it's own right.

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Photo of tempo013
4.59/5  rDev +33%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Uncle Sudsy's six pack joint at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I bought one, one quart growler.
Apperance- the apperance is a deep amber color with much carbonation that quickly disappears.'
Smell- the smell is absolutley to die for. to me it smells fantastic. a deep beer with a dark aroma
Taste- the taste is also great. it taste like a smooth, deep, pumkin ale.
Mouthfeel- as soon as the beer touches your mouth you can feel the tingling sensation
drinkability- I would love to drink this beer all day long

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Photo of plowe70
4.51/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Saranac Pale Ale is one of the best beers. Period. It has the most perfect golden amber color. It pours with a mild head and just the right amount of carbonation. A mild bitterness with no aftertaste.

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Photo of JimFalzone
4.48/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

In New York state this is considered a "pounding" beer. This is the less eloquent way of calling it a "session" beer.

For your every day - mowing the lawn, hanging out at a barbeque, going to a music festival, watching sporting events - THIS IS THE BEER.

It's light and flavorful, with a nice simple taste. It's not a beer to be over analyzed or god-forbid aged.

This is the "King of Beers" for people who actually like beer. It may not have sharp hoppiness of a Sierra Nevada or the subtle malt flavors of a Red Hook ESB. But it's a good overall beer and a great "conversion" beer for your friends who think they don't like craft brew.

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Photo of tugdriver7
4.38/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had forgotten how good this is. I was voting for Saranac's flagship APA on the Washington Post's "March Madness" beer contest, and thought I'd try it again. (It had been awhile.) Beautiful deep amber color, nice head and lacing, moderately substantial mouthfeel (with tiny bubbles of carbonation) and nice, subtle hops in the nose--nothing too extreme. Then taste. Rich flavor, balanced with a hops "zip" on the tongue that mellows with each swallow. Toward the end, the aftertaste was buttery malts showing through and the hops had become a pleasant bitterness that just added to the drinkability of the beer. Fantastic!

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Photo of CampCookie
4.36/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I've been drinking this beer almost since it came out. Over the years the recipe has changed. I believe it was 2013 when they introduced HIP (Hop infusion Process). And my opinion of the beer dropped, as I felt they lost the hop/malt balance. Today I grabbed one again (it's been a while) and right away I noticed the new label, which says "American Pale Ale" right on the front. Sure enough, American hop aromas greeted me right away. The first sip confirmed it. This is no longer an English Pale Ale. A quick visit to their web site confirmed the Cascade hops, and Bramling Cross is in there as well. They still list the Fuggle and Kent Goldings hops, and those flavors are there but definitely taking a back seat. But more important is that the malt flavors are nicely balanced, at least for an American Pale Ale. And so I rated is as an American Pale Ale, even though their web site still lists it as an English Pale Ale. And I miss the English Pale Ale.... wish they'd bring it back.

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Photo of Troy518
4.36/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Always one of my "cheap" go to beers. Filtered brilliantly clear, copper and gold colored. Plenty of lasting head throughout with tons of lacing. Slightly fruity with a sweet graininess. Very well balanced with hops, nothing stands out in this beer. Overall, a worthy session beer worth trying.

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Photo of halo21
4.35/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This is a darker colored pale ale, a nice rich orange hue. It has a nice, inch thick white head, made up of nice big bubbles.

Smell: Citrusy and fruity hops up front, but followed up by a nice malt sweetness showing a little toffee.

Taste: A very balanced beer. Many times pale ales are all about hops (some should just be called an IPA), but this one brings a nice backing of malt. It starts off with a nice floral fruity hop flavor which fades to a nice bitterness, just as the sweetness comes in from the malts, bringing a nice light roast flavor with some caramel mixed in. As it warms, it shows a little more biscuit flavor, indicative of an English Pale Ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium; this one is right on target for mouthfeel. The malt flavor is held up nicely by the body, but it is still light enough to be a refreshing pale ale.

Drinkability: Big

Notes: This is a great example of this style, and I have enjoyed MANY Saranac Pale Ales over the years.

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Photo of Rennpferd
4.34/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clean pint glass.

An amber body with a slightly off white head that stated at about 1 inch and quickly dissolved into a sticky lacing.

It had a great aroma of hops and malt.

It tasted of sweet malt, hops and was well balanced. It was light bodied and went down smooth.

I found it to be very drinkable.

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Photo of imanidiot777
4.31/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: Pours a dark amber color and retains head for a long period of time, lacing was amazing.

s: Not good with the smells, smells like a pale ale...

t: Slightly fruity aftertaste.

m: Good carbonation level, adds a good kick to it.

d: Not the kind of beer you have a lot of but still good.

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Photo of shippos
4.3/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

medium amber color, actually darker than there amber, and a small but dense white head. dry floral hoppy aroma with hints of raisins and dried fruits. excellent mouthfeel with a good hint of caramel malts, excellent taste as the hops are there and the malt but they are in perfect harmony, an absolute classic pale ale. I love this beer gotta try more of it.

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.28/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I consider it a test of objectivity and true beerdom to be able to review a beer that you have drank more than your weight in over the years fairly. Here goes:

The color is light gold with a pure white head. A foamy half finger lingers with rough lacing.

It smells of light citrus like lemon and yeast. There is a generic beer smell too but I'm not sure where it comes from or how else to describe it but you'll find it common to most cheap beers.

Taste is citrusy up front, lemon and tangerine or orange that moves into a two stage hop resin bitterness. First stage, stick pine, second stage back to citrus which fades well into the original impression giving the taste a well rounded quality.

The mouthfeel is a little sharp, both from the initial lemon and carbonation and the lingering taste on the palate is where the hops come through the most. It is certainly crisp but the finish could be a little drier.

Drinkability is off the charts for this one. I had to have two just to review it because the first one was gone before I got through taste.

This is a great beer at a great price and a gateway from macro to micro that I would recommend to anyone whenever I get a chance.

It is a go-to for me when I get some heady singles on a beer run and need something for the times in between.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A very nice pale ale. Wish we had these Saranac brews in Metro Detroit, I know they'd be a hit. Pours out to a pumpkin like orange color laden with copper tinge. Nice lace, and a respectable head of white foam. Medium low carbonation. Aromas of natural hops and pine over a sweet citrus background. Taste is totally quaffable; flavors of malts and hops, citrus, cereal grains, oily hops and some traces of caramel. Nice, especially considering this is a "mass made micro", as some would call it. Mouthfeel is fair; not overly impressive or offensive. Very good drinkability. I'd drink this without any reservation. Another winner from Matt Brewing. Recommended.

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Photo of craigo19
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a really good goto beer if you are in the mood for an American Pale Ale, cheaper than Sierra Nevada Pale Ale ($2.99/32 oz. growler) and a good substitute. You can taste and smell the hops, but they aren't overbearing. This would be a good beer to introduce someone into the Craft Beer World.

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Photo of Miguel_W
4.24/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

With the addition of H.I.P. this Pale Ale has become hoppier. More than most Pale Ales. Just a bit overpowring for me. But if you like IPAs, thos one might be a good alternative if you are looking for something lighter than an IPA.

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Photo of greebsnarf
4.24/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When you see the clear copper tint with an inch of white head and scattered lacing, you'll get a good sense of what you're in for: Saranac Pale Ale is a mellow drink that, like an old friend, doesn't try too hard to impress you but never really lets you down. No single smell dominates its mildly spicy, fruity and malty aroma, but there's a slightly acidic smell which reminds me of tomatoes, oddly enough. The flavor is pleasant though unremarkable and is mostly more of the same, if a bit more malty than the smell, with a pretty mild hops finish that's still lingering on my tongue twenty minutes after I finished the bottle. Great for drinking slowly and very pleasant to relax with, it doesn't really stand out, but it's soothing and goes down easy. I could have three or four of these on a lazy afternoon without getting tired of it.

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Photo of generallee
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Its defiantly not pal in color as it pours a beautiful golden amber color with excellent clarity. The head foams up thick and white then thins out to a small thin cap. The aroma is full of fine English hops that are floral and pleasing. The hops are up front on the tongue and give a nice citrusy and earthy character to the flavor. Malts are lighter and add just enough sweetness and toasted flavor to the beer. The palate is smooth with a medium body and a crisp finish that make it oh so drinkable.

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Photo of Brent
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very pleasant ale with an interesting aroma - first a quick hit of sweet malt in the nose, then a whiff of hops, and then to a sweet candy aroma. Malt was somewhat sweet, but not overly so, with a good balance of hops. Slight spicyness of alcohol slides in at the back. Very easygoing without being boring.

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Photo of kkosmoski
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Longneck from the new 'What Ales You' mixed twelve pack served into a Saranac pint glass. Nice rough, pillowy, cream colored head atop a crystal clear amber colored brew. Head suctions to the inside of the glass all of the way around as it settles down. Aroms includes biscuit, toast, lemon, esters. Fruity yeast character to start followed by some piney/citrus hop flavor and bitterness with an underlying toasty malt dimension and finish. Medium-light in the mouth with a smooth carbonation and dry finish. Drinkability is great with this ale. It is very nicely balanced, delicious fresh on draft, and a very dependable pale ale in general.

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Photo of ithacabaron
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a damn sucker for this beer, if only for the fact I can't think of a day that at least one bottle didn't haunt my collegiate fridge. I know it's adjunct ridden, I know some would say its pedigree (or lack thereof) makes it worthy of slagging, but there's just something about this brew that satisfies me time and time again.

It pours a polished bronze, with what I might even call a creamy off-white head, full and proud.

Aroma is of Maris Otter malt, Caramel malt, (a little adjunct twinge, that I'll forgive them for [tastes like rice, but I can't imagine that's what in here])and an austere EKG and Fuggle fog of hops floating over it.

Taste is much the same, and its perfectly balanced presentation calls those that deign to imbibe into the "drink, don't think" school of imbibation. Those who would do so, however, and those who would be fooled by Saranac's cheap price tag, would miss what is, if not a perfect rendition of a Brit Pale, a very, very sessionable beer, and a fine ale to seduce potentially new BAs.

Mouthfeel is spot on.

Drinkability, as I noted, is wonderful here. When in Central/Upstate New York, this will probably become your fallback beer of choice at many bars. Learn its ways, love its ways, and realize it's so much more than you originally thought.

A classic.

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Photo of Schwarzbart
4.21/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: An impressive pour with a 2 finger head. Poured from a 32oz. growler bottle that I picked up in State College, PA. Absolutely awesome lacing that just covered the glass.

Smell: Dominantly a fresh hop aroma of grass backed with mild grains.

Taste: A nice grassy clean hop flavor that isn't overpowering, but it is the dominating character.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied with a crisp finish.

Drinkability: A very good beer at a great price.

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Photo of QXSTER1
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Exceptional pale ale from a mainstream brewer. This ale stands up to many craft brewed examples. Rich, fruity body with a cascade like hop finish. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this beer.

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Photo of dustylong
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one from their Winter pack...Pours a nice copper color with a decent head, but it faded quickly, and had pretty much no lacing (poured from a bottle into a pint glass). Has a very strong, hoppy smell to it. Has a very smooth taste to it, with just the right amount of bitterness (in my opinion). Very hoppy, but also has a decent balance of maltiness. Thicker in the mouth, with a fairly good amount of cabonation. Overall, a pretty good beer...tastes good..good for the style, too.

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Photo of billybob
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice amber color one inch head faded a little to soon with fair lacing. fresh bready citrus smell, taste is bready caramel slight coffee taste also nice hop up front with clean finish. light mouthfeel maybe a little light on the carbonation but it does not distract at all from this beer. i could drink a lot of this beer.

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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,303 ratings.
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