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 biboergosum
3.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, part of a mixed sixer of Saranac brews, which seems to be their introduction to the Alberta market.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber colour, with a near-teeming tower of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves some splendidly random eroding limestone cliff lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of gritty and grainy pale malt, some biscuity cracker notes, a muddled domestic citrus pith acerbity, subtle earthy yeasty notes, and some further leafy, weedy, and piney verdant hoppiness. The taste is grainy and crackery pale malt, some further muted citrusy pith edginess, a still sad to report, yet generally benign yeasty character, and more zesty earthy, herbal, and spicy 'n grassy green hop bitters.

The carbonation is fairly even in its gentrified frothiness, the body a so-so middleweight, and sort of smooth, what with the various hoppy and weirdly yeasty esters fucking around here. It finishes trending dry, the piney and unforgiving citrusy notes keeping us in a sense of wonder, as it were.

Overall, this is the first surprise from this heretofore contract (in a pejorative sense - my history with it justifies this, as such) brewery, with its actually hop-forward nature, even if it kind of falls flat in the end. The best of the bunch, as it were, but it feels like another stab into our market that has no real craft beer credo whatsoever. Hmmmmmm...which rep could that be? Too many to tell, so I'll have to look into it, yeah?

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Photo of NastyNorseman
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orangey Amber with little to no head after rapid disappation. Smells of malt, looking for hops. Tastes odd for a pale, though I noticed this is a Cascade English combo. Maybe identity crisis. Malty bodied kicks it off balance. Finishes crisp. Fair.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.73/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Here comes the yellow! Nice soft white head and carbonation, decent clarity. Aroma hit those where are the hops and why does this smell like Budweiser kind of vibe.

Taste offered up true to form pale malts, but the hopping was disappointing.. High carbonation. Not bad, just a pale ale without enough hopping.

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Photo of PhilsPils
3.21/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Enjoyed (if that's the word) on the Adirondack Scenic Railway adventure out of Utica. Seemed a little too bitter and slightly astringent. Not enough hops aroma or taste to be a good Pale Ale, English or otherwise. Distinct metallic aftertaste. Not the worst EPA I've ever had but completely unremarkable.

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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 Brian_L-2056
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice rich orange color with a white frothy head. Does have a few carbonation bubbles passing through when held up to the light. The smell is fairly typical for a pale ale, nothing that stands out really. Initial taste is mildly hoppy but very drinkable. Mellows out to just a hint of bitterness at the finish. The lacing is quite good as well. Overall I feel that this brew will make a nice addition to my summertime rotation, however it does feel a little heavier than your typical lager or pilsner that I usually switch to in the heat of summer. Will definitely enjoy more.

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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 HorseheadsHopHead
3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz can into a mug.

LOOK: A clear, golden amber with about a finger of off white creamy head. Lots of bubbles are streaming to the top. Spotty lacing is left behind.

SMELL: Grapefruit pith, orange marmalade, pine, toasted malt, flowers, and earth.

TASTE: Starts off with grapefruit and orange peel, turns into a woody, floral bitterness accompanied by some toasty biscuit in the middle, and then finishes somewhat watery, but with a brief aftertaste of citrus bitterness.

FEEL: Medium-light body with moderate carbonation, and a sticky hop aftertaste.

OVERALL: Pretty good. I wouldn't turn it down when thirsty for a hoppy yet easy-drinking beer.

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Photo of Ken05
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am impressed. 30 years ago FX Matt sold the most vile, putrid vomit infected water you could buy. And it was in a beer ball. Because of these memories I have been reluctant to try any Saranac.
However now I have tried the Black forest which is very nice and this pale ale which is also very nice and one of the better English pale ales out there.
This brewery has matured very well and now offers a world class beer.

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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 UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Best by 6/30/15.

Pours a hazy dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, pine needle, and slight citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with earth, pine needle, and slight citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable, but fairly boring and forgettable for the style.

Serving type: bottle.

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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 timontheroad
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Copper color, pretty thin head that laced Ok. Light aromas of orange and biscuit. The taste was pretty thin as well, with some subdued citrus flavors. Not much punch in the background- like an un-hoppy session IPA. Mouthfeel was fairly light bodied. Overall it was not too good, probably would only drink it if it was the only beer available

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: slight haze; burnt orange in color; 1 finger off white head that receded to a wispy cap; OK lacing that didn't last long;

S: artificial orange and a sugar sweetness with grapefruit and lemon in the distant background;

T: tastes like weak orange soda; a hint of lemon toward the end; light bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish;

O: not sure where the flavor and aroma came from; no recognizable malt profile; only thing that reminded me of hops was the hint of bitterness;

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Photo of Bryan0Leavey
3.74/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really not bad for the price, I find the flavor mirrors the style of a true English pale ale; that is the malt and hops are in harmony. The Cascades shine through more than the EKG's, making this a truly American "English" pale ale. I am quite pleased with its simplicity.

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Photo of oldirtycaffrey
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Pours a light amber color -- very slight head with little lacing along the glass as you finish. The smell is mostly of hops -- and a surprisingly pleasant yet very subtle nutty aroma. The taste is very solid -- hoppy, a little bit of fruit, a little bit of caramel, sligtly malty. Nice dry finish. Recommended.

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Photo of delta490
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured out a beautiful, almost clear, amber. A thick creamy white head settles down and retains well. There is some sticky lacing left behind. The aroma is mild and has just hints of the crystal malt sweetness and a little pine hops. The taste is more malt forward, with befitting its English-style, and the hops play a complimentary role. It grew on me as it warmed. The body has a nice thickness but just a little too much carbonation. This is good and with a little tweaking could be a great English Pale Ale.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.54/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a slightly hazy pale orange color with good clarity and vision of tiny bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Toasted grains, pale malts, slight citrus and herbal hops.

Taste: Definitely malt forward with mild hops and slight fruitiness in the background. A little bitterness too.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, medium carbonation, crisp, refreshing, and a little chewy.

Overall: A simple pale ale. Very traditional to the EPA.

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Photo of 18CGL
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

A solid example of a pale ale. Not the best but for the price, you can't beat it. Flavor is very smooth with a decent balance between the hops and sweetness which makes it an easy drinker. The flavor doesn't last long however and lacks a certain depth found in higher quality brews. Certainly a beer to keep on hand for an "anytime" beer.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saranac Pale Ale brewed by Matt Brewing Company with an ABV of 5.5% This brew pours out a dark golden amber color with a small white head. Saranac Pale ALe is a filtered brew you can see right thought it. The smell is rich with sweetness and grains. There is nothing bad about this brew so far. Now for the taste, it is smooth at first with some bitterness at this end. This brew has a nice balance to it nothing overpowering in it brew. The mouthfeel is rich and full but this brew goes down smooth. Over all I'm giving this brew a 4 out 5. I would buy this brew again.

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Photo of Caveworm
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company. Yet another review out of their sampler pack. Poured from the bottle into a glass, this brew's got a 1.5 finger thick head, clear brownish amber body, and solid lacing.

I smell a lighter vibe going on here. Little bit of citrus perhaps. I about had to stick my nose in the brew to get a decent whiff. I wish it had just a micro-hair more presence in this category.

Tastes like roasted malts, earthy hops, and I taste the citrus but its more tart than sweet.

Mouthfeel is clean and slightly dryer. Nice work here.

Overall a 3.25 for Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company. It was "meh". Probably won't get this on its own.

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Photo of AmyfaceNYC
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like this beer although I admit there's nothing that special about it. Flavors are fruity and ever so slightly grainy. Mouthfeel is smooth, maybe a little on the oily side but not at all unpleasant. Easy to drink with a slight taste of sweetness. Very little hops, and hard to pick up any malts at all. Decent easy drinking beer.

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Photo of Omnium
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Clear gold with a finger of foamy whtie head, little lacing.
S - Caramel malt, grassy hops, very weak aroma.
T - Sweet malt takes the fore on this beer, very little hops come through, slight earthy aftertaste.
M - Chewy and sticky, not clean and crisp like a normal APA.
O - Very malty and sweet not enough hop balance. This is pretty bad.

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Photo of Act25
3.61/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Saranac has either gotten much better or I am buying the hype of their new packaging.

A: Pours shiny orange amber with thin head of white foam that fell fast. Bit of lace.
S: Nose invitingly brassy, bright with floral and grassy hops. Hay, wet grass, earth. Nice. Perhaps a bit soapy.
T: Follows nose. Plus sweetness of malt and sweetbreat and tiny bit of fruit. Trends to Bitter. Hop forward atop a biscuity malt with enough sweetness to balance. A bit of pepper and a nice finish.
MF: Good weight for mass. I like the bitter long, long finish.

O: One of my favorites from this brewer. Peppery and not run of the mill.

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Photo of sanzenapocalypz
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

appearance: poured from a bottle, this beer has a dark orange amber hue to it. It did no have much head to it, which went away quickly.

aroma: not a very strong smell- has a malty smell to it with a bit of a hoppy smell on the end of the nose. I get a bit of a hay smell to it.

taste: has a toasty caramel to start out, with a tad bit of spicy hop flavor to it on the way down. has a fair amount of bitterness to it, but not too powerful.

overall: this beer is pretty alright for an English pale ale. It is not the most amazing beer I have ever had, but is pretty easy to drink, not too heavy of a body, would be a good beer to wash down after a good Italian dish or a pizza maybe. I like that it has a good toasty taste too it and maybe a TAD spicy hop taste on the way down, but nothing overpowering.

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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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