Saranac American Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac American Pale AleSaranac American Pale Ale
Saranac American Pale AleSaranac American Pale Ale

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

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Officially American: previously an English pale ale, we’ve converted this beer over to an American-style Pale Ale.

We’ve dialed UP the hop profile, adding more focus to American style hops, like Cascade, Chinook, Citra, and Willamette.

Hop Infusion: every drop of beer is exposed to our hop slurry as the beer passes from fermentation to aging, resulting in a more brilliant, cleaner hop character.

Saranac Pale Ale’s foundation was built on the tried and true English varieties, Golding and Fuggles. We brighten Pale Ale with the three “C”s; a strong focus on Citra, complimented by Cascade, and Chinook. We then bridge the old world with the new with the two most distinctive hops Bramling Cross and Jester, both descendants of English and North American varieties.

Malts: Crystal, Two-Row
Hops: Bramling Cross, Jester, Citra, Cascade, Chinook

Original Gravity: 13.5° Plato
IBU: 32

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 637 | Ratings: 1,324
Photo of maddamish
1.65/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This one was a sink pour. I am sorry but the saranac line is just a watery mess. The black and tan is the best out of a bad bunch.

I don't understand how anyone would take pride in putting these beers out.

This pale ale had really no taste to it whatsoever. It wasn't ice cold as I like to drink my beers around the 45-55 degree level. I just couldn' coax anything out of this one.

Light brown in color. No head or lacing to this at all.

I don't like to slam beers and it isn't in my nature to just dismiss a line of beers. But this is just bad. Unless you are picking up the black and tan, please stay away from this line of beers.

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Photo of nlmartin
1.73/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured into my pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured an almost amber color. No head really to mention. Small amount of foamy whiteness at the top of the beer.

Smell: Smelled faintly musty and barely any hoppy spicy goodness.

Taste: Pretty much one of the blandest beers I have had. The hops struggled to make there prescence known.

Mouthfeel: The beer was light bodied and had a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I couldnt finish this beer about half of it went down the sink. No amount of temperature change would help this one.

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Photo of AltBock
1.81/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

12 oz. bottle with a dark evergreen colored label that has in small white letters "Classic English Ale," the word "Saranac" in big red letters, the words "Pale Ale" in white medium sized letters, and all of these words surround a blurry painting of an upper New York State mountain lake or it could be a small section of the Saranac River. On the outer edges of the label is just the Government warning, barcode, and refund prices. Information about the beer can be found on the dark evergreen colored neck label surrounding a pint of Pale Ale. No date anywhere, but there is some kind of batch number code on the neck of the bottle that is no use to the consumer. Served in a Bell's Brewery American pint glass.

Saranac's Pale Ale poured a perfect amber color. No flaws, no highlights, it was just an amber color. It had a white head of foam that was close to half an inch in height. It quickly fizzled away into some white rings along the edge of the beer and a trace of white bubbles that acted as the lace. When I first smelled this beer, the aroma was almost nonexistent with just a hint of caramel malts and Saranac's famous burnt malts. When it's slightly chilled, the aroma is a bit different. After that, then the aroma is filled with spring mountain water, caramel malts, a few slices of juicy fruits, and their famous burnt hops. When it's warm or slightly chilled, the taste is the same either way. It tastes exactly like carbonated water with traces of malted grains, caramel, and of course it wouldn't be a Saranac without it's famous burnt hops. Well, at least it didn't have any corn in it. That's the only good aspect of this beer, no corn taste. It's sad really. The mouthfeel was extremely light with an aftertaste of carbonated spring water, a few grains, and Saranac's famous burnt hops. This beer costs only $.95 a bottle and it shows it big time. If you like bottled carbonated spring water with some beer flavoring to it, then this is your session beer. For me, I wouldn't touch this stuff again unless it comes free. Is it an English Ale? No, unless all true English Ales are bland and boring. I doubt that.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.99/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A - Copper with almost no head. And then the tiny head disappears. Now that is sad.

S - A bit of pine hops aroma and not much else.

T - A pungent pine hop kick and then a bit of bitter and faint parafin and metals (copper particularly). The aftertaste is bitter metal. It is a good thing that the hops are strong, otherwise this would be extremely foul.

M - Okay, how does a beer have no head and then suffer from being too highly carbonated? Well, this did it. It is thin and harsh. Stings the tounge to the last drop. It starts to gum in my throat too.

D - This is the second worse beer from the winter variety pack. I didn't expect much from this beer, but I didn't expect it to prove revolting.

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Photo of charlesw
2/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Very pale amber (heck, what beer isn't? Yeah, yeah, don't answer that question). Tight white head of medium height with short lasting power. Smells ok, I guess. But it doesn't really taste ok. Astringent bitterness pervades. Bleh. I mean, sure, you get some of the malt flavors and all, but, whoa, completely overwhelmed by just a bad flavor. Bleh and bleh again. Way too fizzy in the mouth (wa???) and acrid to make me want to drink any more of it...

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.08/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright orange color with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, some spice & smokiness and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste has pale hops & caramelized malt, but both are kind of faint, not a lot of sweetness either. There’s strong metallic & medicine-like flavor to it.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, very dry finish.

D: Not tasty at all, the fact that it’s not very filling is the only good thing I can say about this beer. This beer was part of a gift and I wasn’t expecting much from this beer, but I was still disappointed. I definitely would not buy more of it.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.35/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This one is a translucent light copper/ orange with a very thin layer of eggshell colored head. Nose is resious hops and light caramel malt.

Taste is kind of a big swirl of alcohol citrusy and resinous hops, and a light sweetness. This is very bitter beer, too bitter for the style I'd say, and its far from a cohesive brew.

Mouthfeel is thin and stingy. Couldn't finish this one.

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Photo of dfillius
2.4/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Served in a pint glass. This was one of the first craft beers I ever had, back in 2000. Revisiting it now that I'm back in NY to review it

A: Aggressive pour yields 2 fingers of off-white head with good retention. Copper colored liquid.

S: Herbal and spicy hops with some very sweet sugary smell. Caramelly smell from malt.

T: Off metallic flavor - not good tasting. Some okay maltiness, but green banana and cooked veggies mostly. Would this beer be better straight from the tank? Has it been abused?

M: Astringent and lots of flavors that clash. Some heat as well.

D: Very low. I want no more than 3 sips. First sip: ugh. Second sip: It can't really be that bad, can it? Third: Yes it really is.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.41/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I think I licked the inside of a flower pot. The hops in this beer are too floral and the malts provide very little balance. Malts have very little prsence and I can only taste them without looking at the back end of the finish. Hops are very present and completely floral. taste is rather dissapointing, I was expect something a little more drinkable from Saranac. I wince with every sip. Mouthfeel is very light and oily.

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Photo of BricksandPorter
2.48/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ice cold into an American Pint glass.

Pour - quick, easy, no wait with a great steady head. Color is along the lines of a nice clay - brownnish-red with great clarity and crispness.

Nose - hoppy hoppy hoppy. Some floral hints with very little risk on this one.

Taste - a great bite, with good rounding bitterness. Notes of lavender, spice and pecans. Finishes with a dull nutty aftertaste, which is not appealing to me.

Mouth - smooth and creamy, not chunky at all, but the aftertaste leaves something to be desired.

Drinkability - not too risky, not too weak, middle of the road but I really just cannot get over that afterwards. Maybe i bought a bad batch...

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Photo of psinderson
2.51/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Thin white head with some lacing. Clear, light amber with lots of little bubbles floating to top.

Smell: Very mild citrusy hop aroma...somewhat bland.

Taste: More mild hoppiness and citrus up front with a strange oily and bitter aftertaste. What's strange is that the bitterness morphs into an odd faint sweetness?? Unfortunately, the taste leaves me wanting for something with more complexity, especially in the middle where there's nothing.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium body. Something doesn't feel quite right..too much carb or citrus.

Drinkability: Strange aftertaste slows me down. I'm not likely to have more than one at a time.

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Photo of hwwty4
2.56/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into my smokestack goblet. The beer poured a reddish amber with a big white head that left ample lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma of the beer is mostly floral hops with just a bit of caramel. The taste is While hops come off in the aroma, they are just not present really in the taste. There is an odd soapy taste to it. It is not an unpleasant taste, just not something I would expect in a commercial brew. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, and light carbonated. If someone offered me one, I wouldn't turn it down but I don't think that I would seek this beer out to purchase again.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
2.56/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours medium amber color with about a 1/4 inch head. Head virtually disappears after a few sips. Lace is minimal and stays more toward bottom of glass. Smell is very weak. First time I tried it, I thought it was terribly bitter. 3rd time around was a little better, but it is very hoppy in my opinion. I doubt I will buy this one again, but it is not a bad beer.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a ruddy brown body,with no head to speak of,and no lacing. Smelled acrid, oily. An almost rancid aroma to it. Very biting and sharp. Acidic, grassy/citrus tasting flavors. Not the worst offering from Saranac, but far from the best!This may just be too hoppy for what i expected, more like an IPA.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A lightish see-thru body is capped with a modest off-white head. Decent retention with a bit of lacing here and there.

Mild malty nose- sweet toffee with some fruitiness. Plenty of toffee flavor as well, tangy and mildly sweet. A bit of citrus kicks in midswallow, and it dries out from there. Fairly crisp and clean finish. A bit of a stale papery quality flavor in the background somewhere.

Overall impression: A bit on the boring side, but serviceable.

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Photo of Blakaeris
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours golden-amber with a massive creamy head.

Aroma is grainy caramel malt and light citrus hop.

Taste is caramel malt with a touch of herbal hops. Finish is lightly nutty, with an odd sourness.

Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied.

The taste seems strangely watered down with an odd sourness. Unimpressive.

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Photo of greenmonstah
2.61/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into pint glass

A - Clear pale orange-copper with a finger of white head.

S - A bit hoppy, a bit grainy. Not very appealing.

T - Bitter and tart immediately. Give it a second and it becomes grainy and dry. Not a lot of character to the malt. Meh.

M - A notch above thin, with average carbonation. Extremely dry finish. Unappealing.

D - The dry mouthfeel and boring flavor make this almost a chore to drink. Try the Big Moose Pale Ale, it is much better.

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Photo of mattcrill
2.63/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Label states that it's an English style pale ale.

Appearance: A golden copper colored pour. Sticky white and tight foamy cap develops.

Smell: Tea-like hop bitterness. Fruity notes and touchs of metallic notes as well. The hop presence is nice.

Taste: Bread-like, slightly fruity, then turning a touch citric. I keep tasting the cracker-like quality of 2-row barley that dominates this.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and a touch overcarbonated. Slightly watery on the finish.

Drinkability: much other good stuff out there. Move along, move along...

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Photo of Dogbrick
2.64/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Slightly below average, the one I had was not overly bitter and had a decent head and aroma. So-so color and rather bland flavor made this Pale Ale somewhat unremarkable overall.

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Photo of weller1js
2.64/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

appearance: pours a clear vibrant copper with moderate small carbonation, finger-thick foam lingers with lacing.

smell: subdued hoppy scent with tangy-mildly piney undertones.

taste: like the scent, hop flavor is subdued at the beginning; finishing with a bitter-piney flavor that doesn't mesh well overall.

drinkability: not unpleasant, but nothing noteworthy for an APA, was dissapointed in the character in the hops, but not a un-drinkable beer.

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Photo of clvand0
2.65/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a yellow color with a full head that dies off quickly and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy with a malty characteristic present as well. The flavor had a bready malt feel with a strange earthyness about it. Not bad, but not great.

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Photo of kinger
2.65/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Don't have a whole lot of positive things to say about this beer. Close to average at best for it's style. Good hoppy aroma, good appearance although the head could have been thicker. Thin mouthfeel and a weak flavor. Drinkable but sub-par, especially from this brewery who makes some very solid beers.

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Photo of mophie
2.66/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer looks good -- nice copper color, creamy white head that lasts quite a while. Smell is OK, with faint floral hoppiness, but otherwise nothing overly distinguishable. The taste, IMO, is a bit of a let-down, falling somewhere in the bland area between an English and an American pale ale without retaining any of the better qualities of either. This beer is drinkable enough, but in the end it is merely average.

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Photo of UnionMade
2.66/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a brassy amber, topped with a thin, uneven froth of white bubbles. The larger bubbles pop quickly, settling into a patchy white mist that keeps throughout. Some sticky lace leaves cobwebs down the glass. Good clarity, with lots of rapidly rising carbonation bubbles.
The aroma is a sweetish toasty malt, perhaps a bit biscuity, balanced by grassy, herbal hops. The hopping has that hay-like quality that I'm not too fond of. Mild floral esters, with an unappetizing cabbagey DMS aroma. A bit of graininess to the malt.
The flavor starts with toasty malt, moving slowly into faintly floral fruitiness and, thankfully, a much more subdued cabbage flavor that the aroma would suggest. The finish showcases a grassy, herbal hopping, adding a bit of bitterness to the finish. Coupled with the cabbage, the hops take on a fairly gross vegetal flavor, like baby corn in chinese mixed vegetables. A slight graininess in the finish doesn't help, either. It's tolerable and you get accustomed to it after a few sips, but I'd rather drink something else. Moderate, spritzy carbonation does a fine job of supporting the flavor. Lightish medium body.
Saranac seems to have a common flavor running through all their different styles, and this is no exception. A neutrality of sorts that seems to deaden everything out, like wax or something similar.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.7/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color. There's a little under two fingers worth of off-white colored head, and the retention is actually quite good. Plenty of lacing is left behind, as well.

S: There is a slight hoppiness to the nose, floral in nature. But primarily, the strongest note is caramel and toffee from the malts. It's certainly hoppier than most standard EPAs, but too malty to be a proper APA - and the malts aren't the kind that strike me the right way.

T: Looking at is as an English-style pale ale, it's a bit hoppier than the norm, thankfully. Herbal, piny bitterness hits the palate first, albeit in a restrained fashion. After the midtaste, the caramel-laden malts come to the forefront. They're the textbook crystal malts (blegh), and I don't like them. Having said that, this is just dry enough where I'm almost not bothered by them. But damn, I wish this had even more hops.

M: Kind of sweet...given how the last two Saranac beers were pretty damn dry, it's disappointing that this has a sweeter, heavier feel. It's not undrinkable per se, just not at all effortless.

O: It's honestly mildly successful as an English-style pale ale...but a failure as a 'Murican pale ale. I don't even like (most) EPAs, so this one is a misfire to me. A tick is a tick, though.

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Saranac American Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.42 out of 5 with 1,324 ratings