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: 1,301
Photo of Sammy
2.95/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I assumed a Fresh bottle at a brewfest. Thin mouthfeel on yellow colour with lace. Weak for a pale. I did not sense the several malts and aggressively hopped nature of the advertising.Moderate carbonation, think English pale.Sticky, nothing garbbed me.

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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 StonedTrippin
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

flagship saranac brew. pours a clear copper colow with a beautiful white head. smells english in its malt profile and quite hoppy. smells like the woods to me. taste is balanced but more on the hoppy end. mouthfeel is alright, but its too heavy for the style, i always find this beer to be a little bigger in body than i want. it also has an aftertaste i am not wild about, a little mineraly and dry, just a weird combination. that said however, this is one of my go to beers in the summer. it signifies the adirondak mountains to me, and will almost always be in my fridge in the summers.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This reminded me of a Fuller's ESB or a Belhaven in some ways. This beer pours out as a deep golden amber color with a fluffy white head on it that doesn't really stick around too much. The taste is like an English bitter, It's not overly hoppy like most American Pale Ales. This has more of a malt flavor throughout. The mouthfeel is smooth and a little dry. Overall this beer isn't too bad. It's drinkable but not my favorite.

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Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear light amber in color. It poured with a thin white head that has good retention properties; a thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are moderate aromas of grainy malts with some notes of caramel and floral hops.
T: The taste has a good balance between malty sweetness and mild hop bitterness; the finish is slightly bitter.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate.
D: The beer is rather easy to drink but the flavors aren't that interesting so I'm not sure if I would want more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.57/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nothing out of the ordinary here. It's definitely an easy drinker with a nice hop kick an the characteristic Saranac frothy head. On par with some of the more well known/more expensive pale ales out there but not something you would jump for when you're beer shopping. Good if it's around.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Eeeh, it's servicable and maybe good under dire circumstances. Caught between copper and golden with an abundance of co2, forms a tan-ish fizzy head that fades quickly. Smells moderately malty and more lightly hoppy than desired. Light bland aroma, almost of baking soda. Tastes malty as a Pale Ale over the same bland, solvent-y flavor. Hops seem a bit oxidized and mild flavored. Obviously an English Pale Ale with the hops and malt profile. Almost papery and copper-like in the body. Fizzy texture dominates the fruitiness and spiciness. Fades away quickly with an over malt and paper finish. The flaws are light, but present. Too noticable to give a high rating, but not flawed enough to be considered bad.

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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 Phyl21ca
3.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a dark copper color ale with a nice bubbly white head with good retention. Aroma of English hops is clearly identifiable. Taste seems to be a bit overpowered by the bitter hops, which is a bit surprising for English pale ale but doesn’t deter this beer from being quite enjoyable. Another BBS/summer beer from Saranac it seems.

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Photo of zeff80
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an amber hue with a one-finger head. It was highly carbonated. No lacing.

S - Malt and hops mostly.

T - It had a grassy taste to it. The malt flavor was also very noticable, too.

M - It is crisp and light-bodied.

D - It is a descent APA. Not one I would rush out to buy, but yet another solid Saranac product.

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Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - One finger of off-white head on a clear, copper-amber body. The foam settles quickly but leaves nice lace.

S - A light aroma of malt with some yeasty red apple notes. A hint of musty hops in the background.

T - Bready malt up front with just a bit of caramel. The malt character deepens in the middle with more toasted notes and a bit of fruity yeast. Finishes with light caramel and some spicy hops as well as moderate bitterness that just barely balances the significant malt.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Not bad. The malt character is nice, if a bit too big and dark for the style, and the yeast flavor is mild but significant enough to provide some pleasant fruity notes. The hops don't stick out too much and only provide modest bitterness in the finish. A slightly more robust hop profile would make for a more balanced and drinkable beer by balancing out the heavy malt. Not the most spot on example of the style, but drinkable and pretty good for what it is.

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Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a somewhat hazy copper color with light to medium head,the aroma was pretty floral aroma with a nice malty background.Taste was very nicely balanced a sweet fruity malt base and a nice zesty hop finish.I think a well made pale,very nicely balanced.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, deep amber body with a frothy off-white head that holds well and leaves some very nice lace. The nose is perfumey (but without any distinct hops) with some caramel malt and a touch of sweet tobbacco. The body is medium and a very fine/moderate carbonation leaves it just slightly crisp on the tongue. The flavor displays a solid caramel-laced malt that's well infused with floral and gently spicy hops. The signature Matt's yeast plays a big role here, and it finishes dry with a lingering bitterness, but also somewhat soapy. Firm bitterness; decent balance; nicely rounded. Overall, it's a pretty solid offering - especially considering it's full maltiness - although the hops may let you down.

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Photo of chinchill
3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in glass mug.

Pours a lovely amber with a moderate amount of off-white head. Head is short-lived save a partial thin coating.

S - primarily hoppy, as expected. Slight but undesirable metallic aroma.

T - hoppy with malt presence. Slight smokiness. Bolder taste than expected given aroma.

M - typical for type; moderate carbonation.

Overall, well balanced taste, but rather average.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with 2-3 fingers of foamy eggshell-white head. This retains with a thin creamy layer of froth, with a rich flare-up that leaves back sticky swathes of lacing. The aroma is a mix of citrus and malt, with a bit of a deep earthy tang to it, which is surrounded by some floral and spicy accents on the side. This is pretty straightforward in the nose.

The taste is crisp and biting on the tongue with bitter rind, some peppery spice, and refreshing grapefruit juice which splashes the tongue. The English Pale malts sweeten this up just enough across the back of the palate, as hops linger in the finish with green citric notes and earthy dryness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a crisp smoothness to the feel that enables this to flow just so easily here, yet this still has some presence in the mouth.

While I would have liked to have felt a little more malt activity going on here overall, the hop profile and body just gave a top-notch refreshing drinkibility to this that can't be overlooked. This was a no-brainer to put into cans. I think that summer in the Adirondacks just got a little better...

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.08/5  rDev -39.7%
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 mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A pale ale that lives up to its name, at least in flavor. Some malt greets the lips, but more of the mild grapefruit flavors. A touch of roasted barley. Hop flavor seems to be mostly floral. A rather nice touch of musk and cornbread. But mostly a long bitterness on the tongue.

Clean flavors, and well balanced, though skewed to the hops as expected. But not a style I care much for and this doesn't provide much interest to convince me.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark, golden-amber body with a full, fizzy, off-white head.

Smell: Carmel-scented maltiness with light layers of spice and citrus.

Taste: Pale malts with a slightly candyish caramel sweetness. Spicy hop character, maybe a bit of citrus, and with a medium bitterness. Drying finish with a light, lingering maltiness and tiny hint of grain.

Mouthfeel: Just barely medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: An average, simply pale ale that doesn't have the character or charm to really grab ya, but it gets the job done.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear medium amber in color with very light amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some hints of golden yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall pillowy foamy off-white head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of cereal grain malts with moderate aromas of herbal and floral hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of cereal grain malts with a light amount of caramel sweetness. The malts are followed by light to moderate flavors of herbal and floral hops which impart a light amount of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: On the lighter side if medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Definitely easy to drink and bordering on sessionable but not overly interesting. I could have a couple of these but would be unlikely to want to finish a whole six pack on my own.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly hazed golden amber with plenty of orange. The head is a little darker than cream, average in size, frothysoft and leaves lace in tries-to-be rings. The nose is a combination of earthy-spicy hops and pale malt, with the hops winning out.

Taste follows aroma, but is too weak. This beer needs a serious flavor boost. What makes its way to the palate is sweet, biscuity malt countered by spicy-earthy hops. The finish is short, leaving the taste buds seemingly untouched.

The beer isn't exactly crisp (the brewery, via the label, says it is), but it's clean and tends toward dry. Unfortunately, a graininess sneaks in on the back end. The mouthfeel, while not horrendously thin, is too light for the style.

Saranac Pale Ale is average to slightly above average at best. It isn't hard to drink, but neither does it make me want to grab another. More flavor and a more substantial body would help move it into the 'respectable' category.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac Pale Ale

Got me the Adirondack Trail Mixed six pack from Saranac, because, well I had only had one of them before, so thats a good enough reason for me. First up is the Pale Ale.

A - Poured a nice rich orange amber, very clear. Nice off white head upon pir, did not stick around long. Some decent lacing down the glass and a touch of carbonation rising off the bottom.

S - Earthy and bready, with a slightly bitter aroma thrown in. Not overly strong, a nice average pale ale aroma. Lots of malts in here. A touch of ceral grains as well..

T - Classic ale. A bit muted on flavors. Its trys to make a bit of a hop splash, especially in the finish, but it is just not there. Lots of muted earthy grains, a slight watery taste, needs to be bumped up a bit in the flavors.

M - A Little slick for me, a nice light ale. It had some depth to it as it wasn't too light. Smooth but lacked carbonation on drinking it.

D - Ehh, its definatly a session beer, but perhaps a forgettable one at that. I could drink these like water, but dont know how often I would actually turn to it. Easy going down and a full body, however just a little too slick.

Overall just felt like this was lacking something. Not a bad brew, but I would have to put it down for average all around. Nothign really stood out and made me say Yeah!, It was just an average pale ale. A nice try and better tehn a macro in a pinch for sure.

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Photo of russpowell
4.02/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a 3 fingers fluffy white head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Piney hops, then some fruittyness

T: Slight floral hops folowed by big fat fruittyness. Finished fruitty & dry

MF: Medium body, great balance & carbonation

Drinks very easy, reminds of an English style PA. Worth a try & pretty affordable

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Photo of smcolw
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light copper in color, clear enough to read through, and the head has good staying power with a cream-like color and consistancy. Leaves a nice lace on glass

Aroma: Excellent blend of malt (pale) and hops (fresh and floral, not bitter at all). Very tempting...

Taste: Mild malt up front followed by a rush of hop flavor. Reminds me of an ESB or a weak IPA. The subtle bitter bite lasts long into the aftertaste, leading to a second shot at the floral aroma.

Mouthfeel: above average carbonation, an almost sinewy consistancy that lends itself to a long lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability: A quaffable pale ale. Worthy of a six pack. For the price, a great value. An excellent beer to serve with friends.

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Photo of Jason
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

A well frothed lace leaves a few rings of lace behind, very clear pale copper hue.

Hints of citric hop, fruity and taffy like ester and a lightly sweet caramel and toasted grain aroma.

Smooth mouth feel and a bit crisp as well, bitter bite up front with an oily herbal and earthy hop flavor. Malt has a decent flavor but never really sparks the taste buds to go “Wow!”. I am still trying to find a solid malt flavor and all I get is dry graininess with a taffy, almost bubble gum yeast by-product taste. Finishes dry with a bit of husk on the palate.

Oily hop is the only savior of this brew, other than that there is nothing much to it. Not something I’d never drink, just not a choice pale ale for me.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Whoa, when did they can this beer? Has someone informed Woody? Regardless, it pours a clear amber copper topped by a thick finger+ of white froth. The nose comprises orange peel, light florals, and a tiny bit o' toffee. The taste holds notes of some weak hoppy bitterness, watered-down citrus, and a depressed vein of toffee. You don't get much more pale than this, I guess. ...Whatever that means. The body is pretty light, with moderate carbonation and a crisp finish. Overall, a decent, but thoroughly average pale ale. That isn't to say that it's bad, it's just not something I would really ever seek out with any perceptible vim.

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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,301 ratings.
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