Saranac American Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac American Pale AleSaranac American Pale Ale
1,314 Ratings
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,314 |  Reviews: 635
Photo of argock
3.67/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass

A: Copper-golden amber with frothy off-white head. Nice lacing and head retention.
S: Fruity malt with leafy hops leaves a pleasant earthy scent.
T: Very caramelly with a nicely balanced hop finish which is bitter but not harsh. Fits well with the mellow character of this beer,
M: The dry finish gets your attention, and it would be that much better if it had a tad more body.
D: Kinds of splits the difference between an American and British Pale Ale. Mellow enough with an average ABV such that a few could be had in one sitting.

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Photo of Atron67
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a nice dark amber that left a decent head, but didnt last very long
S- has a nice malt smell with decent hops, however it didnt strike me as superb
T- has a nice smooth flavor, with a nice bitterness, not excessively hoppy or malty, pretty well balanced.
M- medium/ heavy body
D- high, thou theres others i like more, so i probly wont get this too much, but its nothing to turn down

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Photo of KevinB
3.66/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

serving type:poured from a cold 12 oz bottle in a chilled pint glass. The appearance of this ale is nice a golden amber , copperish brown with a rich foamy off white head. Nice lacing and head retention, with mild carbonation. The smell is a pleasant , earthy hops and malt, with a hint of pine.
It's a nice tasting brew, light hops, caramelized malts, a trace of fruitiness, moderately bitter.
Mouthfeel is crisp, somewhat dry, lower medium body or high thin.

Drinkability: this my fav from the Saranac line thus far, lacks the metallic taste found in their other offerings Overall a it's good tasting beer, no problem putting several of these back. Would make an excellent transition beer, late summer /early fall or spring.

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Photo of HumuloneRed
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 oz. Bottle. It pours a golden amber color with an off white head and soapy lacing. The aroma is of grassy earth with some citrus in the mix. The flavor reflects the aroma but with a good hoppy bitterness that is smooth through the finish. A well balanced beer.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass. It has a copper color with a thick head that is very well retained. The aroma is both malty and hoppy, fairly balanced between the two. The American hop varieties are unmistakable. The flavor is a tea-like malt with a strong hop presence. However the hops are not overwhelming by any means; nice hop finish too. It has a medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a good example of an American pale.

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Photo of andrewmartin
3.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep amber, dense, rocky head

S: Clean soft hops, very pleasent

T: Crisp earthy hops up front, with a pleasent, if somewhat muted, malt backbone.

M: Crisp and smooth

D; Very pleasent, a nice little drink, if not quite malty enough to balance everything out.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was on tap at the Homewood Suites (!) in Albany, along with Coors Lite. It was in the buffer area, where you could fill the glasses yourself. I didn't expect much out of this beer, I'd tried it a couple of years ago from an airport bar. But it was really nicely malty. There was an oily hops aroma on top of the malt, I was surprised at how well put together it was. I poured several, drinkability was pretty good.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I see the Saranac beers all over the place here in DC, but still haven't tried very many. So I grabbed a few singles at a World Market in Virginia the other day just for the heck of it. Not sure how old they are, but I've got my fingers crossed.

The Saranac Pale Ale (SPA) pours a deep amber brown color with a rich and foamy head. Even leaves a noteworthy lace, which for some reason I was not expecting. Not a bad looking beer at all. Aroma is rich and malty; maltier than most pale ales I'm used to, for sure. And the smell is very fruity too, with notes of dark fruits and strawberries and cherries. A very pleasant aroma on the whole. The taste is sweet and malty as well, with some cherry flavors mixed in with apple and pear. It has a little hop kick to it in the finish too, which rounds things out nicely. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but not too distracting. All in all, a highly quaffable ale. Not spectacular, but solid, and a fine sippin' beer.

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Photo of zdk9
3.91/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Despite its origin this should not be seen as an APA. Bottle advertises "Classic English Ale" and English ingredients. Overall a delicious and drinkable pale ale with a malt flavor I really like.

A- Pours a copper color with a finger of head that lingers to the last drop. Some weak lacing.

S- What comes out first is the light floral hops showing aspects of roses and some fresh cut grass, but beneath is a strong malt showing of buttery flavor like a croissant.

T- Basically same as the smell only more so. The malt shows some other tastes as a touch of smokiness hits the sides of the mouth and more breadiness. Hops have barely any citrus but much more earthiness and herb garden tastes.

M- A shade dry and minerally, but an overall good smoothness for the style. Bitterness is at a perfect level for my taste :)

D- This could be my perfect session beer. While the taste isn't the most complex the alcohol isn't noticable, and the bitterness is toned down to allow a great balance between malt and hops. Great beer.

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Photo of Redwood21
3.41/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is a amber golden color with a nice head that lasts the entire drink
the smell is almost non existant, there is some hop aroma but its really not much.
the taste is decent. i enjoy the beer. there is a smooth flavor, its easy to drink but very little hop flavor and no complexity at all. a little bit of a dry bitter finish, but very faint.
it has a nice medium body that isnt too heavy, enjoyable nothing special.
the overall take away i get from this beer is that it is better than the avg beer you might find, but there are many pale ales i believe i woul like to drink before it. however that said i would not turn one down and i would enjoy it every time i have it

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Photo of arizcards
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received as part of the March MicroBeerClub shipment received in early April.

Beer poured an tootsie roll orange with a white head that is leaving a bit of lacing behind. Nose is somewhat biscuity but there are no other notable characteristics. Taste is well balanced between the biscuity malts and English PA hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth on the palate. Drinkability is pretty good. This is a well crafted brew that is refreshing and enjoyable.

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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 demcorhip
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another treat from my wife's friend in Tennessee.

A nice clear, coppery amber hued ale. Very little head, no retention, and very mildly carbonated. Essentially no lacings, only manages to leave a partial collar rimming only the back half of my complimentary Capital Island Wheat beer glass..

Biscuit, toast, and underlying sweetness with hints of honey and caramel. A decent amount of hops on the nose as well, mostly floral, but also some woodsy and citrus character, with a hint of piney twang that almost has a skunky quality, perhaps the result of a slight yeasty mustiness mingling with the coniferous hop scent.

Biscuit and toast from the malts, and, much like the nose some notes of honey and caramel also present. A good dose of floral hops, with a woodsy earthy quality, as well as hints of citrus and spruce.

An almost light bodied, dry and mildly astringent ale that makes for a refreshing drink. Well balanced, easy enough to discern the characteristics of the malted barley and the hops used in making this brew. Would benefit from a touch more carbonation to provide more liveliness, and just a little more depth in general.

Easy enough to drink, and would make a solid crossover beer or introductory beer to hoppier styles. Would also be a great quencher on a hot summer day due to its approachable and refreshing character. Would be a good brew to bring to a family BBQ or similar function to give the BMC drinkers something to enjoy that they could relate to. While not something im particularly impressed by im grateful for the chance to try it.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3.74/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I used to love this beer in college (right outside of Utica, we could get sixers of Saranac for $5!), so I figured that I should return to it with my newly geekified palate. I had it in a series of American pale ales this evening, and, while it wasn't as good as I remembered, it held its own against some smaller regional "craft beers".

Poured an orange-amber with no real head. Left a couple of rings on the glass, but no real lace. The smell was dominated by a blend of hop oils, pleasant pines and citrus (grapefruit?). At this point I was afraid that the taste would be predominantly piney. There was some honey underlying the hops. It tasted similar to the scent, and my fears were realized. Pine hops, a bit o' honey, and a crisp almost bubblegum finish. Medium body. Great crisp finish and good carbonation improve its ratings. Though I can see why I drank a shitton of this back in the day, I've been ruined. Damn you, Stone!

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Photo of wingman14
3.38/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark orangish brown with a white head that faded quickly. The smell is light, more of the english malt comes out than the hops. The taste is driven by the english malt (this is an english pale ale, as noted on the bottle, not an APA). The hop characteristics come through at the end leaving a very small bitter taste. This one has a medium mouthfeel with a good balance of flavor of carbonation. It is an easy drinker, with a light flavor, nothing that is amazing, but a good brew overall. Worth checking out especially for the price. Enjoy.

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Photo of happygnome
3.38/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: pale yellow in color with about an inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a little lacing
s: the sweet malts is kind of a background aroma, the main aroma is a typical pin aroma
t: more hops than malts but still very nice
m: medium bodied beer adequete carbonation

overall this is an enjoyable beer, i wish my friend would have picked up another sampler

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Photo of GrandpaGeorg
4.38/5  rDev +28.1%
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 penguinjive7
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden color with a nice, fluffy white head.

Smell is of earthy hops and citrus.

Taste definitely reflects the smell with a slight malt addition. This brew was not as hoppy as I had expected form the APA style. Slightly bitter finish but the malt balances this.

Carbonation is a bit much for my taste and their is a bit of a grainy feel as well.

Overall a drinkable brew. Not the best I have had form this genre, but it is worth a go.

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Photo of barryhurley
3.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought the Trail Mix 6 pack and this was the first one i tried. I had never had Saranac before but after the first taste instantly became a fan. Opened the bottle and poured into a cold glass and there really wasnt any head to speak of. Had a good smell and tasted even better. Nice and hoppy. Dark yellow / light brown in color with a slight fruity taste. According to the descriptions on the bottles, the IPA was even more hoppy so couldnt wait to try that one.

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Photo of alexskovan
3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured pale amber with a sturdy white head. Sweet floral aroma of judiciously used hops mingled with carmel malt. Taste is light and balanced, only a hint of grapefruit, crisp and pleasing.

A nice, mild APA. A refreshing break from all the overdone grapefruity offerings that are out there in the micro market these days.

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Photo of Sammy
2.95/5  rDev -13.7%
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 aalappatel
2.9/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I poured this beer to discover about a two finger white head that lingers. Lacing was pretty good on the glass. It felt a bit watery going down. Color was copperish. This is your average American Pale Ale. I was neither impressed nor disappointed. I would probably drink one if there was nothing better around.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.43/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a pale yellow with good carbonation. The head is a nice 2 fingers white and leaves some lace.

The smell is a little faint for an APA. but quite the norm, piny woodsy scent. Light malt in the back ground.

The taste follows nothing new. nothing bad. just standard sharp hops. This one will do in a pinch, but could use much more malt.

The mouthfeel is less then expected. thinner then medium, the carbonation is good and it had just a bit of a bite.

The Drinkability is ok, easy to drink but Why? MK

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Photo of auxiliary
3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - dark amber color, not much head, no lace.

Smell - Lots of hop smell, just like a pale ale.

Taste - Taste of hops and hints of malt can be tasted.

Mouthfeel - Taste of hops and hints of malt can be tasted.

Drinkability - Average beer, was ok, nothing big.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like this beer. I could drink lots of it, and occasionally do!
It's got good color, good smell and good taste and I gave it 4's all the way around.
When I go to the beer distributor it's either this or Sam Adams Boston Ale, depending on which one's cheaper.
This beer has the bonus of a higher abv over Sammy.
Enjoy this one fellow beer lovers!

3/10/07 update - I had the pleasure of getting a growler of this beer from a friend of mine who had gone on a trip "upstate"...
WOW, totally different taste from the bottled version, fresh beer is better!

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Saranac American Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.42 out of 5 with 1,314 ratings