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 utopiajane
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a fantastic orange amber with a lusterous shine and thin head of off white foam that fell pretty fast. Nose is bright with floral hops. Beautiful sweetness that does not get too fruity but just hints at fruit. A balanced herbal scent that suggests grass and hay. A malty sweetness that is grainy and a bit husky. There is a touch of mild soap on the nose but nothing egregious. Taste is lovely. Bitter. Hop forward without being too hop important. A nice biscuity malt with enough sweetness to rock those hops into submission. And a pungent little herbal to really quaff! OH!

Finishes wonderfully and balanced well although slanted a bit toward hops. No presumption in this one just a slightly bitter tonic that growls a bit.

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

Thanks, Jacob, for the bottle!

It pours a deep golden colour with a very firm 1" head of foam that leaves excellent lacing behind.

The smell is on the sweetish side with just a bit of some bitterness noticeable to my nose.

The taste does a good job of representing an EPA. Nice sweetish notes from the malt...not earthy nor grainy, just a pleasant sweetness. The hops show up mostly in the finish where it gets a tad bitter but overall, a very enjoyable brewski.

On the light end of medium bodied, good carbonation, this is a well brewed beer. I like.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at a restaurant in my neighborhood in Shanghai China.

A: Poured from the 330mL bottle into a standard pint glass. The beer is a bright amber color that is clear. Head was off-white and reached a finger and a half and then fizzled out to a layer of foam.

S: Biscuity malt and some toasted grain and caramel in the malt zone. Has a nice bright fruity hop aroma as well. Nicely balanced.

T: Solid floral and spicy hop taste with toast and caramel backing everything up. Great balance throughout. Great drinkability - not crazy but also not boring.

Overall: Good bar drink - won't get in the way of a good conversation but tasty enough to keep you wanting more. I'd pick this up again (or 2 or 3) for sure.

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Photo of illpass78
3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear gold with a short white head that recedes quickly. Lacing moderate. It's sort of on the cusp of a golden and a pale ale.

Aroma: This has a more powerful nose than I expected, and it's kind of a mixed bag. There's toast, grassiness, fruitiness and other inviting aromas, but it's also kind of sour smelling. It's not off-putting but also not perfect.

Taste: Pretty standard pale ale flavor. Some decent hop bite to go with malty sweetness. The taste mostly follows the nose.

Mouthfeel: It's somewhat light of body but easy to drink.

Overall: This is very average. It's the kind of thing I'd get at a restaurant that otherwise only had BMC stuff. It's a decent pale ale, but it's not distinguishable from the pack.

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Photo of wvsabbath
2.79/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Copper tan/brown, 1/4 inch head, minor lacing.

Smell - Pale ale malts, a little hop note, some added sugars. Not getting much else.

Taste - Starts out with some caramel malt and a little nut flavor. Minor hops providing a sour/bitter flavor. Added sugars offset a little bitter note left behind from the hops. Really about all that's going on.

Mouthfeel - Tongue gets the malts, where the palate gets some hops and a little sugar. Aftertaste is dry, and a little sour.

Overall - Pretty weak and boring. The caramel malts make up most of the flavor, where the hops are not very fruity, just provide a bitter note. Nothing worth drinking since there are lots of better pale ales out there.

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Photo of dank203
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

alot of alcohol on the nose , a little light citrus, not too strong. taste is bitter, good spice notes in the back end with a clean dry finish. a little alcohol burn. a little too harsh for my liking on a pale ale. a little more burn than I expected. a tiny bit off balance but clean

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Photo of Diggitydustin
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2nd one I drank out of the spring sampler. Definitely a good IPA. Good look, good smell, good taste. Better than the Forbidden IPA, in my opinion. I enjoyed this from the first tilt into my mouth to the last swallow. Good after taste. A very decent IPA. I'd recommend it.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: 16-oz. glass
From: My aunt Jenny
Price: N/A for a variety 12-pack
Purchased: N/A
Consumed: Jan. 16, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a caramel amber clear color with 1-to-2 fingers of white head. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Great amount of uneven foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Very good retention.

Smelled caramel, honey, wheat, rye, floral hops and cereal.

Tasted caramel, citrus hops, pine, floral hips, honey, lime, faint orange, wheat and grass hops.

Medium-to-light body. Oily texture. Lively carbonation. Astringent finish.

This beer was one of my top-three favorites about seven years ago. Not so anymore, but I will always like this beer.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.7/5  rDev -21.7%
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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Photo of WoodBrew
3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I got a bottle of this as part of a mixed 6pck that I bought from my local Meijer. It poured a clear copper with white head that is leaving some lace. The scent is bitter hops. The taste is nicely balanced and easy to drink. It finishes slightly bitter. The Mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a good beer.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper shade, plenty of foam and well-carbonated.

Smell: Cereal malts, hints of floral and herbal hops.

Taste: Cereal malts, caramel, and the hints of hop.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied and dry. Faint hop aftertaste.

The Verdict: Drinkable. Everything an English pale ale should be, but not one bit more. For the price I wouldn’t mind buying a six pack once in a while, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. Or second or third.

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Photo of tviz33
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a Duvel tulip.

A- Pours an unremarkable clear amber body with a short white head that disappears quickly.

S- Biscuity, malty, bready. Buttered toast like quality. Not much hop presence.

T- More hops than the nose let on. Sort of flowery and mingle oddly with the toasty malt flavors. Not bad, but something is a bit off.

M- Thin feel but crisply carbonated.

O- Not too memorable, but one that I will probably visit again as part of a sampler pack.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a clear amber color with a fluffy looking finger width head. Fair retention, resulting in a broken layer of suds across the surface. Small, spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Bready aroma. Mild hop spice.

Flavor - Follows the nose. Lots of bready, biscuity malts upfront and throughout, backed by moderate hop spice. Mild bitterness in the aftertaste. That's basically it.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Smooth on the finish.

Overall - First words that come to mind are safe and uninspiring. That said, it's drinkable. No real flaws; just very, very basic.

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Photo of watermelon
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass best by March 14 2014

A: Coppery amber body with a foamy off white head that left a small amount of lacing.

S: Nose is fairly weak some roasted favors, and light citrus.

T: Biscuit and grassy flavors, with some light malt

M: Thin body goes down easy with crisp carbonation.

O: Its no SNPA, but it is a decent pale ale at a decent price. Try it if you like the style.

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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 57md
3.34/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with a finger of head that hangs on for a bit before disappearing and leaving hardly a trace of lace behind. The nose is mildly malty. The taste is fairly light with little distinction from any other mild English Pale Ale. There is a dryness on the finish that provides a minor tingle on the tongue,-- that said, nothing exciting here.

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Photo of DrewsBrews450
3.47/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper amber not so much of a pale. Fluffy white head with mild lace. The smell is toasted malt slight caramal, piney hop. Taste is toasted malt, grain with a nice pine, flower hop in the back but more malt forward. Mouthfeel is light medium. Pretty nice pale I will pick up again.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.49/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Never had this which is strange since it's one of the most widely reviewed beers they offer.

A - Well like most of their beers is looks good. Solid 1/4 inch of head that pulls back to a lace ring that sticks around with great lacing. Color is very dark for a pale but respectable for an English pale. Very deep amber red hue.
S - Mild biscuit malts, touch of pine, and a mostly sweet malt base.
T - Very dry and malt forward with some tea leaves and biscuit flavors. I get some piney hops in the finish which carry the malt and leave me with some caramel sweet flavors. Quite an easy going English pale ale.
M - Light to medium easy to drink with a good ABV.

Overall I am not sure why the hate. It's a very approachable English pale ale for a very affordable cost (got my case for 14 bucks) Overall much better tasting the IPA.

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Photo of BWED
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a craft pint

A- Golden-orange with a bit of a ruby hue to the body. Nicely filtered. A wispy, dense offwhite head rest on top and retains well at a small amount. Small legs of lacing stick around.

S- A mix between sweet bread and a woodsy hop character.

T- A mild biscuit and a little bit of a straw flavor. With a mild hop balance.

M- Smooth going down. Carbonation is creamy, and the finish is bitter and semidry.

O- This is okay, but it doesn't really stand out among other pale ales. I'd drink it again, but only if there was slim pickings.

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Photo of Hoptron_3000
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a coppery colour with a super dense cream head that hangs around. Awesome lacing.
S: Lots of grapefruit. Tons of juicy fruit. Bit of toasty/biscuit malt.
T: Nice balance. Super clean. Firm bitterness but not lots of hop bite.
M: Good carbonation.
O: A really nice pale ale. Very easy drinking.

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Photo of TheSSG
2.71/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a huge, dense, off-white head that has good persistence and laces nicely. A distinctive hop aroma; floral and caramel? Clear, crimson-burnt umber color. Starts with a bitter, caramel flavor that builds into a low-medium bitterness, there's some malt in the middle, but also caramel. Finish is floral with malt, citrus rind hop bitterness, but still a touch of caramel. Mostly a lingering bitterness with a sweet maltiness.

Not my thing. That caramel aspect just ruins it for me; I am not a fan of it in a Pale Ale (I tend to avoid English Pale Ales as a rule).

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Photo of Mojo
3.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle -> Tulip glass

A- medium gold with a thin one finger head, pretty decent lacing and a nice retention ring.

S - Mostly floral and biscuit. Might be some pine and citrus.

T - Honestly pretty good if unspectacular. Mild maltiness coupled with a slightly smoky finish.

M - Not great. Kind of thin.

O - Decent enough. Basically inoffensive. Drink it if it comes your way, but don't go out of your way to seek it out.

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Photo of digitalflood
3.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Saranac Pale Ale (2013) - Rich thick foamy head. Excellent lacing. Copper hue. Good carbonation. Hoppy lemon aroma. Pine undertones. Bitter nose. Pine and lemon. Beautiful mid-palate copper ale and hop skunk. Citrus notes abound. Back palate there is a light malt bread note with some oak. Fades to citrus, bitter dandelions, and a nice ale note. Very good. Drinkable but potent. Good balance in flavors. Another standard bearer. 3.75 out of 5. Very good.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So far with Saranac I've only tried their Pumpkin Ale, which I described as "Not bad, not bad at all". Let's see if these east coast brewers can notch up a "F#&ken awesome!" with me... (which would be statistically improbable as I've never described a beer as "F#&ken awesome!").

Poured from a 355ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Presents a clear Tangelo body with a foamy chalk head that reduces to a light lacing on top.

S: A lighter-than-usual-for-an-American-ale citric hop aroma is evident, though almost surpassed by a toasted biscuit malt and bread yeast base. There is a note of floral hops however this brew is not carried by it. Overall it is evenly balanced between malt and hops, again this is quite Twilight Zone for an American ale.

T: Again very balanced, the citric/floral hops are on par with the toasted biscuit malt and bread yeast base. There is a slight sour yeast twang in there as well, for good measure of course. An odd coconut Ester is present mid-palate, not sure if this is intended or not however I have noticed this before in other American imports, perhaps it is due to skunking? Finish is slightly bitter with an after taste that is a mixture of sour/bitter.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation.

D: This is one is the mildest American ale I've had to date. Flavour is well balanced and apart from the odd coconut Ester it is a decent brew. Cost notwithstanding I would buy it more often. If I was living on the east coast of the US this would likely be a regular brew for me as it is easy to drink without being too bland.

Food match: Here's an ale that is quite versatile when it comes to food matching, one could quite easily have this with an Indian Korma as much as a fillet steak or a light chicken salad.

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Photo of stella77artois
4.19/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Pours a nice darkened golden-yellow. Not much of a head, but some foam stuck around. Fair amount of carbonation noticeable. Slight lacing on the glass.

S - Malt and hops up front. A unique fruity aroma present afterwards. Not a whole lot going on.

T - Has been several years since I've sampled this brew, and it's so much better than I remember. Small amount of malt, and a more pronounced amount of hops noticeable. Noticed the same fruity taste as mentioned from the aroma. A blend of grapefruit, lemon and bitter orange. Don't taste any of them singularly, but that's the best way I can describe it, as those 3 combined.

F - Oustanding mouthfeel. Incredibly refreshing and smooth. A perfect amount of carbonation to quench your fizz thirst. No sourness, bad aftertaste or stomach bloat. Almost perfect.

O - An outstanding beer, could be one of the few beers I will session with. So much better than I remembered. An outstanding blend of quality taste and mouthfeel, yet still it's so crisp and refreshing. Lot's of great taste combined with refreshing qualities, makes for about a perfect summer beer.

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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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