Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
628 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 628 | Ratings: 1,294
Photo of TeamMathis
3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Yellowish, reddish amber.
Smell: Very light floral and citrus.
Taste: Light floral and citrus.
Mouthfeel: Watery, light carbonation.

This is an enjoyable, refreshing, and drinkable brew. It's just not exciting. There's really nothing to dislike. The smell is a faint hint of the taste, which consists primarily of floral and citrus tones; perhaps a slight bit of honey. I would drink this again, but would only get it if it was in a sampler box with others I wanted to try.

 486 characters

Photo of JG-90
2.86/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Bottle poured into glass gives a moderate sized, off-white head. Beer is a clear, bright, light copper/amber. Head settles to a small cap with heavy lacing. Smells of stale bread, light caramel malt, and funky wheat, not much overall aroma.

Taste is very bitter throughout, starting with stale bread and caramel malt, then just a hint of floral, has a stale bread, bitter, crisp, clean finish. Body on the lighter side of medium, with medium/high carbonation. English style PA's are not my favorite but I have had ones I've liked much more than this, in my opinion this beer is nothing special, but nothing bad either.

 619 characters

Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
4.19/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing golden, honey, amber appearance. Even balanced aroma, however not that pronounced. Hoppy, citrus, floral aroma. Great taste to start. Floral, citrus, earthy, and hoppy notes take center stage with a caramel depth behind them. Almost a yeasty / bread like base that supports the rest of the flavors.

This is one of (if not our favorite) pale ales.

 356 characters

Photo of Justin23060
3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Light amber with slightly off white 1 finger head that coated the top the whole time.

S - Blasted with typical English hop profile that quickly faded to a bready malt.

T - Taste strikes a nice balance between English hop and maltiness . Dry from start to finish. I do think it would be better with a bit more linger and a little less dryness. Solid offering for sure.

M - Dryness is approaching puckering and body is on the lighter side of medium

O - Not my favorite Saranac offering, but far from the worst. I'll be getting it again because I'm curious to see which foods pair well.

 594 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.09/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From memory again. First pale back in the day, even before I tried SNPA. This pours a golden color, with an effervescent white fluffy head. Aroma is strong pine, sweet malt, and a bit of biscuit. Very little citrus or florals, and mostly goes on the pine. Flavor doesn't have much sweetness, mostly pine, but balanced enough that makes this pretty easy to drink. Slightly watered down. Mediocre and not exciting, but certainly not bad.

 435 characters

Photo of TriggerFingers
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok, for an English Pale Ale this is pretty solid. For those who buy it and think they are getting Sierra Nevada, Stone, Firestone Walker, etc. then you will be disappointed. Its more like Bass, but not as rounded in the malt dept. (Bass has a touch more caramel malt). Most Pale ale people have gone whole-hog into the citrus/floral and even dank (refer to American beers loaded with Columbus circa 7-10 years ago). I digress...for what it is...its pretty good. I am trying to think of a non-British, English IPA that I like better...and ? I can't seem to think of any. If you can't find Bass, Smithwicks, or Whitbread at your local store/pub and want something English...you would hard pressed to find anything better!

Last Words? It is what it is!

 751 characters

Photo of Moose64
4.64/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This Pale Ale is what I compare all other Pale Ales too. The East Kent Golden hops makes it unique, hopped enough but not too much like most other brewers do. Great smell and taste. What a Pale Ale should be. Great beer to have with a nice steak. Haven't found a Pale Ale to match this one (but I'll keep looking).

 314 characters

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

Bottle poured into a pint glass. This Pale Ale pours a deep golden copper, clear and with a light carbonation. A thin whitish cap settles out quickly to a light surface film.

Bready pale malts on the nose. Neutral and uninspiring yet nothing to deter. Warming does add some complexity to the malt structure of the beer and adds a slight roast character. Feel is bright and surprisingly bubbly for the light apparent carbonation, and offers a subtle bitterness on the finish.

Overall rather light in body with a subtle roast character. A bit light in sweetness for the style but fairly well done as such. A supportive hop character is more evident with a little exposure. An easy drinking English Pale.

 704 characters

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

Poured a quarter inch offwhite head with a short lifespan. Clear amber verging on sienna color and almost devoid of effervescence after the little head. Smells mildly of malt. Taste is utterly mainstream and in fact I find little difference between this ale and their lager which I had immediately before it. Thoroughly average.

 328 characters

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

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A - in bright light, this beer doesn't look like much more than Boston Lager. In dimmer light, however, it's a very good looking orange.

S - do not care for the smell. The acidity is very present and the hop presence gives it a sense of sour wheat.

T - not bad, but not much going on. There is far too much carbonation for it to be sipped, and the hops have almost no floral character. Sour and bitter.

M - like I said, the carbonation is overwhelming and really invades your mouth. Not a sipping beer.

O - not a terrible beer, but there are much better PAs to be had.

 607 characters

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into becker. Light golden orange, crystal clear, with a small fizzy head with god retention and lacing. Smell is nicely balanced hops and malt. Taste is hop-forward, very crisp and clean. Easy-drinking and tasty, a nice pale ale.

 253 characters

Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear light brown with a small white head.

Decent hop profile in the aroma. Backed well by malty sweetness. Floral and pine notes dominate.

Pine again with sweet caramel malts, moderate bitterness with some sourness, clean finish.

Medium bodied APA, sessionable.

Not too shabby.

 282 characters

Photo of thain709
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The body was a golden amber hue that had nice clarity...the white head stood two fingers tall and receded slowly to a full cap...nice lacing was left

S - Very watered down and mineraly...there was some toasted malt, biscuit/bread aroma, and grassy hops

T - Hops are actually the first flavor that hits the palate...they start off with an earthy flavor to them presenting some fresh cut grass qualities...they then become citric and fruity in flavor before the malts take over...a bready middle stands out with a minimal caramel backbone...the finish has a fruity flavor from the malts and hops

M - Medium bodied...clean, fruity, semi-bitter

O - I enjoyed this Pale Ale better than the IPA from the mixed pack...not usually a fan of the English style, but this one worked

 779 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into NB globe. Poured a copper honey with about 3 fingers of foam. Very bready malty aromas, typical of the style, but not much hop aroma. Some crisp fruit malt hints.
Taste is very mild, but of english style malts, and very limited on hops. Some caramel malts are present. Slightly thin and bitter mouthfeel, but easy to drink.
I went to school in up state NY, so I have had this countless times both on tap and bottle. I may prefer this in the bottle, but I think because I like this one really cold. I think the cold reall masks some malts and allows the crispness to come through. Overall, an average brew. Its a go-to if nothing else seems good, but I would rarely just buy a 6-er of it.

 712 characters

Photo of cyclonece09
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a nice amberish straw color with a small white head that leaves nice lacing. Smells of earthy hops and malt, with the malt being heavier than the hops. Tastes of malt and slight hop taste, but very tasty for an English style. Carbonation is great for this light bodied beer and goes down great. Overall, an above average beer.

 386 characters

Photo of BeerKangaroo
2.93/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Into a pint glass:

A: copper/amber colored body that yields a half finger white head that stays for about a minute and then dies to a half finger head that sticks around for about twenty seconds. A fair amount of bubbly carbonation is seen rising. Some spotty lacing is left here and there around the pint glass.

S: hops and the malts combined very well. Some citrus is really faint.

T: centered around the malts but still the hops come out slightly, just trying to make a presence, still mostly subdued.

M: medium with a slightly creamy feel. It does leave a slight sour aftertaste.

O: well, its not a bad pale ale, but if I wanted this again, I'd search it out only on tap, maybe ????

 691 characters

Photo of Dodo2step
3.36/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P- Thanks to my buddy Matt for this brew.

A- light copper/amber color tones. one and half finger head with light dissipation. ok lacing on the pint.

S- nose is faint. I can barely make out some citrus hops butnot much else. some vinegar malt smell as well.

F- The malts come out more dominant than the citrus hops. Not a huge of this design. Its not terrible but i just prefer the hop.

M- more maltish than hoppiness. The mouth feels sour with the aftertaste.

O- Not a bad Pale Ale but i have had better. Middle of the road.

 529 characters

Photo of rlee1390
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Clear orange, decent carbonation, two finger light fluffy head

S-Too much malt in the nose, some citrus hops and a tad bit of grassy notes as well. But once again too much malt. (Bottle is fresh)

T-Rather bland, malt is overpowering like the nose but still too much of it. Hops are not as present either and the bitterness is low.

M-Light to medium bodied, not much carbonation, a tad on the watery side as well

O-Having this blind I would not have guessed that this was a Pale Ale. Too much malt and not enough hops, even for a Pale Ale.

 544 characters

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

Served on tap in a pint glass at a BWW in Stamford CT.

A classic English Pale! Mild amber color, low foam. Very little lacing, and light on the bubbles. The smell is modest, but inviting. Taste too. Notes of toffee, and low nuttiness. English hop finish.

Crisp tasty, overall a very good beer,

 296 characters

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

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: 1 1/2 finger white head with large bubbles. Hazy light amber color body. Head dissipates down to a thin film before fleeting to the edges.

S: Very strong malt aroma. Have to search for the hops. Would call it grassy, earthy with a hint of citrus.

T: Like another person said, much more an English Pale Ale than an American Pale Ale. Very malty upfront with an attempt to balance with cascade hops at the end. Lingering aftertaste of both malt and hop.

M: Slightly oily like the English counterpart. Leaves a little bit of stickiness in the mouth afterward. Good carbonation, medium body.

Overall true to its style and not a bad beer. Nothing I would actively seek out again. Could be replaced in their mix packs.

 756 characters

Photo of TechTriumph
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No freshness date; Poured in a pint glass.

A - One inch off-white creamy head; Clear, caramel colored appearance; Pretty good web of lacing left behind

S - Not an overly strong aroma here; Notes of leafy/earthy and slightly spicy hops with caramel and toasty malts to give some balance

T - Good showing of leafy/earthy hops in the taste; A bit of sweet caramel and toasty flavors provide some balance to the hops, just like the nose; Very light bitterness present in the beginning half of the taste; Leafy hops flavor lingers in the aftertaste

M - Moderate carbonation; Medium bodied; A little slick and oily in the mouthfeel; Slightly dry finish

O - Overall, this is a solid English pale ale that fits right in with the style. It's refreshing and easy to drink, but doesn't have any characteristics that stand out for me. I would have this beer again, but it's not one that really separates itself from the pack.

 918 characters

Photo of VaterRoss
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into pint glass, no BB

Appearance is a surprisingly dark color, a clear amber. Head is a nice fluffy white with some side cling. Some lacing. Smell is some English malt (mellow and bready) with a hint of soap and some light hops. Smell is weak and not entirely pleasant. Taste is caramel malt, clean hop bitterness and some soap. Taste is actually quite nice and biscuity with hop bitterness (hint of citrus) to finish. Mouthfeel is a bit slick, medium body and medium carb.

Quite malty, definitely more English than American.This reminded me of a hoppier Bell's Amber Ale with much less soapiness. An excellent all occasions beer that won't break the bank, definitely something I would keep around as a fridge stocker. If the off soapiness disappeared (evident in smell and mouthfeel) and the flavor popped a bit more this would be a great beer.

 860 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance - Pours an amber, slightly red color with a head that faded quite fast to give just a bit of lacing.

Smell -Caramel is the first detected with a bit of maple mixed in. At the end there is a little bit of citrusy hop aroma, not much, but a very light aroma.

Taste - Sweet malt up front with hints of caramel and the slightest bit of roasty flavor. A very light hop taste, mainly pine meets the tongue later in the tasting experience.

Mouthfeel - A just above average mouthfeel. A decent body and a nice level of carbonation.

Overall - Its a good session beer. Saranac always does a great job of offering quality beers at a good price. In fact I would say they are one of the tops in taste to price ratio. Well worth a try.

 772 characters

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

Ba Review #108
Served On: 01/18/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV:
Date/ Code: 06/30/2012

This was in the 2012 'What Ales You' mixed 12 pack (great selection of beers by the way).

Look: Poured a brilliant clear copper with yellow highlights. Carbonation was solid. A great looking brew.

Smell: Sharp grapefruit within a sweet syrupy malt. The hop aroma had an herbal quality. Aroma seemed rather pungent for a Pale Ale.

Taste: Up front was a quick blast of citrus that was quickly drenched with a semisweet malt. The middle was a strong bitterness that could only brew this with. The end was a strong bitterness that is very reminiscent of the Saranac IPA.

This is an excellent Pale Ale, but not quite as good as their Big Moose.

 743 characters

Photo of rangerred
3.13/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazy copper with a one finger head. Head quickly dissipates leaving slight lacing.

Smells of earthy hops with a bit of caramel and metal. There is a metallic taste throughout that is somewhat unappealing.

Earthy hop flavors dominate along with caramel and toffee. Moderate bitterness along with a good bit of sweetness from the specialty malts.

Overall not a very impressive beer. A bit too sweet and the metallic taste is a turn off.

 497 characters

Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,294 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!