Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

1,305 Ratings
Read the review
Saranac Pale AleSaranac 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,305 |  Reviews: 631
Photo of Lawnboy33
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of Adamostella
4/5  rDev +15.9%

Photo of fmccormi
4/5  rDev +15.9%

Photo of JRod1969
4/5  rDev +15.9%

4.25/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of rodney45
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A:Burnished copper color. Wind swept sea foam colored head that lingers.

S: Has a slight barley smell. Not much in terms of hop aroma. Nothing overwhelming, finely balanced.

T: Pear, cantelope, and mango. Balanced well with the malt that speaks mostly of roasted barley and perhaps some cereal grains.

D: Very smooth and very drinkable. This beer goes down well.

O: This beer isnt overwhelming or notable in any one area, except its ability to please as a flagship brand ale. Its very approachable, and very drinkable. I can see why its popular. Good entry level craft beer for those who should be broken into the scene slowly. This wouldnt be a bad beer to keep around just to have. Its unassuming and unpretentious. I actually enjoyed this beer more than my review would make it seem.

 793 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.62/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a translucent brownish, dark amber color with a half inch of head. Almost no lacing. Aroma is bready with a good amount of sweet malts. Some spicy, earthy hops as well. Taste is bready. A bit fruity with hints of apple. Floral hop finish. Lots of malt flavor. Mouthfeel is very light. This is an easy to drink beer. Overall, its decent but nothing special.

 375 characters

Photo of mastodonj
3.04/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured int o a glas tumbers from a 12 bottle

A light amber color with small creamy head and lacing
Smell - great caramel and malt nose
T-Bitterness goall, fadesl rapidliy
M- muthfeel is near zerol.,

O-overall decent but not anythihg t writie hom dabout.
These Saranacs all seem to have cleanpalate finish

 307 characters

Photo of bubseymour
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oranage copper appearance with lots of carbonation but very average head of 1 finger. Retention is holding ok with the carbonation.

Smell - very malty and cracker/bready scents.

Taste - Very pedestrian pale ale. Slight metallic taste but otherwise its an easy drinker ale.

Mouthfeel - Very pleasant mouthfeel.

Overall - A good bang for the buck pale ale that is easily sessionable but very forgettable as well.

 415 characters

Photo of Meshuggah135
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer had a copper color with minimal head when poured. I poured it and let it sit for a few minutes to warm up a bit. The smell was sweet but not overwhelming.

The mouthfeel was average, very light with little carbonation. It had a very toasty taste to it, with a hint of

It's definitely not the best English ale, but overall, a pretty good beer

 354 characters

Photo of Osirus
2.72/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A little darker than many pale ales but in a good way. Good lace down the glass! It looks like a good beer should.

Aroma: Toasted and malty, a lack of hop. Some caramel. Not fruity.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was good. Medium body.

Taste: Toasted grains. Caramel. A little heavier taste than I was expecting. A noticeable lack of typical hops taste.

Overall: I would gladly pick this one of the cooler versus your typical Nascar beer. It was a little heavier, singular in taste and much less hoppy than I thought a pale ale would be. I would not recommend it to a beginner learning the pale ale style but a decent dpearture from the middle of the road. I am going to use this one in horizontal tasting with other pale ales.

 735 characters

Photo of Chaney
3.31/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Mildly hazy, copper-amber color, with a fairly substantial finger or so head that held its frothy form throughout the session.

S: Sweet malt, a tinge of citrus, candy sugar, and something off that reminded me of car wax.

T: Not bad, but I would have preferred more citrus bite overall. Malt for sure, as well as a hint of plastic.

M: Lots of solid white lacing left on the glass and the carbonation was fine.

O: Pleasant enough, but ultimately forgettable.

 463 characters

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

A: Very pale copper, clear with a few random streams of bubbles. Decent size barely off-white head. Unremarkable stick and stay.

S: Citrus hops, maybe leaning lemony, but mostly pretty non-specific. Background fruity esters, caramel, and malty grain. Rather too clean and too faint.

T: Very citrus hop forward – lemon, rind, grapefruit. The middle mixes in a leafy herbal character with just the barest hints of pine and resin. Quite bitter. But also juicy, fruity, and floral. Minimally sweet though. Malts are more toasty, bicuity, and bready. Some hints of pale crystal give just a light touch of caramel. Overall, malts stay behind the hops. Slightly herbal, vaguely astringent, tea-like impression creeping around the edges and sticking around in the finish.

M: Body just a hair under medium with carbonation average. Very well attenuated with a hoppy very drying finish.

D: Pretty good blended pale style – sort of English type malts with citrus hops. Decent, but not special. I think a tad less attenuation & more malt character would help this one.

 1,065 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.22/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

An amber red/brown with copper hued body appears, and is slightly opaque. Head is a light creamy caramel but never bigger than two fingers off the pour. Leaves a good puck while sitting.

Nose is very sweet. Distinct smell of honey and brown sugar. Mild herbal tea like hops as well.

Starts off with a buttery malt sense that goes into aggresive burnt bitters. Dry and jarring with no distinct aftertaste except a burnt char and blackened hop bitter.. Way too carbonated and a distinct wet fizz. Taste improves after a few sips but the first few sips are hard to get past.

Overall not really feeling this one, and the taste is just a burnt bbq mess.

 700 characters

Photo of Crossmd
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft pour into a shaker pint. Probably 45 degrees fahrenheit.

Pours a lucid copper red with a half finger foam cap, no lacing.

Smells sharply of piny, resinous maybe citrus hops? Excellent projection though on first pour.

Tastes much like it smells, but softer and rounder in the mouthfeel with a disappointing lack of attack that i was expecting- as if the malty backbone that was supposed to provide support is instead fighting for the spotlight. Points off here for a little bit of imbalance. Just the slightest hint of corn(?) and brown sugar at the start of the drydown. Finishes very well though, crisp and clean with lingering pine resins.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly more effervescent than i would imagine, never overtaking the body, and adding a plesantly contrasting dynamism, I think.

Overall pleasant and enjoyable, many parallels i think to the Sierra Nevada Pale, which is absolutely a good thing. Not distinguishing enough to get me to reach for it if it's on the same shelf though. More deserving than the reviews here would suggest though.


 1,064 characters

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

Slightly red but mostly golden. About a finger of head but it drops down to just a thin blanket after a minute or two. Light caramel nose with faint amount of earthy hops (slight amounts of pine). Flavor is all the caramel malts but thin on body. Hop aroma was more powerful than the actual hop character. It finished with more of a carbonation tingle than a hop bite. It was decent all around but I would overpass this compared to most pale ales.

 447 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper with one finger of head. Nice retention. Smell is very malty with just a hint of hops. Taste is rich, malty sweetness followed by a decent piny hop bitterness. The pine sticks around in the aftertaste. Medium bodied though a little thin.

Not a bad pale ale, but it's a little thin and piny for me.

 318 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a deep copper-gold color with a slight haze and light carbonation presence. No head, but a very visible, off-white colored film ring. Aroma is a light caramel malt blended with a citrus mix, and a light, oregano spiced hoppiness. Flavors range to a heavier spiced spectrum, with pepper and all spice coming through. Also a good healthy dose of citrus tang and roasted/toasted caramel. The aftertaste is spicy and tangy, all the while remaining light, with a quick, crisp, slightly dry finish. Very light and tasty beer. Great for warm weather, and just about any type of food.

 628 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.14/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Trying to beat the heat with this offering. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Pours a standard 1 finger creamy white head with good retention. Beer is a clear orange-copper. Lacing is patchy and web-like with decent cling. A nice looking beer.

This one doesn't really smell like much of anything. Some mellow citrus notes along with a touch of tea leaves. Nothing really going on here.

Opens pine and papaya hop fruitiness. Some dried tea leaves towards the middle and end with a bit of toasted cane sugar sneaked in. Finish and aftertaste is some mellow hop bitterness. Clean and simple.

Light bodied and well carbonated. Crisp, clean and refreshing in the mouth and prickly and lively going down. Finish is accented with a slightly lingering aftertaste. Just what I need on a sweltering day.

A very pedestrian offering overall but it does its job well as a nice thirst quencher and highly sessionable beer.

 942 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is transparent and orange to copper in color. The head is 1/4" thick, and leaves plenty of lacing on the pint glass. The aroma is malt forward, with fruit and nut scents. The flavor brings an earthy, malty taste with the hop character quite subdued. Bread, toast, biscuits with jam in both the nose and flavor. A bit sweet, the beer leads with malt, while a subtle hop bitterness sneaks in near the finish. The feel is medium bodied, heavier than is customary for a 5.5% pale ale. Overall, this is drinkable, but not something I see myself having again.

 562 characters

Photo of gabedivision
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can, to a pint glass.

Pours a nice dark copper color with a 2 finger head that comes to a lace with a nice retention. Smells of caramel, ginger, spice, fresh hops, nice malt/balance. Slightly metallic on the tongue, malt forward, buttery caramel with hints of spice and bitter hops. Light bodied, fair amount of carbonation, watery, bitter, with a dry finish. Overall, Saranac Pale is one of my go to session beers, always available, always cheap, and always good. Even better now that its canned.

 518 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a cervoise glass. Stamped "3350 1233" on the neck.

A: A pleasant pinkish red-orange. Light head with alright retention. Small amounts of bubbles visible in the almost clear beer. Nice lacing.

S: Nothing to complain about pleasant hops with a malty base. Crisp and clean. Apple notes?

T: Boring. But not obviously flawed. More malt-based than anticipated, with only tentative hops on the endtaste and a vague dryness on the aftertaste. Bubble gum? Meh.

M: Just enough presence and smackiness on the aftertaste to merit an average rating.

O: There's nothing wrong with this beer, but it can't stand alone or next to others of any calibre. Drink it with pizza. Not particularly recommended. I wouldn't avoid it though.

 755 characters

Photo of jeranbrews
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice frothy eggshell white head that clings and grips to the glass like moss. Also a nice amber body clear and fizzy with bubbles.

S - Rich fruit and bark. Like peaches smoked in cherry. Also a lot of sharp hops, not my personal favorite, or all that necessary for an "English" pale ale, but not out of line in the US.

T - Initial bitterness. Those hops come in hard. There is a faintly sweet fruity aftertaste that is pleasant, but it's a bit too little too late sadly.

M - Very nice. Just based on the mossy spiral staircase lacing that's around the glass you can tell it's going to be pleasant going down. Smooth

D - Overall a pleasant pale ale. It's a bit plain a bit generic but could easily hold it's own against some of the more established ales like Bass.

 771 characters

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.

 439 characters

Photo of fx20736
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Pilsener glass.

This has been a standby in my beer fridge for a few years now.

Pours a modest 1 finger offwhite head that leaves modest lacing. Aroma is muted, a faint, floral whiff of malt and grapefruit. Mouthfeel is thin with a nice sting that swallows with a mix of malt and grapefruit hops that get the upper hand. This is a nice drinkable beer. While hoppier than the name English Pale Ale suggests it is not too much so. The hops take an important role but overall this is a nice Summer evening session beer that goes very well after a few wits or Hefes.

Saranac is brewed in nearby Utica, NY and a 12 pack goes for about $ 12 at Wegmans. While Saranac's varieties are inconsistent I am glad that there is a decent, affordable micro that is widely available in the area. I hope they keep making this one for years to come.

 863 characters

Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,305 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.