Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

1,306 Ratings
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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

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Ratings: 1,306 |  Reviews: 632
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.

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Photo of musicforairports
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can into DFH snifter. I think the 12-pack indicated it was canned two months ago or so.

Copper, with a one-finger head that leaves some lacing.

Smells like earthy and fruity hops.

Taste is heavy on the hops, but their flavors are pretty subdued. Still tastes like an English Pale Ale, with flowery, citric and earthy. There's a bunch of malt here too, with hints of caramel and a lot of breadiness.

Mouthfeel is medium and on the lighter side of carbonation.

Glad they started canning this beer. It's great for camping. It's a good staple for its prices around here. Like all of Saranac's beers, it's nothing outstanding, but it's one of their better and more reliably enjoyable ones.

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Photo of SylviaFaye
3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The minimal head subsides quickly over the bright, honey-colored body that compliments the sticky, sweet smell (of honey and peaches) wafting from the brew. The taste sends a variety of signals. Hoppy! Fruity! Floral! Rich! Perhaps the best word to describe the flavor in totality is BIG. A bitterness clings to the roof of the mouth after the beer is swallowed. The mouthfeel is medium, a bit more chewy than that of some other products by Saranac that I have sampled.

Overall: This is one of the better Saranac brews that I have tried. I can't get enough of the fruity, floral flavor. It is so bright and pleasant.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz. can with no freshness date. Brewed to 13.5P with English pale and crystal malts, and hopped with Cascade and Kent Goldings. Pours reddish amber, clear, with medium carbonation and two fingers of tan head that leaves nice lacing. Crisp aroma consists of pine, citrus, fruit and flowers, with sweet caramel malt and flavorful yeast that gives just a dash of well-integrated diacetyl. Very English-tasting, with notes of floral hops, bready/biscuity malts and fruity/earthy/nutty yeast. Also, hints of burnt sugar, citrus, resinous pine sap and a moderate, lingering bitterness. The finish lands a bit watery and I was expecting more caramel malt based on the color (adjusted with black malt perhaps?), and the body is smooth, with low carbonation and a dry, almost tannic edge to it. Not too bad of a brew here. It's approachable, easy to drink, well-hopped, and fairly priced to boot; definitely recommended.

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

Pours a hazy copper orange. Thin fizzy head. It kinda smells interesting. Dominated by sweet caramel with a slight fruity nose.

Tastes ok. Nothing that really wows me. A lot of citrus there. Kinda on the fruity side. Sweet caramel and toasted grains in the background. Very little mouth feel making it seem watery.

I wouldn't drink a lot of these. There just isn't enough there to keep me interested.

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Photo of BigRedN
3.27/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. The beer is copper in color and a touch hazy. Pour produces a somewhat thin head (about 1/4 inch), which fades to a dollop of foam on the beer and ring around the glass.

Smell: The scent is initally dominated more by hop aromas. A citrousy floral aroma arises from the beer following the initial pour. As the beer sits between sips, mild malt notes; slightly toasted barley with a little caramel and/or toffee, come out.

Taste: In line with the aroma, I expected a bit more maltiness for this beer being this is an English pale ale rather than an APA.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body with good carbonation. Lively on the tongue and throat going down, a bit acidic in the finish.

Drinkability: Purchased as part of a mixed 6 pack while on a trip. A decent enough beer, average for the style. Not available where I live, however, there are better more available beers to consume.

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

this pale ale has a great dark brown color and a very nice caramel smell. The flavor is a well balanced bitter with sweet spices. This is the first beer from saranac that I have had. I'll keep my eyes pealed for more from them. I was impressed by their pale ale and I look forward to trying more from them

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

Single bottle from my Saranac Adirondack mixed pack.

Poured into a nonic. A slightly murky copper brew, the pour leaving a thick-bubbled head that seemed to survive quite well for itself. Some lacing streaks here and there.

Nose is pale malts, caramel, a bit of bread, citrus (cascade?), honey.

Tastes like an English pale ale - I was expecting an APA, so this was certainly a surprise. Starts with toffee, caramel, usual English suspects, then finishes with a mild citric hoppy bitterness.

Slightly creamy, drinks like a nitro-can of English ale.

Not a bad rendition of the English style. Tastes a lot like a toned town version of their IPA (or, more likely, vice versa), which is a good thing. The mild use of cascade hops actually pairs rather well with the English pale malts. Decent brew indeed.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. of unCANny goodness, thanks to woodychandler; poured to a pint glass. I recall having this in a mixed 6-pack on a road trip through upstate New York, summer '96 (actually recall buying them at a little grocery heading out of Cooperstown after a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame). First taste since then...

Green can, emblazoned with a bold red 'SARANAC' above a scene of forested hills and a placid lake.

A: Glowing copper pour, good clarity marred by the faintest haze. Lazy bubbles are steady, if not terribly plentiful. Gorgeous head, well over a finger of loosely-knit dusted white froth that breaks apart into airy pockets like a sponge. Nice lace, too; a permanent band of crackled foam stays near the rim, other less impressive ones descend.

S: Brightly 'English' aroma of honeyed malt and dry toast with a covering sprinkle of flowers and a little of the citrus/pine of Cascade hops.

T: Grassy and flowery - honey-sweetened and caramel-rich - with a notable citrus (lemon) squeeze to add some zing. After a pinch of spicing, there's a dulled herbal/mineral bitterness that loiters in the finish

M: A little sparkle at first, then more mellow (and kinda boring). Light-medium body. Some stickiness hangs on the palate, rings the lips.

O:A solid, well-made example of an everyday English-style Pale. Not many bells or whistles, just a nicely layered and easy-to-drink ale that I could see as a sessionable pub favorite on draught, although its 5.5% abv stretches the bounds a little.

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear brown-red color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head has decent retention, reducing down to a ring around the glass leaving behind spots of lacing.

S - Aroma is a bland of sweet carmel malts and some piney hops. There is a lot of sweetness, maybe a touch too much.

T - Starts off with some sweet toffee flavor alongside some piney hop flavor. Even a little fruity. Through the middle some deeper malt flavor comes through with a bit of bread flavor. The finish is a mix of some light sweet caramel malts and just a bit of grassy hop bitterness that linger.

M - Medium-light to medium bodied with moderate sharp carbonation. Dry mouthfeel with a farily dry finish. Fairly smooth and crisp. Feels a touch empty overall.

D - Very drinkable. Overall decently balanced and refreshing, but could have used a bit more flavor. Just feels a bit lacking in a few areas.

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Photo of Rayek
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours into my Perfect Pint glass as a pale amber, with a light haze. A slightly soapy eggshell head falls to a patchy film and leaves behind a fair amount of lace. In the mouth, the beer is light, a bit dry and too fizzy for my tastes. Speaking of taste, this is a fairly straightforward take on the style. toasted sweetbread malts are followed by an herbal black tea bitterness. The bitterness lingers into the finish along with a slight astringency. Overall, its a nice, unassuming and easily drinkable beer.

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Photo of nukem5
2.99/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Great looking copper color with a nice thich tan cap which does last a bit very nice lacing and overall look of beer.

S: Get the same old smell of stale canned beer and a bit of hops fruity and sweet in the back.

T: Bitterness is in front but almost skunky and after taste of canned stale beer lingers in there as well.

M: Decent medium bodied with a nice carbonation level.

D: Ok drinkability would drink it over a couple of other beers... maybe the beer snob in me but would certainly give Matt brewing money over some other brands on this one.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Gritty's pint glass.

The color is slightly hazy orange with a finger of foamy white head ans some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell is sweet with some hoppy floral aroma. There is a bit of a orange sherbet aroma as well.

The taste is a bit grassy with a hop flavor that carries into a grainy flavor. Some malt flavor mixed with a little bit of a biscuit flavor rounds out the flavor profile.

The feel of this beer is light and a bit bitter. This has a nice drinkable feel and goes down quite easy.

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

[Best served in an English Pint]

The pour was a clear dark golden copper with a thin (less than 1 finger) fizzy white head that dissipated rapidly and had no lacing at all.

The aroma was of a toasted caramel malt, a floral hop and an earthy yeast with slight notes of citrus, honey and a touch of some dried fruit.

The taste was quite malty with a hint of honey and a mild fruitiness at the start and finished mildly hoppy with a nice note of citrus and a touch of sweetness at the end. The flavor lasted an average amount of time proceeding the swallow which allowed for the bitter citrus flavor to really take hold.

Mouthfeel was a bit heavier than medium in body and had a dry texture with almost prickly carbonation.

Overall a well rounded Pale Ale with a very enjoyable bitter sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased as part of the "What Ales You" mixed 12pk. Pours a crystal-clear amber body with a half inch of short-lived off-white head. Grassy herbal minty hops share the aroma with a much more subdued breadiness. Herbal hops with apple, nut, bread, and a hint of butter toward the finish. Medium in both body and carbonation. Drinkable to a point, but there's a slight astringency from the diacetyl and herbal hop notes that hurts the drinkability some. A pretty decent middle-of-the-road EPA.

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Photo of scootny
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

nice clear pale copper with an off white head and good lacing on the glass. Light malt and yeasty bread greet my nose. Some English style fruitiness and a bit of earth mixed with a surprising (for an English style pale ale) hint of citrus. Taste is fruity with a biscuity malt. Some toasted notes and light caramel sweetness. Dry nutty finish with some clean grapefruit hop oil bitterness. It lingers a touch. Medium weight with a prickly carbonation that nonetheless is quite refreshing and smother that it has a right to be. Quite drinkable and my glass is empty in short order. An English pale with a nod to the west coast. Nothing to shake the world but a good solid ale that is better than the sum of its parts.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac Pale Ale has a clear, dark copper-colored body and a slight, off-white head. Retention and lacing are both good.

The aroma has fruity hops and caramel malt.

The hops express themselves first, leading with a considerable grapefruit flavor that is followed by a less assertive fruit character that is more like pineapple. This tastes like a mix of American and English hops to me, but I could be wrong. Next comes a good bit of sweetness and caramel flavor. A bit of bitterness in the finish. The malt is a little less assertive than in a standard English IPA, as it has a slight watery character to it. The hops are more assertive than I would expect for the style, and I'm pretty sure that an American hop such as cascade was thrown in there.

Fairly light body, not much to it. Moderate amount of carbonation.

Saranac Pale Ale is a decent beer. Like most Saranac products, the flavor is acceptable when compared to the price tag.

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

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler.

Pours a nice light clear amber with a small light brown creamy head. Nose is very strong, lightly floral as well as sweet like honey.

Taste is extremely well balanced, there is a nice hop bite to it (perhaps a bit too much for an English Pale, but right on spot for an American), with a creamy caramel backbone. Carbonation is just about right if a bit high, with a slightly light mouthfeel. Very drinkable and tasty with a bitter finish.

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Photo of aranheaney
3.15/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes from Poker Night, thanks to Rodd Rodgers for sharing:

A-Straw like with a finger of head that disappears pretty quickly

S-decent, some roast and malt

T-similar, the maltiness is more than I prefer in a Pale

M-ok, nothing too offensive nor memorable here

D-fair, this is drinkable, but there are better options out there

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Photo of tone77
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. can. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is primairily of hops. Taste is good, well balanced malts and hops, a touch bitter at the finish.. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this makes for a quality beer.

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

Poured a clear amber color from a 12 oz bottle. No mention of ABV or 'best-by' date on the label.
Even after an aggressive pour there wasn't any head.
Aroma is predominantly malty with hints of sweet caramel, fruity notes.
Taste upfront is sweet with a sharp bitter finish. Overall, this ale feels pretty bland and mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side.
There wasn't any visible lacing along the glass.
Decent ale, but not something I would go out of my way to have.

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

Pours amber with a thin white head, not much retention with faint lacing on the glass. The nose is quite malty and there is not much more to it than that, hops are barley detectable but do show themselves. Taste is quite malty as well, a lingering bitterness is there, quite crisp and refreshing. Good solid mouthfeel, a little syrupy, moderate carbonation. One of these is enough, I'll probably be passing on this one however.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a stein

A: pours a medium brown color with a small amount of off white head that dissipates quickly, leaves a decent amount of lacing

S: medium caramel malts with a slight smoked wood scent

T: nice smooth taste, nice caramel malts, a bit of a deep flavor for a pale ale

D/M: smooth on the palate, medium carbonation tingle, a bit too much depth for a pale ale in my opinion, nice overall

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Photo of Gilly1980
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Bright amber with lots of carbonation.

S- Quite hoppy with a strong candy-sweet aroma.

T- Rich but not overpowering hop flavor. Mildly bitter dry aftertaste.

M- Middle-of-the-road mouthfeel. Not slick and not sticky.

D- Above average ale. I enjoyed it but there are better examples of the type readily available.

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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,306 ratings.
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