Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

1,304 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 1,304 |  Reviews: 630
Photo of MeisterBurger
3.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, russet amber with minimal head and lacing. It doesn't take long before there is little to no visible carbonation.

The aroma is chalky, mildly malty, a little earthy.

The a total letdown. The thin body fails to deliver much maltiness, and the hops are on the soapy side of things. There's a hint of pepper and overall it does taste like a middle of the road English Pale Ale, but a very thin bodied and watered down one.

This is okay. Inoffensive. But it isn't anything special and once my six pack is gone I won't miss it.

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Photo of weller1js
2.64/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

appearance: pours a clear vibrant copper with moderate small carbonation, finger-thick foam lingers with lacing.

smell: subdued hoppy scent with tangy-mildly piney undertones.

taste: like the scent, hop flavor is subdued at the beginning; finishing with a bitter-piney flavor that doesn't mesh well overall.

drinkability: not unpleasant, but nothing noteworthy for an APA, was dissapointed in the character in the hops, but not a un-drinkable beer.

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

Bottle was part of the variety twelve pack. Served in a standard pint glass. Hazy orange colored body. Pillowy head. Decent carbonation. Smell was piney and fresh. Taste was pretty good. Had some definite hops in there, but not overwhelming. Nice bit of malt to aid the mouthfeel. An easy to drink beer, as it's taste and drinkability are both very satisfying. A nice everyday beer.

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

Pours reddish/copper, with a good amount of foam that recedes quickly

Aroma is a little spicy, floral, citrusy and malty.

Some bitterness, floral, and sweet malt taste. Good balance between everything here, I like it.

Mouthfeel is lighter in body, and decently carbonated. Drinkability is fine. Pretty solid EPA, but not one of the best.

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Photo of halo21
4.35/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This is a darker colored pale ale, a nice rich orange hue. It has a nice, inch thick white head, made up of nice big bubbles.

Smell: Citrusy and fruity hops up front, but followed up by a nice malt sweetness showing a little toffee.

Taste: A very balanced beer. Many times pale ales are all about hops (some should just be called an IPA), but this one brings a nice backing of malt. It starts off with a nice floral fruity hop flavor which fades to a nice bitterness, just as the sweetness comes in from the malts, bringing a nice light roast flavor with some caramel mixed in. As it warms, it shows a little more biscuit flavor, indicative of an English Pale Ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium; this one is right on target for mouthfeel. The malt flavor is held up nicely by the body, but it is still light enough to be a refreshing pale ale.

Drinkability: Big

Notes: This is a great example of this style, and I have enjoyed MANY Saranac Pale Ales over the years.

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Photo of RickS95
3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Identical to icea tea in a glass, except for a big cloudy beige head with lots of retention.

Pleasant estery smell, the hops obviously in play.

I really enjoy pale ales with Cascade hops...this doesn't have it. However, it's still got a strong hoppy flavor, and I thought I noticed some pineapple in the taste.

Despite some strong hoppy, estery flavors, this is a light bodied beer that just seems a bit too "watery" for my liking. It's mostly bitter, lacking the citrusy fruity smells and flavor I enjoy, but like I said, just a bit too light for me.

Because it's so light bodied, you can really put these away if you like the taste. Decent alcohol, despite the watery taste.

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

Notes from 7/17/2010 -poured into a pint glass - capped bottle -Twelve Fluid Ounces

Appearance: Pours a deep copper amber with a huge foamy, off white head with spotty lacing.

Smell: Fruity, floral hop aroma with sweet malt.

Taste: A spicy pepper hop character immediately balances a definite caramel malt flavor. Dry finish with a lingering sweet malt presence.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation. Feel is slick but flavorful and generally balanced.

Drinkability: A drinkable English style pale ale but on the whole, average.

Comments: A well-done beer, but something keeps it from being truly outstanding.

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

Appearance: clear with an light copper colour. Light tan, moderate in size, moussy head. Good retention and a reasonable amount of lacing.
Aroma: sweet malts and floral hops, grains and biscuit hints.
Taste: again sweet malts and floral hops that confirms the aroma. Good bitterness presence.
Mouthfeel: slightly dry, average carbonation, moderate to low alcoholic strength and medium to light body.
Finish: long, kind of bitter nice finish.

Overall: nice and interesting ale. Well balanced between the malts and hops. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with 2-3 fingers of foamy eggshell-white head. This retains with a thin creamy layer of froth, with a rich flare-up that leaves back sticky swathes of lacing. The aroma is a mix of citrus and malt, with a bit of a deep earthy tang to it, which is surrounded by some floral and spicy accents on the side. This is pretty straightforward in the nose.

The taste is crisp and biting on the tongue with bitter rind, some peppery spice, and refreshing grapefruit juice which splashes the tongue. The English Pale malts sweeten this up just enough across the back of the palate, as hops linger in the finish with green citric notes and earthy dryness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a crisp smoothness to the feel that enables this to flow just so easily here, yet this still has some presence in the mouth.

While I would have liked to have felt a little more malt activity going on here overall, the hop profile and body just gave a top-notch refreshing drinkibility to this that can't be overlooked. This was a no-brainer to put into cans. I think that summer in the Adirondacks just got a little better...

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Photo of 828beagle
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass an orange-amber color with a 1/4 inch head that quickly disappears into a small lacey ring. Smells of citrus fruit and spring flowers. Tastes of sweet malts with a nice offset of bitter hops to form a good neutralization. A bit heavy for a pale ale in my opinion but that's a good thing. Decent carbonation and quite refreshing. Might be a little strong to be considered a session beer at 5.5% ABV but it sure is nice to have a few on a hot summer day.

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

Sixer picked up from Stewarts in West Land Lake on NY 66. I've had this brew many, many times in the past but finally got around to reviewing it.

Pours a pleasant amber into my Red Tail pint glass. A very slight tinge of red. Mondo head with this brew, almost spilled out the top of the glass. Nice lacing as well.

Taste is refreshing, almost slightly creamy. Very slight hop bite, barely noticeable. This is a true session beer. If my wife hadn't suggested an evening viewing of DOCTOR WHO, I suppose I could probably have enjoyed quite a few of these.

Well done, FX Matt.

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Photo of bigrzman
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this in a mixed 6 pack of Saranac. i live fairly close to the brewery now and I would like to have the Pale Ale on tap. This is a tasty brew.

A: Pours with a healthy reddish-white head that linger on with good lacing. The beer itself is amber and has a lot more carbonation than an English Pale Ale would. That is the only let down. Besides that it looks very appetizing.

S: You can smell the clean floral smell of quality hops and roasted barley. You can also smell a little citrus.

T: Malty, salty, citrusy, and floral. It reminds me of a real English pale ale but somewhat more salty. It is not thirst quenching but tasty. It leaves a pleasant hoppy aftertaste.

M: It has a medium body and is drying. It is smooth and makes you want to take another sip.

D: Compared to the IPA this is correct representaion of this style. Yes sir, may I have another. This will go great with cheese, salty snacks, and seafood dishes.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.09/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- All of these beers in their mixed six pack have looked very very good. Its been a nice surprise. This one, like the others, holds a nice head that leaves an insane coating of lace. The beer is a typical clear copper.

S- Lots of toast and bread crust. Light and delicately floral English hops.

T- Pretty hoppy and bitter for the style. Its pretty nice. You still get the toasty malts, but the English style hops are much stronger than they normally are. They lend much bitterness in the form of pine, grass and flowers.

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Photo of racecar02
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my go to beers. The color is a nice copper. It smells of hops with a nice malt undertone. I love the taste of this beer and have drank a bunch over the years of my life. If there is one draw back I would say it is the mouthfeel of this beer. It doesn't make a grand entrance in your mouth instead it comes in quietly and leaves that way. No real punch to each sip but some times you need that in a beer.

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Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear light amber in color. It poured with a thin white head that has good retention properties; a thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are moderate aromas of grainy malts with some notes of caramel and floral hops.
T: The taste has a good balance between malty sweetness and mild hop bitterness; the finish is slightly bitter.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate.
D: The beer is rather easy to drink but the flavors aren't that interesting so I'm not sure if I would want more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Whoa, when did they can this beer? Has someone informed Woody? Regardless, it pours a clear amber copper topped by a thick finger+ of white froth. The nose comprises orange peel, light florals, and a tiny bit o' toffee. The taste holds notes of some weak hoppy bitterness, watered-down citrus, and a depressed vein of toffee. You don't get much more pale than this, I guess. ...Whatever that means. The body is pretty light, with moderate carbonation and a crisp finish. Overall, a decent, but thoroughly average pale ale. That isn't to say that it's bad, it's just not something I would really ever seek out with any perceptible vim.

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Photo of tchenery
3.27/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a nice orange hue. Looks like it's going to be a malty English style. Thin head that recedes.

I almost can't smell anything. There are some malt notes here, maybe a few hops, but not much.

Beer tastes smooth. Not too much hop bitterness, but no sweetness making it fairly balanced. There's a slight fruit taste at the end.

Definitely drinkable.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this beer the other day and took some notes down

16oz can poured into my pint glass

The appearance was that of a slightly dark copper color with a one and a half inch slightly tan head. Average head retention that as it subsided it left very slight lacing clinging to the sides of my glass.

The aroma was pretty much half and half with malts probably taking a slight edge. I got smells of toffee, caramel, and pale malts. With the hops I got more floral essence hops then citrus kind with a grassy smell, herbal, and slight perfume like.

The taste upfront was slightly citrus like with some lemon, slight grapefruit, dominating midway comes the caramel malts with toffee and slight cracker like malts. Overall it was a little more on the malty side, which I did not appreciate.

Mouthfeel is about between light bodied and medium bodied with average carbonation.

Overall I wish this had a little more hop taste being a pale ale, but it was decent enough to try at least once

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Photo of DrDonbert
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This was definitely better in the can.

As for appearance, I was on the golf course, so I'll admit I drank it straight out of the can. I expected the beer to explode out from rocking around in the bag each time I opened one, but instead some very dense copper-ish foam just squeezed out. A pleasant hoppy aroma also managed to escape. Tasted caramel, biscuit- seemed noticeably fresher and sweeter than its bottled counterpart. The biggest surprise was the mouthfeel, which was extremely smooth and dense, perhaps from all of the carbonation that was knocked out. Drinkability wasn't high, though, for a beer this sweet.

Really enjoyed this, all around.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

CAN you believe that somebody listened to me? When I first reviewed this, its style was misidentified and it has since been corrected! CAN you believe that sliverX copped to sending me a CAN (or two) for the CANQuest? CAN you believe that I have not yet begun my review? Let's CAN this nonsense, shall we?

If you are a subscriber to the theory that beer drinkers get more head, then this is your beer! My initial pour created better than two fingers of thick, tawny head that looked like the result of an N2 pour. I could have made designs in the head, if I had been so inclined. Color was a deep orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was at once slightly malty sweet, but also grassy and even with hints of tobacco. A very earthy beer, to be sure. Mouthfeel was slightly thin, but the commingling of malt and hops on the tongue was extremely pleasant. Finish tended more towards sweet than bitter, but that is part of the distinction of an English Pale Ale. As sliverX mentioned, this was a very pleasant beer that rates inclusion in anyone's cooler (if you CAN find it).

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Photo of PDXHops
2.58/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A lightish see-thru body is capped with a modest off-white head. Decent retention with a bit of lacing here and there.

Mild malty nose- sweet toffee with some fruitiness. Plenty of toffee flavor as well, tangy and mildly sweet. A bit of citrus kicks in midswallow, and it dries out from there. Fairly crisp and clean finish. A bit of a stale papery quality flavor in the background somewhere.

Overall impression: A bit on the boring side, but serviceable.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.7/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A little more yellow than I was expecting. Decent carbonation and head. Aroma was macroish.

Taste, minimal bitterness and hops. Rather light for my pale ale desires. Again, tastes macroish. Below desired levels of just about everything in the beer. Little prickly feeling in the mouthfeel. Too expensive for what it is to give it a better drinkability rating.

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

Presentation: On tap at the Flying Saucer in Columbia, SC.

A: Light copper color, white head, and minimal lacing.

S: Mild hoppiness. Some citrus and peppery aroma with a mild malt sweet presence.

T&M: Light to medium bodied with an up-front faint caramel-malt presence that expands to a floral hop taste with some fruit character.

Better than I remember from way back when. The last time I had a bottle was at least 10 yrs ago. I'd love to try some of their other specialty brews after this one.

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Photo of Kooz
3.15/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can taste the hops, and if you've seen any of my earlier reviews, I'm not a hop guy, but this is not offensive to me like some others can be. In fact, this pale ale has a kind of sweet taste that balances out the hops nicely.

Smells nice, but has a bit of a bite to it. One sniff is enough...

Looks fine, typical pale ale--nothing special about it. Some lacing.

Mouthfeel is interesting--one swish fills your mouth with..aroma? Can that be right? Nothing substantive but a strong hint of the beer. It's interesting.

This is a pretty drinkable beer. I am always unsure of what others are looking for in this category, but I think of it in terms of would I drink this again, how often, and under what circumstances. As I drink this one I'm trapped in an airport for another hour. I think I'll try it again right now, so that merits a decent score I suppose.

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

Had on draft on a lovely 80 degree friday night dinner on the lake. In syracuse, Saranac means Summer

A- great copper look with an unprecedented head. Foamy as all heck. Well carbonated as well

S- some darker citrus themes are contrasted with a sweet malt. The connection to bavarian hops produce a banana type scent which I love. The overall scent experience is accompanied by a final darker malty scent

T- caramel, bananas, sweet malt. The earthy hops combine with some spiced hops. The flavor is primarily dominated by some tasty malts. It taste like summer in syracuse/adirondacks. Very good american interpretation of bavarian brewing when it comes to taste

M- full bodied and big time carbonation

D- saranac pale ale is sooo good when it comes to laying back and enjoying these days. The brew is well represented when it comes to an english pale ale. It has the flavor to make you welcome summer. Great brew


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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,304 ratings.
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