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Saranac American Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac American Pale AleSaranac American Pale Ale
1,313 Ratings
Saranac American Pale AleSaranac American 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,313 |  Reviews: 635
Photo of vandemonian
3.07/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This ale is not pale; it's actually an fairly dark amber colour. It has a nice sweet honey smell. The beer has a malty sweetness with a eucalyptus tang that fades into an aftertaste chemical bitterness It is reasonably thick and carbonated in the mouth. Overall, this is a decent beer that is let down by the aftertaste.

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Photo of Brenden
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I don't even know how old these notes I just dug up are.

The body is a clear amber-copper. There's some good activity forming an off-white head just over one finger tall that retains itself well and sticks in patches to the glass.
There's a good balance of hops and malts on the nose. If only it were stronger. It's bready from the malts with citrus and plenty of zest and spices.
The malt takes over in the flavor, muting the hops bitterness a bit. A little off-balance, more hops are really called for in the flavor. Zest and spices are evident here as well.
While initially crisp with a moderate smoothness that would make for a good mouthfeel, I get a kick of something a little grainy and it gets a bit fizzy.
There's better out there, but this is a good offering and quite drinkable. This would make a good session beer.

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Photo of WinthrHOPHEAD89
4.18/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into standard tumbler glass

A - Pours a bright 1.5 - 2 finger off-white foamy head that fizzles down slightly but regenerates nicely and easily by swirling the beer around in the glass. Head leaves some nice lacing on the glass. This Pale Ale is straight up copper in color, like a brand new penny, with medium effervescence.

S - This beer has pretty much the typical "Saranac" smell, with lots of maltiness and noticeable fruity hop esters. Slight caramel and pine scents seem to be present as well. Definitely smells like a walk into a forest.

T - This beer is one of the hoppiest Pale Ales I have ever had, but that is not to say that it is intensely bitter. The English Kent Golding's and Fuggles hops are definitely noticeable on the tongue. The hops don't linger for too long though, for the bitterness is accompanied by a caramel tasting malt character. As the beer warms the hops seem to become slightly harder to pick out, but all in all the beer remains pretty sturdy throughout in terms of taste.

M - The mouthfeel on this beer is super soft. The effervescence and medium body of the beer create a very pleasing pillowy feeling on the tongue as you are drinking it.

D - The drinkability of this beer is fairly high. Pale Ale and IPA fans should find this beer a pleasant experience to drink. This seems to be a pretty sessionable beer, and goes great with Spaghetti, Meatballs, and Garlic Bread, but overall, a pretty easy beer to drink.

Final Thoughts: Very Solid beer. One I would recommend and would buy a six pack of no problem. (This beer was part of a six pack sampler)

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Photo of LuthersMug
3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice clean copper appearance with 1/2 inch of off-white head. Lacing sticks to glass, very nice.

S - Floral and fruity smells waft from this brew, very pleasant.

T - Slight hints of sweet fruit up front. Malts were a bit hard to find. Hops at the end were clean, slight bitterness.

M - A crisp and clean beer. Good carbonation.

D - I wouldn't mind having a second.

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Photo of pootz
3.87/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from LCBO:

Pours a lightly hazed amber-gold ale in the glass with a decent 2 finger off-white cap...fair retention--fair lacing...moderate carbonation.

Aroma is pleasant: bit of toffee, some biscuit dough, some toast...fruity esters..light wet hay hopiness from Kent goldings.

Medium-light body, rounded conditioned character, soft mouth feel

Nice dose of malts in the front ...a bit of malt complexity from six malts on the bill...toffee, toasty, bready, sweet biscuit, light roast...hops balance well in the middle....some great fruit tones and musty earthy bittering from Fuggles...light clean finish, bittering builds to a mildly bitter end.

An unexpected find from a US micro brewer renown for modest style rendition. At $2.15 a pint this boilerplate micro pale ale is a bargain. but I won't hold my breath waiting for local beer drinkers to appreciate the malt complexity in this beer...a very good melding of English and American styles in this easy drinking and flavorful Pale Ale. Great for sessioning or paiting with fresh shellfish.

I'll be buying quantity to lay in for the fall winter season.

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Photo of patelldp
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A: Nice golden color, slightly copper but definitely along the lines of every other Pale Ale I have ever had.

S: Rich smell that unfortunately doesn't translate directly into the taste. Slightly malty, but doesn't lead on that there is an abundance of hops as characterized by the pale ale style.

T: As I said, the smell is misleading. Slightly bitter and citrus in the beginning, ending on a musty note. Not overly impressed, but at the same time it's not offensive.

M: Watery. Seems like a light beer with a lot more taste. Very easy to down considering it's not skunky like its light counterparts.

D: Easily pounded if in the mood. With the other Pale Ales that I have learned to love (Brown's, Sierra Nevada) being a lot tastier, this seems like the likely candidate for a college student to graduate from Keystone.

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Photo of biegaman
3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Saranac Pale Ale has a good deal of colour, most of it being orange. Despite having good depth in its tone it has a very light complexion that allows the sun's rays to pass through it completely unrestricted (and even assists them in hammering out some glossy highlights along the way). Its head is substantial and lasts more than long enough.

Contrary to what they claim, the brewers don't seem to have used a lot of hops, at least not of the aromatic varieties. But no harm no foul - the malts are pleasant and ample, lending impressions of sweet biscuits and wholesome breads. A vague fruitiness may be testament to the Fuggle and Goldings hops after all (or, perhaps, a proper ale yeast).

The flavour isn't what I'd call delicious or anything, but it sure as hell is serviceable. A hefty earthy, fruity bitterness precludes a malty flavour that itself isn't exactly light-bodied. Given some of this brewery's other offerings I was expecting something of an extract taste, 'brew-your-own' quality, but this is more than acceptable for my taste buds.

Not to suggest it couldn't use a boost. When a word like 'acceptable' is used usually a phrase like 'too subdued' follows soon after. As noted, this isn't your grandma's Budweiser, not by a long stretch, but it doesn't have the same level of character or appeal as other - namely smaller scale and less commercial - American microbreweries.

Saranac Pale Ale is a serviceable, if ordinary, beer and that is likely just as The Matt Brewing Company intended it to be. While I generally don't see the appeal of drinking middling and mediocre beers, every so often a standard, middle of the road pale ale will be called on to do the trick and, for this occasion, that's just what this did. I doubt, however, even another such occasion will warrant a repeat purchase.

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Photo of soju6
3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper color with a good head that lasts quite a while and nice lacing.

S: A Citrus & Fruity aroma with a mild sweetness.

T: Has a nice initial fruity flavor and some light sweetness with a good bitter finish.

F: Fairly medium body, smooth and refreshing, Well balanced.

D: Easy drinker Goes good with food or by itself. Worth a try.

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Photo of kwjd
3.27/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden-amber colour with white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly and not much lacing. Smells of earthy and floral hops with some mild caramel malt. Taste is quite sweet from the malt, but a bit less hop presence than I expected. Body is a little bit thin. The LCBO in Ontario just started carrying this and I don't think I'll buy it again.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.05/5  rDev -10.8%
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 taste...is 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 -22.8%
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 +2.3%
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 +2.3%
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 +27.2%
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 -7.3%
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 -1.2%
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 +7.6%
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 +16.4%
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 +9.6%
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 -2.6%
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 +17.8%
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 -9.6%
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 +19.3%
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 -1.2%
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 -2.6%
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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Saranac American Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.42 out of 5 with 1,313 ratings
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