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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,306 |  Reviews: 632
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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Photo of sliverX
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The first from a CAN! Yes folks they're CANning now, picked this up on a shopping trip trying to help out Woody on the CANquest.
Poured half into my Southern Tier tulip to get a good look at her, a nice translucent light copper brew stared back at me. A nice thick creamy head sitting atop, which left a nice ring of lace as she settled down to a thick film.
The smell is slightly pine resin backed with a green vegetable, with a slight biscuit hint.
The taste followed the nose with the pine resin becoming much more prominent.
Mouthfeel is thin but that's about whats expected here, slightly drying to the mouth.
Drinkability no complaints on this pale ale, fits right in there with the rest, smooth easy drinking and now that it's in CANS it's on the loose. This will now be the staple beer in my fridge for the backyard horseshoe pit.

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Photo of skenyon1811
4.13/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle poured into a pint.

A: Saranac Pale Ale makes me salivate just looking at it. It is clear with a orange-ish brown hue. About a quarter inch head that fell fairly quick.

S: A sweet smell with a little bite to it. A little flowery as well. It has your classic pale ale aroma

T: This beer has an all around great taste. I love the hop selection for this beer. It is is bitter with some grapefruit and flowery notes. It leaves an excellent aftertaste that compliments the next sip.

M: It has a medium weight mouthfeel, but very crisp. Does not leave your mouth feeling overly dry like some Pale Ales can.

D: I have made trips to the Saranac brewery where I drank nothing but Pale Ale. It can be a session beer. If you choose to switch to a different beer, you will still be able to enjoy it. The Saranac Pale Ale will not destroy your pallet to other beers.

This beer has been one of my favorites for years. It has never let me down.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.21/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a: i feel like these guys do a great job with head; this one is thick and tightly bubbled and sits on top of a clear amber body

s: first sweet floral hops; soome sweet malts; dry wheat;

t: pretty mild; sweet malts; light skunky hops; some straw; finishes with bitter hops

m: light cloy; medium carb; a little syrupy

d: hmm a little weak of a showing from saranac

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

12oz brown bottle (with no indication of a freshness date) poured into a pint glass. It appears a clear orange color with some small particles stuck in suspension keeping it from being totally clear. About a finger and a half of head, slightly stained yellow with fair retension supported by rising bubbles of carbonation. Decent amount of lace clings to the glassware. Somewhat fruity aroma has other scents of hoppy citrus and the malt is pretty distinct in the nose with a bit of a biscuit/grainy smell. Taste has a mild bitterness upfront with some citrus hops reminding me of mildly bitter orange rind. Moderate amount of carbonation and a light feel with this pale. As it warms, a touch of the alcohol is noticeable that helps to accent the hop bitterness. The slight bitter aftertaste is yet again reminescent of orange peel or rind. Fairly crisp and refreshing it would be a pretty decent beer as a substitute for the typical "lawn mower" beer but outside of that nothing really exciting.

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Photo of joecast
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear copper with a thin off white head. Good lacing. Light carbonation.

Aroma is slightly on the malty sweet side, though that fits for an EPA. Very clean with no real fermentation character.

Taste is also very clean. Nice level of bitterness but hop flavor is lacking a bit. Might need a bit more roundness to it but this is a very well made beer.

Amazing this has held up so well travelling to Hobart. Who knows where it has been on the way. Easily drinkable and enjoyable.

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

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard glass pint glass, fairly warm (I'd say 45-50 F)

A: Like the bottle says, copper-amber color with off-white head that sticks tot he side of the beer glass. Slow to dissipate. Bubbles travel pretty quick through the beer.

S: Huge rich, sweet bready aroma, somewhat like fig-newtons. Very rich with some sweet dried fruit overtones. Very malty aroma, maybe a hint of hops (not much mind you).

T: Lighter sweet bread flavor than would be expected by the aroma. I keep expecting it to jump up into some hops but instead it fades silently to a slight herbal hoppiness followed by some dry bitterness.

M: Somewhat heavy with light carbonation.

D: A little too biscuity in my opinion, don't think I would buy another one or have another especially if there were different beers around.

Very underwhelmed by this pale ale. I suppose it fits the EPA style ok, but the hops are very little. This is not to say that there was no hops present but too minimal in my opinion. I had the beer a little a warm but doubt it would cause this effect. Seems odd that I would have such a different experience than most...people seemed to note more hops than I did. Still this was what I tasted and I just bought it from the store so shouldn't be any problems with age.

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Photo of BricksandPorter
2.48/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ice cold into an American Pint glass.

Pour - quick, easy, no wait with a great steady head. Color is along the lines of a nice clay - brownnish-red with great clarity and crispness.

Nose - hoppy hoppy hoppy. Some floral hints with very little risk on this one.

Taste - a great bite, with good rounding bitterness. Notes of lavender, spice and pecans. Finishes with a dull nutty aftertaste, which is not appealing to me.

Mouth - smooth and creamy, not chunky at all, but the aftertaste leaves something to be desired.

Drinkability - not too risky, not too weak, middle of the road but I really just cannot get over that afterwards. Maybe i bought a bad batch...

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

A - Solid copper color with a hint of burgundy to complement the rest of the body. Head doesn't retain too long. Lacing follows along the surface.

S - Sweet hops with floral notes. Getting hit with some cherry as well.

T - Dry yet sweet. Hops are modest, followed along with some citrus as well. Sweet fruits on the way down. Not sure if it's the alcohol making an appearance as well - doesn't seem quite strong enough.

M - Soft and smooth.

D & Notes - Sits nice - wouldn't protest having another. This seems to be the staple of Saranac's beer's, and it's nothing to sneeze at. A great drink worthy for any pale ale fan.

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Photo of bourbonbock
3.66/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this on tap in a local establishment and ordered a pint. Dark golden amber in color with 2 fingers of white foamy head.

A. This looks pretty good color and head look good. Lacing on the glass is pretty heavy after finishing the glass.

S. Smell is muted for a pale ale. Slight hoppiness and citrus on the nose.

T. Taste is similar to the smell as it is slightly hoppy but not as much as other pale ales and slightly fruity. Overall a pretty balance flavor with a bitter ending.

M. Good carbonation with a creamy feel on the tongue.

D. Great drinkability and a good choice on-tap don't know about the bottle.

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

Pours an orange amber color with a nice cap of white foam.

Smells of grain and apple and sweet yeast aromas.

The taste is tart and bitter, a nice enought english hop.

Far from the greatest pale ale I've had, but not the worst of the sampler pack I purchased. I might drink this again on occasion.

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Photo of JTahoe
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Light copper with 1/2" off-white head that settles quickly to a thin cap, easily revived with a swirl, and decent lace.

S - A light aroma of malt, grass, yeast, and hints of sour apple.

T - Toasted grain and slight sweetness, a metallic twang, some fruity yeast, bubble-gum, and bitter hops. A strange sourness lingers towards the end.

M - Medium body, a bit oily with moderate-high carbonation.

D - Not bad, but not much going on here. An OK drink, but not something I would seek out.

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Photo of L337ish
3.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an orange amber and is very clear. Not quite white head fades at regular pace and laces nicely.

S: Mild tangy/citrus note amidst a decently hoppy and mildly malty scent. Kind of weak, but a nice smell nonetheless.

T: Less bitter than I was expecting and thus quite smooth. The tangy citrus from the scent is barely there but there.

M: Medium bodied with a surprisingly nice finish.

D: Fairly drinkable. Not the best beer but certainly not a bad one. I can see how people would like this beer, its just not for me. Definitely worth trying at least once.

One weird thing about this brew for me. I may have gotten a bad beer or something, but despite the ABV I was getting very strong tastes and odors of alcohol.

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Photo of chiefgtx
3.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I would love to be able to say I never met a beer I didn't like but...This one just assaulted me with a bitter metallic dirty penny / tartness from beginning to end that must be an aquired taste because I just didn't get it. I enjoyed most of the other beers in this 12 pack assortment but I can honestly say I would drink from a can before I went down this road again. Saranac missed the boat on this one.

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Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - One finger of off-white head on a clear, copper-amber body. The foam settles quickly but leaves nice lace.

S - A light aroma of malt with some yeasty red apple notes. A hint of musty hops in the background.

T - Bready malt up front with just a bit of caramel. The malt character deepens in the middle with more toasted notes and a bit of fruity yeast. Finishes with light caramel and some spicy hops as well as moderate bitterness that just barely balances the significant malt.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Not bad. The malt character is nice, if a bit too big and dark for the style, and the yeast flavor is mild but significant enough to provide some pleasant fruity notes. The hops don't stick out too much and only provide modest bitterness in the finish. A slightly more robust hop profile would make for a more balanced and drinkable beer by balancing out the heavy malt. Not the most spot on example of the style, but drinkable and pretty good for what it is.

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Photo of jsprain1
2.86/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- A nice copper color with a thin head and good lacing.
S- Smells of caramel and hop oil. A stange malt flavor. kind of strange.
T- a strange hoppy/caramel taste with this bizarre yeast taste.
M- Dry and husky. low carbonation.
D- a merely ok beer. nothing extraordinary about this beer.

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Photo of mnrider
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. brown bottle. no freshness date.

A: Pours a pal copper color with a half finger of off white head. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Wow! I was not expecting to get such a fruity aroma. Hops and malts are also there.

T/M: Very smooth and buttery going down. With a bready, fruity, sweet malt taste. Hops are there but kind of week. Finishes with a hop residue taste on the palate, which is on the dry side.

D: A very nice brew. Not sure how well it represents the style given, also could use more of a stronger hop presence. Still very drinkable and satisfying.


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Photo of tjd112
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this in an Adirondack Trail Mix sixer. There's a lot better pale ales out there than this. Poured a copper color body with some decent, but fast dissipating head. I smell and taste mostly hop bitterness. The mouthfeel however is kinda crisp, which is something I enjoy out of pale ales. Overall, its drinkable, but nothing I'd go out of my way to buy.

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Photo of hmk22
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like this beer although I have to agree with many other reviewers about its being good but not spectacular. There is something missing from this beer -- it's like they stopped a few feet from the finish line, so that you taste the hops but it's not quite hoppy enough, it's flavorful but fades kind of fast, has some body but still a little thin on the get the idea. Everything that's here is good, there's just not enough of any of it. All that acknowledged, it's still a fine go-to beer (that's somewhat local for me if you care about that stuff) at a fair if not bargain price (these days anyway).

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Photo of dgilks
2.92/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very mild hops. I get a moderate malt aroma with a light caramel. Moderate fruity esters with pineapple the most prominent. Sulphur.

Clear copper colour with a small, short lasting off white head.

The malt profile is sharp. I get a metallic note through the finish. Hops are muddy and don't really come through. Moderately-strong bitterness is nice but the beer is a muddle and doesn't work for me. No malt complexity though there is a light toasty note in the finish.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation cuts any body this beer might of had.

I don't really like this beer. It doesn't work for me and is yet another middling beer from Saranac.

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

Got this as part of a Saranac Sampler 6 pack.

It poured a slight hazy pale gold with a decent head and some lacing.

The taste is just that, very pale. Not as hoppy as I had hoped but for an american pale ale I found it very drinkable and smooth.

Slight floral aroma as well as an almost copper tasting undertone.

Not the greatest beer Ive ever had but it certainly is far from the worst.

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Photo of AbiesIrishRose
3.61/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a- clear, pale amber w/ very visible carbonation, 1" dense tan head, reducing to thin layer that coats the glass

s- metallic, grape, slightly animalic

t- initially somewhat sweet, malty, metallic, followed by some bitter hops, toastiness, & a little yeast. Slightly sour aftertaste. Decent balance between sweet, bitter & tart.

m- smooth, medium-bodied, strangely the visible carbonation is not felt much, but residual head is.

d- not a thrilling taste, but not offensive either and more drinkable than a macro.

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Photo of infi
3.06/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic pint.

Pours a translucent and translucent copper color with tons of carbonation. An incredible creamy and frothy off-white head emerges from the brew and leaves solid amounts of stringy lacing all around the glass. The aroma is a bit muted compared to other pale ales I've had. A good amount of malt is identifiable, but the hops are very subtle. Not too powerful in pine or citrus aroma, which is quite unfortunate.

Taste is very light overall. At first the palate is hit with slight hoppiness and malt sweetness, which then transitions into an odd pine flavor like forest pine needles, not hoppy pine. Towards the end was an undesirable sourness, not something I was expecting in the beer. No bitterness to the profile whatsoever, which is a bit surprising.

Mouthfeel is average - smooth and clean. Not much of a carbonated feel is also notable. Drinkability is fair, I suppose it would be a viable choice for one to have if selection is lacking. But overall I felt that this beer was poorly crafted and below average. I don't see myself revisiting this again.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Guinness-branded tulip pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a translucent tawny color. Has a thick, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells of piney hops with a bit of citrus/grapefruit aroma. A little bit of a bready, oaty smell as well.

Taste: Starts hoppy and finishes slightly sweet with a bit of a buttery taste to it. Also has an unfortunate metallic taste to it, though it's not as bad as in some beers.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp and clean with an exceedingly dry finish.

Drinkability: An above-average pale ale. This one really is quite tasty and something I'll definitely look for in the future.

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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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