Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

1,305 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: 1,305 |  Reviews: 631
Photo of therica
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Crystal English Pale Ale malts and Cascade, East Kent Golden hops.

A= slightly copper-amber, very little head, slight lacing.

S= not overwhelming but obvious floral hops and sweet malts.

T= slightly grassy, floral hops, modestly astringent; balanced sweet malts but not enough to be bready. The East Kent Golding hops appear much more apparent than the Cascade.

M= light bitterness, light astringent feel, slight sweetness.

D= probably great if this is your style, no detractors. Overall in comparison to its style I'm giving 4.0 although for my preferences it's maybe 3.5.

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

12 oz bottle I got out the Saranac brewery mixed pack. Day two of trying to kill this mixed sixer is underway. Served up in a standard shaker pint glass.

A: Pours a pretty nice coppery brown color out of the bottle. That copper has a nice red hue to it as well. Held to the light, you get a more yellowish copper coming out. The body has a nice and moderate carbonation activity. The head was a good finger of white head, but it went away almost immediately. Kinda sad. Fell to an almost complete ring that rests on top with no lace being created whatsoever. Not bad and with a little bit of head retention it would have fallen into the 4 category.

S: Smell is of some pale malts that are bready and lightly sweet. A pretty decent hops aroma coming out with some light citrus quality make itself come out. There is an almost dirty earthiness coming out here in some wet and spoiled hay. Its a bit off putting but it is toned down with the hops and malt.

T: Better than the aroma. Luckily that dirty earth did not translate into the flavor. Instead you get a nice bready malt that just has the right combo of grains and sweetness contributing. The hops are really nice with a subtle floral and orange citrus flavor coming out. With that said, everything is pretty muted and doesn't really grab you by the palate. still above average though.

M: Medium side of light in body with a great amount of carbonation. Nice and crisp on the palate, having the carbonation make this very nice. ABV is not even worth talking about because its not there at all. Just a touch on the dry side in the throat to keep you drinking. The aftertaste is a little bread and orange. Very nice

D: This is a pretty refreshing beer pushing it into a better drinkability area. Sure the flavors are muted and the aroma is so so, but not all beers need to blow you away to make them a drinker. This beer average for the style and gives you a bit of flavor, but its just an easy drinker to cool you off. Still works in the category and I can't bitch too much.

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Photo of rwrk42
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale copper color with a nice off white colored head

Smell- Sweet smell of malt, caramel and slight citrusy hops.

Taste- Nice mellow taste of sweet malts, citrus and a slight bitter hops finish.

Overall a decent pale ale that goes down easy.

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

A 12 ounce bottle from a mixed 12 pack. Poured into my shaker glass and appears a clear amber color with two full fingers of fluffy bone white head. Smells and tastes of caramel malts, lightly toasted grains, grassy, citursy hops, mostly lemon, more caramel, and yeasty bread. A bit thin in body with medium carbonation. The finish is clean and dry. Certainly not bad for the price. Worth a try.

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

Great head with great lacing at he pour and pumpkin orange in color. Head is slightly off white and has superior head retention.
Smell: biscuis and orange most noticable, some yeast is also noted. More malts than hops.
Taste: light to medium body with some fruityness along with some biscuity breads. . Finishes dry and smooth.

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Photo of dbmcrorie
3.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Golden copper orange with a foamy, 2-finger, ivory head. The head stays for a while and leaves a lot of lacing around the edge. Very few bubbles rise within the glass.

The fuggles hops create a wide range of herbs and spices that are pretty well matched to the traditional pale ale style. Gin-like juniper, citrus, coriander, and pine-like notes are followed by subtle florals. As the glass warms, the fruity bouquet fades and faint hints of malt are noticeable.

The mouthfeel is light with average carbonation on the tongue. Fortunately the hops don't dominate the palate. A pleasant amount of astringency is followed by light notes of malt. Various citrus's and further juniper notes provide a clean and crisp finish. Unfortunately, the taste fades quickly and gets more watered down by the end of the glass.

Not the most remarkable pale ale I have tried, but enjoyable nonetheless.
It's drinkability is only there for those who enjoy the style. I could easily enjoy a few more. But if you are not that into pale ales, you won't be big into Saranac's.
I do think it provides enough flavor to pair well with any kind of grilled vegetables, green salads, or vegetable-based soups.


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Photo of DannyS
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, poured from a 12 oz. bottle.

A - clean, clear red amber color with a nice fluffy head that retains well and leaves medium lacing.

S - Woody and musty, with decent hop aroma. Also slightly metallic on the nose. Definitely this beer's weakest aspect.

T - Bready with a very balanced malt and hop character. Slightly floral and fruity on the background flavors with a clean finish.

M - medium-light body on the tongue with a nice, fine carbonation.

D - Tastes quite good, finishes clean, and has a modest ABV. Great for sessioning.

Overall - A fairly basic beer done well. Granted, I love complex beers, but sometimes you just want to have something simple and tasty. I'd say this fits the bill. Will definitely have again sometime.

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Photo of Yeastcakes
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving notes - 0.5L German glass, cellar temp.
A - Floral and caramel aromas.
A - Nice billowing white head (four plus fingers) that I have come to expect for Saranac beers. Same nice persistence as well. Medium dark amber, clear.
M - Medium body and light carbonation.
T - Hops are forward on this but not far ahead of the malt - in other words, very well balanced. Same floral notes from the aroma in the flavor. Very clean on the back of the tongue.
D - The hop flavor with the smooth bitterness and malt makes this a very drinkable pale. Wonderful beer.

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Photo of PaleAlien2
3.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Copper in color. Great clarity. Two finger white head dissipates to a thin cap of lacing.

Smells strongly of caramel. Floral hops are prevalent with some spicey notes.

Spices are evident in the flavor as well. Really does taste very good. Very mellow beer. Not real strong on the hops. Stong fruit flavor, almost reminiscent of wine. Getting some bread in the malt too.

A little light bodied. Could use some more carbonation too.

Overall a good beer though.

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Photo of u2carew
3.89/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A) Pours with a very active head that settles to about a quarter inch of frothy cream. Impeccably transparent. Bronze in color.
S) Some yeast aroma, mixed with floral hop notes and just a touch of caramel sweetness.
T) Dry, bitter nose transitions to a mild sweetness of citrus fruit while keeping the bitter bite. Then finishes with a creamy bitterness and earthiness.
M) Slight dryness, but creamy most of the way through. Medium body. Just a touch of tannin feel in the aftertaste.
D) A decent pale ale, adhering to the English versions.

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Photo of katan
3.21/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint, not dated

A - Pours a dark golden color. Very light head formation. Almost imperceptible, but what is there is light white. Very hazy and cloudy.

S - I wonder if this one sat on the shelf too long. A combination of grapefruit smells combined with some estery oxidation. Some small malt notes in there as well.

T - Starts off with a malty backbone that has more of those buttery esters combined with it. Builds a little bitterness balance mid-stream, but little hopping. Finishes with another stronger sweet note. Aftertaste is somewhat sour.

M - Thicker in body than most pale ales. Very coating and clinging to the tongue. Must be full of malts as I don't think this body is driven by carbonation.

D - Easily drinkable and very manageable. Palette weight is light. Flavors are generally muted - no fatigue.

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.28/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I consider it a test of objectivity and true beerdom to be able to review a beer that you have drank more than your weight in over the years fairly. Here goes:

The color is light gold with a pure white head. A foamy half finger lingers with rough lacing.

It smells of light citrus like lemon and yeast. There is a generic beer smell too but I'm not sure where it comes from or how else to describe it but you'll find it common to most cheap beers.

Taste is citrusy up front, lemon and tangerine or orange that moves into a two stage hop resin bitterness. First stage, stick pine, second stage back to citrus which fades well into the original impression giving the taste a well rounded quality.

The mouthfeel is a little sharp, both from the initial lemon and carbonation and the lingering taste on the palate is where the hops come through the most. It is certainly crisp but the finish could be a little drier.

Drinkability is off the charts for this one. I had to have two just to review it because the first one was gone before I got through taste.

This is a great beer at a great price and a gateway from macro to micro that I would recommend to anyone whenever I get a chance.

It is a go-to for me when I get some heady singles on a beer run and need something for the times in between.

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

nice head and lacing that all settles and fades quickly...deep red color, very similar to bourbon. honeyed-cereal smell with slight sour-hop waft. something 'wood' like in the taste...keeps the malty-caramel sweetness to a minimum which is nice. typical low hoppiness of an english pale (it is what it says it is). creamy-thin mouthfeel. some carbonation that flickers and fades fast.

i find this quite drinkable...i used to just plow through these when i bought the saranac variety packs. i used to think it was 'bitter' but after having shifted to neo-hop-ism, it's simply a pleasant pale ale. still can't figure out what the dry, woody sense i am getting. a more than decent bottling. nothing to shout out about, but unique enough and certainly nothing to ever turn down. i could drink this for breakfast. of course, with a bacon and egg sandwich on toasted sourdough.

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Photo of dasenebler
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Attractive and actually somewhat dark pale ale-- clear rich copper. Modest head, but decent lacing on the way down. Clean nose, touch of hop citrus but not much there.

Clean, subtle flavors and very easy to drink. Some woody hops, but no real interesting flavors. Touch of biscuits and a suggestion of malts. Needs a little more umph, but it's a nice, non-offensive beer. Mouthfeel was a little lacking, but carbonation was low which I like. Overall a solid and easy, highly drinkable brew.

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

A- Pours a crystal clear cooper color with a reddish hue. A large frothy white head leaves ample lacing behind.

S- Plenty of hops, a bit citric and a bit tea-like. Mild notes of buttery malt.

T- Starts out with a tea-like bitterness that turns grassy. Leaves a buttery malt aftertaste.

M- Somewhat thin, moderate bodied. Undercarbonated, IMHO.

D- Good. Nothing special but a decent pale ale. This brew would hold it's own against imported English pale ales that sell for twice the price.

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

12oz bottle poured into chalice:
A: Deep copper-brown with a finger's head which dissipated moderately quickly, left a bit of lacing going down.
S: Yeasty, Piney, with an apple-like fruitiness.
T: Wholly uneventful. Nothing terrible about it, but other than a light bittersweet malt character, not much goes on.
M/D: Pretty full body for a pale ale, but really nothing special overall about this beer. I've had better, I've had worse.

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

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my SA pint glass. The brew pours a clear copper with a slight white head, no lacing. The aroma is floral citrus and pine, but a bit light. The flavor follows, there is a nice malt to hop balance. The beer is medium bodied and smooth drinking. Even though I liked the beer it has a bit of an identity crisis. It is labeled an English Pale Ale, but it taste more like and APA. It kinda gets caught inbetween.

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Photo of glid02
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear deep copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of an aroma somewhere in between pale and caramel malts - though sweeter than average for either of them. Light citrus hop aromas also make their way out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. An overly sweet malt flavor starts things off, followed by light citrus hop flavors that segue into a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I prefer Pale's to err on the side of too bitter than too sweet, and this one definitely falls into the too sweet category. I finished one, but would not go for another.

Overall this isn't a beer to avoid, but it's definitely not one to seek out.

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

Soapy, bubbly head which is indicative of Saranac beers. Cloudy, golden beer with suspending sediment. Smells of English malt. Hops is the first thing you taste. Tastes like an average English tavern beer with a load of hops. Differs from the India Pale Ales and can tell it is from English roots.

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

Pours from the 12 fl. oz. bottle no. 3337-15566 and sampled on Feb. 17, 2009.

Appearance - Handsome copper-amber with good clarity and about 3/4 inch of puffy beige head that remains evident for the session. Good lacing.

Smell - A pleasing balance of floral hops and sweet malts. It has a cleanliness about it that I admire.

Taste - Mildly bitter with subtle malts and hops and clean finish.

Mouthfeel - Abover average. It was definitely not watered down but seemed a little creamier.

This was a decent Saranac brew and one that I was duly impressed with. It had a great English feel to it but a bit bolder.

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Photo of mjw06
3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

small dainty head with poor retention leaving little to no lacing, amber color with a golden streak.

very pleasant smell of hops, caramel, florals and a touch of fruit

a nice hop bitterness all the way through thats not too much. malts that give a cereal/cracker-like taste, nice rosey taste, in addition to a hint of caramel and fruity bitterness. the first sip had a funny taste accompanying that i cant describe, nonetheless this disappeared rather quickly.

pleasing body, maybe would like the carbonation toned down just a bit, nonetheless its a comfortable carbonation.

excellent drinkability. would maybe appreciate a more robust/complex flavor, nonetheless an excellent brew. id recommend this to many, and ill be sure to have another.

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

Pours a clear amber with a small white head. Aromas are pretty subdued, been lean towards sweet malts; smell is reminiscent of ripe peaches. Taste is simple, lightly toasty malts backed by citrusy hops that I wish were more pronounced. This is not a bad pale ale by any means, but it lacks character.

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Photo of cottonkoozie
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Good appearance, reddish, darker amber color. Good head and decent retention. Leaves lacing on the glass.

S - Mostly hops, with a little bit of malt. which is good for the style. Would have liked more smell though, just can't smell much here.

T - Average. Not a strong, overpowering hops taste, which is good for the style, but I would have liked a little more flavor here. Glad this is an english pale ale and not american, or this score would be lower. Just not really much flavor to me.

M - Pretty good, good level of carbonation and a good somewhat full body.

D - Very drinkable, if not for the lack of flavor, I would say this was a great session beer.

Not a bad beer, but it just need something. I know the english pale ale shouldn't have as much hops flavor as the american or ipa, but I would like more flavor than what is here. Kind of watered down flavor.

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Photo of kkosmoski
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Longneck from the new 'What Ales You' mixed twelve pack served into a Saranac pint glass. Nice rough, pillowy, cream colored head atop a crystal clear amber colored brew. Head suctions to the inside of the glass all of the way around as it settles down. Aroms includes biscuit, toast, lemon, esters. Fruity yeast character to start followed by some piney/citrus hop flavor and bitterness with an underlying toasty malt dimension and finish. Medium-light in the mouth with a smooth carbonation and dry finish. Drinkability is great with this ale. It is very nicely balanced, delicious fresh on draft, and a very dependable pale ale in general.

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Photo of pandashaver
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smells of earthy yeast, pine, citrus. Poured golden amber, dark orange with an off white head and decent lacing. A bitterness on the aggressive side for a pale ale, approaching IPA territory. Good body, dry, and fairly sweet as well. Smooth, lingering, and nothing overpowering on the palate. Easily drinkable and affordable...will likely buy again.

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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,305 ratings.
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