Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Pale AleSaranac Pale Ale
1,312 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,312 |  Reviews: 635
Photo of climax
3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a murky reddish amber with chunky bubbly head that clung quite well.

Nice balance of sweet toasted malt and somewhat subtle hops.

The hops come out more in the flavor with a piny resin flavor, especially in the finish. Sweet malt are always present but never challenging. Some spiciness is meddled in there as well.

Feel was sticky, and body was a bit on the light side. Carbonation is light and sharp.

No crown, but there's nothing wrong with this one.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Saranac offering from the "What Ales You" 12-pack... A clear orange brown body fills the pint glass; frothy, thickly crunchy head leaves a nice half-inch head...fragrantly aromatic--the bouquet is welcoming and natural...smooth, balanced with a fizziness that begets an ale... tooth to tongue to throat is overall a pleasant ride...dryer and smoother than expected--a bit sweet and ever-so-slightly burnt, yet bears enough crunch to hint at hops...solid, well-balanced offering from many beers as they have crafted, this could be the centerpiece, with a drinkable glass from start to finish and a sweet, lingering the numbers rate out, a solid approximation and versatile for different occasions.

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Photo of Norfawkers
3.78/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A malty, highly drinkable pale ale

Appearance: a deep bronze, tiny head with very little lacing

Smell: Scant maltiness

Taste: Rich malty flavor but definately not overpowering

Mouthfeel: well balanced, smooth

Drinkability: Very drinkable as there are no distinct flavors, goes well with a meal

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Photo of ncvbc
3.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad pour. Somewhat foamy white head with spotty lacing down the glass. Lower on carbonation. Good smell of light caramel and fruits. Light earthy, floral hops. Also a sugary citrus. Taste is somewhat tea like and herbal. Hops are not dominant. More of a balancing act. Not the crispness I'd prefer in the mouth. Fairly drinkable for a couple pints but not past that.

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Photo of atpben
3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Part of the variety pack. Poured into a pint glass. Appears a copper color with a thick quickly dissipating tan head. Leaves good lace as you finish the beer. Very good aroma of pine mostly. It is medium bodied and very smooth with a clean finish. More pine and citrus in taste. A little bit watery for my taste but quite drinkable. A good session pale ale with a dry finish.

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Photo of Blakaeris
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours golden-amber with a massive creamy head.

Aroma is grainy caramel malt and light citrus hop.

Taste is caramel malt with a touch of herbal hops. Finish is lightly nutty, with an odd sourness.

Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied.

The taste seems strangely watered down with an odd sourness. Unimpressive.

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Photo of bashiba
2.71/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured aggressively into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass gave it a big full fluffy tan head to match is golden coppery color.

The smell was very light and grassy.

Saranac delivers again, another incredibly average and boring offering, just a light bit of grain with some grassy hops.

The mouthfeel is light with some light carbonation.

I could drink it, but why, really boring.

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Photo of therica
3.6/5  rDev +5.3%
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 +3.2%
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 +2.6%
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 +1.8%
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 +4.1%
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 +2.9%
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.


 1,223 characters

Photo of DannyS
3.71/5  rDev +8.5%
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 +10.5%
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 +13.2%
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 +13.7%
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 -6.1%
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 +25.1%
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 +11.1%
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 -0.3%
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 +6.1%
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 +1.8%
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 +2.3%
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 -6.4%
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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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.42 out of 5 with 1,312 ratings
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