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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Ratings: 1,306 |  Reviews: 632
Photo of Onenote81
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First off, I loved this beer.

It poured a beautiful copper amber color with a huge frothy head that lingered for most of the entire drink. The webbing/lacing on this brew stuck like glue. It was like rings on a tree the way you could see each sip I took.

The smell of this brew was not that exciting, but enjoyable nonetheless. Smelled the floral hops, sweet malt, and some caramel.

Taste was a little metallic at first, but not enough to turn me away. Tasting the hops with a perfect amount hoppy bitterness coming through. Also taste some vegetable that I can't place.

Very crisp and clean beer. This one is a pleasure to quaff down. I will turn to this beer again and again down the road.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.76/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a dark orangish amber color with a creamy off-white head. Very nice.

S- The aroma is slightly toasted biscuity malt with some citrusy hops. Not bad but pretty faint for the style.

T- The taste features a pretty solid malt backbone for the style along with the hops in the finish.

D- Very drinkable, not overly complex or flavorful, but a pretty solid brew that I wouldn't mind drinking again.

Overall, Saranac Pale Ale is a pretty good Pale Ale that is worth a shot.

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Photo of kinger
2.65/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Don't have a whole lot of positive things to say about this beer. Close to average at best for it's style. Good hoppy aroma, good appearance although the head could have been thicker. Thin mouthfeel and a weak flavor. Drinkable but sub-par, especially from this brewery who makes some very solid beers.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

32 ounce growler purchased from A&P Liquors in Hoboken for about $3.99... "Cellar Aged" on the bottle...
Pours a ruddy, dark-copper, deep amber hue with a minimal head that quickly receded and left a minor amount of lacing around the edge of the serving glass...
Mild aroma with hints of caramel, vanilla, and candied sugars...
Medium-bodied mouthfeel along with a good level of drinkability...
Good depiction of the style...

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Photo of nasty15108
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Pilsner glass.

A - This ale Poured a crystal clear amber color with a good amount of carbonation. The pour produced a creamy head of slightly off-white foam and excellent layers of cascaded lacing.

S - The smell was nothing too overpowering. Basic English ale. Malty with slight hints of caramel followed by a faint citric hop smell.

T - Malty and slightly sweet up front followed by a bitter hoppy finish.

MF&D - Decent example of this style and a very good session beer. I'd drink this one again.

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Photo of JMBSH
3.62/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great deal of head from a hard pour. Light amber in color, giving off also light scent of hops. Not a lot of carbonation in the glass but the head stays a nice thickness through out the serving. Very easy to drink with the hoppiness being not overpowering. Coats the tongue to leave the flavor on your palate. I have to admit that not being a fan of the pale ales, this is a beer I could find drinking again.

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Photo of Tbn2
3.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap in pint glass.

A-The body of the beer has a deep amber appearance. A good head settles to the top and laces most of the way down.

S-I couldn't get much from the smell for some reason. I could pick up some hops and some grains, but nothing that jumped out at me.

T/M-Much clearer taste than the smell. A good blast of piney/earthy hop taste comes at you first. As the beer goes down, some toasted and pale malts comes at you. The beer has a nice dry finish with a well balanced hop and grain flavor. The body of the beer is just about perfect and the carbonation is very good. There is a good crispness to this beer.

Overall, this is a good beer. Pick it up, you won't be disappointed.


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Photo of boralyl
3.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - It pours about 1 finger of white head that sticks around for a decent amount of time. It leaves pretty good lacing on the inside of the glass. It has a clear copper color, with lots of carbonation bubbles rushing towards the top.

S- Citrus hops, and sweet caramel malts in the aroma.

M - It's a light-medium bodied beer with a medium amount of carbonation.

T - The sweet malts hit up first, followed by some citrus hops and ending with some slightly bitter floral hops.

It's a good session beer, but a forgettable brew. I'd gladly drink it again, but wouldn't actively seek it out. There just isn't enough about the beer to make it stand out among the rest.

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

12-oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A = Clear medium dark amber, lots of small carbonation bubbles, two finger off white head made of small and medium bubbles, good head retention, medium lacing left on glass.

S = A little too light in the smell, what is there is somewhat nondescript and a seeming blend of smells from what I expect from an English pale ale and from an American pale ale. I assume they used traditional English hops, but nonetheless there is a slight smell in this that yells American at me. There are light hops notes of flowers, a pretty solid malt smell of fresh baked sugar cookies.

T = Taste gives me the same thoughts as the smell, right up front I get a typical English pale ale taste of light fresh bread dough and light bitterness without overwhelming hops flavors. However, at mid-palate I have a jolt of flavors that make me think of a typical APA but one that has been aged so that the fruitiness of the hops have mellowed, I think it may be that it is a little crisper than a lot of the English ales I get, perhaps due to less (or simply different) minerals in the water with which it is made. At the back of the mouth it is a blend of lightly sweet cookies and light but definite hops bitterness in a medium long finish.

M = Medium bodied, decent mouthcoating, although there were a lot of carbonation bubbles in the glass, in the mouth it is pretty subdued and creamier than I expected.

D = This is a pretty mellow, light refreshing beer. Worth having to relax on a sunny afternoon.

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Photo of Goliath
3.26/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with a large inch and a half of off-white head. Decent retention and a bit of lacing.

Aroma is uninspiring. Some piney hops and not much else.

Taste is, bland. A little grassy hops, with almost no bitterness. A little maltiness, definitely lacking flavor. Mediocre.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation.

Drinkability is moderate. Low alcohol makes this beer easily consumed, flavors however are lacking. This lack of flavor takes away from the drinkability.

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

Part of a mixed 12 pack purchased at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Good copper hue. Topped with a 1" + thick white head with good retention that drops down to about a ¼". Sticky lacing develops as beer is quaffed.

S: Restrained fruity hop aroma. Caramel malt aroma balances. Some sulfur like aroma, which US breweries rarely can achieve when make English style pales. Must be something in that fine Utica, NY water.

T: Hop bitterness is key characteristic here. Some grassy/resin hop flavors but not much. Malt support is also limited. Some sulfur tastes.

MF: Medium body with low carbonation - good mouthfeel for the style.

D, notes: Needs more balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness. Beer is quite drinkable but balance would make this beer more so.

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Photo of jordoo
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poored into a pilsner glass.

Light/pale coppery yellow colored with small off white receiding head. Looks to have medium carbination. Smells of malty sweetness and nice citrus and some floral hops. Taste has a very good sweetness up front from the malts and then the fruity citrus flavors hit followed by some bitter floral hop flavor. Sticks to the palet nicely with some oily residue and has a very good mouth feel, its an easilt drinkable beer, however there is really not alot to it.

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Photo of JamesS
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice light copper/amber color with a bit of head that (mostly) goes away, with a fair bit of lacing. Good scent, a little sweet with some nice hoppy (beef jerky) tones to it. Clean and crisp scent, with a little bit of sweet at first, followed by a slightly eggy hoppy aftertaste. Goes down smooth. Not a bad English ale.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.57/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Initially I had this as the first disappointment I've had from them, but as the beer warmed it improved tremendously. Appearance is okay, an amber color with a smallish head that dissolves slowly into nothingness. Nose is mild caramel malt, a slight saltiness, very ESB-like. Flavor is similar, although the hops come through a bit stronger. Tastes really only show through once the beer has a chance to warm. Definitely hints of toffee and some fruitiness. Overall, not bad at all taste-wise. Body's pretty good, with good carbonation. A solid brew.

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Photo of toolbrew
3.06/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark copper color with a small white head. Decent head retention and little lacing.

Smells mostly malty with not much hop aroma.

Hoppier taste, but not overpowering. Good malt balance.

Light and easy in the mouth with moderate carbonation. The tip of my tongue gets the most sensation.

A decent pale ale. May be a good crossover beer.

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-ounce bottle aggressively poured into a seidel yields a clear golden brown body with lively active carbonation capped with a finger of white foam that reduces to a sheet rather quickly but leaves a little lacing.

Smell is lacking; a little malty with a note of Pekoe tea.

Tastes sweet and lightly malty with a little tang, a nice balancing bitterness, and a slightly minerally finish. A mild bitterness happily lingers throughout.

Medium-light bodied and refreshing; excellent drinkability... it seems like that's a description I put in all Saranac beers.

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Photo of ghostmech007
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint.

Very pale off copper color. Head is off white which doesn't leave much behind.

Nose has a hop profile that is hard to distinguish. Caramel and toasted grains are present. Very pleasant nose.

Very, very smooth. Crisp finish but a nice bite in the mix. Hops make it oily smooth. Malts are there but don't really add much to the mouth.

The hops are the only thing to enjoy is this brew but I like that. Hop heads unite! I would definitely come back to this one. I just wish I could get it around here in something besides the sample pack they sell. Oh well.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a warm shiny copper colored body with a creamy thick light tan head that starts to form dimples and turns rocky. There is a strong carbonation of big bubbles that support the head.

S- This beer has a note of pale liquid malt extract with an almost tin like smell to it. There is a soft green note that increases to more of a hop smell as the beer warms.

T- The soft taste of sweet caramel has a hint of biscuit malt and dry raw grain to it followed by a green hop bite. The bitterness at the finish increases as the beer warms and a soft sulfur note comes through. There is also a tin flavor that comes through as this beer warms.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz at the finish.

D- The malt flavors are not bad but are pretty soft especially compared to the tin flavors, and the hops don't have much flavor but a lot of bite.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Transparent amber with nice 2 finger head, good retention, settles into thick-ish white cap. Great lacing.

S - Very generic blend of earthy hops and pale malt.

T - A little bland, but not bad. Minimal malt profile with some floral hops coming up near the finish, sharp but brief bitterness leaves a lingering lemon/grassy aftertaste.

M - Smooth and moderately carbonated, medium bodied. I would prefer this a little more crisp.

D - Bland enough to drink several in one sitting, but not interesting enough to keep me buying this brew as a session beer.

Another average but decent offering from Saranac. It's not the worst stuff out there, in fact it's not even bad, but with all the offerings on the shelves, Saranac's Pale Ale is just another face in the crowd.

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

Overall, a very nice pale ale at an affordable price. It pours a translucent tan with a thin head. It has an agreeable aroma with a very balanced hop flavor. While not the best in the pale ale catagory, it provides all that is expected without the extra dent in the wallet.

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Photo of generallee
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Its defiantly not pal in color as it pours a beautiful golden amber color with excellent clarity. The head foams up thick and white then thins out to a small thin cap. The aroma is full of fine English hops that are floral and pleasing. The hops are up front on the tongue and give a nice citrusy and earthy character to the flavor. Malts are lighter and add just enough sweetness and toasted flavor to the beer. The palate is smooth with a medium body and a crisp finish that make it oh so drinkable.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
3.44/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an attractive clear copper with a great foamy, uneven head. Head reduces, but hangs on. Highly impressive is the outstanding pattern lacing all the way around the glass.

Definitely a floral hop bouquet with a little malt in the background.

Flavor starts with a fleeting moment of malt sweetness which immediately gives way to fruity hops with a faint breadiness mixed in. Somewhat drying, but doesn't pucker your anus.

Pretty smooth, medium body with nice carbonation levels.

This is the Pale Ale I'm most familiar with due to the fact that it comes in a lot of Saranac variety packs. It's grown on me somewhat over the years to the point where I really enjoy it. Still don't know if I'd buy a whole six though.

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Photo of xare
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Amber colored with nice head that laces somewhat - pretty good appearance for a pale ale. Very appealing.

Smell is of the British hops, floral and with citrus notes. It has a touch of malt at the bottom of the aroma but overall, a good blend that appeals to me.

Taste was decent, a bit lighter than I expected, especially with all the aromas coming from it. I'd have to say that it has touches of malts and a mix of hops that come at the end to clean up your palate, but overall it's weakened down from the aromas but is still a solid brew, just not above average for taste.

Mouthfeel was very crisp and clean. Hops bitterness just lingered for the right amount of time and then went away. No need to worry about the mouthfeel with this brew. Even when it warmed up slightly (I was drinking it outside in full sun), it still had excellent mouthfeel and didn't become too heavy. It isn't light but rather a happy medium.

Drinkability was outstanding. I was drinking this brew and keeping it in the shade outside on a beautiful day with full sun, while working on removing a bush. I kept looking forward to the beer waiting for me in the shade whenever I'd take a break for a gulp or two. Eventually, I finished it off and was unhappy that I didn't have another one to follow it up with.

Overall, I'd say seek out this beer for a change of pace. It isn't for everybody nor would it be approriate for all occasions but if you have something in mind and know what this brew does, then it's an extremely solid choice, especially at its price point.

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Photo of ewright
3.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a bright, clear amber finishing with 1" of fluffy white head. The head has fairly long retention and diminishes with a bit of sticky lace on the side of the glass.

S: Mild hops up front with very faint citrus notes, accompanied by equally mild sweetness from the malt.

T: Strong bitterness right up front, with faint notes of pine. The malt peeks through with hints of sweetness and something earthy I can't quite put my finger on.

M: The forwardness of the hops produces a bit of puckering in the mouth, but the malt helps ease that later on.

D: A solid pale ale, nothing outstanding, but you could do far worse than a 6pk of this beer.

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Photo of philbe311
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Luscious copper and amber mix... Pour calm and rich... Little head

S - Attractive mix of fruit, mainly lime, and hops...

T - Grain and malt at first giving way to strong hops

M - Smooth and well balanced... Medium bodied... Too much fizz and new carbonation on the palette...

D - Solid, but unspectacular...

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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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