Saranac Pale Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

630 Reviews
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Saranac Pale AleSaranac Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Malt Selections: Crystal English Pale Ale
Hop Selections: Cascade, East Kent Golden

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

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Reviews: 630 | Ratings: 1,302
Photo of cracgor
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is by far my favorite beer under $1/bottle. It is widely available. The hops are piney and almost citrusy, and come across both in the taste and smell. Not overwhelming and very well balanced with the malts. Clean, light to medium in body. Refreshing. This isn't over the top on any level, but it is so delicious. I love this stuff. The first beer I started on, and drinking it today reminds me I don't drink it often enough.

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Photo of jermar
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drink a lot of this since the closest liquor store to my house has been selling it for the past couple of years for $4.99 a six. It's got a nice hoppiness to it, but is definitely an English-style pale ale. Very flavorful.

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Photo of LeftyBWS
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass.
A: Excellent light amber color, with a tiny amount of carbonation visible on top which bubbles into a creamyish head. Quite nice.
S: A fairly fruity hoppiness persists, and there are some sugarier, breadier notes as well.
T: The hops persist throughout the taste, and a faint amount of malt sneaks in towards the end to round it out. Rather sweet, too. In later sips I detected some citrusy notes.
M: Pretty solid, but fairly bubbly up front, and a little dry in the finish. Doesn’t really detract from this beer since it fits the style.
D: This is a great session beer, since it’s easy to drink a bunch of these in a row, but it’s also an all-around good beer. Good taste and drinkability, a tough combo to achieve.
Overall, this beer isn’t that complex or challenging. It’s just a solid, drinkable pale ale that can be drank all night, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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Photo of stella77artois
4.19/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Pours a nice darkened golden-yellow. Not much of a head, but some foam stuck around. Fair amount of carbonation noticeable. Slight lacing on the glass.

S - Malt and hops up front. A unique fruity aroma present afterwards. Not a whole lot going on.

T - Has been several years since I've sampled this brew, and it's so much better than I remember. Small amount of malt, and a more pronounced amount of hops noticeable. Noticed the same fruity taste as mentioned from the aroma. A blend of grapefruit, lemon and bitter orange. Don't taste any of them singularly, but that's the best way I can describe it, as those 3 combined.

F - Oustanding mouthfeel. Incredibly refreshing and smooth. A perfect amount of carbonation to quench your fizz thirst. No sourness, bad aftertaste or stomach bloat. Almost perfect.

O - An outstanding beer, could be one of the few beers I will session with. So much better than I remembered. An outstanding blend of quality taste and mouthfeel, yet still it's so crisp and refreshing. Lot's of great taste combined with refreshing qualities, makes for about a perfect summer beer.

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Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
4.19/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing golden, honey, amber appearance. Even balanced aroma, however not that pronounced. Hoppy, citrus, floral aroma. Great taste to start. Floral, citrus, earthy, and hoppy notes take center stage with a caramel depth behind them. Almost a yeasty / bread like base that supports the rest of the flavors.

This is one of (if not our favorite) pale ales.

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Photo of WinthrHOPHEAD89
4.18/5  rDev +21.2%
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 GeoffRizzo
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber, borderline orange, one finger head, incredible lacing throughout, nice aroma of fruit and some hops detected, superior first impression beer. Initial taste is a well balanced blend of hops and malt flavor, in the background are some orange peel and coriander notes. Medium bodied, slight creamy, slightly dry, decent character, just needs a little hopped up to make it a great pale ale, still an above average pale ale.

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Photo of Enola
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow!! This beer is great!!!

The beer poured out a nice reddish hue. It had a pretty decent head that has lingered around. The taste is great too. You can taste the hops without being overrun by them. A nice, well balanced pale ale. The mouthfeel is exceptionlly smooth. Not a bit of harshness. There is a bit of lingering hoppiness on the tongue. The drinkability on this one is almost second to none. I could drink these long after the sun goes down. This was the final beer in my Saranac sampler. You can bet I will look for more by this brewer. Every beer I tried by them was exceptional.

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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 Quaffer
4.13/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle labels this beer as a "Classic English Ale."

Appearance: This beer poured a warm, amber hue that seemed perfect for the style. The head rose up to a nice two-fingers, though it was somewhat coarse and fizzy. However, as it settled down, it became more dense and a little fluffy. It clung desparately to the side of the glass, seeming to not want to sink back into the amber depths of the beer. Therefore, as I downed the pint, a lot of lace was left stuck to the side of the glass.

Smell: Right after the pour, the hops smell was very light with a somewhat spicy character. As the beer sat, though, the hops became more and more dominant. The depth of the aroma was provided by some nice roasted malt and vanilla. There were also hints of buttery caramel and some light, fruity esters.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, but almost breaking into the medium-bodied category due to a nice chewy feel on the sides of the tongue. The carbonation definitely made itself known in the mouth, but it was not too rough. It just provided a nice, lively tingle.

Taste: There wasn't any malt upfront in the flavor. The hops kicked in almost immediately with a flowery, herbal character. While the bitterness was relatively low, the hops flavor was nice and big. The malt finally made an appearance on the finish. It was slightly roasted, but more sweet than anything else, especially as it continued into the aftertaste.

I found this to be a nice, mild pale that goes down very easily. This is a great change of pace from the over-the-top hopped beers that I have become used to. The hops presence might be a bit much for being a self-proclaimed "English" style pale, but I still think that they did a pretty good job. A solid beer that would make a great session brew.

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Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.12/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper brown with a smallish head of off white foam that leaves a bit of lace. Flowery hop aroma and a nice malty sweet flavor balanced with a citrusy hop bitterness. Tasty and very drinkable beer.

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.11/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a good pale ale. Amber - dark copper color. Smell of hops, not too strong though. Taste is hoppy, but not overboard on it. The most impressive feature of this beer is the drinkability. You could drink it all night. It feels OK in your stomach. Good flavor too. This is my second favorite of the Saranac beers; plan to have anothe one of these in the future.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A solid, worthy pale ale. Hazy copperish-gold with as good a head on a beer as I've ever seen; lots of lace. A dry, malty beer that is just a tad more aggressively hopped than most British beers but otherwise is a dead ringer. Some butter flavors, bread crust, lots of caramel (trademark Saranac flavor if you ask me) with some spiciness derived from the yeast. A dry finish with some puckering on the tongue is chief evidence of hops; a bit of citric flavor in taste, and lots of hops in the aroma. This is a solid, underappreciated beer and if you're stuck on what to buy for yourself or your friends, this will not disappoint.

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Photo of Derek
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper, slightly off-white head, little retention, touch of lace.

S: Pleasant British hop aroma (floral, citrus & a little earth), toffee and bread.

T: Quality pale malt flavour (bread/biscuit). Nice, moderate hop profile: figs, orange, pepper, grass (more fuggle flavour than goldings). Pleasant bitter finish. Very British.

M: Moderate body and carbonation.

D: Quite good.

Thanks Len!

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Photo of racecar02
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
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 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 smcolw
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light copper in color, clear enough to read through, and the head has good staying power with a cream-like color and consistancy. Leaves a nice lace on glass

Aroma: Excellent blend of malt (pale) and hops (fresh and floral, not bitter at all). Very tempting...

Taste: Mild malt up front followed by a rush of hop flavor. Reminds me of an ESB or a weak IPA. The subtle bitter bite lasts long into the aftertaste, leading to a second shot at the floral aroma.

Mouthfeel: above average carbonation, an almost sinewy consistancy that lends itself to a long lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability: A quaffable pale ale. Worthy of a six pack. For the price, a great value. An excellent beer to serve with friends.

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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 bigrzman
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
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 Brian_L-2056
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice rich orange color with a white frothy head. Does have a few carbonation bubbles passing through when held up to the light. The smell is fairly typical for a pale ale, nothing that stands out really. Initial taste is mildly hoppy but very drinkable. Mellows out to just a hint of bitterness at the finish. The lacing is quite good as well. Overall I feel that this brew will make a nice addition to my summertime rotation, however it does feel a little heavier than your typical lager or pilsner that I usually switch to in the heat of summer. Will definitely enjoy more.

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Photo of russpowell
4.02/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a 3 fingers fluffy white head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Piney hops, then some fruittyness

T: Slight floral hops folowed by big fat fruittyness. Finished fruitty & dry

MF: Medium body, great balance & carbonation

Drinks very easy, reminds of an English style PA. Worth a try & pretty affordable

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Photo of KeithStolte
4.02/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz to pint glass.

A - Clear bronze color with a nice lacy head. Head Retention is a few minutes.

S - Slightly sweet hoppys taste and quite refreshing

T - Pretty good slightly sweet with hops and malts. Good beer at a great price.

M - Slightly metallic, but good mouthfeel. Can definitely feel a bit of the carbonation.

D - I think this is very drinkable. Very smooth.

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Photo of FranklinPCombs
4.02/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ale has a beautiful reddish golden color, and a wonderfully foamy head. The head recedes slowly into a single layer, leaving a very thick lace around the glass. I was hit with the aroma of hops on first smell, along with a crisp citrus rind smell and a touch of yeast. The mouthfeel is light and slightly carbonated, and quite pleasant to have in ones mouth. The flavor is at first a smooth malt, but it quickly builds to a mild bitter marked by hops, and the citrus rind lingers through. THere is also a very slight hint of burnt earthiness. The sip leaves a interestingly dry feeling in the mouth, and as I usually like, left a desire to drink more. Quite a good ale.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.01/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a simple amber color with a dirty white, uneven head that left behind some surprisingly nice lace.

Smells of a simple honey malt with a leafy, piney hop that has a slight metallic quality to it.

The honey comes through in the flavor with a slight hazelnut creaminess to it. This is followed by a staunch sheet of lime rind and dry oaky pine.

The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with a pleasant swarm of medium bubbles.

Not too bad. Include the cost in this one, and its drinkability skyrockets.

 527 characters

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

Golden color with a hoppy taste. Slight head, that streams down the glass as you drink. Not overwhelming. There are a lot of good local ales, but I had to try this. It is light enough to enjoy in the heat.

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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,302 ratings.
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