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: 1,303
Photo of phisig137
2.94/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber copper hue, with a two finger head and decent retention. Once the head falls, it leaves behind a ring of foam, and abundant lacing. Surprisingly, it looks quite nice.

Aroma is malty and slightly grainy. pretty much devoid of hops in the nose.

Flavor is not a whole lot better. Very mild all the way through, with a touch of malty caramel notes up front, but again, completely lacking in the hops department. Even as an english pale ale, there just aren't enough hops in here. Mouthfeel is light, yet coating. Drinkability is decent.

Another let down from the abomination I call the Saranac mixed 12 pack. Thankfully, this is the last one of it I'll be drinking. Most of their beers are just a little boring a muted renditions of the styles they are trying to re-create. I definitely wouldn't call this "aggressively hopped" like the label indicates. Don't waste your money on this one. It may be a decent "transition beer" for some of your macro friends, but most seasoned BA's will likely not appreciate it.

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Photo of tempest
2.93/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour a nice, but quickly disappearing head with a hazy light copper body. Leaves enough lacing to count, but its fairly thin.

Slightly floral aroma which is nice, but there's something off here. Its almost as if there's something wrong with the malt.

Tastes pleasant but is just too weak. There's a little hops, a little malt, and not enough of either. Really, where the hell's the taste? I keep drinking but I just can't find it.

Very easy drinking, but a little too easy. Goes down like a lager. While it will beat any maco-adjunct, that should go without saying. This beer basically needs some more cajones.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
2.93/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Into a pint glass:

A: copper/amber colored body that yields a half finger white head that stays for about a minute and then dies to a half finger head that sticks around for about twenty seconds. A fair amount of bubbly carbonation is seen rising. Some spotty lacing is left here and there around the pint glass.

S: hops and the malts combined very well. Some citrus is really faint.

T: centered around the malts but still the hops come out slightly, just trying to make a presence, still mostly subdued.

M: medium with a slightly creamy feel. It does leave a slight sour aftertaste.

O: well, its not a bad pale ale, but if I wanted this again, I'd search it out only on tap, maybe ????

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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 aalappatel
2.9/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I poured this beer to discover about a two finger white head that lingers. Lacing was pretty good on the glass. It felt a bit watery going down. Color was copperish. This is your average American Pale Ale. I was neither impressed nor disappointed. I would probably drink one if there was nothing better around.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.9/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Saranac is Iriquois for "cluster of stars." Just thought you should know.

Clear amber with a 2 finger white head. Poor retention. Smells like apple juice and tastes like it too. Minor hop hiccup in back.

Not a bad English pale but if you asked me if I wanted another I'd probably say no.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.9/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Orange-copper color, with a creamy white head that lingers quite a while. Smells floral and hoppy, like a PA should. Taste is not impressive at all. has a burnt carmel taste that shoudn't be in a PA. Not enough hops, or maybe they are just overpowered by this unpleasant flavor. Not very good, after the first 2 categories. My least favorite out of the sampler, so far.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

from the appearance and smell of this one, i figured it might stray from saranac's run of mediocrity. ultimately, it didn't. it pours a pretty nice amber colour with a big foamy head which is nice and sticky. the smell and flavour are both more balanced than the ipa was, however, a stronger malt presence is too much. both consist of hop, sweetness and caramel along wit hthe afformentioned maltiness. there's really not much more to say about this brew. it's mellow and boring. a bit better than the ipa, but too similar in all of it's characteristics. even the most basic of pale ale's seemingly blow this one away. the appearance was the only real saving grace here, but if the brew tastes crappy, then who cares what it looks like?

 736 characters

Photo of donnebaby
2.87/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clea, almost watery amber color. Fizzy, small bubble head bubbles away--fast. Breezy malts nose, sweetish apple and pineapple notes, mild hop backdrop.

Taste is overwhelmed by high carbonation, which seemed to outdo any flavor in the mouth. Light sour grain malts barely present. Aftertaste is lightly dry and bitter hops, somewhat metallic and charcoalish. Light but rough.

Seltzer-like feel and something else unpleasant associated with the aftertaste left me disappointed. Felt more like a normal lager than a "classic English ale".

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Photo of JG-90
2.86/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Bottle poured into glass gives a moderate sized, off-white head. Beer is a clear, bright, light copper/amber. Head settles to a small cap with heavy lacing. Smells of stale bread, light caramel malt, and funky wheat, not much overall aroma.

Taste is very bitter throughout, starting with stale bread and caramel malt, then just a hint of floral, has a stale bread, bitter, crisp, clean finish. Body on the lighter side of medium, with medium/high carbonation. English style PA's are not my favorite but I have had ones I've liked much more than this, in my opinion this beer is nothing special, but nothing bad either.

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

Pours a one-fingered white head that stays leaving a chunky lace. Sparkling clear amber color. Good carbonation. Definitely a hoppy overtone, particularly at the finish. What else would you expect with a pale?? $1.55 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, Ma.

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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 changeup45
2.83/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber color with a medium head and quite a bit of lace on the glass. This is a decent Pale Ale. This has a sweet hoppy flavor, some light caramel to it with a mild bitter hop finish. Somewhat watery but not bland. And at $5.49 a six pack it prices itself just under some of the competition.

 290 characters

Photo of winomark
2.83/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light to medium copper with a fluffy off-white head and lots of vigorous bubbles.

Aroma: Mild malt tones and some hops present. NOt much going on in the nose.

Taste: Good malt profile with good hops offering balance in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Flavorful, but mild. Short finish, with some bitterness.

Drinkability: Not a beer tha I wold seek out, but a decent, easy-drinking brew.

 411 characters

Photo of sabrills70
2.82/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber with a very small head that faded quickly and almost non existant lacing. Faint smells of hops but not what I think a typical pale ale shold be. Some malt aromas as well. Tatses of a typical PA. Strong hop flavor and bitterness but I think its a bit too heavy, or possible weak on the malt side. Medium carbonation and a bit watery. A below average PA in my book, not horrible but below average.

 416 characters

Photo of mynie
2.82/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

That's a sad APA pour. Light redish with no head. Carbonation is very slight. like dark tea.

Smells weakly of dry hops, must, and adjunct grain. Nothing to write home about...

Watery flavor. Nice hops up front, very dry and slightly sweet, giving way in the middle to watery emptiness and a bland macro lager taste and ending dry and flat. Not good.

 356 characters

Photo of bignick
2.8/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Free on tap at the brewery. Served in a mug.

There is a pleasant fruitness in the smell of this beer, and it is present in the hoppiness as I sip it. However, the fruitness transitions into a sticky sweetness that is cloying and unpleasant. Not one of the better pale ales I have tried, as the finish makes it pretty undrinkable.

 332 characters

Photo of dmamiano
2.8/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy golden with nice head and lacing.
A mix of hops and an almost metal smell permeating the nose..I am guessing its a mix of hops producing this .
Taste was mildly hopped and a grainy maltiness balancing. Hops were earthly in character.
Ok beer, but I am not buying again

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Photo of stirgy
2.79/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out a slightly hazy amber orange color. The head was mediocre and stayed this throughout. From the beer, came a strange soap-like smell - almost citrus, almost grassy, but faint.

The taste was bittersweet and slightly cidery. The beer was light to medium bodied. Not too much here that stands out, but a good drinkable beer regardless.

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Photo of wvsabbath
2.79/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Copper tan/brown, 1/4 inch head, minor lacing.

Smell - Pale ale malts, a little hop note, some added sugars. Not getting much else.

Taste - Starts out with some caramel malt and a little nut flavor. Minor hops providing a sour/bitter flavor. Added sugars offset a little bitter note left behind from the hops. Really about all that's going on.

Mouthfeel - Tongue gets the malts, where the palate gets some hops and a little sugar. Aftertaste is dry, and a little sour.

Overall - Pretty weak and boring. The caramel malts make up most of the flavor, where the hops are not very fruity, just provide a bitter note. Nothing worth drinking since there are lots of better pale ales out there.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.73/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Here comes the yellow! Nice soft white head and carbonation, decent clarity. Aroma hit those where are the hops and why does this smell like Budweiser kind of vibe.

Taste offered up true to form pale malts, but the hopping was disappointing.. High carbonation. Not bad, just a pale ale without enough hopping.

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Photo of ElGuapo
2.73/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

dry and hoppy. a bit mild in body, but you can certainly taste the hops. a bit darker in appearance than some other pales. it has a sexy sexy look to it.. golden. not a sierra nevada, but much better than bass.

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Photo of Osirus
2.72/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A little darker than many pale ales but in a good way. Good lace down the glass! It looks like a good beer should.

Aroma: Toasted and malty, a lack of hop. Some caramel. Not fruity.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was good. Medium body.

Taste: Toasted grains. Caramel. A little heavier taste than I was expecting. A noticeable lack of typical hops taste.

Overall: I would gladly pick this one of the cooler versus your typical Nascar beer. It was a little heavier, singular in taste and much less hoppy than I thought a pale ale would be. I would not recommend it to a beginner learning the pale ale style but a decent dpearture from the middle of the road. I am going to use this one in horizontal tasting with other pale ales.

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Photo of bashiba
2.71/5  rDev -21.4%
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 JohnL9013
2.71/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Light amber with a small head. Not poured by me, so I can't say what the head would have been like.

S: A rather nonchalant smell with some hops and citrus notes here and there.

T: This beer has a huge lemon zest to it in addition to the hops. Whether you like this is up to you, but personally I did not like this beer and I thought the lemoney flavor was way overdone, overpowering the other flavors, which were already weak to begin with obviously. This is like a lower-grade Sierra Nevada with lemon flavor added, and overall it just seemed like a cheap beer to me.

M: Since this was on-tap, the carbonating was low, but it was almost to the point of being flat. Once again, this is out of my control so I'll give the beer the benefit of the doubt.

D: This is hardly drinkable to say the least. I was barely able to choke it down and, unlike most good beers, the taste got worse as it warmed up.

I would definitely never try this beer again.

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Saranac Pale Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 1,303 ratings.
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