Chad9976 (886) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 15, 2010
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 A mistake brewers seem to make is creating gimmicky, overly-sweetened beers that are essentially wine coolers or malt beverages. But Saranac gets a fruity beer right with their Belgian Ale by loading it with lots of spice not unlike an authentic Trappist brew (in fact, the description even says itís "brewed in the Trappist style"). Itís a full-bodied, robust beer thatís sweet and spicy.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Belgian Ale poured extremely smooth and formed a white, foamy head which dissipated mostly, but not entirely. It left some lacing on the glass as well. The complexion was a beautiful dark copper/reddish-orange hazy body with some carbonation noticeable. The aroma gave off some fruity notes along the lines of a cranberry scent with clove also being prominent.
As soon as I took my first taste of Belgian Ale I wondered when I had drank this beer before, and then it hit me: Saranac Pomegranate Wheat. This beer has a similar taste in that itís obviously fruity, but with a deep, rich layer of sweetness rather than a tart or citrus-like taste.
Basically, this tastes like a summer-style fruity beer with additional spice for the winter season. Clove is a noticeable, with possibly some vanilla, as well as cherry, plum and raisin.
Spicy beers tend to be difficult to drink since their contents have a tendency to dance on your palate. Belgian Ale, while being quite spicy, doesnít assault the palate and goes down extremely smooth.
Really the only thing I can criticize Belgian Ale for is its seemingly heavy body. At 5.9% ABV itís quite a hefty beer. I definitely noticed the alcohol after just one bottle and the weight was noticeable as well, but nothing I nor the average beer drinker, canít handle.
While I wouldnít consider Saranac Belgian Ale to be a masterpiece, I do have to commend it for being such a high-quality beer because itís able to convey a fruity theme while still having a truly complex, robust, non-gimmicky taste. This is a good stepping stone for Joe and Jane Six Pack towards authentic Belgian beers, namely - Chimay Red.
NOTE: watch the video version of this review at:
williamherbert (1122) - Syracuse, New York, USA - SEP 18, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bright reddish orange color. Lots of tiny bubbles of carbonation. Healthy finger of foamy head. Lots of light passes through a slight haze. Thick coating of lace.
Nice fruity spice aroma. Belgiany orange smell, with a roasted malt undercurrent; a smooth brown ale base. Sweet and spicy.
Spicy and fruity taste. Has an orange peel spicyness. There is a darker toasted sweetness, like a sweet brown ale. Minor hop bitterness. Dark berry sweetness. Nice mix of sweeter flavors of varying types. Minor smoky, steamed taste.
Feels fizzy on the tongue, but creamy at the swallow. Has a thin, smooth coating. A very nice brew. Spicy, sweet, roasted; overall nicely balanced. Repeats A-OK.
wmtribesman (21) - Virginia, USA - DEC 4, 2007
3.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Iím not going to lie, I wasnít expecting much from a Belgian Trappist Ale made by Saranac, a relatively large US microbrewery. The initial pour seemed to confirm my expectations. Characteristic big, white head, but thin coloring. I also didnít get much from the aroma. This is a good beer though. I love Belgian ales and this is actually a well spiced and flavorful take on the style. All the flavors other users have indicated are there, along with some banana. Finishes smooth. Good beer. Nice in the winter.
Birdiebeagle (959) - Perkasie, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 11, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours a cloudy yellowish red. Off white head. Good aroma with hints of fruitiness. Has a sweet bitter flavor which I find a great mix. Slightly chalky finish. A very tasty beverage.
rampmaster (642) - Alden, New York, USA - MAY 18, 2008
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 12/20
It has a thin off white head over an amber color brew that looks to have to have been filtered. The aroma has a definite Belgian malt and yeast character that I like. Its flavor is very malty and sweet with some classic Belgian yeast and fair amount of hops that give it some bitter citrus notes. The palate is medium bodied with a nice texture and carbonation. Overall itís not as complex as other Belgians but it is still a decent brew.
puzzl (3172) - New York, New York, USA - NOV 17, 2005
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
7th from the Saranac Winter Pack. Certainly the best offering so far: aroma is very spicy, yeasty, wheaty even. Flavor carries through strongly, with nice spicing and a pretty genuine belgium taste. Quite nice.
Littleboob (25) - Greensburg, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 14, 2006
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
smells kinda like a belgian white beer. the color is a nice copper color with a white bubbly head. the fruity taste is a nice touch. so far the best seasonal brew for me yeat.
tagz (337) - Alabama, USA - NOV 27, 2007
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
bottle. pours deep orange with thin white head. nice light aroma of yeast and citrus. tastes brings in some spice, with notes of orange and dark fruit. crisp palate. has flavorings that lean toward a tripel but without the syrupy sweetness. it doesnít have the palate of higher ranked belgians, but i was pleasantly surprised at saranacís take. a nice addition to the winter pack.
sstackho (249) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - APR 27, 2007
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12oz bottle. Pours a clear light gold with abundant carbonation. Quite a nice aroma - a bit spicy - smells like a wheat beer. In fact, it tastes quite a bit like a wheat beer as well, with a bit of extra spice. Not that thereís anything wrong with that! This is actually a rather nice beer - and Iím surprised to find myself saying that about Saranac.
Sregnar35 (889) - Rotterdam, New York, USA - DEC 8, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
This is my favorite of the Saranac line so far. Itís got everything I want in a belgian, good aroma, great fruity taste, and thick mouthfeel. Def worth a try.