ChadPolenz (1690) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 3, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Saranac’s Pale Ale is the brewery’s flagship beer, but it’s actually an English-style pale ale. "Big Moose Ale" is essentially the American-style equivalent of that beer, but it’s only available as a winter seasonal. That’s a bit of a shame because this is exactly what I look for in a brew of the style: big flavor with genuine hop bitterness that’s well-balanced and highly drinkable.
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker pint.
Appearance: Dark copper body, crystal clear, some carbonation visible. Forms an average size, yellowish, soapy head which mostly dissipates but still leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.
Smell: Orange candy scent plus a hint of pine needles and some confectionery sweetness.
Taste: I appreciate Saranac Pale Ale for its subtlety, but the Big Moose Ale is bit more overt in its delivery. Strong hop bitterness from the get-go, along with noticeable caramel and toffee sweetness. There’s a distinct resiny character, especially through the middle of the palate, that imparts some astringency and piney flavor. It finishes with a sharp hop bite before fading away fairly clean.
This is a satisfying drinking experience and I’d bet if this beer were made by a brewery with a bit more "indie cred," craft beer nerds would be rating this much higher than they are. I like it better than Saranac’s flagship pale ale, but much like that beer I wouldn’t say this is anything world-class or earth-shattering. It’s just a solid beer that’s a little more solid than others.
Drinkability: "Crisp" is a word that comes to mind in describing how Saranac Big Moose Ale drinks. The body has a distinct carbonation presence, but is not overly fizzy. The mouthfeel has plenty of energy from the hops, but isn’t intense by any means. I’m actually impressed they were able to get so much body out of only 5.3% ABV. It’s an efficient brew that’s for sure.
Wiszard (19) - Derry, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 1, 2012
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pours a nice clear amber color with a medium body and minimal head that lasts. Carbonization is average. Good Pale Ale taste of hops. Overall a slightly above average beer.
Elwood (3336) - Leesburg, Virginia, USA - DEC 1, 2012
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Serving: 12 oz. bottle from Wegmans Leesburg. It pours a deep amber color with a small, but well sustained off white head. The nose has faint notes of caramel, light sweet florals, and papery hops. The flavor has a little caramel, biscuit, with a medium, slightly piney bitterness. Fairly poor flavor wise. Medium bodied with average carbonation. This is no APA to write home about.
TaktikMTL (7034) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 29, 2012
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bouteille de 12 oz achetée chez Beverage Warehouse (Winooski, VT). Arôme: Légère odeur de caramel et d’agrumes. Apparence: La couleur est cuivrée avec une faible densité de bulle. Présence d’une mince col mousseux et d’une fine dentelle sur le verre. Saveur: Goût d’agrumes avec une pointe de caramel. Durée moyenne de l’arrière goût. Palette: Le corps est moyen avec une texture légèrement onctueuse. Moyenne effervescence en bouche. Arrière goût houblonné. (Rating #4370)
vodka4blood (137) - Miltonboro, Vermont, USA - NOV 28, 2012
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
The only time its a really good idea to buy this beer is in the spring when they take 50% off the price of 12-packs.... bottom line, false advertising ("BIG?") for an overall average beer.
AKThunder (167) - New York, USA - NOV 23, 2012
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
This is a very fruity ale. Is it safe to say this is an IPA? I don’t really know, all I know is that it is citrusy and good!
mike67 (1103) - , New Jersey, USA - NOV 19, 2012
2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 4/20
12 oz bottle from a verity pack. Pours light amber with a short-lived white head. Aroma is of bready and caramel malt, hints of citrusy hops and ripe fruit. Body is full and crisp. Taste is citusy, herbal hops, some shellfish and something else. Finish is long and unpleasant. Nice drain pour.
pete4999 (1445) - Buffalo, New York, USA - NOV 17, 2012
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle (different label than the bottle in the picture). Part of a sample pack, I think; I took this from my parents’ house. Pours a pretty clear amber brown, minimal head. Smells very faintly of some toffee, orange. Taste is similar with malty sweetness. Not much bite in it at all.
Ughsmash (7508) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 7, 2012
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bottled. Poured clear, medium orange with a tall, sticky off-white head. The aroma picked up wet grains covered by earthy and lesser citrusy hop presence.. some oxidation and cardboard present.. overall OK-ish, but I don’t think it was too fresh. The flavor found sweet caramel and honey at the core, with pine needle and grapefruit bitterness around.. a touch of sourness joined residual sugars on the finish. Light-bodied with decent balance on the palate.. low-moderate bitterness.. not exciting, but very drinkable.
Perdue46 (68) - USA - MAY 5, 2012
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: MAY 11, 2012 good carbonated taste to start. The b beer has a strong hoppy finish. overall average beer.