Chad9976 (1016) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 15, 2010
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
If you know me you know Iím a hophead and I love the India Pale Ale style the most of all beer styles. While I donít think I could ever tire of trying different IPAs I do enjoy something original regardless of quality. Saranac Rye IPA is able to do exactly that as itís able to effectively use rye malt to create for a very unique taste without coming off as gimmicky.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I was a little surprised to see this beer has a clear dark gold body rather than the more typical copper or orange color I associate with IPAs. Itís fairly effervescent and produced a thick, white, almost spongy head. Itís slow to dissipate and leaves noticeable lacing on the glass.
The aroma is standard for a beer of the sort with a strong hop nose that is accompanied by a dry rye scent. Itís slightly floral but more indicative of a spicy beer. Regardless, itís quite interesting and inviting.
Many pedestrian beer drinkers often complain of beers being ďtoo bitter,Ē but I would argue most beers arenít nearly bitter enough. Saranac Rye IPA is a good example of the bitterness I expect a beer to have. Like any good beer of the style the hops are strong and dominate the palate. Thereís even something of a crunchy hop bite on the back end.
But as the label indicates this isnít just an ordinary IPA, itís made with rye and itís no lie. The malt is well-balanced to give a dry, bready and almost sweet flavor to the palate. It leaves a noticeable aftertaste akin to eating a slice of rye bread.
Obviously, this flavor combination is not going to appeal to everyone, but for what it is I find it innovative and quite tasty, actually.
There are two distinct ďmovementsĒ to encounter while drinking Saranac Rye IPA. The initial mouthfeel and taste is clean and hoppy without any kind of watery component. On the finish thereís a strong, but dry hop bite coupled with a bready rye flavor. They combine to form a very bitter taste. The aftertaste is strong as well as the rye malts and hops linger, but not for too long. The mouthfeel itself is smooth, but significantly weighted.
At 5.95% ABV this is a beer thatís intended to work as a session brew or with a meal. Itís quite versatile.
Beer snobs tend to find Saranac too pedestrian for their tastes, but with Rye IPA (and most of the beers in their ď12 Beers of WinterĒ mix pack) it seems that the Matt Brewery has stepped up their game. In fact, itís almost a paradox since this beer might be a little too intense for Joe and Jane Six Pack, but doesnít quite approach the levels of the championship-caliber beers. Either way, I still enjoyed it and think most drinker will as well.
NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at:
WLG423 (199) - Connecticut, USA - APR 3, 2010
2.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 9/20
Body is dark golden with a white light head, lots of carbonation present. Aromas of spruce and slightly bready with some toast. Flavor is light and slightly toasty with some notes of citrus and pine. Slightly bitter and watery. Overall an average beer.
JoeMcPhee (8053) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 20, 2010
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pale straw colour with a thick sticky white head. The nose is quite fresh and spicy. The rye is really expressive in here, coming through as a really light, zesty spiciness. The palate is a bit light and slightly citrusy. Zesty and lightly citrusy hops that complement the malts pretty nicely. The bittering hops are very underutilized... this feels like 30 IBUs. There is a nice light woodiness as well. I do like it, but it could use about 2X the hops.
TheCaptain (613) - Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 17, 2010
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle, poured a caramel dark gold, clear with off white foam head and slight layered lacing. Hops aroma with grain notes and a malt hop palate. Crisp with a malt rye texture, slight citrus hops keep things lively. Citrus notes and a bit of bitterness towards the finish, lively carbonation.
Indra (2527) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - MAR 15, 2010
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
12oz. bottle. Grassy hop aroma, some crackery, grainy malt and mild spice detected. Really gives more of a Pilsner impression, strangely. Clear medium golden color with a lasting, fine head. Flavor is dry, citric and moderately bitter, some faint herbal tinges here and there, finishing lightly spicy with hints of lemon and grassy hop. Mouthfeel is very lightly oily and astringent, not without carbonation, but still comes across as lifeless and thin. Body is light-medium. Kind of an odd one, and lacking in any real depth.
nuplastikk (3817) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - MAR 9, 2010
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz bottle. Filtered orange-tan color, Big creamy head. Quite easy and sessionable like most non-imperial Saranac beers. Medium to full bodied, The hops are there but arent that aggressive by any means, but they meld well with the doughy, mild Rye or other specialty malts. Soapy, and just a touch to thin and watery in the finish. Overall this is still an enjoyable beer, a solid addition to the mixpack.
Uglyradio (791) - Greenville, South Carolina, USA - FEB 27, 2010
2 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 3/20
Looks good...Copper pour with a lasting head...Flavor is bland and lacking in malt and hop presence...Weird...
bbrock81 (297) - Le Mars, Iowa, USA - FEB 18, 2010
3.3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours clear medium gold with a small white head that disappears quickly. Aroma is simultaneously hoppy and sweet, mostly grassy and citrus. Thereís some earthy funk going on, as well, that detracts from it. The flavor is actually fairly nice, with a good balance between malt and hops, the citrus hops winning slightly. It has a nice, bitter hop finish. The palate is pretty carbonated, even slightly harsh. There is a bit of a watered-down feeling to the whole beer, though, and it comes off as seeming like itís less than it could have been.
MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - FEB 18, 2010
3.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz - Aroma of rye, pale malts and some resin hops. Flavor matches with a stronger hop finish. Palate is tart and chewy. Not bad.
LilBeerDoctor (3204) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 17, 2010
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Pours a clear light orange with a thick off-white head. Aroma of sweet malt, light fruits, residual sugars. Flavor of toasted malts, light floral hops, sweet malt. For an IPA, this was hardly at all hoppy or citrusy and I certainly didnít get any rye out of it. Also it was slightly on the sweeter side of things. It was still very drinkable and enjoyable; it just didnít live up to the advertisement.