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RATINGS: 70   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.18/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%
Taking an India Pale Ale to the next level, Saranac India Brown Ale has the malt backbone to carry the hoppiness you expect in an India Pale Ale. Carefully selected malts from North America and Europe are decoction mashed to highlight their character and the brew is complemented with generous amounts of Columbus, Cascade, and Centennial hops. Cheers!

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Bulk_Carrier (6065) - Vermont, USA - NOV 7, 2016
Poured into a nonic pint glass, the appearance was a semi-ruddy dark amber close to brown color with a quickly dissipating finger’s worth of white foamy head. Barely any lace. The aroma starts with a big nutty to caramel to toffee malt up front and strong with some brown sugar and light milk chocolate. Hops seem barely there, but show a light grassy to earthy bitterness. The flavor sides with the maltiness, full and sweet. Hops, once again, barely stand out. Malty sweet smooth aftertaste with the same finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a nice sessionability about it. Low to medium carbonation. Overall, good brown ale leaning towards the English side. I really don’t think this is hoppy enough to be an American styled brown ale.

generallee08 (773) - New York, USA - JUN 11, 2014
It has a reddish-brown amber colored body with good clarity and a thin of white colored head. The head fades out quickly and makes no lacing at all. The aroma has a very mild malt scent in the background with good solid citrus hop notes throughout. Its flavor has mild malt flavor with some faint nutty notes and a solid citrus hop presence. The finish has a good bitter hop fade and the texture is smooth with a good balanced carbonation and a medium body. Nothing really stands out as it is a rather simple and safe beer with good drinkability.

ads135 (4864) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - NOV 7, 2013
Smooth and forgettable. The bitterness of the hops is nearly entirely sucked into the malts, which aren’t that apparent either.

cloudstrife (54) - Rochester, New York, USA - OCT 30, 2012
Reviewed on: 12-21-2008 12 oz bottle poured into glass. Reddish brown copper color with an average off white rocky head. Aroma of hops at first with an afterthought of malts. Hints of caramel. Very well balanced flavor, a great style of beer. Being a huge fan of IPA’s and also a brown ale fan this one is great for me. Hints of chocolate and caramel malts, earthy hoppy finish. A little rough on the palate, good carbonation but slightly astringent. Overall I am VERY happy that they took the IPA to the next level and I hope more companies follow suit.

jmulv (336) - New York, New York, USA - JUN 24, 2012
Very solid beer. Goes down really smooth. Very well balanced beer. Nice little kick of hops in there as well.

DavoleBomb (1867) - Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 12, 2011
Poured into a pint glass. I’m excited to drink this because it will once and for all rid my refridgerator of the virus known as Saranac. 4.0 A: Looks great, which is typical of Saranac. The problem will ultimately lie in the paragraphs below. Amber brown color. One and a half fingers of thick head that retains well and leaves tons of lacing. 3.0 S: Weak aroma overall, but not bad. Hints of dark fruit and caramel and the smallest touch of herbal hops. 3.0 T: This beer drinks like a macro in a sense. The first sip is full of flavor, but each subsequent sip is progressively more bland. The tastebuds have never become tolerant so fast. A couple of ounces in it tastes like a watered down version of a decent brown ale. 3.0 M: Light body, too light to be any good. Smooth, but a little overcarbonated. 2.5 D: I don’t even want to finish this one. Well, hopefully I’m done with Saranac for a while. Most of their beers pissed me off in that they looked really good so the overall scores were way higher than the score for taste. Saranac is only good for one thing as far as I’m concerned: to convert the masses to craft. Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 02-03-2009 01:09:58

ironmanallday (2) - Red Lion, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 26, 2010 does not count
This better than Pal Ale as a nice dark amber body and a tall, with a nice beige head. Has an aroma of caramel, malt, floral and hops, a note of citrus. Medium bodied, with nice carbonation. Medium hops flavor with a roasted caramel. The nice sweetness lingers on the tongue with a dry bitter bite.

thechandler (593) - Charleston, West Virginia, USA - DEC 9, 2010
Pours a creamy brown with nice malt around. Flavor is strong and deep with both sweet maltiness and a nice compliment of bitter hop bouquet.

brigg (701) - New York, USA - DEC 1, 2010
(bottle) Dark amber body and a tall, beige head with stiff peaks. Aroma of caramel, malt, floral and pine hops, a note of orange and lemon peel and earthy. Medium bodied, soft carbonation. Strong hop flavor over roasted caramel. The mild sweetness lingers on the tip of the tongue while the dry bitter bite works its way back. Nice lacing on the glass.

ChadPolenz (1845) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - APR 15, 2010
India Pale Ales and Brown Ales are probably my two favorite types of beers, but what happens when you make a hybrid of the two styles? Apparently you get Saranac India Brown Ale – a beer with the strong, hoppy, bitter quality of an IPA with the smoothness of a brown ale.


Saranac IBA pours very smoothly and forms a beautiful dark red, slightly copper-colored, crystal-clear body with very little carbonation present. It has a small, white, fizzy head which dissolves quickly, but never completely and leaves constant lacing on the glass – something I’ve never seen before.

The aroma is similar to an IPA with a distinct hop signature, but without the citrusy notes present. Some malty scents are noticeable, but only faintly so. Otherwise the beer’s smell is subdued.


There’s just nothing quite like the experience of drinking a beer and having the flavor give your palate a punch. Saranac India Brown Ale does that with its strong hop character which makes for quite a bitter taste, not unlike an IPA. The difference here is there isn’t much, if any, citrus qualities to the taste.

The beer has only the slightest roasted taste, but not nearly as strong as a typical brown ale. Basically, it’s an Extra Special Bitter but without the dryness. The overall flavor is strong, hoppy and bitter and just the slightest bit dry, but it all adds up to a very enjoyable taste.


Strongly-hopped beers like this have a reputation for being difficult to drink, yet Saranac IBA is quite smooth. Although it’s very similar in taste to an IPA or an ESB, it finishes as smooth as a brown ale so lightweights have to reason to complain abut the finish.


More hops usually equals more alcohol and Saranac IBA is no exception. At 6% ABV it’s pretty potent for a medium-market beer, even if it is of a niche style. I didn’t find the beer to be too overwhelming but I could definitely tell it was potent before I looked it up.

The body is somewhere between heavy and medium. You won’t be able to just breeze through two of these back-to-back as if it were nothing. But because the taste is so good, this is a beer you’ll want to savor anyway.


If I read the label on the bottle right, it seems that Saranac intended for this beer to be an IPA/brown ale hybrid. I would have preferred a darker, roastier flavor, but because it follows the style of an IPA so well, it’s still a good beer worthy of recommendation.

NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at:


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