195. Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Posted: October 31, 2013 in ale, International beer
Tags: , , , , ,

Saranac Pumpkin Ale - BOTTLESaranac Pumpkin Ale

Brewery info:
Matt Brewing Company

New York, U.S.A


Bottle size sampled: 355 mL

Alcohol: 5.1%
Standard drinks: 1.4

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for $3.99 AU

Label info: ‘In celebration of the fall harvest, here’s an Autumn favourite that’s as enjoyable as pumpkin pie. This hearty ale is brewed with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Look for a full body and amber color. We’re sure you’ll enjoy this special brew. Cheers!’. 

What the label really means: I am all for these pumpkin brewed beers and this label sounds like it has all that I am looking for – bring it on.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: There is a large sketch of a smiling jack-o-lantern that takes up the majority of space on this label, in pumpkin orange. ‘Saranac’ is emblazoned across the top of his head, and the label in bold red lettering that stands out beautifully on a sea of back. It’s bold, it’s punchy, it’s fun, it made me reach for it at the store.  It’s a label that could easily have gone bad with a light coloured background and instead aimed for that contrast. Great stuff.

I give it a label rating of 7.5 out of 10.

AROMA:  Earthy nutmeg notes.Saranac Pumpkin Ale - GLASS

Taste: GLASS – This is a surprisingly mild tasting brew. It does not have the punchy pumpkin or even nutmeg flavours that I was hoping to find and I can’t help but feel cheated. It’s like a watered down amber ale with a citrus undercurrent. Sadly, this is not a beer I’d rush out and buy again. 

I give it a beer from glass rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Much the same from the bottle, if not a tad milder and even more watered-down tasting. It’s not a strong beer by any standard and it’s becoming very tedious very quickly.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I think a good pumpkin pie would (predictably) suit this beer well.

Best season to appreciate: More of a cooler weather Autumnal brew. 

All-nighter beer? Not for me I’m afraid…it’s just a bit too watered down tasting, and a little bloaty.


  1. Trent says:

    In defence of the humble pumpkin ale, if you tried this beer in October, and it was only $4, it was likely from the previous year, unlikely to have much spice character left. A fresh pumpkin ale can be pretty intense in it’s pumpkin pie spicing, and doesn’t age all that well. Murray’s used to do a pumpkin ale each year that was very nice, but I don’t think they have done one for a few years. Pretty cool you picked this up in Oz, though – where did you get it?


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Ahh but Trent, keep in mind some of my reviews are specifically scheduled for certain dates (ie, I didn’t really drink this on Halloween). Having said that, you’re still correct in saying it probably wasn’t at its freshest….what I was comparing it against was a release from Gage Roads (also reviewed).


  2. Halloween? Pff! The closest I ever got to trick ‘r treating when I was a scale model was ransoming the neighbour’s cat for Anticol, and I did it via a dead drop. The modern skrapler doesn’t have the walnut wattage for such subterfuge.


  3. Lukeod says:



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