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Saranac Imperial IPA

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Saranac Imperial IPA -- high gravity, not too expensive and generally worth the cost

  • Nov 2, 2010

How does it look? How's the color? Clarity? Head?

Dark amber, head is slight and settles quickly

How's the nose (smell)? Sweet, spicy, fruity?

Maple syrup type sweetness and the woody smell that comes along with it, hoppy undertones

How does it taste? Malty? Hoppy? Fruity? Chalky?

Saranac's alcohol content is 8.5%.  From my experience the high gravity beers are primarily sweet, so it is still taking a little more time than I thought to get used to it.  So there is a sweet red-wine initial flavor, but when that passes it gets really complicated.  The label says that it uses 10 different malts and 10 different hops.  I can't say I can taste every malt but it has a very strong maltiness that lasts throughout the taste experience.  The label says it has 85 IBUs, but despite that, the hoppiness is overpowered by the malt and a berrylike flavor that settles along-side the malt as the aftertaste matures and fades.

Is it full-bodied? Medium bodied? Weak? Clean?

Very full-bodied.  Very complex aftertaste so it is not clean, but that is not a drawback

Where did you buy it? How much was it?

Birmingham AL, $11

What do you think overall? Would you buy it again?

Overall it is not bad.  I've been trying the higher gravity beers for some time (they became legal to sell in AL not quite 2 years ago) and am still developing the palate.  It is sweeter than I like but not so much that it is truly offputting.  I cannot recommend it for someone that doesn't care for ales, it is far too strong for that.  I think most IPA fans will find something to like in it however.  I have erred on the side of the positive and given it a full 4, but it's closer to a 3.5.  Yes, I will buy it again.

What did you think of this review?

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November 04, 2010
Yum! You are doing a good job of inspiring an Alabama beer tasting trip for me and my fiance lol...I had no idea! Thanks for educating me on such deliciousness.
November 04, 2010
Birmingham and I would welcome you, and particularly a small grocery store chain (Western) that stocks these fantastic beers and has a massive wine section and a full time vintner. I've lived in far bigger cities and have never run across a place quite like it.
November 04, 2010
Hmmm....sounds like a review is brewing ;p I'd love to read about Western, I wonder if there's something like it here in the SF Bay Area?
About the reviewer
Paul Savage ()
Ranked #2
I name and describe everything and classify most things. If 'it' already had a name, the one I just gave it is better.
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