Beer Profile: Saranac High Peaks Wet Hop IPA

Courtesy beerpulse.com
Courtesy beerpulse.com

Saranac High Peaks: Wet Hop IPA
7% abv
Saranac/Matt Brewing
Utica, NY

Profiled by Ken Carman for professorgoodales

Beer-Profile1-258x300 I hate to type this, but I fear they may have missed the hop laden brew train on this one for their intended. Tis a fine beer, but to be a wet hop I fear it needs more than this. Perhaps they’ll start some “way in the background” trend?
Starts with a sweet malt nose: a hint of caramel and hops, but not wet hops. Visually: great clarity, shimmering gold, pillow and big bubble head… fine presentation.
Mouthfeel is more malt, a hint of chewy and a firm, yet less forward hop sense. More Brit in that regard… for an IPA.

Nose: caramel malts and background hops, firm… just a hint behind. But not “fresh” or “wet.”

Malt sense lingers for a while on the palate. Carbonation in body firm, but light. The wet part of the hop taste is very background; pretty much absent. Even the hop sense in general is more Pale than IPA. I’m curious the type of hops used, thinking they are actually hops that grow wild near the Utica, NY area… from some press release I read a while back. Interesting, yet I fear most craft beer quaff-ers will be disappointed as per the usual slam of wet hops one get from most wet hop beers, and that’s damn unfortunate, because this is one great beer.

Rated 82 at Beer Advocate. 40 at Rate Beer. I tend to find Rate Beer has more reviews by those who don’t quite get it when it comes to deviation from a style, and BA is more beer snob oriented, to be honest here. I think RB is off on this one for that very reason.

Now the longer you sip, the more the hops present themselves here: a fine achievement. Still not that somewhat grassy sense fans of the Wet would expect, though silimlar and, perhaps, WAY in the background… not quite the same. One achievement here: some brewers mistake the two and just go with the grass. Yack.

I recommend, with a 4, because the brewer is challenging us. Otherwise, if I were judging by mere mass appeal to the craft beer palate I’d have to go to a 3. Uneducated palate, perhaps. But always seeking complexity and a different, if oh so subtle, take on a somewhat aging trend? Back to 4.

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Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”