Monday, April 20, 2009

Saranac Helles Lager

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 15, 2010
What does it take for a beer to be considered perfect? Well, it should be tasty, smooth and not too filling. Really, just three little characteristics are what make for a great beer and yet so many beers only satisfy one or two of these requirements. In the case of Saranac Hefeweizen, I knew only a few swigs into it that it not only satisfied these requirements but excelled at them. I was sold!


As is the case with nearly all hefeweizens, Saranac’s brew pours to a cloudy orange color, which is normal because these beers are made from wheat whose yeast has not been filtered out. It forms an average-sized head which doesn’t stick around nor leave much evidence on the glass, but that’s fine by me because it’s such a great beer in general.

Some beers of this type have an overwhelming scent of wheat while others are entirely citrusy, but this one lies somewhere in the middle. It’s definitely sweet-smelling in that distinct hefeweizen way but without coming across as too gimmicky.


A lot of beer snobs like beer that actually tastes like beer. But to me, if it tastes good that’s really all that mattes. Saranac Hefeweizen has an extremely sweet taste very reminiscent of other American hefeweizens but without the bite.

The label indicates a palate of banana and cloves, which is clearly evident. It would seem these ingredients would make for an odd pairing, but they work well here. The taste leans much more towards the clove side, but overall has a very “juicy” taste, making it easy to drink since it’s delightful to your palate.


I’ve had many beers which are tasty but aren’t easy to drink or don’t satisfy, but Saranac Hefeweizen touches all the bases. It’s one of the smoothest beers I’ve ever encountered as it drinks like a glass of juice. There’s very little carbonation and the intense flavor definitely outweighs any “bite” the beer might have.

As for weight, it’s probably medium in body by definition, but drinks like a much lighter beer. You could easily go through many bottles of this beer before feeling overwhelmed. It would make a great party beer due to this factor.


I honestly can’t find a flaw with Saranac Hefeweizen. It’s delicious, easy to drink, looks and smells great and isn’t too heavy in body. It’s a beer that anyone can enjoy from lightweights to connoisseurs. What more could you want?

Grade: 5/10

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