Sam Adams Updates The Recipe For Their Summer Ale

Do you have any favorite recipes? If so, do you share them freely or do you keep them a secret? Colonel Sanders did everything he could to protect KFC’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, and Coca-Cola keeps their secret recipe in a pretty serious looking vault, which is actually on display at the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta. In case you weren’t aware, recipes can’t be copyrighted, which is why KFC, Coke and many other companies go to such great lengths to keep their recipes secret.

Craft breweries may not protect their recipes as fiercely as KFC or Coke, but they still don’t usually make them public or easy to share. They’ll often let you know what hops they use, what malt(s) they use and even which strain of yeast they brewed the beer with but that’s mainly because, for many craft beer enthusiasts, knowing those things can influence their choices. However, unlike KFC or Coke who keep their recipes the same year after year (‘New Coke’ notwithstanding), breweries will sometimes alter the recipes for some of their favorite beers based on feedback from their customers or their own taste buds.

For over two decades now, Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company) has brewed their Summer Ale with the same recipe. Now, in a quest to make it an even “more perfect” Summer Ale, Samuel Adams is updating the recipe to make it brighter, lighter and even more refreshing.

Sam Adams Summer Ale

Here is the full press release from Sam Adams:

BOSTONApril 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The brewers at Samuel Adams today announce the release of a new recipe for Summer Ale – the first recipe change in twenty-three years. The new Summer Ale has all the flavor drinkers know and love with a boosted citrus profile and scaled back earthy, spice note for a lighter and brighter taste.

The Sam Adams brewers knew they were taking a risk experimenting with an iconic recipe that for two decades has become the classic summer seasonal brew. Inspired by the warmer months of the season, they set out to experiment and capture lighter and brighter flavors and aromas, and even more summer refreshment.

The brewers added a handful of new citrus elements including orange, lime and lemon to enhance the citrus profile with the right balance of flavor and aromas. Amped up additions of pureed oranges, limes and lemons give more roundness to the profile of the new brew. The lemon puree pulls double duty by giving a taste like fresh lemon juice with an almost candied note that the brewers thought makes the beer even more drinkable.

Fans of this American wheat ale brewed in the Hefeweizen tradition will still enjoy the balanced notes of citrusy Hallertau Mittelfrüh Noble hops, hint of peppery spice from the Grains of Paradise and a crisp mouthfeel.

Jim Koch, Sam Adams Founder & Brewer, on New Summer Ale: 
“When we introduced Summer Ale 23 years ago it was inspired by the weather and ingredients of the season and had a dynamic flavor profile. As we started experimenting with the Summer Ale recipe, we decided to only update the classic recipe if we were blown away by the flavor and drinkability. With this new recipe, we found a way to give drinkers even more of what they know and love about Summer Ale.”

“When you live in New England, you pay a lot of attention to the seasons. You need to be prepared. In the early 1990s Samuel Adams pioneered the concept of brewing four seasonal beers every year, each brewed to resonate with the rhythm and ingredients of the seasons. 

 Samuel Adams Summer Ale was our final seasonal. It quickly grew to be one of our most popular beers and to us, brewing it became a signal that warmer months were around the corner.  That’s why for more than two decades we haven’t looked at changing the recipe.

 Until this year!

 Just like our forefathers sought to create a “more perfect union”, we took up the challenge to brew “more perfect Summer Ale”. Why? Well, over the years we have seen our drinkers’ palates and preferences evolve – and so have ours.  During the hot summer months, we’re now drawn to lighter and brighter beers, so last fall we started experimenting in our nano-brewery in Boston.  After several rounds of brewing, we created a new recipe that builds on the delicious character of Summer Ale that we love while giving it a more citrusy, refreshing taste.

 We literally “juiced up” the recipe, adding more orange, lime, and lemon peel notes and rebalanced the other ingredients. After months of pouring nano-batches of excellent beer down the drain, we nailed it. We shared it with visitors to our Tap Room, and they agreed. We hope you will too.”

Sam’s new lighter, brighter Summer Ale is available now in six-pack and twelve-pack bottles, twelve-pack cans,16 oz. cans, draft and Summer Variety Packs. Pick some up for your next get together or cookout. Find it near you at

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

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