Saratoga Lager - Mendocino Brewing Company

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Saratoga LagerSaratoga Lager

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100 Ratings
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Ratings: 100
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 13.88%
Wants: 3
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: weissbierhead on 11-27-2002

Brewed in the grand tradition of Vienna Lagers in Austria and Marzenbiers of Munich, Saratoga Lager is a smooth, medium bodied lager with a pale copper color and a rich aroma. German hops and Munich malt impart an intriguing balance between light, soft bitterness and a refreshing sweetness.
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Ratings: 100 | Reviews: 43
Reviews by Contagion:
Photo of Contagion
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a dark copper penny color. When the light hits it, you can see amber flashes. Light passes through it easily, but there is a haziness to it that prevents you from seeing objects on the other side clearly. A ¾ inch head formed. It was off white in color and faded quickly to a film on the top of the beer. There was minimal lacing.

The smell was of rich toasted caramel malts. A touch of biscuity sweetness can also be detected to fully enhance to scent. There is a dry, roasted malt flavor that is balanced by the taste of floral hops evenly. It finishes smoothly. The after taste is a mix of citrus and grains.

It is a medium bodied beer, and is a little bit heavy on the carbonation.

This is a good sipping beer. Sit back, crack one open and chat with friends. It is a good representation of a Marzen-style lager. I enjoyed this beer and could see myself drinking another.

More User Reviews:
Photo of generallee
3.62/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a mug. The bottle has a nice description of the beer on the label but no abv or freshness date.

Appearance: The body has a nice amber color with a slight haze. From the pour I got a tall off white head. It is made up of mostly loose soapy bubbles that quickly settles down to a thin cap that holds on near to the end. Lacing is limited to just a few spots at the top of the glass.

Smell: There is some good malt aroma here with nice sweet bready and nutty sweetness. I also pick up some leafy hop notes as well.

Taste/Palate: Its flavor is medium bodied and basic but good. As I had expected from its aroma there is a nice bready malty base with some sweet caramel and light nutty notes mixed with some leafy herbal hop bitterness. Its texture is a bit smoother than I like to see in a lager but not a big distraction.

Notes: Overall it was a strong average for me.

Photo of BeerIsland
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent lager but certainly not in the top echelon. If I had known there were this few reviews, I'd have given the tasting a better shot but my initial sip sort of convinced me it wasn't worth the time and I was outside cutting wood. The review dates this beer has been out there a while but the review numbers indicate the beer hasn't generated much enthusiasm. I would have thought that they would have put more marketing effort into the East Coast operation. Perhaps with a better beer...

Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Funny, my first impression was how this tastes like a better-made and bigger version of Yuengling. The roast and dry toffee flavors are deeper and sweeter, while the body is also a touch thicker. There's a hit of spicy hops in the finish for balance, and overall, this is a fine amber lager. I dont think I'd group it with similarly-colored German lagers though.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber with a decent one inch or so of a head on top. Decent retention as it hung around for a good couple of minutes before finally resting and falling down

piced, lots of pumpkin like smells mixed in with a good amount of roasted malts. It had a touch of nutmeg and a definite grassy or earthy mix in it. There was definitely some depth good amount of malt made up the backbone of it as you would expect. Once you got past that a nice bready sort of grain started to come over you, mixed in was a nice herbal, grassy sort of punch that really started to break though. It was definitely a fresh taste as it had some teeth to it. A decent hoppy expression then followed and even had a bit of a floral note to it. The finish was very long, and quite dry

Photo of Amalak
3.57/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had on tap at Lock Inn in Brooklyn, NY. Pours a crystal-clear amber, some head and little lacing. Not very good looking, but has a decent malt scent to it. And like the smell, it has a crisp malt taste. Nothing really special about this brew, it's kind of light and lacks any discernible style. Meh. It's easy to drink, but not very memorable.

Photo of Proteus93
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A mildly murky, orange hue (cross between rust and carrot, but not quite amber or copper). Head was a bit unimpressive, soda-like, and diminished quickly.

S: A strangely sweet scent. The sweetness in the malts is almost like sweet carrot in some ways, but not quite. Rather grassy.

T: Leavy hops, giving a decent balance to the soft malts.

M: A nice and round, medium body. Carbonation carries a reasonable assertiveness that gives it added life.

D: Initially, this was bought to cook sausages in, so I just bought 1 bottle. Ended up drinking it, as the cooking was done with something else, but I wish now that I had one more.

Photo of metter98
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is relatively clear light amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that died down, leaving some patches of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted and bready malts are present in the nose along with notes of dark fruits and hints of spices.
T: The overall taste very much follows the smell and is quite malty with notes of dark fruits—plums and raisins seem to stand out in particular—and some hints of spicy hops towards the finish. Only faint hints of bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this beer to be quite drinkable despite its maltiness. It's quite flavorful for the style and almost seems like a "light" version of a bock.

Photo of Brent
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Referencing Austrian Vienna and Munich Marzen styles on the bottle neck label seems like name dropping for this beer. Poured a reddish gold. Aroma was pronounced caramel malt. Slightly tart at the beginning, but softens and ends with a mildly bitter finish. Quite pleasant, but not a lot of depth to the flavor profile. For a beer out the Mendocino group, this falls a bit short.

Photo of plaid75
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy deep copper hue with a 1/4 inch thin foam head. There was not much retention and no lacing.

The smell was 100% sweet caramel malt.

The taste started very sweet but evened out by the finish. Strong grain aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was average.

Overall a run of the mill and overly sweet lager. Nothing to really report here.

Photo of ProfessorHomer
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very, very nice clean, crisp & clear Marzen Lager. Recommended!

A = Clear & coppery amber color with a very nicely-behaved tan head.

S = Clean, hoppy aroma, you can smell the fresh, wet well water.

T = Sweetish almost cookie-like flavor with a medium, but pleasant, hop flavor in the finish

M = Solid body and very nice carbonation. Clean finish.

D = Very Good

Highly recommended by a beer club member as his favorite beer and with very good reason. A very nice surprise from our local Mendocino brewery just up the Northway! By far and away the best Mendocino brew of their very solid line-up. A great Spring/Summer/Fall beer. Maltier than the very equivalent Sam Adams' Boston Lager, which is more hopped. This is a very fine, pleasant, well-balanced, sessionable & well-mannered Lager. A real treat!

Photo of Rudgers73
2.51/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. It pours a medium shade of amber with a slight orange tinge. The head is about 1/2 inch and sticks around for a few minutes. It ends up settling into a ring. The smell is like a dark lager with a little spice added. Mellow hops and mellow malts. Right in the middle and maybe a little boring. The taste is very Oktoberfest. Sweet, almost pumpkin taste, with hop bitterness at the end. Earthy and buttery. The mouthfeel is light and peppery, but it leaves a gross bitter taste that tastes like leaves or grass. Not my style, and not a good rep. of the style IMO.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.11/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light coppery brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a very thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains honey, caramelized malts, lager yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, honey and some fruit. Then a hearty but not too heavy malt character comes in. The hops presence is very mild and there isn’t much balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, there are definitely a lot of other beers in the style that I would choose first.

Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Oliver's in Albany, NY.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the slightly cloudy orangey amber brew. Head falls gradually, with average lacing. Aroma is sweet, rich malts. Taste mirrors the nose, almost a worty character, with fruitiness coming out in the middle, and a slight hoppy close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. Better than I expected from the vanilla-sounding name.

Photo of TheDeuce
2.83/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saratoga Lager....on tap at Hop Devil Grill...

Appearance-deep red hue color, decent foamy head that sits nicely.

Smell-malty, a little spice, alcohol.

Taste/Mouthfeel- a light spiciness up front, decent taste, light finish but the body is firm and smooth.

Drinkabilty-decent drinking, unknown ABV so I can't take that into account.

Overall-an ok beer, if it isn't trying to be a Marzen it is way too light. Still, nothing offensive.

Photo of clapp1115
4.3/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served: on-tap at the 99 Restaurant on western ave Albany, NY

Apperance= The beer poured a medium brown amber color, with a medium head. The bear left some lacing as well.

Smell= The beet smelled mildly hoppy with hints of fruit with a noticeable crisp malty back bone

Taste= The lager was slightly sweet, with a short bread cookie like flavor, with a complex hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel= Smooth over the tongue with great carbonation

Drinkability= A great tasting and easily drinkable

I would certainly recommend this brew!

Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

One of my local, in-person traders, Sam Knocken, provided me with this and one other in the Saratoga series.

From the bottle: "Fresh Brewed in Saratoga Springs, New York."; "Handcrafted with an 'old World' attention to detail & brewed in the grand tradition of the Marzenbiers of Germany, Saratoga Lager is smooth & medium-bodied with a rich aroma. German hops and imported Munich malt impart an intriguing balance between its soft bitterness & refreshing sweetness,"

My aggro pour created three massive fingers of dense, tawny head with good retention. Color was a deep-copper (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had an almost syrup-like sweetness from the malt. The bottle's verbiage left me quizzical, but it is almost certainly a Marzen/Oktoberfest. Mouthfeel was soft, not much above medium-bodied, with a distinct malty sweetness in the mouth. I really did not get much in the way of hops, but that is probably just as well, given the style. Once more, it was a bit sweet of a beer for my taste, but it was certainly a solid beer overall.

Photo of weissbierhead
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

According to the label it is "Brewed in the Tradition of the Vienna lagers of Austria and Marzenbiers of Munich." Pours a light copper color, lighter than an oktoberfest but darker than an amber lager. Lightly hopped with a slight bitterness. This is a drinkable beer, but I found it a little disappointing in comparison to other Mendocino brews that I've tried. ( Olde Saratoga Premium Lager is brewed at Mendocino's Sarataga Springs location and I noticed that recently the sign outside the brewery has been changed to Olde Saratoga Brewing Company.)

Photo of jdhilt
3.26/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one-fingered white head that goes quickly and leaves no lace. Clear amber color. Medium carbonation. Nose is indistinguishable. Starts smooth, malt and hops are evenly mixed but are not heavy handed, finishes clean. Light-medium bodied. A good lager. Label has this brewed by Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. Saratoga Springs, NY. $1.29 for a 12oz bottle from Oliver's Beverage, Albany, NY.

Photo of Davepoolesque
2.9/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Huge caramel up front. Creamy. Lower carb. Not very good. Wish it was crisper.

Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice four-finger head. Red-deep amber color. Clear. Spotty lace.

Almost perfumey in the smell. Certainly a malty beer. Light hop in the background.

Smooth body with a light carbonation. This is an overall malty beer with very little carbonation. Lots of crystal malt flavor (slightly sweet).

Overall, a very solid entry to the fall marzen choices.

Photo of animal69
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear brownish-amber with a thin off-white head that fades quickly leaving a good lacing in my stange ; a subtle smell, steely grains, some toasty caramel notes and a bit of floral hops ; a rich, malty flavor, a bit overhopped for a 'fest, a whole wheat bread-like taste with caramel, darker fruits and herbal hops, finish is a bit mineral and metallic ; a light-med. body, nice level of co2 prob. makes it feel creamy ; a very drinkable brew, though not an impressive marzen...

Photo of sullied
3.32/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: I was very surprised with how dark this beer was when I poured it. It's a clear brown color with a slight red hue to it. No sediment. Slight amount of carbonation.

Smell: Sweet smell to it. Slightly toasty aroma.

Taste: Very similar to the smell. Definitely a toasted flavor to the beer. Very slight bitterness. Good taste overall.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, easy to drink.

Overall: Decent beer. Very drinkable, I could definitely toss a few of these back without a problem. Not the best beer out there, but it's worth a try.

Photo of WesWes
4.17/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and bisquit malts along with a semi dry German lager yeast aroma. The taste is good. It has a dry, yet very malty flavor that is quite breadlike and smooth on the finish. The mouthfeel is excellent. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an exceptional Marzen-style lager. It has tremendous aroma and taste; a fine drinker.

Photo of LumpyGuitar
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is an average beer, nothing more, nothing less.

Poured a clear dark amber with weak head, little to no lacing and retention.

Smells of sweetness and grain, light malt presence.

Tastes of grassy hops with a mild malt, however the hop comes across stong but not in the traditional sense.

Mouthfeel is a sharp bite. The first taste I had left me wonder what happened to my tounge. A little bit too much carbonation to the otherwise light profile of the beer.

Drinkability is average. I was looking to try something new and this just happened to fit as it was local. I'll try others from the brewery but other beers fill this need for me.

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Saratoga Lager from Mendocino Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.