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Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown LagerSaranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager

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237 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 237
Reviews: 176
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 13.22%
Wants: 4
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 01-23-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 237 | Reviews: 176 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear mahogany with a thin tan head. no lace to speak of. Smell s of subdued nutty malt with hints of tea leaves.

Taste is spicy, nutty, sticky malt, tea leaves and a surprisingly assertive yet rounded hoppy finish. Mouth is a bit thin and also a bit sticky oddly enough. this is a solid holiday offering although something about the texture puts me off a bit.

The Fifth Beer of Christmas.

ViveLaChouffe, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of NEhophead
2.83/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz brown bottle.

Foamy off white head that fades after a moment to a few pools of bubbles. Spotted lacing with above average strength. Clear, slightly thin light brown/auburn in color.

Light coffee, mild malt sweetness. Slight grainy, metallic component. Also a mild bready-wafer aroma that's a bit musty.

A very mild malt sweetness that overrides any hop character yet lacks flavor. Faint bread-like flavors but pretty bland tasting. Almost no bitterness; a very dry finish. A flavorless aftertaste.

Medium bodied; dry and almost airy on the palate. The dry chalky texture is not pleasant.

A very bland and flavorless beer IMO. Thank God there's only one of these in the mixed 12 pack I bought. Not something I'll be going back to.

NEhophead, Nov 30, 2004
Photo of IrishRedRock
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somehow having had a college roommate who is a former Saranac employee, I never tried this and that's odd. My dad picked up a 12 pack of the holiday sampler when I arrived home fro Thanksgiving, so I figured post Thanksgiving dinner was a good time to give this one a go. And surprisingly, it's pretty decent.

Copper colored chestnut body with a sweet, nutty malty aroma. Flavor is certainly not complex, but it has a good flavor profile and is nonetheless enjoyable. Nutty sweetness balances a crisp, malt backbone with just the slightest twang of hop bitterness. Finishes smooth and sweet, a caramel nutty sweetness that thankfully isn't too overpowering. A holiday seasonal I'd drink again.

IrishRedRock, Nov 26, 2004
Photo of wailingwench
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Eye Candy: Dark amber with clear amber on sides. Creamy white pillowy 2 finger head. As with the rest of the Holidays in 2004, superb retention and lacing.

The Nose Knows: No typical nut brown aromas. Something slightly earthy, yet sweet.

Tongueland: Typical Saranac Amber-like m/f, slightly thicker but still medium m/f. Toasted malt character that gives way to a minimal nut finish. Nothing stupendous, just there to remind you that this is indeed a nut brown. This years Holiday is sweeter than past years, there are some honey and brown sugar notes present.

Bender Factor: As always, a exc brew for the masses to put down. Satisfies its requirement, 3.0's for BA's and 5.0's for Blue drinkers.Buy your inlaws a Holiday 12er or a sixer of Seasons Best. They will actually like you for a change.

wailingwench, Nov 19, 2004
Photo of connecticutpoet
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was not really a brown lager... it had a distinct red tinge. Not a lot of head.

The aroma was nutty, with a generous hit of roasted malt and a hint of hops.

The taste was very complex for a lager... bitter hops, followed by roasted malt, caramel notes, a slight nuttiness, a little bit of spiciness from the hops, followed by a long roasted finish. Very nicely done.

I initially thought this would be a spiced beer... I am glad it was not. It didn't need it. It was very good.

connecticutpoet, Nov 19, 2004
Photo of Backer2004
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Excited to see in Saranac's 12 Beers of Christmas the Season's Best Nut Brown Lager. An amber-reddish hue, not the brown or "Euro Dark" as expected. Not bad head rentention and lacing.
Smell sof floral hops-still nothing yet to remind me of a nut brown (my personal favorite style). Nice winter warmer that reminds be of Avery's brewery but again, not of a nut brown. A bit too hoppy for me and my palate expectations.

Backer2004, Nov 09, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out to a brilliantly clear deep caramel with ruby accents, forming a large and soapy light tan head with excellent retention and sticky sheets of lacing, receding into a clumpy layer of bubbles resembling a brew actively fermenting. Retention and lacing are excellent...good looking brew! Aroma is spot-on for a nut brown, although not my favorite style, it has all the traditional characteristics...Butterscoth, toffee, amber malts, vanilla, residual sugars, clean ferment, signature Matt's yeast which in this case is appropriate to the style, notes of tobacco and leather. Carbonation is moderate. Mouthfeel is initially bright then fades into a mellow finish with a medium body. Taste begins with spicy flavor hops, followed by woody and aromatically earthy malts in the middle... a delicate sweetness counterbalances the medium-light bitterness. There is a peppery touch of alcohol with a light isopropyl taste, and the aftertaste has notes of dark woods, leather, and tobacco. Finish is lightly drink and astringent.

While my least-favorite of all styles, this is decent as far as a nut brown ale (ahem..lager) goes. It has the traditional characteristics, and like I said, the yeast that normally pollutes their other beers with diacetyl is appropriate here. I wouldn't want to drink this again, but I would recommened it to people who like nut-browns...but then again, who really does?!

Mitchster, Sep 11, 2004
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Matt's seasonal lager displays a clear chestnut body with a reddish cast and golden-orange highlights beneath a short but long-lasting head of creamy ivory froth. Some minor lacing about the glass adds nicely to its appearance as well. The nose is typically restrained for a dark lager, with only some mild malt coming through. The body is medium and it's fine-bubbled carbonation bristles gently on the tongue. The flavor is well-balanced and straightforward throughout with a bit of rich, caramel-kissed maltiness backed by a solid bitterness and some delicately spicy and floral hops. It finishes dry with some of its nutty maltiness and floral/spicy hops lingering amidst a dull bitterness. It's not complex, but it satisfies, and this is a well-crafted holiday seasonal that doesn't need to depend on any fruits, spices, or gimmicks to warrant attention and a place on your holiday table. Well done!

NeroFiddled, Aug 30, 2004
Photo of cbl2
2.68/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Crystal clear amber brown with a quarter inch of white head.


Hops dominate, but there are hints of nuts as well.


Severely hoppy on the palate, leaving a bitter caustic finish. Might be enjoyable to hopheads, but not to me.

cbl2, Jun 18, 2004
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - dark amber color, light tan head of one finger or so. Nice start for this holiday seasonal. No lacing at first, but it increases either with temperature or as the level of beer decreases.

Aroma - starts out with a mix of malt and grain. As that fades, a trace of hops and just slightly more nuttiness peeks out. Settles into some plain malt/nutty aromas, but requires some effort to detect.

Taste - a malty start, no surprise. If there is a nut presence, it's kind of vague or I'm just not tuned in to what I'm supposed to be tasting for. A fair hop presence on the swallow, not bad. Turns a little metallic, but a reprise of low-level grapefruit rind hoppiness rescues it before ruining the finish. One of the better efforts from the sampler.

Mouthfeel - dutifully semi-full-bodied for a dunkel. Some Belgian malt-imparted smoothness, appropriately carbonated at an average level.

Drinkability - a decent beer that the masses would find palatable, I'm wondering if this is available outside the sampler pack. I'll have to keep my eyes open this fall.

brewdlyhooked13, Jun 15, 2004
Photo of Jacobob10
3.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a light brown/reddish color with a slight head. Lots of carbonation with a very nutty smell to it. Not a bad taste, but too much carbonation. Leaves your mouth feeling a bit dry afterwards. I am a fan of nut brown flavor beers, but this is not my favorite.

Jacobob10, Apr 03, 2004
Photo of ark57
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It has a crytal clear copper color. It leaves decent lace on the glass even though I was not impressed with the head. It has a toasted nut aroma with some hop character that comes off as grassy/hay like. It is medium bodied with toatsed nut flavors and a dry, bitter finish. My major quibble is that Saranac's best beers are not year round.

ark57, Feb 24, 2004
Photo of smcolw
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color (but still very clear) with an egg shell white head that poured two fingers thick. Pretty lasting lace.

Rich, chocolate malty aroma with a subtle but noteable flowery hop balance. Very inviting.

Rich, thick body with dark malt flavor (crystal and chocolate?). The bittering hops show up immediately and powerfully during the tasting. The hops used are obviously meant for bittering and flavor rather than aroma. The aftertaste starts with a caramel/buttery feel that quickly moves toward the bitter.

The mouthfeel is almost a hybrid. It has the fullness and "roundness" of an ale, yet it is crisp like a lager. Carbonation is as expected.

A very good beer that is much more hoppy than most dunkels. I lean toward hops. If I was grading against style, I'd probably dock this one. But with my preferences, I like this more than the usually dark lagers because it is so much more flavorful (to me).

smcolw, Feb 08, 2004
Photo of Suds
2.83/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, deep amber-brown color with a respectably solid head. Small tufts of foam cling to the sides of the glass. Aroma is toasty, nutty, and slightly malty with a distant backbone of alcohol. Nice aroma hop profile for the style. Taste is caramel and a little vegetal. It has medium body and is a bit grainy and rough. Moderate carbonation. Finishes with a lingering, and not particularly pleasant bitterness….something of a burnt graininess. I can’t say that it impressed me.

Suds, Feb 01, 2004
Photo of Maestro
3.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin, tan head atop a dark reddish brown pour. There is a hefty lacing that coats the glass. Definitely a nutty brew. This is my first Nut Brown Lager. The mouthfeel is very dry. The taste is strong with alcohol. The hops don't stick out too much. Seems like there is a ton of malt. Drinkability is good and it seems like a good session ale. Not sure about the ABV. A good holiday ale!

Maestro, Jan 16, 2004
Photo of masterbruewer
2.8/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark amber with about 1/3 inch of off-white head.

Smelled malty and grainy, no real hint of nut in this bottle so far.

The taste was a tad bitter, and rather bland with a little bit of a spicy aftertaste. This one's not impressing me too much although it gets a little better as the beer warms a little at room temperature.

The mouthfeel was average, decent carbonation and a "solid" feel.

Drinkability is about average. I wouldn't mind another, but I won't be searching for one either. It goes down easy.

masterbruewer, Jan 01, 2004
Photo of WesWes
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick white head. The aroma is of lager and victory malts. There is a slight scent of nuts. The taste is malty with the addition of victory malts to add the nutty flavor. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good seasonal beer; a fine drinker.

WesWes, Dec 27, 2003
Photo of Shiloh
4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew arrived a clear medium copper, almost tea like in presence.
The tan head was short leaving behind an above average ring and glass cling.
Carbonation at first sight was a burst of large bubbles and thick, then limited.
Nose had a middle of the road pleasent nuttiness with a minor of assorted spices.
An exellent taste that starts to a light malt presence that balances very well to a nut hoppiness with a dark chocolate back.
Very impressive.

Shiloh, Dec 23, 2003
Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shoe leather brown, thick and well retaining head; a definitive nutty and hoppy aroma. Nutty and malty body, thick and warming; some chestnuts noted as it warms. Very rich, creamy, not overly powerful, but an incredible welcome to the winter season session beer, quite enjoyable!

GeoffRizzo, Dec 22, 2003
Photo of clvand0
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a light brown/red color with a small head that sticks around. The aroma is just as the name states - roasted nuts and malts with some sweetness. The flavor is very smooth with the taste coming from the roasted nuts and malts and it has a bit of hops to the taste as well. Very good nut brown ale.

clvand0, Dec 19, 2003
Photo of mschofield
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper-brown with a 2 finger tan head.
Almond and floral hop aroma, a little bit of spice.
Citrus and nut flavor, nutty and buttery, with minor chocolate and caramel.
Smooth with a medium body, nice smaller winter seasonal, one of the best Saranac's I've had. Not quite a brown, and not quite the dunkel as billed, but good.

mschofield, Dec 17, 2003
Photo of UnionMade
2.48/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a middle brown, touched with brass. A rather thick head develops with an agressive pour, dying down slowly to a thin misty coating. Great clarity, with a couple slowly rising bubbles floating to the top.
The aroma is simple, but good. Definite corny DMA aroma, with plenty of base pale malt, a bit of caramel and maybe a touch of chocolate. Very mild floral hop aroma. Not particularly clean, but certainly not ale-like.
The flavor starts out moderately malty, with a faint corn flavor. Light caramel towards the middle, changing into an odd metallic sourness. Some sort of contamination? A touch of estery fruitiness, with a bit of burnt chocolate flavor towards the end. Some harsh grainy flavor. Rather agressive hopping comes through at the very ass end of the finish, providing a sourish herbal bitterness, rather than flavor. Some lingering metallic bitterness in the aftertaste, with a bit of hop sourness. Some vague lager qualities, but drinks more like an ale. Medium bodied, with fairly high carbonation.
It's definitely "full flavored", but the flavors that are full aren't particularly pleasant. The hops are more bitter than flavorful, the malt sourish, and the beer overall seems overburdened with flaws. It sure beats a bottle of Molson, but I'll pass this up next time i go shopping.

UnionMade, Dec 16, 2003
Photo of Quaffer
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This was a crystal clear, brown beer with an eggshell head that was fizzy and rose up to about two fingers. The bulk of it disappeared quickly, but a thin, dense layer of foam lingered over the top of the brew for quite some time. There was no lace left on the glass.

Smell: Right after the pour, my nose was assaulted but a strong corn smell that just about made me pour this beer down the sink. However, after waiting a few minutes, the corn did subside (thought it didn't actually go away). It was joined by the very distinct aroma of roasted malt, a nice nuttiness, and biscuit. Later, as the beer warmed up considerably, the corn smell came back with a vengence.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied, but not watery. There was a bit of a chewy grain feel to it. Pretty smooth for a lager, with just a lively tingle on the tongue.

Taste: There was just the lightest hint of malty sweetness on the very tip of the tongue. This was quickly overcome by a nutty, grain flavor that was soon joined by a suprisingly large hop profile. The hops were spicy and herbal and lingered into the aftertaste. Overall, rather dry and crisp.

An interesting brew from Saranac. Defintely different than your typical dark lager.

Quaffer, Dec 16, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle served chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear reddish brown topped by a head the color of aged newspaper, nice and frothy. Retains a smallish film of bubbles throughout consumption and some nice lacing is left on the glass.

Smell: Intriguing, if faint, hop aroma. It's slightly peppery and grassy, definitely showing a German influence. There's a toasted biscuit malt presence, too.

Taste: Toasty malts with some nice peppy German-style hopping. Cereal grain notes all throughout.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and kind of bready.

Drinkability: Certainly a much better example of this style than my last encounter with it. I'm thinking I'm personally not much of a fan of the blend of hops used, but I can say that this is a pretty decent beer. Nothing to go to great lengths to acquire, I should think.

ManekiNeko, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of merlin48
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the best, so far, out of the 12 bottle holiday sampler box. Pours a beautiful dark copper/cherry amber but the minimal head quickly collapsed. Minimal lacing. More of a nose than most of the Saranacs I've sampled, sweet malt rules here over a slight hop presence with a hint of spice. Mouthfeel is very carbonated and somewhat bitter. Taste is mostly caramel malt, but has a decent hops presence. A little bit of sweet nuttiness in the aftertaste.

Hard to figure out why they call this a special "season's best", and it really doesn't taste like a lager or a nut brown ale. Still, I find it a tasty well balanced ale, far better in terms of drinkability than most of the other Saranacs I've tried. Not a bad effort.

merlin48, Dec 08, 2003
Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager from Matt Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 237 ratings.