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Saranac Kölsch - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac KölschSaranac Kölsch

Educational use only; do not reuse.

187 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 187
Hads: 380
Avg: 3.21
pDev: 19.94%
Wants: 3
Gots: 30 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Kölsch |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WesWes on 04-14-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Kölsch Alström Bros
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Reviews: 187 | Hads: 380
Photo of Jadjunk
3.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

"This light-bodied blonde ale pays homage to a 1000-year tradition rooted in Germany. Easy to drink. Hard to forget. Let the journey begin." Brewed in the style of a German Kolsch-style ale. Available in 12 oz. bottles within the Summer Variety pack as a Summer seasonal.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served above 49 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp foamy head of a gold-white color over a golden straw yellow body, mildly hazy with plentiful spritely carbonation visible. Retention is average, lacing is light and spotty. 3.5

(Smell) White grape juice, wet grain and pilsner malt with a moderate sweetness. Very forward on the grape and sweetness. Light hop aromas of soft lemon and grass. Clean and easy-going aroma. Potency is medium. 3.25

(Taste) Wet grain, faint stale pilsner malt with a lesser sweetness than in the aroma. Mild white grape juice, somewhat vinous, with a mild acidity. Little to no hop presence. Clean and light, personally less favorable than the aroma. 3

(Mouthfeel) Texture is light, clean and medium dry. Carbonation generates a medium, consistent zippiness for a moderately crisp carbonation. Body is light/medium for a Kolsch, light+ overall. Balance is evenly sweet to grainy bitter and acidic with a general lightness allaround. Alcohol presence is low, and there are no off characters. 3.25

(Overall) A lack of off characters keeps this beer firmly in the average-range of Kolsch-style ales, preventing any further downfall. This is a very light, simple and mundane Kolsch with not much going for the flavor. It's ultimately a far cry from the German-brewed gold standard, but an enjoyable beer for those transitioning from macro beers to craft brews, it's a decent first step in the right direction. Don't let a negative experience with this beer prevent you from further exploring the styles, as there are many solid examples that do the Kolsch justice. 3

Matt Brewing Company's
Saranac Kolsch

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.91/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Best by 10/31/14.

Pours a hazy honey gold with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sweet malt, grain, and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet grain, earth, and fruity flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty poor beer with lots of sugary and fruity characterisitcs, but no real beer like qualities to me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle, poured into pint glass

A- Pours a pale yellow color with a small fizzy white head that reduces to a small film on top, leaving no lacing behind

S- sweet malt mixes with white grape skin and some faint floral and grassy hop aroma, toasted grain closes it out

T- chalky and grainy up front, watery malt, lightly hopped with floral hops, hint of grape skin, bone dry finish

M- light bodied with moderate spritzy carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a crisp, bone dry finish

O- a decent take on the style, easy to drink but nothing really stands out

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Photo of chinchill
2.85/5  rDev -11.2%

12 oz bottle (date stamp BB 31 Oct. 2014) poured dark golden with loads of visible carbonation and excellent clarity. Durable creamy, off-white head. Great looking but all downhill from here, from the grassy but seemingly stale aroma to the disparate mix of hop flavors. Mouthfeel is light, as expected, and OK.

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Photo of scotorum
3.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Yet another new one to me, from the Saranac summer twelvepack which contained pairs of six different brews, all with 1/31/14 dates on them, which I purchased a couple of weeks ago.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Tree House tulip.

a: Clear amber with a finger thick white head which receded quickly to thin surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Nothing particularly detectable. Slight malt

t: Medium bready malt with hints of sweetness and light fruit. Dry finish.

m: Light to moderate, good body.

o: Decent enough kolsch, that is an ale almost masquerading as a lager with some extra heft to it. One reviewer below called it boring and that underscores the lack of much distinctive taste. Better than most mainstream lagers though, a good warm weather refresher if you like something with a bit more presence than most pilseners or light lagers. However you may find other kolsches with more fruit tones than this one.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.39/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased as part of Saranac summer pack.

Golden orange-ish amber color, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Doesn't smell like a whole lot, a bit of graininess, some slight spicy German hops.

The taste is similar. It's not bad, just boring. Slightly sweet malt flavor up front, some typical spicy/grassy German hop flavors. Not very strong, however.

Light bodied, crisp, mostly dry mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Like most Saranac beers, this isn't "good" per se, it's just drinkable, and about average to below average for the style. It worked well for it's use (drinking at a BBQ) but I don't think I'd ever get it again.

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Photo of beergoot
3.09/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Honey amber color with a very thin, white head. Graham cracker aroma. Light cereal graininess and corn syrup sweetness; faint hop bitterness with a bit of a metallic finish. Medium-light body; crisp, clean, dry finish.

A drinkable yet mostly forgettable beer. Lightweight and weak in the flavor and feel and just doesn't leave you fire-up for more.

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Photo of thecheapies
2.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Honey golden blonde color. Bubbles a-streamin'. Disappointed by the general lack of head. Poured the beer out of the bottle a mere minute ago, and I have a thin ring and some surface blobs to show for it.

Sweet ale yeast and golden pale malts with a hint of treacle. The tiniest sprig of lemony aroma jettisons from the popping bubbles to remind me that this is supposed to be a kolsch. However, notes of stale grain and Euro hop mustiness make me think more of a junky lager with some mild ale esters.

A lot more lemony notes in the flavor, but they're still muddled by lager-like pale grain staleness and adjunct notes of rice. Underlying Euro flairs lean toward Germany, but get lost in the fray of cheapness. The intent is decent, I suppose, but there's no real punch other than a burst of crisp bubble and light bitterness in the forefront. All of that gets pushed aside with a half-toasted grainy middle and finishing with stints of sweet wort, fusel, and nut flesh. At least it's light-bodied and somewhat refreshing. Easy, maybe. Eh... could be worse.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours straw color with a tiny white head that leaves some lacing. Smells of sweet grain that is very inviting. Tastes of very sweet grain and very slight berries. Beer light bodied and heavily carbonated, nice crisp finish. Overall, an above average beer.

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Photo of KajII
2.3/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

[Suggested Glassware: Kölsch Glass]

The pour was a clear light amber with a large (2-3 finger) white frothy head that hung around for only a short while, reducing to a thin cap and had fair streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a straw malt, herbal hops and a musty yeast with hint of citrus and a dusty cardboard odor.

The taste was very lightly sweet and a tad malty with a touch of citrus throughout, with the finish being a rather minerally with a light bitterness and had a dusty bland ending. The flavor lasted only a short time which turned out not to be a bad thing in case, with the lightly bitter bland citrus taste disappearing quickly off the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was light in body and watery in texture with a carbonation that was just above soft.

Overall this was a weak tasting brew, with the only thing standing out was a mildly bitter cardboard taste. Most definitely not worth having another...


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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.47/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From twelve ounce undated bottle.

Aroma is grassy. Pours clear orange body with an inch of beige head. Head dissipates almost immediately to a thin ring with hardly any lace. Taste is a bit bland, like lemongrass tea with a slight bitter bite on the finish. A good summer choice, very drinkable but not particularly notable!

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Photo of Offa
2.85/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a decent kolsch, not great, but enjoyable enough.

Gold, it has a big white head steadily shrinking to ring and a few weak bit of lace.

Aroma is thin perfumy grain/corn, grassy hops, a bit soapy - pleasant enough but a bit crude and thin.

Taste is pleasant, tasty grain and grassy hops & slightly zesty but a bit soapy and rough and thin and a bit gummy. It's kind of like a basic pale lager with an extra zing.

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Photo of Brenden
3.33/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

The packaging is new; not sure if the beer is. 125th anniversary pack.

The color is somewhere between white gold and yellow gold, bright and clear with a very constant, champagne-like bubbling. The clean white head starts off at a pretty, fluffy two fingers. It falls somewhat quickly, though a consistent foam is kept up by the bubbling activity. Lacing forms mostly via spotting, slightly less than moderate.
In both aroma and flavor it's vinous, lightly lemony, grainy and almost juicy (like a mix of lemon and orange juice), as well as dusty with a lightly bitter finish. It gets fruitier while it warms. It's different, but I like that it gets the vinous character and dry malt notes down.
It has a nice body; fluffy, soft, light, creamy but crisp, and quite dry.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
2.85/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a clear amber color with tons of little carbonation bubbles seen streaming up through the brew. Upon pouring there is a very small white head on the top of the brew that fades almost instantly to leave no lace and a tiny amount of foam on the top of the brew.

Smell – The smell is largely grainy and caramely with some lighter notes of wheat as well as a very light grassy smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a malty flavor of a grainy and cracker nature with just a hint of caramel sweetness and some lemon citrus tastes. The sweetness fades fast leaving a rather dry cracker taste to the brew. At the end a light earthy and grassy bitterness comes to the tongue leaving a rather dry and crackery flavor to be left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is quite light in its creaminess and thickness with a carbonation level that is on the average side. The two in combination are appropriate for the style making for a refreshing brew overall.

Overall – Nothing too special here. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing special either.

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Photo of DrewsBrews450
3.16/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours blonde, clear, thin ring of head with little lace. Smells like buttered bread, pale malts and yeast. The taste mirrors the smell with a little more yeast taste as it warms. Medium body which kinda saves the beer for me. Just a very simple beer if I was out on deck on a hot day mabye this would be refreshing. Its ok just in the mood for somthing more complex.

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Photo of TheSSG
3.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, soft, soapy head. A wonderful bready aroma with notes of lemon. Clear and golden. Starts with a nice, bright citrus flavor. Moves into a nice biscuit middle with a TOUCH of hop bitterness. The finish is citrus and biscuit blended wonderfully.

Overall, this is a great Kölsch. I love how assertive the citric notes are. If I didn't know better, I would SWEAR this had coriander or lemon zest added to it!
True to style? hahahah, no. Good summer drinking? You BET!

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Photo of stella77artois
3.07/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. Part of Saranac's 12 Beers of Summer sampler.

A - Medium golden yellow. A fair head, which was pretty thick.

S - Not much going on. Malt up front, followed up by a slighty fruity Belgian-esque aroma.

T - Does taste like a kolsch, but it's pretty weak tasting. Not much flavor. Malt up front again, and the same fruity taste during the swallow. Not an offensive beer, I just don't have much to write about, as there isn't much going on.

F - The beer could potentially be a good quencher, I found it pretty refreshing. Some good carbonation feel, easy on the tongue and throat. Probably it's best quality.

O - Not one of Saranac's best, the other bottle from the sampler will probably sit in my fridge for a while. Not in any rush to drink it. It's not an offensive beer or anything, it's just not that good. The flavor itself actually isn't bad, it's just so damn weak. Increase the flavor, and this could be a solid beer.

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Photo of papaglide
3.05/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- deep golden with a nice half inch of tiny bubbled head on top

S- toast, musty, grainy, wee bit-o-fruitiness

T- malty, toast (as in a slice of toast), grainy - funky? Dry, without any real defined malt or hop flavor. Truly lacking in character:flavor.

M- bubbly and dry

O- Decent drinking beer, there are better ones. Is it a Kolsch? Maybe. Maybe not.

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Photo of NiceTaps
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle from a sampler pack poured into a pint glass.

A-Crystal clear golden color with a big, fluffy white head. Spotty lacing.

S- Grassy, grainy, mild malts.

T- Blonde German ale wannabe.

M- Light with some bite. Semi-dry finish.

O- Not a bad light summer brew, not good either.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.58/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

as light and easy as the kolsch style goes, I think this Saranac version is especially light and easy, almost to a fault, or certainly to a point of being unexciting. it pours a nice pale golden color, clean and clear, with a short white head. the nose is german malts and yeast, very bready, but light like a pancake. hops are only in there for bittering and balance, which are both dialed in the nose and the flavor. there is a slight caramel sweetness that rounds it out, and a dry refreshing finish that begs for another gulp. very active carbonation and a thin body makes it even lighter, and this is a very sessionable summer beer from the mix pack. not the most exciting thing they are doing these days, but a worthy offering for hot weather. my dad thinks this is exceptional, I would like to see more hops.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a bright, vibrant, straw-gold coloring with a thin, sparse, filmy white surface coating of head. Aromas of floral highlights, buttery tones, and a toasty backbone. Strong and a bit unbalanced nose for the style. Flavors are bitter initially, with a sharpness from the light body and carbonation levels. Buttery tones once again, with a watery palate and feel at the end of each drink. Watery and muddled aftertaste, with a limp finish that has a kiss of hops that just can't right the ship.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into stange. Light clear golden yellow with a lively fizzy head that dissipates very raipdly, leaving no lacing. Smells very "beer-like," with pretty evenly distributed malt, yeast, and hops. The smell is clean, a little spicy with some wine-like notes. Taste is light and clean, german yeast flavors are present with some tart wine-like flavors. Mouthfeel is clean, somewhat dry and medium-bodied.

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Photo of cavedave
3.32/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Nice look to it, billowy white head over a clear, golden beer. The head collapses to a skim, then a thin ring pretty quickly.

Light aroma, some of that tart Kolsch yeast, bready grain, light floral, and the lightest hint of lemon.

Light flavors, all those of the nose, but a bit less of the lemon, and a deeper sweet to the grain. Juicy and clean, but really not enough flavor. It's a Kolsch, supposed to be subtle, this is even lighter than that.

Decent mouth, a bit thick for how little taste it has, still a refreshing drink.

Enjoyable and forgettable the two words I hope you take away from this review. Lots of better easily available, get one of those.

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Photo of TeamMathis
2.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, pale yellowish gold.
Smell: Some wheat, light banana, and some floral.
Taste: Light floral. Maybe just a hint of grape.
Mouthfeel: Spritzy carbonation.

Unimpressive is probably the best way to describe this. The smell is mainly wheat and banana, then shifts to floral as it warms...however, it's very, very light. The taste is mainly floral. By mainly I mean that it tastes like Perrier with some floral and wheat thrown in it. Although drinkable, I would not get this again unless it came in their sampler pack.

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Photo of fx20736
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bought as part of Saranac's Summer Variety pack from Southtown Beverages on 4/26/13 for $ 7.99.

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Hefe glass, served at fridge temp.

appearance: Honey yellow with a thick 2 finger white head. Nice lacing.

aroma: delicate floral bouquet, true to style.

mouthfeel: light.

taste: nice pale malt, light noble hops.

notes: Nice example of the Kolsch style, a light, delicate beer perfect for warm weather.

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Saranac Kölsch from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 187 ratings.