Saranac Black Forest - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Black ForestSaranac Black Forest

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

1,077 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,077
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 41
Gots: 99 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,077 | Reviews: 561
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Jason
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. long neck with a dark blue label that shows a Central European forest scene. On the neck it states about using five different hop varieties and slow kilned malts." No freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Dark ruby in colour with a light tan lace that sticks in patches.

Smell: Sweet Oh sweet caramel and malt. Some fruit and a fine soft floral hop aroma follows.

Taste: Rich creamy caramel with a smooth almost syrup like mouth feel. Alcohol and hint of ripe fruit push their way to the tongue. Hop bitterness is in the back with a subdued hop leaf flavour that lingers.

Notes: Too few Schwarzbiers out on the market, this is the one to drink. Very drinkable and very enjoyable, top shelf.

More User Reviews:
Photo of nicholas2121
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac Black Forest brewed by Matt brewing Company with an ABV of 5.5% This brew pours out a dark brown color with a nice off white head. It put you in the mind of black coffee. The smell is rich with sweetness and some grains. The taste is sweet and smooth but rich. There is a lot going on in this brew. There is nothing overpowering in this brew. Black Forest has a nice balance to it. The sweetness in this brew is just right. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich. Matt Brewing company did a nice job with this one. Overall I'm giving this 4.5 out 5. I would buy this brew again.

Photo of oberon
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black but with a few red tints thrown in there with a light slightly off-white head,not much aroma to it slight chocolate and fruit.Taste is pretty lively and fruity with a light roasted nut flavor as well.Well a better than average brew but nothing to write home about here.

Photo of Marty
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the most flavorful lager I have ever tasted. It's dark yet very easy to drink. It's sweet, but not yucky sweet (like Saranac's Caramel Porter). It's dark but not heavy. This is my favorite Saranac beer. Lately my buddies and I have been keeping six packs of this in our refrigerator in case of emergencies.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Black Forest. 5.5% alcohol. Out of a six pack mixer.

A- Pours an ultra dark amber opaque fluid that produces a small but lasting heead dropping to a thin froth leaving rings of lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet dried plums and raisins are upfront with light malts and hops in the back.

T- Taste is one of a kind. First is a toasted malt kick of vanilla beans, plums and raisins. Has a malted barley run as well. Hops are noted with light lemony hits in the flavor on the backbone. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a small carbonated spritz to allow a easy drinking experience.

D- 2 of 3 excellent drinking beers from Saranac so far. I'd put a bit of these in my fridge if i had a good price and availibility.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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

A: Black with short head of about 1/4" or so. Light brown in color and dissipated fast. Little to no lacing.

S: Smells malty but not overly so; there is a spicy hint of anise or something that is very vague on the nose. Whatever it is, it smells pretty good!

T&M: For a schwarzbier, I was anticipating something a little bit sweeter but was pleasantly surprised by how well balanced this one is. You still get a bit of the dark molasses notes without the cloying sweetness. I'm not sure what the bittering agent is in here, but I assume it is a well matched grouping of hops. Carbonation is light but persistent. The finish is relatively short but the linger of mild hop bitterness goes on for a while. Nice.

D: I like being surprised and this was a good one. Easy to drink and different enough that you want to keep tasting it to determine all of the flavors in the complexity. Good weight without being to heavy, great balance, and a decent ABV. I like it.

Special thanks to Steve for bringing this in for me to try!

Photo of blitz134
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black in color with a transparent red body. Off-white head bordering on tan in color which disappeared quickly. Smell is of toasted, sweet malts with some chocolate characters. Again I pick up a common aroma I’ve detected in all of the Saranac brews that I just can’t seem to place. Its almost a bit metallic. Taste is actually pretty good on this one. Initially a bit of toasted malts coming through and a slight bitter finish. The flavor is very crisp. Mouthfeel is good as well and relatively medium to full bodied. This is the first of the sampler pack I’ve reviewed which I would say I would be glad to drink more of.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A 32 ounce growler, poured a dark brown with a fairly thick coffee-colored head. It had a sweet, roasted grain odor, and tasted the same, with some hops. Rather nondescript taste. Mouthfeel was a little thin. An OK beer, but not one that I'd want to drink a lot of

Photo of generallee
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a dark reddish brown with a big creamy tan head. The head makes nice lace that slowly slides down the sides of the glass. Its aroma is sweet with roasted malts and caramel. The flavors of the dark roasted malts and caramel dance on the tongue as nice bitter notes slide in from the sides to finish slowly with a light bitterness. It has a smooth and creamy palate with soft carbonation that sets you up for anther sip.

Photo of merlin48
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My 3rd bottle out of the 2003, 12 beer sampler box. Pours a rich dark mahogany with garnet hues around the edges of the pint glass. Beige head is decent enough and hangs around long enough to leave some delicate lacing. Nose is surprisingly impressive, chocolate malt, dark fruit, and some floral hops. Mouthfeel is pleasantly well balanced. Taste is complex, with hints of rye bread, chocolate malt, and currants. A likeable speciman here. Exceeded my expectations for a brewery that puts so many styles in one box.

Photo of Billolick
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled a 12 ouncer that came in the holiday 12 pack, no freshness dating to be found. Pours dark brown, tan head, minimal lacing and just a faint coffee nose. Cant say I'm overly impressed with this one, why do so many of the dark beers from Saranac taste so similar?? Seems they put a differant label on about 8 beers, but the contents all are so similar. Drinkable, middle of the road stuff, but nothing to seek out.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Second from my Saranac Adirondack sampler pack brought back from Syracuse.

Poured into a dimpled pint jug, and enjoyed on the first warm patio day of the spring! A nice dark chestnut brew with a little ruby hints around the edges. Leaves a thin off-white head which survives as a thin ring.

The nose is quite delectable - caramel, cream, chocolate, a bit of brown bread. Sweet, but very pleasant.

A tasty brew, sweet and malty with notes of caramel and cream, but finishes with a slight grassy hop bitterness and pumpernickel character. Tastes dark enough, but is sweet enough to work well together. I'm quite enjoying this, actually.

Thin-bodied, reminds me in colour and texture of a bottle of rootbeer that was opened about 20 minutes ago. A bit syrupy - my only real complaint with the brew.

A nice brew - I was initially unimpressed with their IPA, so this was a nice pick-me-up. Sweet, bready, but not oppressively so, meaning this would be a nice session brew for the evening (low ABV, good flavor). Quite nice.

Photo of jakester
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from the Adirondack Trail Mix Sampler

Pours a beautiful clear, deep mahogany/ruby with a very short-lived tan head. Quickly drops to islands and a ring. No lacing. Carbonation evident.

Aromas of cherries and other fruits, vanilla, dark chocolatey malts, and spicy/herbal hops. Clean. These aromas are delicate.

Flavor is of dark brown sugar, chocolatey cherries, vanilla; rich and tasty. Very clean and crisp. Aftertaste is spicy, like white pepper.

This has a medium body, light sticky sweetness, pretty strong bite from carbonation across the tongue. Pleasant.

This is an easy drinking, yet tasty and interesting beer. Lots of character, lots of flavors. A good effort from Saranac. Recommended.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.06/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served into a nonic glass from a 12oz. brown bottle crimped on cap.

Ruby red almost brown.a very creamy tan head lacing and clinging onto the sides of the glass.
The aroma was extra clean,citrusy,fruity,nutty,caramelly a hint of chocolate.Oh so inviting.
A clean,fresh taste thats citrusy,carmelly,nutty and chocolatly. A perfect balance and very delicious ta boot.
A light to medium mouthfeel,a pleasing bitterness that glides down so very easy. The word juicy keeps coming to mind,if you drink this I think you will know what I mean.
A drinkable as a dark beer could be.So refreshing,the only bad thing about this review was that I only had 1 bottle to review.
I will buy this beer again!

Photo of kingcrowing
2.85/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler.

Pours a dark black/brown with some light ruby/mahogany color to it when it's up to the light, almost no head except for some light brown lacing. Nose is malty, light wheat and a bit of sweet german yeast smell.

Well, the mouthfeel is a bit light, there isn't much bitterness at all, and the flavors are a bit dull. It's not bad at all, but it's not outstanding in any way. Theres some very light roastiness and a bit iron flavor to it, but it's just 'meh' to me.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle out of the fridge poured into a pint glass. no freshness date.

pours pretty much black, but in the light reviels a ruby red/brown color. small light mocha colored head off a vigourous pour that faded to a small ring of foam after a couple mintues. no real lace.

lots of malt sweetness, slightly roasted malts, a little dark dried fruits, prunes, raisons, lager funk, ever so slight hint of floral hops.

again with the sweet sweet, slightly roasted malts. lots of dark dried fruit such as raisons and prunes. herbal, floral hops, slight hop bitterness at the finish. nothing too spectacular, but a nice tasting brew.

decent feel, you can definatly tell its a lager, light body, a little astringent at times. carbonation feels ok.

this one is definatly an easy drinker, great session beer, exspecailly for the low price. all around a pretty decent swarzbier, i wouldnt go out of my way, but if i came across this, i would drink it again.

Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with ruby highlights where the light sneaks through. The head rises and falls quickly, leaving a layer one bubble high with light lacing all around the glass. Smell is initially of raisin, some sweet malt, and some roasted caramel with hints of hops. Flavor is warm and rich. Roasted malt and molasses, with hints of brown sugar and caramel. Slightest hint of an alcoholic aftertaste. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable for a darker beer.

Photo of BadBadger
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a somewhat dark color out of the bottle, as is to be hoped for. The tannish head is moderate but short lasting. The smell is of sweet malt. The taste is also malty, with bitter undertones. The mouthfeel is rather watery. Not worth searching out. But if the opportunity presents, give it a try.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.89/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (from a Saranac Adirondack Trail Mix 6pack) into a pilsener glass. Poured a beautiful deep garnet red with a half-finger head that dissipated quickly with little to no lacing. Tastes very clean and refreshing, with a watery but smooth mouthfeel. Fairly weak-bodied, but it's a schwarzbier, not a porter. Overall this is one of my favorite beers; absolutely delicious and easy to drink. Too bad the mixed 6 pack only came with one of them...

Photo of BranfordBound
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz single picked up for $.99 no freshness date or indication of "schwarzbier".

Pours a deep garnet which appears super dark brown when not near light. 1/4" light tan head fizzles to a mediocre covering. Spotty lacing.

Smells of caramel, slight honey, and some malts.

Tastes of roasted malts with just a hint of coffee. A little honey sweetness sneaks in. Slightly hoppy and bitter on the back end. Nothing too strong, similar to a stout.

Mouthfeel is wet at first, which turns only a little dry. Chewier and with more prickling than expected.

Very drinkable. I'd prefer this in the fall or the winter, like I would a stout, but I can definitely see me picking this up when it gets colder. Surprisingly good for Saranac, I wonder how it compares to Sam Adams black lager.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.83/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brown pour, thin head, the brown is a darker brown, more malt than I think I've seen from Saranac in a beer before. Aroma, mild nuttiness. Didn't think chocolate was all that existant.

I dunno if it's been trademarked by Saranac, but the usual watery and bland taste. Definitely not getting the chocolate now. Seems more like an introductory beer for people afraid of 'dark' beers (look see, its not heavy). Is there some hopping here, or is the carbonation just way up? Actually kind of appreciated the liveliness of it a little more than I was expecting.

Not terrible.

Photo of ADR
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now, this is a good beer, Saranac's best in my opinion. Dark color and retentive head. Quick malty flavor that gradually mellows to a toasty fade in the back of the mouth. Nice, rounded sweet malt flavors, good stuff.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep ruby brown almost black if not held up to the light, forms a very nice mountainous tan chunky head leaves behind thick coating of lacing on the sides of my glass. Aroma: Delicate toasted malts paired with very nice herbal German Hallertau hops in there they definitely arise in the aroma. Taste: Perfect blend of sweetness from the dark roasted and caramel malts kicks up the hop flavor very much so authentic tasting just tasted a Schwarzbier from the subsidary of Kulmbacher yesterday and this is even more drinkable and more favorfully hopped. Mouthfeel: Light to medium body in the spectrum but has a nice soft carbonation not overcabonated at all. Drinkability: Best of the bunch from Saranac I definitely am going to pick up a sixer while supplies last down the street at the liquor store good brew to have on hand.

Photo of chinchill
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in pint glass

A - pours clear dark brown with nearly black color in glass. Ample and thick light brown head.

aroma - sweet malt; more similar to a Belgian dubbel than expected.

T - nice sequence of mellow flavors, with detectable hops in finish.

M = nice smooth and full feel; good carbonation level

D - goes down easy, but hindered by an aroma modestly attractive .

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.87/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a black body with a reddish-brown glow with a few tan bubbles making up the fleeting head. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide to the surface.

S- The smell of smooth black roasted malt has a slight sweetness to it with a lagered light caramel aroma that comes through as the beer warms a bit. Otherwise the aroma is pretty clean.

T- There is a soft dark malt flavor that is followed by a smooth roasted malt finish with some cola flavors aswell.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a tight fizz that grows as the beer warms. There is a clean finish to this beer with no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer has some smooth easy drinking qualities and some nice malt notes but it is very one-dimensional and I got a bit bored with it after one glass.

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Saranac Black Forest from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 1,077 ratings.