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Saranac Black Forest - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Black ForestSaranac Black Forest

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

1,012 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,012
Reviews: 556
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.71%
Wants: 33
Gots: 50 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Black Forest Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,012 | Reviews: 556 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark appearance. Some grassy hop flavour. The Schwarzbier style is passable, and this is typical for it. Not missing anything here or for most Octoberfest beers. On-tap at Clark's Ale House #6. Somewhat sweet and a touch of roast. Doesn't work for me.

Sammy, Nov 18, 2004
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +7.5%

djrn2, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Huhzubendah. Served in a tulip.

Pours near black with a very thin off-white head that falls quickly, leaving behind a thin ring of lacing. Some spots. The nose carries a bit of light roast and chocolate. Everything very faint. Flavor has just a touch of light roast, mild toffee, and not much else. Light to medium body with moderate carbonation. Decent enough, but not something I'd come back to.

Thorpe429, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

zestar, Aug 22, 2014
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +7.5%

nmann08, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

acurtis, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured very dark amber in color with a creamy tan head that left a thin layer of bubbles constantly covering the surface. A light to moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There is a moderate aroma of dark roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of coffee and toffee.
T: The initial taste is rather malty and slightly sweet with notes of caramel; a mild amount of bitterness comes through in the finish.
M: It feels light-bodied and smooth on the palate. Not very much carbonation is perceptible.
D: Consuming this beer is a breeze; I could easily have several of them in a single sitting. Despite the dark appearance, it's not too strong or heavy so it has year round drinkability.

metter98, Jul 10, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Roasted walnut brown that becomes black cherry when backlit. A vigorous pour produced more than three fingers of coffee milkshake-colored foam that has a good bit of character and isn't shy about laying down lace. This is pretty much what a schwarzbier should look like.

The nose is unacceptably weak, but seems to hit its style marks as well. Nothing darker than caramel malt is present, so it isn't surprising that neither chocolate nor coffee are appreciated. A hint of hoppiness (Mt. Hood, Hallertau) is noted as well.

Schwarzbiers should not be porters or stouts, but they should be darker, maltier and much more flavorful than this. Black Forest is too weak-kneed, which is a pretty common problem when it comes to The Matt beer. If you like inexpensive and unchallenging in the extreme, then belly up to the bottle.

The flavor profile includes dark caramel and the slightest amount of watery chocolate possible. Hop bitterness is more apparent than hop flavor. This isn't bad beer by any means, it just needs a huge infusion of flavor and personality. It sure is easy to drink though, I'll give it that.

Keeping the average train rollin' right along... we come to mouthfeel. It's on the thin side for the ABV (more malt please) and is appropriately carbonated.

The Black Forest conjures up images of a deep, dark, rich, malty German doppelbock. Or even a schwarzbier, if done right. Sorry, but this brew doesn't have the chops to match the awesomeness of its name.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of BEERchitect
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe intended to be a Stout until the malts and body didn't show up. Nevertheless, good for a Schwarz. A thin, roasted grain flavor and texture takes on boldness upfront, then disipates to a lighter body and finish. Would be chalky or coal-like if not for a moderate malt sweetness that is displayed mildly over the roasted graininess. Still lacks the clean quality in the finish and the sweetness is a bit too dominant. Still a good brew if you like the flavor of a Stout without the chewy texture.

BEERchitect, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.6/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a deep black color beer with a huge dark head with good retention. Aroma of slightly roasted malt. Taste is comprised of roasted malt with some subtle bitter hops to finish. Body is way too thin and there is a definite lack of coffee in here. Not bad but not close to being great either.

Phyl21ca, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tasings with my family. The saranac one from a couple weeks ago was more then epic as it took months to gather all of these, but it was a hell of a fun night!

Rich dark brown in color, basically black with a small tan head across the top that lasted for a few moments before settling down into some nice side glass lacing. chocolate malts, hints of light roasting and a touch of peat. I expected your normal smoked beer here and it was nice and Smooth, nice notes of chocolate, peat, roasted malts and that really nice nut like spice especially in the finish, Smooth, even carbonation and a nice medium body.

Overall not a bad beer at all. Really a very intresting take on the style with a light spiceness that really made it stand apart.

mikesgroove, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

jaydoc, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of Knapp85
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out smoothly into a pint glass. The color is a deep ruby reddish black color. The head is a nice shade of tan. The lacing didn't really exist at all. The aroma of the beer was much like a German lager with just a little bit more of a roasted smell to it. The taste of the beer is pretty good, has a strong roasted backbone to it with a subtle German lager aftertaste. The mouthfeel isn't heavy at all for a dark brew. Overall it's pretty good.

Knapp85, May 08, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

oberon, Jan 05, 2004
Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured out brownish, black. It had very little head. It smelled like malt and chocolate. Its flavor was sweet and malty. The malt flavor really stood out. It also had a slightly bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel was very sharp. It went down smooth and was quite drinkable.

zeff80, May 11, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a full, big bubbled tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some good lace. The dark malt and slightly hoppy aroma is surprisingly apparent. Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and lightly creamy mouthfeel. The malt flavor is apparent up front, mainly of a very nice, gently sweet caramel backed by bittersweet chocolate. As it crosses the palate a distinct, grassy hop flavor comes forth. A solid bitterness that never oversteps its bounds balances the palate before receeding into a lightly dry finish with some residual chocolate-like notes. An exceptionally well done beer that deserves more attention.

NeroFiddled, Aug 22, 2002
Photo of Jason
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
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.

Jason, Mar 01, 2002
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.

WVbeergeek, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of nickfl
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours with one finger of light brown head that rests on top of an opaque, black body. The foam settles down quickly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Sweet bready malt with a hint of caramel and light roast. Otherwise quite clean with no significant hop or yeast character.

T - Some lightly roasted flavors up front with a bit of caramel and cola-like character. Watery caramel in the middle with a bit of spicy hop flavor. Finishes with a dry, toasty/roasted grain note and light bitterness.

M - Medium-light body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A bit one dimensional for me. The roast malt character is appropriately light, but the beer lacks the body and depth to back it up. The cola flavor is not entirely pleasant and seems to be one of the dominant features of the beer as it lingers in the aftertaste. Not something I would seek out again.

nickfl, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 32oz. growler into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a purplish, brownish black with a thin, off-white head that lingers and leaves a thick, even lace.

S: It has a very malty sweet smell with notes of dark fruit and roasted coffee along with a bit of alcohol. However, overall the smell is not very strong.

T: You taste the sweetness right away; however I expected more of an espresso/dark chocolate kind of flavor. Instead, I got more of a fruity flavor with a backdrop of dark chocolate, hops and malt.

M: Extremely smooth, but the carbonation is a bit on the high side, with a medium-to-high body. The finish is clean overall, but it leaves a slightly acidic after-taste and a bit of a sticky residue.

D: This beer is indeed drinkable, but more from a standpoint of I-can-drink-this-as-I-eat-a-ton-of-food-at-a-family-function rather than the standpoint of I-can-drink-this-beer-until-I-get-completely-trashed.

The first Schwarzbier that I ever tried was Sam Adams Black Lager, which I liked a lot. It made me very curious of what other beers in this style tasted like. So far, this has been the only other beer that I’ve been able to find in the style and although it’s a good beer, it pales in comparison.

TheManiacalOne, May 07, 2006
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown that approaches opaque. Tannish head. Nose is kind of maple-ish. Overall seems a bit one-dimensional. Interesting. Flavor brings an interesting sweet tone. It borders on being too much, but by just a hair it keeps it tolerable. An earthy tone gets in on the mix as well, but the sweet, vaguely honey edge keeps control over things. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation, with the liquid being a bit sticky. Overall a nice drinker. I've had better examples of the style, yes. But this is still a solid enough offering.

RblWthACoz, Oct 04, 2008
Photo of russpowell
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

32 oz growler pours ruby red/mahognay with a 1" off white head. A hint of lacing & head retention

S: Slight choclate & molasses aromas

T: Fruitty up front, then choclate & a hint of iron surfaces. Choclate follows with a more choclatel dryness on the finish

MF: Light to medium body with too much carbonation

Drinks okay, A half-hearted attempt at the style IMO. A good one to have newbies cut their teeth on, of you don't be overwhelmed by flavor, pretty good values for $ for the impovrished BA who still wants to represent

russpowell, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

by far my favorite of saranac's year-round offerings. pours a barely see through dark red/black color almost purple with a nice head. german malts are present in the flavor and a sharp yeast nose peaks my interest. taste is old world bavarian dark beer to me, drinkably malty, old and refined in character. roasty but not heavy. i like it a lot better on tap than from the bottle, but this is a good representation of what saranac is capable of.

StonedTrippin, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Slatetank, May 21, 2013
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: black as night, with a creamy tan head. Aroma: lush and creamy, with notes of cocoa, nuts, feeling like a well-whipped latte!
Pleasant on the palate, dark, but sweet, initially hoppy, but smothered behind thick, huge malt.Very mild, smooth, but with a lasting, tasty flavor, and certain fruity tones emerging as we go.
Honestly, had I not known it was a schwarzbier, I would have pegged it as a less hoppy porter, it was so full and flavorful.
Thanks to UncleJimbo sending it out.

feloniousmonk, May 18, 2003
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Saranac Black Forest from Matt Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,012 ratings.