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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.

1,042 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,042
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.71%
Wants: 37
Gots: 68 | 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
Ratings: 1,042 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of carnoustie7
4/5  rDev +7.5%

carnoustie7, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of engagechad
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in a mixer 12 - pint

Pours a deep dark black with tan head, good lacing.

Smells roasty and dark as it looks, not much going on but it's nice.

Taste follows, nicely roasty but there is a little funk i didn't like in there.

Feels great, great body.

engagechad, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Not the most impressive a slight ring of lace looks pretty creamy and sticky but the beer is far from style being dark amber rather than pitch black.

S - A weird bit of caramel but I smells some moderate roast and some chocolate but not nearly enough to be worth a high grade.

T - Hmm fairly bold I suppose. A nice bit of roast and a bit of nutty flavor but nothing compared to it's German counterpart. It is pretty full bodied and sweet.

M - Pretty full bodied so it's pretty good for the style.

Overall because I can't find it all the time (only in cases) and it's not as dark or aromatic as German counterparts but would enjoy it again if I could.

DrDemento456, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of cgise22
4/5  rDev +7.5%

cgise22, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +7.5%

tclapper, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of heffnate77
4/5  rDev +7.5%

heffnate77, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of KGarrett
4/5  rDev +7.5%

KGarrett, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of therica
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this a few times in past years-- ocasionally impressed, other times not. This time-- a definite bold YES. In fact, my original review of a few years ago was so mediocre of this beer (deleted) that I suspect they've greatly improved the beer since then.

A= very black, a modest tan head with medium bubbles, fades to a nice rimming, lacing and pooling.

S= all sorts of things going on here-- strong roasted malts, burnt nuts, maybe even a little road tar (kindly said).

T= bold as heck! My old review was so totally opposite (ie "a bit watery for a good Schwarzbier. Some dry roasted malts, light hops florals."). Wow this was a pleasant surprise to find this year! A strong bold flavor much like the old US German lagers of the pre-transistor era. Nutty, burnt dark malts, burnt molasses, I'm really pleased at the new and improved version! Hops bitters are in there but nicely blended without being hop-head. After sitting and gradually being consumed during the 15 minutes it's taken to write this, some nice dark prune and black cherry has emerged on my tongue as well!

M= slightly dry, slightly sweet, with nice burnt flavors mentioned above, some modest hops bitterness and florals lingering.

O= very drinkable! Ticks me off that they apparently only sell it in their Adirondack Trail Mix although I found out that they do indeed sell this beer in cases-- depends on your local beer store.

therica, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of mjtiernan
4/5  rDev +7.5%

mjtiernan, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of fmccormi
4/5  rDev +7.5%

fmccormi, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of blackened1339
5/5  rDev +34.4%

blackened1339, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of JRod1969
3/5  rDev -19.4%

JRod1969, Nov 14, 2011
3/5  rDev -19.4%

TEAMHOLT, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of rodney45
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark, and seductive beer. Laced brown and red foamy and frothy head that lingers like a good dark beer should. The coloring and lace is very nice, i dont know what magic they used to get it to look like that, but its stunning.

S: Coffee and espresso smelling head from the toasted crystal malt, and the roasted grains. Sweet chocolate aroma makes any dark beer lover's stomach flutter.

T: Crystal malt and cocoa. Hop flavor is largely hidden by the complexity and depth of the malt character.

D: I could drink this until the cows come home.

O: This would be a great desert beer. For a schwarzbier (dark ale) this beer is as good as ive seen. For a mid level brewery, this is a refeshing high end style beer.

rodney45, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of PicoPapa
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a black color with dark brown hues and almost no head. No lacing. Aroma is earthy with caramel malts. Taste is more of the earthiness paired with the caramel malts. A bit bready with hints of dark chocolate near the end. Somewhat sweet. Very tasty and drinkable. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. This is one of Saranac's best offerings. Overall, worth grabbing often.

PicoPapa, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of Ezone024
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

looks like a black lager, but has a little deep red color in it too, nice big creamy tan head.

taste is mostly sweet malts, tiny bit of caramel comes through.
not as roasty as other blacks but still has a rich complex flavor.

mouthfeel is pretty warming yet medium bodied.
easy to drink.

Ezone024, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of mrfrancis
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nearly opaque black with a creamy light tan mousse. In terms of appearance, it looks like most German schwarzbiers.

S: Subtle notes of anise, cream, dark chocolate, molasses, and roasted grain are present on the nose. Very elegant and refined.

T: Opens crisp and malty with flavors of molasses, dark chocolate, minerals, cream, anise, and coffee beans with a hint of grassy hop bitterness developing before the finish. This beer finishes on a dry and crisp note with coffee, chocolate, and molasses flavors dominating.

M: Medium-to-full bodied, dry, and rich with crisp, effervescent carbonation.

O: This is an excellent schwarzbier. I generally feel that the Saranac line is hit or miss, but luckily, Black Forest is not a misfire. Just as good as some of the classic German schwarzbiers.

mrfrancis, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of mastodonj
2.95/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'll admit I don't have a lot of experience with
Swarzbiers so ....here's goes:

A - very dark, almost purplish-brown with a small creamy head
(seems to be emblematic of Saranac) and a reddish beige color
of the head with very small lacing.

S- Some malt and berry aromas come forward but minimally.
T - Enters smoothly and leaves with a nice bitterness and a clean finish (again the clean finish seems to be a hallmark of Saranac)
M - The head and its creaminess contribute to the smooth

Overall - pretty average but very drinkable although you
wont' be thinking about it the morning after. ;-)

mastodonj, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of sixerofelixir
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Purchased as part of a 12-pack Fall sampler. Freshness code on bottle.

Pours a rich, brownish-black. Tannish head. Smell is nice, roasted caramel malts. Taste blended well with perfumy, sweet hops. Finishes tight and dry. Decent, full-bodied brew.

sixerofelixir, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of bubseymour
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark like a a Coke in the glass complete with fizzy head.

It has a really nice pronounced malty smell to it with some caramel backing.

Taste - Very unique and interesting flavor. Starts very sweet and malty then has a crisp bite in the finish and seems almost like an APA but its black in color. Very interesting, flavorful and quite sessionable.

Mouthfeel - fine

Overall - A very unique beer and style and Saranac pulls it off quite well. One of the bolder flavored beers in their quiver.

bubseymour, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of TheIronHammer
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to a beer glass.

A: It looks pitch black except around the edges where a little light gets through. The head is a medium tan. There foamed up to about half a finger's width, and then receded.

S: There is an aroma of roasted grains definitely. There is also an aroma of dried fruit, like dried cherries. Once it warms up there is a spice, maybe ginger present.

T: It has a pretty heavy roasted taste. There is a bitterness, like that of coffee. It is a bit astringent. Roasted flavors last a good while on the back of the tongue.

Mf: It has a medium body. It needs to be a bit heavier to support the nose and taste. It has pretty strong carbonation which works for this beer.

Overall: This beer has a delightful nose. The taste is also pretty good. The appearance is right inline with what's expected of this style. The mouthfeel was the detracting part of this beer; it needs to be heavier. However, it is an all round good beer. I will try this one again sometime.

TheIronHammer, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into mug.

Charcoal black that reveals only darkest garnet when backlit. 1 finger mocha colored head, some lacing.

Aroma of toasted nuts roasted, maybe slightly scorched malt, with an echo of a cinnamon like spiciness

Mouthfeel is solid and on the big side.

Taste: Rich, caramel malt with a slight taste of red wine, dark cherries and chocolate.

Notes: First had this beer beer a decade ago, not sure why I waited so long to go back. This is a tasty, nicely made lager full of richness, inviting flavors which seem feel like brownies in the oven made with dark chocolate and walnuts. Will rotate in for the fall.

fx20736, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle dated best by 12/31/2012 from Twelve Beers a falling collection.

Poured deep brown with ruby highlights, thin beige head rapidly dissapated, no lacing of glass to speak of. Scent of sweet chocolate malt.
Sweet rather than bitter with just a tang in the aftertaste. Overall a nice brew for a wet autumn day!

CaptJackHarkness, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of rdub
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first foray into the diverse world of Saranac. Bottle with best by Jan 2012. Poured from the bottle into my Duvel tulip. Nice brown frothy head, dark almost black color. Nice lacing. Smell was mostly smoked malt, some smoke and mild hops. The taste was light, not as heavy as you'd think with the color. Website said to pair with Mexican so I had a taco with it. Nice match. Mouthfeel was light and easy drinking. Pretty good stuff. Almost like a porter.

rdub, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of Chaney
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a small Saranac snack pack tonight so that I could do some ticking.

A: I wouldn't exactly say this is black, as the name suggests... more like dark reddish-brown. The head, which was mighty hefty, was beige in color, and clung to the glass as I siphoned the liquid.

S: Very weak nose actually.... almost non-existent even. After several attempts, I did manage to find some puffs of multi-grain bread and caramel, but that's about it.

T: The taste on the other hand was very nice and there was nothing fake about it. A German delight through and through! Medium bodied, with a rich, malty taste, and just the right hint of sweetness. Pumpernickel bread? You betcha!

M: Some splotches left on the glass, and this had a very smooth, non-bitter, wet character overall.

O: I don't understand the sub-par reviews on this one. I found this one to be a very nice.... especially for the price!

Chaney, Sep 19, 2011
Saranac Black Forest from Matt Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,042 ratings.