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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.

1,012 Ratings

(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
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Ratings: 1,012 | Reviews: 556 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MadTown1000
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours what looks like a brown at first, but actually is a deep ruby red against the light. Close to opaque, but shows some transparency around the edges. Not much head; what there is quickly dissipates.

Smell is distinct, and matches the look. Sweet and molassesy. Flavor then basically matches the smell, with an extra helping of very dark chocolate. Carbonation is more obvious on the tongue than I'd expected. Also, the sweetness leads into a nice toasty grain aftertaste I didn't expect from the smell. Alcohol not that evident. Mouthfeel is heavy, a bit sticky, but not overly so on either count.

This beer is highly consistent all around - It reminds be strongly of Sprecher Black Bavarian. For a heavy dark beer with some flavor to it, but without the extremes of a Russian Imperial, this will do the job admirably.

MadTown1000, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my pint glass a clear, dark brown with a slight redness. A big bubbly head about an inch high forms but it trickles down to only a ring around the glass. Nose is light with some toasty dark malts and some hints of piney hops. Taste is thinned out roasted barley and subtle metallic/baker's chocolate twang. The metallic/chocolate flavor gets nearly drowned out almost instantly by an earthy pine bitterness. Nothing to complex or outstanding but it is a beer I could drink a good amount of over the course of a night.

DrinkingDrake, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.8/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of tdm168
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown with a reddish hue. One finger of head with only a little retention. Smell is very mild with hints of malt. Taste is nice and malty. Caramel malts at first and chocolate, roasted malts come through as the beer warms. Medium bodied and smooth; very drinkable.

Not a bad beer at all. I definitely enjoyed it more after the beer warmed and all the different malt flavors were able to come through.

tdm168, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is jet black, with nutty brown highlights. The beer carries a tall, chunky, dense chocolate milk colored head that settles fairly quickly, and does not linger a bit. The nose is a tangy sweet, with a honey character and slight sour tone. Flavors are dark fruit sweet, with bits of currant and black cherry, and a heavy dose of dark chocolate and coffee on the tail. Very interesting blend of flavors. Aftertaste is light, and mostly chocolate and fruit. The finish is light and smooth. Interesting twist of flavors, and an interesting brew overall.

GarthDanielson, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of jmbranum
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought in kansas, enjoyed at home in okc.

Pours a giant fluffy tan head. Subtle toasted coffee aroma.

Flavor is nice with coffee and red wine notes,cocoa, nice amount of hops.

Dominant note is cocoa. Nice lingering bitter yet rich flavor.

Fluffy and smooth mouthfeel. Not heavy.

jmbranum, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of obrendano
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

love, love, love this brew

A - fantastic almost bloody-red tinged black body, great tan head

S - sweet and floral with a caramel kick

T - dark malt and and almost licorice bite behind it and a ton of delicate hop flavor instead of a stinging IPA-like blast. finishes with a nice bready, molasses taste

M - solid body and smoothness

O - a great craft from a great company who rarely, if ever, will break your wallet

obrendano, Jul 19, 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 Brenden
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the second of 3 beers I tried at the 1888 Tavern after a great brewery tour on 7/3/11.

A brown head quickly fades to a light foam at the sides of the glass. Lacing is light but present. The beer itself is dark brown with thinner edges.
The nose is oddly nondescript and light. I know Matt uses primarily caramel malts in this one. A little bit of sweetness drifts out and some roast, perhaps with an extremely faint floral tinge (hops, I presume?) but so light for some reason.
In the flavor, light caramel and dark chocolate linger together for a bit of bittersweet pleasantry. A gentle hops addition offers more of a citrus note here, but it comes out a touch floral as well. The flavor brings out things I just couldn't smell.
The mouthfeel is light considering what American brewers are doing, but about medium and proper for the style; this is clearly intended to be a schwarzbier and not a beastly stout. A nip of crispness comes out front with some depth and easily enough avoids flatness. It's also fairly smooth.
I'm not sure about the lame head or lack of aroma from the tap, but overall this isn't a bad beer at all.

Brenden, Jul 07, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is dark brown with 1/2" of tan head that settles to a thin cap within moments, leaving a nice sheet of lacing as it recedes. The aroma identifies this as a lager, with some chocolate and malt scents. The flavor is ok. Malt forward, with light roast, the finish brings a touch of hop bitterness. Not nearly my favorite of the style, this is a middle of the road example of a schwarzbier.

Huhzubendah, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a dimpled mug.

A- Deep coffee color. Held up to the light, reveals a reddish-brown hue. One-half-to-quarter inch tan head. Surprisingly minimal lacing.

S- Fruity with notes of berry, a little hoppy, and a slight aroma of cola. I really hate to use this word, but earthy definitely describes it.

T- Very mellow. Sweet and creamy with yeasty malts. Gently hopped. Caramel with hints of coffee, almost smoky. Crisper than I expected. Good, generally inoffensive, but doesn’t really knock it out of the park the way some of the other Saranacs in the variety pack did.

MF- A little syrupy on the back, but fairly crisp and refreshing.

D- Sits a bit heavy, but generally a good beer. Nice flavor with a moderate body. Solid B+ brew.

OMGTheyKilkenny, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of goldennectar
2.9/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a thin head that quickly disappears. Nice dark brown color

S: Very fragrant and fresh. Lots of sweet earthy chocolate aromas and malts

T: Dull when compared to the aroma's - Nothing bad wrong just did not live up to my noses expectations.

M: Watery and weak

O: Easy to drink but could be more full flavored.

goldennectar, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of mactrail
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sems to be a workman-like job of making a faultless but plain beer. Nice mahogany color in the glass, modest head, carbonation is quite creamy but fades away before long. Nice touch of malt on the lips, dark roast is warm and toasty. Hops come on stealthily and provide a slight bitterness, reminiscent of coffee.

A German style not known for wild and crazy antics, so this seems in keeping with a tradition. Maybe a better quaff in a big stein with the smell of sizzling pork nearby.

mactrail, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of gopens44
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark ruby red with about an inch or better of foamy latte colored head.

S - Very faint caramel and malts was about it. Just not a ton going on here, even after a generous warm up period.

T - The faint caramel presence in the nose comes across here with an accompaniment of plums and the maltiness discovered in the nose.

M - Thin, watery, well carbonated with a delightfully surprising bitter finish and aftertaste.

O - Not a bad little beer here, but I would have enjoy more aromas than what I got.

gopens44, May 31, 2011
Photo of BigRedN
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of a mixed 6 pack.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The beer is very dark brown to black. My pour produces a thin (about 1/4 inch) brownish head that rapidly fades to nothing.

Smell: Some light malt aromas; a little caramel and lightly roasted malts (a little chocolately). Not really smelling anything that says hops with this one.

Taste: Glad the light aroma does not translate to light taste. Good roasted malts, nothing too bitter on the back end, just enough bitterness to keep it in balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a natural feeling light unforced carbonation. A little dry on the finish; no aftertaste.

Drinkability: This has been the best beer I have had from my mixed six so far. However, this is not available locally for me to obtain more.

BigRedN, May 21, 2011
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 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 Agold
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with a small light head over a deep deep ruby liquid. The smell is fruity with a nice caramel sweetness. Not that great, but pretty good. The taste doesn't reflect much of the nose. The maltyness i expected to translate into a little bit more full flavor, but the caramel was mostly gone. What remains is fruityness and a bit of hop bitterness and floral hop flavor. Kind of nice, but not really that special. The mouthfeel was nice and light which is nice and refreshing. Overall, this is a nice beer. Nothing super special, but definitely something that would be nice for a BBQ or something like that.

Agold, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

JohnnyBarman, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of LuthersMug
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice opaque dark beer, when held to the light there is a burgundy hue. Head was creamy and tan, good lacing.

S - Sweet caramel and oak, even some hints of ripe bing cherries.

T - Malts were average, tastes of charred coffee and dark chocolates, hops were not strong, expecting a bit more.

M - Malts were slightly creamy, hops could have been stronger, but well balanced

O - A little bit weak and watery at the end.

LuthersMug, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of Corum47
4.68/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My new favorite beer. Wish I could find it in other than a variety pack. I found BF growlers on vacation and bought a whole case. I tend to enjoy english-style ales, but there's nothing like watching a hockey game with a few BF's. Would very much like to try it fresh from the tap someday.

Corum47, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of KajII
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Dimpled Mug]

Poured very dark muddy brown with a small (less than 1 finger) light brown foamy head that was fully diminishing and had poor lacing.

The aroma was that of a roasted bread malt, a mild resin hop and a mild sweet yeast with notes of coffee, chocolate, molasses and a hint of dark fruit.

The taste was malty and mildly sweet with a note of chocolate in the beginning then became slightly bitter with a note of dark roasted coffee and a touch of dark fruit at the end. The flavor was left to linger an average duration on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was just a tad beyond medium in body and rather creamy in texture with a flat carbonation.

Overall a smooth easy to drink brew that was quite flavorful and left and very satisfying aftertaste that lingered on the taste buds, but not for to long.

KajII, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of Criscoh88
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - A dark rich red-brown. Thick and cloudy. A strong frothy head lets you know your in for a treat.

Smell - very rich smelling, almost that of coffee. Scents of roasted forest nuts and caramel.

Taste - Almost as dark tasting as it looks. Thick and creamy, the caramel flavor rests on your tongue. A quick burst of toasty malt flavor followed by a mellow sweet decent. Very pleasing.

Mouthfeel - not bad, but i feel is definitely the weaker point here. Taste tends to start with a bite of carbonation before getting onto the good flavors. Once the flavors rest, your mouth feels warm and thick, much like drinking coffee.

Drinkability - Delicious, i could put a few of these back and feel all sorts of creamy inside. Great mellow finish. I would like to try this in the fall seasons.

Criscoh88, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of scootny
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep cola brown with a light brown head and sits of lace here and there. Smell is caramel and malt with a soft fruitiness. Nice roasted grain body as well. Sweet caramel and light smokiness are followed by a mild dark fruit blend and very dry hop finish. A bit of lactic sourness. Superbly balanced with a quenching feel and softly active carbonation. Weight is just a little heavy for a lager with a touch of syrup. Drinkability is top shelf. Another great winter and fall session beer from Matt brewing.

scootny, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of JCBears
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: nice rich amber black little lighter than some I have seen but nice look with a good head

Smell: Hoppy nice sense some oft he malts come through liking it

Taste/MF: Smooth MF with nice hints of the malt and a little kick at the end. This is good brew

Overall: Be carefull cause you could easily enjoy this a little toom uch too soon good brew nice and smooth

JCBears, Feb 21, 2011
Saranac Black Forest from Matt Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,012 ratings.