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Saranac Black Forest - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Black ForestSaranac Black Forest

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1,058 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,058
Reviews: 558
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 40
Gots: 77 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 1,058 | Reviews: 558 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Nipitato
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the brews available in the Saranac sampler 12 pack I purchased at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Very dark brown with ruby highlights. Large tan head that virtually disappears after a brief appearance. Good clarity.

S: Strong caramel malt aroma with some roasted elements. Clean lager character. Rich - quite caramel like. A really good aroma all around.

T: Sweet caramel malt flavor though less so than the nose. Exhibits a solid roasty flavor that carries through till the end. Roastiness and subtle hop bitterness lingers long and dry. Overall sweet and rich but not overly so.

MF: High carbonation. Medium full mouthfeel. Dry but not astringent.

D, notes: Good drinkability. This is a solid well balanced beer. Roasty but not overpowering.

Photo of barleysangel
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer had a good head. It was creamy off-white head. The beer was thin and dark (a reddish-black). It reminded me of a cola. The mouthfeel was thin, dry and smooth. It was not bitter. This beer was highly carbonated. I'd have another one of these beers.

Photo of PatrickJR
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Very dark brown, almost opaque, with thick 2 fingered light brown head. Decent retention and decent lacing.

S - Caramel malts, moderate floral hop presence, and a slight smokiness.

T - Starts off with smooth and sweet caramel, followed by strong, slightly unpleasant phenols, and wrapped up with floral and somewhat citrusy hops. Bitterness grows mid-palate all the way through the aftertaste.

M - Moderately carbonated with medium body. Goes down smooth.

D - The intensity of the phenolic and hoppy taste mid-palate combined with the increasing bitterness makes this a little difficult for me to drink. The taste itself is so heavy and obvious that having more than one or two would be a chore. Not bad at all though.

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

Pours a very nice dark color, nearly black, with some nice head and great lacing. It has a very nice scent, nicely balance between hops and malts, with a little bit of coffee aroma, although it is a very slight scent, not very strong. Great taste, a nice light beer with slight burnt grain flavors and a small bitter aftertaste, a nice balance. It goes down fine, a nice beer to try, one of my favorite Saranacs.

Photo of blackjack000
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A dark ruby brown with a good amount of light tan head that clings to the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel, brown sugar, and roastiness. The smells really stand out nicely.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Creamy! A pleasant hoppy twang that is perfectly balanced by malt. There is a pleasant hops and bit of dark chocolate aftertaste. The carbonation and body of this beer are just about perfect.

Drinkability: This is really good. I don't want to put down the glass. By the time I put the glass down, I'm already reaching for it again so I can get another smell or sip. This is a really nice experience. It seems to have a lot more character than some of the other schwarzbiers I've had.

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 ewright
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A vigorous pour from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic yields a huge 2+" head that sticks around ... both in retention and lacing. The beer is a deep brown that shows crystal clear when held to light.

S: Muted smokiness with just a very faint sulfuric note... nothing unusual for a lager, but not my favorite aroma.

T: Semi-sweet chocolate/cocoa mixed with burnt caramel. There isn't noticeable hop characteristic to the flavor, but enough presence to balance the malt flavors.

M: Dry, smooth, moderate carbonation.

D: Easy drinking for such a dark beer, I miss the esters I would get were this an ale.

Photo of Ch1mpy
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well here we go. This American schwarzbier pours dark dark brown. Small off-white head. Nice lazing.

It has a roasted, complex aroma with elements of hops and a little coffee.

Mild carboration on top of a grassy bitter taste. Pretty thin actually.

Feels really smooth in your mouth, goes down surprisingly fast.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

A: Pours a nice dark cola color with ruby and tan accentuations and a thin veil of white foam.

S: Smells a bit sweet and nutty with caramel and licorice aromas.

T: The sweet nutty flavor is balanced with some moderate hopping and a deep roasted coffee/cocoa flavor. It's not too heavy of a brew though, so the flavors don;t become cloying.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

D: Nice roasted flavor, manageable ABV and a great growler presentation made this a very drinkable beer on all levels. Great for a session or dessert beer.

Saranac brews are generally disappointing, given the fact they all taste almost identical save a few minor details. However, the Black Forest, with it's menacing black bear on the label, is a keeper.

Photo of bark
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The colour is deep, deep brown. The head is high, brown and airy. It leaves very little lacing.

The smell is malty, roasted, and a bit sweet with some fine balancing bitter notes.

The taste is dry and roasted with fresh notes of honey, fried meat, butter and a fine bitterness. The aftertaste is roasted and malty with some minerals and some gravy.

The carbonation is very fresh with lots of small bubbles. The liquid is medium smooth.

Lots of flavours but still balanced and highly drinkable. Nice done.

Photo of Hoagie1973
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the best Schwarzbiers I've had to date.
Appears black, but is actually clear and dark red when held to light. Nice tan head that retains well and leaves some spotty lace.

Smell and taste are very much the same; sweet caramel and roasted malt with a prominent hop presence in the finish. Much more generously hopped than others I've had of this style, which can be annoyingly sweet.

The heavy, thick mouthfeel decreases the drinkability somewhat, but I wouldn't refuse a second (or maybe a third) bottle.

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

Appearance: Saranac Black Forest pours a dark, dark maroon colour (somewhat similar to the one of a coke, you know it insidiously looks as if to be dark, dark brown but really isn't?) and a relatively high -- light brown-to-cream yellow colour -- crown which diminishes rather quickly and leaves some lacing.

Smell: Sweet, malty and caramelly, almost with a fruit sensation to it at times. Great!

Taste: Once again, in great correlation with the smell: caramel and malt (not all that bitter though) with a slightly acidic reminiscence to it in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium full and creamy with low carbonation, it's smooth, smoooth like Shaft (not "a shaft", ya perv!) to the palate. Can you dig it?

Drinkability: Another? Surely, pleasing to down, rich to the experience, what more can you ask for? - Yarr, tis be a top notch Schwarzbier!

So once again: another? - Why, thank you! Yes, I just think I might! (So he did, and thus lived moderately happy ever after).

Photo of hwwty4
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. At first glance, it just looks dark brown, but hold it up to the light and dark ruby highlights come out. A light beige brown head disappeared pretty quickly leaving no detectable lacing. Aroma is caramel and just a touch of chocolate. Taste is really the same. There is a hint of astringency, like strong coffee but not much else. Mouthfeel is creamy up front but it finishes pretty thin. Its another solid beer from the Matt Brewing Co.

Photo of Lexluthor33
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark,sultry beer with nice head. The smell is of caramel and cream. The taste is malty caramel and sweetness just as the bottle says.The feel is sticky sweet and a good balance of malts. This is a pleasure to drink. It is so smooth and creamy. Good carbonation.
I think it must be one of their best beers.This beer is not complex and it does not need to be,it is just fine the way it is.

Photo of philbe311
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Appears to pour black, but with subtle red undertones... Creamy head...

S - Sweet caramel and malt... Maybe even a hint of coffee...

T - Cherry was an unexpected taste mixed with the expectedly sweet caramel and malt... Some hops too...

M - Not much carbonation... Very smooth...

D - A very enjoyable Bavarian brew... A highly enjoyable session beer...

Photo of cbleary
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

This is a very good dark lager from Matt Brewing. It poured with a black body and and a small light brown head. It had a rich taste featuring delicious dark malt with hints of rich fruit with a smooth lager finish. Well done, one of their best.

Photo of Riverwarrior
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S = Caramel and chocolate.

T = A semi-sweet mixture of caramel and roasted malt with a small dose of chocolate. I detected a small hop bitterness near the finish, but it quickly disappeared and left a nice sweet bread flavor.

MF = Very smooth and creamy. Medium carbonation.

Overall, this is a very drinkable Schwarzbier.

Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32oz mini growler/bottle. From notes, tasted 1/20/08

This beer poured a mild dark brown body with a thick white head.

Nose is a light caramel and some roasted/toasted malt. Mild dark fruits sit along with some earth but it diminishes in place of roasted and caramel notes.

Taste is medium bodied with a little creamy texture. Loads of caramel and toasted malt. Dark roasted coffee beans. A dark roasted bitterness dominates rather than the typical hop bitterness. There's a nice dark fruit flavor throughout, like prune or dark grape juice. There's a mild stone and granite taste with an earthy hop flavor. Finishes mild.

A nice solid schwarzbier. Love the bottle/growler.

Photo of Gehrig
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A welcome surprise, Black Forest might be the best beer I've tried from Saranac. Malty and bold, yet quite smooth, this is one I'll grab and store a.s.a.p. Thick tan head caps a lush black body. the smell is surprisingly impressive, full of hops, chocolate, and sugary sweetness--really terrific. The taste brings these elements together well, wrapping them in a smooth texture that makes Black Forest easy to knock back.

A gem from Saranac, well worth grabbing and enjoying, and one of my favorite Schwarzbiers.

Photo of Brad007
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: Pitch black with a think brown head and some lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Rich and malty. Hints of chocolate in the nose.

Taste: Smooth and malty with some sweetness. Taste is similar to chocolate. Has the characteristics of a lager. Drinkable much like I remember.

Mouthfeel: A tad bit dry but otherwise, coats the mouth in goodness. Smooth.

Verdict: A decent schwarzbier. Drinkable and comes in a neat little mini growler. One of the better beers from Saranac.

Photo of BeerTaster
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance black almost no light came through. Smell was malty and a bit fruity. Taste was malty fruity with a hint of licorice bitterness was just enough to keep the sweetness balanced. Mouthfeel was mediem body and the drinkibility was not bad I like this style and this is one of the better american versions out their.

Photo of oldirtycaffrey
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance of this beer lives up to its name--it pours black with a slight, slight red/purple hue to it, containing a small tan head that dissipates quickly leaving only a fair amount of lacing on the glass as you finish it off. The smell is really great--a nice, sweet aroma with hints of malt, alcohol, and even licorice. The taste is strong, bitter, slightly fruity, sweet with a very nice 'after-kick' in the back of the mouth. However, it is very easy to drink. Really impressed with this brew.

Photo of auxiliary
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - Dark brown color nice head formed when poured, but then settled to a ring.

smell - Some smells of roasted chocolate here.

taste - Roasted chocolate, and malt here with a bitterness from the some hops at the end.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - Enoyed the beer, not a roasty beer, but a very good dark beer.

Photo of TYE
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer poured dark and clear with a slight amber halo around its edges. The tan head dissipated quickly, leaving a light lacing.
S - The initial smell is of coffee with a roasted undertone. After a few sniffs, a sweet brownie smell immerged.
T - Muted in comparison to its aroma. A light hoppy bitterness appears early and lasts through the finish.
M - Medium level of carbonation. Body is medium and pretty smooth.
D - Overall this beer is easy to drink and has a clean finish. Not one I will focus on, but good enough to recommend trying.

Photo of SirSaranac
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I always drink this at the bar when I see it on tap... this is a delcious beer. Decided to review the bottle form.

A- Black! This is the darkest brownish red you can achieve... basically black. Med carbonation... Sexy, fluffy 1 1/2 inch tan colored head.

S- Smooth creamy malt... hints of caramel and chocolate. Delious malt... not burnt though as the color would lead you to believe. Crisp subtle hops finishes the flavor.

M- Med body... low carbonation... feels nice on the tongue

D- This is better on tap,but i could still drink these all night (and have!). Sooo smooth for a near black beer... great represenatation of the Schwarzbier!

OVERALL???- One of Saranac's best

Saranac Black Forest from Matt Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,058 ratings.