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Saranac Black Forest - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Black ForestSaranac Black Forest

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,068 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,068
Reviews: 559
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 13.44%
Wants: 40
Gots: 89 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,068 | Reviews: 559
Photo of kernalklink
2.9/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice dark brown with minimal head. Soft malt, slightly dark aromas- smells like a nice version of this classic brew. The tastes are there- the cooling roasted flavor of the semi-sweet malts, slight hop bitterness and some complexity. But this lasts only for a second, then all is replaced with a dull watery seltzer. What a shame- good flavor out of the gate with none at the finish. But still one of saranac's better beers.

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

Nice Beer

I got 2 of these in a mixed 12 pack

Poured a very dark brown/black with a slight tan head into my Brooklyn Lager pint glass.

Smells nice, like a dark beer should.

Taste is very good, goes down easy. Light refreshing sweetness for a dark beer.

I drank my 2 and wish I had 2 more!

Photo of scottum
3.51/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice blackish color with a solid tan headskie gives good brew-hope... Taste not quite where I'd like. Balance is ok, but something lacking in malt profile. Smooth enough to make for easy drinking, but do I really want another? Perhaps, but I think I can do better.

Photo of Jwaks
2.28/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Serving 12oz bottle

Initially shows a dark mahogany color but reveals a transparent deep ruby color when held up to natural light. Half a finger worth of frothy hot chocolate colored head quickly dissapates leaving a paper-thin ring of froth encircled a patchy layer of fine suds. A few small pillars of fine bubbles channel carbonation to the beer's surface.

Nutty oil, burnt caramel malt, grassy hop and earthy aromas with hints of bitter citrus peel play on a slightly closed nose.

Malty, burnt caramel and nougat mix with flat, austere bitter and grassy flavors on the entry though the mid palate evolving into a slightly tannic, dry and bittery nutty finish with a zing of citrus zest. A mediocre attempt at a balanced brew, this doesn't have the malt nor hop backbone and structure to support the odd off-flavors. Sadly, it does not have much substance to offer beyond the austere bitterness, grassy flavors and bitter, nutty finish in effect lowering the flavor score.

Light to medium bodied for a schwarzbier, this leaves only an unpleasant bitter flavor behind with little malt presence and it doesn't coat the palate like others in the style. A thin body aids drinkability though just enough to earn it a slightly below average score.

I remember this beer being much better in the past, perhaps this was an old bottle? No freshness date is present on th bottle; I will have to revisit this one in the near future.

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

Nice pleasant dark malt aroma, that hints of sweetness and a little more of roast. Sublte hop character all blends nicely.
Pours dark brown and shows strong tones of garnet in the light. Clear. Smallish tan head that settles into a somewhat creamy top.
Touches of sweetness in a mildly roast flavor. This moves towards a pleasing bitterness in the middle that blends rather than dominates before leading to a moderately dry and finish. Nice chocolate flavors too. Really quite nice.
Fully carbonated but soft enough to not be distracting, yet filling enough to prevent quick drinking. The fullness of the carbonation hides the relative thinness of the body.
Without looking at my other scores, I think this is my favorite beer from this brewery. This is tasty, on target for style and easy drinking. I really like how the hop flavors lay out on my tongue and blend so nicely with the roast and sweetness of the malts.

Photo of Fish113d
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured form a quart jug into a pint glass

Pours a burnt, rasberry chocolate color (okay dark brown with lots of ruby tint). The head exceeds 2 fingers and is the color of hazelnut creamer. It slowly dissipates to a solid surface layer; this looks appealing! On my nose, I can get the hint of some dry, and dark roasted malt, along with some chocolate and sweet toffee. Fairly sweet smelling with some floral hops aroma also balancing it out a bit. Sipping reveals a strong brown malt flavor, which lacks the chocolate I sensed when smelling which is a little disappointing, but the hops quickly swoop into balance out the toffee sweetness and instead leaves a drying floral hops flavor in my mouth by the swallow. A bitter flavor remains in my mouth between sips; interesting, but not quite what I expected (I expected maybe just a bit more roast) but this suits the style I guess. Carbonation hits the sides of my tongue right away as I sip it. The body is relatively light, and the finish is rather dry for such a low alcohol brew. I have a quart, and I plan on drinking it. A nice little winter brew that isn't too warming, but actually is better for drinking than being a winter sipper. Cheers!

Photo of tempest
3.81/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle of this after another frigid day in Syracuse. This beer doesn't taste quite like a schwarzbier, but its still pretty good. Aroma of dry cocoa and barley with a semi-bitter chocolate flavor and smooth finish. Not an amazing beer, but well-balanced, tasty, and very drinkable.

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

A - Dark, dark, ruby red. Almost opaque.. but not. Decent head, but nothing special.

S - Fruity, metallic, a little bit nutty.

T - Roasty, but not especially so, and not very much for the style. Up-front, there's some fruitiness and light coffee, and there's a dry bitterness in the finish.

M - Alright I guess... light/medium with aggressive carbonation.

D - Again, not bad, but not great. Kinda boring, but inoffensive.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32oz mini-growler from Lou's in Augusta. Dark brown/black body with slight ruby-red highlights and only a thin film of light tan head. Caramel malt dominates the aroma with just a hint of hops, though the smell is a bit weaker than expected. Roasty malt sweetness characterizes the flavor, but does not overpower, with hints of hop bitterness. Medium bodied. Definitely quite drinkable, due to both the pleasing flavor and lighter-than-expected body. Only the second Schwarzbier I've had, and I really like it. I've been lukewarm on Saranac's offerings in the past, but this is probably their best one. I'll probably get this one again.

Photo of kkipple
2.6/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out a tiny dirty tan head on a deep deep amber-brown beer that looks black till you hold it to the light. Fizzy.

Smells slightly doppelbockish, caramel malts, nuts, tannins, cherries.

Tastes weird, roasted malts and a damp hop bitterness. Watery mouthfeel for the roasted taste. Oxidized, probably – I taste a tannic, wine-like quality that I don’t think is supposed to be here… also mild tartness and a hint of cocoa. Finishes roasty and sour. What is this beer trying to be? A light-bodied porter? A schwarzbier? Who knows… Black Forest is an odd mix of tastes, and one that doesn’t hit me the right way. It’s not completely undrinkable, but I’m not gulping it down, either.

Worth trying in their mix pack at least once.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a soapy mocha head, the body being very dark brown with ruby highlights. Leaves a bit of lace too.

Light nutty aroma with caramel maltiness cutting through, even a little milk chocolate coming into play.

Flavor is unsurprising, uninspiring, but acceptable. Mocha, roasty nuttiness, very light coffee beans. Sweet, but kept in check by the heartier elements. Leaves an interesting aftertaste, somewhere between anise (good) and plastic (bad).

As with many Saranac beers, this is overly carbonated and the body is too thin.

It's okay. Another decent but underwhelming Saranac offering. Their Caramel Porter is still my favorite.

Photo of arnulfooxblood
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

Appearance--Pretty good looking, deep brown/mahogany, decent head.

Smell--Faint nutty malts, I was expecting a stronger aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel--Good carbonation, moderate slightly toasted malts. Not great, but definitely not bad.

Drinkability--Goes down easy enough, but I wouldn't go out of my way to seek this one out.

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

Dark brown head with not a speak of light to speak of, but has a slight reddish tinge. Has one finger of head that disappeared quickly.

Malty, nutty aroma. Seems to have a slight hop presence, but that is covered up by the malt. Slight sweet (caramel?) hit.

Toasted malt flavor, with a sweet aftertaste. If hops are there, they are far in the background. Tiny bit sour on the way down.

Medium-bodied thickness, but is clean and doesn't linger too much. Pleasant nut-malt aftertaste. As far as stouts go, this one is delicious and very drinkable. Feels like it has a kick but is quite the enjoyable stout.

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

Poured a deep dark brown with traces of amber, not much head or lacing. Caramel/roast malt smell, not very distinct. Caramel malt flavor with hints of chocolate, followed by a metallic hop aftertaste. Moderate mouthfeel, crisp, decent carbonation. Goes down easy, some bitterness that lingers. A decent lager overall, I can drink a few.

Photo of RedChrome
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body was a blend of brown color with garnet hints. A quater inch creamy chesntut head turned quickly into a slick on top. No carbonation can be seen rising. Light lacing clumps.

Very appealing aroma is light on the nose. A very sweet caramel aroma dominates the first whiff. The second smell had a roasted cashew and pistachio finish. Nice light bittering of hops.

A very sweet tasting coffee flavor. A bitter note of burnt caramel is only faintly noticable. Nice falvors seem to come strictly from malt. NO noticable hops characters.

A nice thickness in a beer with such delicate flavors. Average carbonation tingles on the tongue, without moving flavors around.

A very nice offering, a great combination of aroma and taste. This would be a great beer to have with sauerbraten. Pick this one up as a great beer for a chill winter evening.

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

Yet another Winter pack beer....Pours a dark brown color with a reddish tint, and little head, retention, or lacing (poured from a bottle into a pint glass). Has a fruity smell to it with a hint of caramel. Tastes fairly fruity, too. Has a good balance between the malts and hops. Not overly bitter. Tastes suprisingly light in the mouth with a good amount of carbonation. Overall a decent beer...worth a try.

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

This is one of Saranac's best beers. It pours an almost-black with a small tan head that lasts a few seconds. Smell is of roasted nuts, sweet dark fruits, and unsweetended chocolate.

The taste echoes the smell for the most part, although there is a slight metallic taste for some reason. The roasted nuts is the lasting flavor on the pallette, although the chocolate and dark fruits are the upfront flavors. Body is thin, and the beer goes down smooth. Quite drinkable. I've always liked Schwarzbiers for being dark and complex yet not overly heavy. This is a good example of the style.

Photo of maddogruss
2.95/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a glass mug. Nice, dark body but almost no head at all and no retention. Smelled kind of like a light beer with not much of a taste to it either. Mouthfeel was a little more than thin, about what I expected for this beer. Not too drinkable of a beer in my point of view but everyone else seems to rate it fairly highly. Maybe I got a bad sample in my bottle, but overall I was not impressed by this brew; it did not meet what I had expected.

Photo of phisig137
3.51/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color, with a one finger head. Decent retention gives way, and nothing is left behind.

Aroma is slightly woody, with a touch of roast flavors. Fairly clean and pleasant.

Flavor is light and enjoyable. Lager yeast is prevalent, along with a slight caramel sweetness. Slightly astringent roast character on the finish. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Drinkability is pretty good.

One of the better beers from Saranac in the mixed twelve. Not a fantastic schwarzbier, but a pretty enjoyable beer in general.

Photo of billybob
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours very dark brown with hint of red, head about one finger, tan color, fades too soon with some lacing. smell is bready with coffee in there also. taste slightly sweet, burnt coffee, caramel and malt with some hop at the end a very good mix. mouthfeel medium and smooth very enjoyable beer. very drinkable beer.

Photo of scarletfire79
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow. pours deep deep brown. i'd dare to call it black. smells of sweet caramel, definitly sweet smelling. the taste is really well rounded with caramel notes, hints of coffee, slight fruit-like flavor. goes down real smooth. actually a lot more drinkable than i would have thought from the pour. refreshing. i could see myself having a few of these. love the mini growler. definitly makes it stand out on the shelf. would love to try this on tap.

Photo of treehugger02010
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounze bottle into a glass. It was very thick, producing not much head and even less lace. The smell was very bland. The taste was pretty solid, very well mixed. Out of the 5 or so Sanarancs I have tried I probably like this one the best. I really enjoyed this brew. Don't drink and review.

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 beerphan
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> american pint
no date

Pours an almost black brown with chunky red glares. The small head didn't last long and left sporadic gobs of lace. Extreme carbonation is standard for Saranac.

Nose: Deep dark fruit scent, most closely resembles the grape jelly smell i used smell every morning at the Welch's plant during a summer long ago. Caramel and chocolate linger behind.

Taste: Caramel and chocolate malts dominate up front. The thick full mouth finishes dry, with a slightly oily hop bitterness.

Full bodied deep mouthfeel that finishes dry and crisp. By far the best mouthfeel from a bottled Saranac offering.

For mostly sentimental reasons, this gets a high drinkability from me. Easy to drink, widely available in my area, a rare style, and cheap. Black Forest won't dissappoint.

Photo of jazappi
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Brown Bottle, Neat But Simple Design Label

Appearance: Dark, non transparent, head dissappeared quickly, did have small ring of lace that did not stick to the sides

Aroma: Matly, but hard to describe completely

Taste: Almost chocolately, hint of caramel

Mouthfeel: Very Smooth, Enjoyable

Overall: Poured into a pint glass. Very decent dark beer, stouts are my favorite. I would definatly buy again. This time in a six pack.

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Saranac Black Forest from Matt Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,068 ratings.