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Saranac Rauchbier - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac RauchbierSaranac Rauchbier

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
76
okay

69 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 69
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.29
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Rauchbier |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Estarrio on 10-19-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.38/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brilliant tangerine with almost Champagne-like carbonation zipping up to a whipped creamy, taupe colored head. Most rauchbiers are some variety of orange it seems. Delicate, attractive squiggles of lace are beginning to decorate the top few inches of the glass, making this one of the better looking MBC beers that I can remember.

Smoked beer should smell smoky, should it not? I can appreciate no more than a faint whiff of smoked malt. If it doesn't deliver much more rauchiness on the palate, Saranac Rauchbier will be no more successful than any other beer from this brewery. Although it doesn't smell bad per se, I can't see giving an average score to a nose that is so far removed from what it ought to be.

Perhaps the brewery doesn't have enough respect for its clientele to provide them with an honest to goodness rauchbier. This is, by far, the least smoky version that has ever entered my glass. I think it most resembles a sweeter than usual English pale ale, despite the fact that German hops (Hallertau) are is use. It's only on the finish that one tastes a glimmer of smoked malt.

Maybe it's the fact that it's a surprisingly hefty lager, but I think the base beer is one of MBC's best (of a fairly lackluster lineup). That's why I've decided to grant an above average flavor score to such a wimpy rauchbier. A few more tendrils of smoke appear on the horizon as it warms. Triple the amount would give it a chance to be the brewery's best beer.

As alluded to, there's nothing at all wrong with the mouthfeel. It's on the full side for a lager and has that characteristic polished gem smoothness that I love. They've even gotten the carbonation right: spunky, yet far from buzzy.

Saranac Rauchbier is oh so close to good beer. If I could send a smoke signal message to the brewers, it would go something like this: *add* *more* *smoke* *to* *Rauchbier* *please*. It's too bad more American craft brewers don't take a shot at this style.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 09, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
3.28/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a decent pour for the style as it settles in and gives off a nice two finger head tha slips down the sides of the glass effortlessly.aroma was smoked to high heaven, but rather one sided, some touches of a cough syrup like smell coming off it as it warmed, not sure what that was, but hints of grain buried underneath as well. The flavor was surprisingly good though. Rich notes here of peat and malted grains, nice roasted touches and a very nice and well balanced grain bill. Definitely a very nice flavor and it took me off guard, the feel was a bit thin and one sided, but still not terrible.

mikesgroove, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%

jaydoc, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep burnt orange/golden with a nice fluffy well formed white head that stuck around for quite awhile.A pretty clean nose with light notes of brwon sugar and subtle smoke and even a tinge of iron,what I liked about this rauchbier is that it gave off smoked flavor without tasting like a Smithfield ham.I know alot of people like that big smoke me not so much this gave off enough smoke flavor to satisfy with out being overbearing a nice brown sugar note went along with the smokiness along with a noticable herbal sharp hoppiness.I like it I like it alot I like the new offerings in the12 beers of Christmas pack this year.

oberon, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A delicate smokiness enhances, and also acts as a counterpoint to, the gently caramelish maltiness of Saranac's Rauchbier. It pours a clear, glowing amber-copper body beneath a short head of creamy ivory. Beechwood smoke is found in the nose, but it doesn't leap out at you; and when some of the sweetish malt from below peeks through it takes on the mouthwatering scent of bacon! It's crisp in the mouth with a delicate, medium-light body and fine-bubbled, median carbonation. The carbonation helps to bring out the smokiness, and cut through the maltiness. The flavor is initially fairly light on smoke, but as you progress through the glass it builds on the palate, increasing its presence. It's lager-like, clean and just a touch sulphury underneath. The malt is lightly caramelish, a touch sweet, honeyish, and backed by some grassy and spicy hops. The smokiness runs the gamut from smoked meats, and ham specifically, to Scotch wiskey. It's drying, and in combination with the jagged bitterness, leaves the palate mostly scrubbed of malt. Smoke lingers, and it's kind of cigar-like, but not nearly as full or harsh. Well done! Nicely rounded with a good balance and an appropriate level of smokiness. Worth trying!

NeroFiddled, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears a light copper amber tone leaves even lace with an off white head almost a beige tone. Aroma has malts that come with upfront caramel and a touch of smoked malts just barely evident. Flavor is clean with mild smokey flavor and leafy tobacco hop tones that blend well together overall a mild mainstream rauchbier better than nothing but by no means comparable to a true rauch from Bamberg. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated not much else going on in the complexity region. Drinkability is decent but by no means is this a rauchbier and flavors don't blend that well overall I'm not impressed by this effort.

WVbeergeek, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of Slatetank
3.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Slatetank, May 21, 2013
Photo of WesWes
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a gold color with a slight reddish hue. It has a nice foamy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, malty scent that boasts of Munich and a bit of peated malt. The smoke scent is faint. The taste is decent also. It has a very average taste with a bit of Munich and very little peated malt. It's light and easy drinking, but lacking in character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an average brew. It's run of the mill. I wonder why these guys even bother with making such poor examples of the styles. Hell, even AB is making better beer these days.

WesWes, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of Gavage
3.63/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a orange / amber color with a 1" head that falls to a thick surface foam slowly. Some nice lacing develops.

Smell: very pleasant as a mild nuttiness and a hint of smoke is detectable.

Taste: caramel, nuts, and a very mild bitterness is wrapped in a faint smokiness. I expected a bit more smoke and roasted tones here, but the overall flavor is decent.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start, smoother towards the finish. Medium bodied. Very brief short aftertaste.

Drinkability: pretty decent overall and this would pair nicely with some milder BBQ since the smoke tones are weak but wouldn't overpower the food. Worth trying in the variety 12 pack.

Gavage, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of tempest
3.35/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a nice beer, its just a shame it's not actually that smokey. Yeah I can tell the smoke is there, somewhere, but up against another American smoked lager, Ft. Collins' Z's Lager, this beer just doesn't hold up. It looks like an amber beer, smells of amber malts with a hint of smoke. Tastes of burnt caramel, kind of smoke and the flavor isn't too rich. Basically like the Adirondack Amber with a little something extra. Meh.

tempest, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of Billolick
3.35/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This 12 oz. bottle was from a 2006 "Beers of Winter" variety pack.None of the Saranac beers in this box has any freshness dating. Pours clear light orangy amber, thin off white head, and leaving minimal lacing. Malty nose with perhaps the slightest hint of smoke. Pleasant enough brew, nothing remarkable. Very minor smoke presence. Typical middle of the road, saranac offering. Craft beer? maybe, but just barely...

Billolick, Nov 24, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 2006 WInter Seasonal case.

A: The beer is a beautifully clear copper orange color with a small white ring of head. There is no lacing in the glass.

S: The beer has the standard Saranac grainy malt aroma with a faint, and I stress faint, hint of smokiness.

T: The beer is, like most all Saranac offerings, spectacularly middle of the road. The beer begins with a malty biscuit flavor and little hops. The smokiness does not show up in the beer but does pop up in the finish, adding just a hint of smokehouse.

M: The mouthfeel is decent but lacks the smokiness that you would want to see.

D: The beer is drinkable with a nice malt mouth, but don't expect a real smoked experience.

akorsak, Nov 24, 2006
Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -8.8%

rab53, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a solid soft malt aroma with a smattering of noble hops.

The taste consisted of a creamy malt profile and a subtle bitter hop. There was a trace smokey flavor at the finish.

The mouthfeel was creamy.

Overall a tasty beer. However, not really a rauchbier as there was little to no smoked element.

plaid75, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of THECPJ
2.55/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes

Appearance: dark golden yellow with ½ finger white head

Smell: smokey malts, hint of spices

Taste: malts, smoke-but not overpowering, slight sweetness

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

Drinkability: the smokiness is not really my thing, just can't get into it.

Cheers!
The CPJ

THECPJ, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of Gmann
2.65/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden amber color with a small head which dissipates quickly leaving no head. The smell is of caramel malts but no real hint of any smokiness to it. The taste is of dull hops, caramel malts, again no real smoke taste. Light bodied, well carbonated, finishes easy not dry or bitter. This lager drinks well enough, though it reminds me more of an amber lager.

Gmann, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of Suds
3.35/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saranac rauchbier is a clear amber beer with a shallow white head. The aroma is full of soft, melanoidin-laden malt. There’s a very modest hint of smokiness behind the malts. It’s a mild and simple smoke sensation, one that seems like more of an afterthought than a centerpiece. The taste is similar, with lightly-roasted (and a bit smoky) malt flavors. The finish is moderately dry, with a slight bitterness. Soft and round mouthfeel, with lower than average carbonation. This is a pretty good beer, but I’d like a Rauchbier to have a lot more smoke character. This one is far too restrained.

Suds, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
3.15/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a brilliant orange-red color with massive chunky white head. Good retention and lacing.
Smell is lightly of malt with no smokiness detected.
Taste is pleasantly malty and has a bit too strong hop bitterness also present.
Finishes very dry and bitter.
A nice drinking beer, but I think they forgot to put any smokiness in my bottle.

tgbljb, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Metalmonk
2.95/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a big head of tight, compact bubbles, on top of a rusty ruby/orange, the color of autumn leaves.

Musty aroma, peat and hops present. Smells more like an English pale ale than anything.

Veddy veddy interestink...this only brings on the smoke in the finish, and even then it's quite light. Otherwise the flavors are sweet malt and light hops, somewhere between an English pale ale and a German lager.

Mouthfeel seems wrong for the style, being light and crisp, fairly dry, and well carbonated.

This is not a bad tasting beer at all, but I have to doubt whether it can really be called a Rauchbier. Okay, they used smoked malts, but it doesn't have the gusto of other, more assertive smoked beers. Bah humbug.

Metalmonk, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of NJpadreFan
2/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Saranac- Rauchbier

Appearance- Light copper brown with no head.
Smell- Not much going on here, light ashy malt smell?! So faint.
Taste- Just a touch of malt, ash, cheap adjunct corn/ hay.
Mouthfeel- Watery with a slight dry bitterness in the end.

Overall- BOOOO!!! What a letdown. No smokiness at all! So watery and so little flavor. The dud of the 12 pack sampler!

NJpadreFan, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of cliff1066
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%

cliff1066, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +21.6%

tclapper, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle from a mixed pack. Poured into a standard shaker glass. This rauch appears a clear medium chestnut color with a finger of fizzy ecru foam. The head vanishes in less than a minute. Smells and tastes of very mild smoke, maybe I use the Schlenkerla rauch's as a standard, but this is barely kissed with smoke. Notes of spicy/sweet caramelized malts are also present. Rather thin and watery as well with just about adequate carbonation. Take it or leave it.

ClockworkOrange, May 16, 2009
Photo of Phatz
3.15/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance pours a clear deep gold with orange hues when backlit. The head fades fast and it leaves little to no lacing throughout the duration of the beer.

Smell: Peaty smoked malts and hint of caramel find their way in to nose if you look for them.

Taste: As Traditional American Lagers go this is a fine beer and would fair better from me in that league. A smoked lager sure. But to pass as a Rauchbier now you have stepped up the bar. Aside from the smokiness hints in the malts and light tobacco flavors, it lacks some of the robust character of Aecht Schlenkerla. Certainly, I understand why. This is an approachable friendly, gentle Rauch and as such is a bit more mild. Clean and easy to start. Still it is a commendable effort.

Mouthfeel: Crisp with a medium light weight but decent carbonation. The body tries to stand on the bubbly and does not have much of a backbone. Dry bitter finish that sloppily lingers on the palate.

Drinkability: I found one of these an interesting adventure but I don't need (or want) to do it again. Thanks for the journey Saranac. Keep coming up with new brews and continue stepping up the bar.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of buzzy
3.25/5  rDev -1.2%

buzzy, Feb 23, 2014
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Saranac Rauchbier from Matt Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.