1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Saranac Imperial Stout - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Imperial StoutSaranac Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

194 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 194
Reviews: 152
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 20
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: AlHam on 10-22-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 152 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by wchesak:
Photo of wchesak
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass

A - very dark brown, 2 fingers of tan with a slight hint of red head, lots of lace left as the head dissipates to a thick ring on the glass

S - smelled the alcohol when I was pouring it, a closer smell reveals more alcohol with roasted malt

T - toffee, dark chocolate, some dark fruit flavors before the slight hop hits, then the alcohol shows up

M - not as thick as I like for my imperial stouts, but certainly not that thin either, good carbonation for the style

D - fell the burn in the chest, probably not the best beer for an 80 degree day, think this could beer would be good to try in a year, which is why i bought two

wchesak, Apr 23, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me this is easily the best offering from Saranac my hat off to them for making this.Poured into a standard pint glass an opaque black no light showing through at all a 1/2 finger deep mocha colored head atop.Heavily roasted aromas with some rum sweetness and bitter chocolate some leafy hop is there as well wich is nice to find in an imperial stout.Complex would be a word I would use for this beer it has a true ;eafy/herbal hop presence to go along with big roasted and vanilla tinged rum qualites the alcohol as well as the leafy hop flavors become more pronounced as the beer warms.Wow a really nice impy stout to be had a great night capper and I love the hop profile!

oberon, Nov 15, 2007
Photo of SIRIUS2
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark brown, near black, with a very sparse light brown head that faded quickly to a ring of bubbles. Light lacing.

S: Dark malts, light coffee, toffee, a little bit of the alcohol comes through, prunes, and something interesting that smells a little like black licorice.

T&M: Initial wash over the tongue is sweet, malt mixed with molasses, and then a bitter rush of coffee. Heavy in body but still delicate and even a little creamy. Carbonation is very light. Finishes a touch sweet at first and then drops off quickly, sort of passing the baton to a nice light alcohol warming.

D: Very enjoyable, easy to drink, and rather well balanced for an impy stout. For some reason, the ABV caught up with me very quickly. Very good! Recommended.

SIRIUS2, May 08, 2008
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue IV:

Coal-black, color so dark, no light can penetrate it. Massive head from a hard pour, the head retention is simply amazing as the lace covers nearly all of the glass. Big aromas of dark milk chocolate, toasted cocoa nibs and mild coffee. Dark berries, slight char, ghost-like smokiness and a sweet malt tone in the nose. Creamy, slick full body with enough carbonation to bring out the smoothness. Burnt and acrid flavors are kept to a bare minimum. Sweetness comes in with burnt raisin, toffee and dark bread flavors. Dark chocolate and coffee throw a deep mocha character at the taste buds. Hop bitterness is mild but helps to balance with a bit of flavor from the middle to end. Alcohol is warming with a mild but quick pucker of dark fruit. Toasted bread crust and lingering mocha run deep in the semi-sweet finish.

Right on target for the style. Flavors seem to be meshed together well and the balance really shines. A great example of what an Imperial Stout is.

BeerAdvocate, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of danthehopslamman
4/5  rDev +2.8%

danthehopslamman, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of generallee
4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It pours very thick and slowly into the glass. Its color is dark black with dark brown high lights near the edges of the glass. You could say that it has the appearance of used motor oil. The head is tan in color, thick and foamy. It has good retention and leaves behind light tan rings of lace.

Smell: The aroma is full of dark roasted malts with a light herbal hops note off in the distance.

Taste/Mouth feel: The flavor has a deep roasted malt character with notes of dark toast, espresso, burnt caramel and baker's chocolate. Hop flavors blend in well under the deep malty character of this stout and add a solid dose of bitterness. It is very thick, creamy and slick in texture with a full body and soft carbonation.

Notes: This is defiantly a heavy hitter with good depth from the FX Matt Breweries Saranac line. The 9% abv. is well hidden and the silky smooth texture makes it an easy sipping full bodied beer. This is a must try for stout lovers.

generallee, Jun 07, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Doomcifer, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, no freshness or vintage dating. Pours near black, very dark dark brown at least. Luxorious dark tan head, that remains as a thicker film and leaves fine slippery lacing. This has that tiny bubble look of high quality creation in brewing. Things continue on a positve note with the bold roasted malt and dark chocolaty notes of the nose. Pleasingly flavorful Impy stout with plenty of roasted dark malts, expresso, chocolate and burnty licorish notes. Bracingly bitter on the back end. Nice stuff. Fine winter sipper. Nice job Saranac,

Billolick, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of donunrue
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

donunrue, Mar 06, 2012
Photo of far333
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruddy dark brown with a bumpy and lumpy light brown head that lingers long and leaves a half-inch cap of foam.

Low aroma of cocoa and molasses, and a touch of smoke and leather.

Flavors of dark malt, espresso and tangy cherry. Rich molasses, smokey autumn leaves, some hop bitterness breaks out in the finish. Could be more roasty for the style, feels a bit more like a porter.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but smooth. Finishes a bit tannic, with some ABV numbing. Tasty beer, but perhaps a bit off style?

far333, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of Brenden
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the third and final beer I had at the 1888 Tavern after a great brewery tour on 7/3/11. This is one of two brewed so far for the High Peaks Series and thus not on tap.
This beer is pitch black and thick. The brown head that rises to about two fingers never completely fades. Sticky, clumpy lacing is left in a curtain most of the way down and barely lets up. This head has staying power and is nearly as well formed as I've ever seen. This is a beast.
Barley-like aromas from dark malts are huge, and the nose is both earthy and sweet, almost seeming to have a faint tinge of beeries and a whisper of citrus from hops. Alcohol really doesn't come through here. This is a nicely balanced malt bomb right from the get-go.
The taste, as evidenced in the aroma, is huge on malts; this one tastes on the offset like I'm eating barley bread. Chocolate malts are very well evidenced, and a light sweetness with a dark, bitter tinge complement well, and just barely noticeable citrus hops notes come through. There's a bit of coffee and, again, alcohol is well masked.
This beer is thick, rich and smooth, heavy but not filling. It even manages some crispness to it, and just little enough to keep it lively without taking away.
This is by far the best offering I've had from Saranac and proof they can make big beers with the best of them.

Brenden, Jul 07, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque, fudgy black with a toasted marshmallow head. Lace is ready to stick even though the head has hardly minimized within the first moments. Tilt leaves a thick brown trail of lace on the side. Head thins after a couple minutes, as expected of the style.

Aroma is a sweet, caramel/chocolate-dipped marshmallow, hint of graham cracker, a strong berry-like presence without seeming obvious, and traces of milk/cream in the background. One of those big stouts that smells like a s'more.

Flavor is frothed milk, deep-roast coffee, dark baking chocolate, with alcohol providing merely a base of warmth. Bigger stouts can be rich, gooey indulgences, and are usually better that way. Here the rougher elements of a stout are a bit too prominent (bitter coffee, baking chocolate), but the lactic sweetness that attempts to peek through is nice. Sourness in the finish is interesting, and at this point the alcohol comes through a bit stronger.

Like so much Saranac stuff, it's over-carbonated. There's a creamy, even light frothy body in here somewhere, but it's covered up by too much tingle.

I've learned to keep expectations on the lower side for this brewery. However, this is one of Matt Brewing's better beers, with enough good elements to recommended at least a one-time try. I like it, but my enthusiasm is muted.

Metalmonk, May 08, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Tap and Mallet. Black with good lacing. Coffee, and dark chocolate. A good blend. Buttery mouthfeel. Not too bitter, rated 50 IBU. Roasting is nicely balanced with the malt. A good one, and aroma would really give it a better than averge major league rating.

Sammy, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of alovesupreme
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark color
Smells of baking chocolate, alcohol, licorice and coffee
Dark fruit drenched in alcohol. chocolate and coffee with a definite hop presence.
Very big mouthfeel, very full with solid carbonation.
Very solid beer, I will get this again if it comes around again.

alovesupreme, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of Danflurry
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Danflurry, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The very dark tan color of the head suggests the richness of the brown-black beer below. A quick whiff reveals an assertive, dark-coffee roastiness and some vibrant hops in the background - and that's carried through in the flavor. I was pleasantly surprised to lively notes of floral, leafy, and spicy hops in the finish once the bulk of the dark roasted malt had passed. (The spiciness may actually have been from the alcohol, but it was minor, and quite pleasant). Quite enjoyable.

NeroFiddled, Apr 25, 2008
Photo of tempest
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Right after the pour the aroma starts with rich espresso followed by fruity, floral hops. The first aftertaste, however, is a bit chalky. What's up with that? The aroma is interesting to say the least, with biscuit (and almost cracker-like) malts with smooth chocolate. The flavor, however, is harsh like there's too much black grains, without much substantial flavor. The bitterness is unmatched by any tasty malts, leaving it unbalanced.

In summary, aroma=good, taste=not good.

tempest, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of AnPiobaire
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I poured the Saranac Imperial Stout into a snifter at about 53 degrees. It a rich opaque with a nice 1/4 inch caramel colored head that lingered a little while before dissipating.

The nose is malty with molasses and licorice dominating with subtle coffee and cocoa notes.

The taste is not as sweet as one would think given the very strong nose. Malt and coffee are the initial tastes on the palate which fades to a bitter hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is a little thinner then one would anticipate given the boldness first encountered when nosing it. It is a little more carbonmated then expected as well, but overall a nice flavorful imperial stout. I would reccomend this to stout fans. Enjoy!!!

AnPiobaire, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
2/5  rDev -48.6%

Gonzoillini, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of blknikon
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

blknikon, May 08, 2013
Photo of Riverwarrior
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S = A mixture of dry cocoa and roasted coffee beans with a hint of floral hops in the background.

T = Dark chocolate upfront with roasted coffee blending all through the middle and end. The finish had a hint of floral hops, but quickly disappeared leaving a great roasted mocha flavor. The alcohol was completely masked.

MF = Body was fairly thick and carbonation was low. Very creamy and silky.

Overall, I was surprised at how good this Double/Impy Stout tasted. It is solid from start to finish and is definitely my favorite offering from Saranac.

Riverwarrior, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of KOPBeerDrinker
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a jet black from the bottle. Large fluffy tan head formed, leaving nice lacing as it subsided. Smells of roasted malt, slight chocolate and fruit. Roasty, burnt malt taste ends with sweetness of fruit, maybe raisons. Mouthfeel is medium with little carbonation. 9% alcohol is not detectable and is easy to drink. One of my favorite Saranac brews.

KOPBeerDrinker, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of cbleary
4.72/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

It looks great with a thick black body and a dense, tenacious tan head. Lots of roasted malt, bitter chocolate and alcohol on the nose. It tastes very rich with a great balance between medium hop bitterness and a hint of coffee and baker's chocolate. It's very warming and comfortably filling. A joy to drink, I think I'll have another.

cbleary, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of joejost
4.83/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

With a change in the weather and summer turning to fall it is time to revisit Saranac Imperial Stout.

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle.
The color is incredible brown bordering on black with a caramel color head.

Smell of chocolate, coffee, and maybe molasses. Nice and gets better after sitting awhile.

Taste is of rich malt, coffee, burnt toast(likeable), with a hint of cream and either raisin or fig.

Rich and creamy in the mouth.

I could drink this every night in the fall but then I wouldn't get to work very often. Delicious! The best The Matt Brewery has to offer.

joejost, Sep 28, 2009
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass, the liquid is dark dark brown, with very good carbonation. The head is a full 2 fingers dark tan and leaves very nice lace.

The smell is ok a bit roasty and an alcohol presents.

The taste is ok the malt is roasty but not very descript or complex, as it warns the alcohol comes out more, but the flovor does not grow. Hops are not a strong factor.

The mouthfeel is thin for the style, the carbonation is ok.

The drinkability is ok, you could have few of this brew as is is less offending then it is outstanding. MK

MuenchenerKindl, Dec 20, 2007
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Saranac Imperial Stout from Matt Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.