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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
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Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 152 | Display Reviews Only:
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 djrn2
4/5  rDev +2.8%

djrn2, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of brentk56
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with some rusty highlights around the edges; initially, it produced a fairly decent head, but that faded quickly to a ringlet while dotting the chalice with lace

Smell: The aroma is a bit of a muddle, frankly, with a rich dark chocolate and molasses tone, on the one hand, and a phenolic, plastic, artificial scent, on the other

Taste: I'm afraid the taste profile follows the aroma, with a nice rich, roasty, dark chocolate character up front; by mid-palate, the flavor starts to taste like burnt caramel and, unfortunately, it only goes downhill after the swallow, with a slightly sour finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; still, a bit thin for the style

Drinkability: Ultimately, the off flavors in the aroma and the taste make this one tough to finish

brentk56, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Roasted coffee bean brown with no highlights on this overcast day. The caramel colored head is large and firm, with plenty of persistence and lots of lace in finely dotted sheets. The jury is still out on whether or not MBC can brew outstanding beer, but at least this double stout looks the part.

The nose comes through with flying colors as well. The usual chocolatiness is accompanied by a floral fruitiness that might be due to hops. That's hard to figure after almost one year in the bottle, but 50 IBUs (to start) is nothing to sneeze at. Asking for more power borders on nitpicking.

Not surprisingly, Imperial Stout is one of The Matt BC's best beers. It's right up there with Black Diamond Bock and Fiddler's Green IPA. Hmm... I may have spoken too soon. As the middle of the bottle approaches, I'm less impressed. The flavor profile isn't quite as clean and as classic as it could be.

The good thing is that there's a decent amount of well-roasted malt that *almost* covers up the flaws. In particular, there's more floral (almost perfumy) flavor and slightly more sourness than there should be. Bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, tangy molasses and coffee with cream all share the spotlight and come close to earning this double stout two thumbs up.

The body/mouthfeel, while not bad, is too light to run with the big dogs. It's acceptable for a 6.0% American stout, but nothing bigger. I'm still enjoying its lightly creamy smoothness and its finely tuned carbonation.

My hope was that Saranac Imperial Stout would be as well-crafted as Leinenkugel Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, another ambitious undertaking for a brewery not exactly known for producing outstanding beer. Alas, it isn't that good, but it's still a worthwhile purchase if expectations remain reasonable.

*originally reviewed on 10-13-2008

BuckeyeNation, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tastings 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! Big thanks to Alex for pulling through on the bulk of these

Really quite nicely colored, I could not even pick out the slightest bit of light peaking through on this one at all. Ni head at all, well maybe a slight rise of tan for a few moments, but this quickly faded and left the top bare. Some nice notes of dark molasses type aromas, with hints of licorice and other slightly dark fruits as well. A nice subtle hint of vanilla and chocolate as well. First wave to hit the tongue was that of chocolate and burnt, and toasted malts. Blending in seamlessly was a nice bit of vanilla and burnt coffee. Very sweet in the middle, with some dark raisin and licorice like notes, and a slightly hopped finish that really helped to being it all together and dry out the palate enough to let the soothing and sweet malt profile settle in.

A touch thin here, as this was definitely not one of the big boys. Not a real lack of carbonation, which I was afraid of, but it just needed a little bit more of a pop, and a little fuller body to really push it on through. I really could not pick up much of the alcohol and the body was not full enough to really be super filling. I was monumentally impressed by how smooth and quickly this one went down.

Though admittedly not my favorite of the big stouts, I have had far worse and this one does a fairly good job at holding its own.

mikesgroove, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a smallish, tan head.

Smell: Somewhat restrained aroma smelling of caramel, bittersweet chocolate, roasted barley, and a hint of smoke.

Taste: Smoked barley, a bit chocolately, and with a slight caramel sweetness. Earthy bitterness. Hint of boiled bitter herbs. Touch of alcohol. Slight bitterness to the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Fantastic stout? Heck, no. Decent stout? Yeah, sure. Best thing oughta Matt Brewing? Definitely.

ChainGangGuy, Jun 15, 2008
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 TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I know I owe someone a thanks for this bottle, and I think I know, but I'm not entirely sure. (Whoever you are, let me know...the thanks must be given!)

Finally unpacked my snifter, just in time to enjoy this tasty-looking brew. It pours a dense Charlie Murphy-style darkness (well, before Wesley Snipes hit the scene, anyway (thanks for that one, VDubb!)) topped by nearly a finger of light tan foam. The nose is the epitome of roast, with some chocolate, molasses, coffee, and a strip of leather racing among the roasted ruins. A touch of booze singes the hairs in my 'strils, but not so much as to cause a recoil. The roast seems to take a back seat to some chocolate-laden coffee when things move toward the 'buds, but make no mistake, the roast remains strong and in control of the situation. Leather, light maple syrup, brown sugar, and a hint of vanilla bean round out the flavor profile. The body is pretty hefty, with a light moderate carbonation and a somewhat lightly watery feel. Overall, a very solid stout, a bit high in roast, but not lacking in complexity or enjoyment.

TMoney2591, Sep 09, 2010
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 TheManiacalOne
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap 5/9/08, at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short dense light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is very malty as you would expect from this type of beer, with flavors of chocolate and dark fruit. There's a very mild hops presence, which is normal as well, but it keeps a decent balance. The after-taste is bitter sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, heavy body, light carbonation, finish is sticky and dry.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, kind of filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it's decent beer but it's definitely not the first big stout that I would pick.

TheManiacalOne, May 11, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +2.8%

RblWthACoz, Jan 17, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from the High Peaks series I poured this 12oz slightly below cellar temp into my La fin du Monde tulip.
A - A deep mahogany w/ garnet shade at the base of the glass w/ 3 fingers of rocky brown sugar colored head. The beading is pin sized and as the head settles to 1/2 inch leaving a webbing of lace

S - Raisiny toffee scents w/ caramelized sugar and hints of cinnamon in the aroma. The nose has herbal notes of hops like basil and a mild vanilla bean scent. The light essence of cocoa and toasted nuts is very pleasing to smell.

M - A rich chewy malt feel w/ a full body and moderate carbonation. The sweetness gives a creamy sweet texture w/ spiced edges and a roast + smooth finish

T - A woody mildly alcoholic taste w/ bittersweet cocoa and toffee flavors. The dried fruit taste of raisins w/ a bitter warming taste w/ subtle dark toast and espresso notes. There is an earthy nutty vanilla bean and pine hop blend w/ hints of bark which is surprisingly tasty as the beer nears cellar temp, but the alcohol comes out more and slight vegetal notes w/ touches of black pepper develop. Hints of floral vanilla and mild citrus peel are noted in the last sips -nice flavor complexity

D - This was a surprise from Saranac for me, but a very solid brew -I admint I haven't sampled from this brewery in about a year, but I enjoyed this and will try more of Saranac in the future based on this beer. I found this to be a very drinkable Imperial stout

Slatetank, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of WesWes
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and warm malt scent that boasts of chocolate, patent, and roasted malts. It dry and roasted smelling with a decent hop presence and a bit of chocolate malt sweetness. The taste is good. It has a really smooth, malty flavor that's rich in pale and black malts. It goes down sweet and finishes dry and warm with loads of coffee like patent malt flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is probably the best beer Saranac has ever made. It's not a cheap effort to capture the style. It's bold and flavorful; a damn fine imperial stout. Nice work guys!

WesWes, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4/5  rDev +2.8%

DrunkinYogi, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of smcolw
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Impressive, lasting beige head that leaves a generous amount of lace. Too dark to allow light to penetrate--near black.

Surprising hop aromas--more bitterness than chocolatey smell.

Potent flavors of dark chocolate and strong hoppiness. Powerful mocha tastes. Near perfect body.

This is a very special beer. Delicious in every way.

smcolw, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Saranac High Peaks Series, 6 pack was $8.99.

Hands down the best beer Saranac has to offer. The DIPA was retired but luckily this one was kept around. Rivals some of the best RIS's out there for about half the price. Is extremely tasty with tons of chocolate and coffee flavors and the aroma is sweet from the hops. At 9 % ABV, the alcohol is not noticable at all, making this way too easy to put down a couple!

oriolesfan4, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of Gavage
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1" tan colored head.

Smell: roasted malts, prunes, alcohol, and a hint of chocolate.

Taste: roasted malts, bitter chocolate, prunes, moderate alcohol tones, and a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth at the finish. Long lived aftertaste.

Drinkability: slow sipping beer. The alcohol is a bit overwhelming here. This is an imperial stout that is cheaper than most others, but doesn't really live up flavor wise either.

Gavage, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of weeare138
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears an opaque black with a thick head of dark tan foam that slowly fades away. Plenty of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of roasty malts, bitter cocoa, doughy fudge, along with a heavy amount of hopping consisting of citrus, and herbs.
Taste is of the aromas and I'm very surprised at how much this one teeters along the lines of being like Storm King.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, warming, and decently balanced between the heavy bitters and sweetness. Well done beer!

weeare138, Aug 27, 2008
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 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 akorsak
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from a recent trade with ralflord.

A: The stout pours with a midnight black darkness. No light gets in and none gets out. A 2 finger mahogany head sat atop the glass, almost overflowing. Lacing is evident around the mouth of the glass.

S: The nose is deliciously dark, full of graham and chocolate. The burnt bread aromas almost scorch the nostrils.

T: The great nose falls a little short in the taste department. Burnt flavors are evident from the get go but they are not as focused as the nose would suggest. Some breadiness and darker malts manage to add more depth but ultimately the taste is a tad too thin.

M: The darker malts do create a good taste, quite possibly the best that Saranac has put out to date. This is nothing extraordinary but a nice step in the right direction.

D: The abv is hidden in the deep malt flavors. I don't think that I'd have more than one at a sitting.

akorsak, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like motor oil with a brown, five+ finger head that goes slowly to a thin layer and leaving a good lace. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Black as coal. Nose is roasted chocolate/coffee. Flavor is almost sweet roasted coffee with a bakers chocolate finish and aftertaste. High ABV is hidden. Nice beefy stout. $1.35 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.

jdhilt, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of Gonzoillini
2/5  rDev -48.6%

Gonzoillini, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +28.5%

rab53, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of plaid75
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a burnt grain with a touch of sweetness.

The taste featured a robust burnt grain with undertones of coffee and dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style.

Overall a very approachable and tasty RIS. Kudos to Saranac.

plaid75, Mar 29, 2008
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Saranac Imperial Stout from Matt Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.