Saranac Vanilla Stout - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Vanilla StoutSaranac Vanilla Stout

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275 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 275
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.39
pDev: 15.04%
Wants: 9
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 10-18-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 275 | Reviews: 170
Reviews by puboflyons:
Photo of puboflyons
3.41/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was new to me. I have never had a vanilla stout before. This was sampled on Super Bowl Sunday 2009 from bottle no. 2698-1040.

Appearance - Very handsome. Dark brown, almost black, with about two inches of puffy beige head in the rounded pint glass. It settles after about 2 minutes.

Smell - Yup, there's vanilla in the scent along with chocolate and a note of hops.

Mouthfeel - Pretty average. Medium body. I was hoping for something creamier.

Taste - The flavor is overwhelmed by the vanilla bean but it's quickly followed by chocolate or cocoa and a hoppy finish. It is actually a rather interesting experience but nothing extraordinary.

More User Reviews:
Photo of wrycon
2.48/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pretty dark, but light on the edges. Looks like a super dark brown ale. Nose is, well, vanilla, but with some coffee and chocolate mixed in. Smells sufficiently malty. Thicker than I thought it would be from the start. Starts malty but then shifts in an odd sour/sweet direction. Carbonation increases on the back end, as do the vanilla notes. The vanilla seems like an afterthought, more than the defining character.

Like it? Not So Much

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.18/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In a pint glass the beer was a very dark brown color. It had a thick cocoa-colored head that was quite sticky.
Mostly a chocolate aroma. Vanilla also quite noticeable. A little bit of roasted malt.
Chocolate taste. A little coffee. Whiff of vanilla. The flavors don't quite work together.
Full-bodied, a little bitter.
Would drink it again if offered to me.

Photo of generallee
3.15/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The body is dark brown, almost black in color, with a thin creamy tan head. Its head slowly fades to a wispy thin covering that makes nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Its aroma has hints of dark roasted malts with notes of chocolate, caramel and vanilla.

Taste/Mouth feel: It starts off very sweet with deep roasted malt flavor that has hints of chocolate and caramel. A mild touch of vanilla mingles with sweet malty flavors up front but seem to clash a little bit with the hops presence that comes out towards the finish. The finish has a solid hop bitterness with hint of the vanilla still lingering. (Also this vanilla flavor kind of reminds me of the vanilla flavoring in Vanilla Coke.) The texture is wet, slick and a bit thin with a medium body and fizzy soda-like carbonation.

Notes: I would say that this is an interesting beer but I an not really sure that I like the vanilla flavoring and so for me drinkability suffers. For me it seems to close to bitter vanilla cola.

Photo of Jason
3.31/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle no freshness date though it was part of their winter 12-pack 10'-11'.

Big sudsy topping, the head is a little lighter than anticipated. Dark brown color ... this beer is not black. Light aroma of vanilla beans, not much is the roasted or even malt department other than faint cocoa powder. Well rounded smoothness off of a dry-ish faintly roasted malt backbone. Very modest hopping here, vanilla flavor is not overwhelming and seems to compliment everywhere. Dry baker's chocolate finish.

A pretty good stout, I was hoping for a bit more body, roasted sweetness and perhaps even an elevated vanilla character though this beer stays a safer level which is fine.

Photo of tigg924
3.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown, no head, no carbonation

Smell: sweet dark chocolate, wood, small vanilla, coffee

Taste: mostly dark chocolate and coffee with a vanilla aftertaste

Mouthfeel: this is a heavy beer...The vanilla surfaces in the aftertaste which is sweet

Drinkability: I could have about three. One of Saranac's better offerings...I like Breckinridge's vanilla stout better for the style, but it is a very drinkable beer

Photo of dogfishandi
2.98/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

drank this after bottling my homebrew IPA, and drinking a lot of IPA, so my palate was definately not in the right place, but i was pretty sure this wasnt going to be the best beer in the world, so i didnt really care. appearence is nice, completely opaque black with an abundant creamy tan head that stuck around for awhile. some nice lacing. the aroma was mostly of coffee and roasted malts, with some chocolate and not as much vanilla as expected, but i considered this a good thing because all the flavored saranac beers ive had were very artificial tasting. very light mouthfeel for a stout. too much carbonation. the taste was coffee, some raosted malts and hints of vanilla and chocolate in the finish. as this one warmed up, the vanilla was definately way more present both in the taste and aroma. it was a rather fake artificial tasting vanilla. i couldnt see myself drinking this again unless given too me, just lacks real flavor for a stout. i wouldnt reccomend this one, the light body and high carbonation really ruined it for me, also pretty watery.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears an opaque black with ruby highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Head forms thick with a rising biscuit appearance, lacing is fine but even all around my imperial pint. Aroma has some pleasant vanilla extract it's not overpowering or alcholic in nature with coffee and dark chocolate tones as well. A dry powdered doughnut sweetness is there with a touch of herbal hop tones. Flavor is okay too much dry dark chocolate bitterness flowing around with watery coffee mix and semi burnt sugar glazed with vanilla extract, light on alcohol and herbal hops. Fuller bodied for a Saranac offering but for a stout it's a bit thin, carbonation is on and drinkability due to the nice abv brings on a level of sessionability. A solid offering that will keep stout fans excited it's still nice to see these big breweries pulling of craft styles especially beloved regionals like FX Matt and High Falls.

Photo of chinchill
3.4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Unibroue snifter

A: pours clear, dark red-brown in color but ends up opaque and nearly black in the glass. The short off-white head had moderate retention and leaves little lacing on the glass.

S: The sweet aroma is of roasted malts, natural vanilla, toffee, and caramel. Some alcohol appears after warming.

T: The taste is malty with a pronounced vanilla flavor: A bit overdone IMO, but certainly not unpleasant. The result is a vanilla flavored milk stout. Hops are detectable, but too low to make this seem like a typical American stout. A bit too sweet and syrupy.

M: Smooth and creamy, with a near-medium body that is not as full as it ought to be. Low-medium carbonation. Finish is slightly dry and sticky.

O: If you like dark beers with a good bit of vanilla, this one's for you.

Photo of Brenden
3.65/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a dark brown beer that's heavy in the body but lets some light in at the edges. A sizeable tan head keeps itself together and leaves thick rings of lacing before turning thickly spotty and patchy.
The nose is a straightforward but strong blend of coffee, cocoa nib, vanilla and roast in a malts backbone.
The taste follows but adds a bit of charred wood. Overall I'm impresses, ae Saranac can be a bit light depending (though not as much as some like to claim), but this beer has a presence in a big malt backbone. One thing that would improve this beer is a little sweetness to round and balance it out, and the char does go the way of a smoky tanginess.
The body is pretty heavy and even rtich, allowing a creamy smoothness to flow, but it's a bit too heavily carbonated.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into glass. Very dark black color with foamy brownish head. Only a slight amount of light gets through the beer. Head turns rockier as it slowly dissipates. Cannot pick up much aroma besides the hints of vanilla. Also hints of malts. Good taste, strong chocolate malts present, caramel tastes also. Of course vanilla. Not much carbonation, full body. Overall a great new beer from Saranac, has some room to improve but still something to sit back in the winter and enjoy.

Photo of gregb13
3.82/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the second Saranac beer I've tried from their winter pack. It's got a really nice vanilla nose and taste. Very strong vanilla, almost like straight extract. It is quite a bit better as it warms, though there is a little too much bitterness in the aftertaste which kind of mutes the vanilla a little bit. Overall it's a pretty good beer.

Photo of asabreed
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a 12 oz. Samuel Smith nonic.

Appearance: Not opaque, as there's some light shining through. Nice frothy off-white, mocha-colored head, and good lacing.

Smell: Light vanilla and dark roasted malts. Not a lot of nuance, but it's not bad either.

Taste: A good roasted malt character, complimented by some vanilla flavor, which is nice; this is not sugary at all, and even if it's extract, it works well.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with nice crisp, somehow, carbonation at the end.

Drinkability: For a more medium-bodied stout, this isn't too bad, and it's a good one for the 12 mix from Saranac this winter.

Photo of tdm168
3.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep black with a half inch of dense, brownish, foamy head that has great retention. The nose has notes of faint vanilla extract and mild roasted malts. Heavy vanilla dominates the flavor. It's creamy and has faint diacetylic notes. There are some roasted malts and coffee flavors as well that can be picked up in the finish. Overall, the flavor is very sweet and one dimensional. This is medium bodied, smooth beer.

This is an alright beer, but needs a little more balance. The vanilla is too intense and the roasted malts offer little balance. The sweetness takes away from the overall drinkability.

Photo of menieder
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This stout pours well and has a dark brown attractive appearance.

The aroma has hints of malt and chocolate. The vanilla doesn't show itself as much as expected.

The taste begins with midly intense carbonation and transitions to mild vanilla and smoky undertones. Only the undertones linger. The transition to and statement from the vanilla could be more prominent.

The mouthfeel starts vividly due to the carbonation and finishes smoothly albeit a little thinly.

Overall this is a drinkable stout with an interesting transition and character to explore. Subsequently tried it with some jalapeno smokehouse almonds and it stood up well to the task.

Photo of Gmann
3.43/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola like brown color with a fairly dense head that left a wall of lacing on the side of the glass as it disipated.

The aroma is mainly of vanilla with some caramel, butterscotch and brown sugar notes.

The taste is of a slightly bitter roasted barley and caramel malt. There is a bit of a grain and rust flavor as well. Then there is the vanilla flavor which also brings a butterscotch note when mixed with the caramel malt. The vanilla is noticable but not overwhelming and its doesn't taste artifical, which is always a worry when I drink vanilla infused beers.

The feel is light and watery with fizzy carbonation, not what I am expecting from a stout. It is bitter on the palate and it is an odd bitterness, like sucking on a penny.

Overall an decent stout and one of the better Saranac brews. Definitely needs to be thicker but I appreciate the lower ABV.

Photo of tone77
3.31/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some vanilla. Taste is of roasted malts, some vanilla, finishing with bitterness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a pretty good beer.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.36/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, part of Saranac's "12 Beers of Winter" sample pack. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours very dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Lacing and head retention are both good. The aroma is roasted malt and chocolate with a little bit of vanilla. Aroma is on the weak side, but not bad. The taste is similar to the aroma, although there is some coffee I can taste and also a bit of a hoppy bitter finish. However, for a beer called a vanilla stout I expected more vanilla in both the aroma and taste. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, seems a bit thin for a stout. Drinkability is OK, it's smooth and not hard to drink at all. Overall I think it's a decent enough beer, but as far as stouts go there are plenty I would choose before this one. However, it is worth a try as it's not bad.

Photo of philbe311
3.31/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Huge three finger chunky uneven cratered tan head... Dark dark brown color that allows only the slightest amount of light to sneak through at the bottom of the pint glass... Lots of foam sticks to the glass. Very good head retention...

S - Chocolate... Roasted Malt... Vanilla... Coffee... Artificial sweetener... Caramel... Warm milk...

T - For a beer that looked and smelled appealing, this really was a let down in the taste department... Very very mild... Roasted malt / grain dominate... Perhaps a faint hint of hops and chocolate... No vanilla to speak of...

M - Medium bodied... Thin... Burnt and slightly smokey... A little bit of creaminess...

D - The low ABV is appreciated, but this American Stout falls when compared to its competition, except perhaps in terms of appearance. There are too many excellent American Stouts to consider this brew in the future... A nice addition to the winter variety pack, but not overly impressive...

Photo of bourbonbock
3.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a clean mug.

A. Dark body with cream colored head approximately 1/8" deep and very foamy.

S. Light aroma of chocolate and toasted malts.

T. Wow, this tastes like a vanilla shake mixed with chocolate syrup. I give them a lot of credit on the up front vanilla flavor. It is very bold but not overpowering.

M. Light and creamy but not much lingering flavor.

D. I probably won't ever buy this beer again but may attempt to brew something of my own with some (slightly less) vanilla.

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.15/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #125
Served On: 02/10/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: March 31, 2012

This was in the 2011 '12 Beers of Winter' mixed 12 pack.

Look: Poured a clear dark ruby red color with some light passing through. Head was a thin layer of tan film.

Smell: Notes of semi-sweet vanilla and coffee bean. A lactose quality was present. Deep roasted malts also.

Taste: First was a bland dark fruit note that quickly turned into roasted coffee with faint vanilla. The finish was a bitterness that had some residual vanilla and dark fruit mixed in. Aftertaste was roasty with more bitterness lingering.

This is a nice Vanilla Stout. I’ve had others that seemed artificially flavored, but this one seemed to offer up a very genuine palate.

Photo of wingman14
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head that sticks around for a long time. The smell is sweet with heavy vanilla notes. Also has a nice malt aroma and some alcohol notes. The taste isn't as sweet as expected, but still there. A nice malty vanilla flavor with some odd notes in the aftertaste. A decent mouthfeel, nice carbonation, not as heavy as expected, but still somewhat full bodied. This one is an ok drinker, the flavor could get to you but is a nice stout worth checking out.

Photo of jonB
2.83/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This one pours with a huge foam head and smells good and toasty with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla is more noticable in the taste, however it is an unwelcome addition to a stout. The body is surprisingly lacks density, but does have a good dry finish.

Photo of captaj
3.79/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had in a 12oz bottle had a very good head but struggled to find that hint of vanilla. had a real nice floral smell. very fine cocoa taste with espresso still no vanilla. the fell was a lot lighter than a thought but very refreshing and yet warming. even though i was looking for that sweetness of vanilla that was hardly noticed this stout was very good and i would have another

Photo of musicforairports
3.65/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very, very dark brown or black. some head that leaves nice lacing at first, but it doesn't last too long.

Smells like dark roasted malt, bit of nuttiness, some vanilla--but more bittersweet than sweet. The vanilla component is noticeable and a bit like white chocolate.

Tastes like burnt, somewhat acrid roasted barley, but it's not too excessive. No chocolate flavors here, and the vanilla is as it was in the nose--not very sweet and not too prominent. I was worried this would be like their Caramel Porter--sweet and syrupy--but that's not the case. A bit heavy on the burnt flavors, though; not sure if it's black malt or roasted barley, but it dominates the malt bill.

Mouthfeel is lighter than expected, not very creamy.

Pretty drinkable beer, like a lot of Saranac offerings.

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Saranac Vanilla Stout from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 275 ratings.