Saranac Vanilla Stout - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Vanilla StoutSaranac Vanilla Stout

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274 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 274
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.39
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 7
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Brad007 on 10-18-2008)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 274 | Reviews: 170 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rawhydes1
1.15/5  rDev -66.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This is the second time I have tried this beer. Both times, I made an attempt to drink this, to be polite to the host(s).

Last night, the host says "Is that beer OK? It doesn't look like you are enjoying it."

I couldn't control myself, and said "This is the worst beer I have ever had!" He then laughs, and says, "I hated it too, but I know you like stouts, so I thought maybe I was missing something."

This acrid, cloying, vanilla extract-tasting drool is HORRIBLE. It smells medicinal and fake, and tastes like a rancid Dr. Pepper.

I hate this beer.

Sorry Saranac, you make some decent beers, but I don't know how you let this one make it out of the brewery. You can do way better.

Photo of random846
1.5/5  rDev -55.8%

Photo of DSmith24
1.73/5  rDev -49%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

"...tastes like burning."

~Ralph Wiggum

It tastes to me like what burnt tires and a dash of vanilla extract would taste like. I'm dissapointed because it looked really nice when pouring. Mouthfeel is very, very thin and just doesnt seem right for the style This one is destined to be pored down the drain unfortunately.

Photo of avisong
1.75/5  rDev -48.4%

Photo of beerhast
1.75/5  rDev -48.4%

Photo of righthereisay
1.93/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Was very dissastisfied with this beer. Very bitter. Not full flavored at all. No different than cheap imitations. Horrible purchase.

I purchased this because it was in a variety pack, and wanted to have some variety Christmas beers. I was going between some variety and Penn Dark. This was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

Will never buy Saranac again.

Photo of leinie13
2/5  rDev -41%

Photo of ZeroSignal
2.2/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle

A - Pours a heavy dark brown with ruby hues. Good sized light tan head with decent retention and sticky lacing

S - This smells like pure vanilla extract. I can barely pick up scents of chocolate malt through it.

T&M - Medium to fuller bodied. Artificial, sickly sweet, artificial vanilla extract flavor. Combining the vanilla with the alcohol characters further takes me down the extract road. I took a sip of vanilla extract on a dare was an awful experience. This is giving me flashbacks. Background flavors of chocolate malt, a little caramel, and maybe some coffee.

D - Not a big's a sipper due to the heavier vanilla flavors, but the artificial nature really got to me. It's not horrible, just not terribly enjoyable. I'm not likely to revisit this one.

Photo of RonfromJersey
2.23/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown body with ruby highlights, topped by a medium beige three finger dentable head. Ok lace.

Very tepid woody aroma. Sniff hard to get anything.

Burnt coffee hits the tongue first. Earthy hops slide in from the sides, and finally the vanilla emerges post-swallow in the aftertaste. Three flavors, but not well integrated.

Mouthfeel too thin for a stout or porter, flows like a brown ale.

Not really offensive, but not an interesting or deeply desirable brew.

A disappointment, with or without the vanilla portion.

Photo of dtx00
2.25/5  rDev -33.6%

Photo of KevMo84
2.25/5  rDev -33.6%

Photo of BryanK
2.25/5  rDev -33.6%

Photo of ppoitras
2.4/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Saranac winter mixed 12-pack at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a nonic, formed a 1" light brown head over the clear chestnut brew. Pillowy head dwindles gradually, with sticky lasting lace. Aroma is sickly sweet vanilla.

Taste starts with dark maltiness, cold stale coffee and tart artificiality in the middle, and an acrid bitter close, with wisps of vanilla. Mouthfeel is alright, and drinkability is average at best. The clunker in the mix pack for me.

Photo of wrycon
2.42/5  rDev -28.6%
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 TWStandley
2.5/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of chrispoint
2.5/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of Thickfreakness
2.5/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of TomG2751
2.5/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of Newenglandcraftbrew
2.5/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of HappyHophead420
2.55/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is the second beer I've reviewed from this Saranac 12 Beers of Winter variety pack. I found this one far less impressive. Granted, this may be the first beer of this style that I can remember having, but I kind of expected more based on the quality of the rest of the offerings in the pack. This was actually my least favorite.

appearance: Probably Vanilla Stout's best feature, and that's not really a good thing. It looks like an attractive stout. A nice fluffy amber head gives way to a chocolate-y amber hue that just screams, "drink me!" Good lacing retention throughout.

smell: Overdose of vanilla and chocolate. Pretty intriguing at first, but it gets very old.

Taste: Much like the smell. I was ready to LOVE this beer after the first sip. Unfortunately, a cloying sweetness develops over time. It messes up the malty/hoppy balance I was craving and expecting after trying the other beers in this 12-pack.

Mouthfeel: Once again, this was pretty good at first. It kind of reminded me of Brooklyn Brewery's Chocolate Stout. It just felt like the more complex flavors became washed out after a while. Better than average but not great.

Drinkability: My least favorite feature of this beer is the incredible amount of stuff it feels like you're drinking for not that much flavor or alcohol content. I could handle maybe two of these, tops... and you're buying.

Overall, not a terrible beer but not one I'd buy a sixer of. Maybe I'm just not into vanilla stouts, or maybe this beer's just not that great, but it's definitely not one of my favorites. Still, worth a try, especially as part of the variety pack.

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.6/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip (at home so my glassware is very limited).

4.0 A: Used motor oil color. Tan head with really wonderful lacing.

4.0 S: Dark chocolate foremost, surprisingly. Roasted malts, some coffee, and a hint of vanilla.

2.0 T: It sure is a weird brew. The vanilla doesn't work well, especially with the burnt taste that is so prevalent. A bit astringent to boot. Nice and bitter, but doesn't work well with the rest of the brew.

4.0 M: Really smooth, ultra creamy, very nice overall.

1.5 D: Since the taste is weird/sucks, this beer is not very drinkable even though the rest of it's attributes are pretty damn good.

Photo of sleazo
2.6/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A_Pours a very very dark brown bordering on black with a nice big foamy tan head. Decent retention with lots of bubbles throughout and nice lacing. Looking good.

S_Mild aroma, hints of chocolate malt and not much else.

T_Kind of like drinking a cola with some coffee flavour. Then at the end you get a blast of artificial vanilla. Not much more than that. Not awful but not good.

M_Fairly thin with an aggressive tight bubbled carbonation.

D_The artificial vanilla taste really screws things up. This is not a good beer.

Photo of bsend
2.7/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pouring this beer into the glass, you immediately notice this beer is dark. Pitch black stout. Definitely not a bad look at all. Bubble cling to the glass providing a break from the darkness. The head pours out a moderate consistency.

The beer smells of roasted malt and vanilla. The vanilla reminds me more of Vanillin (a pharmaceutical compunding product) rather than extract. A little too strong on vanilla smell.

The taste was less than adequate. We get roasted malt with a faint taste of vanilla that works against the beer rather than with it. Bitter, and unappealing at times, Saranac let me down here.

The mouthfeel was average for this style of beer. Slightly creamy, slightly watery, it provides adequate consistency.

Due to the overall average flavor, this beer does not have a strong drinkability. Though you could put multiples of these down, I am not sure why you would want to.

Final Thoughts - I got this beer in the winter mix pack. Definitely fine when there are only two of them in there. Other than the ability to try it, I would generally find better alternatives.

Photo of BigMike
2.7/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an almost black color with a thin tan head. Not quite a finger.

S: Smells a lot like Guinness. It's light and toasty. The vanilla is way in the back. More chocolate then vanilla.

T: Very Guinness like. A very light stout with chocolate notes and an artificial vanilla flavor.

M: Watery. I guess at a light 4.8% it's to be expected. Carbonation is good. No creaminess and just below medium bodied.


Photo of Arithmeticus
2.7/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured chilled in flared glass

A: purplish black; thin head; good carb action; good lacing
S: sweet vanilla, inviting
T: relatively plane, nondescript vanilla stout; not complex; light on the booze

Overall, not that great a version of the genre, but it's not offensive, either. (I consider this better than Breckenridge, because the flavor profile is more subtle.)

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Saranac Vanilla Stout from Matt Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.