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Saranac Vanilla Stout - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Vanilla StoutSaranac Vanilla Stout

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274 Ratings

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Ratings: 274
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.39
pDev: 15.04%
Wants: 9
Gots: 8 | 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:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 10-18-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 274 | Reviews: 170 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DavoleBomb
2.7/5  rDev -20.4%
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 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 righthereisay
2.01/5  rDev -40.7%
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 smedley
3.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured black with a mocha colored head, larger-sized bubbles. Nice lacing.

S - Coffee, chocolate, malts, a touch of vanilla

T - Roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee. Was really hoping to taste that vanilla, but I'm not sure that I do.

M - I prefer my stouts to be a bit thicker. This is a little thin for my taste, given the style. Medium carbonation.

D - Not bad. The thinness probably makes this a little easier to drink. Not a bad brew.

Photo of scoobybrew
3.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - dark, nearly opaque with amber highlights and a thick tan head that is well retained

S - vanilla-like scent noticed with a touch of dark roasted grain

T - dark roasted grains with a slightly burnt character usually found in porters, some vanilla comes through, but very strong; some hops are noticed but very faint in comparison to the roasted malt

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is a decent vanilla porter. I don't think I'd want another one though. Some of the burnt malt character makes it a bit astringent. FX Matt makes so many other beers that are superior. I must say though, the appearance on this one was quite good.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.62/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into an Otter Creek pint glass.

A: Pours nearly opaque black with slight ruby highlights when light is shone through it. A slightly sticky yet disappointing head of foam leaves a little lacing.

S: Smells sweet and malty, but the aromas are faint. Some artifical cocoa and vanilla extract can be detected.

T: Taste is smooth and a little bittersweet with a sturdy roasted malt backbone, but the rest leaves a bit to be desired. There's a little flash of hop spiciness among the roasted cocoa and charred flavor of the stout, but the finish reflects the only remote flavor of vanilla, and it's fairly weak at that.

M: A medium bodied brew with bold flavors and a decent roasted bitter finish. Fake vanilla adds a little funky aftertaste.

D: A pretty average stout which was attempting to be more interesting with the promise of vanilla than it actually was. Sessionable ABV, decent flavors, but a bit of a letdown overall.

I don't know why I was expecting more from this Saranac stout; maybe it was the Christmas cheer in the air. Oh well, not a bad stout, but there are far better out there year round, let alone among winter varietals.

Photo of animal69
3.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark reddish brown w/ a thin tan head which dissipates quickly leaving little lacing in my nonic ; a smoky, slightly vinous aroma laden w/ vanilla, not quite as strong as i had anticipated ; flavor is a dark toasted grain and more vanilla, a slightly bitter finish prob. attributed to the roasted barley, nice blend of flavors in this one ; a slightly dry, light bodied brew w/ average carbonation ; a very drinkable brew, i wish they had this in sixers...

Photo of Hibernator
3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Vanilla Stout
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

* Christmas Day 2008 *

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black in appearance. A frothy and foamy head forms. The head leaves great trails of sticky lacings on the side of glassware. A good looking beer.

Pleasant aroma of milk chocolate, dairy and malts.

A nice roasted malt flavor provides the backbone with hints of caramel & chocolate malts. The mouthfeel somewhat thin for this style of beer. I like my stouts a little bit more chewy. A touch of dark chocolate with hints of vanilla round this beer out. There is also a nice hop snap on the finish. A tad sugary too, perhaps a sugar cookie dipped in espresso flavors.

Overall, a pretty solid stout offering from Saranac.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reddish umber that appears opaque until bright sunlight is allowed entry. After a spirited pour, the upper half of the glass is filled with an attractive crown of pale caramel colored foam. Fine lace sticks to all available surfaces. A solid start.

As far as the aroma is concerned, the added vanilla strikes just the right chord. It doesn't smell artificial and it accents rather than dominates. A better smelling base stout would've helped.

Vanilla Stout is one of the better The Matt Brewing Company beers (why don't they change their name to Saranac Brewing Company and be done with it?). This limited release tastes like what it is: a low ABV dry stout with a shot of vanilla extract. Simple, but effective.

On second sip, it's roughly midway between a sweet stout and a dry one. The Willamette hops provide a surprising amount of flavor and a nice bitter nip on the finish. The contrast between malt sweetness and hop bitterness is the beer's best feature. Again, the vanilla is juuust right. At the risk of being overly generous, I've just given the drinkability score an upward nudge.

In spite of the brewery's claim of a 'full body', it isn't. It's no more than light-medium and has a flash of noticeable carbonation that could stand to be more completely buried. In the end, the mouthfeel is neither a positive nor a negative. It's merely average.

I've given up hope of ever being impressed when I crack open a TMBC brew. That said, this isn't a bad little vanilla stout. In fact, it's much more deserving of year-round status than most of Matt's year-round releases.

Photo of dananabanana
3.47/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours dark brown, nearly black. Medium brown visible in the bottom, when held up to the light. Slight head, whitish tan. Strong, speckled lacing.

S: Very sweet, vanilla, cream, bready. Overall, a very pleasant smell.

T: First sip has a slight tang. Aftertaste is surprisingly burnt and bitter. Sort of a caramel chocolate flavor, but nothing spectacular. About halfway through, a very nice creaminess develops. The taste really improves the more you drink, although that burnt aftertaste never goes away.

M: Maybe over-carbonated? Nice and crisp.

D: A very solid beer. Definitely good for desserts. I wouldn't have more than one, though, due to the bitterness.

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 Vendetta
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice pour of thick black with a foamy head that accumulates quickly, a bit doughy. Strong malt lacing down the glass as the beer disappears into my gut.

Some roasted malt aroma emanating off of the beer.

Strong presence of vanilla bean in the beer. Not as much roasted character as the scent would indicate. Lots of vanilla punch in here. This is some quality stuff.

Mouth feel is superbly creamy vanilla, very thick, very full-bodied.

Despite being a stout, this is very drinkable without being watery. The lack of an astringent alcohol note is very nice as well. This is a must-try.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.51/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours black with a thick, foamy tan head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of sweet roasted malt. Flavor of roasted malt, slight coffee rinds, some sweet vanilla notes, wood, and bitterness in the finish. Not too bad actually.
Aroma: 6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 14/20

Photo of yesyouam
4.16/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac Vanilla Stout is a dark, reddish brown ale with a pink-beige head that's thick, lumpy, fluffy and rainbow bubbly. It has excellent retention and lacing. There is dark roast in the aroma and it's slightly sweet, like caramel. It's a little muted, but it smells like a candy bar. It has a medium body that's reasonably smooth with a clean finish. There is nice balance of flavor. It's milky, with a nice bitterness. It is slightly sweet with notes of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and toffee. Great joerb!
(rated Nov 28, 2008)

Photo of kkosmoski
4.03/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Longneck poured into a Harpoon Munich Dark glass. Big, tightly-packed light tan head atop a ruby-tinged black liquid. Large dimples form as the head settles down with excellent stick and retention. Roasty aroma with a touch of vanilla. Clean malt profile to start with a bit of vanilla sweetness. Hops join in just to balance, and the beer ends with a dry, almost acrid roasty malt character. Feel is medium-light and dry with lively carbonation. Coffee drinkers will find this beer pleasing and easy to drink. This beer came off as very Dry Irish in character to me with a hint of vanilla to it. I was expecting a much heavier feel and more pronounced vanilla flavor. Overall, a nice stout and welcome addition to the winter 12-pack.

Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The last from the 12 Beers of Winter mixed pack, which this year includes 6 new styles, 2 bottles of each as opposed to the 12 established styles it has featured in the past. This vanilla stout pours almost completely black with a tiny sliver of brown underneath. The head is thick and dark and impressive and leaves sheets of lacing as the head retreats. The nose provides the promised vanilla along with caramel, coffee, and roasted malt.

The heavy roasted malt flavors rule the taste here from beginning to end, seeming very reminiscent of an Irish stout with hints of oatmeal. There is caramel and a touch of coffee in the aftertaste. The texture could stand some thickening. Overall, this is drinkable and fine but not quite a top notch stout.

Photo of zeff80
4.04/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a jet black hue with hints of ruby. It had a foamy, bubbly, tan, one finger head that left thick sheets of sticky lace.

S - It smelled of strong vanilla aromas with a oaky quality. It had a roasted malt notes, too.

T - It really had a solid vanilla taste with roasted caramel malt. It had a nice bitter hop kick, too.

M - It was fairly crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good stout. One of the better vanilla stouts around.

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

A - Pours a deep almost black color with a small tan head that ended with just being a layer of fine bubbles that left plenty of lacing.

S - aromas of some roasted barley and a hint of chocolate maybe

T - hints of chocolate and roasted barley, there is a bitter finish to it like baking chocolate

M/D - very creamy feel to it, and a bitter ending leaves me with not really liking this one a whole lot. I guess I was expecting more vanilla but I don't I would have liked it either if it did have it.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.07/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a pint glass.A very thick creamy head with nice lacing. Deep black color non-translucent.Tastes of caramel hardly any vanilla as it suggests.A good mouthful and goes down very smooth. I would say good not a must try but definitely if your in the mood for a stout.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.86/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a medium-sized, lightly frothy, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Roasted malt nose with notes of both sweet-scented caramel and baker's chocolate. Only a faint whiff of vanilla in the background.

Taste: Goes beyond roasted maltiness to deliver a charred, burnt taste. Watered down caramel and chocolate flavors with a brief sweetness. Earthy hops, along with all this unchecked roastiness impart a fair amount of overall bitterness. I gotta be honest, I never detect more than a teeny hint of vanilla. Char and ash in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Well, they certainly skimped on the vanilla and during the holidays, too. Pity. Another lackluster Saranac brew.

Photo of dmamiano
2.88/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

dark brown on the pour, black almost with a nice, tan head. lacing abounds.
nose is a mix of chocolate and vanilla.Roasted malts also in the mix.
Taste is smoooth on the mouth. Nice feel, but the vanilla isnt working for me completely.
Seems a bit too artificial. Maybe I am just not fond of vanilla in a beer, but its missed something on me.

Photo of thespaceman
4.17/5  rDev +23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had another bottle of this tonight after I forgot about it sitting in my cellar, and it appears this one got stronger? I definetley don't remember the dark roasty ester taste in the finish, but now that I'm having it again it is such an inviting, warming brew. This one is probably the favorite out of the Saranac Winter pack, a good blend of vanilla without going out of control, and now that it taste a tad stronger it's a bigger winner in my book. An excellent job from Matt Brewing.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. This beer is dark black, with only the tiniest hint of ruby shining through the glass when held up to light. Nice tight-bubbled tan head that looks rich and creamy. Lacing is above average.

Aroma only hints at vanilla with a solid roast malt backbone. The taste is a little more vanilla up front, with the dark malts coming through a split second behind, and then a wicked drying of the mouth takes place toward the finish, with more vanilla flavor as it all turns bitter and fades none too slowly.

This stout has body, with a nice full feel and it is creamy in texture.

Overall this is probably my least favorite of the winter sampler. I won't be drinking the second one soon, but I will definitely have it some day.

Photo of mralphabet
3.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Very dark almost black... 2 finger tan colored head with very nice lacing with great retention.

S: Not much vanilla here...More of a roasted barley or malt... Hint of dark chocolate and a little vanilla... not much.

T: A hint of chocolate and a whisp of vanilla... the bigger taste here is roasted barley and malt.... quite bitter... with a bitter aftertaste that sticks around...

M: Medium bodied, somewhat creamy with mild carbonation. a little chalky.

D: Not a bad brew.... I was hoping for more vanilla. So that being said I don't think I will be pounding these down....

This is my first Saranac beer.... they've got me a little curious... So I'll be looking for more of there stuff...

Photo of number1bum
3.51/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some dark red scarlet hues when held to the light. Nice two plus fingers of creamy khaki head, which keeps very well, leaving a full lace and a ton of stick all over the sides of the glass. Impressive.

Smells of roasted malt with a bit of chocolate and caramel. I get some vanilla but not a lot.

Taste is pretty much dominated by roasted malt, which has a deep flavor, nearly charred. It's slightly astringent but not distracting. The vanilla flavor is somewhat interesting, and there's a bit of chocolate, too. Some hop bitterness in the finish. Not bad.

Mouthfeel is pretty light bodied and it's slightly chalky feeling. Not terribly smooth, either; the astringency affects the feel more than the taste.

This is a pretty good stout, but nothing all that special. Not bad, it's drinkable.

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