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Saranac Winter Lager - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Winter LagerSaranac Winter Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

60 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 60
Hads: 113
Avg: 3.47
pDev: 21.9%
Wants: 0
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 60 | Hads: 113
Photo of mempath
4.45/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours an amber-red that laces very nicely and delicately in my DFH pint...bready smells rise out with a hint of muscadine? interesting. maybe it's the spices. this tastes (from memory...) similar to the sam adams winter brew. this seems less thick and luscious in mouthfeel, but really has a nicely balanced flavor profile of malts, spices, and some subdued hops keeping the sweetness at bay. a good session winter brew i'd find easy to drink on cool, early spring days.

another swallow as it warms it and it only gets better, more rich, more sourdoughy...

another one of Saranac's standouts.


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Photo of Brad007
4.35/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hmm. Sam Adams Winter Lager is also a Vienna Lager. Perhaps this influenced Saranac to a degree?

Pours a mild brown color with a two-finger head into my glass. Good presentation so far. A bit dark but that's actually about right.

Aroma is full of a bit of sweet and grainy malt. A bit spicy/smoky as well. Similar to SA's Winter Lager.

Taste is a bit nutty and sweet and it's very chewy as well. Interesting mish-mash of flavors. Tasty and easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is full of the same flavors as above that linger. Carbonation is just right. No harsh flavors and beer goes down very well.

Very nice! I could swear that it's a clone of the SA version. Very easy to drink and tasty. Definitely one of the better beers from Saranac.

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Photo of billybob
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear copper color with a light tan two or three finger head depending on the pour. head holds well and leaves a nice sticky lace as you drink. smells of fresh malt and very slight spice. taste is subtle, sweet strong tea thats lightly spiced comes to mind, slight lingering after taste that not unpleasant. mouthfeel is light and a medium carbonation that fits well with this beer. easy to drink and subtle taste make it very enjoyable.

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Photo of animal69
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a med.-deep copper color w/ a fluffy white head which dissipates quickly leaving a nice broken lace in my pilsen glass

S- smell reminds me of fresh baked bread, some nuttieness and a bit of dark fruit, a faint grassy hop present as well

T- crisp, nutty and bready, well balanced bitterness and a bit fruity, some caramel notes, a great vienna/marzen-like flavor

M- pretty dry, a light-med body and decently carbonated

D- very drinkable, prob. one of the better Am. brewed viennas out there, i wish they had 6'rs of this

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Photo of Tilley4
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first out of the Saranac Winter Sampler I picked up a couple of days ago...

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a thick head...looks good so far..

Very rich and malty aromas with a tinge of spices.. Wow, this is really smelling pretty good here...

And I'm liking this... Its rich and malty and has a good amount of spice to it... The hops finish with a small kick as well... A very nice brew here... A good winter session brew..

I liked this brew a lot and could see myself drinking several of these...

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Photo of Kinsman
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nothing fancy here, but there is nothing wrong with a simple beer done right, and thats the case with this Vienna Lager. Pours a really nice clear amber color and nice white head. Not much retention on the head, but just enough to leave a good lace.

Smell is of an inviting malt character, sweet with hints of caramel. German hops provide a nice counterpoint to the malt, providing a slightly floral/spicey hint.

Taste is well balanced in this one. Toasted malt character, but also a nice crisp from the hop bitterness. Slightly sweet, but not overly so. Also a little earthy spice from the hops at the finish.

Mouthfeel is of a rather light body but very crisp. Overall an enjoyable refreshing brew; very easy to enjoy several of these at once.

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Photo of irishking1977
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber with no head and almost no lacing. Looks like a simple amber lager.

S: I get roasted malt and some cinnamon in the nose. Smells exactly what I've come to expect from a typical winter lager.

T: Saranac really stuck with what is known as a traditional winter lager; this is exactly how other winter lagers have tasted; malty with a slight cinnamon and caramel background. Although, this sticks to that mold, it's somewhat muted and watered down. Still, probably a good brew for a beginner craft beer enthusiast.

M: Pretty balanced carbonation with a slightly malty finish.

D: A light winter lager? Yeah, that's what this one feels like to me. Good interpretation of one, but watered down. Even so it could certainly be a session brew, and even beer rookies might enjoy this one.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Sierra Nevada pint glass. Rich, semi-opaque brown beer with a small, but long lasting tan head. Lots of lacing left behind.

Aroma of caramel and other sweet malts. The sweet malt flavors are right up front. Not much bitter or hop flavor, but they're not necessary here. The mouth feel is substantial and not watery at all. This is a really good lager. I could drink several of these tasty beers with no problem.

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Photo of Veedubb22
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased as part of the winter mixer. I've found all the beers in this mix to be quite tastey and easy drinking. In fact, I think it's the best mixer value for the money.

You get 2 tries at 6 beers. Are there any other reasonably priced mixers that allow that? Plus it's NY brew, so I'm automatically giving it style points. Cool labels as well.

The Rye IPA is unique, but not what I'd go after as an IPA fan. I'll always look for the Saranac mixers though. Great value.

The Winter Lager is a great addition to a very well-rounded wheel.


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Photo of MVotter
3.89/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - The Saranac Winter Lager pours into a chalice a clear copper color, with a thick, creamy, antique-white, one-inch head.

S - Yeasty/bready aroma ... some spice.

T - Malts up front, and the finish is a combination of sweet malts and hops. There are also yeast and hay-like flavors in here; interesting profile. I would say that no single taste dominates ... good balance.

M - Medium gravity, and a creamy texture created by the kind of carbonation which is seemingly on a time release, a tight blanket of bubbles on the palate.

D - Very enjoyable. Well balanced brew ... across the spectrum.

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Photo of Deus1138
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a Vienna Lager, comparisons to Sam Adams Boston Lager are inevitable.

Poured into a Utica Club Pilsner glass. Redish amber color with about a quarter inch of frothy head that went right to the brim. Head.

Smell is bready with a hint of indistinct hops.

Taste is very good. Bready, biscuity malts, with a touch of caramel sweetness. Much sweeter than SA BL, but by no means a very sweet beer. Grassy hops add a touch of spiciness. Nice, sweet bready finish.

This is a really good Vienna Lager. Too bad it's called "Winter Lager" because this would make an excellent addition to their year round offerings.

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Photo of mklinger
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stemmed pilsner glass. This beer a pale brown with reddish orange highlights. A reasonably nice sized head formed that had a pale tan color. Nice looking beer.

Aroma was malty caramel sweetness with a bit of floral/herbal character. Not a super assertive aroma, but it shouldn't be for the style. The caramel seemed a bit strong for style, but it's a pleasant aroma nonetheless.

Very full, rich mouthfeel. The strongest flavor characteristic is the caramel sweetness with a touch of darker, plum-like flavors which pairs well with the full mouthfeel. The finish is rather dry, like there's a bit of roasted malt in there. I'm a bit surprised iven that color could come from all crystal malts or roasted malt -- seems like there's some of both in there. Definitely some herbal hop character too. A balanced beer.

This was a pleasant beer -- not especially big, assertive or unusual. Just a really nice, balanced malty lager. Rich & enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of mjaskula
3.86/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pilsner glass. Poured vigorously for a nice thick tan head. It thinned to a film and laced nicely.

Aroma is mostly hop bitterness and some malt, fairly weak. The flavor is really great though, despite the aroma. Alomost exactly what I would expect from the Vienna Lager description: "Subtle hops, crisp, with residual sweetness." Fits this perfectly.

Lingers in the mouth perhaps a bit too long, but otherwise a great and easy to drink beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The fourth in the lineup for the day for me. Not really sure what to make of this one at first, but I will admit it did grow on me after a while. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 2/21/2010.

The pour was nice, garnet in color and clear without much in the way of haze or cloudiness at all. Really nice and light head of white that sat on top for all but a few moments before settling down with some nice side lacing and a rich, even layering. Aroma of caramel, smoked nuts, hints of toffee and sweet brown sugar came off a little much for me at first, but again it tended to start to grow on me after a while. Nice smooth, coating feel here really seemed to do the trick for me though as it rounded its way through the palate. Caramel and nuts were the big the players here. Rich brown sugar and caramel all seem to come together nicely, evenly and smoothly. Light abv and a nice carbonation all lended themselves to being able to pull it all together quite nicely.

Overall a nice little lager, nothing really earth shattering, but nice and clean.

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Photo of Suds
3.82/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the winter sampler case, this beer is a brilliantly clear copper-amber color. The head is a little slim, with white wisps. Nice aroma...barley, a bit of caramel, cereal, mildly toasted malts. Not bad. The taste is quite good, with a lot of malt and sweetness. Fairly medium-full in body, this could be a great session beer. Firm hop bitterness in the finish, although malt is centric in this brew. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 of the 12 Beers of Winter; from a 12 oz bottle.

A: The lager is a dark amber color, a syrupy caramel that fits nicely as a Vienna lager. A finger of head, white, didn't lace.

S: The nose has a clean bready flavor that lacks the traditional aroma of many Saranac ales. Earthy hops finish off the nose.

T: Clean and grainy, this is the second Saranac lager that has really hit the spot. A vine-fruit sweetness assists the malt profile. As in the nose, hops are subtle, balancing rathering than bittering.

M: The mouthfeel is grainy sweet, lighter bread flavors and a kiss of hops.

D: The fuller malts add a great deal to the body, strengthening it up significantly. Another good lagerbier from Saranac.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Budweiser pokal.

Another entry in the winter sampler from the post-DLD death march. The pour results in a clear tawny amber with a half-finger of cream-colored foam that lingers for quite a while. Moreover, a thick bit o' lacing is formed as the head glacially recedes. The nose is toffee, walnut, and a light mixture of wheat and tallgrass. The taste shows a similar profile, with notes of toffee, caramel, butter, walnut, and sweetgrass. Though I prefer the smell, the taste ain't all that bad in its own right. The body is light, with moderate carbonation and a feel that is smooth, crisp, and slightly watery. Not the best of the box, but pretty good nonetheless.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. Off-white head lasts for a just a short period and than disappears, leaving mild lacing. Aroma is hoppy and spicy with a malt base. Taste is slightly sweet and nicely hopped. Body may be a bit thin, but overall a pretty decent winter brew.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My pour resulted in two fingers' worth of eggnog-colored head with decent, if not great, retention. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a rich, malty sweetness - somewhat caramel-like in its intensity. Mouthfeel was medium with a light caramel taste in the mouth. Finish had a light hoppy bite. Score another one for the Saranac variety pack!

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Photo of bourbonbock
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A. Chestnut brown body with about one finger of off-white bubbly head that drops after a few moments. Light amount of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass.

S. Roasted malts and lager yeast aromas dominate this one.

T. Sweet roasted malts and earthy bready texture.

M. Light and creamy with a sweet aftertaste.

D. I wouldn't mind picking this up every once in a while.

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Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jdmek75 for this extra!

Poured into Sam Adams sensory glass

Pours a little over a finger of khaki tan head. Decent retention with some nice lace walls going on. Color is a clear copper bronze.

Aroma: This beer has a solid malt backbone, but underneath it I get some grassy hops. The malts are sugary sweet with caramel notes. I get some notes that remind me of a porter here. Some dark dried fruit as well.

Taste: Again, a lot of malts up front with grassy hops hidden in the background. This beer pretty much tastes the same as the aroma. Big rich malty profile. Sugary caramel, very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Over crisp at first, then it smoothes out a tad. Light to medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends with a very dry, malty flavored aftertaste.

Overall, a nice winter lager is what this beer is. Very drinkable and to the style. Thanks Jason for this extra! I am glad I got to try it.

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Photo of porterwoobie
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: copper/brown color, very clear, large off-white head that lingers for some time, very minimal lacing.

S: not much to the aroma. mild grainy smell. slightly sweet aroma.

T: bready, grainy taste. finishes dry.

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: nothing stands out about this beer, but it is tasty nontheless. i'd drink it again.

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Photo of deruiz10
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

A - Soapy 2-finger head is eggshell in color, leaves a small amount of lacing. Color is a deep amber, moderately opaque. Fine effervescence seen.

S - Tree sap and mild roasted malts. Slightly sweet, hints of caramel and maple syrup.

T - Big malty flavor, flavors like maple oatmeal, finish is sweet and very drawn out and tastes mildly of German hops.

M - Crisp, but feels bigger than I was expecting. Good carbonation keeps it from being too heavy.

D - Though not particularly complex, the flavors are well-balanced and definitely capture the spirit of the winter. A good after-work beer for the colder months.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.64/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of a seasonal 12-pack at Shaw's in Windham, NH. Pours a crystal clear amber to red body with a good inch of short-lived off-white head. Smells slightly caramel malty with a bit of a soapy quality. Tastes malty, with caramel, chocolate and a slight fruity. Medium in both body and carbonation. While the aroma was a bit discouraging, the flavor was pleasant and balanced, and as good as any other Vienna I've had.

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Photo of generallee
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The bottle has no freshness date or abv% listed. This bottle was part of the 2009 Saranac Winter 12 pack.

Appearance: The body has a garnet color with good clarity. On top sits a thin half inch thick head which is beige in color and fades quickly. Lacing is very minimal and slick leaving a mostly clean glass behind.

Smell: It is light overall in the nose with some malty sweetness and hints of leafy, almost herbal/metallic hops.

Taste/Palate: There is a rich bready sweetness up front with some light roasted grain notes as well. This maltiness meats some hop flavor in the middle it and adds a nice moderate balance of hop spice and bitterness with just a very slight metallic edge. It seems to finish quickly and fairly clean. It is dryer than it started but there is still a thin residual sweetness mixed with thin hop bitterness. The body is light to medium with average carbonation.

Notes: For the style it seems just a little on the light side but everything is in good balance for the style. Once again Saranac has brewed another decent easy drinking beer.

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Saranac Winter Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.