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Saranac Black Lager - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Black LagerSaranac Black Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

101 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 2
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
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4/5  rDev +19%

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3/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Bockrules
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a dark bronze with a bit of amber tinting around the edges when held up to light. Has a nice and thick two finger, tan head. Appears to have substantial carbonation. Head is reduced to a ring of bubbles 3/4th's down the glass. Leaves an acceptable amount of lacing in the form of several medium splotches mostly near the top of the glass.

S - Chocolaty with some earthy hop notes. Could be much bigger.

T - Chocolate malt upfront. The body is has plenty of chocolate flavors as well as a few subtle coffee notes and enough earthy hops flavors to round the whole thing out. The hops flavors seem to become more intense in flavor as the beer sits in your mouth, crescendo as the beer passes over the back of the tongue and then transition into a bitter-chocolate finish.

M - Medium bodied with substantial carbonation to give it a creamy mouth feel. Feels somewhat light, but still has enough substance to support the flavor.

Ah, Saranac. It's been over a year since I had one after moving from Ohio. Good college memories of hanging out in the Adirondacks drinking these. This one survived the journey west and is at least a year and a half old, however it doesn't seem much worse for the wear. This was from the winter seasonal pack I believe, and in typical Saranac fashion, the seasonals are of much higher quality than the standard fare. Easy drinking, that stays true to a somewhat rare style. A bargain for less than a buck a beer.

Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.26/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a winter sampler from Saranac for around $14 at Hop City. I was looking for a sampler. The friendly, knowledgeable beer geek employee told me it's a great selection of winter beers. It looked really interesting. For the record this is my first Saranac and my first schwarzbier. I like the label with a big black bear in the foreground of a snowy, rocky mountain landscape.

Pours almost black, but held to the light it is a dark red and transparent. The head is 2 fingers thick. It fades to a film and leaves nice lacing. Damn good looking beer.

Aromas of roasted malt and bread. Pretty strong aromas too. Not complex, but very inviting. The taste is deliciously malty with a slight bitter finish that stays with you. The hops are easily detectable. Saranac Black Lager matches the description of schwarzbier here on BA perfectly. It's refreshing yet you feel like you are drinking something substantial. This beer goes down easily, perhaps one of the most sessionable I've had.

I don't want to go overboard, but I really like this beer. Moreover, it seems to be a perfect interpretation of its style. I'm not going to hold back on my rating.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.35/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 2/15/2010. Bottle. Pours a clear dark brown with a thick light tan head. Aroma of roasted malt, sweet malt, light nuttiness. Flavor of sweet malt, some residual sugars, some roasted malt. bready malt, light chocolate malt. Pretty decent, very drinkable.

Photo of caddybuyer
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from a winter pack that I have been saving to taste....

A-Deep red garnet with a creamy tan head that laces nicely. Damn...this is a nice looking beer....

S-Roasty and dry. I am detecting mostly malt, a tiny bit of hop.

T-Bready and malty. A very nice brew with a hint of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate. This is not amazing, but it is very solid for a seasonal one-off pack offering.

M-Decent mouthfeel and carbonation.

D-Drink this...hell yeah...all night long, along with the balance of the winter pack. These guys may not brew the best beers, but I never tire of their seasonal offerings. Kudos...

Photo of mikereaser
2.8/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a very dark brown with some tan foam

S - very malty sweet aroma

T - the taste is sort of roasted, cola like flavor, chocolate malts

M - medium bodied with good carbonation

D - either black lagers aren't my thing or saranac isn't my thing. i'm guessing the latter

Photo of TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Budweiser pokal.

Aww, that li'l bear on the label is sooo cuuute! I'm not sure if I can actually call this brew "cute", per se, but it's good-looking enough, I suppose. It pours a clear, surprisingly light garnet-brown with about a finger (more or less) of light ecru foam. The nose is roasted (the whole damn thing, I'm tellin' ya!), with some accent lighting from some chocolate, soil, and floral hops. So far, not all that different from the other schwarzes (save maybe that asshole from "A Christmas Story"...). The taste doesn't deviate all that much, either, with notes of caramel, bitter dark chocolate, minor hoppy bitterness, and a tad bit o' greenery. The body is light, just an itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie-yellow-polka-dotted bit lighter than it seems it should be, with active carbonation and a drier-than average finish. Still, this just kinda serves to make this brew a little easier to down than other schwarzes. Not bad, but not quite as good as that cute wittle bear...

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.68/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a dusty, dark brown body with a two inch, light khaki-colored head.

Smell: 1-2 combo of roast and toast with complimentary supporting notes of chocolate of the darker variety, cola nuts, and dark fruits. Roastiness in the aroma deepens a bit as it warms.

Taste: Toasted pumpernickel bread liberally dipped into chilled, roasty coffee. Touches of bittersweet chocolate, dark fruits, and charred nuts. Light sweetness overall. Hops provide ample bitterness and a very slight herbaceous hint. Drying, roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: A very acceptable Schwarzbier; balanced and easy to down.

Photo of biggred1
3.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby red with a creamy tan cap that leaves some decent looking lace on the glass. Mild cocoa, black and chocolatey malt in the nose. Nice, mild roasted malt flavors with a touch of wintergreen and honey. Light and easy drinking with mild carbonation. A decent black lager.

Photo of generallee
3.63/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | 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 noticeable freshness or born on date.

Appearance: It has a deep dark crimson body with a tall foamy head. The head is tan in color and hangs on well, leaving lots of splotchy lacing on the glass.

Small: The aroma is very modest with only light hints of roasted barley malt and some herbal/mineral like hops.

Taste/Palate: Up front it has nice mellow roasted and dark bready maltiness. It quickly thins out and gets quit watery in the middle. Hop flavor steps up in and adds herbal and mineral like notes with a somewhat metallic edge to the finish. This finish seems to linger just a little too long. It has a medium body that seems to thin out towards the finish and carbonation is mellow giving it a smooth overall texture.

Notes: Overall I would say that Saranac's Black Lager is very drinkable but there Black Forest is a much better interpretation of a German Schwarzbier.

Photo of dmamiano
3.16/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a deep black..very nice off white head and some sticky lacing webbing on the glass.
smells a bit like dough. bready and malts. wisps of black licorice tantalize the nose
taste is solid..decent mouthfeel. A fairly nice malt backed by an adequate amount of hops.
Some roasted grain...and even a bit a spice..

Photo of wilbrew
3.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass with a reddish brown color that lets through a bit of light. Two finger tan head which dissipates quickly with a decent amount of lacing. Biscuity aroma with a chocolate malt flavor. This beer has a mellow hop profile and just a hint of alcohol is noticeable. The beer is very drinkable and a good example of a dark lager.

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.22/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Out of a bottle this beer was a dark copper color with barely a finger of tan head. The head quickly became a tiny collar that left thin, sliding lacing. The aroma was very grainy and full of dry chocolate malt, toasted malt, coffee and a little German malt. The flavors were an exact extrapolation of the aroma and distinctly European. But despite my repeated attempts to enjoy it I kept thinking it was sour, off or just plain awkward. I couldn't put my finger onit (it was trying so hard!) but it just kept letting me down. The mouthfeel was creamy, the body medium and the carbonation appropriate. I give this one points for getting the style correct, but when I really boiled it all down it just wasn't enjoyable to drink!

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.06/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Ugh, another Saranac effort. Pours a dark red and brown. Aroma is dirt and alcohol, i.e. "earthy".

Taste, I don't know what the deal is with Saranac, but every beer, every style, has that same quality to it, and its not enjoyable. Its like a biscuity sawdust is added to every batch. In addition, this beer has some browned malt feel, and no discernable hopping.

Just not enjoyable for me.

Saranac Black Lager from Matt Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.