Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Chocolate Amber LagerSaranac Chocolate Amber Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

186 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 186
Hads: 227
Avg: 3.27
pDev: 14.37%
Wants: 3
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 186 | Hads: 227
Photo of RBorsato
4.6/5  rDev +40.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm going to join the minority too - I think this is by far the best Saranac brew out there !

Dark Brown (Auburn to light) with a nice full beige head and decent lace. Nice dark malty aroma with light roastiness. Nice roasty and light chocolate flavors. Medium-Full bodied with a light roasty finish.

Per "Best American Beers" book: 5.8% ABV, "Robust Munich Style Dunkel", "Spring Seasonal" (actually think it may be brewed more often now..)

Saranac Holiday Pack: 2002

 477 characters

Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.33/5  rDev +32.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark borwn, nearly black, with ruby highlights. Thin and creamy head holds very well, leaving waves of sticky lace. Coffee/chocolate malt aroma, english hops, and a touch of dark fruit alcohol vapors in the nose. Flavor begins malty sweet with lots of chocolate malt and roasted barley, and the aftertaste is dried by a spicy german hop bite. Medium body with an even carbonation that gives it a smooth mouthfeel. Easy to drink and a pleasure to taste. Good representation of the style, good balance, good job Saranac.

 529 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a deep ruby brown with highlights coming through head forms a milky coffee tone with a biscuit texture to it and good retention. Aroma has a dark chocolate roasts with herbal hops coming through very nice roasts come off with a cofee and dark chocolate presence. Flavor has creamy mild cofee with bitter dark chocolate notes big herbal hop flavor with mild bitterness nice but kinda porterish to me, also has a clean roasty mild fruity note it's just solid. Mouthfeel is medium bodied even carbonation silky feel to it on the palate. Drinkability is outstanding stuff more like a porter than a chocolate amber although I haven't had many to compare it to...I wouldn't mind seeing this one year round.

 708 characters

Photo of Scoats
4.22/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I seem to be in the minority in that really, really enjoyed this beer. It's not at all an amber, more of a very dark brown. There are a lot of tastes going on in here. The chocolate is mild but intreging. I'd happy buy a case of this or drink way too much of this if it was on draft somewhere. This would make a wonderful session beer. Maybe not a session beer I'd want every time, but definitely one to be on the list. This is a wonderful little beer.

 452 characters

Photo of morimech
4.2/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This sat forgotten in my fridge door for quite awhile. The only date I can find on the bottle is 2002. I would think that would be accurate. Lets see how it aged.

Pours a very dark brown with a big tan head that threatens to overflow in the glass. It settles down to a nice cap and leaves heavy lacing. So far so good.

It smells of burnt coffee and chocolate. The chocolate smell is very mild. Like a milkshake. Things are really picking up now.

The taste is chocolate malt with a little bit of coffee bitterness. The flavors blended together very nicely. It has a very smooth mouthfeel, almost creamy coating is left behind. Medium body with very good carbonation.

I would assume this beer aged quite well. I can't remember drinking it 5 years ago but I have to wonder if it was this good.

 795 characters

Photo of cnybrewblog
4.15/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poored this from a bottle to a glass. It was a nice dark color, but it was not as dark as the caramel porter (though for some reason I thought it would be) and had a light creamy head the stuck around for a while. The taste was great. You can really get the full flavor of the chocolate malt thats used in this brew. I am a fan of that malt anyway, so it makes me a little partial to the flavor.

The mouth feel was fine, saranac is very consistent with that. The overall drink ability is good, it is a surprisingly smooth and easy to drink brew.

On a side note, Saranac is a local brewery and I am a big fan. They are great with the community and do a lot of great events at the brewery for the public (Saranac Thursdays!). If you ever find yourself in Utica, NY looking for something to do, tour Saranac, you will not be disappointed.

 842 characters

Photo of generallee
4.07/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It has a dark murky brown color with dark red highlights. The head is tan in color, foamy and leaves nice lace on the glass. There is a dark malty aroma with a heavy toasted flavor. There are some chocolate notes as well as some mildly bitter hops within a creamy smooth medium bodied palate. This is a very good offering from the Saranac family of beers.

 355 characters

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first I thought this was a renamed version of the Black Forest black beer, but checked the brewery's website to confirm this is a different brew. Very nice chocolate malt aroma. The chocolate is carried in the first sips, but then the malts take on a more roasted nature, with hints of smoke, like an Irish stout, creeping in. Well moderated between sweet and dry, a nice take on the style.

 396 characters

Photo of rohrbachsfan
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter Sampler. Poured a dark chocolate brown and had a nice lasting head to it. Had a chocolate malt smell. It had a rich malty flavor, dry finish and medium bitterness. Reminded me of a porter but less sweet. Overall, this was a very enjoyable dark beer.

 292 characters

Photo of TheDeuce
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice surprise from Saranac,

Out of the winter beer pack....soft head in a pitch black color, chocolate aroma is subdued, traces of malt and hops. Taste is only slightly chocolatey and its sort of light, in my opinion this makes it better, since as a lager, if the chocolate were more pronounced it would be very unbalanced. Finishes clean, well made beer.

Pretty cool little beer if I do say so myself, worth a try.

 423 characters

Photo of sraimondi
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid dark lager. Another good beer from Saranac. As others have said, not phenomenal, but for the price--very solid. I recently visted the brewery and the folks there were great. The glassware selection is also very good.

 224 characters

Photo of mynie
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What's this? Is it... a head? Oh my goodness I was thinking they deliberately designed their beers to fizz out. And a nice dark ruby color, with lacing to boot!

Very bitter baker's chocolate malt smell. Nice, but it lacks complexity.

Tastes like a very weak chocolate stout up front. Bitter, unsweetened coco malt that leaps into a middle that's a mixture of smooth caramel and icky metal, ending on slightly spicy chocolate malt. Nice.

And all-around good beer.

 473 characters

Photo of HappyHourHero
3.98/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a small, foamy, light brown colored head that left a cobweb of lace. Dark brown colored beer with a ruby hue. Faint aroma of chocolate, dark malt, and dollop of marshmallow. Chocolate and some dry dark malts make up the bulk of the flavor. Mellow sweetness appears just before the mild astringency of the dark malts wraps it all up. Moderately light body with a dryish mouthfeel makes this one hard to put down. If you're looking for chocolate this isn't the one, but I enjoyed this dark lager.

 501 characters

Photo of auxiliary
3.95/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer has a dark color to it, and has a tanish head to it.
S - Malty and a hint of chocolate
T - Malty and a hint of chocolate, not a burnt taste. I would say more on the malty side then chocolate.
M - Malty
D - Its ok, not the top of my list. I wou;dn't buy it again though.

 289 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a translucent dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that is slightly chocolatey and has a roasted barley aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes chocolatey and slightly dry. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good brew. I've had better, but it drinks well; another quality beer from Saranac.

 500 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.92/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a light brownish, amber color with a thin layer of head. Aroma is of roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of burnt coffee. Taste is of chocolate, toasted marshmallows, vanilla, and roasted malts. A bit earthy. This is a lighter, crisp beer that strikes a good balance with the chocolate flavor. A lot easier to drink than most chocolate beers. This is one of the best beers of the Winter Mix 12 pack. Just like the Big Moose Ale, I wouldn't mind seeing this in its own six pack. Overall, an interesting beer that is worth having again for certain.

 566 characters

Photo of claytri
3.91/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a rich mahogony with a tan head. It has the aroma of dark malts. The taste is really dark sweet malt with a hint of dark fruit in the middle then an almost stout like finish. It has a medium to heavy body and a dry finish. This was a pretty nice beer it was sitting between a dark lager and a stout in taste and feel.

 332 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Winter '07 12-pck. This one looks very interesting.

The look is a really dark brown, going toward black and almost opaque. The head is formed easily with a robust pour which creates a really nice frothy brown head that is sticky and clumpy. Most of the bubbly activity is in the middle of the glass and looking really lively. The retention is also very good.

Very chocolate and caramel malt on the nose with a distinct herbalized, zesty lager yeast whiff...smells one part Oatmeal stout and one part lager.

This is a very smooth but lively brew that has the roastie, smoked chocolate flavor of a decent oatmeal stout with the sour-herbal yeastiness of a lager. The feel is pretty medium to full, smooth but livley. Very interesting indeed. I like it.

This is a unique hybrid-ish brew that I found to be better than avaerge for this Brewery and not at all hard to drink.

 891 characters

Photo of edchicma
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a small head that laces well. Smell is faint malt with a slight smoky quality. Chocolate is not really discernible.Taste is sweet, malty with a nice crispness.Once again, I didn't get the chocolate, but the malt was still very nice. Mouthfeel is rich, chewy. Drinkability is good..smooth light crispness.

 320 characters

Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear copper/amber color from a 12 oz bottle.
One finger off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Leaves almost no lacing.
Aroma is a blend of caramel, roasted malts with hints of coffee along with some cocoa and bready yeast.
Taste upfront is slightly sweet, with the malts becoming more noticeable in the middle. The beer has a crisp finish, with the bitterness from the hops and cocoa taking over in the finish. The bitterness does not linger, but lasts for just that much time to leave a pleasant feeling. Surprisingly tasty brew from Saranac. The chocolate/cocoa is not overwhelming, but there is just enough in the finish to leave the feeling of having a chocolate beer.
Definitely worth a try.

 726 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.86/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm with those that rate this a little higher. The aroma is too light, but other aspects of this beer are quite good. I really enjoy the complexity, yet it's ability to remain an easy drinking lager. The flavor has qualities of dark roast, including a slightly burnt quality and aspects of fruitiness. It strikes it's peak at a temperature between lager cold and ale warm. Really quite nice. Feel is a little light, but within reason for a lager. Really nice looking beer, holding a steady head and showing some lacing. I wouldn't consider it a winter beer, as advertised, but it could make a decent session beer.

 613 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
3.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a big frothy tan head that slowly dissipates into a creamy tan layer on top of the maroon colored beer. You can definitely smell the alcohol, coffee, and chocolate tones of this beer. Tastes like their dunkel should have. Good amounts of roasted malt and coffee in the flavor. Good for a snowy day in Southern Minnesota. The best of the Saranac sampler so far.

 366 characters

Photo of williamherbert
3.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown and reddish around the edges. Fluffy light brown head. Very dark and opaque. Rich. Some nice top lace.

Rich dark amber smell. Notes of light caramel. Sweet chocolate aroma. Mix between a sweet, rich amber and a dry, bitter porter/stout. Interesting.

The taste is like a black & tan: initial heavy stout flavor with a sweeter secondary flavor. A little smoky in the ambery second wave. Bitter malty afterbite.

A little dry in the feel, chalky. Smoother at the end. Medium bodied. Feels like a stout first, then an amber. Not bad but not amazing. Feel like a mixed bag.

 581 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.84/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tastings with my family. The saranac one from a couple weeks ago was more then epic as it took months to gather all of these, but it was a hell of a fun night! Big thanks to Alex for pulling through on the bulk of these

very dark and nearly completely black in color with the exception of some touches of red around the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice tan head came up and over the top and settled down after a few minutes, dropping a nice amount odd side glass lace in the process. Aroma was light, lots of caramel malts and bready notes dominate. Warming it brings out light notes of grain as well. Smooth taste here with a medium body that was well carbonated. Nice feel across the tongue with very sweet notes that seem to get stronger as it rolls forward. Almost a peat like touch to it as well at times. Very drinkable as the flavor was not over powering and the light ABV made it go down quite nicely.

really shocked by how nice this one was, really a stellar example of the style and one of the better beers of the night.

 1,126 characters

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a nice light brown with good carbonation. The head is also nice of white, 2 fingers and leaves a bit of lace.

The smell is nice and sweet. A slight hint of chocolate malt.

The taste is nice but not quite what I would like. The chocolate taste is vety slight, just a hint, the sweetness is good and there is a stronger hop presents then the style would call for.

The mouthfeel is good, a tad thin but ok and the carbonation is good.

The drinkability is good. I would not mind trying it again. Prosit, MK

 572 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
75 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.