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Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Chocolate Amber LagerSaranac Chocolate Amber Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

224 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 224
Reviews: 186
rAvg: 3.28
pDev: 14.33%
Wants: 4
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 224 | Reviews: 186 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RocketWidget
3.15/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Comes in a standard 12oz bottle, no best by date to be found.

To be honest, this one is a little disappointing. Ours a nice brown color that is ruby when held to the light. Head is moderate to light. Taste is unusual, roasty and chocolaty, quite unlike most amber I've had. But I just don't feel the chocolate flavor contributes to this beer. Perhaps a floral or fruity aftertaste. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and dry. Mouthfeel is more light than heavy. This is ok, but I would probably look elsewhere if I wanted an amber.

RocketWidget, May 07, 2005
Photo of sprackops
3.48/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, no freshness date. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nearly opaque black with red borders when held up to the light. Quickly dissipating off-white head.

Smell: Roasted malts and dark fruit. No hops presence in the nose.

Taste: Sharp roasty and nearly astringent character up front. Some faintly sweet chocolate and fruity notes show up just before a dry finish. Very porter-like.

Mouthfeel: Slick and oily, this brew has some substance.

Drinkability/comments: This was certainly better than I expected. While it lacks the sheer drinkability of a schwarzbier, it's a good beer which I'll have to make a session out of in the future.

sprackops, Feb 18, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
2.93/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours brown with red hints, pretty big light tan head.

Smell is mostly roasted with a touch of coffee and faint sweetness.

Medium-body, heavy roasted flavor, some bitter chocolate. A bit of a citrus flavor as well, this really has some porter-like qualities. Not much for hops, mostly malt dominated.

Not terrible, I would drink this again eventually.

Southernbrew, Jan 29, 2005
Photo of blitz134
3.15/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark chocolate brown pour which still allows a fair amount of my florescent bulbs’ glow to pass through. Slight off white head casually floating on top. Malty nose with a touch of hops in the background, no chocolate to speak of. A very weak smell overall. With the taste, again no chocolate, but I do find a bit of lightly toasted malts. The same kind of flavor that I typically associate with a porter without a lot of black patent in it. Finish is a much like a typical lager. Besides that I don’t pick up much else. Mouthfeel is thin and the flavor disappears quickly. Drinkability is decent, but only because there isn’t much flavor to turn you off with.

blitz134, Jan 26, 2005
Photo of ElGordo
3.3/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark reddish brown color with a very small flourish of a tan-colored head. Aroma of dark roasted malt tempered by just a whiff of hops. Palate is more roasted malt balanced by light hops, a touch of chocolate, and notes of brown sugar and caramel. Medium, slightly creamy body is decent for a lager. Aftertaste of sweet malt lingers for a while. Not a beer I'd like to drink a lot of, but it's certainly decent on occasion.

ElGordo, Jan 21, 2005
Photo of waughbrew
3.08/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chestnut with hints of plum - very creamy, sticky, retentive oatmeal head. Aroma is thin biscuit with hints of metal, coffee, and toffee. Rather simple flavor. Malt is one-dimensional caramel and only subtly so. Not as chocolatey as expected. Nondescript hop flavor is quite prominent. Thin but very smooth; reminiscent of nitro. An average beer, I would consider having it again.

waughbrew, Jan 17, 2005
Photo of babydoc
3.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured fron a 12 ounce bottle pulled out of this year's Classic Beer Style sampler. Color is dark clear cola, head bubbly and foamy, disappearing fairly quickly. Nose is subdued, some faint malts, and something else I can't discern. Tastes of sweet and toasted malt, with some subtle dark chocolate in the finish. The dark chocolate finish hangs on the tongue like a dusting of dark cocoa. A bit of hops offsets the maltiness that is there. Mouthfeel is light to moderate, with light carbonation. This is a pleasant dark lager, drinks easily.

babydoc, Jan 09, 2005
Photo of FranklinPCombs
3.38/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer basically looks more like root beer than it does real beer, with a crystal clear body and little head and lace. The smell is fairly weak, mostly of wet malts, yeast, and a little bit of burn molassas. The taste is not too bad, although the aftertaste is a bit sharp and, well, I cant really put my finger on what the taste is. The body of the taste is basically a slightly upscale lager with some sweet tastes of roast coffee (very slight) and a bit of chocolate, but not really that much. Its all underpinned by the regular old taste of a lager. Its drinkable sure, just not much of a drinking experience.

FranklinPCombs, Jan 06, 2005
Photo of VoodooBrew
3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is deep brown in color with amber touches that show through with backlight. The head is generous, light tan in color.
Something seemed odd about the aroma-- very faint, especially for a full-bodied beer such as this, but what I detected actually smelled more like alcohol than anything else. Hmm..
There is a roasted, slight chocolate flavor that finishes with malty sweetness. But again, and I'm pretty sure this wasn't just the glass I was drinking it out of, there was something subtly strange about it-- like it had come out of an aluminum can or something. The flavor is not overwhelmingly full by any means, and I would hesitate to call this a "hearty beer," as the bottle's label does.
This beer drinks fairly easily however, and seems to leave little evidence of itself post-sip.
Overall I found this beer slightly puzzling between the aroma, subdued flavor and seemingly light body. It had potential that it doesn't fully reach. I think my qualms with this are amplified because I drank it in a critical context, and so if I were just sipping on these at a party I'd probably find little to gripe about.

VoodooBrew, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of shirfan
2.8/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark, dark ruby yet clear, with a thin, sticky layer of off-white lace.

Aroma: Dark malt, something like a bock, even rauchbier hints of smoke.

Taste: Malt takes center stage, yet the body is far too thin. Notes of light chocolate, burnt malt, bits of smoke again. Not much bitterness, but the sweet side of things is too watery to be enjoyable. A bit of charcoal in the finish, slightly sour.

Would this have been better as an ale? Most likely. A left-field offering that needs to be discontinued.

shirfan, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of soulfly967
2.95/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Chocolate Amber Lager, eh? Sounds interesting.

It poured a nice dark, dark brown with a touch of red in it. Had decent head that fell to a thin film and left a bit of lacing. The smell was of bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts. The taste was of roasted malts at the beginning, then fading into a dark chocolate taste, then finishing with a coffee aftertaste, but it was all very weak. The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but rather smooth. I cant say that I really enjoyed this one. I'm sure I will not be getting any more of these.

soulfly967, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of Citadel82
2.83/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich cordovan brown with ruby accents surmounted by one finger of creamy head that leaves some sticky lace.

Smell is yeasty with some caramel notes.

Taste is thin with some hints of dark chocolate some sweetness (faint) and little or no hoppiness that one usually gets in a lager. No nuttiness that I could discern.

Overall an aveage to below average beer.

Citadel82, Dec 15, 2004
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a creamy 1/4 inch tan head, nice lacing. Smells of caramel and fruity malt and lightly bitter.

Tastes of roasted caramel, with some nice bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied and lightly sticky. Pretty good drinker, straightforward and honest. I like that in a beer.

The Seventh Beer of Christmas.

ViveLaChouffe, Dec 09, 2004
Photo of Cadyfatcat
3.63/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours an average dark brown with a light brown head. Head retention is minimal. Smells surprisingly hopy for the taste, mostly aroma hops. Bitter chocolate and roasted barley taste initially, which eventually gives way to a bit of malty sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth, but somewhat watery. A decently tasty wintertime lager which is conceptually more impressive than its realty.

Cadyfatcat, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of marburg
3.38/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish, woody body with a full cream-colored head. Nearly a picture of perfection. But it slides a bit downhill from there. A fairly ubiquitous, non-descript lager/brown ale type aroma. Some caramel malts, some husky breadiness. Not much else. More caramel apple than chocolate in the flavor, which does present some more distinct characteristics than the nose. Just the tiniest bit of fruitiness with a caramel twist and hints of cocoa. I can imagine some folks finding this a bit annoying, but I find it quite inoffensive. Not interesting, not unique, not great. But pretty drinkable on a cold football Sunday.

marburg, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of NEhophead
3.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle.

Creamy 1" off white/coffee colored head that fades after a moment to a thin sheet. A bit of spotted lace with not much strength. A darker shade of ruby red with tints of brown/black.

Faint coffee roasted malt character. Also a biscuit aroma that's just as faint.

Roasted malt character; semi sweet. Slight wheat flavors masked by a bread-like quality. A mild bitterness that leads to a coffee and almond aftertaste (where's the chocolate?). A boring tasting beer IMO; rather flavorless.

Medium bodied; good amount of carbonation. Coats the palate well.

Another bland beer from Saranac in terms of flavor. This lager just doesn't do anything for me. I won't be going back to this one in the future.

NEhophead, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +20.4%
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.

WesWes, Nov 19, 2004
Photo of connecticutpoet
3.58/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Har this one right after a bottle of their Adirondack Amber lager. That one had no head to speak of, so I wasn't sure about this one. But when I poured it out into my pilsner glass, I got about a finger and a half of nice rich foam on this deep red-brown brew that died down to good lacing.

The aroma was of dark malts and bitter chocolate. A well named brew.

The taste was initially of dark malts and bitter chocolate also, but a roasted malt flavor seeped into the aftertaste and hung around for quite a while.

Mouthfeel was quite full and a bit chewy. As for the drinkability, though, I couldn't give it any higher because I am not sure I like having the aftertaste linger as long as this one does.

connecticutpoet, Nov 14, 2004
Photo of NJpadreFan
2.58/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager

Appearance- Dark reddish black with a tan head.
Smell- very light chocolate and coffee.
Taste- watery, very watery. Slight chocolate flavor not much else.
Mouthfeel- soooo watery.

Overall- very little flavor. What little chocolate flavor isn't that bad though. I would need to chug a few of these to taste anything. Not a horrible beer but why would anyone bother with this?!

NJpadreFan, Nov 11, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
3.85/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

TastyTaste, Feb 11, 2004
Photo of Beastdog75
3.23/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Saranac "12 Beers" sampler, 2002 edition)

I thought this was going to be just like the Saranac Adirondack Amber, except with more chocolatey notes. This one did turn out to be a different enough beer, and a pretty decent one altogether, but it stacks up as average as there are better and more memorable dark beers out than this.

Saranac Chocolate Amber pours a dark but clear brownish color with and amber hue. A one finger foam head forms and dissapears in under 40 seconds, but leaves some decent lace. The aroma was mostly of roasted malts and only a little bit of chocolate notes. A burnt aroma was present as well. The mouthfeel was thin and lightly carbonated. The first thing to hit me with this beer was some roastiness. Then some malt flavors came through along with a light chocolate note. The burnt flavors began making their way through after this point as well, but were accompanied by some "dark fruit" flavors. Maybe this was a little more complex than I was expecting, but it wasn't anything I couldn't find anywhere else. There is some astringency from the roasted and hop bitterness to offset some of the sweetness, and it balances things out pretty well. Aftertaste has some leftover hop and roasted bitterness, and it finishes out with some alcoholic warmth.

This was surprisingly better than I was expecting. This is a drinkable brew, and it probably would be good on a cold night. Quite a quaffable beer.

Beastdog75, Nov 06, 2003
Photo of chaduvel
3.33/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a red brown color with an off-white head, not spectacular, but inviting none the less. Smells nicely of malts, hits of chocolate and a roasted characteristic. Tastes...well hmmm, where's the chocolate? Malty flavor and smoothness of a lager, but not much here in the way of complexity. Disappointing but drinkable.

chaduvel, Aug 18, 2003
Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish amber color with light to medium head,the aroma is a little nutty and malty sweet.I like the mildness to this beer had some burnt notes as well as some caramel notes.It is pretty watery on the mouthfeel dept though.A decent beer but a little thin but the flavor was nice.

oberon, Aug 04, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.4/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: thick brown color, nearly opaque, with a generous, frothing, creamy tan head.
Aroma: light, wispy, tiny hints at nuts & cocoa.
Some hops show breifly at the front, followed by a faint chocolatey feel that's just barely there. Texture's nice, quite grabbable.
Malt does it's job well enough.
Quite drinkable, although this fails to deliver on the "chocolate" promise.
Still, an interesting approach for a lager, not a bad beer at all.

feloniousmonk, Jun 12, 2003
Photo of garymuchow
3.9/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

garymuchow, May 18, 2003
Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager from Matt Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 224 ratings.