Saranac Chocolate Lager - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Chocolate LagerSaranac Chocolate Lager

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BA SCORE
77
okay

174 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 174
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 15.13%
Wants: 0
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Bock |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mostpoetsdo on 11-27-2011

Saranac Chocolate Lager is a sinfully delicious deep amber lager made with certified organic cacao from Belize. Our brewers looked far and wide for the highest quality cacao to create a smooth chocolaty taste that only comes from the most exclusive cacao plants. We used the roasted seeds of these decadent plants and perfectly paired them with caramel malt and German Hallertau hops to create a malty chocolate sweet flavor. You'll love savoring this beer with your favorite holiday foods or on its own for a delicious treat!

15 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 174 | Reviews: 65
Reviews by HarryPotHead:
Photo of HarryPotHead
3.69/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured from 12oz brown bottle into short stem chalice, this beer yields a silky smooth beige head of about a finger and half. Little to no lacing left behind as the head gives way a little too prematurely. Color is a rich amber hue but seems a little cloudy.

S - Fresh bread dominates with very subtle notes of cocoa, hops, and alcohol. Pleasant....definitely not offensive.

T - Umm....ok, so I'm expecting more in the way of the cocoa. It's there but it is sooo subtle you really have to seek it out. Slightly above average for the style. Crisp with a dry finish...slightly warm too. Not very bitter either.

M - Not to thin. Just the right amount of carbonation for the style.

O - One of the best of the bunch from the Holiday sampler, but nothing spectacular. A little too safe. I wish Saranac would take a few more chances with their brews...if they were just a little more daring they might fare better. [ii]D. Cheers!

More User Reviews:
Photo of dogfishandi
3.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a pint glass.

Pours out a fairly clear chestnut amber color, a little bit of a fine sediment visible. About one finger of off white head from a rather vigorous pour. Not the greatest head retention and only a little bit of lace that is quick to fall back into the beer from a swirl of the glass.

Kind of a strange meaty, cocoa aroma. Some toasted grain and lager like mineral yeast.

Light cocoa at first, cleaner than the aroma, cocoa becomes more noticeable towards the end of the glass as it warms. Along with some toasted, light caramelized grain and a bit of a mineral like lager taste. Hints of cocoa linger into the finish.

Light to medium in body, very smooth, drinks very easily.

I couldn't see myself actually buying this, but if I found it in a fridge somewhere, I'd probably drink it again. I wasn't expecting to really find any cocoa nib notes in this beer, but to my surprise there was some halfway decent flavors.

Photo of alexkeil
2.88/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle from the Saranac winter variety pack, it features one of their nicer labels.

It has brillant clarity and a dark amber color with an off white disappearing head with some lacing.

Aroma of light coco, alcohol hints, and coffee with cream, some bready malts come through.

Taste is of doughy malt, a healthy amount of noble hops balance the sweet malts, alcohol is noticable, coco nibs come through and linger in finish. There is also a little bit of ripe melon in the middle.

Mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbonation, even a little hoppy bitterness.

This is a creative well made lager that is nice for a holiday variety pack. Its a change of pace to try and talk about at holiday gatherings. Probably not anything you would seek out on its own, but to have during a session.

Photo of Brenden
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A very dark orange color, it's almost bronze, though it's completely clear. A pale tan head starts off firm and rests right around a finger tall. It takes a bit of time to fade, eventually leaving a thinner foam that clings especially to the edges but keeps itself together. It leaves some spotting behind as it falls.
A somewhat metallic note, English-style though I don't think any English varietals are used, develops as it sits. The cocoa is definitely there, though. Otherwise it's toasty with just a touch of toffee-like sweetness and a ghost of leaf.
The flavor goes fruitier. While the cocoa sneaks through underneath and into the finish, I wish it was more of a factor. The toast, a touch of toffee and the leaf make up the foremost notes, with a touch of dryness at the end. It's a decent bock, with good balance, toastiness, and a malty base with just a bit of hops for balance and depth, but it could use a little more something, and the chocolate just is too subtle.
The feel isn't bad but is a little tinny as a tea-like leafiness, which also adds some dryness, comes through. It's almost medium-bodied, maybe barely, with a steady carbonation and even, moderate crispness.

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

12oz bottle poured into a chalice. BB Mar 31, 2012 on the bottle.

A: Pours a clear, ruby-copperish amber with a 1.5 finger puffy off white head. Good clarity, lots of visible carbonation.

S: Sweet lagery malt aroma with hints of grass. Has metallic characteristics in it. Subtle chocolate aroma. Sweet roasted malts become more present as it warms up and compliments the chocolate.

T: Nice dark and roasted malt taste, chocolate is certainly noticeable. Has biscuity yeast characteristics. Still a slight hop bitter in the brew.

M: Pretty light bodied, nice carbonation. Very drinkable, not overly sweet as some chocolate beers are.

Overall an enjoyable and drinkable winter beer. Would recommend to anyone who likes darker beers. Good warm up to a heavier stout.

Photo of gregb13
3.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Funny, if you blindfolded me and gave me this beer I would guess that I was drinking a Sam Adams Chocolate Bock. There is an unmistakable Raisin Bran flavor that is very pronounced in both of these beers. It's not bad but not what you'd expect from a supposed chocolate beer, although it kind of grows on you. Just average stuff. One bottle is enough.

Photo of dacrza1
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Occasion: still sick, but getting better with meds.... Glassware: nondescript pilsener... Appearance: tan brown/orange body with a thin off-white head... Aroma: fresh, cocoa hints are a quick burst; fleeting, otherwise weak malts... Palate:medium-bodied and smooth; plapable but not heavy... Taste: sweet toffee/caramel plays with the cocoa in a welcoming dance... Overall: pleasant though not overpowering--a malty chocolate seasonal that satisfies....

Photo of tdm168
3.46/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber or light brown with a quarter inch of off white, creamy, dense head that has great retention. The nose is yeasty with a typical lager smell and there are very faint notes of chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is complex but a little unbalanced. There are notes of dark fruit, toffee, chocolate, roasted malt and lager yeast. There's a sugary sweetness that is intense. The dark fruit and toffee take main stage. The carbonation is spot on and the smooth, medium body help out the drinkability.

This isn't a bad beer. The flavor could use some balance and the sweetness is a little too much at times, but overall it's drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of mempath
4.65/5  rDev +38%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

one of Saranac's home runs/touchdowns/holeshots...! hits on all cylinders, but mostly where it counts: taste. the chocolate plays off the maltiness perfectly, but there is a nice, not too subtle hop touch in there that keeps it bitter, much like a good dark chocolate. choosing that Belize cacao was spot on.

beautiful to behold (a nice darkish golden hue), nice hint of cocoa in the nose...mouthfeel is not too carbonated, nor flat...good balance.

glad i picked up the case. the best in the bunch. i almost forgot about another Saranac grand slam: the caramel porter.

MAKE THIS AVAILABLE IN A 6-PACK!

Photo of tempest
3.97/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, so right off the bat, in case anyone reading this wondering, this beer is nothing like the sickly-sweet caramel porter. No, there isn't a big chocolate taste, but, this is a decent bock. Let it warm up a bit, and a dry cocoa comes out in the aroma and there's a light, earthy note in the flavor's finish. Of course, there's also a big caramel, toffee, and toasted bread crust barley character. It's less fruity than your average bock, but I like the cocoa replacing the usual sugars. The body is on par with your average lager, making it fairly drinkable. This is kind of a cool beer: balanced chocolate, tasty malts, and a slightly bitter hops finish. I'd take another.

Photo of Hop_kulture
4.43/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

not doing the astmo kinda drunk. thank you saranac 12 beers of winter

this is a wonderful winter beer. hazelnut and chocolate flavor. great mouthfeel. precisely a chocolate lager. one of my favorite ive had for the past three years. if you like sweet beers you will love this. ive always been happy with any up state new york brew

Photo of Gmann
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear copper color with a small, tight beige head that settles into a sparse cap.

The aroma has a light cacao scent to go with a very subtle metallic note. There is also some buttery caramel notes and a bit of a grassiness from the hallertau as well.

The flavor starts off with a chocolate note from the cacao. It is a bit powdery. The base is a caramel amberish malt that packs some metallic and light grain flavor. A lime presence is detected from the hallertau hops.

The feel is light with very fizzy carbonation; burns a little bit. It does drink crisp but is a tad sticky. There is an odd bitterness in the finish, which I think comes from the combination of the cacao and the hops.

Not very bockish, more of an amber lager and the chocolate is light. An ok beer, drinks fairly well.

Photo of Treyliff
3.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a medium-dark amber with a one finger head that dissapates to a small layer that sustains on top, no lace.

S- toasty malt with some caramel and cocoa nibs are noticable at first, but beyond that- grains and cooked sweet corn,and just a bit of spicy hops at the end

T- sweet cacao mixes with some caramel malt with a bit of hazelnut character. Underlying under the sweetness is a toasty character with some grain. There is a light herbal hop finish on the back end, the finish is quite dry.

M- medium body with moderate carbonation, leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a creamy finish

O- I appreciate that this one holds up the malt character expected with a bock, but the combination of this with the chocolate seems a bit unbalanced. It's worth a try however, as it is quite different. Wouldn't put it anywhere near Sam Adams Chocolate Bock though.

Photo of Samp01
3.02/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks Mikeg67. Poured a clear brown amber with a small beige head. Aroma and Taste is of mildly toasted barley, malt, some chocolate notes, mild bitterness. A medium body with moderate carbonation on the palate. The Finish is toasted grains some light chocolate flavor and mild bitterness. Seems a bit light on the chocolate flavor needs more chocolate. Overall an ok sessional brew.

Photo of puboflyons
3.23/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on February 3, 2013.

The pour is a copper-amber color with a lingering off-white head and lacing. I expected it to look much darker for something with chocolate in its title. But it is also a lager so that has to come into play I guess.

The aroma is light in milk chocolate with a slightly more vanilla and caramel malt feel than chocolate. Clean hops though.

The body is creamy and in the medium range.

The taste is more akin to a sweet caramel malt lager than chocolate. Actually vanilla would be the better descriptor. There is a slight lingering bitterness at the tail end. Probably my least favorite selection in the Saranac 2013 Winter Mix Pack.

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.45/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ba Review #127
Served On: 02/12/2012
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: March 31, 2012

This was in the 2011 '12 Beers of Winter' mixed 12 pack.

Look: The beer poured a semi-clear orangish copper with a thin off-white film on top. Numerous carbonation bubbles rising up from the bottom.

Smell: Sweet chocolate was at the forefront. A biscuity lager also made up a big part of the aroma. Also some faint brown sugar notes were present.

Taste: Carbonation ripped up the middle followed by the chocolate. The chocolate was not as intense as expected. The middle was more of a lager character with notes of cracker and yeast. The finish lended itself more to the lager side rather than the chocolate. A candy sweetness did seem to linger into the aftertaste.

This beer blows Sam Adams Chocolate Bock out of the water. The use of chocolate in the profile and the nicely masked 6% ABV are just couple of reasons I would prefer this over it's Sam Adams counterpart.

Photo of u2carew
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz longneck bottle
A) Pours with a two finger, off white head that retains itself for a while. Settles to sticky lacing at the edge of the glass. Clear copper colored body.
S) Caramel. Yeasty. Hints of chocolate.
T) Pleasant malts up front and throughout - caramel, toasty, and slightly buttery. Finishes with a mellow hop bite.
M) Smooth. Lighter side of medium bodied. Dry finish.
O) A decent brew. I'd definitely drink another one.

Photo of papaglide
3.74/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- 1 finger head dissipates rather quickly

S- malt with sweet chocolate and a herbal hint of hops

T- the first thing to strike is a chocolate sweetness/slight bitterness combo. Then a slight maltiness mixed with a tiny hint of cocoa in the background arrives. The beer finishes kind of on the dry side with an ever so tiny bit of alcohol warmth. This beer is very well balanced.

M- Nice: not highly carbonated and on the thin side of middle but only by a hair. It's not at all chewy and not at all offensive.

O- This is a very nice beer: not outstanding but nice in an average kind of way. The style says bock, I say it's a very drinkable dunkel. But as a bock it is underwhelming, as a dunkel it is a nice average sample for the style.

Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is crystal clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high light beige head that only died down a bit and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark bread and cocoa powder in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the chocolate flavors are a little more prominent. They definitely taste more like cocoa powder and not milk chocolate. Hints of brown bread are also present. No bitterness is noticeable, but the hops prevent it from tasting too malty.
M: It feels a little more than light-bodied and airy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of dryness is noticeable.
O: The light and airy nature of this beer makes it very easy to drink and prevents it from feeling heavy.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light amber color, not much of a head and very little lacing, not as dark of a pour for something called "Chocolate Lager".

Smell is mostly caramel malt with a very subtle hint of cocoa, definitely on the sweet side.

Taste seems a bit watery, definitely wishing for more of a chocolate presence considering the sweet caramel malt is the largest aspect of this beer, it does have a crisp refreshing carbonation though.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with a best by date of MAR 31 2012. Pours a clear copper color with a small cap of beige head. Fades pretty quick and does not leave much lace.

Nose is sulfurous lager and a faint cocoa aroma. Not really sweet and the malts dont carry much heft, maybe some toasty caramel but pretty flabby overall.

Taste is much better as some of the sweetness comes out and the chocolate is light, smooth and tastefully done. Not bad...the mouthfeel is thin, being little more than the consistency of water though. I enjoyed trying this once, but its certainly one-dimensional and I dont really think Id want a whole sixer of this in the fridge. Although...on the other hand, this is probably the best one of the winter mix 12-pack my dad brought back from D.C. This pack was my first taste of the Saranac family, and I am pretty disappointed with all 6 I have tried thus far.

Photo of plaid75
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured round chocolate malts and a soft caramel malt.

The taste consisted of the same chocolate and caramel malt profile with a rough earthiness that livened up the flavor a bit.

The mouthfeel was toward the thinner side of the style.

Overall a tasty malt driven lager.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into standard pint glass.
Pours a darker amber/brown. Slight spongy foam.
Aroma is fantastic...chocolate, malts, coffee, and caramel. Taste is excellent as well. You really taste the chocolate, but is subtle and blends perfect with the malts.
This was ahuge surprise...especially when it didnt pour black! It seems that the chocolate really compliment with the typical Saranac flavor, malty. I really enjoyed this brew and would not hestitate to buy again.

Photo of blakelive784
2.52/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a pilsner glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a transparent, dark copper color with a fairly thin 2 finger head. Retention is pretty poor. Nothing special.

S - Caramel and pale malts, indistinct hops and a very slight nose of chocolate. Very mild in strength, and a bit uninteresting.

T - Toasted caramel and toffee open, then the chocolate finally comes through. It's a nice flavor, but it feels a pit out of place among the flavors created by the foundation. The chocolate seems almost artificial though, like hot cocoa powder.

M - Medium bodied, highly carbonated, slick on the finish. Not necessarily tailored to the flavors, but I like it.

D - I can get behind what this beer is trying to do. It's an inspired and different take on the style (though I'm pretty sure this isn't a Bock), but it's poorly executed.

Photo of claspada
3.48/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark copper color with a foamy, off-white head that recedes to leave minimal lacing.

Aromas begin with toasted bready maltiness, with a sprinkling of cocoa powder. There is some grainy malitness in there as well with a scant bit of caramel as it warms.

The tastes begin with some toasty, crackery pilsner maltiness, some light toasted nuttiness. Finially you get some light cocoa and some toffee sweetness and a light nondescript bitterness presumabley from some noble hops.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of light-bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is fairly dry and clean

Overall having this after Samuel Smith's Chocolate Stout was maybe not fair but this really lacked the flavor profile I was looking for. The lager yeast presumabley scrapped much of the sweet flavor out of this beer leaving a more clean balanced flavor profile, but maybe just the chocolate and lager combo aren't a match you see too often for a reason.

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Saranac Chocolate Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.