1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Saranac Chocolate Lager - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Chocolate LagerSaranac Chocolate Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

170 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 170
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 15.38%
Wants: 0
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Bock |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: mostpoetsdo on 11-27-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 170 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%

Best by 3/31/12.

Pours a clear iced tea color with a 2 inch foamy off-white head that settles to a small cap. Random small streaks of lace stick to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and some subtle chocolate aromas. Taste is of malt, artificial chocolate flavoring, and some herbal/citrus zest hops. There is a medium amount of bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that doesn't live up to the chocolate flavors I was expecting.

UCLABrewN84, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -11.2%

djrn2, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

metter98, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%

A new take on an old favorite! The taste and texture of German dunkel is complemented by both raw chocolate spice and also the strength of bock. The grainy-sweet but silky smooth flavors that ensue simply belong together.

Pouring frothy, deep, and dark- its garnet hue is brilliantly clear. Slightly off white, the foam that separates from the beer skirts the beer with a sheet of bubbles that proves long lasing and speckles the glass with lace. It's an impressive looking beer throughout.

Elegant aromas of toasted malt, light toffee, hazelnut, and freshly kilned cocoa nibs all give the supple and sultry scent of Nutella. But with background whiffs of cooked corn, starch, and alcohol, the beer breaks away from breakfast time nutrition and steps into the adult beverage world.

The common taste of German dunkel is alive and well here as the part-grain, part-malt balance gives up its caramelized sweetness and mild starchy flavor. Toast, light coffee, toffee, hazelnut, and clay earthiness gives the beer its robust taste and remarkable dryness. But just as the taste of dunkel settles in, the added complexity of chocolate enters in and gives the beer added smoothness, savory, and earthy spice that is pleasantly unexpected and carries the beer through the finish.

It's grainy-sweet texture is simply on par for dunkel, but the grain character is in danger of astringency if not for the creamy textures that are aided by the cocoa nibs. Nutty, creamy, and lightly slick to the palate, these textures further detract from the corn-like character of yeast. Its late fade from creaminess to semi-dryness falls just short of completion as the beer lingers with residual grain sweetness and cocoa oils.

Sell this beer as a dunkel and I'm all aboard. It's satisfactory and appealing with nuances of complexity that is unexpected yet rewarding. But as a self-sold chocolate infused bockbier, my mind is set on higher expectations.

BEERchitect, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
2/5  rDev -40.8%

GRG1313, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%

Part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter variety pack - $13.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

"BB MAR 31 2013"

Appearance: Pours a clear, light amber-hued body with a foaming, barely off-white head.

Smell: Well-toasted malts, though not overly effusive, given a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Very, very vague hop note lingering in there.

Taste: A start of toasty German malts, a scant nuttiness (also toasty), then some sweetness and, at last, some of the namesake chocolate coming through. A drop of apple now and then. Scant herbal-hinting hops with only a bit of bitterness. Body lightens and it closes out nearly dry, which is nice surprise.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: It's okay! Really, I'm just pleased it's not obnoxiously sweet or eye-rollingly artificial tasting.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%

This beer poured out as a clear looking brown color with a decent sized head on top. The smell of the beer was minimal, not too much chocolate on the nose but some lager-like aromas. The taste has a pretty good amount of chocolate actually. It kind of tastes a little artificial to me but still better than I expected from this company. The mouthfeel of the beer was rather smooth and was very drinkable. Overall I was surprised by this beer, I never expected what I got. I'm actually kind of glad I have one more bottle to open later.

Knapp85, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of zeff80
3.55/5  rDev +5%

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, off-white. It had a one-finger white head of foam.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate and roasty malt.
Some sweet caramel notes.

T - It tasted of bitter chocolate. Nice toasty malt with sweet caramel and toffee.

M - It was crisp, sharp and fairly smooth. A light to medium boied lager.

O - This is a nice chocolate lager. Another solid brew from Saranac.

zeff80, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
2.5/5  rDev -26%

JAHMUR, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%

WVbeergeek, Aug 28, 2014
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%

a very very interesting lager, pours a see through amber color with the tint of milk chocolate and a lasting frothy mocha head. smells like a brownie... a malt brownie. brimming with a pleasant chocolate aroma akin to hot cocoa in a beer. taste is more bitter than sweet chocolate, although the malts lend a sugar component. this is a lager, which is unique for sure, it somehow stays crisp and drinkable. a great new addition to the beers of winter.

StonedTrippin, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a medium white head, good retention, solid lace.

S: Cocoa, orange, some hoppiness.

T: Definite chocolate flavour up front. Some notes of bread. Definitely reminiscent of Sam Adams Chocolate Bock though maybe not as robust.

M: Light to medium-bodied with a biting carbonation, sweet aftertaste.

O: Quite an intriguing beer, I liked the flavours, another winner from the mix pack.

Halcyondays, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -22.2%

Best before March 31, 2013. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an Oskar Blues pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are low given the brewery. Acquired at Argonaut Liquor in Denver, Colorado as part of a Saranac variety box; all the others in the box were underwhelming to say the least.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger beige colour head of nice cream and thickness, and good retention. Body colour is a caramel-copper. Appears overcarbonated judging by the bubbles. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Pretty underwhelming for a chocolate lager.

Sm: Caramalt, sweet malts, and some floral hop character. Generic and bland. I don't get any chocolate at all. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. I'm none too excited for this one, lads. An average strength aroma.

T: Sweet and heavy on the caramel, with some good heavy-bodied malty bock notes. Some nice candi sugar notes are its only notable characteristic. It's rather simple, but it fills out nicely, hitting the demands of a bock - just not those of a "chocolate lager." Still, I'm glad it's a bock and not a schwarzbier. Lacks balance in spite of its simplicity. Built in a boring fashion, but it's enjoyable in a general sense; I do love beer itself after all. There's little to say about it given how little is going on.

Mf: Sticky, light, smooth, wet. Poor palate presence. It does feature good thickness, satisfying style conventions. Overall, it doesn't complement the flavour profile that well.

Dr: Drinkable but underwhelming. A boring bland beer that in no way satisfies its declared style. This is not at all a chocolate lager. I wouldn't have it again, but it isn't horribly priced. Another forgettable beer from a mediocre brewery. I'm unsurprised they brew for Costco.

C-

kojevergas, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

oriolesfan4, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +20.7%

More bottles from my latest Philly run. I am feeling adventurous today and may try to eradicate the bottle backlog that has been an albatross since school started back.

My thanks to whomever transcribed the verbiage on the bottleneck onto the "Notes" section. It saves me a whole lot of work!

From the label: "Beer brewed with cacao nibs with natural flavors added".

The pour created two fingers of fragile, tawny head that fell like a souffle in an oven whose door had just been banged shut. It left nice lacing in its wake, though, so for that, Cheers! Color was a deep amber with NE-plus quality clarity, enabling me to see both through walls and into the future. Nose was chocolate, but a different chocolate than the Atwater that I reviewed earlier. This seemed somehow more authentic, like raw unprocessed chocolate. Nice. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not as dense as Atwater VoodooVator, but still pretty massive in the mouth. I am really glad that I drank this shortly after the Atwater Dark Chocolate as it gives me a greater appreciation for Saranac's craft. It was chocolaty, but subtly so. The chocolate had an unprocessed taste, as though the nibs were added almost as an afterthought. The finish was dry, believe me or don't! This is going to disappoint a lot of people who may be expecting a liquid chocolate bar, but for those of us who do not dig that sort of thing, this was perfect.

woodychandler, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +17.8%

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.

tempest, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.29/5  rDev -2.7%

LOOK: Pours a medium copper color, with a dense off white foam. The head sticks around for a few minutes and laces the glass appropriately.

SMELL: Roasted malt, caramel and a hint of powdery chocolate.

TASTE: Toasted malt, caramel and a small hit of watery chocolate. Bready and lager like with an underpinned cocoa flavor. Mild and kind of bland, but agreeable and decently drinkable.

Has a medium bodied feel with a slightly benign flavor. Decent beer, the chocolate is honed down here. I'd have it again.

Stinkypuss, Mar 18, 2013
Photo of ppoitras
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Saranac winter mixed 12-pack at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a nonic, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear burnished amber brew. Head falls slowly, with coating sticky lacing. Aroma is lightly sweet with a vegetal tinge.

Taste begins sweet, lightly chalky chocolate in the middle, which carries on through to the end with a light bitterness. Bit of a sour aftertaste. Mouthfeel is quite smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice to see a flavored brew from Saranac that isn't overpoweringly artificial like some I've had.

ppoitras, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of plaid75
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%

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.

plaid75, Nov 07, 2012
Photo of tdm168
3.48/5  rDev +3%

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.

tdm168, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of tobelerone
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%

This is a nice looking beer; very clear dark copper color, with a good sized, slowly sinking head. Lacing is a bit weaker but leaves patches up and down the glass. Simple aroma is mostly sweet breadiness from the caramel and chocolate malts; faintly floral hops underneath.

Also a simple but appealing flavor; light cocoa sitting on top of caramel malt; just a hint of the hops in there; more grass than floral notes. Nothing really dominates; even the chocolate is subtle. On the sweet side but certainly not excessively so.

Good mouthfeel, crisp, medium-high carbonation that falls just shy of being prickly. Body isn’t too thin and everything feels right for a lager-style beer. Not bad; don’t go into this one expecting a big chocolate presence however.

tobelerone, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of vfgccp
2/5  rDev -40.8%

vfgccp, Nov 01, 2012
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%

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.

twiggamortis420, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of claspada
3.48/5  rDev +3%

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.

claspada, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of puboflyons
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%

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.

puboflyons, Feb 04, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Saranac Chocolate Lager from Matt Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.