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Saranac Chocolate Lager - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Chocolate LagerSaranac Chocolate Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.

65 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 65
Hads: 174
Avg: 3.41
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 0
Gots: 6 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 174
Photo of alexkeil
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
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.

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Photo of 401J
2.79/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Beer 1 of a craft pack cracked, lip smacked , now I wanna give it back.

I make it a point to choose randomly when rocking out these variety 12's and this wasn't a good start.

Lack luster appearance.. I poured into a 12oz glass and once the brew settled in, it just shrugged its shoulders and took a nap.

The smell of chocolate was pronounced but not too appealing to me.. The flavor followed suit with an artifical chocolate taste very forward..

Not a bad mouthfeel.. But i'll end up feeding the second one to an in law come Christmas.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of mikeg67
2.95/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from a veriety pack. Pours amber with a long lasting, foamy, off-white head. Aroma is of bready, toasted malt, hints of hops and caramel. Body is medium and smooth. Taste is toasted malt, caramel, hint of herbal hops. Finish is medium lasting, slightly bitter. This was the first bottle from the pack I could finish.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - clear amber color with a off-white head that thinned to a light layer leaving spotty lacing.

S - nice cocoa aroma with sweet caramel malt in the background.

T - subtle chocolate blends in with caramel malt and there's a light bitterness towards the finish.

F - light/medium bodied with a easy drinking feel.

O - a likeable lager.

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Photo of mempath
4.65/5  rDev +36.4%
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.


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Photo of plaid75
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.09/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac Chocolate Lager is a crystal clear amber beer topped with a sand colored, waxy foam that has very good retention and lacing. It has a metallic aroma with a hint of grass and chocolate. It's medium bodied, a little watery with a slightly chalky finish. It's just a touch sweet and amply bitter. Something about it seems kind of salty. The chocolate fills the middle of the taste without much subtlety. It gets more bitter toward the end, with notes of wood, resin and metal. Well, I'm glad there's chocolate in there. I don't think this beer would stand up without it. It isn't great, but it isn't bad.

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Photo of DirtyPenny
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sitting pretty (well, sat pretty) in a Leffe goblet.

A: paler than expected; a bright, clear orange/red with a half-inch of tannish lacing. Not much in the foam sticking to the sides of the glass.

S: A mix of pilsner and chocolate syrup that never quite comes together. That is, the smells are both present but they're not mingling.

T: Lighter than the Sam Adams Chocolate Bock I recently had, which makes sense. You can really taste the light lager roots in this. They sort of stay off to the side and wait
for the chocolate to do its thing, then pop in and say, "yeah, so I'm beer, and I'm here too." That probably sounds overly negative. Really, it's not bad. Decent chocolate beer.
It will not cause a state of orgasmic bliss that lasts several hours though, only yoga can do that. Chocolate flavor actually seems to weakn as it warms.

M: Smooth, wet, and a little chalky, and dry on the finish. Soft, foamy carbonation.

O: Not bad. As for readily available winter chocolate beers, if presented with this and a Sam Adams Chocolate Bock, I'd go with the Sam. Good backup, and not a bad intro to chocolatey beers.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.92/5  rDev +15%
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.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.4/5  rDev -0.3%
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....

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a frothy off white head that hangs around.

Smells of chocolate, yeast, alcohol, caramel, floral notes and dark fruit.

Taste chocolate up front, with a roasted nut flavor followed by caramel notes. It has a dry rounded malty mouthfeel. This is a very good beer with a lot of great flavor, but it doesn't quite come together as well as it could. With a little more harmony, this would be truly great.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.46/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark amber color, transparent. Average to slightly above average carbonation. About a half finger of creamy head, good retention, good lacing on side of glass.

S- Not as much of a chocolate smell as I would have expected. Very faint chocolate/caramel smell. Mostly a malty smell with a little bit of hops. Can smell the alcohol a little bit.

T- At first the chocolate taste was very faint, however the more I drank it the more the chocolate came out as an aftertaste- sweet chocolate/caramel taste, but not overpowering.

M- Smooth, nice chocolate aftertaste makes for easy drinking.

O- A lot of chocolate beers have an overpowering chocolate taste that dominates the beer. This however is definitely not one of those. The chocolate taste is more of an aftertaste. I would have liked it to come out a little bit more, but it wasn't bad. It was one of the more interesting beers I've had to try this week. Not bad, but definitely could have been better.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.76/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of NODAK
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nose on this one is fairly faint...chocolate malts and a roasted note are present there but it isn't a very fragrant beer.

This beer tastes pleasant enough, although it's a bit light on flavor compared to where I'd like it to be. It definitely has a nice, silky chocolate malt taste to it, though it isn't quite as powerful as I'd like it to be as it sometimes is in other beers like this. The taste itself is good though, as I said, and is rather one-note. Towards the finish, there's a small roasted note and a tiny hop twinge....but again, really just dominated by the sweet chocolate malts on the body.

Easy drinking but nothing exciting. Decent. I could go for this sometimes, but only if I wasn't looking for something interesting.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.21/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle from Twelve Beers of Winter Collection :

Pours a clear ruddy brown body with a nice beige head. The head lasts a decent time, and laces the glass nicely. Aroma was malty, sweet and light. Taste is very appealing, the chocolate is not at all overpowering,but definately present.Very slightly slick.

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Photo of blakelive784
2.52/5  rDev -26.1%
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.

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

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.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.94/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - nothing chocolatey about it. Copperbrown "strong/old ale" appearance with 1 finger head.

Smell - Nice smell of malts and breads and some chocolate

Taste - A very nice beer by Saranac. Nicely balance chocolate flavors with that of their lagers. Slight crispness in the finish. Easy to drink. Nothing bold here, just very well balanced and pleasant.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied for a lager.

Overall - I think Saranac made a nice beer here that is quite sessionable. Enjoy!!!

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Photo of Arithmeticus
2.32/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured chilled in flared glass.

A: light caramel color; really nice, foamy head; carb is slow
S: almost nothing there
T: dry, bitter chocolate flavor; not sweet; bracing; spices are pretty minimal; tastes like a chocolate soda I once (and only once) had

Sorry, I don't recommend this one.

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Saranac Chocolate Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.