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Saranac Chocolate Orange - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Chocolate OrangeSaranac Chocolate Orange

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

138 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 138
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.91%
Wants: 9
Gots: 18 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CloudStrife on 03-02-2012

Saranac Chocolate Orange is a limited edition small batch brew from our "High Peaks" series, a line of beers that are bigger, more complex and flavorful. Brewed as a full bodied robust Baltic-style porter with five different hops and four different malts, this beer pushes the porter style to a new level.

We start with generous amounts of chocolate malt, and then add blood orange peel. In fermentation, the finest hand-selected, purest cacao nibs are added to enhance the chocolate malt flavor. Look for a dark chocolate roasted flavor finished off with a unique surprise from blood orange peel, making this an extra special treat!
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Jason
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

A big-ass Baltic-Style Porter with blood orange peel and cacao nibs. Big on darkness with a brown lacing on top. Big nose and palate of dark fruit and highly roasted grain, both of which give off suggestions of dark fruit and coffee ... chocolate comes from the cacao nibs obviously. Massive chewy body and the 9.0% abv is noticeable, there is some orange peel in here but this beer is just too big for it really to make a good showing. Perhaps there is a pinch of it middle to end but pretty damn subtle. Also, the addition of cacao could easily be confused for additions of dark malt ... if it was not on the label I would not even think about it. Regardless, good drinking all around.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I gotta say I was a little intrigued to see Matt going out and making a beer like this,I have had mixed feelings about their High Peaks series,this was a hands down big winner.Pours nearly jet black except for some ruby tinge when held in the light,a thick rocky deep mocha colored head atop.The aromas are really nice they just don't jump out ya,the blood orange comes thru along sweetish chocolate and sweet alcohol with a bit of roast as well.Really nice complexity on the palate with a mix of bittersweet chocolate,blood orange,sweet alcohol,and a healthy roastiness and earthy finish.I went back and forth on the mouthfeel between 3.5-4 and 4 and went with the 4 because it did coat the mouth and it did glide down easy.This is a great Baltic porter,the Matt guys put some real care into this and didn't cut corners,I loved it.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single 22oz bottle from Consumer Beverages in Orchard Park NY. Picked up two of them, review is from the second.

Poured into a nonic. Dark chestnut brown, with a thin tan head that survives as a thick ring. Decent legs on this brew, some lacing.

Nose is dark chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, and a touch of sweetness.

Certainly a decent porter, no question there, with a nice chocolate sweetness, roasted malt, and dark chocolate bitterness. Really didn't get the orange flavor here, and this was a bit disappointing.

Nice body, good creamy texture.

Good porter, but I really didn't get the orange flavor they were going for. Worth trying, at any rate.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful looking dark beer with big chewy tan foam head, the lacing is thick and beautiful between sips. The body is dark, doesn't let any light through it. The aroma has big ballsy cocoa nibs and orange fruit notes of citric bursts, clean beautiful cohesion coming through. Flavor full dark malt flavors come forth with a hint of orange peel flowing along big sweet maltiness balanced with dark roass. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied with even smooth flowing carbonation, pretty nice beer from Saranac...it's hard to believe they're making beer like this in Utica NY.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into snifter. No dating on bottle but at checkout I was told it arrived an hour before.

A: Pours a thick pitch black with a 2 finger khaki head that fizzles down to a thin film within a few minutes. Lacing from the head before I sip and would of been more if I didnt keep swirling the glass. Cant even get any light through when tilting the glass.

S: Lot going on with the smell. You can easily pull out the chocolate, hints of orange too. But to my surprise there is a lot of hop aroma. Grassy and citrus hops which I feel compliment the chocolate and orange respectively.

T: Interesting approach on a Baltic Porter here. Starts off with a creamy chocolate taste before some orange pulls through and a slight alcohol tinge. Finishing with chocolate. Please note all of this is amped up with 5 types of hops giving this some IBU all the way through. A little smokey with some great roasted malt in between sips.

M: Feels creamy in the mouth with ample carbonation. Finishes a little sticky with the resins from the hops. Not too boozy feeling for 9%.

Overall worth a try and a good Porter. I've never been a huge fan of orange chocolate myself so maybe others will like more. Would think this would improve well with aging as the hops tone down and the beer mellows out.

Photo of tdm168
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pitch black with a thin, thick, brown head that has decent retention

S - big, rich chocolate and roasted malts

T - rich chocolate, roasted malt, faint orange peel

M - medium to full bodied, well carbonated, smooth

This has great flavor. It's rich, chocolaty and roasty. It's smooth and unique. If I see this on the shelves again, I will definitely buy another bomber.

Photo of tempest
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber from Brilbeck's in Syracuse. The orange doesn't come out until you give this beer time to warm up, but once it's there, the orange peel makes a fine complement to the dark malts. The chocolate here isn't that strong. The barley has a clean roasted brown malt flavor in addition to the cocoa, and I can't say I taste the cacao nibs at all. The orange component tastes sweet and a little juicy, but it doesn't overshadow the barley. The body is light for a 9% ABV porter, but not inappropriately so, and not surprising for a Saranac beer. Overall, it makes a nice, not too heavy dessert beer with the classic orange and chocolate pairing.

Photo of thagr81us
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured a massively dark brown (almost black) with a half finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount very quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, citrus, orange zest, and roasted malt. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, orange, milk chocolate, and subtle dark fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. If I am honest here, I really don’t know what they were trying to do… While the chocolate and orange aspect was definitely there, I’m not sure it worked so great together. Luckily there was some dark fruit character going on to help add a nice medium to the brew. Otherwise this one could have been a disaster. Worth trying at least once, but I would leave it at that.

Photo of Treyliff
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- pours dark brown, nearly black with a small, fizzy dark-tan head that reduces quickly, leaving just a small ring, no lace

S- roasted cacao nibs, smoked meat, charred wood, chocolate and a bit of earthy hop notes. Really liking the smoky notes

T- smoky and roasted malts highlight a rich and creamy chocolate flavor, notes of cacao with some woodsy earthy tones, light herbal hop gives way to a dry-yet-sweet rich chocolate finish, just a bit of alcohol on the finish. I can't taste any orange while drinking, but the linger leaves a zesty citrus kick that provides a tasty finish

M- medium body and moderate carbonation, super creamy mouthfeel leads to a smooth and velvety finish, warming alcohol barely noticed.

O- I was very surprised by this one. It had about a year of age on it and I think that it brought out some of the chocolaty notes. They should make this a winter seasonal because its without a doubt my favorite beer from Saranac

Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- Robust Baltic porter with a blood orange peel and cacao nibs.

A: Dark chocolate pour is viscose upon the exit showing a tawny brownish-orange colored head that was frothy and sturdy retention wise. Great thick coverage on the glass with concentric foam rings adds to the visual.

S: Sweet chocolate covered cherries first come to mind. Coffee roast was fresh and dark with added orange peels.

T: The flavor was bitter and dark roast, hearty with a bit of French roast nature. Dark fruit with the cacoa nibs adding deep tones to the already dark malt base. Bitter burnt chocolate with small flashes of sweet creamy orange manage to sneak through. The 5 different hops utilized seem to have been a waste and could have been easily omitted with little flavor aspect missed. Burnt pine and burnt wood rounds things out.

M: Frothy mouthful nice body with a silty coffee roast feel on the tongue. Bitter with a stinger of coffee laced alcohol.

O: A bit blunt at first, the chocolate and coffee roast are dark and dominating while the alcohol surely flexes its muscle as well. It takes a few sips but things do smooth out a bit once your tongue becomes accustomed to the heavy handed roasty and alcohol nature. Saranac definitely amped things up a bit from their usual offering here with a dark silty roasty treat worhty of a try.

Photo of Beejay
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Black, like coal at midnight. The head is thick and dense, and a deep tan color.

S: I lift the glass to my nose, and suddenly it is like I am riding a dark chocolate water slide to malt town. I'm being propelled on my rich caramel inner tube by jets of earthy hop aroma, and bitter chocolate.

T: Deep and dark, with coffee and chocolate. Some earthy flavors and espresso follow through the finish. There might be a hint of orange in the finish, just a hint of peel, but perhaps I am putting it there because it says it on the label.

M: Heavy mouth feel, the carbonation is fine, smooth, and adds to the creamy mouth feel.

O: Overall it is a great stout.... I mean err.. robust porter.. But I think when you put Chocolate Orange on the label, you better make damn sure you can pick out the orange.. Really tasty.. Really chocolatey... But the Orange is MIA, it seems to possibly pick up a little as it warms but still..

Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep black, two finger deep brown head head

S-Chocolate, roasted malt, some orange, not much (Black Butte XXIII had more)

T-Starts with roasted and bunch of chocolate, some bitterness, once again not much orange.

M-Medium bodied, very carbonated and creamy but a little thin.

O-As far as Imperial Porters with orange go with one does not measure up to BBXXIII, it is still a decent beer but not as good.

Photo of ProfessorHomer
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black, dark brown edges under strong light. Towering, thick tan head with dark brown highlights. Head lasts, with very nice lacing.

S: Coffee, first note then of dark, dark 90% chocolate. Some raisins/dates. Arousing. Interesting, no pronounced alcohol evident.

T: Immediately strong coffee: French, dark roasted coffee. Background dark chocolate note develops. Dark roasted chocolate malts. Some raisiny edge. Sorry, very little orange to this palate. Alcohol barely evident - quite a trick to hide at 9%!

Mouthfeel: Great carbonatation, creamy, wet and smooth. I must compliment another taster who said that it that "carried the flavors marvelously." Marvelously indeed! So creamy!

Summary: By far, THE BEST I've ever had from Saranac. Ever. Living in Albany, I've been there many, many times for all their beers and a number of special events. This beer is OUTSTANDING! Whilst labeled a baltic porter, this big, complex, balanced beer has a lot going on. How's they hide the 9% abc so well? A genus of a beer! Highly recommended!

Photo of oline73
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into my Hunahpu's snifter.

Appearance: This beer pours an opaque dark brown color with just under half a finger of light tan head that quickly fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: This is a sweet porter, lots of roast and dark fruit. Sweet chocolate and some mild citrus as well.

Taste: Not as sweet as the smell would lead you to believe. I'm getting some bitter sweet chocolate. There is some citrus in the finish along with a roasty bitterness. Not quite as full as I thought it would be from the smell.

Mouthfeel: The body starts out thick and creamy with large bubbles. By the end of the sip, the body seems to thin out a bit. The finish is slick.

Overall: This beer was better than I thought it would be. The orange wasn't very strong, but it was a nice addition to the roast. I'd have another.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well I paid the premium on this one a whopping 10 bucks. Judging by other reviews I have paid at least 3 dollars more than I should but it still should be a nice limited release beer.

A - Wow never have I seen anything so viscous by Saranac! Actually it seems to be one of the thickest porters I have ever seen with a deep black color and a nice 1/2 inch of deep dark mocha head.

S - Smells of mostly roast and coffee qualities with some cocoa from the nibs. Actually smells pretty stout like with very little smell of any orange at all.

T - Well you do get a lot of dry roast reminding you it's a porter but in no way does it get too dry since the cocoa nibs do their thing giving it a touch of sweet and creaminess. I want to place some orange in the finish next to the bittering hops, which again I am surprised this has quite a hop bite. Not bad!

M - Medium in body it looks rather thick but drinks like a full bodied porter.

Overall I found this one at a shop notorious for jacking up bomber prices so if you find this for under 8 bucks pick it up. Agreeing with everyone in saying this is the best beer these guys ever put out!

Photo of atr2605
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours black with a one fingerwidth dark tan colored head with fairly good retention
S-chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and a low hop bitterness
T-big chocolate flavor up front mixed with rich coffee flavor, and the hop bitterness keeps the sweetness from being overbearing. Orange is quite settle and mainly comes through in the finish.
M-medium full bodied with low carbonation
O-not a bad porter but expected more orange in the flavor, and there was almost no orange in the nose. I liked it but could needed more emphasis on the orange, Still recommend

Photo of Mohican88
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: Virtually black with a 2 finger khaki head that slowly recedes. Fairly impressive lacing develops throughout the course of drinking.

Smell: Dark chocolate and earthy hops persist, seems to be lacking a citrus punch but still very appealing.

Taste: Quick burst of orange upfront that is quickly enveloped by bittersweet chocolate, chocolate malt, and roasted barley. Finishes semi-dry with a pleasant lingering earthiness and slight alcohol warmth as the beer opens up. I'm looking for more orange but don't find it other than right at the forefront of each sip.

Mouthfeel: This was very a impressive part of the beer for me. The carbonation level was perfect and created an incredibly smooth and creamy mouthfeel that carried the flavors marvelously.

Overall: Probably the best offering Saranac has produced to date. If you did not tell me this beer was supposed to contain orange I would not have explicitly known, but regardless this beer is a fantastic baltic porter. This beer would be excellent with vanilla ice cream and I'd even be willing to give it a shot with orange sherbet or sorbet.

Photo of PicoPapa
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap. Pours a dark black with an inch of frothy brown head. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, and some citrus. Lots of lacing. Flavors of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and some orange peel. Bitter dark chocolate. A bit smoky. Does have some chocolate orange flavor to it, but more dark chocolate than orange. Still, well done. Heavy mouthfeel. Overall, i am impressed. Worth seeking out for sure.

Photo of Rifugium
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at the Farmhouse, Burlington, VT

Half pour (thankfully) served in a 6oz. wine glass, deep, dark brown-black color, capped with a nice foamy mocha head. Aroma of roasty dark malts, coffee notes, probably about robust enough to be a stout. Taste of dark malts, roasty, cocoa, with a hint of citrus and pine in the finish, and a ubiquitous booziness throughout. I got more booze than anything in this one really, and it detracted from the mouthfeel quite a bit. Body is no more than middle-of-the-road medium, leaving no doubt that this is no stout, low carbonation, which was good considering it wasn't very smooth otherwise. Pretty decent overall, but I wouldn't want any more than the sample I had.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Drinking this bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. The beer pours a dark cola brown with frothy yet densely packed tan head of 1 cm foaming up and fading slowly to nothing throughout the sampling.
Aroma is rich chocolate malt and dark cocoa, I also get roasted notes with some mild coffee burnt hits and some brown sugar. Generally pleasant yet not super robust and in your face. I dont get any hops here.
First sip reveals an average body with smooth creamy texture and fine rolling carbonation.
The flavor is rich malt with dark cocoa and chocolate sweetness dominating, I get some roasted malt and just a hint of sweet fruitiness on the finish of each sip. There is some warming booze on the swallow of each sip. The beer is more robust on flavor and body than nose and definitely poses a bigger undertaking to finish than anticipated.
The beer is tasty and suitable for the style, I dont get a whole lot of the orange peel or fruit anywhere, but it is a chocolate heavy brew and perfect for a late winter evening.
I would recommend that Saranac makes this a winter seasonal release.

Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1/4" head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: chocolate and roasted tones come through to the nose. Some alcohol is detectable.

Taste: roasted malt, dark bitter chocolate, alcohol, and a decent bitterness. The orange tones are very subdued and hard to detect.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and dry at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a very drinkable baltic porter that leans towards the chocolate side. Pretty good beer here.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared by Bruce, thanks for the opportunity!
Solid dark brown with a stingy off white head. Aromas of milk chocolate and caramel with hints of earth. The flavor is mostly caramel and chocolate with a hint of citrus. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a creamy silky mouthfeel. Not a bad beer, but I would have liked a bit of orange as I found almost none.

Photo of Suds
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Okay, so my wife loves those chocolate oranges that you see during the holidays. Well, I guess that I just assumed that it would be similar...wow...what was I thinking?
So, the beer is not really orangey...it does have a notable chocolate malt character, present both in the aroma and the taste. Roasted, malty, a bit woody. Somewhat sweet. The smell has a fleeting spiciness and floral quality...like orange blossoms...but not a real orange flavor. Full in body, but just a tad thin in the latter finish. Well balanced. Lots of flavor. I like this beer, but it's not a chocolate orange for sure.

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a thick, pitch black into my Bruery glass. Fat two finger dark tan head floats effortlessly and leaves a decent bit of oily lacing as it drips away.

S- Roasted chocolate malt, charred wood, slighty bitter black coffee and a touch of zesty orange peel as it warms. Not sure if hops play much into this at all, or if it's just the added orange peel. Definately some hints of citrus buried beneath the chocolate malt bomb that is this imperial porter/stout.

T- Really comes alive as you let it warm... Bittersweet cocoa, light coffee notes, and a wonderful hidden yet upfront citrus punch. Little touches of caramel, and some figs and dried fruit. This is really impressive from what is normally an unimpressive brewery.

M- Not overly thick, but thicker than alot of more highly rated stouts. Like eating a chocolate covered tangerine. Nice notes of citrus, coffee and of course bittersweet chocolate roll and dance on the tongue. I really dig the way the citrus peel and chocolate mingle and stick to the tongue.

O- I have got to pick up some more of this. Especially some to send out in trades. Reminds me a little bit of Stone VE 09/09/09 but thicker and more chocolatey. Very well done Saranac... very well done indeed!

Photo of Sonofalime
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Smelt like the chocolate oragne that gets cracked open. Taste wasn't too far off but wasn't my cup of tea. If you like porters it's a nice variation to the genre.

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Saranac Chocolate Orange from Matt Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.