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Saranac Chocolate Orange - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Chocolate OrangeSaranac Chocolate Orange

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

40 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 40
Hads: 143
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 4.59%
Wants: 10
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 40 | Hads: 143
Photo of riversider76
2.91/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours almost black with a thin tan head. Excellent retention, and very nice lace. Aroma is of dark chocolate, and cocoa. Body is on the light side with some carbonation. Taste is of bitter dark chocolate. There is no hint of Orange. This is supposed to be a Baltic Porter? Not very good. This brewery continues to disappoint. (325 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a nearly pitch black color. The head is a finger high and mocha in shade. Its creaminess is nice, though the head's duration is lacking. Very little lacing is left on the glass. (3.75)

Smell: Chocolate comes through well, in a milky and almost earthen way. This note mixes very well with the powerful roasted malt presence. Despite what other reviewers are saying, I also get a touch of orange peel. Letting it open up will reveal some brown sugar and molasses. Fairly complex, too - good work, Saranac. (3.75)

Taste: The flavor doesn't work quite as well. It starts of with a dry, roasty flavor, reminiscent of baker's cocoa. This transitions into a gentle tartness - orange peel? The aforementioned orange peel does come through, but only very subtly. It finishes with an earthy note. I don't think it's very balanced; while there are some nice individual notes, they don't come together spectacularly. (3)

Mouthfeel: Its roasted presence makes it somewhat astringent post-swallow. Despite that, it manages to reasonably nail that stout holy grail of being creamy to start and dry to finish. Carbonation pricks the tongue slightly. (3.5)

Overall: Not a fantastic porter/stout, truth be told. It has a few good elements (I can pick up slight orange peel, for instance), but it doesn't really coalesce that well. On the other hand, I could see this aging quite well. Right now, it's worth a try, but not worth seeking out. (3.25)

3.33/5: Not bad, it just needs more cohesion (1,524 characters)

Photo of kawilliams81
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours a dark brown with a 2" dark brown head. Random big blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- Chocolate, orange peel, and some alcohol.

T- faint chocolate and roasted malts, and bitter orange peel.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Abv stands out some and effervescent at the finish.

O- Chocolate and orange isn't the first fruit/chocolate pairing that would come to mind. Beer is actually pretty good and has a nice bitter orange peel aroma and flavor. Worth a try but not sure I would have again. (567 characters)

Photo of InkedinRi
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a very Boozy beer! I would think cellaring this would be great! I get chocolate, slight orange in the taste. But the alcohol overpowers most of the taste. Not very impressed. In a year or two of sitting mite be a really good beer. (238 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
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. (717 characters)

Photo of Sonofalime
3.49/5  rDev -11%
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. (164 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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. (866 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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.. (928 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (733 characters)

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (663 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (655 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (380 characters)

Photo of JudoJeff
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It pours from a 12oz bottle with very little head. The color is very dark brown, nearly black with the head having a slight orange tint to the otherwise lighter brown. The smell is pretty strong with chocolate with no real hints of orange. Mouthfeel is over-all smooth but with sharp carbonation coming late. Taste is dark and slightly bitter chocolate. There is hardly any orange taste, just a bit of an aftertaste. It would be easy to confuse this with just another chocolate porter. Over-all quite good. (506 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (831 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev -1%
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. (1,332 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (576 characters)

Photo of Suds
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (596 characters)

Photo of PicoPapa
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (403 characters)

Photo of BigPlay1824
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a deep black that looks like motor oil with a two finger head that is fluffy and mocha in color which lingers quite nicely before leaving alot of thick lacing around the glass
S: very nice dark chocolate malts in the forefront and then a beautiful orange zest towards the end
T: great chocolate malts in the front, purely dark chocolate, then towards the very end, and just briefly, has a slight zest from the orange, it is almost indiscernible but its there if you seek it out, drinks nicely, dark chocolate malts linger on the palate long afterwards
M: smooth, extremely gentle carbonation, drinks very thickly, leaves the mouth with a thick coating and not a dryness as i would attribute to hops but a dryness like that of powdered chocolate, its nice on the palate overall
O: ive really been loving the offerings that have been coming out from saranac as of late and, as far as im aware, this is going to be just the beginning (964 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a half of a finger of caramel-colored head that dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic with tons of sweet chocolate up front, like a candy bar, followed by bready, roasted malt, which imparts notes of freshly toasted bread, topped with Nutella®, as well as aromas of brown sugar and hints of dark stone fruit and burnt orange. Rich, earthy, sweet, complex, delicious and inviting!

Taste: Wow! Very, very good! Delicious, actually! Tons of roasted malt and dark chocolate up front, a big, malty chocolate bomb of a beer! There is also strong flavors of caramel, an hint of cinnamon and orange peel. Quite delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and very smooth and creamy as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 9.0%, there is just a hint of alcohol on the palate. I’m amazed, actually at how well masked the alcohol is. You can barely taste it!

Overall: I’m not really a fan of most of Saranac’s beer. They’re not bad, just very forgettable. That being said, this one is extremely good and solid! Delicious, in fact! I love the malty, chocolaty flavors kissed with orange peel. I’d certainly get this beer again! (1,339 characters)

Photo of Marraybay
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow: So much potential here. Really great lacing and head; great thickness. Excellent mouthfeel: smooth, creamy, great upfront sweetness. The only downside in this one for me is the alcohol. Just a bit too forward/pronounced in both the nose and the finish. If this could be toned down a tad (7%, 6%, etc.) this would really be fantastic. Still enjoyed and would like to have a few more while available, but again, just a bit too boozy to really be a home run: (more like a ground rule double!) The idea of cellaring--which some have mentioned, would be an interesting one to try. Note - like others, didn't get the orange; Non-existent for me. Didn't really affect my opinion--still like--but I can understand why others might be disappointed given the hype. (768 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +2%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +2%
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. (513 characters)

Photo of gr0g
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pitch black in color with a head that's one finger tall. The foam is sticky but only minor lace formation is exhibited. Dark cocoa is abundant in the aroma. Orange peel is there, but it's very faint, and perhaps even all in my head. Otherwise, it's chocolate and charred malt all the way.

Tons of bittersweet chocolate in the flavor. Sweet/dry balance is pretty good, with roasted malt and hops both contributing to a nice, balancing bitterness. Some fusel alcohol on the finish, but it's not too potent. All in all, this is drinking quite similarly to Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Coincidentally, Matt F.X. contract brews all of Brooklyn's 12oz bottle offerings, including BCS. Even the textures are similar, although this has a carbonation that's both less abundant and more prickly. Still, it's appropriately thick and chewy for the style.

Usually I shy away from Saranac beers, but I received this as a gift and was pleasantly surprised. This is good to drink now but may show more complexity with age. (1,011 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on sale at Gary's in Wayne a week or two back, having seen this on sale for $3.99. I was intrigued by a 22 oz. beer from Saranac and without a doubt, this was the best beer that I ever had from them. The alcohol wasn't that detectable and the combination of chocolate and blood orange flavors meshed nicely together since neither one overpowered the other.

The pour to this was wonderful with a nice, full dark body and tan head that filled up the remainder of my glass and just wouldn't quit. It looked like dessert and was just as rich as an after-dinner meal since the cocoa nibs were strong and bitter without overpowering the valencia flavors that mixed in with it. Having a blood orange taste was a great choice since it has the body but not the acidity of citrus and it fully showed here. The alcohol was strong enough toe complement this flavor pairing and allowed me to enjoy this slowly, without gouging on it.

I could taste the booze a bit and was just a bit affected by it when I made my way to the end of the bottle. This wasn't what I expected at all and the roasted and creamy notes to this beer give it a nice body without weighing it down. Lots of foods like mousse cake or pudding would go well with this but lets face it, when you get a beer this works this well on its own, just enjoy the work of art for what it is. Props to Matt for pushing the boundaries with this and redefining the potential of what a Saranac beer can be. (1,465 characters)

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Saranac Chocolate Orange from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.