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Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company

Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

645 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 645
Reviews: 432
rAvg: 3.12
pDev: 22.76%

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-05-2001)
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Ratings: 645 | Reviews: 432 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of kbuldier

New York

4.65/5  rDev +49%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Loved this beer! It has an amazing taste, look and feel to it. The malty caramel combo was perfect, especially during the winter. Plus the buzz I got from it was pretty nice. Definitely would have this again. It isn't available all year around so I plan on stocking up once it comes back.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 18:31:57 | More by kbuldier
Photo of GreesyFizeek

New York

2.98/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

On tap at Marshall Street Bar and Grill. Have heard bad things about this one, but it was on special for 2.50 a point, so figured it was now or never.

Pours a dark brown, almost black. No real head to speak of. No lacing, either.

Tastes palatable for about 3-4 oz, then gets weird and bad. Tastes like some sort of caramel extract you'd put into coffee. Overly sugary and cloying, making it a chore to get this one down.

The mouthfeel was boring. The body was thin, with low carbonation.

Not suggested unless you can get it for super cheap.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2014 06:23:08 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of undeadozzy


3.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured vigorously into a pint glass, huge head retention. Deep brown color with solid white head. So far, so good.

S - Caramel. I could smell the caramel the second I opened this bottle, it's overwhelming. I can pick up on some saltine cracker and toffee, but the caramel is too dominant.

T - First I get some maltiness, a twang of some hop bitterness, and then a wall of gooey sweetness. It's overly sweet, by no means bad tasting. Tastes like a caramel-flavored baked good, like a cake. Very heavy and whole. Huge tones of pound cake and some maybe a hint of honey or molasses, but the big thing here is the caramel, and there's almost too much of it.

M - The thickness in the flavor adds a certain heaviness to the actual feel of the beer, a little too syrupy and thick for my tastes, but at least it's not watery.

O - All in all, not a bad beer, just proves too much is bad. Definitely a dessert or after-dinner drink, way too much for session drinking. I imagine it would be enjoyable on a cold fall evening with a piece of warm pie or some cobbler. Good dessert beer, bad session beer, but overall a good porter, albeit a little too sweet.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 00:47:46 | More by undeadozzy
Photo of illpass78


3.34/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with some ruby reddish notes. Held to the light, it's clear and a deep reddish brown with heavy carbonation. On the light end of the color spectrum for a porter.

Aroma: Lots of caramel and burnt sugar in the nose. Also some toast, toffee and barley. It has kind of a wheat cracker note as well. Caramel and sugar dominate, though.

Taste: Unsurprisingly, it's very sweet. Caramel and sugar dominate on the palate. Dark malts are also very noticeable. It's very dessert-like; it would be pretty weird to pair with a meal. It's right on the cusp of being too sweet and having a cloying character, but it's just on the right side of that line. Non-fans of sweet beer would not be into this, but then again, why would someone who doesn't like sweet beer drink a caramel porter?

Mouthfeel: It's kind of watery for a porter. Lacks body. I've been trying a lot of sweet/dessert-style porters lately and this is definitely one of the most watery. That said, it's an easy beer to drink. You could session this, if you wanted, but that would be a lot of sweetness. I wouldn't.

Overall: A solid effort from Saranac, one of the grand old men of the NY beer scene. It's a decent dessert porter that has enough depth and complexity to avoid being just a sugar-bomb. Would probably drink this again if it were the sole craft porter/stout on draft; otherwise, I'm happy to have had it once.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 02:16:42 | More by illpass78
Photo of Stranger5582

New York

3.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Color is dark, dark brown. I nearly confused it for black.

Smell: Sweet.

Taste: I taste grain and caramel, but both feel understated.

Mouthfeel: Medium body . The finish is pleasant, but reminds me more of an ale than a porter.

Overall: I may have this beer again, perhaps in a float. Maybe not, on second thought, it tasted like a caramel-flavored ale. However, it was nice to have a Saranac that was missing the characteristic hop-laden flavoring that makes many of their beers taste like an IPA.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2014 05:41:44 | More by Stranger5582
Photo of hosehead83


3.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown with some ruby highlights-big head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Toasted malt, caramel
Taste-Faint roasted barley, caramel, toasted malt, nutty. A bit light-bodied and the flavors don't blow your doors off, but overall a decent, innofensive, affordable brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 17:47:08 | More by hosehead83
Photo of sommersb


2.6/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Tasted On: 12-15-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Shaker pint
Purchased: 6-pack from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

Appearance: Color is dark brown and looks like a cola. The head is a good size, off-white in color, with good lacing and retention.

Smell: Candy-like and sweet, with vanilla, caramel and raisins.

Taste: Malty and sweet, with no hop bitterness. I get some type of vegetable-like off flavors. The vanilla tastes fake as well, so overall not a great taste experience.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with average carbonation. The finish has roasted grains for some bitterness, plus sweetness from the malts and additives.

Overall: This beer was not a hit with me -- there were some off-flavors in the taste and the additives just made it taste like imitation flavors.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 04:31:52 | More by sommersb
Photo of Cylinsier


3.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz.

Pours a deep clear nut brown, light yellowish film for a head.

Smells of biscuits and caramel with a light vanilla element.

Biscuit malts with a light brown sugar and caramel flavor, some vanilla and cocoa.

Medium body with coarse tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

A fairly average porter, decent flavor but disappointing body. Worth trying but probably not worth going out of your way to find. There are plenty of better porters.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 02:18:34 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of redzone3120


3.56/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Very dark color, almost black at first appearance. When held up to the light, the color is a heavy dull brown color. The head is a light creamy color that is very light. The head disappeared quickly after the pour.

S - Not very strong, at least not for what I was expecting. It has a slightly sweet malted aroma with a possibly hint of citrus.

T - I really don't taste much of the caramel over the strong porter flavor. It is also quite bitter to me. Also has notes of coffee and a slight taste a creme.

M - Very smooth and fine. Nice carbonation. All around a nice balance that works well with the heaviness of the flavor.

D - Its a unique porter beer though the novelty wore off for me about half way through. Good twist on the porter style.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2013 01:50:21 | More by redzone3120
Photo of Mollys2ltl


4.8/5  rDev +53.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful head. Delicious beer, the label describes it as having a caramel taste but it's more buttery than sweet. It has a molasses flavor but not too strong. The flavor is maintained throughout the glass as it warmed, we served it at about 45 degrees initially. We drank it with a spicy chili and thought it was delicious, and then had sweets afterward and it was still great.

We were lucky to get a case, apparently a regular shopper at one of our local PA beer distributors buys every case they get in their shipments. Two couples shared the case and everyone thoroughly enjoyed Caramel Porter.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2013 20:05:59 | More by Mollys2ltl
Photo of Slatetank


3.1/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I had this on tap at Peachtree Lounge in Harrisburg -served chilled in a pint.

The color is deep cola brown with mild ruddy highlight with translucent clarity and quick to fall cream cap. The smell is sweet as in caramel aroma sweetness with subtle hint of malt and light yeast fruitiness. The feel is very highly carbonated with moderate sweetness and light sugary tinge with semi-dry finish.

The taste is more caramel than porter with a slight diacetyl type of buttery element with light brown sugar and mild vanilla extract creamy/sweet blend The malt has a mild toasted grain feel, but also seems kind of adjunct flavored like candy corn, not a great flavor but does have the caramel the label promises, just not caramel malt. Overall a pretty average beer, but not a very good porter -it seems like the gimmick of putting caramel in front of the style is more important than it tasting like a porter -seems like caramel extract dominates the flavor of this.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2013 19:47:04 | More by Slatetank
Photo of thecheapies


3.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks nearly black with some bone white suds. The aroma coming off of this is ridiculous. 3.5

Milk caramel and roasted grains. Creme Brulee, raisin, and toffee. Smells a bit artificial, but nice. 4.0

Tangy caramel, torched pastry cream, malty roast, and earthy flavors. Some coffee. Like artificially flavored creamed coffee, like dulce de leche. Attenuated after all, but it's not bad. 3.5

Medium carbonation and a near-medium body. Some booze pushes through. Okay in mouthfeel. 3.0

Not totally encompassing the porter aspects, but it's an average flavored beer with a nice aroma. 3.5

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 17:57:31 | More by thecheapies
Photo of fischerking

3.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Saranac Caramel Porter from Utica, NY.

This beer had a very strong, enjoyable caramel (artificial) smell. Good caramel, rich flavor. Very different from anything I've had.

I drank it on-tap in a 6-beer sampler at The Casual Pint in Knoxville, TN on 12/14/2012.


Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2012 01:06:32 | More by fischerking
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

3.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours very dark brown with a touch of white foam. Clear top after it settles. Sweet caramel nose. Taste is a light caramel sweetness without much of a hop backup. There is an extra sweetness in there that is muted by the porter. An odd blend, not quite right. Too sweet.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 17:50:52 | More by KTCamm
Photo of Jimmys


3.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. there is some kind of coding printed on the bottle but it is impossible to read.

A: dark brown, silky looking body. head is a brownish white and is not too big nor lasts too long.

S: nose is entirely what you would want from a beer with the word "caramel" in the title. caramel and vanilla has a strong presence.

T: sweet, almost oily, sugars start off the body. the sweetness doesnt go anywhere as both vanilla and caramel flavors linger. the flavor has a slightly medicinal/manufactured flavor at the finish. perhaps they used extract for the caramel flavor.

M: carb is lively. body is a bit too thin imo.

D: if you like caramel you will probably enjoy this brew. if not, avoid this brew. myself, being a fan of beers that are able to mimic other flavors, really could only drink one of these. good, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 03:25:20 | More by Jimmys
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

3.6/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled October 15th 2012.

A: Pours a caramel ruby brown with a full 1 finger off white head. A fair amount of light gets through this brew, some visible carbonation. Leaves some lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Holy caramel is right, explodes with carmel malts right off the bat. Sweetness permeates the aroma. Some hops do make it through though. Sort of a dark fruity malt in there, almost a buttery aroma too.

T: As with the aroma, the flavor is dominated with carmel. Fairly sweet taste, not a beer you could chug down, but with the flavor it has not sure why you'd wanna. A hint of bittering at the end, but finishes with a lingering caramel.

M: Average body for most porters, a little watery, on the low end of carbonation.

Overall one of the Saranac beers I always look forward to. Even better on tap as even more of the caramel comes out.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 18:54:30 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of PatriotsRule


4.13/5  rDev +32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, the caramel is so real! Really though!
A: Caramely not all that dark brown with little head and light lacing
S: The best caramel beverage ever, really. Just caramel with a bit of hops
T: The caramel, if I haven't already said so. So sweet.
M: Sticky syrupy sweet, but well crafted and an overall nice balance
O: This is not the porter I would regularly choose, but has a nose that is beyond intriguing!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 02:53:19 | More by PatriotsRule
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

2.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a dark, vibrant, ruby coloring with a thin, even, foamy coating of off-white head that is a fraction of an inch high. Aromas of sugary sweet caramel, just like a Werther's Original. Overpowering and very candy-like. Flavors are extremely rich and sweet. There is a slight roasting that gets lost in the backbone, extremely overpowered by the buttery and sugary caramel components. The body is smooth to start, which helps to support the body, but it becomes thin and filmy. Rich, sweet, and cloying finish. This is a tough one...good for someone wiith a wicked sweettooth.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 01:52:25 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of magine


3.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown root beer color. Slightly hazed with a nice dense light tan head. Lots of clingy lace sticks and a nice patchy lace layer makes up the head. Good looks.

Brew smells of light toffee and caramel. Some hops are noticed as well. Light nose. Decent nose.

Brew is creamy smooth upfront; some light caramel and minimal roasted flavors. Some hop bitters in the finish. Almost a sour darker fruit is noticed as you drink. Nice mouthfeel and good flavors here. Could really stand more roasted notes though, as the flavors tend to lean lighter and a bit sweet as opposed to roasted. Good.

This is a nice porter. Good mouthfeel, good flavors and it looks good. Highly sessionable brew that isnt a big beer by any means but is approachable and does the job. Just isnt a roasted malt porter. Good.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 00:10:09 | More by magine
Photo of StaveHooks


2.35/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz served in a Great Divide Pint glass.

A - Pours a clear chestnut red with a bumpy tan head that sinks quickly.

S - Caramel candies jump right out, syrupy malt, not much else.

T - Candy caramel mixed with an undesirable malt, slightly roasted some soured fruit rides underneath, a roasty bitterness on the finish.

M - Medium body, slick feel, semi dry finish.

This taste like an underwhelming homebrew with added candy caramel. Super sweet, slick, and kinda makes you shiver as it goes down.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2012 22:06:58 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of JOaikido

Quebec (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Good beige head. Dark brown colour (no cloudiness). Leaves some lacing.

S- Caramel, notes of cinnamon.

T- Caramel sweetness up front but balanced by a nice little bitter finish. A little too sweet overall.

MF- Medium-thick body. Sticky sugariness.

O- Good as a sweet, end of day "dessert" beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2012 01:44:31 | More by JOaikido
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Into a nonic:

A: deep red colored body that gives a foamy off-white one finger head that lasts for a good half minute. The body is too dark for any carbonation to be seen rising. It leaves some nice spider-web foamy lacing.

S: all about the caramel, almost slightly overbearing but as the beer warmed I noticed some of the roasted malts and nuts.

T: definitely the caramel coming in ever so strong and pretty much not letting anything come out even as the beer warmed.

M: light to medium with some light harshness on the tongue.

O: well, I know its the name of the beer, but in my opinion, I think Saranac/Matt had a cool idea but I'm not sure if this is what they were really going for. If so, I probably won't come back to this as, at least for me, the caramel was a bit too much. However, this is an excellent dessert beer that can stand by itself.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 14:51:43 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of AwYeh


2.7/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from this year's 12 beers a falling pack.

A: Pours a deep brownish-red color, with a finger of light, foamy, off-white head which subsides quickly.

S: Quite sweet; a bit of roasted malts and the caramel flavors from the beer' name.

T: Once again, rather sweet. Getting less of the roasted flavors that I expected. Fairly light all around, with a bit of caramel in the flavor.

M: Very light for a porter; light-bodied with light-moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth.

O: A bit better than the sum of its parts, but this is still just an average or below-average porter. Still, happy to have this as part of Saranac's very affordable $14 12-pack this fall.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 05:36:53 | More by AwYeh
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

3.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- pours a deep brown with a dark copper hue, small cream colored head that quickly dissipates, no lacing.

S- caramel, and lots of it! It literally smells like butterscotch syrup. I can get a faint smell of hops but not much. Just a bit of coffee as well. It smelled exactly what you would expect it to judging by the label.

T- the caramel smell is represented in the taste as well. Very sweet caramel malts, tastes much like some kind of dessert. Finishes slightly bitter, that's about the only way you can detect any hops. A little lighter in flavor than I would expect from a porter. The sweetness stays on your palate long after sipping.

M- medium body, creamy, moderate carbonation. Sweetness dominates the palate.

O- this would make a good dessert beer because it's so sweet, it does however take away from its drinkability. Not as bold as most porters but it is as advertised, so you can't knock them for that.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2012 02:34:14 | More by Treyliff
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.45/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle left out to warm for about 15 minutes, then served in a snifter.

A: pours a deep mahogany with a slight haze. The head is tan and short-lived, excepting a nice ring and some 'islands'.

Nothing subtle about the caramel in either the aroma or the flavor: it dominates both. The caramel seems a bit artificial in the aroma (3.25) but more natural in the flavor. There is a solid medium-roast malt background, but this is not as dark or robust as it should be in a porter, especially one with this much additional flavor. A bit sweet, but in keeping with the strong caramel presence.

M: Medium body with a semi-dry finish. Ideally, this should be smoother.

O: uniquely flavored beer with a pronounced caramel aspect. I really enjoy this one from time to time, although it is one of those "one is enough" beers.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 23:01:31 | More by chinchill
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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 645 ratings.