Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

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750 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 3.14
pDev: 21.97%
Wants: 11
Gots: 63 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-05-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 750 | Reviews: 454
Reviews by lbkornlb14:
Photo of lbkornlb14
4.18/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is excellent, the only beer I can think of thats better in the Sweet beer category is the Southern Tier Creme Brulee. BTIET. Definitely give this one a try if you come across it. The only thing with this beer is that it has that " I Smell better than I taste" thing going. It smells great, and tastes really good but its just not all the way there. If you like this style, I would recommend you seek out the Creme Brulee. you WONT be disappointed.

More User Reviews:
Photo of vfgccp
2.01/5  rDev -36%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Abbreviated review: Simply isn't a porter. Should probably be called a brown ale, but still wouldn't be a great beer, just more aptly named.

Photo of oberon
3.25/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this in the holiday variety 12-pack,thought it would be alot better than it was.Poured a dark/amber color with with a medium tan colored head.True to the name caramel was the dominant smell I got almost overpowering,the taste like the smell was very caramelly with a little chocolate/earthy tone but I would have liked more balance there.A good try but not one of the best porters I have had.

Photo of blitz134
2.19/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Starting with the usual. Very dark pour, although plenty of light coming through. Head disappeared so quickly I never got a chance to check the color out. It totally disappeared in about 30 seconds. Those two features brought the appearance numbers down.

The caramel smell is quite overwhelming. I was expecting hints of caramel, not a huge dousing of it. I might as well have a glass of caramel. I don’t pick up anything else in the smell, caramel covers all. I don’t know what to say about the taste except “bleh!” There is very little to this beer except for what seems like caramel flavoring added to an average dark lager. The caramel which is in here tastes overly sugary, not like a good toasty caramel. Mouthfeel is relatively thin, not like any other porter I’ve had. I’m having issues drinking any more than is necessary to write this review due to my stomach beginning to feel strange from all the sweetness. (shudder!!!)

I had high hopes for this. I was imaging a creamy full bodied porter with undertones of caramel coming into presence at the end. But there was none of that.

Photo of lordofthewiens
2.66/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm not sure what they were trying to do with this beer, but it didn't work. It started out OK, dark brown color, small tan head. Not much aroma, just a little sweet. A porter taste, coffee/chocolate, but the damn caramel (or whatever it was, I couldn't tell for sure) kept intruding. It was medium bodied. Not a beer I'd want a lot of.

Photo of sponberg
2.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

And here, ladies and gentlemen, we have the Caramel Porter. Pleasantly dark ruby in color, with the patented Anti-Rapapoda Aroma of diacetyl and buttered caramel popcorn, guaranteed to have at least one resident of the five boroughs head go *POP*

Starts with a buttery, diacetyl hit far beyond anything Alan Pugsley's ever had in his wildest dreams. Once that passes, there are some roasty toast porter notes but they're swallowed up by the caramel mess. Thankfully there are hoppy ass beers in the fridge. If you love caramel sweet beers; we're taking Brach's Caramels sitting in fermented malted barley; this is the beer for you.

Does a fine job of keeping Rapapoda at bay, though. <g>

Photo of generallee
3.67/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours dark brown with a deep red hue. The head is foamy but small with a tan color and nice lace. It has a sweet aroma of caramel covered white bread. The flavor is simple but good with a heavy does of sweet caramel and some toasted malts. The flavor is almost candy like and fades slowly into the finish. Its palate is medium bodied and silky smooth. I always enjoy the caramely sweet flavor of this simple and tasty porter.

Photo of Jason
2.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

A: Nearly impressive head retention and lacing, pretty light in color for a porter with a brown hue with reddish highlights.

S: Smells like a piece of cake, not beer but cake. Very sweet, after a few more sniffs it smells like a thick cream soda and butterscotch. Oh yeah all of this is saturated by caramel and lots of it.

T & M: Smooth and creamy, I’d be real disappointed if it was not this way coming from a flavored beer as some don’t even try.Cloying sweet, malt sweetness is there but then there is the caramel flavoring that just breaks the palate with sweetness. Hops? They are there but do little and are hard to find. Faint roasted and toasted malt add a mild chocolate flavor that just help the cloying sweetness along. Finishes with a long, long sweet flavor.

Drinkability & Notes: This should be treated as a dessert beer and that is all, this is too damn sweet. I looked for the sweetness knowing what was on the label and it smacked my palate around, it was hard to drink another after this one let alone another beer all together as it ruined my palate with that cloying sweetness and caramel flavor.

Photo of merlin48
3.52/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Saranac, from a 2003 "12 beer sampler" box. Pours a dark brown with some hints of red, not as opaque as most porters I've had. Head disappears quickly without significant lacing. Nose is of caramel(no surprise) and a hint of smokiness. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but seems somewhat watered down. Taste is sweet malted caramel, not much else. This one is worth sampling for the caramel that dominates from the nose to the finish. Very interesting, certainly, and its faults make it more drinkable for my tastes. Only a slight hops aftertaste which makes for a smooth experience if you can deal with all the caramel. Not at all a bad choice, but definitely different.

Photo of Billolick
3.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Another very mediocre brew from the fine folks at Saranac. Pours dark brown and clear, minimal head/lacing. Nutty caramel nose. Taste is, you guessed it, caramel and sweet. Tastes sort of like a mix between sugary caramel corn and a bottle of miller. There is obviously much better beer out there to be consumed. Saranac seems to be trying to fill the space betwwen BMC and any type of decent craft brew, I'm sure there is pleanty of $$$ to be made in that zone.

Photo of Homebrew35
4.15/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one and a half finger head, a deep mahogany body, very clear as the medium carbing streams bubbles from the bottom which holds the gorgeous tan soapy head for quite a while. Tons of thick frothy lacing clings way up the glass. Smells of bready yeast, touch of caramel, toasted crystal sweet malts, some butter in the smell. The buttery taste is present in the body which I think works with the carmel/roasty/creme brulee flavors. A touch of bitterness in the finish keeps me drinking more. I find this quite drinkable but is a bit too thick and chewy for a session. I love this every year and think this is better than years past.

This is on the sweeter side of things out there and probably explains the overall rating on here. $1.85 a single. I plan to buy a sixer of this and enjoy it for the rest of winter. Its snowing outside right now and this brew makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
2.09/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz. bottle. The wife got this for me for my recent birthday.

(Note to self: Please make sure wife knows favorite beer selections prior to purchasing any of said beer)

Pours a nice-looking amber-brown in color with a massive, creamy-smooth head. Nice glass lacing.

It goes downhill.

Aromas are over-the-top caramel. Not a pleasant aroma. An over-done, nothing else even comes close to making it through caramel funk. I thought a porter was supposed to have something resembling a roasted malt character...not here. Flavor is thin and watery caramel water. That's it. Horridly one-dimensional and not representative of the style.

Photo of dogfishandi
2.2/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

i knew this beer wasnt going to be great, but i had a lot higher expectations for it. as soon as i opened the bottle it filled the room with an aroma of buttery caramel. it pours a dark clear brown color, that reminds me more of a brown ale than a porter. it had an off white head that faded almost instantly to absolutlely nothing. the aroma was borderline offensive. it had a very fake smelling caramel. and there was a strong buttery smell as well. thats about it. the taste was pretty similar with the strong fake caramel and the butter going on. maybe a hint of roasted malts but not much going on. this beer reminded me nothing of a porter and it was flavored with very artificial caramel that even a non beer enthusiast could easily notice. this was a really pour showing from saranac. i tried tons of their other beers and most of them were ok, but this one really sucked, i had a hard time finishing the six pack. definately do not buy this.

Photo of Thrasher
4.32/5  rDev +37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, the reviews for this are all over the place. Consider me in the "liked it" category. Liked it quite a bit, actually. FX Matt knows their malts and this brew is no exception. Dark amber/light brown translucent brew with light tan head that fluffed, then wisped away. First taste is malts, caramel. Some butter in the aroma, and in the near finish. Piney hops are very subtle and caramel sweetness brings this one home. To me, is reminiscent of a baltic porter without the licorice and currant hints. If you like sweet stouts or caramel malts this one is right up your alley. I can understand how others thought this was too sweet and candylike, but for me the lack of bitterness was no problem.

Photo of BadBadger
3.03/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This caramel porter is a nice dark amber color. The head is minimal but lasts. The smell is strong, all that comes through is the caramel. At first taste the caramel is all that the palate can discern. However, the flavor grows, as the brew warms up, and the hops and malts become a bit more discernable. A porter worth giving a try. But be sure to drink this on the warm side. Enjoy.

Photo of andrewswiden
3.94/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great flavor. Candy apple hint. Porter finish.

Photo of ADR
2.11/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Clear dark brown, head is reserved and a skim after a minute. Jeez, I can smell caramel two feet away. Completely caramel flavor, overdone and heavy from beginning to end. Sweet, sweet, sweet. The English hops don't stand a chance in the bittering department. I take Porter style seriously and love some crazy experimentation -- but to me, this beer has a CARTOON of a flavor profile. Unbalanced and cloying, choking and gross, its like a swan dive into a cheap liquid candy bar, saccharine and unchanging.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.9/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours deep ruby brown with a nice full tan head sorta chunky textured as well, lacing appears in full patches excellent appearance. Aroma: Robust tones of caramel blended with sweet but slightly harsh dark roasted malts, not too much chocolate but this is one of the best from the Matt Brewing Co. I've had tasted so far. Flavor: Doesn't kill me with over caramel tone but it complements the darker roasts and provides an excellent sweetness that gives it vanilla like tones. Mouthfeel: Not a thick bodied porter medium if that very smooth and silky, great. Drinkability: Couldn't fathom downing these brews in number but for the sheer flavor profile just excellent I would definitely sample again in the future.

Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of djweso
4.15/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I thought this was a pretty drinkable beer. I got it on sale (not being winter anymore) and was a little worried about taking care of my thirst on a hot day. Also having aged a few months in the bottle might have effected it.

I'm a fan of malty sweet beers, and this one qualifies. The caramel notes are definitely there but not overwhelming. I paired it with Red Beans and Rice because the beer was cold and I was thirsty. But it actually worked really well. The sweet work well with the spicey.

Over all I am looking forward to the couple I have waiting in the kitchen.

Photo of javier
2/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Didn't like this at all. I really like porters but this one just turned me off completely. Imagine a porter with no discernable bitterness and a melted rolo mixed in. The caramel flavor was too much, overpowering the brew and making it taste like a novelty beer cocktail.

Photo of Brenden
3.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Caramel is in the color, a light to medium brown with an orange tint running through. A soft tan head doesn't quite make it to one finger tall, but struggles valiantly and doesn't fade too terrible quickly. A bit of thinnish lacing is dropped around.
Caramel is certainly in the nose, sweet but not cloyingly so, with a barley presence also notable. There's a touch of butterscotch; whether diacetyl or carryover from the caramel flavor, I'm unsure. It's generally a little weak and shallow.
A little more comes through in the flavor. This beer does indeed showcase caramel and barley-like grains remain in the foreground, but a bit of chocolate and a touch of coffee is in here, even offering a little nuttiness toward the end.
Mouthfeel is a little thin for a porter, and while carbonation isn't obscene it seems a little high for this beer. One good thing is that there is a very nice smoothness that rolls on the tongue all the way into a mildly lingering finish.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.62/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Photo of Jeffreysan
2.97/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

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

Aroma: Nice aromas of slightly bready, roasted malt, caramel and brown sugar. Not much in the way of any other aromas though. Smells quite a bit on the sweet-side, almost cloyingly.

Taste: Only ok. Lots of roasted malt up front, followed by strong, sweet, flavors of caramel. However, the caramel tastes fake, like it’s from a syrup or extract, rather than real caramel. It’s not a bad beer, but not a real good one either. It is however, disappointing.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very, very smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 5.4%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is only an ok porter. Good idea, great idea, actually, but poorly executed. The caramel comes off as fake and chemical, rather than natural and delicious. I’d pass on this beer if offered again. Saranc needs to take this back to the drawing board and come up with a better recipe.

Photo of DagFishHead
2.61/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby-amber highlights. Frothy tan head dissapates to a thin cap with spider-webby lacing.
Smell: Butterscotch! Notes of vanilla and burnt sugars. Very subtle sweet and toasted malt character, but caramel/butterscotch nose blows everything else away.
Taste: Cloyingly sweet butterscotch to start. Medium bodied and smoothly carbonated at the top. Aftertaste has a creeping burnt sugariness, and harsh dry-spice bitterness that borders on offensive when contrasted with the aroma.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Nicely carbonated.
Drinkability: I can't find much porter character in this. It is more of a vanilla-cream/butterscotchy soda/malternative. Disappointing.

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
73 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.