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Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

731 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 731
Reviews: 448
rAvg: 3.13
pDev: 22.04%
Wants: 10
Gots: 49 | FT: 1
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-05-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 731 | Reviews: 448 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of charliedvrs
2.44/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a nice clear brown with some amber and gold streaks. Two fingers of tan head with good lacing. Good looking beer!

S - Very, very sweet. Candy-like with lots of butterscotch and caramel. That's about all I could get out of the nose.

T - Butterscotch overwhelms the pallate. Almost like one of those lolly pops you get at the doctor's office. Sweet and slightly toasted malts with very little discernable hop flavor. Chocolate starts to come through after a few sips.

M - Very smooth and creamy as expected, but with a buttery feel as well.

D - This just came out way too sweet for my taste. I love the caramel aspect of porters but this one was too overwhelming for me. If you like beers with a sweet candy-like flavor then this might be for you and you should definitely give it a shot.

Photo of puboflyons
2.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sampled on September 2, 2010. The pour is too clea for a porter with a clear mahogany brown appearance with a thick two-inch puffy tan head. The aroma is full of cany sweet caramel, butterscotch and toffee rather than burnt chocolates typical of porters. The mouth feel is thin. The taste is just too sweet with its confectionary sugary caramel and butterscotch elements with a vague hoppy ending. Hard to drink.

Photo of sdj5
4/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle.

Appearance: Very dark brown, cannot see through

Smell: Faint smell of caramel, toffee

Taste: Slight bit of roasted malts, caramel, brown sugar, toffee

Mouthfeel: Well-carbonated but a good mouthfeel

Drinkability: Could have a few more for sure. Great tasting.

Photo of russpowell
3.25/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent chestnut tinged brown with 2+ fingers of fluffy tan head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Some toasty malt, plums, not a lot else

T: Caramel, toasty malt & dryness, plus leafy hops up front. Roasty malt & dryness are up front as this warms, the caramel tastes a bit less fake. Finishes pretty sweet & dry kind of reminds of some iced coffees I've had over in Asia or Hawaii.. Almost pulled a 3.5, just too sweet

MF: Light/medium bodied with somewhat biting carbonation

Drinks alright I could do a few prior to moving or getting sick of the caramel. If in the right mood I could do this with some doughnuts at breakfast

Photo of VenaCarva
1.91/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

ok at first i didnt really taste the caramel, and i wasnt to sure about the smell, ...:

A: the was a nice head and a good color, nothing to special , but average,
S: a bit over whelming, and somewhat sharp.
T:well after taking a few swigs and getting my pallet nice and wet , ive decided that i taste the caramel, but not the way i though... its very faint, this was a rough one.
M:dindt dig it, nothing special..
D: i wouldnt have one after this one.

Photo of ToasterChef
3.77/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a chilly bottle into a pint glass. The beer has a dark brown color with some hints of ruby in it. There is a thick head of light brown bubbles. There is a little bit of lacing, but not much. It's too dark of a beer to see if there is any carbonation rising within. The aroma is a good mixture of roasted malts and caramel sweetness. The beer has a very strong caramel flavor, it overpowers almost everything else. It's not like a caramel malt, but more like the center of a piece of candy. It's a bit surprising, but enjoyable. The caramel hits you as soon as the beer touches your tongue and lasts until you swallow. Near the finish is a bit of toasted malt sweetness that is distinctly separate from the caramel flavor. All of the sweetness contributes to a tangible film that coats your mouth. There is a lot of carbonation that you can feel on your tongue. Having one of these beers is enjoyable; it would pair especially well with some chocolates. More than one may be a bit difficult; the high levels of sweetness and the thick mouthcoating would grow tiresome.

Photo of BatsforBeer
3.55/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Medium dark brown active stream of bubbles, half finger off white head, disappears quickly to thin film, no lacing.

S: Sweet Butterscotch, vanilla, caramel, roasted malt, touch of coco

T: Butterscotch vanilla, hazelnut, toasted malt caramel finish

M: Creamy a tad tacky and a bit watery, very nice mouth feel

D: Drinkable and fairly balanced. Not great but a solid brew.

Photo of weller1js
3.64/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: heavy dark color with red-orange undertones, limited foam with clean pour, no lasting residue on glass.

Smell: butterscotch smell is preeminent, no secondary scent present.

Taste: despite predominant butterscotch scent, it does not overwhelm in the taste; the strength of the porter is what you would expect from an American, moderately malty.

Drinkability: if you aren't deterred by the butterscotch-caramel touch they were going for, then it makes for a pleasant spin on a typical porter.

Photo of sirdrinkwell
3.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a somewhat translucent ruby reddish brown with minimal head that fades almost immediately leaving only a hint of lacing.

s: i won't deny the overwhelming butterscotch scent when i cracked the bottle; once i poured it in a glass, i could still smell it from a couple feet away...no need to scratch my head and think hard about this one. not entirely unpleasant, but not entirely pleasant either.

t: the butterscotch is immediately evident in the taste but it is far more moderate than the smell led me to expect...bittersweet caramel toffee.

m: very smooth, carbonated but not overly acidic or dry.

d: i can see how this brew might turn some people off, but i didn't mind it...i could stand to drink a couple.


Photo of abar22
1.64/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

12 oz bottle into a DFH Signature Glass

Wow what a mess this beer was. While it looked fairly innocuous in the glass what was hiding in its depths was anything but...

Butterscotch. That's what it was hiding. Lots and lots of butterscotch. It dominated the smell and it dominated the taste. This is where diacetyl men and diacetyl women meet up to have little bastard diacetyl babies. If Saranac would change the label to Saranac Butterscotch Porter they would probably have an award winner on their hands because this sure as hell meets that description.

In a word... Terrible.

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.12/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear ruby-brown with a fizzy light cream head that dissapates quickly. No lacing.

S - Very very sweet caramel and mollasses. A little spicy, but it's kinda drowned out. Overwhelming and unpleasant.

T/M - Carbonation bites at first, and the caramel flavor is much more subdued and shows on the back (a welcome difference from the smell). It tastes like beer, not candy like the smell would indicate. Feel is clean but watery.

D - The smell gets in the way, but at least it's easily quaffable.

Photo of mjaskula
2.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin tan head that disappears and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is all sweet carmel. The flavor is full of carmel, brown sugar and some sweet malt. Very smooth with little bitterness. Pretty much a one trick pony. Carbonation is fairly low with a medium body. If you like carmel this is fairly drinkable, but I wouldn't want to have more than one in a row.

Photo of drabmuh
3.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Beer is dark brown / black - you can see light passing through the beer but at first glance it is black, has a yellow/brownish head that falls away quickly leaving very little lacing on the glass. Smell is of caramel and alcohol. The smell is really kind of disgustingly sweet.

Sweetness / caramel / botterscotch is forefront in the flavor, some sourness in the midpalate, beer finishes nicely. There are no detectable hops in this beer. I would expect more roast from a porter, but the carmel / butterscotch is the primary and dominant flavor. Mouthfeel is fine, its a little thin but not terrible. Drinkability is average. I think you could put this away rather quickly and there is no aftertaste, nothing really impeding you from finishing, kind of an average beer.

Photo of DefenCorps
1.65/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I found a single for $1.49, and my buddy Chris raved about this when he tried it, so I had to as well. I mean, come on, its got natural flavor and caramel color added to it, so it's got to be good, right?

The pour is decent, a clear deep brown with beautiful reddish highlights. A large light brown head caps the beer, leaving a little lace as it recedes. That's about where all good things end, 'cos the nose is one trainwreck. Artificial caramel flavor, sickly sweet (think Smuckers), brown sugar, and a malt characteristic more reminiscent of a brown ale than a porter. The palate opens sweet, with (surprise!) caramel, some sugar and malt with a little roast, before a long, dry finish with a metallic character comes through. Carbonation is high, making this fizzy on the palate, and this does not work with the metallic character of the beer. Just not worth drinking, this is a rather poor porter, and the addition of caramel just makes it rather horrific.

Photo of smallbatchbrewer
3.46/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I can see where some people might not like this beer. I can best describe it by comparing it to something you might find on a Starbuck's latte menu. It has coffee notes and a definite caramel taste. Actually, upon having another sip just now, all I can taste is caramel. It's unique and might prove to be a 'love it or hate it' beer. I'm just not sure how to place it...

Photo of GnomeKing
1.96/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Brrrrhhh. There's just so much caramel...so much bad candy sweetnetness. Tons of bad flavors. I just can't stand it. Even the smell is too much to take. It's a bizarre beer that few will like. It's just a cranked up, super-flavored brew. Ugh. Only useful for getting drunk.

Photo of lordofthewiens
2.66/5  rDev -15%
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 beerthulhu
3.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark reddish-caramel coloring from the bottle, while in the glass up against the light appeared a dark crimson red with a good clarity. The head was sandstone in color, rocky and towering while standing 3 fingers high at its peak before slowly falling leaving a sticky and splotchy lacing. Visible carbonation was macro bubbles that quickly settled to an almost non-detect status soon after. A nice coloring, albeit maybe a bit off for a porter, but then again this is a caramel porter. The huge rocky structure head as well its retention gets some props here.

S: The nose was as sweet as perceived with a dark caramelized brown sugar sweetness. A nice breadiness adds some fullness. Semi-sweet traces of dry chocolate with loads of sweet toffee rounds out a pretty aromatic nose with a medium strong nature. Was pretty surprised here and a decent wiffer.

T: The flavor was sweet toffee and caramelized malting with a buttery popcorn touch. The beer progresses to a dried toffee and semi-sweet hints of chocolate. There is a slight nuttiness and cookie dough sweetness as well while the beer finishes off with some hazelnut coffee hints and a dry spiciness (nutmeg). The flavor started out pretty well but lost some of its luster along the way during the process never quite reclaiming the first impression. Overall this was well above average and worthy by all means. The flavor delivered all the sweet toffee and caramel sweetness that I hoped for then some.

M: light bodied, very slick with no carbonation. Leaves a alcohol warming behind. Unfortunately after a solid start the mouthful comes in as only average.

D: Overall average drinkability here, the overbearing sweetness limits this to a dessert beer or a novelty try. One of matts better beers with a big flavor, however as a whole the beer started out strong but ended up limpering towards the end (mouthful, drinkability). Worth a single purchase and a curious try and delivers as a dessert beer.

Photo of smibroncos
3.8/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A.Poured a clear dark coffee, With a one finger disapating creamy tan head. Some lacing clung to the glass.

S. Strong caranel, candy. dark coffee.

T. bitter not as sweet as the nose leads you to bvelieve. Dark roasted coffee, caramel, dark chocolate.

M. I wished it was more creamy. Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

D. I really liked it. The smell was almost over sweet caramel, but it definately had some coffee character.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.35/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Translucent brown color with a foamy head that thinned out in a minute or two and left a few specks of lacing.
Smells like a bag of Sugar Babies candy.
Caramel flavor is all over the place with some roasted malt and a hint of bitterness tossed in.
Light bodied porter with decent carbonation.
One or two in a sitting is enough for me.

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There's plenty of caramel flavoring in this beer, although I found it a bit off-putting, a bit strong.

It's a very dark brown and thicker than a normal beer. The head is a half finger of foamy brown. I could smell the sweetness with a casual sniff. The caramel flavor is somewhat strong, not overbearing. You feel in all the way down the throat and the flavor stays on your tongue for a while. Not bad, but it won't make my favorites list.

Photo of mralphabet
4.19/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into Pint Glass

A: Mahogany with hints of red... Little to no head and very little lacing, just a little ring as it works its way down the glass.

S: Wow just what it is called wonderfully sweet caramel...maybe some chocolate cake... and a touch of coffee

T: Sweet caramel, like chocolate cake with caramel on it. The sweetness is not over bearing and there is a layer of maltyness underneath... very nice....

M: Creamy yet has a crispness to the carbonation... ends a little thin with a smokiness. Not as creamy as most Porters.

D: Wow low ABV and fantastic tasting... should be a good session beer.

Next time I see this one I'll pick more up.

Photo of cnjohn19
3.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

whew...a little too sweet for my occasion tonight...

great pour of brown and slight red in color...awesome foam and just enough retention to look inviting...no complaints here...smells of strong butterscotch and sweet malts...and yes, of course, a dark caramel shines through...

it tastes like you'd expect from the smell...very sweet and buttery taste from the malt characteristics...tastes like dark candy...not getting any hops to the point that i'm not sure they're there...

the mouthfeel of this drink will bring my review down...not at all impressed here...but is smooth to the point where you could drink another, but probably only after dinner as a dessert...

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.15/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle taken from a variety pack and poured into a standard shaker glass. Appears a clear medium chestnut color with about a finger of quickly dissipating light ecru foam. Smells and tastes of sweet caramelized malts and grains, bread, butterscotch candies. A bit thin bodied with medium carbonation. Worth at least one try if you happen upon a bottle.

Photo of katan
2.91/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint

A- Pours a brown to mostly amber hue. Not as black/opaque as most porter. Head formation is strong and very well retained with little lacing. Mocha in color. Not much carbonation visible.

S - Certainly has a caramel scent to it. Very aggressive. Reminds me of a caramel candy I've had in the past.

T - Starts off not with caramel or sweetness, but a very strong bitter bite. Surprising to me considering how the beer was presented. Rather than becoming more bitter, the mid-stream reflects a greater sweetness. Finishes with the caramel in a quick return, but is very much tied to a bitter backdrop.

M - A conundrum of mouthfeel, as the carbonation present here does give it some bite, but the beer itself feels thin and watery. The higher than expected IBUs leave behind a film.

D - My main knock of the drinkability of this beer is that it outright just doesn't taste right. I do have to say that the carbonation intensity of the beer does give it some fillingness.

An odd beer all the way around.

Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 731 ratings.