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Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

441 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 441
Hads: 755
Avg: 3.13
pDev: 29.07%
Wants: 12
Gots: 71 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Caramel Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 441 | Hads: 755
Photo of shippos
3.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

dark brown color with a tan head that sttled to a thin skim on the top of the glass. whoa, i've had this before but never came upon a bottle as strong as this years (from the 2003 12 pack). buttery, butterscotch and caramel aromas abound. that pretty much sums up all I can smell, can't get past the butterscotch. all this caramel and butterscotch and what a big let down by rather thin mouthfeel/body, but the butterscotch comes back in the aftertaste.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
2.73/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a nice tan head that left a decent amount of thin lace. It smells like caramel popcorn. Very dark brown in color, just a little light makes it's way in through the bottom of the glass. Liquid caramel corn flavor fades is cut half way through by a bit of hop bitterness, but it's still there. If you like caramel corn you'll love this beer. It tastes really fake, and it's incredibly sweet.

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Photo of Beastdog75
3.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Saranac "12 Beers" sampler, 2002 edition)

If I wanted to make this a very short review, I would just say: good if you like caramel, bad if you don't. As trite as that sounds, it is true. The label says to "look for hints of caramel" in this one. Understatement of the year. Period.

This beer pours a medium-dark amber color with some reddish hints to it. A one finger light tan head forms and lasts for around 30 seconds. The smell is of buttery caramel, with some actual hop aroma present too. The mouthfeel is thin with some light carbonation. As mentioned, the caramel dominates here. It has somewhat of a butterscotch quality to it as well. There is a surprisingly decent amount of hop bitterness in the finish. The aftertaste has some continuing caramel and some dryness, and finishes off with very little alcoholic warmth.

This seems like a novelty beer to me. I happen to like caramel, hence the decent score I gave it, but it isn't hard to imagine strongly disliking this beer. This probably would go well with a desert, maybe even ice cream. All in all, this is probably one of the sweetest beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Gavage
3.35/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Marks all over the board on this one. It pours a brown / burgandy color with a reasonable off-white head. Some lacing developed on the glass during the drink. The aroma blows your doors off - strong sweet caramel with some light roasted coffee tones. The flavor is as loud as the aroma, but less enjoyable as it sports a very sweet mouthfeel with tons of caramel flavor. This is definitely one of the more flavorful Saranac beers I have sampled. Drinkability is way down below average as every time a took swallow, my sense of smell and taste were overpowered by caramel. The first quarter glass was interesting, the remainder seemed to get old quickly. This would be great in a 4 oz bottle.

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Photo of BigSipper
2.1/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The package of Saranac Caramel Porter I picked up read "limited edition". I wonder if the brewer realized after the fact that he had made a grave mistake and has solemnly promised not to make another batch.

The beer pours beautiful dark brown with a hint of redness, and produces a nice head. The smell is very sweet with hints of a chemical solvent. The flavor is excessively sweet with some maltiness and a touch of unpleasant astringency. Neither hop bitterness nor alcohol content is sufficient to counter the unappropriate sweetness which lingers as a sticky aftertaste.

Next time, less "caramel" and more "porter", please.

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Photo of UnionMade
2.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a transparent coffee brown, topped with a thin, broken beige mist of head. The head pretty much disappears about halfway through, maintaining a couple thin islands of mist clinging weakly to the side of the glass.
The aroma is dominated by a sweet, sugary caramel. Moderate butterscotch diacetyl, with a vague, distant herbal hopping, and a touch of toasted malt. A light suggestion of fig or date esteriness.
The flavor starts with a bit of roasted malt up front, quickly consumed by a sweet, cloying caramel sweetness. Some butterscotchy diacetyl in the middle, riding through into the finish. Some light estery date flavor in the middle, barely penetrating the caramel. No apparent hops in the finish, with little to no bitterness or balance. The flavor is a bit thin in the middle, riding on some diacetyl flavor, with the caramel kicking back in in the finish. An overly sweet caramel/butterscotch aftertaste. Medium bodied, with smooth, small bubbled carbonation.
Not terrible, or even bad, just kind of dumbed down, with little complexity. The caramel sweetness got overbearing about halfway through. Some more robust, bittersweet maltiness would have helped, or perhaps something in the way of hops, to even the brew out somewhat.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
1.76/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Didn't know what to expect out of this one, the beers from this Saranac sampler pack being so up and down in my esteem. But if you're doing a porter, do it right, that's all I ask. Seems like they went into the project with a bad understanding of what a porter actually is, and screwed it up every which way from then on in.
Clear, reddish brown color, brief, nothing of a head.
Aroma: OOF! POW! BAM! Butterscotch all up in y'all! Nothing but butterscotch, and far away from caramel. Hints of vanilla, and over- carbonated.
Taste: sickly sweet to the point of offensiveness, candyish, cloying, coca-cola-like.
Extra-ordinarily thin body, no texture, no finish.
I give up, it's just bad, and lacks just about everything a good beer should have.
No sir, I do not like it.
I am so very itching to get my hands around a good porter after this!
(And were do they get the cojones to call it "robust"? )

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Photo of garymuchow
3.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Malty aroma of slight roast, a little sweet, like brown sugar. Eventually the caramel presents itself and dominates. Head is small, then leaves quickly. Dark brown with reddish hues and clear. Caramel is pretty strong in flavor, espeically middle to end. Maybe a little too strong with not quite enough blending for my taste. Mild hop bitterness. Average mouthfeel, but appropriate for style. ' Appreciate the attempt for something different, but this is just not a great combination for my tastes.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.14/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Dark brown (auburn/ruby red to light) with a nice light brown head that leaves nice lace. Big "real" true Kraft caramel aroma; candy-like. Sweet caramel flavor like candy -- A bit too sweet (I could only drink one). Medium-full bodied (leans Medium) and smooth.

Label states: "Robust Porter" & "Dark Caramel malt" & "Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops" & "HInts of real caramel used in brewing"

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Photo of Scoats
3.17/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The first thing you notice from this beer is the smell of caramel. There definitely is a very strong caramal taste which brought back childhood memories of those Kraft Caramel squares.

Drinkabilitywise, this beer seems more gimmicky than good. It took me the whole bottle (drank from a glass of course) to decide if I liked it or not. At the end of 12 ounces, I decided "not really". What starts off as a semi-interesting curiosity becomes a bit tedious. One bottle is enough for me for this lifetime.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.53/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, very deep mahogany body with crimson highlights. The creamy, light-tan head holds well; and it even leaves some spotty lace. But it's not the appearance that gets your attention so much as the sweet caramel and cake-icing nose! It really smells like a dollop of rich vanilla/butter/sugar icing! It's clearly from an extract; and it's a bit odd, perhaps, but not off-putting. The body is medium; and it's smooth and creamy in the mouth due to a very fine and moderate carbonation - anything else would work against the sweet maltiness that's present in the flavor. The caramel that's promised is certainly delivered, although I wonder where the porter side of things went? There are some toasty notes, and a mild chocolate character; but its more of a sweet, winter dessert beer than anything else. Hop bitterness is present but minimal, and it finishes with a lingering maltiness. Quite unusual and interesting, but very one-sided. Still, I can certainly imagine lingering over one following a large Thanksgiving dinner.

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Photo of oberon
3.25/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.95/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I definitely liked this beer and I am not one who is big into exceptionaly sweet beers. It poured very dark, but had some red showing through at various points. The head was rather light and about 2 fingers thick that receded into a kind of slick on top of the beer with some lace around the edges. There was a very obvious caramel smell with hints of a sweet malted taste. It tasted much like it smelled with caramel being the overbearing taste, but it also had some sweet notes of chocolate and mocha. My only complaint(and this is true of most saranacs) is the odd carbonated mouthfeel I seem to experience. Perhaps it is personal taste, but regardless, this is an interesting brew to try.

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Photo of nomad
3.52/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A supposedly “limited edition” beer (whatever that means) that is very dark brown color, with a frothy but fastly dissipating head and negligible lace. Extremely pungent dark caramel nose with highly saccharine scent and tiny spice tint. Taste-wise a roasted nut at core, softly bitter on roof of mouth at first, residing in glands over time. A perfect balance of hops (Fuggles and E. Kent Goldings) and malt (Dark Caramel), so that the roasted malt entices your nose and the hops salivate your tongue without drying it out or destroy the flavor.

Still mainly a nutty, dark porter in its old English roots, but thinner in taste and density than expected yet easy to drink a bunch in a row. Not the greatest in all categories, but I had a great night drinking a bunch of these while I played pond hockey in the middle of the night. The thinness was (for once) an asset in its refreshing-ness, as well as the sugar sweet made me feel all nice in between periods. But not one I'd drink when I want to relax and enjoy "a good pint."

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

I'll be damned if they didn't pour maple syrup or something in the bottles right before capping this one.

Sweet! Or, shoud I say, sweeeeeeeeeeEEEEET. Not a cloying sweetness, just dextrinous as all getout! Saranac doesn't purport itself to be a Reiney-heiney-stag-ee-bot brewery...so suspicions rise. But, if you take their bottle blurb to heart about "caramel malt" then you can dismiss the later blurb about, "look for hints of real caramel used in brewing this delicious brew."

So, did they use little Hershey caramels or not? My vote is: YEA.

Still a pretty slick beer--not to mention that "hangover-free" Saranac yeast (always a winner).

Truth told, it's got more balls than your average Saranac.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.35/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the 12 Beers of Christmas pack

Brown body with red highlights, topped by a three-finger foamy beige head. Good lacing. Aroma: they did not lie. Hugh amounts of caramel, with a bit of toffee, and way in the back, a smidgen of coffee. However, all that caramel became strangely muted when first tasted. Some roasted malts at the beginning, joined by a light comforting blanket of hops, and at the end, a hefty dose of caramel, which carries thru the aftertaste. Creamy smooth mouthfeel. Drinkability? I might not want to throw back a sixer all at once, but I would drink this again. Fine for dessert or late night.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
2.73/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The smell is sweet, caramel and more sweetness. Pours very dark brown with a nice 1/4 inch head. The taste is overwelmingly sweet. The beginning is malt and roasted malt but the middle and ending are completely caramel. Maybe better as a desert beer? One that I don't think I will go back for. They call this a robut porter but I don't taste that.

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Photo of jtw5877
3.72/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a decent brown color with a white head, Caramel smells and flavors. A lighter bodied porter, but a decent one none the less. Nice taste with hint of caramel. Purchased in a 12 Beer sampler, a decent collection. I'd recommend it as a cheap way to sample entry level versions of 12 styles of beers.

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Photo of shirfan
3.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark garnet-brown but clear, decent tan head.

Smell is of caramel and roasted malt, a bit rough though.

Well balanced taste...starts sweet and malty, strong caramel tones throughout, ends with just enough bitterness.

One of the better offerings in the christmas pack.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ruby color, with a light brown head that lasts. The aroma is of caramel, with a roast aroma as well. The caramel is evident in the flavor, along with a sweetness, and slight roasty flavor. The level of bitterness is pretty high as well. It goes into a dry bitter finish. It is a medium bodied brew, which is overall a tasty treat.

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Photo of frank4sail
3.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not much nose except for a smidge of sweetness. Deep purple color with a light brown 1/2 inch sticky laced head. Sweet chewy caramel taste. The brew is quite sweet with a bitterness to the finish that helps to round the sweetness. It does not completely do the job though.. and the beer is still left on the sweet side. This is a caramel chew for you! Drink it after a meal as a treat.

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Photo of Scooter77
2.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appears a dark brown with red highlights. Pours a thick tan head, which fades away slowly, leaving a sticky lace that clings to the glass. Smell of strong caramel is overpowering with very faint malt and hops undertones. Taste is incredibly sweet. Caramel dominates all other flavors. No other notable flavors where noted besides an extremely mild hint of hops. This was an o.k. novelty beer, but I don't look forward to trying it again.

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Photo of Kwak
3.59/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I like the head on this one great tan head very thick and sweet, hangs around for a while with nice syrupy flavor.

Body was clean but dark brown with an orange tint to it.

The aroma was outstanding sweet malt and caramel.

The taste was a different story. It had nice hints of caramel but no reel flavor, was looking foreword to this one but I was let down.
Not relay that bad but the overpowering aroma and the lackluster flavor should meet some where in the middle!

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Photo of kunzbrew
3.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color with a tan creamy head that stays around for a little while. The coffee malt is not over bearing with little hints of caramel. I would like to have a stronger taste of caramel, but maybe next year. Over all not to bad, and it finishes nice.

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.74/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

an agressive pour gave me a good light brown head floating atop a dark beer. the beer looks to be a dark brown until you hold it to the light and find it to have some red in it.

i smelled caramel before i even put my nose near the glass. as you take a closer smell, you get malts and some hops. i love the aroma of this beer.

taste is full of caramel, so much that a lot of the usual roastiness of the porter is toned down. this is not bad, because the roastiness kicks in a little more at the end to round it out. also, a bit of bittering hops add to the flavoring of this beer.

the body is pretty good. it is thin for a porter.

in the end, it is an interesting brew. the initial aroma is excellent, and it is a different beer to drink. it is not great, but as far as the experience of a unique beer, i liked it.

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
72 out of 100 based on 441 ratings.