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Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

660 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 660
Reviews: 433
rAvg: 3.12
pDev: 22.76%
Wants: 6
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
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: 660 | Reviews: 433 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured the color of rootbeer, with ruby red highlights when backlit. Dense off-white head settled gradually into a thin, consistent slick of foam with light, sticky lacing. Scents of carmel and malt. Taste similar to nose but much less intense with a hint of butterscotch at the finish. Mouthfeel was very, very watery and not particuarly lively. Alcohol was virtually undetectable. Might be a good choice if you are looking for a session porter, but the caramel scent can be a little too cloying in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 17:14:23 | More by Jwale73
Photo of fightingirishcmk

New York

3.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Dark brown, with a 3 fingered head, dissipated rather quickly. Left some lacing on the glass.

S: So I went into this beer being forewarned that it was super caramel-ish. And thats about all I got from the smell. I'll give it a good rating because, well, I can't deny that it smelled like its name.

T: Overpowering caramel sweetness and butterscotch. A bit overdone.

M: Average, medium bodied with good carbonation.

D: Not very drinkable, I had used one to make a beer bread earlier and I'm glad the winter 12 pack only has 2. So I drank the other, and didn't miss the one that had been put in the bread. The bread turned out pretty damn good though!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2008 08:38:58 | More by fightingirishcmk
Photo of erosier


3.38/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown into the glass with a nice tan head that sticks around for a while and it sticks to the sides of the glass. I has a very sweet malty and caramely aroma. The taste delivers just that. Very sweet malty flavor with alot of caramel taste coming through. The caramel overpowers the rest of the beer and it is a very sweet beer. It has a very nice mouthfeel with not too much carbonation. Maybe more carbonation could have helped it. Due to its extremely sweet and overpowering caramel flavoring, it is only fairly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 20:12:58 | More by erosier
Photo of tdawgydog

New York

3.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I received the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter as a gift. There were definitely a few that caught my eye. I thought I would first try the beer that I wouldn't traditionally drink. Those being the Chocolate Amber and the Caramel Porter.
The Caramel Porter poured very nice with a nice head and dark amber hue. On first sip you can easily identify the caramel but there is also a strong taste of butterscotch. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I could imagine myself drinking this beer again. I think it would best be enjoyed on a cold winter night while relaxing with friends and family.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 16:06:03 | More by tdawgydog
Photo of Kendo

New York

2.7/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured into a Spirit Haus pint glass. Body is dark brown with crimson hues and a very small beige head. No lacing at all.

S: Sweet stuff -- caramel, vanilla and maybe butterscotch. Mainly caramel.

T: Caramel is there on the first sip, lingers, and overwhelms anything else that may have been underneath. Clearly seems to be some sort of fake, extract-type caramel as it overwhelms and is definitely cloying. Think cream soda and cake and you've got it.

M: Way too light for a porter. Carbonation is lively -- perhaps all that sugar has given the yeast a purpose.

D: Not so good -- way too sweet and one-dimensionally caramelly. I will avoid in the future.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 16:53:14 | More by Kendo
Photo of Mit

Ontario (Canada)

2.75/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I just hate to have something bad to say about a beer. And I have really liked every Saranac I have had so far(about 4 styles so far).

I got this Caramel Porter in the Winter Lagers Mixer pack from Matt Brewing.

Initially I was very intrigued by the idea of a Caramel Porter. I had gotten away from Porters and Stouts and was excited to have some to try.

Firts appearance was very nice. A dark dark brown with a red hue when held up the the light. Very promising start.

Initial smell was quite sweet and more than hinted at the Caramel that was inside this beer at this point I had become a little turned off. I'm not a big fan of overly sweet beer as a rule so...

Initial taste I found to be quite full of caramel but the burnt undertones that one would expect from a stout seemed to come out the longer the beer sat at room temperature and the further I got into my glass. Halfway in I was not noticing the caramel flavour as much as the more traditional porter tastes.

Mouth feel was about what one would expect from a porter. Nice carbonation that enhance the flavors.

Drinkability. If you have a sweet tooth you may like this. I found it to be slightly overpowering. I personally didn't like it and probably wouldn't try it again. But just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't...give it a try anyways.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 01:58:30 | More by Mit
Photo of barnuba


3.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a conical pint glass.

Appearance: Two finger creamy white/tan head with sticky lacing that follows the beer down to the bottom of the pint. Dark brown/red depending on the angle of the light.

Smell: Sweet . . .caramelized sugar with roasted undertones

Taste: caramel followed by malt followed by a caramel finish with slight bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: IMO good beer to mix into a session to break samples up – perhaps not the best beer to start with…

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2007 20:24:56 | More by barnuba
Photo of mnj21655


3.08/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes made on 11/29.
12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a clear dark brown with hints of red and about a 1/4" of tan head that exhibits decent retention. Smell is pleasant with a prominent caramel aroma supported by a solid maltiness. Taste is good, some dark crystal malts are present upfront but then give way to some biscuits and caramel. The caramel lingers into the finish but is overtaken by some slight roastyness in the form of possibly chocolate but more likely black patent malt. There really isn't much hop flavor in here but there is a bit of hop bitterness. Good mouthfeel, medium-light body and low-moderate carbonation. Drinkability is average. No real major flaws in this brew. Overall its pretty solid but the caramel can be a bit overwhelming in the aroma and, to a lesser extent, the taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 02:20:20 | More by mnj21655
Photo of sbe1

New York

4/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A wonderful, very drinkable sweet caramel porter. A real treat for those of us with a sweet tooth.

Appearance: Beautiful deep deep dark red, nice foamy tan head.

Smell: Rich caramel smell, creamy malt, faint hops.

Taste: Sweet caramel, rich malt, a little hop tickle.

Mouthfeel: Medium to Full bodied and creamy, the proper amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent, for those of us with a sweet tooth, for those of you who aren't fond of sweet beers, it's still very drinkable, but you may need to take a break once in awhile.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 22:50:15 | More by sbe1
Photo of BeerSox


2.28/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into nonic.

Somewhat of a light-colored Porter, as I can see through it. This one looks closer to a dark brown ale The highlights are ruby red with a one finger light tan head that slowly settles to a thin cap.

The slightest touch of bitter malts are drowned by a strong pseudo-caramel aroma. It almost smells like popcorn butter, which is also the smell of diacetyl. I think the aroma comes from any added caramel to the brewing process.

There are two distinct flavors to this that seem to clash rather than complimenting each other. One is a bitter malt flavor, with some aid of hops, and the other is a sweet sugary flavor (similar to caramel, of course). Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. The feel is somewhat thin for a Porter. The finish is some lingering caramel flavor.

I like caramel and I like Porters, but this one seemed to fall short in both categories. I think the caramel was overdone a little which made a very sweet characteristic that doesn't fall in place with the rest of the beer. Not recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 01:59:04 | More by BeerSox
Photo of sraimondi


3.13/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured with a 2 finger head.

Deep copper color, very little lacing.

Smell is all about sweet malt, very slight hint of smoke. Toasty bread is there too.

Taste is sweet throughout, a bit one dimensional as no hops twang at all. A very slight metallic aftertaste, but not an issue. Almost cloying, but not quite.

Mouthfeel, medium body.

Overall, an interesting beer. Not really my cup of tea, as the balance is off; one dimensional. However, not awful, although I'd only partake of this one in the 12 mix pack.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2007 19:57:39 | More by sraimondi
Photo of DrinkinBoy


4/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Saranac Caramel Porter appears as a dark brown-red, and is surprisingly pretty translucent.

The smell is strong, and really smells nothing like beer and completely like caramel.

Its taste is unique, the roasted taste associated with porters is the first thing that hits your tongue. The after it taste is unique. It taste a lot like caramel, so that mixed with the roasted flavor makes me feel as though I just drank a caramel coffee. Also the more sips you have the more the caramel flavor stands out.

The mouthfeel is also excellent and relatively unique. At first it feels very light and carbonated, but shortly after it has a bit more depth again slightly like coffee.

Saranac Carmel Porter is a overall a great beer, but definitely a one at a time thing. The sweetness of it is great, but a little overwhelming. I bought mine in a 12 winter mix pack (6 styles), which is great for sharing with friends.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2007 09:11:14 | More by DrinkinBoy
Photo of jmalex


3.73/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was a beer that I had on tap during my introduction to craft beer which I loved. I'm sure my tastes have changed drastically in the past 2 years, but I really wanted to revisit this one. So thank you greatly to Matt Capone who split up the Saranac winter 12-pack and generously sold me the 2 Caramel Porters out of it. Tonight will be my first taste of this beer in nearly 2 years.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Sam Adams glass a reddish brown that is surprisingly transparent. The head barely forms on the pour and immediately settles out to a medium collar and small foamy patch, surely formed by the etchings at the bottom of the glass.

SMELL: Yep, there it is. Caramel. Not caramel malt. This smell just like the candies. The sweetness is balanced not by hops but by a bitter black malt aroma and a huge phenolic alcohol smell. The intensity of the burn is disconcerting but is the only thing I dislike about the aroma. Otherwise, it's sweet but nice.

TASTE: I'm torn on what score to give this, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I like it! Initially the familiar porter flavors in this beer come out, but the caramel follows quickly. Joining the candy flavor is a firm bitterness from black malt as well as the hops. A hint of diacetyl comes out toward the finish as well.

MOUTHFEEL: I can't give it the benefit of the doubt here. This beer is definitely on the thin side as was evident from being able to see through it. Carbonation level is appropriate however.

DRINKABILITY: Though it approaches it, this beer is not quite cloying. There's enough bitterness present to make this a nice drinker. It goes down easy, the ABV doesn't get in the way, and I'd gladly have another.

Alright, this beer isn't making the BA Top 100 any time soon, but I'd still recommend it. The problem is that it's only available in the Winter 12-pack, and that might be too big an investment for some people. Your best bet is to randomly find it on tap and go in with no expectations. Drink it if you see it.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2007 01:43:26 | More by jmalex
Photo of fitzy84


4.68/5  rDev +50%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with an amber-brown color but settled with a pretty dark appearance with some hints of amber in the light. The smell was out of this world: real caramel flavors at their purest literally permeated from the drink. The taste reflected that with the wicked sweet caramel flavor wrapped around every sip. The carbonation was pretty good, giving this beer a fascinating crispness that might loose some with its off-centered structure but might gain others with its uniqueness. Overall, this might not be for everyone but this is one of the best from Saranac and one of the best I have had.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2007 05:35:05 | More by fitzy84
Photo of L4t3rg4t3r


3.4/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Thin white head that fades quickly, pours a dark brown/amber.

Smell: loads of caramel and sugar, can't really detect much beyond those. Perhaps a touch of vanilla bean.

Taste: Definitely Caramel and a tiny bit of vanilla, although the flavor is somewhat artificial.

Mouthfeel: Medium, but the strong caramel sweetness makes it feel heavier.

Drinkability: Caramel flavor dominates, I have not often had such a strongly flavored beer. The flavor is a bit unbalanced and I don't think that I could have more than one.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2007 04:31:10 | More by L4t3rg4t3r
Photo of Lupin


2.63/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz, from winter mix pack. Gotta say I was pretty curious about this one. Second serving, after the oatmeal stout.

Chilled in the winter air. Pours clear, but very dark, into a Klaster stage.

1" head dies quickly. Aroma is 99% caramel and if there was an olfactory equivalent to nutrasweet, I've found it. Smells kinda gross.

Up front, pretty tasty. Sweet with not too much complexity, but I can't really describe what happens to this beer when it gets to the back of my throat. It's just too sweet and covers too much of the palate with that sweetness at once. It's like the first time drinking a diet soda. The hops only add the slightest bit of bitterness to balance this out.

I can't finish it.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 02:35:27 | More by Lupin
Photo of JamesS


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

Poured a decent brown color, not as dark as many porters, but not bad. It had a bit of head and a bit of lacing. Not a very deep scent, very little in the way of a nice burnt grain or coffee or any other porter like scent, but a little was there and the tiny hint of caramel kept it from going below average. Nice taste, although not as deep as it could have been. A bit of a weak porter flavor, but the caramel helped out, making it a sweet porter that was pretty good. Goes down very smooth! Even if it's not the best porter, I'll have no trouble drinking all of the ones I have.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2007 19:39:19 | More by JamesS
Photo of davidt


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

Part of the 12 Beer of Winter pack. Pours a weak cola-brown color with a thin head. The immediate impression from the aroma is that of sherry. Also a good bit of caramel on the nose. The flavor is caramel, coffee and very sweet. There’s plenty of carbonation to tingle the tongue, perhaps a bit too much. This one seems a little thin for a porter. The sweet caramel flavor is different, if not a bit sweet.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2007 17:23:47 | More by davidt
Photo of animal69


3.7/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i felt festive so i got the 12 beers of x-mas sampler ; this one pours a dark garnet color w/ a slight head which dissapates quickly leaving little lacing in my nonic ; smells like dark roasted malts, butterscotch, and faint nuts ; caramel galore, has nice balance w/ the malts and hop bitterness, the artificial-type sweet taste throughout was slightly distracting, takes away from the dry, nutty, caramely taste ; nice rich mouthfeel a little too carbonated for me, though ; a nice brew, great one for the season, love the 5.5 ABV too !!!...

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2007 03:20:53 | More by animal69
Photo of Gambrinus1184


2.88/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Out of the 12 Beers of Winter mix-pack, into a SA pint glass.

A: Poured a dark brown with an impressive head of tan foam that built high and stuck around for a while.

S: Smells like a fire-roasted Caramello. Caramel malts and chocolate.

T: Sweet is an understatement. This brew was all malt to me, I couldn't find a single hop. The bitterness in the brew was coming from a dark chocolate flavor, and then the caramel was all over the place, especially in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied and oily. The slick sweetness turned me off a little.

D: Great to have one, ONE I say, as a dessert beer, but that's about it. You probably wouldn't be able to stomach a few, and nothing else would taste right after this one.

Give it a shot if you like the sweet stuff, but I can't really recommend it. Tons of other American Porters out there, and flavored ones as well, that don;t kill the brew with caramel.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2007 20:42:32 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of bluejacket74


4/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, part of the Saranac 12 beers of winter pack. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch tan head. Lacing and head retention are both good. The aroma is very sweet, it smells like caramel and butterscotch. Caramel is the strongest taste in the beer, but there's also butterscotch and a bit of hops in the finish. It's a mostly sweet tasting beer, but the sweetness isn't overpowering. Mouthfeel is medium, with moderate carbonation and it leaves a slight coating on the tongue. Drinkability is good, it's smooth but could be better if the carbonation was cut down just a little bit. I like this beer, but then I like sweet tasting beers. If you don't care for sweet beers, then this might not be the choice for you.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2007 03:14:18 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle- part of a mixed "brewers choice" 6 pack purchased at the local store...

A- Very dark chocolate brown- light tan head- no lacing at all, lots of carbonation bubbles.

S- Smell was of melted caramel- think candy.

T- Taste was very average- the immitation caramel flavor totally overpowered anything in this beer- typical robust porter flavors as well, but thats it.

M- Got light and watery towards the end.

D- One or two and thats it.

Cool idea, but falls very short of being a good beer. Average beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 18:52:40 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of burnstar


3.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours very dark brown with a medium sized off-white head. Aroma is very interesting- caramelly and sweet. And there's a really strong buttery smell upfront. Like sweet buttery caramel. The taste is similar to the smell. Sadly it doesn't work as well as a flavor. Strong sweet caramel with that butter note again. Medium to full bodied. Not one I'd want to have a lot of- the flavors are just too different. I can't decide whether I like this or not. It is at least unique though.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 01:42:08 | More by burnstar
Photo of pitweasel

New York

2.75/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is the only beer from the 2007 winter pack that I wasn't too fond of. The beer poured with a nice two finger head, which lasted for only a few minutes before reducing to a thin lace. Everything about this brew screams caramel, with the porter part apparently missing in action. The aroma is heavy with the scent of the chewy little candies, and it's about the only thing that hits your tongue as well. For a porter, this seemed to be much more carbonated than most.

This is pretty much candy in a bottle. If you love caramel, this is the beer for you. If you love porters, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2007 16:44:49 | More by pitweasel
Photo of Brad007


4.05/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a one-finger head. Aroma is nice and buttery, smooth like caramel usually smells. The caramel aroma in this beer has always been strong. I remember drinking it 3 or 4 years ago. Taste is strong and caramel-ish upfront with a sweetness that lingers at the back of the throat. The caramel flavor to me is not overdone because it's a beer that I could actually see myself enjoying. There's even a very mild butter toffee flavor at the back of the throat.

I can see why this wouldn't get consistently good reviews. It's obviously not for everyone but I cannot fault Saranac for taking a solid porter and adding caramel to it. It's just different for one thing and similar to how some people enjoy pumpkin or spiced beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2007 00:10:21 | More by Brad007
Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 660 ratings.