1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
72
okay

669 Ratings
THE BROS
63
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 669
Reviews: 433
rAvg: 3.12
pDev: 22.76%
Wants: 6
Gots: 15 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Caramel Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 669 | Reviews: 433 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nrpellegrini
3.65/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured to pint glass.

A: deep brown, 1 finger head
S: Coffee roast, caramel, sweetness
T: coffee, caramel, chocolate, little bit of syrup, small spice
M: very smooth, no bite or bitterness
D: so-so, a lot of sweetness

I am not a big fan of coffee but this beer was very good. The sweetness got to me a little. Its not a thick or heavy beer but not far from it. Good beer, try it.

nrpellegrini, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of Lothar666
3.1/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- A two finger thick, tan foamy head was set atop a dark brown body that was semi-translucent with hints of deep red around the edges of the glass. This one had excellent head retention, but I am always disapointed when I can see through a porter.

S- I was pleasantly surprised to find a beer that actually smells as its name implies. Caramel and coffee were most present in the nose.

T- Sweet dark malts, with a hint of the promised caramel along with some hops in the finish, though not enough to balance out the almost sickeningly sweet aftertaste from the caramel. Overall flavor is not particularly complex, but tasty nonetheless.

M- Light, dry, and a bit crisp- nothing particularly remarkable in the texture, not even the stickiness that I would have hoped would accompany the caramel in this brew.

D- The pleasant surprise from the caramel on the first sip is great, but the overly sweet caramel after taste gets rather tiring once the initial novelty is gone. After finishing the first one, I would most likely reach for something else.

Lothar666, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of oscplayr25
3.38/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- a very dark porter just like most porters. The head on the porter is a greyish white color.

S- a very strong smell. You can easily smell the caramel and the coffee in the beer. I could stand about 10 feet away from the beer when its being poured and still be able to smell it.

T- a strong coffee taste. it really feels that im drinking cold coffee that has a light caramel creamer in it.

M- Never really carbonates in the mouth it is real smooth kind of like a regular drink.

D- i can drink probably about 2 of these before i feel awake for the day then have to poop. Porters are not my style but i can deal with this one longer then the rest.

oscplayr25, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of Jason
2.68/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Jason, Jan 23, 2008
Photo of tayner
2.6/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

dark brown with an off-white head that laces nicely. pretty beer to look at

there is no doubt there is caramel in it when you smell it. It smells like one of those caramel candies you melt to make caramel apples.

It did not taste like i expected it to. I taste sweet, but not caramel. Somehow the smell did not convert to taste.. there is all of the sugar and sweetness without any of the rich caramel flavor. This has a bitter aftertaste as well.

It was thick enough for a porter.

I couldnt drink another one of these, i could barely drink this one. it improved as it got warmer, but i think i would have to boil the next one to get it down.

tayner, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of kevman527
3.85/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a room temp pint glass, let sit for about 10 minutes before I tasted it.

Apperance - Had a nice thick creamy head, about 2 fingers worth, which lasted for several minutes before dissipating. Had a little bit of clarity, but otherwise pretty opaque. Dark brown color, almost like Coca-Cola.

Smell - Very sweet smelling, grapey at first, but as it warms up the caramel is very prevalent.

Taste - As I am sipping this beer as it is warming up, the caramel comes out more, a very sweet caramel. Has a little bit of a 'coffee' bitterness to it, with virtually no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel - Easy on the palate, smooth, low carbonation.

Drinkability - I could drink a couple of these in a sitting, but I wouldn't want to, cause of how sweet it is. Would be good with cheesecake with a caramel drizzle on it. I liked this beer, and would recommend it.

Was pretty cheap too, swiped it out of a friends' fridge while I was cleaning up from his new year's party.

kevman527, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of therica
2.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A= muddled dark mahogany, little head with modest lacing for a short time.

S= caramel and something that's less than exciting.

T= kind of like taking cheap ice-cream and putting caramel topping on it, this seems like a nice caramel taste with some pretty mediocre porter underlying it. Lots of sips, lots of assessment, same conclusion.

M= a little caramel, a little bite, a lot of acid-belching.

D= I drank one. I drank one a few weeks ago and thought better of it, but I realize now that was because of the cool caramel taste. Buy caramel, instead.

therica, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of MmmIPA
1.05/5  rDev -66.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I didnt want to review this beer but oh well.

Brown body with a tan head that leaves some lacing.

Sweetness,caramel,malts.

the same with the floral notes.

nice carbonation.

I had to get this beer done.It is horrible.If it goes in your mouth its horrible

MmmIPA, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of blackie
3.48/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: Gives a quite nice, light khaki head that slowly recedes to leave a good layer. The beer is a very deep, stained brown in color.

s: A lot of buttery caramel and toasted caramel on the nose, I know I like it but it does come across a bit overdone. I'd love to see some more roast and chocolate to compliment the caramel. Some toasted malts power through, but most possible malt complexity is covered.

m: Medium carbonation, body on the high side of medium.

t: The caramel flavor is quote delicious, buttery with some notes of toasted malt. Subtle, earthy hop flavor with a gentle bitterness in the finish. Caramel lingers long.

d: Not up to par with many porters, but enjoyable

from the Saranac winter mix

blackie, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
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.

Jwale73, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of fightingirishcmk
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!

fightingirishcmk, Jan 02, 2008
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.

erosier, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of tdawgydog
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.

tdawgydog, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of Kendo
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.

Kendo, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of Mit
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.

Mit, Dec 24, 2007
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…

barnuba, Dec 23, 2007
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.

mnj21655, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of sbe1
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.

sbe1, Dec 17, 2007
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.

BeerSox, Dec 17, 2007
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.

sraimondi, Dec 16, 2007
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.

DrinkinBoy, Dec 12, 2007
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.

jmalex, Dec 07, 2007
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.

fitzy84, Dec 05, 2007
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.

L4t3rg4t3r, Dec 05, 2007
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.

Lupin, Dec 04, 2007
Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.