1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

706 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 706
Reviews: 437
rAvg: 3.12
pDev: 22.76%
Wants: 9
Gots: 32 | 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)
View: Beers (92) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Caramel Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 706 | Reviews: 437 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of twelvsies
3.18/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got a 12 pack mizer of Saranac the other day. This is quite a unique beer. It appears fairly dark brown, but as dark as your average porter. Smell and taste are both, well, very very caramely. VERY caramely. It's a nice flavor, don't get me wrong, but I'm not so sure it belongs in beer. The sweetness almost overpowers the malts, and forget about tasting any hops in this beer. A little to "flavored" for my tastes, but a nice try.

Photo of connecticutpoet
2.55/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was a deep red-brown, and I must have poured it well, because in my 22 oz. pilsner glass I got about 3 inches of head that died down to excessive lacing.

The aroma was incredibly buttery. I have never had a beer that smelled this way.. it was almost like movie popcorn. There was a good slug of caramel as well, as the name suggested. But the butter really threw me.

The taste was also mostly buttery, with caramel notes and the faintest hint of roastiness.

The mouthfeel was quite thin. Overall I was disappointed.

Photo of wailingwench
4.25/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Eye Candy: Dark brown with amber highlights. Minimal head, thin that gave way to moderate lacing halfway through.

The Nose Knows: Sweet caramel. A hint of chocolate as it warmed. Reminds me of caramel topping at Friendlys.

Tongueland: Way to rich. If you buy the Holiday pack, save this for dessert. Deep rich caramel, nothing else. Warmed deepens the caramel.

Bender Factor: I can drink about a half and then pass it off to my girl (that way I can get the Roggen and the ESB). I know for a fact that the ladies love Caramel Porter. Suprise your significant other with a sixer (if you live in the greater Utica/Syr area) for your anniversary. I will honsetly say that I could see myself putting down a sixer in1 hour. Dangerous. I rated this brew for what it is and factored in all the comments from the ladies that have tried this.

Photo of Backer2004
2.6/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased this as part of a 12 Beers of Christmas Saranac mix, which is a great gift for a fellow beer advocate. I woulod have bough this in a six pack if this wasn't available just for curiosity sake. Save you money.

Poured a much darker, nut brown like appearance with little lacing or carbonation. Smelled way to bitter--would have preferred something totally different. Just did not expect this bitter taste either, maybe I just hoped this would taste and smell as sweet as caramel ice cream topping.

Photo of pezoids
3.4/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This poured a deep and clear ruby brown with a thin filmy head topping the beer off. The aroma yields sweet apple buttery notes, rich sweet caramel with a sweet nutty butter quality. The taste is bitter, roasty and flavorful. Initially the taste buds pick up sweet cherries, then ends up with a roasted bitter tang and slight touch of warming alcohol. This beer is loaded with rich flavors, but unfortunately there isn’t much of a malt backbone underneath. A decent and interesting beer, and matched nearly perfectly with the canoli I was having for dessert.

Photo of finepaws
2.68/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Got a 6 pack of this on special. I thought I'd really like it. Not so much. It poured a reddish caramel color. Smelled like roasted hops. The taste reminded me of most saranacs, but not as good. Kind of bitter finish, slight caramel flavor. Had 1 with a grilled steak, didn't pair up well. Overall it was drinkable, but I'm sorry I got a 6 pack. Prefer other saranacs over this.

Photo of Mitchster
3.93/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out to a clear dark mahogany with beautiful chestnut accents, forming a modest, rocky and meringue light tan head with very good retention and sticky lacing. Carbonation is spot-on for the style. Aroma is enticing with immediate real caramel, caramelized sugar, port wine, blackberries, butterscotch and toffee. Mouthfeel is very good...initially bright, but fading into a mellow middle and lingering smooth aftertaste. Medium bodied. Taste begins with some initial spicy herbal hobs which are rather mild, fading into the roasted malt and caramelized sugar body. Middle is somewhat sweet, but balanced by the herbal bitterness. The herbal character to this bitterness is somewhat off-setting and creates an odd mix. The finish is very lightly dry and the aftertaste is gorgeous with nice notes of dark and moist pipe tobacco. No off-flavors. Alcohol is barely perceptable. Burps smell like caramel.

A very nice brew, the first of my 12 pack sampler from them. Looking forward to trying the rest of them. Haven't had a caramel beer before, so this is interesting. I think of this as a thinner-bodied Fuller's Porter with a ton of caramelized sugar. An interesting dessert beer, but 2 would be enough for the night.

Photo of ppoitras
2.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12ozer purchased as a single from the Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" tan head above a deeply reddish brown brew. Aroma is STRONGLY of caramel and vanilla. So much so as to be sickly sweet and artificial. Taste lacks malt, almost tastes like a cream soda. Mouthfeel is quite watery, and drinkability is due to flavor and sweetness issues. Very disappointed, was expecting so much more.

Photo of cbl2
2.55/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2


Dark brown with light brown head.


Smells like the name indicates: pure caramel.


Almost sickly sweet at first, though it does grow on you. As the nose indicates, flavors are purely caramel to the point of being overdone. I like caramel, but this is a dessert beer gone bad.

Photo of meathookjones
3.45/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a brown with a reddish hue and a decent size brown head. Pretty good head retention with a bit of lacing as it goes. Aroma is completely dominated by the sweet aroma of caramel. I can’t detect anything else even as it warmed. Tastes like malts and caramel. It is very sweet almost too much so until a slight bitter on the after taste. The mouthfeel is average and it is quite drinkable it you like all that sweetness. Overall not a bad brew something that would be good as a dessert almost but don’t drink too many because I bet these can give you cavities.

Photo of marc77
2.8/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear deep garnet hue. Rather light in color for a porter. Thick, persistant, dense tan head leaves lace. Candyish, sugary caramel dominates the aroma. Only hints of black patent roast and chocolate malt character exist. Not impressive aromawise. Prevalent in flavor is an expected, steadfast caramel syrup backbone, although malt makes its presence known. Mild notes of bittersweet black malt and baker's chocolate offer token depth. Meager in hop bitterness, leaving ample residual sweetness, but thankfully it's not sugary or cloying in nature, partially due to the high apparent attenuation. Lightly bodied, and a notch above watery in mouthfeel. Devoid of esters, and thus quite "clean" in overall flavor profile. Sweetness approaches cola like as it warms, but mercifully halts at a dilute caramel chew like level. Finishes quickly, with a fleeting snap of burnt malt and butterscotch. An odd brew. There aren't any real strengths in character here. A rather insipid porter. Caramel brown ale would be a more appropriate moniker. Yawn.

Photo of francisweizen
2.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A lightly reddish/brown colour with a small head of offwhite/tan foam. The aromas are all sweet sugar, caramel, light malts, and where are the hops? The taste is too sweet up front and even sweeter on the finish. The mouthfeel is sticky and the drinkability is not good. Not one of Saranacs better brews.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.05/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, cocoa brown with a light brown head. Aroma is full of sweet, sticky caramel and not much else--which is appropriate.

This is like drinking a caramel chew. Straight caramel, smooth, creamy and sweet, with an ever so slightly bitter finish.

Ok, so it's very sweet, but I like this beer. Great dessert fare.

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

Not a bad porter. It's a good conversion porter. It is very sweet and only gets sweeter as the temprature rises. It has a very strong caramel taste that masks every other taste and subtlty of the beer, It could have been less strong on the caramel side and moreso on hoppy side of things.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.65/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - very nice. Ruby red, nearly a 2-finger head, very creamy and slow to break down. Some thin sheet lacing on the glass.

Aroma - butterscotch/caramel sauce like you would put on ice cream. Not genuinely beery, but it's a pleasant smell.

Taste - basic malt with a heavy layer of caramel/butterscotch flavor. Pretty sweet. but I like it. A tiny bit of hop showing in the aftertaste, and some late roastiness comes through too. Overall a mellow creamy caramel experience. Gimmicky, but I'll be looking for it come Halloween.

Mouthfeel - smooth, soft, velvety, in step with the caramel bit and all.

Drinkability - interesting. I'll be buying this again as much to drink as to get other people's reaction to what is certainly a unique taste in my beer travels to date.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.18/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out dark brown with a slight ruby tint to it. As soon as I started pouring this baby, I could smell the caramel. It was overpowering. The amount of caramel hops make this a sweet smelling, but also a sweet tasting, beer. The taste is a little too sweet for my liking. If this beer was a bit more subtle and smoother, it would be a high-quality brew. Instead, it was a little nausiating. Could also benefit from a little less carbonation. The sweetness really brings the drinkability down. Couldn't imagine having more than 2 of these.

Photo of ark57
3.7/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I know this is not a premium beer, but there is something about it that I really like. It is ruby-black in color with a buttery sweet aroma. Its robust body tastes of sweet caramel and roasted malts. It is then rounded off with an English hop finish (Fuggles and EKG). It is a nice dessert beer that is not too thick. All too often many stouts that go well with dessert fill you up too much when you are already full, but this is a little lighter in the stomach for those times when you can't consume too much more, but need soemthing to finish off the meal.

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

I pour this brew into my sample glass at room temperature.
Beer pours clear brown but see through. Nice beige head foams up easily about 1 inch.
Aroma, holy sweetness!! I get a huge hit of caramel right away. Anything else?? Maybe a hint of grassy hops but it is very faint as the caramel is explosively dominant.
First sip, gives me an average bodied brew and fairly mild carbonation. Flavor is toffee and caramel sweet up front and through the finish. This beer is a little one dimensional.
Rather sweet and I am not sure if I am imagining it due to the caramel overload on my palette but it feels chewy like the candy. Probably just a trigger in my mind.
This is a decent brew but I wish some other flavors came through. Oh and if you dont like caramel candies dont even open this bottle.

Photo of smcolw
3.2/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Brown (dark, dark amber) with a touch of red; decent beige head; no appearance of cloudiness.

Aroma: caramel (surprise, surprise) and vanilla but little else. Lots of sugars. Reminds me of a tray of candy apples.

As expected, a very sweet beer. The caramel comes through strongest in the aftertaste although it is prevalent throughout the tasting. I find it a tad bit overwhelming. With effort, I can also detect some darker malts (chocolate and crystal). While the label notes some English hops (Fuggles & Kent Goldings), I had trouble picking them up until late in the aftertaste.

I like the uniqueness of this beer but not the overpowering sweetness. Not really a porter in my mind, but it could be an excellent and special dessert beer. I'm torn on the scoring: as a Porter, this is very different and not very accurate. As a sweet beer, I could see this with a fine cheese course or a tart dessert and would highly recommend it as a special treat. So I rated the taste as a Porter and the "drinkability" as a dessert beer.

Photo of bigbubba
2.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A nice looking dark brown beer with a tinge of red. The head was a light tan and was fairly substantial at first. The smell and taste were very sweet and the caramel was very strong. It had a pretty good taste, but this is supposed to be a porter right? The hops were very light, the sweetness was more from the caramel than from malt, the color was a little light. If I strictly reviewed this as a porter it would score much lower. It was enjoyable and is worth trying, but it won't become anyone's favorite. It could be a good beer to introduce macrobeer drinking friends to a new style of beer.

Photo of kmo1030
3.65/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

dark brown with a tan head. caramel and buttere dominate the smell. buttery caramel is the most apparent here, with slight hop bitterness, before finishing with a thick caramel aftertaste. medium bodied with good carbonation. this is a bit too sweet for my taste, but i can't really say that it's bad. i won't be rushing out for it any time soon, but if your in the mood for something different, it's worth a try.

Photo of TastyTaste
1.13/5  rDev -63.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Deep brown, with a creamy tan head that doesn't go away. Smells sickly sweet of caramel, they should've held back a little. This tastes like someone put melted caramel candies in a decent porter. Just not satisfying in any way, makes me sick to my stomache with it's intense sweetness that covers up most of the coffee undertones from the porter. This beer would've been a lot better if it was simply a Porter, not a Caramel Porter. But I am just repeating myself. Easily the worst beer of the sampler, I may not even finish it.

Photo of DagFishHead
2.6/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

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

Well being from the Albany area I have grown up with the Saranac brews and one that they always seem to include in the holiday season Trail Mix is the Caramel Porter. I find this to be an interesting brew as I have never smelled or tasted a beer that had so much Caramel punch!

Beer poured to a deep brown color with a nice tan head that was gone fairly quickly with little to no lacing. The smell is very much about the caramel with a touch sweet toffee and malt. Very interesting smelling brew! The taste is all caramel with some hints of chocolate and roasted malt that offer a very smooth and creamy concoction! Wow this is a sweet brew, actually have to be very keen as to what your matching it with when eating. Not sure how many of these I could have, just due to the sweetness of the beer, but once in a while it is a treat as it is quite different. Definitely a colder season brew for me!

Photo of Quaffer
4.28/5  rDev +37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This was a dark brown beer that let plenty of filtered, red light through when it was held up to a lamp. A fizzy, light tan head rose up to only about a finger with an aggressive pour. It lost some of its coarseness and thickened up as it settled down. It dissipated rather quickly, though, and had dwindled down to just a thin ring of foam around the circumference of the glass before I had taken a drink. There was no lacing at all.

Smell: Any doubts that this was a true caramel porter vanished after a quick smell of the glass. The aromas of caramal and sweet English toffee were very strong. I found it to be rather pleasant, due to my love of both of these things. Lying underneath these two smells were notes of dark malt and a light hops aroma. A little bit of cherry came through as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a nice and creamy, somewhat coating, feel to it. There was a decent amount of carbonation tingle in the mouth and on the tongue, but it didn't make this beer too rough.

Taste: The taste matched up well with the aroma, though the caramel and toffee were more subdued in the flavor than they were on the nose. Upfront was a nice mixture of sweet caramel and dark roasted malts. The roasted flavor was not as strong as it is in many porters, but it still balanced out the sweetness well. A little bit of dark fruit lay underneath these flavors. On the finish, the sweetness still lingered, but the roasted component strengthened and became the dominant flavor. The combination of the two flavors left a nice, burnt caramel flavor in the mouth. Also at this time, a hops bitterness arose that also helped to balance out the sweetness.

I found this to be a very enjoyable brew. I am not a big fan of sweet things, and I really don't like sweet beers, but this offering had enough roasted malt and hops in the profile to keep it from being too much. It was nowhere near to becoming cloying. And, while I am not usually a big fan of sweet things, caramel and toffee are my favorite sweet flavors. So that didn't hurt either.

Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 706 ratings.