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Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
72
okay

728 Ratings
THE BROS
63
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 728
Reviews: 448
rAvg: 3.12
pDev: 22.44%
Wants: 10
Gots: 47 | 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: 728 | Reviews: 448 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of feloniousmonk
1.78/5  rDev -42.9%
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"? )

Photo of WesWes
3.78/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick tan head. The aroma is of sweet malts and butterscotch. It is quite creamy. The taste is rich with caramel and chocolate malts. There is a good caramel flavor to it. The mouthfeel is fair at best. For such a malty beer the carbonation is too high. This is a medium bodied beer and a good drinker; and excellent sessions ale.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.85/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this as a part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter ($11.99/12 Pack)

I see this beer has taken a bit of a beating but I was pleasantly surprised. It is sweet, but in a good way in my opinion. Smells and tastes like a pure caramel, almost like eating a sugar daddy.. man I love those things. The appearance and mouthfeel weren't too great but I couldn't get over the great taste. Maybe I'm just a sucker for caramel but I loved this beer.

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 Gavage
3.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.04/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque yet clear very dark brownish amber (almost black) in color with moderate amount of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and hints of garnet red highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a large patch of mottled thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel candies and toffee with a light aroma of roasted malts. Maybe the lightest hint of butterscotch.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel malts with a light hint of roasted malts way underneath (int he background). That is followed by moderate flavors of caramel candies, toffee, and butterscotch. Light amounts of sweetness which lingers but is not cloying. No perceptible hop flavors.

M: Light bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Too sweet and too thin to be a beer that I would want to have more than one of in a single session. Not bad but not one I will be picking up again anytime soon.

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

Thanks to Eric for the bottle. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with no indication of freshness into a SA sensory glass. This brew appear a dark brown color with pretty decent clarity and less than a finger of dark tan head that fades fairly quick. Some large bubbles rise to the surface from the etching on the bottom of the glass. The cap does not hold beyond a thin layering across the top. Sips and swirls reveal a bit of faint patch lacework on the glass. When held to the light, this brew displays quite a bit of dark brown clarity and ruby highlights.

The aroma of this brew is very sweet with a scent of caramel/toffee and a bit more sweetness that is somewhat reminiscent of vanilla. A touch of citrus hops impart a bit of a fruity aspect as well as some mineral/metallic scents through the later portion of the nose. Initially this brew smells very sweet and pleasing but never really comes together and seems a bit awkward.

The taste of this brew is a bit fruity and sweet. It has a flavor of caramel malt mixed with some vanilla sweetness and a touch of toffee. There is a fruity hop/alcohol presence that clashes a bit with the herbal/mineral quality of the hops. This brew finishes with a bit of an herbal hop bitterness that counters the would-be over sweetness of caramel and toffee.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. The abv crept up a bit for less than 6% and was slightly noticeable but overall this is fairly decent drinking. However, it is quite a contrasting amount of different tastes that dont particularly work well together. The whole idea of a caramel porter is an interesting concept but just didnt quite get it done for me. Worth a try but not something I would enjoy more than just one of.

Photo of imperialking
3/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of woodychandler
3.68/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured with a thin, light-tan head that quickly dissipated to nothingness. The color was a deep brown with ruby highlights. The nose was very sweet, carmelized, with a light smokiness. Mouthfeel was full with a smoky, sweet taste on the tongue. The finish was really caramel-like, with a taste not unlike sucking on a Sugar Pop. My fillings ached from the memory. I cannot say that it was an unpleasant experience, unlike some malt-driven beers in recent memory, but it still was not my cup of tea.

Photo of LXIXME
3.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of Billolick
3.13/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Another very mediocre brew from the fine folks at Saranac. Pours dark brown and clear, minimal head/lacing. Nutty caramel nose. Taste is, you guessed it, caramel and sweet. Tastes sort of like a mix between sugary caramel corn and a bottle of miller. There is obviously much better beer out there to be consumed. Saranac seems to be trying to fill the space betwwen BMC and any type of decent craft brew, I'm sure there is pleanty of $$$ to be made in that zone.

Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of tempest
1.7/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Took this our of this year's 12 Beers of Winter not expecting much, but was still sorely disappointed.

Has a very short head that was gone in a minute and left no head. The body is a pretty brown, but light-looking for a porter.

Smells very very sweet, like cheap wine-jug wine at that.

Taste isn't much better, very sweet malt character. There's no hops flavor, yet there's a nasty lingering bitterness.

Carbonation is fine, but I'd want this stuff off my toungue ASAP.

Overall, this is just, flat-out, a bad beer in my opinion. The first beer that I've poured down the drain in a very long time. Reminds me of my first homebrew, and thats definately not a good thing. I recommend the 12 Beers of Winter, but give this one away.

Photo of ejimhof
2/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of akorsak
2.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From the 2006 Winter Seasonal case.

A: The ale is a brown, muddy color, lacking sediment with some reddish highlights. The head was thick but does not retain or lace.

S: The porter lacks a roasted aroma, instead it offers a very sweet, sugary caramel aroma,

T: The porter is completely and utterly dominated by caramel. There is no roasted character, no slight sourness, no chocolate toasted malts, nothing. The caramel is strong from first to last sip and leaves a very long finish. Not quite a caramel apple, but close.

M: The mouthfeel is almost cloyingly sweet, but not quite. Either way, it is unusual and I am not sold on it.

D: The drinkability is limited, this strikes me as an experiment gone horribly awry.

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

12 oz bottle left out to warm for about 15 minutes, then served in a snifter.

A: pours a deep mahogany with a slight haze. The head is tan and short-lived, excepting a nice ring and some 'islands'.

Nothing subtle about the caramel in either the aroma or the flavor: it dominates both. The caramel seems a bit artificial in the aroma (3.25) but more natural in the flavor. There is a solid medium-roast malt background, but this is not as dark or robust as it should be in a porter, especially one with this much additional flavor. A bit sweet, but in keeping with the strong caramel presence.

M: Medium body with a semi-dry finish. Ideally, this should be smoother.

O: uniquely flavored beer with a pronounced caramel aspect. I really enjoy this one from time to time, although it is one of those "one is enough" beers.

Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that slowly fades leaving a good lace. Nice clear, deep amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Strong sweet caramel nose. Starts sweet, smooth caramel flavor, clean finish. Nice porter. 12 oz bottle from their winter sampler 12-pak $9.99, Market Basket Concord, NH.

Photo of tdm168
3.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with 1/4" of dense, foamy, off white head. Great retention. The smell is like caramel candy. The taste is also similar to caramel candy with faint roasted malts and hops for balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lightly carbonated, and very smooth.

Overall, this is a decent beer. It's different at least. The nose and taste are a little too sweet and candy-like. It's just a little too one dimensional.

Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -3.8%

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 Kelp
4.25/5  rDev +36.2%

Photo of plaid75
3.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger creamy off white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell resembled a that of a sticky bun or flavored coffee- very defined caramel aroma.

The taste was upfront caramel sweetness with a decent burnt grain in the middle and a bitter coffee-like finish. In fact, the taste resembles a flavored coffee.

The mouthfeel was heavy with a dry finish.

Overall a decent low ABV dessert beer. Not meant, in my opinion, to be an everyday drinker or even a session beer. A dessert beer is what this is and is rather drinkable as such.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.45/5  rDev +10.6%
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 GarthDanielson
2.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a dark, vibrant, ruby coloring with a thin, even, foamy coating of off-white head that is a fraction of an inch high. Aromas of sugary sweet caramel, just like a Werther's Original. Overpowering and very candy-like. Flavors are extremely rich and sweet. There is a slight roasting that gets lost in the backbone, extremely overpowered by the buttery and sugary caramel components. The body is smooth to start, which helps to support the body, but it becomes thin and filmy. Rich, sweet, and cloying finish. This is a tough one...good for someone wiith a wicked sweettooth.

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev +20.2%

Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 728 ratings.