Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
73
okay

750 Ratings
THE BROS
64
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 3.14
pDev: 21.97%
Wants: 11
Gots: 63 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 750 | Reviews: 454
Photo of stakem
3.2/5  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 woodychandler
3.7/5  rDev +17.8%
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 Gavage
3.35/5  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 tdm168
3.56/5  rDev +13.4%
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 Billolick
3.14/5  rDev 0%
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 tempest
1.71/5  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 jdhilt
3.65/5  rDev +16.2%
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 akorsak
2.68/5  rDev -14.6%
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 GarthDanielson
2.67/5  rDev -15%
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 plaid75
3.28/5  rDev +4.5%
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 ppoitras
2.59/5  rDev -17.5%
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 TheSevenDuffs
3.06/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Notes from 1/2/11
Poured in to Duvel Tulip.

A - Bark black with once finger of bubbly khaki-coloured head.

S - Very sweet up front - so much so that it masks the roasted malts completely. Molasses, dark caramel and brown sugar dominate the nose.

T - Dark caramel, roasted malts. Sweet but not as sweet as the nose indicated.

M - Might to medium body. Moderate carbonation.

D - Decent enough but too sweet to have more than one of. The caramel takes over a little more that I would have liked.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.47/5  rDev +10.5%
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 vfgccp
2.01/5  rDev -36%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Abbreviated review: Simply isn't a porter. Should probably be called a brown ale, but still wouldn't be a great beer, just more aptly named.

Photo of Derek
3.62/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark caramel, light tan head, very little retention, initial hints of lace.

S: Dark caramel, nut, earth, some dark fruit & slight orange.

T: Caramel, nut, earth, orange, figs, dark (burnt) toffee, residual sweetness with a balanced bitterness.

M: Moderate body & carbonation; slight prickly acidity.

D: Very approachable, a little too sweet to session.

Photo of tone77
4.42/5  rDev +40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of sweet caramel. Taste is very good, caramel, malts, a touch of hop bitterness, lots of flavor coming through. Feels full bodied in the mouth and is highly drinkable. Overall this is a very good beer worth seeking out.

Photo of Bighuge
1.38/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ruby red in color. A brown rimming is all this beer offers for a head. Huge butterscotch, caramel and toffee on the nose. Overwhelming. This beer smells cloying, if that is at all possible. This beer swishes around the mouth like that gross, viscous medicine that you really don't want to swallow. This beer is just disgusting. One of the worst beers I've had in a while. Medicine like taste. Cloying caramel flavor. Astringent bitterness. No carbonation whatsoever. No porter like qualities in sight. This is the type of beer I could see ending up in the toilet in less than an hour if I drink it all.

Photo of Brad007
4.05/5  rDev +29%
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.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep, dark brown color; deep ruby on the edges in the light. Poured a 1 finger tan head that dissipated to an even skim. Laced in spots.

S: Definitely a caramel character; butterscotch in the background. Mild earth and grass hop character.

T: Big caramel flavor; masks about everything else. Some toast, coffee and toffee flavors. Very mild bitter.

M: Light body. Low carbonation. Smooth and silky.

D: Flavorful and smooth. Caramel is bit overbearing throwing the beer out of balance.

Photo of puboflyons
2.52/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sampled on September 2, 2010. The pour is too clea for a porter with a clear mahogany brown appearance with a thick two-inch puffy tan head. The aroma is full of cany sweet caramel, butterscotch and toffee rather than burnt chocolates typical of porters. The mouth feel is thin. The taste is just too sweet with its confectionary sugary caramel and butterscotch elements with a vague hoppy ending. Hard to drink.

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +27.4%
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.

Photo of claspada
3.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aromas are sweet caramel, butterscotch and some lesser notes of darker robust java maltiness. Caramelized brown sugar is the best way to describe it. A nice breadiness adds some fullness.

The taste is 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. 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. Couldn't drink more than 2 or 3 in a sitting because of the style. Better in a mixed 12 pack vs. a whole 6er of this brew.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.35/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark black, vicious in color with a half inch of mocha colored head. Decent.

S - Wow like liquid caramel chocolates. I get strong sweet sticky caramel and mild milk chocolate.

T - Good at first the sweetness really doesn't get to me and it drinks like a sweet porter but about half the glass my tongue can't take it and I couldn't even consider having a second. Like drinking pure flavor extract in water.

M - Was pretty light to medium body but flavors get cloying

Overall at first I was considering getting a case but I can't believe how cloying the beer gets. Would be nice to have a six pack though as a nightcap.

Photo of DefenCorps
1.65/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I found a single for $1.49, and my buddy Chris raved about this when he tried it, so I had to as well. I mean, come on, its got natural flavor and caramel color added to it, so it's got to be good, right?

The pour is decent, a clear deep brown with beautiful reddish highlights. A large light brown head caps the beer, leaving a little lace as it recedes. That's about where all good things end, 'cos the nose is one trainwreck. Artificial caramel flavor, sickly sweet (think Smuckers), brown sugar, and a malt characteristic more reminiscent of a brown ale than a porter. The palate opens sweet, with (surprise!) caramel, some sugar and malt with a little roast, before a long, dry finish with a metallic character comes through. Carbonation is high, making this fizzy on the palate, and this does not work with the metallic character of the beer. Just not worth drinking, this is a rather poor porter, and the addition of caramel just makes it rather horrific.

Photo of Durge
3.32/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A thick dark brown color with very scant white head and minor lacing. A strong butterscotch / caramel aroma and a faint touch of piney hops perhaps. The taste is a smooth sweet caramel and orange blend. It has a dry finish with fine carbonation. There's a raspberry touch with a hint of smoke. Fair drinkability. Not a flavor I can sink my teeth into but OK if you can handle the sweetness.

Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
73 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.