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Saranac Caramel Porter - Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Not Rated.
Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

441 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 441
Hads: 750
rAvg: 3.13
pDev: 16.29%
Wants: 11
Gots: 65 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saranac Caramel Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 441 | Hads: 750
Photo of Jwale73
3.3/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (544 characters)

Photo of Brenden
3.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Caramel is in the color, a light to medium brown with an orange tint running through. A soft tan head doesn't quite make it to one finger tall, but struggles valiantly and doesn't fade too terrible quickly. A bit of thinnish lacing is dropped around.
Caramel is certainly in the nose, sweet but not cloyingly so, with a barley presence also notable. There's a touch of butterscotch; whether diacetyl or carryover from the caramel flavor, I'm unsure. It's generally a little weak and shallow.
A little more comes through in the flavor. This beer does indeed showcase caramel and barley-like grains remain in the foreground, but a bit of chocolate and a touch of coffee is in here, even offering a little nuttiness toward the end.
Mouthfeel is a little thin for a porter, and while carbonation isn't obscene it seems a little high for this beer. One good thing is that there is a very nice smoothness that rolls on the tongue all the way into a mildly lingering finish. (967 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

On tap at Marshall Street Bar and Grill. Have heard bad things about this one, but it was on special for 2.50 a pint, so figured it was now or never.

Pours a dark brown, almost black. No real head to speak of. No lacing, either.

Tastes palatable for about 3-4 oz, then gets weird and bad. Tastes like some sort of caramel extract you'd put into coffee. Overly sugary and cloying, making it a chore to get this one down.

The mouthfeel was boring. The body was thin, with low carbonation.

Not suggested unless you can get it for super cheap. (543 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a deep brown color with a large tan head. The head had a moderate amount of persistent but eventually faded giving a medium level of lacing.

Smell – Carmel is quite potent in the nose. There is a butteriness as well giving a mix of toffee in with the caramel. Some vanilla notes are also present with an ever so light roasted malt aroma as well. Overall the nose is quite sweet and nice.

Taste – While the nose was very heavy in caramel, the initial taste was not. It was largely of more roasted malt. As the taste advance however, a caramel taste became more and more prevalent; intensifying throughout the taste experience. Toward the end, the caramel is quite strong and mixes with some vanilla.

Mouthfeel – The beer is quite weak in body for the style with a bit of a higher then average level of carbonation. These two characteristics really hurt this brew. The weak body does not meld well with experiencing some of the more roasty flavors that complement the caramel sweet well. Also the carbonation level is a bit too high for this style and pulls away from some of the flavors even more.

Overall – The smell of the beer is fantastic, the taste good, but the mouthfeel was a hit to the overall quality of the beer. While the mouthfeel is not the greatest, for the price you pay it is not a bad beer and one that is well worth a try. (1,410 characters)

Photo of RBorsato
3.14/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Dark brown (auburn/ruby red to light) with a nice light brown head that leaves nice lace. Big "real" true Kraft caramel aroma; candy-like. Sweet caramel flavor like candy -- A bit too sweet (I could only drink one). Medium-full bodied (leans Medium) and smooth.

Label states: "Robust Porter" & "Dark Caramel malt" & "Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops" & "HInts of real caramel used in brewing" (398 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
2.66/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm not sure what they were trying to do with this beer, but it didn't work. It started out OK, dark brown color, small tan head. Not much aroma, just a little sweet. A porter taste, coffee/chocolate, but the damn caramel (or whatever it was, I couldn't tell for sure) kept intruding. It was medium bodied. Not a beer I'd want a lot of. (336 characters)

Photo of mynie
1.85/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours limp, very red and see-thru with a wee bitty brown head.

Smells like a sun-melted caramel candy and soap. Not a good blend, but it smells like an actual caramel candy so I guess that's worth something.

Tastes. Umm... not good.

That caramel hits you right away, which is actually decent, but then all this sour chemcial soap nonsense comes rushing in and takes over. It's sour and icky. The finish is nice, roasted malt, but the freaky middle makes this taste pretty bad.

Yet another mediocre beer from the Matt Brewing Company. (545 characters)

Photo of cbutova
1.91/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A- Dark brown, black in the middle body with a light mocha head. The cap gets big and has decent retention, slowly fizzing away. A few spots of lace.

S- Pretty much what I expected. Dark roasted malt with a very deep vanilla caramel sugar mixed in with it. A bit of nutty malt and toasty hints as well. Thrown off by a bit of metallic aroma.

T- Eh. Decent flavors of roast malt, caramel and nutty toasted malt is overshadowed by a big metallic flavor, I would question infection but it doesn't really scream it out here.

MF- Light and watery with lower carbonation than what I expected. Metallic hints sting my tongue.

DB- The metallic flavor is really throwing the whole experience off. As far as I know this is decently fresh, from around Christmas time. Something is wrong here, brewer or infection... Maybe I will try this next year to confirm. Reminds me of the "bad" Fuller's and Sam Smith's beer I have had that were not fresh. (938 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
2.5/5  rDev -20.1%
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. (304 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.04/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured a garnet brown with 1" off-white head that left a ring

S - chocolate, maltiness, caramel, and slightly hoppy

T - floral, fruity and sweet with chocolate malt and bitter finish. Notes of caramel, bread and roasted malts are present as well

M - light bodied, medium carbonation. Holds together well

D - very drinkable

Overall - This is a well rounded beer fit for many occasions and meals. I would recommend this to accompany a meaty meal. (453 characters)

Photo of Gmann
2.13/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a dark brown with amber highlights, small tan head that dissipated quickly leaving no lacing. The smell of buttery toffee, caramal, real sweet. The taste was sickly sweet, artifical, with a slight roast aftertaste. The mouthfeel was light and fizzy. Due to the sweetness of this porter, I could only have one of these. Not a big fan. (340 characters)

Photo of Suds
3.27/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I have friends who rave about this beer. It's different, interesting, and worth a try....but when I'm halfway through a glass, I think it's also excessively difficult to drink.
There is nothing special about the appearance. It's a dark, almost black beer with very little head. The aroma, however, is notable. It's got a serious sweet, caramel quality. Also, there's an almost oppressive buttery smell....think "overwhelmed by movie-house popcorn butter".
There are roasted and slightly burnt grains here, and the mouthfeel is full, rich, and creamy. It's got an over-the-top sweetness, however, and doesn't have the complexity of a great porter. (649 characters)

Photo of blackie
3.48/5  rDev +11.2%
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 (712 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
2.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark amber/brown with a fingers worth of head. The head did fade rather quickly back into the beer. There was a touch of lacing left behind in the glass.

The aroma was sweet and of caramel candy. (blocks you melt to cover apples)

The taste was really artificial to me. I couldn't believe it and I was quite disappointed. It was like the Starbucks Caramel Machiatto of beers. They took a somewhat decent beer and squirted caramel flavoring into it. I'm not even really saying it tasted bad.. It just didn't taste authentic to me.

Mouth feel was fairly light bodied but sticky sweet.

The artificial flavor bothered me in terms of drinkability.

There are other REAL porters to drink out there (700 characters)

Photo of tpd975
3.75/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to matta

A: Pours a light hue of brown with a nice creamy head. Okay retention with some spotty lace noted.

S: Bold gooey caramel aroma up front, there was an additive used to get this aroma. Hints of light roasted malt as well.

T: Nice malty sweetness with subdued caramel flavors when compared to the nose. A touch of nuts round things out.

M: Medium in body smooth with good carbonation.

D: Not bad overall. I would drink another. (445 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
3.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark black, one finger tan head.

S-Caramel, some roasted malt.

T-Very sweet caramel with some not much at all though roasted malt. Not much bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation.

O-A sweet beer, however there are much better porters out there. I had it last year but didn't review as apart of their Fall Sample Pack and this beer just isn't up to snuff. (371 characters)

Photo of Brent
2.7/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Freaky. That's what I kept thinking all the way through drinking this beer. I kept waiting for it to grow on me. It never did. I didn't really get much caramel flavor, either from the caramel malt or the real caramel used in the brewing, as noted on the bottle. What I did get was an odd, candy-ish background flavor that I just could not quite put my finger on. Cherry? Dr. Pepper? Not sure, but it did not work. (413 characters)

Photo of argock
2.14/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Brown with reddish highlights with surprising and unsettling transparency. 1-finger tan head with nice retention and plenty of lacing.

S: Nothing but sickeningly sweet butterscotch in the nose.

T: Also, nothing but sickeningly sweet butterscotch with diacetyls above the allowable limit. Even for a dessert beer, this is above and beyond. It tastes like they liquified a bunch of Werthers and poured them in your glass.

M: Thick and buttery with long butterscotch aftertaste.

D: I rarely pour out a beer -- after half of the beer, down it went. Maybe after a meal for a dessert... (663 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.35/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Translucent brown color with a foamy head that thinned out in a minute or two and left a few specks of lacing.
Smells like a bag of Sugar Babies candy.
Caramel flavor is all over the place with some roasted malt and a hint of bitterness tossed in.
Light bodied porter with decent carbonation.
One or two in a sitting is enough for me. (380 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
3.28/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into shaker pint on 3/31/09.

A - Hard pour revealed a clear, deep reddish copper body with burgundy hues and thick, one-and-a-half finger beige head that settled to a thin ring of patchy retention but left quite a bit of sticky lace around the glass.

S - Caramel candy and butterscotch comprise the aroma of this porter, almost to the point of domination. Nose is malty and sweet, as expected.

T - Sweet flavor with the obvious caramel and butterscotch character that carries over from the aroma. Slight toasted malt aspect in the back helps to give a bit more character to the flavor. Hops are scant at best and offer perhaps a slight earthy tinge in the finish. Ultimately a bit too sweet overall.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and lively carbonation that rendered the mouthfeel somewhat thin and watery rather than thick and chewy. Finish is sweet with mild bitterness on the palate.

D - Not the best porter in the world, but certainly not a drain pour either. If you like caramel candy, you will likely enjoy this beer. (1,055 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into goblet.
Dark brown color, with thin off-white head.
Caramel, sweet, malty aroma. A bit over carbonated for my liking. Sweet, caramel, malt flavor...seems somewhat lacking, but not undrinkable. Not my go to porter, but somewhat unique...I guess...meh. (274 characters)

Photo of merlin48
3.52/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Saranac, from a 2003 "12 beer sampler" box. Pours a dark brown with some hints of red, not as opaque as most porters I've had. Head disappears quickly without significant lacing. Nose is of caramel(no surprise) and a hint of smokiness. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but seems somewhat watered down. Taste is sweet malted caramel, not much else. This one is worth sampling for the caramel that dominates from the nose to the finish. Very interesting, certainly, and its faults make it more drinkable for my tastes. Only a slight hops aftertaste which makes for a smooth experience if you can deal with all the caramel. Not at all a bad choice, but definitely different. (679 characters)

Photo of Vancer
3.65/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hojaminbag sent me this lil' brew, from a nice trade, thanks many!

Poured a surprising dark brown, almost black. Ivory head floated nicely on top.

Big ol' whiff of caramel, mixed with some toffee. Dry, biscuity brew that has a tart finish. Creamy body, but with a nice pop o' hop to balance out the overall sweet caramel texture. I'd even guess a couple scoops of coffee were thrown in the tun.

Tasty beer, first one I've had from Matt Brewing. A caramel porter should have a major caramel presence, imo. (508 characters)

Photo of tgbljb
3.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

purchased as part of sampler pack. Poured a deep reddish color with slight tannish head that persisted as a fine ring. Smell is of sweet caramel with onle a bit of roasted notes. Taste is a bit sweet for me, with the caramel overpowering any porter aspects. Finish is also too sweet. Just an OK beer. (300 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.66/5  rDev +16.9%
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. (785 characters)

Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
72 out of 100 based on 441 ratings.