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Saranac Black & Tan - Matt Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Saranac Black & TanSaranac Black & Tan

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

712 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 712
Reviews: 498
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 13.26%
Wants: 9
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Black & Tan |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-05-2001)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 712 | Reviews: 498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a Beers of the World pack from Cost Plus World Market.

Pours a semi-clear dark amber color with a puffy 1 inch beige head that fades to a small cap. Thin tightly spaced rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted dark malt, chocolate syrup, and caramel aromas. Taste is of roasted malt, coffee grounds, caramel, and slight roasted peanuts. A mild roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a pretty good carbonation level making for a crisp yet smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good black and tan beer that is much better than the Mississippi Mud beer of the same style I have tried in the past.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2011 23:09:53 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

12-01-2011 23:09:36 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429


3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel with a lot of tan head and some good lacing. The smell is roasted malt, chocolate, and caramel. The taste adds a little bit more sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, chewy, and a bit dry. Drinkability is good, going down easy for how dark and dry it is.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2009 18:42:26 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brownish bronze that becomes bright orangish crimson with backlighting. The quality cap is the color of unvarnished pine with a lumpy, bumpy, bubbly surface and a good bit of lace. There's a lot to like about the appearance.

The nose, although not nearly as nice, is still pretty good. The beer smells vaguely chocolatey with caramel and brown sugar being more prominent. There's also some hoppy fruitiness in the mix. It's an odd, yet interesting aroma. I suppose that's what one gets by mixing two such disparate styles.

I was skeptical, but this is pretty good beer. It tastes exactly like what it is, a mixture of a dry stout and an amber lager. Lightly roasted caramel and chocolate malts are complemented by a fruity, more hoppy than expected character. I thought the beer had a better than even chance to be a muddled mess, but it works.

The finish is marginally more hoppy and is more pale ale-like than stout-like or amber lager-like. Maybe that's why I like it more than I thought I would; it all adds up to a pretty decent pale ale. The Kent Golding hops are, no doubt, part of the reason for that style connection in my mind. There isn't much wrong with the mouthfeel. It's medium in heft, falling a notch short of creamy.

Isn't the purpose of a Black & Tan the visual interest imparted by the separation of the two distinctive colors? So the purpose of bottling the two beers and, in the process, muddying them into one uniform color is... what exactly? That's what my thoughts were before drinking this beer, my first bottled version of the style. It isn't tremendous, but it works and I enjoyed it. Black & Tan is easily the best Matt Brewing Company beer that I've had yet.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2005 14:15:32 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98

New York

3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured clear dark amber in color with a thin, creamy white head that has good retention properties. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The nose is rather sweet and has aromas of caramel and toasted malts.
T: There is a mild amount of sweetness in the taste, which mostly has flavors of toasted caramel malts with some hints of chocolate. There is a very mild amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium- bodied on the palate and relatively smooth and creamy. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very drinkable. I could easily have several of these in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2010 02:31:11 | More by metter98
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

3/5  rDev -13.5%

11-18-2011 02:59:12 | More by nmann08
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The final bottle in my Adirondak Trail Mix Pack. This was the one I was saving, as it intriqued me the most. I always wondered how they did a black and tan right in a bottle or can, I just felt it needed to be mixed right then ya know..

A - Poured a deep dark black, with a smallish off white head that quickly faded leaving nothing but a smallish ring of lace on the top. A tiny bit of residula glass lace, but that was it.

S - Some burnt malts, a touch of caramel, and maybe a little hops, nothing to impressive, pretty standard overall.

T - Kinda bland, like a weak porter. Caramel, and coffee grounds, with some bitter hops, and a touch of earthy grains, maybe some cereal, again pretty standard fair.

M- Light, not too thin, but not robust in any means, decent carbonation kept it from feeling flat.

D - Pretty decent, it was better at first when it was cold as opposed to when it warmed up. I was able to pretty much throw down the last half of the glass just to get rid of it, so it is definatly sessionable.

I didnt really get a bad opinion of this one, however I did not really get a good one either. It just seemed to lack something to make me really want to seek it out. Its pretty standard fait and if its there I would drink it, but I would not seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2007 10:36:16 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.63/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a black color stout with a nice big brown bubbly head with better then average retention. Aroma is kind of weak with limited sweet malt being distinguishable. Taste is also on the light side with lots of sweet malt, a quite thin body and no discernable bitterness at the end. Nothing to write home about I guess.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2005 19:21:46 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

2.5/5  rDev -28%

01-22-2012 00:48:43 | More by acurtis
Photo of BEERchitect


2.83/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's always puzzling to me why anyone would water down a stout with a lighter beer. Anyhow, If one were going to, Saranac's isn't as bad as I would have thought. It pours a lighter-than-expected brown/ black. Not opaque. Has a mild head that disipates quickly. Aromas are a little lactic in nature, a little grainy (black malt) and a light sweetness (caramel?). Flavors are light for a beer with a stout in it. Flavors are lessened by the lager addition. A bitter from both the black grain and hop addition is less than clean--charcoal-like. The texture is a bit chalky, but not dry. Finishes a grainy bitter and, again, chalky. Not overly impressed with this one, but still drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2005 15:42:29 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a smallish, frothy, bone white head.

Smell: Chocolatey dark malts with hints of apple and yeast. Hm.

Taste: Dark malts, lightly sweet, and having a light chocolate taste to them. Again, there's that apple and yeast I kept tasting from their amber lager. No real hop character or bitterness. Final hint of chocolate on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Definitely better than that amber lager it's mixed with, but I think I'd rather just have had that "classic Irish stout" they were talking about.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2008 17:01:07 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of jaydoc


3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

11-09-2013 14:17:59 | More by jaydoc
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with some reddish highlights thru out with a nice creamy well sustained head.Slight aroma of dark roasted malt and some caramel but pretty slight like I said,a decent melding of flavors some bitter sweet chocolate,caramel and dark roasted malt the beer finish rather abruptly not much lingering flavors.Hey not bad and $5.19 for the Trail Pack I think more than worth the price,wish there was two of these and only one Adirondack Amber.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2005 22:26:21 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Winchester Tavern shaker pint glass (oh, how I do love "Shaun of the Dead"...).

Pours a clear, dark ruby brown with a finger of strong white head that takes a minute or to to dissipate. The smell is faint, but holds remnants of dark malts, wheat, and a surprising bit of hoppy pine. The taste is somewhat bland, with some dark wheat notes mixed with a light bit of hoppy bitterness, almost a dry, biscuity finish, but no butter (can't have a biscuit without butter, duh!). The body is heavily moderate, but not quite as smooth as it could be; a little chewy near the end, but not chunkily so. Overall, an average brew that nonetheless remains pretty drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2010 05:19:57 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of zeff80


3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark brown color, almost black. It had a three-finger, tan & creamy head. It left some lacing.

S - It smelled of roasted malt.

T - The taste was slightly bitter with the roasted malt flavor. It also had a little caramel to it.

M - It was soft and smooth. It was medium to heavy bodied. I expected it to be heavier.

D - It is a pretty good version of the style. If I wanted a bottle of a Black & Tan, I would look for Saranac.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2006 19:17:10 | More by zeff80
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The body is a very dark brown with reddish-mahogany highlights and a creamy tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some spotty lace. The nose displays some grassy hops over a dark maltiness that's made up of light caramel and hints of deep roasted coffee. The body is medium/light, and it's crisp in the mouth due to a fine, median carbonation. A toasty malt character appears first on the palate; followed by an acidic roastiness and then some caramel notes as it warms. Some grassy/floral hop flavor shows up just as the bitterness starts to rise in the swallow. There's a quick shot of chocolate upfront, and then some passing caramel, in the lingering bitter finish that mainly leaves you with a roasted astringency/acidity and some grassy/metallic hop flavors. - That may not sound very good, but it is. It's a nice, dry and refreshing finish that lets you know you're drinking a dark beer. It makes you want to have another taste, and adds to its drinkability. It's not a great beer, but it's well made and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this simple "style".

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2003 18:00:34 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of nickfl


3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a two-finger head of light brown foam that rests on top of an opaque, dark brown body with just a hint of light showing through. The foam settles at an average pace and leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - Lightly fruity yeast notes with some caramel and toffee. Notes of red apple, plum, and perhaps a hint of diacetyl.

T - Sweet malt and toffee up front with light herbal hops. Some darker malt character in the middle, burnt caramel and light roast. Finishes with a bit of spicy hop flavor and moderate bitterness that is balanced by coffee like malt and a bit of roasted grain bitterness. Lingering caramel and coffee flavors coat the tongue along with light char.

M - Medium-light body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad, the malt flavor is quite nice with a robust roast character that sits on the back of the tongue long after the beer is gone. The aroma is a bit weak, just light yeast and malt, but the flavor helps to make up for it. The finish is quite dry, which makes the beer a bit easier to drink while also enhancing the roast malt character. This is a better than average black and tan and one of the better Saranac beers that I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2010 06:00:48 | More by nickfl
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty dark brown. Shows dark ruby when held to light. Tan head. Nose is very malty and smoked. Definite roasted qualities here. Flavor is a mix of malts and a weird dirty lager kind of thing. I guess that is what you get with the black & tan. I have never really reviewed this style before, so I don't know what to expect from it. But this one just tastes odd. The two combined styles don't seem to mesh well together and they stand out a bit too firmly against each other. The feel has a fairly high amount of carbonation to it and the liquid is kind of thin. Drinkability suffers from an acrid flavor profile and low amount of good character. Not really worth the time...or money.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 02:13:58 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, brown sugar, coffee, some dark fruit, a touch of chocolate and a faint bit of hops.

T: The flavor is malty and sweet with flavors of caramel, milk chocolate and dark fruit. The hops presence is decent, but it shows itself only intermittently. Likewise, the after-taste is sweet & creamy.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness, medium body, medium carbonation, very sticky finish.

D: Unexpectedly tasty, goes down pretty easy, decent kick, slightly filling, this one seems more like a dopplebock to me and it was better than I thought it would be even if I wouldn’t really drink too many of them if given another choice.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2007 06:01:19 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of Jason


3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Spiffy looking head, khaki coloured head is the best thing about this beer. Brown coloured brew with reddish highlights.

Smell: Toasted bread and some dextrin sweetness are pretty much all of the aroma.

Taste: Touch of roasted malt, earthy with a minty hop flavour and bitterness. Vague sweetness with a bitty and paper like flavours towards the end … not the oxidized paper flavour, just and odd taste. Finishes with a watery roasted flavour and faint hop oil.

Mouthfeel: Some crispness and a slickness in the mouth, medium bodied.

Drinkability & Notes: Not to bad, I prefer my B & T’s layered. This show that most of the Saranac beers are samey, blend two of their beers together and it still tastes pretty much the same as the others give or take a flaw or off flavour. This just happens to be a good blend.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2002 20:16:33 | More by Jason
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear brown color, below a massive, booming, rocky tan head, slowly folding down.
Aroma: sly, soft, creamy, nutty, with a nice, much appreciated hit of bitter espresso notes, as well.
Taste: smooth and untroubled, goes down with the greatest of ease. A bit of bitterness goes down the throat as well, but only in a minor, low-key way. It's nothing but smooth sailing. Chocolatey, nutty, and with a quickly terminated finish.
I suppose this style of beer trips many a trigger out there (on draft, I consider it merely a gimmick, used only to torment hapless bartenders), but not me. Has to be an adequate example, though.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 02:12:22 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of russpowell


4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was part of a mixed 6 I got in NC.

Poured caramel/brown with a a 3 fingers tan head. Great lacing & & good head retention

S: Choclate & toasted malt

T: Toasted malt & some grainyness up front. Fruittyness follows as it warms. Finishes choclatey & dry

MF: Medium bodied with a little chewyness. Good carbonation levels & really well balanced

This beer really shocked me, went down too easy& was just way better than expected. I make no apolgies, don't really consider this a legit style, but this works!

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2006 04:26:00 | More by russpowell
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Saranac Black and Tan looks completely black with an impressively resilient off white frothy head. Once hel up to the light it is a deep amber brown tone, the lace is full and thick. You can smell the dark roasts, but the malt sweetness from the amber lager is also coming through in the aroma of this brew. A decent example of this miture in a botle, but I will have to say that I have ha better. The flavor of has a nice chewy caramel after taste in the finish. The dryness of the stout and the sweetness from the malt both represent, although a little unbalanced to me. An overall enjoyable medium to full body beer, carries a nice drinkability if your in the mood for something a little diferent. I like but don't love this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2003 18:34:58 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of drabmuh


3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint. Beer is black to brown with a big head of small and medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Moderate to low carbonation, it looks fine I guess.

The lager aroma oddly wins in this matchup, kind of confusing. Its kind of malty, clean, decent, mild roast on the backend.

I thought this beer was mostly stout and only some of the amber lager, but the lager is clearly dominant. Its a malty, kind of sweet forward amber lager flavor, pilsner, caramel malts, with a mild bitterness at the end with some of the roast from the stout. As far as a "black and tan" is concerned, its quite boring, uninteresting, not entertaining and I don't even truly feel that this is a real style, although plenty of other beer styles are blends, I'm just not getting this one. Still like hoppin' frog's example much much better.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2010 01:44:14 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Slatetank


3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

05-21-2013 17:09:14 | More by Slatetank
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Saranac Black & Tan from Matt Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 712 ratings.