Saratoga Lager | Mendocino Brewing Company

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Saratoga LagerSaratoga Lager

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed in the grand tradition of Vienna Lagers in Austria and Marzenbiers of Munich, Saratoga Lager is a smooth, medium bodied lager with a pale copper color and a rich aroma. German hops and Munich malt impart an intriguing balance between light, soft bitterness and a refreshing sweetness.

Added by weissbierhead on 11-27-2002

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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 125
Photo of scotorum
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Still another new single from the mixed sixpack I put together while on a trip in NY state. I picked this one because it is a product local to eastern NY state, and the old fashioned label art of a horserace was interesting and appealing. This Mendocino brewery, as opposed to the California one, we do not see beers from in my neighboring state.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Lawson's stemmed tulip.

a: Gorgeous clear copper/ruby but lacking much head or lacing.

s; Mild caramel malt

t; Follows the nose, especially as it warms. Sweet finish.

m: Medium, good body, decent carbonation tingle.

o: Starts out rather mild but becomes more malty and therefore tasty as it warms. An above average Marzen/Octoberfest entry, definitely sessionable, although I only bought one.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.39/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a very deep amber color with a small head of a just off white color. The head has a good level of retention, fading over time to leave a good level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is big of a caramel aroma with some other lighter bready smells. Beyond these aromas comes some very light notes of an herbal and grassy hop smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a bready and caramel flavor which create a strong base flavor for the brew. As the taste advances a little bit of brown sugar joins the taste which sweetens it even more. Toward the end a little bit of a grass and grain taste comes to the tongue balancing the sweet rather nicely and leaves a rather bready and moderately sweet flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker side for a lager with a carbonation level that is average. For the style it is OK, but a little thinner of a body and a little higher carbonation may have been slightly better for the style.

Overall – A fairly decent lager, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Worth a try, but not worth going out of the way for it.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

One of my local, in-person traders, Sam Knocken, provided me with this and one other in the Saratoga series.

From the bottle: "Fresh Brewed in Saratoga Springs, New York."; "Handcrafted with an 'old World' attention to detail & brewed in the grand tradition of the Marzenbiers of Germany, Saratoga Lager is smooth & medium-bodied with a rich aroma. German hops and imported Munich malt impart an intriguing balance between its soft bitterness & refreshing sweetness,"

My aggro pour created three massive fingers of dense, tawny head with good retention. Color was a deep-copper (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had an almost syrup-like sweetness from the malt. The bottle's verbiage left me quizzical, but it is almost certainly a Marzen/Oktoberfest. Mouthfeel was soft, not much above medium-bodied, with a distinct malty sweetness in the mouth. I really did not get much in the way of hops, but that is probably just as well, given the style. Once more, it was a bit sweet of a beer for my taste, but it was certainly a solid beer overall.

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Photo of metter98
3.49/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is relatively clear light amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that died down, leaving some patches of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted and bready malts are present in the nose along with notes of dark fruits and hints of spices.
T: The overall taste very much follows the smell and is quite malty with notes of dark fruits—plums and raisins seem to stand out in particular—and some hints of spicy hops towards the finish. Only faint hints of bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this beer to be quite drinkable despite its maltiness. It's quite flavorful for the style and almost seems like a "light" version of a bock.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.11/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

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

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

S: The aroma contains honey, caramelized malts, lager yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, honey and some fruit. Then a hearty but not too heavy malt character comes in. The hops presence is very mild and there isn’t much balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, there are definitely a lot of other beers in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a decent off-white head. No retention, no lace.

Caramel and toasted malt in the nose. A bit on the sugary side.

Caramel malt up front, with some toasty hints as well. As some bitter creeps in, it is more like burnt sugar. Hops are not particularly distinctive, but there is a light bitter presence. Finish is malty.

Medium body, good carbonation.

I didn't expect this to be the style. Caramely and a bit sweet, a decent brew. Good as the weather turns cold, but nothing I'd want a 6-pack of. Decent.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.36/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cate’s Italian Garden in Bolton Landing, N.Y., on June 26, 2012. Draft into pint glass. Two fingers of white foamy head when I got it. Red amber color. Good retention of lacing.

Smelled lots of malts right away. Also caramel and toffee. Some sweet sugary notes.

Tasted close to the nose. Got the caramel and toffee. Lots of overwhelming malts.

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Slightly bitter abrupt finish.

Not a bad beer overall. I was surprised that Mendocino made it. I came a long way to try Mendocino.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amber with a decent one inch or so of a head on top. Decent retention as it hung around for a good couple of minutes before finally resting and falling down

piced, lots of pumpkin like smells mixed in with a good amount of roasted malts. It had a touch of nutmeg and a definite grassy or earthy mix in it. There was definitely some depth good amount of malt made up the backbone of it as you would expect. Once you got past that a nice bready sort of grain started to come over you, mixed in was a nice herbal, grassy sort of punch that really started to break though. It was definitely a fresh taste as it had some teeth to it. A decent hoppy expression then followed and even had a bit of a floral note to it. The finish was very long, and quite dry

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Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice four-finger head. Red-deep amber color. Clear. Spotty lace.

Almost perfumey in the smell. Certainly a malty beer. Light hop in the background.

Smooth body with a light carbonation. This is an overall malty beer with very little carbonation. Lots of crystal malt flavor (slightly sweet).

Overall, a very solid entry to the fall marzen choices.

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Photo of JRed
3.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with fleeting white head. Aroma of caramel, spice, plums, some bready notes. Tastes of caramel, malt sweetness, plums and other dark fruit, and finishes slick with faint grape. Medium body with light carbonation. Not enough balance in the body for me.

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Photo of sullied
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: I was very surprised with how dark this beer was when I poured it. It's a clear brown color with a slight red hue to it. No sediment. Slight amount of carbonation.

Smell: Sweet smell to it. Slightly toasty aroma.

Taste: Very similar to the smell. Definitely a toasted flavor to the beer. Very slight bitterness. Good taste overall.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, easy to drink.

Overall: Decent beer. Very drinkable, I could definitely toss a few of these back without a problem. Not the best beer out there, but it's worth a try.

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Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Funny, my first impression was how this tastes like a better-made and bigger version of Yuengling. The roast and dry toffee flavors are deeper and sweeter, while the body is also a touch thicker. There's a hit of spicy hops in the finish for balance, and overall, this is a fine amber lager. I dont think I'd group it with similarly-colored German lagers though.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.07/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

A: pours a medium amber color, pours with two fingers of foamy white head, leaves considerable lacing

S: nice malt notes and slight caramel notes

T: nice medium malt flavors, slight caramel notes and slight nut notes in the background

D/M: smooth on the pallet, strong carbonation tingle, nice depth and good flavor make it easy to drink

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice cloudy amber color with a nice finger of off white head. The head had so-so retention and leaves behind some small lacing.

S - The aroma is very malty. There are also some elements of sweetness, like carmel and toffee mixed in.

T - The beer starts off very strong with the malt flavor with a nice amount of sweetness to balance it. Other sweet elements, like the toffee and the carmel elements, mix in to give the flavor some complexity. The finish is just a tad bitter.

M - Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation (medium). The beer feels super smooth and crisp and feels really refreshing, especially with the bitter finish.

D - Very drinkable lager, while still having a lot of flavor. Very well balanced flavors from start to end, and a very refreshing beer overall.

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Photo of generallee
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a mug. The bottle has a nice description of the beer on the label but no abv or freshness date.

Appearance: The body has a nice amber color with a slight haze. From the pour I got a tall off white head. It is made up of mostly loose soapy bubbles that quickly settles down to a thin cap that holds on near to the end. Lacing is limited to just a few spots at the top of the glass.

Smell: There is some good malt aroma here with nice sweet bready and nutty sweetness. I also pick up some leafy hop notes as well.

Taste/Palate: Its flavor is medium bodied and basic but good. As I had expected from its aroma there is a nice bready malty base with some sweet caramel and light nutty notes mixed with some leafy herbal hop bitterness. Its texture is a bit smoother than I like to see in a lager but not a big distraction.

Notes: Overall it was a strong average for me.

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Photo of Durge
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Rubby for this sample from upstate New York (sort of). It shows a deep dark copper-amber with a fair white head and good streaky lacing. The aroma is mild yeasty malt with just a tiny hint of sweet floral hop. Quite pleasant. The flavor jumps out with cereal malt and sweet sorghum. Grain ideas of rice and wheat mixed with a suggestion of alcohol that ends with kind of an acrid bite that I don't care for too much. It seems to overcome the more pleasant malt and grain introduction. This has a substantial feel with a solid mid-body and mild carbonation. It's a little silky but has the dry finish with some sort of grass hop thing. Started better than it turned out. Pretty drinkable but I wouldn't care to repeat this flavor too often. But it really isn't bad and may be more up other folk's alley. Give it a try for sure.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
3.17/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saratoga Lager | 12 oz. on-tap | ? ABV | 2010

Amber in color. It looks... stagnant, with only a few bubbles fighting for the surface. Virtually no head to speak of. Little to no lacing.

Strong, bready, malty aromas backed by caramel and toffee notes.

Well it's much more flavorful than I would have expected. The sweet malts come to the fore early on, but I was most struck by the strong, oily hops -- reminiscent of an APA. Weird for the style, but not unenjoyable.

Medium, bodied and smooth. Decent carbonation. Average.

The taste threw me a bit for a loop, and it's not really true to style. Nonetheless, it's very drinkable and generally hold itself together well. I see no need to try it again with all the other options out there, but I wasn't disappointed for having ordered it (at half price).

Served on: May 2010 at David Copperfield's
Price: $3.00 (half price special)

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Photo of Amalak
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had on tap at Lock Inn in Brooklyn, NY. Pours a crystal-clear amber, some head and little lacing. Not very good looking, but has a decent malt scent to it. And like the smell, it has a crisp malt taste. Nothing really special about this brew, it's kind of light and lacks any discernible style. Meh. It's easy to drink, but not very memorable.

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Photo of clapp1115
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served: on-tap at the 99 Restaurant on western ave Albany, NY

Apperance= The beer poured a medium brown amber color, with a medium head. The bear left some lacing as well.

Smell= The beet smelled mildly hoppy with hints of fruit with a noticeable crisp malty back bone

Taste= The lager was slightly sweet, with a short bread cookie like flavor, with a complex hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel= Smooth over the tongue with great carbonation

Drinkability= A great tasting and easily drinkable

I would certainly recommend this brew!

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Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Oliver's in Albany, NY.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the slightly cloudy orangey amber brew. Head falls gradually, with average lacing. Aroma is sweet, rich malts. Taste mirrors the nose, almost a worty character, with fruitiness coming out in the middle, and a slight hoppy close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. Better than I expected from the vanilla-sounding name.

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Photo of ProfessorHomer
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very, very nice clean, crisp & clear Marzen Lager. Recommended!

A = Clear & coppery amber color with a very nicely-behaved tan head.

S = Clean, hoppy aroma, you can smell the fresh, wet well water.

T = Sweetish almost cookie-like flavor with a medium, but pleasant, hop flavor in the finish

M = Solid body and very nice carbonation. Clean finish.

D = Very Good

Highly recommended by a beer club member as his favorite beer and with very good reason. A very nice surprise from our local Mendocino brewery just up the Northway! By far and away the best Mendocino brew of their very solid line-up. A great Spring/Summer/Fall beer. Maltier than the very equivalent Sam Adams' Boston Lager, which is more hopped. This is a very fine, pleasant, well-balanced, sessionable & well-mannered Lager. A real treat!

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Photo of Contagion
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a dark copper penny color. When the light hits it, you can see amber flashes. Light passes through it easily, but there is a haziness to it that prevents you from seeing objects on the other side clearly. A ¾ inch head formed. It was off white in color and faded quickly to a film on the top of the beer. There was minimal lacing.

The smell was of rich toasted caramel malts. A touch of biscuity sweetness can also be detected to fully enhance to scent. There is a dry, roasted malt flavor that is balanced by the taste of floral hops evenly. It finishes smoothly. The after taste is a mix of citrus and grains.

It is a medium bodied beer, and is a little bit heavy on the carbonation.

This is a good sipping beer. Sit back, crack one open and chat with friends. It is a good representation of a Marzen-style lager. I enjoyed this beer and could see myself drinking another.

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Photo of brdc
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting find at WDW. Poured into a somewhat inappropriate glass, thick and short.

Nice amber color with a decent frothy white head that holds reasonably well.
Nice aroma, malty, biscuit notes, faint hoppiness that seems quite clean.
Nice mouthfeel, easy to drink, clear taste with a good balance between maltiness and hoppiness, slightly more towards malts.
A nice beer, but not special. Worthwhile nonetheless.

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Photo of Kendo
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served in a mug at the local Chili's. Body is chestnut-amber with an off-white head that settles fairly quickly, but leaves good rings of lace behind.

S: Not much in the nose at all -- sweet bready malt is about all I get.

T: Hadn't realized this was an Octoberfest/Marzen when I ordered it -- I thought it was a straight lager. But a couple sips in and I was thinking "this is more like an Octoberfest given the sweetness." Think caramel malt with a touch of nuttyness. Finishes with a slightly dry metallic edge to it, provides some balance.

M: Light-to-medium, closer to light in heft. Not much in the way of active carbonation, so it feels kinda smooth.

D: Pretty good -- it's light and has some flavor, but not interesting enough to want to come back to.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.16/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased in Latham, NY while out of town at a wedding. Served at between fridge and cellar temperature in a classic German nonic.

Appearance- Pours a deep amber with an inch thick light beige head. Aside from the rich color, it's rather uninteresting.

Smell- Gorgeously malty and sweet on the nose, even showcasing some vanilla cookie aromas. The hops are there too, light and subtle for balance. Really nice.

Taste- Malt-forward and full, a bite that feels like more of a fusel alcohol attack gets in the way of the palate. The swallow is harsher than others of the style, the flavors masked by the alcohol whip.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Frothy and active in the mouth, this beer becomes more aggressive and sharp over the next few seconds. For the style, I will gladly wait for the late Summer to enjoy an authentic German or fantastic domestic Oktoberfest lager.

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Saratoga Lager from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 125 ratings.
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