Saranac Moonshadow Black IPA | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Moonshadow Black IPASaranac Moonshadow Black IPA

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DoubleMalt on 10-16-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 112
Photo of bluejacket74
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle, best before March 31, 2014. Oh well, this was a gift from a friend and he gave me the bottle about a month ago. Served in a DFH IPA glass, the beer pours a mahogany color with a couple inch light tan head that sticked around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. The beer smells like roasted and bready malt, chocolate, herbal hops, and some light citrusy hops. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also a bit of dark bread and coffee noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit slick with moderate carbonation. Hopefully in the future I'll get to try a fresher bottle of this.

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Photo of generallee
3.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It has a very dark brown to black look which is nearly opaque. There is a ton of carbonation running the sides of the glass. On top there is a light tan head which hang on well and makes nice sticky lace on the glass.

Smell: There are some citrus hop notes over bready maltiness in the nose.

Taste / Palate: Up front there is a light bready malt and some citrus hop notes. Hop bitterness along with some toasted notes build up and starts to linger long in to the finish.

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Photo of jmw4437
3.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The appearance of this beer is dark and roasty, typical of what one would expect of a stout. the head was quite white and dissipated to almost nothing very quickly.

S: The aroma of this brew gives scents of chocolate malts and citrus fruits.

T: Overall the hints of chocolaty malt and citrus come through most dominantly as they did in the aroma.

M: Well carbonated with a smooth texture on the tongue.

O: This would be a good session type beer for me, nothing special but very drinkable.

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Photo of Brenden
3.26/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

It looks on the pour to be more like a brown IPA, but it ends up pretty dark. It's kind of a fudgy dark brown rather than black with half a finger of tan head that drops to a thick island after decent suspension and leaves spotting on the glass.
The aroma are more malty than hoppy and show more nut and toast than roast, though there is a touch. There's a hint of cocoa and the only hops are a bit of leaf and maybe citrus zest.
For whatever reason there was for a lack in the nose, hops come out more strongly on the tongue. Leaf. pine, citrus zest and grass all cut through the malt to put something out that could actually be called a black IPA. A bit of roast eases out after a lingering bitterness. This is more like it.
The body is medium, and it leans toward crisp. The feel doesn't have quite the consistency of crispness or the balancing smoothness it should, though.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.29/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz Bottle from Wegmans Dewitt NY for $2

Appearance - Dark brown/black colour with a large size frothy light beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, grains, chocolate

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops mixed with some chocolate and grains. There is also some malts and a bit of citrus.

Overall - Just okay.. Not enough citrus hop bite to be a solid black IPA. Not something I'd pick up again.

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Photo of TeamMathis
3.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Black. Thick tan head that quickly disappears.
Smell: Roasted malt and grapefruit.
Taste: Roasted something and grapefruit.

I really enjoyed this. The grapefruit smell seemed hidden, and finally comes out after the roasted malt. The taste is around the same, but possibly backwards. The bitter grapefruit is excellent. All this combined with an inviting look, I would get it again.

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Photo of ItalianPisces84
3.23/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark caramel, almost mahogany color with hints of red when held up to a light. Head was fairly thick but faded relatively fast, leaving behind substantial lacing for this style of beer. And by "this style" I don't mean IPA because despite the name, this is not an IPA. That must have been overlooked in the labeling for marketing. Whatever. There was very little fragrance, so far as I could detect. It tasted, frankly, a lot like a porter, but a "lighter" porter; ie, not as much (at all) smoke, less malty overall, etc. The flavor was very sharp at first, almost bitter, but did not last very long, leaving a very faint aftertaste of dilute smoke (best way I can put it, not as off-putting as it may sound though). In-keeping with tasting almost like a "lighter" porter, the viscosity was similar though less than that of a typical porter. Sparse, small, crisp bubbles are the totality of the carbonation, and the after-feel is one of being almost slippery or even oily, though not in an unpleasant manner at all. The after-feel, in my experience anyway, outlasts the aftertaste. All in all a solid beer. Not one I would make a staple in my cupboard, but one I would be happy to drink and that anyone should be happy to have on hand for winter time.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I picked this up at Giant Beer Garden & Eatery, enjoyed chilled in a willybecker.

The color is deep brown bordering on black with thin tan cap, bead is fine, lace clings in a film. The smell is very sweet and roasty, more a porter or strong brown ale type scent as there is little in the way of hops to describe. The feel is moderately bitter with roasted grain texture and moderate carbonation with a somewhate dry finish, light bitterness in the residual feel, more or less a roasted grain acidity but lacks in bitterness you associate with the style.

The taste is muted, perhaps too cold, but as it warms a slight malt taste comes forward with some pine and herbal hop flavors which make this more than a dark has some fruity yeast in the flavor with a mild grapefruit presence under a cloak of roast which means there was an effort made at least in my mind to lean toward the style which has become prevalent as far as Dark IPA's go...not to the extent that i consider it to have surpassed the average in the realm, but it is certainly not below average in taste. Overall I consider this pretty much par for the larger brewer's expression on a more esoteric style in general. This is good, but doesn't really stand out from the other so called ' Black IPA's' available . I guess if I were to add anything to this short review it would be that for overall enjoyment this is pretty decent, which is why I changed my Overall from a 3.5 to 3.75 - it really does seem as though it is a beer that attempts to surpass boundaries from strong dark to black IPA on second thought.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep deep amber when held up to the light, almost black. Good head of foam, quite a bit of carbonation.

Smell: Roasted malts and grapefruit.

Taste: Roasted malts, grapefruit, and bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a heap of hop bitterness.

The Verdict: It’s OK. There is almost a semblance of balance with the roasted malts, but the bitterness is just too much. It does start to smooth out as it warms, but there’s just not anything to really to get excited about.

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Photo of HalfFull
2.96/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottle served up on a pint glass. The Moonshadow pours a deep brownish black with some hazy ruby highlights. A half inch of mocha foam shows light to medium retenion and light lacing.

Aroma is fairly balance between the hops and malt continuum. Piney anc citrus hops along with some roasted malt character. More caramel and chocolate covered cherry as the cap settles. Nice but nothing profound and as expected from the brewery.

Fruity notes carry over to the taste more than any other factor from the aroma. A light chocolate bitterness is added to the finish of the beer but no real hop bitterness comes through. Lightly coarse in texture/carbonation keeps a fullish body but the finish is rather lacking in complexity to linger. Overall this beer just doesn't quite gel for me, not really that hoppy for a self proclaimed IPA, malt depth is lacking but enough to cloak the hops, finish has too much dry roast character going on.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.26/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with a large off white foam. Plenty of lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is floral, hoppy and has a bit of roasted malt to it. In the taste, roasted malt with faint pine and citrus. Has a slight minty edge to it, but the malt body falls a bit flat and watery. Light carbonation on a weaker body. Overall, this has good flavor but needs more malt and a fuller body.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip; brown/black in the glass, showing deep red in the light.
Smells pretty good; dark roasty malt with a dash of bitter piney and herbal hops.
Taste is odd though...starts off with bittersweet dark chocolatey malt, but then a huge wallop of earthy/bitter hops comes in and demolishes everything in sight. Then a huge wage of bitterness from the dark roasted malt jumps on top of that, and it leaves you feeling like someone just slapped you in the face, and all you can taste is bitterness.
Mouthfeel is a bit light for my opinion.
Overall, this isn't a bad black IPA but it is way out of balance. If you like super-bitter beers, go for it, but I love super bitter beers and I even was surprised by this one.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

let us remember that this was never going to stand up to deschutes or some of the other heavy hitting cascadian darks out there, so we should appreciate it for what it is, a hop forward approachable one off from a larger brewery thats darn good. not all the way black in color, but dark brown, minimal white head after a flaring up on the pour. i smell really citrusy west coast hops, fresh and punchy, awesome over a lighter dark malt with plenty of chocolate to it. chalky feel from the grain, but spruced right up from a lighter body and soda-like carbonation. i love the zesty lemony hops as they finish with the roasty malts, its clean and big and wintery. i like everything about this, but would give it a touch more body to support its depth of flavor a bit better. one of saranacs more exciting releases lately. i would buy this in six packs.

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Photo of Brad007
2.8/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours more of a brownish-amber color. Obviously not dark enough.

There is a nice hop bouquet to greet the nose. Perhaps all is not lost.

Taste isn't that great. Murky. Too much competition between the hops and the darker (well, darker for an IPA) malt.

Mouthfeel is an even bigger mess.

Though the label says "imported dark malt", I'm lead to believe that they didn't use enough of it here. Unless it's intentional? Either way, there are much better examples of this style for you to try.

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Photo of watermelon
3.65/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Date on the Bottle says March 31st 2014.

A: Pours black with a foamy off white three finger head. When held up to the light the body is a rich deep red ruby. Good head retention and lots of thick lacing.

S: Grass and citrus hops in the nose, and not much else.

T: Not a lot of strong flavors some grassy hops and some malts.

M: Body should be thicker, there is an oily coating on my teeth after lingering. Carbonation is spot on. There is a pleasant hoppy bite left on the pallet. Alcohol is neither hidden or overpowering.

O: I've had better of the style, but this one isn't bad. Its more or less what you would expect from Saranac.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

No light is light thru the pitch black body, light soft khaki tan head, fine bubbled carbonation left layered in lacing on the sides of my chalice. Aromatics offer up light delicate floral, herbal hops some green mint actually noticeable with dark roasted malts giving way to a bit of fruitiness. A bit harsh on the palate, clean ripe hop bitterness up front which never lingers and develops into a dark roasted malt dark chocolate bitterness. Barely any sweetness this is one rough ride of a beer, medium bodied, dry finish almost like chewing on hop pellets full of hop bitterness and lacks true dynamic hop flavors. Overall, I couldn't finish it...there's a hidden cost with buying a 12 pack for 13 dollars.

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Photo of Kendo
3.49/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. On the pour it looks dark brown, but in the glass it appears black. Small khaki-colored head on top. Some lace.

S: Chocolate malt and cocoa powder are the initial impressions. Also some grapefruity hops, though fainter than the chocolatey scents.

T: On the first sip, the first impression is the too-thin body. Then I get a minerally hop bitterness at the finish. There's not enough body to give this much strength or substance. There's a modest bit of chocolatey malt and some roastiness. In some ways it drinks like a hoppy porter, but that might be giving it more credit than it deserves.

M: As noted above, it's too watery or thin in feel and heft. Carbonation is active but fine-bubbled, though not prickly.

O: Another disappointing effort from Saranac. I buy their mixed 12-packs when folks are coming over who I don't know - I figure they are likely familiar with the Pale Ale and because it's sorta local, they won't be afraid to try them. But once again, I find myself thinking I would've been better off buying a Sam Adams' 12-pack or maybe just a good sixer.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped BB Mar 31, 2014-2893-0859. Sampled on November 21, 2013.

It has a dark brown pour with reddish hues and a modest beige head that fizzles. The clarity is not too bad.

I am getting some roasted malts and floral hoppiness on the nose but nothing along the lines of cocoa or coffee like I have come to expect from the style.

The body is about medium.

There is a rather bland wooden taste going on that is intermixed with the milder malts and slightly more forward floral hops. It is kind of like an amber on steroids and not real true to the style.

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Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
2.72/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Really dark almost opaque color with mild carbonation and mild head. Hoppy, citrus, malt aroma. Interesting. Starts off malty and gets super hoppy. As time goes on, it tastes more malty but with that hit of citrus hop in the background. Tastes like a dry hop porter. In an IPA we don't expect the heavy malt flavor. A bit of burnt flavor also.

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Photo of tempest
3.87/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up the winter variety pack from Wegmans and went straight to this beer.. I wasn't wild about some of the summer and fall seasonals, but this is a good black IPA. Yes, like most Saranac beers, the body is on the lighter sider, but not offensively so. It's lighter in the same sense as West Coast hop bombs are lighters and the hops can better stand out. Here's the roasty cocoa malt notes are pleasantly overpowered by biting, citrus hops with a little herbal grass. Tastes and smells like classic American hops, lots of Cascade.

The Saranac website lists Centennial, Citra, Chinook, Cascade, Galaxy, Simcoe, and the subtler fruity notes of the Simcoe and Citra, but the big, rough Centennial and Cascade (and probably Chinook) provide a big bitter punch. I'd buy a standalone sixer of this one. And I certainly prefer it to the thicker black IPAs that taste like a bitter porter without much hop flavor.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.76/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Best by March 31, 2014.

A: Pours a clear brownish ruby appearing black in the glass with an ample slightly tanned head. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Fairly aromatic beer, nice hopping alongside a farmhouse like roasted malt. Reminds me a bit like a dark saison but much hoppier.

T: Certainly a dose of hops with this one. Nice bitterness hits the tongue, roasted malts add some complexity to the blend. Can get some good freshness from the hops. A blend of earthiness and pine with a touch of citrus.

M: Medium to full body with ample carbonation. Dry finish from the hop. Resinous from the hops as well.

Overall this is an enjoyable one that has solid bitterness and a touch of complexity.

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Saranac Moonshadow Black IPA from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.37 out of 5 based on 112 ratings.
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