Saranac Belgian White | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

265 Ratings
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Saranac Belgian WhiteSaranac Belgian White

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

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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Ratings: 265 |  Reviews: 199
Photo of jfcaa193
1.5/5  rDev -54.4%

Photo of rarevos
1.59/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I hesitated to write a bad review of this beer, and I take no pleasure from being negative, but after three separate unpleasant incidents, I can confidently say that my opinion isn't formed on the basis of a bad batch. I bought a single bottle of it last year, and couldn't finish it. This year, I thought I'd give it another try.

The color of this beer is nice: a bright, inviting, orangey color. The aroma is a bit citrusy, but also suspiciously acidic. The taste... it's somewhere between the liquid drained from a can of chick peas and some kitty litter (Magic Hat #9 has these same characteristics, which I chalk up to a weird effect when fruit bumps into malted wheat). It has a sharp astringency I can only assume is the fruitiness. The finish is chemical and most unpleasant. The finish was crisp, for what it's worth.

I tried. I tried to like it and I tried to be fair, I really did. I poured out the first glass this year and opened a second bottle just to make sure I wasn't drinking a bad bottle. Same thing.

I like Saranac's pale ale, their Adirondack Lager is OK, and even their Winter Wassail is drinkable and interesting, but I had to sacrifice all of my remaining Saranac Belgian White beers to the Drain Gods.

As I'll probably write on all reviews of beers I just didn't enjoy, your mileage may vary.

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Photo of yesyouam
1.8/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Saranac Begian White is chock full of particles with a fluffy, white elastic head. It has an herbal, almost minty aroma-- like spearmint gum. There is a hint of sour. It is astringent, reasonably smooth, light-bodied, and gritty. It's lightly bitter; tart and citrusy. It be ugly . It comes down to the yeast and this one seems too dry and wooden. The citrus flavor seems "put-on". Begian Wit dem nasty thangs floating all up in there.
(rated May 8, 2007)

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Photo of mschofield
1.81/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Hazy orange, the head quickly dissipated (not very Belgianesque).
The aroma is orangeade, the cheap stuff that comes with a plastic scoop in the container.
Tangy and full of citrus, but it seems so artifical. No bitterness per se but it is tangy and slightly sour.
A light feel and very smooth.
This was pretty horrible, imagine you could buy just add water Belgian white in a can like koolade. Drinkability? I couldn't finish one.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
2.06/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle served chilled in a Blanche de Chambly glass.

Appearance: Clear honey yellow with a mild amount of haziness to it (unlike what the label near the cap promised). Topped by an immense white head that dissipates to a layer of bubbles. No real lacing is left on the glass.

Smell: Not a prominent nose at all. I had to take deep and strong inhales to get much of anything. Light lemon and coriander. There were some really horrid sulfury grass notes in my sample. Hits the right notes for the style, just not very well.

Taste: An initial light malt sweetness followed by a jarring smack of citrus and then some grassy hops. Not well put together.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp, decently bubbly. Well, at least they got one thing right.

Drinkability: Thank god there is only one bottle in this sampler. Not a terribly good interpretation of the style, in fact it's terrible. Give me a Blanche de Chamblys, Whirlwind, or Allagash White over this any day.

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Photo of Brad007
2.06/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer pours a nice, light color with a lot of cloudiness. There are weak hints of coriander and generally the aroma is pretty dull. The taste is about the same to be honest. Can't really detect anything and just very dull tasting. I've had better witbiers.

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Photo of jackorain
2.11/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A-Cloudy gold, floaties from the swirl and pour. Big head that fell rather quickly to a nice 1/4 inch coat. A little lace.

S-Orange and corriander (faint) sour yeasty as well. overall faint aroma.

T&M Watery and creamy at the same time, odd. Nearly no feel of carbonation on the pallete. Taste of ornage corriander and yeast all faint.

D-I appreciate this style, even the american interpretation like the old celis white and Victory whilwind wit, but this one, eh eh. Dumped it

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Photo of barknee
2.15/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Opened and poured 12oz. bottle; the initial nose is totally akin to wallpaper paste. It is so similar, it's truly freighting. The color is a traditional cloudy medium amber; the secondary pour resulted in nice soft chunky head just like the real deal. But that is where the similarity ends; Initially getting past the odoriferous emanations; if you are patient and allow this brew to ventilate and blow-off its noxious aromatic content, you will be rewarded with a barely perceptible olfactory hint of warm honey and lemon. The taste, also a far cry from the city of Brussels, is one of lime rind and light clover honey, steeped in stale water. This being the fifth Saranac product in the short term that I have reviewed, lends further credence that this brewer is way off the mark in perceiving, interpreting and then reduplicating styles and formats that are seemingly easily achieved by the competition.

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Photo of Rudgers73
2.16/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into my Ommegang Witte tumbler making sure to swirl it around a bit as to not miss any potential junk in the bottom. It's a golden color with not so much haze, but a suspension of small bits. Foamy white head that settles to nothing. It doesn't smell too great. Mostly musty cardboard, wheat, and pilsner-like hops. The taste isn't anything special either. Slight citrus in the front, no yeast (especially not Belgian yeast), more cardboard, and a slight taste of hops about 3/4 the way through. Overall, not great. Puny body, no spice, skunked wheat, and just overall boring.

 583 characters

Photo of bboven
2.18/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Dark straw body, cloudy with no head or lacing. Definitely not to style there.

Huge coriander again; seems to be a Saranac theme. A little bit of honey-like sweetness accompanies, but it's barely there.

Way too much coriander in the flavor, not in the least bit subtle.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated and full, which is good here.

Not at all what I think when I want a wit. The coriander and citrus should play a part, not dominate like they do in this beer. Pass.

 469 characters

Photo of albern
2.45/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sorry but this isn't a Belgian wheat beer even on a good day. It pours a nice dark yellow/orange, with okay head, minimal lacing, and moderate carbonation. The smell is fruity and moderately enticing and not indicative of the taste. There is a nutty flavor in the taste. This is overall a very bland, flat, uninteresting, misrepresentation of the style if there ever was one. The beer is okay and reasonably drinkeable, but the name is a misnomer and I just can't get beyond that.

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Photo of UnionMade
2.46/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a slightly hazy flaxen yellow, just slightly cloudier than chill hazed. A medium sized white head, comprised mostly of large bubbles, drops almost immediately into a thick misty coating. Some weak spots of lace cling halfheartedly to the glass, although the head keeps at least a thick collar throughout.
The aroma is mostly neutral. A handicapped wheaty malt relies on the physical assistance of timid orange peel and a vague breeze of coriander. Maybe some hops in here, which doesn't quite jive with the style. A suggestion of pear. The balance is adequate, in the vein of two blind guys trying to beat each other at archery. Equality by default.
The flavor starts with initially....nothing. A watery body carries no flavor to start with, gradually generating a fuzzy, insubstantial wheat airiness. A bit of orange peel drifts aimlessly in an ocean of featureless wheat, a whiff of pear on the stagnant fog. Coriander acts as a broken compass, guiding you nowhere, but still keeping a glimmer of hope alight. A slight powdery yeast feeds the dryish finish, leaving you wanting like an ocean of water with not a drop to drink. Not quite so glum as my description, but I'm feeling a bit of prose. Light and airy, slightly sweet, without any real substance. Completely middling.
For a witbier, this just doesn't cut it. It's an easy drinking style that seems to appeal to even non-beer nerds, so why dumb it down? I think this is slightly better than Blue Moon's version, but they're contesting the call. It's to be decided by the referee upon reviewing the play.

 1,581 characters

Photo of Quaffer
2.47/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: This beer poured a golden-amber color with a stark white head that rose easily to two fingers. It became a little fluffy as it dissipated. Surprisingly, this beer wasn't cloudy. It was more hazy than anything. Plus, there was no sediment on the bottom of the bottle to agitate and add to the beer. This seemed unusual for a wit.

Smell: The aroma was comprised mainly of sweet corn and vanilla. There was just a little bit of orange present, plus some light malt aromas. The coriander was was extremely light, only detectable because I knew that it should be there.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied and rough in the mouth.

Taste: The flavor was unimpressive and not very wit-like. It was comprised mainly of a too-sweet malt component and an artificial tasting orange flavor. There was a sharp, acidic bite on the finish combined with more bad orange and a hint of bitterness.

If this hadn't been labeled a wit beer, then I wouldn't have know that it was one. Hell, I don't even think that I would have know that it was a wheat. The characteristics just weren't there. Looking at the bottle, I see that they always call it a white beer or a white ale. The only time that wheat is mentioned is in their description of the beer that states it is made with "oats, wheat, and barely malt." I think that they went a little light on the wheat. Plus, the spiceing was way too low for a wit. Practically none existent.

This seemed like a bad, filtered representation of the style.

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Photo of Damian74
2.5/5  rDev -24%

Photo of chrispoint
2.5/5  rDev -24%

Photo of Dizzy242
2.5/5  rDev -24%

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.53/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: A clouded golden tone with a a fluffy creamy white head, lacing is full and evenly rung aound my Hoegaarden tumbler. Aroma: Predominantly contains the orange peel funk, with some coriander doesn't leave much room for and hops or other tones infact a bit one sided toward the citrus/coriander combo. Taste: A bit tart and bitter from the orange peel, not a fan I will stick to my Wittekerke or Hoegaarden when approaching a wit, similar to the Blue Moon White but I find this one much more cloying with each sip a little harder to put down. Mouthfeel: Is light to almost medium in body with a spritzy overcarbonated mouthfeel, it makes each sip wanna turn into a coriander with orange peel burp, Drinkability: Mediocre attempt at a wit very similar to Sam Adams shot at it.

 784 characters

Photo of EmoBeerGuy
2.53/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I went to school in Utica and my second favorite style is white beer so I was really psyched for this one, but after a night of drinking Tucher and Allagash I have to admit that this one really doesn't stand up to the competition.

Poured with a nice head. Smell was average, what one would exspect from any white beer. Upon first taste, this beer seems to stray slightly from the belgian white style, it is very spicy and sweet, but not citrusy truly. This gives the beer a taste I would liken to medicine. It is watery and leaves an unsatisfying aftertase. It is very drinkable in that it is light, but undrinkable in the sense that its just not a great beer... I hope Saranac starts to make a comeback soon.

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Photo of Onceeven
2.54/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Last beer from the 12 pack holiday sampler. My first Belgian White..

Poured a hazy gold color, with a .5" head. Not much in the way of lacing. Aroma is sweet, like smelling over-ripe fruit, which I started to dislike halfway through the glass. The carbonation was quite weak, only a couple of bubbles every now and then. (My bottle may be a bit old?) I like a beer that tickles my tongue, but this one was really flat. Mouthfeel was agreeable. Taste is ok, More fruitiness and a hint of grain. Nothing really jumps out until I get a metallic/sour note at the end. Still this one seems too sweet.

Not a good start to my Witbier adventure!

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Photo of CHickman
2.55/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy piss yellow in color with a massive 2 finger cloudy white head, leaving decent spotty lacing.

Smells of wheat, yeast, clove, banana, lemon, orange peel and heavy toasted grains; the nose ends very earthy like peat moss and a bag of roasted grains.

Tastes of wheat, yeast, clove, banana, lemon, orange peel, herbs, coriander, pepper and toasted grains which trail of funky and zesty. This beer has too much earth and funk, and not enough spice or hop flavor - not really digging this beer at all.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with light, fizzy carbonation, a light body and a grainy overall flavor. Not sure if it's the style or the beer, but I didn't care much for this.

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Photo of Jimmys
2.61/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

reviewed on 6/8/11 - from notes:

A: a very hazy dull orange. vivid carbonation can still be seen around the edges. a tight white head tops it all off.

S: heavy on the orange peel and coriander. pretty similar aroma to a blue moon. cant find any hops or even malt on this one. would love for some Belgian yeasty characteristics as well.

T: a bit of malt dough, quickly followed by a nip of light alcohol and fizz. a nip of black pepper as well. flavor is a bit lacking.

M: not effervescent but a fine carbonation.

D: a little too one note in my opinion. wish the yeast and malt played larger roles.

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Photo of hman43
2.62/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Look: It pours yellow with a white head. Head retention is moderate.

Smell: There are some earthly aromas. It has a floral and spicy element to it as well. Grainy and lemon aromas are low as well.

Taste: It tastes grainy sweet with low levels of spice, lemon, and hints of floral. Earthly flavors are low in the background as well.

Feel: It has a light feel to it with a sweet and slight tart finish.

Overall, the flavors are not strong as most of them seem to be subdued. The grain takes over most of the flavor with the other flavors in the background.

 562 characters

Photo of wedge
2.63/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

After a few swirls in the bottle, a clear solid yellow beer becomes littered with a fair amount of particulate matter. Small white head has decent retention as a (more or less) solid white top. Light aromas of lemon candy and, um, Fruity Pebbles...a little sweet wheat too. Weak flavor - spiced orange, some sweet malt maybe...where's the flavor? Light bodied.

Another Saranac beer that's not awful, just overly bland. MEH...

 428 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
2.64/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - poured a cloudy orange amber with a 1/2" head that left a loose ring

S - oranges, lemon, coriander, malty and a very slight touch of hops

T - citrus, apples, tartness, hoppy finish

M - light bodied, light/medium carbonation, slight chewiness

D - decently drinkable but the taste is quite unsatisfactory

Overall - Reviewed from notes, an ok Belgian style witte... tastes better than some others I've had but is dwarfed by many. I would not get this again. Even Hoegaarden is a much better brew than this.

 512 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
2.65/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Part of the "12 Beers of Summer" mix pack.

Served in a Pilsner glass, murky yellowish brew with a slim white head, very little lacing.

Sour citrus aroma, sour patch kids?

Ok, the taste and mouthfeel really isn't quite there, but I didn't want to dump the beer and it didn't offend my tastebuds, I thought it had the aftertaste of an 'Altoid Tangerine Sour' candy.
I guess I haven't yet tasted or aquired a taste for a good Witbier?

I finished the bottle, I'll save the 2nd one for another time!

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Saranac Belgian White from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.29 out of 5 based on 265 ratings.
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