Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown LagerSaranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager
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Lager - Vienna
Ranked #160
Ranked #46,983
3.5 | pDev: 13.71%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown LagerSaranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager
Reviews: 177 | Ratings: 257 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.71/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Small little brown and light red pour, 1/5" head, beige. Nutty aroma.

If you wanted an American boring brown ale, here it is, a little less sweet than Newcastle. Same vein. Search for toffee, nuts and caramel all you want. Some people will definitely like this beer. That person who wants to go beyond AAL, but doesn't want a lot of malt, hops, bitterness etc. . .

I'm not that guy.

Feb 22, 2016
Photo of Foyle
Foyle from North Carolina

2.95/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: ½” thin off white head recedes rapidly, leaving light lacing. Significant amount of carbonation bubbles. Color is light brown and mostly clear.
Aroma: mild but pleasant aroma. A little hop spice but mostly malt – whole wheat bread, a little caramel and slight nuttiness.
Mouthfeel: fairly light bodied with heavy carbonation. Mostly watery with a somewhat dry finish. Flavor: caramel and nut flavors are predominate. There is some hop spice in the finish. There is also a bready aspect—similar to yeast rolls.
Overall: a pleasant beer, not outstanding, but not bad at all. I would recommend giving this one a try. Would probably pair very well with cheddar cheese and some crackers.

Apr 27, 2014
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx from Canada (ON)

3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle from the Wegmans Dewitt NY for 2$

Appearance - Copper colour with an average size fizzy off white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for close to 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, nuts

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel and malts mixed with light hops. There is also some roasted/toasted notes and some nuts.

Overall - A solid example of the style. Tasty and very drinkable although not very exciting. Worth a try.

Jan 11, 2014
Photo of ChrisCage
ChrisCage from Canada (AB)

3.87/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From Notes....

A- Pours a mainly clear coppery color with orange/red hues lurking in the background. The head is superb, being a solid three fingers thick, and it slowly settles down into a thick meringue like layer over the brew. I should note that it is also a light caramel color overall. The lacing is also excellent, as thick, dense bubbles cling to the glass throughout the entirety of the brew. A very impressive looking beer!

S- I can't say that this has an overall Vienna Lager type aroma. While I did find this to have a much more dominant hop aroma than I would have envisioned, it still does have malt sweetness, that smelled somewhat honeyed. I suppose there is some nuttiness hidden in there as well, but it is muted.

T- The flavors follow the aromas fairly close, with nice caramel malts that are sweet like toffee/honey, but there is also quite a bitter hop flavor profile that reminded me more of a pale ale, with citrus like tang and some cloves/pepper spice mixed in. The finish is bittering and dry.

M- This wasn't a thick beer, but has a solid medium body. The carbonation was somewhere in between creamy and palate scrubbing, but it helped to enhance the richness of the flavors.

O- This is a very decent beer, although I don't find it to match up to the style listed here. It is well balanced between sweet and bitter, and it is more suited to be an APA in my opinion. I like it and think it would go better with a steak dinner rather than on its own. I would get this again if given the chance and recommend it to fellow BA's!!

Jan 30, 2013
Photo of stxp
stxp from New York

3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: dark brown, very clean/clear, frothy head, long lace

smell: malty, slight hops, slight fusels

taste: dry bready malt, a bit peppery, slight bitterness up front, fast, slightly dry

mouthfeel: hoppy spice at the beginning, smooths out to a malty alcoholic feel, thick, dry finish

overall: not overly spicy as the style would indicate, hoppy for a brown, hops a bit unbalanced and simple

Dec 11, 2012
Photo of tempest
tempest from New York

3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cracked open a bottle to wash down some korean takeout. It poured a clear brown with a short, white head. The aroma is a mix of toasty malt and honey. The flavor has a slightly nutty character with the caramel malts, but it also tastes like a there's a little adjunct (corn, I think) mixed in. Overall, this kind of tastes like a slightly darker Yuengling lager. Saranac makes better beer. I'd stick to with the Black Forest.

Dec 02, 2012
Photo of flannelandbrews

3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty good season beer.

Head pours up with a shade of deep brown. acceptable for a nut ale.

Its best to let it breath well before you drink it. It had a wonderful spice note complemented the powerful nut flavor. only down side is the spice sat pretty heavy in my mouth after I drank. Overall a pretty good beer.

Nov 09, 2012
Photo of kencarman
kencarman from Tennessee

4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I noticed as popping into this to review it's listed as just "New York." Wrong. Saranac, or Matt Brewing, is Utica, NY: closing in on 300 miles away. And they don't vend out. In fact they even brew some of Sam's product for them.

A bit low on the body, but pleasant. The lager sense: to me usually a bit sulfuric/acidic, is low. Plenty of carbonation and head that's pleasing to the mouthfeel with melanoidins filling up the mouth despite lower gravity. Nose is malt: caramel/Belgian-ish (as in brown, not any of the funk.), no hops and a hint of hops.

Taste: a nice nutty brown malt with slight bitter way in the background.

Could qualify as Northern Brown light, except the lager yeast. But Matt's has made a serious attempt to brew not just many style, but unique one. While each one is not perfect, I applaud that fact, rather than weak, at best, attempts of Yuegling, or the pathetic attempts by AB/Inbev, Miller or, on a very slight less scale, Coors/Blue Moon. (Yes, I do know they've been bought out, just making a distinction here.)

The point is more good beer, and to find unique new styles: not to go anywhere near the sameness of style that was American brew for too %$#@! long.

This beer qualifies as all that, so I probably scored it a bit higher. (Unlike Matt's White IPA.) I prefer to reward effort too.

May 13, 2012
Photo of Hojaminbag
Hojaminbag from Colorado

3.08/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Saranac Season's Best has a caramel colored body and a tan head that has solid lacing and retention.

The aroma has a good bit of caramel malt to it, and a noticeable hop kick.

I'm surprised by the hops that come through up front, bringing a burst of citrus and bitterness. The hop flavors are soon replaced by malt flavors that are more powerful than the hops. Caramel and toffee mix with a lot of nutty flavors and a hint of fruit. Dry chocolate flavors come through as well.

Light bodied with fairly active carbonation.

Saranac makes dependably solid beer for the prices they charge, and Season's Best is no exception.

Jan 27, 2012
Photo of BrewBre
BrewBre from Tennessee

3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poors a nice amber color. Nutty and toasty smell with a hint of caramel. It tastes as it smells, which is of light caramel and toasted nuts. It also has a slight hoppiness to it. Definitely drinkable with a smooth and thin feel. Overall a quality brew.

Jan 17, 2012
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

not what youd typically expect for a winter seasonal, and not a style you see all the time. pours a shade lighter than their pale ale, with am prominent white head. smells nutty a little, but nothing remarkable in the nose. taste is very average, not much different from many other lagers, perhaps a touch more richness and a curious malt finish, but not what i have come to expect from saranac. i must say they make much better winter seasonals, do not waste your time with the season's best.

Nov 28, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

2.75/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

That mix of burgandy mahogany pour, little beige head, lots of clarity. Really nothing but a slight nuttiness in the aroma.

Newcastlesque taste, mild bland brown ale, with some barely distinguishable bottom fermented yeast stuff. A very minimal caramel and toffee presence, could be all in my mind based on the color, but I think I picked that up. Way more bitter aftertaste than Newcastle. More woodiness to it.

Better than average for Saranac, but I'm pretty harsh to these guys, but only based on the 'quality' of the beers.

Aug 11, 2011
Photo of B967ierhunter177
B967ierhunter177 from Pennsylvania

4.42/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a bold copper color with a half inch of tan foam and lacing that lasts to the end. It's aroma is of nuts, caramel, and roasted malt. The flavor is nutty with caramel and vanilla notes. There is a very good balance between the malt sweetness and hoppy bitterness that shows in the finish. The hops fade as it warms and the malt again shows through, very complex. It has a medium mouthfeel and a slightly dry finish. Saranac Seasons Best - Nut Brown Lager is an outstanding beer, very drinkable, highly recommended!

Jun 26, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium from North Dakota

3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Tavern 17, Philly, PA

Poured a clear, chestnut brown with a finger of frothy white head that retains well. Light aroma, but toasted malts noticeable, nutty, with a bit of hops for balance. Toasted bread in the taste, nutty, light caramel; finishes off with a light hop bite and a decent dry finish. Light-medium mouthfeel, and somewhat drinkable, but not too distinctive.

Jun 17, 2011
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice amber color, touch of red-brown. Pleasing carbonation that seems more like German-style to me. Toasted malt, a little burnt, is the main flavor. Somewhat grainy, on the harsh side rather than the mellowness you would expect from the style. Quite dry, though the caramel comes through for a while until the hops take over.

Rather unpleasant cardboard aftertaste with a growing bitterness. I can't point to big faults, but it is not a favorite.

Jun 07, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove from South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tastings with my family. The saranac one from a couple weeks ago was more then epic as it took months to gather all of these, but it was a hell of a fun night! Big thanks to Alex for pulling through on the bulk of these

pours out a nice light amber color with a small head of white that quickly drops down to nothing with only the slightest big of side lacing. quick hints of grain, bready malts, some hints at heather and light earthy hops that are trying to make it interesting for me. warming does nothing more then bring out some hints of banana and pear. clear and clean, with a smooth, effortless finish and soo drinkable you could easily put down three.

overall for the style it was pretty dead on which lead it to be very quaffable.

Apr 29, 2011
Photo of Justin23060
Justin23060 from Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear brown with some amber highlights. Stiff head of ivory which laced the glass pretty well. Smells caramely and malty. Lightly hopped with some nice chocolatey malt. Didn't get nut until it warmed a bit. Not too sweet, not too dry. Mouthfeel is thin but not watered down kinda thin. Goes quite well with a nice hot bowl of ministrone. I look forward to this every year.

Apr 10, 2011
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one-finger light khaki head that fades quickly leaving a good lace. Nice clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is not discernible, flavor is nutty, some hops with hints of caramel, finishes with a slight bitter aftertaste. $1.75 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Mar 24, 2011
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SickGnar from Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Warm and bright light brown to slightly reddish amber. Fluffy super light tan head that dissipates quickly to a cap and leaves a bit of spotty lacing.

S: Nut brown - check. Lager - check. Nutty & toasty malt on a lighter grainy and sugar cookie sweet base. Faint hops, sort of herbal. Interesting, yet clean aroma.

T: Nutty, toasty, and richly roasty melanoidan bread crust. Munich & Victory? Some caramel in a narrow and steely fashion. Background sweetbread / sugar cookie sweetness. Runs a touch husky at the swallow. Hops are far stronger on the palate and balance malts pretty firmly. Really nice woody, herbal, and minty. Quite bitter in the finish, almost dry and grating. Nicely hearty without being big or complicated.

M: Body is just barely medium though well attenuated with relatively firm carbonation. Finish is briefly semi-sweet before turning drying and crisp. Lush, lively, and refreshing.

D: A very attractive and pleasant seasonal - even a bit understated. Robust malts with pretty firm bitterness to match. A bit roasty & rich for the summer, but spot on for the rest of the year. Well done.

Feb 14, 2011
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CuriousMonk from District of Columbia

2.7/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From winter brew tasting notes (2010): Pours a clear, dark, reddish brown with two fingers of creamy beige head (and sheeting lace) that diminishes with time. The nose is of sweet nutty and caramel malt notes with a pleasant supporting notes of floral and herbal hops. Light-bodied with soft carbonation and a tight, light, yet significantly bitter finish. The palate turns a touch astringent and drying at the finish. Not among my favorites.

Feb 10, 2011
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SkeeterHawk from Texas

3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked this beer up in Wheeling while I was passing through there. I have had it in the fridge since June, so it seems like a good time to give this beer a shot.

Appearance: Pours mostly clear reddish brown color with a very small head of tannish bubbles that was gone by the time I put my glass down. There is some spotty chunks of lace on the glass from swirling.

Aroma: I initially got lots of sweet caramel malts mixed with some nutty goodness. There may be a hint of earthy hops in there, but it is reserved. There may be a bit of oxidation in here as I am getting some dry paper in particular.

Taste: Yea, the beer is oxidized. The dry paper is dreadfully apparent in the flavor. The malts are the bigger player in the beer as far as the balance away from the oxidation. The beer is well attenuated and quite dry on the palate despite its very minimal carbonation. The finish is balanced toward the malt with some toasty notes to linger for a while after the sip. The mouthfeel is pretty watery from the attenuation, light carbonation, and light alcohol. The body is light to medium.

Opinion: This is an OK beer. I am sure that it would be better without the oxidation, so I will hold out and say that I wouldn't mind trying this beer again. It could use more carbonation as well, but I will guess that the cap leaked a bit in all of its age. Even though it is showing its age, it isn't so far off that it isn't drinkable and I will finish my glass.

Feb 05, 2011
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JT2875 from Maryland

4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a dark amber brew with a small head a decent retention. Appears to be a nut brown.

S- Coffee, nuts, caramel, and sweet. Crisp and clean smell.

T- Hit with a coffee, nut taste and then the caramel balances it off. Really pick up the malts in the finish.

M- Creamy with good carbonation.

D- Goes down nice and smooth and with the low ABV it's something you can drink and relax. Pretty good brew.

Jan 23, 2011
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rlee1390 from Indiana

3.82/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz from a Wegman's Craft-a-Pack

A-Clear amber brown. 1/2 finger head that lingers but does not leave behind much lacing

S-Roasted Malts. Caramel and Coffee flavors.

T-Sweet Malts with some roasted nut flavors. A solid beer.

M-Medium not much carbonation on the tongue but it did give me the burps afterwards

D-Very drinkable for a Vienna Lager. Well balanced and the sweetness make it a great Winter Beer.

Jan 04, 2011
Photo of therica
therica from Maryland

3.97/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= very dark brown, modest head, a few large bubbles, light lacing.

S= very fresh nose, nutty, some toffee or caramel or both, nice dark sweet malts, hints of fruit or prune.

T= nicely balanced, some prune with lightly-roasted malts, toffee notes, nice.

M= nothing offsetting, a bit over-carbonated on the belch, some light toffee on the tongue, smooth overall.

D= very nice, very drinkable, would be great on tap or in-session, probably great with anything smoked or any roasted red meat.

Dec 28, 2010
Photo of ngeunit1
ngeunit1 from Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a fairly clear amber-red color with a nice finger of slightly creamy off-white head. The retention is okay, and it reduces to layer with some lacing.

S - Aroma is overall sweetly with a malty backbone. Also a little bit or nuttiness and earthiness mixed in.

T - Starts off with a building sweet carmel malt flavor. Through the middle, a mild nut flavor and a slight hop flavor mix in. At the end the sweet malt flavor comes back and lingers for a while. Overall, fairly balanced.

M - Medium-light bodied with a medium-low amount of carbonation. There are some elements of creaminess at times but also a watery feeling at times.

D - Pretty drinkable. Nothing to blow you away here, but the taste is fairly balanced and smooth. Overall, the beer is very smooth and fairly refreshing.

Dec 26, 2010
Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 257 ratings