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

177 Reviews
Read the review
Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown LagerSaranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager

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

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 01-23-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 177 | Ratings: 256
Photo of CharlieMopps
2.35/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: A tawny, ruby color, transparent. About a half-finger of head forms and dissipates swiftly, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on top.

S: Minimal bouquet. A faint trace of maltiness, slightly toasted, but offset by the cleaner lager side and its grainy character.

T: A strange combination of flavors. While the introduction has a strong malt presence, it's taken away by a drying and bitter finish. The middle is where two differing tastes collide, and not so gently, I might add. Seems like the nutty and malty intro would go better as an ale. A metallic taste along the sides of the tongue, not very pleasing.

M: Carbonation is at an acceptable level, but the beer itself just doesn't seem well put-together. Body was similar to a lager, but a little too dense in my opinion. Drying finish and hop character make for some stickiness on the palate.

D: Overall, not a very satisfying beer. Seems like it could do better in the dark lager category, but falls short. I feel that it's simply more suited for an ale, and that a dark lager of this vein could be made.

 1,066 characters

Photo of Enola
2.53/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is possibly my least favorite Saranac brew. There is a bad bitterness that is very sharp and up front. The beer itself looks good. It is a nice deep brown with a small amount of lacing. The smell tips you off a bit about the bitterness. The taste is so dominated by the bitter flavor that it is hard to detect much else. The mouthfeel is also lacking. I won't buy this beer again. There is much better offerings from Saranac. This beer made my taste buds angry.

 466 characters

Photo of UnionMade
2.53/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a middle brown, touched with brass. A rather thick head develops with an agressive pour, dying down slowly to a thin misty coating. Great clarity, with a couple slowly rising bubbles floating to the top.
The aroma is simple, but good. Definite corny DMA aroma, with plenty of base pale malt, a bit of caramel and maybe a touch of chocolate. Very mild floral hop aroma. Not particularly clean, but certainly not ale-like.
The flavor starts out moderately malty, with a faint corn flavor. Light caramel towards the middle, changing into an odd metallic sourness. Some sort of contamination? A touch of estery fruitiness, with a bit of burnt chocolate flavor towards the end. Some harsh grainy flavor. Rather agressive hopping comes through at the very ass end of the finish, providing a sourish herbal bitterness, rather than flavor. Some lingering metallic bitterness in the aftertaste, with a bit of hop sourness. Some vague lager qualities, but drinks more like an ale. Medium bodied, with fairly high carbonation.
It's definitely "full flavored", but the flavors that are full aren't particularly pleasant. The hops are more bitter than flavorful, the malt sourish, and the beer overall seems overburdened with flaws. It sure beats a bottle of Molson, but I'll pass this up next time i go shopping.

 1,318 characters

Photo of BeefyMee
2.54/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Thought this was a nut brown ale but it turns out it's a nut brown lager. Oh well, let's see how it goes anyway...

Appearance: Nice head that disappears quickly. Lacing all the way down the glass with a transparent dark amber body.

Smell: Blech, cheap schwarzbier.

Taste: A little better than the smell but not much going on here. Faint caramel and malt overtones undermined by a swill-like flavor.

Mouthfeel: Thin, tingly and slightly sickening.

Drinkability: Not bad marks here, as this is definitely something I could make a session of if I had to, but it's also something that could make me sick if moderation wasn't an issue.

Beef Notes: I picked this up mainly because of the seasonal closeout pricetag and, while it's not bad, I'm glad I didnt pay much more for it. Grab it if you see it for $3.99 a six.

 829 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
2.62/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very nice auburn/caramel sort of a color. No aroma except to say "beer". Somewhat malty flavor-metallic and iron like. Finishes on the sweet side and fairly clean being as this is a lager vs. an ale. No real nutty or slight chocolate flavor that Im used to in a nut brown. Average body. Overall a very average beer. Ok in a variety pack but otherwise I think I would skip it.

 375 characters

Photo of Citadel82
2.65/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Foamy off white head that quickly fades. Some thin lacing. Clear light brown/auburn in color.

Light mild malt sweetness. Also a mild doughy aroma that's a bit sweet and slightly fruity.

A very mild hoppiness that overrides any malt character. Despite the faint malt-like flavors there is really almost no real maltiness; a hoppy dry finish.

This is the blandest and weakest of the beers that I have tried from Saranac. I prefer a nut brown ale anyday.

 461 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
2.66/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass. pours a very clear dark amber brown color. looks almost ruby reddish brown when held up to the light. has a small caramel colored head that faded immediately to a ring of foam around the glass. minimal lacing. hardly any noticeable aromas in the smell. just a little bit of nutty malts. nothing going on in the taste either. slightly metalic tasting, some nuttiness, and a little on the watery side. rather light body to this one and a little to much carbonation. almost reminds me of a newcastle brown ale, only i would prefer newcastle over this. there really nothing going on in this at all, its got a little bit of a nutty taste to it, and then thats it. definately would not seek this out again, and i recommend everyone do the same. saranac has yet to show me a really great beer.

 829 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

 442 characters

Photo of cbl2
2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Crystal clear amber brown with a quarter inch of white head.


Hops dominate, but there are hints of nuts as well.


Severely hoppy on the palate, leaving a bitter caustic finish. Might be enjoyable to hopheads, but not to me.

 273 characters

Photo of sideshowrob
2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Seasons Best - one of 12 Christmas beers from Saranac

Brew poured about three shades of brown away from amber. Rather light in color. Very little head, and even that vanished quickly. Slightly acidic smell, with a promise of hops on the nose. Taste was a bit quirky - a tart flavor was present that was not well balanced by either hop or malt. The former was almost abscent, the latter was there but very subduded. Plenty of excitment and action on the tastebuds, though the tart flavor carried the day. A fairly easy brew to drink, but not really my cup of brew.

 566 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
2.71/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

 392 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.75/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

 530 characters

Photo of masterbruewer
2.76/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark amber with about 1/3 inch of off-white head.

Smelled malty and grainy, no real hint of nut in this bottle so far.

The taste was a tad bitter, and rather bland with a little bit of a spicy aftertaste. This one's not impressing me too much although it gets a little better as the beer warms a little at room temperature.

The mouthfeel was average, decent carbonation and a "solid" feel.

Drinkability is about average. I wouldn't mind another, but I won't be searching for one either. It goes down easy.

 526 characters

Photo of thespaceman
2.8/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Dark brown in color, had a minimal size head that dissapated quicly, sparatic lacing on the glass.

Smell: Caramel, nuts, figs, a bit of nutmeg and chocolate with some minimal yeast tone.

Taste: Dissapointing for a dark lager, it's not dark, a weak peanut taste blends through maltiness that can't hold it's ground. Has an okay feel on the forefront and dies once the spicy aftertaste takes over, taste metallic and too generic for something like a Euro Dark.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, light bodied chemistry was disapointing for such a beer.

Drinkability: Considering the Saranac Winter Pack was good, this one needs work. A mediocre beer that needs a facelift in the indentity department.

 710 characters

Photo of NEhophead
2.81/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz brown bottle.

Foamy off white head that fades after a moment to a few pools of bubbles. Spotted lacing with above average strength. Clear, slightly thin light brown/auburn in color.

Light coffee, mild malt sweetness. Slight grainy, metallic component. Also a mild bready-wafer aroma that's a bit musty.

A very mild malt sweetness that overrides any hop character yet lacks flavor. Faint bread-like flavors but pretty bland tasting. Almost no bitterness; a very dry finish. A flavorless aftertaste.

Medium bodied; dry and almost airy on the palate. The dry chalky texture is not pleasant.

A very bland and flavorless beer IMO. Thank God there's only one of these in the mixed 12 pack I bought. Not something I'll be going back to.

 750 characters

Photo of kennyo
2.81/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A nut brown lager

Pours a mahogany brown, clear, with 1" white head, Belgian lace throughout.

Aroma - nutty, some malt, a little spicy

Taste - some malt, sme chocolate malt

Thin body, nicely carbonated

Definitely not the Season's Best beer that i drank but not bad. Kind of a session beer.

 294 characters

Photo of Suds
2.86/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, deep amber-brown color with a respectably solid head. Small tufts of foam cling to the sides of the glass. Aroma is toasty, nutty, and slightly malty with a distant backbone of alcohol. Nice aroma hop profile for the style. Taste is caramel and a little vegetal. It has medium body and is a bit grainy and rough. Moderate carbonation. Finishes with a lingering, and not particularly pleasant bitterness….something of a burnt graininess. I can’t say that it impressed me.

 486 characters

Photo of theBubba
2.95/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Color: okay

Head: so so, and quick to vanish

Smell: a little caramel, a little steel

Taste: average for a non-import nut brown, with less malt and more hops. Leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth that could have been smoothed over with a bit more malt.

My real beef is the "Seasons Best" nomenclature (name on the label). I expected something special for the holidays from Saranac...maybe a little spice...a little fruit, something more than a run of the mill nut brown. For the season, better to go with their Black Forest. Better yet, a Brooklyn chocolate stout.

 570 characters

Photo of Foyle
2.95/5  rDev -15%
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.

 704 characters

Photo of arnulfooxblood
2.97/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle that read "Season's Best".

Appearance--Transparent brown color, decent off-white head. Notable carbonation. A good looking beer.

Smell--Rich malty aromas, faintly sweet.

TasteMouthfeel--Wow, this was a surprise! It tasted nothing like it smelled. Much hoppier than I expected, but it was a thin hoppy taste--not very robust. I was expecting something quite a bit maltier given the smell. It was actually a bit disconcerting to have a brew that tasted absolutely nothing like the smell. There was very little body to this beer.

Drinkability--I'll finish the six pack, but no more after that.

Notes--It sort of felt like drinking a beer that was searching for its identity.

 714 characters

Photo of yelterdow
2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served at between fridge and cellar temperature in a tasting tulip. From this year's seasonal pack, the freshness code "2958" is clearly lasered on the neck.

Appearance- Euro Dark Lager? Interesting out of the gate. This beer pours somewhere between a chestnut and mahogany color, supporting a creamy off-white three finger head. Crystal clarity, lacing is absent.

Smell- Some roasted malt and hazelnut aromas waft from my glass, along with a tinge of fleeting hops with a signature English character... well balanced and very subtle.

Taste- Although the initial flavors, which echo the nose I observed, come through early on... they fade quickly to a more bland, pedestrian display of weak flavors that go nowhere. A very mild bitterness comes through in the swallow.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Thankfully better with regard to texture than the last few Saranac offerings. Mildly prickly in the mouth, never going over the top and not going flat either. Drinkable, no doubt... just unmemorable and a bit flabby.

 1,013 characters

Photo of claspada
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is all malty with some toffee, caramel, baked bread and roasted nut notes. The tastes are very similar to the aroma with the malts dominating. There is a pleasant earthy hop and nutty malt finish. Mouthfeel was a little on the thin side, but is is a lager, so... I could drink a number of these. A good cold weather session ale to have at a party so as to not get too sloppy. One of the better Saranac offerings I have had recently.

 438 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.01/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear bronze color with a small head that quickly dissolved. There was only a slight earthy aroma, but overall undetectable. Since this was a nut brown lager, I expected more nuttiness. This was not the case. The malt was mellow in the tongue and the hops were barely detectable. There was a hint of spiciness and nut that showed up on the tongue. The nut and malt lingers shortly in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied, drinkable, but less than exciting for a winter seasonal lager.

 489 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - One fingers worth fluffy yet fizzy tan head... Fast paced, small bubbled carbonation rises along the inside of the glass... Highly translucent brown tea color with the slightest red highlights visible under the right light... Very solid lacing throughout is present throughout the session...

S - Very mild scent... Nutty scent is first and foremost... Also present are malt, caramel and perhaps a hint of cinnamon...

T - A hoppy spicy grassy bitterness overpowers... Not at all what I expected and far from pleasant... There's also hints of nuttiness and maltiness...

M - Full bodied... Coats mouth well... Surprisingly bitter... Slightly creamy and lush...

D - Not impressed... Not bad, but far from memorable... I'll take the Winter Wassail back in this mixed pack any day...

 786 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear dark amber/brown with a thick off-white head. Aroma of sweet fruits (raspberry jam) and malt. Flavor is of super sweet malt with some nuttiness. A little too sweet for me. Not something I would revisit.
Aroma: 6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 13/20

 298 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.47 out of 5 based on 256 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.