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

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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

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Reviews: 177 | Ratings: 256
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought as part of the '08 Saranac winter sampler

A nice solid beer here. Pours a mahogany color and taste wise is akin to a SA Boston Lager. Has a touch of a brown ale to it but is a little hoppier than the usual brown ale. Smells and looks great, taste and mouthfeel can be improved for sure, but I definitely enjoyed the 2 bottles in this 12 pack.

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Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, garnet color with a foamy, bubbly, tan, one-finger head. It left some good trails of lace.

S - It smelled very nutty with a sweet sugary aroma (like baking sugar cookies).

T - It tasted of toasty malt, nut, caramel and sweet toffee. It had a slight bitter kick of grassiness.

M - It was crisp, smooth and still somewhat soft. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - Very drinkable. I'm looking forward to having the other one I have.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Matt's seasonal lager displays a clear chestnut body with a reddish cast and golden-orange highlights beneath a short but long-lasting head of creamy ivory froth. Some minor lacing about the glass adds nicely to its appearance as well. The nose is typically restrained for a dark lager, with only some mild malt coming through. The body is medium and it's fine-bubbled carbonation bristles gently on the tongue. The flavor is well-balanced and straightforward throughout with a bit of rich, caramel-kissed maltiness backed by a solid bitterness and some delicately spicy and floral hops. It finishes dry with some of its nutty maltiness and floral/spicy hops lingering amidst a dull bitterness. It's not complex, but it satisfies, and this is a well-crafted holiday seasonal that doesn't need to depend on any fruits, spices, or gimmicks to warrant attention and a place on your holiday table. Well done!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.08/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

A: The beer is a medium reddish brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, nuts, some spice and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste is spicy and bready up front with flavors of caramel, maple and nuts. The malt character is hearty and there's a decent hops presence to provide some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, exactly what you expect out of style, it's not a bad beer but there really isn't too much about this beer that would make it stand out enough that I'd want to drink it again.

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Photo of mactrail
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark, yet clear mahogany-hued body with a large, frothy, off-white head.

Smell: Toasty, nutty Munich malt nose with a drizzle of dark caramel and a scent of spicy hops.

Taste: Mixture of toasted breadcrusts and toasted, earthy nuts with a caramel sweetness. Medium hop bitterness, but you really get a big zip of spiciness. Finishes dry with a lingering earthy nut husk flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Far from complex, though it's fairly tasty and quite drinkable, deserving of a sturdy pat on the back.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tarnished bronze with brilliant orange highlights... that becomes burnt orange with morning sunshine behind the glass. The three finger crown is somewhere between pale gold and ecru. It has an appealing fluffiness and graces the glass with delicate lace. So far, what's not to like?

The nose provides no more than a whiff of earthy, nutty Munich malt and very little else. Try as I might, I can't appreciate the Tettnang hops. The brewery claims that this beer is a Vienna lager, not a Euro dark lager. I'm not sure that I could tell those two styles apart in most cases, but this nose doesn't even allow me to make a decent attempt. Note: warming opens it up nicely.

I'm not sure if I've ever had a nut brown lager before. That's an odd style for a brewery to release in celebration of their anniversary; especially one as noteworthy as a 25th. Shouldn't this be an Imperial brown at the very least? The 'cut to the case' version of this review is that Season's Best is yet another decent, but far from impressive, Matt Brewing Company beer.

Malt leads the way, with Munich well out in front. The flavor profile consists of toasted bread (light rye) with flavors of steely caramel and toasted nuts. I'm not sure why I didn't pick up on it during my first several sips, but there's also a prominent herbal-spicy hoppiness. I think the spiciness is what makes the beer taste like rye, even though rye malt is not in use. It looks like they had a pretty heavy hand with the Tettnang after all.

Warming increases both flavor intensity and flavor complexity. The best feature, I think, is the interplay between sweet (mildly), bitter (moderately) and dry (considerably). Although the mouthfeel is nowhere near 'heavy', as the brewery would have us believe, it is firmly medium for a relatively low-ABV (5.3%) lager.

Patience is a virtue. My impression of Saranac Season's Best changed over the course of the bottle (again, with warming) from 'eh' to 'hey, this is pretty good beer'. This is one of the better Saranac offerings that I've had, but it still isn't worthy of the 'anniversary' appellation.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
4.1/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color (but still very clear) with an egg shell white head that poured two fingers thick. Pretty lasting lace.

Rich, chocolate malty aroma with a subtle but noteable flowery hop balance. Very inviting.

Rich, thick body with dark malt flavor (crystal and chocolate?). The bittering hops show up immediately and powerfully during the tasting. The hops used are obviously meant for bittering and flavor rather than aroma. The aftertaste starts with a caramel/buttery feel that quickly moves toward the bitter.

The mouthfeel is almost a hybrid. It has the fullness and "roundness" of an ale, yet it is crisp like a lager. Carbonation is as expected.

A very good beer that is much more hoppy than most dunkels. I lean toward hops. If I was grading against style, I'd probably dock this one. But with my preferences, I like this more than the usually dark lagers because it is so much more flavorful (to me).

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Photo of Jason
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Deep amberish brown, very clear with two fingers of head … good head retention.

Smell: Bit of nutty dextrin with a faint malt sweetness

Taste & Mouth Feel: Medium body with a thin crispness off of a moderate carbonation. Lots of highly toasted malt on the palate right from the beginning, with a lingering burnt caramel and husk flavor. Touch of soft hop oil shows enough bitterness to balance. Clean with a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability & Notes: Well balanced, lots of malt character for a filtered beer. One of the better beers I have had from this brewery.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby copper red with a nice fluffy cream colored head leaves little lacing not too impressive. Aroma: Full on toasted nuts this one is very similar to the Erie Railbender in my opinion not bad at all they do a nice job, I'm not sure what they are talking about the bottle as far as Belgian malts in a nut brown lager but whatever floats their boat. Taste: Nice rolling toasted nut tones not overly sweet nice earthy hop bitterness in the finish, simple but nice. Mouthfeel: A bit overcarbonated is the only thing bad about the texture, other than that a lighter to medium bodied amber colored lager not bad. Drinkability: Pretty tasty I could picture myself enjoying a couple of these very nice toned down compared to beers I have had as of late.

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Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of winter variety pack (6 beers - 2 each):

Pours brown amber with a foamy tan head that stays. SOme lacing sticks.

The smell is nutty with caramel (some orange?) floral and husky.

The taste is herbal/floral with a nutty, toffeeish maltiness. Light, but nice. Somewhat husky. It has a pretty crisp, sweet-ish finish.

It has a light-to-medium body. Medium carbonation.

Not a bad brew. A bit husky and nothing particularly noteworthy, but a decent lager with a nice nut brown character.

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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.

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Photo of tempest
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick white head. The aroma is of lager and victory malts. There is a slight scent of nuts. The taste is malty with the addition of victory malts to add the nutty flavor. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good seasonal beer; a fine drinker.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my pint glass. Only 6 rare.
A soapy head forms on a ruby brown body that exhibits fine clarity. Spotted dots of lace and the head recedes to a halo around the edges.
Smells of malt, yeast and powdered aspirin. A bit of brown sugar lingering there as well.
A solid malt experience with due sweetness, but it is met with an earthy hop militia that don't take kindly. A long lasting bitterness follows the swollow. The brown sugar seems a bit out of place caught between the malt and the hop.
Mouthfeel is decent. Semi dry finish on a medium bodied brew. The bottle calls it a nut brown, the site calls it a Vienna. Its more of a brown ale, and a pretty decent one at that. Would reccommend to anyone who would like a hoppy brown ale.

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Photo of plaid75
3.66/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dusty light brown hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a mild caramel malt with hints of chocolate malt and hazelnut.

The taste was lightly caramel sweet with a nutty finish. Good grain bill and decent flowery hop.

The mouthfeel was medium with good carbonation.

Overall a very drinkable lager. Very sessionable.

Update 12/5/08:

Three finger chunky white head with good retention and excellent lacing.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on Super Bowl Sunday 2009 from 12 fl. oz. bottle no. 2678-I157. Part of the Saranac Winter 12-pack.

Appearance - Gorgeous dark brown with a good amount of foamy off-white head that stays together for a few minutes. Good lacing on the pint glass.

Aroma - Malts, hops, and nuts or raisins. Quite inviting.

Mouthfeel - Medium to bold. Remains in tact for a decent amount of time after swishing on the tongue.

Taste - Great balance of malts and hops. Mildly bitter with a slightly dry finish. No aftertaste to speak of. Easy to drink.

No ifs, ands, or buts, I thought this one was a nice brew.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.2/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, part of Saranac's "12 Beers of Winter" sampler. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours a clear brownish/red color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both OK. The aroma is piney hops, nuts, toffee and caramel. It tastes like toasted and bready malt, nuts, toffee, and piney hops. There's a slight bitter hoppy and nutty finish. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it has good carbonation which works well with this beer. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy and would be a decent choice as an occasional session beer. Overall I think this is a good beer, I enjoyed it.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light brown with a nice full creamy beige head. Light caramel and nutty aroma and flavor; very nice Dunkel type character although a bit on the light side in flavor. Medium bodied and smooth with a nice finish.

Not nearly as caramelish as most Saranac brews ... very sessionable.

Per label: "Blend of Domestic and Belgian malts"

'2723' lasered on neck (2003 Winter Seasonal sampler)
Tasted: 05/23/05

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Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.47 out of 5 based on 256 ratings.
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