Season's Best Winter Lager
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Season's Best Winter LagerSeason's Best Winter Lager
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American Amber / Red Lager
Ranked #54
Ranked #39,124
3.59 | pDev: 10.03%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Season's Best Winter LagerSeason's Best Winter Lager
Notes: This brew’s rich and hearty flavor comes from adding malt right to the brew kettle. Warm up any holiday with this roasty, toasty, seasonal favorite.
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 45
Photo of z_21
3.57/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Transparent and lovely reddish brown with a tan, moderately long lasting one finger head. Lacing remains

S: Malty with some citrus and spice

T: Malts upfront with a pleasant bitter finish. Notes of spice and roast

F: Medium body

O: A good lager that benefits from the bitter hop finish. Wish the spice had more presence

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Photo of hman43
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Look: It pours cooper with an off white head. Head retention is moderate. It is very clear.

Smell: It has strong toast aromas with a low level of spice. There is a slight bit of roast and very low fruit elements.

Taste: There are strong toast flavors with a bit of roast in support. There are low levels of spice in support and it is fairly dry and a very low level of fruity esters.

Feel: It has a medium body.

Overall, this is a malt drive beer feature toast in the aroma and flavor with everything else in a supporting role.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich copper color with a tan head.

Smells of some citrus hops, nuts, bread malt, and some slight earthy undertones.

A quick hit of citrus hops followed by a toasty bread malt flavor finishing nutty and dry.

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Photo of moodenba
3.99/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Saranac Season's Best Winter Lager bottle (about 55F) was poured into a simple glass in December, 2018, tasted again in late May, 2019. Deep copper color and tan head that provides a little lacing, and otherwise dissipates fairly quickly. The flavor is a mellow malty mouthful, something like a good Oktoberfest (but I think this is better than either Hofbrau or Spaten fest beers.) Hop character is mostly a mild bitterness that lingers pleasantly in the aftertaste. This a beer in a traditional style, a refreshing throwback that contrasts with the modern pale, extreme hopped IPAs.

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Photo of JeffreyPaulBradt
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Season's Best pours a 1-inch head when poured roughly, which is slightly yellowish. The color of the beer is a nice copper.
The aroma is citrusy and has notes of spice.
I liked the taste better than the smell: this beer has a clean, somewhat citrusy taste with a nutty finish.
The feel is clean and light.
Overall, this is a fairly drinkable beer. It's definitely better than guzzling Coors or Budweiser, although I'm not sure if I could put as many down.

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Photo of barknee
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Last time I drank and then reviewed Saranac's products was in 2006, and I was not a happy camper as my reviews will attest. I received the "best of winter" 12 pack as a gift and thought, "oh no..not again.." but the quality of their products have evolved dramatically during all those years, and I'm happy to report that all four varieties within that 12 pack are superior products compared to what once was a revolting un-potable mess.
Seasons Best is a gorgeous mahogany-copper that pours with a waning mocha colored head. Malty, bready and invitingly complex from the engaging aromas of marshmallow, this brew has a velvety and lightly sticky texture and a long finish with a very well balanced bitterness. Tasty, satisfying and a well built brew, I would say Saranac (F.X. Matt) has refocused themselves on quality and integrity, at least with this winter collection, and deserve a hearty respectful congratulations!

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Photo of CNoj012
3.52/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a crystal clear deep amber brown with a one finger, creamy, light tan head. Retention is below average and there is some spotted lacing left on the glass.

The smell is caramel and toasted malts along with some dark fruit and a touch of green earthiness.

Taste starts off similar. It is very malty up front, but then the green earthiness and pine take over and provide a moderately bitter finish which seems quite out of place for a beer like this.

Feel is medium bodied, smooth and slightly sticky on the finish. There is also a bit of prickliness from the moderate carbonation and bitterness.

Overall this beer is ok. I could have done without the hoppiness as it seems out of place for the style. Also I'm not sure why this is classified as an herbed/spiced beer because I think that is a bit off.

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Photo of tone77
2.96/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some bready malts. Taste is light , some dark malts, rather bland. Feels light bodied in the mouth and overall, not offensive, but is a boring beer. Saranac, while not having great beers, usually put together solid variety packs at reasonable prices. This beers of winter pack is 0 for 2 so far.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.15/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful ruby hue with small head and nice lacing. Very vegetable scents. Not bad at all just strange. Taste is very nice, caramel, biscuit, yet light and with a crisp finish. Nice full bodied feel for a lighter beer as well. I really liked this beer for a lighter sessionable lager (assuming its a lager) with bigger feel and body and robust flavors. A well crafted diamond in the rough.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed form the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice lager pours a clear light amber with a nice head of off white foam that settles to a thick ring, light layer, and decent lacing. Nose of toasted malts, subtle fruit notes, and sweet caramel. Flavors follow the nose with a lightly sweet fruit tinged caramel with an outlier of cherries. Toasted and slightly spicy with almost a light toasted touch of rye in the back with zesty herbal hop notes. Finish is clean and lightly dry with medium carbonation. A nice brew indeed.


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Photo of Gmann
3.44/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear deep amber color with a short dense khaki colored head. Settles into a puffy cap with a short wall of lacing.

The aroma is faint. I pick up a light fruity note and a steely caramel.

The taste is of a sweet caramel malt, light tea notes and a hint of metal. Some grassy hop presence in the finish.

The feel is moderate with tingly carbonation. Pretty soft and well balanced. Light earthy bitterness in the finish. Clean and crisp.

A nice balanced lager. Quite smooth.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Matt Brewing Co. "Saranac Season's Best Winter Lager"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "BB MAR 31 2016"

A rough pour brings up a two-finger thick head of frothy yellowed white over a clear body of deep copper. As it settles it leaves broken walls of lace behind, but they eventually fade or slide back into the beer. Overall the head retention and lacing could be better.

The aroma delivers some almost-burnt sugar, a hint of fruitiness, and some mild nondescript spiciness. It's clean and welcoming, but certainly not bright.

The flavor follows suit, and apart from the truly caramelized sugar character of the malt, it's an exercise in subtlety. The fruitiness is cherry-like, but not completely clear, and the spiciness is really just that, a spicy zing on the tongue. There's a touch of something that seems like nutmeg (but it could just be nuttiness), and that's backed by a flash of grassy and spicy hops that appear just before the swallow. It finishes dry with a dusting of spice, and then some more residual cherry-like fruitiness.

In the mouth it's medium-light in body and crisp with a fine-bubbled, median carbonation.

An interesting and curious beer! I certainly appreciate it's delicate nature, and the way that the fruitiness builds, but at the same time I'm confused as to whether I actually really like it because I also wish there was a little bit more to it - it gives you just a hint of some really nice notes, and then leaves you hanging! To a certain extent that almost makes it more drinkable as you keep going back for more in search of what you're missing, but the fact that you never really do find it in the end is somewhat of a let-down.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Before he headed his snowbird self south for the winter, my (usually) local, in-person trader, tone77, dropped this bottle off for me (along with other gems). I may have added it in error, but the label clearly identifies it as "Winter Lager", suggesting that it has replaced the Nut Brown Lager currently listed. If I am wrong, feel free to take corrective action.

From the bottle: "Fourth Generation Family Brewery"; "This brew's rich and hearty flavor comes from adding malt right to the brew kettle. Warm up any holiday table with this roasty, toasty seasonal favorite."

A Pop! of the cap, an aggro pour & I was off and running. I got just under three fingers of dense, tawny head that really hung in until finally falling away to wisps & allowing me to continue. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a light spiciness along with a scent of dried, dark cherries. Mmm. I stand behind my adding this as separate from the other Season's Best beers. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was kind of a mixed bag of milk chocolate, cherries and an amalgam of spices. Not bad, but not really my bag, either. Finish was dry, mainly due to all of the spices involved. I think that if I were to get this again, I would go to the trouble of setting up a double boiler and mulling this beer for the holidays. It wasn't bad, but I think that it could be improved by warming it to really bring out the flavors.

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Season's Best Winter Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 45 ratings