Saranac Single Malt Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Single Malt AleSaranac Single Malt Ale
107 Ratings
Saranac Single Malt AleSaranac Single Malt Ale

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

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Quaffer on 12-17-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 107 |  Reviews: 83
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Todd
2.85/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

Appearance: Clear amber in colour with a thin, lacking lace of a head.

Smell: Raw floral hop aromas in the nose (Fuggle hops).

Taste: Medium-bodied and even. Maltly sweet, with caramel edges, toasted, and a touch of peat, earth and char in the back -- very distinct and unique tasting. A nice raw floral hop flavour follows and rolls over the malt flavours, providing some balance and depth. Splash of limey bitterness that comes to play, but quickly folds back into the malt character. Finish is rather clean.

Notes: Brewed with 100% Scottish Maris Otter Malt (used in distilling) and Fuggle hops, this is quite the unique beer, albeit it is also excessively raw and aggressive in its flavours. The hops are a way too perceived in the flavour and aroma for the "Scottish-style", hence the Experimental Beer placement. It's a nice stab at something different, but fails to impress, so it's probably a good thing that this is a limited release.

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Photo of Jason
2.56/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber hued and crystal clear. The lace is ok and barely sticks to the glass.

Taffy malt aroma with fruity and sweet grain notes, oddly clean.

Semi-crisp mouth feel, modest body and a simple malt character. Twang of lightly toasted grain including a husky grain flavour throughout. Mild hopping giving an even bitterness, bubble gum yeast flavours and a faint solvent alcoholic note in the back. Finishes with some mildly cloying residuals.

This beer did nothing for me, not horrific just very lackluster with a few off qualities.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.4/5  rDev +37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Hey I liked it to!Very subtle easy (remarkably easy) to drink.Could have drank alot of these.Kinda buttery very malty I was real happy with it.

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Photo of generallee
3.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of merlin48
3.3/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another bottle from the 2003 Holiday 12 beer sampler box. Only a few left to go. Label says 100% Scottish Marris Otter malt with English Fuggles hops. Pours an attractive clear copper amber. Head disappears in seconds, before I can get a decent look at it. No lacing at all.

Pretty good nose if you like sweet toffee maltiness. The Fuggles are difficult to pick up but are noted in the background.

Mouthfeel is medium carbonation and overwhelmed by malt. The hops are struggling here. Taste is lightbodied for the style, and has some honey sweetness. Hops are there, but barely.

Finishes a bit dry, with a malt aftertaste. This is an interesting ale that I wish I could sample again soon. Leaves a heavy malt aftertaste, but I think there are more things going on with this brew than I can figure out with just one sample. Overall, I think the brewery could give us some much better quality ales if they wouldn't throw out so many different styles at the same time, and would concentrate on improving maybe half a dozen of their better offerings.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.32/5  rDev +34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmm, so far no one really seemed to like this except me. I thought it was fantastic, buttery and sweet before the hops kicked in, a unique beer in which the flavor ends up between a single-malt scotch and a hoppier US-style pale ale. There are hints of peat and smoke, mild but certainly present. It is the piney, citric hops that really throw this beer off kilter. I'd love to see this style again, but I'd suggest going lighter on the hops, or perhaps use a different style of hop. Regardless, I thought this was really tasty, especially before it got too warm in the glass. Interesting and successful as an after dinner drink.

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Photo of far333
3.35/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark apricot color with an off-white head of small bubbles that dissipates quickly. Smell is round and full of sweet malt and honey, with some toffee and butterscotch. Flavor is mostly sweet malt, and the tiniest bit of hops. A bit doughey and biscuity. Slick mouthfeel. Some malty aftertaste, but not much. Maybe that's why the call it "single malt" - it has one single flavor and it's malt. Not too much character. Not a bad beer, but I won't bother next time.

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Photo of ADR
3.28/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber with a white small-bubbled head that settles to a trace in 40 seconds, Aroma is malty but a little like candy corn. High pitched and bright malty flavors, some shortbread aspects and a sense of grainy wheat germ. Hops are decent, show as lilac in the light mouthfeel. Decent beer and drinkable, I'm not sure what extra the specific barley malt brings to this brew. I still think that Saranac brews too many beers to be solid in each offering.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.08/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Amber hue topped with a nice off white colored head which leaves behind small sporatic specks of lacing. Aroma: Not a clean malt sweetness no relevant peated malts here, just basically an empty stale diacetyl scented malt backbone not too impressed. Taste: Uninspired malts with a semi caramel tone but ends flavorless and bland leaving behind not much if any hop flavor. Mouthfeel: Thin in any eyes of any Scotch ale fan this is an embarassment for the style, don't go with a light bodied overcarbonated version of a classic style. Drinkability: Wow, never wish to sample this one again most Saranacs do some justice this one is a smack in the face.

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Photo of chinchill
3.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

BB date of 6/30/12 on bottle. Served in a snifter. Tad of sediment at the bottom of the bottle added mid-tasting.

A: Clear; slightly dark amber; one finger of bone head; a good bit of splotchy lacing is left on the glass.

S: Light-medium roasted malt with hints of caramel and toffee. Pleasant, but mild and relatively simple.

T: There may be only one variety of malt in this, but there's ample quantity to produce a solid malt flavor, and a good one at that. Hints of caramel, toffee, floral hops and, in the finish, smoke. 3.75

M: Medium bodied: medium+ carbonation, lending some crispness. Semi-dry finish. 3.75

O: Although made with Scottish malt, this is not a Scottish ale. It is distinctive rather than run-of-the-mill, and does well representing the English brown style, especially as a lower cost version here in the U.S. 3.75

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Photo of acurtis
2.75/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac Single Malt is, yet another, beer from my assorted 12 pack.

Pours a caramel orange/brown with a small white head that disappates quickly.
The smell is malt, malt, and more malt.
The taste is, again malty, sweet, I detect grains. Slighty bitter on the back end.

Single Malt is a just a tad too much on the bitter malt side for me.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden-amber topped by a full, rocky white head that holds quite well and leaves some very nice lace. The aroma is malty with a touch of metallic/leafy hops (Fuggles). The body is medium/light with a fine and moderate carbonation that's lightly crisp in the mouth. The flavor displays a distinct Maris Otter malt (think Young's Special London Ale) supported by an understated bitterness and some low-key hop flavor. It finishes with a brief uprising of bitterness that quickly disperses leaving some lingering malt. Overall, an interesting beer in that it displays the flavor of the Maris Otter so readily; yet Maris Otter alone does not substantiate "wiskey malt". This is just another name game from the brewery that labels their self-proclaimed "American Wheat" as a "Pilsener".

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Photo of beerluvr
3.3/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a very light tan head over clear light amber liquid. Clean maltiness in the nose with subdued hop aromas in the background. Taste is gentle biscuity maltiness with a little sweetness right behind it. Features crisp, snappy carbonation. Finishes with a slight saltiness on the palate.

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Photo of Gmann
3.23/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep honey toasted grain color with a short cream colored head that settles into a light ring.

The aroma is malty with a good amount of toffee and brown sugar sweetness. Has a bit of a doughy scent. Not much from the hops. Very sweet aroma.

The flavor is of a grain husk malt. Light honey and toffee sweetness. Lots of lemony tea flavors. Earthy bitterness from the hops. Some metallic notes as well.

Light to moderate body with fizzy carbonation. Starts off malty sweet but finishes dry with a light hoppy bitterness. Almost astringent.

Seems like a scottish ale to me. Not an overly exciting style but the beer hits on the main style characteristics.

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Photo of JedediahK
2/5  rDev -37.7%

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a light brownish color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some malts. Taste is a bit unusual, malts, a touch of whiskey, very lightly hopped. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped: BB-JUN 30 2012-3551-07:01. Sampled on February 26, 2012. The pour is medium to dark amber almost maple syrup color. Although it is listed as a single malt ale the aroma is quite malty on the whole with a sweetness attached. The body is just off medium toward the lighter side. But it is also smooth. Lots of sharp bitterness in the taste with a clean, crisp hop ending. It is not as potent as traditional Scotch Ales but it does have its good points.

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Photo of buzzy
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Murph
2.69/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I have to agree with Todd when he says that this beer is unrefined. It was a rather nice looking pale orange with a nice creamy head. Everything went downhill from there though. The smell, much like the taste was a little strange. Instead of hops and malt being friendly and peacefully coexisting it is like they are fighting a war for your senses to observe. The mouthfeel was relatively crisp and dry but finished sweet. The strangeness of the taste brings down the drinkablity as well. I have to give them some credit for trying to brew something different like this but the brew itself is a little rough on the senses.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
2.85/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ba Review #111
Served On: 01/20/2012
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV:
Date/ Code: 06/30/2012

This was from the 2012 'What Ales You' mixed 12 pack.

Look: Very clear copper with a vortex of carbonation bubbles blasting up from the bottom. Head was a minimal coating of white film.

Smell: Big malts with not much of a hop profile. The aroma was similar to Big Moose.

Taste: Started off great like a Saranac Big Moose but quickly morphed into a dry lagery biscuit. Finish was more dryness with the same aftertaste as their Pale Ale. I did start to notice some bourbon notes after the beer warmed up.

I was hoping for more of a spiced whiskey sensation with maybe some earthy vanilla - given the name of the beer. This was a little disappointing for a limited release offering. This was honestly the only reason I picked up the mixed pack.

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Photo of Amalak
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Brent
3.41/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

They said malt - and they meant it. Nice bronze color, not a lot in the aroma but caramel. I thought the malt flavor had more depth and complexity than many of the other reviewers, and really was unlike anything I've had before. Although the selling point on this beer is its use of distilling malt, it did not strike me as being whisky-ish or scotch-like. Nor did it really seem to have a lot in common with Scottish or scotch ales. Seemed to come closest to some stock and old stock ales I've had.

Having said all this, while I found the beer to be reasonably pleasant and drinkable, it was not one that engaged me and made me want to go back for more. Worth the experience, but not a favorite.

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Photo of babydoc
3.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Waited until eight months after receiving the sampler to try this one- don't know if that has had an adverse effect on this bottle.

Pours clear amber with a fine foamy ecru head that disappeared quickly. No lacing appreciated.

Aroma was malty, sweet, with a bit of caramel. Something else, too- is that the fuggle hops? Taste was sweet and malty, too. Nice mouthfeel, light carbonation. Aftertaste is malty, with a bit of hops that sticks around longer.

Puttting aside whether or not this is a true Scottish Ale, it was drinkable and I'll try it again if it's available.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear amber, some carbonation, one finger head

S-Malt, caramel, toffee, not much else, the nose is kinda reminiscent of an Irish Red

T-Caramel, toffee, malt heavy, some peat like notes as it warms but not much.

M-Medium bodied with some carbonation

O-For a scottish ale there needed to be more peat flavors in my opinion.

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Saranac Single Malt Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.21 out of 5 with 107 ratings