Saranac Kölsch | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

191 Reviews
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Saranac KölschSaranac Kölsch

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

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WesWes on 04-14-2005

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Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 401
Photo of RBorsato
4.23/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blonde to light gold with a nice full creamy white head, decent carbonation, and some nice white lace. Nice balanced light malt and light hop aroma. Lightly fruity (apple) character with a nice malt-hop balance. Light-medium bodied.

One of the better Kolsch's I've tried -- certainly not bad for a beer in one of my least favorite styles. This seems better than when I had it as part of one of their MIxed Packs a long time ago...

'0665' lasered on neck (2005 Summer Pack)
Tasted: 12/24/05

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Photo of abriggs1
4.11/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Talk about a dry beer. It's more like a cocktail than a malted beverage. I love this beer. It's not for the masses, but it's got a hop and yeast character that is uncompromising and refreshing. It's like an IPA with a different yeast profile. It actually tastes a bit like dry vermouth. Interesting and unapologetic.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.03/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear, pure gold. A bubbly white head of two fingers holds well over active carbonation. Very slowly drops to some sticky lacing. Estery fruit aroma, and very subtle noble hops. Vinous flavor and german hops are perceived better in the taste, and a faint roasted malt flavor only present in the aftertaste. Mild hop bitterness and the gentle wine flavor are well balanced with a light body that leaves a clean finish and high drinkability.

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Photo of wailingwench
4.02/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I agree with xcjetta. Its a Kolsch style, something that is not very familiar and reviewers may compare it with similar tasting/looking styles Ie: Lager and Pilsner. Kolsch is more Dortmunderish than anything, that explains the slight crisp German hop and sweet malts.

Eye Candy: Transparent light-goldenrod, lots of rising carbonation. Nice fizzy white head, easily regenerated.

The Nose Knows: Sweet straw, touch of grass, vanilla, sweet malt, peppery hops clear.

Tongueland: Sweet malts, toasted grain, vanilla, sweet fruit, slight caramel in the background, Golden Delicious apple and crisp hop finish, slight bitter. Champange-like.

I would buy 12 packs of this. So far the standout in the summer pack.

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Photo of sacfly
4.02/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz, part of the beers of summer pack 2006

Crystal clear, ginger ale-esque appearance. Zero head, even though it is highly carbonated. Light, sweet aroma. Taste is pleasant. Apple and pear dominate. Only a hint of bitterness. As Kolsch goes, this was great. I was very surprised how much I enjoyed it as this is a style I usually find very boring. I could drink this all summer.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent that is a bit grainy and dry, but also is bitter with hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a clean and crisp pale malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and bitter. This has more malt flavor than most Kolsch beers I've had, but hey I'm not crying. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good beer. I'm not sure how true to style it is, but it drinks well.

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Photo of MacMan1980
4/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this as part of the Saranac Summer Sampler. Overall, pleased with this particular beer.

Appearance: Nice yellow color, even carbonation, and decent head
Smell: Good smell like a slightly sweet bread.
Taste: Slightly sweet start without much of a bitter aftertaste
Mouthfeel: Light and crisp
Drinkability: Good beer that I could easily enjoy as part of a six pack on its own.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.98/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I ticked this one a year or so ago so I'm doing full review this time.

Bought as part of a 12 pack summer sampler for $14. Can't beat that price.

The appearance is nothing special with a fizzy head. Retention is pretty good.

Smells kinda sulfury and adjunct like. Not big on the smell.

The taste is wonderfully light and refreshing. A touch of sweetness and a touch of crispness in the finish but thirst-quenching and not your typical dry finish like a heavy hopped pilsner and such.

Overall I highly recommend this one for Kolsch lovers. Its a pleasant easy drinker.

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Photo of arguemaniac
3.9/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber with very active carbonation. A frothy white head that diminishes but never seems to quite disappear (in other words, good retention). A sweet malty grain aroma with a noticeable hop quality as well. The sweet grain flavor comes through very clean with this one and the hop bitterness balances it very well. There is also a slightly fruity character as well. The finish is dominated by grain malt. The mouthfeel is light with tangy carbonation.

Surprisingly, a pretty good example of this style. I don’t see TOO many American breweries trying their hand at this style, and when they do the attempt is typically pretty mediocre. Not this one; while I can’t say it’s superb, it’s certainly above average. More generally though, it’s refreshing and tasty, which makes for one drinkable brew. Recommended (with some enthusiasm).

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Photo of PhageLab
3.9/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Effervescent golden colored brew that produced a thin, bubbly head. Retention was mild and some spotted lace hung about.

S - Sweet crystal malt aroma, with a mild backing of grain and perhaps wheat. Gives an interesting contrast between the sweet scents and the earthy quality.

T - Grassy hop profile with a mild bitterness. Slightly puckering sour aftertaste, and while I am unsure if this is intentional or not, it works well.

M - Light body, with a carbonation level that is probably too sharp for the style. Grainy aftertaste.

D - Surprisingly complex, and pretty tasty. I may be the minority on this one, but for a refreshing Summer brew, this certainly does the trick.

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Photo of barknee
3.89/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac Kölsch pours a 24K golden color with a durable stream of carbonation ascending from the center of the glass. The 1/2 inch foamy white head settles to a consistent slick after a few moments. Respectable lacing is visible all around the glass. Fresh yeast and a hint of orange hit the nose; the flavor is well balanced, albeit understated, with repressed hops and creamy malts coating the mouth. This brew is just perceptibly bitter, just enough to keep things interesting. It finishes off-dry, a totally enjoyable brew although not a blockbuster Kölsch.
Kölsch is a style that can really shine when brewed, nurtured, and taken to the heights which it can attain.
I would like to see other competent brewers take on this style more frequently.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden yellow, generally opaque body with fluffy foamy three-finger head in a Saranac willibecker--looks refreshing... crisp pilsner malts are stongest... little else, as it should be with the style... active, thin palate that vibrates on the tongue... appealingly fresh... fresh, relaxed clean malts--the lightest feel of vanilla and acidity actually compliment the otherwise thin mouthfeel... as for saranac's summer sampler, this is the top offering, with its clean, pure approximation of the style--which I thought, again, that the appelation kolsch is not available to non-Cologne brewers... Ryan liked this one too, and I can't really find an issue with its light pilsner effects...

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Photo of twelvsies
3.87/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears to be SUPER carbonated, bubbles galore. Decent snow white head. As is settles a little, I'm noticing that this beer is strikingly clear. Smell is actually really appetizing, spritely hoppy, spicy and floral. You know, it's really not bad. I never know what to expect from Saranac, beyond consistent mediocrity, but occasionally their beers are very bad or actually quite good, and this one surprised me as being pretty good. Really light and summerish, but plenty of spicy hop flavor. Don't take this literally, but just the variety and character of the hops reminds me vaguely of a baby De Ranke, though obviously on a totally different level. Super refreshing. I recommend this one.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.86/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. It's crystal-clear, gold and quite active, with an inch of cream head that starts a bit loose, but tightens with the oncoming carbonation. Hops and a dash of grain in the nose, but the flavor is more substantial, with toasty/biscuity malts, wheat?, flashes of fruit, and some grassy/earthy hops that impart a medium bitterness. The body is medium, quite smooth, with lingering hop oils that leave a medium finish. Overall this makes for a nice session brew - quite easy to drink and not too complicated.

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Photo of cubedbee
3.85/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden yellow, crystal clear, with half a finger of white fizzy head that quickly fades to a little lacing around the edges. Sweet clean malt scent with a touch of floral hops. Nice malty flavor with a touch of apple skins and a noticeable hop finish. Mouthfeel is clean and refreshing, with a medium/high carbonation and a medium body. Got this in he summer pack, and I'm really pleasantly surprised with this brew. It's 80 degrees and muggy in my apartment and this feels just great.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.82/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The look is thin, clear and watery. If I didn't know better it could be just about any B/M/C product, save for the foamy head. It's straw-yellow. Does leave a light lacing.

The smell has a nice wheaty character. Seems like a blonde or a lager, but with some more dry wheat aroma. It's slight, but not bad. Very feint witbier scent.

Has a bitter German flavor, much like a German lager. There is a slight undercurrent of wheat throughout, like a wit, but it is wrestling with the strong German malt. No hops. It's surprisingly nicce and refreshing for a Teutonic brew. Not what I expected; definitely NOT a German lager.

It feels thicker than the lager it resembles. Leaves a mildly bitter film, but is actually refreshing. Yet dry...? It's very drinkable and summery. I'm actually shocked at how pleasant this beer is.

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Photo of Phatz
3.78/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Appearance: Pours a clear gold color with a frothy white head moderate lacing a frothy white cap that lasts the duration of the beer.

Smell: Crisp clean aroma, light malt a gentle grassy Saaz hops.

Taste: Crisp gentle Kolch with a light pale malt and touch of biscuity malt and fruit and gentle grassy hops. The finish is brilliantly dry with a sweet element.

Mouthfeel: Dry on the cheeks with a medium feel.

Drinkability: This is a very easy drinking summer beer. I could drink it by the case. Great hot afternoon drinker.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of fx20736
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bought as part of Saranac's Summer Variety pack from Southtown Beverages on 4/26/13 for $ 7.99.

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Hefe glass, served at fridge temp.

appearance: Honey yellow with a thick 2 finger white head. Nice lacing.

aroma: delicate floral bouquet, true to style.

mouthfeel: light.

taste: nice pale malt, light noble hops.

notes: Nice example of the Kolsch style, a light, delicate beer perfect for warm weather.

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Photo of Wiffler27
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

pours straw gold with a solid. tons of carbonation to it. looks like a Pilsner.

smells like adjunct. enough said.

taste is not bad. it's very plain and honestly this seems more like a Pils than a true Kolsch. easy to drink and not bad but not a Kolsch.

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Photo of pootz
3.75/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle ( thanks Eric)

Poured a brilliant gold ale into my Kolsch glass. Big fluffy 2 finger caps that lasts well and laces. Moderate carbonation

Delightfully subtle Kolsch aromas: light biscuit dough, wiffs of citrus and apples some demure sweetness some woody smells...all very understated.

Medium Munich pale malt spine, delicate slick mouthfeel, subtle rounded character.

Up front the Munich malt pronounced charater of Kolsch is evident then midway the hopping ( perle?) delicately add to the malty grainy sweetness with a herbal-lemony decernment, finishes clean and lightly drying with a biscuity after taste.

A very decent attempt at the subtle malty Kolsch style although I wish more conditioning had been done to let the flavors develop a bit better...this was very fresh Kolsch.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.73/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into stange.

A - Golden with one finger head, decent retention, settles to white film. Some lacing with streams of bubbles coming from the bottom.

S - Caramel and toasted malts are mostly what I'm getting; a very bready aroma with perhaps a touch of hops.

T - Caramel and toasted sweetness comes through first, growing increasingly drier. Mid palate is buttery biscuits with some slightly citrusy and earthy hops providing a slight bitterness.

M - Highly carbonated, with a light to medium body giving this beer a simultaneous crips yet silky texture.

D - Wouldn't mind having a few of these, but the sweetness is somewhat overbearing. Overall a nice flavorful beer.

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Photo of Suds
3.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 ounce bottle, this brew pours a light blonde color with a shiny, brilliantly white head. Flowery, hoppy aroma, mixed with a solid malt character and a little fruit. The taste is a little grainy, and quite sweet. By the finish, the brew turns hoppy, with a slight peppery bitterness. It’s very clean, and highly carbonated. Nice summer brew.

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Photo of packetknife
3.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like how they give you the disclaimer it's in honor of but not nearly as strong as the original. ;-)

Orange hue, a bit overly carbonated but didn't overdue on bite and acidity. Frothy white head that faded unevenly but kept around. Hop and some brown sugar on the nose. A bit more bread and malt on the tongue than expected but gives way to decent hoppiness quickly. Good thick chewy sort of feel without actually being thich. Perhaps sweetened a bit much for the style but makes it more drinkable to me.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clean yellow beer has a bubbly bright white head and some nice lace.. The aroma has notes of grass and grain with a light lemon in the background. The flavor starts with a smooth malt grain character and finishes with a light peppery hop note is smooth and easy.

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Photo of JohnFatAss
3.68/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was part of the Saranac Summer 12 pack. I never had the Kolsch style of beer before, I can't compare this beer to anything else, so I will judge this on its own merits and how much I enjoyed it.
And you know what? This is one good beer.

The only thing negative you can say about it is that it is very mild and a little weak on flavor. And that is not a bad thing if you want an easy drinking, summer beer. And this is what it is supposed to be.

It is a nice golden color and formed a thick white head that stuck around a while. Left a little bit of lacing on the side of the glass.

It has a faint, mild smell.

As expected, the taste is very mild too, but it does have some flavor. It is slightly sweet, with almost no bitterness.

It has a clean, crisp mouthfeel.

Over all it is just a nice beer. Nothing about it stands out, but it just makes for one very pleasant and enjoyable drink.

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Saranac Kölsch from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.22 out of 5 based on 401 ratings.
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