Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Saranac Kölsch | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
74
okay
190 Reviews
THE BROS
69
poor
Read the review
Saranac KölschSaranac Kölsch
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
190
Ratings:
395
Avg:
3.21
pDev:
20.25%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
35
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 395
Photo of cavedave
3.32/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Nice look to it, billowy white head over a clear, golden beer. The head collapses to a skim, then a thin ring pretty quickly.

Light aroma, some of that tart Kolsch yeast, bready grain, light floral, and the lightest hint of lemon.

Light flavors, all those of the nose, but a bit less of the lemon, and a deeper sweet to the grain. Juicy and clean, but really not enough flavor. It's a Kolsch, supposed to be subtle, this is even lighter than that.

Decent mouth, a bit thick for how little taste it has, still a refreshing drink.

Enjoyable and forgettable the two words I hope you take away from this review. Lots of better easily available, get one of those.

 662 characters

Photo of TeamMathis
2.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, pale yellowish gold.
Smell: Some wheat, light banana, and some floral.
Taste: Light floral. Maybe just a hint of grape.
Mouthfeel: Spritzy carbonation.

Unimpressive is probably the best way to describe this. The smell is mainly wheat and banana, then shifts to floral as it warms...however, it's very, very light. The taste is mainly floral. By mainly I mean that it tastes like Perrier with some floral and wheat thrown in it. Although drinkable, I would not get this again unless it came in their sampler pack.

 532 characters

Photo of fx20736
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

 439 characters

Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
2.32/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.75

Light golden yellow color with heavy carbonation and not too much head. Very hoppy, yeasty, hay-like aroma. A bitter, hoppy, hay-like taste with earthy notes. Can't taste too much alcohol. It tastes similar to the aroma. Finishes sweeter than it starts. Overall, kind of bland.

 277 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.68/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Another of my local, in-person trader, tone77's latest drop-off.

From the bottle: "This golden sparkling Blonde ale was brewed to pay homage to a 1000-year brewing tradition rooted in Cologne, Germany. Clear, crisp, and easy to drink, the Kolsch of today is more pale than the "house" beer that was served in Cologne 200 years ago - the city that made Kolsch famous. We hope that you'll enjoy it!"

My pour netted better than two fingers of dense, foamy eggnog-colored head with good retention. Color was a deep golden yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a grainy, grassy quality, like a field of hay. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was dry, slightly biscuity and very grassy. Finish was semi-dry with the malt and hops working well in tandem to create a very quaffable beer. Lacing was quite evident as I drank through the glass. I could see this as a good beer on a hot summer's day.

 895 characters

Photo of tone77
3.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some light hops. Taste is crisp, light, very mild hops, a touch of malt. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall a refreshing beer, but kind of light flavored and just a bit bland.

 276 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - Charlie's Beer & Wine in Marietta, Georgia.

BB September 2012 (reviewed early July).

Appearance: Pours out a fairly clear, deep gold body with a fine, white head receding at a moderate pace, though it never quite fades away completely.

Smell: A sniff of simple, basic maltiness with barely a hint of breadiness to it. Very, very little lemon and spiciness from the hops. It's present without much presence.

Taste: A lightly sweet touch of pale malts, with a slim measure of breadiness. Low, light citrus accents hinting at basic lemon. Very light spiciness from the German hops. Lightly bitter. Less than crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation. It's got some slight bubbliness to it, but I would feel remiss to declare it crisp.

Overall: A humdrum Kölsch that misses the mark, but serves as a fine light beer to cool me off in the dog days of summer.

 899 characters

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.13/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear gold with tiny to almost no bubbles on the body. Head is almost nothing at all white that is maybe a tenth of an inch.

Smell: Light hops, feels more like light pale lager.

Taste: Light hop taste, little bitter but also slightly dry.

Mouth: Medium, and lightly sticky. I appreciate the crisp texture and amost truly feels like a German beer.

Overall: Not bad at all, easy brew to like. Hope you enjoy, grab a movie and sit back. Salud!

 486 characters

Photo of gcamparone
3.47/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Adams pint glass.

A-clear and golden with medium carbonation that leaves a two finger head that disappears fairly quickly. Leaves some lacing

S- wheat, lightly toasted malt, grapes, bananas

T- resembles the smell, slightly spicy. Smooth And crisp with no lingering aftertaste

M - medium carbonation and body. Once again, very crisp and refreshing

Overall, a good beer to refresh yourself on a Hot summer day (or any other time that you'd like some refreshment, such as after a hard day at work) .

 542 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.4/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Wegmans enjoyed from a stange chilled.

The color is deep golden with good clarity and fast rising bubbles of carbonation that lead up to a thick soapsud cap of white with tight bead. The lace stickage is decent. The smell is slightly floral with a mild sweet malt odor and gentle toasted grain tinge. The feel is so-so, very light bodied with moderately high carbonation and has some sweetness with generally clean and dry finish very low in bitterness.

The flavor is pretty standard for the style. I get mostly a light toasted grain with very mild sweetness and slight herbal element from the hops, but in general the flavor is pretty tame, overall not a bad beer, best use for this is summertime when you are looking for something quenching to refresh your palate during the heat and humidity.

 821 characters

Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.47/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by September 2012:

Into my stange:

A: light golden colored body with a light paper thin white head, barely any carbonation is seen rising and minimal lacing is left.

S: centers around the malts with the hopss and a bit of light grassiness coming out mildly.

T: same noted smells but with a slight earthiness settling in it.

M: light to medium with the right amount of carbonation felt, definitely drinkable

O: this wasn't bad, it wasn't necessarily one I need to run out and buy again, but its do-able enough if I got this again in the twelve pack of summer, I would be happy about.

 594 characters

Photo of bubseymour
3.98/5  rDev +24%
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.

 575 characters

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

12oz bottle with SEP 2012. Pours a translucent golden color with a 1/4 inch of head. Almost no lacing. Aromas of grains, grass, with some floral notes. Taste is of grains with some orange peel and floral hops. Floral, grassy finish. Light mouthfeel. Nice summer beer. Nothing great but nothing bad either. Overall, works well in the Summer Mix Pack but wouldn't buy it on its own.

 380 characters

Photo of corby112
2.11/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear golden orange color with a half finger white foam head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Minimal spotty lacing left behind.

Bland, slightly earthy aroma with faint grassy hops and light fruit notes. Really not much going on and lacking in almost every characteristic that makes kolschs interesting. Subtle grass and straw notes with very faint fruit and pale malt.

On the lighter end of medium bodied with a stronger hop presence than the aroma hinted at. Crisp, slightly spicy hops that provides some subtle earthy and dry bitterness that lingers over the sweeter notes and pale malt. More floral than bitter with a slight earthy/soily character that is countered by an odd adjunct like sweetness. There hints of apple and pear but also a strange corn flavor that is pretty unpleasant. It starts off alright but the lingering aftertaste is pretty bad.

 875 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Not a bad looking beer has a hazy yellow look to it with a 1/2 inch of sticky head.

S - Very mild maybe I am getting some hops, malt and a touch of straw like grass. Not bad just... mild.

T - Kind of heavy for the style and the flavors seemed to be muddled by an earthy malt tone. As expected its average.

M - Medium so kind of heavy for a summer beer.

Overall I got to stop buying into these Saranac beers most seem to be just average.

 444 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
2.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into tulip. Pours a slightly orange hued straw color, a bit of white bubbley foam and some lacing. Smells nice, bready yeasty malts and crisp straw. It has a nice crisp taste...at first. Followed by a heavy malt flavor; almost macro-like. Its bitter and dry mouthfeel. Overall, not a great and barely a good Kolsch. I would never buy this on its own...it came in the mixed 12 pack.

 400 characters

Photo of abriggs1
4.11/5  rDev +28%
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.

 316 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.41/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. About a finger of head. Color was golden pale urine, just like the Rye IPA I just had of Saranac’s. Light white lacing on the top that dissipated within five minutes. White, wet sporadic film on the sides.

Smelled caramel malts up front. Sharp distinction of sharp corn malts with some honey in there. Pretty much what I’d expect from a kolsch.

Tasted almost exactly as the smell. Got honey, light caramel, corn, biscuit. A kolsch.

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Smooth, watery finish.

A pretty good kolsch when I look back at it. What you see is what you get. I’d definitely try it again.

 660 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on May 18, 2012. The pour is an excellent looking well-carbonated pale yellow with a light, fluffy white head up top that lingers on. The aroma is more malty than grainy but pleasant enough. The body is light to medium. The taste tends to bring out more of the character of grains with a crisp, clean finish. This is a refreshing warm weather beer.

 384 characters

Photo of riored4v
3.05/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured in to a pint glass. Clear, straw colored body with a thin, white head. Faded quickly to a thin cap.

Aroma was a bit malty with a light fruitiness. Some estery aromas with a bit of a minerally aroma. Some light sweetness, but also smelled a bit off at the same time.

Taste really didn't have much going on. Very light in flavor with some fruity and floral flavors. Mild maltiness.

Mouthfeel had a medium/light body with a medium carb. Dry finish.

Light drinking beer overall with some light flavors. Some interesting/weird flavors mixed with some light fruitiness.

 574 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.13/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a pale straw color, with a nice light stream of bubbles. The nose was unimpressive, but the flavor was very light, with some nice hops and a bitter finish. Overall a nice, light, refreshing beer that was perfect with ribs and corn on a sunny, spring afternoon.--TM

 271 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #53 (June 2011):

Pale color; clarity and hefty amount of white head walks the walk. Hint of malt, more of a grainy husk and pale leather ... soft, but there with a twang of fermentation in the nose. Crispness is there, and a dry, pulling graininess seems to want to take over right from the get-go. Modest hopping—that’s all this brew really needed, though there is no real depth of flavor from the bitterness. Grain becomes almost a bit chalky in the bone-dry finish. A decent stab at the style, but a bit more malt and a pinch of sweetness with hopping to back it would bring it to where it should be.

 648 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.26/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a not too bright amber. Closer to orange than yellow which I found surprising. Tiny frothy head lies flat and persists. The head leaves random splotches of lacing.

S-Faint aromas of apple and honey. Slightly grainy. The smell is very slight. You really have to stick your nose in there to smell much of anything.

T-Flavor is almost as mellow as the smell. Although the flavor is faint I actually kind of enjoy it. A watered down apple cider flavor. Grainy aftertaste.

M-Quite light with bunches of carbonation. Watery feel. Not much else to note.

O/D-Easy drinker with minimal taste. The available taste is actually not too bad. I would prefer more flavor, but I do not dislike the overall flavor profile here.

 722 characters

Photo of SickGnar
3.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Tawny golden with an okay size off-white head. Clear with a few streams of bubbles. Okay retention. It leaves some lace but it mostly slides back down the glass into the brew.

S: White/green grape skin fruit note. Grainy malts in background with just a hint of sweetness.

T: Quite grapey with some vinous character. Malts are rather thin and bland – just for of grainy, not even anything like husk. Hint of sweetness blends in with grape effect. Backend sees some herbal hop character and muted bitterness that fades into an odd tannin note. After a bit the blah grains and touch of sweetness start to make you wonder about adjuncts.

M: Under medium body with over average carbonation – but in a soft & expansive manner. Mouth filling, but neither creamy nor quenching. Pretty neutral finish, maybe semi-drying at the very end.

D: A rather grape focused Kolsch. Alright drinking, but it could really use more depth, heft, & character to its grainy malts. It could also stand to be a bit more bitter. It does go down easy and highlights the grapey effect sometimes found in some versions of the style.

 1,111 characters

Photo of cbutova
2.63/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Not exactly a Kolsch master but I will give this one a shot, part of the affordable mixed summer pack.

A- Pours a golden-orange hue into my glass with a white head. Cap forms to about a finger in size and has a nice creamy texture. Retains decently leaving a pillow and ring atop the ale.

S- Certainly reminds me of the bread I was just making in the aroma. Fades pretty quickly leaving me trying hard to find more. Very faint fruit and hops.

T- Lighter end flavor profile. Mostly citrus zest hops, bread and light malt, an overall watery feel. Faint hints of grape, fruit and herbal hops.

MF- Highly carbonated, creamy light beer body. Slightly bitter and sweet finish.

Not really much going on here, it isn't terrible but it doesn't show much effort. A lighter beer that is refreshing but flavor is just eh.

 814 characters

Saranac Kölsch from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 190 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe