Saranac Lager | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac LagerSaranac Lager
143 Ratings
Saranac LagerSaranac Lager

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

Style: American Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 01-31-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 143 |  Reviews: 129
Reviews by bierman2000:
Photo of bierman2000
3.21/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's an amber lager now as it seems to have gotten darker in the last year or so. It has full body, clean lager crisp taste with malt finish. Hops are low and beer is quite refreshing with or wothout food. Nice year round beer and quite drinkable. One of Saranac;s main products that is a good step towards more flavor than the macros.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.28/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Getting primed for the Michigan beat down of the Buck Nuts,poured a clear light golden with a one finger white head has some nice saying power good clarity in the body.Light sweet and toasted aromas not much happening but nothing offensive,flavors are alot like the aromas lightly sweet and toasted quite grainy in the mouthfeel department.Well simple but quite drinkable nothing to shake the earth but better than any macro out there.


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Photo of sponberg
3.9/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A good, clean tasting American style light lager - exceptional in that there are very few if any off flavors. Knocks Bud, et al on their collective backsides. Very drinkable, becoming dangerously so if it's over 80 outside and the beer's below 40. Not a fan of clear bottles, but haven't pulled a skunk, etc. yet in seven or eight six packs so...

I hope to find out exactly WHAT the difference is between this brew and Matt's Premium Lager (one of the favored brews of my youth that I haven't seen around in a while) when I hit the brewery next month.

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Photo of generallee
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Doomcifer
3.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear light golden color with minimal, airy head that dissipates very quickly. No lacing on the glass. Smell is of light graininess maybe some hop spiciness but not much else. Flavor is typical of the style. Some light malty graininess, a touch of sweetness, a tad bready, and a touch of hop bitterness in the finish. Very crisp, well carbonated beer that is definitely refreshing and goes down the hatchet with ease. A good after work beer or hot summer day-mowing the lawn type of beer.

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Photo of Jason
3.56/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. twist with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Light amber in colour with a bubbly carbonation that forms and retains a thin off white lace.

Smell: Faint aromas of sweet malt and light grain mingle with a mellow hop.

Taste: Crisp, clean and very smooth. A light maltiness shows some sweetness and grain. A subdued hop twang helps to balance this lager out perfectly. Almost no after taste, leaving the mouth wanting more.

Notes: Very refreshing, does well to clean the palate ... no surprises here.

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Photo of merlin48
3.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the 12 bottle holiday sampler box. How many times have I said that? Must be near a dozen. This one pours a clear golden amber, with minimal head. I thought I had opened a Harpoon Ale, in the dim light, but could tell from the subdued nose that this was my Saranac Lager. Mostly a mild citrus hop nose, not bad, just lacking character. Mouthfeel is average for the style. Taste is above average for a regional lager, very well balanced. Has a clean finish. This one gets decent marks from me. For some reason, I just like its balance and drinkability. My compliments to Matt Brewing for making the effort of putting 12 different styles in their sampler box. They've shown some potential to make some excellent smaller batches when they choose to concentrate on just a few styles.

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Photo of jakester
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was from a sampler case.

Pours a beautiful clear gold, with a one finger white head which quickly drops to islands and a ring. No lacing observed. Medium carbonation evident.

Aroma at first is slight, sweet DMS, faint pilsener malt, and faint herbal/spicy hops. Not much there, but what is there is pleasant.

The first flavor is sweet malts, followed by a balancing hop bitterness and then herbal/spicy hop flavor. Noticeable cooked veggie flavor, not unpleasant, however. A little thin, but not too bad.

Mouthfeel is crisp and clean, tingly from the carbonation. Fairly sharp. Finishes a little thin.

This style is really not my cup of tea. There's just not alot here, but as an alternative to an even thinner macro, I'd take this.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.9/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I thought clear bottle, strike one - but that was the only thing I found wrong here. Clean, clear, crisp, refreshing (don't I sound like a Bud/Miller/Coors ad?) and without the chemical tastes of macros or cheapies (ah, therein lies the rub). What a mass-produced American lager should be. Some mellow malts lending it a nice British character, and grassy hops to dry and spice up the finish. Even better as it warmed out of the fridge - although it shouldn't be too warm.

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Photo of ADR
2.74/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a 6 beer Saranac "Trail Mix" sampler. Other reviews to follow.

Sub amber color intrigued me. Heavier mouthfeel than the macros. Cloying and annoying watery "flavorlessness", little to no aroma. No skunkiness but little to invite one to finish it.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.43/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a caramel copper amber with a nice sized well-formed cream-colored head sitting on top, nice rings of lace appear bi-siply. Aroma: Buttery malt sweetness mixed with toasted almond arises from my mug, along with a grainy husk tone and an underlying note of fruit and the hops just blend right in here. Taste: Flavor ties it together rather decently with the mild toasted malts giving of nut, caramel, and fruit tones very mild but blend well together and as far as hops they are detectable and present only to balance the sweet malt nice. Not as much of a knockoff of Yuengling Traditional Lager as Loyalhanna Lager from Rolling Rock tries to be. Mouthfeel: Is rather thin not a lot of body here, just nice even carbonation not too sharp perfect for the style, overall not bad. Drinkability: I could definitely picture myself getting in the mood to drink a few of these, although there are many better lagers out there this does a decent job of being refreshing and thirst quenching and having flavor at the same time, gains my respect as a decent brew.

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Photo of tappangordo
2.6/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of Brenden
3.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a light golden amber. This is my first pale lager, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but the look is respectable and not as pale as I had thought it might be. Head retention is pretty good and there's some fairly even lacing.
The nose is simple and somewhat subdued. A mix of malt and hops with a grains backbone. A little like a light, but a little stronger. It's respectable.
Hops and malt are both evident, and the absence of adjuncts puts this a step above most macros despite the aroma and palate not being very strong. Grains are present and there's an underlying sweetness. As expected, the finish doesn't linger very long.
The mouthfeel is good. It's a little thin, though not too much. A light body and gentle carbonation make for a clean mouthfeel that's pretty smooth and very crisp.
Nothing out of the ordinary or especially complex, but I'd call this one pretty good and easily sessionable at such a low ABV.

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Photo of dacrza1
1.95/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Hot June evening--must be a lager night! Pours a Miller-Lite color in a pilsner glass...vanishing head and faint malt notes in aroma...back punch of sour malt in mouthfeel, a nasal presence in aftertaste....nondescript taste, no insult meant...refreshingly three parts removed from H2O...

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.63/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Lager is the 1st of 12 Saranac's I'll be reviewing over the next week. Just purchased a 12 pack of 12 mixed Saranac brews. $10 not bad I think!?! Actually I recall, faintly, drinking Saranac in college but don't recall the taste hell- I don't recall much from college.

Saranac Lager pours a nice light brown with a decent white head.
The smell is malty.
The taste was really good. A nice smooth malty beer. This is a beer you drink sitting at the bar eating a bar pie or hamburger!

Saranac Lager is a nice session beer that you can't go wrong with.

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Photo of Dewey0603
1.99/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This pours a clear golden color with a two finger head.The head disapears a little too quickly,but there is some nice lacing.The smell is weak.I'm trying not to kill this beer,but it smells like wet newspaper.The taste is weak and watery,macro lagers are better tasting than this.The mouthfeel is light,weak,and watery.
All in all,I would avoid this beer.I'm going to pour the rest down the drain.
Sorry Saranac,but you have got to get your act together.

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Photo of QXSTER1
3.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Middle of the road craft lager, better than average mainstream beer. Smooth and satisfying with food. I agree that this is more of a session beer than a treat for the tastebuds.

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Photo of asabreed
2.25/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

From the 12 Beers of Winter, which I imagine many folks are reviewing. This is the first brew out of the pack, and I hope it's the worst, because this isn't that good.

Appearance: A sickly pale yellow, not much of a head, and lacing that's pretty much non-existent.

Smell: Lots of metal in the nose. Is this from the cap? Like if you chew on foil, I think? Some malt I guess since that makes sense. It smells like beer, but man, this is pretty bad for the aroma.

Taste: Some sweetness, some metal, finishes slightly sweet with some malt on the tongue. Very average, or actually a bit worse.

Mouthfeel: Very very slick and watery, with little carbonation.

Drinkability: I guess it's nice when you have a beer in a sampler pack and you like it and want to try it again. This time, however, with only one beer in the sampler pack, that makes me happy. I'm hoping to be impressed with at least a few of these as I make my way through the sampler, so we'll see.

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Photo of Sammy
3.12/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served fresh bottle at a beerfest, and so fresh aroma. Yellow with dots of lace. Light mouthfeel, with somewwat apple juice taste around the malty backbone. That's into astringency territory and requires some chicken or the like. OK for a lager. Even a bit of hops and for a cheap beer that transitions, it's fine.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

F.X. Matt's Saranac line consistenly delivers solid, drinkable beers; and this one is no exception. It seems as if it might be brewed to compete with Yuengling Traditional Lager with a light amber color and overall sweet character. The head retention is fairly good, and although it drops shortly, it's effervescent carbonation helps it to maintain a razor thin surface covering and leave some nice splashes of craggy lace about the glass. The nose is sweetish and subtly fruity without a hint of hops; and it's light/medium bodied and smooth across the palate. There obviously some adjunct in use here as the flavor is sweet without being particularily malty, and it's definitely not grainy. Whether this is simply a "colored" beer through the use of a product similar to "porterine" or not, I can't tell, but no caramel flavors stand out. There is a very mild hop note in the finish, but very little bitterness, and it fades cleanly away. For what it's seemingly intended to be it's very well-balanced; although most serious beer drinkers will probably find it a bit sweet. Still, it's well-made and makes a great party beer for times when mainstream beer drinkers are present.

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Photo of tempest
3.45/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this a few times and have been meanin to review it.

Poured a straw gold with a little head that lasts a minute or too. Basically just a little darker than your average lager. Smells of sweet malts. Taste good to me. A decent malt profile for such a light colored beer. A little sweet, not much of an aftertaste.

Easy to drink and tasty. I've easily gone through a 6-pack of this when the budget is right and I'd do it again. Give this to a PBR or Miller fan that wanted to take a step in the right direction.

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Photo of russpowell
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured bronze with a 1" white head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: A little malt & peppery hops

T: Grainy with slight sweetness & fruittyness up front. Finishes grainy & sweet

MF: Light medium bodied with good carbonation & slightly out of balance (too grainy)

Drinks easy until the grainyness gets ya. I could drink 2 at the most, just run of the mill

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Photo of bditty187
3.35/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, hay-gold in hue with a slight amber highlight; I am happy the liquid is not sickly in appearance. The head wasn’t very impressive; at the apex the foam was barely able to cover the beer. The minimal amount of bubbles quickly faded to a thin collar, naked in the middle. The subsequent lacing was just some random spots of foam residue. Overall, the appearance is far from noteworthy… nothing about it is above typical.

The nose is clean. Only hints of grainy, toasty, bready malts eek through. Well, there is also a tickle of earth and lemon zest. Low potency; this is not a talkative beer. What I smell is nice; it offers the typical aromas for Lager of this sort.

Clean. Crisp. Uneventful… but this beer is tasty enough (for the style). Upfront is a delicate lemon zest vibe, followed by some toasted bread, grains, and hay. Before the finish some very light fruitiness develops and quickly fades, earthiness is found at the finish. No doubt, this is a tasty and likeable Lager. There is nothing at all bold in the flavor department but that is what this beer is supposed to taste like. This beer would work well at a BBQ; it is clearly better then BMC and a good crossover beer (if baby steps are needed).

Medium in body, I am impressed that the body is not thin or watery. My no means is the mouthfeel impressive but it is ideal for the flavor profile. Moderately high carbonation, every sip scrubs the tongue… it is refreshing. This is yet another reason why this beer would work at a BBQ or with grilled burgers (and lots of cheese/condiments). Hell, this beer would work well with baked fish. I’m sold!

Yes, this beer is drinkable. I like it. Honestly, beers of this sort just don’t get consumed a lot by me. If I want a lager I usually go for a Pils or a Hells or an O-fest. The “All-Malt” Lager gets lost in the shuffle. Saranac is not available locally (okay, I can get some of these beers in Iowa) but I’ve been happy with every offering I have had and I wish I could drink more. This beer was part of a 12-beer sampler that I purchased in Lawrence, KS. Good stuff.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.62/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first though when offered Saranac's traditional lager was that of all the Saranac styles I have tried, I have yet to try the original. Must sweeter than expected, with strong lemon and orange flavors, almost to the point of a Blue Moon Wheat with too much of an orange slice in it. Not bad though, it takes away any of the bitterness found in too many original lagers. Not my first saranac choice but I would accept the offer again.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.12/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear bottle, resembles the look of soda in a bottle. Light amber, thin head, decent retention. Has a clean, faint malt aroma. Thin, malty taste, light grain noted in the body. Very light bodied, a thin, seltzery finish, a bit watery. A good thirst quencher or weekend session beer.

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Saranac Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.2 out of 5 with 143 ratings