Saranac Black Forest Black Beer
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Black Forest Black BeerSaranac Black Forest Black Beer
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Lager - Schwarzbier
Ranked #88
Ranked #35,336
3.75 | pDev: 13.07%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Very Good
Saranac Black Forest Black BeerSaranac Black Forest Black Beer
Notes: A Bavarian Black beer with distinctive caramel malt sweetness and a rich creamy trademark head. Flavorful, yet smooth…very drinkable!
Reviews: 584 | Ratings: 1,171 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Arithmeticus:
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Arithmeticus from Maryland

3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Had chilled in an ale glass

A: solid black, hints of purple in the light; thin head, little carbonation; no lacing
S: poof of caramel, molasses
T: lots of caramel and molasses; quite sweet; a very good specimen of a Bavarian-style black beer
M: watery and thin

Very drinkable, pleasant beer; comparable to a Sam Adams black lager

Jan 25, 2011
More User Reviews:
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nicholas2121 from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac Black Forest brewed by Matt brewing Company with an ABV of 5.5% This brew pours out a dark brown color with a nice off white head. It put you in the mind of black coffee. The smell is rich with sweetness and some grains. The taste is sweet and smooth but rich. There is a lot going on in this brew. There is nothing overpowering in this brew. Black Forest has a nice balance to it. The sweetness in this brew is just right. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich. Matt Brewing company did a nice job with this one. Overall I'm giving this 4.5 out 5. I would buy this brew again.

Jul 28, 2014
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donspublic from Texas

4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into tulip, little under a finger of tan colored head, recedes after a minute so so lacing. Dark ruby brown in the glass, little light filters thru. Smells of roasted malt, some caramel peeking thru. Taste is pretty complex for a schwarzbier, initial caramel sweetness, roasted malt taking a backseat here, more predominant on the nose than the palate. There is some dark fruit in the middle there, reminiscent of what you pick up in quads, but very muted. Finishes up with a very mild bitterness. This is a really nice Schwarzbier, perhaps beating out my old favorite Reasonably Corrupt (which I have to give a real review one day)

Feb 15, 2017
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ViveLaChouffe from Georgia

3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby brown with a 1/2 inch thick tan head. No lacing to speak of. Smells of dark roasted malt. Nutty. Sweet malt, fruity and spicy. Lightly bitter.

Tastes of creamy roasted malt. Caramel tones and nutty. Understated bitter finish. Creamy and a bit sweetly sticky. Smooth and tasty. Not complicated but does what it came to do. Good show.

The Fourth Beer of Christmas.

Dec 03, 2004
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Pariah from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +20%

Jul 09, 2014
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dcbeers from District of Columbia

3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nov 04, 2015
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PatriotsRule from Massachusetts

4.97/5  rDev +32.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black Forest never ceases to wow me. I am on a bit of a schwarzbier kick and this brew trumps just about anything I can imagine...
A: Not much head, but it looks like a beautiful dark unfiltered beer with some nice lacing
S: Smokey fruit with light spicing
T: Yes indeed this is a well-balanced craft brew. it's crisp and a perfect choice for winter
M: Leaves me hoping I will have the opportunity to delve into the black forest later on in life
O: This is one of those beers that is so smooth it leaves me scratching my head in amazement

Nov 18, 2012
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3.92/5  rDev +4.5%

Dec 14, 2014
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akorsak from Pennsylvania

3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz black beer served in a Naked Fish glass. The beer is cold.

Appearance: The ale is more of a deep brown color with ruby red hints (on a table it does look black though). There is a vigorous head on the pour that settles down into a thin white ring and laces.

Smell: The ale has a chalky aroma that is unpleasant but soon fades into a lightly roasted chocolate aroma.

Taste: The chalky aroma does not pop up in the taste, thank goodness. Instead there is a roasted chocolate/caramel flavor that is somewhat thin on the first sip but finishes long. There aren't a lot of big hops here, just enough to add a kiss of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The darker roasted characteristics are quite good, giving the beer an interesting flavor that lasts a while.

Drinkability: The ale is quite drinkable and a good intro for someone who doesn't like dark beer.

Aug 02, 2006
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zerofear13 from New York

3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Schweizer brought this brew in for our last beer tasting. I can honestly say:: without my notes here, I would've completely forgot about this one. Generally unmemorable.

Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate flavors. I think where this beer went wrong is that it tried to do the whole dark flavors, but didn't commit to it. It ended up just being an ordinary brew with some of those roasted flavors. Like it happened by accident or something.

I'd say pass on this beer. Nothing that special about it.

Jan 31, 2009
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TheBigBoy from Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -33.3%

Aug 02, 2013
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Rideguy64 from Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -20%

Aug 16, 2014
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masonstorm from New York

3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

May 29, 2015
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CBFanWish from New York

4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A thick rich head adorns this deep blood red beer. A smell of coffee and chocolate (I guess that would be mocha)gives me high hope and anticipation for what's to come. A semi bitter coffee and chocolate taste perfectly matching the smell. Creamy and very palatable. I amy very impressed. Good job Saranac. You have done it again.

Dec 03, 2003
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bcsbeer from Florida

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 28, 2018
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RankRefugee88 from New York

3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into weissbier glass.

A - Nice dark color. Nice tan head. Some bubbles slowing moving from the bottom to the top. When shone through the light, shows a dark amber color. Head becomes pretty much invisible, lacing is very strong.

S - Smells nice, roasted malts, bit of caramel. Nothing really hits the nose first, nothing really leaves an impression at the end, either. A bit hoppy.

T - Smooth taste. Malty and sweet. Caramel is present, hops are too. Has a good taste overall.

M - Has a decent mouthfeel. Warming, kind of creamy. Leaves a dry finish at the end.

D - Drinkability is decent. Good for a dark beer, but I don't know how many of these in a row I can drink.

This is a good beer overall. I would recommend it.

Aug 07, 2010
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FCRICH from New York

3.75/5  rDev 0%

Jan 01, 2013
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OldDirty from New York

4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oct 11, 2016
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theozag from Louisiana

2.61/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Perhaps my lack of experience (to date) with this type of beer explains my low ratings. Perhaps I just got a bad bottle of Black Forest. But whatever the reason, this wasn't a beer that I'll likely drink again.

Black Forest practically lives up to its name in appearance, pouring dark brown and blending to a pitch black color. A thick tan head forms over your glass and fades rather fast. This beer smells of caramel and sugar, and lacked any distinct aromatic quality, though I thought the sugar I smelled was maple. Black Forest starts smooth and soft. It is full-bodied with oat and caramel flavors. A malty sweetness is present throughout the entire drink. This beer finishes oily, wet, and saves its sharpest flavor bite of all for the last few drops on your tongue. Finally, this beer's aftertaste is fortunately mild, but it has a tendency to sit on your tongue for quite a while.

Feb 19, 2004
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a pilsener glass. Pours slightly darker than cola with an almost opaque clarity. Head was 1.5 inches, loose and khaki-colored and eventually settled into a skim with a tight band around the edges and a few dollops of lacing present during the tasting. Nose is fairly light but suggests cocoa and a hint of lactose. Taste consistent with nose, but flavor profile comes across fairly flat - a generic, toasted malt character suppresses some of the qualities present in the nose. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a lively carbonation and a fairly clean finish. Somewhat average for the style, but goes down fairly easy.

Oct 29, 2010
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mpalestino from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev 0%

Aug 05, 2013
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tabascosigned from Virginia

4/5  rDev +6.7%

Oct 06, 2013
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JMR1125 from New York

3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Jan 19, 2015
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merlin48 from Kentucky

3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My 3rd bottle out of the 2003, 12 beer sampler box. Pours a rich dark mahogany with garnet hues around the edges of the pint glass. Beige head is decent enough and hangs around long enough to leave some delicate lacing. Nose is surprisingly impressive, chocolate malt, dark fruit, and some floral hops. Mouthfeel is pleasantly well balanced. Taste is complex, with hints of rye bread, chocolate malt, and currants. A likeable speciman here. Exceeded my expectations for a brewery that puts so many styles in one box.

Dec 04, 2003
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Ch1mpy from Sweden

3.36/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well here we go. This American schwarzbier pours dark dark brown. Small off-white head. Nice lazing.

It has a roasted, complex aroma with elements of hops and a little coffee.

Mild carboration on top of a grassy bitter taste. Pretty thin actually.

Feels really smooth in your mouth, goes down surprisingly fast.

Apr 28, 2008
Saranac Black Forest Black Beer from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 1171 ratings