Saranac Black Forest Black Beer | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Black Forest Black BeerSaranac Black Forest Black Beer
1,156 Ratings
Saranac Black Forest Black BeerSaranac Black Forest Black Beer

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

Style: German Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A Bavarian Black beer with distinctive caramel malt sweetness and a rich creamy trademark head. Flavorful, yet smooth…very drinkable!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,156 |  Reviews: 578
Reviews by ghostwalker:
Photo of ghostwalker
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep, dark reddish black-brown body. Thin finger of white head, leaves almost immediately.

Nose is slightly sour and bitter roasted malt.

Flavor is bitter and slightly roasty, as befits a Schwarzbier. Nothing incerdible, but not bad, either. Tasty and smooth. A decent attempt at the style and very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is thin, but not as thin as other Saranac brews...

Drinkability is pretty good. I'm a fan of the style and could kick back with a 6er of this for some NCAA action quite happily.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of nicholas2121
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of donspublic
4.18/5  rDev +12.1%
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)

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Photo of oberon
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black but with a few red tints thrown in there with a light slightly off-white head,not much aroma to it slight chocolate and fruit.Taste is pretty lively and fruity with a light roasted nut flavor as well.Well a better than average brew but nothing to write home about here.

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Photo of Marty
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the most flavorful lager I have ever tasted. It's dark yet very easy to drink. It's sweet, but not yucky sweet (like Saranac's Caramel Porter). It's dark but not heavy. This is my favorite Saranac beer. Lately my buddies and I have been keeping six packs of this in our refrigerator in case of emergencies.

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Photo of ccapurso
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Black Forest. 5.5% alcohol. Out of a six pack mixer.

A- Pours an ultra dark amber opaque fluid that produces a small but lasting heead dropping to a thin froth leaving rings of lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet dried plums and raisins are upfront with light malts and hops in the back.

T- Taste is one of a kind. First is a toasted malt kick of vanilla beans, plums and raisins. Has a malted barley run as well. Hops are noted with light lemony hits in the flavor on the backbone. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a small carbonated spritz to allow a easy drinking experience.

D- 2 of 3 excellent drinking beers from Saranac so far. I'd put a bit of these in my fridge if i had a good price and availibility.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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

A: Black with short head of about 1/4" or so. Light brown in color and dissipated fast. Little to no lacing.

S: Smells malty but not overly so; there is a spicy hint of anise or something that is very vague on the nose. Whatever it is, it smells pretty good!

T&M: For a schwarzbier, I was anticipating something a little bit sweeter but was pleasantly surprised by how well balanced this one is. You still get a bit of the dark molasses notes without the cloying sweetness. I'm not sure what the bittering agent is in here, but I assume it is a well matched grouping of hops. Carbonation is light but persistent. The finish is relatively short but the linger of mild hop bitterness goes on for a while. Nice.

D: I like being surprised and this was a good one. Easy to drink and different enough that you want to keep tasting it to determine all of the flavors in the complexity. Good weight without being to heavy, great balance, and a decent ABV. I like it.

Special thanks to Steve for bringing this in for me to try!

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Photo of blitz134
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly black in color with a transparent red body. Off-white head bordering on tan in color which disappeared quickly. Smell is of toasted, sweet malts with some chocolate characters. Again I pick up a common aroma I’ve detected in all of the Saranac brews that I just can’t seem to place. Its almost a bit metallic. Taste is actually pretty good on this one. Initially a bit of toasted malts coming through and a slight bitter finish. The flavor is very crisp. Mouthfeel is good as well and relatively medium to full bodied. This is the first of the sampler pack I’ve reviewed which I would say I would be glad to drink more of.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A 32 ounce growler, poured a dark brown with a fairly thick coffee-colored head. It had a sweet, roasted grain odor, and tasted the same, with some hops. Rather nondescript taste. Mouthfeel was a little thin. An OK beer, but not one that I'd want to drink a lot of

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Photo of generallee
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a dark reddish brown with a big creamy tan head. The head makes nice lace that slowly slides down the sides of the glass. Its aroma is sweet with roasted malts and caramel. The flavors of the dark roasted malts and caramel dance on the tongue as nice bitter notes slide in from the sides to finish slowly with a light bitterness. It has a smooth and creamy palate with soft carbonation that sets you up for anther sip.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of Magister_Beav
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jason
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. long neck with a dark blue label that shows a Central European forest scene. On the neck it states about using five different hop varieties and slow kilned malts." No freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Dark ruby in colour with a light tan lace that sticks in patches.

Smell: Sweet Oh sweet caramel and malt. Some fruit and a fine soft floral hop aroma follows.

Taste: Rich creamy caramel with a smooth almost syrup like mouth feel. Alcohol and hint of ripe fruit push their way to the tongue. Hop bitterness is in the back with a subdued hop leaf flavour that lingers.

Notes: Too few Schwarzbiers out on the market, this is the one to drink. Very drinkable and very enjoyable, top shelf.

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Photo of merlin48
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled a 12 ouncer that came in the holiday 12 pack, no freshness dating to be found. Pours dark brown, tan head, minimal lacing and just a faint coffee nose. Cant say I'm overly impressed with this one, why do so many of the dark beers from Saranac taste so similar?? Seems they put a differant label on about 8 beers, but the contents all are so similar. Drinkable, middle of the road stuff, but nothing to seek out.

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Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaque, dark brown in color with 1/4inch head, Taste is fresh malt, grain, and light chocolate..Light bodied, sweet, with moderate carbonation..Very clean..Makes for a solid, average schwarzbier...Worth a shot if you like the style..

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Second from my Saranac Adirondack sampler pack brought back from Syracuse.

Poured into a dimpled pint jug, and enjoyed on the first warm patio day of the spring! A nice dark chestnut brew with a little ruby hints around the edges. Leaves a thin off-white head which survives as a thin ring.

The nose is quite delectable - caramel, cream, chocolate, a bit of brown bread. Sweet, but very pleasant.

A tasty brew, sweet and malty with notes of caramel and cream, but finishes with a slight grassy hop bitterness and pumpernickel character. Tastes dark enough, but is sweet enough to work well together. I'm quite enjoying this, actually.

Thin-bodied, reminds me in colour and texture of a bottle of rootbeer that was opened about 20 minutes ago. A bit syrupy - my only real complaint with the brew.

A nice brew - I was initially unimpressed with their IPA, so this was a nice pick-me-up. Sweet, bready, but not oppressively so, meaning this would be a nice session brew for the evening (low ABV, good flavor). Quite nice.

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Photo of jakester
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from the Adirondack Trail Mix Sampler

Pours a beautiful clear, deep mahogany/ruby with a very short-lived tan head. Quickly drops to islands and a ring. No lacing. Carbonation evident.

Aromas of cherries and other fruits, vanilla, dark chocolatey malts, and spicy/herbal hops. Clean. These aromas are delicate.

Flavor is of dark brown sugar, chocolatey cherries, vanilla; rich and tasty. Very clean and crisp. Aftertaste is spicy, like white pepper.

This has a medium body, light sticky sweetness, pretty strong bite from carbonation across the tongue. Pleasant.

This is an easy drinking, yet tasty and interesting beer. Lots of character, lots of flavors. A good effort from Saranac. Recommended.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Darker reddish brown with a thin beige head.

Smell: Fruity tones and Malts.

Mouthfeel/ Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of sweeter malts.

Overall: Good beer. I would have this one again.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.06/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served into a nonic glass from a 12oz. brown bottle crimped on cap.

Ruby red almost brown.a very creamy tan head lacing and clinging onto the sides of the glass.
The aroma was extra clean,citrusy,fruity,nutty,caramelly a hint of chocolate.Oh so inviting.
A clean,fresh taste thats citrusy,carmelly,nutty and chocolatly. A perfect balance and very delicious ta boot.
A light to medium mouthfeel,a pleasing bitterness that glides down so very easy. The word juicy keeps coming to mind,if you drink this I think you will know what I mean.
A drinkable as a dark beer could be.So refreshing,the only bad thing about this review was that I only had 1 bottle to review.
I will buy this beer again!

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Photo of wattoclone
3/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of kingcrowing
2.85/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler.

Pours a dark black/brown with some light ruby/mahogany color to it when it's up to the light, almost no head except for some light brown lacing. Nose is malty, light wheat and a bit of sweet german yeast smell.

Well, the mouthfeel is a bit light, there isn't much bitterness at all, and the flavors are a bit dull. It's not bad at all, but it's not outstanding in any way. Theres some very light roastiness and a bit iron flavor to it, but it's just 'meh' to me.

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Photo of mjtiernan
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of Milkysunshine
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

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Saranac Black Forest Black Beer from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 1,156 ratings