Saranac Black Forest | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Black ForestSaranac Black Forest
BA SCORE
3.73/5
1,142 Ratings
Saranac Black ForestSaranac Black Forest
BEER INFO

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

Style: 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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#23,990
Reviews:
572
Ratings:
1,142
pDev:
13.4%
Bros Score:
4.3
 
 
Wants:
51
Gots:
148
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,142 |  Reviews: 572
Photo of Sammy
3.16/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark appearance. Some grassy hop flavour. The Schwarzbier style is passable, and this is typical for it. Not missing anything here or for most Octoberfest beers. On-tap at Clark's Ale House #6. Somewhat sweet and a touch of roast. Doesn't work for me.

 251 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

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

by far my favorite of saranac's year-round offerings. pours a barely see through dark red/black color almost purple with a nice head. german malts are present in the flavor and a sharp yeast nose peaks my interest. taste is old world bavarian dark beer to me, drinkably malty, old and refined in character. roasty but not heavy. i like it a lot better on tap than from the bottle, but this is a good representation of what saranac is capable of.

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out smoothly into a pint glass. The color is a deep ruby reddish black color. The head is a nice shade of tan. The lacing didn't really exist at all. The aroma of the beer was much like a German lager with just a little bit more of a roasted smell to it. The taste of the beer is pretty good, has a strong roasted backbone to it with a subtle German lager aftertaste. The mouthfeel isn't heavy at all for a dark brew. Overall it's pretty good.

 459 characters

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

Had this as a part of the Saranac Adirondack Trail Mix ($11.99/12 Pack)

My first stab at a Schwarzbier here. Pours an extremely dark but free flowing oil black (not like a a highly viscous RIS). Smells of caramel and many other things. I could not believe something that pours this dark and was so light bodied and easy to drink. Definitely a unique style that I was impressed with.

 383 characters

Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured very dark amber in color with a creamy tan head that left a thin layer of bubbles constantly covering the surface. A light to moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There is a moderate aroma of dark roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of coffee and toffee.
T: The initial taste is rather malty and slightly sweet with notes of caramel; a mild amount of bitterness comes through in the finish.
M: It feels light-bodied and smooth on the palate. Not very much carbonation is perceptible.
D: Consuming this beer is a breeze; I could easily have several of them in a single sitting. Despite the dark appearance, it's not too strong or heavy so it has year round drinkability.

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

Maybe intended to be a Stout until the malts and body didn't show up. Nevertheless, good for a Schwarz. A thin, roasted grain flavor and texture takes on boldness upfront, then disipates to a lighter body and finish. Would be chalky or coal-like if not for a moderate malt sweetness that is displayed mildly over the roasted graininess. Still lacks the clean quality in the finish and the sweetness is a bit too dominant. Still a good brew if you like the flavor of a Stout without the chewy texture.

 500 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of zeff80
3.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured out brownish, black. It had very little head. It smelled like malt and chocolate. Its flavor was sweet and malty. The malt flavor really stood out. It also had a slightly bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel was very sharp. It went down smooth and was quite drinkable.

 280 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.62/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a deep black color beer with a huge dark head with good retention. Aroma of slightly roasted malt. Taste is comprised of roasted malt with some subtle bitter hops to finish. Body is way too thin and there is a definite lack of coffee in here. Not bad but not close to being great either.

 302 characters

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of Boone757
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a full, big bubbled tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some good lace. The dark malt and slightly hoppy aroma is surprisingly apparent. Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and lightly creamy mouthfeel. The malt flavor is apparent up front, mainly of a very nice, gently sweet caramel backed by bittersweet chocolate. As it crosses the palate a distinct, grassy hop flavor comes forth. A solid bitterness that never oversteps its bounds balances the palate before receeding into a lightly dry finish with some residual chocolate-like notes. An exceptionally well done beer that deserves more attention.

 645 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.49/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in pint glass

A - pours clear dark brown with nearly black color in glass. Ample and thick light brown head.

aroma - sweet malt; more similar to a Belgian dubbel than expected.

T - nice sequence of mellow flavors, with detectable hops in finish.

M = nice smooth and full feel; good carbonation level

D - goes down easy, but hindered by an aroma modestly attractive .

 392 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.74/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear but opaque very dark brownish amber (approaching black but not quite there) with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the surface of the beer and some cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy dark beige head that slowly reduces to a medium sized patch of thick film surrounded by a thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark and roasted malts with a light aroma of dark fruit sweetness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of lightly roasted malts and dark malts with just a hint of dark fruit (cherry) sweetness - kind of reminds me a bit of a German Black Forest Cake. Light notes of chocolate/cocoa. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish which fades pretty quickly.

M: Light bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: I think this is a pretty interesting beer with nice flavors/aromas for a less common style that is easily accessible. Easy to drink and definitely one I could have a couple during a single session.

 1,163 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 32oz. growler into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a purplish, brownish black with a thin, off-white head that lingers and leaves a thick, even lace.

S: It has a very malty sweet smell with notes of dark fruit and roasted coffee along with a bit of alcohol. However, overall the smell is not very strong.

T: You taste the sweetness right away; however I expected more of an espresso/dark chocolate kind of flavor. Instead, I got more of a fruity flavor with a backdrop of dark chocolate, hops and malt.

M: Extremely smooth, but the carbonation is a bit on the high side, with a medium-to-high body. The finish is clean overall, but it leaves a slightly acidic after-taste and a bit of a sticky residue.

D: This beer is indeed drinkable, but more from a standpoint of I-can-drink-this-as-I-eat-a-ton-of-food-at-a-family-function rather than the standpoint of I-can-drink-this-beer-until-I-get-completely-trashed.

The first Schwarzbier that I ever tried was Sam Adams Black Lager, which I liked a lot. It made me very curious of what other beers in this style tasted like. So far, this has been the only other beer that I’ve been able to find in the style and although it’s a good beer, it pales in comparison.

 1,239 characters

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.

 281 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Huhzubendah. Served in a tulip.

Pours near black with a very thin off-white head that falls quickly, leaving behind a thin ring of lacing. Some spots. The nose carries a bit of light roast and chocolate. Everything very faint. Flavor has just a touch of light roast, mild toffee, and not much else. Light to medium body with moderate carbonation. Decent enough, but not something I'd come back to.

 417 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours with one finger of light brown head that rests on top of an opaque, black body. The foam settles down quickly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Sweet bready malt with a hint of caramel and light roast. Otherwise quite clean with no significant hop or yeast character.

T - Some lightly roasted flavors up front with a bit of caramel and cola-like character. Watery caramel in the middle with a bit of spicy hop flavor. Finishes with a dry, toasty/roasted grain note and light bitterness.

M - Medium-light body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A bit one dimensional for me. The roast malt character is appropriately light, but the beer lacks the body and depth to back it up. The cola flavor is not entirely pleasant and seems to be one of the dominant features of the beer as it lingers in the aftertaste. Not something I would seek out again.

 871 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sems to be a workman-like job of making a faultless but plain beer. Nice mahogany color in the glass, modest head, carbonation is quite creamy but fades away before long. Nice touch of malt on the lips, dark roast is warm and toasty. Hops come on stealthily and provide a slight bitterness, reminiscent of coffee.

A German style not known for wild and crazy antics, so this seems in keeping with a tradition. Maybe a better quaff in a big stein with the smell of sizzling pork nearby.

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Saranac Black Forest from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 1,142 ratings
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