Saranac Rauchbier | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac RauchbierSaranac Rauchbier

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

Style: Rauchbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Estarrio on 10-19-2006

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 |  Reviews: 59
Photo of sraimondi
1.83/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottom line--NOT a smoked beer at all. Worst of the 12 pack by far. I had this one with some very good smoked salmon--and it ruined the experience. I'll not try this one again. In fact, I am now done with the 2006 Winter 12 pack, and I will definitely not get another 12 pack this season. Very disappointing overall. Only liked 2 of the "new" ones. Saranac failed here for sure!!

 379 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
2/5  rDev -39%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Saranac- Rauchbier

Appearance- Light copper brown with no head.
Smell- Not much going on here, light ashy malt smell?! So faint.
Taste- Just a touch of malt, ash, cheap adjunct corn/ hay.
Mouthfeel- Watery with a slight dry bitterness in the end.

Overall- BOOOO!!! What a letdown. No smokiness at all! So watery and so little flavor. The dud of the 12 pack sampler!

 374 characters

Photo of billybob
2.48/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

pours a quarter inch off white head that fades quickly to a ring on the glass with a orange amber color. smelled a little musty or like over ripe fruit. taste was stale bread maltyness with a touch of toffee and very slight smoke taste. mouthfeel was ok. would not buy this beer again. not a fan of smoked beers in general.

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Photo of chrispoint
2.5/5  rDev -23.8%

Photo of dherling
2.53/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured out an orange golden honey brown with a thin quickly dissapearing off white head. The nose is mostly munich malt, biscuity in a way, with some toffee sweetness and a bit of hickory. The taste is more like a dark lager than a rauchbier. Has some maltyness to it, and a bit of well, malt. Nothing else here. No smoke, no rauch, no fun. Has a medium body and slightly carbonated mouthfeel. Fairly drinkable, but a terrible example of the style.

 448 characters

Photo of THECPJ
2.55/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes

Appearance: dark golden yellow with ½ finger white head

Smell: smokey malts, hint of spices

Taste: malts, smoke-but not overpowering, slight sweetness

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

Drinkability: the smokiness is not really my thing, just can't get into it.


 310 characters

Photo of scarletfire79
2.57/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

horrible representation of the style. very little if any smoke prescence, seems like a decent amber beer but rauchbier? i'm not sure. definitly the most dispointing in the 12 pack sampler. would never think about picking this up again and would advise the same.

 261 characters

Photo of hero27
2.6/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle.

Light amber color. Head is modest and doesn't leave much behind for lacing.
Toasted malt aroma...where's the smoke??
Flavor is buttery caramel malt with some spicy hops. Almost adjunct-like.. For the style, this really does not have much smoke flavor at all. If you're looking for a hearty, flavorful rauchbier, this is not it.
Slightly oily mouthfeel, medium-bodied. Slick but easy enough to drink.

Overall take on it...this is a rauchbier for people that don't like rauchbiers.

 502 characters

Photo of Gmann
2.65/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden amber color with a small head which dissipates quickly leaving no head. The smell is of caramel malts but no real hint of any smokiness to it. The taste is of dull hops, caramel malts, again no real smoke taste. Light bodied, well carbonated, finishes easy not dry or bitter. This lager drinks well enough, though it reminds me more of an amber lager.

 372 characters

Photo of NEhophead
2.85/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a nonic.

Pours a pale copper with golden highlights. Thin, white head that fades to a pasty sheet rather quickly. Noticeably active carbonation. No lacing that sticks.

Mild, toasted malt character with hints of diacetyl and yeast. Light oak and just a trace of peat. Too subtle in aroma for such a robust style.

Stiff, malted wheat with just a touch of sweetness; very grainy with flavors of adjunctory ingredients: rice and corn. Notes of peat following a smooth finish, and a light bitterness. Caramel, diacetyl, and very mild smoke in the aftertaste.

Light, medium in body; smooth and rounded. A decent balance on the palate between graininess and creaminess.

A weak flavored Rauchbier. Not unpleasant, but not a good take on the style whatsoever. Not a lager to be proud of.

 826 characters

Photo of BBM
2.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One of the new "winter sampler" beers. They have a bit of nerve calling it a rauchbier. It pours a very clear amber color with a little white head and no retention or lacing. Smell is... barely there. For something smoked, you'd expect a nice nose. Not here. Very faint maltines and even subtler smoke.

Taste is the same. Sweet up front, with a slightly smoky hoppiness / bitterness toward the end. If this were called "Saranac Amber Lager" it would've scored higher. Because the beer itself isn't terrible tasting. There's just no way it's a rauch. Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy. Not awful, but misleading in title. This tastes like water compared to an ACTUAL rauch.

 669 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears a light copper amber tone leaves even lace with an off white head almost a beige tone. Aroma has malts that come with upfront caramel and a touch of smoked malts just barely evident. Flavor is clean with mild smokey flavor and leafy tobacco hop tones that blend well together overall a mild mainstream rauchbier better than nothing but by no means comparable to a true rauch from Bamberg. Mouthfeel is medium bodied evenly carbonated not much else going on in the complexity region. Drinkability is decent but by no means is this a rauchbier and flavors don't blend that well overall I'm not impressed by this effort.

 625 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
3/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a big head of tight, compact bubbles, on top of a rusty ruby/orange, the color of autumn leaves.

Musty aroma, peat and hops present. Smells more like an English pale ale than anything.

Veddy veddy interestink...this only brings on the smoke in the finish, and even then it's quite light. Otherwise the flavors are sweet malt and light hops, somewhere between an English pale ale and a German lager.

Mouthfeel seems wrong for the style, being light and crisp, fairly dry, and well carbonated.

This is not a bad tasting beer at all, but I have to doubt whether it can really be called a Rauchbier. Okay, they used smoked malts, but it doesn't have the gusto of other, more assertive smoked beers. Bah humbug.

 724 characters

Photo of Beertracker
3/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of herrburgess
3/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of shirfan
3.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright and clear orange with a one-finger, fine-bubbled head.

Aroma is a bit lacking, very mild biscuity malt and not much else.

Flavor is mostly on the malt side, biscuit predominates, but smoke is absent. Some light euro-lager noble hops fade in and out. To be fair, this has a medium body and wasn't as thin as I had feared it would be.

This is one of Saranac's bizzaro creations that they seem to trot out every winter, a drinkable beer that sails vastly wide of the style printed on the label.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.05/5  rDev -7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bown bottle with no freshness date. Pours a crystal clear medium light amber with a poor head and lace. Rather weak smelling. Caramel malts are present mixed with a slight hop floralness and an even slighter smokiness. Upon tasting, caramel notes are up front mixed with a decent hop flavor but very little smokiness. As a rauchbier it is poor but as a traditional lager its not bad. I'll give it average on taste because its a decent lager but poor as a smoked lager. Its is a very drinkable beer though. It tastes like they took their typical lager and added just a tiny bit of smoke.

 591 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle from a mixed pack. Poured into a standard shaker glass. This rauch appears a clear medium chestnut color with a finger of fizzy ecru foam. The head vanishes in less than a minute. Smells and tastes of very mild smoke, maybe I use the Schlenkerla rauch's as a standard, but this is barely kissed with smoke. Notes of spicy/sweet caramelized malts are also present. Rather thin and watery as well with just about adequate carbonation. Take it or leave it.

 471 characters

Photo of tugdriver7
3.08/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I am not a rauchbier fan. I likened the first I tried to beer strained through the ashes left in the bottom of my fireplace. Not a pleasant thought. So when I bought the 12 Beers of Winter from Saranac the other day, I figured I'd probably be discarding this one after tasting it. Surprise! It was really pretty good. Not that I'm a rauchbier convert, but this time the "smoke" flavor was more like the traditional "roasting" I was used to. Seemed a bit more carbonated than expected, but that helped make it taste more refreshing than it might have been. Definitely worth a try--especially in the variety pack.

 611 characters

Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours an extra clear golden copper hue. A dense vanilla-colored head of three fingers shows good retention and produces some spotty lacing. Pale lager malt and light German floral hop nose, no noticable smoke aroma. Biscuity malt flavor upfront, followed by rich Munich and toasty Victory malt. Clean but malty marzen yeast character. Dry aftertaste with faint noble hop bitterness but not much flavor and the slightest hint of peat/wood notes. The light medium-body and mild carbonation add a crispness that accentuates the vauguely earthy mouthfeel. Finishes clean and dry with weak traces of charred wood and a humble malt residue. As far as German amber lagers go, this is highly drinkable and unique; but it's really lacking the true smoke taste and aroma of a traditional rauchbier.

 788 characters

Photo of cooncat
3.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This 12 oz. bottle was from a 2006 "Beers of Winter" variety pack.

The pour produced a deep golden colored brew, with a short lived white head. After the head was gone, swirling the glass produced decent sheeting all the way to the bottom of the glass. The nose is typical of a lager (Saranac describes this as a "smoked lager") without much 'smoke', at least as far as I could detect. The taste has a very light smoke flavor behind bready malts. It is lightly hopped. Compared to other Rauchbiers I've had, this one is Very mild ... perhaps a good thing for someone first trying this style. The mouthfeel is about average .. definitely not thin. The finish is dry, with no aftertaste. Because this offering is not at all 'extreme', and a light example of the style, I could recommend it as a session beer. Enjoy with munchies or your favorite grilled foods.


 871 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a brilliant orange-red color with massive chunky white head. Good retention and lacing.
Smell is lightly of malt with no smokiness detected.
Taste is pleasantly malty and has a bit too strong hop bitterness also present.
Finishes very dry and bitter.
A nice drinking beer, but I think they forgot to put any smokiness in my bottle.

 342 characters

Photo of Phatz
3.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance pours a clear deep gold with orange hues when backlit. The head fades fast and it leaves little to no lacing throughout the duration of the beer.

Smell: Peaty smoked malts and hint of caramel find their way in to nose if you look for them.

Taste: As Traditional American Lagers go this is a fine beer and would fair better from me in that league. A smoked lager sure. But to pass as a Rauchbier now you have stepped up the bar. Aside from the smokiness hints in the malts and light tobacco flavors, it lacks some of the robust character of Aecht Schlenkerla. Certainly, I understand why. This is an approachable friendly, gentle Rauch and as such is a bit more mild. Clean and easy to start. Still it is a commendable effort.

Mouthfeel: Crisp with a medium light weight but decent carbonation. The body tries to stand on the bubbly and does not have much of a backbone. Dry bitter finish that sloppily lingers on the palate.

Drinkability: I found one of these an interesting adventure but I don't need (or want) to do it again. Thanks for the journey Saranac. Keep coming up with new brews and continue stepping up the bar.

Hope this is helpful.

 1,180 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - this saranac offering pours a light orangeish tan, with a thin instantly lacing white head

S - a very strong and up front maltiness in the nose, bigger than i thought it would be, with a slight and subdued smokiness in the background

T - after that whiff, i thought the taste would be overly malty also, but it wasn't, a nice balance of that malt profile and an opposed smoky hoppiness, maybe i'm crazy but there seems to be a slight celery flavor as well

M&D - smooth and easy down, a nice beer with a nice blended flavor, but unremarkable

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Saranac Rauchbier from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.28 out of 5 based on 69 ratings.
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