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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Ratings: 69 |  Reviews: 59
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 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!!

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.74/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Looks like a macro. Mild golden color with a small head of white foam that bubbled off quickly. No lacing in the glass.

S: Weak. Hints of smoked malt and grain, but very light. Needs a good kick in the pants to distinguish itself as a true rauchbier.

T: Kind of like the old-time Wendy's commericals... "Where's the Smoke?!" Light smokiness with buttery malts dominates the palate, with hints of corn and flowery light hops. Hints of sweet brown sugar hang over the entire flavor. Not what i'd hoped for, but oddly, it's damn good.

M: Nice. Bubbly on the tongue and easy going down. Feels rich, yet not heavy or dense.

D: This is far from a true rauchbier, so much so I wanted to tear the lable off the bottle and chastise it for calling itself the holy of all holy German beers. Strangely enough, i'm drawn to it, and find it very, very drinkable.

Notes: Maybe it's the light smoke, maybe it's the fact F.X Matt brewing was daring enough to make a try at the style, I don't know. All I know is I bought this 12 beer sampler for this one, and have fallen for it, regardless of whether it is appropriate for the style or not. It's official. Matt Brewing: Here is your winner. Brew it year round, change the name to something like Campfire Smoke Lager, and put it in cans. This is my savior beer, and I am madly in love.

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Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep burnt orange/golden with a nice fluffy well formed white head that stuck around for quite awhile.A pretty clean nose with light notes of brwon sugar and subtle smoke and even a tinge of iron,what I liked about this rauchbier is that it gave off smoked flavor without tasting like a Smithfield ham.I know alot of people like that big smoke me not so much this gave off enough smoke flavor to satisfy with out being overbearing a nice brown sugar note went along with the smokiness along with a noticable herbal sharp hoppiness.I like it I like it alot I like the new offerings in the12 beers of Christmas pack this year.

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Photo of akorsak
3.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 2006 WInter Seasonal case.

A: The beer is a beautifully clear copper orange color with a small white ring of head. There is no lacing in the glass.

S: The beer has the standard Saranac grainy malt aroma with a faint, and I stress faint, hint of smokiness.

T: The beer is, like most all Saranac offerings, spectacularly middle of the road. The beer begins with a malty biscuit flavor and little hops. The smokiness does not show up in the beer but does pop up in the finish, adding just a hint of smokehouse.

M: The mouthfeel is decent but lacks the smokiness that you would want to see.

D: The beer is drinkable with a nice malt mouth, but don't expect a real smoked experience.

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Photo of Billolick
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This 12 oz. bottle was from a 2006 "Beers of Winter" variety pack.None of the Saranac beers in this box has any freshness dating. Pours clear light orangy amber, thin off white head, and leaving minimal lacing. Malty nose with perhaps the slightest hint of smoke. Pleasant enough brew, nothing remarkable. Very minor smoke presence. Typical middle of the road, saranac offering. Craft beer? maybe, but just barely...

 416 characters

Photo of maddogruss
3.97/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12 oz bottle into a glass mug. Nice, orange-amber color with a small, white head. The smell of smoke is prevalent even in the smell. Tasted very smooth and it had a smoky meat aftertaste which was very delightful and made me want to go camping. Very nice mouthfeel; didn't feel like I was drinking water. I like the smoky taste, so I'd have to say that this beer is very drinkable adn will be with me next time I'm going camping or roasting something over a fire pit.

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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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Photo of riversider76
3.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich honey color. Thin white head, not much retention,but decent lacing. Smell is sweet and smoked. Body is medium, no carbionation to speak of. Taste is of bready malts with a hint of smoke. Nice sweet honey like finish. A very enjoyable brew!!

 253 characters

Photo of sacfly
4.07/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter seasonal pack
Pours a clear light orange color with a thin head of small bubbles. Smoke is readily apparent in the nose at first, but quickly fades. Fades to a light smoke and bread along side a rich sweet malt. Flavor follows suit with the aroma. Smoke and bread give way to the sweet malt. Malty aftertaste, no hops to speak of. Overall, light on the smokiness but very well done. Very easy to drink and a departure from a standard lager. For whatever reason, this one hit the spot.

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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.

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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 tempest
3.36/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a nice beer, its just a shame it's not actually that smokey. Yeah I can tell the smoke is there, somewhere, but up against another American smoked lager, Ft. Collins' Z's Lager, this beer just doesn't hold up. It looks like an amber beer, smells of amber malts with a hint of smoke. Tastes of burnt caramel, kind of smoke and the flavor isn't too rich. Basically like the Adirondack Amber with a little something extra. Meh.

 429 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a solid soft malt aroma with a smattering of noble hops.

The taste consisted of a creamy malt profile and a subtle bitter hop. There was a trace smokey flavor at the finish.

The mouthfeel was creamy.

Overall a tasty beer. However, not really a rauchbier as there was little to no smoked element.

 413 characters

Photo of treehugger02010
3.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a 12 ounze bottle into a Solo cup (all of my glasses were dirty). I did notice that there wasn't much head or much lace. The smell was pretty decent, bitter, but subtle. The taste was essectially the same. This was a solid beer, but not awsome. Don't drink and review.

 282 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.65/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a orange / amber color with a 1" head that falls to a thick surface foam slowly. Some nice lacing develops.

Smell: very pleasant as a mild nuttiness and a hint of smoke is detectable.

Taste: caramel, nuts, and a very mild bitterness is wrapped in a faint smokiness. I expected a bit more smoke and roasted tones here, but the overall flavor is decent.

Mouthfeel: crisp at the start, smoother towards the finish. Medium bodied. Very brief short aftertaste.

Drinkability: pretty decent overall and this would pair nicely with some milder BBQ since the smoke tones are weak but wouldn't overpower the food. Worth trying in the variety 12 pack.

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Photo of phisig137
3.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a 24 karat gold color, with a one finger head with little retention. No lacing.

Aroma is quite mild. A hint of caramel malt, and a tiny bit of noble hops. Not much there.

Flavor isn't a whole lot better. Again, a little sweet malt, a hint of corn sweetness, and a tiny touch of noble hops. I don't detect any of the "hint of smoke" that the bottle describes. Decent body for a lager. Drinkability is good.

Quite a let down from Saranac. Usually thier seasonals a pretty damn good, but this just doesn't do it. No smoke present at all. I guess after you've Aecht Schlenkerla, no other Rauchbier will do.

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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 Estarrio
3.84/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle sampled from this years winter brew pack.

Poured a clear, bright copper color with a small white head. Not much retention and a bit too light for the style.

Nice, smokey, campfire aroma with a caramel malt presence and some hoppy notes.

I made the mistake of drinking this too cold at first. As it warms to room temp, the toasty essence of the smokey malt really takes over. A sweet, yet roasted malt body balances the smoke presence, leading to a nice, bitter hop finish.

Well carbonated, light to medium body, an overall nice mouthfeel.

I like Saranac, though their seasonals can be somewhat hit-or-miss. I'm impressed by their willingness to tackle Rauchbier and have some moderate success in doing so!

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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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