Saranac Brown Ale
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Brown AleSaranac Brown Ale
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #705
Ranked #46,235
3.4 | pDev: 12.06%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Saranac Brown AleSaranac Brown Ale
Reviews: 241 | Ratings: 324 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass mug, the appearance was a semi-dark brown color with a small eggshell white foamy head dissipating at a fairly decent pace. Slight lace, somewhat messy.
The aroma had some toast, toffee, caramel and sweet nuts up front. Sweet cocoa powder and a tickle of coffee ride the underneath.
The flavor was moderately sweet with a fair dried nuttiness coming in for a decent balance. Smooth sweet malty aftertaste with some toast.
The mouthfeel was between light and medium bodied with a fair sessionable quality about it. Good carbonation and an appropriate ABV. Nutty and toffee with a toasty sort of finish.
Overall, not a bad brown ale, a bit sweeter than expected for an American styled one.

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Photo of hotpauko
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Review for CHAI BROWN not currently on BA but want to track all my beers in 2015. Saranac was one of my first craft beers over 20 years ago! Surprisingly liked the chai brown, more of a holiday beer. Nice dark brown flavor and strong spiced aroma. Good spice vs brown malt combo, neither overwhelms the other, taste settles evenly and lingers in the mouth. Well worth a try, this was a good,standard consumer beer.

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Photo of Brenden
3.31/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This one is a dark brown color, and it looks appropriate as the style tends to be exactly this color or close to it, but not heavy, and allowing some light in. The khaki-colored head is nothing impressive in size, though it is tight for a little while. it doesn't leave much of itself behind, though.
The aroma's got something to it, not as weak as the style tends to be (though some brewers are blowing the lid off it, so to speak). It's got the caramel malts with the toasty back along with light notes of brewed coffee and cocoa with a touch of something leafy and lightly earthy. It's malt-forward but with a bit of hops.
More roast comes out in the flavor, and while there's a touch of toast to start it off it's replaced by the roast. The flavor has a touch of nuttiness not found in the aroma, with caramel malts balanced by the leafy and maybe slightly citric hops that aren't quite so well in tune in the end.
The feel is good, though I'd prefer a stronger medium body to this lighter one. it is crisp without being too crisp with a little smoothness.

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Photo of TechTriumph
3.41/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No freshness date; Poured in a pint glass.

A - One inch off-white creamy head with decent retention; Dark mahogany brown in color and clear with lots of visible sediment; Nice showing of lacing all around the glass

S - Aroma is pretty weak overall with notes of sweet caramel, chocolate, and earthy hops

T - I'm starting to detect a similar malt bill in many of the Saranac beers; Some sweet caramel malts with hints of berry-like fruits along with toasted bread and chocolate; Leafy/earthy hops show up from mid-taste to finish with mild bitterness

M - Moderate carbonation; Medium bodied; Just a bit dry in the finish

O - This was my last bottle in the Trail Mix 6-pack that I purchased. Like the others, this was an easy drinking and solid tasting brew, but it didn't show me anything to set itself apart from other offerings within the style. Overall, I didn't mind having this beer, but will look to other brown ales when I have a thirst for this style of beer.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear brown with a compact khaki head. Not all that impressive to look at.

S: Notes of coffee, cocoa, resinous hops, and an odd, off-putting metallic tang are present on the nose.

T: Opens malty and mildly bitter with notes of coffee, bitter chocolate, cream, pine, and citrus. The finish is sharp and hoppy with pine and citrus notes, as well as a metallic flavor. I'm beginning to get the impression that there is something wrong with this bottle.

M: Medium-bodied, firm, and dry with subtle carbonation. Not that drinkable, but not all that heavy either.

O: I'm just going to assume that there was something wrong with the bottle I recently drank. Still, the flavor is nothing to write home about. I wouldn't turn this beer down if it were offered to me, but I would not go out of my way to drink it again either.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent brown color but little head presence.

Smell - Wow! what a great scented beer. Sweet nutty smell combined with some pine hop and maltiness.

Taste - Nothing that great. Slightly bitter, slightly metallic and nothing much in flavor.

Mouthfeel - slightly watery but ok

Overall - Considering how nice this beer smells, the taste is disappointing, yet tollerable. Not worth revisiting.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ba Review #55
Served On: 9/4/2011
Glassware: Wheat Glass (huh?)

I figured in the spirit of fall, I’d finally do an official review of the Saranac Brown Ale – long over due!

Look: Poured a dull brown color with some tan head. Looked like a typical brown ale. Good carbonation.

Smell: Aroma was that signature Saranac maltiness with hints of dark fruits and slight brown sugar.

Taste: First on the palate was a sweet brown sugar and caramel that quickly faded into a semisweet dark fruit. The middle was a faint raison with a dryness that lingered into the aftertaste.

This was a pleasant brown ale. I would actually put this a step above Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler Autumn Brown. I didn’t have any artificial smokiness or sugary notes. This is everything I would expect in an American Brown.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
2.92/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Mahogany in color. The head, at first, is about half a finger but thick and creamy. It quickly disappears and becomes nothing but a small lace around the rim. Nose has a Nutty fruit aroma with a large caramel malt background. Flavor is similar. At first there is the caramel and toasty malt but it instantly changes to a smooth caramel sweetness with a candied fruit sweetness for the finish. The sweetness cloys, on the finish, after a couple of sips which leaves a scratchy feeling at the back of my throat. I get this feeling with overly flavored fruit beers and saisons. I'm all set after half of one of these.

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Photo of tdm168
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very nice brown color with one finger of off white, chocolaty head. Nice retention. Smells of caramel and roasted malts with a nice hop aroma coming through as well. Taste is a rich malty flavor; caramel up front with just a hint of chocolate in the finish. Smooth hops help to balance it out nicely. Moderate carbonation, medium bodied, and very drinkable.

A nice brown ale. It could be a little more full-bodied and offer a more intense flavor profile, but still very enjoyable.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.42/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a deep amber-brown color, slightly hazed, with a very thin layer of biege head. Aromas of maple and nut sweetness, blending well together and refraining from being overpowering. A nice, sweet, smooth nose that is light and welcoming. Flavors are nutty initially, with a roasted character, and the beer opens up over the middle of the tongue to reveal a tart and sweet dark fruit note, as well as some earthy flavors blending into the tangy caramel malty backbone. The body is a little lighter than I prefer for the style, with no signs of lacing and an almost watery feeling in mouth at times. Interesting blend of flavors, which transition into a tangy and sharp aftertaste that coats the mouth and jabs the tip of the tongue. The finish is a little on the cloying side, but not overly so despite all the sweet characteristics throughout. Decent brew.

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Photo of Brutmasta
3.79/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Very beautiful dark brown, barely transparent, reminds me sap. Good two finger head, but it didnt stick around for long.

S-Not as potent as I thought it would be, smells like im in the woods ha.

T-MALT....the roasted malt is very apparent in this brown ale, also a strong hop finish that you would'nt think would be there.

M-Relativly heavy and very dry

O-Not the best brown ale I've had but mos def one of the better ones.

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Photo of SFC21
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a mixed sixer poured into a Sam Adams pint glass

A - a nice amber body with a finger of head that leaves traces of lacing throughout

S - caramel and malts

T - mild sweetness and toasted malts with some hops bite at the finish

M - some creaminess with medium carbonation

O - A pretty solid brown ale. I could definitely have a few of these in a sitting.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is mahogany colored with an inch of tan head that leaves plenty of lacing on the pint glass. The aroma is pretty weak, with some toasted bread, malt, caramel, and nuts. The flavor is OK, with a light roast presence. The hop character is amped up a bit more than expected. The body is thin, with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a drinkable brew, but nothing special or exciting happening here.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tick thrown to me by Huhzubendah the other day in an in person trade. Thanks Matt.

Beer poured into a Bruery glass. Beer is brown and clear with a wispy head of small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation, looks fine.

Beer has a weak aroma, some grains, mild malt, mild roast, mild all around.

Beer is thinner than expected and hoppier than expected. It is light in body with a mild sweetness, almost nothing on the midpalate and a really bitter finish, from hops not grain. There is a mild roast to the whole thing, not very interesting but there is nothing wrong with this beer.

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Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
4.55/5  rDev +33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a dimpled mug.

A- Deep red/cedar, fairly clear, thin layer of off-white head.

S- Smells like an IPA, frankly. Bold cascade hops dominate the aroma. Definitely not what I was expecting, none of the nuttiness and not nearly as sweet as most brown ales.

T- Wow, very rich flavor. The hops definitely hit first as expected, but the malts come rushing in afterward to flood the mouth. Very faint chocolate/coffee notes. All the base qualities of a brown ale, but with a little of the tart hoppiness of a lighter IPA. Not your typical brown ale, but tastes like a beer should.

MF- Moderate carbonation, just enough body but not too thick. Relatively light, given the very full flavor. More or less what you'd expect. Generally, a very pleasant feel.

D- Extremely well balanced. Tasting blind, I could probably pegged this as a Saranac immediately. If you love the brand as I do, this is certainly one to try. If not, keep walking.

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Photo of LuthersMug
3.23/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark chocolate brown with a minimal head on the pour. Lacing, however, was creamy and stuck to the glass for a long time.

S - Cocoa and charcoal, interesting

T - Bitter chocolate, coffee, and smokey charcoal flavour.

M - Felt a bit rough and too much carbonation. Hops at the end were a bit too metallic for my taste.

O - An interesting beer.

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Photo of mactrail
3.36/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Amber beer in the glass with a touch of darker brown. Nice foamy head and decent lacing. Some malt greets the lips, even a touch of the caramel that looks so promising when you hold this up to the light. In keeping with the usual Brown profile, the hops are very discreet and of the dirty-tasting variety. Well, maybe earthy, but it all adds up to a faintly perky slosh of suds.

It's hard to truly dislike this beer, as much as I am not a fan of this style. Mellow, won't offend anyone.

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Photo of SylviaFaye
2.8/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The minimal, quickly-fading head, which left minimal lacing, simmered down above the amber brown body, whose average carbonation climbed to disturb the emerging surface of the liquid.

The nose was subdued with a malty top and sweet undertones.

The taste began grassy and culminated in a strikingly bitter finish, which dominated the experience. The promised chocolate is present in light waves, that may have gone unmentioned had I not been looking for them.

The mouthfeel is thin to medium and adds little to the experience.

I have had much better browns. I would even rate the taste of this particular beer a bit bellow average. In terms of all elements, though, it is rather middle of the road. I probably will not purchase it again.

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Photo of BigRedN
3.26/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a mixed six pack.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass the beer is brown (of course). My pour produces a generous off white head, about 3/4 inch in height. Head slowly fades to a solid cover on the liquid.

Smell: A has been the case for a lot of the Saranac beers that I have had, the scent seems somewhat subdued. Light malt aroma,(slightly sweet with a touch or caramel) nothing hoppy

Taste: A decent balance of malts with a surprising hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body with light carbonation. A bit prickly on the tongue with a little bit of a lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability: Part of a mixed 6 I purchased in Iowa. Not available locally, and honestly there are so many brown ales available that are better, I do not think I would go out of ,y way to have this again.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tasings with my family. The saranac one from a couple weeks ago was more then epic as it took months to gather all of these, but it was a hell of a fun night!

Nice brown color, with some light peaking through on the sides and the bottom of the glass. A smallish head of white creeping up and fading out in a minute or so leaving a broken crown of lace on the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice rich aroma, coffee and caramel with a nice light hint of an herbal quality mixing together quite nicely. Smooth even profile, first sips have a roasted, almost nutty flavor to them as they backup across the tongue. Light bready malts, hints of chocolate now coming through and a nice smooth, creamy finish that leaves almost a butterscotch like taste as it fades out. Medium body, with a healthy level of carbonation

a nice average brown ale, nothing crazy, but it was solid. big thanks to alex for pulling through on the bulk of these.

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Photo of stckhndlr
2.6/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Dark Ruby red hue with a tan 1 finger head. Looks like there is some sediment floating in this one.

S- Some dark cherry notes with a hint of chocolate malt. There is a smell here that I can't quite pinpoint but it smells off.

t- Malt flavor is strong. Caramelish dark fruit. a bit of hidden smoke with bitters on the end from the hops. very short finish of flavors but the bitters stick on the tongue for a few more seconds.

M- Theres a carbonation that stays in the mouth like you get after drinking a birch beer soda. it just lingers. Kind of dry and a bit thin.

O- This beer has an off flavor that doesn't appeal to me. Half of it I like and half I don't. Unfortunately I could not finish this one.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle from my Saranac Adirondack mixed pack.

Poured into a nonic glass. A russet-ruby hue, with bright ruby shining through when held to the light. Leaves about an inch of off-white head, which possesses some nice retention. A few flecks of lacing.

Nose is caramel, chocolate, lightly roasted malt, nuts, earth, smoke.

Starts off like a nice brown ale, nutty, some roasted malt, then finishes slightly sweet and smoky, like a barbecued steak. If I take my Garrett Oliver to heart, this beer would probably pair well with some nice grilled red meat. Simple, but quite effective.

Medium-bodied, lively carbonation, slight creaminess.

A standard, but well-made brown ale. The smoky roasted character would go well with summer BBQ.

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear copper-brown color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head faded fairly quickly to a ring around the glass leaving behind some lacing on the glass.

S - Aroma is a blend of some nice semi-sweet caramel malts and a nice nuttiness. Little bit of tasted/roasted notes.

T - Starts off with some sweet lightly roasted caramel malts with some background nut flavors. Even a touch of maple and hop. Through the middle some nutty flavors come through along with a touch of sweetness. The finish is light and a touch sweet and is mostly of maple and toffee with only a touch of hop bitterness. Balance feels a bit off overall.

M - Medium bodied with moderate lively carbonation. Feels crisp and smooth in the mouth, though maybe a touch watery. Finish a touch sweet.

D - Very drinkable. Fairly crisp and smooth. However, it could use a bit more flavor and fullness. The flavors feel a touch off overall, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of Rayek
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Out of a Saranac sampler into my Perfect Pint glass, this beer pours chestnut brown with a billowing cream head that retains well and leaves lots of lace. Behind that great appearance is not much. The beer smells somewhat toasty and a little chocolaty. The taste says Mild to me, even though the ABV is too high for one. Burnt toast, bittersweet toffee and a slight astringency are all I'm really getting out of this. Balance is good, but there's no discernible hop flavor. Finishes dry, with lingering burnt toast flavors. In the mouth, the body is medium and dry with about the right tingle. Overall, I'm not loving this, but it's OK.

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Photo of nukem5
2.86/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nicde copper color with a solid foam cap little lacing on glass.

S: Smell is slightly malty and of stale canned beer.

T: malty and also the taste of the stale canned beer taste.

M: Medium body with a bit of carbonation, seemed a bit low in my opinion.

D: Could drink a few of these if they were best choice on the menu.

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Saranac Brown Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 324 ratings