Saranac Brown Ale | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Brown AleSaranac Brown Ale
324 Ratings
Saranac Brown AleSaranac Brown Ale

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

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by shirfan on 10-24-2006

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 324 |  Reviews: 241
Reviews by DannyS:
Photo of DannyS
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass, poured from a 12 oz. bottle.

A - A lovely dark brown with a big, fluffy head. Lots of lacing and a good ring of foam all throughout drinking.

S - Faint notes of coffee, chocolate, and nuttiness are there in an overall very mellow smelling beer.

T - Not very complex, but straightforward with its nutty, slightly bitter and malty flavor. definitely good tasting enough to enjoy, but there's not a whole lot there.

M - very light bodied for a brown ale, almost too watery for this style, in my opinion.

D - Absolutely drinkable. I could definitely have a couple of these for a session.

Overall - I'm not a huge fan of brown ales, but this was definitely one I could enjoy well enough. It's simple and not groundbreaking, but that's not a bad thing.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.82/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another new offering from Matt and I really like where they were going with this one.Poured a medium chesnut brown with a thinner but well reatined off white head,ahh nice hops in the nose Pacific NW cascades give off a healthy dose of pine and grass intertwined with some chocolate malt.The flavors dont quite live up to the nose but it has its own character quite dry and resiny with lighter chocolate and caramel tones.Good to see Matt push the bar a little with this one nice hop profile and very drinkable.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Light brown color

S: Very unimpressive, slight malt and hop but
a bit bland.

T: Smell conveys to this brown ale of little
noticable character. A bit sweet with a
mild hop finish. There weren't any out-
standing flavors to savor here. If anything
the alcohol stood out more than any other one

M/D: A bit on the watery side with very little
body to speak of. Overall this is no
better than a New Castle.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The star of this 12 pack sampler. Poured into a pint glass, this beer was a pretty ruby red/brown color with a thick white head. Ample lacing. A sweet, chocolate aroma with a little malt. Chocolate taste, a little late hoppiness. Malt background. Pleasant beer, maybe just a little thin in the mouth, fun to drink.

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Photo of generallee
4.15/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brown ale forms a thick light tan head that sits on top of a clear dark amber brew. The head makes nice lacing as it sides down the sides of the glass. The aroma is full of sweet malts. On the tongue, caramel and maple sweet malts give way to bitter dark chocolate and coffee notes. The palate is medium bodied and smooth with average carbonation. Saranacs Brown Ale is well balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of Scribbles
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It looks decent when poured, a nice head that leaves some decent lacing as you drink.

Smells ok, but thats about it. Hops not much else.

Fair taste, lighter than I expected, with more hops too. Alcohol present in the taste, it lingers a bit after. Some earthy tastes roasted malt and such, but they are in the background.

Mouth feel is ok and drinkable, still a thinner beer than I expected.

Fairly drinkable; acceptable as a winter session beer, if the taste suits you.

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Photo of TimoP
3/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 2006 Winter Seasonal Pack. 12 ouncer, no freshness indication. Pours a warm shade of darkish amber, clear, dart tan head, scattered lacing upon a gentle swirl. Nose is caramel malts, light pine needles and orange. Flavorful Brown, maple malt o'pleanty, I agree with another rater that this is one of the best in the box...which is not saying a great deal, but this is a pretty tasty and worthy brown ale...

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
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 kingcrowing
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler.

Pours a light ruddy brown with a huge light brown fluffy head that just seems to explode from nowhere. Nose is light and malty, it has that signature Saranac nose.

Taste is light, a bit of iron and kind of a dry but slightly bitter finish, theres some chewy darker malts and it's pretty dry. It's a brown ale so there isn't too much exciting about it, but it does a good job at it.

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Photo of hotpauko
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
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 dogfishandi
3.19/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle out of the fridge poured into a nonik pint glass. no freshness date.

pours out a clear deep bronze/ brown color with a big, billowy, frothy off white head. great retention and an amazing lace. absolutly terrific head!

not a huge aroma. dextrin/ buttery malts are the main player. also some biscuit and toastiness, bits of sharp hop aromas. kind of a muddled aroma.

lots of buttery dextrin, slightly mettalic, some toasty biscuit. bits of sharp citrus hoppiness kind of confuses the taste. wierd sense of balance.

medium to light in body, carbonation perhaps a touch to sparkly.

drinks easy, but there are way better brown ales out there. i support it because its local, but i couldnt recommend this. ill avoid this in the future.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep ruby amber copper hue with a large off white tannish beige head billows nicely presenting a biscuit appearance light cappucion colored evenly dispersed lace. Aroma has an awesome upfront citrus and herbal hop tone with chocolate caramel roasty tones...good stuff hop pellets. Flavor contains upfront herbal and citrus hop character produces some mild hop burps nice for a brown, mild light chocolate roasty nutty edge very nice moderately bitter, overall I'm liking it. Mouthfeel has a medium body some resinous note coming through with a moderate smooth carbonation. Drinkability is great a hoppy brown I love it, but why does their brown taste hoppier than their IPA does.

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Photo of chinchill
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A- deep, dark orangeish brown with tan head.

S - toasted malts, hops

T- Pronounced hoppiness (citrusy and piney) reflects Americanized ale. Both malt and hop flavors are quite evident, with hints of coffee and a slight burnt taste. Has a bitter and hoppy finish.

M - thin for a beer this style; Moderate carbonation.

D - more complexity would increase the appeal.

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Photo of glid02
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear chestnut color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with hints of nondescript fruit sweetness - maybe green apples/pears.

Tastes a bit better than how it smells. Lightly toasted malts give way to light caramel and chocolate flavors before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good - though I with it were just a bit thicker.

Drinkability is alright. I had no problem finishing one of these, but I'm not sure about another.

Overall this was a decent brown, but I'm a bit disappointed I didn't get any of the hops that it seems other reviewers had.

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Photo of Brenden
3.31/5  rDev -2.1%
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 nickthegun12
3.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pretty good beer>>>and i don't even like most brown ales>>>but this one is all right>>>the color is a very dark brown beer>>>it smells like a decent malty smell>>>taste very malty almost no hop presence if any i would say kent goldings almost dry>>>the mouthfeel is almost very rich>>amost>>>very drinkable i could easily drink a 4 pack of them>>>all in all pretty good beer>>>better than their others

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Photo of dacrza1
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another Saranac from the What Ales You sampler... frothy two-finger head that creates a nice camber above the nug; velvet black soda body--appropriate... fizzy maltiness, with enough pale ale hops to blindly confuse the drinker--a bit too syrupy? light to medium-bodied, mellow with a cola finish; uniquely watery for a brown ale, pleasant but indistinct... sugary sweet malts pleasantly balance out the rather subdued hops... as advertised--this is smooth-drinking and textured enough to provoe thought on its flavor... as Saranac goes, a solid year-round contributor...

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac- Brown Ale

Appearance- copper brown with a small, heavy lacing head.
Smell- Nuts. Filberts, walnuts, and malt. Slight piney hop aroma too.
Taste- Pine hops, orange rind(IPA?) with a nutty malty body.
Mouthfell- Sweet with oily pine hops, malt, and dry nuttiness.

Overall- A very good 1. Saranac's best offering!

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Photo of ABokononist
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. brown bottle > 16 oz. SA glass

Pours out looking a bit like rootbeer with it's brownish amber color and 1" high, off-white crown that falls to about 1/4" pretty quick. Good holding power though.

The nose is more tangy and herbal like subdued bitter hops with a slight metallic whiff. slight brown sugar in the malt and some cocoa powder. Wet wheat fields and green herbs way down.

The flavor is an interesting balance of cocoa-powder malt with slight chocolate notes and tangy, earthy hops. This one is a bit too herbal and hoppy for my's very up-front instead of adding just enough spicey herbs to make it complex. The malt is not complex enough to handle the agressive hop profile. There is a grainy, bitter effect to the hops with a long, lingering finsih and slightly light feel overall.

This is not undrinkable by any means, but a bit more malt and more subtle hops profile would be a step in the right direction.

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

Still working through that winter sampler 12-pack...

Nice big creamy head is poured, and it retains well, laying on top of a glassy caramel/ruby color. Leaves a surprising wall of layered lace.

The aroma brings on lots more hops than are usual for this style, but the requisite nutty and caramel notes are there too. Once the head dies down, the hops aroma gives way to the more traditional smells one usually finds in this style. But you do have to really dig through the hops, which are the feature here.

Flavor is decent, though I'm not sure it resembles a true brown ale. While a lightly nutty maltiness is felt, the hops are oily and piney and dominant. Sorta reminds of Magic Hat's Roxy Rolles in that it forgets its style amidst the hops (but that's still better than this one). The finish is awful, having a sourness that is probably from the hops, and probably not desired. Kills any real brown ale characteristics. And the mouthfeel is thin, bordering on watery, though carbonation is firm.

I don't know...this is actually okay, but I think it misses its style mark. Saranac have tried so many different styles, a zillion and six or something...Now being halfway through their winter 12-pack sampler, I feel like they could do better by reeling it in and putting their efforts into just a few styles, playing on their strengths rather than thinning themselves out and losing focus. But they didn't ask me, and why should they?

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Photo of emsroth
3.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

App: Dark but transparent woody brown with hues of red. Active pour yielded 1.5 finger tan head. Substantial lace down the glass.

Smell: Sweet, toasty malt. Hints of alcohol. A bit of a sour scent.

Taste: Bland and watery up front, especially for a brown of this abv. Occasional hint of metal. Next comes a sweet, leafy/floral flavor followed by hop bitterness. Ends with flavors of coffee. As it warms the flavor strengthens but also mellows.

Light medium level of carbonation as per the brown ale style. Highly drinkable if I enjoyed it more.

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Photo of tdm168
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
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 mempath
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2-9-10, trying it again and am getting a much more malty, sourdough nose and taste. much more enjoyable. originally gave this a B-, but it really has unfolded (as has my appreciation). a recommended brew from the ever-surprising Saranac haus


pours rich, thick, lacing's a deep bourbon orange. nothing jumps out of the smell...a few swirls but i get a hint of toffee, caramel (maybe)...there's a slight maltiness: average (barely).

taste and mouthfeel are, well, at least more bodied than that Hansa i had earlier...! but for all that darkness, i would expect a richness and creaminess i am not quite getting and simply compensating for by (inadvertently) imagining it. hmmm. flavor is there, but gone. poof. body is thin. gone. just like that. a good summer DARK beer after mowing the lawn. not something to savor...i mean, it isn't bad and it actually tastes good, but it could be so much more, especially with so much more out there that is quaffable and savorable!

oh any thinnish beer that tastes good is very drinkable. best with a meal or as a malty gatorade moment. not to be sipped. i mean, nothing unpleasant if savored, but that's the key, 'nothing'...or almost nothing. damn. i am disappointed. i really like Saranac.

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Saranac Brown Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.38 out of 5 with 324 ratings