Saranac Brown Ale
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Brown AleSaranac Brown Ale
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #705
Ranked #46,240
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
Reviews by Frozensoul327:
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.57/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium dark orange brown color with a 3/4 inch of tan-white foam. Medium low carbonation.

S: Smells fresh, with spicy malt and earth. Noticeable hops are present, giving this one a unique twist.

T: Lots of roasted grains, dry hops, mild pepper and spice. Malt character is minimal, but present, and adds a steping stone for the higher profile of toasted earth and hops.

M: Nothing special. A touch of bite from the hops, but otherwise mildly bubbly and rather average.

D: Not bad. This one was different from most brown ales, which l liked. Could use a touch of tweeking, but could easily be an innovative brew. Worth trying.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of KeithStolte
3.01/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured from 12 oz bottle to pint glass. Very dark brown, good head, lasted about 3 min. didnt keep throughout entire consumption.
S - dark coffee malts, slightly hoppy
T - coffee, dark chocolate, then slightly bitter
M - Light body good mouthfeel
D - Quite drinkable.

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Photo of 828beagle
3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass a dark amber brown with a creamy beige one finger head. Fairly good retention with a nice lacing effect along the glass. Sweet malty caramel aroma with hints of clove. Slightly bitter and spicy, almost cider-like in taste and consistency. Highly carbonated which I like. Medium body. Goes down easy and packs a nice buzz. Kind of a mild licorice aftertaste but not bad. One of the better brews in the Trail Mix sampler, though I am more partial to the darker beers so it's kind of difficult to be objective.

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Photo of LairdChisholm
2.79/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Taken from notes 8-14-10

A - Chestnut drown with a ruby tint. A white, one finger head that dissipates quickly. No lacing at all.

S - Sweet malts with a touch of grains, caramel and alcohol. Very strong and pungent.

T - Sweet malts at first with blackberry, caramel and chocolate notes. Almost a chalky bitter and alcohol after taste which made the ale not nearly as enjoyable.

M - Oily and thick. Not enough carbonation

D - This ale seemed to go flat very quickly. This made finishing it a chore.

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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 JMH_
2.91/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a wonderful looking medium brown colour with a huge head that balloons from the top of the glass before subsiding. a nice layer of residue is left on the walls of the glass after each sip. Very nice.

Aroma is run of the mill: a bit of sweet caramel, some general malt, perhaps a bit of floral hops, a bit of butter and some rubbery notes. There's a fair amount going on but it's a bit muddled and uninspired.

As for the flavour, you can basically copy what was written above and paste here: caramel is less pronounced, the rubber notes are bumped up a bit and the floral hops still linger from time to time. Typical at best. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a touch of slickness to it and too harsh of a bite at the finish.

I can't say that I can recommend this one. I'd call it average at best and that's likely a bit of a stretch. It looks great, but could use work just about everywhere else. Please tinker with this one a bit more, Saranac.

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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 oberon
3.82/5  rDev +12.4%
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 vandemonian
2.79/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer has a dark brown, almost black colour and a great head that really lasts. The smell is hoppy and non descript. This beer tastes harsh and hoppy when it first hits your mouth, there are some coffee flavours that sometimes shine through before an aftertaste that is slightly bitter. It has a quite light body.

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Photo of Suds
3.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a brownish-copper beer, clear and shadowy, with a modest off-white head. The first aroma is of American hops. It has a citric (grapefruit) quality, with some fresh floral smells. Right behind the hops, though, are some caramel and chocolate malt smells. They’re not intense, but they compose a nice second-layer to the beer. The flavor is fairly dry, with a nice mix between some resiny-bitter hops and a highly-roasted maltiness. The carbonation is fairly high, maybe more than is necessary. Medium body, with a dry and bitter finish. This is a very nice beer, one that I could drink on almost any occasion.

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

the color is a medium brown, little auburn , with a white head. The head dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing on the glass. Looks attractive and inviting.
The smell is very faint and does not much telling besides some grainy, honey touch.
The taste makes a little up for the lack of smell, but you still have to really look for the flavors. Caramel ,honey, earthy flavors and the bittersweetness of some roasted malts, being checked by some hops in the back.
Medium bodied beer with prickly mouthfeel. Leaves quite a bitter aftertaste, which lingers, and makes the beer not as drinkable.Had better ones before.

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Photo of shirfan
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a different brew than the Nut Brown Ale, new for 2006's "12 Beers of Winter".

Per Saranac's website, this one is made with American Two-Row Pale, Victory, and Chocolate malt, and Cascade and Columbus hops.

Poured a clear but dark blood red with a thick cream-colored head.

Big aroma of pine, hints of spiced apple.

Flavor starts dry and piney, moves into a leafy, earthy and dry malt profile. Finishes with some pepper, more resinous but dry pine, and a moderate bitterness.

I like sweeter, maltier brown ales, but this is an ok example of a quite dry, moderately hopped one. A decent addition to the winter sampler.

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Photo of speedvagen
2.75/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well this was a surprise! I was expecting a soft and malty English style brown ale, and BAMMM!!!, citrusy and lightly piney hops appear in the nose and flavor! Decidedly American. It's got a bit of strength to it too!

A: Very nice, clear very deep chestnut body. Great creamy, tan head with very nice retention and excellent lacing. Maintains a thin creamy surface covering. There seems to be a bit of apple-like fruitiness from the yeast as well, but who can really tell with all of those hops going on?
S: Citrusy and lightly piney hops ride roughshod over the delicately caramelish and mildly toasty malt beneath.
T: More maltiness is able to elbow its way through in the flavor, and it's got a touch of toffee, coffee, and some dark chocolate along with its caramelish and subtly toasty side... interesting. The hops are well melded, however, and this is more of a hop beer in my opinion, as they stand out a bit more. Grapefruit. Drip of lemon. Spruce. Pine. Resin. Very nice. It finishes dry and hoppy with residual citrus and resin.
D: Very well done. Well-balanced and integrated. Bright. Bold. American.

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Photo of Sivad
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of sraimondi
3.76/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 2006 Winter Sampler. Interesting take. IMO not really on style but one of the better selections in the Sampler. Look is right on style with very good lacing which keeps for entire drink. Not much aroma, but the taste is what is most surprising. The first thing you taste is the hoppiness of the beer, which almost immediately gives way to a licorice flavor. No chocolate to speak of but a hint of roastiness, not much hop bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is good and the drinkability is ok. While not a traditional take, very good nonetheless.

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Photo of skiit13
2.5/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +17.6%
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 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 oelergud
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear deep ruby and mahogany body with medium carbonation. Silken undulating light tan head with great retention and lace that hangs in clumps.
Hoppy and slightly sweet scent. Faint almond and nut and a little bit of toffee.
Good hop presence maybe abit much for the style but still good. Abit nutty, straw and grass. Aftertaste is a too harsh bitterness.
Medium body with some coating.
This brew started out well but the taste didn't pull through.


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Photo of Wamesit
3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep amber with a thick off-white head.

S - Caramel malts. A solid amount of hops, specifically earthy/piney.

T - The caramel malts pave but there are very distinct dark chocolate malt flavors throughout. This is a true American Brown because there can be no doubt about the amount of hops. Piney and crisp, slight citrus in the finish.

M - Medium. Noticeable carbonation.

D - For fans of American Browns this is a surprisingly (and hoppy) drinkable ale.

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Photo of AudioGilz
2.96/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fairly reserved appearance, subtle yet a bit enticing with solid lacing. The aroma is surprisingly hoppy, with citrus notes coming through with only a tiny hint of malt sweetness. I would definitely prefer to smell more sweet malts in there as well as taste them. It's odd to me to drink a brown ale with this much hoppiness to it. At the same time, it's not really a turn off either, just not what I expect out of a Brown Ale. Perhaps it needs to mature a bit longer? This experience is really like drinking a solid American Pale Ale rather than a Brown. If you want a sweet and mild Brown Ale, go with an English one, however this is worth a try because it's still a smooth-drinking, citrusy/spicy hoppy brew.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown color from a 12 oz bottle, with no ABV or freshness date on the label. Nice two finger head that dissipates fairly quickly to a persistent thin film of a head.
Aroma is a nice blend of caramel with molasses and hints of malt.
Taste is predominantly smoky upfront with a bitter finish. Hints of nuts come through as the beer warms up.
Mouthfeel on this one is slightly watery.
Excellent lacing though, all along the insides of the glass.
If this beer was just a little full-bodied, I think it would be one of the best brown ale's around. Nevertheless, I still think this is a decent brown ale. Worth a try.

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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 EmoBeerGuy
3.05/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first review in a good long while so I thought I would return to where I started.

I went to college out near Matt's and Saranac products really got me into drinking craft beers (though I quickly found Ommegang and moved one).

This beer wasn't readily available when I was in college so I wasn't familiar with it.

It pours darker than I expected, dark molassess. One finger head, quite nice for the style. Smell is of a roasty sweatness, not much else going on here.

Taste is not really to my liking: a malty sweetness, akin to a British brown ale, which is quickly quelled by a sharp hope bite (cascade?) and then fade to nothing. No aftertaste really, as noted by a previous review. Also, it should be noted that in the transition from sweet to bitter I taste a slight metallic flavor which is displeasing. Too much hops for the style and the same yeast as all their other ales. It honestly tastes like they took the Saranac Pale Ale and just added some chocolate malt or something.

Mouthfeel is just fine.

Drinkability is always hard with a beer like this. On the one hand, I find it underwhelm overall (so why drink more?) but its not like its hard to quaff.

Honestly, this tastes a bit like a brown ale I homebrewed about 6 months back that I was not happy with. Matt's can do better.

A decent beer. Not a good one.

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