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

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Ratings: 324 |  Reviews: 241
Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
4.55/5  rDev +34.6%
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 KenC411
4.42/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark brown, nearly opaque, capped with a thin head which fades quickly.

Smell: Hints of coffee, toffee, and malt, hint of nut

Taste/Mouthfeel: Bit of hop, carried by malt sweetness. Beer is not too creamy, but easily coats the tongue.

Drinkability: An easy to drink beer. Very enjoyable. I want another.

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Photo of AndyBSound
4.25/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of BodiesLexus
4.25/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of GFSchwab
4.2/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It was a truly well done traditional brown ale. Its appeareance was a medium toned brown. With the smell not going outside of the british style of beer with the darker malts and well selected hops.

The taste and mouthfeel were equaly satisfying with a great deal of flavor being dominated by the hops with it finaly being brought under control by the unique blend of carmel, cofee,tofee and maple notes that the malts brought foward. The taste lasted fairly long with the alcohol commanding the latter part of the after taste after the residue of the beer gradually wore off.
It was a medium sized beer that was quite filling, definitley an enjoyable beer after a meal but before a desert. It would go well with a cheesecake or canoly, much as a good stout would, which I think says something about the range of the brown ale. Although filling, it does not negate your craving for another, beingthat it was just that good of a beer. (a problem that I usually encounter with brown ale)

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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 Brad007
4.13/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color: Medium brown color with a nice and fluffy head that leaves a bit of lacing.

Aroma: Sweet and malty. Smooth like a brown ale usually is.Brown sugar in the nose.

Taste: Strong and malty upfront. Decent sweetness and even a bit of smokiness (very little). Notes of brown sugar come to mind. Smooth and subtle.

Mouthfeel: Brown sugar, smoky malt and overall sweetness.

Drinkability: Smooth and very drinkable. Malty. Very much close to the style.

Verdict: Worth buying if you're looking for a drinkable brown ale. I'm not big on brown ales but I like this one.

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Photo of BagOHaZe
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Serving one 12 oz bottle from the 12 Beers of winter Sample pack

Pourd into a clean glass noticeable head with decent lacing Nose smelling
of roasted coffee beans mouth feel ok with very little carbonation

taste well i'll tell you it reminds me allot of Samuel Adams boston lager
when you get it on tap

Good roasty flavor after a sip followed by a polite helping of hops nothing overpowering altogether a surprisingly good beer by Saranac even though it does quite a bit remind me of a Sammy A

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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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Photo of JayQue
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm giving this the same scores I give beers from more impressive styles, but for an American Brown Ale, this one stands out very well. Pours a nice chestnut brown color with a nice big white head. Lacing is thick. Strong smell of sweet malt. Taste is jst what it says on the bottle, malt and a hint of chocolate malt. The chocolate (or maybe balancing hops) serves to add a little bitterness so this is not some cloyingly sweet brown ale.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy. More than I would have expected. Drinkability is excellent. I know we have definitions for session beer, but this is one I could sit around and drink in mass quantities. Very nice!!!

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Photo of Yeastcakes
4.08/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving notes - 0.5L German glass, cellar temp.
A - Toffee sweet malt with some floral hops. Some chocolate present as the beer warms.
A - Nice big head on the pour (four fingers plus), clear, dark red. Head has a nice persistence over the course of the beer.
M - Full body, low carbonation.
T - Same rich toffee from the aroma. I had one bottle cold and the toffee was a bit sweet, but a cellar temps it is much mellower. Nice smooth chocolate comes out over the course of the beer.
D - Nice full bodied beer with some complex flavors. This is a good brown ale.

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Photo of bigrzman
4.08/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought this in a mixed Saranac six pack for $9.85 plus deposit. This is the best one in the box so far.

A- Big creamy head with yellow brown coloring. Lots of lacing that follows the glass the whole way down however it does not leave a ring but leaves islands of lace around the glass. The beer is a dark mahogany red/brown. Finally a Saranac without much forced carbonation!

S- Smell of citrusy hops and deep roasted malt. It is clean and pleasant.

T- Chocolaty, deep roasts, citrusy hop that balances out the sweet malt. There are hint of nut and caramel.

M- Creamy and silky smooth. Overall moderate and it is nice tight bubbles. It quenches the thirst but it is not wet nor dry. A balance has been met.

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Photo of sacfly
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter seasonal pack
Highly carbonated, almost overflowed in my pint glass with a moderate pour. Appealing red hue with a very large thick head of big tan bubbles. Aroma catches me off guardÂ… A bit of a centennial(?) hop nose. Light sweet grapefruit? Taste is rich with a nice blend of the citrus hops and a bit of chocolate malt. Lingering pleasant bitterness in the aftertaste. No where near what I was expecting. A very pleasant surprise. A departure from the same old sweet/burnt/musty brown ales, but not quite the same as a regular pale ale or hoppy amber. Great beer.

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Photo of basscram
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into pint glass, with quarter inch head after the pour and it quickly subsides. Medium brown and if held up to the light you can see some fuzziness. Nice color. thin lace around edge of glass.
This brown has a wet lace as you drink it.

smells slightly like sweet brown sugar.

First taste has some slight bitterness to it. Not sweet like it smells. taste stays on the front part of the tongue. It does subside and gets out of the way for my next sip though which I think is good. Rest of the sips I have pretty much stay the same.

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Photo of joezak5
4.01/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a Samuel Smith tulip, clean cola dark brown, dusty tan head to the top, excellent retention and lacing... meringue-like smoothness on top

Smell: Dusty caramelly malt with just a little spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Pure medium malt with a little salty spice on the edges.

Taste: Delicate hoppy caramel malt with a rustic almost leathery finish

Drinkability: I found this one very impressive... from a true 6 pack variety pack with six different beers... points for that... easy drinking and very smooth with good flavor... I would definititely get this again.

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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 PatrickJR
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark dark clear copper with one finger head that receded quickly to white collar. Some lace, surprisingly.

S - Caramel, vanilla, almost phenolic. Hops maybe? Unusual, but quite deep, for a brown ale.

T - Caramel malt upfront but not sweet. Bread and nuts near the finish with a touch of alcohol and finally some sweetness. Some spicy/earthy hops are present that I didn't expect to find.

M - Slick, moderate carbonation and medium body. Solid as any brown ale I've had.

D - I could drink this all night. Mild, and yet full of flavor.

Normally I find brown ales to either be off balance or uninterestingly sessionable, but this is quite extraordinary. It strikes a great balance between the intensity of Sam Smith's Nut Brown and the mildness of Newcastle. Not quite as funky as Pete's, and overall a fantastic brew.

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Photo of speedball33
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +18.3%

4/5  rDev +18.3%

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

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Clear deep amber color with a beige head that left good lacing.
The aroma is good roasted coffee and caramel malt.
The taste follows the aroma, roasted flavors and malty sweetness with a little bitterness on the finish.
Medium bodied with good carbonation makes this beer go down smooth and easy.

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Photo of cgise22
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of kb2250
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of animalchin
3.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A very a dark brown body with a translucent red hue within the body. Not much of a head. Lacing around the surface.

S - Very malty and chocolate-like. Very sweet as well.

T - Dark caramel, and definitely getting a lot of chocolate in the mix as well. A lot of malt more so than the hops.

M - Not too thick, not too thin. Solid.

D - A little heavier than I was expecting. Overall a damn good brown ale.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
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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Saranac Brown Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.38 out of 5 with 324 ratings