Saranac Brown Ale
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Brown AleSaranac Brown Ale
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #692
Ranked #45,647
3.4 | pDev: 12.06%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Saranac Brown AleSaranac Brown Ale
Reviews: 241 | Ratings: 324
Photo of chinchill
3.35/5  rDev -1.5%
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 sdj5
3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into my Erbacher Weizenbier glass. Very dark. Smells like caramel and sugar.

Good lightly-roasted sweet malt taste, then I get hit by the hops. The finish is surely bitter but it counteracts the sweetness nicely.

Overall it tastes, good, smells good and I could drink quite a few.

Not the best beer but surely another solid Saranac offering.

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Photo of SkunkWorks
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look: looks brown but kind of thin. Red highlights. The head is thick and retains well but not much lacing is left.

Smell: smells a little sweet with some roast in it.

Taste: kind of bland for a brown ale. I don't get very much in terms of complexity of the malts. There's some hop bitterness in the finish. As it warms up the alcohol becomes more noticeable.

Feel: medium bodied, smooth and well carbonated.

Drink: drinkable, but why would you want more than one?

Overall, this was kind of a disappointing brown. Its been awhile since I had a brown ale and this probably wasn't the best choice going back to the style. I wouldn't drink unless its your only option.

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Photo of tchenery
2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to a pint. Thin head but it's staying. The beer has a nice deep red hue, very bright.

Smells a bit sweet, but definitely has that brown ale roast scent to it.

Taste is a bit bland and watery. Not much body to the beer. I do pick up on a bit of raisin and some late bitterness. Kind of a strange taste.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's not too dry or too sweet.

I wouldn't go for too many of these.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.2/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep reddish-brown body. White head fades with no lacing.

S: Some chocolate, caramel, and citrus hops.

T: Shockingly bland. It takes a good amount of effort to tease out any chocolate and caramel notes. Rather strong hop presence.

M: Medium-bodied, smooth.

D: Yawn. That's about all I can say.

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

12 oz.

Pours tea brown with a red glow to the light, medium off-white head with fine carbonation retains pretty well as a film.

Smells of piney hops and heavier malts. A bit molasses like.

Taste is of dry hops and bready malts. Mildly bitter.

Feels moderate to full with a bit if tingle from the carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

So-so, nothing bad but nothing special. Tastes like other brown ales I've had. Easy enough to drink. Not going to win any awards though.

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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 egy
3.91/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pour from a bottle with no date code, into a Saranac pint glass. Though gentle a generous head formed, about an inch high the tan head stood for a few minutes. Upon reseeding the frothy looking head left a welcoming lace around the glass. The beer is clearly a brown ale, this can be seen just looking at it. The dark brown leather colored beer topped with the tall tan head looks great! When holding it up to the light the red hues start to show. Burgundy or Mahogany are what to mind to describe the light passing through the beer. A sweet smell, some alcohol notes but nothing over powering. Earthy and malty also describe what I smell. The tast reflects the smell almost too well, soft malty, very pleasant. A very small earthy hop taste is lingering. The easy balanced taste matched with the lightly carbonated almost creamy texture makes this beer highly drinkable!

Just a brown ale, drinkable, refreshing, tasty and smooth. Could drink these all night long! I'd love some steak and mash potatoes now!

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Photo of soju6
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a medium brown with a small off white head that fades quickly tosome lasting lacing.

S: Caramel sweetness with malt aroma.

T: Starts with roasted malt, then mild sweetness and a nice bitter finish.

F: Medium body crisp that becomes fairly smooth and a bit sticky.

D: Decent ale. Another good offering from Saranac.

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Photo of Sam21
3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance - Pours a rather tranclucent brown with shades of burgundy around the edges. Healthy tan head with good lacing and retention.

Smell - Very malty with a nice chocolatey sweet edge. Some nice roastiness. Simple and inviting.

Taste - Malty sweetness all the way through with a lingering roasted flavor that combines nicely with a light-moderate hop finish. Not in your face, but overall pleasant.

Mouthfeel - Light bodied, maybe leaning a hair towards medium bodied. Somewhat soft mouthfeel. I want more body to this beer to help back up the malt.

Drinkability - Simple, smooth, and drinkable. No off flavors or aromas in this beer, but at the same time nothing mind blowing. A solid brown ale and one I would never turn down.

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

Pours a very dark color. Copper and brown with red tints. Thick tan foam.

Aroma is of roasted sweet malts.

Taste is roasty and malty, with some sweetness following, and a slightly bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium with not much carbonation. Drinkable. Decent brown ale.

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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 bigrzman
4.08/5  rDev +20%
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 MbpBugeye
3.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- yet another big creamy head. Lots of lacing that starts as rings but then just throws whole sheets. The beer is a dark mahogany red/brown. Clear all but some chill haze.

S- Really smells like all of their beers. Balanced between grains and grassy hops.

T- Again, balance is the name of the game here. Slightly sweet, chocolatey malts paired up against grassy and citrusy hops.

M- Quite creamy. Carbonation is way too high. Its very sharp.

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Photo of metter98
3.28/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured clear dark amber in color with a thin white head. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible and a thin layer of bubbles continually covered the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of toasted malts with some hints of floral hops.
T: The flavors of toasted malts are muted by a mild amount of hop bitterness, which isn't overpowering but dominates the overall taste and particularly stands out in the finish.
M: The beer feels light- to medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate.
D: It's easy to drink this beer but the pedestrian taste doesn't leave me longing to have another one of these.

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Photo of Tilley4
2.93/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I'm not a huge brown ale fan but I've had some dang good ones lately so I'm hoping this will be another winner...

Pours a warm brown with a very thick creamy head of off white... Very warm and fall-like and makes me wish it was October...

Very faint malty earthy aromas that seem rather muted... Toffee and caramel notes for sure but just not pronounced enough for my tastes...

Very thin and watery, this one falls short in several categories... Definite caramel malt presence but there's not enough substance to really enjoy it. Almost get a little yeastiness here that mingles with the malts that give this a weird almost oxidized flavor.. Sort of sweet and toffee-like but this could really use a little more thickness...

Very average brown to me... Might do in a pinch but not one I'd reach for by choice

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Photo of PDXHops
3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

See-thru brownish amber body. Decent splotchy lacing left by the cream-colored head. Nice malty nose- sweet, toasty and nutty, with hints of molasses. Those elements are joined in the mouth by some overripe apple and a touch of leafy bitterness. A bit of what seems to be oxidation, but not enough to significantly detract from the experience.

Not a bad little brown ale here.

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Photo of sluggermatt15
2.49/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a yellowish copper color. Mine foamed up a little on me, but didn't take forever to settle. I wasn't impressed with the appearance. I was expecting a darker color closer to a brown. This one is weak in appearance.

S- Some nuts, a hint of caramel and malts. Doesn't have a powerful aroma, just average.

T- Nutty with a slight presence of malts. A little sweetness here and there, but some dryness at the end of the taste. A little too watery in my opinion. Didn't really care for the taste of this one.

M- Low carbonation saves this category. Pretty good feel in the mouth, the low alcohol content helps.

D- More drinkable than not. This is a drinkable beer, above average according to my rating. It's a little light on alcohol, so one could drink a handful of these in one session.

Overall, I really didn't care for this beer. I was expecting a better brown ale. I had Brooklyn and New Castle and both were much better than this one. I think the taste hurts this one, which is probably why I won't want to drink another.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 5/9/10 notes. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a nice nut brown color with an inch of off white head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of roasted and caramel malts, but not much else to it.

t - Taste is some roasted malts, caramel malts, and sweet chocolate.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty decent brown ale. Had some nice sweet chocolate in the taste and would try again.

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Photo of stakem
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle poured into a SA perfect pint glass. Appears a clear dark amber color with 2 fingers of creamy tanned head mostly composted of large bubbles. Head retains fairly well and leaves a ton of sticky lace coating the glass. Aroma has some sweet malty notes of caramel that is somewhat nutty as well. Also picking up on some citrus hops and some mineral/metallic notes rounding out the rest of the character of the nose. Taste is a little bitter upfront before the malt presence comes into play. Flavors somewhat nutty and caramel like. Minor bitter hops round out the finish with a trace amount of alcohol. There is a lingering taste of hops and minerals left lingering in the mouth. Medium to light feel with a moderately high amount of carbonation. Overall not bad, the last time I had this beer I distinctly remember picking up on some chocolate notes which were not there this time. Regardless, not bad but nothing to go out of your way for.

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Photo of animalchin
3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
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 Natural510
3.06/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown with reddish hue with a nice off-white head with sticky lacing.
Faint scent of brown sugar and cola to the nose.
Sour, bitter flavor with hints of nuts, cocoa and green apple. Not at all sweet, which is necessary to balance out a brown ale.
Body is nice and full, even if the flavor doesn't correspond.
Ehhh...disappointing. Bitter and sour without the sweet caramel malts which usually balance out a quality brown ale.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Pours a clear dark ruby brown with about a finger of ecru foamy head that lingers once it shrinks down a bit. There is some nice sudsy lacing, but not much. The nose is very weak, with notes of maple syrup, hops, and a tiny bit of cocoa. The taste emphasizes the hops' bitterness, adding some bitter chocolate, some maple syrup, and a kiss of honey. The body is slightly lightly medium, with some strong carbonation and a very fluid feel, leading to a pretty high drinkability.

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

12oz. Brown bottle. No freshness date.

A: Pours a dark reddish brown color. Nice large tan head, with nice sticky lacing.

S: Malty with a light chocolate hopy aroma. Not very strong, smell wise.

T/M: Smooth and sweet from the malts. Finishes kind of bitter with a hop aftertaste. The balance is good. Although there is a weird taste in the middle. Not sure what is is.

D: Nothing special with this brew. Nothing really bad either. I wouldn't get a six pack maybe a mix pack.


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