Saranac Black Diamond Bock | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

92 Reviews
Saranac Black Diamond BockSaranac Black Diamond Bock

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

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Saranac Black Diamond Bock is a rich, malty brew, made with traditional German malts and hops and fermented with a lager yeast. Aged for months for a rich but smooth malty taste. A nice reward for enduring your winter months.

Added by Phatz on 12-14-2006

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Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 121
Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured 1 1/2 bottles into a .5 liter stein,a nice pour a clear rich copper/bronze with a tight formed one finger slight off white head that settled into a creamy froth.Sweet caramel and bready malt in the nose with a hint of iron,grainy medium to full mouthfeel it coats the mouth well.Bready and grainy husk-like flavors up front with a touch of caramel sweetness but its quite dry with not alot of uniquness to it kinda bland.This has some nice things about it,its appearance and mouthfeel are good but it lacks flavor in my mind.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Although not as malty as one might hope, Saranac's Black Diamond Bock does deliver some tasty and toasted malt. It pours a clear deep-copper body with glowing amber highlights beneath a creamy head of off-white that holds well and leaves thin sheets of spotty lace about the glass. The malty nose offers a welcoming caramelized-sugar note along with a decent amount of toastiness, backed by some very mild hops in the background. Across the tongue it's silky with a medium-light body and very-fine bubbled, moderate carbonation. The flavor is less sweet than the nose suggests, although the almost-scorched sugar/dark caramel side is still there. The full bitterness tends to tone it down. It becomes toasty, and somewhat dry across the middle, as some of the sugary malt fades and the bitterness rises. Some floral and leafy hops flitter here and there throughout, although they make their greatest impression in the dry finish. Unfortunately, some alcohol sneeks in there as well, which is odd because it's only 6% abv. Still, it's pretty well contained, and you don't really notice it until about halfway through the glass. Overall, enjoyable and drinkable.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

French burnt peanut orange with polished brass trim. The peanut shell colored chapeau is fine-bubbled, which lends persistence in the absence of tremendous looks. The foam melts in appealing fashion, though, and leaves scattered squiggles of sudsy lace that appear to be temporary. Note: actually, they stick around and dry to a fine crust.

Although the aroma is a bit muted, it delivers the usual toasted malty bockiness. For the record, Munich and Vienna are in use. Second and third sniffs bring an earthiness and a nuttiness to the fore. This could be a pretty good version at that.

For some reason, Black Diamond Bock seems to have more guts than most TMBC beer. In other words, it doesn't taste like inexpensive beer made with an insufficient amount of inexpensive ingredients, like most of what they brew. Was that too harsh?

The mid-range malts deliver decent depth of flavor reminiscent of wheat toast coated with a thick layer of orange marmalade (without much orange peel) and sprinkled with chopped nuts, malt powder and tea leaves. That last one must be the Hallertau hops, which play a supporting role at best.

The mouthfeel is the mouthfeel of a malt-dominant beer that actually contains enough malt. It's incredibly smooth, has a medium chewiness and has a lingering stickiness on the back end. Matt? Matt? Is that really you?

I will be the first to admit that bocks are near the bottom of my 'most favored styles' list. That said, I think I'm able to give all beer a more than fair shake when it's time to review. Black Diamond Bock is one of this brewery's finest creations and should not be missed by fans of the style.

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Photo of smcolw
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, light reddish amber. Small, but long lasting, head; Impressive lace.

Strong sweet caramel smells; some alcohol warmth; low hop as expected.

More hop in the taste than with most bocks. Off style, but I like it. The body is quite creamy with a high level of carbonation. Strong malty flavors with some oiliness from the alcohol.

This is very pleasant beer even though it is slightly off the style by the hop. This is an easily quaffable beer--think rich pale ale. Enjoy.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Poured a nice deep and very crystal clear amber. A good sized, three inch or more head formed on the top and actually had some very nice staying power to it. After a few minutes it gradually receded, leaving behind loads of side glass lace that coated the glass for a while. A good amount of carbonation was evident here as chains of bubbles streaked through to the surface throughout the entire session. A very nice look overall for the style, and no doubt that it had a lot of life left in that bottle.

S – Aroma was somewhat muted, not as strong as I would have thought. First impression was of a slightly cereal like graininess that was mixed in with a somewhat earthy, or grass like back to it. A slightly sweet presence was also noticeable, perhaps a light caramel or honey maybe, not strong but just enough to pick up. Overall the aroma was light, but yet still very pleasant. Typical malt lager like smell.

T – Very smooth, and had a definite bite to it. At first it had a nice earthy malt character to it and that pretty much dominated the flavor. As it started to warm up some more pronounced flavors began to trickle in. A decent amount of grassy notes and even a touch of some banana like characters were noted. A touch of spice in the finish seemed to give it a little bite and helped to give it that little bit extra it needed to make it stand out. Some residual sweetness left over in the aftertaste lingered around for quite a few minutes before again being replaced by that earthy malt flavor to round it out. A classic taste for the style, but with a little bit of a bite.

M – Very clean and crisp feel. Nothing slick or watered down here, this one was all flavor and lots of carbonation from the very start. Kept its lively feeling throughout and never really was a let down. Good crisp feeling to it, definatly refreshing and a decent body overall, albeit somewhat on the light side.

D – Very very nice. This was easily sessionable even by moderate standards. It was very clean and light drinking, not leaving much of an aftertaste, and not being very filling either. Had a lot of carbonation which never really let up and kept going until the very end. These made it go down almost like water, though a tad bit thicker and with a better taste. Good easily be an all nighter.

Overall this was more then pleasant, and was actually a pleasurable brew to enjoy. A good overall session or dinner brew, I had no issues with it at all. Now it was not anything fancy or abnormally special in any way, just a good solid offering. I would definitely not turn it down if it was offered my way again, unfortunately they really do not ever make it down here. But never the less, glad I could try it and look forward to some more seasonals from Saranac.

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, not many straight-up bocks on the market and a great way to wet the palate for this round of tastings. Dark amber color, good clarity showing here. The head drops some sticky lacing on the glass. Very clean nose with a bit of toasted malt and hop twang. Lots of smoothness with a creamy medium body. Hint of clean alcohol middle to end, maltiness goes from a mellow sweetness to more of a bread crust bite. Hops come jump for balance with a quick splash of herbal flavor. Finishes a little malty sweet.

Right on target and very clean. I'm diggin this beer a lot, to hell with it being a winter seasonal ... brew it year round.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears with a copper amber body and forms a large tan head leaves behind fine lace around my pint in evenly strung patterns. Aromatics have mild herbal nobleesque hops roasty caramel nut edge and sweetness nothing off here just a bit subdued overall. Flavor is upfront with malt sweetness roasted character just liquid bread right?...touch of bitterness from the herbal hop profile but they really don't stand out overall I felt the flavors were just muted and I like more expressive beer than this one has to offer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied a touch of syrup stickiness with even carbonation, no complaints in this department. Drinkability is decent I just come across other beers I'd rather invest my time in this one was just ummm okay for me.

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Photo of Gavage
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear reddish copper color with a 1” head. The head last briefly before disappearing to a surface foam.

Smell: caramel and roasted nuts are pleasant.

Taste: roasted nuts, toffee, ripe plums, hint of alcohol, decent malt sweetness, and a mild bitterness make up a solid beer.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is very short as some toffee and roasted nuts tickled the tongue softly before leaving. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: a decent session beer from the Saranac folks. A bit thin for a bock, but flavorful.

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Photo of WesWes
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sweet, caramel scen that boasts of crystal malts along with a slightly roasted and nutty aroma. It's sweet with a dry lager yeast scent. The taste is decent. It's quite dry with a roasted feel . It goes down easy and finishes with some residual sweetness. It's not as malty as it smells. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a run of the mill bock beer. It looks and smells great, but the taste lacks a bit; still a good drinker.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Dark amber with an off white head that retains fairly well. Some decent lacing work too.

S. Wheat and some floral hops. A faint whiff of alcohal.

T. Sweet caramel with some roasted barley notes. Pretty delicious.

M. Medium bodied leaves a bit of a dry expression and a pleasant aftertaste.

D. A good offering from Saranac, one of my favorites so far.

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Photo of plaid75
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper hue with a one finger off white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured an upfront sweet caramel malt with some subtle aroma hops.

The taste consisted of a sweet and grainy caramel malt with elements of dry cocoa, molasses and smoke.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style.

Overall a nice and easy drinking bock. Like nearly all Saranac beers, toward the shallow end of the style, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger white head that fades slowly to a thin layer, leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose. Flavor is semi sweet caramel with some late hop bitterness. $1.33 for a 12oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark reddish hue color with a creamy off white head.

S: Light caramel and bread notes on nose.

T: Toasted grain and bread highlight the palate with a nice dark caramel presence and lacing on the tongue. Some citrus hopping.

M: body is moderate and nicely balanced flavor wise along with a good earthy bitterness.

D: Overall flavor is decent and non offending and light enough to make for a decent session bock. Not a fan but this is one of their better attempts.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours a clear amber/copper color with an inch and a half frothy off-white head. Head retention is very good, lacing is OK. It smells like sweet malt, caramel and bread. The aroma is on the light side, but it's still nice. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some hops in the finish. Taste is stronger than the aroma. Mouthfeel/body is medium, but with above average carbonation, too much for my liking. Drinkability is average, but the high carbonation doesn't work for me. Overall I think it's a decent beer, but it could be better.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is now called "black bear bock"

A - Pours a nice clear dark amber brown with a 1/4 inch of head that sticks around to a great lace ring which is excellent.

S - Toasted grains, caramel malt, touch of hops, and some dark fruits.

T - Toasted grains and caramel lead with peppery hops and a smooth finish. Not bad.

M - Medium, chewy, and quite a dry finish really.

Overall pretty on par for the style but didn't really wow me. Pretty good for Saranac though.

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Photo of Brad007
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a great deal on a case of this beer and I thought I would review it as I actually had it at a small beer festival a few weeks ago and liked it:

Appearance- Dark copper color. It has a decent amount of head.

Smell- Lots of essence of malt with a slight hint of alcohol behind it.

Taste- Sweet and malty on the tongue and goes down pleasantly. Kind of a brown sugar essence in my opinion.

Mouthfeel- Leaves a decent aftertaste that makes me want to eat something sweet.

Drinkability- For its style, I would say this beer is fairly drinkable. It's not very high in ABV and tastes pretty delicious.

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Photo of wedge
3.47/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber - very little visible carbonation. Thin head of foam eventually disappears to nothing. Smells of toasted malts, caramel, brown sugar, and pale fruits. Smooth, rich malt and faint spiced fruit flavors. Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Not bad at all.

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Photo of blackie
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance: Pours a 3/4" khaki colored head that recedes partially but soon disappears...even with the aid of an etched pint. The beer is a medium orange-brown in color.

smell: Fruity and malty with a German hop aroma. Not much to it, but well rounded. Earthy.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium, and the body a full medium.

taste: Pretty good, but nothing special...a good fruity lager. Toasted and caramel grains here and there, crisp German hops, probably some Munich malt. Nondescript fruits. The finish dries up nicely to leave some toasted and characteristic German flavors lingering.

drinkability: somewhat limited, and not interesting enough to keep me sipping...some more malt and/or complexity would fix that.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pouring a cellar temp bottle into a pint glass. The beer pours a clear chestnut hue with no carbonation rising to surface and minimal edge layer of tightly packed head. Aroma is rich deep malt with some brown sugar and a toasty caramel. No real hops that I pickup here.
First sip reveals an average body with fine tingly carbonation that tickles my palate on each sip.
Makes the beer physically enjoyable. the flavor is sweet malt through and through. Brown sugar, caramel, a little roasted malt, some almond or nutty flavor. No hops or booze anywhere.
Definitely a malt lovers brew, that I am having no trouble drinking easily. Not a complex or crazy beer, but enjoyable for what it is and little o the sweet side without being cloying. I enjoy this one.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a pint glass.

- This brew is clear, reddish-brown color with a good sized, fluffy white head that hung for a bit before becoming a light layer of foam that left plenty of lacing on the glass. A lighter shade of 'Bock'.
- The aroma is something I have named 'The Saranac Smell'... maybe it's the yeast they use, or the water?, but most Saranac beers have a similar aroma, a bit of fresh 'funk' and some maltiness is how I would describe it.
- The flavor is of sweet roasted barley malt with a very subtle hop bitterness and a sort of earthiness to it. Not like any 'Bock' I've ever had before (is there such a style as 'lager/bock'?).
- A lighter bodied beer with a flat feel on the carbonation end.
- Drinkable? - heck yeah!, it's very reasonably priced, it's 6% abv, and it's brewed in America by a non-macro brewery.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presumably named after a typical ski-course, this Winter selection from Saranac is an overall pleasing sample that didn't disappoint... considered a Bock, this pours a dark amber, copper color with minimal head that soon dissipates... smell is very malty, and the taste is complete with strong, rich, caramel and brown sugar flavors with a maple syrup essence... good stuff overall, and much better than I had anticipated... Copped a single 12oz bottle from Gary's in Madison for $1.25... picture of a bear with ski goggles on the logo behind a winter scene...not a bad beer at all... good representation of the style with a thick and rich malt flavor that hits home... certainly a good Winter-style brew with enough flavor and character to warrant a sample... good beer... Recommended...

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Photo of tgbljb
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear medium copper colored beer with moderate off-white creamy head. Poor retention.

Smell shows a light touch of caramel and toffee, with a slight roasted character.

Taste is rich in malt. A firm dark fruity sweetness is backed up by a light bitterness, that augments the refreshment from the malt. Nice combination.

Great tatste retention, with a lingering toffee note.

Very drinkable. Great beer.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear copper with and off-white almost tannish head which rose but a sliver but did last enough to lace the glass.

The aroma was earthy and a bit estery with caramel most prevalent. Some lightly vegetal undercurrents flowed in the aroma with some lightly spicy hops.

The flavor was lightly vegetal and lightly spicy with caramel malt and a mildly estery character. Some dark fruits were almost present with the beginnings of raisins being notable.

The finish was even into dry with only a lightly lasting spicy hop flavor into the aftertaste. The body was medium with a moderate carbonation. Nothing wrong with this beer, but nothing exciting here either. The malt was just a bit light and not complex enough to be a really good bock.

12 ounce bottle.

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Photo of philbe311
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A warm syrupy brown with reddish undertones... Dancing spiraling carbonation... Thin, but creamy head... Looks warm and inviting...

S - Malts first and foremost... Burnt sugar... A text book bock smell... If anything it lacks for complexity...

T - Malts and hops... The hops are much more than expected, but a pleasant surprise... Kind of biting for Bock... Malts lead to intense hops which then lead the palette to a nice combination of malts and hops on the back end...

M - Creamy and smooth... Finishes dry was the hops take shape on the palette...

D - Solid offering... The Hop context to this Bock makes it a keeper... I could enjoy a couple and that's a good thing because I just bought a case on a whim...

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Photo of Kendo
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pilsner glass. Body is copper with mahogany hues underneath; an ivory/cream-colored 1-finger head sits atop. Slow-rising bubbles and some lacing.

S: It's all malt, all the time -- caramel malt, molasses and brown sugar.

T: Also dominated by the malty stuff -- brown sugar, caramel malt and even toffee. Roasted malt and cereal is there too. Despite that description, it's not annoyingly sweet.

M: Lighter in body than you'd expect from the color and the nose, but then again, this is a lager, right?

D: Pretty good. I found this went down pretty quickly.

Notes: Apparently this isn't moving all that well. I think I paid $3.49 for a 6-pack of it at Olivers. Well worth it at that price, and frankly, I think this may be one of my higher-rated Saranac beers. Solid.

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Saranac Black Diamond Bock from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 121 ratings.
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