Saranac Imperial Stout | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Imperial StoutSaranac Imperial Stout
Very Good
198 Ratings
Saranac Imperial StoutSaranac Imperial Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AlHam on 10-22-2007

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Ratings: 198 |  Reviews: 152
Photo of Deus1138
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had the pleasure of sampling this brew at the end of the tour at the Matt's Brewery.

This stuff poured very dark and thick. It was like motor oil. Very strong small of roasted malts, mostly coffee. Hops also very present.

Taste is incredible. Lost of toasted, roasted maltiness. Lots of coffee and a little bit of chocolate. Hops make their presence known after the brew has been on your tongue for a while. I was really surprised by the strong presence of the hops.

This is a highly drinkable, excellent brew. It was really cold outside when I drank it. This makes and excellent warmer!!

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Photo of e234ff
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +28.2%

Photo of joejost
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

With a change in the weather and summer turning to fall it is time to revisit Saranac Imperial Stout.

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle.
The color is incredible brown bordering on black with a caramel color head.

Smell of chocolate, coffee, and maybe molasses. Nice and gets better after sitting awhile.

Taste is of rich malt, coffee, burnt toast(likeable), with a hint of cream and either raisin or fig.

Rich and creamy in the mouth.

I could drink this every night in the fall but then I wouldn't get to work very often. Delicious! The best The Matt Brewery has to offer.

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Photo of AlHam
4.78/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This new release from Saranac may have just redefined the American stout.

Pours dark, black, and rich with an average sized but creamy head.

Smells of toasted chocolate and caramel malts.

Tastes rich and full. The chocolate and caramel malts are apparent, backed by a gentler yet still strong in its own right hops flavor.

The mouthfeel makes this beer. It's incredible, and really sets it apart from other outstanding stouts like Mackeson XXX. The mouthfeel incredibly rich, creamy, and full bodied. MUCH thicker than a Guinness.

A very drinkable beer, but only in limited quantities. It's thick and heavy, and at 9% ABV it packs a punch.

An exceptional beer. Makes an incredible black & tan when layered over the Imperial IPA.

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Photo of Danflurry
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%

Photo of cbleary
4.7/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

It looks great with a thick black body and a dense, tenacious tan head. Lots of roasted malt, bitter chocolate and alcohol on the nose. It tastes very rich with a great balance between medium hop bitterness and a hint of coffee and baker's chocolate. It's very warming and comfortably filling. A joy to drink, I think I'll have another.

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Photo of generallee
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: It pours very thick and slowly into the glass. Its color is dark black with dark brown high lights near the edges of the glass. You could say that it has the appearance of used motor oil. The head is tan in color, thick and foamy. It has good retention and leaves behind light tan rings of lace.

Smell: The aroma is full of dark roasted malts with a light herbal hops note off in the distance.

Taste/Mouth feel: The flavor has a deep roasted malt character with notes of dark toast, espresso, burnt caramel and baker's chocolate. Hop flavors blend in well under the deep malty character of this stout and add a solid dose of bitterness. It is very thick, creamy and slick in texture with a full body and soft carbonation.

Notes: This is defiantly a heavy hitter with good depth from the FX Matt Breweries Saranac line. The 9% abv. is well hidden and the silky smooth texture makes it an easy sipping full bodied beer. This is a must try for stout lovers.

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Photo of tiltedglass
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

For me this is the best stout made. I've tasted only 20 or so, not including flavored stouts, and this, like the Guinness Export, is powerful but with a balanced punch. Terrific full taste that is somehow both sharp and round. Great stuff. Getting harder to find for some reason, so get yours if you see it. Try a blind taste against another stout or two and you'll see what I mean.

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Photo of SaintPeter
4.63/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours like a 40W motor: oil-thick and black, with a huge chocolate meringue head. The puffy head resembles heavy whipping cream or crème Frisch with cocoa powder. Very slowly disappears. Probably the darkest I've ever seen. No light penetrates this black hole of a beer. Intricate lacework of cling around the glass that lasts the whole way down the glass until the last sip.

Beautiful, wholesome aroma of molasses, oak, bourbon, toasted pumpernickel bread, coffee, roasted nuts, oats, caramelized candy, black licorice, rustic bread, prunes soaked in brandy, burnt plantains. So many aromas meld together to imperial perfection!

The taste is of coffee, molasses and chocolate upfront, turning to rum bread alcohol with raisins, and then an additional kick of sweet oak aged warming alcohol. Coffee toasted grain and just enough pleasant bitterness in the aftertaste. A touch of hop bitterness. The alcohol is mellow and smooth, warming and nicely layered in the flavors, not taking over at any time. Brilliantly balanced.

Syrupy and viscous-lazy on the tongue. Just creamy when it is swished around in the mouth. No carbonation. Almost chewable.

A very sippable beer, ultra smooth from an imperial. Mellow, no over-bold or too-strong flavors. This is exactly what one wants on a cold, dark winter night, sitting next to a fire and warming the beer with the hands to bring out all the robust flavors. A different buzz than most beers--more like a scotch or a fine red wine. Relaxing. Reminds me of Port Brewing's Old Viscosity, but only a fraction of the price. A fantastically executed imperial stout. You can tell great thought and care went into this black beauty, not to mention obscene amounts of ingredients that must have gone into this beer. This is one for the record books--a shining example of what an imperial stout should be. Hands down the best beer for the value in this country ($8.99, +/- a dollar, per 6 pack).

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Into a pint glass, pours a deep dark black, a whopper of a tan head, tons of lacing. The aroma has nice leafy and oil hop notes that stick through the swamp of malts, thick bushels of malt, a bit bitter, nice coffee and chocolate notes, reminds me a bit of Darkness. A lot actually.

The mouth is pretty thick, good carbonation, pretty smooth. The taste is hefty and delicious, very similar the the nose, liberal use of black patent and roasted malts, the hop load balancing in leafy, herbal ways. Kept getting better as I was going along. Honestly, in a blind tasting, I'd have a hard time picking this out from Darkness, the two are much alike. Which, coming from me, means I really, really liked this beer. Let it warm, and you'll warm to it. Thanks a bunch to drseamus for this extra!

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Photo of sraimondi
4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured with a HUGE deep tan head. Very good spot lacing throughout outing. Completely black, opaque; even up against a bright light.

Roasted, dark chocolate aroma; very nice.

The taste with this one is superb. Very complex layers of flavors. Roasted/toasted malt dominates at start, but the hops influence balances the finish. Some vinous/sherry-like notes also present. Chocolate is also there, but not overwhelming.

The mouthfeel cannot be improved upon, IMO. Perfect; seems like oats have been added to smooth things out. The carbonation is without flaw.

The ABV is pretty well masked, but there, for sure. Given that the sixer cost me less than $9.00, this may be the BEST beer I have had at its price point, bar none. Upon further consideration, this is the best beer I have EVER had where the sixer costs less than $10.00. The folks in Utica should indeed be proud.

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Photo of Brenden
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the third and final beer I had at the 1888 Tavern after a great brewery tour on 7/3/11. This is one of two brewed so far for the High Peaks Series and thus not on tap.
This beer is pitch black and thick. The brown head that rises to about two fingers never completely fades. Sticky, clumpy lacing is left in a curtain most of the way down and barely lets up. This head has staying power and is nearly as well formed as I've ever seen. This is a beast.
Barley-like aromas from dark malts are huge, and the nose is both earthy and sweet, almost seeming to have a faint tinge of beeries and a whisper of citrus from hops. Alcohol really doesn't come through here. This is a nicely balanced malt bomb right from the get-go.
The taste, as evidenced in the aroma, is huge on malts; this one tastes on the offset like I'm eating barley bread. Chocolate malts are very well evidenced, and a light sweetness with a dark, bitter tinge complement well, and just barely noticeable citrus hops notes come through. There's a bit of coffee and, again, alcohol is well masked.
This beer is thick, rich and smooth, heavy but not filling. It even manages some crispness to it, and just little enough to keep it lively without taking away.
This is by far the best offering I've had from Saranac and proof they can make big beers with the best of them.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, packaged on October 2, 2007 part of the "High Peaks Series". Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a huge tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. It smells like roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and a little bit of dark fruit (raisins, figs). It tastes like roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, and wood/oak. There's also a nice bitter hoppy finish which balances out the beer a bit. Mouthfeel is medium/full, it's creamy and rich with average carbonation. Drinkability is good too, it's smooth and silky which makes it easy to drink. The 9% ABV isn't very noticable although the alcohol warming does kick in after a while. I think this is a pretty good beer, Saranac did a great job with this one. I'd definitely buy this again. And for the price ($1.59 for a single bottle) it's an excellent deal.

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Photo of thestar30
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Photo of iceball585
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Black color, non-transparent, one finger thick dark brown head that lowered to a thin lacy cover

S- Milk chocolate, smokey, coffee beans, toasted malts, hint of alcohol

T- Expresso, milk chocolate, smokey, dark malts, oats, nuts, slight hops flavor

M- Medium/heavy body, medium carbonation, smooth, fairly dry finish, slight warming of alcohol near the end

D- Definatly worth trying

This stout has good full flavors and an auroma that makes the mouth water. I was pretty supprised to find out that this brew is 9.0% ABV because it hides the alcohol well.

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Photo of grahamboudreaux
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Photo of mattcrill
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Pleasant dark and burnt fruit aromas woft out of the glass. Figs, raisins, and black currants open up as the beer warms.

Appearance: Jet black with a batter-like sticky tan head.

Flavor: Cocoa powder, husky, underlying fruitiness that gets drowned out by the roastiness and chocolate profiles. Spicy hop bitterness is in the background but still noticeable. A little bit of maple and carmel sweetness helps balance some of the roasted and burnt profiles. Finish is clean, bitter, and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with medium carbonation. No alcohol heat detected and amazingly, no astringency.

Overall impression: A big, bold, English-inspired RIS. Wow...what a treat from Saranac. Most of their beers I've found to be clean and safe but nothing extreme or over-the-top. This is the best and boldest beer of their portfolio. For the price, a classic RIS. Strongly recommended.

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Photo of GrindFatherBob
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Photo of Pencible
4.49/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured pitch black (just like the 4 stouts in a row before it) with dark tan head. It smelled like milk chocolate, caramel malts and sweet coffee with a hint of almond. It tasted like rich and heavily creamed coffee with subtle caramel malt and chocolate flavors. It was watery with no carbonation and had a mild, smooth aftertaste. Overall this smelled exceptional, had great flavor, and was very easy to drink.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tulip glass gladly accepted the the full 12 ounces of beautiful black liquid from this bottle. Rich, creamy looking head, about a finger's worth. This beer is impermeable to light.

The aroma is reminiscent of the cocoa bean, a bitter dark chocolate sensation that takes the smeller to a gourmet chocolatier somewhere is the Swiss alps, or perhaps to Willie Wonka's own chocolate room. This is accompanied by a bitterness that suggests dark roasted coffee. there is some roast malt character as well.

The taste is again, rich and dark but creamy chocolate, bitter but pleasantly so, perhaps in the neighborhood of 72% cacao. This is so well balanced with the sweet malt and the roasty character of the dark malts. Some mildly bitter hops in the finish but this does not rest in the palate for long. Superbly balanced beer with real complexity and not a hint of its 9% ABV.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, big body but somehow not heavy. Exceptionally drinkable for an American Imperial Stout. Say what you want about this brewery but so far the High Peaks Series are winners.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Looks like soy sauce" - my 12 year old son... Finger of tan head...Jet black and you can see that it's thick... not much lacing really but some stuff clinging...

Aroma is really nice. Actually a bit hoppy... Surprising. And intriguing.. Slightly roasted.. Coffee syrup...

Wow, really interesting and I like it. Bright flavor.. Roasted malt. I get a bright hop presence that I like. Light coffee... nice grains of malt... Some real smoothness..

Very creamy mouth feel... Body is a little thinner than it looks.. But not thin... Hearty bright mouth feel....

By far my favorite Saranac product. In fact, to be honest I am generally under whelmed with their offerings. This is, by far, the best one in my opinion

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Photo of Buttstorm
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When I have an imperial stout, I absolutely love it when it pours thick and opaque. This one didn't let me down. This is a delicious imperial stout and at $8 a 6-pack it is the most affordable of any I've seen (The price to deliciousness ratio is out of this world!). It tastes thick, chocolaty, with a nice sweet black coffee aftertaste. If the store keeps'm stocked, I'll be buying this all Fall and Winter long.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice jet black beer. Minimal toffee colored head which dissipates quickly.

S: Roasted coffee. Chocolate and some malt. Sine bu=nice earthy hop tones in the background.

T: Very well done. Nothing like getting a local brewery that gets something very right. Chocolate and malt dominate this one. Thee are some notes of hops at the end. No hint of the 9% which I shall pay for later.

M: Nice and rich. Creamy overall full bodies beer. Carbonation compliments the style.

D: Really good beer. Much better than their imperial IPA. At the price $7.99 for a six pack this is a tempting session beer but do not do it.. That 9% will crawl all over you. For the % however this is a very drinkable beer.

12-30-08 Update: Time has treated this beer extremely well. Everything just really mellowed out. Stellar.

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Photo of MVotter
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - The Saranac Imperial Stout pours into a chalice a deep-dark brown ... impervious to light. It has a healthy one-inch, tan head.

S - Some alcohol, malts, chocolate, black licorice.

T - The taste starts as coffee, then transitions to sweeter, roasted malts, retaining the coffee-note theme, hint of molasses ... wow! Plenty of character in these flavors.

M - The mouthfeel is damn near perfect. It has plenty of effervescence, and a medium-heavy feel.

D - Outstanding drinkability for a brew which weighs-in at 9% abv.

In summary, if you're the Ba with a hankerin' for an imperial stout which offers a taste profile leaning "bitter," yet provides a touch of a "dark chocolate" tease ... this is YOUR stout!

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Saranac Imperial Stout from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 198 ratings