Saranac Imperial Stout | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 |  Reviews: 152
Photo of auxiliary
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance - Nice dark black color with a tan head.

smell - Nice chocolate and toasted malt smells.

taste - Toasted malt taste here with some cocco present. Not much else.

mouthfeel - Heavy body.

drinkability - Nce stout to try.I have had this on tap also.

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Photo of mike1290
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Being from NY I like trying as many NYS beers as possible. Unfortunately, this stout comes up a little short overall.

A - bottle poured into a pint glass comes out virtually black with a spare, tan head. The liquid seems a little thin for an Imperial stout. Lost its head pretty quickly

S - Roasted malts and chocolate along with a slightly bitter hoppiness. A little caramel comes through

T - From the front of the mouth you get a slight chocolatey malty taste but it is quickly taken over by a bitter cloying taste that overpowers the good qualities. From the back of the mouth more chocolate and roasted flavors

M - Goes down smooth at first due to low carbonation but does have a bit of a bite

D - only a couple and then your mouth feels like its coated with a bitter sheen like you get after chewing on raw hops

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Photo of gford217
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Kasper poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with a thin, dense tan head that recedes to a bit of foam around the edges pretty quickly leaving some decent lacing along the way.

S: Aroma is very sweet with roasted/burnt chocolate malts, molasses and a big dose of licorice. Slight hop presence in the background along with a subtle alcohol burn in the nostrils.

T: Taste disappoints a little bit after the good aroma and comes across a bit medicinal. The sweet malts, roasted/burnt coffee and chocolate are there but there is an overriding astringent bitterness that takes over and stays throughout the finish. Interesting tastes but too bitter for my liking.

M: Mouthfeel is a little light for the style but still creamy despite the astringency.

D: Well, this is definitely an interesting brew with a good mix of flavors, but the bitterness and burnt character keep it from being a great beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a smallish, tan head.

Smell: Somewhat restrained aroma smelling of caramel, bittersweet chocolate, roasted barley, and a hint of smoke.

Taste: Smoked barley, a bit chocolately, and with a slight caramel sweetness. Earthy bitterness. Hint of boiled bitter herbs. Touch of alcohol. Slight bitterness to the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Fantastic stout? Heck, no. Decent stout? Yeah, sure. Best thing oughta Matt Brewing? Definitely.

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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 Durge
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This DIPA poured a clear red amber color with a nice white head and good lacing. I pick up a solid candied-malt amd mellow pine hops aroma. It packs a nice punch at first taste but the flavor overcomes the alcohol as you go. I don't find this to be very complex, pretty much bitter grass with malt. Not as tastey as the smell. Viscous, nice balanced carb. I wouldn't think this would be the perfect session beer, one or two for me, but a respectable brew.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of those breweries that I tend to pass up for others, but I was curious to see what their interpretation of an Imperial Stout was like. Pours a black color, with minimal heading. Nose has dark bitter chocolate, coffee, and some soft berry notes. Taste reveals many things. Milk chocolate, dark roasted coffee, a bit of hop, and a chalky roasted taste. Mouthfeel is medium. By far this is one of the most drinkable Imperial Stouts I have ever had. Saranac really stepped up to the plate with this brew. I wonder what some aging will do to this beer. Cheers.

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Photo of animal69
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep, inpenatrable, almost jet black with a stiff brown head that settles after a few minutes leaving a good lacing in my snifter ; a strong woody/smoked smell, some sweet dark malts and lighter fruits such as apples & pears poss. from floral hops midway, almost has a burnt tequila-ish smell overall, alcoholic in the end ; a robust, moderately hopped, smokey, almost "meaty" flavor more accentuated on a darker roasted and a def. smoked malty quality more than other IS's, a bit more fruity as well w/ a coffee and brandy-like note with dark fruits in the finish ; a med-full bodied brew w/ barely enough co2 to support that giant head, could be a tad thicker ; an drinkable and enjoyable brew for sure, i've got to get more of this one...

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours an ultra dark brown with little flashes of raisin around the edges when held to the light. the head is a sandy tan that suck around for some time leaving some strips of lace.

Smells a little on the porter side with a emphasis on smokey malts backed by oatmeal raisin cookies, green grapes and molasses.

The flavor is quite dynamic with a little touch of smoke on the tip of the tongue that gives way to some melon and grape but is then subsumed by a harsh smokey streak down the middle of my tongue. When it comes together it lends a touch of roasted marshmallow.

Feels just a tad on the over-carbonated side as the bubbles become almost airy imparting an over-emphasis on the smoke.

I keep wanting to say that this tastes almost classic in the sense that it's nearly archetypal in its take on the style, but I'm not enjoying it as much as I should. A good take, easy to drink and priced right.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful brownish/black color that is extremely dark - not much head with average lacing and below average carbonation. The dominate smell is rich malts, coffee and chocolate. First taste is light, sweet, and bitter - not much body at all. Not very complex as other in this style.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap 5/9/08, at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short dense light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is very malty as you would expect from this type of beer, with flavors of chocolate and dark fruit. There's a very mild hops presence, which is normal as well, but it keeps a decent balance. The after-taste is bitter sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, heavy body, light carbonation, finish is sticky and dry.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, kind of filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it's decent beer but it's definitely not the first big stout that I would pick.

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Photo of dustinjkline
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass

A - Syrupy black with dark tan head
S - Typical coffee, roasted malt smell. Not incredibly strong smell.
M - Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth
T - Taste similar to smell. Roasted malt, slight coffee. Just a little too much noticeable alcohol taste

Overall a pretty nice Imperial Stout
Worth the price paid.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque, fudgy black with a toasted marshmallow head. Lace is ready to stick even though the head has hardly minimized within the first moments. Tilt leaves a thick brown trail of lace on the side. Head thins after a couple minutes, as expected of the style.

Aroma is a sweet, caramel/chocolate-dipped marshmallow, hint of graham cracker, a strong berry-like presence without seeming obvious, and traces of milk/cream in the background. One of those big stouts that smells like a s'more.

Flavor is frothed milk, deep-roast coffee, dark baking chocolate, with alcohol providing merely a base of warmth. Bigger stouts can be rich, gooey indulgences, and are usually better that way. Here the rougher elements of a stout are a bit too prominent (bitter coffee, baking chocolate), but the lactic sweetness that attempts to peek through is nice. Sourness in the finish is interesting, and at this point the alcohol comes through a bit stronger.

Like so much Saranac stuff, it's over-carbonated. There's a creamy, even light frothy body in here somewhere, but it's covered up by too much tingle.

I've learned to keep expectations on the lower side for this brewery. However, this is one of Matt Brewing's better beers, with enough good elements to recommended at least a one-time try. I like it, but my enthusiasm is muted.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

A: Dark brown, near black, with a very sparse light brown head that faded quickly to a ring of bubbles. Light lacing.

S: Dark malts, light coffee, toffee, a little bit of the alcohol comes through, prunes, and something interesting that smells a little like black licorice.

T&M: Initial wash over the tongue is sweet, malt mixed with molasses, and then a bitter rush of coffee. Heavy in body but still delicate and even a little creamy. Carbonation is very light. Finishes a touch sweet at first and then drops off quickly, sort of passing the baton to a nice light alcohol warming.

D: Very enjoyable, easy to drink, and rather well balanced for an impy stout. For some reason, the ABV caught up with me very quickly. Very good! Recommended.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've long considered Saranac to be the great pretender of large regional micros. They have a great range of styles, but by and large the qualtity isn't quite there. Still, they're usually affordable, and like the Met fan that I am, I keep trying and hoping... If they make a good Imperial Stout, that will heal a lot of disappointment.

So far, so good. Unrepentantly black color with solid brown head and impressive lace. The nose is balanced and complex, with toasted malt, coffee, and a slight burned note and has the pleasant stench of alcohol dripping all over it.

This is legit. Coffee and dry toasted malt with the obvious but not problematic alcohol haze. Very smooth and drinkable. Easily the equal of several of the bigger, more expensive names. Saranac finally shoot and scores! Now if they can just fix that Winter Wassail and Mountain Ale...

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The very dark tan color of the head suggests the richness of the brown-black beer below. A quick whiff reveals an assertive, dark-coffee roastiness and some vibrant hops in the background - and that's carried through in the flavor. I was pleasantly surprised to lively notes of floral, leafy, and spicy hops in the finish once the bulk of the dark roasted malt had passed. (The spiciness may actually have been from the alcohol, but it was minor, and quite pleasant). Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of philbe311
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Jet Black,thin but lush brown head... As expected from a stout...

S - Coffee... Chocolate... malt... Very tempting...

T - Roasted coffe beans... Roasted Malt... Chocolate... Wheat / grain undertones...

M - Excellent texture... Taste is complex as develops at a good pace... Medium to heavy body... Coats well...

D - Exceptional offering... Tasty and harty...

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black body, not a highlight to be found. Dark tan four finger level dentable head of micor-micro bubbles.

Rich aroma of roased coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits.

Tongue follow nose. Roasty coffee, dark chocolate, soaking plums. Alcohol is well hidden. No real hop assault. Everythings okay, nothing is extreme.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but not quite as rich and slick as many in the style. Easier drinkability than some of the big boys.

No Stone IRS or Victory Storm King, but Saranac makes a nice little IS that could here. Worth a try but not a case.

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Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a burnt grain with a touch of sweetness.

The taste featured a robust burnt grain with undertones of coffee and dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style.

Overall a very approachable and tasty RIS. Kudos to Saranac.

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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 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 KOPBeerDrinker
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a jet black from the bottle. Large fluffy tan head formed, leaving nice lacing as it subsided. Smells of roasted malt, slight chocolate and fruit. Roasty, burnt malt taste ends with sweetness of fruit, maybe raisons. Mouthfeel is medium with little carbonation. 9% alcohol is not detectable and is easy to drink. One of my favorite Saranac brews.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amazing. Best Saranac beer. Period. That being said-great black color with a huge, fluffy, deep tan head. Nice roasted aroma with a mellow oakiness. Deep, roasted flavor. Terrific raiseny, burnt, port wine sort of thing going on. A whole schism of flavors going on. Solid mouthfeel. Killer beer all around. Very impressed. If the Saranac product line could rise to this level there might be a whole new ballgame for moderately priced craft beers.

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Photo of akorsak
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from a recent trade with ralflord.

A: The stout pours with a midnight black darkness. No light gets in and none gets out. A 2 finger mahogany head sat atop the glass, almost overflowing. Lacing is evident around the mouth of the glass.

S: The nose is deliciously dark, full of graham and chocolate. The burnt bread aromas almost scorch the nostrils.

T: The great nose falls a little short in the taste department. Burnt flavors are evident from the get go but they are not as focused as the nose would suggest. Some breadiness and darker malts manage to add more depth but ultimately the taste is a tad too thin.

M: The darker malts do create a good taste, quite possibly the best that Saranac has put out to date. This is nothing extraordinary but a nice step in the right direction.

D: The abv is hidden in the deep malt flavors. I don't think that I'd have more than one at a sitting.

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Photo of sacfly
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, no date. "high peaks series"
pours a dark, almost opaque black with a sturdy brown head of small, tightly packed bubbles. Aroma is sweet. Malt and brown sugar. First sip is a nice balance of coffee and sweet malt- this quickly fades into a semi-intense burnt flavor. Not too heavy in the body. Impressed. Excellent Imp Stout. I'll bet if people didn't know it was Saranac, they would like it even more...

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Saranac Imperial Stout from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.9 out of 5 based on 198 ratings.
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