Saranac Imperial Stout | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

very good
152 Reviews
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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Reviews: 152 | Ratings: 198
Photo of Bung
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Poured black, dark tannish head. Roasted aromas, not real heavy. Pretty carbonated in the mouth, mostly roasted malt. A hint of sweetness. Would have liked it better if there was more mocha, chocolate, molasses, anything. A bit of sour bitterness is the main negative though. Charred/bitter finish that isn't really complemented by anything either. Just O.K.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from the High Peaks series I poured this 12oz slightly below cellar temp into my La fin du Monde tulip.
A - A deep mahogany w/ garnet shade at the base of the glass w/ 3 fingers of rocky brown sugar colored head. The beading is pin sized and as the head settles to 1/2 inch leaving a webbing of lace

S - Raisiny toffee scents w/ caramelized sugar and hints of cinnamon in the aroma. The nose has herbal notes of hops like basil and a mild vanilla bean scent. The light essence of cocoa and toasted nuts is very pleasing to smell.

M - A rich chewy malt feel w/ a full body and moderate carbonation. The sweetness gives a creamy sweet texture w/ spiced edges and a roast + smooth finish

T - A woody mildly alcoholic taste w/ bittersweet cocoa and toffee flavors. The dried fruit taste of raisins w/ a bitter warming taste w/ subtle dark toast and espresso notes. There is an earthy nutty vanilla bean and pine hop blend w/ hints of bark which is surprisingly tasty as the beer nears cellar temp, but the alcohol comes out more and slight vegetal notes w/ touches of black pepper develop. Hints of floral vanilla and mild citrus peel are noted in the last sips -nice flavor complexity

D - This was a surprise from Saranac for me, but a very solid brew -I admint I haven't sampled from this brewery in about a year, but I enjoyed this and will try more of Saranac in the future based on this beer. I found this to be a very drinkable Imperial stout

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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 lpayette
3.61/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a single bottle at Winooski Beverage- figured I'd give it a try.

A- Pours a deep black with just about 1 finger of head made up of really small bubbles. Not the best lacing, but it tries.

S- Surprisingly reminds me of bourbon... Yeah, it's a little hot in the nose. Some definite coffee notes too.

T- Mostly balanced towards the malty side which is how I like 'em, but this ends just a tad too bitter for me. Definitely a complex malt profile- they say that they use 11 different malts on the label, and it shows.

D- Not bad overall, and certainly not a bad value. Doesn't quite live up to some of the other Imperial Stouts out there, but they set a high benchmark.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad, but lacking in the smoothness I would like. There is a sharpness and bitterness on the back end that I think is unfortunate.

Pours inky black with a fluffy, brown head that falls slowly to medium lacing. The aroma is strong, powerfully of roasted barley and black malt. The flavor is strong and smokey, almost too strong. It resolves to an almost soy sauce-like astringency. The effect is slightly out of balance, too sharp compared with smoother examples, such as Old Rasputin or Storm King Stout. The mouthfeel is thick and a bit over carbonated. The finish is surprisingly dry, leaving a woody bitterness clinging to the top of the mouth.

This tastes like a beer that could have benefited from some additional aging in the tank and a slight reduction in the carbonation, which mostly serves to highlight the bitterness.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, this dark-as-night brew crowns itself with a thin layer of cinnamon-hued bubbles that recedes quickly to naught and leaves behind a few thin tendrils on the walls of the vessel.

Smells rich, roasty, and chocolatey. No alcohol detected in the nose, but a full cacophony of aromas develops as the beer warms nearer to room temperature.

Rich and smooth on the palate, the first thing that jumps out is the bite of boozy alcohol, which is quite powerful. More delicate chocolate, burnt toast, roasted coffee, and a bit of bitter hop notes develop immediately thereafter, leading into a dry and roasty finish.

This one leaves a bit of lightheadedness with its 9% ABV, and should most certainly be sipped and savored. But another one would go down just as easily. Any more than that, though, and that might just be it for the night. This is a delicious, complex heavy-hitter, for sure.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this during a recent trip to Max's Taphouse. It pours a dark and impervious body beneath a razor thin head with little lace. The nose detects a heavy molasses whiff while the palate experiences a biscuity combination of brown sugar and molasses. I was surprised to find that the body was rather light - surprising for the style, that is.

Saranac's Imperial Stout was nice and smooth albeit a tad sweet for me. Not the best of this style, but exceptable if nothing else is available. They can't all be Old Rasputin, can they?

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Photo of khiasmus
3.32/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a finger of head. Head drops to a short layer quickly but lasts for the duration of the experience. Leaves slight moderate lacing.

Aroma is of chocolate, hints of roasted grain, a light hint of oak. Not a bad nose. It's actually quite good for the caliber beer this is.

Flavor also, not bad. Some chocolate and toffee notes, a finish of roasted grain and earthy hops, and a light sour tinge in the middle that seems to be due to the hops.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style. Lightly creamy, but really underwhelming.

The problem with this beer is not that it's poorly crafted. The problem is how subpar it is compared to other beers in the style, and compared to the style guidelines. The alcohol is enough, but the flavor complexity simply isn't. The bourbon note is nice, and it's really a very good beer. The sourness is somewhat offputting, but the main thing is it's just subpar. An easy drinking Imperial stout. Just subpar.

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

Very dark color
Smells of baking chocolate, alcohol, licorice and coffee
Dark fruit drenched in alcohol. chocolate and coffee with a definite hop presence.
Very big mouthfeel, very full with solid carbonation.
Very solid beer, I will get this again if it comes around again.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac Imperial Stout is a solid black that is chocolaty brown during the pour. The head looks like hot cocoa. It leaves some dense brown lacing and develops oily bubbles as the head thins out. The aroma is ample. Chocolate malt prevails in the nose. The hops register as spruce or wintergreen. It's a pretty lively aroma. It is not very complex. It's soft and fluffy on the tongue. It is medium-full bodied and the carbonation is prickly. It dries up a bit at the finish. The flavor is dominated by cocoa. It's well balanced and pretty well blended. There is something like nutmeg before the alcohol takes over. It turns into vodka and black pepper at the end! It's never very sweet and very straight-forward. I like that Saranac never goes over the top. This one doesn't have as much personality as their Imperial IPA, but it nails it nonetheless. Don't get too many in arms' reach at once-- great drinkability for an impy.
(rated Mar 11, 2008)

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle this beer was a clearly thick, not-quite-opaque brown color . The head was a one finger cap of cardboard-brown foam that formed quickly, retained fairly well leaving thin streaks of patchy lacing as it dissipated. The aroma was lots of chocolate along with some ripened fruit, roasted malt, and hints of alcohol heat tucked underneath. The taste was sweet at first with the chocolate coming through clearly followed by toffee and caramel, then coffee and alcohol esters in a funky blend. This funkiness had a hint of sourness and some overly sweet characteristics that the roasted malt was masking. The finish was bitter and lingering. The mouthfeel was a little frothy and slightly slick the body full and the carbonation excellent for the style. Have to say it- I was finally impressed by a Saranac with this one, good execution of a difficult style gentlemen!

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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 Riverwarrior
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S = A mixture of dry cocoa and roasted coffee beans with a hint of floral hops in the background.

T = Dark chocolate upfront with roasted coffee blending all through the middle and end. The finish had a hint of floral hops, but quickly disappeared leaving a great roasted mocha flavor. The alcohol was completely masked.

MF = Body was fairly thick and carbonation was low. Very creamy and silky.

Overall, I was surprised at how good this Double/Impy Stout tasted. It is solid from start to finish and is definitely my favorite offering from Saranac.

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Photo of Brad007
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a motor-oil black color with a thin brown head into my pint glass.

Aroma has a strong hint of chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. Decent hop bite as well.

Taste is creamy upfront with hints of chocolate and coffee. Carbonation seems acceptable.

Mouthfeel is comprised of bitter coffee and chocolate melding with the hops in this beer.

Definitely meant to be sipped. A decent imperial stout that should only taste better over time.

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

A cellar-cool 12-ounce bottle poured into an imperial pint willi glass yields a light-absorbing ebony body capped with three fat fingers' thickness of mottled, grainy-bubbled chocolate milkshake-colored foam. The head lingers quite a while before receding, resting at a soft, slumping, but nonetheless free-floating puck that leaves wide, drippy webs of lacing wherever it bumps against the glass.

The smell is mild and roasty with a dark note of winey chocolate. Cocoa-dusted licorice and a scratchy, husky nuttiness come through, as does a somewhat fruity note of alcohol.

The taste is rich and chocolatey with a dusty cocoa dryness and a mildly roasty twang of burnt malt and strong dark coffee. Alcohol manifests itself, but pretty mildly. An inoffensive swirl of fermenting apples is backed with a dark, chewy maltiness, conveying the idea to my palate that I'm not just having a pretty darned decent brew, but also a nice liquid snack in the process. Hefty. Food-like and rich... lingering chocolatey coffee commands the finish and aftertaste.

Saranac's Imperial Stout is a big, full-bodied drink with superfine, fluffy carbonation. Easily the best beer I've ever enjoyed from the brewer. Very drinkable, even considering the 9.0% abv.

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Photo of penguinjive7
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel glass, this brew pours pitch black with about a half an inch of dark tan head.

Smell is mostly roasted malt and sweetened coffee blended with alcohol as it warms.

The dark roasted coffee flavor is dominant with a pleasant alcohol heat on the finish which is masked very well. There is also a hint of chocolate that comes through as it warms

A admirable offering by Saranac. I never really found their brews to be anything spectacular, but this is really a fine brew with is definitely worth the try. You can't beet it for the value as well.

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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 Soozy
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Jet-black with a tan head. Has a strong smell of alcohol and coffee. Taste has a strong chocolate taste and little bit of a burnt flavor. This beer tastes like it might have oxidized. It is a little bit too over-carbonated. The drinkability is good for 9%, which is masked well, but overall this isn't the best Imperial is sold at a great price though.

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the brewery.

Poured a solid black with a solid dark brown head. Retention was good, but only minor lacing.

Smells of dark roasted malts, maybe a bit of smoke.

Taste is bittersweet, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and some smoke. Finish is bitter but a bit milder compared to the start.

Mouthfeel is smooth and dry, nothing special here. Heavy bodied.

Drinkability is good, very good considering the ABV and price in comparison to similar products. Really though, it's a good solid stout, well worth it. Easy to drink, ABV aside.

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

Had this on tap at COCO's pizza in Brookhaven Pa.

Inky black body with a nice brown head that seemed to sit there for a bit then faded.Moderate lacing was left.

Hops,roasted malts and some fruitiness.

Really nice,fruitiness,sweet chocolate and some roastiness.

Nice mouthful,heavy and not much in the way of a alcohol taste.Carbonation is very nice.

Nice beer,the best Ive tried from Saranac yet.I had two pints and took my time and enjoyed every sip that hit my lips.Ide for sure have it again.

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Photo of claytri
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a solid black with a tan head. The aroma is of malt and dark fruit. The taste starts with sweet dark malt, and finishes with a burst of dark fruits. The feel is heavy and dry. A very nice Imperial Stout good and sweet, fruity, and just enough hops to rope it in at the end.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Saranac High Peaks Series, 6 pack was $8.99.

Hands down the best beer Saranac has to offer. The DIPA was retired but luckily this one was kept around. Rivals some of the best RIS's out there for about half the price. Is extremely tasty with tons of chocolate and coffee flavors and the aroma is sweet from the hops. At 9 % ABV, the alcohol is not noticable at all, making this way too easy to put down a couple!

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Photo of weeare138
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears an opaque black with a thick head of dark tan foam that slowly fades away. Plenty of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of roasty malts, bitter cocoa, doughy fudge, along with a heavy amount of hopping consisting of citrus, and herbs.
Taste is of the aromas and I'm very surprised at how much this one teeters along the lines of being like Storm King.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, warming, and decently balanced between the heavy bitters and sweetness. Well done beer!

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Photo of bobsy
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big stout, and that's for sure. Pitch black body with a finger of bubbly mocha head. Big bittersweet chocolate aroma. Lots of chocolate in the flavour along with cofee and some dark fruit. There's also a very faint milky flavour I can't quit pinpoint, but is a big distraction for me. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Drinks well for a strong stout, and the alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of number1bum
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pretty much pitch black, with about a finger and a half of dark khaki head. Head retains quite well, with a solid, full lace and a good amount of stick.

Smell has some bitter dark chocolate, bready chocolate cake, a bit of roasted malt and coffee. Seems to be some tobacco like hops going on here too.

Taste has some chocolate malt, with a moderate residual sweetness, and a bit of coffee. Roasted malt really comes through in the finish and rounds the beer out quite a bit. It seemed a bit weak before the roasted malt hits the palate, but it's pretty solid. There is a bit of hop bitterness that mingles with the roasty flavors in the finish, as well.

For an imperial stout this seems a bit thin in the mouth - it's pretty creamy, but really only medium bodied. Quite smooth, though.

This is a pretty solid imperial stout, and on the low end of the price range for the style. Therefore it's a very solid pickup - if it were more expensive, there are a lot of better options, but this is a pretty damn fine option at the price (I paid $8.99/6er). Good beer.

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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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