Saranac India Brown Ale
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac India Brown AleSaranac India Brown Ale
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #640
Ranked #41,460
3.57 | pDev: 11.2%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Saranac India Brown AleSaranac India Brown Ale
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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 93
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

rich brown with a huge creamy head and a huge lace down the side, this looks very inticing to say the least! Smell was of roasted nuts with a hint of hops. Caramel sweetness undertones as well, smells thick and very fresh. The taste was very full. Nice roasted tones and caramel was the predominant flavors. Very complex though as there was much hoppiness at both the beginning and the finish. The finish was very nice, very dry and left you looking for more.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the 12 Beers of Winter Mix pack. Pours a semi-translucent brown with a moderately sized frothy head. Nice lacing. Interesting aroma of hops upfront followed by the caramel and roasted malts. Taste is only a small bit of the hops and mostly the roasted malts and typical Brown Ale flavors. Overall the taste isn't quite as hoppy as the aroma would make you believe but it does have more of a hop presence than a normal Brown Ale. Decent brew but not one of the better ones in the pack.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.45/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reddish brown body, good clarity. Two and a half fingers of off-white rocky foam. Good lacing.

Nose is full of fresh bread, yeast. Some earthiness.

Semi-sweet chocolate splashes hetre and there about the tongue before being quickly swamped by the earthy, bready hops. The individual tastes never get to shine, and its all a sloppy mix.

Sloppy mouthfeel is all over the place.

One beer goes down ok, but not something to make a night of.

Lacks a finished quality, comes across as a novice homebrewer with a good idea.

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Photo of armock
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a hazed brown color with a big off white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of lots of hops at first then the sweeter malt comes through

T - Follows the nose starts off hoppy then the sweeter malt provides a good finish

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - India browns are interesting to me its not one of my favorite kinds of beer but this one is pretty good

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Photo of jimj21
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce bottle purchased as part of a mixed Saranac twelve pack. Poured into pint glass. The beer is a dark reddish amber and is fairly clear. Some bubble streams rise in the glass. Pour produces a little more than a finger of off white head. Retention is pretty good and there is some spotty lacing.

If your nose comes anywhere near the bottle or glass, you get a lot of strong hoppy aromas. Very citrusy hops including grapefruit. A little floral. Some sweeter malty smells as well, including some caramel and toasted bread.

Tastes just as good as it smells. Fairly hoppy with a nic emalt presence. Excellent balance. Bitter grapefruit and other citrus peel make up the hoppy flavors. Malty flavors are sweeter and include caramel and some toasted malt. Maybe a little bit of chocolate as well. Definitely a darker malt flavor than you would find in a typical IPA. It's definitely interesting.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied (more toward the lighter side). A little too much carbonation, but it doesn't detract too much. Slightly watery, yet slightly dry.

I like this offering from Saranac more than most of their others. Definitely an interesting style. I do think it would be better if it were a bit darker and had a slightly thicker mouthfeel. Overall, I think it's a decent beer and something I could drink a few of.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown clear. The smell is of hops. The taste is a typical IPA it is hoppy but it is not dominated by hops like other ipas are. The hops are slight and enjoyable, would be a good starter ipa for non hop heads. The mouthfeel is dry and not overly bubbly. This is a solid beer that you can drink over and over.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark reddish amber. Head fades to nothing rather quickly.

S: Completely dominated by citrusy hops. The faintest hint of caramel lingers in the background.

T: Again, all about the hops. Just a touch maltier than a typical IPA.

M: Medium-bodied. A bit too carbonated.

D: Pretty much par for the course as far as my experiences with Saranac. There's nothing particularly bad about it, but it lacks that extra something to make it actively good.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this in a mixer I picked up.

A: Pours an amber/brown body with an off-white head with good retention and lacing until the finish.

S: A nice, bitter, hoppy and floral aroma with some nice, citrus malt undertones.

T: A nice, malty beer with some hops to balance. Pretty good taste overall. The hops are evident, but not too overbearing. The sweet malts provided a good backbone. Nice combination of a brown ale and an IPA.

M: A medium-bodied mouthfeel that was fairly smooth and pretty nice feeling on the palette.

D: A nice mouthfeel and taste combination. Alcohol was fairly evident, but it was not too bad overall; provided more warmth than anything. A nice drinking beer overall.

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Photo of russpowell
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at Goebel's in Wichita, review based on notes:

Pours cooper/caramel with 1 finger of sand colored head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Toasty malt & breadyness, plus slight smokeyness once warm

T: Toasty malt, dryness& citric hops up front. Light brown sugar, chalky dryness & plus biscuitty malt. Finishes dry, toasty, with slight breadyness & citric hops

MF: Light bodied & a bit over carbonated

Drinks easy, nice training wheels take on the style

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Photo of jmbranum
4.47/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite from this brewery.

Enjoyed as part of the Winter Sampler pack, bought at a grocery store in Watertown, NY.

I absolutely love this beer.It reminds me of a darker, maltier version of the Celis Pale Bock.

Inviting aroma, nice dark amber brew with slight head.

The taste is exactly as described. Not a Pacific NW Hop monster, but is within the range of a Pale Ale or even an IPA. Lots of floral and bitter hop notes. But it's all matched by rich roasted malt. Some coffee notes surprisingly. Quite dry.

Mouthfeel is hard to pick up. There's just so much going on, but definitely the hop oils linger on the tongue.

This beer is a winner. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of nasty15108
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint.

A - Poured a dark amber color with a thick head of off-white foam. Good lacing and carbonation.

S - Malty and slightly nutty with a nice amount of caramel sweetness. Some metallic notes also detected.

T - Malty with a slight sweetness up front. Finishes with a little bit of hoppy bitterness.

MF&D - A nice suprise for Saranac. Medium bodied and easy drinking. I think I'll have another! Not sure if its only available in the sampler though.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright ferric oxide orange with polished 24-karat gold edges. Is a brown ale that's nowhere near brown still a brown ale? The ecru colored cap is soft and smooth, but does manage a little rockiness as it melts. It's slightly better than average in the lace department as well.

The nose is more like a hoppy amber ale or an APA than the stated style. It's obvious that there isn't much crystal malt present in this so-called brown ale. Citrus peel reigns, which isn't surprising given a hop bill of Columbus, Cascade, Centennial and Fuggles.

Like most TMBC beer, India Brown Ale doesn't taste especially well-brewed. Do these guys use lower quality ingredients or are they miserly with ingredients in order to keep the price down? With so many better options out there in craft beer land, it's hard to see how they survive. Then again, Budweiser is the most popular beer in America, so what the hell do I know?

The malt tastes roughly midway between amber and brown. There may be a hint of cocoa, although it's probably just the power of suggestion. There's a definite bitter grapefruit vibe and there are enough hops in general for the name to be accurate. This is semi-enjoyable beer if you like American hops and if your expectations are on the low end.

The mouthfeel score is probably too generous. There's *just* enough hang-on during the back half for it to be considered slightly above average. Carbonation is within the wide range of acceptable.

Saranac India Brown Ale is par for the course for this brewery. It isn't their best and it isn't their worst. In the end, it *might* be worth a single if you like hops and want something a little out of the ordinary.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, nuts, spice and some hops.

T: The taste is malty and spicy with sweet flavors of caramel, spices and nuts. There's a decent hops presence that comes in next and remains strong into the finish, but not strong enough to give the beer a hoppy flavor. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, not one of the better brown ales that I've had and it's yet another mediocre Saranac beer.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.24/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

got this in a winter sampler pack. poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. pours a very clear dark amber brown color with an off white to tan head that has some pretty nice retention, as well as some decent lacing. hardly anything going on in the nose at all. a little bit of caramel, possibly some dried fruits and a tiny bit of hops. the taste is a little metallic, some caramel malts in there perhaps some chocolate with a rather subtle hop finish. the taste kinda reminds me of a hoppy winter ale, like winter hook, or never summer ale, definately not as good as those 2, but close. rather light mouthfeel which is prolly why i drank it so fast. medium amount of carbonation. its definately a drinkable beer, not too bad, but there is room for improvement.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.06/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A clear brownish-orange with some fairly active visible carbonation. A rather large, densely foamy off-white head with good retention and some solid lace.

S: Toffeelike malts, with some nutty hints. Citric (orange/lemon) and piney hops are fairly prevalent for the style. Mild metallic notes as well.

T: It's got a grainy, vaguely macro metallic flavor up front. It subsides fairly quickly into a caramel and soft chocolate flavor. Hops are again piney and citric, with nice flavor. Some nutty hints into the finish. It finishes better than it starts, I'll give it that.

M: On the thin side for a brown ale. Carbonation is fairly lively. A bit of a drying bite into the finish.

D: Part of me can appreciate what they are aiming for here, as many brown ales come across as a little dull compared to more popular pale ales and the like. However, this one is too thin and, at times, too metallic to be considered noteworthy. Worth drinking, but not something to really seek out.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.16/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a translucent nut brown with no foam, just a layer of fine bubbles

S - mainly malts with hints of nuts

T - roasted malts and a bit of a hop bitterness

M/D - light bodied and easy drinking, there was a sort of zesty finish in the mouth and the flavor wasn't all that present. I could drink this regularly but its not my favorite brown ale by far

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.76/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass. I'm excited to drink this because it will once and for all rid my refridgerator of the virus known as Saranac.

4.0 A: Looks great, which is typical of Saranac. The problem will ultimately lie in the paragraphs below. Amber brown color. One and a half fingers of thick head that retains well and leaves tons of lacing.

3.0 S: Weak aroma overall, but not bad. Hints of dark fruit and caramel and the smallest touch of herbal hops.

2.5 T: This beer drinks like a macro in a sense. The first sip is full of flavor, but each subsequent sip is progressively more bland. The tastebuds have never become tolerant so fast. A couple of ounces in it tastes like a watered down version of a decent brown ale.

3.0 M: Light body, too light to be any good. Smooth, but a little overcarbonated.

2.5 D: I don't even want to finish this one.

Well, hopefully I'm done with Saranac for a while. Most of their beers pissed me off in that they looked really good so the overall scores were way higher than the score for taste. Saranac is only good for one thing as far as I'm concerned: to convert the masses to craft.

BA: "Here, have a Saranac. It doesn't taste like much, so you won't hate it."

Masses: "Hey, I don't hate this. It so mild that it tastes like BMC minus the disgusting adjunct taste."

BA: "Good, now try this (*insert good beer*), it's like Saranac only it tastes good."

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Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of winter variety pack (6 beers - 2 of each):

Pours orange brown with a nice foamy tan head that leaves lacing.

The smell is nutty/toffeeish with a pine/citrus which is there, but a bit overpowered.

The taste is metallic at first, which subsides to the back as it progresses. It has a "brown" maltiness - towards chocolate. The "generous" hops that were promised on the label...there, but I suppose "generous" is relative. I've had a couple browns that pull off a "hoppy" interpretation of the style without clashing. This leans towards borderline. There is a pine/resin but somewhat plastic-y. After the initial metallic character subsides (pretty quickly, fortunately), there is a maltiness with a pale ale hoppiness mixed in, giving it a nice pine touch.

The carbonation is medium to aggresive. It leans towards the light end of medium bodied, but is coating, and pretty smooth.

It grew on me as it progressed. A decent attempt at a hoppy brown that works to a degree - have had better - could be worse. In the end, a drinkable beer that is malty but with a hop touch that can be appreciated a bit more once the metallic touch goes to the back.

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Photo of JamesS
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light brown color with very little head and almost no lacing. Decent malt scent, not as thick as I like in my browns, but not bad; tiny hop aroma. Excellent taste, very deep and thick, huge and malty, nice ent draught. Goes down very well, if a little sweet at the end.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on Super Bowl Sunday 2009. Poured from bottle no. 2668-C631 into a thicker weight pint glass.

Appearance - Very nice brown with reddish tones and excellent clarity. Short-lived beige head but decent lacing.

Smell - Malts mainly and something a tad nutty or fruity. Vague hops.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouth feel that takes its time to breakdown into carbonation while swishing on the tongue.

Taste - Decent bitterness and good balance of hops. Slight aftertaste.

Nut Browns and other types of browns are probably my favorite style next to English Bitter. Not too heavy and well balanced. A positive experience.

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I got this from a friend over the holidays, and poured it into a flared pint glass.
Appearance: THe body color is ruby red and the head is close to an egg-shell. The head has great retention that leads to super lacing.
Smell: The aroma is predominately pine hops but has a very strong caramel malt backbone.
Taste: The flavors are mostly from the malt, nutty and toffy but there is also some pine hop.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is rigid to begin, but becomes numbing by the end.
Drinkability: This is a dandy drinker.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of therica
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apparently we were more impressed than a number of previous reviewers. This is a nice ale akin to an APA but in brown.

A= nice chestnut-brown, off-white head which laced down the stein and remained even after the last drop.

S= bready roasted malts, floral hops (some mild grapefruit), very nice.

T= very smooth, and much like the scent there's the bready roasted malts and floral hops, a good mix of hops-bitters and bready taste, yet the grapefruity hops are (thankfully and wisely) less apparent during drinking. Some caramels or burnt brown sugar blended in the mix.

M= nice mix on the tongue, some hops bitters remaining for some time

D= if you like floral hops and mild hops-bitters presence, and a nice bready malty-ness in a Pale Ale, then you'll probably love this for session or meals.

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Photo of riversider76
3.26/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with a reddish hue. fluffy tan head with excellent retention and lacing. Aroma is of pine hops and grapefruit. Nice but weak. Body is on the thin side and carbonated. Taste is of tart fruits and hops. Good, but like the aroma a bit weak. As usual for Saranac, decent but not great.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.31/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear mahoganyin color with ruby hues when held up to light. Big bubbly khaki head with good retention and excellent lacing.

S - Faint aroma of citrusy hops. Some lemon and grapefruit come to mind, but the aromas are very muted.

T - Strong caramel malt sweetness initially. Surprisingly strong hop taste underneath though. Citrus with hints of pine are the primary hop tastes. Finishes rather sweet.

M/D - Light to medium bodied and just a little too thin on the feel. Very crisp carbonation and easy drinking though.

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Photo of nick76
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is soapy and sweet with brown sugar, lightly toasted malt, and leaves. The appearance is amber with an average head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is thin but well carbonated. Overall it's a non offensive beer but not a favorite.

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Saranac India Brown Ale from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 93 ratings