Saranac Vanilla Stout
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Vanilla StoutSaranac Vanilla Stout
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Stout - American
3.44 | pDev: 14.83%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Saranac Vanilla StoutSaranac Vanilla Stout
Notes: Few ingredients rival vanilla’s ability to add richness and roundness to food. Made with a traditional blend of caramel and chocolate malts plus roasted barley and a hint of vanilla. Vanilla Stout will surpass your expectations. Enjoy the brew on it’s own or with a bite of dark chocolate for a real treat.
Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 277 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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SLeffler27 from New York

3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a black stout with very dark chocolate highlights. The half-inch, creamy head drops within a minute, leaving patchy lace on the walls of the Harp nonic.

Sweet malt is cut by vanilla extract and quickly followed by an acrid aroma.

The deep roasted malt is bitter with a sweet edge. Notes of toasted wheat bread and black coffee are cut short by vanilla late in each sip. The finish is eternal and bitter, dominating the session.

A dry, satin texture with hints of alcohol are supported by carbonation in this medium-to-full-bodied stout.

Saranac’s Vanilla Stout is decent and enjoyable, but lacks any real draw for the otherwise initiated.

Jul 19, 2015
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Huffs from New York

2.91/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a Sam Adams glass, nice full creamy head developed which lasted and had tremendous lacing which lasted through the beer. Appearance was dark deep brown. Aroma was caramel with a malty background and taste was malty with hints of vanilla, almost reminded me of a cream soda. Mouthfeel was more soda like, nothing like you would expect from a stout and aftertaste was dry and sweet.

Jan 21, 2013
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phishsihq from Colorado

3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Saranac Vanilla Stout pours a deep, dark brown and is capped by a frothy, one-inch beige colored head. Aromas of oak, roasted malt, and chocolate make quick appearances before the vanilla dominates the nose. The vanilla flavors again dominate the pallet, but in a good way. Flavors of roasted malt, milk chocolate, and a hint of coffee can be found under the vanilla. Interesting and slightly sweet, Vanilla Stout is medium in body and moderate-light in carbonation.

Aug 19, 2012
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Unibroue snifter

A: pours clear, dark red-brown in color but ends up opaque and nearly black in the glass. The short off-white head had moderate retention and leaves little lacing on the glass.

S: The sweet aroma is of roasted malts, natural vanilla, toffee, and caramel. Some alcohol appears after warming.

T: The taste is malty with a pronounced vanilla flavor: A bit overdone IMO, but certainly not unpleasant. The result is a vanilla flavored milk stout. Hops are detectable, but too low to make this seem like a typical American stout. A bit too sweet and syrupy.

M: Smooth and creamy, with a near-medium body that is not as full as it ought to be. Low-medium carbonation. Finish is slightly dry and sticky.

O: If you like dark beers with a good bit of vanilla, this one's for you.

May 18, 2012
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tobelerone from New Jersey

3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An opaque dark brown brew with more than a finger of fluffy off-white head. Retention is good and lacing is exceptional, very creamy and clinging in sheets to the sides of the glass.

Good but mild aroma; there's vanilla in there, mild roastiness, as well as a touch of coffee. Nothing too big but certainly smells appealing.

Flavor is...only okay, at best. There's a good dose of vanilla but it tastes very artificial, like a dose of vanilla extract dumped in the glass. Bitter roastiness and coffee flavors clash rather than hang together harmoniously. There's a funny aftertaste that's a little overly bitter, almost burnt, and faintly metallic. Some of the alcohol taste from the vanilla extract hangs around. Not terrible but not terribly tasty either.

The body is medium to thin, medium carbonation, feels a little too much like a soda. Not an awful beer but not one that I'd recommend.

Apr 15, 2012
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Lagerhouserules from New York

3.26/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep espresso color - not black, but not really brown either. Something in between. A decent head of foam, real foam, which fades fairly quickly but leaves a nice, satisfying lacing on the glass (always a plus for me). Smells like chocolate syrup, not so much vanilla. Taste is actually better than expected. I am pleasantly surprised because I thought it would have a forced artificial vanilla flavoring to it, but clearly does not. This beer was not forced together; someone put some effort into it.

The problem with Saranac is that most of their beers are just okay, like they decided to cut corners somewhere. This one doesn't really fit that mold, but it still leaves something to be desired; a little more abv might help this one.

Mar 16, 2012
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

2.44/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Saranac winter mixed 12-pack at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a nonic, formed a 1" light brown head over the clear chestnut brew. Pillowy head dwindles gradually, with sticky lasting lace. Aroma is sickly sweet vanilla.

Taste starts with dark maltiness, cold stale coffee and tart artificiality in the middle, and an acrid bitter close, with wisps of vanilla. Mouthfeel is alright, and drinkability is average at best. The clunker in the mix pack for me.

Feb 22, 2012
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

3.57/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a dark looking blackish brown color with a tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer had a pretty big nose of vanilla with the dark roasted malts in the background. The taste of the beer was a little on the muted side, there was a decent amount of vanilla in there but it tasted a little bit artificial to me. The roasted malts weren't too bad and they helps balance the sweetness. The mouthfeel wasn't anything too crazy, it was rather generic if you ask me. Overall the nose of this beer is a really nice, the rest of it kind of leave the drinker hanging and waiting for more...

Feb 16, 2012
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CraftBeerTastic from Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #125
Served On: 02/10/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: March 31, 2012

This was in the 2011 '12 Beers of Winter' mixed 12 pack.

Look: Poured a clear dark ruby red color with some light passing through. Head was a thin layer of tan film.

Smell: Notes of semi-sweet vanilla and coffee bean. A lactose quality was present. Deep roasted malts also.

Taste: First was a bland dark fruit note that quickly turned into roasted coffee with faint vanilla. The finish was a bitterness that had some residual vanilla and dark fruit mixed in. Aftertaste was roasty with more bitterness lingering.

This is a nice Vanilla Stout. I’ve had others that seemed artificially flavored, but this one seemed to offer up a very genuine palate.

Feb 10, 2012
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DrinkSlurm from New York

3.56/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz into Ommegang Tulip. Pours a deep black with off white foamy head. Nice vanilla and roasted malt aromas, but as always, that same Saranac alt aroma where you know its a Saranac. Nice roasty malt and subtle vanilla make this an easy tasty stout...its a bit heavy to be a session brew, but its ease of drink make it a nice beer to enjoy, just no wow factor here.

Feb 04, 2012
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Brenden from Ohio

3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a dark brown beer that's heavy in the body but lets some light in at the edges. A sizeable tan head keeps itself together and leaves thick rings of lacing before turning thickly spotty and patchy.
The nose is a straightforward but strong blend of coffee, cocoa nib, vanilla and roast in a malts backbone.
The taste follows but adds a bit of charred wood. Overall I'm impresses, ae Saranac can be a bit light depending (though not as much as some like to claim), but this beer has a presence in a big malt backbone. One thing that would improve this beer is a little sweetness to round and balance it out, and the char does go the way of a smoky tanginess.
The body is pretty heavy and even rtich, allowing a creamy smoothness to flow, but it's a bit too heavily carbonated.

Jan 24, 2012
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jaasen64 from Massachusetts

3.42/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown, non translucent. A little over a finger of brownish white head. Decent lacing.

S- Vanilla and Coffee.

T- Vanilla and espresso flavors. Not too strong of a flavor. Carbonation a little bit high for a stout.

M- Drinkable, fairly well balanced throughout.

O- This beer wasn't bad, but could have been a little better for a stout. A little bit lighter then your average stout, I would maybe consider sessioning this beer. Would have liked a little bit more pronounced flavor and a little bit less carbonation.

Jan 22, 2012
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blakelive784 from Colorado

3.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a very dark shade of brown with a light tan head of 1.5 fingers. The head is disappointingly thin, and retention is awful, especially considering the low ABV.

S - Fair amounts of roasted barley, bitter chocolate, subdued vanilla bean, and coffee. Medium strength.

T - Very solid roasted malt foundation opens to a creamy body. The vanilla is raw and reserved, but a welcome compliment. Bittersweet chocolate and mocha coffee come through on the climax, bleeding to a roasty finish that lingers on the aftertaste. What it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for with thoughtful, balanced flavors.

M - The most glaring flaw. Too light in body, and a bit too smooth on the finish. I wish it were more dry.

D - I'm actually pleasantly surprised by this one. It's a simple, well executed stout that I'd drink again. No award winner, but one of decent quality and easy drinking.

Jan 10, 2012
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BrewCrew2010 from Mississippi

2.88/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a blackish-brown body with a creamy, moderately small, off-white head; no lacing.

S: Faint aroma of roasted chocolate malts with some notes of vanilla extract.

T: Flavors are very weak and absent in this American stout. Some upfront flavors are roasted malts with notes of coffee. It's followed by some cream and vanilla notes, but very deficient. Although not completely off, it has very forgettable characteristics.

M: Thin body; medium carbonation; lean texture although there is some creaminess to it.

O: Vanilla stouts can either be awesome or a dud. This isn't a bad beer, but it was definitely missing oomph. You can taste the effort, but it's definitely lacking. Very drinkable, but that's because it's sort of bland. I don't think I would rush out and get more only because there are better American stouts out there.

Jan 05, 2012
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CaptJackHarkness from New York

3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From Twelve Beers of Winter Selection fresh to April 2012:

Pours deep brown with reddish highlights and a creamy beige head.Curtains of lace. Aroma is sweet and malty. Taste is of vanilla and dark roast coffee. Very biting aftertaste on back of the tounge. Could have been sweeter and the vanilla be more pronounced.

Jan 03, 2012
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claspada from New Jersey

3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of dark roasted malt and vanilla; some underlying sweetness as well. Nothing too complex but pleasant.

The taste was less than adequate. We get roasted malt with a faint taste of vanilla that works against the beer rather than with it. A little too bitter And roasted for a stout in my opinion.

The mouthfeel was average for this style of beer. Slightly creamy, slightly watery, it provides adequate consistency.

Due to the overall average flavor, this beer does not have a strong drinkability. Though you could put multiples of these down, I am not sure why you would want to. Decent enough on tap amongst the average swill thatnis usually on tap in bars in my area, but not a world beater by an means.

Jan 01, 2012
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mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass, color is dark brown to black with a tan head that dissipates to a ring and light cover.

Scent is mild roasted malt hints of chocolate and sweet vanilla, more like the extract.

Taste is overpowered by the vanillaness, but is backed by a solid light roast and chocolate malt profile, mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is towards a milk stout with some stronger bitterness and lingering vanilla extract flavors.

Overall, intersting brew, but the strength of the vanilla might be a bit much for my taste; though this would go well with some ice cream.

Dec 28, 2011
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tdm168 from Pennsylvania

3.29/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep black with a half inch of dense, brownish, foamy head that has great retention. The nose has notes of faint vanilla extract and mild roasted malts. Heavy vanilla dominates the flavor. It's creamy and has faint diacetylic notes. There are some roasted malts and coffee flavors as well that can be picked up in the finish. Overall, the flavor is very sweet and one dimensional. This is medium bodied, smooth beer.

This is an alright beer, but needs a little more balance. The vanilla is too intense and the roasted malts offer little balance. The sweetness takes away from the overall drinkability.

Dec 27, 2011
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by 3/31/12.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1/2 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Foamy rings and dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, bread, and vanilla. Taste is of toasted/roasted malt, cocoa powder, and vanilla beans. There is a slightly bitter and acidic roast flavor that lingers on the palate after each sip. Not very good in this regard. This beer has a high level of carbonation with a very crisp and bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average stout that suffers from the acidic aspect and too much carbonation.

Dec 20, 2011
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Arithmeticus from Maryland

2.78/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured chilled in flared glass

A: purplish black; thin head; good carb action; good lacing
S: sweet vanilla, inviting
T: relatively plane, nondescript vanilla stout; not complex; light on the booze

Overall, not that great a version of the genre, but it's not offensive, either. (I consider this better than Breckenridge, because the flavor profile is more subtle.)

Dec 18, 2011
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Brouwerij78 from New York

3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had very high hopes for this beer. Vanilla...stout...I was psyched. I bought a cold 12 pack of the 12 beers of Christmas and there were 2 of these Vanilla Stouts included. I raced home, made a great meal and poured a frosty mug full...and what a flop. It was pretty much a bland stout overall - not even a hint of vanilla. This fell short and flat of my expectations - even for a plain stout. Rather bitter and blah. Save your money for a real craft brew. Amen.

Dec 17, 2011
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Minkybut from Virginia

3.97/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was very dark but not opaque. The beer pored a big tan head. The beer had a hint of vanilla on the nose that was just right. Taste was balanced well vanilla not being too prominent. I liked the beer and will buy again.

Dec 15, 2011
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OneWildRover from New York

3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 12 pack of the 12 beers of Christmas from Saranac. I was really looking foward to trying this beer, and I thought it was decent. It wasn't my favorite beer in the pack, but it wasn't my least favorite either.

Appearence- A nice deep brown color, with a creamy head.

Smell- A toasty coffee smell with a hint of vanilla. It smells similiar to Murphys Irish Stout to me.

Taste- A nice toasty coffee flavor. For me the aftertaste reminds me of a vailla starbucks drink.

Mouthfeel- A nice light feel with a slight carbonation.

Overall- A nice beer for the cold winter months.

Dec 15, 2011
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Halcyondays from California

3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a deep brown with a full creamy off white head leaving thick lace.

S: Lots of vanilla, creamed coffee, dark chocolate.

T: Vanilla and butterscotch upfront with some astringent coffee in the background. Bitter, but pleasing finish.

M: Light-bodied for the style, soft carbonation with a light crispness. Medium aftertaste.

O: On the nose it reminds me a lot of Breckenridge Vanilla Porter. Not as good as that beer, but a nice facsimile.

Dec 11, 2011
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gregb13 from California

3.82/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the second Saranac beer I've tried from their winter pack. It's got a really nice vanilla nose and taste. Very strong vanilla, almost like straight extract. It is quite a bit better as it warms, though there is a little too much bitterness in the aftertaste which kind of mutes the vanilla a little bit. Overall it's a pretty good beer.

Dec 08, 2011
Saranac Vanilla Stout from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 277 ratings