Saranac Vanilla Stout
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Vanilla StoutSaranac Vanilla Stout
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American Stout
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
Reviews by phishsihq:
Photo of phishsihq
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of goblue3509
2.93/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a black color that is thick and not see through with a slight head that is slightly off white. The smell is of vanilla and chocolate malts, the smell is sweet and inviting. The taste is of vanilla and a slight chocolate malt, the taste is faint and slightly watery. The mouthfeel is very thin and slightly carbonated. The drinkability is good, nothing offensive about the beer, but the taste leaves a little to be desired, it is slightly watery and not thick enough for a stout.

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Photo of thespaceman
4.17/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had another bottle of this tonight after I forgot about it sitting in my cellar, and it appears this one got stronger? I definetley don't remember the dark roasty ester taste in the finish, but now that I'm having it again it is such an inviting, warming brew. This one is probably the favorite out of the Saranac Winter pack, a good blend of vanilla without going out of control, and now that it taste a tad stronger it's a bigger winner in my book. An excellent job from Matt Brewing.

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Photo of righthereisay
2.01/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Was very dissastisfied with this beer. Very bitter. Not full flavored at all. No different than cheap imitations. Horrible purchase.

I purchased this because it was in a variety pack, and wanted to have some variety Christmas beers. I was going between some variety and Penn Dark. This was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

Will never buy Saranac again.

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Photo of jsdunlop
2.93/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Jet black, 2 finger tan head that recedes to a thick layering on top. Vanilla, musty tobacco, chocolate and sweet and condensed milk make up the aroma. Taste consists of vanilla to start, followed by a nice roasted malt profile w/ hints of caramel and some coffee like bitterness, a decent hop presence as well with an overwhelmingly sweet aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thick, creamy like with perfect carbonation. Overall drinkability is average, definitely a solid stout profile, but a bit too much vanilla character for my taste buds and the sweetness seems to throw off the balance IMO.

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Photo of smedley
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured black with a mocha colored head, larger-sized bubbles. Nice lacing.

S - Coffee, chocolate, malts, a touch of vanilla

T - Roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee. Was really hoping to taste that vanilla, but I'm not sure that I do.

M - I prefer my stouts to be a bit thicker. This is a little thin for my taste, given the style. Medium carbonation.

D - Not bad. The thinness probably makes this a little easier to drink. Not a bad brew.

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Photo of Vendetta
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice pour of thick black with a foamy head that accumulates quickly, a bit doughy. Strong malt lacing down the glass as the beer disappears into my gut.

Some roasted malt aroma emanating off of the beer.

Strong presence of vanilla bean in the beer. Not as much roasted character as the scent would indicate. Lots of vanilla punch in here. This is some quality stuff.

Mouth feel is superbly creamy vanilla, very thick, very full-bodied.

Despite being a stout, this is very drinkable without being watery. The lack of an astringent alcohol note is very nice as well. This is a must-try.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of eporter66
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass

A - Great look, dark black, thick foamy cream colored head

S - Roasted malt and vanilla, something a little sweeter underneath that I cant place

T - Nice rich taste, no overpowering flavor, good blend of rich malt

M - Good presence, full bodied

D - I love stouts, and this one is a very drinkable beer, could easily have a few at any sitting.

One of my favorites from Saranac

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into glass. Very dark black color with foamy brownish head. Only a slight amount of light gets through the beer. Head turns rockier as it slowly dissipates. Cannot pick up much aroma besides the hints of vanilla. Also hints of malts. Good taste, strong chocolate malts present, caramel tastes also. Of course vanilla. Not much carbonation, full body. Overall a great new beer from Saranac, has some room to improve but still something to sit back in the winter and enjoy.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a pint glass.A very thick creamy head with nice lacing. Deep black color non-translucent.Tastes of caramel hardly any vanilla as it suggests.A good mouthful and goes down very smooth. I would say good not a must try but definitely if your in the mood for a stout.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.16/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saranac Vanilla Stout is a dark, reddish brown ale with a pink-beige head that's thick, lumpy, fluffy and rainbow bubbly. It has excellent retention and lacing. There is dark roast in the aroma and it's slightly sweet, like caramel. It's a little muted, but it smells like a candy bar. It has a medium body that's reasonably smooth with a clean finish. There is nice balance of flavor. It's milky, with a nice bitterness. It is slightly sweet with notes of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and toffee. Great joerb!
(rated Nov 28, 2008)

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.25/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of cnjohn19
4.2/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Description from the bottle: "Few ingredients rival vanilla's ability to add richness and roundness to food. Made with traditional blend caramel and chocolate malts plus roasted barley and a hint of vanilla. Saranac vanilla stout will surpass your expectations. Enjoy the brew on itself or with a bite of dark chocolate for a real treat."

Notes below, but overall if you like vanilla bean ice cream you'll love this beer...if not, stay away...i've never actually paired beer and chocolate until this one, but works well...

A - then only thing keeping this from a perfect 5 is the fact the massive head dissolves to a thin layer after the pour...besides that, thick black with a beige head laced after each sip...

S - hint of vanilla my ass...this thing oozes vanilla bean with sweet dark chocolate and whole coffee beans...

T & M - imagine a vanilla/chocolate/stout milkshake...really well done, but i think it depends on the bottle as this is my second go-around with this one and the first one was nothing like this...very rich and roasted and thick...

D - you almost have to cut the thickness so a little tough to have more than one...

Song pairings: Chromeo - "Fancy Footwork," John Butler Trio - "Better Than," Bobby Darin - "The Wanderer"

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Photo of mjw06
4.01/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A truly beautiful thick and frothy off-white head that remained until the very last drop and left a consistent lacing on the glass from top to bottom. The color is a dark dark brown, though seemed just a tad bit lighter than most stouts that straddle the line between dark brown and black.

I've tried a number of vanilla stouts and so forth. Ironically, most are good stouts that trip up on the vanilla element. The vanilla taste is either overpowering, barely there, or completely displaced from the rest of the body. This stout packs a natural tasting vanilla flavor that fits in perfectly with the rest of the beer. The vanilla taste is reminiscent of the smell of warm vanilla sugar, a scent that I'm sure most have smelled on one or two females in their day. Together with the roasted full body taste and feel, you get the taste of a not-so-sweet smore. There were some sour notes, particularly on the finish, that were unpleasant and got in the way of this being a truly excellent tasting beer.

Definitely a vanilla stout to try if you're into them. Had this from a Saranac winter variety pack at a holiday gathering. I would've drank these all night if I didn't want to try some other selections and I didn't have to drive home. There's nothing particularly outstanding or unique about this beer, rather, its just very well done.

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Photo of rawhydes1
1.17/5  rDev -66%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This is the second time I have tried this beer. Both times, I made an attempt to drink this, to be polite to the host(s).

Last night, the host says "Is that beer OK? It doesn't look like you are enjoying it."

I couldn't control myself, and said "This is the worst beer I have ever had!" He then laughs, and says, "I hated it too, but I know you like stouts, so I thought maybe I was missing something."

This acrid, cloying, vanilla extract-tasting drool is HORRIBLE. It smells medicinal and fake, and tastes like a rancid Dr. Pepper.

I hate this beer.

Sorry Saranac, you make some decent beers, but I don't know how you let this one make it out of the brewery. You can do way better.

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Photo of dogfishandi
2.98/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

drank this after bottling my homebrew IPA, and drinking a lot of IPA, so my palate was definately not in the right place, but i was pretty sure this wasnt going to be the best beer in the world, so i didnt really care. appearence is nice, completely opaque black with an abundant creamy tan head that stuck around for awhile. some nice lacing. the aroma was mostly of coffee and roasted malts, with some chocolate and not as much vanilla as expected, but i considered this a good thing because all the flavored saranac beers ive had were very artificial tasting. very light mouthfeel for a stout. too much carbonation. the taste was coffee, some raosted malts and hints of vanilla and chocolate in the finish. as this one warmed up, the vanilla was definately way more present both in the taste and aroma. it was a rather fake artificial tasting vanilla. i couldnt see myself drinking this again unless given too me, just lacks real flavor for a stout. i wouldnt reccomend this one, the light body and high carbonation really ruined it for me, also pretty watery.

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Photo of Nascartailgatefa
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, cream colored head. Head dissapates to a thin layer. Excellent lacing. Heavy malt aroma. Full tasting, sweet malt taste. Nice mouthfeel, definitely a winter beer. Not tasting the vanilla though. Has a coffee taste, which is rather pleasant. Good drinkability in its class.

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Photo of stakem
3.03/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pub glass. Credit goes to Eric for talking me into splitting this variety case with him "because it was on sale." The brown bottle has no indication of freshness. As it is poured into my pub glass, it appears a streaming clear, light brown color. As it rests in my glass, it appears more of a dark brown with clarity around the edges. More than 2 fingers worth of dark brown head swells up composed of rather large bubbles. The head recedes leaving some froth and a webbing of lace all around the glassware.

The aroma of this brew is dark and roasty with a scent that primarily smells like black licorice coupled with tangy alcohol, leather and tobacco. There is a sweetness to the smell reminiscent of vanilla coupled with caramel or toffee. While the nose of this brew has quite a bit going on, it is disjointed and doesn't really blend together all that well.

The taste of this brew initially has a sweetness of vanilla that has quite a clinging power in the way it coats and stays inside the mouth. It quickly gives way to some tangy notes coupled with roasty grain bitterness, licorice, and citrus hops. There is a musty aspect and a flavor of stale cigarettes that lingers in the mouth long after each sip. Honestly, this beer is all over the place. As it warms, it picks up a mineral taste that is almost chlorinated coupled with a bit of a fruity sweet aspect. I just can't get into this brew no matter how hard I try to just roll with it.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. The alcohol is hidden quite well but I cant say that this experience was all that enjoyable or easy drinking. I probably wouldn't have this again if I was given a choice but it was worthy trying it once just to say I did.

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Photo of GennyCreamAle
4/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of PicoPapa
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the 12 Beers of Winter mix pack. Pours a deep brown, almost black color with a nice sized brownish head. Decent amount of lacing. Aromas of coffee, roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and an overall sweetness. Taste is sweet as well. A mix of caramel, light coffee and vanilla flavors, and some roasted malts. One of the beers that really shine through in the winter pack. Definitely worth looking for.

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Photo of bsend
2.73/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pouring this beer into the glass, you immediately notice this beer is dark. Pitch black stout. Definitely not a bad look at all. Bubble cling to the glass providing a break from the darkness. The head pours out a moderate consistency.

The beer smells of roasted malt and vanilla. The vanilla reminds me more of Vanillin (a pharmaceutical compunding product) rather than extract. A little too strong on vanilla smell.

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. Bitter, and unappealing at times, Saranac let me down here.

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.

Final Thoughts - I got this beer in the winter mix pack. Definitely fine when there are only two of them in there. Other than the ability to try it, I would generally find better alternatives.

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Photo of carterbt
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured more of a dark brown than black. A finger, maybe finger and a half of head. Lace appears to cling fairly well.

S - Some roastiness, certainly some vanilla there. Smells more like extract than real vanilla bean.

T - First thing is the vanilla sweetness. The Roasted malts come in mid-palate. Finishes much more bitter than I would have guessed.

M - Decent. Definitely a bit lighter than I would have liked in this kind of beer.

D - Not bad. Enjoyed it, but I believe a better vanilla would have pushed this one higher.

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Photo of Sipchue
3.25/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of wrycon
2.48/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pretty dark, but light on the edges. Looks like a super dark brown ale. Nose is, well, vanilla, but with some coffee and chocolate mixed in. Smells sufficiently malty. Thicker than I thought it would be from the start. Starts malty but then shifts in an odd sour/sweet direction. Carbonation increases on the back end, as do the vanilla notes. The vanilla seems like an afterthought, more than the defining character.

Like it? Not So Much

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