Saranac Vanilla Stout | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

171 Reviews
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Saranac Vanilla StoutSaranac Vanilla Stout

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Brad007 on 10-18-2008

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Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 277
Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.42/5  rDev +30%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A=Dark black with a little amber/red showing through on the side.Thin head that fizzles rather quickly, leaving a moderate lacing.

S&T= Dark caramel roasted malt, with creamy vanilla, maybe some toffee coming through. Delicious.

M=Again,medium-bodied with maybe a little too much carbonation for a stout of any style.

D=Light on alky,smooth and quite tasty without any bitterness, makes this an excellent all-night session while still retaining good flavor and substance.

This is my first vanilla stout, so I can't compare to others of the style. However, this is good stuff, meeting the standards, and for the price, cannot be beat. Saranac I do like.

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Photo of cnjohn19
4.2/5  rDev +23.5%
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 thespaceman
4.17/5  rDev +22.6%
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 yesyouam
4.16/5  rDev +22.4%
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 Biscuit033
4.11/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown with a large three finger caramel colored head that slowly shrinks and clings to the glass the entire way down.

S: Espresso and roasty flavors balanced by rich cream and and just a hint of vanilla.

T: Vanilla hits the tongue first but then almost immediately is overcome by dark chocolate and espresso roastiness and bitterness, then the flavors meld.

M: Full, smooth, and creamy with a long bitter finish.

D: Plenty of flavor here for a sub-5% ABV beer. This is good on its on and would be good with food as well. This is a really well done vanilla beer with the vanilla playing a supporting role and not overpowering the beer.

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Photo of TStandley13
4.1/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer out of the saranac mixed pack. Certainly my favorite brew from Saranac.

Appearance is very dark, almost impossible to see through. Head good at first but disappears while drinking, lacing is present but not notable.

Smells tasty - like a good old mocha-expresso-coffee-milkshake with some vanilla tossed inside. Some chocolate tastes as well.

Tastes just how it smells, with a very nice vanilla aftertaste.

Mouthfeel somewhat dissapointing, very thin, not what you would expect for a stout.

Drinkability - overall great sweet and coffee induced flavor. could drink these for a while.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.07/5  rDev +19.7%
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 kkosmoski
4.03/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Longneck poured into a Harpoon Munich Dark glass. Big, tightly-packed light tan head atop a ruby-tinged black liquid. Large dimples form as the head settles down with excellent stick and retention. Roasty aroma with a touch of vanilla. Clean malt profile to start with a bit of vanilla sweetness. Hops join in just to balance, and the beer ends with a dry, almost acrid roasty malt character. Feel is medium-light and dry with lively carbonation. Coffee drinkers will find this beer pleasing and easy to drink. This beer came off as very Dry Irish in character to me with a hint of vanilla to it. I was expecting a much heavier feel and more pronounced vanilla flavor. Overall, a nice stout and welcome addition to the winter 12-pack.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.03/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12-ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass yields a ruby-tinted ebony body with a fluffy cappucino-style head. The foam atop recedes very slowly into a misshapen mountainous moonscape structure and leaves fluffy rings and broken sheets of fine lacing on the glass. The persistent foam is reminiscent of nitro-stout faux-foam, but the bottle isn't sporting any widgets!! Great foam.

The nose is sweet and breadily fudgy, like dark chocolatey brownie batter drizzled with an alcohol-ish note of vanilla. A darkly-roasted, nearly charred note adds depth and heft.

The taste is savory and darkly roasty with burnt black malt sweetened with toasty, medium-dark caramel. The mid-drink is chocolatey and sweet, the finish dusted with bitter charred grain and alkaline cocoa.

Very smooth and creamy, almost fluffy in the mouth. A good drinker and a really surprisingly-good beer from Saranac!

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Photo of mjw06
4.01/5  rDev +17.9%
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 bdp1201
4.01/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark, almost opaque, color. The head was not very thick on my pour but had a rich tan color. There's a nice lace as well. The smell has a mild vanilla and chocolate undertone, not very pungent at all. At first taste, I am immediately hit with barley and vanilla. The mouth feel is a bit thin for my liking on this type of beer but overall very drinkable.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black hue with a two finger creamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a moderate burnt grain with a clean dry vanilla aroma.

The taste consisted of clean roasted malts, some coffee and a subtle vanilla. Dry coffee and some sweet cream at the finish.

The mouthfeel was about average for the style.

Overall a tasty stout with a nice dryness.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark and semi-opaque brown. Off white head and some lace

Smells of vanilla and malty goodness

Tastes very hoppy at first, as it approaches serving temperature (cask would be ideal) the malt takes over and the vanilla taste comes out at the back end

Smooth and full bodied and smooth, with a mellow prickliness from the hop.

This is a very solid offering from Saranac.

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Photo of Brad007
3.98/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another new addition to Saranac's 12 Beers of Christmas variety pack.

Pours a pitch black color with a two-finger head that fades quick, leaving a bit of lacing on the glass.

Aroma has a faint hint of vanilla followed by chocolate and coffee in the nose.

Taste is smooth and creamy with the hint of vanilla upfront, followed by a decent taste of roasted coffee. The vanilla obviously doesn't dominate the palate but seems a bit weak.

Mouthfeel is weak vanilla and roasted coffee/chocolate flavors. Mouthfeel isn't too thin and lingers for a while.

Nice and drinkable stout here. Could use a bit more vanilla flavor. Being that they can make decent american stouts, I wonder what their imperial stout tastes like? Regardless, this is worth a try at least once.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.96/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery. A genuinely warm thanks to Mr. Naegle, the best tour guide Matt FX has ever had!

Poured a solid dark brown with a good 2 fingers of tan fluffy head. Wonderful lacing and good head retention.

Smell is of dark roasted malts with a light vanilla presence, not as much vanilla as I had hoped. This would be a truly awesome beer had this been aged in oak.

Taste is good. The roasted malt dominates, giving the beer a dark and bitter flavor. The bitterness isn't as strong as most stouts however, and the vanilla, again incredibly mild, adds a nice edge and finish to the beer. Very well blended.

Mouthfeel is heavy in body, very warming and filling. Carbonation is good and solid.

Drinkability is good. I was very impressed with this one, and if this was available in a 6 pack, like the Carmel Porter or Pumpkin Ale, I'd definately buy it.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The last from the 12 Beers of Winter mixed pack, which this year includes 6 new styles, 2 bottles of each as opposed to the 12 established styles it has featured in the past. This vanilla stout pours almost completely black with a tiny sliver of brown underneath. The head is thick and dark and impressive and leaves sheets of lacing as the head retreats. The nose provides the promised vanilla along with caramel, coffee, and roasted malt.

The heavy roasted malt flavors rule the taste here from beginning to end, seeming very reminiscent of an Irish stout with hints of oatmeal. There is caramel and a touch of coffee in the aftertaste. The texture could stand some thickening. Overall, this is drinkable and fine but not quite a top notch stout.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.9/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a near black with a one finger tannish head. Good retention. Mediocre lacing.
S- Vanilla is actually a nice touch. Smells sweet, with just a touch of coffee.
T- It tastes a bit like a starbucks drink. A little bit of coffee and a good kick of vanilla. It's a good vanilla flavor though.
M- At first it's just a touch astringent but then the wave of sweet vanilla kicks in. Finishes a bit dry. Too light bodied for the style though.
D- Well I just reviewed Lake Effect Lager and thought it was the best Saranac beer I had up to this point. This one edges it out slightly. It's a good beer that doesn't let its vanilla get in the way and instead lets it accent the beer.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep cola brown color with a pale khaki head that sits low but hangs around.

S - Sweet mocha latte, toffee. Particularly nice as it warms.

T - Toffee, milky latte. Dark malts later in the profile. Roast, coal, coffee. Almost no hop character.

M - Smooth and round. Touch of dryness in the finish.

D - I found it fairly drinkable, I didn't think the deep roasted flavors were too overpowering.

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Photo of ToddT
3.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown with slight ruby highlights and topped with a nice tan head. Head fades slowly and leaves some spotty lace on the glass.

S- Roasted malt, sweet molasses, caramel, vanilla, and bitter dark chocolate. The nose in a nice balance of aromas, I'm enjoying smelling this one quite a lot.

T- Taste follows the nose with the exception of a hop bite at the end, a little unexpected but not unpleasant.

M- Creamy and smooth in the mouth with decent carbonation. Could be a little better here, but it does have a nice mouthfeel.

D- Very drinkable, the 4.8% ABV could make this sessionable, and it's not too extreme in any one characteristic so it is very accessible.

Nice beer, well done and in balance.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.86/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass from the 2010 Winter Mix Pack

A-Dark, one inch foam head that lingers. Leaves behind an excellent lacing

S-Coffee and Vanilla

T-Taste of coffee, vanilla, chocolate and some caramel

M-Creamy, medium bodied.

D-Very drinkable. Great beer for a winter mix pack.

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Photo of Nascartailgatefa
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
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 smedley
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
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 eporter66
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%
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 zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured out a jet black hue with hints of ruby. It had a foamy, bubbly, tan, one finger head that left thick sheets of sticky lace.

S - It smelled of strong vanilla aromas with a oaky quality. It had a roasted malt notes, too.

T - It really had a solid vanilla taste with roasted caramel malt. It had a nice bitter hop kick, too.

M - It was fairly crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good stout. One of the better vanilla stouts around.

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Saranac Vanilla Stout from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.4 out of 5 based on 277 ratings.
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