Saranac Winter Lager | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Winter LagerSaranac Winter Lager

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

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 120
Photo of Deus1138
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a Vienna Lager, comparisons to Sam Adams Boston Lager are inevitable.

Poured into a Utica Club Pilsner glass. Redish amber color with about a quarter inch of frothy head that went right to the brim. Head.

Smell is bready with a hint of indistinct hops.

Taste is very good. Bready, biscuity malts, with a touch of caramel sweetness. Much sweeter than SA BL, but by no means a very sweet beer. Grassy hops add a touch of spiciness. Nice, sweet bready finish.

This is a really good Vienna Lager. Too bad it's called "Winter Lager" because this would make an excellent addition to their year round offerings.

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Photo of Suds
3.82/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the winter sampler case, this beer is a brilliantly clear copper-amber color. The head is a little slim, with white wisps. Nice aroma...barley, a bit of caramel, cereal, mildly toasted malts. Not bad. The taste is quite good, with a lot of malt and sweetness. Fairly medium-full in body, this could be a great session beer. Firm hop bitterness in the finish, although malt is centric in this brew. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of billybob
4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear copper color with a light tan two or three finger head depending on the pour. head holds well and leaves a nice sticky lace as you drink. smells of fresh malt and very slight spice. taste is subtle, sweet strong tea thats lightly spiced comes to mind, slight lingering after taste that not unpleasant. mouthfeel is light and a medium carbonation that fits well with this beer. easy to drink and subtle taste make it very enjoyable.

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Photo of capps24
3.06/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My 2nd beer from the Saranac 12 pack sampler (Big Moose Ale was 1st) My original thought was this taste more like a beer I would have during an Octoberfest. Not like some other winter lagers, but it is good.

Nice appearance, clear, with nice white foamy head. Goes down smooth. Not much of an aroma to it. Overall it is an average beer when put up against other Winters.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. Off-white head lasts for a just a short period and than disappears, leaving mild lacing. Aroma is hoppy and spicy with a malt base. Taste is slightly sweet and nicely hopped. Body may be a bit thin, but overall a pretty decent winter brew.

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Photo of Mardukk
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a red brown color with some head and lacing.

Smells of hops and lightly roasted malt.

The taste begins with some malty sweetness and finishes with oily hop excess that lingers a bit too long. Alcohol warms on the finish.

Medium bodied with light carbonation.

Overall a fairly nice winter lager that definitely warms you. However the odd bitterness and lack of balance seems to detract from my desire to seek this out.

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Photo of bob3701
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner style glass. Nice copper color with a head the quickly turns into a film. Sporatic lacing. Hint of caramel in the finish. Not a bad beer by any means but strangely non-discript. One of the weaker beers in the Saranac Winter sampler, which I highly recommend picking up.

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Photo of dsa7783
2.68/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copped as part of a twelve-pack Winter sampler... One of the better brews in the bunch but still, nothing to write home about... Pretty bland and nondescript in terms of overall flavor profile... Not enough substance in the mix... Hints of bread, butter, and caramel struggle to be noticed... not recommended...

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Photo of MVotter
3.89/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - The Saranac Winter Lager pours into a chalice a clear copper color, with a thick, creamy, antique-white, one-inch head.

S - Yeasty/bready aroma ... some spice.

T - Malts up front, and the finish is a combination of sweet malts and hops. There are also yeast and hay-like flavors in here; interesting profile. I would say that no single taste dominates ... good balance.

M - Medium gravity, and a creamy texture created by the kind of carbonation which is seemingly on a time release, a tight blanket of bubbles on the palate.

D - Very enjoyable. Well balanced brew ... across the spectrum.

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Photo of deruiz10
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

A - Soapy 2-finger head is eggshell in color, leaves a small amount of lacing. Color is a deep amber, moderately opaque. Fine effervescence seen.

S - Tree sap and mild roasted malts. Slightly sweet, hints of caramel and maple syrup.

T - Big malty flavor, flavors like maple oatmeal, finish is sweet and very drawn out and tastes mildly of German hops.

M - Crisp, but feels bigger than I was expecting. Good carbonation keeps it from being too heavy.

D - Though not particularly complex, the flavors are well-balanced and definitely capture the spirit of the winter. A good after-work beer for the colder months.

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Photo of russpowell
3.02/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours an effervescent copper/orange with 1 finger of tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Breadyness & a touch of toasty malt

T: Toasted malt, herbal hops, dryness up front. Dryness, a bit of metallic hops & some toasty malt as this warms. Finishes chalky with a slight apricot fruittyness, & a whisper of booze, barely pulled a 3.0

MF: Thinnish with a bit too much carbonation

Drinks okay, but a bit weak & uninteresting, maybe one of the most disappointing Saranac beers I've had

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Photo of kkosmoski
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a case version of their twelve beers of winter (double the enjoyment for the holidays, nice). Longneck was poured into a tall, slender German lager glass. A hard pour produced a couple healthy inches of cream-colored head on top of a darker than expected amber colored liquid. Very lively carbonation working its way up through. Smells of golden brown toast, some cooked vegetable, and sweet malt. Flavors include lightly toasted malt, some light caramel sweetness, cooked vegetable, and a metallic bitterness in the finish. Feel in the mouth is medium with a bright carbonation. This is a pretty easy drinking beer for the season that is dominated by heavier, stronger ales. This lager is close to being very good, but falls a little short compared to some of their others I think. A nice mix up to the winter pack.

 824 characters

Photo of porterwoobie
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: copper/brown color, very clear, large off-white head that lingers for some time, very minimal lacing.

S: not much to the aroma. mild grainy smell. slightly sweet aroma.

T: bready, grainy taste. finishes dry.

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: nothing stands out about this beer, but it is tasty nontheless. i'd drink it again.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.98/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nothing fancy here, but there is nothing wrong with a simple beer done right, and thats the case with this Vienna Lager. Pours a really nice clear amber color and nice white head. Not much retention on the head, but just enough to leave a good lace.

Smell is of an inviting malt character, sweet with hints of caramel. German hops provide a nice counterpoint to the malt, providing a slightly floral/spicey hint.

Taste is well balanced in this one. Toasted malt character, but also a nice crisp from the hop bitterness. Slightly sweet, but not overly so. Also a little earthy spice from the hops at the finish.

Mouthfeel is of a rather light body but very crisp. Overall an enjoyable refreshing brew; very easy to enjoy several of these at once.

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Photo of mnrider
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle.

A: This brew pours a dark amber looking color. After the pour the small head turns to nothing, with no lacing.

S: Very little aroma. A bit syrupy.

T/M: Easy and smooth. Fairly crisp. The small use of hops are overtaken by the sweeter malts. However their is still a nice balance.

D: A good beer. Nothing great. Middle of the road. Taste could be stronger.


 390 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 of the 12 Beers of Winter; from a 12 oz bottle.

A: The lager is a dark amber color, a syrupy caramel that fits nicely as a Vienna lager. A finger of head, white, didn't lace.

S: The nose has a clean bready flavor that lacks the traditional aroma of many Saranac ales. Earthy hops finish off the nose.

T: Clean and grainy, this is the second Saranac lager that has really hit the spot. A vine-fruit sweetness assists the malt profile. As in the nose, hops are subtle, balancing rathering than bittering.

M: The mouthfeel is grainy sweet, lighter bread flavors and a kiss of hops.

D: The fuller malts add a great deal to the body, strengthening it up significantly. Another good lagerbier from Saranac.

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Photo of oberon
3.11/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Part of the Saranac twelve beers of winter pack.Poured aclear bronze with a tight one finger bone white head that left decent lace as it settled pretty slowly.Not much in the aroma,some lingering spice and caramel bit its really light.Flavors are much of the same,lightly sweet caramel and some toasted malt, but really thats about it.Eh pretty ho hum,not a real Vienna lager in its true form by any means.

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Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: amber in color, 1/4 inch head, moderate carbonation, clear

Smell: caramel and toasted malt

Taste: big caramel toasted malt taste with a slight bitter hop backbone

Mouthfeel: medium/high carbonation, medium/light bodied, slightly sweet

Drinkability: This is an above average attempt at the style that is easy to session. I could have six of these while watching a game, but it is not anything I would get too excited about. Still a very solid effort.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 Beers of Xmas 2009, this one pours a deep caramel ruby color crystal clear visuals. Light beige head forms thick and dwindles slowly. Aroma has some slight caramel malt sweetness with herbal German hops in the background. Flavor has a nice rounded caramel sweetness with slight roasted nut edges. Clean mildly hopped finish with a mineral edge. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied for a lager carbonation is decent just not as soft as it should be. Overall tasty Vienna style not the best but a solid approachable beer for any of the in laws during the holidays.

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Photo of mklinger
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stemmed pilsner glass. This beer a pale brown with reddish orange highlights. A reasonably nice sized head formed that had a pale tan color. Nice looking beer.

Aroma was malty caramel sweetness with a bit of floral/herbal character. Not a super assertive aroma, but it shouldn't be for the style. The caramel seemed a bit strong for style, but it's a pleasant aroma nonetheless.

Very full, rich mouthfeel. The strongest flavor characteristic is the caramel sweetness with a touch of darker, plum-like flavors which pairs well with the full mouthfeel. The finish is rather dry, like there's a bit of roasted malt in there. I'm a bit surprised iven that color could come from all crystal malts or roasted malt -- seems like there's some of both in there. Definitely some herbal hop character too. A balanced beer.

This was a pleasant beer -- not especially big, assertive or unusual. Just a really nice, balanced malty lager. Rich & enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jdmek75 for this extra!

Poured into Sam Adams sensory glass

Pours a little over a finger of khaki tan head. Decent retention with some nice lace walls going on. Color is a clear copper bronze.

Aroma: This beer has a solid malt backbone, but underneath it I get some grassy hops. The malts are sugary sweet with caramel notes. I get some notes that remind me of a porter here. Some dark dried fruit as well.

Taste: Again, a lot of malts up front with grassy hops hidden in the background. This beer pretty much tastes the same as the aroma. Big rich malty profile. Sugary caramel, very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Over crisp at first, then it smoothes out a tad. Light to medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends with a very dry, malty flavored aftertaste.

Overall, a nice winter lager is what this beer is. Very drinkable and to the style. Thanks Jason for this extra! I am glad I got to try it.

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Photo of ujsplace
3.54/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: Chunky off-white head that dissapates fairly quickly, minimal lacing. Copper/amber in color.

S: Mild hops and sweet malts that are very nicely balanced.

T: Grassy hops, slight malt finish.

M: Medium, descent carbonation.

D: Nice, if not mild winter lager. Very drinkable.

 316 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.26/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the newest Saranac winter sampler pack... pours a nice semi see through brown color, little wisp of head.. some lacing. For a winter lager, this is definitely on the light bodied side.. not the typical hearty/heavy winter seasonal. Still pretty drinkable though, not too much there flavor wise. If this is a vienna lager I'd much rather have Boston Lager.. that one has a lot more pronounced flavors than this one. Not bad, but I've had a lot better ones from this brewery.. rest of their winter mixed pack is better.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.43/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle (2009 batch) marked 2649-0834. Sampled on Nov 11, 2009. The pour is a darker amber color with a lot of bubbly carbonation flowing upward to a thin off-white head. The lacing is limited. In the aroma I note some muted malts and hops with something a bit fruity and grassy. The mouthfeel is thin. The taste has a bit more to offer than the aroma with a hint of caramel bitterness with a slightly bolder hoppy finish. But overall it is quite average, although easy to drink, but with the character of a cheaper winter lager for a slightly larger dollar.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Saranac- Winter Lager

A- Clear amber/ copper brown with a thick head. Ringed lacing but quick head dissapation.
S- Malty, brown sugar, caramel, and spicy.
T- Thick and sugary sweet malt, brown sugar, caramel, light touch of molasses, and light woodsy spiciness.
M- Malt is dominant with a syrupy sugary sweetness. Light dry earthy finish.

Overall- My 1st from this years Winter variety pack and a decent offering. A good 1 to start off the night with.

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Saranac Winter Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.48 out of 5 based on 120 ratings.
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