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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Ratings: 120 |  Reviews: 61
Photo of TheTrevor
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark brown with a two-finger head. The smell is a mix of sweet biscuity malt with a smattering of spices. The taste is a pretty good reflection of the smell, I should have paid more attention to the label on the bottle to figure out exactly what kind of spices they used but it was a nice addition without turning the beer into something that's like drinking potpourri. A nice solid beer that's probably one of the better ones in the Winter holiday pack.

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Photo of Tilley4
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first out of the Saranac Winter Sampler I picked up a couple of days ago...

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a thick head...looks good so far..

Very rich and malty aromas with a tinge of spices.. Wow, this is really smelling pretty good here...

And I'm liking this... Its rich and malty and has a good amount of spice to it... The hops finish with a small kick as well... A very nice brew here... A good winter session brew..

I liked this brew a lot and could see myself drinking several of these...

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Photo of irishking1977
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber with no head and almost no lacing. Looks like a simple amber lager.

S: I get roasted malt and some cinnamon in the nose. Smells exactly what I've come to expect from a typical winter lager.

T: Saranac really stuck with what is known as a traditional winter lager; this is exactly how other winter lagers have tasted; malty with a slight cinnamon and caramel background. Although, this sticks to that mold, it's somewhat muted and watered down. Still, probably a good brew for a beginner craft beer enthusiast.

M: Pretty balanced carbonation with a slightly malty finish.

D: A light winter lager? Yeah, that's what this one feels like to me. Good interpretation of one, but watered down. Even so it could certainly be a session brew, and even beer rookies might enjoy this one.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Saranac Winter Lager. Found in 12 beers of winter mixpack.

Presentation: 12oz bottle poured into a Pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pouring straight down the middle yields a fluffy 3 finger head. It dissipates at a moderate pace into a soapy and rocky lacing. Color is reddish Amber.

Smell: Clean and malty. Hints of roasted malt, caramel, dark fruit and very slight chocolate.

Taste: This seems like this could be a very clean and malty lager, but there are roasted malts in this that give it a more earthy taste. There are notes of roasted malt. No evidence of hops.

Mouthfeel: Standard carbonation with a pretty thin mouthfeel. For a Vienna lager. Hardly any hop bitterness.

Drinkability: A very easy drinking Vienna lager. I do prefer this to some of the more commercial ones out there. However I do find the roasted malts a bit distracting and not true to style. It maybe kinda suited as a "winter lager". If they bottled this year round it might make a good addition to Saranac's line up. Overall not a great brew, but worth trying and worth drinking if its around. However this is only available in the 12 beers of winter.

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

My pour resulted in two fingers' worth of eggnog-colored head with decent, if not great, retention. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a rich, malty sweetness - somewhat caramel-like in its intensity. Mouthfeel was medium with a light caramel taste in the mouth. Finish had a light hoppy bite. Score another one for the Saranac variety pack!

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Photo of buschbeer
3.21/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured into a pint glass to a couple inches of head. It is amber in color and clear. It smells of sweet toffee. The taste is pretty much the same. This is a pretty simple beer. It goes down easy because there is not much to it. A little too sweet for me, but otherwise clean and drinkable.


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Photo of Veedubb22
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased as part of the winter mixer. I've found all the beers in this mix to be quite tastey and easy drinking. In fact, I think it's the best mixer value for the money.

You get 2 tries at 6 beers. Are there any other reasonably priced mixers that allow that? Plus it's NY brew, so I'm automatically giving it style points. Cool labels as well.

The Rye IPA is unique, but not what I'd go after as an IPA fan. I'll always look for the Saranac mixers though. Great value.

The Winter Lager is a great addition to a very well-rounded wheel.


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Photo of mempath
4.45/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours an amber-red that laces very nicely and delicately in my DFH pint...bready smells rise out with a hint of muscadine? interesting. maybe it's the spices. this tastes (from memory...) similar to the sam adams winter brew. this seems less thick and luscious in mouthfeel, but really has a nicely balanced flavor profile of malts, spices, and some subdued hops keeping the sweetness at bay. a good session winter brew i'd find easy to drink on cool, early spring days.

another swallow as it warms it and it only gets better, more rich, more sourdoughy...

another one of Saranac's standouts.


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Photo of mtnbikerpa
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle part of the winter variety pack. Deep copper, amber color. About an inch of head, with lots of carbonation. Sweet malts aroma, mild yeasty smell along with sweet spices. Carmel, some wheat and yeast flavors, almost like a biscuit. For a winter lager I would expect more of a robust flavor. Mouthfeel is okay, and drinkablility is high.

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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.

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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.


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