Saranac Black Lager | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Black LagerSaranac Black Lager

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

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 104
Photo of porterwoobie
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: brown color with ruby highlights on the edges of the glass, clear, one finger persistant tan head, some lacing

S: some caramel sweetness and a slight roastiness.

T: light malt flavor with some mild sweetness. slight roasted malt flavor.

MF: medium light bodied,moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: not a bad beer at all.

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Photo of mklinger
3.02/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint. Initially there was a bit over 1/2 an inch of foam that dissipated almost instantly. Additionally, no lacing was left behind with this beer. Poor head in all ways. Color was a black that when held to the light showed a deep garnet. Nice color, but poor head.

Aroma was pretty bland. Bit of the roasty malt in the aroma but not much else.

Taste was fine, nothing exceptional, but fine. Bit of roast, little bit of hops and a fairly thin mouthfeel. Not hoppy enough to be a schwarzbier. Just a light, slightly roasty but fairly neutral beer.

 582 characters

Photo of Kinsman
3.84/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Not really black as the name implies, but darker than other german lagers. Has a thin off-white head that leaves a nice lace

S: Has a bit of a roasted character to it and a slight aroma from the hops

T: A well rounded body of roasted malt, with a bit of lager yeast character and hop bitterness

M: Over a medium feel in the mouth, but plenty of body for this style.

D: While I haven't been able to find the Saranac Black Forest around here, I can't see how this can be much different from that beer. Overall very drinkable schwarzbier, that has made me want to try Black Forest.

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Photo of ujsplace
3.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: Deep amber/brown in color, off white head with descent residual lacing.

S: Roasted malts, nutty.

T: Mild malt and some hop bitter bite at the end. Somewhat lacking in terms of boldness, but not bad.

M: Medium and crisp. Nice carbonation.

D: A nice crowd pleasing black lager.

 320 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.52/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle numbered 2879-0918. Sampled on November 13, 2009. The pour was noit as dark as I expected with a kind of ruby red-mahogany tone with little to no heaf and light lacing on the glass. The aroma had a bit of hops and nuts but it was somewhat muted and not very enticing. The mouthfeel was not too bad...a bit on the high side of medium body with a honey like smooth texture. I found the flavor to be more sour and bitter than chocolately and coffee-like as marketed. This beer had some likeable aspects to it but it did not live up to its marketing campaign. Nothing extraordinary here.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.68/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Kinda weird, Saranac already has a black lager called 'black forest', looks and tastes mostly the same to me but whatever. Luckily, I love me some black lagers so although this may be a clone basically, it's still enjoyable. I do like the black forest better, due to its hint of caramel and more roastiness in there, but this black lager is still solid with some decent roastiness. Not as as good as the big moose ale but another solid Saranac winter mixer.

 457 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep, deep amber hue with a two finger off white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured a light caramel malt and some roasted malt.

The taste consisted of some sweetness and a bit of burnt grain. Pretty authentic actually.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style.

Overall a decent lager, not as good as Black Forest. Easy to drink for sure.

 401 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.38/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac- Black Lager

A- dark copper brown almost blackish. Small filmy head, no lacing.
S- Light roasted slight burnt malt with a light touch of dark chocolate.
T- Again, lightly roasted chocolate malts with a touch of brown sugar and earthy hops. Nice chocolately malt finish.
M- Sweet malty start with a light touch of dry chocolate malt in the middle. Chocolate malts get bolder in the back end with a light appearance of earthy hops.

Overall- Started off weak but improved further into the pint.

 501 characters

Photo of yesyouam
2.6/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Saranac Black Lager is a dark and clear tawny brown beer with a thick, lumpy, light beige head that has oily bubbles; outstanding retention and lacing. It has a sharp, metallic aroma that's a touch cheesy. It's smooth and medium bodied with a pretty clean finish. It's pretty dry with a roasty note of coffee and a light, green bitterness. The aftertaste is metallic. Yeah, that metal taste really throws it off.

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Photo of Gmann
3.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cola like brown color with a small tight khaki colored head that settled into a sparse cap. The aroma is of a toasted/slightly roasted malt, a bit of a caramel sweetness. Lacks that nice roasted malt kick. The taste is grainy and metallic. Not sure where this schwarzbier is going. Light roasted malt, grainy. Kind of a roasted macro though no rice/corn flavors. The feel is light with light carbonation. The feel hold ups, not watery, decent. I would say a below average schwarzbier. The roasted malt flavor is just not there.

 535 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of a seasonal 12-pack at Shaw's in Windham, NH. Pours a dark brown to black copper crystal clear body with a half inch of short-lived khaki-colored head. Light aroma, hints of roast and caramel. Robust roasty flavor with some nuttiness and hints of earthy herbal hops toward the finish. Clean finish. Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. Tasty and drinkable for sure, probably one of the better beers from this variety pack. Good stuff!

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Photo of WesWes
3.88/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, roasted scent that's also a bit chocolatey. It seems as though they added chocolate malt only to a traditional lager. I guess it works. The taste is good. It's light, yet full of flavor. There is a dry, roasted character, but also a really sweet chocolate flavor in there as well. It's pretty damn quaffable. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a better than average black lager. It seems as though the malt bill is quite simplistic, but who cares? It tastes good to me. Cheers!

 660 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.23/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmm. A successor to Black Forest? Not sure why they need a second version of the style (schwarzbier).

Pours a dark brown color with a two-finger head into my glass that fades down to leave some lacing on the edges.

Aroma is full of sweet and grainy malt with almost no roastiness detected in the nose.

Taste is much of the same. Sweet, malty and syrupy(?). There's a bit of caramel/molasses in the taste.

Mouthfeel is thin and somewhat undesirable. It's just not very impressive. Black Forest has better overall texture.

They should stick to Black Forest as their flagship schwarzbier. This beer just reeks of desperation to fill up a holiday pack with "new" beers. The Winter Lager and even the Maple Porter offered more when compared to this.

 751 characters

Photo of BeerPhan86
3.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a very dark blackish-brown (shocking) with a 2 finger light brown head. Resembles a stout but is not opaque.

S - Roasted malt, caramel, and earthy aromas. Reminds me of an Oktoberfest. Mild smells, nothing too intense.

T - Dark roasted malts at first, then some chocolate and coffee hints. Slightly sour tasting, but not as fruity as Black Forest. Lightly tastes of hops in the finish.

M - Pretty silky and medium bodied, a bit too flat for me.

D - Some people would session this but I don't tend to session dark beers because they give me terrible hangovers.

Overall not bad, but definitely the weakest in the winter pack which is otherwise quite good this year. If I were buying a six pack I would opt for Black Forest over this any day.

 754 characters

Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.45/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. I admit that I'm not too familiar with this style of beer.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark red, almost brown in color. A finger and a half of white head that didn't last long. Good lacing.

Smell: Very mild. Muted malt sweetness...almost some citrusy hops in there, which I wasn't really expecting. Some caramel-chocolate sweetness.

Taste: Heavy bready malts, with a mild tang in the background. Very, very mild hop bitterness in the aftertaste, but there's an overall bitterness that pervades the entire beer. The bready flavors linger for awhile. It's difficult to explain the overall flavor of this beer. Mild, but smooth. Very crisp. More bitter than sweet.

Mouthfeel: A bit too highly carbonated. This is a very mildly flavored beer, and the high carbonation overwhelms some of it.

Drinkability: It's interesting. I'm not really sure what to make of it. It's my first beer of this style, so I can't really say if it's typical of the style or not. That being said, it's a solid beer. Easy to drink, but nothing spectacular. I don't know if I would seek this one out again, but it was worth the try.

 1,153 characters

Photo of smibroncos
3.75/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Poured a clear, rich, ruby brown with a one finger creamy, light tan head. Small amount of lacing clung to the glass.

S. Roasted malt, carmel, leaves. earthy.

T. Bitter chocolate, ester, carmel . Slight sourness.

M. Medium bodied, good carbonation, dry.

D. This lager stars bitter and ends bitter. Not alot of sweetness to balance it out but a pretty decent brew none the less.

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Saranac Black Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.36 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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