Saranac Maple Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

85 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Saranac Maple PorterSaranac Maple Porter

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

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 85 | Ratings: 118
Photo of Tilley4
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last bottle out of the 12 pk Winter Sampler to try.. Here it goes..

Pours an almost ruby red with a thick but quickly disappearing head... Looks almost like a Red... Hmmm..

Nice roasted malt aromas with a tinge of maple aroma as well.. I wasn't sure what to make of this brew but the more I smell it the better it gets. I'm digging on this one quite a bit...

Starts out very porter like with dark roasted malts but quickly turns sweet with that maple flavor in the middle and on the finish. Still.... I'm actually enjoying the hell out of this and I'm thinking that I'm actually pissed that I can't get this in sixers. I'd buy this and session it if I could. Not bad at all..

Overall, one of the better brews out of the Winter Sampler in my opinion. I liked it... It's a little sweet but not cloying and is very smooth...

 826 characters

Photo of beerphan
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle -> american pint
part of the 12 beers of winter 2009/2010
Product code: 2659 1523 is screened on the bottle

Pours a dark brown tinged with deep ruby highlights. A thick billowy head dissipates down to some rocky stacks of foam. Patchy chunks of lace cling to the glass and don't let go. Carbonation is robust and steady.

Nose: Syrup, some chocolate, cocoa

Chocolate smack in the face on the initial swig, this was quickly rounded out with a sweet touch of maple syrup that lingers and melds beautifully with the mellow bitter finish. A smooth creamy mouthfeel. Kudos Saranac!

Pissed I only have 2 of these.

 625 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.16/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear chestnut brown with a 1/2 inch creamy beige head; smells of maple syrup, brown sugar, roasted malt, caramel, grass and some light hops, with the maple syrup being the dominant aroma. OK lacing that doesn't grab the glass too long.

Tastes like it smells, with strong maple syrup up front, brown sugar, roasted malt, caramel, grass, light hops, with the malt and syrup sweetness taking up the middle until a slight bitter end assumingly from the hops. It's very light for a porter and seems more like a brown ale, as it has a very smooth creamy feel on the tongue and slides down easy. The carbonation is very light, to the point of being watery. The aftertaste is a mix of vanilla, malty chocolate and once again the maple syrup. While the maple syrup is the foundation for this beer, and the maple syrup taste is not bad, it just seems to be overkill as the recurring theme doesn't allow the other ingredients to show off or add any flavor.

This beer is surprisingly light, easy drinking and goes down smooth, but it's a tad too sweet for my liking. It was OK and I'd have it again if it came in a Saranac variety pack, but I would never buy a six pack of this beer. Nice effort and experiment by Saranac, just not my cup of tea. It might be a good breakfast beer if you were out all night, but not a session beer.

 1,330 characters

Photo of drperm
3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the Saranac Winter Sampler pack.

A: Lovely dark red-brown, nearly opaque, with an antique-white froth that's thin but resilient.

S: (Let it warm up first!!). Maple sugar, brown sugar, sorghum, a hint of cinnamon, floral hops. A mild nose for all that.

T: Nice, but too sweet to be great. TONS of burnt caramel, and a huge maple hit right off the bat. Tone it down!

M: A bit sticky.

D: Clever, curious, original, and fun, this one's not a session beer for me -- it's just too damn sweet and mapley. One of them is fine, but then I'm ready to move on. Curiously, it improves with food. Spicy chipotle chili is a good companion.

 635 characters

Photo of TheTrevor
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a copper color with a small head. The smell is mostly candy sweet with a little maple character but not a ton of toasted malt. This is a little on the weak side for a porter, but it certainly doesn't taste bad. The maple isn't as present as I expected, and doesn't overpower the beer. The mouthfeel is a little watery with some crisp carbonation. Not what I expected when I first saw it, but not in a completely disappointing way.

 447 characters

Photo of stakem
3.71/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear dark amber color with a thin lace of slightly tanned head. Minor retension and a bit of spotty lacing around the glass. The color really threw me for a loop, to me it looks more like a brown ale than a porter. Nose has a sweetness similar to brown sugar mixed with malt and a touch of hops. Taste is sweet upfront but not malty sweet, more of a sugar-like sweetness I am guessing from the maple addition. Kinda bland tasting throughout the body to a minorly bitter finish. Light feel and moderately carbed, it finished quite crisp. It is not bad, the maple seems a bit much and overall nothing exciting.

 622 characters

Photo of irishking1977
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Opaque dark brown/black with minimal head and little lacing.

S: Some roasted malt characteristics and faint maple scent. None of these descriptions really jump at me.

T: Mild roasted burnt malt and a almost undetectable maple finish. Not bad, but mild by comparison to other well known porters.

M: This brew is deceiving. It looks like it might be a bit on the heavy side, but this is perhaps the lightest dark beer I've ever had. That's not really a bad thing, but just not expected.

D: A quaffable porter. Just extremely light on taste and feel to really consider this an indulgent brew. But a pretty good light porter nonetheless, and probably a good introduction to someone wanting to try this style.

 713 characters

Photo of MaxBrews
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saranac Maple Porter

Presentation 12oz Bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a perfectly clear dark brown with a fluffy one and a half finger head. Head dissipated quickly but only into a fluffy and thick lacing. Once dissipated further swirly in the middle and clung to the glass.

Aroma: The aroma of this beer consists of Roasted Malt, Chocolate, Caramel, Maple Syrup and notes of must. The predominant aroma of this beer was roasted malt and Maple.

Taste: Notes of roasted malt come through first, followed by caramel sweetness. Notes of chocolate malt are voided by the heavy use of roasted malt. Maple syrup isn't evident in the immediate taste, but is present in the after-taste. The after taste of this beer is a complex mixture of roasted malt, caramel and maple.

Mouthfeel: The use of roasted malts gives this beer a very dry feel. Body is medium and the carbonation could be much lower for this style. Hardly any bitterness.


A very seasonable beer for someone looking for a beer with the coffee and chocolate flavors coming from roasted malt with the added sweetness of caramel and maple.

This is hardly a traditional porter by any means and the fact that you can really taste the roast of the malt may throw some people off. This includes me, I don't really feel you should be able to taste this much roasted malt. Also its missing the slight bitterness of many of the English porters I've enjoyed. Maple why not? An interesting idea and executed reasonably well, just wish this had more of the characteristics of a true porter.

 1,597 characters

Photo of BlueHammer
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle out of the winter sampler pack. Brown color with hints of red. Moderately thick light tan head. Left minimal lacing as it faded. Smells of caramel, toffee, maple, and a hint of nuttiness. Tastes almost exactly as it smells. The maple comes through strongly. There is a flat sweetness to the initial taste. It finishes with a moderate bite that lingers after you swallow. I was somewhat surprised that the beer tastes better colder than when allowed to sit for awhile. Mouthfeel is truly average, as rated, it is sort of flat but not entirely unpleasant. Drinkability is dependent on your tolerance for maple. My only complaint is that it became slightly less enjoyable as it sat longer in the glass. Overall, not bad, but more than one in a sitting might be too many.

 790 characters

Photo of bltzburgh
3.44/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Another one in the multi pack I purchased.

It poured a little lighter than I expected and had a small head the left pretty fast.

Had a nice aroma strong in the maple which was way different than anything I had before; hints of cocoa and carmels shined through but the maple was pungent.

At first the maple put all taste buds on high alert but after a few drinks its blended well with the other flavors.

This is a good dinner beer or a night cap. Don't think I want to drink 6 or 7 of these.

 498 characters

Photo of dadonabike
1.7/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Picked this up in the winter sampler pack,

This beer looked nice, but not to style at all. It looks like a very nice (dark) brown ale. It looks nice and clear with the dark crystal malt the label claims but still seems too light colored for a porter. Nice head and lacing,

The smell was not good. Imitation maple. : (

The taste was not good. Imitation maple. : (

There are good qualities in the taste and smell; this would be a pretty good brown ale if it were not for the flavoring.

The same goes for the overall feeling for this beer it would be an OK beer with some good qualities if it were not for the awful fake flavor.

 630 characters

Photo of mempath
4.45/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

looks good (nice lacing, dark ruby-brown), smells nice (toffee, honey, dates), tastes bourbon almost...very interesting...the maple bursts through but there is a charred oak vanilla bourbon thing going on that is really different...thought the mouthfeel suffers a bit from thin-ness, the taste makes up for it with complexity and uniqueness. though it has the maple syrup oozing through, the sweetness is held at bay with an odd sourdough note that really tops it all off. i guess a palate not used to this might simply hate it. nothing like that silly A-B stuff from bourbon casks. quite drinkable and i'd say change nothing. i think this would be killer on draft. nothing FAKE here...nothing contrived...very INTEGRATED. if you've got the palate to sort the bursts from the subliminals.


 821 characters

Photo of mtnbikerpa
3.44/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 ounce bottle. Rich dark color. Bitter sweet scents of chocolate, although it does smell kinda dry. Brown sugar, maple, chocolate, caramel flavors all combine together. This beer seems to be very chewy. Pretty drinkable as a desert brew. I split this beer with my wife, I don't think I could drink a lot of this.

 326 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 120z bottle.

A - Poured a deep rich cheery color with a thin bubbly head with loose lacing. The beer looks great, but does not look like a Porter at all...oddly reddish/amberish for a porter.

S - Chocolate dominates the smell. Strong hints of maple, coffee, toffee, and caramel. Very nice mix of sweet smells.

T - Interesting. Chocolate sticks out and dominates the flavor. You can definitely taste the maple as well as caramel and toffee.

M - Little sweet and thick for what I like about a Porter. A bit syrupy.

D - Better than the average Saranac, but not the best example of a Porter...a bit thick to drink many. Fortunately it is currently a part of the winter collection...2 seems right in the pack.

 723 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a copper tinged chestnut with 1 finger+ of cream colored head. Above average lacing & average head retention

S: Maple syrup and not much else...

T: Maple syrup, a touch of caramel with leafy & a bit of metallic hops up front. Dryness & a touch cloying sweetness dominate as this warms, not falling in love with this. Finishes with slight astringency & more fake maple sweetness & a bit of roastyness shows up too late to save the cause...

MF: Light bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinks okay, but between the thinness & the fake flavor I'll pass on this one next time...

 582 characters

Photo of santanas95
2.11/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Dark brown, bordering black, but not quite there. Slight off-white head and decent lacing

S: I poured this into a nonic and walked across the room to rinse the bottle... and the aroma followed me. I was reminded of pancakes as a child. Upon returning to my glass, the maple aroma was all that I could discern

T: Again, I was brought back to my childhood, when a buddy and I realized that the Home Econ. kitchen had these flavored extracts that contained alcohol. One of them was maple extract. After 7th grade, I swore I would never touch maple extract again...I guess I lied to myself. There was a very slight perception of burned toast towards the back of the taste. Otherwise, I was assaulted by fake maple flavor.

M: Medium mouthfeel that somehow managed to be overly sweet at the same time. I thank an unnamed deity that I don't have sugar issues.

D: I forced myself to finish the glass. It wasn't a horrific beer or anything, just overdone on the maple and residual sweetness and underwhelming with the lost potential to be a good beer. As is, I find it barely mediocre.

 1,083 characters

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An incredibly tasty porter. While at colder temperatures, each sip starts with a bit of sweetness and then explodes with roastiness and maple syrup in the finish. As the beer warms, the tastes become more mellow and the beer becomes smoother. The maple syrup taste lingers a bit longer.

The mixture of tastes of maple syrup and chocolate malt is what will make or break this beer. For my money, this is just an excellent pairing of tastes.

 440 characters

Photo of Mardukk
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahagony with some mocha head and plenty of lacing.

A slightly metallic chocolate smell dominates.

Quite a few flavors make an appearance including, nutty, chocolate, caramel and oak. The aftertaste is somewhat smokey. Mostly malty with some hops in the finish. I'm not tasting too much maple, I may be confusing the maple for caramel/oak though.

Medium body with low to medium carbonation and low ABV make this very drinkable.

Nice offering from Saranac. I agree with some of the other reviewers that this may be a mix between a nut brown and porter...I would drink this again.

 595 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a couple Saranacs on Christmas with my wife's cousin's husband. I made thorough notes, as I intended to review when I could.

The color is a deep, dark brown that has some clarity but is thick and dark enough that I can't see through it. A light brown head forms at less than one finger, lingers for a little while, and dissipates, leaving spotty lacing.
The aroma is heavily of malts, seemingly a few varieties, with a smokiness. It is a little nutty as well, with a little earthiness underneath it all. Maple is not as strongly pronounced as it could be, though present. A caramel note lingers as well. The aroma is fairly sturdy and makes for a decent presence, but lacks the strength, balance and complexity to put this with the big boys.
I couldn't detect anything in the taste that wasn't in the smell, nor did I fail to detect anything that was in it. It simply follows suit exactly. I have to say that the smokiness probably had the strongest presence after the malts, whereas most would expect the maple to maintain that instead.
The mouthfeel is neither impressive nor unimpressive. There's a little crispness, it's fairly smooth, and it's not too thin. It could, however, improve in all three aspects to make it more enjoyable. The body is medium to full and carbonation is light.
There's nothing holding me back from drinking this one again; in a room full of BMCs I'm definitely going for this, and in a room full of, say, Fuller's or Samuel Smith's (keeping with style), I'd reach for those instead.

 1,519 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle from the 12 beers of winter.

A: The porter is a dark coffee color, a robust brown that resembles black. One when light shines through do the reddish brown hues become more apparent. A small head, less than 1/2 a finger, left thin spots of lace behind.

S: The nose is driven by a syrupy caramel aroma, far stronger than either the maple or porter aspects. The maple is mild, lingering behind the caramel.

T: The porter has a roasted grain flavor, warming and burnt. Paired with it is a syrupy melange of caramel and maple. Both are sweet with caramel standing out just a little more. The maple operates behind the scenes, subtly adding sugary sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is sweet, driven by caramel and maple, until it hits the bitterness of the porter. The ale seems undercarbonated, allowing the sweetness to linger.

D: A good porter. It lacks the normal Saranac house flavor, which is unusual for one of their ales.

 931 characters

Photo of aerozeppl
3.27/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Fairly clear mahogany color with less than a finger of white head. A touch of white lacing.

S: You do get a touch of the maple in there. You get some very sweet malt in there as well. Very sweet smelling.

T: Not that bad. A little bit sweet A little too sweet in the finish.

M: Light to medium bodied.

D: Not too bad but a little too sweet too be drinkable. The maple is there but too sweet to make it a very drinkable beer.

 431 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
3.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance is medium to dark brown with almost no head or retention. Smell is subtle maple, roasted malt, and a hint of burnt sugar. Pleasantly aromatic. The taste is less balanced. Burnt sugar is the forefront and gives makes the beer seems very heavy and unbalanced. The maple doesn't really shine through here. Some nice hints of roasted malt are present but seem watered down. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice bite of carbonation to lighten it a bit. Drinkability is average. The ABV seems higher than it is, but the flavors are light enough where this could be sessionable.

Overall, a somewhat unbalanced porter where the flavor profile does not present as much maple as burnt sugar. An interesting take on a porter, but not my personal favorite.

 839 characters

Photo of Gambrinus1184
2.52/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Mickey's pint glass.

A: Poured a very clear amber brown color with hints of burnt orange and a thin veil of white bubbly foam which left little lacing. An odd looking porter to say the least.

S: Smells faintly of roast caramel and toffee malt with a slight herbal bitterness.

T: Flavor is very light and "fake sweet." By that, I mean the malts are weak and give little sweet character to the brew, but a thin syrupy maple flavor seems like an afterthought in the weak makeup of this "porter."

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied but still quite watery, so where does that feeling come from? Hmmm.

D: I had to move on immediately after one, but Saranac is smart like that. They give you two of a kind in each of these seasonal packs so if one brew is forgettable (i.e. this porter) you can mosey on to the next variety. This porter just has no legs to stand on.

 896 characters

Photo of PangaeaBeerFood
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a St. Bernardus Watou glass and enjoyed over a dinner of ham and macaroni and cheese. Figured the maple notes in the beer would compliment the sweet glaze and smokey meat of the ham nicely.

Appearance is unimpressive, particularly for a Porter. Light, translucent brown color with little to no head that dissipated to nothingness very quickly. Reminds me of a bit of an undercarbonated Brooklyn Brown with less head, only you have those expectations going into a Brown Ale. Going into a Porter I expected something more robust.

It smells lovely. A lot of smooth roasted notes with no bitterness or harshness to be found. Also no hops to be found, but that's to be expected from a Porter. Slight bit of maple at the tail end of a sniff, but it might just be power of suggestion. The maple is very faint.

First impression upon sipping is that I wish they didn't call this a Porter. I actually really enjoy this beer, but it closer to a roasty brown ale or a bock in terms of it's flavors. It lacks the boldness that a classic English Porter puts out. That being said, its by far the best I've had from Saranac. It's smooth, with a comforting roasty chocolate flavor that isn't at all bitter or harsh. There is some sweetness in the forefront, but it finishes very dry, without that lingering syrup sweetness you get from most maple-infused ales. It's nice because the dryness, combined with the roasted malt flavors, really gives you an atypical example of maple. The maple flavors are mild, earthy, dare I say, slightly leafy, but in a good way. Very nice.

The mouthfeel is a bit light and watery. Again, I wouldn't take issue with the mouthfeel if it weren't for the fact that they labeled this a Porter, which sets up certain expectations.

Drinkability is above average. Smooth. Comforting. No bitterness. No harshness. Low ABV. I could drink the shit out of these all night.

 1,893 characters

Photo of tlinner
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a little light-colored for a porter, with minimal head, as is indicative of the Saranac brand. The smell promises chocolate and a faint hint of maple (duh). The taste delivers. While most porters and stouts taste like dark chocolate, the maple in this brew softens it, making it sweet and delicious. I've long thought of Saranac as a half-assed brewery for it's thin, watery beers, but now I'm starting to think that maybe they do it for a good reason. Not everyone likes a strong, high-APC beer, and for those among us with softer, more sensitive palates, Saranac's maple porter is about as good as it gets.

 614 characters

Saranac Maple Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.59 out of 5 based on 118 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.