Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Saranac Irish Stout | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
105 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Saranac Irish StoutSaranac Irish Stout

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

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-03-2010

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 189
Photo of dmamiano
2.9/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep dark brownisk black pour with a small head and minimal lacing.
Aroma had hints of metallic...oats, bready and hints of molasis.
Taste was smooth and fairly mild as expected.
A bit syrupy almast as if it was an extract brew.
Ok, but very mediocre at best. Will not buy again

 279 characters

Photo of sluggermatt15
2.96/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Dark brownish in color with a light brown lacing. About 1-2 finger head after poured from a bottle into a 12-oz. glass.

S- Definitely some malts, you can sort of smell the alcohol too. Not really that impressive.

T- Grainy, some bitterness to it. The bitter taste comes in near the end. There is also some dryness.

M- Nothing impressive here, some carbonation, but not too much.

D- Not that drinkable. I would only have 1. I think if I were to have more than one, I would have to have a glass of water on the side to counteract the dryness of this beer.

Overall I thought I was going to be more impressed with this one. However, if you are a fan of Irish beer or Irish stouts, I would say give this one a dry. It has a little less alcohol by volume than I expected (in the 6 % range). I bought a six pack of this and I probably wouldn't buy it again.

 860 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark red color. The head is a one finger khaki shade; it doesn't feature the creamiest texture in the style (then again, it doesn't dick around with nitro-can hobnobbery) or the best retention. It does seem to leave a decent amount of lacing on the glass, at least.

S: This has a healthy background of roast, along side some underlying cream. There are also hints of chocolate and piny hops. This hits all the criterion for an Irish-style stout acceptably, but without the extra 'zing' to make it great.

T: From the get-go, this has a strong roast background. It's roasty to the point of being charry, even. Thankfully, I like a good charred-to-fuck stout, so I'm enjoying this a bit. Like a lot of Saranac brews seemingly, it's dry to the point of being boring. No offensive notes to be found, though.

M: This is quite dry and well carbonated. Hell, it's even kind of watery. Ergo, drinkability is through the roof here.

O: A great dry stout should be dry AND substantial...this is just dry. As a Guinness alternative, this is solid; as an alternative to other craft stouts, this comes up short.

 1,149 characters

Photo of tchenery
3.02/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. The color looks good, very dark. The offwhite head does not stick around like I had hoped. Thin lacing around edge. It smells heavy of raisins and dates and also smells slightly sweet.

It tastes of dark malts, but with nothing spectacular. There is some of the raisin-y taste to it but not much. It is bubbly on the tongue and does leave you dry. It's smooth, but just kind of basic.

It's a very approachable stout. There are no overwhelming flavors that would turn someone away.

 507 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.09/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

below the increasing quality of recent saranac beers this one, a thin and slightly off irish stout, not as dry as it should be, lacking any meaty body, and frankly just not all that appealing. lighter brown for the style, more of a brown ale really or a light porter than a true irish stout in looks. and the flavor is similarly watered down, the body is real thin, and there is a peculiar metallic bitterness all the way through it. i may be a little biased as this was my last beer in an evening of several world class ones, but i was still let down by this seemingly lazy offering. anyone who sips this notices inadequacies right away, namely the lack of body, but also the longer semi sweet finish, the minimal carbonation, and the partially oxidized taste in the finish. saranac has really been coming out with some top notch stuff lately, inventive and well executed, but this is the worst ive had from them in some time, and is probably at least part of the reason true beer geeks keep bashing this brand. barely passable as the style it proclaims to be, just a bit better as a dark ale, but not one i need to try again for awhile.

 1,138 characters

Photo of Schmidts
3.12/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours very dark with small head
Smell is of malt and Alcohol
Taste fairly Bitter and finishes bitter with a little malt in the taste
As far as mouth feel not anything exciting here just some more bitterness
One of these is enough I love a good stout but this one is taken over completly by its bitter taste.

 307 characters

Photo of Rayek
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It's St Patrick's day, so what better to review than an Irish Stout. Poured pitch black into a Perfect Pint glass. A foamy cream head has good retention and leaves bits of lace. The hyper fizzy body masks the flavors a bit. Letting the beer breathe helps calm things down. Flavors are not that great to me. Bitter coffee is the theme here. Roasted flavors dominate, but aren't helped by much else. Things get acidic in the finish. Overall, this didn't do it for me. There are better stouts out there.

 500 characters

Photo of mnrider
3.14/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle. No freshness date.

A: Pours a pitch black color with a thin brown head. Little lacing.

S: Smells like a stout, but very subdued.

T/M: Like the smell it's very subdued for a stout. Still pretty good.

D: A decent stout, not great but still good. Nothing stands out and makes this brew better than any other of the average stouts out there.


 371 characters

Photo of NightINgale
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a tulip pint glass...

A - Very dark brown body, with a frothy light-brown head. Good head retention and some lacing. Looks like a proper stout!

S - Lots of roasted, slightly burnt barley. Thus, the bitter chocolate and coffee notes. A bit of bread and earth in the scent as well.

D - This is quite dry and bitter. Starts out with a powerful roastiness, which then becomes the bitterness in the after-taste. Not much sweetness to it. Slightly sour.

M - Very carbonated for the most part. Medium-bodied, a bit too crisp for me.

D - Not bad. Not hefty, so quite sessionable for a dry stout.

 616 characters

Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.19/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Ba Review #271
Served On: 4/22/2013
Glassware: SA Perfect pint
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: 06/30/2013

Another one from the 2013 spring mixed 12 pack from Saranac found at Evergreen Liquors in Frederick ($13.99).

Look: Fairly dark with some ruby red tinges coming through. Head was a thin light-tan coating with some random lacing. Not a bad looking brew.

Smell: Semi-sweet dark chocolate with some caramelized brown sugar and roasted coffee.

Taste: First off were notes of bitter roasted coffee beans. The some faint dark chocolate notes. The finish was very dry with a hint of coffee bitterness that lingered. Very thin body and mouth feel.

This was a basic Dry Stout. I was a little taken back by just how thin the body was. It seemed on the edge of almost being a Schwarzbier with some extra dryness.

 808 characters

Photo of mikeg67
3.24/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours dark brown with a thick, long lasting, tanned head. Nose is of dark fruit and roasted malt. Medium, very sharp body. Roasted malt, some dark fruit and some off sour notes fill the mouth. Long, espresso like finish. So, so stout as everything from Saranac.

 275 characters

Photo of IPAescotch
3.24/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice n dark very little head retention, very little head at all. well carbonated, very bubbly.
Soy sauce. this smells alot like soy sauce, probably as a result of the roasted barley. might have steeped at two warm a temperature/too low. somethings off here.
Tastes dry and well rounded as a matter of a fact. the soy sauce smells are covered up by the dryness and the sharpenss of the carbonation.
Tingles the mouth, glides down the gullet.
decent drinkability

 460 characters

Photo of aranheaney
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

poured into a Guinness Pint Glass:

A-Inky black with a half-finger of creamy head

S-some roast, nothing out of this world

T-different, the dryness does come through, a little bitter on the backend

M-ok, maybe the after-taste detracts from it, but I'm not floored

O-maybe I was ruined by the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, but this is ok at best.

 371 characters

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours a verrry dark brown...essentially black...with a half finger mocha colored head. Head fades quickly, but what little head there was laces nicely.

S- dark coffee and roasted malts. Aroma is...eh, a little weak. Would like this to be stronger.

T- huge burst of coffee to start...not strong coffee though, more of a standard pot you'd make in an office. Tastes good though...a little watered down, maybe.

M- decent thickness, but again, theres a watery quality to it...eh.

D- pretty drinkable. A lot like Guinness without the body

 581 characters

Photo of ericmunley
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Found a Saranac Irish Stout display at the local Wegmans, and I was curious. As a man of proud Irish heritage, I grew up on Guinness, Murphys and the such.

I gave Saranac Irish Stout some extra love in the "appearance" category because the bottle is really slick. I hope they get a picture on here...if they don't I will gladly send BA one. Aside from the bottle, SIS pours the customary jet black with a very light tan head.

Smell doesn't do much for me. I haven't had some of the higher end Irish Drys, but most I've tried have a light yet distinct aroma. The beer's roastiness is pretty much the only thing present in the nose here.

Taste is average...what you would expect from this style. It tastes a lot like the Guinness 250 Anniversary beer. I'd love to see some progression in this style.

Mouthfeel...lots of carbonation, could do with less. I also miss this style on nitro, whether its tapped with a nitro mix or bottled/canned with a widget type deal.

Drinkability was the best thing about this beer (besides the bottle of course). At 5.5%, SIS is a little higher ABV than this style usually tops out at. With that being said, it is still very drinkable.

 1,172 characters

Photo of SirSaranac
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle*.... 5.5% abv

Well, I had been looking forward to trying this... most of Saranac's newest releases had been rather tasty, and although this isn't exactly a new release, I had never tried it prior.

This brew poured jet black... 2 finger frothy tan head. Lacing was nothing memorable.

The scent was rather one dimensional... roasted malt... but nothing strong.

Decent taste. A brief sweetness that quickly transitions into a smooth yet one dimensional coffee roasted malt. *shrugs*... It's smooth, with a nice creamy mouthfeel... and very drinkable. But if you're looking for a complex stout... look elsewhere.

Although I feel that this is better than Saranac's Mocha Stout, Oatmeal Stout, or Vanilla Stout (I've never tried their traditional stout)... I would still suggest either their Imperial Stout or Black & Tan over this.

 838 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours jet black with a tight foamy tan head. Lots of lacing.

Where is the scent in this one. I have to dig for french roast coffee and deep charred grain aromas. Some there, but hard to find.

A thinner/lighter flavor stout for sure. Dry for sure also. Deep dark malt, with some roasty hints of grain. Light sweetness in the background is overtaken by the bitterness, mild again, in the finish. I must say that though a bit weak, it is quite smooth. Nothing grainy or harsh, and the balance is right. Just turn up the intensity fellas.

Just right in the mouthfeel, with a lightness and tingle from the carbonation. Again, like all of their beers, they might have toned down the bubbles a notch.

An easy drinker, although you can do better. Much better than some of the brewpub I've had from the tap. An easy drinker for sure and nice to use as a comparison to others. Middle of the road, but actually ok.

 908 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark brown-to-black coloring with light brown highlights around the edges and a thin, sparse, light tan coating on the surface. Aromas of mocha coffee, with a slight sugary ribbon to the chocolate character, and a touch of earthy characteristics. Flavors of roast and char initially, with a slick, bitter coffee backbone quickly following. Some bitter chocolate highlights, but not as much as the nose would lead you to believe. Aftertaste is rich chocolate and coffee, with a strong bitter undertone. Light, dry body with a slick, quick finish. True to the style, but a little more chocolatey and rich than you may be used to. Tasty.

 689 characters

Photo of hayesez
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a recent trade with Travduke.

Poured into my New Belgium globe. Pours a deep, dark brown that allows a fair amount of light through the periphery. A one-half inch light tan head reduces quickly, leaving generous amounts of thick lacing on the sides of my glass. Only a small cap of frothy head remains. By the end of this beer, large amounts of spotty lacing remain all over the inside of my globe. I am impressed with the appearance!

A strong smell of sweet chocolate leads the nose on this beer. A tiny amount of coffee follows, but the chocolate diligently remains. Roasty malts are integrated into both.

Upon swallowing, the flavor quickly disappears leaving me to wonder where the hell it went; it was gone so quickly! Roasty and malty, but really struggling to identify itself. There is a bit of chocolate in there and a small amount of metallic sweetness. At first I thought there was absolutely not bitterness on the end of this guy. But after several seconds, a gentle bitter aftertaste is left on the back of the tongue.

Light to medium-bodied with an average amount of carbonation. This beer isn't one to linger. Tipped back and gone, this leaves me wishing it would hang around a bit. I understand the dryness is related to the style, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I approve. Easy to drink, I suppose, but I'm definitely looking for a bit more.

Consumed: 3/8/2010

 1,405 characters

Photo of Justin23060
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black with red to dark amber highlights and a one finger head. Smells chocolatey with no real hop presence as expected for style. Pretty dry from begining to end. Roasty but not smokey. Taste lingers just long enough. A little thin for the style but that didn't bother me so much because that made it more of a hot weather stout which is quite appropriate at the time of this review. I'd get it again.

 401 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a straight pint glass, color is dark brown to black, head is light tan, very frothy and laces well.

Smell is pretty sweet a dry stout, lighter roast and coffee notes.

Taste is similar to scent, light roast, solid chocolate and light toffee leading to a sweeter flavor profile than many irish dry stouts.

Mouthfeel is a little dryer, than taste and sweetness would lead to expect, but too much so for a dry stout

Overall, it is a tasty brew, but seems more of cross between dry stout and american stout.

 518 characters

Photo of PrivateEquity
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Black body with thin head

S - Coffee nose is a little underwhelming

T - coffee and chocolate malts provide good taste

M - mouthfeel is just okay, about right amount of dryness, a little watery. Needs more body to make it more robust.

O - Decent stout. Probably will have again in the future

 299 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat."

--Alex Levin

Burnt sienna that probably would not be opaque if the sun was above the horizon. One smooth pour produced almost three fingers of khaki colored foam that features several soft divits in its upper surface. This is pretty much what an IDS should look like.

Other than being on the weak side, the nose is fine. Pale (not appreciated) and roasted malt (appreciated) combine with Northdown and Goldings hops to provide the typical chocolate and coffee aromas of the style. Hops don't add much, which is no surprise.

Given the brewery, Irish Stout tastes and feels like it was expected to taste and feel. The brewery's website contains a graphic that puts each of their offerings on a scale of light-medium-heavy based on... color! This brew falls in the heavy range, presumably because it's dark brown-black.

Needless to say, Irish Stout isn't the least bit heavy. Nor does it have a ton of roasted malt flavor. Specifics include bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, dark caramel and a modest herbal hoppiness. Let's go with slightly above average and round up.

The body/mouthfeel is also slightly above average, but will be rounded down. The beer wanders away too quickly after tongue contact, which is usually due to a lack of malt. The carbonation, although a bit fizzy, is acceptable.

At this point, it's unlikely that The Matt Brewing Company will surprise me in either direction. Irish Stout is a serviceable Irish dry stout that was worth a single bottle purchase. A second bottle? No thanks.

 1,627 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saranac- Irish Stout

A- Light cola black, heavy carbonation, and a small flimsy head.
S- Cola syrup sugary malt, light cocoa powder, and cream.
T- Sweet creamy milky cocoa powder with a light molasses, brown sugar malt body.
M- Sugary malt with a nice creamy feel. Dry earthy finish.

Overall- A bit light but creamy and easy to drink.

 336 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice looking dark brown color. It's almost black in color. The head was a nice creamy looking tan color and left a decent lacing. The smell of the beer had the musty earthy roasted aromas going on. The taste was nicely toasted and left a pretty nice bitterness behind. The mouthfeel was a little thin. Overall I feel that the beer was decent, the body could have been a bit darker, it was almost see through. Just about everything was mediocre but drinkable.

 484 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saranac Irish Stout from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.65 out of 5 based on 189 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
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!