Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Chocolate Amber LagerSaranac Chocolate Amber Lager
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European Dark Lager
3.28 | pDev: 14.63%
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Saranac Chocolate Amber LagerSaranac Chocolate Amber Lager
Reviews: 186 | Ratings: 227 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Smakawhat
Smakawhat from Maryland

2.91/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a tall pilsner glass.

Light orange copper body, mostly clear, but a little difficult to see through. Good mix of slow and fast rising carbonation. Head is off white, a faint tan, very light creamy retention, and settles slowly. Not a bad looking brew.

Very faint malts, and a very close bouquet. There's not much going on here, however some powdered cacao and dryness sneaks out just a little hint of what might be coming. Virtually no malt presence at all.

Palate on first sip is really not that great. A good crisp lager like feel, but there's not malt backbone to this. A strange taste in the mid palate of bile. Aftertaste brings a little bit of dried and roasted cocoa powder. More like instant Quik, but without any depth. Clean but mostly a light yeast sensing finish if anything.

Overall the thing that I find odd on this is there is not even a hint of sweetness from the malts or anything else. I am not into sweet, but couldn't there somehow be some sweetness here and particularly malt depth to this beer? I'll pass.

Feb 18, 2013
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micromaniac129 from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It hit or miss with Saranac sometimes and this missed in my opinion.
The beer has a nice color with it's auburn, copper amber color. The head is rather tall but fades.
Aroma is sweet with lager nuiances but no real chocolate aromas.
Taste has plenty of sutle chocolate nibs over, to me, a really way to sweet lager beer.
Drinks smooth and thin.
Really not my cup of tea, baby

Jan 01, 2013
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drtth from Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

The clear light amber color pours into nonic pint glass with a 1/2" off white head that recedes only slowly and leaves lacing behind.

The aromas include mostly chocolate with no hops showing.

The flavors are dominated by the chocolate without much else.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a light crispness from the active carbonation.

While this is a drinkable beer it doesn't show much complexity nor depth of flavors.

May 01, 2012
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BigPlay1824 from New York

2.46/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: Pours a light amber color that is extremely clear with a small amount of carbonation bubbles, pours with two fingers of creamy off white head that lingers nicely and leaves a lot of lacing all around the glass
S: sweet chocolate malts
T: ugh oh, not what i had hoped for, the taste through and through reminds me of powdered chocolate milk mix or the chocolate protein shakes i used to drink in high school, not the high quality pure chocolate characteristics i've seen in other chocolate brews
M: pretty intense carbonation tingle, thin, leaves kind of an odd astringency and powdery like feeling on the palate
O: average at best, just was not a pleasant beer to drink, with all of the other, much better chocolate beers out there, there is no way i will ever buy this again, sorry fellas

Jan 18, 2012
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.55/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper color with a stingy white head minimal retention and lace. Smells of caramel, butterscotch, Hershey's chocolate syrup, light bit of roasted grains with little to no hop presence. Taste is sweet with chocolate, vanilla, caramel, hints of coffee. There's barely any lupulin to be found in this brew and the sweetness builds because of it. Medium body and carbonation level with a creamy syrupy mouthfeel. Sweetness aside this is not a bad brew. The label claims they use cacao nibs in this, I was thinking it taste more like chocolate extract myself. I'll bet this would be good over ice cream.

Nov 26, 2011
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CaptDavyJones from New York

3.88/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear copper/amber color from a 12 oz bottle.
One finger off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Leaves almost no lacing.
Aroma is a blend of caramel, roasted malts with hints of coffee along with some cocoa and bready yeast.
Taste upfront is slightly sweet, with the malts becoming more noticeable in the middle. The beer has a crisp finish, with the bitterness from the hops and cocoa taking over in the finish. The bitterness does not linger, but lasts for just that much time to leave a pleasant feeling. Surprisingly tasty brew from Saranac. The chocolate/cocoa is not overwhelming, but there is just enough in the finish to leave the feeling of having a chocolate beer.
Definitely worth a try.

Nov 25, 2011
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

3.92/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a light brownish, amber color with a thin layer of head. Aroma is of roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of burnt coffee. Taste is of chocolate, toasted marshmallows, vanilla, and roasted malts. A bit earthy. This is a lighter, crisp beer that strikes a good balance with the chocolate flavor. A lot easier to drink than most chocolate beers. This is one of the best beers of the Winter Mix 12 pack. Just like the Big Moose Ale, I wouldn't mind seeing this in its own six pack. Overall, an interesting beer that is worth having again for certain.

Nov 19, 2011
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Trail from Vermont

2.52/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Ugh, I'm really not impressed by this. It looks OK. The smell of this is really great, though not - as far as I'm concerned - for a beer. This is where it stops being acceptable.

The taste and mouthfeel are both unexpectedly syrupy and thick, like a squirt of Hershey syrup in a Sam Adams Boston Lager. There's a little black cocoa bite in the back, but it's overpowered by the overwhelmingly sweet presentation of the malt. I don't know how I'm supposed to finish this.

I like beer. I like Hershey syrup. They aren't supposed to go together. I'm pretty sure that a chocolate beer could work, but it doesn't here.

Nov 18, 2011
Photo of JMB22
JMB22 from New York

3.12/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was pretty excited to try this from my favorite brewery. Poured into a pint glass, amber color with a creamy one finger head. The head fell apart fairly quickly and almost no lacing. Smells a little of cocoa, more of a coffee smell. A little thin on my tounge. Tastes of a mixture of chocolate and malt, but neither is terribly impressive. Highly carbonated. Just OK I guess, but then I hold Saranac to a high standard.

Oct 21, 2011
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

3.84/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tastings with my family. The saranac one from a couple weeks ago was more then epic as it took months to gather all of these, but it was a hell of a fun night! Big thanks to Alex for pulling through on the bulk of these

very dark and nearly completely black in color with the exception of some touches of red around the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice tan head came up and over the top and settled down after a few minutes, dropping a nice amount odd side glass lace in the process. Aroma was light, lots of caramel malts and bready notes dominate. Warming it brings out light notes of grain as well. Smooth taste here with a medium body that was well carbonated. Nice feel across the tongue with very sweet notes that seem to get stronger as it rolls forward. Almost a peat like touch to it as well at times. Very drinkable as the flavor was not over powering and the light ABV made it go down quite nicely.

really shocked by how nice this one was, really a stellar example of the style and one of the better beers of the night.

Apr 29, 2011
Photo of hike20
hike20 from Iowa

2.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours black with a 1 finger tan head with a light chocolate aroma. Light Chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Very thin mouth feel is not helped by the higher carbonation. Overall not terrible, but nothing noteworthy here. Lacks depth and balance. Boring.

Jul 11, 2009
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ClockworkOrange from Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yanked from a Saranac mixed pack and poured into my standard shaker glass. This lager appears a clear deep crimson brown color with about an inch of fluffy ecru foam. Smells and tastes of medium roasted grains, a slight touch of chocolate malt and caramel, mild, grassy hops. Rather thin bodied and could use a bit more carbonation for it's style.

May 15, 2009
Photo of Derek
Derek from Canada

3.62/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Brown-black with a ring of tan head, no retention, hint of leg/lace.

S: Chocolate & dark bread. Very nice malt profile.

T: Chocolate, grain, light spicing & bread.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body has an off-dry finish.

D: A decent drinker.

Thanks for sharing Jay!

Mar 27, 2009
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada

3.52/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Jason for sharing. An average beer with chocolate aroma, a little soapy head and some lace on a clear chocolate body. A below average mouthfeel, ike a chocolate Hershey drink, lagerish with chocolate an some sourness in the finish.Not getting roast, if so its very faint.

Mar 27, 2009
Photo of TMB0424
TMB0424 from New Jersey

3.11/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into pint glass.

Pours a pitch black body with a muddy tan, one finger head. Quickly reduces into cloudy cap. Leaves some lacing.

Aroma is very light. Hints of chocolate powder, roasted nuts. Some malts. Pretty weak smelling.

Taste is pretty grainy with smooth malts and hints of chocolate. Not milk or dark chocolate, but rather a chocolate powder. Hops are pretty much nowhere to be found, a little at the finish. It feels light and creamy in the mouth, although not very smooth. Soft, roasted malts are in the forefront of this one. A hint of darker fruits also comes out in the middle. Interesting.

It's a very interesting brew, to say the least. Not quite what I was expecting, but it's pretty refreshing and satisfying. Not bad, but I can't help myself from thinking it's kind of like a bad porter.

Jan 02, 2009
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yesyouam from New York

3.74/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager is a very deep rose brown beer with a lovely blotchy tan head that regenerates. The head and lacing last forever. It has a roasty, modest aroma with notes of cocoa and salmiakki. There is sour malt in the nose. It's a little lighter than medium bodied and reasonably smooth. It's pretty soft and it has a smooth, syrupy finish. The bitterness is very mellow. It's mostly the roasted flavor of the malt but there is a sweetness to it. It has an almost leafy or herbal quality. It's a well-balanced flavor. This hardly seems like a dunkel. It's more like a brown ale or a porter made with lager yeast. Usually, the light body of Saranac ales frustrates me, but I don't have that complaint with this lager. Regardless of categories, I really appreciate this beer on its own merit. I'm going to have another...
(rated Dec 13, 2007)

Dec 20, 2008
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Reagan1984 from Massachusetts

2.95/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A thin beige head tops this brownish amber colored beer. It was rather dark and just a shade or two lighter than black. The head that was there faded quickly. There were small patches of lacing left behind.

The aroma was of roasted malt and was sweet in nature. The roasted malt sent certainly had some chocolate tones to it, but also slightly charred tones.

Flavor starts with a burst of burnt/roasted malt. Some chocolate tones are present then you get some caramel sweetness. Some hop bitterness mingles with the roasted flavor as you savor the flavor after swallowing the beer. Somewhat interesting.

Mouth feel was lighter than I expected and it was a fairly smooth beer.

It's O.K., but not really worth going out of your way for.

Oct 23, 2008
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engisch from New Jersey

3.26/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a chocolate amber... what a surprise?!? Smells very sweet with a hint of chocolate. Tastes like burnt roasted sweetness with barely any chocolate taste. Doesn't taste much like a lager. Not horrible, but I wouldn't seek out this brew. This would be a good beer for someone that hasn't had really good beer, as it is fairly light, but has some interesting flavors. A little interesting, but definitely not too offensive for the casual beer drinker.

Oct 11, 2008
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clayrock81 from Florida

3.11/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A darkish brown, almost black body with a tan, two finger head that stuck around for awhile. A light, roasted malt smell with maybe a hint of hops. A decent, dry roasted malt taste, medium=boided and creamy. Very light chocolate notes and a rather bland, syrupy beer. Not too bad, but not worth seeking out.

Sep 21, 2008
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oriolesfan4 from Maryland

3.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Had this as a part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter ($11.99/12 Pack)

Only a slight hint of chocolate in the smell and in the taste of this one. I thought it had way too thin of a body and the carbonation was not apparent enough. It was a little too hard to enjoy with it being so 'flat'. On the plus side, it was a style I really never had too much before, wasn't too bad price-wise, and was somewhat tasty and was very smooth.

Sep 08, 2008
Photo of changeup45
changeup45 from Florida

3.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another specialty brew from Saranac. It pours a very dark brown color. Not a whole lot to the aroma but there's a faint roasted malt scent. Roasted malty flavor, coffee and a little bit of chocolate. The flavors are a bit weak but this was pretty nice.

Aug 24, 2008
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Proteus93 from Virginia

3.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A dark brown with ruby highlights. Creamy, albeit thin sandy head.

S: Cocoa powder, something like puffed wheat (without the wheat?)

T/M/D: A little lacking, but the roasted malts and chocolate notes are there. A bit grainy and not a great deal follows on the finish, which is a little disappointing. Ultimately ends up being like a very, very light porter - though the body is about the same as one in some ways. A little unusual, but not a horrible experience. That strange, somewhat metallic flavour - the 'Saranac flavour' that I've mentioned in other reviews of these products is there in some way, and I fear I'll never understand what exactly it is that brings that out.

Jun 08, 2008
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DmanGTR from New York

2.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - poured dark brown/black with off-white 1" head that laced nicely

S - chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, burnt sugar, black currants

T - Detected the typical chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts but there was a bitter finish with a lingering aftertaste that just did not make me happy.

M - medium bodied, light/medium carbonation

D - quite drinkable for someone in the mood for a stout-like substitute, yet this doesn't quite capture the body of a stout or a porter. Smooth

Overall - this was on sale for $4/6 pack, which was pretty good. This is a decent chocolaty lager that is kind of like a porter. It would complement a steak dinner or ribs. Better served cold.

Jun 07, 2008
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aerozeppl from New York

3.38/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Super dark brown one shade dark of black. Nice lacing with off white head. Tons of lacing.

S: Mostly roast with hints of chocolate.

T: Roast then hints of chocolate. Not really a chocolate beer but still good.

M: Medium to heavy body. Nothing good or bad.

D: The flavors are weird on this one but it does have a lot of flavor with low ABV. Another gift to beer geeks on a budget.

May 31, 2008
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generallee from Virginia

4.07/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It has a dark murky brown color with dark red highlights. The head is tan in color, foamy and leaves nice lace on the glass. There is a dark malty aroma with a heavy toasted flavor. There are some chocolate notes as well as some mildly bitter hops within a creamy smooth medium bodied palate. This is a very good offering from the Saranac family of beers.

May 18, 2008
Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 76 out of 100 with 227 ratings