Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Chocolate Amber LagerSaranac Chocolate Amber Lager
227 Ratings
Saranac Chocolate Amber LagerSaranac Chocolate Amber Lager

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

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 227 |  Reviews: 186
Reviews by Scoats:
Photo of Scoats
4.22/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I seem to be in the minority in that really, really enjoyed this beer. It's not at all an amber, more of a very dark brown. There are a lot of tastes going on in here. The chocolate is mild but intreging. I'd happy buy a case of this or drink way too much of this if it was on draft somewhere. This would make a wonderful session beer. Maybe not a session beer I'd want every time, but definitely one to be on the list. This is a wonderful little beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish amber color with light to medium head,the aroma is a little nutty and malty sweet.I like the mildness to this beer had some burnt notes as well as some caramel notes.It is pretty watery on the mouthfeel dept though.A decent beer but a little thin but the flavor was nice.

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Photo of blitz134
3.16/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark chocolate brown pour which still allows a fair amount of my florescent bulbs’ glow to pass through. Slight off white head casually floating on top. Malty nose with a touch of hops in the background, no chocolate to speak of. A very weak smell overall. With the taste, again no chocolate, but I do find a bit of lightly toasted malts. The same kind of flavor that I typically associate with a porter without a lot of black patent in it. Finish is a much like a typical lager. Besides that I don’t pick up much else. Mouthfeel is thin and the flavor disappears quickly. Drinkability is decent, but only because there isn’t much flavor to turn you off with.

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Photo of sponberg
3.73/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From their 2002 Seasonals 12 pack. Deep garnet red/brown with a firm tan head. Aroma is dry coffee and hints of roastiness.

Starts out with bitter chocolate and some roast coffee flavors over a background of toffee and caramel. Not dry, not sweet. The bitterness seems to be more due to roasted malt than hops, which don't seem to be present to any large degree. They may have monkeyed with the recipe - I don't recall this one having this much chocolate/roastiness in previous years. Taste reminds me of a cross between Steggie and Yuengling Porters.

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Photo of generallee
4.07/5  rDev +24.5%
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.

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Photo of Jason
2.83/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

A: Dim and dark leather brown, somewhat impressive head that holds together quite well.

S: Vague roasted aroma, smells of coffee dust with an odd dextrin and powdered carob backing.

T & M: Moderate carbonation with a slick and creamy medium body, lacking in crispness a bit. More unsweetened baker’s chocolate in the roasted character than anything else.The roasted twang nearly strips the lager characteristics away as it adds a twang of fruitiness and faint acrid porter like flavors. Hops are a bit small in stature as to let the malt come though, a touch of bitterness. Very malty but flavors seem mismatched especially when the beer dries up in the finish.

Drinkability & Notes: A little hard to put down due to the husky and mildly acrid flavors. There are many other dark lagers that are worthy of my palate as this one does not make the cut as far as my taste goes.

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Photo of Billolick
3.16/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This 12 oz. bottle was from a 2006 "Beers of Winter" variety pack.None of the Saranac beers in this box has any freshness dating. Pours clear ruby almond with a nice looking tiny bubble head, film and then wispy lacing. Nose is of dark chocolate and sweet malts. This is a sugary sweet ale, chocolate and cocoa quite present in the flavor profile. Perhaps with dessert? Not my cup of tea...

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Photo of hadlance
2.5/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of ADR
3.77/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown appearance, nice 1/2 inch head. Some sense of chocolate-covered strawberries to the nose. Creamy body and a full approach to a roasty chocolate flavor with nice hop balance late in the mouth. I compare this favorably to Leinenkugel's Creamy Dark Lager, which is more grainy and strident up front. The Saranac has superior mouthfeel -- not a brew to kill for but a nice drinkable micro.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a deep ruby brown with highlights coming through head forms a milky coffee tone with a biscuit texture to it and good retention. Aroma has a dark chocolate roasts with herbal hops coming through very nice roasts come off with a cofee and dark chocolate presence. Flavor has creamy mild cofee with bitter dark chocolate notes big herbal hop flavor with mild bitterness nice but kinda porterish to me, also has a clean roasty mild fruity note it's just solid. Mouthfeel is medium bodied even carbonation silky feel to it on the palate. Drinkability is outstanding stuff more like a porter than a chocolate amber although I haven't had many to compare it to...I wouldn't mind seeing this one year round.

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Photo of dacrza1
2.42/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Dark--too dark?--black lager with creamy head that traces nicely in the glass (quite attractive)...thick brown half-inch head...malt/hops are nondescript--chocolate? not so much... slight effervescent... textures on the tongue feigns a porter more than a dunkel... soft toasted malts add a weight to the experience--smooth and swift with hints of corn... a dark lager that has little dunkel quality--pleasantly toasty for the colder evenings.. Saranac seems to have a circle of winter beers that run together in taste, and this is certainly one of them...

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.58/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager

Appearance- Dark reddish black with a tan head.
Smell- very light chocolate and coffee.
Taste- watery, very watery. Slight chocolate flavor not much else.
Mouthfeel- soooo watery.

Overall- very little flavor. What little chocolate flavor isn't that bad though. I would need to chug a few of these to taste anything. Not a horrible beer but why would anyone bother with this?!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Winter '07 12-pck. This one looks very interesting.

The look is a really dark brown, going toward black and almost opaque. The head is formed easily with a robust pour which creates a really nice frothy brown head that is sticky and clumpy. Most of the bubbly activity is in the middle of the glass and looking really lively. The retention is also very good.

Very chocolate and caramel malt on the nose with a distinct herbalized, zesty lager yeast whiff...smells one part Oatmeal stout and one part lager.

This is a very smooth but lively brew that has the roastie, smoked chocolate flavor of a decent oatmeal stout with the sour-herbal yeastiness of a lager. The feel is pretty medium to full, smooth but livley. Very interesting indeed. I like it.

This is a unique hybrid-ish brew that I found to be better than avaerge for this Brewery and not at all hard to drink.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.33/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark brown with a smallish head. The smell is of cooked veggies and chocolate with a little malt.The taste is a roasty chocolate with malt.It's not bad,I can't compare this with any other beers because I've never tried this type.The m/f is a little light and watery,but its not horrible.This isn't a bad offering from Saranac.

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Photo of Metalmonk
2.05/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chocolate...Amber...Lager...would could this possibly be like?

This looks quite nice, with a really creamy head that retains for a solid several minutes. The color is a rich, ruby-hued dark dark brown, or just-barely-see-through-it black. Leaves trippy lace as the glass empties.

The aroma smells of copper, exactly like a penny,'s not my glass either, I'm sure of that, because I poured it into another, wondering if the glass wasn't properly washed. Same crappy smell. Blah.

The flavor has the same metallic notes that offend the nostrils. But at least something else gets through, that being a chocolate layer, and a roasted, no, burnt finish. But that metallic sheen persists. I love my metal, but not in my beer. Why even go further in the review? Who cares what the mouthfeel is like when the aroma and flavor is this bad? (For the record, the mouthfeel is too thin.) It's obviously not very drinkable. An "off" batch, or were my tastebuds totally wrecked forever by He'Brew's awesome Monumental Jewbelation last evening???


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Photo of Skabiski
2.5/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of Sammy
3.52/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.61/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, reddish-mahogany body; topped by a full and frothy ivory head that holds quite well and leaves some very nice lace; always maintaining a thin, creamy surface covering. The aroma is limited to some mild, fairly non-descript malt. The body is medium and it's fine and moderate carbonation leaves it lightly crisp and smooth on the tongue. It's not at all creamy, however, and I kind of wish there was something going on to give the beer some more character. The flavor delivers exactly what might be expected from the name with some caramel maltiness that's enhanced by a soft roastiness. There's a mild chocolatey note and some berry-like fruitiness that add to it's character. It's well-balanced with the hop bitterness supporting the darkish malt. It's roastiness add to the dryness of its short-lived finish with some residual caramel notes as well. Fairly interesting and well done, but nothing spectacular.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.28/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark reddish brown color with a very small flourish of a tan-colored head. Aroma of dark roasted malt tempered by just a whiff of hops. Palate is more roasted malt balanced by light hops, a touch of chocolate, and notes of brown sugar and caramel. Medium, slightly creamy body is decent for a lager. Aftertaste of sweet malt lingers for a while. Not a beer I'd like to drink a lot of, but it's certainly decent on occasion.

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Photo of Damian74
2.5/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of tempest
3.26/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First beer sampled out of the 12 Beers of Winter.

Impressive head over a golden brown body. Not much lacing, but good head retention.

Smells a little sweet with some malt. A tasty beer that isn't anything out of the ordinary for the style but is nevertheless satisfying. Rich malty flavor and a little crispness from the carbonation.

Wouldn't really seek this out if I was at the brewery, but its a nice change of pace and goes well with my dinner.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.25/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of beerluvr
3.57/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours with a nice looking tan head, over deep red liquid. Deep roasted grainy malt in the nose. Taste is indeed chocolatey, with background notes of roasted grains and a residual sweetness. Finishes long, smooth and malty.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was in the “12 Beers of Christmas” pack and I really didn’t expect much after having several others... But I really was surprised by this one.

This poured almost black into a pint glass, with a head and appearance that looked more like a stout or porter than the other stouts and porters in the 12 pack!

There was an aroma of coffee and hops.’

The initial mouthfeel and swig brought me back to earth with a watery feel. But the flavor was still very big and pretty good. Lots of roasted flavor, with coffee and chocolate and again, the mouthfeel shouldn’t be so big because its an amber lager. Anyway, the finish was surprisingly very well balanced. Some bitterness, not too much sweetness, not overboard with the chocolate aspect. Offers some good to excellent drinkability I would assume.

Overall, not super, but a solid brew and one of the best in their box and line.

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Photo of lumpy1126
3/5  rDev -8.3%

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Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.27 out of 5 with 227 ratings