Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

185 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 185 | Ratings: 227
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 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 BigPlay1824
2.46/5  rDev -24.8%
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

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Photo of Kerin
2.52/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

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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 nlmartin
2.59/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was poured into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a very nice dark brown coloration. The head was thick and luxurious off white brown coloration. Major head retention was evident in this beer. The lacing was thick webbing up and down the glass.

Smell: I was let down by the smell. The smell contained a unpleasing funky grainy smell. Very small undertones of chocolate.

Taste: This beer has an unfortunate acrid taste that immediately makes itself known. There is a nice bakers semi sweet chocolate taste to the beer. Just to much other funk present.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is light bodied. Sadly the potential of this beer is ruined with a acrid taste. Just an average drinking beer that needs a bit more cleaner taste.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
2.64/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle with no freshness date. Comes out a dark brownish, red color, a little like red wine. I was impressed by the appearance. Came up with a 2inch frothy, rocky, tan head after a generous pour. Lace was medium rings around the glass.

My first impression of the aroma was warm alcohol right from the first. There is some sweet caramel and some roasty malts in the smell too. The taste, first off, is not chocolatey at all. There is a warm alchohol taste followed by some week malty flavors. The taste becomes more abundant as it warms, but, does not amount to much.

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Photo of Rainintheface
2.65/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into SA glass.

A: Dark, almost black. minimal tan head, mostly just ringing the glass.

S: chocolate, roasted malts and coffee. nothing stands out much.

T: malty, slightly bitter chocolate. again, not much stands out.

M: medium body, a little syrupy with alright carb. fizz

D: eh, nothing special. I had one and that's enough for me.

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Photo of Gmann
2.7/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark brown color with hints of amber. Small tan head that dissipated quickly. The smell was kind of faint for a style that uses roasted malts. The lager had a sweet roasted malt flavor, though not very chocolatey, with a bitter hop aftertaste. The mouthfeel was moderate with decent carbonation. Nothing special about this lager, not something I would drink many of.

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Photo of Backer2004
2.73/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Does a chocolate amber even make sense for a style? I guess a Munich Dunkel would explain a few things but I was just disappointed in such after seeing such an appealing name. No redeeming qualities in really any category. Really wished this was like a Young's Double Chocolate Stout but doeasn't even come close. The chocolate just isn't there . . . smell, taste. Not terrible but not good either.

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Photo of frank4sail
2.73/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Slight roast aroma. Deep dark mahogany color with a decent 1/2 inch tan head. Roast malt flavor which is upfront followed by a metalic dry finish. Medium/light mouth. The overwhelming metalic (tin) finish was not my thing.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.75/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is a clear deep ruby color. Creamy ivory white head is small and then gone. Lacing is adequate. This beer is barely average. A little bit of bitterness. A little bit of roastedness. No chocolate malt or plain chocolate appears on my palate. It's a pretty bland beer. Body is closer to light than to medium. This one doesn't do jackshit for me. Marketing ploy in my opinion. Chocolate Amber Lager?

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Photo of kernalklink
2.8/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark murky brown with a quickly vanishing head. Aromas are fleeting; coffee, slight green hops, some roasted malts. Taste is not much different- first a sweetened toffee followed by burnt black coffee. Almost burning and acidic with raw hop bitterness. Some chocolate malt attempts to break through in the finish but is held back by the ugly coffee and burnt malts. Watery finish and goes down easy if you can ignore what your tastebuds are tellling you.

 463 characters

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 shirfan
2.83/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark, dark ruby yet clear, with a thin, sticky layer of off-white lace.

Aroma: Dark malt, something like a bock, even rauchbier hints of smoke.

Taste: Malt takes center stage, yet the body is far too thin. Notes of light chocolate, burnt malt, bits of smoke again. Not much bitterness, but the sweet side of things is too watery to be enjoyable. A bit of charcoal in the finish, slightly sour.

Would this have been better as an ale? Most likely. A left-field offering that needs to be discontinued.

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Photo of DrinkinBoy
2.84/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Saranac Chocolate Amber, pours a very dark brown, and is almost completely opaque. The head is very full with good retention, and is a dark tan color, similar to coffee with a lot of cream.

Its smell is initially roasted with a touch of sweetness.

The taste first hits you over the head with the an interesting nutty taste. After which, the roasted chocalatey taste settles in, leaving the palette with a coffee like aftertaste. This taste is a bit abrasive.

Its mouthfeel is thick as expected, but is slightly high amount of carbonation feel.

Overall, I feel that Chocolate Amber is a bit overwhelming and complex. But to me this is what is great about trying beers, its worth a try by all means.

 701 characters

Photo of Citadel82
2.84/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich cordovan brown with ruby accents surmounted by one finger of creamy head that leaves some sticky lace.

Smell is yeasty with some caramel notes.

Taste is thin with some hints of dark chocolate some sweetness (faint) and little or no hoppiness that one usually gets in a lager. No nuttiness that I could discern.

Overall an aveage to below average beer.

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Photo of drseamus
2.84/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice dark body but the head was small initially and disappeared quickly. The aroma isn't strong but there is a burnt smell in there. The flavor doesn't stand out either but has a certain "Saranac" quality to it. The body is pretty light and the drinkability isn't great.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
2.85/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Good appearance, dark brown/black, opaque. Slight off white head, I don't have any lacing.

Smells of chocolate with hints of coffee.

This beer tastes like unsweetened chocolate, strong and up front. The middle has some coffee notes to it, and it finishes sort of dry, but I can still taste that chocolate. The first few sips were interesting, but I started to like it less as I went. The after taste especially bothers me, as it tastes strongly of baking of unsweetened chocolate.

Medium bodied, low carbonation.

After the first few tastes this beer seemed drinkable, but the more I tried the less I wanted to continue.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
2.86/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark russet hues topped off with a tight craggy ½” foam cap.

Light aromatic chocolate notes over grainy lager scents.

First swigs: Metallic husky grained lager. Not really chocolate, but rather cola like in flavor. Lingering aftertaste of grainy toasted froth.

Quite the foamy one. Medium feel.

Last swigs: Light cocoa and herbal bland flavors. Just a “throw in” to spice up their mixed case that I snagged on sale. Otherwise, forgettable, but not regrettable.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of rarevos
2.86/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into altglass (stange).

A: Best way to describe the color of this beer is... well, chocolate amber. 1 finger of tan head, no retention at all. No lacing, no sticky trails on side of glass.

S: Malty, a little sweetness. For a dark beer, there's not much aroma. A little toasted marshmallow.

T: Up front is the malt, so it's sweet and somewhat roasty. The roastiness is warming toward the middle, and I was still waiting for the chocolate flavor when I swallowed. Mild hop bitterness toward the end. There was a burnt flavor in the finish, like it was brewed with those little burnt bits that get stuck to your grill. As the beer bloomed, it only made this burnt flavor stand out even more, and it added a dusty flavor, as well.

M: Mouthfeel is thin for a dark beer with roasty characteristics.

D: I'm moving straight to the subjective here. I didn't really enjoy this, largely because the toasted aspect came off as "burned," which wasn't inviting at all. The next time I try this (there is always a next time), I'd like to try it in a snifter.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.86/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours up a small head, gone in seconds with no lacing. It is a fairly dark beer, chocolate amber is certainly a good color description. Leaves something interesting desired.

S - A surprising amount of chocolate odor is apparent, odor is predominantly chocolate malt with a bit of caramel malt and a very mild hop character. Nothing offensive. As it warms the caramel malt becomes more predominant as well as a slight diacetyl.

T - A faint foretaste, it is mostly like water, but there is a bit of caramel taste to it. The aftertaste is a burnt coffee bitter. At warmer temperatures an extremely foul sour tartness joins the fray.

M - Smooth and thin. Refreshing. Better than most of the Saranac's.

D - It isn't hard to drink, but it isn't a great taste at all. It's very lacking.

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Photo of sabrills70
2.87/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a thin head and just OK lace. Aroma is of roasted malts, with of course choclate notes, very subtle though for this type of beer. Taste is more of a black and tan. A chocolate presence is there but not to the level of which I was expecting. A clean and crisp beer that is tasty but not what I would consider a "chocolate" lager. Just not enough chocolate flavor - thats all.

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Photo of JISurfer
2.88/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The best part of this brew was the nice dark body and the thick foamy head. The head did die out though, which then switch to a thin lace. The smell had a very roasty maltiness to it, with a bittersweet chocolate armoa interlaced, as well as a hint of hops. The taste was not as good as the smell, as it had a very bitter chocolate taste to it, somewhat like baker's chocolate. I'm sure everyone's got a story about when they were a kid and "snuck" what they thought was regular chocolate, but turned out to be baker's chocolate. That is what this was kind of like. It wasn't totally unbearable, but it was nothing to get excited about either. This beer was a little bit too filling for me to have another, so I'll have to sit that out. Overall, it's ok and left me a little disappointed.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
2.9/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruby-brown color with a tan head. Leaves a slight lacing. The aroma is roasty, with hints of chocolate. It has light roast malt flavors, it is somewhat bready, with chocolate notes. It is light-medium in body, and smooth. Overall, it is easy drinking and smooth.

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Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.27 out of 5 based on 227 ratings.
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