Saranac Chocolate Amber Lager | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

BA SCORE
76
okay
227 Ratings
THE BROS
66
poor
Read the review
Saranac Chocolate Amber LagerSaranac Chocolate Amber Lager
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
227
Reviews:
185
Avg:
3.27
pDev:
14.68%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
4
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 227 |  Reviews: 185
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.

 288 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.38/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: thick brown color, nearly opaque, with a generous, frothing, creamy tan head.
Aroma: light, wispy, tiny hints at nuts & cocoa.
Some hops show breifly at the front, followed by a faint chocolatey feel that's just barely there. Texture's nice, quite grabbable.
Malt does it's job well enough.
Quite drinkable, although this fails to deliver on the "chocolate" promise.
Still, an interesting approach for a lager, not a bad beer at all.

 450 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.86/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm with those that rate this a little higher. The aroma is too light, but other aspects of this beer are quite good. I really enjoy the complexity, yet it's ability to remain an easy drinking lager. The flavor has qualities of dark roast, including a slightly burnt quality and aspects of fruitiness. It strikes it's peak at a temperature between lager cold and ale warm. Really quite nice. Feel is a little light, but within reason for a lager. Really nice looking beer, holding a steady head and showing some lacing. I wouldn't consider it a winter beer, as advertised, but it could make a decent session beer.

 613 characters

Photo of RBorsato
4.6/5  rDev +40.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm going to join the minority too - I think this is by far the best Saranac brew out there !

Dark Brown (Auburn to light) with a nice full beige head and decent lace. Nice dark malty aroma with light roastiness. Nice roasty and light chocolate flavors. Medium-Full bodied with a light roasty finish.

Per "Best American Beers" book: 5.8% ABV, "Robust Munich Style Dunkel", "Spring Seasonal" (actually think it may be brewed more often now..)

Saranac Holiday Pack: 2002

 477 characters

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.

 452 characters

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.

 925 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.06/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the 12 Beers of Christmas.

Reddish-brown body, topped by a huge milk-shake beige head. No lacing. Aroma has chocolate, roasted malts, and a some smoke, but is very subdued. Taste is similar, roasted malts, chocolate, and a little caramel. Nothing in copious quanitites however. Mouthfeel and drinkability are fine. Another acceptable but unexceptional beer from Saranac.

 378 characters

Photo of brakspear
2.97/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the first Saranac beer I have tried and it just seemed pretty average to me.

It pours a dark brown with huge soda pop bubbles that diminish, making this look like a glass of cola...not very impressive at all.

The aroma has very faint chocolate notes, but I detect a sickly grainy backdrop that seriously interferes with the appreciation of the beer.

The taste is mild, mellow chocolate malt with a hop bite in the finish, but the beer seems to have a rather weak body for the style.

Overall--nothing I would look for again in a beer....

 556 characters

Photo of CharlesRiver
3.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown in color with a nice 1/2 inch head that lasts for a bit. The smell is malty with hints of chocolate. I must say, this is better than the previous Matt Brewing beers that I have had. The taste is coffee, toffee and of course more chocolate. Smooth finish that kind of just disappears. Some kind of burnt taste at the end as well.

None of the Matt Brewing beers have really stood out. They all are just good.

 421 characters

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.

 262 characters

Photo of nixhecks
3.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing exceptional here, but still another quality brew from Saranac that you can turn to when the money is runnin' a little low. Dark brown appearance with a definitive chocolate malt aroma. The mouthfeel was surprisingly richer than I had expected, however the flavor seemed a little bit off balance - but basically light caramel and chocolate flavors with a bitterness on the finish. Again, this is a quality brew that can be enjoyed on any budget.

 452 characters

Photo of stegmakk
3.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a tan head.
Slight chocolate and roasted malt aroma.
Flavor was roasted malt with a hint of chocolate and coffee flavor.
Medium body.
Overall a good beer. Not as much chocolate flavor as I was expecting, but more roast malt and coffee tones. I will drink this again if I find it.

 299 characters

Photo of jtw5877
3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown hue with a fluffy white head, I was expecting a michelob amber bock sort of dark lager with no flavor. I was wrong, it has alot of flavor, sweet to start with and a chocolate kind of taste finishes with some hop bitterness. Not a bad beer after a few slugs of it. I am at the halfway point of the 12 beer sampler having just finished #6, I would still recommend the purchase, for 9.99 it's a good deal. In college it would have been fun to drink the whole thing in one night.

 494 characters

Photo of Suds
2.97/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A thin head tops this ruddy-brown beer. Burnt-malt in the aroma. Foretaste is a little sweet, and the finish drys out a little. Bitterness seems to come from the grains....bitter chocolate flavors. Not any serious flaws that I could taste, but the certainly beer isn't great....it lacks deepness and resonance.

 310 characters

Photo of sraimondi
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid dark lager. Another good beer from Saranac. As others have said, not phenomenal, but for the price--very solid. I recently visted the brewery and the folks there were great. The glassware selection is also very good.

 224 characters

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.

 222 characters

Photo of aaronh
3.51/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This dark reddish-brown beer pours with a thick, rocky tan head that slowly fades. The aroma is primarily malt and very clean hops. There is a slight hint of earthiness and caramel in the nose as well. The atse is very malty, again balanced by the hops, with a hint of caramel sneaking in on the finish. The aftertaste has a somewhat metallic quality to it that I did not notice until after a few sips. The mouthfeel is rather smooth, with the carbonation being subdued on the tongue. This is another good beer for the price from Saranac. Nothing exceptional, but nothing offensive either. just a solid quality beer at an affordable price.

 639 characters

Photo of Kwak
3.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Head: This one has a good looking thick rocky head that leaves in a
hurry.
Body: The body is thick and deep in hue and the color is very dark brown with a reddish tint.
Taste: The chocolate taste is not very strong, this is also not a stout so its not a strong taste. You can taste the burnt malt above all other flavors.
This is not a great beer you can barely taste the chocolate hidden in this decent amber beer!

 419 characters

Photo of ElGuapo
3.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

yess! i got the 12 beers of Christmas, including the Chocolate amber, but where's the chocolate. i get a tiny little hint from the malts, but not really anything else.

a dark reddish brown pour with a head that leaves a small amount of trickling lace starts you out, and then you take a whiff and don't really note anything. a closer smell gives you a normal beer aroma with some sweetness.

it feels good, a mild carbonation and semi-rich body give it good consistency. the malts are good, but the chocolate is not there for the most part. i did find it in the end of a long burp. oh well, in the end a good beer, but not what i had expected.

 650 characters

Photo of John
3.78/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown appearance, respectable layer of tan foam. The emphasis is obviously on the chocoalte malt here both in aroma and flavor. But it's not necessarily a one dimensional beer. Roasted malt bitterness offests the semi-sweet chocolate nicely. Just enough complexity in flavor to keep things interesting, but not so much to be distracting. I think Saranac deserves a lot of credit for crafting such a diverse lineup of beers and for continuing to be adventurous.

 465 characters

Photo of IrishRedRock
3.21/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well I was quite let down by this one. Probably because I have a major sweet tooth and the word "chocolate" didnt exactly come through for me. Maybe some chocolate malt thrown in there, but little else in the way of chocolate. No aroma at all really...it smells like beer. Nothing distinct, and that goes for the taste too. Strange aftertaste too that I am not really enjoying. Not terrible, but not good either. Someone get me a Black Forest.

 443 characters

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.

 554 characters

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?

 418 characters

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.

 400 characters

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first I thought this was a renamed version of the Black Forest black beer, but checked the brewery's website to confirm this is a different brew. Very nice chocolate malt aroma. The chocolate is carried in the first sips, but then the malts take on a more roasted nature, with hints of smoke, like an Irish stout, creeping in. Well moderated between sweet and dry, a nice take on the style.

 396 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.