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 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 Risser09
3.66/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a white wine glass - 2007 bottling - Cellar temp

Appearance: Pours a pitch black/brown with no visible light going through. 2" tan head with good retention and plenty of lace on the glass.

Smell: Chocolate nibs, lightly roasted malt, toasted almond and hot cocoa. Pretty good.

Taste: Biscuity cookie flavor. Creamed coffee in the middle and finish. Ample milk chocolate. Very satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth. This one went down no problem. Barely any alcohol is noticable. Slight bitterness as a coffee flavor lingers.

Drinkability: A solid lager. In the ages of the ALE, this beer is sessionable and delicious. Perfect for any chilly night. One of Matt's better beers.

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

bottle poured into a standard pint glass

A: Dark brown, almost black. Amber tinge when held up to light. Frothy tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Leaves a little lacing.

S: Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee

T: A lot like the smell. Roasted malt with a little chocolate and coffee.

M: Moderately thick mouth feel. Good carbonation.

D: Okay drinkability I guess. Not heavy but It doesn't leave me wanting another. One of the better beers in the Saranac variety pack this came out of.

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

Dark brown with a small head that laces well. Smell is faint malt with a slight smoky quality. Chocolate is not really discernible.Taste is sweet, malty with a nice crispness.Once again, I didn't get the chocolate, but the malt was still very nice. Mouthfeel is rich, chewy. Drinkability is good..smooth light crispness.

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Photo of stinoski
2.94/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- The appearance of this beer is very appealing. It pours a rich dark brown with an inch of tan head.

S- Nothing really stands out as far as smell. I feel a lot of Saranac beers smell very similar

T-A mild malty flavor and not much else. A slight bitter aftertaste reminiscent of other Saranac's offerings

M- Fairly smooth, not alot of carbonation. Doesn't leave a lasting impression in the mouth

D- Drinks like a dark lager.

I bought a six pack of this based on the name alone. Chocolate Amber Lager sounds really appealing. I wasn't extremely pleased with this, but to me most of Saranac's beer leave me with the same feeling.

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Photo of BeerCon5
2.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Very dark brown, almost black with some fluffy head.

S: Roasty malt smell as well as chocolate and some coffee.

T: Roasty malt taste also. Kind of a bland chocolate taste and noticable coffee taste.

M: Fairly thick and smooth with not a lot of carbonation.

D: Fairly decent beer. Probably best not to drink more than one or two. One is enjoyable but more just seems like too much.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark muddy brown with a two finger tan colored head that dies down to a puffy layer of thin bubbles. Stickiness is quite impressive, good lacing remaing on the sides of the glass. Smell is of musty noble hops and a funky cardboard aroma. Some caramel and faint chocolate malt in the nose. Just a weak aroma overall. Charred birch bark up front with a subtle malt sweetness of cocoa powder. Taste is a bit "blah" to me. Dirty aftertaste of hay and mud with lemon. Slick watery feel with an almost medium body. Flowing carbonation from start to finish. I don't know about this beer. It's inviting with "Chocolate" in the title, but doesn't live up to it. Maybe I say this after having ST's Choklat on draft a few nights ago.

 766 characters

Photo of TheTrevor
2.93/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a very dark opaque brown with a two-finger head. The smell is mostly roasty malts with some coffee and chocolate notes. The taste is mostly roasted malts with a little bit of bitter chocolate characteristic with an emphasis on the bitter. The beer has a decent amount of carbonation and a fairly thick mouthfeel, but sits a little heavy for me to consider drinking more than one at a time if I ever even grab it again. Interesting beer to try, but it's definitely not going to make it into my regular rotation.

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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 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 MmmIPA
3.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown body with a nice thick tan head.The head has tons of bubbles in it.Small patches of lacing are left on my glass.

Upon smelling the beer from the bottle.I noted milk chocolate.Mabey Oatmeal....

Chocolate and roasted malts and some bitter hops.Bitter chocolate also.Some sourness.

Mouthful and carbonation are nice and easy.

Not a bad beer but ive had better munich's.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint glass. Color was dark brown, almost black. Head was off-white and dissipated almost immediately into little more than a thin skim. Scent of malt and chocolate. Taste similar to nose. Mouthfeel was on the watery side with a little effervescence on the tongue, but somewhat of a chalky finish. A more or less mediocre brew.

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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.

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Photo of blackie
3.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Nice khaki head, gradually recedes to leave a nice layer with good retention. The beer is a very deep brown in color.

s: Dark, earthy hop aroma with a nice touch of roasted barley over a bed of pale Euro lager malts. Not a whole lot to it, but pretty solid aroma here.

m: Carbonation medium, heavy medium body, pretty smooth.

t: As with most Saranac beers, this one rides the line between average and good. Nice crisp lager malt backbone with a big, well integrated roasty flavor to make things interesting. Earthy hop presence with a very nice moderate bitterness in the finish. Not blatantly chocolate, but maybe some dusty bitter notes.

d: quite easy, a drinkable yet flavorful lager

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Photo of Ricochet
3.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Little head, slight lace, poured with beads

S: Coffee was lighter, roasted malt typical of all porters that I've had but there was a note of a cheaper porter like it had no follow through. Still better than average.

M:There was a winey bitterness and thick swallow that coats the mouth with a chocolate aftertaste.

T: Coffee and chocolate mixed with a touch of caramel, bitter was just enough but the winey texture just made this a little off but not strong enough to affect the taste of the burnt malt.

D: It's GOOOD! I haven't said that on Saranac beers much, but this one was better than the rest and would warrant a repeat visit.

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Photo of PSUDREW
2.95/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours like a porter or stout. Basically a pitch body, with a tan head and a malty nose. Very sweet first taste. A nice roasted malt flavor that comes of citrusy and clean. Mouthfeel is a little thick for a lager, but over all a pretty enjoyable beverage

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Photo of mnj21655
3.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with amber hues at the edges. Very minimal light tan head. Smell is slightly sweet, a bit roasty/chocolatey, with some light hops and just a bit of astringent alcohol. Taste is fairly complex, a mix of sweet malt and caramel, chocolate, and roasty malts with just enough hop bitterness to balance this beer out.Mouthfeel is good, light-medium body with low-moderate carbonation. Drinkability is quite good. This beer is fairly light in terms of body but has some of my favorite flavors. This might be a good gateway brew for people who "don't like dark beer".

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Photo of williamherbert
3.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown and reddish around the edges. Fluffy light brown head. Very dark and opaque. Rich. Some nice top lace.

Rich dark amber smell. Notes of light caramel. Sweet chocolate aroma. Mix between a sweet, rich amber and a dry, bitter porter/stout. Interesting.

The taste is like a black & tan: initial heavy stout flavor with a sweeter secondary flavor. A little smoky in the ambery second wave. Bitter malty afterbite.

A little dry in the feel, chalky. Smoother at the end. Medium bodied. Feels like a stout first, then an amber. Not bad but not amazing. Feel like a mixed bag.

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Photo of sbe1
3.46/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What were they trying to do with this beer? It's drinkable and looks good though.

Appearance: Very dark, almost black, very little light gets through the glass. A think foamy head leaving some lace and a thin layer of foam on the top of the beer.

Smell: Slightly smoky, roasted malts, vague dusty smell. No chocolate detected.

Taste: Not too bad, a little too bitter, not enough of a balance between bitter and sweet, a slightly bitter finish. No chocolate detected.

Mouthfeel: Good, medium bodied, proper amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: OK. Not a great Munich Dunkel. It might make a decent session beer from some.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into pint glass.

This one is darker than an "amber lager". It has more of a Schwarzbier type color: deep brown with ruby edges and a tan head. The head is about an inch in height, slowly settling to a thin cap leaving a solid wall of lacing.

The aroma is light with burnt malts showing up, and maybe a little bit of sweet chocolate.

The flavor is light as well, which is common with this style. Most of the malt flavor is reserved in a light dusty burnt flavor, while a bit of chocolate comes through to make it true to its name. On the downside, a little bit of flat bitter and acidic flavor comes through in the end, ruining the finish a little bit. Medium bodied with good carbonation that gives off a little fizz.

This one is somewhat enjoyable, except for the finish. I like the flavors it presents up until the end. Barely recommended.

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Photo of fitzy84
3.28/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Had this in their sample pack. I was a bit taken aback by the appearance: extremely thick darkness. We are talking complete brown-black color that more looks thick than creamy. The head was also probably the darkest foam I have seen in awhile. Its smells are pretty faint for what I expected: roasty aromas of mainly light malts and caramel. But really no chocolate I could detect. The taste did have more of a chocolate taste but it was so light and wrapped around some coffee-ish flavors that it really minimized that flavor. Mouthfeel really got me disappointed. The drink was really watery and lacked any punch to it, especially with those flavors; way too carbonated I would say. Overall, it is approachable and accessible since it lacked any overpowering qualities, but that also hinders it from really actualizing some potential.

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Photo of L4t3rg4t3r
3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, nearly black, with a thick fluffy head that slowly dissipates and leaves behind a thin uneven lacing on the glass.

Smell: Has some malt aromas with strong tones of coffee beans and burnt toast. Maybe a hint of dark chocolate

Taste: Has some hints of chocolate, but mostly toasty flavors and a little bit of an almost burnt tang to it.

Mouthfeel: One of the best aspects of this brew, it has a solid body with a slight prickling sensation in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: An ok beer, IMO, it is certainly better then most of the macros in terms of flavor, but the smell and slightly bitter taste limit it.

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Photo of JamesS
3.25/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep brown, although it looks more like it's from the chocolate instead of being a dark lager. Decent head and lacing. Nice chocolate scent, but not very much else. For a lager of any kind I would say it's weak, but it gives the chocolate scent as promised by its name. Same for the taste. It's almost like chocolate milk, but with beer. Not much to taste from the lager side, as it's covered up by the chocolate. Then again, if you don't like chocolate style beers, you shouldn't be trying this one. It goes down very, very smoothly. It would be easy to drink a few of these, if you like the flavor, although too many and it will sit in your stomach like several chocolate milks would. It won't be a problem to finish these off, but I'd prefer a hint of chocolate flavor, instead of nothing but chocolate flavor.

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Photo of animal69
3.74/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

# 2 from the sampler was this one ; pours an almost black ruddy brown w/ a thin tan head which dissipates quickly leaving a minimal amount of lacing, too dark for the style, as well ; a roasted/ chocolate malt aroma prevails w/ some faint fruity, date-like alcoholic undertone ; a rich, dry chocolate malt and roasted malt profile, balanced w/ hop bitterness do make it reminiscent of bakers chocolate, i rather enjoyed this one, more like a stout than a dunkel w/ some yeasty esters ; a dry, med bodied beer, nice co2 level, makes the flavor stick around a while ; definitely a drinkable beer, hard to believe it's a 5.8 ABV brew...

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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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