Saranac Chocolate Lager
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Chocolate LagerSaranac Chocolate Lager
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Style:
German Bock
Ranked #153
ABV:
6%
Score:
78
Ranked #45,637
Avg:
3.39 | pDev: 15.04%
Reviews:
65
Ratings:
176
From:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  2
Gots
  6
SCORE
78
Okay
Saranac Chocolate LagerSaranac Chocolate Lager
Notes: Saranac Chocolate Lager is a sinfully delicious deep amber lager made with certified organic cacao from Belize. Our brewers looked far and wide for the highest quality cacao to create a smooth chocolaty taste that only comes from the most exclusive cacao plants. We used the roasted seeds of these decadent plants and perfectly paired them with caramel malt and German Hallertau hops to create a malty chocolate sweet flavor. You'll love savoring this beer with your favorite holiday foods or on its own for a delicious treat!

15 IBU
Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 176 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ezterry:
Photo of ezterry
2.75/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

A: Looks good, deep amber color ber with a bit of head that dissipates

S: A very strong sent of coco but very little of the beer or hops. However I suspect the hops+coco mix is causing this to come across as slightly unpleasant.

T: In short I don't like it.. coco is very up front with some bitter maybe astringent tones to the taste.

M: Not bad, despite being only amber has a nice full mouthfeel expected from a chocolate based drink, nice carbonation,

O: This was not a pleasant beer for me. A strong coco flavor and smell but very little sweat backing it up.. This might be due to the clean amber lager base. If felt is needed crystal and roasted malts to back up the coco or something to complement it. (ie. I'd rather a lagered porter with chocolate than this drink)

In short it tastes like the bitter coco and not like a rich chocolate

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More User Reviews:
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of ppoitras
3.76/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of the Saranac winter mixed 12-pack at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into a nonic, formed a 1/2" beige head over the clear burnished amber brew. Head falls slowly, with coating sticky lacing. Aroma is lightly sweet with a vegetal tinge.

Taste begins sweet, lightly chalky chocolate in the middle, which carries on through to the end with a light bitterness. Bit of a sour aftertaste. Mouthfeel is quite smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice to see a flavored brew from Saranac that isn't overpoweringly artificial like some I've had.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

More bottles from my latest Philly run. I am feeling adventurous today and may try to eradicate the bottle backlog that has been an albatross since school started back.

My thanks to whomever transcribed the verbiage on the bottleneck onto the "Notes" section. It saves me a whole lot of work!

From the label: "Beer brewed with cacao nibs with natural flavors added".

The pour created two fingers of fragile, tawny head that fell like a souffle in an oven whose door had just been banged shut. It left nice lacing in its wake, though, so for that, Cheers! Color was a deep amber with NE-plus quality clarity, enabling me to see both through walls and into the future. Nose was chocolate, but a different chocolate than the Atwater that I reviewed earlier. This seemed somehow more authentic, like raw unprocessed chocolate. Nice. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not as dense as Atwater VoodooVator, but still pretty massive in the mouth. I am really glad that I drank this shortly after the Atwater Dark Chocolate as it gives me a greater appreciation for Saranac's craft. It was chocolaty, but subtly so. The chocolate had an unprocessed taste, as though the nibs were added almost as an afterthought. The finish was dry, believe me or don't! This is going to disappoint a lot of people who may be expecting a liquid chocolate bar, but for those of us who do not dig that sort of thing, this was perfect.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.41/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter variety pack - $13.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

"BB MAR 31 2013"

Appearance: Pours a clear, light amber-hued body with a foaming, barely off-white head.

Smell: Well-toasted malts, though not overly effusive, given a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Very, very vague hop note lingering in there.

Taste: A start of toasty German malts, a scant nuttiness (also toasty), then some sweetness and, at last, some of the namesake chocolate coming through. A drop of apple now and then. Scant herbal-hinting hops with only a bit of bitterness. Body lightens and it closes out nearly dry, which is nice surprise.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: It's okay! Really, I'm just pleased it's not obnoxiously sweet or eye-rollingly artificial tasting.

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Photo of plaid75
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured round chocolate malts and a soft caramel malt.

The taste consisted of the same chocolate and caramel malt profile with a rough earthiness that livened up the flavor a bit.

The mouthfeel was toward the thinner side of the style.

Overall a tasty malt driven lager.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A new take on an old favorite! The taste and texture of German dunkel is complemented by both raw chocolate spice and also the strength of bock. The grainy-sweet but silky smooth flavors that ensue simply belong together.

Pouring frothy, deep, and dark- its garnet hue is brilliantly clear. Slightly off white, the foam that separates from the beer skirts the beer with a sheet of bubbles that proves long lasing and speckles the glass with lace. It's an impressive looking beer throughout.

Elegant aromas of toasted malt, light toffee, hazelnut, and freshly kilned cocoa nibs all give the supple and sultry scent of Nutella. But with background whiffs of cooked corn, starch, and alcohol, the beer breaks away from breakfast time nutrition and steps into the adult beverage world.

The common taste of German dunkel is alive and well here as the part-grain, part-malt balance gives up its caramelized sweetness and mild starchy flavor. Toast, light coffee, toffee, hazelnut, and clay earthiness gives the beer its robust taste and remarkable dryness. But just as the taste of dunkel settles in, the added complexity of chocolate enters in and gives the beer added smoothness, savory, and earthy spice that is pleasantly unexpected and carries the beer through the finish.

It's grainy-sweet texture is simply on par for dunkel, but the grain character is in danger of astringency if not for the creamy textures that are aided by the cocoa nibs. Nutty, creamy, and lightly slick to the palate, these textures further detract from the corn-like character of yeast. Its late fade from creaminess to semi-dryness falls just short of completion as the beer lingers with residual grain sweetness and cocoa oils.

Sell this beer as a dunkel and I'm all aboard. It's satisfactory and appealing with nuances of complexity that is unexpected yet rewarding. But as a self-sold chocolate infused bockbier, my mind is set on higher expectations.

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Photo of tempest
3.97/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, so right off the bat, in case anyone reading this wondering, this beer is nothing like the sickly-sweet caramel porter. No, there isn't a big chocolate taste, but, this is a decent bock. Let it warm up a bit, and a dry cocoa comes out in the aroma and there's a light, earthy note in the flavor's finish. Of course, there's also a big caramel, toffee, and toasted bread crust barley character. It's less fruity than your average bock, but I like the cocoa replacing the usual sugars. The body is on par with your average lager, making it fairly drinkable. This is kind of a cool beer: balanced chocolate, tasty malts, and a slightly bitter hops finish. I'd take another.

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Photo of fastrodney
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Served from a bottle into a weizen glass.

A: Nice head that dissipates at a decent rate. Mid-to-dark amber.

S: Malty with a pleasant scent of hops.

T: This is where it gets interesting. I actually started drinking this one from the bottle; as soon as I realized this wasn't your standard chocolatey stout/porter, I decided to take a closer look (literally and figuratively). Honestly, I wouldn't have noticed the very faint chocolate had it not been advertised as such. It has a nice malty taste to it with an indistinct astringent hop back that isn't particularly pleasant. I can see it's classification as a bock, but I wouldn't be shocked to see it as a red, either.

M: Nice and thick. Medium carbonation.

O: This one's kind of a head-scratcher. Not terrible, but not great, and the chocolate is almost imperceptable. Huh.

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

This seems to be the only unreviewed beer in this year's Saranac winter sampler. This appears dark copper with golden highlights, and the head never really gets going, leaves only moderate lace. Nose has faint chocolate and watery malt but doesn't really stick out.

The taste has more obvious chocolate and toasted note, along with a slight nutty flavor. A little sweet in the finish, this bock is still relatively smooth and light for the style. not something to write home about but this goes down fairly easy.

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Photo of gregu2
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tall pint glass, color is amber, nice and translucent with an off white tan head.

Smell is mild malt with solid chocolate notes, interesting, somewhat syrupy smelling.

Taste is very clean mild malt flavors with a nice chocolate sweetness, again more syrupy than a chocolate malt flavor but somewhat decent flavor.

Mouthfeel is pretty well balanced, the chocolate flavor does linger somewhat.

Overall, an interesting brew the chocolate flavor works well and pretty solid bock backbone.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with a best by date of MAR 31 2012. Pours a clear copper color with a small cap of beige head. Fades pretty quick and does not leave much lace.

Nose is sulfurous lager and a faint cocoa aroma. Not really sweet and the malts dont carry much heft, maybe some toasty caramel but pretty flabby overall.

Taste is much better as some of the sweetness comes out and the chocolate is light, smooth and tastefully done. Not bad...the mouthfeel is thin, being little more than the consistency of water though. I enjoyed trying this once, but its certainly one-dimensional and I dont really think Id want a whole sixer of this in the fridge. Although...on the other hand, this is probably the best one of the winter mix 12-pack my dad brought back from D.C. This pack was my first taste of the Saranac family, and I am pretty disappointed with all 6 I have tried thus far.

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Photo of zeff80
3.55/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, off-white. It had a one-finger white head of foam.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate and roasty malt.
Some sweet caramel notes.

T - It tasted of bitter chocolate. Nice toasty malt with sweet caramel and toffee.

M - It was crisp, sharp and fairly smooth. A light to medium boied lager.

O - This is a nice chocolate lager. Another solid brew from Saranac.

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Photo of papaglide
3.74/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- 1 finger head dissipates rather quickly

S- malt with sweet chocolate and a herbal hint of hops

T- the first thing to strike is a chocolate sweetness/slight bitterness combo. Then a slight maltiness mixed with a tiny hint of cocoa in the background arrives. The beer finishes kind of on the dry side with an ever so tiny bit of alcohol warmth. This beer is very well balanced.

M- Nice: not highly carbonated and on the thin side of middle but only by a hair. It's not at all chewy and not at all offensive.

O- This is a very nice beer: not outstanding but nice in an average kind of way. The style says bock, I say it's a very drinkable dunkel. But as a bock it is underwhelming, as a dunkel it is a nice average sample for the style.

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Photo of ZOSO2192
2.75/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of rodney45
3.92/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker garnet or burnt ruby, with a big paper towel colored head that doesnt hang around long.

S: Good airy mixture of toasted bread, plum, light munich malt, and strawberry.

T: European in malt taste, with a bit of a wheat flare. Strawberry, fig and plum are the only notes I get from this beer. Slight hop bitterness is there to balance out the grain bill. Really no chocolate to speak of.

M: Light to low moderate body and adequate carbonation.

O: I think this is more of a lager than a bock, it would have a larger body if it were a bock. I enjoyed this beer more than most of the others in the variety pack.

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Photo of Gmann
3.35/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear copper color with a small, tight beige head that settles into a sparse cap.

The aroma has a light cacao scent to go with a very subtle metallic note. There is also some buttery caramel notes and a bit of a grassiness from the hallertau as well.

The flavor starts off with a chocolate note from the cacao. It is a bit powdery. The base is a caramel amberish malt that packs some metallic and light grain flavor. A lime presence is detected from the hallertau hops.

The feel is light with very fizzy carbonation; burns a little bit. It does drink crisp but is a tad sticky. There is an odd bitterness in the finish, which I think comes from the combination of the cacao and the hops.

Not very bockish, more of an amber lager and the chocolate is light. An ok beer, drinks fairly well.

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Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is crystal clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high light beige head that only died down a bit and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark bread and cocoa powder in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the chocolate flavors are a little more prominent. They definitely taste more like cocoa powder and not milk chocolate. Hints of brown bread are also present. No bitterness is noticeable, but the hops prevent it from tasting too malty.
M: It feels a little more than light-bodied and airy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of dryness is noticeable.
O: The light and airy nature of this beer makes it very easy to drink and prevents it from feeling heavy.

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Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this average tasting beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was copper colored and light for its name I thought. It poured a fair head. The smell was malty. The taste on this beer was weak. I tasted no chocolate ate all and actually more of a vanilla taste than anything. I did not think it well represented itself as to what is was suppose to be. Not buy again.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.62/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - clear amber color with a off-white head that thinned to a light layer leaving spotty lacing.

S - nice cocoa aroma with sweet caramel malt in the background.

T - subtle chocolate blends in with caramel malt and there's a light bitterness towards the finish.

F - light/medium bodied with a easy drinking feel.

O - a likeable lager.

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Photo of rangerred
3.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear coppery orange with a little over a one finger off-white head. Pretty good lacing and head retention.

Chocolate is definitely present in the aroma but in a more subdued way than what I was expecting. A huge caramel base with hints of toast and a fleeting brush of grassy noble hops. Not bad.

The flavor again has just subtle hints of chocolate. Really tastes like a Vienna lager base with some chocolate thrown in although they compliment each other nicely. Toast and caramel undertones with some cocoa. I can barely detect some grassy hops buried underneath and bitterness is light to moderate. Watery mouthfeel with a little sticky finish.

Overall, an all around average beer and I really with the chocolate was a little more pronounced. Not quite as good as Sam Adams chocolate bock but non-offensive nonetheless.

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Photo of tedho21
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of dacrza1
3.4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Occasion: still sick, but getting better with meds.... Glassware: nondescript pilsener... Appearance: tan brown/orange body with a thin off-white head... Aroma: fresh, cocoa hints are a quick burst; fleeting, otherwise weak malts... Palate:medium-bodied and smooth; plapable but not heavy... Taste: sweet toffee/caramel plays with the cocoa in a welcoming dance... Overall: pleasant though not overpowering--a malty chocolate seasonal that satisfies....

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Photo of stevehagy
3.28/5  rDev -3.2%

Saranac Chocolate Lager from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 176 ratings