Saranac Chocolate Orange | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

very good
43 Reviews
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Saranac Chocolate OrangeSaranac Chocolate Orange

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

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Saranac Chocolate Orange is a limited edition small batch brew from our "High Peaks" series, a line of beers that are bigger, more complex and flavorful. Brewed as a full bodied robust Baltic-style porter with five different hops and four different malts, this beer pushes the porter style to a new level.

We start with generous amounts of chocolate malt, and then add blood orange peel. In fermentation, the finest hand-selected, purest cacao nibs are added to enhance the chocolate malt flavor. Look for a dark chocolate roasted flavor finished off with a unique surprise from blood orange peel, making this an extra special treat!

Added by CloudStrife on 03-02-2012

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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 150
Photo of tdm168
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pitch black with a thin, thick, brown head that has decent retention

S - big, rich chocolate and roasted malts

T - rich chocolate, roasted malt, faint orange peel

M - medium to full bodied, well carbonated, smooth

This has great flavor. It's rich, chocolaty and roasty. It's smooth and unique. If I see this on the shelves again, I will definitely buy another bomber.

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Photo of ProfessorHomer
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black, dark brown edges under strong light. Towering, thick tan head with dark brown highlights. Head lasts, with very nice lacing.

S: Coffee, first note then of dark, dark 90% chocolate. Some raisins/dates. Arousing. Interesting, no pronounced alcohol evident.

T: Immediately strong coffee: French, dark roasted coffee. Background dark chocolate note develops. Dark roasted chocolate malts. Some raisiny edge. Sorry, very little orange to this palate. Alcohol barely evident - quite a trick to hide at 9%!

Mouthfeel: Great carbonatation, creamy, wet and smooth. I must compliment another taster who said that it that "carried the flavors marvelously." Marvelously indeed! So creamy!

Summary: By far, THE BEST I've ever had from Saranac. Ever. Living in Albany, I've been there many, many times for all their beers and a number of special events. This beer is OUTSTANDING! Whilst labeled a baltic porter, this big, complex, balanced beer has a lot going on. How's they hide the 9% abc so well? A genus of a beer! Highly recommended!

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Photo of Mohican88
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: Virtually black with a 2 finger khaki head that slowly recedes. Fairly impressive lacing develops throughout the course of drinking.

Smell: Dark chocolate and earthy hops persist, seems to be lacking a citrus punch but still very appealing.

Taste: Quick burst of orange upfront that is quickly enveloped by bittersweet chocolate, chocolate malt, and roasted barley. Finishes semi-dry with a pleasant lingering earthiness and slight alcohol warmth as the beer opens up. I'm looking for more orange but don't find it other than right at the forefront of each sip.

Mouthfeel: This was very a impressive part of the beer for me. The carbonation level was perfect and created an incredibly smooth and creamy mouthfeel that carried the flavors marvelously.

Overall: Probably the best offering Saranac has produced to date. If you did not tell me this beer was supposed to contain orange I would not have explicitly known, but regardless this beer is a fantastic baltic porter. This beer would be excellent with vanilla ice cream and I'd even be willing to give it a shot with orange sherbet or sorbet.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a thick, pitch black into my Bruery glass. Fat two finger dark tan head floats effortlessly and leaves a decent bit of oily lacing as it drips away.

S- Roasted chocolate malt, charred wood, slighty bitter black coffee and a touch of zesty orange peel as it warms. Not sure if hops play much into this at all, or if it's just the added orange peel. Definately some hints of citrus buried beneath the chocolate malt bomb that is this imperial porter/stout.

T- Really comes alive as you let it warm... Bittersweet cocoa, light coffee notes, and a wonderful hidden yet upfront citrus punch. Little touches of caramel, and some figs and dried fruit. This is really impressive from what is normally an unimpressive brewery.

M- Not overly thick, but thicker than alot of more highly rated stouts. Like eating a chocolate covered tangerine. Nice notes of citrus, coffee and of course bittersweet chocolate roll and dance on the tongue. I really dig the way the citrus peel and chocolate mingle and stick to the tongue.

O- I have got to pick up some more of this. Especially some to send out in trades. Reminds me a little bit of Stone VE 09/09/09 but thicker and more chocolatey. Very well done Saranac... very well done indeed!

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Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: An excellent bubble show produces a three inch mocha colored head; the liquid was black, as expected, and though the retention was better than the lacing, it still looked good

Smell: Rich, dark chocolate with floral orange tones

Taste: Dark chocolate, up front, with the sweetness growing in the middle; the blood orange doesn't make an appearance until the finish but there it is, subtle yet distinct; there is an interesting hop complexity that doesn't really cut through the sweetness but it adds another dimension to the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: Unlike many of the other reviewers, I was able to pick out the blood orange tones; perhaps it was the power of suggestion, but I could smell it and taste it; pretty impressed with this brew coming from Saranac - I have tasted some good beers in their High Peaks line

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a really dark brown color from a 22 oz bottle; with ABV on the label. A code on the neck of the bottle, perhaps the bottling/freshness code. Absolutely pitch black once it is in the glass, with no light penetration whatsoever.
Nice one finger dark mocha colored head with lots of glistening bubbles that dissipate to a ring around the edges of the tulip. Extremely viscous and thick pour.
Aroma upfront is all chocolate malt, with hints of cacao coming through. The orange peel is faint and becomes evident once the beer warms up. Hints of bitter-floral hops coming through also.
Wow, this is a really thick, full-bodied yet silky smooth porter. Luscious mouthfeel coats the palate very nicely.
The taste upfront is slightly sweet, with the malts coating the palate beautifully from the middle. All chocolate from the middle right to the finish. The finish is almost dry, with a lingering bitterness and hints of orange peel coming through. The chocolate flavor definitely predominates the orange in this porter. It's more like a mild liquid version of a orange chocolate bar.
This was nowhere near what I was expecting when I got a bottle of this Baltic porter from Saranac. Perhaps one of the finest beers from Saranac and one I will be seeking out soon again. Definitely worth a try and is highly recommended.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- pours dark brown, nearly black with a small, fizzy dark-tan head that reduces quickly, leaving just a small ring, no lace

S- roasted cacao nibs, smoked meat, charred wood, chocolate and a bit of earthy hop notes. Really liking the smoky notes

T- smoky and roasted malts highlight a rich and creamy chocolate flavor, notes of cacao with some woodsy earthy tones, light herbal hop gives way to a dry-yet-sweet rich chocolate finish, just a bit of alcohol on the finish. I can't taste any orange while drinking, but the linger leaves a zesty citrus kick that provides a tasty finish

M- medium body and moderate carbonation, super creamy mouthfeel leads to a smooth and velvety finish, warming alcohol barely noticed.

O- I was very surprised by this one. It had about a year of age on it and I think that it brought out some of the chocolaty notes. They should make this a winter seasonal because its without a doubt my favorite beer from Saranac

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Photo of Kendo
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The third beer in Saranac's High Peak Series - and the first Saranac offering I've ever seen in a 22 oz bottle. Purchased 3/1/12, consumed on 3/2/12.

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body appears thick, sludge-like, so I pour a little more aggressively to create a head. Big mistake. I end up with a HUGE head that sits still, like thick, chocolate-colored meringue or foamy mousse. So. Tired of waiting for that head to settle, I pour the remainder into another pint glass - this time more cautiously. I get a black body with a 1-finger chocolate brown head that leaves behind good lacing.

S: Nice nose - chocolate malt, roasted barley malt and cocoa. I like my porters to be malt-centric, and this fits the bill in the nose.

T: And. . . it delivers the malty goods in the taste department as well. Roasted barley, chocolate malt and I can definitely taste the cacao nibs - a sort of dark chocolate spice on the backsides of the tongue. There's blood orange in here somewhere, but I can't seem to find it - though I do get a slight hint of citrus lingering long after the sip is gone. Finishes with some hop bitterness offsetting the malt - somewhat earthy with a hint of pine. The 9% ABV is very well masked, though I get a little heat in the belly, and at times a bit of spice at the back of the mouth.

M: This one's a heavyweight in heft. Carbonation is modest, in spite of that initial pour.

O: This is quite good. More stout-like in many ways than a porter (but let's face it, Imperial Porters and Double Stouts aren't too far apart - especially once you start adding extra ingredients, it can become hard to tell them apart). This is probably the highest rating I've ever given to one of Saranac's beers. Let's hope that with the new bombers they continue to make good stuff.

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Photo of oberon
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I gotta say I was a little intrigued to see Matt going out and making a beer like this,I have had mixed feelings about their High Peaks series,this was a hands down big winner.Pours nearly jet black except for some ruby tinge when held in the light,a thick rocky deep mocha colored head atop.The aromas are really nice they just don't jump out ya,the blood orange comes thru along sweetish chocolate and sweet alcohol with a bit of roast as well.Really nice complexity on the palate with a mix of bittersweet chocolate,blood orange,sweet alcohol,and a healthy roastiness and earthy finish.I went back and forth on the mouthfeel between 3.5-4 and 4 and went with the 4 because it did coat the mouth and it did glide down easy.This is a great Baltic porter,the Matt guys put some real care into this and didn't cut corners,I loved it.

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Photo of atr2605
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours black with a one fingerwidth dark tan colored head with fairly good retention
S-chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and a low hop bitterness
T-big chocolate flavor up front mixed with rich coffee flavor, and the hop bitterness keeps the sweetness from being overbearing. Orange is quite settle and mainly comes through in the finish.
M-medium full bodied with low carbonation
O-not a bad porter but expected more orange in the flavor, and there was almost no orange in the nose. I liked it but could needed more emphasis on the orange, Still recommend

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into snifter. No dating on bottle but at checkout I was told it arrived an hour before.

A: Pours a thick pitch black with a 2 finger khaki head that fizzles down to a thin film within a few minutes. Lacing from the head before I sip and would of been more if I didnt keep swirling the glass. Cant even get any light through when tilting the glass.

S: Lot going on with the smell. You can easily pull out the chocolate, hints of orange too. But to my surprise there is a lot of hop aroma. Grassy and citrus hops which I feel compliment the chocolate and orange respectively.

T: Interesting approach on a Baltic Porter here. Starts off with a creamy chocolate taste before some orange pulls through and a slight alcohol tinge. Finishing with chocolate. Please note all of this is amped up with 5 types of hops giving this some IBU all the way through. A little smokey with some great roasted malt in between sips.

M: Feels creamy in the mouth with ample carbonation. Finishes a little sticky with the resins from the hops. Not too boozy feeling for 9%.

Overall worth a try and a good Porter. I've never been a huge fan of orange chocolate myself so maybe others will like more. Would think this would improve well with aging as the hops tone down and the beer mellows out.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well I paid the premium on this one a whopping 10 bucks. Judging by other reviews I have paid at least 3 dollars more than I should but it still should be a nice limited release beer.

A - Wow never have I seen anything so viscous by Saranac! Actually it seems to be one of the thickest porters I have ever seen with a deep black color and a nice 1/2 inch of deep dark mocha head.

S - Smells of mostly roast and coffee qualities with some cocoa from the nibs. Actually smells pretty stout like with very little smell of any orange at all.

T - Well you do get a lot of dry roast reminding you it's a porter but in no way does it get too dry since the cocoa nibs do their thing giving it a touch of sweet and creaminess. I want to place some orange in the finish next to the bittering hops, which again I am surprised this has quite a hop bite. Not bad!

M - Medium in body it looks rather thick but drinks like a full bodied porter.

Overall I found this one at a shop notorious for jacking up bomber prices so if you find this for under 8 bucks pick it up. Agreeing with everyone in saying this is the best beer these guys ever put out!

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Photo of match1112
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: thick dark brown body with a tight one inch mocha colored head. retention and lacing are outstanding.

s: orange peel, chocolate malt, cocoa and some roasted aromas.

t: sweet chocolate with a orange kick. a nice roasted ending to it.

m: thick and creamy. great carbonation.sticks to the inside of my cheeks like syrup.

o: very well rounded porter. the 9% abv is very well hidden. the closer to room temp the better this beer is.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Drinking this bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. The beer pours a dark cola brown with frothy yet densely packed tan head of 1 cm foaming up and fading slowly to nothing throughout the sampling.
Aroma is rich chocolate malt and dark cocoa, I also get roasted notes with some mild coffee burnt hits and some brown sugar. Generally pleasant yet not super robust and in your face. I dont get any hops here.
First sip reveals an average body with smooth creamy texture and fine rolling carbonation.
The flavor is rich malt with dark cocoa and chocolate sweetness dominating, I get some roasted malt and just a hint of sweet fruitiness on the finish of each sip. There is some warming booze on the swallow of each sip. The beer is more robust on flavor and body than nose and definitely poses a bigger undertaking to finish than anticipated.
The beer is tasty and suitable for the style, I dont get a whole lot of the orange peel or fruit anywhere, but it is a chocolate heavy brew and perfect for a late winter evening.
I would recommend that Saranac makes this a winter seasonal release.

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Photo of Brad007
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark dark black with a nice big brown head into my glass. Lots of lacing. Lots to appreciate.

Orange peel and cacao nibs with a slight roast. Lots of alcohol in the nose too.

Lots of alcohol (unwanted) that gives way to a slight orange twang. After a minute or two, the twang gives way to creamy, roasty and chocolatey malt. Very mellow here. Just takes a bit of patience.

Ditto on mouthfeel. That alcohol burn lingers but there's enough cocoa flavor underneath to make it worth the wait.

A decent baltic porter here. Some aging will knock the alcohol down enough to bring out the chocolate and orange.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a half of a finger of caramel-colored head that dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic with tons of sweet chocolate up front, like a candy bar, followed by bready, roasted malt, which imparts notes of freshly toasted bread, topped with Nutella®, as well as aromas of brown sugar and hints of dark stone fruit and burnt orange. Rich, earthy, sweet, complex, delicious and inviting!

Taste: Wow! Very, very good! Delicious, actually! Tons of roasted malt and dark chocolate up front, a big, malty chocolate bomb of a beer! There is also strong flavors of caramel, an hint of cinnamon and orange peel. Quite delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and very smooth and creamy as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 9.0%, there is just a hint of alcohol on the palate. I’m amazed, actually at how well masked the alcohol is. You can barely taste it!

Overall: I’m not really a fan of most of Saranac’s beer. They’re not bad, just very forgettable. That being said, this one is extremely good and solid! Delicious, in fact! I love the malty, chocolaty flavors kissed with orange peel. I’d certainly get this beer again!

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Photo of Marraybay
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow: So much potential here. Really great lacing and head; great thickness. Excellent mouthfeel: smooth, creamy, great upfront sweetness. The only downside in this one for me is the alcohol. Just a bit too forward/pronounced in both the nose and the finish. If this could be toned down a tad (7%, 6%, etc.) this would really be fantastic. Still enjoyed and would like to have a few more while available, but again, just a bit too boozy to really be a home run: (more like a ground rule double!) The idea of cellaring--which some have mentioned, would be an interesting one to try. Note - like others, didn't get the orange; Non-existent for me. Didn't really affect my opinion--still like--but I can understand why others might be disappointed given the hype.

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Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep black, two finger deep brown head head

S-Chocolate, roasted malt, some orange, not much (Black Butte XXIII had more)

T-Starts with roasted and bunch of chocolate, some bitterness, once again not much orange.

M-Medium bodied, very carbonated and creamy but a little thin.

O-As far as Imperial Porters with orange go with one does not measure up to BBXXIII, it is still a decent beer but not as good.

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Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1/4" head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: chocolate and roasted tones come through to the nose. Some alcohol is detectable.

Taste: roasted malt, dark bitter chocolate, alcohol, and a decent bitterness. The orange tones are very subdued and hard to detect.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and dry at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a very drinkable baltic porter that leans towards the chocolate side. Pretty good beer here.

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Photo of gr0g
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pitch black in color with a head that's one finger tall. The foam is sticky but only minor lace formation is exhibited. Dark cocoa is abundant in the aroma. Orange peel is there, but it's very faint, and perhaps even all in my head. Otherwise, it's chocolate and charred malt all the way.

Tons of bittersweet chocolate in the flavor. Sweet/dry balance is pretty good, with roasted malt and hops both contributing to a nice, balancing bitterness. Some fusel alcohol on the finish, but it's not too potent. All in all, this is drinking quite similarly to Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Coincidentally, Matt F.X. contract brews all of Brooklyn's 12oz bottle offerings, including BCS. Even the textures are similar, although this has a carbonation that's both less abundant and more prickly. Still, it's appropriately thick and chewy for the style.

Usually I shy away from Saranac beers, but I received this as a gift and was pleasantly surprised. This is good to drink now but may show more complexity with age.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on sale at Gary's in Wayne a week or two back, having seen this on sale for $3.99. I was intrigued by a 22 oz. beer from Saranac and without a doubt, this was the best beer that I ever had from them. The alcohol wasn't that detectable and the combination of chocolate and blood orange flavors meshed nicely together since neither one overpowered the other.

The pour to this was wonderful with a nice, full dark body and tan head that filled up the remainder of my glass and just wouldn't quit. It looked like dessert and was just as rich as an after-dinner meal since the cocoa nibs were strong and bitter without overpowering the valencia flavors that mixed in with it. Having a blood orange taste was a great choice since it has the body but not the acidity of citrus and it fully showed here. The alcohol was strong enough toe complement this flavor pairing and allowed me to enjoy this slowly, without gouging on it.

I could taste the booze a bit and was just a bit affected by it when I made my way to the end of the bottle. This wasn't what I expected at all and the roasted and creamy notes to this beer give it a nice body without weighing it down. Lots of foods like mousse cake or pudding would go well with this but lets face it, when you get a beer this works this well on its own, just enjoy the work of art for what it is. Props to Matt for pushing the boundaries with this and redefining the potential of what a Saranac beer can be.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Robust malt profile with a hearty chocolate nose and taste. Some smokey flavors and a touch of esters of dark fruit like plums and raisins. Full body with moderate carbonation. Nice beer overall from Saranac.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a deep black that looks like motor oil with a two finger head that is fluffy and mocha in color which lingers quite nicely before leaving alot of thick lacing around the glass
S: very nice dark chocolate malts in the forefront and then a beautiful orange zest towards the end
T: great chocolate malts in the front, purely dark chocolate, then towards the very end, and just briefly, has a slight zest from the orange, it is almost indiscernible but its there if you seek it out, drinks nicely, dark chocolate malts linger on the palate long afterwards
M: smooth, extremely gentle carbonation, drinks very thickly, leaves the mouth with a thick coating and not a dryness as i would attribute to hops but a dryness like that of powdered chocolate, its nice on the palate overall
O: ive really been loving the offerings that have been coming out from saranac as of late and, as far as im aware, this is going to be just the beginning

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap. Pours a dark black with an inch of frothy brown head. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, and some citrus. Lots of lacing. Flavors of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and some orange peel. Bitter dark chocolate. A bit smoky. Does have some chocolate orange flavor to it, but more dark chocolate than orange. Still, well done. Heavy mouthfeel. Overall, i am impressed. Worth seeking out for sure.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful looking dark beer with big chewy tan foam head, the lacing is thick and beautiful between sips. The body is dark, doesn't let any light through it. The aroma has big ballsy cocoa nibs and orange fruit notes of citric bursts, clean beautiful cohesion coming through. Flavor full dark malt flavors come forth with a hint of orange peel flowing along big sweet maltiness balanced with dark roass. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied with even smooth flowing carbonation, pretty nice beer from's hard to believe they're making beer like this in Utica NY.

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Saranac Chocolate Orange from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 150 ratings.
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