Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

452 Reviews
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Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-05-2001

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Reviews: 452 | Ratings: 803
Photo of MmmIPA
1.06/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I didnt want to review this beer but oh well.

Brown body with a tan head that leaves some lacing.


the same with the floral notes.

nice carbonation.

I had to get this beer done.It is horrible.If it goes in your mouth its horrible

 258 characters

Photo of strattor
1.12/5  rDev -64.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Poured a deep brown from the bottle with a caramel-colored tan.

Oh good God, the smell is offensive. It has a harsh, artificial sweetness to it, and smells of butterscotch and sweaty feet.

It tastes just like it smells. I don't mean to be over the top, but this is a really awful tasting beer. I can't finish it.

I don't know why this beer tastes so bad, as the idea is a good one. It's just way too artificial and overpowering.

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Photo of TastyTaste
1.14/5  rDev -63.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Deep brown, with a creamy tan head that doesn't go away. Smells sickly sweet of caramel, they should've held back a little. This tastes like someone put melted caramel candies in a decent porter. Just not satisfying in any way, makes me sick to my stomache with it's intense sweetness that covers up most of the coffee undertones from the porter. This beer would've been a lot better if it was simply a Porter, not a Caramel Porter. But I am just repeating myself. Easily the worst beer of the sampler, I may not even finish it.

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Photo of Bighuge
1.38/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ruby red in color. A brown rimming is all this beer offers for a head. Huge butterscotch, caramel and toffee on the nose. Overwhelming. This beer smells cloying, if that is at all possible. This beer swishes around the mouth like that gross, viscous medicine that you really don't want to swallow. This beer is just disgusting. One of the worst beers I've had in a while. Medicine like taste. Cloying caramel flavor. Astringent bitterness. No carbonation whatsoever. No porter like qualities in sight. This is the type of beer I could see ending up in the toilet in less than an hour if I drink it all.

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Photo of Khazadum
1.4/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Julian code dating leads me to see this bottle is about 7 months old.

A- Dissappointing head, half finger with average sized bubbles. Low retention, extremely bubbly. Size of the bubbles leads me to think of alka-seltzer in water. Lacing is as bare as possible. Ruby body, minor light penetration, and many bubbles.

S- Something went wrong here. Diacetyl, strongly. Overwhelming butter just can't let anything else through.

T- Strong buttery flavors, metallic, minor copper, some bitter that doesn't remind me of hops.

M- Thin, watery, really really watery. Lingers with that disgusting diacetyl flavor.

D- All of the problems make this beer impossible to drink, enjoy, or ever purchase again.

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Photo of largadeer
1.42/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appearance: Clear brown, looks more like a brown ale than a porter. The head dissipates pretty quickly, leaving the thinnest of films on top.

Smell: Smells like... caramel. Not caramel malt, but intensely sugary caramel candy. I'm not the biggest fan of candy, so I can't say that this appeals to me at all.

Taste & mouthfeel: Thankfully not as disgustingly sweet as the aroma, the taste nevertheless still has that ultra-refined caramel candy flavor. There's a bit of roastiness as well, but it's fighting a losing battle against the sickly sweet caramel. The finish is sweet and a bit thin, again, more like a brown ale. Just with really excessive caramel flavor. This is kinda gross.

Notes: One-dimensional and honestly pretty bad. I guess this might appeal to someone with a serious sweet tooth, as it really is like drinking alcoholic caramel.

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Photo of xXTequila
1.42/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

The first thing i noticed was the smell. It smelled exactly like caramel. The taste though, was just like the butter used on movie theatre popcorn. Needless to say i didn't like this beer at all. I don't think i have ever tried a beer that just didn't taste like beer.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
1.48/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into a pint glass the beer was a dark ruby near brown color with a sliver of tan head that was quick to fade and left no lacing. No other signs of carbonation and this is one of -- if not the -- lightest colored porter I have ever seen.

The nose is well mixed with aromas; malt, caramel, toffee, slight terpentine (alla Newcastle), slight nut, and butterscotch.

The taste has a very thin malt profile with traces of other flavors trying to come through but failing to do so. Nothing above average here with perhaps some nuttiness and a odd "off" taste. Hard to describe other than it tasted of the terpentine smell. Slightly oily and thin. Somewhat of a watery body.

A thin meak mouthfeel with a watery body and minimal carbonation. The bottle proclaims it to be a "robust" beer but this could not be more wrong.

This was not enjoyable, I'm pretty sorry I drank this and indeed sorry I bought the mixed 12. It seems that all there beers are good in concept and idea, get a good start, but fail to pull through and deliver a quality product. I'll pass on this.

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Photo of bignick
1.52/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Man, this beer tastes just terrible. I like carament, but I do not like the putrid, sickly sweet and overpowering caramel taste that this beer presents. I don't mind Saranac beers on the whole, but this one was just undrinkable. Their other offerings are all better.

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Photo of sprackops
1.59/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, no freshness date. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brown to black with translucent copper edges. Medium head gives way to a thin film.

Smell: Sickeningly sweet caramel aroma and little else. Although, do I detect cream soda?

Taste: Buttery caramel malts, vanilla, and yes, cream soda. Hops are a non-player. No detectable roasted notes. This liquefied Werther's Original/A&W cocktail is far too sweet for my taste. It seems that the inclusion of real caramel as indicated on the label is what led to this failed experiment.

Mouthfeel: Rather thin yet sticky, like corn syrup-laden soda.

Drinkability/comments: I nearly poured this one down the drain, but at the last second reminded myself that it was in fact an alcoholic beverage and persevered. The least appealing flavored beer I've had to date.

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Photo of abar22
1.64/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

12 oz bottle into a DFH Signature Glass

Wow what a mess this beer was. While it looked fairly innocuous in the glass what was hiding in its depths was anything but...

Butterscotch. That's what it was hiding. Lots and lots of butterscotch. It dominated the smell and it dominated the taste. This is where diacetyl men and diacetyl women meet up to have little bastard diacetyl babies. If Saranac would change the label to Saranac Butterscotch Porter they would probably have an award winner on their hands because this sure as hell meets that description.

In a word... Terrible.

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Photo of DefenCorps
1.65/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I found a single for $1.49, and my buddy Chris raved about this when he tried it, so I had to as well. I mean, come on, its got natural flavor and caramel color added to it, so it's got to be good, right?

The pour is decent, a clear deep brown with beautiful reddish highlights. A large light brown head caps the beer, leaving a little lace as it recedes. That's about where all good things end, 'cos the nose is one trainwreck. Artificial caramel flavor, sickly sweet (think Smuckers), brown sugar, and a malt characteristic more reminiscent of a brown ale than a porter. The palate opens sweet, with (surprise!) caramel, some sugar and malt with a little roast, before a long, dry finish with a metallic character comes through. Carbonation is high, making this fizzy on the palate, and this does not work with the metallic character of the beer. Just not worth drinking, this is a rather poor porter, and the addition of caramel just makes it rather horrific.

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Photo of tempest
1.71/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Took this our of this year's 12 Beers of Winter not expecting much, but was still sorely disappointed.

Has a very short head that was gone in a minute and left no head. The body is a pretty brown, but light-looking for a porter.

Smells very very sweet, like cheap wine-jug wine at that.

Taste isn't much better, very sweet malt character. There's no hops flavor, yet there's a nasty lingering bitterness.

Carbonation is fine, but I'd want this stuff off my toungue ASAP.

Overall, this is just, flat-out, a bad beer in my opinion. The first beer that I've poured down the drain in a very long time. Reminds me of my first homebrew, and thats definately not a good thing. I recommend the 12 Beers of Winter, but give this one away.

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Photo of AlephNull
1.72/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Looking for something robust tonight, I went to the liquor store in search of a rich porter or stout. Almost picked up an imperial stout, but this caught my eye.

A- Poured a dark brown with decent clarity, very little head that disolved quickly.

S- I took a double take on this one. At first I thought the smell was just awful, but it's really just a very heavily sweet burned caramel cream scent with some butterscotch and syrup. Way too strong for me, this is ruining the beer for me. I can't get by it.

T- The scent overwhelms any subtlety behind the beer. It doesn't taste as bad as it smells, but it tastes like it smells- Fake, sweet butterscotch and burned caramel. an alcohol flavor takes over the end with some bad cherry cough syrup flavor.

M- Hard to concentrate on the mouthfeel, but I'd say it's kind of a syrupy cherry coke, but dry.

D- I think I may have to dump this guy... EDIT: I think I may have to learn to cook with this guy...

I hate to be so hard on a beer, especially when the brewers were being so adventurous, and for that, i'll give you kudos... but "hints of caramel"? This guy beats you in the face. I don't taste those fancy fuggles & kent hops in here -- it's almost a chemical tasting beer. Sorry guys, but I think you missed on the attempt here.

 1,301 characters

Photo of bditty187
1.74/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

What’s in a name? Frankly this doesn’t sound appealing to me but I’ll give it a go.

Clear, dark ruby, brown in spots but never black; while a bit lifeless it does look the part. Off-white head, for a moment the head was one finger tall but the bubbles rapidly faded to a soapy cap, thicker around the edges and almost naked in the middle. There was no subsequent lacing. In general, this is a respectable looking beer.

The amount of caramel in the nose is striking. Sickening sweet caramel candy, is this a liquid Slo Poke? Oddly hollow at the finish; this would have been the perfect time for, say, some Porter-like aromas to emerge. Some roasted malts would have been nice. But, atlas, nothing; moderate potency, chatty but it keeps repeating the same thing! I like caramel but this is a bit much and it is way too unbalanced. I don’t find the nose inviting; I’m scared actually.

The palate has plenty of caramel and almost as much butterscotch. From start to finish I taste nothing but these two candy flavors. I bet this combination would taste great in a Porter. Wait! The label says “Porter” on it. Let me taste this again… *takes another sip* … no, no, this is not a Porter. This is a child’s candy soda. I think Jones Street Soda Co. made this. The alcohol is hidden. The malt is hidden. The hops are hidden. Any sign this is a beer is hidden. However, as clear as day, I can tell you this one-dimensional “beer” is awful. I found it offensive.

Medium-light in body; flat mouthfeel with very low carbonation; the sensation is unfulfilling. Thankfully the aftertaste is light and not so terrible but at this point I don’t care, I can’t drink anymore.

As mentioned, this is not a drinkable beer. It is really awful. It’s a drain pour. I hope by this point of the review you had figured that out. I enjoy Saranac beers, generally. I hope this is rock bottom, I pray I don’t ever taste worse from these guys. Or any other brewery for that matter. This is one of the worse beers I have tasted. This offering was part of a 12-beer sampler that I purchased in Lawrence, KS. It’s a major dud, I say avoid it.

 2,142 characters

Photo of ManekiNeko
1.75/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle served at cellarish temperature in a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear by the looks of it. Topped by a short-lived khaki head that leaves small amounts of lace. I generally expect my porters to be pitch black or thereabouts, thus the smackdown.

Smell: Caramel candy aroma dominates the nose and doesn't know the safety word. After a bit of hesitation, I took a closer whiff...well, some toasted malt can be sensed here.

Taste: The caramel syrup taste continues its assault on my person. Some bittersweet coffee and toasted malt undertones and mild hopping on the finish. Overall, I'm reminded of a caramel machiato from you know where. Unfortunately, I hate that concoction for both taste and nomenclature reasons.

Mouthfeel: Solid medium body, slightly creamy and very cloying.

Drinkability: I like caramel, but not in a beverage... well, a beer anyways. The caramel taste and mouthfeel is just way too dang strong and almost stomach turning. This came damn close to being tossed in the sink.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
1.76/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Didn't know what to expect out of this one, the beers from this Saranac sampler pack being so up and down in my esteem. But if you're doing a porter, do it right, that's all I ask. Seems like they went into the project with a bad understanding of what a porter actually is, and screwed it up every which way from then on in.
Clear, reddish brown color, brief, nothing of a head.
Aroma: OOF! POW! BAM! Butterscotch all up in y'all! Nothing but butterscotch, and far away from caramel. Hints of vanilla, and over- carbonated.
Taste: sickly sweet to the point of offensiveness, candyish, cloying, coca-cola-like.
Extra-ordinarily thin body, no texture, no finish.
I give up, it's just bad, and lacks just about everything a good beer should have.
No sir, I do not like it.
I am so very itching to get my hands around a good porter after this!
(And were do they get the cojones to call it "robust"? )

 904 characters

Photo of q33jeff
1.78/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75


Where’s the Caramel? Where’s the porter for that matter. This seems to be a medium brown ale with a little extra coloring to disguise it as a porter. Aroma is vegetable. Dark brown color, small white head. Taste is grass, veggie. Something like raisin in the finish. Low carb.

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Photo of mynie
1.85/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours limp, very red and see-thru with a wee bitty brown head.

Smells like a sun-melted caramel candy and soap. Not a good blend, but it smells like an actual caramel candy so I guess that's worth something.

Tastes. Umm... not good.

That caramel hits you right away, which is actually decent, but then all this sour chemcial soap nonsense comes rushing in and takes over. It's sour and icky. The finish is nice, roasted malt, but the freaky middle makes this taste pretty bad.

Yet another mediocre beer from the Matt Brewing Company.

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Photo of MrSeth
1.88/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a pint tumbler with an almost opaque dark brown color and a 1/2" tan head. I can smell the caramel from a mile away! [slight cringe] and I love caramel..
Smells like cream soda. Is there any malt aroma underneath all this candy? There is finally a dirty-earthy smell.. Taste? Let's just say this, I'm passionate about porters, and that's why this one bothers me. It tastes like a dingy ale with candy added to hide the problems. This just doesn't make a porter [period]. I won't go any further.. because.. I can't.

 527 characters

Photo of emmasdad
1.89/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Picked this one up for my wife recently, and figured I go ahead and try it with her. Poured a deep, rich, dark brown, with a nice tan head. Unfortunately, all down hill from there. Aromas of caramel syrup, sweet cream and a little vanilla. On the palate, light bodied, sickly sweet caramel and little else. Never again.

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Photo of cbutova
1.91/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A- Dark brown, black in the middle body with a light mocha head. The cap gets big and has decent retention, slowly fizzing away. A few spots of lace.

S- Pretty much what I expected. Dark roasted malt with a very deep vanilla caramel sugar mixed in with it. A bit of nutty malt and toasty hints as well. Thrown off by a bit of metallic aroma.

T- Eh. Decent flavors of roast malt, caramel and nutty toasted malt is overshadowed by a big metallic flavor, I would question infection but it doesn't really scream it out here.

MF- Light and watery with lower carbonation than what I expected. Metallic hints sting my tongue.

DB- The metallic flavor is really throwing the whole experience off. As far as I know this is decently fresh, from around Christmas time. Something is wrong here, brewer or infection... Maybe I will try this next year to confirm. Reminds me of the "bad" Fuller's and Sam Smith's beer I have had that were not fresh.

 938 characters

Photo of VenaCarva
1.91/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

ok at first i didnt really taste the caramel, and i wasnt to sure about the smell, ...:

A: the was a nice head and a good color, nothing to special , but average,
S: a bit over whelming, and somewhat sharp.
T:well after taking a few swigs and getting my pallet nice and wet , ive decided that i taste the caramel, but not the way i though... its very faint, this was a rough one.
M:dindt dig it, nothing special..
D: i wouldnt have one after this one.

 453 characters

Photo of beagle75
1.94/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Clear, dark brown color with one finger of diminishing mocha-tinted foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Syrupy butterscotch is heavily emphasized, drowning out other, more style-appropriate, aromas. Cola is suggested at.

T: Begins barely off-dry, with mild earthy hop aromatics that are pre-empted by oppressive butterscotch extract. Carbonic acid briefly surges, followed by artificial sweetness that slowly swells on the palate. The finish is mellow by comparison to the earlier acts.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, astringent on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: While it sounded appealing on the label, this beer's practically undrinkable nature shows the caramel feature to be nothing more than a poorly-executed gimmick. The palate suffers a moment of dread at the prospect of being freshly awash in this beer's displeasing flavor and textural qualities.

 937 characters

Photo of GnomeKing
1.96/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Brrrrhhh. There's just so much much bad candy sweetnetness. Tons of bad flavors. I just can't stand it. Even the smell is too much to take. It's a bizarre beer that few will like. It's just a cranked up, super-flavored brew. Ugh. Only useful for getting drunk.

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.14 out of 5 based on 803 ratings.
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