Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter
811 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 811 |  Reviews: 459
Photo of Sammy
2.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

well malted and carmel to make go down A melange of porter and burnt rubber and maybe burnt wood. Highly roasted aftertaste. Nice colour. Medium mouthfeel. Sweet but not cloying. In any case, I will save the rest for tenderizing meat in the slow cooker.

 253 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

it sounds so tempting but the execution of this brew is off a little to me. pours dark and enticing, but smells like an artificial caramel than the real butter and burnt sugar authentic article. taste is the same, like a nice porter meets a sugardaddy. lousy caramel on a stick... the texture of the porter is really smooth and the mouthfeel of this beer is quite good. overall it is a nice winter beer from time to time, defnitely too weird to be sessionable. i would love to try a different caramel porter, but this is the only one i have ever seen, so bonus points for originality.

 584 characters

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Knapp85
3.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.84/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this as a part of the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter ($11.99/12 Pack)

I see this beer has taken a bit of a beating but I was pleasantly surprised. It is sweet, but in a good way in my opinion. Smells and tastes like a pure caramel, almost like eating a sugar daddy.. man I love those things. The appearance and mouthfeel weren't too great but I couldn't get over the great taste. Maybe I'm just a sucker for caramel but I loved this beer.

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Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of metter98
2.96/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is very dark amber (close to near black) in color and poured with a thin tan head that quickly died down.
S: Aromas of caramel--the sugary kind, not caramel malts--prominently stand out in the nose.
T: As in the smell, sweet caramel flavors dominate the overall taste, which has notes of roasted malts. No bitterness from the hops is perceptible.
M: It feels light-bodied and a bit watery on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The high amount of sweetness in this beer doesn't make it one that goes down very easily. There's no way I could drink more than one of these at a time.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.18/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Unique in its dedicated focus to the taste of Mrs. Butterworth's caramel flavor, the insane taste throws the traditional porter flavor to the side and favors the sweet tooth above that of fans of the standard dark toasty ales.

Very dark brown in appearance, the beer shows solid clarity with it's onyx-like mirror depths. Capped with a sandy-tan head the beer rises with a stern medium-dense head but lightens to a thin sheet before holding firm. Light isolated pockets of foam lace the glass timidly.

Caramel, butterscotch, and popcorn govern the nose while a light backdrop of chocolate, toast, and cola offer weak support. Milky malt aromas are evident and give the beer a slight yogurt-like aroma. Hops never make their way into the aroma conversation.

The lighter taste of coffee, chocolate and toast recede immediately and invite the stronger and sweeter taste of butterscotch, caramel, and buttered popcorn to completely dominate the taste. Although the sweetness is pleasant and dessert-like, the beer severely lacks the support needed to become a proper porter. Mild woodish bitterness closes the session with a light hop balance that never really balances the sweetness.

The beer's mouthfeel may its largest determent. Medium-sweet to start, the beer doesn't allow the creamy textures of carbonation and malt to emerge, instead relying on sheer caramel and grain sweetness to coat the tongue for a texture that's best reserved for cream soda- not bad, but not what I want in a porter. It's tacky warmth and residual sweetness is all that extends in finish.

Because I'm a bit of a sucker for these sweeter and more succulent tastes, I have a tendency to exercise a kinder hand in review. But the lack of true porter-like character makes the base beer seeming like a very nondescript dark ale of America or Europe- except with the deceiving succulence of artificial caramel sweetness. The beer may make for a nice ice cream float.

 1,943 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of zeff80
3.45/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out black/dark brown with a pillowy, tan, one-finger head. Left just a touch of lace.

S - I smelled of caramel and almost a little like a red wine.

T - It tasted of caramel and a fruity sweet quality. The taste also reminded me of the tannin-like flavors in a red wine.

M - The mouthfeel was soft and creamy. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very interesting porter. It is not very porter-like. There is a fruity/tannin quality reminds me of a red wine, like a merlot or a cabernet. Very interesting.

 518 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of largadeer
1.42/5  rDev -55.1%
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 dbrauneis
3.05/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque yet clear very dark brownish amber (almost black) in color with moderate amount of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and hints of garnet red highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a large patch of mottled thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel candies and toffee with a light aroma of roasted malts. Maybe the lightest hint of butterscotch.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel malts with a light hint of roasted malts way underneath (int he background). That is followed by moderate flavors of caramel candies, toffee, and butterscotch. Light amounts of sweetness which lingers but is not cloying. No perceptible hop flavors.

M: Light bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: Too sweet and too thin to be a beer that I would want to have more than one of in a single session. Not bad but not one I will be picking up again anytime soon.

 1,108 characters

Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.53/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, very deep mahogany body with crimson highlights. The creamy, light-tan head holds well; and it even leaves some spotty lace. But it's not the appearance that gets your attention so much as the sweet caramel and cake-icing nose! It really smells like a dollop of rich vanilla/butter/sugar icing! It's clearly from an extract; and it's a bit odd, perhaps, but not off-putting. The body is medium; and it's smooth and creamy in the mouth due to a very fine and moderate carbonation - anything else would work against the sweet maltiness that's present in the flavor. The caramel that's promised is certainly delivered, although I wonder where the porter side of things went? There are some toasty notes, and a mild chocolate character; but its more of a sweet, winter dessert beer than anything else. Hop bitterness is present but minimal, and it finishes with a lingering maltiness. Quite unusual and interesting, but very one-sided. Still, I can certainly imagine lingering over one following a large Thanksgiving dinner.

 1,035 characters

Photo of zestar
3/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of jlindros
3.03/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light fizzy head that fades semi quickly, super dark molasses brown color.

Nose biscuity toffee, big fake caramel, syrupy sugar, molasses like, little dark toasty malt, imitation vanilla.
Taste brings more fake caramel and imitation vanilla, cola syrup a Mr Pib like cola, sweet syrup and little biscuit malt, toasted brown malt. Sticky syrupy finish, more imitation caramel and cola syrup.

Mouth is med bod, lighter carb.

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Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle left out to warm for about 15 minutes, then served in a snifter.

A: pours a deep mahogany with a slight haze. The head is tan and short-lived, excepting a nice ring and some 'islands'.

Nothing subtle about the caramel in either the aroma or the flavor: it dominates both. The caramel seems a bit artificial in the aroma (3.25) but more natural in the flavor. There is a solid medium-roast malt background, but this is not as dark or robust as it should be in a porter, especially one with this much additional flavor. A bit sweet, but in keeping with the strong caramel presence.

M: Medium body with a semi-dry finish. Ideally, this should be smoother.

O: uniquely flavored beer with a pronounced caramel aspect. I really enjoy this one from time to time, although it is one of those "one is enough" beers.

 827 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.57/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is heavy with a sugary candy-like caramel sweetness. Beyond that it was tough to pick up much else, some vanilla, a little bit of roasted malt and a touch of hops was about it.

T: The same intense candy caramel sweetness that you get in the smell dominates the taste. There are some background flavors of spice, vanilla & chocolate. The malt character is strong but not too heavy and the hops presence is a little bit stronger than the smell would lead you to believe. The after-taste is very sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, the finish is very sticky.

D: This beer has intrigued me since I heard about it and it was darn close to what I was expecting. If you can handle the extreme sweetness it’s a little tasty and can go down easily enough. It’s not very filling and is a decent representation of style apart from the caramel twist. This beer would probably go perfectly with many desserts, but I’m not sure I could sit and drink more than one or two these in a sitting without getting sugar overload in my taste buds.

 1,262 characters

Photo of vfgccp
2.01/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Abbreviated review: Simply isn't a porter. Should probably be called a brown ale, but still wouldn't be a great beer, just more aptly named.

140 characters

Photo of oberon
3.25/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this in the holiday variety 12-pack,thought it would be alot better than it was.Poured a dark/amber color with with a medium tan colored head.True to the name caramel was the dominant smell I got almost overpowering,the taste like the smell was very caramelly with a little chocolate/earthy tone but I would have liked more balance there.A good try but not one of the best porters I have had.

 396 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.16 out of 5 with 811 ratings