Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

802 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 802 |  Reviews: 453
Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown with a bit of white head.

Smells very sweet like buttery caramel corn. Tons of caramel and sugar.

Taste is way to sweet. Caramel overload with this beer. Very buttery and artificial tasting.

Mouthfeel is slightly thick and syrupy.

Wouldn't try this one again.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.07/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Ba Review #75
Served On: 10/10/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass
Labeled ABV: 5.4%
Date/ Code: Jan 2012

This was in the 2011 Saranac 12 Beers A- Falling mixed 12 pack.

Look: Ruby reddish color. Semi clear beer with little carbonation. Tan head that died down to a small ring around the glass.

Smell: Immediately I got a sourer apple aroma with some faint caramel and toffee. Smells extremely bitter - borderline artificial.

Taste: The taste was way better than the nose. Mouth feel was rather thin for a porter. First on the palate was a sweet caramel with a semisweet chocolate bitterness. The middle was a pleasant roasted malt with caramel lingering in the background. Finish was slightly bitter with the roasted quality returning for a while.

Overall this was a solid brew with some interesting complexity. Initially I was a little concerned with the odd aroma - It almost reminded me of another gimmicky flavored beer. After sipping on it for a while, the palate became better and better. I still think there may be some artificial flavoring used in this one.

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Photo of tdm168
3.56/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with 1/4" of dense, foamy, off white head. Great retention. The smell is like caramel candy. The taste is also similar to caramel candy with faint roasted malts and hops for balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lightly carbonated, and very smooth.

Overall, this is a decent beer. It's different at least. The nose and taste are a little too sweet and candy-like. It's just a little too one dimensional.

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Photo of projectflam86
2.16/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep brown color with hints of red. A thick off-white foam head leaves good lacing. Surprised its not a touch darker.

S- This has to be the most buttery beer aroma I've ever smelled. Buttered popcorn and caramel.

T- No roast to speak of. More of an English style brown ale with loads of diacetyl. Not a totally unpleasant flavor but nothing that resembles a porter. Very sweet caramel malt flavor that reminds me of a homebrew that is underattenuated.

M- Medium bodied with ok carbonation.

O- This one wasn't for me.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.73/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from Twelve Beers a Falling 2011 collection.

Pours deep brown with ruddy highlights.Creamy but very shortlived head.Slight lacing of glass. Smells only slightly of caramel. Taste slightly of burnt caramel, malt, touch of hops. Slight lingering aftertaste. I've had worse.

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Photo of SickGnar
2.76/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Medium dark brown. Clear, but too dark to really see through. Fair sized, bur short lived, light tan / golden head. Just a few specs of lace.

S: Huge, very cloying Caramel type smell. Would smell pretty good coming from a desert or iced coffee drink - But this purports to be a beer. Smells almost exactly like those yellow butterscotch hard candies and some caramel chews. And really nothing else. Odd for a beer and one-dimensional, but not completely hideous.

T: Caramel and butterscotch remain very strong, but not quite as obnoxious. Still fake and cloying, but smoothed out a bit by some genuine malt sweetness. However, the sweetness feels a bit overdone itself. Once all the candy flavor and sweetness recedes, some normal beer notes emerge. Some toasty grain and roasted malt, hints of chocolate, and some ghostly faint herbal hops. Too little, too late. An stringent note also emerges that detracts. Thin overall, rather than the robustness that might make this work.

M: A bit over medium body with carbonation a touch under-matched. Finely textured bubbles and soft overall. Despite sweetness there is minimal sugary tack or dextrins. Slight drying effect from astringent note.

D: Looks alright and has an okay mouthfeel. The nose is just not right and the flavor is disjointed, unbalanced, as well as cloy and weak at the same time. Too much candy and not enough beer. Not terrible, but cheaply desert-like.

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Photo of carolinahophead
4.12/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first taste of this fall brew offering :
A: No head but does have a nice deep brown color
S: Caramel aroma with good roasted malt And do like the candy coming through
T: It's almost like a caramel candy in a liquid form . Do like the malt and the hop finish
M: A medium mouthfeel with good finish. Like the bitterness with the sweet
O: This beer is very acceptable but not outstanding. Fun to drink and could pair with food.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.33/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark black, one finger tan head.

S-Caramel, some roasted malt.

T-Very sweet caramel with some not much at all though roasted malt. Not much bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation.

O-A sweet beer, however there are much better porters out there. I had it last year but didn't review as apart of their Fall Sample Pack and this beer just isn't up to snuff.

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Photo of SisuPride
3.56/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This beer looked a lot like a cola when poured - to complete the look all I needed was ice. Very small to nonexistent head. It smelled a little like Killians red to me for some reason which I liked. The mouth feel was dryer than expected with too much carbonation. Overall an OK beer - was hoping the caramel would be a little stronger.

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Photo of Brenden
3.33/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Caramel is in the color, a light to medium brown with an orange tint running through. A soft tan head doesn't quite make it to one finger tall, but struggles valiantly and doesn't fade too terrible quickly. A bit of thinnish lacing is dropped around.
Caramel is certainly in the nose, sweet but not cloyingly so, with a barley presence also notable. There's a touch of butterscotch; whether diacetyl or carryover from the caramel flavor, I'm unsure. It's generally a little weak and shallow.
A little more comes through in the flavor. This beer does indeed showcase caramel and barley-like grains remain in the foreground, but a bit of chocolate and a touch of coffee is in here, even offering a little nuttiness toward the end.
Mouthfeel is a little thin for a porter, and while carbonation isn't obscene it seems a little high for this beer. One good thing is that there is a very nice smoothness that rolls on the tongue all the way into a mildly lingering finish.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
2.5/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had plenty of Saranac stuff before, oddly enough I've never reviewed any. Kind of disappointed to start out reviewing with this one though, since some of the Saranac label beer is decent. Their mixed packs are a great value when you're looking for a varied selection.

Pours a dark brown color, reddish hues shine through when held up to the light, a small head comes forms but fades away in a blink of an eye, no lacing.

Smell has this really odd aroma that's hard to place but I'll try, burnt raisins with sugar added to cover it up, that's what I'm getting, hints of tootsie rolls.

Taste is not robust as they say but it is flavorful in an interesting way, very artificially candy like with it's caramel presence, the roasted malt presence that you'd expect is lacking, the body is fairly thin and fades from the mouth quickly, carbonation is spot on though and lends a nice softness and a bit of slickness, sadly it's wasted on this "Caramel Porter" which seems more like an oddly flavored brown ale.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i have been assembling full lineups from breweries and randomly doin these horizontal tasings with my family. The saranac one from a couple weeks ago was more then epic as it took months to gather all of these, but it was a hell of a fun night!

Poured a dark brown with a small tan head which faded leaving behind a nice thin film of lace on the top and long sticky strands down the glass. Smell was a tad light, but came through more as it warmed. Roasted malts, caramel, perhaps a touch of coffee were present. Maybe even a hazelnut as it warmed. Taste was great. First off the feel was silky smooth, almost shake like with perfect carbonation that just floated in your mouth. Smooth feel gave way to a full taste, lots of roasted malts and caramel, slight burnt coffee in the back and a dry hop like finish.

overall not bad at all, it had all the parts and just needed a bot more to throw it over the edge to excellence

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Photo of NODAK
3/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For a porter, the nose here is pretty week. It does seem pretty sweet and buttery for style, however. Given the name, I'm not surprised.

The taste...well...who threw the Werther's Original in a beer?? This isn't the caramel taste you find in some pale ales or doppelbocks...this is a sweeter, creamier version that seems like candy. By far, this is the dominant taste in this beer. Mouthfeel is rather thin for style. Only at the very end do I get any glimpse of roasted malts and they're fleeting at best. Small bitterness at the end. Again though, this is a pretty sweet, candy-ish beer.

Well, it's different. Make that very different. It's not offensive but I don't think it's really what anybody thinks of when they think of a porter. Seems like a bit of a novelty to me.

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Photo of bgildea
3.44/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque brown color with a thin white/tannish head that leaves little lacing.

S: Smells very strongly of caramel. A very delicious and appetizing aroma.

T: The flavor is very underwhelming. I was hoping for the strong caramel flavor that I smell originally, but it just didn't come across. Slight hints of caramel and roasted malts and a tinge of bitter flavor.

M: Pretty thin beer. The little ABV made me expect a thin beer, so I wasn't too disappointed.

O: Overall the beer was ok. The smell is awesome, but the flavor just doesn't back it up. As a big porter fan, maybe I'm being overly critical, but all in all, I wasn't impressed.

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Photo of danmcg62
3.59/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a dark black color with minimal head retention.

S-Smells like a caramel chewy candy. Very nice!

T-Super malty. The caramel malt is hugely prevalent. I don't taste the hops they are referring to on the bottle.

M-A bit chewy, very thick like a shake almost.

D-I'm not drinking this all day, but it's a nice beer to save for dessert or something of the like. I would definitely drink this with a dessert item.

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Photo of LuthersMug
3.26/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Brown with reddish tints in the light. Head was decent and some lacing.

S - I wasn't getting much off this one. It smelled a bit toasty.

T - I was expecting a little more maltiness, still creamy with caramel notes. Toasted, earthy flavours also noted.

M - Not quite balanced right.

D - Decent, not great.

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Photo of AutumnBeerLove
3.41/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A metallic smell to it and a dark appearance. The beer itself does not taste metallic however, but very sweet. I'd say it may even be too sweet, but I have a sweet tooth, so I'm not too upset. The immediate aftertaste is pleasant. However, the taste lingers and soon becomes not so pleasant.

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Photo of pzrhsau
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Great chocolate color with a lace of coffee colored head.
S: Nice full bodied caramel colored head with notes of burnt sugar. Very complex and balanced.
T: Not too sweet but very simple flavor. Has some notes of vanilla but the flavor is very very sweet.
D/M: Very big and strong sweetness. Really good flavor but sticks to the palate.

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Photo of stakem
3.2/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Eric for the bottle. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with no indication of freshness into a SA sensory glass. This brew appear a dark brown color with pretty decent clarity and less than a finger of dark tan head that fades fairly quick. Some large bubbles rise to the surface from the etching on the bottom of the glass. The cap does not hold beyond a thin layering across the top. Sips and swirls reveal a bit of faint patch lacework on the glass. When held to the light, this brew displays quite a bit of dark brown clarity and ruby highlights.

The aroma of this brew is very sweet with a scent of caramel/toffee and a bit more sweetness that is somewhat reminiscent of vanilla. A touch of citrus hops impart a bit of a fruity aspect as well as some mineral/metallic scents through the later portion of the nose. Initially this brew smells very sweet and pleasing but never really comes together and seems a bit awkward.

The taste of this brew is a bit fruity and sweet. It has a flavor of caramel malt mixed with some vanilla sweetness and a touch of toffee. There is a fruity hop/alcohol presence that clashes a bit with the herbal/mineral quality of the hops. This brew finishes with a bit of an herbal hop bitterness that counters the would-be over sweetness of caramel and toffee.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. The abv crept up a bit for less than 6% and was slightly noticeable but overall this is fairly decent drinking. However, it is quite a contrasting amount of different tastes that dont particularly work well together. The whole idea of a caramel porter is an interesting concept but just didnt quite get it done for me. Worth a try but not something I would enjoy more than just one of.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Thanks to Cuzco for this bottle!

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF #4:
The pour results in a pretty nice dark brown topped by a healthy tan foamy head. The nose comprises light roasted malts, caramel, light toasted toffee, brown sugar...honestly it smells like a really nice cookie, kinda like the base cookie that normally holds a Hershey Kiss. You know the one I mean. The taste brings the roast and caramel back, now joined by a hint of licorice, a sharp stab of mild blueberry (okay...), a wave of vanilla, some random pinpricks of raisins and figs, and it all wraps up together into an oatmeal raisin cookie-esque configuration. The body is a sleek medium, with a mild carbonation and a smooth, slightly grainy feel. Overall, a very nice beer, one I could see easily drinking an entire sixer of on a number of occasions (if 'twere possible, o' course).

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Photo of cbutova
1.91/5  rDev -39.4%
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.

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Photo of hreb
3.58/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cold 12oz bottle poured into tapered pint glass. Beer pours a rich cola brown with a medium sudsy chestnut head. Sugary sweet aroma, like candy. Really, the smell is so intense it's fascinating, if a little sickening.

Nutty, brown ale flavor with the promised caramel aftertaste. Just enough hops to keep the sugar in check without bringing it back into the realm of standard ale balance. Though the color is opaque and the carbonation is appropriately mild, I wouldn't say it's roasty and toasty enough to really be a porter.

I miss the winter seasonal Saranac 12 packs with 12 different varieties. This was always a real stand out. This beer gets nostalgia points even if it isn't actually, you know, great.

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Photo of nukem5
3.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black brown with very little head to speak of even after a very agressive pour, tiny bubbles constantly drifting upwards.

S: Sweet and malty with some fruity notes.

T: Carmel blasts in front with a sweet malt backdrop, some citrus and floral hop notes in the back.

M: Rich and slightly chewy with alightly coating feel. Slightly boozy feel in the front right as it enters mouth but quickly goes away.

D: Very drinkable could get a few of these going now if I had more than one:-(

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Photo of Bradthoc
4.07/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up on a whim, when I saw the words caramel porter. Seemed interesting enough.

The beer poured a very smooth dark brown, with a very thin white head, almost no head at all.

The smell from the glass was very pleasant. You notice the caramel scent immediately, followed with a slight smokey sting.

The taste only enhances the effect you get from the smell. Immediately you notice the caramel taste, that is perfect for the beer and not overpowering in the slightest. I was hesitant from the smell that it would be too sweet and something I'd have to pass off to my wife. Fortunately, this was not the case and I found it hard to keep out of my hands while I sat and enjoyed it. Along with the caramel you get a smokey taste, possibly some nut and goes down with a unique buttery aftertaste.

I found the flavors of this beer to somewhat lessen as the beer sat and warmed up to room temperature.

The beer was easy to drink, went down smooth and lighter than you'd expect from a beer labeled as a porter.

Definitely a beer I'd pick up and try again.

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Photo of Rick187
3.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Brown/dark brown small white head no lacing.

Smell is amazing. Caramel and kinda buttery.

Some caramel, buttery, but fairly thin and not as big as it smells.

Definitely doesn't drink like a porter, light bodied, decent carbonation.

Overall I like it and will probably buy again. At 7 for a six pack it's definitely worth it. But is it a porter? That's questionable. But definitely something that would be easy to put a few down.

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.15 out of 5 based on 802 ratings.
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