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Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter
807 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: 807 |  Reviews: 457
Photo of dacrza1
2.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sugary scents with a hint of vanilla--intriguing, if not unbeerlike... dark mahogany body with effervescent off-white head that settles swiftly into uneven tracings... immediately a cream and oil marriage...active tongue presence, much like a cream soda... the toastedness is too subtle to be a desirable porter --no smoke either, although the lingering aftertaste of dry malt and coffee isn't bad... caramel? yes, indeed... the finish is, again, more like a soda... active and a nice companion in the winter sampler...

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Photo of SirSaranac
3.93/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Man, this is perhaps the most polarizing beer that I've seen on beer advocate... people either love it or pretty much think that it's candy in a bottle that doesn't deserve to be called beer. I'm first tried this Caramel Porter in Saranac's 12 beers of Winter, and it was the only beer that stuck out in my head and had me saying "Man, I wish they release this in 6 packs!"... Well, the Beer Gods must've heard my plea, and have released it as a late winter gift.

A- A very clean dark dark brown, with deep burgondy hues if held to a light. A 1 finger tan head is nice and frothy, but dissolves into sporadic lacing after a few minutes. Lacing sticks to the glass for the duration of the party though.

S- Nothing strong here... but hints of what's to come. Caramel and robust malt.... with faint hops rise from the glass.... Also yeast. Again, not as strong as one would like, but a complex nose if given the chance to decipher.

T- Can we say caramel!? Actually, the initial taste is like caramel chocolate cake.... then finishing with a tasty stout malt character... coffee, chocolate.... and light hops. Now, is this a traditional stout in flavor? NOPE! But I think that it's delicious.

M- Medium body.... slightly creamy... low in carbonation... nice.

D- Damn... Seriously, these are great to drink socially. I think if you're ONLY drinking these, then they could become monotonous... however, this is a great brew to go with food. I definitely recommend this for any stout fan who wants a tasty brew that doesn't stick to the rules.

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

Duhh...pours a rich caramel with a big head and great lacing. Only caramel is obvious in the aroma...Taste is sweet, some malt presence..definite caramel...glad I like caramel. Mouthfeel is slightly creamy, sweetness is over the top. Drinkability likewise suffers through over sweetness.

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Photo of drumrboy22
2.7/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass. Beer was a dark brown color, with a two finger, brown, creamy head. Excellent head retention that left lots of lacing around the glass.

Aroma was caramel, scotch and was very sweet.

Taste was heavy caramel and chocolate. Again, very, very sweet. Too sweet.

Lightly bitter finish. This one could be toned down a bit to make it more drinkable.

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Photo of Beeryce
1.97/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I am reviewing this beer after drinking it for the second time and I plan to try a third paired with a dessert and add that to this review.

Poured from 12oz. brown glass bottle into a pint glass producing an average tan colored head with little retention or lacing. The color is very light for a porter, dark amber and is clear and reddish when candled.

The nose was dominated by sweet caramel, butterscotch and soda with only faint hints of roasty malt. I could not really detect any hop aromas.

The taste is sort of one note, it is not bad just doesn't seem to have balance or harmonize with other flavor. The taste is just dominated by the sweet butterscotchy caramel flavor. There is some roasted malt that cuts the sweetness slightly but the sweetness comes right back and lingers on. Not any discernable hop bitterness on sides of tongue, just some charred bitterness from the Dark Caramel Malt. I don't detect any of the Fuggles or East Kent Goldings, but the caramel adjunct came through well. The sweetness contains some vanilla notes as well.

Thick creamy mouthfeel and light carbonation is fitting for the taste and style.

The drinkability is low due to strength of caramel flavor. However, the beer pairs nicely with desserts.

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Photo of auxiliary
3.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance Amber brown color, with a small patch that formed on tap.

smell - Sweet caramal.

taste - Taste like a porter at first but is followed by the caramel taste, along with some hops too.

mouthfeel - Light-medium body.

drinkability - Very easy drinking beer, not bad, something to try.

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Photo of shabbtastic
2.58/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I hold a special place in my heart for Saranac. But you never know what you'll get, most of there line is very good but every now and then you stumble on the like of these.

A - Poured a light ruby brown with a tiny head that faded fast. Nice carbonation that stood up to a long drink time. Very faint lacing was noticed.

S - Sweet roasted coffee, cream and sugar.

T - Thin and very disappointing. I had to check the label to make sure it said porter. Butterscotch and burnt Carmel, very artificial in taste.

M - Again, thin not what I'd expect out of a porter.

D - Don't get me wrong, this is not a horrible beer. I did go down rather smooth. It was pretty well balanced. The only draw back is you get it in the 12 pack of winter beers, so you're kinda stuck with it.

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Photo of Thatism
3.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When I received this beer it came in a Christmas sampler pack with a lot of their other winter brews.

A- The appearance was a deep brown with red hints around edges. With a tan head 2 fingers in depth.

S- A roasted coffee and caramel scent.

T- A slight hoppy bitterness, and a descent caramel taste.

M- Smooth with a light amount of carbonation

D- It was easy to drink but wouldn't recommend it as a session beer as the sweetness would get overbearing.

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Photo of nrpellegrini
3.69/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured to pint glass.

A: deep brown, 1 finger head
S: Coffee roast, caramel, sweetness
T: coffee, caramel, chocolate, little bit of syrup, small spice
M: very smooth, no bite or bitterness
D: so-so, a lot of sweetness

I am not a big fan of coffee but this beer was very good. The sweetness got to me a little. Its not a thick or heavy beer but not far from it. Good beer, try it.

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Photo of Lothar666
3.12/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- A two finger thick, tan foamy head was set atop a dark brown body that was semi-translucent with hints of deep red around the edges of the glass. This one had excellent head retention, but I am always disapointed when I can see through a porter.

S- I was pleasantly surprised to find a beer that actually smells as its name implies. Caramel and coffee were most present in the nose.

T- Sweet dark malts, with a hint of the promised caramel along with some hops in the finish, though not enough to balance out the almost sickeningly sweet aftertaste from the caramel. Overall flavor is not particularly complex, but tasty nonetheless.

M- Light, dry, and a bit crisp- nothing particularly remarkable in the texture, not even the stickiness that I would have hoped would accompany the caramel in this brew.

D- The pleasant surprise from the caramel on the first sip is great, but the overly sweet caramel after taste gets rather tiring once the initial novelty is gone. After finishing the first one, I would most likely reach for something else.

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Photo of oscplayr25
3.41/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- a very dark porter just like most porters. The head on the porter is a greyish white color.

S- a very strong smell. You can easily smell the caramel and the coffee in the beer. I could stand about 10 feet away from the beer when its being poured and still be able to smell it.

T- a strong coffee taste. it really feels that im drinking cold coffee that has a light caramel creamer in it.

M- Never really carbonates in the mouth it is real smooth kind of like a regular drink.

D- i can drink probably about 2 of these before i feel awake for the day then have to poop. Porters are not my style but i can deal with this one longer then the rest.

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Photo of Jason
2.71/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

A: Nearly impressive head retention and lacing, pretty light in color for a porter with a brown hue with reddish highlights.

S: Smells like a piece of cake, not beer but cake. Very sweet, after a few more sniffs it smells like a thick cream soda and butterscotch. Oh yeah all of this is saturated by caramel and lots of it.

T & M: Smooth and creamy, I’d be real disappointed if it was not this way coming from a flavored beer as some don’t even try.Cloying sweet, malt sweetness is there but then there is the caramel flavoring that just breaks the palate with sweetness. Hops? They are there but do little and are hard to find. Faint roasted and toasted malt add a mild chocolate flavor that just help the cloying sweetness along. Finishes with a long, long sweet flavor.

Drinkability & Notes: This should be treated as a dessert beer and that is all, this is too damn sweet. I looked for the sweetness knowing what was on the label and it smacked my palate around, it was hard to drink another after this one let alone another beer all together as it ruined my palate with that cloying sweetness and caramel flavor.

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Photo of tayner
2.68/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

dark brown with an off-white head that laces nicely. pretty beer to look at

there is no doubt there is caramel in it when you smell it. It smells like one of those caramel candies you melt to make caramel apples.

It did not taste like i expected it to. I taste sweet, but not caramel. Somehow the smell did not convert to taste.. there is all of the sugar and sweetness without any of the rich caramel flavor. This has a bitter aftertaste as well.

It was thick enough for a porter.

I couldnt drink another one of these, i could barely drink this one. it improved as it got warmer, but i think i would have to boil the next one to get it down.

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Photo of kevman527
3.82/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a room temp pint glass, let sit for about 10 minutes before I tasted it.

Apperance - Had a nice thick creamy head, about 2 fingers worth, which lasted for several minutes before dissipating. Had a little bit of clarity, but otherwise pretty opaque. Dark brown color, almost like Coca-Cola.

Smell - Very sweet smelling, grapey at first, but as it warms up the caramel is very prevalent.

Taste - As I am sipping this beer as it is warming up, the caramel comes out more, a very sweet caramel. Has a little bit of a 'coffee' bitterness to it, with virtually no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel - Easy on the palate, smooth, low carbonation.

Drinkability - I could drink a couple of these in a sitting, but I wouldn't want to, cause of how sweet it is. Would be good with cheesecake with a caramel drizzle on it. I liked this beer, and would recommend it.

Was pretty cheap too, swiped it out of a friends' fridge while I was cleaning up from his new year's party.

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Photo of therica
2.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A= muddled dark mahogany, little head with modest lacing for a short time.

S= caramel and something that's less than exciting.

T= kind of like taking cheap ice-cream and putting caramel topping on it, this seems like a nice caramel taste with some pretty mediocre porter underlying it. Lots of sips, lots of assessment, same conclusion.

M= a little caramel, a little bite, a lot of acid-belching.

D= I drank one. I drank one a few weeks ago and thought better of it, but I realize now that was because of the cool caramel taste. Buy caramel, instead.

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Photo of MmmIPA
1.06/5  rDev -66.5%
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

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Photo of blackie
3.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: Gives a quite nice, light khaki head that slowly recedes to leave a good layer. The beer is a very deep, stained brown in color.

s: A lot of buttery caramel and toasted caramel on the nose, I know I like it but it does come across a bit overdone. I'd love to see some more roast and chocolate to compliment the caramel. Some toasted malts power through, but most possible malt complexity is covered.

m: Medium carbonation, body on the high side of medium.

t: The caramel flavor is quote delicious, buttery with some notes of toasted malt. Subtle, earthy hop flavor with a gentle bitterness in the finish. Caramel lingers long.

d: Not up to par with many porters, but enjoyable

from the Saranac winter mix

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Photo of Jwale73
3.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured the color of rootbeer, with ruby red highlights when backlit. Dense off-white head settled gradually into a thin, consistent slick of foam with light, sticky lacing. Scents of carmel and malt. Taste similar to nose but much less intense with a hint of butterscotch at the finish. Mouthfeel was very, very watery and not particuarly lively. Alcohol was virtually undetectable. Might be a good choice if you are looking for a session porter, but the caramel scent can be a little too cloying in my opinion.

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Photo of fightingirishcmk
3.07/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Dark brown, with a 3 fingered head, dissipated rather quickly. Left some lacing on the glass.

S: So I went into this beer being forewarned that it was super caramel-ish. And thats about all I got from the smell. I'll give it a good rating because, well, I can't deny that it smelled like its name.

T: Overpowering caramel sweetness and butterscotch. A bit overdone.

M: Average, medium bodied with good carbonation.

D: Not very drinkable, I had used one to make a beer bread earlier and I'm glad the winter 12 pack only has 2. So I drank the other, and didn't miss the one that had been put in the bread. The bread turned out pretty damn good though!

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Photo of erosier
3.38/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown into the glass with a nice tan head that sticks around for a while and it sticks to the sides of the glass. I has a very sweet malty and caramely aroma. The taste delivers just that. Very sweet malty flavor with alot of caramel taste coming through. The caramel overpowers the rest of the beer and it is a very sweet beer. It has a very nice mouthfeel with not too much carbonation. Maybe more carbonation could have helped it. Due to its extremely sweet and overpowering caramel flavoring, it is only fairly drinkable.

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Photo of tdawgydog
3.05/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I received the Saranac 12 Beers of Winter as a gift. There were definitely a few that caught my eye. I thought I would first try the beer that I wouldn't traditionally drink. Those being the Chocolate Amber and the Caramel Porter.
The Caramel Porter poured very nice with a nice head and dark amber hue. On first sip you can easily identify the caramel but there is also a strong taste of butterscotch. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I could imagine myself drinking this beer again. I think it would best be enjoyed on a cold winter night while relaxing with friends and family.

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Photo of Kendo
2.73/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured into a Spirit Haus pint glass. Body is dark brown with crimson hues and a very small beige head. No lacing at all.

S: Sweet stuff -- caramel, vanilla and maybe butterscotch. Mainly caramel.

T: Caramel is there on the first sip, lingers, and overwhelms anything else that may have been underneath. Clearly seems to be some sort of fake, extract-type caramel as it overwhelms and is definitely cloying. Think cream soda and cake and you've got it.

M: Way too light for a porter. Carbonation is lively -- perhaps all that sugar has given the yeast a purpose.

D: Not so good -- way too sweet and one-dimensionally caramelly. I will avoid in the future.

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Photo of Mit
2.74/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I just hate to have something bad to say about a beer. And I have really liked every Saranac I have had so far(about 4 styles so far).

I got this Caramel Porter in the Winter Lagers Mixer pack from Matt Brewing.

Initially I was very intrigued by the idea of a Caramel Porter. I had gotten away from Porters and Stouts and was excited to have some to try.

Firts appearance was very nice. A dark dark brown with a red hue when held up the the light. Very promising start.

Initial smell was quite sweet and more than hinted at the Caramel that was inside this beer at this point I had become a little turned off. I'm not a big fan of overly sweet beer as a rule so...

Initial taste I found to be quite full of caramel but the burnt undertones that one would expect from a stout seemed to come out the longer the beer sat at room temperature and the further I got into my glass. Halfway in I was not noticing the caramel flavour as much as the more traditional porter tastes.

Mouth feel was about what one would expect from a porter. Nice carbonation that enhance the flavors.

Drinkability. If you have a sweet tooth you may like this. I found it to be slightly overpowering. I personally didn't like it and probably wouldn't try it again. But just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't...give it a try anyways.

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Photo of barnuba
3.35/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a conical pint glass.

Appearance: Two finger creamy white/tan head with sticky lacing that follows the beer down to the bottom of the pint. Dark brown/red depending on the angle of the light.

Smell: Sweet . . .caramelized sugar with roasted undertones

Taste: caramel followed by malt followed by a caramel finish with slight bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: IMO good beer to mix into a session to break samples up – perhaps not the best beer to start with…

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Photo of mnj21655
3.08/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes made on 11/29.
12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a clear dark brown with hints of red and about a 1/4" of tan head that exhibits decent retention. Smell is pleasant with a prominent caramel aroma supported by a solid maltiness. Taste is good, some dark crystal malts are present upfront but then give way to some biscuits and caramel. The caramel lingers into the finish but is overtaken by some slight roastyness in the form of possibly chocolate but more likely black patent malt. There really isn't much hop flavor in here but there is a bit of hop bitterness. Good mouthfeel, medium-light body and low-moderate carbonation. Drinkability is average. No real major flaws in this brew. Overall its pretty solid but the caramel can be a bit overwhelming in the aroma and, to a lesser extent, the taste.

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.16 out of 5 with 807 ratings
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