Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter
802 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: 802 |  Reviews: 454
Photo of Phatz
3.43/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had high hopes but low expectations for this beer. Purchased as part of the holiday 12 pack, I was looking forward to this particular beer because I am a caramel fan and a porter kind of guy. I have found Saranac beers mainstream but not as bad as their rap. This is no exception. It is drinkable but a bit boring.

Appearance: Pours a a dark brown sugar caramel color with an ivory head and little lacing.

Smell: The aroma is almost indistinguishable aside from sweetness, even when it warmed. It is very reserved. With effort there is a hint of butterscotch, caramel, cola and malt in the nose.

Taste: Caramel malty cola like body, sweet and simple with a hint of chocolate that ends with a roasty malt finish. It is watery and light through the center but like a soda it is not offensive.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and soft in the mouth. Light and easy.

Drinkability: This is an easy transition beer gentle and drinkable. No frills but equally inoffensive.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.53/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Saranac- Caramel Porter

Appearance- reddish brown with no head.
Smell- Cheap caramel flavoring, the kind you can add to coffee.
Taste- Light sugary caramel nothing lse.
Mouthfeel- Sweet and sugary up front, the slightest dryness in the end.

Overall- I reviewed this beer back on Nov.30th 03 and gave it an 4.8?!?! Boy, have my tastes changed.

This beer is blah!!! The caramel is cheap and chemical tasting and there is nothing else there. Huge let down. My taste buds changed or the beer chaged over time!? I think it was my taste buds!!

A lame porter.

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Photo of gbarron
2.91/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 12 oz. bottle, had never seen this one from Saranac. They usually give you solid, if not exciting, offerings.

A - dark brown to nearly black with an off-white, slightly tannish head. Retention and lacing are average.

S - whoa, strong, sweet aroma of carmelized sugar, toffee. Little to no hop aroma. Tangy malt, sugary sweetness dominate. Smells like one of those Werther's Originals butterscotch/caramel candies.

T - taste mirrors the aroma. Again, tastes like I'm sucking on a Werther's Original. Strong flavor of butterscotch, caramel, toffee, burnt sugar. Hints of metallic, earthy hops, but malt is up front here. Some coffee-ish notes, but sweet caramel malt is the dominant flavor. Hardly even tastes like a porter.

M - medium bodied beer, carbonation seems a bit high. Slightly sticky finish.

D - not my thing. If you like really sweet, rich beers with an almost artificial sugar/caramel flavor, give it a try. But I will not be having this one again - ever.

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

Saranac Caramel Porter
12 oz brown bottle
Jet ink # on the side of the bottle - 2766 07:43
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a dark chestnut brown with ruby-crimson highlights on the bottom of the pint. Nice lacings cling on the sides.

Light whiffs of sweet malts, caramel malts and dairy.

Roasted malt backbone with a sugary-sweet caramel drip punch. The finish provides an appealing hop snap. Slightly bready or doughy quality.

Overall, a nice porter with a strong caramel presence. I thought the mouthfeel was a tad thin for the style, but still enjoyable nevertheless.

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Photo of scarletfire79
3.54/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

very very very sweet beer. you can smell the sweetness as soon as you pour it. the caramel just drips off this brew. borederline too sweet but for some reason i find this enjoyable. not overly enjoyable but pretty good. incredibly swee. a dessert in itself. could ner be a session beer but is one of those good once in a while beers.

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Photo of AndoBrew
3.93/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

*i did not mind it and would buy again*

app: it looks redish.. caramel does not supposed to look red.

smell: NICE, nutty caramel sweet goodness!

taste: first gulp is ok.. it is not as good as the smell, a little watery and a touch bland. good buttery carmel nutty finish though.
2nd was better, more flavor came out, I find nothing besides the slight over watered factor to be offensive about this beer. i wish they could do a double of this that stayed just as yummy but had more flavor.

mf: fine besides the water.

drinkable?:yes indeed, never gets to bright bitter or over powering, very smooth and easy.

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

From the 2006 Winter Seasonal case.

A: The ale is a brown, muddy color, lacking sediment with some reddish highlights. The head was thick but does not retain or lace.

S: The porter lacks a roasted aroma, instead it offers a very sweet, sugary caramel aroma,

T: The porter is completely and utterly dominated by caramel. There is no roasted character, no slight sourness, no chocolate toasted malts, nothing. The caramel is strong from first to last sip and leaves a very long finish. Not quite a caramel apple, but close.

M: The mouthfeel is almost cloyingly sweet, but not quite. Either way, it is unusual and I am not sold on it.

D: The drinkability is limited, this strikes me as an experiment gone horribly awry.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.92/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours, a dark, well, caramel brown with slight crimson highlights, with a thin medium light tan head, slight lazy carbonation

S - a nice blend of quality malt hops balance with a delicious aroma of melted quality caramel, like candy shop caramel, not sugar daddy caramel.

T - strong up front malt profile and a nice hoppiness slightly more subdued, and lurking in the background is a great sweet smooth caramel sensation, well balanced, blended and flavored, ive been waiting for this beer since last winter

M&D - the caramel lends this beer a unique smoothness, its easy down, with a higher drinkability

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Photo of riversider76
3.58/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a redish hue. Not much of a head, but decent lacing. Smell is all carmel. Body is thick with some carbionation. Taste is sweet carmel throughout, with maybe a hint of coffee in the finish. I prefer a stright porter,but this was a nice change. Too sweet for more than one or two.

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Photo of dustylong
4.17/5  rDev +32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet again another Winter pack beer...Pours a dark brown color with a reddish tint (poured from a bottle into a pint glass). Had a decent head with little retention and some lacing. Smells like caramel (no way). The taste is also a very strong caramel, with a hint of toffee. Feels very heavy in the mouth, with good body. Overall, a good beer..very tasty...a very interesting taste, which everyone should check out...

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Photo of sacfly
3.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Winter seasonal pack
Pours a deep, dark, clear, red color with a medium head of tight tan/brown bubbles. Looks great in the glass. Aroma is pure candy caramel. The taste is, well, candy caramel. Aftertaste is… you guessed it, candy caramel. Roasty mixed with sweet, rich caramel throughout. I actually remember hating this in the past, but this years I enjoyed. Not something to drink as a session or frequently, but a nice holiday treat. I can’t see a non beer drinker that likes caramel not loving this one. A little lacking in the porter qualities for me, but enjoyable none the less. Seemed less artificial than in the past?

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Photo of tugdriver7
4.1/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark and rich. Extremely dark and extremely rich. With a bit of sweet in the aftertaste. The first few sips were a delight. After that, it became a bit too sweet and the dark carmel flavor came through like liquid English Toffee candy. Combined with the smoky flavor of the porter, it was a bit much for me. But wow what an incredibly delightful mixture of tastes (albeit for a short few sips). Not quite drinkable enough as a session beer, but to impress and to enjoy during the holidays (for instance), a keeper.

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Photo of BBM
2.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Beer pours a clear light brown (almost a, well, caramel color) with a small fizzy white head. Smell is of sweet, sweet caramel and malts. Did I mention it was sweet?

The taste is also incredibly sweet. Caramel, birthday cake, syrup, pretty much anything you can think of to really sweeten a beer. There is little-to-no hop presence either, making the taste a bit over bearing. Mouthfeel is clean and carbonated. I like sweet beer, but this one is a bit over the top. This isn't a dessert beer; it IS dessert. I can't see myself trying this one again.

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Photo of plaid75
3.28/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger creamy off white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell resembled a that of a sticky bun or flavored coffee- very defined caramel aroma.

The taste was upfront caramel sweetness with a decent burnt grain in the middle and a bitter coffee-like finish. In fact, the taste resembles a flavored coffee.

The mouthfeel was heavy with a dry finish.

Overall a decent low ABV dessert beer. Not meant, in my opinion, to be an everyday drinker or even a session beer. A dessert beer is what this is and is rather drinkable as such.

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Photo of treehugger02010
2.74/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Not very caramel like. It poured a nice thick dark color. The mouthfeel was one of the best I have ever had, but the taste was pretty bad, and so was the smell. Neither of which resembled caramel. I would not recomend this, but if you're even rometly interested then get a single bottle. Don't drink and review.

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Photo of silver1audi
3.52/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I know what the reviews are usually like for this particular beer. I've read them. I think my view on this beer was tainted for a while because of them. Drinking it now, I can say, expect exactly what the label says. It is a Caramel Porter. It is a porter with a heavy caramel flavor; it's not going to be comparable to 90% of the other porters you may have tried.
It pours a dark red amber color and smells super sweet like caramel and maple syrup. The first flavors are a burst of sweet caramel and maple syrup, just like in the nose... a bit of a bitter piney aftertaste. Hops are virtually undetectable unless you really savor it in your mouth around the rear sides of your tongue. Mouth feel is somewhat typical of a porter but somewhat stickier.

This beer is very sweet. I'm typically not a fan of sweet beers although I did like this. I've had it quite a few times in the past but I'm just reviewing it now because I think I can finally enjoy it. A fan of porters may not necessarily enjoy this; it is very much a CARAMEL porter, expect that going into it. It's not what you're looking for if you want the typical smokey stovepipe-benchwarmer-taddy porter, but it is very good if you think you might be in the mood for something sweeter and different... (maple syrup fans?)

It's not as offensive as some reviews make it seem. Give it a shot when you're in the mood for exactly what the name describes... a caramel porter.

Thanks Saranac for making so many different styles for such an affordable price... and making 12 different interesting styles available in one package! the 12 beers of winter are more than worth it.

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

Poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a reddish-brown with a suggestion of transparency. You can't fully see through the glass, but you ALMOST can, and consequently this looks more like a brown ale than a porter. Nice light tan head with decent staying power, becomes lacing pretty quickly but there's a good blanket that remains throughout. It looks good, but doesn't look like a porter at all.

S: Caramel is dominant. Not caramel malt. Caramel. This smells like caramel sauce you squeeze from a plastic bottle onto ice cream. I'm not getting anything but that.

T: Holy SWEET. Not like "oh, man, my new car is SWEET" but like "this drink has a ton of the flavor component that we associate with sugar." There are a few more beer-like moments in the flavor, though, unlike the aroma. There's a slight bitterness toward the middle of the sip which extends into the finish. The tail is like candy, and there's an ever-so-slight bit of roasted malt as the beer warms.

M: One would expect a sugary/sweet beer to maybe have a syrupy quality to it, but this doesn't. A medium-bodied feel, and is pretty smooth.

D: There's just no way I could drink more than one of these, and I'm kind of glad there was only one in my Winter 12-pack. This beer absolutely would have its uses for me, but they pretty much all involve dessert. Pairing it with something creamy would work (vanilla cheesecake, for one). Maybe using this in waffle batter that you then serve with ice cream and fruit would work. But as a beer that you sit back and sip: it just didn't do it for me. It's unique, I'll give it that. It isn't balanced, though.

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Photo of alysmith4
3.14/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Very sweet! Tasted like candy in a bottle. Fun to have during the fall, but that's about it. Makes me want a piece of apple pie to go with it.

Mouthfeel was decent, but not great. Smell was excellent though.. lots of sugar, caramel, and spices. I could only have two glasses though, any more than that and I probably would have gone into sugar shock!

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Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.73/5  rDev +49.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an excellent porter. I could definitely taste the caramel overtones. I paired it with a bacon cheeseburger that I prepared on a gas grill and the two went perfectly together. I consider Yuengling Porter to be the benchmark of American Porters and I would have to consider this to be a few notches above it. I disagree with those that don't feel that this is a true porter. This is what a porter should be.

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Photo of briman
3.49/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours dark brown, with ruby hues when held up to the light. Thin brown head, minimal retention. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is strong sweet caramel.

Flavor is as expected. Tons of sweet caramel front to back. Honestly don't get much else as caramel simply dominates. No real "porter" notes to speak of. Finish is clean, no bitterness at all.

Medium body, low carbonation. Very sweet, seems well balanced.
A little too sweet to consider having more than one in a session. Hard to see this as a porter, since as noted it has no real roasted malt contribution. Probably an acquired taste.

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Photo of IPA17
3.27/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer starts off with a good appearance and a good smell but then loses a little steam. The taste is pretty good, with hints of caramel but the mouthfeel is only average and it has an average drinkability. Overall, slightly above average but certainky nothing to write home about.

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Photo of sinistrsam
3.28/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass with a dark brown body and a small white head which dissapated immediately leaving no lacing. The aroma of this beer was the only really interesting thing. It was sweet, caramel and mild coffee. Very strong but almost a fake-sweetness. The taste was mild, somewhat sweet and bitter. Caramel, butter, mild malts. Nothing interesting, and same with the mouthfeel was watery and thin. You can have a few of these in one night but the saccharine (sp?) sweetness might get to you.

Drinkability is OK. Like most of the Saranac line, it's mild and inoffensive. If I came across it on tap in a little bar in the middle of nowhere, I could easily session it.

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Photo of ghostwalker
3/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Caramel brown body with deep ruby highlights. 1 solid finger of off-white to tan head that fled the glass quickly.

Nose is light sour malt with some butteriness to it.

Malty, sweet and buttery with slight bitterness. I don't really get any caramel flavors from it, but it's pretty tasty. Most of the characteristic porter flavors are absent, no coffee, no chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thin, typical Saranac. Why do all their brews lack body?

Drinkability is OK. Like most of the Saranac line, it's mild and inoffensive. If I came across it on tap in a little bar in the middle of nowhere, I could easily session it.

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Photo of Ricochet
2.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a see through ruby color , very little head stayed short. Caramel is the name and the scent. Strong caramel dominates but smelled a little like a Brachs Butterscotch disc. Unusual but appetizing for a porter. Mouth really foamed on the tounge and there was a tad of bitter, but mostly the sweet butterscotch was the aftertaste. That said, it wore off. Nothing about this tasted even remotely porter. The caramel dominates, straight up and in your face. There was a bit of bitterness but none of the chocolate/coffee tastes that would make this a really great porter. Only after concentrating on the taste, did I really get a touch of burnt coffee. It wasn't really bad, a caramel beer. I'm going to say it's average drinkablity because I could have a few, but it's too odd to get again. Sweet butterscotch/caramel is another I'd put on the fruity beer pile.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
1.48/5  rDev -53.2%
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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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.16 out of 5 with 802 ratings
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