Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Caramel PorterSaranac Caramel Porter
812 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: 812 |  Reviews: 459
Photo of RedChrome
2.49/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A deep garnet colored beer with hints of brown. Inch and a half high tan colored head shrunk to a slick over a minute. Zero carbonation can be seen rising in the body. Sticky lacing.

Extremely sweet caramel scent. A minor roasted aroma doesn't allow for compensation of the sweet attack on the nose. This one is unpleasntly unbalanced.

As expected from the aroma, this was an over the top sweetness bomb in the mouth. A rich caramel flavor sticks tot he tongue and overpowers the mouth. Light smoked flavor in finish.

Thick beer on the tongue. A light carbonation tickle helps to highlight sweet flavors.

A below par offering. This one would sweeten up and smoked barbeque meal. Stay away from this bottle from the mixed pack, unless you can't control your curiosity.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.84/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby-tinted caramel-brown color, underneath an off-white had that doesn't retain very well.

Aroma is full-on caramel, no mistaking it. Also a bit nutty, like a brown ale. Earthy and toasty, it sure smells promising.

The flavor is for those who like it sweet. The caramel is so prominent that it reaches a candy-like level that only fans of sweet sweet beers will enjoy. There is, thankfully, some hoppy bitterness that helps keep the caramel character in check, but it's still crazy sweet. A rich nuttiness appears in both flavor and finish, and with a well-carbonated yet oily mouthfeel, it's one of Saranac's more daring and interesting offerings. Not everyday-drinkable, due to that cloying caramel, but still, I found this to be pretty enjoyable.

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

This brew looked good, sounded good but was all off on the taste. Poured a dark amber and blasted my nose with caramel aromas. Sickly sweet artificial caramel flavor- hard to get down. Not much else, a slight hop bitterness but not nearly enough to break the caramel. After a few sips, this beer had a date with the drain.

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Photo of oelergud
2.32/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Transparent dark ruby and chestnut body, low carbonation. Tan head that falls quickly to a thin cover, sparse lace.
Sweet caramel and butterscotch scent.
Taste is essentially the same as the smell, caramel and butterscotch. The aftertaste is a harsh hop bitter thing.
Full body but too acidic and dry.
Not a repeat for me.


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

Received the winter 12 pack as a gift so I figured I'd start with this one.

A: Pours a dark brown color, almost the perfect porter color. Slight white head that has no retention. Lacing is nice.
S: Toasted grains with a sweetness attributed to the caramel. Grassy hop presence in there also.
T/M: Sweet caramel presence right from the start. Good backbone of toasted grain with slight roasted malt notes also. Hop bitterness is in there also, detected by the dry aftertaste. Slick through the mouth with a body on the lighter side.
D: Smooth and easy. Not great, but worth a try--drinkable porter.

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Photo of williamherbert
4.29/5  rDev +35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick dark brown. Totally opaque. Small layer of thin soapy head, which disappears quickly.

Amazing, sweet caramel aroma. Like candy. Overwhelming and bursting with sweetness. Aroma is not at all like beer, but like some delicious confection. Incredible.

Remarkable sweet taste. Like a caramel candy malt. Aftertaste does not disappoint. Might be too sweet for some (and sweetness is not usually my thing) but it's truly unlike any other beer I've ever had. Toasted with a tiny bite at the end.

Not very thick for a porter, but has a decent feel. Lingers on the tongue afterward. It's a delicious, sweet caramel brew (though to categorize it as a porter might be slightly misleading). Original and highly drinkable, especially on a cold winter evening.

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Photo of cnybrewblog
3.42/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's got a great dark color, looks the part of a good Porter. The smell is great. You get that hit of caramel with hints of butterscotch and malt. The description on the side says that it has a bitter finish and I am not sure who they have writing those because there is a strong sweet caramel finish with a hint of bitterness up front.

It's mouth feel is nothing to write home about, and overall drink ability is ok a best. I have been drinking these for years before I got into real brew tasting and I was never a fan of this flavor, but even now though, I have a hard tiem getting excited about this Saranac.

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Photo of Luchman
2.97/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to akorsak for this.

Poured into devils milk snifter. <---- Again, thanks to Adam for this.

A: Pours a dark brown, with a big, fuzzy, off white head that seems to only make its presence for a couple of seconds, until it decides to fade, and relax on the sides.

S: Nice. Straight caramel and butterscotch, with some light roasted malts to add. While not too complex or pungent, it does make me want to dive right into drinking this.

T: Darn. Some sweet malts, bittering hops, and a disappointing caramel flavor in the end. The smell made me think it was going to be nice, filling, thick, caramel crammed beer… This, it was not… nor close to.

M: Kind of a light body. Nothing horrendous though.

D: A sweet, but light, beer. Does not have any similarities to any other porters I have had, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I wanted this to be awesome, but alas, it was a let down. Definitely not a drain pour by any means though; just nothing anyone should look forward to.

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Photo of arnulfooxblood
3.14/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance--Deep, dark brown color, not quite opaque. Thin fizzy head that dissipated almost immediately.

Smell--This smells real good. Lots of sweet malts.

Taste/Mouthfeel--Pretty thin for a porter. Lots of malts. Really lacks the normal porter characteristics.

Drinkability--Nothing offensive about this one, but not one I'm likely to revisit on a regular basis.

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Photo of Gmann
2.13/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a dark brown with amber highlights, small tan head that dissipated quickly leaving no lacing. The smell of buttery toffee, caramal, real sweet. The taste was sickly sweet, artifical, with a slight roast aftertaste. The mouthfeel was light and fizzy. Due to the sweetness of this porter, I could only have one of these. Not a big fan.

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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 GrandpaGeorg
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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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.16 out of 5 with 812 ratings