Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

452 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 452 | Ratings: 803
Photo of kenpo23
2.41/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: gotta say, i was pretty looked great when i poured it. dark with a good head.

S: i could smell the nice porter but then got hit with the fake caramel smell. kinda ruined it for me but it wasn't overwhelming or anything.

T: again, i could taste the nice porter and then got hit with a fake caramel taste. this could have been a really good beer if they had used real caramel or a higher quality caramel flavoring.

M: glad i only had two of them to drink.

D: if you're looking for a good caramel taste to this porter you certainly wont find it here. the bad caramel taste made it hard to drink.

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Photo of Lupin
2.64/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz, from winter mix pack. Gotta say I was pretty curious about this one. Second serving, after the oatmeal stout.

Chilled in the winter air. Pours clear, but very dark, into a Klaster stage.

1" head dies quickly. Aroma is 99% caramel and if there was an olfactory equivalent to nutrasweet, I've found it. Smells kinda gross.

Up front, pretty tasty. Sweet with not too much complexity, but I can't really describe what happens to this beer when it gets to the back of my throat. It's just too sweet and covers too much of the palate with that sweetness at once. It's like the first time drinking a diet soda. The hops only add the slightest bit of bitterness to balance this out.

I can't finish it.

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Photo of RankRefugee88
3.37/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Sam Adams glass.

A - Appearance is a very dark color, but lighter then your typical porter. White, slightly tan head. When shone through light it looks like a reddish color.

S - Heavy butterscotch. Caramel is certainly present. Very sweet smelling, never smelt a beer quite like this before. I like it.

T - Tastes decent. Really heavy on the caramel, a little too much if you ask me. Brown sugar... just a very sweet tasting beer. Chocolate on the finish.

M - Warm mouthfeel. Chewy, dry. Light feeling for a porter. Overall good.

D - Has a decent drinkability. Its definitely smooth going down, I just don't know how many of these I would like to drink because of the overpowering caramel/butterscotch taste.

Pretty bizarre beer. Wasn't crazy about it, didn't hate it either. I would consider having it again just because of the uniqueness it serves.

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Photo of Delirium
4/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice bubbles. What a great head, not to thick or thin and levels off in a nice thin sheet of fizz that comes along for the entire ride. A good looking beer.
Sweet caramel smell almost scared me away, but the overly sweet tones are quickly put in check by bitter hops in this surprisingly delightful porter.

I rate this beer only against others I have had with real caramel added... which is none.

*quench your sweet tooth*

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Photo of nhudson
1.99/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I hate these types of beers on the market. I call them fake beers due to their artificial taste and smell. The beer looks great though, but thats the only thing good about it. The smell is of heavy caramel extract that over takes your nose to the point you want to gag. Taste is of caramel, again I say fake caramel its so obviously fake I don't even see how they sell it. Mouthfeel is what I would call thin but with a heavy carbonation feel too it. Overall like I said before the only good thing about this is the way it looks, other than that I wouldn't waste my money or time drinking this beer.

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Photo of smallbatchbrewer
3.46/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I can see where some people might not like this beer. I can best describe it by comparing it to something you might find on a Starbuck's latte menu. It has coffee notes and a definite caramel taste. Actually, upon having another sip just now, all I can taste is caramel. It's unique and might prove to be a 'love it or hate it' beer. I'm just not sure how to place it...

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Photo of SisuPride
3.56/5  rDev +13.4%
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 strattor
1.12/5  rDev -64.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Poured a deep brown from the bottle with a caramel-colored tan.

Oh good God, the smell is offensive. It has a harsh, artificial sweetness to it, and smells of butterscotch and sweaty feet.

It tastes just like it smells. I don't mean to be over the top, but this is a really awful tasting beer. I can't finish it.

I don't know why this beer tastes so bad, as the idea is a good one. It's just way too artificial and overpowering.

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Photo of MECove
4.62/5  rDev +47.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this one surprised me! It sounded enticing as a seasonal flavor, and I've appreciated several other Saranacs, but it was still better than my expectations. It's got a decently thick head that lingers (1/3 of an inch). It's only 5.4% but so delicious that you can drink plenty of them. It can be a dessert or an evening delight. It's got a calm roasted after-taste, a sweet aroma, and a slight hint of sparkle as it goes down. It's almost like drinking a cold, carbonated caramel coffee!

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Photo of bltzburgh
4.08/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of Saranac's best best beers. This beer has a wonderful aroma taste and pour, it has just the right hints of chocalate and carmael. When i drink a beer I don't want friut or candy. This beer puts just the right hints in to make it very drinkable. I have only found it in muti packs and it would be nice to be able to buy it by the case.

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Photo of StuartCarter
4/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A criminally under-rated beer!

A: a beautiful red/brown, light head that collapses quickly to a light lace.

S: caramel... what did you expect ;)

T: sweet, caramel, hints of light chocolate, delicate coffee after-taste, lingering dark sweetness

M: light, fizzy carbonation

D: easy to sink several bottles

Try pairing with cheesecake!

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Photo of sprackops
1.59/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle, no freshness date. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brown to black with translucent copper edges. Medium head gives way to a thin film.

Smell: Sickeningly sweet caramel aroma and little else. Although, do I detect cream soda?

Taste: Buttery caramel malts, vanilla, and yes, cream soda. Hops are a non-player. No detectable roasted notes. This liquefied Werther's Original/A&W cocktail is far too sweet for my taste. It seems that the inclusion of real caramel as indicated on the label is what led to this failed experiment.

Mouthfeel: Rather thin yet sticky, like corn syrup-laden soda.

Drinkability/comments: I nearly poured this one down the drain, but at the last second reminded myself that it was in fact an alcoholic beverage and persevered. The least appealing flavored beer I've had to date.

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Photo of PatriotsRule
4.16/5  rDev +32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, the caramel is so real! Really though!
A: Caramely not all that dark brown with little head and light lacing
S: The best caramel beverage ever, really. Just caramel with a bit of hops
T: The caramel, if I haven't already said so. So sweet.
M: Sticky syrupy sweet, but well crafted and an overall nice balance
O: This is not the porter I would regularly choose, but has a nose that is beyond intriguing!

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Photo of lbkornlb14
4.18/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is excellent, the only beer I can think of thats better in the Sweet beer category is the Southern Tier Creme Brulee. BTIET. Definitely give this one a try if you come across it. The only thing with this beer is that it has that " I Smell better than I taste" thing going. It smells great, and tastes really good but its just not all the way there. If you like this style, I would recommend you seek out the Creme Brulee. you WONT be disappointed.

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Photo of Bradthoc
4.07/5  rDev +29.6%
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 Fadefury
3.04/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark brown, with slight amber colors. Decent head that disappears quickly

S- Great smell of caramel and sweetness

T- Artificial taste overwhelms the beer. What could have been a great idea, turns out wrong because they seem to have taken the cheap way out.

M- Not very thick, but with mild carbonation, it makes it on it's way to my preferred feeling for a porter

O- It's a cheap porter. I picked up a 6 pack for 6.99. For a micro brew, this is rather cheap. I was expecting a lot from Saranac, but was disappointed by the lack of quality.

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Photo of bearsxco
3.57/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- poured a dark amber brown with small beige head that disappears quickly.

S- strong smell of caramel, sweet and sugary.

T- just a strong sweet caramel taste. Overpowering. Tastes almost like a soda would.

M- slightly thick and heavy syrup feel. Carbonation ok.

O- not a favorite. Good idea but taste like a caramel syrup poured in a soda. A beer that you want to commit a beer sin and not finish.

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Photo of redzone3120
3.59/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Very dark color, almost black at first appearance. When held up to the light, the color is a heavy dull brown color. The head is a light creamy color that is very light. The head disappeared quickly after the pour.

S - Not very strong, at least not for what I was expecting. It has a slightly sweet malted aroma with a possibly hint of citrus.

T - I really don't taste much of the caramel over the strong porter flavor. It is also quite bitter to me. Also has notes of coffee and a slight taste a creme.

M - Very smooth and fine. Nice carbonation. All around a nice balance that works well with the heaviness of the flavor.

D - Its a unique porter beer though the novelty wore off for me about half way through. Good twist on the porter style.

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Photo of PubliusII
3.47/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

rather pitiful head that disappears after a minute. It does have a great lace with some visible carbonation.

Rich caramel smell with some softer scents of alcohol.
It tastes of caramel, dark chocolate and coffee but it the taste is affected by the sour tones of alcohol and something else. The sourness takes away from the overall quality of the beer.
It does have a great, heavy body and some heavy carbonation.

It's a great beer for a cold winter day. Heavy brew with a rich body and different tastes that intrigue the drinker.

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Photo of silver1audi
3.52/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

 1,637 characters

Photo of redwolf1
2.73/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12 ounce bottle from Saranac's 12 Beers of Winter (or Christmas). A nice deep ruby color, with very little light penetrating except for around the edges of the glass. Good head retention with some minor lacing afterwards. A rather strong toffee/butterscotch/caramel aroma that clearly warns the drinker that the beer is going to be sweet. I expected sweetness; after all, it is a CARAMEL porter. Even though there is a slight hint of bitterness (good thing too!), the sweetness just overpowers the beer because over time, the bitterness can no longer be tasted. Not a good balance at all. I must say it is a full-bodied flavor with an undertone of chocolate, but it's really like drinking candy. I wouldn't expect anyone to drink more than one since your tastebuds are going to be thrown out of whack after one sip of this. Good thing I had this at the end of the meal.

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Photo of BatsforBeer
3.55/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Medium dark brown active stream of bubbles, half finger off white head, disappears quickly to thin film, no lacing.

S: Sweet Butterscotch, vanilla, caramel, roasted malt, touch of coco

T: Butterscotch vanilla, hazelnut, toasted malt caramel finish

M: Creamy a tad tacky and a bit watery, very nice mouth feel

D: Drinkable and fairly balanced. Not great but a solid brew.

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Photo of bossmanjg
3.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

As far as porters go, not so good. But for what it is, I thought it to be an occasional beer.

Appearance: Dark to medium amber color. Not quite dark enough to call it a Porter. And the head was good, for about 2 minutes.

Smell: A very unique aroma that I’d yet to experience. And as it warmed in my grip, it only improved.

Taste: The taste was explosive. Lot’s of caramel, hence the name I suppose. As for any other flavors… No hops to speak of.

Mouth feel: This was not so thick. As a matter of fact, it was a little watery. A little creaminess came through, and yet not too silky a beer.

Drinkability: This could be, for me at least, a session beer. Provided a had a good meal, and didn’t want to have desert… Well traditional desert… This would do just fine for that portion of the meal.

I will partake of this brew again in the future. But it will only be on the right occasions.

And as always remember the immortal words:

“Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy.”

~Benjamin Franklin

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Photo of Rsobotka
3.82/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Dark with some frothy lacy foam.

S= caramel sweet and chocolately
T= Not bad...toasty and caramely...with abitter ending to it

M= Quite a bite to it...smooth going down but a sour aftertaste

D= Ive had these sitting around..they are good when switching between brews but i dont think i would buy a sixer and drink it

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Photo of CherylM
1.98/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer looked interesting so I tried a bottle.

Color was dark brown with little carbonation and a disappearing head. There was a strong caramel smell and the taste of "artificial" caramel was too dominate. It was too sweet and heavy for my taste. Perhaps this would be better as a dessert/holiday beer. Would not have another.

There are better Saranac beers and Porters out there!

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.14 out of 5 based on 803 ratings.
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