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Saranac Caramel Porter | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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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: 797
Photo of Jwale73
3.3/5  rDev +5.1%
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 cbutova
1.91/5  rDev -39.2%
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 claspada
3.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aromas are sweet caramel, butterscotch and some lesser notes of darker robust java maltiness. Caramelized brown sugar is the best way to describe it. A nice breadiness adds some fullness.

The taste is sweet toffee and caramelized malting with a buttery popcorn touch. The beer progresses to a dried toffee and semi-sweet hints of chocolate. There is a slight nuttiness and cookie dough sweetness as well while the beer finishes off with some hazelnut coffee hints and a dry spiciness. The flavor started out pretty well but lost some of its luster along the way during the process never quite reclaiming the first impression.

Overall this was well above average and worthy by all means. The flavor delivered all the sweet toffee and caramel sweetness that I hoped for then some. Couldn't drink more than 2 or 3 in a sitting because of the style. Better in a mixed 12 pack vs. a whole 6er of this brew.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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 Darkmagus82
3.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a deep brown color with a large tan head. The head had a moderate amount of persistent but eventually faded giving a medium level of lacing.

Smell – Carmel is quite potent in the nose. There is a butteriness as well giving a mix of toffee in with the caramel. Some vanilla notes are also present with an ever so light roasted malt aroma as well. Overall the nose is quite sweet and nice.

Taste – While the nose was very heavy in caramel, the initial taste was not. It was largely of more roasted malt. As the taste advance however, a caramel taste became more and more prevalent; intensifying throughout the taste experience. Toward the end, the caramel is quite strong and mixes with some vanilla.

Mouthfeel – The beer is quite weak in body for the style with a bit of a higher then average level of carbonation. These two characteristics really hurt this brew. The weak body does not meld well with experiencing some of the more roasty flavors that complement the caramel sweet well. Also the carbonation level is a bit too high for this style and pulls away from some of the flavors even more.

Overall – The smell of the beer is fantastic, the taste good, but the mouthfeel was a hit to the overall quality of the beer. While the mouthfeel is not the greatest, for the price you pay it is not a bad beer and one that is well worth a try.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
2.66/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm not sure what they were trying to do with this beer, but it didn't work. It started out OK, dark brown color, small tan head. Not much aroma, just a little sweet. A porter taste, coffee/chocolate, but the damn caramel (or whatever it was, I couldn't tell for sure) kept intruding. It was medium bodied. Not a beer I'd want a lot of.

 336 characters

Photo of Suds
3.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I have friends who rave about this beer. It's different, interesting, and worth a try....but when I'm halfway through a glass, I think it's also excessively difficult to drink.
There is nothing special about the appearance. It's a dark, almost black beer with very little head. The aroma, however, is notable. It's got a serious sweet, caramel quality. Also, there's an almost oppressive buttery smell....think "overwhelmed by movie-house popcorn butter".
There are roasted and slightly burnt grains here, and the mouthfeel is full, rich, and creamy. It's got an over-the-top sweetness, however, and doesn't have the complexity of a great porter.

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Photo of mynie
1.85/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours limp, very red and see-thru with a wee bitty brown head.

Smells like a sun-melted caramel candy and soap. Not a good blend, but it smells like an actual caramel candy so I guess that's worth something.

Tastes. Umm... not good.

That caramel hits you right away, which is actually decent, but then all this sour chemcial soap nonsense comes rushing in and takes over. It's sour and icky. The finish is nice, roasted malt, but the freaky middle makes this taste pretty bad.

Yet another mediocre beer from the Matt Brewing Company.

 545 characters

3.52/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. I didn't rate the appearance accurately because the room was very dimly lit... I'll update later.

Aromas of caramel and slightly of toasted malt. Mostly a caramel scent.

Tastes a lot like candy corn (the Halloween snack). The caramel is very much present. A little buttery. Very sweet in the middle with an earthy, slightly tingling hop finish.

Mouthfeel is basically average with excess carbonation.

Definitely a session beer, but could be improved upon.

 496 characters

Photo of Durge
3.32/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A thick dark brown color with very scant white head and minor lacing. A strong butterscotch / caramel aroma and a faint touch of piney hops perhaps. The taste is a smooth sweet caramel and orange blend. It has a dry finish with fine carbonation. There's a raspberry touch with a hint of smoke. Fair drinkability. Not a flavor I can sink my teeth into but OK if you can handle the sweetness.

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Photo of Brenden
3.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 967 characters

Photo of Gmann
2.13/5  rDev -32.2%
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.

 340 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.18/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours very dark brown with a touch of white foam. Clear top after it settles. Sweet caramel nose. Taste is a light caramel sweetness without much of a hop backup. There is an extra sweetness in there that is muted by the porter. An odd blend, not quite right. Too sweet.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into goblet.
Dark brown color, with thin off-white head.
Caramel, sweet, malty aroma. A bit over carbonated for my liking. Sweet, caramel, malt flavor...seems somewhat lacking, but not undrinkable. Not my go to porter, but somewhat unique...I guess...meh.

 274 characters

Photo of bubseymour
2.28/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance- Brownish purple and very dark with a 3 finger nice head.

Smell - Extreme caramel smell like candy and nothing else. Has no resemblence to a beer smell.

Taste - yuk..followed by crisp bitterness

Mouthfeel - Actually very full bodied and creamy.

Overall - Very poor beer. Weird tasting and not pleasant.

 317 characters

Photo of francisweizen
2.5/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A lightly reddish/brown colour with a small head of offwhite/tan foam. The aromas are all sweet sugar, caramel, light malts, and where are the hops? The taste is too sweet up front and even sweeter on the finish. The mouthfeel is sticky and the drinkability is not good. Not one of Saranacs better brews.

 304 characters

Photo of argock
2.14/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Brown with reddish highlights with surprising and unsettling transparency. 1-finger tan head with nice retention and plenty of lacing.

S: Nothing but sickeningly sweet butterscotch in the nose.

T: Also, nothing but sickeningly sweet butterscotch with diacetyls above the allowable limit. Even for a dessert beer, this is above and beyond. It tastes like they liquified a bunch of Werthers and poured them in your glass.

M: Thick and buttery with long butterscotch aftertaste.

D: I rarely pour out a beer -- after half of the beer, down it went. Maybe after a meal for a dessert...

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.04/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured a garnet brown with 1" off-white head that left a ring

S - chocolate, maltiness, caramel, and slightly hoppy

T - floral, fruity and sweet with chocolate malt and bitter finish. Notes of caramel, bread and roasted malts are present as well

M - light bodied, medium carbonation. Holds together well

D - very drinkable

Overall - This is a well rounded beer fit for many occasions and meals. I would recommend this to accompany a meaty meal.

 453 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
2.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark amber/brown with a fingers worth of head. The head did fade rather quickly back into the beer. There was a touch of lacing left behind in the glass.

The aroma was sweet and of caramel candy. (blocks you melt to cover apples)

The taste was really artificial to me. I couldn't believe it and I was quite disappointed. It was like the Starbucks Caramel Machiatto of beers. They took a somewhat decent beer and squirted caramel flavoring into it. I'm not even really saying it tasted bad.. It just didn't taste authentic to me.

Mouth feel was fairly light bodied but sticky sweet.

The artificial flavor bothered me in terms of drinkability.

There are other REAL porters to drink out there

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Photo of blackie
3.48/5  rDev +10.8%
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 tpd975
3.75/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to matta

A: Pours a light hue of brown with a nice creamy head. Okay retention with some spotty lace noted.

S: Bold gooey caramel aroma up front, there was an additive used to get this aroma. Hints of light roasted malt as well.

T: Nice malty sweetness with subdued caramel flavors when compared to the nose. A touch of nuts round things out.

M: Medium in body smooth with good carbonation.

D: Not bad overall. I would drink another.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Malty aroma of slight roast, a little sweet, like brown sugar. Eventually the caramel presents itself and dominates. Head is small, then leaves quickly. Dark brown with reddish hues and clear. Caramel is pretty strong in flavor, espeically middle to end. Maybe a little too strong with not quite enough blending for my taste. Mild hop bitterness. Average mouthfeel, but appropriate for style. ' Appreciate the attempt for something different, but this is just not a great combination for my tastes.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- pours a deep brown with a dark copper hue, small cream colored head that quickly dissipates, no lacing.

S- caramel, and lots of it! It literally smells like butterscotch syrup. I can get a faint smell of hops but not much. Just a bit of coffee as well. It smelled exactly what you would expect it to judging by the label.

T- the caramel smell is represented in the taste as well. Very sweet caramel malts, tastes much like some kind of dessert. Finishes slightly bitter, that's about the only way you can detect any hops. A little lighter in flavor than I would expect from a porter. The sweetness stays on your palate long after sipping.

M- medium body, creamy, moderate carbonation. Sweetness dominates the palate.

O- this would make a good dessert beer because it's so sweet, it does however take away from its drinkability. Not as bold as most porters but it is as advertised, so you can't knock them for that.

 925 characters

Photo of Brent
2.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Freaky. That's what I kept thinking all the way through drinking this beer. I kept waiting for it to grow on me. It never did. I didn't really get much caramel flavor, either from the caramel malt or the real caramel used in the brewing, as noted on the bottle. What I did get was an odd, candy-ish background flavor that I just could not quite put my finger on. Cherry? Dr. Pepper? Not sure, but it did not work.

 413 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.35/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Translucent brown color with a foamy head that thinned out in a minute or two and left a few specks of lacing.
Smells like a bag of Sugar Babies candy.
Caramel flavor is all over the place with some roasted malt and a hint of bitterness tossed in.
Light bodied porter with decent carbonation.
One or two in a sitting is enough for me.

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Saranac Caramel Porter from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.14 out of 5 based on 797 ratings.
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