Saranac Black & Tan | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

495 Reviews
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Saranac Black & TanSaranac Black & Tan

Brewed by:
Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Black & Tan

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: 495 | Ratings: 755
Photo of tjd112
2.19/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Got this in a Adirondack Trail Mix sixer. Poured into pint glass. Color is black-ruby with some good head and a lot of lacing. However, the taste and aroma doesn't impress me much, since its mostly just malts with a little bit of hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is not impressive. Much better out there.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.28/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on January 5th, so this puppy has 6 months of aging on it...lets give it a whirl.

A- pours a very dark brown, nearly black, with a nice mocha colored head. The head fades VERY quickly and the lacing is disgraceful. Embarrassingly bad.

S- not much of anything...slightly metallic smell. Seriously, thats all I'm getting. *really*?

T- tastes a lot like a brown ale...nutty flavor. The lager in this tastes like water compared to the stout, even when mixed. Its more of a...brown & clear? I dunno. Unimpressive.

M- feel is of water. Very thin. I know this is only half stout, but I'd like some sort of body to it. Its got the feel of a light lager, and thats not something I look for in a beer

D- I guess its drinkable. I wouldn't look to buy it again...its bland as hell. But hey, I guess thats drinkable.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.32/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Saranac had such a garbage reputation out here about a decade ago, that it used to be called nutsac, but I digress. On to review this not so great beer.

Looks like a decent black & tan. A little too thin for my tastes. Smells decent. But then its all downhill from there. Once you taste it, you can tell it was made for the so called East Coast/Yuenling type palates. Thin, watery, resinous old wood type of flavor that is strong on the tobacco and not much else. Mouthfeel, you just want to swallow it or spit it out. I guess it's drinkable, because it tastes like colored water, but its not desireable.

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Photo of pmcadamis
2.33/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I didn't realize that there is such a thing as pre-mixed black and tans. I've had the standard Guinness and Bass at bars, and I was once at a party in college where they had a keg of each and encouraged mixing them as a sort of theme party since once roommate was white and the other was black. I thought that was a pretty cool idea!

A - This is obsidian black, and only the tiniest hint of ruby light comes through when held to a light source. A flimsy one finger head disappears quickly and leaves a thin collar behind. I waited for quite a while to see if it would separate like a hand mixed B&T, but after more than five minutes, it's still borderline black with some ruby highlights. Swirling brings the head back and leaves some nice lace behind.

S - Smells like a chocolate Tootsie roll pop. It smells like what it is...a mixture of stout and light lager. It's not very assertive, but it smells nice enough.

T - Dark bitter coffee and hay-like hops with lager malts. This is really confusing....there are a few flavors that seem to oppose each other, and the taste comes of as bitter, but also very sour. Very odd indeed.

M - Light bodied with some crisp carbonation and a very bitter acidic finish.

D - Nor for me. A novel idea, but you're better off mixing your own black and tans. This one is just all over the place and very unbalanced. Odd.

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Photo of alkemy
2.33/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice dark pour with a fluffy head. The smell wasn't awful, but the taste sure is. I've had a few Black & Tans out of the bottle and none have come close the mixed before your eyes version. I would never have purchased this, but it was in a sample pack.

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Photo of bashiba
2.34/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Had a nice bright clear ruby color with a thick and creamy tan head, good retention and lacing.

Had a light bit of black malts and a touch of sour yeast, not real good.

The flavor is a bit smokey with an off sourness to it that detracts from it quite a bit, otherwise typical Saranac, light and non-descript.

The mouthfeel is light and thin with some mild carbonation.

A flawed beer.

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Photo of Kooz
2.36/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice dark color, though not totally opaque. Right color for a bottled black and tan. Misses full points for not being layered like a tap black and tan. May not be fair, but it is what it is.

Smells malty and a bit like caramel. Hints of a "burnt" scent--would score higher if not for this.

Bitter and chalky. Not overly so, but enough that it gets a low score for taste. I don't really care for this.

Mouthfeel scores low. It's watery and weak. I wouldn't have believed this had any stout in it if not for the label.

Not a great beer. Weak and watery; disappointing.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
2.38/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Most Saranac productions I've tried are ok, drinkable, but nothing to go out of the way and serve to friends. This Black and Tan is more like a brown ale in apperance and taste. Nothing like mixing Harp Lager and Guinness Stout (or Bass Ale for that matter!)

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Photo of Gavage
2.41/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a deep brown color with a light caramel colored head. Very light lacing is evident. Absolutely nothing detected in the smell. Very thin bodied, has some slight caramel flavors and a tinge of bitterness come through. Very dull and uninteresting, and the carbonation seemed a little strong. This leaves me wanting to go back to making my own black and tan with high quality beers.

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Photo of dacrza1
2.45/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle. Two-finger head, no lacing. Mahogany red to the light. A fizzing buring in mouthfeel... at this point, I reflect being weened on Yuengling pitchers at Good OleĀ’ Days in Bloomsburg at $1 each and my future wife smiling at only me in the haze, Ryan holding a pitcher in each hand, Jer nodding, Jay watching Sportscenter, etc. (not fair for Saranac to compete with nostalgia)... back to the beer: flat and straight in its communication, probably best had in the months where the burning would be more useful.

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Photo of HugoGrim
2.46/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an imperial pint. Purchased as part of the 12 Beers of Winter sampler case.

Jet black with some ruby light peeking through. Very slim head (despite aggressive pour) is a burnt cream color which left rather quickly.

Scent is a bit harsh. Alcohol is detectable despite modest a 5.4% ABV. Some bitter malt hints.

Flavor is nothing special. I much prefer a Black & Tan from the taps, as I enjoy the separation of flavors. This brew is pretty much a Yuingling B&T plus a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste. Definitely one of the weaker points of this sampler case from Saranac.

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Photo of nebula1999
2.48/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Too fizzy. Not something I'd seek out. Bland. Was hoping for a more impressive beer. I wouldn't say to avoid this one, but nothing great here. If you are looking for a better dark beer from Saranac, try the Black Forest. It is creamier and not as harsh.

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Photo of NODAK
2.53/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Smell here is of muted roasted malts and a little chocolate. Not really a lot.

The taste is a bit surprising. The initial burst is of a good amount of bitterness. The body is of a small roasted malt and chocolate character. There's a good deal more bitterness in the finish, lingering with an aspirin-like quality.

All in all, I'm just not very impressed. Seems more like an IPA and stout, and even then there isn't enough stout.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.56/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Looks more tan than black, but that's alright, we'll get through this. Small 1/3" tan head. Vanishes. Aroma was kinda muted, but nothing wrong with it.

Taste was way thin on the stout, the stout flavors, needs roast, and if you're not gonna drop roast, maybe some caramel and nuttiness from the tan? No? Well shit. Has some earthy wood and tobacco realm. Is there some peat going on here? Just haven't been a fan of Saranac man, this was no different.

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Photo of WinthrHOPHEAD89
2.56/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into an Irish Style Pint Glass

A - NOTE: Please do not do into this beer hoping that it will pour a tradition "Black and Tan Lock" with a denser beer sinking to the bottom along with a gradient change.

With that said this black and tan pours moor in the stout fashion, although it is half Saranac: Irish Stout the look is more like that than anything else. In the light you get a real dark ruby red mahogany kind of color. This beer doesn't generate much head, but pours a one finger light brown soapy head the quickly dissolves, but does manage to leave some lacing.

S - There is hardly any smell at all to this beer. But if you real get your nose into the glass, without drinking any of it through your nostrils, you get a faint scent of roasted dark malt and chocolate, but that's really it.

T - The taste of this beer is... interesting. But that doesn't mean it's bad!! Whilst drinking this beer pretty cold, the first thing I noticed was a definite chocolate flavor up front, but the finish is where this beer is a little strange. Once this beer crosses over the back end of your tongue you notice a dry grainy tingly feeling you get with most lagers. But after the swallow you're left with a traditional stout flavor, ALA Guinness, or Murphy's. This taste of this beer isn't off-putting, just a little strange. Having made a few Black and Tans the old fashioned way, this beer seems to just taste like a black and tan gone wrong. Normally on a Black and Tan you get the bold stout flavor upfront, with a crisp lager finish (which also does depend on which combination of beers you are using, but more or less all black and tans tend to do this), Here you seem to be getting the stout flavor up front, the lager taste in the middle, and then more stout flavor on the finish. If I was drinking this blind, I would guess that this beer is either a straight Irish Stout or a Dark Brown Ale (ALA Sierra Nevada: Tumbler). Having let the beer warm up a little bit, the taste of this beer seems rather messy. Depending on what you want to taste, you'll taste. If you want to pick out the Lager taste you can do so, and same with the stout, but when you look for both at once you get this real sour-y clash.

M - The mouth feel on this beer is rather medium bodied considering that it is essentially 2 beers in one, but not as soft I was expecting. But all in all the mouth feel is fairly decent.

D - The drinkability of this beer is pretty much the same as Saranac: Irish Stout (for those who have had it). To be honest I believe that homemade Black and Tan's have a higher drinkability than this, but for the average stout drinker, this beer would not be a problem, definitely not a sessionable beer though.

Final Thoughts: This beer is just strange. It was nice to try, but I would much rather make my own Black and Tan. But a bid nod for Saranac for trying something different!

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Photo of ManekiNeko
2.63/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle served lightly chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice dark chestnut brown topped by a healthy khaki head. Nice and thick, settles to a small layer of foam that remains throughout consumption and leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Dark malt and German aromatic hops commingled, but not necessarily meshing perfectly.

Taste: Bitter dark malt at first, then there's this jarring snap of brassy and sour hop flavors. Metallic aftertastes.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and relatively crisp.

Drinkability: The off metallic taste makes me not want another one of these. I'm beginning to think I only like black and tans when they are assembled at the bar, but this one certainly is no shining star.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.64/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a black color stout with a nice big brown bubbly head with better then average retention. Aroma is kind of weak with limited sweet malt being distinguishable. Taste is also on the light side with lots of sweet malt, a quite thin body and no discernable bitterness at the end. Nothing to write home about I guess.

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Photo of Shiloh
2.65/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is NOT my style of beer by choice but I will rate it anyway, keeping in mind....hmmmm.....OK...colour is dark, black really, taste is...... not to my liking.....STOP...This is not fair to Saranac, I think I would like this brew if only I could appreciate this style....
But.........I am glad I met it...Nuff said.

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Photo of JCBears
2.66/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

App: Full rich color, nice with a tan head little amber on the edges

Smell: Powerful yet flat on the edges almost like a papermill you could say

Taste/MF: This is somewhat weak and frankly disappointing some hoppiness at the end but almost for what. Nothing much more paperiness. Solid mouthfeel though just don't want the taste in my mouth too long

Overall: I did not care for this and this was what I do not care for in a stout of any nature

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Photo of likethetaste
2.71/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this beer from a Saranac variety pack. It poured a nice dark color and had a decent head.

Smell was nothing special. In fact, nothing really leaped out.

Taste was not horrible but not very good either. In fact, the one descriptive word I would use is it taste with very slight chocolate with a distinct cardboard flavor. I cannot help but think of paper or cardboard when drinking this. It is not overwelming to totally ruin the beer but it is there to make it be one that I would not want to get again.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
2.71/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the 12oz. black bottle into an imperial pint glass, the beer was a ruby/dark brown color topped by one finger of creamy white head. The head ruduced to nothing and left little lacing. Some streams of carbonation bubbles ran up the sides of the glass.

The smell was malty and chocolately with a hint of hops and roasted grain. A slight cereal smell and the "black" aspect of the drink dominates the aroma.

The taste was that of a light stout. Slightly watery and lacking a true roasted characted. Had a slight bitterness to each sip that diminished quickly and wasn't really even present in every sip. Some slight chocolate flavors and very minimal roasted character. Crisp in the finish with a schwartzbeir like consistancy.

Moderate to light on the palate with ample carb.

Not one of more more well liked beers. Very thin on taste and a good schwartzbeir will easily take the place of anything you might use this for.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.71/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear ruby in color. Thin beige head leaves nice lacework. Aroma is weak. Very slight hints of roastedness and chocolate. Mouthfeel is too carbonated to make this an enjoyable brew. (The taste is not that enjoyable anyway.) The taste consists of an assortment of astringent maltiness and husky hoppiness. Not a very pleasant blend. An astringent bitterness lingers on the buds as well. Nothing about this beer (besides the appearance) is enjoyable. On the flip side however, there is nothing absolutely horrible either.

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Photo of santoslhalper
2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearence: Pours a dark, dark burgundy with a creamy tan head. The head leaves quickly.

Smell: I can't really finger what this smells like. Beer? Not much else.

Taste: The taste is immediatly boring, then bland. I think they used a bad porter and an even worse lager. The lingering aftertaste isn't actually too bad, and is the only thing I like about the taste of this beer. The mouthfeel is thin.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a lackluster attempt at making a decent beer. C'mon....

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Photo of m1ked
2.73/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On the shores of lake Ontario (U.S. side) for the 4th. Absolutely beautiful weather. The friends we are visiting think of me as "the guy who likes fancy beer". I don't have the heart to launch into the debate because they mean well and are so nice. So nice they bought a Saranac sampler for me.

A- pours a mostly pitch black thin appearing liquid with a brief 1/4" tan foam of a head that shrinks down to an incomplete skimming. When held up to the 10 a.m. sun the edges look like a cola

S- sweet grains with a touch of coffee and cola once again (power of visual suggestion?). There is a certain sweetness in there. Almost like a faint chocolate covered cherry.

T- well I don't get that sweetness like the nose. I get a bitter coffee-ish flavor that has almost a chalkiness to it. Not much upside here. Finishes with astrigent bitterness.

M- thin with consistent low carbonation throughout.

D- when my friends who thoughtfully bought me this "fancy beer" ask how this beer is, I immediately respond "great". But the reality is this is not a good beer. I would rather drink one of the hundreds o Molson Canadiens they have in their fridge rather than this "fancy beer"

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.74/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 4/17/08. Bottle. Pours black with a small white head that dissipates quickly. Not much of an aroma, maybe some roast and coffee. Flavor of some roasted/burnt malt. It was ok for me, but had a weird taste, sort of buttery almost. 5/4/5/3/12 (2.9/5)

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Saranac Black & Tan from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
3.48 out of 5 based on 755 ratings.
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