Saranac Black & Tan | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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Saranac Black & TanSaranac Black & Tan
763 Ratings
Saranac Black & TanSaranac Black & Tan

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:
Stout & Lager

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-05-2001

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Ratings: 763 |  Reviews: 497
Photo of acurtis
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

one of the best saranac beers and an absolute taste of fall for me. pours thick and dark, like a cup of coffee. has a nice tall lasting brown head on it. notes of coffee and dark dry roasty malt are the featured smells, but chocolate is also present. flavor is much much lighter than the nose indicates. still quite robust, but more laid back. the chocolate notes come forward a bit, and the earthy malts are balanced by a nice crisp lager finish. the mouthfeel is excellent, its so smooth, infinitely drinkable. one of my favorite dark beers to session in the autumn. carbonation is average, and the finish is very dry. overall an excellent beer that is a part of the seasonal flow of life for me.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a Beers of the World pack from Cost Plus World Market.

Pours a semi-clear dark amber color with a puffy 1 inch beige head that fades to a small cap. Thin tightly spaced rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted dark malt, chocolate syrup, and caramel aromas. Taste is of roasted malt, coffee grounds, caramel, and slight roasted peanuts. A mild roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a pretty good carbonation level making for a crisp yet smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good black and tan beer that is much better than the Mississippi Mud beer of the same style I have tried in the past.

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Photo of spycow
3.54/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -13.3%

Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured clear dark amber in color with a thin, creamy white head that has good retention properties. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The nose is rather sweet and has aromas of caramel and toasted malts.
T: There is a mild amount of sweetness in the taste, which mostly has flavors of toasted caramel malts with some hints of chocolate. There is a very mild amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium- bodied on the palate and relatively smooth and creamy. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very drinkable. I could easily have several of these in one sitting.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.16/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My first experience of tasting a Black & Tan, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The appearance was very inviting and smell pretty good, but the taste was a bit muddle in my opinion. It was too hard to discern all of the different flavor notes and tastes kind of like a mess really. I'm not sure if this is how this style is supposed to taste but I feel some fine tuning could make this into a solid beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.8/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's always puzzling to me why anyone would water down a stout with a lighter beer. Anyhow, If one were going to, Saranac's isn't as bad as I would have thought. It pours a lighter-than-expected brown/ black. Not opaque. Has a mild head that disipates quickly. Aromas are a little lactic in nature, a little grainy (black malt) and a light sweetness (caramel?). Flavors are light for a beer with a stout in it. Flavors are lessened by the lager addition. A bitter from both the black grain and hop addition is less than clean--charcoal-like. The texture is a bit chalky, but not dry. Finishes a grainy bitter and, again, chalky. Not overly impressed with this one, but still drinkable.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of zeff80
3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark brown color, almost black. It had a three-finger, tan & creamy head. It left some lacing.

S - It smelled of roasted malt.

T - The taste was slightly bitter with the roasted malt flavor. It also had a little caramel to it.

M - It was soft and smooth. It was medium to heavy bodied. I expected it to be heavier.

D - It is a pretty good version of the style. If I wanted a bottle of a Black & Tan, I would look for Saranac.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.64/5  rDev -23.7%
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 dbrauneis
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown (almost black) in color with some light reddish hints when held up to the light. The beer has a finger tall foamy light tan head that reduces to a thick ring at the edges of the glass, some thick patches, and a very thin layer covering the entire surface. Moderate to significant lacing is observed.

S: Overall a very light aroma, I was expecting a bigger smell for this beer. Hints are of roasted and caramel malts with a very light floral/grassy hops.

T: Big malty flavor with lots of dark roasted and caramel malt hints in it. Some light amounts of grassy hops that have light bitterness, especially in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to high amounts of carbonation. Smooth with a slightly dry finish.

O: Actually a very easy to drink beer that is enjoyable. Not a style that I get that often but this is a pretty good example and definitely a session beer that you could drink all night.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The body is a very dark brown with reddish-mahogany highlights and a creamy tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some spotty lace. The nose displays some grassy hops over a dark maltiness that's made up of light caramel and hints of deep roasted coffee. The body is medium/light, and it's crisp in the mouth due to a fine, median carbonation. A toasty malt character appears first on the palate; followed by an acidic roastiness and then some caramel notes as it warms. Some grassy/floral hop flavor shows up just as the bitterness starts to rise in the swallow. There's a quick shot of chocolate upfront, and then some passing caramel, in the lingering bitter finish that mainly leaves you with a roasted astringency/acidity and some grassy/metallic hop flavors. - That may not sound very good, but it is. It's a nice, dry and refreshing finish that lets you know you're drinking a dark beer. It makes you want to have another taste, and adds to its drinkability. It's not a great beer, but it's well made and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this simple "style".

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Photo of Gkruszewski
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz undated bottle served in standard pint glass.

Although I've had many Saranac beers over the years, this is the first since returning from the Czech Republic where my expectations were raised upon seeing some Saranac bottles for sale for about $6 each: this in a pub (Zly Casy: Prague) where a fine Czech beer cost about $2, a world-class Belgium about $6, and very few American beers were available.

A - quite dark for a black and tan: although a bit of light comes thru creating mahogany highlights at the edges, the beer is close to opaque. The modest tan head has a nice mixed density appearance, very good retention, and leaves plenty of lacing.

The nose is quite fine if a bit subdued, and featured hop tinged medium and dark malts. Very slightly floral.

Of course, I knew what I was drinking but still the fact that this is a mix of a lager and a stout actually seemed apparent in the taste. This failure to blend seamlessly is to be expected and actually added to the complexity and enjoyment of the beer. This even held for mouthfeel which did seamlessly combine the two into something like an average body (i.e., heavy for a lager/ light for a stout), again in a very enjoyable mix where the combination as considerably more effervescent and a bit drier than a typical stout. The finish is stronger (mainly dark malt) and longer lasting than one might predict based on the strength of the preceding flavors.

O - If memory serves me well, this is about as enjoyable as a black and tan in a bottle gets, although one can do better with various combinations of beers found on draft at a good pub. Over-priced in Prague but a bargain in Eastern U.S.A.

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Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of oberon
3.51/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with some reddish highlights thru out with a nice creamy well sustained head.Slight aroma of dark roasted malt and some caramel but pretty slight like I said,a decent melding of flavors some bitter sweet chocolate,caramel and dark roasted malt the beer finish rather abruptly not much lingering flavors.Hey not bad and $5.19 for the Trail Pack I think more than worth the price,wish there was two of these and only one Adirondack Amber.

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Photo of nickfl
3.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a two-finger head of light brown foam that rests on top of an opaque, dark brown body with just a hint of light showing through. The foam settles at an average pace and leaves nice lace on the glass.

S - Lightly fruity yeast notes with some caramel and toffee. Notes of red apple, plum, and perhaps a hint of diacetyl.

T - Sweet malt and toffee up front with light herbal hops. Some darker malt character in the middle, burnt caramel and light roast. Finishes with a bit of spicy hop flavor and moderate bitterness that is balanced by coffee like malt and a bit of roasted grain bitterness. Lingering caramel and coffee flavors coat the tongue along with light char.

M - Medium-light body, moderately high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad, the malt flavor is quite nice with a robust roast character that sits on the back of the tongue long after the beer is gone. The aroma is a bit weak, just light yeast and malt, but the flavor helps to make up for it. The finish is quite dry, which makes the beer a bit easier to drink while also enhancing the roast malt character. This is a better than average black and tan and one of the better Saranac beers that I have tried.

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Photo of mactrail
3.09/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Seems like a case where two and two add up to three. Not an improvement on either the stout or the lager. Looks quite lovely in the glass, with a foamy head and nice lacing. On the thin side, quite dry. The sourish burnt malt flavor seems to pervade every sip. Some malt and a brief nose of roasted grain.

Interesting succession of tart and winey flavors that give it some complexity. But in the end seems to be mostly about the bitterness, both hops and charred malt. Long bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, brown sugar, coffee, some dark fruit, a touch of chocolate and a faint bit of hops.

T: The flavor is malty and sweet with flavors of caramel, milk chocolate and dark fruit. The hops presence is decent, but it shows itself only intermittently. Likewise, the after-taste is sweet & creamy.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness, medium body, medium carbonation, very sticky finish.

D: Unexpectedly tasty, goes down pretty easy, decent kick, slightly filling, this one seems more like a dopplebock to me and it was better than I thought it would be even if I wouldn’t really drink too many of them if given another choice.

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Photo of smcolw
3.91/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Scarlet/deep brown color, opaque, with a one (plus) finger head on the initial pour. The bubble sizes are greatly varied: some large (and quick to pop), some minute.

Not a very powerful aroma in this beer. I detect some chocolate malt and slight floral hop.

Very chocolately followed by an excellent hop counterpoint. After the swallow, both the chocolate and hop linger pleasantly. Slightly thin in bodied given the big taste. Very high carbonation, but not in a distracting sort of way.

A mixed bag that I would recommend. I wish the aroma was more distinct and that it was a little fuller, but the taste is sublime.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.77/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ah, the joys of the Bottle Backlog! I have some in the basement's Beerfrigerator that I brought with me in the move from my parents' house over to Chez Woody that I have not looked at in a while. I was recently inspired to make today a New Saranac Beer Sunday (or New Beer Saraunacday (Week 661), if you will) & so this is a continuation thereof.

From the bottle: "Saranac Black & Tan is a judicious melding of our Classic Irish Stout with an all-malt German-style Amber Lager. The result is a brew that is hearty, pleasantly bitter and full of flvor, yet can be enjoyed bottle after bottle. Our unique Black & Tan has multiple flavor notes ... You may even enjoy counting them. Enjoy!"; "Stout & Lager"; "Brewed in the Adirondack Foothills".

Once again, a slow, gentle pour was in order following the Pop! of the cap. I then performed an in-glass swirl which raised a finger of dense, deep-tan/light-brown head with decent retention that slowly fell away. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity & garnet highlights. Nose had a slight roastiness along with a nutty sweetness. Mmm. This has potential to be interesting! Mouthfeel was medium. I let my first draught roll around in my mouth and on my tongue. It had a definite roastiness, but it seemed like it was somehow being held in check. This actually made it tastier to me than if it had been full-on burnt/bitter/roasty. I am not sure that I would have identified it as a "Stout" since it had that cut, but it was still very tasty. I might have guessed "Porter" & then nodded when it was revealed as a blend. Finish was semi-dry, but as I said, it might not have been as pleasant a drink if it had been full-on dry & roasty.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel with a lot of tan head and some good lacing. The smell is roasted malt, chocolate, and caramel. The taste adds a little bit more sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, chewy, and a bit dry. Drinkability is good, going down easy for how dark and dry it is.

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Saranac Black & Tan from Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery
Beer rating: 3.46 out of 5 with 763 ratings