Saranac Black & Tan | Matt Brewing Company / Saranac Brewery

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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 chinchill
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
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 damndirtyape
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Shaker pint glass. No date on bottle

Appearance: Dark brown on the table with cola colors at the edges. Held up to the light it's a deep ruby red to mahogany color. Poured 1/4" tan head, which died down to a thick ring and a thin skin of foam across the top. Very little lacing noted, a few tiny strands here and there that would slide back down into the beer very slowly.

Smell: Hints of chocolate and roasted malt. Smells like a stout but nothing special.

Taste: Well, it really does taste like a lager with a hit of stout thrown in. Crisp malt, mild chocolate flavor right towards the end, and an apple-like plus grassy hop finish. Mild metallic flavor in there too - not bad, but definitely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated but not overpowering. Cleanses the palate. Beer is a little watery at first, but then gets a little thicker towards the end of the swallow.

Overall / Drinkability: Interesting blend. Not sure I would buy it again though. Good looking, but it's a lager with stout flavoring, and I'm afraid that what I want is one or the other, not both in the same sip.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.73/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is kinda black and kinda brown. Imagine that. The head is beige in color, standing in at 1/4" and leaving a nice, thick sheet of lacing on the pint glass. The aroma brings chocolate, roasted malt, and caramel. The flavor is pretty sweet, with a large chocolate presence. The beer is medium bodied and finishes dry. Overall, a decent beer.

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Photo of OMGTheyKilkenny
4.68/5  rDev +34.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle into a Guinness pint glass.

A- Deep mahogany, barely translucent. Almost two inches of tan/cream-colored head. Healthy lacing.

S- Toasted malts and lager yeasts hit the nose the strongest (naturally). Milky with hints of cocoa. Creamy and sweet.

T- The deep, rich, malty taste of a milk stout, with the slightly bitter, hoppy back of a lager; just what you want in a black and tan. Lots of flavor, subtle notes of coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, and oak, but not too strong. Generally, very well balanced.

MF- Surprisingly light and crisp. Not nearly as heavy as I expected. Medium carbonation. Leaves just a slight coating on the mouth afterward.

D- I don't always drink bottled black and tan beers, but when I do, I prefer Saranac. I could drink this beer all day. It has all the stout and lager flavor you're looking for without the heaviness. Tons of flavor in a very lightweight package. Just enough lager flavor to support the stout, which takes center stage (as it should). I'm a huge Saranac fan, and this beer is just one of the reasons why.

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Photo of mactrail
3.09/5  rDev -11.2%
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 KidsDoc
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz poured into standard pint glass

dark brown with decent tan head and good lacing

aroma was a tad muted but overall a nice roasted malt aroma and some sweet chocolate. simple but good.

taste was similar and appreciated much more of the dry stout with a mellowed light lager sweetness on the drying finish

mouthfeel was medium bodied and very dry almost from the start. carbonation was spot on for me in this one

Overall a surprisingly good offering. easy drinking and worthwhile. not something I would keep in my regular rotation but wouldn't mind pulling this one in every once in a while.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The last from my Saranac Adirondack mixed pack.

Poured into a dimpled pint glass. Deep chocolate in colour, but when held to the light it catches some ruby hues as well. Thin, white head survives as a thin layer. Some lacing.

Nose is roasted coffee, malt, cream, a bit of nut and milk chocolate. Quite nice actually.

I think this was my favorite brew of the bunch, (although the Black Forest was certainly nice as well). The stout was of the dry Irish variety, nice and roasty, but with a soft sweetness as well. The lager character features in the mellowing finish, which also features some mild hoppy citric tang to it. This is all overlain with a creamy, milk flavor, softening the different hues.

Medium bodied, crisp, yet creamy as well.

Flavorful, good melding of two other brews. Bottled or canned Black and Tans are a tough sell for me - the best kinds are the ones your pour yourself. This, however, was not a bad stab at it.

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Photo of curasowa
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark red color wit 1 finger of head that fades pretty quickly to a thin cap

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt and toffee with some sweet, slightly fruity notes in the background

Taste: A quick hit of sweet malt initially, then a big wave of toasted, astringent malt, staying pretty dry all the way through the finish. Just a hint of prickly carbonation and bitterness towards the back end, with the bitterness lingering into the finish and becoming slightly harsh

The Rest: Body is medium and slightly creamy and drinkability is OK. Decent overall, but nothing special.

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Photo of KajII
3.57/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in an English Pint]

Poured a murky dark brown with a small (less than 1 finger) tan to light brown head that diminished quickly but had fair lacing.

The aroma was very strong of a dark roasted malt and a leathery yeast with hints of chocolate, caramel, coffee and a mild dose of dark fruit.

The taste was nice and malty with a note of caramel and a whiff of chocolate in the beginning then progressed into a mild rich bitter flavor with a nice note of coffee at the end. The flavor was left to linger only a short while, cutting short the full enjoyment of this brew.

Mouthfeel was nice, smooth and creamy in texture and medium in body with a soft carbonation.

Overall a good tasting brew that had a very nice aftertaste and was quite drinkable as it was not as heavy as a typical stout.

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Photo of scootny
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear darkish red brown with a tan head and good amounts of lace. Smell is light coffee and toffee sweetness. Hint of chocolate hiding under butterscotch. Taste is all of the above flavors with a good roasted smokiness and mild light hop bitterness. Toffee and bread lingers. Feel is crisp and light. Goes down nicely with a quenching edge. Nice brew combining the refreshment of a pale ale with the roasted heartiness of a stout.

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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 CaptDavyJones
3.91/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown, almost black, color from a 12 bottle.
One finger tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Very good carbonation.
Aroma upfront is smoky, with hints of dark, bitter roasted coffee coming through. Sweet chocolate aroma comes through as the beer warmed.
The taste of stout stands out over the taste of lager in this beer. The smoke flavor with hints of coffee is predominant with a dry finish and a mild bitter aftertaste. Very good lacing.
Medium bodied beer, coats the palate nicely. Mouthfeel is almost smooth and chewy making this highly drinkable.
All in all, this is a good beer from Saranac. I won't call it the best 'black and tan', but this is definitely amongst the better black and tans. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had in ale glass

A: black, hints of caramel brown; two-finger head with little lacing left on the glass
S: sweet malty smell
T: much like a black lager, but with tinny overtones that linger in the aftertaste; sweet, overall, with notes of burned caramel

Despite the uneven taste, it's quite refreshing.

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Photo of dstc
3.83/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with slight red hue. Tan head falls to a very small one. Thin, coating lace.

Aroma is of roasted malts with hints if coffee. Smells bitter.

Tastes like roasted malts, slightly burnt in flavor. Coffee tones and a mild bitterness.

Thin to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Not bad. Rather drinkable and worth a try.

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Photo of BeerdedEric
3.94/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not that great of a head for a black and tan, kind of lame looking. The color is a dark red mixed with brownish outlines.

A sweet butterscotch, toffee and licorice smell.

Same as what I smelled with some hops. A slight boozy aftertaste that goes away quickly into what I'm thinking of a more butterscotch and toffee flavor in the very end. It's pretty good.

Slight carbonation. Medium body. Feels nice.

I would have another one of these. It's pretty easy drinking. A fine tasting Black and Tan.

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Photo of Wamesit
3.56/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, near black, with a thick tan head that gives way to minimal webbed lacing.

S - Fresh grassy hops over malty sweetness, some choco/coffee.

T - It tastes like what the blend is: an Irish stout with an amber lager. The sweetest of the lager malts makes its way through the darker malts of the stout. Some hops to the finish. Standard Saranac fare.

M - Medium, more carbonation than I expected.

D - If you're a Saranac fan, their tones and yeast, then you could find yourself wanting a second go at this somehwhat playful blend.

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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 Rayek
2.88/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Nonic.

A: Deep chestnut brown with a short lived nougat head. A little bit of lace is left behind.

S: Baking chocolate, lemon and coffee make up the nose.

T: Not that impressive to me. Starts out with straw like malts that are followed with a light lemon bitterness. A bit of coffee adds interest. The beer gets overly acidic in the finish.

M: The light body is semi-dry. The carbonation is about right.

D: I honestly didn't get much joy out of this one. The relatively low ABV makes it go down quickly.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

We pour a brew of dark nut-brown that is faintly translucent when held to light. It maintains a foamy, off-white one finger head that disappears at a medium speed. There is no floating sediment or carbonation visible. The nose is full of brown sugar, dark fruits, and hops, which are interestingly sweet. There are also generous malts throughout, with a tail end of tininess. The taste begins with burnt malts. These give way to soapy and piney hops throughout the middle that overcompensate. The finish is slightly sweet (containing of all things, coconut), hoppy, and spicy but, predominantly, tannin-like, making the aftertaste resemble cold breakfast tea. There is astringency to the liquid that leaves the mouth dry. The body and carbonation are medium, leaving little coating. The abv is normal, and the flavor profile is a bit light, so the beer has average drinkability.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its strong look and contributory aroma. There was a nice degree of complexity to the nose, but that unfortunately fell short when translated into taste, leaving an average, almost plain, brew.

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Photo of PubliusII
3.86/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

17. Saranac " Black and Tan"

Appearance- Thick, black pour that erupts into a frothy head. Retention is good with a one-finger width. Fabulous lace.

Smell- Sweet, nutty smell.

Taste- Bitter, burnt nuts. A hint of the coffee I smelled but the bitterness overrides most other tastes.

Mouthfeel- Minimal carbonation with a sharp finish. The burnt nuts are the first and last thing you taste. Heavy body

Drinkability- Not a bad beer. It has a sharp, bitter taste that makes it crisper than a guiness.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a dark brown colour with an average size frothy beige head. I can't make out much carbonation due to the darkness of the beer. There is some very nice lacing on the sides of the glass and the head stuck around for 5 minutes or so.

Smell - chocolate, coffee, malts, hops, roasted nuts

Taste & Mouth - There isn't a whole lot of carbonation and the beer comes across as slightly watery. I can really taste chocolate, coffee and a burnt nut flavour. Also there is a malt flavour mixed with some light hops. The beer finishes with a bitter coffee aftertaste.

Drink - Another slightly above average brew from Saranac. I'd have this again if offered or if I see it on a menu somewhere.

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Photo of greenmonstah
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into DFH snifter

A - Pours a dark brown, clear not cloudy. A good color. Head is less than half a finger with poor retention.

S - Chocolate, caramel and a touch of nuttiness. Some roasted malts. Caramel is strong and smells great.

T - Taste is similar to their Black Forest. Caramel and a bit of roasted malts. Not a lot of the lager flavor here. Taste is like a less intense version of the Black Forest. A bit more hop than the Black Forest and a bit less caramel. Overall not as tasty.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Leaves the mouth slightly dry.

D - Easy to quaff and enjoyable. One of the better, but not best, Saranac beers I have had.

Todd's review states that Saranac makes this from a blend of the Irish Stout and Adirondack Lager. I haven't tried the Irish Stout, but I don't taste a lot of the Adirondack Lager in here. I would have guessed it was the Black Forest and Adirondack Lager, simply because the flavor profile is very similar to the former and the latter is one of the higher volume beers. Overall, not too shabby, but not exceptional either.

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Photo of beerdown77
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was my first experience with Saranac. Saranac is widely available, which is possibly why I have chosen other beers in the past. The B&T was similar to Yuengling, but I didn't taste as much of that European/English style. Not to say that Yuengling B&T is the ultimate example, but I do think that it is better.

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Photo of ClarkPinnock
4.08/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a hard beer to figure out:

Dark caramel appearance, very near chocolate. Good lacing throughout.

Notes of chocolate and caramel come through in the nose.

Very complex flavor. Starts off a little bitter with the stout flavors up front. These quickly give way to the lager, giving it the impression of very deep flavor. Chocolate and malt is very evident. This is really great because you get the benefit of stout-like flavors but with the carbonation of a lager.

Mouthfeel is very full and the carbonation just right.

I didn't have high hopes for this but I stand corrected. Complex and full flavors throughout that cause continued contemplation as one enjoys!

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Photo of KeithStolte
4.62/5  rDev +32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from 12oz to pint glass. Dark Color, Great laceing, with a good finger width head tan color.

S - Roasted and chocolate notes

T - Roasted malts with chocolate notes like it smells, great last note and after taste.

M - Very smooth, fine carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. Makes a good session beer.

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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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