Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saranac Irish Stout

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (599) - Albany, USA - MAR 21, 2011
The Matt Brewery out of Utica, NY has brewed a beer of just about every style under the sun so it comes as no surprise to me they would brew Saranac Irish Stout. To me, it’s much closer in style to a traditional American stout than something from Ireland, and the result is a decent beer, so I can let the obviously market-driven name slide.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a Saranac tumbler.

Appearance: Black, cola-like appearance with a two-finger, beige, foamy head. The head retains surprisingly well and leaves impressive lacing on the glass.

Smell: Typical of the style with notes of coffee and dark chocolate with toasted malts, but mild overall.

Taste: This is the taste I tend to associate with any kind of basic stout, only a little sweeter. Saranac Irish Stout begins with a soda-like sweetness and finishes with lightly bitter taste of toasted malts. And I do emphasize toasted, as the flavor here is akin to your breakfast toast then any kind of deeply-roasted, kiln-fired flavor found in stronger stouts. There’s a light coffee flavor through the middle combined with a very mild dark chocolate as well. It’s actually quite surprising at just how sweet this stout is, especially considering Saranac wants us to believe it’s an Irish dry stout.

I do notice a certain tang or sourness in the palate, like a dairy product on the verge of expiration. This is a trait I often find in oatmeal or milk stouts so it’s not uncommon, just unexpected here. It also seems to be a little distracting at first, but I’m able to tolerate and block it out.

Drinkability: The mouthfeel here is very fizzy for a stout. The body is medium bordering on thin, or at least thinner than I expect or want in a stout like this. The 5.5% ABV seems a little high, though, as this drinks like the sessionable European stouts that inspired it.

Overall, Saranac Irish Stout is a pretty tasty beer, but not a great one. Its sweetness and low bitterness would make it a good alternative to those who don’t like Guinness.

Grade: 7/10

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