I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker glass.
Appearance: Hazy shade of dark copper/burnt umber. Some fine carbonation
visible. Forms an average size, off white, foamy head which mostly
dissipates but laces the glass quite well.
Smell: A light scent of cereal grain with a hint of cherry, otherwise a mild nose.
Taste: If I’m reading the bottle label correctly, it seems that Saranac
Single Malt is brewed using just Scottish Maris Otter malt - the same
malt commonly used in the distillation of whiskey and Scotch. But don’t
go into this beer thinking it’s going to taste like one of those types
of liquors. It’s closer to a traditional British style pub ale. A light
malty sweetness all around with subtle component of dark fruit. Cherry
seems to be the most prominent. There’s a gentle dry bitterness through
the middle due to the use of Fuggle hops (also a common ingredient in
British pub ales), and then it finishes mostly clean, but not before a
very brief peat-like flavor makes itself known.
While it’s not a complex palate, these flavors and the overall delivery
would be handled better through the magic of cask conditioning. In
bottle form it’s a very mild brew and most likely Saranac’s target
audience won’t pick up on the minutia it has. That’s not to say it’s
absolutely delectable, though, as the mildness is just a few shades
north of bland.
Drinkability: I drank two bottles of Saranac Single Malt back-to-back
on a hot summer’s night and they really hit the spot. The subtle fruit
flavor of the palate combined with the thin, slightly flat, mouthfeel
makes it surprisingly refreshing (or at the very least just an easy beer
to drink). It goes down smooth and the aftertaste is clean with just a
hint of bitterness. A tad too big to session, but at only 5.5% ABV it’s
no challenge whatsoever to drink two bottles.