Monday, June 4, 2012

Saranac Stout

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (670) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 4, 2012
I honestly didn’t have high hopes for Saranac Stout, since it’s a very generic style from a brewery not known for making mind-blowing or experimental beers. In fact, this bottle came in a discounted mix pack and the bottle was only a few weeks away from the expiration. But with all those caveats, I was very surprised to get a tasty, delectable, and highly drinkable beer. Hell yeah!

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Opaque black body with a light white, frothy head. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smell: Noticeable vinous aroma plus typical stout smell underneath.

Taste: Stouts are known for being roasty and usually sweet, but Saranac Stout is surprisingly fruity with a touch of tartness and sourness. Red grape is usually a flavor found in stronger Russian Imperial Stouts, but there’s an obvious grape juice-like taste right from the get-go. It’s lightly sweet, but quickly followed by a more traditional stout flavor of roasty malt bitterness through the middle. Chocolate candy shows up briefly on the finish, as does a hint of iced coffee. But the palate comes full circle back to the original grape or cider-like taste with a tartness right before it finishes clean. I’m not sure if this is how this beer is meant to taste, but in this case it’s actually quite beneficial and certainly threw me off guard since I don’t normally get these flavors in a beer of the style.

Drinkability: I was quite surprised to find out after the fact that Saranac Stout is only 4.8% ABV. Not because it felt like a brick on my system, but because it had so much flavor for something in the more sessionable category. The thin, tepid mouthfeel enables it to go down almost as smoothly as a Guinness. The clean aftertaste combined with the light, tart palate makes it almost refreshing. Impressive!

Grade: 8/10

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