I’m so used to drinking porters that are flavored, imperial,
experimental, barrel-aged, etc. that I’ve kind of forgotten about the
base porter style. Saranac 4059’ Porter is such a beer as it is indeed
"just a porter." There’s no bells and whistles about this one, though a
few would be nice.
I poured a 12oz bottle into the official Saranac shaker glass.
Appearance: Opaque black body, no visible carbonation. Forms a large,
brown, fluffy head which is slow to dissipate and leaves plenty of
lacing down the glass.
Smell: Classic pub aroma of dark malts and a hint of dairy sweetness.
Taste: When I think of a satisfying, passable porter, the palate to
Saranac 4059’ Porter is exactly what comes to mind. It’s a great
representation of the style as it shows there’s definitely flavor to be
found in a fairly simple recipe and relatively light body. Mild
chocolate and vanilla candy flavors up front with a lactose-like
sweetness akin to a milk stout (though there’s no lactose in this brew
according the description on the brewery’s website). There’s a
surprisingly sharp, dry, but quick hop bite at the apex before it
finishes with that classic malty porter taste. I don’t really get much
in the way of coffee except for the bitterness, though the aftertaste is
a tad dry. Overall, it’s a decent, by-the-numbers palate that’s not
particularly flawed in any way. I enjoyed it at the time but it’s
nothing to write home about.
Drinkability: Saranac 4059’ Porter would be a fantastic "starter porter"
as the mild palate makes it drinker-friendly combined with the calm,
creamy mouthfeel and smooth finish. Not quite robust enough to pair with
food, it does make a fine standalone beverage and at only 5.2% ABV you
won’t have any trouble drinking a few back to back.